1. A Simple Touch
His unsoiled fingers slid over the grimy, bloody skin, lingering for the barest second before moving away. He looked into his companion's eyes and smiled his understanding as the man gazed radiantly back at him, a moment of sheer joy spread over his features to feel life full within him once more, to know his heart had its sanctuary where even the present darkness could not reach. Soon the rush and weariness of battle would overtake them again and the man would feel the weight of his destiny press upon him like a heavy tome pressed a flower, grimly preserving its form even as it crushed all spirit and perfume from its fragile petals.
For that fleeting second both Man and Elf felt a shared sense of future and promise within their grasp, and then it was gone. An army was coming; the biggest army of Orcs ever seen within these borders, and the time to make their stand had arrived. Legolas looked on silently as Aragorn rallied the king and soldiers, as he called upon them to secure the fortress with every available resource.
The preparation for battle was wearing, and when he saw the men, old and young, collecting arms they could barely heft, he lost his temper. Three hundred there were against ten thousand. Three hundred and only a handful of soldiers - only a handful who had tasted battle and still had the strength and stomach for it; this was a fool's mission, a suicide mission. How could aught but defeat be their fate? The man had turned from him, shouldering his way through the crowd of startled laborers and tradesmen, and Legolas felt badly that he had added to his friend's mounting cares with his ill-thought remarks.
Later he had sought the man out. He could not leave things as they were with the battle looming ever nearer. Aragorn clapped him upon the shoulder. "There is nothing to forgive, Legolas." and all was right once more. A touch upon his shoulder and all was right. Amazing what a simple touch could do.
'A touch', he thought, as he stood upon the deeping wall, the rain running down his face and hair, dripping from his long eyelashes as he pulled upon the bowstring, aiming for the front line of Orcs. The string bit lightly into his fingertips, centering him, focusing his attention on the task ahead.
"Their armor is weak at the neck and beneath the arm." he observed to no one in particular as he loosed his deadly shafts into the vulnerable spots with Elven speed and accuracy.
The battle raged on through the night and as dawn began to break, Aragorn browbeat the all-but-defeated King of Rohan into riding out to meet the enemy. Legolas grasped the sword tightly, the hilt smooth and perfectly fitted within his hand as they rode forth, cutting down the Orcs and trampling them beneath their horse's hooves in a final effort to rally the remaining warriors. For every enemy they killed, ten rose to take his place and Legolas fought his worry for Aragorn's safety as fiercely as he fought the Orcs, saddened that the final touch upon his flesh would be cold steel instead of the man's warm, calloused hands.
'One more touch,' he thought, 'and I would laugh my way into the Halls of Mandos, defeated by life but not by love.'
A sudden cry, a flash of light, and Gandalf appeared with the rest of the Rohirrim to rout the enemy at last. The battle was won in the barest tick of time and a feast was called to celebrate the victory.
As merriment swirled around them, Legolas found Aragorn hanging back from the others, all but hiding in an alcove of the great hall, sipping forlornly at his ale.
He sat beside the man and placed a hand upon his arm. Aragorn turned to him, the Evenstar glittering at his neck. Legolas watched as he removed it and put it in his pocket. Aragorn then placed his hand over the Elf's and looked into his eyes. Legolas' heartbeat resounded to the touch and he smiled questioningly.
"I knew. I've known from the moment you returned it to me."
"And I have known from the moment at the Council when you offered to accompany Frodo on the quest."
They smiled in accord, each with the same thoughts. A battle was won. Another day was won - another chance, another touch. A touch, it was only a simple thing. But a touch was hope, a touch was life, a touch was love.
Their fingers laced, their bodies shared the warmth of their closeness, and their lips met in a simple, perfect - touch.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.