Disclaimer: Not mine. Just mucking about. No money made here.
Warning: sexual violence, fantasies.
Beta: The incomparable Anarien.
Thank you to Imber, jgmcc, Tanis, eliza61, erulisse, curiouswombat. Sorry about delay- new job and all.
Chapter 22: Obsession.
Morning sunlight touched the snow on the high peaks of the mountains. Elrohir raised his grey eyes to the distant magnificence and thought he heard the piercing cry of eagles high, high above where the snow never melted, too far for him, perhaps even Legolas to see.
All trace of men receded and they followed first a track, and then a mere wild goat track, up and up, sometimes above the tree line and sometimes dipping below it. But onwards and upwards, ever upwards they went until only the mountains raised their snowy peaks above them. Occasionally a bird of prey wheeled slowly in the high blue sky, and Elrohir saw ibex clinging with dizzying tenacity where there was seemingly no hold, impossibly high on bare rock. Once they heard in the distance the yowl of some wild mountain cat, a lynx perhaps, he thought. But they never saw it. Legolas stopped and glanced around him in surprise. He has never been in mountains such as these, Elrohir realised, so far south and not infested with goblins and wargs. He felt a sudden pang of regret that he did not want.
Ahead of him the tussocky grass and gorse gave way to scrubby whortleberries and heather, and they had to pick their way between the huge smooth granite boulders as they headed up the narrow path and into the heart of the White Mountains.
They had left the city before the first thin line of dawn, with Gandalf their only witness. It was the wizard who had told Elrohir of the hidden way, a forgotten road from the Houses of the Dead into the mountain and a tunnel that led out onto the mountain itself, used long, long ago by the Kings. Elrohir had insisted they ride as far as they could and make good the distance between themselves and the city. It was hours since they had left their horses loose and grazing on the grassy slopes below.
Elrohir pushed himself on, eyes locked on the path and occasionally glancing upwards. The sun drew higher in the morning sky and they had not paused or rested. Elrohir felt his own throat stick and he realised he was thirsty. He stopped suddenly and drew his water skin out, unstoppered it and drank fully. Water dribbled down his neck as he tilted it higher. He saw that Legolas too had stopped and stood uncertainly, a little way off. Elrohir glanced away quickly before the other elf noticed his stare.
But the image was burnt into his mind. Sunlight caught in Legolas' hair, pale wheat-gold lifting in the wind, his face tipped up to the sun, eyes half closed as if with desire, his strong beautiful face…Elrohir almost groaned aloud. How could it be that this elf had such effect on him?
He remembered that night, he had brought Legolas to Aragorn's tent and been overwhelmed...not with the violence of lust he knew so well, but of protectiveness, a desperate tenderness and hope...
It was the first time ever he had first heard his own Song, not even known it was his at first. Breathless, spellbound, he had leaned in close and pulled Legolas to him... wanting to hear that thrilling, vibrant Song that made him think of high places in the mountains where eagles cried, keen-eyed and fierce, the wind under their wings, soaring high over the snow-covered peaks… for it was as familiar to him as his own breath, the thump of his own heart...
He had felt then that he could be safe there, with Legolas... and those horrific memories that had spoiled him, ruined his innocence and love, might even dissipate under Legolas's pale green light. Even the long pale hair that had tangled in his fingers that night had not taken him to that dark place.
A pain burrowed up from somewhere deep, deep within. He wondered still if that was love he had felt. Was this what he had been missing all the long years of his life?
He was a fool. It had not been him that Legolas wanted ... and that crushed him.
Elrohir turned away from the Mirkwood elf who had spoiled everything for him forever. He pulled his sable cloak about his shoulders and shifted the sword slung low across his lean hips.
Legolas had fooled him, beguiled him into thinking that perhaps he was not that twisted, depraved thing he feared. Perhaps, he had even thought foolishly, stupidly, perhaps this time he would not imagine his mother, perhaps this time he would not descend into the darkness...
He was three times a fool.
He jammed his water skin back into his belt. 'Come,' he called, wanting a reaction, anything, and hating his own weakness and need, hating that he had offered himself and been rejected, the humiliation. 'We have little time. You dawdle.'
Legolas did not turn to look at Elrohir, just let his gaze level ahead of him. He said nothing at the harsh rebuke, however unkind, unfounded. It was the vulnerability in that lack of response that touched Elrohir more deeply than he could bear. Does he think of death? he wondered.
He turned away with bitterness, refusing to feel pity now when doing so could jeopardise everything, and he pulled on his black leather gloves instead, for the wind swept down from the snow-covered mountain peaks. Glancing away to the East where the dark clouds banked, slowly rolling over those lands between the Ered Nimrais and Mordor, he strode off from his silent companion.
He crushed the despair that took him then. Crushed too the fierce protectiveness that had made him leap before the Nazgul, that had made him half carry, half drag Legolas away from Gandalf, shouting that the wizard had violated Legolas as much as the Nazgul had violated his mind. He crushed too, the desperate tenderness he had felt in Aragorn's tent, when he had pressed his face against Legolas' flat belly breathing in his scent, beneath his heart, filled with a tenderness that wanted to lavish long languid strokes on his skin, his flesh.
Furious with himself for being a fool, with Legolas for his betrayal, Elrohir set off again at a punishing pace, hearing no stumble, no sound for he knew the elf could take it, knew he could bear the pace and hardness. He let that drive him even faster, and the clouds rolled closer and darkened the skies above the snow-capped mountains.
His muscles strained at the steepness of the climb in places, the narrow paths that edged their way along cliffs and ridges as they climbed further and further from the city of men, to where it was wild and remote, and he thought the Nazgul would come. No, he knew the Nazgul would come, hearing his summons. It had pledged as much. ...Gandalf's plan to send Legolas into the path of the Nazgul was full of chances and risk, but Elrohir had his own plan. And it would not fail. Sauron knew what Elrohir wanted, understood the lure, the obsession... Yes, the Nazgul would come on the storm.
Elrohir pushed them onwards, punishing himself until he himself could no longer go on, for elven blood may be in his veins, and that of Melian herself, but also there was the blood of Men and that needed rest. At last he stopped and threw his pack down carelessly in a small clearing below the treeline. A dead pine tree stood, its blackened branches showed it had been struck by lightning perhaps and burned. The sun had disappeared behind thick black clouds now that threatened heavy rain. It was dark, like twilight.
He shrugged off his bow and propped it carefully against the pine tree, dead and dry, and if he did so elaborately, Legolas did not comment.
'We will rest here a while,' Elrohir said curtly and then stared at the hurt in Legolas' eyes. But Legolas had ripped Elrohir's heart out that night in Aragorn's tent when he had knelt at Legolas' feet, offering him everything, his poor wretched heart and tattered soul, his unworthy body... that moment he had been filled with his own Song, twining about that of Legolas, filled with desperate tenderness, tender passion... and Legolas had shoved him aside to run after the horse-boy, that child who was king of sprawling brats and cattle...
Elrohir looked down at the bow standing against the pine tree.
He turned suddenly towards Legolas as the other elf stooped to retrieve his own bow. Elrohir caught the stretch of his tunic against the powerful shoulders, the strong hand around the polished yew, the long, long hair falling over one shoulder and sweeping down, catching the sun, and something in him flashed and burned, caught at his heart.
He gasped and put out a hand. Could he forgive him? Could he bear this world without Legolas? He could never allow that, never intend that.
Legolas, hearing the gasp, turned to him half heartedly, as though he knew there was no point, instinctively reaching towards him. 'Are you…?' he began hopelessly. 'Elrohir, I...' But then miserably, he let his hand fall back to his side defeated.
Elrohir stared, struggled. He wanted to catch that hand, to pull the long lean body close, to tell him to stop, to go back, to save himself. His family, his people, his home were gone…and yet he was still here, at Aragorn's side, fighting for the love he bore his friends, for Middle Earth, a world where he no longer had a place.
Elrohir rubbed his hand harshly over his face. He hated Legolas, and he loved him...
Legolas, unaware and miserable, looked up. 'The air smells of rain,' he said quietly. 'A storm is coming.' He looked out anxiously over the lands that spread below them, to the fast approaching threat. Bruised clouds rolled inexorably towards them.
'I will scout,' Elrohir said brusquely, needing to get away from Legolas and the havoc he wreaked, the pity he evoked. 'Stay here. Prepare yourself.' And if he thought he would be gratified by the devastated look in Legolas' eyes, he could not have been more wrong - instead he felt only desolation. He strapped on his quiver and reached once more for his bow. He knew Legolas was the better scout but...but what? He did not want to think of him alone out there, waiting for the Nazgul without Elrohir to protect him.
Suddenly, Legolas looked up. 'Elrohir, do you think the tales of Mandos are true?'
Elrohir stared in surprise. He saw a flight of fear in the other's green eyes, and realised he had never seen Legolas fear anything before, not on the Paths of the Dead, not going into battle at Linhir or Pelennor, not even when the two of them had fought in that thrilling, breathtaking duel on the grey stone harbour at Linhir. And he asks of Mandos, Elrohir thought. He is afraid, he realised with a start. He fears that Mandos is no wise keeper and judge of souls but some Avari demon.
He thought how vulnerable and young Legolas looked then. Almost he forgave him. Almost. But he remembered that when he had offered his fragile heart to Legolas, it was shoved aside without thought. Legolas chose Eomer.
'Do you think Mandos some soul-eater of the old ways?' he sneered but he saw Legolas recoil at the contempt in his voice, hated the way the elf drew back from him but he could not stop now. 'Do you think he will consume you? Perhaps Manwë is an evil god and Sauron is the light. What fools you Avari are! Unwilling indeed!'
But Legolas' eyes flashed and the challenge was still there. He is not subdued, not humbled yet, thought Elrohir.
'I am no fool!' Legolas snapped.
'We both know what you are,' Elrohir said bitterly and watched in empty triumph as the elf bowed his head in submission and did not meet his gaze.
He turned on his heel and strode away, up a narrow goat track towards the high ridge where there were a few scorched pine trees blackened against the sky. A low rumble heralded a storm, as Legolas had said. Elrohir thought it fitting and the weather suited him - an unnatural darkness.
There were no sounds, no birds, no small lizards or mammals. There was nothing but the sound of his passing, the scrubby whortleberries whisking softly against him, the scrape of loose pebbles on the faint trail.
The air was colder now the sun had disappeared, and the dark grey light was more like twilight than midday. He stood finally, gazing down from the ridge that on one side slid in a precipitous drop far, far below into a high valley filled with trees. Above him the ridge teetered upwards in the final climb of the mountain, hidden now by heavy clouds that made the world darker.
Elrohir breathed slowly. It had to be soon. He would have to immerse himself in his own darkness if he wanted to summon his foe. He settled down on a boulder where he could look down the gentler slopes to watch Legolas but be unobserved himself, although he thought the elf might sense his scrutiny.
From here he could see a faint smoulder of orange flame. He felt a frisson of irritation for he had not commanded Legolas to build a fire, did not want to give away their camp. He could just make out that Legolas had crouched down and was feeding it twigs and bark until it kindled and was burning steadily. The elf's figure blocked the firelight once or twice as he passed between the fire and Elrohir. Then he watched it settle to a steady glow. He was safely tucked away between the trees. The fire could only be seen from this point he thought, and was hidden otherwise.
Legolas had not questioned Elrohir's decision to go by the hidden path, or the decision to climb into the bare and untrodden peaks of the mountains, or his decision to scout. He had disobeyed about the fire, thought Elrohir, feeling a surge of anger. Still, the woodelf had not questioned Elrohir once...although Legolas was undeniably the better hunter, the better scout. He had allowed Elrohir to dictate everything.
Elrohir felt a sudden thrill shiver across his skin and was aware of the growing darkness, the silence, a cold raindrop fell on his neck, and he felt his blood thunder in his veins. Legolas was there, where he had left him, where he had told him to be. Elrohir could feel him; his skin felt scorched by the other elf's nearness, his lungs filled with his scent, every nerve, every hair was alive to Legolas' presence, of the promise of him. And he had done everything Elrohir told him. Meekly. Submissive. The silvan warrior was in his power, he had followed as he was told, head bowed, shoulders slumped. Defeated. Elrohir felt a shiver tremble across his skin, through his bones, thrum in his blood…and it had nothing to do with the cold.
Pain flared through him. Lust, violent lust. Those terrible passions brought him with a horrible start, as always, back to the cave...with the firelight flickering on the dank walls, the muffled panting and cries...
No! He shook his head as if he could loosen the memories and rid himself of them ...but he had watched. The flash of long pale hair, the orc shoving itself against the limp body...to his horror he felt himself stir and he clenched his fists and cried out, dug his nails into his own hands until the pain flickered on the edge of his consciousness. How could he? How dared he?
He hated himself, hated Legolas for making him remember, making him feel a lust he tried so desperately to deny, to subdue in himself. He had through long years channelled all his violent lust into killing orcs. It was Legolas who provoked him, the long winter-grass hair, the arrogance, the sweep of his laughing, teasing eyes, the brushes against Elrohir, the sheer sensual power of the Mirkwood warrior...
Elrohir found himself hard and full of need. He had always denied himself, quelling the lust...except for that one time... He shook his head again. For he had thought then that punishment would exonerate him, cleanse him of his guilty lust...but it did not, and in the end...in the end it was he who had wreaked violence. He had returned to Imladris even more wounded, more dangerous than before. Not even his brother could see how guilty he was.
But Legolas? Legolas made him worse. He deliberately provoked and teased, without a thought, without a second glance. He should have been the one in the orc's cave… He should be chained, restrained, bound...
Elohir licked his lips, suddenly dry. Realising the scene that played itself over and over was the scene in the cave... But this time it did not matter that he watched and did nothing. It did not matter that he felt his own lust stir at the power of the orc shoving against that limp form, because this time it was Legolas' strong, lean body that writhed and struggled…And because it was Legolas, he deserved it. Because it was the long fall and sweep of winter-grass hair burnished gold by the firelight, and the yára-carmë painted on his skin, not blood, and Elrohir let his hand drift down the lean hips, and watched as the elf's body was pounded and pumped…and when the elf cried out, he deserved it, wanted it, and his head fell back with a cry...
Blood pounded in his ears and he pressed the palm of his hand against his groin and heard a long moan from his own lips, unexpected and full of desire. He closed his eyes and let his long hair sweep down his back in a sensuous wave. He wanted to feel Legolas beneath him, to bury his hands in that sea of pale gold, to rip the sueded tunic apart and bare him to Elrohir's own greedy gaze. He wanted to push Legolas' head down over his own steaming sex and hold him there until he choked, to force him down to the ground and hold him there, to struggle with him, wrestle the strength and power into submission, to… ahhhhh, he felt a long surge through his belly and loins and leaned his trembling hand on a boulder….became aware of a strange prickling sensation in his fingers and toes.
It was now, he thought to himself. Slowly he drew Aicanáro, the blade of Westernesse. He leaned on it carefully, focused on the mithril runes that swirled and leapt along the blade, invoking its power. It was time. Then he let his long black hair fall over his face for what he was about to do and let himself sink into the mire of his dark lust. Now he would summon them… the Riders on the storm…the Nazgul.
He conjured the images of his lust, the darkness, and sent them out reeling into the darkening night. He focused his powers, his heritage from Luthien, Melian, from his own father, and forced them to obey him, to send a long, soundless call up into the night. He closed his eyes and focused on the images that would summon the Nazgul; the One Ring, hot with power, the strange lurid runes melted on that liquid surface as it burned, burned and molten. He saw the words…saw them and his lips moved as if he had no power to stop them …
'Ash nazg durbatuluk,'
The world stopped, held its breath.
'Ash nazg gimbatul.'
Like a long sigh, the wind suddenly stirred and brushed through the treetops in the valley and on the slopes below, whirled around the mountain peaks. The thunder rumbled threateningly. The words were like ash in his mouth. But he took a breath that the wind seemed to snatch from his mouth as he spoke again...
'Ash nag thrakatuluk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.'
The words kindled and became like flames, hot, then burning, searing his tongue, but he did not stop. The wind howled about him, flattening his cloak against his body, storming the treetops so they waved and tossed like grass on the plains. He raised his head to the skies, threw his head back in the wind that pulled his hair into a long streaming black mane, and fixed his gaze to the dark heavens that lowered and roiled overhead, and lightning shot in his eyes.
He stood firm against the wind and conjured the images that seduced him to the darkness. He watched the firelight flicker over naked skin, watched the writhing torment, the rape. He let the darkness wind around his soul, let the shadow slither and coil about his limbs, envelop him in its velvet tempting darkness…He spoke more strongly, more loudly, summoning them…
'Ash nazg durbatuluk,
Ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nag thrakatuluk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.'
And while the words seemed to melt and burn in his mouth and throat, he felt part of him was screaming, part of him howling. But he would not stop though the wind swirled and buffeted him on the cold mountainside, as if it sought to tear the words from his mouth before he could speak again…
He shouted against the wind a third time…
'Ash nazg durbatuluk,
Ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nag thrakatuluk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.'
And then he knew he was screaming, howling, and all of him was lost to the darkness…
Fire and flames rimmed the darkness and in the hellish glow he saw the promise that burned; the red glow on the elf's skin, bound, struggling, naked, helpless, subdued…ah, no. Not quite. He thought of the flames reflecting in the elf's eyes and knew that Legolas would glare back defiantly, his generous mouth snarling in disgust. Elrohir saw the bloody smear where he had hit the elf across the mouth. His hand drifted lower and stroked across the welts he had already left on Legolas' skin so there was more blood. He trailed his fingers through the blood, through the swirling painted yára-carmë of the elf's skin…and gripped him hard, his lean hips, dragging him forwards. And then with a sudden thrust, he impaled his victim helplessly on the spear of flesh so it tore into the captive elf, and he muffled the cries with his own mouth.
He touched his fingers to his mouth and the words no longer burned but tasted coppery, of blood. Now he did not speak them for they had life and pounded towards him like flames, like shadow and flame on wings. The huge leathery wings pounded the sky, rode the thunder, brought the storm.
Above a high ridge, the sky split in two and forked lightning flashed across the thunderous sky. Huge raindrops splattered on the dry ground, and the smell of dust and dry pine needles scented the crackling air.
Then he heard it. The scream… the thin wail…high above and moving fast…
Nazgul. They came at his summons.
Worth waiting for I hope.