The Calling - Chapter Ten

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Chapter Ten

The morning sun cast its warming rays into the quiet room, a figure lay in the bed, breathing softly she was smiling peacefully in a dream she wasn't yet ready to relinquish.

A red breasted robin alighted on the balcony rail and began to warble a jaunty tune as the sleeper awoke and stretched with a fulfilling yawn, the bird turned to watch as the curious person sat up straight in alarm and looked about the otherwise empty room, her eyes resting on the pillow next to her where a single white lily lay with a note written in the elvish hand.

The robin flew away, uninterested in the peculiar affairs of elves, seeking food and more pleasurable company.

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Tae smiled at the elfs gesture, she found it amusing that after platonically sharing a bed Elladan had left this. For a moment she wondered if elves ever had one night stands. By the power of Galadriels present Tae read the note attached to the flowers stem;

*I'll be at the archery range. Elladan *

"That elf is definitely on something" she said, getting out of bed and grabbing a towel and her wash gear, as well as her dry tracksuit bottoms and top, again she put her sports bra in the pile of clothes, thinking she would go for a run before lunch.

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"I knew you couldn't stay away from me"

"Actually Elladan I'm going for a shower, I didn't come down here to watch you play with your toy"

"It's not much of a toy Tae, anyway, do you want me to come help you?" asked the outrageous elf raising on eyebrow suggestively and spinning an arrow between his fingers.

"Thanks but no thanks honey, you just stay right here" answered Tae narrowing her eyes at his offer.
"How come you're out here so early?" she asked suddenly interested

"Ahh, you missed waking up next to me? I would have woken you but you looked so peaceful and innocent lying there cuddled into me---"

"What?! We went to bed on separate sides of the bed. You're winding me up!"

"What a wonderful blush you have my dear, in the middle of the night you rolled over and started nestling yourself in my embrace, you were still fast asleep and I didn't have the heart to wake you after the fuss you made about getting to sleep" he said with a grin

"You're unbelievable" Tae chuckled, amused at the innocent looking gleam in his eyes, she left the sneaky elf lord and made her way to the waterfall.

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While Tae was over at the waterfall Elladan sat down on the grass next to his target, he smiled at the memory of Tae as she snuggled up to him last night. He hadn't intended to the stay the night but couldn't resist the free embrace, even if Tae was dead to the world and didn't know what she was doing. Elrond's son tried to forget that Tae would be naked now and if he took a few a steps in her direction he could probably see her water drenched body.

He thought back to last night, when he had found her in the garden and she had touched him  to guess his identity, when he had got into bed with her not knowing she wore no clothes at night, Elladan's heart had beat furiously in his chest when Tae had told him and was certain she would notice the bed sheets shaking in rhythm with his pulse. That massage! Revelling in the memory of the unique smell of her skin and hair he lay back in the grass and shut his eyes. Tae found the elf lying in the grass on her way back from the waterfall, with a small smile so evident on his face.

'What are you thinking Elladan' she thought sneakily, for some reason he hadn't heard her sneak up on him so she positioned herself next to him, her lips close to his pointed ears, trying to keep her soaking wet hair from dripping on the unsuspecting elf.

"HEY!" she shouted at the top of her lungs.

Well, Elladan jumped up like a bullet from a gun, knocking the kneeling Tae for six. He turned to see her lying flat out where he'd accidentally pushed her. Her wet curls framed her face in an arc and her hands cradled her face. Dread filled Elladan at the thought that he'd hurt her, he knelt by her face and gently pulled her up into a sitting position, so close he could see her shoulders were shaking as if from grief.

"Tae---Tae?" he asked hurriedly, taking her hands from her face. Only to reveal a mirthful grin plastered across her face.

Tae looked up into the anxious expression the elf wore, and for the second time that week exploded into infectious laughter. Elladan realised immediately that she was fine and his spirit lifted, the contagious giggles soon catching him.

After the amusement subsided, finally, Elladan got up and held out a hand to Tae, accepting it he lifted her onto her feet before retrieving his bow and a few arrows.

"Sneaky little orc" he said in a stage whisper.

"Dirty minded elfling" was his reply. Elladan looked to Tae with a mixture of confusion and horror at her insult.

"Ohhh, don't give me that Elladan, I saw your face, I bet half the female elves round here are running round with their ears burning right now"

"Wha---I was thinking nothing of the sort. Besides, you know you are the only one for me my love" he answered with a lazy smile and a cocked eyebrow.

Tae laughed. "Maybe you are the one who should go and take a cold shower my friend, cool your emotions."

 

I will take a shower---'if' you promise to scrub my back"

Tae threw her arms in the air in surrender to the flirtatious elf lord. "Tell you what, why don't you give me a demonstration of your archery skills, surely there can be no innuendo in that sport"

Elladan complied and strung his bow with practised ease, indicating his target to Tae he took aim and fired; slamming his arrow deep into the red centre of a coloured target board. Tae whistled through her teeth in appreciation.

"I would be lucky to hit the backboard, let alone any of the coloured circles---" she began.

"Show me" interrupted Elladan, the mischievous glint gone from his eyes, replaced with the calm seriousness that reminded Tae of his father.

'Ohhhkaay' she thought, oddly discomforted by his change in mood. Tae frowned in thought but accepted the bow of him nonetheless, she notched an arrow that Elladan passed to her and took aim for the target.

"Open both your eyes---stand straighter" he instructed her, moving closer to position her body how he liked.

Tae tried not to flinch at his rough touch, absorbing all his advice in the knowledge that she would need it in the not too distant future. Finally he stood back from her and she let fly the arrow; watching it speed and sink into the circle second from centre.

"Cool" she said distractedly, inside she was jumping up and down with glee but she wanted the male to know that she had noticed his offhandedness.

Elladan ignored the hurt he felt coming from Tae and walked off to retrieve the arrows, all his troubles melted away when he saw his old friend Legolas approaching, bow in hand and golden hair flickering in the light breeze.

"Hail Prince of Mirkwood" he shouted in mock salute "Long has it been since we have trained together"

"Elladan my friend how's life in Imladris treating you?" returned Legolas, clasping hands with his old friend happily.

"Even better now I have Tae to keep me occupied"

"Don't you mean to keep you out of trouble?" smiled Legolas, looking towards the female who stood facing them a little while off.

"Aye" admitted the elf lord "Though we've not had much time to get into it yet" he added with a grin.

Legolas rolled his eyes. 'Would he ever change' he thought.

"Good morning Tae, how's the head?" he asked, referring to the table incident with a wink.

"God Legolas, you're never gonna let me forget that are you?" she laughed, covering her face with a hand in shame.

"No" he stated, "Or the wasp"

"Elves!" she huffed, then smiled as she noticed Elladan's curious expression, of course he knew nothing of what went on at dinner yesterday, or out in the garden with the 'wasp-leaf'.

"It seems that every time Prince Legolas is around I have them misfortune of making a complete fool of myself" she admitted to Elladan, studying his reaction.

Elladan masked his feelings well and returned a smile to the beaming Tae, jealousy was not something he had felt since he was an elfling, spitefully crushing Elrohir's new wooden toy archers. He surprised he was feeling such a base emotion over the thought of Tae simply spending some time with his friend; it was not as if Tae was his alone. He suppressed the odd feeling and tried to change the subject.

"So, looking forward to the gathering tomorrow night?" he asked innocently.

"Aye, especially as Tae promised me a dance for saving her from a mightily fearsome beech leaf" smirked Legolas

"It could have been a wasp Legolas, I could have died!" cried Tae, semi- seriously.

"Forgive me my lady" chuckled the blond elf, bowing low in the fashion of his kin.

"I thought you came down here to shoot arrows, not to wind me up?"

"Indeed Legolas, it has been too long since last we competed with bow" added Elladan, tired of the conversation which he knew naught about.

The two elves dug five arrows each into the ground at their feet and made ready to shoot the one they both had nocked on their strings.

"Six shots, the winner is whoever gets the most marks closest to the target" explained Elladan, setting out another target about two metres from the one he and Tae had shot at earlier.

"The winner---?" asked Legolas

At this Elladan thought for a moment, "The winner gets to dance with Tae first tomorrow night, which is of course if you would permit me at least one dance Tae?" he smiled deeply as he met her eyes.

Tae nodded; amused at Elladans choice of prize, a few minutes ago it seemed as if Tae was the last person he'd want to dance with on Saturday night, now he was being normal with her again. Tae began to plot her drinking binge, at least when she was ratted she wouldn't have to worry about Elladan's mood swings, but then she wondered why she was worrying about them in the first place.

Tae gave up trying to reason with herself and concentrated on the competing elf lords before her. She watched and listened to the healthy banter between her two friends, she had always thought Legolas must be the better archer after all that she had read about him, but Elladan was pretty much his equal in skill.

The first match was decided a draw so the pair embarked on a re-match, this time they bandied words less often and Tae could detect a tense atmosphere in the air, not once had either elf turned back to her to acknowledge her words or to boast about their shots and Tae surmised that the harmless competition had suddenly turned serious. Not wanting to get involved in the macho elf mind games she gathered her wash gear and crept away to the main house, looking back constantly through the trees to see if they had noticed her disappearance.

She encountered Glorfindel on the lawns standing suspiciously close to the window of the room that housed the females' embroidery circle, the blond elf turned as he heard her approach.

"Greetings Tae, glad to see you have recovered, what have you been up to this fine day?"

Tae noticed that the balrog slayers gaze kept wandering to an elf maid who sat close to the window but she kept quiet.

"Well, I've just escaped a rather heated archery tournament between two certain elves, they're getting all serious about shooting some *** piece of painted wood----It's not like I can dance anyway"

Glorfindel instantly recognized the picture Tae painted, he could definitely say that one of the elves would be Elladan; Elronds elder son was tense of late. By Tae's last comment he guessed that the 'prize' was a dance with her tomorrow night.

"Who's down there with Elladan?"

"Legolas---hang on, how do you know it's Elladan?" she asked confusedly.

"Ahh, that one has always been competitive, even when he was but a babe he jostled with his twin for attention" Glor laughed at the memory the twins' childhood but calmed when he saw the worried expression on Tae's face.

"What's troubling you?" he asked with genuine concern.

"It's just----I don't know----It's probably nothing--" she faltered.

Glorfindel lifted the young half elfs chin with slender fingers. "If it is nothing tell me, and I will agree or disagree" he smiled into her concerned eyes in reassurance.

"Elladan's being a bit strange, that's all, he got all serious on me when I talked about using the bow. It was like one minute he was trying it on; as usual, then he spoke to me and touched me like a stranger---not that I'm used to him touching me unlike a stranger" she corrected at the raising at her companions dark brows.

"Usually he's warmer- friendlier"

"I see, I think I understand part of his actions. He is worried about you Tae, as we all are, he doesn't want anything to happen to you like it did with his mother. You have heard of Celebrian?"

"Of course"

"We spoke of his feelings the night that we were away, his father had told him the other reason for your coming to Middle Earth and he wasn't best pleased. He wants to make sure you can look after yourself no matter what. He has grown quite attached to you; though he wouldn't even admit it to me I could see it in his eyes"

Tae misread Glorfindels meaning. "It's true we've become good mates, better than some of the friends that I had back on Earth. I am flattered that he would worry about me to that extent but I don't wish for his protectiveness to hinder our friendship; I've already got Lord Elrond watching what I eat and acting like my father" she chuckled at the last part.

"He doesn't want to be your father Tae" Glor's statement silenced Tae's humour.

"Huh?"

"He wants to protect you in a different way, not as father" Glorfindel thought Tae would catch on to his train of thought, he didn't fancy spelling out that Elladan had designs on getting closer to Tae, closer than friendship would bring them.

"oh"

"Big oh"

"I thought it was all an act, all that flirting" reasoned Tae at the suddenly serious turn in the conversation.

"Oh, all that probably is just Elladans ever present playfulness, I only think this because he said that he wanted to be by your side forever- he was sort of confused though so I could be wrong. Under all the amorous antics that he gets up to ultimately I think he is falling for you"

Tae was dumbstruck. "I've not even been here a week!"

"Sometimes love can surprise us" was the only comfort the elf offered.

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Tae thanked Glorfindel for his words and the advice to just ride out Elladan's mood swings in the hope that he would open up and sort out his feelings in his own time. Tae went back to her room and threw her stuff onto her bed, strapping her CD player to her waist, tightening the laces of her trainers and stripping down to her cropped sports bra. Checking the CD she jogged back into the sunshine and set off at an easy lope towards the lower fields, angry music blaring into her ears.

She was angry, confused and feeling stupid maybe. Tae was annoyed that Elladan had decided to like her more than just a friend, just when it seemed that they would be great pals. She definitely wasn't ready for any relationship, though she doubted she would consent to one with the son of the leader of the household she was staying in. She bet that Elrond would be mad if Glorfindel's assumption proved to be true, she imagined the face of the Lord of Imladris- calm on the outside and raging underneath the skin.

It wasn't that Tae didn't find Elladan attractive, he was an elf; he couldn't be more handsome. And he was a fun person to be with.

Tae's run was fraught with reasoning, in the end she decided to ignore Glorfindels words, the elf could be wrong after all, she resolved to carry on as if nothing had happened but decrease the amount of contact the two shared.

She saw Cormyr's dwelling up ahead and finished her jog with a sprint. The elf was sitting outside on a bench, reading a book with a bottle of wine set next to her. The winemaker looked up with a smile.

"Tae, nice to see you again, what can I do you my dear?"

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By the time Tae left the lower fields she was slightly tanked, the enthusiastic winemaker had urged the younger half elf to sample several different brews and stepping outside the high sun stung her eyes; it seemed to glare at her as if it knew her mind.

'What? Its only two bottles, besides Elrond will never know she gave me them' she silently remonstrated with the bright orb in the sky.

She set off again at a run to arrive back at the halls before lunch; she knew she shouldn't have accepted that fifth glass of berry liquor, the smell alone blew her socks off.

On her way back she heard someone humming and she was certain the song she was listening to didn't have that particular melody in it. Stashing the wine bottles in a bush she veered off into a clearing and stood panting before Haldir who sat on a rock chipping away at something in his hands.

"-Hi-"

"Hello Tae, been exercising I see" said the marchwarden, eyeing the sparkling blue jewel that glittered from the centre of her stomach.

"---uh huh---on way---back---food---"

The marchwarden laughed at her breathlessness, drawn from his contemplations of her bejewelled stomach, and offered her his arm. She took it and they walked back to the homely house arm in arm, Tae drawing curious glances as to her revealing garb.

Drawing near to the house Haldir directed he to her quarters instead of the dining hall. Tae was grateful, she still felt tipsy and she needed a change of clothes and a wash.

Leaving her room she spied the marchwarden waiting for her further along the corridor, she was just about to comment on how better she now felt after a wash when the lunch bells where rang.

"Just in time" they said at the same time.

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Elladan was seated at the dinner table, next to the seat where he knew Tae usually sat. He wondered guiltily where she had gone whilst he had been too wrapped up in his competition with Legolas.

After four matches it had ended in a draw but when they had turned to speak to Tae she had vanished. Not surprisingly he thought, after he had blanked her and acted so coldly when she mentioned her skill with the bow. Elladan was unsure as to his reason for his reaction, a part of him didn't want to think about the definite possibility of Tae being involved in mortal combat, she had become such to him that he couldn't wait for her to wake up in the morning and tried to stretch the days they spent together.

Elladan was greatly confused as to his feelings for her; sometimes he just wanted her as a casual lover then at other times he wanted her on a more permanent basis. He knew one thing. He'd have find out if she felt the same about him.

It was at this time that Tae made an entrance, linked snugly in Haldirs arms, he must have said something funny because she was laughing into her hand again. Elladan glanced into her eyes as she sat down beside him. He could smell her again; the comforting, sweet scent of her body and the odd scent of wild berries reached him even though there was not a breath of wind in the room.

"Hey" she said quietly in greeting, wincing at the awkwardness of the situation, hopefully Elladan would just think she was in a mood over the events at the archery range.

"Hey" he echoed, just as awkwardly.

Tae turned to each of her friends that she hadn't already greeted, her head still dully spinning from Cormyrs ale. She was oblivious to the concerned glance that came to her from the Lord of Imladris, he then caught Glorfindel's eye and the pair seemed to have a silent conversation.

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After the meal Tae headed back to her room, she felt like a nap, beer did that to her in the daytime. She got as far as the staircase up to her room when she was intercepted by Elladan.

"What's up" she smiled weakly, stifling a yawn.

"We need to talk Tae"

Tae raised her eyebrows suspiciously and carried on towards her quarters. 'Now is not the time for confessions of love'

Inside the room she sat on a chair and motioned to the bed for Elladan to take a seat, she tried to put as much room between them as possible.

"I just want to apologise for being 'off' with you earlier, I think both I and Legolas got a bit caught up in it"

"You were 'off' with me the instant I mentioned your bow, Legolas hadn't even arrived then" Tae replied, now eager to get to the truth of why he suffered from mood swings lately.

Tae's statement caught him off guard; he wasn't prepared to tell anyone, especially her, off his jumbled emotions. He licked his lips nervously; his next sentence would prove to be one of the defining moments in their relationship.

"I suppose I just didn't like the idea of a female being enthusiastic about a deadly weapon" he watched Tae's face anxiously, sure that she would slit his throat with her nails if she took his words the wrong way.

"Get used to it honey" she sighed absently pretending to be annoyed, her heart skipping a beat as she realised Glor had been wrong.

"And about the little tournament we had for the first dance tomorrow----I just wanted you all to myself, that's all. I got a bit competitive when I realised that you might replace me with Legolas---or even Haldir" he finished with a smile.

"You idiot" Tae cursed. She stood up and walked over to the bed as if to scream at him nearer but instead she sank to her knees before him and wrapped her arms around his neck, glad that she now knew her friend wasn't falling madly in love with her she felt safe to touch him.

"No one, and I mean no one, could replace you as a friend Dan'. Besides, what makes you think I would let any other wake me up at all hours without me gutting them like a fish" she said in a serious tone.

"You're the best friend I could ask for, anyway, there's no one else worth having a water fight with, you're the best the elves have got" she laughed, grateful the way their 'talk' had turned out and feeling slightly less tired.

Elladan however was slightly down hearted at Tae's emphasis on them being only friends, though he hid his thoughts behind a smile as Tae let him out of her embrace.

"I'm sorry" he said, bending to kiss her on the brow. They smiled at each other 'friends again'.

"I think Ada wants to speak to you Tae, he's in the library, I'll walk you down"

Tae nodded and the two friends left her room and made for the library, Elladan paused before the door, not wanting to follow her in.

"Promise me you'll meet me later after dinner, tell me a story before we go to bed" he smirked, back to his old self it seemed.

"Less of the 'we' honey, tonight I'm sleeping alone, though I'll come tuck you up if you want" smiled Tae

Elladan dropped to his knees and hugged her waist.

"Please Tae, let us sleep together again, there'll be no one to hug you in the dark of the night, no one to wake up next to in the morning when you're feeling 'energetic', no one----" he begged rather loudly

"Dan'! Shush!" she cried desperately, holding back the laughter at the pleading look in his eyes and his resistance to let her go.

"Pleeeease Tae"

"We'll see okay? You'll have to find me cos I don't know where your room is" she said, leaning over to open the library door. Her ruse soon saw him shoot up from the floor, when he realised she hadn't opened the door into the room his father occupied he wrapped his arms around her waist and hoisted her into the air.

"Promise?"

At a nod he let her down and kissed her on the cheek.

"I'll keep my bed warm just how you like it" he said walking away

Tae sighed, she doubted she would ever understand that elf; she took a deep breath and opened the library door, walking in to sit next to Elrond who was on a leather couch.

"Hola" she greeted happily

"Afternoon Tae" returned Elrond, his nose stuck in a book

After a few minutes, when the elf lord had said nothing further she made to get up, seeking to hunt down a certain elf who had told her the Lord of Imladris wanted to speak to her.

She got to the door before Elrond called her back. "Tae, sit down, come, I want to ask you a favour" he smiled shutting his book and laying it on a nearby table. Elladan had just saved himself a mouthful.

"What's up E?" she asked

"That's Elrond child, not 'E'. I wanted to ask if you would mind escorting me to the gathering tomorrow, Arwen decided long ago that she didn't want to go with me and settled for Haldir this year. It leaves me lacking a 'partner' so to speak. Will you?"

"Ah, you cramp Arwen's style---sure, it's not like I'd go with anyone else-- -"

"No other has asked you?" he asked, surprised considering what Glor had told him earlier of his sons deep affection for her, and the thoughtful sparkle that came into her eyes whenever she talked of Elladan.

"Nooo, should they have?" she replied suspiciously.

"No No, I'll call for you at the seventh hour then"

"Sure"

Tae spent the rest of the afternoon chatting with Elrond about her world and how she seemed to be adapting to his. She was tempted to question him about what it meant to be a 'half elf', she wanted to show him her ears which she was damn sure were beginning to develop a point. Of course she was curious about her life span, would she go to Valinor like everyone else or would she have to sty here and die with the human part of her. Such discussions were best left to a time when her brain felt at least half awake she thought, and brought up Elronds extensive book collection instead.

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Meanwhile Elladan had sought out his twin, finding him in his room getting changed from his riding clothes.

"Ro', out riding again with the lovely Gilwen?" he asked with a smirk.

"Yes brother, some of us don't spend our time displaying our ability to hit a little red circle with a bit of wood , metal and feather" replied Elrohir, referring sarcastically to Elladan and Legolas' display of manliness in front of Tae. He had run into Glorfindel just after Tae had left him, the blond elf had told all hoping that the younger twin could discern his brothers' troubles. Elrohir didn't take his brothers apparent 'feelings' for Tae seriously, passing off his mood swings as a faze and nothing more. Elrohir took note however, when his brother looked down at his feet at the remark.

"Elladan?"

"I don't know what's up with me, I've been feeling so weird lately; like one of the females on their monthly---you know"

"Period?"

"Yeah, I go from happy to sad, back to happy---and now I'm feeling down again"

"Maybe your ill" joked Elladan's mirror image, extending a hand and feeling his brow. "No, no temperature"

"I'm not laughing Ro', anyway I came round to collect Tae's dress for tomorrow, I still haven't told her---though I think she has forgotten that she needs a dress"

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Tae and Elrond where sitting down at the dining table well before the bells were rung, as the elves of Rivendell filed in Tae noticed the twins walk in together, they were identical in appearance and Tae wondered if Elrohir was as mad as his brother in personality. She smiled as the pair came nearer, guessing correctly that the elf on the left was Elladan, which was confirmed beyond doubt when he sat down next to her and winked secretly.

Dinner went on without incident, until Glorfindel decided to ask a question of Elladan.

"What happened to you last night, you didn't join us in the council chamber to make report, I went to your room but it was empty. Did you spend the night in the stables?"

Instantly Tae struck up a conversation with Arwen, complimenting her on her dress or the like, intent to stay out of the silence between Glor and the elf that shared her bed the night before.

"It's funny you say that Glor, that's precisely what I did, Galad seemed a bit edgy so I stayed with her for most of the night, she calmed towards the morning so I had the perfect opportunity for an early training session out on the ranges. There wasn't a soul out there when I got there, so early in the morning it was" Elladan lied. His untruth must have been convincing, for Glor let it drop and he sighed a deep breath of relief, silently of course.

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"You could have made it less obvious, commenting on my sister's hair before I could say anything to my defence" scowled Elladan

Tae could see the smile in his eyes even though the rest of his face said otherwise. "Give it a rest Dan', do you want a story or not? I'm tired, I ran all morning"

"So that's where you went, off for a jog into the woods----if you had told me I would have kept you company off on your own in the middle of nowhere"

"Don't start--"

"I'm doing nothing---"

Tae ignored his protests and continued. "No Elladan, no suggestive comments tonight, please? I'm not in the mood"

"Are you ill my love?"

"Elladan!" she growled. "I want to speak to you tonight, the real you" at his concerned gaze she softened her voice. "I'm sorry, just got a bit of a head ache is all"

"Ok, I want to give you something though; I saw it and immediately thought of you"

The elf got up and walked over to his wardrobe, pulling out a red floor length dress. The bodice was embroidered with tiny maple leaf shapes and it tapered to a point off to the right while the silk skirts came from beneath. Its sleeves were a paler red, made from a sheer material which also tapered diagonally.

"I---Its beautiful Elladan" she said, standing up while he held the dress up to her body. He stood behind her as she surveyed her image in a floor length mirror standing inn the corner.

Tae thanked him graciously, at last excited for the coming event.

"I hope it doesn't clash with whatever your father wears" she said dreamily

"What?"

"He's escorting me tomorrow, that's what he wanted to ask me when you sent me to him" she saw the fallen face of her friend and tried to remedy his hurt feelings that he wouldn't be the one to officially walk her in and out of the halls. "It means nothing Elladan, it's not like we wont be able to talk or anything-----if you still want, I'll dance with you"

"I never cared about dancing. I hate dancing" he remarked sharply, his eyes flashing silver.

Tae raised her eyebrows at the elf lords 'strop', here came another of his moods she thought.

"Elladan, you do know I'm leaving with Haldir, don't you?" she asked, ever a glutton for punishment.

"WHAT?"

Tae shrugged despairingly. "I thought some one would have told you, I'm staying In Lothlórien for a few weeks at Lady Galadriels wishes.

"No one told me" he answered coolly, letting go of Tae's dress for her to catch it he grabbed the door handle and pulled the portal open, slamming it loudly behind him.

Tae felt guilty that Elladan had been the last to know but it didn't excuse his actions. Leaving her alone in his room she could cope with; it was the rage she saw flicker in his eyes that scared her. She folded the dress over one arm and left through the door that had just been so viciously slammed. She walked quickly along the corridor, down and then up two staircases and entered her room. She hung up the dress in her wardrobe and stripped off to get into bed, the pounding in her head increasing tenfold.

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Tae woke it the middle of the night with a familiar tickle in her throat, the minute she opened her mouth to yawn sleepily her body was wracked with painful scratching coughs, she got up and threw a robe on before making her shaky way to the bathroom. Tae cowered over the sink as wave after wave of retching coughs were forced from her chest. Before long she could see bright sprays of blood splattered on the white porcelain of the basin.

She remembered the first time this had happened, she had hid the blood in a tissue but Lord Elrond had picked it up.

Finally the coughing ceased and Tae looked up into the bathroom mirror, her lips bright with the blood which had passed over them and her face looking ghostly in the dim candlelight. A last sudden surge left her bent double of the sink once more, only this time when Tae opened her tear streaked eyes she saw a clot the size of her index finger streaking its way slowly towards the plughole. That last push seemed to do the trick as Tae didn't feel as if she'd cough again.

She splashed some water around the basin to clean it and some into her face to do likewise, and then returned to bed.

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