10. In the Wind from the Sea
Thanks as always to Anarithilien.
Chapter 10: In the Wind from the Sea
The sere-vanda was like drinking cheap and potent wine. Legolas' head throbbed mercilessly and he groaned. It muddled his thinking, made him confused. Even now when he awoke he thought he was back in the forest, spider venom throbbing through his veins, his shoulder… but it was not. He was here, aboard a ship bound for Minas Tirith in the company of a Dwarf. Said dwarf was not present but had gone to get some of the fresh air that he denied Legolas.
He glanced at Nestor, who had replaced Gimli to 'watch over ' him, sitting in the small wooden chair, uncomfortably squashed. It looked absurd and in spite of his irritation at being kept a virtual prisoner, Legolas smiled with affection. Nestor had his head bent and he frowned with concentration over a knife and piece of wood which was gradually taking shape. Curiosity, as always, got the better of him.
"What is it?' he asked.
Nestor looked up, his honest eyes clear and blue in his weather-beaten face and all the strange crinkles in his skin squeezed together in a smile. Legolas was still childishly fascinated by the way men aged, and although Mithrandir had these creases, they were different somehow because when Legolas looked at him. He did not see the mortal, physical shape but the light that was Olorin. Nestor was different, and he could stare without Nestor being offended or upset by the weight of the elven gaze.
'It's a horse, for one of the cabin boys. They're only children and have never had any toys, taken from their families as they were at such a young age,' Nestor explained. Legolas was silent. For him, it was one more reason to fight at Aragorn's side, to displace those who would do such things to children. It made his blood hot with anger.
But Nestor held the half-made horse gently in his big hands, carefully whittling away the wood to reveal the animal inside. Legolas found it soothing to watch, taken back for a moment to his own distant childhood…
…sawdust and shavings lay on the grass around him and Legolas looked up wonderingly at his tall father, so big and often stern, sitting quietly, cross-legged on the daisy- scattered grass. His long, clever fingers lightly held a silver knife and pale slivers of wood peeled away under his skilful hands.
'What is it?' Legolas' own childish voice piped up. He was lying on his tummy on the grass next to Thranduil, chin in his hands and legs swinging behind him. He had been watching an ant wrestle a breadcrumb into its strong jaws to take home to its family. Legolas wanted to help but he knew now that sometimes when he tried to help, it did not help at all. His oldest brother had said to him only that morning that sometimes he had to let Nature win. So he was trying to do just that and not interfere.
Thranduil had slowly raised his eyes to look at his youngest son. And a slow smile eased across his strong noble face.
'It is a horse, child,' he said and Legolas felt a spurt of excitement.
'Is it Mithren?' he asked, thinking of his father's big grey stallion. Legolas was a little afraid of Mithren. His hooves were enormous, and sometimes when he shook his head the whole world seemed to shake.
Legolas watched a little while longer. Of course it was not Mithren, he realised. This was much smaller. Shorter. He knew it could not be either of his brothers' horses either for they were big like Mithren. If either of their horses had such short legs, they would have their feet dragging on the ground. Legolas snorted with laughter at the thought of his dignified, warrior brothers riding short ponies and being able to stand up as the ponies trotted off from under them.
Of course! 'It is a pony,' he realised. And then he sighed heavily but did not speak his desire because his father would be cross if he whined and he was enjoying having this peaceful time with him. But he really really wanted a pony. One that would run on the grass under the trees and stars. Star. That's what he would call it. Or Starlight.
He realised the soft sound had ceased and glanced up to find Thranduil looking at him with concern but too quickly smoothed away when Legolas saw him. He wondered what his father was worried about. He knew Thranduil had been very angry about the Orcs but that was not Legolas's fault. He thought hard to see if he had done something that would annoy or upset his father. He could not think of anything but sometimes grown ups seemed to get upset over nothing.
'My lord?' a voice gently probed and Legolas started. He rubbed his hand over his eyes. It was the sere-vanda, he thought. It made him more susceptible to these light bouts of reverie. And heartache. That strange squeeze in his chest began again, and he pushed away the memory of yellow smoke and the glint of a spear lifted heavily against the flames. Instead he focused on the wooden horse that was still in some old chest at home, worn smooth and shiny with the press of small fingers over years and years. Home…he blinked a few times and then saw Nestor looking at him with the same concerned expression he had seen on his father's face all those centuries ago.
'My lord?' Nestor asked again, putting down the carving and leaning towards Legolas. Legolas picked up the wooden horse and stroked his fingers over the rough wood.
'A gift for those children will be loved,' he said smiling, and Nestor blinked at him like he was dazzled.
Legolas tilted his head to one side and looked at the crudely whittled toy. It was made with love, he thought, and he decided it was worth all the more for that.
Realising how bored he was, he thought and then said, feeling oddly shy, 'I could whittle something if you like. I am not very good but I am bored, Nestor, and my hands itch to be busy. ' He realised that the fact that he was bored meant the drug was wearing off , but he had no intention of telling anyone else that yet.
Nestor's face transformed with pleasure. 'Would you? That would be right nice. I know Annún would be made up- he is a bit in awe of you,' he added confidentially and Legolas hid a smile.
'Is he better? The nightmares have ceased?' he asked.
'Better, thank you my lord, but he still cries of his mother. It will ease,' he said looking down at Legolas. 'Oh, but will it pull your wound?' he suddenly asked. He leaned down and reached for something at his feet. It was another piece of wood, for sailors often spent their time carving on the long journeys. Wood, or if they could get it, ivory. He held it still in his hands for a moment, looking at Legolas doubtfully.
Legolas shook his head, pulling out his arm and showing it to Nestor. 'Look- the skin is healed. It is this awful drug you all keep giving me. It makes me weak and sleepy. If you let me stop taking that, I can be up and out and useful again,' he told Nestor hopefully. He was sure Nestor would not deny him anything, but instead the Man looked doubtful.
"You have not had any for a while now,' Nestor said anxiously looking towards the glass bottle still on the shelf amongst the other clutter.
'You don't have to give me anymore just yet. In fact,' Legolas declared more cheerfully than he felt, 'I am quite well. I don't think I need anymore.' He did not feel any pain and was suspicious about how much he had been given for such a slight wound.
'Until my lord Elladan says so, Lord Gimli and I will make sure you keep taking it,' he said glancing towards the door. Legolas followed his gaze.
'Don't tell me the Dwarf is out there on guard?' he exclaimed. He had been banking on Nestor's indulgent care to let him go on deck, and appealing to the fierce rivalry between the Man and Dwarf that amused Elladan so much. It seemed they had overcome their differences in order to keep him 'safe'.
Nestor ducked his head ashamed. 'He insisted. He said you would try to escape,' he added apologetically.
'Escape! Am I a prisoner then?'
'No,' came a voice from outside. 'I know you well, Legolas. And you are not ready. You will think you are and you are not. You might as well get used to it.'
Legolas uttered what sounded very much like a growl and thumped the pillows with his good arm. 'Naugrim bauglir!' he muttered.
'And that means "dear friend, thank you for looking out for me when I am too stupid to do it myself!"' came the Dwarf's voice back through the door. Worse, it sounded like the Dwarf was chuckling. Legolas was disgusted.
'What are you doing out there?' he called.
'I am enjoying watching black ships sail on grey water under the grey sky. I am listening to the merry tales of Corbarad and his humorous adventures.'
Nestor fidgeted uncomfortably and looked apologetically at the Elf. 'I am sorry my lord. He insisted that you would try to go out and …he said you might try to trick me. I know that you would not,' he added hastily and when Legolas saw the misery in his face, he felt a spurt of guilt, because that thad been exactly his intention. He would not for the world upset this kindly, gentle Man who had been so abused by others, snatched from his home and family, beaten and enslaved but still had the kindness that meant he could find time to make a toy for a child who had never had one. He felt suddenly humble.
'Forgive me!' he said impulsively. 'I know you do this because you believe it is to help me. Others,' he said loudly and meaningfully and in the direction of the door, 'do this for their own amusement!' He shifted uncomfortably and sighed. 'But I would like something to do, Nestor. And please stop calling me "my lord." I am not a lord. I am only Legolas.'
Nestor smiled almost shyly. "I cannot help it my… Legolas. I …We all feel so grateful that you released us. We would never have done so had you not…'
'Hush now my friend. It was Aragorn who led us and it is he whom we follow. You and I are fellow warriors against the Shadow now. So give me something to do or I shall go mad and have to strangle something!' he raised his voice again slightly. 'Something that might be wedged up against the door with an axe or three!'
'Very well,' Nestor smiled, his eyes crinkling in that fascinating way again. 'If you say you are healing and this will not damage anything, here is wood, and I will fetch you a knife.' He laid a solid piece of wood on the bed and rose to find a suitable knife.
'No need,' replied Legolas brightly, reaching into his boots that stood nearby. A sudden scrape of steel and he pulled out a wickedly sharp blade that glinted thirstily.
'Oh, ' said Nestor faintly. 'That looks a little fine for whittling, my… friend,' he said quickly.
Legolas tested the edge against his finger and nodded. 'Sharp enough, ' he said, lightly stroking the pale wood.
They sat in companionable silence, with nothing but the sound of careful chipping and the soft peel of wood. Sawdust and thin shavings scattered on the floor around them. Legolas' long fingers searched the wood for the shape inside, and slowly it appeared; a bird, wings outstretched, head slightly dipped as it searched the waves, wings bent to take account of the wind, it looked like it would fly should he set it on the wind…he set to carving the sharp eye that gazed towards the distant horizon where the sun set over the Sea, where the west wind blew and brought the tang of salt air…
When he looked up, the yearning for the Sea was so immense he breathed great gulps of air and suddenly said, 'I need some air. I need to see the stars.'
He barely noticed that it was the Dwarf who sat there and that Nestor had gone. Gimli looked away briefly and when he looked back at Legolas, he could see a deep sadness in his brown eyes. 'There are no stars,' he said slowly. 'There are great black clouds from the East and they cover the sky. Not a breath of wind, not a glimpse of blue sky. And at night, no stars. It is twilight and darkness. You will get no respite from there, my friend,' he said sadly.'No respite at all.'
Legolas let his head drop back against the pillow and for a moment, the shadow took him as it had not since he had been a callow youth in his first patrols south, and stood in the shadow of Dol Guldur. All was lost then. All was lost. He put his head in his hands. Yellow smoke drifted across his memory then and the crackle of fire uncontrolled and raging, a screaming woman, a running child, hoof beats and an anguished cry, a trophy held aloft, still breathing, gasping, would not cry out…
A sudden gasp and his hand flew to his throat. It had Gimli on his feet and urgently dropping to kneel beside Legolas.
Legolas could no longer bear it. He threw the carving down and sprang to his feet, pacing nervously about the cabin. He had to get out of here. He strode over to the door to find Gimli blocking his way. It was strange how big he looked, arms crossed over his chest. 'Where d'you think you're going?'
'I have to get some air. I have to … get out of here.' He simply darted around Gimli and fled.
Gimli sprang after him. 'No. Legolas. Wait. You cannot go up there! It will…'
But Legolas did not hear his words for he was already leaping up the steps, taking great strides, flexing muscles held too long in sleep, and then the wide sky and the clouds were above him, and … there was no wind. The low clouds hung threateningly above his head. The sails hung loosely from the masts and one or two Men sat around listlessly. There was the dip and rise of oars and the ship eased forward against the tide but it felt slow. Other ships slid through the water alongside them, Men straining to row against the enormous weight of the river. But they looked becalmed. He turned and gazed around him. The water was dark beneath the heavy sky, only where it caught any dim light it shone with a silver sheen. The clank of the masts and gentle splashing of waves was the only sound mingling with Men's voices, tense and quiet.
He heard Gimli stomping up the wooden ladder from below, and then the Dwarf stood alongside him.
'Listen to me, Legolas. It is not safe for you to be up here.'
The Elf turned towards him and the mercurial light gleamed in his eyes. 'What do you mean? '
Gimli sighed and laid a square, capable hand on his friend's arm. "What about that serry-varder,' he said desperately, 'You said it made you feel muzzy. You might fall.'
'That has long since worn off in spite of your efforts, my friend.' Legolas looked at him sharply. 'You will have to try harder.'
Gimli chewed his beard miserably and then he said, 'In case you should hear them. Elladan thinks that you will be safer if you do not hear the gulls again. He thinks that the …cuivëar will not afflict you so badly if you stay below and do not hear them or smell the sea.'
He sounded so sad that Legolas smiled at him. 'I cannot just remain below, skulking like a coward or like a prisoner just in case I see or hear something,' he said irritably. 'I have heard them. It is in me now…' He looked westwards and sighed, 'I cannot escape it now should I never hear them again, Gimli. It calls to me, calls me home…yet home is Greenwood, but it seems so no longer. After Saruman, I do not hope.' His long hair fell over his face then and he let it hide him. He let himself remember the sound of the gulls, the deep, deep resonance somewhere in his heart for it gave him some comfort to know that his own home amongst the beeches may have burned and be lost forever, but there, far in the West, was another home.
'I need the wind and the stars, Gimli,' he said, grasping the rigging and swinging himself up to stand on the gunwale precariously. He looked up at the mast and the gulls that sailed overhead even in this shadow-begotten twilight.
Gimli swallowed a gasp. 'I will go aloft I think,' Legolas said, leaving Gimli to watch the Elf skim up the slippery wet rigging as if it were no more than steady stone steps carved into the mountain. Below he could hear Gimli catch his breath as the Elf swung himself onto the tiny platform of the crow's nest. He stood upright on the swaying, plunging platform high above, only lightly holding the mast with his good arm. Even with no wind and no sunlight, the Elf seemed to glimmer softly, his long lean shape silhouetted against the grey sky. Birds suddenly flocked around the ship, drawn by his strange light, their mewling cry eerie. Legolas turned his face up towards them and followed them as they trailed away down river, back the way the ships had come.
'Here! Legolas! You're looking the wrong way!' Gimli shouted to him, fighting to raise his voice over the sound of the waves. But the gulls dipped and lunged, wheeled and their cry carried away as they flew west to the Sea. Legolas' heart followed and he was gazing, seeking for a glimmer of the sunlight sparkling on the Sea.
Elladan paused and wiped his eyes on his sleeve. He was exhausted. Healing so many on his own was taking its toll and he was aware that he too felt a soft tugging in his heart to turn West. The gulls cried to him. As he finished the final stitch in the skin of one sailor who had foolishly burst open his earlier work, he felt the need to go above and smell the air, the slight salt lingering there.
Nodding at Anor, who had become a very useful assistant, he smiled gently at the sailor, trying not to be annoyed at his carelessness that had meant more work for Elladan. He realised that too was a sign of his own tiredness and his need to listen to the Song of the Sea. No, he was not immune. No Elves are.
'Go on, my lord,' Anor said briskly. 'I will see to this young fool.' The sailor looked sheepishly down and hung his head.
Elladan did not have even the energy left now to speak and gratefully he walked slowly and tiredly towards the steep wooden steps above. He would spend some time above deck before he checked on Legolas and then retired.
Through the square of the hold as he emerged, he could see the clouds hung over them, so dark and grey they almost looked purple. There was no wind. The air was heavy, so heavy, he thought, that it must break so the torrents could flood from the skies. Empty sails flapped uselessly like a broken bird's wing.
From above, he heard a touch of melody that brushed across his heart, almost a whisper; an image of tall grass waving in the green meadows of the Lebinnin, where golden blossom and pollen drifted in the sunlight and the wind brushed across the blossoms, the wind from the Sea, from the West. He looked up to see the Woodelf clinging to the mast as the ship rose and plunged on the waves, and he sensed a low song being sung, so quiet he almost couldn't hear it… He thought the song familiar but he knew he had not heard it before…
'..Tall grows the grass there. In the wind from the Sea
The while lilies sway,
And the golden bells are shaken of malls and alfirin
In the green fields of Lebinnin
In the wind from the Sea…'*
He felt a surge of irritation. As if he had not enough to deal with, Gimli and Nestor could not even keep Legolas below where he was at least insulated from the gulls!… Ah, he rubbed his face and breathed in. He was tired. Uncharitable thoughts were these, and unworthy of him. He should know these mortals would be no match for the Silvan Elf.
He stood and stretched lightly, turning around and looking at where they were. Close by, the other ships sailed, rising and plunging on the grey, mercurial water of the great river Anduin. On the grey shore, the white sea-birds were innumerable and rose up as one crying on the wind that lifted them but did not fill the sails of the ships on the river. From another ship, the largest with its carved prow heaving against the great tide that swept downriver to the Sea, a figure locked eyes with him. Elrohir. His black cloak was pushed back from his shoulders and his hand lay on his sword. They were close enough almost to shout to each other, but Elladan did not and Elrohir merely lifted his hand in greeting.
The Dwarf leaned glumly on the gunwale and stared out towards the other ships. Glancing towards Elladan he gestured at the Elf clinging to the mast and leaning slightly forwards, gazing into the west. 'I tried to stop him. But…' he shrugged and let his head sink back onto his hands.
''It is perilous to stir the Sea-longing in the heart of an Elf,' said Elladan. He looked up at Legolas leaning dangerously out from the mast and shading his eyes with his long hand.
'Why has it affected you none?' Gimli asked bluntly. He had obviously learned the best way to ask questions of Elves and would not be drawn into any games. But Elladan was simply not in the mood for games.
'It has,' Elladan said, and looked away again. 'I have seen the Sea before, long ago and though it sings to me, we Noldor are not as susceptible as our Silvan cousins. For them, it is very hard to bear and many fade if they do not follow their heart.'
'Right. Well. That's useful,' Gimli said flatly. Elladan felt another surge of irritation born of tiredness. He closed his eyes, wanting rest but needing to tell Gimli, so he could understand and help Legolas.
'You are his friend, are you not? You must understand then. It will be a torment to him. Did you not see him when he first heard them?' He sought to hold the deep, earth-brown eyes of the Dwarf, to really tell him, to seek understanding. 'You must guard him, even as I guard my brother. You may wake up one day to find he has slipped away while you sleep. Or you will speak and find that he is gone in all but hroa, body,' he explained.
Gimli did not flinch. 'I understand, Elladan. Your brother explained it to me so a Dwarf might understand.' Gimli said nothing more, but there was a great sorrow in his eyes and his shoulders slumped. Elladan wondered what his brother had said, for he was learned in Dwarvish and Edain lore as Elladan was not, for he chose always the ways of Elves and Elrohir chose the ways of Men.
Elrohir's ship sailed close, but he had disappeared now and instead a Man stood near on the quarterdeck holding onto the rigging as the ship battled against the tide. Aragorn. He raised his hand in greeting and even though Gimli saw him, the Dwarf turned his back elaborately on the Man and stood leaning on his axe, his head bowed. Aragorn faltered and brought his hand down but Elladan's sharp elven sight noted the hesitation and hurt in his brother's face, and sighed. He looked up at Legolas high above them, still leaning out dangerously far and as the ship dipped and plunged, the silvan Elf threw back his head and closed his eyes. Elladan looked away sadly. How could such great friendship that was tempered by death and shadow suddenly be so fragile?
'How long has he been up there?' he wondered aloud.
Gimli raised his head. He shifted slightly and shook his head. 'It seems like hours. I cannot get him to come down. He will not speak, will not eat, just stares out West. Every now and again I think he sings - but that means nothing,' he said. 'He's always singing.'
Suddenly, Legolas pulled himself upright, straightened and seemed to lean even more precariously out, one hand tangled in the rigging, as if he would take flight with the sea-birds that wheeled and soared about him. Elladan saw Gimli reach towards the Elf as if he would stop him falling even though the Dwarf would never reach.
'Up with your beard Durin's son!' Legolas called down at them, brightly, merrily as if were standing with them on the deck rather than balancing on the topmost crossbar. 'Oft hope is borne, when all is forlorn!'*
He laughed then, a clear, bright sound that was lost in the roar of the waves that suddenly surged around them and the ship plunged into the surf and rode up. Legolas threw back his head and stretched his arms out exultantly, letting go of the rigging and then suddenly seemed to fall, but was descending the mast so rapidly that even Elladan caught his breath and the Men from Lamedon who sailed with them stared and pointed. Swinging from one rope to another, the Elf landed on the lower crossbars and then with a soft thump he hit the deck, and was suddenly standing with them. Tall, strong and powerfully present he leaned against the gunwale and smiled, as if he had never been lost in the dreams of the West, never felt cuivear, never sank to his knees lost amidst battle while the sea-birds cried and called and wheeled above him.
Gimli ground his teeth slightly and struggled not to chew his beard. 'You are such a show-off,' he said.
Legolas flashed one of his most dazzling grins and left Elladan staring, until Gimli nudged him with his elbow.
'Weren't you going to change his dressings?' he said, bringing the healer back to the present. Elladan looked at him as if he did not hear. 'His dressings? You were going to change them before you went off to rest?' he prodded. 'Smaug's balls,' he muttered shaking his head. Elladan did not reply for Legolas gave him another blinding smile and disappeared down into the hold. He followed.
Legolas stood with his back to Elladan as he slid the shirt from his broad archer's shoulders. The bandages were spotted with blood but not unduly. On his skin the strange green and gold and blue swirls and abstracts seemed to shift under his muscles in the golden lamplight. The shirt slid to the floor and Legolas caught his long, pale, gold hair in one hand and lifted it up, pulling it over his shoulder. It seemed the long snaking dragon that peered at Elladan from the Elf's skin, watched him as he stared at the muscular, lean body. Elladan paused. Legolas was beautiful. He had never looked at any Elf this way, had never touched another warrior as he knew some did when they were a long way from home… in the lustful, brutal aftermath of battle. But he wanted to touch this Elf, to stroke his hand down the long lean flanks and trace the runes painted on his skin.
Legolas glanced over his shoulder. 'Is anything wrong?' he asked suddenly.
'No…no. I was just looking,' Elladan blurted out. 'At at your shoulder,'he amended quickly. What in all Arda was the matter with him? he berated himself silently. He was tired, that was all. He shoved aside the times he had brushed up against the Elf by mistake, when their horses had jostled against each other, or when he had bound his wounds, and the spike of desire he had felt at each contact. 'Checking it was healing,' he added stupidly.
Legolas snorted. 'Of course!' he answered matter of factly. 'Healers are all the same whoever, whatever they are. They just want to prod and poke and push even when you say Ow. This wont hurt, they say.' He turned towards Elladan and smiled to take the sting away. 'But you, you are the gentlest healer I have ever known.'
Elladan flushed and looked away, busying himself amongst the bottles and linens.
When he straightened, Legolas was sitting on the stool, his back to Elladan once more, naked to the waist, shirt slung carelessly onto the small pallet bed. His lean frame slouched lazily and his arm was draped across the back of the chair that was pulled up beside him. Elladan breathed in and let his mind drift into healing, quenching any thoughts other than the healing.
But it twas not so easy.
When he approached and touched Legolas, smoothed away the strands of hair that clung to his skin, he felt the heavy silk thickness of it, and felt the warm skin beneath his touch, the muscle and sinew of a warrior. He felt his breath catch as his desire spiked unexpectedly. Suppressing it, he picked the end of the linen bandage and began to unwind it, passing his hands below the other Elf's arm which he lifted to allow Elladan access. The scent of the Woodelf warmed him, reminded him of pine trees and clear forest streams and mossy pools. His hair smelt of salt sea air and the wind.
When he leaned in to unwind the bandage from his chest, his own hair brushed against Legolas. In silence he unwrapped the soiled bandage until he held the long white linen in his hand, spotted with Legolas' blood. In silence, he washed the injured shoulder, drenching a clean cloth in warm water and wiping away the old blood until it was clean. Beneath his hands, the emerald painted spirals whirled and he followed almost mesmerised; the dragon peered up at him knowingly, and he smoothed the cloth over Legolas' shoulder and beneath his arm and then leaned over him to wash his chest, his hands following the delicate swirls of blue and gold around his breast and to his nipple. Legolas said nothing, held himself still, silent, head tilted slightly to one side as if he were listening for something deep, below the sounds of the world. Elladan could barely hear his breath.
Having soaked away the dried blood, Elladan warmed soap in his hands and then stroked the lather over the wet gleaming skin. His hands slid slowly over Legolas' shoulder and over his muscled chest, brushing against the nipple until it pebbled and grew hard. Legolas had closed his eyes and held himself absolutely still, barely breathing and Elladan could stare at the high strong cheekbones, the straight nose and generous mouth, warm lips, lean muscled torso and wet gleaming skin. He was like some sculpture, Elladan thought.
Holding one end of clean cloth against the Elf's warm skin, he began to wrap the new clean cloths around Legolas, pressing the linen against the rapidly healing wound. He was intensely aware of the other Elf … he thought he felt a low vibration, like a low hum, notes below the sounds of the world…
Soft, deep, slow notes sounded, seemingly unconnected at first. And then their separateness dissolved into a song that wound its way through Elladan's heart. Its stillness soothed him, a slow deep rhythm like the long unending flow of the river into pools at night…a light touch like the moonlight on still water, barely a ripple of sound disturbed the surface but it was there nonetheless. Elladan sighed deeply and leaned in towards the song, and he found he did not move for it was his own song…the long notes of moonlight falling like petals on water. He leaned closer and found his lips pressed lightly against the temple of the other Elf who did not pull away but turned slightly to meet Elladan's lips with his own warm mouth, and wound his strong arms around Elladan's waist and pulled him in deeper. The scent of pine and clear forest streams lingered and mingled with the long notes of moonlight on water, of leaves falling in Autumn to the stillness of the pools. And then he opened his eyes to meet the strange green gaze of Legolas and abruptly Elladan pulled back, breaking the contact.
"I am sorry,' he gasped. " I am sorry. I did not mean to…' He stumbled back, dropping the linen cloths as he did so, but Legolas merely raised an enquiring eyebrow and shrugged.
'It was nice.' And then carelessly as if it really did not matter he added, 'I have never kissed a Noldo before. I wondered if it was different.' He licked his lips, a long sensuous movement that had Elladan reeling.' I think I need to try it again.' He caught Elladan's hand as he turned away. 'I find I am quite hungry after all.'
The tall half naked Woodelf leaned back on the stool, draping himself even more languidly along the back of the chair. The outlandish paintings on his skin seemed to swirl and undulate under his muscles.
Legolas smiled cheekily. 'Breathe,' he reminded the Peredhel. He pushed himself to his feet and stood against Elladan, his tall lean frame pressed lightly against the dark Elf and he took Elladan's face gently between his two hands and searched his eyes. He thought how otherworldly and strange were the folk of Thranduil… the son of Thranduil, so close he could feel the other's warm breath on his cheek. Elladan felt the hard length against his own thigh and felt his heart beat and blood thrum with excitement, his own unexpected lust. He thought he heard the sounds of moonlight touching still water, and the whisper of pine trees in the high wind. Or was it the Sea's roar?
Legolas tilted his head to one side and smiled gently, lifting his hand to stroke away a tendril of hair from Elladan's face. Elladan heard a moan come from his own lips and closed his eyes. Not what he looked for, it was true, but he felt unable, unwilling to resist the lure of such comfort.
Suddenly a cry came from outside and the sound of pounding feet. 'My lord! My lord! Please come quickly!' It was Anor; Elladan recognised his voice. 'Please! There has been an accident. Come quickly!'
The two Elves looked at each other in shock, and then Legolas was stiffly dragging on his shirt and already reaching for the door. He threw it open and caught a distraught Anor as he raced throughout the ship searching of Elladan. Anor saw the two Elves and instantly his face transformed with relief and he pulled at Elladan's arm urgently.
'Please. It's Nestor.' he said.
Chapter 11 on it's way soon.
* from ROTK The Last Debate.
Naugrim bauglir! – Dwarf tyrant!