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Trust To Hope

Chapter 7: Chapter Six

by Novedhelion

Trust to Hope - Chapter Six
Author: Novedhelion
Type: FP Het
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Pairing: Éomer/Lothíriel
Rating: PG for now…

Warnings: Just a really hot Horsemaster...

Beta: Riyallyn...come on, Riya, just one more rewrite??

Disclaimer: I am not J.R.R. Tolkien. I do not claim any of these as my own except Camwethrin and Elenion. I don’t intend to make any profit here. It will be a waste of time to sue me, I have no money. I tried to follow canon where possible but did take some artistic license. If PJ can give Asfaloth to Arwen...

Thanks a million, Zee!

***************
Chapter Six
***************

My poor heart needs
Someone who can
Take it like a man
Steady and strong
Not a lot of fuss or carrying on
True to a promise you can write in stone…

Take it Like A Man
Michelle Wright
***********************

**************
Rohan
24 Nínui, 3019 T.A.
****************

Opening the flap of her tent, Anhuil found the morning weather matched her mood. Fog hung about the camp, and a cold drizzle had set in. Leaning on the post framing the opening, she absentmindedly touched her cut lip with her index finger, still pondering the previous night’s kiss. With a shake of her head, she brought herself back to the present. For the sake of the Valar, girl, it is not like you have never been kissed, she thought to herself, throwing on her cloak. Pulling up the hood against the rain, she grabbed her weapons and headed for the horses.

Treading through the mud, she slid the bow and quiver onto her shoulder with her bag. As she walked, she strapped her belt around her hips. She pulled out the dagger, examined it briefly, noting that she really needed to sharpen it, and replaced it in the sheath.

Éomer was already by his horse when she arrived. Striding up to the animal, she removed her bow and quiver, hooking them to the saddle in front of her. Anhuil leapt into the saddle without a word, refusing to look at him. Entertained by her attitude, he mounted up, sliding into the saddle behind her. “Good morning to you, too, Lady Anhuil.”

She pulled her cloak tighter around her, ignoring him. The marshal chuckled and called his men to ride, the horns ringing out in the mist.

The day wore on in like misery. The weather showed no improvement, if anything, it became worse. Dense fog surrounded them, making travel difficult and slow. The misty rain soaked through Anhuil’s cloak and clothing, clinging to her skin, chilling her. She was quiet and sullen.

Éomer looked down at the small figure in front of him. Perhaps he had crossed the line last night. He had never forced himself on a woman, but this one…she had teased him, goaded him. He berated himself silently for not having more control, even if she had been asking for it. It concerned him that she could so easily cause him to lose his grip.

She only had a thin tunic and cloak, and was completely drenched. The light drizzle had not stopped all day, and both men and horses were weary of it. The marshal found her lack of spirit somewhat disconcerting. Mostly she just ignored him, responding to very little he said. Loathe to admit it as he was, he almost missed her banter. Apparently exhaustion had overtaken her as well, as he had not been elbowed nearly as often today. By early evening he decided to call a halt.

The company dismounted and began to set up camp. Éomer leapt from the horse and was careful this time to stay out of her way when she did likewise, her boots landing with a soft splat in the mud. Anhuil regarded her clothing with disdain. Mud from the horse’s hooves had spattered her trousers and boots, and she was drenched. Her curls were wet and stuck to her forehead under the hood of her cloak, her long eyelashes damp on her cheeks. The wet clothing was pasted to her skin. “I need a bath,” she fussed, attempting to brush some of the mud from her clothes. “I am a mess.”

Éomer surveyed her, choosing his words carefully. “I would say that is not your most becoming look,” he agreed, “but I would not say it is altogether unattractive.” A slight smile crossed his lips at her shocked look as he turned and led the horse away.

Anhuil spotted Handarion pitching a tent nearby on the grass. She sloshed through the mud and offered her assistance, which he gratefully accepted. Being around the young man with his easy smile and friendly manner seemed to lighten her mood. They soon were joking and laughing as they worked, and quickly had the job finished.

The rain had finally offered a reprieve. Some of the men had built fires with what little dry wood they could find. Anhuil and Handarion sat nearby, eating from small wooden bowls, smiling and talking. Elenion lay under a tree, gnawing on a bone tossed to him by one of the men. Éomer found it amusing that the men seemed to accept the wolf traveling with them better than a woman.

He is less trouble for certain, the marshal silently mused.

Handarion was laughing at another of Anhuil’s stories of her brothers’ antics when Éomer approached. He stood outside the light of the fire watching her for a moment. She was so at ease with the young man. Why did she insist upon defying him at every turn?

However, Éomer was glad to see Handarion smiling again.

“Pardon me.” Éomer’s voice startled them.

Handarion jumped to his feet. “Sir.”

“I need a moment of the lady’s attention, if I may.” She regarded him coolly. “Lady Anhuil, will you come with me please?” Éomer extended a hand to help her up.

She hesitated, wondering what could be so urgent. Curiosity won out. With a sigh, grasped his hand and allowed him to pull her to her feet. Turning to the young man, she grinned. “We will talk again soon, Handarion. Thank you for your company.”

The youth bowed low. “My pleasure…I want to hear the rest of that story!” He beamed at her.

Éomer placed her hand on his arm as he escorted her to a tent at the edge of the camp. “Thank you for being so kind to him, Anhuil.”

She shrugged. “He is a charming young man.”

“That is the first time I have seen him laugh since he lost his father. It has been very hard on him. He was with us the day his father was killed.”

Anhuil absorbed the information silently. They continued walking to a tent at the far end of the row. Éomer stopped at the opening. “Ah, here we are.”

“My tent?” she inquired. “I was not aware I had a curfew.” The icy tone was returning.

Éomer drew in a deep breath. He was not going to get into another fight with her now. “Just go inside, please.” His voice was cajoling. “I hope you will find it to your satisfaction.” Smiling like a mischievous child, he glanced down at her soaked attire. “You should get out of those wet clothes before you take ill.” She gave him a puzzled look. “Goodnight, Anhuil.” He bowed slightly and turned on his heel.

Anhuil ducked inside, looking around. Someone had gone to a lot of trouble to set up her tent. In the dim lamplight, she could see her small cot, made up with a soft blanket. A makeshift curtain had been hung in the corner. She pulled the curtain back and smiled. A small barrel filled with steaming water, a small bit of soap, and some cloths to dry with.

Grinning, she dug into the leather bag attached to her quiver and pulled out a small bottle. It was one of the few luxuries she allowed herself to bring on this journey. Pouring a few drops of the lavender scented oil into the water, she tossed the wet cloak across the rope holding the curtain. She ducked behind it and quickly peeled the damp clothes. Picking up the nearby pitcher, she poured the scented contents over her head, relishing the feel of the clean, warm water on her skin.

Patting herself dry with the clean cloths, she dressed in spare clothing from her bag. Muddy clothes were washed next, along with the small handkerchief, and hung neatly to dry. Blowing out the small lamp, she lay down on the cot and curled up, pulling the soft blanket over her.

She tossed and turned on the small cot, random thoughts of the last days rifling through her head. Why had he gone to that much trouble? After all, just the other day he dropped her on her backside, told her she was his “responsibility” and seemed none too pleased about it. He had been churlish, a knave, most definitely NOT a gentleman. She rolled on to her back, staring up at the ceiling of the tent. She did not ask for this “escort”. He was arrogant, domineering, overbearing, completely annoying…and his roguish smile made her heart do flips.

That last thought came unbidden, and startled her. The more she tried to subdue it, the more the images came. His dark eyes, looking straight through hers that first night. His gentle touch as he cleaned her cuts. The warmth of him behind her on the saddle. His arms around her when she fell from the horse. The impish look he gave her tonight. That kiss…oh, Ilúvatar, she didn’t even want to go there. Damn that man, creeping into her innermost thoughts like he…well…belonged there!

Anhuil sat up, sighing heavily, and retrieved the journal from her bag. Perhaps putting her quill to paper would get it out of her system.

Staring at the blank page, it puzzled her that for once, words would not come. She began absently sketching on the page, not really aware of what she was drawing, letting her hands and her mind work together without much conscious thought. Often images came to her this way, and she was not infrequently surprised at what her hands created from her subconscious. She stopped suddenly, staring down at the sketch, and dropped the quill.

There were times she wished her skills of reproduction were not quite so well developed.

Slamming the journal shut, she stood. Maybe a walk would help. The last thing she needed was this man under her skin. The blanket was kicked off, and the boots pulled on. Anhuil ran her fingers through the still-damp curls, shaking them loose. Her cloak still wet, she threw the blanket around her shoulders and grabbed the belt that held her dagger. She stepped out into the chilly air. Elenion lay outside the tent, and he fell in step behind her as she strode through the camp slowly.


********
Take it like a Man
Who knows about love
And every little thing that a girl dreams of
Someone wise enough to understand
If you want this woman’s heart
Take it like a MAN

Take it Like A Man
Michelle Wright
********

While making rounds, Éomer approached her tent, listening for any sound. The lamp had been extinguished. Standing at the opening, he called her name softly. “Anhuil?” When there was no response, he peered inside the dark tent. Her wet clothing was drying, draped over the makeshift curtain. The inside of the tent smelled of fresh lavender. He stepped inside. “Anhuil, are you here?”

The marshal lit the lantern, and picked up the journal from the small table, noting she had written several more pages. He stopped suddenly on a drawing, the ink slightly smeared as if the book were shut before it was completely dry.

It was an ink drawing of himself, with only the slightest hint of a smile, his dark eyes intense. He searched the script on the previous pages, but it was all written in the neat, flowing Elvish lettering and illegible to him. He turned back to the drawing, wondering what she had said about the Rohirrim.

About him.

Wondering if she had written about him at all, and wondering why he cared. He closed the book and replaced it on the small table.

A small white piece of fabric caught his attention, hanging with her other things. It was damp in his hand as he studied it, fingering the delicate embroidered edge. A lady’s handkerchief. He smiled. She had a feminine side after all.

The small cot was empty.

Sighing in frustration, he stepped back outside the tent, and began his search.

Most of the tents were dark, a few of the men still milling around. Walking quietly around the edge of the camp, she made her way off into the dark. Elenion trotted beside her, following her to a rocky hill nearby. Anhuil climbed to the top and sat back, looking up. The skies had cleared, and the spread out above her like an expanse of black velvet, beaded with tiny diamonds. Inhaling the chilly air deeply did little to clear her mind. She pulled the blanket tighter around her shoulders.

She had left home to get away from him, at least temporarily. A good match. That’s what her father had said. A good family. Stable. Melkor’s chains, she hated that word. Might as well say BORING.

A gentleman.

Puh-leez!

Mardil Fenwick was anything but.

Anhuil needed some time. She wanted to please her father, and fulfill her duty to her people, but an arranged marriage to an insufferable, egotistical prat was not what she had in mind.

There had to be more. She had sought after it. And now she was deathly afraid she had found it. Her original plan of doing more research on her family history had completely fallen by the wayside in a matter of days. Somehow it seemed far less important now.

Éomer spotted her sitting on the rocks, silhouetted in the pale light, Elenion beside her. She was absentmindedly stroking the wolf’s thick fur.

“You know, this vanishing habit you have is somewhat disconcerting.” The marshal spoke quietly as he scaled the rocks.

The woman and the wolf both jumped at his voice. “So is your sneaking up on me.”

“You should not-“ he began.

“Be out here alone. I know. I am not. Elenion is here.” Anhuil faced straight ahead. Without turning her head, she drew the dagger and held it up, showing it to him over her shoulder. “And I took your advice.” She re-sheathed it. “I appreciate your concern.”

Éomer ascended the hill and sat beside her. She didn’t look at him. He had expected sarcasm, perhaps even outright defiance, but he got neither.

The marshal had never had much time in his life for contemplating women. In the past, those he had dealt with had simply been a passing pleasant, if temporary, distraction. He was a soldier, loyal to his king, sworn to his duty.

Leaning forward, elbows on his bent knees, he studied her in the pale light. What was it about her? Éowyn was every bit as strong willed, he told himself. Yet his sister was like steel; cool, strong, almost imperturbable. A capable warrior. A Shieldmaiden of Rohan.

Anhuil was different. The dark complexion, raven curls, and her small stature, obviously, but what else? Where Éowyn often seemed aloof, Anhuil was passionate. About everything. Fiery. Full of herself, most of the time. Except tonight. Her subdued spirit troubled him.

“Thank you,” she said softly, “for the bath.”

“You are welcome. See? I am not a complete cad.” He smiled, inwardly relieved she had finally spoken.

Anhuil laughed softly at his use of her words. “I suppose not. But you were behaving like one yesterday.” She leaned forward, resting her chin on her folded arms.

“May I ask you something?” he inquired.

“You may ask.” She still did not look at him, “and I will choose whether or not to answer.”

“You have never told me where you are from.”

“That was not a question.”

“Will you tell me?”

Anhuil continued to stare straight ahead. “Dor-en Ernil,” she answered. “Belfalas.”

“The land of the prince.” Éomer commented. At the mention of her father’s title, she bit her tongue, trying desperately to show no reaction. “It is a large region. Where in Belfalas?”

The princess turned and looked at him. “You only had leave to ask one question.” She noticed he had once again shed the armor and now wore only a dark grey tunic and breeches under his cloak. She could smell the faintest scent of soap, and figured he had bathed as well.

He chuckled. “You remind me of the Lady Éowyn. She too, has a strong will and a sharp wit to match.”

Lady Éowyn. Lovely, she thought. Probably one of those tall flaxen haired beauties he mentioned. That would be about the kind of luck she’d had with men. She debated for a moment whether or not to ask.

Curiousity won out.

“Lady Éowyn?”

“Yes,” he responded softly. “I love her dearly.” He watched her reaction carefully, but found it difficult to read.

Oh, thanks for nothing, she silently told the Valar. She stared straight ahead, deliberately schooling her features to a neutral expression, then turned to him with a questioning look.

“She is my sister.” Éomer gave her a charming smile. He paused long enough to let that information sink in. “What of you? Have you any brothers or sisters?”

“I have three older brothers,” she answered quietly. She hadn’t realized how much she missed them. Ai, Valar, what they would have to say…

“I do not know if that is good news or not,” Éomer joked. “No wonder you fight so well.”

“I had to,” she sighed. “They were merciless. It mattered not to them that I was a girl.” She mocked her brother’s tone of voice. “‘Ani, you must learn to defend yourself. We will not always be there to look out for you.’” The princess chuckled softly at the memory. “They did not trust me with weapons, so they taught me to use them.”

Éomer laughed. “I am sure my own sister would tell much the same tale. She was wielding a sword from the time she could walk.”

“If you are anything like my brothers were, I am sure she had no choice!” Anhuil laughed.

Éomer paused, realizing rather suddenly that he greatly enjoyed the sound of her laughter. “It is fortunate for me that you learned your lessons well, or we would not be having this conversation. I would like to thank them personally. Assuming of course, it is safe to do so.” He looked at her questioningly, a teasing gleam in his eye. A familiar scent wafted through the night air, and he realized as he breathed it in it was the lavender scent of the oil she carried in her bag.

The princess shrugged. “They are harmless, as long as you behave like a –“

“Gentleman?” Éomer smiled. She laughed quietly again.

“Yes,” she answered, smiling shyly, facing the darkness again. Elenion leapt from the rock beside her and trotted off into the darkness. Anhuil picked up a small stone from the top of the rock, turning it in her fingers.

“So what are you running from?” He cut to the chase.

“What makes you think I am running from anything?” Anhuil turned her head to face him.

“You are obviously far from home. You are traveling alone. You are most ambiguous about where you are going. You have brothers that you obviously love and they love you. So it is not your family that you are running from. But you are running from something,” he replied, matter-of-factly. “Or someone.” Again, he gauged her reaction carefully.

“Perhaps both,” she commented. “Or neither.” The princess glanced at him, and he saw the briefest flicker of acknowledgement before the door slammed shut again. She tossed the rock down, watching it bounce once before going over the edge. Leaning back on her hands, she looked up at the glittering sky above. The ensuing silence enveloped them.

Anhuil could stand it no longer. “I must get some rest. Thank you again for the bath.” She stood and climbed down to the ground. “But it does not assuage you dropping me,” she teased, trying to lighten the mood.

“You told me to put you down.” He leapt down beside her.

He was doing it again. She silently cursed whichever of the Valar had given him that devilish grin.

“I suppose I did say that.” Anhuil draped the blanket over her folded arms, raising one eyebrow. A teasing smile crossed her lips. “But a true gentleman would not have dropped me.”

Ah! A genuine smile. Éomer felt his pulse quicken. Dark brown eyes roamed from her green ones to her lips, parted slightly. The tunic had once again strayed, her tanned shoulder revealed in the moonlight.

“You wound me,” he teased softly, stepping closer to her. “Casting such aspersions on my character.” Gently pulling the sleeve of her tunic back on to her shoulder, his fingers lightly grazed the soft, exposed skin.

The shock of his warm hand sent chills down her spine, and she shivered. His fingers trailed softly from her shoulder to her cheek, brushing the curls from her eyes and tucking the errant tendrils behind her ear. Anhuil felt as if she would melt under the heat of his gaze. He took the blanket from her, gently draping it around her shoulders, keeping the ends of it in his hands. She backed up, thankful for the solid rock behind her.

“You have yet to prove otherwise, Lord Éomer,” she dared him. The light breeze was tainted with the scent of lavender. Éomer closed the distance between them.

“Believe what you will…” he smiled, leaning toward her, echoing her own words.

“You are not behaving like a gentleman,” she said softly. Anhuil’s back was pressed hard against the unyielding rock. Her eyes fell on his full lips, remembering what they felt like against hers. She bit her own bottom lip, wincing slightly at the pain of her unhealed cut.

“You do not want me to be a gentleman.” Éomer leaned with one hand on the rock beside her head, his body pressing lightly against hers, pinning her neatly to the stone behind her. The fingers of his other hand strayed from her curls to her lips. She swallowed hard, trying hopelessly to steel herself.

He tenderly outlined her bottom lip with his index finger, lightly skimming over the cut. It still had not healed from her fight several nights ago. He felt a slight pang of guilt for the bruising kiss last night. His fingertips traced along her jaw line, tilting her face to his. The fragrance of the lavender was almost intoxicating.

Anhuil opened her mouth slightly in an attempt to speak, but there was suddenly not enough air in all of Rohan. His breath was warm on her lips, his mouth brushing hers ever so lightly.

Mindful of the cut on her lip, Éomer deliberately checked himself, keeping his kiss light, teasing. He pulled back, locking his eyes to her deep green ones. Their breath was a discernable mist between them in the chilly air.

“A gentleman would have asked before he kissed me,” she breathed.

“I suppose that proves I am not a gentleman.” Lowering his lips to hers, Éomer kissed her softly, holding himself in check, resisting as long as he could.

“Éomer." The sound of his name from her lips crumbled what resolve he had as he crushed her against the rock, one hand cupping the back of her head, his mouth possessing hers. The blanket fell to the ground at her feet.

Anhuil had been kissed before, but she had never in her life experienced anything like what this man's mouth did to her. The heat of it, of him, melted her insides, the molten liquid searing through her system. The odd sensation of fingers curling deep in her belly was completely foreign to her. The chaste kisses of past suitors had never made her knees go weak. She had never felt herself respond so eagerly, arching her body to fit against his, inviting his touch, her own fingers digging into his shoulders to keep herself from slipping helplessly to the ground.

She suddenly knew what it meant to want a man.

“Lord Éomer!” A voice echoed down the riverbank.

“Go away…” he murmured against her lips, sliding one arm around her waist.

“Sir!” The voices were getting closer.

Éomer sighed and pushed back from the rock, soft brown eyes meeting dark green. It had not been his intent to kiss her again. He had only come to find her, to assure himself she was safe. Looking down into her eyes, clouded with the same desire that screamed through his own body, all he wanted was to take that mouth again. And he didn't want to stop there.

The shock in her eyes puzzled him. He raised his hand to her cheek, and ran his thumb softly across her bottom lip. "Anhuil..."

“Éomer, sir!” The voices were close, so close he could hear the boots on the gravelly ground.

“Bloody hell…” Reluctantly, he turned around in search of the source of this interruption, putting a slight distance between them.

Anhuil stood for a moment, regaining a bit of equilibrium. When she finally gathered herself, she grabbed her discarded blanket, ducked past him and quickly bolted up the path toward the camp.

Éomer closed his eyes momentarily, taking a deep breath as the cause of his abeyance approached. Two young Rohirrim soldiers appeared, finding him standing alone.

“Yes?” Éomer was more than slightly annoyed.

“Lord Éothain concerned when you did not return, sir. He sent us to search for you and the lady,” one of them offered, looking around. “Do you know where she is?”

I know where she was, damn it, Éomer thought. “Back at the camp by now, no thanks to you," he answered through gritted teeth.

Turning away from them, he stomped back up the hill to the camp, two confused soldiers tromping behind.

*****

Anhuil walked briskly back to her tent, throwing the blanket over her shoulders.

*What are you thinking? the voice in her head chided. You said you were not going to give in to this…you know this means nothing to him.*

I know what I said, she answered silently.

*So what exactly are you doing?* the voice persisted.

I have no idea, she thought.

*If there ever was someone who knew how to make things complicated for herself, it is you,* the voice in her head admonished her.

“Shut up!” she said out loud, shutting out the voice.

Anhuil hoped the Valar were enjoying this little game. She ducked into her tent, dropping onto the cot, curling into a ball, questions reeling in her mind. How did he do that? How could he render her so completely and utterly unable to resist him?

No man had ever made her feel like that. No man had ever broken down every barrier, every wall, every defense, and made her feel so wanton. No man had ever made her heart race and her skin heat. Why, she'd practically plastered herself against him like some over-amorous tavern wench!

Appalled, she sat up, and hit the pillow with her balled fist. No man had ever controlled Princess Lothíriel, and she was not about to let one now. Resolutely, she blew out the lantern and tossed the blanket over herself as she curled on her side. She could handle this Marshal. She was, after all, a Princess of Gondor. With that thought, she closed her eyes.

But...bless the Valar, that man could kiss.

******

The men hiked back up the hill through the tall grass. As they reached the camp, Éomer offered to check her tent. “Report to Éothain that the lady is fine.”

Nodding, the soldiers disappeared. The marshal made his way toward her tent. The light had been extinguished, and he heard no sound. He found himself thinking about riding with her…the way her tunic kept sliding off one shoulder… the curve of the back of her neck…her body pressed back against his in the saddle…leaning back against the rock…the feel of her skin under his fingertips…

A voice calling his name shook him out of his reverie, unaware of how much time had passed. He turned to see Éothain coming toward him.

“I will be glad when we get her safely to the border,” Éomer commented casually. “This habit she has of wandering off tasks me.”

Éothain looked at his friend knowingly. “Indeed,” he remarked dryly, one eyebrow raised. He glanced toward her tent. “She is pretty,” he offered.

“Is she?” Éomer feigned innocence, yawning widely. “I had not really noticed.”

Éothain shook his head, wondering if he was really expected to believe that. “You know, some of the men still think…”

“What?”

“Well, sir, I know this sounds ridiculous but some of the men think she has put some kind of spell on you.” He laughed at the thought.

Éomer chuckled. “And what do you think, my friend?” he asked, clapping him on the back.

Éothain thought carefully before answering. “I would have to say, in a way, it is possible.”

The marshal didn’t reply, digesting what his friend had said. Éothain smiled. “Goodnight, Éomer,” he said as he turned to go.

“Éothain,” he called out, “Let her ride Cyric tomorrow.”

“Cyric, Marshal?”

“Yes, the grey palfrey. Let her ride him.”

His lieutenant nodded. “I’ll see to it at first light,” he answered.

Éomer watched Éothain until he was out of sight. He quickly ducked into Anhuil’s tent. Something whizzed past his head, missing by mere inches, the THUNK behind him making him jump. He was turning to look when she lit the lamp.

“You startled me,” she whispered, annoyed. The slight tremor in her voice amused him. The marshal turned and saw the small, jeweled handled dagger embedded in the tent pole just beyond his head. Pulling it from the post, he raised one eyebrow at her, and slowly walked toward her.

“You missed.”

“I did not miss. I only wanted to scare whoever was coming in.” She crossed her arms defiantly. “I never miss.”

“Never?” Slowly, he slid the dagger back into the sheath at her waist, his hand still on the handle. With a gentle pressure on the hilt of the dagger, he pulled her to him, bending down, his lips almost on hers. “You are a dangerous little minx, Anhuil,” he said softly. He reached over with his other hand, turning the lamp back down. “But you don't frighten me." He smiled, hs lips curving against hers. "I believe we had unfinished business.”

Anhuil closed her eyes, responding to his kiss without thought. She briefly wondered what he meant by unfinished business, seriously doubting she would have any willpower at all to deny him if he were to…

*By the Valar* Her fingers curled into his hair, gripped the back of his collar. Her thoughts were no longer even remotely coherent. And she didn’t care.

Éomer struggled to keep his feet, when what he really wanted was to topple her on to the cot beside them and lose himself in her. She responded to him eagerly, passionately, and at the same time, with such a trusting innocence. Her kiss was so sweet, so yielding, he knew if he did not stop now he never would. Reluctantly, he pulled away.

He watched the haze clear from her eyes, saw the questions in them. "I will not apologize for kissing you, my Lady."

"I did not ask you to," she responded, her voice not quite as steady as she wished it to be.

It would have been amusing to him, the way she lifted her chin defiantly, if it weren't so damned arousing. Éomer backed up a step. “Goodnight, Lady Anhuil,” he whispered softly, bowing low and ducking back out into the night.

Anhuil stared at the opening to the tent, trying to breathe. She felt her way to her cot, collapsing onto it, and found herself completely unable to form a conscious thought. Burying her face in her hands wasn’t much help; she took a deep breath, only to find the scent of leather, of him, still lingering on her fingertips.

*I told you this would only make things more complicated* said the voice in her head.

“And I told you to SHUT UP!” She said out loud, flipping over on the small cot and grabbing the leather diary and quill off the table. Sleep would be a long time coming.

****

Keep walking. Just keep walking. Éomer strode in the direction of his tent, determined not to turn around, knowing where he would end up if he did. He had not the first clue what it was about this little dark headed hellion that turned him inside out, but he knew he better get a grip on himself. Quickly.


*****
So, by keeping her heart protected
She’d never ever feel rejected
What is this feeling taking over
Thinking no one could open the door…

What happened to Miss Independent?

Miss Independent
Kelly Clarkson

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