Disclaimer: Only borrowing Tolkienís characters for my fantasy.
Inside the Darkness
Part 18 - Healing
Lurtz and Legolas sneaked back in to the camp, seemingly unnoticed by the sentries. Lurtz's hand had settled at the small of his back, making sure he stayed close. Looking over his shoulder, Legolas privately admitted he liked Lurtz's possessiveness. It had been a long time since anyone had watched him so carefully, with so much affection and worry in his eyes. Gimli at times looked at him like that, but he suspected the Dwarf looked upon him as a son.
"What are you thinking?"
Legolas shivered, as the whispers reached his ears. "The way you look at me shows your every feeling."
Lurtz smiled and rubbed Legolas' back. "I'll never hide my feelings for you."
As they walked through the camp Lurtz felt eyes upon him. Elrond's men were staring at him. /I must look odd to them./ He had dressed in the robes Legolas had brought and his lover had even braided his hair in a similar fashion to his. Thoughtfully, he looked at Legolas. "What will happen now? Where will we go? You know that my heritage will never leave me. I can't shed my skin and become an Elf. I'll always be Uruk-Hai. Where will we be welcome?"
Legolas' eyes darkened worriedly. "We can stay with Lord Elrond," said he eventually. "He won't turn us away. We can help keep Imladris safe." What about the quest? What about Aragorn and the rest of the Fellowship? His first duty was to them. /I do not even know where they are!/ He wished he could join them, knowing his help would be most welcome, but would they welcome Lurtz as well? Nay, it was safer to stay at Imladris and help protect Elrond's safe haven.
Lurtz stopped as they reached the fire they had build earlier. The blanket was still on the ground and he signaled Legolas to sit beside him. Something he had heard came back to him. "But you are a Prince. Do you not wish to return home?" Legolas paled, and that alarmed Lurtz. "Legolas?"
"My father, King Thandruil... He loves me dearly, but... I am not sure he will understand why I choose to be you." Legolas averted his eyes. "I am his youngest son. My brother Valthoron is heir to the throne of Mirkwood. It is true that I would love to go home some day, but..."
Lurtz growled frustrated. "You should never have pursued me."
Legolas smiled warmly. "Maybe I am wrong and my father will understand. I will tell him eventually."
"And now you're bound to me for life..." Lurtz wasn't sure what the lifespan was of an Uruk-Hai. They usually died in battle within a few months.
"I do not regret the choice I made," said Legolas firmly. "I want to be with you."
Lurtz growled once more, softer this time. "I wish I could kiss you..."
"Maybe the healers at Imladris can change your fangs in to... proper teeth." His heart twisted, seeing the agony in Lurtz's eyes. "Give it time."
Lurtz nodded once, and then opened his arms. "Come, I want you close." Legolas moved in to his arms and Lurtz laid down, pulling Legolas with him. The moon was rising and it was time to rest. "Sleep."
Legolas smiled. "I do not need to sleep tonight. Elves..."
Lurtz shook his head. "Then pretend you're asleep. Elves are much too stubborn for their own good."
"Close your eyes, Legolas, and rest."
"Elves sleep with their eyes open. Did you not notice that?" Legolas enjoyed teasing Lurtz.
Lurtz groaned. "Stop talking and be quiet." Secretly he loved learning more about the Elf. What other surprises awaited him? He embraced his lover tightly, told Legolas to rest his head against his shoulder and to go to sleep. Legolas did as he was told, but the blue eyes sparkled wickedly. In the end, Lurtz closed his eyes. /A lifetime... I'll spend the rest of my life with him. When Saruman created me I never thought I'd know happiness. I didn't even know it existed and.../
"Stop brooding, Lurtz," said Legolas teasingly. "You told me to sleep and now I want you to the same."
Lurtz sighed deeply. "You'll be the death of me..." Not giving Legolas a chance to reply, he tucked the Elf's head beneath his chin. /You might not need my protection, but I like the idea of you needing me... just a little.../
Elladan inspected the camp, talked to the sentries and finally came across Lurtz and Legolas. The two men lay entangled, Lurtz holding Legolas tightly. /Elf and Uruk-Hai, I never thought I would see the day that those two would unite./ From the way Lurtz was holding Legolas he deduced that these two had done some necessary talking. /Maybe they did more than just talk./ Elladan grinned, turned about and returned to the cabin.
Instantly he grew alert, seeing Glorfindel and Elrond. Although Glorfindel was holding Elrond in his arms, the blond's eyes were troubled. Even in sleep, Glorfindel was unable to find the rest he needed.
Elrohir sat cross legged on the floor, staring in to the fire. Sensing his twin's darkening mood, Elladan sat down beside him. He took hold of his brother's hand and rubbed the fingers, trying to reassure Elrohir through touch. "You worry for him."
Elrohir nodded, knowing instinctively who Elladan was referring to. "Glorfindel worries me, aye."
Elladan looked over his shoulder at the two men. "What about Ada?"
"He is strong, much stronger than any of us. I expect him to make a full recovery within one, maybe two months and aye, he will walk again, unaided."
Reassured, Elladan nodded. "I had the litter constructed and four men will carry it. We should reach Imladris tomorrow at nightfall."
"I will keep a close eye on Ada, will you watch Glorfindel?"
"Aye, I will." Elladan leaned against his twin, resting his back against Elrohir's chest. "I am tired..."
"Then rest," said Elrohir, playing with a strand of his brother's hair, so similar to his. "I will keep watch tonight."
Elladan smiled, and enjoyed his brother's closeness. "I hope Ada does not wake up until we reach Imladris."
"I must disappoint you then. Knowing Ada, he will be awake at sunrise, tea or not." Elrohir fondly looked at his father. "He will need us, the both of us."
"We will be there for him... and for Glorfindel..." Elladan, lured in to a sleepy state by Elrohir's voice, allowed himself to drift off in to sleep. "Wake me when the sun rises?"
"Sleep, and trust in me." His brother's breathing calmed down; Elladan was asleep. His gaze shifted from Elrond and Glorfindel back to the fire; staring in to the flames he prayed for his father's recovery.
/What a gorgeous sight. One I never thought I would ever see again./ Glorfindel stroked a lock of dark hair and imprinted Elrond's features in his mind, hoping he would still remember the man he loved once he had returned to Mandos. /I cannot understand why Gil-galad said no. I would be thrilled to be able to return to you. You risked it all by sending out that call./ He was tempted to lean in closer and brush Elrond's lips, but he stopped as a sense of unworthiness swept through him. His fingertips hovered above the cut on Elrond's face, never touching. /If I were a healer I might be able to let this scar fade, but I am not.../ Sighing, he continued to stare at the raven-haired ruler of Imladris. /I love you so much.../
And Elrond had proclaimed his love in return, but Glorfindel was scared to believe Elrond was sincere. /When I returned to Arda, you did not know me, yet you did not desert me. Now I won't desert you until you are safe at Imladris with your sons./ How he longed to love Elrond back, but he couldn't. Something wouldn't let him.
Elrond's eyes, which had been vacant only a moment ago, suddenly came to life and he quickly averted his eyes, not wanting to be caught staring.
"Glorfindel?" Elrond blinked once, twice, trying to recall what had happened last. Then the memories returned to him. "My ankles..." He didn't have to see them to know they had been set, splinted and bandaged.
"They will heal," said Glorfindel softly. He was afraid to meet Elrond's eyes. "I regret adding to your pain."
Elrond's soft gaze caressed the blond's face. "You did what was necessary."
Glorfindel carefully tried to pull back, but Elrond's hands clasped his wrists, keeping him in place. Hesitantly, he looked at Elrond, uncertain what expression he would find in those beautiful eyes. "They constructed a litter and you will be carried to Imladris where the healers will tend to your injuries."
Elrond's eyes narrowed. "Glorfindel, what is troubling you? I sense a darkness inside you which I never felt before." He couldn't label the sensation, but sensing that Glorfindel's soul was shrouded in a dark mist worried him. Was it due to the head injury? The healer in him wanted to explore, but he lacked the strength to reach out and probe Glorfindel's mind. It would be some time before he could even try to heal an injury. A sudden urge to keep Glorfindel close overwhelmed him. In the past he had found that Glorfindel could vanish without a trace for days and he was in no shape to chase after the elusive Eldar. "Remember, you vowed to stay at my side." Glorfindel flinched at his words and Elrond sucked in his breath. "Do you plan to leave me then?"
Glorfindel finally managed to sit upright and he quickly rose to his feet, unwilling to meet Elrond's stare any longer. "I should leave you and make place for my successor. What use am I, who did not hear those Uruk-Hai approach? I could not protect you!"
Elrond frowned. "Did we not discuss this last night?"
Glorfindel moved toward the doorway, eager to leave, but a dark haired figure blocked his path. "Elrohir, let me go."
Elrohir shook his head. "Not until you tell us what ails you. Elladan? Escort Glorfindel back to the bed while I tell our men to get ready to leave." Elrohir briefly stepped outside and Elladan moved in closer, taking Glorfindel's arm and guiding him back to the bed.
Glorfindel wasn't sure what to do next. It looked like he was outnumbered. Elrond and the twins had teamed up against him before, but back then he hadn't felt this weak.
Elladan heard his father's hiss when Elrond tried to push himself in to a sitting position and he moved quickly to assist his father. "Sit down, Glorfindel. We are not leaving before we got to the bottom of this. Your words and behavior worries me as well."
Glorfindel sighed and sat down on the edge of the bed. His hands rested idly in his lap and his long hair hid his features. He almost flinched away when Elrond gently pushed the elusive locks behind his ear.
Elrond didn't have the strength for a verbal fight, but he hoped the twins had.
Elrohir slipped back inside, closed the door behind him and studied Glorfindel closely. "Our men are ready, but we are not leaving for Imladris until you tell us what is wrong."
Glorfindel felt cornered. "It is nothing."
Elladan and Elrohir exchanged a look, realizing they had to push Glorfindel. "Ada does not blame you for his capture, yet you do. Why are you so hard on yourself?"
"It is my duty to protect him and I failed." Glorfindel refused to meet their eyes and stared at the floor.
"I am growing tired of this," whispered Elrond. "Glorfindel, please..."
Glorfindel looked up at Elrond's pleading tone. "What?"
"Tell me..." Elrond raised his right hand and massaged the tense muscles at Glorfindel's neck. "I can only help when you tell me what is wrong."
Glorfindel shrugged noncommittally. "My heart is heavy."
Elrond sighed relieved; at least Glorfindel was willing to address this. He continued the massage, noticing how tense Glorfindel was beneath his touch. "Why? Is it because of my abduction?"
"I failed you..." Glorfindel briefly closed his eyes, suddenly eager to get this over with. Elrond and the twins had made it clear that they weren't leaving until he had bared his soul. "I do not belong here, Elrond. I should have stayed at Mandos. My coming here was a mistake."
Elrond's eyes widened. "I had no idea this was troubling you..."
Elladan cleared his throat. "Why do you not tell Ada why you answered his call back then?"
Glorfindel suddenly shot Elladan a poisonous glare. Elladan understood. /He is worried I will tell Ada Gil-galad did not want to return, but I have no desire to hurt Ada. That secret is safe with me./
Glorfindel marginally relaxed, sensing Elladan wouldn't tell Elrond this particular truth.
"Aye, why did you? You never told me." Elrond's fingers tangled in the blond's hair. Glorfindel, look at me?"
Reluctantly Glorfindel obeyed. "I was mad with myself for being arrogant in the past. When your call came I... I felt your pain, your desire to be reunited with the one you loved."
Elrond listened closely, hoping to find the real truth hidden beneath Glorfindel's carefully phrased answers. "And then...?"
"I hoped I could take some of your pain away." Glorfindel once more broke eye contact. "Mandos is a cold and solitary place. After a while your feelings fade and you forget you once loved... or hated. Your pain was very real to me and I..."
Elrond cocked his head, trying to make sense of Glorfindel's words. "Why did you answer my call?"
"Because your pain mirrored mine! I was in pain as well and..." Glorfindel tried to rise from the bed, but Elladan pushed him down again. Glaring at the older twin, he resigned himself to the interrogation.
Elrond was beginning to understand... At least he thought so. "You wanted to take my pain away..."
Glorfindel nodded. "I was not in love with you at first. I was content to be your friend and support you. But I watched you for centuries and when Celebrian left I..."
Elrond's heart contracted at the mention of his wife's name. "Celebrian is gone and will never return. She no longer holds me to our marriage vows."
"I felt it was inappropriate to tell you about my feelings and I locked them inside. I never planned to tell you..."
"But we made him..." Elladan grinned at Elrohir.
Glorfindel still sat broodingly. "I do not deserve to be loved... I merely wish to sleep forever..."
Elrond startled. "Glorfindel?" He cupped the blond's chin in the palm of his hand.
"The time has come for me to return to Mandos. Maybe there is still a way for Gil-galad to return, maybe I..." Glorfindel froze when Elladan shook his shoulders.
"You are not going to die, you hear me? We won't let you! What is wrong with you, Glorfindel? You almost seem like a completely different person!" Elladan searched Glorfindel's eyes.
Elrond placed a reassuring hand on Elladan's. "Stop it, you are only making things worse. Did you not notice he is trembling? His gaze is unfocused and his skin is much too cold to the touch." He sighed. He didn't have the energy to do this now and he would rather wait until he had grown stronger, but he couldn't. Gently, he rested the palm of his hand on Glorfindel's head, moving his fingers over the spot where Lurtz and later the attacking Uruk-Hai had struck.
"Ada, you are too weak to do this..." Elrohir watched worriedly as Elrond released his spirit, probing the injury. His father was a healer, who used his own life force, and occasionally Vilya's power to heal, but the Ring of Air was at Imladris and couldn't aid Elrond now. "Draw from me then," he offered, placing his hands on Elrond's shoulders.
Elladan sat on the bed and placed his hand on top of Elrohir's. "Ada, draw your strength from us."
Elrond's gaze was incredibly soft. Trying to heal Glorfindel from whatever was ailing him would cost energy and he had never used theirs before. "Are you sure?"
"You need our strength," repeated Elladan. "We give it freely. We cannot bear to see Glorfindel in such misery."
"Elrond, please do not do this. A healing takes too much out of you, even if you draw from them," said Glorfindel pleadingly.
But Elrond's mind was made up. "Open your mind for me and do not fight me, Glorfindel."
The blond closed his eyes and tried to relax. Something brushed at the edges of his mind and he gasped, sensing Elrond's presence. /What are you doing?/
/The memories of Mandos invaded your mind. I sense your loneliness, your feelings of despair. Mandos is pulling you closer. You must let go. You no longer dwell in its Halls, you are with me now. Do not cling to these memories for they are dragging you down./ Elrond felt the pain Glorfindel had been in when his call came, sensed Glorfindel's hope at a second chance and... Elrond drew closer, seeing Gil-galad sit in the dark halls, waving Glorfindel away when the blond tried to convince the warrior to return to Arda. But Gil-galad had lost most of his feelings and his memories, and refused. /You were afraid to tell me he denied me and you came to me instead, hoping to ease my pain./ Elrond felt saddened, realizing Glorfindel had kept this a secret for centuries; Gil-galad had refused to return... That hurt.
/I did not want you to know. I knew it would hurt you.../ Glorfindel felt confused, sensing the twins' minds as well. Elrond must have brought them with him while drawing his energy from them.
Elrond's eyes widened as he realized the truth. /He told you? You knew?/
/Glorfindel did not want you to know and we did not want to add to your pain so we remained silent./ Elladan and Elrohir spoke as one. /But we did tell Glorfindel that you had a right to know.../
Elrond concentrated on the blond once more, and let himself be drawn near the darkness. Gently, he wrapped the cold and dark in light and warmth, and the darkness retreated, grew weaker, but didn't leave. Frustrated, Elrond tried again. This darkness would eventually be the death of Glorfindel; the memories of Mandos poisoning him.
Glorfindel saw the exhaustion on Elrond's face and heard the twins sigh. /Enough, please, Elrond./
/Nay, not yet!/ Summoning his strength and his sons' one last time, he catapulted their light and warmth in to Glorfindel's mind until no corner of the blond's soul held any darkness. /It is done.../ Elrond collapsed against Elrohir and he allowed himself to fall in to a healing sleep.
Glorfindel shivered. "Elrond?" Worried he reached for the raven haired Lord of Imladris and pulled him close to his chest. Two pair of dark eyes sought out his and he met their gaze. "You should not have encouraged him! He is much too weak! What were you thinking?"
Elrohir and Elladan grinned tiredly. "I know that tone only too well," mumbled Elladan. "Thankfully we are too old for a spanking..."
"Do not remind me, brother. I could not sit for days," said Elrohir, smirking pleased.
"You deserved that spanking for scaring your father like that!" Glorfindel was about to remind them that it had been foolish to cross the Bruinen in midwinter. The ice hadn't held and Elrond and he had found the boys in the freezing water.
"Peace, Glorfindel, we learned our lesson. We won't cross any ice before making sure it is strong enough to carry us!" Elladan exchanged a pleased look with Elrohir. Glorfindel's listlessness was gone and fire burned in the sapphire eyes. "I take it you feel much better now?"
Glorfindel blinked. "You are right... I do feel better. The darkness is gone..."
Elrohir lovingly stroked his father's hair. "Ada and you can talk later. We need to leave now. I want Ada safe at Imladris."
Glorfindel looked thankfully at the twins. "I did not realize my memories weighed that heavy on my heart. They are still there, but Mandos no longer calls to me."
The twins nodded approvingly. "Then it was worth it." It would take their father even longer to recover now, but they could depend on Glorfindel once more.
Glorfindel gently lifted Elrond in his arms. "What are we waiting for? Imladris awaits!"
"Should we make camp for the night?" asked Elladan. "The men do not seem tired and we might get to Imladris at noon if we do not stop for the night."
Glorfindel looked over his shoulder and studied his men's faces. Lurtz and Legolas now carried the litter and thankfully Elrond was still sound asleep, healing. "We will carry on. Tell them they can rest once we arrive at Imladris."
"Aye..." Elladan smiled tiredly. "I never realized a healing demanded so much energy. I feel drained. How does Ada do it?"
"I caught him several times when he fainted after a healing. It takes a great deal out of him." Glorfindel sighed. "I only regret letting Mandos in to my heart." Elladan's hand settled on his shoulder and he nodded, understanding the nature of the gesture. "Do not trouble yourself, Elladan. I won't fall in to darkness again."
Elladan smiled and allowed Glorfindel to drop back. He sent several scouts ahead to make sure the road was safe and dispatched one messenger to Imladris to announce their return. Glorfindel now rode next to the litter, watching Elrond closely. Elladan met Elrohir's glance and they both smiled. Briefly he heard his twins' voices in his mind.
/All is well again, Elladan. We are returning home and Ada will recover with our help, and Glorfindel's love will help as well. Legolas and Lurtz reached an understanding and I sense a strong love in them. All is well again.../
Elladan nodded. Ada would be left with physical scars and Glorfindel with emotional ones, but they would recover. /The darkness has finally left.../ Looking at his father's face, he smiled; they were finally going home.
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