By Any Means Necessary
Elladan left his bed, unable to listen to his brother’s muffled sobs any longer. For the last hour Elrohir had tried to hide the fact that he was crying and hearing the pitiful sounds was tearing him apart. Soundlessly he left his own bed and padded over to his brother’s, where he sat down on the side. “Elrohir? Can I sleep in your bed tonight?”
Elrohir grew motionless, realizing his twin was at his side now. “Go back to bed, êl, (star) and leave me be.”
“Nay, I cannot do that. My heart won’t let me.” He didn’t wait for Elrohir’s permission to slip into bed and curled up around his younger brother. The presence of the nightshirt irritated him, thinking that Elrohir would feel more protected and cherished if they were skin on skin. “Remove this offending garment?”
But Elrohir shook his head determinedly. “Nay, do not ask that of me.” Although he wouldn’t grow aroused in his current state, he didn’t want to risk anything. Who knew how Elladan might react in the morning when his arousal would be obvious.
“Will you tell me what is wrong with you? Do not be this silent. Trust in me.”
Elrohir knew he had to tell his brother something plausible or else Elladan might not leave him in peace. In the end he opted for part of the truth. “My head hurts.”
Elladan frowned. He had suffered from headaches occasionally, mostly after indulging in too much wine, but Elrohir hadn’t drunk any wine at all. “Allow me.” He moved about until he sat upright and then pulled Elrohir between his parted legs. His twin tensed slightly, but didn’t pull away. /What is causing this rift between us? I do not understand./
Elrohir moaned blissfully when his twin began to massage his neck. Occasionally the long, agile fingers slid upwards, until they reached his temples, massaging those as well. Under Elladan’s gentle touch his headache began to fade away. “That feels so good,” he purred contentedly. He allowed himself a brief moment of bliss, simply enjoying being touched in this way by his brother.
Leaning against Elladan, he reveled in his brother’s warmth and affection. /I do not need him to make love to me. Just feeling him this close is enough./ But he was lying to himself. What he really wanted was to kiss Elladan and feel his brother’s hands caress his body. But he couldn’t have that and this was the next best thing. Now that he was growing relaxed, he finally began to fall asleep.
Elladan felt Elrohir go limp and wrapped his arms around his brother’s sleeping form. Right now he finally felt close to Elrohir. It was a pity that during his brother’s waking hours, Elrohir did his best to keep him at a distance. Focusing on his twin, he frowned, realizing Elrohir’s skin felt icy cold to the touch. What was even worse, was that his twin was beginning to tremble.
He pulled up the blankets and covered Elrohir with them. Then he moved about until they were both in a comfortable sleeping position. Spooned up behind his brother, Elladan held him protectively throughout the night.
The next morning Elrohir woke feeling energetic and cheerful for the first time in days. The first thing he grew aware of was Elladan’s warm body spooned behind him and he allowed himself the luxury of feeling cherished. Closing his eyes, he gave into the fantasies that haunted him. They had never felt this real before.
With his eyes closed, it was easy to imagine Elladan aroused, spooned up behind him with his hard flesh pressed against his buttocks. Elladan’s hand would reach for him, curl its fingers around his aching shaft and bring him to orgasm with a few firm strokes.
His eyes opened with a start, realizing these thoughts were making him hard. He had to stop himself from feeling this way and he quickly pictured himself in his father’s study, being stared at in loathing because Elladan and Elrond had found out about his shameful thoughts. They would banish him from Imladris and he would spend the rest of his days wandering Arda, always burdened by his disgrace.
Those images sobered him rather quickly and his arousal diminished. He had to get out of his bed and away from Elladan. But his older brother had a tight hold on him and it was impossible to slip away. “Let me go, êl.”
Elladan registered his twin’s words even in his sleep. Although he was reluctant to let go, he complied, figuring his brother needed to use the bathroom. Why else would Elrohir want to leave this warm nest they had created? “Come back quickly,” he mumbled, reluctantly letting go.
Swallowing hard, Elrohir fled the bed and turned around to look at his older brother. Elladan was utterly desirable at that moment. Long, tangled, dark hair spilled over his body and pillow, and the red, luscious lips were slightly pouted. The sheet had slipped, revealing narrow hips and a thigh. Elrohir quickly looked away, and fled into the bathroom. He closed the door behind him and leaned against it. Cursing the fact that he couldn’t lock the door, he prayed Elladan would stay asleep a little longer.
Removing his nightshirt he flung it onto the floor and curled his fingers around his throbbing erection. His body ached for his touch and he was painfully hard. He had never given in to his need before with Elladan this close, but he had to find release before his body betrayed him in front of his twin. Stroking himself to release, he hated feeling this way – for *acting* this way. His feelings controlled him and that realization brought tears to his eyes. Finally reaching orgasm, he sobbed quietly, hating himself for not being stronger – hating himself for giving in.
He sobbed like a nervous wreck, as he slid down the door until he ended up sitting cross-legged on the floor. “Why me? Why?”
Unknown to Elrohir, Elladan stood at the other side of the door. The elder twin’s eyes were also full of tears, hearing his brother sob. He wished he could open the door, storm inside and wrap Elrohir in a protective hug, but his twin had left their bed to be alone. /What do I do, Elrohir? How can I help you?/
Both half-Elves felt utterly alone and desperate without the other’s comforting touch.
“Erestor?” Thranduil made eye-contact with the raven-haired Elf, who had pulled up a chair to sit close to him. “Glorfindel stayed behind to cover Elrond’s back and he will arrive shortly. Would you wait for him and then bring him here? I am sure he will want to see with his own eyes that Elrond is recovering.”
Erestor nodded his head, approving of the idea, but then he caught sight of Arien; the sun was setting. It wouldn’t be long before the Shadow would torment Thranduil again. “I will try to be back in time.”
Thranduil understood. “Hurry back to me.” Dotingly looking at Erestor, Thranduil raised a hand and caressed the dark-haired Elf’s face. “I will remain here tonight to watch over Elrond and I need you at my side to give me strength.”
“I will be there,” vowed Erestor passionately. He didn’t really know why he leaned in closer to claim the Sindarin Elf’s lips, but he did, and he felt reluctant to pull away again, but duty called. “Be strong for me.”
Sadness appeared in Thranduil’s eyes, watching the Noldorin Elf leave. /I have to find a way to make sure he stays in Mirkwood. I cannot bear the thought of him returning to Imladris. I need him close./
Pushing his melancholy aside, he leaned in closer to check on his charge. He rested a hand on the half-Elf’s brow and shivered at the chilly skin which his fingertips encountered. Calling for a servant, he ordered fresh spring water and hot tea to be brought. Elrond needed fluids and drinking would stimulate the half-Elf to sweat even harder.
The Elf who returned wasn’t the servant he had sent to fetch the tea. A white-haired Elf, probably Sindarin, stepped into the room, carrying a tray filled with water, hot tea and slices of bread. Thranduil’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Do I know you?”
“My name is Lindir and I am Lord Erestor’s secretary. I accompanied him here and he asked me to look after you during his absence.” Lindir involuntarily held his breath. Thranduil didn’t look he was capable of throwing him out, but then again, he was King here and had to be obeyed when issuing an order. “He also asked me to make sure you eat.” His hand trembled slightly when offering Thranduil a cup of tea and a slice of bread.
Thranduil considered telling Lindir in no uncertain terms that he didn’t need a minder, but somehow he felt deeply touched that Erestor worried enough about him to make sure he wasn’t alone. “Put the tray down next to the bed.”
Lindir did as he was told and his breath caught, seeing his Lord in such a pitiful state. Never before had Elrond been this utterly helpless and his heart went out to the half-Elf. “Will he recover?”
“I hope so,” said Thranduil, sipping his tea. He soaked a small piece of bread in the tea and forced himself to eat it. Seeing that Lindir was about to leave again, he told the Elf to stay. “Move to the other side of the bed.” He had to check on Elrond’s injuries and required Lindir’s assistance.
After carefully peeling the blankets from Elrond’s body, he lifted the bandages to check on the half-Elf’s side. “Hand me that wooden bowl, Lindir.”
Lindir obeyed and watched closely as Thranduil added more salve to the injured area.
After redressing the wound, Thranduil addressed Lindir again. “In order to check on his shoulder we need to roll him onto his stomach, but we must be careful.”
Together they rolled Elrond onto his stomach and Lindir assisted Thranduil when the King applied more salve and then clean bandages.
“I cannot help but notice that he is sweating profusely,” said Lindir softly. “Maybe he would feel more comfortable without all those blankets?”
Thranduil shook his head. “He needs to sweat, Lindir. It is the only way to drive the spider’s venom from his body.”
Lindir now understood and helped Thranduil roll Elrond onto his back again. He stepped away from the bed when Thranduil piled the blankets on top of the half-Elf’s body and was about to leave, when the King told him to stay.
“Elrond needs to drink. Fill a glass with water and help me.” Thranduil sat down on the side of the bed and carefully raised Elrond’s head until the half-Elf was able to swallow a few mouthfuls of water.
The entire time Lindir watched Thranduil with great interest. When Elrond had sent Erestor and him here, he had expected to encounter a harsh and arrogant ruler, but Thranduil was taking care of Elrond with the utmost care and caution. He decided he liked Thranduil.
“You may leave now,” said Thranduil once Elrond was resting comfortably. Lindir nodded and silently left, leaving the tea, water and food behind, hoping Thranduil would eat more of it.
But Thranduil’s mood was darkening now that clouds obscured Ithil from his view. In his mind, the whispering started again, mocking him, telling him to surrender to the Ring and pledge allegiance to the Dark One. “Never,” he hissed sharply, knowing he would pay for his defiance later. “I will never give in.”
Elrond groaned and for one moment Thranduil worried that the Shadow was now attacking the half-Elf. “Leave him alone. It is me you want.”
And the Shadow left Elrond alone, but not because of Thranduil’s words. It sensed the power of Vilya and knew better than to touch the half-Elf’s mind. It would extract its revenge later, when Thranduil was finally asleep.
Elrond gradually became aware of his surroundings. He had woken up because of the warmth that was burning his body and he drowsily searched his surroundings. Seeing Thranduil seated slumped over in a chair, his memories returned to him. The spiders had attacked and injured him, and Glorfindel had sent him to Thranduil in search of help. He had arrived safely and he vaguely remembered talking to the Sindarin Elf before seeing Erestor. His chief advisor’s presence had reassured him and he had given in to his fatigue.
When he had arrived he had been immobile. He hadn’t been able to move at all. But now he managed to slightly cock his head to get a better view of Thranduil. For a moment he thought the other asleep, but then the haunted eyes met with his. Thranduil was very much awake. Had he regained his ability to speak as well? He decided to try. “W-w…G-gl…” He had wanted to ask about Glorfindel, but his tongue refused to cooperate.
Thranduil did his best to ignore the malignant whispering in his head and leaned in closer. Although he had no idea what Elrond was trying to say, he read the question effortlessly in the other’s mind. “Glorfindel hasn’t arrived yet. I sent Erestor to bring him here the moment he does.”
Elrond realized Thranduil had resorted to reading his mind, and at any other time he would have been offended by that breach of privacy, but right now he was relieved he could communicate at all.
“I won’t trespass,” promised Thranduil. “I am only reading your mind to know how you fare. Would you like some more water? You must be thirsty.”
Elrond nodded; Thranduil was right. He tried to sit upright, but his body burned and he felt sluggish. In the end it was Thranduil who supported his head so he could sip the water. “T-th…” He lacked the energy to finish the words.
“You are welcome,” said Thranduil in a gentle tone, as he guided Elrond’s head back onto the pillow. “You should rest some more.”
Elrond managed a weak smile. He was relieved that the paralysis was lessening in intensity. He had seldom felt so frightened. It made him wonder though. Why was Thranduil helping him?
Picking up on that question, Thranduil leaned back into the comfort of the chair. He was using up a lot of energy which he couldn’t spare to read Elrond’s mind. He had to keep the whispers at bay and focus on Elrond at the same time. Oh, he needed Erestor close. Why had he sent the Noldorin Elf away?
After moistening his lips, he addressed Elrond in a soft and gentle tone. “As I said before, I detest the spiders and I won’t allow them to make more victims.”
Elrond wondered if that was the only reason.
Sighing, Thranduil nodded. “You are right; of course I have more reasons to help you.” His voice became barely audible. “I loved you once. It was a life time ago, but… You are still beautiful and compassionate.” Thranduil averted his eyes and quickly changed their subject. “You seem to be improving. I will ask one of the healers to sit with you until Erestor and Glorfindel return. I am certain you prefer their company to mine.”
/Nay, do not leave yet./ Elrond wanted to reach out and keep Thranduil from leaving, but his body refused to cooperate. But the Sindarin Elf had stopped in his movements and now sat back down again. Elrond felt relieved now that he had kept the other from leaving.
Thranduil felt confused now that Elrond wanted him to stay. “I won’t leave you then, but you should to go back to sleep.” The whispering in his mind was growing stronger and he longingly looked at the doorway, willing Erestor to appear. /Hurry to me, Erestor, I need you. The pressure is growing too strong./
Looking at Elrond, he found him asleep once more. The half-Elf hadn’t witnessed his distress, then. /Please, Erestor… I need you!/
Glorfindel rode ruthlessly, driving Asfaloth to near exhaustion, but at long last he finally reached the talan. A group of Elves was already waiting for him and he quickly slipped off Asfaloth’s back, begging the horse for forgiveness for riding him in that violent manner. Looking to one Elf, he asked him to take good care of the stallion.
He felt relieved, when Erestor walked toward him. “Meldir, I have never been happier to see you!” He quickly embraced Erestor and then stared at the dark-haired Elf with dread in his eyes. “Elrond… Did Thranduil help him?” He didn’t dare to think of what might have happened if Thranduil refused Elrond. “Is he… Is he still alive?”
Erestor nodded and rested a hand on the blond’s arm in an effort to reassure him. “Thranduil is looking after Elrond and trust me, that is no easy feat considering his poor health.”
Frowning, Glorfindel wondered what Erestor was talking about, but he could find out later. “Would you please take me to Elrond?” Erestor had known for decades about his attraction to the half-Elf and had never betrayed his trust, keeping it from Elrond. Maybe he should confide in Erestor again. “I have to see him.”
Noticing the change in the blond, Erestor smiled, whilst guiding the Elda toward their destination. “I take it things changed between the two of you during my absence?”
Glorfindel swallowed nervously. “I told him that I loved him and he accepted. I declared my love for him only moments before the attack. I cannot lose him now, mellon-nîn.”
“You won’t lose him,” said Erestor reassuringly, continuing to guide his friend, who was trembling with nervousness and apprehension. “When I left Elrond, he was awake, yet paralyzed. Thranduil expects Elrond to feel weak for a few days, but he should recover eventually.”
Glorfindel allowed himself to relax. “That is good news. However, I must admit to being surprised that Thranduil looked after Elrond himself.”
“There is a lot about Thranduil that I need to tell you, but this is not the time for it,” said Erestor firmly. “For now you must believe me when I say that Thranduil is a friend. He does not mean us any harm .”
Glorfindel chose to believe Erestor, for it would make the coming hours easier. “Where is he? I…” Before he was able to finish his sentence, he found himself in the same room as Elrond. The half-Elf was partly hidden beneath a pile of blankets and he immediately headed toward Elrond, barely paying attention to the Elf sitting next to the bed.
“Melamin, can you hear me? Elrond? Please?” Glorfindel stared at Elrond in concern and then glanced at Erestor, hoping to receive some sort of explanation for the half-Elf’s condition.
Erestor quickly moved toward Thranduil and came to a standstill behind the Elf. He placed his hands on the Sindarin Elf’s shoulder, allowing for some of his energy to seep down the link and strengthen Thranduil. The connection between them flared alive, bursting out in red hot flame and for the first time Erestor realized just how strong the Shadow was, as he joined Thranduil in fighting it.
“Why isn’t he responding?” asked Glorfindel concerned. “Can he hear me? Is he just asleep or—“ Abruptly he stopped talking, meeting haunted emerald eyes. He had seen those before, but… “Thranduil?” This couldn’t be the Ruler of Mirkwood! Thranduil had long, golden hair, not grey, lifeless strands. The sunken features couldn’t be Thranduil’s!
“Aye, it is I,” said Thranduil in a hollow voice that revealed his exhaustion. “Be assured that he will recover. Only a few hours ago he could not move at all, and now he can cock his head again. He will be back on his feet again in a few days.”
Glorfindel stared at Thranduil in shock. “What happened to you?”
“’Tis not the time to discuss this,” said Erestor, taking charge. “Glorfindel, do you want to sit with Elrond? One of the healers will remain close and Lindir is at your disposal as well.”
“All you have to do is to keep him warm and to make sure he drinks lots of water,” said Thranduil in a hoarse tone. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could fight the Shadow and he longed to be alone with Erestor. “I will change the dressings first thing in the morning.” Suddenly his eyes closed. “I am tired, so tired.”
“Allow me.” Erestor helped Thranduil to his feet and supported the Sindarin Elf as they made their way to the doorway. Looking over his shoulder he made eye-contact with Glorfindel and said, “I won’t be able to return here tonight, but should you need me or Thranduil, tell one of the servants and we will see what we can do.”
Glorfindel’s eyes narrowed slightly at hearing the ‘we’. He knew why Erestor had been sent to Mirkwood, but his instincts told him a lot of things were being kept of him. He nodded once and then watched Erestor lead Thranduil into the corridor. He hadn’t expected to feel sorry for Thranduil, but he did, seeing the actual state the King was in. Legolas had been sincere when telling them that his father was dying.
“Meleth-nîn, I won’t leave your side ever again.” He didn’t care what the healers would think of his action when he removed his arms, cloak, boots, and breeches, and clad only in a shirt, he lay down on the bed, embracing Elrond tightly. Holding the half-Elf in his arms, he watched over his lover for the remainder of the night.
“Sit down and rest,” said Erestor, easing Thranduil onto the bed. Gently, he began to remove the other’s clothing until Thranduil was naked. He helped his charge to lie down and then stripped himself. He felt distinctly less uncomfortable than last night when he lay down next to Thranduil, burying him in a possessive embrace.
Thranduil’s eyes were filled with ghastly visions and Erestor sent the Sindarin Elf all the energy he could spare. “Do you want to talk or…?”
“I want to sleep,” whispered Thranduil brokenly. “The Shadow is growing stronger -- at least it feels that way. It is getting harder to fight. If it weren’t for you, it would have consumed me last night.”
Erestor sighed deeply. “Let me help you in whatever way possible.” Leaning in closer, he claimed Thranduil’s lips. They lost each other in the desperate kiss and for some time, their growing love kept the Shadow at bay.
Elrond’s eyes fluttered open and the first thing he saw was Glorfindel’s golden mane. The Elda was close, holding him and his sapphire eyes now sparkled between the strands of silken hair. “You…’re here…” whispered Elrond fatigued. His tongue still refused to completely obey him, but that no longer mattered now that Glorfindel was this near.
Brushing a lock of wayward, dark hair behind one of Elrond’s slightly pointed ears, Glorfindel smiled relieved. “I was so scared I would never hear your voice again… Or touch you. I was afraid Thranduil would refuse to help you and…” Tears gathered in the blue orbs.
“I’m… fine…” mumbled Elrond, trying to reassure his lover. It was the truth. He was fine now that they had been reunited. “Don’t… leave…”
Glorfindel’s response was to tighten his hold on the half-Elf.
Reassured that Glorfindel was here to stay, Elrond drifted off into a healing sleep.
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