The Healing

May. 1st, 2007 06:38 pm
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Karl threw a wad of notes on to the table, fairly certain that it would cover their bill. He grabbed Miranda's hand, practically dragging her as they raced for his truck. It was a long time from the center of the city to the area where Dave's cabin was. He couldn't help the nervous drumming of his fingers on the steering wheel until he looked at Miranda. He was glad she was there, and he took her hand again, squeezing her fingers, then letting go as they finally cleared the traffic lights.

Time passed, and Aragorn began to wonder if he should send David for more of the athelas leaves. He ignored everything but the ailing man in the bed before him, nurturing the weak link between the vessel and its life force. He did not recall an episode of the black breath this insidious, and he wondered how much time had passed for it to take such a strong hold. His thoughts echoed David's. Éomer was the closest, he was family. His presence might serve as the anchor needed for the healing to take place, at the very least, and so, he waited.

Dave didn't remember it taking this long during filming for Faramir to wake up. He watched the quiet, still face of his partner and wondered what sort of dark nightmares were going on behind those closed eyes. Aragorn was still trying, but nothing was happening! Dave stood, and paced the room. He was afraid to talk now and break any possible progress, but if something didn't happen soon, he felt like he just might scream. This couldn't be happening. He couldn't lose Paris, not like this!

Oddly, the more tension Miranda felt from Karl, the calmer she became. She held his hand, trying to give what support she could until they got out of the city. She wasn't sure what to do when they got there and hoped Aragorn would have some idea of how they could help. Éowyn would likely know, but Miranda was understandably worried about stepping aside for the other woman. Her experiences in the past had not been the best. "I'm sure we'll find a way to fix this," she said softly, but she was worried and it showed in her voice if not in her demeanor.

Her presence was soothing, and Karl realised that he needed to calm himself. He was well aware of the strength of feeling between Théodred and Éomer, and if he was panicked, then his shift would be uncontrollable. None of them needed blondie having a breakdown on them. He parked the truck beside Viggo's SUV and sat for a moment, just breathing. He'd call Éomer once he was sure what was going on and what Aragorn needed. He wrapped an arm around Miranda as they stepped onto the porch. He thumped on the door.

Dave jumped when he heard the door, and raced down the stairs two at a time, grabbing the door and yanking it open. "Karl! Oh, god, Miranda too, come in!" He practically dragged his two friends through the door, then pointed Karl at the stairs. "Aragorn needs you up there. Now." He turned to Miranda and gathered her up in a hug, mostly for his own consolation. "He can't die, Mir. He just can't."

The cold that Théo had been keeping at bay with the heat of the bourbon back in the bar wrapped tighter around him and he shivered. He was weary, so very tired and it would have been so easy to let go, to finally give up the fight and fade into nothingness, but Paris would not let him go.

Théo’s grip tightened again, and Paris nodded his encouragement, his eyes wide. When Théo saw the fear in those eyes he gathered the last tattered remnants of his strength to stay with the younger man.


Miranda returned the hug, rubbing his back and doing her best to stay calm. "Shhh...Aragorn won't let him die, love." She bit her lip, the emotions Dave was projecting were so close and so familiar that it was hard to keep a grip on her own, but she would manage. Drawing back, she cupped both hands to his cheeks, "You have to believe it. He's going to be all right."

Karl climbed the stairs slowly, tapping softy against the door in his head that led to Middle Earth, just to see where Éomer was. He paused in the doorway, hesitating. "Aragorn?"

Paris looked grey, his breathing slow and labored. Fuck. The man beside Paris raised his head. "I'm Karl, Éomer shifts here through me. Dave said you needed me. Him."

Dave took a deep breath and let Miranda loose from the hug, and looked at her face. He saw so much strength in those delicate features. "I want to believe it. I can't believe anything else." He took her hand and tugged her towards the stairs. "I can't stay away from him, I'd never forgive myself if something happened and I wasn't there. Come with me? Stay close?"

"Of course," Miranda answered, lacing their fingers together and holding tight as they walked up the stairs. There was no way she was going to allow Dave to face this alone. Not if she could help it. At the top of the stairs, she paused and steeled herself. Inside the door she paused again, pushing away images of Lawrence in bed, ashen in that same way. "It'll be fine," she said again.

Aragorn felt a deep bone shiver snake down his spine as Théodred faltered for a moment. He centered by taking a deep breath and felt the healing energy course through him like warmth, while allowing Paris' inert body to leech it from him. He vaguely recognized Karl's voice from Viggo's memories, gentler than Éomer's but just as rich. He heard it as if it were very far away. It took him a few moments to acknowledge his arrival. "Thank you, yes," he finally replied. "Théodred, he needs Éomer here. He needs family. I can feel him just beyond my grasp... there's not time to explain."

Karl nodded. Éomer. We need your help. He felt the horselord stirring inside his mind. Yes, Karl? How may I aid you? Karl answered, suddenly wishing he had on looser clothing. Fuck, it didn't matter whether his shirt got ripped or not. Paris is sick. And Théodred is caught too. You've gotta shift in and help them. But his own consciousness was already fading as Éomer's strength gripped him.

Éomer saw that he was in Dave and Paris's cabin, a place that he and his lover visited only on rare occasions. He saw Paris on the bed and a strange man kneeling over him. He reached for his sword instinctively, wincing as Karl's shirt tore, but then he saw that the man was trying to help.

"I am Éomer, son of Éomund, Third Marshal of the Mark. Who are you? And what ails my cousin?"

Dave breathed a sigh of relief. Éomer would draw Théo back. And then Paris would be all right. He held fast to this hope, clinging to Miranda's hand.

"Greetings Éomer, son of Éomund," Aragorn said, his expression grave. "I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn. You may not know me now, but we will know each other in another time and place. By honor we shall be bound," he added, taking a moment to look up and let Éomer see his eyes before turning his gaze back to Paris' body. "But there is need of you here. You must touch this body that's succumbing to the Black Breath and send forth your will to reach your cousin Théodred before both he and his host are lost to us. Talk to him if you will, or not, but remember him. Call to him with your whole being, old friend."

Éomer recalled that his cousin came from a different time as well, and he was curious about this strange man and how they came to meet. But Théo's condition was too grave for distractions. He stepped to the bed, seeing the unhealthy color in Paris's skin, looking like a man with some mortal wound that had drained him of his life's blood. Fear rose in him then, dark, trying to weaken him, but he pushed it away. He touched Paris's face, finding it cold. Unmindful of the watchers, Éomer slid himself into the bed, carefully so not to jostle the sick man, and he wrapped himself around the body that housed his lover in this world. He pressed a kiss to Théo's neck, lips finding the slight pulse.

"Théo," he whispered, "you must come back to me. I will never let you go." Remember him. Éomer called up in his mind all the times that they had shared together in this world and their home, years of loving each other. He pictured the night they had met in this Wellington, the arm wrestling match that had given him the right to take his cousin and the bliss that followed. He searched for Théo the way he would search for Karl, trying to connect to him in some realm other than the physical world that they shared.

Dave's grip on Miranda's hand tightened, both in fear and... what was it he felt? Anger? Jealousy? Frustration? Fear? A little of all of those? The sight of Éomer sliding into his, no, their bed, reaching out for Théo but putting his arms and body all over Paris - this wasn't easy for Dave but he knew he couldn't interfere. When he realized how tightly he was holding onto Miranda, he relaxed his grip so as not to actually break her fingers. He hissed under his breath low enough that only she could hear him. "I hate this. It needs to work but I don't have to like it."

In the stillness of their joined minds, Théo felt the ice that had gripped him begin to thaw. His fingers warmed, and as the sensation slowly spread up his arms, his hold on Paris strengthened and he stared at him, a spark of hope in his eyes.

“Théo?” Paris felt the change in his companion, and the image of the beaten warrior he had first encountered began to change.

Théo’s eyes cleared and a grim smile touched the corners of his mouth. Paris' strength had been the only thing that had kept him from slipping too far down for anyone to reach him. Théo knew if it had not been for that, even his cousin, his love, may not have been able to reach him.

As the warmth moved deeper, the vice of despair that had held him tight loosened fractionally and as he struggled to free himself of it, memories blossomed in his mind full of love and laughter. They were bright and potent and the darkness cowered in the face of them, shrinking back. He saw each moment he and Mer had spent together in both worlds with crystal clarity, and knew that wherever his physical form lay, his lover was there with him, trying to pull him back.

“You were right, we are not alone in this. I should not have doubted you.” Théo apologised to Paris as he held on tightly to the hope that was growing in him and clung to the words that echoed round his mind … come back to me. I will never let you go ...

“Hold on to me, do not let go.” He instructed as his grip slipped down Paris’ arm and he grasped his hand, squeezing it firmly as Paris nodded.

“Believe me, I won’t.”

Théo smiled and reached out, following Éomer’s presence, searching for the way back, the way home to the one who called to him.


A tremor wracked the body that lay in Éomer’s embrace as warmth spread from the spot he had kissed and a small groan escaped the cold lips.

Sean tried the door, pushed it open at finding it unlocked. Glancing around the familiar interior of the empty cabin, he darted for the stairs. Entering into the bedroom, he stopped abruptly, taking in the scene, eyes drawn to the figures on the bed. Paris looked ashen, and Sean took a step deeper into the bedroom, feeling suddenly like an intruder, freezing again at the faint groan from the prone man.

Keeping watch over Jed, Boromir had gotten the call from Karl, and had summoned Sean from that no-where place he went whenever he shifted. All he knew was that Paris was sick, and that it was bad, and since the moment he’d shifted back into his body his heart had beat triple-time, imagination working overtime at what might be happening to his friend, and wondering if Karl was all right.

Moving quietly to Dave’s side, opposite Miranda who stood close, providing support, Sean put his hand Dave’s shoulder, and squeezed encouragingly. He was unsure if his friend even realized he was there. Looking back to the bed, he waited with everyone else, and hoped.

Arriving just to see Sean entering the cabin, Orlando quickly parked haphazardly and hurried inside. Seeing no one immediately inside but knowing they had to be there, he took a quick look around and headed up the stairs. Only one door stood open and that was the one that Orlando stepped through, breath catching and holding still in his lungs.

Théodred, son of Théoden, son of Thengel, come back to us, Aragorn prayed silently. He felt the many presences around them, felt their concern and their worry, but also their love for their friend.

The man in his arms seemed more alive than a moment ago, and Éomer kept his mind focused on his lover. He nudged his thigh between Théo's legs, pressing down, letting Théo know that he was there. He pressed more kisses along Théo's jaw, finally reaching his mouth. Éomer covered the cold lips with his own, caressing gently. He tightened his arms, renewing his promise that he would never let go. He willed the body of the sick man to respond to him.

Heat spread quickly through Théo now, through his mind, his heart and soul and the body he had left behind in Wellington. Éomer’s call to him was strong and sure and one he had no desire to resist. He followed it, holding Paris’ hand fast as suddenly his mind was propelled forward and slid easily back into the form in Éomer’s arms .

The first thing he felt were soft lips on his and the scent of his lover surrounding him. He was oblivious to the presence of anyone else as he parted his lips slightly and drank his cousin in as he took a breath and opened his eyes, staring into Mer’s hazel ones.

“You came for me.” He reached a shaking hand up to touch the golden hair.

Relief flooded through Éomer and he smiled. "I always will. You have only to wait for me."

He slid his palm up Théo's arm, engulfing his lover's hand in his, twining their fingers together as he moved in for a deeper kiss.

“Always.” Théo echoed his lover’s words with a vow of his own.

He groaned softly as Éomer’s lips claimed him and he melted against the strong body pressing against his, soaking up the heat of it, letting their passion warm him further.

Aragorn moved away from the bed, content to feel the life return to Paris' body. He took the bowl of athelas water with him and let his gaze study and acknowledge all those present hovering about the room. Some he had met in their present guise, some he hadn't. His eyes locked onto Orlando's on his way out, but he said nothing and simply kept walking towards the kitchen.

Dave gasped as he saw Paris move, relief flooded him and the blind panic started to subside. He realized with a start that Sean was at his side. He grabbed the man in a hug and said softly, “He’s alive.” Turning to Miranda, he pulled her into a near-crushing hug. “He’s alive! It worked!”

Dave stepped away from his friends and closer to the bed, then stopped abruptly at the sight of the two lovers locked in what seemed to be an alarmingly increasing passionate embrace. His need to see Paris overtook him. Sure, Théo was here, who else would kiss Éomer like that, but now a new doubt nagged at Dave’s mind. Was Paris back, too? He crossed the distance to the edge of the bed and reached for Éomer’s shoulders, intent on pulling the man up. “Enough! Let me talk to Paris!”

Miranda couldn't imagine how hard it was to watch and followed Dave. She shook out her one hand, wondering if Dave had managed to actually damage anything. Touching Dave's shoulders she tried to calm him then moved to where Éomer could see her. She didn't know if he'd remember her as Miranda or not, but she could feel Éowyn's relief at seeing her cousin and brother mingled with embarrassment at their current behavior. "Brother," she said softly, "This may not be the place for such actions."

Éomer reluctantly pulled away from his lover's mouth, turning around to look at his sister. "Éowyn?" He reached a hand out for her and then brought their joined hands to grasp Théo's. "We are both here with you, Théo."

As Éomer pulled back, Théo glanced over Éomer’s shoulder and took in the others in the room for the first time. His gaze lingered on the woman with Éowyn’s eyes and he smiled softly at her as their hands touched. Then he looked at Dave, knowing how much the man wanted him gone, but needing to reassure him before he departed.

“This body will take time to heal, but his mind is clear. He was not present when the wraith …” Théo shuddered involuntarily. “He was not there.”

Not knowing Théodred and understanding that this was something between those in this room, Orlando only remained for a moment, lightly touching Sean on the arm as if to say 'hello' before following Aragorn out of the room to find out what had happened.

Acknowledging Orlando with a shaky smile as he exited, Sean turned his attention back to the bed. It wasn’t easy, watching Éomer and Théo tangle together, though Sean well understood their need to be close. Even though Karl obviously wasn’t present, it was still his lover’s body Éomer inhabited, Sean could only imagine how difficult this must be for Dave.

Sean reached out and squeezed Dave’s shoulder, letting his friend know he was near, then took a small step back, giving everyone a bit of room. He should probably make a quiet exit too, but until Karl was back and accounted for, he felt rooted to the spot.

He could hear how difficult it was for Théo to talk about his experience. He reached for the man’s arm and gave it a strong, brief squeeze in reassurance that he had survived a horrible experience. “Thank you for telling me. I’m glad he wasn’t there. And I’m very sorry you had to go through that. If you want to talk to Faramir about the ordeal sometime, I’ll be glad to give you two some space. He’s… well, he’d understand.”

Théo nodded his thanks at Dave’s offer then buried his face in Éomer’s neck for a moment, not caring who else was in the room. The dark thing had ripped his soul into tatters, left it bleeding inside him and he would gladly have stayed wrapped in the comfort of Mer’s embrace for eternity if he had a choice. But he could feel Paris, understandably anxious to return to his body, and knew his time was short.

“I have to go.” His eyes were damp as he whispered words intended only for the man who held him. “Love you, need you so badly.” Théo pulled back and rested his forehead against Éomer’s as he began let go, feeling Paris surge past him as he left with a promise on his lips. “Soon.”

Éomer growled in agreement. "Soon." He dove in for a last kiss, even as he called to Karl. He was pulled back into Middle Earth with Théo's taste on his lips.

Karl came out of the darkness to find his mouth on Paris's and his body stretched out on top of the blonde man. "Oh bloody hell, not again." But there was no grief or guilt this time, and he laughed, because Paris was blushing, a healthy color that looked heaps better than it had when he'd walked in the room. He sat up.

"You look much better, mate."

He gave Paris one last smacking kiss on his mouth, and then he stood, grinning when he saw Sean there. Karl wrapped himself around his lover, purring when Sean's strong arms came around him. His body was thrumming and he knew what Éomer must have been doing, leaving him with the after effects. And Sean was going to benefit from it as soon as he could get the Brit alone.

Paris found himself staring into Karl’s’ eyes, somehow not an unexpected sight given the circumstances, and he grinned feebly as his fellow Kiwi planted a smacker on his lips and got off the bed.

“Thanks, Karl.” He replied and went to raise himself onto his elbow, gasping at the aches that wracked his body. He thought better of it and lay back down on the bed looking up at the two faces closest to him. He smiled at Miranda as he reached out for Dave, needing him close.

"Shit, I think I'd feel better if I’d been hit by a train. Could you … just … hold me for a while?”

"A while and then some. Whatever you need for as long as you need it." Dave felt like a huge weight had slid off his shoulders. He slid onto the bed, sitting up, and tugged Paris up into his arms.

Dave looked around the room at his friends, and smiled. "Thank you. All of you. And I think I owe Éomer a drink soon." He noticed a certain person had left the room. "And Aragorn... Someone thank that mangy ranger for me, all right?"

Miranda smiled back then stood and moved away again, giving David and Paris their space. She glanced at Karl and Sean, but it didn't take a genius to figure out that her part in this was done. She winked at Dave then backed out of the room.

His arms tight about Karl, Sean buried his nose in his lover’s hair, pressed a kiss to his neck before drawing back to get a look at his eyes. They had gone dark, but not with anything to cause concern, and Sean grinned, his own eyes promising that as soon they could manage, they would take care of the hard bulge pressed against him.

Turning, but keeping an arm about Karl, Sean smiled at the pair on the bed, relieved that Paris seemed to be truly back with them, and that Dave was now right where he needed to be, taking care of his lover. Sean knew they would look after one another, but was compelled to offer, before he and Karl departed, “You lot need anything, just give us a ring, right, and we’ll be along.” Sean looked up at Karl and tightened his hold, grateful that everyone was back in their proper bodies.

Dave laughed softly, and it felt strange but right to be able to do so. "Might take you up on that, mate. Thanks. Now, you take good care of Karl tonight, all right? I'm sure there's a bit of horseboy hangover bashing him around. Some aspirin and rest might help."

Aragorn's ranger senses couldn't make out every word being said upstairs, but he caught the gist of it, and he could almost feel the tension in the house lift along with the expressions of relief from the group of friends. He clearly heard Dave's cries all the way in the kitchen, and he smiled at the joy in them. He finished rinsing the bowl and was about to head back upstairs to take his leave and let Viggo return when he sensed Orlando getting closer. He recognized his cologne even as he heard the footsteps behind him.

"Orlando," he said, turning to face his shift's lover. He tilted his head slightly, examining his body language. "I sense confusion. Is something the matter? Théo and Paris... I thought..."

It was one thing to see their friends upstairs, some in their shifts, some in not, but to see Viggo in his, especially up close was something different entirely. "Aragorn? I... They're fine now." His gaze went to the stairs where he could hear everyone as well. "Maybe we should go outside."

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horseboykarl

February 2011

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