Author: Karen U
Characters: Eowyn, Legolas
Disclaimer: All LotR characters were created by JRR Tolkien and belong to the Tolkien estate.
Distribution: ask first
Spoilers: In the Extended Edition of The Two Towers, there is a scene in which Eowyn informs Aragorn that she is being sent to the caves. After a brief exchange in which he more or less tells her she should go to the caves and she says she wishes to fight, Eowyn runs off. This is set right after that.
Notes: This scene has been in my mind ever since I saw the extended version of The Two Towers.
More Notes: Please do not tell me that this is not canon with the books. I am well aware that Eowyn was not at Helm's Deep in the books; I have read them. This is canon with the Extended Edition of the film The Two Towers. It takes place after a scene that was added to the extended version of the film.
He stood for a moment in indecision, then turned to follow the young woman, her waist-length blonde hair streaming behind her making it easy for him to keep track of her as she fled. He followed her up to one of the towers, the exact opposite direction of where it was that she was supposed to be going, then paused in the doorway, suddenly uncertain of what to do or say. He had spoken not more than a word or two to her since he and his company had made it to her lands, as she had spent most of her time with her recovering uncle the King Theoden, Gimli son of Gloin, and Aragorn. The lady had barely paid him any heed at all, though he knew that she was already dear to Gimli.
"I know you are there," she said quietly, not turning to look at him as she stood looking out into the areas surrounding Helm's Deep.
Legolas paused for another moment, then stepped into the room that was the top of the tower, making his way over to the young woman. He slanted a look at her as he came to stand beside her, quickly averting his gaze when he saw that she was in tears. There was something about Eowyn that made him believe she was not a woman that enjoyed being seen in distress, though he had seen tears on her young face already on more than one occasion. Tears of happiness when Gandalf had freed her uncle from the hold of Saruman, and tears of grief when her cousin Theodred had been laid to rest.
"My lady," Legolas began softly, then paused, uncertain of what to say. He did not know this woman standing beside him very well, so he did not know the words to say to stay her tears. He was not even sure if her tears should be stayed. Perhaps she needed to cry. "I do not know the words to say to you."
Eowyn turned to him then, tears shining on her face. He wondered if it was her pride that kept her from wiping them away; if she could pretend that the tears were not there if she did not acknowledge them. "Then why is it that you followed me here, my lord?"
"I did not think you should be alone. You are upset, my lady. You are crying-"
"I am often upset. It is my duty to force the tears away in private and pretend they do not exist. As I do not appear to exist."
Legolas frowned, turning his body so that he and Eowyn were now facing one another. "My lady, you do exist," he began, continuing when it appeared that she may protest. "In the eyes of you people and in the eyes of your uncle, you do exist. You are here, standing before me-"
"And being sent to the caves while old men and boys are being forced to fight!" she declared angrily, and Legolas could not deny her claim. He knew that Theoden King had declared that anyone that could wield a sword be sent out to fight. Anyone male that could wield a sword. "I can fight better than an old man or a young boy-"
"But it is not your duty."
"I am tired of my duty!" Eowyn nearly shouted and him. After registering the volume of her utterance, her eyes widened, the young woman taking a step back. "My lord, I am sorry-"
"Do not be. You are angry. You may show it. I will never tell anyone," the Elf told her gently, watching as Eowyn closed her eyes helpless against the fruitless tears that continued to come. "Why is it that you wish to take part in this folly?"
The Lady of Rohan was silent for so long that Legolas began to believe she would not answer him. When she did, her voice was softer than he had ever heard it before. "Because I wish to matter. I wish to do something. I wish to stand and fight for my people instead of just being forced to the back and withering away. I wish, master Elf, to matter."
Perhaps it was best that Eowyn's eyes were closed to him, as it meant that she could not see the overwhelming sorrow and sympathy that came to the Elf's expression as he gazed at her. So young and lovely she was... But so very broken. Strong and yet fragile at the same time.
"To matter?" Legolas repeated quietly, watching as Eowyn's tear-filled eyes fluttered open to gaze at him. "My lady, you do matter. You matter to your people. They love you. I have seen it with my own eyes. And your uncle loves you. That is undeniable. I saw him when he looked upon you, when he had been freed from the spell of Saruman. You matter to the king of Rohan. You matter to its people. You are all the King has left."
Eowyn frowned at him then, confusion on her face. "My lord?"
"Your cousin was slain, and while your brother has remained loyal to Rohan, we know not where Eomer is," the Elf explained quietly. "You, my lady Eowyn, are all that King Theoden has left. He does not want to lose you."
"And I do not want to lose him. I... He is all that I have. If I fought beside him-"
"He would worry for you. He would fear for your safety in battle, my lady. As we all would. Orcs are not kind to their prisoners. I shudder to think of what they would do to a woman," Legolas said softly, horror touching his features at the thought, and though she could only guess at what he meant, Eowyn still shuddered. Even so, she was not entirely swayed.
"I do not wish to be locked away."
"Going to the caves is not being locked away. And if we are lost this night, there needs to be a leader in the caves. You led your people here to Helm's Deep. Your uncle trusted you with that charge. And he trusts you this night, Lady Eowyn, to care for his people in the caves, to keep them calm. And to fight for them if the battle reaches the caves. He trusts you to look after his people, my lady, if it comes to a time in which he cannot."
Eowyn was silent for a long moment, looking as if she were trying to decide whether or not Legolas truly believed what it was that he said. Finally, she gave a slow nod. "Very well, then. I shall go to the caves. I shall calm my people, and I will do my duty," she said quietly, looking surprised when the Elf offered her his arm. "My lord?"
"I shall walk you to the caves, Lady Eowyn. I will take you to your people," he said softly, and the young woman smiled slightly as she took the Elf's arm.
"I suppose that you also wish to ensure that I do indeed go to the caves?" she questioned, and Legolas laughed softly.
"There is that."