Authors Note: This story will be completely Alternate Universe and I won't follow Tolkien's writings when dealing with reincarnation!
Elrond steered him into the bathroom and Glorfindel shivered when the half-Elf pushed the wet robes from his shoulders, letting them pool around his feet. Glorfindel didn’t have the time to feel embarrassed as Elrond quickly enfolded him in large towels, also wrapping one around his dripping mane.
“I apologize for my sons. Just when I think they have grown up they act like Elflings again.” Elrond privately cursed his sons’ actions, and quickly guided his charge back to his bedroom, where he sat the blond down in a comfortable chair. He grabbed a blanket from the bed and wrapped it around Glorfindel and hoping to get the blond to grow even warmer, he began building a fire in the fireplace. “I am sure Erestor will think of some suitable punishment for them, or else I will.”
“Don’t be too harsh on them,” said Glorfindel with chattering teeth. “I am sure you misbehaved as an Elfling as well.” He sought out Elrond’s eyes and cocked his head. “I am serious; they did little harm. The fire will warm me up again.”
“Pulling you under was thoughtless.”
“They are Elflings,” repeated Glorfindel. “If I am not cross with them, why would you?”
“Because I still feel responsible for their actions and they should have known better than to—“
Hearing Glorfindel say his name for the first time, he instinctively made eye contact. The blond’s expression was warm and forgiving and made him feel ashamed for accusing Glorfindel of manipulating his way back to Arda earlier. Looking into those sapphire eyes, he realized they would never succeed in lying to him. “If you forgive them, I will do the same, but they are extremely lucky to go unpunished.”
“Let it go.”
Elrond sighed, resigned. “I will let it go if you agree to rest.”
Glorfindel nodded. “I will rest.” He didn’t want the twins to get into trouble with their father because of him! The fire warmed his chilled bones and he was slowly dozing off, giving into the lure of the pleasant warmth.
Elrond watched Glorfindel fall asleep. What should he do? Carry Glorfindel back to the bed, where he would be more comfortable, or let him sit near the fire? In the end he decided against moving the blond and let him sleep in the chair. He sent a servant to fetch his paperwork and sat down behind the table to catch up with his correspondence, all the time keeping an eye on Glorfindel. The blond was quite a riddle. To his surprise he found that he liked Glorfindel, and even worried about him now that his anger was gone. He had a warm and forgiving nature and was interested in gaining his friendships and that of his sons’. Glorfindel already had Erestor’s.
Elrond released a troubled sigh. He liked Glorfindel, really liked him, but he wasn’t ready yet to admit his feelings to himself.
Hours later, Glorfindel stirred from his sleep and slowly scanned the room with his eyes. He found Elrond staring back at him. “Why are you watching me?”
Elrond, feeling caught, lowered his gaze. “I am worried about you.”
Glorfindel frowned, wondering why Elrond had averted his eyes. The half-Elf looked strangely shy, but that couldn’t be true. The Ruler of Imladris didn’t strike him as shy. His attention was drawn toward the door when someone knocked on it.
“Enter,” said Elrond, quickly composing himself again. Why was he acting like this? He was not in love! It couldn’t happen again, not that quickly! He had only known Glorfindel for two days!
Elladan and Elrohir nervously shuffled inside, coming to a halt in front of Glorfindel. Shamefaced, they stared at the floor, not comfortable yet with making eye contact. Their hands were behind their backs, hiding something from view.
Erestor appeared behind them with a pleased expression on his face. “My lord, your sons have something to say.” He gently nudged Elrohir, who drew in a deep breath and then stepped up to Glorfindel.
Glorfindel wondered what this was about; he had already told Elrond that he didn’t want the twins punished. Elrohir finally looked at him and Glorfindel saw true regret in the dark eyes. “Elrohir, do not worry—“
But Elrohir interrupted him. “Nay, Glorfindel. It was my fault that you ended up all wet. If I had used my common sense I would not have pulled you under. I regret my actions and will never again do anything to hurt you.”
“Elrohir, you did not hurt me.” Glorfindel was growing exasperated; why wouldn’t they let it go?
Elladan joined his brother in front of Glorfindel, giving the blond a remorseful look. “I should not have put my brother up to it and I am sorry I did. I hope you can forgive us.” Elladan grew worried, realizing Glorfindel was still shivering in spite of being bundled up in warm towels and blankets. “We were ready to accept any punishment Erestor would decide on…”
“But Erestor decided differently,” finished Elrohir for his brother. Slowly, he brought his hands in front of him, revealing his flute, delicately carved and decorated. “He asked us to show you that we cared about you. That is why I want you to have my flute. I am sure you learned to play the flute in Gondolin and maybe you could teach me?”
Glorfindel was deeply touched and when he hesitated to accept the flute, Elrohir placed it on his lap.
“It is my way of asking you to spend some time with me,” Elrohir now whispered softly. “I like you.”
Elrond’s gaze had softened, hearing his youngest son’s speech. Aye, they had raised the twins well and he gave Erestor a thankful look, knowing he couldn’t have raised them without his friend’s help.
Then Elladan revealed his gift, presenting Glorfindel with a sword. “Erestor always tells me that I act too rashly, too recklessly when I practice my fighting skills. I was hoping you could… would…” Elladan’s voice faded away, uncertain what to say.
But Glorfindel understood. “I am not angry with you. Elflings sometimes act impulsively and I do not hold anything against you. And aye, Elrohir, I will teach you what I know of playing the flute - and Elladan? I will spar with you, but I cannot accept your gifts, not the flute, or the sword.”
“But—“ Elladan and Elrohir reacted simultaneously. “We want you to have them!”
Elrond was unable to remain angry with his sons any longer and smiled warmly at them. They had made him proud. Then, his gaze met Erestor’s and he nodded approvingly. Erestor had acted wisely by letting them admit to their feelings. And he liked the idea of them presenting Glorfindel with personal gifts. “I think you should accept their gifts,” said Elrond thoughtfully. “They come from the heart.”
The twins nodded enthusiastically. “Ada is right. Listen to him. He knows us well!”
Glorfindel realized he was fighting a lost battle and uncovered his hands from beneath the blanket to accept the flute and the sword. “You have such high hopes of me. I can only hope I won’t disappoint you.”
Elrond leaned back in his chair, watching the blond closely. It was obvious his sons and Erestor liked him and, being honest, even Elrond had to admit to having a soft spot for Glorfindel. Could he allow himself to experience love again? Could he take the risk of falling in love and losing his heart a third time? He might not survive another heart break, but he would hurt even more if he didn’t allow his feelings to surface.
Elrond watched as Glorfindel rose from his chair, awkwardly holding the blanket in place, whilst letting the twins hug him. His gaze met Erestor’s and the smug expression in his advisor’s eyes suddenly made sense. /Erestor long realized what has happened. He knows the twins like Glorfindel and that I am attracted to him. By Elbereth, would he play matchmaker? Erestor?/
Erestor raised an eyebrow and nodded once. /Aye, he would,/ realized Elrond; his friend’s intentions were rather obvious. /Should I let him? Maybe I will./
“Elrond? Can I have some clothes?” It was time to eat dinner and he was getting tired of being bundled up in towels and blankets.
Servants were already placing several plates, filled with various food items on the table. One of them addressed Elrond. “My lord, your sons asked if they could join you for dinner.”
“Tell them they are more than welcome,” said Elrond, who had selected burgundy robes from his wardrobe. He handed them to the blond, who nodded thankfully.
Glorfindel rose somewhat awkwardly, dragging several layers of fabric, consisting of towels and blankets, with him. He closed the bathroom door behind him, let the towels drop, and slipped into the robes. The first thing that struck him was the scent that lingered in the material; Elrond’s scent, spicy and refined. He deeply inhaled the fragrance and a smile surfaced on his face. He was beginning to like the Ruler of Imladris.
Elrohir checked his twin’s appearance, making sure they wouldn’t embarrass their father. They had dressed in formal brown robes and had even re-braided their hair. They wanted to be on their best behavior tonight; they had a lot to make up for.
“Stop watching me like that!” Annoyed, Elladan glared at Elrohir. “Glorfindel was not angry with us. You can calm down, you know. Ada is not going to punish us!”
“I have a guilty conscience,” whispered Elrohir, ashamed. “Why did I let you talk me into pulling Glorfindel beneath the water? You always get me into trouble!”
Elladan grinned wickedly. “You are too obedient, Elrohir, too eager to please. Sometimes it is fun to get into trouble.” Then his gaze darkened. “But this time I should have listened to you. I should have known better than to get Glorfindel soaking wet.”
“At least he accepted our apology.” Elrohir gave his twin a thoughtful look. “Is it just my imagination or is Ada enjoying Glorfindel’s company as well?”
“At first I felt some tension between them,” said Elladan, “but that quickly changed. I think they will get along just fine. We should get moving now or we will be late for dinner.”
They hurried down the corridor and, upon finding the door to their father’s rooms ajar, entered. “Ada?” Elladan stepped up to his father, who was putting away his quill.
“Elladan.” Elrond smiled fondly. “Elrohir,” he said, also addressing his youngest, who had closed the door behind them. “Sit down.”
“Where is Glorfindel?” asked Elrohir, looking about.
“In the bathroom.”
“We are really sorry—“
Elrond raised a hand, effectively stopping Elrohir. “We have already dealt with that matter.”
Elrohir released a relieved sigh. “Does he still feel cold?”
“Is he still shivering?” asked Elladan, concerned.
“I am feeling much better,” said Glorfindel reassuringly as he entered the room. His hands smoothed the soft fabric and he headed for the table, seating himself next to Elrond. His mouth watered, seeing and smelling the tasty stew the cook had prepared. He was slowly regaining his appetite and he wished Elrond would give the sign so they could start eating.
Elrond smiled, seeing the hungry expression on Glorfindel’s face and handed the blond his plate. Now that everyone was seated, he nodded once and took the first bite. Glorfindel followed at once, devouring his portion of the stew.
Elladan and Elrohir exchanged an amused look at seeing Glorfindel eat. “There is still some stew left,” said Elladan, teasingly. “Would you like some more?”
Glorfindel suddenly realized all three of them were looking at him and found that whilst his plate was empty, theirs were still half full. “I did not know I was that hungry.”
Elrond smiled warmly and refilled Glorfindel’s plate. Normally servants would attend to them, but he preferred some privacy tonight.
“Why is Erestor not present?” asked Glorfindel suddenly. He missed the advisor’s pleasant company. Had Erestor been excluded on purpose? He hoped not.
“Erestor asked to be excused tonight,” explained Elrond. “He has taken over some of my responsibilities and duties whilst I care for you. A messenger from Mirkwood has arrived and Erestor wanted to question him in detail. He still might join us later.”
Glorfindel nodded once, relieved to hear that usually Erestor was present at such family dinners.
“Maybe we can go out riding tomorrow?” suggested Elladan. “We have some very fine horses here in Imladris.”
Glorfindel looked at Elrond, trying to read the half-Elf’s expression.
“That sounds like a splendid idea.” Elrond nodded approvingly. “Maybe I will even join you tomorrow.”
The twins’ eyes lit up with happiness. They always loved to spend time with their father.
“But now we should eat,” said Elrond, reminding them.
Glorfindel started on his second serving, watching Elrond closely. The half-Elf intrigued him.
Now that the time had come to go to sleep, Glorfindel grew uncomfortable again. Last night he had slept in Elrond’s bed, with the half-Elf sitting next to him in a chair. He didn’t think it fair to sleep in Elrond’s bed again.
Elrond noticed Glorfindel’s growing discomfort and wondered what was causing it. Recalling holding Glorfindel in his sleep, he wished he could hold the blond tonight as well, but he doubted Glorfindel wanted that. “I will sleep on the couch,” announced Elrond, dropping a pillow and blanket on the couch beneath the window.
“I will take the couch,” said Glorfindel at once. “It does not feel right, occupying your bed. You should be the one sleeping in it. I will be comfortable on the couch.”
Standing opposite each other, they observed the other closely. Elrond cocked his head and spoke first. “You will take the bed and that is final.”
Glorfindel considered protesting, but decided against it, seeing the determination in Elrond’s eyes.
“You are my guest and I am responsible for your comfort. I insist you take the bed.” Elrond tentatively raised his left hand and rested it experimentally on the blond’s shoulder. “Let me do this for you.”
Glorfindel sighed, resigned. “I will take the bed.” He stood entranced, very much aware of the fact that Elrond was touching him. The touch felt good and was more than welcome. “Thank you.”
Elrond nodded once, smiled and headed for the couch. “Sleep well, Glorfindel.” Lying down, he watched the blond walk toward the bed. Pleased, he noticed that the shivers were gone now; Glorfindel was recovering from his stay at Mandos. /Erestor was right; the Valar sent Glorfindel back for a reason. I like his company, the sound of his voice, the longing expression in his midnight-blue eyes. How much longer can I deny I am falling in love with him?/ Deliberately, he turned onto his other side, no longer able to look at the blond.
Glorfindel frowned. They had been staring at each other, and he had been about to smile encouragingly when Elrond broke the contact by rolling onto his left side. He had found comfort in that connection, but now he felt alone again. His feelings confused him and he wondered why his heart fluttered madly in his chest. These feelings were familiar, but their intensity had faded during his long stay in the Halls of Waiting.
It felt like love, but that couldn’t be. He couldn’t be falling in love with Elrond! He groaned softly, hoping Elrond didn’t hear it. Why couldn’t it be Erestor? He liked Erestor better! But no, his heart whispered Elrond’s name.
Confused, he tried to sort out his feelings again, but reached the same conclusion. It was Elrond, and not Erestor, whom he was falling in love with.
Beta read by Ilye, thanks!
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