13. Chapter Thirteen
Yes, I mean you too.
Stop right there.
This chapter contains the birth scene, and I would be willing to bet that no other M-Preg story features a birth scene quite like this (if you know of one, let me have the link). Sauron knew long ago what it would entail, what with Legolas being male, and he has been looking forward to it for some time (sharpening the knives and such). That should give you a clue. So, with that in mind, I am warning you for horror (of the ‘oh-my-God, I feel sick now’ variety), torture and gore.
If you already feel slightly sickened at the thought, then please skip to the end, where there are few nice paragraphs about the babies.
It’s also one of the longer chapters, I think, at over six thousand words.
Legolas screamed. Sauron had kept a close watch on his mind, an invisible presence Legolas couldn’t feel. As soon as the elf had seen the bed and the table he had known. It didn’t matter, but Sauron could do without the elf’s struggling now. It was far too late for that anyway. Sauron narrowed his eyes, and reined Legolas’ thoughts in tightly. Now he quietened, only the sobbing of a child continued somewhere in the deepest recesses of his mind. It was good enough.
Sauron walked to stand near the bed, some distance away from Legolas. He ignored the uruk-hai; they would be useful again later. Silently, he commanded Legolas to look at him, and when he obeyed, Sauron took hold of his familiar desires. The elf was so easy to control and manipulate; if Sauron had been anyone else he would have felt pity, as it was he only smiled maliciously, and beckoned. Legolas actually walked forward of his own volition. The uruk-hai released him and he walked towards Sauron as if he wasn’t aware of the danger. But it wasn’t the truth.
In a seeming travesty of trust, Legolas held out his hands to Sauron, and the dark lord smiled again to see it. But then he noticed the eyes – awareness there, and denial, as if the elf couldn’t believe what he was doing. Legolas was fighting. Really, he was much stronger that Sauron had imagined. A surprise. But it wouldn’t help him. He guided Legolas to the bed, the elf was seemingly docile and obedient, but then a single sound escaped his lips. It was nearly a sob.
The hands he was holding trembled, and Sauron sighed, already beginning to increase the pressure on Legolas’ mind. But then something made him start. There was another presence. Outside.
“You have no place here!” It was a roar. Loud enough to make the land itself tremble. Too loud really to be uttered by the form of the sorcerer he favoured at the moment, but his anger was so great that he cared little. How dare they watch him? How dare they interfere like this?
The answer almost seemed to hit him in its intensity. Terrible shocked outrage, and a thousand words and thoughts crowded him at once, so that the dark lord whirled around in fury, forced to forget Legolas and pay attention. “No! This is an offence! It is a crime you commit…You are forbidden! We protect him…” They sought to distract him, and it worked.
Legolas stood still, and he felt free will return to him as Sauron concentrated his mental energies elsewhere. He backed away, not really knowing where to go, and then he felt it. Slowly he turned around. Golden light bathed his features, and he stared into forever as if he were once more enchanted. Voices within the light welcomed him, their hands almost reached him. All he had to do was take a few short steps towards them, and he would be able to touch. He wanted to, more than anything. Upon the point of joining them, he looked back, and saw his own body where he had left it. The room was a picture, a tableau of a fight for a soul. His. Sauron had turned quickly, and his robes twirled around him endlessly, his face a perfect depiction of hatred and fury as he glared at the light. Nothing moved, and Legolas stared for a moment or two before he realised that the strange power that had rescued him was weakening.
The figures in the room remained frozen, but he heard a distant rumbling. It sounded like the earth was being torn apart. The battle of wills seemed to shake the very foundations of the room, and then Sauron looked at him. Only his eyes moved, and Legolas shivered. Soon it would be too late! He turned back towards the light hastily, ready to flee there to safety. But something was missing. He looked down at himself. Only him. In an instant he knew that he would be leaving them behind. They were never meant to be.
Legolas hesitated for a single second longer in sudden doubt, and it was all over. He knew he had made a kind of choice, for now at least, and he couldn’t regret it. He wasn’t turned away – one day he would belong to the light – he knew that, and it gave him peace for a moment or two. As the golden light began to fade, eternity beyond his reach for now, he turned back to the room. It seemed Sauron had grown in size somehow, so that he dwarfed everything else. The dark lord still looked at Legolas, but he was frozen in place and unable to claim him.
Legolas stood as motionless as the figures before him, terrified, and then a sound in the background began to separate from the others and grow louder. A hissing sound. He looked around him for the source of it but he saw nothing. It seemed to resonate from the very stones of the floor and the walls. When he looked back at Sauron, he was moving. Slowly, but it was happening. Legolas could only watch as his robes fluttered around him wildly. It was as though the dark lord stood in the centre of a whirlwind, and soon Legolas couldn’t see him at all. His robes were a blur of movement in front of Legolas’ eyes, and then they fell away. In Sauron’s place was a giant snake. It lay coiled in upon itself, the light shining on black scales and massive obsidian eyes. By its very size it was frightening. It hissed at him, yellow poison dripping from its white fangs, and then it lunged. Legolas screamed and threw up his arms in a desperate attempt to protect himself from the strike as the darkness swallowed him.
The dark lord carried Legolas the rest of the way to the bed. After the disturbance, the elf had fainted – fallen into his arms so gracefully it had almost hurt to watch, and Sauron had forgotten his anger instantly. While he was otherwise engaged, he had been too busy to pay attention to Legolas’ mind, and now he wondered what the elf had seen, how the battle had translated into images… Actually, he was glad it had happened before hand. No one would be rescuing him now. No. Now there would be no interruptions. It was wonderfully final. He laid Legolas down, elevating his head and shoulders slightly with pillows, and ran his hands over the smooth skin of his belly, feeling for them, noting their position.
There was a stirring in Legolas’ mind as he came round. Sauron had re-established his hold over the elf, and now he heard denial again. It was weak and without hope but it was still there. He saw with a certain amount of displeasure the way Legolas was shaking. That would never do, not now, not for this. Legolas needed to be still if he was to succeed. He gave Legolas a mental suggestion – to relax – and was satisfied when the trembling subsided.
“No,” the elf moaned. Sauron ignored the plea, and continued with his preparation, retrieving a clean cloth from the pot of boiling water positioned over the fire so that he could clean the area. Legolas repeated the one word over and over, at first quietly, but it grew in volume and frequency until Sauron looked up. He stroked the elf’s mind, calming and eventually pushing back the hysteria, denying him even the temporary escape of madness.
“Please. Don’t,” Legolas intoned gravely. Something about the way he sounded made Sauron want to break him – completely. He would be breathtaking! Sauron knew all about malice; it was the quality of sympathy without conscience, and it was what he felt when he looked at Legolas. Only with sympathy could Sauron truly enjoy the suffering of others. Yes, understanding was important, and useful. He knew exactly what to do.
“Don’t?” he asked, smirking slightly. “But you are ready now.” He watched Legolas’ reaction avidly, releasing his mind a little so that it was easier for him to speak.
“What do you mean?” His fear made him deny the knowledge of what was to come, Sauron realised. But he wouldn’t allow escape that way either.
“Oh, come now, Legolas,” he snapped coldly. “How did you expect for this to happen?” He laughed then at the look on the elf’s face, suddenly knowing what his thoughts were because of the link between them. “You really are too amusing.” Sauron made sure that the elf would be silent again, and then he began his work.
First he removed his robes, so that he was naked from the waist up, as he needed to be free and unfettered to do this. He was conscious of Legolas watching him – it was all the elf could do – and it made him aware of himself in a most delicious way. Sauron smiled, and revelled in the attention.
Without another word, Sauron picked out the first instrument from the steel table beside the bed. A tiny knife that gleamed silver in the light. He just needed to make a mark on the skin, a guiding line. Sauron drew the blade over Legolas’ belly in one smooth sure stroke, admiring the way the sharp edge cut easily through the skin with just the minimal amount of pressure. It didn’t snag or tear, it was clean and precise, and exactly what he wanted.
The knife went back to the table, and Sauron put his hands over Legolas, squeezing the skin together as if he would take back that first light cut. It made the blood seep from under his skin in a thin red line. He could feel the terror of the elf through the mental link, and it pleased him. He looked at the blood, and a wild, untamed part of him came suddenly to the surface. The idea of mutilation was appealing. Indeed, the skin was so stretched it could happen with the slightest encouragement. He saw it happening in his mind, and the wolf clamoured to be set free. Sauron kept it back, and it growled in its lust and hunger.
Another part of him wanted simply to lick at the line of blood, to follow the trail of it across Legolas’ belly. Sauron licked his lips – he could almost taste it already. Honeyed copper. He favoured the vampire; it was less emotional and visceral than the animal, more spiritual. It suited his present mood. Deliberate, controlled and personal. There was a moment every time when his victims gave in, even those who would die in his cold embrace, a moment where they gave their lives to him. He smiled again, to himself. No one ever really survived.
“No!” Again Legolas managed to speak, despite the hold over his mind. Truly he was strong in his fear. Sauron dragged his attention away from the line he had made and looked up. The idea he had earlier called to him once more. Yes, to see him ask, to see him accept this. That was irresistible – and a challenge he couldn’t refuse.
“Shh,” Sauron whispered. “I have only broken through the skin, it is not begun yet.” He let his gaze wander back to the line of blood for a moment, unable to avoid moistening his lips again when he saw the perfect symmetry of the cut. It was as well and lovingly made as the skin he had ruined to execute it. “Not quite enough,” he whispered raggedly, allowing himself to feel the lust for one more lingering moment before looking back to Legolas. He raised his voice a little, and forced the elf to listen to him.
The surface of Legolas’ mind was unnaturally calm, but he breathed quickly and shallowly – a sure sign of hidden panic. His body felt heavy, and he couldn’t move. It was no longer under his command. He knew that was Sauron’s doing, and he watched the dark lord with a cold detachment, but underneath that veneer was a storm.
So many thoughts, so many feelings, and under here Legolas was screaming. The sickening waves of hysteria rolled restlessly back and forth within him, searching for a way out but there was none. He could feel the presence of the dark lord in his mind, like a black oppressive hand, smothering his panic, making him still and quiet when he needed so desperately to protest. But Sauron wasn’t completely unwelcome. Legolas refused to think directly about what this was, what he had known when he first set eyes on the room. He wouldn’t think of it! Sauron’s intentions offended his very soul.
But then there had been the cut, and it forced him to face the truth. It only hurt a little, but it was the potential. There would be more, much more. Sauron wouldn’t stop. And it was also the way the dark lord had looked at him afterwards. Hungry and possessive. His eyes had changed again, burning like fire, and Legolas had tried to scream. He had tried to move.
Surely he was to die here, and yet he couldn’t speak out. He could only watch helplessly as his life was taken. And at a time like this he realised the shallow truth about life and death. He didn’t mind the dying so much, but he wanted to be spared the pain. The wave of hysteria threatened to break and consume him, but then Sauron began to speak. He was compelled to listen, but he had no desire to be ignorant. The dark lord’s voice would alleviate the cold, because it was a merciful acknowledgement of his state. He was awake, and sentient. When Sauron addressed him, it meant that he knew, and so Legolas wanted to listen. And he was grateful.
“Let me explain this to you, and then you will appreciate what I’m going to do.” Now Sauron’s voice had changed. The usual dark humour was absent, nor was there any trace of impatience. He actually sounded concerned, and Legolas needed to believe in it so much that he made it real. Sauron touched his belly again, this time gently, to illustrate his words. The dark lord’s hands were warm against his skin and the touch was strangely comforting. He wouldn’t hurt them – somehow Legolas knew it – he had known that since the beginning.
“The children are here, and here. They are growing inside you, but your body was never meant to carry them, so the only way for them to be born is for me to open you up and take them away.” The hysteria returned, but Sauron’s presence easily controlled it. How did he make it sound so reasonable? Legolas tried to plead with his eyes, every part of him wanting to cry out, to deny Sauron’s words. He didn’t have to do this. The dark lord carried on speaking softly, and the obvious sympathy in his words only brought the two of them closer together. Legolas encouraged the dark lord in the only way he could. He listened.
“I have already left you for far longer than a female would carry children. Now it really is time. You must know this, and feel it.” Sauron looked down on him so earnestly that Legolas found himself wanting to agree, and he was glad that for the moment he couldn’t.
“It’s getting difficult to move, isn’t it?” Sauron asked. “Your back aches terribly, you feel so full and drained at the same time.” He was describing what the last few weeks had been like perfectly, almost as if he knew. And Legolas, who only wanted understanding, forgot that Sauron was his enemy. Sauron took his hands where they lay useless and still on the bed. Legolas tried so hard to return that touch! He wanted to respond, but his fingers wouldn’t listen to him.
“It’s not comfortable even to rest, is it? I know…” He looked so intensely honest. And everything he said was the truth. He leaned over Legolas only to kiss his cheek. He felt a single tear fall as the dark lord continued kissing him. His forehead, his nose, his chin. The dark lord’s lips felt like the touch of sunlight on his face. Sauron made his offer in a whisper, as though it was a secret between them. “I can make it stop, Legolas.” And at the same time as he was feeling so very close to giving in, his heart jumped in horror.
“I can end all that for you,” Sauron promised, moving back to look down at him again. He spoke as if it was a mercy and a kindness he was offering, and Legolas wondered if it was. All the pain and suffering of the last few months came back to him. He was tired. But he was also immortal, and it was his right and his privilege to see the centuries pass. Nothing stayed the same forever. He was so young, he hadn’t even tasted the promise, and he wanted to live.
“All you have to do is ask me.” Legolas barely had time to register what Sauron was asking him for before the presence in his mind retreated to give him freedom. He had thought that he would scream, but instead he took a sudden deep, shuddering breath. At last he was able to grip the dark lord’s hands, and he held on to those hands desperately, as if the dark lord might be thinking of leaving him. Sauron only answered with another gentle kiss, and Legolas was able to return that too.
“Speak,” Sauron reminded him gently then, when it was over. This was a chance. Legolas opened his eyes and looked up at Sauron with all his heart and soul. He drew in a breath without the slightest idea of what he was going to say, only knowing he had to make Sauron see him, to see what he was doing, to make him stop.
“I am Legolas,” he said meaningfully, wanting Sauron to understand that he was still there, that he could still feel, however much control the dark lord had over his mind and body.
“Yes,” Sauron said, with the ghost of a smile. Legolas shook his head impatiently and pulled at one of Sauron’s hands so that he could rest it against his cheek. He looked up into the dark lord’s eyes again as he began to cry.
“I’m alive,” he said, his voice tremulous and filled with emotion. His meaning couldn’t be mistaken now. “Please…”
All of his hope was there, in his eyes, along with his fear. The hope that Sauron had encouraged in him along with another, more important misconception. And he was right – Legolas was stunning like this. He leaned down and kissed the elf deeply this time, as if he would drink of his pain, and in a way he did. The taste of his saliva was mixed with his tears. Bitter fear and sweet anguish combining to make Sauron desire him even more. But it wasn’t time for that. He kissed Legolas more gently now, whispering against his lips.
“I know,” he said reassuringly. “Shh…” It sounded like a declaration of love. He repeated the words over and over again while Legolas continued to weep, clutching Sauron close as he would a saviour. The elf thought it was over, but it wasn’t. Sauron wouldn’t stop this – he couldn’t. Everything Legolas did only ensured his fate; made Sauron more determined to see it through. It was all so poignantly inevitable. Sauron couldn’t contain a smile as he corrected him. “Ask me,” he said finally, pulling back, and Legolas looked up at him now in understanding, knowing there was no escape.
“No,” he replied faintly. Sauron hadn’t expected anything else. And he waited a moment, giving the elf time to realise that he had refused before he carried on speaking.
“And still you say no?” he asked, as if in surprise. “Very well, then let me explain what will happen should you refuse my help.” He looked down at Legolas, making sure that his words were completely understood.
“They will continue to grow inside you while they still can, like parasites, since that is what children really are. The aches and pains you suffer from at the moment are nothing to what you will feel when they are simply too big for you. Too heavy. Perhaps they will eventually break your back.” Now he smiled, gesturing to remind Legolas of his current state.
“Yes, you will be helpless, paralysed – your body will be too busy keeping up with their demands to heal you – such a sad, pathetic thing you will be! Of course, sooner or later your body won’t be able to keep up with them anyway.” He paused for a moment before delivering the final words.
“They will perish, slowly starved to death, and you will be left broken and dying, with your dead children still inside you.” Sauron shook his head. “Is that really what you want?”
“No,” Legolas admitted. How could he say anything else? And still he dared to believe in what he heard. It wasn’t in Sauron’s words, but in the way he said them. He would live through this. And in the midst of feeling glad that Sauron intended to save him, he felt sickened. He would live through this. He looked up at the dark lord, seeing for the first time exactly what he intended to do, and knew that he couldn’t do anything to stop it.
“Or do you want my help after all?” The future Sauron had described would surely come to pass if he was left alone. He knew it was the truth. But how could he ask?
“I…” Legolas began, not ready to say it, and yet not daring to stay silent for fear that Sauron would take that as a refusal.
“All you need to do is say it… there’s nothing wrong with asking for help, Legolas. Surely you were taught that?” Now the dry humour was back, and Legolas flinched. But his eyes filled with tears and he knew he had to ask. It was all he could do.
“Help me…” he begged, full of shame for what he was doing.
“Tell me what you want me to do for you.” It wasn’t enough! Legolas looked up in disbelief, and saw the hunger in Sauron’s eyes. He wanted to hear it. In some strange way the dark lord wanted to hear him say it. Why?
“I want you to… Please, take them away from me.” And he had done it. Now he had nothing to reproach the dark lord with. Everything that happened from this moment on would happen because he had asked for it, because he had begged for it. A small voice insisted that he had been coerced, but it was lost in all the other voices that demanded to be heard. What was sense in a mind full of fear, doubt, and denial?
“That’s better. And it wasn’t so hard to ask nicely, was it?” Sauron asked.
“No,” he replied. Sauron smiled down at him then.
“You may address me as Maglor does; it will make you feel better.” He gave in to Sauron’s wishes now with a kind of weary resignation. There was nothing else worse that Sauron could ask him for. This new request was easy.
“Yes, Hîr nín,” he said dully. But then he wanted to cry because Sauron was right. It did feel better to address him so. And what did that mean? Was he as lost and hopeless as Maglor now?
“Good.” Sauron looked at the table, and then looked back at Legolas, considering something.
“I could let you sleep for this…” he began.
“Please!” Legolas cried out immediately, wanting to be given this mercy so much that he could taste it. He would do anything Sauron wanted for the kindness. Surely he wouldn’t go through with it. But Sauron continued speaking, not even pausing to acknowledge him.
“… but then you might never wake again. No, it is much safer this way.” Legolas felt the dark lord seize control of his mind again, and he wanted to struggle. Maybe he did, instinctively, but it didn’t make any difference. Soon he was helpless once more.
“You will want to scream,” Sauron said, and he looked at Legolas hungrily. “But you know I can’t allow that either.” Then his ability to speak was taken away. He wouldn’t be able to cry out while this happened, he realised. He was a prisoner inside his own body. This time Sauron went further, and soon Legolas felt even his breathing being controlled. It slowed until it was steady and sure, and Legolas’ lungs burned before he forced himself to calm down, accepting the restriction.
Sauron picked up another small knife from the shining table. From the way he was positioned, propped up with pillows, Legolas could see himself perfectly. As the edge of the blade touched him, he did the only thing he could. Made the only choice he had left. He closed his eyes.
Every sensation was his, every cut, every wound. He felt them all in complete awareness. He did want to scream, and cry, but Sauron maintained an iron grip on his body and his mind. The pain was an animal that prowled around in his mind, banging on the walls, demanding to be set free, but it was denied. Still, when he felt something moving deep inside him, pulling at him, he couldn’t be prevented from taking a deep breath. It was such an intense sensation. Immediately there were hands on his midriff, under his chest, holding him so that he was forced to breathe shallowly again. He opened his eyes.
In front of him, he saw it, and he forgot his pain instantly. There were others around him, but he only had eyes for the tiny being that Sauron was holding. He couldn’t see much. The baby was covered in blood, and immediately Legolas felt a stab of panic. Then the little being coughed, and began to breathe. Sauron ignored Legolas, a look of intense concentration on his face, and passed the baby to one of the uruk-hai that stood waiting. Another knife, this time to cut the cord that linked them together. Legolas looked up and found the uruk-hai staring at him with yellow eyes. He looked around and found the gaze of the one who controlled his breathing on him too. Legolas closed his eyes again – he didn’t like the way they looked at him, and he couldn’t explain why. This time he didn’t look when he felt that strange pulling.
After the shock of what he had seen, the pain began to return, and there came a time when everything seemed to stop. Still he kept his eyes closed, even when the hands of the uruk-hai left him. But something moved then, still within him, and he knew it wasn’t over.
He opened his eyes this time to find Sauron staring at him. For a second he looked into those dark eyes, and then he felt something so painfully intimate that he wanted to scream. He managed to open his mouth, but no sound came from him. Sauron continued to caress him gently, inside, and he heard the dark lord’s voice in his mind. Legolas knew. He wanted to say that he understood. There was no part of him that Sauron couldn’t touch, that he didn’t own. He was kept alive only because it pleased Sauron to see his reactions, and his pain. He looked up helplessly, unable to move away, unable to stop it. The agony was so intense it made him sweat; a terrible griping sensation so deep inside. He felt the iron control move aside a little and he gasped.
“Yes!” he cried out his answer breathlessly, still captured by Sauron’s intense gaze. The dark lord smiled, and then it was at last over. Sauron’s dangerous attention passed over him, and he bent to his task once more. His relief was so great that the pain of his wound was barely noticeable. Legolas hardly noticed the passing of time now. He felt the loss, so empty inside, and so lonely without. Nothing to hold. But he knew he would never forget the way the dark lord possessed him. Sauron had stolen something else this time – already the dark lord had taken the sanctuary of his mind – now the sanctity of his body was over.
It must have taken longer to finish than it had to start. So much time had passed since they had been taken away from him. In fact it took so long that the restless pain returned, but his mind was hazier now, as though he was going to sleep regardless of what Sauron had decided for him. He regretted not looking for the other now, he should have opened his eyes. Now he wished he had looked, now that they were missing. He needed to know they were both all right. He wanted to know that Sauron had not killed the other child, but he feared he must have done. What use did Sauron have for such a child?
Eventually, Legolas felt Sauron leave his mind. He was alone and free once more, and the feeling as well as the relief elicited a long, drawn-out moan from him. The moan changed, became the scream that he had wanted to voice for so long. He felt his own will spreading through him, returning to his muscles and limbs, and he knew he was going to sit up. But then hands were holding him down. Sauron. He held Legolas still, physically this time, and spoke to him.
“Shh… it is done now. It’s over,” he said quietly, calming Legolas’ mind. The scream carried on for a while, and then it suddenly stopped. Legolas looked at the dark lord as if unsure what to do, now that he had at last expressed his horror and pain.
“What do you say?” Sauron asked.
“Say…?” Legolas looked at him blankly. Sauron considered. Yes, he was right, Legolas would become mindless, given time.
“At least Maglor had manners when he came to me,” he said with a cold, hard glassy smile. Legolas swallowed, and nodded.
“Thank you, Hîr nín.”
“Yes,” Sauron nodded. “Soon you will feel better… soon.” He leaned in close. It wasn’t really necessary, but he wanted to use the word. By now, he was sure that it had come to mean something.
“Beautiful,” he whispered, and the elf shivered. He waited, enjoying the feel of Legolas’ body so close to him, trembling but belonging to him completely. The scent of him was pleasant. You could never really take the essence of an elf, not completely. Chain them in darkness and deny them the sun. Steal them away, and take them far from home. Obliterate the sky itself and keep them from the moon and starlight. It didn’t matter. You couldn’t destroy what they were. They brought the memory of those things with them. Having them was like having cut flowers. A subtle reminder.
Legolas smelled of cool rain and golden summer. Sauron inhaled deeply, as if he were breathing fresh air, and for a moment he was lost. He remembered his long life, remembered a time when the world was new and wondrous. He had been learning, and his dissatisfaction with the way of things had only been a quiet voice. This was long before he had encountered Melkor. Not a time of innocence, he doubted such a thing existed for his kind, but naïveté certainly. Perhaps, conversely, in his defeat Legolas reminded him of happiness. The irony was not lost on Sauron.
And yet despite the memories that Legolas evoked, Sauron still couldn’t make it easy for him, wouldn’t make it so even if he had a choice. The elf was far too rewarding.
“Is there something you want to ask me?” Sauron enquired, knowing what Legolas’ thoughts were concerned with above all else, and wanting to hear him ask. He moved away and Legolas looked into his eyes, in this moment completely submissive to his every desire, and obedient.
“Where…?” he began, uncertain and obviously fearful for what he might hear. Sauron only smirked and waited a moment longer, enjoying the elf’s anxiety. Then he stepped back, and the uruk-hai placed the children in Legolas’ arms. Carefully, so that they wouldn’t hurt him. Despite the incredible recuperative powers of his own body; the powers that were already at work healing him, he still required rest and as little disturbance as possible.
Legolas looked at them, and everything was forgotten, even Sauron. His fear and his pain vanished like shadow in the midday sun. Even the feeling of loss left him as he held them in his arms, because they were there. Legolas was in love. Both of them were quiet, and had their eyes closed as if they didn’t want to look at the world yet. Even the sound of their breathing seemed miraculous. Tiny little breaths for such young beings. Through the mist of his happy tears he studied the first. This was Sauron’s child. He had blond hair, and the softest pink skin that Legolas had ever seen. His long eyelashes rested on his cheeks, so perfectly formed that he wanted to shout in happiness.
Now he looked at the other. Both boys, but the uruk child was different. He snuggled into the crook of Legolas’ arm not quite like a baby. His little hands were already at rest on Legolas’ chest, so that he looked like a tiny version of a sleeping child. His skin was light grey in colour, like the uruk-hai, but there were no blemishes or marks on it. He already had much of his hair, and it hung in perfectly tight ringlets around his face, a darker grey than that of his skin, charcoal. As soon as Legolas had taken all this in, he opened his eyes, and then it was difficult for Legolas to breathe. He had the most beautiful piercing green eyes – like Merenon. A gift carried down from his father, Legolas realised. His child looked around him curiously, and Legolas smiled to see it.
“You are beautiful,” Legolas said to him, and immediately those green eyes were on him. Legolas felt his heart contract in gladness and joy. He recognised his voice! “Yes, you know who I am, don’t you?” he said, as if the child could understand him. His son just looked back at him, captivated by the sound of his voice. Little hands stretched out for his face, to touch him, and Legolas leaned closer so that he could reach, laughing as the baby’s fingers moved over his lips curiously. He kissed the tiny hands and fingers, before looking back at the other.
And now he was awake too. He had Legolas’ eyes. Legolas didn’t think he had seen any child look more like an elf than this one – and to think he had been scared of it in a way. He only admitted it to himself now that he could see the idea was ridiculous. The child was so much like him; he hadn’t inherited anything from the dark lord at all. Sauron’s child blinked, and then yawned tiredly. He was completely innocent, anyone could see that, and Legolas made a silent vow to show him his rightful home one day. Nothing lasted forever, and they would leave here together. Sauron’s child sighed then in satisfaction and his eyes closed again. Legolas was as caught by that sound as the young one’s had been by him when he spoke. He was perfect. They both were.
Watching. Waiting. It seemed he spent much of his time engaged in these two activities, but at least he saw what he wanted to see this time. The children began to feed from Legolas, just as they should. They were going to survive – all three of them. Sauron smiled secretly in the shadows, already planning his child’s education. He was important, more so than the elf realised. He was a Prince of elves and darkness, and would take the fight to Valinor eventually. They would not be able to refuse him welcome. There would be no refuge, no sanctuary. He already had a name, a name Sauron had given him. But now was not the time to reveal it. His own words from earlier came back to his mind now, as if they could taunt him.
You have no place here.
He heard himself sigh, and with a start of surprise he realised he was actually tired. Well, that was to be expected. Controlling Legolas and the demands of the operation he had performed had taken a lot of his strength and concentration. He congratulated himself silently for his complete success, giving Legolas and the children one last look before he left them alone. He would have the uruk-hai move them to their room later. Now he would rest, and when he awoke he would free Maglor. His mind quietened down again at the prospect. Yes, it was time. He hoped Maglor would give in to temptation this time when it was offered. It would be a perfect reward for his work here.
Hîr nín – my Lord