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
Elladan peered around the tree trunk and felt Elrohir's too-tight tunic pull across his shoulders. He and his brother looked a great deal alike, but Elladan was slightly broader and a little taller, something that usually precluded them from sharing clothes. There was good reason this afternoon, however, to break with custom. "I can't believe I'm doing this," he said for perhaps the tenth time. Elrohir paid him no attention, but simply hunkered down further behind a bush, waiting. "How do you even know he's coming?"
"He'll be here. I've watched him for three days--he always bathes here. And at around this time."
Elladan sighed and leaned his forehead against the trunk of the tree. He had to be insane. He did owe his brother a favour, but this was well over the top as far as he was concerned. "Just remember your promise," he commented, scowling.
Elrohir grinned. "Afraid you can't take him?"
Elladan did not rise to the bait--he was in no mood for jokes. "He's not a member of the border patrol for nothing. I can take care of myself in most situations, but if this gets out of hand . . . "
"It had better not." Elladan shifted and wished Orophin would just get on with it. He was supposed to have been at the spring by now; it would be just his luck if today the annoying Galadrim decided he was already clean enough, or went somewhere else. Then they'd have to repeat this ridiculous charade all over again another time, and he didn't want to think of the wear and tear on his nerves if that happened.
For lack of anything better to do, Elladan watched his brother, who had now all but disappeared under the bush. Elrohir was usually so level headed; this was not at all like him. Ever since he had taken up with Glorfindel, however, he had been subtly changing. Elladan personally felt that, were his younger sibling to lose out to the king, it might be a blessing in disguise. He couldn't imagine what Elrohir saw in the elf anyway. He supposed Glorfindel was attractive, if you liked males, but he was so cold. Elladan still remembered with chagrin some of the cutting remarks his old tutor had made when he was inattentive in a lesson, and he was surprised he didn't still have bruises from some of the falls he'd taken in sword practice. Even wooden swords hurt when wielded strongly enough, and he didn't recall Glorfindel ever holding back.
No, it was a mystery to him why Elrohir was practically frantic at the thought of losing Glorfindel. But, it was not Elladan's place to interfere in his brother's affairs; he certainly would not have appreciated it had the opposite been true. He could only hope Elrohir knew what he was doing. Elladan, who had had a chance to get to know Thranduil somewhat during his stay in Mirkwood, seriously doubted that any plan Elrohir could concoct would fool the king even for an instant. Thranduil was almost uncanny in the way he managed to stay three of four steps ahead of everyone else, and his intelligence was formidable. Elladan remembered a game of chess he had played with the king during which Thranduil had dictated two letters, kept up an involved conversation on politics with a visiting dignitary and dressed down his wine steward for the quality of the vintage served the night before. And he had still managed to win the game.
If Elrohir liked males, it was a mystery to him why he wasn't following the king of Mirkwood about; there was, after all, nothing cold about Thranduil. Elladan had been a good brother, however, and refrained from expressing his opinion on Elrohir's lack of taste or on the odds of his plan's success. However, good brother or no and debt or no, Elrohir had better get this right because this was NEVER happening again.
"Stop looking so tragic. It's not as if I asked you to sleep with him," Elrohir looked amused. "Although, come to think of it, that would broaden your horizons."
"My horizons are quite broad enough, thank you." That was it--the only way this whole event could possibly get any more absurd was for him to be given sexual advice by his younger brother, who had been and probably remained little more than a novice. Elladan, on the other hand, was widely experienced and thought he could be trusted to know what he did and did not like.
"You don't know what you're missing," Elrohir commented, a dreamy look crossing his features. Elladan repressed a shudder at the image his mind suddenly conjured of Elrohir and Glorfindel . . . Wonderful. That was all he needed right now.
"Neither do you."
"Shush!" Elrohir must have heard something, for he wriggled further under his bush after uttering his warning. A second later and Elladan heard it, too, a light tread through the forest undergrowth--the sound of an elf approaching with no concern about being overheard. Well, he thought grimly, it's show time.
Gildor watched as Erestor fussed about Zirak, dabbing at him hesitantly with a tiny handkerchief, doing very little to improve the elf's appearance. Gildor wasn't a healer himself, but he had gone through the basic first aid training that all Elrond's agents received, in case of injury to themselves or to a fellow operative. He had also taken care of his share of sick animals from time to time, and even performed emergency repairs on a couple of trees. Which was why Lord Erestor's actions made little sense.
It almost looked as if Erestor was afraid of Zirak, or at least wary of hurting him further. Gildor supposed that was understandable, as the elf was obviously in very serious condition, but doing nothing was not likely to help him. They were still two days' ride from Lorien where, Gildor fervently hoped, Lord Elrond would be waiting for them. Until then, they could only do a limited amount for Zirak, but even that small aid did not seem to be forthcoming. Even Lord Glorfindel, who Gildor would have sworn was afraid of nothing, seemed strangely subdued, and did not seem inclined to interfere with Erestor's efforts.
Finally, Gildor could stand it no longer. They had ridden hard all day, putting as much distance between themselves and the mountain as they could, but had paused as night fell to make camp beside a small stream. Gildor tested it and the water, although only tepid, was certainly suitable for bathing. It seemed obvious to him that the first order of business was to get Zirak cleaned up, as his feeble efforts earlier in the day had done little good, and to examine the extent of his injuries. As Erestor was making little headway with the first and none at all with the second, Gildor offered his services. To his surprise, Erestor seemed actually relieved, and Zirak's comfort was from then on Gildor's responsibility.
Bathing him was a somewhat traumatic experience, as it was not until Gildor removed his few rags that he realised just what a task Lord Elrond had before him. Personally, he would not have known where to start, although he rather thought it would be with trying to bulk him up a bit. Gildor hated to see anything underfed--for some reason it had always upset him--and Zirak was practically a skeleton. It was strangely beautiful the way the skin was stretched over his bones, highlighting his elegant form. It reminded Gildor of the delicate ivory carvings he had seen in an import shop in Gondor, but they had been artistic expressions and not meant to be representative of real, living flesh. The sight of one of the abstract works seemingly come to life was not comforting to Gildor, who found it almost painful to look at him. Fortunately, Zirak did not seem to notice his discomfort, but simply did whatever he was told without question. Gildor doubted that he was even fully aware of what was going on--there was a vacant look in his eyes, as if he was seeing things from another place or time. Gildor led him into the water, but had difficulty bathing him and holding him steady against the current at the same time. Fortunately, Haldir noticed his problem and came to help.
Together they managed to finally get Zirak semi-clean, although, when they took him from the water, he was still dingy enough that any self-respecting elf would have headed back to the bathing chambers at once. Some of the dirt embedded under his nails Gildor thought might be there permanently. Still, he had the impression that the dull sheen of Zirak's skin was due less to dirt than to illness, and hoped Lord Elrond's attentions would be sufficient to help him. Gildor had also washed his hair, although there was little that could be done for it. He was afraid to be very thorough, as clumps of the strangely textured locks kept falling out whenever he touched them. Haldir had seemed especially moved by that; Gildor had looked up to see his lover regarding a handful of Zirak's hair that had come out into his hand as he helped to bathe him. Instead of repulsed, he looked stricken--rather the same way Gildor felt.
Finally, they put a spare tunic and pair of leggings borrowed from the slightest of the Noldor on him, and wrapped the fragile elf in a warm blanket. He was persuaded to take more miruvor, although he did not seem interested in food despite Gildor's best efforts to tempt him. Gildor put him between he and Elwyyda, who curled up alongside with no apparent revulsion at his appearance; he supposed she had grown accustomed to it. Haldir spooned up behind him, and Gildor was grateful as always for his presence. Haldir was always comforting--warm and solid and practical--and Gildor suddenly missed their usual intimacy. There was nothing to be done for it now, however, but he promised himself to arrange a quiet evening alone with his lover once they returned to Lorien.
He drew Zirak more fully into his arms to keep him warm, feeling the clammy temperature of his skin despite the proximity of the fire. He forced himself to remain calm and not to think about how insubstantial the elf in his arms felt, almost as if he could dissolve at any minute. He hoped he managed not to communicate his distress to Zirak, but it was a long time before he could finally manage to sleep.
Elladan swallowed and stepped out from behind the tree as soon as he heard Orophin enter the pool. Elrohir slithered off into the forest, presumably to put the second part of his plan into effect. Elladan had about ten minutes, then, which suddenly seemed a very great deal of time, indeed. He mentally kicked himself--you've never been a coward, just do it--and walked as casually as possible towards the bathing Galadrim.
"Greetings, Orophin." His voice sounded a bit high, and Elladan forced himself to calm down. Why was he this nervous? It wasn't as if there was time for anything to actually happen . . . He was so busy trying to remain composed, that it was a few seconds before Orophin's actions registered with him. The Galadrim had retreated to the far end of the pool and was looking at him with a wild-eyed expression.
"Stay away from me!"
Elladan regarded him bemusedly. All right, this was unexpected. And he had been worried about being wrestled to the ground. "I just want to apologise for what happened the other night. You shouldn't have been treated that way." He tried to approach Orophin, as it would be a little difficult to set the scene if they were on opposite sides of the pool. However, the Galadrim resolutely kept the width of the pond between them, circling slowly in the opposite direction.
"Fine, you've apologised. Now go." He pointed to the forest, and actually made little shooing motions with his hand. Elladan blinked. What in Arda was wrong with the elf?
"I thought perhaps we could talk for a while," Elladan offered, keeping his voice low and, he hoped, soothing, as they continued their strange dance about the pond. Orophin was at a disadvantage there, as the water made rapid movements difficult, but Elladan did not want to scare him by attempting to rush things. Besides, that would hardly give the right impression.
"I have nothing to say to you." Orophin had circled around to where he had left his clothes on the bank, and he now climbed out and began to dress. Elladan watched him, wondering again at his brother's lack of taste. He didn't know Orophin personally, so perhaps he had flaws of character or a lack of wit, but there was certainly nothing wrong with him physically. His body was long and lean and perfectly proportioned, and his silvery hair almost reached his buttocks. Speaking of which . . . .Elladan shook his head and stopped admiring the way the water droplets clung to Orophin's tight skin. Elbereth, but he had been spending too much time with his brother, lately!
"I just want a few minutes of your time. We need to talk." Elladan knew his time was running out and Thranduil would be passing by at any moment. He wasn't sure how Elrohir planned to arrange it, but it wasn't his problem. His part in all this was simply to insure that, when the king did pass by, he saw an elf whom he would hopefully believe to be Elrohir, in a tight embrace with Orophin. His brother had insisted that Thranduil would never drop his guard enough to be deceived unless he believed Elrohir had given up on Glorfindel and was no longer a factor. So, step one in his brother's insane bid to keep his lover, was to pretend that an affair was taking place between he and the border guard. Not surprisingly, it didn't seem to be working.
Elladan saw with irritation that Orophin had thrown on his tunic and was reaching for his leggings, showing no interest in even responding to his comment. He was not accustomed to having prospective partners treat him this way, and the fact that Orophin was male and presumably believed him to be Elrohir did not lessen the insult. It was also a factor that he was running out of time. No, make that was out of time, Elladan thought, hearing approaching footsteps. Abandoning words, he launched himself at Orophin, grabbed his head and pulled him into as passionate a kiss as he could manage. To his surprise, he found that it was not that much different than kissing a female, although the body against his own was most decidedly male.
On the theory that anything worth doing is worth doing right, Elladan dropped a hand to one of Orophin's sleek, wet buttocks, which he kneaded gently, while keeping the other hand behind his neck to insure that he didn't escape from their kiss. For a brief instant, Orophin responded, pressing himself hard against Elladan and winding one well-muscled leg about him. It felt surprisingly good, which rather worried Elladan who suddenly wondered what might happen if the king decided to stay for an extended show. But then Orophin wrenched himself out of Elladan's embrace and ran off into the forest, with no explanation and still half clothed. Elladan frowned, hoping the king hadn't witnessed that, only to hear his brother's familiar laughter echoing around the glade.
"What is so funny?" Elladan adjusted his tunic before turning, to make sure he didn't afford his brother any more amusement by allowing him to notice his current state. It was nothing, he told himself--a normal reaction to any type of physical intimacy. It didn't mean anything.
"The great lover is rebuffed at last!" Elrohir was almost rolling on the forest floor in mirth, and he was alone.
"I thought the king was supposed to be with you? This had better not be some type of joke at my expense, brother."
"No, no." Elrohir made what looked like a genuine attempt to contain himself. "He wasn't in the library. Father just arrived and threw everything into a tizzy as no one was expecting him until tomorrow. We'll have to try again--after you've worked on your technique!"
"Very amusing. May I remind you, however, that I just fulfilled my part of this charade? If you couldn't get the king here, that's your problem, not mine."
Elrohir regarded him narrowly. "It seems to me that it was a good thing that I couldn't manage it, as that was hardly a convincing performance. What did you do to him? He fled like a whole band of orcs was after him."
"No, just one very enraged seneschal. Elrohir, I really think you need to rethink this plan. Orophin is scared witless of Glorfindel. He isn't going to cooperate."
"But we only need a few minutes!" Elrohir looked incensed. "This is just like him, you know. When I wanted him to leave me be, he was constantly underfoot. Now that I need him for one small favour, he can't bear to be in the same area!"
"Well perhaps you would have more success if you did this yourself. I am, after all, not the object of his affection."
"No. I can't. I told you--after what happened, if I get too close to him, I'm likely to stick a knife in him! He deceived me, and he'll pay for that--but Thranduil comes first. And you WILL help me brother," Elrohir said, eyes flashing, "it is a simple thing I ask of you, and considering the number of times I have covered for your indiscretions . . . "
Elladan sighed. Sometimes, having a brother was a great trial. "What exactly do you want me to do?"
Celeborn was becoming worried. Elrond and Thranduil had greeted each other like long lost friends, which they most certainly were not, and spent the majority of the afternoon engaged in a long conversation in the king's quarters, in which a series of supposed emergencies had kept Celeborn from participating. Even more disturbing was the fact that those emergencies were obviously contrived, and he strongly suspected the hand of the king in at least some of them. So, Thranduil wanted to talk to Elrond, who was suddenly very friendly with his old enemy, without Celeborn's presence. This did not bode well. The only thing that somewhat comforted Celeborn was that his wife had had to remain in Imladris, as someone had to protect that fair land while its ruling family and chief officers were all away.
Celeborn finally gave up and, after dealing with yet another contrived problem, retired to his library. It could be, he thought, settling behind his desk, that he had been a trifle harsh in a few of the comments he'd made to Thranduil three nights ago. But then, the king's actions had been truly without precedent; really, one would expect more self-control than that from an elf of his age. Still, he had perhaps been too hasty, as, after all, no actual damage had been done. He decided that he would make an opportunity to speak with Thranduil after dinner, to patch things up somewhat. He supposed he had better have a talk with Elrond, too, just to insure that his son-in-law didn't use this trip to Lorien to try to obtain revenge for that little incident in Imladris. Yes, Celeborn decided, suddenly feeling somewhat more cheerful. He would arrange a discussion tonight, and work everything out.
"All right. THIS will work."
"That's what you said last time." Elladan regarded the small vial in his hand dubiously. "I don't like it. What if it poisons him? I know you don't like him, but . . . "
"It won't poison him. Just remember, a few drops only! Any more than that, and the Valar alone know what it might do to him. Just put it in his wine or something--it's supposed to be tasteless. Still, it's probably best to use one of the darker wines, like that Berdruskan Thranduil favours. That's heavy enough to disguise anything."
Elladan put aside the fact that he had no idea if Orophin even liked Berdruskan--he personally found it too intense to accompany most foods--and kept to the point. "I am not drugging Orophin until I know exactly what this is, where you obtained it, and if there are any risks." Elladan glared at his brother who glared back. After a moment, Elrohir gave in, as Elladan had known he would. He needed his help, after all.
"Fine. As I told you, it is a powerful aphrodisiac that will make it impossible for him to ignore you again. All you have to do is get him alone in the library for a few minutes--say, half an hour after he's ingested this--and let nature take its course. But," Elrohir added quickly, seeing his brother's expression, "I will see that the king is steered your way quickly, and once he is convinced that I am really involved with Haldir's brother and leaves, I'll rush in and rescue you. Don't worry, everything will be fine."
Elladan seriously doubted that. What concerned him more, however, was Elrohir's attempt to avoid answering his question fully. "And you obtained this magic elixir where?"
Elrohir sighed. "If you must know, I was worried about keeping Glorfindel's attentions, so I briefly experimented with various ways of . . . spicing up our relationship. I never had cause to use this, though, so I can't actually tell you what its effects are."
Elladan crossed his arms and looked at him. "Very well," Elrohir sighed. "I bought it from one of the gypsies who visited Imladris--you remember Deya?"
Elladan repressed a smile. Oh, did he remember Deya. Now THAT had been an interesting evening. "She gave you this?," he looked at the small vial with more interest. Anything Deya cooked up was bound to have possibilities.
"Gave? Hardly. It cost me a fortune. Still, she said it would work, and that it is harmless, but she was quite insistent on not overdoing the dosage. As I said, a few drops should be sufficient."
Elladan nodded. If Deya made it, it probably was all right, although that meant that it would probably work, too. Which led him to the prospect of spending his evening being chased about the library by a sex crazed Galadrim. He sighed. Maybe he should have stayed in Imladris, after all. "Very well, but I am warning you, brother. This is the last time. If anything goes wrong tonight . . . "
"It won't, at least not on my end. You just make sure to get that in his glass."
Which had seemed easy enough, Elladan thought. Until, that is, a servant had accidentally knocked over Orophin's wine glass before he could drink any of it, forcing Elladan to have to go to plan B. Grabbing a nearby bottle of Berdruskan Dark, he managed to tip the little vial into it while seeming to be simply removing the cork. He wasn't sure, but he thought the size of the bottle, which was substantial, should make the dosage about right per glass. He would just have to make sure no one else but Orophin drank any.
Disaster struck just as he put the drugged wine back on the table, making sure that it was close by Orophin's place. Before he could protest, Thranduil, seated a few places down from them beside Celeborn, gave a pleased cry and leaned over to grab the bottle. Elladan sat frozen, unable to react in his surprise. Later, he would wish that he had knocked the thing to the floor and, if necessary, stomped on it to insure that it would never be consumed, but at the moment he could think of no response that would not look extremely odd. So he simply watched with horrified eyes as Thranduil began extolling the merits of this particular vintage to Elrond and Celeborn, and filled their glasses--really big glasses, Elladan noted with dismay--with the deep burgundy liquid.
He had no idea what to do, and Elrohir was not around to help, as they had decided it would be a good idea that Orophin not see them together until the charade had been played out. So, he simply sat, watching with steadily mounting concern as the three at the head of the table slowly emptied the large bottle. He could only hope that the food they had eaten would retard the effects somewhat, although they surely had consumed several times the recommended dosage by the end of the meal. Watching as Thranduil exited the dining hall after dinner, his arms flung affectionately about the shoulders of Celeborn and Elrond, Elladan began to seriously worry. Oh, Elbereth! He had to find his brother.
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