The Moth & The Flame

BY : Avaloyuru
Category: +Third Age > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 2331
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.

Lounging comfortably in his favorite chair before the hearth, Thranduil watched the flames as he allowed his mind to wander.  Accustomed to having his thoughts divided, he listened to Galions’ endless chatter as to the comings and goings within the palace.  He nodded and commented at all the right moments so he would think he was actually paying attention to him.  It was mostly just gossip but he had learned long ago that he could glean bits and pieces from it that could prove useful in dealing with certain people and situations.

Allowing the woodsmen temporary permission to thin out some of the trees in the more densely overgrown areas had proven effective in controlling the shelob, (spiders) it had stayed their encroachment toward the palace.  Unfortunately it had cost him more in the way of using troops to protect them rather than their normal patrols of the outer edges of the forest.  His feelings of restlessness only intensified as his thoughts turned to his latest argument Tauriel with her persistent requests that now become demands that she be allowed to return to the forest guard.

“What you are doing is wrong Thranduil and I think you know this.”  Galions’ voice interrupted his thoughts, the disapproval resonating in his tone.

“What?”  He frowned deeply as he turned to face him.  “I am only trying to protect her.  I don’t want her fleeing back to Lórinand.”  Thranduil stated defensively, taking a long drink from his goblet as he eyed him suspiciously.

“You are hunting her as if she were little more than prey.”  He retorted angrily.  “One you have cornered and yet you still toy with her.  You have always treated her as if she were your own child, not to mention she was a loyal captain in the patrol and served you well for many years, she deserves better than this.”  He scolded him as if he were still the young elfling he knew centuries ago when his father and the other Sindar arrived in Greenwood the Great.

“You would not understand.”  Thranduil groaned angrily as he rose to his feet to stand closer to the hearth.

“My preferences may lie with ellyn (male elf) but I am far from ignorant in the ways of elleth. (Elf maiden)  Why don’t you try to explain it to me?”  He said quietly, studying him now as he watched the strange play of expressions chase themselves across the kings’ normally guarded face.

“There is a fire in her that stirs something deep within me.”  Thranduil said as he watched the flames in the hearth.  “A passion I have not felt in many long years.”  He added, his tone dropping to almost a whisper.

“Yes, I have watched her closely for many years.”  He continued quietly, turning to briefly look at the servant who was also his friend before looking back to the flames.  “Tauriel has always been special.  She is not one that is impressed by power or titles yet the crown is all she sees when she looks at me.”  He sighed heavily as he looked down into the dark liquid in his goblet.

“And you would rather she see you and not the crown.”  Galion commented, a knowing smile curled his lips.

“Is that so wrong?”  Thranduil asked, turning to look at him.

“Might I offer you a bit of advice?”  Galion asked, arching a brow at him.

                                                                     ~*~

Reluctantly Tauriel pushed herself out of the bed and made her way to the bathing chamber.  It had been nearly two weeks since the king had visited her.  She knew she had pushed him too far when he sent word that she was no longer permitted the freedom of the palace after the evening meal which would be brought to her rooms.  Sighing heavily as she thought of his empty seat on the dais for the morning and midday meals in the dining hall.

Filling the small basin, she set about the task of freshening herself for the day.  Staring at herself in the polished glass, she looked the same yet she hardly recognized the sadness in the depths of the eyes that stared back at her.  Sadness, loneliness and anger seemed to fill her days.  Sadness for a love that might have been as she thought of Kili.  She felt both sadness and loneliness at the loss of Legolas, who had been like a brother to her, a friend and companion until things changed with a single glance.

“There is a way one looks at another when there is only desire.”  The kings’ words came back to haunt her as she remembered that first time with Legolas, when she had so freely given herself to him.  “Yet it is something quite different once one has come to know another.”  He had taunted her with his knowledge of her private life.

Anger rose in her heart as she stared at herself, thinking of him.  The king was very beautiful and many a young maiden had desired him, herself included.  Color seeped into her cheeks as she remembered how shamelessly she had flirted with him so long ago.  He had been so sweet yet it was clear to her that he saw her as nothing more than the daughter he would never have, politely but appreciatively declining her advances.  It hurt terribly but she had contented herself for a time with his view of her until her desires grew stronger and his fatherly embraces only tormented her.

“What is different now?”  She silently asked the face that stared blankly back at her.

Swallowing hard as she remembered the feel of his arms around her, the scent of him through the sandalwood and Niphredil.  Even now she could smell the sweet scent of his breath and feel the heat where his lips had touched her skin.  She remembered the feel the hardness of his desire as he held her, pressing her against him, as if he wanted her to know.  Tears stung the backs of her eyes as her thoughts turned to Legolas, questioning whether she had really loved him or merely used him as a substitute for what she could not have.  She had to mean more to him than just a wayward child, somehow he had known where she had gone and had personally travelled to Lórinand to bring her back.

“Stop it!”  She scolded herself out loud as she turned away from the glass, striding purposefully back into her bed chamber.

Stopping in her tracks as her gaze fell on the small settee at the foot of the bed.  Draped neatly over the arm was a full set of forest green winter riding clothes with a pair of new boots sitting on the floor in front of it.  Frowning slightly as she saw the small folded piece of parchment and the Länciföliûm flower, hesitantly she picked it up and unfolded it.

Trembling as she recognized the kings’ handwriting, she read the words he wrote.  “Tauriel, I would like your company this morning.  Please meet me in the stables.  Thranduil.”  Gently she picked up the cluster of tiny yellow flowers, admiring them as she smelled them.

She felt her heart leap as she realized that he had to have brought the new clothes and the flower himself as the message was not in a sealed envelope.  The language of flowers was very personal among the elves more commonly reserved for courtly flirtations and secret messages between lovers’ yet the message of the Länciföliûm confused her.  Its apologetic meaning was diverse and could be given as a way of telling someone you were sorry for anything ranging from having wronged them or letting them know you share in their sorrow for their loss of a loved one or a friend.

Excitedly, she snatched up the under garments and quickly began the task of dressing herself for her first chance in months to be out of the palace and in her beloved forest.  Frowning for a brief instant as she buttoned up the front of it, admiring herself in the tall silvered glass, she wondered where it had come from as it fit her body perfectly.  As quickly as the thought occurred to her, it flittered from her mind as she grabbed up the brush on her dressing table.  Raking it through the tangled mass, she hurriedly braided the length of it into one long rope down her back.

Chuckling softly as Maeglir nuzzled his chest, Thranduil hugged him as he reached up to comb his fingers through the long white mane.  He knew he sensed his nervousness and tried to settle him with soft spoken praises took his time as he brushed and groomed him before saddling him up.  They were not going to be out long, just a short ride for some much needed fresh air and a little exercise.  Catching sight of her in his peripheral vision, he turned and smiled warmly as Tauriel approached him.

“I am glad you could join me.”  He said quietly as she reached him.  “I cannot ride out alone.”  He added apologetically as she glanced toward the guards who pulled themselves up onto their mounts and made their way through the wide double doors.

Quickly pulling himself up into the saddle, he smiled as he reached for her.  “Please?”  He added when she hesitated.

Grasping her hand firmly, he gently lifted her to him and positioned her comfortably in front of him.  Wrapping his cloak around her as he nudged Maeglir forward with a slight motion of his hips. Smiling to himself as he felt her relax back against him, he slipped his arm around her waist and followed the guards through the doors heading north.

Closing her eyes, Tauriel breathed in the fresh air.  It was safer here as there were no shelob (spider) nests above the Forest River, the heaviest concentration seemed to be in the larger area east of the Enchanted River, just north of the Mirkwood Mountains.  Unlike the journey home, he did not hold her as possessively, yet she felt his ungloved hand absently caressing her hip as he rested his arm comfortably around her waist.  Through the thick veil of her lashes she watched the guards slowly spread out in the distance to give them some degree of privacy yet remained close enough to protect them if they were in any danger.

“Then stop being the king and be yourself.”  Galions’ words rang in his ears as he leaned forward pressing his cheek against her temple.  Content at the moment for the quiet closeness they shared as they wandered farther into the forest.

“Beautiful.”  Tauriel sighed as they entered a large glade surrounded by thick evergreens.  The sound of the waterfall was soft and comforting.

“Just west of Amon Lanc there was one like this.”  Thranduil said quietly.  “When I was young I used to go there with some friends and swim in the lake beneath the falls.”

“It must have been a very beautiful place.”  She said softly, turning her head to look up at him.

“It was.”  He smiled down at her, placing a soft kiss on her forehead.  “When I think of those times I feel old.”  He chuckled, arching his brows slightly.

“You are not old.”  She stated, leaning against him.  “Age can mean everything and yet nothing at all.”  She said quietly.

“Strange but wise words from one so young.”  He told her, dropping the reins around the saddle horn as he embraced her with both arms beneath the cover of the cloak.  “But then age is not always measured in years.”  He added, pressing his cheek against hers as he used his knees the guide Maeglir passed the falls and through the evergreens.

Pulling the cloak tighter around them, Tauriel savored every moment with him.  Leaning back against him, she breathed in the scent of him as she gazed out at the forest.  Absently watching as the evergreens faded into tall leafless oaks, birch and elm trees of winter, she wondered what life was like when the Sindar first came to what was then called Greenwood the Great.  She felt a deep sadness for him, to have lived so long to see his beloved Woodland Ream darkened by the taint of evil.

Relaxing his arms around her as he let Maeglir wander where ever he chose, Thranduil found her hands within the folds of the cloak.  Toying with her fingers and tracing teasing patterns over her palms, he found himself rambling about the forest he remembered long ago.  Pointing out the various shrubs and the remnants of trailing vines by name, describing them when they would be in full bloom in the spring.  He told her about the clearing work being done in the other parts of the forest by the woodsmen.

“Will you dine with me tonight?”  Thranduil asked quietly, kissing her temple as they neared the stable gate at the rear of the palace.

“I think I would like that.”  Tauriel replied quietly, turning to smile up at him as she squeezed his hands under the cover of the cloak.

Leaning down, he playfully rubbed his nose against hers as he slipped his arms tighter around her.  Frowning inwardly as the huge doors came into view, he knew their time together had ended for the time being.  There were things that needed to be discussed between them before allowed things to go any farther between them.

                                                                    ~*~

“You sent for me?”  Galion asked curiously as he entered Thranduils’ private study.

“Yes, I did.”  Thranduil stated, smiling as he looked up from the papers strewn over his desk.  “Close the door please.  He added, pushing himself to his feet.  “I wanted to properly thank you for your advice.”  He continued, a mischievous smile curing his lips as he stepped around his desk.

“I take it you actually listened to something I said for once.”  Galion laughed as he closed the door and turned to face him.

“Thran...”

Caught off guard by the strong embrace as Thranduil captured his mouth in a long searching kiss, he forced himself to relax against him.  Struggling for breath beneath the onslaught of the hungry mouth that now possessed his own, he clung to the taller body for support as Thranduil ravished his mouth for long moments.

“What advice did I give you?”  He asked breathlessly as Thranduil released his mouth yet still held him tightly in his embrace.

“Tauriel has agreed to dine with me tonight.”  He stated as he leaned back to smile down at him. 

“Wonderful!”  Galion replied as Thranduil released him and walked back to his chair behind his desk.  “So, your little outing this morning went well I presume?”  He asked as he plopped into the comfortable chair in front of the desk.

“Well, we did not fight and she did not curse me!”  Thranduil laughed as he leaned back in his chair.  “It was very enjoyable.”  He added in a softer voice yet his eyes danced with a light of their own.

“So why do I sense there is more?”  Galion asked, pinioning him with a frown as he curled his legs up under him in the chair.

“I intend to be completely honest with her.”  He stated with a heavy sigh as he met Galions’ gaze evenly.  “About everything.”

“Everything?”  Galion asked, raising his brow at him.  “Are you sure you want to do that?”

“I have wronged her enough already.”  Thranduil said, his voice thick with guilt as he laid his head back, staring at the ceiling.  “You are right.  She deserves better than what I have done to her since I forced her to return.  I can only hope that she does not reject me completely out of hand.”  He said quietly as he returned his gaze to his friend.

“You are telling me this I suppose because it include us?”  He asked studying him.

“I will not if you do not wish it.”  Thranduil said thoughtfully, returning the same scrutinizing gaze.  “But I have no intentions of giving you up.”

“I see.”  Galion said quietly, his expression turning inward for a few moments.  “It’s no secret that my preferences are for ellyn. (male elf)  My concern is for you.”  He stated after long moments.

“I do not want anything to change between us.”  He told him as he got up from behind his desk, moving toward the small wine cupboard.  “She will need time.”  He sighed as he poured them both a small goblet of wine.  “If it is something she cannot accept, it is better that she know now than to cause her more pain later.”  He said as he handed him one of the goblets.

“Yes.”  Galion sighed, accepting the goblet.  “Not telling her could make her feel as if you have betrayed her, especially if she should hear from someone else.”

“I have never flaunted my private matters.”  Thranduil stated as he sank back down into his chair.  “Still I am very aware that there are eyes and ears everywhere no matter how careful one is about such matters.”

“I think it would be more comfortable for her if things are simple tonight.”  Thranduil stated when the silence in the room stretched uncomfortably.

                                                                       ~*~

Sensing a great anger and pain within him, Lenwë was quiet as he studied the young prince of Mirkwood.  The differences between the two were striking to say the least as Lenwë thought back on the day when his father had first visited as an exile in Lórinand.   Unfortunately his state of mind brought out far more of his grandfathers’ traits than those of his father, particularly Thranduils’ mastery of the art of diplomacy in such situations.

“I do not understand why everything surrounding my father is cloaked in such secrecy.”  Legolas stated, a small muscle in his jaw extending slightly as he spoke.

“It is not about being secretive.”  Lenwë told him quietly.  “Lórinand has always been known as a place of solitude for those who seek it and it is given.”

“Tauriel came here searching for that.”  Legolas stated, his gaze flickering angrily about the room as if he searched for his words.  “Yet he came here and he forced her to return with him.  Who was helping her?”  He asked, finally turning his eyes toward the Lord of the Vale.

“Your father is very private.”  Lenwë said as a frown creased his normally smooth brow.  “Even if I were one to share the business of others, in this matter I cannot help you as he did not discuss it with me.  Certainly you must know that your fathers’ reach outside of Mirkwood is long indeed.”

“I am beginning to understand this.”  Legolas said quietly, his gaze once more shifting about the room before coming to rest on the flames on the hearth.

“You are more than welcome to stay here if you would like.”  Lenwë informed him as he rose to his feet.  “I will have Tíránist show you to a room or you may follow the path to the inn within Lórinand.”

“How far is it?”  Legolas asked, pushing himself up from the comfort of the chair.

“Not far.”  Lenwë replied.  “But I will warn you now young prince.  The more questions you ask, the less answers you will get.”

“Thank you for your hospitality and your council.”  Legolas stated, nodding respectfully to the lord.  “If you do not mind, I will go on to Lórinand.”

“Tíránist.”  Lenwë called out quietly but clearly once the young prince has departed.

“My lord?”  Tíránist answered quickly, stepping just inside the sitting room.

“Take a horse from the stable and go the way of the edge of the forest to the Lady Gilaiwë.  Tell her that the Prince of Mirkwood has arrived.”  Lenwë informed him.

“Thranduil, I hope you know what you are doing.”  He sighed to himself, sinking back down in the chair as the servant departed to deliver the message.



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