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Fic: "FOH: The Return" PG-13 (3/?) [Ororo/Legolas, Scott, L/R]

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  • Nadja Lee
    Hi all, Still a part of the FOH series, still a crossover to LOTR. You need to have read the earlier parts to follow this. You can read it at fanfiction.net
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 22, 2004
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      Hi all,

      Still a part of the FOH series, still a crossover to LOTR.

      You need to have read the earlier parts to follow this.
      You can read it at fanfiction.net
      [http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=104470] or my own webpage


      Part 3:

      There was no time for celebrating the victory at Isengard and Helm’s Deep; the price for their victory had been too high for any real cheer and the threat was still there. They had won the first round but that was all.

      Scott and the others had returned to the capital of Rohan three days earlier and the city was buzzing with life. The dead were being buried, the wounded were being tended to, defences were being prepared and couriers were riding in and out of town, going and coming to the palace in a steady stream with any news about the Orcs movements. Eomer was in charge of trying to find out how many soldiers they could get their hands on while Eowyn and Ororo were in charge of tending to the wounded. They had fought to set up a kind of command chain to get some order back to the shattered and chaotic army they had returned with from Helm’s Deep. Gandalf, Aragorn, Haldir and King Theoden made plans with Scott, speaking for the X-men, about their future and thus they stayed in the palace, studying maps and trying to find a solution with just a little chance of success. Most of the palace had been rearranged to fit the wounded Elves, as they required more delicate tending than mortals while most of the surrounding houses had been set up for the mortals who had been wounded. Ororo and Eowyn ran from room to room, from building to building, telling their nurses and helpers what they wanted done. Despite the fact that neither of them was educated as doctors they both had some basic training and for now that was the best they had. Gimli was given the task of keeping track of their weapons and finding ways to get or make more and have some of their men do so. Boromir was assigned the task of providing for the army and the town in general which was an extremely harsh task. There was little food left as the Orcs burned what fields they came across and everyone was afraid to venture too far outside the capital to try and harvest food. However Boromir was a leader who led by example and when his ever faithful followers of Merry and Pippin wanted to go with him outside the city’s walls to gather food the assigned soldiers under Boromir hadn’t backed out either. Boromir had without luck tried to get Merry and Pippin to stay in the relative safety of the palace but they had been firm and he had given in. There was probably very little he wouldn’t give them if they asked him. Logan, Legolas and Rogue had with a band of soldiers been assigned to patrol and intell gathering. Legolas and Logan’s enhanced senses would be of help in this. Rogue’s powers hadn’t faded away yet and that would be a great asset should they be attacked. If nothing else the lighting effect when she used her powers could be seen from the palace and could give those left in the capital a little time in which to prepare for the incoming Orcs. However they all knew that if Rogue had had to use her powers Legolas, Logan and herself would already be dead by the time the city got their warning and chances were the warning could not save the city either.

      Ororo’s thoughts returned from her musings as she almost bumped into Eowyn who was on her way downstairs from having tended to some of the wounded Elves in the upper chambers of the palace. The golden princess looked tired and worn, her expression was grim and blood splashed the plain dress she had changed into. A small bloody stain was also visible on her left cheek. She gave a small surprised sound as she bumped into Ororo and almost lost her balance on the stairs, trying to balance the tray with crude instruments and bloody bandages she had in her arms. Ororo instinctively steadied the other woman with a wind, preventing her from falling.

      “Thank you,” Eowyn breathed relieved and smiled her first real smile in days at her comrade in arms. Ororo noticed the pain in her eyes and her own spirits fell even further.

      “Did…” she didn’t know how to ask, she already knew the answer but still hoped that Eowyn would give her the answer she wanted to hear instead. This was why she had left Eowyn to tend to the Elves until now. She didn’t want to risk losing one of those beautiful immortal creatures to death. It seemed degrading to have these beings die like this; in pain, filthy from death, blood, dirt and battle. It wasn’t right. It made her heart ache and she kept imagining that it could be Legolas, making her have to fight an urge to run to him and tell him how much she loved him…that he couldn’t die and leave her like that after she had ripped her own heart apart to save his life. But she couldn’t do that. Her love would kill him; not save him. Oh, how bitter love in truth could be. All her life she had wished for true love and now when she had found it…it was deadly.

      “Yes, I lost another,” Eowyn sighed frustrated and balanced the tray in one hand so she could grab Ororo’s arm with the other. “I haven’t asked before because I’ve respected your reasons to stay away but Ororo, please tend to the Elves for me for a few days. I’ll take the mortals now but I swear I can feel a part of my soul dying each time I lose one of them. I can’t take it any more. I need a break,” her voice and eyes plead with Ororo who briefly closed her eyes in anguish.

      “You do lose a part of your soul,” Ororo whispered softly. She had felt those Elves die. Being healed by Legolas had given her that gift or maybe curse was a better word. She couldn’t shield herself from it, couldn’t outrun it. She wasn’t a psychic on any level like the Elves who had some mild mental abilities. She had no shields…Each time an Elf died she felt red hot needles of pain go into her skull and tear her apart, sometimes making her fall to the floor and gasping for breath for the about five minutes the intense agony lasted.

      “Ororo, just a few days. I’m…I feel like I’m dying. I need some distance between them and me should more die. I need some time to heal…Heal my soul I guess it is,” Eowyn tried to explain and the agony of it was that Ororo knew what she meant. Even though what Eowyn felt was mild compared to what Ororo could feel as she wasn’t linked to the Elves like she was. Then again, having so many Elves together, in pain, some dying, would surely send out waves of pain that even Eowyn as a normal human would pick up on. Ororo was suddenly very happy that the other Elves, Legolas in particular, had their own mental shields so that they at least didn’t have to feel the agony she did when an Elf died. It had been easier for her during the battle of Helm’s Deep; the deaths had been sudden, the mental connection so to speak had been instantly severed. It had given her a short strong pain in her mind but nothing like this where the moment of death seemed dragged out until it was pure torture.

      “I will tend to them for the next three days,” Ororo gave in and forced a smile for the young woman. Eowyn smiled back in gratitude.

      “I’ll tell my uncle and Scott. They should still be in the large dinning hall debating battle plans,” Eowyn said, frowning at the mere thought of more battle after all the wounded and dying she had seen which was a result of that. At Ororo’s nod Eowyn went downstairs while Ororo forced herself to continue up. What hurt her the most was that many of the mortals and elves died of wounds which could have been so easily healed had they been in her own time and place and not in Middle Earth where the smallest cut could kill you if it got infected.

      Ororo pushed away her own feelings of dismay, sadness and pain as she stood at the top of the stairs. If Elves were telepaths, even on a very low level then any negative energy could harm their healing. She knew that there was no handicapped Elves; they would either make a complete recovery or they would die. She thought for a while, searching for a way to aid them. Elves…Rivendell…flowers, light, beauty, fresh air, love…Elves were immortal yet they could still die…An idea struck her. They had been trying to heal the Elves as if they were mortals instead of the eternal creatures they were. Haldir and Aragorn had tried to explain, had tried to tell them of the Elven soul and spirit and both Ororo and Eowyn had thought they had understood and thus the two men had returned to their battle battles. Ororo found that they hadn’t done anything wrong but that there were things they could do to add to the Elves chances of recovery. She opened up the windows to the fresh air outside, brought flowers and put them all over the rooms with the injured Elves, she ordered anything dirty or blooded which was in proximity to the Elves washed and cleaned, including the Elves themselves. She went in search for the most beautiful, softest and delicate materials to make robes for the Elves and she got the most beautiful and peaceful paintings from the palace hung up on the walls in the rooms of the injured Elves. Not sure if it would help she finally got a young boy to play some Elfish songs for the injured, going from room to room. Yes, now the Elves had something beautiful, something peaceful to anchor their souls to as they fought through their healing back towards life.

      Satisfied that she had done all she could Ororo began to check up on her immortal patients, redressing wounds and making sure everyone was eating and drinking. The latter was the hardest on those who had lost a loved one in the battle. Their grief wanted to pull them towards the edges of life and then push them over so they could join the one they missed in death. Well, that was not going to happen on Ororo’s watch! Right now she went to sit with a beautiful young male Elf who had lost his twin brother in the battle at Helm’s Deep. Physically he was out of danger, he had only gotten an arrow through his leg, easily repaired, even on an Elf. However he didn’t want to heal nor did he want to eat or drink. Without the will to heal his wound got worse and if she couldn’t bring him out soon she would lose him to his grief.

      “You really should try to eat,” Ororo said gently for the nth time to the young Elf who lay and watched the ceiling with an intensely pained look. He hadn’t moved at all even as she sat beside him even though she knew he must have heard her approach him from miles away. She fiddled with the bowl of fruits and the goblet of water she had gotten for all the Elves. It had been hard getting so many different fruits for the Elves but the immortal beings did not eat meat as they in general were beings of peace who would never attack unless it was literally to protect their own lives. They did not believe in taking lives, not even the life of any animal and Ororo felt humanity had a great lesson to learn about what the very essence of humanity should be all about by watching the peaceful and tolerant Elves.

      “I have no desire for anything,” the Elf replied, even now, at the brink of his own destruction the Elf kept about him his dignity and minded his manners, answering her in a soft and kind enough voice though it was laced with grief.

      “You and yours have been given the best of what little fruit we have. Boromir has had to work hard to get this for you,” Ororo changed tactics to guilt, hoping it also worked on Elves.

      “Send my thanks to Lord Boromir and then give the fruit to someone who has more need for it,” the Elf’s voice was still polite but his eyes never left some imagined spot in the ceiling. Ororo drew a deep breath. Elves might be eternal and beautiful but damn they could be annoying as all hell as well! She had barely slept in three days and in that time had seen little else than blood and death. She was exhausted beyond words, sad and her entire soul was still in shreds over the loss of Legolas and the pain of having felt some of the Elves die during those three days hadn’t added to her well being at all. She had forced herself to eat and drink but hadn’t managed much. Yesterday she had had morning sickness practically all day and this whole situation was driving her insane.

      “I’ve tried being kind and sympathetic and that haven’t worked so let’s try something else,” Ororo’s voice and manners changed into command mode, explaining why she had been chosen as Scott’s second in command of the X-men. “We’re outnumbered, outgunned and the whole fate of this world and probably the entire cosmos with Phoenix on the loose, hangs in the balance. If you truly want to die then be my guest, you alone should control the fate of your own body, but I ask that you do so after whatever battle Scott, the kings and your own commander agrees to. Is that clear?”

      Surprise and shock at her direct and harsh tone made the young Elf turn and look at her. With a stern look Ororo pressed an apple into the Elf’s hand before she with great care eased him up so he sat up in bed with a pillow behind his back. The Elf hesitated for a minute more but Ororo gestured irritated to him and he took a bite, casting her the closest to a dirty look Ororo had ever seen an Elf using. Ororo smiled in triumph as she sat back down on the chair beside his bed.

      “You are a most fascinating woman, Your Highness,” the young Elf said softly, his voice holding awe and a sudden understanding as if he had just solved the puzzle of the universe.

      “I’m not royalty,” Ororo corrected him gently. The Elf raised an eyebrow at her.

      “The child you carry is not the child of Prince Legolas?”

      Ororo looked shocked and instinctively put a hand on her stomach which was beginning to become a little round but nothing noticeable yet, especially not with the loose shirt she wore. Puzzlement coloured her voice as she asked, “How did you know?”
      ”I am an Elf of the Golden Wood. The spirit of life and growth runs strongly through us,” the young Elven warrior explained. Ororo got the general idea of what he said but the whole set of rules on which this world operated, namely that of magic, was beyond her comprehension to grasp.

      “The Golden Wood? Where Galadriel is Queen?” Ororo asked, recalling the beautiful and powerful magical being they had encountered there.

      “Yes.” The Elf studied her for a while and then said softly, with lots of insight, “you have not told the Prince of Mirkwood of the child you carry?”

      “No,” Ororo’s eyes found his and she added, “will he know?”
      “That you’re carrying his child?” Ororo nodded. “No. Elves of Mirkwood do not have this ability as we do. He will know when a mortal man would know.”

      “Good,” she said softly, releasing the breath she hadn’t known she had been holding. She hated keeping this from Legolas, she felt like he had a right to know but she was also sure that if he knew of the baby then he would do the honourable thing and return to her…and thus killing himself. No, he could never know.

      “Why do you not wish the Prince to know?” The young Elf looked slightly puzzled and curious now. “This child you’re carrying has been prophesized. It will fulfil a great destiny,” foreseeing her question by the look in her eyes he continued, “I don’t know much about this prophecy or the child’s destiny. All I know are these words which were spoken to me: A child of great destiny shall be born unto the world, forged during battle, made from the love between a Prince and a Goddess.”

      Ororo squirmed uncomfortably in her chair, her cheeks blushing hot red. This wasn’t her. Her life wasn’t some predetermined prophecy! She didn’t even like the thought of it. Besides she wasn’t a real Goddess…this was absurd! No way was she having any part in any prophecy! Aragorn could keep that stuff all to himself, thank you very much. “I don’t know what you mean. It was an accident. I was careless. I should never had let this happen,” Ororo mumbled under her breath. Then her mind caught up her with her and cut through her feeling of discomfort over the Elf’s words. “Prophesied? By who?”

      “By the lady Galadriel of course,” now the young Elf was obviously confused by her lack of knowledge. “She did tell you this herself. I heard as much with my own ears.”
      Ororo looked perplexed at him. She couldn’t have been more surprised if he had told her that the moon was just an illusion made by a very powerful wizard…though in this time of magic who knew if that really was that far-fetched…She killed that thought right there and blamed sleep deprivation for even having thought it up. “I don’t think she ever told me I would become pregnant. I would have remembered something like that,” she insisted. Known it and avoided it, she added silently. Not that she didn’t love this child she was carrying but it was bittersweet agony to carry the child of the man she loved when she knew he was also the man she would have to leave and never see again without having told him that she did love him.

      “She told you that you would be the bridge between two worlds,” the Elf began to explain.

      “She meant my child. My child is that bridge between two worlds. His and my own,” Ororo suddenly realised and the Elf nodded. Suddenly her anger flared. “She could have been more precise and not so annoyingly mysterious!”

      “I do apologise if somehow me or mine brought you offence, Your Highness, but I do not understand your distress,” the Elf admitted and received a glance of fire from Ororo.

      “Well, we can start with me being a single parent!” she exploded. “I don’t really see anything mystical or romantic about struggling with anything from money to education all on my own not to mention that I never asked for a child, least of all without a husband and in the middle of one of the bloodiest wars I’ve ever seen which may yet kill me!” She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself and she could see her words had visibly shaken the young Elf. “I’m sorry…I’m…tired,” she apologised, trying for a kind smile.

      “Are you saying Prince Legolas has died?” The Elf asked shocked.

      “No, of course not!” Ice surrounded her heart and panic rose in her. “At least I hope not. He’s with Logan and Rogue out patrolling the borders, looking for any news to bring us.”
      “Then why do you claim you have no husband?” The Elf’s panic had left his eyes but he was obviously confused. “Has Prince Legolas rejected you?”
      ”No!” This conversation was beginning to kill her, making her heart bleed painfully over the loss of Legolas all over again.

      “Then why?”
      Ororo sighed deeply and looked and sounded as tired as if she was a hundred years old. “Why what?”
      ”Why would you claim you have no husband when Prince Legolas is your husband?”

      Ororo almost fell out of her chair in shock. “What?”

      The Elf stared surprised at her. “You did not know?”
      ”That I had married someone without even saying ‘I do’? No!” Ororo shook her head and paced the floor in front of the Elf’s bed. This was insane. It couldn’t be happening. Her most wonderful dream, to marry a man who cared for her as much as Legolas had done and who she loved with all of her heart was turning into a nightmare.

      “I am unfamiliar with that reference,” the Elf admitted but then explained, “between our kind to consent to having sexual intercourse is the same as consenting to marriage.”
      ”So, you’re saying in the instant you’re having sex you’re also married?” Ororo wanted to be clear on that and her head was aching almost as much as her heart.

      “Sex?” The Elf looked confused.

      “Sexual intercourse,” she elaborated.

      She sat back down in the chair she had just left and stared shaken at him, shocked beyond words, but then tried to smile a little, trying to force her brain to work properly once again. “Wait till I tell Logan this; sex means marriage. He’ll probably try to get Xavier to propose it to Congress…At least we’ll be over this mutant marriage debate where some claim all mutants are second class citizens and thus can only get civil unions and shouldn’t be allowed to marry…Hitler himself couldn’t have made a better sign of discrimination than this…In fact I think he did do something like this,” she mused out loud, a hint of bitterness in her words at this intolerant and unjust law proposal put forth in the supposed ‘land of freedom and tolerance’ that she called home. However a smile came to her lips as she imagined an eager Logan talking Xavier into suggesting this. Logan knew well that the only reason he had managed to get married to Rogue was because the law hadn’t been passed at the time they got married. If the law got passed there would be DNA scans which would tell if you were a mutant and if you were…no wedding for you. Next on the list was excluding schools and other public institutions from mutants…not a pleasant future at all that Xavier and his X-men had to fight against. Her smile disappeared at once when she recalled that Xavier was not here and that she might never see him again.

      “Are you alright, Your Highness?” the Elf asked, puzzled by her words, having not understood their meaning but he had caught the bitterness and pain in them.

      “Yes, I’m fine,” she made a visible effect to gather her wits about her and her thoughts and focus returned to the present situation. Okay, so she was married. Get over it she mentally scolded herself. “Can a marriage be broken?”
      ”No but it can be blocked which means that neither partner needs to fulfil any marriage obligations and they need never see each other again. However unless they have very strong reasons, like abuse or that the marriage was done without both partners consent, then neither person in a blocked marriage may remarry. Naturally the marriage is dissolved in the event of one of the partners’ death and the survivor is free to remarry if he or she has not joined his or her mate in death.”

      By the Goddess…I think I’ve just divorced or rather ‘blocked’ Legolas! Ororo realised in horror, recalling her painful break-up with him. “Can…can an Elf survive this ‘blocking’?” she hoped her voice was stronger than it sounded to her own ears.
      “If he or she never loved his or her partner or if the blocking was done so soon that such feelings didn’t have time to develop then yes,” the Elf held a carefully neutral expression, too polite to even speculate as to why she was asking. She drew a relieved breath. Then she was still saving him! It wasn’t too late. Legolas couldn’t have such deep feelings for her because if he had surely he would have tried to keep her more strongly…unless he respected her decision too much to try and change her mind. No, she couldn’t think like that. He couldn’t possibly love her. She quickly fought down the sting of sadness this realization brought her. He was still safe and that was all that mattered. Thank the Goddess! If both she and Legolas survived the war she could tell Legolas that she had never agreed to the marriage and thus it had been without her consent. It should leave him free to remarry after she left him. It was painful just to imagine saying those words and even worse to imagine Legolas with someone new but it was better than having him die.
      “Thank you for telling me,” Ororo said warmly and squeezed the Elf’s slender and elegant fingers on his right hand for a moment. Then one of the women from the village who was helping her called for her and she rose. “Please don’t tell anyone of this conversation.”
      ”You have my solemn oath on that, Your Highness,” the Elf promised and Ororo smiled warmly, relieved.

      “Thank you,” she turned to go but then threw him a smile over her shoulder, “and eat all that fruit. I’ll be back to check on you.”

      The warm laughter of the young Elf followed Ororo down the hallway and gave her a few precious moments of peace of mind before her legs gave way under her and she slid to the floor, crying so hard she thought her eyes would dry out forever. Her heart felt like it was being torn to pieces and she put an arm over her abdomen to try and stop the invisible pain. Why should she hurt Legolas so much? Why should she hurt so much herself? Oh, sweet merciful Goddess…make it all stop! This was too much!

      She fought to get herself under control. She couldn’t break down like this. There were wounded to tend to. She was still second in command of the X-men. No time for self-pity. Get off the floor! She ordered herself sternly and she forced herself to obey. With an angry hand she wiped her tears away and adjusted her clothes a little before she hurried on to the next room that the woman had called her into, forcing a friendly smile on her face but her eyes were dead.

      * * *

      “Fact of the matter is still that we’re outnumbered with too few resources to draw on. If nothing else we need to have some factors on our side like our own choosing of time and place,” Scott said with a sigh as he leaned over to look at the map of Middle Earth and more specifically Rohan, Gondor and Mordor that was laid out on the large wooden table where Gandalf, Aragorn, Haldir and king Theoden had been debating this issue with him for three days now. Things didn’t look good. They still hadn’t gotten a precise number from Eomer on their own soldiers but from his estimate then it wasn’t nearly enough to defeat Mordor’s incoming Orc army. Gimli’s report was also underway but they seemed in as much need of weapons and ammo as everything else. They also still needed reports from Boromir on food as well as reports on supplies and on how many wounded could keep fighting but things still looked grim. Scott turned to Haldir who after having washed, changed and shaved looked as royal and regal as ever. It had been bliss to finally be able to have those simple luxuries as a bath and clean clothes after their dirty and bloody battle. Never again would Scott take the comforts of a bathroom for granted. “Haldir, can we expect help from other Elves?”

      Haldir looked thoughtful for a moment and sought the eyes of Aragorn, his old friend for a moment, a silent apology in his eyes, before his attention returned to Scott and he answered, “I do not know for sure but I would not count on it. Many Elves have already departed from these lands, many have remained. These are uncertain times.”
      “Yeah, well…What I wouldn’t give for a cell phone right about now. That would take some of that away quickly enough,” Scott said with a wishful tone even though the others just stared strangely at him, not understanding the reference. Part of their problem was this long wait and total lack of intell and information. It was getting on Scott’s nerves in the extreme after three days of little food, sleep and intense stress. That he had had to send his own people on different assignments hadn’t helped either. Scott had absolute trust in his fellow X-men and their skills but after all they had been subject to he didn’t like letting them out of his sight. Logan and Rogue were the ones in the most dangerous situation at the moment but he had made a choice based on whose skills would be best suited for that assignment and together with Legolas those were obvious candidates. In all the chaos and stress he still hadn’t had time to speak to Ororo about her and Legolas’s break-up as he had wanted to. He hadn't had time to talk with Boromir about his torture or Rogue about how she felt about her disappearing powers either. All were issues and emotional traumas he knew should be resolved as soon as possible but as so often in war situations such issues would have to wait for a while. For a moment, he indulged himself in reliving the only highlight of the day; seeing Eowyn for all of a few seconds as she had informed them she was changing position with Ororo and to let them know that she had found 10 Elves fit for duty, five others were out of danger and sadly one had just died, a piece of news Haldir had taken the hardest but Aragorn had also seemed very saddened by it, though none of them seemed surprised by the news as they always were attuned to the Elves around them. As always, Scott’s warm feelings towards Eowyn left him with a mixture of warmth and cold guilt, torn between his love for Jean, the woman he had loved since childhood and the woman he had married, and his blooming affection for Eowyn. In so many ways she was the opposite of Jean; younger, sweeter, calmer, more respectful and graceful but with an edge of steel to her beauty, a trait she did share with Jean. As always when he thought of Jean it was tinged with sadness, like the bittersweetness one gets when remembering something beautiful which has suddenly been destroyed, shattered into a thousand pieces. With a mental shake of his head he pushed his emotions and inner turmoil aside. He had no time for that now.
      ”I can ride to Gondor and ask them to join our army. Maybe together we can meet the forces of Mordor,” Gandalf suggested but Aragorn looked doubtful yet hopeful.

      “Without Boromir or his brother as leader we cannot be sure of a positive outcome,” he warned, knowing enough about Boromir’s father to know that for a certainty.

      “Gondor will not aid us,” Theoden said strongly, bitterly.

      “Maybe it’s more us who aids them,” Haldir spoke up. “Mordor’s forces will most likely attack Gondor before they attack these lands.”
      “I say we bring Gondor in on our plan then so we can arrange a date and a place where we strike together,” Scott said and the others nodded.

      “Should you bring Boromir? Maybe he can soften his father,” Haldir suggested, from the little he knew of Boromir’s father he knew he would be a hard man to talk to.

      “I do not think it is a good idea to take Lord Boromir too close to the borders of Mordor,” Gandalf said thoughtfully.

      “He won’t betray us,” Aragorn said, a hint of protectiveness in his voice.

      “Not willingly, I agree but he is bound to the Ring which is pure evil. His life force could alert the forces of Mordor of his presence,” Gandalf warned.

      “Like a homing device,” Scott explained but was only met with blank looks. “Never mind.”
      “Bring Pippin with you and have him speak to Boromir’s brother. That should be more than enough motivation for him to aid you and persuade his father to agree to our plan,” Aragorn suggested even though he hated having to force Boromir to part from one of his Little Ones but it couldn’t be helped.

      “Very well,” Gandalf nodded in agreement. “I shall…” Whatever he was about to say was cut short as Logan, Rogue and Legolas entered the large hall, all wearing grim faces. With concern Scott noticed that Legolas looked very pale, almost like porcelain. There was something wrong with him, Scott was sure of it. By the worried look Aragorn cast his friend Scott knew he was right. The thin Elf looked weak enough to fall from a breeze but still walked with grace and strength towards them. As soon as he reached them Aragorn left his chair and helped Legolas sit down into one, ignoring the Elf’s half-hearted protests. Scott was relieved to see them all alright but the dark gleam in Logan’s eyes worried him.

      “What’s wrong?” he asked as soon as Logan and Rogue reached him. All eyes turned to the couple and Rogue held Logan’s hand inside her own gloved one, a similar dark look on her own face.

      “We were heading towards Gondor’s borders when news reached us from there,” Logan started but then hesitated for a few seconds. Scott got a bad feeling from the sympathetic look in Logan’s eyes.
      “Just tell me,” he asked of him, his voice somewhere between a command and a plea.

      “Scott,” Rogue reached out and put a comforting gloved hand on his right arm. “The villages told us some of the border villages has been destroyed, hundreds of people massacred.”

      “Orcs?” King Theoden asked with a hint of dread in his voice. They couldn’t take another attack already.

      “No, Phoenix,” Logan said, his voice grim. All colour left Scott’s face. He should have expected this…he should have…He felt a wave of pain and nausea hit him like someone had punched him.

      “Jean,” the word was a soft plea as his feet suddenly seemed too weak to hold him up…Hundreds of people dead, slain by his love’s own hand…Oh, God!

      “Easy,” Logan’s voice was calm as he easily caught the younger man before he fell and helped him into a chair with Rogue’s help.

      “Deep breaths,” Rogue advised and drew calming circles on his back with her gloved hand.

      “Scott, one of these days we’re gonna have to face her,” Logan said, his voice firm. “You have got to let go. She is not Jean. She’s Phoenix now. The woman you loved is dead.”

      “No!” Scott shook his head in denial.

      “God damn it!” Logan swore and with a hard hand under Scott’s chin he forced him to look up and into his own eyes, which reflected anger and shared pain. “If you don’t let her go Phoenix will kill you. She’ll use Jean against you, you know she will.”
      Scott didn’t know what to say because Logan was right. He tore himself free from Logan’s grip and Logan let him, knowing that he could have held him firm with his added strength his metal skeleton gave him if he had wanted to.

      “You wouldn’t be that quick to call her dead if she was your own wife,” Scott protested.

      “He may have to face that decision,” Rogue said softly and all eyes turned to her. She met their glance evenly. “I know as well as any of you that this power I have been given is calling to me. I like it. I like being able to help as much as I have been able to do after I got this gift. Those things makes me dangerous.”

      “No, sweetheart,” Logan protested and tried to take her into his embrace but she evaded him.

      “Yes and you know it. I will try and fight it but if I fail I want to know that Logan will kill me before I kill innocents,” her words were for all of them, especially Scott but her request was made to Logan and her eyes and voice were filled with certainty and love as they met and held Logan’s.

      “Darlin’, don’t ask this of me,” his words were a soft whisper but the anguish in them was clear. She forced a smile and went into his embrace and laid her head on his shoulder and he held her tight. After a little while she drew back and tears glistened on her cheeks.

      “Do this because you love me…Do not let me become something I’m not,” her eyes seemed to pierce Logan’s very soul. “Please…don’t make me beg for this.”
      Logan shook his head and held his own tears back as he wiped hers away too fast for her mutation to touch him. “I would never do that to you,” his voice was tight with emotions as he fought for control before he kissed the top of her head as gentle as a butterfly kisses the morning sun. “I give you my word, darlin’. No matter what happens I’ll stay with you till the end…you will never leave my embrace.”

      “Thank you,” she said softly, her eyes and voice saying so much more than the words, knowing how much she had asked from a man who had sworn he would never harm her…who had sworn he would kill anyone who even thought of harming her.

      “Let us all hope your vow never have to be tested, Logan,” Gandalf said solemnly and the others nodded in agreement. Rogue made an effort to pull herself together and looked back to Scott.

      “We couldn’t see her so chances are Phoenix isn’t around here at the moment,” she told him gently.

      “Scott…will you be able to kill her if it comes to that for if not we need to know now,” Logan asked, his voice not unkind though he had gotten himself under control as well, willing himself to hide his conversation with his wife in the darkest corner of his mind, refusing to consider it unless that moment should arise.

      Scott looked thoughtful and torn for a long moment. “I…I do not know. I have loved her always. She is my wife.”
      “Scott,” Logan began gently but firmly. “Whatever vow you gave her has lost its meaning. Keeping to your marriage vows and bonds is only your way of punishing yourself for something you had no control over,” Logan raised a hand to prevent Scott from voicing his protest and continued, “ Jean’s powers went wild, her own passion consumed her, with or without Sauron aiding in her fall the fact is that she has fallen. She is no longer Jean.”

      “I…” Scott shook his head. “I’m still not sure if I can kill her. She wears Jean’s face.”

      “She’s Jean only in image,” Rogue reminded him softly but after that the room went silent for a few seconds, no one knowing what to say as Scott fought to regain his balance.

      “I will get ready to leave and find Pippin. I need to talk to Boromir as well,” Gandalf said into the sudden silence and left. Scott forced himself to stand and pull himself together. He looked Logan in the eye, his gaze steady and calm now.

      “I will make my decision when that time arises. For now we have other matters to attend to.”

      Logan nodded in agreement. This could wait…for now. But soon…Very soon Scott’s decision would have to be made and sadly Logan knew how faithful a man Scott was. He wasn’t sure he would be able to kill his own heart. Scott was a great commander and leader but he was also a much kinder and gentler man even towards strangers than Logan in general was towards people he called friends. If Scott couldn’t do this then Logan would do it for him. However something told him that he might not have the possibility of aiding him and he himself was torn apart. He loved Rogue more than life itself and the very thought of having to kill her was repulsive to him yet it was that kind of sacrifice he asked of Scott. How could he ask his friend to make such a sacrifice? How could he ask it of himself? Not for the first time Logan wished his friends and him had never been taken to this world, never been faced with choices no man should be faced with. This mission could very well end up killing them all…even if some of them made it out alive. He knew that if he had to kill Rogue…he would do so, he would honour Rogue’s request but he would kill himself as well even if he survived. This was too much to ask for, too much to take in. Years of military training enabled Logan to push the whole matter aside and he laid an arm around Rogue’s waist, needing to hold her close. Still, in the back of his mind a dark shadow of what tomorrow could bring was growing and he feared all he would see was an endless line of graves…always graves and himself always being the one who had to do the burying.


      Author’s notes:

      Oh, what a complicated web we spin…

      Well, now Rogue has the possibility of becoming the Queen of Darkness and give Phoenix a run for her money…Hmm, now there’s a thought…*grins*

      Logan as having a past in the military is taken from the comics…Just go with me here, please. Also, the whole Elves healing thing and anything else about Elven society…Made it all up. It fitted into this book so that was how I wrote the Elves and their powers. Also all Scott and the other’s debate about military plans…also made up. I did warn you I wouldn’t follow canon so you should know that by now.

      Thanks so much to Jonas for great beta and for help with LOTR lore which I twisted to fit my own devices. *EG*

      Again thanks to anyone who has given me reviews/FB. They keep me writing. Thanks so much!

      All comments and suggestions are appreciated if you can use a kind and civil tone.

      Take care


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