Disclaimer: I own nothing, except the plotline and my precious, evil mind.
Warnings: BDSM. Be warned--this is a very naughty fic. I am a bad person and I promise I'll be spanked later (and hopefully often).
A/N: This is a continuation of my previous Unspoken story arc (and yes, I know, it is getting entirely out of hand.) Read them in order--Unspoken/Revelations/Changes/One Last Time/Quid Pro Quo--or prepare to be confused and to miss inside jokes.
By Rune Dancer
He had been having a wonderful dream. He was in a place of light and beauty, laughter and song, with plenty of food and a blissful absence of pain. He did not know where this place was, or who the shadowy figures who populated it might be, but that did not matter. He did not even know his own face anymore. He had once spent as much time as he dared, when the overseers momentarily left him alone, staring into the dark pools in the center of this endless cavern of stone. The torch-light had allowed him to just make out his haggard features in the murky water, but what he had seen was no more familiar to him than the face of a stranger.
He vaguely thought that once, long ago, his hair had been dark and silky, not the wispy white strands that now framed his face; and perhaps he had not always looked so weak, almost translucent, as if part of his body had faded along with his memory. It had been impossible to tell in his poor mirror what colour his eyes were, but he rather thought that perhaps they had been blue . . . It did not matter anyway, and these days, he no longer even bothered to look. Nothing was of importance except continuing the dream for as long as possible. To awake was to return to pain, darkness and despair.
He thought, in some part of his mind that was still able to function, that the dream world he saw had once been real. In another place and time, he had known happiness, almost a foreign concept to him now, and health, instead of this constant weariness and unrelieved pain. Once he had stood proud, not constantly bent with aches some part of his mind insisted he should not have. Then others had listened to his words with respect, instead of beating him if he even dared to raise his eyes from the ground. Yet, whenever he tried to focus on those memories, or to see his dreams more clearly, waves of pain flooded through him and awareness of anything was soon blotted out. It was still important to him to see the face of the one who always seemed to be by his side, but never quite within vision range--a presence that, although hidden, felt familiar. Yet he never could, for even trying to focus on that one brought pain quicker and more sharply than anything else.
He had learned through the seemingly endless years to remain still, as the beautiful dream people danced in front of his vision and charming music played somewhere out of sight. That way, occasionally, something new would edge its way into his vision, and he could add another tiny fragment to the largely blank canvass of his mind. He did this more for lack of anything better to do, rather than a burning curiosity to know who he was, what his name had been and what had happened to him. Those questions had once fired his mind, but the centuries, the almost unceasing work and the regular torture inflicted by his captors had largely convinced him that it was irrelevant. He would die here, he knew that now, in the dark and the damp, and never again see the light of the stars.
Elwyyda blinked as a sudden flood of light hit her eyes when the hood was removed. She immediately turned on her captor and bit him as hard as she could. She'd have rather taken an axe to him, but her hands had been securely bound behind her and anyway, she had not had anything that remotely resembled a weapon in so long that she doubted she would know what to do with one. The light surprised her, though, for the mountain was always dark, for the goblins hated the day. Then, as large hands slipped a gag into her mouth, she had a chance to look about and see that, wherever this strange place was, it was assuredly not the mountain.
She looked up to see shapes slowly coalesce around her as her eyes adjusted. The one immediately in front of her was nursing a wounded hand, and looking at her in high annoyance. She would have lunged for him again, except that, first, strong hands were now holding her firmly around both bound arms, and, second, her brain finally registered the fact that she was not, in fact, looking at an orc. Instead, the creature who glared at her as he wrapped his hand in a handkerchief was . . .
"Zirak!," she tried to grab him, but could only struggle uselessly against her captors. But no, wait. It could not be he. Zirak was much thinner and his hair, though light, did not have the same sheen; it looked like dirty cotton, but had once had a silver tint to it. That was why she had given him his name, meaning silver in the tongue of her people. This one's hair was like spun gold, and he wore a sapphire tunic of a fine weave, not dirty rags. But they had the same eyes, a bright, true blue, and a light seemed to radiate from both of them. This one, then, must be another like Zirak. She had occasionally seen them in the mines, but only from a distance. Reassured that, at least, it was not the goblins who had found her, she stilled and waited.
"A dwarf! I might have known. Why didn't the guards gag her?," the one that was not Zirak asked, his voice as fair as the words were harsh.
Another of the shining ones answered, "They gave her drugged wine to render her unconscious. One underfed dwarvish female is hardly a threat in any case. Besides, she is here to talk and a gag might make that somewhat difficult. Please, Haldir, stand aside and let Gildor try. He has been known to have success in these cases." The voice came from over her shoulder, so she could not see who spoke, but another of the bright ones approached and caught her attention. He was dark of hair and eyes, but there was a gentleness about him that reminded her even more of Zirak than the other.
He smiled down at her, and his eyes were kind. "If I remove the gag, will you speak with us a time? We will not hurt you."
Elwyyda nodded cautiously, and the cloth was removed from her mouth. The dark one gestured and the hands holding her arms were withdrawn. He removed the strange, grey rope, freeing her from her bonds, but she was not deceived. The golden haired one behind him was armed, with a long, well made knife at his belt, and he looked at her with suspicion. She glanced about and saw four other shining ones, one near each of the exits to the large, round room. Getting out of here was not going to be easy, but she was determined to try. She was NOT going back there; she would gladly die first.
"I am called Gildor," the dark one, who had seated himself on the floor before her, said as easily as if they had known each other all their lives. It was strange, Elwyyda thought, but she almost felt as if they had. This one reminded her of Zirak so much that it was necessary to remind herself that it was not, could not, be he. But, she thought, examining the one before her carefully, perhaps this was what he would have looked like, had not the goblins so delighted in torturing him. "Why did you call me . . . Zirak, was it?"
Elwyyda would have preferred to say nothing, but she had so long been conditioned to answer or suffer greatly for it, that her response was almost automatic. "You are like him. You look like him." Her voice sounded rough, even to own her ears, compared with the lilting quality of this Gildor's, but he did not seem to notice. The golden one winced, however, as if the sounds hurt his delicate ears. She smiled grimly; the goblins made noises that would cause him considerably more pain than her attempts at speech. She felt like telling him that dwarvish voices, too, could be fair, but not when they had spent most of their lives either unused or screaming in agony. Still, what was the use? Elwyyda was not accustomed to wasting effort--better to hoard your strength for survival.
"How do I look like him?" The question seemed an innocent one, and Gildor's eyes were large and clear, not narrowed in hate as the orcs' usually were.
Elwyyda considered for a moment, then reached out a tentative hand to touch his arm where it glowed beyond the short sleeve of his tunic. "You shine," she whispered, astonished at the feel of his skin. She had never known anything like it. Even Zirak's was not so fine. The golden one stepped forward, a warning on his lips, but Gildor glanced at him and he did not interfere.
"And Zirak shone?" Gildor asked, more urgency in his tone, but he did not draw back from her touch. She just nodded, feeling suddenly shy. Her clothes were torn and stained, and had originally been cast offs from another prisoner who had not survived. Aule knew how long it had been since they were actually clean. She had not seen her reflection in so long that she had no idea what she looked like, but knew her appearance must be terribly rough in comparison to the beautiful creature in front of her. Even Zirak was not so fair, she thought in amazement. This one's voice was almost like music when he asked her, "So Zirak is not a dwarf, then?"
Elwyyda shook her head. She suddenly longed for a bath, to be clean and dressed in fine clothes like Gildor. She glanced down at her hands, with their scars and calluses and the collective dirt of years of harsh work in the mines, and wished that they could be clean and soft like his. But even then, she thought sadly, they would still be stubby and clumsy, while his hands were almost works of art . . .
The golden one said something in a language she did not know. At least Elydda thought it must be a language, for Gildor replied in similar sounds. But it was not anything like Khuzdul or Westron. She contented herself with examining Gildor more closely, and found it beautiful how the sunlight coming through the high windows of the room gilded his dark lashes. Finally, he turned back to her. "Can you describe him for me?" When she hesitated, Gildor scrambled to his feet. "Is he my height?"
Elwyyda walked slowly around him, trying to remember. For some reason, she wanted to answer this one well. "Maybe. But you are straight."
"And he is not? He does not stand straight?"
She shook her head, then hunched over slightly. "Like this," and she walked with the bent, dragging stumble that was all she had ever seen Zirak use. His foot had been injured once, long before she came, and the mine passages, although plenty high for the orcs who never walked fully erect, caused him constantly to have to bend over. She supposed he had become used to it.
Gildor nodded thoughtfully. "And what else? Is he dark like me or," and he indicated the golden one, "fair like Haldir? Oh, forgive me, this is my partner, Haldir of Lorien." The other one and Elwyyda both looked at Gildor as though he was mad, to introduce her as if she was some kind of equal, but neither commented.
After a moment, Elwyyda shook her head slightly and answered his question. "No, not like you or him," she shot a look of irritation at Haldir, who was scowling at her again. "Zirak is . . . ", she sighed and looked about. It was hard to speak, to remember the words. There had been few needed in the mines, and over the years, one just forgot them.
"Like this?" Gildor summoned another of the shining ones, this time with black hair and eyes that gleamed. "This is Lord Erestor," he added, smiling as he introduced them. Elwyyda wanted to ask him to stop doing that, as it was . . . inappropriate somehow. She was a mine slave, and an escaped one at that. Introducing her to people who wore fine clothing and smelled of spices and flowers was . . . well, it was almost obscene. She could not imagine what she was even doing here, but Gildor's warm brown eyes were regarding her expectantly, so she shook her head. He did not seem upset, but simply called over another elf.
Elwyyda noticed that the door nearest her, by which the black haired one had been standing, was now unguarded, but she did not try to run towards it. She did not know what lay beyond it, and did not want to anger these people. She had yet to see an orc, but they could be waiting outside to take her back if she displeased the bright ones. She had escaped by showing infinite patience, always watching for her chance. She could do so again. In the meantime, why not tell them? What more harm could be done to Zirak by them or anyone else? In the mines, death was sometimes preferable to life, when the pain became too great. She had long thought that was the case for him, but he had been her friend and she had refrained from saying so. When he wished to die, he would.
"Like those." She pointed at the robes worn by this latest addition to their little group. He was true zirak--hair and eyes and clothes--so bright that he almost blinded her. "Like that one."
"Silver? Oh, but of course--Zirak, what else?"
Elwyyda watched as the bright ones spoke together in their pretty language. It was strange, like singing instead of speech . . . She swayed slightly on her feet, but did not fall. Showing weakness in the mines would get you killed. Her mother had died because she fell over in her exhaustion, and the orcs had simply kicked her off into a chasm. Elwyyda had been only a child then, but she remembered. Through the years, she had learned to sleep standing up if need be, but she wished her fatigue would leave her now. She did not want to sleep only to wake up and find that she was back in the mines. She had slept very little since her escape, for that reason.
"You are fatigued." Gildor put a hand on her shoulder, but his touch was gentle. "Come, I will show you where you can rest."
"And . . . ," she was too tired to think of the word, although it was a simple one.
Gildor did not seem to notice. "And eat and wash and everything you want. Come with me," and he smiled at her again. Elwydda thought suddenly that she would follow this one anywhere if he continued to look at her like that.
Haldir finally managed to escape from the-meeting-that-would-not-end and immediately headed for Elladan's rooms. He had one more duty to perform that day before he could, finally, manage some time with his lover, and he wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. He had been suffering from steadily mounting frustration for several days and it had finally become extreme. It seemed as if the world was conspiring to keep him away from Gildor. Every time they tried to be alone, someone or something interrupted--often his lust-crazed brother, who was going to get himself killed if he didn't find another object of affection.
Glorfindel hadn't seemed to notice the situation yet, probably because he was frequently stuck in meetings, but it was only a matter of time. And, of course, he might not have to do anything in the first place, as Elrohir was well on the way to finishing off Orophin all by himself. In the last two days, Orophin had been tripped, stepped on and almost tipped off the edge of a talan, and those were just the incidents Haldir knew about. The Valar alone knew what was happening besides. At this rate his stubborn brother would need to return to the Northern Fences for a holiday--killing a few orcs would be positively restful compared to his treatment in the city lately.
Haldir paused in the corridor, head cocked, listening. High-pitched feminine giggles echoed dimly from beyond Elladan's closed door. Of course. He should have known. Elladan had been here less than a day, much of which had been spent greeting his grandparents, and yet here he was, already . . . occupied. Haldir should have nabbed him as soon as he showed up at the borders. He hated to be interrupted himself, especially as it had been happening all too frequently of late, and therefore decided to return later, hoping to catch Elladan free for a moment or two. They really had to discuss their respective brothers before something truly unfortunate happened.
He was just turning away as the door opened and Elladan appeared, tunic awry and a satisfied grin on his face, supported on each side by an elf maid in a similar state of disarray. Haldir's eyes narrowed as he recognized Celebrethil and Ithilessar both of whom he had favoured with his attentions in the past. Of course, he had a permanent lover now, but still . . . It was positively indecent the way they were hanging all over Elladan, not that the elf seemed to mind in the slightest. It quickly became obvious that none of them was in any condition to have a serious discussion, although they cheerfully invited Haldir to accompany them to the baths. He declined, watching with half irritation and half amusement as the three headed slowly down the corridor. The maidens did their best to keep Elladan walking a somewhat straight line, but as they had apparently been tippling a bit along with him, the three merely succeeded in lurching in tandem down the hall. They bounced off one last wall before disappearing from sight, still giggling like maniacs.
Oh well, Haldir thought, cheering up. He'd try again after dinner. Perhaps, if he was quick, he could catch Elladan as he left the dining hall, assuming he didn't drown in the baths and managed to sober up enough to attend the meal. In the meantime, maybe he could catch Gildor alone for a few minutes before someone or something intervened. He went off humming happily. His good mood lasted just long enough for him to return to their room; there he discovered his companion busy attempting, of all things, to fix the hair of that ridiculous dwarf Thranduil's spies had dragged in. By the look of things, Gildor was not enjoying the experience, but wore the expression Haldir had learned meant that he intended to stay with something until he finished it. Haldir had often had reason to be very grateful for his persistence; this wasn't, however, one of those times.
Haldir watched Gildor struggle with the creature's severely matted locks for a few minutes before crossing the room and taking the comb away from him. "Go. Sit. I'll do this." If he didn't, any chance of some time alone would be lost. He was glad to see that Gildor had persuaded it to bathe at some point and had dressed it in one of his tunics. Unfortunately it was a new one--the bright red about which he had very fond feelings as the last time they had . . . interacted . . . Gildor had been wearing it. Well, he wouldn't again, Haldir thought in disgust. The bath the creature had taken needed to be repeated--maybe a few dozen times--and what WAS that in its hair? He wrinkled up his nose at the smell that wafted up from the stiff substance beneath his hands and saw Gildor glare at him. What was wrong with the elf today?
Haldir, of course, knew the answer to that, which was why he tried to be as gentle as possible while imposing order on the mess before him. Gildor adopted things--cats with only one leg, birds with broken wings, wounded humans--virtually anything that looked helpless was impossible for him to ignore. Haldir had seen the menagerie of deformed creatures he had collected on his travels and brought back to Imladris, where most of them made serious nuisances of themselves thereafter. He'd persuaded Gildor to leave his collection behind, assuring him that they would be more comfortable in familiar surroundings, so he supposed it shouldn't surprise him that his lover had found a substitute. Haldir rather thought he'd prefer another three-legged cat.
The little dwarf sat stiffly under his hands while he worked. Gildor calmed down when he saw that Haldir intended to take good care of it and stretched out on the divan, smiling at the two of them. Haldir continued his work, but his eyes were on his companion more than they were the dwarf. Gildor looked wonderful. His tunic was wet in front from, Haldir supposed, the sopping hair of the dwarf on which he'd been working, and it outlined a beautifully sculpted chest. He was wearing a faded green ensemble in soft, much washed cotton that hugged every contour. It also, Haldir thought dreamily, brought out the green flecks in his eyes that were often not noticeable. He picked up the pace a little on his work, but tried to avoid pulling its hair in the process, as he preferred to keep Gildor in a good mood. Elbereth! It would be easier just to cut the mess off and let it grow again!
Finally, after what felt like half an age, Haldir managed to work through most of the tangles. Some few remained, but he would have liked to see anyone defeat them. Gildor checked his work and agreed--they would have some cutting to do. "But tomorrow, I think," Haldir said smoothly. "The poor child is tired now. Let her rest. I assume rooms have been assigned?" Gildor agreed that they had, and escorted the thing away, promising to return shortly. Haldir smiled after him, then hurried about, making preparations. They still had an hour or so before dinner, and he did not intend to waste it.
By the time Gildor returned, Haldir had tidied up the room, changed into a sky blue silk robe and reclined gracefully on the divan. He smiled invitingly as Gildor entered, but his lover didn't appear to notice. Instead, he pulled his damp tunic over his head and began to root around in the wardrobe for another, delighting Haldir with the view of a well toned back tapering down to perfect buttocks that were straining against his tight fitting leggings. The day was definitely looking up.
"I think they may be right, Haldir," Gildor commented, giving up on the wardrobe and starting to look through his bags in search of something clean and relatively wrinkle free. "In fact, the situation may be even more grave than we thought. I had a chance to talk to Elwyyda some more and she described seeing several of the "shining ones" as she calls us, at work in the mines. As she was restricted to only one area, there may be even more that she doesn't know about."
Haldir sighed. Gildor did not seem to be in the appropriate mood. "That's impossible. If a large group of elves suddenly went missing, it would certainly be noticed. And I refuse to believe that any elves could be held captive for any length of time by goblins--and as mine slaves at that! They would have found a way free or died trying. No elf would, or could, live like that." Haldir moved over to Gildor, who was now rooting around under the bed. His lover had many good traits, but tidiness was not among them. "Leave it," he murmured. "For what I have in mind, you won't need clothing."
Gildor shot him an amused look, but continued his search. "Dinner is in an hour and I have to look respectable."
"We'll skip it." Haldir decided that he could see Elladan later; the elf probably wouldn't be at the meal anyway, if he remembered his former companions' talents as well as he thought he did.
"We can't skip it. What if they want to ask me about what else Elwyyda said?"
"Then they can come and find us," Haldir murmured, pushing him back onto the bed.
"But . . . this is important, Haldir . . . ," Gildor began, but his complaints tapered off as Haldir let his robe fall to the floor. He wore nothing beneath it, and Gildor swallowed, looking torn. Haldir didn't wait to see if lust or duty would win out, but covered Gildor's body with his own.
"So is this," he replied, turning his attentions full on his charming companion, who squirmed into a more comfortable position on the bed but continued his train of thought.
"But . . . she said that Zirak had been there a very long time. That an old dwarf who had been caught years before told her that Zirak was there when he arrived, so who can say how long ago he was captured? Perhaps so much time has passed that no one remembers."
Haldir nuzzled the base of Gildor's neck, savouring his spicy sent. "Elves do not simply go missing, Gildor. Someone would have gone looking for any that did, and recorded their loss if they could not be found. It simply isn't possible. Besides, what kind of name is that for an elf?"
"But, do we not have to assume she is telling the truth?" Gildor's voice became a little breathless as Haldir began kissing a trail down his chest. "We have to investigate--can you imagine elves, perhaps lost for centuries, forced to work deep underground?" A shudder ran through him at the very thought. Haldir agreed--he personally could think of no greater torment for a lover of the stars and wide-open spaces--but wished Gildor would not worry himself so over something so unlikely.
"Someone could have paid her to say these things," Haldir commented, tugging at the lightweight fabric of Gildor's leggings, slowly revealing the beauty within. "It could be nothing more than an attempt to lure us into a trap. Besides, she is a dwarf. You cannot trust anything they say. She could simply be telling you what she thinks you want to hear." He dipped his head to pleasure Gildor, only to find his previously willing lover sliding out from beneath him to stand at the bedside, regarding him in annoyance.
"You can't really believe that." Gildor had no idea of the sight he made, Haldir thought dizzily, with his hands on his hips, his leggings around his ankles, and his skin slightly flushed. Haldir had never seen anything so beautiful, or anything he wanted more. He reached for him, but Gildor attempted to move back, apparently intent on finishing their discussion. Thankfully his leggings tripped him up and Haldir quickly followed him to the floor.
"I'll believe anything you like, lirimaer, but I would prefer to discuss it another time." Capturing Gildor's lips in an insistent kiss, he insured that further debate was impossible. He would never get tired of this, he thought, sighing into his lover's mouth, while sliding a hand down his silky back to caress his perfect cheeks. The oil was on the bedside table, easily within reach, and Haldir smiled as his fingers closed around it. Finally!
Suddenly, Haldir couldn't stand it any more and flipped Gildor over on the soft rug beneath them. "I need you now, melethryn," he growled, finding with ease his companion's small entrance and gently pressing an oil-slicked finger within it. As always, Gildor was warm and velvet soft inside. As Haldir pushed a little deeper, his lover's flesh clutched tightly around his fingers. Perfect! It was all Haldir could do not to hurry things any further. He had sworn to himself never to risk hurting Gildor, however, and he kept his promise, carefully preparing him until he could easily accept three fingers. Oh, Haldir thought as he finally positioned himself between his lover's thighs, how very much he needed this . . .
"Haldir . . .," Gildor was breathing heavily, "I think that was a knock at the door."
"No, it wasn't." Haldir had heard, but was determined to ignore it. If it was Orophin, he didn't think even brotherly affection would save him. The knock came again, louder this time, and Haldir could have cried with frustration. NO! Not again! "Ignore it," he told Gildor desperately, but his lover was already sliding from beneath him.
"Haldir, it could be from the council--Lord Celeborn or King Thranduil may wish to see us." Before he could stop him, Gildor had flung on Haldir's discarded robe and opened the door, using his body to shield his lover from view. Erestor's amused black eyes nonetheless peered around Gildor's broad shoulder to twinkle at Haldir, who was lying wretched and unfulfilled on the floor. Haldir was too miserable to care. He must have offended some deity at some point, and the Valar were amusing themselves tormenting him. It was the only explanation.
"So sorry to, er, interrupt," Erestor commented, grinning like the fiend he was. "But your presence is requested in Lord Celeborn's chambers. We'll be dining informally tonight." His eyes ran over Haldir's form appreciatively. "Not quite THAT informally, however . . . more's the pity."
"I don't suppose," Haldir commented wearily, "that you could stall them for, say, fifteen minutes?"
Erestor laughed. "My dear Haldir, is that all you need?" He clucked his tongue. "How very disappointing." Haldir glared at him, but it did not seem to have much of an effect. "In any case, I am afraid not. Lord Celeborn was most insistent that I fetch you right away. Cheer up, young one--there will be time for play later."
Haldir did not bother to comment as he painfully hauled himself to his feet, going to look for his loosest clothes. After dinner, he promised himself, as he tossed Gildor one of his own robes and met his partner's sympathetic gaze. Come what may--up to and including a massive orc invasion--he was going to take Gildor to bed and keep him there, possibly for a week.
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