Healers Make The Worst Patients by elwen of the hidden valley

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Story Notes:

I don’t own the people or places of Middle earth. They belong to JRR Tolkien. This is fanfic, written for the entertainment of author and reader and I don’t seek to make any money from it.


 


Rivendell was well known as a place where folk of all races found welcome. Unfortunately, those races did not always forget their differences upon crossing her borders.

 

At present a small group of Thranduil’s folk occupied one wing of the large house, with a party of dwarves scowling at them from the windows of another. Strategically buffering between them was a small contingent of hobbits, who were steadily eating their way through the contents of Rivendell’s normally capacious larder. In addition, Elrond had just spent two days treating one of their party for a morgul knife wound.

 

And then there was The Ring. The wearer of Vilya had been trying to ignore the ruling ring’s jangling whispers ever since it had arrived. A decision would have to be made about its disposition soon but a meeting could not take place until the current bearer was recovered enough to attend.

 

In the meantime Elrond had issued instructions for the delegation of men from Dale to be housed as far as possible from the current heir to the Steward of Gondor, after a small altercation about whether Dale needed or wanted Gondor’s protection. Having withstood the deprivations of a dragon the folk of Dale were, understandably, of the opinion that they could look after themselves and, in the words of one, did not need the assistance of some, “Jumped up King Want To Be”.

 

Elrond sighed, pressing fingers to his temples in an attempt to ease the pain which was threatening to make him cast up his breakfast. At the current rate of discontent he was going to run out of rooms distant enough to keep the many warring factions apart. His home had always been a haven of peace but the presence of The One was affecting everyone, even though most were unaware of what was making them so uncomfortable.

 

“And what, pray tell, would an elf know of the troubles of Middle Earth?” demanded a deep voice with a distinctive dwarven burr. “You’re all leaving for your pretty little islands in the West.”

 

An educated voice, laced with a Greenwood accent replied, a little indignantly, “My father and his people have made no plans to leave yet. And we are as much affected by the current troubles as you.”

 

Elrond dashed into his bathing room as yet another sharp pain sliced across his brow, and the long threatened evacuation of his stomach occurred. It was almost a relief that his retches drowned out the voices as they continued to bicker, fading away down the hallway.

 

Arwen found him a little later, as he was returning to his desk. He made an effort to smile at his little Evenstar. “How is Master Frodo?” he enquired. He ruthlessly set his jaw against a groan as his own voice echoed and reverberated about his head, and he refused to focus on the zigzag blue line that danced maniacally at the edge of his vision, wavering with each syllable.

 

His daughter did not immediately reply, frowning as she took in the pallor of his features, a lopsided smile and pupils so constricted as to be almost invisible within their silver grey irises. Elrond’s hand, resting upon a document, trembled almost imperceptibly.

 

“He is sleeping, peacefully, Ada. Mithrandir has sent Sam for some fresh air.” She reached across to lay her fingers upon her father’s hand, surprised to find it quite chilled. “Ada . . . are you well? You look a little pale.”

 

“It has been a busy time. I am just a little fatigued.” Elrond withdrew his hand, adjusting his chair as he sat, to avoid a stray sunbeam which seemed to be taking a perverse delight in stabbing him in the eyes.

 

Arwen’s own eyes, usually the gentler mirror of her father’s piercing gaze, narrowed as she rounded the wide desk. “If you are weary perhaps you should rest for a little while. Frodo will not awaken for some hours and the Council meeting cannot take place until he does.”

 

The Lord of Imladris was not inclined to show any weakness, however, even to his own child. His home was playing host to a particularly volatile mix of people at present and he needed to keep a close eye on all parties. Rising, he grabbed the corner of his desk as his head threatened to float off his shoulders. It was beyond his comprehension that anything that felt so heavy one minute could feel so light the next. And now a flock of little yellow dots joined the blue line in his vision. Elrond tried to give them the same determined disregard. “I will rest when The One has left my valley and not before.”

 

Arwen sighed. “There are many strong warriors of our people here. They are more than capable of preventing any trouble.”

 

She cupped her father’s icy cheek. But Elrond turned away from her perceptive touch, striding in what he hoped was a steady and purposeful manner, to a table on which rested a small bottle of miruvir.

 

Undeterred, Arwen followed his slightly weaving gait and it was she who poured a little of the clear liquid into a glass and handed it to him. Elrond raised a leaden brow at her presumption, but accepted the glass, nonetheless. He took a careful sip, sighing inwardly when it brought some semblance of calm to his still churning stomach.

 

“Go and look after our guests, child. It is your duty as chatelaine,” he reprimanded gently.

 

Arwen stood her ground. “And what of my duties as daughter?” She replied. “I was daughter long before chatelaine.”

 

Even Elrond was a little surprised that he managed to summon the energy to flash back, “Looking after our guests would also fall within a daughter’s purview.” When she would open her mouth to argue further he spun away. “Leave me, Arwen. Please.”

 

But the sudden movement was more than Elrond’s aching head could take and it was with some further surprise that he found himself continuing his momentum, corkscrewing gracefully to the floor in a pool of burgundy velvet, as the world grew dark around him. His last awareness was of Arwen’s startled cry and the feather brush of her hair on his cheek as she bent over him.

 

-0-

 

He was lying in icy water, trapped inside a giant drum which reverberated in a steady and monotonous rhythm. Elrond was sure every fibre of his body trembled with each beat. He tried to tell the inconsiderate drummer (probably a dwarf) to stop, but found it difficult to speak through his own tightly clenched jaw. Searching for another way to express his distaste for the drummer’s talents he tried to wave, but his right arm seemed to be missing and his left was trapped beneath what felt like a cave troll. Frustrated, he cracked open his eyes and finally managed to produce a sound as he slammed them shut against the dazzling explosion of light. It was perhaps not the coherent phrase he had planned but it appeared to get the message across nicely.

 

“Close the curtains please, Elrohir. I think he is awake now and the light seems to bother him.” Arwen. Her voice was soft and low, almost soothing beneath the insistent drumming. At any other time Elrond may have complimented her on her gift of understatement, for it felt as though someone had just tried to ram a spike, still glowing from the forge, through each of his eyeballs.

 

“Ada . . . try to open your eyes again for me. The room is darker now.” Elrond felt the warmth of soft fingers as they trailed across his brow, leaving a ghost of relief in their wake. Encouraged by that minor respite he tried once more to slit open his eyes and was relieved to find a grey twilight.

 

Gradually, he focussed upon his daughter’s face, only an arm’s length from his own. Her lips curled in a gentle smile, so reminiscent of her mother’s. “There you are at last,” she murmured. “We were worried for a little while.”

 

Elrohir appeared at his sister’s shoulder. “You should have told me you were having one of your headaches,” he chided softly. “I would have come to you sooner.”

 

Elrond grated words out with some difficulty between teeth clamped tight against the agonising pounding. “Now is not the time for me to be incapacitated.”

 

“And yet here you are,” his son replied implacably. “Time for it or not, you are incapacitated and, had you called for assistance earlier, you could have saved yourself a great deal of discomfort.”

 

Elrond was too busy trying to see him through the floating yellow spots that seemed to be bouncing lazily around the room, to be bothered asserting himself further. It was obvious that at least two of his offspring had inherited some of his determination. In truth, he had long since been convinced that all three had a stubborn streak which must surely have come from their mother’s side of the family.

 

“Lift his head . . . gently,” instructed Elrohir and Arwen slipped one slender arm beneath her father’s pillow. The arm may have been slender but she supported him with ease as Elrohir touched a gently steaming cup to his father’s lips.

 

Even such a slight change of position made Elrond’s face turn grey and Arwen toed a basin closer to the bed, just in case. After a few moments, however, Elrond parted his lips and accepted the first sip.

 

“Let us hope that you will keep this down long enough for it to have some effect,” his son commented dryly.

 

Had he the energy Elrond would have spit it at him. As it was, he swallowed and contented himself with, “It could use some honey.”

 

Elrohir’s irrepressible grin could be heard if not seen. “It has as much honey as you are going to get.” And in a softer voice . . . “And more than you usually add.”

 

Watching the byplay between father and son Arwen was tempted to giggle but decided against it for fear of jostling her charge. Her gown was, after all, within the firing line should Elrond’s stomach rebel.

 

Once the cup was empty Arwen settled her father back and he lay silently for several minutes, attempting to bring his stomach under ruthless control. Once he decided that rebellion was no longer a threat he opened his eyes to find that Arwen was now sitting in a chair at his bedside.

 

It was then that Elrond realised that the mountain troll on his left arm was actually just a light blanket and it was with some relief that he felt some sensation beginning to creep back into his right arm. He wiggled a finger experimentally. Yes. He definitely had both arms . . . and those arms were naked . . . as was the rest of him.

 

Arwen watched silently. “How did I get to bed?” asked her father of a sudden. He had, after all, been fully dressed when in his study. His memory of events was a little shaky once the headache started but he definitely remembered dressing that morning.

 

Arwen’s face moulded itself into a picture of innocence. “We put you to bed.”

 

“We?”

 

Arwen felt sure that under other circumstances her father’s face would have been quite highly coloured. For some moments she let him suffer, then took pity. “Elrohir and Elladan put you to bed. I brought the herbal.”

 

The dwarf on drums, having switched from full set of timpani to simple tambour, Elrond felt well enough to scowl.

 

His daughter only giggled. “Sorry Ada. I could not resist. It is not often I have you at my mercy thus.”

 

Elrohir stepped forward to add a wry chuckle of his own. “She’s right. It feels quite empowering.”

 

Their father willed the little yellow spots in his vision to stand still and behave themselves. “I am fairly certain that your mother and I taught you to respect your elders.”

 

Elrohir was undaunted, however. “And the last time I forgot to duck an orc scimitar I am certain you taught me that a healer’s words are final.” His face grew stern. “I think you should go to sleep now, Adar.”

 

For an instant Elrond considered retorting but the little yellow spots had started to waltz about the room once more. Perhaps it was time to retire gracefully.

 

And sleep did sound so very welcome.

 

 

 

END

 

 




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