In the Stillness
1. In the Stillness
Slow movements disturb the stillness.
Faint noises break the silence.
In the depths of the blackness there is gold.
In this house of death there is life.
The flesh is cool. The long fingers touch and hesitate. Gently they stroke where veins and arteries lie still. They linger on the soft skin at the base of the thumb then move to the roughness of the knuckles. The skin wrinkles here and the bone underneath is worn with age. The warmth lies on them, holds them tightly then moves up the arm. The fingers brush aside velvet and silk and follow the muscles of the arm. The arms are thinner now than the ones that once held him but still tell stories of strength. Exploring through the darkness the fingers find and trace scars that bring memories. Slowly they slide over a long ragged-edged scar… memories of blood, pain and comfort… of torn grass, shining swords stained with blood, and slow-circling birds.
The fingers smooth down the richly embroidered sleeve and move on. They brush lightly across the still chest and pause at the throat. Gently, oh, feather gently, they trace the contours of metal then curl around until the pendant is held tightly in the warmth of the hand; pressed into skin as though to embed it in memory. Slowly the hand unfolds and places the warm metal back on the cold skin.
The hands brush over the rough hair that covers the throat and jaw then begin to explore the face - seeing each contour in the darkness through touch and memory. Each line, each bone, each plane of skin is known…. The face is softer now, relaxed, beyond thought or mood. In the room where no one breathes there is a gasp for air then face is pressed to face, smooth cheek against beard, warmth against cold, dampness against dryness, endless age against beyond age. One hand finds a cold hand and holds it, clings to it, while the other hand cradles the head, fingers buried in the grey-streaked hair. His eyes close against the dark. . If warmth could be shared… if breath could be given… if love could save…. Words are whispered in this house of silence - small words, as if a bereft child whimpers
Slowly, one body uncurls and straightens. Hand unclasps hand. Eyes open to the darkness. Carefully, the fingers straighten the rich robes of velvets and silks. Lightly, lightly, so lightly, fingertips brush the hair back into its unaccustomed neatness then lips touch the cold forehead.
For a moment there is the faintest whisper of a song - then no more. That is for tomorrow.
There is no touch now. Faint footsteps echo on the stone floor. A sliver of pale light slides in through an opened door then vanishes.
And again there is only stillness and silence; only blackness; only the dead.
(1) Grateful thanks to Lyllyn, Nic, Nessime, Starlight, Rachel, Mike and Puxinette for some highly useful feedback.
(2) It isn’t intended to be slash – I write friendship not slash - but, of course, how you read it is up to you.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.