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In The Bitter

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It all started with the rather controversial news that Maeglin was coming under the purview of Lord Elrond.

Glorfindel was righteous indignation incarnate, looking quite prepared to take on another balrog or fifteen. Marching through the halls, he came as close to stomping as an elf can, and everyone with any sense of self-preservation scattered. Which explained why Erestor was not only not scattering, but purposefully following the one-elf hurricane.

Glorfindel stormed his way through the halls, unnoticing of his surroundings until a dead end. He huffed and turned, only to find Erestor shaking her head at him.

"I thought you said you had forgiven him."

Glorfindel kicked the ground.

"Forgive is one thing. Forget is another, I believe you have told me that before. Besides, just because I forgive him does not mean I desire to see his face every day, or his presence here."

Erestor watched him carefully, thoughtfully. Glorfindel scowled at her, and it felt strange on his face. He hadn't needed to frown much recently. Valinor and Erestor kept him very entertained. Now though, she was in full-on analysis.

"Erestor…"

"Glorfindel."

It said a thousand things, none of which he wanted to hear. But then she sighed and muttered "Idiotic, stubborn males" and stepped forward, grabbing his hand and pulling him along. This was a new development he had not appreciated. The healing of Valinor had increased her strength, and so between that and her own stubbornness, Erestor had begun pulling him places. Still, she didn't abuse the new ability, and he allowed himself to be led.

Once again they rushed through the halls, and no one hesitated to move for a second time. It was general consensus that avoiding Glorfindel and Erestor together was better for health, physical and mental.

Swiftly they reached Erestor's office, where she pushed her companion into his overstuffed chair. With a wave, the tea was ready and she pushed an over-sugared cup of it into Glorfindel's hands. He sighed and obeyed the unspoken command, savoring the silence (although not the tea. Had she dumped in the entire sugar bowl?).

Finally, he spoke. Or ranted. It was long, and rambling. It mentioned many times over how many lives had been lost, how much pain the actions of one elf had caused.

"I can forgive him the hurts he cause me, but I have no right to forgive the hurts he cause others. And truthfully, I do not trust him with the safety of Lord Elrond." And collapsed, taking another sip of tea. Still warm of course, thanks to Erestor.

"Glorfindel," she began slowly, measuring her words, "you were listening when Mithrandir explained about Eöl, were you not?"

"I-" He stuttered to a stop. "No," he confessed, and Erestor pinched her nose, and her brow wrinkled as if in pain.

"Right. Then allow me to do so." She took a delicate sip of tea in a way that told Glorfindel she was steeling herself.

"Eöl was a dark elf. I do not mean that in the way Calaquendi do, I mean that he was bad. His one light area was his wife, and even that was grey at best." Glorfindel moved to speak, but her Look froze the words.

"Now, I do not doubt that he loved her, but it was in the same vein he loved anything: it was his. Possession of a beautiful object, sole ownership, mastery, if you will. When his son was very young, he had no purpose for him. A child was a distraction, it kept his wife from devoting her full attention to him. Older though, that was different. It held promise."

Erestor's hands shook, and she set the teacup down.

"He did something very terrible, and very foul. Evil. To his own son." Deep breath. "He split hisfëa, and place part of it within his son. He then used this to influence and eventually, take over his son."

Dead silence.

"In the Halls of Mandos-"

"You forgave him, yes. And neither is Maeglin completely innocent. He knew his father had done something, and he told no one of the things whispered in his mind. He feared death, pain, and allowed himself to be taken over by his father. He did not fight until it was too late, although it did help prevent the death of Elrond's father, when Eöl would have slain Eärendil and taken Idril. Indeed, it was Eöl who loved Idril in the first place, seeing in her a resemblance to his dead wife."

"But it was not Maeglin who betrayed the city. Not completely."

"Correct."

Silence again. Glorfindel sat as his world realigned. Not innocent, but not wholly guilty either.

"We killed him."

"You killed them, rather. Eöl as much as Maeglin, perhaps more so."

"But Gondolin fell because of the combined efforts and failings of father and son."

"Yes."

"Augh!"

Glorfindel slung his cup across the room, barely content with the delicate tinkle of porcelain shattering. Erestor merely sighed and conjured up a plate, heavier, and handed it to him. He threw this as well, and felt satisfied with the fuller sound.

"But for him to stay here-"

"Who said anything about him staying? You truly were not listening to a word anyone said, were you? Of course not, I should not ask such foolish and obvious questions. Listen! To! Me!" and she stabbed him with a tea spoon with each word. "He will come and speak. With you. With any elf who desires it. Afterwards, he will return to the Gardens of Lorien. He is staying with us, yes. For a few days, or however long it takes. Then he will leave. Possibly never to return until the remaking of the world. He is not exactly popular, you realize. There are few places he could stay."

"Oh."

"OH is right, you great idiot. Honestly, you killed the balrog by sheer stupidity, I just know it. Or perhaps it was TALKING to you, and threw itself off the cliff from frustration when it proved the same as talking to a wall. In which case, it did a service to Middle Earth."

He shouldn't have found it funny. He was tense, and referencing his death immediately after a crisis concerning the cause should have been massively inappropriate. Instead, Erestor had somehow known him well enough to poke at him without inciting his ire, and Glorfindel realized he was laughing, and sitting down, and drinking terribly over-sugared tea.

"Perhaps you are right, m'dear." Her grumble was token at best, which told him she was going easy on him due to his upset.

"Still. I do not wish to spend much time with him," Glorfindel admitted a moment later. Erestor shrugged.

"Then do not. I doubt anyone expects the two of you to be the best of friends. Just do not try to throw him off any walls, and all will be well."

"I will be watching him carefully."

"Of course," and she rolled her eyes at him, but she also held his hand, and didn't fuss (too much) when he forced her to eat seconds at dinner, and take off work early to go walking in the garden.

Glorfindel still felt unsettled, but it helped.