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Cold Comfort

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Title: Cold Comfort
Beta: Vesta, Oshun, Jael
Rating: R
Pairing: Glorfindel/Haldir
Warnings: None
Genre: slash, PWP

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

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Follow me, Haldir!" Glorfindel shouted over the raging wind as the snow fell around them so fast as to blind even Elven eyes.

Haldir followed, struggling to make out Glorfindel's silhouette only a few feet ahead of him in the dimming light. Night was falling as swiftly, and with as chilling an inevitability, as the snow growing high around their ankles.

Haldir blinked and shook his head, the only warmth he felt that of the blood streaming down his right arm. He gripped the wound tightly with his left hand, trying to staunch the flow, but his fingers were numb, his senses muted by blood loss and cold, and the red drops trailing him grew steadily larger.

Unable to keep up with Glorfindel, he soon lost sight of him and sank to his knees with a groan. He immediately struggled to rise, but with little success. Despite the shrill howling of the wind, Glorfindel heard the sound and hurried back to aid him.

"It is just a bit further, Haldir," Glorfindel said as he helped him to his feet. "Come, let me help you. We must hurry."

Haldir nodded. The warg riders might already be on their trail and there would be too many for the two of them to fight. The snow would cover their tracks but not before they picked up the scent of his blood. He looked at his arm, noticing for the first time how freely the blood still flowed, and then looked apologetically at Glorfindel.

"Hiding will do us no good, I fear. The wound is deep and I am leaving a most obvious trail."

Glorfindel grimaced at the sight of Haldir's wound. He had seen the warg catch at Haldir's arm with its claw, but had been too busy dispatching the rider to assess how badly his companion was injured. Haldir, as stoic as ever, had fled with him from the lone scout promptly and without complaint. They both knew they had to move quickly to get away before the larger company of riders arrived. Yet their flight would do them no good if the riders showed up on their doorstep.

Tearing a strip of cloth from his tunic, Glorfindel quickly and tightly bound the wound, causing Haldir to give a small cry. He pulled Haldir's arm around his shoulders and caught him around the waist, hastening to a cave he knew to be nearby.

The cave was little more than a small hollow in the hill but it was large enough for the two of them to sit and lie down comfortably. Glorfindel eased Haldir down, his back to the far wall.

"Will you be all right on your own for a few moments?"

"Of course," Haldir said irritably, but when Glorfindel turned away, he closed his eyes and winced.

With his companion gone, Haldir looked down at the wound but quickly lifted his head and rested it on the wall behind him when the bending made it spin. He berated himself for being taken unawares by the scout. He and Glorfindel had been scouting the area themselves, spying on a group of Orcs who had been making hit and run raids near the ford of the Bruinen. Their intent was unclear. Were they merely nuisance attacks or part of some larger plan to strike Imladris? Elrond had asked Glorfindel to find out and Haldir, being march-warden in his own land, and visiting the Last Homely House on an errand from his Lord, had volunteered to accompany Glorfindel on his mission to uncover their numbers and purpose.

Haldir could only surmise that the warg had scented them before making visual contact and its rider had thought the element of surprise would give him the advantage. Had their prey been any other two Elves, that might have been the case, Haldir thought with a bitter smile. He only wished he had been a fraction quicker and avoided the beast's claw. Still, it was better than a bite, which stood a much better chance of becoming infected.

By the time Glorfindel returned, Haldir had slipped into a light doze. He came awake with a start, his hand going for his knife, a loud moan rising from his throat as his wound flared with hot pain. When he realized that it was Glorfindel next to him he blushed in embarrassment and averted his eyes.

Glorfindel placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "I think your arm is going to need to be stitched. May I look at it?"

Haldir gritted his teeth and nodded. "Yes."

Glorfindel loosened the makeshift tourniquet and shook his head as blood again flowed sluggishly from the wound. "I have the necessary materials, but this is going to hurt," he said.

Haldir glared at him. "More than it hurts now?" he said peevishly.

Glorfindel suppressed a smile, "Perhaps not quite as much."

He cut away Haldir's sleeve and pulled the field kit from his pack. Elrond would not let any Elf leave Rivendell without a healing pouch for he knew well the dangers of the wild, not all from enemies. Glorfindel had performed the procedure only once before, and that on himself. He looked at Haldir thoughtfully, reaching inside his tunic and pulling forth a flask.

"Miruvor," he said, offering the flask to Haldir.

Haldir eyed it skeptically and did not take it. "I do not need it," he said.

"Very well," Glorfindel conceded, taking the flask back. He flipped it open and poured a generous amount on Haldir's arm.

Haldir screamed through clenched teeth and gave Glorfindel a look that would freeze an Orc. "What in Eru's name…?" he yelled.

"Be quiet," Glorfindel admonished, smiling faintly. "I did not leave you to set up a false trail for the warg riders only to have you bring them down on us with your shouting. You had your chance to take the miruvor on the inside. Now hold still."

Haldir fumed and groaned as Glorfindel stitched him up and then lightly wrapped his wound with an unbloodied strip of his discarded sleeve. When Glorfindel was done, he took a drink from the flask and sat back, wiping his mouth.

"You have lost a lot of blood, but I think you will be all right." He looked at the cave entrance with concern. "The snow will help hide the entrance and will insulate from the wind somewhat, but it is growing steadily colder. I am not sure how much you can take in your condition. We cannot risk a fire."

"My 'condition' is just fine, thank you very much," Haldir snapped. "All I need is a little rest and…" he hesitated, "perhaps a sip from your flask."

Glorfindel handed the flask over. "It will warm you, that is certain," he smiled. Haldir did not smile in return but accepted the flask and took a healthy swig.

After a few moments of silence, Haldir spoke. "Forgive my ill temper, Glorfindel. I feel a perfect fool for not seeing that scout sooner."

"It is completely understandable, my friend," Glorfindel said, "but if you had not reacted so swiftly, I am afraid I would be the one nursing a wound right now, or answering the call of Mandos."

Haldir smiled wanly, "Again."

Glorfindel looked away and Haldir instantly regretted his indelicate remark. He took another sip from the flask and handed it back to Glorfindel.

"It seems I must apologize once more."

Glorfindel shook his head, taking the flask and holding it loosely. "Not at all, Haldir. Some of my memories of that time have never returned and others…" he trailed off.

The two sat in silence for a time, Glorfindel keeping his counsel and Haldir trying to imagine the things Glorfindel had seen and done in his long life. He felt suddenly young and awestruck, as he did at times with Celeborn. His realization that this was the fabled Balrog slayer of song and tale made him more pensive than usual.

Glorfindel took another sip from the flask and returned it to his tunic. He leaned back against the wall adjacent to Haldir and closed his eyes wearily.

"I have some lembas in my pack," Haldir said after a moment. "Are you hungry?"

"A little," Glorfindel said. He rummaged in Haldir's pack and retrieved the packet. "We must save some for our journey back to Imladris. There is no guarantee of game with the snow driving the wild things to shelter."

"Our journey back?" Haldir asked, "But we have not completed our mission."

Glorfindel looked at him in astonishment, "You are wounded. You absolutely do not intend to continue!"

"The mission is too important. I will be all right," Haldir said, drawing himself up, trying to make his posture match his words.

"Out of the question," Glorfindel said firmly. When the snow stops, and you are able to travel, we will return to Imladris. The weather should slow the raids, if not stop them for a time. Perhaps in a week or two I will make another foray with a larger company.

"A larger company will destroy all chance of stealth," Haldir insisted. Already the Orcs know we were in the area. They may send larger companies of their own in the next round of raids."

Glorfindel looked at Haldir's determined face in the darkening cave, jaw set stubbornly, and knew it was futile to argue. They would be lucky to get through the night, never mind the mission.

"We will consider the matter and discuss our options when we are in less danger of freezing to death," Glorfindel said at last.

This seemed to satisfy Haldir. "Very well, I will allow that we must wait until the snow stops before we decide our course."

A sarcastic comment leapt immediately to mind, which, with some difficulty, Glorfindel restrained. His annoyance turned into concern when he saw Haldir shiver. He helped Haldir adjust his cloak more warmly about him then did the same with his own. He realized that sitting still within the small space caused the damp cold to seep into their bones. They could barely see each other now, and Glorfindel listened intently for a moment to ascertain whether the riders were lurking outside their hiding place. He hesitated, but could hear nothing over the howling wind, and so took a Noldorin lamp crystal from his pack, shading its brightness with his hand.

"I wish this gave off warmth as well as light," Glorfindel sighed.

"As do I," Haldir said through chattering teeth.

"This is not going to work," Glorfindel said. "We are wasting our body heat sitting so far apart. If we sat together and doubled our cloaks, we could share our heat."

He put the crystal behind his pack to mute its light and moved around to Haldir's uninjured side, pressing close to him. He unfastened his cloak, and Haldir's, and covered them both. Haldir's body felt chilled and Glorfindel pressed closer, letting his heat radiate into the Galadhran.

"Yes, this is better," Haldir agreed with a sigh. He rested his head on Glorfindel's shoulder and was soon dozing.

Glorfindel remained awake and watchful, glancing at the cave's entrance from time to time. The opening was now blocked by the snow, having completely covered the branches he had used for camouflage. The wind had died down a bit but the temperature seemed not to have risen as a result. Glorfindel sighed, wishing he had taken the wound instead of Haldir, for if it had been he, Haldir would have carried him back on his shoulders rather than allow him to continue the mission. He wondered how he was going to convince his stubborn companion to return to Imladris.

He looked at Haldir's face in the blue glow of the crystal. His glowing skin smooth over high cheekbones, his straight-as-an-arrow nose turned up at a haughty angle, even in repose, his lips…

Without conscious thought, Glorfindel touched Haldir's lips with a long, slender finger, tracing them lightly. Haldir pursed them, caressing his finger in a kiss, shifting closer in his sleep. Glorfindel grinned; so the serious, reserved march-warden had a softer side after all.

Growing bolder, he slid his fingers up and over Haldir's cheek. In response, the sleeping Elf turned to him and nuzzled that straight nose into the warmth of his neck. Glorfindel hugged Haldir to him and placed a kiss upon his brow.

"Melethen," Haldir purred softly.

He inhaled deeply and his eyes fluttered open. Awaking with a start, he jerked and tried to pull away, but Glorfindel restrained him.

"Rest, Haldir, you are safe," Glorfindel whispered.

"What was I…? I thought… I… I think I was dreaming." Haldir said, confused.

"It must have been a pleasant dream," Glorfindel teased.

Haldir looked at him wide-eyed and his face colored in the crystal's cool light. "Why do you say that?" he said sharply.

"I am jesting, Haldir. You looked very much at peace is all I meant."

Haldir eyed him suspiciously and Glorfindel drank in the sight of those penetrating grey eyes, his heart glowing warmly in his breast. He had caught Haldir in an unguarded moment and discovered a true affection for the prickly march-warden. It made him wonder who had breached Haldir's defenses and what it had taken to earn Haldir's murmured endearments?

"The wind has stopped," Haldir said brusquely. "We should be able to travel again in the morning."

"Perhaps," Glorfindel said. "How is your arm?"

Haldir flexed it experimentally, a slight frown on his face. "Better."

"Would you like more lembas, some miruvor?"

"No."

"Then perhaps you could sleep again. Rest is the best thing for you now and you seem to be warming up."

"Oh, yes," Haldir said scornfully, "You would like that, would you not? I do not need you to mother me. I may not be a warrior of your experience but I am a guardian of my people. I do my job very well, I will have you know."

"Do you think tales of Lothlórien's valor do not reach us? Elrond has the gift of foresight, just as your Lady. Did I not welcome you when you petitioned Elrond to accompany me? What you do not know is that I had already told Elrond I was planning to ask you, if you would be willing, to come along. I know of you, Haldir. I know the regard you engender among your Lord and people, and it was you I wanted with me."

Haldir stared at him dumbstruck, mouth agape. Glorfindel smiled serenely in return, enjoying the effect of his words.

At last Haldir regained his tongue. "Now you know why I do not much speak," he grumbled. "The less said, the less I must disclaim."

Glorfindel chuckled and gave Haldir's waist a friendly squeeze. "It is our actions that define us, not our words, my friend."

"Yet I have ill defined myself by my actions as well," Haldir sighed, "so your words do not give me ease."

"Are you always this hard on yourself?" Glorfindel asked sincerely.

Haldir stared at the snow blocking the cave entrance. "Yes."

Glorfindel rested his hand on Haldir's chest and Haldir turned to look into his eyes.

"You do not need to be."

"I know."

Glorfindel felt Haldir tremble as he gazed upon him.

"Are you cold?"

"No."

"I was hoping you would say that," Glorfindel said, his eyes twinkling with affection.

His finger touched Haldir's lips and Haldir kissed the tip lightly, his eyes then widening in realization.

"My dream…" he whispered.

"And mine," Glorfindel replied, taking Haldir's lips in a kiss guaranteed to warm them both.

Haldir did not pull away, did not raise an eyebrow in disdain, did not strike him in anger or, indeed, do any of the things Glorfindel might have expected. In fact, Haldir began to dominate the kiss, teasing his tongue seductively against Glorfindel's as he reached for the laces of his tunic. Glorfindel did the same and they undressed each other slowly, tenderly, discarding their clothes in a haphazard pile, covering the light and plunging the cave into darkness.

Their breath puffed from them in icy wisps as their soft moans of pleasure filled the cave. Heated limbs entwined, warm mouths sought smooth chests and bellies and…lower as they made love deep into the night. Eventually they slept, waking to the pale light that filtered past the curtain of snow blocking the cave. Glorfindel roused first, Haldir's body draped like a blanket upon him. The warmth of Haldir's naked skin against him made Glorfindel forget for a moment the circumstances under which they were hiding in the first place. He lay with Haldir's head on his chest, listening to the slow, peaceful rhythm of his breathing, the steady beat of his heart, a pulse behind his own.

He was in no hurry to wake Haldir but the march-warden soon opened his eyes and blinked his way out of reverie. Haldir raised his head to look at him, caressing Glorfindel's side. The two smiled at each other and untangled themselves.

"The warg riders did not find us, but the snow will make us easy to track. We had better get going before it grows any later," Glorfindel said with a sigh.

"Yes, but which direction?" Haldir asked with a wicked grin.

Glorfindel lifted Haldir's wounded arm and inspected his stitches. The wound was closed and already beginning to heal.

"If we are easy to track, think how easy it will be for us to do the same with the warg riders. How are you at climbing trees?" he smiled.

"It will be an effort," Haldir chuckled, "but one I am willing to attempt."

They dressed, grabbed a quick breakfast of lembas and, within minutes, were making their way through the woods on the trail of their quarry.


end;

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
raven_elfwitch
Dec. 23rd, 2006 11:58 am (UTC)
awwwwwwwwwww that was sweet, love the pairing too.
ignoblebard
Dec. 23rd, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. This pairing was requested and it was fun slashing these two. I'm glad you like it.
lissas_elves
Mar. 27th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
Feel kind of silly posting a comment so long after you wrote the story, but wanted to tell you that I enjoyed this very much and really appreciated your characterization of Haldir: stoic, grumpy, insecure - and very, very sweet if you catch him off his guard. :-)
ignoblebard
Mar. 27th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
Think nothing of it. Comments are always welcome no matter how long a story has been around. In fact, it's always a treat when it's discovered anew. :-) Haldir was fun to write in this one, all grumpy on the outside but a marshmallow inside. Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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