8. Urgent Business
"Elrohir, what is wrong? You don't look well."
Nodding to Faramir, Elrohir sank into a chair and shut his eyes, attempting to draw energy from some hidden reserve to deal with what was coming.
"Haleigh found out that Lass and I are lovers."
Faramir sucked in a sharp breath of air.
"He tricked Eldarion into telling him."
Faramir did not answer, although his brain had started churning to think of the best way of dealing with the problem.
"Now, he wants complicity in his treachery against Estel; in his secret pact with the Southrons!" Elrohir all but shrieked.
"Calm down, Elrohir. Tell me everything."
And so Elrohir did, finding relief in Faramir's gentle words and calm reaction to his information.
Faramir thought for a while before saying, "Perhaps it is not as bad as you think. Was I repulsed when the truth of your relationship with Legolas was thrust upon me?"
"No, but you are different, Faramir. You appreciate that the first-born are not to be feared nor avoided, and you respect our nature. It is something I am unable to say for the rest of your people."
"Let us assume Haleigh does not talk; what would our next cause of action be?"
"We know we cannot kill him --"
"Yes, something more subtle has to be employed."
A comforting wave passed through Elrohir. Faramir, unlike Boromir, had not been born for the battlefield. He was more of a diplomat, a negotiator, and an excellent reader of human nature. Under normal circumstances, he would have worked well together with Elrohir to come up with a solution, but it seemed that Elrohir was too tired to think straight. Still, Faramir's extensive and deadly network of spies were a major component of Gondor's stability, and their strength grew from day to day.
"What do you suggest?"
"A man such as Haleigh will have a large store of tainted slates. It will be up to us to dig through that in order to find something to counter his venom with."
"Yes, but something to equal what he knows of me? I do not mind the loss of my reputation, Faramir, but it is Lass that I worry about. I will not have his sacrifices and pain to keep Middle-Earth from falling to evil slain in the wake of the bigotry of men like Haleigh!"
Faramir felt some relief. At least Elrohir still cared about Legolas.
"What will you tell Legolas?"
The remaining colour on Elrohir's face drained from it. "He must never find out, and neither must Estel!"
"But Legolas will know of Haleigh's treachery. He will see you refuse to act on his information!"
"I fear he will kill Haleigh for holding me hostage like this. No, it is best he thinks the problem is with me. Perhaps I can make him leave until everything has settled down --"
"Can your bond survive this?"
"You speak as if I have a choice in the matter!"
"I am not telling you what to do, Elrohir. However, you need to think if Legolas needs, or will appreciate, your protection."
"I will bear this alone; there is no question about it. I refuse to allow his name to be sullied."
Seeing how Elrohir would not budge, Faramir gave up trying to persuade him. "If you insist, Elrohir. I will get my men on the case, and will tell them to hurry!"
A sharp rap sounded on the door, and Elrohir suppressed the urge to scream. When he did not take his head out of his hands, and the knock sounded again, Faramir opened the door.
The blood in his veins started boiling as he saw a smirking Haleigh standing by the door.
"Not interrupting anything, ah, important, am I, Lord Elrohir?" Haleigh said. "I was afraid that you and Lord Legolas were --"
"What are you talking about? Come in!" Faramir said.
Haleigh chuckled to himself, poured a glass from Elrohir's decanter, and sank into an armchair, watched with revulsion by Elrohir and Faramir.
"Such good drink! Why our kitchens never come up with anything like this is --"
"Haleigh, you forget your place!" Faramir said, voice dangerous and soft.
"Oh, I beg your pardon, Lord Faramir, but Lord Elrohir and I are good friends, very good friends, and I am very much at home here!"
Faramir was about to reply when another knock sounded.
"Come in!" Elrohir called, not knowing if he should be thankful or worried at more people descending on his study this late at night.
He knew the answer once the door opened to reveal a concerned Legolas, whose expression changed to surprise as he saw Haleigh sitting in a chair with Faramir and Elrohir standing a distance away from him.
"Hello, Lord Legolas," Haleigh said with a grin that did not bode well.
"Legolas! Good of you to come! We have just received word from Rivendell --"
The frown on Legolas's face grew tighter as he sought to comprehend Faramir's cryptic message, but he entered the room, stepping aside to show that Aragorn was just behind.
"Your Majesty!" Haleigh cried, jumping to his feet, a cold fear suddenly seizing him.
In the process, his glass flew to the floor and shattered into a million shards.
Elrohir and Legolas's faces changed to shades of fury, but Haleigh was too flustered to notice, as he bent down to pick up the pieces.
"Leave it!" Legolas roared, the hatred in his voice barely masked.
Shocked, Haleigh did as told, and did not find the wits to think out an appropriate response.
"Our counsel was requested over a particular matter concerning Imladris, so if you please, Haleigh, any business should wait till tomorrow," Faramir said.
"Yes, of course. I didn't mean to --" Haleigh's voice trailed off at the icy-blue glare Legolas threw at him, and shivers ran down his spine. He turned tail and fled, not even thinking to prostrate himself before Aragorn again.
Once he left, Faramir slammed the door and bolted it, while Elrohir stared at the mess before his feet.
"Why was that traitorous bastard son of Orcs and black Dwarves drinking from your glass?" Legolas said, a picture of cold fury.
Elrohir looked up, and his eyes met with Aragorn's. Neither of them had heard Legolas utter such an angry, hateful insult in his life. Even Faramir, who did not know that Legolas's mother had been killed by a company of Orcs and Dwarves, was looking apprehensive and concerned at his rage.
"Legolas --" Aragorn said.
"Answer me!" Legolas shouted, eyes still fixed on Elrohir.
Forgetting his usual reservations of intimacy with Legolas in the presence of others, Elrohir scooped him into his arms and started kissing his brow and cheeks.
"Calm down, Lass-nîn, please," he murmured.
A gesture which would have comforted Legolas under normal circumstances only seemed to agitate him further. He squirmed away from Elrohir and stared at him.
"What is wrong, Roh? Tell me!"
"Nothing," Elrohir said.
The lie caused Legolas to flare up. "Stop lying to me!"
"Lass, you are exhausted. Maybe you should return to Ithilien for a rest."
A long pause greeted his words, and Faramir suppressed a groan. Elrohir was so tired that he had no idea what he was doing: both to Legolas and himself.
"You are both tired --"
Ignoring him, Legolas said, "Are you sending me away?"
"Legolas, please!" Aragorn said, touching his arm.
Legolas flung Aragorn away so violently that he almost sent him reeling.
"I am not your personal whore, Elrohir, to be sent away when you have sated your lust."
Aragorn and Faramir were too stunned to react when Legolas ripped open the door, stormed out, slamming it behind him with such a great force that the entire room shook. They did not notice Elrohir as a sudden black wall of fatigue hit him, and he crumpled to the floor in a heap.
"Aragorn!" Faramir cried when he turned and saw Elrohir.
Aragorn picked Elrohir up, and carried him onto a chaise longue, where he undid his tight collar.
Coming back to consciousness, Elrohir seemed disorientated, before his grey eyes flared.
"He is right," Elrohir whispered. "I have treated him little better than a whore."
"Drink," Aragorn said, forcing a goblet full of miruvor obtained from Elrohir's private store down his throat.
The strain soon proved too much, and red circles started to cloud Elrohir's vision, as he succumbed to the blackness again.
"The glass was one of a set Legolas gave Elrohir to celebrate a hundred years of their binding," Aragorn said in response to Faramir's questioning look. "Perhaps I should tell Elrohir to leave for Imladris immediately. I have never seen either of them like this before."
"Elrohir will want to stay until the business with the Southrons gets resolved."
"Yes, I understand and appreciate how he feels, but none of this is worth getting them both into such an exhausted state! It is my own fault for not realising how bad thing were prior to this, even with Elladan's warning."
"Perhaps it's best to wait until Elrohir wakes tomorrow."
Aragorn nodded, and lifted Elrohir from his deep sleep, wondering at his decreased weight, and brought him back to his bed-chamber through a private passage. He noticed that the servants had not been allowed in by Elrohir, and sheets, pillows, cushions, and remnants of what had been a tunic were strewn over the entire room.
Aragorn and Faramir did not raise any eyebrows, and instead placed Elrohir on the bed and covered him with a thick duvet.
"I think you might have to watch over him tonight," Aragorn said. "I shall go and seek Legolas out."
Faramir nodded and settled himself into an armchair, preparing himself for a long night.
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.