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 17 - Haldir
Aragorn turned to face Legolas and tried to read the expression in his friend’s eyes. The fact that Lurtz was standing protectively behind Legolas, with his hand on the hilt of his sword, puzzled him. It almost seemed like the Uruk-Hai was ready to attack, should he even dare to look at Legolas in the wrong way. “Legolas, I think we deserve an explanation. Why did you bring the enemy inside these walls?”
Théoden, Gamling, Gimli and Haldir watched him closely, and Legolas fought hard to maintain his calm and controlled appearance. “I was injured when we fought Ugluk, and found shelter in a cave. I did not know Lurtz would be there as well. When I first laid eyes on him I feared for my life, but he had lost his memories and tended to my injuries. He took me to Rivendell, where Master Elrond gave him sanctuary. Even after his memory had returned he chose to stay and he helped us rescue Elrond when he was taken prisoner. Lurtz and I became lovers, and are now bound to each other.”
Aragorn stared at Legolas in shock. “Lovers? Bound to each other?” He couldn’t understand why anyone would trust a Uruk-Hai!
“I know how this must seem to you,” continued Legolas calmly, “but Lurtz is no longer the enemy. He gained my trust, and also Elrond and Glorfindel’s. After this war is over we will return to Imladris, and later we will travel to Mirkwood.”
Aragorn shook his head in disbelief and his gaze shifted from Legolas to Haldir. “And you agreed to the Uruk-Hai accompanying you?”
“The Uruk-Hai has a name,” sneered Lurtz. He was becoming fed up with Aragorn’s attitude toward him. “It never was my choice to become involved with these Elves, but for some reason my fate and theirs is intertwined.”
Haldir cleared his throat, remembering Galadriel’s words. “I also carry a message from the Lady of the Wood. She told me to trust Lurtz, and although I have doubts like you, I will obey her orders and give him the benefit of the doubt. It is not my place to judge the Lady’s ways, and neither is it yours.”
Aragorn’s gaze settled on Lurtz and the Uruk-Hai met his stare head-on. “Haldir spoke true. The Lady’s words are to be trusted, but I feel uneasy knowing a Uruk-Hai dwells within these walls.”
The voices outside grew louder, still demanding Lurtz was killed, and Aragorn sighed deeply, wondering how to calm the masses. Locking gazes with Legolas, he said, “You had better stay close to Lurtz at all times. I fear for his safety as long as he is inside the keep. They want his head.”
Legolas sighed softly. “They are afraid. So was I when Lurtz and I first met, but I learned to look farther than his appearance and realized he was a young soul, trying to find his way. The people of Rohan fear what they do not understand. Lurtz and I will prove to them that he is not a danger.”
Gimli, who had remained quiet until now, spoke. “Elf, you will need armor, and so does the Uruk-Hai.” He wasn’t going to question Legolas now when the Elf already seemed distressed, but he planned on talking some sense into his friend later. /If we survive the night, that is./
“Take them to the armory,” instructed Aragorn. Gimli nodded once and Aragorn watched the three of them leave the hall. Once they were out of sight, he addressed Haldir. “How could you allow the Uruk-Hai to join you?”
Haldir raised an eyebrow. “Even you would not go against the wishes of the Lady of the Wood. She was very specific that Lurtz was to join the army. I am the first to admit I had doubts when I learned of her decision, but now I find myself wondering if I did not judge too quickly. I have watched Lurtz closely these last two days, and he has been helpful and polite.”
“He seems very possessive of Legolas,” remarked Aragorn. “I do not like the way he watches Legolas’ every move.”
Haldir nodded, having noticed the same behavior, but with one difference. “I am not so sure it is possessiveness. It feels more like protectiveness.”
“I still do not like it,” rumbled Aragorn, but then straightened his shoulders and looked at Théoden. The time for battle was approaching and he needed to discuss strategy. “I will command the ‘Lorien army, and our arrows will take down their first lines.”
Théoden, who had not meddled when they had discussed Lurtz, now spoke. “Haldir of ‘Lorien, we greatly appreciate any help you can offer.”
Haldir inclined his head. “We are proud to fight alongside Men one last time.” His gaze then shifted to Aragorn. “We know the odds and realize only a few of us will return to Lothlorien. We will take out as many of Saruman’s creatures as possible.”
Aragorn smiled, saddened, hoping the price wouldn’t be too high.
Gimli watched Lurtz with growing amusement as the Uruk-Hai sorted through the weapons and coats of mail, trying to find one that would fit. Lurtz growled softly whenever he got stuck, trying to fit into them. The laughing expression in Legolas’ eyes only seemed to add to Lurtz’s frustration.
Gimli had watched them for several moments now and was beginning to wonder about them. Legolas moved about Lurtz with obvious ease and trust, and the Uruk-Hai’s eyes constantly lingered on the Elf, as if making sure that Legolas did not miraculously disappear on him. He hadn’t thought it possible, but hearing them banter was quite amusing.
Lurtz suddenly looked at him and Gimli’s first instinct was to let the grin fade from his face, but then the Uruk-Hai tossed him a coat of mail.
“Here, it is the shortest I could find.” Lurtz selected one for himself and managed to fit into it.
Gimli picked up the coat of mail and grumbled deep in his throat as he slipped into it. The metal rings hit the floor and he stared at it in dismay. “I cannot wear this!” Glancing at Legolas, he found the Elf smirking. He quickly removed the coat of mail and glared at the Uruk-Hai, who had now selected a broadsword from the pile of weapons.
Lurtz swung it several times, testing its balance. Feeling Gimli’s eyes on him, he looked over his shoulder at the Dwarf.
Gimli cleared his throat and looked at Legolas instead. “We worried about you when you disappeared. We searched for some time, but we could not afford to linger.”
“I could not leave the cave and join you, for poison was burning me up and made it impossible for me to move.” Legolas trembled, recalling the pain he had been in.
“When I found him he was in a bad way,” added Lurtz, remembering that day as well. “He obviously did not trust me, but I thought he was the most beautiful creature I had ever met. I did not remember that we were enemies, and I cared for him.”
“We fell in love, slowly but certainly,” continued Legolas with a smile on his face. “He even ran away from me, but I caught him and he has been my prisoner ever since.”
Gimli watched with growing surprise when Elf and Uruk-Hai moved toward each other to claim each other’s lips. He cleared his throat, hoping to break up their kissing. It was beyond him how Legolas could kiss an Uruk-Hai, but his eyes weren’t lying and it was really happening.
Legolas blushed weakly as he pulled away from Lurtz. “This is neither the time nor the place for it,” told he Lurtz, who slowly nodded his head. “We must concentrate on the upcoming fight.”
“And Haldir,” Lurtz reminded Legolas. He ignored Gimli’s curious expression and added, “I will stay close to him.”
Legolas nodded. “Aye, you had better do that. I will try to keep an eye on him as well.”
Gimli shook his head. The two of them were acting like lovebirds!
“I will join Haldir’s archers,” said Legolas, seemingly ignoring Gimli as well.
“Then I will join them too,” mused Lurtz. He had to be close to Haldir in order to keep him safe. Looking at his mate, he found that Legolas had chosen to wear armor and was now ready for battle.
Legolas’ eyes suddenly sought out Gimli’s and he walked over to the Dwarf. Lowering himself onto one knee, he said, “I understand that you are confused, and maybe even worried, but I can vouch for Lurtz. You can trust him.”
Gimli sighed deeply. “You have become a trusted friend since we started on this quest, and I will trust you now as well; but my heart warns me to remain alert.”
“As you should, for we are facing an overwhelming force of evil,” replied Legolas softly. “I merely ask of you not to judge Lurtz too quickly. When we first met at Elrond’s council we disliked each other as well. Later, we became friends. Please keep an open mind.”
“I will try,” said Gimli honestly. “But shivers run down my spine seeing him this close to you.”
“I trust Lurtz with my life – and my heart.” Legolas’ eyes pleaded with the Dwarf to give Lurtz this one chance. “He will not disappoint you.”
Gimli grumbled into his beard. “I will try. I cannot promise you more.”
“Thank you,” said Legolas, rising to his feet. Looking at his mate, he smiled warmly. “It will take time, but eventually they will understand.”
Lurtz stood next to Legolas on the battlements, staring into the distance, where his sharp eyes made out the first battalion of Saruman’s army. Seeing Uruk-Hai march toward them, a strange feeling rose in his stomach. He welcomed his mate’s touch when Legolas rested his hand at the small of his back.
Legolas kept one eye on Lurtz and one on Haldir, who was standing a few feet away from them. Behind them, Aragorn was pacing, calling out commands. The heavens had opened and rain poured down on them. Several of the Rohirrim mumbled softly, frustrated that they had to fight this battle whilst a thunderstorm raged over their heads.
Looking at Aragorn, Legolas felt grateful that his friend had managed to calm the people of Edoras, who had demanded Lurtz’s head. They still looked at Lurtz with distrust and hate in their eyes, but that was to be expected.
Feeling eyes on him, Legolas cocked his shoulder and looked at Haldir. The Guardian appeared calm, but Legolas knew Haldir had to be nervous. Rumil was at his brother’s side and Legolas hoped Haldir would take comfort in having him close.
“Can you see anything?” Gimli felt frustrated, being locked behind the battlements.
Legolas smiled in spite of their dire situation. “There are thousands of them.”
“Let them come!” Gimli gritted his teeth. “I am ready for them.”
Lurtz leaned in closer and whispered into Legolas’ ear, “I will stay close to Haldir. Remain careful at all times. I know you will survive, but I do not want to see you come to harm.”
Legolas nodded once, signaling he understood.
At Aragorn’s command, the Elves raised their bows and aimed their arrows at the approaching army. Suddenly one arrow impacted in a Uruk-Hai’s chest and an ugly roar joined the whipping thunder. As the army stormed forward, Legolas released his arrows. The fighting had begun.
Haldir’s mouth went dry as an explosion rocked the Hornburg. Somehow Saruman’s army had found a way to breach the walls, and was now pouring into the keep. He had exchanged his bow for his sword and was now doing his best to fight off the foul creatures. Every now and then, he looked at Lurtz and realized that the Uruk-Hai was mercilessly slaughtering his kin with nothing but contempt in his eyes. Whatever doubts he'd had faded, and he finally believed Galadriel when she said Lurtz could be trusted.
“Haldir, pull your men back; retreat!”
Hearing Aragorn’s voice, he was briefly startled. The sound of it pulled him from his concentration and for the first time he saw how many of his men had fallen. Shocked at finding so many dead, he briefly hesitated, and one Uruk-Hai used that to his advantage. A sword slashed his arm open and his eyes widened at the pain.
Lurtz moved as if in trance, recognizing the scene he had witnessed in Galadriel’s mirror. Charging ahead, he pushed an injured Haldir out of his way when another Uruk-Hai tried to cleave Haldir’s back in two.
Haldir was shoved into the mud and stared at Lurtz in amazement, realizing the danger he had barely escaped from.
Lurtz quickly took out the Uruk-Hai who had tried to attack Haldir in the back and then moved to the silver haired Elf. “How badly injured are you?”
“I can stand,” whispered Haldir, cradling his injured arm to his chest. He tried to continue to fight, but the pain made it hard for him to concentrate.
Lurtz quickly pulled Haldir behind his broad back when another sword almost buried itself in the Elf’s chest. He had to get Haldir out of here and into safety! Although he disliked to retreat from battle, he recalled Galadriel wanted Haldir safe. Grabbing Haldir’s waist, he pulled the protesting Elf along. “Stop fighting me!” Lurtz shook his head, being reminded of another struggling Elf. Glorfindel had fought him as well.
“I need to stay close to my men!” Haldir struggled when Lurtz pulled him deeper within the keep.
Lurtz searched for Legolas and found that his mate was yelling a number at the Dwarf, who, upon hearing the count, raised his axe to take out another Uruk-Hai. It looked like everyone was now retreating to the Great Hall and he pulled Haldir along, ignoring the Elf’s attempts to free himself of his hold.
Legolas, Aragorn and Gimli followed them inside and they ended up in the Great Hall. Théoden tried to maintain a regal posture, but the expression in his eyes revealed his shock at being defeated.
Legolas headed for Lurtz and sat on his heels as his mate lowered Haldir onto a chair. “Haldir, you are still alive.”
Haldir wondered about Legolas’ remark, and was about to react to it, when a loud banging sounded near the doorway. The Uruk-Hai were trying to force themselves a way inside.
“Ride out with me one last time,” said Aragorn, addressing Théoden, realizing the sun was about to rise. Remembering Gandalf’s promise he wanted to look at the east at the crack of dawn.
Théoden gave in after a few moments. “For honor and glory.”
Aragorn looked at Haldir, and, upon realizing his friend was injured, walked over to him. “You should stay here.”
“I will guard him,” said Lurtz firmly. So far he had managed to keep his word and he would make sure Haldir survived this battle.
Seeing Lurtz tend to Haldir’s injury, Aragorn let go of his doubts. The Uruk-Hai seemed honestly concerned for Haldir. “Find refuge deep within the keep and hold out until we return.”
Lurtz nodded once. He had already spotted a room with a doorway which he could defend in case their enemies found a way inside. “He is safe with me.”
Haldir stared at Lurtz in disbelief. Why was the Uruk-Hai acting this protectively? Seeking out Legolas’ eyes, he saw approval in the sapphire eyes.
Legolas rested one hand on Lurtz’s shoulder. “I will join them and return for you later.”
Lurtz mumbled his approval and then helped Haldir to his feet. “I will defend him until my last breath.”
Legolas and Aragorn barricaded the door to the room Lurtz had chosen to hide in, and then joined Théoden and Gamling, who had retrieved their horses. They mounted quickly, and, whilst releasing a raw battle cry, charged at the sea of enemies.
Haldir raised pain filled eyes and locked gazes with Lurtz. “Why are you doing this?”
Lurtz shrugged once while keeping a close eye on the barricaded door. He could hear the Uruk-Hai close in on them and he prepared for one final battle. “Galadriel asked me to keep you alive. She showed me your death in her mirror and I promised to look out for you.”
Haldir sucked in his breath. “Galadriel allowed you to look into her mirror?”
Lurtz nodded his head. “She seems to care a great deal about you.”
Haldir’s head still reeled from this information. /She wants to keep me alive for Celeborn!/
A low noise filled the air; Gimli was blowing the horn of Rohan. A loud roar followed and he heard several battle cries. Looking out of the window, he found a blinding light descending the hill with behind it thousands of riders. “We might survive after all.”
Legolas’ heart nearly missed a beat, seeing Gandalf steer Shadowfax toward him. The Rohirrim had quickly dealt with what remained of Saruman’s army and had sent them running for Isengard. Gandalf immediately joined Théoden and Aragorn, and together they declared victory.
Legolas used that opportunity to steer Arod back into the keep, eager to check on Haldir and his mate.
“Wait for me!”
Looking over his shoulder, he found Aragorn catching up with him. Seeing concern in the Man’s eyes, he realized Aragorn worried about Haldir. He knew they were good friends, and signaled Aragorn to follow him. Together they made their way back to the hall, and after dismounting, they quickly pushed away the chairs they had used to barricade the door with.
“Lurtz? Haldir?” Legolas entered first and found his mate smiling smugly. Acting instinctively he threw himself into Lurtz’s open arms and hugged his mate close.
Haldir smiled amused, seeing love and relief in their eyes. Then he noticed Aragorn’s presence. “It is a minor wound and will heal quickly.”
“I should bind it,” said Aragorn in a concerned tone. He kept one arm folded around Haldir’s waist and turned slightly to face Lurtz. “I was wrong about you. Thank you for keeping Haldir safe.”
Lurtz smirked. “Elves,” he whispered, amused. “Why me?”
Legolas caught the hidden meaning and laughed warmly. “You saved my life, Glorfindel’s and now you can add Haldir’s name to that list as well.”
Aragorn frowned puzzled, but then concentrated on Haldir, whose wound was still bleeding. “Victory is ours,” he informed Haldir, who smiled, relieved.
Haldir allowed Aragorn to take control of the situation, and he resigned to the fact that Aragorn would continue to fuss over him until his wound had been taken care of. /Celeborn, love, I will return to you./
Lurtz helped Legolas when his mate offered to look after the deceased ‘Lorien Elves. It was a task that caused him to grow depressed. So much beauty had been destroyed! But at the same time he felt immensely grateful that Legolas and Haldir had been spared.
Rumil had joined them as well, after checking on his elder brother and was now covering the dead bodies with their blue cloaks.
“The war is not over yet,” said Legolas, pained, closing the eyes of another Elven archer.
“Very true, my love, but we will face this horror together.” Lurtz rested a hand at the small of Legolas’ back and took comfort in that touch. Legolas leaned into his mate’s body and released hot tears that flowed down his face and dripped from his chin. “I cannot mourn their passing yet.”
“Take the time you need to deal with this pain,” said Lurtz, understanding obvious in his voice. “Draw strength and comfort from me.”
“Thank you,” whispered Legolas, closing his eyes. A soft lament for his fallen brethren left his lips, saying goodbye to the dead.
With every passing day Elrond felt his strength return. Glorfindel’s excellent care, the warm sun and the healing quality of the Bruinen quickened his recovery. Making love with the golden haired Elda was also helping him rebuild his strength.
/Elrond, the battle has been fought. Many of our kin died. Only a handful survived./
He was startled at hearing Galadriel’s voice in his mind and instantly sensed her sadness and pain. /I feel for them as well, but you know this sacrifice had to be made./
/I want to thank you for sending Lurtz on this mission. He managed to save Haldir’s life./
/My heart rejoices at hearing Haldir is alive, but it is also saddened by this great loss./ Galadriel’s presence retreated from his mind and Elrond’s eyes filled with tears. He had known the price would be high, but this high?
“Glorfindel? Melamin?” He called out for his lover, needing the blond’s support. But Glorfindel didn’t answer and the urge to be close to the Elda overwhelmed him.
Gritting his teeth, Elrond struggled to his knees. He had not attempted to walk yet and wasn’t sure his ankles had recovered enough to support him. Holding his breath in anticipation of pain, he slowly rose from the earth. He placed his hands against the trunk of an ash, needing its support.
“Glorfindel!” He had intended to call for his lover, but only a soft whimper left his lips as a throbbing ache spiraled up his legs, emanating from his ankles. The pain nearly took his breath away, and he froze, trying to stay on his feet.
A moment later the ache receded and Elrond sighed, relieved. Gauging the distance to the cottage, his courage faltered. He couldn’t cross that distance unaided!
Elrond carefully placed his right foot in front of his left. The bandages made his walk even more awkward, but he tried again, now letting go of the tree as he moved toward the cottage.
Sweat formed on his brow, and his breath came in spurts, taking another step. His hands trembled and he tried to reach for another tree, hoping it would support him.
“Glorfindel!” This time he called out louder and he grew hopeful that his lover had heard him. Shaking like a leaf, he held onto the trunk of the tree, waiting for his lover to appear in the doorway. “Glorfindel, please hear me!”
Attempting another step, tremors shook his body, but he was growing more confident now that the ache didn’t worsen. The pain was bearable.
Glorfindel rushed toward the half-Elf and his heart briefly stopped beating, seeing his lover in such pain. “What are you doing on your feet when you should be resting?”
“I can walk,” said Elrond in a shaky tone, “but I need your support.”
Glorfindel wrapped an arm around his lover’s waist and was severely tempted to carry him.
“Nay,” whispered Elrond, “I desire to walk.”
Glorfindel frowned in disapproval, but complied, steadying Elrond as they made their way into the cottage. He realized how important it was to the half-Elf to be able to walk again and didn’t voice his concern, opting to support Elrond in silence instead.
Elrond bit his bottom lip, concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. Relief washed over him when he finally sat down and the pressure was removed from his ankles. “I think you no longer need to carry me, nîn bellas.”
Glorfindel sighed, regretfully. “I loved cradling you close to my chest. I will miss having you in my arms.” He knelt at Elrond’s side and gathered the half-Elf’s hands in his. “What made you try to walk?”
Elrond’s eyes became misty with tears. “The battle for Helm’s Deep has come to an end. Haldir survived, but many of the ‘Lorien Elves fell. The price was high.”
“You knew this would happen when you asked for volunteers.” Glorfindel placed kisses on the back of Elrond’s hands. “They knew they were marching to their doom. Honor their memory and keep their spirit alive.”
“They will never be forgotten,” vowed Elrond passionately. Growing quiet, his fingers found their way into Glorfindel’s locks and he found comfort in the touch.
Glorfindel cleared his throat, feeling nervous, seeing the expression in Elrond’s eyes. The half-Elf’s thoughts were still with their fallen brethren at Helm’s Deep and he opted for distraction. “Nîn ind, you walked unaided. You must be getting stronger.”
Elrond smiled weakly. “I will practice daily. I look forward to finally being able to walk and run again.” Seeing Glorfindel’s disappointment, he added, “And you may still carry me – on occasion.”
Glorfindel grinned. “Right now I want to carry you into the bedroom.”
Elrond seemed to consider Glorfindel’s remark and then inclined his head. “You have my permission to carry me to our bed,” he said teasingly.
Glorfindel didn’t waste any time and pushed his hands beneath Elrond’s knees and back. “Tomorrow we will go for a short walk, but you must promise me not exhaust yourself. I want to be close when you try to walk again.”
“I promise,” whispered Elrond in an doting tone, whilst Glorfindel carried him into the bedroom for another round of passionate lovemaking.
Beta read by Ilye, thank you!
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