Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings and all characters belong to Tolkien.
Author's Note: This is the sequel to 'Inside the Darkness'. The drawing was made by Nellas
Part 3 - The Rescue
Glorfindel had tightly curled his fingers around Elrond's hair, and his hands occasionally twitched, waking Elrond from his sleep. Adoringly Elrond searched Glorfindel's vacant eyes, wondering what his lover was dreaming about. His stomach growled unexpectedly, telling him it demanded nourishment. When had they eaten last?
"Nīn ind, it is time to wake up." Elrond lovingly caressed the blond's brow, hoping the cobalt eyes will quickly fill with recognition.
Glorfindel blinked once, twice and startled slightly at seeing the expression in Elrond's eyes. Was something wrong?
"I am hungry and so are you, you probably just did not pay it any attention." Elrond absentmindedly fingered a lock of blond hair. "You know, I won't cope well with being confined to bed."
Glorfindel blushed. "There are certain ways to make your stay in bed more pleasurable."
"Are you offering, melme?" Elrond's interest was piqued. "I must admit you surprised me by giving me such pleasure. Did you enjoy touching me like that?"
Glorfindel nervously cleared his throat. "Aye..." His eyes darted quickly from Elrond's face to the wall and back again.
"Do you still feel shy? I thought you had taken the first step to do away with that last night."
"It is not that easy," admitted Glorfindel. "It has been so long and I fear disappointing you."
"You cannot disappoint me, Nīn bellas." Elrond reminded himself to go slowly with Glorfindel. They had all the time in the world to get to know each other more intimately and there was no need to rush this. "Would you get me some fruit and Lembas from the kitchen?" He could ask one of the servants, but he wasn't sure if Glorfindel wanted to be seen in his private chambers, or to be more exact, in his bed. Maybe Glorfindel needed more time to work through this.
"But of course!" Glorfindel wanted to desperately please Elrond and in his enthusiasm he nearly jumped to his feet, only just in time remembering not to make any sudden movements near Elrond; his lover's ankles were still healing. "Fruit and Lembas? Maybe some wine or hot tea as well?"
Elrond nodded thankfully. "Aye, I would like that." Slowly he leaned in closer, gently claimed Glorfindel's lips, and he felt delighted when his lover passionately returned the kiss, even briefly deepening it. /It won't take you long to get over your shyness, melethron./
Glorfindel untangled himself from Elrond, slipped in to his shirt and looked longingly at Elrond. "Is there anything else you need?"
"You... in my bed as quickly as possible. Now hurry." The blush that appeared on Glorfindel's face amused Elrond. "Hurry."
Glorfindel hurried to the kitchen, piled several pieces of fruit on a plate, retrieved some Lembas, brew hot tea and placed a flask with Imladris' best wine on a tray.
Elrond grinned at his lover's hasty return. He patted the space next to him and Glorfindel sat down, placing the tray next to him. Elrond selected some berries and began eating them. "Open up," instructed he, seeing Glorfindel's amused expression. His lover was relaxed, feeling more confident and Elrond used that opportunity to slip a cherry past the blond's lips.
Glorfindel gulped, blushed and averted his eyes. "I cannot help it..." he said apologetically. "I do not know why I am acting in this way."
Elrond shushed Glorfindel, slowly sliding a fingertip along the blond's lips. "You need time and I am more than willing to give it to you. Do not trouble yourself."
Glorfindel nodded thoughtfully, selected a strawberry, dipped it into the wine and offered it to Elrond. Just when Elrond wanted to take a bite out of it, he pulled it away, teasing his lover. He closely monitored Elrond's reaction, afraid to do something that would displease the raven haired Lord of Imladris.
Elrond felt delighted, seeing Glorfindel grow a little more daring, but two could play this game! One arm came up behind Glorfindel's back, pulling him close.
Glorfindel decided to play it safe and placed the fruit at Elrond's lips, letting it slide past the parted teeth. Seeing Elrond lick his lips suggestively made his groin stir, and he felt shy once more. "I am neglecting my duties..."
Elrond interrupted him. "Aye, you are... You should be kissing me instead."
Glorfindel timidly leaned in closer and brushed Elrond's lips. "Nay, Elrond, I should be guarding Imladris' borders. Elladan and Elrohir are too inexperienced to perform that task."
Elrond sighed. "Will you hurry back to me?"
"Always!" promised Glorfindel passionately.
/You could not hide the fact that you love me even if you wanted,/ realized Elrond. /It is beyond me why I never saw that expression in your eyes. You were close all these years and I never noticed.../
"I can find Elrohir or Erestor to keep you company... to keep you from boredom," said Glorfindel teasingly, slowly growing more confident. "And I --will--hurry back to you."
"I know, melme..."
"I don't want you with me in the room when they work on my teeth," announced Lurtz firmly.
"But..." Legolas shook his head.
"No, you will listen to me... Just this one time. I don't want you to see them work on my fangs." Lurtz resolutely raised a hand to silence Legolas. "I'll meet you again at sunset."
Legolas stubbornly stared at his mate. "But I want to help!"
Lurtz sighed deeply. "You have no idea how much you are already helping me, but please indulge me in this matter."
Legolas stared at Lurtz, contemplating objecting again, but he realized Lurtz was determined to do this alone. "I will come for you at sunset..." Legolas looked at Lurtz, wishing he could take away the feelings of shame that flooded his mate. "You are no longer who you were, Lurtz. You changed. Do not torment yourself over your past. There is no thing you can do to change it, but you can look toward the future."
"--You-- are my future, Elf..." Lurtz fingered a braid, playing with it. "Thank you for not fighting me on this. It is very important to me that you understand that I am not shutting you out, but... this is personal. This is something --I-- must overcome."
Legolas understood to a certain degree. "I hope the day will come when you can allow me close, Lurtz..." Hopefully one day Lurtz would share his fears, and draw strength from him to conquer them. /You do not have to do this alone, but you are not yet ready to lean on me.../ Legolas leaned in to the caress when Lurtz thoughtfully rubbed his cheek. "I will suffer with you," assured Legolas his mate. "And my heart will beat frantically until you return to my side."
Lurtz smiled, placed his lips against Legolas' brow and brushed the soft skin. "I love you, Elf." Lurtz then drew in a deep breath and entered the Healing House.
Legolas bowed his head in temporary defeat. How could he convince Lurtz to let him share this burden?
Thranduil traveled fast, not even stopping during the night to rest. "Tuor, fly like the wind and take me to Imladris." His stallion reared, and carried his rider closer to Imladris' borders.
/I cannot reveal my real identity at Imladris, at least not until I found out if this Lurtz is a good mate for my son. It is best to use another name, one that cannot be linked to me. I will call myself Hynduil to ensure no one realizes my true identity. I must be particularly careful around Glorfindel and Erestor, should I encounter them. No one may know I am at Imladris. Elrond would not be pleased if I managed to sneak in to his home./
He was approaching Imladris' western borders, not expecting to meet anyone for hours and he looked about, admiring the beauty of the land, although Mirkwood was much more beautiful. Looking down, he realized it had been a good decision to exchange his green robes for a brown tunic. A hood covered his face, making sure his features weren't revealed against his will. Not many Elves at Imladris would remember his face, but he didn't dare risk it.
"Ah, Legolas, now I remember why you love to roam Middle Earth. It is a beautiful day and I can briefly forget about the foul creatures Saruman sent to destroy us. For a brief moment I can be an Elf, nothing more, nothing less."
The trees whispered a welcome and he returned the greeting, feeling oddly at home on Elrond's territory. "I wonder what Legolas will say when he finally realizes I am here..."
He considered taking a short break after all. The sun shone invitingly and the trees' branches seemed to reach out to him, pleading with him to stay a little longer.
In the end, Thranduil dismounted and sat down in the shadow of a tree, letting its branches provide him with a pleasant shade. The sun managed to touch his fingertips as he spread them and dug in to the earth, connecting with the land. "The trees are old and wise... The sun chases the clouds; playful spirit... and I will enjoy the peace they offer me." He briefly closed his eyes and felt truly content. "If only I could share this with my sons..."
Sudden noise drew his attentions. Screams, shouts and growls sounded to his right. The sound of hoofs echoed through the sky and arrows swooshed through the air.
Thranduil jumped to his feet, mounted Tuor and strained to see what was causing the noise. "One rider... and he is being chased by Orcs and Uruk-Hai." The dark haired rider was greatly outnumbered, trying to fight off ten of Saruman's creatures. "The elfling does not stand a chance." The rider was young, but apparently trained in handling a sword. "A young life like that should not end like this!"
Aiming his arrows carefully they left his hands, bringing death to the Orc that had managed to pull the youngster from his horse. Tuor galloped toward the pack of Orcs, reared and gave Thranduil the time he needed to draw his trusted sword, which had been idle much too long. Thranduil beheaded on Orc, slashed the throat of an Uruk-Hai and finally reached the dark haired Elf who was struggling against a growling Uruk-Hai. A dagger flashed in the sunlight and Thranduil grew infuriated at seeing blood spilled like this. The youngster was wounded, but seemed determined to stay on his feet and fight.
Thranduil's eyes flashed angrily, taking out another Orc. The leader of the pack eyed him suspiciously, but seemed hesitant to continue the attack. Thranduil used that opportunity and cleaved the Uruk-Hai's head. "Your leader is dead!" roared Thranduil, glaring at the remaining attackers, who retreated immediately, leaving the dark haired Elf behind and running like hell.
"Aye, run, you cowards, run straight back to Saruman!" Thranduil dismounted and walked over the dark haired Elf, who was leaning against his horse for support. His eyes scanned the youngster for injuries. A nasty gash above the right eye explained why the Elf was swaying on his feet and another gash showed on his right upper arm, which was bleeding profusely. "I should tend to that." Thranduil reached for the young Elf and frowned when the youngster moved away from him. /And why does he look vaguely familiar to me?/
"Peace, my friend. I do not mean you any harm. Sit down before you fall." Thranduil found a piece of fabric among the things Valthoron had packed for him and would now serve as a bandage. "Sit down," repeated Thranduil, but seeing the misty expression in the grey eyes, he decided not to wait for the youngster to comply. He took hold of the Elf's left arm and pulled him down. The younger Elf sat reluctantly, looking at him with a dazed look. It was then that he realized that the hood had slipped, revealing his features. /But Elladan never saw me before and won't recognize me./
Thranduil bandaged the upper arm, making sure it was bound tightly enough to stop or at least slow down the bleeding. "What are you doing out here on your own?" Placing his right hand on the dark hair, he studied the nasty gash.
"Checking... the borders..."
"Are you dizzy? Do you have a headache?" The unfocused stare in those grey eyes worried him.
"Nay, but I do feel... sick..."
Thranduil reacted at once, folding an arm around the youngster's shoulder when he started to empty his stomach. "And nauseous as well." This young Elf should be at home, not inspecting the borders! Where were his fellows? Surely Elrond didn't send his men on border patrol alone? He waited until for the dry heaves to stop and then helped the other Elf to his feet. "I will take you home. And you should see a healer at once."
"I do not know if... I can mount my horse..."
Thranduil smiled; this youngster reminded him of Legolas for some reason. "You will probably fall off again."
"I do not... fall off horses."
Thranduil recalled a similar argument. /I do not fall out of trees, Ada!/ And yet Legolas had tumbled down. /But he was only ten years, much too young to climb trees without proper supervision./
"Then I will help you." Thranduil kept one arm folded around the youngster's waist and lifted him, cautiously placing him on Tuor's back.
"What are you... doing?"
Thranduil mounted, slipping behind the younger Elf. "I will take you to the Healing House where they can tend to your wounds..." He made sure the other horse followed and then turned his attention back to the injured Elf. "You were lucky I came along..." The younger Elf finally rested his back against his chest. "Now that you are fairly comfortable allow me to introduce myself. My name is Hynduil and my business takes me to Imladris."
"I am... Elladan... and..." he fainted, unable to battle the tormenting headache any longer.
"Elladan?" Thranduil raised an eyebrow. "Elrond's son? I rescued Elrond's son?" His frown deepened. Elrond and he had never been able to get along, and he had hoped to leave Imladris without Elrond ever noticing his presence. That might be impossible now.
"Elladan, know that you fought well, but your father should not allow you to venture out alone..." His parental instincts surfaced, telling him to care for Elrond's son like it were his own. After all, Legolas had found a place at Elrond's house, and he now lived there with Lurtz. Elrond had welcomed his youngest son. /I will care for your son, Elrond, but I will not reveal myself to him... To Elladan I will be Hynduil and after taking him to the Healing House my responsibility ends./
"Elrohir?" Legolas hurried to Elrohir's side, quickly supporting his friend. "What ails you?" Elrohir was pale, his body shook violently and one hand supported his head, like he was suffering from a headache.
"It is Elladan. Something happened to him. He is injured... By the Valar, what happened?" Shocked, Elrohir stared at his shaking hands. "My right arm hurts and my head feels heavy..."
"But Elladan is still alive?" questioned Legolas quickly.
"Aye, I can still sense him. He is alive." Elrohir desperately tried to compose himself. "Ada, does he feel it as well?" Frantically he looked at the staircase, expecting to see Elrond running toward him, but his father was unable to walk. "Legolas, I need to see him, help me to his rooms."
Legolas slung an arm around Elrohir's waist and practically dragged him upstairs. When they reached Elrond's rooms, they heard soft groans and Glorfindel's concerned voice.
"Elrond, why are you in pain? Please, Nīn bellas, tell me!" Glorfindel's gaze flashed to the door when it opened and his eyes widened, seeing Elrohir in pain as well. "Put him on the bed, next to his father," instructed Glorfindel.
Legolas complied and pushed some pillows behind Elrohir's back to enable his friend to sit upright.
Elrohir immediately turned to his father. Seeing Elrond's worried expression, he realized his father knew what had happened to Elladan as well. He carefully hugged Elrond close, savoring the returned embrace as his father's arms held him tight. "It is Elladan...."
"But he is still alive..." finished Elrond. Trying to hide his distress, his eyes came to rest on Glorfindel. "Please find my son. I would search for him myself, but my ankles..."
Glorfindel was already getting dressed, slipping in his shirt and boots. "I will find him, Elrond. I promise..."
"I am coming with you," announced Legolas, wishing there was time to tell Lurtz that he couldn't meet his lover at sunset, but finding Elladan was now his first priority.
Glorfindel locked eyes with Elrond, and then turned to address Legolas. "Nay, I want you to stay here and to look after them." Legolas was about to protest, but Glorfindel shook his head once. "I need you here, Legolas, to care for my family."
Elrond's eyes sparkled briefly, pleased that Glorfindel referred to them as his family. But then he focused on comforting his son, stroking the dark hair. He knew the twins were close, and he expected Elrohir to sense his brother's discomfort He had dealt with hat in the past before. "He will return to us, Elrohir. The two of you won't be separated."
Elrohir managed a weak smile. "His pain took me by surprise. I always sensed his discomfort when he had been injured in some of our bouts, but I never felt anything like this! It feels like my heart is breaking in two."
"I understand, I understand," soothed Elrond, continuing to stroke his son's hair and holding him close.
"How is it possible you feel it as well? You never felt our pain before... did you?" A frown appeared on Elrohir's pale face. "Ada? Did you feel it in the past and never told us?" His eyes widened. "Ada?"
Elrond sighed, realizing he couldn't lie to his son. "I sensed something in the past, Elrohir, but never anything this strong."
Elrohir shook his head against Elrond's shoulder. "I cannot believe you never told us!"
"I did not want to worry you and... This should be about the two of you. I should not be included."
"But you are our father! How can you --not-- be included?"
Elrond smiled warmly. "His pain is fading."
"Aye, you are right. I no longer feel dizzy and..." Elrohir rested his head on his father's chest. "I hope Glorfindel quickly finds him."
"Glorfindel is the best tracker I ever met. He taught Aragorn how to read a trail and I am confident Glorfindel will locate that elusive brother of yours. Do you have any idea where Elladan went?" asked Legolas, standing next to the window. He caught a glimpse of Glorfindel and his escort leaving Imladris. Not wanting to infringe on their privacy, he remained at a distance.
"He wanted to inspect the western borders..." Elrohir frowned. "I told him to not go out there alone."
"He is alone? Elbereth watch over him!" Elrond suddenly felt guilty for not paying attention to what was going on in his home. He should have stopped Elladan from leaving, but instead he had focused his attention on Glorfindel. "I am sorry," he mumbled guiltily and he privately vowed that this would never happen again. His sons were his responsibility and he had failed them!
"Ada, do not blame yourself! We are old and wise enough... well, maybe not wise enough, but certainly old enough to make our own decisions and to look after ourselves. We are no longer toddlers that depend on you." Elrohir wanted to shake some sense in to Elrond, but didn't, his father was still recovering from his injuries. "Please do not blame yourself. It is war and in times of war people get hurt."
"I should take you to Valinor. Our time here has come to an end," said Elrond in a melancholy tone. "Galadriel spoke to me in my dreams. The time of the Elves is ending and we will sail to the Undying Lands. Arwen, Elladan and you will come with me. You will not die in this war!"
"That is why our people are packing?" Elrohir had wondered about that. "But we cannot leave! What about Legolas and Lurtz? The Quest for the Ring? Does Aragorn not need your support?"
"Aragorn is approaching Helm's Deep. The people of Rohan have asked for help, but none will answer... But maybe I will..." Elrond stopped talking, realizing he shouldn't burden someone as young as Elrohir with this. "But enough talk of that... How do you fare, Elrohir? Is the pain bearable?"
Elrohir eyed his father closely. Elrond had let something very important slip and he needed to think about that later, but first he had to reassure his father. "I am feeling much better, Ada. It is probably because you are close. I no longer sense Elladan's pain..."
"He might have lost consciousness," suggested Elrond. "By the Grace of the Valar Glorfindel, find him for me."
"Ada? He will." Sensing that his father needed to be comforted as well, Elrohir wrapped his arms around Elrond until they were locked in a tight embrace. "I will stay with you until he returns... with Elladan of course."
Elrond swallowed convulsively. /By the Valar, I cannot lose Elladan. I would be to blame for his death! Please Glorfindel, find him!/
Lurtz looked up in surprise when Erestor advanced on him. Why had Elrond's chief advisor come to the Healing House when it was Legolas he was expecting?
"Peace, Lurtz," started Erestor. "Legolas asked me to tell you that he cannot meet with you here and he asks you to join him instead."
Lurtz fell in to step beside Erestor, trying to hide the state of his teeth. Part of them had been smoothed and now resembled normal teeth, while others were still deadly fangs. "I assume something has happened?"
"Correct. Elladan is missing and Glorfindel is searching for him." Erestor glanced at Lurtz, shivered and reminded himself not to judge the Uruk-Hai. Since Lurtz had come to Imladris he had done nothing offensive and had even offered to help when help was needed. He had decided to give Lurtz a chance to prove himself, but it was hard to look past the surface. "Glorfindel asked Legolas to took after Lord Elrond and Elrohir, who were quite distressed."
"Understandably so," agreed Lurtz. Erestor stepped to the side and Lurtz climbed the stairs to Elrond's private chambers. He found Legolas pacing the corridor, apparently guarding the door. "Erestor told me Elladan is missing?" He opened his arms and Legolas moved in to them.
"Elrond and Elrohir can sense his pain... I need to keep a close eye on them." Legolas looked deeply in to Lurtz's eyes, reminding himself that his mate needed attention as well. "What about your teeth?"
Lurtz shrugged. "A few more days."
"Will you show me?"
Lurtz reluctantly parted his lips, allowing Legolas to glance at his teeth.
"The ones they worked on resemble normal teeth. You need to be patient, melethryn."
"Patient isn't one of my virtues," said Lurtz half jokingly, trying to distract Legolas. He didn't want the Elf to see his unease.
"Do you have any virtues then?" Legolas teased him mercilessly. "Then you hid them well!"
Lurtz finally smiled and hugged Legolas close. "Is there anything I can do help?"
"Keep my company, Lurtz. If Elladan's pain gets worse, their pain will also increase. I will look after Elrond in case that happens, you take care of Elrohir."
Lurtz nodded. "We won't let them down."
"El... ro... hir... A...dar..." Elladan mumbled softly, his voice slightly slurred.
Thranduil's reply was to tighten his hold on his charge. /Elrond is a half-Elf which makes his sons half-Elven as well. Elladan's healing ability does not compare to mine. I would be healed by now, but not this young half Elf. I need to take him to the healers and I should try to keep him awake./
"Elladan? Tell me more about you." Thranduil's fingers found Elladan's pulse, which was much too slow. /I cannot let him die.../ "Talk to me, Elladan!"
"Ai... What... do... you...want... to know?" Elladan forced himself to open his eyes and he cocked his head in spite of the horrible pain. His savior had the most peculiar and spectacular eyes he had ever seen. The iris wasn't green, blue, brown or grey, nay, they were silver and sparkled like the stars set against a dark sky. They almost seemed too old for the young face, which seemed ageless and he was at a loss at guessing the other Elf's age. Something magical and wise clung to the young face with those ancient eyes. /But he wielded his sword skillfully... Who do I feel that he is much older than he looks like?/
"Tell me about your family." Thranduil pretended ignorance. "Do you have any siblings?"
"A twin... bro...ther... Elro...hir," mumbled Elladan, feeling slightly confused and disorientated. "Where... are we... go...ing?"
"I am taking you home," repeated Thranduil. "So you have a twin brother? What about your father?" He carefully stayed clear of asking about Celebrian.
"He... loves us...very much... and he is...wise..." Elladan was no longer able to hold his savior's stare and leaned back against a strong shoulder, resting his head there. "His name... is Elrond..."
Thranduil shook his head, pretending disbelief. "You are the son of Lord Elrond?"
"Aye... and he will... want to... thank you for... for..." Elladan shuddered and his stomach convulsed fiercely. "Sick... a...gain..."
Thranduil quickly dismounted, taking Elladan down with him and he held the young half Elf while Elladan struggled with dry heaves.
"You may have suffered a concussion, Elladan." Thranduil waited for the dry heaves to stop and then placed Elladan on Tuor's back, sliding behind Elladan. "How much longer until we reach the healers?"
Elladan trembled. "Hours..."
Thranduil wrapped his arms around Elladan, hoping he could keep the youngster warm. "Tuor, hurry."
The stallion increased his speed and Thranduil made sure he had a tight hold on Elladan, who was drifting asleep again. "Elladan, wake up!"
Elladan startled and tensed; his head pounded painfully. Who was keeping him from falling asleep? He didn't know that voice! "Who... are you?"
"I am called Hynduil," repeated Thranduil patiently. "Do not go to sleep."
"Why... not?" Elladan's head lolled from right to left.
"I want you to listen to my voice. Hold on to it when the pain tries to pull you under again. Look at the trees, feel their ancient power and look to the sky..."
His savior's melodic voice took on a hypnotic tone which captured him; making it impossible to doze off again. /Elrohir, Ada... I need you!/
Elrond flinched, hearing Elladan's pleading voice in his head. One look at Elrohir told him that his son had heard as well. "Glorfindel will find him," said Elrond firmly. "You must believe this..."
Elrohir nodded weakly. "Is that how you endured Ugluk's torture?"
"Aye," said Elrond softly. "I never stopped believing that I would see you again... Elladan, Glorfindel and you... The three of you gave me the strength to endure."
"Then I will believe as well, Ada. Glorfindel will find Elladan."
Elrond refused to think of what could happen if Glorfindel didn't. /Please, I do not want to bury my son.../
Return to Archive | next | previous