title: In Passing
fandom: Lord of the Rings
characters/pairings: Arwen, Legolas
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Arwen and Legolas share a moment under the moon.
notes: for Calla, her ficlet on demand. *snugs* ...sadly, again, not quite what she wanted, i fear. also, this is movie continuity, although purists of any sort should probably steer clear, as i am likely just making a bunch of this up. d'oh!

Night enveloped and kept her, cloaking her in comfortable familiarity. In the blanket of stars that shielded her from high above, she saw nothing but silence.

She would not sleep this night, though she had been given leave to do naught else. She walked silently through the canopy, her eyes on the stars, and she waited for answers, patiently.

She had not expected the form in which they came.

Legolas Greenleaf, of the Woodland people, was not as she had expected him to be. She had heard that he was a powerful archer, and credit to elf-kind, and she had imagined an elf like her father. But Legolas was anything but; where her father was even-tempered, Legolas was rash and quick to judge, where he father was imposing and austere, Legolas was open and inviting, and where her father was intractable, Legolas as open-minded.

He was scuttling the hobbits off to bed, removing from their small hands the thin flasks of fine elderberry wine that he had brought as part of the tribute of his kind to the Council of Elrond. He shook his head, his fine, flaxen hair shaking with him, softening the sternness of his creased brow.

"It is time for those who are small to rest, so that they do not get in the way of those who are big." His voice was cultured and smooth, but it lacked her father's grace and majesty. She chided herself for clinging to this illusion. He was who he was. Why was that not enough?

She drew her shawl tighter around her shoulders, sighing to the wind. In the morrow, her love and the Fellowship would leave, and take with them the heavy burden that was sure to open a tide of pain and suffering upon the land. She and her love had already exchanged words, both harsh and true.

He did not believe that he was coming back to her, but she believed enough for the both of them.

"My lady Evenstar," Legolas bowed briefly before her. "Hail and good tidings on this night washed by the moon."

She could not help the small twist of delight at his ornate use of expression. "Hail to you, young Greenleaf, and may the moon shine blessings upon your brow."

He looked moderately confused. "Young?"

How foolish of her. If only she could release this impression from her thoughts... "Only in comparison to some, I suppose."

There was a moment of unexpected silence, and Arwen's thoughts raced to break the hold it had on her.

"I am not what you expected, am I?" There was amusement twinkling in his pale eyes, and Arwen noticed that he had slipped into an old elvish dialect, either because he was more comfortable with it, or because he wanted to further distance himself from potential eavesdroppers.

She acquiesced to his lead. "Is anyone?"

He offered her arm with a hidden grin. They walked up the path until they reached the stairs down to the reflecting pool, shadowed by the lumbering arms of the willow. "Rivendell is certainly not what I expected. I had somehow thought that I would feel uncultured here, but it is not so dissimilar to my home. Perhaps it is only the presence of the halflings that makes me think so, though."

She smiled genuinely at him. "I suspect that you would be at ease in any surroundings, great or poor, my friend. You have an honest heart."

He blinked with surprise. "Do I?" He sat down upon the mossy bench beside the clear, unmoving water. She arranged her skirts, and sat at an appropriate distance. "How can you tell?"

"It is in your eyes," she informed him. "They show me what they see."

He seemed utterly enchanted. "And what else is shown to you? Were we right to put our faith in that small hobbit?"

"Frodo's task is his own," Arwen sighed. "Right or wrong, it is his to do."

Legolas sighed. "The fate of the world, on the shoulders of one too small. Proof that all creatures that inhabit this Middle Earth hold sway over her destiny."

Arwen leaned closer to him, feeling a rush of excitement. She often felt too isolated here, amongst her own kind, many of whom were certain that they were the most superior of all races. "The fate of the world belongs to all of us. Why should not the charge of its destiny?"

Legolas met her gaze evenly, no emotion evident in his gaze. "And Aragorn... the ranger. He must be a man beyond the measure of men, to have won the heart of the Evenstar."

She smiled benignly. "He is Isildur's Heir."

"And will he reclaim his throne?"

"Some paths cannot be avoided." She smiled, feeling the warmth of pride fill her heart.

Legolas reached up, and touched her cheek, and then touched his lips to hers. Such a brief, fleeting touch, she barely knew how to describe it. "I will place my faith in the well in which you have placed your future, then, my lady."

Her eyes widened, and her heart belatedly began to pound. "But... why? Why would you trust my wisdom over your own judgment?"

He tilted his head to the side, considering. "My judgment is clouded with fear, my lady. The earth shakes, and my heart pounds with the thought of what we are to set out to do. I shall stand my ground and do what is right, but a compass in a storm can be more useful than even eyes."

He took her hand and raised her knuckles to his lips. She found herself flushing. "But why would you trust me? Why not seek the counsel of my father? Or Galadriel?"

He smirked, his gaze unfocused. "To ask such questions of ones so high is the same as showing weakness. I will defend our world, and fight ably by your love's side, fear not. But a man chooses his companions based on what he needs at the moment; a woman hers based on what her children will need when they are grown. You believe in a man who will one day be king, and I believe that I am right to trust you."

She watched him amble off, his lean grace and natural, feline strength hinted at in his strides. She leaned back, and sighed deeply. Aragorn's faith could crumble, but Legolas' would not. Perhaps she had wanted a man like her father to accompany her love so that she would know that there would be someone hounding his heels to keep on the journey. Perhaps what he needed was someone there to offer him a hand when the road became rough.

She smiled at the stars, and thanked them for offering what was needed once again.