It's beautiful. Lothlorien is mystical and calming and it soothes my troubled mind. All I am capable of is lying in this sling, as Boromir carries me in to the great hall. I've come to depend on him for my well being and he hasn't forsaken me... yet. I know the lure of the One Ring is strong, and corrupting him, and I can only hope that he will find the strength he needs to resist. We can't lose him to the Shadows. His sword arm is strong and his fearlessness will see us through the worst times.
Galadriel... She's even more beautiful than I thought. My father told me about the Lady, but I never met her before. She's regal, almost spirit like and her husband, Celeborn is at her side. Her eyes... They see right through me. Does she know my heart? My soul?
Ah, Boromir... He pulls me even closer to his chest and his words reassure me. He already cares about me, whether he accepts his feelings or not isn't important. In the end, he will love me... It still baffles me that he reached out this unconditionally. Had he not, I would be dead now, but I'm growing stronger every day. I still don't understand why I didn't hear the Orcs coming...
They're talking... I should listen...
"My Lady... My Lord..." Aragorn bowed respectfully, addressing the rulers of Lothlorien. "We come to you, seeking help. We lost Gandalf the Grey in the Mines of Moria and are in need of guidance..."
Galadriel smiled warmly. "Rest first. We can discuss these matter later, Aragorn, son of Arathorn. Let me show you to your quarters where you can eat and rest." When she glanced at Legolas, concern shone from her eyes. "We didn't know Legolas had fallen ill."
Boromir swallowed hard, facing her gaze head on when she locked eyes with him. "It's a delicate matter, which I would like to discuss with you in private." There was no reason to tell the entire court what had happened to the Wood Elf.
Galadriel nodded. "Follow me..."
Boromir tightened his hold on Legolas and followed Galadriel. He frowned when Celeborn lead the rest of the company in to the opposite direction and he exchanged a worried glance with Aragorn, who nodded encouragingly. Aragorn obviously trusted Galadriel and Celeborn and allowed them to be separated. Boromir decided to give Galadriel the benefit of the doubt and followed the Lady inside when she gestured him toward the bed in one of the rooms. Boromir loosened the sling and gently lowered Legolas on to the bed.
"He looks too pale," whispered Galadriel as she approached the bed. She rested her right hand on Legolas' brow and her eyes darkened. "Do you know what happened to him?"
Boromir nodded. "Gandalf told me."
"And you bound yourself to him?" Galadriel raised an eyebrow inquisitively. "I must admit this surprises me. I never thought a Man would bound himself to an Elf and the fact that Legolas accepted you is equally baffling."
"I do not understand either," admitted Boromir. "But for some elusive reason he seems to put his trust in me."
"Take good care of him," said Galadriel. "You'll find a refreshing pool in the next room and robes will await you once you return. A bath with refresh you both. Food will also be brought to you as well as wine." Galadriel moved toward the doorway and smiled. "You are an astounding Man, Boromir, son of Denethor. I hope you appreciate the gift given to you."
Boromir understood. "I will cherish him."
Satisfied, Galadriel stepped outside, leaving the two men alone.
Boromir looked at Legolas' face, cringing at the bruises and dirt. "I should clean you up..."Taking a bath sounded wonderful and he decided not to waste any time. Boromir disposed of his traveling cloak and went in to the bathroom. In awe, he stared at the garden in front of him. The 'bath' Galadriel had referred to was a pool of water amidst plants and trees. The ceiling was painted in blues and yellows, resembling the sky and sun. Legolas would love this!
He muttered softly when he returned to the bedroom. "It's beautiful, Legolas. It almost feels like being outside." He suddenly froze, realizing Legolas was studying him intently. "Or do you prefer not to take a bath?" It only now occurred him that Legolas might feel uncomfortable being naked. "I could remain dressed when bathing you." He would soak his clothes but he was sure the Elves had spare clothes for him. "No matter what you decide, I will do as you wish." He sat down on the side of the bed and tenderly caressed a strand of fair locks. "I will take care of you, I promise."
I wish I could tell him that he doesn't scare me. Even naked, I will trust him. Boromir understands so little of himself, and maybe I will show him his true self in time. From the way he looks at me I can tell he's worried. That worry, so palpable, convinced me to leave the Halls of Mandos and return to this world. I never expected him to feel this worried, or to care.
It's been centuries since someone cared this deeply about me and he doesn't even realize how he feels. Boromir thinks his sense of responsibility urges him on, but this goes deeper. Yes, I trust him and in time I will learn to love him for he made me come back.
How do I tell him that I want to take that bath and that he can remove his clothes? I don't want to remember what those Orcs did to me and I close my eyes against the memories.
The alarm in Boromir's voice makes my eyes flash open. I didn't want to scare him. I only wanted a moment to clear my mind. I'm desperate to show him that everything is fine and I manage to lift my right hand. He smiles now, and his smile radiates concern and affection. Why does he hide these feelings from himself? Love is a gift, not a burden.
His hand trembles as I rest mine on top of his. He feels warm beneath my touch, warm and inviting. When I bound myself to him I knew I had to complete the bond in the future. Lovers... Love is already in his eyes...
"Don't close your eyes again. It worries me."
The command is gentle yet compelling and I obey. I stare at him in silent wonder. His heart is warm and gentle, but his desire to possess the Ring is slowly poisoning his goodness. Can I stop it in time? Will our love show him where true strength lies or will he succumb to the temptation of power?
"You're starting to improve, aren't you? First you spoke to us, then you closed and opened your eyes and now you're holding my hand."
I gently squeeze his hand in return and wish I didn't feel this weak. Talking demands too much of my strength and my vocal chords seem to have gone silent. Gimli was right; I do have to relearn many things. When the Orcs attacked me, they destroyed a large part of me and only Boromir can help me rebuild it. Maybe I can manage one word? "B-bbat--h..." My voice sounds awfully weak and the stutter worries me. How much is left of me?
Boromir's smile broadens and he beams at me.
"You wish to take that bath now?"
I close my eyes briefly, hoping he remembers it means yes. I do want to take that bath and wash the dirt off my skin. The darkness of the Mines left me tainted.
"I can undress you and lower you in to the pool. It didn't appear very deep."
Boromir... how many people misjudged you in the past? What is it that brings out this tenderness and concern? You'd defend me with your life now that you committed yourself to me. I should attempt speech once more. "W-with...y-you..."
"You want me to join you in the pool? But..."
Concern furrows his brow. "Tr-trust... you..."
"You trust me... I realize that you trust me, but you shouldn't. I don't trust myself."
And therein lies the problem. Boromir knows his weaknesses very well, but fears he won't be strong enough to resist temptation. I must show him the way... I squeeze his hand again, hoping it will urge him in to action. He understands and slowly and oh so tenderly he begins to remove my boots, socks, leggings and eventually my shirt. Naked, I shiver.
Boromir seems angry with himself and he quickly wraps me up in the silk like sheet. Thankfully I try to smile, but I am not sure the smile comes across. He lifts me in his arms and carries me in to the next room. Boromir was right; the site is stunning. The soft rustle of leaves soothes my nerves and the water radiates a warm that is most certainly inviting. He places me on the ground and then looks at me questioningly. I know what troubles him.
"Do you want me to remain clothed? I'm sure I can acquire dry clothes from the Lady Galadriel."
Twice I close my eyes, very quickly. It's my way of saying no, but does he understand? He doesn't scare me; I know he will never hurt me. It's not in his nature to inflict pain.
"Does that mean no?"
I close them once again, confirming his words.
"I'm not sure this is a wise thing to do, Legolas... What if it brings back bad memories?"
My memories are mine to worry about. Those dreadful moments will never leave me, but they don't consume me, that changed when I accepted this bond. Boromir now is my strength and the memories are losing their frightening intensity.
Finally Boromir seems to make up his mind and I watch curiously as he begins to take off his clothes. He's muscular; his body is well toned. His chest hair awakens my curiosity. I never had a lover with chest hair and I wonder how snaking my fingers through it will feel. I am tempted to let my gaze drop, but I don't. Although the memories aren't very vivid I do not want to temp them. I keep my eyes locked with his and it seems to reassure him and calm him down.
Now that he is naked as well, he removes the sheet and gathers me to his chest once more, slowly walking in to the pool filled with warm water. I can't hold back a moan of pure contentment as the water caresses my abused body. Boromir, who has gone silent, sits down and positions me between his legs. I rest my back against his chest and I sigh softly. This is bliss...
"Are you comfortable?"
He still sounds worried and trying to reassure him, I rest my head against his shoulder. The water relaxes me and I start to feel tired. Exhaustion finally catches up with me and I am tempted to just let go and fall asleep. But I can't. Boromir might panic should I become unresponsive again. No, I must remain awake.
"Could you squeeze my hand once for yes?"
His fingers slip in to mine and I squeeze weakly. Yes, I am more than comfortable. The water warms my chilly bones and brings warmth back to my blood. I finally start to feel alive again. The fact that we are skin on skin only strengthens that sensation. I smile against his chest, still marveling about the chest hair.
The silence feels comfortable and against my will I start to doze off.
"You're falling asleep... It would be best if I returned you to the bed where you can sleep comfortably."
I am too tired to reply or nod. His arms once more wrap themselves around me and lift me from the water. I instantly feel chilly, but then Boromir picks up the sheet and covers me with it. We return to the bedroom and find that Galadriel's servants have been in here, putting warm robes, food, tea and wine next to the bed which is now covered with warm blankets. They started a fire and the sound of burning wood reminds me of home, of Mirkwood.
"They are taking excellent care of us."
Boromir lowers me on to the bed and stares at the robes. I can guess what he's thinking... "No..." Robes aren't necessary; I want to feel his body heat tonight. Boromir frowns and locks eyes with me.
"No...ro...bes..." My speech is approving and I feel grateful for that. I want to be able to communicate with Boromir. I need him and he needs me. There can't be any misunderstandings between us.
Boromir's frown deepens. He's probably wondering why I trust him unconditionally, but how can I not? He pulled me back from the brink of death!
"Would you like to eat or drink something?"
Boromir removes the wet sheet and quickly covers me with the blanket. He then dries off his skin and slips beneath the covers as well, placing the tray on his lap. I lay limply in the bed and he puts several pillows beneath my back so I can sit upright. "Yes..." I study the items on the tray. There's Lembas, fruits, tea and wine. My stomach growls, reminding me I lived on berries for the last few days. My hand unsteadily reaches for the Lembas, but Boromir quickly takes hold of the bread and helps me take a bite out of it. Nothing ever tasted better!
"Tea or wine?"
My heart yearns for the sweet taste of wine, but the herbal tea will help me recover and I point at it. Boromir places the cup against my lips and I swallow greedily. The warm liquid soothes my throat and I sigh blissfully. Boromir helps me eat more Lembas, and drink more tea. I appreciate his assistance and I wonder if we will work out or if I will lose him to the lure of the Ring...
I shake my head, indicating I've had enough. Boromir disposes of the empty cup, places the tray on the floor again and pulls up the blankets. He looks at me with a slight discomfort in his eyes and he is trying hard not to make any bodily contact. I am touched by his concern but it is uncalled for. My grip is weak, but I curl my fingers around his arm, trying to pull him closer. He finally understands what I want and moves a little closer. His eyes clearly show his doubts and I want to take that doubt away, but I am still getting used to speaking aloud again. Hopefully I will be strong enough in a few days to carry a conversation with him, but now, I'm dozing off.
I press closer to him until his arms come up behind my back. I am on my side, his arms are wrapped around me and I rest my head against his chest, curling up in his arms. I feel warm and... safe. I do not want to acknowledge the remnants of fear in my mind, and his strength helps chase away the memories of a vile touch.
"Yes, go to sleep now. You're fed, warm and comfortable. I will keep watch over you..."
Boromir's promise pushes me over the edge and I slide in to a deep and healing sleep.
Boromir wondered about how vulnerable and trusting Legolas was in his arms. The Elf was a mystery to him. In spite of what had happened to Legolas, the Elf trusted him, had chosen to be bound to him. What baffled him most was how willingly Legolas accepted his help.
His fingers combed the long flaxen hair. "I really need to learn how to braid your hair..."
"I can teach you..."
Boromir startled, angry with himself for not noticing Galadriel's arrival.
"Be at ease, Boromir. You do not have anything to fear from me. I am a friend." Galadriel seemed to float in to the room. "Our Prince already looks better."
"Prince?" Boromir's gaze shifted from Galadriel to Legolas. "I did not know he is a Prince." No one had ever told him!
"He is the youngest son of King Thranduil of Mirkwood," said Galadriel, "and he is very precious to his father. Thranduil lost his wife many centuries ago and Legolas reminds him of her as he carries her features." Galadriel sat down on the side of the bed and began to braid Legolas' hair. "Watch..."
Boromir watched her agile fingers neatly braid the long hair. "I want to thank you for your hospitality. That bath was just what Legolas needed..."
"The rest will do him good as well." Galadriel had finished with one braid and chose another strand to braid. "Can you love him?"
Her frank question briefly took him aback, but then he explored his feelings and he answered truthfully. "He's fair and honorable. A great warrior and an excellent archer..." He paused, trying to sort out his feelings. "I think I already love him."
Galadriel nodded. "Your affection, your growing love is what keeps him here, what brought him back from the great halls of Mandos. He will love you in return..."
Boromir sighed deeply. "I am not worthy of his love."
Galadriel finished the second braid and then caressed Legolas' face. "You are wrong, Boromir. You are worthy of his love. The Ring holds a vast power of you, but there is a power much stronger than the lure of the One Ring."
Alarmed Boromir looked her in the eyes. How could she know about the Ring and how it affected him?
"I've seen the future... Or a possible future," hinted Galadriel. "You will be faced with a grave dilemma, my Gondorian friend. You will be forced to choose between your desire to rule and the love you bear Legolas. The choice should be easy, but on you it will be hard. Chose the Ring and death awaits... It will await not only you, but Legolas will wither away without your strength, without your love. Choose the Ring and you will condemn yourself and Legolas to certain death."
Boromir's eyes widened. "I won't ever hurt him..."
Galadriel's eyes filled with compassion. "Choose the Ring and you will die defending the hobbits. You will leave Legolas behind and you will never have known the true power of love. Choose Legolas over the Ring and you will fight many wars and emerge victorious."
Boromir could no longer meet her gaze and averted his eyes. "A dreadful future you paint."
Galadriel rose from the bed and walked to the doorway. "It is your choice, Boromir. It will always be your choice, remember that. You can always return to the right path and when you do, you will find Legolas at your side. Don't throw his love away for the Ring for it will betray and devour you." Galadriel turned about and left the room.
Boromir's hand tangled in the fair hair and although the touch comforted him, his mind remained troubled.
I feel comfortably warm and safe. Strong arms hold me close and a soft snore reaches my ears. I can't help but smile as Boromir's chest hair tickles against my cheek. I cock my head and manage to look at his face. Boromir's still asleep and all doubts and concerns fled from his features.
Blissfully I sigh and mould myself after his form, trying to soak up as much body heat as possible. Changes in his breathing alert me; he's waking up.
I smile against his chest and rub my cheek against his skin. Boromir tenses against me and I understand his fears. The Orcs put me through a very traumatic experience and Boromir doesn't know how to handle this. He doesn't know much about Elves and thinks I am fragile, but I am not, not now a connection has been established.
"Did you sleep well? Are you hungry?"
So many questions! I lock eyes with him and hear him suck in his breath. All I want is to rest in his arms, and to savor this eternal moment. Once again I attempt speech and I am relieved when I can speak more easily. Boromir's care and strength are aiding my recovery. "Stay..."
He gives me a questioning look. "Do... not... move..." I want to stay like this.
Boromir suddenly laughs and the sound vibrates through my body. He finally understand what I'm trying to say, but then his laugh fades until only a brooding expression remains. I don't like seeing that expression in his eyes.
"Why? Why do you put your trust in me? Why accept me as your mate? Why bond with me? Is it because I was the first to offer? Aragorn would have done the same thing, and even Gandalf offered..."
I know I should explain myself to him, but I am still too exhausted to speak at length. "Will... explain... in time." I curl my fingers around his and eventually entwine them, hoping this will answer his questions for now.
"I just don't understand, Legolas..."
I know you don't understand, Boromir... And it pains me to know that you think of yourself as unworthy of my love. I vow that will change in time.
Aragorn's voice startles us both. Reluctantly I look over at the doorway and find Aragorn standing there, looking at us with a bemused smile on his face. Aragorn understands me, understands our people's way, but even he must wonder why I accepted Boromir.
Boromir sounds displeased and I can't blame him. The intimacy of the moment is gone and I force myself to pay attention. Will Aragorn leave me here at Lothlorien? But then he loses the power of Boromir's sword arm as well. Allowing me to come along is risky as well because he can't depend on me. Did he already reach a decision?
"I see you made yourself comfortable?" Aragorn grinned wickedly.
Boromir's eyes narrowed. "Legolas felt cold..."
Boromir's answer amuses me and I grin. A sense of protectiveness emanates from Boromir, warming my soul. His grip is possessive and yet so unlike the tainting grip of the Orcs. This Man will love me until death does us part... He just doesn't know it yet.
"I want to talk to you about our quest..." Aragorn leaned against the doorway, not entering the room. "Do you wish to continue or to stay here?"
Aragorn's questions surprises me. I thought he already had made up his mind! Boromir relaxes slightly and I wonder about his answer.
"We won't desert you now!" said Boromir indignantly.
That's Boromir, loyal and strong. It never occurred to him to stay here and I would have disapproved if it had. I will grow stronger in time. I will remain weak for some days, but Boromir's strength will pull me through.
Aragorn sighed. "I am concerned about Legolas, Boromir. Staying here and taking care of Legolas doesn't mean you're deserting me. You must do what is best for Legolas."
"Then why don't we ask Legolas?" suggested Boromir.
Thank you... I raise my head and make eye contact with Aragorn. In his eyes I see puzzlement. He wonders why I am recovering while other Elves died after being ravaged. "We... will... come... with... you." Saying that sapped most of my strength, but Aragorn's convinced now.
"If that's your wish..." Aragorn nodded once. "We will leave tomorrow."
Boromir's fingers gently massage my scalp and I relish his touch, which is tender and full of affection. The bond is deepening and soon it will force us to complete it.
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