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ArWen the Eternally Surprised
Author: Ria Time: 2007/11/22
Arwen encounters a strange monk and gains a little extra time.
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Redemption
Submitter: Date: 2006/10/1 Views: 276 Rate: 8.50/2
Redemption
Summary: Title: Redemption (1/1)
Author: laeglass
Pairing: Aragorn/Legolas/Balian
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: threesome, religious themes
Disclaimer: These characters are not my property, and no disrespect or harm is intended by borrowing them.
Summary: Struggling with feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred, Balian learns that he is not alone, and accepting comfort is not weakness.
Beta: the kind and generous, not to mention quick, tularia *hugs*

“Make way!”

The healer looked up from wrapping his patient’s knee as a group of three men burst into the examination room, carrying the body of a young man between them.

“He was found wandering near the Crossings of Portos,” one of them said, and grunted at the toll the youth’s weight was taking on his arms; he looked slender, but beneath the clothes he was surprisingly muscular and well-built for one of his age.

“Put up a little fight, he did,” another said, and sighed in relief as they could deposit their burden on a narrow bed assigned by the healer. “Called us Saracens, whatever those are. Went out like a candle when I knocked him on the head, though. Hasn’t had a real meal in days, I wager.”

“He has high fever,” the healer said, pushing the long sweaty tendrils of dark hair from the youth’s face, his palm coming to test the temperature of the scorching hot forehead. “He has been too long in the sun, and had too little to drink. Let us see if we can get some water into him.”

The young man whimpered, his eyes rolling back in his head as his muscles started to tremble, and the healer barked orders to the men to bring him some water, and kingsfoil.

“Inform the King,” he said, holding the spasming man still, “for all he could not survive this night, he was coming from far Harad, and King Elessar will want to hear of it.”

* * *


Some weeks later the young man was released from the Houses of Healing, and while it was apparent that his body had recovered well from the hardships he had had to endure, his spirit was in much pain. The sienna eyes were dull and lifeless, and when he spoke his tone was flat and his replies short; in fact, he preferred solitude, and never sought another's company. Often he was seen fiddling with the wooden pendant that hung from his neck and with his lips forming silent words, but none could decipher what the odd ritual meant.

Others thought him a spy from Harad, others believed he was a simpleton and treated him with due kindness. His name, Balian of Ibelin, was unfamiliar, as was the realm of Jerusalem he asked after on the first days of his stay, and roused more suspicion among those who didn't trust him to begin with.

He was tolerated, though, for he pulled his weight by doing any repair work that needed to be done, and eventually he found his way to the smithy where his help was gladly received as soon as his skills were noted. Slowly people got used to him, but they never forgot nor forgave the odd circumstances in which he had become Gondorian.

Balian was content to be left alone. He needed no well-meaning, empty words of solace, and he didn't need false camaraderie where his faith had abandoned him. Fevered words fell from his lips as he sought comfort from his God, opening his heart to His guidance and forgiveness, but his eyes remained dry and his heart empty.

* * *


“Has he not spoken of his origins?” asked the King of Gondor. His thoughtful gaze rested on the form of the young man who ceaselessly worked the resistant metal, the flames of his forge painting him golden and occasionally hiding his handsome face partially in shadows.

“Very little,” Faramir admitted. “I have kept an eye on him, as I promised, but he is a solitary man, and I have not seen him speaking with others unless ‘tis strictly necessary. ‘Tis almost…” he hesitated, and then continued, knowing that Aragorn would want to hear his thoughts regarding this young man, whatever they might be, “’tis almost like he is punishing himself. He works hard, and for what I have seen, never partakes in merrymaking of any kind.”

Aragorn nodded to himself. The young man was very reserved, almost bordering on rude, but there seemed to be no malice in him. There was much fire in the dark-eyed youth, and much pain beneath the calm demeanour. Deep pity mingled with admiration invaded Aragorn at the sight of this bruised and battered young man who still held his head high and his back straight, and oddly, the young man reminded him of Legolas’ quiet pride and silent ways. One corner of his mouth curled up fondly at the thought of his Elf. Legolas was as busy as ever with bringing the gardens to their former splendour, as well as teaching archery to the young soldiers, and a thought was sparked in Aragorn’s mind.

Old lore knew that the King’s hands were also healer’s hands, but fewer knew of Legolas’ Elven magic and the healing it brought.

* * *


“I was asked to come, although I cannot imagine what I have done to grant me a personal audience with the King himself.”

The young man stood by the door, his gaze respectful but bold; looking at the King instead the floor at his feet, and Aragorn was pleased to see there was no cowering in his manner. He couldn’t help but notice how Balian’s straight, sienna coloured hair brushed his well-formed shoulders, glinting healthily in the sunlight streaming in from the high windows.

“Welcome, Balian of Ibelin,” he said, standing up. “I am glad to see you could be parted from your precious forge for a few moments.”

A muscle in the youth’s jaw tightened. “I would always obey a direct order from a King,” he said.

“Sit.”

Balian did as he was asked, wincing a little as he realised he was still wearing his heavy leather apron and the dusty work breeches. The King didn’t seem to mind his attire and slowly the young blacksmith relaxed. “What would the King of this land have of me?” he asked.

“I would hear your story, Balian. As well as the story behind the pendant you carry around your neck. ‘Tis of great importance to you; anyone can see as much.”

“You would know of the cross I carry,” Balian said, letting out a brief, wry laugh. “’Tis nothing but a piece of wood, I fear. Nothing more.”

“It is a symbol of your faith, is it not?”

“I have none left,” the blacksmith said curtly. “As for who I am and where I come from; with all due respect, sire, you know that already. I am Balian, and come from Ibelin. I was journeying back to the Holy City from an errand my King had sent me to, and was attacked by a group of Saracens.” His expression tightened again. “My mount carried me away from danger to the desert, and I must have lost consciousness some time during my ride. When I next woke up I did not recognise my surroundings, and was soon accosted by three men and brought to your City.”

“You must forgive them their eagerness; we are only recovering from war, and my men are suspicious of all strangers,” the King said.

“I can well understand that,” Balian said politely, and took advantage of the silence that fell between them to take in their surroundings.

King Elessar had received him in his writing room, it seemed; a heavy desk of dark-coloured wood dominated the otherwise sparsely furnished room, and Balian found the lack of decoration curious. It was his understanding that monarchs revelled in surrounding themselves with luxury while letting their people starve; and yet, Gondor was a flourishing, wealthy kingdom with riches to spare. His gaze returned to his host and heat rose to his cheeks at the knowing look the King gave him. Balian refused to drop his gaze, letting his eyes rest on the man sitting across from him, instead.

Elessar did not look like a King, was his first thought. He lacked the big, round stomach and the finely embroidered clothing of a monarch, and yet the young knight couldn’t deny that the man had a regal air to him; his nobility shone from within.

“Do I meet your approval?” The wry question interrupted his musings, and again Balian found his cheeks reddening.

He was spared from answering as the door opened, and a slender figure entered the room without knocking. Balian’s mouth tightened at this blatant display of disrespect toward the King, but his indignation was soon forgotten as he saw the Elessar’s expression brighten and his hand reach toward the blond stranger. The blacksmith had of course heard stories of Elessar’s Elven companion, but he had seen the ethereal creature only from afar before that day, and had not believed half of what he had been told. The Elf’s head, crowned with silky strands of gold, bent to briefly kiss Elessar on the lips, and Balian turned his head away. It was true, then, what he had heard; the King preferred the intimate company of other males.

“I forgot my gauntlets earlier,” the Elf said. “That has never happened before; I cannot believe I am becoming senile in my old age.”

The young knight found the choice of words odd; for all intents and purposes, the Elf – Legolas was his name, he now remembered – couldn’t be any older than he was; Elessar, however, seemed to be quite a bit older than his chosen companion.

The blond looked at him briefly, and Balian was struck to the core at the beauty of the cerulean eyes and the ancient wisdom and kindness that shone from his compassionate gaze; and then the Elf said something to Aragorn in that musical tongue of his. Balian’s brows drew together when the King started to chuckle heartily.

The young man couldn’t help his curiosity. “What did he say?”

“He said that he should perhaps consider his priorities,” the King said, “for now he wonders if I can be left alone in the company of such a comely youth.”

Balian flushed and looked away; where he came from, relations between men were secrets well-kept, and none would have discussed it openly in front of a stranger. If anything, boy-lovers were the subject of crude jokes and open ridicule, and he silently wondered how it could be that the Lord and King of this land had no shame in keeping company with another man, and seemed to have the love and respect of his folk.

A slender hand quickly squeezed the broad shoulder of Elessar, and then the Elf was gone as soon as he had appeared, and Balian was left wondering if he had been there at all. The two men were left alone in silence, each lost in their own thoughts, and Balian startled as the King finally spoke again.

"Let us help you."

Balian’s brows rose in surprise. "Pardon?"

Aragorn’s eyes were none less sympathetic than his Elf’s. “You are in pain, Balian. You are proud and will not speak of it, but I would ease your suffering, were it within my power to do so.”

The simple empathy broke through the walls of self-defence Balian had carefully constructed, and to his mortification he felt tears burning behind his eyelids. When had he last cried? He had not cried at the loss of his child, nor when his wife had ended her life in a deadly sin; he was dry, barren. Balian choked, finally dropping his gaze to his hands.

"Help me? How could you do what even God himself cannot? I am beyond redemption, sire; long have I sought absolution, and received none."

"'tis no weakness to rely on fellow man," the King said. "Nor is it a shame to gladly receive what others are wilful to give. We offer you solace and comfort, Balian. 'tis not pity but compassion."

Balian nearly bristled at the sympathetic tone in Aragorn's voice and the slight insinuation that he was in need of another’s help, but knew that it was only his pride talking; he may have been little more than a simple knight, but he still had the pride that befitted Godfrey's son. In his heart he suspected it was his pride that kept him away from his God; it was because of his pride that his head often refused to bend in prayer, and the reason that God kept his face hidden from him.

"I am weary," he heard himself saying. "It has been a while since I last knew the comfort of gentle touch and words. Even then, it was a deceit and a lie, for it was a woman already wed who came to me in her need, and I was too weak to resist the temptation."

"What wrongdoing was there in your part? Did she leave your bed unsatisfied?"

"Nay." Balian remembered all too well the cries of her passion, and the clingy affection she had treated him with after their night spent together, and he felt repulsed by his own weakness. He hadn’t loved her but had succumbed to lust nonetheless.

"Then what harm was there in bedding her?" Aragorn asked. "Was she not desirable?"

"Very much so," Balian said, "but the bonds of marriage are sacred, and I dishonoured her vows to her lord and husband. As I did my own," he added under his breath.

"Did your joining with the lady bring her husband anguish?"

The knight's brow darkened at the thought of Guy de Lusignan, and he angrily spat his answer. "No. He had no love for her, and was a cruel man. I cannot imagine anything capable breaking his heart, for I suspect he had none!"

Aragorn regarded him calmly. "Who, then, was harmed by this dalliance, other than your sense of decency?"

"I see what you are trying to do," Balian said. "You are trying to convince me that there is no harm in pleasure, no matter if I have bedded another's wife, and dishonoured my own. Forgive me but that is not what I believe in."

"Fair enough,” Aragorn said evenly. “Will you come to see us this eve? Nothing will be forced upon you that you do not wish."

The decline was already on Balian's lips, but when he opened his mouth in answer an affirmative came out.

* * *


It was with utmost caution that Balian pushed the bedroom door open and stepped into the Royal couple’s bedchamber. Since their talk he had changed his mind a hundred times, each time coming up with better reasons as why not to go, but finally he had to admit that it was here that he wanted to be; even moreso, needed to be.

The room was lit with candles strewn on all available surfaces, lending a golden hue to the two figures already positioned on the large bed at the other side of the room. Balian stopped for a moment to admire the setting and to calm his nerves, but at their welcoming nods he gained the confidence to approach the pair that had obviously made themselves comfortable while waiting for him to arrive. His steps never faltered, not even when he saw the Prince Consort reclining on the bed, naked from waist up, and his hair unbound. Balian could appreciate the flawless beauty of the Elf, but it was the sight of the King in an equal state of undress that affected him more, and the sculpted muscles on his chest that drew his eye.

He took his seat on the edge of the bed, and did his best not to flinch when the Elf rose from his supine position to sit next to him. Aragorn got up as well, disappearing behind the curtains that covered the entrance to their bathing room. Legolas gently pushed the unruly strands of hair back from Balian’s face, baring his handsome features to his appreciative eyes.

“You are young, and comely,” he said lowly. “Yet you carry all the worries of the world on your shoulders. You need not, Balian, not tonight. Let us guide you through this darkness.”

Balian closed his eyes as the Elf leaned in and lightly kissed each of his eyelids, and lastly, his forehead.

“Lie down with us,” Aragorn said from behind the young blacksmith, and Balian felt a strong pair of hands upon his shoulders, easing him down on the mattress.

Balian’s hands came to touch Legolas almost of their own volition, and Legolas hissed at the feel of calloused hands, so alike Aragorn’s and yet different. The alabaster skin of the Elf was cool to touch, and smooth as Sibylla's finest silk. Balian asked permission for each new touch with his eyes, dark and pleading in the candlelight. Aragorn heard the tell-tale hitch of arousal in his lover's breath, and he came to lie down next to his mate, bending his neck so suckle on the upswept ears, and whisper sweet words of love for only his lover to hear.

"Have you sated your curiosity?" asked the Elf finally, not failing to notice that whereas he was on fire under the dual assault, and Aragorn's manhood burned against his thigh, there was no noticeable bulge in Balian's breeches. The knight blanched and turned away, and Legolas was quick to reach for him.

"I meant no offence," he assured. "Touch me to your heart's content, if that be your will."

Balian almost growled in frustration; here he had a willing, beautiful bed partner, and yet his manhood refused to rise. "Forgive me, Prince; I cannot."

"Am I too much alike her?" Legolas, ever perceptive, asked. He saw the answer in Balian's eyes, even though the blacksmith made to turn his face away in shame, and quickly turned his gaze at Aragorn.

"You need not share yourself with us," the King said. "Lie down, Balian. Be our guest."

Balian battled himself. Going to bed with two males was against everything he had ever been taught; everything he had ever believed in. And yet, these two, Man and Elf knew no shame in their love, and even the son of Godfrey could see that what they had was much more than mere desire to slake their lust. A sudden wish to share, if only for one night filled him to his very core, and a smile touched his lips.

"Aye, Elessar," he said. "I will."

* * *


Their joining was beautiful, Balian thought; almost unbearably so. It felt almost as though he could see everything clearer than before; the dewy drops of sweat gathering on the Elf’s upper lip as Aragorn slowly entered him; the concentrated frown on the Man’s brow as he sought to bring his mate the greatest pleasure possible, and the subtle clenching of Legolas’ thigh muscles as he tightened his legs around Aragorn’s waist with each new push.

The knight’s fingers flexed as he ached to touch them again and feel their burning desire, but he contented himself with watching, and when the need grew large enough he slipped his hand beneath the loose shirt he wore, and stroked down his chest all the way to the waistband of his breeches.

Legolas cried out suddenly, his back arching up from the bed and his eyes squeezing shut in ecstasy, and Balian reached with his hand unthinkingly, twining his fingers with those of Legolas, and for a moment he knew his passion and his pleasure as a tingle spread from his fingertips to his heart.

"Is he not the most exquisite thing you have ever seen?" Aragorn asked, perspiration sheening his forehead in the soft candlelight, and again Balian acted without thinking.

He cupped the back of Aragorn's skull and pulled him down for a kiss. Aragorn moaned in his mouth, responding to the kiss with a bruising force that drew forth an answering passion from Balian. It was good that Legolas was above jealousy as he felt the Man’s cock twitch eagerly in his sheath at the feel of Balian’s lips, and at the taste of the knight’s mouth exploding on his taste buds.

The youth growled softly as he felt the King's lips move against his and the quickening of the pace of his thrusting, and Balian’s manhood jumped as he realised that Aragorn was coming, as was Legolas, if the climatic sounds issuing from the Elf's mouth were of any indication.

Balian bent his head to kiss Legolas' mouth when he finally could bear to part from Aragorn, and their kiss was light and chaste in comparison. The Elf was glowing in the aftermath of his spent passion, and his smile was drowsy and content. Oddly enough, so was Balian's heart, he realised, as he watched the lovers lock their mouths, Aragorn still deeply imbedded in the tight heat of his heart's companion, and he felt at peace for the first time in months.

There was no guilt, no shame in sharing; he felt as if he was cleansed from his own self-hatred and feelings of unworthiness. The wounds caused by his wife’s death had only been inflamed in Sibylla’s unfaithful embrace, but with Elessar and his mate he had experienced love and warmth again. Balian’s hand brushed the wooden pendant on his neck and then clasped it, now knowing that one had to forgive themselves before they could ask forgiveness from God.

"You are a generous man to share what is yours," he said to Aragorn with a nod of his head; it was all thanks he could give. The King acknowledged his words with a nod of his own, and again Balian’s lips curved into a smile.

“We have done this with no other,” the Elf said, “and I doubt we will again. Go in peace, Balian, and let the memory of this night brighten your days in the years to come.”

Balian rose silently from the bed, aware of the gift he had received, and thankful to those who had extended their love to him, if only for one night.

Come morning, the blacksmith was gone and none knew where he went, although some claimed to have seen him heading to the Harad Road, but the Elf and the Man knew they need not worry. Balian was going home.


END.
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