Oh, Sorrow

BY : narcolinde-erobey
Category: +Third Age > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 1694
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on The Lord of the Rings series written by JRR Tolkien.I do not own Lord of the Rings or any of its characters, settings, or scenes. No money of any kind is earned through this story.

Oh, Sorrow

A Legolas/Elladan Story by erobey, unbeta'd

A Vision from the Past  



TA 2917, Imladris



"Hîr Elrond." 



Faelon stood poised on the threshold of the study, his entire person radiating a combination of regret, reluctance, and anxious necessity. It seemed his lot to be the bearer of ill news and while he had grown accustomed to it, the erstwhile valet was never able to acquire that bland mental insouciance that would render him unperturbed. As much as he hated to interrupt Elrond's quiet evening of restful reading, he could not in good conscience fail to report the problem. Better to err on the side of caution than a tragedy result.



"Tell me." Elrond put aside the book he had chosen and rose, lips pressed tight in grim presentiment.



"There is an unknown ellon in Elladan's rooms," Faelon began stiffly and paused, marking the muted glimmer of exasperated annoyance that passed through his Lord's eyes. Such a discovery was not unprecedented, and he made a vague gesture with his hand to signify this was not the news, continuing: "Alone, sprawled over the bed naked, and utterly insensible. He did not hear me enter, gave no response when I cried out, and his eyes are fully closed."



The Lore Master's disapproving frown vanished in concern as his brows travelled skyward; he hastened across the room to snatch up a kit of healing supplies from a cabinet. "Any sign of injury, any blood?"



"Nothing visible," Faelon followed him out the door and down the hall, expecting orders.



"Elladan?"



"Nay, he was not in the rooms. The evening meal was untouched as near as I could tell."



"All right. Fetch hot water and a basin, then find my son." Elrond strode quickly through the house, taking the back stairs as it was quicker, and entered his son's suite to find one of the cook's assistants frozen in the bedroom doorway, gawking in pale-cheeked dismay. She turned at his approach and began babbling her tale, for she'd found the unconscious person when she came to clear the dinner dishes away. Elrond dismissed her firmly but kindly as he surveyed the scene.



The linens were in disarray, twisted and half-poured upon the floor near the foot of the bed, garments scattered in haphazard fashion indicating a trail from the door to the mattress, and the ellon in question was indeed supine, spread-eagled in all his natural glory, redolent of sweat and spent seed. A tangled flow of gilded hair cascaded over the pillows and half obscured whatever talisman was attached to the fine gold chain that lay upon his neck. 



Elrond let pass this blatant evidence of Elladan's most recent debauchery and scanned the senseless ellon for what ailed him. He lay as pale and still as death; no sign of respiration inflated his lungs, and Elrond's heart clenched tight. In an instant he was kneeling on the mattress, one hand lifting the lolling head, the other pressed against the patient's neck. It was minutes before he felt a slow and sluggish pulse roll beneath his fingertips and he released a long breath of intense relief. The ellon inhaled and expelled a shallow breath of his own just then and Elrond carefully laid his head down. With the same delicacy, he lifted one eyelid to reveal glassy, nearly unresponsive irises, though the pupils contracted slightly. Basal metabolism was reduced to to the bare minimum, his body all but shut down to conserve strength.



Faelon entered and set about pouring steaming water into the basin as Elrond crushed athelas and other herbs, dropping them in. The healing fragrance filled the room, but the patient did not stir. A shared glance confirmed Elladan was not in the house and the servant departed to extend the search. 



"Discretely," intoned Elrond as he turned, rummaging in his supplies for Miruvor. A few drops on the lips should have brought the unconscious ellon round, but didn't. He bent closer and sniffed the lingering air near the lax, open mouth; no indication of poison revealed itself. Taking sharp shears from the kit, he scraped the pointed end against the underside of the slender foot, but detected no indication of feeling. He touched the bare chest above the heart, but the organ was still minutes from its next compression. 



The smooth skin felt cool and he slid his fingers over firm pectorals to caress a soft and dusky nipple, hoping to stimulate a reaction. There was no response and so he delved lower, fondling and tweaking flaccid genitals. Again, nothing stirred. Elrond's fingers froze and his brow creased as he probed the sensitive perineum. Abruptly he uttered a cry of amazement, bending closer, easing one leg aside and lifting the loose flesh of the hairless sac. What he discovered made his heart leap and stumble; the opening was narrow, inflamed, and oozing blood and semen.



"Nae (Alas), Elladan!" he groaned, heart now hammering at the implications. "What have you done?" The residual fluids allowed neither mystery nor mistake and he swallowed back a sour mouthful of saliva. 



Grim and troubled, he proceeded to perform a thorough physical examination and found no indications of injury, internal or external, though were three scars: in the left shoulder, the right thigh, and the right side, all old and faded but visible; proof of severe trauma near enough to being mortal for his uneasiness to escalate. Elrond was left without an alternative diagnosis for the coma beyond grieving sickness. The circumstances were ominous and he could not prevent imagining the worst. In all of Arda, there was but one realm of elves where such injuries were as likely among the young as the ancient. In that realm, there was one specific elf who would bear just such a set of scars, who would indeed be young enough to still be, or rather to have been mere hours ago, a virgin, and who would seek out Elladan. Elrond sat on the bed, sighing morosely as he dropped his face into his hands for a moment, trying to gather his resolve, praying his conclusions were wrong.



Then he stood; a healer's care was needed here first and foremost; a father's concerns must wait. Carefully and thoroughly he bathed the limp body with the athelas infusion, removing all the sticky effluvia of the evening's excesses, and positioned his patient in a more dignified pose. Only then did he take up lax, long-fingered hands and murmur the words required to bring forth the might of Vilya. A bright gleam enveloped the unconscious figure, clothing him in undulating radiance that slowly seeped inside, temporarily turning his skin translucent so that blood and organs were visible. The light faded rapidly, the skin resuming its normal opacity as the potent energy was absorbed. He lay as though sleeping, eyelids lifted most of the way, but Elrond knew it was a forced and unnatural repose. There was little permanent improvement for grieving this side of the sundering sea, as he knew all too well.



The transfusion of VIlya's energy thus completed, he moved away from the bed and retrieved a chair, set it near and seated himself within it. He watched, eyes traversing the alluring form and exquisite features, understanding Elladan's attraction acutely and viscerally, counting the passing seconds in mounting apprehension. It was taking too long; the soul sickness had advanced to a pathological depth with exceeding speed and he wondered if repetition of the treatment would be necessary. Even as the thought gelled, the patient inhaled a harsh, gasping breath and sat bolt upright, eyes wide, mouth agape, one hand clutching his breast and the other knotted in the sheets. He gave a sharp shout of pain and fell back, chest heaving, limbs flexing, neck arching as the spasm of agony rolled through him. At last he exhaled a long low groan and lay still, panting hard. He murmured something unintelligible in the sylvan tongue, but Elrond heard his son's name within it and scowled in dark displeasure. The ellon still had not registered his presence and looked to be about to retreat into oblivion.



"Can you hear me?" he queried softly and saw the jerk of startled muscles as the head came up and confused blue eyes peered at him. "You slipped into darkness," he explained seriously, "and I've brought you back, though the method is used only in the last extremity. The pain should ease fairly soon." Still the ellon stared at him in silent quandary and Elrond stood, moved closer, bent over the prone form and peered at him closely. "Do you know where you are?"



"Imladris." He managed the word with difficulty and laid his head down, swallowing hard, eyes closing again as fingers fluttered over his abdomen toward the scar in his side. "Where?"



Elrond stared in dismay at this contradictory response. "Yes, you are in Imladris." A faint nod of affirmation followed, minor movement of lips but no sound, and the patient volunteered nothing more. "You have a name?"



"Yes." A dark red tongue came out to lap at lips gone dry and slowly he dragged himself upright, scooting with much effort to the edge of the mattress. His feet rested gingerly on the floor as though the pressure of the plush carpet hurt their soles; his hands bracketed his head in delicate misery. Another groan sounded.



"What is it," Elrond prompted, voice flat and somewhat impatient. He watched the face lift to stare at him anew, bewilderment paramount. "Your name," the healer repeated.



"Oh. Legolas," the elf replied, voice low and strained. His lungs erupted a short, hacking cough and another groan; he folded over his abdomen, arms twitching as he tried to decide what to support, stomach or head, and he managed to use one for each. 



"Legolas?"



"Aye." He straightened himself with effort and pushed the thick mane away from his face, turning his sight on the imposing person interrogating him. "Who are you? Where is Elladan?"



"Legolas of Greenwood, youngest son of Thranduil?" Elrond's voice rang with dismay as his deductions were confirmed. No sooner had he spoken the words than he beheld an electrifying vision of the catastrophic effect this person's presence would wreak upon Elladan, indeed upon all of his family. He took a staggered step away, features ashen, a gasp escaping his heart, overwhelmed with the magnitude of the blow about to descend, then lunged forward and grabbed the Wood Elf's arm, tugging, trying to get him on his feet. "Get up! Bathe and dress yourself; you must leave here at once."



"Leave?" Legolas' legs could not support him and he wallowed in place, a dead weight as his assailant yanked on his arm. "Unhand me!" he demanded, struggling, and nearly fell over when he was suddenly released. He rubbed at his biceps, shaking, staring up at the stern countenance regarding him so coldly. The gaze tracked over his nude frame with a hint of distaste and disdain; he grew self-conscious and drew his knees closed, wrapped his arms about him. "Who are you? Where is Elladan?"



"I am Lord Elrond, Elladan's father." Arms akimbo, the Lord of Imladris watched this truth process through the ellon's scattered mind and saw a spark of hope dowsed instantly by wary tribulation. No doubt he presented a rather intimidating figure at the moment. "I am sorry to have to be so brusque, but it is for your well-being. You cannot remain in Elladan's company, especially in your condition. The malady is far advanced."



"Malady? Nay, being with Elladan will only do me good," complained Legolas. He was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to sleep in Elladan's arms. Where had he gone? With a jolt he suddenly focused on his specific location, perched naked on the edge of the mattress, what had transpired, and what the renowned healer could not help but know. He went pale as water and flicked the mighty Lord an anguished glance. A shudder racked his bones and he dropped his head to his hands again.



"Nay, staying here will certainly not help you," Elrond shook his head firmly, glaring down on the distrait ellon. "Elladan is unable to give you anything; can you understand? Not that he would refuse, but that he cannot and will only absorb what little strength you have. Indeed, you have nothing left to spare; you should not have come here, Legolas, especially not now." Elrond found he was irritated and angry; Galadriel had assured him this trouble was behind them. "You cannot fathom what he needs, what he seeks, and you are not fit to provide it even if you did. Manwë's Breath, have you any fate that is not unpropitious?" 



"I don't know what you mean." Legolas felt dread despair mounting in his mind, the joy he'd known in union with Elladan vanished. The august Lord's words laid a heavy burden on his heart that drained him further and the depth of his weariness again called him to sink into dreamless oblivion. Where was Elladan? Dark fears invaded; Elrond's speech implied Elladan had left him here, left him intentionally, left him alone. It cannot be so. "Where…"



"I do not know where he is!" Elrond exploded, fists clenched as he raised them up and dropped them, provoked beyond his limits. He could not permit this ill-destined doom come to its fruition. "What brought you here? Here, the one place you should never come, yet here I find you naked and unconscious, spent and wasted in the sex-soiled sheets of my son's bed. Are you in the habit of yielding all to the first ellon that beckons you?" The words were cruel, given the ruddy evidence staining the linen, and he watched a dark flush of shame and anger cover Legolas' flesh as he curled inward trying to shield his bare body.



"You have not right to speak to me so," Legolas said, sullen and forlorn. "There has been no other before Elladan, as you surely know. I was meant for him and he for me. I could wait no longer."



"Elbereth!" Elrond paced the length of the room and back several times, agitated and nearly frantic. Legolas had no idea what danger he courted, but Elladan should have known. Where, indeed, was he? Faelon should have located him by now. A new thought struck him and he paused, gazing at the confused and humiliated ellon slumped forward, face hid beneath the long fall of flaxen hair. Perhaps Elladan's absence was providential. In three strides he was at the bedside and before reason could offer any objections, gathered Legolas under the arms and hoisted him up. Ignoring the flinching and futile efforts to get free, he half-carried, half-dragged him toward the bath chamber. 



"Let go! Daro!" Legolas found to his mortified pride he had no strength to extricate himself from this abduction.



"Nay, you cannot remain here," Elrond insisted and paused to tighten his hold, hauling him closer. "There is nothing for you here, Legolas. Elladan is gone; when he returns he will have forgot you were here. Another will be with him. You would not want to confront such a scenario, no more could you sustain your spirit, so depleted as it already is. Come, you must away before that transpires. Can you bathe yourself or do you require assistance?" he asked, meeting such stricken sorrow in the indigo eyes that it made his heart quail. 



'"Elladan, forget me? Even after… And you will cast me out?" Defeat defined the questions and provided the answers; Legolas' universe tilted toward a black abyss and he wanted to topple in and leave behind forever this life of abandonment and pain. He could not live on if Elladan turned him away.



"Nay, you must not slip away, Legolas, not here! Not now!" Elrond exhorted, wild with remorse, and shook the elf roughly, realising he'd been too hard, too cold, permitted anger and fear to rule his tongue and his actions. Immediately he calmed himself, sent a second pulse of energy flowing through the ring, and pressed Legolas firmly to his chest as the ailing elf went rigid and gave forth a sharp, bitter wail of agony.



"Why?" Legolas rasped, clutching the healer, uncertain what had just happened, shaking violently as a searing sensation of fire chased through his nerves and his vision failed. Fear caught at his heart and sent it racing wildly; he could barely hold a breath of air in his lungs while fragmented thoughts floated through his head. "What…what did you…?"



"Healing light, nothing more, but this kind of light is foreign to elf-kind; we were not made to retain it bodily. It will not cause serious damage, only temporary discomfort. You should begin to feel stronger in a moment." He continued to support him until the tremors ceased, then gave a comforting squeeze and eased him back slightly. One look into those beleaguered blue eyes and Elrond knew his attempt to avert fate was futile. He offered a half-hearted smile. "Better?"



"Yes," Legolas admitted, completely confused by the fabled Lord's erratic behaviour, one instant seeming to despise him, the next resuming a kindly manner. "I cannot leave, Hiren; you must see it." He could not meet Elrond's eyes, embarrassed by his weakness, the intimate circumstances, and the close embrace that held him.



"Of course you will not go," soothed Elrond, resigned, and blew out a small sigh. He eased his constraining clasp, wrapping an arm about the Woodland Prince's waist and guided him slowly, carefully to the bathing chamber. "Listen now, I will find Elladan; in fact I already sent someone searching."



"He hasn't left me?" A faint whisper of hope tinted the question and the reflection of it in Legolas' shy glance was painful to perceive.



"Nay, forget what I said; they were the words of a distraught father. Elladan, at such times as these, is not entirely himself and I feared…" Elrond stopped himself, not sure how much he should say until he had words with his son and learned the truth. He looked to find troubled blue eyes regarding him keenly and smiled reassurance. "Nay, do not despair. I am sure he has been detained by some unexpected cause. I have sent for him and he'll be here soon," he promised, not at all certain he would be able to keep his word. He felt Legolas' co-ordination return as his legs gathered his weight, though he trembled a bit, and they advanced more easily now without the ellon's resistance, Elrond holding tight to one arm lest he falter. He offered another smile and nodded encouragement when those wounded eyes sought his again. "I will find him. Do as I say, hên, and then come down to my office. I will send someone to bring you there." 



They reached the chamber and Elrond helped him climb into the deep copper tub, worried if Legolas would be able to tend such basic needs unaided, but hurriedly pumped in water until it lapped at his navel. "All right? Can you carry on alone?" A silent nodding, eyes averted, was the only reply, but long fingers reached for soap and cloth and began lightly rubbing. Elrond took the effort to wash as a positive sign. "Good, good," he encouraged, patting a slumped shoulder. "I'll gather your clothes."



He backtracked from the bedroom, picking up garments as he went, crossed the study, and eventually reached the door to the apartment where a forest green suede tunic had been stuffed rudely on the coatrack. The sight of it there quenched any hope he'd harboured that what had begun in such a roiling cauldron of misery and sorrow so long ago could be checked now. Elrond took the fabric in his hands and twisted it savagely, wishing he could unmake time and intervene before Elladan stepped into the trap, knowing he could do nothing and furious at his impotence to protect his child. Then he breathed a calming breath and unfurled the soft leather, smoothing away the wrinkles he'd crushed into it, and let his pity reach out to its owner. None of this was Legolas' fault and he stood to bear as much of the weight of the impending catastrophe as Elladan, if not more.



Another resigned sigh left the lore-master's lungs and he collected himself; he must not allow either of these two to perish. For Elladan's sake he must love Legolas and guard him as best he could. For both their sakes he must counsel Elladan closely and guide him to renounce the vow. If he dragged the Wood Elf into it with him… Elrond shuddered as the vision replayed. By the time he returned Legolas was washing his hair and he paused, watching, caught in the spell of beauty inscribed by the curve of the naked back, the lean strength of an archer's arms, the fair profile of high, soft cheeks upon which were inscribed the pale shadows of long, lowered lashes. He was struck suddenly and forcefully by the power of the ellon's courage and grace. Legolas' will was strong, regardless the infirmity of his stricken soul. Elrond decided that if anyone could defy fate it was this particular person, and he smiled. The bond was sealed as far as Legolas was concerned and now that it was, Elrond couldn't imagine anyone else who would suit Elladan so well.



He was caught staring as the archer completed his shampoo and stood, supporting himself carefully on a brass towel bar set into the wall, gaze and posture indicative of self-conscious embarrassment to find himself the object of such intensely appreciative scrutiny. At once Elrond went to him and helped him out, wrapped a towel about the dripping form, and lightly rubbed a bit, smiling now with genuine goodwill even as sadness inundated his heart. Already, without even trying, Legolas had endeared himself to the Elven Lord and the thought of losing him was a bitter thorn to pierce a heart already burdened. Elrond hugged him spontaneously and gently as though his injuries were physical and he might break, and tentatively the embrace was returned. Then he looked to the garments he'd gathered and realised he wasn't about to let Legolas leave Imladris; his assurances were honest after all. He turned to a tall cupboard and withdrew instead a soft robe and a pair of loose sleeping trousers.



"Welcome to my home and my family, Legolas, ion-en-gwaedh (son-by-bond). These will be a bit large, but should be comfortable; dress and wait in the sitting room. I will send for you as soon as Elladan is found." Another brief nod acknowledged the orders and Elrond left him there, striding through the apartment to its entrance where he opened the door to discover his elder son on the threshold.



TBC







  Oh, Sorrow dark 

and dense and deep bear me up, bear me

for the way is steep and I cannot rise and stand upright 

to face the dawning day, its hours of cruel, revealing light 

which in some manner bold I must dare. 

Some manner cool and calm and clear, within it we keep faith, me and thee



Oh, Sorrow raw 

and rank and rare, we wait for night and its quiet, watchful stars, eyes of bright glass

that see me as I am and neither quail nor scoff nor weep despair.

 



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