Harvester of sorrow [Silent water] 8-18/37

author: Az
email: az.ombie@gmail.com
homepage: http://www.forgottenjuliet.net
disclaimer; dont own them, never claimed to, never will. im just goofing about
with them. they belong to the Tolkien estate.
warnings; AU, twin’cest implied, heavy angst, graphic violence, interspecies, non
sexual child abuse.
Pairings; Legolas/Theodred, Theodred/Eomer ,Elrohir/Dinalu (oc), Elladan/Irmo
(Elrond/Glorfindel implied)
Summary; Elladan goes insane from the loss of his twin, who chooses a lover far
away. Stricken by grief and madness, he decides to kill Elrohir’s lover, but in the
last minute changes his mind when he sees a little child, and he decides to take the
child instead and raise it as his own little friend/son. The child suffers a trauma
from the abduction and therefore goes mute. What will happen with the child?
Will he be returned to his parents? Will Elladan’s plan work? Or will he realise he
did something terrible?
A/N; I decided to give this fic its own opening page, because this must be the
strangest fic I ever wrote, and properly the longest too. It is a mix between allot of
things, but most of all two plot-bunny’s of Cheysuli’s, and then I added some
strange stuff of my own, and some from a slash RPG I play´, called in Silpions
light . This is very, very much AU and I am aware that the timeline can seem
messed up. And to make all this match, I made up a big brother for Legolas,
called Dinalu (roughly translated, Silent water). – And now to clear up some
issues that I know from experience will arise; there will figure child abuse (non
sexual), which is necessary for the plot. And a disease I am sure elves cannot get
should I stick to canon, but I am not. And as I said the timeline is like the wind
blows, this is NOT even close to canon it is but a story, so don’t bother to flame
me. Other stuff? Well this could perhaps be seen as a darkfic, but rest assured I
am a fluff girl at heart, even though I like darkfic’s, I actually am a sucker for
happy endings, so rest assured that this will have one of those too. Thanks to;
Miriel, Bersa, Elrohir, Anestel & BlueGold (from the RPG), Cheysuli for the
plotbunnies
Betaed by; Lisbet Karlsdottir the ever wonderful

Under the cut;
Chapter 8 – You won’t need other friends anymore.
Chapter 9 – Nothing I have is truly mine.
Chapter 10 – when you’re waiting for the miracle.
Chapter 11 – Just nod if you can hear me.
chapter 12 – my perfect ring of scars.
Chapter 13 – You know I can see what you really are.
chapter 14 – Safe in my own skin.
Chapter 15 – one friendly face is all you need to see.
Chapter 16 – Daddy I’m coming home.
Chapter 17 – In the Kingdom of the Blind the One-Eyed Are Kings.
Chapter 18 – they flutter behind you, your possible pasts.

Harvester of sorrow – Silent water.

Well now we jump about 200 years in the story, starting a new part, as
Harvester of Sorrow was the prologue, this is the middle, followed by an
Epilogue. This will mean that Legolas is about 250 years old, and therefore a
young adult, at the age when the fun is legal.)

____________________________________

Like a ghost don’t need a key
Your best friend I’ve come to be
Please don’t think of getting up for me
You don’t even need to speak
When I’ve been here for just one day
You’ll already miss me if I go away
So close the blinds and shut the door
You won’t need other friends anymore

Oh don’t leave home, oh don’t leave home

If you’re cold I’ll keep you warm
If you’re low just hold on
Cause I will be your safety
Oh don’t leave home

And I arrived when you were weak
I’ll make you weaker, like a child
Now all your love you give to me

When your heart is all I need

Dido – don’t leave home

________________________________-

Chapter 8 – You won’t need other friends anymore

-Mirkwood-

Elrohir was watching his husband sword-train the young elves on the training grounds. He smiled to himself; he had seen the lustful stares Dinalu got from the other soldiers, but he was his and his alone, Elrohir knew this, felt their bond. He knew their love was strong and good. Even his father Elrond had come to their bonding ceremony. Elrohir had not thought his father would come, for when he had first left with Dinalu, Elrond had not seemed approving, but all his worries had been proved wrong. Elrond had worried as a father was bound to worry about his son’s happiness, and after he’d had a few too many glasses of the red wine, he had admitted that one of the reasons for his worry had been Elladan. He had not seemed to take the parting well, and apparently he had torn up the loft going through their old clothes and toys.

The bonding had been just what Elrohir had thought: a life saver for Dinalu and a way for him to share his beloved’s grief and give it all back with love. And even though Dinalu and Thranduil had grieved for almost 60 years over Legolas, finally there was laughter and joy upon their lips once more.

“Elrohir!”

The Rivendell prince was torn from his musings and looked up at the dirty, smiling and laughing elf that walked towards him. “Dina,” he said with a grin, “you look like you just wrestled a mortal army.” As he came to stand in front of him, Elrohir wrinkled his nose in disgust. “And you sure smell like it, too!”

“Most charming,” Dinalu chuckled. “I missed you, too.”

“Come, let us get you into a bath, my love. We are expected at dinner this night,” Elrohir said and started to walk back to their talan. “Glorfindel is here, in case you forgot.”

Dinalu fell into step next to his husband. “Oh no, I haven’t forgotten, I even believe I will have a nice bruise on my leg in the morning because of him.”

Elrohir turned around and looked at Dinalu in surprise. “He *hurt* you?” he gasped.

“No, no,” the blond elf laughed. “We sparred, and I lost.”

“Still…” Elrohir said with a small voice, as he shook his head. He would never even begin to understand why it was fun to hit each other over the heads with wooden swords. In war it was different, he himself knew how to wield a sword, but he would only do so if he had no other choice, not for having something to do with his spare time. He could come up with other kinds of fun things.

“Don’t pout so, my love,” Dinalu chuckled. “I promise I will look perfectly fit when we are to be at the great hall.”

“So does an orc in disguise,” Elladan smiled and slapped Dinalu on the shoulder.

________________________________________________

-Rivendell-

Legolas was bored. He looked at the rings the little stones made in the little part of the river that was calm behind the waterfall. He sighed and threw in another stone and counted the rings again. Only 4. He had done better before. In irritation he threw in all the little pebbles he had in his hand.

Elladan had not been home in 3 days, for he was on his way to some other realm. He had explained this, and Legolas had nodded. But still, he had forgotten just how bored he would be. He had oceans of food and books to make the time go faster. Elladan had even managed to find a ream of fine paper and a pen for Legolas to use for writing or drawing, whatever his fancy took him.

But nevertheless the blond elf was bored. He sat down on the bed and placed two slim fingers over his heart, before he rubbed his ear. Two fingers for Elladan, three for Elrohir, he knew this. He still remembered Elrohir and the other blond elf. He knew he had loved them and missed them greatly, but why had now eluded his mind.

He let out a strangled noise, as he noticed a swallow that had gotten stranded behind the waterfall. He looked at the little wet bird and decided to pick it up and warm it under his tunic. He knew Elladan would be proud of him, for he was the one who had taught him to respect all living creatures.

_______________________________________________

-Mirkwood-

“Will you join me?” Dinalu called.

“Do you think I need a bath?” Elrohir chuckled as he entered the bathroom, naked as the day he was born.

“Perhaps, just come in here and we’ll find out,” the Mirkwood prince said with a mischievous grin.

Elrohir stepped down in the tub and placed himself behind Dinalu. “No matter if I need a bath or not, you need your hair rinsed,” he said and gently moved the tangled hair so he could plant a kiss on his husband’s neck.

“Later,” Dinalu said and leaned back into his husband’s embrace.

“If I let you have your wicked ways, will you then let me have mine when we get up?” Elrohir laughed and kissed Dinalu’s ear.

“Promise,” Dinalu whispered and turned around to face Elrohir and began to kiss his husband’s face with little butterfly kisses.

“What did you have in mind for me then?” Elrohir whispered and smiled at Dinalu’s already flushed cheeks.

“Turn around,” he whispered back.

Elrohir did so and yelped as he felt himself pulled backwards until he sat on Dinalu’s lap with his back against his lovers chest, but he immediately relaxed as he felt a hand sneak forward and wrap itself around his sated sex, manipulating it in the most cunning ways, while he felt a tongue wrap around his ear, sucking suggestively on it. Elrohir couldn’t help but purr as the other hand came down to caress his chest and then move further down, running over the sensitive skin of his thigh, when suddenly it felt like a switch was turned on inside him, and he started to respond to the moves and the rhythm Dinalu
had set.

Dinalu smiled when Elrohir closed his eyes and sped up his breathing to little puffs and purrs. And he lifted his husband slightly so he would be able to lower him onto his own erect member. At the first contact with the tight guardian muscle he let out a pleased sigh, but when Elrohir suddenly pushed himself down forcing Dinalu’s erection inside him, the blond gasped out loud but did not move, he just savoured the feeling of his lover, and the energies he felt flow between them.

The Mirkwood prince regretted he had placed his husband with his back to him, as he knew how delightful he must look right now, so concentrated on his own pleasure, his eyes closed and his lips slightly parted, making little cooing noises.

But his musings stopped as Elrohir threw back his head and increased the speed, and then the last coherent thought fled his mind, and he just began to move per instinct. Not even Elrohir’s needy pants and moans registered anymore. He moved his hand faster on Elrohir’s erection and couldn’t help but arch his back and thrust upwards when he felt Elrohir freeze in his moves before he made a pathetic little move followed with a loud moan, as he climaxed taking Dinalu with him over the edge, in a sparkling sensation.

They both lay spent in the tub, as Dinalu started laughing “So what were your wicked ways then?”

“Oh you’ll see,” Elrohir snickered while trying to catch his breath. “First of all we must rinse that tangled mane of yours, *then* you will see what I have in mind for you.”

__________________________________

-Rivendell-

Legolas looked at the bird as its feathers dried, and it began to stir. He smiled at the bird and let out a thin happy sound. He took the bird to the opening in the cave to let her out, and as he stood there on the edge of the little lake he smiled at the sun. Never before had he ventured out this far. Elladan had not allowed it, and he really did not want to disobey but this bird would never find its own way out. He opened his hands and the little confused swallow shook its wings and head before it looked up at its saviour and quickly flew away up into sunset-painted sky. Legolas stood there and looked after the bird, before he took off his boots and sat down and lowered his feet in the cool water. It was lovely and he smiled. He looked over on the other side of the lake and saw those little white flowers Elladan always picked for him. He should pick some too, he thought to himself. That would cheer him up.

______________________________________________

I haven’t ever really found a place that I call home
I never stick around quite long enough to make it
I apologize that once again I’m not in love
But it’s not as if I mind that your heart ain’t exactly breaking
It’s just a thought, only a thought

But if my life is for rent and I don’t learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cause’ nothing I have is truly mine

I’ve always thought that I would love to live by the sea
To travel the world alone and live more simply
I have no idea what’s happened to that dream

Cause’ there’s really nothing left here to stop me
It’s just a thought, only a thought

While my heart is a shield and I won’t let it down
While I am so afraid to fail so I won’t even try
Well how can I say I’m alive

Dido – life for rent

________________________________________________

Chapter 9- Nothing I have is truly mine

-The plains-

Theodred was riding over the western folds on his way to a border patrol. He was staring at the horses’ mane thinking of the conversation he had shared with his father, king Theoden. His father had dragged him aside when he was about to leave for the stables, and told him that it would be wisest if he were to have his mind made up when he came back. Theodred had tried to smile disarmingly and leave, but this time his father apparently would not be led on that easily, and he had grabbed both his shoulders and told him once more that when he returned he would send out for suitable maidens for marriage. Theoden had had such a persuasive tone that Theodred had just hung his head and nodded, before he had mumbled an answer and left.

“Theodred?” a voice called before a warm hand was placed on his shoulder, and the prince looked up right into his cousin’s warm trusting face.

“Eomer,” Theodred mumbled and smiled.

“What is troubling you?” Eomer whispered

“Father,” Theodred whispered back, “he is pushing forth the engagement arrangements.”

“I’m sorry,” Eomer said with honesty and squeezed Theodred’s shoulder. “Is there anything I can do?”

“No, you’ve done more than enough,” the prince said softly and smiled at his cousin.

“I just wish there were more I could do,” Eomer mumbled and patted Theodred on the back. “Just let me know, ok?” he finished before he steered his horse away from the dark-haired prince.

And once again Theodred was lost in thought…marriage… the thought alone made him shiver. He wished that he had found someone he loved and wanted to marry. For now he had to sadly admit to himself that so far he had never even found someone that made him feel the way he imagined love would feel. His father was thinking of the heir. He had reached an age where he should find himself a wife and produce children for the glory of Rohan. Theodred sighed…

He turned his head and looked at Eomer, talking to some of the men while they rode, laughing and teasing them. He looked so happy and tranquil, shining with all the things that Theodred always wished he had in him, but he always felt as if he were in the shadow of Eomer. Had his cousin taken pity on him when they had become lovers back then?

He knew their love went no deeper than the love they shared as close kin, and all those long nights had not changed into something deeper. He did not understand it. What was wrong with him? And lately not even Eomer could mend the hole inside him. Theodred shook his head. He should not think of these matters now. He was a warrior, and he should stay alert, not brood over his non-existent love life.

__________________________________________

-Rivendell-

Legolas swam over the lake and crawled up on the far bank, smiling at the sight of the flowers there. He started to pick some of them, but then he saw another kind, bigger and brighter. He looked at the pathetic little bucket in his hand, and threw them aside to go and pick the pretty ones. This would be such a wonderful gift for Elladan.

He moved all the way to the river Anduin picking flowers he had never seen before. Some he had seen in a book, some he had not even had the fantasy to think would exist, exquisite red and yellow colours. He looked up at the sun and saw it was setting once more. How long had he been lost in his task? He stopped and looked around. Where was he?

Tears welled in his eyes, and the thrill he had felt over finding all the pretty flowers disappeared like dew from the sun, and was replaced by a building panic. He spun around frantically to find some landmark he knew, but to his terror he found none.

He wanted to yell for help, but as he opened his mouth only a little pathetic squeaking sound escaped, sounding more like a rabbit caught in a trap. He rubbed his earlobe to the point where his ear was hurting, trying to think.

And then, the sun set and he was lost in the dark. Legolas sat down and felt the tears start to flow, and all the stories Elladan had told about the world and its dangers came back to him, creatures of shadow and flame, wargs with poisonous bites, and men, those violent hideous creatures.

He climbed on top of a stone and wrapped his arms around his legs and cried while repeating his sign for Elladan, somehow hoping that Elladan would sense his fear and come save him.

______________

– The plains-

They had set camp for the night, as they were in no hurry. Theodred was sitting looking at the fire, feeling the heat burn on his feet. He felt someone sit beside him. “Theodred, please… Tell me what ails you,” he heard Eomer’s voice whisper.

“I am just in a fell mood, my friend,” Theodred said and rested his head on his knees with a sigh.

“Liar,” Eomer said and wrapped an arm around his prince’s shoulder. “You always were a terrible liar.”

“I can’t tell you,” Theodred murmured in a low voice.

“Yes you can,” Eomer said and rested his head against Theodred’s back. “I am your friend, never forget that.”

“I just don’t know what to do,” Theodred admitted. “I should flee, disappear in the dark and never look back.”

“No, don’t,” Eomer whispered, “We would all miss you terribly.” He squeezed his friend. “I would miss you, and I am sure we can face whatever it is you fear together.”

“No Eomer my dear friend, not this time,” Theodred whispered and felt himself wish that Eomer would just go away and leave him alone with his misery.

“Don’t speak so.”

“Eomer?” Theodred whispered and turned his head to look directly into Eomer’s eyes. “Why did we never fall in love?”

This question took the large warrior by surprise. “Is that what ails you?” he whispered.

Theodred remained silent, but felt as tears threatened to fall behind his lashes.

“Is it?” Eomer pressured lightly.

Theodred still refused to answer but turned his head to look at the dark forest instead of those confused brown eyes.

Eomer sighed and finally spoke. “I don’t know.”

“Neither do I,” Theodred whispered back with a thick voice.

“I am still at your side if you want me to be,” Eomer whispered and leaned over to Theodred more closely.

“I know,” Theodred whispered, “but I cannot remain at yours. I think it is time you found happiness, Eomer, not trying to keep me from going under, or mend my scars.”

“I am here by my own free will, Theodred,” Eomer said.

Theodred just nodded, not trusting his voice. Nothing had changed, he had not the heart to break free, to set Eomer free, and no matter what he did this man would always feel responsible. It had been so even when they were kids, but they were not children anymore. He had lived for 19 winters now, and was a man, and the games they played were different now… everything was different now. Yet he couldn’t help but smile as Eomer kissed his neck softly and he heard him whisper, “Don’t be so sad, my prince.”

______________

Baby, I’ve been waiting,
I’ve been waiting night and day.
I didn’t see the time,
I waited half my life away.
There were lots of invitations
and I know you sent me some,
but I was waiting
for the miracle, for the miracle to come.

Ah I don’t believe you’d like it,
You wouldn’t like it here.
There ain’t no entertainment
and the judgements are severe.
The Maestro says it’s Mozart
but it sounds like bubble gum
when you’re waiting
for the miracle, for the miracle to come.

Leonard Cohen – Miracle

_________________________________

Chapter 10 – when you’re waiting for the miracle

-The plains-

“Theodred,” Eomer whispered, “come lay beside me, and let me soothe your foul mood.”

The young prince of Rohan avoided his cousin’s eyes, but as he felt a hand lift his chin he had no option but to look up at Eomer.

“What is your answer, cousin dear?” Eomer whispered and knitted his eyebrows in a worried frown.

“Do you pity me, Eomer?” Theodred said and looked away as he avoided Eomer’s eyes once more.

“Pity you?” Eomer said softly. “No I don’t pity you.”

“Then why are you asking me this?” Theodred whispered hoarsely. Why he suddenly felt like this, so hopeless, he did not know. But perhaps it had something to do with a rumour he had heard about Eomer and one of the fair folk.

“Because there is no reason for you look so sad and lonely,” Eomer said with a slight smile. “I love you dearly and do not like to see you thus.”

“Oh Eomer,” Theodred sighed and leaned into his embrace, clinging to the broad warrior. “The times are changing, I feel it in the air.”

“Yes you are right,” Eomer whispered, “but they don’t have to change just yet.” He kissed the dark hair and smiled. He and his sister had always taunted Theodred about his layer of dirt, as it seemed like every grain of sand from the road would cling to the boy. They still did, Eomer noted, as he looked at the dark hair that looked almost grey in the golden light from the fire. “And perhaps the change is not for the worse, have you ever thought of that?”

Theodred shook his head weakly.

“Some changes are for the better, dear Theodred,” Eomer whispered and rocked his distressed cousin in his arms.

“Then why does it feel so wrong? Why does it feel as if someone tore out the root of my soul?” Theodred whispered.

“You just have to make the best of the changes bestowed upon you,” the warrior whispered and held his cousin tighter. “But no matter what, I will never be far from your side should you need me.”

This vow made Theodred smile. “Thank you,” he whispered.

Eomer lay down and propped up on his elbow, looking at Theodred with a grin. “You are a very beautiful man, Theodred. Whoever captures your heart will be very lucky.”

Theodred blushed. “Thank you,” he whispered and felt like an idiot for repeating himself.

Eomer patted the space next to him. “Come lie down,” he said softly.

The prince shook his head with a smile and slowly lay down on his back next to Eomer, closing his eyes as he felt the callused hand of his cousin caress his cheek tenderly. He wondered why Eomer always had such a soothing effect on him. This was probably why he kept returning to his bed, he felt warm and safe, because Eomer’s touches were careful and comforting. But what did he bring to Eomer? He sighed and opened his eyes, about to ask him who of the fair folk it was that he loved, but Eomer silenced him with a gently kiss. “Don’t speak,” Eomer whispered.

Theodred smiled but uttered no words; only a purr escaped his lips as Eomer opened his leather armour slowly with trained fingers.

_________________________________________

-Another place on the plains-

Legolas had no more tears to shed; he felt his eyes itch and his throat go dry from crying. He had desperately clung to the hope that Elladan would miraculously appear, but he did not come, and so Legolas decided to move, to try and find his own way. He remembered that Elladan had told him once when he had awoken, afraid of the dark, that the dark was not scary, it could hide you as easily as it could hide dangers, so if you hid well and stayed alert, then the darkness was your friend.

My friend, Legolas thought to himself and started to walk out in the pitch dark of the night.

After some time he turned around and could not even see the large stone he had been sitting on before. He chided himself for this foolish idea he had had. Why had he moved?

He moved slowly forward, for he saw no other way to go, when his senses suddenly picked up a faint sound, a twig that snapped… although he was not trained in any skills of woodsmanship, he knew this meant he was not alone. But then who or what was it?

____________________________________________

-The plains-

“But what about the others?” Theodred whispered as Eomer bent down and kissed one of his exposed nipples.

“Either they sleep, or they too comfort each other, you’ll never know,” Eomer chuckled, “but it is I who have the first watch.” He finished off with a gentle bite to the nipple between his lips, and he smiled as he felt Theodred relax and enjoy the touches. Eomer sat up on his knees and began to open the prince’s rough leather pants exposing his beginning arousal to the cold night winds, and leaned in and placed a teasing little kiss on the semi erect member before he leaned back again and started to remove his own armour and open his pants, pushing the leather down to his knees, not allowing himself the luxury of disrobing completely. Should they need to suddenly defend themselves it would be easier to do so in a less compromising costume.

He spooned up behind Theodred and the prince rolled over to the side, pushing his buttocks up against the warm skin of Eomer behind him. Eomer kissed the exposed shoulder of his cousin as he searched his opening with his hand. Finding what he was searching for, he began to manipulate the tight guardian muscle, listening to Theodred’s breathing as it became more laboured. Eomer whispered loving words as he entered Theodred with his fingers, not really taking the time to prepare the prince, as they had been lovers for so long he knew this was no longer necessary.

As Eomer finally placed his erection at Theodred’s opening and started to inch inside. Theodred purred out loud and draped his leg over Eomer’s as far as the pants would allow him. “Never leave me,” he moaned as Eomer started to move inside him.

“I won’t,” Eomer whispered back and bit Theodred’s earlobe gently as he wrapped his arm around his lover’s chest, holding him in place. He knew he meant it, but why did it feel like such a lie? Perhaps because as he lay here with his cousin, a different face kept coming to his mind, a fair face surrounded by silver hair, a pair of lush lips and deep brown eyes, the image of perfection.

“Liar,” Theodred mouthed without sound, but lost his dark thoughts as he felt Eomer speed up his lovemaking, driving himself harder into Theodred.

The only sounds were those of muffled moans and purrs as Eomer reached his climax, closely followed by Theodred. And when they both lay breathing hard, sweating and dazed, Eomer kissed Theodred’s shoulder. “Feel better?” he panted with a smile upon his lips.

“Yes” Theodred mumbled back. It was not the truth, yet it was no lie either, there was some strange feeling to this, as if it were the last time they would ever lie like this together. A premonition, Theodred thought to himself? It must have been the strange smell in the air, the scent of endings and strange unwelcome changes.

Eomer pulled out of Theodred, and pulled up his pants. “We need to rest, cousin,” he whispered and gently touched Theodred’s naked waist.

“You are right,” Theodred whispered back and pulled up his pants as well, smiling at Eomer as he tucked the leather armour down under his head and made himself comfortable. The question burned on his lips, to know who it was who had captured Eomer’s heart, but he would not ask now. He would leave Eomer with the thought that he had fixed his soul for the time being, and that his gentle words and touches had not been in vain.

Eomer spooned up behind Theodred again and wrapped a lazy arm around the prince. “Everything will be alright, you just wait and see,” he mumbled.

Yes, I could be struck dead by lightning, Theodred thought to himself. “I hope you are right.” But Eomer did not answer as he had already fallen asleep. Theodred chuckled to himself. “You are such a mother hen, Eomer, think of your own needs for once, and stop saving me.”

Theodred closed his eyes, but saw only visions of darkness. How he wished that Irmo would take pity on him and grant him pleasant dreams or maybe even oblivion.

___________________________________________________

-Mirkwood-

Elladan sat in his bed and looked out the window. He was furious. Elrond had
decided to stay another week, for one of the servants who had gone with them
had found love here in Mirkwood, and so he had allowed the torn elf time to
decide whether he wanted to stay here in the forest, or return home with them
to Imladris.

“Aii Legolas, I’m sorry,” he whispered in a barely audible voice.

He was feeling terribly guilty, hoping that he had left enough food for the
young elf.

___________________________________________________

When I was a child I had a fever.
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I got that feeling once again.
I can’t explain, you would not understand.
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re sayin’.
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.

Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb

______________________________

Chapter 11 – Just nod if you can hear me

-The plains-

Another twig snapped. Legolas spun around scanning the dark. Who ever it was, they had seen him where he had not seen them, hiding – yes they had to be hiding, becoming one with the trees and rocks. His nightmare scenario quickly became reality when he suddenly felt something hard hit his back, and in the next second his face was buried in the ground. He tried to lift himself on his arms, but it just resulted in him being pushed into the ground harder this time. Legolas coughed and spit out a mix of blood, saliva and dirt.

Suddenly the weight on his back shifted. This was no tree falling over. This was a living creature on his back. Then why had it not bitten him yet? He was not in pain other than from the fall. Then he heard something; it made noises! And something else in the dark answered it.

It took Legolas some time to figure out, but it seemed like they were communicating in some odd way. The noises and grunts seemed to be planned; this surprised him and scared him at the same time.

The second creature sat down next to Legolas and at first the elf just held his breath in the hope that it would let him go, but then he suddenly felt a sharp pain on his scalp. The creature let go of his hair once more, and now it suddenly pulled Legolas’ ear so hard that he was forced to turn his head along with the forceful pull. He opened his eyes slowly and looked directly up in the face of a young elf-like being with hair on its face. From the pictures Elladan had shown to him, he guessed that this had to be a mortal man.

The bearded face smiled down at him, but Legolas found it more a snarl than a smile. The young man turned to say something to the other one still sitting on Legolas’ back. And they both laughed and the man who was gripping his ear yelled something out loud and an answer came back from several voices from
the forest.

The grip tightened and Legolas felt himself panic. His heart beat like a rabbit. Who were these mortals? Why had they trapped him? And more importantly – what would they do to him? But his worries were brought to a halt when the young mortal sitting next to him pinched his cheek hard. Legolas tried to recoil but the force that held him down was too big, and so as the man continued to poke, pull and pinch him, almost as were he trying to decide what piece he should devour first, Legolas started to cry. His tears mingled with the dirt on his face as he lay there on the ground.

“It is a elf,” the man said and pinched Legolas’ ear once more.

“Pretty,” said the man on Legolas’ back.

“Too pretty for his own good!” laughed a man that stepped out from the bushes.

Legolas lay quietly, not understanding a word the men were uttering. All he understood was the crude laugh, and he closed his eyes wishing that he had never ventured out, that he had just stayed in the cave and been bored.

“Captain?” the man on Legolas’ back said, “what do you want done with him?”

The man at Legolas’ side looked down at the elf and suddenly pulled the elf’s head back by his hair. “We’ll make him scream, my friend,” he hissed at Legolas’ frightened expression.

Instinctively Legolas felt nothing but fear of the young man at his side. The man meant him no good, he could feel it. And when a couple of hands ripped off his boots he looked quizzically up at the young man who now wore a large grin. “Frightened, little elfie?” the man chuckled but Legolas just blinked and frowned, thinking of a possible way out from underneath the weight on his back.

If he had been able to, he would have screamed when his leggings suddenly and brutally were torn off, exposing his bare skin to the wind. Instinct told the  frightened elf to get out of there fast, and he made a last effort to crawl out from under the man on his back, but was just rewarded with a knee in his neck keeping him in place. He let out a painful thin sound, sounding more like a pathetic squeak but the young man at his side just laughed more, and patted Legolas’ hand. “Don’t worry,” he chuckled, “you’ll like it.”

Legolas made one more futile attempt to get free, but quickly lost the struggle as the knee on his neck forced him further down in the dirt.

The young man slapped Legolas across the face and the elf just gasped in surprise. The man looked at him as one would look at a rare animal, and hit him once more. Still no sound came from the fair-haired elf. “He’s a mute,” the man mumbled. “HE IS MUTE!” he yelled and laughed before he stood up and smiled. “This will be fun.”

__________________________________________

-Mirkwood-

Elladan felt like a trapped animal pacing the royal talan. He had begged and pleaded with his father to return to Rivendell soon, but Elrond was apparently having fun in Mirkwood, not having the same duties here as at home. And now some guests were about to show up, and a feast would be taking place. Elladan growled to himself. He wanted no feast; he wanted to go home. He had been looking forward to seeing Elrohir, but even his twin had changed since he had bonded with that damn blond. He was not even Elrohir anymore; he was just an elf. If his heart had been able to break even more, it would have. He sighed, but then he suddenly heard light footsteps in the hall, and he hid behind a drape. Why, he didn’t know, as he had no reason to hide.

He watched as Elrohir entered with Dinalu at his side.

“I wonder where Elladan is hiding?” Elrohir said and leaned against his husband. “I haven’t seen him all day.”

Dinalu smiled at Elrohir’s worries and kissed his ear gently. “I am sure he is just out enjoying the sun. There are a lot of interesting offers here in Mirkwood, and I am sure your brother will receive one or two.”

“I don’t think he is so easily seduced,” Elrohir mumbled.

“Are you jealous, little one?” the blond laughed.

“No,” Elrohir stated and let Dinalu lift him up on the dining table. “You don’t understand…” He took a deep breath. “He is just so fragile, and he has never been the one to just frolic around.”

“There is a first time for everything, my love,” Dinalu whispered and kissed his husband sweetly on the forehead.

“Not for Elladan,” Elrohir whispered but relaxed against his husband’s feather light touches.

——–

What did he mean, not for Elladan? Elladan wondered. He watched the two kiss and caress until they forgot about the conversation that had bought them there. He leaned against the large window frame and closed his eyes. This should had been his, these sweet little endearments spilling from Elrohir’s lips should have been for his ears only.

“Hush, forget about Elladan, he’s fine,” Dinalu whispered.

Elladan froze. Had he really said that? Had his ears deceived him? They must have, for Elrohir said nothing in his defence.

Witnessing their rapidly heating coupling left Elladan feeling like a intruder. He even had the decency to blush as he heard Elrohir’s voice moan softly – the most angelic sound he could think of. It sent shivers through his body, and tears to his eyes. He had to get out of this hideout. It was no longer a place to hide; it had become a trap.

He pulled the curtain to the side gently, careful to make no sound, and tried his hardest not to look at the two elves on the table. This was supposed to be mine, all mine – he thought to himself as he crept out of the dining hall.

_______________________________________

Add note to chapter 11 & 12; this is slightly non- con’ish, I couldn’t write it
more graphic than this…

– I’m sorry I really wanted to.

________________________________________________________

I know you’re watching
You know I see
My face in your eyes
I know you see

As I run blindly
From the fear I know’s not real
Cover my face
Do not watch my eyes

Let me hate for you
And hate for me
My face in your eyes
All I can see

As I run blindly
From the fear I know’s not real
Cover my face
Do not watch my eyes

As I run freely
I will leave your world behind
Carry me further
Do not see my lie

Miranda sex garden – cover my face

____________________________

chapter 12 – my perfect ring of scars

-the plains-

No matter how much Legolas tried to focus on something else, just like Elladan had taught him when he had a bad dream, the men’s hands were just too real. No fairytale fantasy could chase away that burning sensation from his skin.

And when the hands got rougher and more inquisitive, his vision burst like a balloon, and all he thought of was escape. He could not escape into a dream world; this was real, ever so real.

The man that had been sitting by his side laughed at Legolas’ feeble attempt of escape. “Where are you going, little elfie?” he chuckled as he unbuckled his belt. “Oh you can’t answer, I forgot!” He roared with laughter and let his pants drop down around his ankles.

That sound alone caused Legolas to panic. He could not see what was going on, but he felt the tension in the air, and decided it was not a good omen. He tried once more to crawl away under the weight of the man on top of him. But this only resulted in a firmer grip on his hips, and his face being squashed further down in the dirt.

When he suddenly felt rough hands spreading his buttocks, he thought he had lived to feel the worst he had ever imagined. Never in his life had he thought someone would touch him ‘there’ and yet these insensitive hands did.

He had no choice but to let this happen, had no means of escape.

Suddenly he felt it as someone had pushed a burning poker inside him. He opened his mouth to scream. No real sound came out, instead his mouth filled with dirt. Nothing Elladan had said had prepared him for this.

———————————

-another place on the plains-

Theodred woke from a disturbing dream, and looking around in the dark, he saw the rest of his men asleep. All except Eomer, who was sitting by the fireplace humming to himself softly as he boiled water for what appeared to be tea. Theodred got up from his sleeping place and slowly walked to the fire and Eomer.

Eomer looked up and smiled. “You should rest more, my friend.”

“I don’t want to rest,” Theodred pouted.

Eomer laughed and patted the log next to him. “Nay, you need not to rest anymore,” he smiled, “but if I return you looking like a drowned rat, your father will have my head on a platter.”

“Don’t worry Eomer, I will look every bit my charming self when we return,” Theodred mumbled and sat down next to his friend.

Eomer gently wrapped an arm around his friend’s shoulder. “Nightmare?” he asked softly.

Theodred nodded. “If only I knew what I had done to deserve to be tormented in sleep as well,” he sighed and leaned against Eomer. “Something is wrong,” he mumbled. “Don’t know what it is, but something is coming my way whether I want it or not.”

“These things are called fate, and we discussed that once before,” Eomer whispered. “Now just sit here with me. We still have several hours until daybreak, and you need more rest before we head back to Rohan.”

—————————————————-

-the plains-

Legolas had lost count; the relentless pressure and groping hands didn’t even seem to bother him anymore. As he slipped in and out of consciousness his only wish was to just not feel anymore. He heard the merry laughter, and felt something oozing down his thighs. His imagination did not even come close to the reality of this brutality. And Legolas feared that this would claim his very spirit.

Should he survive… He didn’t even think this thought to its conclusion, when he was disturbed in his odd little bubble by a change of hands and pressure. He squeezed his eyes tight waiting for a new burning stab. But it never came, instead they all let go, and he slumped down on the ground.

The man with the vicious voice kicked him in the side. “He fainted, the little elfie is out cold,” he laughed.

Legolas did not understand what it was that was funny, but he just lay still, hoping the ground would open and swallow him whole. To his surprise the voices became fainter, the mortals left! Now he was confused. He had been so sure that they would kill him, that he had not even considered that he had been alive to witness them leave.

Now their voices were so faint that he suddenly felt sure they had actually left. His apathy disappeared instantly, and panic kicked in, urged on by a survival instinct he didn’t even knew he had. He opened his eyes wide, and slowly raised himself to his knees. Even though he wanted to fly away, his body would not obey. His knees were shaking and he had to draw his breath in uneven, wheezy gasps of air. He felt the darkness close in on him again, but he shook his head. Not now! He had to get out of here.

He pushed backwards until he was in a sitting position, but then his abused behind shot arrows of flaming pain up into his stomach.

/run, run, run, run, run/

He slowly and very ungracefully got to his feet. He winced in pain every time he tried to move his legs. He was just about to give up ever getting his body to move another inch, and just lay down, hoping some wild animals would kill him off. Then he suddenly heard a noise, and his body moved without him thinking. He just ran, not caring that he was half naked, and that the bloodstains would probably make a pretty clear trail. He just wanted to get away. He could not let this happen once more.

—————————————————–

-some other place on the plains-

Eomer had almost fallen asleep, listening to the sound of even breathing coming from Theodred who slept next to him. Poor cousin, even in his sleep he looked troubled.

Theodred stirred when Eomer suddenly turned his head. “Did you hear that?” he whispered to the dark-haired man.

Theodred blinked and opened his eyes, listening to the night – yes there was definitely a noise. “Breathing?” he whispered.

“It sounds like someone is hurt,” Eomer said. “No one would wheeze like that.”

“Orcs?” Theodred said and reached for his sword.

“Don’t know,” Eomer said and stood up, followed by Theodred, who went into the darkness.

___________________________________________________________

add note to chapter 13; sorry for the short chapter and the long wait – I had
some serious RL issues, plus that the baby is due in 14 days, so yea well.. I
cant really sit in front of the computer for so long.

Hugs Az

___________________________________________________________-

the ruiner’s got a lot to prove
he’s got nothing to lose
and now he made you believe
the ruiner’s your only friend
well he’s the living end
to the cattle he deceives
the raping of the innocent the ruiner ruins everything he sees
now the only pure thing left in my fucking world is wearing your disease

you had to covet what was mine
didn’t you?
didn’t you?

the ruiner’s a collector
he’s an infector
serving his shit to his flies
maybe there will come a day when those that you keep blind will suddenly
realize

maybe it’s a part of me you took to a place i hoped it would never go
and maybe that fucked me up much more than you’ll ever know
and what you gave to me
my perfect ring of scars
you know i can see
what you really are

-Nine inch nails – Ruiner

_______________________________________________

Chapter 13 – You know I can see what you really are.

“Eomer?” Theodred called out. But received no answer – he looked around in the dark but saw nothing, when suddenly something nearly knocked him off his feet.

“Oomph – what the…” Theodred looked at the figure that slammed into him.

Legolas looked up at the dark-haired man, but only for a second before his eyes fluttered shut and the dark oblivion took him once more.

“Eomer! Eomer! I have a dead elf here!” Theodred yelled. Again he heard no answer, but a rustle in the bushes and then his cousin was standing next to him.

“A dead elf?” he panted, exhausted from running towards the voice of his cousin. “Elves don’t die, you oaf!” he chuckled.

“This one did,” Theodred said with a slight panic in his voice.

“Don’t be a fool, Theodred,” Eomer said and lifted up the elf, slinging him on his back. “We need to get back to camp to examine him.”

—–

Eomer placed Legolas on his bed roll, and they both kneeled by the still form. “Ehm, Eomer? What happened to this elf?” Theodred asked.

Eomer prodded Legolas with professional hands, due to his experience in tending simple battle injuries. “Me thinks he was raped,” he answered in a thick voice.

“Raped?” Theodred gasped.

“Yes, my sweet cousin, and from the looks of this, not just once,” the Rohirrim said with a dark look.

Theodred clasped his hand for his mouth in shock. “How utterly appalling,” he whispered.

Eomer nodded. “We must get him to a gifted healer, or we WILL end up with a dead elf on our hands.”

“You mean he is alive?” Theodred said and risked a little smile.

“Yes I mean he is alive, you imp” Eomer said and couldn’t help but smile himself. “But I do not think his struggles are over by far.”

Theodred looked up at Eomer with a confused expression. “He is alive, is he not? He should be glad to be, after such an ordeal.”

“Perhaps not,” Eomer said and smiled at his innocent cousin. “Would you like to live with this knowledge, if you were he?”

“Oh….no,” Theodred said and shook his head, finally seeing Eomer’s point. “But still we can’t just let him die.”

“I never said that, Theodred. We must get him to Rohan quickly and have your father’s physician take a look at him,” Eomer said as he rose to his feet once more. “If you will gather your things, I will prepare your horse.”

“Me? You want me to take him to Rohan?” Theodred said and looked confused.

“Yes, you are a swifter rider than me, and besides, Theoden might listen to you,” Eomer reasoned. “Now make haste unless you want him to fade while on your horse.”

For some reason Theodred just nodded and ran off to gather his belongings and weapons. This could get dangerous if those people or creatures that hurt the elf should return and claim their prize. This thought alone gave young Theodred a bitter taste in his mouth. Yes, he would ride like the lightening, he would do all in his power to save the elf. He smiled to himself, he had never seen an elf before, yet he had had no trouble recognizing this beautiful creature for what he was. He finished gathering his things, and went for his horse.

When he got there he saw Eomer standing there with the elf, who was now wrapped in a blanket. Theodred figured it was out of respect for the elf, for as far as he knew, elves did not feel the cold. Or perhaps they did when they were dying? He nodded to Eomer, and his cousin smiled back. He would have a trillion questions for this elf once he was nursed back to health.

—————————————–

-Mirkwood-

Elladan watched Elrond as he made everything ready for their departure. Finally he would get home, finally everything would be normal once more – he had had it with this torture, watching Elrohir and Dinalu displaying their affection. He knew he should be happy for them, but in the depths of his heart he just found it impossible. All those kisses should be his, and his alone.

“Elladan?”

“Elladan?”

The son of Elrond shook his head and turned towards the sound, and looked

directly into his father’s worried face. “What is wrong my son?”

“Nothing, father,” Elladan lied.

“You always were a terrible liar, Elladan,” Elrond said with an odd smile. Elladan didn’t offer his father an answer, he just lowered his gaze to his feet, and Elrond placed a warm hand on his son’s shoulder. “Is it Elrohir?”

Elladan nodded slowly. There was no use in lying to his father when he was caught like this.

“He is your twin, Elladan. It is only natural you miss his presence,” Elrond offered.

Again Elladan nodded slowly. “I guess that is it,” he mumbled softly.

“Come, my child, let us return to Rivendell. I am sure that everyday life there will get you back to normal quickly,” Elrond said and squeezed Elladan’s shoulder.

“Yes” Elladan mumbled, “you are right, maybe returning to my duties will rid me of this dark mood.”

Elrond smiled happily. This had gone far better than he had expected. He had never thought that Elladan would understand so quickly. But this way he at least was not forced to have a father-son chat. “Go to the stables and fetch your horse, and we will leave quickly.”

“Yes, father,” Elladan said and turned and walked out the door. He lifted his head once he was in the corridor. Anger flashed his features. How he hated this! Hated Elrond, but most of all hated this realm, hated the ever-perfect son of Thranduil. He needed the solitude of his room, and the calm of Legolas’ gentle presence to finish his plan to bring them all down.

____________________________________________________________

add note for chapter 14; the song “her mantle so green” is a trad irish (I think)
folk song. I only used some of the lyrics here.

Hugs Az

_____________________________________________________________

I just want to feel safe in my own skin,
I just want to be happy again
I just want to feel deep in my own world
But I’m so lonely
I don’t even want to be with myself anymore

On a different day,
if I was safe in my own skin,
then I wouldn’t feel lost and
so frightened
But this is today and I’m lost in my own skin
And I’m so lonely
I don’t even want to be with myself anymore
I just want to feel safe in my own skin,
I just want to be happy again.

Dido – honestly ok

______________________________

chapter 14 – Safe in my own skin.

-the plains-

Theodred had been riding his poor horse almost to the point of exhaustion, and as the sun set, he realized he would have to set camp. He found a spot that would keep them all safe from the night winds that swept across the plains, and gently dismounted the horse as he lifted the elf down too.

He didn’t know if the elf would wake or not, so he decided to build a fire and prepare some food. He did not know much about healing the spirit and body of someone, but he knew that food and rest were never a bad thing. So he placed Legolas on the ground, but frowned as the elf let out a pitiful whimper when he made contact with the ground. – What if the elf woke? What if he ran off? He couldn’t risk that. Theodred stopped in his thoughts and sat down next to the elf, wondering what he should do. He decided to just try and make a fire with the branches here, and not venture too far away.

He looked at the little fire he had made, and decided that a little fire was better than no fire at all. He sat down once more opposite the elf, and pulled out the dried meat from his saddlebag. He smiled as the elf stirred in his coma-like sleep. At least he was still alive.

Legolas felt a steady rise in the pain he had felt for as long as he remembered… confused images flashed before his eyes. A little part of him wondered if he had gone insane.

Theodred watched as the elf began to move about and whimper more than before. What was he to do? What did you do with a dying elf that was in pain? He could come up with no other reasoning than to move nearer to the elf in case he could be of assistance or comfort. He quickly moved to the elf’s side, and began to tenderly caress the elf’s forehead, but it did not seem to lessen the seizure. He slowly began to hum a tune, and strangely enough that seemed to help, so he took a deep breath and started singing, the first and best song he remembered.

**As I went out walking, one morning in June

To view the fair fields, and the valleys in bloom;

I spied a pretty fair maid, she appeared like a queen,

With her costly fine robes and her mantle so green.

Says I, my pretty fair maid, wont you come with me,

We’ll both join in wedlock, and married we’ll be;

I will dress you in fine linen, you’ll appear like a queen,

With your costly fine robes and your mantle so green.

Says she, now my young man, you must be excused,

For I’ll wed no man, so you must be refused;

To the green woods I will wander and shun all men’s view

For the boy I love dearly lies in farmed waterloo. **

From far away Legolas heard the song. It puzzled him that this soft voice was connected to these horrid images that kept swimming his mind. He fought to open his eyes, to see where this sound was coming from. He heard his own voice groan as he fluttered open his eyes and looked directly up into a face. Dark hair fell down on both sides of the pale face. At first he thought it was an elf, but after moment it appeared to him that the song made no sense, and that those little hairs he could see on the other face were the mark of a mortal – this was a human man!

Theodred noticed the elf panic and he grabbed the slender figure. “Don’t… I mean you no harm,” he said softly, but it didn’t help. The elf just seemed to panic more. Theodred bit his lip, and tried to remember those times he had met a ranger or such, who mastered the elven language.

That language! It had been the same sounds the men who had treated him so terribly had uttered. This one’s voice did not seem so wicked, though, and he did look more worried than predatory, but Legolas was still not convinced.

“All right, here goes nothing,” Theodred mumbled and smiled nervously down at the terrified elf. If only he could remember the elvish word for friend… Ah yes! “Mushroom!” he said with a triumphant smile.

Mushroom? What was the man on about? But Legolas couldn’t help but be slightly amused and relaxed somewhat. He nodded weakly.

Finally he had made contact, Theodred thought to himself. It was amazing! Now if he only had one of the scholars, or better yet a ranger, or another elf, it would be just perfect. The elf didn’t answer but at least he looked less frightened.

“Theodred, mushroom,” he repeated and pointed at himself.

Legolas couldn’t help but smile, even though the situation didn’t really call for it. He made a weak attempt to make the sign for Legolas, but the man didn’t seem to care or understand.

This was going better than he had imagined, and Theodred was proud of himself, finally there was something he had mastered! – Now all they had to do was to wait for daybreak so they could travel the last bit to Rohan. – Oh what an idiot he was, he had forgotten to offer the elf some food. He pulled up the piece of dried meat from his pocket he had been eating himself and offered it to the elf, but the elf just turned his head, and closed his eyes. “You are not hungry, I reckon,” Theodred mumbled and took a bite of the meat himself. The elf’s breathing became shallow again, and the young man figured he was sleeping once more. “Yes, you get some rest before we ride again.”

—————————————

-On the way to Rivendell-

Elrond was watching his eldest son closely; Elladan looked like he was brooding. He had been looking like that ever since they had left Mirkwood. Elrond had tried to speak with him, but had only been brushed off gently every time. It was apparent that Elladan did not wish to discuss this. Elrond wondered why Elladan had insisted on leaving without telling Elrohir, but there Elrond had not obliged, he had not wanted to leave without telling his son. Elladan was acting most oddly. How on earth could Elrond get him to tell what was wrong?

—————————————-

-Mirkwood-

“Finally alone,” Dinalu sighed as he flopped down in a large green chair.

“Dina,” Elrohir answered with a annoyed expression as he walked to the window and opened it so the night air rushed into their bedroom. “I know you don’t like him much, but he is my *brother*.”

“Brother, smother,” Dinalu answered and kicked off his boots. “I tell you he is up to something, and it’s nothing good.”

Elrohir turned around and frowned. “Don’t speak like that, Elladan is my *twin* and I love him dearly, do *not* speak so of him!”

“I’ll speak of him as I like, Elrohir,” Dinalu sneered. “I realise you love your brother, but you do not need to be blind to the truth!”

“I am not blind,” Elrohir yelled, “it is you who is so caught up in your own, that you cannot understand that Elladan just misses me as much as I miss him!”

Dinalu paled and flushed in a second. “Then why did you ever leave him?” he hissed.

“Because I wanted to go with you,” Elrohir sneered, “but I honestly thought that my family would be welcome in our home.”

“And they are,” Dinalu answered flatly.

“Apparently only parts of my family,” Elrohir said.

“No,” Dinalu said and closed his eyes, rubbing his temples. “But I don’t have to love your brother, do I?”

“No,” Elrohir mumbled, “but you don’t have to hate him either.”

“Listen, Elrohir,” Dinalu said and stood up and walked towards Elrohir in the window sill. “If you worry this much, why don’t you just follow them to Rivendell?” He paused as he stood in front of his husband. “Just be sure to come back to me,” he added softly.

“I will think about it,” Elrohir said.

“About leaving or about coming back?” Dinalu asked.

“Both,” Elrohir said and looked miserable.

Dinalu sighed and looked and the sky behind Elrohir. “So be it,” he whispered.

______________________________________________________

ADD NOTE; im sorry for the delay on this chapter (15), and the shortness of
it – but as some of you might know i had the baby – if you are curious its a boy
and he’s doing fine… but i have been rahter busy, and havent had time to
write.. RL is a bitch sometimes.
___________________________________________

When your belly’s empty and the hunger’s so real
And you’re too proud to beg and too dumb to steal
You search the city for your only friend
No one would you see
You ask yourself, who could it be
A solitary voice to speak out and set me free
It’s hard to say it
I hate to say it, but it’s probably me

You’re not the easiest person I ever got to know
And it’s hard for us both to let our feelings show
Some would say I should let you go your way
You’ll only make me cry
If there’s one guy, just one guy
Who’d lay down his life for you and die
It’s hard to say it
It’s hate to say it, but it’s probably me

Sting – It’s probably me

__________________________________________-

Chapter 15 – one friendly face is all you need to see

-Mirkwood-

Elrohir had been moving through the Mirkwood castle as if he were a ghost. Dinalu, who felt unable to change anything about Elrohir’s decision, felt just

as lost and miserable, trying to capture the elusive creature that his heart ached for, but with no luck.

Elrohir had never in his life felt such torment. Why did it have to be this way? Why couldn’t Dinalu just like Elladan? After all he *was* his twin, and he could never in his life imagine a world without his twin. He sat down in the little garden next to the giant oak, and bit his lip. He remembered that he and Elladan had once made a pact. Dinalu could just not understand how important this pact still was to him. He had promised *promised* to never leave. They had even mixed blood to seal the agreement. They might have been young, and neither of them had been ready for real life, or the peril that their hearts would throw their way, but this didn’t make the pact less potent. He sighed. There still was a choice to be made, and no matter what he chose, he would end up heartbroken. He would either lose his twin or to lose his bonded mate.

_______________________________________

-Rivendell-

Elrond had been more than puzzled by Elladan’s behaviour. Once they had reached the valley; he had seemed to visibly relax, but when they had handed over the horses to the stable personnel, he seemed to tense once more.

Elrond had let it be at the moment, he needed to watch his son more to know what it was that ailed him. Elladan had not even wished to go with him to the halls of fire to relax upon the journey, but had made some excuse to be left alone. He knew he should have followed to see what it was that made Elladan act so strangely, but he had chosen to let his son have his private life, and decided that he really shouldn’t snoop.

Elladan had almost not been able to sit still in the saddle, but had forced himself to just be happy that they were finally home. But when his father had suggested that they go to the halls of fire before retiring, he had said that he had wanted some time to himself, and hoped that his father would blame his mood on the departure from Elrohir.

He rushed further down the corridor, past where he should have turned up the little staircase that led to his and Elrohir’s sleeping chambers. Elladan ignored that and continued out in the gardens. He had to go to the cave where he had left Legolas. How he hoped the elfling would not have suffered from lack of food or something as grave. But never had he been prepared for what he actually found.

_______________________________________

-Rohan-

Finally Theodred and his precious cargo saw the silhouette of the golden city, and he let out a sigh of relief. “Look elf, it’s Meduseld. We have reached Edoras!” The elf shook his head in confusion and Theodred continued, “We are home.”

/home/ Legolas thought, so this is what this man calls home. The thought of an entire city of those smelly humans filled his heart with dread, and he silently prayed that Namó would just call him home, and not let him endure more trials than he had gone through already. But no answer came to his prayer, and he decided that he needed sleep after all, so hopefully the humans’ beds weren’t as stinking and unpleasant as their race. Not that he had a choice, as he had to follow this man where he took him. And if Legolas was honest to himself, this human, of all the humans he met in his lifetime, wasn’t the worst specimen. He seemed kind, honest and concerned.

“I think the guards saw us now,” Theodred whispered as he waved with one hand towards a wooden tower. “Just you wait until we are at my fathers house, then you will have a bed and decent food.” He smiled to himself. “No more roots and dried meat.”

_______________________________________

-Rivendell-

“Little rabbit?” Elladan called as he entered the cave. He stopped and listened – not a sound. He strained his ears for the sound of clothing rustling or a chair pushed back, but nothing came. “Little rabbit?” he called once more.

With a pounding heart he went into the cave. What if the little one had died from lack of drink or food? What if he had fallen ill? – nah! Elves didn’t get ill. Elladan looked around the cave. There was a table full of decomposing food, indicating that it had been some time since someone had been here. “Where are you?” he whispered with a shaking voice.

Elladan sat down on a chair and looked around in the cave. There was no sign of battle, ergo he had not been kidnapped. But what had then happened? Had he just left?

Elladan shook his head in denial. No! His little friend wouldn’t just leave him. He was his life, his tutor, his father and his best friend – the little elf knew nothing but him. He would never get an adventurous thought. “This is all my fault,” Elladan whispered, and felt hot tears prick the corners of his eyes. “I swore to take care of him, and I failed,” he whispered.

“Please come home.”

______________________________

-Mirkwood-

“Elrohir?” Dinalu whispered as he sat down next to his beloved’s slumbering form, and upon sensing the half-elf stirring in his sleep, he quickly added, “Please don’t run, we need to speak.”

“Dina,” Elrohir mumbled and lashed an arm out to wrap itself around the blond’s waist. “Where have you been?”

“Thinking,” Dinalu answered truthfully, smiling at the feeling of running his fingers through his husband’s long dark hair. He hadn’t even realized just how much he had missed this feeling.

Elrohir didn’t answer, he just held his loved one tightly in his embrace.

“A-Are you leaving?” Dinalu suddenly asked.

“Yes,” Elrohir answered with a thick voice. “Come with me, my love.”

“I can’t,” Dinalu whispered and felt the first tears leave a warm trail down his cheeks. “My father needs me here.”

“Please?” Elrohir pleaded, looking up at Dinalu with his large grey eyes. “Please?”

But Dinalu just shook his head. “No my love, if you want to return to Rivendell, you must do so alone.”

Elrohir slowly let go of Dinalu, and sat up. “Is that your final word?” he whispered.

“I’m afraid so,” Dinalu said. He looked away, trying to focus at on the window, anything not to look at Elrohir.

“Would you at least look at me?” Elrohir bit his lip and reached for his lover once more, but decided to leave him be and his hand fell into his lap.

Dinalu shook his head in a childish manner. “No,” he said in a voice thick with tears.

“I never thought it would come to this,” Elrohir suddenly whispered and took a deep breath before he continued. “Dina, I *do* love you, and I promise I will return once I have seen my home.”

“Don’t promise me anything you can’t keep, Elrohir,” Dinalu said, with his eyes still firmly fixed on the window.

“But I *do* promise, and I *will* keep it,” Elrohir answered hotly before he rose from the bed, needing to escape this room.

________________________

We slept in this room together, but now you’re gone,
And it’s so quiet I turn the TV on.
We lived in this room together, we painted the walls.
Now time doesn’t stand still,
It crawls

And I’m afraid to sleep,
‘Cause if I do I dream of you,
And dreams are always deep
On the pillow where I weep.

Lying alone in the darkness with the memory in my head.
There’s a big hole where my heart is
And a lonely feeling rollin’ round my bed.
I’m afraid to sleep

Dido – I’m afraid to sleep

______________________________

Chapter 16 – Daddy I’m coming home

-Rivendell-

Elladan searched the cave painstakingly, but couldn’t figure out how or when the young elf had left, and why. He was able to tell that not very much food had been eaten, so Legolas must have left only a few days after his own departure.

But Elladan was not a stupid elf, he knew that if he stayed away for too long he would arouse suspicion. Elrond was already keeping an eye on him; he could feel it. The concerned looks and the worried shakes of his head burned themselves into Elladan’s back. Why hadn’t he insisted that Elrohir go with him? He hated the fact that Elrond would rather it had been he who had left, and Elrohir who had stayed. Elladan was sure of this.

Maybe he should go and visit grandfather for a while, and from there ask Elrohir to go home to Rivendell. He sighed and left the cave. He needed to make a brand-new plan.

________________________________

-Rohan-

Once in the stable, Theodred lifted Legolas from the horse, and smiled at the elf. “You need a name, friend.”

Legolas just blinked and looked at the strange young man, who looked like he was thinking hard.

“I got it!” he yelled triumphantly. “Bolvirk! That is a good strong name, for a strong… ehm… elf.”

Just then they were spotted by two of the warriors who at first looked startled, and Legolas turned his head, looking just as startled as they did. Theodred was sure that if he hadn’t been holding on to the elf’s arm, he would have bolted out of the stables. “Pray tell, our prince, who is your lady friend?” one of the men said with badly hidden amusement.

Theodred rolled his eyes and smirked at the soldiers. “Don’t you two have something other to do than standing about here? I will be sure to tell my father his men are idle, and they need more labour to keep them occupied.”

The two soldiers hurried off, mumbling something Theodred chose to ignore.

“All right, we need a name for an elf, who…ehm… looks like a female.”

Legolas looked at Theodred so intensely that he almost became cross-eyed. He wished he could understand what the young man had said. He had noticed that whatever it was he had done, those two other men had scrambled off, so he guessed the human here was someone of rank, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to boss those others around so.

“Perhaps we should call you…” Theodred looked up and down the weary elf

“ehm… Ferret? You look like a beaten ferret, my friend.”

Theodred smiled at the elf, and Legolas smiled back, not having any idea what the man had said, but he just reacted to the warm tone in the youngling’s voice, and was most relieved when he was gently led away from the horses. If he had not been so frightened, he was sure he would have been able to fall asleep right there and then.

__________________________________________

-Rivendell-

Elrond was sitting at his large desk watching dusk as it slowly engulfed the land. What was he to do about Elladan? He massaged his temples and sighed. He had to face that his children were adults, but why then did they all seem so flighty?

He took a pen and started to write, not even knowing why, but feeling his patience at an end.

_______________________________________

-Mirkwood-

Thranduil had also been watching his son with increasing worry. What remained of Dinalu was but a fragment of what he used to be. The handsome young elf used to fill the room, and used to enjoy telling dirty stories that would make the soldiers blush. But now they hardly got a word out of him. He would mumble some pleasantries but nothing near like the vivid elf he had been for just a month ago.

Dinalu had been avoiding his father, not able to keep up appearances, hiding in his chambers as much as possible, trying to cope with Elrohir’s decision. One good thing was that his beloved had stopped running from him, when they had both agreed to the destiny they apparently had.

Elrohir sat at the desk at their rooms, watching the fire in the fireplace, gnawing on the featherpen. What was he to write? All he had written so far was *dear father* but in order to warn Elrond of his return, he needed to come up with some reason, and not just *a* reason, but a reason Elrond would believe. He could never tell him the truth, but neither could he lie. He crooked his head, losing himself in the dance of the flames once more, and didn’t even hear Dinalu enter their chambers.

“Elrohir?” Dinalu said, walking over to touch his husband’s shoulder.

The dark-haired elf nearly jumped out the chair before he smiled to himself. “Good evening, my love,” he answered in a sad voice.

“Writing?” Dinalu asked and leaned in over Elrohir’s shoulder.

“Yes,” Elrohir said and lay down the pen he had been holding. “But I can’t seem to get the letter right.”

“Pity,” Dinalu said with more venom in his voice than he intended.

“Don’t start another argument, please?” Elrohir sighed and rubbed his cheek against the hand on his shoulder.

Dinalu didn’t answer. He just nodded, and rested his head against Elrohirs. “Are you writing Elladan?” he whispered.

“No,” Elrohir answered meekly. “I’m writing my father, if you really want to know,” he sighed and kissed the hand on his shoulder.

“To tell him you are coming back?” the blond elf asked.

“Yes, and you see that is what won’t fit in my letter,” Elrohir said with a frown. “The *I* part, I wish I could write *we* instead.”

“I know,” Dinalu said. “Did you set a day for your departure?”

“No,” Elrohir answered, “but when I do you will be the first to know,” he hissed.

“Don’t be so defensive, I was just trying to make conversation,” Dinalu said.

Elrohir let out an offended snort, but then relaxed before he turned around in the chair and looked at his husband. “I know it’s hard on you, too.”

Dinalu was about to give a snappy comeback but decided not to, and decided to just nod and smile. “It’s strange, even though we are in the same room, eat at the same table and sleep in the same bed, I miss you.”

Elrohir bit his lip, feeling a lump form in his throat. “I miss you, too.”

“Elrohir? I will ask you one last time, please stay here with me,” Dinalu whispered as he crouched down in front of the dark-haired elf.

Elrohir let out a pained sigh. “If I stay, will you be ready to let Elladan stay here?”

Dinalu frowned. “Why is it when I speak to you about love, you mention Elladan?”

“He is my twin,” Elrohir sneered, “and I love him more than life itself.”

“More than me?” Dinalu asked with a hurt expression.

“I didn’t say that,” Elrohir sighed.

“No, but that is what you meant.”

“No, that is not what I meant!” Elrohir yelled, feeling tears press behind his eyes. Why did they fight so?

“Elrohir,” Dinalu said with a serious voice, “I am married to *you,* not your twin – and I am sick and tired of hearing about how close you are. You are supposed to be close to me too, but instead you push me away!”

“He is my *brother,* Dinalu!” Elrohir yelled. “Just because you are a spoiled only child!” – the words had barely left his lips before he clasped his hands in front of his mouth “I’m sorry.. I didn’t mean that” he mumbled, and reached out for Dinalu who was already standing up.

“No.. I am sorry, Elrohir son of Elrond,” Dinalu hissed and left the room, “go home if you so please, I care not.”

“B-but…” Elrohir whispered, but was answered with the door slamming. He let out a shaky breath and turned to his letter once more, and wrote.

Dear Father

I am coming home. You should expect me within this moon, as I am riding
past Rohan on my way. Tell Elladan.

Regards, Elrohir

Rohan? Why did he write that? Oh well, now he just had to go there. Perhaps it was time for some adventure. Elrohir shrugged and rolled the parcel together and used the royal stamp of Mirkwood to seal it. “There, it’s final,” he whispered to himself as he too rose to go find one of the messengers to take his letter to Rivendell.

_________________________________________

Danny’s not eating, he’s drinking and sleeping in
I saw him last night at a party, he’s definitely thin
He says he’s happy, he looked pretty good but I think
That as the sun rises on Mary, it sets on him
And just dance, and just drink and just see the things
I’ll probably never get a chance to see

Danny came over last night and I cooked for him
We talked about you Mary and how much we loved you still
He told me he’s packed up your books and your letters and things
And as the sun sets on Mary, it’s rising on him
And we danced and we drank and I’ve seen some things
you probably never got the chance to see
Don’t worry Mary, cos I’m taking care of Danny
And he’s taking care of me

Dido – Mary’s in India

____________________________

Chapter 17 – In the Kingdom of the Blind the One-Eyed Are Kings.

-Rohan-

They had just made it inside when Legolas cringed from the roar of thunder. The man appeared to be oblivious to it, and just thought the elf had gotten frightened from something in the entrance. “Don’t be afraid, you’re safe,” Theodred whispered and petted the elf’s hair as he would a small child.

The elf just blinked.

A soldier came and nodded to the prince. “Greetings Theodred, I was of the impression that Eomer and his men would stay in the plains for longer, yet you are already here – what goes?”

“Greetings Ulf, I have returned because we found this elf, who is in need of medical care,” Theodred answered. “Will you tell my father I am home, and
then call the healer?”

“It shall be my pleasure, my prince,” Ulf said and nodded once more before he hurried off, leaving Theodred and Legolas alone in the hall once more.

“Come elf, you need to get some decent clothes on, and a warm bath,” Theodred mumbled and led Legolas down the corridor to his own chambers.

________________________________________

-Rivendell-

Elladan walked back to his own chambers, deciding it was too dark to search the primacies right now, even for him. And honestly he was rather tired, in his own thoughts he didn’t even notice when he walked straight into his father’s chief advisor.

“Ai Elladan!” Erestor yelped. “Watch where you are going!”

“Oh, Erestor – forgive me,” Elladan gasped, watching the tea soak through the other elf’s robes, and eventually drip on the floor. “I can make you some new tea if you wish.”

“Nay, it is quite all right, penneth,” Erestor said and looked at Elladan closely. “What is amiss, my friend?” he suddenly said.

“Amiss? Why would anything be amiss?” Elladan said and blinked innocently.

“You look like you haven’t slept for a month, Elladan,” the advisor said in a slightly accusing tone.

Seeing no way out from under the chief advisor’s probing look, Elladan
slumped his shoulders and nodded. “True, I do not sleep well these days.”

“May I ask why?” Erestor said and smiled.

Elladan sighed in a childish way. “I guess I miss Elrohir.”

Erestor smiled again and rested his hand on Elladan’s shoulder. “We all get lonely sometimes, Elladan,” the advisor admitted. “There is no shame in that.”

The younger elf looked up at the dark unreadable eyes of his father’s advisor. “I am not ashamed,” he stated.

“Why did you not confide in someone earlier?” Erestor said and raised a brow, as did he not believe the young twin.

“Confide in who?” Elladan asked. “My father? I would never hear the end of it.”

Erestor sighed. “I see your point, but rest assured that you can always come to me, you know that, don’t you? I can be your confidante if you can use me.”

Now it was Elladan’s turn to raise a brow. “You would do that for me?”

“Yes of course, penneth” Erestor said and squeezed Elladan’s shoulder. “I will make some more tea. You are more than welcome to keep me company if you
are not ready to retire.”

“I…” Elladan said and looked at Erestor as if the other elf’s face would reveal the very secrets of the universe. “I would like that,” he finally whispered.

Erestor smiled once more. “It is settled then, young Elladan,” he said and started to walk down towards the kitchen once more, followed by a dumbstruck Elladan.

________________________________________________

-Rohan-

Legolas didn’t know what to think when he saw the large room that Theodred walked into. He was led towards the large bed, and seated on a wooden chair with a large pelt thrown over it. “It’s the first wolf I ever shot,” Theodred said, smiling apologetically, just trying to make conversation.

He sat at the fireplace and started to make a fire, giving Legolas a second to look at him. He most certainly did not look like those other men he had seen. He seemed softer in appearance, but still Legolas sensed that the young man was troubled, and apparently making a great effort not to show it. He wondered if he was worried about him or something else. But when Theodred turned around and said something to him, Legolas decided to trust this man. He really did not know why, for he had no reason to do so, but he still smiled and told Theodred with a sign that he really liked it here.

Theodred looked at the elf pointing at himself, rubbing his ear and then his
cheek while smiling…what was this? He blinked confused and said “Ai, I
wish I knew why you haven’t spoken a word. Can it be that you are mute , my
friend? Let the healer be the judge of that.” He then walked off to find his new
friend some clothing.

A knock on the door made Theodred stop his search for suitable clothes. The
elf was a great deal smaller than him in frame. But as the door opened and the
royal healer stepped inside together with Theoden, a smile appeared on the
young prince’s face. “Father,” he said and came to stand next to the king. “The
elf seems as fit as can be expected from his ordeal, but he has yet to utter a word.”

Theoden looked over at the elf. “Where did you find him son?”

“Eomer found him,” Theodred said and looked up at his father. “Eomer and I,” he corrected.

“Of course,” Theoden sighed, “but *where* did you find this mute elf?”

“On the plains, running like a rabbit from something I do not know,” Theodred said and sat down on the bed, feeling all the eyes in the room transfixed on him. “What I do know is that this *something* hurt him badly.”

“Elves do not live on the plains,” Theoden mumbled, “so he must have come from somewhere.”

“I know father, but as he cannot speak, then not even one that can speak the tongue of the firstborn can help us,” the young prince said and looked over at  Legolas.

“Come my son, we can discuss this somewhere else, and leave the healer to his skill,” the king said, and turned and swept out the door.

Theodred still looked at Legolas, and then smiled. “This is the healer; he will tend to your wounds,” he said, but seeing the elf blink and just stare at him he decided to try another approach. He stood up and walked over to the healer, giving the old man a hug and then turned to Legolas once more. “See? He is a friendly man.”

Legolas nodded and smiled at the healer. He didn’t understand what this man was or why he was there, but the young man who had called himself mushroom apparently liked him. But when Theodred walked out the room, and left Legolas alone with the old man, he was not so sure anymore.

______________________________________________

Chapter 18 is dedicated to Morgana – remember; it takes 35 muscles to frown
and only 4 to flip the bird. And then say “Bite me!” *hugs*

________________________________________________

They flutter behind you your possible pasts
some bright-eyed and crazy some frightened and lost
a warning to anyone still in command
of their possible future to take care
in derelict sidings the poppies entwine
with cattle trucks lying in wait for the next time
Do you remember me? How we used to be?

Do you think we should be closer?
She stood in the doorway the ghost of a smile
haunting her face like a cheap hotel sign
her cold eyes imploring the men in their Macs
for the gold in their bags or the knives in their backs
stepping up boldly one put out his hand
He said, “I was just a child then now I’m only a man”
do you remember me? How we used to be?
do you think we should be closer?

by the cold and religious we were taken in hand
shown how to feel good and told to feel bad
tongue tied and terrified we learned how to pray
now our feelings run deep and cold as the clay
and strung out behind us the banners and flags
of our possible pasts lie in tatters and rags
do you remember me? How we used to be?
do you think we should be closer?

Pink Floyd – your possible pasts

___________________________________________

Chapter 18 – they flutter behind you, your possible pasts.

-Rohan-

“I can’t really see what is wrong,” the old healer said to himself and pulled his beard deep in thought. He observed the elf who sat obediently on the bed, his discarded tunic beside him. “Elves don’t get sick,” the man grumbled and slowly moved to his large black bag full of remedies and odd smelling salves. “There ain’t nuttin wrong with your vocal cord, son,” he said to his bag before turning around to the elf with a glass containing some herbs. “Me thinks you *refuse* to speak,” he whispered. The healer knew all to well that if he didn’t
find anything wrong with the elf, Theoden would find him incompetent, because something was clearly wrong. But if he stated as he believed, that the elf didn’t speak out of sheer willpower, he would be ridiculed. He knew he’d better come up with a diagnosis, and quickly, and ‘spoiled elfitis bratticus’ would not look good on paper.

He looked at the elf and sighed. “All right, you need rest, son,” he said and went back to his bag and searched for yet another glass jar and put it on the mantel. “I should leave you to your rest while I speak with Theoden.” He made a gesture with his hand for the elf to lie down, but Legolas just blinked, looking stupid, until the healer came over and gently pushed him down in the bed. Legolas immediately curled up to a little ball, and the old man pulled the bed cover over him. The elf smiled thankfully and the man chuckled. “Now
don’t expect a story and a good night kiss, elf,” and with that he left the room.

___________________________

“Father,” Theodred said trying to reason with the king, “we ‘had’ to help him, he was lost.”

“But what I want to know,” Theoden said and sat down on his throne, resting his head in his hand, “who were the ones after him, then?”

“I do not know,” Theodred sighed and sat down on the top stair at his father’s feet. “He was frightened out of his mind, father; they must have done terrible things to him.”

“THINK son, for the sake of the gods!” the king yelled in a split-second of anger. “What if he wronged them?”

“I don’t think so, father. You didn’t see the state he was in when we stumbled across him,” Theodred argued and looked pleadingly at his sire.

“You don’t ‘think’ so?” Theoden sighed. “But you don’t know for sure, now do you, son?”

Theodred sighed too, and lowered his gaze to the ground, counting little specks in the marble. “No, father.” Silence fell between them for a while, until Theodred finally slumped his shoulders and whispered “He doesn’t look like a wrong-doer to me, sire.”

“Wrong-doers come in many shapes and forms,” Theoden whispered back, and rested his hand on his son’s hair, stroking it lovingly. “For what it’s worth, I think you are right, that elf looks completely innocent, but that does not mean that he actually ‘is’ innocent.”

Theodred looked up at his father “I know father, many have been deceived by innocent looks and sweet smiles.”

“I am glad we see things the same way then,” Theoden said with a smile.

Theodred, knowing better than to question his father’s judgment, just rested his head against his father’s knee saying, “What have you decided, father?”

“Theodred, I know you would like to protect this elf, and I can see why. He seems so fragile and vulnerable.”

“..But…” Theodred said with a voice barely audible.

“He needs to be amongst his kin, my son,” Theodred said and stopped petting the raven hair of his youngling. “I will write Elrond of Rivendell, and ask for someone to come and collect this stray elf.”

“..But father” the prince objected, “he will not be able to make such a journey right now.”

“Peace my son, they will not be here within the next moon.”

“‘If’ they come at all,” Theodred whispered more annoyed than intended.

“Now do not interfere with my decisions, young man,” Theoden said with a stern voice. “This is final, now go and fetch me the healer, I wish to hear his verdict on your strange elf.”

“Yes, father,” Theodred sighed and slowly got up. He didn’t understand why Theoden would just send the elf away. But there was little he could do once the king’s mind was made up. He bowed respectfully to his father and ruler before he hastened out the hall to find the healer.

_______________________________

-Rivendell-

Night had fallen in Rivendell, and that made Elladan restless. He paced back and forth in his room, trying to figure out ways to find his little charge. He had to act fast or he was sure that the young elf would be eaten by wargs or something similarly awful.

A knock on the door.

A knock again.

And this time Elladan heard it. “Enter!” he snarled, wondering who would have the nerve to come visit him at this hour. Elrohir had been the only one to ever do that, and Elrohir was not here. It could of course be his father, coming for a father/son chat. Now this he didn’t need at all, Elrond’s worried gaze and carefully chosen words.

But to his surprise it was the dark advisor entering his chamber. “Erestor!” he said with surprise written all over his face. “What are ‘you’ doing here?!”

“I could hear you couldn’t sleep,” was the reply given.

“You could ‘hear’ that?” Elladan asked, getting an eerie feeling that the advisor knew all he had done.

“Yes,” Erestor replied, “my chambers is underneath yours, and you stomp around like a raging bull.”

“Oh!” Elladan gasped and blushed slightly. “I am sorry for keeping you up.”

Erestor smiled an odd smile. “You didn’t keep me up, sleep seems to elude me these days” (or this millennia, the elf thought dryly).

Elladan sat down like a sack of potatoes in a chair and managed a smile. “What did you want then?”

“Show you a trick,” said Erestor.

“A trick?” Elladan repeated and raised a eye brow.

“Indeed,” Erestor said. “Do you know why you can’t sleep? I do.” He sat down on the bed and smiled a warm and reassuring smile towards the rapid paling youngster. “You listen.”

“Listen?” Elladan whispered, not really believing this was happening. It all seemed so surreal.

“Yes, you listen to the wind, the chickadees, other elves talking in another room,” the advisor said. His voice dropped to a whisper, “and then to your own

heartbeat, that little nagging voice in your head, or thinking about all that you didn’t get done today that you need to do tomorrow.”

Elladan nodded, this was all true.

“What you need to do,” Erestor whispered, leaning forward towards Elladan, the flames orange dim light playing on his features leaving his eyes in pitch darkness. He looked like something out of a scary old fairy tale. “What you need to do is to hear nothing, see nothing and think nothing.” The advisor smiled broodingly. “You need to find your special place.”

Elladan nodded but didn’t understand.

“All you need to do, is to lie down on the floor, close your eyes, and I will guide you.”

Elladan’s mouth formed an ‘o’ but no sound came out.

Seeing Elladan’s surprise and slight discomfort, Erestor quickly added “Do not worry Elladan, it is nothing improper.”

Elladan smiled a strange smile which Erestor was not able to read, but lay down on the floor as directed and closed his eyes.

“Remember penneth, nothing is out to harm you, everything is just there for you, and only for you,” the voice said, the voice that was Erestor. And while Erestor began to speak, Elladan relaxed and had a feeling he was sinking through the floor, and once out on the other side he was in a world of his own. Pictures of vast gardens and large ancient trees flashed before him as he walked down a little path in his mind, letting Erestor’s voice guide his way.

He found himself in a little cottage in the woods. This is my special place? Elladan thought to himself. It was not very flattering, I had thought something more… uhm… dashing? Extravagant?

“Shhhhhhhh,” a voice said. Elladan spun around and saw no one. He was confused – it was not Erestor’s voice, for he could still hear the advisor chanting in the background. This was someone else. Elladan felt as though the hair rose on his neck, feeling an icing cold rush down his spine and back up in his brain. “Who’s there?” he whispered but only received a deep rumbling chuckle.

Erestor saw the young elf stir and look troubled. He quickly took Elladan’s left hand and with his free hand he rubbed soothing little circles over the half-elf’s forehead. “Hush now, Elladan, remember nothing is there to hurt you, everything there is for your pleasure alone,” he whispered. Elladan seemed to relax, and so Erestor continued.

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