Glorfindel's Darkest Hour
Chapter 12 - Haldir
Haldir’s amusement was merely exterior; on the inside his heart fluttered madly in his chest. He had never met the Lord of Imladris before. Each time Elrond and his family had visited Lórien he had been away with his brothers, guarding the borders. But he had heard songs and tales, which spoke of Elrond’s wisdom. It seemed they had forgotten to mention just how attractive the half-Elf was.
Taking a moment, he studied the Noldorin Elf in front of him. Half-Elven, he reminded himself, but still very attractive. It was the eyes, he decided, stormy and slightly misted over, grayish-blue like the heavens after a thunderstorm. /Simply exquisite./
He was shaken from his reverie when he swayed on his feet. His left leg still throbbed fiercely and yet he managed to bow respectfully. Extending his left hand, he offered Elrond Galadriel’s letter. With his other hand, he involuntarily reached out to steady himself. Being on horseback for several days had worsened his condition and he felt weaker than ever before. But weakness was something he would never show!
Elrond saw the fine lines of pain on Haldir’s brow and acted. "Sit down whilst I read this letter." He had managed to compose himself, but he still caught himself staring at the silver-haired beauty. There was an anguished expression in those hazel eyes, and he instinctively knew that they would normally shine with pride and confidence. Oh, this one was truly magnificent.
"Thank you…" Unable to remain on his feet any longer, Haldir slowly sat down on the bed. Although the pressure on his leg was gone, the constant pain remained. It was quickly gaining in strength, turning into shattering agony.
Elrond broke the seal and began reading, instantly recognizing Galadriel’s handwriting.
My dearest Elrond,
I am sending Haldir to Imladris because his wound will not heal. He needs your expertise and skills.
Haldir was wounded when a pack of Uruk-Hai tried to invade our northern borders. A poisoned arrow buried itself in his thigh and the wound refuses to heal. Hopefully you can help him.
I would also ask of you to keep Haldir in Imladris until he has fully recovered. He is rash and impatient at times, and he will want to return to his duties as quickly as possible.
Haldir is very dear to me. I raised him and his brothers as if they were my very own and I would ask of you to take good care of him.
Elrond folded the letter and thoughtfully looked at Haldir, who was biting his bottom lip, apparently still in pain. "Galadriel says that a poisoned arrow buried itself in your leg. I assume the wound is still troubling you?"
Haldir raised an eyebrow. "I thought it was rather obvious that it is still troubling me." Frustrated, he inched further onto the bed. Cold sweat was forming on his brow and he craved lying down, but that wouldn’t be proper in Elrond’s presence.
"By all means, lie down and rest," said Elrond, walking toward the bed. "The journey must have exhausted you."
Haldir’s eyes burned intensely. "I have endured worse pain."
Elrond chuckled softly. This one was feisty as well as beautiful. "I said, lie down. I can make that an order if you want me to."
"I only answer to the Lord and Lady of the Golden Wood," said Haldir, frustration mounting.
"Ah, and stubborn as well," mumbled Elrond bemused.
Had it not been for the pain that spiraled through his leg, Haldir would have objected, but now he simply lay down. He was exhausted, tired, and he wished he could find some relief in sleep. But the throbbing pain kept him from sleeping properly.
Elrond sobered, seeing the agony in Haldir’s eyes when the Elf stared at the ceiling. "It seems to me that you are in a great amount of pain," he started, raising a hand when Haldir wanted to protest, "I will examine the wound now."
Haldir bit down the wave of pain that washed through his leg. He closely watched Elrond when the half-Elf took hold of a small knife and then approached the bed. His eyes widened slightly, wondering why Elrond had picked up that knife. But everything fell into place when the healer sat down on the edge of the bed, cutting away the fabric of his leggings. Clenching his teeth, he tried hard to keep silent when a yelp threatened to leave his lips.
After removing the cloth, Elrond carefully cut away the bandages, which showed fresh blood. "The wound has reopened." That was a bad sign. /I wonder why Galadriel made you ride all the way here. I could have visited Lothlórien instead./
Haldir’s hands became fists, which clutched the sheet. He tried to keep from whimpering when Elrond removed the bandages, revealing the damaged area. He didn’t want to look at the festering wound; he had seen it before and turned away his head.
Elrond’s stomach contracted with empathic sympathy, seeing the dead, black flesh surrounding the wound. "The poison is still present in the flesh." Letting his hand hover above the damaged area, he concentrated. "Can it be that small shards of the arrow head are still buried inside your flesh?" When he didn’t receive an answer, he looked at Haldir and found that the silver-haired Elf was biting his bottom lip in an attempt to stop himself from admitting his pain.
"I do not know…" groaned Haldir through clenched teeth. "The healers did not know what to do when the wound refused to heal. I assume that is why the Lady Galadriel sent me here." His eyes followed every move Elrond made, afraid that the half-Elf would want to touch the wound. He knew from previous experiences that such a probing touch would hurt.
"I will need my herbs, clean bandages and some assistance." Elrond stared thoughtfully at the damaged area and realized that Haldir was in more pain than the Elf wanted him to know. "I will leave you for a few moments. Try to rest. When I return, we will deal with this injury." He knew only too well how dangerous the poison was. Celebrían had been in agony when he had tended to her.
Haldir managed a nod, and then closed his eyes in an effort to suppress his pain. He would do whatever it took to be healed. He wanted to return to his brothers’ sides so they could defend their borders once more. It had hurt when Galadriel had relieved him of his duties. It made him feel useless.
Unexpectedly a hand settled on his brow, rubbing his skin. His eyes flashed open in surprise. Staring into Elrond’s eyes, he began to relax, --feeling sleepy. The pain still lingered, but was lessening.
Elrond smiled warmly. Sometimes a kind touch brought relief. "Rest."
Elrond’s soft voice relaxed Haldir further and he surrendered to the pleasant sensation. He winced slightly when Elrond removed his hand.
"I will be back shortly," said Elrond reassuringly. It was amazing; he had met Haldir only a moment ago and he already felt hesitant to leave the silver-haired Elf’s side. He wanted to stay close. What sweet madness was this?
Haldir nodded again, trying to hold on to the serenity that had descended onto him, driving away his worst pain. Hearing the door close, he released a strangled breath. /Aiya, it hurts./ In the past, he had lost all sensation in his left leg and collapsed. It had happened when he had joined his brothers during a patrol. His brothers… He missed Rúmil and Orophin. They were seldom apart and he felt lonely now; he didn’t enjoy feeling like that. Hopefully he could return home shortly.
"Elladan? I need your help." Elrond had found his oldest son in his rooms. It was Elrohir’s turn to lead the patrol and Elladan had settled down in the sun, soaking up the warmth of the sunrays.
Hearing the concern in his father’s voice, he rose to his feet. "Is something wrong with Glorfindel?"
Elrond smiled warmly. "Nay, all is well with Glorfindel. It is the Galadhrim I am worried about. I need you to assist me."
Elladan walked over to his father and fell into step beside him. "I recall Lindir mentioning that he was limping."
"An Orc arrow is poisoning him from the inside." Elrond sighed distressed. Now that he was with Elladan, he voiced his fear. "History is repeating itself."
"Nana," said Elladan, understanding at once. "Do you think it is the same poison?"
Elrond nodded once. "The wound is festering, with black and dying skin surrounding it. I instantly recognized it."
"The Galadhrim… How strong is he? Strong enough to recover?" Celebrían had been too weak, and wounded in other ways as well.
"I hope so," said Elrond, as they entered the Healing House. "We need to wash out the wound and dress it again. Tell one of the healers to brew a tea from the roots of Athelas. He has been in pain for some time, but won’t admit it."
Elladan signaled for one of the healers to approach, relayed his father’s instructions and gathered clean bandages.
Once they had collected everything they needed, they stepped into the room, finding Haldir trembling minutely. Elladan exchanged a glance with his father, sharing Elrond’s concern.
Haldir slowly turned his head, looking at the two half-Elves.
"This is my oldest son, Elladan," said Elrond, addressing Haldir. "He will assist me in cleaning and binding the wound."
Elladan nodded once, smiling reassuringly. "We will take good care of you." Helping the Galadhrim heal had become personal to him and he suspected the same thing applied for his father. They had been unable to heal Celebrían, but maybe Haldir was strong enough to make a complete recovery.
Elrond seated himself next to the bed and looked into Haldir’s hazel eyes. "First, I want you to drink this tea." He signaled for Elladan to pour a cup, which his son did.
Haldir struggled into an upright position, but pain shot through his leg, making him tremble. Only sheer determination and will power had kept him going when he had journeyed from Lothlórien to Imladris and he had finally reached his limits.
His hands shook when he curled his fingers around the cup, which Elrond now handed him. He identified one of the fragrances that invaded his nostrils; Athelas. He sipped slowly, as the tea tasted surprisingly bitter.
Elrond turned his attention back to the wound and told Elladan to pour water and hand him a cloth. They needed to wash out the wound, but he would wait with probing the damaged area until the effects of the tea had unfolded, clearing Haldir’s mind from the pain and putting him asleep.
Haldir realized he had been drugged when a slow, lazy feeling descended over him, nearly causing him to fall asleep. Startling awake again, his eyes widened, trying to keep focused on Elrond, who was still smiling at him.
"Stop fighting me, Haldir," said Elrond reassuringly. "I suspect that you haven’t been sleeping properly since you were injured and your body needs to recuperate. Let yourself drift off into sleep. Elladan and I will look after you."
Elladan, carrying clean bandages, a bowl filled with tepid water and a wash cloth, came to a stand still at his father’s side. Placing the bowl on the bed, he handed Elrond the bandages.
The last thing Haldir saw was the concerned expression in their eyes. Then he slipped under, finally falling asleep after too many days filled with pain.
Elrond’s hand returned to gently stroke the clammy brow. "He is strong, this one, --and stubborn. He has a good chance to recover from the poison."
They worked in silence, cleaning the wound. Elrond gasped, removing a metal shard from deep within Haldir’s flesh. "How could they oversee this?" How much damage had this metal shard done? How much poison had the tip carried?
"You removed it," said Elladan calmly. "Maybe this is why he was in such pain."
"I hope so." Elrond methodically examined the wound and once he was convinced no metal had been left behind, he pressed sachets, filled with healing herbs on the wound. After binding it he sat back, feeling drained. "That is all I can do for now."
Elladan, hearing the fatigued tone, knelt in front of his father and placed his hands on either side of Elrond’s head. "You need to rest, Ada. You are not taking care of yourself."
A loving smile appeared on Elrond’s face. "I will rest, then." But the problem was that he didn’t want to return to his empty chambers. "I might take a nap right here…"
"At least lie down." Elladan got to his feet, extended his hand and guided his father into the next room. "Sleep for some hours."
Elrond lay down, stretched, and smiled gratefully at his son. "I want you to wake me in case Haldir’s condition worsens."
Elladan nodded. Haldir would hopefully remain asleep, and in the meantime, he would watch over both Elves.
Erestor was happy to let Glorfindel take the lead. After lunch, the blond had pulled him into the gardens and they were now heading toward an ancient oak tree with luxurious green leaves. The fact that they were still holding hands surprised him, but he didn’t want to let go either. Several Elves had already looked at them funny, but then an approving expression had appeared in their eyes, baffling him.
Studying Glorfindel, he found that the Elda was smiling brightly. He hadn’t seen a smile like that since his abduction.
"Let us sit in the sun for a little while," said Glorfindel, turning around and smiling at Erestor. The dark-haired Elf seemed comfortable to follow his lead and he was grateful for that. The last thing he wanted was to be smothered with pity or concern. Acting carefree was making him feel better.
Sitting down, he pulled Erestor down as well, making sure the raven-haired Elf stayed close. Glorfindel rested his back against the trunk of the tree and smiled dreamily. Right now, he felt good, safe and balanced. Absentmindedly he rubbed Erestor’s knuckles. It almost felt like a wave of energy coursed through his arm, eventually enveloping him completely.
Erestor remained quiet, as no words would come to him. He made himself comfortable and shifted slightly. Suddenly Glorfindel’s head rested against his shoulder and the blond pulled his hand possessively into his lap.
They sat like that for long moments, silent and simply enjoying each other’s company.
Erestor hated waking Glorfindel, but it was growing dark and it was time to join the others for dinner. "Wake up, mellon-nîn." Oh, how he wished he could call Glorfindel melamin instead!
Glorfindel’s eyes slowly focused, and whilst stretching like a cat, he raised his head to look at Erestor. That was the best nap he’d had in decades! And the amazing thing was; no nightmares. Erestor’s presence had kept them at bay.
"It is time for dinner, mellon-nîn. We should go back inside." His hand itched to stroke a stray lock behind the blond’s pointed ear, but he managed to control himself.
Glorfindel smiled, but then his expression darkened. His hand, which was still holding Erestor’s, moved toward his abdomen and he placed their joined hands against his stomach. "I am still scared. I do not know what to expect."
Erestor swallowed hard, seeing the misery in the azure eyes. "We will face this together, mellon-nîn. You have many friends and we will care for you and your son."
Glorfindel’s eyes grew misty. "It continues to grow. Yesterday I barely felt it, and now…"
Erestor nodded. "A few weeks," he whispered, wishing he knew how to comfort the blond. "I am sure your son will take after you, mellon-nîn. He will be a ray of golden light to your life."
Glorfindel’s misty eyes swam with tears, which now began to flow down his face. "I am afraid to hope that he will look Elven. I am not sure how I will react, seeing claws and fangs." Unable to deal with this momentarily, he flung himself at Erestor.
Instinctively Erestor raised his arms and buried the blond in a tight hug. "Always remember that you are not alone." He almost kissed the golden locks that danced against his lips, but kept back. Glorfindel needed a friend, not someone who lusted after him!
Glorfindel clung to Erestor for many minutes and slowly his calm was restored. A warm, loving sensation settled in his heart, whilst being held. When he pulled away it was with obvious reluctance. "I am hungry again," he admitted softly. "Do you think it is because of the… child?"
"I think so," said Erestor, replying in a similar soft tone. Making sure he still maintained a hold on Glorfindel’s hand, he slowly got to his feet and then pulled Glorfindel to his.
Taking their time, they slowly walked back to the Last Homely House.
When they arrived in the dining room, they found they were alone. Neither Elrond, nor Elladan had joined them for dinner. Seeing Lindir enter, Erestor gave the white-haired Elf an inquisitive look.
Lindir inclined his head and said, "Elladan asked me to inform you that the Galadhrim’s injuries demand their presence. You will have to dine alone."
Glorfindel felt momentarily disappointed, but then a smile surfaced on his face. As long as Erestor was close he didn’t mind.
They seated themselves and Glorfindel reluctantly let go of Erestor’s hand when the raven-haired Elf reached for the food.
"Eat," said Erestor, after filling their plates with grilled vegetables, freshly baked bread and cheese.
Glorfindel ate more than his fill and leaned back, sated. "I wonder what other things to expect." After a moment of thought, his features contorted. "I hope I will be spared any morning sickness."
"At least your pregnancy will be a short one. She-Elves have to carry their child for a year. You will be back to a normal shape within a few weeks." Erestor filled Glorfindel’s glass with fresh spring water. "I am not so sure you should drink wine."
A sigh fled Glorfindel’s lips. "I’d better not drink any then." Sipping the water, he studied Erestor. /You have no idea how much it means to me that you are staying close./ Yawning, he wondered why he was sleepy again. He had just napped for several hours! "I am sorry. I do not know why…" But that wasn’t true. Now that he thought about it, he did know why he felt this tired. "It must be the…child." He still had a hard time thinking of the abomination as his child.
"Then let us return to my rooms and tuck you in." Erestor pushed back his chair and extended his hand. "Or would you prefer to stay in your rooms?" He would gladly move into the blond’s rooms if that was what Glorfindel preferred.
"I am comfortable in yours… We can stay there." Glorfindel rose from his chair, once more curling his fingers possessively around Erestor’s.
Erestor swallowed the lump of emotions that had formed in his throat upon seeing Glorfindel making himself comfortable in his bed. Long, golden hair lay on his pillow and now Glorfindel was pushing himself deeper into the comfort of his mattress. He had dreamt of having Glorfindel in his bed, but not like this. Not when the blond was too scared to be alone. He wanted him in his bed because Glorfindel loved him, not because he couldn’t bear Elrond’s touch.
Lying down on top of the covers, -like the night before-, Erestor watched Glorfindel closely. Immediately, the blond inched closer, resting his head on his chest. Erestor folded one arm around his secret love and used the other to stroke the blond mane.
Yawning again, Glorfindel lifted his eyes and studied his companion. Erestor’s eyes were warm with affection and seemed to devour him. "You cannot be tired yet," he realized, suddenly feeling guilty for taking up so much of the raven-haired Elf’s time. "And I am keeping you here, confined to bed." His first instinct was to let go, but he couldn’t bring himself to release Erestor. He needed him close!
"I do not mind holding you…" Now *that* was an understatement! He loved holding Glorfindel, no matter when or where.
Glorfindel rested his head on Erestor’s chest once more. "Now I feel guilty…"
Erestor chuckled softly, determined not to give into Glorfindel’s darkening mood. "Ah, mellon-nîn, there is no reason to feel guilty. You must believe me when I say that I like holding you."
Glorfindel’s eyes narrowed momentarily, but now that his head rested on Erestor’s chest, the raven-haired Elf couldn’t see the expression in them. /So you *are* the one Vaire hinted at. Why didn’t I see the love in your eyes before? How stupid am I? So that is what Elrond meant when he said I would find love and support with you. By the Grace of the Valar, does Elrond know? And if so, why didn’t he tell me?/ He would ask Elrond these questions the next time they met. Hopefully the half-Elf would confirm his suspicions.
At last Erestor’s behavior made sense now. Gentle caresses were bestowed onto his hair. Did Erestor think he was already asleep? He felt too drained to deal with this right now. Involuntarily, his right hand settled on his stomach and the other reached for Erestor, entwining their fingers. Feeling comfortable, safe *and* loved, he allowed himself to fall asleep, giving his body the rest it needed.
Erestor, now fully convinced Glorfindel was asleep, kissed a lock of golden hair. He concentrated on the link and sent as much energy as he could spare down their connection. "I will see you through this… I promise."
Return to Archive | next | previous