Author’s Note: Smut ahoy, of the oral sex variety.
Without, Part 8
By the time Buffy, Legolas, and Rúmil arrived in Caras Galadhon, Haldir had been conscious again for hours and Corinne was settled down once more. Galadriel and Celeborn had hit upon a winning strategy, they felt: As both proximity and repetitive actions seemed to cause the pain and vertigo to lessen, Haldir made arrows with Corinne curled against his side as Celeborn drilled her on conjugating Sindarin verbs. Occasionally, the hands of one would drift to risky places on the other and Galadriel would slap them away.
“It is not ideal,” Tatharë said during her greeting of her betrothed and briefing of Buffy and Legolas to the situation, “but vastly better than watching Haldir lay senseless while Corinne weeps herself sick.”
Buffy stood in the doorway a long moment, simply watching the scene within. She’d been to Haldir’s home many times in the past eighteen years she’d been in Middle-Earth; after they’d started sleeping together, she’d given up her talan completely and simply stayed with him on those occasions she was in Lothlórien. This would be the first time entering it since falling in love with Legolas, and it felt… weird.
What was weirder, though, was the sight of Haldir smiling affectionately down at a woman who looked like a dictionary-definition of ‘professional student’: plain of face, unexceptional of figure, browny-red hair was bundled into a ponytail, no makeup or jewellery. Her feet were bare, and she wore a plain white t-shirt and a slim yellow skirt. There were ink smudges on her fingers, and her eyes behind the wire-rimmed glasses were a nondescript shade of green. Or maybe brown. She was a woman to overlook in a crowd, or even just in a small group; average and unexceptional in every way.
Except, perhaps, for the way she was smiling up at Haldir. Her smile lit up her whole face, and the way her eyes glowed with adoration for him made Buffy more than a little embarrassed, as if she were witnessing something intensely private, meant only to be shared by the two of them.
But if she looked closer—and Buffy always made it a point to look closer—she could see that there was an unnatural glint to the love in Corinne’s eyes, and that her smile was just a shade too wide. And Haldir… she’d never seen him with a full-blown smile on his face, as he typically had two expressions: surly or smirking. To see him so unnaturally cheerful made her feel like a motherless child, and that unpleasant sentiment infused her with a briskness she hadn’t felt in a long time.
“So,” she said, her tone chipper, as she finally entered the room. “I see that aliens have sucked out your brain. Funny that it took something so extreme to put you in a good mood.”
“Dagnir,” Haldir said, putting aside his arrows and standing. “Cormamin lindua ele lle.” He looked over at Legolas. “Mae govannen,” he added, though the temperature of his voice had cooled a few degrees. In spite of it, Buffy launched herself at her friend and engulfed him in a huge hug which he actually returned after a few surprised moments.
The pain that gripped Corinne at the sight of Haldir holding another woman in his arms felt like a hand squeezing her heart. No, she thought absently, concentrating on the pain so she wouldn’t collapse, more like a hot poker had been shoved into her belly. Or perhaps—her musings were interrupted by Legolas.
“Let us leave them alone,” he urged softly, indicating his wife and Haldir. “They have not seen each other in a year’s time, and have much to say.”
She gazed at Haldir and Dagnir again, and felt the soreness inside her kick up a notch. Still, the expression of joy on Haldir’s face was beautiful, and she wouldn’t erase it for the world. “Ok,” she replied at last. “But you might have to help me a little.” Legolas looked at her in alarm when she stumbled, and quickly eased an arm around her waist to assist her out onto the wide balcony. Corinne groped for a chair and fell heavily into it, arms wrapped tightly around her waist. “I can only take about five more minutes of this,” she gasped, and then her head lolled forward as she lost consciousness.
Legolas was about to fetch Haldir when he felt a soft touch on his arm. “She will be fine,” Galadriel told him, nodding to how Celeborn had come to tend Corinne, putting her head back in a more comfortable position. “Look you inside, you will see Haldir suffers as well.” He did as instructed. Buffy was speaking animatedly to Haldir, who was nodding and replying, but one of his own arms was around his waist, and his face was becoming more and more strained. “They cannot be parted for long.”
With a gasp, Corinne came to. “He is well?” she demanded, and at Celeborn’s nod, relaxed a fraction and closed her eyes, leaning her head back against the chair. Then she arched up, body taut as a bowstring, and stared straight up at the night sky. When she spoke, she was not alone: Galadriel too had a glazed expression in her blue eyes, and gazed sightlessly at the tree’s trunk as they both spoke in tandem.
Wep em wawet merut ibi.
Nehktet, nehktet, nehktet.
Celeborn’s wide eyes met those of Legolas, and he turned to enter the talan to fetch Haldir, only to slam right into that elf. “She—“ he began, but Haldir help up a forbidding hand and Legolas fell silent.
“Listen!” Haldir hissed. He pushed past Legolas, gently putting Galadriel aside (for she was still standing stock-still and staring at the tree) and bent over Corinne. Lifting her with one arm, he used the other to fumble with her skirt, finally losing patience and wrenching it free.
“Haldir, do you really think now’s the time to—“ Buffy began, smirking, but Celeborn frowned at her.
“He is ridding Corinne of the cartouche, so she cannot touch it with bare skin,” he told her. “No matter where we hide it, it always finds its way to her.”
Haldir dropped the skirt to the balcony floor, where it landed with a muffled metallic thud. No one stepped forward to pick it up. The sound seemed to wake Galadriel and Corinne from their trance, however, for both blinked and looked around in bafflement.
“I saw… a creature, in my mind,” Galadriel said with a delicate shudder against Celeborn’s shoulder. “What was it?”
“A two-headed lion,” Corinne answered, eyes locked on Haldir’s. “It was Aker. He… gave us the incantation for the cartouche.” She hissed in a breath then. “Oh, god,” she moaned, and grabbing his hand, jammed it between her thighs. “I’m sorry,” she muttered. “To all of you. But I can’t take any more, I need relief… oh, yesss…” Her hips undulated against his hand and he fell to his knees beside her.
Buffy stepped forward to separate them, but the look Haldir turned on her, eyes blazing silver, stopped her in her tracks. “Leave us, all of you,” he said through gritted teeth. “We will not join completely, but something must be done.” He stood and swept Corinne into his arms, stalking into the talan and slamming shut the door with his foot.
The others stood on the balcony, staring at each other. “Usually, I’d trust him completely,” Buffy said, “but this new and not-so-improved Haldir… not exactly inspiring the big confidence. Can we really expect him not to go all the way?”
Celeborn exhaled sharply. “We four are not enough to subdue them,” he said tiredly. “We will need Rúmil and Orophin, at least.”
Just then, a long, low feminine moan issued from within the talan. Galadriel smiled weakly. “It is too late, I believe.” There was the sound of ripping fabric, and then a masculine sigh of relief. “Definitely too late. We will just have to hope for the best.”
On the other side of the door, Corinne was still seeing stars. Haldir had thrown her down on his bed, then flung himself half-over her, his mouth ravishing hers while his fingers plied her to orgasm. The pleasure she herself felt was magnified by what she could sense from him, hitting her both body and soul so that she was pulled into a maelstrom of desire and delight.
As soon as she was able to breathe, she squirmed out from under him and rolled him to his back. “Haldir,” she breathed, shoving up the hem of his tunic and latching her lips around his nipple while her hands tried desperately to unfasten his breeches. With a strength born of long-frustrated lust, she ripped them open to reveal his erection in all its splendid, heated length.
Corinne barely had time to touch her tongue to its tip before his hands were in her hair and he was thrusting forward into the heat and wetness of her mouth. “Ai, Valar,” Haldir moaned. When one of her hands brushed the heavy sac at his base she could feel the pleasure that brought him, so she cupped it with both hands, kneading and squeezing until, flinging his head back, he came. Barely had Haldir regained his breath before he was flipping her to her back once more and sliding down her body.
“I must taste you, I must…” his words faded away as he parted her legs, spread her open, and lowered his mouth to her.
“Oh, God, yes!” she cried, hips twitching. “Haldir, Haldir.” It wasn’t long before she came again, clutching his face to her and bucking up frantically. He barely gave her time to rest, however, before he was twisting himself around and lowering himself over her. Corinne eagerly took him down her throat once more, even as his tongue slithered and delved deeply between her nether lips, seeking out every droplet of the honey that coursed from her in her passion.
This time, when ecstasy overtook them, they didn’t make a sound, and only shuddered helplessly against one another before resuming course. Over and over they pleasured each other in this way, locked against each other in an endless cycle of renewing passion, feeding off the other’s climax until exhaustion and soreness overtook them.
“That was incredible,” Corinne mumbled against his shoulder as the first rays of dawn peeped over the Anduin to the east. “No wonder people write songs about sex, if it’s always like that.” She lifted her head with great effort and looked at him with wide, bleary eyes. “Is it always like that?”
“I have never done that all night long before, so I do not know,” Haldir admitted with a blissful smile. “The most I managed was that time when… ah, perhaps I should not mention that.”
She allowed her weary head to drop down again. “Because it was with Buffy?” She felt him nod. “I don’t mind you talking about her. It’s obvious she’s with Legolas now—though how she could pass you up, I’ll never know—and as for you…” Corinne felt him tense a little, and hugged her arm around his waist reassuringly. “I trust you.” He relaxed, and she couldn’t resist teasing him a little. “Besides, I can read your mind. I’d know if you were thinking impure thoughts about her.”
He rolled over on top of her, grinning naughtily down at her. “I may only think impure thoughts about you?”
She wriggled her pelvis experimentally against him; hm, elven stamina was very impressive. But so was that of a studious woman who’d read The Joy of Sex thoroughly when she was a teenager. Very thoroughly. For purely academic purposes, of course. “Yes,” she said at last, but decided she simply wouldn’t survive another go, and pushed at him to roll him off. “Impure thoughts are good, if they’re about me.”
“Then I shall expect the same of you,” Haldir declared. “No impure thoughts of Legolas.”
Corinne frowned. “Legolas? Why would I want to think impurely about him? He’s too pretty,” she complained. “If I were going to lust after someone, it would be Celeborn. Now, he’s my kind of elf. Do you know, back in Beierand he—“
But her words were cut off by Haldir’s hand firmly pushing her face back down against his shoulder. “It is time to sleep now, is it not?” he asked grouchily. “I do not wish to hear how Celeborn is attractive to you.”
She reached up to kiss his chin. “Just teasing you, darling,” she murmured contritely.
When they emerged that evening, both were so relieved to feel normal for the first time in weeks that they weren’t at all embarrassed at the looks sent their way. Buffy was almost relieved to have Haldir snubbing Legolas in a show of his usual personality. “When are you going to forgive him, Hal?” she asked, grinning and punching him in the arm. “I got over it a year ago. Isn’t it time for you to let it go and move on?”
“Perhaps,” was all Haldir would say. “And do not call me that.” he turned to the woman who watched them from her seat, and Buffy marveled once more at how his face gentled and at the same time, tensed with a hint of the passion that she knew from personal experience he only displayed when in the middle of lovemaking. There’s some very complicated emotions going on here, she thought with apprehension, and pasted a bright smile on her face. “We never really got a formal introduction, did we?”
“Corinne Williams,” the woman said, and held out her hand to shake.
It was the first time in almost two decades that Buffy had interacted with a person from her own world beside Dawn, and she felt strangely moved about it. The very normalcy of shaking Corinne’s hand made her have to blink away sudden tears, and she increased the wattage of her smile to cover her reaction. “Buffy Summers.” She stepped back to gesture for Legolas. “My husband, Legolas of Mirkwood.” Then she waited for the inevitable drooling to start, and was fairly shocked when Corinne greeted him as she would a normal-looking person. Or elf. “Wow,” she muttered. “That must be some heap-big mojo if you don’t go weak-kneed at the sight of him.”
Corinne flicked her gaze over Legolas’ flawless countenance. “Oh, he’s gorgeous, all right.” Then she looked at Haldir, who was frowning down at her. “But he’s not Haldir.” At her words, he smiled and leant down kiss her, but Galadriel was there before their lips could touch, her hand thrust between their faces.
“A preemptive strike,” the Lady of Lórien said dryly, and Buffy couldn’t keep from laughing, not even able to stop when the two thwarted lovers turned somewhat grouchy glares at her.
“I am pleased to meet you, milady,” Legolas said to Corinne, and lifted her hand to his lips. Buffy knew she wasn’t the only one to notice the fine tremor of Haldir’s arm at the action—it was costing him dearly to keep from throttling the other elf for touching ‘his woman’. Choking back a laugh at the phrase, Buffy asked, “So, what’s going on? Why don’t you tell me what’s made you act all Lovesick!Haldir?”
“Oh, don't I wish I had the answer to that question?" Celeborn murmured as Corinne slipped her hand into the crook of Haldir’s elbow and leaned against him. The gesture was unconscious, as was his reaction of covering her hand with his own and dropping a casual kiss to the crown of her head. This is really wigging me out, Buffy thought.
“I’ll give you the fast and dirty version,” Corinne said. “I’m a graduate student of sociology at NYU, studying ancient Egyptian mysticism, and thought that owning an ancient talisman would be the perfect centerpiece to my dissertation.” She looked away from Buffy, staring at the wall a moment, lost in thought. “I should have suspected when I had to pay with my blood that it was a bad idea, but I just thought the old guy was weird. I can always brew some more blood, after all, right?” She gave a nervous laugh and redirected her gaze to the other woman.
“It was about a week after I bought the cartouche that it happened. I was out with friends, saw something that I wanted, and it began to hum and glow. When I got home, it was still doing it, and I picked it up to study it more. But the next thing I knew, I was sitting on my butt in Haldir’s flet and he was aiming his bow at me.”
“Ever since then, things have been… weird. Beyond weird, and into the realm of completely freaksome. Haldir and I can’t stop molesting each other, and then we started having these strange episodes.” She sighed and rested her head against his arm. “We can’t be apart any more, not even a short while, or else we get sick. Really sick, with fainting and spewing. It’s not pretty.”
“And,” Haldir added, “I for one have begun to hear Corinne’s thoughts in my head.”
“Yes,” Corinne agreed instantly. “It began for me a few days ago. At first it was just sensing your emotions, but after I had that fit with Celeborn—“ she shot an apologetic glance toward the Silver Lord, who nodded in acknowledgement, “—I could hear everything you were thinking.”
At this point, both she and Haldir began to blush. On her, it was the typically blotchy human reaction; on Haldir, the result was a delicate tinge of pink over his ivory cheeks. Their eyes locked once more and Galadriel had to come forward with her hand again. A faint sound from beside her indicated that Legolas was having to struggle very hard to keep from laughing, and Buffy patted his knee reassuringly.
“However,” Haldir said at last, “since… last night… I for one am feeling much less pained.”
“Me, too,” Corinne chimed. “I feel super.” The others fell silent as they remembered moans, cries and sobs of pleasure emanating from Haldir’s flet throughout the previous night.
“So, what’s the plan?” Buffy asked after a while. All turned blank faces to her, and she sighed; was she always going to be the proactive one? “You do have a plan of some sort, don’t you?” More blank stares. Another sigh. “Galadriel, tell me what you know about this.”
“The Valar are strangely silent,” Galadriel replied in her serene, smooth voice from her seat between Buffy and Celeborn. “The most I can determine is that the cartouche desperately wants them to join. My instincts tell me for that very reason, they must not.”
“And Celeborn?” Buffy turned to him. “Have you learned anything?”
“I fear not,” he admitted, looking mightily disgruntled about the fact. “There is naught in all my library that deals with such a thing. It is not a magic of Arda, and is unknown to us here.”
“Well, that narrows it down beautifully,” Buffy told them cheerfully. “If we can’t figure it out here, we’ll have to figure it out there.”
“There?” Haldir asked, silvery eyes narrowing in suspicion. “Do you mean, Corinne’s world?”
“Yep.” She turned to Corinne. “Think you can wish us to New York?”
The other woman looked apprehensive. “Now that I’ve got the incantation, I’m sure I can, but…” Her head drooped. “I’m afraid to go without Haldir. I think we can be apart for a few hours at a time since… last night… but I don’t know how long we’d have to be there. If it’s a few days…”
“Then I shall go with you,” he declared.
“No, no, bad idea, way bad idea,” Buffy protested. “Elves in New York? It sounds like some terrible B movie. It would be chaos, unleashing you on an unsuspecting city.”
“I’d agree with you,” Corinne began, “but I seriously doubt I’ll survive going all the way to another dimension if I can’t even leave the room without passing out.”
Buffy stared at Corinne a long moment; the other woman’s face was earnest and concerned. “Fine,” she grumbled at last. “But no complaining if he gets run over by a taxi.”
“He will not, nor will I,” Legolas stated. “For you shall go nowhere without me, tithen maethoramin.”
“Oh, that’s such a sweet nickname,” Corinne cooed, then looked revolted. “Oh, God. You don’t know how… completely foreign to my actual personality all of this is. I never coo like that. Or at all, really. Ever. We have to do something about this.”
Buffy watched as Haldir rubbed his hand in soothing circles over Corinne’s back and she snuggled into the curve of his arm. It was very unnerving seeing him all cuddly, as if the laws of physics had ruptured. “Couldn’t agree more,” she murmured.
tithen maethoramin = my tiny warrior
herves-nîn = my wife
cormamin lindua ele lle = my heart sings to see you
mae govannen = well met
amin hiraetha = I am sorry
mellon = friend
Holy One, exhalted reverend one,
Open the way to my deepest desire.
I subject myself to the testing of the heart.
Bring me success, bring me victory.