Éowyn knows this, he is sure. Háma has not been overt about it, but he has not bothered to hide the fact. He wonders sometimes, on cold nights before she slips through his door, what she thinks about it, whether she thinks too much. He wonders if she imagines she is taking advantage of him, using his regard. If she hates herself when she leaves his side in the middle of the night.
He doesn't think he could stand it if she did.
Háma has no illusions about it, about her. He is older - not so much as he feels. His own wife is dead, and Éowyn's beauty is a beacon of chill light, but he knows she is not for him.
There are parts of her he is permitted, for now, to touch, but not her heart. The thought is inconceivable. She is the wind over the plains, she is the proud arch of a stallion's neck, she is the raptor gaze that does not flinch. She is a prize worthy of no one, never to be held.
She is so shrouded in solitude, so lost, so swathed and veiled.
He remembers well the first time. The burst of noise and light locked away behind thick oak to leave only the two of them, under the night sky which seemed somehow to belong to her.
"Can your heart not be eased?" he had dared to ask.
"My heart? Never." Such age in so young a voice, such weight on her shoulders. She had turned to him with a sigh. "Háma, you have guarded my uncle's door so well. Can you guard my secrets also?"
She had weighed nothing when he lifted her to his bed. She lay under him so slight, so silent, so yielding that it was as if he coupled with moonlight. She merely gasped once, but the surprise on her face held a fierce joy, like the shriek of an eagle to the hunt. In that moment, she was young and beautiful and wild. She was herself, and his heart rejoiced to see it.
Háma remembers this as he waits tonight. The air is chill, and the door to his room unlatched. He has sent the boy to stay with his aunt, a treat, and now he waits.
He knows she will come. It is only what he expects when the door edges open, and the silent white figure slips in. He had seen her in the Hall this afternoon, the momentous happenings there, the amazing new arrivals. He had known how her heart must be beating at her breast, her falcon flutterings, the hope and the light. He had known she would need him before her head raised, her eyes found him.
He does not know for how long that will be true.
"Éowyn," he says now, rising from repose.
She ghosts across the room on silent white wings. Her hands press against his chest, pushing him back, pushing him down.
Háma lets her, giving way to her pressure. He lies back on the bed as she leans over him. Her hair swings; her face seems carved from the white stone of Gondor. Her fingers are deft and firm on his fastenings of his garments. She is so quiet he can only hear her breath - short, quick, fluttering - if he holds his own.
He does, lending his hands to aid hers in drawing off her heavy, snowy gown. Her naked form is no less pale and magnificant, no less regal and worthy. He can hold his breath no longer.
"Éowyn," he says as she moves onto the bed.
She lies a smooth finger against his lips and takes him into her, brings him between her thighs like a favourite mount, the faithful horse she can ride at will across the plains, wild and free.
Wild and free.
She soars over him as he lies supine, at her whim. She raises her proud eagle head; her hair is a banner to which warhorns sound triumphant. She closes her eyes, but he cannot satisfy his with the sight of her. She rises above him. She braces her palms against his chest, cool and searing. He flushes, he rasps as she moves, she moves, her lips barely parted, her hair loose and luminous. His palms burn to be filled with her hips, her rolling hips, but he arches, grips the wooden bedhead with whitening knuckles.
She was never his to touch. Now least of all.
She is the proudest of birds, that any man would be proud - honoured, divinely gifted - to have on his wrist, but she will perch or fly at her own bidding. She will suffer the touch of man, but submission cannot be commanded. She will shake free of any tether or jess.
And Háma, he will serve her, lay his body and his life before her, his White Lady of Rohan. He will accept anything she will bring him to here, in the dark, in the night, in the space she makes with her moonlight silence and her movement, her movement...
At the end, she says a name, a name drawn from her pale throat. It is jagged with newness, the syllables still rough between her lips, against his ears.
It is not his. He never expected it to be.
Her heart is gone from her, borne away on the breeze of that name to its owner, to the wild, to a world that will not shelter her.
There has never been any part of her that he could touch, but still he felt a loss, a burning at his chest, when he realised.
This bird will fly.
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.