27. Chapter Twenty-Seven
Laeriel had recovered from her wound and returned to her disguise as Thurin. It did not matter how much he cajoled or pleaded, Laeriel would not give up her role as Thurin. She continued going out on patrols, sometimes with him, but mostly without him as he was still training and learning the ways of the Dúnedain.
One night nearly a year after he had come to the village, the council called a meeting. He was to be named as Chieftain. They had been pleased with his progress, had seen how much he had been willing to learn, although he had already been fostered with Lord Elrond of Imladris and had learned all he knew from the Elves.
When the patrols had come in, he had pulled Thurin aside and told him the exciting news. There was no reason to hide her identity any longer. He was the Chieftain and he could allow her to fight the enemy in the open as Laeriel.
Furious, she had balled up her fist and had punched him solidly in the mouth. She did not want special treatment. He had watched as she stalked away, his lip throbbing.
Chuckling softly to himself, Aragorn leaned over and checked on his patient. Laeriel was still sleeping; her breathing was deep and easy. He touched her brow with the back of his hand, pleased to find that she was cool to the touch. That was one thing he was worried about. A fever could take her and as weak as she was, he wasn't sure if she would survive it.
She had succumbed to the fevers before, always after she had sustained a severe wound. This time, though, he could not see a wound of any kind, severe or otherwise. He had checked her over, and had checked with Ioreth to find out what the healers had said. They were all baffled. She was not injured, and yet, she had been dying when he had come to her.
It had taken all his strength to draw her back from the circles of world's end. She had not wanted to follow him back to the safety of this life. Something had given her pain and she had been willing to leave it behind. Damn woman, he had to convince her of who he was.
She was a stubborn woman, always had been. From the time he had met her on the road to Bree, to the day he had lost her, thinking she was dead, this woman had been a handful. He had been shocked to find that under the clothing she wore as Thurin had been a willful woman, a woman that fought like a warrior, and loved like a wanton.
Strider signaled to Thurin to halt, and he in turn passed the signal to those behind him. They were on a routine patrol near Nan Tornaeth in the Trollshaws. Luckily they had not run into any of the hill trolls that were reported to be in this area.
"Why are we stopping?" Thurin asked, slipping up to stand beside Strider.
Silently, he pointed to the stone statues in the grove of trees. He had heard tales of these statues. Stone-trolls that had been outwitted by a small Halfling named Bilbo. They were close to Rivendell. How he longed to go home. It had been several years since he had last seen his brothers or his father.
"We can camp here. The trolls are afraid of this area."
Thurin signaled for the others to join them and when all eight were accounted for, they began to set up camp. Strider attended to the wounded for they had just battled with a small band of Orc while Thurin built a fire and some of the others unpacked their gear.
Once the wounded were cared for, Strider called Thurin over to him. "Do not think I did not see that you are favoring your right arm. Let me see," he ordered, reaching for his arm.
"It's nothing…a scratch."
Strider raised an eyebrow and motioned for him to sit. "I will be the judge of that. Now roll up your sleeve."
Sighing, Thurin did as he asked, sitting on the log beside him. He watched as Strider cleaned the scrape, put an ointment on it and wrapped it in a clean bandage. The man, a proven warrior, had a gentle touch.
"You were lucky it wasn't any worse than this, Thurin. You need to be more careful."
"I have you to protect my blind side," he said, bumping his shoulder into Strider's.
"Aye…that you do," Strider laughed.
"So, what's your excuse? You aren't wounded, this time around, but you look like hell," Thurin said, looking into his leader's pale face.
"I'm fine, just tired," Strider replied, brushing the concern away with a quick word.
"You need to take some time and rest."
"I will rest once we get back to the village," Strider promised.
"You know as well as I do, that you won't take the time to recover your strength. As soon as we get back, you will take meetings with the council and be off on the very next mission. You need rest, Strider."
Aron approached the pair, smiling at the obvious bond they shared. He had heard Thurin admonishing Strider about his health, like a brother would do. "Strider, we are close to Imladris. I know it's been four years since you have been home, would you like to go for a visit?"
Thurin looked anxiously at Strider. He knew how much the man had missed his family. He hoped he said yes. It would give him a much needed recharging. The others could make it home on their own.
"Aron, I have responsibilities. I can't…" Strider began to protest.
"Strider…you work harder than any of us. You take patrol after patrol with no rest. You do not have a woman to go home to, no one to nourish your soul as well as your body. You need to rest. Imladris is the perfect place to rest. And now is the perfect time. We have not had any skirmishes with the Orcs lately, unless you count today, which I do not. The village is safe and though you think it, we do not need you to run every undertaking the Dúnedain attempt. Go home, rest and relax for a time. And take Thurin with you. He would benefit from some lessons from Master Elrond."
Aron walked away, leaving his Chieftain to think on his words. He was exhausted and it would be good to have someone look after him for a change. He turned to Thurin, wondering if he would truly wish to come with him.
"Say you will go…" Thurin pleaded. "You need the rest. You worry too much for everyone else. Aron is right. We do not need you to go out on every patrol."
"I will go…only if you agree to come with me."
"Get some rest. We will leave at first light."
The two of them left at first light, saying farewell to their comrades as they broke camp to return to the north. They traveled for a couple of hours before resting, Strider watching Laeriel intently. She had changed out of her disguise as soon as it had been safe, knowing that traveling with Strider she need not worry about hiding her identity.
"You are so beautiful," he said, reaching for her hand as she walked by. He was sitting on their cloaks, leaning against a log.
"You are a flatterer," she laughed lightly, falling into his lap.
"Ah, but will it get me anywhere?" he teased.
"If we were somewhere safe, behind a closed door…"
Strider captured her lips in a lingering kiss. "We are safe. We crossed into the borders of Imladris an hour ago."
Laeriel eased herself into a more comfortable position in his lap and draped her arms around his neck. Leaning in, she kissed him, gently nibbling on his bottom lip. She felt his hands circle her waist, gently pulling her close to his chest, her breasts, now free from the bindings crushed against him.
"We should continue on to Imladris," he whispered to her between kisses.
"What we should do is…" she began, kissing the soft curve of his neck. "…take this…" she unlaced his shirt, running her hands over his chest. "…off…"
Strider groaned, feeling her soft hands on his chest, the tips of her fingers grazing the hard buds of his nipples. Slowly, her lips followed the path her fingers took, her tongue laving the nubs until they ached.
He knew they were safe. The Elven magic that protected the borders of Imladris would protect them as well. The only thing they had to worry about was the patrols from Rivendell. If Elladan or Elrohir were with the patrol, he would never hear the end of it. They should stop. Oh, by the Valar, they should stop, but he didn't want to.
Laeriel had already removed his shirt, tossing it to the ground. Now she was working at the laces of his breeches. Her fingers moved easily, the ties sliding open. As her fingers slipped inside the waistband, her mouth followed a secret trail down his abdomen.
When her tongue slid over him, he groaned, threading his fingers into her hair. His body arched up, the log digging into his bare back. His blood raced, his heart pounding in his ears.
"Laeriel…I…if you…don't stop…"
Laeriel chuckled, returning her lips to his stomach, her tongue trailing around the small indentation of his navel. The combination of her hot breath and wet tongue drove him wild.
"You are overdressed…" she whispered.
"As are you, my love," he said, pushing her shirt from her shoulders.
Strider eased her backward, so she was now lying beneath him. With practiced ease, he removed her leggings, and then his own breeches followed. Pinning her beneath him, he used his hands and lips to torture her, just as she had him. He kissed and licked, teased and lightly bit her flesh until she writhed under him, tossing her head in wild abandon.
"Please…" she begged, her fingers clawing at his back, pulling him close to her.
With a twist of his hips, Strider took her with one swift thrust, burying himself deep with in her. He felt her tighten and he groaned at the exquisite feeling of her around him. Suddenly, he couldn't hear anything above the roaring pulse in his ears. His thoughts scattered and fled, and all that remained was the searing heat in his body. Every place she touched was like a raging fire, burning his skin. He slid in and out of her, her silky tightness caressing every inch of him.
Laeriel hardly dared to move, the sensations he created within her threatening to shatter her into a thousand pieces. The ache and hunger she felt causing tears to spring to her eyes. She had never felt such wanton pleasure. What she was feeling was so intense, so incredible, all she could do was tangle her hands in his hair as her hips rose up to meet his, eagerly. She was certain nothing else in the world could compare to this. She trembled from the primal feelings, and then to her sheer disbelief, her body began to shake and quiver with the first tiny wave of pleasure. Then like a tidal wave, ecstasy exploded through her.
"Strider!" she cried, her screams echoing through the trees.
He shuddered as her body rocked under his. He grasped her hips in his hands and drove fiercely into her, sweat pouring from his body. A low growl came from deep in his throat as he spilled into her. He collapsed onto her, physically drained; dropping lazy kisses on her temple.
Gently, he pulled from her body and rolled to his side, dragging her with him. He cradled her in his arms, holding her as his thoughts drifted to the passion they had just experienced.
"I love you…" he whispered.
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.