3. Talking Points
Chapter 3 - Talking Points
When Elara awoke, she had a stiff neck, she was very cold, and she was hungry. From the sounds of the voices singing through the Hall, it was very early morning. It took her a moment to realize that of course Míriel wouldn't come for her at all today. Míriel probably expected her to be enjoying her time with Thranduil.
Just thinking his name gave her a hollow feeling inside. He had thrown her away and left her with nothing to live for anymore.
What was she going to do?
The last thing she wanted was to stay and be the object of pity or derision from the rest of the community. She'd had enough of that years before. No, Thranduil didn't want her – he'd shut her out of his life completely now – then her only recourse was that she would leave, the sooner the better.
All of her things were in his chamber, however.
Then again, what more did she need? She had the clothes on her back; they were more than the burned rags she had worn when she had arrived in his Halls originally.
Elara forced herself to straighten up and stand, and then reach awkwardly for the laces to her gown. Thranduil had done a good job of loosening them, but by straining and nearly twisting herself in two, she was finally able to do a mediocre job of putting herself back together. Her hair was down, but what did it matter? She knew the ellith often wore their hair loose about their shoulders, so she shook out the braiding that was left.
It took a while to work up the courage to open the door to her rooms and venture out into the hallway. All was quiet, as it normally was in the family wing at this early hour of the day. It was just as well, for Elara really didn't want to have to meet or hold a civil conversation with anyone. Her hand against the wall, she followed the path she'd finally learned after all these years. Down the hallway to the main meeting hall, around to the left until she had passed three corridor entries, and then onward down the fourth hallway until she was at the front door to the Hall.
"Lady?" She didn't know the voice, but then, she didn't know all the outer guards.
"I just want to go out for some air," she said with as convincing a smile as she could put on her face.
"Shall I call someone to guide you?" Whoever he was, he sounded young and very sweet.
"No," she answered gently. "I'd rather be alone, please."
"Just open it for me, please?" Her voice grew firm and took on the tone of authority she'd been using with the cooks and housekeeping staff for years now.
Then she heard it: the grinding noise of the rock doors that protected the sanctity of Thranduil's underground Halls. Beyond, she knew, was the bridge over the stream and, some distance beyond that, the Elf Path. The wind blew in on her, very cold, making her finally miss the warm cloak that Thranduil had given her…
No. She wouldn't think about anything Thranduil had given her, or that he'd said to her, or… No. That was finished now.
She walked straight from the door, listening carefully for the sounds of the water. When she knew herself directly over the sound of the water, she was satisfied she'd found and navigated the bridge. She wrapped her arms about herself against the chill. She hadn't been here on foot for years, and the last time had been quite frightening.
Maybe this was better. There had been talk of a storm coming, one that promised the first snow of the year. She had heard stories of those caught in the winter's chill. It was supposed to be a very easy death.
She stopped and thought for a moment. Yes, that was what she was seeking now: the peace that should have been hers in traveling past the circles of the world with her son and her husband all those years ago. There was nothing left for her in this world anymore.
She lifted her head and began walking.
It was getting harder for Elara to lift her feet, as tired as she was. She had been walking for what seemed like forever and fallen too many times to count now; her knees, hips and hands were aching from landing on rocks and exposed roots. The cold taken foremost place in her mind along with the pain, and she held her hands out in front of her so that she didn't run head-first into any more trees. It seemed they were no longer her friends either.
It had been a final blow to crush her spirit, what little she had left: even the comfort of the pulse of the Greenwood was to be denied her now. She'd leaned against several of the trees in the last few minutes – hours – wanting just a little comfort, and felt… nothing. Had it only been through Thranduil that she'd been able to…
No. Those thoughts led nowhere. He wasn't a part of her world anymore. Nothing of his world had been hers – not really. That evidently included the Greenwood. He had left her adrift with nothing she could call her own.
Her hands encountered another tree, and she pressed herself against the cold, silent wood in an attempt to at least get a small respite from the wind that whistled a sad and lonely song through the forest. She was almost at the end of her strength, and finally she let herself slide down the trunk until she was sitting on the freezing, barren ground. Her heart was pounding in her chest as if desperate to break free, and it was beginning to feel heavy and ache again.
She pulled her velvet skirt down over her legs and then bent to huddle down behind them. She wondered, in a moment of clarity, just how far she'd managed to come, and then dismissed the question as irrelevant. She knew she wasn't on the road anymore because of the number of rocks and roots that she'd tripped and fallen on - somewhere along the way she had missed having stepped off into the forest itself. Another violent shiver took her. It was bitterly cold, and small freezing stings on her cheek spoke of snow beginning to fall.
Another sound slowly came clearer, and Elara shook her head in disbelief. It was the sound of a horse at a slow trot. Maybe she hadn't wandered as far away from the road as she had thought. Still, she hunched herself behind her legs and shivered silently, hoping that whoever it was who rode out of the Elvenking's Halls would just ride on by.
Then she could hear more than one horse. Perhaps, now that Thranduil had told everyone that he was back and ready to assume his throne after all, Aran Borendor and his men were ready to continue on to their deeper woods. She sniffed and leaned her cheek against her knees. It didn't matter to her who it was…
"Over here! I found her!"
The hoofbeats came closer, and Elara pushed herself clumsily to her feet. She did not want to be found! Hands out in front of her, she began to walk as quickly as she could, praying she wouldn't trip.
"Elara!" It was his voice. She pushed herself into a stumbling trot.
She heard a horse pulled abruptly to a halt close by, and then suddenly there were arms around her from behind as she tripped over yet another obstacle in her way, catching her before she could fall flat on her face. "Stop this!" Thranduil ordered, his voice frantic.
She had had enough and began to struggle against him. "Let me go!" she screamed and kicked at where she hoped his legs were when he lifted her off the ground.
"NO!" she heard him shout, and thought that he was shouting at her until he added, in his most demanding and regal voice, "Leave us!" and then heard the sounds of horses moving away.
"Put me down!" she ground out between clenched teeth. She managed to get one arm free and began pounding her fist against the bands of hard muscle that surrounded her.
"I will put you down when you stop this mad flight!" he stated in a firm tone, clearly unaffected by her struggles. "Where did you think you were going anyway?"
"Anywhere other than where I was not wanted," she hissed at him as she squirmed as hard as she could. "Let me go!"
"Not until you promise me you will stop! And what do you mean, where you were not wanted?"
"What do you care?" she demanded, nearing hysterics. "I am not a toy for you to play with when it suits you, throw me away when you tire of me or when I don't do as you ask, and then grab me up again when you feel like it again." She aimed a kick backwards and this time connected with one of his legs. "I said let go of me!"
"Hush." His arms remained tight around her, but his voice had softened. "What are you talking about? I did not throw you away… I thought I had made it very clear how very much you were wanted…"
"O really?" She pounded on his arms again. "What do you call being thrust into my old rooms – alone – and then told to stay out of your mind?"
"Shhhh…" He simply held on while she struggled and beat on his arms until what little energy she had to fight back was nearly expended. Once she finally hung limp in his grasp, he asked calmly, "Are you willing to hear me now?"
"No. Why should I listen to you now when you refused to hear me before?" She gave a half-hearted backward kick that ended up in thin air this time. She hated herself for it, but she stopped fighting as much because he was protecting her from the cold as anything else. His chest against her back and his arms around her were hard, but they were also warm. Despairing, she sagged again and this time gave a ragged sigh.
"I am going to put you up on Aduial. Do you promise not to try to get down and run again?" he asked, his voice gentle.
"No," she told him truthfully. She knew she wouldn't get far, but she would get down and try to run.
Thranduil sighed. "Then I shall have to carry you all the way back myself."
"No, I won't go back! Not if.."
"Not if?" He paused. "Not if what?"
Elara caught her breath against the ache in her chest. "Not if I'm going to be alone now. You might as well let me go, because I will be gone again the moment your back is turned, I swear it!"
"Oh, meleth nîn," he sighed again and leaned into the back of her neck. "How did things get to these straits? Why would you think you would be alone now?"
"Yes, I was angry with you last night; I admit it. I was so desperate for you after weeks of dreaming of you in my arms, and suddenly, just as the moment I had been dreaming and longing and waiting for approached, you did not seem to want my touch or any part of what I was offering you. You even pushed me away. Don't you understand? I put you in your old rooms to protect you from me." He buried his nose in her hair. "In the state I was in, I could not have merely held you through the night. I would have demanded more, and you had made it plain you were not interested in that."
"Why did you not give me a chance to get used to the idea?" she demanded sorrowfully. "I never said that I didn't want your touch, or that I wasn't interested. I just wanted a little time, to be asked, given a chance to think…" She shivered violently, her anger dissipating and leaving her prey to the cold again.
"We will continue this discussion, but we will continue it in our chambers, with you wrapped up in a blanket and thawing before a fire. Now, will you sit Aduial, or do I carry you?"
"I have no intention of cooperating with you at all until you tell me why you didn't give me a chance to get used to things being so different," she said stiffly. "You didn't answer my question, and I'm not going anywhere with you willingly until you do." She shivered again, her teeth chattering.
"Oh, for pity…" She scowled and crossed her arms stubbornly over her chest, even over his restrictive arm. "Very well," he said at last, reluctantly, "although I have already told you this once. I honestly did not think that such things would have been required." Again he leaned into her hair. "We have spoken of our desires often enough over the years. I had thought that if you knew that I had discovered that all the reasons I had given for keeping us apart no longer applied, you would be as anxious as I to make up for lost time. I wanted you so badly last night that I burned for you… I still want you, very much. That is something that will never change, do you understand? I will always want you." He sighed. "Now will you allow me to put you on Aduial before you freeze?"
She was shuddering too hard to answer, so she nodded as best she could. Before she could formulate another thought, Thranduil had spun her around and hoisted her in the air to perch her on his war-stallion's withers. He immediately sprang up behind her and pulled her to him. "This is the second time you have frightened me badly with fears of losing you to death," he chided her as he whipped his cloak from his shoulders and wrapped it around her as best he could. "I came to your rooms to apologize for my temper and see if we could talk things out, only you were gone. The door stood open, the fire was out, the bed was not slept in..."
"I s..slept in the ch…chair." Even with the warmth of the cloak about her now, she could barely speak around the chattering of her teeth.
"And then, while Aran Borendor and I were speaking, I was informed that you had asked to go outside the Hall doors themselves for fresh air, and that's when I knew that something was desperately wrong. When you need air, you use the gardens, where you know you are safe; you do not go out the front door of the Hall." He had evidently touched Aduial's flank with his heel, for Elara felt the powerful horse burst into a full gallop. "You had taken no cloak, nothing to shield you from the cold. What were you thinking?"
Elara had no intention of telling him what she'd been thinking; he'd only scold her more. She still wasn't certain things could ever be right between them again, but at least he was hearing and answering her for the moment. How long it would last – and how long before she was thrust aside again – she had no way of knowing. She closed her eyes and leaned into him, tucking her arms in close to her chest and huddling against his hard, warm chest as much as she could. The shivers were quite violent, despite the cloak and the warmth, and Thranduil had to hang onto her tightly when they took control of her.
She must have come farther than she thought, because it seemed to take forever to get back to the bridge over the stream at a full gallop and then be carried through the doors of the Hall. It was the very last place she wanted to be, and she'd be back among the very last people she wanted to be with.
"Elara, please!" Míriel pleaded, touching the mug of tea to her lips.
Elara wasn't having any of it, though. The blanket that surrounded her completely was finally beginning to warm her, as was the roaring fire that Thranduil had ordered built. The shivers could still overwhelm her, but slowly she was thawing. Two chairs had been moved together so that she had her feet up and supported, but still was sitting up.
"I do not understand you, my friend," Míriel told her sadly. "Have I offended you?"
Elara shook her head and then shuddered again.
"What is it then? Can you not tell me?"
"Give it to me. I shall get her to drink it." She should have known that Thranduil would have been hovering. She'd hoped that he'd gone back to his busy schedule. After all, he had the reins of the entire realm to pick up again. From the sounds of the voices in the air, it was evening now, but it couldn't have been that late…
Míriel obviously wasn't happy. "What happened here?" she demanded sharply. "Last night, from what Borendor told us all, was to have been your wedding night! What was your bride doing more than a full league from the Hall in nothing but a gown and light slippers? Thranduil, it was starting to snow!"
Was that how far she'd managed to get before he'd caught her? Wedding night?!
"We can discuss this another time. Right now, however, I am probably the only one she will listen to – not that she is listening much to me either, at the moment." Thranduil sounded resigned. "Is there anything else I need to know?"
"No. You know what needs to be done almost as well as I do. I shall be back in the morning, and hopefully you will feel more yourself, Elara." Míriel had moved further away.
The snick of the door latch told Elara that her friend had left. A stirring to her left betrayed Thranduil coming close. "You heard your healer; you need this," he cajoled, putting the rim of the mug to her lips. "Drink."
She put her lips together tightly and shook her head slowly enough that none of the hot liquid was made to spill. She wasn't in the mood to be any more cooperative with him now than she'd already been. She'd had enough of his dictatorial moods.
He sighed. "Will you at least speak to me?" The mug was removed, and she heard it being placed on a nearby table.
Elara turned her head away from the direction of Thranduil's voice. She was so tired, and the cold had taken so much out of her. What was more, her chest ached in much the same way it had ached in Ithilien. In a moment of perverse self-pity, she found herself wishing for some of Aragorn's disgusting tea; it would help the ache and send her to sleep. And right now, all she wanted to do was withdraw.
She felt Thranduil's hip pushing hers over a bit as he seated himself next to her. "What is it you want of me then?" he asked with a touch more frustration and concern. Gentle fingers brushed straggling hair away from her face. "How can we repair things between us if you will not speak to me?" He waited in vain for a response. "I am here now, and I assure you that I am listening to you very closely."
"For how long?" she asked before she caught herself. She hadn't meant to answer him at all.
"For as long as it takes," he said quietly. "I would hear whatever you need to say."
"It doesn't matter." Her voice was flat. "All the doors are shut. I cannot touch your mind, the Greenwood won't speak to me…"
"Of course you can touch my mind!" he exclaimed. "Why would you think… Oh."
Elara sighed. At least he was able to figure a few things out on his own.
Meleth, I did not mean for that to be forever. I would not take this away from you.
"But you did." She winced, angry with herself for answering him again.
Thranduil physically flinched. "I was wrong to do that, and I am sorry." He sounded contrite, subdued. "I should have thought of how deeply that would cut, after learning how my refusing to answer you before, when I was hurt, frightened you so badly you began to fail again. Please forgive me."
She hadn't thought she'd have any more tears left to shed, but she felt her eyes fill and then spill over onto her cheeks. "And so now I know first-hand that the Elvenking, when angered, can be very cruel indeed."
"And he has rarely regretted his intemperate actions so much in all his very long life." A large hand cupped her cheek and turned her face to him again. "I will, for the rest of your life, be proving to you that such will never happen again." His thumbs gently wiped away the tears. "Please do not cry, Elara."
But it seemed that the wall that had held the tears back all this time had finally crumbled, and she couldn't help the sob that escaped. Thranduil rose, but then picked her up in his arms and seated himself in one of the chairs with her held close despite her half-hearted attempts to push him away. "My love," he murmured brokenly. "Do not turn from me!"
"I was not the one who turned away, Thranduil. I'm the one who has lost everything. I am no longer the Lady of Eryn Lasgalen," she sobbed, unable to hold in her grief. "And when you shut me out of your mind, the Greenwood abandoned me too. I no longer belong anywhere…"
"Hush. I tell you that you have lost nothing. You are still the Lady of Eryn Lasgalen. As for the other, you could not know it, but you had found your way to the part of the forest that burned completely during the War: where the fiercest of battles was fought and where most of the Enemy's dead were burned afterwards. All of the trees there have been dead for years. Their bones speak to no one, and it will be years yet before the Elves can convince the living forest to return." He kissed her forehead. "You belong; I swear it. You will always belong. Even if the Elvenking is thick-headed enough to be unreasonably cruel, the Greenwood has claimed you. It will deny you no more than you can deny it. It does not listen to me in matters like these; it never has."
"I still belong?" Elara hated how needy she sounded, but the loss of the Greenwood, combined with Thranduil's rejection, had nearly done her in.
"Of course you do! My heart, everything that you have ever wanted, from me or from my woods, is already yours. All you need do is put out your hand and take mine. You will want for nothing, I swear it." His arms had tightened around her. "You are not now, never have been, nor ever will be, a toy to be picked up, then tossed aside later. Elara, I am asking you to marry me - something I know now that I should have done before anything else last night."
"M…marry?" Elara hiccoughed back a sob.
"Yes, marry." His fingers wiped the tears from her cheeks tenderly. "Say yes. Please!"
"You should marry an Elven lady, who can be with you for all the Ages to come," she said softly once her tears had slowed and her sobs turned back to mere weeping. "I am ugly, blind, and mortal…"
"You are lovely in my eyes, see more clearly than I do as often as not, and, yes, you are mortal. But your mortality merely makes you that much more precious to me." He kissed her forehead again. "I do not want an Elven lady. I want you."
"I don't understand your ways of love," she told him. "You… when we… I had never…"
Thranduil sighed and shifted her so that he could hold her closer on his lap now that she wasn't actively trying to get away anymore. "I should have listened and paid more attention to you, to your reactions, and not been so eager to possess you. You were right: I was taking things far too quickly; and I can see now you did not understand me fully. But I swear to you, we will take all the time you need for you to get used to the idea that I truly want to make you mine and intend to claim you as such at last. And I will hold in my impatience, just as you have held in your longings for all these years."
She desperately wanted things to be right between them again. He was everything to her; if he vanished from her life, she had nothing. She sighed and turned her face into his chest and leaned, and his arms closed around her even tighter, sheltering her as best he could. They stayed that way, silent, for a long moment.
Finally: "Thranduil? Can we just go to bed – to sleep? I am so tired, I can hardly think straight anymore…"
"If you will drink Míriel's tea, I will put you to bed," he bargained with her. She heard the mug pulled from the table and put once more to her lips. "Please. Míriel feels you need something to warm you from within as well as soothe your troubled faer."
This time, she drank.
Elara slowly awoke from a deep and dreamless sleep, and then gave a small sigh of relief to find her head pillowed on a shoulder that smelled of fresh forest and grass. Thranduil had his arm wrapped about her shoulder and the warm covers pulled high over them both. She had turned into him in her slumber, and her knee rested very familiarly over the top of his thigh. It took a moment for the reality to penetrate that he was beneath the covers with her instead of resting atop them as he usually did, and that it was the heat of his body against hers warming her through thin silk and light linen.
If he hadn't been awake before her, he roused immediately at her stiffening in surprise. "Did you rest well?" he asked her very softly, the hand at her shoulder beneath the warm blankets starting to run down her upper arm lazily, urging her to relax again.
She nodded, wary. Had it all been a very, very bad nightmare?
"I have been thinking while I was waiting for you to awaken," he continued, and the hand slowly found its way back up to her shoulder again, "that we should start afresh today, as if all of yesterday, and the evil night before that, never happened."
So it hadn't been a bad dream after all. "What do you mean?" she asked quietly.
"Once I knew you were safely asleep, I left you long enough to tell Tarion that I would not be attending the realm's business for the time being, and that we are not to be disturbed for any reason less dire than an imminent invasion by yrch or naugrim. I even told Míriel that you were better, that you had finished your tea, and then I asked her to leave us alone as well."
"Thranduil, we have guests," she reminded him, and then her heart sank. What Aran Borendor must think of her now! "We cannot just vanish. We have duties…"
His hand patted her shoulder gently before starting a new trek down her upper arm. "My uncle by marriage will understand. He was in the middle of telling me what a fool I had been when I received the news that you had left the Hall."
"I will never be able to be in his presence again," Elara choked, feeling her face flush in mortification.
"Quite the contrary," he chuckled, giving her a gentle hug. "You have a most vocal defender. As I said, he was letting me know, in no uncertain terms, just where I had erred with you. And once we found out you were gone, he literally pushed me out the door with the advice that I not bother coming back until I found you and brought you home safely."
It didn't make sense! Aran Borendor didn't know her, had barely met her… "Why would he do that?"
"Because it is the way of his people." He turned his head and kissed her hair. "As you have no parents to speak up on your behalf, Borendor assumed the right to do so and then very strenuously took me to task for my treatment of you."
It still made no sense. "He must be very disappointed in your choice," she sighed, "and in mortals in general."
"He was disappointed in me, Elara," Thranduil told her. "He reminded me that new brides, whether Elven or mortal, have the right to be nervous; and they need to be handled with care by their new husbands, not rushed headlong into the joining."
"But I am no new bride, no innocent. I have been wife, mother…"
"But not to an Elf, meleth. Our ways are different from yours, as you keep discovering. And it has been a long time for you since Timon." He rolled slightly, not enough to pull his arm from beneath her, but enough that he now faced her. "And this is why we are now closeted and will not be disturbed. I am determined to woo you and win your trust again before I seduce you and make you my wife, for I will not have you in my bed either unwilling or frightened."
"I do trust you…"
"You used to, I am certain, but what I did has surely shaken your confidence in me. So we will start over, as if those events had never happened, and I will move forward at a more reasonable pace – one you set." He fingered back her loose hair. "If you will allow it, I would kiss you, to show you my sincerity in this. May I?"
"You've never needed permission to kiss me, Thranduil."
She felt the touch of the backs of his fingers caressing her cheeks. "But I do now, because you need to know that I will never again ask more of you than you are willing to give. We will move forward only when you are ready, and only when you give me permission, I promise. But first, I need to know your will. Will you say yes, please – and accept all that I offer you and allow me to kiss you as a promise of what will come?"
Elara pulled her hand from where it had been resting at his chest and reached for his face to "see" him. It was a good face, with a strong, square jaw, full lips, and a straight and narrow nose. His skin was always so smooth beneath her fingers, unmarred by beard stubble or wrinkles. She traced the arch of his brows and very gently over his eyelids, following tiny creases that must be laugh lines before letting the palm of her hand hold his cheek. She loved him too much to give him any other answer. "Yes."
The kiss he gave her was much like the ones she had grown so used to and fond of. He reached for her wordlessly through their bond, and once more she was able to feel how very much he loved her. Lacing through the tenderness, however, was a sadness that showed her clearly how deeply he regretted what had happened. She relaxed into his embrace, startled and pleased when he did not pull away from her as he normally did. Then, as had happened the last time, his lips parted to let his tongue carefully touch and stroke her lips, asking permission to enter. This time she only hesitated a moment before she relaxed her lips and jaw to him. And once more, he caressed her very gently in this unfamiliar way of love, a totally new form of pleasure that was making her heart beat faster.
When his hand moved from her shoulder to caress her throat and the sensitive skin behind her ear, she made a small sound of pleasure and leaned into him a little more. Such tenderness! She had dreamed of Thranduil making love to her many times in the past, and it had always been more in keeping with what had almost happened two days ago – which in turn was more in line with her experiences as Timon's wife – but this gentle assault on her senses was something completely unexpected. All he had done was to add a delicate touch, first within the kiss, and now with his fingers, and then a little more warmth in her mind; but combined, they had said more about his feelings for her than any words could bear, and she was awed. When he brought the kiss to an end, she whimpered a small complaint until he trailed his lips to her cheek and jaw, leaving warmth and a new sense of want in his wake.
His lips returned and settled on hers much more firmly, and Elara was more than ready to open herself more fully to this deeper kiss that made her feel cherished, desired. The warmth that she had always felt from him through their bond grew to a new, fascinating heat. Was that the beginnings of Elven passion? She could feel her body waking up and starting to pay attention, and she wished that she knew what to do to return the pleasure he was giving her. Her hand, at a loss, finally tucked itself around his chest in an effort to hold him closer.
This time when he broke the kiss, he took a moment to smooth her hair back from her face before brushing his lips to her temple, and Elara was surprised to discover that she was breathless, as was he. "Do you find this pleasing?" he asked after a moment.
Couldn't he tell? "Oh yes!" The Elven way of love was very different from what she had known before, but altogether wonderful. She reached for him through their bond and showed him the contentment she was feeling.
As she had hoped, his lips landed on hers again, the kiss more vigorous yet, almost demanding, as his tongue now sported daringly with hers. The desire to bring him closer, to discover more of what he offered, surged through her; and through their bond she could sense that he in turn was both taking great delight in her reactions and yet definitely holding himself back. His fingers threaded themselves into her hair until he had her head between his hands, and when he finally released the kiss, it was to drop new kisses that were like tiny flames across her cheek to the tender skin beneath her ear. "My lovely fireth," he breathed warm and low, touching the lobe of her ear with his tongue before pulling it into his mouth for a moment.
A bolt of liquid fire rushed through her that lingered in places that had been long since asleep except in dreams. It was such a simple thing, and yet knowing it was Thranduil nibbling at her ear made it exhilarating. When she moved her head to give him better access to her neck, she found the open collar of his sleeping tunic close to her lips, and she couldn't resist easing the fabric aside and kissing his soft and oh-so-warm skin. She smiled when she felt him breathe out suddenly in response, and then leave her ear to work his way back to her mouth. Oh, the freedom to experiment and see what would give him pleasure in return would be a challenge!
This kiss was hot and demanding, and the sudden flare of heat and desire coming at her through their bond was driving her heart to race hard. Never had she felt so alive, and nothing she'd ever experienced before had prepared her for this. Everything was new and exciting, and she wanted more of it.
But then Thranduil ended the kiss and nestled her back down on his shoulder. "I do not frighten you?" he asked breathlessly.
"No. I love you," she purred and rolled slightly to nose her way back to the open collar of his tunic and kiss the warm skin she had found, just to hear his hum of pleasure again.
He pressed a heated kiss onto her forehead. "And I love you, my gift, very much. And so that I do not overpower you all at once, we will now rise and break our fast. You, I believe, had little if anything to eat for all of yesterday, and not nearly enough for many days before that."
Now that he mentioned it, she was hungry, but… "Thranduil?"
"Hush. I want you to have plenty of energy, meleth. We have all the time we need, with no duties pressing on either of us this day and for several days to come." He sat up and brought her sitting up with him, then kissed her gently on the lips and turned to throw his legs over the edge of the bed.
"But I thought…"
He walked around the end of the bed and grasped both her hands to help her turn and then rise, tucking her feet into thin slippers. "This is the Elven way, remember? Never fear, I fully intend to claim you and make you mine before our time alone is over, but it need not happen all at once. That was the biggest mistake I made on that evil night that never happened, and I will not make it again. We will move slowly…"
"Even if I want to…" His kisses and caresses were altogether addictive, and she didn't want them to stop at all.
"Even if you want to," he confirmed with a low and satisfied chuckle. "That you do want to means that I am doing things properly this time. Now, here." Suddenly, his hands were full of a warm robe that he helped her don and then tied the sash about her waist himself. "I have you nicely warmed up. I do not want you chilled again."
She reached out for him, following his voice until her hand found his chest with nothing but the thin silk of his sleeping tunic. "What about you?"
"I am not bothered by the cold as you are. You know this," he replied and pulled her into his arms. "Indeed, my problem today will be dealing with surplus heat." And with that, he lowered his lips to hers again in another demanding kiss that stole her breath away and made her heart pound. "And I find you an all too inviting source of fuel," he added eventually, quite breathless himself.
aran - King, Sire (I'm proposing the usage that when coupled with a name, it is the title "King"; when used alone, it means "Sire" as a form of direct address or reference.)
ellith - female elves (sing. elleth)
fireth - mortal woman
meleth - love, lover
naugrim - the Dwarves
nîn - my, mine
yrch - orcs (sing. orch)
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.