Chapter 1: Lost Lady Found
Looking back on it, the day was a perfectly ordinary one by all accounts. At least as ordinary as absolutely beautiful autumn days go. It was still warm, but with a chilly edge in the breeze, a telling precursor for the weather to come. It was one of Erestor's favourite kind of days, Glorfindel knew. Not much work was getting done around Imladris, and so he felt perfectly guilt-free in pulling her away from work drudgery and to the out of doors. The only difficulty was that he had no clue as to where, exactly, she was currently working. He looked at all her more common haunts- no Erestor.
Puzzled, he stood in the library looking as lost as he felt. Where on earth could she be? She couldn't have actually stopped for lunch like a sensible person would, could she? No. The sun would likely fall from the sky if that were to happen. Melpomaen approached him, looking mildly amused. Glorfindel wasn't.
"Are you looking for something, Lord Glorfindel?" Melpomaen asked solicitously, the very picture of helpfulness. Cheeky brat.
"I am certainly looking for some-ONE. Pray tell me good sir, where is Lady Erestor hiding away this bright fall morn?" It had become almost a game between them, as Erestor sought to perpetually overwork herself and Glorfindel had self-appointed to make sure she didn't. This led to Erestor hiding herself away in the strangest of places- he had found her last week in the back of the pantry, finishing a letter to Lord Celeborn whilst sitting among carrots and dried peas. Melpomaen was her loyal ally, finding it quite hilarious to keep Glorfindel guessing, or talking about inane topics in long-winded rants. He must be spending too much time with Lindir, was Glorfindel's thinking.
"Actually, she is not hiding away at all. There is very little to be done today, we are caught up and two weeks ahead in most everything. So she gave us the day off, well, considering almost no one else in Imladris is working. I am just looking through some books that Erestor and I were talking about translating-"
"A lovely attempt at misdirection, young one. Yet not quite good enough. Where is Erestor?" Glorfindel put on a serious face, which seemingly no longer affected Erestor's assistant. Apparently over-exposure decreased potency for these sorts of things. Melpomaen gave him a dubious look.
"I promise not to tell that you told, but I do wish to know where she disappeared off to," Glorfindel assured him. "Mostly to ensure that she has not locked herself away in her room to secretly finish some work or other that can definitely wait for worse weather." He gave a blinding smile, which worked better than the serious face.
"She went out to The Knoll to enjoy the day. She is not working, though. You will most likely still find her there, but I should tell you that she likes to spend these sorts of days by herself." And with that warning, Melpomaen disappeared among the library shelves, knowing full well that Glorfindel never went in without a guide. So…outside? Not working? Truly?
The Knoll was a lovely little green spot that overlooked a flowing stream that wended it's way through willow trees and flowering banks. To his knowledge, it was not a place that Erestor commonly visited and so he was mildly surprised to hear that she had gone there. Still, he had found it best to expect surprises when dealing with Erestor, and this one was hardly a great shock.
It truly was a lovely day, he thought to himself, and rather suited to Erestor. At first glance, it was merely a rather nice day to enjoy a few last bits of good weather before the winter hit. Looking closer, there were a thousand different things that made this day beautiful, things that might go unnoticed if one wasn't looking. Just like Erestor, who put up a façade and all too often no one looked beyond that.
Glorfindel stopped himself. Hmm, apparently this sort of weather made him very introspective and slightly sappy. Ah well.
Scanning The Knoll, he spotted someone lying in the green grass, one hand raised towards the sky as though directing the clouds. He grinned. This was something to see, and a side of Erestor that few others ever saw. He loved it. Walking closer, he saw the contented look on her face, as though everything in the world was just fine. He sat lay down beside her, not saying anything as he remembered Melpomaen's warning. If she truly didn't want his company then he wouldn't force it on her, but he wanted to let her know that he wasn't here to disturb her.
The raised hand stilled for a moment, waiting for him to interrupt, but when his silence continued it resumed tracing patterns through the winds and around the clouds. Eventually it slowed, and then stopped, and the hand fell. Glorfindel took it then, and traced patterns of his own with it, earning him an eye roll and a smile telling him she didn't really mind, and he was in no danger of being turned bright colours or the like.
"I assume Melpomaen told you?" It was Erestor who broke the silence, accepting him, and something inside of him relaxed.
"You can assume as you like, I promised not to tell," which was of course telling, but as she knew anyway it was rather a moot point. He stopped playing with her hand and just held it. Such a wonderful day. They were enjoying it together. Erestor was letting him encroach on her privacy. As much as they had become friends, and as much time as they had spent back when Erestor was recovering (from something that was his fault, his conscience reminded him), she was still a very private person. 'As much as I have given,' she had said, 'my privacy is one of the few things that is still mine'. And he let her have it, even though it meant that sometimes he felt rather left out of her world.
Still. After The Tea, when she had told him far more than she had intended, Erestor was more likely to confide in him than in anyone else. Except maybe that one elf in Lorien who she STILL would not talk about with him. And no, he was. NOT. Jealous. An absolutely ridiculous accusation, thank you very much.
Such a beautiful day, shared between just the two of them. It was significant, though of what he was not quite sure. And so he wondered.
Chapter 2: Coming Back to You
Erestor was most certainly, without a doubt, completely, definitely, not worried. And any worry that might have squeaked through her certainty was nothing more than common courtesy. This nonexistent worry had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Glorfindel was three days over due back to Imladris.
No, not worried. For all his pretend incompetency, he was completely and utterly capable of caring for himself and a few hundred others besides, there was nothing to be worried about. Not that she was, of course. The Great Idiot was fine and she wasn't worried in the slightest.
She was not worried when she asked Lord Elrond if he knew how close Glorfindel was to Imladris -before declaring that she was NOT worried and rushing out of the room before Elrond could answer her question.
Erestor was completely unconcerned when she found herself scanning the horizon for arrivals- it was a lovely view anyway, and one never knew when a contingent of dwarves or the like would be making their way to Imladris. It had absolutely nothing in common with Glorfindel's prolonged arrival.
The fact that she found herself sitting at the table the cook had declared 'theirs' in the kitchen, staring aimlessly at his seat was not worry or concern, and her inability to eat more than five bites of her lunch was simply due to not being hungry. Obviously.
Her distraction at not being worried about Him caused great frustration as she found herself incapable of doing anything productive, instead sitting listlessly and looking at the work that ought to be getting done but wasn't because Glorfindel the Twice Born to Annoy Her Idiot Balrog Slayer was intruding on her even when he wasn't actually there to do it. Well, when he did return he was going to get an earful from her, that was certain.
Melpomaen giving her a comforting pat on the arm coupled with a knowing look (who taught him that, anyway?) was almost the straw that broke the camel's back, but she didn't want to put the blame due Glorfindel on to Melpomaen, who was only trying to help. No, it was quite obvious who was to blame for this perpetual distraction. Honestly, what was he playing at?
Unbeknownst to Erestor, Lindir and Melpomaen were watching her wear a hole in the rug. Shaking their heads, they moved to allow the tea tray access. Erestor sat down to drink said tea, only to be up and moving before it was halfway done. Elrond joined their vigil from just outside her office door, raising an eyebrow in silent question. Alternately shaking their heads and making gestures of helplessness, Elrond shook his head slightly in frustration.
An elf accidentally shut a door too loudly, and Lindir made 'shushing' movements. Erestor was jumpy enough as it was. She was muttering to herself, and Lindir and Melpomaen were on the verge of flipping a coin to see who would try and get her to calm down. Honestly, she was going to wear herself out like this.
"What are we watching?" came a low voice behind them, a very familiar low voice, and Lindir was caught between smiling happiness, crying relief, and foot-stomping anger. A glance at Melpomaen told him it was a shared condition.
Without a word, three elves grabbed one wayward elf and thrust him into the room, closing the door and making good their escape. Honestly, Erestor had been acting like this for the past three days. They had kept watch and tried to make sure she didn't worry herself to death, now it was Glorfindel's turn to face the music. Hopefully he would still be in one piece by the time she was through with him, but if he wasn't- well, hazards of the job, of course.
Erestor was mildly surprised (not shocked to stillness, obviously. She was far more controlled than that) when Glorfindel was forcibly propelled through her office door, but took it in stride. Glorfindel appeared nervous for some reason. It was a very good reason, Erestor thought to herself.
"Greetings, my fair one. I have returned. I apologize for the delay, but-" and here Glorfindel was cut off. It was his turn to be shocked into stillness, and he made a very lovely statue impersonation as Erestor rushed up to him and hugged him. It was a very desperate hug and therefore a very tight one. Glorfindel finally seemed to return to his senses as he returned it though only for a moment, as Erestor's relief faded just enough for her to take a step back and punch him in the shoulder.
"My lady, why-"
"Lord Glorfindel you know exactly why. You sir, are three days overdue. And not a single word about it, no scouts sent ahead with explanations, nothing. Do you have any idea how worried I- ah, that is, Lord Elrond and Melpomaen were? Truly, you are without a doubt one of the most vexing people I have ever known!"
Glorfindel simply stood there, watching with wide eyes. A smile started- a very small one, but it grew very wide and managed to annoy his companion very much. She was angry with the brute, he wasn't supposed to smile like an idiot while she was angry with him!
"My dearest Erestor, I apologize most humbly." Erestor sniffed at this, and sat down to drink her now very cold tea. "Truly, I had no intention of vexing you, we merely ran into some lost travelers and had to move at a slower pace than intended." Erestor watched as big blue eyes somehow grew bigger and pleading. Far too much time around Melpomaen, she decided. "Please, forgive me?" And with him looking at her like that, there was absolutely no way that she couldn't. Glorfindel looked inordinately pleased, and not just about the matter being smoothed over which annoyed her very much.
"Good! I am most pleased that this little bit of unpleasantness is taken care of and we may now move on to the fact that I come bearing gifts." And truly, he brought out a few packages. Erestor shook her head.
"Honestly, that can wait. Have you eaten yet? You most certainly have not bathed or changed your clothes, I think my robes now need washing due to contact with yours. Come you ridiculous male, first things first and food and cleanliness most definitely come before gifts." And so, Erestor began leading Glorfindel through the halls, depositing him at his room and leaving to order some food.
It escaped her notice- though not Glorfindel's- that she held his hand the entire way to his room.
Chapter 3: The Reason
Lindir, Melpomaen, and Elrond breathed a sigh of relief as a much more relaxed Erestor could be seen walking the halls the next day. Indeed, the entire house seemed to be much more calm now that Erestor was peaceful once more. Lindir and Melpomaen both slept in and skipped work, while Lord Elrond found himself rearranging the duties for Glorfindel, ensuring that any trips in the foreseeable future would be much shorter or include Erestor. To be quite honest, Erestor was quite useless without Glorfindel, and the warrior was little better.
For everyone's sake, he certainly hoped that they figured things out soon or there would be little left of Imladris save for smoking rubble and goats.
Glorfindel hovered nervously outside of HER office. He only had one chance at this, and he didn't want to ruin this. This was a very delicate operation; one wrong move could bring all to despair and ashes. Taking a fortifying breath, he moved to enter her office and-
"What are you doing?"
Startled, Glorfindel spun around to find Erestor looking at him incredulously. He beat down the blush of embarrassment at having been caught off-guard, and nerves from his mission.
"Ah! Erestor! Just the elf I wanted to see!" He smiled too broadly, and Erestor took a wary step back.
"Of course. Please, Glorfindel, I do not have time for this today. Just tell me what the prank is the twins have set up this time and let me pass into my office. I am not in the mood for playing a ridiculous guessing game with you, I have enough work to keep me occupied until the end of time and it needs to be done by tonight, so if you will please excuse me…" She smoothed the front of her robes down in agitation and waited impatiently for Glorfindel to move aside. Said elf was rapidly losing his nerve. She was in a bad mood, perhaps later would suffice…
No. He needed to do this now, there was no later. If he dropped this on her at the absolute last second, things would only be far, far worse for him in the long run. He moved gallantly aside for her, at which she rolled her eyes and walked into her office- immediately ignoring him as she set to work. Glorfindel decided to let her settle a bit. Just because he wasn't going to put it off didn't mean he wanted to accomplish his mission without taking the immediate risks into consideration. This was a delicate situation, one that called for subtlety, a gentle touch as it were. Exercising the patience of an acorn becoming an oak tree, Glorfindel tried his best impersonation of an Ent.
Eventually, Erestor looked up at him.
"What are you still doing here, Glorfindel? I thought you had a dance to prepare for." Oh. Well, no avoiding the issue now, he supposed.
"Ah yes, that is actually what I came in here for." Erestor began to sharply tap her quill against the inkwell. Not a good sign. "You see, I do not…that is to say, I need, ah, something- rather, someone-"
"Oh, for the love of- Just get ON with it!" Quite. The Lady had spoken.
"Ineededsomeonetotaketothedan ceandiwaswonderingifyouwould gowithme".
Blink. Thump thump.
BlinkBlink. Thump thump, thump thump.
"I apologize, I am not fluent in Idiot Basic. I am afraid that you will have to repeat that in an intelligible language, Lord Glorfindel." As if saying it once wasn't hard enough!
"I need to take someone to the dance. I would like very much if you would perhaps go with me. It would be a great pleasure and honour if you did." The look on her face told Glorfindel that Erestor had understood him this time around. Although perhaps it also said that she would have preferred not to. Oh dear.
Well, it was too late to turn back now. Maybe a white flag would be acceptable? Was it appropriate to wave a white handkerchief in this situation, or did he need to find perhaps some blank parchment considering that it was Erestor?
Her question caught him off guard. Why? Couldn't she just either accept or refuse him in some sort of humiliating way?
"It is sort of a tradition and required of me by my position to-" Erestor wave his explanation off.
"That much is clear, Lord Obvious. What I am asking is more specifically 'why me?'." Oh. That was an even worse question.
"You see, Lady Erestor, I have been accompanied by a few other ladies throughout the centuries but they all seem to carry the thought that it means a sort of…attachment. That I will be courting them, pursuing them for marriage! If I had a horse for every lady who has misinterpreted what I intended to be friendly conversation as a marriage proposal, I would be able to give every rider in Rohan a new horse!" Glorfindel shuddered, and thought that Erestor looked vaguely sympathetic. Definitely a good sign in his favour.
"So, I thought that perhaps, if it would not be too grievous a burden for you, that you would perhaps deign to accompany me to the dance this evening." And having finally had his say, Glorfindel practically collapsed in his chair and awaited judgment.
It was with no small surprise that he heard laughter. Laughter? Erestor was laughing! Unsure whether or not this was a good sign, Glorfindel leaned forward a bit.
"Erestor? Are you well?" She nodded her head, breathless, and settled herself down.
"Aye, Glorfindel, I am quite well, 'tis only that you- you-" and with that she started laughing again. Glorfindel sighed and waited it out. Surely his proposal (of a NOT marriage variety) wasn't THAT amusing, was it?
"I apologize, I was not laughing at you necessarily, only you must find it amusing also, that out of all the adoring, beautiful young maidens that you could have asked, you chose the one who has, in elven memory, worn a total of one dress, ever! AND that was to make the point that we were NOT 'together'. A point that will, I think, become pointless if I accompany you. And really, could you have chosen a less feminine female? If you need someone to compliment your appearance, Glorfindel, I think you came to the wrong person. I do not do' female' things. I was not even planning on going apart from a swift check to ensure that all was well."
Glorfindel shook his head at her. As excuses went, these were easier than an outright rejection.
"I care not. If I wanted someone only taking physical beauty into consideration then yes, you would be correct. But I would like to go tonight with someone who will not have me bored stiff by the second dance- and that is an all-time record." Erestor looked faintly amused again. Good.
"If you accompany me, then I have assurance of an interesting partner with conversational skills, the ability to not make a fool of themselves simply by opening their mouths, and I happen to remember that you looked lovely in that dress and that there were many who viewed you rather differently after our little escapade." There, beat THAT logic! Erestor tilted her head to the side. Another good sign, she was considering his words.
"True. You still have not convinced me though, as to why I should submit myself to the frustration that is a dress. Assuming of course, that I even have one suitable for tonight." Glorfindel smiled inwardly, but didn't let his elation show. He might actually convince her to do this!
"First, because you are not cruel enough to abandon me to the orc hordes-er, that is, many young, impressionable females, who will take advantage of my single state. With you, they will certainly think twice. Even dwarves are wary of crossing you, and wearing a dress will in no way hinder that ability. Second, I think people are getting too complacent about you, this will shock them again. And I do know that your lovely, stubborn seamstress has a wonderful dress prepared in the hope that you might just wear it. You would not want such a kind-hearted creature to lose hope, would you?" Erestor watched him, a calculating glint in her eye.
"I am almost convinced." She twirled her quill around in her hands, it was up to Glorfindel to make the last push to seal the deal.
"If it would help, I also happen to have a certain book that you will like but do not have. This book will be yours if you will come with me and dance at least five dances."
"Three and I will make sure that the twins do not enter the library for the next week- they plan on trying out a new prank and it involves dye, pine needles, and an unknown herb turned into some sort of vapour and rumoured to have…unwanted side effects."
"Done." Erestor smiled broadly as they shook hands and the book was arranged to be delivered when Glorfindel was to escort her from her rooms. Glorfindel could be mistaken for a star as he left Erestor's office, so bright was his countenance. He might actually not be bored to death for the entire evening! Erestor hadn't hexed him! His day was looking up.
Knocking on Erestor's door at the exact right time, he was stunned when she answered. Similar in design to the last dress worn in the early days of their friendship, the greens in this dress played on her eyes and the result was something fey and wild, just out of the woods. Her hair was mostly loose, only a few braids to keep it from her face, strung with beads like dewdrops. Erestor's smirk completed the look, and Glorfindel thought he saw a touch of satisfaction.
"I think if I told everyone that I was accompanied tonight by a servant of Yavanna or Nessa, no one would find it a lie. Are you trying to shock people to death?" Erestor gave him a coy smile.
"If I have to wear a dress, I am going to do it on my own terms. If that just to happens to involve having a bit of fun, all the better. Now, the book please." Glorfindel gave her the book, a very old, very rare collection of runes compiled in Doriath from elven clans long lost or hidden. Carefully placing it out of her cat's reach, Erestor gave her hand to Glorfindel and smiled. His heart thudded. "Let the fun begin."
Their entrance was likely the event of the evening. Everyone was interested to see just who, exactly, the Golden Lord of Gondolin had chosen to accompany him. Myriads of dejected (and jealous) maidens speculated. They were all wrong.
It was common knowledge that Erestor did not attend dances- if she was forced to, it was as an overseer, not participant. So when Glorfindel and his mystery chosen first came into sight, it could be excused that at first, none recognized her. Not until Lindir started laughing so hard he actually missed a note did the memory strike from the feast a few years ago and then- Oh, then the hall exploded in gossip.
Glorfindel knew that tomorrow, Erestor would be rather grumpy at him. Still, he knew she wanted the book as well as safety from the twins latest concoction so she couldn't really complain too much, now could she?
Besides, he thought to himself, she seemed pleased enough to dance with him for eight dances, so it obviously was not that great a burden, now was it? He still thought himself the better off in the deal, as he watched her smile (at him!) as they moved together across the dance floor. Yes, he thought himself very fortunate- both that he had managed to ask, and that she had accepted. She was also smiling quite a bit at him, and Glorfindel made a mental note to try and make it happen more often although he had a feeling it had more to do with shocking everyone and the book awaiting her in her quarters than the actual dancing.
Be that as it may, Glorfindel found himself very, very glad that he was Erestor's (best) friend.
Yavanna and Nessa: Two of the Valier, or Queens of the Valar. Yavanna is known as the patron of all things green, growing, and wild, and Nessa is a dancer who outpaces deer and loves the wild things of the woods.
As a general rule, Erestor did not like dressing up.
The very term itself involved the word 'dress' which was something that she avoided with a dedication few applied to anything. Still, she had made a few exceptions (the incredible awkward ball as a child) for good causes, and this definitely had potential to be one. The fact that her library was safe from whatever the twins had decided to concoct was a wonderful benefit, as was the book offered.
Dancing in and of itself was not too terribly trying, but it also implied that the more one danced, the more time one was spending A. In a dress and B. Around other elves who spent their time gawking. Not the most pleasant prospect in the world, but if the book was the one she thought it was, then it was more than worth a few hours of discomfort.
Besides, Glorfindel was right. Just because she didn't like to play dress up didn't mean that she couldn't…with a lot of help…and time…fine, so maybe it required the aid of the frustrating seamstress who insisted on using colour in dressing Erestor, but with the patience of the Valar on both sides, a compromise was made.
Erestor let her hair down, and all prospective dresses with pink were gone. The hair ornaments plus the time it took and the brightly coloured dresses left. Black and dark brown and grey dresses were left out of the choosing, and so there wasn't a stitch of lacy stuff in sight. Finally, as if she knew it all along, the insufferable Queen of All Things Sewn pulled out a dress that hadn't been in the main pile and pushed it at Erestor.
Initial reaction: Never. Nope. Was it too late to throw oneself in Mt. Doom, or would that be frowned upon in polite society?
Not one easily discouraged, Beldes continued. She made a very good argument, curses. Besides, if the entire point was to shock people, it simply would not do to commit halfway. Erestor wasn't one to do things only half-well, and that last tug at her professional pride did it.
So it was that Erestor found herself arrayed as a kind of fairy or fey creature of the woods. Beldes said she pulled it off convincingly and that Glorfindel would be stunned. With a wink, she then whisked herself out of the room and back to her Tower of Tailoring Torment- that was, her sewing rooms. Erestor sighed, and then smiled a little and twirled in the mirror. The dress was beautiful enough, she simply wasn't pleased to be the one styling it. Still, Beldes was known for giving her opinion, asked or not therefore if she said it looked fine on her, then it did.
She sat down for a moment and waited, Glorfindel was known for punctuality and so it proved again as a knock came from the door shortly after. Opening the door, she thought that the afternoon of torture might have been worth it. Glorfindel's reaction was priceless. He might not have noticed it, but he was speechless for a moment. And true, his compliment was over the top per standard, but the fact that he noticed the effect was pleasing.
Entering the festivities was another pleasing experience. Making Lindir miss a note for ANY reason was noteworthy, and Erestor added it to her mental list of crowning achievements. The gossip would be something to address in the morning, and she added that to her list of Things To Do. That little tidbit of fallout would be less fun to deal with, but the idea of a Twin Terror-Free Library and that wonderful, beautiful book made her raise her chin in sheer stubbornness.
There was also a small part of her that was glad that the people of Imladris were seeing her and Glorfindel together. Some of the younglings got a tad too…enamored with the legend and with the person there in reality, it was far too easy for such impressionable young minds to have unrealistic expectations. Glorfindel was her friend, and he was not a thing for them to objectify. He deserved better, and anyone hoping for a chance at his affections needed to see him as Glorfindel first, not only as a living legend from ages past. She began making a mental list of those who needed watching.
"What are you doing? Am I boring you?"
"You are not boring me." Glorfindel gave her a look as they moved about the dance floor.
"Then answer my first question. What are you doing? Or perhaps the better question would be, why are you glowering at those maidens?" Erestor frowned.
"I was not glowering." A look of disbelief was shot her way.
"Oh? Then please explain why, exactly, they have taken to hiding behind the pillar whenever you are turned their direction?" Erestor craned her neck, sure enough, at the sight of her glance they practically dove behind the pillar and sundry elves on the sidelines.
"I have no idea why those creatures are behaving in such a silly, ridiculous way," she answered with as much poise, confidence, and grace possible. Glorfindel raised an eyebrow at her. What? If the children were frightened then perhaps they shouldn't fight. She hadn't started it, they did.
"Erestor…" Glorfindel almost growled, before cracking up into a smile. "I should not be so pleased, but thank you. You do look after me in your own odd way, do you not?" Erestor was pleased that he had noticed.
"Yes, I do. It took you fairly long to notice though but better late than never I suppose, aye?" And Glorfindel smiled again, and Erestor couldn't help but smile back as Glorfindel chanced another glance at the hiding elves and laughed again.
"You are a beautiful friend in more than one way, m'dear." Erestor sighed and pinched his hand for a moment.
"Not 'your dear'," she muttered more out of habit than any actual hope of Glorfindel's reform.
"Of course not, dearest," he (at least he believed) very cleverly quipped back. Erestor sighed and shook her head, though she couldn't help the fond smile that she ensured Glorfindel did not see. Trust Glorfindel to somehow annoy her into a good mood. And to keep her mind off of the fact that she was wearing a dress.
Oh, and distract her from the follies of certain maidens-
He spun her into a position where she could no longer keep watch on them, giving wide-eyed honesty in return for her disgruntled eyebrow. The dance ended, and he escorted her to a small bench- out of the way, so that few could stare at them. Lindir, breaking his rather strict personal code for never leaving the musicians alone during an evening performance (things tended to break when he left), walked over to them, looking very pleased.
"Well, look at the topic of the evening! I am very, very pleased to see you two here together, it does the heart good. I hope you are quite well, Lord Glorfindel, it has been quite a while since we talked and I miss our conversations. Erestor, you look wonderful tonight and just between you, me, and the blonde one there, quite a number have been asking after you. Of course, you are currently with Glorfindel- Oh, do not give me that look dearest, I am not saying anything I should not, merely letting the masses run with their own assumptions. Besides, it will keep them from bothering you overmuch, will it not? Dear me, look at the time, I have to get back. Ah, and one last thing, I will be playing a certain favourite song of yours in a few moments- just thought you would like to know, Lord Glorfindel. Good eve to you both!"
And with that he was off, and Glorfindel looked fairly dizzy. It did appear that he had taken Lindir's parting advice to heart however, and he pulled Erestor back out for what could be described as a very romantic dance but of course it wasn't because they were Just Friends and Just Friends don't do romantic things together.
That settled, Erestor smiled at Glorfindel who was being so wondrously himself and wasn't that perfect?
A dance or two later, Erestor was sitting again, with Glorfindel, as they watched dancers go twirling by in a flurry of graceful colours. She pretended not to notice that he was holding her hand and he pretended not to notice as she leaned against his arm for support more than the bench backing.
"How do you plan on keeping the twins from the library?" Glorfindel smirked at this, and Erestor almost felt sorry for them.
"It involves a long and stressful week for our resident imps. It is perhaps best if you were kept unaware of the particulars."
"I see. Plausible deniability?"
"Plausible deniability." Erestor nodded at this, and they fell into agreeable silence. People were still 'inconspicuously' looking at them, but between Glorfindel's 'I'm an intimidating warrior don't mess with me' face and Erestor's look of 'Flee. Now.', it was kept to a minimum. Although it might have also had something to do with Erestor smiling. They seemed rather terrified of that for some reason.
"Erestor?" Glorfindel asked suddenly. She turned, sensing that he was more serious.
"Yes, Glorfindel?" He appeared slightly less nervous when she didn't immediately skewer him with sarcasm. It wasn't that she couldn't do it because he looked so adorable, she just wanted to keep him on his toes. It wouldn't do to be predictable, now would it?
"We are friends, correct?" A thousand different responses rose up, but Erestor silenced them.
"I count us so, yes." Glorfindel nodded at this.
"Good, good. I do as well, as does, I believe, the greater part of Imladris." A rush of satisfaction rose unbidden in Erestor's chest. Well, they certainly should. Not romantically or anything, but definitely friends. Perhaps part of her pleasure showed on her face, for Glorfindel continued on, apparently slightly encouraged.
"I do have to ask though, are we more than that?" Erestor froze while trying not to let it seem as though she did. What?
"I mean to say, yes, we are friends, but are we perhaps, very good friends? Best friends? Like Beleg and Túrin?" Something loosened, and Erestor could breathe again. She laughed.
"I hope not exactly like them, but close enough I suppose, aye." Glorfindel laughed as well, perhaps a tad overmuch but with a note of relief in it.
"Well, I thought it more appropriate than the example of Maedhros and Fingon or Túrin and Nellas." Erestor raised an eyebrow at him, making Glorfindel flinch a bit just like always. "Admittedly, perhaps not that much more appropriate but still. It is difficult as most friendships ended with either dramatic death, or love of the generally unrequited kind." Erestor patted his hand, making a conscious effort not to go too deeply into that last sentence.
"At least you tried," she comforted, and he smiled again- all worry of the conversation prior gone. Grasping her hand firmly, he pulled her up and for the first time Erestor felt 'swept' onto the dance floor.
Eventually, Glorfindel noted that Erestor's tolerance for gaiety, food, and fun, had just about reached the limit and they crept out of the crowd, still hand in hand. They walked a bit, Erestor not wanting to wear her dress longer than necessary but not yet ready to end…whatever this niceness was that she was feeling with Glorfindel. It was very comfortable, and she had noticed that there had been a growing number of uncomfortable incidents between them lately. It was disconcerting, and she wasn't sure what it meant.
"Oh!" And Glorfindel stopped suddenly, practically smacking his face with the palm of his hand and covering his (very, very blue) eyes. Erestor snorted at him.
"I am incredibly foolish." Erestor just managed to stop herself from rolling her eyes at him.
"Yes yes, please stop stating the obvious. But what is it that has brought the realization on this time?" Glorfindel shook his head, and reached into a pocket of his tunic and pulled out a small package.
"What is this?" Erestor asked as he handed it to her. It was nondescript, poorly wrapped (Glorfindel's doing, she'd recognize it anywhere) and marked with her name.
"Ah, this is a present. For you."
"Why?" Erestor could have smacked herself. Why? Typically, one said things along the lines of 'Thank you' and 'You shouldn't have!'. One did not question the purpose to which the gift was given. Curse her tongue and her sense of curiosity.
"I, you, well, it is typical I believe to give the lady who agreed to accompany you to a flower the dance. Or something." Erestor patted his arm sympathetically.
"Deep breaths, idiot. I know that speaking in coherent sentences containing multi-syllabic words can be difficult for you, I know it's a new thing, but calm down and think through what you want to say." The sarcasm worked to soothe him back into normalcy, and he chuckled.
"Quite. What I am attempting to say is that it is customary to gift your accompaniment with a flower or other small token. I thought that you would perhaps like this a tad more instead." Erestor patted his cheek.
"Good job." With that, she opened the package. It was a dried flower set in glass, and she loved it. Glorfindel looked both relieved and pleased.
They ended up spending a long time sitting together out in the garden, watching the stars.
Beldes: Translates to "Strong Woman". Rather fitting for the one elf who can out-stubborn Erestor.
Maedhros & Fingon: Epic bromance, rather depressing. Then again, most of the First Age is one depressing thing after another. Sheesh. From The Silmarillion, and if you haven't you should look into reading it. My advice though, is if the first part is hard/boring for you, skip it and go straight towards the elven drama. Then go back, and get a sense of backround.
Túrin, Beleg, and Nellas: One human and two elves. From The Silmarillion. Spoiler follows: Beleg rescued Túrin, gets killed by him for his troubles. Oops. Nellas loves Túrin, who ends up marrying someone else. Figures. Like I said, tons of unrequited love stories.
Chapter 6: Heartlines
Glorfindel sat and watched. He liked observing people, their mannerisms, facial expressions, what made them smile and laugh. Today he found himself observing Erestor quite closely. It was fascinating, and he was making a mental list of her different expressions and reactions. Her list was taking longer to compile than most as it was hard to catch an unguarded expression on her face, true emotions (unless influenced by excessive fatigue or drugged teas) tended to be fleeting if shown at all. This served her well as a diplomat, but it made things much harder when Glorfindel was trying to observe her true feelings on a subject. Because honestly, unless she was expressing her displeasure outright by, for example, hexing him to a violent shade of yellow, it was difficult to discern anything she was feeling.
And Glorfindel much preferred discovering her rising ire before she got to the hexing phase. Unless he was doing it simply to get a rise out of her (in which case the frustration was a show and part of the sport), Glorfindel preferred to stay within the natural colour range, thank you very much.
Which brought him back to his current mission, Erestor watching. At the moment, she was working and quite happily ignoring his existence. This didn't bother Glorfindel (much) because it granted him the opportunity to study her in a more natural setting. His close scrutiny was going unnoticed and as Erestor kept her quill moving gracefully across the page, Glorfindel watched the small things.
He had noticed that for Erestor, her expressions were microscopic compared to most others. So if a reaction was truly obvious, then Erestor was truly moved/upset/excited. Reading her was a great personal challenge, but he had grown better at it through the years. For example, when in thought Erestor had a habit of playing with whatever was at hand. The memorable moment of doing so with his hair in the Hall of Fire was one such example. As beautifully golden locks were not always readily available for use, Erestor usually ended up playing with her quill.
She tapped it against the side of the inkwell when frustrated and trying not to show it, and she tapped it against the top of the inkwell or any available stack of books or papers when trying to show a point. She jabbed her pointer finger against the desk when the opposite party finally understood what she was trying to say, and tapped it slowly, slowing down the angrier she got when they were being stupid or unreasonable.
In the rare times that Erestor was not directing her attention towards work and thinking of other things, she had a habit of playing with her braid, working her way up or down depending on her mood. When nervous or upset, she pulled and worried at the hems on her clothes.
Glorfindel had learned that the next step of agitation and a warning sign were her feet. She did not tap them per say, but shifted the toes across the floor in a back and forth motion- barely noticeable, as this was generally accompanied by a glare. The glares though were not fool-proof, as Erestor had much better control and awareness of her facial expressions than her other body language, and Glorfindel had seen times when her face was the picture of pleased politeness and but for his knowledge of her tells, would have believed that everything was quite well. As it was, it took about four cups of tea after the meeting before she calmed down sufficiently to discuss her extreme dislike for the people in question.
"Did I suddenly grow a third eye, Glorfindel?" Oh. Perhaps he had been staring a bit too long. Who could say? Erestor was very stareable…at….yes. Something like that.
"Ah, no, no you did not."
"Hmm. So why are you looking at me so intensely? You do realize you have been staring for almost an hour. Straight." Had he? He really hadn't noticed.
"Have I?" Erestor gritted her teeth. Hmm. Glorfindel wasn't sure if this was part of the performance, or if she truly did. Perhaps she both put on the irritation out of a subconscious imitation of her true frustrations?
"Yes. May I ask why, please?" Glorfindel shrugged and threw her a charming smile.
"Come, who would not desire to watch you at work? The way you sign documents is incredibly elegant." This earned him a snort. That was good, she was amused and curious, and only pretending to be annoyed.
"I see." Erestor sighed and waved her hand about. "But is there not something else that you could or should be doing?" Glorfindel ran through a mental checklist and came up with: 0.
"Nay, my dear lady-"
"NOT your dear-"
"There is nothing to distract me from my admiration of your fine self; nothing distracts my attention away from the gracefulness of your movements, the delicacy with which-"
"I said, not your dear anything and second of all-"
"The DELICACY with which you handle your assignments and the ease that proves your experienced hand. If only-"
"If only YOU would stop speaking for a moment, and second of all you are avoiding the question-"
"If only I could spend a century or even forever by your side you would at last come to understand that my admiration is genuine!"
Both stopped for a moment, frozen. Erestor unfroze herself first, with Glorfindel following shortly after.
"If I did not know you better Lord Glorfindel, I would think you had just asked for courting privileges." Glorfindel was scrambling inwardly for something to say.
"Yes. Good thing we are such good friends and understand that…that we are friends…" Glorfindel's mind had disappeared on him at a crucial moment and he hoped that he didn't say anything too incredibly stupid.
"Yes, it is a very good thing we are…ah, just friends?"Was that a question or a statement? Glorfindel couldn't say for sure, and decided to play it 'Better Safe Than Sorry and Singing Annoying Songs For the Next Month'.
"Best friends, of course. Obviously," he added with a genuine smile and a mildly awkward laugh. Still, the smile made Erestor look slightly less uneasy and that was enough. For now, anyway.
"But, back to my earlier question…" Question? What question was that? Unease zinged through Glorfindel's mind.
"Is there not anything or anywhere or anyone else who requires your presence and attention?" Oh, that. Was he disappointed or relieved? Never mind, that could be answered later. Meanwhile, Erestor was waiting for an answer.
"No, not at all. I am yours and solely yours for as long as you will have me. And longer, actually in all likelihood." Erestor (and Glorfindel) nearly faltered at that. Stupidstupidstupid brain! Still, Erestor shook her head and smiled the smile that wasn't supposed to be but she was too amused to really hid it and Glorfindel was once again pleased with himself.
"Stuck with you then, am I?" she asked, but the smile on her face now was as much a mask as her diplomatically blank one. This was a secretly serious question, the kind she asked just to test Glorfindel supposedly without his (though truly, perhaps without her) realization.
"Of course!" And with that, the odd and fairly uncomfortable mood in the room diminished.
"Frustration and annoyance is to be my daily lot, with over-exuberant exclamations of joy timed just to embarrass me, I guess?"
"And of course, a nanny to ensure I eat regularly as well as a mother-hen making sure I do not 'overwork' myself?"
"Quite right, fair lady."
She smiled broadly at him, and Glorfindel wondered if he perhaps needed Lord Elrond to ensure his good health for he felt strange.
"I suppose I will just have to make the best of it," she said.
Eavesdropping outside of her office, Melpomaen and Lindir groaned. Truly? He was so close and couldn't follow through? That was the last straw, Lindir decided. He disliked matchmaking as a general rule but it wasn't really matchmaking if the couple was all ready matched and just ignoring it. Looking at Melpomaen, a pact was silently formed between the two of them just in time for a frenzied leap from the door as it opened.
Melpomaen (who was strangely expert at it) was calmly looking over documents by the time Glorfindel and Erestor appeared in the doorway, while Lindir was caught crossways. He had only one hope- fake it. Distract and flee was the tactic he chose, and so he opened fire upon Glorfindel.
"Ah, Lord Glorfindel, greetings to you my good sir. I was truly not expecting to see you both here today, the weather is absolutely lovely and perfect for picnics. Why, I was just trying to coax young Melpomaen to join me but he insists that there is too much needing to be done. I of course think that he is determined to follow in your footsteps dear Erestor and overwork himself. Honestly, the two of you would think that you were made of stone instead of flesh and blood." Erestor looked at the minstrel carefully, then switched her gaze to Melpomaen.
"You are quite right, Lindir. A picnic is in order for today. Melpomaen, you should go with Lindir. I understand if he annoys you and so if you like you do not have to go but I think that it would do you good to leave the office for a while."
Poor Melpomaen looked caught, but smiled and acquiesced. With that tone, 'suggestions' were to be taken more like 'life or death commands'. Preferring to live, Melpomaen took the offered escape and fled.
Once safely out of Erestor's hearing, Lindir turned a determined face to his brother in arms.
"Those two are completely ridiculous."
"They deserve each other, do they not?"
"Yes. It is about time Erestor had someone determined and quite dedicated to keeping her happy." They sighed. It wouldn't be an easy task to get the two most stubborn and apparently determinedly oblivious people either side of the Isen to just admit their rather obvious feelings.
"This is going to be extremely difficult, I can just tell," Melpomaen moaned.
"Perhaps, my good elves, I could help?" Lindir turned and raised an eyebrow in surprise.
"Truly? You would help?" A sneaky smile.
It was a day that promised to be exciting one way or another. Quite frankly, Glorfindel would much rather have had a nice normal, boring day to fulfill his mission on but needs must. The trick, he told himself, was to be convincingly sincere and innocent, free from any hint of cooperation or allies. This was completely his idea, only his. Right.
As he drew closer to his destination he frowned. There was a sound coming from up ahead. Unless he was very mistaken, it sounded like someone was on the warpath and headed his way. He prepared to move out of the way when around the corner came-
He should have known it. Erestor.
Of course! Because he was cursed. That was all there was to it. Obviously. She was looking…rather angry. He mentally congratulated whoever it was that had managed such a thing so very early in the day. It wasn't past breakfast yet, and she all ready looked quite prepared to storm Angmar single-handedly. There was something just slightly off about her at the moment though, and he couldn't put his finger on it. She glared up at him.
"Look at this," she hissed at him, "just look at what those imbeciles have done!" she waved wildly, and it was impossible to tell what she was referring to by her gestures. Asking what it was that had her so upset didn't seem like the best life-choice for someone who wasn't feeling suicidal though, so Glorfindel checked her over to try and tell. Face- normal. Clothes- ah, she wasn't wearing her formal robes, but they were normal clothes in average colours and of correct size. Shoes- well, she was barefoot but holding a pair of shoes in one hand, and those had nothing wrong with them that he could see. Skin- regular coloration, though her face was slightly flushed in anger. Hair- still black. Wait, her hair…
"Uh, you realize that your hair is not braided, right?" Ooh, he'd just earned a top-level glare.
"Amazing powers of observation, Lord Obvious," she ground out in a voice that reminded him of a great many terrible things all rolled into one and embodied by the elf in front of him.
'I've faced balrog's and the Grinding Ice and Witch Kings, I can survive this,' he told himself, managing to do absolutely nothing by way of reassurance.
"Yes, and do you know who did it? Those two IMPS who named themselves my FRIENDS," she declared, raising her voice for the first time. He wasn't sure which was worse, the horrifying low voice, or the terrifying loud one. It was a toss-up he decided. Still, he was supposed to be a hero, right? So here went nothing.
"Ah, I know you are a little busy with your raging right now, but perhaps you could tell me what exactly it was that the two imps did?" He said it calmly and was quite proud of the fact that no, his voice did NOT tremble. Erestor gave him a hard look.
"They look all of my hair ties."
"The stole every last one of my hair ties. And string. Even ribbon. Anything they thought that I could use, they took!"
"I see." Glorfindel didn't, actually. Self-preservation had started to kick in at last though, and he took a half step away from the furious force of nature in front of him.
"I simply cannot believe that they did this! And no one that I know is answering their doors when I go to ask to borrow one." Oh they weren't? Glorfindel didn't have a clue as to why that might possibly be.
"If I may possibly ask a question that could quite possibly sound stupid," and he lowered his voice in case anyone was listening, "do you not have the ah, particular special ability to make it happen? If you could force a certain unnamed someone to wear a style that was not his usually mode of dress, would it be so terribly difficult to just make some hair ties?" Green eyes met his and he shivered. So, this was how he died. Again.
"No, idiot, of course not. It is the principle of the thing. They just came into my room-while I was busy washing- and just took whatever they wanted to." Glorfindel wasn't sure if he was supposed to respond to that in any way. What was the proper etiquette when speaking to someone on the warpath? He considered the possibility of looking for an etiquette book to aid him in navigation through these muddy waters. With the size of the library, it was quite possible. He would have to go ask Melpomaen after this.
"Ah, of course. But do tell me, dear lady, what your plans are then?"
"Defenestration, I think." Glorfindel ran that word through his head.
"Is that not when someone is thrown-"
"Out of a window? Why yes, yes it is." Erestor looked fairly pleased at the idea. It seemed as though it was now up to Glorfindel to keep two rather foolhardy young elves from being defenestrated. It was dangerous, and quite likely at risk of his own personal health and safety, but his job was the defense of Imladris and her occupants.
Somehow, when he had been sent back, the Valar had failed to inform him that he would be protecting people against a creature more intimidating than a Balrog, for all that she was shorter than one, or even himself.
"I see. Defenestration seems a hungry business though." Erestor gave him a Look. Still, she was indulging him, which was likely a good sign that talking with him was waning her anger. "And you know how I feel about you skipping meals. Have you had breakfast yet?" He knew very well that she had not- Erestor never ate breakfast unless he or someone else made her, and since those two someone elses had vanished it was a safe bet. He received a rather frightening glare that informed him that SHE knew that HE knew that she hadn't, and to get on with it.
"So, I say that you come along with me and we shall partake of a nice breakfast together and perhaps this whole thing will feel much better than it currently does. I find that I am in a better mood after I have some food in me, and I daresay that you do not prove different for all that you seem insistent upon starving yourself." He got a fierce look for his troubles, but she also seemed to be considering his suggestion. Good.
"And think on this, m'dear, that you are so distraught that you took off without your shoes and are still carrying them around. I think that taking a moment or two to settle yourself will aid your thought process and consideration of a proper punishment for the two aforementioned young ruffians, aye?" She eyed her shoes.
"They were for throwing, not wearing."
"I said, I meant to throw them at the two thieves, not wear them. I have a rather good aim, if you recall," she added smugly, and while Glorfindel winced in memory he also inwardly was incredibly relieved to see that she was not about to bite his head off.
"Doubtless, m'lady. Still, I think it would behoove you to come along-ah, fully dressed- and we shall see if the cook has saved you any of those apple pastries you like so much." Erestor's nose was scrunched a bit as she considered, but a nod and they were on their way, although she refused to put the shoes on 'in case she saw them and needed ammunition immediately'. Realizing that she was in a strange mood and determined not to become the point of her ire unless strictly necessary, he didn't push the point and they made it to the kitchen without incident. Erestor placed the shoes on the floor beside her chair, and Glorfindel pretended not to look at how nice her hair looked like that.
"So, where were you headed this morning, Glorfindel?" Came the query shortly after massive tea and pastry consumption.
"Ah, I was actually heading your way, to ask you something." Erestor tilted her head to let him know that she was listening and receptive. "Well, it just occurred to me that today is the anniversary of my arrival in Imladris all those years ago, and if I recall rightly, we did not start off very well," and he watched her reception to this carefully. She gave a short nod, and he continued.
"I just thought that perhaps we could sort of do that day over, and just…ah, meet each other for the first time. Again," he added helpfully, and he saw Erestor listening, waiting to be convinced. He was about to ask her to take a day off from work, and with or without Lord Elrond's insistence, she disliked doing such things. It was part of his latest campaign, to help her stop worrying quite so much about what duties there were when they weren't vital.
"So, I talked with Lord Elrond and he approved," and here was the tricky part. "and was rather glad to allow it and encouraged you to agree." Erestor gave him a "hurry up and get to the point, numbskull!" look and he obliged. "So I think that perhaps you and I should spend the day together. Just us, today, talking about…things…and ah, other kinds of…things," he finished lamely, remembering only now that he had been interrupted in his planning of this part of the offer. Erestor gave him a very blank look, and he wasn't sure what to make of it. Should he start running now, or would that just trigger her reflexes, like a cat?
"I would enjoy such a thing." Oh. What? Was that an agreement or not? Seeing his look, Erestor smirked and continued "So yes, I will spend the day with you." Really? REALLY? Really? Well, well. This was…less painful than he had feared.
"Truly." She smiled at his astonishment, and he laughed in relief. Telling that it was in relief, he was granted a knowing smirk but he couldn't quite care. This was wonderful.
"Good. Good! I am extremely pleased." She smiled at him, and everything in the world felt right. Shaking his head to clear it, he asked her to put her shoes on and she did. She would also have returned to her room to put on one of those all-black things but he refused and instead dragged her out to the garden as she was, all indulgent smiles and gleaming black hair. More than one person watched with a look of something akin to shock, especially those who had witnessed her tangent earlier today. Glorfindel considered…what? It slipped his mind, but that didn't matter so much. Erestor was with him, and not angry at him, and it was good.
He pulled her towards the rose bushes she loved, and there greeted her with a formal bow, introducing himself formally at first, and then as just Glorfindel. From there, he started a conversation as one might between two newly introduce people who would later become such very good friends.
"So, lady, may I ask what your favourite areas of Imladris are?" he asked as they took a turn around the garden. She patted his arm fondly.
"Since you ask, I must admit that there are several. One that few, if any, beside myself knows is a small overlook just East of the Homely House, and from there one may survey the whole valley without being observed. It has a small cave behind it, where a small pool has gathered and moss surrounded with small flowers that cannot bloom in the sunlight. They are a rare specimen of flowers that flourished before the sun and the moon hung in the sky.*" She smiled again (was that his fifth today? Thank the Valar!) and he was glad to have asked as he hadn't known about that one.
They went on in such a manner, and later that afternoon they climbed together to visit the cave.
"What led you to think of such a thing, Glorfindel?" she asked later, as they sat under a bush, hiding from…well, no one in particular. Just hiding together.
"I was actually reminded of the even last night," he responded carefully, "and then it just…came to me, I suppose," he finished a tad lamely, and Erestor caught it.
"Just came to you?" she asked skeptically. He nodded-just a tad too strongly.
"Exactly." Erestor shook her head in disbelief, but let it be at that.
"Well. It was really sweet," she told him, and he was glad. She was sitting rather closely to him, and leaned against his shoulder. "I just wanted to thank you for it. It was quite enjoyable- I was at no point bored out of my mind as I feared," she stated, and Glorfindel pretended offense and huffed while she laughed and held his hand.
"So, thank you," she said, and then so quickly he wondered at the event's occurrence, she leaned even closer and kissed his cheek. Before he could react, she was gone like a fey spirit at dawning.
"Oh," he said, and that was all there was to that.
"So, Operation: Tempting Death was a success?" This was greeted with a cheeky smile.
"It was a smashing success, if I say so myself Captain." A nod.
"Good. Then we will begin planning our next operation."
*WARNING: Silmarillion spoilers ahead!-The sun and the moon did not exist for a rather long time when the elves first dwelt in Arda and Valinor. They were created after the Two Trees in Valinor were destroyed by Morgoth. So I've taken a bit of liberty and decided that there were flowers that did not survive the sunlight except in places where they spread and were protected from the sun.
Chapter 8: World Without You
Today was not a day to disturb Erestor. She was thinking and remembering, or 'brooding' as Lindir proclaimed. Either way, it was a time when she recalled the past. This of course left her in a somewhat less-than-amiable mood. She completed her work quickly and then departed, taking the route least likely to have her meet with anyone. Concern from her current friends was all well and good, but sometimes she just needed to be left alone, to think upon her lost friends and family without the distraction of here and now. She scowled as footsteps again infringed upon her privacy. They were just passing by, but it still felt like an invasion. Once they had passed, she stood up and began to make her way out of the house. It felt like an opportune time to lose herself somewhere in the woods. She had not, however, counted on Glorfindel and his ability to sense when she was brooding over something.
He didn't say anything, just came up behind her and settled himself by her side as she walked even faster towards the woods. She wasn't sure how to get rid of him, as a witty banter session wasn't the most appealing possibility on her mind. It should have been more than obvious by now that she was not seeking his or anyone else's company, but it seemed as though he was determined to ignore that.
Walking a bit faster, she sighed in vexation, for there was Glorfindel, cheating with his much longer legs and keeping pace with her quite easily. Was it truly so difficult for idiots? She did NOT want the company right now, and needed more than aught else to be alone. Or as alone as she could be with her memories. It was times like this that the keenness of elven minds and memories was a great setback, but at the same time she could not find it in herself to want to forget the past. Her friends lived there, forever and always, trapped in perfect-diamond clarity.
Their names were jarring in this time and place. Ron. Hermione. Neville. Luna. Ginny. So odd but they fit a part of her so well. But it hurt! Sun and stars, did it hurt! And she was the only living soul to remember them here.
Ron- smiling as he beat her at chess for only about the hundredth time. Hermione scolding her for waiting too long before finishing a homework assignment. Hermione would likely keel over and fain if she could see her now, responsible and everything! Neville would never leave the garden. Did wrackspurts live here? Perhaps. And Ginny would march around, yelling willy-nilly at whoever earned her ire. There was a life here for Erestor, now, but she had desperately wanted to share a life with her friends, grow old together, have kids, and occasionally do completely irresponsible things just to keep from getting rusty. Escaping of course, by the skin of their teeth.
Erestor sighed and leaned- and found herself wondering when she had sat down, with Glorfindel next to her. She sighed and straightened, scooting just a bit farther from him.
"Erestor, are you well?" She snorted a bit, and found it a rather lacking in force. "I apologize. Here," he said, and held out to her a soft-blue handkerchief, "you can use this."
Erestor merely stared at him.
"You…you do realize that you are crying…" Erestor felt her face, and as he had said, there were tears. When had those gotten there? Stupid emotions. She reached out and took the handkerchief from Glorfindel, and wiped away the tears.
"Thank you," she muttered, and proceeded to tie the handkerchief into knots. Glorfindel simply sat patiently, a warm weight at her side. Was she supposed to say something? A long time passed, and still he was there. It looked to threaten rain, yet all he did was move closer and throw his cloak over her lap, ready to pull it up if needed.
Once she realized that he wasn't going to force her to share, it was a great deal easier to say.
"I miss my friends. My…my human friends, from when I was growing up. They were good friends," she added fiercely, and Glorfindel nodded in agreement. "Let there be no confusion about that. But our paths were different. More different than I could have ever imagined. And so they are dead, and mortal, and vanished to a different place and I am alive, and elven; and so even in death we would still be parted." She shook her head, feeling tight and constricted inside. There was no way she was going to cry in front of Glorfindel twice in the same day.
"Erestor," Glorfindel started, very quietly, "I am sorry. Tuor- well. It is only one mortal to many of yours, but he and I were friends." And Erestor listened. "So I know at least a little of what it means to care for someone who is so quickly and permanently gone. You need not fear judgment from me for caring about someone who is not elven." Something shifted inside, but Erestor couldn't analyze it at the moment. She did know that part of her wanted to kiss Glorfindel for saying the perfect thing.
"Thank you." She hesitated, then leaned against her companion. "It is just- if I had been given the choice, I do not think I would have chosen to live as an elf." There. It was out in the open. Glorfindel didn't say a word, just waited. So she continued. "Not that I dislike living here, in Imladris, with everyone. It is just that- well, I did not grow up living or thinking like an elf. I was human in almost every way except physically. Every dream I had for the future involved- ah, well, mortality." If he said something stupid and ruined the moment, she was going to hex him to Harad and back. It was rather fortunate that he said nothing.
"And yet I come here and I find myself liking things and almost…happy and then you stop being an absolute idiot and I find myself actually being happy and at peace but," and she sighed, gathering her words.
"But you feel guilty because it is without your friends who died. Your friends who were more like family, and whom you loved more like family. Your friends who were there for you until they died, while you live on. Erestor," and he turned her towards him and looked at her, solemn-eyed and intense enough to send shivers up and down, saying "your friends would want you to be happy. You said they were good friends, yes? You would want the same. They want you to find joy, and peace, and- love," he said, stumbling only slightly over the last word which they both ignored, "please do not forget that. Do not forget their concern for you. Can you honestly say that they would want you sad?" Erestor shook her head and smiled slightly, conceding his point.
"No. You are correct. It is sometimes hard, though. Because I do miss them very much." And Glorfindel gave her an awkward pat on the shoulder, and let them resume their former positions.
"I know." With that, Erestor and Glorfindel shared stories of friends dear but gone. When it started to rain, Glorfindel and Erestor held the cloak over their heads, sharing an impromptu fort until Elrond stomped out there, rain and all, and dragged them back inside like recalcitrant children. They were then force-fed tea and soup in front of a fire, wrapped in blankets and well-scolded.
"Honestly, Elrond, it is not that cold outside, and we are both adult elves, there is no reason to be so worried," Glorfindel had said, interrupting part five of lecture 7. It was a great tactical error, because Elrond decided that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure and added a rather nasty smelling herbal concoction to Glorfindel's dinner. Erestor wisely kept her opinions to herself. Elrond was a healer, and this was his way of showing that he cared, unnecessary or not. Besides, she added mentally, a little extra sympathy dessert never hurt anyone. This was decided as she ate a second slice of the most wonderful spice cake she had ever tasted.
As he left for his own rooms, Glorfindel tapped her shoulder and leaned in to whisper, "You can talk with me any time. I know what you mean," he said with a kind smile that made something in her tighten, and left.
And Erestor knew that he really did know. He did better than just know, he understood. Which made it just a little bit better.
Glorfindel was whistling as he headed towards Erestor's office. He had just gotten back from a nice, quiet patrol and was in a good mood. Yes, he was a little bit muddy, but that made crashing Erestor's office all the more fun. A boyish grin occupied his face as he opened the door, imagining her growing annoyed at his mess in her office.
It came as a terrible shock to find her office all ready occupied.
"Glorfindel! You are back early," she noted, and smiled. "Haldir has stopped by for a visit from Lothlórien," she said, and aforementioned elf nodded genially, though he seemed to be examining Glorfindel's muddy state of affairs.
"Greetings, Lord Glorfindel. I have heard much about you from Erestor's letters."
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the sentence that created an instant dislike within Glorfindel against one Marchwarden known as Haldir.
"Ah, I see. She rarely mentions you," Glorfindel replied. Haldir shrugged.
"Well, you know how it is. Friends can tell each other anything." A sharp glance from Haldir's grey eyes, and Glorfindel realized that a battle had begun.
Erestor, on the other hand, was not as oblivious to the tension in the room as she was to the romantic tension between herself and Glorfindel. This meant of course, that she felt duty-bound to intervene.
"Children," she cut in, "please cease and desist your bickering before I put you both in time-outs." Haldir and Glorfindel ceased glaring obviously at each other, but that did not keep either from thinking insults at each other. Erestor just sighed and Glorfindel noted that her finger was tapping rather rapidly on the desk. He decided to play it cool for now. Besides, Haldir lived in Lothlórien so he couldn't be a bother for too long, now could he?
Glorfindel wanted to eat his words.
He also wanted to force them down Haldir's throat, then tie that smug little tree-hugger and leave him for the wargs, trolls, and stone-giant target practice. Then drag him out from the Halls of Mandos and do it all over again. As though Glorfindel could help not knowing every intricacy of Silvan festivals! It wasn't his fault that the order of events was unknown to him, and Erestor hadn't minded his fumbles and questions so there was no reason for Haldir to act as though Glorfindel had killed his cat.
Personally, Glorfindel expected that it had more to do with the fact that Haldir had been too late to ask Erestor for the first dance, a privilege that Glorfindel had gotten, and managed to dance skillfully enough that Haldir was unable to cut in.
It had been two weeks, and still no sign of Haldir's departure. Apparently, Haldir was here to discuss border patrols between Lorien and Mirkwood. Why they needed to share this information with Imladris, Glorfindel couldn't say but Erestor found it important so he supposed there was a purpose in it somewhere. Still, that didn't mean that he liked the fact that Haldir was EVERYWHERE, particularly if Erestor was there. And Erestor was just letting him hang around, as though she liked the idiot!
Still, Glorfindel couldn't deny the fact that Erestor seemed to be…happy…with Haldir around. There was an easy camaraderie between them that annoyed him. How long had it taken him to get Erestor to look even half as comfortable around him? Or anyone, really. It had taken the concerted efforts of half of the Valley to get her to accept any form of help or care, and here she was just letting Haldir open doors for her, pour her tear 'Just the way she likes it' and even make. Her. Laugh!
Not that he could truly begrudge her any happiness, per say. He just begrudged the fact that it was with Haldir and not himself. Even Lindir and Melpomaen seemed to be just fine with Haldir's existence. Traitors.
Glorfindel was sitting in the Hall of Fire, stewing off in a corner. Erestor had tried to wave him over, but Haldir was there and there was only so much of that elf Glorfindel could handle in one day. He ignored her waving, and her look (disappointed?) and stalked over to where he could neither see nor hear them. Melpomaen joined him shortly.
"No. Please. I just cannot stand to be around such an aggravating, frustrating elf. There is no need to rub in my face his friendship with Erestor ever five minutes." Melpomaen nodded his head slowly.
"True. But perhaps it would be better to try and get along with him, considering the fact that Erestor does like him? I know that you have had the sole position of 'best friend' for a while now," well, what was THAT tone of voice about, anyway? "but you are not the only person that Erestor is friends with. You were fine with Lindir and I, and Lord Elrond, why is Haldir so different?" Before Glorfindel could answer, Melpomaen (the cheeky brat) hushed him. "Ah ah ah, don't answer me right now. Think about it just a bit. But!" And Melpomaen had a fair imitation of Erestor's 'I am dead serious' face, "I will get you some time alone with Erestor tomorrow, no Haldir in sight. Just try and think about why you are so bothered with Haldir. In the mean time, I am going to go and join Erestor, over with the fun elves." And with that, he left Glorfindel pouting by himself.
Still, something had been gained from the evening. At least he had a bit of tomorrow to look forward too.
"Erestor?" he called, letting her know that he was about to enter. He s armed with a new tea, which the kitchen staff assured him would delight Erestor, and a few pastries. He was fairly certain that Erestor had skipped her tea times the past few days because obviously that Other Elf wasn't as sensitive to the fact that Erestor needed to eat more. Well, that just left it up to Glorfindel to make up for that lack. He smiled at Erestor, who was scratching away at mad with her quill. She looked up, seeming fairly annoyed.
"Hmm? Oh, Glorfindel. Hello," and she gave him a slightly tired smile. Well, THAT wouldn't do either! He plunked a cup of tea in front of her (not on the parchment, he had learned that lesson) and a few pastries.
"Here. You need to take a break, m'dear. And no two ways about it! Besides, you always work better after your afternoon tea break, you know that." And she did, so with logic firmly on his side, Erestor had to give in.
"Thank you, Glorfindel." They sipped their tea together quietly, Glorfindel knowing from long experience that it was better to give her time to collect her thoughts.
"Glorfindel," she began, then hesitated. Glorfindel put on his best 'listening' face, mixed with a hint of 'understanding' and 'patience'. He made an encouraging motion with his hands. Bet Haldir never did that.
"See, I have noticed- actually, I believe that all of Imladris has noticed- that you and Haldir do not get along. At all. I had hoped that the two of you would be a touch more mature about this, but it appears that I was wrong." And Glorfindel was now holding a sinking feeling in his gut. "I just wanted two of the most important people in my life to get along, if only for my sake. Was that so difficult?" And Glorfindel began to feel rather horrible. Erestor sighed. "Please Glorfindel, please just- just try." And after that, how could he refuse?
His good intentions lasted about a half hour, when he returned from his visit with Erestor to find Haldir showing off in the practice arena.
"Oh, Lord Glorfindel, greetings!" A too-bright smile flashed at him, and Glorfindel fought to keep a neutral face.
"Greetings. A fine day for swordplay, is it not?" There. He was perfectly polite, even Erestor could find nothing to fault. Haldir seemed surprised by the amiable reply, but nodded agreeably.
"It is indeed. Perhaps we could spar together? Just a little unofficial Lothlórien versus Imladris?" Glorfindel's thoughts began moving double-time. Could he turn this down? It would probably be best. There was no need for this contest, Erestor would likely try to kill him if she ever found out about it, he was better than Haldir was anyway, it-
"Or perhaps I should ask someone else? It would, I suppose, be rather embarrassing if the esteemed Lord Glorfindel lost to a Galadhrim." That snuffed it.
"No, no, I accept. I was merely wondering what Lady Erestor would say." There! Let Haldir think on THAT a moment. It did indeed seem to stop him in his tracks, but only briefly.
"Ah. Well, I am sure she will understand when Elves have to stand up for their pride. Although I am sure that there are some among us who do not care so much about what My Lady says," he finished, and the steel blade under his words glinted sharply.
With that, all thoughts of getting along simply flew out of Glorfindel's head.
When asked later, Glorfindel had no actual memory of the fight with Haldir. There was a lot of sword swinging, he recalled, and parrying and the like. Onlookers reported that if Glorfindel looked any more fearsome when facing the Balrog, it was a wonder that the creature hadn't simply jumped off the cliff to flee him. What was clear was when, after delivering the winning blow and proclaiming victory for Imladris to a thundering cheer, Haldir had not let it go. As Glorfindel reached down, like a good sport, to pull Haldir from his prone position on the ground, Haldir had delivered a 'last word'.
"You may win in open battle, Vanyar," he hissed, which of course annoyed Glorfindel to no end. As if he could help having blonde hair! He still considered himself Noldor. "But mark my words, Erestor is not a mere prize to be won. She deserves a great deal better than you and I will make sure that you do not hurt her again." Glorfindel tried to control his temper, but was hard pressed. The more astute in the crowd began to break up the other watchers, sensing that the building storm was about to come to a head.
"If you were truly so concerned, you would have been here years earlier. As it is, you are decades late. Erestor and I have come to a peaceful understanding, and she is safe now, no thanks to you. I am her protector here, you are distant and redundant." Haldir clenched his fists.
"Redundant? Ha! Just because every elf here is blinded by your wonderful reputation does not mean that some cannot see past it. You are playing the long game, oh Glorious Glorfindel, and I will not let it happen!" He crossed his arms over his chest and gave Glorfindel a surveying look, as if once again finding him somewhat lacking. "Leave her be, Ancient One. Erestor needs not you or your 'companionship'." Glorfindel took a deep breath and turned to walk away, sheathing his sword as he did so.
"Running? I thought so. You are not worthy of Erestor or her trust. Cowards always do show their true colours when challenged-" before he could get any further, Glorfindel had turned back around and grabbed his collar. Haldir elbowed his sternum and pushed, but Glorfindel got a hold of Haldir's wrist and pulled him close, almost whispering his reply.
"I think that Erestor is capable of judging for herself who is trustworthy and who is not, although methinks that she did not consider your trustworthiness long enough, since you obviously cannot be bothered to bestir yourself from Lothlórien long enough to actually come and help her when she needed it the most!" Haldir shook his head.
"What on earth are you speaking off? If you did something-"
"Ha! You do not know, do you? After all the years, it was just too much and she began fading. Well, I say began, when I should say began again. You had YEARS in which to find something wrong, if you claim to be her friend! Some friend! It was I who discovered it, and it was I that she told, as it was I again who brought aid! Where were YOU?!"
Haldir looked as though the earth had shaken under his feet.
"What?" Glorfindel was starting to feel guilty. He somehow didn't think that Erestor would be too happy with him. Especially shouting out her business like that, but a quick glance told him that few were (at least obviously) paying attention to their…discussion.
"Aye. And I accept my part in the event. What I cannot accept is that the one person who claims such great friendship with her, would be so oblivious to-"
"How was I to know? We corresponded through letters. I live on the other side of the Misty Mountains! I am not a mind-reader." Glorfindel nodded. Haldir looked at Glorfindel again, but seemed to be seeing something different than before. "You helped her?"
"Aye. She was…a bit difficult to help." Haldir gave a rueful smile.
"She always has been, although I find she has mellowed a tad over the years." Mellowed? Dear Valar.
"I still do not like you, though," Haldir added. Glorfindel shrugged.
"You are not my favorite person, either." He considered the elf before him. "What are your intentions towards Erestor?" Haldir looked flummoxed.
"Intentions? Be her friend, catch up, annoy you. Why?"
"Because if you intend to court her, I will have you know that you will require my permission, Lindir's, Gildor's, Melpomaen's, and Lord Elrond's. There will also be a trial-by-fire courtesy of Lord Elrond's sons. And- what?" Haldir was laughing. Normally, aside from smug looks and smirks of various flavors, Haldir was about as emotional as a brick. To find him laughing so hard was disconcerting. Rather like Erestor when she had a 'mad and clever' look on her face, which was usually followed by green hair (that smoked and smelled like rotten eggs) and the like. Glorfindel decided to back up a step.
"What is so funny?" It took the Marchwarden a few minutes but he finally answered.
"You- you really- Oh my, you really do not know, do you?" Glorfindel was somewhere between annoyed and curious.
"Know what?" Haldir waved him off.
"No, no, no. This is for you to puzzle out. You poor, poor idiots," he said, shaking his head.
"I would agree," came a voice just behind Glorfindel. It was a voice that froze his blood.
"Erestor?" Funny, his voice hadn't come out quite that high-pitched since he was a child.
"Oh look, you know my name." A smile. A bad smile. A very, very, bad, scary, smile. "I don't suppose you two idiots could tell me why you looked to be trying to kill each other now, could you?"
He was dead. Dead! That's all there was to it. Now, all that was left was to beg for a swift death.
"Erestor, I know it looked rather bad but we can explain-" she held up her hand, silencing both Glorfindel and Haldir, who had been babbling in some dialect Glorfindel couldn't understand.
"Did I not ask you, Glorfindel, not an hour ago in my office, to try to get along with Haldir?" Glorfindel nodded. "And yet here you are, shirts torn, and I saw the entire battle so do not even TRY to sweet-talk me, Lord Glorfindel!" Feeling rather like a scolded child, he mumbled an apology.
"And you!" she whirled on Haldir, who looked like a bug in the last moment before it is pinned and mounted. "Did I not SPECIFICALLY ask you to stop antagonizing him? How hard is it to be polite? I always thought that basic courtesy was rather easy, but apparently this skills commonly utilized by ten year old children the world over is beyond your intelligence!" She breathed deeply, as a wind was picking up (just around the practice field they were standing in) strong enough to make the dust sting a bit.
"I thought that my friends would care enough about me to at least try to get along, but no! Apparently, I am not as important as your own egos. Well," and now Glorfindel wanted to jump off a cliff, because Erestor looked hurt more than angry and a peek at Haldir showed the same, "well then, tell me now and I will leave you two to figure it out. Because I will not be a 'prize to be won'." She looked at them, and Glorfindel cleared his throat.
"We- I mean, that is not fair. Because it was for you that I was fighting. I just wanted-"
"And that is exactly it! YOU just wanted. I just wanted you two to get along. YOU wanted to show Haldir up because YOU could not share my time with him, and YOU could not just tell me what you wanted." There was silence for a minute, and Glorfindel thought it over. What on earth was wrong with him?
"Erestor, I apologize to both you and Glorfindel." Both elves looked at Haldir. "I was purposefully antagonizing Glorfindel, and I am sorry for it. I just, I do not know if you can trust him." Erestor shook her head.
"Haldir, I told you before that it is my decision, and that you have not been here. We talked it out, and it was not an over-night or an easy thing. I know and appreciate that you are so concerned for me, but please believe me when I tell you that I trust Glorfindel now. Yes?" and she gave him a Puppy Dog Look of Power, and Glorfindel knew that he wouldn't have any problems with Haldir from now on. Haldir predictably and immediately melted.
"As you wish." Then the look was turned on him, and the saddest green eyes in existence gazed upon him in full force.
"I apologize to Haldir and to you. I will try to get on better with Haldir. I promise," he added, and Erestor gave them both a smile.
"Excellent! Just remember, if you two renege on your promise, I will turn you into tadpoles and give you to the schoolchildren for study. Understood? Then come, we are taking tea together and I will discuss with you some of my latest findings on the Runes I was working on last night, it's really rather fascinating…"
And so, Glorfindel decided that jealousy was better left to people who didn't have to risk the ire of an imaginative and magical Erestor.
"Ada?" Elrond look up at his son.
"You realize that you did not need to ask Haldir to come to Imladris, you could have just spoken with grandmother mind to mind." It was a statement, not a question. Elrond gave his eldest a pointed smile.
"Oh, yes. I realize." Elladan shook his head and laughed.
"They need a great deal of help, do they not?" Elrond sighed.
"Aye, they do. Are you volunteering?" Elladan grinned.
"I am indeed. As is Elrohir. What would you like us to do first?"
So, a lot of people have asked for a jealous Glorfindel vs. Haldir thing, and while at first I was like 'no, it's WAY overdone,' I came up with this idea and...it went from there. Plus, I did ask for the anniversary what people wanted, and I got a couple requests for this. Still working on featuring more Elrond et al, but it should be coming.
Note on the Vanyar/Noldor thing with Glorfindel: While there are a few of Vanyar descent who came to Middle Earth, Tolkien specifically stated that No Vanyar travelled with Feanor (or his extended family) or were involved in the Kinslayings. Now, many people call Glorfindel and Galadriel Vanyar in their fics due to their hair, which is technically true, but they associated with the Noldor. Just in case anyone was wondering.
Everything would have been about a thousand times easier if he just locked Erestor up in a tower, he could tell. Then, she would get the proper amount of sleep at night and food in the day, and a controlled amount of work. Of course, it would only be a short time before she probably tore the tower down and used it as Glorfindel's grave, but that didn't stop him from fantasizing about it.
As it was, Glorfindel realized that there was an added benefit, that it would also prevent threats to Erestor.
This threat came not in the form of Haldir, as Glorfindel had at first feared, but instead in the form of a rather intelligent scholar visiting from Lindon.
Tirnel- even the name made him want to throttle the smug paper-pusher. Unlike Erestor, Tirnel had little practical experience with weaponry or anything remotely *useful* outside of his ivory academic tower.
Tirnel was also extremely learned in all the areas that made Glorfindel's eyes start to glaze over when Erestor began speaking of them. She just laughed it off, and usually ended up explaining it from the basics, but with Tirnel, it was like watching a fast-paced duel with the way they exchanged information and ideas.
That would all be fine, as Glorfindel (learned his lesson) and did not begrudge Erestor the chance to speak of things she understood (and he didn't) with people who could keep pace. The people who could keep pace were few and far between anyway. So it would all be fine, except for the fact that Tirnel was interested in Erestor for more than academic reasons. He just knew it this time! He'd seen Haldir watching Tirnel closely as well, and Lindir, and Melpomaen, not to mention Elrohir and Elladan, even Elrond! So it wasn't just him this time. Except he had absolutely no idea how on earth he was supposed to get that creepy little library worm away from Erestor and keep him away, hopefully without being turned into an actual creepy little library worm.
Still, this time around he had allies who seemed to be as prepared to throttle Tirnel as he himself was. Although he wasn't as sure why they had such a vested interest in any of it, as it was only Glorfindel who was really being left out by it.
Well, not left out, not truly. Because Erestor still needed to be fed, and Glorfindel was still her best friend. Erestor was nothing if not extremely loyal, and more than once Glorfindel had been forced to hold back a victorious smirk after Tirnel was dismissed so that Erestor could spend time with Glorfindel, Haldir, or any other number of true friends. There did seem to be quite an increase in the friendly visits though, as if most of Imladris were trying to keep Tirnel and Erestor separated. Tirnel had found himself the unfortunate victim of the twins, who actually seemed to be using their powers for good this time around, and even using a bit of subtlety, never being caught and making sure to 'sympathize' with the poor, poor, scholar.
Still, something needed to be done. A straight-out warning shot might work, but Tirnel seemed to possess that perverseness commonly found in acquaintances of Erestor, to do the exact opposite of the thing you wish them to do. And again, Glorfindel wanted to speak to Erestor about it, but it seemed to be just a touch risky, considering his little tiff with Haldir not two weeks ago.
Yes, this was a very difficult situation indeed. And the worst of it was, Tirnel wasn't even stupid enough to have actually said anything outright insulting! Glorfindel (and the others) had no real reason to dislike him, but there it was.
"Glorfindel?" The addressed elf startled, having been very deep in his thoughts. Melpomaen was watching him, looking vaguely concerned.
"Oh, greetings Melpomaen. How may I help you?" Melpomaen tilted his head to the side, appearing to be considering his words carefully. Glorfindel patted the bench beside him and Melpomaen sat, tapping his foot against the ground.
"I was just wondering…what are your thoughts on Tirnel?" His thoughts? He would like to drag the obnoxious creature out by his hair, setting him to float down the Bruinen, and maybe allow the twins to practice their experiments on him.
"My thoughts? Why do you ask?" Melpomaen, who was clearly spending far too much time with Erestor and Elrond, fixed him with a 'how stupid are you' glare.
"My apologies, Melpomaen. I do not like him. He spends far too much time with Erestor, and I do not believe that his interest is entirely academic. And he is very rude! He almost made that young musician- what was her name?"
"Lînloth." Glorfindel stopped a moment to look at Melpomaen, who pretended not to blush.
"As you said. He almost made her cry over the 'deficiencies of her singing' and 'inability to tell one note from the other' with her harp." Glorfindel shook his head in annoyance.
"Lînloth is one of the most talented musicians either side of the Sea! Tirnel has no business saying anything degrading about her." Melpomaen was all righteous anger and indignation, which amused Glorfindel to no end. He wondered if Erestor knew about Melpomaen's fascination with the young singer.
"So he is unkind, and not just to Lînloth. Many of the scholars and servants are avoiding him now. Nor do I like how he looks at Erestor, it is very…disagreeable." Melpomaen nodded vigorously.
"Agreed. So you think that something must be done?" Glorfindel sighed.
"Yes, but after-"
"After your little scuffle with Haldir, you believe that you have lost credibility with Erestor?" Melpomaen finished. Glorfindel sniffed.
"You spend far too much time around your mentor, you are far too straightforward for your own good." Melpomaen smirked, and it was so like Erestor's that for a moment, Glorfindel wondered if his hair was about to change colour or disappear.
"Thank you, that is quite the compliment. But let me make this one point clear, Glorfindel. Aside from Lord Elrond, the only person Erestor is most likely to listen to is you. Haldir is a close third, but you are the one who has her trust at the moment, and you are the one that she will believe out of all of us. Myself, Haldir, and Lindir are all prepared to back you on this, and yes, Haldir doesagree with us." Glorfindel watched Melpomaen's face carefully. He seemed to be telling the truth.
"As you say, then. If she ends up angry with me though, I will blame it all on you."
"Fair. Although," said Melpomaen, standing up, "if you care to recall, I am far more likely to get off free and clear. It does not bother me. You, on the other hand, well, -I hope you like skirts." And with that, Melpomaen was off like a shot. Glorfindel sat, steaming.
"You had better hope that I do not tell Lînloth about your crush!" He called, several minutes after Melpomaen had disappeared from sight and hearing. Well, this was wonderful. Still-
Still. Erestor's wrath was preferable over risking Erestor being hurt, or having to deal with Tirnel for any longer than necessary.
He walked with a purpose towards Erestor's office, and was surprised (and yet somehow not) to find the others falling in behind him. Haldir, Melpomaen, Lindir, Elladan, Elrohir, and the fair young Lînloth (who, he noticed, was standing beside Melpomaen). It was quite the little war-band, and they were taking no prisoners.
Reaching the office, they heard Tirnel talking long before they opened the door. Erestor was sitting there, and Glorfindel recalled that after this he needed to force her to dinner.
"Erestor, we would like to talk with you about something," Glorfindel said, very bravely he thought. Erestor gave him a look that for once, he couldn't read. "I am sorry, but it needs to be now,"before I lose my nerve, he thought to himself, "and if Master Tirnel would pardon us, it should not take long." Tirnel however, did not move.
"I think not. I believe you are here for something that involves myself, and therefore I have a vested interest in the matter not to mention, a right to be here." This set Glorfindel's teeth on edge, but he bowed graciously. He also wondered how he had figured it out, but then realized that for someone who was clever enough to keep up with Erestor, it likely wasn't difficult.
"As you wish." Glorfindel turned towards Erestor, who had a very blank face. Wonderful. He could only hope that she wasn't angry. "Erestor, we realize that you and Master Tirnel have a great deal in common, but as your friends, we must protest." Haldir stepped forward.
"Glorfindel speaks for all of us, and we speak for many others. As knowledgeable as Master Tirnel is, he is quite honestly rude, superior, and at times quite mean to others." Lînloth nodded vigorously here, but did not speak, looking quite cowed by Tirnel's presence. Melpomaen reached for her hand, and moved closer.
Erestor said nothing, although she had little chance to for Tirnel decided that it was time to speak for himself.
"I must protest! You bring before me baseless accusations! I offered your little musician nothing but criticism, 'tis not my fault that she is oversensitive!" Melpomaen looked rather violent at that, and Glorfindel wondered if he would have to pull him off of Tirnel before the end.
"They are not baseless, each of us has either been the victim of your 'criticism' or witnessed it. Yes, you are quite clever with words, but your tone and intent was clear enough each time." Tirnel scoffed at this.
"I did not realize that the elves of Imladris- and Lórien- were so delicate! I beg your pardons," and standing, gave a mocking bow. Glorfindel was losing his temper.
"That is enough, all of you." Erestor stood now, and looked angry though Glorfindel was unsure of at whom.
"No! Listen, please, Erestor. You and I- we are equals," Tirnel began, and grabbed her hand. This appeared to be less welcome than it was with Melpomaen and Lînloth moments earlier. "We can do so much together, do you not see? They are jealous and are trying to come between us. I beg of you, do not let them. I have sought long and hard for someone who shares my passions, who is my equal in both physical and mental," Glorfindel assumed that by 'physical' he meant looks and not ability, in which Erestor far outstripped him. Although he thought that Erestor outstripped Tirnel in looks as well.
"You and I are meant for each other! Destined, really. There is no other choice, at least, no other wise choice." Tirnel smiled, and Glorfindel wanted to gag. Haldir didn't look much better. "My dearest Erestor," and Glorfindel could have broken his jaw for skewing his endearment for Erestor, "be my bride. I will take you away from these uncivilized creatures, to the city of Lindon. Why waste away in 'The Last Homely House'? Honestly, you are practically in the wilds. It is a terribly misuse of your talents to be with the likes of these. Please, come with me." And for one moment, Glorfindel thought that Erestor might say 'yes' and he almost died.
He came to his senses a moment later when the look of utter disgust arose on Erestor's face strongly enough that he almost stepped back.
"The likes of these? My friends, you mean? No. I will never marry you," and she reclaimed her hand, surreptitiously wiping it on her robes. "I enjoy where I am, living with the Loremaster Elrond. I am not destined for you, any more than you are destined for intelligence or wisdom merely because you have knowledge. Please, leave. I think we have nothing more to say to each other." Tirnel looked frozen for a moment, then gathered himself and swept out, like a scalded cat. He said nothing, merely glared at the occupants of the office as he passed. Erestor shook herself and frowned.
"What took you so long?"Now Glorfindel was confused.
"To get him away! Honestly, he was intolerable. He would not come out and say anything, merely hinted at it. And whenever I tried to bring it up, he took it as though I was flirting with him. Me! FLIRTING! I could not bring it up, and he would not bring it up, and so all I could do was hope that someone would get rid of him before I ended up breaking his face with a book." Glorfindel looked at Melpomaen, who looked at Haldir, who was still staring at Erestor.
"Oh," was the brilliant comment of Haldir's, and Erestor shook her head.
"Why did you not just ask us to get rid of him, then?" Asked Elladan. Erestor sighed.
"Because you all either refused to talk with me about him, or refused to talk with me period!" Glorfindel thought back, and decided that this idiocy shouldn't be remembered. Ever.
"Right. Well, now that this is all cleared up, Erestor, it is time for dinner!" Erestor gave another sigh, this time of weariness.
"As you wish. Just let me chance robes first, I have Tirnel slime on these."
Tirnel: Star Gazer
Linloth: Lake Blossom.
Erestor was nervous. This was not a normal state of affairs, and thus rather disagreeable. She had something to give to Glorfindel, but this was rather important. And special. She scowled at herself mentally. It was just Glorfindel, there was really no need to be feeling so worried about it. Telling herself that didn't do much for the fluttering in her chest and abdomen. She could face down a council full of stodgy old elves, charge into battle, and even keep Lindir calm during his centennial anxiety attacks that struck him whenever he played for the Founding of Imladris celebration.
This, however- this was beating her. And it was complete folly! He was a friend. She wanted to do this for him. There should be no extra emotional involvement except for the fact that there wasand even worse she wasn't sure why. She had mentioned it to Haldir, but he had only laughed at her a bit and claimed that he couldn't explain it to her before disappearing. Hopefully to laugh himself into a choking fit, the idiot.
Still, Erestor found herself taking an extremely nervous last few steps to Glorfindel's office. She hesitated, then reminded herself that she hadn't been a Gryffindor for nothing, and knocked. At Glorfindel's 'come in,' she entered and closed the door behind her.
"Erestor! Is there anything I can help you with? Is everything well?" Erestor hastened to reassure him.
"Yes, of course. I just had something for you. From me. As a thank-you of sorts." She handed it over to him, and watched his reaction carefully. She hadn't felt this nervous since her first quidditch match, she was sure. For a moment he stopped and stared.
"What is this?" Erestor nearly rolled her eyes. Scathing remarks she could do easily.
"It is a painting. Of your horse. I thought it was obvious, but then you are rather old, I imagine your mind slows down accordingly with time." Glorfindel snorted at her. "Really, there is no need for sound effects, Glorfindel. But I suppose if it helps you remember what it is you are looking at, then by all means continue your one-sided equestrian conversation." That earned her a full laugh.
"Erestor, my lovely, I never need fear for my ego exceeding its limits as you have designated yourself my personal ego stomper." He looked at her carefully, and she nearly squirmed under his gaze. Honestly, this was intolerable. "Try not to be so nervous, my dear. I love it. The artist is exceptionally talented- who did you ask to paint it?" Erestor felt her cheeks heating up as she answered.
"Does it really matter? Perhaps they would prefer to remain anonymous." And there Glorfindel went again, surveying something she wasn't aware she had.
"Erestor," and she refused to look at him directly, "did you paint this?"
Erestor could have died a thousand deaths right then, and counted it a blessing.
"Yes, I did. Wherefore ask?" And he was pulling her up from her seat all a sudden, and smiling gently at her, the one that made something inside twist in a way that felt like joy.
"Erestor, did I not just say that I thought it wonderful? I just want to thank you for it, you ridiculous, flighty creature." Erestor gave a superior sniff.
"Flighty? Birds now Glorfindel, truly- you could not end it at horses, could you?" Glorfindel smirked at her and- yep, there was that lurch inside again.
"Ah, but I only care for the finest birds. There are many to choose from, but if you care to recall, I only choose the best and most level-headed creatures." She shook her head at him.
"Your imagination does you credit, Glorfindel, as does your tendency to flatter in creative if strange ways. But never mind all that. I just wanted to thank you. I do notice you know, all the little things you do." This was hard, but it was right and important. "And…I wanted to tell you that you are my best friend. I mean, I know that we finally admitted that a while back but I need to tell you that you are very important to me. That I care for you, quite a lot. And I thank you for caring about me, too."
The room was very quiet, but it wasn't awkward- merely waiting. Glorfindel held her hand quite tightly- oh, apparently he had been holding it for a while now. She really needed to work on her observational skills. But he held it tightly with both hands, and then –blast it all! He smiled for a third time, his small smile that made her feel strange. She wondered if Elrond had ever studied the medical implications of Glorfindel's smiles, because she was feeling mighty fine, truth be told.
"Erestor, it is my pleasure." He sat her down again, gently, and went to replace one of his (quite frankly, ugly) fruit still-life's that some young art student had left and never reclaimed with Erestor's gift. It looked perfect for his office, and Glorfindel admired it.
"You paint quite well. When did you learn?" Erestor sighed deeply. Easier terrain to navigate by far. They just went from fighting a Boss back to instant K.O.-ing sycophants.
"Over the centuries. Time goes rather slowly for someone who was raised measuring time by mortal standards. After you hit your third or fourth century, the reality of just how long 'immortal' means tends to crash upon one's head rather starkly. I had to pick up something or go insane. I know quite a bit of this and that, but only ever really stayed with painting and music, though the latter not enough to suit Lindir. I-" They were interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Enter!" Elrond came through, along with a servant carting a tea tray.
"Greetings and good day to you two. How fare ye?" Glorfindel answered for both of them.
"Quite well, m'lord. Actually, Erestor just gifted me with a demonstration of her abilities- one lesser known than her word-smithing, I daresay. See here?" And promptly, proudly, displayed his newly acquired painting.
"I see. Erestor, it is good to see you painting again. It has been a while." Erestor ignored her blushing because obviously, it was an early warning of an impending fever and any moment Lord Elrond would begin dosing her with tea to stave off impending plague.
"I was unaware that you knew of it, My Lord." Elrond just looked at her over his tea cup.
"Erestor, do not forget that it is not only your job to know things that happen. Still, I am glad to see that you have taken it up again. You are quite skilled in the area, my dear." Erestor smiled from pleasure. Elrond had a keen eye for the artistic, and rarely complimented.
"Thank you." He reached over to pat her arm and force a strawberry topped biscuit on her.
"You are most welcome, but I would prefer to see more art come from you. Now eat your biscuit and drink your tea like a good little Seneschal." She scowled good naturedly, but obeyed. It was a very good baked good, and she accept his offer for seconds, which had the added benefit of making him beam approvingly at her. Glorfindel, who had had to fend for himself (that is to say, pour his own tea and fetch his own pastry), tried to snatch it before a Look of Doom came his way. He nearly blanched, and put a biscuit from his own plate onto Erestor's as a peace offering.
They spent a bit longer forcing Erestor to eat and talking before Lord Elrond departed with a promise that Erestor would join him for supper. She wasn't really sure how it had happened, but somewhere between guilt and an order and coercion from Glorfindel, they managed to rope her into it. Still, she was in a much more relaxed mood than she had been and so accepted her defeat with grace.
She and Glorfindel were alone in the office now, though. They chatted good naturedly for a while, but Erestor found that she didn't want to leave, and that Glorfindel didn't want to go either, making up topic after topic to elongate the conversation. She really need to be getting back to work, though and said so.
"I will see you tonight, though?" Glorfindel asked, and she stepped away from the door to assure him-
Which was when they struck. One twin slammed the window shut and locked from the outside, improvising with shutters that Erestor couldn't recall having been there before, and locking the door from the outside.
This would not have been a problem, except for the fact that Glorfindel was famous for leaving his office unlocked and forgetting his key. And true enough, there was no key in the office to set them free.
"We'll let you out in time for dinner!" Elladan called from the doorway and sped off. Erestor wondered if the door were booby trapped, but then realized that it couldn't be because she and Elrond had passed through, with her and Glorfindel sitting there watching the door for her impending leave-taking after that.
"I can pick locks," she volunteered, but Glorfindel waved her off.
"True, but would you really want to crush their feeble hopes?" It was a stretch, but it gave her an excuse to stay with him so she accepted.
"At least we have supplies," she added. Glorfindel agreed, and took another snack.
"It could be worse, both food-wise and in company. If I was forced to choose only one companion to take with me into solitude, it would be you, you realize," Glorfindel told her, all blue eyes and sincerity.
"Well, I would pick Beldes." Glorfindel stared a moment before laughing. "I apologize, it was too tempting. Truthfully, I would love to spend time with you, if forced to choose." There was a sense of waiting once again, and Erestor wasn't sure what to do with it.
"Erestor?" Glorfindel sounded extremely serious, and she sat next to him as she gave him her full attention.
"You- I- we…Huh," he said, running an agitated hand through his hair. It was beautiful hair too. But she waited patiently, focusing on his words and not his hair, or his smile, or anything else. "Erestor, I know we are friends, best friends, but sometimes…" And she waited, feeling suspended before the shock of reaching the floor. "Sometimes I think that my- my care is a bit more than strictly platonic," he choked out. Erestor twitched. Now wasn't the time for snark, but it was hard keeping the automatic switch in the 'off' position.
"What do you mean by this, Glorfindel? And I do not mean- I mean, I understand the implication. What I ask is, what are you meaning to do with this?" Glorfindel watched her carefully. He had been doing quite a bit of that recently, and it seemed that he could read her with a fair degree of accuracy.
"For now, I plan to keep on being your best friend. I mean to continue caring for you, come what may. Nothing needs to change if you do not want it to." Erestor sat, measuring her feelings but coming up with just shock.
"Please, I just do not want anything to change between us. Although I think the only thing that has changed between us is that now we acknowledge what the giant oliphaunt in the room is." Glorfindel looked relieved, which she wondered at.
"You do not wish to disassociate yourself?" Erestor barely gave it a thought, because the horrific cold that ran through at the mention nearly froze her to the bone.
"No! I want us to still be friends, no matter what. Idiot." Glorfindel smiled encouragingly at her.
"Erestor, relax please." But it was hard. "I have been thinking about it, why people kept laughing at me when I told them things I felt about you, and it was rather obvious. Erestor," and his stupid 'chill out' smile made her do so, "I practically admitted it not long ago. We can continue to pretend, nothing has to change I promise. We are still friends," and she could believe him this time.
"Good. Let us stay friends no matter what, aye?"
And they stayed there in silence until Elrond unlocked the door, holding hands all the while.
So...I just set up for the next phase in this chapter. Phew. And Beldes, for those wondering, is the rather bossy seamstress who forces Erestor to wear *Not*Black clothing items. Wee.
Something was wrong, Glorfindel could tell.
It was nothing more than a mere whisper when he first awoke early this morning, but now things were a bit more obvious.
Erestor was avoiding him. And he wasn't sure why. It had been rather subtle at first, but over the past three days, she had begun changing her schedule. She was never in her office anymore, always with someone else who then told him she was busy with someone else on the other side of Imladris…Glorfindel was sent on wild goose chases day after day.
Not today, though. Whatever was wrong, Glorfindel was determined to find out and resolve. This had something to do with their little mutual confession, he could discern that much at least. Her dedication to returning back to their previous non-communication was fairly baffling, though. If he could just speak with her for a moment, he was sure that they could resolve whatever was bothering her. He was NOT about to just let her disappear because of…something. Which would find out, quite soon.
Resolving to do something was only the start, however. Catching Erestor was proving increasingly difficult. He wasn't sure if she was using magic to help her stack the deck against him, or if he was just that easy to anticipate. Either way, he had been forced to call upon Elladan, Elrohir, and Melpomaen for help. He had spoken with Lindir, but by the time Lindir had finished his thousand word answer in 30 seconds, Glorfindel had lost track of 'yes' or 'no', and had nodded politely and left. This was why he needed Erestor! She could translate Lindir-speak for him.
So they had been tailing her since yesterday, but she hadn't even slept in her own quarters. Glorfindel had a feeling that a forced nap and tea-time were going to be required after (or even before) they worked everything out.
Because they were going to, one way or another. So it was rather important that they find Erestor. Because a frustrated or upset Erestor was bad enough, but an Erestor without sufficient sleep and sustenance was far, far worse.
It was Elrond in the end, who helped them catch her. It may or may not have involved making up a crisis between Lindon and some (nonexistent) Rebel Dwarves that sprung up overnight. Glorfindel did not think that it would fool Erestor, but the rumours were sufficiently vague yet alarming to catch her attention, and he thought that as she obviously wasn't really thinking things over regarding herself and Glorfindel, it was also likely that her usually pristine logic flow had been interrupted in other areas.
She did look rather angry when Elrond exited the room, leaving her alone with Glorfindel, who had burst in suddenly. So, the Handsome, Valiant, Balrog Slayer O' Imladris made sure to keep several steps and pieces of furniture between them in case he had a sudden urge to play hide-and-go-seek. Ducking, he found, was a rather useful life-skill to have when one interacted regularly with an incensed magic-wielding Erestor.
"Light grey clothes today, m'lady? Feeling a bit daring, are we?" He knew it was a risk, but such a comment would test the waters for him.
"Go away." Oh, that death-glare was a beauty. Too bad he'd all ready died once, and as such 'death' glares were rather wasted on him. He risked another look. Mostly wasted, anyway.
"No. Not until we talk this over- Erestor!" He ducked, narrowly missing a book flying by his head to thud heavily into the wall behind.
"Please, just tell me what it is that is upsetting you," he said, carefully standing up, arms raised and open to show he meant no harm. Erestor stared for a moment, as Glorfindel remained standing, tensed for the slightest twitch on her part that might mean an impending attack.
"Erestor," he continued in his calmest voice, one more commonly associated with soothing startled horses, "I just want to talk. Yes? If I have done something, or it someone else has said something, then I think that we both need to talk it out between us. Could we, please?" And he gave her that LOOK, the one he saved for special occasions where he looked as honest and pleading as an elf could physically seem. It got to her almost every time, and she slowly lowered her hand, which had been about to send of Valar-knew-what kind of spell at him.
"If you like, Lord Glorfindel," Erestor whispered carefully. Too carefully. Over enunciating was never a good sign. He was walking just this side of disaster, it told him. He sat down across the room from her, hands calmly on the armrests of his chair. Erestor- it was hard to read her at the moment.
Upset was a good start. Obvious, but at least it was a start. Anger was there, but so was hurt and fear and sorrow. Great. And he still had not a single clue as to what was bothering her.
"Glorfindel," Erestor began, and looked at him warily, as though he were an untamed animal of the carnivorous kind. "You and I…we find each other agreeable as something a bit…more than friends, correct?" Glorfindel nodded slowly. Where was this going?
"But for yourself, are you completely certain that this is your wish?" Had they suddenly switched languages? But there was something very important here, he could tell. Every inch of his 'something more than friend' spoke of tension. He had almost given a casual 'of course,' kind of answer, but then he practically felt the tension radiating from her and realized that right now was far too important for a careless answer.
"I am quite certain, Erestor." He held still and let her see the sincerity. She nodded, and about half of the pressure she was shivering with seemed to collapse away.
"Good, good." Glorfindel eyed her, and took a risk. He rose up and took a seat catty-corner from her, knees almost touching. Her mouth twitched to the side in that almost-smile she did when trying to keep him from realizing how happy she was with him at the moment.
"So, am I allowed to know why you started avoiding me? Why you doubted me again after everything? Or am I reading this wrongly?" He truly thought that they were past this, but apparently not.
"No, I- it is not that I doubted you, I promise. But people were talking again and…" She shrugged. Glorfindel sighed.
"And you decided to keep it all tucked up just like before. Erestor," he groaned. "This is hardly better than not trusting my word." But now he felt extremely guilty, seeing her so upset. This, as he recalled, wasn't the self-assured Erestor who kept Imladris running.
"I know, but I just needed to be certain. And even if this was the wrong way of doing things, I do feel more sure of things, now," and she half looked at him, part remorse and part tenacity. That at least was more like it.
"But you and I, Erestor. We, together, we need to talk these things over." Erestor blew a burst of air through pursed lips.
"Granted. That does not make it easy. One does not simply change over a thousand years of habit on the spot!" Glorfindel was rather fiercely informed. He had forgotten that bit. Still-
"I know, 'right' is not always the easy thing. And I need to work on…talking. With you. About…things. Emotion things," and she might well have said, 'there is pickle juice on my strawberry shortcake' with that tone. "I will try."
"That is all I wanted. Truly Erestor, I do not think that we will make anything between us work in an instant. It was months before we were friends. Relax, no one is testing or timing how well our relationship progresses." A loud thud on the other side of the study door made them turn.
"Who says?!"Came a muffled shout, quickly hushed by at least two different voices. Erestor pinched her nose, and Glorfindel shook his head.
"Ignoring the eavesdroppers," he continued, dropping his voice to ensure privacy, he was startled into a wild jump behind the couch when Erestor suddenly flung magic out.
"Glorfindel? You fool, why on earth are you hiding behind the couch?"
"I was just putting up a privacy barrier so that we can talk normally without people overhearing. It shows how out of it I was that I forgot." Oh. Trying to play it off like a cat who completelymeant to fall off the shelf it was sleeping on, he casually walked back around the furniture and took his seat.
"Of course. I was just practicing. For wargs! Tricky devils." Erestor snorted at him, which he was tempted to inform her wasn't very ladylike, but then he remembered who he was talking to and let it be.
"You were saying? That no one is timing us except apparently half of Imladris?" But she was throwing a knowing smirk at him, and everything was realigning itself. He had grown too used to having Erestor around and involved in his life, the loss had been…unsettling, to say the least.
"Even if they are, when have you ever done things according to any drumbeat but your own?"
"True, very true."
There was silence between them for a minute, very calm and comfortable.
"I am sorry, Glorfindel."
"I should have talked with you. I should not have avoided you. And I probably should not have booby-trapped your bathroom door."
"What?" That last one was new.
"Oh. Yes. The sour smell you cannot identify? That might have been my doing."
"You are determined to drive me insane, my lady."
"That would require having a mind to drive insane in the first place, Lord Glorfindel." Oomf.
"I set myself up for that one, I think." Erestor nodded sagely.
"Everything is well between us, though? You will come talk with me, I will listen, we can plan revenge on the gossips together and go down in the annals of history as the Chaos-Wrights of Imladris, etc.?" Erestor smiled at him.
"Of course," she answered.
"Good. Now come here, I have missed you these past days," and wrapped her up in a fierce embrace. He was glad to note that she no longer held herself stiff, as though unsure what to do with such blatant affection. Now was time for the next step in daring.
"Erestor? I love you." With that, he gave her their first kiss, watched her eyes widen in shock, then ran out the door with a wink. The fact that it was more tactical retreat than flirtatious teasing was readily ignored. He practically ran down the hall, making a mental note to use someone else's bathroom tonight.
"Glorfindel, you IDIOT! I LOVE YOU!" Followed him as he ran.
Someone pointed out that elves don't get 'sick' like humans do, and they are right. That is why Elrond fussing over Glorfindel and Erestor is so ironic/amusing, because it is completely unnecessary as they aren't at any real risk. So sorry if I didn't make that clear. So! Now that you know, go re-read the chapter and appreciate my brilliant, funny cleverness at full force.
Chapter 13: Total Eclipse of the Heart
Erestor was not amused.
Actually, this was a dangerous understatement. 'Not amused' is when someone tells a bad joke. 'Not amused' happens when someone tries to submit the wrong paper to her…five times in a row. 'Not amused' was not an accurate description of how she was currently feeling, and anyone making this error quite possibly would not live to make it again.
Where had the day gone wrong? Perhaps when one of her underlings (who was currently unidentified for his own safety) had left her window open after she left the office. It had stormed ferociously last night, and half of her papers and books were either soaked or had been flung by the winds onto the ground and rose bushes below. That wasn't even the first thing that had happened- she had been rudely awakened by Melpomaen rushing in to her room, screaming something about a 'declaration of war'.
This of course, had gotten her immediate attention. It had been a false alarm, but a less then pleasant way to start the day as it was a three hour process to sort it out. And that was before the rained-out office was discovered. The very soggy, wind-blown rained-out office. Elves fled her wrath in droves.
After that, it seemed as though everything-literally, everything- had gone wrong. Not a single elf had brought their brain to work with them today, experienced scribes making novice mistakes, and entire row of books found to have been misplaced AND mislabeled, the Quill, Ink, and Paste Incident (which she shuddered at), and the fussiest most aggravating merchants to ever set foot in Imladris had all flocked to her today to solve every issue. And of course, Glorfindel was busy out on the border and not due back for three more days, so she didn't even have someone to gripe with or drag her to lunch. Which she had forgotten to get. Again. After promising. It was…oh, it was past dinner time as well.
With a resounding sigh (she was a master of those) her head dropped forward on the desk. It was then she realized that there was still ink left over from the Incident earlier, and a brief check in her hand-held mirror-from Glorfindel- told her that yes, it was in fact smeared all over her nose and right cheek. She sighed again, grabbed a left-over cleaning cloth from The Incident and started scrubbing. Managing to get all but a faint shadow, she resigned herself to call it a night. This day needed to be over, and it needed to be over Right Now.
Forget dinner. There was an apple and some (by now very stale) breakfast toast in her room, and she could try to actually have meal tomorrow. When the day wasn't cursed. And so she trudged onwards towards her room, frustrated, tired, and extremely Not Amused.
She felt a small bubble of elation thrum through her as she finally turned the last corner. Safety was just a few steps away. Stopping short as she reached for the handle, she noticed a small package placed in front of the door. 'If this is a prank,' she thought to herself, 'then heads will roll'. Still, she picked it up and brought it into the room with her. Closing (and locking) the door behind her, she relaxed as she took off her shoes and her (rather inky and sticky) outer robes. Comfortable now, she carefully and slowly unwrapped the little package.
On reflection, perhaps she should have used magic to unwrap it, for as she did so it splatted all across the table and began dripping onto the carpet. Erestor resolved to kill the two sons of Elrond next opportunity. The only question was whether to use a slow-acting poison with no known cure or strangulation.
A knock at the door, and her mood plummeted again. For a moment, she wondered if perhaps she could pretend not to be in residence? Duty pulled her though, and so she moved to unlock and answer the door.
"Please Melpomaen, just tell me the bad news," she groaned. Melpomaen shrugged sheepishly.
"My apologies, I wish it was not. I just wanted to tell you that the merchants have agreed on nothing except that they require your help on settling this contract- and yes, they asked specifically for you after your help this afternoon." Erestor leaned against the doorframe. "Apparently you made quite the good impression."
"I see. Thank you for coming to tell me that. I suppose I must prepare for tomorrow." Melpomaen gave a sympathetic look before apologizing and walking away. Erestor closed the door and leaned against it with a weary sigh. She absently cleaned the sludge away before collapsing on the couch, Mîr joining her there, purring away as she made herself comfortable on Erestor's face. 'Great,' thought Erestor, 'even my cat is out to get me today'. She was only saved from slow suffocation when the fluffy creature jumped off and meowed a greeting.
"Please tell me you actually ate today." Erestor jumped up to find Glorfindel standing in the doorway, bearing food. She shrugged even as Glorfindel gave her that obnoxiously knowing look.
"You were not supposed to be back in Imladris for another three days, I was told," she said, her non-answer answering his question. Glorfindel shrugged back.
"I missed seeing the annoyed look on your face you get whenever I am around, and so came back to annoy you some more." Erestor snorted, and would have thrown a pillow except he had food and her cat (the traitor) was currently winding herself around Glorfindel's ankles. Then she caught Glorfindel's eye, and nearly (nearly) blushed. She had been able to avoid him after their…ah,unique confessions of mutual admiration. It was likely for the better, because it had given her time needed to accept that yes, it was true and yes, now everyone in Imladris knew.
That part was not as much fun, but a small part of her couldn't help but feel smug that Glorfindel was hers, not one of those wispy, silly little things that tittered around Glorfindel.
"So, all is well, then? For the most part, at least?" For a conversation starter with the person you loved, this one wasn't exactly ideal. But it was something, and she wasn't about to show just how flustered she was. She didn't get flustered. Male specimens didn't fluster her. She was the flusterer, not the flusteree.
And she wondered if the ink fumes were starting to affect her, because the only other options were A. Insanity and 2. Flusterment.
Apparently oblivious to her predicament, Glorfindel spoke blithely on. Stupid unaffected blonde warriors. He was just sitting there, next to her, like nothing had happened except for the fact that he was sitting rather close.
"As well as can be expected, at least. Nothing too earthshaking. How has your day been?" Erestor twitched a little and nearly whimpered.
"Oh. That terrible?" Erestor nodded.
"Ink. And War but Not War. And Rain. Lots and lots of stupid people. More ink. And paste. And Elrond's soon to be deceased sons. And many many needy stupid people." Glorfindel patted her head sympathetically. Usually it annoyed her, but this time she hid her face with a tea cup because she was almost blushing. This whole 'love' thing was wearing thin rather quickly. It needed to stop. But it also made her happy, which made her confused. And twitchy.
"I am sorry. I heard something about merchants?" Erestor groaned.
"Yes. Apparently, I am the only one in all of Arda and Valinor who can help them, or stand them. At any rate, they have asked for me specifically by name to work with them tomorrow. I would rather claw my eyes out, quite frankly." She crinkled her nose in distaste, and Glorfindel handed her a buttered roll, at which action she nearly blushed again. She was going to have a very stern talking to with herself later on this evening, because she had been friends with Glorfindel for a long time, it was not as though they had just met. And honestly, she was well over a thousand years old, she wasn't a young teenager anymore, scaring Ron away as she and Hermione compared boys. She remembered that time Neville had ended up on an accidental almost-date with her- Merlin and Morgana, that had been embarrassing.
She was centuries older now, and curses because she realized she had fallen hard and all those repressed emotions were taking revenge on her now that she had been honest. Honesty was NOT the best policy, and a pox on whoever had said that it was and oh, he was smiling at her because apparently she had said that past sentence out loud.
"I rather appreciate honesty, for my part," he told her, then winked at her. That cheeky -!
"But not bravery, I see. Remind me which one of us confessed and then ran away? Not to mention, it took you long enough to say it in the first place." Glorfindel sniffed delicately, and fussed over his tea. Erestor barely managed to keep from smacking him with a pillow.
"But at least I said it first."
"But you cannot say it again, I think." And he froze. Erestor savored her victory for 1.2 seconds before her brain caught up with her mouth. Could she say it again? But if she said it now, then wouldn't it be cheapened by the fact that they had been arguing about it?
They sat in a slightly awkward silence. The cat purred contentedly between them. Erestor gathered her courage in both hands, and refused to face him as she opened her mouth.
"I do love you."
The silence was unbearable, but she couldn't stand to see his face, either.
The problem was solved when he moved first, and hugged her, carefully not squishing the feline who refused to move. Quite the furry little chaperone.
"I know. And I love you." For a moment, she thought he might kiss her again, but then Mîr opened one eye and gave a warning glance, so he merely held on tighter for a moment. Then he drew apart, and handed a plate to her. "But you do not eat enough. It would not do for my future bride to die of starvation, now would it?" Erestor nearly choked on the tea she had sipped to calm her nerves.
"Who- I NEVER said-!" But turned to find him laughing at her, not out loud but with his eyes. She gave in to her instincts and smacked him (finally) solidly with a pillow. He really did laugh out loud then, and she ignored him in favor of food and tea.
Honestly, the fool of a warrior. She smiled into her tea cup. But her fool of a warrior.
"So, why exactly are you planning on killing Elladan and Elrohir, dearest?" Just like that, they were back to being friends (but more, too) and completely comfortable. If this was love, it was not quite as intolerable as she had thought it earlier.
"Oh, there was a package that I opened and it squished. And landed all over the room. Before you say anything, I know, I know. Magic. But I was tired and forgot." Glorfindel hmphed at her.
"As you say. Still, would you like me to help you with your revenge?"
"Revenge? Whatever do you mean? If there should be an incident involving the twins and some strangely and unfortunately unavoidably placed substance, I for one am quite certain that it will have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with me. A mere coincidence, is all." Glorfindel looked impressed.
"Love, you look wonderful when you are being sneaky." Love? Love. She liked the sound of that.
"But if someone were to help ensure that such an incident occurred, I might have a few suggestions as to how to carry it out."
Yes, she liked it a lot. It fit quite well, and she smiled at her…love.
Erestor groaned into her pillow. It had been a rather hectic week, and she did not appreciate being interrupted from her much needed rest.*
"What, Lindir? If it does not involve fire, flood, blood, or death, I do not want to hear about it."
"He's not Lindir, and there's not fire, flood or blood, but perhaps you would make an exception for us?" Erestor's eyes widened, and she turned to check her vision.
"Do you elves always sleep with your eyes open? Because it looks creepy."
"See? The expert witness agrees with me."
As a general rule, Elrohir was a fairly laid back elf. The only time it was dangerous to bother him was during his chosen time of rest, when he withdrew from everyone else, all the demands of being a son of Elrond, grandson of the Lord and Lady of Lothlorien, and professional irritant to most of Imladris. Only immediate family was allowed to (safely) interrupt this time, and only Elladan was ever allowed to intrude without being considered an intrusion.
This particular night, he had retreated early, Elladan following him. It had not been a very safe day, as someone (who could definitely never be proven to be Erestor or Glorfindel) had been pranking them All. Day. Long. Apparently, their joke from a few weeks earlier had been ill-timed, and after extensive planning the couple had returned the favor tenfold. Everything from missing weapons, missing clothing, to frozen soup and blueberry muffins that tasted like sawdust plagued them. Elladan and Elrohir had acknowledged turnabout as fair play, and taken it with good grace, but it had still been a rather long day.
So when someone began speaking to him, and interrupting his sanctum, he was fully ready to become very, very upset.
It was something of a bad shock to realize that the person he was speaking to was
Glowing (and not in an Elvish way)FloatingSee-throughHuman
He knew that spirits existed, of course, but they tended to be the cursed in life that followed past death sort of spirits. They fell under the category of Evil, and thus were never seen inside the borders of Imladris. The wisest thing to do under the circumstance would likely have been to grab a sword and run, but he sensed no malice. When he thought about it later, he could really only blame curiosity.
"Hello? Looks like we've got a rather thick one, Gred."
"I've noticed, Forge. His brother isn't much better."
Elrohir looked over at his brother, who was sitting on the bed, silent and gaping. Oh. He closed his mouth quickly, and sent a mental nudge at his brother, who did the same.
"Right. We've not got much time."
"Being dead and all that is-"
"Surprisingly busy. Schedules to keep-"
"You know, important type things."
Elrohir liked them. They weren't attacking, or trying to possess anybody, so he imagined that they weren't actually harmful. And this whole shared-speech trick was interesting, he and Elladan would have to try it sometime.
"So, why are you here, then?" The spirit closest to Elladan grinned widely.
"A beautiful question! We are here because-"
"A great friend of ours is rather infatuated-"
"With a certain blonde sword-swinger. So, being the wonderful-
"Adopted brothers that we are, we've come to ask a favor."
"And by ask, we really mean tell you."
"Exactly right." Elrohir shook his head.
"Wait, the only person we know who is 'infatuated' with a blonde warrior is Erestor," Elrohir interjected. Elladan nodded in agreement.
"Yes, that's her! It was a long time ago. Maybe she'll tell you one day. But for now, we just need you to keep an eye on her. Being dead is all well and good, but-"
"It makes the whole threatening thing a bit more difficult if you can't actually touch the people you're threatening, or anything around them."
"Besides, Death is a scary person."
"No sense of humor at all, let us tell you."
"So we won't be able to just pop in at any time in order to take or revenge, even if we could touch things, so-"
"We came to you, fellow followers of the ways of mischief-"
They both still wore bright smiles, but there was a very firm layer of steel beneath that told Elrohir their determination.
"So, you ask that we keep an eye out for Erestor-"
"And punish Glorfindel if he does anything untoward?"
"Ooh, very good! You catch hang of it quickly!" Elrohir wasn't sure if he meant the shared speech or the task at hand, but accepted the compliment as it was.
"As you wish," Elladan replied. "We would have done anyway, but we will do this for you."
"It almost doesn't even need to be said-"
"That you will have to be far more careful-"
"About how you treat her. We saw that last prank, so-"
"Consider this your warning, or-"
"We'll come back and find a way to make your lives miserable, Death-"
"Or no."The spirits began to waver, and the twins shrugged.
"Looks like our time is about up! Thanks for agreeing. The kid needs all the looking after she can get. Trouble magnet that one, I tell you." They were fading rapidly, when Elladan suddenly thought of something.
"Wait! What are your names? I mean, if Erestor asks, who should we say-"
"But really, we both know we're Gred-"
With that, they shimmered out of sight. Elladan blinked across the room at him, and Elrohir imagined he was doing much the same.
"Which one do you reckon was which?"
"Hi, baby." Erestor was frozen. What? She wasn't dead, was she? And even if she was, would she be able to see them? How did she die, anyway? She felt alive.
"Are you- I mean, am I…"
"No, you're still alive and we're still dead. We just came to see you. A special dispensation sort of thing."
"Why? I mean, not that I'm not happy to see you, but-"
"Call it a sort of thank-you from Death for destroying the Deathly Hollows. They'd caused more trouble for him over the years than you know, so someone finally fixing that problem was a big thing for him, and he hates being in anyone's debt."
"Exactly. So, we've come for a little visit. It's not for long, I'm sorry, but-" Erestor shook her head.
"No, no, I'm just happy to be able to see you. Even for a little while."
"That's my girl. Let's just hope that the others don't cause too much of a ruckus."
"Honestly, you sleep like a log. Some warrior you are! I could have killed you a dozen times over by now."
Glorfindel was not pleased with being rudely awakened by what appeared to be a very rude person. This was just not the proper way to greet someone in the middle of the night.
Then he realized that the person wasn't really a person.
"You!" He lunged for his sword, which he belatedly remembered was not anywhere in his room, but rather in the forge for repairs. Therefore, his hand seized empty air, and he swung directly through the spirit with nothing but a fist.
The spirit seemed rather unimpressed, and merely leaned casually against the wall. Almost. Glorfindel noted that part of the spirit's shoulder went through the wall, which really shouldn't happen it was too early why couldn't evil spirits attack when he was awake?
"Yes, me! And I have to say, your hair isn't the same beautiful colour as mine, but for a blonde, it has it's own attraction I suppose. What do you think?" Glorfindel was distressed to realize that this question was not actually addressed to him, but rather to another spirit who passed through the wall from his living area.
"Really? You're dead, and all you can do is compare hair?" The first spirit sniffed.
"Hair is important. Especially my hair. Considering how many girls fell for my hair, it should probably be counted as a deadly weapon." The other spirit smacked his head for that. Apparently spirits were NOT intangible to each other.
"Focus, Sirius! We are here for a reason, remember?" Spirit number one, or Sirius, rubbed his head and pouted.
"That hurts, Moony! Of course I remember." Spirit number two, or Moony, pinched the bridge of his nose, expressing his exasperation in a way that reminded him of someone familiar…
"Right! So, it has come to our attention that you are interested in a certain god-daughter of mine, and honorary niece of his," said Sirius, 'sitting' on the nightstand in what was a rather intimidating pose for someone dead.
"We've come-or been sent, rather- to make sure you understand the ramifications of this attachment. Rose, or Erestor, as I believe you know her, is rather important to the both of us."
"Exactly, Remus." Remus? "So, as two of her surrogate father-figures, we have come to ask what your intentions are, exactly, regarding our beloved little girl."
This had crossed from really odd to extremely bizarre in a rather short amount of time. Sirius was leveling a very dark glare at him, and for all his experiences, Glorfindel felt just a bit worried. Standing by the foot of the bed, Moony or Remus or whatever his name was, was smiling flatly at him, but with a feral light in his eyes that made him wish for his sword again.
Then, things started clicking.
"Wait, you mean- You are two of the humans Erestor told me about!" Sirius raised an eyebrow. Good grief, so it wasn't just Elrond she had gotten it from, but this man, too? And the nose-pinching thing-
"A bit thick, isn't he?"
"Yes, rather slow. He doesn't read much, either. His bookshelves are practically empty. I don't know if he'll be a good influence on her."
Things were starting to spiral badly out of control.
"No, wait! I do read, just, most of my books are in the office. And anyway, I do apologize if two spirits showing up in the middle of the night does not instantly make my higher brain functions return to full waking ability! I know that you were certainly not invited by me! Have you not heard of REST?" OH. Oh. Ooh, he just yelled at two of Erestor's Very Important People. This was probably Not Good.
"He has spunk, at least. I approve."
"All right then, we'll hear you out. Tell us, then, what your intentions towards Erestor are? How do you plan to take care of her? Keep her happy?"
Glorfindel felt a bit anxious, but cleared his throat. Honestly, Erestor was much more frightening. Especially angry. Which she would be with him if he messed this up. On that cheery note, he tried to answer.
"My intentions are to be her companion throughout the rest of existence, comfort her, protect her, and spend an inordinate amount of time reminding her to eat and stop working. I would like to keep her happy, but I cannot keep sorrow from ever befalling her." He knew from experience that sometimes, one elf or even an army of elves could not keep evil from working. "But I will do everything in my power to make sure that she is not alone, and to support her through whatever comes our way."
There was silence in the room, and he met Sirius' gaze evenly. Remus spoke up from the other side of the room.
"Then perhaps you would like to explain why, exactly, you spent centuries making her miserable."
Glorfindel wondered if Elrond would accept 'glared to death by an intangible spirit' as an acceptable excuse to be late to work in the morning.
"My companion here has a good point, Mister Elf. Sure, Rose has forgiven you, but she tends to forgive too easily, at least if it's a slight against herself. That's why people like Remus and I have to watch out for her. So, you made the life of my daughter-in-all-but-blood miserable and yet you claim friendship and even love from her now. I want you to explain to my complete satisfaction or so help me, spirit or not you will pay."
"I am sorry. And if you were watching, then you saw- you saw how I worked for it. Her trusting me was not an overnight event, you know." He sighed. "Even now, I sometimes see her looking at me, judging whether or not she can believe what it is I am telling her. I do understand that I hurt her, and if I could I would relive every moment and treat her better. But I cannot, and I am only now able to make sure I never do it again." Remus gave him an appraising look.
"So this is just pity then, and guilt for being wrong, not love?" Glorfindel shook his head vehemently.
"No, no! If guilt and pity was the total sum, I still would offer my friendship, or at least my help as penance, but I would never assume that, that loving me would be some sort of perfect apology or compensation for her past torment at my hand." He stopped for breath. "No. Any affection I feel towards Erestor came out of genuine admiration and not pity of any kind. And I think she would see through it, if that was all it was. She is rather sharp," he added, and Remus nodded.
"True. Sirius?" They looked at each other, and some kind of understanding passed between them.
"Well. You would not be my first choice, but you seem to mean well."
"Quite. Your answers tell me that you're earnest enough, and have only good intentions towards Rose. We'll have to trust you with her, but realize," and those eyes seemed to glow (more than the spirit was all ready glowing) again, hot and intense, "Do realize that she is the most important thing I can entrust you with. Mess up,"
"And you'll be known as the Thrice-Born Balrog slayer. 'Kay?" Sirius grinned at him in a manner reminiscent of a warg pouncing on prey.
"'Kay." Glorfindel wasn't sure what 'kay' meant, but figured that it was safer to agree with the protective spirit.
"Good! Glad we had this discussion, then. Which leads me to a very important question: What do you treat your hair with?" Remus sighed, and Glorfindel was forcefully reminded of Erestor.
"Come on, you idiot. You're dead, you don't technically have hair anymore."
"Sirius, don't make me get a newspaper."
"Fine. You are a cruel, heartless person, Moony."
"I aim to please."
Remus faded out of sight, but Sirius turned towards Glorfindel.
"Remember, you hurt my baby girl and so help me-"
"Sirius!" A hand smacked him out of nowhere and tugged his ear.
"Ow! Fine you bully, I'm coming, I'm coming."
Glorfindel sat for a moment, taking everything in. When he was certain he was alone, he fell back against the pillow.
"I need to stop eating so late at night."
"SIRIUS AND REMUS ARE WHERE?! Whose decision was that?!"
Relax, Rose, I'm sure Remus will keep Sirius from scaring him too much…and vice-versa. Besides, would you rather I did it?"Erestor groaned and rubbed her face.
"That's like asking if you would rather be drowned, beheaded, or dropped off a cliff. All are bad options leading to the exact same result." Lily laughed, and for a moment, Rose** just stopped to listen. It sounded like bells. It was beautiful, and Rose smiled.
"Don't worry, if Glorfindel really deserves you, then he'll pass whatever test those two put him through. Besides, can you really fault them?" Erestor grimaced a bit, but conceded.
"Fine. But if he's somehow scarred for life, I'm blaming you, dad."
"Lord Elrond, greetings! It is wonderful to finally meet you." Elrond turned to greet his visitor.
"Likewise, I am sure. Have a seat, if you wish." The spirit inclined his head.
"Thank you. I apologize for coming so late, but Death runs on a slightly different Time than the rest of the worlds, I'm afraid," he grinned apologetically. Elrond waved it away.
"Ah, 'tis no trouble at all. I have been expecting you for a while now. Actually, where is your companion?"
"Right here," Came a female voice, and Elrond turned to find a young female sitting directly on his left.
"I apologize for Luna, she's rather like Death, always running on her own Time."
"No need to apologize. Greetings, Lady." Luna smiled at him.
"Oh, I'm not a Lady, I'm just a lady. But you are a lord who is a Lord. And more importantly, you are a Lord who works with our friend."
"Erestor, you mean?" The male spirit nodded.
"Correct. You've done a great job with her."
Beside him, Luna nodded enthusiastically, her hair seeming to float without wind.
"We have little to tell you, except to keep it up. I just didn't want you to feel left out, what with everyone else being visited and the like."
"I see." He hoped that he wouldn't be treating a bunch of hysterical elves come morning.
"Oh, don't worry, they're being careful. Only the people who need to see them will see them," Luna told him, and again smiled at him. Her wide eyes were a tad disconcerting.
"That is good to know, at least."
"Good. If you could please just let Erestor know that she needn't worry about the Hummdingers, that the Snyllifs are taking care of the problem, I would be most grateful." Hummdingers. Snyllifs. Of course. He nodded a bit, and Luna clapped her hands together.
"Wonderful! Let's be off, Neville." Neville grinned and shook his head.
"Thanks for meeting with us, Lord Elrond. Just keep an eye on Rose, would you? She likes to take too much on herself."
"I had not noticed," Elrond said dryly, and Luna laughed.
Then, he was alone in the moonlight.
Erestor sniffed and jerked her head up.
"Ron? Hermione? Is that really-"
"Yep. You okay?" Hermione smacked the back of his head.
"Of course she is, she just likes crying for no good reason. Honestly, Ron," she griped at him, and Erestor couldn't help it. She laughed. Ron grinned at Hermione.
"See? I made her laugh. Don't smack me for no good reason."
"My smacking you was what made her laugh, honestly Ron."
Erestor felt incredibly happy. She couldn't help it.
She started crying again.
"So…What you are trying to tell me is that you are a human friend of Erestor's."
"And for whatever reason, Death let you come back for a night."
"So far so good."
"And so you and the others have taken this chance to visit friends she has now and tell them important things about her."
"Right in one!"
Lindir tapped his harp.
"So, tell me Ginny, do you know any good songs?"
"I'm not crying! These are just tears of…of frustration!" Erestor sniffed, and roughly wiped her face with a handkerchief.
"Right. Whatever. So, we heard you had a guy." Hermione leaned forward, and asked in a low voice, "Is he very fit?"
"No! No, no, no! This is not something I want to hear!" Hermione huffed at him.
"Honestly, Ron? He's in love with Erestor. I had to know. Is he?" Erestor grinned, and nodded.
"Yes, he is." Ron tried to bash his head against the bed post, but being intangible, went straight through the post, lost his balance (Erestor hadn't realized that ghosts had balance) and fell through the bed. Hermione rolled her eyes.
"How on earth did you make it past ten years old, Ron?" He shrugged.
"Good for you. Listen, Rose, we don't have long. We just wanted to let you know that you're being stupid. Don't feel guilty, honestly!"
"Yeah, mate, you weren't the one blasting Avada Kedavra's at us, so why worry?" She shook her head at him.
"No, don't you dare ignore us! Not after we came back from Death to tell you this. Listen to me, Rose Elizabeth Potter slash Erestor O' Imladris! You feel guilty for us one more day and so help me, I WILL tell everyone alive and dead about why you REALLY had to cut your hair that day in First Year."
"Wouldn't I? I'm dead, you can't even touch me." Erestor huffed.
"Please, Rose. You're our friend. More than that, you are alive. If Ron or I had lived, would you want either of us to feel guilty for living?" Stupid logical Hermione.
"No." It was as sullen as could be, but there it was.
"Exactly, no. It was never your fault. And if you live without living well, what was the point of anyone protecting you? Your only responsibility is to be as happy as you can."
"What she said." Hermione and Erestor turned to look at him.
"What?" Hermione sighed.
"Do you believe us?" Erestor thought for a moment, and felt something heavy roll from her shoulders.
"I think I just might."
Two glowing eyes stared at each other in the night. One came from a feline, tail curled around her feet, silently guarding her resting food and pillow provider. The other pair came from an owl, sitting on the window sill. The cat blinked, then curled up and went back to sleep.
Softly, the owl hooted, and flew to the headboard. There, she sat and watched until the first lights began to broach the sky. Then she turned and flew out the window, disappearing like mist.
The only evidence of her visit was a long white feather, shed beside the sleeper's pillow.
*Elves do not "sleep", per say, but they do rest in a trance-like state. For more info, read a Tolkien Wiki. Sorry, after writing 10 pages I'm feeling a bit lazy.
**For those who don't remember the random bit of info mentioned WAAY back in chapter 1 of "Letters to an Idiot Elf", Erestor's HP name was Rose Elizabeth.
Chapter 15: Babel
Warning: non-graphic but alluded to disturbing violence in part two of this chapter. Be warned!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Erestor had been rather quiet for the past few days. Not that she spent a great deal of time talking, especially compared with say, Lindir, but Glorfindel noticed. He weighed his options. He could try and force it out of her, but that didn't seem very profitable. Perhaps if it had seemed to be bothering her more, or disrupting eating and sleeping patterns, then he would have felt obligated to push her. But there were no signs of major disturbance, just a sort of quiet contemplative mood.
Waiting didn't seem to be doing much good, or it was at least going to be a longer wait than he wanted. He could, he supposed, just be patient and wait for Erestor to tell him whatever was on his mind. He also knew from long experience however, that she had a tendency to tell herself that she wasn't ready to say anything until she eventually convinced herself that it wasn't a problem anymore. And then she never told anyone anything.
So, it was time to try and strike the delicate balance between forcing her confidence and letting her wallow. Glorfindel found himself once again wondering if all females were like this, or just Erestor. Or maybe a female thing compounded by her own innate Erestor-ness. Probably the last. Because seriously, no one could be this difficult naturally.
He went to Elrond, who helped him formulate a plan, and gladly gave him a day off in order to enact Operation: Talk Erestor.
Glorfindel had spent the entire day in Erestor's office with her, sitting quietly and fetching anything she seemed to be missing. He had received several puzzled looks throughout his vigil, but Erestor hadn't spoken yet, and so neither did he. Just sat and read, doodled, and brought lunch and later tea. He also spent a good deal of time looking out the window. Erestor had a rather nice view, and it was much quieter than many places around Rivendell. It had also been a rather slow day, no dwarves, no kitchen fires. Just a few petty squabbles quickly resolved mostly by sheer force of disapproving glower. That had been vastly entertaining to witness. Imladris, run by a stare.
"You want to ask me a question, but you do not want to upset me." Startled out of his reverie, Glorfindel almost fell off his chair. Partially to amuse Erestor, partially out of true surprise.
"You have something on your mind, but you have not shared it with anyone," he rejoined, settling back into his chair. (It really was his chair. He had claimed it, and no one else sat in it)
Erestor studied him, and he smiled carefully. No need to make her think he was amused at the situation, because he wasn't, he had just spent all day sitting in her office and it was beautiful outside, no way was this funny. But he did want to put her at ease, and it appeared to work. Some of the formal stiffness she held herself with while in her official Seneschal mindset melted away.
"A few nights ago, something happened." Ah. That's true. He hadn't known, though, that someone had visited her.
"You mean, dead friends and family of yours dropped in for a chat? Yes, that was rather difficult to forget." Erestor stared at him, and crinkled her nose in annoyance.
"You actually remember that?"
"I generally remember being lambasted by ghost people, yes." Erestor nodded.
"I was unsure if you would." Glorfindel made a vague 'what can you do?' motion with his hands.
"But I did. And you wanted to speak with me about it, but you were worried that I would think you either dreaming or insane if I did not remember the event myself." Erestor sighed in relief.
"Exactly. And it is not that I was very disturbed by anything they said, but…" she turned her head a bit and looked out the window, "what did you think of them?"
This was an important question, Glorfindel decided as panic descended upon him. Lungs, breathe please, he reminded himself distantly. Erestor wanted an answer, and it was best not to take overlong lest she think that he was lying.
"I think they care about you more than I can say." This was apparently the correct answer, as she turned back towards him, tilted her head a bit and smiled. Glorfindel could feel the troubled contemplation of the past few days drain away. "So, though, Sirius was something else." Erestor nearly quirked a smile at that.
"Yes, he certainly tends to be." Glorfindel shook his head.
"Between him and Remus, I can certainly see where you got both your odd sense of humour and your ability to sound as though you are lecturing without actually doing so." Erestor gave a short laugh. "Not to mention sharp wit. Not from Sirius, obviously," and he could see Erestor almost smile at that, "but Remus is rather a quick witted one, I think."
"Quite." She smiled.
"Sirius can be intelligent when he wants to be, but he would rather let Remus do the brain work and just sit back and take the laughs." Glorfindel noticed that they were both using the present tense, but all things considered, decided that it was perfectly justified. Just being related to Erestor was more than enough.
"Oh, and I found this," he added, holding out a white feather. Erestor froze a moment, then reached into a desk drawer and pulled out a matching one.
"Even my stupid owl thinks we belong together," she grumbled, and Glorfindel took a moment to translate that.
"Hedwig. My best friend. We used them for sending letter. She fussed over me," Erestor added, and grinned like a child.
"Even owls realize that you do not eat or rest enough. That should tell you something, Erestor." Erestor threw a paper wad at him.
"That you have replaced a nocturnal, mothering bird? What does that say about your intelligence, I wonder?" It wasn't quite back up to her normal par of quips, but it was better than the odd silence that had ruled the past few days, so he let it go.
"I would be more concerned that an owl was wiser than you were regarding basic principles of life. Like food, for instance," Glorfindel shot back, throwing the paper wad but missing by a mile. Completely on purpose, of course. And there was a vicious cross breeze from the closed windows and door.
"Please, Hedwig is one of the most intelligent creatures I know. And I remember food." Glorfindel laughed at that.
"No, you do not. Not unless it is on some kind of paperwork to fill out. Let us see, how many meals will Erestor actually eat this week? How many will she remember without being dragged there by Glorfindel?" The paper wad hit him between the eyes.
"You are incredibly obnoxious, are you aware of that? I hope you are. You ought to come with a warning label: Caution, object able to induce violent rage without a single word." She easily dodged the paper, barely moving her head. Glorfindel gritted his teeth as it hit his nose. Stupid paper ball thing. It obviously had favourites.
"As you say. However, before you fly into an incredible rage, I suggest eating dinner first." Erestor shook her head at him, but put her working materials away.
He stood, held out a hand to her, and together they left for dinner.
It had been bad. An entire family searching for greener pastures had been caught and slaughtered, Glorfindel and the rest of his patrol coming several hours too late. No way of knowing who they were, and only a vague idea of where they had come from. Their entire lives strewn apart, nothing valuable taken, just killed for the sake of sport. His blood still boiled at the thought. Accursed spawn! He felt echoes of old hatred toward Morgoth* stir in his brain.
They had just finished burying what there was to bury when the ambush struck, wounding three of his warriors, one nearly to the point of death. Even now in the most skilled hands of Elrond, his life was not guaranteed. It had been a mistake on his part, letting down his guard as it had seemed that the enemy was long gone. But something about the children had sparked a dark memory that hurt.
He would recover, Elrond would read his own censure, would remind him that there were others who had made errors of their own in this misadventure, but he keenly felt the responsibility for it all.
Someone sat down next to him. It was Erestor. Not saying anything, just leaning against his shoulder a little. He sighed. She didn't demand anything of him, she wasn't watching him, waiting for an emotional reaction. She just sat there, steady and warm and understanding without a single word what he needed. He put his arm around her and she allowed it, none of their usual banter/angry flirtation present.
"I could not save them."
"I know." And she did, didn't she? She knew what it was to fight and always feel the loss and losing no matter how victorious.
"Thank you." She snorted at this, an annoyed huff to let him know just how stupid it was to thank her for that.
Melpomaen came with the news. The soldier would live, his wife was with him, all would be well. Erestor nudged Glorfindel's ribs as if to say 'I told you so' even though she hadn't. Still, he patted her head in agreement and smiled at her enraged leap away from him as she fussed with her hair. Perhaps his pat had been a bit rough and more of a rub/comb through than a pat, but still.
"See if I ever sit with you again, you barbarian!"
And he laughed.
*Morgoth. Mild spoilers for Silmarillion. The original baddie of the Tolkien world, Sauron was his lieutenant of old. Luthien and Beren stole a silmaril from his crown. Yeah. But this guy invented dragons, balrogs, orcs, wargs, the works.
Chapter 16: Love Song
Sorry about the late post! First time I've sat down in about 9 hours.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Greetings and good day, Erestor! How goes the fairest Seneschal in all the land? I do apologize for not being around much recently but a friend of yours visited and well, she had some of the best song ideas, very original, and I am afraid that I have been quite busy composing which I suppose is not any news to you, but it has meant that I have been rather unable to inform you of the fact that your friend visited and that she desired that I give you her regards and well wishes concerning a certain warrior who shall go unnamed and that you should just go ahead and marry him all ready, of course I told her that you were moving extremely slowly and she sympathized and agreed that you need to just propose or the like because you are both so smitten with each other that marriage is obvious."
Perhaps Lindir had something to say after this, as he paused to take a breath, but Erestor interrupted.
"It could be as you say, Lindir, and I thank you for passing on the message from Ginny, I believe?" Lindir nodded and Erestor barreled on before he could add anything, "but both you and her need to realize that Glorfindel and I will proceed with the relationship at our pace, and not a moment faster." Besides, moving faster insinuated some knowledge of how to actually have a romantic relationship, which up to this point had mainly consisted of denial on both parts.
Lindir rolled his eyes, and Erestor decided that further contact between him and Ginny would have to be severely limited. They were bad influences on each other, she thought.
"As you say. Just know that you are both denying the inevitable, and eventually the day will come when I and Melpomaen and Lords Elrond, Elladan, and Elrohir will all be able to say 'we told you so' because truly, the two of you have been dancing around your 'mutual admiration' because Valar forbid we admit to love except when yelling angrily down the halls at each other and really, Erestor, would it kill you to just admit that you love Glorfindel? Because we are taking bets on whether or not you can say-"
"I can so say it, and in a PRIVATE conversation with Glorfindel, we have both admitted such things to each other. And I am still very much alive, thank you kindly." There. That managed to shut him up. Lindir seemed rather shocked. Erestor felt rather smug.
"Oh! Oh. Ha! I won the bet then. Oh, they will regret ever doubting me and my ability to 'read a situation properly'! If you will excuse me, I have some winnings to collect. Pardon my leaving you, oh fairest dear lady of Imladris! Jewel of the Elven Kingdoms!" Erestor raised a rolled up parchment at Lindir threateningly, and he subsided, slipping away down the hall, still snickering and talking to himself gleefully.
"What was that all about?" Melpomaen asked, sending worrying looks after the seemingly crazed minstrel, braids flying wildly as he danced back and forth, apparently over enthused at the prospects of his winnings. Erestor sighed heavily.
"That was about Lindir winning a bet. And being vexing. Quite vexing. And I think there were some coherent sentences in there as well. Maybe." Melpomaen patted her arm in sympathy.
"My apologies. But good news! That trade agreement came through, we have looked it over, and all is well." They quickly shifted into work, and it wasn't until after dinner that Erestor found some time to think about the conversation.
She found herself a nice abandoned bench far enough from any buildings and more popular night visit spots to be nice and quiet. There was an owl, calmly hooting in a tree somewhere to her right, and fireflies dance above a small pond. This, she decided, was a very good spot to contemplate the issue at hand concerning Glorfindel and herself.
Truly, there was no way they could pretend any more, and that was all right. The problem came in what next? Giggling and girl talk was all she could remember from her childhood. She definitely remembered it being awkward. Really awkward. And full of angst…
Why did she want to do this, again?
No, no, no. Too late now. Much too late. Okay. She could do this. They had said the L-word, everything else was just…filler? Ugh, no. But they were friends, and she remembered Molly saying that she married her best friend, and never regretted that. So. That was all good, then. But why did people get annoyed that they treated each other like friends? Was it not couple-ish enough or something?
"You look rather frustrated, Erestor. Is there something I could help you with?" Erestor turned to find Lord Elrond watching her with a smile. She was about to say no, when she realized that he was the one married elf she was close enough to talk to about this. So she replied in affirmative, and he sat down on the bench, and waited as evening darkness pooled around them.
"I was just thinking. About Glorfindel and myself. We…we have admitted to each other that we, ah, love each other. But I…I do not know what we are meant to do next. Because you see, I knew someone a long time ago who said that the best thing she did was marry her best friend. And Glorfindel is my friend. But others…they do not seem to be pleased with that? Not that he is my friend, but that he is not un-friend enough to be romantic partner?" She cringed as she felt her coherency unhinge, but at least the sentence was out. Elrond was quiet for a moment, apparently deciphering her meaning.
"Ah, I see. Friends have been encouraging the two of you to admit more attached feelings to Glorfindel than simply close friends, but by being such a close friend, in a way, you considered him to be special in a romantic sense. This was even, I personally think, before you realized that he could be special in that way." He had made coherence out of chaos. Stupid word miracle worker.
"Yes, I believe you are correct." Elrond nodded and patted her hand.
"I think that part of what you are feeling from your friends was encouragement to admit to yourselves and each other that the two of you were special people to the other. The other part was, or is still, I think, the fact that everyone has their own idea of what love and romance looks like. The two of you were in denial for so long that everyone, I think, almost despaired of either of you admitting it." Erestor could see that.
"So when it seemed as though you and Glorfindel were finally almost finished dancing around the topic, I think they expected something a bit more…well, just more. How long has it been since the two of you managed to say the word?"
"Just less than a week."
"I see. So they expected something bigger, more of a wild bursting of passion, I believe."
"What of yourself?"
"I was not surprised at all. You two fit very well together in a very odd way. You are also older in many senses than the people who are frustrated about this. You have both been through a great deal more, you are more mature. They are young. Life is all absolutes, and love told in dramatic tales of sacrifice. It rarely happens that way, though. For myself, I spent a great deal of time incapable of even speaking to my dear Celebrian." He smiled, and looked like a young man freshly in love.
"My sons would proclaim me quite foolish, I believe, for not simply strolling up to her- perhaps in full battle regalia- and declaring my love for her on the spot, preferably in front of her parents." The thought of doing that in front of Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn made Erestor shiver. Not in a thousand lifetimes.
"Exactly," said Elrond, noting her nerves at the prospect. "You have admitted love, and that is the important part. From now on, as long as the two of you are happy, then it matters very little what it looks like. There need not be any silmarils* involved, or challenging dark lords**, or jumping off of perfectly good ships`. The moment you let someone else dictate what love is, well, is it love or a show?" He gently squeezed her hand, and left her to her thoughts. That was one of the brilliant things about Lord Elrond, she decided, was that he knew when to leave a girl alone to think.
She wasn't alone for very long, though. Glorfindel came and sat down beside her, though he said nothing. She leaned against him, deciding that she liked having a personal furnace, and ignoring the fact that the night was quite pleasant.
"I still do not know how to be romantic," she told Glorfindel. She felt him shrug.
"If I desired romance, I could ask any number of young ladies who spend all their time memorizing the tale of Luthien and Beren. I want you, snarky comments, witty remarks, all cleverness and no-nonsense wrapped up in one small, green-eyed, tree-loving package." He pulled her closer. "Besides, I believe that, being the great figure of myths, I can figure out enough romance for the both of us if we need it." Erestor nodded into his side.
"But you are…amenable to our friendship-yet-more status?" Glorfindel laughed, and she felt him lean down and smile into her hair.
"Of course. I would not know what to do with myself or with you if you started to act…giggly." He shuddered, and she smiled, poking his ribs.
"So this is good, then? Truly?"
"It is. I annoy you, you skewer me with sarcasm. I make sure you eat, you aid me with anything involving paperwork. We work together." There was a strange giddy feeling in Erestor's chest. It was warm and fluttery. They could do this. "We support each other. And not that we will never argue, but I believe we went through a very long period of understanding each other better. Most people do it as they go, we got that period out of the way all ready."
How did he know what to say when it mattered? He was getting better and better at this.
Suddenly, a great amount of pressure Erestor hadn't even realized existed was relieved. Perhaps it had been building longer than she had thought. Glorfindel noticed, she knew, but didn't comment. He seemed a bit smug at having been able to make her relax more, but they remained in silence, watching fireflies dance. It had been a pleasant evening before, but now it felt rather incredible. Erestor was satisfied with the world in general. It was a lovely feeling.
"That will do, I believe. It really will," she told him. She could practically feel his smile.
"You really do worry too much." She elbowed him, but not very hard.
"So you had absolutely no worries, no thoughts at all about what happens next?" She smiled in victory as he squirmed.
"Maybe." Erestor positioned her elbow threateningly, and he continued in a hurry, "Elrond talked with me before he talked with you." The elbow lowered, and Glorfindel sighed in relief.
"Oh look at us, we are quite the pair, are we not?"
"But we are a pair," he reminded. Erestor watched a firefly land on his knee.
"True. I admit that I…I am not displeased with the results of our friendship, either. I am rather fond of you," she told him.
"I am rather fond of you as well, my dear."
*Silmarillion spoilers for all three notes as follows: The price that Thingol demanded of Beren in order to marry his daughter Luthien was a silmaril.
**This silmaril was stolen from the crown of Morgoth, original evil dude of all evil dudes.
`Saddest love story ever, but Nimrodel and Amroth were in love. Nimrodel never showed up at the ship, and Amroth waited. The ship got blown away from shore in a storm, and a desperate Amroth dove into the sea to swim to shore, never seen again. Neither was Nimrodel.
Things were going too smoothly, with the consequence of making Glorfindel rather twitchy. So yes, he had accidentally burned three hours of important work a few days before, and yes his dearest, darling Erestor had left him stuck to the ceiling while she redid the work, but once the error had been punished, all was forgiven. Even if Erestor had taken to watching his hands instead of his face whenever he drew too near her desk, and diving protectively over any particularly important documents if he came within three feet of them.
Aside from that, things had gone rather well recently, and Glorfindel found himself anxious to meet with whatever lovely molehill (read: mountain) decided to pop up next. He liked it much better when small catastrophes happened at regular intervals, this whole 'wait for the big one' thing was just not enjoyable.
So when something did happen, he wasn't overly surprised, even if it was slightly different from what he expected.
He should know better. Erestor did everything just a bit differently from what he expected, why would this be an exception to the strangely precise chaos that was Erestor? This was meant with great fondness, of course. He rather enjoyed the fact that he would/could never be bored again.
The event happened quite on accident.
Erestor had gone to oversee a slight disagreement that had halted renovation of a covered bridge. Two rather self-important architects had clashed over 'artistic differences', one claiming that the bridge should be built exactly as it was before, when he designed it centuries ago. The other declared that his design was much better, and improved something that Glorfindel didn't listen to, although Erestor seemed to understand his technical and rambling diatribe. Glorfindel had been rather too busy watching how the patterns of light and shade played across Erestor's face as she stood under an old oak, face carefully patient even as both elves grew angrier with each other. Elves were not supposed to be particularly susceptible to heat, but it was rather warmer than usual, summer's last revenge before succumbing to fall, and extremely potent. Enough so that Glorfindel wondered if suggesting that they work this out inside cool stone halls would solve the issue entirely.
"This work is not only out-dated, it is poorly crafted! How can you stand there and tell me that you want to recreate this monstrosity and inflict it on yet another generation of Imladris dwellers and visitors alike! We have a reputation to keep here!"
The other architect did not take kindly to having his word challenged by some upstart.
"Yes, and children such as you would ruin it if I let you have your way. You claim it poorly crafted work, so clearly you could not tell quality craftsmanship if it walked up waving banners!" The elder reached for the metalwork, but the younger snatched it away.
"No, I will not allow you to tortures any other with this horror," and so saying, dramatically flung the grating piece away. He did not watch where he was flinging though, and Glorfindel started moving forward knowing he was too far away even with elven speed. Erestor was hit squarely on the head, and went down.
The next bit was still a blur, although witnesses told him that in between threatening to kill the architect for being an idiot and kill Erestor if she didn't wake up and kill the healers for not being on the scene, he managed to issue orders and diagnose Erestor, who at this point apparently started coming to. Hearing his threats, she began (if witnesses are to be believed) to swear at Glorfindel in multiple languages, telling him to "Stop shouting like an idiot, I have a headache that could kill a Balrog-two actually, now that I think about it" and that she would kill him if he didn't start acting sensibly, and was he certain he wasn't the one with a concussion? Because he was acting rather out of his all ready miniscule wits.
He vaguely remembered allowing Lord Elrond (who had been on his way to reinforce Erestor) to push him aside enough to check over Erestor for himself, and declare that she had a concussion but was safe to move NOT on her own power, why did she even ask that, but carefully with medical personnel assisting him.
By the time the world was moving at its proper pace, Erestor had been fussed over enough that she had moved from vaguely tolerant amusement to frost-bite polite, which was a sure sign that sarcasm disembowelment was next. So, Glorfindel did the best thing to do in that situation, and simply sat quietly and watched her rest. She scowled at him periodically to let him know that yes, she was quite well thank you. This was a lie, of course, and he gladly called her out on it.
"Is your vision back to normal, or are you still seeing things?"
"There is only one of you again, praise the One." Glorfindel smirked.
"That is because I am completely unique, a masterpiece never again to be duplicated." Erestor made as if to shake her head, then winced at the movement. She settled for waving her hand dismissively at him.
"Never to be duplicated for good reasons. Eru knew he had to protect the sanity of Middle Earth, he could not risk the terror unleashed upon the world if there were more than one of you."
When she fell asleep, Glorfindel was the one to wake her up periodically and ask her questions. She was rather irritable, and he made a note to avoid awaking her ever again.
By morning of course, Elrond cleared her for light duties, and although Erestor fussed that he was being overprotective, she allowed herself to be carried to the couch for breakfast. Glorfindel counted this as a win.
"Are you well?" The question was unexpected, coming from Erestor. Glorfindel looked up at her, wondering if he had heard her correctly.
"I beg pardon? Should I not be the one asking that?" Erestor snorted delicately into her tea.
"Not after the way you reacted yesterday. Honestly, if you were to act that way in battle…" She trailed off, yet her eyebrows insinuated that his actions were dictated by insanity rather than common sense. He ignored them.
"I was worried." Erestor didn't even look at him, just twitched a bit in a way that told him he was being ridiculous.
"That much was obvious. So I repeat: are you well?" Glorfindel leaned back, watching Erestor, who watched him in return.
"I am better, now. I mean, I count myself as an elf of rather extensive experience-"
"Which is just another way of saying old"
"But there are very few times I have felt quite that degree of terror, and none before when it was so personal." He stopped, knowing that Erestor was listening to what he wasn't saying. "Yes, my death was unpleasant. In the utmost. And the entire situation, from the Grinding Ice, the Kinslayings, the Fall of Gondolin as a whole, all of it- None of that was pleasant, or comforting. And there were so many friends that I lost…none of that was easy." He took a breath and continued. "But at the same time, there was so much of it happening, and I expected it, too. You know how it is, in a battle, where something happens and you deal with it and move on because that is what you are meant to do, no stopping, no thinking, just action." Erestor waited as he collected his thoughts, and he loved her for it.
"So yesterday, when there was just that one thing- that one, single, isolated event, I had no idea what to do. Things happened, except it was only one thing and it was nothing like anything ever before, I truly did not know that I could feel so afraid. I have stood before balrogs and dragons and wraiths of the Dark Lord and felt far less fear."
He had been sitting across the room, but suddenly could not handle the distance between them. Fortunately, Erestor was of one mind and moved over, giving only a token protest when he held her.
"Thus, I have to say that yesterday was an extremely unpleasant experience. I was taken by surprise and I do not find that an enjoyable event, leaving aside the fact that you were hurt."
Somewhat awkwardly due to the angle, Erestor patted his arm as well as she could from her position, wrapped up tight with blankets and Glorfindel's hold.
"I understand, Glorfindel. You acted like an idiot, but you were a concerned, worried idiot so I forgive you. Besides, you still managed to not kill me, so I will count this as a success and let it be." Mîr by this point had grown annoyed at her elves ignoring her, and picked her way onto their laps, somehow stretching herself over both elves sitting on the couch, mewing indignantly whenever they moved.
"At any rate, I admit that it is…sweet," -and Glorfindel studiously did not laugh at the way her face looked as she admitted the word- "that you have worried about me. I mean, Melpomaen would if he did not have to take over, and Lord Elrond would but he is a healer so it is his job, but you…" and it was now Glorfindel's turn to wait patiently, "you are here for me. Because you are just mine." Her mouth was twisted a bit, like it did when she was having trouble getting her meaning out. Fortunately, she had a super awesome companion who knew what she meant even if she was having trouble saying it properly.
"That is correct, and I am proud to claim it." He could feel her smile, even though he knew that her face would show only the slightest traces of it. That, he thought in a besotted fashion, was the beauty of Erestor. Because you had to look deeper to see how she felt, but it was completely worth it. "My little snark monster." She elbowed him for that, but there was no power behind it, and he knew it was code for 'I love you too'.
Of course, Elrond decided that this was the appropriate moment to walk in, and all the glares in the world did not deter him from sitting down and stealing an apple pastry for himself. That didn't mean that Glorfindel let go, even though Erestor was poking at his ribs. She was both more and less prickly when ill, and he planned to take full advantage.
"Well, the one bright side is that the two fools have decided to work together, incorporating old designs into the new one." Glorfindel felt Erestor's humph, and Mîr meowed in agreement.
"Of course they did. It only took an outbreak of sheer idiocy to make them realize." Glorfindel patted her back in sympathy. Elrond looked thoroughly unimpressed as well.
"At least it has earned you a few days off from work- no, Erestor, do not even try to argue. Both young Melpomaen and Lindir have taken up the task of guarding your office and will not allow you any work that does not immediately threaten the welfare of this realm." That had been a concession Glorfindel had wrangled from Elrond himself, having close experience with the dire results of an Erestor-less Rivendell. He still wondered what it was about Erestor's presence that kept the kitchen from catching fire. Perhaps she was just fire retardant in general?
Erestor felt grumpy. And by felt, this meant she had moved from poking to pinching, which was generally a good sign that Erestor required some personal space. So he let go, though he stayed close. Erestor looked rather upset, closely resembling her cat when annoyed.
"I was unconscious for less than a half-minute. I see no reason why I should be forced away from work-"
"Except," interrupted Lord Elrond, "for the fact that I require it. Physically? Yes, you are quite recovered. However, I do not plan on allowing you to overwork yourself. And before you deny it, do you remember the other times you have been injured, and what you did afterwards?" Glorfindel couldn't, he had to admit that he hadn't been paying much attention. But it caused Erestor to blush a bit as she caught Elrond's point.
"Exactly. You decided to compensate for any fault or decrease in work, and worked even longer than you did before. Let us not forget the sprained wrist incident about two and a half centuries back." Erestor was positively abashed now, and Glorfindel was caught between looking away to preserve her injured dignity, and gaping at a sheepish Erestor. "Good. Glorfindel, are you capable of playing nursemaid for a day or two?"
"Of course." He tried not to smile, because he knew Erestor would take it poorly, but it was a close thing. She scowled at him anyway, perhaps on sheer principle.
"Then all is settled. I bid you good day, and ask you to be on your best behavior. I would hate to have to separate you." And he whisked himself away, leaving the pastry plate another two short. He thought he was so very sneaky about his sweet tooth, but it was honestly about the worst kept secret in the Elven Realms.
"Nursemaid?" Erestor glared. Glorfindel winced. Prickly, this one.
So if there is any discombobulation, it is because this was like, three different writing sessions all done in a hurry. And if there is any discrepancy concerning concussion healing time...assume elf stuff. Because you know, they heal faster and all that jazz.
Chapter 18: Run to You
Erestor was bored out of her mind. This was bad news for the general area, but especially so (she thought) for Glorfindel. It was morning of the second day of her imprisonment/banishment from work. Glorfindel has been a saint, despite an increasing bad mood on her part, and it was a relief to retreat at last to her bedroom. The morning had not brought about a mood change, except perhaps for the worse. This bode darkly for her companion, who faltered only slightly at her glare. Apparently, long exposure was beginning to inure him to the effects. Drat him. Still, Erestor was languishing. She knew, because she had just read it in the dictionary: Languish- Verb. 1.To lose or lack vitality, to grow weak. 2. Fail to make progress or be successful.
Where were all the emergencies? When she wanted an hour or two for herself, everything became subject to spontaneous combustion. The moment she would have loved a diversion, nothing happened. What was the point of having incompetents work with flames if they couldn't create even ONE emergency when it would be appreciated? Honestly! It was at this turn of thought that Glorfindel interrupted.
If he was determined to be stupid, then so be it. She almost felt like playing along if it would distract her from the Everything that was barreling through her mind. Because apparently, Lord Elrond and Glorfindel had absolutely no appreciation for what it took to keep Rivendell from running to the ground. She could only imagine just how much work was piling up. Would she be able to see her desk? She hoped so. There was a meeting with some disgruntled workers first thing tomorrow, and when it came to these things it always paid to look completely in control. Paperwork left laying around tended to work against that.
"Finally. Do you know how many times I called your name?"
"NO, it was- wait, yes, five. If you heard me, then why did you not answer?"
"I did not hear you. I simply know how many times you call my name before coming and standing in my personal space to get my attention." She smirked at him, and he wrinkled his nose- indicating that he was growing frustrated, but didn't want to show it. Well, good. At least neither one of them was happy with the situation. This satisfaction pinged at something in her head, but at the moment Erestor was much too frustrated herself to care.
"Erestor?" He was snapping his fingers in her face. She resisted a childish urge to bite at them.
"Honestly! Where do you keep going?" She didn't answer, simply shook her head. The expected answering look of frustration didn't appear on his face, though.
"Please, Erestor. I know you are…upset at the turn of events, but I truly want to help. I just do not know how to help if you do not tell me." He gestured helplessly, and Erestor found herself entranced by his hands. They were very big of course, but also very elegant, like a musician's. She could see the thin scar left from a training accident a few days before, but for all their size, they were not broad or coarse.
"Erestor? Am I speaking only to myself?" Mostly. What, exactly, did he think he could help her with? She sighed, and fell back on the couch to put another few inches between them. Glorfindel's face turned obviously worried. "Erestor…"
"Please, Glorfindel. What do you want me to say?"
"Whatever is on your mind! All the thoughts that are bothering you." Erestor barely held herself back from a snort, reminding herself that it was both unladylike and not properly elven.
"Oh? Think you to do both your job and mine? Ha!" Glorfindel looked a bit hurt, and the ping from earlier grew louder. She hadn't meant that as badly as he took it, but didn't feel generous enough to explain herself properly either.
"Is this the problem, then? Are you truly that worried about work? Erestor, Lord Elrond-"
"Has his own work to do, without taking mine-"
"Lord Elrond has appointed someone to take over for you temporarily. It is-"
"So, either the person is doing a poor job or I have been made completely irrelevant. Yes, thank you Glorfindel. That solves the problem quite nicely."
"No! Erestor, it would take much more than a few days to make you irrelevant, trust me." Erestor must have shown her thoughts on her face, for Glorfindel began rubbing the bridge of his nose in disturbance, a habit he had picked up from her. A pang of fondness hit her in the gut, and part of her softened. Still, this conversation was relieving a great deal of tension and distracting her from the constant stream of 'To Do' that was running through her head, so she was loathe to give it up even as good sense was telling her to shut up. Sitting back, she awaited the next volley.
"Please, Erestor. Try not to take offense to everything I saw on sheer principle of stubbornness." She raised an eyebrow, and when he refused to continue, she returned to glowering. This made him waver, but not capitulate. Curses. She was losing her touch or he really was growing immune. This would take some thinking over. Later. When she wasn't in the middle of an argument.
"I suppose I could try but what exactly is in it for me?" Tilting her head haughtily seemed to amuse Glorfindel, and let him know that while her tone and words were sharp, she didn't really want to hurt him. Much.
"Someone understanding you? Someone sympathizing? Someone who cares about you not killing themselves whilst endeavoring to aid you? Pick one." He had noted her attitude, and relaxed a bit- but still seemed to be very keen on getting her to talk, which was befuddling Erestor.
"What does that have to do with anything?" Glorfindel eyed her.
"You truly do not know?"
"Obviously." That one word could have dried the Isen.
"We have talked about this before, Erestor. Do you remember? About asking people for help, letting them know when you need help, using your words to tell people- without guessing- what is wrong. About sharing how you feel with people who care about you. Any of that ringing a bell?" Erestor shook her head. Yes, of course she remembered. She never actually forgot anything, she was an elf after all.
But had she forgotten? Glorfindel waited patiently, apparently realizing that she needed a moment to think it over.
"Glorfindel…It is not that…I mean…" She huffed. Being unintelligible always frustrated her. Incoherency was NOT a good look on her. Still, he seemed satisfied that she was trying to make an answer and did not interrupt.
"I did not forget, truly. But I think…I just want to be able to do things on my own. Why is it so wrong?" Glorfindel shook his head at her.
"Because you are incapable of stopping yourself, that is why. You seem to have absolutely no sense for what is too much, and instead of asking for help, you work yourself to death, or at least to sickness and exhaustion. Considering that you are an elf who should not grow ill at all, and tire very rarely, I think the evidence speaks for itself." He stopped, and dared Erestor to interrupt. But she was getting clarification at last, and wasn't about to keep him from explaining. It made sense, but that didn't mean she was very happy with what he was saying.
"Erestor, who on Arda made it so that you feel always forced to work on your own without aid of any kind? You are allowed to ask for help, you know." Erestor eyed him.
"So what you are saying is, you and Lord Elrond are taking advantage of my forced vacation to let me know that I am working too hard. Am I right?" Glorfindel half heartedly kicked her sofa.
"No, not really. I mean, we are certainly taking advantage of it, but I also know that watching you even on a slow day exhausts me. On a slow day. I suppose…Lord Elrond and I want you to know that no matter what, you can depend upon the both of us. Even when you think that you have to do it all on your own. Yes?"
And hereupon he turned bright blue eyes upon her, old and young and pleading all at the same time. As much as it felt right to trust him with this, Erestor was loathe to let go.
"Glorfindel…" He sat and waited patiently, making a new cup of tea for her. Erestor shook herself, it was now or never. She was supposed to be brave long ago, had it all disappeared in the centuries, sacrificed to longevity?
No. And her family had asked her to be happy. If she refused to confide in Glorfindel now, she could see the events as a long line of dominoes. First this, then a further distance, and another argument she refused to end and wedge after wedge driven between them, with Glorfindel trying to fix it as she dragged him along as penance. No, no, no. No! She would not let any memories control her. It was time, she realized, to cut herself free and follow her own advice.
"When I was young, all decisions concerning myself were made by others. This is of course how it is for all children. The difference between our situations…" She sighed. Trying to tell the tale without completely retellings almost two decades of history wasn't very easy. "The difference was that the people making the decisions only sometimes had my best interests in mind, and even then, never asked my preference. They would have kept me an ignorant child even as the country fell around us."
"I admit, I was too involved for my own good when I was very young. But they tried to protect me through my own ignorance even when I was old enough to do something. Ignorance is not bliss, not always and certainly not in my case. If anyone had taken even five minutes to explain a few things to me, so many problems could have been avoided." She refused to look at Glorfindel. "I disliked it and chafed at their arbitrary restrictions. They dumped me out of their way for every summer, then pretended that they had some sort of say in my life! Could not bother themselves to check on me and make sure I was fine- I almost died at least once- and then dared to claim that they knew best how to protect me. Ha!" She set down the tea cup slightly too hard, but it didn't even chip. "Even at school, where I was supposedly safe, I was constantly in danger! So much for their safety plans."
"I was fighting a battle on two fronts, one against those who truly would have killed me for who I was, and those who thought they were helping me in the name of childhood innocence." She snorted. "I understand what they wanted. But truthfully, it feels like manipulation. Perhaps it was not, and merely well intending people making poor decisions. But perhaps it was omniscient-pretenders playing as a Valar. Either way," and she finally turned her face to Glorfindel, who was sitting very still and quiet, "either way, if people had told me things that were my birthright to know, even that little bit, there would have been lives saved." She sighed, and felt it originate some centuries before.
"I know- this is all very general. But see, if I know everything that is happening, I cannot ever be surprised by information. If I have autonomy, total and complete, then I can protect myself and others. I will not- I refuse to watch people I care about, people I love die because I was blindsided," she finished somewhat bitterly, and cursed Voldemort to the darkest pits Morgoth ever created. Glorfindel just sat watching her very quietly, and very seriously.
"I understand. Maeglin- he always kept things from us, even before he fell in with Morgoth. And we see how well letting him be turned out." He fell silent again.
"Here, have a biscuit. We are very late to lunch, and I will not watch you starve," Erestor told him, shoving the sweet towards his face in a rather aggressive fashion. Glorfindel took it with affection though, and Erestor rolled her eyes at him, even as she sighed in relief.
"Yes, I do understand. But please, Erestor. You had friends- you would have shared information with them, would you not?"
"I would have."
"Then why am I different? Why is Elrond different, or Lindir or Melpomaen? Or would you have ignored your friends advice and run yourself to death?" So perhaps he had her there.
"I do not mean to."
"But it still happens. And it is a choice."
"Yes, a choice. It does not start overnight, not for a hard case such as yourself, m'dear."
"Not your- oh, never mind." And he only smirked a little at his victory.
"It is an active choice, a decision you make when faced with a situation: Do I ask for help? Do I trust my dashing love, or my very wise mentor? Or do I keep carrying things only on myself, hoping I can handle it all, and ignoring the offers of aid?" He leaned forward and tapped her nose.
"You are intelligent, my dearest Erestor. But sometimes you forget, and that is why I am here. To help you grasp what is currently escaping you. Elrond and I can see that you need to relax and rest, and we will do our best to keep you healthy. We can only wonder how much you actually appreciate our advice when you dismiss it so readily, which is something else you should consider. Are you the only one capable of giving advice, or are you the kind of fool that hears and still does not change anything?" He shook his head and stood up.
"I will not force my presence upon you while you decide, but please decide carefully. We two, we are bound now and any decision one makes affects the other." He made to move away, but Erestor would not have it and grabbed his hand, all but pulling him down onto the couch. He looked rather surprised at the turn of events, but any confusion fled when Erestor tossed him the book.
"You have yet to reach the best parts, Glorfindel. And I am an invalid." Glorfindel settled down and opened the book. Before he could say anything, Erestor leaned her head against his shoulder.
"I am sorry. And I know it does not always seem so, but I am trying. It is…difficult."
"Apology accepted. I truly do wish to help."
"You help just by being here, idiot." Because it wouldn't do to get overly sentimental, now would it?
I require aid.
You see, I have been greatly remiss in my dealing with Erestor. For while it is common fact that we are indeed considered a couple, I have done very little to make this permanent. It has been almost a year since we stopped dancing around the topic, and I must make a move. I have not, because I fear a misstep. In no way do I wish to insult Erestor, but neither do I desire her to feel as though she must lead me by the nose through the proper steps. So I come to you for any help you can give, any advice at all. I would ask Gildor, but he is not available. Lindir is currently in seclusion, working on his next greatest composition. Of course, I doubt I would understand aught he said. Melpomaen is very odd. I tried to ask, yet all he did was blush and stammer. I am not sure who to ask, and I hope you have some idea.
I want to honour the traditions that Erestor holds dear to her heart. I know how my father courted my mother, and how Elrond courted Celebrian, and how Tuor and Turgon won their ladies hearts, but have no idea how to proceed with Erestor. I don't suppose there is a book somewhere?
Please answer soon.
Sincerely and in hope,
My dearest Glorfindel,
I am glad you came to me for help.
First, you need to write a letter to Haldir. He likely expects it, and will have no word against it (or he will feel my wrath), but it is courtesy. You should also speak with Elrond and Gildor, who have both taken something of a protector/guardian role of Erestor. Gildor is currently wintering in Lindon, for your knowledge. For this, I believe that Elrond is the only one you must ask, as the immediate guardian in the area, but it is, as I wrote earlier, courtesy to ask the others. Erestor has no female mentors, although I should perhaps try to correct that…but that is a different discussion. Perhaps the seamstress? Or the terrifying cook. Either one of those would be quite suitable stand-ins.
When you marry Erestor, you marry her family. Her very extensive, terrifying family. Do realize this before jumping in, although I think it is too late to save you from swimming with the sharks. At any rate, Erestor, her life, and those who love her all resemble a patchwork quilt, bits and pieces from everywhere. They do not match very well, and it is hard to see the pattern sometimes, but it fits together somehow and is as strong as mithril. You will gain them as well, and I think you will be the richer for it.
When you have sent the appropriate letters, write to me again and I will advise you further.
Hoping You Survive the Cook,
To: Lord Elrond
From: Lady Erestor
Have you noticed that Glorfindel isn't eating well lately?
Yes. He spends a great deal of time staring at and sniffing his meals. I assume this means you do not know the cause?
I had hoped you did.
Not the vaguest idea.
It seems as though he suspects poison, almost.
Agreed, odd as the idea is. What could he have possibly done to upset the cook that he suspects this?
I have not heard a thing, and I am usually the first to know when he frustrates the kitchen staff.
Let me know if you find out anything. And perhaps ensure he eats something tonight.
As you wish. Oh, it seems as though Councilor Long Wind is finishing up. Thanks the stars!
Indeed. Although I am glad you invented this system. We look studious, and don't have to hear a word he says. Brilliant ideas such as this are why I keep you around.
You flatter me.
We are elves of action, and I will not waste words. Erestor and I have become romantically attached. I have hesitated, but upon guidance given by Mithrandir, have decided to take decisive steps towards affirming our bond in a permanent way. I know of your long friendship with Erestor, and ask your blessing. I do not ask permission, for that lies with Erestor alone. Still, I hope that any ill-feelings you hold towards me will not cause you to withhold your support from Erestor's wishes.
You have my solemn promise that I will treat her as she deserves, with love, devotion, and care. I would die again before seeing her hurt, but I also know that she is quite capable of defending herself and would quite possibly fight off any evil threatening me. Therefore, I cannot promise to defend her from all harm. Only know that I will never let her face it alone.
I realize your difficulties when it comes to defending Erestor, believe me. I am quite intimately acquainted with her…less than cautious tendencies when it comes to protecting those she loves. Therefore, I accept and do give my blessings to your union, should Erestor agree.
Simply know that if you hurt her, I will hunt you down and Balrogs will be small sparks compared to the wrath I will pour down upon your head. That in mind, I send you this knife. It is one of a pair. I feel it is only sporting to give you a chance to defend yourself. If you ever see the mate to this knife, know that I have come for you. And despair.
Haldir, (Potential) Slayer of Balrog Slayers
To: Lady Erestor
From: Lord Elrond
Is it me, or has Glorfindel been rather odd lately?
Do you mean the way he jumps whenever a messenger arrives, or the way he has been muttering to himself for the past week?
Yes. And the fact that he no longer travels alone within the house if he can help it.
Ah. So it was not my imagination only.
No. And you have asked?
Several times. I am loathe to invade his privacy and look through his mail though, even though it seems to hold the answer to the riddle.
Do you know who he has been writing to?
I only know that he sent a letter to Mithrandir several weeks ago, and received answer. I know not what his other correspondence consists of.
So we have no real answers to our questions.
Would you like to play hangman?
YES. PLEASE. I realize that we are elves, but even an hour seems forever when spent in torment such as this.
Here, I will start. _.
I am writing to inform you of my intentions towards Erestor.
As I wrote to Haldir: You have my solemn promise that I will treat her as she deserves, with love, devotion, and care. I would die again before seeing her hurt, but I also know that she is quite capable of defending herself and would quite possibly fight off any evil threatening me. Therefore, I cannot promise to defend her from all harm. Only know that I will never let her face it alone.
I know that you were much more involved during the years that Erestor and I were much less than friends, and so may harbor some resentment. Still, I ask for your blessing (but not permission, that is for Erestor to decide), hope that perhaps we may come to an agreement.
I see. I grant my blessing, but for Erestor's sake only. I have a long memory.
I am quite sure that Haldir has threatened you thoroughly, but let me be clear: Hurt her and I will hurt you. I use small syllable words in order not to overtax your mind. Understand that while I am very glad to see Erestor happy, I would prefer that you two remained friends before moving on romantically. Still, I will not stand against it if Erestor believes you. She is, as you said, capable of defending herself. Just know that you must not leave her by herself, for I do not think she would ever heal from that. Erestor is one of the strongest people I know, but also one of the most hurt, and most fragile. In some ways she is like the mountain flower that grows best in the harsh mountain frosts, and never quite reaches full luster when removed from said environment.
On the other hand, she is not a flower, and can learn to thrive in kinder conditions as well. She has made marvelous advances so far, and some I admit are due to you. If due to you she has a relapse, then the Halls of Mandos could not shelter or spare you from my revenge.
Are you TRYING to kill me off? Is that it?!
I suspect you are working with Haldir and Gildor and all else. I have braved all manner of evil creatures, and I have survived Erestor in a temper. Just when I think there is naught worse, oh LOOK. ALL OF IMLADRIS DESIRES MY HEAD.
Please do not kill me by proxy or otherwise. Erestor would be most displeased.
But I have asked, and written, as you said. What now?
Glorfindel, The Doomed
Please do not fuss so. They would not hurt you unless you hurt Erestor.
Now. What you do next is this: Find three items to signify your past, your present, and your future with Erestor. They need to be very large, indeed, they should be able to fit in a hand-basket. Next, a token of affection. This is usually something made by the supplicant themselves, although you may ask for help if required. A few flowers line the basket, but be careful: flowers have their own language. There are several books, consult them before choosing what goes in the basket. Last but not least, the jewelry.
It does not need to be a ring. It may be something like a torc, armband, bracelet, pendant, or even earring. My advice? Go with something that is not a ring. It is a nice gesture, but Erestor is more likely to prefer something with…character. A bracelet, armband, or pendant may be your best bet in this case.
The words you use are up to you. Do it someplace private but significant to the both of you. Be honest.
Take care of him. Do not hurt him, or the consequences will be unpleasant. He is dear to me, and I will not take kindly if you treat him ill.
Thanks for reading! I guess you can tell I'm working towards the end of this, but don't worry. It's not the end of this universe by any means!
I request the great pleasure of your company tonight. Please do try to finish overworking yourself sometime before midnight in order to meet me on time.
I'll be there. I scheduled in five minutes just for you.
"Oh my, and look who is on time!" Erestor made an irritated noise in the back of her throat, and it made Glorfindel smile. This in turn made Erestor shake her head at him. The idiot.
"As you asked. But you had best hurry, I only have five minutes." Glorfindel looked down at her. "I did tell you in my response." His face turned rather panicked, and Erestor smirked back at him. He looked giddy with relief as she patted his shoulder. "You believed me."
"I did. You are cruel."
"You are gullible."
"You are still cruel to take advantage of it."
"I know," Erestor replied in a sing-song voice and smiled airily at him in a manner reminiscent of Luna. "But you still bother me, so apparently I have either lost my touch completely or grown soft on you."
They were walking together, and Glorfindel kept looking askance at her. This would be followed by a deep breath, whereupon his mouth would open and then close before a single word formed. It was grating Erestor's nerves.
"For the love of- just ASK me! Idiot." Glorfindel froze. Erestor did NOT roll her eyes like a teenage human. They merely made a somewhat upward then downward motion.
"Gandalf may have forgotten to hide his letter from an overzealous Melpomaen who then delivered it to me, accidentally missing the instructions to wait before giving it to me."
"The wizard is dead."
"Oh stop. He did not mention anything extremely incriminating, but put together with the amount of time you have spent in the forges and Elrond's arch looks and your letter writing to Lothlorien and all the sneaking around you have been doing- Glorfindel dearest, you are not very subtle- well. What else could it be?" And Glorfindel laughed, picking her up and swinging her around while Erestor demanded him to put her down she was not a top!
"Then I will spare the life of the Istari. I suppose he cannot help it if you are too clever for your own good."
"I believe you mean YOUR own good."
"That also." He sighed happily.
"Erestor, please come with me."
And she did, feeling rather faint. Bravado was all well and good, but this was different and new and a little frightening. They walked only a little ways until there was a clearing, usually occupied during daylight hours but very quiet now.
"When the Elves first awoke, ages before the sun, they were greeted by the stars. Then," and he took her hand, still looking up, "then came the moon. But that was later. The stars were first, and enduring, and have watched many Children of Ilúvatar come and go. Great romances began under the stars, although perhaps they did not all end so well. Still, there above are the witnesses." And he knelt. And he looked so solemn in the starlight, so much like love and hope it almost hurt.
"Erestor, we are friends, allies, occasionally enemies, and confidants. You have pushed your way into my life rather forcefully, and completely, irreparably, changed it. I ask you for now, and forever more, until the end of everything, I ask you here before these witnesses, to marry me."
She said yes.
It was all a bit of a blur for a moment, they were kissing, and smiling, and someone (or both of them) was crying when it turned very cold and very wet.
"Oops." Elladan was dead.
"What did you do that for?!" Elrohir was dead.
"It was supposed to be like snow, romantic to help set the mood!" Still dead.
"He just proposed, orc-brain, it does not get much more romantic! And how does water translate from snow?!" Melpomaen was dead.
"…It melted. Besides, it was Gildor's idea anyway!" Gildor was dead.
"Oh, am I too late?" …Lindir was not dead, but severely maimed.
"Unfortunately. You could perhaps play something? I fear the children broke the mood." Ooh, Elrond was dead too.
"What about The Lay of-"
"Fine. Actually, I made something for the wedding but as it is for a good cause I can play it now instead and make something else up for the wedding. Besides I have a new flutist, I am sure she would love to help me compose- she needs a LOT of practice, but do not tell her, it would crush her poor thing. Anyway, why is all the grass so wet? Glorfindel, did you take her swimming to propose? That is not very romantic, but then again the both of you are rather odd ducks…"
Whether or not certain denizens of Imladris survived the night is a tale for another time, dear reader. Only be sure that the wrath of Glorfindel and Erestor is a mighty thing, later commemorated in song as a warning to those who meddle in things they should not.
That said, this tale comes to a close. Perhaps we will meet these creatures another time, but for now, suffice it to say this:
Glorfindel and Erestor were wed. They fought quite often and were extremely happy driving their Lord Elrond up the wall. They had adventures, usually when Erestor was feeling very young and her tendency to be found by trouble caught up with her from her Hogwarts days. Glorfindel was always there, reminding her to eat lunch and occasionally stabbing people with knives. It was not safe, but they were content, and it was never boring, which is about as close to normal as Erestor ever got.
They also wrote many letters.
Please remind Haldir that when I say "Be Careful" I do not mean "Get stabbed by a Hobbit". How did he even manage that? One might as well say "I was shot by a flower". Let him know that I will use this information as blackmail for the rest of forever.
If you have time, I would appreciate it if you picked some samples of that new Rose hybrid the Halflings are cultivating on your return trip.
I would tell you to be careful as well, but considering how it turned out last time I will pass. Come back un-stabbed please, or I will be very upset.
With all my Love,
So my dearest readers, the end has come. But only for this story, fear not. The universe itself will live on, I have plans for expansion. Be good, be careful.
And tell me, what do you think of Rowling's little bomb?
*The romances alluded to would be that of Melian and Thingol and Luthien and Beren, although one may also include many others that started and ended rather tragically during the time before (and after) the Sun.
Thanks for reading, reviewing! It kept me reminded. You guys are awesometacular.