Better Than This by Karasu

Story notes: January 24, 2002
Notes: Movie-based

Dialogue in italics is spoken in Elven.
It doesn't matter what I want
It doesn't matter what I need
It doesn't matter if I cry
Don't matter if I bleed
You've been on a road
Don't know where it goes or where it leads

-- "It Doesn't Matter" ~ Alison Krauss & Union Station
BtVS soundtrack

The Council slowly parted after plans had been arranged and the Fellowship officially set. Merry and Pippin returned to the kitchens to taste more delicacies while Sam and Frodo went to explore and talk between themselves. Gimli departed with his own interests; as did Boromir, after another firm look-over of Aragorn. Gandalf had wandered off for his own purposes and left the final two members of the Fellowship standing silently. Elrond himself was still there, standing and slowly making his way into his great halls. With a glance expressing no emotion he gazed at both Man and Elf before leaving them.

Aragon watched the king go and made to follow his path indoors.

"Wait." Legolas touched his fingers lightly to the other's arm. "May I not speak with you?"

"Not now, mellon."

Withdrawing his hand, Legolas gave a reluctant nod in acceptance. He stepped back, allowing Aragorn a way of passage. He dared not say more, knowing that if he initiated anything else, an unpleasant topic would surface.

In the halls Legolas wandered alone. Evening had fallen and gentle lights were burning throughout Rivendell, creating a breath-taking sight for all of the visitors. He had changed earlier from his robes and now wore pale silver leggings and a pearl-colored tunic. He wore no weapons, knowing that this, for the time being, was one of the few remaining safe places within Middle Earth.

The quest facing him would be challenging and was so important to every beings' existence. It was almost too much to think of, but his heart urged him to take part on behalf of his kind. He already found himself with a strong liking to the hobbit Frodo Baggins and was impressed with the Halfling's determination to do what was right. Not to mention the presence of his lover, Aragorn.

'He wishes not to speak yet. Are we to be separated on this path?'

He took pause on a wide balcony and looked over the courtyard crossed by a stream and a small waterfall. Plant life easily grew about the place and made a natural garden to capture an idyllic scene. Perhaps he would take more peace himself if the two figures on the bridge where not who they were.

Sadly he watched the exchange, catching the passing of Arwen's silver pendent and the gentle, loving kiss that followed.

"Would you receive mortality as she does?"

Elrond's presence wasn't as much of a surprise as it should have been, and Legolas bowed in greeting before turning his gaze back to the figures below. It took a long while for him to give his answer. "I find it a difficult decision, my Lord. My heart sings, but part of that choir is that of my heritage."

"Do you find her rash in her decision?"

Slightly startled by the question, the blond-haired elf caught his Lord's gaze. "No, my Lord. I find her much braver in her love."

Aragorn slowly pulled away from Arwen and walked away with the same hesitant and guilty pace, his face begging forgiveness. She watched him with a sad smile, but with such hope.

"He breaks her heart, yet she hides it well." Elrond slipped to the Common Tongue before turning to face Legolas fully.

Feeling vulnerable, the prince smoothed a hand over his tunic. "My Lord?"

A faint touch, gentler than most would think, grazed Legolas' hair. "You will find sadness with Estel. His guilt weighs heavily on his shoulders."

"And yours, my Lord?" he whispered back, eyes shaded.

Elrond's hand withdrew as he gave his goodbye, "You know of that without my answer. I bade you farewell. Keep a close eye on your companions and watch for the straying Boromir. Your heart sings, and on this journey you must find what or whom it sings for. Soon I will leave for the West." The last was both warning and invitation. Slowly Legolas matched his gaze to the elder elf's and gave his answer silently.

Carefully Legolas withdrew, lowering his eyes and bowing as he departed and returned to the halls where his wanderings might continue.

The morning brought on a refreshed feeling, freeing Legolas from his heavy heart of the night before. He dressed for travel and prepared his weapons that would be needed. He brought little else and then headed down towards the gate where the Fellowship was to meet within the next two hours. He expected to be early, and it did not bother him; soon enough he would be interacting with eight newfound companions daily.

Surprisingly there was another standing beside a horse as he descended the stairs. His light attitude didn't fade, in fact, his smile brightened somewhat as he approached Aragorn. "Saying goodbyes, I see."

"Legolas." Aragorn didn't face him even as the elf approached the horse to stroke the beast with a farewell of his own.

Frowning, the Elvin prince searched out his friend's eyes in the hooded face. "Melethron, why do you not approach me?" he questioned softly.

Sighing nearly inaudibly, Aragorn approached the elf and caught his hands. Their foreheads touching, he murmured, "Legolas, Mellon, we are nothing more than fellow comrades in this Fellowship. They mustn't know, they needn't know."

Hurt by the simple words, the Prince of Mirkwood moved his head back a bit to better see Aragorn's expression. "Are you so ashamed?"

To reassure, the Ranger cupped one pale cheek with his calloused hand and said, "Nay, never. Never." Again his voice lowered; "They cannot understand. We mustn't stray from this path..."

Legolas could say nothing, hiding away his feelings and choking back words he wished to say. His heart's song found itself muted with the new words, the new plea. Withdrawing his hands, Legolas moved away with natural grace. "So you wish it, so it will be, son of Man. This path will part us." 'So you have made your decision.'

"Nay, Legolas-"

He wasn't allowed to continue as others arrived, Merry and Pippin chattering over breakfast pastries and Gimli scowling upon seeing the Elf in their midst. Legolas moved farther from who should now know only as Dunadan and found a perch on the flat rail of the stairway. His body tingled with the sensation of eyes on him, but he would not allow himself to give in.

After all, the others wouldn't understand and all must focus attention on the task at hand, they mustn't stray.

'But I'm yours, Melethron, what else might I be?'
Chapter end notes: mellon = friend
melethron = lover twas what I found from one of the earlier fics I read, can't remember the name right now, sorry.....
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