Characters: Glorfindel, Aragorn/Estel, Halbarad
Source: Pre-Ring War
Disclaimer: Toklien’s world, his characters… Kortirion’s little plot.
LOG: 'To Sleep...'
Lashed together, with three elves paddling each of the outer craft, the grey boats sped across the water, even though they went upstream. Glorfindel didn’t pause to pull ashore when he needed to minister to the stricken man; he simply leapt lightly between.
Aragorn lay still as a log; his breathing hauntingly shallow, skin grey, almost translucent… as if he were stone, not flesh. Halbarad bit his lip… don’t die, please don’t die…
As if overhearing his thoughts, Glorfindel answered. “He has more strength than even he knows.”
Halbarad could only nod.
“Keep him warm, we will keep him safe.”
The elves passed a small flask between them, each drinking a mouthful. Glorfindel came to the centre craft where the men lay entwined. Halbarad eased himself aside; the elf tenderly lifted Aragorn’s head to trickle liquid past his lips. It made him cough weakly, but a little colour flushed his cheek.
Glorfindel wiped hair from Aragorn’s forehead, “…still fevered… Here, sip some.”
He proffered the flask; Halbarad took it tentively. The instant after swallowing he felt warmth, strength, flood through him. He went to take another, but Glorfindel chuckled, stopping his hand. “That could make leaves sprout on dead logs!”
ADRIFT: '...Perchance to Dream'
The hours lengthened into another day. The elves were tireless, the rhythm of their paddles relentless. Glorfindel showed Halbarad how to count the pulse beneath the skin of Aragorn’s throat… when the thready movement slowed, Glorfindel moistened the man’s lips with the flask’s liquid.
Lulled by the boat’s steady roll, Halbarad drifted in and out of fretful sleep. He woke to the grind of wood against stone and urgent calls for haste. Opening his eyes to the quays of Imladris, he found himself lifted bodily from the boat. Aragorn was already being borne away as Halbarad’s feet were set down.
His knees buckled, and he felt himself lifted again. He tried to protest but his mumbles were hushed; the last he heard was Glorfindel’s voice “take him too…”
Halbarad didn’t know how long he slept, didn’t realise how exhausted he’d become…
The bedroom was light and airy, furnished with cunningly carved gleaming wood. Across the room, Aragorn lay abed under white sheets. Halbarad’s breath hitched… until he noticed their steady rise and fall. He stumbled to Aragorn’s side… his eyelids flickered open.
“I’m... cold,” Aragorn whispered, smiling weakly.
“...Should I... warm you?”
Together, they lay close, adrift in dreams.