Disclaimer: Only borrowing Tolkienís characters for my fantasy.
Inside the Darkness
Part 8 - Questions
Lurtz ignored the two guards that remained standing at the entrance to Elrond's study, realizing damn well that he was lucky to be allowed to enter Imladris. The fact that both Legolas and Glorfindel had spoken on his behave also surprised him. Well, he had almost expected it from Legolas, stubborn as the Elf was, speaking up to the Lord of Imladris, but why had Glorfindel helped? The Elf was now blind because of him!
"Lurtz? I do not feel well." Making that admittance was hard on Legolas, who liked to think he could handle anything on his own. But his head was spinning and he had lost all sensation in his right leg, while his injured wrist still throbbed with pain.
"Lie down then," said Lurtz softly, lowering Legolas on to the couch in the corner of Elrond's study. "It won't be long now. Elrond will look after you."
Smirking, Legolas looked in to Lurtz's eyes. "I am so glad you are still here. Maybe you could use the opportunity to clean up. You do look like mess."
Lurtz then did something he had never done before; he blushed. Luckily it didn't show beneath his dark complexion. "I look like a mess because you dragged me in to hazardous situations."
"And how do you figure that one?" The nausea was getting worse and Legolas concentrated on their conversation instead.
"The storm, the river, the Orcs attacking us... All because of you," said Lurtz teasingly, wondering if he had ever teased someone before. Only Legolas seemed to awake that need in him. /Needs... I need to touch him, stroke his hair, feel his chest rise... He is alive.../
Suddenly Elrond entered the room, followed by another dark-haired Elf. "This is my son Elrohir. He will assist me. I think the two of you met before."
Legolas nodded once. "Aye, we did... At your council." And Legolas had had problems telling the twins apart. In the end he had concentrated on their eyes, finding Elrohir's slightly softer.
Lurtz noticed the way the twin's eyes studied him and he did not look away. Instead, he got to his feet and faced Elrohir directly, daring him to say something about his presence.
Elrohir quickly joined his father, listening and obeying Elrond's orders.
"Remove that filthy bandage..." ordered Elrond while preparing clean bandages. His gaze traveled from Legolas to Lurtz and the concern in the Uruk-Hai's dark eyes seemed strangely out of place. When Gandalf had told him about the new race Saruman had created he had thought them bereft of any warm emotions, but now he might have to admit he was wrong. "You might want to hold him in place," said Elrond, addressing Lurtz. "Setting the bone will be painful."
Legolas tensed. Painful? He could deal with the pain, but his headache was growing worse. "I can manage..." He should have felt trapped when Lurtz's big hands settled on his shoulders, but he didn't. To his surprise he found that he enjoyed the other man's closeness. The bond between them was growing stronger.
Elrohir cut away the dirty bandages and gasped, seeing the extent of the injury. Questioningly he looked at his father. Could Elrond save Legolas' leg?
Elrond's eyes darkened to near black, seeing the injury. "You should have come earlier."
"We hurried here," assured Lurtz the healer. /Luckily I found Legolas in time. He would never have made it here alive on his own./
Elrond leaned in closer and caught Legolas' elusive glance with his. "Repairing the damage will be immensely painful. I want to give you something against the pain first. You will fall asleep and be spared the terrible pain." Elrond was surprised to find that Legolas' gaze shifted to Lurtz.
"Take the offer." Lurtz nodded firmly. "I will remain close."
Elrond raised an eyebrow, sensing a deepening trust between Elf and Uruk-Hai.
"I accept your offer, Master Elrond," said Legolas eventually. He hoped they didn't think him a coward to accept the sleeping potion.
Elrond signaled Elrohir to prepare the potion and then the younger twin handed the goblet to his father. But Elrond handed it to Lurtz instead.
Lurtz's eyes revealed gratitude when he accepted the goblet. "Sit up." He helped Legolas in to an upright position and then placed the goblet at the Elf's lips. "Sip slowly..."
Legolas obeyed. The warm liquid flowed down his throat and he sighed at the pleasant sensation. He already began to feel sleepy and his draped eyes searched and found Lurtz'.
Lurtz smiled and nodded. "I understand..."
Legolas returned the smile. His eyes lost their alert expression as he drifted off in to a healing sleep.
Lurtz looked at Elrond, almost expecting to be removed from the room now Legolas was asleep. But Elrond signaled him to lower Legolas on to the couch again and Lurtz remained in contact with Legolas by fingering a lock of soft hair.
Elrond turned his attention to the ugly leg injury, telling Elrohir to hand him a set of clean bandages. He looked at Lurtz and frowned. "You care about him."
Lurtz nodded once. "I found him in a cave after he fought Orcs and I haven't left his side since then."
Elrond noticed the tenderness to Lurtz's touch when the Uruk-Hai pushed some stray locks behind Legolas' ears. This was not the time to really address this issue. First he needed to concentrate on the injury. "I think I can save his leg."
"That is good news indeed." Lurtz stayed true to his word and remained at Legolas' side the whole time while Elrond worked on setting the bone.
After long moments the bone was aligned again and Elrohir handed his father more bandages. Elrond first applied a salve to the infected parts and then bandaged the wound. "He will be bed ridden for at least one week. Elrohir, I no longer need you... You may be excused."
Elrohir exchanged a look with his father and left, eager to seek out his twin.
Now that Legolas' worst injury had been taken care of, Elrond examined the younger Elf more closely.
"His right wrist is injured... And that's my fault," admitted Lurtz.
"What happened?" asked Elrond while he manipulated Legolas' injured wrist.
"My memories took over and I was under orders to subdue him...When I realized I was hurting him the memories left." Shamefaced, Lurtz averted his eyes. "I am a danger to him and yet he refuses to let me go."
Elrond finished binding Legolas' wrist. "Where would you go then? Back to Isengard?"
Lurtz shrugged his shoulders. "Where else could I go? I am Saruman's."
Intrigued, Elrond searched Lurtz's eyes. "How much do you remember?"
"Everything... But Legolas doesn't know. I do not want him to worry about me when he is in pain himself." Now the time had come to ask some questions of his own. "Why did you welcome me in Imladris? Aren't you afraid I will turn against you and betray Legolas and Imladris?"
Elrond walked over to the window and looked at his beautiful Rivendell. "I cannot look in to your heart, but when I looked in to your eyes I did not see any evil."
Lurtz didn't want to leave Legolas' side, but he rose and joined Elrond at the window. At that moment he realized how dirty and evil he looked, compared to the radiant Lord of Imladris. Maybe he should follow Legolas' suggestion to get cleaned up. "I vow not to betray you willingly, but there is always the danger of my dark side taking over. You should be aware of this."
Elrond nodded. "I understand your private struggle, but you did well, taking Legolas here and in the process you earned his trust."
Lurtz beamed with pride at hearing Elrond's words.
Elrond chuckled softly. "My guards will take you to your rooms and once Legolas can be carried there he will join you. He is safe here. My sons and I will watch over him. Why do you not take a bath and I will provide for new clothes? That is if you do not mind wearing robes and tunics."
Lurtz's eyes settled on Legolas' sleeping form. "Thank you for your hospitality."
Elrond signaled his guards to approach. "Take our guest to his rooms and make sure he is comfortable. I will visit with you later."
Realizing he was being dismissed, Lurtz began to turn around, but leaving Legolas behind was hard.
"Prince Legolas is in the best hands. I assure you he will be fine," assured Elrond Lurtz.
In the end, Lurtz sighed and followed the guards in to the corridor. Looking over his shoulder, he cast one last look at Legolas. The Elf was sound asleep and finally healing.
Elrond hurried to Glorfindel's chambers. Now that he had tended to Legolas' injuries, he was most eager to check on his seneschal and best friend. He didn't bother to knock and entered quickly, relieved to find Elladan and Elrohir in Glorfindel's room. He smiled, hearing Glorfindel curse softly.
"I do not need you to watch over me! I can take care of myself!" Glorfindel promptly bumped into a table. "By the Valar, what's this table doing here?"
Elladan and Elrohir gave their father a concerned look. They had tried to keep Glorfindel in bed, but the blond Elf had insisted he wasn't severely injured. "We tried..." started Elladan, "but he does not listen," finished Elrohir.
"Who are you talking to?" Glorfindel spun around, nearly lost his balance and was forced to lean against the wall for support.
"Leave us. I will take care of him," said Elrond, advancing on Glorfindel. He registered the grin on his sons' faces before they left and then turned to his friend. "Stop being stubborn, meldir, and allow me to look after you."
Glorfindel wanted to shake his head, but didn't dare risk the motion. His head throbbed painfully and even his neck ached. Lying down was the sensible thing to do and he knew it, but he refused to admit his weakness. "I should be patrolling the borders and not being confined to this room!"
Elrond recognized the fear and vulnerability beneath the words. "Glorfindel, I know being blind is hard on you, but you must allow me to examine your injury. Maybe this condition is not permanent."
Growing hopeful at hearing those words, Glorfindel lifted his eyes, wondering if he was looking at Elrond or not. "I can no longer carry out my duties without help. I failed you."
"You could never fail me, meldir." Elrond placed a hand on his seneschal's shoulder and guided Glorfindel back to the bed. "I want you to lie down on your stomach so I can examine the injury. Trust me, Glorfindel, I will be gentle."
Elrond's last remark made Glorfindel chuckle softly. "Gentle... I can endure the pain, my lord."
"But why endure pain when it is not necessary?" Elrond helped Glorfindel to lie down on his stomach. The healer then gently brushed the long hair aside and removed the bloodied bandage. Tenderly he examined the injury. "You hit your head hard, maybe against a rock?" Elrond frowned when Glorfindel didn't answer. "Do not fall asleep, meldir."
"I am still awake," whispered Glorfindel, but Elrond's gentle touch had lured him in to a state of relaxation he had never known before. During the last thousand years he had wondered about his feelings for his Lord, realizing they went deeper than loyalty and friendship. He craved a different touch, a lover's touch, but Elrond had never shown such an interest in him and he had never pursued the Lord of Imladris.
"I will renew the bandage and I want you to rest during the next few days. You will experience some headaches and vertigo, but you should fully recover. Now tell me how you got injured." Elrond uncovered the bandages he had brought with him and after cleaning the wound he applied the clean bandages.
"I detected the Uruk-Hai's presence and his closeness to the borders worried me. I wanted to question him, but he managed to surprise me in turn. He flung me to the ground and I hit my head..."
"I wonder about him. Legolas seems to trust him though." Elrond finished bandaging Glorfindel's head and helped his friend when Glorfindel rolled on to his side, facing him. /What is it like, being blind?/
"My lord, you should keep a close eye on the Uruk-Hai. I would guard him myself, but..."
Elrond tasted the sadness in his friend's words and he instinctively curled his fingers around Glorfindel's. "Do not worry about Imladris' safety. You organized its defenses well and it can do without you... but only for a few days," added Elrond, seeing Glorfindel's crestfallen look.
Glorfindel was desperate to change their subject. He felt far too emotional to be discussing this with the one he secretly loved. "What about Prince Legolas? Could you save his leg?"
"Aye, he will also make a full recovery." Elrond allowed his emotions to show on his face now that Glorfindel couldn't see them. /I worry about you, meldir. What will being blind do to you?/
Glorfindel stifled a yawn, under the impression that Elrond didn't deem it safe for him to sleep. Being blind made him feel helpless and he didn't particularly like the feeling. He would rather travel to the Halls of Mandos and back again, but he had to endure this blindness. "Do you think it is only temporary or permanent?"
"I am counting on your healing powers to restore the damage. It will be a few days before we will find out..." Elrond smiled warmly.
Glorfindel grinned as well, but then sobered quickly. "Thank you for giving me hope, milord." Sleepiness crept up on him. "Can I sleep now or must I stay awake?"
"You do not seem concussed," said Elrond tenderly, while stroking the fair hair. "You can go to sleep and let the healing start. Do not worry about the Uruk-Hai, I will keep my eye on him." Seeing the expression in Glorfindel's eyes become vacant, he leaned in closer and pressed a chaste kiss on his seneschal's brow. "And I will keep a close eye on you, meldir..." How he longed to bury his face in the soft blond hair and to inhale the other's scent. But it was a luxury he couldn't indulge in and he forced himself to be content by looking at his friend. His heart craved admitting his feelings to Glorfindel, but he was fairly certain that the other Elf didn't return those feelings. For the last five hundred years he had suffered in silence and he would continue to do so for the rest of his life.
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