Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings and all characters belong to Tolkien. I am merely keeping Haldir alive at Helm's Deep.

Authors Note: I do not know too much about Éomer so I am going to make some stuff up.

A Mortal Love

Part 8 - Trying

By Morgana


Éomer was lost, staring into the Elf's vacant eyes. They were hazel, like his, but there were depths to them which he had never encountered before. How old was Haldir? What unbelievable things had he seen and heard?

Would it always be like this? This distance between them? Éomer sighed wearily. Would he ever conquer Haldir's proud heart or was he doomed to fail?

Envisioning his future, he saw loneliness and even greater distance between them. Haldir would probably continue to long for 'Lorien, but was forced to stay at Edoras, close to him. /Maybe we can visit 'Lorien? My presence won't be constantly needed and Éowyn can rule during my absence. Would it make a difference; showing Haldir that I am willing to honor his wishes by visiting 'Lorien? Would that bring us closer together?

When did this sweet madness come over me? I can no longer envision a life without him whilst he dislikes me. At times it seems like he can't even stand my presence and yet... My heart has never been this light and heavy at the same time. I am holding him in my arms and yet he is so far out of reach that I can never hope to win his love.../

Haldir stirred in his sleep and moved restlessly. Éomer immediately soothed the Elf by rubbing his skin and whispering soft words. In his mind he felt Haldir's spirit grow colder and he felt the pull of Mandos once more. "I am not letting you go, Haldir. I am keeping you here until my last breath."

Haldir yelped softly as warmth drove away the cold darkness that was Mandos. He wondered at the warmth at first, but then realized he wasn't alone. The Man was with him. That knowledge soothed him and his sleep became deep and calm again.

Reassured that Mandos had released his hold once more, Éomer's fingers gently moved through the long, silver hair. /I never loved before... And I am bound to you until the day I die. It would be so much easier if you could love me back... But you never will. I saw the look in your eyes when you realized you were bound to a mere -Man-. Ai, Haldir, I would be good to you. I would love and support you. I would even visit 'Lorien to please you though I would feel out of place there./

Mesmerized by the enthralling expression on Haldir's face, he moved a little closer. His arms were wrapped around Haldir's waist and shoulder, allowing him to hold the Elf as tightly as possible without putting pressure on the injured back. Losing himself in the beauty of silver and hazel, he tenderly brushed the luscious lips, stealing a kiss.

Haldir's reaction was immediate. The eyes became alive and glared at him. Éomer froze, their lips still touching. Seeing the anger in Haldir's eyes, he cringed. He hoped to explain his actions, but Haldir addressed him first and the Elf's tone was icily haughty.

"Never again touch me in that manner." Haldir's clipped tone mirrored the cold in his hazel eyes. "I am bound to you and I chose life over death, but that does not give you the right to take something I am not willing to give."

Éomer pulled back, releasing Haldir from his embrace and he staggered to his feet, leaving their bed. "I can explain!" Pacing, he stalked in front of the bed.

Haldir managed to push himself into an upright position and continued to glare at the Man. He had been peacefully asleep and then Mandos had called out to him. Resisting that call had been hard, but Éomer's strength had allowed him to turn his back on the Halls of Waiting. A moment later, soft lips had brushed his, kissing him. The sensation had woken him at once, and he had lashed out at Éomer, hiding his real feelings beneath his arrogance. He didn't want to face the truth yet, which was that he had enjoyed the kiss for it had sent a pleasurable warmth through his mind and body, and for one moment he had felt whole. "Explain?" He raised an eyebrow. "What is there to explain? You took something without my permission!"

Éomer sighed dejectedly. "I won't ever get through to you..." He threw back his head and the motion sent his hair flying. "You made yourself very clear, Haldir and to make sure this won't happen again I won't sleep this close to you any longer. There is a bed in the next room; I will spend the rest of the night there and in the morning we will discuss this matter. Hopefully we will find a solution we can both live with."

Éomer's reaction surprised Haldir; it even disappointed him a little that Éomer was giving up. He was tempted to call the Man back when Éomer left the room, but he refrained from addressing the Rohirrim; he had brought this on himself and now he was faced with an empty bed. The soothing presence was gone, leaving him alone and aching.

Throwing himself onto the bed in the empty servant's quarters, Éomer reached for the pillow and folded his arms around it, hugging it when he couldn't pull Haldir close. /He will make our lives miserable. Why can't he accept this bond, my... -Dare I say it?- my love for him? I don't expect him to love me back, but he could try to be social./ Hugging the pillow close, his eyes slipped shut, wishing it was Haldir he was holding instead of a pillow.


Haldir was unable to fall asleep again, finding Éomer's absence unnerving. Several times he reached out, wanting to make contact with Éomer, but his hands merely encountered blankets and no warm, strong form pressed against him. He rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. His reaction to Éomer's kiss had been uncalled for. He had seen the love in Éomer's eyes when the Man had thought him still asleep and it had made him lash out.

Love... He had thought he would never find love again, had accepted that and now the impossible was happening. Éomer was in love with him and the bond was pulling him closer to the Man as well, urging him to return those feelings, but could he? Could he allow himself to love again? Did he want to?

Tormented by visions of what could be, he moved onto his side and stared at the doorway. Had Éomer fallen asleep again or did similar doubts torment the Man? The distance between them caused him to hurt physically as his back began to ache again and he yearned to feel those strong arms holding him close, but could he make himself that vulnerable?

Haldir finally sat upright, pushed down the covers and took in his surroundings. Edoras differed greatly from 'Lorien... 'Lorien; the name caused an intense longing and he sighed deeply, wishing he were back at 'Lorien, once more reunited with his brothers... His brothers... Ai, Rumil, Orophin, how he missed them. He would probably never see them again!

A rogue tear fled his eyes and dripped from his chin. Absentmindedly he brushed it away, staring at the doorway. In his mind he still sensed Éomer's presence, but the warmth had lessened, and fears and doubts swept through him. Could he afford to push the Man away?

A tormented sigh fled his lips, as his longing to be close to Éomer overwhelmed him. Haldir slowly pushed himself to his feet; his eyes widening in pain as spasms of pain whipped through his spine. Determinedly he placed one foot in front of the other and he put one hand against the wall to support himself. He couldn't afford to take a fall and worsen his injuries. Agonizingly slowly, he made his way over to the doorway, where he stopped to catch his breath, finding his weakness distressing.

One more step took him inside the next room and he stared at Éomer, clutching a pillow to his chest. The Man had fallen asleep on his side, giving Haldir a chance to study him. The face was relaxed and Haldir had to admit that there was a wild and untamed beauty to the Man's features.

/By Elbereth, what am I doing here! I chased him out of my bed and now I come here to lie down beside him so he can hold me?/ But he craved Éomer's presence, to feel the strong arms around him, and he started for the bed, swaying on his feet. Reaching out, he placed one hand on the side of the bed and he finally sat down, wondering how much longer he would have been able to stay on his feet; not much longer, he realized.

Slowly, he removed the pillow from Éomer's hands, relieved that the Man didn't wake during his manipulations. Lying down, he moved into Éomer's arms and the Man pulled him close at once, wrapping his arms around him. Haldir sighed blissfully, wondering why he had chased Éomer away in the first place. He was comfortable in these arms, and he let go of the tension as the pain in his back lessened. Resting his head against Éomer's chest, he briefly closed his eyes, allowing Éomer to snuggle up to him. /I never stood a chance fighting this.../


Elrond cradled Glorfindel against his chest; his hands curiously exploring the soft skin. Glorfindel had fallen asleep after their lovemaking, making Elrond realize how tired Glorfindel was. The emotional turmoil the blond had been in had finally taken its toll, causing him to slide into a deep sleep.

Content to watch his lover sleep, Elrond mentally reviewed everything that had happened. Legolas' scheming had made him admit his love and they had shared a night of passion that left him breathless. It had never been like this; neither with Celebrian or Gil-galad. Something about Glorfindel had made him let go like he had never before and his love had deepened, although he had thought that impossible. "Nîn ind, I am yours for all eternity."

Glorfindel sighed contently, as if Elrond's words had been carried into his sleep. Elrond smiled, stroked the blond hair and wished he hadn't wasted so much time. "I will never let you go, melme..."

Glorfindel stirred; his eyes filled with awareness and he caught Elrond's words before their echo left the room. His gaze settled on Elrond's face; he would never tire of looking into those passionate eyes. "You kept your word, melethron... It was a night of passion indeed."

"The night is not over yet," hinted Elrond, gently claiming bruised lips.

Glorfindel sighed blissfully and surrendered to the kiss, letting Elrond straddle his hips once more. Looking up at the half-Elf, he raised a hand and fingered a dark strand. "I am still afraid this is nothing but a dream."

Elrond bowed forward, kissed Glorfindel and let his tongue slither inside the moist warmth, exploring every delightful inch of his lover's mouth. His hands caressed soft skin, encountering hardening nipples and he couldn't resist teasing them by rolling the hard flesh between his fingertips. "You will never leave me, Glorfindel... Promise..."

Glorfindel arched his back, mutely begging Elrond to continue his sweet torture. The half-Elf read his lover's answer in his warm eyes and smiled. "You are mine now..."

"Aye, yours," mumbled Glorfindel. His flesh was trying to harden, but he lacked the strength or Elrond's stamina.

Elrond smiled at his love. "You need to rest and regain your strength. My, I think I exhausted you..." He rolled Glorfindel atop of him and wrapped arms and legs around the Elda, hugging him close.

"It has been a while," admitted Glorfindel, gazing down into grayish eyes. "I am afraid you did exhaust me..." He rested his head on Elrond's chest and sighed contently. Within seconds he was asleep again, clinging to his lover.

Elrond chuckled softly. "I hope your stamina will increase in time." He settled for holding Glorfindel close and inhaling his lover's musky scent.


Aragorn paced his room. For hours he had struggled with the idea of revealing himself to Sauron. The looking stone would enable him to make contact with Sauron, but was he ready to take that step? Doing so meant fully embracing his destiny and he was afraid he would disappoint the men that depended on him. In a few days they would leave for Gondor and he would finally enter the city that was his by birth.

A soft, almost hesitant knock on the door pulled him from his musings. "Enter..." Who would seek him out at this late hour?

Legolas entered the room and closed the door behind him. Apprehension had kept him from falling asleep. "Aragorn?" He studied the face, noticed the haunted expression and took another step closer to the Man. "What keeps you from finding your rest?"

"Sauron," admitted Aragorn, relishing Legolas' presence. A light shone from within the Elf, soothing his troubled thoughts. "It is time I revealed myself to the dark Lord, but..."

Legolas came to a halt in front of Aragorn. "You are certain the time has come to show yourself?"


Legolas followed Aragorn's gaze and it came to rest on the palanthir that rested on the table. "What keeps you back?"

"What if I am not strong enough? Isildur's blood flows through my veins. What if..." Legolas suddenly spun around, glaring at him. Aragorn grew quiet, alarmed by the glow in those blue eyes.

"What if..." said Legolas thoughtfully. "I asked myself that question for millennia, but I found that tormenting myself is quite useless. We make our choices and must follow through and accept the consequences."

Aragorn averted his eyes, unable to meet Legolas' intense stare any longer. "I am afraid my failure will bring Sauron to power once more."

"A great burden rests on your shoulders and it must be hard to carry it alone." Legolas grew quiet, and stopped himself from adding a comment about Arwen or Eowyn, knowing they couldn't ease Aragorn's burden either. "You look tired; why not lay these worries to rest and sleep?"

"I cannot sleep," mumbled Aragorn in a upset tone. "The last time I slept was when we fell asleep near the stream."

Legolas wasn't sure he was doing the right thing, but he placed a hand on Aragorn's shoulder and said, "If you desire so I will guard your sleep tonight."

Aragorn smiled gratefully. "I did sleep peacefully when you were near." Slowly, he rested his hand on top of Legolas', rubbing the skin absentmindedly.

Legolas wondered about the caress, but contributed it to Aragorn's lack of sleep. Cradling the Man's hand in his, he guided Aragorn over to the bed. "Lie down, meldir, I will watch your sleep and keep the darkness away."

Aragorn complied, lying down. "I need you close tonight..." Admitting his needs was hard, but he felt reassured knowing that Legolas had never denied him before. And aye, the Elf settled down, resting his back against the wall. Aragorn moved closer and rested his head in Legolas' lap, staring at the enchanting eyes that shone in the darkness, warming his soul. "I must face Sauron tomorrow... Will you guard me then as well? I would draw strength from your presence."

Legolas gently brushed a dark lock from Aragorn's face and smiled warmly. "I will not leave your side, Estel."

Contently, Aragorn closed his eyes. Legolas' reassurance echoed in his ears, and the soothing words allowed him to finally fall asleep.

Legolas continued to stroke the dark hair, and was unable to look away, seeing the peaceful expression on Aragorn's face. /I will always love you and never leave you. You might not know it, but my place is at your side... Meleth nîn./


Éomer felt comfortably warm, holding the one he loved in his arms and-- his eyes opened in wonder. What was Haldir doing here? He had left his rooms and retreated to allow Haldir some privacy and now the Elf had followed him here? Why? Frowning, he probed the vacant eyes, finding Haldir sound asleep. The Elf seemed comfortable and yet Éomer recalled Haldir's reaction when he had awoken to a kiss. Haldir didn't want to be touched, nor to be held like this. Slowly, he inched away from Haldir, breaking the embrace. /I'll honor your wishes and refrain from touching you./

Haldir groaned softly, moved his arms and suddenly Éomer found himself buried in a tight hug, once more being pulled close to the Elf. Éomer grew tense, wondering if Haldir would be mad at him when the Elf woke again. /I doubt I can explain this to him. He'll never believe he pulled me close and not the other way around./

Trying to remain as quiet and motionless as possible, his eyes widened in surprise, feeling Haldir rub his back. His hands became fists, trying to refrain from returning the caress. Haldir was sound asleep and had no idea he was reaching out in his sleep. It would be best to not mention this once Haldir woke and to sneak out of bed the first chance he got.

But his hopes of escape faded quickly when Haldir draped his leg across his thigh, keeping him in place. Éomer couldn't help it; the situation was making him nervous and a film of sweat appeared on his brow. Unexpectedly Haldir mumbled something in in a strange tongue, and the Elf's fingers tangled in his hair. Was Haldir picking up on his nervousness and was the Elf now trying to soothe him?

Against his will, he began to relax. Haldir's soft voice and the gentle touch lured him into a sense of safety and he let go of his tension. But suddenly his body decided  it -really- liked Haldir this close, touching him and he grew painfully hard. Éomer nearly panicked, wondering how Haldir would react if the Elf woke up, finding him in this state. Haldir would probably give him another icy glare and ignore him for the rest of his life. Saddened by that thought, Éomer concentrated on unpleasant memories, hoping they would make his arousal fade and -his- face came alive in his mind, nearly making him panic.

His arousal faded, leaving him panting softly. He felt empty, yearning for something he could never have; Haldir.

"Ai, nîn bellas..." In his sleep, Haldir mumbled softly and his lips brushed a clammy forehead, bestowing a chaste kiss on the other's brow.

Éomer stifled a soft groan, biting his bottom lip whilst trying to remain silent. Haldir would never forgive himself for kissing him. Another secret he had to keep in order not to chase the Elf even farther away. How much longer could he endure the mockery of a touch that merely pretended love because the giver was asleep and unaware of the caress?

In the end, the worries and tension got to him and emotional exhaustion caused him to fall asleep again.


Warm sunbeams woke Haldir and he was about to stretch when he discovered the Man in his arms. Frowning, he recalled last night's events. He had followed Éomer here, lying down as his need to be close to the Man had overruled his fears and doubts. Confused he noticed that this time things were different. This time, it wasn't Éomer holding him, but he holding the Man. His arms were wrapped tightly around Éomer's waist, almost pinning the Man in his current position and allowing Éomer no space to move.

/I must be losing my mind. I held Rumil and Orophin like this when they were little, but... What possessed me to pull Éomer close?/ Éomer slept soundly in his arms, but the Man's fists told him that Éomer wasn't completely happy with their situation. /What do I do? I could let go and sneak back into the next room, pretending I never left. But I am growing tired of upholding the pretence that I do not care about him. I do not want to carry on like this for the rest of my life. It is obvious he cares... maybe I should give him a chance to prove his love to me? His love... Its in his eyes and his touch. It will sustain me for the rest of my life; I should stop fighting him./ But the mere thought of surrender made him rebel.

Éomer unexpectedly stirred, opened his eyes and stared at him. Haldir knew he had to face the Man and the growing attraction between them, but still he fought it.

"This time it wasn't me reaching out for you," said Éomer calmly. "You came here and enfolded me in an embrace. I honored my words and refrained from touching you, but..." Nervousness replaced his calm and he stopped talking for fear he would start stuttering. Averting his eyes, he stared at the wall behind Haldir. Why was Haldir still holding him? Maybe the Elf was too flabbergasted to lash out at him?

"I owe you an apology," said Haldir softly, hoping to catch Éomer's attention and aye, the Man's gaze met his. After clearing his throat he continued, "I lashed out at you without reason. Your kiss did surprise me, but I... reacted too strongly."

Éomer's eyes grew big in surprise; Haldir was apologizing to him? "I was at fault as well. I shouldn't have stolen that kiss."

"Why did you do it?" Éomer tensed against him.

Éomer briefly considered refusing to answer, but in the end he surrendered with a sigh. "I am falling in love with you. Lord Elrond told me it has to do with this bond that formed between us... I can't seem to fight it." He closed his eyes, unwilling to see the loathing in Haldir's eyes. Why had he made himself this vulnerable? Haldir would mock him, like the Elf always did.

Haldir sighed regretfully; his former actions made things even more complicated. "Aye, the bond will cause us to become lovers... Did Elrond tell you that as well?"  Haldir couldn't keep back the soft chuckle that escaped his lips. "Aye, he did tell you."

"Why are you acting like this?" Éomer's brow grew furrowed. "Why not tell me to get out of bed and leave you alone? I thought that was what you wanted!"

Haldir chuckled again; Éomer's frustration mirrored his, but he was better at handling it. "I thought I wanted to be left alone," admitted he, growing serious once more, "but when I was alone in my bed I longed for your presence. I did sneak into your bed, did I not?"

"Aye, I wondered why you would do such a thing."

The look Éomer gave him made Haldir curious. "You love me then?" Haldir cocked his head, looking deeply into hazel eyes, which were surprisingly similar to his.

"I am afraid I do... Does that offend you?" Éomer's stare became defiant.

Haldir smiled teasingly. "It does not offend me, though I am at a loss as to what to do about this..." He relished seeing the wild fire in Éomer's eyes and wondered if loving this Man would be so hard after all. Éomer's will and temper matched his, which would make their relationship an interesting one. Life would never be boring with Éomer close. "Nay, I am wrong... I do know what to do about this..." Éomer grew rigid against him when Haldir moved closer, pressing his lips against Éomer's.

Éomer remained motionless, wondering if he hadn't woken after all and was still dreaming about Haldir. There was no way that Haldir would kiss him! But then an insistent tongue nudged against his lips, teeth and then slithered inside, delivering firm yet light touches and making him squirm in surprise. A stunned groan escaped into Haldir's mouth and the Elf deepened the kiss, devouring him and leaving him breathless.

Haldir closely watched Éomer's reaction and was surprised when the Man let him stay in control of the kiss; he had expected more resistance, a challenging struggle perhaps, but certainly not this surrender. Éomer's hands remained fists and the body against his was rigid with tension. Slowly, he released Éomer's lips and pulled back, studying the trembling Man. "Éomer?"

Éomer suddenly broke eye contact, pushed him away and fled the bed, stumbling to his feet and out of the room. Haldir stared at the doorway until Éomer had vanished from sight. What had just happened? Had he come across a little too forceful? But if that was the case why had Éomer let him proceed? The Man could have told him to stop. Confused, Haldir sat upright, wondering what he had done wrong. /Éomer kissed me last night and he seemed comfortable with that. Why run when I turn the tables and kiss him? I thought he wanted me to kiss him, to deepen this bond.../ Puzzled, he rose to his feet, but collapsed when the pain whipping through his back made it impossible for him to remain on his feet.

Shivering, he realized Éomer was creating more distance between them and he wasn't strong enough yet to do without the Man's strength. What was he supposed to do? Chase after Éomer? He didn't have the strength to do that!

"Haldir? Where are you?"

Haldir sighed relieved at hearing Elrond's concerned tone. "I am here... Master Elrond, did you see Éomer?"

Elrond entered the room and looked at Haldir, seeing confusion in the hazel eyes. "He ran past me, why?"  He advanced on the bed and caught sight of Haldir's shivers. "Why did he leave you? You are far from healed."

Haldir forced himself to grow calm again. "Would you fetch him for me?"

Elrond nodded once. "But I suggest the two of you talk. You cannot be without him yet."

Haldir stared blindly at the ceiling. /Why did he run?/ Realizing Elrond was still looking at him, he addressed the healer. "Can I ever do without his strength?"

Elrond inclined his head. "Perhaps. That depends on the love you bear each other."

"Love?" Haldir shook his head. "He ran off when I kissed him."

"You kissed him? "Elrond grinned. "That must have caught him off guard. You give him the cold shoulder and then you kiss him? I will fetch him for you, but proceed with more caution, Haldir."

Haldir nodded. Elrond's words were true. He had not been very co-operative until now. Kissing Éomer that possessively might have confused Éomer. "I will be more careful."

Elrond smiled warmly and then left to find Éomer, leaving Haldir alone with his troubled thoughts.


Éomer frantically climbed the stairs to the tower where he used to hide as a child. Rain crashed through the leaking roof, but he didn't care, huddling in a dark corner. He pulled up his legs, wrapped his arms around his knees and rested his head on top his arms, trying to deal with the fact that he had just made a fool out of himself by fleeing the room like that. Haldir probably thought he had lost his mind, but...

The kiss had brought it all back. Suddenly he was in a different room, dark and cold, and someone else's arms were wrapped around him, making sure he didn't leave. "I thought I had put this behind me..."

But the memories were tenacious, not leaving him alone and continued to torment him. The arms pulled him down onto the floor, forcing him to kneel and then...

"Nay! I won't let these memories rule me! It's over! He's gone and will never come back... He's gone... gone... won't be back..." Tears flowed down his face and he angrily wiped them away. "I won't let them rule me; never again! I am in control of my life now and he can no longer hurt me. He is gone!" He screamed the words into the wind, rocking slowly like he used to when he was a child. "He is gone... gone..."

The memories consumed him and he never heard the soft footfalls, announcing Elrond's presence. He continued to rock and mumble softly, trying hard to regain control over his raging emotions.


Elrond slowly approached the wretched form, so unlike the strong and courageous Rohirrim he had come to know during these last few days. By Elbereth, what had caused this transformation? Drawing in a deep breath, he lowered himself onto his heels, afraid to scare Éomer in his current state. "Éomer? Can you hear me? Éomer?" At first, Éomer didn't react and growing even more worried, Elrond raised his hand, intending to brush aside the wild mane so he could get a look good at Éomer's face.

Éomer flinched away from him, pressing closer to the wall and Elrond nearly reconsidered, but in the end he rested the palm of his hand against Éomer's cheek, tears slipping through his fingers. "Éomer? What are you doing here when Haldir needs you?" What he really wanted was to address Éomer's current state, but the Man was too emotional to deal with his questions now. Maybe Éomer would calm down if he appealed to Éomer's sense of honor and duty.

Éomer's expression shocked him. The pupils were dilated and fear stared back at him. /What happened to you?/ Elrond remained silent a little longer, giving Éomer a chance to compose himself.

Éomer shook with remembered pain, but Elrond's calm and reassuring gaze helped him calm down. It had been a shock to him to realize that he wasn't alone and had almost run away again, but Elrond's gaze gave him the reassurance he needed and he sighed deeply, forcing the memories from his mind. "Haldir needs me?"

Elrond nodded once. "Aye, he does. Your sudden departure worried him."

"I had to get away from him... It is nothing personal... I just panicked."

"Because he kissed you?"

/It was the way he kissed me... His possessiveness.../ Éomer shivered. "I will return to my rooms..." Pushing himself to his feet, he briefly swayed, but he quickly stepped away from Elrond when the half-Elf reached out to steady him. "I am fine now..." But Elrond's eyes told him that the Elven Lord didn't believe him. "Please excuse me." He rushed down the stairs and toward his rooms, wondering how he could explain this to Haldir without revealing any of his dark secrets.

Elrond's eyes narrowed in concern. Éomer had relived an intense emotional pain and as a healer he wondered if he could help ease that agony. "Glorfindel, maybe we need to stay a little longer."

The blond stepped away from the shadows, revealing himself. "You do not believe he panicked because of a kiss."

Elrond nodded thoughtfully. "He is hiding things from us... and from Haldir..."

"You wish to sort this out?" Glorfindel privately cursed the rain that now soaked their robes.

"I -will- sort this out," said Elrond firmly. "There cannot be any secrets between them or the bond will grow fragile and break."

"And then they will both die before their time has come." Glorfindel would hate to see that happen. "What are your plans?"

"First, melme, we will take a hot bath and change into dry clothes." Elrond met Glorfindel's gaze and reached for the blond's hand, tenderly twining their fingers. "I will talk to Théoden and Éowyn; maybe they know what haunts Éomer."

Glorfindel pulled Elrond toward the staircase, eager to return to their rooms. "Is there anything I can do?"

"Visit Haldir later today and question him about that kiss." Elrond allowed himself to be pulled along. "Maybe Haldir knows what caused Éomer's 'panic'."

"I will talk to him," said Glorfindel, equally worried. From what he had seen Éomer cared about Haldir and the Guardian probably felt the pull of the bond as well. /Éomer was terrified... What reduced the Rohirrim to such a pitiful state?/

Elrond recalled the words Éomer had whispered. /He is gone... gone.../ Maybe if he found out whom Éomer was referring to he would find the answers to his questions.

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