Title: That Was Then...
Author: Jade and Mishaela
Pairing: Aragorn/Legolas
Warnings: slash
Disclaimers: Don't own, don't sue, don't ask, don't tell

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The last of the poachers slid to the ground, his heart pierced through. Aragorn, known to most as the ranger 'Strider', looked around to be sure and then turned to his unexpected aid. His blue eyes scrutinized the young elf, moving up and down his lean frame, and then seemed to dismiss him. He began to walk over to one of the many traps that hadn't been emptied yet and set it's occupant free, "Go on... There's no more danger here."

Legolas tried not to let annoyance overwhelm him. Who was this human, who in his arrogance would dismiss him? "I was in no danger to begin with, I merely came to your aid to dispatch these vermin who have been upsetting the balance of MY forest." The elf assessed the human in front of him. He would never admit the man fought well, for a human anyway.

He had come across the skirmish in the forest. he had been seeking a group of poachers, who were callously killing wolves, taking their skins, then leaving the carcasses to rot. He had watched until he was certain the young man was fighting the poachers, then stepped in to offer his bow as assistance.

Strider tried to shoo the young wolf off, but it stopped to lick his hand, "I was speaking to the little one here." His eyes flicked back to the elven youth, "Had I been speaking to you, you would have known." He paused to look back down at the wolf, which had begun to nip his fingers like a true cub, "You're welcome... Now go on back to your family." The ranger smiled softly as the lupine loped away, giving glances back at the pair every so often until it disappeared.

The blond elf flushed, realizing his mistake. Who would have thought the ranger was able to communicate with the animal? It was a rare talent in men. He watched the wolf run off to safety, then surveyed the dead poachers. "Well, then, if you've no more need for me, I'll be on my way." Frowning, he turned to go, wondering why, despite his embarrassment, he didn't want to leave.

Grunting an affirmative, the human ranger started to drag the bodies together so that he could bury them. The grave would take hours, but he had time, so he readied himself. His shirt came off to be thrown over the pack he'd set down and he pulled out a small spade. "Thanks."

Legolas glanced back over his shoulder and stopped, mouth hanging open, at the sight of the man without a shirt. Chiseled muscles shifted under tawny skin, sweat running in rivulets down, down. He realized he was staring and quickly dragged his eyes up, to meet the ranger's amused gaze. He had to say something, to cover up the fact that he was staring. "What a barbaric custom. Burying your dead in the ground."

A smirk spread across the young man's face, "I don't want their poison to taint the animals. I will not leave them to be fed upon." Strider turned and started to dig, his upper body working in fluid motion, the muscles straining from the exertion. He grunted again, "They are better off where the forest can purify them..."

Legolas tore himself away from contemplation of the man's amazing body. Something occurred to him. "How did you know about the poachers and where to find them? I did not sense you in this forest."

The ranger paused in his efforts, "I've been following them. For a time, they were operating outside of Gondor." Strider's azure gaze roamed over the elf, young by elven standards but old by human ones, "What is your name?"

"I am called Legolas," replied the elf, caught in those eyes, almost feeling them on him. "And what might I call you when I report your brave deeds to my father?"

There was a chuckle, "Very fitting to call you 'Greenleaf' in the elvish tongue." The human tossed his head, throwing sweat soaked hair from his eyes, "Most who know me call me Strider." He took in the way the honey haired elf was watching him, thinking to himself, I must be the first human he's ever come across. The way he stares at me is almost unnerving...

"You speak elvish?" Legolas replied, surprised. He tried to ignore the way the man's long hair clung to his sweaty body. "I had been told that no human mind could comprehend it."

"Then perhaps I'm not human," Strider said teasingly. He couldn't help but laugh at the shock on the beautiful youth's face. Then, he stopped laughing and turned back to his task, wanting to get it done quickly. *So much heat and humidity... It's making me think in strange ways... Why would I consider him to be beautiful?*

Legolas stared at the man's back. he was human, he was sure of it... he could tell, could smell his masculine human scent from over here... there was something about this Strider. He felt drawn to him. He made a decision. "Since you have helped the entire forest by eliminating these vermin, I offer my assistance to you in your task."

"Good idea," Strider said, looking up at the sky that could be seen in patches through the leafy canopy, "Because there's a hell of a storm blowing in." He redoubled his efforts, praying that they'd get the job finished in time to seek out shelter.

The elf glanced at the sky, and he had to agree. "We have very little time. Do you have another spade?"

Shaking his head, the ranger pointed to one of the poacher's packs, "I don't, but they do."

Wrinkling his nose at the prospect of stealing from a corpse, Legolas nevertheless rummaged until he found what he was looking for. Then he chose a likely-looking spot and began to dig.

Strider began dumping the bodies as soon as the grave was dug. He thought a mass grave with no marker would be fitting for scum such as they. Immediately, he started filling the hole as cold drops of rain began to descend on the pair. "Not much longer now," he told his companion quickly, "I know of a spot where we can go that's not too far away."

Wincing at the unaccustomed labor, Legolas helped as much as he could, but very soon they were both completely soaked. "We must go," he called out over the thunder. "The lightning grows near."

Nodding, the ranger gathered his pack and started off, beckoning the elf to follow him. As fast as a deer, the two of them ran through the forest, streaking for a location that only Strider knew of. At the trunk of one of the largest trees Legolas had ever seen, the human moved aside some brush, revealing an opening, "Here. It should be dry enough."

The elf ducked inside, vaguely recalling this hollow tree from years past. "I thank you, Strider," he said formally. Keeping his aloof demeanor was the only thing stopping him from confessing his new feelings.

Shrugging at the sudden formality, the human followed and pulled the bush into place behind him. He moved to the center of the hollow and started piling wood in a depression in the floor, "The roof is high enough that we won't have trouble with a fire to warm us." Strider tried for several minutes, but the wood was just a little too green to light while he was in a hurry, "Damn..."

"May I be of assistance?" Legolas asked, standing as close as he dared to the ranger.

Stubborn determination led to a growl, "I can get it. The damn wood's just too green to be lit easily." The ranger piled more kindling on, "This should do the trick."

Legolas tried to ignore what the sexy growl was doing to his lower body. What was it about this man? "If you would just allow me to aid you, my talents may be of some help."

Just then, a tiny fire began in the center of the pile. Strider blew gently on the tiny light and it slowly grew bigger, encompassing more of the fuel it was provided. He sat back as it began to take to the fresh, unseasoned wood, "Thank you, but no need." His hands rose up and unlaced his shirt, stripping it so that it could be lain out to dry next to the brightening flame, "You might wish to dry out your clothes."

Legolas watched as the man's impressive body was revealed to him once again. He found he couldn't tear his eyes away from the play of the firelight on the smooth muscles. He flushed as he realized the man meant for him to remove his clothes as well. It made sense; they were soaking wet, but still he resisted.

Not having noticed just yet, Strider lay his cloak out as well. Then, his gaze went to his companion, "Are you going to stand there, shivering? You'll get ill like that."

The elf moved closer to the fire. "My kind are not so weak as to be stricken ill by a bit of cold," he stated, but he had to admit the warmth of the fire felt good. Not looking at the ranger, Legolas reached up to unlace his tunic.

Strider dug around in one of several cubby holes and pulled out a small sack. Inside was dried meat and vegetables, "This is a ranger way station. Each one who uses it leaves something for the next one. There's not much, but enough for the two of us." He pulled out a cooking pot, "I'll make something to warm us from the inside." As he bent down to the fire, his bangs fell forward over his eyes and he took the moment to really look at the elf. He was beautiful, in a slender, lean, masculine sort of way...Finished unbuttoning his tunic, the elf slipped out of it, leaving him in just a white shirt and his pants. There was no way he was taking those off in front of the other man. He might see that the ranger affected him... physically. Especially when he was bent over, his long hair falling gracefully.... "I thank you for your hospitality."

"You're welcome," came the reply as Strider set about making a meal for them. When it was set over the fire to cook, he pulled a blanket from another one of the cubbies, "There's only one - we'll have to make do with it."

Legolas eyed the singular blanket, his mind giving him images of being wrapped in it, close to Strider. This was not helping. Sighing, he stepped closer to the fire again, and removed his shirt, leaving him bare-chested, just like the ranger.

Sitting down with his back to one wall, Strider opened the blanket to the young elf, "I'm bigger so I'll stay behind you." He couldn't understand what the small trill in his stomach was all about. He shook it off. They had to stay warm. Who knew just how far the temperature could drop?

The elf stared at the half-naked man. He was to sit there? His heart pounded in his chest and he couldn't breathe. But if he did not take the offered warmth it would look odd. He didn't want the human to know he was having lustful thoughts for him; the man would no doubt be disgusted. So he walked over, turning his back and scooting back against the ranger. At least this way he could hide any telltale signs of arousal.

Strong arms closed over him and enclosed him in warmth, "Body heat will do much better than the fire ever could..." Strider's voice was low. This... this was something he wasn't quite ready for. It had been a long time since he'd been around someone else. This elf's skin was so... soft. He could feel the muscles interplay along Legolas' back as the blond elf tried to get comfortable. The way his lower back was rubbing against the ranger... It was going to drive him crazy.

Truthfully, the elf didn't need to squirm as much as he did, but he was enjoying the feeling of the strong man behind him way too much. He tried to press up against him even more, scooting back slightly. The man's skin burned him, sending more desire to his rising arousal.

Strider couldn't help it when his breath quickened. He could feel the tightening of his leather pants and knew that he was going to be in some grave trouble indeed. When the young elf discovered something pressing against his back, that would be the end of keeping warm. The ranger would give up the blanket and shiver out the rest of the night before letting that ethereal creature set out on his own in the nasty weather.

Legolas sighed, leaning back farther, wishing the ranger felt for him what he did. He could really enjoy this... unseen to the human, he grinned slightly. May as well enjoy himself farther... he moved back imperceptibly more, so he was firmly wedged between the man's legs, and drifted off into a fantasy.

The embrace around the elf tightened. Strider had to admit that he liked how it felt to have someone in his arms. He looked down at the top of the sun-gold head and gave a gentle smile. When it leaned back against his shoulder, he'd simply thought that Legolas had fallen asleep. Unaware of the truth of the matter, and not realizing how lightly the pointed-eared folk slumbered, he lay his cheek against the soft silken tresses and tried to relax.

Legolas was enjoying his fantasy when he realized that part of it was actually happening. Strider had rested his head against him... the man's hot breath excited him even more. How he longed to feel that breath, that mouth, all over him... it was too much for him, he realized he had come to full arousal. His erection ached, trapped. He wondered if the man was fully asleep... could he risk adjusting his cock? He moved his hand slowly down towards his lap. The human didn't move.

Legolas moved his hand farther down, spreading his legs slightly, and tried to straighten his arousal through the pants.

Feeling him shift around, Strider loosened his arms a bit. He didn't want to constrict the elf whilst he was sleeping. He liked the way they just fit together as they sat there. It was pleasant. Like basking in the sunlight. He almost found himself wishing that the storm would stay overhead for several days. He, himself, shifted just the tiniest bit so his legs didn't go numb from lack of circulation.

The elf froze when the human shifted; was he awake? He held his breath for a long moment, not daring to move his hand, which was gripping his length though his pants. His cock throbbed, not caring if he was caught. The man moved, and Legolas shifted back farther, and closer to Strider's body.

Strider settled down and lay quiet, oblivious to the lovely elf's dilemma. Legolas was slowly going mad from the scent of the man behind him and the feel of his body. Almost without his consent, his hand squeezed his erection. He bit his lip to keep from moaning, fantasizing he felt the man's hard cock pressing into him. Just a bit farther back, and he could feel it....

It was becoming painfully aware to Strider that he wouldn't be able to hide his aroused state for much longer. For some ungodly reason, the elf was pressing himself closer and closer against him. If Legolas was any closer at all, he'd be behind him. It was maddening. He could feel the way the elf breathed and his heart rate through the contact with his back. He was starting to have little fantasies of his own...

Deep into his fantasy, the elf's eyes were dilated and his breathing quickened. He hoped to the gods that the human was truly asleep. He rubbed his length through the constricting pants, biting back another moan. Wanting more contact, he pressed back farther. First, he thought it was part of his fantasy... but surely... no, the man must be wearing a belt then? There was definite hardness behind him.

A strange sound roused the ranger from his thoughts. Legolas was moving around again. Strider shifted behind him and then stilled. The elf was... stroking himself? Fascinated and becoming still more aroused by the thought and sight, he froze so that he could watch the slender hand work. Strider was scared to even breath. He didn't want the lovely elf to stop what he was doing.

Could it be? Could the human be as aroused as he was? Could the fates be smiling on him tonight? He had to know. He got even harder, if that was possible, and arousal made him take a chance. He braced his feet, and pushed back another inch, so that he was pressed as tightly as possible against the human.

Strider stifled the moan he suddenly wanted to let loose. That maddening little elf... He was pressing back on purpose! The human thought for a moment and then decided that he was going to teach Legolas a tiny little lesson. Stealthily, his hand moved under the blanket, inching for the hand that was working on the slender, hidden cock, and covered it with his own, "I think you need a little help with that..."

Legolas gasped. "You're awake!" he said, unnecessarily, blushing.

Saying nothing more, the human's hand moved to slip under the waist of Legolas' pants, "I am. How could I sleep with you pressing against me?" Strider's hand wormed down until it felt the heat of the elf's cock and became one with it. He started slowly, working back and forth on the velvet hard flesh, "Is this what you were wanting to do, Legolas?"

"Oooh," moaned the elf, arching up into the ranger's touch, forgetting to be embarrassed. "Yes..."

Strider's other arm circled around the lean torso and held him close against him while the other hand was busily building up the elf's passion. He didn't think that he could have gotten any harder at that moment, but he did. The sounds Legolas was making had the ranger biting back his own sounds, just so he could hear the gorgeous elf. Every time the youth moved, he brushed against Strider's aching cock, "Legolas..."

"Strider... so good... want you..." the elf moaned. The man's hand on his length was driving him mad with desire. He pressed back, wanting to feel the arousal against him.

Leaning forward, the ranger gave a harsh groan in the delicately pointed ear, "I want you... Legolas..." His smoky voice was heavy with passion and burning need. Strider's hand moved just a little faster on the elf's arousal, trying to coax more of the sweet sounds of Legolas' building desire.

"Anything," moaned Legolas, intoxicated with the man's desire for him. The rough hand on his need felt perfect, but he craved more. "Need you..."

Using his other hand, Strider got the leather pants the elf was wearing down off his hips, "Shhh... soon." He didn't think he could take much more of this. Legolas was the personification of elven beauty. Beauty that was offering itself to him. There was so much more that he wanted to do. "Get up on your knees in front of me, Legolas," he whispered hotly, "Let me see you as I touch you."

Panting, the elf followed instructions. Something about the man made him want to do anything he asked. He moved away reluctantly, turning around and facing Strider. He almost whimpered by the evident lust on the ranger's face.

Strider took just a moment to look at the elf displayed before him. Legolas was flushed with need and hard and just oh-so beautiful. He reclaimed his hold on the cock he'd held just seconds before while his other hand fished something out of his pack. The small jar was opened one-handed and he dipped his fingers into it. Carefully, the dark-haired ranger worked some of the salve onto his fingers and then moved them under his busy hand, "Spread your knees a little wider, Legolas..."

Legolas moaned and did as he was told. The man's hands on him were delicious. He wanted more. It took a few precious seconds for Strider to find what he was looking for. When he did, his fingertips circled around the tiny opening, massaging it gently, "How does this feel, Legolas?"

The elf had to brace himself on the ranger's strong shoulders. "So good... more..." He thrust into Strider's hand.

Legolas' moans would be his undoing, the human realized. He carefully pushed one finger through and then moved it deeper into the elf. Once it was fully buried inside, Strider stopped and wiggled it around within the tight cavity, "More still?"

"Please," begged the elf, his head hanging down so his silky hair brushed against the human. Another finger joined the first and both began to work in and out of Legolas' willing form. Strider was coveting each look of passion, rapture, and sweet agony. When his digits moved unhindered, he added a third finger to its brothers within. Each internal stroke went just a little deeper, a little faster, a little closer to the spot that would really make the elf cry out, "You are perfect, Legolas... in every way."

The elf was so far gone that he felt he could climax from just this. The human's voice caressed him and his fingers deep inside stroked him perfectly. But sill he needed more. "Want you... inside me..."

"Patience, Legolas," Strider purred out, "Soon... Kiss me." He continued to fist the elf's cock while he worked on stretching the way. The ranger didn't want to hurt this beautiful vision, so he was making absolutely sure that Legolas would be ready when they got started.

Raising his head, the elf pressed his lips to the ranger's, hard and fast. He wanted to devour Strider, to be one with him.

Kissing back, Strider wondered if there was anything sweeter than those lips. He let go of Legolas' arousal and pulled the elf against him with a harsh moan. He pulled his other hand free of the lean body, cleaning his fingers off on the blanket, and then wrapped both arms around the archer. As the kiss burned on, he tightened his embrace, nearly crushing the elf against him.

Legolas craved this, this rough contact, wanted to be crushed by the human. He wanted to be taken hard by the rugged man, wanted to be pinned to the ground. He poured all his wants and needs into the torrid kiss.

Reluctantly, the ranger let the kiss break and spread the blanket out near the fire. He turned his attention back to Legolas and undid the laces to his leathers. At last, he could be free of their constricting tightness! Strider yanked them down and kicked off his boots so that he could get the pants off of his legs. His cock was hard as stone, the tip slick with liquid need, glistening in the firelight.

The elf licked his lips as he looked upon Strider's body. His eyes roamed over the muscles, and came to rest upon the hard length that was his focus now. "Strider..."

"Come here, Legolas," the ranger whispered hotly. He wanted to feel those slim hands on his flesh. The soft lips against his. The trembling body in his embrace. Strider wanted all these things and more. He didn't foresee any trouble in getting what he wanted.

The elf fumbled with his pants, wanting to have all his flesh touch the human's. He finally got them off and crawled toward the man. He paused before him, almost shyly, letting Strider look upon him.

"Beautiful," the ranger moaned as he swept the elf into his embrace. He captured the sweet lips again, giving a forceful kiss, prying Legolas' mouth open so he could plunder its depths. One of the strong hands slid down the silky skin of the elf's back to cup one buttock, kneading it roughly.

Whimpering into the man's mouth, Legolas' whole body was on fire from Strider's touch. He couldn't remember ever wanting anything this much, in all his years. He leaned into the touch, kissing back as hard as he could.

Strider lay the elf down on the blanket, never breaking the contact of their lips. Settling down over Legolas, he let his hands roam over the soft skin, memorizing every scant inch he could reach. The golden haired elf was amazing. All that passion contained in such a slight frame, begging for the ranger's touch.

Yes, this was it, this was what he wanted... the human on top of him, his weight on him, making him feel deliciously wanton... Legolas spread his legs, inviting.

Strider's mouth traveled down the gentle curve of the slender throat, "Your skin... is sweet..." His knees braced under the elf's thighs as he got into position. The tip of the ranger's cock brushed teasingly at Legolas' entrance, "I've never wanted anyone... this much..."

"Oh, god, take me, please..." Legolas didn't know how much longer he could stand waiting. His cock was ready to explode already and his body ached to be filled. "Please..."

Slowly, torturously slow, Strider began to ease his hard length into the tight heat that was the writhing elf. The inner walls rippled along his shaft, sending the most delightful feelings up his spine, drawing a moan from the ranger. He was fighting himself not to simply ram into Legolas with one stroke. As he pressed further in, his will was starting to erode. Luckily, he held out until he was fully embedded, "Gods, Legolas... you feel... so good..."

Legolas gasped for air, for he had forgotten to breathe while the ranger entered him. It was perfect, hot and so right. The arousal inside him filled him perfectly. "Move," he panted. "Please!"

Pulling back, Strider gave just a moment's hesitation before he shoved his pelvis forward, driving his cock into the begging elf. Pleasure unlike anything he had ever felt shot through him, making him gasp and cry out, "Gods!" Unable to stop now, he slammed in again, losing himself to the mindless need that was consuming him.

Riding every delicious thrust, Legolas screamed his lover's name as he asked for more. Harder, he wanted it harder. "More! I can take it!" his hands gripped the man's biceps, looking up in awe at the raw beauty of the man inside him.

Letting go of the last shreds of his control, Strider surged inside the elf, driving himself hard and fast inside the tight confines. This was nothing short of perfection. Legolas beneath him, panting, crying out his name, thrashing his head to each side... The ranger's right hand moved from under one of the elf's shoulders and down, taking the slender cock in a firm grip. "Legolas..." He ran his hand roughly up and down the flesh, feeling each ridge in his palm, striving to take the elven beauty higher and higher.

"Oh gods..." It was too much, too much, the tide of passion would drown him. Never had anything felt like this. He never wanted it to end yet he wanted completion. When the ranger stroked him, it was over. He arched up, his mouth open in a scream of ecstasy, and climaxed hard. His whole body sung with passion.

Everything tightened down around Strider's cock and he couldn't help but cry out at the feeling. Legolas' seed flowed over his hand; rolling off his fingers in thick white droplets. The knowledge that the elf had found his pleasure spurred the ranger to his own. With a shout, he delved deep and let go, the rush of his own completion stealing his breath and sight. A choked sob followed, Strider's body still rocking from the intensity, until he finally quieted and stilled. His arms wobbled, suddenly weak, and he collapsed onto Legolas' chest with a sated sigh.

The elf wrapped his fatigued arms around his new lover. He had never felt so satisfied. His body was a sweet ache, full of endorphins, and he still felt like he was floating.

Strider buried his face in the archer's sweetly scented hair, "Gods... I've never felt anything like that before..."

"Nor have I," the elf replied shakily. He felt like he never wanted to let go of the man. The ranger marveled at how Legolas fit so perfectly against him, "I feel like... I could hold you like this... forever..."

"And... I want you to..." Legolas couldn't believe he was saying this, feeling this. He felt a bond with the ranger the likes of which he had never felt in all his long life.

A lock of golden sunlight was twirled around Strider's fingers, "I can't bear the thought of you leaving, Legolas..." It was truth. The ranger felt like he'd be lost if he knew he couldn't be with the beautiful archer. He again prayed the storm would last for several days so that Legolas *had* to stay.

"I don't wish to," the elf responded, whispering. And he kissed the ranger again, slow and soft.

"Stay with me," Strider implored after the kiss broke, "Travel the forests at my side..." As he said the words, his mouth moved down, kissing along the pale neck, "Let me worship you..."

Though Legolas knew the perils of being involved with a human, he wanted nothing more at the moment than to be at Strider's side forever.

The End