Dinîf en Qualen
Amused, Legolas watched Elrohir’s mental struggle. They had arrived at the Bruinen and were now removing their clothes so they could hold a swimming contest. It bemused Legolas to no end that Elrohir was now wading into the water with his leggings still on. Did the half-Elf plan to swim like that? Chuckling, he dropped his shirt and then called out, “Is that the way Imladris Elves swim? It would make more sense to remove those leggings as well!”
Elrohir looked over his shoulder and couldn’t help blushing. Shrugging awkwardly, he whispered, “I was not sure if that would make you uncomfortable.” He was knee deep in the water, which surprisingly was icy cold. Maybe this was a stupid idea and he should reconsider.
Legolas’ gaze darkened guiltily. Elrohir had kept his leggings on to make sure his guest was comfortable with the situation! Touched by the half-Elf’s concern he shuffled his feet. “I apologize for my words. They were spoken rashly.”
“Don’t apologize,” said Elrohir, shivering now that the cold crept up his body. He left the water and returned to Legolas’ side. “We do not have to go for a swim.”
Legolas’ eyes cleared of the guilty expression and the sparkle returned to them. “I want to swim, but not with any clothes still on.” Smiling at Elrohir, he added, “Do not worry. You are not my first naked Elf…” He couldn’t quite explain his mirth, but he felt giddy and free. He heavily suspected that it had to do with Elrohir’s presence. The mere fact that the half-Elf wasn’t trying to seduce him, made him want to trust Elrohir. It was good to know that the half-Elf didn’t want him in that way. Maybe they could become really good friends; he did like Elrohir.
Elrohir averted his eyes when Legolas removed his leggings. The golden-haired Elf was naked now and waded into the water, apparently unfazed by the cold. Then Elrohir shook his head. Legolas appeared unfazed because he was. Elves didn’t feel the cold. But being a half-Elf himself, he did feel uncomfortable in the icy water.
Sighing, resigned, he stepped out of his leggings as well and tried hard to ignore Legolas’ probing look, aimed at him. He had never felt self-conscious about his body and he refused to start now. He was handsome - enough maidens had assured him so - but this was different. His appearance paled in comparison to Legolas’ radiance. Shivering, he stepped into the water.
Legolas watched Elrohir and secretly admired the gorgeous, well-trained body the half-Elf possessed. The long, dark hair now hung in front of the handsome features, making it impossible for him to seek out the other’s eyes. “Why are you shivering?”
“The water is cold,” replied Elrohir, slowly lowering his upper body into the water. His nipples became painfully hard when the cold water touched them, but at least he wouldn’t have to worry about growing hard. The cold actually made his private parts move closer toward his body.
Legolas raised a delicately curved eyebrow. “Cold?”
Embarrassed, Elrohir shivered again. “I am half-Elven, in case you have forgotten. I do feel the cold.” And Elbereth help him if he caught a cold! That would not go down well with his father. Elrond had nursed Elladan back to health after his twin had nearly drowned in the river and they had been forced to listen to their father’s warning to stay away from cold water for years.
Legolas bit his lower lip, feeling he owed Elrohir another apology. What was wrong with him? Why wasn’t he paying more attention? Maybe it was because he felt so comfortable around Elrohir that he was letting down his guard, which seldom happened; usually only when either his father or Valthoron were close.
“Just don’t,” said Elrohir through gritted teeth, realizing Legolas was about to apologize –again-. He dived beneath the surface of the water, trying to bite down the cold. Rising again, he threw back his head, causing his long, black hair to cling to his back.
Something inside Legolas stirred, seeing the half-Elf soaking wet like that. Droplets of water clung to the long tresses and others slid down the agile young body. Confused, Legolas dived beneath the water as well, swimming several feet under water. He needed a moment to sort out his feelings and thoughts.
Although a large number of Elves had tried to gain his interest, he had dismissed all of them after realizing that they were only interested in either his appearance or his position as the youngest Prince of Mirkwood. Some of his suitors had hoped to gain power and influence by courting him and that realization had saddened him and had made him feel utterly alone.
And now, suddenly, here was Elrohir Half-Elven, son of Elrond. Elrohir radiated calm, patience and understanding and did absolutely nothing to gain his favor, which was quite a relief. All he desired was to befriend the half-Elf.
But was that really true?
/If I only want him as my friend, then why did I react like that just now? I admired his body; I like his disposition and he appears to genuinely want to be my friend. Am I now disappointed that he is not trying to gain my favor? Can it be that –I- want him to be interested in –me-? That would be a first!/
Others always lusted after him! He didn’t lust after others! But Elrohir…
Legolas reached the surface and looked about in search of the half-Elf.
The sight Legolas presented took Elrohir’s breath away. Stunned into silent admiration, he followed the path the droplets were taking down the golden-haired Elf's body. He would gladly give everything he possessed to be one of those droplets. He had already been in love with Legolas, but now it actually felt like his heart would break.
“Race you to that tree over there,” called out Legolas, obviously enjoying himself so much that he completely missed the look of utter admiration on the half-Elf’s face.
“I accept your challenge!” Elrohir was eager to prove himself to Legolas. He hoped he would win and therefore impress the flaxen-haired Elf. Throwing himself into the water, he swam quickly.
Legolas laughed, amused, and followed.
They reached the tree at exactly the same time. The contest was a draw, much to Elrohir’s disappointment. “Maybe we should try archery instead.”
“Ah, you will most certainly lose.” Legolas smiled warmly, hoping to lighten any sting his words might provoke. “Let us do away with the contests then, for it seems we are evenly matched.”
Now that Elrohir was standing still, the chill crept into his very bones. “Would you mind leaving the water? I am cold.”
Legolas instantly inclined his head. “How inconsiderate of me. Come, let us sit in the warm sun and let it dry our skin.”
Elrohir felt intensely grateful that the icy water stopped him from growing aroused, seeing Legolas leave the water. The Elf had reached his clothes and now bent forward, picking them up. Even in spite of the cold engulfing him, Elrohir felt heat stir in his groin. Everything about Legolas was just perfect. Too perfect. A beautiful Elf like Legolas couldn’t possibly be interested in him!
/Are you sure?/ whispered a tiny voice in the back of his head. /Thranduil chose your father for his lover and Elrond is half-Elven as well. Do you really think your heritage makes a difference?/
Elrohir sighed; he had to agree with this annoying voice. Thranduil had taken his father for a lover, so maybe Legolas would be inclined to give him a chance as well?
Looking over his shoulder, Legolas caught Elrohir’s gaze with his. The expression in the half-Elf’s eyes almost took his breath away. Something about the look in those dark eyes made him blush and he quickly turned away. /This cannot be happening. All these decades others have wanted me, and I now want Elrohir?/ He had never really been in love before, too cautious around everyone who seemed to adore him, and now he found himself in his suitors’ position. Now he knew how it felt to crave something he couldn’t have, and for once he wished that the half-Elf would make a move on him. But so far Elrohir hadn’t given any sign that the interest could be mutual.
It was ironic,-mused Legolas-, that he would fall in love with the one person who didn’t chase after him. Life was cruel.
Suddenly Elrohir sneezed. Legolas, surprised, looked at the half-Elf and found Elrohir shivering. His companion had already slipped into his leggings and tunic, but as his skin was still wet, the now-damp clothes did little to fight off the cold.
Elrohir cursed privately, realizing he had contracted a cold after all. /Great./ Now his father would fuss over him. Unexpectedly, a hand settled on his back and a warm voice drifted into his ears.
“Did you catch a cold? I know humans get colds, and you did sneeze…” Legolas’ voice faded away in concern. When Elrohir’s gaze met his, it felt as if the air between them sizzled with energy and he barely refrained from pulling back and thus breaking contact.
“Don’t tell my father the water was too cold. He will lecture me and then confine me to bed.” Shivers spiraled down his spine and he wished he had taken a cloak with him to wrap around him. But he had left his warm cloak behind, thinking he wouldn’t need it.
A shy smile surfaced on Legolas’ face. “My father is like that too.” Thranduil had become a mother hen after Aewithôn had left for the Undying Lands. “You can trust me to keep quiet. But I doubt that will make a difference if you…” He had to pause because Elrohir sneezed again, “If you continue to sneeze.”
Elrohir shot him a thankful look. “I will just excuse myself for dinner.” The cold would pass in a few days. All he had to do was to lie low - and maybe Legolas would be willing to help him avoid running into Elrond? He stifled a moan of regret, when Legolas removed his hand from his back. He had liked the blond’s touch, even when the fabric from his tunic had kept it from feeling intimate.
He was surprised again when something heavy was draped across his shoulders. His eyes widened slightly, realizing Legolas had wrapped his cloak around him. “But…”
Legolas interrupted the half-Elf. “Elrohir, I do not feel the cold like you do. I do not need the cloak.” He hoped Elrohir accepted this gesture. It was a strange sensation, taking care of someone. Usually people tried to take care of him and he liked the reversed roles. “Let me escort you back to your rooms. You should be in a warm bed and resting.”
/In a warm bed with you keeping me in your arms,/ thought Elrohir, blissfully, surprised that Legolas cared enough to look after him. Pulling the heavy cloak closer around his body, he deeply inhaled the Elf’s scent. Legolas smelled of the forest, pine and cinnamon; a truly lovely combination. “Thank you,” he whispered softly, not trusting his voice. “I will return it to you shortly.”
Legolas’ smile broadened and experimentally he folded an arm around the half-Elf’s shoulder. It was a strange sensation, when Elrohir trembled against him, but he contributed it to the cold. Maybe his body heat would help warm his chilled companion.
But Elrohir’s trembling wasn’t only just because of the cold. He had a hard time believing Legolas had reached out to touch him, to fold an arm around him. Almost, he slipped, as he was about to lean into the touch, but he quickly caught himself. He couldn’t do that. His father was right; Legolas and he had to become friends first.
“Hopefully we won’t run into my father or yours,” said Elrohir, thoughtfully. “I do not want to spend the rest of the day in bed.”
“It might be best though,” remarked Legolas, “At least make sure you stay warm.”
Elrohir nodded absentmindedly. /As long as you stay close I will stay warm./ The thought brought a blush to his face and he hoped Legolas attributed the flush to the cold.
Seeing Elrohir’s face grow flustered, Legolas sped up. “I will take you to your rooms and please, rest?”
Elrohir stared at Legolas, hearing the blond say ‘please’. Aiya, he would do everything the other Elf wanted. He was about to reassure Legolas that he would be fine, when an unexpected round of coughing tormented his lungs. By the Grace of the Valar, this was quickly becoming worse!
“To bed with you, now!” Legolas shooed him into the Last Homely House, and recalling the route to the twins’ rooms, he pulled Elrohir into the next corridor.
Not really looking where he was going, Elrohir bumped into a warm, soft body.
Glorfindel, who had just taken a bath and was now in the process of finishing getting dressed, looked up in surprise when Erestor entered. He blinked; was his lover really humming and hopping toward him? And was what that inane smile doing on his face? He couldn’t remember ever seeing Erestor that cheerful. Before he knew what was happening, he found himself with an armful of raven-haired Elf.
“Erestor?” he whispered, pleasantly surprised. He couldn’t help return Erestor’s giddy smile. What had caused this change in his normally so listless, timid lover?
But Erestor didn’t seem inclined to answer verbally. Instead, his lover claimed his lips in a hot, passionate kiss, which sent warm vibrations through his body, pooling in his groin. “Melamin?” He panted the endearment, wondering if he was really holding Erestor in his arms or a double. “Is it really you?”
Erestor nodded, quickly, and then touched his lips to Glorfindel’s. He wasn’t going to let his lover ruin this by talking! He wanted to make the best of this moment!
Erestor’s mirth and passion was quickly overwhelming Glorfindel and he regretted pulling away to address his lover. “It is almost time for dinner.”
Sighing regretfully, Erestor stared dotingly at his flaxen-haired lover. “Must we join them for dinner?”
“I am afraid so. I could think of more pleasant things to do, like continuing to kiss you, but our presence was requested by Elrond and Thranduil.”
Erestor suddenly realized that this invitation ruined his plans for tonight. He couldn’t make all the necessary arrangements when stuck at the dinner table. His smile faded slightly, but then he took heart again, knowing tomorrow would be another day, another chance. This didn’t have to happen tonight. He would wait for the right opportunity to present itself.
“We should not keep them waiting,” said Glorfindel, straightening his robes. “I do not want to let go of you. I have never seen you this alive before. I do not know what caused this change, but I welcome it wholeheartedly!”
Erestor looked down at his robes. “Do you think I need to change?” He thought he still looked rather respectable, considering the scene he had just witnessed.
Glorfindel took Erestor’s hand in his and guided his lover to the dressing table. “You look breathtaking, but then you always do. Would you braid my hair? It is a tangled mess.”
Erestor lovingly combed the wet, golden tresses and then began to braid them. “I loved it when you braided my hair,” he admitted, feeling shy again, but the radiant smile remained on his face. “No one ever braided my hair before.”
Glorfindel smiled, warmly. “Then I will do it again the next time you wash your hair.”
Erestor blushed. Leaning in closer, he swept away a plait and pressed his lips against the nape of his lover’s neck. “I love you, nîn bellas.”
Glorfindel’s smile brightened, turning around to face his lover. “I love you too.” Brushing a stray behind Erestor’s pointed ear, he got to his feet again and led his lover to the doorway. “Maybe we can take another one of those steps we discussed earlier after dinner?”
Erestor immediately knew what Glorfindel was referring to. Recalling the passionate lovemaking he had just witnessed, he nodded fervently. “Aye, I think I am ready to take the next step.”
Glorfindel brought his lover’s hand to his lips and placed a kiss on it. The reason completely eluded Glorfindel, but in a way, his lover seemed changed. And it was for the better.
As they walked down the corridor they were so lost in another’s eyes, that they didn’t notice the party heading towards them, until it was too late.
The breath was knocked out of Elrohir’s lungs when he accidentally bumped into Erestor. The advisor instinctively caught and steadied him, at which Elrohir mumbled, “Thank you. Sorry, I was not looking where I was going.”
Erestor’s eyes knowingly swept from Elrohir to Legolas. The blush on his former student’s face had given Elrohir away. /So he really fancies Legolas?/ His former suspicions were now confirmed and he wondered if Elrond and Thranduil knew, but he still wasn’t inclined to inform the two Elf-Lords. “No harm was done, pen-neth.”
Elrohir tried to stop himself from sneezing but failed miserably.
Erestor raised an eyebrow questioningly and his gaze settled on Legolas. “What happened?”
“We went swimming in the Bruinen,” supplied Legolas.
Glorfindel shook his head in disapproval. “We have talked to you about this before. You were an Elfling then and I thought you had learned your lessen. Your father will not be pleased to learn you have caught a cold.”
Elrohir hung his head in defeat. “Please do not tell him. I will go to bed and keep warm, but do not tell him. I do not want to worry him.”
Erestor’s thoughts raced. Maybe he still had a chance to make his plans for tonight work. Addressing Glorfindel he said, “Why don’t you head for the dining room ahead whilst I deal with Elrohir?”
Glorfindel felt suspicious at hearing those words, but he couldn’t quite explain why. Well, maybe Erestor just wanted a word in private with Elrohir. “I will meet you there. Hurry.” Ignoring Elrohir’s giggling and Legolas’ gasp, he kissed Erestor. “Don’t make me wait. I am hungry.”
Erestor watched his lover leave and then turned to Elrohir. “I should not do this, but I will refrain from telling your father -if-…”
“If what?” Elrohir asked, eagerly. He would do anything to keep his stupid mistake from his father.
Erestor cleared his throat, suddenly no longer certain of himself. After glancing apoplectically at Legolas, he addressed Elrohir once more. “If you go to Glorfindel’s room and take care of some matters for me.”
“What matters?” Elrohir’s eyes had narrowed. What was Erestor up to?
“I want you to put scented candles around the bed, but be careful you do not start a fire, pen-neth. Wait until after dinner to light them. I want tonight to be… romantic,” he added, hesitantly.
Elrohir smirked. “Candles… I think we can do that. I take it Glorfindel does not know about your plans?”
“We?” asked Legolas, feigning surprise. Secretly he looked forward to being partners in crime with Elrohir.
“Legolas, you -must- help me!” Elrohir’s eyes widened when another sneeze announced itself. “I hate having a cold,” he whispered, miserably. But as he looked at Erestor, his smug grin returned. “Anything else you want us to do?”
Erestor nervously shuffled his feet. “I do not know. What else is considered romantic?”
Elrohir’s smugness faded, realizing Erestor had never done something like this before. “Why don’t you leave this in our –capable- hands?”
“Capable?” echoed Legolas, bemused. His stay in Imladris was getting more interesting with every passing moment!
“Aye, capable.” Elrohir teasingly poked Legolas in his stomach. “Play along. I do not want my father to find out about my cold and we can do this for Erestor. He deserves our help!”
Legolas nodded. “Aye, capable hands it is.”
Erestor shook his head, smiling at them. “Thank you for doing this for me.” Elrohir suddenly lunged for him and Erestor found himself buried in a warm hug. The ‘old’ Erestor would have frozen in Elrohir’s arms, but now he felt comfortable and hugged him back. “Thank you for everything, pen-neth.”
Elrohir pulled back, smiling brilliantly. “Put your trust in us. We won’t let you down. Good old Glorfindel won’t know what has hit him when he enters his rooms.” Signaling for Legolas to follow him, he guided the blond to Glorfindel’s rooms.
Erestor watched them go and hoped they wouldn’t overdo it. The last thing he wanted was to scare Glorfindel away.
Turning around, he straightened his robes and resumed his walk to the dining room.
Elrond and Thranduil had already seated themselves and watched curiously as Glorfindel entered alone. “Where is your shadow?” asked Elrond, teasingly.
Glorfindel, still a bit dazed, sat down and stared at Elrond. “I do not know what happened, but he dashed into the room and… he was laughing. He was giddy! I have never seen him like that before.”
Elrond and Thranduil exchanged a knowing gaze. “I take it you approve of this change?” asked Thranduil.
“Aye, I do, but… I do not understand.”
“Then stop trying to understand,” advised Elrond, “And simply accept that he is getting better. Thanks to your love and support his heart is filled with joy and affection. Welcome it.”
“I do,” whispered Glorfindel, chuckling softly. “I just wonder what to expect next.”
At that moment Erestor entered the room and seated himself next to Glorfindel. He noticed the curious looks all three Elves were giving him, but he ignored them. “What is for dinner? I am hungry.” For the first time in ages he really felt hungry.
“Duck,” said Elrond, amused. Leaning in closer to Thranduil, he whispered words that were only intended for his lover’s ears. “You were right, nîn glaur. Glorfindel will be a very happy Elf.”
Glorfindel, who had only heard Elrond say his name, looked up, puzzled. Seeing the glance Elrond threw at him, he wondered in what kind of trouble he was. His instincts told him this was about Erestor, and looking at the advisor, he found that the dark eyes were twinkling with mischief. That heavenly sight made his heart miss a beat. /I love you so much, nîn amdir, but I wonder what you are up to - and why do I feel like it involves me?/
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