18. Two Shippers in the Night
My name, spoken in an urgently hushed whisper, broke into my dream and stirred me almost awake. I was barely aware of a hand on my arm, shaking me gently, trying to rouse me. I groaned and pushed the hand away; attempting to slip back into sleep, back to the unexpectedly pleasant dream.
I heard an exasperated sigh. Well, let him sigh; it was his fault I had cried myself to sleep.
"Go away," I muttered, not opening my eyes.
I felt the bed shift as he sat down next to my legs. I opened one eye and peered through the darkness at him. He was sitting at the foot of the bed, watching me, with his arms crossed against his chest.
"Whaaaat?" I whined, draping an arm across my eyes. "I was sleeping…"
"I require your assistance."
I recognized the voice, and it was not the voice of my husband. Suddenly wide awake, I screamed and sat up, scrambling backwards against the headboard. He was immediately on his feet beside me, hand over my mouth.
"Do be quiet," he urged, once again whispering. "I mean you no harm and do not wish to draw attention to my presence."
With my heart racing I tried to pull his hand off of my mouth. After a moment he removed it but kept it raised, as if he were waiting to have to silence me again.
"Are you crazy?" I hissed, trying to disguise my nervousness.
"That depends on who you ask," he answered. Despite myself, I smiled. Who would have expected Fëanor to have a sense of humor?
"Right." I wasn't sure what else to say, I was so thrown by his droll response. He lowered his hand and sat facing me on the bed.
"In the forest you offered to help me find Nerdanel, my wife. Do you stand by that?"
He certainly didn't mince words. "I do." I shrugged. "It shouldn't be too hard; I just saw her before."
He stood, taking a step away from the bed. "You saw her?" His voice took on an entirely new quality, almost reverent. He was quiet for a moment.
"I did." I stared at his face, now more visible in the light of the newly risen moon and was shocked at what I saw. His eyes wide, he appeared almost youthful.
"How did she look?"
I scoffed. What kind of a question was that? I waved my index finger in a circle around my own face.
"Kind of like this."
The glare returned to his face but before he could respond there was a knock at the door. I jumped at the same time as he whipped his head around towards the sound.
"Arandil?" It was Legolas. "Are you well? I heard a scream."
Fëanor turned back to me and muttered under his breath what, by his tone, I assumed to be a string of curses.
"I'm fine." I called back to Legolas, gesturing at Fëanor to go into the other room. He shook his head. Of course he wasn't going to cooperate. Why would he? He was Fëanor.
"Might I come in?" Legolas asked through the closed door. My heart started racing in alarm. I didn't know why but I was pretty sure there would be problems if he came in and saw Fëanor.
I stood up and pointed at Fëanor and then at the door to the other room. He folded his arms across his chest. For someone who didn't want anybody to know he was there he was being awfully stubborn about hiding. I waved more urgently for him to leave. Finally he threw his hands up in the air and sulked into the other room.
As soon as he was out of sight I called back to Legolas. "Sure; come on in." I was going for 'casual and breezy' but I think I achieved more 'panicked damsel-in-distress.'
The door opened and Legolas walked slowly into the room, scanning it from right to left. He approached me but stopped about halfway between the door and the bed.
"What?" I responded as his question took me by surprise. I tried to figure out his train of thought but failed. "I don't know." Then something Justin had said earlier came back to me. "I thought he was staying with you."
"He was." Legolas looked towards the doorway to the other room. "He is not here?"
I fought the urge to follow Legolas's gaze and forced myself to trust that Fëanor knew how to hide. "No. I'm here by myself." The words came out in a rush and I hoped it wasn't obvious I was lying.
"Strange." Legolas said. He stood silently after that, giving me plenty of opportunity to worry that he knew I was being untruthful, which then turned to questioning myself. Why was I lying? Why was I protecting Fëanor?
"What's strange?" I asked, hoping my spoken words would drown out the inner commentary.
"I was quite certain I saw him enter your chambers."
Crap! My mind whirled, a mess of explanations and half-truths and finally came up with, "Oh, yeah… he was here but he left."
I cringed in the darkness, hearing the ridiculousness of my statement and hoping that Legolas was as dense as he sometimes came across in the movies.
"I see," he said, giving no indication whether or not he believed me.
I gave him a few moments to see if he would say anything else. When he didn't I forced a yawn.
"I'm really tired. Do you mind if I just go back to sleep?" I sat back down on the bed and then added for good measure, "If Justin comes back, I'll tell him you were looking for him, ok?"
He looked at me with that penetrating gaze of his. When it almost got to the point where I could no longer maintain eye contact, his regard softened and he smiled politely, inclining his head towards me.
"Fair dreams, Arandil."
"You too," I answered as he walked towards the door and then immediately wondered if that was the right thing to say. I mean, did elves dream? I supposed they would have to in order to have the phrase "fair dreams" as an expression.
The click of the latch interrupted my musings and I slid off the bed. Fëanor appeared in the doorway. We both stood silently facing each other for several uncomfortable – at least to me – moments.
"Thank you," Fëanor said after what felt like an eternity. "For your discretion."
His gratitude surprised me; not that he shouldn't be grateful that I lied for him, you know, after he kidnapped me and all, but that he actually was.
"No problem." I smiled tentatively at him. And then because his regard was unnerving, and when I'm uncomfortable in a situation I compensate with humor, I added, "I wanted to avoid bloodshed at all costs."
As soon as the words were out of my mouth, even before I saw Fëanor's shocked and surprisingly hurt expression, I realized my attempt at levity was probably in poor taste, considering at whom it was aimed.
My mind desperately grasped for a recovery, something that could erase the damage of my last words, but I came up with nothing.
"Is that truly your impression of me?" he whispered.
"I'm sorry." I choked out. "It's not. I didn't mean it like that. I…"
I completely faltered, not having any idea what to say, or why it was so important to me to fix the situation. He stared at me, looking betrayed and wounded, and all I wanted to do was run over to him and hug him and stroke his hair and whisper apologies and assurances.
"Holy crap," I gasped, realizing how powerfully he was affecting me. "I get it. I totally get it." No wonder people had followed him on what could only be described as a suicide mission. His charisma was unbelievable, and not in the I-really-like-you, you're-fun-to-hang-out-with kind of way, but in an almost hypnotic, compelled-to-follow-him-to-the-ends-of-the-earth-to-kill-an-all-powerful-dark-lord way.
"You… what?" he said, regaining some of his prior severity.
"I know who you are, Fëanor," I said, standing straighter to fake courage I did not feel. "And I know what you've done; the good and the bad."
He nodded once, looking resigned.
"So you will not help me."
Now being able to identify it, I was easier able to resist his thrall, but that did not mean I didn't feel its pull.
"I didn't say that."
We locked eyes again and stood silently, challenging. After a moment I cleared my throat.
"I'll help you find your wife, but we cannot go sneaking around to do it. That is just going to cause all kinds of problems."
I'm fairly certain he clenched his jaw, though it was hard to see in the dim light.
"Very well," he finally assented. "I will go gather my belongings and meet you back here at first light. Then you can formally announce your intentions to help me to whomever you please."
He ended with an over exaggerated flourish of his hand and despite myself I smiled at the affectation and the hint of sarcasm in his voice. He nimbly turned on his heel left without another word or a backward glance, leaving me alone again. I crawled back into bed and lay my head on my pillow. I quickly drifted off to sleep, thinking that I actually kind of liked Fëanor and wondering what exactly that said about me.
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.