“Erestor?” Glorfindel hesitantly shuffled into the room, uncertain how Erestor would react to seeing him in such emotional turmoil. He had never been able to hide his feelings well and knew the dark-haired Elf would read him like an open book.
Erestor, sitting upright and leaning back into a pillow, looked up from the book he was reading and immediately sensed something was wrong. He had known the blond long enough to easily tell how upset Glorfindel was. “What happened?” He placed the book aside and patted the space next to him. “Come, sit down and tell me.” It still felt strange to act like himself in Glorfindel’s presence, as he was used to hiding behind spiteful remarks.
Glorfindel gingerly sat down, fighting down the memory of the ‘old’ Erestor that threatened to surface, warning him not to make himself vulnerable, for Erestor would take advantage of that. /But Erestor has changed. He loves me./
Testing the waters, he reached for Erestor’s right hand and curled his fingers around it, holding it close. “A Warg attacked Elros. I have no idea how the beast got past our sentries, but it showed up in the gardens and attacked Elros and Elrond.” He could tell Erestor already had questions, but the advisor kept them back, allowing him to tell the story in his own time, which he appreciated. “The beast injured Elros, but he survived and will recover eventually. Elrond and Elladan are convinced Elros is immortal.”
Erestor nodded encouragingly, knowing Glorfindel wasn’t finished yet. The blond hadn’t even touched the real reason why he was this upset and he told himself to be patient. Glorfindel would tell him when the blond was ready.
“Elrond told me it was my fault that Elros was injured and he is correct. I should have made sure the sentries were sharp and alert.” He shook his head in self-loathing and gave Erestor a pleading look. “I have grown lax.”
Erestor determinedly shook his head and grabbed Glorfindel’s tunic, pulling him close until their faces were only inches away. “Elrond doubtlessly threw one of his famous tantrums, causing you to feel guilty when you have no real reason to take the blame.” His fingertips traced the blond’s strong jaw line. “You know as well as I do that Elrond will apologize for his behavior in the next few hours, wishing he had never said those words to you. He nearly lost his twin, Glorfindel, it made him emotional. But that doesn’t mean his words are true. As long as I can remember you have always tried your best to keep everyone safe and that didn’t change when you accepted the position of Elrond’s commanding officer. Rest your heart, my love. You aren’t to blame.”
/Such beautiful words, and exactly what I needed to hear./ Following his instincts, he touched his lips to Erestor’s for a tender kiss. Erestor sighed into his mouth and Glorfindel wrapped his arms around the dark-haired Elf. /If someone had told me I would ever go to Erestor for comfort, I would have declared them insane./
Erestor was deeply touched, feeling Glorfindel relax against him. He didn’t know what he had done to gain the blond’s trust, but apparently he had managed to do so. Although he was still rather weak, he managed to create a similarly firm hold on Glorfindel. Guiding the blond head onto his shoulder, he rubbed soothing circles on Glorfindel’s back through the fabric of his tunic. Stroking the golden hair with his other hand, he rocked Glorfindel ever so slightly. “You are a very brave warrior, do not ever believe differently. You died defending your loved ones and no one will ever question your honor.”
Glorfindel briefly shivered. “The way you said that made it sound like you saw me die.”
Swallowing hard, Erestor cursed his own stupidity for letting that one slip. When Glorfindel raised his head to make eye contact, he quickly averted his gaze.
“Erestor?” Glorfindel frowned; he couldn’t possible be right! “Did you witness my death?”
“We shouldn’t discuss this now when you are already upset,” said Erestor, trying to avoid answering that question.
But Erestor’s answer told Glorfindel what he had wanted to know. “You did!” Feeling Erestor flinch against him, he raised one hand and cupped the other Elf’s chin in his palm. “Did we know one another in Gondolin? And if we did, why can’t I remember you?” Aiya, he had lost part of his memory... Had he forgotten they had met before? “Erestor?”
Erestor tried turning away, but Glorfindel wouldn’t let him. “Don’t ask me that question.”
That answer only served to feed Glorfindel’s curiosity. “We did meet before, but you feel uncomfortable, remembering it. Why is that?” And why did he suddenly no longer want to find out? Something told him he should never have asked that question, but it was too late now. “What did I do? How did I wrong you?”
Erestor swallowed hard. “I would rather not discuss this.”
”I insist,” said Glorfindel firmly. Caressing Erestor’s face, he searched the dark eyes that now hesitantly fastened on him. “How did I hurt you?”
“You made fun of my love for you. You rejected me, laughing at me for falling in love with you.”
Glorfindel flinched and shivers ran down his spine at hearing old and never dealt with pain in Erestor’s voice. If only he could remember! “I have no memories of doing that to you! Please tell me more so I can understand and may apologize for my past behavior.”
“Do you really want to learn more?” Erestor frowned; that wasn’t the reaction he had expected!
“Yes, tell me more.” Glorfindel firmly held Erestor’s gaze and refused to let the raven-haired Elf pull away when the advisor tried to increase the distance between them.
“Just remember you wanted to know.” Erestor sighed, recalling the past, which was still vivid in every little detail in his memory. “I was Turgon’s chief advisor and the first time I met you I fell madly in love with you. I was new at Turgon’s court and didn’t yet know that you were in love with Ecthelion; otherwise I would have smothered my feelings for you. But by the time I found out about your lover it was already too late and I had made a fool of myself.”
“In what way?” His memories were slowly returning, showing him a more naive and open Erestor, who always sat at his King’s right, ready to offer his council.
“I declared my love for you and asked permission to court you.” Pausing, Erestor bit his bottom lip nervously. “You laughed at me and told me to find someone more ‘compatible’ with me, as you were a warrior and I an advisor. Ecthelion had been waiting in the corridor and I could hear you ridicule my admission from the antechamber. That hurt.”
Glorfindel, who had already felt guilty to begin with, now plunged even deeper into darkness. “I am so sorry. I never wanted… Don’t remember…” He averted his eyes and released Erestor from his hold. “I wish I could take those words back.”
Erestor gave the blond a moment to compose himself, but when Glorfindel seemed unable to gather his senses, he reached out and buried the Elda in a warm hug. “I already gathered you had forgotten about that incident.”
“And *that* is why you kept your distance when I joined Elrond’s household.”
“You rejected me once. I assumed nothing had changed and that you would do it again. I wasn’t strong enough to try again.” This time it was Erestor who raised Glorfindel’s face to look into the azure eyes. “Imagine my surprise when you said you liked being kissed by me and that you wanted to continue kissing.”
“I understand now.” Glorfindel still felt guilty and miserable for hurting Erestor in the past, even when he didn’t remember doing it, but the expression in those dark eyes spoke of hope and love, reassuring him that he still had a chance to redeem himself. “And thank you for giving me this chance to prove myself to you.”
Erestor nodded once, still embracing Glorfindel tightly. “My timing could have been better. You already felt miserable and I added to your dark feelings.”
“I pressured you into telling me,” said Glorfindel softly.
“Maybe it is good that we got this out in the open at this early stage of our… relationship.” Erestor still wasn’t sure what to call their beginning friendship. He did feel it would be best for them to become friends first, before taking the step to become lovers. But was that still possible? They had already kissed and he had admitted he loved the blond, whilst Glorfindel had revealed none of his feelings for him – provided the Elda held any affection for him.
“Thank you for telling me,” whispered Glorfindel eventually. Running his fingers through Erestor’s long hair, he was determined to make it up to the raven-haired Elf for the hurts he had caused in the past. “May I kiss you again?”
Erestor blushed. “Yes, but this still feels unreal.”
Glorfindel decided they had talked more than enough. It was time to kiss his new beloved and to make Erestor forget how much he had been hurt in the past. Leaning in closer, he claimed Erestor’s sweet lips, placing every ounce of affection into that one, passionate kiss, hoping it would drive away the memories that still haunted the dark-haired Elf.
“Glorfindel?” Elrond entered hesitantly, surprised to find the blond in bed with Erestor. Elladan had directed him here when he had found the Elda’s quarters empty. Apparently Glorfindel and Erestor had dealt with whatever had made them fight in the past. “May I enter?”
Glorfindel was careful not to move now that Erestor was sound asleep, as it had taken the still recovering Elf some time to drift off into reverie. “As long as you speak softly you are welcome. I don’t want him to wake up.”
Elrond soundlessly crossed the room and sat down on a chair next to the bed. “I must admit I am flabbergasted at seeing you holding Erestor in your arms.”
“We talked,” mumbled Glorfindel, unwilling to explain further at this point.
Elrond got the hint and softly cleared his throat, feeling nervous as he always did after he had acted rashly. “I owe you an apology.” He had lost count of the many times he had apologized to Glorfindel for losing his temper during these last millennia. “It wasn’t your fault that Elros was attacked.”
“Thank you,” said Glorfindel softly, “But you were partly right. We need to make sure our sentries remain alert at all times. This time it was a Warg that reached the Last Homely House. The next time it could be Orcs if we don’t tighten our defenses. The attack on Elros should serve as a reminder for us to stay alert.”
“You are right,” said Elrond thoughtfully, wondering about the remarkably soft expression on Erestor’s face. He had seldom seen his chief advisor this much at ease! “He seems at peace in your arms, my friend.” Elrond was grateful that Glorfindel had let him off the hook so easily, not calling him on his temper tantrum and decided it was time to change their subject. “That does surprise me.”
“Believe me when I say I was stunned as well.” Glorfindel looked fondly at Erestor, who had snuggled even closer in his sleep. “He loves me.”
Elrond raised an elegantly carved eyebrow.
“He loves me,” repeated Glorfindel, wondering why he was confiding in Elrond after all. He hadn’t wanted to reveal this to his friend yet.
“He told you, then?”
Glorfindel stared at the half-Elf in shock. “You knew he had feelings for me?”
“I often advised him to tell you, but something kept him back.”
“I rejected him in the past,” whispered Glorfindel, shocked to learn that Elrond had known the entire time. Why had the half-Elf never told him about Erestor’s feelings? /But no, Elrond couldn’t do that for it meant betraying Erestor’s trust in him and he would never do that./
“When was that?” Elrond searched his mind, unable to remember such a moment.
“When we lived in Gondolin.”
Elrond frowned. “I must confess to feeling lost.”
“I once told you that I lost parts of my memory when I was reborn. Knowing Erestor lived at Turgon’s court was one of the things I forgot. I remember it now; remember him confessing his love for me and turning him away, ridiculing him for falling in love with me. I was head over heels in love with Ecthelion. I mistreated Erestor, making fun of him, but I was young and all I could think of was Ecthelion. I would never react like that again, but back then I did.”
“It would explain his reluctance to admit his feelings to you,” said Elrond, sighing. “And what will your next move be now that you know the truth?”
“I don’t know when or why it happened, but I do have feelings for him.” Hugging Erestor close, he smiled, hearing his lover’s pleased moan. “I want to make this work.”
“Then I wish you the best of luck,” said Elrond, rising from the chair. “And Glorfindel? I only lashed out at you because I am afraid to lose Elros again.”
“I know that,” said Glorfindel soothingly. “Why don’t you return to his side? I know you are eager to be with him.”
Elrond nodded once. “Thank you for being so understanding.” Softly, he walked toward the doorway and soundlessly closed the door behind him. Glorfindel was right; he did want to sit with Elros.
Now that they were alone again, Glorfindel pressed a kiss on top of Erestor’s head, which was tucked beneath his chin.
“See? I told you he would apologize,” mumbled Erestor in a sweet tone. He had woken during their conversation and had pretended he was still asleep. Hearing Glorfindel say that he wanted them to work out made him feel warm inside. Maybe there was hope for them yet.
“I thought you were asleep.”
“I woke up in the middle of your conversation.”
Glorfindel rubbed Erestor’s back beneath the blanket. “Now that you are awake, would you kiss me?”
“Always…” Raising his head from Glorfindel’s chest, Erestor eagerly complied.
“Erestor?” Elladan shuffled into the advisor’s rooms. A quick glance told him that Erestor was awake and regaining his mobility, as the elder Elf was flipping the pages of his book. “Am I interrupting your reading or can we talk?” Normally he would go to either his father or his brother, but Elrond was busy attending to Elros, and Elrohir had joined Glorfindel on today’s patrol.
Erestor looked up from his book and probed Elladan’s worried eyes. “Come closer and sit with me. Tell me what is troubling you.” Erestor signaled for Elladan to approach and he waited until the younger half-Elf had seated himself before he spoke again. “You look worried.”
“That is because I *am* worried!” Elladan wrung his hands, unable to hide his agitation. “Can I speak freely with you?”
Erestor nodded once. “Of course you can.” He wondered what had upset Elladan, who was normally very balanced and calm.
“’Tis my father and Elros… The way they look at each other.” Elladan hoped Erestor understood; then he didn’t have to spell it out to the older Elf.
“And how *do* they look at each other?” asked Erestor carefully, seeing how concerned Elladan was.
“’Tis the same way Ada looked at Nana. And Ata’da looks at Galadriel in that way…” His voice was barely audible when he added, “I don’t know what to think of that.”
Now Erestor understood. Cautiously, he gathered Elladan’s hand in his and reassuringly stroked the back. “I have known your father for many millennia. After I fled Gondolin I was assigned to teach Gil-galad. And later, Elros and Elrond joined us in Lindon.”
Surprised, Elladan raised an eyebrow. He hadn’t known Erestor had lived in Gondolin at one time! “You knew them both?”
“Yes, and even back then I wondered about the same thing. There is so much love and affection in their touches that I began to study them when they felt unwatched. I reached the conclusion that they were incredibly tight. The bond they share is quite unique, pen-neth. Not even Elrohir and you share such a tight connection.”
“So you think that I am right? That they… are in love?” Elladan expectantly looked at Erestor.
“That is a safe assumption to make.” Erestor studied Elladan extensively. “Is that the reason why you are this upset?
“I don’t know what to think of that,” admitted Elladan in a tiny voice.
Erestor nodded his head once. “You can either accept their love, or reject it. You have little say in their feelings. But consider this, Elladan, they have been apart for millennia and you see how they are when they are together. Do you really want to take that away from them? Only the Valar know where Elros’ fëa resided after his death and Elrond has resembled the walking dead since your mother sailed for Valinor. Don’t they deserve some happiness?”
“Your words are sound, Erestor.” Elladan nervously bit his bottom lip. “Would you council me in this matter?”
/Ah, he is slowly growing up,/ thought Erestor, pleased. Elladan used to be too stubborn to take his advice. “Give them time. Give them a chance to sort out their feelings. And if they do decide to love each other in that way try to accept that, for their love will enrich your life. Trust me on this.”
Elladan nodded. “When I told Elrohir about my suspicions, he dismissed them.”
“Elrohir hasn’t been around them much yet. Don’t fret about this, Elladan. I am certain everything will work out.”
Now that he had unburdened his heart, Elladan smiled at Erestor, deciding a change of subject was necessary. “And how do *you* fare, Erestor? I see you are already a bit more mobile? How is your coordination?”
“Poorly lacking,” said Erestor, frustrated, “but I am recovering.”
Unable to ignore his instincts, Elladan moved onto the side of the bed and helped Erestor to lean against him so he could examine the healing injury and the bruise that had formed on the back of the elder Elf’s head. “The swelling is going down. It is hard to believe, but the bruise was significantly larger when I first examined you.” Reassured that his charge was recovering satisfactorily, he lowered Erestor back into his comfortable pile of pillows. “And is Glorfindel still behaving?” Seeing a fierce blush on Erestor’s face surprised him and made him frown in puzzlement. “Erestor?”
“He is behaving.” Aiya, how was he going to tackle this one? Maybe it was best to remain quiet for now.
“Why are you blushing?” Throwing caution to the wind, Elladan spoke his mind. “I did notice the two of you were getting along better since ‘the incident’. Are you by any chance becoming friends?”
/Aiya, so much more than friends./ At least, Erestor hoped it was more than friendship. Well, Glorfindel had admitted to having feelings for him when Elrond had visited!
Elladan realized he had to stop asking questions, as he clearly saw Erestor’s discomfort. Something had changed between the two elder Elves – his former tutors. “Erestor, would you like to sit outside and breathe in the fresh air? You cannot be comfortable, being cooped up in here.”
“I would like to venture outside,” admitted Erestor slowly. “But I cannot walk unaided yet. I tried, but failed.”
“I can carry you to the great balcony… You know, the one where Ada likes to sit and read.”
Erestor gave Elladan a look filled with doubt. “I already hated the fact that Glorfindel had to carry me back to my quarters.”
“But think of the reward! You will sit in the sun and have your peace and quiet!” Elladan looked at Erestor hopefully. “Let me do this for you!”
Erestor – who had always found it hard to deny any of the twins – nodded eventually, giving his consent. “I will agree, as long as you don’t tell Glorfindel I had to be carried.”
“My lips are sealed,” promised Elladan smugly.
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