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Chapter 19

The group moved quickly through Fangorn, back to where they had left the horses. Gandalf himself had called Shadowfax, a beautiful white stallion and the King of Horses.

They had begun the ride to Rohan, Harry still unconscious, his skin pale and clammy.

Gandalf had told the group that there was nothing more than to wait for Harry to awaken. It was his battle to fight now. His wounds and sores had been tended to and bandaged and Gandalf fed small amounts of water down Harry's throats whenever they stopped to rest.

Legolas and Aragorn kept close eye on Harry, with Boromir and Gimli mainly watching the hobbits and keeping an eye out for enemies. It was a hard ride everyday for them to reach Rohan.

Gandalf knew of Saruman's hold over Theoden there and when he had been brought back, the voices had whispered about the battle of Rohan that was to come. They would need allies.

It was nighttime when they stopped to rest by a small knoll. The group rested in the protection of having one side shielded, keeping their fire small.

Boromir was on watch, looking around. They all sat and lay close to the fire and each other. Harry was tucked under a blanket next to Boromir, his breathing even.

Boromir looked around, listening carefully with a hand on the hilt of his sword. He was a grown man but he had learnt more on this journey than in all his years of living. He had been under the sway of the ring. The stories of men being weak to the power were true it seemed. Boromir promised himself that he would not befall that fate again.

A soft groan next to him had Boromir jerking and twisting to look down.

"Wake up," Boromir said pleadingly, "you must wake, Harry."

Harry struggled under the blankets, fussing, tossing his head from side to side. Something felt different. A hand over his forehead and eyes had him stilling. He could hear a voice, calling him, calling his name, like a far away echo.

Boromir felt the eyelashes beneath his palm flutter as Harry's breathing became more pronounced.

"Wha-s, wha-s happened?" Harry murmured, his tongue heavy and his mouth dry. He swallowed the welling spit to soothe his sore throat.

"We were able to save you from Saruman's clutches but it seems at a cost," Boromir replied, still keeping quiet. "The others are sleeping. Night has already fallen and they are weary from the journey and in worry of your health."

Harry sucked in a breath, the memories of what had happened flooding his mind. He chocked back a small sob, tears pricking his eyes. "Thank you. Thank you."

"Hush," Boromir said, lifting his hand from the boy's face so he could cry freely. "You were injured greatly but Gandalf had spent many hours tending to your wounds."

Harry turned his face, feeling the heat of the fire and the light which he could see dancing behind closed eyes. How beautiful it felt, to feel the warmth like this again.

"How long was I with Saruman," Harry whispered. The time he spent in that mind scape with all those horrible images… it had felt like a lifetime of torture.

"The Urukhai had you for at least 3 nights and we did not catch up to them until two day later after that night. It took us another night to trek through Fangorn. So you must have been with him at least 3 nights. If not longer since we do not know when Saruman had taken you from the Urukhai."

"Oh… it felt much longer than that," Harry said softly, turning his face back to the sky.

"You are safe now. We will let no harm come to you, Harry," Boromir said gently.

Harry nodded, reaching a heavy arm up to rub at his face, the tears which were slowly falling stinging his tired eyes. His eyelids fluttered rapidly, his own body doing something that he hadn't done in many years. Harry felt something within him will it, telling him that it was okay, that it was time.

Harry opened his eyes.

For the first time, he blinked once, then twice and then finally, his vision cleared and he was met with the sight of stars above.

Harry heard Boromir suck in a breath as he turned to look at him, seeing him for the first time.

"Wow, so that's what you look like," Harry said more to himself than anything. While he sort of felt how everyone looked with magic, it was very different to being able to see it with his own eyes.

"This is…" Boromir whispered as he looked into the eyes of the greenest fields, flecked with the red of the fire by them. "You can see."

"I can see." Harry echoed back.

"I'll wake the others. This is a miracle we must all celebrate." Boromir said as he stood, moving around the fire to nudge the others awake.

Harry kept under the blanket but sat up, watching as the others stirred. He looked at each carefully, taking in their sleepy faces and then the looks of shock.

"Harry!" Aragorn called as he stumbled over to him. "Your eyes... You can see!"

Harry laughed as he was engulfed in a hug, Aragorn holding him so close it hurt. But it was nice, to be so cared for and worried over.

His body seized up as the memories of what he saw of Aragorn and the group around him. He tried to struggle to pull away.

Aragorn pulled back with a frown. "Are you alright?"

"Just- if you could just not touch me. I'm just- I'm just a bit sore still," Harry said, his eyes downcast.

"My apologies," Aragorn said as he sat back away from Harry.

"It's alright, not your fault," Harry said, rubbing his arms and wrapping them around himself. The feeling of those hands around him brought all those memories to the forefront of his mind and it made him shiver.

It wasn't real. It wasn't real.

Gandalf and the others approached.

"How are you feeling Harry?" Gandalf asked as he knelt by him, checking him over.

"Sore, tired, like I've aged 10 years but otherwise, physically fine," Harry said, pausing.

Gandalf raised a brow, prompting Harry to continue.

"Saruman, he made this… thing… come out of my body. It looked just like me but it was made out of something else. Something dark. It has made me feel like a part of myself is gone. Something I've always felt, deep within my heart is suddenly so much lighter."

"He performed a soul-splitting, Harry. He took all the darkness and evil from within and using magic, formed it into a seperate, thinking being. He did something terrible to you, not many people perform such a thing, let alone having it forced onto you unwillingly." Gandalf patted Harry's shoulder. "But as you said, Saruman seems to have also taken the power you had locked up with it. A dangerous thought, but one for another time."

"So you can see us, Harry?" Pippin asked.

Harry nodded, with a small smile as the two hobbits tackled him in a hug yelling, "he can see us!"

Harry stiffened up again but the hobbits did not notice as they chatted away.

"I'm glad to see you better, young man," Gimli said with a grauffng laugh. "If only we had some mead to celebrate!"

Legolas smiled as he looked at Harry, alive and well. He looked at those eyes, as green as the leaves of Mirkwood, but even that comparison paled when staring into those tires eyes. There was a dark shadow beneath his eyes that made the man look haunted.

Harry looked up to see all of them staring at him. "Thank you for coming to get me. All of you."

"We would never have left you in that man's clutches," Aragorn said as he moved to tuck the blanket closer around Harry, taking note of the way his godson froze. "Boromir I will take next watch."

Boromir nodded before going to lay down.

Legolas looked to Aragorn and Harry before stepping forward.

"May I join you?" Legolas asked."I'm afraid sleep has long left me now that I have awoken."

"Of course," Harry said as he moved to make some room. He tried to not let Legolas touch him though. His skin rose in bumps at the thoughts of those pale hands.

Legolas sat, listening to Aragorn tell stories to Harry, letting the boy rest. Soon enough, Harry was falling asleep.

"He was weary," Legolas commented to his friend as Harry's head lay on Aragorn's thigh.

"He would have endured torture, I did see that he would not let any of us except Gandalf touch him without flinching away," Aragorn said softly, his fingers brushing at Harry's hair lightly. "We shall have to wait until he is ready to tell us."

"I hope he trusts us," Legolas said, and in his mind he replaced the word with 'me'.

Aragorn looked to Legolas. "I know how you feel for him but do not push at this time. He needs care and support, not a admirer pursuing him."

"I wouldn't do such a thing," Legolas said with a frown.

"Your face just then said otherwise, friend," Aragorn said with a sad smile. "Whatever you were thinking showed on you features."

"Oh," Legolas said as he let his fingers raise to his face.

"I know the feeling of want and need, I know it too well, but we must keep moving forward, onwards until the ring is destroyed once and for all," Aragorn said as he looked to the distance where he knew Rohan lay.

"I promise, friend, I only wish to protect him as well," Legolas said as Aragorn nodded.

"He will need us, all of us."

The others around the fire yet to succumb to sleep all had to think to themselves that it was true. They would all be there for Harry.