"The Point of No Return"
Work: the Lord of the Rings
A/N: Most of the thoughts and dialogue in this work are the lyrics to "The Point of No Return" from the Phantom of the Opera musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Bits have been added in to make the story flow better. This was something I'd been thinking about for quite some time but never actually wrote down. The story is dedicated to the wonderful LadyBaelish, who reminded me how badly I've been neglecting my favorite pairing ever... so here's to ye!
He recalls their exchange today, the exact words as fresh in his mind as though she were standing in front of him at that very moment.
"You have betrayed us all," she said to him. "And worse, you have betrayed me!"
"Not you, Éowyn," he returned, not wanting her to believe such things.
"But you have, with your lies and your silver-spun words." She fixed on him an accusing stare. "Gríma," she said, as if she were unsure of what she was about to say, "there was a time when I loved you." His breath catches in his throat, but she does not notice. "I never told you, and now I am glad of it. You are not worthy of my love, or of anyone's! I only hope that now you may feel some remorse for what you have done, knowing that you have lost something more valuable than riches or power, or anything your master may have promised you."
He meets her eyes, washed-out blue with steely grey. "My lady, meet me tonight, if you wish. Let me allay your fears and apprehensions. We need have lost nothing."
He has been waiting in his chambers for her this evening, praying that she will come and wondering what will come to pass if she does. The revelation of her love had been completely unexpected, and it has filled him with a hope that he has not known for a long while, proving that emotions thought to have been lost can be rekindled.
He hears a tentative tapping at his door, and hurries to let her in.
"Good evening, my lady. I can but thank you for making my humble and lonely rooms more beautiful with your presence."
She steps in and he closes the door behind her. "Is there something you wish to tell me?" she asks, clearly hoping for answers. "Why have you summoned me here?"
"It is simple, Éowyn," he says. "You have come here in pursuit of your deepest urge – in pursuit of that wish which, until now, has been silent."
The look that she casts at him is haughty. "I know not of what you speak."
He refuses to let her play coy. "Let me say this, then; perhaps I may refresh your memory. I have brought you that our... passions may fuse and merge. You said yourself that you love me."
"Loved," she corrects him.
"It is all the same, is it not?" he says. "In your mind, you have already succumbed to me." He comes near to her, putting a hand on her hip and speaking close to her ear. "Dropped all defenses, completely succumbed to me." He feels her shiver; he draws back to look her in the face. "Otherwise, you would not be here. But now you are here with me, no second thoughts. You've decided."
Her mask of coldness had been lifting, but now it falls back into place easily, like the last piece of a puzzle. "Decided, counselor? What exactly am I to have decided?"
"That these emotions you claim to no longer harbor for me may still exist, of course."
She pauses, then says softly, "And where does that leave us, Gríma? Past the point of no return?"
"No return," he agrees, taking her hands in his. "No backward glances: the petty games we have played till now are at an end." She still looks apprehensive. "Éowyn, we can be past all thought of if or when. There is no use resisting – is it not better to abandon thought and let this dream descend?"
"It is an unrealistic dream," she tells him. "I cannot love you, not after all you have done."
"But think, my lady, think of it." She lets him whisper in her ear once more. His mellifluous tones and words raise goosebumps on her flesh. "Imagine, what raging fire shall flood the soul, what rich desire unlocks its door – what sweet seduction lies before us?"
Past the point of no return, she thinks, finding herself being overcome as he continues, now looking into her eyes.
"We shall pass that final threshold, and what warm, unspoken secrets will we learn?" he concludes. He moves to kiss her, but she pulls away, the unsaid words echoing in her head: beyond the point of no return.
She finds herself unable to speak as she searches for the correct words to describe her torn feelings. He notices this. "Are you alright, Éowyn?"
She laughs nervously. "I am well. But... you have brought me to that moment when words run dry. For all your poetic talk, this is a moment where speech disappears into silence." And there is silence until she speaks again, more boldly. "I have come here hardly knowing the reason why."
"You know the reason," he presses, as though he needs to believe it.
She shakes her head. "In my mind I've already imagined our bodies entwining, defenseless and silent... and now I am here with you. I cannot help what I feel, even though I do not wish it to be so. I cannot explain it, but I have no second thoughts... I've decided."
He smiles. "Past the point of no return – there is no going back now." He kisses her gently, seeming enraptured by her.
"Our passion-play has now at last begun," she replies, breathless.
"Then we are past all thought of right or wrong," he says with persuasive relief.
"But there is one final question," she whispers when his lips are not on hers. "How long should we two wait before we're one?" He draws back her hair and lays kisses on her white neck, growing with intensity as she speaks. "When will the blood begin to race, the sleeping bud burst into bloom?" she gasps out. "When will the flames – at last – consume us?"
She can feel him and she knows they will not wait for long. They speak little more, past this point of no return, "The final threshold" her last whisper before they unite. And though their passions are high and far above earthly thoughts, there is a truth that they both have come to understand: "The bridge is crossed, so stand and watch it burn... We've passed the point of no return."