You Can't Take Me

Chapter 10

Legolas woke the next morning as the sun shone in his eyes. Blinking rapidly, he sat up, looking around at the hammock. Dimoriel was not there, so he rose and started down the stairs.

"Good morning," Dimoriel said as he entered the living room, where she was busy at the stove.

"Morning," Legolas said, taking a seat at the end of the cleanest table. "Did you sleep alright?"

"Yes," she said, her back to him. "I did not dream at all."

"I am glad," Legolas said, watching her work.

"I made eggs for breakfast," she said, sliding the eggs out of the frying pan and onto a plate. She turned around and walked over to the table, placing them in front of him.

"Thank you," he said softly as she returned to the stove.

Dimoriel was different this morning. She looked normal, dressed as usual in her green and brown tunic with her dark brown hair down in ringlets around her face, though she had not put the feathers back in. What he had noticed when she turned around was that her features had changed. They were softer, not as sharp and defined as usual. Like she was no longer had her guard up. Legolas was taken aback by this change, so sudden and unexpected.

"Do you want tea or water?" she asked, cracking a couple more eggs into her pan.

"Water is fine," he said, starting on the eggs in front of him. As he ate, he watched her move around the kitchen space. Her features hadn't been the only thing to change. Her bearing was different, more fluid and graceful. She was starting to look more like an elf, he realized, and less like a human warrior. While she had grace and poise before, she had always appeared more rigid and tense. Somehow, her walls were coming down.

After cooking another plate of eggs, she came and sat down across from him, eating slowly and looking down at her plate.

"Thank you," she said after a while. Legolas looked up at her again. She glanced up at him briefly before her eyes returned to her plate. "You don't know what it means to not have those dreams anymore."

"Of course," Legolas said softly, eyes following her fork as she ate. "I cannot say I understand what you are going through, but I understand how painful it can be to have to relive your past."

They finished breakfast in silence. As Dimoriel finished, Legolas stood, taking his plate and hers to the sink, where he started washing them.

"You don't have to do that," she said, coming over to stand next to him.

"Of course I don't. But I am going to anyway. And as soon as I am done, we can go find your knife."

"Do you think we will be able to find it if it went in the creek?"

"It isn't very deep. I don't expect it to have gone very far."

He finished cleaning the dishes quickly, and after fetching his damaged tunic from the balcony, he announced he was ready to go find her knife.

"How far away is it?"

"Not too far. It took about half an hour to get you back here after you passed out."

"If Sulinte is nearby we can ride him so it doesn't take so long," Dimoriel said, heading out the front door. She whistled loudly, looking out to the west. Moments later, Sulinte trotted out of the woods towards her.

"I can walk," Legolas assured her as she swung herself onto Sulinte's bare back.

"I am sure your father will be wondering where you are," Dimoriel pointed out as she looked down at him. "It would probably be best to hurry."

Knowing that she was right, Legolas leapt up behind her, settling onto the horses back. He wasn't sure how Dimoriel would react to him putting his arm around her for support, so he kept his hands to himself.

"Which way?" she asked as she shifted forward, either giving him more space to settle in or trying to keep her body away from his.

"That way," Legolas indicated, sliding forward slightly until he was more comfortable, but still not getting too close to Dimoriel. She softly urged Sulinte forward, trotting in the direction Legolas had indicated.

It was a short ride to the creek. Legolas slid off first, Dimoriel landing beside him.

"It should be in this area," Legolas said, walking towards the creek. Dimoriel looked around at the spots of blood around the clearing before following Legolas.

"There it is," he said, pointing to the knife, wedged between a couple rocks near the opposite bank. He started forward before Dimoriel grabbed his arm.

"Wait, it's my knife, I'll get it. Besides, you're still in your nice boots," she said, looking down at his light brown boots. She walked past him, carefully stepping into the river to get her footing before wading across to grab her knife. She quickly picked it up and returned to the bank where Legolas waited.

"That was easier than I expected," she said, stepping out of the water. Legolas smiled as she dried off the blade on her leggings.

"Now that that is settled, I should probably be returning to the palace, unless you need help with anything else?"

"I am fine," she said, putting the knife in her belt. "Why don't you take Sulinte back? It is a long way back to the palace on foot."

"I can manage," Legolas assured her.

"I am sure you can, but it will be a good deal faster on horseback. Sulinte can find his own way home."

"Are you sure?" he asked, seeing the logic in her argument but not wanting to deprive her of her mode of transportation.

"Of course. I know I wouldn't let you buy him, but I can certainly let you borrow him." Legolas smiled at this, looking up at the dark red horse.

"When you put it that way, I think I have to ride him," Legolas said, directing his smile at Dimoriel. "I will stop by tomorrow if I can to see how you are doing."

"Alright," Dimoriel said, watching him mount Sulinte. "Thank you again, for everything."

"My pleasure," Legolas said before turning Sulinte and galloping out of the clearing. Dimoriel started in the opposite direction, using her walk home to sort out her jumbled thoughts.

Legolas rode up to the palace gates, greeting the guards as he dismounted and patted Sulinte's neck.

"I was right to think you would be a wonderful horse," he said with a smile as the horse looked at him with big dark eyes. "But I am glad Dimoriel has you. I can tell you are happy where you are." He smiled as Sulinte snorted softly before the horse turned and began trotting off back into the forest. Legolas entered the palace, and was quickly set upon by a servant.

"Prince Legolas! Your father has been looking for you all morning."

"I am sure he has," Legolas replied with a sigh. "Where is he?"

"In his study."

He would have liked to have returned to his room and changed, but Legolas instead made for his father's quarters, knocking on the large wooden door before entering.

"Legolas! Where have you been?"

"I am sorry, ada, I had business to attend to last night."

"Does this 'business' have anything to do with Lady Dimoriel?"

"Yes," Legolas said slowly, wondering what his father was going to do with this information.

"Did she happen to have another attack last night?"

"Does it matter?"

"Yes, though I don't really need your answer because I can see you have a nice bruise on your jaw that answers for you." Legolas reached up and touched his jaw again, wincing as he touched the sensitive spot.

"She did have an attack, but it was handled. She got herself away from everyone else before anything happened."

"Not away from everyone apparently," King Thranduil said, eyeing the dark purple bruise on his son's cheek.

"This is only because I was preventing her from hurting herself," Legolas explained. "She did not attack me directly."

"I do not like that she is so volatile," the king said with a frown. "I thought you said this wasn't going to happen."

"This only happened because your advisor was poking his nose into her business," Legolas said angrily before he could stop himself. Thranduil raised his eyebrows at his son, clearly not liking his tone. Taking a deep breath, Legolas continued more civilly. "Lord Maenthor was talking about her at home and Lady Dimoriel felt betrayed after she had spent so much time helping him."

"Lord Maenthor will certainly not be bothering her again," King Thranduil said, sitting down at his desk. "And neither will you."

"Excuse me?" Legolas asked, surprised.

"I don't want you getting in the way of her fits again. What if she were armed? You could be killed."

"She has been armed both times," Legolas said before he realized this probably wasn't helping his case. "Duarthon and I disarmed her and restrained her without incident."

"Clearly not without incident, as you have walked away with injuries each time."

"Perhaps, but nothing serious," Legolas said casually. "The point is, I know how to deal with her fits. I can help."

"Duarthon should know how to handle it by now as well, then," Thranduil said, starting to go through paperwork, indicating his disinterest in continuing the conversation.

"Please, let me do this. I can keep her from having another fit."

Thranduil looked up at his son, who refused to look away from the king's piercing gaze.

"Very well," Thranduil said, looking down at his work again. "But if she has any more of her fits, you are not going anywhere near her again. Understood?"

"Yes sir," Legolas said with relief. He was just about to leave when his father spoke again.

"Is there a reason you were gone all night and returned with her horse?" he asked, eyes still running across the page he was reading. Legolas hesitated, his hand on the door, before he turned around again.

"She has nightmares after her fits. Last time, I sang to her like naneth use to for me, and the nightmares stopped. So I sang for her again last night."

Legolas watched as Thranduil flipped through more papers. He hoped that bringing up his absent mother might help his cause, but it could backfire just as easily.

"Don't make a habit of it," Thranduil said with the air of finality. Legolas bowed, turning and quickly leaving before his father could come up with anything else to say.

"You are particularly cheerful today. I take it you and Dimoriel are on good terms again?"

"Yes we are," Legolas said, sitting down for lunch with Duarthon. "I was actually rather surprised at how well things went."

"How is that?"

"We had a pleasant conversation last night, she made me breakfast this morning, she let me borrow Sulinte to return here after we retrieved her knife from the creek, and she did not complain when I offered to check up on her tomorrow."

"Glad to hear things are going so well," Duarthon said with a smile. "Mostly I'm glad that you are not moody anymore. For a while there I was considering avoiding you."

"Was it really that bad?" Legolas asked, concerned at how much his mood changed just based on his friendship with Dimoriel.

"It wasn't pretty," Duarthon said, starting on his lunch. "If you are going to check on her tomorrow, why don't you both join us for dinner? It has been a while since you stopped by."

"I would be happy to," Legolas said with a smile. "I don't imagine Dimoriel will say no either."

Legolas galloped through the forest the next day, enjoying the cool autumn weather. The leaves were beautiful shades of yellow and red, and it felt good to have an excuse to go out riding again. As Caranghir leapt over a fallen log, Legolas smiled appreciatively. It was days like this that made life worth living. As Dimoriel's home came into view, he saw her kneeling outside by her garden. He had been too preoccupied the last time he had come up to realize just how much had grown around the house since she had moved in just over a month before. It wasn't quite to the same level as her old house, but it was starting to look lush and wild.

Dimoriel looked up as Caranghir came to a stop behind her and Legolas dismounted gracefully. She stood with a smile, brushing her hands off on her tunic.

"Good evening," she said pleasantly.

"Evening," Legolas said, returning her smile. "I don't suppose you talked to Lithiril or Duarthon in the past couple days?"

"No, not since they left the other night. Why?"

"Duarthon asked us to join him for dinner tonight if that isn't too much trouble."

"Oh, alright," Dimoriel said, looking down at herself. "I guess I will go change and we can head over there." She disappeared inside, leaving Legolas to observe her garden. Elves naturally are gifted with magic that helps plants grow, but he was impressed with just how much had managed to grow in the short time Dimoriel had been tending the space around her house. Even the tree around which her house was built looked healthier, despite the leaves changing with the season.

Dimoriel returned quickly, dressed in a cleaner tunic. He noticed her hands were still bandaged, though they were much looser than when he had tied them.

"At some point I am going to have to see how your hands are healing," he said as she descended the steps.

"They are fine," she said, playing with the edge of the fabric as her attention was brought to the wrappings. "I just changed the bandages."

"I can tell," Legolas said, taking one of her hands. "They are not wrapped particularly tight."

"They'll be fine," Dimoriel said, taking her hand out of his and whistling, making him wince since he was not prepared for the sharp sound. Sulinte did not appear as he did the previous day.

"Looks like I am walking," she said, starting off towards Lithiril and Duarthon's home.

"Hold on a moment. You let me ride with you yesterday, the least I can do is return the favor for this short ride."

"I can walk. It isn't very far."

"I know, but I made you walk home yesterday so I insist you ride with me today."

"Very well," she said, letting him mount Caranghir. He held out his hand for her, which she took, wincing slightly as he pulled her up behind him.

"Are you alright?" he asked, noticing the wince.

"I'll be fine," she said, readjusting her bandages. "I just wasn't expecting it."

"Just be careful you don't make yourself bleed again. I had hoped there was enough padding it wouldn't be painful."

"I'm okay, really," she said as they started towards their friends' home. He felt her shift behind him, putting her hands on his waist as Caranghir started trotting. At least she was comfortable enough with him to make that small gesture.

They arrived at Lithiril and Duarthon's quickly, Dimoriel slid off Caranghir as soon as he stopped, Legolas quickly following.

"Good evening!" Lithiril called through the open window. "Come on in!" The elves quickly entered the house, taking seats at the table as Lithiril went to find Duarthon.

"Will you let me look at your hands now?" Legolas asked while their hostess fetched her husband.

"They are fine," Dimoriel repeated, hiding them under the table.

"Then at least let me tighten the bandages," Legolas said, holding out his hand. Reluctantly, Dimoriel put her hand in his so he could look at it. He gently unwound the bandage until he could see the cuts on her palm.

"They seem to be healing nicely," he commented, flipping her hand over to check her knuckles. "I think you'll live."

"Glad to hear it," Dimoriel said with a smile as he carefully wrapped the bandage again, much tighter than her own sloppy attempt. He then took her other hand and began unwinding the bandage. He was almost to her palm when he noticed blood seeping through the layers.

"I thought you said you were fine," he said, unwrapping her hand delicately until he could see the cuts that were once again oozing blood slowly.

"What's wrong?" Lithiril asked, returning to the dining room with Duarthon.

"I may have helped Dimoriel break the skin on her palm again," Legolas said, trying not to make her hand bleed anymore. "Do you have a clean bandage?"

"I'll get one," Duarthon said, disappearing for a moment before returning with a clean linen cloth. Legolas took it from him and began wrapping Dimoriel's hand once more.

"Let's try not to make it worse, alright?" Legolas said, grinning up at Dimoriel as he finished tying off the end of the bandage.

"Yes my lord," she replied pleasantly, meeting his eyes briefly before looking back down at her hand.

"Now that that adventure is over, who is hungry?" Lithiril said, setting a plate of roast chicken on the table.

It was a good meal with good conversation. The last time they all ate together, Dimoriel had barely said a word. This time, she joined in the conversation, smiling and talking with her friends. But at one point during the meal when she and Legolas were talking, she failed to notice a look passed between the couple across the table.

"Thank you for dinner, Lithiril," Dimoriel said as Legolas and Duarthon went outside, talking about their work.

"You are very welcome," the other elleth said with a smile. "I am just glad to see you and Prince Legolas getting along again. You seem much happier."

"I am just trying to be more grateful for his help. As you said, I shouldn't be so hard on him. I know now that he wasn't just trying to keep an eye on me on his father's orders."

"Good," Lithiril said with a smile, glancing out the window. "I think Legolas is ready to go. Goodnight, Dimoriel."


Dimoriel quickly exited the house, passing Duarthon as he came back in.

"So what do you think?" he asked, standing beside his wife as the she watched Dimoriel talk to Legolas briefly before he picked her up and put her on top of Caranghir, presumable to keep her from doing further damage to her hand.

"I think that we should not have left them alone the other night," Lithiril said, watching Legolas swing up into the saddle behind her. "I did not expect this."

"I had a feeling this would happen," Duarthon said, watching the stallion gallop down the path to Dimoriel's. "As soon as I realized Legolas's bad mood was connected to her relationship with Maenthor, I had my suspicions."

"You know I love Dimoriel, but I am afraid. This could end very badly for both of them."

"There is nothing we can do, melamin. There are both too headstrong to listen to any warnings we give them. It might only encourage them."

"I have never seen her so happy," Lithiril mused quietly. "When she looked at him, she was positively glowing."

"I think the biggest problem they face right now is the King. If he finds out, then there surely will be a long and heated debate in the palace."

"I hope that is the only problem they face," Lithiril replied, turning away from the window.

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