Forgiveness is Fundamental
"Of all the... heh-IHTshhh... idiotic... ehtchh... irresponsible... eh-ehktshh... imbecilic things to... to d-do-ektishhh!" Legolas muttered, storming forward with heavy footsteps, which revealed his anger better than his face. His expression, normally soft and calm, whatever he was feeling, was taken over by a much different look now. He neither looked angry nor annoyed, simply sneezey. It seemed quite an effort to keep from sneezing long enough to breathe, let alone string a few words together. So he carried on, muttering to calm himself down. The only thought in his mind was to return to Rivendell as soon as possible and have Elrond get him something to stop the symptoms. "I will never... ikcheff... forgive you for... for... hetchuff... for this!"
Aragorn trailed a meter and a half behind, walking just as fast but keeping his distance for safety purposes. An angry elf was not one to be toyed with, even by those with the best intentions. His eyes were trained on the elf's back and long blond hair as it swung at each step. He couldn't help but feel guilty, but did not know what to say. "I'm sorry!" Aragorn called to him. The elf did not stop. "I really am." The elf did not even break his stride. "I certainly did not want for this to happen." Legolas continued to ignore him. If anything, the elf quickened his pace. Frustrated, Aragorn called out, "Well, how was I to know you are allergic to those bushes?" He held his arms out, in a gesture to indicate he surrendered.
Legolas stopped and looked back. One hand was halfway raised to his face, ready for the next sneeze to strike. "Perhaps you would know... ehhtshh... if you had asked... itichhh... before pushing me right into them?"
With a sigh, Aragorn put his hand to his head; it was beginning to ache. He spoke slowly, holding his own emotions back. "I did not do it on purpose. I simply did not think." Before Legolas could confirm this, he continued, "I mean, who has heard of an elf with an allergy?"
Aragorn knew at that instant he'd gone too far. Legolas, eyes wide and mouth thin, slid an arrow from his quiver and pulled it back in his bow. "You have heard of one now!" Legolas said in a low, angry voice. Aragorn nodded vigorously, frozen to the spot with the weapon pointed in his face. Satisfied, Legolas lowered his bow and turned his head into his shoulder. "etushfff! ihtshifff!" He lifted his head, sniffling terribly, only to have it bob down again with a third sneeze. "ehtchhhh!" Weakly, he raised his arm and dragged it beneath his nose. He sniffled into the crook of his arm, coughed, and gave a soft moan. The rub had done more than clear his nose. His arm had brushed against his cheek, making it itch madly. Once he began scratching his cheek, the rest of his face started itching as well. Frustrated and scratching, he let out another moan.
Taking a deep breath, Aragorn started towards him. With a soft, soothing tone, he tried, "Here, Nīn Melui. Let me comfort you." He reached out an arm to wrap it around Legolas, but the elf jumped back, startled.
Legolas shook his head fervently, waving a hand at Aragorn to keep him back. "Do not come... iktshhh... ehtschh... sniff, sniff, near me!" He gritted his teeth and lowered his hand, bearing the itches. "You will just make me itch more." Not to mention that Aragorn had rolled around in the bushes as well and was covered in their scent. At the mention of the word itch, Legolas grunted and ran a hand down the front of his neck and beneath the collar of his shirt, scratching.
Guiltily, Aragorn backed up again. Upon their return, Elrond was not going to be pleased with him to see Legolas' condition. Aragorn and the twins were supposed to be giving the Prince of Mirkwood a tour of their lands, from forest to country. It was supposed to last roughly a week, but they had set out only a few hours prior. And already this had happened. It was indeed Aragorn's fault. It had been Aragorn's idea to split from the twins for a while, and his idea to strip down to next to nothing. It had been his idea to leap upon Legolas and tumble with him into the bushes.
"ehh-IHHtshhh!" Legolas sneezed again, and pulled his hand out from beneath his shirt to rub at his nose. His eyes watered and itched, but he restrained himself from rubbing them. He sniffled and rubbed his nose on his shirt sleeve again.
With another deep sigh, Aragorn pulled out his own white handkerchief, which Legolas had before refused, and stepped closer to him again with it outstretched as a peace offering.
Legolas gave it a wary glance before his head bobbed down again with a sneeze. "ehktufff!" He sniffled wetly before opening his eyes back up.
Aragorn still held the handkerchief out, standing close but careful not to touch the elf. "Go on, take it," Aragorn pressed him. "Least I can do," he added, sounding very remorseful.
Legolas' hand gently took it, and guided it first to his eyes, dabbing them gently. Then he turned his back to Aragorn and blew his nose. Aragorn raised an eyebrow at this, noticing how the tips of Legolas' pointy ears went a bit red. The mighty elf had a case of embarrassment on top of the sneezes and itches. Legolas turned back, sniffling. "Thank you," he said hoarsely with a nod to the handkerchief. Then he cleared his throat and gave a sheepish smile.
All the breath left Aragorn as completely as if a stampeding oliphaunt had charged him down. The elf's rare smile was intoxicating and made Aragorn forget his guilt, the circumstances, everything entirely but that smile. He moved close, heart racing. He wet his lips, tilted his head, and pressed his mouth gently to Legolas'. The elf's lips were warm, inviting, and Aragorn found his own lingering there for longer than even he had anticipated. When he pulled back, another smile was on Legolas' face, this one showing much more of his pleasure. "I am sorry." The words rolled off Aragorn's tongue gently, and his own smile showed through in his voice. "I simply could not go a moment longer without kissing you." Then, with a bit of concern and a bit of patronizing, "That touch did not make you itch, did it?"
Legolas shook his head, lowering it and his eyes. Aragorn's eyes were too full of infatuation these days. He had the bold, reckless nature of a young boy who had found his first love and never wanted to let go. It was this which had caused them to wind up in the bushes half naked, and this which kept Legolas from noticing what type of bush it was until that had rolled around amidst it for quite some time. He was to blame just as much as Aragorn, caught up in the passion, in that blissful moment when they could kiss and touch each other all they liked and no one would see or interfere.
Being very careful not to touch Legolas' skin or clothing, Aragorn gently pulled Legolas' bright blonde hair from his face. Like the wind, he swept it back behind the shoulders gently and stepped back to examine. "And did that make you itch?"
The elf shook his head again. Though Legolas had not thought it possible, the man had a softer touch when he wanted to than any elf Legolas knew. "I am sorry as well," he said softly, looking up into Aragorn's deep brown eyes. "I know you did not mean for this to... to hap-happen... oh no..." He turned away from Aragorn completely. "ep-tufff! ehptchhh! IHHptkchh!" Bent nearly in half, he blew his nose before straightening back up.
Aragorn reached out for him, but pulled his hand back at the last moment, remembering about the rash. What he wanted was to hold the elf in his arms, comfort him, soothe him. He wanted to kiss him all over, and hold him close so that all the pain and discomfort would vanish. "Galu, Nīn Melui," he said softly as Legolas turned back to face him.
Legolas gave a short, light laugh. "I am hardly lovely like this." He raised a hand, inspecting the red bumps that covered the backside and led into his sleeve.
Looking slightly aghast, Aragorn replied, "You are always lovely." He reached over and ran a finger gently against Legolas' palm. "A few sniffles and redness change nothing." It was Aragorn's turn to give a slightly embarrassed smile. "Listen to me, I sound like an idiot."
"No," Legolas replied softly. "You sound as though you are in love."
With a bit of a chuckle, "Same thing." Again, he felt the urge to pull Legolas close and hug him tightly. But he resisted. Aragorn motioned for them to continue on, and they did so, walking in silence for quite a while. Silence was not quite accurate, even though they did not talk, because Legolas continued to sneeze and sniffle almost constantly as they went along. His sneezes were soft and gentle, but wet. There were so many so quickly, that they nonetheless looked as though they tired the elf out. Then softly, Aragorn spoke up again. "So I take it you have been through this before?" Legolas looked back, slightly confused. "This, ah, allergic reaction, I mean." The man rubbed the back of his neck with his hand nervously.
"Oh, yes." The incident had not been at all enjoyable at the time, but the memory made him laugh. "It was many years ago. I was very young." Legolas watched his feet as he walked, trying to remember all the details. "I, ah... I... ihktchhh! ehktushhhh!"
"But that time were you tossed in there knowingly?"
Legolas wiped his nose and shook his head. He scratched a bit at his cheek. "No. It was my fault that time... as well." He looked back at Aragorn with a smile. "I was with Haldir. He and a group of elves from Lothlórien were visiting for one of the few times before contact became infrequent. They were helping me in my... training... ihhh... iktschhhh!" Through the folds of the handkerchief, with which he rubbed his nose, came his muffled voice, "We were hiding in... in the bushes and... and I..." The elf's eyes snapped shut and he lurched forward with a particularly harsh sneeze. "ehk-HUTchuhhh!"
"And you started sneezing and itching?" Aragorn inquired, coming up close to his side. Legolas nodded, nose still buried. "Just like you are now?" Legolas nodded again, sniffling into the hanky with a soft moan of discomfort. Aragorn sighed, looking around. "We are hours yet from the heart of Rivendell and any treatments my father might have for you... but I have an idea." He took Legolas' hand in his.
The elf tried to pull away, but the grip was hard. Remembering how Haldir had held him tightly and directed him to safety and eventual comfort the last time he felt this way, Legolas let Aragorn lead him off the path and over a nearby hill.
"Just a little further," called Aragorn as they hiked down the other side, heading straight for a grove of tress that seemed to stretch forever in both directions. Legolas followed, trying not to scratch and not succeeding. Every bit of his body itched as he walked, clothing rubbing against him.
As they approached the trees, he even considered stripping naked and rubbing his back up and down against the rough bark of a tree trunk. He stopped at one tree, putting his hand against the thick trunk. Before he knew it, he had pulled off his tunic and dropped it to the ground, his eyes fixed on the inviting tree trunk. Just a few rubs, a few scratches, and he would be good as new. But as he went to pull of his shirt, he found Aragorn's hands upon his, holding him back.
The elf tried to pull free, but Aragorn held him tightly. "Not here, not yet, not like this," Aragorn whispered. Legolas squirmed, and Aragorn ran his hands up and down the elf's arms and sides, scratching. Then he slid them beneath Legolas' shirt and scratched.
Legolas let out a moan of pleasure which sounded suspiciously similar to another pleasurable moan of his. His eyes closed, and his body went limp, reveling in the feeling as the itches vanished. Aragorn stopped as quickly as he had started, but took up Legolas hand once again, pulling him on. Before Legolas could protest, or beg him to do that again, or even gather up his fallen clothing, he was led through the thick forest. Not even a second passed before they were stopped again, at the foot of a deep, beautifully clear river.
Legolas understood at once, and Aragorn helped him to strip down to nothing at all this time. Excited, Legolas dove into the water, coming up with a smile and spouting a mouthful of water into the air like a fountain. Laughing, Aragorn undressed as well and joined him. The waters of the river were cool and refreshing even on a body not covered in a rash of small red splotches. Many times, Legolas ducked beneath the waters, immersing himself in the soothing waves until he was completely free of the itches.
Aragorn swam with him, ducking beneath just as often, but for other reasons. They touched, they kissed, and they took advantage of being alone, naked, and half-hidden beneath the water.
The sneezing and sniffling seemed to be lessened as well, though there was no need to keep up with his runny nose as the waves made their way past. And there was nothing to keep Aragorn from wrapping his arms around the elf and holding him tightly when he shook with sneezes.
"iksheffff! ihtechhh!" He sneezed, feeling one of Aragorn's warm hands at his middle, the other brushing the side of his face affectionately.
"Mmmm, bless you, my lovely sneezing elf," Aragorn murmured, delivering a passionate kiss to the side of Legolas' neck. A wave hit the man in the face as they bobbed up and down together, but he simply shook the water off and continued the kisses, soft and sensual, moving up the side of the elf's face.
"ehTSHH!" he sneezed again, brining his hand up to rub at his nose, both wet.
"Nīn Melui," he murmured again, kissing beneath the elf's ear, then behind it. "Nīn Ant... Nīn Bain... Nīn Laegel..."
"ihhh... ihKetschhh!" The elf sneezed again, shaken in the waters, but held steady in Aragorn's warm hold.
Aragorn breathed out hard, positioning his lips on top of Legolas'. "Nīn Melethron," was what came with his breath, just before their lips met again. Aragorn held Legolas close as they bounced in the waves.
"For this, I am... iktchuh... ihketchh... almost willing to forgive you." Legolas answered not only the kiss but the embrace, wrapping his arms around Aragorn as well. One of his hands ran up the man's back, up his neck and to his hair. Legolas tightened his grip, getting a fistful of hair. In a most unelvish way, he forced Aragorn to continue the kiss. But then again, ever since their tumble into the bushes, the elf had not been acting at all like himself.
Legolas broke away with a grin, ducking suddenly beneath the waters. He resurfaced a few meters away, waved for Aragorn to come after him, then dove beneath the water again. Grinning madly as his elf teased and played hard to get, Aragorn swam boldly after him.
For every bit of sneezing, Aragorn administered a light kiss as treatment. By the time they pulled themselves out of the river, Legolas was much less embarrassed about his appearance and much more eager to sneeze and be comforted for it. As nice as the water was, its effects were only temporary.
As the clothes were pulled back on, the itching started up again. It certainly wasn't anything as bad as before, but Legolas could tell that the sensation was building slowly. He was eager to return and see Elrond for a more permanent solution. Though he guessed that whatever the Elf Lord had in mind, it was nothing compared to such a good swim with Aragorn.
* * *
An elf like Legolas was at one with nature more-so, it seemed, than men. Which was perhaps why Aragorn was blushing so profusely as he followed Legolas down one hallway, then another. Legolas pulled off his clothes as he went, proclaiming that they chaffed and made him itch too much to bear any longer. Aragorn, however, guessed that this was a bit of punishment for the deed. The elf sniffled, a finger rubbing beneath his nose, walking naked through the hallways. Aragorn followed behind quickly, snatching up the elf's fallen clothes. Legolas led the way to Aragorn's private room, rather than the guest quarters he had been given. With a sigh, he fell back upon the blankets of Aragorn's bed, scratching and sniffling. "Rhibi," the elf whispered, both as a request and simply to state his most urgent need.
Closing the door behind, Aragorn entered and deposited the clothes on a chair in the corner. He then went to the bed, lying down beside Legolas and scratching the elf's shoulders for him. Legolas shrugged his shoulders, moving about to distribute the scratches to where it itched him the most. Then Legolas thrust a small canister at Aragorn. "Elrond gave this to me... I am to... to..."
"To sneeze?" Aragorn finished for him with a laugh. He reached up and tickled beneath Legolas' nose.
Glaring at him in annoyance, Legolas' brow furrowed, eyes closed, mouth opened. "ehktchhh! Ihtshuh! Ektshh!" He pushed Aragorn's hand further away and sniffled strongly. With a heavy note of sarcasm, he replied, "Thanks." He scratched, more irritated at the itchiness than the sneezes.
Aragorn unscrewed the top of the canister and tossed it needlessly aside. Then dipped two fingers into the cream within. "Ada wanted you to apply this to the rash?" He guessed, raising eyebrows and suddenly looking playful. "Perhaps I could do it for you?"
Legolas spread out, arms and legs out more to his side. "Exactly what I had in mind." He sniffled and cast a smile towards Aragorn.
Gently, Aragorn took Legolas' arm. There was a startled gasp from the elf as the cold cream touched Legolas' irritated skin. But then the elf sighed with pleasure as Aragorn began to rub the cream in. It was slow-going at the start, but they both got into it quickly. Aragorn rubbed up his arm first, then across his upper chest and down his other arm. The small red bumps looked worst where they had been scratching. And while they looked awkward and out of place against what was normally a beautiful creamy elfish complexion, they did not look too bad on a whole.
The cream smelled of mint but Aragorn surmised that it was filled with much more powerful agents as well. Whatever it was, it seemed to work terribly well, and soon Legolas wasn't itching at all. The scent reminded Aragorn of the cream Elrond had made him rub on his chest to lessen the congestion when he caught a sneezey head cold. Aragorn took advantage of his proximity, kissing the elf on the lips as he rubbed Legolas' chin and cheek with liberal amounts of cream. He pulled back with a smile. "You smell very unlike yourself with all of this on you," Aragorn said, closing one eye and curling his lip to make a disapproving face.
"I cannot smell much of anything," Legolas replied, reaching up for another kiss. But he pulled away before finishing his intention. "ehtechh! ihtuchh! iktshh!" He sniffled and closed his eyes. "Elrond said the sneezing would... would go... ihh-TECHH! ehTChahh! Would go away on its own... iktchhh! ihtchuhh! Echh..." he sighed. "Nīn nem."
Aragorn's lips just barely brushed the tip of Legolas' nose in another kiss. "Your nose is just as sexy sniffling and sneezing as it is any other time." Checking to be sure the door was still closed, Aragorn stripped off his shirt and began untying his pants at the waistband. "Just like the rest of you." He kissed Legolas' cheek, then ran his tongue along the edge of Legolas' ears. "Have to make sure I check all of you over, do I not? After all, it is still my fault you are itching to begin with."
Legolas smiled back up at him. He dipped his own finger into the container, then reached down into Aragorn's pants, rubbing at what he found there. "I can think of... ehh-IKshhh! ektshff! Sniff, sniff... of a spot you can only be sure of reaching one way."
With a mischievous grin, Aragorn slid his pants down. "I should have pushed you into those bushes a long time ago."
"If you continue to be this... ihshehh... this wonderfully attentive... I will have to think even harder about forgiving you... ihShah... on that account," Legolas whispered as Aragorn took him gently in his arms.
Nīn Melui- my lovely
Nīn Laegel- my green elf
Nīn Bain- my beautiful
Nīn Ant- my gift