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Arwen and Legolas- "Where Thou Art Not, Desolation"
Chapter 2: Conflicting Thoughts
Legolas's heart stilled, he couldn't breathe and his stomach was in such a nervous state it was all he could do just to bow to Lord Elrond. Legolas tried discreetly to look toward Arwen again, just to meet eyes if but for a moment. Her eyes met his and his heart shot back to life again, racing at a frantic pace, yearning to hold her. Legolas looked away quickly so as not to alert her father. Both of their fathers thought that they had stamped out their relationship long ago. That, coupled with the extended absence from each other and their prolonged exposure with their betrothed both King and Lord were convinced there would be no other problems.
When all formalities were said and done the Rivendell elves were escorted to their lodgings. Legolas once again watched the woman he loved walk away, arm in arm with her betrothed. Pain shot through him as he realized that Arwen may not love him anymore. They had tried to keep in touch but letters were often intercepted and when they were allowed to be sent they were short, mundane, day-to-day letters so that their fathers wouldn't suspect anything. Now, however, Legolas was confused and worried that Arwen had decided that she love another. The pain at the thought was too much to bear and Legolas wished that, if that was the case, that the earth would swallow him up and he would cease to exist body and soul. He would not be able to handle that. Legolas watched Haldir as he leaned over and tenderly kissed Arwen's dark head and he noticed that though Arwen tried to lean into it, her body was still stiff. Exultation then guilt washed over him. He really shouldn't love Arwen. They shouldn't love each other. They had both been betrothed to another since birth but that had not stopped their love from blossoming. One cannot tell one's heart who to love, it just loved. But it was just so wrong and yet...so right. Their honor, their fathers honor, their kingdoms honor, and their peoples trust all lay on the line. They had to put their own feelings aside and serve their kingdom. But would it really be bad for their kingdom? Yes, it probably would. It would show inconsistency, deception, and disgrace by the kingdoms head. But why should he be trapped by a promise that was made by his father without his consent? He shouldn't have to. It wasn't his promise.
Before Legolas could persuade himself any farther about honor he shut off the trail of thought. He loved Arwen, he always had and he always would and that would be wrong to deny. It would be the ultimate betrayal of self.
With that satisfactory response Legolas turned on his heel and walked away. He would have to wait to talk to Arwen till he could get her alone at the dance.
Chapter 3: The Grove
After the formalities of the initial greetings were over the Winter Solstice dance began. The main purpose of the dance was to allow the young elves a chance to meet others from the different elven kingdoms. The older elves looked forward to the merriment, too. It was an opportunity to meet new friends and catch up with old friends, and also a time of relaxation and celebration that didn't come around very often.
As for Arwen, she both loved and hated these dances. Loved for she saw dear friends that distance kept her from seeing often, and most importantly the dance was one of the only occasions she could see Legolas. But on the other hand she hated such events for she has to act the part of the social, extraverted, proper princess which she found exhausting and so against her real self it seemed like lieing. But the worst part for her was that she was forced by her father to spend most of these events by Haldir's side and being his dance partner. She had to fight to find a spare moment to slip away and spend time with Legolas.
She was strolling along half-heartedly with Haldir around the edge of the small field where the dance was being held. It was just outside the palace and right next to the forest. The field had been set up and prepared especially for the dance. Just then she saw him on the other side of the field. He was with his younger brother, Tarath walking casually, but yet he looked strangely anxious turning his head from side to side as if searching. The very sight of him made her weak in the knees and almost knocked her down with the power of the emotions that she felt for him. It was as if her heart had burst into flames and her head was in a stupor where nothing else in the world mattered but him. At that moment, he turned his head in her direction and their eyes locked. Arwen felt as if the world was falling around her. Everyone and everything else seemed to disappear except for them. A slight, crooked smile touched Legolas' lips as they stared. The smile that Arden loved so much, that made her heart stops.
"Would you like to dance, my dear?" Haldir inquired of her.
"Huh? What? Um, oh yes." She replied as she ripped her eyes away from Legolas' gaze brutally brought back down to earth at Haldir's question.
Maybe after this dance I can avoid dancing with him for the rest of the night. She thought as Haldir led her to the center of where all the couples were dancing. And of course he has to bring us to the middle of the floor. He always rather enjoys being the center of attention. She thought with a snigger.
As the music started and the slow dance began, Haldir pulled her closer while she looked around for Legolas. She found him holding the hand of a beautiful elf with long, wavy blond hair and leading the maiden out to dance. Her heart felt as if it was broken and it was all she could do to stand.
She knew that woman, Vanadesse, the daughter of Thranduil's chief commander, Valin. And another thing keeping Legolas and her apart like her being betrothed to Haldir wasn't a difficult enough problem for their love to face. Legolas also had a betrothed, Vanadesse.
Over the years, Thranduil and Valin had been pushing them together more and more. Not that Vanadesse needed to be pushed. She was perfectly happy with the match. And why wouldn't she be? Arwen thought scathingly.
But why was Legolas asking her to dance? Was it because he felt obligated just as she was to dance with Haldir? Or were his feelings for her something more? It had been such a long time since Arwen had seen him, and maybe he had moved on. But no, how could that be? How could he move on? I could never move on. But maybe I've just been living under a false pretense and hope that he still loves me and that his love for me is as strong as my love for him. Maybe I've just been telling myself what I want to hear. Ouch, it hurts so bad to even watch him dancing with her, his hand on her back. Ouch. I have to know. I must talk to him.
* * *
The sky grew black and the moon and stars shone on the forest lighting the pale skin of the firstborn in a delicate, shining glow as the dance wore on. Laughter and music filled the air as the elves enjoyed a night of well-earned frivolity inbetween all of the war and problems that always seemed to plague the fair race. The occasions were they could let the childlike, merry sides of their nature reign were becoming more and more rare.
It's a breathtaking night. If only I could enjoy it. Arwen thought as she stood with Haldir at the edge of the field.
Her stomach felt queasy with worry about what his feeling were for her now, and it felt as if she could not wait one more second to be close to her Legolas. Well, at least she hoped he was still hers. The dance had been going on for two hours, and they had yet to dance or even talk.
"Arwen dear, I just spotted some old friends would you like to go over and greet them with me?" Haldir asked.
"I'm fine here, just gazing at the beautiful night sky. You should go and say hi to your friends though. Don't let my pondering stop you." Arwen replied.
Finally, he's gone. He hasn't left my side since we left Rivendell. She thought with extreme annoyance. Luckily, he believed that nonsense about stargazing, as if I would be worrying about the sky on this night. If there's one good thing about Haldir it's that he's very gullible. If Ada would stop telling him to never leave my side I might actually get some solitude. Now if only I could find Legolas.
Just then she felt a hand on her waist. He's back already! She thought in exasperation. But then her favorite voice in all Middle-Earth whispered in her ear, "I'll be in our grove." And he walked briskly away past the crowd and into the trees.
She hurried up to Haldir, "I feel much peopled out. I'm going to go rest for a while. I'll be back before the dance is over. Tell my Ada if he inquires, please."
"Oh yes, dear. Are you all right? Would you like me to escort you?"
"No, no. I'm fine I just need some alone time. I never have been much of one for these parties. I'll be back."
She turned and walked off as quickly as she could. Breaking into a run once she reached the trees.
Hopefully that excuse will hold. I'll make something up later to cover up if I have to."
* * *
Their grove was a place that Legolas had discovered during one of his many youthful wanderings. Not far from the King's halls it was a grove next to a river where it formed a sparkling pool fed by a warm mountain spring. Except for the trail of the river the whole area was surrounded by tightly knit together trees. So tight, that one had to crawl through exactly the right spot inbetween two trees to get in. This was probably the reason no one had discovered the grove before. They were the only ones who knew about this majestic place, and they had been coming their together for years. It was their one place in the world where they were untouchable; the one place where they could just be together.
As Arwen crawled through the small opening between two pines and stood up in the grove a rush of joyous memories hit her. This was the place Legolas had first taken her so they could be alone. And also, on that same visit, where they had shared their first kiss at around the age of 16. When she was 17, they had put in a tree swing on a branch that hung out almost over the water. They had spent every chance they could over the years together in that grove: talking, laughing, swinging, swimming, holding hands, kissing and being thoroughly complete and content in the other's company. These were the only times were they were truly able to enjoy being in love as their situation prevented them from most of the time. The time spent in the grove held Arwen's favorite, most precious, happiest memories. But the hours spent there were few and far between, just fleeting moments in the life span of an elf. But these moments meant everything to the two elves who met there.
All of these memories hit Arwen in the split second while she straightened up. His back was leaning against the maple tree that held the swing. Arms folded, standing still. The moon and stars seemed to spotlight unto the grove to shine right upon his handsome, solemn face. The expressions on that face were usually serious and reserved. But Arwen knew him well enough to know the strange, random humor he had that would bring laughter to his eyes and a smile to his lips. And also the kind, loving expressions he wore when he was around her. He smiled and laughed more easily around her too just as she could be more free and herself around him. All of this just made her love him even more. He was looking at her with her favorite smile once again. "Oh how is it that he always looks so good." Arwen thought. Her heart seemed to have stopped.
"I hoped you would come." He said with a strange expression on his face. Almost happy, but yet nervous and wondering.
"Of course I came. Why wouldn't I come? I'm just glad that you told me to meet you here."
"Well, of course I had you meet me here. Why wouldn't I?" he asked with a searching look.
During this short exchange Legolas had moved from against the maple and they had been moving closer to one another as if pulled in by some magnetic draw. The same pull that had been there from the first moment they had met.
"I wasn't sure if...I didn't know whether-"
But at that moment her words were cut short as his lips met hers. The kiss they had both been waiting for for what felt like centuries.
In that moment, all her doubts and worries fled away. Everything was perfect. All was how it was meant to be. This was always how she felt when they kissed. They fit together, and it felt so right. The way his gentle, thin lips felt against hers. The was his right arm wrapped around her waist holding her close while his left hand softly caressed her hair.
"So you still love me?" They both asked together as they pulled apart at the same time.
"Yes, of course." They simultaneously replied accompanied by slight chuckles.
It was like they didn't even have to ask the rest of the questions that had been gnawing at them before. Of course they loved each other; it seemed ridiculous that they had ever doubted that fact. The day they stopped loving each other would be the day the entire universe fell down.
"I love you, Arwen. More than I could ever begin to put into words." He said with such tenderness and love in his voice that it nearly blew her away.
"I love you, too. More than even seems possible." She replied.