Alathiel moved briskly around her temporary surgery, setting things to rights after a busy evening of treating patients. Tonight the surgery was beside a bubbling creek that led off into the woods downstream. Her small white tent was set up in the shelter of one of the wagons. From where she stood it looked impossibly far away.
She plucked the last of her instruments out of a pot of boiling water and laid them beside the others, gleaming silver in the setting sun. Her determination to keep things clean had not faded in spite of three days of dust and mud, but it came at a heavy price. She sank down wearily on an empty cask and slipped off her shoes, awkwardly trying to massage the soreness from her neck and shoulders with one hand.
"It might be easier if you let me do that, brennilen."
"Legolas," she turned towards his voice. Alathiel knew it was foolish, but she couldn't hide the smile that came to her lips at her first sight of him. He stood beside the stream, lean body gilded by the fierce light of the setting sun.
He crossed the surgery in a few light steps and stood behind her. "Dortho dínen, cuanen," he murmured, placing his hands on her shoulders. Her tension melted away replaced by pleasant warmth as she leaned back against him. Before she could stop it, a soft sigh of pleasure escaped Alathiel's lips and she felt his hands tighten fractionally on her shoulders. Then, after a long moment, he resumed his gentle massage.
His thumbs traced delicate circles on the soft flesh at the back of her neck while his sensitive fingers traced the line of her collarbone. Somehow, he had stopped massaging and begun caressing--feather light strokes that were like icy fire against her skin. Just as when he had embraced her on the battlements of Minas Tirith, she was lost in the pure enjoyment of his touch. Until she saw his hand.
It was bruised and swollen; the knuckles were scraped and raw. Alathiel was above all things a healer and whether she wished to or not, she instantly became alert in the presence of injury or illness.
"You're hurt!" She jumped up and faced him, taking his hand in both of hers. "What happened?"
The moment burst like a soap bubble. One moment his hand was stroking silky skin of her throat, the next it was being doused in some painful, burning liquid.
"If I didn't know any better, I'd say you struck a tree with your fist. There are bits of bark still in the cuts," Alathiel exclaimed, looking at him curiously.
"It is nothing. An accident, nothing more." He suffered the wound to be bound only because he craved the touch of her hands on his flesh. "You should go to your rest, brennilen. It is very late."
"I suppose it is," she replied, still holding his bandaged hand. Suddenly, she stood on tiptoe and kissed him lightly on the cheek. "I'm glad you came to see me. I've missed you," she said softly.
"And I, you, cuanen." He cradled her face in his hands and leaned down, brushing his lips against hers. He heard her sharp intake of breath and felt the pulse in her neck flutter beneath his fingers. Emboldened, he gently kissed her again, caressing her bottom lip with the tip of his tongue. She slipped her arms around his neck and her lips parted slightly under his. Accepting the invitation, he kissed her more deeply. She tasted of honey and wine and her lips were like velvet against his...
"Lady Alathiel?" inquired the high, piping voice of a Hobbit. "I fear I've singed my toes in the fire. Do you have any of that-oh, my...I've interrupted something, haven't I?" Pippin looked contrite and deeply curious at the same time.
Maybe it was a laughing matter after all. "Nay, Master Peregrine. Nothing that cannot be continued another time," Legolas replied. "Good night, brennilen. I will see you on the morrow." He brushed her cheek with the back of his hand and slipped away into the gathering shadows.
The hobbit was speaking to her again, but Alathiel did not hear him. She simply stared in the direction Legolas had gone, her fingers held wonderingly to her lips.
brennilen = my lady
dortho = (imperative) stay, remain
dínen = silent
dortho dínen = be quiet; relax
cuanen = my dove