Disclaimer: Only borrowing Tolkienís characters for my fantasy.


Inside the Darkness

Part 11 - Danger

By Morgana

       

Lurtz stared at Legolas in apparent shock and quickly stepped away from the Elf. "You shouldn't have done that." He turned away from Legolas and placed his hand over his mouth.

Puzzled by Lurtz's behavior, Legolas tried to move around him to catch the other man's stare. Absentmindedly he noticed that Lurtz's starting rage and unrest had disappeared, as the Uruk-Hai pondered the kiss. "What is wrong, Lurtz?"

Lurtz briefly closed his eyes, wishing he hadn't postponed his departure for he didn't want to talk to Legolas about this. "Nothing."

"You are lying..." said Legolas disapprovingly. "Something upsets you. Please tell me what it is." Legolas raised his left hand and cupped Lurtz's chin, searching the dark orbs.

"My teeth," whispered Lurtz ashamed.

Legolas raised an eyebrow. "Your teeth?" Lurtz's answer was unexpected. What could possibly be wrong with his teeth?

"They're rotten, and jagged." Hesitantly Lurtz showed Legolas.

Legolas wondered why he hadn't noticed before. Lurtz displayed a set of ugly Orc teeth, yellowish fangs. Compassionately he gently rubbed Lurtz's cheek with his fingertips. "I accept you as you are."

But Lurtz quickly closed his mouth and averted his eyes. "You shouldn't."

"If it bothers you this much we can go to the Healing House. Maybe one of Elrond's healers can restore or replace them." Legolas sympathized with Lurtz. "I truly did not notice before."

"I wonder why. It's evident."

"Maybe it is because I tend to look at your eyes..." Legolas smiled warmly. "How about touch? Does that make you uncomfortable as well?"

"Touch?" Lurtz quivered as Legolas' thumb trailed down his throat. Legolas taking the initiative was something he hadn't expected and he was tempted to back away from the Elf. An arm that unexpectedly enfolded his waist stopped his retreat. Realizing it was Legolas' injured right hand that rested at the small of his back, he remained motionless. "Why are you so determined to do this?" He didn't understand the Elf. Legolas was handsome, cunning and a skilled warrior. He, on the other hand, was one of Saruman's creations, ugly and untrustworthy. "I don't understand you."

Legolas nodded in understanding. "Lurtz, I am almost three thousand years old and..." He paused, hearing Lurtz's surprised gasp. "You did not know?"

"You look like a youngster," choked out Lurtz, truly surprised.

"In all those millennia I only fell in love once, and as is tradition, we married, but she died a thousand years ago. I never showed my loneliness, but I always craved a new mate. I know how easily love can slip through your fingers and I do not wish to give up on you without a fight, for I would regret it for the rest of my life and an Elf's life lasts several thousand years... I don't want to live that long, asking myself 'what if'. What if I had pursued you more determinedly? What if I had not let you get away?"

Lurtz felt nervous. "We Uruk-Hai are born in the prime of our life, our strength present even at birth. I never was a child or youngster. I came in to existence in this form." Lurtz suddenly realized how much he enjoyed Legolas' touch; the soft caress warmed his heart and he wished it would never stop. "I don't have anything to offer."

"You are wrong. You have a lot to offer to a mate." Legolas studied Lurtz. "Are you attracted to me?"

Lurtz nodded. "You know I am."

"Do you want to touch me? Kiss me? Hold me? Get to know me intimately?" He was winning this argument, reading surrender in Lurtz's eyes. "Do you want to experience love for the first time in your life?"

"You know I do," whispered Lurtz lost, but then he shook his head saddened. "But we can never be."

"Why? Why must you be so stubborn?" Legolas was losing his patience.

"You're an Elf, Legolas. A beautiful Elf. You can do so much better than me. Look at me! How can you possibly desire me?" Lurtz turned and looked at his reflection in the mirror. "Just look at me!"

Legolas slowly moved behind Lurtz and looked at the reflection as well. "I see someone strong in mind and body, who has overcome his feral nature. You recognize beauty and although you might not want to admit it, you want to cherish it. Since we met you have been considerate and protective, maybe even possessive of me. At first I did not know what to think of your behavior, but now I feel the same about you. You will be one of the greatest warriors that ever lived and we will fight the dark forces together."

"Fight Saruman?" whispered Lurtz, entranced by Legolas' soft, firm tone.

"Aye, we will fight him and Sauron. We need warriors to help us against the evil ones and you would do extremely well." Legolas rested his head on Lurtz's shoulder, looking at their reflection. "The warrior in you calls out to me. Your strength and stamina appeal to me and I am convinced you would be a remarkable mate... and lover."

Lurtz swallowed convulsively. "I do not know how to be a mate... or a lover. I only know how to kill and maim."

"Then I will teach you... if you let me." Legolas favored his injured leg as he moved in front of Lurtz. He placed his hands on the other man's waist and stared in to the dark eyes, that still looked haunted to him. "Will you throw away your one chance at love? Will you deny us this chance?"

Lurtz was speechless. Only moments ago he had been determined to reject Legolas, but now he found he was yearning for the Elf's touch. An image of Saruman and the dark caves beneath Orthanc flashed in his mind, reminding him of his true nature. Saddened, he shook his head. "Legolas, I never felt like this before and I don't know if it is love or lust, or something else. I truly enjoy your company and yes, your touch, but we shouldn't pursue this. Only pain and sadness will come of it."

Legolas sighed. "I will change your mind eventually and you will give in," he vowed passionately.

Lurtz knew then that it was time to leave Imladris. /I will drag you into Shadow if I stay. I must join my pack and return to my old ways. You won't find me that easily and I pray you won't try to confront me when I am with my kind. They will tear you apart and enjoy it. I must leave now and put enough distance between us. Although I would prefer to stay and become your lover I cannot do that. Leaving Imladris is for the best.../

Legolas sensed some of Lurtz's intensions and tensed. /I am not letting you out of my sight.../

       

Glorfindel paced impatiently. Asfaloth ever so gently poked his nose in the blond's back, hoping to make the Elf stop before he bumped in to something. The Elven horse realized something was wrong with his master and wondered why Glorfindel wasn't resting.

Glorfindel's right hand came to rest on Asfaloth's neck, gently rubbing it. "Stop it, Asfaloth. I know you feel restless, but we will accompany our Lord today when he inspects the borders and I need you to be my eyes. Although I regained some of my sight, I would hamper our forces in battle. I am counting on you, my old friend."

Asfaloth still felt Glorfindel was acting foolishly, but the stallion would never desert his master.

"Thank you, my trusted friend. I knew you would help me keep Lord Elrond safe."

"Talking to your horse, meldir?" Elrond, slightly amused, smiled at his seneschal. Had Glorfindel needed help in finding the stables? His friend's eyes were slightly misty. /I still think you should stay here and rest./ Glorfindel accompanying him worried Elrond. He didn't want Glorfindel to take unnecessary risks, but at the same time he realized that Glorfindel would never let him ride alone, even if a whole battalion of warriors accompanied him. Glorfindel was always concerned about his safety. /You are my best friend and wisest council. I would be lost without you./

"Please stay close to our escort. Do not leave on your own," said Glorfindel. "I am still responsible for your safety..."

Elrond interrupted his friend by placing his hand on Glorfindel's shoulder, wondering why his seneschal tensed at his touch. /What is wrong with you, meldir?/  Elrond spoke in a soft tone, hoping to calm Glorfindel down. "I am a warrior, Glorfindel. You may know me as a healer, but I fought Sauron once. I can take on Orcs and Goblins; do not worry about me. I never lost my fighting skills, although they may be a bit rusty. I can take care of myself..."

Glorfindel reprimanded himself. "Forgive me, my lord. I did not mean to insult you. I tend to forget that you are more than a healer. When I look at you..." Glorfindel flinched, seeing Elrond's features only dimly in the grey swirls, "When I look at you I see a kind and noble soul, dedicated to the healing of the sick and injured. I never saw you ride in to battle." /And I feel protective of you... This sense of foreboding makes me nervous./  If he had his say in this Elrond would never leave Imladris.

Elrond smiled. "Thank you, meldir." It meant a lot to him that Glorfindel thought of him as a kind and noble soul. "I will watch your back and you will watch mine." Now it was Elrond's time to cringe. "I did not mean to offend you... You will regain your eyesight..."

"No offense taken," said Glorfindel, forcing a smile on to his face. "Are you certain you want to accompany me? Now that I regained part of my eyesight I can see to Imladris' defenses myself." His men were well trained and could probably perform this duty without his presence, but he wanted to convince himself that no Orc or Goblin could penetrate Imladris' defenses.

Elrond gently squeezed Glorfindel's shoulder. "We will see to Imladris' safety together." He was surprised to find that he looked forward to riding with the patrols once more. Maybe he had locked himself up too long. After Celebrian had left, most of his energetic spirit had left with her. Now the fire in him was awakening again because of Glorfindel. He almost hoped they would encounter some Orcs so he could wield his sword once more. /But nay, Glorfindel would be at a disadvantage during such a fight. I should hope that we encounter no enemy forces./

Their escort arrived and waited for them to mount their horses. Glorfindel slipped on to Asfaloth's back, hoping Elrond would stay close as the Lord had promised. A sense of discomfort swept through him and he looked at Elrond, seeing the black eyes stare back at him through a grey mist. /I need my eyesight restored now! But I cannot force it to return, not while I am still healing. I must stay close to Elrond... He is in danger.../

       

Lurtz stared at Legolas' face, which was beautifully relaxed in sleep. "I don't want to leave you, Legolas, but... You live in a dream, believing we can be together. In reality we're worlds apart... races apart." Lurtz rested a large hand on Legolas' brow and gently caressed the soft skin. He wished he could kiss Legolas like the Elf wanted him to, but he couldn't. Running his tongue along his teeth, he flinched, feeling how sharp and jagged they were. /Rotting teeth for a rotten soul.../ 

Closing his eyes, he concentrated on the feel of Legolas' soft hair flowing through his fingers. /We were Elves once,/ he recalled Legolas' words, /before the dark forces corrupted us. Is there still something of an Elf inside me? Is that the reason why I am drawn to him?/

Lurtz opened his eyes again, relieved that Legolas was still sound asleep. He didn't want the Elf to wake and stop him from leaving. His mind was made up. /I must leave so you can stay inside the light. I don't want you to follow me into darkness... into Shadow.../

Lurtz leaned in closer and pressed his lips against Legolas' brow, careful not to hurt the Elf with his sharp teeth. "You are so right," he whispered, reassured now that Legolas couldn't hear him. "I am attracted to you and what I feel might be love... I will never know though..." Lurtz smiled saddened. "Pray we never meet again, Legolas, for my kind would not allow you to live. Do not come after me... I don't want you to get hurt or killed because of me."

Lurtz ingrained Legolas' features and stored the Elf's scent in his memory and slowly rose from the bed. The time had come to leave.

Lurtz sneaked out of the guest room and in to the corridor. His instincts guided him well and several minutes later he located the gate through which they had entered. The guards seemed to still remember him and they nodded gravely, watching his every move. He didn't blame them. He had exchanged the soft robes for his leather armor again and he had undone the braids, his hair once more flowing freely over his bare back.

As he walked through the gate he shivered. Was he making the biggest mistake of his life by walking out on Legolas? It would take time for the pack to accept him as one of their own as he had fought them when they had cornered Legolas. Was this folly?

/It's too late to reconsider. I made my choices and I must face the consequences. Staying at Imladris with Legolas was never a real option. I don't belong here... Or do I? Do I belong with Legolas?/ His heart contracted in pain. If only he had been born a true Elf, and had never been corrupted by the likes of Saruman. Maybe then Legolas and he would have had a future together.

He quickly disappeared between the trees, staying out of sight. /Hopefully Elrond and Glorfindel will keep Legolas from following me... He is in no condition to ride on horseback./ Lurtz suddenly froze. /Why am I so certain that he will track me down? He did promise to hunt me down and confront me. I should have told Elrond to keep an eye on him./

Lurtz looked over his shoulder at Imladris, almost expecting to find Legolas hot on his trail, but the Elf was sound asleep. /Let me go, Legolas. We were never meant to be.../

Lurtz broke in to a run, sensing his kind near. The blood in his veins began to sing and he growled low in his throat as he put more distance between him and Legolas. /Maybe one day you will forgive me.../

       

Legolas woke with a silent scream on his lips. His eyes searched the room, and he realized what had happened when he found it empty. "By the Valar! Lurtz!"

"Legolas!" Elrohir opened the door and stormed inside, alerted by the harsh tone of the other Elf. His father had instructed him to keep an eye on Legolas and he had been on his way to check on the Prince when he had heard Legolas curse. "Is something ailing you?" He rushed over to the bed and placed both hands on Legolas' chest when the other Elf tried to struggle to his feet.

"Let go of me! I need to find him before he does something unforgivable!"

Elrohir applied more pressure and forced Legolas to lay back. "You are in no condition to leave your bed. Ada ordered you to rest for at least a week and I plan to carry out his orders."

"You do not understand! That stubborn..." Legolas panted hard as a sharp pain sliced through his leg. "He left!"

Elrohir finally realized what had happened. "The Uruk-Hai left?" But why was it upsetting Legolas like that? "Ada told me that he saved your life, but..." The defeat in Legolas' eyes took him aback. "Legolas?"

"You do not understand..." His energy left him and Legolas sighed deeply. "He is no longer one of the fighting Uruk-Hai. He changed. He cannot go back to what he was. His soul won't let him."

"You care deeply about him, why?" Elrohir was stunned to hear the concern in Legolas' voice. What piece of the puzzle was he still missing?

"I fell in love with him," admitted Legolas, expecting to see disapproval in Elrohir's dark eyes. "I never intended it to happen..."

Elrohir calmly registered the new information. "And does he know?"

"He returns my feelings," said Legolas softly. "And now he is gone."

"But why leave if he loves you?" Elrohir brushed a blond, stray lock back behind a pointed ear.

"He fears he might hurt me... He is so stubborn!" Legolas sighed exasperated. "I tried to talk some sense in to him, but he never really listened. I now realize that his mind was already made up." Legolas stared at the ceiling. "I must go after him and convince him to return."

Elrohir shook his head. "You cannot. I will not let you leave this room even if it means fighting and restraining you." He ignored Legolas' foul expression. "I promised Ada to look after you. He would be furious if he found you gone upon his return." Elrohir shuddered. "Trust me, you want Elrond on your side, not against you. Maybe he can locate your Uruk-Hai, but I refuse to let you leave. Your injury would open again as you haven't healed enough yet."

"Elrohir, I beg of you, let me go." Legolas looked at Elrohir pleadingly. "Lurtz is making a grave mistake and when he realizes what he has done it might be too late."

"I cannot let you go..." Elrohir regretted distressing their guest, but he couldn't comply. "But I can send a messenger and ask Ada, Glorfindel and Erestor to look out for your Uruk-Hai. Maybe they can convince him to return to Imladris."

Legolas gasped and grabbed Elrohir's hands. "Please do so for I fear Lurtz will be out of reach when the moon rises. He moves swiftly and his pack is calling him to join them. Please dispatch this messenger now."

"Lie down, Legolas." Elrohir pried Legolas' hands from his and forced the other Elf to lie down again. Hearing footfalls, he looked over his shoulder. He wasn't surprised to see Elladan in the door opening. His twin was always close. "Elladan, I need you to deliver a message to Ada."

Elladan nodded. "I overheard some of your conversation," he explained, seemingly not feeling guilty for eavesdropping. "I will leave at once if that keeps our guest in bed."

Elrohir leaned in closer and captured Legolas' elusive gaze with his. "Do you promise to rest if I send Elladan to inform Ada? Do you promise you won't sneak off?" Seeing the tormented look in Legolas' eyes, his own gaze softened. "I am certain Ada will try to find your Uruk-Hai, trust in him."

Legolas slowly nodded his head. "I promise..." He would do and say anything as long as Elladan left -now-.

Elladan saw the urgency in Legolas' eyes and exchanged a look with his twin. "I will leave now. Keep a close eye on him... He may have promised to rest, but he might act impulsively and leave after all. He is in no condition to search those woods."

"Do not worry, Elladan, I won't let him out my sight." Elrohir gave Legolas a stern look.

Legolas sighed distressed, but found comfort in the fact that Elladan had already left. /Lurtz, you should not have left... They will never accept you back.../ Images of Lurtz, with a sliced throat and bleeding to death, tormented him. /Why did you leave? Why? Why?/

       

Lurtz sniffed the air, knowing his pack was close. Their leader, Ugluk, wouldn't welcome him with open arms, but he hoped to regain his leader's trust.

/Can you still kill without remorse? Carry out orders that condemn innocents to death?/

Lurtz came to an abrupt stop and searched his surroundings. "Legolas?" The voice had been Legolas', but the Elf couldn't possibly have caught up with him! Legolas couldn't even walk properly! Leaves rustled and the wind played with his hair, but there was no Elf in sight. "How can I hear your voice when you aren't near?"

Suddenly a strong body slammed in to him, attacking him from behind. Lurtz growled and tried to grab his assailant, but the scent that surrounded him was familiar. Emitting another, louder, growl he spun around, taking his attacker with him. They ended up with Lurtz on top, pinning the other Uruk-Hai beneath him. Yellow and suspicious eyes stared back at him as he recognized one of his own kind. "Take me to Ugluk," he demanded, pulling the other Uruk-Hai to his feet.

A growl, followed by a nod, reassured him that his guide would take him to Ugluk. Staring at the other man, he noted the hated mask and war paint that covered most of his body.

"Aye, captain," growled the Uruk-Hai.

Lurtz followed, trying to radiate calm and control, but unease and apprehensiveness were starting to consume him. Glaring at his guide, he began to realize he lacked the necessary bloodlust and anger that burned in the other Uruk-Hai's eyes. /Ai, Legolas... You were right again. I shouldn't have come here... I have nothing in common with this beast... Forgive me, beloved.../


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