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Title: A Secret Revealed (11/20)
Arc: The Secrets Trilogy
Author: K
Rating: R (for later chapters)
Fandom: LOTR
Genre: Angst
Pairing: Aragorn/Legolas
Distribution: Just tell me where you put it
Notes: Aragorn's POV. Valrodiel, Tatharan and Cerilion are original characters.
Disclaimer: Not mine! Characters, universe & so on belong to the Tolkien Estate. The only thing I own is my mind.

My breath looked like steam in the chilly air as I stood outside, waiting for Legolas to meet with me. I was beginning to worry; we had arranged to meet a little after dinner, once the sun had set; and the last rays shining from the golden disc had disappeared over the horizon long ago. I paced the ground, wondering where he was, worrying about his lateness. Legolas was never late. I had seen him go into a room after dinner with his father, maybe that was why he was late. But still, that was long ago!
Where was he? Stepping back inside the palace, I resolved to look for him, starting with where I had last seen him: the dining hall.
I found it empty. As was the room in which I was certain I had seen my love follow his father into. I even tried the other rooms that led off of the dining hall; hoping that my memory had not served me correctly and it was a different door that they went through, that Legolas was safe somewhere, in an inescapable conversation with his father.
Finding all these rooms empty or inhabited by unfamiliar faces that stared at me critically when I 'intruded' upon their space, I went to his rooms. Knocking on the door, I waited, but there was no answer. Cautiously, I tried the handle, hoping that a guard would not come along and think I was trying to break into the room, for that would not help matters. The door swung open easily, without a sound. Empty.
Where had Legolas gone? He could not have just disappeared off of the face of Middle Earth! I stood for a moment outside the door, trying to think of where else he could be. Having not been in this place before, I didn't know of many places other than the palace, and Tatharan's house. He couldn't have gone there without me, surely? I dismissed the idea. The library came into my mind, with its dusty book filled shelves. And Valrodiel. He couldn't honestly have gone to see her without a thought to me, could he? I couldn't dissuade myself from this idea; after all, Legolas had shown feelings for the elf maiden much longer than he had me. And King Thranduil *did* want him to be wed to her. Maybe Legolas truly wanted this too, but didn't know how to tell me? I did not wish to know if this was true, but at the same time knew I would not be able to rest unless I knew the truth. With that, I made my way to the library.

"Hello?" I called out as I got inside. The shelves and piles of books made it impossible to see if there was anyone else there.
"Good evening, Aragorn," a voice replied, and I spotted a hand raised in salutation.
"I heard you coming," Valrodiel said as she rounded the desk, loaded with a huge pile of books piled high. "You humans tread so much more heavily than elves," she grinned.
"Let me help you with that," I offered, taking half the pile of books she held.
"Thank you, they need to go over here," she said, leading the way along the shelves.
"So what brings you back here?" she asked "There's a great section of literature over there if that is what you want." She motioned across the room.
"Actually, I was looking for Legolas," I replied. "I thought he might be here with you."
"Why would he be here?" she laughed lightly, placing the last of the books on the shelf. "With me of all people!"
"I-I thought he would want to spend time with you..." I faltered, realising that the idea of Legolas actually wanting to wed Valrodiel was preposterous.
"I believed that Legolas would be spending time with *you* actually," Valrodiel answered, leafing through a pile of old parchments. "After all, why spend time with a friend when you can spend time with a loved one." She added quietly.
"Pardon?" I asked, thinking I had misheard. "Do you mean that Legolas may be with his father, or his brothers?"
"No Aragorn, I meant that I believed he would be spending time with *you* rather than a friend such as me," she answered almost cryptically.
"What are you trying to say?"
"That I know how he feels for you. And that you feel the same," she said.
I stood staring at her in a stunned silence, unable to believe what I had heard her say.
"And what is this that you think he feels?"
"I do not think, I *know*," she replied, sitting down and motioning for me to do so too. "It is obvious that he is in love with you, Aragorn. And I can tell by your expression that you feel the same way about him."
I blinked, and tried to make my face as straight and blank as possible.
"Why is it so obvious?"
"It is in his eyes, your eyes, the way you look at each other, the way you stand and act around each other. I admit I was not entirely sure until I saw the way you reacted upon Legolas's news that he and I were to be wed."
"I reacted?"
"You looked mortified."

We sat in silence for a while as I let her words sink in. I hoped that no one else had noticed such a thing; people were looking at us rather oddly during dinner.
"But how did you know how Legolas felt?" I asked.
"Many things. He did not want to marry. He seemed relieved when I told him that we were no more than good friends. And he looked terribly worried when he saw your reaction to the news of King Thranduil's proposed betrothal."
"I see...do you think others may have guessed of our relationship?"
"If others had guessed, you would have found out by now. Not many people approve of such a relationship."
"Ah, that I know. It is so difficult to keep up such a fa├žade," I sighed. "Yet those who have found out have been so very understanding. Asides one human, who almost destroyed what we had."
"Really?" she asked. "Who? And how did they try to ruin your relationship?"
Valrodiel, it seemed, was naturally nosy, which was probably why she was so interested in all these old books.
"I would rather not talk about it," I replied. "It is a sore memory that I would rather forget."
"Sorry. How many people *do* know the truth then, if you don't mind my asking?"
I quickly counted up in my head.
"Five, including you." I stood. "Well, I shall bid you a good eve, for I have an elf to find."
"Of course," she replied, "Have you tried his rooms?"
"Yes, before I came here."
"Well, I hope you find him," she said.
"It was very interesting to talk to you Valrodiel, it gladdens me that someone understands what is between Legolas and I," I told her, and left, bidding her a good night before I stepped out of the door.

Going back outside, I wondered if he might have gone to Tatharan's residence. We were meant to be there before sundown. I wandered around outside, looking for the older elf who had kindly lent us the use of his home; maybe he would know where Legolas was.
"Halt! Who goes there?" A call came out of the darkness.
"It is Aragorn, guest and friend of Prince Legolas of Mirkwood," I called back.
"What is your business outside at this hour?" an elven guard stepped out of the darkness.
"I was looking for Tatharan, and Prince Legolas," I replied.
The elven guard chuckled. "Tatharan is on the eastern side of the palace. Prince Legolas's whereabouts are not my business, nor yours. Now I advise you to be on your way."
With that, the guard strode off into the darkness.
I made my way around the eastern side of the palace, where the guard believed Tatharan would be.
"Aragorn, what brings you out here so late?" his voice greeted me, and in the darkness I saw a small light flare up and before me appeared Tatharan, holding a lantern.
"Have you seen Legolas?" I asked.
"Not since this afternoon...I take it you decided not to use my home?" he said, his voice low.
"On the contrary, we arranged to meet outside the palace before walking to your house, yet I waited, and he did not arrive." I replied, lowering my voice as well.
"You mean he is missing?"
I realised with a shock that his words were true. Nobody I had spoken to knew where my prince was.
"I believe you are right. I have looked everywhere, and there is no trace of him."
Looking concerned, Tatharan walked over to a door in the palace wall, and rapped sharply upon it. A small window opened and a face peered out.
"Yes, guardsman Tatharan?" the guard on the other side said.
"Do you know the whereabouts of Prince Legolas, guardsman Antale? I have reason to believe he may be missing."
"Did you not hear?" guardsman Antale replied. His next sentence caused the blood to drain from my face.
"Prince Legolas is in the dungeons."



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