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A Change of Heart (NC-17) Print

Written by Sairalinde and Anorienbean

03 March 2006 | 41243 words

[ all pages ]

Pairing: Haldir/Faramir
Beta: sileya Thank you so much!
Disclaimer: No money was made from this fic, and we do not mean to imply anything about the sexual preferences of anyone mentioned within.
Summary: Taught from a young age to kill all Elves on sight, a young man finds that he no longer agrees with his father’s law when he meets an injured Elf.

Chapter 1

Faramir glanced up at the sky. Judging by the few stars he could see that it was roughly an hour until dawn. He’d been walking in the forest all-night and wondering what had become of his men. He was too far from his own borders, and he was quite frankly turned around- the stars had been blanked out overnight by clouds so he really and truly was lost. The only thing he knew was to keep walking, putting as much distance between himself and orcs… but that also meant possibly putting distance between himself and his men.

The orc attack had been so fast, so harried, that he’d been cut off from his troops in the wild scramble of the attack. There had been hardly any warning. His scouts had gone ahead and were cut down by orc archers. They had found their bodies, and when he’d ordered his Rangers to head back to the cover of the mountains and the caves they dwelled in, the orcs had descended upon them like a black hoard. That was their plan all along, cut down the scouts and when the main assembly of rangers found them, surround them, cut them off from escape, and eliminate them.

It was smart, far smarter than he’d given the orcs credit for. Faramir wondered just how far he’d gone overnight. Ten leagues, more or less? He thought for a time he’d been traveling north by the look of the stars he’d been able to make out, but now he wasn’t so sure. He remembered someone telling him once that Rangers don’t get lost… but he was afraid that he was most certainly that.

He had been lucky to get away unscathed. Faramir had seen more than one of his fall, and it had taken all of his wits and strength to battle the orcs who’d come after him. He wasn’t sure what had drawn them away to be honest, one moment he was almost completely surrounded, and he fought, fought until his arms ached, and then as he cut down the last of the dark enemy he heard an eerie horn sound and saw the others running away. He’d never know why, unless they had tarried long enough to do what they’d set out to and were called away.

As he reached the apex of a small hill he thought he could make out the outline of a house below him. He halfway skidded and slid down the steep embankment until he reached the small vale. The hut was abandoned, that much was clear by how overgrown it was, but it could at least keep him somewhat warm and dry since it looked like it could rain.

Going into the hut, it was dark, and Faramir fumbled for a moment until he found a candleholder with a stub of a fat candle still on it. He took out his flint and sparked it a few times, finally managing to light the dusty wick. Lifting the candle he moved about the hut and walked over to the wide fireplace. He pulled out his sword and leaned down setting the candle down and sticking his head in to look up the chimney. His sword was ready should some small animal have nested there. Seeing nothing, he moved back and re-sheathed his weapon. He bumped an old table, set the candle on it, and decided to go out in search of firewood.

The sun was starting to rise as he searched the area around the hut to find kindling and small tree limbs he could burn. He made sure to look for as much smokeless wood as possible. No reason to draw the unwelcome. He had no idea where he was, and with Gondor’s political views… the views of his father … he wouldn’t be terribly welcome in some of the surrounding realms.

Moving toward a somewhat steep slope he thought he heard something and laid the firewood down silently. He moved as quietly as he could through the damp leaves that littered the ground and peered down into the shallow ravine. What he saw made his breath catch in his chest.

Someone was down there. It was obvious by the way he laid that he was hurt, and Faramir wondered if perhaps it was one of his own Rangers? He couldn’t see the form clearly because the sun’s light hadn’t filtered down into the shadows of the ravine yet, but he was sure it wasn’t an orc.

Haldir lay at the bottom of the ravine, eyes closed, holding his breath as he huddled as close to the embankment as possible, trying to stay in the shadows. He had been injured days before, three, maybe four, he could no longer be certain. The orcs had attacked his patrol, coming out of nowhere. The Elves were far outnumbered, and the orcs fought as if possessed, killing the Elven-archers first, then taking down the remaining few who were left almost as if an afterthought. Haldir had been the only one to survive, though the pain that raged through his body from the moment he’d opened his eyes made him fervently wish he had died with his troops.

The orcs had surrounded him, breathless and grinning as Haldir had crouched low to the ground and gripped his sword. His bow had been destroyed, the delicate wood snapped beneath the feet of the foul creature that had cornered Haldir just before. Quick as lightning, Haldir had driven his dagger into the beast’s neck and watched as it fell to the ground. Before he could even turn around, he heard the sound of the Elves under his command screaming as one by one they fell. A sharp blow to his stomach made him fall to the ground, and the rancid breath of one of the creatures filled his nostrils even as he tried to turn his head away. He was kicked and beaten from everywhere at once, the blows raining on his arms, legs and stomach, scarcely giving him a moment to breathe. Haldir fought as best he could, but there were simply too many, and before he knew it, the biggest and strongest of the orcs pulled his leg over a rock and pressed down. The sickening sound of bone breaking reached Haldir’s ears just before the pain raced up from his leg and his scream was lost among the harsh laughter of the beasts surrounding him.

The orcs continued to kick him for a few minutes more, but when Haldir had passed out from the pain, they found no more fun in their games. A dark orc covered in Elven blood lifted Haldir up in disgust and threw him down the ravine, where he landed in a graceless heap on the cold dirt.

He’d lain there for days, as the nights grew colder and longer. His strength slowly ebbed away, and finally, he had simply closed his eyes and waited to be taken to the Halls of Mandos. The ravine was too steep to climb, especially with a broken leg, and he’d tried many times, only to fall back to the ground in more pain than before. He had nothing to bind his leg with other than strips of his tunic, and even that had ripped away the last time he’d tried to climb the walls. Finally, he’d curled up into himself as best he could, waiting for the time when he would fall asleep and not awaken.

But the sounds of someone above him startled him, and even though he knew it was hopeless to even dream of being rescued, he listened closely to the approaching footsteps. It is not an Elf. Maybe whoever it is will leave me alone so that I might pass into the Halls in peace. Taking a deep, painful breath, his eyes closed and he fought to stay conscious, hoping that whoever was above him would either kill him quickly or simply think him dead and walk away.

Faramir started down into the ravine, scrambling and slipping on the damp leaves. Whoever was down here was obviously hurt, perhaps even dead already, but if the tables were turned he wouldn’t want to be the one down in the ravine and someone pass him by. Finally, coming to a bit of a skidding halt beside the huddled form, he leaned over and touched a shoulder. He could feel the heat of the body, though just barely. “Where are you hurt?” Faramir decided was the most basic question at this point. He couldn’t see the other person’s face in the dim light, only a fall of long light colored hair tangled with leaves and dirt.

Haldir’s eyes remained firmly shut as his heart began to race in his chest. The voice was soft, the touch against his shoulder was gentle, and at least it wasn’t an orc. A Man. Is that any better than an orc?. He knew little of Men… had known of the young one raised in Imladris, and could only hope that the one behind him was as kind. The others he knew of the human race were not as kind, but at worst, maybe this one would serve to hasten his departure to the Halls of Mandos. At best, maybe he could help him recover so he could return to his home, recover, and gather an army to kill the creatures that had attacked the Elves. Slowly opening one eye, Haldir released his breath and shivered. He turned his head slowly to look at the Man crouched beside him and was made momentarily speechless by the sight of the bluest eyes he’d ever seen. “My… leg,” he murmured, finally forcing himself to look away. “My leg is broken.”

Faramir felt as if he were caught up in some sort of spell as the wounded man turned to look up at him. What little light that spilled into the ravine seemed to shine in the most beautiful blue eyes he’d ever seen in his life, and he blinked when the other person looked away. When he indicated his leg, Faramir shifted slightly trying to get a good look, but the shadows were still deep. “I am sorry. Getting you out of here will be painful… but I found shelter nearby,” he explained softly. He felt bad for the other warrior, he couldn’t tell from
what little clothing he could see if he was a Man of Gondor or one of the other realms or smaller villages. Remembering his manners Faramir cleared his throat. “My name is Faramir, of Gondor… what is yours?”

Haldir’s shoulders slumped in relief when Faramir mentioned shelter. Maybe he will help me? Maybe it is not my time yet? The thoughts of a warm fire and some food in his stomach made him smile and he gingerly tried to sit up. Groaning as his leg protested, he gritted his teeth and took a deep breath, willing the pain away. “I am Haldir,” he said weakly. “My home is in Lórien, or, as some call it, The Golden Wood. Perhaps you have heard of it?”

Faramir recoiled slightly when the Man..or… Elf spoke. “Lórien… you… you’re an Elf?” he asked in disbelief. His heart was pounding rapidly in his chest as years and years of his father telling him all Elves were to be shot on sight. No parole, no quarter, shot on sight within the realm of Gondor. But you aren’t IN Gondor. You have no idea where you are! He’s hurt… you can’t possibly kill an unarmed, injured Man… or Elf! He struggled with the ideas and thoughts in his mind and shook his head. “I… I’ve heard of it… though I’m sure what I’ve heard may differ from what you know of your home,” Faramir said diplomatically. He was torn between simply ending the creature’s life as his father had always demanded of soldiers of Gondor, or helping him.

Haldir sensed the sudden unease in the Man’s posture and the strain in his voice. Many Men hated the Elves and killed them on sight. Though he wasn’t dead yet, that didn’t mean this Man didn’t mean to harm him. Instantly, his smile faded and he shook his head. “I have no doubt that your words are true,” he said sadly. “My home is a place of beauty and light, one that I had hoped to see again. I do not think I will be granted that privilege, however, judging from the look in your eyes. Kill me if you must, Faramir. I am ready, and I will not fight you.”

Faramir looked at Haldir in shock and for the first time in his life disobeyed his father’s order. Who would know out here? “I… I… my orders are to kill an Elf on sight… but… I’m not a murderer, Haldir. You’re injured, and… despite my orders it would not be honorable for me to kill you like this. I… I cannot,” he said softly. Faramir simply could not kill someone in cold blood… not someone who hadn’t and simply couldn’t attack him. It… just wasn’t right, he told himself. His father would have to understand. He would have to understand honor. “We will… simply go with my original plan of getting you out of here… and… let go of the… politics for the moment? A warrior is nothing without honor.” He shifted slightly closer to the Elf and tried to push out of his mind any notion that those amazing blue eyes had any bearing on his decision to help Haldir rather than kill him.

Feeling his heart warm, Haldir nodded and silently regarded the Man beside him. After a moment, he spoke. “I… I do not know what to say,” he whispered. “I do understand honor, and I see you have that in abundance, Faramir. I would truly appreciate your help.” But will you kill me when I have healed? Will you force me to fight you? Pushing away his thoughts, Haldir shifted again and bit his bottom lip to keep from moaning as the pain raced up his leg. “I cannot walk,” he continued. “I was attacked by orcs many days ago, and even if I were not so weak from the loss of blood, my leg has broken in two, and I cannot put any weight on it. I’ve tried… I simply cannot.”

Faramir frowned as he saw Haldir shift and bite back a moan of pain. “I suppose I could carry you, but the leaves are damp, and it’s so steep I’m afraid it would end up making you worse or getting both our necks broken. I could drag you – it would hurt, though,” he said, running over the possibilities in his mind. As the rising sun’s light filtered over the top of the ravine Faramir sat back on his heels and then sucked in a breath as golden sunlight danced over the features of the Elf before him. Haldir was quite simply the most beautiful being he’d ever encountered in his life. He blinked a few times trying to push the thoughts away. You’re already a traitor for helping him. Now you’re enamored by him? Shaking himself he looked up the steep path he’d used.

Leaning back against the wall of the embankment, Haldir looked toward the far end of the ravine. “If you could bring me something to stabilize my leg, and if you could… help me, I think there is another way out of here.” He was reluctant to ask Faramir for his help, but, he had offered. “There is a longer way around, I believe, but I could not travel it alone. I think the trail leads back to the upper side of this ravine, and I will do my best to travel it if you can find me something to use as a crutch. I would not burden you any more than I have to. I only hope the shelter you mentioned isn’t too far. I do not think I have much strength left in me.”

“It’s not far at all,” Faramir assured him and then turned to look where Haldir had. “I’ll get you a crutch, but you will lean on me as well. I saw a few saplings as I was coming down, I think a few of them will be all we need to stabilize your leg… I can use pieces of my cloak to secure them,” he said softly and then looked up at Haldir. Going to cut down the saplings would mean leaving him, and the Elf could think that Faramir had left him for good. Unfastening his cloak he carefully wrapped it around Haldir. “There… it’s cold and this way… you’ll be certain that I’ll return,” he said firmly.

Looking up at Faramir in stunned surprise, Haldir’s fingers curled around the edge of the cloak as he pulled it closer. So… he does mean to return. He truly is an honorable Man. Although how could he be otherwise with such clear and beautiful eyes? They speak more clearly than his words, and I do not sense that he wishes me dead, despite his misgivings. “Thank you, mellonamin (my friend),” he said softly. “It is indeed cold. I have lain here for so long, I have forgotten how good it is to feel warmth. My own cloak was lost in battle, and the nights have been bitter.” He reached out and placed one hand on Faramir’s forearm and bowed his head. “I appreciate this more than you know. I thought I would never see my brothers again, but you have given me hope once more, though I sense it is against your better judgment.”

Faramir swallowed hard and inclined his head in a slight bow to Haldir. “I have a brother too,” he whispered. “I’d like to think, if the tables were turned… that you’d offer me the same respite. I… .I am going against my own father’s orders by not killing you, Haldir. But it is my better judgment which has stayed my hand, at least… I’d like to think that,” he said smiling slightly. “I won’t be long,” he said, gently laying his hand over Haldir’s and almost jolting at how right it felt. He moved away quickly, back up the steep path before either of them could say anything more.

Haldir’s skin felt warm long after Faramir had pulled his hand away, and he simply leaned back and watched as the young Man moved up the path before him. Of course I would offer him respite. I do not think I could not kill him, even if we met in battle. How could one possibly kill someone so beautiful? Startled at his own thoughts, Haldir shook his head and leaned back against the embankment. He rested as best he could, trying to conserve his energy and keep his mind off the steady throbbing in his leg. He remembered Faramir had said he was from Gondor. The Elves were well aware that the steward told his people lies their race, and it was amazing to Haldir that this gentle young Man could see past those lies to help him. He honestly didn’t think that Faramir would try to kill him after he was healed… but would he free him or take him back to Gondor as his prisoner? It was too much to think about just now, and he drifted off into a restless sleep as he waited for Faramir to return.

Faramir moved up the steep path and found the saplings he’d remembered, a small thicket of them, growing right out of the side of the hill. He used his sword to cut them down and then moved about the area and managed to find a tree limb that might make a good crutch. He tested it with his own weight and determined the wood green enough to carry Haldir at least the short distance to the hut he’d found. Faramir kept trying to push thoughts of those bright blue eyes and the way that Haldir’s long lashes had rested against the tops of his cheeks as he’d closed them once. He kept telling himself the reason was honor alone, why he hadn’t killed Haldir, but deep down he knew he was lying to himself. Moving quickly back down the embankment, he sunk to his knees beside Haldir.

“I think these will do,” he said, laying the saplings and the branch that could be a crutch beside them.

Haldir was startled from his reverie and jumped slightly at the sound of Faramir’s voice. A smile automatically touched his lips as he looked at the Man beside him and reached for one of the freshly cut pieces of wood. “Perfect,” he said softly as he tested the strength of the wood. “I tried to bind my leg before… some days ago, I think, but when I tried to move around, I fell and everything broke… including a new part of my leg, I think. Would you… well, I hate to ask this, but would you mind splinting it for me? I seem to be weaker than I thought, and my muscles are so sore, I’m not even sure I could reach my leg right now.”

Faramir felt his heart skip in his chest as Haldir smiled at him and he wondered at himself for the reaction. He is so beautiful. Nodding he smiled slightly. “Please don’t worry, I said I would help you and I will. I don’t mind, as I said I’d hope if things were different that you’d do the same for me,” he said softly. Moving closer he tried to judge the best way to splint Haldir’s leg. “I… if you’ll move your good leg, I’ll straddle the injured one, I think a direct approach might work better than trying to do this from the side,” he suggested. Taking the bottom edge of his cloak he drew his knife from his belt and began cutting strips to bind the splits to Haldir’s leg.

Gingerly moving his good leg, Haldir repositioned himself as Faramir asked. “I would,” he said softly, almost as if he were talking to himself. “I would do the same for you if our positions were reversed. You have a kindness in your eyes that I have never before seen in the eyes of a Man. I could never bring myself to extinguish such a light. It is far too rare.” And far too beautiful.

Looking up from his task, Faramir smiled. “I have to admit I saw a similar light in your eyes, Haldir. When you first looked up at me… I was struck by how even in the dim light, and though you were injured, your eyes shone so brightly. I… am not a Man to shirk my duties, but if we’d met under other circumstances… I think I would have simply pretended I did not see you.” He grinned as he cut the final strip from the cloak. “I think this will be enough, I… I don’t want to hurt you, but I fear I will,” he said quietly as he carefully straddled Haldir’s injured leg.

Haldir smiled and nodded. He knew just how Faramir felt. Something about this Man before him was different than anything he’d ever known… some light in his eyes or the soft lilt in his voice… even the way the corners of his lips turned up just right when he smiled. And the way Faramir moved, then spoke to him so kindly… as if he really didn’t want to hurt him. Gritting his teeth, Haldir’s hands fisted around the edges of Faramir’s cloak, and he nodded. “Do what you must,” he said, taking a deep breath. “I will not make any noise… there might still be orcs about, and I would not alert them to our position.”

Faramir nodded and took a deep breath, truly not wishing to hurt Haldir but knowing that no matter how gentle he was, the untreated leg would hurt. He imagined just breathing probably hurt. As carefully and with as much gentility as he could muster he set the leg, feeling tears sting his eyes from the muffled moan of pain he heard from his companion. His heart truly went out to the Elf as he finished binding the splints to Haldir’s leg. Carefully he moved away from Haldir and placed his hand on his shoulder for a moment. “I am sorry that I had to hurt you, Haldir,” he whispered softly. Taking a deep breath, Faramir looked away and tried to understand why it bothered him so greatly that this Elf he hardly knew drew such feelings of compassion and… protection from him. “When you feel well enough, I can help you to your feet. There is no hurry, take all the time you need.”

As Faramir set his leg, Haldir had to bury his face in the cloak wrapped around him to keep from screaming out in pain. When the splint was finally finished, he lay back against the bank behind him, shivering and weak. Setting the leg had hurt even more than the original break, he thought, and he could do nothing more than nod gratefully at the Man beside him as the pain gradually began to ebb away. A fine sheen of sweat covered his face, and the cool morning air stirred around them as he finally began to catch his breath. “Thank you,” he whispered hoarsely, soothed and calmed, somehow, by Faramir’s hand on his shoulder. “I think I can move now. The worst is over… at least, I hope it is.”

“I hope so too,” Faramir said reassuringly. He grabbed the crutch and took the cloak from Haldir, thinking that he’d return it to him once he got settled on his feet. “All right, now let’s see if we can get you to that little hut I found. How… how do you want to do this? I can lift you up, that actually might be the least painful way,” he said, trying to judge the best angle to get Haldir off the ground with the least amount of jostling.

With his leg immobilized, Haldir was wondering the same thing. Standing up would hurt, there was no doubt about that. He looked at Faramir for a moment and nodded thoughtfully. He looked strong, with broad shoulders and lean, but muscled arms that were clearly defined even through his clothing. “If you’re sure,” Haldir said softly. “I hate to be a burden, but I’ve been here so long, I think every muscle in my body is more or less frozen, not to mention the fact that my leg is useless. It would save us time, I think.”

“I don’t mind, in fact, I think it will probably be best,” Faramir said, throwing his cloak over his shoulder and leaning the crutch against a nearby tree that would be within easy reach. Stepping over Haldir he smiled briefly and then leaned down. This was the best way he could think of since the slope was so steep it wouldn’t take as much effort to get Haldir standing pulling him forward in the direction of the slope, rather than fighting against it. “Put your arms around my neck, Haldir, I’ll lift you and step backward at the same time. We’ll work with the slope, and this way if you lose your balance on one leg, I’m here to hold you.”

Haldir nodded and without any hesitation, wrapped both arms around Faramir’s neck. As a strong arm wrapped around his shoulder and another slid beneath his legs, Haldir automatically pulled himself closer, trying not to cause them both to overbalance. Before he realized it his face was buried against the warm skin of Faramir’s neck and his eyes closed – not from pain this time, but from pleasure. Faramir smelt of warmth and sunshine, of leather and something else… a musky, rich scent that was uniquely his own and made Haldir smile and take another deep breath. He was so focused on the delicious scent of the Man holding him, he barely registered when Faramir straightened up and looked down at him. Oh. I guess I should let go now. Relaxing his grip, he blushed and looked away. “Sorry,” he murmured, as he waited for Faramir to set him back on his feet.

When Haldir’s arms wrapped around his neck, Faramir drew in a quick breath and felt his pulse skip as he helped to lift his companion. His blood seemed to warm in his veins as Haldir’s face pressed against his neck, and it simply felt right holding him like that. He realized that he held him like that longer than was truly necessary and again found himself wondering why he was so affected by the beautiful Elf. Then again, he’s so beautiful, that’s probably why. When he finally managed to set Haldir on his good leg and steadied him with his hands at his waist, Faramir looked at him with concern. “Are you all right?” he asked, noting the flush on Haldir’s cheeks.

Balancing himself by holding on to Faramir’s arms, Haldir rested his weight on his uninjured leg and had to bite back a smile. He’d never been this attracted to someone before in his life. He’d been with more than a few Elves in his time, but none of them made him blush like this or made it hard for him to think. You cannot be attracted to a Man. Elves and humans simply do not mix, and, if you remember, he has been taught all his life to hate Elves and kill them on sight. Do you honestly think you are so breathtakingly wonderful that he will forget everything he has ever known and ride off into the sunset with you? Think again, you silly Elf! And get a grip on yourself! “I’m… fine,” Haldir stammered, finally managing to look up and meet Faramir’s gaze. “Just a little… weak.”

Faramir nodded. “That’s to be expected. Just hang onto me as much as you need. I won’t let you get hurt further,” he promised. Stepping to the side, Faramir grabbed the crutch leaning against the tree and handed it to Haldir, helping him get it positioned under his arm properly. Then he took his cloak and draped it over Haldir’s shoulders and fastened it. “Your clothing is damp from the dew, this might help keep the chill from you,” he whispered as Haldir looked at him oddly. Moving to Haldir’s good side he slid his arm around his waist. “Lean on me when you need to,” he said softly and waited for Haldir to tell him when he was ready to move.

He’s not only helping me, he worried about my comfort? Haldir felt the warmth of the cloak surrounding him again as the thought raced through his mind. He was touched beyond words from the simple gesture and stared at Faramir in shock. The firm, steady arm around his waist grounded him, and he lifted his own arm to wrap around Faramir’s shoulder. “Thank you again, my friend,” he said softly. “I will find a way to repay your kindness one day, I swear.” With another deep breath, he nodded toward the trail. “I think I am ready.”

“You don’t need to repay me,” Faramir said, shaking his head. He watched Haldir closely to make sure he truly wasn’t in much pain, and they slowly started making their way toward the trail. It was a longer way around, but there was simply no other way with Haldir’s leg in the shape it was in. Their progress was slow, and they stopped many times to allow Haldir to rest. Faramir decided once they reached level ground he’d simply carry his companion the rest of the way, it would be faster and less draining for Haldir, who already seemed ready to collapse. “It doesn’t look like it’s much further,” he said encouragingly.

Haldir was shaking once again from exhaustion, and he truly wasn’t sure he could make it much further anyway. He was leaning heavily on Faramir, despite the crutch, and moving around had caused his leg to throb even worse. His skin was pale and his breathing harsh as he stopped once again and rested against a tree. It would be snowing soon and the air was steadily growing colder. “I’m sorry, Faramir,” he gasped. “I know you must be cold too, and I’m keeping you out here when you could be nice and warm in the cabin. Maybe you should have pretended you didn’t see me after all.”

Faramir frowned and shook his head. “What sort of talk is that? We are almost there,” Faramir said softly. He saw the look of defeat in Haldir’s eyes, and it made his heart twist in his chest. He decided, level ground or not, he was carrying Haldir the rest of the way to the little hut. He moved closer to his companion and smiled encouragingly. “You are doing incredibly well under the circumstances,” he whispered. Before Haldir could protest Faramir’s arm slid around him and the other slid under his legs as before when he’d helped him up. He smiled slightly when he saw Haldir’s eyes widen before his arms wrapped around Faramir’s neck. Like before it simply felt right and perfect. “But you’re right… we are both cold, and this will be a bit faster.”

Haldir was shocked once again when he was lifted almost effortlessly. His arms wrapped around Faramir’s neck and he sighed softly, feeling safer than he had any right to feel, being this close to someone of a race that more or less hated the Elves, but he was powerless to push that feeling away. The wonderful scent he’d smelled before relaxed him further and he snuggled close, telling himself that he was simply making it easier for Faramir to carry him, but knowing that he was lying, even to himself. “One day,” he said quietly as his exhaustion began catching up with him, “when I have my strength back, and you are tired, I will carry you, my friend.”

Faramir smiled and pulled Haldir a little closer against him. “And I will look forward to that day,” he said warmly. He knew he shouldn’t feel so protective and so… attached to the Elf so soon and certainly not at all. It was at odds with everything he’d been taught his entire life, but he couldn’t seem to help himself. He moved steadily upwards toward the top of the ravine, and when he finally cleared it and they were once again on level ground, he smiled. The trail had led them within a stone’s throw of the little hut. “Haldir?” he whispered. “There’s the hut… I suppose in daylight it’s more of a cabin. I really couldn’t tell much about it in the dark, but I know the chimney is clear. I was hunting firewood when I found you,” he explained as they moved closer to the small structure.

Reluctantly turning his head away from the warmth of Faramir’s neck, Haldir looked toward the hut and perversely, his first thought wasn’t of the warmth of a blazing fire and a safe shelter from the cold, but that once inside, Faramir would put him down and most likely keep his distance from here on out. Before he could speak, he saw something white drift before his eyes and he turned back to Faramir with a smile. “Snow,” he said softly, watching as large, fluffy flakes landed in Faramir’s hair and on his shoulders. One hand moved from around his neck to gently wipe the flakes from soft ginger-colored hair before he even realized what he was doing. “I love snow. Just not… being trapped outside in it. I would have frozen to death if you hadn’t come along, you know.” Wrinkling his nose as the snow continued to fall over his face, Haldir let his arm rest back around Faramir’s neck and he turned to look at the cabin again. “The cabin looks perfect. And warm.”

Faramir glanced up as Haldir said it was snowing and smiled. He’d always thought snow was beautiful, but he was very glad they had shelter now that it was starting to fall. When he glanced back down at Haldir he felt his heart leap when his friend’s hand brushed at the snowflakes gathering in his hair. When Haldir said he would have frozen to death if he hadn’t found him, he felt a tightness in his chest and looked at his friend only to see him wrinkle his nose in the most endearing manner. Faramir found himself feeling the most irresistible urge to kiss away the snowflakes that gathered on the Elf’s long perfect lashes. Blinking and looking away quickly, he nodded. “It’ll be much warmer once I get a fire going,” he said softly. He pushed the door open with his shoulder and carried Haldir into the small cabin. Now that it was light he could more easily see, and he moved past the table and toward a bed in the corner. It was dusty – everything in the cabin was dusty from disuse – but at least it was warmer than it was out in the cold wind and snow. He carefully set Haldir on the bed. “I’ll go back out and find the firewood I gathered before and then come back and see if we can’t get some warmth and light at least,” he said softly. “Maybe some food for us, I’m sure you’ve got to be starving.”

Haldir settled on the bed and nodded. He was still cold, but the cabin was much warmer than he’d imagined, and once the fire was lit, it would be downright cozy. Still… his arms were warm. I don’t think a fire would feel anywhere near as nice. Blushing, Haldir bit back a smile and laughed as his stomach growled. “I’ve not eaten in a few days,” he admitted. “I didn’t even realize how hungry I was until you mentioned food.” Unwrapping Faramir’s cloak from his shoulders, he grinned. “Come here, my friend,” he said softly. “You will need this back if you’re going outside.” When Faramir looked at him oddly, but moved closer once again, Haldir wrapped the cloak around his shoulders and nodded. “There. I don’t want you freezing out there in the snow.”

Faramir was charmed by the blush that stained Haldir’s cheeks and tried to ignore the warm feeling it gave him. When Haldir asked him to come closer he did so, leaning down slightly and then finding himself surprised as Haldir wrapped the cloak around his shoulders and fastened it for him. His hands slid up and wrapped over the top of Haldir’s, which were every bit as cold as his own. “I won’t be long,” he whispered, feeling caught in Haldir’s gaze. He could simply drown in those beautiful blue eyes, and he felt a blush of his own spread across his cheeks before he released Haldir’s hands and backed away.

Faramir’s blush made Haldir’s even deeper, and it lasted long after Faramir left the cabin in search of food and wood. Haldir’s hands tingled where Faramir’s had rested over them, and he he’d had to bite back a sigh as the young Man had pulled away. He lay back on the bed and pulled the single, thin blanket over him as he watched the door and tried to push the thoughts jumbled in his head to the side. He was hungry and cold, and, oddly enough, he missed Faramir already. How can I miss him? I barely know him. Yet… yet he is the kindest soul I have ever known. Honorable and brave and beautiful and gentle beyond words. Even if I were to die in my sleep tonight, I am glad to have the chance to have known him…

Moving through the woods quickly toward where he’d dropped the firewood he’d gathered earlier, Faramir tried to push the way Haldir had blushed so endearingly from his mind. Unfortunately, the more he tried not to think about Haldir, the more he did think about him. What’s wrong with me? I’ve been taught my entire life that Elves are evil creatures, and… I find myself not being able to believe Haldir has a single evil bone in his body. He sighed heavily as he gathered the wood and made his way back toward the cabin. The snow was falling faster now, and he worried that finding the promised food would be more difficult than he first considered. When he arrived back at the cabin, he smiled at Haldir, who was resting on the bed, and went straight to the fireplace. It took him a bit longer than normal to get the damp kindling to catch, but once it did he continued to feed the fire gradually until the flames began to leap and lick the larger wood. Dusting his hands off he lit the candle he’d used that morning and crossed over to the bed. “It should start warming up in here now,” he said softly. Setting the candle on the small table beside the bed he wasn’t able to stop himself before his hands were tucking the blanket more around Haldir. He paused and smiled. “Now that there is some snow on the ground, I might be able to see if there are any animal tracks. Maybe I can get us something to eat soon,” he said softly, resisting the urge to brush Haldir’s hair back from his forehead.

Haldir smiled sleepily up at Faramir and was struck again by the blue eyes gazing down at him. “You’ve had to carry me for a long way, mellonamin,” he said. “And you’ve been out in the cold as well. Why don’t you rest for a moment and let the fire warm us both?” Reaching one hand out from under the blankets that had been tucked around him so gently, he rested his hand over Faramir’s. “You are freezing. Please… just relax. I promise I won’t starve any time soon.”

If it were possible, Faramir imagined that his heart just melted within his chest as Haldir’s hand rested over his own. Inclining his head he smiled slightly, “Thank you… there is plenty of daylight yet, so perhaps you’re right,” he said softly. Regretfully moving away from Haldir he removed his cloak and hung it near the fire to let it dry and pulled one of the low stools near the table to sit beside Haldir’s bed. “You should rest, I’m sure you haven’t had any for a few days, at least not peaceful rest,” he whispered, noting how tired Haldir looked.

Haldir’s eyes were heavy, but he was loath to look away from Faramir. “I know Men generally don’t like Elves very much,” he said as he fought back a yawn, “but this bed is wide and I will move close to the wall. You are more than welcome to lie down beside me and share the blanket, my friend. I would feel guilty sleeping in a bed while you have nothing but a stool. You should reserve your strength since I seem to be quite helpless.”

As Haldir invited him to share the bed, Faramir looked away for a moment and then nodded. “You shouldn’t move your leg too much… I’ll help you if you like, and then we can share the blanket and our warmth for a few hours at least, before I go back out to hunt for food,” he said standing up. He looked down at his boots, which were quite muddy, and took them off, only then realizing just how frozen his toes were. He wiggled them a bit and hissed. “Wish I hadn’t lost my pack during the fighting,” he murmured to himself. “Let’s get you settled,” he said smiling and helping Haldir move closer to the wall. Once Haldir was settled, Faramir took off his sword belt and few weapons and laid them aside before crawling into the bed beside Haldir. He lay staring at the ceiling beams before rolling to face his companion. “Are you in any pain at all?” he asked softly.

Haldir’s leg ached and as Faramir turned to face him, he knew the pain was easily recognizable in his eyes. Lifting the blanket with one arm, he gently let it rest over his friend and nodded. “It’s not as bad as it was before, but yes… it hurts,” he admitted, drawing back against the wall once again, in case Faramir wished for him to keep his distance. “The orc that broke it… he took great pleasure in breaking it slowly, and I wasn’t able to set it correctly. Elves heal very quickly… in about half the time Men do, but I fear I only made things worse by trying to climb out of the ravine. I fell so many times, I think I did more damage than anything else.”

Faramir felt a sudden desire to find that orc and make him pay very slowly for what he’d done to Haldir. He frowned at that thought and shook his head. “Maybe now that it’s set and you are in a proper bed it will heal correctly,” he said softly. “There are a few willow trees around, I’ll get some bark from them and brew you a tea from it. It’ll help a bit with the pain.” Unable to help himself, Faramir reached out and brushed a lock of long, surprisingly silky hair back and tucked it gently behind Haldir’s elegantly pointed ear. So beautiful. Are all Elves this beautiful or only him?

Haldir smiled at the unexpected gesture and unconsciously leaned into Faramir’s touch. A soft sigh fell from his lips and he resisted the urge to move closer, to wrap himself in the warmth of Faramir’s arms and close his eyes, feeling safe and relaxed, as he did back in the Golden Wood. “Hmmm,” he murmured softly, both from the gentle touch and the drowsiness that was slowly coming over him. “Feels nice. And tea sounds good. But after you rest. Please… relax here with me for a while.”

Faramir was slightly startled by the warmth that shot through him from Haldir’s contented murmur and soft sigh. His fingertips brushed against smooth skin for only a heartbeat, but that single touch sent another wave of warmth through him and his breath hitched in his chest. Gods… I must be losing my mind. The desire to gather Haldir in his arms was almost overwhelming, and he drew his hand back, unsure what to do with himself, his face burning from a deep blush.

Haldir was asleep moments later, the pain in his leg forgotten for a time, and he was finally able to relax and really rest… something he’d been unable to do in the ravine, where even in his haze of pain and restlessness, he’d tried to listen for the orcs’ return. The bed was wide, and there were several inches between Haldir and Faramir, but the room was still cold, and even in his sleep, Haldir craved the warmth of the body beside him. Snoring softly, he instinctively kept his legs still as his upper body moved toward Faramir. One hand was tucked neatly under his cheek and the other curled up against Faramir’s chest as he shivered. “Cold,” he murmured softly, before his words were lost in the deep breaths of sleep and he relaxed once again.

Faramir watched as Haldir fell asleep and simply listened to his soft breaths and very soft snores, which made him smile. As Haldir moved closer in his sleep and then the word ‘cold’ was murmured, Faramir closed his eyes and then moved a little closer and wrapped his arm around the Elf. They were both cold, and he realized his hesitation earlier hadn’t been not wanting to be near a person he’d been told his whole life was an enemy, but because he was afraid of what feelings it stirred within him, simply touching Haldir, watching him. It’s only sharing warmth. All of this… all of it has simply been the honorable thing to do. He told himself those things, but even in his mind he knew the words didn’t ring true. Scooting just a little closer, very carefully, Faramir rested his chin on top of Haldir’s head and tucked the blanket around them a little more. He closed his own eyes and let himself drift off into dreams as well.

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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: Shari , LoretoW , blondie , Icefairy , Sadie , Line , Line , Maggi , tolkienlover

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4 Comment(s)

NB: Comments span all chapters and may contain spoilers!


— Marti    9 August 2006, 11:21    #

I read this one when I was depressed, it was beautiful so lovely! I loved the idea of Haldir suffering, not because I like the idea of him suffering, but because he was defendless and had to rely on Faramir the whole story because of his broken leg. And It was so painful when they arrived to Lothlorien and there was this Elf who didn’t want Faramir to pass, and Haldir told him that he was the one who had thaught him those rules of not let anu man enter. It was wonderful! I read that story two times :) It was beautiful!

— LoretoW    25 March 2010, 06:35    #

Yet another wonderful story from the two of you :-) Great work. Your descriptions of persons and invironment are so alive :-) love it

— blondie    14 December 2013, 19:02    #

I love this fiction, its amazing.Its so alive.. Do you have a website or other sites where I can read more?

— Sofia    6 June 2017, 17:22    #

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