Main Page ~*~*~
'Behind the Lute Case'
Behind the Lute Case
All was quiet in
the Last Homely House. Outside it was cold and threatening snow and
even the Hall of Fire had drifted into near silence as people sought
the warmth of their own or others' beds. A core of diehards
remained, but Lindir had gone home to get some work done. He sat in
the middle of his bed, papers spread out around him, the cheap and
nasty harp he composed on leaning against the pillow. He had just
changed a row of notes when there was a knock at the door.
Lindir frowned. It was late for callers. Some instinct said to
ignore it, but he supposed it might be important. He got up
carefully so as not to disorder the sheets of music, and went to
Gildor leaned an arm against the doorframe, a wine bottle in his
other hand. His auburn hair had come loose and hung over one
shoulder, his shirt was open to mid chest, displaying a silver and
jade pendant of Haradrim design. He was tall and lean and hard and
sexy as hell. And drunk. Lindir grabbed the handle and tried to push
the door shut. "Not buying, try down in the village," he snapped.
Only a little unsteady on his feet, Gildor pushed back, walked in
and closed the door behind him. He looked around carefully,
searching for something. "Where's that flower?"
"Ugly tangerine thing you had in the corner once. Told you to get
rid of it. Was watching us."
"And I told you I'd never heard anything more ridiculous in my
life," Lindir retorted," and that you had no bloody business telling
me to get rid of my plant. As though you had rights in here."
"It's gone though, yes? Sneaking, spying things."
Lindir glared at him. "I try not listen to the rubbish you spout
about killer plants and elf eating pods when you're drunk, Gil, but
it gets really tired after a bit."
"Long as it’s not here." Gildor gave the room a final inspection
then held the bottle out to Lindir. "What you need is to relax and
have some of this. Shouldn't be working this late. What’s all this
on the bed?"
He strode – more correctly, staggered - to the bed and swept the
papers into a pile before Lindir could say a word. Putting the wine
down on the table, he made a valiant lunge. "Damn it Gildor, you
drunk! I had those in order..."
Gildor, already off balance, tripped and fell heavily onto the bed,
taking Lindir with him and almost wiping out the harp.
"Get off, you ass!" Lindir yelped, beating at him vainly.
Gildor snickered and managed to roll them over so he was on top.
Even drunk, he was hard and strong and Lindir knew from past
experience he was no match. He thought of moving the harp, and then
he stopped thinking as Gildor found his mouth and began kissing him
- hot, hungry, and with some inventive tongue play.
Fed up though he was, the usual happened and Lindir's arm found its
way up around Gildor's neck. His fingers closed around the collar of
Gildor's jacket and he closed his eyes, giving himself up to the
kisses. A determined hand burrowed down into his trousers and he
pressed up against it urgently. Calloused fingers wrapped around him
and he gasped aloud. He started pulling at clothing, arguments about
papers, the hour and plants vanishing into a haze of lust.
Afterwards Gildor passed out on top of and still inside him and had
to be pushed off forcefully. Shirt missing, trousers undone, he
rolled onto his side, stretched out - taking up a large part of the
bed - and started to snore. Lindir watched him for a while, trying
not to notice the way the light burnished his hair or the fact that
in sleep he looked worn out and almost vulnerable. Then he smacked
himself across the head several times, hard. "Stupid, spineless,
weak-willed --- you said never again and what do you do? He pushes
his way into your room and next thing you're on your hands and
Having got that off his chest, he shrugged into Gildor’s abandoned
shirt and went about gathering papers from the bed and floor. He set
them on the table then remembered Gildor looking for the plant
earlier. He was more alert sober.... Going to the dark corner by the
chair where he often sat during the day and read, he reached down to
a spot that offered plenty of light from the window but happened to
be quite out of the way.
As he touched the rim of the pot, a sharp pain shot through his
fingers. Jerking his hand back, he brought it up and saw blood
welling from three little puncture wounds. Puzzled, he checked for
sharp edges on the pot, but there was no question: somehow the plant
had stabbed him! The wounds burned out of all proportion to their
size, and when he put his fingers to his mouth and sucked there was
a sharp, angry taste mingled with the salt-metal of blood.
He had never noticed thorns on the plant. Kneeling down he moved it
out of the gloom, speaking to it as he often did during the day,
whispering even though the chances of Gildor waking were slim. "What
did you go and do that for? Did you think I was Gildor, come to turf
you off the balcony? That hurt, damn it. How could you do that? You
must have thorns after all. Where....?
There were no thorns on the plant, no matter how carefully he
looked, just rounded leaves and soft tendrils that branched off the
stem at intervals; he assumed they were a secondary root system and
that it would later start creeping up things. He touched one of the
tendrils dubiously. It was soft on the top, but there was something
like a vein on the underside, making it firmer than it appeared. As
he watched, the tendril seemed to - flex - and then wrapped gently
round one of the fingers that had been punctured. Almost as though
it were - apologising.
The night was very quiet. Outside he could hear the river, while
inside Gildor's soft snores drowned out smaller sounds like the lamp
wick’s low hiss. Lindir looked down at the plant, at the tendril
wound round his finger. Almost like holding hands.
Carefully extricating his finger, Lindir took the plant and put it
behind the lute case where it would be safely out of sight when
Gildor woke, then backed away a little faster than was called for.
Back in the light, he examined the damage. Two punctures still oozed
blood, but it was the third finger that held his attention. He was
certain it was the first he had noticed and the one that hurt the
worst, and yet there was not a mark on it. Frowning he held his hand
closer to the lamp and looked again. Nothing.
He had examined the plant with that finger. The tendril, possibly
the same one that had hurt him, had wrapped around his finger and
--- the pain had stopped.
Lindir stared from his finger to the plant’s hiding place, and
finally at the solid figure of Gildor snoring on his bed, He shook
himself very firmly, crossed the room to the table and drank what
remained of the wine straight from the bottle.
Plants could not differentiate between friendly elves who fed and
watered them and elves who would pull them out by the roots and
shred them into small pieces, as he had seen Gildor do once or twice
to those daisy-like flowers Elrond had tried to grow. It was late,
Gildor had upset his nerves, and his imagination - a fine thing for
a bard, but troublesome in practical situations - had taken flight.
He put the harp away and got into bed next to Gildor, who had turned
over to lie on his side. Lindir fought to retrieve a pillow and sat
hugging it, looking down at his comatose companion. "There are no
such things as killer plants, sentient vines, elf-eating pods, all
the rest of it," he told the sleeping elf. "I’ve had too many late
nights, that's all. I just need some sleep. And... maybe a bit more
stress relief in the morning before you vanish again."
He was reaching across Gildor to kill the lamp when he heard a faint
rustling sound. It seemed to be coming from the corner behind the
lute case. Lindir froze, his hand still reaching for the lamp, and
then very slowly he drew it back. Getting under the covers he turned
to face away from the light, spooning in against Gildor.
He would be able to laugh at himself in the morning. Right now, he
just wanted to get to sleep, away from the little throb of pain in
two out of three fingers and the sense of eyes where there should be
Beta: Red Lasbelin