Email: michelle [at] waking-vision.com
"Most people don't stare at the scars," you say, and I can tell from the way you are clutching your shirt to your skin that you feel selfconscious.
"I am not most people," I answer, and decide not to approach you just yet. We are standing several feet from each other, not even in touching distance, and I am wondering where this awkward feeling is coming from.
I have been in this cave for four days now, waiting for you, and had just resigned myself to the fact that you would not make it here - again. We found this secluded spot at the base of the Misty Mountains years ago, when you were still Estel of Rivendell and the weight of the world was not heavy on your shoulders. After you learned of your destiny and your eyes became sad and burdened, we decided that this cave would be our refuge. Neither of us wanted to part, but I knew you had to leave your home to prove yourself and become a man.
Every year in the week of summer solstice each of us would try and head for the cave, for summer solstice was when we shared our first kiss. I remember your shy smiles during the celebration in Rivendell and the dance you granted me before sitting on a hidden bench in the gardens. The blossoming roses all around us spread a beguiling fragrance and my head was swimming from the wine I had drunk and the newborn love that I felt. Your lips were soft and sweet and bashful and I have been hungering for their taste ever since.
I knew it would be easier for me to ask my father for this free week in June, since he knows of our love and would not deny me. It is different for you, being at the beck and call of an aging king who would not understand your feelings for an elf prince from Mirkwood. And so it is that only I have managed to make our rendezvous during the past five years. Never did my faith in you waver, knowing from your rare letters that you had commitments you could not escape. Not even for me.
But you are here now, finally, standing at the deep end of the cave like a skittish horse, your drenched shirt like a shield in front of you. It is raining heavily outside and your skin and hair are glistening with water. You look at me as if I am an apparition, your eyes wide with wonder.
"Meleth-nín," I say and I let my fëa reach out to you and engulf you in love, "I would see you. Do not hide from me."
You comply and my eyes trace your chest and face, your strong arms and haunted eyes. I shrug out of my tunic to draw even with you, and I notice your eyes roaming my pale skin like a man offered water in a desert.
"How can you bear to look at me?" you ask, and I am shocked to realize that you cannot understand my love for you. Can you not feel my joy at seeing you here? Do you not see the hunger I have for you? There was a time when words were unnecessary between us and emotion could be conveyed through a gaze alone. Has your living amongst men forced you to unlearn this skill? Have you forgotten the depth of my love?
"You are beautiful to me," I say. I approach you now, coming to stand a hair's breadth from your body.
"How can I be?" you ask, thoughtfully. Resigned. You hold out your hand to touch me, but you lose your nerve and your hand hangs in the air between us, undecided. I take it into my own and place it over my heart, so you might feel the beat that quickens only for you.
"This body has been marked by time and war," you say, believing the changes would drive me away. When we first became lovers, you were young; tall and lean like a birch tree in spring. Your hair was longer and you wore it in elven fashion with intricate braids. There was no stubble on your chin and your hands, though used to the grip of a sword, were the hands of someone who could let whole afternoons pass by drawing a feather fallen to the ground. We were light and dark, we complemented each other.
I see the change in you and realize you think I believe you to be repulsive. You have filled out and your arms are strong. Your hair is shorter, an unruly mass of dark curls. I see your hands, the skin rough and broken in places from battle or hard work. There are scars, the scars you accused me of staring at. You are weary. Weary and tired and afraid that a five year absence will have changed things between us. Do you really think I would reject you now?
"You have changed, meleth-nín." You flinch at the words, missing the smile I send with them.
"You have not," you say instead, and it is true. My body is the same as ever. It does not age and it does not scar. It never will.
"Then I will have to reacquaint myself with your body," I propose. "Let me show you that you are loved. Tell me where those scars are from. Tell me how you fared."
There are larger scars on your body, but the first I noticed upon your arrival was the one on your upper lip. It is tiny, really, but it is drawing me in. So I lean into you to kiss it, my mouth lingering on your lip, brushing the scar lightly. I can feel you exhale deeply and your head moves, seeking out my mouth.
"Where did you get this?" I breathe the words over your lip and let my tongue wet the scar tissue.
"Just a fight in a tavern." Your voice wavers and your eyes are closed.
"Let me kiss it better." I have not tasted your lips for five years, but my body remembers you as soon as we are mouth to mouth. I try to be gentle and slow, kissing the corner of your mouth, my tongue following the curve of your lips. You open your mouth slightly and I take up the invitation and am home. You are warm and wet and taste of ale and pipeweed. You moan into my mouth and we share breath for a while. Your tongue snakes out to meet with mine and we dance in the heat of your mouth to the music our hearts make. Our long seperation has made us desperate and still the kiss never turns frenzied. We keep to our rhythm, knowing time is on our side this once.
I could kiss you like this until the end of Ilúvatar's song, forgetting about the world outside that is waiting for us to return to our duties. I linger for another moment, but there is more to explore. I break our kiss and for a moment we just stand like this, our breathing loud against the pitter-patter of rain outside.
There is another scar just a few inches above your left nipple, round and small and I inhale sharply at its meaning. It is the memory of an arrow wound, only narrowly missing your heart. My right index finger traces the slightly raised skin and goosebumps appear all over your arms and chest.
"And this?" I ask anxiously. "This nearly cost you your life." You would have died alone, far from me and I would have known only months later when your body had long been buried.
"That was years ago, a Haradrim arrow. Do not worry yourself." My fingers trace the scar and then widen their ministrations. They find your nipple and I twirl the bud between my fingers. It hardens instantly and I let my nail scrape over the sensitive nub, making you shiver under my touch. My fingers trail through the hair on your chest, a new experience for me, and I pull at it lightly. This makes you moan, a low rumble from deep within that leaves through your parted and swollen lips and hangs in the air like the last note of a song. I exchange my mouth for my fingers, sucking and licking your nipple. Your skin is hot under my touch and I feel your heart thudding madly in your chest. You yearn for me, for my touch, just as I yearn for you.
My hands roam every inch of exposed skin, my mouth trailing wet kisses down your ribs, licking away the last drops of rain. The skin is tanned and weathered, nothing like my pale and eternal body. I let my tongue dip into your belly button and there is a moan from above. I look up to you and see that your head has fallen back, exposing your throat. Your eyes are closed tightly.
Lower still my hands wander and I feel your desire for me through your breeches. My hand stays there for a moment, not moving, just teasing and promising, and finally you lose your patience and thrust into my hand. My gaze falls on your hipbone and I loosen the ties that hold your trousers to expose all of your skin.
There, on your right hipbone, is an angry red scar. Long and ragged, it reaches low, nearly down to your pubic hair. This scar is new, the skin still tender and healing. "When did you get this?" I ask and my hand stills on your skin, hoping I do not hurt you.
"Just after my birthday. A low sweep from a sword. I was too late to parry." Your words come between breaths and I know you are concentrating on your desire. My mouth follows this scar as well, down your hip coming to rest in the coarse hair surrounding your manhood. You thrust your hips repeatedly and I know you are desperate for my touch, for my mouth.
I give you what you need, sucking and enveloping you in wet heat. You groan, your breathing ragged, and I feel your hands on my head, in my hair. You are not guiding me, just anchoring yourself. I feel your knees buckle slightly and my grip on your hips tightens.
I take my mouth from you for a moment. "Let us lie down. Let me show you my love for you."
I lead you over to my bedroll and you lie down, your arms and legs spread wide in sweet surrender. Your body is mine to have. And who am I to refuse you?
My mouth goes back to the task of pleasing you while my fingers brush over your entrance. It is a light touch only, but you react desperately. Your emotions leave you in waves, rolling into me like a strong tide and I know now that you need this, that you need to feel close to another, loved and held. You are strong, a leader of men, but even you need someone to lead you from time to time. A shoulder to lean on. Lean on me, I think, while my mouth and finger send you tumbling towards the path of completion.
"Let go, meleth-nín. Let yourself feel," I tell you, but you are far gone already, lost in your passion. My memory of our last time together is clear in my head, but the memories of men fade and I understand that you have gone too long without this. You need to be reminded. Your body needs to be reminded.
I prepare you, gently, while you thrash under me, your hands in my hair again, playing with my braids. You make sounds that are unknown in any spoken language. They are not words, but I understand you regardless.
I push into your tight heat and you moan, seeking me. I am sheathed in you as deep as possible and you meet my thrusts urgently. I want to crawl into you, inhabiting your body, getting to know the hidden rooms of your soul and I feel our skin melt and dissolve while borders vanish and we become one being. We rock like this, joined at last and I take your hand in mine where it has fallen beside you.
"Say my name, say my name," you repeat over and over and I answer every time with "Estel, my love, my hope". I see your burdens fall from you and those other names that weigh you down disappear into the void for now, at least until you have to go out into the world again. My mouth seeks yours and then all speech stops and we share breath and essence and spirit and life. This goes on for a minute or a thousand years until I feel my climax approach and I urge you to join me.
"Let go, Estel. Fly, meleth-nín," I say and you do, your own climax something between a sigh and a sob. You are beautiful like this, lying spent under me, your eyes hooded and your skin aglow. I gather you in my arms and we bathe in the afterglow together until you fall asleep, exhausted and relieved.
We are here, together for the end of our days. "Come what may," I whisper into your ear as an extension of my thought and my lips tickle your ear and you smile in your sleep. Eventually, your head comes to rest above my heart. You always liked to fall asleep to the drum of my heartbeat. I see the lines on your face and the frown on your forehead when the shadows of past battles return to you in sleep. I gather you in my arms, wrap you securely in my love and watch over you until the night is dark from heavy clouds shadowing the moon. In the end my own eyes glaze over with sleep, still watchful. In dreams, my soul reaches out for you and I chase away the darkness and despair that haunt you. You join me with a smile and we walk the meadows of Rivendell together, two souls, entwined.
- The End