Lalaith gulped hard. She did not dare to lift her eyes to his as her hand slipped into his. Within her, her heart hammered painfully, hardly daring to allow herself the hope that was beginning to spring like a new dawn within her soul.
“Lalaith nin.” Legolas’ voice whispered softly as he bent his head, bringing her hand up to his mouth, and softly brushing his lips across her fingertips. “Do you know how much I have missed you? How I dreamed of you, and longed to be with you?”
“You missed me?” She whispered pleadingly, lifting her eyes at last to his.
He smiled gently at this, though his brow twitched as with supressed pain. “Where you not there with me in my dreams? Did you not share my thoughts? Always I could feel your presence. Could you not feel mine?”
Lalaith’s heart grew small with shame. “I did.” She muttered. “But when I met-, that woman, I suppose I forgot that I had.”
“Greta has hurt you.” A hand lifted, and his fingers so gently, as of a feather’s touch, stroked the slowly fading bruise upon her slender throat. “More than what shows upon the surface.”
His hand lightly trailed up her throat, his fingers brushing softly across her trembling lips.
“How did it happen?” He muttered, his voice growing suddenly ragged, as if twisted by wretched pain.
Lalaith sighed. “This-, Greta and her orc found us, Pippin and me, upon the steps of Orthanc. They snatched Pippin, and when he cried out my name, Greta seemed to know me. She spoke to me of you.” Lalaith sighed, and dropped her eyes, unable to look more into Legolas’ face.
Lalaith’s words faded away, and she faltered, unsure if she could find the strength to continue. She shivered as the cool wind of night washed across her back.
“What did she say?” Legolas pled, his voice painfully soft, and broken with quiet fear. “For that is what has caused this sorrow in your heart, is it not?”
Lalaith gulped hard, and lifted her gaze once again to his as she murmured, “She spoke of your voice, how fair it is, and that you sang to her. And she said-, she claimed that you had-,” her voice grew to a timid whisper, “That you had given yourself to her.”
At these words, Legolas stiffened, motionless but for the movement of his breathing, which had grown deeper at her words. The silence lengthened, and Lalaith dared not look at him.
“My heart was torn into pieces, Legolas. I could not think. I could not reason with myself, though I wanted to. My soul whispered that she had lied, but still-,” Lalaith sighed brokenly, afraid to look at him as she rambled, “still if what she said was true, then I had lost everything. You would not do something so wretched as to take a woman you did not love. And if you had forgotten your love for me because I am born of Valar and given your heart to her, as I feared, then not only would you be lost to me, but I would also have lost what little peace I could have found in your happiness.” She choked, and vehemently spat, “For that heartless creature does not love you-,” Her voice died, and she dared at last to look up, fearing what she would see.
But at the look within his eyes, her fear faded into oblivion. His eyes held her as in a tender embrace, and Lalaith had to catch a breath, feeling the warm touch of his gaze, as if his very hands moved gently over her, soothing away her fear.
“No, she cannot love me. Not as you can.” Legolas whispered, a breath swelling his chest as he opened her softly curled fingers and pressed a kiss into the warm flesh of her palm, his eyes ever upon Lalaith’s face.
“Oh, Lalaith nin.” He breathed. His voice was warm and soft, the tender tones of his words loosening the painful constrictions that had been cast about her heart by Greta’s cruel words. “I was born to love you. To love you, and serve you-, only you.” He lifted a hand, brushing his fingertips lightly against her cheek. “My sweet Lalaith. I did not do as Greta claimed.”
Lalaith stood for a long moment, unable to speak, barely able to breath as the words he spoke seeped sweetly into her mind, and settled, like warm sunlight, upon her heart. His words rang of truth, truth she had known all along, but now, at the soft utterance of them, a gentle relief eased over her, soothing away the pain and the unsurity as vile poison drawn from a wound.
“Oh, Legolas.” She hissed, and dropped her eyes. “I have been such an abominable fool.”
The wind that swirled cool about the Golden Hall of Meduseld danced about Lalaith where she stood, catching at her gown, and floating her hair about her shoulders. And she shivered again.
At this, Legolas smiled, and drew closer to her. And her shivering turned into a tremor of warmth that trailed along the lines of her flesh as the folds of his warm Lórien cloak enfolded her, as of the sheltering wings of a great eagle. His arms, warm and sure, encircled her, drawing her tenderly to him, and she moved willingly against the familiar warmth of his chest as if she had never left his embrace.
Softly she choked, “I should never have imagined, even for a moment-,”
“Hush Lalaith nin, do not worry any longer.” Legolas soothed gently, and Lalaith sighed. She relaxed against him, laying her head upon the warm leather of his jerkin, and closing her eyes as she listened to the ever steady murmur of his heart. “Poisoned were Greta’s dark lies, more painful and deadly than the venom of any spider. But she is defeated, now.”
She sighed drinking in the sweet tones of his words as he drew her ever tighter against him, and brushing his lips against the delicate point of her ear whispered, “You are the only one I have ever wanted.”
Lalaith shivered at the rich promise within his words, and tilted her head up, her eyes seeking his within the soft silver darkness that enfolded them.
“I love you, Lalaith.” He finished simply, his eyes searching her own.
“Oh, Legolas.” She sighed in return, straining upward to brush the edge of his warm jaw with her lips. “I love you. So very much.”
His chest swelled with fervent emotion at her words and her touch, and he bent his head toward her uplifted face until with a touch that was as light as a feather, their lips met. A brief caress it was, containing all of eternity in one delicious moment, before they parted. His shadowed eyes, warm and eager, found her own as a moment of shared wonder passed between them, and then with a timorous smile his arms tightening gently about her, Legolas dipped his head once again toward her own.
A moment later, Legolas’ mouth, warm and moist, captured her own. A thrill of warm desire shuddered through her body. And as he plied her softly parted lips with tender imploration, she strained ever nearer, eagerly responding to the soft caresses of his mouth. How long had it been since they had shared such a moment as this? It had seemed an age. And yet-, as the taste of his mouth, the scent of his warm, supple flesh, and the alluring feel of his firm strength pressed against her drowned her senses, it was as if they had never been parted. Their estrangement in the Golden Wood, her capture upon Amon Hen, Greta’s evil words-, all these faded into oblivion.
A battle had been won, she realized as she slid her fingers up his chest and circled her arms about his firm shoulders. As dear and sweet a triumph as if it had been won on a battlefield. Yet this she knew, was only a small victory in the war against the corruption of Sauron and his minions. What would the future bring them? What wrathful pain did the spawn of Morgoth have in store for the free people of Middle Earth? She could not tell. Legolas could not tell. None could.
Yet one thing she knew. The bond that joined their souls was stronger than the paltry, grasping fist of evil that had tried to crush them. The whispered lies of the One Ring had not parted their hearts. The pain and grief Greta’s lies had caused, had not driven them apart. Their love would emerge triumphant, though all the powers of Morgoth sought to hedge their way.
Evil is not the only power in the world. Good is stronger. The words she had spoken the night before the Fellowship had departed Rivendell came back to her, resounding through the corridors of time with a prophetic echo she had not foreseen.
Lalaith smiled at the memory as Legolas, with a sigh of reluctance, drew his mouth slowly away from her own, though his face hovered near, lightly touching her own as his breath teased softly across her mouth.
“And love is much stronger.” She murmured softly, her words following her thoughts.
“Indeed it is,” Legolas sighed, and by his tone, she knew he understood.
Enfolded within the warmth of his cloak, and safe within the circle of his arms, she sought his eyes through the shadows that lay between them as he gazed down into her face with tender soberness.
“Though all the minions of Morgoth be unleashed,” he vowed softly as a slender smile touched his lips, “the love that binds our souls will never be defeated.”
At this, Lalaith returned his smile before she uttered a soft sigh, and nestled her face against his neck as he bent his head over hers, resting his cheek against the cool fragrance of her hair.