Authors Note: This story will be completely Alternate Universe and I won't follow Tolkien's writings when dealing with reincarnation!
Tormented whimpers woke Elrond during the night. Ithil’s light illuminated his rooms and he immediately sought out the bed, realizing Glorfindel was the source of the pained noises. Sitting upright, he studied the blond. Glorfindel was shaking like a leaf and his head lolled from one side to the other. His lips had turned blue and his skin ghastly pale. Alarmed, Elrond pushed down the covers and hurried over to the bed. “Glorfindel? What is wrong?” Placing his hand on the blond’s brow, he flinched, almost pulling back. The breath that left Glorfindel’s lips crystallized in the air, revealing how cold his exhaled breath was.
Elrond fought his rising panic, instinctively knowing something was terrible wrong. Mandos was trying to reclaim the Balrog slayer, but he refused to give up on the blond. Glorfindel had become increasingly important to him, and, considering the Elda had only been in Imladris for a few days, that was no easy feat. “You cannot have him! I am not giving him back!” Mandos couldn’t have Glorfindel, who now belonged with him in Imladris! Nowhere else!
Suddenly the door opened and Erestor marched inside, still gathering his robes around him. He had left his rooms in an obvious hurry, hearing Elrond’s voice echo through the corridor. “Elrond, what is happening?”
Elrond drew in a deep breath, gathering his determination. “He is terribly cold and I am afraid Mandos is trying to reclaim him. I cannot let that happen!”
Despite their hazardous situation, Erestor smiled at seeing Elrond’s concern. It wouldn’t take much more to make the half-Elf admit to his feelings. “You brought him back. You are the only one who can keep him here.”
“The Valar won’t listen to me! I do not posses the necessary power!” Elrond claimed Glorfindel’s hand, rubbing it in a desperate attempt to return some warm to the icy skin. “Stay with me,” he pleaded.
Erestor stood back. Although he wanted to help and guide Elrond, he couldn’t. He knew enough about the Valar to suspect that they were putting the half-Elf to the test. He hoped his friend would pass, for he didn’t want to lose Elrond to grief and Glorfindel to Mandos.
Elrond placed the palm of one hand against Glorfindel’s cheek, tracing his jaw line. “Stay with me. Do not leave me.” Elrond despaired when Glorfindel’s eyes became glazed. Acting instinctively, he pulled Glorfindel into an upright position and wrapped his arms tightly around the blond’s waist. “I won’t let you go. I do not know what happened when the Valar sent you back, but I want you close. I –need- you close.”
Erestor’s smile broadened, hearing Elrond admit his feelings. That was probably exactly what the Valar wanted.
“I did not want to admit this to myself, afraid to lose my heart a third time, but I am falling in love with you. Do not leave me. My heart would not survive losing a third love.” Elrond gasped, surprised, feeling Glorfindel go limp in his arms. The tremors had stopped and he was afraid to look at the blond’s face to find out it if he was still alive; or dead. Had the Valar taken Glorfindel away from him?
Erestor was holding his breath as well, uncertain if Elrond’s admission had appeased the Valar.
When a soft moan flowed from Glorfindel’s lips, Elrond tightly hugged the blond. “You are still alive!” Slightly pulling back, he looked at Glorfindel’s eyes, which were growing aware again. He doubted however that the blond had heard his admission.
“C-cold-d,” stuttered Glorfindel, shocked. He hadn’t been this cold when he had gone to sleep! Slowly he realized that Elrond was holding him, very tight, very close.
“Mandos tried to pull you back, but I prevented it.” Elrond sighed, relieved that the Valar hadn’t taken Glorfindel away from him. His gaze shifted to Erestor and he nodded once. “He will be fine.”
Realizing he was being dismissed, Erestor inclined his head and softly closed the door behind him. His heart regained its normal beat, now that the threat was gone. /Maybe now Elrond will admit to himself how much he cares for Glorfindel and act on those feelings. By Elbereth, they need each other so badly./
Glorfindel relaxed in Elrond’s embrace, but still wondered why the half-Elf was this upset. And why was Elrond talking about Mandos? It had just been another nightmare, had it not?
“It looks like I cannot leave you alone at night,” whispered Elrond in a thoughtful tone. When he had faced losing Glorfindel he had finally admitted his feelings, but was he ready to tell the blond? And did Glorfindel return his feelings? These questions demanded answers! Glorfindel was now nestled close against him and seemed to enjoy the embrace. “Do you think you can go back to sleep?”
Glorfindel nodded against Elrond’s chest. He felt exhausted, like he had just fought another Balrog. When Elrond lowered him back onto the bed, he instinctively curled against the half-Elf, desperately hoping Elrond would stay close.
Elrond pulled up the covers and continued to hold his charge close. The blond head was tucked beneath his chin and he stroked Glorfindel’s back with soothing strokes, the gesture expressing more than words ever could.
Glorfindel soaked up Elrond’s body heat and sighed contently, growing warm again. The cold that had tormented his body had felt terribly familiar and he never wanted to feel it again. The continued strokes lured him back into sleep.
Elrond stared at the wall, realizing only too well how close he had come to losing Glorfindel, but at the same time he knew what he had to do to keep the blond close. He had to admit his love to the Elda or the Valar would take his new love away from him. “I understand,” whispered Elrond, softly. “I will tell him, but I do not know what to do should he reject me.”
It never crossed his mind that Glorfindel could be in love with him as well.
Elladan snuck into his father’s chambers, hoping to find Glorfindel awake. He wanted to hear more about the Balrog. Did it have a tail? Did its fire smell of sulfur? The Elfling halted in his tracks, seeing Elrond hold Glorfindel in his sleep. A sense of betrayal swept through him. His father was still married to Celebrian and had no right to turn to another for affection! And most certainly not Glorfindel, his hero!
Slamming the door shut behind him, he marched down the corridor and into the open.
Erestor, on his way to Elrond’s study, heard the noise, and, growing curious, he tracked down its source. It was Elladan, marching angrily into the courtyard. Seeing the furious expression on the twin’s face, Erestor quickly followed, knowing something was amiss.
He followed the Elfling to the Bruinen where Elladan picked up a branch and began to beat bushes with it. What had caused Elladan’s anger? Erestor remained hidden a little longer, observing the twin. In the end, he sighed, frustrated, and revealed himself, stepping up in front of Elladan.
Elladan glared at his father’s chief counselor. “Leave me alone!”
“What upset you?” Erestor had experienced several of Elladan’s tantrums and knew how to handle them. Like Elrond, Elladan would calm down once his anger had found a way out. He let Elladan beat the bushes, but stopped the Elfling when he tried to slam his fist into the trunk of a tree. “I would not do that. Your poor hand is no match for that ancient tree.”
Erestor endured Elladan’s furious glare and took hold of the twin’s hand, prying the branch from it. “Why are you this angry?”
Elladan pulled away and turned his back on Erestor. “He does not have the right to turn to someone else for affection and certainly not Glorfindel!”
“Ah.” Erestor thought he understood. Elladan had probably walked in on Elrond holding Glorfindel. “You are angry with your father.”
“Why Glorfindel?” Suddenly Elladan’s anger deflated and his shoulders slumped forward. “Why can’t Nana come back?”
Erestor’s heart went out to the hurting Elfling. He rested his hands on Elladan’s shoulders and turned him around, so they were facing each other. After placing a finger under Elladan’s chin, he lifted the Elfling’s head to make eye contact. “Your mother was hurt so badly that only staying in Valinor could alleviate her pain. You must face the bitter truth that she will never return. She will always love you, but like her, you must move on, as does your father. Or do you want him to be alone for the rest of his life?”
“He has Arwen, Elrohir, you, and me! He does not need a lover!” said Elladan, stubbornly, but he couldn’t maintain eye contact any longer, knowing he was being unreasonable. He had seen the effect Glorfindel’s presence had on his father, who was no longer listless, angry or distant.
Erestor smiled, seeing understanding beneath the hurt in Elladan’s eyes. “The fact that your father has fallen in love with Glorfindel does not mean that he loves you less.”
Ashamed that Erestor had guessed correctly, Elladan stared at the ground. “But I want Glorfindel to spend time with me as well. Now Ada will keep him to himself.”
Erestor laughed warmly. “Elrond will be delighted to share Glorfindel with you.” Elladan frowned, and made eye contact again. Erestor explained, “Think about it; your father is probably worried that you won’t accept Glorfindel, and he will be pleased to hear you do.”
Elladan managed a weak smile. “I did not think about it in that way. Erestor?” Erestor’s eyes radiated warmth. Encouraged, Elladan continued, “I am glad you came after me. I needed someone to talk to, but I could not possibly speak with Ada and I am not sure Elrohir would understand either.” He had never fully realized how much Erestor had taken over Celebrian’s parental role after his mother had left, until now. “Thank you, Erestor, for everything.”
Erestor’s smile was warm and full understanding. “Let us head back, Elladan. Now that you have calmed down you might want to talk to your father.”
“Not yet,” replied Elladan. “I need more time to think about this.”
“A wise decision,” praised Erestor, steering Elladan back to the Last Homely House. This was another storm he had cunningly mastered.
Elrond was startled when the sound of his door slamming shut woke him. Searching his surroundings, he wondered what had happened, but seeing Glorfindel waking up slowly, his gaze softened.
Glorfindel sleepily rubbed his eyes. Waking up in Elrond’s arms was becoming a habit, and one he enjoyed. “Was it just a dream? I thought I was back at the Halls of Waiting, but I am still here.”
“Mandos tried to pull you back,” confirmed Elrond, “but I made sure you stayed.” Looking deeply into Glorfindel’s eyes, he realized his interest was returned. The blond was holding him tightly as well, and seemed to enjoy his closeness. Elrond gathered his courage, and whilst looking into Glorfindel’s eyes, placed a chaste kiss on the now warm and red lips. He expected to be pushed away, but to his surprise Glorfindel allowed it. As he pulled back, his eyes met the blond’s questioningly. “You returned my kiss...why?”
Glorfindel smiled, bemused. “Because I wanted to.” He wasn’t quite sure what to make of this development, but he wasn’t going to stop Elrond. He had never thought it possible that the half-Elf could be interested in him. Only a few days ago he had still dwelt at the Great Halls, and now Elrond was kissing him!
“I have a confession to make,” said Elrond, holding on to his newly discovered feelings for the blond. “I am falling in love with you.” Saying the words was surprisingly easy.
Glorfindel’s eyes sparkled with warmth. “The attraction is mutual.” He took a moment to study Elrond’s eyes. “I did not dare bring it up, for you seemed to resent me. Things began to change at the Bruinen, but I would never have mentioned it if you had not spoken of it first.”
Elrond nodded in understanding. “These feelings took me by surprise as well. I never expected to fall in love again. My heart has been broken twice already and I am afraid to love you.”
“When I died and entered the Halls of Waiting I thought I would never get the chance to love again, but here we are. Elrond, I do not know what the future will bring, but in death I realized how valuable love is and we should not throw this away.”
“We should make it work instead,” realized Elrond. “When you returned, Erestor hinted that the Valar had sent you back for a reason. At the time I did not understand what he was saying, but I think I do now. The Valar sent you back because they knew I would fall in love with you. I thought they were punishing me by not sending Gil-galad back, but now I realize I have been rewarded instead.”
Glorfindel blushed weakly. “They gave me a second chance as well, though I do not understand why they would change their mind.”
“Maybe they were just waiting for me to call out to Mandos so they could send you back.” Elrond stared dotingly at the blond nestled in his arms. “I still cannot believe you feel the same way. I was already mentally preparing myself for another broken heart, which I would have not survived.”
“You were so angry at first, so resentful and I longed for Erestor’s company instead.” Glorfindel sighed, happily. He felt warm again, warm and cherished.
“Arien has appeared in the sky. Another day has begun. What would you like to do today?” Elrond was already looking forward to spending time with Glorfindel.
“I promised Elrohir to teach him some melodies which I heard at Gondolin. And Elladan wanted to practice his swordplay.”
Elrond was pleased that Glorfindel liked the twins. It would make telling them easier. “They like you a lot.”
“I like them too,” admitted Glorfindel, softly. His stomach suddenly growled, demanding food.
“It is time for breakfast,” announced Elrond. He regretted letting go of Glorfindel, but he needed to instruct his servants to serve breakfast.
Realizing he had to let Elrond go, Glorfindel released the half-Elf and sat up as well. “Do you know that you intimidated me at first?” he said, watching Elrond rise to his feet. “You seemed so angry.”
“That anger was very real,” admitted Elrond, and signaled for a servant to enter. He told her to serve breakfast on the balcony as it promised to be another beautiful, warm day.
Glorfindel stretched experimentally and felt relieved when his muscles felt less cramped. He was finally getting used to being alive again. He followed Elrond to the table and sat down opposite the half-Elf. “You can trust me to keep this private. I can keep a secret.”
Elrond frowned deeply. “Why would I want to keep this attraction a secret?”
Glorfindel’s eyes widened. “But—“
“I will inform Erestor and my sons later today.” Elrond shrugged. “I would never be able to hide my love for you and I do not know why I should even try.”
“What if your sons are opposed to this relationship?” Glorfindel’s greatest fear was hurting the Elflings’ feelings.
Deep lines of worry appeared on Elrond’s brow. “I do not dare think about that.” He had no idea what he would do, should the twins disapprove. He loved his sons dearly and would never willingly hurt them, but his heart felt connected with Glorfindel’s and he didn’t want to give up on this new love. “Hopefully they will understand.”
They ate breakfast in silence. Glorfindel’s question had upset Elrond, who now felt hesitant to confront his sons. After changing into clean, brown robes, Elrond handed Glorfindel a blue tunic and leggings, having seen the blond’s discomfort at wearing the heavy robes. Glorfindel gave him a grateful look and quickly changed into his new clothes.
Walking toward the doorway, Elrond determinedly grabbed Glorfindel’s hand and refused to let go when they entered the corridor. “I will not hide my feelings,” said Elrond firmly.
Glorfindel wished he had Elrond’s courage and determination and let the half-Elf guide him toward Elladan and Elrohir’s room. He dreaded the confrontation, scared he would lose the respect he had seen in the twins’ eyes earlier.
Elrohir smiled at Erestor. “I already suspected as much.” Erestor had just told him about his father’s interest in Glorfindel and he had simply accepted that fact. His twin’s flustered face told him that Elladan had thrown a tantrum earlier and he understood his brother to a certain degree. “But Nana will never come back and Ada has been lonely ever since.”
“Erestor said the same thing,” said Elladan sullenly. “I know he is right, but I do not want to share Glorfindel with Ada. Everything is different now.”
Elrohir and Erestor exchanged a knowing glance. Elladan was fiercely loyal and had now declared Glorfindel his hero. Having to share his hero with Elrond had not been his intention. Elrohir smiled at his brother. In some ways, Elladan was the youngest, the most naive.
Erestor sighed, relieved that Elrohir approved of Elrond’s love for Glorfindel. The twins were willing to make this work. A knock on the door made him frown; it could only be Elrond.
Elrohir smiled encouragingly at Elladan. “You can do this.”
Elladan nodded once and said, “You can come inside, Ada.” They had been sitting cross-legged on the floor and all three of them now got to their feet to welcome Elrond. Elladan froze momentarily, seeing Glorfindel behind Elrond. The two Elves were still holding hands. “Ada, Glorfindel,” Elladan said, trying to find a way to deal with his conflicting feelings. For so long he had hoped that his parents would find a way to reunite and now he had to admit that it would never happen.
Elrond saw Elladan’s distress, let go of Glorfindel’s hand and embraced his son. He didn’t question, didn’t offer advice, but simply held his oldest close.
Erestor locked gazes with Glorfindel and smiled reassuringly at seeing the blond’s nervousness. He decided to stay a little longer and keep an eye on things.
Glorfindel shuffled his feet, uncertain what to do next. Suddenly Elrohir appeared at his side and the Elfling placed a hand on his arms. “Erestor just told us.”
“Told you what?” Elrond pulled back and studied first Elrohir and then Elladan’s face.
“That Glorfindel and you…” Elrohir searched for the right words, but they eluded him.
“That the two of you are in love,” finished Elladan for his brother.
Elrond held his breath. “I was on my way to tell you personally.” He exchanged a look with Erestor, wondering why his chief counselor had taken this step.
“Do not be cross with Erestor,” said Elladan, lowering his gaze. “I did not leave him a choice. I was so angry when I found you holding Glorfindel in your sleep.”
“You slammed that door shut,” realized Elrond, worried. His oldest son had not reacted well to finding them like that, but Elladan appeared calm and accepting now.
“Erestor talked to me,” explained Elladan, still grateful that Imladris’ chief councilor knew him well enough to go after him and help him calm down. “I threw a tantrum,” he added, sounding apologetic.
“Erestor, thank you for talking to Elladan,” Elrond said in a grateful tone. He knew Elladan was a handful when upset.
Erestor inclined his head, accepting Elrond’s gratitude. He remained quiet though, hoping the situation would resolve itself.
Elrohir realized he had to do something to show their acceptance of his father’s new lover and he gently squeezed Glorfindel’s arm, saying, “I hope Ada and you will be happy. The Valar were very wise to sent you back.” He smiled, seeing the way Glorfindel’s eyes lit up at hearing his words. “I hope you will still find the time to teach me the flute?”
“But of course!” Glorfindel had a hard time believing the twins accepted him.
“And will you still spar with me?” asked Elladan in an uncertain tone.
“Aye, I will spar with you.” Glorfindel took a step toward Elladan.
Elrond stepped aside, seeing the need in Glorfindel’s eyes. The blond slowly raised an arm and folded it around Elladan’s shoulder, giving the twin time to pull away, should he desire so. But Elladan accepted the hug and smiled weakly.
Sensing the tension, Elrohir acted. “Can I be part of that hug as well?” Flinging himself at Elladan, he hugged his brother close. Then he grabbed Glorfindel, pulling him into their embrace. Wickedly, he whispered, “It certainly looks like we will have to share our hero with Ada.”
Elladan grinned and nodded once. “But we must make sure he spends time with us as well.”
“Ada?” asked Elrohir, playing along.
“Nay, Glorfindel.” Elladan chuckled at seeing his father’s bemused expression.
Elrond knew his sons well enough to realize this was payback, which he gracefully accepted. “I might be convinced to let you have Glorfindel once in a while.”
Now it was Glorfindel’s turn to look surprised. It almost seemed like everyone wanted a part of him, and, if possible, at the same time! Meeting Erestor’s knowing glance, he focused on the raven haired Elf’s calm and made it his own. The advisor was a beacon in a stormy sea.
“All Peredhel are stubborn and possessive, but also extremely loyal,” said Erestor, going along with the twins‘ teasing.
Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir stared at Erestor. Elrond actually raised an eyebrow and considered reprimanding his old friend, but he couldn’t maintain his angry façade. A smile broke through on his face and he shook his head at Erestor’s comment. “I must confess you described us perfectly.”
The twins laughed as well, and all tension was gone.
“We will meet with you later,” said Elrond, addressing his sons. “I am sure Glorfindel will teach you to play the flute and hone your fighting skills, but now I want some moments alone with him.” Looking at his sons, he dared them to make a remark.
Recognizing their father’s expression the twins remained quiet and waited until Elrond and Glorfindel had left the room. “He is hogging Glorfindel already,” said Elladan, grinning naughtily.
“I knew he would,” replied Elrohir in a similar teasing tone.
Erestor laughed as well. “Maybe I would like to enjoy Glorfindel’s company as well.”
“Not you too!” exclaimed the twins in mock annoyance. Elladan and Elrohir exchanged a glance, already thinking about the stunts they could pull on Glorfindel and their father.
Glorfindel felt nervous when Elrond sat down on a bench in the gardens, pulling him down as well. He seated himself close to the half-Elf and waited patiently. After talking to the twins and Erestor, he was truly beginning to feel like he belonged with this tight family. He was honored that they had accept him.
Elrond’s fingertips first ghosted over his face, and then bestowed light caresses on his hair. An unguarded expression lay in Elrond’s eyes, which revealed the true extent of his affection.
“You upended my life in a few days,” said Elrond eventually, “And I thank you for it.”
Glorfindel smiled at Elrond, realizing the half-Elf wanted to take this slow. They had eternity to get to know each other, and they were not going to waste that chance.
Beta read by Ilye, thanks!
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