Glorfindel's Darkest Hour
Chapter 10 - Erestor
Erestor caught the disappointment and surprise on Glorfindel’s face at finding him holding his hand instead of Elrond and it caused even more heartbreak. "I am sorry, mellon-nîn, but Elrond has been at your side these last twelve hours and I had to send him to his rooms to rest." Had he known Glorfindel would wake shortly, he would have told Elrond to stay. "I can fetch him for you."
Erestor’s waterfall of words nearly drowned him and Glorfindel raised a hand, trying to stop the dark-haired Elf. "Peace, Erestor. I feel… well." It was the truth. The unrest and discomfort that had haunted him when Elrond had sat at his side were gone. Instead, he felt secure again. /Erestor, why is it that I want to put my trust in you?/ Glorfindel pushed himself into an upright position and leaned his back against the headboard. He felt surprisingly well. Realizing that Erestor’s fingers were still wrapped around his, made him frown. How was it possible that he flinched at Elrond’s touch, but craved Erestor’s? That didn’t make sense!
"Is there anything I can do to make you more comfortable?" asked Erestor concerned. The look that Glorfindel gave him made him feel nervous. "Is anything wrong?"
"I had this strange dream." Glorfindel would have preferred to confide in Elrond, but maybe Erestor could help as well. So far the dark-haired Elf had turned out to be a rock of support and dedication, something that surprised him.
"A dream?" Now that was an answer Erestor hadn’t expected.
"My mind traveled to Valinor and I spoke with Vaire. She was busy weaving a tapestry, which depicted me holding my son." Glorfindel paused, thoughtfully. "She told me that the Valar had blessed this child and that they wanted me to give birth to it."
Erestor’s heart ached; he could tell Glorfindel was thoroughly confused. Suddenly he realized he was still holding the blond’s hand and he wondered if Glorfindel wanted him to let go. He hoped Glorfindel would let him know if he was making the blond uncomfortable.
"She also said that I would love the baby… I find that hard to believe." Glorfindel bowed his head and stared at their joined hands. Something about that struck him as very familiar. "Then she said something that *really* puzzled me. She said that someone loves me and that this person has kept it hidden for centuries." Glancing at Erestor, an absurd thought entered his mind. /I cannot be Erestor… Can it?/ Yet the raven-haired Elf did pale considerably at hearing his words. In spite of his problems, Glorfindel couldn’t help being intrigued. /Nay, it cannot be.../
"She was probably talking about Elrond," said Erestor, trying to keep his fierce emotions in check. He couldn’t tell the blond that Vaire had been talking about him. Mandos knew the truth about him and there was a distinct chance that his wife knew as well.
"I thought the same thing," but Glorfindel wasn’t that sure any more. /You came after me, rescued and took care of me, but you never told me why./ He realized he was on the brink of a revelation, but then his hand settled on his stomach and he felt… felt…
At first, Erestor had no idea what had caused Glorfindel’s outburst, but then he saw the blond rub his hand over his abdomen. Forcing himself to remain calm, he met azure eyes, hiding nothing. "It is true. You are with child, mellon-nîn." The tears that left Glorfindel’s eyes made his swim in turn. Instinctively, he inched closer. "I am so sorry that I did not find you any sooner. Maybe I could have stopped Saruman."
Shaking his head, Glorfindel whispered, "He is one of the Istari. There is no way you could have stopped him."
"I could have tried…"
Another flash of revelation swept through Glorfindel, but it was gone too quickly to hold on to it. "Do you think I had a… vision? That I really talked to Vaire?"
Erestor realized it would help Glorfindel to believe Vaire had promised him future happiness and he couldn’t rule out that the Vala had indeed sent Glorfindel a vision. "Aye, I believe she sent you a vision to comfort you."
Looking down, Glorfindel’s fingers twitched inside Erestor’s hand. "I do not want to give birth to this abomination. It will be part Uruk-Hai. How can I love such a creature?"
Erestor drew in a deep breath and then rubbed the skin of Glorfindel’s hand. "I will love your son."
Glorfindel blinked in disbelief. "What?" Had he heard correctly?
"I will love your son," repeated Erestor firmly.
"But why? How can you love a creature like that when I cannot?"
"Because he is your flesh and blood, mellon-nîn. Uruk-Hai were Elves once, before the dark forces corrupted them and changed them into Orcs. Who knows what will happen when one of them is loved, cherished, sheltered. Maybe their Elven heritage will show? How do you know your son cannot love you in return?"
"Vaire said my son would love me…" whispered Glorfindel. Raising a hand to his head, he wished his thoughts would stop spinning.
"How can anyone not love you?" Erestor hoped he had gotten the teasing tone right. He didn’t want Glorfindel to see through his pretense.
Glorfindel blinked again. /What did you say?/
Realizing he had revealed too much, Erestor tried to distract Glorfindel. "Elrond doubts he can terminate the pregnancy. As you… discovered… the child is growing at an alarming rate. Elrond thinks you will give birth in a few weeks. It is not a normal pregnancy."
Glorfindel swallowed hard. "A few weeks? I will be giving birth that shortly?" And then something else made him panic. "How will the child be born? I am not a she-Elf, I…"
Erestor reassuringly squeezed Glorfindel’s hand and waited for him to calm down. "Elrond and I discussed that as well." Seeing Glorfindel’s puzzled look, he explained, "You have been asleep for many hours and… Elrond was shocked as well. He needed someone to talk to."
Glorfindel nodded his head; Erestor’s explanation made sense. "What did Elrond say?"
"That he would have to open your abdomen for the child to be born."
Glorfindel’s eyes nearly bulged from their sockets. "Aiya."
"But he has done this before when the baby was too big or in the wrong position to be born," said Erestor soothingly. "He does not foresee any complications."
Absentmindedly, one of Glorfindel’s hands rubbed his abdomen. "I still cannot believe Saru… man did this to me." He still stuttered when saying that name.
Erestor desperately wanted to enfold Glorfindel in his arms, but he didn’t know for sure how the blond would react to being embraced. "Always remember that you are not alone. Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir, and I are always there for you."
A smile appeared on Glorfindel’s face and suddenly he surprised himself by leaning forward and wrapping an arm around Erestor’s shoulders. He pulled the other Elf close, making sure he couldn’t leave. "Stay with me?"
A lump formed in Erestor’s throat and he eagerly gave in when Glorfindel pulled him close. "Always, mellon-nîn."
Glorfindel rested his head against Erestor’s shoulder, like he had done before. Suddenly the words tumbled from his lips. "I do not know why, but I feel safe with you."
Rendered speechless, Erestor tried to swallow the lump of emotions in his throat. Things had never felt this… intimate… between them before and if it were up to him, he would never let go again. But in the end, Glorfindel sighed and the blond leaned back into the pillows. His heart bled when he had to let go. "You should rest. It was a lot to take in."
"My decision has been made for me then," sighed Glorfindel dejectedly. Erestor gave him a puzzled look and after gathering his courage, Glorfindel said, "I will allow this child to come into this world." /It is not like I have much choice. Elrond cannot terminate the pregnancy and even Vaire wants me to have this child./ But what had truly convinced him were Erestor’s words that the dark-haired Elf would love this child because it was Glorfindel’s flesh and blood. What was it about those words that made him thoughtful?
Seeing the brooding expression on Glorfindel’s face, Erestor opted for distraction once more. As he released the blond’s hand, he thought to see Glorfindel reach for him, but that must have been his imagination. "Here, now that you are awake you should eat and drink something." He reached for the tray, sitting on the nightstand and placed it on the blond’s lap.
"I am not sure I can eat," whispered Glorfindel, as one hand automatically reached for Erestor’s, instantly curling his fingers around it. It was an instinctive reaction, subconsciously.
Erestor didn’t know what to make of that gesture. He sat down on the edge of the bed, determined to coax his charge into eating. "Try some fruit. You need to eat."
Glorfindel cast a panicked look at Erestor. /Of course… The child./ After pushing the fruits around on the plate, he eventually selected a strawberry and ate it.
"Now try another one." Erestor offered him a peach, which he had cut into slices. He sat quietly, watching Glorfindel eat. Now that the bruises had faded, the blond looked ethereal again, absolutely beautiful. "Some freshly baked bread?"
Glorfindel ate it because he wanted to please Erestor, not because he was hungry. His appetite had left with the realization that this child would be born after all.
Erestor remained quiet, not wanting to pressure Glorfindel in any way. /I am sincere, melamin. I will always be there for you./
After finishing his meal, Glorfindel fell asleep again and Erestor leaned back into the comfort of his chair. Unexpectedly the door opened and Elrohir shuffled inside. Of course; it was the twin’s turn to sit with Glorfindel. If it were up to him, he would stay instead, taking Elrohir’s turn as well, but it wouldn’t do him any good to grow even more attached to the blond.
Rising from his chair, he walked over to Elrohir. "Glorfindel woke two hours ago and ate some bread and fruit. He was coherent and accepting of the situation. Yet, should he wake, I would advise you to send for your father. Elrond knows best how to deal with this situation."
Elrohir saw the exhaustion in Erestor’s dark eyes and stopped the elder Elf from stepping outside by placing a hand on his arm. "And what about *you*? How are *you* doing?"
"Ah, pen-neth," said Erestor, smiling saddened. "There is no need to worry about me. I always survive."
"Survive, aye, but is that enough? Shouldn’t there be something more than just survival?"
Erestor blinked at Elrohir’s words. "You are truly a caring soul, pen-neth."
Elrohir involuntarily held his breath when Erestor leaned in closer, pressing a chaste kiss on his brow. His eyes widened with surprise at the affectionate gesture.
Seeing the surprise in Elrohir’s eyes, Erestor smiled warmly. "Take good care of him for me, pen-neth." He headed for the doorway, but Elrohir suddenly addressed him.
"Did you tell him you love him?"
Erestor shook his head, still smiling. "You really take after your father, pen-neth." Not so long ago, Elrond had asked him the same question. "Nay, I haven’t and you won’t tell him either." Hearing Elrohir sigh, he stepped into the corridor, knowing his secret was safe with the youngest twin.
Elrohir didn’t approve of Erestor’s decision to remain quiet, but would respect the elder Elf’s wishes. As he sat down on the chair Erestor had vacated, his gaze came to rest on Glorfindel. The blond’s features were relaxed in sleep. Recalling Erestor’s comment, he realized that his father must have also encouraged the elder Elf to finally reveal his feelings to Glorfindel. /Well, if Erestor remains stubborn much longer, I might just ‘accidentally’ blurt out something about his feelings. This is absurd!/
Elrond had first searched for Erestor in the Healing House, but when his search remained fruitless, he headed for his study. It wouldn’t be the first time that Erestor had taken over his duties temporarily. After Celebrían’s departure Erestor had ruled Imladris for a short while. It was good to know the lands were in the best of hands during his absence.
Stepping into his study, he found Erestor seated behind his desk, working his way through a pile of papers. "Meldir, what are you doing here? You should rest as well."
Erestor looked up and didn’t even try to hide his fatigue when Elrond walked up to him. "I needed a distraction."
Elrond seated himself opposite the desk and studied his friend. "Elrohir told me Glorfindel has been awake?"
"Aye, and I told him what he needs to know."
"How did he react?"
"In the end, he accepted his fate." Erestor sighed, distressed. "And he had a dream. Vaire appeared to him and told him that the Valar wanted him to have this child."
"And he believes it to be a true vision?" He understood that Glorfindel would find comfort in the thought that the Valar wished for this to happen.
"Aye, he does." Erestor leaned back and finally met Elrond’s gaze. "I suggest you stay with him tonight. During our way back he suffered from nightmares and I doubt tonight will be an exception. He will need you close to comfort him."
Elrond frowned. "I have been thinking…"
Erestor’s heart missed a beat. "About what?"
"I think you are wrong. It is not me that Glorfindel needs close. It is you." Elrond closely observed his friend and caught the nervous twitch that always appeared when Erestor was struggling with something. "You know it is true."
But Erestor shook his head determinately. "I might have saved him from Saruman’s claws, but *you* are the *healer*. He needs you."
"I doubt that. Erestor, you are being stubborn again." Realizing he wouldn’t get through to his friend, Elrond rose from the chair. "Aye, I will sit with Glorfindel, but I still think you are making a mistake." Leaning in closer, he placed his hands flat on the desk. Staring into Erestor’s eyes, he saw fear of rejection and sadness. "You doubt yourself too much."
"I am being realistic," replied Erestor dead-panned.
Elrond sighed; disappointed that he hadn’t been able to convince Erestor otherwise. "I will relieve Elrohir now. And Elladan will sit with Glorfindel through the morning. I expect you to take your turn tomorrow afternoon."
"I will be there."
Shaking his head at his friend’s stubbornness, Elrond headed for the Healing House.
Glorfindel was awake by the time Elrond arrived. Elrohir actually felt relieved, seeing his father. He didn’t know what to say or how to act to make Glorfindel more comfortable.
Elrond dismissed his youngest son and then sat down, studying his patient. "You look better."
"I feel rested." Glorfindel folded his arms around his waist, and was reminded of the life growing inside him. "There is really no way to stop this pregnancy?"
Elrond’s soft gaze met Glorfindel’s. "I do not think so. This is a magically induced pregnancy and I am afraid of eventual side effects, should I use the herbs that would normally terminate one."
"I still do not want to carry this child." Glorfindel’s features contorted. "I feel so restless… so… alone."
"But I am here now," said Elrond soothingly. /But it is not my presence you wish for, is it? It is Erestor’s./ He kept silent though, realizing his two friends had to figure this out for themselves.
After clearing his throat, Elrond said, "I will stay with you tonight. Elladan will sit with you in the morning and then Erestor will take his turn." As he had been watching Glorfindel closely, he noticed the obvious relief in the azure eyes at hearing Erestor’s name. /Maybe it is time I took charge of this situation. This cannot continue any longer./
"I will try to sleep," whispered Glorfindel, giving in, but he wasn’t sure he could sleep at all without Erestor close.
"Oh, I am going to make certain that you will sleep!" Elrond reached for the tray, which he had brought with him and poured Glorfindel some herbal tea to which a sleeping potion had been added. "Sip."
Glorfindel sipped obediently and handed the empty cup back to Elrond. "Thank you for… for staying… with… me." He couldn’t remember if the sleeping potion had ever unfolded its effects that fast before, but he was already drifting off into sleep.
Glorfindel lay motionless, wondering if he had enough strength to pull in his next breath. He had woken due to another horrid nightmare and his first reaction had been to curl around Erestor. But he had found his bed empty and Elrond asleep in the chair next to him. An open book still lay on the half-Elf’s lap.
/Erestor… I want to be close to Erestor… I need him close…/ This overwhelming urge made him push back the covers and slowly place his feet on the floor. He felt thankful that they had dressed him in a warm sleeping robe. At least he wasn’t naked any more.
After making sure that Elrond was sound asleep, he pushed himself on to his feet, relieved when no pain radiated from his lower body. /I must be healing after all./ A sneaky suspicion surfaced. /Do I owe my recovery to the Valar? After what Vaire said I would not put it past them./
Standing on his feet again, he placed a hand against the wall for support. He walked slowly, but soundlessly, and headed for the doorway. An invisible force was pulling him down the corridor, as he headed for Erestor’s rooms. /How will he react? But I cannot stay in that room any longer. Not even Elrond’s presence makes a difference. I thought I wanted to be near him, but I was wrong. I want you, Erestor./
After long minutes he finally arrived at Erestor’s private chambers. His hand trembled when he raised it to knock on the door. He hoped Erestor would let him in.
The fact that someone knocked on his door at this late hour startled and worried Erestor, and his first thought was for Glorfindel. Had the blond’s condition worsened?
He hurried over to the door and opened it. His heart missed a beat, seeing Glorfindel standing in the corridor, with a lost and confused expression in his eyes. "Mellon-nîn, what are you doing here?" He was amazed, but also pleased that the blond was on his feet again and walking unaided. "I will escort you back to the Healing House."
"Nay…" Glorfindel’s voice was barely a whisper. "Can I… can I stay… here? I want to stay… Can I? Please?" He extended one hand, reaching for Erestor. "I need you close… I do not understand it myself, but… I… need… you, not Elrond." He held his breath in anticipation of Erestor’s answer. /Please do not reject me./
Erestor released a strangled sigh. How could he possibly deny Glorfindel? Acting on impulse, he clasped the blond’s extended hand in his, pulling him into his rooms. "Of course you can stay. I would never turn you away." Guiding the trembling Elf to his bed, he sat Glorfindel down and seated himself next to him. "You could have sent for me. There was no reason to come here. Elrond confined you to bed."
"Elrond is asleep… and I did not want to wake him…" His breathing finally calmed down and so did his thundering heart. "I cannot explain it, but… I need to be close to you. When I woke from a nightmare and you… you were not there… I panicked. You had promised you would be there."
"I am sorry I let you down," whispered Erestor sincerely. "It won’t happen again." Keeping a close eye on his charge, Erestor laid Glorfindel down, covering him with blankets once the blond was settled comfortably.
A blissful sigh fled Glorfindel’s lips. Now that Erestor was close, things didn’t appear that bleak any more. "Will you hold me? Hold me all night?"
Lying down on top of the covers, Erestor nodded. "Always."
Glorfindel smiled radiantly, and rested his head on the dark-haired Elf’s chest. A protective arm curled around him and for the first time since returning to Imladris, he felt truly safe and comfortable. Without realizing what he was doing, he wrapped his fingers around a strand of raven hair, subconsciously making sure that Erestor couldn’t leave him.
"Rest assured," said Erestor soothingly, "I am close and I won’t leave you."
Hearing those words reassured Glorfindel and he stopped fighting against sleep. His eyes grew vacant and this time his sleep was deep and peaceful.
"I love you." Erestor placed a chaste kiss on the golden hair, cherishing having Glorfindel this close. "I will always love you."
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