Play Dead 15/17 – The real trick to survival lies not in running and hiding

Authors; azzy & erestorjunkie
Title; Play dead.
Fandom; LoTr
Rating: M
WIP; 15/17
Warnings: Language, crack, smut.
Summary; When zombie apocalypse hits Middle earth, who will they call upon to set things straight? Well the finest of the finest of warriors of course.
AN; Okay so I had this silly idea of Zombies and Elves, and since EJ jumped right onto that idea, we decided to try and write it. It’s been too long since any of us wrote a crack fic.

When it gets cold outside and you got nobody to love
You’ll understand what I mean when I say
There’s no way we’re gonna give up
And like a little girl cries in the face of a monster that lives in her dreams
Is there anyone out there ’cause it’s getting harder and harder to breathe
Is there anyone out there ’cause it’s getting harder and harder to breathe
-Maroon5

There was really no point in covering the prince’s body. In a matter of minutes nearly every survivor in the camp knew something big had happened. It took only a few more minutes for them to start putting together the pieces. Erestor had been infected in Rivendell. None of them were safe.

Haldir found himself just standing there, staring at the bright red blood in the snow as the once lethargic elves worked themselves into a frenzy around him. It was so bright compared to the white snow, so much brighter than it should be. A strand of blond hair trailed from under the cloak, now soaked with blood and Haldir had the strange urge to collect it. Put it in his pocket.

The gates were thrown open, many feeling that their odds were better in the wilds rather than trapped in close quarters with others who might be infected. Maybe they were right. Maybe getting as far away from everyone else as possible was the answer. Maybe it was now time for the first born to learn to live alone, not clustered together in families and cites. Evolution in action.

The soft crunch of new snow under boots came up behind Haldir, but he didn’t turn around.

“For what it is worth, I really am sorry for everything,” Melpomaen said softly and laid one cold hand on Haldir’s shoulder.

“Not much,” The blond said.

“What?” Melpomaen sounded genuinely confused.

“You said ‘for what it is worth’” Haldir said shortly. “I said ‘not much’”

The hand fell away from his shoulder and Haldir finally turned. The elf he once loved more than any other stood before him, head bowed, dark hair tangled and dirty, snow collected on his eye lashes.

Haldir felt almost nothing. The anger and feelings of betrayal that had plagued him for years were gone. There was almost nothing.

Melpomaen never lifted his eyes from the trampled snow. “I was coming to say good bye, Haldir. To tell you that I still love you.”

“So you are going to join the loony’s running through the woods hoping to outrun the disease?” Haldir knew his voice sounded harsh, but he didn’t have the energy to correct it. “You think that you have a better chance out there alone?”

His husband scuffed at the snow at his feet and shook his head. A sniffle let Haldir know that the other elf was crying.

“No, Haldir,” Melpomaen said with a thick voice. “There is no hope out there. There is no hope in here either. There is no hope left anywhere.”

Without warning, Melpomaen lunged forward and placed a quick kiss on the startled Haldir’s lips before turning and walking away, shoulders and head bowed as if he carried a great weight.

A flurry of activity pulled Haldir’s attention away from the retreating elf. He had almost forgotten Elrohir; he had gotten so wrapped up in his own thoughts. As he approached the twins, Elladan still kneeling over his brother, holding a torn shirt to the ragged wound in his brother’s shoulder he saw the Elrohir was at least awake.

Maddy came up to the pair just about the same time Haldir did, and handed Elladan a clean scrap of fabric.

“Did it go all the way through?” He asked his grandsons.

“Yes,” Elladan started. “I won’t have to have someone go digging around for it.” Elrohir finished. Haldir had forgotten how strange that could be. Hearing them finish each other’s sentences brought back memories of happier times.

Maddy stroked Elrohir’s bleached hair and laughed. “You two are so much like Elrond and Elros.” He smiled fondly as he tugged a platinum lock. “But you are going to have to dye your hair back. That is just wrong.”

Both twins started to ask questions about their father and uncle at the same time.

“I should have seen that coming,” Maddy started, but was cut off by the sound of a gun shot from the caves.

Elves ran in the direction of the caves, or away as they were so inclined. Everyone assumed one of the dead had either gotten in, or someone had turned. Everyone but Haldir.

Now Melpomaen’s strange words made sense. His husband had been trying to tell him that he planned to die rather than try to make it to the havens, and he had been an ass and sent him away, alone.

Haldir sunk to his knees in the snow and placed his face in his hands, trying not to cry. By the time the news filtered back to the small group, Haldir had given up and was sobbing like a heart broken child.

Maddy and the twins had no idea what to do. None of them had ever imagined a situation where Haldir would be the one needing comfort.

“That’s it,” Maddy announced. “We need to get out of here tonight. Right now.” He leaned over to offer his arm to Elrohir. “Sorry, but you are going to have to ride Badger.”

As if summoned, the ethereal horse appeared.

“Pull it together, Cupcake,” Maddy said calmly to Haldir. “There will be plenty of time to fall apart later.”

Maedhros sent Elladan to see who and what he could round up in only a few minutes while he worked to get Elrohir on Badger’s back. Badger helped by biting Haldir’s hair.

Angry, Haldir swatted at the infernal beast. “I have something to do first.” Haldir mumbled as he staggered back toward the caves.

“Be quick about it, Princess,” Maddy called after him. “This isn’t the time to go looking for souvenirs.” Haldir didn’t turn around but he threw a rude gesture over his shoulder at the mouthy red-head.

Inside the caves, it wasn’t hard to find Melpomaen. Silently, Haldir pushed through the small crowd that always seems to be drawn to tragedy. Without acknowledging the whispers and nervous glances, Haldir gathered his husbands limp body into his arms and carried him to the small cavern that held Erestor’s body.

Carefully, he arranged the two elves side by side, lovingly folding their arms and smoothing their hair. He then took all the cloth he could find and lay it over them. Before, he had been worried about attracting more of the walking dead, but now, it no longer mattered. The elves wandering like fools through the trees were sure to attract any zombies in the area already. There was no reason to not give his friend and husband a pyre.

The twittering crowd had now gathered at the entry to this cavern and Haldir angrily waved them away.

“Get out,” he shouted, voice breaking. “You have five minutes to get what you want from these caves and get to the courtyard, before I light this fire.”

The crowd scattered and he tried to be patient as he waited for the caves to empty, but sitting here with the two bodies was too hard for him and he just hoped he had given the others enough time. The caves were sure to fill with smoke.

He lit the fabric covering Erestor and Melpomaen, and once he was sure it was not going to go out, he staggered from the caves and into the snow filled yard.

“OK, let’s go.” Was all he would say as he grabbed a horse milling in the snow and pulled himself up onto its back.

~*~

Maedhros walked in the back of the convoy of the last survivors, a hand on Badgers side to steady himself, it been so long since he had felt this weariness in his bones, last it had made him jump into a goddamn ravine, just to escape the pain, the sluggish thoughts. He knew what this was, it was death. And on the third day of their march, he could hardly put one foot in front of the other, he wasn’t even really relieved when they stopped for the night, he laid down and tried to sleep, wishing that sleep would somehow recharge his energy some. Laying on a pelt staring off into the starlit sky, he could hear elves talk softly, some laughing some crying, and he thought he might have heard a baby. He closed his eyes and sighed, it was a very real possibility that he would not make it to the Havens, he wasn’t sure where they were, but he wasn’t even sure he would be able to get up again.

“Maddy?” Haldir asked, sitting down at his side with a bowl of some foul looking stuff that made it up for food. “I have some food for you.”

“Not hungry.” Maedhros whispered, opening his eyes and looked up at Haldir’s worried face.

“Sure?” Haldir asked.

“Sure.” Maedhros lifted his hand and placed it on Haldir’s, “Are you okay?” He asked, “Your friend and your husband.”

“Yeah.” Haldir said looking away from Maedhros’ gaze, “You were right, we can mourn later, right now we have to get these elves to safety.”

“Right…”

“The twins are worried about you,” Haldir said, his gaze travelled back to Maedhros’ face. “Are -you- alright?”

Maedhros took a deep breath, “No.” He pushed up to sit opposite Haldir, and without warning he leaned forward and kissed a baffled Haldir on the lips. It felt electric and sad at the same time, like a promise of things that would never be. “I just had to know what it was like.” Maedhros whispered against Haldir’s cheek. “Now I know.” He smiled.

“What the…”

“Can you blame me?” Maedhros tried to grin, but it came out a grim mask of pain instead. The seriousness returned to his eyes, “You can’t tell anyone.” He said softly and pulled up in his shirt so Haldir could see the swollen blackening bite-mark. “I…” Maedhros said looking away from Haldir while pulling his shirt down again. “I don’t think I am going to make it to the Havens.”

“No… No… Nononono…” Haldir chanted, “Don’t say that…”

“Well it’s the fucking truth ain’t it?” Maedhros hissed angrily, and then grabbed Haldir’s shoulder, staring him straight into his eyes. “You have to promise me to get these elves to the Havens, you can do it, I know you can.”

“I promise.” Haldir whispered, and for some insane reason that Haldir wasn’t aware of himself, he leaned in and kissed the red-haired elf back, resting his forehead against his. “You should have told me about the bite.”

“It would have made no difference.” Maedhros argued.

“Maybe not.” Haldir sighed, “But you should have trusted me.” – Maedhros smiled, and Haldir recalled reading about the eldest of Fëanor’s beautiful smile, the books didn’t even do it justice right now.

“I should.” Maedhros admitted.

“What… what happens then?” Haldir asked, feeling slightly sheepish, but he didn’t exactly know how to react to this.

“Don’t worry.” Maedhros leaned back, and slowly rested down into his sleeping mat. “I will take care of it myself.”

Haldir paled at the thought, but he still licked his lips, “You don’t have to, I mean… I could…”

“I know.” Maedhros sighed, “But I don’t want you to.” He shot Haldir another smile, “You’ll be fine, you just get those elves to the quarantine zone. You don’t need me for that.”

Choosing to ignore him, Haldir nervously tucked in some hair behind his ear. “What will happen to you? – After I mean…” His voice disappeared to nothing.

“I’ll go back where I came from.” He smiled weakly, “No biggie.”

“You go back to the isolation at the halls?” Haldir asked.

“Yeah.”

“But what you did here… it’s nothing less than…” Haldir argued, and then grinned and blushed weakly, “Heroic I suppose.”

Maedhros laughed, “That’ll be the first.” His voice turned serious, and so did his expression. “It is the price I was willing to pay. You know that. You would have done the same for your brothers.”

“Maybe.” Haldir admitted.

“You should go check on the twins; I think they need someone to lean on.” Maedhros smiled bitterly, closing his eyes, “Thrown into being the one everyone expects to fix things, without having the slightest clue as to what to do. That is scary fucking business. They are lucky they have someone like you.”

“They would have been better off with you or Erestor.” Haldir said, and then placed a hand on Maedhros’ shoulder. “Besides, you aren’t exactly a walking corpse.”

“Yet.”

“My bad.” Haldir smiled; glad that he could still joke. “Come on, I think it’s you they need to hear it from.”

Maedhros opened his eyes again, “No it’s not.”

Haldir gave up. If he had learned anything about the stubborn elf in front of him, it was not to argue, you can’t win. “Have it your way,” he sighed and turned around, looking for Elrond’s sons.

The pair sat huddled together with their backs to Badger, using the Meara as a wind break. Not that Badger seemed to mind.

“How are you?” he asked as he approached the pair. Elrohir looked pale and his handsome face was pinched from pain and exhaustion.

“Depends on what you mean?” Elrohir answered. “My shoulder will heal.” He added grimly. Haldir saw the pained expression his brother gave him when he said that. Though Haldir had some idea, he couldn’t know exactly what Elrohir was feeling. Melpomaen had hurt him, but not physically. But both were dead now.

“You will have time to heal in both ways once we get to the havens,” he tried to sound reassuring, but the heavy sigh from both twins told him he had failed.

“Haldir,” Elladan said with a heavy voice. “We already know.” For a moment, Haldir almost panicked, he thought they meant they knew about Maddy.

“None of us will be going to the Havens,” Elrohir finished and Haldir gave an internal sigh of relief. “If it takes that long to know who is sick now, there is no way of knowing who has it, and who doesn’t.” Elladan started the narrative at this point. “Glorfindel had been sick for weeks before you arrived, so for Erestor to get it from him, he must have been sick for a really long time before we knew it.”

Haldir couldn’t meet their eyes. He and Maddy had already talked about it. The odds that they would be allowed into the havens now were pretty slim.

“There may still be a way,” He tried lamely.

“Always an optimist, Haldir, “ Elladan said sadly. “Sometimes it is cute, but sometimes it is just sad.”

“I’m going with sad right now,” Elrohir finished his brother’s comment.

The silence was awkward. Haldir didn’t know what to say. The twins were right.

“Elladan,” Elrohir asked, “Can you get me some water?”

Grateful for the chance to do something useful, Haldir spoke up. “I can go get some,” he said a tad too eagerly.

“We can both go,” Elladan said, “We need more than a canteen full.”

The pair walked the short distance to the stream. The night was clear and cold with sharp bright stars. Both were carrying as many bottles as they could, and both began to fill them from the frigid stream.

The last canteen was full when Elladan wiped his hands on his cloak and turned to Haldir, cupping his cold cheek in his hand. For a moment, Haldir was afraid Elladan would kiss him.

“Don’t,” the word was out of his mouth before he could stop it. “I mean, it wasn’t like that, I shouldn’t have . . .” He couldn’t get the right words out of his mouth.

Elladan just smiled with that quirky half smile he used to do as a kid and kept his hand where it was. “Calm down, Haldir. I wasn’t trying to do anything. I just need to know that you are OK. Things aren’t exactly going so great for you right now.”

Haldir was struck speechless for a moment. “I’m sorry.” Was all he could say.

“Don’t be,” Elladan assured him. “I had a great time.” That lopsided grin again.

“So we’re cool?” Haldir asked.

“More than,” Elladan gave him a wink and collected his bottles. “Come on, Elrohir will think we fell in.”

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