Tenna' San'

by Claire

Feedback: Would be appreciated

Disclaimer: I own no recognised characters or places.

Author's note: I wrote an Ian/Orli RPS a little while ago. Since then, I haven't been able to get the pair out of my head. Plus.....I'm a sucker for romance :o)

Chapter 1

The fellowship finally began to settle down for the night. After the initial audience with Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn, they had been escorted to allocated bathing areas, in order to freshen up before dining. Now, the mental and physical exhaustion started to take it's toll as they began to fully relax for the first time since their departure from Rivendell. A haunting lament for the fallen Istar permeated the air as Aragorn and Legolas made their way over to the hobbits.

"How fare you, Sam?", the archer softly inquired, kneeling beside the hobbit.

"I am alright Mr. Legolas. I worry for Frodo. He's been so quiet and withdrawn since......." Sam lowered his eyes, his distressed heart refusing him leave to finish his sentence.

Aragorn sat to the other side of Sam, smiling kindly and touching a hand to his shoulder. He glanced quickly over to the, apparently, sleeping form of Frodo, before turning his attention back to the ring bearer's closest companion. "This is a trying time for us all master Gamgee", Aragorn soothed, his soul saddened by the tears flowing freely now down Sam's cheeks. He continued with his words of solace. "Each one of us holds a heavy grief in his heart, and we all cope with it in our own way. Frodo was very close to Gandalf. This has hit him harder than any of us."

Legolas felt his throat tighten as he listened to Aragorn's words. Closing his eyes momentarily to steel his emotions, he spoke once again to the openly weeping Sam. "Do not worry so my friend. Your bond of friendship with Frodo is solid. You will gain strength from each other during this time of grief."

Sam nodded, quietly thanking each of them for their words, before rising and taking his place beside Frodo in sleep. Legolas and Aragorn stood, casting their collective gaze upon the huddled forms of Merry and Pippin, who were clinging to each other in their repose.

"Master Took cried himself into exhaustion this night", Aragorn murmured. "He blames himself completely for Gandalf's fall. He'll hear no words of contradiction to his contrition."

Legolas let out a long and shuddering sigh as he turned to face his old friend. "How are you bearing up?"

Aragorn met Legolas' gaze at the question. "To be brutally honest", the ranger sighed, "I do not know. Aside from my grief I find my thoughts plagued with new concerns. The leadership has now fallen upon my shoulders, and I am unsure if I can take the weight of responsibility."

" Do you fear of succumbing to the temptation of the ring?", Legolas softly asked, his sapphire gaze never wavering from Aragorn's grey and troubled eyes.

"That is one of my concerns", he answered honestly. " I am a ranger, Legolas. I am used to making decisions that affect only the life of myself in battle. Now I am responsible for seven others, three of whom have no combat or survival experience. I cannot help but feel I am not up to the task."

Legolas smiled warmly at his friend, reaching a hand up to rest upon the man's shoulder. "You are strong of spirit and mind, Estel. Do not think on it. I know you, I have fought alongside you for many years. When the right decision has to be made, you will make it. Of that I have no doubt. You do not bear this burden alone, we each share a responsibility to one another." Legolas lowered his hand, his long fingers gently stroking the jewel lying upon the man's chest. His eyes left the token, finding their place once again within the depths of the grey orbs in front of him. "She has faith in you", he smiled softly. "She always has and always will. In your times of doubt, draw strength from that certainty."

Aragorn mirrored his friend's smile. "I would die for her."

Legolas' expression broke into a grin. "I think, on the whole, she would prefer you to live for her."

Aragorn chuckled. "I will try my hardest to do just that."

Legolas bowed slightly in acknowledgement, stepping back from his friend. "I will let you get some rest", the archer voiced. "I will be near if needed."

"Very well, my friend", Aragorn smiled, placing his hand tenderly on Legolas' shoulder. " I will speak briefly with Boromir before bedding down. I will see you tomorrow?"

Legolas nodded briefly. "Indeed you will Estel. I bid you goodnight."

Aragorn watched his friend's departure with sadness in his eyes. Sighing heavily, he turned to make his way over to Boromir.

Legolas wandered the woodland city until he found an unoccupied clearing by the side of a small stream. He sat down underneath a tree, leaning his head back as the haunting and sorrowful lament washed over him. Finally he slid his body down and lay on his side, his left hand reaching out to idly stroke the grass in front of him. The lament continued, seeming to grow louder and louder until Legolas could feel it slamming into his body like a physical force. His face contorted in pain as he curled into a fetal position, his hands instinctively crossing over his chest in a futile attempt to quell

the wrenching pain in his heart. "Gandalf!", he sobbed. "No . . . no . . . no. . . ." Legolas voice had broken to a choked whisper, his tears falling in a torrent over his face, sinking into the soft earth below. His mouth shuddered with the effort as he tried in vain to control the despair engulfing him from within. "I cannot . . .", he wept. He had kept his emotions in check since that fateful event. The shock of witnessing Gandalf fall to the Balrog had helped in a macabre way. His mind and emotions could not deal with the scene they beheld, so had retreated into a stunned state of denial, enabling him to assist Aragorn in his task of rallying the fellowship to the safety of Lothlorién. But it could not last forever, Legolas knew this. The pain in his heart had begun to steadily throb as hey were being led to the city by the Lorién wardens. It had taken every ounce of strength and willpower Legolas possessed not to collapse when Lady Galadriel had fixed him with her sorrowful stare. She knew. She had always known. The fellowship were not told for fear of the dark forces finding out and attempting to use the knowledge to their own advantage.

He had always loved Gandalf, even as a child. His father would laugh heartily at his son's excited countenance whenever he was told of an impending visit from his favourite Istar. Gandalf would never make it past the gate before being launched backward, his arms full of an excited, joyous elfling. Little Legolas was Gandalf's most loyal audience, marvelling at the magical fireworks and tricks the Istar would entertain the children with. He would accompany the wizard on walks through Mirkwood's forest, learning the ways of nature, the language of the trees. Their friendship had deepened upon Legolas reaching his majority. Gandalf perceived and treated the young elf as an equal. They had travelled many roads together, trusted each other's counsel. It was inevitable, to Legolas, that this deep devotion would mature into intense love. He had met many beings in his long life, forged a large number of true friendships, but no one had ever instigated anything akin to the depth of emotion he held for the Istar. Legolas closed his eyes, finally giving in to the pain ravaging his body and soul.

Gandalf had been a part of his life for as long as he could remember. A life without his lover, his soul mate, would wither into nothing more than a painful existence. Legolas knew he would not last. The intense agony of emotions began to wear him down. His eyes still closed, tears still flowing, Legolas slipped into reverie, uncaring as to whether this would be his last.