The Moth & The Flame

BY : Avaloyuru
Category: +Third Age > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 2384
Disclaimer: I do not own any copyright to the Tolkien/Middle-Earth Fandom, nor his canon characters or languages. I do not receive any form of compensation for this fanfiction. Original characters are my property.

There is more danger in the forest than shelob (spiders) and they walk on two legs.  Looking forward to returning the forest patrols, Tauriel reunites with some of her friends only to learn a little more about the King’s past that intrigues her.  More importantly an old friend forces her to face her own feelings about him.

~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~

“Since when do my wishes mean nothing!?”  Thranduil exploded angrily, his silvery blonde tresses flying behind him as he turned to face the small golden haired elf seated in one of the chairs before the hearth in his private study. 

“Thranduil...”

“No!  Not this time, nothing you say will stay my anger.”  He cut her off, his eyes narrowing as he stepped closer to her.  “This is inexcusable even from you!”  He exclaimed as he leaned down, grasping the arms of the chair to steady himself.  “This is not Lórinand Gilaiwë!”

The tension in the room was thick as Tóriôn stood silently at the corner of the hearth, praying he would not be noticed.  He had witnessed lovers quarrels between these two many times over the long centuries they had known each other.  Never had he seen Thranduil so angry that he actually trembled in his struggle to maintain his calm demeanor.  Glancing quickly at Lady Gilaiwë, he swallowed with difficulty as he noted the flush of her skin as she lifted her chin in defiance, her dark blue gaze fixed on that of the Elvenking.

“If you would allow me to explain.”  She stated quietly, refusing to shrink away from him.  Yes, he was beyond angry with her and she understood that he had every right.

“I have been beside myself with worry.”  Thranduil stated, pushing himself away from her to resume his pacing in front of the hearth.  “You were supposed to be here yesterday. With no word from you I could only assume the worst.”  He continued, his tone quieter but no less angry as he glanced between the two of them.

“I was delayed in Lake Town...”

“You had no cause to be there.”  Thranduil stated, glaring at her as he folded his arms across his chest.

“But I did.”  Gilaiwë insisted, shifting slightly in the chair as she glance at Tóriôn.  “I thought it better that I go instead of Laûrläéthëe.”

“What are you talking about?!”  He asked, his tone more demanding than inquisitive as he stared at her.  “She arrived here safely over a week ago and said nothing of this to me.”

“Yes.”  She sighed, nodding toward him.  “And I have been in Lake Town since then.  The death of Smaug has brought many from other lands flooding into Erebor.”  She stated, meeting his gaze evenly.  “There is a sickness there that is spreading.  The human healers have not been able to contain it without succumbing to it themselves.”

“I am aware of this.”  He told her, a deep frown forming on his brow.  “I have sent nearly half of my healers there to assist them.”

“And they are doing everything they can.”  She replied, her expression softening as her eyes implored him to understand.  “Fládëithnôr has also sent additional healers.  It took longer than I expected to get things taken care of.  I had not realized how much time had passed.”  She told him apologetically.

“I wish you would have informed me.”  Thranduil stated as he sank heavily into the chair opposite her, some of his anger dissipating.  “Captain Lárasarnë has reported the presence of animal traps being set within our border.  They followed a trail of odd footprints as close as a few miles west of the palace grounds.”

“Why do you say odd?”  She asked quietly, glancing at Tóriôn and then to the wine cupboard.

“These are humans and clearly not hunters.”  Thranduil said, a deep frown forming on his brow.  “Lárasarnë believes there were at least three of them.  He thought at first they might have been lost, the prints were disorganized and moved in different directions.  What concerns me is why they would attempt to trick us into thinking they were orcs.”  He stated, rubbing his temples as he leaned back in the chair.

“Thank you.”  Thranduil said, smiling weakly at Tóriôn as he handed him a goblet of wine.

“Our forces were significantly depleted in the battle on the plains of Erebor.”  He sighed heavily as he gazed into the dark liquid.  “Even so, I have ordered Aldalómë to split the lines and take at least a third of the forces to the west just beyond the Enchanted River.”  He said before taking a long drink.

“I will not raise the alarm just yet.”  He stated, turning his gaze toward the flames in the hearth.  “The Festival of Winter Solstice begins tomorrow.  There has been too much sadness already, short lived as it may be I will not have their joy disrupted needlessly.”

~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~

“It will be good to have you back with the patrols.”  Aûraë said quietly as Tauriel walked back toward the hearth.  “You have been missed these past months.”

“Nothing has been confirmed yet.”  Tauriel sighed as she sank back down onto the rug in front of her.  “The king will not make a final decision until after the festival.  I only know that it will not be the same.”  She added, eyeing her friend suspiciously as she refilled their teacups.

“Things change, people change.”  Aûraë commented absently as she picked up her teacup.

“What is it Aûraë?”  Tauriel said, frowning from over her teacup.  “You have been acting strange all evening.”

“So have you.”  She replied, frowning back at her as she flipped her long dark tresses over her shoulder.  “I miss my old friend.”

“What are you talking about?”  Tauriel asked, studying her friend with earnest.

“We stayed away for so long because we thought you needed time.”  Aûraë sighed, her shoulders slumping slightly as she met her friends gaze evenly.  “We are all very sorry for what you have been through Tauriel.”

“But what?”  She asked, her eyes narrowed slightly.  It was not like Aûraë to speak in round about ways, it was one of the things she had always treasured about their friendship.

“Why can you not see what everyone else sees?” Aûraë stated more than asked, a slow smile pulling at her full lips.

“You’re in love with him, aren’t you?”  She asked when Tauriel stared at her in silence.

“I don’t know anymore.”  Tauriel sighed as she turned her gaze toward the flames for a moment.  “So much as passed between us.  Things are not as they were before and I don’t know if it will ever be the same.”  She said absently as she looked back at her friend.

“True.”  Aûraë said quietly, pausing to sip her tea.  “The battle in Erebor has changed much for many of us, but I think especially for you.  But you cannot dwell on the past.  You must think of yourself.”

“It’s all so confusing.”  Tauriel said as she looked down into her teacup.  “I have caused him so much pain already.”

“Pain is part of loving someone.”  Aûraë chuckled softly.  “Do you think everything is always so great between me and Lárasarnë?”  She added, grinning as she shook her head at her.  “If he had his way I would be locked away somewhere popping out elflings once a year!”

“Oh Eru (God)!”  Tauriel exclaimed as she burst into laughter, nearly spilling her tea.  “I can’t even see that!”

“That’s my point.”  She said, her tone becoming more serious as she caught Tauriels’ gaze.  “My parents may be of noble rank but I know it’s different for you.”

“I am no different than anyone else.”  Tauriel stated, frowning deeply at the insinuation.  Yet in her heart she knew that Aûraë was referring to the fact that not only had she grown up as a ward of the king, he had taken a special interest in her when she was but an elfling.  “I have had to fight for everything!”  She stated angrily, almost glaring at her.

“And it was not given to you, you earned that position as a captain!”  Aûraë exclaimed, her eyes widening slightly.  “You did it all on your own but it does not change the fact that he has fallen in love with you.”

“I’m not so sure that is what I want.”  Tauriel sighed as she set the teacup on the ledge in front of the hearth.  “Sometimes I think I would be happier if I could just go away where no one knew nothing about me.”  She groaned as she buried her face in her hands.

“He would only find you and bring you back again.”  Aûraë told her, a slight frown forming on her brow as she studied the startled expression on her friends face.  “He is in love with you.”  She added, watching the flood of emotions wash over her face.

“No.”  Tauriel whispered, her eyes widening in disbelief.

“Who did you think I was talking about?  Legolas?”  Aûraë chuckled, unable to contain herself at the shocked expression.

“He only views me as he would a daughter and nothing more.”  Tauriel breathed, her thoughts becoming blurred as images flooded her mind, her body grew hot as unwanted memories.  The feel of his arms around her, the warmth of his lips on her neck, and the evening in his personal chambers.  Yes, she knew but she had ignored it, buried it deep inside of herself.

“You really do not see it do you?”  She said softly as she watched the realization suddenly dawn in her friends’ eyes.

“It doesn’t matter.”  Tauriel stated, shaking herself from the memories.  “Nothing can ever come of it.  He is bound by an oath to marry only a Sindar.”

“So is Legolas but who said anything about marriage?”  Aûraë asked, arching a brow at her.  “I told you, things change, people change.  I think you are being foolish.”

“Foolish!?”  Tauriel blurted, staring at her in disbelief.  “There are others he finds his comfort from.”  She added, collecting the teapot to refill their cups.

“You mean Galion and the Lady Gilaiwë?”  Aûraë laughed, again finding her friends innocent ignorance quite humorous.  “You are kidding me right?”

“I know only what I hear but I don’t concern myself with the Kings’ private life.”  Tauriel stated, plopping the kettle down loudly onto the ledge.

“He and Galion have been lovers forever!”  Aûraë laughed as she rolled her eyes.  “Ever since the King was only a young Prince.  It was actually Galion who introduced him to the feisty Lady Gilaiwë after King Oropher exiled him to Lórinand.”

“How do you know so much?”  Tauriel demanded more than asked, her eyes narrowing as she studied her friend.

“You forget who I am related to.”  Aûraë replied flippantly as she tilted her head slightly.  “I do not know the whole story, they always stop talking about certain things when they realize I can hear them.”  She laughed, pausing to take a sip of her tea.  “Apparently King Oropher was furious when he discovered Prince Thranduil in bed with an ellyn (male elf), I do not know who.  That is when he decided to arrange an appropriate marriage for him.  It was my mothers’ sister Lady Laurefindë and Lord Garävegión who convinced him to send him there.”

“Legolas told me that he was forced into the marriage with his mother.”  Tauriel said quietly, her thoughts returning to their encounter in the solarium.

“I understand it was very difficult for both of them.”  Aûraë said thoughtfully, her gaze turning inward.  “It is why he rejects it for Legolas.  Love is more important than marriage.”

“And this Lady Gilaiwë?”  Tauriel asked, not really sure she wanted to know anything more about her.  She vaguely remembered the small golden haired elf from her brief stay in Lórinand.

“She is interesting.”  Aûraë sighed, frowning slightly.  “I have heard him refer to her as eshë nîn níëvé (notes).  She has never married as there is some sort of understanding between them that if anything should happen to Legolas, they would marry only to produce a legitimate heir.  So I guess you could say they have sort of prearranged their own marriage if it should come to that.”

Curled in the comfort of the chair before the hearth long after Aûraë had departed, her words tumbled over each other in Tauriels’ mind.  She had never paid much attention to palace gossip, spending most of her time in the forest or with her friends among the forest patrol.  She had noticed over the years that certain ones would uncomfortably stop talking or change the subject when she approached, she assumed they were talking about the royal family as it only got worse after they became aware of the relationship between herself and Legolas.

Staring into the fading embers she remembered Galions’ visit the day after she had gone riding in the forest with Thranduil.  A soft smile touched her lips as she remembered him telling her that he had taken care of him since he was an elfling, even spoiling him.  It was his comment that he had been alone for most of his life that brought the sting of tears to her eyes.  Perhaps Galion had wanted to tell her more but she had been more than rude to him and she regretted it.

For the first time in months she intentionally recalled the comfort of his strong embrace as he held her so tightly against him during the ride back from Lórinand.  The scent of him surrounding her as he wrapped her in the warmth of his winter cloak, the feel of his body curled against hers beneath it as they slept.  He was so different during their ride on the forest, more relaxed yet his arms still held her so close that she felt every subtle move of his body as he guided Maeglir with ease.  The memory of being back in his private chambers pained her, he had tried to honest with her and she had rejected him.

“Galion is right.”  She thought angrily as she abruptly pushed herself up from the chair.  “I am being selfish!”  She chided herself, moving quickly toward the door.  So angry with herself, she nearly slammed it behind her, she didn’t even notice as Côrnäith silently followed her as she made her way down to the lower levels of the palace.

She was still not permitted to leave the palace and often sought the solitude of the meditation room when her own rooms felt as if they were closing in on her.  Filled with many tall potted ferns and other leafy foliage, the sound of the splashing water flowing over the carved ledge into the pool below was as close as she could get the natural grottos throughout the forest.  Closing her eyes, she thought about their ride in the forest, remembering the sound of the waterfall in the pine grove.  A soft smile touched her lips as she remembered him telling her of the one near his former home in Amon Lanc, trying to picture the king when he was still a young prince and not weighed down with the cruel burdens of the crown.

“Tauriel.”

Startled from her reverie, she gasped in surprise as she swung around toward the quiet voice behind her.  A myriad of emotions washed over her as she looked at him, the soft glow of the lamp light catching in his silvery blonde hair.  He wore no crown or circlet as he stood there, dressed in simple yet exquisitely tailored dark blue robes that accented his broad shoulders and slender waist.  Only the slightest of smiles curled his lips as he looked at her with uncertainty in his eyes, bringing back all of Aûraës’ earlier words.

“May I join you?”  He asked quietly, his smile lifting a little as he watched her.

“Please.”  She replied, not trusting her voice to say much more than that at the moment.

“We do not have to talk.”  He said softly as he approached her.  “I come here myself sometimes when I need to think.”  He told her as gently lifted her hair back over her shoulders, purposefully brushing the warm skin of her neck with his fingertips as he did.

“But I need to talk.”  She said softly, lowering her head slightly to avoid the soft expression on his face.  “I need to apologize to you.”

“Whatever for?”  He asked quickly, lifting her chin with a gentle finger, forcing her to look at him.

“There are so many things I don’t understand.”  She said quietly as her gaze flickered over his beautiful face.  “I have been so selfish.”

“No.”  He chuckled softly as he pulled her to him, wrapping his arms around her.  “You owe me nothing of the sort.”  He told her as he leaned down, kissing the top of her head.

“Yes I do.  I have acted like a spoiled child.”  She said, pressing her face tighter against the softness of his robes as she slipped her arms around him.

“Tauriel.”  Thranduil said softly, pulling back slightly as he smiled softly at her.  “None of that matters to me.  You are like a daughter to me and I will always love you, no matter what.”

“Only as a daughter?”  She asked, her voice barely above a whisper as she stared up into his eyes. 

“Do you know what you are asking?”  His voice was raspy as his throat constricted slightly.  She felt him tremble slightly as his arms tightened around her, his gaze searched her own for long moments.

“Yes...”

Silenced as he pressed his lips to hers, Tauriel clung to him as she surrendered her mouth to him, melting against the length of his hard body.  Trembling as he held her close, the warmth of his body, the strength in his arms comforting her as his kiss grew searching.  Breathlessly she clung to him as she felt his fingers tangle themselves in her hair at the nape of her neck, pressing her mouth tighter against his.

“Tauriel.”  He groaned as he released her mouth, pressing his cheek against hers as his arms tightened around her.  “I need to know this is what you truly wish.”  He whispered in her ear.  “I will send for you tomorrow evening.  I will understand if you do not come.”

Staring after him as he quickly released her and disappeared as silently as he had approached her, she felt a chill creep over her where she had felt the warmth if his body against hers.  Hugging herself as she turned back toward the pool, never before had a kiss ignited such passion within her.  Closing her eyes, she savored the feel of his strong arms around her, the scent of him still clung to her as her heart raced.

~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~     ~*~

Footnotes:

Eshë nîn níëvé - my friend in the sense of a trusted ally who is also a lover yet not life mate



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