Dedicated to randy_o, who provided the plot bunny for this. Thank you again for your great inspiration!
Summary: How do we know that Eldarion is really of Aragorn's blood?
Warning: Slash, m/m, implied BDSM; implied non-con and debatable consent. Non-monogamy. Implied het content.
Rated: PG 13 For implied slash and non-monogamy? Er.
Pairings: Aragorn/Legolas (mainly), Legolas/Arwen (implied).
Beta: Surreysmum. All remaining errors are my own.
Disclaimer: The universe I play in is not mine, nor are the characters; I just borrow without permission. I make no money out of this. The universe was created by J.R.R. Tolkien and is owned by the Tolkien Estate, and the movies are owned by Peter Jackson.
Author's note: Set in the story universe of Mael-Gûl. However, this is AU to this universe. Mael-Gûl was originally inspired by BlueGold's thrilling story “Bound”, that can be found here: http://daemel.freespaces.com/authors.html#blue . I use similar ideas here with her permission. The idea of the Mael-Gûl, or Rhach e-Maelangwedh (Lust-Spell, Curse of Lustchain) however is entirely mine.
Aragorn Elessar Telcontar, king of the reunited realm of Gondor and Arnor, was furious.
The king stood, hands on his hips, in the middle of the royal chambers and stared at his two royal consorts and – so far - faithful lovers.
Or so he had thought, at least.
“Would the two of you be kind enough to tell me,” Aragorn growled in a cold, flat voice, “how this came about?!”
Arwen, his beloved, noble queen, held her head high. Although she seemed a little embarrassed, she held her own admirably.
Aragorn's other lover, his close friend, trusted advisor and – semi-official – catamite, Legolas Greenleaf, prince of Eryn Lasgalen, formerly known to the realms of men as 'Mirkwood', was not so calm. Standing behind the queen, half in the shadow, he made a remarkable attempt at melting into the background.
Unfortunately, it didn't seem to work, for Aragorn's gaze still found him.
The king glowered at the two people closest to him in all the world and and asked angrily: “Well?”
Arwen found her voice first.
“I do not know what you mean, Estel,” she said with faked innocence. “After all, it was you who always said to me you wished that I should hold Legolas as dear as I would you! And besides,” she continued, ignoring the paling former slave behind her, “didn't you always tell me how much you would love it if Legolas had children, too?”
Aragorn looked as if he were about to explode.
Behind Arwen, Aragorn's former slave and perpetual lover paled even more. Alarmed, Legolas croaked out: “Arwen!--”
Aragorn swept his attention to him and Legolas flinched under his lord's gaze. Aragorn was about to round on him, but before the king could say or do anything he would have regretted later, he caught a glimpse of the challenging, slightly predatory gaze of his beloved wife.
Arwen's expression gave him pause, and his gaze sharpened. He did a double-take.
All right. He should have known. So Legolas was not the one to blame, here.
At least he was not the main culprit.
Consciously holding back his wrath, the king turned his gaze back at his wife and clipped out, cold and flatly: “Yes. I am aware I said that. And indeed I meant it. BUT NOT BY YOU!!!”
Arwen had the grace to blush and to keep silent. But unfortunately, Legolas – as always – was far too courteous for his own good. He could not let her take the brunt of their mutual lord's wrath alone.
He cleared his throat.
“Estel,” he began bravely, “I...”
It was a mistake. He didn't get any further.
Aragorn turned back to him again and spat: “And you!!! My loyal, ever faithful lover! My closest confidant and dearest consort! Never in my life I would have believed you capable of doing anything like that to me!!!”
He trailed off, voice full of betrayal.
Legolas shrank a bit.
“But My Lord,” he dared to say, “it was you who told me I was to serve the lady Arwen as completely and obediently as I would you.” He swallowed again.
Aragorn narrowed his eyes. Timidly, his former slave went on:
“It was you who told me I was to serve her every wish as I would yours. And that I should feel honored by the duty of helping you and the lady Arwen to produce a heir for the throne.”
Aragorn looked as if he was about to hit him, but luckily, his wife stood in the way, and since he had never hit her before, he managed to stay his wrath.
So he merely spat:
“I didn't mean it quite so literally. And well you know it!”
He took a threatening step to the side to get around his wife and to his former slave. Balling his fists, he drawled menacingly: “How you could mistake my meaning in such a way is beyond me, but maybe it is time I taught you better. Maybe it's time we had a discussion about the creative interpretation of my orders...”
Legolas paled even more and shrank even further. Yet after a moment he braced himself. Bowing his head, he whispered tonelessly: “As you wish, My Lord.”
Arwen looked at both of them, disgusted. She decided to intervene. Taking a step to the side, effectively blocking her husband's way, she said: “Oh, stop it, Estel! Leave him alone! He did only what he was commanded, after all!”
Legolas' head came up. He blushed. Aragorn stopped in his tracks, glaring at his wife in barely controlled rage.
As if he did not know that! However...
She seemed unimpressed. Challenging, she held his gaze.
“Besides,” she said, “what harm is there in this? You have a strong, healthy and most vital heir. You know how desperately you always wished for that! And it all stays in the family. So where is the problem?”
Her gaze was sharp and challenging enough to cut glass.
For a moment, it looked indeed as if Aragorn would finally hit her, and Legolas behind her actually straightened as if to interfere, whispering an alarmed, half-strangled “Estel!--”
-- but then, Aragorn managed to control himself, and took a step back.
“Problem?” he replied sarcastically, “Indeed, what problem would there be – aside from the fact that the two very people I trusted most in all the world betrayed me?”
Legolas swallowed a gasp at that, but Aragorn ignored him. Sharply, boring his gaze into that of Arwen, he went on: “Or aside from the fact that the one you call my heir has not a drop of the royal blood of Númenor in his veins?!”
Arwen raised her head. “No royal blood?!” she spat back, “My uncle Elros, the son of my grandfather Earendil, founded that whole sorry bloodline, if you recall! And Earendil himself was the grandson of Turgon, king of Gondolin, and I am also a descendant of Beren and Luthien, and through them of Elu Thingol! And my grandmother Galadriel is herself the granddaughter of both Finwe, high king of the Noldor, and Olwe, king of the Teleri! I deem that should be good enough for you!!!”
Legolas, behind her, swallowed a cough, and she quickly swept around, grazing him with a gaze. Then she turned back at her husband, eyes gleaming triumphantly.
“Besides, last I looked Legolas' father still ruled in his own right in that wood of his,” she added as if in an afterthought. “So I hardly think your heir suffers of any lack of royal bloodlines!”
Aragorn glared at her.
“Except for the one that counts, the royal blood of Elendil,” he stated.
Arwen held his gaze for just another moment, then she shrugged.
“So?” she asked back. “If you do not tell it around and do not make a fuss, nobody will ever be the wiser.”
Aragorn narrowed his eyes.
“Oh?!” he quipped, “And what about the fact that he is blond?! How are we going to explain that to the good people of Gondor? Just an odd whim of the Valar?!”
He sent a pointed look in the direction of Legolas, who blushed furiously.
But Arwen merely shrugged. “Why not?” she asked. “My mother was blond, after all. So was her mother. And my grandfather Celeborn is silver haired. Why shouldn't their appearance carry through to my son?”
Her gaze sharpened. “Or would you, my dear husband, officially question my fidelity? The fidelity of Arwen Elrondiel(1), queen of Gondor? I am not the one said to have 'two consorts', after all!”
Behind her, Legolas made a quick movement to the side and braced himself to intervene if Aragorn should indeed lose it and attack her. As little as he wished to confront his lord, he knew he could not let that happen – especially since he knew that Aragorn would never forgive himself if would went that far.
But to Legolas' surprise, Aragorn merely continued to glare at her – and it was Arwen's husband who finally, actually lowered his gaze.
“I have a headache,” Aragorn mumbled, massaging his temple.
Then he gave her a last, hurt and betrayed look, swept an equally hurt gaze over his former slave, and left, leaving his two questionably faithful lovers standing where they stood.
Legolas made a move as if to follow, but Arwen held him back. “Let him go,” she clipped sourly, “let him calm down for a while, first.”
Then she also turned around and left the royal chambers through another door.
Legolas stayed behind. He sighed and cast a wistful look out of the window into the royal garden, where the young prince of Gondor carelessly and joyfully played with his nurse, eagerly babbling to her about the voices of the trees, blessedly unaware of all the trouble he caused his parents.
Tenderly, his gaze rested on the golden haired boy, Arwen's child and Aragorn's heir, named all too accurately 'Eldarion(2)'.
________________ o ______________
It was three hours later that Legolas finally found his lord and former master. Aragorn had descended to the plains outside the city where the horses had their paddocks. He had chased away all the well-meaning servants and guards and successfully scared off the impertinent members of the court who vied for his attention. The few guards who – on orders of Faramir, no doubt – kept watch at some respectable distance and well out of earshot, securing Elessar's privacy as well as his safety in an unobtrusive way, were quite relieved to see the approach of the Elven confidant and unofficial consort of their king. If anyone was capable of calming the enraged king's wrath, it was his Elven shadow.
Still, Legolas approached Aragorn with mixed feelings. He had braced himself against a fierce and possibly painful rebuke. But to his relief and surprise, Aragorn's mood had cooled already.
When Legolas hesitantly touched his back, the king closed his eyes and drew a deep breath. Leaning back against the hesitant, familiar touch, he murmured: “I wondered when you would show up.”
Legolas bit his lips. Softly, he began: “Estel, I...”
Aragorn gave a sigh. “It is all right, Little Leaf,” he said tiredly, “I have calmed down again, already.”
He sensed the tension in his former slave and took the slender hands on his shoulder in his own. Bringing them to his mouth, he kissed them, then allowed them to settle back on his shoulders. Leaning on the paddock, he savored the closeness of the Elf.
Still, Legolas didn't let go of his tension. Hesitantly he began: “Estel, it... it wasn't her fault. I... I...” He trailed off. Aragorn could feel his slight trembling.
He shook his head. “Oh, shut up already, will you?” he said tiredly and without heat. “I can recognize one of my dear wife's plots when I see one, and I know very well you wouldn't have done it if she had not ordered you to do her bidding. Nor if I had not told you to obey her commands as you normally would mine.” It sounded sad and full of grief and a little angry – an anger apparently directed mostly at himself.
Legolas swallowed. “Still...” he began, “I should have hesitated. I should have asked you first. I...”
Aragorn had had enough. He captured the hands on his shoulders again and pulled them down, settling them across his stomach, effectively drawing Legolas close. Legolas obediently settled himself against his lord's back. Aragorn savored the feeling. At least, since Legolas' status as his lover was an open secret in his realm, they did not need to entirely forego touching in public to keep up appearances.
“You are as noble as always, Little Leaf,” Aragorn said, “but I do know who is to blame for this. Besides, as little as I like it, she is right, you know.”
He heard Legolas' astonished sharp breath. “My Lord?”
Caressing the hands under his own, Aragorn said: “I have been desperate to get an heir. I even tried taking that stimulant again. Yet nothing worked. Those few times when I could...” he trailed off. After a few moments, he began again, voice full of pain: “It simply didn't work. That Arwen in the end decided to choose this way doesn't fill me with pleasure, but I can't deny that it was reasonable. In fact, I should probably have had this idea myself.”
Legolas drew back and gasped. “My Lord!--” he protested.
Yet Aragorn held him fast.
“What?” he asked with a kind of dry, self-deprecating humor. “Didn't you hear Arwen today? There is no lack of royalty in our child. It would have been much easier for all of us, had I just set my pride aside in the first place and asked you for your help myself. And besides, this way it would probably have worked much sooner!”
Legolas hesitated. He could hardly deny Aragorn's logic. Still...
“Still, the child does not stem from your blood, Estel,” he said quietly. “It is your line that should live on...”
Aragorn squeezed the hands he was still holding.
“Why?” he asked reasonably. “As Arwen said, the child is undeniably of both the lines of Beren and Luthien as well as of the line of Earendil and Turgon. Not to mention some interesting Woodelf traits.”
He felt the flush of heat in the Elf's hands and guessed that his lover must be blushing behind him. He smiled. Then he continued with regret:
“Besides, I fear the line of Isildur has been thoroughly corrupted. Maybe it is for the best that his blood won't live on in our son.”
Legolas bit his lips. He could hear the pain in Aragorn's tone, and for moments he was overwhelmed by sadness and betrayal at everything that had been lost to them both. Hot anger welled up in him. He wanted to scream: 'As opposed to the line of Elrond?!' --
-- But he couldn't say that. So he fought his pain and anger down and merely said:
“I wish he could have been your son, Estel.”
Aragorn leaned his head back into his neck, and obediently Legolas rested his chin on his lord's shoulder.
Aragorn took a deep breath. Calmly, he decided:
“He will be. In everything that matters beside blood, for we will raise him as such, and nobody will ever be the wiser. And I will treat him and cherish him as if he were of my own blood, and hold him dear to me as my own child. I will never deny him. This I swear, and the Valar help me to hold to this my oath.”
Legolas gasped and shook against him. “Estel!--” he said breathlessly, but Aragorn shook his head.
“Nay, Legolas, I mean it. Do not fear! He will be my son, and nobody shall ever know otherwise.”
Then he turned around in the arms of his astonished lover, smiling at his startled expression. He decided on lightening the mood.
“You know, the real problem is something else,” he teased, and at Legolas' questioning gaze, he asked:
“Whatever will you tell your father?(3)”
Legolas looked at him, startled and wide-eyed, and swallowed again.
-- The End --
(1) Arwen Elrondiel – Sindarin: Arwen, Elrond's daughter. As for the bloodlines: Finwe was the (deceased) high king of the Noldor, father of Galadriel's father Finarfin (still ruling in Valinor). Finwe's second son Fingolfin, who went back to Middle Earth in the Noldor rebellion, was the father of Turgon, king of Gondolin, grandfather of Earendil, who was the father of both Elros (first king of Númenor, who chose a mortal fate) and Elrond. Earendil's spouse Elwing was the granddaughter of Beren and Luthien, who was herself the daughter of Elu Thingol of Doriath, king of the Sindar in Middle Earth, and Melian the Maia. Galadriel's father Finarfin, who stayed in Aman when the bulk of the Noldor left for Middle Earth again, was the husband of Earwen, daughter of Olwe of Aqualonde, the still ruling king of the Teleri of Aman and brother of Elu Thingol of Doriath. Galadriel's husband Celeborn was also a kinsman of both Elu Thingol and Olwe, descended from their third brother Elmo. And finally, Legolas' father Thranduil (a kinsman of Celeborn) is the still ruling Elvenking of Mirkwood, now called Eryn Lasgalen. Arwen is right, there is no apparent lack of royal blood, at least on the Elven side of Eldarion's heritage. As for the mortal line, both Earendil's and Elwing's mortal forebears are descendants of the leaders of men. Of course, then, the one heritage that would have counted in Gondor was the unbroken bloodline of Aragorn's ancestor Elendil, founder of Gondor and himself a descendant of Elros, first king of Númenor... but well, I guess you can't have everything. :-)
(2) Eldarion – Sindarin: son of the Eldar, son of Elves.
(3) My Beta pointed out that, since this snippet stands alone, I should explain why it would be a problem to tell Thranduil about Eldarion's parentage. Well, let's just say that after three thousand years of enslavement of his realm by Elrond and his allies, Thranduil would probably not be all too thrilled to get a grandchild born by Elrond's daughter Arwen, of all people! Even while, in this snippet at least, apparently the spell was broken in the end and Mirwood was free again, since Legolas is called Aragorn's former slave, and Arwen spoke of Thranduil as ruling in his own right.
This story snippet was inspired by a comment of randy_o to the chapter Mael-Gul 40 – Finding Resolve, who wrote in a discussion about Aragorn's "little problem", concerning Eldarion's parentage: “Are we so certain that heir was of his own blood? After the end of the First Age, when the question of the Peredhil had been settled by the Valar, all further offspring of elf/mortal unions were automatically mortal. We see this in Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth, who is fully mortal, yet the descendant of an elf/mortal pairing (Mithrellas/Imrazor). Arwen, upon choosing Aragorn, becomes mortal. Any of her children will be mortal as well, even if conceived with the help of, say, a close Elven friend of Aragorn's -- some sort of concubine or catamite. The revenge would be sweet, do you not think?”
One of the most powerful questions sparking my imagination has always been: “What if-?” So, Randy's question sparked my imagination, and out came this story snippet.
This was written and sent to Randy already in June. I apologize for holding back posting it here for so long, but I wanted to deliver the Fellowship to Moria and resolve the 'Temptation'-arc in my main story first before I pointed to any possible positive outcome. Of course, the possible outcome shown in this snippet is not entirely positive. But then, I do not say that it will happen this way; as of yet, all bets how the story may end are still open.