. . . con't
Elladan’s words and gracious manner caused Elmissir’s cheeks to flush an even deeper pink. When he also insisted on taking her hand and even touching it to his lips, soiled as it was, it was everything she could do to remain outwardly calm and even return his honest concern with a proper degree of decorum.
“My lord, you are as always, most gracious,” she answered softly, “I am only too happy that I was here and able to repay your kind hospitality by tending your company. Rest easy now, and I shall not be long.” She took the opportunity to gently extract her hand from his and escape quickly to the side room Amras indicated. There she set about scrubbing her hands clean, re-tying her hair and turning the stained muslin apron around to show, at the very least, a less offensive surface.
When she returned to Elladan’s chamber, she was relieved to note how clear his grey eyes were, a sure indication that he was well on the way to a full recovery. He smiled as she arrived at his bedside and it was impossible not to return it, not to mention noticing how beautifully those same grey eyes were set off by his dark hair. ’No wonder the Ladies Alatariel and Linwë are so anxious to see him’,
she thought idly and had to squash a surprise pang of jealousy. She reminded herself that she was here to tend him as a healer, not a flirt. The thought of the latter was, however, not so unpleasant . . . the contrast between Elladan and Garia was so amazing, one dark, the other fair, one so controlled and elegant, the other so roguish and full of surprises . . .
She pulled herself up sharply and reached for her healer’s bag. Elladan had removed his robe and further obliged her by pulling up the silken shirt to show her neat bandage. She smiled her thanks and bent to her task.
“I am more than happy to report that the three new hives you set up are thriving,” she said, her voice light. She snipped the long wrapping strip of linen and pulled it gently free. “I had opportunity to check on them only recently, and the new Queens seem quite content in their new homes.” Again, she had to push the previous night's delicious memories of Garia and those very hives under the starlight away, determined to concentrate fully on the task at hand.
“And what of your medicinal honey?” Ellandan asked. ”Have you any to spare for me, or have you rationed it all for my brother?”
She flashed him a quick smile. “All for your brother, my lord? Nay, there will always be enough for both
the Lords of Imladris. I shall ensure some is sent along to you smartly.” Something about honey tweaked in the back of her mind but she couldn’t place it and so ignored it, instead returning her attention to Elladan’s side as she carefully peeled back the linen pad holding the poultice in place. The herbal paste was heavily discolored, but the line of Taradѐath’s neat field stitches was now smooth, the flesh to either side a healthy pink.
Taradѐath had come alongside and bent down beside her to inspect the Prince’s injury as well. “The poultice was a complete success, my lord,” he told Elladan as he straightened. “I think the Mistress Elmissir can remove the stitches and as long as you promise to do nothing more strenuous than a brisk walk, it should be safe.”
“And thus be discharged from the Mistress Healer’s apt care?” Elladan said with a start. “No, I refuse. I shall bear these stitches for weeks, if I must.”
“My Lord Elladan, you think my care inept?” Taradѐath asked in mocked surprise. Elmissir chuckled at the easy banter between the two.
“No, no, Taradѐath,” Elladan replied with a laugh, “you’ve been most expert in your care, heroic even. I may even institute the Edain custom of awarding medals and give you one. Remove them if you must,” his eyes fell upon Elmissir, who in her brief time away had neatened her appearance. She no longer appeared discomforted, which pleased him.
Taradѐath grinned, seeing how the Prince’s attention followed ‘the pretty healer’ as she was known among the company; he turned to collect his cloak. “I shall let the Mistress Healer decide. With your leave, my lord, I shall go to the barracks and carry on with my heroism.” He sketched a short bow, which was acknowledged by Elladan and, as Taradѐath left, he took Amras by the arm, leading him out the door while asking him a question about his invitation to the feast and how many guests he was allowed to escort...
The door closed, leaving Elmissir and Elladan alone.
“The feast, I’d almost forgotten,” Elladan looked down at his wound, thinking.
“We leave them in, Elmissir and remove them after the feast. Please, replace the bandage. A day or two will matter little. I’ll have a scar, that much I’m resigned to,” Elladan said. “I’ll better perform my duties and fulfill my function knowing there is no risk of this wound reopening - I’ll need to stand, walk, perhaps even dance, and were I, I’d want to dance with you.”
Elmissir flushed anew. “Only a day or two then,” she agreed in her most clinical voice, re-winding a light length of linen around his ribs and deftly tying it off. “Otherwise the flesh will cling too tightly to the stitches and removing them will hurt more than necessary. But if leaving them for now will ease your mind and aid your dancing . . . ” Suddenly, her hand flew briefly to her mouth. “Oh, I am so sorry my lord, I have completely forgotten to tell you . . . We met the ladies Alatariel and Linwë in the foyer on our return from the barracks and I promised to pass on their warmest wishes for your complete recovery! And, their most fervent desire to see you as soon as you are possibly able. They even sent along some honey cakes for you. Amras had them . . . ” She trailed off as she looked around but couldn’t see the delicately covered tray. Puzzled, she turned back to Elladan, remembering the positively possessive look of both of the ladies. “Undoubtably my lord,” she added, “they will each wish more than one or two dances with you for themselves.”
“No doubt they will,” Elladan said with a thin smile, ”and then Linwë will wish to speak to me at length about Elrohir and Alatriel will wish to speak to me at length about nothing at all,” Elladan’s smile had turned mischievous and Elmissir tried unsuccessfully to hide a grin of her own. “Ah,” he said smiling, “you know of what it is I speak...” Elladan mimicked the stately tone of his father, “tis a force more dreadful than the pitiless hand of the Dark Lord, a force that will shrivel the heart of any First Born - tis the force ...of... boredom!” Elladan elegantly rolled the ‘r’ consonants of the final word and drew his eyebrows together, doing his best to capture his father’s baleful look.
Both Elmissir’s eyebrows went up in momentary shock, before her display of proper decorum dissolved into light laughter. Elladan’s mimicry of his father was perfect, even to the way Lord Elrond’s mouth would turn down at one corner. She covered her mouth with one hand to stifle an un-ladylike fit of much louder laughter.
Elladan broke down into his own laughter and brought his hand to his forehead, massaging his eyebrows; “Elrohir tells me to be careful when I mimic father, my eyebrows may stick in place - which wouldn’t suit me,” he added with a shake of his head.
“As a healer my lord,” Elmissir replied, still smiling and shaking her head as well, “I can assure you that your brother’s theory is completely untrue and unproven. You have naught to fear.”
Elladan took her in; she was, in that moment, wonderfully herself, free from all courtly formality - and she was beautiful. He recalled his prayer; ‘Their will be done...’ He fervently hoped Their will was to his favor for he knew then, without a doubt, he was in love.
He took her hand for a second time, this time more gently and, turning her palm upwards, pressed it hard against his lips; he held her eyes as he did so, the brightness of his own intensifying.
Were this thy lips, but nay, ‘tis only thy hand,
he murmured into her palm, lightly kissing it a second time. He continued on with his verse...
If your hand it must be,
I shall place my heart upon the place
my lips hath kissed and bid thee
be gentle with it.
Still holding her hand, Elladan reached up and gently eased free a strand of Elmissir’s tidy hair, positioning it so it softly framed her face. “There, that’s better,” he said with a smile.
She shivered and caught her breath, realizing of a sudden that they were alone; here she was, in the Prince’s bedchamber
, sitting at the Prince’s bedside unchaperoned and unescorted. The sound of the door opening jolted her away from Elladan’s intense attention and as discreetly as possible, she withdrew her hand and rose to her feet. She turned to see Amras hurry in, flustered anew over something or another. Perhaps now was a good time to take her leave . . .
Amras awkwardly bowed, aware in himself that he’d entered at an inopportune moment. “Forgive me, my lord, I just remembered you have a message from Lord Elrohir, it arrived early this morning by hawk. You were, of course, indisposed earlier...”
“Yes, thank you,” Elladan said thinly, watching with some sadness as Elmissir collected her few things. “I shall remember your promise of honey, Mistress Elmissir,” he said quietly.
She turned at the door. “And I shall most surely keep it, Lord Elladan,” she replied softly and with a last, fleeting smile, slipped out the door.
ooc: Elladan, Amras and Taradѐath supplied courtesy of our own Bardhwyn . . .