By Any Means Necessary

Part 11

By Morgana


The night had never seemed to end and Erestor had fought the Shadow alongside Thranduil. The morning therefore found them exhausted, and both were relieved to have survived another night. The blond Elf lay snuggled close to him and Erestor’s arms were wrapped around Thranduil in a protective embrace.

Arien’s first golden rays now flowed into the room and headed for the bed. Erestor smiled, when the warmth finally reached them. He released a relieved sigh and then lowered his head to seek out Thranduil’s drowsy eyes. The Sindarin Elf still wasn’t fully awake yet, but Arien was now chasing the shadows out of the room, filling it with bright light.

“Good morning,” whispered Erestor, pleased when the emerald eyes finally met his.

Thranduil tried to shake off the evil whispers that lingered in his mind and focused on Erestor’s touch, when the raven-haired Elf’s hand slipped beneath the blankets to caress his thigh. “Thank you for staying with me last night.” Erestor would never fully understand how much light and hope the Noldorin Elf had brought to his miserable life.

Nodding in understanding, Erestor caressed the brittle skin beneath his finger tips. /I wish I had known you when you were still untouched by the Shadow. I can only guess how beautiful you once were./ But although Thranduil’s outer splendor had faded, a light still shone strongly from deep within.

Thranduil moaned his delight at feeling Erestor’s touch. Holding the other Elf’s gaze prisoner, he realized how deeply and utterly he was falling in love with his savior. If it were up to him, he would never let Erestor go again. But it wasn’t up to him. His heart contracted painfully, realizing that he would lose Erestor at any rate. Either the Shadow prevailed and claimed his life, or the One Ring was destroyed and then Erestor would return to Imladris. He couldn’t win and therefore he grew determined to savor every moment they shared.

Leaning in, he gently claimed Erestor’s lips in a tender kiss. Bringing up his arms behind the raven-haired Elf’s back, he pulled him close. Possessively he folded his legs around Erestor’s waist to make sure that the other Elf couldn’t leave.

Thranduil’s actions surprised Erestor, but he gave in enthusiastically, returning the kiss and wrapping his limbs around the Sindarin Elf. Both grew hard and their erections brushed against one another, drawing pleased moans from them. Thranduil moved unexpectedly and Erestor suddenly found himself on top of the blond.

Arching his back, Thranduil tried to get Erestor to move. “Please…” The only time he ever felt truly free of the Shadow was when Erestor was touching him. His fingers trailed down the raven-haired Elf’s back and then cupped the round mounds of flesh, pressing Erestor as close as possible to him. Thrusting against the advisor, he hoped Erestor finally got the hint.

Erestor’s eyes darkened with lust and understanding. Reaching between their bodies, he aligned their erections and then set a slow, rhythm. Thranduil rose to meet his thrusts and soon their bellies were slick with pre-ejaculate. He momentarily wondered why Thranduil had rolled him on top. The blond struck him as the type who would want to dominate a sexual encounter, but then passion mounted and he pressed his lips against Thranduil’s, bruising them in a rough kiss.

Thranduil moaned into his mouth and the sensation was enough to push Erestor toward orgasm. Releasing Thranduil’s lips, his tongue trailed lower. Suckling on the soft skin of Thranduil’s throat, he bit into the flesh, drawing blood and marking the blond as his own.

Sea-green eyes widened in pleasure, and Thranduil trembled fiercely as his body was catapulted toward release. Purring, he threw back his head, giving Erestor easier access to his throat. As teeth pierced his skin, he yelped his surrender. He came hard against Erestor, and a moment later, more hot cream settled on his stomach, proving the raven-haired Elf had found release as well.

Spent and exhausted, Thranduil stared at Erestor, rapture clear in his eyes. Their lovemaking seemed so natural, so right and in his heart love blossomed for this Noldorin Elf who had broken down his barriers so completely. The words that now escaped his lips took both Elves aback. “Im mela lle, Erestor.” (I love you, Erestor.) He had spoken from the heart and he held his breath, uncertain how Erestor would react to his declaration of love.

Erestor had frozen in his movements and now stared at the squirming Elf beneath him. The connection between them told him that Thranduil was sincere. Being completely honest with himself, he had to admit that the declaration didn’t come as a surprise. Love had been building inside him as well, but until now he had been reluctant to acknowledge it.

Not getting a response, Thranduil’s heart contracted painfully. He was convinced he had made a terrible mistake now that Erestor remained quiet. He was about to wriggle himself free from the other Elf’s hold when suddenly Erestor’s lips descended onto his again. His eyes widened and their gazes locked. In that instant, he read the answer in those bewitching dark eyes.

Erestor regretted releasing the blond’s lips, but pulled back, realizing he needed to voice his thoughts and feelings. “When did this happen, Thranduil? When did my feelings for you deepen and become more than concern?”

Slightly reassured that Erestor was still talking to him, Thranduil moistened his bruised lips. “It must be the bond. It will probably fade once you return to Imladris, but in the meantime I am yours.” Thranduil had never before made himself this vulnerable – not even when he had courted his sons’ mother. “You captured my heart. Will you be careful not to break it?”

Erestor swallowed hard, hearing the genuine concern in Thranduil’s voice. “Oh, do you have such little faith in me? Don’t you know that you hold my heart in turn? I was merely wondering when I had lost mine to you.” Disliking the darkening mood that was settling over them, Erestor smiled radiantly. “So what does this make me? The royal consort?” He smirked and before Thranduil had the time to reply, he nipped playfully at the blond’s bottom lip.

Thranduil’s eyes filled with tears of joy, and it took the last ounce of his self-discipline to force them back. He closed his eyes, feeling Erestor’s playful nip, savoring the sensation.

Through the link Erestor felt Thranduil’s contentment, and after releasing his lover’s lips, he placed butterfly kisses on the eyelids, encouraging the Sindarin Elf to open them again.

Thranduil stared thoughtfully at the Elf atop of him. “More than my consort; my mate.”

Erestor arched an eyebrow questioningly. “Is that an official proposal, sire?”

Thranduil suddenly grew nervous, realizing he would do whatever necessary to keep Erestor here in Mirkwood with him. “Aye, it is.”

Erestor moved away from Thranduil and knelt next to the blond on the bed. Their gazes entwined and searched one another. “You are sincere,” Erestor said eventually.

Thranduil slowly pushed himself into a sitting position. Looking at Erestor, he nodded. “I need you at my side. Stay here and be with me.”

But Erestor wasn’t sure he could make such a commitment. “Aiya, you know I love you. You can feel it through the link, like I can, but you also know my loyalty lies with Elrond. I am his chief advisor.”

Thranduil’s heart broke into tiny shards of brittle glass at hearing those words. “You will leave me, then.” He stopped fighting his tears and they slid down his cheeks. “I am fooling myself into believing that you love me and that you will stay.”

Erestor bit his bottom lip. The happiness that had shone from Thranduil’s eyes a moment ago had completely vanished and he was to blame for that. “I have to talk to Elrond first,” he said eventually. His heart was breaking as well, thinking of having to leave Thranduil. “I want to stay with you,” he clarified, “But —“

“No more,” said Thranduil in a shaky voice. “I may know the truth now, but please let me believe otherwise. Let me believe you will stay and be my lover until the end of Arda.” He was deceiving himself, but he needed to do so if he wanted to survive. “I will cherish every moment given to us.”

Erestor realized he had made a grave mistake. He should not have answered so rashly -- should have asked Thranduil to wait until he had spoken with Elrond. It was true that he had a hard time believing he would never return to Imladris again. He had helped raised the twins, loved talking to Arwen and he would miss his verbal bantering with Glorfindel. Elrond would have to do without his council, but he would give up his life in Imladris in order to be with Thranduil. How could he make it up to his lover for speaking that bluntly?

“Thranduil, please do not give up on us. I will talk to Elrond and I am confident he will understand. You must realize that I cannot commit myself to you until he lets me go. I have been his chief advisor for many millennia.” Erestor hoped his words penetrated the hazy recesses of the Sindarin Elf’s troubled mind. “I will never desert you!”

Thranduil trustingly looked at him and then Erestor said something that stunned both of them. “If necessary I will defy Elrond to be with you. My heart belongs to you, never doubt that.” Erestor didn’t know if the bond was to blame entirely, and right now he didn’t care. “I am in love with you.”

Thranduil snorted in disdain. “Look at me,” he hissed, averting his eyes so he didn’t have to meet Erestor’s gaze. Now that they were no longer touching he felt empty and lonely. “I am a sorry excuse for an Elf. Not so long ago my hair was golden and my features strong and not sunken. How can you possibly have fallen in love with me? It must be the bond.”

“I am not so sure. Of course the bond contributes to my feelings for you, but I doubt it can make me feel this way if I weren’t attracted to you in the first place.” Erestor smiled warmly and swung his feet onto the floor. “There is no point in discussing this now. We should bathe and then check on Elrond.”

Thranduil sighed, disappointedly, and gave in. “Please accept my apology, melme. I did not want to pressure you. I should know better than to expect you to desert your Lord. Elrond and you are friends and—“

Erestor pulled Thranduil to his feet and silenced him by placing a finger across the Sindarin Elf’s lips. “Elrond and I are friends, but what I feel for you goes deeper than friendship. I won’t desert you, melamin,” he said, repeating his promise. “Come, we should freshen up and then check on Elrond.”

Thranduil nodded reluctantly. Erestor was right; he needed to check on the half-Elf, but he wasn’t looking forward to facing Elrond and Glorfindel.


Elrond woke up slowly. The first thing he grew aware of was Glorfindel holding him and that realization made him smile. /Smile? I can smile again?/

He had been paralyzed after the spider’s bite and for some time he had been worried that he would never see Glorfindel again. A part of him had doubted Thranduil would tend to his injuries, but the Sindarin Elf had completely taken him by surprise by showing him such tender care. He knew with certainty that he owed his life to Thranduil and that knowledge made him uncertain. Was there a price involved for Thranduil’s care? He didn’t want to think about that and focused on Glorfindel instead.

Feeling Elrond move against him made Glorfindel wake up as well. Against his will he had dozed off during the night. He had wanted to guard Elrond’s sleep, but the half-Elf had been sound asleep and no nightmares had plagued him, luring him into peaceful slumber. “Your eyes are no longer clouded by pain and fears.”

Elrond swallowed cautiously. He was still incredibly thirsty. “Wa…ter?”

Glorfindel acted at once. He regretted letting go of his lover, but had to rise from the bed in order to fill a glass with water. Sitting down on the side of the bed, he pulled Elrond toward him and placed the glass at the chapped lips, allowing Elrond to sip carefully.

Fresh spring water traveled down his throat, refreshing him and Elrond gave the Elda a thankful look. “You… better… dress… Thran… druil… arrive…” Forming complete sentences was still too draining for him and he hoped Glorfindel had understood what he was trying to say.

Glorfindel nodded again and got dressed. After putting on his breeches and boots, he settled down next to the half-Elf, studying the lucid eyes. “You still feel weak.” It wasn’t a question; it was a statement.

“My side… hurts… shoulder…” Elrond moistened his lips again, eager for more water. He was about to ask Glorfindel to refill the glass when the door unexpectedly opened.

Glorfindel immediately assumed a fighting stance, ready to defend his rather defenseless lover in case an enemy had entered, but he relaxed, seeing it was Erestor. But then Thranduil entered as well and he tensed again.

Thranduil felt the tension that radiated from Glorfindel and mentally prepared himself for trouble. “I will leave quickly, if you let me check Elrond’s injuries now.” He reached for the wooden bowl a healer handed him and then waited for Glorfindel to step aside, as the Elda was blocking his way. “Or will you attend to his injuries yourself?”

Glorfindel felt confused and sought out Erestor’s glance. What was he to do now? Erestor nodded and Glorfindel took that as a sign to let Thranduil pass. The grey-haired Elf now continued to the bedside and Glorfindel shook his head in disbelief, realizing how much the King’s state had deteriorated. /Thranduil is dying,/ he realized shocked.

Thranduil drew in a deep breath before meeting Elrond’s gaze. “I trust you feel better?” He placed the wooden bowl on the nightstand and pushed down the blankets to reveal the bandages.

Elrond nodded weakly, wondering about Thranduil. He hadn’t fully believed Legolas when the younger Elf had told him that Thranduil was dying, but he believed now. “Feel… better…” he whispered shakily.

Thranduil signaled for Glorfindel to join them. “Help me roll him onto his stomach. I need to examine his shoulder.”

Glorfindel exchanged a look with Elrond and then complied. He carefully watched Thranduil’s every move when the Sindarin Elf tended to the half-Elf. He cringed, when the bandages were removed, seeing the imprint the spider’s fangs had left behind. But as he looked more closely he also realized that there was no sign of infection.

Gently rubbing the healing salve onto Elrond’s damaged skin, Thranduil tried to cause as least discomfort as possible. “I expect you to be on your feet in a few days. I advise you to rest, as you will feel weak for some time.” Aided by Glorfindel, they rolled Elrond onto his back again and Thranduil now added more salve to the half-Elf’s injured side before applying clean bandages. “I suggest you also drink a lot of water and tea.” Giving Glorfindel a tentative look, Thranduil added, “Try to make him eat something. I will instruct Lindir to bring you breakfast after I have left.”

Now that he had tended to his patient, Thranduil was eager to leave the room. He was about to head for the doorway when Elrond’s shaky voice stopped him.

“Stay… Please…” Elrond managed to curl his fingers around Glorfindel’s and addressed his lover. “Want… to… sit…up…”

Glorfindel helped the half-Elf find a comfortable sitting position and then sat down himself, letting Elrond lean against him for support. He wrapped an arm possessively around his lover and wondered why Elrond had stopped Thranduil from leaving the room.

“Thran… duil?” Elrond hoped he had enough strength left to do what he had to do. His heart twitched in his chest when Thranduil turned around and hesitantly locked gazes with him. The grey-haired Elf had lost all arrogance, splendor and pride he usually associated with Thranduil and Elrond wasn’t sure how to proceed. Legolas’ words haunted him. /My father does not have much time left. He is dying./ Elrond realized how true those words had been. He had to stop the Shadow from claiming Thranduil.

“Come… closer…” Elrond leaned heavily against Glorfindel and appreciated the other’s thoughtfulness when the Elda brushed clammy strands of hair away from his face. Staring at Thranduil, Elrond knew exactly what he had to do. “Sauron… woke…” It vexed him that his way to express himself was this limited. He wanted to carry a conversation with Thranduil, but the aftereffects of the poison made that impossible.

Thranduil, cautiously brushing Elrond’s mind to understand the full meaning of the whispered words, nodded once. “Aye, Dol Guldur has woken.”

Glorfindel, seeing how much this was wearing Elrond out, took it upon himself to be the half-Elf’s voice. “And the Shadow is reaching for you.”

Although it was Glorfindel who had spoken, Thranduil’s gaze remained trained on Elrond. “You should rest instead of worrying about things you cannot influence.”

Elrond squeezed Glorfindel’s hand, drawing the Elda’s attention to the ring of power which he was wearing.

Glorfindel understood, but exchanged one more glance with Elrond, just to make sure he had read the half-Elf right. Elrond nodded and Glorfindel slowly slid the ring off his lover’s finger. Reaching for Thranduil, he grabbed hold of the skeletal hand and clutched it tightly.

Erestor realized Glorfindel’s intentions, but he also knew that Thranduil had no idea why the Elda had grabbed him. Quickly he moved forward and wrapped an arm around his lover, keeping the Sindarin Elf in place. “Peace, melamin, they mean well.”

Glorfindel’s eyes widened, catching the endearment that had left Erestor’s lips. “Melamin?”

“I will explain later,” said Erestor calmly, meeting first Glorfindel and then Elrond’s gaze.

Elrond managed a weak smile. /When I sent you here, Erestor, I told you by any means necessary, but I had no idea you would take it that literally. I wonder what happened between Thranduil and you./ But he knew Erestor would tell him in time. Squeezing Glorfindel’s hand again, he said, “Do… it.”

Glorfindel hoped he would receive some answers from Erestor, explaining what had happened, but he obeyed and slipped Vilya around Thranduil’s ring finger.

Thranduil didn’t understand what was happening at first, and stared at the ring questioningly. His eyes narrowed, when he finally realized what Glorfindel had done. Shaking his head in disbelief, he sought out Elrond’s eyes.

Elrond knew he had to explain, but he was still too weak to talk for a long time. “Protect… you… keep you… from fading… Legolas told us.” His eyes closed momentarily as he tried to gather his strength for one last statement. “You keep it… until Sauron… has been… destroyed.”

Glorfindel wondered about the panic that shone from Thranduil’s eyes. The Sindarin Elf was trying to pull his hand away from his grip, but he held him in place, realizing the King wanted to remove the ring. “Elrond is serious. He wants you and your realm to benefit from Vilya’s protection. The ring has kept Imladris safe for centuries, but now Mirkwood and its ruler need it most.”

Looking over his shoulder, Thranduil made eye contact with Erestor. “I do not understand.” He unexpectedly swayed on his feet. Last night had been taxing and attending to Elrond this morning had sapped most of his energy.

Erestor placed his hand on Glorfindel’s. “Let go, meldir. I will make him understand.”

Glorfindel let go and focused on Elrond, whose eyes had opened again. The half-Elf was taking in the scene with great interest. Thranduil’s haunted eyes met his and Elrond saw an echo of evil in them. /I waited too long. I should have come here earlier./ He hoped he wasn’t too late and that Thranduil’s life could still be saved. The Sindarin Elf did look awfully fragile to him.

“I cannot accept this,” whispered Thranduil as Erestor helped him to sit down on the chair next to Elrond’s bed. “It does not belong to me.” He raised his hand and was about to remove the ring when Glorfindel’s voice echoed through the room.

“We insist, sire. The Shadow cannot win and you have to resist its pull. Once you give in, Legolas will be next. You cannot possibly want to endanger your son’s life.” Glorfindel flinched when Erestor shot him a venomous look. What was he missing here? Why was Erestor this protective of Thranduil?

Erestor sat on his heels in front of his lover and gathered Thranduil’s hands in his, making sure the Sindarin Elf couldn’t remove Vilya from his finger. “Glorfindel could have phrased it more tactfully,” he started, giving the Elda another disapproving look, “but he is right. You have to continue to fight the Shadow. Legolas does not know it will claim him next and you have to be strong for your son… and for me. I do not want to lose you now that I found you.”

Glorfindel frowned; Erestor’s words puzzled him. Was it possible that the advisor had fallen for Thranduil? But he couldn’t actually believe that, seeing the state Thranduil was in. The Ruler of Mirkwood was a frightening apparition. Had he not known Thranduil before the Shadow came over the lands, he wouldn’t even have recognized the King.

Thranduil’s gaze traveled from Erestor to Elrond. “Are you sure about this? Gil-galad gave it to you for safe-keeping. This ring is yours and I have no right to wear, let alone wield it.” He sighed fatigued. “I no longer have the power to wield her at any rate.”

Erestor placed his hands on either side of his lover’s head and forced Thranduil to look at him. “Hear me, melamin. The ring will weaken the hold the Shadow has on you and in time you will grow strong enough to wield her if necessary.”

Elrond had saved his strength to be able to utter one whole sentence. “You must survive, Thranduil.” Exhausted, he leaned against Glorfindel. His eyes began to close as a healing sleep overwhelmed him. /I must ask Thranduil about the antidote,/ he thought absentmindedly. He didn’t know about any antidote to fight the spider’s venom and having it recorded in his books might come in handy one day. His last thought before falling asleep was that he had to learn about the ingredients of that salve.

“He is asleep again,” said Glorfindel in a loving tone. He eased Elrond back onto the bed and then looked at Thranduil. “We came here in peace, sire.” He didn’t really know what to make of the Sindarin Elf. Thranduil seemed to have greatly changed since they had last met.

“I do not doubt that you came in peace,” said Thranduil in a drained tone. “But you should not have come at all. These are dangerous times.”

“We learned that the hard way,” said Glorfindel grimly. “At least you now have three less spiders to worry about.”

Thranduil smiled gratefully. “You took them all out, Balrog Slayer?”

Glorfindel recognized the compliment Thranduil was paying him and nodded once. “If you want any more of those vile creatures to be taken out, tell me and I will slay them for you.”

“Legolas used to keep them at bay,” sighed Thranduil, saddened, missing his son. Suddenly Erestor buried him in a hug and he eagerly rested his head against his lover’s chest. Using the link, he sent his gratitude down their connection.

Glorfindel’s confusion increased, seeing the worried expression on Erestor’s face. Their glances met above Thranduil’s head and he silently begged the advisor for some sort of explanation.

“Why don’t you rest as well?” suggested Erestor. “You barely slept last night, melamin.” Thranduil nodded his head against his chest and then slumped against him. Erestor rocked his lover slowly, luring Thranduil into sleep. Now that Arien was in the sky and Vilya on his lover’s finger, the Sindarin Elf might finally sleep peacefully. Once he was certain that Thranduil was fast asleep, he rested his charge back into the chair and then covered him with a warm blanket.

Now that Thranduil and Elrond were resting, Erestor signaled for Glorfindel to follow him to the pair of chairs that were situated beneath the window. Both Elves sat down and Erestor told Glorfindel what had happened since his departure from Imladris.

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