Glorfindel's Darkest Hour
Chapter 22 - Secrets No More
Elrondís relief showed clearly in his sigh whilst he cleaned the blood from the babyís tiny body. The boy had very dark hair, which obviously wasnít Glorfindelís legacy. Seeing the distinctly pointed ears, the already graceful limbs and the big blue eyes, Elrond wondered at the absent Uruk-Hai traits. Instinctively, he knew that neither Saruman nor the Uruk-Hai had fathered this child. This beautiful baby was untouched by evil, an innocent.
"Elladan, hand me a clean towel." Elrond accepted the towel en tightly wrapped the soft fabric around the baby.
Elladan, who had been afraid for Glorfindelís mental well-being, now felt relieved as well. "No Orc or Istar fathered this child."
Elrond nodded his head and then sat down in the rocking chair, trying to gauge the babyís features, which reminded him of someone. He just couldnít identify that person. Rocking the baby in his arms, he kept a close eye on Glorfindel as well. The Elda was still asleep and would continue to sleep for a few more hours, giving his body a chance to heal.
"Glorfindel will be relieved to learn that his child is fully Elven," whispered Elladan, "but I do not understand how that is possible."
Elrond was trying to solve the same riddle. "Who fathered this little one?" Large, blue eyes stared at him in delight and a smile seemed to curl the corners of the babyís mouth.
Elladan suddenly slapped his forehead. "Ada, there was one Elf present: Erestor. He freed Glorfindel."
Elrond sucked in a sharp breath. Elladan had made a valid point. "You must be right. There is no other explanation, but what happened?" Being the father would explain Erestorís constant hovering and the pained expression that sometimes showed on the Elfís face. "I wonder if Erestor knows."
"Would you like me to fetch him?" Elladan gently placed his palm on Glorfindelís brow, relieved to find most of the cold sweat gone. Glorfindel felt warm to the touch and his breathing had grown steady once more. During these last few weeks he had been extremely worried about the Elda, much like the rest of them. They had been concerned for the blondís mental health, but now that the child was finally born, Glorfindel might find his emotional balance again. At least, Elladan hoped so.
"Aye, fetch Erestor for me." Elrond was already trying to come up with a way to question his advisor on this subject. Maybe he should go for the direct approach and place the baby in Erestorís arms while closely observing the Elfís reaction.
After Elladan had left the room, Elrond smiled at the baby, googooing and gaagaaing like he had when his own children had been little. It felt good to have another baby in the house and he was already looking forward to watching this little one grow up.
Erestor frantically paced the waiting area. His hands were behind his back and he wrung them nervously. /Please let Glorfindel survive as well as the baby, pleaseÖ/ But he doubted the Valar were listening to him.
He spun around, hearing Elladanís soft voice. "Is Glorfindel alive? And what about the baby?"
Elladan nodded reassuringly. "Glorfindel is asleep and will recover quickly."
"And what aboutÖ the baby?" Erestor cringed. /What if the baby is part Uruk-Hai?/ He had promised Mandos to never leave Glorfindelís side and it was that very promise that kept the Elda on Arda. He would never break it, but life would be so much harder from now on.
"I think you should see for yourself." On his way over here, Elladan had realized he didnít have the courage to confront Erestor. It would be best if he let his father handle the situation.
/*That* bad!/ Erestor lowered his eyes, feeling miserable and defeated as he stared at the floor. Slouching, he reluctantly followed Elladan. His heart beat nervously in his chest, whilst he steeled himself for the sight that awaited him. /Regardless of what may be, I will stand by his side and support him. The Valar know I love him and together we will get through this./
After he had finished cleaning the baby, Elrond wrapped him in a warm sheet and then cradled the little one against his chest. Glorfindel should be the one holding the baby, but the Elda was still recovering and deeply asleep. It would be a few more hours before the blond would wake up. He could barely imagine Glorfindelís relief when realizing he had been blessed with a fully Elven child.
A knock on the door drew his attention away from his musings. "Enter."
First Elladan and then Erestor shuffled inside. His old friend seemed reluctant and hesitant and he remained hovering near the doorway. Erestorís eyes were drawn to the bundle in his arms and Elrond wondered how Erestor could possibly explain being the childís father.
Erestorís glance moved away from the wrapped up bundle in Elrondís arms and settled on Glorfindelís face. His heart leapt in joy at finding his lover alive and in a healing sleep. "How does Glorfindel fare?" His feet already carried him toward the bed.
"His body needs time to recover, but I expect him to be back on his feet in a few days." Elrond carefully monitored Erestorís reactions. "He will make a full recovery, meldir."
"GoodÖ" muttered Erestor absentmindedly. He sat down on the edge of the bed and stroked the blond locks. He had to convince himself that his beloved was recuperating.
"Do you not want to see the baby?" asked Elrond, exchanging a look with Elladan, who had seated himself close to Glorfindel so he could monitor their charge.
Erestor flinched as memories of finding Glorfindel battered and bleeding returned to torment him. "I am not sure." Seeing Elrondís puzzled expression, he added, "I love Glorfindel with my entire being, butÖ I am scared to see the babyís features."
Elrond understood. "Erestor? Come over here and look at the baby."
Erestor drew in a deep breath and gathered his courage, slowly walking toward Elrond.
"Sit down beside me."
Erestor seated himself next to Elrond, but tried hard not to look at the baby. His heart ached for his beloved; if he had been able to carry this burden for Glorfindel, he would have. But Mandos had not given him that choice.
"HereÖ" Elrond involuntarily held his breath, placing the baby in Erestorís arms. His friend looked absolutely terrified. /He probably expects the baby to be part Uruk-Hai./
Erestor trembled, feeling the tiny, warm body against him. He was scared to look at the baby, but he would accept reality because he loved the Elda. /This is Glorfindelís flesh and blood, and therefore I will love this baby./
Pushing away his fears and doubts, he finally looked at the baby. His breath caught in surprise. Where he expected to see Orcish features, there were none. His breath slowly escaped; so the child was half-Elven, Sarumanís offspring.
But then he frowned; his fingertips slowly trailed along the fully pointed ears. Not half-Elven? His frown deepened when he finally looked up at Elrond, desperate for an explanation.
Elrond chuckled in spite of the situation. "Why did you not tell me that Glorfindel and you were lovers?"
"Lovers?" Erestor shook his head in denial. "We were not lovers at that time!" His gaze returned to the babyís features and dark hair. "How is this possible?"
Elrond remained calm. "Why donít *you* tell *me*?"
Erestorís confusion mounted when he realized what Elrond was implying. "This cannot be *my* child!"
"Why not? Erestor, he has *your* hair color and features." Elrond did his best to remain patient, but he wanted answers and so he pushed on. "Erestor, it is time for the truth."
"The truthÖ" Erestorís mind flashed back. "The truth is that I love him. I always did. That is why I volunteered to venture into Orthanc to reclaim him. I could not let Saruman have him." The baby cooed softly and then snuggled up to him, reaching for him blindly with tiny fingers. Instinctively, Erestor held him close. "I should tell Glorfindel first."
Elrondís eyes widened. "What secrets are you hiding?"
Erestor realized he might need Elrondís support when Glorfindel woke up and reconsidered, deciding to confide in Elrond first. "When I found Glorfindel he had taken his own life and his soul was on its way to the Halls of Waiting. I desperately tried to reclaim him, but could not reach him. In my despair I could only think of one way to get through to him after all the pain he endured."
"You followed him into death," whispered Elladan, who had been quiet until now.
Erestor sighed dejectedly. "Aye, and by doing so my spirit was also cast forward to the Great Halls." A bitter laugh escaped him, but he bit down the rest of his bitterness, feeling the baby move restlessly at the sound. "I challenged Mandos himself and he accepted."
Elrond frowned deeply. "By the Valar, Erestor, what did you do?"
Erestor shrugged. "Mandos bonded our souls. My love keeps Glorfindel hereÖ Alive."
"And then the Valar blessed your union by giving you this child. Erestor, you are truly blessed." Elrond was beginning to relax, realizing his two best friends had been bonded by the Valar themselves. "Does Glorfindel know how you reclaimed him?"
"Nay, and I desperately wanted to tell him," said Erestor honestly, "But Mandos had taken pity on Glorfindel and took away his worst pain and most shattering memories. That is why Glorfindel survived. He also forgot I ever touched him in that way and later on, I lacked the courage to confess to him. I was not even sure Mandos would allow me to confess. I am surprised he does now. I had not thought that he would." Erestorís eyes were swimming. "I never suspected that I had fathered the child."
Elrond smiled, seeing the baby fall asleep against Erestorís warm body. "You should think of a name for him."
"Glorfindel should name the baby." His gaze longingly drifted to the blond. "How do I explain this to him? He will want to know why his son is fully Elven."
Elrondís frown returned. "You must tell him the truth. He deserves no less."
"ButÖ" Erestor bit his bottom lip. The child was absolutely adoring and he had already lost his heart to his son. "I do not know how to tell Glorfindel."
"He will understand." Elrond placed a hand on his friendís shoulder and squeezed gently. "You saved his life!"
Erestor angrily wiped away his tears. "I know I have to tell him the truth, but I am not sure I possess the necessary courage. I do not know how he will react." Staring dotingly at the baby in his arms, he realized he was truly infatuated with the little one. "I do not want to lose Glorfindel, or my son."
Elrond and Elladan exchanged a confident look. They were both fairly sure the situation would solve itself once Glorfindel woke.
Elrond had placed the baby in the crib next to Glorfindelís bed and had then left, ordering Erestor to stay until the blond woke. He wanted the two of them to talk and do away with all secrets.
That order left Erestor shaky and nervous. He was deadly scared to face Glorfindel and to tell him what had truly expired at Orthanc, but he also realized that Elrond would lock him into this room if necessary. This was something he had to do. Elrond was right; Glorfindel deserved to know the truth.
Sitting at the Eldaís side, he claimed Glorfindelís hand. Soothingly, he stroked the skin and rubbed the knuckles. A soft groan caught his attention and he clung to Glorfindelís hand for support. The dark blue eyes blinked, filled with awareness and then searched the room.
Glorfindel felt utterly exhausted and his first reaction was to go back to sleep, but then he recalled what had happened. Elrond had delivered the baby, -- his son. Instinctively he tried to curl up on his side, but pain erupted from his abdomen and he froze instantly. At the same time he grew aware of the fact that someone was holding his hand. His gaze first shifted to his hand and then traveled to Erestor, who sat next to the bed. Seeing his lover reassured him. He had been afraid that seeing his half-breed son would drive the raven-haired Elf away.
"I will always be there for youÖ I keep my promises," said Erestor softly. He lost himself in the azure eyes, like he always did, and pressed a kiss on Glorfindelís knuckles.
"What aboutÖ the child?" Glorfindel trembled violently. When Erestor let go of his hand he felt deserted, but then he realized that his lover wanted to show him the baby.
Glorfindel slowly propped himself up on his elbows and then rested his back against the pile of pillows, which had been placed against the headboard. Tremors whipped through his body and his stomach contracted with nervousness. Would he be able to love his son?
He noticed Erestorís hesitance and expected the worst. His son had probably been born with those hideous Uruk-Hai fangs. "Elbereth, give me strength," he prayed when Erestor gently placed the tiny bundle in his arms.
Involuntarily, Glorfindel had closed his eyes and he now slowly opened them to look at his son. His eyes widened in surprise, seeing the perfect, elegant features and already intelligent eyes which were staring back at him in wonder. Shocked, he brushed back the dark hair and examined the pointed ears. Next, he waited for the little one to part his lips, and when the baby released a pleased sound, Glorfindelís heart jumped in joy, finding no fangs. "I do not understand," he whispered pleadingly. And where was Elrond? The half-Elf might be able to explain this to him.
Erestorís fingernails dug into the armrest of his chair. "I have a confession to make." He prayed Elbereth would give him the strength he needed.
"What kind of confession?" Glorfindel had trouble taking everything in. His son was apparently fully Elven, having no Uruk-Hai features at all. And had he been Sarumanís son, some human features would have shown.
Erestor tightly closed his eyes, unable to look at Glorfindel. "When I found you, your spirit had already left your body and I could only think of one way to reclaim you. I wanted to show you that I loved youÖ So I followed you into death." Erestor heard Glorfindelís startled gasp, but kept his eyes tightly closed and chided himself for the coward that he was.
Glorfindel stared at Erestor in stunned disbelief. So many emotions were at war inside him! "You did what?"
"I slit my throat. I set my spirit free in order to join you at the Halls of Waiting. Mandos was impressed and agreed to let you return to Arda, but there was a stipulation. He demanded that I made love to you -- that I took you and made you mine. At that point I did not know you could conceive or bear a child."
Glorfindel tiredly sagged back against the pillows with his son tightly cradled against his chest. Erestorís words hadnít fully registered with him yet. "When I am asleep at night I always hear Esteís sweet voice, assuring me everything will be all right. I did not understandÖ until now." Glorfindel rested his head against the pillows. "I am too tired to discuss this."
"Aye, you should rest. Would you like me to call Elrond?" His lover might have questions for the healer.
Suddenly, Erestorís admission fully penetrated the foggy recesses of his mind and Glorfindel finally realized the truth. Unexpectedly images came alive in his mind. Slowly, his memories returned, showing him how tenderly Erestor had taken him. "YouÖ made love to me," he whispered, reliving that special moment. "You challenged the Valar themselves to take me back with you."
As the memories found their place in his mind, Glorfindel smiled weakly. He was thankful that he now remembered that special occasion --their first time. "So this is ĖourĖ son?"
"Aye," whispered Erestor, seeing understanding and remembrance in Glorfindelís azure eyes. He was surprised that the Valar had allowed Glorfindel to remember his stay in the Halls of Waiting, but he also felt immensely grateful.
Glorfindel lovingly looked at his son, who was fast asleep in his arms. "He is beautiful." He had expected to be confronted with an abomination Ė a monster Ė and not with this lovely sight. Their son was perfect. Instinctively, he counted the babyís toes and fingers.
"Melamin," started Erestor in an emotional tone, "I had no idea this would happen. At the time I wondered why Mandos insisted I made love to you, but I obeyed nonetheless. I cannot live without you! I love you!"
Bliss overwhelmed Glorfindel at hearing Erestorís declaration of love. He smiled contentedly. "I am glad you reclaimed me, nÓn bellas." Raising a hand he caressed his loverís face and his gaze fastened on Erestorís. "Our son still needs a name."
Erestor nodded his head once. "You should name him, but there is time. First, you should rest. I can hold our son whilst you sleep or I can place him back in his crib. Elrond usually checks on him each hour."
"You hold him," decreed Glorfindel, his eyes occasionally growing vacant. He didnít want to let go of his son, but the baby was in the best of hands with Erestor: his father.
Erestor, still sitting on the edge of the bed, locked gazes with the blond. "I love you so much, nÓn ind. And I love our son."
Glorfindelís eyes swam with tears and fierce emotions. "Thank you for reclaiming me, nÓn bellas. Thank you for giving us a son. I am not sure I could have dealt with a son, who was part Uruk-Hai." His eyes grew vacant again, but he struggled to remain awake.
"Melamin, you are exhausted. Rest." Erestor carefully took hold of their son and held him close. With his other hand, he pulled up the sheet and tucked the soft fabric around his recovering lover. "Sleep, nÓn ind. You and our son are safe with me."
Glorfindelís last thought --before giving into this healing sleep -- was that the Valar had indeed blessed them. His son was fully Elven and stunningly beautiful.
When Elrond ventured into the room again, he found Erestor in the rocking chair, holding his son. Soundlessly, he walked toward the bed and studied Glorfindel in his sleep. The blondís features were relaxed and all worries and fears had left his features. "You told him," said Elrond, addressing Erestor.
Erestor sighed softly. "Aye, I did." But Glorfindel knew only part of the truth. The Elda still didnít know about the bond they shared.
Elrond seated himself and continued to study his friend. "What did he say?"
"He is immensely relieved that the baby is fully Elven. I know how afraid he was that his son would be part Uruk-Hai." Erestor gently rocked his son in his arms. "I now know how you felt when you held your children in your arms. It is the most amazing feeling."
Elrond nodded and let his thoughts drift off to the past, when he had held his children for the first time. But then he was pulled away from his musings.
Glorfindelís voice took them both aback and Erestor smiled happily at his lover.
Glorfindel, now fully awake, pushed himself into a sitting position. He was relieved to find that the pain in his abdomen had lessened. He would probably carry a scar for the rest of his life, but it was a small prize to pay for giving birth to their son. After watching his lover for a moment, he cleared his throat. "Erestor?"
Erestor took that as his cue to place their son in the blondís arms. "Did you decide on a name yet?" Sitting down on the edge of the bed, he smiled warmly. He raised a hand and stroked the long, golden hair. Leaning in closer, he placed a passionate kiss on Glorfindelís lips.
Glorfindel returned the kiss eagerly. "I love you, nÓn bellas." Erestor sat back and Glorfindel smiled dotingly at his son. He was taken aback when he inhaled his sonís sweet scent. Large, blue eyes -definitely his legacy- stared at him, pleased. Part of him was afraid he would wake up and find it had just been a dream. "Our son is perfect."
"Aye, he is," said Erestor pleased. "And he has your stunning eyes."
Glorfindel smiled adoringly at his lover. "I wish to name our son after you. You have saved my life and given him his. His name will be Erion. He represents our union and I want all of Arda to know that my gorgeous lover is the father of this beautiful Elfling."
Erestor blushed and nodded his head. He felt a little overwhelmed that their son would carry part of his name, but he approved of the choice. "You chose well. It is a good name, nÓn ind."
Glorfindel smiled tiredly. Shifting cautiously, he realized he still felt sore. "I feelÖ weak," he admitted softly. The blond had only been awake for a few minutes and already dark exhaustion was pulling him under again.
Seeing Erestorís apprehensive expression Glorfindel grew worried. "Why do you look like you are still keeping something from me?" That thought made him nervous.
Erestor sighed, realizing he had to tell Glorfindel the entire truth. "When Mandos agreed to send you back, he bonded our souls." Moistening his lips, he averted his eyes. "It is my love you draw strength from."
Suddenly certain things made sense to Glorfindel. "Upon our return from Orthanc I noticed I felt drained when you were not near. And when you touched me I felt better."
Elrond nodded, recalling the healing potions he had tried to strengthen Glorfindel, to no avail. The blondís condition had begun to improve when in Erestorís company. "The two of you are bound together in body and soul."
Glorfindel smiled as a tiny hand reached for one of his fingers and he happily obliged his son, offering his index finger to play with. Recalling Erestorís admission, he locked eyes with the raven-haired Elf. "I am bonded to you for the rest of my life?"
Erestor didnít want to make his next admission, but he felt like he had no choice. "The bond works both ways," explained Erestor, "I need you close as well. We would probably both fade should we decide to go separate ways."
Glorfindel arched an eyebrow and exchanged a look with Elrond. "Is this possible?"
Elrond nodded. "It sounds like something the Valar would do. They would ask for some sort of sacrifice."
Erestor said, "Glorfindel, I will love you and our son as long as I will live." Again, he leaned in closer, planting a tender kiss on his loverís lips.
Glorfindelís eyes swam with tears, as Erestorís love traveled down their connection, strengthening him.
Erestor, seated on the side of the bed, smiled at his lover. His gaze was immediately drawn to Glorfindelís hands, caressing the babyís skin. "I am sorry he does not have your hair."
"I am not," said Glorfindel, smiling.
Erestor rested his hand on Glorfindelís, strengthening the bond between them. His lover felt weak and needed his energy and strength.
Glorfindel determinedly curled his fingers around Erestorís. A tantalizing sensation ran through his body at the touch. For the first time he fully realized the true extent of their bond.
Elrond, feeling quite the voyeur at that point, rose from his chair and walked toward the doorway. His friends were entitled to some privacy after everything they had been through. Closing the door behind him, he remained nearby, just in case they needed him.
Glorfindelís gaze traveled back to Erion, who was still sound asleep in his arms. His sonís fingers were wrapped around his in a possessive gesture. "I feel grateful that Erion takes after you, nÓn bellas." He couldnít help adding his next, somewhat teasing remark. "He is already quite possessive, claiming my finger like that. It seems he inherited some of *your* character traits as well."
Erestor had the grace to blush. "He must love you as much as I do."
Glorfindel patted the space next to him, inviting Erestor to lie down beside him.
Accepting the invitation, Erestor laid down, cradling Erion between them. Looking at his lover, Erestor smiled warmly. He wrapped one arm around the blond, who snuggled closer to him. Holding his lover and son in his arms, Erestor sighed happily. "Thank you for this gift, nÓn ind."
Glorfindelís eyes darkened with impending sleep. "IÖ loveÖ you." he mumbled fatigued. Now that his lover was close he felt safe, and he surrendered to exhaustion. His eyes turned vacant with sleep.
"I will always love you," said Erestor, pressing a kiss onto Glorfindelís brow. Next, he looked at his sonís azure eyes. "Aiya, you are adorable."
Erestor held them tightly throughout the night.
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