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Into the West

Chapter Text

Elrond always had a weakness for beauty. Like many elves, his eyes were drawn to the stars, to the sea, and to the trees. So when he saw the fair elf leaning against his son-in-law’s knee, he was pulled in by the sheer beauty of this frail creature with long blond hair and eyes bluer than a cloudless day.

“Who is this?” He asked softly, not wanting to frighten such a breath-taking creature.

“Oh, this sweet thing?” Aragorn curled a finger under the elf’s sharp jaw, raising his face to meet Elrond’s full gaze. “He’s a little something from my days as a ranger. Poor thing nearly fell in love with me when my heart already belonged to Arwen.” Aragorn smirked. “I gave him something to remember me by though. The next time I saw him was at a slave market-- one that we were raiding to end such an evil practice. He was such a perfect slave I ended up keeping him, especially since he remembered me.” Elrond’s eyes widened. This creature was a slave? He had never heard of someone being able to keep an elf like this-- as a thing to be pleasured by.

“How?” How had the elf survived? How was he still here even if not much of him remained?

Aragorn was a man past his prime now, white streaking his hair and beard. “Arwen lets him serve me from time to time, to keep his spirit from fleeing.” He stroked the elf’s blond hair possessively. “His name is all but forgotten as I’m sure his kin are as well. I am all he has.”

“What will become of him when you are no more?”

“He can serve my sons. I’m sure he’ll see enough of me in their faces to be able to do his duty.”

“Where does he hail from?” Elrond was transfixed. He had to be a wood elf, although Elrond could not tell which realm he hailed from-- their coloring was too similar.

“Does he remind you of her?” Aragorn laughed low. Elrond was too stunned by that question to correct his son-in-law at such a breach of propriety. “I will show you why I keep him around. Slave?” Aragorn addressed the thin elf at his feet.

“Master.” The elf’s voice was musical even if he seemed to shrink when he spoke. He never raised his eyes to look at either of them as equals. Everything about him screamed his subservience.

“Bare yourself for my friend here.” Aragorn ordered. “Show him what the Valar blessed you with.” The tall elf stood and let his practically sheer garments fall where they pooled around his bare feet. He looked down at the floor, modest and yet beguiling.

“Blessed indeed.” Elrond said kindly, trying to ignore the feelings stirred up within him. It had been some time since he had seen an elf as fair as this one, and for him to expose himself like that… almost willingly... It had also stirred up some lust on Elrond’s part. “I have come to say my goodbyes.” Elrond turned back to the subject at hand. He had allowed the distraction if only to get through this next part. “I am heading to the Undying lands.”

“I will gather the family.” Aragorn rose. “Come, slave.” Naked and unashamed, the slave followed Aragorn into the inner room. Elrond was allowed glimpses of the slave being bound to the bed, open and defenseless for later. Aragorn stepped out of the room. “Come, Elrond.” They walked arm and arm to meet with the family while Elrond tried to forget the slave he had just seen. He would carry that memory of beauty with him to Valinor, the wonder and the lust mixed with regret for such a caged elf. Elves did not belong in captivity, even if it was to his son-in-law. Such a beautiful thing belonged with all the other wild, natural elements. It did not matter. Elrond had understood the possessive look that had crossed Aragorn’s face when he had asked about the slave’s fate. Aragorn did not want to let the slave come with Elrond and Elrond would rather not take him by force.

“Did you show Ada his gift?” Arwen asked Aragorn pointedly, stress and tiredness evident on her still beautiful face. Elrond experienced yet another wave of grief at the thought of his daughter growing old, his daughter dying as the mortal she had chosen to be.

“I did not tell him it was his gift.” Aragorn’s lip curled up. “Not yet. But I think he was intrigued to say the least.”

“The slave is yours, Ada, to take with you to Valinor. He needs to go with you to Valinor.” Arwen filled in the details with a sigh that was directed to her husband. “This world has not been kind to him-- he needs time and healing and the Undying lands can give him that.” Elrond was not sure even Valinor could fix such a state. The elf had been like a wraith, unbound, adrift, with nothing but Aragorn to keep him in one place. And Aragorn had answered by using him and showing him off. No, Elrond thought the elf would need his family, friends even, to come back from such things. And even then… even then he had his doubts. But Elrond did not say any of this out loud. No, he kept such thoughts private.

“I have no need for a slave.” Elrond responded wearily.

“No, but he needs you.” Arwen looked at him meaningfully. “He needs healing.” As she had just stated in her previous plea. Elrond was glad she did not look on the elf slave with spite even though it was clear he had shared Aragorn’s bed. Speaking of Aragorn, he cleared his throat before joining in the conversation.

“He’s fine.” Aragorn said somewhat forcefully.

“He hasn’t been fine ever since he became a caged thing!” Arwen said even more forcefully. “Please, Ada. I know you would rather it be more or the twins you were taking with you, but please save him, if you can. At least, help him find his family-- his sense of self.”

“I will try.” Elrond consented. “But I cannot take him as a slave.”

“A traveling companion then.” Arwen amended. “However, he will see himself as a slave-- he will see himself as a slave for a long time, Ada. He’s broken.”

“He’s fine.” Aragorn grumbled, pulling his pipe out and clenching it between his teeth. “But I do agree that Valinor would be good for him. He is… fragile at best.” He admitted. “We also didn’t want you traveling alone.” Arwen nodded her agreement. Elrond softened at the odd display of caring. “We know how hard this is for you. And we’re so grateful that you even gave us a chance. You gave us our happy ending, Elrond, and we hope that you find yours.” Arwen smiled softly.

“You’ll be back with Mom.” Arwen added. Elrond tensed, recalling how they had separated. He wasn’t all that sure he’d be welcomed back into Celebrian’s arms, but he hoped they could at least find some friendship between them after all these years. Perhaps, with time, he could find friendship with the elf he had just acquired.

“It is a journey I am looking forward to.” Elrond answered diplomatically despite himself, not missing how wounded that made his daughter look. “Thank you both. I will miss you and your family very much.” He sighed. “I am just very tired.”

“We understand.” Arwen softened before she called her children over to say farewell to their grandfather. “Are you going to see the twins?”

“If I can find them.” Elrond had to smile at that, holding his grandchildren close. He wished he could save this moment forever. He would remember it forever. “No, we are meeting up in Imladris before I head to the ships.”

“We wish you safe travels and know that our love, well, even really just us, will live forever with you in your heart.” Arwen stumbled over her words, emotion clouding her voice. “I will miss you, Ada.” Her voice cracked and Elrond rose to draw her into his arms.

“And I you, forever, my precious daughter.” She nodded, tears filling up her eyes. “I love you.”

“I love you.” She responded.

“Well, I should be on my way.”

“It’s night.” Aragorn looked out the window. “Stay the night, Elrond, and you and the slave can leave at first light.”

“Does he really not have a name?” Elrond asked, his brow wrinkling. The slave was an elf-- there had to be someone who knew who he was and where he came from.

“Not that he’s told me.” Aragorn was tight-lipped.

“I have not heard any title or name either.” Arwen added. Elrond believed her, but he did not believe Aragorn. Aragorn had known the elf before he became a slave. He knew more than he was telling and Elrond meant to find out.

So the next morning, he pulled his son-in-law to the side.

“You do not have to tell Arwen, but I know you know where he at least is from.” Aragorn sighed.

“He is from Mirkwood, Elrond, but that’s all I have for you. His kin have turned inwards and will want nothing to do with him if any remain.”

“Did you even try?” Aragorn had to laugh at that.

“No. Have you seen him? He was so compliant, so willing, so easy to maneuver-- I had to keep him.” Elrond could not hide his disappointment-- he didn’t want to. “I’ve been a good husband to your daughter, Elrond.” Aragorn frowned. “He just has an ability to take the edge off. You’ll know what I mean soon enough. I saw how you looked at him. I bet it’s not even seven days before you take him for your own.” He gave an ugly laugh at that. “And with time, he won’t even remember that he ever served me.”

“We will take our leave now.” Elrond had already said goodbye to Arwen and his grandchildren.

“I’m done with him.” Aragorn said smugly. “Slave!” He barked. The thin, willowy elf emerged from the king’s bedchamber, clad in ill-fitting traveling clothes. He had the beginning of a large bruise forming on the side of his face, something that concerned Elrond.

“What happened to his face?” Elrond asked.

“He fell.” Aragorn shrugged. “Safe travels.”

“Thank you.” Elrond said in a clipped tone. He turned to the slave, unsure how to proceed.

“Slave, this is your new master, Elrond. Make him happy.” The elf turned, his shock and hurt clear on his beautiful features. “I’m done with you. Now get out of here.” The slave turned to Elrond who held out a hand.

“Come with me.” He said as kindly as he could. The elf eyed his hand as if it was a viper before he took it in his long fingers. Every part of him echoed beauty and grace, even as damaged as this. “We’re going home.”

Chapter Text

Elrond and his companion traveled slowly, even with the second horse Arwen gave to them. The other elf was silent. He obeyed if Elrond gave him an order, but he did not offer up his voice. Elrond didn’t need to be a healer to know the other elf was suffering. His parting with Aragorn had indeed affected him and not for the better.

They would start with a name, even if it wasn’t his name. It was better than what Aragorn called him, always referring to him by his lowly position. This elf wasn’t a slave any longer and it was time he knew that. Elrond would start with a name. His mind wandered back to spring when the swallows would make their nests. Spring had always been a time of new beginnings, even as he was going through an ending of sorts, his new companion was starting over.

“Tuilinn.” Elrond named him when they sat at the campfire that night, eating a light meal. The other elf raised his head, recognizing he had been named. “That is what I will call you until we can recover your name. I will not call you a slave because you are not my slave. I am merely your guide and perhaps someday, I can even be called a friend.” An elegant nod although Tuilinn’s blue eyes were dull and hooded. “I am sorry for whatever harm my son-in-law, Aragorn, caused you.”

“Strider.” A small correction. A hint of thought. A glimpse inside a mind that was likely fractured. It was one word, a name, but at least it was something other than silence. Elrond wondered if the elf was stuck in a time long gone. Aragorn had not been a Ranger for several decades, past a century and then some. That was not much time for an elf, but if the elf had been taken and forced into slavery soon after his time with ‘Strider,’ the days would have passed much slower for him. Elrond had glimpsed some of the old scars the other day, but he knew very little other than that. He hoped others had not dared to use the elf in the manner his son-in-law had.

“I am sorry for what harm Strider caused you.” Elrond frowned. “It was him who struck your face.” Clear hesitation before Tuilinn nodded. “I can make a poultice once we are further away from Minas Tirith. It will be easier to find what I need in the country.” He paused, noting how Tuilinn cocked his head, very much like the bird he was named for. Elrond hurried to explain while he had some spark of the other elf’s attention. “The poultice will help with the swelling and the bruising.” Another quick nod-- Tuillin was not much of a conversationalist. Elrond didn’t mind. He was used to being on his own and a quiet companion was better than one who never shut up. Elrond turned to his books, reading by campfire, until he noticed Tuilinn had fallen asleep leaning against the large log at his back.

The other elf was exhausted, sleeping as men were inclined to. Elrond saw what easy prey he must have made, unsure what to do with the surge of protectiveness that welled up in him. Tuilinn would not come to harm with him, no matter what filth Aragorn thought of him forcing himself on this weaker elf. Elrond would not take advantage of another, especially one in such a vulnerable state as this.

This elf did not trust him, although he tolerated his presence. Elrond watched him sleep, bathed in firelight, wondering what the hell had happened to this lost, frail elf. Elrond saw how he shivered and rose, unclasping his own cloak and covering Tuilinn with it. Elrond would be patient. He would be his friend even if the sentiment was never returned. Tuilinn would be safe with him. He would be well taken care of. And when he was reunited with his loved ones, he would not be such a shadow of the proud elf he must have been once.

Elrond stayed on guard throughout the night. Once the light stretched over the mountains, he gently woke up his companion who woke up about as violently as Elrond expected. His eyes glazed slightly when he saw it was Elrond and a look of sadness crossed his face. “You deserve better than how Strider treated you.” Elrond said gruffly, not liking how heavily the sadness rested on his companion’s shoulders. “He is in your past now, you would do better to leave him there.” Tuilinn stiffened under his touch, turning away sharply. “Whatever was good between the two of you, it wilted and rotted into something foul.” Tuilinn glared for all of a second before he forced his gaze back down on the ground with an unhappy sigh. “He did not treat you right.” Elrond touched the bruised part of Tuilinn’s face gently. “He is my family and still, he did not treat you right.”

“How?” A glimmer of curiosity beneath that miserable defiance.

“How is he family?” A barely there nod.

“Well, my daughter, Arwen, is his wife.” Tuilinn was up on his feet, wrenching away from Elrond’s touch. He glanced back before he started running back in the direction from where they had just come the day before.

“Fuck.” Elrond was already on his own horse, running the elf down. It didn’t take long, nor did the elf try to fight him when Elrond hauled him up, across his lap. Silent tears streamed down Tuilinn’s face, but Elrond couldn’t help but notice even his sorrow could not make him any less beautiful. “As hard as it is to understand now,” Elrond tried to comfort him, keeping his touch brief and professional. “You are better off with me.”

They stopped back at their campsite to retrieve their belongings and the other horse. This time, the elf rode with Elrond, sitting in front of him so Elrond could keep a proper eye on him. He did not trust his companion to resist from fleeing again and his companion was clear on how much he distrusted the elf sitting at his back even though Elrond made their position as chaste as it could possibly be. Elrond sighed once, just once, since Tuilinn seemed to feel it in every part of his body, curling up to make himself as small as possible. Elrond did not mean to scare him-- it was just-- this whole undertaking was starting to seem impossible. He did want to help Tuilinn, but this was supposed to be Elrond’s journey home. He was supposed to be leaving for more rest-- not more grief or strife.

But Elrond knew in his heart he would have not been able to leave the elf there in Minas Tirith where he would have rotted between wood and stone. He would have gone back for him even if his family had not made him a gift. Elrond had been blessed and cursed with the heart of a healer and Arwen was right-- this elf did need him, even if he wanted absolutely nothing to do with him. It would be fine. They’d make it back to Imladris, rest for a few days and visit with the twins, before making their way to the Undying Lands. There Elrond could rest and Tuilinn could heal wherever the fuck he wanted. There he could be as far away from Elrond as he wanted to be. However, Elrond wouldn’t trust him to try to swim back if it meant getting back to Aragorn. The sooner that bond was severed the better. Aragorn had done poorly by this elf and Elrond would leave him to Arwen to suffer for it. “You are safe with me.” Elrond informed Tuilinn when they stopped to water the horses around midday. “I’m not going to treat you like Strider did. You’re free.” Even though Elrond wouldn’t let him go. Even though Elrond would not let him do whatever it was he wished. “You will be able to act on your freedoms once we reach Valinor. There you will be even safer from whoever did this to you.” Elrond gestured to his waifish frame. “You’ll heal.”

Tuilinn did not think his speech warranted an answer, going with the horses to drink from the creek. Elrond glanced over at his still full waterskin that hung from his horse. Tuilinn wasn’t ready for freedom-- he barely knew how to care for himself. He probably hadn’t been allowed to do so for at least a century. And while that was just a blink of an eye for a free elf, Tuillin had become something much less.

Tuillin stripped off his clothes and waded into the water, washing up quickly. Elrond frowned as he realized that Aragorn had made use of Tuilinn before they left and then had left him to ride in that condition afterwards. Elrond’s stomach turned and he looked away, just as Tuilinn glanced up at him. He missed the heavy sigh from the other elf as he saw to their horses, making sure everything was in place, before Tuilinn finished up and pulled his traveling clothes back on as if nothing had even happened. “Your hair is wet.” Elrond observed as he handed Tuilinn some lunch. “It’s okay.” He frowned as Tuilinn shrank back as if expecting a punishment. “I for one appreciate good hygiene. You won’t be punished for keeping clean.”

Tuilinn nodded, eating quickly, making sure he was ready to get back to the road before Elrond was. Elrond merely raised an eyebrow, unsure as to what had changed between this morning to now, but knowing as a healer that he probably didn’t know want to know. “Mae govannen.” Elrond murmured, not missing the expression that crossed the elf’s face at his use of Elvish. He nodded affirmingly as Tuilinn pulled himself up on his own horse this time. “You’re not going to run on me this time?”

“No.” It was softly spoken but it was firm. It was an answer.

“Why?” Elrond pushed his luck, unable to fully deny his more curious nature.

“Because…” Tuilinn paused. “You are my master now.”



Chapter Text

The ride home-- because Imladris would always be home to Elrond-- was less eventful after that ominous announcement. Tuilinn had accepted Elrond as his new master and no amount of Elrond explaining that wasn’t quite the case had yet to change the blond elf’s mind. Elrond couldn’t deny that it made traveling easier with Tuilinn easier. Tuilinn found lots of ways to make himself useful while they were on the road. Thankfully, he didn’t try to make himself of use to Elrond as he had been used by Aragorn.

Elrond knew that conversation was coming, but thankfully, it hadn’t happened yet. Elrond found the other elf beautiful, but he also knew that Tuilinn was not in a place where his consent could be considered legitimate. Elrond would not take advantage of him. And Tuilinn found much better ways to help out than offer the use of his body anyway.

Elrond’s waterskin was always filled when they found clean water. Elrond and Tuilinn’s horses were dutifully taken care of in the mornings and at night. (Elrond noted that the former slave knew how to take excellent care of horses and that both horses were incredibly fond of him). Elrond’s bedroll was made ready at night and packed up in the morning light. And Tuilinn accepted any command Elrond gave him, even if they were just instructions to take care of himself, like eating, drinking, and relieving himself. Tuilinn kept himself scrubbed clean whenever they had a chance to bathe, but Elrond was starting to suspect that was more for his benefit then the former slave’s.

Elrond was still not sleeping much. He preferred to keep watch. Tuilinn slept like a mortal, but with such rest, the bags under his blue eyes were fading with each night. They were about a two days ride from Imladris and Elrond was looking forward to taking care of the other elf in the safety of his refuge. Imladris was always good for the heart. Once Tuilinn was more himself-- they would head to the Grey Havens. Elrond did not want him to have to meet his friends and family who had sailed in his current condition. It would break his loved ones’ hearts. Valinor was no shore for broken hearts, only healed hopes.

“We will be in my home in two days time.” Elrond informed his still mostly silent companion. “I hope it brings you peace.” He glanced over his shoulder to see a wistful expression cross Tuilinn’s face. Elrond didn’t comment on it, not wanting to make the other elf self-conscious. He just wondered what thought had crossed Tuilinn’s mind. “It’s not heavily forested, but there are trees and flowers and then, of course, the waterfalls.” Tuillin opened his mouth as if to speak, but then he closed his mouth with an audible click, just nodding his head in response. He glanced down the path behind them nervously, shifting in his saddle. “What is it?” Elrond asked.

“Someone’s coming.” Tuilinn answered softly.

“Thank you.” Elrond caught his eye for the briefest second. “I will go see who it is.” Tuilinn’s eyes widened in alarm and he urged his horse to follow Elrond’s horse. He was loyal. Elrond would give him that as he rode over with Elrond to the crest of the hill to see who was coming up the path. There wasn’t much to fear in their world other than the odd wild creature, but since trolls were nearly extinct now, the main thing travelers had to fear was the greed of Men. Elrond knew of the vicious but almost hidden slave trade. He had tried to fight it, and while he eradicated parts of it, slavery had thrived. This wasn’t the Elves’ battle to fight-- it was Man’s since they had brought it into the world. “It’s my sons.” Elrond let out a breath of relief when he saw the riders coming hard and fast. “Not slavers.” Tuilinn did not seem to find that announcement as freeing as Elrond did even though he made sure to stay close to his master as they waited for the twins to meet them at the top of the hill. “Greetings!” Elrond called out cheerfully. He had hoped the twins would come and now here they were.

“Ada!” The twins had spurred their horses up the hill and had dismounted, hurrying over to see him. “We are glad to have caught you!” Elrond dismounted, handing his horse’s reins to Tuilinn if only to give the nervous elf something to focus on.

“My sons!” Elrond embraced Elladan and then Elrohir. “It does my heart good to see you before I go.”

“We were hoping to stay with you before you leave.” Elrohir said. He peered around his father’s shoulder, sizing the quiet elf who did not look at them or speak to them.

“I will be staying longer than expected, but I am happy to have you both as well as my new companion here.” Elrond glanced over his shoulder, gauging Tuilinn’s reaction. “This is Tuilinn. Arwen asked him to accompany me into the West.” Tuilinn looked up quickly, eyes darting over to Elrond before he looked back down. Elrond saw the slight frown, but didn’t call attention to it. Tuilinn knew he lied and Tuilinn hadn’t liked that Elrond lied.. Elrond was curious. Despite himself, he found the other elf interesting as much as he found him beautiful. There was still a free person inside of Tuilinn and Elrond would do his best to help him recover.

“Nice to meet you.” Elladan and Elrohir were both looking at Tuilinn, sizing him up. Was that a flicker of recognition in their eyes? They had always loved going off with the Rangers and had spent quite some time with Aragorn and his companions. Perhaps they could help Elrond discover Tuilinn’s true identity. Perhaps they could recall more information about this lost Mirkwood elf that thought of Elrond as his master. It was a shot in the dark, but it was all Elrond had. He would give this idea a chance when they were safe in the valley. He would talk to his sons and hope that they somehow knew more about Tuilinn than Aragorn did.

“Tuilinn,” Elrond addressed him next, “these are my sons, Elladan and Elrohir. They are Lady Arwen’s brothers.” Elrond made sure to distinguish the two from each other. Elrond’s sons grinned as Tuilinn managed a quick nod, unable to look either of them in the eyes. “He is a private elf.” Elrond said quietly to his sons. “Please do not overwhelm him.” He would not get into Tuilinn’s private matters with his sons, but he would ask that they watched themselves around him. Tuilinn was skittish even with Elrond-- he looked downright terrified even now as Elrond glanced over at him again.

“Do not worry, father.” Elladan answered with a twinkle in his gray eyes. “We will take good care of him.”

“Thank you.” Elrond murmured, missing the look Elrohir and Elladan exchanged once his back was turned. Elrond headed back to his horse before looking to take the reins from Tuilinn’s tight fingers. The blond elf’s knuckles were white as Elrond eased the reins out. “Are you all right, Tuilinn?” He asked in a low voice. Tuilinn flinched, staring at Elrond’s hand that now covered his own.

“My name isn’t Tuilinn.” Elrond didn’t have time to hide his surprise. It was the most the blond elf had said to him and about such a sensitive subject too.

“I know.” Elrond responded gently. “It’s a name I gave you to try to protect your dignity. You are not my slave and I would never refer to you as such.” Tuilinn let out a shuddering breath that hinted just how deeply troubled he was.

“Aragorn knew my name.” A flicker of anger crossed the blond’s face as he struggled to calm down. “And yet he called me slave.” Great sadness marred his face for a moment until he managed to mask it once again.

“I’m sorry.” Elrond squeezed Tuilinn’s hand. “I will continue to refer to you as Tuilinn until you decide to share your name with me.”

“Tuilinn is fine. I do not deserve my old name.” Tuilinn turned away sharply. Elrond looked back to see the twins watching them attentively.

“Is everything all right?” Elladan called out almost lazily. “Are you two ready to continue back to Imladris?”

“We will be ready in a minute.” Elrond answered sternly, using a tone Tuilinn had never heard before. “Go scout ahead. We will come along when we are ready.” Elrond was going to have to set some boundaries with his sons-- at least let them know that Tuilinn was one of his patients. The twins nodded, wheeling their horses around before cantering off towards Rivendell. Elrond checked on Tuilinn but he was far away in his mind and Elrond decided to leave him alone for now. Tuilinn's mind was protecting him-- Elrond would not interfere with that. The Elf lord mounted his horse and together, he and Tuilinn continued their journey to the beautiful, hidden valley of Imladris.

Chapter Text

Two days later, the four riders entered the first courtyard of Imladris. Elrond let out a sigh of relief at being back home. The valley welcomed him warmly, pulling him into its embrace. He was home. 

“Welcome to my home.” Elrond turned to Tuilinn with a warm smile. “You will be safe here.” Many of Rivendell’s inhabitants had already sailed. The few that remained in the valley would not bother Tuilinn. Most of them were also preparing to travel to the Gray Havens. It was Elrond’s hope that they would all travel together. It might be good for Tuilinn to connect with more elves.

“Thank you.” Tuillinn ducked his head down. He peeked out from under his lashes, taking in the beauty of the valley. “Your home is beautiful.” It was polite, but sincere. Elrond would take him on a tour once they were more settled. He had a feeling that Tuilinn would appreciate being in such natural beauty. It might bring him some more peace. It might bring him back to himself.

“Thank you.” Elrond couldn’t deny himself another smile as he looked around Imladris. Every part of his body sang that he was home-- and while Valinor would be his new home soon-- he would miss this refuge that he had carved out here in Middle-Earth. “While I had little to do with its natural beauty, I am very proud of it.” Elladan snickered at something while he and Elrohir handed off their horses to the waiting grooms. Elrond did not hear what they said but he did not miss how Tuilinn slid off his horse and shrank into the gentle creature’s shadow.

“Tuilinn is my guest and my patient.” Elrond said snappishly. “I expect you both to treat him as such.” The twins reared up their heads, both their faces identical in genuine surprise.

“Of course, Ada.” Elrohir answered meekly for he was the one who made the comment Elladan had been laughing at.

“Like I said, we will take care of him.” Elladan added on, waggling his eyebrows over at the shy elf who refused to look at either of them.

“That is my concern-- not yours.” Elrond laid down a firm boundary. “Leave Tuilinn alone.”

“Fine.” Elladan sighed, but his smirk had not left his handsome face. “We will not seek him out or try to include him in anything. Happy?” Elrond narrowed his eyes at his sons. He knew when they were playing him for the fool. He would get to the bottom of this, however, keeping Tuilinn safe and at ease came as a first priority.

“Ignore my sons.” Elrond advised Tuilinn, guiding him inside. “Let me show you where your room will be.”

“Do you think Ada knows?” Elrohir asked. “It’s always been clear what Aragorn used Legolas for.” He wistfully gazed at the entrance the other elf had gone through.

“I think Ada has an idea.” Elladan mused. “But I do not think he approves. He thinks Legolas can still be saved, I mean, Tuilinn.” He glanced meaningfully at the grooms leaving with all their horses.

“I wish Aragorn had given him to us.” Elrohir did not hide his longing. “One taste was not enough.”

“We will have another taste.” Elladan promised. “Soon. Tuilinn will not pass up a chance to please his master’s sons, especially since Ada is more of the celibate type at this point. He hasn’t taken on any new lovers since Naneth and I don’t expect him to make an exception for a used up elvish whore.”

“Elladan-- what happened to Legolas was not his fault.” Elrohir cautioned. “I do not want to scare him or force him. I just want to be able to touch him again. He felt so good the last time.”

“Aye, he did.” Elladan agreed. “Leave it to me, Elrohir. I’ll make sure he comes to us. Ada will not begrudge him our company then.”

“All right, thank you, Elladan.” Elrohir spared one more last look to see if Tuilinn had reappeared. “I will enjoy my time with him much more this time around.”

“Only if you share him, brother.” Elladan snorted. “He has two holes, same as last time.”

“Aye.” Elrohir nodded. “I’d be okay with that. He looks the prettiest when he’s all filled up.” Elladan smirked at just how filthy his younger brother and twin could be. “Don’t let Ada find out. He will be very angry.” Elrohir said thoughtfully. “I do not want to part from him with ill will between us.”

“Legolas is a whore.” Elladan reminded Elrohir. “We are merely giving him something to do.”

A few days passed with Elladan making sure to say a couple suggestive comments a day to Tuilinn, very discreetly of course. He more than implied that it would please Elrond if Tuilinn would make himself of use to his sons since Elrond had no such use for a slut such as Legolas. It was the fourth afternoon when the twins were in their shared rooms when a timid knock came on the door.

“You came.” Elladan smiled, opening the door up for the shy blond. “No need for clothes with us, Legolas.” Tuilinn’s true name was hissed, more of a threat than a comfort, and so Tuilinn, nay, Legolas complied quickly, stripping as Elladan closed the door and locked it. “We missed you. I’m sure your talents have been all but wasted with Aragorn getting up there in years.”

“He has stamina still.” Legolas replied demurely, eyes trained on the floor.

“Elrohir.” Elladan called out. “Your prize is here.” He reached over and yanked Legolas into his own body. “Kiss me, Mirkwood whore.” Legolas flinched, leaning in and pecking Elladan on the lips. He did not want this, but he wanted to please Elrond somehow. This seemed like the best way. He would do whatever his master wanted. Elrond was kind but aloof. He guarded over Legolas but he did not trust the whore with his body. It was all very confusing and Legolas wanted it all to be put to right.

“I am only here to please my master.” Legolas said, wincing as his arm was bent behind his back, forcing him to arch his back.

“Then I suggest a little less attitude and a little more pleasing.” Elladan whispered darkly. “On your knees, slut.” He knew where to press on Legolas’ body to cause Legolas to fold up on himself in pain, hitting his knees with enough force to make Elrohir wince.

“Easy, Elladan. I still want to enjoy him once you’ve had your fill.” Elrohir warned. “He hasn’t been with elves for sometime-- I’m not sure he can handle as much as he used to.” Legolas blinked, unable to tell if that was care or an insult.

“I can do my job.”

“Then get to work.” Elladan unlaced his leggings. “You know where to start.” Legolas reached for him but the older twin slapped his hand away hard. “Just your mouth.” Elladan nodded towards his brother. “He’s all yours. I just want his mouth.” Elladan let out an appreciative moan as Legolas took his cock into his mouth, sucking on him gently, taking more of him until Elladan filled his throat. “Still a good cocksucker, I see.” Elladan’s hands where in that blond hair, pulling it up, using it to guide the elf before him on his knees. Elrohir had the oil, opening the blond elf up before pulling Legolas up to his feet. Elrohir lined up and shoved inside, eliciting a grunt from Legolas, vibrations that traveled all around Elladan’s cock. They forced Legolas to bow between them, one at his head and one at his rear, as they took him together, three made into one.

Elrond wandered around Imladris, looking for Tuilinn. He had not seen the other elf since breakfast and while he couldn’t place why-- he felt very disturbed. He needed to find Tuilinn and he needed to find him now.

“Excuse me.” He pulled aside one of the few elves who was left in his household. “Have you seen my guest at all, Tuilinn?”

“The quiet blond?”

“Yes, that’s him.” Elrond let out a breath of relief. “You’ve seen him?” He arched up an eyebrow.

“I saw him go into the twins’ rooms-- he seemed quite intimidated to enter.”

“Thank you.” Elrond frowned, already hurrying off in the direction of his sons’ rooms. The whole thing felt off, odd at best, but also wrong. He never could explain how it felt when a pit grew in his stomach, cool dread sliding down his spine. He had just learned over all the years to listen when his gifts told him something.

By the time the knock came on the door, the twins had already switched positions, Elrohir in Legolas’ mouth and Elladan in his ass. They jerked him back and forth between them, Elladan liberally striking the pale ass that struggled to keep up with the blistering pace they had set. Legolas was gagging on Elrohir’s cock, not that either of them cared. Just like neither of them cared that Legolas’ cock was as flaccid as it had been when they started. A whore’s pleasure was none of their concern.

“What is it?” Elladan called out, not expecting his father to shove the doors open. “Legolas-- keep up.” He struck the blond elf again, relishing the rush of power he had over the blond elf.

“What is the meaning of this?!” Elrond’s voice was cold as he witnessed his sons making a rude sport of his guest. “Unhand Tuilinn right now.” Elrohir had already pulled free, grabbing his nearby robe and tying it shut. Elladan narrowed his eyes, shoving into Legolas a few more times until his second release filled the blond’s loosened channel.

“Father, allow me to introduce you to your guest.” Elladan challenged. “This is all he’s good for, Aragorn’s whore from Mirkwood.”

“Aragorn rescued him from slavers.” Elrond pulled Tuilinn towards him. “Put your clothes back on.” Elrond ordered, shutting the doors in order to try to keep this a private matter. Tuilinn hurried to obey, his cheeks red with shame, silent tears streaming down his face. He knew now that he had been tricked. Elrond had not ordered him to please his sons and now he had displeased his master even more.

“Aragorn is the one who made him a slave.” Elladan laughed outright. “Aragorn made the slavers’ elixir for the first time that night and forced it down your Tuilinn’s throat. Then he fucked him in his tent to see if he had finally gotten the mixture right.”

“He shared him with us the next morning when we realized he had not faded-- the elixer had worked.”

“Aragorn created that damned elixer?” Elrond’s heart broke even more. “The one that prevents elves from fading if they are violated?” Elrond’s voice cracked. “And he tested it on Tuilinn?”

“Formerly known as Legolas, prince of Mirkwood.” Elladan smirked. Tuilinn let out a soft sob, turning and bolting from the rooms, mortified beyond belief that his identity had been laid bare. The twins’ story was not how he remembered it, but he knew in his heart that they spoke the truth. Aragorn had always been forceful with Legolas despite the false story of how he had ‘saved’ him. Aragorn had not saved him. He had damned him to the most miserable existence. Legolas ran to the nearest edge, sobbing into the wind and mist. He would that he had the bravery to launch himself into the waterfall, but he could not. Legolas still needed to face his new master who would be most disappointed in him.

“Come.” Legolas jumped at Elrond’s hand on his shoulder. “Let’s get you cleaned up. Are you hurt?”

“My pride.” Legolas swallowed hard. “I am who and what they say I am.” He peeked up with tearful eyes. “I accept whatever punishment you see fit.”

“What do you want me to call you?” Elrond asked, surprising him. “Now that I know your name, I do not know if it would be crueller or kinder to keep on calling you Tuilinn.”

“You can call me whatever you wish.” Legolas hung his head low. He wondered how Elrond preferred to carry out punishments. Did he prefer the whip or did he prefer imprisonment? Would he shut Legolas up away from light and fresh air like Aragorn did or would he come up with something new entirely?

“Be at peace, Legolas.” Elrond counseled him. “As far as any punishments go, we will start with a bath. I am sorry on behalf of my sons’ actions. I gave no such order for you to have to endure that.”

“They said I was to please them since I cannot please you.” Legolas closed his eyes as he revealed his greatest shame.

“We will discuss this after the bath, Legolas.” Elrond’s hand was on his elbow, guiding him towards Elrond’s rooms. “I do not want you to suffer any more harm today.”



Chapter Text

A hot, steaming bath was waiting once they arrived back in Lord Elrond’s rooms. Elrond guided him to the bathing chamber, alight with golden sun. Legolas trembled when Elrond turned to look at him, sweeping appraising eyes over him.

“I will give you privacy to get into the bath.” Elrond decided, leaving him standing there alone. Legolas faced the bath, waiting until the door to Elrond’s inner chamber closed. He ignored how his fingers shook as he stripped for the second time again. His tears were still close, so very close, but he did not want Elrond to hear him crying yet again. Legolas couldn’t help it-- his soul had been scraped utterly raw by the events of the day. He hurried to get into the bath, ducking his entire body under the hot water. He dipped his face under, screaming into the peaceful water that taunted him. Legolas didn’t remember what peace felt like. He had been constantly on edge for over a hundred years. That had left him a nervous wreck, nothing like the mature, graceful elf he was supposed to have been.

If only he had never approached the Ranger camp that night! The tears came, blending seamlessly in with the bathwater as he wept underwater. Legolas couldn’t hold in his anguish anymore, but it somehow all felt worse when he surfaced to find Elrond watching him with a troubled expression on his face.

“I’m sorry.” Legolas whispered, his face crumpling at the sight of the Elf-lord.

“I am not angry with you.” Elrond sat down on the other end of the room. Legolas wondered why he was giving him privacy when Elrond had just seen him taking his sons at the same time. There wasn’t any dignity left in Legolas. There wasn’t any pride left in him either. For his master to see him in such a shameful position, one he had been tricked into, just like he had been tricked and captured by Aragorn all those years ago. Legolas was so ashamed. As one of the Eldar-- he was supposed to be wiser than this. “I am angry with my sons. I am sorry if my anger seemed directed at you.”

“That is what you are worried about?” Legolas asked softly but no less incredulously.

“Yes.” Elrond looked at him, really looked at him, with wide eyes. Legolas didn’t have time to look away, meeting the Elf-lord’s gaze and then wishing he hadn’t. It felt as if Elrond had seen all of him in one look, leaving him empty and naked before him.

“I just wanted to please you.” Legolas managed, struggling to keep his tears at bay. “They said it would please you.”

“You already please me.” Elrond frowned.

“Not like that.” Legolas stressed and Elrond sighed, understanding at last.

“I have no need for such a relationship between us, Legolas.” He said as gently as he could. “I have not taken on any lovers since my wife sailed into the West.”

“And you are sailing to be reunited with her soon.” Legolas was also understanding.

“Yes.” Elrond nodded. It wasn’t the most correct assumption, but it certainly helped to nudge their relationship into healthier waters. He did not want Legolas to take the rejection personally, especially since he had captivated Elrond with just one look when they first met. Elrond had sworn to never take on anyone else that he might fail the way he had failed Celebrian. And while it would be good to see her in Valinor, he also knew any physical relationship they had once had sailed with her, never to be recovered.

“Okay.” Legolas processed that. “So you want me to just keep being helpful when I can and that’s all you want from me?” He looked surprised but then again, as Elrond had found out, his past master had wanted far too much from him. Elrond was disappointed in Aragorn-- disappointed in himself for letting that be the man his daughter had given her life too. Sadness crossed his face and he looked away in fear that Tuilinn-- Legolas-- would take that on as well.

“Yes.” Elrond nodded his head. “I wouldn’t mind if you accompanied me into the West?”

“You’re asking me.”

“I am not looking to imprison you or forever bind you to me. I would see you free, Legolas.”

“Freedom did not suit me, my lord.” It was Legolas’ turn to look away. “I squandered it away and lost it on my own accord. I will stay by your side, even into the West.”

 

“Thank you.” Elrond murmured. “Wash up. When you are done, wrap yourself up in the towels provided and come find me in my office.”

“Yes, master.” Legolas dared to use that title, finding safety in calling Elrond that. Elrond stiffened, correcting him gently.

“Lord Elrond is fine.” They would work on that. Elrond rose from his chair and headed towards his office where he prepared a special oil to use on any wounds Legolas might have. His sons had not been too kind with how they used him. Elrond was not looking forward to meeting with his sons again. He would not have this be their good-bye before he sailed, but he also would not stand by while they abused someone. Legolas had no concept of consent, not anymore. Elladan and Elrohir had taken advantage of Legolas and not for the first time. The disappointment was more than he cared to bear. It hurt too much, so Elrond distracted himself with taking care of Legolas. Had he not been distracting himself for years and years ever since Celebrian sailed?

“Lord Elrond.” Legolas said softly to himself. Lord Elrond was kind, had named him after a bird that loved to fly. He had wondered as to why Lord Elrond went to the trouble of naming him when he answered to all the unsavory names he was usually given, but perhaps it was just how the Elf-lord was. Aragorn had been so sure Elrond would use Legolas like the rest of them had and now that Legolas knew why, he didn’t have to feel so ashamed about it. He certainly would not allow himself to be manipulated again because of it. Legolas knew his place with Lord Elrond and he was grateful for that. He was grateful for Elrond’s kindness.

The sun was starting to set when Legolas finished washing up, making sure to be very thorough. He had an idea of why his master wanted to see him in his office, so he was very obedient to the instructions Lord Elrond had left him with. He dried himself carefully before wrapping the towel around his thin frame. “Lord Elrond?” He followed the glow of light into a second room, past the large bed, and into the third room tucked away. Elrond’s office was cozy, especially with the glow of candles. He had rows of books lining the back wall, a comfortable chair to the side with a soft throw blanket. Legolas ran his fingers over it, forgetting to ask for permission. There were windows to let in the light, but they were high up and hard to reach. There was no other entrance other than the one through Elrond’s bedroom.

“Ah.” Elrond started as if from a dream. “Legolas.” He smiled tentatively at the blond elf. “How are you feeling?” It was an innocent question but not one with an easy answer. “Be as honest as you can be. I am a healer first and foremost, but I cannot help the hurts I do not know about.” Legolas wasn’t sure how to answer that-- but decided to try to be brave. Elrond was kind. He would be fair in his punishments-- Legolas knew that now. He took in a steadying breath, pulling his hand from the comfort of the throw blanket.

“Emotionally or physically, my lord?”

“Both.” Elrond did not hesitate nor did the welcome in his eyes flee. Instead, the great Elf-lord leaned forward in his chair and gestured to the chair Legolas had stopped by.

“I dare not.” Legolas refused as delicately as he could. “I am bleeding, my lord.”

“Ah.” Elrond sighed, but Legolas sensed now that the disappointment was not with him. Elrond got up from his chair and stepped over to a blank wall, fiddling with a secret panel of levers until a small bed lowered from the wall. “May I?” Legolas laid down on his belly, cursing the blood rushing to his face. He didn’t want Elrond to think he was trying to start anything. “Be at peace.” Elrond noticed his discomfort. “Think of me as a healer first and a friend second. Nothing more, Legolas.” Legolas closed his eyes, still unused to the sound of his name. If anyone in Gondor had known he was a prince-- Aragorn would have lost him a long time ago. And now he was with Elrond, and Elrond knew, and yet Elrond had not asked him about his family or mocked him about his lineage. “This will be quick.” Elrond lifted the towel carefully, telling Legolas everything he was doing as he did it. Legolas tuned him out and let his thoughts drift back to Mirkwood and his family-- it had been the first time in a long time he had felt safe enough to do so.

Legolas missed his family. He wanted to know what had happened to them, but he did not want them to know what had happened to him. The shame was too great. His father’s heart would be broken on his account-- broken because Thranduil had always tried so hard to protect him. Legolas did not want his father to know it had all been in vain-- that Legolas had gotten himself trapped because he disregarded his father’s council. He was not sure if his father could find it in his heart to forgive him. “All done.” Elrond put the towel back down, covering Legolas back up. Legolas felt the pain almost instantly subside inside. “The bleeding will stop soon, but the pain should be fading now.” Elrond informed him.

“Thank you.” Legolas nodded. “It’s fading now. Thank you.” He added on again.

“You’re welcome.” Elrond reached out and touched his shoulder gently before pulling his hand away. As if he had realized what he was doing. Legolas didn’t mind the touch. Some part of his brain had started to recognize Elrond as safe. Especially since he hadn’t pounced on Legolas in the time frame Aragorn had said he would. Legolas realized he was setting himself up for failure if he already thought Elrond was safe after only a week and a half with him. Just because he wasn’t like the twins and Aragorn did not mean he was safe. “You are shivering, are you all right?” Legolas nodded, not trusting his voice as he sat up, holding the towel close. Elrond frowned, hurrying over into the other room and pulling out a warm robe from his own wardrobe. He draped it over Legolas’ shoulders, pulling it closed in the front. “Let’s get you back to your rooms.”

“No.” Legolas couldn’t explain the spike of fear. He did not want to be in a room alone where the twins could find him. He couldn’t refuse them even if he knew Elrond did not want them to use him in the way they just had. Legolas did not have that strength, not yet. “I-- please.” He glanced around. “Can I stay in here?” Elrond’s expression softened and he nodded.

“I will go get you a cot.” Elrond pushed the bed back up into the wall. “You can use the blanket.” Elrond nodded towards the chair. “Make yourself at home, Legolas.” Elrond offered that tentative smile. “You will be safe here.” A shadow crossed Elrond’s face. “You should have been safe this whole time-- I’m sorry.” Elrond hurried from the room before Legolas could say anything. Legolas placed the towel down on the chair, curling up on top of it. He was asleep by the time Elrond returned with a cot and extra blankets.

Elrond let Legolas sleep while he got the cot ready. Sleep could heal what he could not. And then he gently moved the other elf before he tucked him in. Legolas didn’t even stir, but still Elrond left a candle burning on the desk in case the blond woke up. Then Elrond retired to his own room, leaving the door between their rooms ajar just in case.

Chapter Text

Elrond finally slept that night. Perhaps it was the knowledge that Legolas was actually safe. Or maybe he was exhausted over what had happened to Legolas and by his sons, no less. Or it was because he hadn’t slept properly in weeks. Whatever the reason, Elrond was sound asleep in no time. However, hours later, he was woken up by a peculiar noise, certainly not a noise he usually heard in his private rooms. Elrond was woken up by snuffling-- someone was upset-- and then he remembered that Legolas was just in his office.

“Is that you, Legolas?” He called out. If it was not Legolas, that would be another matter entirely. Elrond did not enjoy his sleep being disturbed unless it was for something important. Frankly, he hoped it wasn’t his sons. He was not ready to deal with Elrohir and Elladan yet. The grief, anger, and disappointment were still too close, lingering like the growing burn from a fire.

“I’m sorry-- I didn’t mean to wake you.” Elrond let out a relieved breath at Legolas’ voice. The door to the office swung open slowly, Legolas’ long, thin shadow stretching towards him. “I had a nightmare.” Legolas informed his master dutifully, trying to explain why he had accidentally disturbed him. He had tried to keep his tears as silent as possible.

“What do you need?” Elrond sat up. “I can make you some tea.” Legolas slowly shook his head, glancing at Elrond’s bed. Elrond studied him before making his decision. It was risky, but if it brought Legolas some comfort, he would do it. “You may.” He gave his permission. “But just to sleep.”

“You’d allow me on your bed?” Legolas whispered. “But I’m dirty.”

“No, you are not. My sons’ actions bring shame on them, not you, never you. Aragorn included.” Elrond said as passionately as he felt, his voice trembling ever so slightly at the end. “Bring your blankets. I have enough room for the both of us.”

“Thank you, my lord.” Elrond could see how the other elf shivered even from there. “You are too kind.” Legolas returned, his arms piled with blankets. Elrond shifted over, patting the open spot.

“Sleep on top of my blankets and I’ll tuck you in yours.”

“Why?”

“I think it’s best to have a physical boundary between us for now.” Elrond answered carefully. “I am not going to try anything with you. All I want is for you to feel safe and to be able to rest, all right?”

“Yes, my lord.” Legolas murmured. He climbed up into Elrond’s large bed, cautiously as if expecting some trap to be sprung. Elrond made a show of turning over on his side as Legolas laid down as gently as he could.

“I am not a delicate flower.” Elrond said kindly. “Make yourself comfortable. You will not disturb me by moving in the night or breathing.” He added on as a joke. “It would comfort me to know you are still alive and not a corpse.”

“Oh.” Legolas was so still for a moment that Elrond thought he had scared him. And then Legolas relaxed, letting out the smallest of giggles. “You are funny, my lord. I did not expect that.” It was a true compliment, shyly given, but Elrond’s heart soared in that small window of normalcy that recovery truly was possible for his newfound friend. “Thank you for this small comfort even though I know it is awkward for us both.” Legolas said after a few minutes. “My naneth, before she died, would let me lie in bed with her when it was hard for me to settle down. It was my place of comfort.” He sighed and Elrond remembered when the news of the Queen of Mirkwood’s death had reached Imladris. She and Celebrian had been friends in their own way and Celebrian had mourned for her in her own way. “I was dreaming about her before the nightmare, I think.” Legolas was always explaining himself. With time, he would realize that Elrond of all people did not need such explanations.

“Your mother was a fine lady and an even better mother.” Elrond said softly. “Your people loved her.” Legolas started.

“You knew my mother?” He asked almost breathlessly. “My father carried on the tradition, allowing me to come to his bed for when I needed comfort but he found talking about her difficult.” Legolas finished sadly. “My memories of her are fleeting, even for an elf. I was very young when she passed.” Elrond remembered how Thranduil closed his forest, closed his kingdom, and sank deep into his grief. How the queen had been mourned. How much more had Thranduil mourned for his son? Elrond was determined to reunite Legolas with his family for even more reasons now. Thranduil deserved to have Legolas returned to him. Elrond turned on his side towards Legolas, his eyes tracing the handsome silhouette. Elrond did not want this moment to pass quickly. He needed this-- he needed to know that he and Legolas could create a bubble of safety like this, even after what had happened with his sons. His sons that would be dealt with in the morning light. But it was not morning yet and Legolas had come to Elrond for comfort. He would find that Elrond could deliver.

“I only met her a few times and yet each time I was always impressed with her character.” Elrond offered. “Would you like me to tell you about each time?”

“Yes.” Legolas trembled and Elrond made sure to pull his blankets up even higher, going so far to add one of his own. Legolas noticed but said nothing. He wanted to believe Elrond was safe and kind, so he did not challenge him on these things. He needed Elrond to be different from his sons, from Aragorn. Legolas would obey him regardless, but he had been a light these past days, a breath of fresh air after years of cruelty and imprisonment. He had awoken something in Legolas, a shadow of the elf he used to be, starved for crumbs of decency. Elrond was a feast and Legolas did not know what to do, so he assumed the worst. But not now, not with Elrond telling him stories of his naneth until his eyelids drooped.

Legolas could almost swear that fingers stroked through his hair just once, but at that point he had given himself over to sleep. Elrond had not taken much longer, calmed and comforted by the feeling of a body sleeping next to his. They both found peace in the remnants of a night once disturbed. They both found rest in each other being close, not that either of them commented on it in the morning’s light. They went their separate ways-- Legolas to breakfast and Elrond to meet with his sons. There, Elrond said his peace and then he said his good-byes, banishing Elladan and Elrohir from Imladris for several years. Rivendell was a refuge and they had made a mockery of them all when they assaulted Legolas.

Elrond had a reputation to protect, Imladris had an image to uphold, and Legolas was an elf who deserved protection and a second chance with all that was good in the world. Elrond would see that it was done as long as it was in his power to do so. 



Chapter Text

Legolas climbed up the lonely path to one of the cliffs. It was one of the first places Lord Elrond had shown him upon their arrival to Imladris. It was the cliff he had run to when the twins had embarrassed him so. He had tried to keep his identity a secret for so long and not because he didn’t want to be rescued-- Legolas had longed for rescue for years before he gave up-- he had kept his identity a secret for the shame and the fear of being punished. Aragorn had made it very clear what would happen to him if anyone found out. Legolas would have never lived to see any such rescue even if his family had learned about his situation and his whereabouts.

Legolas sat down, letting his feet dangle over the cliff, staring down at the rushing waterfall. His knees ached and he rubbed them carefully, trying to be careful with the bruises forming from Elladan's rough treatment. Legolas would eventually have to tell Lord Elrond, but not yet. Legolas felt how the rocks at the bottom must feel, heavy and constantly drowning. Legolas knew he couldn’t be saved from that-- no, that was something he needed to save himself from. He just didn’t know if he remembered how. He pulled Elrond's borrowed robe tighter around his thin frame unable to stop from shivering. He wasn't cold, he wasn't even that scared-- he just never seemed to be able to find peace within himself, especially when he was alone and waiting for a master to return. Even one as kind as Lord Elrond. It was far too easy to forget that he wasn't waiting for Aragorn still. That was why he was by the waterfalls-- Aragorn would have never allowed him to go off on his own like this and Lord Elrond encouraged it.

There was another reason he had retreated so far into himself and it all had to do with how he woken up this morning. He had woken up in Lord Elrond’s bed and had felt nothing but pure fear that the Elf-lord had finally snapped and taken him for what he was: a whore. And in those terrifying moments of fear, Legolas had realized he did not want Lord Elrond to see him or use him as a whore. He just didn’t. As foreign as it was, Legolas preferred how Lord Elrond treated him to how Aragorn and the twins had used him. Yes, what they had done was familiar, but Elrond gave him dignity when he was used to having none. And it was that dignity that seemed to be awakening this whole new sense of self within him. Imagine. Common decency made him feel more like the elf he had been ages ago even if he was very much less important now.

And then there was the matter of how Legolas had woken up with his hand stretched over the distance and boundary between them, grasping Elrond arm as if he was just a child seeking comfort. Elrond had been turned towards him, attentive even in sleep, and Legolas had known in that moment that the Elf-lord would not deny him either dignity or comfort. It scared Legolas because he knew he would not be able to handle the heartbreak if it was all taken away.

But Legolas would be forced to endure if said heartbreak came. The elixir that Aragorn had forced down his throat that fated night had robbed him of such a choice. If Legolas wanted to fade now, he would have to do it by force. But stealing his own life seemed like a sin, a waste, and so Legolas dangled off of heights, hoping that nature could do what he could not, before he lost everything for a second time.

“Legolas?” Legolas turned carefully so not to accidentally slip off the cliff. He nodded towards his master, acknowledging him before he turned back to the waterfalls. He hoped Lord Elrond would understand why his voice would not come today. He had used it so much the day before and now he needed to recover. To have been so vulnerable, even though nothing ill had befallen him, left him weakened. Lord Elrond did not seem bothered, seemed to understand even though he said no more. He merely sat down next to Legolas and covered his hand with his own, dangling his own feet off the cliff. Lord Elrond so close to the edge made Legolas feel nervous and for that reason alone, he abandoned the perch for a safer ledge, one that Elrond followed him too. Lord Elrond’s presence was a balm, one that Legolas found himself leaning into as they sat together in comfortable silence. Lord Elrond did not object as Legolas pressed against his shoulder, curling up against him as a wind swept their way. Elrond did not let his surprise show as Legolas sought him for some small comfort, happy to give it and aid his fellow elf in his recovery any way that he could.

Legolas stayed close to his side for the rest of the day, prompting Elrond to consider that Legolas had sworn to stay by his side even into the West. Legolas would not be allowed to stay with him as Elrond would hand him over to his family. Thranduil deserved to be reunited with his son-- and Elrond had good intel that the king had sailed some years ago. He had never been able to figure out why, only learning it had to do with a tragedy within the family, and now Elrond had a guess and the missing piece. Hopefully, his guess was right and the tragedy could be undone on the shore of Valinor.

Elrond found Legolas’ presence a comfort, especially with the tumulotus morning he had. He had said goodbye to his sons and then in the next breath, banished them. He still felt sick thinking about it. He had wanted to part with his children well, but he could not allow their cruelty to go unpunished. What they had done to Legolas was unforgivable. What Aragorn had done to Legolas was unforgivable. Part of Elrond wanted to return to Gondor and demand his daughter and grandchildren sail with him-- but he would not risk bringing Legolas back there. Arwen had made her choice, and while she could still change her mind while he was in Middle-Earth, Elrond doubted that she would, especially if she had known the truth about Legolas. How any of his children could go along with slavery was beyond Elrond’s comprehension. He had believed that he and Celebrian had raised them better than that.

Meanwhile, Elladan and Elrohir were on their horses, Imladris to their backs.

“I told you to make sure Ada would not find out.” Elrohir finally broke the silence between them since Elrond had banished them.

“I didn’t think he would mind. I thought he knew what Legolas was.” Elladan revealed with a heavy sigh.

“Perhaps we are the ones who misjudged what Legolas is.” Elrohir said slowly. “He is still an elf, he is still one of us.”

“If he had obeyed the Mirkwood decree to stay away from the Ranger camps, he never would have been made into a whore.” Elladan recalled.

“He came to aid us and we repaid him badly.” Elrohir reminded his brother. “His aid very well could have saved our lives and instead, Aragorn tricked him and then raped him. And then--” He broke off before he could announce their own guilt. They had raped Legolas too, twice over now. “We are no better than Aragorn in this. Ada was right to punish us.”

“But was it worth it?” Elladan raised an eyebrow over at his brother who had the decency to look ashamed. They had enjoyed their time with the Mirkwood elf despite the moral dilemma they now discussed.

“I regret that we parted with Ada on such terms.” Elrohir responded. “But I cannot deny I experienced great pleasure taking Legolas, but what we did was still wrong.”

“I do not think we can amend it.” Elladan did not want to take on the guilt if there was nothing that could be done.

“We can go find Arwen.” Elrohir suggested. “Tell her the truth about Aragorn’s slave before it's too late.”

“You mean to have her sail with Ada?” Elladan asked incredulously.

“I mean for all of us to sail with Ada. We can face the judgement we deserve in Valinor, but this can be how we try to make things up to Ada.” Elrohir rolled out his plan.

“And Legolas?” That was who Elladan thought they might not ever be able to make things up to. They owed the wood elf a great day and only ever repaid him with grief and pain. Elladan especially. There was a darkness inside of him that came out when he had Legolas at his mercy and he never seemed to be able to find any mercy in his heart. How could anyone forgive him for that?

“We will offer ourselves to his father for judgment in the West.” Elrohir decided. Elladan sucked in a troubled breath. Thranduil would not be merciful-- and Elladan knew in his heart that they deserved no less than that.

“The Valar may judge us also.” Elladan bowed his head, even though they both knew that where his twin went, he would follow.

“And we will accept it.” Elrohir had made his mind up.

“And we will accept it.” Elladan echoed. “All right, my twin, let us ride for Gondor and see if our sister can be swayed. She is the most innocent of the three of us.”

“She deserves to know the truth.”

Chapter Text

In the week it took Elladan and Elrohir to ride to Gondor, Elrond and Legolas had formed a way for them to clearly communicate in a safe, gentle, and effective way.

“Lord Elrond?” Legolas had woken him up again in the middle of the night. Had actually, physically shaken Elrond to rise. “I’m sorry.” Legolas apologized almost immediately as he realized what he had done. It was still so scary to tell Elrond if he needed something. Legolas still slept in Elrond’s office, having found a place that made him feel safe. If anyone tried to get to him in Elrond’s office, Elrond would be right there to deal with them.

“Be at peace.” Elrond sleepily murmured. “What is it, my friend?” A word constantly reintroduced to their vernacular, a constant reminder that their relationship was not that of a master and a slave.

“I cannot sleep.” Legolas hesitated before continuing carefully. “May I have more of that tea?”

Ah, the tea that Elrond did not trust Legolas to prepare on his own just yet. Elrond wanted to teach him more about herbs and what they could do before he let him into his vast stores to make some tea. He did not want Legolas to accidentally get hurt. Herbs could heal, they could help, and they could also kill.

The way Legolas looked longingly down at the rocks beneath the waterfalls bid Elrond to proceed with caution. He could tell Legolas would have faded a long time ago if his right had not been stolen from him. But whether or not Legolas would seek it out on his own remained to be seen. Elrond just wanted to get them safely to the West before such a decision arose.

“Of course.” Elrond got up and slowly stretched, grabbing a robe and sliding into it. He didn’t bother to fasten the robe shut as he had taken to sleeping with just undergarments again, Elrond did not tell Legolas that he used to sleep naked before the elf came to live with him. They did not need that awkward conversation. Legolas tried very hard to be accommodating to Elrond still. “Do you want to come with me or wait here?” Elrond asked. He liked to give Legolas lots of choices, to get him thinking about what he might be able to do. It would eventually be easier and easier for Legolas to think of and make his own choices in the coming days.

Elrond took a candle and trudged down the dark hallways of his home. He knew these paths by heart, but he kept the light for Legolas’ sake. Legolas still startled easily, walking close to Elrond’s shadow. He was close enough to reach, but far enough to show Elrond respect. It was another thing they would work on as was the bowed head. Elrond didn’t push Legolas-- those things would take the longest as they were tied to the notion that Legolas had forced upon him for over a hundred years. That he wasn’t as worthy as everyone else. Elrond would make sure that he once again knew his proper worth and place-- that it wasn’t what Aragorn, Elladan, or Elrohir had said.

In the passing weeks that Elladan and Elrohir stayed with their sister and her family, they kept the real reason why they had come as a secret. It was nice to be with their sister and her children, and they managed to recall their old days of camaraderie with Aragorn so that they did not rouse his suspicion. No one suspected that they had ulterior motives at first, until the days stretched into weeks, and the weeks added up to almost a month.

“Why have you come?” Arwen had pulled her brothers into a private garden. They had now been in Minas Tirith for weeks-- a stay that had been much longer than their previous ones. She had felt the weight of their presence and their gazes the entire time of their visit. And now Aragorn was starting to grow suspicious of their lengthened visit, paranoid even, although Arwen did not understand why. Arwen glanced around to make sure they were truly alone before she leveled a glare on her brothers. “Speak plainly!”

“We’ve come for you and the children.” Elrohir spoke in a low tone even if men could not hear as well as elves. “It is time for us all to sail.” Arwen's eyes widened as she took in all that he meant.

“And you would have me leave my husband?” She asked. She had thought they were past trying to change her mind, but perhaps their Ada's leaving had triggered something new in them. Elrohir reached over and touched the bruise that lingered on her collarbone, one that her husband also bore, even if his was a little smaller.

“Are you going to tell me that you both fell down the stairs?” Arwen pulled her lip up in a silent snarl. “I was going to say that you do not know the manner of man you have married, but perhaps now you do.”

“Ah, yes, the man I married and then had to allow to have a slave because I could no longer allow him to touch me.” Arwen’s bottom lip trembled even as her eyes turned to stone. “I know what man I married and I know I will never make it out of the kingdom.”

“We have a plan.” Elladan whispered. “Ada sails soon. If we make it to the Harbor at the same time as him, we can leave. Aragorn cannot follow us to Valinor.” Arwen sighed.

“It won’t be that easy.” She warned her brothers. “But if you have a plan… I’m willing to try.” Elrohir smiled, hugging her tightly.

“Then we leave tonight.” He whispered. “Don’t bother to pack. We want to go unnoticed as possible.”

“Does Ada know?” Arwen asked suddenly. “Did he send you? Did he guess or did the slave say something?” She blinked as dark looks crossed her brothers’ faces. “What is it?”

“The slave is Prince Legolas of Mirkwood.” Elladan revealed. “Aragorn captured him years ago and bent him to his will when he was with the Rangers.” Arwen made a sound of horror and pity. She had always pitied the slave-- it was why she had worked so hard to get him out. She had known there'd be no escape for her, but as Lord Elrond's daughter she had protections the nameless slave did not. And then the slave left and her protections were suddenly not so secure.

“He suffered worse than I did. It’s why I got Ada to take him.” She covered her face in his hands. “Is he well?” She paused, daring to use his name. "Legolas, I mean?" Elrohir swallowed hard, guilt clear on his face. Elladan flinched.

“Ada has banished us from Imladris because we--” Elrohir faltered and Elladan stepped in.

“We were there when Aragorn took him-- we helped make him and so we helped ourselves when we came across him back home.” Elladan said what his twin could not.

“Ada doesn’t know you’re here.” Arwen guessed. “I am your play for redemption?”

“No!” Elrohir answered roughly. “We are here to make wrongs right. We will not leave our sister with a man who enslaves elves for fun.”

“You knew about Legolas all this time.” Arwen’s face was full of horror. “You let me marry him knowing what he was truly like. Is that why you were so adamant I shouldn't marry him? You thought beating around the bush would change my mind when the truth was right there?! You could have stopped it and saved Legolas too!”

“We thought he’d treat you better and to be honest, we didn't care what had happened to Legolas. We didn't find out the depth of it all until recently.” Elladan grunted. “We are here to right wrongs, Arwen, and that means finally telling you the truth. You gave Legolas a chance that we could have never given him. Ada watches and worries over him like one of his own.” There was relief there on Arwen's face, but there was also anger.

“Better late than never.” Arwen supposed, but there was no forgiveness to be found in her arms. The Queen of Gondor folded her arms over her chest. “I will go gather my children and keep them close. We will be waiting for your signal.”

“I will deal with Aragorn.” Elrohir promised. Arwen left without another word or another glance behind.

“This is risky, brother.” Elladan warned Elrohir who merely shrugged.

“I haven’t even told you the whole plan.” He grinned. “We will pay our debts, brother. Violence calls for violence and we will defend our family's honor. Now go to the stables and ready our horses.”

Chapter Text

Elrohir went to King Aragorn’s office alone to say his goodbyes.

“You two are off now?” Aragorn made no attempt to hide his relief. “I was starting to get worried you two might never leave.”

“We are sailing into the west.” Elrohir revealed. “We wanted to spend time with our family before we left.”

“Arwen will miss you all.” It was laced with double meaning but Elrohir did not call attention that he perceived the threat hidden there.

“We will miss her. But we will be leaving this afternoon and leave you all to get on with your lives.” Aragorn’s eyes flashed, and Elrohir allowed himself a smug, little smile. Aragorn had caught his double meaning as well. Aragorn was a man. All men die some day. The elves of this family would leave him to his demise.

“You didn’t say anything to her?”

“About what?” Elrohir feigned innocence. “Legolas looked well when we stumbled across him on the road with Ada.” Aragorn shook his head in mild annoyance.

“Life was easier when he was here.” The king admitted. “I could take my frustrations out on him without constant recourse. Elrond is treating him well?”

“Like he was his own child.” Aragorn’s gaze darkened.

“A waste of obedience and trembling then. I thought for sure your father would partake of him with how taken he was when he first laid eyes on him. You would have thought he saw your mother.” Aragorn chuckled. Elrohir blinked, keeping his sudden rage in check. Aragorn knew nothing about Elrond and Celebrian, but for him to bring it up so casually, it made Elrohir desire to hasten his plan.

“Come, let us part as friends and brothers.” Elrohir held his arm out wide.

“Safe travels.” Aragorn hugged him awkwardly, clapping his back with his hand. And that was when Elrohir struck. Aragorn gasped as Elrohir took his dagger and thrust it up into his heart.

“She will be much better off with us.” Elrohir told Aragorn as he laid him out on the floor. “We won’t hit her when we can’t fuck our pleasure slave.” His tone was scathing as he twisted the knife in a little deeper. It was a quick death, but that didn’t mean Aragorn couldn’t suffer just a little before he died.

“W-why are--” Aragorn was clutching at him, eyes wide. He gurgled slightly, trying to speak, as Elrohir cut him off.

“Why am I doing this? Because I should have stopped you all those years ago. Oh, yes, I am just as guilty as you, but I will pay my dues as you are now paying yours.” Elrohir waited until the light left Aragorn’s eyes before he removed his blade. He dragged Aragorn back over to his desk and arranged the king in his chair, letting him slump over the desk. Then Elrohir cleaned his blade and his hands before leaving the office. “I’d give him some privacy.” He informed the guards as he shut the locked door behind him. “The queen is going to the Undying Lands with her family and he just found out.” The guards nodded, murmuring their thanks for the warning.

His lie would not be found out until the blood trickled under the door. And then they’d have to break the door down to discover the truth. King Aragorn had been murdered. Elrohir walked down the hall to his sister’s rooms. He knocked on the door and waited until she yanked it open expectantly. “Let’s go.”

They hurried out of the castle to the stables where Elladan was waiting with the horses.

“What did you do?” Elladan whispered harshly into his twin’s ear. “They’ve just called for all the guards to fall back to the keep.”

“Aragorn won’t be stopping us.” Elrohir shook his brother free. “But now we must ride.” He glanced back to make sure his instructions had been heard. Arwen nodded. Each of them took one of the children with them as they rode hard out of Minas Tirith. Arwen did not look back-- she did not dare to. Just as she dared not to ask what her brother had done with her husband.

Halfway to Rivendell, she did ask, and Elrohir refused to answer. “It’s better you don’t know… in case they do catch us.” Arwen didn’t ask again. She knew in her heart what the answer was. Aragorn was dead. She kept that knowledge to herself, telling her children very little as to where they were going and why. They had seen when Aragorn hit her, they had seen her strike him back, and they had seen her tears much later that night. They didn’t ask because much like her, they didn’t need to know. It was time to go somewhere they would be safe and their mother would be treated with the dignity she deserved.

---

It had been a blissful few weeks for one Legolas Greenleaf. He felt spoiled after his time here in Imladris-- spoiled far beyond what he deserved. He was stretched out on his cot in Lord Elrond’s office, watching the candle flicker inside the lantern. He had been on edge today and normally where Lord Elrond’s presence could soothe him it only added to the prickling under his skin. Legolas had gone to bed early, claiming to not be feeling well, and that much had been true. But he only felt unwell because he didn’t know why he felt so ill at ease in a place that had been nothing but a balm for his soul.

 

Legolas checked to make sure Lord Elrond was indeed asleep before he took inventory with himself. He stripped out of the new clothes he had been given, clothes that were cut to fit him and were made exactly how he wanted. He shook his hair out, marveling at how soft it had become in Imladris. His fingernails felt good against his scalp, and so he closed his eyes, relishing the sensation all over again. Legolas looked over at the mirror, forcing himself to meet his own reflection.

“Hello.” He whispered. Legolas had avoided his reflection for years, always hating the elf he had become to survive. But here, in the safety of all that was Lord Elrond, Legolas finally faced himself. Years of abuse and neglect stared back at him, but so did days and weeks of being cared for and treated with dignity. He was a half-hollow creature, slowly being filled after being taken from over and over until he had nothing left to give.

Legolas ran his hands down his body, grimacing at his own touch. His nipples hardened as his palms slid over them, still annoyingly sensitive. But perhaps here that would not be a weapon to be used against him. He felt along his stomach, marveling at the lack of bruises or fresh marks on his skin. Aragorn had always liked to show his ownership. Elrond was a much gentler master and that's why he owned Legolas more than Aragorn ever had. Elrond had his heart.

Finally, because Legolas did not dare to explore himself anymore than that, he tentatively held his own cock in his hand. His hands that used to be calloused from his weapons were soft against the more sensitive skin. He could not remember the last time anyone touched him here. His pleasure had not been anything of consequence to his masters unless it was used against him. Aragorn had made him come once just so he could see Legolas cry afterwards. Shame ached within Legolas and for some reason, that made his cock harden ever so slightly. Legolas’ cheek twitched at the irony of it all before he released himself. He washed and dried his hands before he pulled on the robe Elrond had laid out for him to sleep in. He was distressed enough that he didn’t recognize the robe to be one of Elrond’s own.

The restlessness was gone, but the heaviness in his soul was back. Legolas felt utterly exhausted and did not fight the tears when they inevitably came. He fell asleep before the tears could dry on his cheeks, reflecting the candlelight as it dimmed and burned low. And when the nightmares came, he did not hesitate this time, fleeing back to the safety of Lord Elrond’s bed.

His breathing did not even out until Elrond wrapped an arm around his lean torso, pulling him closer. Legolas hid his face in Elrond’s chest and breathed in the now familiar scent that meant safety in ways that words couldn’t convey. But Elrond told him the obvious anyway.

“You’re safe.”

“I know.” A shaky exhale. “Thank you.” A sharp intake of breath and Elrond’s voice deepened ever so slightly.

“Anytime.”

Chapter Text

The next morning, Elrond woke up wrapped around Legolas in a way that could only be described as intimate. And as much as he thought it would feel wrong… it felt so terribly right to wake up and have Legolas in his arms. Legolas fit like he belonged there. Elrond sighed, allowing himself to snuggle close to the elf in his bed, closing his eyes and taking in the full moment. Legolas had a clean scent that was starting to smell more and more like a place that could become home.

Legolas stirred only to turn in Elrond’s arms and burrow deeper against him. And by the Valar, it felt so right that Elrond felt the utter depth of his weakness. Was he so desperate that he would take advantage of Legolas like this?

“You aren’t taking advantage of me.” Legolas murmured sleepily as if Elrond had said that thought out loud. “Not any more than I am taking advantage of you.” Elrond went to move and Legolas opened his eyes. “Stay.”

It was a command and a plea all at the same time and Elrond did not want to refuse Legolas anything. So he surrendered, his heart clenching at the sound of satisfaction Legolas made when he tightened his embrace ever so slightly. “Thank you.” Legolas slipped back to sleep, snoring softly, and Elrond sighed again. He couldn’t fight this moment and so he gave in to it, accidentally strengthening the bond that was already well in place, a bond neither of them fully realized yet.

Days passed since that morning, both of them unaware of Elrond’s children and grandchildren on the run from Gondor to Imladris. Elrond felt as if he needed to address the growing... dependency between him and Legolas, but he also did not want to upset it. Legolas, despite everything, was healing. He was taking sure and steady steps, no matter how small towards recovery and Elrond would not risk that for the world. Legolas’ attachment to him played a large part, a larger part than Elrond cared to admit. He did not want Legolas to feel rejected.

There was also the fact that Elrond was just as attached to Legolas as Legolas was attached to him. Spending his nights and early mornings wrapped up in the blond’s arms gave Elrond a strength and a joy he had long forgotten he could feel. His attachment had grown into something more, something he did not want to name, not until he knew Legolas could consent to such feelings growing between them.

“Legolas?” Elrond asked suddenly as they sat in the library reading. Well, Legolas was reading while Elrond was brooding.

“Yes, Lord Elrond?” Legolas looked up from his book expectantly. As if he had not had Elrond curled around him the night before to soothe him from his nightmares. If Elrond had not come to crave those touches as much as the blond did. “Do you need something?”

“What do you think of me?” Legolas took in a small, troubled breath, frowning slightly. “I am asking a lot of you, but I would like to know how you honestly have come to see me.”

“I do not see you quite as my equal if that is what you’re asking.” Legolas glanced back down at his book, clearly uncomfortable with this conversation. “But I am fond of you.” He said so softly, face reddening. He could no longer look Elrond in the eyes and so Elrond withdrew.

“Nevermind.” Elrond shook his head. “It is nothing. Do not be troubled on my account, Legolas. It was a curiosity and nothing more.” Legolas knew he had misspoke at some point for Elrond to contradict himself. It was either nothing or a curiosity, but if it was both, it was neither at all. Legolas might be on the path to recovery, but he would always be able to pick up on these subtle changes in mood. It had helped him to survive all those years with Aragorn and his temper. “Return to your book.” It was the closest thing to an order Elrond had really ever given him. Legolas glanced back down to the pages, but the print was now difficult to see as his vision blurred and he struggled to breathe. “Legolas!” Someone was crying and it took a long time for Legolas to realize that it was him.

Legolas faintly heard his name be called, but didn’t register it was Elrond calling out for him until he was pulled into the Elf-lord’s arms. It was several more minutes before his breathing started to even out and his body shook with hiccups as he struggled to calm down.

“What happened?” Legolas was terrified. He had experienced much in his long life, but never that.

“You had a panic attack.” Elrond looked grim. “I have not seen one for some time.” He had never seen one of the Eldar experience such a strong attack at that. It was more common after the war, but it was also to be expected with former slaves that had suffered as Legolas had suffered. “It is to be expected, but I am so sorry to have triggered something in you to respond that strongly. I’m so, so sorry.” His hand was gentle against Legolas’ back-- Elrond was always gentle. Legolas wrapped his arms around Elrond’s neck, leaning his chin against those sturdy shoulders.

“I should be apologizing to you.” Legolas murmured. “But if you need to hear it, all is forgiven.” Elrond held him closer and Legolas had the faint thought that he wouldn’t mind if Elrond held him forever.

“I am fond of you too.” Elrond all but blurted as he ran a hand over Legolas’ hair. “Fonder than I feel I should be.”

“Then be fond of me.” Legolas responded, moving closer to the Elf-lord. “I find rest and strength in that.” He studied Elrond before wiping his face carefully. “You are not your sons. You are not Aragorn. And that has made all the difference. I may be healing-- I may be broken yet-- but I know my own mind more now thanks to you. I know my own heart…” Legolas did not say anything more, pressing his forehead against Elrond’s neck. He knew their time was going to be shorter than he would like. He knew Elrond wanted him to be reunited with his father. And a large part of his traitorous heart wanted to be reunited with his father-- Legolas knew how much his Ada must have mourned him. He knew how much his Ada would need their reunion. And for his father, Elrond, and himself, Legolas would allow it. It was just-- he was finding out that while he first wanted to stay with Elrond to hide from facing his father, he now wanted to stay with Elrond so he could just stay with Elrond. Elrond was somehow a part of him now and he was somehow a part of Elrond in return.

“You don’t-- I’m not taking advantage of you somehow, am I?” Elrond asked suddenly and Legolas pulled back out of his arms, standing on his own to face the Elf-lord who was now a part of him. There were so many parts to him now, still broken, still healing, still being stitched back together. But this, whatever this was, this Legolas was sure of.

“No, you’re not, my lord.” It was a decided change from what Legolas usually called him, never straying from ‘Lord Elrond’ until this moment. The moment was not lost on Elrond who gazed up at him half in wonder and half in fear.

“Elrond is fine.” Elrond croaked, running his hands over his face. “I’m making a proper mess of the day, aren’t I?” Legolas held out a hand to him, pulling Elrond to his feet.

“No.” Legolas shook his head, a tiny smile gracing his lips as he cocked his head to one side. “No, you’re not.”

Chapter Text

“We cannot enter Imladris.” Elrohir gazed over the valley he had called home for so long. “But you can.” He turned to Arwen. “You and the children can go, we will meet you at the harbor.” But perhaps Arwen had guessed his plan for redemption, the sacrifice play from all their favorite books and stories growing up in their father’s libraries, because she refused to leave him and Elladan.

“No. We will ride for the harbor and see if we can wait for Ada and Legolas to arrive.” She cast knowing eyes on her twin brothers. “You have to face them again with your heads held high and no malice in your heart.” She sighed. “Please. I cannot bear the idea of our family estranged any longer. I thought I made my peace with staying here in Middle-Earth, but now I can no longer bear the thought. Nor can I bear the thought of you two stuck here. Ada will forgive you-- he has to.”

“What we did was unforgivable.” Elrohir replied. Elladan sighed, shrugging when Arwen looked to him for help. He still didn’t see what was all that wrong with what they had done with Legolas-- the Mirkwood whore had taken the two of them just fine. Elrohir had been into it-- and it had been hot-- until their father showed up and chastised them.

“Then you make amends.” Arwen snapped. “Our family belongs together. Although, if you think our father being angry is scary, wait until you are reunited with our mother. She will hold you accountable if that is what your actions warrant. And I daresay your actions warrant all the judgment you might find in Valinor.”

“All right.” Elladan interrupted. “Enough. We have to survive the journey there first.” All this talk of judgment made him feel uneasy. Perhaps they had been too cruel to Legolas, but he wouldn’t have come if he hadn’t wanted to be used. Elladan could not judge his own actions in manipulating Legolas to give him what he wanted. He could not face himself even if Elrohir could. “Let us get to the harbor before Gondorian soldiers descend on this valley.”

“Perhaps we should warn Ada.” Arwen glanced over at their childhood home.

“He is leaving soon anyway.” Elrohir nodded to the clear markings of journey preparations. “We will only slow things down. Come on.” They turned their horses and rode around the valley, heading towards the sea. The guard at the border who had heard all turned and ran towards the Last Homely House and her lord to tell all that he had heard.




Legolas woke up to an empty bed. It was startling to find himself alone in Elrond’s bed and so he sat up quickly. He could hear Elrond’s voice just outside and that alone calmed him down. He got up and dressed, sitting on the edge of the bed and waiting for Elrond to return. Legolas was curious despite his caution. Something had to have happened for their usual routine to be so altered. He knew they were preparing to travel soon, but this felt urgent. Elrond’s heartbeat felt faster than usual.

Legolas shook his head, frowning at himself. There was no way he could know that, not with Elrond outside the room and far from reach. He was getting silly with all this safety and kindness.

“Legolas?” Elrond stuck his head inside. “I thought I heard you get up. Are you all right?”

“Just startled. I heard voices.” Legolas replied, trying to get his heart to stop beating so fast. Elrond wasn’t angry with him. Elrond wasn’t going to punish him. He wasn’t going to give him away or get rid of him. Elrond had been the first person Aragorn had showed him off to in years and then the next thing he had known-- he had been Elrond’s instead of Aragorn’s. Legolas was grateful now, but in the moment, it had been an awful, heart-wrenching moment knowing that his master didn’t want him anymore. He had failed to please--

“I’m sorry.” Elrond came to sit down next to him on the bed, his hand covering Legolas’ hand.

“For what?”

“For frightening you.” Elrond’s other hand touched his cheek gently before pulling away sharply. “It was a guard from the border. My children are heading towards the harbor in hopes of meeting with us.”

“No!” Legolas couldn’t hide how his body trembled at the thought of seeing any of them ever again. Arwen had tried to help him. She had finally managed to help him by getting him to Elrond’s care, but he still did not want to see her again. She was a reminder of him, the darkness that still troubled Legolas’ dreams.

“Aragorn is dead.” Elrond revealed hesitantly. “My sons--” He bowed his head. “They seek our forgiveness.” Legolas felt as if he was being struck repeatedly in the stomach.

“I’m going to be sick.” He whimpered. Elrond had him up and over a bowl before he emptied his stomach violently.

“You do not have to face them.” Elrond decided since Legolas had bravely made his position very clear. “I will do it alone.” Legolas nodded but did not answer. What was there left to say? Elrond would always love his children and Legolas wasn’t sure where he fit in Elrond’s family.

“My father will want them punished.” He said hours later as they checked that their belongings were all packed. They were leaving at first light, never to see this refuge again. Imladris had become a refuge for Legolas and for that he was sad about leaving. But he saw how it had been Elrond’s home, carved in times of trouble and war. Imladris was part of Elrond-- it was a physical location that showed the bravery and tenacity of Elrond’s spirit. He was so diligent against evil, even when it seemed all that was good would be forever lost.

“As he should.” Elrond said softly. “I will not stand in the way of justice.” His hand was gentle against Legolas’ back as he slipped by to head towards their room. “My sons will pay for their crimes against you.”

“They killed Aragorn.” Legolas said dully.

“I believe so.” Elrond was changing behind a screen, but Legolas could still catch a glimpse of him in the reflection of the mirror. Elrond was strong under those close, firm in all the places a warrior should be. He wasn’t skinny or fragile like Legolas still was even though Legolas knew he was still healing. Elrond was handsome and Legolas admired him in the reflection. Their eyes met suddenly and Legolas couldn’t look away.

“Good.” Legolas removed himself to the office, changing with the door cracked open. He wouldn’t mind if Elrond wanted to see what he looked like under the borrowed robes and tailored clothes. He wasn’t as handsome as the Elf-lord, but he was still fair in a waifish, wraithlike way. He had managed to please Aragorn for some time.

“Legolas.” Legolas looked up to see Elrond in the doorway, his eyes dark. “You never should have had to endure what Aragorn put you through.” Legolas blinked like a fawn caught in a thicket away from his mother. He pulled his robe shut, tying it loosely in case Elrond wanted to pull it back open. He opened his mouth, but no words could come out. “You never should have had to endure any of it. I will never be able to forgive any of them for hurting you in the ways that they did.”

“They’re your sons.” Legolas managed, wiping at the stray tears that streamed down his cheeks. “And I am nothing.” Legolas sank down to his knees, curling in on himself. Elrond was on his level in a moment, sitting with him in his grief and despair. Aragorn had taken everything from Legolas and Elladan and Elrohir had helped him.

“You are not nothing.” Elrond held his hand like he was a child. “I do not see you as a child.” Legolas raised his head, his eyes sparkling with tears. “I see you as you are, Legolas. I see you.”

“They broke me.” Legolas could no longer hold back his tears. Not with Elrond being so willing to witness all that he was, every broken part on display. Legolas nor Elrond shied away. Legolas sobbed and Elrond sat with him, not touching or talking, but witnessing and protecting.



Chapter Text

It was an easier journey from Imladris to the Harbor, much easier than the road they had taken from Minas Tirith to Imladris. There was no denying the bond between Elf-lord and Prince as they took to the road together. Their horses were always near and they passed the time in conversation or comfortable silence.

Legolas grew more anxious with each passing day, and while Elrond tried to console him the best he could, he also trusted Legolas to learn how to handle the anxiety. Elrond would handle his children. Legolas only had to handle himself.

And then they arrived at the harbor and Legolas gasped, pretty blue eyes going wide with wonder. He had never seen the sea. It was perhaps the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. And Elrond was thinking the same thing as he watched Legolas respond to the beauty of nature. Legolas was the most beautiful being he had ever seen.

“Welcome to the Gray Havens.” Elrond said softly. “From here we will sail into the West.”

“Lord Elrond!” A tall elf bellowed, coming out of one of the houses near the gate. “I heard a rumor you were on your way to see me!”

“This is Cirdan.” Elrond told Legolas who had shrank back in his saddle as the strange elf approached. “He is a dear friend. He will keep you safe as I do.” Elrond dismounted, nodding the groom that came to take his horse away. “Dear Cirdan!” The elves embraced. “How are you, my old friend?”

“Much better now that you’re here!” Cirdan clapped Elrond soundly on the back. “Who is your friend? I don’t recognize him, but then again, I don’t know the wood elves very well. No offense to the wood elves, of course.” He bowed low to Legolas who was sliding off his horse.

“No offense taken.”

“The woods and the sea don’t always mix as well as they should.” Cirdan smiled. “But I am always happy to meet another one of my kindred.” He offered his hand and Legolas took it shyly.

“This is Prince Legolas of Mirkwood.” They had discussed this in length on the road that Elrond would be introducing him by his true name and title. No one needed to know what had happened to him that he did not want to know what had happened to him. Nevermind that Legolas felt as if everyone must see the stains of his shame still when they looked at him.

“It is an honor.” Cirdan said sincerely. “Your family will be very glad to see you.”

“You saw them?” Legolas’ heart ached now for two reasons. First, because of the gull crying overhead, and secondly, at the thought of being so close to his parents. He had missed his family fiercely. Tears sprang into his arms and Cirdan softened, pulling him into a comforting hug. Legolas didn’t feel like he needed to fight this elf and so he allowed the touch.

“Aye, I saw them. They sailed years ago, but I remember everyone who comes through here. They thought you were dead.” Cirdan frowned when he felt Legolas tremble in his arms. He released the blond elf, noting how quickly Elrond was by Legolas’ side. Legolas took Elrond’s arm, trying his hardest not to weep openly in front of this strange, kind elf. “They’ll be so happy to know you’re okay.” Cirdan gave Elrond a worried look.

“Is our boat ready?” Elrond asked, returning a look that begged him to be discreet.

“Aye.” Cirdan nodded. “She’s in the harbor.” He pointed out the ship to them. “She’s been waiting for you.”

“Is it unoccupied?” Elrond asked.

“Aye. I had your children wait in one of the cottages until you arrived. They’re a jumpy lot, Elrond.”

“As they should be.” Elrond sighed. “Legolas, our ship is over there if you want to take your pack and get settled in. I will handle my children. You can pick out our-- your cabin.” Cirdan raised an eyebrow at that as Legolas hurried off.

“Is he all right?” Cirdan asked. “He’s got that look in his eyes that makes me think he’s lived through more nightmares than most.”

“He’s suffered a great deal these last hundred or so years, Cirdan, held against his will by those who should have let him go immediately.”

“That’s why he’s as jumpy as a rabbit when a hawk is nearby.” Cirdan forced a smile. He felt sick to his stomach to think of the fair elf being mistreated for so long. For what some people sought to exploit in Legolas, Cirdan and Elrond sought to protect. “Then why are your children so jumpy?”

“I’m the hawk.” Elrond joked dryly. “I had to banish my sons from Imladris for how they treated Prince Legolas.”

“Shit.” Cirdan sobered. “He was a slave, wasn’t he, Elrond? Whoever had him forced that elixir on him?”

“Yes.” Elrond sighed. “But please do not speak of this, especially to him. He has come so far and I do not want to stand in the way of his healing.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Cirdan assured his old friend. “I am just glad for Legolas and his family. Thranduil was a changed elf when I saw him last, bowed over with grief.” Cirdan shook his head. “I’ve ferried over some former slaves-- I know the look when I see it, Elrond. But Legolas has you, and for that alone, I know he will be okay.” Cirdan nodded towards a far cottage and Elrond could make out the shapes of his children and grandchildren emerging. “You should all sail soon. Gondor is on the road, naught but a few hours behind you.”

“I did not want to subject Legolas to sharing a ship with them.” Elrond sighed. “But I will not allow Gondor to take my children from me either.”

“Legolas has you.” Cirdan reminded Elrond. “He’s stronger than you both think.” He winked. “The two of you have something special, something that won’t fade just because you’re crossing over to Valinor.” Cirdan touched Elrond’s elbow softly. “Don’t push him away. Legolas will go off with his family, but his feet will bring him back to you.”

“He’s not the one who worries me in regards to sailing over.” Elrond said wryly. “I will to tell Celebrian all that has come to pass.”

“She might surprise you.” Cirdan hinted. “Things have changed for her too since she sailed.”

“I’ve forgotten how harbormasters know all the gossip.” Elrond joked.

“We wouldn’t be the harbormasters if we didn’t.” Cirdan laughed. “I’ll go check on Legolas while you talk to your children.” Elrond’s eyes flashed and Cirdan raised his hands. “I will be a perfect gentleman, Elrond. No harm will come to him from me.”

“Thank you, my friend.” Elrond gave him a tight smile. His own protectiveness worried him sometimes. Elrond did not want to suffocate Legolas, but neither did he want to see him get hurt again. Elrond walked over to his children, determined to be fair but firm. He never wanted his children to be afraid of him, but he also did not want them to think it was okay to abuse those under his protection. “My children.” He murmured, kneeling when one of his grandchildren ran over to hug him. “I hope you are ready to sail.”

“We weren’t sure we’d be welcome.” Elrohir spoke up. Elrond knew in that moment that he was the one who had slain Aragorn and rescued Arwen and the children from his grasp. Elladan would not meet his eyes but Elrohir could. Elrohir wanted to change and Elladan had yet to face the elf he had become.

“You are my children. You are always in my heart.” Elrond said wearily. “But I will hand you over to whatever judgement Thranduil demands of you. What the two of you did to Legolas is unforgivable. It is a sin that will have to be paid for if you are to find peace in Valinor.”

“We will face it, father.” Elrohir bowed his head.

“Do not speak for your brother because his heart has not changed as yours has.” Elrond gently reprimanded his younger son. Elladan’s face tightened angrily and he looked over at the sea. “Thranduil will break you, Elladan.” Elrond warned. “And he will be right to do so.”

“Ada?” Arwen was trembling. “What about me? Am I too late?” She whispered.

“Never, my darling daughter.” Elrond hugged her fiercely. “We should go to the ship now. From what I hear, Gondor is near and we should be gone before they arrive.” Elrond touched the almost faded bruise on his daughter’s neck. “I would have razed the city to the ground if I had known.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.” She sniffled once. “I was so ashamed, Ada, that I had made such a huge mistake.” Elrond slipped his fingers under her chin and raised her head. Slowly, she looked up to meet his gray eyes.

“You loved. That is not a mistake. He is the one who made the mistakes, my dear Arwen.” Elrond walked his children to the ship, saying his goodbyes to Cirdan before he also boarded the ship. “I have one rule.” He told his family as they slipped away gently from shore. “You will all leave Legolas alone. He doesn’t have to speak to any of you nor does he have to look at any of you.” He turned to Elladan. “You especially. If you come near him at all, you will be put to the sea when it is too far to swim in either direction.” Arwen paled, hurrying her children to their cabin and Elrohir pulled his brother to their cabin. Elrond sucked in a steadying breath, grateful for the fresh scent of sea air before he too went below to his cabin. He knocked on the cabin door and waited for Legolas’ response before he entered.

“They’re here, aren’t they?” Dread was plain on Legolas’ face. “They’re on the ship. My skin feels as if its crawling with the closeness of them.” The twins had mocked him, manipulated him, and fucked him. No, they had raped him. They had forced him. Legolas’ face twisted with fear and guilt. Elrond quickly bolted the door and sat near the blond elf who was struggling to breathe.

“They will not come near you.” Elrond promised. “I will stay by your side the whole time.”

“Cirdan gave me this. He told me to give them ‘the old one, two if they tried anything.’” Elrond wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time when Legolas revealed the fine dagger. It was from at least two Ages ago-- a fine present indeed. “He also said--” Legolas looked down, fiddling with the sheathed blade.

“What did he say?”

“He said I didn’t need to be afraid.” Legolas whispered. “He said you wouldn’t abandon me even after we’ve arrived in the West.”

“I would never abandon you, Legolas.”

“So I can come see you from time to time?” Legolas asked, hope filling his eyes. “We won’t have to be strangers in Valinor.”

“I don’t think we could ever go back to being strangers.” Elrond soothed, taking Legolas’ hand in his own. Legolas was a part of him now and Elrond realized he was also a part of Legolas in return. How deep their bond was he didn’t yet know. But they had all of eternity to find out once they arrived in Valinor.

“Good.” Legolas leaned against him, his head on Elrond’s shoulder. His fine, blond hair spilled down Elrond’s back and Elrond leaned his dark head on top of Legolas’ fair one. “You are important to me, Elrond.” He said Elrond’s name for the first time without any title. “So very important.” Elrond didn’t have the words to say, but Legolas seemed to understand. He raised his head and pressed a quick, soft kiss to Elrond’s cheek. “Thank you for everything.” Elrond turned to face him, understanding how this was somehow both a parting and a greeting for all that was between them. They had turned a new page and they would discover together what lay for them on this new horizon.

Chapter Text

The voyage went smoothly and without any incidents. Elrond’s children obeyed his commands regarding Legolas and left the prince alone the entirety of the trip. When they arrived at Valinor, Elrond sent his children off first so that Legolas could have a proper introduction to Aman without worrying about the twins or Arwen.

“They are gone, my friend.” He called down into the hold. “You can come out. And leave your pack, there are others to bring them up for us.” Legolas emerged in robes that felt too fine for the likes of him, but Elrond had chosen them to only highlight his beauty and elegance even more. He wore a silver diadem on his brow and a frown on his pink lips.

“I feel foolish.” He murmured for only Elrond to hear.

“You look like a prince.” Elrond slid an errant strand of hair behind Legolas’ pointed ear. “You look beautiful.” Legolas’ lips parted in surprise and he looked up at the Elf-lord who was leaning into him. Elrond was looking at him with desire, Legolas was sure of it now, but still Elrond made no such moves to claim Legolas as his own. Elrond merely leaned away, turning towards the land that spilled out before them. “Welcome to Aman, Prince Legolas. Welcome to Valinor.” The sea was now to their backs, as was all the grief and shame of what had happened to them on the shores of Middle-Earth.

“Lord Elrond of Imladris and Prince Legolas of Mirkwood, the Woodland Realm have arrived!" Their arrival was announced by the herald and if Legolas’ family lived in Valinor, Elrond knew they would hear of his arrival in the hour. As they disembarked off the ship, the harbor was buzzing with news that Elrond had finally sailed over and that he had brought with him the missing prince. Legolas was the name on everyone’s lips and while Elrond knew it was overwhelming, Legolas bore it well.

They had barely made it to the sheltered boardwalk when they heard a sharp cry.

“Legolas?!” Legolas stiffened, eyes searching the crowd. “Let me through! That is my son!” Elrond could see Thranduil now as the crowd parted for the royal family of Mirkwood. Thranduil sprinted down to the boardwalk, not caring how he appeared. He just needed to get to his son.

“Ada?!” Legolas called out, knowing the voice anywhere. “Ada!” He cried when he spotted his father. He stepped forward, away from Elrond, and back towards the arms of the elf who sired and raised him. Thranduil had halted in front of him, eyes wide as if he was seeing a ghost. Elrond knew for a fact Thranduil must feel like he was seeing a ghost. Thranduil teared up as he stared at his long lost son.

"Legolas?" He asked, his hands coming up to cover his mouth. "It's truly you?! This isn't some cruel trick?" Legolas burst into tears, shaking his head.

"It's me, Ada, it's really me. It's your son. It's Legolas." Elrond knew that Legolas was lost to all that he was feeling, that he wanted to go to his father, but didn't know how. He nudged Thranduil gently, waking from his reverie. Thranduil thought he was dreaming still, but Legolas' words had sparked hope in him like never before. Legolas was home. He was really, truly, home.

"Legolas--" Thranduil breathed in relief, reaching for his son. "My son!"

“Ada.” Legolas whimpered as Thranduil flung his arms around him and pulled him close. They bowed their heads together, tears streaming down both of their cheeks as the dust started to settle around. “Ada, I’m so sorry.” Legolas begged his father's forgiveness and Thranduil would not allow him to place such a burden on his own shoulders. He held his son close, unashamedly weeping for the joy of it all. Legolas was finally home.

“Shhh, there is no need for apologies, my son. I’m just so glad you’re home, that you’re back where you belong. My son, my darling son, is finally home!” Thranduil soothed. Legolas’ arms finally curled around his father’s neck and Elrond’s heart ached with happiness for the two of them. Then he spotted the Queen of Mirkwood waiting patiently behind her husband, tears streaming down her cheeks as well. Elrond caught her eye and bowed low.

“Thank you.” She squeezed his hand in passing. “You brought our little leaf home to us. We are forever in your debt.”

“There are no debts among friends.” Elrond replied diplomatically. “I am afraid my family owes you more than I care to admit.”

“Your sons came to find us. It’s how we got here so quickly. They have submitted to our judgment, but we wanted to see Legolas first.” She smiled over at Elrond. “Thank you again for bringing him home to us. We had despaired of ever seeing him again.”

“I am happy to have brought him home to you.” Elrond glanced over to see Legolas’ face in his father’s hands as his father removed any reasons for shame or doubt from his son’s mind. Legolas was where he belonged. His family would care for him now and when Legolas was ready to seek him out, Elrond would be waiting for him.

“Naneth!” It did Elrond’s heart good to see Legolas cry for happiness as he hugged his mother close. They had been parted too early in the prince’s life. Elrond was grateful for the reunions made possible by the Valar on Aman’s shore.

“Legolas.” Elrond waited until Legolas had stopped hugging his mother. “I have to go meet with Celebrian.” Thranduil’s hand rested on the Elf-lord’s back. “But I did not want to leave until I had a chance to say farewell for now.” Legolas’ eyes shone as he hugged Elrond fiercely.

“Thank you, my lord.” He whispered. “Thank you for bringing me home.” There was something else in his eyes, something that Legolas dared not say just yet as he glanced down at Elrond's mouth as they parted. "Thank you." He didn't know how to say anything more. Elrond was the reason he was here. Elrond was the strength that had gotten him through the darkness to this wondrous light. Legolas did not want to be part from him just yet, but he knew it was a necessary parting. They would see each other again. Legolas would make sure of it.

“It was my pleasure, my prince.” They were no longer just Elrond and Legolas. Here all of elvendom watched with joy and interest at these new proceedings. “I wish you every happiness with your family.” Elrond turned to Thranduil. “I apologize for the harm my family has caused. One was killed for their sins and the other two sailed to meet your judgment as they could have prevented this all and chose not to do so but chose to take pleasure in it.”

“Their punishment will be severe.” Thranduil nodded. “But I have no quarrel with you. You have done us a great service. You have my thanks and my friendship.”

“You do me great kindness.” Elrond bowed. His eyes glanced back to Legolas who had an arm around his mother. Legolas did not look scared or weighed down here and that gave Elrond the strength to leave him with his family. They parted on good terms and Elrond gave his address to the prince should he ever want to visit a friend. Legolas did not hug him again, only nodded his thanks, taking the address and putting it somewhere safe. Then he and his family departed from the boardwalk to retire in their family home where a much larger reunion would take place.

Elrond turned his face to the sea, breathing in that fresh air. Salt water before him and tears in his eyes. He composed himself and asked the nearest elf where Celebrian lived now. Following the directions, he ended up at a quiet estate near the sea. He rang the bell and was let in by the head of Celebrian’s household who brought Elrond to the lady of the house.

“Lady Celebrian.” Elrond bowed on ceremony. He had not come to fight, but to put this last piece between to peace. “I trust you are well.” He raised his head to face her, not afraid anymore to gaze on her scars.

“Elrond.” She said condescendingly. “I am surprised you sailed at all with how long you’ve kept me waiting.” Elrond inclined his head towards her. Her words cut deep as they always did. He had not missed this. “But it’s good that you did since you brought our children and grandchildren with you. They’ve told me everything while you were saying goodbye to the second wood elf to hold your heart.”

“Legolas--”

“Be at peace, Elrond. I care not that he has your heart. I married years ago after I arrived. We are happy despite the gossip.”

“Then I am happy for you.” Elrond decided. “But Legolas is a friend, nothing more.”

“You’ve bonded with him and you haven’t even realized it.” She laughed, cold and cutting. “I wish you the best, Elrond, even if you often miss what is the most obvious.” Like how Elrond had missed the fact that she never loved him, or the fact that she had married him because of his title only.

“I just wanted to come by and make sure you were well.”

“And to see if I would lay claim to you just to make you suffer.” She sniffed. “I know you, Elrond, more than most. I will not lay claim to you though. You are on your own. Don’t feel like you need to visit again.” And with that, she left him alone in the sitting room.

Elrond stood there in stunned silence. That had gone well considering how they had parted. Celebrian had cursed him the day she left, she had left all his illusions that they loved each other shattered and bare. And the love Elrond had for her had grown less and less with each passing year after she left him alone and broken on Imladris’ steps. He could not save her from her wounds because she did not want to be saved from her wounds. She wanted her wounds to save her from him.

“My lord.” The same elf who led him in, led him out. “Do you need the address to the inn?”

“No, thank you.”

“Very well.” The gate clanged shut behind the elf and Elrond was once again all on his own. He knew the way home even though he had never been there yet. He found the path that led to the lone house on the cliff, Imladris-by-the-Sea and slowly made his way there. It was empty, sparsely decorated, waiting for him. At least, something had been waiting for him. And now that he was finally alone, Elrond allowed himself to finally grieve for the things that were and the things that would never be.

Chapter Text

“Ada, I’m fine.” Legolas squirmed, trying to back away from his father. He knew Thranduil meant well. He knew he was safe with his father. He just didn’t feel safe with how insistent Thranduil was being. “It’s fine. It’s all over and done with. I’m safe and here now.” Legolas did not want to show his father his scars. He did not want Thranduil to know just how low his own son had been brought. How much Legolas had suffered.

So what if Legolas always kept covered up. He preferred it that way. He had already gotten more curious glances since he arrived in Valinor. He would have hoped to be less of a subject of conversation by now. It had been a year! 

Elrond had never pointed out his scars. Legolas had forgotten about them when it was just the two of them. It had been about a year since they had arrived in Valinor and Legolas missed Elrond more with every passing day, especially with how intensely his father had become on exacting revenge. From what Legolas had heard of it, and he tried to avoid all news of the twins, his father was already getting more than enough revenge.

Thranduil had ordered the twins to be subjected to what Legolas had been subjected to, complete with being forced to take the elixir. It was a vile punishment, and while Legolas knew they deserved it, he would still not wish what happened to him would happen to anyone else. Not even the twins. Not even Aragorn.

Legolas still couldn't think about Aragorn. It made his breathing ragged and his mind go blank. Forgot what happened when he had nightmares and thought he was back in that man's grasp... Only his Naneth knew about those nightmares. But she didn't know how his nightmares were better when he could find Elrond afterwards. He didn't dare tell her that or else she would march him back to the Elf-lord herself. Just like she almost had when she heard how Lady Celebrian received Elrond. Legolas had been angry too, but he didn't know how to voice the overwhelming need to protect Elrond so he shut down and avoided the topic if he could help it.

“Legolas!" His father was still talking. "Just show me! Those insolent fools will pay for what was done to you!” Thranduil hissed. Legolas closed his eyes, reminding himself that Thranduil was angry at the twins and Aragorn, not him. His reminder didn’t work, his breaths coming in faster and harder. “Show me what they did!” Legolas did not want to fall apart yet again in front of his father. He did not want to constantly remind his parents that he was still so weak.

“Ada, please.” Legolas begged, sinking to the floor. He was shaking and crying, falling back in the state that Elrond had called a panic attack. “Please stop.” Legolas curled up on the floor, covering his ears with his hands. He couldn’t stop shaking, not even when his Naneth sat next to him, pulling him into her protective embrace. She glared up at her husband as she held Legolas close.

“Thranduil, enough.” His mother’s quiet voice cut through the fog and the fear. “Do not push him-- he has suffered enough force in his life to be through with it.” Thranduil ceased immediately, like a storm that had run out of rain and thunder, and he too sank to the floor to be with Legolas.

“I’m so sorry.” Thranduil hadn’t realized how bad off Legolas had been until now as he watched his child struggle to breathe and compose himself. “Dear Legolas... “ His parents sat with him, trying to weather this new struggle together. Thranduil wasn't sure how to move around Legolas like this. He wanted to preserve his son's pride but he also wanted to stop triggering him. Thranduil wasn't Elrond. He wasn't a healer. He still resorted to force sometimes when he didn't know how to get through a situation. But as he was learning, force did not work with Legolas anymore.

“Naneth?” Legolas croaked. “Ada?” He found himself doubting they were real at all. Perhaps he had somehow managed to fade while trapped in the wooden and stone cage of Aragorn’s making. Perhaps he would wake up and Aragorn would be pinning him down, fucking him senseless yet again. Claiming him yet again. Legolas was still trying to reclaim his mind and his body from Strider.

“I’m here, my little leaf.” His naneth stroked his hair and Legolas began to cry anew. He was still in Valinor. He was with his family. Aragorn was dead.

“I’m sorry-- I can’t stop crying.” Legolas closed his eyes. Navigating this with his parents was new and frightening. He longed for the simpleness and safety that he had found with Elrond, but he did not want to see Elrond like this. He wanted to see Elrond when he could hold his own just a little more. Elrond wouldn’t kiss him if he thought Legolas would shatter if he so much as stepped towards him.

“Do not apologize for your tears.” Thranduil said somewhat gruffly, holding his son’s hands in his own. “We are here for you. Whatever you need, it’s yours. Just name it. Shall I get Lord Elrond for you?”

“No.” Legolas shook his head. “I will go see him soon, Ada. Just not yet. Not until I get my feet back under me.” Not until Lord Elrond’s sons weren’t being punished for what they had done to him. Legolas hated the punishment his father had chosen, hated hearing their screams. He knew exactly how they felt and for as awful as they had been to him, he did not want this. Legolas wanted the punishments to stop for good.

“Lord Elrond will not care whatever way you come to him, Legolas.” Legolas’ naneth assured him. “He will just be glad you’re there. I’ve heard that he is lonely in his high house on the cliff and that he rarely comes out anymore.”

“Is he okay?” Legolas slowly sat up, pushing his hair out of his face and wiping the tears away roughly. “Why doesn’t he come out?”

“I think he is waiting for you.” Legolas’ eyes watered as he recalled the sweetness of the Elf-lord. He had wanted to run back to Elrond's side as soon as he had heard how Elrond's former wife had treated him. He just didn't know how to face Elrond with his sons being treated so cruelly. Elrond had allowed their punishment, but Legolas knew his heart. Or at least he thought he did. Elrond was probably as bothered by their treatment as much as Legolas was.

“Are you two okay if I go visit him soon?” Thranduil and his wife exchanged glances. It wasn't the normal way this conversation usually went.

“Legolas-- the two of you are very close.” Thranduil said carefully. “If you visit and you find that you would rather stay with him than with us, we will understand.” Legolas cocked his head to the side. “Whatever is ailing you might have to do with the fact that the two of you are apart.” Legolas was incredulous. No, what was wrong with him was that he had been held a captive and raped for over a hundred years and couldn’t handle anyone being intense or insistent around him! “But if you want to stay here, we would love that as well!” Thranduil hurried to add. “Perhaps the two of you have bonded...”

“Bonded?” Legolas scoffed. “As if he’d bond with the likes of me…” He shook his head. “No, we are just… friends.” Elrond had been his master, the kindest master he ever had, until he didn’t need a master anymore. Just Elrond. Always Elrond. “I would not saddle Elrond with all of my troubles. He has enough of his own.”

“Do not speak of yourself like that.” His naneth scolded him firmly. “You are our sweet, little leaf. Anyone would be lucky to have your affection.” Legolas turned away. He did not want to talk about this anymore with his parents. They did not understand and part of Legolas hoped they never would. He did not want them to know the depths of his despair.

"I will not go back without his sons." His parents fell silent and Legolas knew he had somehow said the wrong thing. Perhaps he should have fallen from the waterfalls in Imladris after all. Legolas got up, pulling himself free from his parents, and left the room. He missed how his parents exchanged worried glances once he was gone.

“This has gone on long enough.” The Queen of Mirkwood told her husband. “What is happening to the twins is weighing Legolas down too much. It needs to stop.”

“It’s barely been a year.” Thranduil protested. “Legolas suffered over a hundred years and no one helped him. The twins didn't help him and they had the one chance. They're part of the reason he was raped within our borders." Thranduil's voice broke and he covered his face with his hands. "I couldn't keep him safe."

“He’s asked me to stop their punishment.” She revealed. “It makes his nightmares worse.”

“Well, if he went to Elrond’s, he wouldn’t hear them screaming.” Thranduil shook his head. His revenge made him feel as if he was making up for what had happened. He did not want to fail Legolas again. His wife pursed her lips and Thranduil looked much meeker in the following minutes.

“He won’t return until they can.” Thranduil sighed. He knew that much. The odd time that Legolas did reveal his mind to them it was usually when he was absolutely sure of what he wanted.

“So he is punishing himself while they are being punished. I do not understand our son sometimes.”

“At least we still have a son.” She reminded her husband.

“I will consider it.” Thranduil said. “I would rather have Legolas than revenge.” They both knew then that the twins would be released back to their father by morning light.

“Thank you.” The queen murmured. “I worry for him still.” She said. “He is not himself.”

“Should I call for Lord Elrond?” Thranduil asked for his wife's counsel on this matter. Legolas had said no, but he had lost some of the light he carried when he had been returned to them. They both saw it even if Legolas did not.

“No, he needs to go to him himself or else he will resent it, no matter how good our intentions might be.”



Meanwhile, Legolas was in his rooms, staring at the key in his hand. He had taken it from his Ada’s office-- had figured out which one would unlock the chains that the twins always wore now. Legolas hoped Thranduil would not be too angry with him when he found out what the prince was about to do. It was just— if the twins were being punished because of him, Legolas should be the one who got to decide when enough was enough. And Legolas had indeed decided enough was enough. It went against everything that had been drilled into him during his own enslavement, but he had decided to do something about his decision. Legolas was going to free the twins tonight.

He waited until his parents retired until their rooms. Then Legolas waited until the distant screams stopped. He knew from his own experiences that meant whoever had been with the twins were probably done with them. Legolas did not know how his father found elves capable of carrying out such a punishment, but his parents dismissed with his questions by telling him that he was very loved by their people. All the more reason for this savagery to stop.

Legolas slipped out of his room and into the night, slipping past the guards to the place where they locked the twins up for the night.He found Elladan and Elrohir sleeping, wrapped around each other as if they could protect each other from any more harm. Elladan covered Elrohir's body with his own as they huddled together for warmth and comfort. Legolas had heard about how his father had learned that Elrohir was Elladan’s weakness and that hurting Elrohir had been the only way to break the elder twin down. Legolas felt sick just recalling hearing some of the guards laugh about it. Elladan had broken hard. Legolas just hoped there was enough left of them for Elrond to put back together. Elrond helped him-- he could help his sons too.

“Elladan. Elrohir.” He said softly. The twins woke up quickly, too quickly, like they were too used to immediate cruelty. Legolas remembered too well what that felt like. “It’s just Legolas. I've come to take you home to your ada.” Elrohir gasped, grabbing on to his brother, whispering something Legolas couldn't make out.

“Is this a trick?” Elladan glared up at Legolas, but Legolas could see far enough past his facade. Elladan was broken. Hope stung far too much when someone was broken. Legolas remembered that all too well. He hated this-- he hated this with all his heart. Elladan stepped towards him and Legolas shied back.

"Don't touch me." He said too quickly, too harshly. Legolas expected Elladan to mock him, but instead the elder twin just stared at him in shock.

"It's not a trick." Elladan realized. He stood up unsteadily, trying to hide how one leg was lame. "You're helping us. Why?" Legolas did not have an answer that he felt like sharing. 

“Let's go.” Legolas used the key to unlock their chains. “Be quiet and hurry. We do not want to get caught.” Elrohir was the more obedient of the two, understanding what Elladan still did not. They were on limited time. Legolas was freeing them, but Thranduil was not. Legolas was rescuing them more than he was releasing them. Elladan finally  allowed his brother to pull him along, limping as they followed Legolas to the road. There a carriage was waiting, a carriage that Legolas drove to the lonely house on the cliff.

“Where are you taking us?” Elladan asked finally as the carriage came to a stop. "Ada will not want to see us."

“Home.” Legolas helped them out. “I’m taking you home.” He got them to the door before he rang the bell. It took a few minutes but then Elrond opened the door himself. Legolas noted that Elrond truly was alone in this great house-- no servants or friends giving with him. Legolas' mother had told him that Arwen and her children were staying with Celebrian.

“Legolas, you came home.” Elrond’s smile was just for him.Legolas felt a little dizzy so close to him at least, like an electric charge shooting through. It made it hard to concentrate, but they had bigger issues at hand.

"We need your help." Legolas stated, stepping to the side to reveal who traveled with him. Elrond's smile faltered when he recognized his children behind his friend.

“My sons.” They were beaten, dirty, and naked. Their eyes were wild and dim. They held each other up, waiting with bated breaths to see what their father’s judgment would be. “What have you done?” Elrond turned to Legolas who set his jaw defiantly, his blue eyes flashing as he stood up to the one elf he'd rather be embracing.

“I had enough of their torment." Legolas stated clearly. "I freed them."

"Come in, come in." Elrond's eyes were wide. Legolas was a changed elf before him. "Are you sure, Legolas?"

"Yes." Legolas stared off into the space behind Elrond. "I will come back later. I need to tell my father what I have done." Elrond made a soft sound of distress at Legolas' words.

"Stay until dawn." Elrond urged. He wanted to cross the distance between them, pull Legolas close into his arms, but now was not the time. He could tell by the defensive stance of Legolas' posture and the worried glances he kept casting over his shoulder. "I'll need some help with their wounds if you'd stay and help me." He held up a hand as a plea. "Please."

"Very well." Legolas finally stepped into Elrond's home. "I will draw them baths. That always helped me afterwards." Legolas found his way without any trouble and Elrond was too busy with his sons to figure out why. Elrond held each son close, kissing their brows as he and Legolas helped them into the bath. 

"You are welcome in my house." He assured his twins that still clung to each other, not that unlike when they emerged from the womb. "You have never left my heart."

"Thank you, Ada." They bowed their heads in unison, humbled and relieved. Legolas did not miss how Elrond's eyes strayed to him when he had spoken of his heart, but he did not want to decipher hidden meanings. He just wanted to face his own father after such a trespass. He slipped away when the twins' began to cry. He sent for healers to come assist Elrond and then he headed back to his parent's house, wishing more than anything that he could just stay here where he finally felt at home.

Chapter Text

Legolas walked back to the Mirkwood estate and sat outside of where Elladan and Elrohir had been imprisoned. Dawn was on the way, slivers of light about to peek over the mountains and on the sea. Legolas had enjoyed sunrises when he was young and foolish, when the whole world felt like a cage to keep him confined. Now he knew what a true cage felt like. Now he knew what home felt like. And being here on the Mirkwood estate was a strange combination of both. But for the first time in a long time, he allowed himself to bask in the rising sun.

This had been the most he had felt like himself in a long time.

“Legolas.” His father found him just after the sun did. “We feared the worst when we realized you had gone and then we noticed the twins were gone too.” Legolas saw how his father clenched his jaw. Legolas knew he was holding back-- he just wasn’t sure what. It couldn’t be rage. His father had never been good at hiding his anger. Legolas found that hated how his father held back around him, but he also hated how grateful he was. Legolas could not handle his father unleashed, not with the scars he bore from powerful men and crowns.

All kings sounded the same when they were angry and Aragorn had shown him just how much a king could get away with.

Legolas stood and pulled his tunic off, facing his father as he bared his skin and his long protected scars.

“Here are my scars, Ada. These are the only ones I dare to show you.” Thranduil didn’t care about the scars, not anymore, he only wanted to hold his son, but he knew that now was not the time. Legolas had been a willful child, but the elf who had returned to him was fearful and wrathful all at the same time. A strong wind might pull him eternally away and Thranduil feared losing Legolas forever the most. “These scars were made by A-Aragorn.” Legolas closed his eyes. He had a hard time naming the worst abuser of them all. “But it was under his hand,” and his body, “that I learned how no living creature should ever be treated, no matter how deserving they might be.” Thranduil just listened, giving his son his full attention. “I freed the twins, Ada. I brought them home to their father.” Legolas shivered, waiting for his father’s response, lowering his gaze back to the ground.

“You did the right thing.” Thranduil finally spoke, swallowing hard. He took Legolas’ tunic and helped his son put it back on. “You did a very hard thing, but it was the right one. I am sorry that I forced it to go on for so long. I did not want to face just how badly I have failed you.” The truth was bitter on his tongue but he spat it out anyway. Legolas deserved the truth. “I searched everywhere in the forest for you.”

“You have not failed me, Ada. Not now, not ever. You warned me about the Rangers back in the forest. It is my fault I did not listen.” Now was the time to pull Legolas close and hold his precious son. And so Thranduil did and Legolas allowed it. They had so little time left together. Legolas would not begrudge his father this moment of tenderness.

“Have you thought about what you are going to do now?” Thranduil asked when they were walking back to the estate together.

“I’m going to pack.” Legolas said simply. “My home is not here, Ada. No matter how much I want it to be.” They both had known this day was coming, but Thranduil was still not ready. He tried to hide his grief, offering his support instead.

“We knew you would have to return to him someday.” Legolas smiled but just barely. He had no intention of returning to Lord Elrond other than to say goodbye. He was going to set everything right. He would say his goodbyes here and let his parents assume the best. Then he would go to see Elrond and say his goodbyes there and let Elrond assume the worst. And then he was going into the mountains where he would finally be no more. Legolas would fade. He would fade by force, whether by his hand or by nature’s he had not yet decided. It was time to set it all back to how it should have gone if the elixir had never taken his will from him. Death seemed as if an old friend Legolas had missed meeting and now he looked forward to making her acquaintance.

Legolas packed. He hugged his Ada and Naneth and told them how much he loved them. For he loved them very much. If only things could have turned out differently.

Legolas’ parents wished him the best and every happiness and he smiled knowingly, his heart aching for the peace Death would bring. Legolas was almost there. He just had one more goodbye to go and for some reason that he already knew, this goodbye would be the hardest one.

“Legolas.” Elrond looked tired in the pale sunlight, tired but happy to see him. Legolas’ heart ached for a new reason entirely. Would his passing add more silver to Elrond’s dark hair? “May I?” Elrond reached for him and Legolas nodded, reaching for Elrond in return. He had already forgotten he had decided to keep distance between them. Elrond’s touch was so very gentle and his arms felt safer than Legolas remembered. “I missed you.” Elrond admitted as Legolas rested his head on his broad shoulder. His hand slipped down Legolas’ fine hair, as silky as it looked. Elrond allowed this one intimate touch since Legolas did not protest. “I am glad you came.” Elrond glanced at the pack that had been left by the door. “But I get the feeling you aren’t staying.” Legolas shook his head, not trusting himself to speak. He wanted to go. He wanted to die. But he wanted to stay here with Elrond and live also. “My sons are resting.” Elrond told him. “But they want me to let you know that once they are capable, they will go to their mother’s. They wanted you to feel safe here.” Elrond paused. “With me.”

Legolas’ face crumpled and he pulled away quickly, turning from Elrond. None of this was going to plan. He was going to fail his own plan if he didn’t head out the door this instant. But he couldn’t get his feet to move. He would not leave this kind elf with more questions than answers.

“I want to stay.” Legolas whispered. “I would love to stay here with you.” Legolas could almost imagine it-- how slow and steady their days and nights would be. He could be at peace here-- a realization that scared him more than he cared to admit. Legolas slowly turned to Elrond, wiping away silver tears that dared to fall from his eyes. “I just-- I’m trying to set everything right.”

“Explain it to me.” Elrond took his hand in his own and Legolas’s body shook with a silent sob at that consistent and kind touch. Elrond spoke to him in his familiar way, in the way they had forged together to make their thoughts now. Safe. Elrond was safe. “Come sit with me.” Legolas let Elrond lead him out into the gardens. They were freshly planted and the scent of clean earth was comforting. He could see Elrond’s care and gentle touch reflected in each of the different plants. Elrond treated everything with love and respect. It was something Legolas so admired about him. Elrond led him to a bench where they sat together, their knees brushing against each other. “Please tell me your plan.” Elrond requested, content to sit and wait with him, like he wasn’t frantically running out of time.

“I want to fade!” Legolas startled himself with his outburst. “I cannot bear this weight anymore. I am saying my goodbyes and then I’m going into the mountains.” And then he would never return. Legolas searched Elrond’s eyes for his reaction but the Elf lord’s face was carefully guarded.

“I see.” Elrond murmured, squeezing Legolas’ hand gently. “That is such a heavy burden to be carrying alone, my friend. Thank you for trusting me with it.”

“You’re not angry?” Legolas asked despite himself. He did not want to hurt Elrond, not with the kindness Elrond had always shown him.

“No.” Elrond assured him. “I understand why that is the path you feel you should take. Your right to fade, that ability to protect yourself from such grief and pain was forcibly taken away from you. It is only right that you have the power to take that back from the men who hurt you.”

“You never hurt me.” Legolas said softly. “Yet I feel as if I am punishing you for their sins.”

“Why?” Elrond asked carefully. “You know I will support you in finding your freedom and your peace.”

“My parents think we bonded.” Legolas looked down. He could not deny Elrond the truth. Despite himself, Legolas had come to believe his parents. He was too intune with Elrond, even over distances, for it not to be true. Elrond jerked back as he reacted, but he did not let go of Legolas’ hand. Elrond had never paused to consider if he and Legolas were bonded and yet, as he thought back to all their times together, all the signs were there. Had he and Legolas instinctually bonded? Mistaking his silence, Legolas spoke up, speaking another truth he held in conflict with the first: his own unworthiness. “But I am not of your caliber, so I figured you would not bond with the likes of used up Mirkwood whores.”

“If we have bonded…” Elrond sucked in a troubled breath. “Legolas, if we have bonded, I would see it as the greatest gift. You are lovely in body and spirit and being with you those precious days in Rivendell are always close to my heart.” Legolas’ mouth opened and he gazed at Elrond in shock. Elrond’s words were a balm to his soul.

“I would too.” Legolas whispered. “I missed you dearly, Elrond.” He had missed the simplicity between them, the easiness of it all. Elrond had been an extension of himself and he had been an extension of Elrond even though they had not realized it. It had all just clicked together of its own accord.

“And I missed you.” Elrond murmured. His thumb ran over Legolas’ knuckles. All the signs were there. Legolas was his bondmate and he was here to say goodbye. For all the immortality of elves, Elrond seemed fated by his mortal blood to always say farewell to those he loved. Perhaps that was why they had bonded at all. Legolas had need of him and Elrond...Elrond had needed Legolas.

“Are we bonded?” Legolas glanced over shyly. “I feel in my heart that it must be so.” He did not say that Elrond was part of him. How could he utter such a thing before he severed them forever?

“Yes, I do believe we are.” Elrond responded. “And as such, I would like to make a request.”

“What?” Legolas said cautiously, clearly dreading what Elrond might ask yet not wanting to refuse. He and Lord Elrond had bonded. He needed time to sit with that to figure out how he felt. He needed time that he did not have if he carried out his plan. And yet, Legolas could not abandon his plan. He needed to finally be in control of his own fate.

“Stay the week.” Elrond said simply, gazing into Legolas’ blue eyes. “And at the end of the week, if you still want to carry out your plan, let me come with you into the mountains and see it done.”

“You’d do that?” Legolas looked as if he’d cry. Elrond would travel out with him and be with him as he faded away? Legolas decided right then and there that would not be such a bad way to go. Elrond had quickly become one of the best parts of his life… not that there was much to compete with. Having Elrond for the end would be poetic and soothing. Elrond would make sure he would not suffer needlessly.

Sometimes it frightened Legolas with how much he trusted the Elf-lord with somber, silver eyes.

“Yes.” Elrond nodded. “The end of life should not be faced alone. I would offer even if you were not my bond mate. You are my friend, Legolas, and I would see you through good and bad.”

“Thank you.” Legolas leaned into Elrond’s shoulder, curling up like he used to in Imladris. “I’d like that very much.” Legolas had been so lonely as a slave, even as he had wished to be left alone by his captor. To face something so significant with Elrond by his side would be a great comfort indeed.

“I would do anything for you, Legolas.” Elrond replied, saying very little of what was in his heart except for this simple truth. “Absolutely anything.”

Chapter Text

Legolas was shown to a private suite-- one that had been clearly decorated with him in mind. There were calming greens and paintings that showed the Great Wood of his birth. Legolas missed Mirkwood. He would have liked to run under the boughs of the great oaks one last time, but that ship had sailed in more ways than one. Legolas explored the room and even unpacked. The more he thought about it, the pack wasn’t coming with him in the mountains. He didn’t need it. He was going there to die and that was it.

If he left his things here, maybe they could comfort Elrond in his absence. His permanent absence. Thinking about his plan made Legolas’ pulse skitter uncomfortably. It still felt right. And so he planned to continue with it. He imagined Death as a peaceful friend, not all that unlike Elrond in the sense of safety that has come to surround it. But that thought made him uncomfortable and so he let it go, floating away into the air as Legolas left the room to go find Elrond.

His Elrond. His bond mate. A sign from the Valar that there was a person who could love him, even with the scars carved into his body and his mind. Legolas was so happy it was Elrond. Of course, it would be Elrond. Elrond was so good. He wouldn’t be put off by all the issues that cling to Legolas like burrs from deep in the woods.

Elrond looked up and smiled as he entered the room as if he knew Legolas was coming. Ah, he probably did. Legolas paused, letting go of his awareness that he had been holding so close for so long living on his parents’ estate. He had been shielding himself all this time and not quite realizing just how much he was constantly doing it. Elrond’s presence flooded every one of Legolas’ senses and he couldn’t stop the laugh of delight that he wouldn’t explain.

Elrond felt like home.

“I would love to be your home.” Elrond dared to speak and Legolas glanced away. He squirmed slightly, feeling naked. Vulnerable. They would have to get used to this, this knowing that permeated them on two, very different levels. Legolas could read Elrond like he used to read Aragorn, on a physical tangible level, but that could not compare to how aware he was of Elrond on a psychic level. Now that their bond had been recognized, it thrummed between them, a binding, living thing that pulled. Longing, although what kind of longing could not be told, traveled from one consciousness to another and neither of them could tell where the longing began or where it ended. It was merely felt by both of them on a cellular and instinctual level.

Elrond didn’t know how to tell Legolas that he was just as overwhelmed as he was.

Legolas didn’t answer Elrond. He didn’t know how to answer Elrond. Things were very much different between them than they had been in Imladris. Back then, Legolas bowed and scraped to Elrond even if the Elf-lord had encouraged him not to. Now though, Legolas stood on his own, even if he was unsteady at times. Back then Elrond had to guess where he was at and now Elrond could feel and see exactly where he was. “I’m proud of you.” Elrond told him. “Are you hungry?” Legolas nodded and Elrond led him to the kitchen.

There, it was the Elf-lord who cooked for both of them, something that both flattered and embarrassed Legolas. Elrond should not have to humble himself for Legolas’ sake. Elrond was not bothered, happily cooking for Legolas. It did Elrond good to have someone around. It did him even better to have Legolas back with him. It was a joy to be able to provide for someone so important, even if Legolas was still unsure.

“Where is your staff? Don’t you have servants or cooks?” Legolas asked. “I don’t want you to go to all this trouble for me.” Ah. Legolas was still adjusting, and understandably so. He had been forced into service for so long that his sense of worth and his concern with hierarchies of powers were still growing and changing. The most abused person in the room instantly could pick out the most powerful one. And here, Elrond was not adhering to how Legolas’ understood power. And Legolas had been away from him so long that it was another adjustment after another adjustment.

“I don’t have them.” Elrond elegantly shrugged. “I don’t want them. I find it soothing to care for myself and for you. Just as I enjoyed making this house more into a home.” Elrond felt good when he could take care of someone he loved.

“I like my rooms.” Legolas said very quietly. “They make me feel at home.” Elrond’s smile was warm, but Legolas noticed the sadness. It seeped through the bond until Elrond noticed, cutting it off so effectively that Legolas almost thought he had imagined it at all.

“I’m glad.” Elrond answered him. “That was my hope in curating the pieces and putting them together.”

“I’m sorry.” Legolas spoke up suddenly. “I didn’t mean to give you false hope.”

“You did no such thing.” Elrond responded quickly. “You are not bound to me in a way that makes you mine to command and possess, Legolas. You are as you should be, a free creature who chooses his own path. I am blessed enough by being able to be a part of your journey.” It was painfully diplomatic but also beautifully true. Legolas sat with Elrond’s response while Elrond finished making their meal. He served them both quietly and carefully, waiting for Legolas’ reply.

“It still fucking sucks.” Legolas said before he even took his first bite, opting to take a sip of the wine first. It was Elrond’s first clue that Legolas was not fully at peace with his choice. Elrond would not manipulate the end one way or another. The choice needed to be Legolas,’ but it needed to be fully his.

“How?” Elrond prompted, sensing Legolas was stuck in how to articulate what he felt about this whole situation.

“It fucking sucks to find out that we’ve bonded, that there’s more,” Elrond’s curiosity lit up at that particular phrasing, “and I’m planning to go off into the mountains and die.” Legolas sighed. “Hasn’t my life had enough difficulties?” His eyes widened as he realized what he had implied. “Not that being bonded to you is any difficulty… my lord.” An old name for an old… friend. Legolas was falling back to what was easier for him, a place of subservience to a great Elf-lord. Well, two could play that game.

“All relationships come with difficulties, my prince. ” Elrond stressed Legolas’ title and Legolas finally smiled, a gentle huff escaping him. “As do most lives. However, I digress that you have had to face more than anyone should have to endure. And somehow escaped being a kinder person for it.”

“That’s shitty also.” Legolas nodded, sipping more wine. Elrond glanced at his untouched plate and Legolas meekly put down the wine glass. “Sorry.” He reached for his fork and quickly sampled the fish and vegetables. “It’s very good, thank you.” Elrond bowed his head and smiled graciously even as his mind puzzled over Legolas’ behavior. Thranduil was known for his love of wine, but even he must have noticed that Legolas preferred the wine to his meals.

“Thank you.”

“It’s an old habit.” Legolas nodded towards the glass. “It made the meals more bearable. The wine numbs me enough so that I can’t feel how fast my heart is beating every time someone glances at me or says my name. It didn’t dull the nightmares though and then I drank some more so I didn’t have to notice how heartbroken my naneth was each time she looked at me. I could feel her pain and knowing that it was my pain that was causing it-- it was too much. I’ve spent most of my life missing her and now that I had her back, I was the one hurting her.”

Elrond didn’t offer any anecdote for that. There were no words to take that pain from Legolas, no pretty speeches that could make it all better. “Everything that’s happened to me-- people say I’m so strong when I’m back at the estate, and I want to scream. I’m not strong at all. I’m barely scraping by.” Legolas’ hands trembled as he took another bite from his plate, his fork screeching against the china for a second. He and Elrond both winced. “And I knew coming back here, coming back to you, would help, but I didn’t deserve the help you always give me.”

“But you do now?” Elrond asked thoughtfully, meeting Legolas’ frantic gaze. He was honored Legolas would be so open with him, but he was also panicked inside that he might say the right thing. To be always thought of as so wise and yet-- so capable of being just as foolish.

“I-I don’t know.” Legolas stammered. He hadn’t thought of that. He had just come to say goodbye, but maybe… maybe he had come for more than that. Maybe Legolas had come for Elrond’s help. Maybe he was looking for one last reason to stay.



Chapter Text

The evening, while nice, had left Legolas with a lot to think about, particularly in concern to his future. Elrond didn’t mind that he excused himself early, ever the gracious host. They both needed time to sit with their respective heavy thoughts and so they both retired to their rooms to think and rest in peace and privacy.

It didn’t take long for the rage to come. Legolas screamed into the pillow the way a good slave was not supposed to, screaming his rage instead of his pleasure, utterly alone in a perfectly good bed. After the rage, came the tears. Something was wrong. Something was wrong with his plan and Legolas was both frustrated and relieved. His body shook with angry tears until his eyes were red and his head had begun to ache. Legolas curled up in a ball on his bed, staring at the wall. He hated being yanked around in every direction and now he had done it to himself. He had made his plan so he could finally be at peace… and yet...

Legolas wasn’t sure if he would find peace in Death, not like he had in Imladris with Elrond when everything was simple and easy between them.

Underneath the anger, there had been a terrible grief that threatened to leave him utterly empty. The grief was still there, throbbing inside of him, and Legolas didn’t know what to do. He didn’t dare leave his bed for fear the grief would drag him down where he might not ever be able to get back up. Legolas was being torn in two drastically different directions and it frustrated him to no end. Legolas tossed and turned until he finally tired himself out enough to start to settle down.

It took him hours to piece together that it was not just his grief. Legolas was feeling Elrond’s grief combined with his own and as he was slowly able to separate the two, Legolas was left with a hollow feeling inside of just how much pain Elrond carried around inside. No wonder he knew what to say and do when Legolas was falling apart-- he had much practice with his own heart.

“I wonder...” Legolas sighed. So much of his life had been following other’s orders, submitting to their will. He had wanted to live and die on his own terms, but now he had another heart in his care, and Legolas found himself wondering what would happen if he gave Elrond a chance. What if he could find a reason to live in giving Elrond a happier road than he had ever had before? Legolas could give Elrond part of his life and die later and maybe Elrond’s grief wouldn’t be so heavy. “I wonder if we could be happy.”

Legolas decided right then and there to give Elrond more than a week. He didn’t feel like telling the Elf-lord yet in case he changed his mind. But what Elrond had asked him at dinner still stuck out in his mind— had he come for help? He had avoided Elrond for so long that it would have been easier not to come at all. Something had led him here and just maybe it was his heart, his broken, ugly, scarred heart.

“Good morning.” Elrond greeted him in the hallway as they headed towards the kitchen. They were both dressed much more casually and they found it more comfortable to be around each other too. The bond was somewhat settled and that made Legolas feel more at ease also.

Legolas and Elrond ate breakfast together. It had been more of the same, Elrond preparing the meal except this time Legolas stood beside him helping as they went. And Legolas had to admit that Elrond was right-- it did feel good to be able to care for each other. Legolas wore his hair down, loose and free, and noticed Elrond’s eyes straying to his light blond hair more than once throughout the course of the morning.

“Elrond?”

“Yes, my prince.” Elrond’s lips twitched at the title, even though Legolas knew he meant it very seriously. Legolas shook his head and smiled.

“You can touch my hair, if you would like?”

“Why do you offer?” Elrond asked, his voice deepening. Legolas’ smile grew. He had come to realize that meant he had affected Elrond in some kind of way. He wouldn’t lie-- it felt good to have that kind of power over Elrond, even if he used it sparingly. It was nice to know his bond mate desired him after all.

“You can’t seem to stop looking at it.” Legolas answered lightly, tossing his head back. “And I truly don’t mind your touch.” He bit his lip. He had not meant to say that much. But Elrond would not know about some of the darker fantasies he had back at the Mirkwood estate. Fantasies that had featured Elrond a handful of times while Legolas relearnt himself and what made him feel good. Thinking about Elrond apparently seemed to do the trick and things had gone from there.

“I am honored.” Elrond’s eyes flashed. Legolas half expected him to rise from the table and take him just there, but he didn’t. That was just another fantasy. Legolas sighed, focusing back on his breakfast. It did no good to dwell on things that could not be. Imagining the two of them together was one thing, but actually joining with Elrond was another thing entirely. Legolas wasn’t sure if he could join with anyone after what had happened to him. He wasn’t sure he could bear it without falling apart or panicking. “What are you thinking about?” Elrond asked, having caught the hint of… arousal… from Legolas. Elrond wasn’t sure what he was expecting, but he wasn’t anticipating Legolas rising from the table and stalking out of the room. Elrond sighed, rising from his own seat and packing up the table. He composted the food and washed the dishes. Things were going swimmingly and they would only get worse if Elrond couldn’t think of something that might make Legolas want to stay among the living.

To be honest, Elrond wasn’t coping well with any of this. Valinor was supposed to be a place of rest and healing. Elrond was supposed to be at peace! But as he had found out, he felt adrift without a war to fight, a cause to champion, or a patient to heal. Valinor was supposed to be a time spent with family, but his wife was married to another (not to mention the small fact that she hated him). His children were either gravely injured or isolated. Elrond was alone.

And then there was the matter of his bondmate. Elrond laughed bitterly as his hands carved through the dark, fresh soil. Love was a thorn in his side. He and Legolas had never even spoken those words to each other, although Elrond supposed their actions had been saying them for some time. If he had known Legolas was his bond mate, Elrond would have visited him sooner. But he had thought it was best to give Legolas time to heal and reconnect with his family. Then when Legolas came back, he was a broken shadow looking for a place to rest. If Elrond failed this one last quest, he would be alone again. And that loneliness had Elrond wondering if maybe Legolas had the right idea about all of this.

That had been part of his plan when he said he would travel to the mountains with Legolas. He would help Legolas fade and then Elrond too would die. Their bodies would be given over to nature, beautiful nature, to be covered with moss and insects until they fed trees and plants with what was left of their bones. Elrond would not die because he couldn’t live without Legolas, no, he would die with Legolas because Elrond was tired of being left behind.

Elrond had not realized just how heavy his grief was until he was trying not to weep in the garden, struggling under the weight of it all. How long? How long had he been so burdened? Perhaps it had started with his parents or his brother. Perhaps the turning point had been with Celebrian spat in his face and stormed from his presence once last time. But his breaking point had been somewhere between his sons raping Legolas and Legolas choosing to die.

“Elrond.” Speaking of Legolas, he was here in the gardens. Elrond did not know how long he had been there and hoped he had not made too much of a fool of himself. Elrond raised his head and forced his hands to unclench. Soil fell from his stained fingers as he rose gracefully. Legolas had changed into a loose robe that was haphazardly tied shut. It had nearly slipped off one sharp shoulder and threatened to slip down more with each step Legolas took towards him. “You are not okay with this. You’re not okay with any of this, are you?” A gentle hand wiped away his tears and Elrond bowed his head. He was supposed to be stronger than this. He was supposed to help Legolas-- not the other way around.

“It’s all so heavy.” He whispered, tears springing anew. Legolas gently wiped those away too, pulling Elrond into his embrace. Elrond wrapped his arms around Legolas in turn, holding him close. He could feel where Legolas had filled out some, where his muscles had returned. Legolas’ robe slipped from his shoulder, but neither of them moved to replace it as Elrond buried his face into that bare shoulder. Legolas did not flinch at the feeling of Elrond’s tears on his naked skin, just shushed him and held him a little more tightly.

“You don’t have to carry it alone, Elrond. I’m here now.” And if Elrond’s hair was more damp from Legolas’ own tears, neither elf commented on it.

“I’m supposed to be strong for you.” Elrond broke a little more as he pulled back and Legolas frowned, folding his now empty arms across his chest.

“You are, Elrond. Just as I will be strong for you.” Legolas assured him. “I’ve decided to put my plan on hold.” He hadn’t meant to tell Elrond yet, but then he had found Elrond crying in the garden and it had felt right. Elrond needed hope. He needed something to hold on to.

“What?!” Elrond’s head reared up. “Why?”

“Because I want to give us a proper chance.” Legolas gave him a tight smile, one that Elrond quickly recognized as nervous. “You’re my bond mate. That has to mean something. That means I have to mean something… to you…”

“You do.” Elrond acknowledged, tipping his head to a side. “You mean a great deal to me.”

“Romantically?” Legolas’ voice cracked at the end. “I mean would you ever want to kiss me or be with me?” His blue eyes widened and then Legolas blushed. Elrond was granted a rare sight of that blush traveling down Legolas’ chest and he wondered for just a moment if the blush went all the way down…

“Aye.” He breathed out slowly. “But there is no rush, Legolas. If you truly want to explore this between us. We have time.” Legolas blinked slowly and then smiled like the rising sun breaking over the mountains.

“Okay.” And Elrond realized that Legolas had expected him to refuse, to reject him entirely, and how his heart ached for the prince at such a painful thought. He had found Legolas desirable ever since they had met-- and more so with each passing day that they had spent together. It took a lot for Elrond to admit this-- recognizing that perhaps he bottled up too much. He had always tried to overcompensate for his humanity, but he had taken it too far. He was allowed to weep. He was allowed to need others. Elrond was allowed to desire.

“I need you as much as you need me.” He said suddenly, breaking the silence between them.

“Oh.” Legolas sat with that, pulling it apart and putting it back together again. Elrond had always seemed so unflappable, but Legolas was starting to see it now, how he tried to hide his needs from others. How he kept his focus on others. “I’m going to be here for you from here on out.” Legolas smiled bravely. “Just like you’ve been there for me.” It felt natural to allow love to flow between them, especially after such a moment, but the words got caught in Legolas’ throat. “I care for you, Elrond. I care for you very deeply. I want to be here for you.”

“Thank you.” Elrond murmured. He took Legolas’ face in his hand, neither of them caring that they were still soiled by the garden dirt, and kissed his forehead chastely. “Thank you very much.”



Chapter Text

The days slipped by more slowly without the heavy deadline looming over them. Elrond woke up to find that Legolas had finally joined him during the night. He had wondered when they might fall into the old habit of things and here they were.

If Elrond was being honest, he slept better with Legolas next to him. If Legolas was honest, he’d admit to the same.

Although some things were clearly different than last time. For example how Legolas lay half-naked in Elrond’s bed, limbs sprawled out. His hair slid down his back and Elrond dared to cross the scant distance between their bodies to stroke that silky soft hair. He hoped that Legolas had not had any nightmares last night, but no matter the reason, Elrond was glad to be waking up to his prince yet again.

Legoals shifted, pressing his face against Elrond’s muscular torso, breaching the distance in his own way.

“I can feel you staring.” Legolas smirked sleepily into Elrond’s equally bare chest. “Your raving appreciation of my beauty while I sleep is waking me up.” Elrond checked the bond and chuckled, rumbling in his chest.

“I didn't mean to wake you. I merely wanted to appreciate the view.” He answered cheekily. He was too old for this, for flirting first thing in the late morning, and yet, he craved more.

“What would you compare me to?” Legolas hummed, pressing a little more against Elrond. He had been lonely at the Mirkwood estate-- he had missed Elrond and the intimacy that now came easily when they were together.

“You are more beautiful than Imladris and Valinor put together.” Elrond praised, running his fingers through Legolas’ long beautiful hair. “If you were a painting, I would never be able to look away.”

“Now I know you’re lying.” Legolas laughed, cracking one blue eye open. That was then he realized their state of undress and pulled back quickly. “Is this okay?” He asked after an awkward moment passed. “Is it okay that I lie here like this and touch you like that?” Elrond nodded before adding a question on his own.

“Is it okay that I admire you when I look at you?” Legolas smiled faintly before nodding. He tucked an errant strand of hair behind his pointed ear.

“Despite everything that has happened to me, I like knowing that you desire me.” He admitted shyly. “It gives me hope that maybe someday my life will feel more normal.”

“I will do everything in my power to give that life to you.” Elrond vowed, leaning forward. His hand came up to cup Legolas’ check, a touch that the younger elf willingly leaned into. Legolas covered Elrond’s hand with his own, turning to kiss Elrond’s hand gently.

“Just walk alongside me, sit with me like you’ve always done. That would be enough.” Legolas murmured. “Everything in my life became better when you walked in that afternoon back in Minas Tirith.”

“I never heard your side of the tale.” Elrond raised an eyebrow. “I am often told I am quite formidable when people meet me for the first time.”

“I did not find you frightening.” Legolas shook his head. “I was intrigued by you despite myself. I made A-Strider angry because I noticed you.”

“And what did you notice?” Legolas was back in bed, curled up in the Elf-lord’s arms-- his safe haven.

“Your eyes were kind. Pretty even.” Legolas’ eyes sparkled as he gazed into those silvery gray depths. “You didn’t look at me like the others did. Most leered at me, some pitied me, but you somehow looked at me differently. Like you respected me.” Legolas finished quietly. “I didn’t know what to do at the time-- still very much stuck in the mindset he fucked into me.” He trailed off as he recounted that darkness. Legolas knew he couldn’t run from it anymore, even if he only wanted to hide away from his awful memories. It was time to face them. “I thought he was going to let you fuck me but then he tied me to the bed and he left me there. He liked to do that to me; he knew how nervous it made me to be left defenseless and waiting.” Legolas shivered.

Aragorn was dead. He couldn’t hurt him anymore than he already had.

“I’m sorry.” Elrond whispered.

“I thought of you.” Legolas made a mischievous face. “I thought of you and how curious you were. You were powerful, but your eyes were sad underneath the kindness.” Legolas ‘ expression faded into sadness. “And then he found me and fucked me hard before he told me he was done with me. He told me I was useless.” Legolas was trembling, couldn’t stop from trembling as he approached his limits. Elrond didn’t say anything. Legolas had brought this up and he would decide when they were finished with this subject even with how it upset them both. “You know, I had stopped thinking of it being rape with him because he had utterly owned me. And then he discarded me like trash.” Legolas hung his head. “I felt everything he told me deep in my fea. I was useless and worthless.”

Elrond sucked in a troubled breath and Legolas looked up at him with a small smile. “I can feel you resisting the urge to tell me how worthy and loved I am.”

“I can’t help it.” Elrond returned the wry smile. “I see all that you suffered and how you did not let it consume you. Most people would have given in and become dark and bitter, but not you.”

“There is enough darkness in the world.” Legolas agreed in his own way. “I did not want to add to it.”

“And that makes you even more remarkable.”

“Thankfully, he gave me to you because once you chased me down, I realized you were serious about taking care me even if I didn’t trust you not to fuck me yet.” Legolas used the word ‘fuck’ aggressively, hurling it liberally into their conversation. “And now, now I think I might want to fuck you someday.” That shocked a laugh out of Elrond— a laugh that was not well received.

“Wait— you’re serious?” Elrond’s brow furrowed.

“It’s not that offensive.” Legolas grumbled, well on his way to being offended. It felt as if Elrond was dismissing the very vulnerable thing he had just shared as a joke. Like they may be bond mates, but there was no way that they’d be bonded like that.

“It’s not that.” Elrond frowned, realizing his mistake. “I didn’t think you saw me like that… l-like someone desirable.” He stuttered, fumbling over his words as he hurried to relieve Legolas’ stung feelings. Legolas frowned over at him until he realized Elrond wasn’t lying.

“Do you really think so poorly of yourself?” Legolas scoffed. “You are as handsome as you are kind. I have desired you for some time but thought you indifferent, especially after what happened with your sons.” He paused before he continued. “But then on the boat, it felt like we were moving towards a more physical relationship and then you were gone.”

“I thought I was moving too fast. I wanted to give you space so you could decide what you wanted.”

“I wanted you!” Legolas startled them both with his slight cry.

“Tell me the truth…” Elrond asked tentatively. “Am I too late?” His hand was on Legolas’ cheek again, the blond elf leaning back and watching him carefully with hooded eyes.

“You took your fucking time.” Legolas told Elrond. “But if you act now, you might be forgiven.” Elrond leaned in, their foreheads bumping against each other and then their noses. Legolas huffed, smiling as he met Elrond’s eyes with a challenge in his own blue eyes.

“What?” Elrond asked, the corners of his mouth turning upwards.

“About time.” Legolas hooked a hand behind Elrond’s neck urging him closer. Elrond closed the distance between them, finally bringing their lips together. Legolas’ heart leapt in victory, kissing Elrond back ferociously, like an elf starved for affection.

Their kisses deepened until their tongues slid against each other, a new kind of exploring developing between them as hands dipped over planes of skin and old, healed scars. Elrond had as many scars as Legolas did and Legolas found himself wanting to know the story behind each one. But he just kissed the Elf-lord a little more soundly. And as their hands slipped lower, every part of Legolas sang with how right being with Elrond felt. They completed each other.

Elrond needed him and Legolas was all too happy to be needed. Now they could move on to desire, fulfilling this new need between them, as their exploration of each other became much more intimate in nature.

They were home. They were with each other.

Chapter Text

The Lords of Imladris-By-the-Sea were a merry couple. Seeing them together brought smiles to those who spotted them in the market-- as the lords freely shared their smiles with all who came across their path. Their home was bursting with life, light, laughter, and love-- whether it was just the two of them or their large family was gathered all together. Legolas flourished under Elrond’s care, much like their large garden. But truth be told, Elrond was the one who truly came to life under Legolas’ love and affection. Those who had known him before remarked on how light of heart he had become and most of them agreed it was because he had finally found his bondmate, he had finally found his Legolas.

Not many knew all of their story because those who did kept Legolas and Elrond’s privacy and trust by keeping the story to themselves. But the majority of Valinor knew that their happiness had been hard won and so found themselves rejoicing along with them. Even Celebrian sent an actual meaningful gift on the eve of their wedding, penning her heartfelt congratulations.

Legolas and Elrond were always seen together in public and at family gatherings. And for the rare, fond moments: Legolas leaning over and laughing at something the twins had said, there was also forgiveness. Trust had yet to be earned-- Elrond was always next to Legolas when the twins came to visit, but there was forgiveness and healing slowly over the course of the years. The twins were not over often, but once a year Legolas invited them into his home for Elrond’s birthday feast. Arwen and her children were visited much more often now that Legolas had discovered he had an ally who understood how convincing Aragorn could be while abusive in private.

After they got through their tears, they cultivated joy together. Arwen, Elrond, Legolas, and Arwen’s children learned how to be a family. Arwen’s children grew, living full, rich lives with their mother’s family-- their father nothing but a distant memory. Legolas' parents visited often, relishing how changed their son was, how free he was with his laughter and how his eyes sparkled even on the cloudiest days.

"Thank you." Thranduil murmured privately to Elrond one day. "I am so glad he's found such happiness with you."

"You never expected to be related to me." Elrond gave Thranduil a wry smile to which the Elven king laughed, shaking his head.

"I did not expect it, but I am grateful for such an occurrence now."

And when all their family had gone home, Elrond and Legolas were complete with each other. They led quiet lives when it was the two of them, growing in years and spirit, forever immortal. They kept their garden, they painted terrible pictures of each other to make themselves laugh, and they drank wine all nestled together under the stars at night. And sometimes, on very special occasions, Elrond was permitted to see just how far Legolas' blush traveled down, a path he then traveled with his mouth until Legolas was shaking and undone. Elrond loved the nights that he could make Legolas forget all his past pains and just remember pure pleasure with his bondmate.

Legolas and Elrond both found their healing in Valinor, but all along it had been with each other. And when the tears and nightmares came for Legolas, although they grew fainter each time, Elrond was there to hold him close and keep him safe. And if Elrond’s heart grew too heavy, although it grew lighter with each passing day, Legolas was there to lift his head and to kiss away his worries.

And so they were happy until the end of their days, except the end of their days never came, on that distant, blessed shore. Their existence was long and meaningful and any thoughts of traveling to the mountains and fading away were forever forgotten.