Book 2: chapter 24

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"Ah! Lad, come and join us in our game!" he calls.

"What are we doing?" Legolas asks, willing to join in whatever they are doing. He looks surprised when Éomer hands him and Gimli a pint of ale.

"No pauses, no spills." he says, laying out the rules. "And no regurgitation!" Gimli adds, making me raise a brow in wonder.

"So, it's a drinking game?" Legolas ask, catching on.

"Last one standing wins." Gimli laughs, eager to see Legolas succumb to alcohol, no doubt.

Raising his glass, he wastes no time in downing the drink, making noises like a horse would while drinking from a through. It makes me grimace. I watch with curiosity as Legolas raises the pint to smell the ale before taking a sip. I don't suppose he ever had ale before. I chuckle as he continues drinking and make myself comfortable. This ought to be good for a laugh.

I look on with a mixture of disgust and intrigue as they down one after another. Soon, with every next pint, one man drops from the competition, much to Gimli's pleasure. But after so many, he is not unaffected either. Glancing up to Legolas, I can see him have little trouble though.

"Oh great." I mumble, hearing Gimli release gas next to me before looking at him with uncertainty as he slurs something about going swimming with little hairy women while holding a foolish grin on his face before burping rather unceremoniously. Heck, I've seen dwarves drink before, but Gimli is really something else.

I glance at Éomer who shrugs, before sighing. From the look on his face he shares my sentiments. "Drink brings out the worst of manners in men. I suppose it's the same for dwarves." he mutters, handing Gimli his next pint.

"I feel something..." Legolas suddenly interrupts, making us look back at him to see him looking at his fingers with curiosity and aversion.

Éomer raises his brow incredulously as if saying: 'You only NOW start to feel it?'

"There is a slight tingle in my fingers." Legolas muses, looking up in mild surprise. "I think it's affecting me." he concludes, sounding worried by the fact. I can only laugh at the look on his face.

"What...did I...say?" Gimli slurs. I can barely make out what he says at this point. "He can't hold...his liquor." he states before going cross-eyed and falling over backwards, out cold.

Legolas watches him before turning to us. "Game over."

I nod. "Impressive." I state, making him grin.

"How about a dance to celebrate my victory?" he suggests.

Taking his outstretched hand I courtesy before the elf, I say; "I'd be honored."

Before I know it, we've covered every part of the dance floor and I feel myself completely loosing track of time as Legolas' continuous smile draws me further out of my shell. I can't help but laugh loudly as Merry and Pippin come along and wrestle me out of his grip, calling out something of it being their turn.

Legolas doesn't seem to mind as he chuckles in amusement and looks on from the sidelines as the hobbits take my hands and twist and turn every which way while laughing happily.

After a long time of joining in with the fun, I can feel myself grow hot and am left winded. Breaking away from the hobbits, much to their dismay, I make my way outside, feeling the need to cool off.

Outside, a gentle breeze greets me, playing with the strands of my hair that have come undone. It's a clear night and the moon and stars allow me to see every detail of the city and of the plains surrounding it. Sucking in a deep breath of the crisp air, I sigh in content.

A light shuffle behind me catches my attention and I glance over towards Legolas as he approaches. His features are laid out in a soft expression and he smiles lightly as the wind catches his hair, the moonlight reflecting off of it from time to time. His eyes shimmer like a clear mountain stream.

"You left quite suddenly, I thought I'd see if you are well." he explains, coming to a halt next to me. I smile, feeling a tingle in my stomach at the thought of him worrying about me. He always seems to do so.

"I'm quite alright. It's just that dancing with hobbits is more tiring than fighting a full on battle." I tell him, grinning.

He smiles gently in return before tenderly reaching out and playing with the Lady of the woods' gift that dangles from my ear proudly. "Gellon ned i galar i chent gîn ned i gladhog. (I love to see your eyes shine when you laugh)" he breathes, making me feel blood rush to my head and my heart hammer in my chest.

How is it that my body always reacts so violently towards his attentions? It makes me feel so silly, though somehow I can't seem to get enough of it as a warm feeling envelops me every time. What's going on with me?

I stand frozen as his hand glides down to my shoulder and gently traces my arm until his fingers gingerly curl around mine. His eyes seem to look right into me as his gaze is locked onto mine in a way that makes me feel like I can't look away for the life of me. It feels like I'm being taken away by them, away from all my worries and hardships and to a different place...a happy place. Is this what a dream feels like?

"If it were up to me...I would make you forget what sadness even feels like. I'd make it my purpose in life to have you forever smiling." he whispers as he leans in closer.

I don't have to worry about what to do as my mind shuts down and my body moves on itself, forcing my eyes closed to just slits. I feel myself fall forward and into welcoming arms as softness brushes at my lips, tickling like feathers or flower petals.

Deep inside my mind, a realization seems to settle. During our time together, something has been growing, something I never held possible. It's like a fairy tale my mother told me when I was too young to truly understand. But it happened nevertheless and to me no less. Love between a man and a woman.

There it is! Their firstkiss! It took many chapters, but it finally came.

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