Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings and all characters belong to Tolkien. I am merely keeping Haldir alive at Helm's Deep.
Authors Note: I do not know too much about Éomer so I am going to make some stuff up.
A Mortal Love
Part 10 - First Steps
/Come here, child and obey me ! Or else I will turn to your beautiful little sister.../
Éomer trembled in his sleep as the slithering voice wrapped itself around his thoughts. /Nay, he is gone. The snake is gone./ Moving restlessly he suddenly encountered a warm body. Strange, alien words reached his ear, drowning out Grima's voice. The soft, seductive tone drove away the memories, and he sighed blissfully when the nightmare left him alone.
Strong yet gentle hands moved him closer to the fire. Beneath his fingertips he felt fur and soft, silky hair. Who was here with him? Gamling kept him company at times, but this wasn't Gamling's voice he was hearing. He forced his eyes open and blinked once, encountering a sea of silver hair, covering his face. /Haldir, I forgot about the Elf./
Suddenly a hand swept away the silver curtain and Haldir's hazel eyes locked with his. Éomer felt speechless momentarily, realizing they were still in front of the fireplace, curled up on the furs. "Why are you still here? You cannot be comfortable on the floor. Does your back injury not hamper you?" He told himself to focus on Haldir's needs so he could forget his own pain momentarily.
Haldir's soft smile took him aback. He had grown used to the harsh, arrogant tone and the haughty expression in those ancient eyes, but those were gone now. The soft invitation to unburden his soul that lay in Haldir's smile made him stutter. "I... need to get up... The reports... I need to..." His vocal cords failed him when Haldir's lips tenderly made contact with his, brushing them in a non-threatening manner. Caught off-guard, Éomer moaned softly into Haldir's mouth. The kiss was sweet and gentle and his body responded to Haldir's tender manner. Éomer brought his arms up behind Haldir's back, holding him close while the kiss deepened.
Suddenly Haldir moved, rolling him on top of the Elf and Éomer's eyes widened in surprise, looking down into twinkling orbs. Haldir released his lips and Éomer averted his eyes, wondering why Haldir had kissed him like that. After confessing the abuse he had thought that Haldir wouldn't want to touch him ever again! "Why did you kiss me?"
Haldir gazed into Éomer's stunned eyes. "We are mates, lovers... This is what lovers do, is it not?" Haldir had spent the last few hours holding Éomer and soothing the Man whenever a nightmare had threatened to disturb his sleep. Occasionally Éomer would mumble softly, pleading with Grima to leave him alone. /I am glad you confided in me, Éomer. I cannot fight a nameless enemy, but this snake will lose its venomous teeth./ Moving slowly, he pressed his lips onto Éomer's once more, flicking his tongue against lips and teeth.
Éomer's pupils dilated, feeling Haldir's tongue slid into his mouth. Accepting the challenge, their tongues dueled wildly. After a long moment, Éomer pulled back and looked into Haldir's eyes. "I cannot believe you still want me. I had hoped you would, but..."
Haldir wrapped a curl around his fingertip, playing with it. "I have fought this long enough, nîn bellas. You convinced me you are loyal, and that your love is sincere. I did nothing to prove my worthiness to you, and I will work hard to gain your trust."
A lump had formed in Éomer's throat, reading unconditional support in the Elf's dark eyes. "Only a day ago you chased me from your bed. I am finding it hard to believe that your resentment of me now changed into affection." But Haldir was holding him, had kissed him and was now fingering a lock of his hair. He had problems reconciling the two.
Haldir moistened his lips. "Can we make a new start, Voronwer? Or do you wish to continue this fighting when we could support and love each other? What is it that you truly want?"
"Your love," whispered Éomer in an unguarded moment.
Haldir cocked his head, rested his hand at the back of Éomer's neck and whispered, "You will have it."
Lost for words, Éomer simply returned Haldir's intense gaze. A warmth seeped into his body, pooling at his groin and causing him to grow hard. In the end, realizing his erection pressed against Haldir's stomach, he averted his eyes.
"You desire me," whispered Haldir pleased. "But I doubt you are ready to take this next step, are you?"
Éomer shook his head. "I am not. Grima is still too close, too present in my mind. I would confuse the two of you." Closing his eyes, he tried hard to remain in control of his feelings, hoping his arousal would fade. "I do not know how to handle this, Haldir. I never had a male lover before and... I do desire you, but..."
Haldir stroked the long dark blond mane and nodded once. "You do not know what to do, but I do. Trust yourself to me. I will guard and guide you well." A brief look of panic on Éomer's face made him add, "We will go slowly, Voronwer. We have the rest of our lives to discover our desires and needs." And he looked forward to exploring their needs and passions. /Once you overcome your fears and doubts you will be quite a passionate lover, one who has the quality to best me between the sheets./
Éomer frowned at Haldir's distant expression. "What are you thinking about?"
Haldir knew it was too early to discuss this and used a white lie instead. "I was thinking about moving to the bed." To his delight, Éomer blushed.
"But I have reports to read and..."
Haldir reacted once. "Show me how I can help. I am to spend the rest of my life here, so I had better make myself useful."
Haldir's request pleasantly surprised Éomer, but he shook his head. "You need to rest first and regain your strength. Once you have recovered you can take over some of my duties."
"What will be my position, exactly?" Haldir had wondered how he would spend the rest of his life.
"We will be equals," whispered Éomer. "We will rule Rohan together."
Haldir smiled smugly. "I heard you have the most wondrous horses here in Edoras."
"You are interested in horses? Breeding them?"
Haldir nodded. "Maybe being your mate won't be as bad as I thought."
Éomer blushed slightly. "You mentioned missing your brothers; you are free to invite them whenever you want. We can even make the occasional trip to 'Lorien."
"You would do that for me?" Haldir smiled warmly. "Loving you will be easy."
Éomer's blush intensified. "No one ever said that before."
" Have you had lovers in the past?" Haldir knew he was being bold, but felt he had to know.
Éomer shrugged uneasily. "Kisses, touches in the dark, but I never committed myself to any of the women I courted. Usually we stopped seeing each other after the first kiss. I did not react well to their closeness."
"And what about men?"
Éomer shivered. "Nay, not after Grima. Your are the first man whose touch I crave..."
"I am pleased to hear that you crave my touch," said Haldir smugly. "Now, let us move this to the bed."
Éomer, still atop of Haldir, got to his feet first. Carefully, he helped Haldir to his feet. "How do you fare, Haldir? Does your back still trouble you?"
Haldir folded an arm loosely around Éomer's arm. "Would you like to see for yourself?" The Man's blush remained, making Haldir grin.
"I..." At a loss, Éomer wondered if there was a way to get out of this. Clutching the blanket, he stared at Haldir as the Elf removed his leggings and shirt.
Haldir slipped beneath the covers and patted the space next to him. "Join me in bed."
Éomer swallowed hard. "But you are... naked." He cringed at the way that sounded. The blanket wrapped around him was the sole barrier between Haldir and him. "Maybe I should read those reports instead." Haldir's expression suddenly became compelling and inviting, and Éomer found he was shuffling toward the bed. Sitting down, he pulled the blanket close to his form.
"Lie down, Voronwer." Haldir opened his arms, waiting for Éomer to make up his mind. He didn't know from personal experience how hard and difficult this was for Éomer, but he saw the inner struggle in the Man's eyes. He sighed, relieved when Éomer accepted the invitation, quickly slipping between the covers, still clinging to the blanket. Haldir let him keep it, hoping Éomer would feel safer and more at ease. Looking at the window he said, "It is still dark outside. Let us rest until the sun rises."
Éomer melted against Haldir, savoring the warmth that the Elf radiated. Haldir encouraged him to rest his head against the Elf's shoulder, which he did and he listened to the other's steady breathing. He had seldom felt this at ease. Sleep came quickly upon him; his eyes slipped shut and he whispered softly into Haldir's bare chest. "Warm..."
Haldir nodded contently. "You feel warm as well, Voronwer." But it was more than body heat; this was the warmth of their joined souls they were feeling. Surrendering to the sensation, he let the healing sleep overwhelm him as well.
"Tárareg," said Haldir, addressing the 'Lorien Elf who had volunteered to carry his message back to Lothlorien. Looking over his shoulder at the bed, he made sure that Éomer was still asleep. The Man was wrapped up in several blankets, and had folded his arms around a pillow once Haldir had left the bed. "Make sure you deliver this message to either Rumil or Orophin, and no one else."
Tárareg nodded in understanding. "I will hand the letter to your brothers only, Haldir."
Haldir signed the letter, folded it and handed it to the messenger. "You can reach 'Lorien in five days," he mused aloud. "It will take another five or six days for them to get here." In ten or eleven days his brothers could be here in Edoras. "Hurry, be as fast as the wind."
The messenger inclined his head, turned around, and left the room to carry Haldir's message to 'Lorien.
Haldir rose from behind Éomer's desk and walked back to the bed. Indulging himself, he studied Éomer's face, which should have been relaxed in sleep, but wasn't. All night long Grima had haunted his dreams, and although Haldir usually chased those nightmares away, Éomer still slept restlessly. Lying down next to Éomer once more, he removed the pillow from the Man's arms and slipped into them instead. Éomer's hold tightened at once and a blissful sigh left his lips. Haldir tucked Éomer's head under his chin and guarded his lover's dreams for the remainder of the night.
"It is time," whispered Aragorn thoughtfully. Wrapped up in soft cloth was the Palantir, set on the table to be used by the rightful King of Gondor. Looking at Legolas, Aragorn saw the concern in those sapphire eyes. "You cannot stay inside this room," added Aragorn. "I must face him alone, but I will need you later. Will you stand guard in the corridor and look after me when I call for you?"
Legolas nodded once. "But I still advise against it, Aragorn. Sauron is strong and you never used the seeing stone before. What if it gains a hold on you as it did on Saruman?"
"I am its rightful owner, Legolas. I possess the power to handle it. You must put your trust in me." In spite of his bravado, he felt insecure. What if the Palantir was too strong to control? He had never tried before.
"I will wait in the corridor," said Legolas eventually. "Call me, should you need me." Reluctantly, he walked over to the door, opened it, and looked at Aragorn, hoping the Man had changed his mind. But Aragorn merely nodded, and Legolas stepped outside, closing the door behind him.
Unable to stand still, he paced the corridor, while his hearing remained focused on the other room - on Aragorn to be exact. He froze, hearing the cloth removed. Skin moved over stone and Legolas shivered as an ominous feeling swept through him. He was tempted to return to the room to check on Aragorn, but he had given his word to wait until Aragorn called his name.
Soft mumbling made his head spin and Legolas leaned against the wall for support. Aragorn was calling out to Sauron, challenging the Dark Lord. Aragorn's voice was strained, but it never faltered. In the end, Aragorn released a yelp and it was followed by his name.
Legolas swung open the door and immediately walked over to Aragorn, kneeling at his side. The Man had collapsed and was now lying on the cold, stone floor. The Palantir was still in his hands and Legolas covered it with the cloth, placing it back on the table where it couldn't do any damage. Cold sweat had formed on Aragorn's brow, and the Man's body shook fiercely.
Legolas lifted Aragorn's limp form and carried him over to the bed, gently laying him down. He pulled up the blankets, covered Aragorn with them and then sat on the edge of the bed, hoping Aragorn's eyes would open. "Aragorn? Can you hear me? Do you want me to fetch Elrond or Gandalf? Are you hurt?"
Aragorn's eyelids fluttered; the eyes opened and stared unfocused into the room. Legolas moved a little closer until he was close enough for Aragorn to notice him. "Estel? Do you need to see Elrond or Gandalf? I am not a healer; I do not know what to do." The fact that Aragorn's gaze now grew focused slightly reassured him. Maybe Aragorn had suffered a shock, as Men called it. He felt cold to the touch, in spite of the blankets wrapped around him. "What do I do?"
Aragorn struggled with the blankets until he managed to free his right hand, which he raised and used to pull Legolas closer. "C-cold..." he stuttered.
Legolas watched Aragorn closely. The Man was trying to pull him close, but Aragorn lacked the necessary strength. "You want me to join you in bed?" His thoughts raced; his body heat would warm Aragorn, but that meant removing their clothes and sleeping skin on skin.
Aragorn nodded weakly. "P-plea-se..."
Now that he knew what Aragorn needed, Legolas quickly pushed down the covers, and a few moments later Aragorn's shirt and leggings were piled on the floor. More shivers coursed through the Man's body and urged Legolas on. He quickly stripped, and his clothes joined Aragorn's on the floor. Slipping between the sheets, he rolled onto his side and wrapped his arms around Aragorn. He hissed surprised at the icy cold feel of Aragorn against him. He tucked the blankets around them, and rubbed Aragorn's cold skin.
Aragorn smiled, sighed blissfully and rested his head against Legolas' shoulder. The Elf was warm, soft and yet firm, and he snuggled up to Legolas, enjoying the sensation.
Amused, Legolas looked at Aragorn, hearing that soft sigh. A smile warmed his face, realizing Aragorn liked having him this close. "Quel esta, Estel." Aragorn surprised him by wrapping arms and legs around him, pulling him as close as possible. The naked bodies shifted against each other and Legolas reacted instinctively to the warmth; he grew hard with desire. He briefly closed his eyes, focused on Aragorn's breathing and thanked Elbereth that the Man had fallen asleep, never realizing he was erect.
Legolas' eyes opened and his gaze settled on the tangled mass of dark hair. "You need a bath, Estel," he said teasingly. Maybe he would fill up a bathtub later, telling Aragorn to freshen up. /Preparing a bath will give me a reason to leave the bed before he wakes up. I cannot risk being aroused when he regains consciousness./
In the meantime, he held Aragorn close and watched over the Man as he slept peacefully, knowing they would probably never share a bed in this manner again.
Driven by concern, Gamling headed for Éomer's rooms. Pushing against the door, he found that Haldir had forgotten to lock it, and he pushed it ajar. He looked inside and a smile grew on his face, seeing the two men sleep peacefully in each other's arms. Feeling happy that Éomer trusted Haldir, he took one step into the room, entranced by the sight in front of him.
For long years he had watched Éomer struggle with Grima's abuse and he had been afraid that his charge would never dare to love because of his experiences in the past. But then Éomer had stepped forward to save Haldir. Gamling had approved of that offer, but at the same time he had worried about the possible consequences.
By giving part of his life force, Éomer had bound himself to Haldir and thus he had chosen a male lover, something Gamling had never expected to happen. Now he was afraid that Haldir would hurt Éomer, maybe in the same way Grima had, maybe in other ways, and he vowed to keep a close eye on his former charge.
To him, Éomer was still the small boy who had sneaked into his room to sleep at the foot end of his bed. Even after all these years he still had nightmares about finding Éomer tied to Grima's bed and the snake towering over the boy. He would always feel protective of Éomer, and he was grateful that Haldir now shared that feeling. Haldir's tone earlier, when the Elf had demanded Grima's head, had convinced him that Éomer was in the best hands. Maybe he could finally let go of that little boy, who had sat crying in his room, clutching a blanket.
He was proud of the man Éomer had become, and served him proudly, but still -- still he remembered that scared little boy.
Suddenly Haldir's eyes became aware of his surroundings, and the Elf immediately noticed the intruder. He reached for his knife, but halted, identifying their intruder. It was Gamling, the Man who had looked after Éomer during his childhood. Surely Gamling meant them no harm, but still he remained alert.
Gamling met Haldir's gaze head on and nodded once. "He will need you during the nights."
Haldir nodded and quickly checked on Éomer, who was still asleep. "I will guard his dreams."
Gamling smiled saddened. "He is a brave and valiant warrior, and he will cover your back when you need it most."
"I will cover his and keep him safe." Haldir soothingly rubbed Éomer's back, and the Man edged closer to him.
"The snake still haunts his dreams and his memories. Do not rush him. Be patient with him." But Haldir probably already knew that.
"I will be patient and he will set the pace. Does that reassure you?" Haldir smiled warmly. Éomer was very lucky to have someone look out for him.
"My body might be old and failing me," started Gamling, realizing the Elf could easily overpower him in a fight, "but know you will answer to me. should you ever hurt him. My sword is as sharp as yours and I wield it well."
Haldir nodded his understanding. "I hear your warning and I will heed it."
Satisfied that Haldir knew the consequences should the Elf hurt Éomer, Gamling turned around and left the room. The Elf was as protective of Haldir as he was -- good. Now Haldir had to prove his worth!
"Glorfindel?" Elrond walked up behind his lover, who was looking out of the window, and wrapped one arm around the blond's waist. Glorfindel had been very quiet since learning of Grima's perversions, and somehow that worried Elrond. "What is on your mind, nîn ind?"
"How can anyone do that to a child?" Wide-eyed, Glorfindel stared into the distance. "Does it ever happen among our kind, Elrond? Have you ever heard of such... behavior?" Glorfindel leaned against Elrond, enjoying his lover's closeness. "Are we alert enough? Would we detect such abuse if it ever happened in Imladris? How many children, regardless of their race, suffered like this?"
Elrond nodded saddened. "I understand your worries, meleth-nîn. I asked myself those questions after talking to Théoden. I cannot guarantee it does not happen in our realm, but I will be more alert in the future. No child should ever have to go through such abuse. What happened to Éomer was terrible, and I am sure Théoden will blame himself until the day he dies, but Théoden was no match for the dark powers of Grima Wormtongue. Who knows how long ago Grima established his hold on Théoden? I hate to say it, but Éomer was lucky that Hama and Gamling discovered him in Grima's room."
"Or else the abuse would have continued," realized Glorfindel in dread.
Elrond pressed a chaste kiss onto the back of Glorfindel's neck after lifting the long, blond strands. The hair teased his fingertips and he fingered a lock. "Éomer must overcome the past if he wants to live in the present. Éomer is strong, and Haldir wiser than most give him credit for. I am certain Haldir will find a way to heal Éomer's hurts."
"Haldir actually demanded Grima's head?" chuckled Glorfindel softly. "He must have been disappointed when he heard Grima was headed for Isengard."
"But we both know Haldir," said Elrond thoughtfully. "He will find a way to obtain the snake's head."
Glorfindel actually smiled, and turned to face Elrond. Leaning in closer, he stole a kiss from Elrond's lips, then pulled back. "What are your plans, melme?"
"Théoden is getting ready to march for Gondor. A messenger arrived, carrying a rose, the ancient sign for help. Denethor realizes Gondor is Sauron's next target and Gondor needs all the held it can get. I am not sure Éomer and Haldir will be able to fight in this upcoming battle ; maybe we should go instead, nîn ind?"
Glorfindel looked into Elrond's eyes, reading the desire to fight Sauron one last time. Elrond was a well-respected healer, but his heart was that of a warrior. "I will follow wherever you go, you know that. I will never leave you."
Elrond held his love close. "I never doubted you would remain at my side."
"And what about Aragorn?"
Elrond shivered. "He has used the Palantir to challenge Sauron."
"He finally accepted his calling?"
"It seems so. Legolas is with him now, looking after him." Elrond enfolded Glorfindel in a tight hug. "I still remember how he hugged you and kissed your hair."
Glorfindel raised an eyebrow. "I did not know Legolas kissed my hair. One tends to underestimate him... I had told him to not make you jealous, but he continued nonetheless."
"He is truly Thranduil's son," joked Elrond. "His father never took no for an answer either."
"We are heading for Gondor then?"
"With Théoden's army."
Glorfindel caressed Elrond's face and looked adoringly at his lover. "What about the 'Lorien Elves?"
Elrond nodded slowly. "They asked to remain part of Théoden's army, and I allowed it. They fought well, and if they want to continue to fight alongside Men I won't stop them. They lost too many of their kin, and some yearn for death. I fear many of the survivors won't return to 'Lorien."
Glorfindel sighed deeply. "Their sacrifice is beyond words. Let us hope Men will remember how many Elves died in the fight for Helm's Deep."
"We will make sure they remember," vowed Elrond softly.
The warmth that surrounded Aragorn felt familiar and comfortable, and his hands began to explore the soft, smooth skin beneath his fingertips. They traveled down the long spine, and came to rest on a curved hip. A smile formed on his lips, fully recognizing Legolas' scent. Arwen had never shared his bed, and Eowyn -- she seemed a perfect match -- but it wasn't a female he desired.
Legolas' breath now came in gasps, and, peeking through half closed eyelids, Aragorn found Legolas very much awake. The azure eyes were filled with passion and desire, and the tip of the Elf's tongue slowly moistened his lips. Would Legolas let him continue his exploration, or call his bluff and stop him?
Aragorn's fingertips moved over a hairless chest, encountered a hardened nipple, and rolled it slowly between his fingertips. A delicate moan escaped from deep within Legolas' throat, and the Elf arched his back in obvious want.
Aragorn realized he wouldn't be able to keep up the pretence of being asleep. It wouldn't be fair to both of them. /I wanted to wait until after we fought this war, but -- what if I lose you? What if you die during the upcoming battle? Finding Haldir barely alive proved how easily I could lose you. By Elbereth, what if you die without knowing I love you? What if Sauron succeeds in killing me, and you are left on your own, never knowing of my love for you? Aye, I am doing the right thing. It is time to face our feelings, and stop pretending we are merely friends when we are so much more./
Legolas involuntarily sucked in his breath, seeing the green eyes open. "You are awake..." He had suspected as much when Aragorn had started to caress his skin, and it pleased him that Aragorn finally faced him.
"We have been dancing around each other for much too long," whispered Aragorn, brushing aside a golden lock so he could lick the tip of a pointy ear. "The war we are about to fight could claim our lives, and we would blame ourselves forever if we did not admit our feelings." Aragorn pushed himself into a sitting position, feeling rested and energetic.
Legolas looked up at Aragorn, smiled, and raised a hand to push back the hair that obscured his face. "Do we really need any words?"
Aragorn smiled. "You are right, my love, as always." Leaning in closer, he claimed the Elf's lips, pushed past the teeth which willingly opened and sought out his lover's tongue, chasing it.
Legolas sighed blissfully, brought up his arms behind Aragorn's back, and pulled the Man on top of him.
Aragorn wondered at how right, how comfortable, this felt as he slid between Legolas' parting legs. His tongue left a wet trail down his lover's throat, chest, stomach and licked teasingly at the tip of Legolas' erection. Legolas arched his back, bucked, and tightened his hold on Aragorn, pressing their arousal together.
Aragorn aligned their cocks, leaned in closer, and took possession of Legolas' lips completely, deepening the kiss and bruising the Elf's luscious lips. He managed to curl his fingers around his lover's hardness, stroking hard. His own cock was pressed tightly between their bodies, getting sufficient friction. He arched his back, and groaned passionately as Legolas' wrapped his fingers around his cock as well. He thrust into the offered fist, never releasing his lover's lips.
Legolas stared into Aragorn's misty eyes, stroking his lover to completion, and held the Man close when Aragorn finally reached his climax.
Not wanting to leave his lover behind, Aragorn left Legolas' lips, and suckled a nipple, driving the Elf over the edge. Warm cream dripped from their fingers and they smiled at each other, all lies and pretence gone. "I love you, Legolas, but you already know that."
"I always knew," stated Legolas cockily.
Aragorn sat upright, and shook his head at the apparent mess. "We should clean ourselves up."
"In a moment," whispered Legolas, reaching for Aragorn once more. Using the corner of the sheet, he wiped them clean and then pulled Aragorn close to his chest.
Aragorn followed Legolas' lead and rested his head on the Elf's chest. Legolas' arms came up around him, holding him tight. His smile began to fade, realizing something about Legolas. "You would never have told me."
"You were betrothed to Arwen. How could I speak of my love when it does not compare to hers? Her pendant was a constant reminder of your love. I could not come between Arwen and you. I would have remained silent for the rest of my life. Your happiness is too important to me." Legolas stared at the ceiling, recalling all those lonely days and nights. "You always were so close, but I could not have you."
"But then Arwen decided to sail to Valinor and I removed the pendant." Aragorn cocked his head and managed to look at Legolas' face. The Elf seemed distant and sad. "You suffered in silence..."
Legolas pushed away those dark and lonely thoughts, and forced himself to focus on the Man in his arms -- his new lover. "But I suffer no more now that I have you."
Aragorn smiled warmly, pressed a kiss on the hairless chest and listened to his lover's breathing. "I am yours forever."
Legolas' fingers tangled in the dark hair. "Amin mele lle, Estel..."
Finally hearing those words made Aragorn sigh, pleased. "I love you too, Legolas..." His eyes began to close again; he had overestimated his strength. He still hadn't recovered from using the Palantir. "Hold me through the night?"
Quel esta = rest well
Nîn ind = my heart
Nîn bellas = my strength
Melme = love
Amin mele lle = I love you.
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