“Elrohir, you’re more fidgety than a flea-infested warg. I’ve never known you be this unsettled the night before a battle.”
Shooting Elladan a withering look, Elrohir paused in his pacing. “You can hardly say we’ve ever known a battle where so much is at stake.” He indicated with a wave of the hand through the entrance of their tent to the ashy wasteland that lay beyond. On the morrow they would fight the hordes of Mordor before the Black Gate. They would either gain the time needed for Frodo to complete his errand, or Middle-earth would go down into the dark. Whatever the outcome, their chances of survival looked remote.
Elladan acknowledged the rebuke with a wry smile. “True. Nevertheless, this behaviour is most unlike you. If this is to be our last night on Middle-earth, then I would like to see you gain a measure of peace. Come, will you not sit and unburden your heart?” He patted the corner of his pallet.
At first, Elrohir ignored the plea and continued to pace. If only he knew what the source of his restlessness was, he would gladly share it with his twin. He had accepted the likelihood of his death and that held no fear. And as agonising as it would be to lose Elladan, he knew that the bond between them could not be broken; they would not be parted for ever. So why this nagging feeling that there was something vital he had left undone?
Finally, he sighed and flopped down next to Elladan. “I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s wrong. I feel…” He groped for the right words. “I feel as though…” he gave a frustrated groan and thumped the thin mattress. All the while, Elladan gazed at him, concerned, but waiting patiently while he tried to order his thoughts.
“Whenever I’m facing danger, I look within and gain strength from the bonds that hold me to others,” he explained eventually. “Tonight, as I touched upon each of these bonds - you, Father, Mother and Arwen – I found I didn’t get the same comfort I have always received from them before. It was as though I had missed one out. It felt like I had forgotten the most important one of all.” He looked imploringly at Elladan. “But who?” He shook his head. “There’s no one else!”
“Is this the first time you have felt this way?”
“Aye, I…” He stopped abruptly and his gaze turned inward. “Nay,” he corrected himself slowly. “I have felt it before, just not so strongly as this eve. It must be the magnitude of the peril that has brought it to the fore and forced me to notice it.”
“How long has this feeling been with you?”
“Ever since…” His voice tailed away as he pondered the past days and weeks, seeking the first hint of this strange state of being. When realisation struck, his face was a sight to see. Surely not! How could this be possible? But when he examined his inmost being with newly opened eyes, he could not deny what he found there.
“Oh blessed Elbereth,” he whispered. “It started when Legolas first came to Imladris!”
It was like watching the dawn rise in his face. “Sweet Eru, how could I have been so blind? I love him!” Elrohir staggered to his feet and snatched up his cloak. “I must find him!” And with that, he dashed out of the tent, leaving a speechless Elladan to gaze after him.
He blundered through the camp, ignoring the curses that followed him as he stumbled over guy ropes and into people. Altogether he was most unlike his usually graceful self. He scarcely used his eyes, instead he followed an inner sense that tugged him towards his destination. The destination his soul longed for so ardently.
Why had he waited until now to heed the call of his soul? Well, if this night was to be his last on Middle-earth, he wasn’t going to waste a moment of it. He was going to find the one whom he now recognised as his soul mate, and bind with him this very night. Then even death would be unable to separate them. Quite how he was going to persuade a virtual stranger of only five month’s acquaintance to bind with him was something he hadn’t worked out yet. The first thing was to find him.
By the Valar, what had possessed him to pitch his tent so far away?
Swerving to avoid a group of Rohirrim huddled around a small campfire, he collided with a man striding in the opposite direction. He reeled backwards and was just stammering out an apology when a chance gust of wind blew back the hood of the man’s cloak, revealing gleaming ebony hair and piercing grey eyes. He felt a jolt of recognition in the pit of his stomach, followed by a pooling heat somewhat lower down when he caught the other’s enticing musky scent.
“Elrohir!” He gasped. “I was just looking for you. I…” He hesitated, unsure how to continue, now the moment was upon him.
In reply, Elrohir gave a muffled exclamation, reached out and pulled his hood down. He then ran his fingers through the revealed golden locks. “Legolas!” Was it his imagination, or was there a tone of reverence in the way he said his name? It seemed to Legolas also that Elrohir was reluctant to remove the caressing fingers from his hair. Not that he minded in the least; prickles of pleasure shivered up and down his spine at the touch.
Legolas plucked up his courage and drew a deep breath.
“Bind with me!”
Legolas gasped, unable to believe his ears. “What did you say?”
“Bind with me,” repeated Elrohir. “I can’t explain how I know we are made for each other, I just know it. I…” He stopped when Legolas placed a finger against his lips.
“Can this really be possible? This is not a joke?” Legolas looked searchingly into Elrohir’s eyes and gave a soft cry of joy at the love and sincerity he found there. He gave Elrohir a dazzling smile and caressed the side of his face. “Aye, of course I will bind with you, Elrohir. I love you! I was coming to find you, to ask you the very same thing. It seems our souls would not be ignored this night.”
He nearly cried at the sight of the dazzling smile that appeared on Elrohir’s face, reflecting the bliss that he himself felt. He longed to kiss his new love and soon to be mate, but he refrained. It would hardly be wise in a camp full of Men.
He gasped when Elrohir took his hand. Even that contact caused sparks to sizzle through his flesh. He shuddered at the thought of what effect more intimate touches would have on him.
“Come, beloved. Let us go to my tent. I think I can persuade Elladan to share with Gimli. I do not think we will have any need of his company tonight.”
Almost giddy with ecstasy, Legolas allowed himself to be led away. No matter what the morrow might have in store, tonight they would be joined in body, heart and spirit. After that, nothing, not even death could separate them. Tonight they would become one.