As always, many, many thanks to lovely Anarithilien who guided me to this point- bless her!
MEFA nomination 2010 - lots of good stories on that site!
Chapter 16: Awakening
Elrohir was seething, half carrying Legolas through the empty streets with him, away from Gandalf and his relentless, searching violation of Legolas. He had shouted furiously at Gandalf that he had abused Legolas, abused his trust, invaded him in the same way as had the Nazgul. He did not stay to hear Gandalf's answer, his furious anger surging and roiling in his veins. It was enough that Gandalf had challenged Elrohir to reveal what the Nazgul had shown him.
Elrohir's heart had almost stopped that moment. Surely Gandalf had not seen what the Nazgul showed Elrohir? Surely he could not have seen those obscene images, Legolas sprawled beneath him, naked and pleading, like a sacrifice…or those other images, the suffocating tunnels, the stench of Orc, the muffled screams that were forever burned into his memory…
Elrohir had denied it of course. Denied the Nazgul had had any words with him, shown him nothing, offered him nothing. And with an arm protectively around Legolas, Elrohir had thrown open the door and the frost-laden night air flooded in. He threw a resentful glare over his shoulder at his father's old friend and pulled the door shut behind him. He half-held, half dragged Legolas from the Wizard's rooms and through the empty streets.
In the cold breath of night, Legolas leaned heavily against him, his body hanging off Elrohir like he was fainting. Elrohir pulled the other Elf's arm over his shoulder and pulled his body close, breathing in his scent, immersing himself in the Wood Elf's presence.
Cursing Gandalf again, he made his way through the silent streets. The clouds were building up once more in the East and there were no stars. Suddenly Legolas stumbled again and fell against Elrohir. Elrohir braced himself to steady them both before they fell. They rocked together for a moment and then steadied.
Legolas glanced down at his own chest as if to see the wound that still bled. But then he lifted his head to stare at Elrohir, uncomprehending and vulnerable.
'I feel like ice.' he murmured and again, his hand drifted to his chest. 'I thought I had a spear of ice in my chest…' His voice trailed off and he gazed into the sky.
And then the Wood Elf began to shiver and Elrohir was suddenly alarmed. When his teeth began to chatter with cold, Elrohir anxiously felt Legolas' hand and then his forehead.
He swore furiously. 'You are cold,' he said, glancing at the torn and filthy shirt and knowing that an Elf would not normally suffer the cold even on such a night as this. Standing square and steadying Legolas, he unclasped his cloak one handed, and drew it from his own shoulders. Then he threw it round Legolas' trembling body.
'You are cold from your encounter with the Nazgul, and with Gandalf,' he explained patiently. He hauled Legolas' arm over his shoulder, pulling him even closer than before, tugging the edges of the heavy sable cloak around the Elf.
Legolas seemed to clear a little then and his green eyes blinked slowly, owlishly at Elrohir. Muffled in the black cloak with his long pale hair escaping, he looked suddenly very young and vulnerable. And instead of the usual rage and passion, Elrohir felt a surge of tenderness. He lifted his hand and smoothed the escaping tendrils of hair away from Legolas' face and stroked his fingers down his cheek.
'Peace.' Elrohir let a little of his own healing fire warm the blood and flesh. 'Peace.' He pulled the Elf's head towards him, wanting to bury himself in his scent, in his nearness, but he only pressed his own cheek gently against his temple.
And Legolas seemed to accept it, leaned into him even.
More slowly now, he led the Elf down through the lower levels of the deserted city and towards the warm, noisy soldiers' camp where there was fire and ale and singing and sleeping warriors, and the Dwarf, Gimli. Elrohir knew he himself could give Legolas comfort, heal his wounds and bring him back to himself and so he sought Aragorn's tent, hoping that either the Man had returned from the Healing Houses or that he could find what he needed there instead.
Aragorn's tent had been set up amongst his company of Dúnedain for he had declared himself, not King of Gondor, but as the Chief of the Dúnedain, the Northmen descended from Numenor. But those who had seen him fight, who had heard him rally the dispirited army and seen his company, knew here was a great leader. Rumour spread quickly amongst the rank and file so his tent was fitting for the Heir of Isildur. Two Dúnedain sat near a small fire, they looked up as Elrohir approached and with barely a glance of interest, nodded as he pulled aside the tent flap and led Legolas within.
Sumptuous rugs and furs were beneath their feet and a small desk on one side. On another side, a chest with a bowl and a ewer of water. Lamps were already lit and he was grateful for that. Aragorn's pack had been leant against the chest and his sword lay across the desk. Folded neatly on the bed were a number of clean shirts, tunics, a cloak and boots, Elrohir noted with quiet satisfaction. The Men of Gondor intended to take care of their returned king.
'Sit here,' he said, lowering Legolas gently on a carved wooden chair, letting him lean back. Elrohir's own sable cloak swathed him.
Elrohir turned to rummage in Aragorn's pack and dug out a soft leather pouch . He strode over to the tent flaps and pushed them aside, calling to one of the Dúnedain who kept watch without. Then he went back inside and dragged a fur coverlet from the bed and draped it over Legolas.
As he swept the fur around the Elf, Legolas looked up at Elrohir with the same trust that he had looked at Gandalf. When he raised his hand and rubbed one eye it was sleepily, like a child too tired to stay up any longer.
'You can sleep soon,' said Elrohir, pulling the side of the fur from one shoulder, 'but you must let me look at you first.'
There was a flash of light reflecting off the dark jewel in his mother's ring and at first Elrohir thought nothing of it. But Legolas tensed and Elrohir saw an answering flash of challenge in the slate green eyes. He realised Legolas was staring down at Elrohir's own hand and frowning, as if trying to work out why something was important. The dark jewel of his mother's ring flashed briefly and Legolas' eyes widened. Elrohir froze, remembering that it was the sight of the ring that had made Legolas back away in that small cabin on the SeaSong, to raise his hand to his cheek where the bruise still lingered.
'Yes, it is I, Elrohir,' he told Legolas as softly, as gently as he could, letting the warmth of his healing soothe and calm. 'You are safe with me. I will not hurt you.'
'Ravëyon,' said Legolas trustingly, all challenge gone.
Elrohir winced. He wished Legolas had no memory of that. He feared the Woodelf might remember also the Nazgul's dreadful offer of his own body as sacrifice to Elrohir's dark lust.
He approached as he might a wild animal. He lay his hand upon Legolas' shoulder and slid the thin linen shirt from his shoulder. 'You are bleeding,' he explained patiently.
Legolas looked down again and then touched his fingers to his chest lightly. Elrohir saw that his shirt was filthy, blood from the wound stained his chest, and mud crusted the hem of the shirt and spattered up it.
Legolas raised his hand and stared at it, his eyes unfocused. He frowned at the blood in his fingers as if he had forgotten blood, forgotten what his hand looked like and then shook his head as if to rid himself of a memory, and fell back against the chair.
'Ai! Ravëyon... what have I done?' Legolas murmured and turned his face away from Elrohir. 'I have betrayed Frodo. I have shown the Nazgul that Frodo has the Ring and now they will pursue him to his death.'
Legolas clutched at his heart. 'I have betrayed them...Frodo..' he moaned, anguish in his green eyes.
Elrohir could say nothing but he remembered the image of the small hand and in its palm, the Ring…he frowned. How had he seen that?
But Legolas had covered his face with his hands. 'I showed the Nazgul that I had seen It…in Frodo's hand..I showed the Nazgul the Ring.'
Elrohir glanced at the Elf but he was not one to comfort with empty words, more often standing watch whilst Elladan healed or comforted or listened. But Elladan was not here, there was only him.
Suddenly Legolas bent over like he was in pain and moaned. 'I have betrayed them both…Sam... Sam… and now the Song… Ai!' He pulled the sable cloak around himself tightly again and rocked himself once like a child and then stopped, head bowed.
Elrohir put a hand on the distraught Elf's shoulder and stared down at the golden head. With one hand he caught up the long flaxen hair that lay across the sable cloak and felt it sift through his fingers as he had longed to do, feeling the cool heaviness, he weighed it in his hand.
'Peace,' he whispered. 'You will have peace now.' He tried to hear the Elf's Song knowing it would bring him comfort, but it was faint and as always for Elrohir, more of a resonance than a clear song...there was a dim sense of the forest , but no more than a sense and what his own imagination supplied.
Elrohir realised that the Dúnedan whom he had sent for boiling water had returned and in a strange echo of Legolas aboard the SeaSong when he had brought water for Nestor, the Dúnedan stood at the tent opening with a pan of water. Steam curled up from it, gently rising in the cold air.
Elrohir strode over and took the pan from the Ranger, nodding his thanks.
He flipped open the soft leather pouch and took out a large pinch of dried athelas and dropped it onto the steaming water and although it was not fresh, the cleansing fragrance immediately filled the air. He pushed the basin of steaming water towards Legolas.
'Breathe this in and you will come back to yourself.' he said. 'I must change this dressing or the wound will become infected….Legolas? Listen to me.' He put a hand on the Elf's shoulder and shook him slightly.
The Woodelf dragged his attention back to Elrohir and his eyes focused.
'I am sorry…I am sorry,' Legolas said again, but more insistently. 'I should never have…'
'There was nothing you could do. The Nazgul are stronger than any of us except Gandalf,' he said urgently, looking into the Elf's anguished eyes. 'You showed it only a Hobbit's hand holding the Ring. You did not give anything else away. You should be proud that you resisted. You put yourself in terrible danger to stop it from seeing any more.'
Legolas searched his face, almost believing, and then he moaned quietly, 'I should not have hesitated. I should not have been there. How did it know I was there?'
Elrohir shook Legolas again. 'This is pointless. Useless. It has happened. You must make amends in some way if you can, by standing with Aragorn and defeating the Enemy, as you have always done in the Forest,' he said briskly, unsympathetically. Legolas' green eyes looked up at him. Elrohir noted he had become calmer and knew the athelas was doing its work. At least he was now listening, Elrohir thought.
'Yes, as you have always done!' he said again, emphatically. 'I have always admired Thranduil,' Elrohir continued, pulling the sable cloak from Legolas' shoulder and prodding at the bloodstained bandage. 'When I was a child I wanted to live in Mirk…the Greenwood,' he continued almost conversationally, remembering how he had loved the stories of Mirkwood, where the reckless Wood Elves battled with giant spiders and wargs and wolves and goblins. In remembering his childhood, he surprised himself. There was no anger or pain, just an amused memory of his admiration for Mirkwood.
He slid the torn shirt from Legolas broad, muscular shoulder and lifted the bloody bandage. The thin scar was beaded with blood and still it seemed unable to heal. Elrohir frowned. He knew it was not poisoned or infected.
'It has not healed? At all? That is strange.' Elrohir stood before him, dark head bent to examine it. And then he touched it.
The flesh was hot, but not fevered. But he felt Legolas' reaction, felt the shudder run through him and heard him catch his breath. 'Perhaps it is the Cuivëar that is stopping it from healing,' he managed to say, but he was looking at Legolas's strong, beautiful face and watching his mouth, full and sensuous. Elrohir thought about the other Elf's reaction, knowing it was not from pain, watched how Legolas' eyelids fluttered and stayed half-closed, dark lashes against his flushed cheek.
Elrohir stroked his fingers lightly over the scar, peeled the thin bandage away. He tried not to look at the writhing Dragon that peered up at him, or the runes of protection that swirled around the small hard nipple that pebbled when he touched it. He dipped a cloth into the warm water suffused with athelas and wiped it over the heated skin.
Then he reached into Aragorn's pack again to search and then finding nothing useful, he began irritably pulling things out one by one and discarding them on the ground. His fingers brushed across the leather satchel, stretched over a spherical object and as soon as his fingers touched it, he felt a tremor of power. It was the Palantir.
He paused, feeling it pulse within him in recognition of his heritage. It spoke to him as it had many days ago now, at Helm's Deep when Aragorn had first looked into it. He felt the tug, an answering call…but resolutely he pushed past the satchel and searched for the small, carefully wrapped packets of drugs and the small bottle.
Finding the bottles and packets he needed at last, Elrohir shoved them onto the desk, the bottles clattering. Then he grabbed a wad of linen from the bottom of Aragorn's pack. He turned to pull out stoppers from one of the bottles and unwound a thin piece of cloth.
He poured out a thick yellow unguent onto the palm of his hand, the stink of it brought tears to his eyes and he knew it would sting. So before the Elf had time to protest, Elrohir had slapped it onto Legolas' skin and smeared it thickly on his wound. 'This should help,' he said mercilessly.
'Elbereth's tits!' swore Legolas. Elrohir raised an eyebrow; even now, if he used such a curse, Glorfindel would have had his hide and he would never dare use such language in front of his father. 'That is disgusting stuff!'
'One of Aragorn's favourites,' Elrohir told Legolas, unsmiling. 'I am surprised he has not used it on you before.'
'If he has I was unconscious at the time,' Legolas said with feeling. 'If he had tried to use that on me I would have had to thump him!'
'But you will not thump me?' Elrohir asked with a slight smile.
Legolas looked a little uncomfortable and then he smiled back wryly. 'Have we not done that enough to each other?' he asked and he put his hand over Elrohir's for a moment. 'I am sorry for my part.'
Elrohir looked down at where the Elf's hand covered his.
'You have already apologised…more than once,' said Elrohir. 'You have nothing to apologise for. It is I who should make amends.' He looked away, shaking his head in disgust at himself. Here he was, Elrohir Ravëyon, son of Elrond, descended from Eärendil and Luthien, with the blood of Maia and the noblest houses of the High Elves, who had trespassed most violently against this Wood Elf. And yet it was Legolas who was earnestly apologising to him. He recalled, almost bitterly, that one of the reasons Legolas was sorry was because he had kissed Elrohir aboard the SeaSong. Elrohir did not want him to be sorry.
He said nothing more, and simply began wrapping a clean bandage tenderly around Legolas' chest.
'That will see you through I think. But tomorrow evening you will need to come back and have Elladan or Aragorn look at it.' He stood and moved to place the rolls of linen and cloths on the desk that was behind Legolas' chair.
'Not you?' Legolas pushed aside the fur coverlet and sable cloak as if he were suddenly too warm. Elrohir was aware of his lean, muscled body, the painted skin. He tried not to be, but he could not help himself. He did not answer the question that still hung between them but busied himself instead with tidying the bottles and packets of herbs.
Legolas was silent for a moment and then he looked down at the new, clean white strip encircling his chest and grimaced. 'It seems to be taking a long time to heal,' he repeated Elrohir's earlier words. 'I do not know why,' he said as he pushed the fur and sable cloak from his body and struggled to his feet.
He swayed a little as he stood, holding onto the chair back for a moment and Elrohir reached out to steady him.
'Wait. You are not ready,' he said easing the Elf back into the chair. And then realising how churlish he had been to not offer himself to heal this Elf whom he desired more than anything he had ever wanted, slowly, cautiously, he knelt down in front of Legolas. Looking up almost shyly, he said, 'Let me heal you.'
Legolas stared at him for a moment, cheeks flushed and lips parted. He nodded breathlessly, gaze fastened on Elrohir.
Elrohir shuffled closer, so he was almost between Legolas' knees but taking great care not to touch anywhere else, he placed his hand chastely on Legolas' heated skin, above the grinning dragon, to let the healing glow suffuse his flesh with warmth. He let his own breathing slow and come into the same rhythm as Legolas', closing his eyes and focusing all his attention on first their breathing and then slowly, he reached his own healing power down through his fingertips. He soothed the stretched nerves and sinews, reached down into muscles and bone.
He almost gasped aloud at the mixture of sensations that overwhelmed him as never before.
It was like a soothing balm, like fire, like the excitement of battle. Like an ecstasy.
Elrohir closed his eyes, listened to the breath…the pounding of their blood in their veins... like distant drumming sounding the signal for war and it thrilled his blood… Then he heard notes, single notes that coalesced into one Song, a thrilling, vibrant Song that reminded him of a high place in the mountains, where eagles cried, keen-eyed and fierce, the wind under their wings soaring high over the snow-covered peaks…
Legolas' eyelids fluttered and Elrohir suddenly understood that he was experiencing what Legolas was feeling, that the Wood Elf amplified the Song in some way for him, so he could hear it; the notes suddenly soared and he felt his heart would burst with the joy and pain of it, with the sensation of familiarity, of sensuous excitement.
Is this what love is? he wondered with the still conscious part of his mind, Is this what I have been missing? Is it always like this? Is this what he hears all the time? Is this the Song?
And he leaned in closer, wanting to hear that Song for it was as familiar to him as his own breath, the thump of his own heart. Here were the notes of his own Song and yet he never heard it before... soaring over a green place, a forest filled with light. He walked beneath a wide canopy of beech trees in Spring. No, not beneath… he was within the canopy, amongst the new pale green leaves as they unfurled, filtering the sunlight so he was bathed in a pale green light.
Ah, Greenleaf indeed, he thought. There was the stillness of deep forests, clear water pooled amongst the ferns and mossy boulders, bubbled over granite and slate…
He felt he could be safe here, with Legolas, and that those horrific memories that had spoiled him, ruined his innocence and love, might even dissipate under the pale green light…even the long wheat-pale hair that was tangled in his fingers would not take him to that dark place…Perhaps he was not that twisted, depraved thing he feared…Perhaps he would not imagine his mother, perhaps this time he would not descend into the mire of his dark lust...
He knew if he did not take control of his courage though, he would never know this again. And he felt suddenly so sad that he had wasted all this time locked into the prison of his memories…
So Elrohir took hold of his heart and leaned closer until he was pressed against the Elf between his legs, his face against Legolas' flat belly breathing in his scent, beneath his heart, his hand over the wound. He wanted to cover that body with his own, not a violent frenzied lust that wanted to hurt, but a desperate tenderness, lavishing long languid strokes on his skin, his flesh. He wanted to sink into the scent and Song and flesh. Legolas let his head fall back, sprawled lewdly in the chair, his lips parted, as though he were ravished.
He knew as certainly as he knew himself that Legolas could not help the shiver on his skin at the feel of Elrohir's own long fingers against his flesh anymore than he could help pushing himself against his body. It was unlike anything either had felt before, a deep touching of faer.
He found himself pulling Legolas towards him, and pushing his mouth against his, tongue forcing its way into his mouth, against his own tongue with a passion and desire that shook him to his bones. His free hand clasped the back of Legolas' head and pulled him closer, deeper and he listened with Legolas to the rhythmic pounding, the battle and fierce pride, flying keen-eyed and fierce, the wind under eagle wings, soaring high over mountains, the ecstasy in his blood… and he knew that finally, he was hearing his own Song, the Song of Elrohir Ravëyon, Son of Thunder.
And suddenly the long green eyes that were half closed in ecstasy, flew open and looked up towards the tent opening in horror. Legolas pushed Elrohir away so suddenly that he fell back and had to steady himself with one hand. Legolas said something then that was so obscene that Elrohir gasped. But the Wood Elf was already on his feet and moving towards the tent opening.
Elrohir turned to see Eomer, King of Rohan standing in the doorway, rooted to the spot, his eyes wide, hurt, betrayed. Somehow he had entered the tent without either Elf sensing him.
'Legolas.' That one word that came from the devastated Man's lips was like a breath, such pain, such desire.
Eomer turned to leave, an incoherent cry torn from his throat, but Legolas had already crossed the short distance between them in two strides and caught at Eomer's hand.
'No. Wait… Eomer,' Legolas said distressed, holding the Man back and then stood in front of him, leaning against him, stopping him from leaving.
Elrohir rested on his heels, a sudden surge of hurt and confusion in his chest. He rose slowly, making little attempt to cover himself, allowing Eomer to dwell on him, to piece together what had happened.
'No,' Eomer said hoarsely, 'I am interrupting. Forgive me.' He bowed to Elrohir but Legolas still held him, desperately, thought Elrohir.
'Please. Don't go like this.'
'No!' Eomer pulled his arm away and then shook his head, 'Legolas, you were honest with me. You said it was no more than it is, and I know that is true now… I had just hoped…' He bowed his head to hide the longing on his face. And Elrohir knew he had the same look in his own grey eyes when he looked on the Woodland Elf.
Elrohir turned away. He could not bear to look upon them; Legolas had sprung to Eomer the moment he laid eyes upon him, he had shoved Elrohir away like some irritating puppy. And the truth of it hurt Elrohir more than he thought possible; an image of a grey ship disappearing over the horizon… His fists were clenched he realised and unbidden the thought; he is just like her!
He felt an urge to grab Legolas by the hair and throw him back, cover his body with his and tell him not to listen, to leave the Man. He opened his mouth to beg Legolas to come with him now, to push past the Man, to leave this place and… it was too late.
Legolas placed one hand gently on Eomer's shoulder and Eomer looked up into the Elf's face, his eyes were full of adoration. Too transparent, too obviously besotted, thought Elrohir bitterly.
'They told me you were here,' Eomer's hand drifted down to Legolas' chest where the bandage showed white beneath the open shirt. 'They said you had been hurt, that you were in here…that's why I came.' Eomer's brown eyes searched the Wood Elf's face anxiously.
Elrohir watched intently. He saw that Legolas' heart was wrenched with pity for the young Man. He saw the compassion in his green eyes and how the Man's face lit with hope.
'Yes, an old wound. It would not heal…' Legolas paused and looked at Elrohir with a hopeful, anxious expression in his eyes. 'I think it will now.'
But Elrohir watched with jealous rage as the Man lifted his hand and shyly brushed away the long hair that clung to the Elf's face and smiled.
Eomer lightly traced the bandage over Legolas' torso but Legolas caught his hand and gently, firmly, moved it away. Eomer looked up surprised and perhaps disappointed but Elrohir was not fooled. He did not bother to listen to their murmured words, nor watch the gentle kindness Legolas showed Eomer when he pushed him to sit in the chair he had so recently vacated and reminded the young man that he was now King.
Elrohir wanted to fight him, fight and defeat this Man, leave him bleeding on the floor and then take Legolas away, press the blond Elf into the ground, tear his clothes from his body and…there was no tenderness now. Only a raging jealousy.
Elrohir turned away quickly and rubbed his hands over his face. The huge, draining experience of being with Legolas, of hating him and wanting him, of loving him, had exhausted Elrohir. He was sick of the games, the jealousy, the teasing, the constant teasing, the fighting and flirting, the way his long golden hair swung down his back, the line of his broad shoulders, the swagger of his lean hips…Elrohir clenched his fists. There had been no rumour from the Rohirrim camp, they were as close-lipped about their heroes as river-oysters, but anyone could see the besotted way this boy-king looked at Legolas. Elrohir had watched them closely together at Helm's Deep and knew that Legolas had been, or still was, this Man's lover.
'Here.' He couldn't bear it any longer and snatched up a clean shirt from the pile left on Aragorn's bed, and threw it towards Legolas. 'This is clean and belongs to no one. Put it on and get rid of that filthy rag of a shirt you've been wearing.' He said it with more force than he intended, and he saw Legolas recoil slightly in surprise. He didn't care. Elrohir had had enough. He had been ready to give his heart but Legolas was fickle and now that Eomer was here, Elrohir knew that the Mirkwood Elf would no longer bother with him. He was done with Legolas.
He felt a dreadful lancing pain in his chest and his nails dug into his palms. He knew too, of the reputation of the Mirkwood Elves and their promiscuity. Legolas' attempt to seduce him aboard the Sea-Song was evidence of that - except Legolas had thought it was Elladan he was seducing, and not Elrohir himself.
Elrohir turned away, gritting his teeth and suppressing the furious rage that rose in his chest. It was Legolas's fault! He made him feel like this! He aroused him and teased him and it meant nothing! An image surfaced in his mind of Legolas, stripped naked, bound in chains of steel that bit into his wrists, and he turned and twisted, struggled, Elrohir's own hand on the bound Elf's hip… he could punish him for taking this boy for a lover… He almost gasped with the intensity of lust that roared through his body and surged in his groin. Legolas had brought this on himself.
He turned and gave a sketchy bow to both the King of the Mark and the Mirkwood Elf. 'I must attend my brothers,' he managed to say, ' I will be with Aragorn. Farewell my lord.' He shoved past them both and even though Legolas flung out a hand to catch him as he pushed past, he wrenched himself free, fled from the suddenly small and stuffy tent and out into the chill air under the grey sky. The clouds had buried the stars and the frost had gone. It was the first grey light of dawn.
Next chapter: Gandalf's dastardly plan is revealed! Coming soon.
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.