Disclaimer: Only borrowing Tolkienís characters for my fantasy.


Inside the Darkness

Part 10 - Recovery

By Morgana

       

The next morning a knock on the door woke Lurtz, who instantly rose to his feet. "Who's there?"

"It is I, Legolas... Master Elrond felt it was safe to move me. For some reason he wants us to share quarters..." Legolas felt embarrassed at seeing Elladan's smug smirk. Why had Elrond insisted Elladan carried him? A staff would have lend him sufficient support; no need for Elladan to carry him!

"Legolas?" Lurtz frowned, recalling the pain the Elf had been in the evening before when he had visited. Legolas should be lying down at once! He opened the door and stared at the dark haired Elf he saw earlier in Elrond's presence. What was his name? Elrohir? And why was he carrying Legolas? The only one allowed to carry Legolas was he himself! "I will look after him." Lurtz opened his arms, forcing the dark haired Elf with his eyes to hand over the blond. "Thank you for taking care of him... Elrohir," he added the name hesitantly, hoping memory had served him right.

"Actually," said Elladan as he placed Legolas in Lurtz's arms, "My name is Elladan. I think you met my twin brother Elrohir as well. People have difficulty telling us apart."

Lurtz stored the information for later. "I won't make that mistake a second time, Elladan."

Elladan grinned, turned around and said, "Father expects you to join him for dinner later today. Do not disappoint him."  Elladan chuckled, knowing from personal experience Elrond would send Glorfindel or Erestor to collect their guests in case they failed to show up.

Lurtz growled softly, then locked eyes with Legolas. "Are you still in pain?"

"It is bearable," said Legolas nervously, knowing he had to address the growing attraction between them. Was it just his imagination or was Lurtz blushing? He couldn't tell for sure. "You can lower me on to a bed." Lurtz seemed confused and Legolas wondered why.

/I would love to hold you for the rest of my live./ Lurtz nodded once and carried Legolas to the bed, suddenly realizing there was only one bed in the room. Were they supposed to share it? He would ask for a second bed later.  His eyes searched the bandage for blood, but he didn't find any. Hopefully the wound had finally closed. Then his eyes settled on the bound wrist. "You should rest now."

"I am not fragile!" Legolas was growing tired of being treated like this!

Lurtz smiled, lowered Legolas on to the bed and pulled up the covers. "I worry about you."

Legolas grew quiet at hearing the honestly in Lurtz's voice.  "Are you still planning to leave?"

"I will leave tomorrow evening," said Lurtz firmly. He couldn't let Legolas convince him to stay. "I had nightmares last night and... I found myself growling and snarling at my reflection in the mirror. Elrond made a mistake in making us share quarters and I will ask him to put me in another guest room."

Legolas gave Lurtz a thoughtful look and then patted the space next to him on the bed. "Sit down."

Lurtz obeyed and sat down. "Legolas, you know there's no other way for me. I don't belong here. I am not an Elf."

Legolas moistened his lips, gathering his courage. "Lurtz, Elrond told me your memory returned. Is it complete?"

Lurtz nodded slowly. "I remember everything."

"And yet you did not lose control." Legolas smiled warmly. "You are not as dangerous as you think."

"I'm Uruk-Hai... Saruman's creature. My mere presence defiles Imladris." Lurtz lowered his eyes and stared at the floor. "I don't expect you to understand, but that's the way I feel."

"Would you consider staying a little longer? There are some matters we need to discuss and I would prefer to do it when I feel slightly better." Legolas lifted his right hand and rested it on Lurtz's knee, knowing the other man wouldn't shake it off because of the injury.

"What matters?" Lurtz eyed Legolas carefully. There was a new expression in those blue eyes.

"Our feelings," hinted Legolas, squeezing Lurtz's knee.

"Our feelings?" Lurtz almost jumped to his feet, but he didn't want to jostle Legolas' injured wrist so he stayed seated instead.

Legolas wished he'd had more time to prepare this confession. "I never thought I would ever say this, but I developed certain feelings for you and they are deepening. The thought of you leaving makes me ache inside."

Lurtz swallowed hard. "You shouldn't be saying this."

"It is the truth and I suspect you feel the same way about me, or did I misinterpret your feelings?" Legolas now grew silent, giving Lurtz a moment to sort out his thoughts. "Do not leave yet. Give us a chance to find out where we stand in this matter."

"You can't love me," said Lurtz stubbornly. "You're an Elf and I..."

"You are unique. Do not limit yourself by labeling yourself Uruk-Hai. The bloodlust and anger no longer control you. You have been given a chance, do not throw it away. I will stand with you while you find your place." Legolas squeezed Lurtz's knee once more. "Give us this one chance."

Lurtz shook his head. "I'm not sure I can." He made eye contact with Legolas and sighed. "I'm living a lie here. I am not an Elf and I will never be one."

Legolas pushed himself into an upright position, and harshly grabbed a strand of Lurtz's hair with his left hand. "Listen to me, Lurtz. I refuse to give up on you. Should you sneak out of Imladris I will follow you and hunt you down."

"You're still injured..." whispered Lurtz softly, taken aback by the wild fury in Legolas' eyes. The hold the Elf had on his hair was painful, but he didn't dare move.

"This leg injury won't keep me back," vowed Legolas passionately. "I will hunt you down and find you. You will face the truth about us. I will make you!"

Lurtz stared dazedly in to Legolas' burning eyes. "You're serious."

"Aye, I am serious and should you run from this, you will find out just how serious I am!"

Lurtz suddenly smiled. "I never saw this... fire... in you before."

Legolas bared his teeth. "Know this, Lurtz. I am prepared to fight whatever memories or hold the past has on you and I will stand by your side... If I must convince you of my unconditional support, I will!"

Lurtz raised a hand and gently stroked back the blond locks that danced on Legolas' shoulders. "You're a feisty Elf."

Legolas finally allowed himself to grin. "Ah, now that I have got your attention, one more thing... You did clean up nicely... I like the braids..."

Lurtz suddenly grew shy. "Elrond braided them. My hair was a mess after I took that bath..." Awkwardly, he averted his eyes.  "Why are you doing this? We should never have admitted our feelings."

Legolas' eyes narrowed. "So you admit to having feelings for me?" The expression in Lurtz's eyes took his breath away. He had seldom seen such dedication and affection. /You were Uruk-Hai once, but you are someone different now and I happen to be falling in love with you.../

"You know I do," said Lurtz, and a sudden pride appeared in his eyes. "But I never expected you to feel the same way about me!"

"Lurtz?" Legolas cupped the other man's chin in the palm of his hand. "Kiss me?" His eyes widened when Lurtz shook his head. "Why not?"

The pride vanished from Lurtz's eyes. "My teeth... They are hideous. I might hurt you in the process."

Legolas suddenly realized just how insecure Lurtz felt. /I must take this slowly or I will lose him.../ Legolas ignored the pain in his leg when he leaned in closer.

Lurtz held his breath, feeling Legolas' lips brush his. Their eyes met, but he refused to part his lips or teeth.

Legolas smiled pleased, seeing the dazed expression in Lurtz's eyes. "I would love to carry on this conversation, but I am afraid I still tire easily..." His eyes briefly closed and a yawn made him look at Lurtz apologetically.

"Then go to sleep," said Lurtz tenderly.

"And you promise to stay?"

Lurtz nodded once. "I will stay... for now."

"Wake me when it is time to join Elrond for dinner..."

Lurtz smiled. "I will wake you, now go to sleep."

Legolas drifted off in to sleep with a smile on his face.

Lurtz marveled at the blond; Legolas had completely surprised him by showing such fire. He didn't doubt Legolas would come after him and make him pay for sneaking of. /I don't want your leg to grow worse again so I will stay... for now./

       

Glorfindel's eyes were directed at the ceiling, but he only stared in to darkness. How much longer would it take for his body to repair the damage? Elrond was a fussing nuisance, making sure he stayed in bed. The Lord of Imladris was asleep beside him, at least Elrond's breathing indicated the half-Elf was asleep. /I dreamt of being in his bed, but I envisioned different circumstances./ The fact that he couldn't perform his duties was slowly driving him insane.

Suddenly Elrond moved and the half-Elf's arm slowly enfolded his waist. Glorfindel sucked in his breath at the unexpected contact.  /What is he thinking? Is he dreaming of Celebrian? That she is back in his arms?/ He was at a loss to why Elrond would reach and... pull him close! Elrond suddenly tightened his hold, pulling him to his chest. Glorfindel, afraid to wake Elrond, complied and involuntarily held his breath. Elrond was so close that he felt the other man's body heat and a strand of Elrond's hair brushed his cheek. Realizing he was holding his breath he slowly released it, drawing in Elrond's scent.  /I love you, Elrond.../

It almost seemed like Elrond had heard his thoughts, because the Lord of Imladris suddenly rolled him on to his left side until they faced each other... /I cannot even see his face!/ Glorfindel lacked the strength to resist temptation and gave in by resting his head against Elrond's shoulder. At once Elrond's second arm snaked around his waist until the embrace was complete. Unable to move at all, Glorfindel resigned himself to the situation.

/I craved being this close to him, being held like this, but... Elrond does not know it is me. How will he react when he wakes up and finds he held me in his sleep? I cannot even see the look on his face when he realizes he pulled me close.../ Feeling miserable he wished Elrond was holding him because the half-Elf loved him, not because Elrond was having a dream about Celebrian.

Things got worse when Elrond shifted against him. /By the Valar, he is aroused! I can feel his hardness against my leg! Why is this happening now?/ He was getting desperate to find a way out of this bed, but Elrond's hold was tight and unrelenting. /I have to wait for him to wake up.../

Warm rays of the sun flowed into Elrond's room and traveled up his body, telling him morning had come. It wouldn't be long now before Elrond woke up...

       

Elrond purred contently, feeling a warm body cradled against his. Instinctively he began to caress the soft skin beneath his fingertips. A sudden hiss of breath roused him from sleep. As he became aware of his surroundings he wasn't sure if he should be amused or petrified. Glorfindel was in his arms, his whole body tense. Looking at the blond's eyes, Elrond realized that the other Elf was very much awake. Unease shone from blue eyes and Elrond had a pretty good idea why Glorfindel was this tense. He had completely invaded his friend's personal space during the night.

Yet, something stopped him when he wanted to release Glorfindel from the embrace. It was the realization of how right this felt. Ever since Celebrian had left he hadn't felt this content. Glorfindel cleared his throat nervously and Elrond knew it was time to address this. "It looks like I found a way to keep you in bed, meldir."

Glorfindel trembled in his arms and Elrond grew concerned. "Is it the nausea again? Are you still experiencing vertigo?"

Unable to answer verbally, Glorfindel groaned softly.

Elrond only grew more concerned. "I will examine your head injury and when necessary I will apply clean bandages. Now be still and let me examine you." Reluctantly he released Glorfindel from his arms. He left the bed and sat down on the other side of the bed, his fingers ghosting over the bandage. "No blood," he muttered contently before removing the bandage. "The wound has closed and your blindness should go away during the next few days. You might start seeing dark and light shapes and color will be added later."

Glorfindel sighed. "Thank you for your care..."

Elrond smiled. His fingers gently stroked the blond hair, wishing he could slip right back in to bed and hug Glorfindel tight once more. But he couldn't and he should stop thinking about it. "Breakfast should be ready. Will you join me?"

"Will you let me leave your bed then?" Glorfindel tried to tease, but wasn't sure he succeeded. He sounded far too nervous.

"I might," replied Elrond teasingly. "Would you like to take a bath first?"

Glorfindel quickly whispered a no. He vividly remembered Elrond undressing him and lowering him into the pool earlier. He had been too confused and nauseous to grow aroused, but he couldn't take risk that it would happen now that he was beginning to feel better.

"Will you wait for me here? I will take a quick bath and I will bring you a new set of clothes. You look rumpled, meldir. What would they say, seeing you leave my chambers looking like that?" Elrond distinctly noticed the unease in his seneschal's eyes and regretted the teasing. "I regret my words, meldir. Making you uncomfortable was never my intention."

Glorfindel felt at a loss. "I still do not feel recovered, my lord. It is nothing to worry about. I will wait for you here."

Elrond deemed it best to give Glorfindel a moment of privacy and rose from the bed. Losing his robes, he stepped in to the bathroom.

       

Glorfindel struggled to his feet, cursing as the sheet wrapped itself tighter around him. He clumsily discarded the sheet and he rose from the bed. The nausea and vertigo didn't return and he breathed a relieved sigh. His vision hadn't returned yet, but at least this way he could carry out some of his duties. The image of Elrond riding out in to battle was alluring, but he didn't want his Lord to endanger himself.

Leaning against the wall, he massaged his left brow. He blinked, wondering if he was imagining things, but no, the darkness was receding. There was black, grey and white, just like Elrond had predicted. Now he felt truly hopeful that his eyesight would return eventually.

Movement to his right made him turn about and he frowned seeing a light form approach. /By the Valar! It is Elrond, naked!/ His black and white vision had returned enough to give him an impression of the dark-haired Elf's beauty.  He sighed in appreciation and quickly turned away, not wanting to embarrass Elrond.

"Glorfindel? Is something amiss?" Elrond, paying no attention to his current state, hurried to his friend's side.

"I..." Glorfindel feared this wasn't the right time to mention he had regained part of his vision. "I am hungry..." It sounded stupid, but he had to say something!

"I will join you in a moment, but I need to get dressed first." Elrond wondered about the faint blush on Glorfindel's face, but decided that being looked after made his friend uncomfortable. With practiced ease he slipped into his ceremonial robes, which he would exchange for armor later when he intended to inspect the borders. His agile fingers quickly braided his hair and he fastened the braids with a hair clip.

Glorfindel still stood motionless and Elrond frowned concerned. "I insist you tell me what is wrong."

Glorfindel realized he couldn't fool Elrond any longer. "I can see dark and light forms..."

Elrond smiled pleased. "The healing has started already. Be patient, your vision will be completely restored." He frowned when Glorfindel tensed once more as he rested a hand on his friend's shoulder. "I merely want to escort you... Does my touch bring you that much discomfort?" That realization saddened him.

"Nay, my lord." Glorfindel felt trapped. "It brings me warmth and comfort, but..." He could never say the words. /Elrond, I love you and your touches show me what I cannot have... It is torment./

"Come with me, meldir. If you eat I might consider allowing you along when I control the borders."

Glorfindel flinched. "You should not put yourself in danger like that." But sending Elladan or Elrohir to perform this duty wasn't right either. He didn't want any of the family to expose themselves to danger. /I am thankful Arwen is in Lothlorien... At least she is safe with Galadriel and Celeborn./ One less family member to worry about.

"With you at my side there will be no danger," said Elrond soothingly as he led Glorfindel in to the corridor. "After breakfast you will change clothes and we will meet at the stables... Agreed?" Suddenly he wondered if Glorfindel required help to change his clothes and in finding the stables. He was about to offer his assistance when Glorfindel carefully nodded his head.

"Agreed. I will be there..." Together with a large escort. He wasn't putting the Lord of Imladris in danger because he had problems with his vision! A dreadful sense of foreboding still nagged at him, warning him that Elrond was in terrible danger.

       

Legolas was getting tired of seeing Lurtz pace the room. "Can you not sit down for a sort while? Watching you makes me feel dizzy!" He had woken a few minutes ago and had been watching Lurtz ever since. "What is making you this restless?"

The look Lurtz gave him was haunted and the Uruk-Hai bared his teeth slightly. "I can sense them."

Legolas realized he had to proceed with caution, not wanting Lurtz to revert back to the Uruk-Hai he had fought. "Who do you sense?"

"The pack... They're close... They're calling me." Lurtz growled softly and banged his fist in to the wall.

"You must resist!" Legolas pushed himself to his feet and found that he was capable of walking unaided. Elrond had set his leg expertly. "Lurtz, listen to me. You no longer belong with them!"

Lurtz firmly shook his head. "They're close... Close enough to Imladris to call me... I should go."

"Nay!" Legolas placed both hands on Lurtz's shoulders. "Fight this!" Lurtz's growl grew louder and Legolas resorted to tactics he hoped would work. Acting instinctively he pressed his lips against Lurtz's.


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