Chapter 11 – Awake
I had never felt more relaxed. My body felt like lead, but in a good way. Nothing hurt anymore. Strands of hair rested across my face, and I could feel the silkiness. I remained still, feeling the softness of the bed beneath me. I tried to remember what had happened, but I drew a blank. I knew that some members of the Fellowship were here, but beyond that – nothing.
I heard the door open and close. Light footsteps crossed the floor. A chair creaked slightly as the person sank on to it. I kept my eyes closed, feigning sleep. Time passed as I waited for the right moment.
"Be careful not to think too hard, my love. You might hurt yourself."
I broke the silence, turning my head. My voice was hoarse and barely above a whisper. I started to laugh as he lost his balance, but quickly stopped as the movement jarred my still tender chest. He pulled himself forward, staring in to my eyes.
I had known who had come in to the room. I could pick out his soft footfalls from down a corridor. I could feel his presence. It was as if part of my soul had rejoined me. I was whole again. Love radiated from both of us in waves. With an effort, I rolled on to my side, so my body and head were facing him. We simply gazed in to each other's eyes, expressing our emotions without having to speak. Legolas reached out a hand, and tenderly stroked my cheek, trailing his fingers down my jaw. He rested his hand against my cheek, his face splitting in to a grin. I smiled back, too overcome to say anything.
"I thought I had lost you."
Legolas whispered the words, his voice cracking. A tear slid down his cheek, leaving a shimmering trail.
"You could never lose me."
Images flashed through my head: a tiny, dark room. Orcs. Whips. A faceless wizard. I pushed them aside, determined to stay focused on Legolas.
"You were in such a bad state, we were not sure you would survive."
Legolas bit his lip. I could see the effort it was taking for him to hold back his tears.
"As long as you were by my side, I would survive."
I reached out a hand and clasped the one on my cheek, pulling it down to rest between us.
"Besides, I am stronger than you think."
A ghost of a laugh passed his lips. It was then I noticed how pale he was. There were blue smudges under his eyes, and he looked gaunt, as if he had been haunted by something for a while.
Legolas started to say something, his voice wobbling. Throwing caution to the wind, I tugged sharply on his hand, making him topple forward. Placing both my hands either side of his face, I tilted my head up, and pressed my mouth to his. I could feel him smile against my lips before he deepened it. He slipped a hand under my neck and gently lifted me so I was sitting up. My hands dropped to his neck, forming a circle. His hands wound round my waist. Time stood still. Everything disappeared except Legolas. All I could feel were his hands on my waist. All I could smell was his unique, earthy scent.
I had never felt so much love for one person – even for my own brother. I had spent so long keeping my heart guarded from him that I had never realised that loving him again would be so wonderful.
Legolas pushed me backwards, leaning over me. He broke off the kiss, and rested his forehead against mine. His cheeks were flushed and his eyes burned with undisguised desire. I chuckled huskily, and pulled him down for another kiss. A sharp pain in my back made me gasp. Legolas immediately pulled away.
Anguish was clear in his voice, his slip in to Elvish betraying him. I touched his cheek and smiled up at him.
"It was not you, my love. I do not think I am fully healed yet."
I soothed his concerns and he helped me sit up. I winced as my back stretched, making the pain stronger. Legolas scooted round behind me. He lifted up the night-dress I was wearing, and I felt his fingers brushing against a bandage around my back.
"The wound on your back is fine. You must have jostled it slightly."
He explained, brushing his gingers across it once again. I nodded, breathing out through my nose. The pain had subsided, but the wound throbbed gently.
"Who else is here?"
I asked the question, trying to distract myself from the dull ache that was now spreading across my back.
"Gimli, Aragorn, and Gandalf."
My eyes snapped to his face, widening in shock. Had I heard him correctly?
I echoed his name, disbelief colouring my voice.
"It is a long story, and one that he should probably tell you himself."
Legolas smiled at my astonished expression.
"Would you like me to fetch him? I am sure that you would like to see them all."
Shaking my head, I settled back down against the pillows, shifting a little to try and calm my aching back.
"If you would not mind, I would like to see Aragorn first."
Legolas nodded. He pressed a kiss to the top of my head and left the room, leaving the door ajar. I closed my eyes, and simply waited.
His voice cut through the haziness that had fallen over me. I sat up quickly, making my head spin. Aragorn leant against the door frame, arms crossed. He looked well, but I did not miss the shadows that circled his eyes, or the way his clothes hung off of his frame ever so slightly. His dark eyes were brooding as they looked at me. Suddenly, he strode in to the room, closing the door behind him. He reached the side of my bed, and gathered me in to his arms. I hugged him back, feeling his solid warmth. He let me go, and settled in to the chair Legolas had occupied.
"Where are Merry and Pippin?"
I knew that Aragorn would not try and protect me from the truth the way Legolas would; he knew that I could tell when he was lying.
"We do not know. We tracked the Uruk-Hai that had taken them, but when we had caught up, we found them slaughtered."
I stared at him with wide eyes. Merry and Pippin could not be dead.
"Do not worry yourself. Merry and Pippin escaped in to Fangorn Forest. We ventured in, but instead of the Hobbits, we came across Gandalf."
Fear for the two mischievous Hobbits sliced through me and I sat up, causing Aragorn to raise an eyebrow.
"We must go back and try and find them!"
I exclaimed the words, swinging my legs out from under the covers. I managed to stand up, but my legs buckled and I collapsed back on to the bed. Aragorn chuckled, and helped me back under the covers.
"That is precisely why we cannot. You are too weak to walk more than two steps, let alone journeying in to Fangorn Forest. They are stout little creatures. I am sure they can take care of themselves."
Aragorn calmed my worries. I nodded, and took deep breaths, calming the emotions whirling inside me. I noticed him looking at me, and I turned to him.
"Is there something on my face?"
I looked at him, a smile tugging at my lips.
"No. I am just marvelling at how well you look, given that four days ago, you were close to death."
I nodded in understanding. Despite Aragorn being well acquainted with the ways of the Elves, sometimes, there were intricacies that still confused him.
"Being reunited with Legolas sped up the healing process."
Aragorn stayed silent and then gently took my hand, looking down at it as he spoke.
"Since you arrived, he has taken over your care. He has stayed at your side day and night, not sleeping and barely eating. It was a good thing you awoke when you did, as he could not have gone on like that for much longer."
I stiffened a little, eyebrows drawing together. I knew that Legolas would be suffering but I had not expected him to forget to take care of himself. I brooded over my partner silently, mind wandering. I did understand his actions – had our roles been reversed, I would have done everything within my power to make sure he healed…whatever the cost.
A pressure on my hand brought me out of my thoughts and I looked to Aragorn in confusion. He was squeezing my hand between his own, his head bowed and shoulders tensed. I reached out my free hand and tilted his head up. His eyes shone with unshed emotion and breathed in sharply, watching his face as it crumpled.
"I could not believe it was you. You were so…broken. If you had died…"
I hushed him, not able to listen to his words and drew him in to an embrace. I held him against me, not minding the sudden flashes of pain that flared up. Aragorn returned the embrace and held me tightly, letting go of the sadness.
I had known him since he was but a small child. His mother had arrived at Imladris, begging Elrond to take him in. He was only three years old and so very frightened about what was happening. His mother died shortly after their arrival, and Elrond took him in, naming him Estel to hide his identity. Whilst Aragorn had grown up, I was living in the Greenwood with Legolas but I made frequent visits to Imladris, as well as to other Elven settlements. Whenever I visited, I would spend a good deal of time with the Dúnedain boy. As time passed, I became a mother figure to him. I loved him fiercely, this little boy that did not know how important he was.
When Legolas left me, I moved out of the Greenwood, back to Imladris. Aragorn had become of age, and learnt his true heritage by that time. He became a Ranger and I kept watch over him, sometimes travelling with him and his band of Rangers. We shared a bond, one that kept us close. He was a true and loyal friend and he had supported me through the years just as I had supported him. I understood his fear of losing someone close to him, someone that he loved.
Finally, Aragorn drew away, taking a deep breath. I said nothing about the few tears on his face and instead straightened out the collar of his tunic. He chuckled softly, obviously remembering the numerous times I had done it to him as a boy.
"I am fine, Aragorn. I will be healed fully in a few days so do not fret."
The Ranger nodded and silence fell in the room. I was content to just have him by my side but he turned to me, his words unexpected.
"Watching Legolas with you…it reminds me of Arwen. Will I ever see her again? I told her to sail for the Undying Lands with her kin. Elrond urged me to let her go."
Aragorn's voice was shaky, his eyes not able to settle on me. I felt a brief flash of anger towards my adoptive father; sometimes, he was too protective over his daughter.
"You think she will have taken your advice? She is far too stubborn to listen to someone telling her what to do, even if it is coming from you. You will see each other again. I am sure of it. As for Elrond, he was merely trying to protect his daughter's heart."
Aragorn nodded, and gave me a small smile. A knock on the door made us both look up. It opened, and Legolas came in, sitting on the other side of the bed. He placed a folded pile of clothes at the end of the bed.
"How are you feeling?"
I smiled brightly at him, feeling better than I had when I had first woken up. Seeing Aragorn, and Legolas, safe and unharmed had boosted my spirit. The knowledge that Gimli and Gandalf were here as well only served to make my will to heal stronger.
"Like myself again."
Legolas grinned back at me and gestured towards the clothes.
"You left your pack at the camp site, when you went in to the forest looking for Frodo and Boromir. It had a spare set of clothes in it."
I glanced towards the pile of clothes, noting that they had been washed.
"If you would help me get dressed, I am ready to pay my respects to the King, and thank him for his hospitality."
I stated my plans firmly. Legolas opened his mouth to protest, but I speared him with a look. Sighing, he nodded.
"I will see you in a moment."
Aragorn spoke up and stood, before giving me one last embrace. He walked out of the room, and shut the door. Legolas helped me to stand up, and I held on to his arms, waiting for the dizziness to subside.
After a few moments, I lifted my head, and nodded at him. I released my hold on him, and let my hands hang down. Legolas gently pushed the shoulders of the nightdress down, and it slid down, pooling at my feet. His eyes ran the length of my body, making me shiver but I gave him a pointed look. He sighed dramatically, and chuckled, hitting him on the shoulder.
"I jest, my love. You will be healed soon enough – I can wait for that long."
The exaggerated leer he gave me caused me to burst in to laughter, the sound seeming somewhat strange to my ears. He grinned back, and started to help me dress.
I know that it is a very short chapter but I think I have a bit of writer's block.I hope that some of the confusion over Aragorn's and Sera's relationship is cleared up. If not, I will try and find somewhere else to explain it bit more.And finally, thank you all so much for your continued support. It helps me to write!
Goheno nin! – Forgive me!