17. Chapter 16 ~ Stay with Me
20th day of September
Fourth Age, Year 81
"Laurëanna, I do not know if this is a wise idea," Elrohir said trying to regain some control of the situation.
"Elrohir, we are to be married in a month. What could it possibly hurt for me to see it?" Laurëanna asked, nuzzling his neck.
"If your father finds out, it could possibly hurt quite a bit." Elrohir shook his head and once again prevented her from turning around.
"You are too worried about my father. He is not as dangerous as you think he is." Laurëanna smiled.
Elrohir snorted before he looked at her seriously. "Your father killed a Balrog. I would not even be a challenge."
"Yes, I know, he killed a Balrog but it killed him so it should not count," she laughed. "You were also a great warrior Elrohir. You fought many orcs. I am certain if you were confronted with a Balrog, you could kill one too."
"No, I could not. Nor would I try." Elrohir laughed.
"Oh. Are they really that hard to kill?" she asked, innocently. Elrohir merely shook his head in amusement.
"Are you going to let me see it or not?" she demanded, resuming the previous debate.
"I still think this is a very bad idea."
"Fine. I will get Elladan to show me." Smiling mischievously,she started to walk away.
"No. You will not," Elrohir took her hands and drew her back to him. "I will show you but you must first promise you will act surprised later."
"Completely surprised," she vowed. After a moment, she added impatiently, "Well, let me see it."
Elrohir sighed and turned her around to show her.
"It is huge," she gasped.
"It is not huge," he chuckled. "It is the normal size."
"Well it is big enough for the two of us," Laurëanna grinned. "That is what matters most. And it is beautiful."
"Yes, it is beautiful," he agreed.
"And it is mine," she said, in wonder.
"No, you must share it with me."
"Oh I will enjoy sharing it with you." Laurëanna kissed him teasingly. Looking around again, she sighed, "This house is truly beautiful, Elrohir."
Laurëanna walked around the front rooms already imagining them full of their belongings and the customary wedding feasts gifts from their family and friends. There was a few pieces of furniture that their parents had given them plus during the year of their betrothal Elrohir had been making a couple of pieces as well, with Rumil and Elladan's help. After walking through the front rooms, she asked, "Where is our bedroom?"
Thinking only lustful thoughts, Elrohir kept his mouth shut as he smiled and pointed down a small hallway.
Laurëanna walked down the hallway to the bedroom. Like most of the house it was barely furnished, but there was a large bed in the middle of the room. Running her finger along the exquisitely carved bed that Elrohir had spent a lot of time crafting, she was amazed at his work. When she turned around, he was watching her with a gentle smile.
"What?" she asked, cocking her head to the side. She could not prevent the excited grin on her face. Sitting down on the mattress she bounced a few times before standing back up and smiling even brighter.
"I just enjoy seeing you happy," he replied, simply. "It takes so little to please you."
"I am just excited about finally starting our life together." Laurëanna came to him and put her arms around his neck. "And this house is perfect. The bed you made us is perfect. Everything is exactly how I always dreamed it would be. We will have lots of happy moments here. I promise you."
Lowering his mouth to hers, Elrohir kissed her lightly. "Yes. We will. And many happy moments in this room …plus many years of bliss in the bed as well."
Laurëanna blushed, but continued to smile. He tenderly ran his finger down the soft skin on her face before sliding it under her chin. Lifting her face gently, he gave her a more lingering kiss, gently sucking her lower lip into his mouth and lightly nipping it with his teeth. She molded her body to his as he drew her close into a deeper kiss. Their tongues caressing, both battled the passion that threatened to overwhelm them, as their kisses grew more intense.
It was impossible for her to think when Elrohir kissed her. She felt as if she were wrapped in fire yet, for all the heat, it did not burn but teased, the flames licking at her body, as it constantly grew more intense. His hands on her body betrayed her willpower and she wanted more, always feeling on the verge of completion, yet denied.
Elrohir knew he should stop before he gave in to temptation. The days and nights since he started courting her had constantly tested his resolve. He wanted her more than he had ever wanted anything in his life. And if he had asked, he knew she would allow him to carry her to the bed, whispering their marriage vows on the way. She was so passionate, but her heart was ever trusting of him, too trusting sometimes. Yet he could not stop, each kiss allowing him to forget one more moment of his misery before he met her. Soon, wrapped in her embrace, he could forget most of the bad and allow himself to be happy without guilt.
Cradling her face with one hand, he brushed her hair off her neck before tasting her tender skin. Laurëanna moaned softly as his tongue swirled on her delicate throat. Bringing her hands down his arms, she clutched his biceps feeling his taut muscles beneath his sleeve.
Elrohir reluctantly pulled away. "Laurëanna we must stop before I cannot. You test my resolve too much."
"I do not want you to stop," she whispered, her voice breathy.
Studying her face, he smiled. Her blue eyes reflected both passion and love for him that made him feel happier than he had in a lifetime.
"We do not have to wait much longer. Besides you know we must."
She sighed. "I know. But … it is just so frustrating. It feels like we have been waiting forever."
Laughing he said, "Laurëanna, I have waited thousands of years for this. I can wait one more month." Elrohir smiled and kissed her quickly. "I hope it is worth the wait for you."
"What about you? What if you are disappointed in me?" Laurëanna looked at him nervously.
"I could never be disappointed in you. Your very touch sets me on fire," Elrohir replied. Taking her hand and bringing it to his mouth, he kissed each fingertip while watching her, causing a shiver to run up her spine.
"Elrohir? Are you here?"
Both of them jumped at Elladan's voice in the other room. Before she could start giggling, Elrohir pulled her to him and covered her mouth, but he could feel her shaking with silent laughter. He struggled not to laugh too as he shushed her but he did not want his brother to find them here. Quickly, he dragged her behind the door and called out to his twin, "I will be there in a moment."
"Do not let him know you are here," Elrohir whispered and she nodded. Her eyes were full of mischief and he knew she loved the fact that they were doing something they should not.
"I promised Glorfindel that we would help him repaint the back steps. Is he here yet?" Elladan asked.
Elrohir muttered a curse under his breath and Laurëanna's eyes grew wide. "Stay here until we go outside, then go out the front as quickly and quietly as possible. If your father finds you here, he will kill me for ruining the surprise."
"I overheard him talking to Erestor about it so technically he is the one that ruined the surprise," she argued back, in whispered tones. When he glared at her, she nodded, sighing dramatically. "Fine. I will sneak out of my own house so my father does not find out that he talks too loud."
"Elrohir what are you doing in there?" Elladan called and his footsteps could be heard in the hall.
Giving her one last warning gesture, Elrohir rushed into the hall, shutting the bedroom door behind him. His brother looked skeptically first at him, then at the door. Smiling he reached for the door but Elrohir intercepted his hand and, taking his arm, led him back into the other room.
"Do not say a word and do not ask questions," Elrohir warned. "And do not presume to think what you are thinking because you are wrong."
"How am I to know I am wrong if you do not let me ask questions?" Elladan asked with a big grin.
Elrohir glared at him, then, hearing someone outside, punched his brother in the arm when he opened his mouth again. Instantly Elladan returned the punch but before his twin could continue, Glorfindel came in. Seeing them both glaring at each other, he asked, "What is wrong with you two?"
"Nothing," Elrohir shrugged casually before Elladan could answer. Glorfindel studied them both, making Elrohir very comfortable.
Since Elrohir and Laurëanna were betrothed, Elrohir had been through more than one talk with Glorfindel that left him squirming. His love for Laurëanna was the only thing that prevented him from running away and avoiding Glorfindel until the wedding day. Elladan made things worse every chance he got, enjoying the suffering of his brother with frequent reminders of how much worse it would be when he was wed.
"I spoke to Lady Galadriel the other day, Elrohir," Glorfindel said casually.
Searching his mind, Elrohir tried to guess what this could possibly be about and where it was leading. Finally at a loss, he asked, "Yes, and is she well?"
"She is quite well but seems to think that it would be best if I stopped interfering so much with the wedding. Her impression is that I am causing you undue stress. Of course, I am certain she is exaggerating," Glorfindel leaned against the door jam. "Is this true? Am I being 'unbearable' as she put it?"
Elrohir managed not to say the first thing he thought, 'You are making me regret leaving Middle Earth,' before he said aloud, "Of course not. I know that you are only looking after Laurëanna and you…"He paused when Elladan burst into laughter. After a moment, while his brother tried to regain his composure and Glorfindel watched him like wolf watches its prey Elrohir continued, "Glorfindel, I respect you greatly so I owe you honesty. You need to stop interfering in our wedding. Laurëanna is not a child nor am I. I know you love your daughter but you need to accept that I love her as well. When we are married and she is not living in your house, you will not be able to tell her what to do or how to behave. She needs you to allow her some freedom to begin her own family with me. And you have to have a little trust in me to take care of her. I did not ask my grandmother to speak with you, nor would I ever ask anyone to fight my battles, but she is right. You have overstepped your bounds quite a few times."
Elladan looked at his brother in open-mouthed shock after he finished speaking before glancing over at Glorfindel nervously. The silence in the room stretched out as Glorfindel appeared to be trying to control his temper and Elrohir wondering if he had gone too far.
When at last he spoke, Glorfindel's voice was dangerously low. "Elrohir, you have always been like a son to me and I trust you with a lot of things. I respect you for being brave enough to say this. When you have a daughter you will understand my feelings."
"If you had your way, I will never get the opportunity to have a son or daughter. Laurëanna would remain in your house forever," Elrohir continued, ignoring the danger he saw in Glorfindel's eyes and the warning looks his brother was giving him. "I love her, Glorfindel. Forget she is your daughter for one moment. What would you say if I were to marry another and her father was so overbearing to me, to us? Would you consider him to be wrong? You have known me for ages. Do you honestly think so little of me that you cannot trust me with someone so precious to us?"
After a moment, Glorfindel answered with a sigh, "When Arwen wanted to marry Aragorn, I told your father if he truly loved her and wanted her to be happy, it was his duty to allow his daughter to make her own decisions about her love. But Laurëanna is not Arwen."
"And I am not Aragorn. This is not Middle-earth, Glorfindel." Elrohir swallowed the hard lump in his throat from talking about Arwen and Estel, and hoped Glorfindel would finally understand. " Arwen chose death, rather than the life of the Eldar, for the love of Estel. I have already chosen the life of the Eldar, but I feel no less love for Laurëanna than my sister's for her husband. You are more fortunate than my father for you will not lose your daughter to death, but you could drive Laurëanna away just the same if you force her to choose between her father and her husband."
Once again the room was silent. Elladan took a step closer to his brother in a show of support and Elrohir glanced at him gratefully. Finally, Glorfindel ran his hand through his hair, his face looking uncharacteristically vulnerable.
"You are right. Elrohir I will try to be… less harsh and controlling. I do not want to make either of you unhappy. I always trusted you and Elladan in Middle Earth. There is no reason why I should stop now, in a time of peace," Glorfindel replied. Coming to Elrohir, he gripped his shoulder and said with a smile, "Besides, I know my daughter. And she would never allow you to cause her any unhappiness without making you live to regret it."
"I am certain she would," Elrohir laughed. He felt more relieved than he had since arriving in Aman.
When Elladan and Glorfindel walked out the back door to begin painting, Elrohir went quickly down the hall to the bedroom. Laurëanna flew into his arms when she saw him.
"I am so proud to be your wife; the one elf in all of Aman who would tell the infamous Balrog slayer that he is too overprotective of me," she laughed and kissed him. "I cannot wait to tell my mother."
"No, you will not tell your mother any of this," Elrohir replied, sternly. "This was supposed to be between your father and I without you knowing about it. You cannot see him as anything but your father just as he cannot see you as anything but his child. I can see you both as independent and proud people. Telling your mother that your new husband defeated him would be disrespectful to him. I did not defeat him. I just pointed out something he did not want to see but deep down he already knew. He realizes he has to let you go."
Laurëanna nodded and said, "Forgive me. You are right. I would never do anything to dishonor either you or my father. I just feel so free to finally stop worrying about the two of you. I love you both with all my heart and I hated seeing you at odds with each other over me."
"And I love you," Elrohir said then kissed her quickly. "But now, while they are distracted, you need to leave. I do not want to ruin this new peace between us so soon. I will see you tonight." Quickly he hurried her out of the room and she escaped through the front door without her father knowing she had even been there.
When he rejoined the others, Glorfindel gazed over Elrohir and gave him an approving and reassuring smile that Elrohir had not seen in ages. Elrohir could not help but feel both relieved and proud as well. He finally had convinced Glorfindel to allow Laurëanna some freedom. Now all he had to worry about was their wedding.
16th Day of March
Third Age, Year 3019
Minas Tirith, Middle Earth
In the early morning hours Elrohir found Laurëanna sleeping in a chair beside the window of Merry's room. Although she had tried to help them to the best of her abilities, it had become quickly apparent to everyone that her gifts did not lie in healing, and she seemed to be personally affected by each and every person they tended. Gandalf finally encouraged her to sit with Eomer, who had remained with his sister for many hours. After exhaustion had finally settled in and Eomer had fallen asleep beside Eowyn's bed, Laurëanna had gone to check on the hobbit.
Elrohir watched her sleeping for a long time, wondering if what had happened since Pelagir would mean anything to them in the future. He felt sure that she loved him, but he knew that his life was not one in which she could live. How would she adjust to his frequent departures and dangerous missions into the wild with the Dúnedain? Although Elladan had made it very obvious that there were times when he would easily choose a different life, involving a family and staying in one place, Elrohir had not yearned for that; until now.
So focused on Laurëanna, Elrohir did not hear Gandalf until he spoke. "She is very unique, is she not?"
Elrohir nodded and looked over at Merry instead, unwilling to acknowledge his feelings for Laurëanna with anyone yet.
"One day I imagine she will make someone an excellent wife," Gandalf continued and Elrohir jerked his head to look at the wizard, who merely glanced back at him calmly, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. "You should rest Elrohir. I fear our work is not done." Silently, the wizard left the room
Elrohir swallowed the rage that ignited at Gandalf's casual observations. It should not matter that she would make someone an excellent wife. Of course she would, but certainly he had no claim to her nor did he intend to make one. He was too old to have foolish fancies of love and family. Once Legolas took her back to Mirkwood and Elrohir went back to Imladris, he would not be so distracted by the pretty elleth and would forget her. Perhaps not…forget her entirely, but not think about her so much. Elrohir rested his head on the door jam and sighed. He was too tired to think rationally now and the past few days had been difficult and tiring, to put it mildly.
"Are you going to let her sleep here?" Elladan said walking into the room. He checked on Merry's well being, then looked towards his twin. The two of them were both exhausted so he did not mention, even in jest, what had happened earlier between Elrohir and Laurëanna. He could see now that Elrohir had already decided to pretend it had not happened, but Elladan had seen how desperately relieved his brother had been when he saw Laurëanna alive and well in the city. It had been a long time since his twin had expressed his emotions so obviously and carelessly with anyone. Yes, this elleth was quickly becoming more than just their companion on this journey.
"I had not thought about it…" Elrohir said, uncharacteristically indecisive.
As if she realized she was being talked about, Laurëanna rubbed her eyes and sat up, still half asleep. "Forgive me. I did not mean to fall asleep. I just sat down for a moment…" She stopped mid-sentence seeing a look in Elrohir's eyes that caused chills to run down her spine. She was not sure why he was studying her and was too drained to understand what it meant.
After Elrohir did not say anything for a long time, merely watching her intently, Elladan said, "No matter. Merry is still asleep and I think we have done all we can do for everyone else for the time being. Aragorn is leaving to go to the tents on the field now but Gandalf and Prince Imrahil offered other accommodations if you prefer."
"It matters little to me," Laurëanna rose and she and Elrohir followed Elladan from the room, joining Aragorn and Gandalf smoking their pipes outside the Houses of Healing. She could not stop yawning and did not know if Elrohir's hand under her elbow was holding her up or if she was actually managing to do that by herself.
Laurëanna blinked in the early sun but was pleased to see it. There had been a few days she worried she would never see the sun again.
"Good morning, my lady," Gandalf said. "It is good to see you again."
Laurëanna smiled, amazed at the wizard appearance; as if he had woken up after a long restful sleep. Evidence of yesterday's battle was everywhere she looked except on Gandalf. Glancing guiltily at Aragorn, she tried to decide when was the best time to talk about Halbarad's final hours and what she should say. Aragorn and the twins looked exhausted and she did not want to add to this by forcing an emotional discussion on them. She was not sure. Would Aragorn prefer to hear it now and be given time to sort through his emotions on his own?
Perhaps sensing what she was thinking, Aragorn glanced over to her, a gentle expression on his handsome but weary face. "Laurëanna, I know we have something to discuss but you are right to wait. I need to think about the coming days, not on those no longer with us. I will come to you in time."
Laurëanna nodded, relieved. She dreaded the discussion with Aragorn, although she knew that, unlike her, he had faced many deaths of loved ones. In her mind, she could not believe it ever was easy, especially with someone as close to him as Halbarad had been.
"I am going to the tents to rest. Elladan? Elrohir? Do you plan on joining me on the walk down there?" Aragorn said to Laurëanna. "I assume you are staying within the city."
Laurëanna opened her mouth to speak but Elrohir said, "I will take her to the rooms Imrahil has offered," before she could answer.
Once again, Laurëanna had to stifle a retort about being told where to go and what to do. This was not the time and she knew she was short tempered right now but she was not used to being ordered around like she did not have a mind of her own. Even her father had never acted so controlling. Seeing her irritation, Gandalf winked at her.
"Rest well and I will speak with you all soon," Gandalf said and walked away.
Aragorn and Elladan departed afterwards. Elrohir took her hand and turned the opposite way, walking towards a row of very small houses. A woman saw them and rushed over, saying she had been asked by the Prince to assist them. They followed her to a door where she turned to Elrohir and said, "My lord, your chambers are two doors down."
"I do not need separate chambers," Elrohir said and the woman's eyes grew wide.
"He means he does not intend to sleep in his own chambers," Laurëanna added then realized what she had said sounded even worse. "Forgive me. What we mean to say is that he will be returning to the tents outside the city walls and only I will be staying here."
"Ai, I understand," the woman nodded after studying them both for a moment. Opening the door, she led them into a small room that was very luxurious compared to her other accommodations thus far in Middle Earth. "Will you want hot water and a change of clothes brought to your chambers, Miss? I am certain we can find you something else to wear."
"I would be very grateful," Laurëanna answered honestly. The thought of a steaming hot bath made her almost feel giddy but she would make due with whatever the servants could bring since they were weary after the long day and night before. The grime on her skin felt like she could peel it off.
After the woman left, Laurëanna sat on the bed and took off her boots, flinging them away from her in disgust. She honestly could not remember when or if she had ever smelled so foul, in fact, she knew she never had. Undressing down to her leggings and tunic, she said to Elrohir, "Perhaps you should stay in the houses here as well. I am certain a bath would not harm you any."
When he did not answer her, she looked up to find him watching her silently. She had not thought about how removing most of her clothing might stun him. Standing up, she walked towards him, her eyes never leaving his, tempting him despite the fact she did not feel as desirable in her current state.
Closing the distance between them, Elrohir grabbed her, his hot tongue dipping into her mouth to stroke her own in a kiss so passionate it left her breathless. He pulled away and, as they both caught their breath, she could see the desire raging in his eyes.
"Stay with me tonight," she whispered, surprised at her own boldness. She knew she was acting inappropriately for an unmarried elleth but he was her husband in her heart even if he did not know it.
"Laurëanna you know I cannot. It would not be wise," Elrohir murmured in between kisses as his lips teased hers.
Laurëanna pushed him away slightly and glared at him. "This is madness. Your eyes and your kisses tell me your feelings even if you would deny them, yet you speak to me about appropriate and wise behavior. Do you think I am blind to your desire for me? You are not one to lecture me, Elrohir."
Caught off-guard by her sudden temper, Elrohir snapped, "I should leave since it appears I am not allowed to make a decision without you questioning it."
Laurëanna stared at him in amazement. "You are not allowed? What decision have I made that has not been questioned and outright ignored since I have met you? You drugged me yesterday, taking away my right to make any decisions. Perhaps you should think about what could have happened if I had not woken up when I did. You had no right to make that decision, nor any other, for me. I am quite capable of thinking for myself. I am not a child, nor am I a fool. I grow weary of being told what to do when I am quite capable of taking care of myself."
"As you were taking care of yourself on the battlefield?" Elrohir retorted.
Taking a deep breath, Laurëanna tried not to scream at him in frustration and anger. "Do you not realize how many seasoned warriors died on that battlefield? It is not fair to say that I was not able to do well. Perhaps I would have had a better chance if I had not been left behind, then forced to find my own way through the combat. But I am alive, through whatever luck, so you are now forced to confront the fact that you drugged me to keep me safe because you are in love with me and the thought of me dying is almost as terrifying to you as the thought of living without you is to me." Even as the last words left her lips, Laurëanna wondered if her exhaustion or anger at him was encouraging her words to come out so carelessly.
Elrohir did not speak, his jaw tightening. Turning away from her he walked a few steps to the door and put his hand on the knob. Hearing the whoosh of an item flying through the air, he turned and ducked, as a metal water jug slammed into the wooden door.
Laurëanna was almost as shocked as he was that she had thrown something at him in anger. In all their years together she had never done anything like that but then she had never been this mad at him.
"You are impossible!" she seethed. "You are so brave on the battlefield but such a coward with your emotions. Keep running away from them, Elrohir, but they will continue whether you choose to acknowledge them or not. If we had any choice on whom we loved, I assure you, I would not have fallen in love with someone so hardheaded!"
Elrohir shook his head at her and replied, "You have lost all of your senses and I cannot reason with you now. I will speak to you later." Before she could say more, he stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
After he left, she paced back and forth until someone brought her the hot water, soap, and some garments to wear when she woke later. The servants left her and she removed the rest of her clothes flinging them in a pile with her boots. Washing her hair and body with the hot water, she then wrapped herself in a towel and sat on the side of the bed.
Feeling the weight of her wedding ring on the chain around her neck, she picked it up and played it while thinking about what had just happened. Part of her was still furious with Elrohir but mostly she knew how completely unreasonable she had been. Her emotions were frayed from Halbarad's death, the battle, everything that was happening around them, and all she wanted was Elrohir and herself to be able to comfort each other. She needed to remember he was not her husband here. He was doing what he thought was best for both of them, including protecting her honor when he thought she was wantonly throwing it away. Berating herself for her childish behavior and stupidity, Laurëanna got up and put on the simple gown the servant had brought her. If she hurried, perhaps she could find him and apologize before he left the city. Not willing to put her disgusting boots back on her now freshly cleaned body, she rushed out of her chambers barefooted, her wet hair clinging to her back.
To her surprise, Laurëanna did not have to go far to find Elrohir. When she exited the room, she almost crashed into him walking up to her door. He still looked angry but mostly he seemed conflicted. Seeing her appear so suddenly, he appeared to have lost some of anger he had been ready to vent on her.
"Before you say anything," Laurëanna said quickly holding up her hands in front of her, as if surrendering. "Allow me to say something." Elrohir tightened his jaw and crossed his arms over his chest waiting for her to speak. "Forgive me. I know I acted like a childish fool but you were just… I mean there is no excuse but I…"
Struggling to find the right words, Laurëanna began to chew on her lip absentmindedly, completely unaware of the affect this endearing habit had on Elrohir. She finally took his hand and led him back into her room. She did not want him to worry about her honor and did not know what the citizens of Minas Tirith would think of their behavior.
"Elrohir, I am tired of pretending. You treat me as if I am a child, yet I am also devious enough to be in league with Sauron, then, a few days later, you drug me to keep me safe from harm. Trust me when I say I do not want to ever go into battle again but you cannot keep me from harm by locking me in a cage. I do not know if you are encouraged to speak to ellith in Imladris as you do to me, but I do not enjoy being ordered around," Laurëanna tried to explain, growing more and more tired by the minute. "Please Elrohir. We have been through enough already. We do not need to add this madness to it all."
"Did you mean what you said to me earlier?" Elrohir asked abruptly.
"I said a lot of things to you earlier," Laurëanna answered, confused and wary.
Taking her into his arms Elrohir looked deep into her eyes, before asking, "You said you had fallen in love with me."
"Yes," she answered nervously. Once again she was trying to win his love and although she knew how much he had loved her before, could he love her now? Things were moving so fast, she had only been in Middle Earth a few days and so much had happened. Would her overly cautious husband be able to ignore any reservations he had about her and love her in return?
"Laurëanna, you are so young and things have been very difficult for the last few days. Are you certain?"
"I am. Believe me when I tell you Elrohir, I am more than certain of my love for you than of anything else," Laurëanna could not help but smile at him. Then when he did not speak she grew nervous and asked, "Am I wrong about your feelings for me?"
Elrohir looked away from her and her heart sank. She had rushed things and ignored all that she knew about him. She was such a fool.
"I do not know," Elrohir finally said. "I do not understand all of these emotions I feel for you. There is something that makes me feel as if this is the way things were meant to be for us. But Laurëanna, I cannot try to sort this out now. Until Sauron has been defeated I cannot continue battling with you on everything. It is not fair to put those around us in danger because of this… because of us. I do not mean to order you around like a child but I usually do not have time to be phrase things diplomatically so I do not offend you. You have seen first hand how quickly things happen and I do not want to waste precious time trying to decide how to say things to your liking."
Sighing, Laurëanna nodded. "I understand but please, try to remember that I am an adult and not completely incapable of taking care of myself."
"I will try. That is all I can promise you," Elrohir replied. "Laurëanna I do not know what my feelings are but I do know you could not live the life I live. How would you manage living in Mirkwood while I spend long periods of time away from you?"
"I am not going back to Mirkwood," Laurëanna answered. "There is nothing left for me there. I want to be with you, wherever you are."
After a moment Elrohir said, "We can discuss all of this later. Now we both need to rest. We do not know what is to come later today."
"Why do you not at least take some time to wash up and I will find you some food before you rest?" Laurëanna offered. When he looked as if he planned to argue, she continued, "Elrohir, I find comfort with you and I hope the same is true for you. I would rather have you here with me, at the risk of my honor, than be alone after what we have been through."
Elrohir paused for a moment then nodded, too exhausted to argue. Besides, Elladan and the others were most likely asleep and would not notice his absence. The long journey through Minas Tirith did not appeal to him at all right now. She was right; he would rather be with her, if possible. Just having her beside him soothed him even if it did confuse him.
Smiling, Laurëanna said, "Let me find someone to get us fresh water and food for you."
Elrohir grinned after she left. He was not used to someone taking care of him and it was a welcome change. Sitting down on a chair near the window he removed his boots, wrinkling his nose. She had been correct about him needing to bathe. He struggled to stay awake while waiting for Laurëanna to return.
Shortly she returned with a few servants in tow who scurried around him and took him to the room two doors down. While they were waiting for the hot water, Laurëanna snuggled up beside him on the couch in his room and sleepily watched him eat, occasionally taking a bite when he offered it to her, too tired to be very hungry herself. When servants knocked on the door, Elrohir told Laurëanna he would come to her chambers when he finished. She went to her room to change into a sleeping gown, then lay down, struggling hard to stay awake.
"Laurëanna, it is time to wake now," Elrond said firmly.
Sitting up and glancing around the unfamiliar room, Laurëanna looked at him strangely before asking, "Master Elrond, where is Elrohir?"
The elf lord stood and turned his back on her, not answering. He began to pace at the end of her bed so she stood up and walked to him. "Master Elrond?"
"They were too late. This is my fault. I knew the harbor would be in danger. I was a fool to think that Sauron would attack Imladris first. Or perhaps I knew and selfishly protected my lands, leaving Cirdan's fate in the enemy's hands." Elrond was speaking, but not to her. He seemed to have forgotten her presence completely. "I have Vilya and have used it to protect my lands."
"Master Elrond, what are you saying? The Havens have been attacked?" Laurëanna asked beginning to panic.
"The Havens have fallen. They are all dead…"
"No!" Laurëanna cried and grabbed his arm. "Where is my father? Where is Glorfindel?"
"I do not know. I imagine he is returning soon with the others. I sent aid but I am afraid I delayed too long, despite the warnings. Even Galadriel pleaded with me to see the signs and send re-enforcements."
"Ada?" Arwen said coming into the room. Looking at Laurëanna she smiled slightly. "He has been most worried. All he does all day is mutter to himself about the Havens," Arwen said airily, as if she were talking about the weather.
Laurëanna looked first at Arwen then at Elrond wondering why they both seemed so calm and serene, locked in some type of trance. "Where is Glorfindel?" Laurëanna asked, firmly.
"He and his men have just returned."
Laurëanna ran from the room and through the hallways, trying to find her way out. Once outside, she began searching the grounds for her father. When she did finally see him, he was sitting on the ground holding something in his lap. As she got closer, she realized it was a woman's body he held. His golden hair hung limply, with blood and dirt tangling in it. His face was covered in blood and gore except for the streaks the tears had cleansed. Laurëanna's steps faltered when she approached him.
Glorfindel rocked back and forth, running his hand over the cheek of the small elleth he held. Laurëanna knew before she reached her father that it was the body of her mother and she cried out, her heart twisting in agony. Looking up at her, Glorfindel shook his head.
"I was too late Wilwarin. Forgive me but I was too late."
Laurëanna ran to her parents and fell to the ground beside her mother. Collapsing into his arms, she and her father held her mother's cold body, Glorfindel crying silently and Laurëanna crying aloud.
Elrohir struggled to calm Laurëanna's hysterical sobbing before he was forced to wake her. Seeing the haunted look in her face, he whispered, "You are safe, Laurëanna."
Shaking her head in disbelief, she continued to breathe heavily and cling to him, as he wrapped her tightly in his arms. He knew that what she had seen the previous day was enough to cause many nightmares but he was concerned about her terrified reaction. He continued to hold her until at last she finally seemed calmer but appeared to be unwilling to close her eyes again.
"Laurëanna, you need to sleep," Elrohir whispered. She closed her eyes reluctantly but did not release her tight grip on him. Exhaustion finally took him and he fell asleep, relieved that she was with him.
Laurëanna woke alone. She could still smell the clean fresh scent of Elrohir on the bedding and smiled contentedly. Her smile faded as she remembered her dream. Sitting up, she looked towards the window and, judging from the light, realized it must be late morning. She was still tired but she had too much to do to sleep now. She had to find Elrohir. He must be with Elladan or Aragorn making plans but she had to make sure he did not leave her here in Minas Tirith or something. She had to go to Imladris and she hoped he would take her but she had no idea how to convince him to do so. She must find Legolas. Perhaps he could help.
Jumping out of the bed, Laurëanna saw that Elrohir had had food brought to her when he left. Suddenly starving, she ate while dressing quickly in a gown the servant had provided her last night. Although it was a simple gown, the cloth was soft. It felt wonderful and refreshing to wear something so unrestrictive and feminine again. She studied the other garments curiously. Apparently they were meant to wear under the dress and bind her in some way. She had seen similar items in Edoras and did not understand why women would choose to restrict their movements with these items. Tossing them aside, she finished eating and went to search for a servant to lend her some footwear. A young servant appeared almost instantly when she opened her door, making her wonder if the servants wandered the pathways at all times waiting to be called on by any guests. She blushed thinking that if that were the case, they most likely knew Elrohir's comings and goings from her room.
After the girl brought her some slippers, Laurëanna set out to the Houses of Healing. She wanted to see how Merry and Eowyn were and she assumed that someone there would know where her other friends were. Eowyn was sleeping when Laurëanna checked on her but a healer told her that she was doing well and the others were outside in the garden. Entering the garden, she could not help but smile happily seeing Gimli, Legolas, and the two hobbits again. She rushed to Legolas and hugged him tightly before hugging both Merry and Pippin as well. Despite his reluctance, Laurëanna planted a kiss firmly on Gimli's forehead with a laugh.
"I am glad to see that everyone is much better than they were yesterday. I was worried about all of you but it appears that there was no need," she said. "Tell me, Merry, how are you healing? I tried to see Eowyn but she was resting."
"I will recover soon I am certain," Merry answered and she saw the sadness behind his smile. "Eowyn will take longer to heal for she was injured more than I."
"Yesterday brought many losses," Laurëanna said softly. They were all quiet a moment before Pippin began discussing the many interesting places in Minas Tirith, an obvious attempt at changing the subject for which she was very grateful. Eventually, she asked, "Legolas, may we speak privately?"
Legolas nodded and they left the garden, walking to a private courtyard nearby. Laurëanna could not help thinking of the small courtyard on the lower level that she and Halbarad had been in yesterday.
Taking a seat on a stone bench beside her, Legolas studied her before speaking. "Forgive me for allowing Elrohir and Elladan to do what they did, but it was done before I could object and, honestly, I was not sure it was not best that you stay behind."
"I do not blame you for that. This is not about yesterday Legolas. I need to talk to you about something else," Laurëanna spoke reluctantly. "I need to go to Imladris and I need your help to convince the twins to take me."
Legolas was quiet for a moment before asking, "Do you think now is the best time to leave the safety of the city and be on the roads again? Do you not remember what happened to Arwen?"
Nodding, Laurëanna replied, "I know it seems foolish but I promised my father that if anything went amiss I would come to Imladris. Last night I dreamed of an attack on the Havens. They had no warning and the warriors from Imladris were too late because Lord Elrond delayed. I need to go to my father so he will be on time to protect them." Seeing the doubt in Legolas' eyes, she said earnestly, "You must understand Legolas, this is my mother and her people. I need to do this and the Valar warned me of this for a reason."
Legolas thought for a long moment and did not speak. Finally he shook his head. "Laurëanna you dreamed that Aragorn should not go to Pelargir and if we had acted on that, Minas Tirith would not have survived yesterday. After what you have witnessed lately, it makes sense that your dreams are terrifying, but … they might be simply nightmares. You miss your parents and you are worried about them. You were distraught over the battle yesterday and exhausted. I do not think it was a warning from the Valar. Risking your life to attempt to reach your father would be a fool's errand. If you ask the twins to take you to Imladris, they will not go, no matter what I say."
"I have thought of that and they will go if they believe there will be an attack on Imladris," Laureanna insisted, ignoring her conscience screaming out indignatly about using her friends.
"Why would they believe that?" Legolas looked at her then realizing her intent to lie to them, he shook his head, saying, "No. You will not lie to them and I will not help you lie about it. Laureanna, if you do this and you are wrong, you will have put lives at risk for nothing."
Laureanna was quiet, but her mind was in complete turmoil. What Legolas said made sense, she had to admit. The dream was so real but she had always been convinced about Aragorn not going to Pelargir and she had been dreadfully wrong about that. Resting her head in her hands, she blinked back tears as Legolas put his arm around her, stroking her back.
"I know you are trying to do what you think is right, Laureanna. The Valar wanted me to help you carry this burden so you must trust me as well." He continued to stroke her back until he felt the tension leave her. When she lifted her head, he added, "Besides, even if you did convince the twins to leave now, you would not reach Glorfindel in time."
"Laureanna?" Elladan asked, startling them both as he walked up silently.
"Elladan, how are you?" Laureanna tried to cover her surprise, grateful he had not heard them. She struggled not to appear guilty.
"I am well, considering. Legolas, I need to speak with you and Gimli," Elladan said evasively, avoiding Laureanna's eyes.
"Then you will excuse me, Elladan. I am so weary, I think it is best if I go lie down," Laureanna said relieved. Before she left, she hugged them both. "Elladan, have you seen Elrohir?"
"Of course," Elladan watched her and wondered how she would handle the news about the meeting with Aragorn. "He went to find you. I believe he went to your room."
Trying to escape quickly, Laureanna smiled. "I will see you this afternoon Elladan. I must speak with your brother now and I do not want to miss him."
Practically running, Laureanna reached her quarters as Elrohir was about to leave them. Grabbing his hand, she pulled him into the room, shutting the door behind them and wrapped her arms around his neck.
"I missed you when I woke up alone this morning," she whispered in his ear.
"I had to meet with the other leaders about our plans," Elrohir replied and she sensed something in his tone that caused her to pull back and look at his face.
"What is it, Elrohir?"
Elrohir pulled her to sit beside him on the bed then told her about the plans to march to the Black Gates. After he told her, she sat in silence for a long time before saying anything.
"And this has already been decided? Gandalf, the prince, and Eomer support this as well?" Her voice was monotone, still stunned that this was the best plan. Before he could answer, she turned to face him, panic settling in. "Elrohir, this is suicide for all of you. There are not enough men left in Minas Tirith to fight Mordor alone. Do you not remember how many forces it took to defeat Sauron the first time?"
"It is risky and dangerous, I agree. It is a ploy to give us time, not to win the battle. It is the only option and I trust Aragorn that it is the best course of action. If the ring is not distroyed, all of this will be for nothing. There is no way Frodo and Sam can walk across Mordor, full of Sauron's forces, unnoticed. There is no choice. Elladan and I must go with Aragorn," he said solemnly.
Laureanna did not say anything else. She could see in his eyes that he had decided this is what he would do and she knew she would be unable to sway him. Any hope of their survival was small but it was all she had right now. She was so conflicted about the possibility of an attack on the Havens and now this. When he went to make some preparations, she lay on the bed sobbing and asking Eru for his guidance. She no longer felt the Valar were helping her, guiding her. She felt alone and confused. Her mission was complete but until the ring was destroyed she was bound the same fate that all of Middle Earth was and she did not know what to do about her knowledge of the past or her nightmares. Why were the Valar leaving her alone now?
Before Elrohir returned, she calmed herself and washed away her tears. She would not let him see her crying. These days might be their last and she would not spend them arguing or crying and begging him not to go, not to leave her. That night, they spent the night together in secret again. Having him beside her was the only thing that kept her from going mad and she lay awake for a long time watching him sleep.
The next day Laureanna helped the men prepare for their journey. She spent most of her time with Elrohir but made sure to talk with Legolas and her other friends as well. Disappointed that they had all committed to this mission, leaving her behind with the wounded, she could not help the sadness that surrounded her but she only allowed it to overwhelm her when she was completely alone.
The night before they were to depart Elrohir came to see her and she could not hide her tears completely. He held her tightly while whispering promises to return to her.
"I know you must go with Aragorn," Laureanna agreed, sniffling. "I do not want you in danger but I understand you must go and I am proud of you for being so brave. Aragorn needs you with him. But tonight, I need you here with me."
Brazenly she led him to her bed, pulling him down on top of her and wrapping her arms around his neck. Moving his hair out of her face, she kissed him passionately, her tongue moving against his. Elrohir responded with equal urgency, caught up in her torrid embrace. When at last they stopped to catch their breath, she gazed him lovingly.
"Elrohir, make love to me tonight," she whispered. "Please."
Elrohir moaned and kissed her again before answering. "You know I can not. We are not bound and it would not be…"
"But we would be if you made love to me," she replied.
Sitting up, Elrohir watched her for a minute trying to think reasonable thoughts for a minute. Laureanna sat up, straddling his thighs, then sat on his lap, her hands on his shoulders.
"Elrohir, tomorrow you ride to the Black Gates and there is a chance you might not come back. I want you to make love to me, make me your wife now," Laureanna said, her eyes gazing deeply into his.
"Laureanna, I cannot dishonor you this way. You deserve a proper courtship and wedding, a good husband, a family, all things I cannot offer you now. You are panicking about tomorrow and are not thinking clearly," Elrohir argued.
"Please do not tell me I do not know what I am thinking. I am completely aware of what I am asking you. I want to be your wife, in every way. I do not care about a wedding or a courtship. And if you are worried what people think about me, do not. I do not care. You are the only one I will ever love. When you leave tomorrow I want you to know you have someone to come back to. Death will not keep you long. Even if I have to wait for Mandos to release you, I want to be the first one you see when you awaken again." she smiled nervously. "The only questions are: do you love me and would you have me as your wife?"
Elrohir shook his head in disbelief. "I cannot believe you…this is madness. You might be a widow in a few days. And its even more madness that I am considering this."
"Coming from someone who plans to ride to Mordor in the morning, I do not think this is that mad," Laureanna laughed. "Elrohir, I will never love another so whether I am your wife now or not will not affect my feelings if you do not return. You already have my heart. Do I have yours?"
"Yes," Elrohir answered suddenly. "I have tried to fight this feeling for you but I cannot lie to you. I have never felt this way for another." He kissed her gently, lingering to taste the sweetness of her mouth.
Laureanna felt as if her heart would explode. She kissed him back and let her love for him flow through her. He stopped for a moment and said, "But I love you enough to wait and give you a proper wedding. I want you as my bride. And unlike my father and Arwen, I have not yet made a decision where my future lies. This is not something we should decide in the fog of desire."
"We can have the wedding feast later. I do not care about that as much as the fact that I want to be your wife tonight," Laureanna said, insistantly.
To show how serious she was, she began unfastening the ties of his shirt as she kissed down his neck. She felt somewhat guilty putting him in this position. Elrohir had always said she was an overly passionate creature who pushed him to the brink of insanity during their courtship but she was unable to help herself. It had been a long time since she had been intimate with her husband. And she wanted him to feel the depths of their love and their bond before he left her in the morning.
"Laureanna, please," Elrohir moaned, reaching for her hands.
Removing her hands from his grip, Laureanna smiled as she climbed off the bed. Standing beside it, she removed her gown slowly, Elrohir watched, lust filling his eyes. Once completely bare, she sat down beside him and pulled his tunic over his head. He closed his eyes for a moment as if he needed to block out the sight of her to think straight. Taking advantage of the moment, Laureanna leaned forward and started to rain hot kisses down his chest, smiling to herself when she heard his hissing intake of breath.
Elrohir grasped her shoulders firmly and forced her to face him. "Laureanna, what you are suggesting cannot be undone. Do not speak so lightly of this decision."
"I love you and I want you: tonight, and for the rest of our lives. There has never been anything I am more certain of than my love for you," she replied boldly. "I have made my decision. You must make your own. But I want you to make love to me tonight, to take me as your wife."
Elrohir's eyes lingered on hers for a long time. At first she worried he was going to reject her. He looked at her lovingly but appeared torn between his desire for her and his desire to do what he thought was right. She waited breathlessly for his response. His eyes gazed over her body before returning once again to look into her eyes.
"You will be mine," he answered then paused. "I know we should wait and it would be the proper thing to do but I will make you mine. Tonight."
Before she had a chance to answer him, Elrohir kissed her fiercely, burying his hand in her hair and bringing her body against his. Lying down and bringing her with him, they both moaned when their heated flesh touched. His hands ran down her back and pulled her so every inch of his chest was pressed against her soft curves.
Laureanna was shocked at the intensity of his kisses. She thought she had felt the full extent of Elrohir's passion during their marriage but nothing compared to this overpowering and raw animalistic lust between them now. Perhaps it was the tomorrow's danger lingering over them, she did not know. Barely able to catch their breath in between kisses, she felt dizzy but could not get enough of him and she prayed this night would last forever.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.