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.

Standing back, Thranduil surveyed the sitting area before the enormous hearth in his public room.  He wanted everything to be perfect for what he knew could possibly be the first and the last time he shared private moments with Tauriel.  He had only made a few changes. The long multicolored braided rug that normally lay in front of the hearth had been replaced with thick furs to make it more comfortable for sitting.  He had also brought out a few large pillows that were soft yet sturdy enough to lean against.  Satisfied that it would suit his purposes for the evening, he made his way into his bath chamber to get ready.

Smiling to himself as he stripped down and climbed into the long deep copper tub, he let his thoughts wander to his outing with Tauriel that morning.  Although the forest was undeniably more beautiful in the warmer months, he enjoyed the privacy his winter cloak had provided for his roaming hands.  Slathering himself with the scented soap, his smile turned mischievous as he thought of the possibility of future outings where he could be a little bolder with his roaming fingers.

Even as he daydreamed of such things, there was the ever present knot in his stomach that she may reject him.  While she seemed more than enamored with him at the moment, elleth’s (elf maiden) were more often less willing to accept or excuse certain indiscretions.  The bond between himself and Galion was strong, he had been his friend, confidante and lover for over two millennia and he was not willing to give him up.

He knew too that she still had feelings for Legolas and while it was true, he had been cruel to tell her that she was not the only elleth (elf maiden) that had appreciated the intimate comforts from his son.  These were things she would need to work out on her own and in her own way.  He felt a deep sadness for her at the loss of the dwarf.  Yet in some ways he felt the finality of his death would be easier for her find a place in her heart to keep his memory than it will be with her feelings for his son.

Lifting himself from the still steaming water, he quickly toweled himself dry before heading into his bed chamber.  Throwing open the doors of the tall oaken wardrobes that lined the far wall, he stood back mostly to survey the colors.  Long flowing robes were too formal for the ambiance he wanted to create for the evening.   He favored the deep forest green yet it would not do for what he wanted tonight.  Rummaging through his hip length tunics, he found a long sleeved pale green silk that he thought would be best.  It was one that buttoned up the front without the customary band collar as most of his tunics.  Slipping it on as he walked to his bureau, he sorted through the drawers until he found the soft black silk leggings he wanted.

Dressing quickly, he examined himself in the tall silvered glass on the wall as he brushed out his long tresses.  Laying the brush back on his dressing table, he decided the tunic would look better tucked into the leggings, accenting his sender hips and broad shoulders.  Pulling on the soft boots he preferred when he was in his personal chambers, he inspected himself one last time in the silvered glass.  Smiling, he reached up and unbuttoned the top three buttons, exposing a little more of his chest.

“It is what it is.”  He said to himself as he turned toward his dressing table, pausing for a moment he decided against the tiara.

Satisfied with himself, he walked out of the bed chamber and went straight to the wine cupboard in the far corner of his pubic sitting room.  Choosing a small goblet, he filled it and took a long drink to steady himself.  Refilling the goblet, he collected a second goblet and carried them to the low table between the tall wing backed chairs in front of the hearth.

Turning toward the flames, he let his thoughts wander as he waited for Galion.  Watching the flames dance along the logs, he thought of the other elleth’s (elf maiden) from whom he had sought comfort over the long years since Athëálÿssíä had abandoned him and their son.  There had been many brief encounters and short lived relationships, with Gilaiwë the only constant in his life.  He had for the most part sought his intimate comforts from Galion with only a few other ellyn’s (male elf) over the years during his visits to Lórinand and Imladris.

Yet he knew that even if she accepted that part of him, there was still his oath to the crown that he could not break or even bend.  Until the throne was secured by the legitimate birth of a Sindar heir, he was forbidden by decree to marry anyone other than a Sindar.  Having suffered through the pain and heartbreak of a forced arranged marriage, he had promised himself he would not do that to his only child.

Startled from his heavy thoughts, Thranduil almost chuckled as Galion entered, chattering away as usual.  Turning toward him, he shook his head as he watched him carry the heavily laden tray to the table on the far side of the room.

“As usual you bring a feast.”  He chided him with a smile, clasping his shoulder as he walked up behind him.

“Well, I know what you prefer.  I have no idea about her.”  Galion stated rather defensively as he narrowed his eyes at him.  “So I brought some of almost everything.”

“It’s fine Galion.”  He laughed as he leaned down, kissing him on the top of his head.  “Did you give her my message?”  He asked, picking up a few of the nuts as Galion began setting the various bowls and plates on the table.

“Yes, I did.”  He shook his head and rolled his eyes at him.  “She was quite relieved I must say.”  He added setting the tray aside as he went to the small cupboard to collect two plates.  “Should I bother with the tea pot?”  He asked, turning to look up at him.

“Go ahead.”  Thranduil replied, grinning at him as he noted Galions’ not so subtle glance at his goblet.

Grabbing a handful of the nuts as he went to fetch the water for the teapot, Thranduil smiled to himself and walked back toward the hearth.  Most of the logs had now caught fire and cast a warm glow about the room.  He could feel his nervousness rising in the pit of his stomach as he stood there watching the flames.  He could not remember a time when he felt the need to put so much effort into trying to impress anyone, particularly someone he was intimately interested in.  Having grown up being treated more like his own child, Tauriel did not have the awe of his position as did others.

“Well.”  Galion stated as he turned away from hanging the teapot near the flames.  “Everything is set, so I will leave you now.”  He said as he touched Thranduils’ arm.  “All you have to do is be yourself.”

“That is not as easy as it sounds.”  Thranduil sighed, but smiled at him.  “I have been a king far longer than I have been myself.”

Nodding, Galion simply patted his arm as he turned and walked away from him, leaving him to his own thoughts.

The minutes seemed drag by yet the time seemed to disappear as he heard the soft knock at his door.  Setting the goblet on the mantel piece, Thranduil walked calmly toward it.

“Come in.”  He said quietly as he opened the door for her.  His gaze trailed quickly over the deep blue dress that draped her body and complemented her perfectly.

“I hope you are hungry.”  He told her as he led her further into the room.  “Galion always brings more than anyone could eat and tonight it is worse because he was not sure what you would like.”

Tauriel glanced around the sprawling room, all of it brought back so many fond memories of her childhood.  Her gaze rested for a moment on the tall wing backed chairs in front of the enormous hearth.  She had spent many nights there in his lap as he read her stories, always giving in when she would beg him for just one more.  She would fall asleep in the comfort of his arms and he would carry her to her own room and put her to bed himself.

“I’m sure I will find plenty to eat.”  She laughed softly, turning her attention back to him as her stomach twisted in knots.

“I thought it would be nice if we sit by the fire.”  He said quietly as he slipped his arm loosely around her, resting his hand gently on her hip as he guided her toward the table.

Tauriel struggled with the myriad of strange feelings that washed over her.  He was her king yet in many ways he was so much more than that to her.  It had been so easy all those years ago to put him up on that tall pedestal, so high that she could not reach him.  Content to admire him from afar, she had felt safe.  Somehow he had managed to climb down from that tall pedestal, reawakening all those feelings she had thought were long buried.

“You have no right!”  Her heart screamed at him even as she smiled up at him.

Gone were the stately robes of his position, he wore no crown or circlet as he stood there before her now.  This was a side of him she had not seen since she was a child and she found him even more beautiful as she looked up into the softness that seemed to shine from the depths of those sapphire pools.

“Everything looks wonderful.”  She said as she picked up one of the plates.  Curiously paying attention to his choices of nothing but fruit, vegetables, cheese, nuts and sweet bread.  Making a mental note that he avoided both the fish and the meat, even though there was still plenty of room on his plate.

Frowning inwardly, he watched her as they walked toward the hearth.  Perplexed by her unusual silence, he struggled to find the words to help her relax and make normal conversation.  He felt the tension in his stomach tighten as they sat their plates on the table and made themselves comfortable on the furs.

“I have always loved this room.”  She said quietly as she lifted the folds of her dress, sinking down onto the soft furs.  “It reminds me of the forest.”

“Oh?!”  He exclaimed, relief spreading over his face as the silence broke between them.

“Yes.”  She laughed at the expression on his face.  “It’s filled with the colors of all the seasons in the forest.  The different shades of green and the all the colors of autumn.”

“I never really thought about it.”  He chuckled, picking up a piece of cheese as he watched her.

“I find it comforting.”  She smiled, more than aware of the way he looked at her.

Although she sensed his discomfort, she met his gaze evenly as she continued to talk about her love of the forest.  Avoiding the topic of her former position as a captain in the patrols, she watched him as she drew him into the conversation with questions about his knowledge of the trees, flora and animals of the forest.  Slowly guiding the topic to their outing that morning and the Länciföliûm flower left in her room.

“I am sorry.”  He said quietly, feeling the heat of his embarrassment creep into his face as he looked away from her for a moment.

“What do you have to be sorry for?”  She asked as she reached over, clasping his hand firmly.

“I have much to be sorry for.”  He sighed as he reached for the carafe of wine on the table.  “I have wronged you.”  He said quietly as he filled both goblets.

“You have done so such thing!”  She exclaimed, her heart ached at the agony she saw on his face and in his eyes as he turned to look at her.

“Tauriel.”  He groaned as he pulled her into his arms, hugging her tightly.  “It was selfish of me and I had no right to force you to come back here.”

“Thranduil...”  She began as she pulled away from him.

“Listen to me Tauriel.”  He interrupted her firmly.  “I told you we needed to talk and there is no easy way to say what needs to be said.”

It was only the pain she saw in his eyes that silenced her as they stared at each other for long moments, a pain and tension that etched itself into his beautiful face like a web.

“I cannot lie to you.”  He said finally, breaking the heavy silence between them.  “I do not deny that I desire you.”  He continued, his tone as strained as the expression on his face.  “But I will not deceive you.”

“How do you deceive me?!”  She stated more than asked, her tone sharper than she intended.

“Come here.”  He smiled, seeing the familiar fire rise in her eyes, giving him a strange kind of comfort as he shifted her to lay her back against his chest.

“I care deeply for you but I cannot give you what you deserve.”  He said, tightening his arms around her as he leaned down to press his cheek against her temple.  “It was not my intention to hurt you in denying any pledge my son may have made to you.  It has little to do with your Silvan heritage.”  He said quickly as he took her hand, pressing it to his lips.  “By decree, until he gives me a legitimate heir, neither of us are free to take a wife other than a Sindar.”

“Legitimate heir?”  She asked, her voice was barely about a whisper, staring into the hearth as she felt her heart breaking.

“My father decreed from the beginning that only a legitimately born Sindar could ascend to the throne.  If anything should happen to Legolas, that responsibility falls to me.”  He told her quietly.

“He knew this?”  She asked, instinctively pressing herself tighter against him.

“Yes.”  He replied quietly as he cupped her chin, turning her to face him.  “I am sorry.”  He whispered as he kissed her forehead.

“For as much as I desire to be with you.  You deserve someone who can give themselves to you completely.  Something I cannot do.”  He continued when she remained silent.

“I understand that your first obligation is to the crown.”  She said quietly, as difficult as it was to accept there was a small part of her understood what he was telling her.

“It has nothing to do with the crown.”  He said, stiffening as she jerked free of him and swung to face him.

“Who is she?”  Tauriel asked, her eyes flashed angrily at him.

“She is in Lórinand but he is here.”  He admitted as he braced himself, making no move to avoid or block the blow that stung his face sharply as she slapped him.

“How dare you!”  She hissed as she watched him close his eyes to her and slightly bow his head away from her.  “Look at me damn you!”  She demanded, her heart pounding in her throat.

“Tauriel...”

“No!”  She exclaimed, her eyes narrowing as she glared at him.  “I don’t want to know anymore.  You have not wronged me.”  She continued, her voice thick with emotion as she fought back the tears.  “You have done far worse, you manipulated me.”  She stated as she pushed herself to her feet.  “I can see myself out.”

Sighing heavily, Thranduil watched her as she strode purposefully toward the door.  Making no move to stop her, he picked up one of the goblets and drank deeply from it as he stared into the flames of the hearth.  His cheek stung horribly where she had struck him, but it was the pain in his heart that he felt the deepest.

                                                                    ~*~

Sitting alone at one of the corner tables the young prince of Mirkwood was unaware of the two Sindar elves who watched him intently from across the large dining room.  His slender fingers wrapped around the mug of ale that he had been nursing for most of the evening, the plate of food at his elbow was barely touched.  The firm set of his jaw revealed more to his observers than he would have preferred as his thoughts grew darker and angrier.

“There is too much of his grandfather in him.”  Gilaiwë said quietly, her fingers twirling the stem of her wine glass.  “Tóriôn said he has spoken to no one since he arrived last night.”

“Yes.”  Lenwë agreed, his soft gray blue eyes darkened slightly.  “He has much anger in him for his father.”

“It’s never a good thing when two ellyn (male elf) love the same elleth (elf maiden).”  She sighed heavily as she turned to look up at him.

“Love?”  He frowned deeply as he turned toward her.

“Thranduil may deny the truth to me with his words but I know him far better than anyone.”  She stated as she turned her attention back to the young prince.  “He claims that he is only Tauriels’ protector, that he feels responsible for her.  For most of her life he has nurtured and watched her grow into a beautiful young elleth (elf maiden).  His heart is not as cold as he would like most to believe.  It does not surprise me that he would fall in love with her.”

“Where one father was too controlling, the other follows his heart.”  He said almost as if to himself.

“Legolas will have to find his own way.”  Gilaiwë said as she picked up the wine glass.  “The fate of the heart of Mirkwood now rests in her hands.”  She sighed as she sipped the dry white wine.



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