Cuil-nin by Princess of the Dark Abyss

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Story notes: I am not at all happy with Peter Jackson. Also, I know that the movie made it seem as though Aragorn and Haldir might have had a thing going, but I love the pairing of Haldir/Celeborn, so I choose to believe that Aragorn was just concerned and upset over the death of a friend. Heck, I would be.
Warning: character death. Spoilers for The Two Towers movie.
Elrond sends us word. The army of Isengard attacks Helm's Deep in force; Theoden will fall. Three hundred men cannot fight an army of ten thousand Uruk Hai; it is folly to believe that there will be any end to this battle but defeat. Unless.

Unless we send the Galadhrim to aid them.

Our valiant comrades prepare to leave. Resplendent in the elvish armour that is both beautiful and functional, helmeted, bearing bow and arrow and sword, they wait in ranks while Galadriel and myself give our orders to the captains.

They wait in ranks, rather, while Galadriel gives her orders to the captains, and I plead with Haldir not to go.

"Please, Haldir, it is far more dangerous than I care to admit!"

He smiles at me, slightly confused. "You would have me send the others into danger while I remained behind in safety? I cannot do that, my Lord. And you must not ask me to."

"I could order you to remain behind," I say, desperately.

"I hope you do not, my Lord, for it would grieve me greatly to have to disobey you."

I sigh and close my eyes. "I fear for you, Haldir. I cannot see you returning to me if you leave for this battle."

He smiles, the smile that seems to say everything will be all right. "Fear not, my Lord. I am not the Marchwarden for nothing. I will return, I swear it."

I long to embrace him, but he shies away from such close contact, unless we are lovemaking. Haldir has never been one for demonstrative gestures; he is much like my wife in that respect.

Instead, I clasp his forearm in the traditional greeting and farewell of the elves. "Be well, melethron-nin. Return to me soon."

He smiles and joins the Galadhrim. They leave the borders of Lothlórien, and hope leaves my heart. I cannot find joy in his leaving; nor in the time that will measure his absence.

I wait, and pray, for my love to return.

"Haldir! Pull back! Pull back to the Keep!"

Aragorn shouts in elvish to the Marchwarden. Haldir glances at him and nods breathlessly before turning to fight back an Uruk Hai threatening to pass him. He whirls around, the din of battle deafening to sensitive elf ears. Muscles aching already from the strenuous fighting; Uruk Hai weapons are heavy and crude, and parrying them demands a high cost from even the strongest muscles.

A sudden burst of pain as an Uruk Hai lands a blow. He gasps in shock; the wound is bad, but he is determined to keep fighting.

The pain of the first would is nothing compared to that which he feels now as an Uruk Hai axe buries itself in his back.

Time seems to slow. He can see Aragorn, but cannot hear what the Man is saying. He barely feels the pressure of Aragorn's arms as the Man cradles him, eyes shocked and fear-filled.

All he can think is that he has broken his vow to Celeborn. He will not be returning.

Celeborn, melethron-nin ... forgive...

He waits at the borders of Lothlórien for the returning Galadhrim. The sheer loss of number, the injuries plaguing those who do return, shock him. They carry the bodies of the dead, unwilling to bury their kinsfolk and comrades in foreign soil. Lórien elves slain in battle should forever sleep in Lórien lands.

His eyes scour the ranks, searching. He cannot find the face he seeks.

Rumil, brother of Haldir, approaches him, walking wearily with little of the grace inherent in elvenkind, eyes red-rimmed and sorrowful. Celeborn refuses to acknowledge what those eyes try to tell him.

"Where is Haldir? Is he among the injured?"

"My Lord... Haldir... he was..."

Celeborn turns and begins to pace the ranks, peering into the face of each elf. "Rumil. Where is he?"

Orophin places a hand on Celeborn's shoulder. Rumil walks up beside him. Both brothers' faces hold a deep sorrow.

"My Lord. Haldir was fighting on the parapet... he was wounded badly. Before we could get to him, an Uruk Hai... struck him from behind with an axe... my Lord, Haldir is dead."

"No. You're mistaken."

"Lord Celeborn, please." Rumil's voice breaks with emotion.

Celeborn turns to the younger elf. "Show me."

"Lord Celeborn—"

"Show me!"

Silently, the brothers of Haldir lead Celeborn to the front of the crowd of returning elves. Two Galadhrim, their blonde hair disheveled and out of the habitual braids, carry a litter between them. Lying, still as a statue, pale as he had never been, is Haldir.

His wounds are bound, his hair combed and braided. His eyes are closed, and Celeborn feels his heart falter. Elves, even when wounded, sleep with their eyes open.

He kneels beside the litter, hardly seeing Orophin gesture for the two Galadhrim to place it gently on the ground. Rumil and Orophin move back slightly, to give their lord privacy. As much privacy as can be found in a place like this.

"Haldir..." this time it is Celeborn's voice that breaks with emotion. "Haldir, please... melethron-nin, I cannot imagine living here without you. You are... cuil-nin... my life."

Rumil closes his eyes, though eyelids are no barrier against the tears that trickle from the corners of his eyes. Orophin gently squeezes his brother's shoulder, turning his face away; he cannot bear to see his Lord weeping.

Orophin stops a group of elves, about to begin the journey to the shores and the elf-ships that will take them to Valinor.

"Send word to Master Cirdan. Lord Celeborn leaves these shores."

The elves gape. "But... Lord Celeborn, leaving Lórien? Why?"

Orophin's eyes are sad, though the sadness he bears is a mere shadow compared to the deep, terrible sadness that will haunt his Lord forever.

"Lord Celeborn's life here is over. His love waits for him in Mandos' Halls."

He turns away, tears springing unbidden. "Send word to Master Cirdan. Lord Celeborn sails to Valinor."

Seek for him there
The Halls of the dead
Seek for the one who has flown ahead
Undying lands do not bring comfort
To the cold heart who has lost
Seek for him there
The golden sands
Cannot be reached, untouched by hands
Of man or Elf; fate is cruel
Fate is the stormy sea on which we are tossed
Seek for him there
The luscious gold
Fair beyond measure, a boon to behold
Long-lived, of the fair folk
Immortal life dimmed by mortal war
Seek for him there
Though thou cannot see
How thy heart, cold and dead, can ever be free
One day thou will fly to the halls of the dead
And thou and thy lover, together once more
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