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
Haldir was as fractious as he could ever remember being without cause. Of course, in truth he had a cause, just not one he could admit to anyone. He regarded his lover through slitted eyes and decided that Gildor was being deliberately cruel. The fact that he looked incredibly enticing this morning, fine dark hair escaping from his usual messy braids to frame his sculpted features, did not help. He had spent most of the previous afternoon looking after that cursed dwarf, who he insisted must see a healer regardless of the fact that she'd been with them half a week and shown no ill effects from her foolish escape. Then he wasted an entire evening finding clothes to fit her, commenting that she could hardly continue to wear his spare tunics, and then insisted on accompanying her to dinner to make sure she ate.
Haldir had simply not been able to believe that Gildor was spending their first day back with the dwarf, and had become so incensed over it that he packed his belongings and moved from Gildor's guest room in the royal talan back to his own quarters. Upon arrival, however, he found Orophin and Elladan enjoying themselves in the main room, and they had continued to do so most of the night, keeping him awake as the partition walls were thin and they did not bother to attempt to be quiet. Then, on top of a very long week and a sleepless night, he had to endure Gildor's performance at breakfast, which went beyond all bounds.
Haldir did not make it a habit to frequent the communal tables kept by the lord and lady. Technically, as part of the border patrol, he was free to avail himself of his lords' hospitality whenever he was in Caras Galadhon, but he disliked the needless formality of it, preferring the more boisterous company, if less elegant cuisine, available at the barracks. He had inherited his family talan, so had no reason to live with the other guards in off duty periods, but he could and often did eat with them. This morning, however, he had shown up at the royal banqueting hall to give Gildor, who as a guest of the lord and lady would certainly eat there, a chance to apologise.
Unfortunately for his mood, Gildor did not seem to understand that he had done anything requiring an apology, just greeted Haldir lovingly as usual, then turned his attention back to the miserable excuse for a creature at his side, to whom he was explaining the contents of the dishes being served. Haldir sat and fumed, yet part of him could not help but admire the way the sun's rays, slanting through the high windows of the chamber, limned every feature of his lover's face with an outline of gold. Gildor didn't seemingly notice his agitation, but he must have sensed something for, innocent brown eyes still on Elwyyda as he promised to take her for a tour of the city, he began to run a warm foot under Haldir's leggings.
It was all Haldir could manage to remain seated quietly across from him, and to content himself merely with a glare. He had never, in all his life since entering fenneth, been this long without physical intimacy, yet his lover was promising the whole day to that ridiculous creature instead of making plans to spend it with him, and then TEASING him with it, and in such a very effective way. Haldir shifted position, but it only made things worse, as Gildor's probing foot left his calf only to slide sensuously up his inner thigh, as a mischievous twinkle lit his eyes. By the Valar, he was laughing at him!
Haldir jumped up from the table, murmured an apology to the servant behind him who he almost sent sprawling in his hurry, and fled. Oh, Gildor was going to pay for this, he thought grimly. Two could play that game, and he was better at it.
Elwyyda was having a wonderful time. The previous evening, she and Gildor had gone to the shopping district of Caras Galadhon in search of new clothes for her and a surprise for Haldir. She couldn't imagine why Gildor wanted to buy the elf a gift, for he never did anything except scowl. She personally thought Gildor needed to find a new friend, but did not know him well enough to say so. She did not want to risk annoying him by commenting on his personal life, as he was the only thing keeping her from running away again as fast as her feet could carry her.
Elwyyda was extremely uncomfortable in the royal talan. Having been brought up from childhood in the mines, she felt very uncertain of herself in other surroundings. Her first night in Lorien had been a nightmare, beginning with the elf maid who brought her dinner and watched in horrified fascination as she ate. Elwyyda had known something was wrong, but could not think what that might be: she had eaten most of the strange food, much of which she did not recognize, without complaint, and had even thought to wipe her hands, which had become rather sticky because of the strange substance glazing the meat, on her tunic rather than allowing them to soil the elegant furnishings of the guest room. This had not seemed to please the maid, however, who looked at her strangely before finally taking the tray away.
Her open disdain had been only the first of many shocks for Elwyyda that night. She had spent years underground in almost complete darkness, sleeping on a thin pallet wedged underneath a stone overhang in the slaves' chambers. She had preferred it that way, as it was better that the orcs not be reminded of her presence, and the shadow of the rock had effectively hidden her. Zirak had had no such refuge, being too large to fit under the small shelf, and the goblins had sometimes amused themselves torturing him just for amusement when they noticed him trying to sleep. Now Elwyyda could not feel comfortable lying on top of the large bed with only the high ceiling of the room above her. She also did not like the candles that burnt in large sconces everywhere, making the room dazzlingly bright to her eyes, but she was afraid to snuff them out as she had no permission to do so, and anyway, wasn't tall enough to reach them.
The food and sleeping arrangements had been of small import, however, next to the lecture she received from the outraged servant who discovered that she had relieved herself in a large bucket in which a small tree was planted. It was a pretty bucket, made of molded bronze, but she could not see that she had harmed it, and at least she had not used the floor. She had thought about tipping its contents off the edge of the talan, but had been afraid to hit someone below with it and the tree made it too heavy to lift. In the mines, she had always known what to do. Slaves had a cave that was used for such things, and garbage was dumped there as well, into a crevasse that cut so far into the earth that no one knew how far down it went. But there was no such cave or room here, at least not that she had seen, and she had been in extreme discomfort . . . Nonetheless, apparently it had been the wrong thing to do, as the elf had taken the bucket away after scolding her in broken Westron that she was glad she could not fully understand.
She had seen reflected in the eyes of all those about her nothing but disgust. That was true especially of Haldir, who had fixed her hair at Gildor's insistence, but made it obvious that he did not like touching her. She had not seen those emotions in Gildor's eyes, but he was the only one who could seem to tolerate being around her. At the first opportunity, then, she had run away, and, once recaptured, had shuddered at the thought of returning to the great elvin city. She had hated the mines, but at least she fit in there. There was no place for someone like her in this perfect world of theirs.
Gildor asked, once they found her again, why she had left, and reminded her of his promise not to let anything happen to her. Elwyyda had not been able to answer his question--she did not have the words, and it made her uncomfortable to think that he would afterwards think less of her. Somehow, though, he seemed to have guessed, because he was now making every effort to help her fit in. He brought the strange tools used for eating to her room and showed her how to use them before they went to dinner, then stayed by her side while she ate, helping to correct her so subtly that no one even seemed to notice. She did not mind eating in the hall, even surrounded by so many beautiful creatures, if Gildor was with her. She thought she had done fairly well, only dropping things a few times, and she'd remembered to use her napkin instead of her tunic to clean her hands. The tools made eating less messy, she had to agree, but she still thought them a bit silly, as they took much more time than just using hands.
Gildor had also shown her about the royal talan, a multi-story edifice supported by the largest tree Elwyyda had ever seen. The floors were paved, with some inlaid with tiny bits of coloured glass and stone made into amazing designs; in one room, it looked like the floor was covered by a forest of leaves, but none of them were real. Weavings in cool shades of blue and pale green covered many walls, providing decoration and an extra layer of warmth not given by the reed screens. The details were astonishing: niches casually set into walls, holding alabaster urns filled with silken flowers so well made as to convince Elwyyda that they must have scent; gossamer hangings were everywhere, looking beautiful on their own, but when the light shone through them, whole scenes were revealed to be woven into the fabric; carved inscriptions ran around the top of the walls, so high that, she supposed, only elvin eyes could make them out. Gildor told her that, taken together, they told the story of the founding of Lorien. Elwyyda had not taken the time to notice these details before, and they delighted her now.
Gildor also showed her the area beside the baths where the elves relieved themselves. There was a place like it in her quarters, but she had not even noticed the little room, or the container that flushed with clear water. It ran out, Gildor said, into pipes painted to look like the bark of the trees onto which the talans were built, and was carried away to fields beyond the city where it fertilized the fallow ground. Every few months, the field so used was changed, and when the old fields were planted with crops again, the soil was very rich. Elwydda had looked at him doubtfully, "But wouldn't it be easier just to use a bucket?" For some reason, Gildor found this very funny. She liked the fact that other pipes brought clean water into her rooms, though. It meant that she could bathe whenever she liked, as the water was pumped from underground springs that seemed to be inexhaustible. She had never had the luxury of being clean before, and this was one new experience she thought she could learn to like.
Gildor had then taken her to find clothes that fit properly and, although she couldn't understand what was wrong with the tunic he had already given her--it was quite the nicest garment she had ever had--he seemed to think she would feel better in clothes of her own. They had climbed down to ground level as the shops, Gildor explained, were almost all located there. "It would be too difficult to keep lifting new stock up into the trees," he told her. "The Galadrim live in the heights, but they do much of their daily activities on the ground." Elwyyda was pleased to hear this, as the high rope ladders, seemingly so thin and frail, made her nervous, especially in winds such as those that tugged at Gildor's cloak and ruffled his hair. But Gildor assured her that he had never known one to break.
The weavers had their shops all together, on a small street paved with smooth white stones. Their houses reminded her of the talans, for they were made of the same material--thick reed screens stretched over a wood frame--and were strung with strings of small lanterns that swayed in the evening breeze like the ladders did above. They entered one of the first of the little shops only to find it stacked floor to ceiling with bolts of all types of cloth, with some even tucked into the wooden rafters overhead. A placid looking young elf sat in front of a large loom, working on a piece of material unlike anything Elwyyda had ever seen. She had to touch it to believe it was cloth, for it looked like nothing so much as a huge golden mallyrn leaf, complete with veining and spots of light green and brown in places, that had somehow been strung onto the loom. She vaguely remembered her mother weaving, in the years before they were captured and taken to the mountain, but she had never made anything like this.
Gildor spoke in the pretty elvish language to the young shopkeeper, who looked up from his work when they arrived. Elwyyda would have been nervous, for they were no doubt discussing her, except that she was too busy marveling at the fabrics so casually lying about. Every colour of the rainbow was represented, and each bolt seemed more beautiful than the one before. She had to put her hands behind her back, otherwise she would have no doubt embarrassed Gildor by running her hands all over them. But they did yearn to be touched, those soft fabrics the names of which she didn't know . . .
Gildor purchased something while she wasn't watching, and before she knew it, they were off again, this time taking a short walk down the street to where a house, almost completely overgrown by a flowering vine, stood near a large fountain. They entered to find two smiling female elves chatting with each other as they plied their needles so quickly that their hands were a mere blur. They looked up as Gildor entered and spotted Elwyyda, peeking out from behind him, almost at once. They gave a cry and descended on her in what would have been a frightening way except that both were smiling delightedly. She found herself being measured by expert hands, and then Gildor's package was handed over and they were pushed out the door. It had taken maybe two minutes.
Gildor laughed to see her expression. "They're always like that. Don't worry--you just made them very happy. They've wanted to try out some new designs for a while now, and you've provided them with the excuse!" Gildor then took her on a brief tour of the area while he explained the layout of the city, which was roughly in a large cross formation with the royal talan at the center. "Just keep going uphill if you ever get lost, and you'll run right into it," he explained. Elwyyda didn't bother to tell him that she had no intention of venturing out without him.
They returned to the tailors' after what seemed like far too short a time to Elwyyda, but nonetheless a perfect little kirtle and matching shirt were waiting for her, and wonder of wonders, it was of a piece of material that looked almost identical to that on the weaver's loom. This one was more green than gold, however, and had carved wooden buttons on the shirt that looked like tiny ladybugs. The clothes fit perfectly, and Elwyyda proudly wore them out into the darkening twilight. "We'll get you shoes and other things tomorrow," Gildor assured her. "Other than for the taverns, the shops all close at night. I have to pick up a few things myself tomorrow, though, so if you're free, we'll go shopping again."
Gildor had kept his promise, and as soon as breakfast was over they proceeded to another part of the city where different sorts of shops were located. Their first stop was a bone and antler carver's shop, where Elwyyda was again entranced at the fine workmanship on the wares. One long wall held nothing but knives, their hilts of etched bone worked in runes and symbols she could not read; another wall was taken up with horn drinking vessels of all shapes and sizes, their rims carved to look like braids, their bodies showing scenes from elvish lore. The shop had a festive air about it, for a profusion of lanterns hung from the rafters, their bodies of carved wood but their side panels of thin cut horn giving off a warm amber light when lit. She examined with delight a small display of horn combs, buttons and cloak toggles as Gildor waited to pick up his order. It was amazing that the Lorien carver, a kindly looking female with elaborate golden braids, could make the hard bone look so much like the petals of a living flower.
The shop owner brought out a package from a small back room that must have contained her workshop, and unwrapped its linen covering. It contained an exquisite set of ivory chess pieces carved to look like an elvin army. There was only one set, although Gildor assured Elwyyda that the other pieces were waiting at their next stop. It turned out to be a woodworker's shop where Gildor picked up a polished playing board to go with the pieces, made of contrasting squares of rosewood and oak. He also claimed the other half of his army, which was of rosewood and carved differently from the other set--Gildor had designed the figures himself, giving sketches to each carver to use as a guide, along with size specifications. It was truly a unique gift, Elwyyda thought admiringly, too bad it was for that Haldir. All of a sudden, Elwyyda found herself in possession of the set, which Gildor quickly threw his cloak over. She understood why when she saw Haldir's head outside the shop door, and the next moment he was peering into the gloom of the interior.
Haldir had been tracking them for some time, and finally caught up with them at the woodworker's shop. What in Arda did the dwarf need in there? She was looking decidedly furtive, and attempting to hide something under her cloak. A cloak that looked to be much too long for her--it had to be Gildor's. So what could he possibly have bought for her that she didn't wish Haldir to see? Curiosity, always Haldir's failing, caused him to momentarily forget his original plan to seduce his beloved away from that creature. Instead, he attempted to sidle around to where he could "accidentally" knock the cloak off her arm and perhaps catch a glimpse of what lay beneath. But it was no good, for the nimble little thing slipped right past him and out the door, and Gildor took the opportunity to trap him next to a display case.
"Aren't these incredible?" Gildor asked, staring with apparent rapt interest at the case's contents. Haldir had no idea what it contained, for the same moment Gildor, who was standing slightly behind him, nudged his knee between Haldir's thighs, audaciously pressing their bodies together. As always whenever Gildor stepped within a foot of him, Haldir's nerve endings all woke up and began to hum. It was almost tangible, this connection between them, which was not lessened when Gildor began to move, very slightly against him, all the while commenting on whatever-it-was in the case. Haldir was soon reduced to a semi-delirious, quivering puddle of arousal. He couldn't understand how Gildor managed to do this to him, and so effortlessly, when he'd always been able to control his reactions around others. It had something to do with the innocent pleasure Gildor evidenced in every thing they did, making each encounter unique, exotic and so very alluring . . .
Haldir was about to suggest, as soon as he was capable of speech once more, that they continue this somewhere more appropriate, but suddenly, Gildor was gone. Haldir turned to see his lover walking down the street away from the shop, sunlight on his dark hair, sleek muscles sliding under his short tunic. Haldir finally found out what was in the display case--a collection of combs--as it was some minutes before he was in any position to leave the shop.
Their next stop was a music store containing a variety of instruments: horns, trumpets, whistles, bells, and drums of all types hung about the walls. A harmonious background sound came from the shop owner's tuning of a lute of polished wood, which had mother of pearl inlay in the form of musical notations on the front. An entire counter was covered in boxes of musical scrolls. While Gildor browsed through the latest compositions, Elwydda wandered through a connecting door into a leather worker's shop where the elf in charge immediately began measuring her for shoes. Elwyyda was frantic, not knowing if this was what Gildor wanted or not, but he poked his head in the door a few seconds later and smiled to see the hides the leatherworker was showing her. Elwyyda liked the elves she met in the shops better than the servants in the royal talan. Like the tailors the night before, the leatherworker seemed fascinated at the challenge of making something that would fit her. Elwyyda didn't really see the point of shoes, as her feet were as tough as leather themselves from years carrying heavy loads over rough stone floors, but Gildor insisted and she soon found herself in possession of both a stout pair of boots and a soft pair of slippers.
Gildor indulged her by allowing her time to browse through the displayed items at a jewelry shop they passed, where amber and smoky topaz armlets gleamed on a peach coloured cloth, and at a glass blower's, where a clever elf was adding a decorative line of liquid blue to the outside of a fragile frosted wine glass. It was almost time for lunch, however, so she could only glance at the wares sitting outside a potter's establishment, and at the beautifully made weapons stacked beside a metal worker's house. Elwydda thought she could have spent all day just looking, but her stomach was rumbling by the time they reached the tavern where Gildor assured her they would get a good, if somewhat late, lunch. It was actually beyond the city walls, overlooking a small stream, and a water wheel turned beside the covered wooden porch where they were seated, slowly grinding grain from the surrounding fields into flour for the excellent bread served with their meal.
Again Elwyyda was startled by the variety of food available. The menu, which Gildor read to her, was printed in a curling elvish script on the side of the tavern wall. It included all sorts of roast meats--red deer, lamb, goose, wood pigeon, black grouse, golden plover, pork and rabbit--some of which could be seen through the door of the tavern, cooking on spits over a huge fireplace made of the same white stones that formed the streets. Somewhere they had an oven, too, for Elwyyda could smell bread baking. Gildor paused as they settled themselves at a long wooden table to wave at several elves fishing in the stream a little way downriver. Some of their contributions might have been available for ordering, as fish of all descriptions were featured prominently on the menu. Gildor read her many varieties, the fresh ones including pike, bream and perch, with salted ones also available from the sea far away. Other offerings were vegetable soups filled with carrots, parsnips, turnips, spinach, cabbage and potatoes; and fruits such as she had never seen, available plain or baked into a custard or pie and topped off with hazelnuts and walnuts.
Elwyyda let Gildor choose their lunch, as all they had had to eat in the mines was a coarse type of bread and whatever they could dig out of the garbage in the refuse room before it began to rot and was dumped into the ravine. As that was the remains of the goblin's food, it had rarely been cooked--they preferred meat raw--and was of dubious origin. Elwyyda therefore ate her soup and thick soft bread with butter and cheese gratefully, but was scandalized at the waste when Gildor threw the remains of his lunch to some geese in the stream below. He just laughed at her, and scooped her up to ride on his shoulder back to the city, for the beer that was served with lunch had made her sleepy and it was a long way to climb uphill.
She was glad she had accepted his offer, as her new vantage point allowed her to see all the wares for sale in the large open-air market situated near the city walls, through which they passed on their way back. Stalls sold all types of cheeses, made into fat rounds that piled one on top of each other in golden hills, fresh meat and meat pastries, bee's wax candles, mountains of multicoloured soaps, fine woolen rugs heaped under a large tent, and so many other things it made her head spin to think of them all. She was almost glad when they returned to the talan and she was able to get some sleep, as the day's experiences had been exhilarating but exhausting.
* * *
Haldir watched through narrowed eyes as Gildor hiked back to the talan, carrying that infernal, ever present, bothersome creature with him, cradled against one shoulder as if she was made of glass and might break if not handled carefully. Haldir really thought he could have lived with it, in time, had Gildor decided to throw him over for some other elf, but to make it clear that he preferred to spend his time with such a creature . . . it was more than could be borne. He waited until Gildor had taken her to her room before confronting him, however, as he did not wish an audience for the conversation he planned to have.
"Gildor." He watched as his one time lover carefully shut the door to Elwyyda's room, and turned to face him, a stunning smile breaking out over his face.
"Wonderful! And I thought I would have to go looking for you." Before Haldir could say a word, Gildor backed him into the corridor wall and, heedless of anyone who might happen by, kissed him passionately. His lips were petal-soft as always, but hungrily insistent, and he tasted of honey and spices and all good things . . . "I don't have everything ready yet, so you'll have to wait," Gildor commented enigmatically, bright eyed and laughing when he finally released him. "Come to our room in an hour," and he was gone, again leaving Haldir breathless and awed behind him.
Gildor looked about the room and wondered if everything was all right. Haldir was an incredibly sensual, sensitive person and on this of all days, he could not disappoint him. He had tidied up, but caught sight of a lone shoe sticking out from under the bed, which he hastily kicked out of sight. He took the tall tapers off the table, afraid that they would catch the flowers on fire, then reconsidered and returned them. His hand shook slightly as he lit them, and he had to almost forcibly restrain himself from checking his appearance in the mirror yet again. He was already attired in the new tunic he had picked up at the tailor's when getting Elwyyda's garments, and he stroked a hand down it lovingly. He wondered if Haldir would remember . . . He shook his head, tried to stop grinning, failed, and gave it up. He was nervous and happy and almost deliriously excited . . . he straightened an edge of a napkin on the elegant table for two near the balcony to give himself something to do, then jumped at a knock on the door. That couldn't be dinner already--it would get cold!
When Gildor opened the door, he was surprised to see Haldir standing there, looking uncertain, with ill-concealed inner turmoil showing in his eyes. "Haldir, why did you knock?" Gildor towed him inside and had to remind himself to keep his hands off him until they had had their celebration, but oh how difficult it was! Haldir was taking in the table, with its huge bouquet, cheerily burning tapers and sparkling settings, and the gaily-wrapped package Gildor held out to him. "You didn't think I would forget, did you?"
Haldir looked bemused, but took the gift. He merely regarded it for a moment, one finger stroking the soft paper of the wrapping but not attempting to open it, before he looked back at Gildor, his eyes running over the deep orange of the silky tunic he wore. "But that can't be . . . "
"It's a replica," Gildor told him, feeling suddenly shy. "I wore the old one until it was nothing more than a rag, but I remembered every line of embroidery, every animal . . . I think I almost memorized it!" He laughed, thinking regretfully back on all those long nights, curled up with only the tattered remnants of Haldir's gift to remember him by. If only he hadn't waited so long to approach him once more! It had surprised the tailors when Gildor insisted, as soon as he returned with Haldir to Lorien two weeks ago, on their following his diagrams exactly, even when they pointed out to him ways in which the design might be improved. He had merely smiled, "No, it's perfect the way it is." And seeing Haldir's expression, he knew that he had been right. He was just glad that they had made it back to Lorien before tonight--he would have hated to spend this of all evenings somewhere on the road, sleeping on the ground amidst too many companions.
Another knock interrupted and Gildor let in the happily smiling elves with the dinner he had chosen so carefully that morning with the cook. They were efficient, and soon had the small table piled high with all Haldir's favourite delicacies, but it seemed to Gildor that they did not move nearly quickly enough.
"Open your gift." Gildor demanded eagerly, when the servants had finally arranged things to their liking and departed. Haldir just continued to stand there, however, looking completely nonplussed.
"This is where you were all day? Making these arrangements?"
Gildor smiled as he opened the wine. Thranduil was going to howl when he discovered this was gone. It was, the wine steward had informed him last night, the very last of the Berdruskan dark, and a particularly fine year at that. No matter, it was Haldir's favourite, and tonight everything was going to go as planned for a change. "It was a bit rushed, getting everything ready--I didn't think we would be away so long."
Haldir still wasn't opening his gift, but just stood there, blinking at it. Gildor handed him a glass and took the package from him impatiently. "Drink that, and I'LL open it. I'm dying for you to see them--I designed them myself." Gildor had always loved to sketch things, a talent which came in handy for making maps of new regions for Lord Elrond, but this was the first time he had tried to use his talent to create something artistic, and he truly hoped Haldir would like it. He couldn't give him anything to compare with the riches his lover already had, so designing him something that he could not buy had been the only possible option. Especially for a night as important as this.
Gildor presented the closed, polished wood case to Haldir. His lover sat his untouched wine glass down and accepted the box as reverentially as if it had been carved of mithril. Opening it slowly, his expression did not change as he took one of the small, carved pieces into his hands. The ivory players were elves, their armor an exact duplicate of that worn in the Last Alliance. The wooden pieces were, however, Gildor's favourites, and he was surprised that they didn't elicit at least a small smile from Haldir. Tiny crystals glowed in the eyes of the miniature dragons, their scales, teeny horns and even the miniscule veins in their wings were all perfectly rendered. The pawns were dragons still in the egg, just their long snouts sticking out, whereas the other pieces showed them in different stages of growth and activity. Gildor had thought only to remind Haldir of their early adventure together, but seeing no expression, at least none that he could name, cross those handsome features, he began to worry.
What if Haldir took it the wrong way, and thought Gildor was trying to remind him of something else entirely? Gildor suddenly felt extremely gauche, having never contemplated how his sensitive lover might interpret the gesture. He wanted to say something, do something, to make things better, but fear clutched at him and made it impossible. Oh, how could he have been so stupid, and he had actually been looking forward to Haldir's reaction!
"I don't deserve you." Haldir looked lovingly into Gildor's eyes, where dark anxiety was soon replaced by that beautiful light he loved. Warm arms moved to twine behind his neck and tugged him across the few inches that separated them, into a soft kiss. Gildor's capacity for forgiveness and love never ceased to astonish him. "It's perfect."
Gildor smiled, eyes liquid as he tightened the embrace. "Happy anniversary, Haldir."
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