30. Conflicting Desires
Haldir had hesitated to bring up the subject, for he knew what Melpomaen would prefer, and he had not wished to quarrel with his lover. He did not wish to do so now, but the conversation was not something that could be put off much longer.
Melpomaen had been thinking along similar lines. He, too, had been watching the sun steer her course further to the north day by day. Winter would last longer here in Mirkwood than it did at home, but soon enough the spring thaw would arrive, the snow and ice would melt, and they would be able to make their departure and travel southward. He knew they must leave, but he wanted to return. Melpomaen resolved to raise the question with Haldir that same evening.
After supper they spent an hour or so in the common room, during which Haldir played chess with Legolas – Legolas won, narrowly – and Melpomaen sang with Meneldil, Belegorn, and several others. Once they had returned to their room, Melpomaen spoke.
“I enjoyed this evening, didn’t you, Haldir?”
“Well enough,” said Haldir, whose back was turned and who was rummaging through the chest, looking for a his red tunic.
“You’re not upset because you lost your game, are you?” asked Melpomaen.
“No, of course not.” Haldir shrugged. “But it was just an evening, like any other.”
Melpomaen stretched and looked around the room. “I have been finding our situation here very congenial. It isn’t that I care nothing for the Golden Wood,” he hastened to add, “but it is pleasant to sleep in a bed, with you, and to eat hot meals every day, and be able to laugh and talk and make music in the evenings, without the need for caution all the time.”
“I suppose so,” said Haldir.
“So I was thinking that we should talk about that,” Melpomaen said, throwing himself onto the bed.
“About what?” Haldir asked, though he guessed.
“About what we will do when spring comes. Have you not enjoyed our time here? Would you not consider returning?”
Haldir frowned a little, and sighed, and sat down on the bed next to Melpomaen, taking his hand and entwining Melpomaen’s fingers with his own. “It has been a good winter,” he agreed, “but. . .”
“But?” queried Melpomaen.
“But Mirkwood is not my home, and I do not think it could ever be. It is not our home,” he amended.
Now it was Melpomaen’s turn to sigh. “It is my home as much as Lórien is. I am not as close to my brother and sister as you are to your brothers, and my parents have both departed to the West. Certainly this is more our home than the Golden Wood, where you know full well we could not be together in the same way.” He brought Haldir’s hand to his lips, kissing each fingertip. “Would you not miss that?”
Haldir traced the outline of Melpomaen’s lips. “I would, of course, but there are other things to consider.”
“Such as what?” said Melpomaen in exasperation.
“Such as responsibility, and duty, to ourselves and our people,” Haldir said.
“I do not see how it could be construed irresponsible to return here,” Melpomaen responded. “We will complete the task you undertook for Lord Celeborn, but why not then resign from the border guard of Lórien and come instead to defend the people of Mirkwood? If anything, the power of Lady Galadriel makes the folk there safer than aught we could do for them.”
Haldir acknowledged there might be truth in that.
“So why do you not wish to return here, meldanya, when there are so many reasons to do so?” Melpomaen ticked them off on his fingers, one by one. “Here we can be together as bond-partners and not have to worry to any great extent what others will think. Moreover if we return, not only would we have to conceal our bond, we would not even be able to make love, not if we stay in the border guard. You told me of the effects of lembas, and I have seen them for myself as well. King Thranduil himself has asked us to return, a compliment not lightly to be dismissed. The company here is as agreeable as Lórindol’s, back home, and our skills are valued. Indeed they are probably more needed here than there. Against all that, why would you wish to stay away?”
Again Haldir sighed. “What you say is true, Maen. And yet. . .” he gestured at the walls of the room. “I do not think that I could bear to live forever in caverns. It may suit the Dwarves well, but it is not the life for an Elf, at least, not for me. All my years I have lived in sunshine and starlight among the trees, and I miss them. I miss my family as well. I would not be happy, not seeing them again.”
“You could visit,” suggested Melpomaen, though even as he spoke he saw Haldir shaking his head.
“It would not be the same,” Haldir replied. “I know this is hard for you to understand – you are so much younger than your brother and sister – but it is true nonetheless.”
Melpomaen exhaled slowly, considering whether or not he should ask his next question. He decided that he did want to know the answer. “Am I not as important to you as your family?”
Haldir flinched. “Of course you are, meldanya. You cannot doubt that you mean more to me than anyone.” His words ended on an upward note, questioning.
“Do you not want to be able to love me openly? That is what I wish for with you,” said Melpomaen, a betraying quaver in his voice.
“But that cannot last forever. You know what happens with wedded couples; after a time the physical love between them becomes less important, and they share other interests and passions instead.”
“Regardless of physical passion,” Melpomaen said, “their love and bondedness is known and accepted by others. In Lórien ours would not be.”
“If we were to leave Lórien now, though, we might not ever have a chance to return. Were we able to see the future, to say yes, in a hundred years we would go back and all would be as it is today, then perhaps I would be more willing – but I would greatly regret it, if it should happen that we could not return there. Mirkwood seems now to be hold more freedom for us, but there may be constraints here that we do not yet know or understand.” Haldir’s voice was somber.
“Legolas does not seem to think that, not for us, not if we’re discreet,” argued Melpomaen.
“But think of how unhappy Legolas has been,” said Haldir. “Does that not suggest that there are pressures here that we cannot see?”
“He has been happier of late, though; if we can help make him happy, should we not stay?”
Haldir answered, “We cannot be responsible for someone else’s happiness.”
“Why not?” asked Melpomaen. “Do I not make you happy, and you me?”
“But we are bonded. That is a different case,” said Haldir.
Melpomaen frowned. “I don’t see why. Friendship is important as well.”
“I do not understand why you are so concerned about Legolas,” said Haldir. “To begin with you didn’t seem to like him very well; you seemed worried that he was interested in me, though you knew nothing could come of it. What is the change? I saw you watching him, on mettarë night.”
“What? As I came to know him, my opinion of him changed, is all. You cannot be jealous, Dír. You know you have no cause, any more than I would.”
Embarrassed, Haldir said, “No. I know that, really, but it does seem strange to me.”
“You do not wish to leave on account of Legolas, do you?”
“No,” said Haldir. “I was not thinking of Legolas at all when I explained my reasons for leaving.” He bit his lip. “I enjoy his company, and I know that you do too, but consider. He treats us with favor, as friends, in whom he can confide, but in part that is because we are not his father’s subjects or a permanent addition to those under his command. Were we to become so, he could not treat us in the same way. You know that. For me, if not perhaps for you, his friendship has been one of the best things about our stay here – if I could not have that, Mirkwood would seem even more alien to me.”
“That may be true,” admitted Melpomaen. “You’re right that he would have to change how he acted, if we were to stay. But I still think the benefits would be greater here than in Lórien. Will you not consider?”
“Of course I will,” promised Haldir, “if you will as well. We could,” he hesitated, “we could think of leaving the guard company, at home, and return to dwell in the city. Then at least we would be able to make love, if it’s that important to you.”
“Is it not to you?” Melpomaen was hurt, and it showed in his face. “Do you not feel the same desire, the same passion as I?”
“I do, but I know that even such passion will someday fade. There is more to our love than that.”
“But why should we give it up before we wish to?” Melpomaen said.
“Which is why I suggested that we could return to Caras Galadon and find something else to do with our lives besides being in the border guard,” said Haldir patiently. “I have served in it for long and long. It would occasion no comment were I to decide that at last I wished to try something different.”
“That is not true for me,” Melpomaen pointed out. “I have only been in the guard for a few years. People might talk if I were to leave so soon, especially if I were to leave with you.”
“Yes, they might,” said Haldir, “but let them talk. It would only be a nine days’ wonder.”
“I think that you overestimate their tolerance,” said Melpomaen, shaking his head. “Do you really wish to take that risk? It was you who first made me realize how little a bond such as ours would be accepted by our people, and now you say that they would ignore it?”
“I wish. . .” Haldir stopped and swallowed. “I wish we did not have to worry about it. I still wish, sometimes, that I were other than what I am.”
Melpomaen put his arms around Haldir and held him tight. “I do not,” he said softly.
Haldir essayed a wry smile. “Thank you, Maen.” He leaned his head on Melpomaen’s shoulder, his hair falling down across Melpomaen’s chest.
“Would you like me to comb your hair?” said Melpomaen, wanting to leave the painful subject for a time.
“That would be nice,” said Haldir.
“I think the comb is in the other room. I’ll get it.” When Melpomaen returned, he sat tailor-fashion behind Haldir on the bed and began loosening the braids that confined his long locks. He drew the comb through carefully, teasing out the occasional tangle, until the heavy golden mass hung smooth and shining down Haldir’s back. Melpomaen slipped his hands underneath it and brushed his fingertips over the back of Haldir’s neck, parting the hair and leaning over to kiss the skin thus revealed.
Haldir made a humming sound of pleasure and Melpomaen tilted his own head to lick at Haldir’s earlobe, his hands sliding down Haldir’s chest, sensing both breath and heartbeat quickening.
“Would you really be willing to give this up?” Melpomaen whispered.
His only answer just then was a muffled groan. Haldir twisted around in his embrace so that their lips met, kissing Melpomaen with urgent hungry kisses until the younger Elf’s breath was taken away.
Their lovemaking had grown a little – not stale, but predictable, perhaps, of late, in Melpomaen’s view. The first heady months of learning new things about each other had passed, and they had fallen into patterns beyond which they rarely moved. Not since the winter festival, when Legolas had visited them, had Melpomaen felt the kind of yearning he experienced now, in part due to his reaction to their discussion. The thought of not being able to take pleasure with Haldir made him value it the more at this moment.
So he responded to Haldir with as much force and passion as his lover could possibly wish – licking, sucking, biting at his lips until they were swollen and tender as a sun-ripened berry.
Haldir fumbled at the thong that bound the end of Melpomaen’s braid, tugging it free and running his fingers through to unravel the twists. Melpomaen caught his breath. He loved the feel of Haldir’s fingers in his hair, along his neck and scalp and ears. Haldir’s eyes were half-closed, his skin flushed. Melpomaen breathed into his ear, “Dír.”
“Let’s go into the bathing room.”
“All right,” said Haldir, getting up and stretching sensuously. He followed Melpomaen into the other room, admiring the sheen of his loose dark hair, falling in ripples across his slender back, and the movement of his hips and shoulders as he walked.
Melpomaen had caught up the comb, and now he handed it to Haldir with the slightest hint of pleading in his expression as he began to take off his clothes. Haldir nodded. He laid it aside for the moment as he also stripped, then stepped into the tub after Melpomaen and began running the comb through his dampened locks.
The warmth of the water soothed, easing the tensions that were as yet unresolved between them. The feeling of urgency faded. Melpomaen leaned back against Haldir.
“I cannot comb your hair very well like this,” Haldir pointed out.
“That’s all right,” said Melpomaen in comfortable tones. “You can finish later, perhaps. I would just as soon that you simply hold me for a little while.”
Haldir put his arms around Melpomaen, clasping him from ribs to waist. He drew his knees closer together until they touched the outsides of Melpomaen’s thighs. “Like this?”
“Yes, that’s good,” said Melpomaen, resting his head on Haldir’s shoulder. Haldir could feel the pulse of blood under Melpomaen’s skin where it pressed against him. It was comforting to know that whatever they finally chose to do, they would be together.
After some moments of silence, Melpomaen spoke. “What do you want, Haldir?”
Haldir had nearly dozed off in the warmth, but now he startled awake. “What do I want?” He shifted his seat slightly. “Some things that I have and others that I do not and cannot have. I have you,” he tightened his arms around his lover, “and that means a great deal to me, after waiting for you for so long.”
“Then what is it that you want and cannot have?” persisted Melpomaen, wondering and dreading what the answer might be. He was not prepared for the one he heard.
“Two things most especially. I would like to be free of the fear that my people, even my own kindred, will reject me for what I am,” Haldir’s voice broke on the words, but he steadied it and continued, “and – you will doubtless think this strange – I would have liked to have children.”
Melpomaen sat very still at that. He could not think of how to respond, for although he knew that he bore no blame for how their people would think of them, nor for the fact that he could never give a child to his beloved partner, he felt obscurely responsible nonetheless. There was nothing he could say to Haldir to make the other Elf feel better, and so he remained silent. After a moment he turned a little in Haldir’s embrace, kissing his cheek and then pressing his own cheek to Haldir’s shoulder.
Haldir held Melpomaen close, and Melpomaen knew his lover understood what he had not the words to say. After a time Haldir said, “What about you? What do you want?”
Shrugging, Melpomaen said, “That is nothing to which I’ve ever given much thought. Certainly I never thought of children as something without which I would be incomplete.” He chuckled a little. “I suppose when I fancied myself in love with Caranfíniel, I assumed that after we wedded, we would choose to have children in due time, but since she rejected me. . .” He shrugged again. “I wish that we could be accepted openly by our own people as well, but more for your sake than for mine, because you so wish to be there. I would as willingly stay here. I cannot think of anything else that I greatly desire, except for you, meldanya, and I have you.” He tilted his head to look up at Haldir and saw that his bond-mate was smiling, though tears stood in his eyes.
“I love you, Maen,” said Haldir. “I cannot find the words to tell you how much.”
“And I you,” said Melpomaen. He pressed himself against Haldir. “Let me show you how much.”
For an instant Haldir hesitated, but then he bent a little and kissed Melpomaen, his lips and tongue giving all the answer that Melpomaen needed.
They kissed for a long time, using their hands to caress each other’s torso and neck and face, eyes shut, kissing blindly as if there were nothing in the world except their two selves. Melpomaen felt as if he would do anything at all for Haldir. He drew his mouth away and began to say so, but Haldir put a finger against Melpomaen’s lips, stopping him from speaking, and shook his head.
“Don’t say it, Maen. There will be time enough for speech.”
He made as if to resume their kissing, but Melpomaen stood up, the water sheeting from his limbs, and stepping out of the tub, held out his hand to Haldir. As Haldir emerged Melpomaen took up a towel and dried him off, carefully patting each inch of skin. When Haldir was completely dry except for his damp hair, Melpomaen quickly rubbed the last drops of water from his own body and led Haldir back to their bed.
He would have taken up the oil that stood on the table by the bed, but Haldir stopped him and pushed him down to sit on the bed, kneeling before him. Haldir took Melpomaen’s half-hard organ into his mouth, and encircled the head of it with his tongue, pushing the loose skin down, using his fingers to press firmly against the base and caress the heavy pouched flesh beneath. Melpomaen groaned and leaned back, bracing himself with his hands so that his hips thrust forward. Haldir responded by taking him in more deeply, moving up and down. He allowed his teeth to just graze the skin. That was almost unbearably arousing to Melpomaen, and he had to fight hard to keep from spilling into Haldir’s mouth right then.
Haldir continued his delicious sucking, though, and soon Melpomaen could not help himself. He shuddered as he emptied his seed into Haldir’s mouth. Haldir lapped him clean and then raised his head. Melpomaen opened his eyes, leaned down, and kissed him, tasting himself on Haldir’s lips. He put his hands on Haldir’s shoulders and urged him up onto the bed, reaching again for the flask of oil and giving it to Haldir.
To Melpomaen’s surprise Haldir had him hold out his hand and poured a little oil into the cupped palm, then guided it down to Haldir’s groin. Melpomaen asked, “You don’t want. . .?”
Haldir shook his head, saying, “I want to look at you, meldanya, Maen my own beloved.” As Melpomaen began to touch him, Haldir’s breath grew ragged. The slick oil seemed to both increase his desire and – in some odd fashion – let him hold back.
Melpomaen teased the crown first, slipping back the skin and brushing lightly with his thumb, then wrapped his fingers around the hard shaft and began a firm steady stroke. He kissed Haldir, then wriggled his body a little away, and whispered, “If you want to look, then watch.”
Melpomaen’s hand hid most of Haldir’s cock, his slender fingers circling its length so that only the head was exposed, like a tight red bud of new leaves on a tree in springtime. His forearm was brown against the pale skin of Haldir’s stomach. It was beautiful.
Now Melpomaen looked up at Haldir’s face. Haldir’s lips were parted, still swollen from the hard kisses they had exchanged earlier; his lids were half-lowered, lashes fringing them as he watched Melpomaen’s motions; his cheeks were flushed. Melpomaen could feel pulsing blood beneath the soft skin he touched. He was lying half-propped on his left elbow, and was just able to reach Haldir’s chest with that hand and rub a fingertip over his nipple, feeling the nub of it stiffen. Haldir inhaled sharply, and in response Melpomaen pinched the tender flesh – not enough to cause pain, just enough to heighten the sensation for Haldir. Melpomaen slid closer and flicked his tongue along Haldir’s cheek. When Haldir raised his gaze, Melpomaen said, “meldanya – please – I want you inside of me.”
Haldir nodded and picked up the flask of oil as Melpomaen turned over and knelt on his hands and knees. Dabbling his fingers in the oil, Haldir parted the cleft of Melpomaen’s buttocks and slipped easily within.
“Now. Now, Dír,” Melpomaen demanded. “Don’t wait.”
Grasping Melpomaen’s hips, Haldir rose up onto his knees pushed inside. He slid one hand around to find that his lover was again hard, and he moved his hand in time with his thrusts.
Melpomaen’s mind was wiped clean of all thought at the familiar beloved touch. He closed his eyes to concentrate on what Haldir was doing to him with fingers and hot flesh, pressing and caressing nerves and skin. Melpomaen rocked to Haldir’s rhythm, Haldir’s cock filling him, each movement bringing pleasure.
The tightness of Melpomaen’s hot passage as he pushed in and out was overwhelming. Haldir let go and again seized Melpomaen’s hips, thrusting with frantic need until he climaxed and bent forward, resting his forehead on Melpomaen’s back as his breathing slowed. A tiny noise from his lover recalled him, and he withdrew, rolling onto the mattress so that he faced Melpomaen, reaching to touch him again.
Melpomaen felt as if his bones might melt. He spent a second time with a groan of release, sticky fluid spurting through Haldir’s fingers, and with a sigh nestled close.
“Sorry for what?” said Haldir.
“You wanted to look at me, then, but I wanted you so much. . .” Melpomaen’s voice trailed off.
Haldir smiled. “It’s all right. There will be other times. If I minded, I could have said no.”
“That’s so.” Melpomaen sighed happily, then again, not so happily. “It doesn’t really solve anything, though, does it?”
“No,” said Haldir. “I’m not reluctant to return to dwell in Mirkwood because I don’t love loving you; but you know that.” He put an arm around Melpomaen’s waist. “We will find an answer, something that we can both live with. Somehow.”
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.