The story: came to me last night, and I needed to explore the dark again.

Warnings: Angst, some self-inflicted violence and a bit of slash.

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, I only borrow them from time to time.


Did you know that the sword was so perfectly balanced that if I had cast it towards the heavens, I would have caught it with ease again as it fell? Its core was so hard, cruel steel, but its form so graceful, so skilfully tamed by the blacksmith that it almost shuddered in the breath of the wind.

I could have held it upright, like a branch, smooth and straight – a rowan-branch – springing out from the trunk that had fostered it, and I would have felt no weight in my hand. So light was the blade.

It would have flown far, had I thrown it with all force I could muster. And it would have cut through the grass as it landed, slicing its way forward for so sharp was the egg.

My skin was always fair but now it was marked by the sun; scars, newer ones and ancient, ran through the sunburn like cracks crossing an arid landscape. Though the rain was falling heavily.

The ground was eagerly drinking of my blood, all that seeped into it – all that I gave without my consent. Yet I continued to give, for I still had something to offer.

Did you know that there was only silence? The sword sang quietly in a cold whisper when my fingertips followed its length, admired its form and longed to taste its promise. But in my ears was only silence for no one would sing for me when I lost.

I tipped it downwards, and it swung around my hand, still secure in my grip, and then its tip pointed towards the earth and even now I needed not use any strength or force. It stood without pride before me, for pride I knew not, but it was deadly, as many creatures are who love not themselves or their purpose.

My skin would have parted at its touch. It would have let it through to reach my veins and muscles. I lifted it high and raindrops raced across its gleaming surface. My clothes were no barrier and this I knew well. My stomach would swallow this also, as it had swallowed dirt and tears; for as long as I could remember I had swallowed nothing but fear, and it never occurred to me I could fight it instead.

The strike of a hand slashed the skin on my cheek. Piercing eyes stared at me as I waited to try the egg. Long, grey hair fell around a face that was of no colour except for rage. Those that say rage is colourless are wrong. It is white-hot, or like a sickly moon in autumn when it rises yellowish from its fitful sleep below the ground. I looked at that face and I was a disappointment.

Did you know that I hesitated before death? The living would not have me but still I had no place. My sword was my master, but only when dying would I be somewhere: in between. Balanced.

Grey eyes searched for me and I swayed. The blade caught their light and abandoned the rain, and I fell to my knees. Fell on the egg. Gave of my blood, again.

Hands that were human grasped for me but ghosts can be clever and I cast myself to the side. Following me in a fluid motion, my sword cut deep into me and I screamed. I had learnt nothing, for a man does not show his agony, no matter how sharp the pain.

Still hands roamed over me and voices were calling me and I rejoiced for these were demons of the undead and they greeted me joyously.

But again I failed for they did not embrace me and instead another voice broke through their screams and called my name. I pushed my drained body down upon the sword but it was now blunt and scraped uselessly against the mud. Hands brutally gripped my shoulders and urged me to stand, but why obey when your service is fundamentally insignificant?

I was pulled back, upwards, pushed through layers and layers of rain, and I screamed until I was hoarse and could make no further sound. Through it all, the voice spoke to me but I fought it still, desperately wanting to know balance at least once before whatever shadow defeated me at last.

I saw my sword for the last time and it was beautiful. Then my blood covered it and then it sank into the earth, and it gleamed no more.

There was a hand on my forehead and this I could not fight for it was too real. Now I rushed forth myself, seeking more of that touch as it was a new one I never before had experienced. It was not there to taunt to hurt me and I may have been easily bought, but I chose to feel it again.

I breathed then; the scent of herbs hung low in the air. I lay outstretched, knowing calmness and this too was unique. The hand slid down to my cheek where there would be a wound, but I think it found nothing.

I followed the movements of the hand. There were voices around me at first, other ones, but they gradually dimmed and drifted away completely.

My forehead again, then my other cheek and my chin. I drew another breath and pain blossomed in my chest. Yet I forced myself to lie quiet and I tasted blood where my teeth drove into my lower lip. But the hand would not have it so. It swept down to lie on my breast and after a while the pain subsided. I dared to taste air once more and my lungs filled easier this time. Soothingly, fingertips brushed against my lips and took some of my blood with them as they left me alone.

I mourned then – though I was calm and though I sensed warmth hovering about me, lightly suggesting coming closer. Ungratefully I mourned bitterly and I hated myself for it. Hated myself again. I knew how to do that.

When shadows would claim me again – when I was willing – touch caught my attention, but it was no hand, nor any fingers that lifted me into the light that time. Against my swollen and bloodied lips, came the soft pressure of other lips and they belonged to no demon.

I wondered why but it did not matter for the lips would not go away. I felt the presence of the hand again as it brushed my hair and then cradled my head.

When I kissed back, I fell in love.

Did you know that, Aragorn?


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