Happiness, As Promised Posted: May 2005 Title: Happiness, As Promised Author: Ezra's Persian Kitty Fandom: Tolkien Genre: FCS Characters: Elrond/Erestor Rating: NC-17 Disclaimer: Not mine. Author's Notes: Glorfindel's line, "Unrequited love is a bore," is actually a quote from Lorenz Hart, a lyricist who worked with Rogers before Hammerstein did. Also, Glorfindel's tradition is based on a Swedish one. This story is for Ange. Summary: Erestor wishes upon a cookie.
Part 1: THESIS
Elrond was late for their meeting, but that was all right. Erestor allowed himself a moment of calm. He stood to throw the window open wide, inviting an early summer breeze into the cozy office, as well as the everyday noises of an Imladris morning. Leaning on the windowsill, Erestor closed his eyes. He could hear the fishermen setting off upstream in their narrow boats, calling to one another on the docks. He could hear a group of children already at play in the wood. He could hear the washerwomen singing and he could hear early morning greetings traveling the air.
Abruptly, the door swung open behind him. "I do apologize . . ." Elrond was saying. "I ran into Everyone's Favorite Captain on the way here." Elrond shook his head wearily. "Glorfindel's been thinking . . ." He paused. "You know how he does sometimes."
Erestor frowned with worry. "What is it now?" he regretfully asked, barely courageous enough to do so. He swiftly crossed the room and plopped back into his chair.
Elrond sat down at his place, his robes pooling neatly about his feet, his long-fingered hands settling lightly on the desktop. "Well, the first thing I noticed about him was that he was a little paler than usual, which I instantly attributed to the fact that he was absolutely covered in flour, head to toe." The Lord chuckled a bit.
"Oh Tilion," Erestor cursed the name of his patron Maia and dropped his head into an ink-smudged hand.
"Yeeesss . . ." Elrond drew out the word, "it seems that Everyone's Favorite Captain has been in the kitchens again--"
"Do you remember what happened the last time?!" Erestor demanded, interrupting.
"Neither I nor anyone else is likely to forget that particular Yule Feast. . . . At least Thranduil was poisoned too . . . Anyway. Now Glorfindel's taken into his head the idea of integrating some Gondolin tradition with the wine-tasting tomorrow."
"And he's doing this one whole day beforehand? How very thoughtful of him," Erestor quipped, as Glorfindel's style was more along the lines of waiting until the day of an event to prepare for it.
"Yes. At first, I demanded he explain himself, but he was so very jolly and cheerful and altogether Glorfindel-ish, that I left. He knew it was too early for me. He purposely chased me away with his good humor."
"That unrelenting bastard," Erestor answered dryly, curious despite himself. Glorfindel might be a fool, but he was no idiot. As Elrond was fond of saying. Erestor wondered what entertainments they were in for now. Glorfindel's antics were always worth a laugh.
Except for the poisoned Yule dinner. Erestor could have done without that.
"I'm sorry, Erestor," Elrond eventually said. "What is this meeting about?" He looked completely perplexed and was already pouting in hopes that Erestor wouldn't give him a tongue-lashing.
The Counselor frowned. "Wine-tasting. Tomorrow. Meeting. Today."
"Right," Elrond sighed. "Wine-tasting. . . . Haven't we gone over these plans five times already in the past week?"
Erestor -- spreading out the timetables, wine lists, vendor names, duty rotations, and placement map on the desk -- stared at Elrond as a teacher would a petulant student. "Last time," Erestor promised.
"Well where's the rest of the committee?" Elrond wanted to know.
Stalling, Erestor pushed the map of the hall at Elrond and then fumbled among his own notes. "Hmm? Oh, they're already preparing of course." Or at least they should have been. "Ebelth has her crew moving the wine, Tradelin will be in the kitchens all day, Melpomaen is triple-checking guest quarters for those arriving today, Silinde is making signs, and Glorfindel, apparently, is doing what he does second-best: making a nuisance of himself. So, you and I are meeting now, one last time, to discuss traffic patterns in the hall." He gestured at the map in Elrond's hand.
Motionless but for his eyes, Elrond looked at the map, at Erestor, at the map, and back at Erestor. "Have I ever told you how exceedingly anal you are?"
"Relentlessly, my Lord," Erestor humored him. "Please just look at the diagram and tell me if you think tables five and six are too close together."
Elrond calmly exhaled, examined the map, and set it down. "Aside from the fact that we've done this every other year for half an age and have never had a problem, yes I think everything is fine, and no, tables five and six aren't too close together."
Erestor took back the paper. "Thank you, Elrond."
"You're welcome, Erestor."
After Elrond left to pursue his daily labors, Erestor allowed himself no more than five minutes of staring at the door, sighing wistfully, and imagining his own private imaginings. When that was done, he tucked away all the paperwork into various folders, took care to pat down his hair to make sure it was presentable, carefully folded back his dark sleeves, and went off to conduct his own household affairs.
First, he whisked himself away to his clerk's office, where Silinde had various papers and labels spread throughout the room in a chaotic mass of dysfunction that Erestor had long learned to keep silent about. They had their own way of doing things, and though Silinde could be a little messy, he always had things done right on time. After Erestor ensured his vertically challenged clerk (who stood no higher than Erestor's elbow) was on task, he dropped off his pile of paperwork on the desk and flounced away to the guest quarters where Melpomaen was frantically rushing about, jotting down names and handing out keys and trying not to yell at the young Elves who were toting luggage and were constantly underfoot. Melpomaen's propensity for agitation under even the slightest pressure had always been a sore point for him, a struggle that he courageously battled against in his quest to become a great and revered scholar like his idol, Erestor. Disliking to a great extent such hero-worship in any form, Erestor was hard-pressed to be patient with the young intern. But for all this, the dark-haired beauty was a hard-worker, and determined, and could remember every page he'd ever read, and so Erestor did his best to encourage the lad. "How's tricks?" Erestor enquired of the flustered intern. Familiar with Erestor's common sarcasm, Melpomaen grumbled something irreverent in his general direction and plodded off down the hall. Erestor rolled his eyes and proceeded below ground level so that he might promenade down the wide service passage that ran directly beneath the main hall, where Ebelth was indeed in the process of directing a crew to move the various wines, stored in barrels or -- with the more recent vintages -- in bottles. A slew of young Elves were working in teams to roll the barrels (from wherever they had been stored) into place closer to the tasting area for tomorrow. After that, Erestor darted up the steps that came out into the kitchen where Tradelin was fussing about with this and that, shouting orders to assorted underlings, and continually shooing away Glorfindel, who was still covered in flour and was very busy with some covert undertaking. For the most part, however, the Golden Elf was hanging about a particular oven, taking up space, and sampling whatever anyone happened to walk by with.
The Captain jumped, whirled about, and flashed a dazzling smile at Erestor. "Counselor! How ARE you?"
"Glorfindel," Erestor told him, ignoring the question, "You are an absolute menace."
The grin broadened. "Why, thank you!"
"That wasn't a compliment."
"Are you sure?" Glorfindel asked, furrowing his brow as though interrogating a youngster. He pointed a strong finger and prodded Erestor's shoulder.
"Quite sure. Stop poking me; you're getting flour on my robes."
"On your immaculate," poke "perfectly pressed," poke, poke "black as pitch" poke poke poke, "fine velvet robes?"
"So, Glorfindel, I hear you were using your cheerfulness to your advantage this morning, scaring our Lord away."
"Wouldn't you?" Glorfindel thought a moment. "Actually, you wouldn't. Never mind. Say," and he leaned conspiratorially in to whisper, "you wanna be in on my secret?"
Erestor took great care to think this question over. On the one hand, ignorance was bliss. On the other hand, it might be best for everyone concerned if Erestor knew just what Glorfindel was up to. "All right then," Erestor sighed out, as though he really didn't care but deemed it better to know, "what's the secret?"
Glorfindel lowered his voice even further, leaning in to whisper his hot breath over Erestor's ear: "Gondolin wish cookies."
Erestor had never heard of any such thing. He said as much and then added, "And stop flirting with me."
"Yessir." Glorfindel always seemed a little cowed when Erestor called him on it. "I'm going to set them out with the other snacks tomorrow."
Erestor glanced at the oven. "When will they be ready?"
"The first batch?" Glorfindel shrugged, pulled open the door to peek within. "Ten minutes, about." He stood up straight and then pulled himself up on a clean section of counter so that his booted feet could swing back and forth. Erestor stood to one side of him rather than across, allowing for others to pass around them. "How's the wine-tasting going?" Glorfindel wanted to know as he snagged a roll from a basket being carried by a maiden passing through.
"The committee is doing well," Erestor said. "All is as it should be."
"Any particular wines you're looking forward to?"
Erestor shrugged, but then elaborated. "There are representatives from Gondor this year. It's been a while, but I'm always curious to see what the humans turn out. The soil of Gondor is sandier than anything Elven wineries produce, excepting only those near the Harbors. They say the grapes like the sand in the soil, and I agree. It allows for something more flavorful. Also, the weather has been fortunate in Gondor. Neither drought nor flood in the last decades. Their newest vintages must offer something of value, I should think."
"And that Mirkwood port you always look forward to?" Glorfindel pushed.
Erestor smiled grudgingly at him. "Of course. It is the best, in my opinion. And you, Glorfindel, you'll be searching out your meads?"
"As ever," came the jovial reply. "Mmm, honey wine . . . Something sweet to match my temper."
"Please," Erestor groaned with an accompanying eye-roll.
Glorfindel was shaking his head.
"What?" Erestor curiously asked.
"The damn bottles!" Glorfindel swore, repeating an old and worn rant that he hurled at anyone who cared to listen. "In my day, we didn't force wine into bottles! It ages in the barrel, and you drink it from the barrel; that's how it works! You don't dilute it in a glass bottle; poison it with cork!"
"That's quite enough, Glorfindel. You know the bottles make for easier transport in smaller amounts and extend the life of the wine. Do stop going on so."
Glorfindel lowered his rant to a nearly inaudible rumble.
"What about those cookies?" Erestor asked to shift Glorfindel's train of thought.
With a yelp, the golden Elf leapt off the counter and sprang to the oven. He grabbed up a cloth to remove the tray and slide the pastries onto a cooling rack.
Erestor eyed them curiously. The cookies were circular, but had a scalloped edge, like old lace. They were as big as a large coin and just as thin, and they were pale, like dough. "A Gondolin wish cookie, huh?"
"You want one?" Glorfindel asked.
"There's no mistletoe in them, is there?" Erestor asked, the least innocent of smiles curling his lips.
Glorfindel groaned and tossed his head. "Achhh, will I EVER live that down?"
"No," Erestor quickly told him, taking a cookie.
"Wait, wait!" Glorfindel stopped him. "Let me demonstrate." He picked up a warm cookie and held it in the palm of one hand. "Hold it like this, see?" With the forefinger his other hand, he tapped the center of the thin cookie, which broke into several pieces. Glorfindel shrugged. "You gently tap it in the middle like that and make a wish. If it breaks into exactly three pieces and you eat them without saying anything, then your wish will come true."
But Glorfindel's cookie had broken into five pieces, and he shoveled the whole lot into his mouth from the palm of his hand. He chewed quickly and smiled, and waited expectantly for Erestor to break his cookie.
Erestor, rather dubiously, held the fragile cookie wafer in one hand as told, and tapped it with a finger.
The cookie broke into exactly three pieces. Erestor sighed and patiently ate them one by one.
Glorfindel was practically glowing. "What did you wish for?"
"That would be telling."
Since he was in no mood for Glorfindel's badgering, Erestor truthfully told him, "Happiness." He could not keep the sorrow from his voice.
Glorfindel smiled at him. Not his false, beaming smile that he continuously shone on the world, but a gentle one that Erestor could tell was real because the corners of blue eyes crinkled, and you could only see a hint of white teeth. "Happiness. Yes. It will come true!" The false smile was back and Glorfindel was prattling on again. "It will!" he protested at Erestor's dubious look. "It's a Gondolin wish cookie!" he went on. "Of course it will come true!"
Part 2: ANTITHESIS
Glorfindel found Elrond loitering about a high balcony. But it was not an exterior balcony. The gallery that Elrond was situated on was a circular extension around the interior of the dome of the large hall that would house the wine-tasting the next day. After dinner, the half-Elven Lord had exchanged proper robes for simple shirt and trousers. He had lowered himself to sit on the balcony, his shoeless feet dangling out from between the posts of the railing. He was looking down upon the room, which was also the dining hall. Dinner had been held early in the evening, and now the many youths recruited for the task were arranging the grand tables according to Erestor's precise directions.
"No no! Further to the left. Stop! There! That's fine; leave it; I'll fix it. Go . . . yes that one; just over here."
Elrond shook his head, a smile in his eyes.
Steps reverberated gently on the air as someone approached. Up the steps. Along the balcony. Elrond looked up.
Glorfindel had patted himself down, washed his face and hands, but flour still clung to his clothes and hair in places, rendering him a misty apparition in Elrond's view. The Golden Elf was not wearing his common, false smile. Quite the opposite: his blue eyes were murky with emotion, his face drawn and serious. He did not look angry, or sad. Only thoughtful. He, too, lowered himself to sit on the balcony. He folded his legs under him and stuck his golden head through the posts to look down, observing all the action in the hall. He withdrew, though still had those deep blue eyes focused on something down below. "Do you see that Elf?" he demanded of Elrond.
Elrond looked down. "You'll have to be more specific."
Glorfindel heard the humor, but did not respond to it. He was uncommonly grim. "He is there. His hair is of average length, blacker than most though. Black as pitch, as are his robes. His eyes, if you can see them, are dark. Some would say cold. I say they are deep. He has deep eyes. His voice is low. It can be soothing, but it rarely is. He speaks to command. To instruct. He speaks so that others will hear and obey. He carries the weight of a world of injustice on his shoulders: a world inhabited by crimes he does not understand, by creatures of pure evil, by those he loves and those he hates, a world that has changed in more ways than he can name. He has tutored kings and taught countless children their letters. He divides his time among his duties, his pupils, his apprentices, his friends. He has no family left on these shores. He always wears braids in his hair. He takes great pride in his rank and the people and the land here. He is a counselor, a scholar, a historian, a scribe, a mentor. A linguist, a mathematician, a cruciverbalist, an ambassador, a cryptologist, a translator, an artist, a psychologist, an anthropologist, and a bastard. He's fought against social standards all his life, against stereotypes, assumptions, prejudice, every kind of intolerance and discrimination. He also possesses a wealth of wisdom, kindness, contentment, forgiveness, generosity, understanding, and love."
Rarely had Elrond ever heard Glorfindel orate so intensely about any one thing for such a great length of time. And so passionately and truthfully did he speak, that Elrond closely listened, loath to interrupt. But when Glorfindel said no more, the Lord forced himself to ask, "Why are you telling me this?"
"That Elf," Glorfindel said again, "Do you see him?"
"Aye," Elrond whispered, watching Erestor carefully.
"He and I never saw eye to eye. We fought on a great many levels before reaching a neutral ground. Then, of course, our respect grew and grew. Friendship followed, and from that, trust. And he once confided in me a truth, and swore me to secrecy. But I am about to break that promise."
Elrond was looking at Glorfindel now, wondering what the great mystery here was.
"He loves you, Elrond," Glorfindel sighed.
Elrond blinked and shifted his attention again downward, to the image of Erestor moving the tables with the youngsters, trying not to shout too much at them.
"It happened so long ago and so gradually that his entire life is now bound up in it, though he hides it so very well. He fell in love with the Lord who commanded him, the Lord who commands him still. Though older than you by half, and twice as intelligent, he loves you. He thought it best to never say a word, understanding how society views homosexual love. Understanding that you were born to a lord, he to an unwed scullery maid on the other side of the great grey sea. He understands that you were destined to marry and produce heirs, to fulfill your duties. He thought about things more than any Elf should, when contemplating matters of the heart. And when the pressure grew too much, he told me his secrets; he begged my understanding, not to judge him as depraved, as a lesser being, as stupid or immature. I did not, of course. I have lived too long to care for such things as parentage and social station. I have loved too much to uphold any stigma of the heart. And I have known him too long to let him continue his cycle. As hard as he has fought, as long as he has lived, as much as he has yearned to make a place, he still ridicules himself for what he perceives as his many faults. His love for you among them."
Glorfindel shook his head, all of his happy facades stripped away. Tears threatened, but would not fall. "Do you know, Elrond, all he wants is to be happy?"
Elrond, thunderously struck by this outpouring of hidden truths, still watched Erestor on the floor below, gesturing vehemently at the table-movers and yelling at them.
"Altogether now; it shouldn't be that hard. . . . your other left, Delifor! Left! Uh. Silinde; what are you doing here? You're early."
Elrond watched the scenes below for many moments. "Glorfindel . . . ?" But whatever Elrond was prepared to ask would go unanswered.
Glorfindel had gone.
It took an hour for Elrond to build up the courage to leave his perch. An hour of pondering, wondering, and remembering. He walked around the circular gallery once, and then descended the two hundred thirty-four steps from the lowest part of the dome to the floor of the hall below. He quietly meandered the tables, counters, chairs, and workers, watching in silence.
So busy were those he walked among that few even noticed their Lord was present. It was somewhat refreshing to be ignored. Eventually, he made his way over to his Chief Counselor, now drilling his next targets. "Are those all the tablecloths? Don't nod your head at me; there should be twice as many. . . . Yes," he responded to a question. "Where do you think? In the garden. Go on: get! Where are those tablecloths? My Lord!"
Elrond raised a brow when Erestor suddenly noticed him. It took Elrond only a moment to compose himself. "Good eve, Erestor. I see you're hard at work."
"Someone has to be," Erestor sighed. "Ah, but really, they're all doing very well."
"Where's the rest of the committee?" Elrond wondered.
"Oh, they're doing their part," Erestor defended. "Except Glorfindel. He's supposed to be here." Shook his head. "Probably got distracted again. --Hey! HEY! Watch the candelabra!" Erestor sighed and massaged both his temples, turning in toward Elrond. "I swear I'm getting too old for this."
"Don't worry," Elrond assured. "Tomorrow, everything will go off without a hitch, as usual."
Erestor flashed a weary smile and nodded, for the moment content to let his underlings scurry about without further instruction. "Why do we do it, Elrond?" he murmured.
"Oh," Erestor shook his head as though to clear the cobwebs within. "I'm sorry; I must be tired. Will I see you in the Hall of Fire tonight?"
Normally, Elrond would find such a question as innocent as new snow. But now that he saw, now that he knew to look, he found some disenchanted desire hiding at the edge of Erestor's eyes: that hope we have that we'll see someone we love, if only for a few more moments. "Yes," Elrond told him truthfully, "I'll be there."
"As will I."
He's so casual about it, Elrond thought, still ready to disbelieve it, still waiting for Glorfindel to jump out and say 'Fooled you!' But it wouldn't happen. It was clear in the tiniest of hidden glances from Erestor, the questions that gave him away. He'd gotten so good at hiding it, Elrond thought. A master of diplomacy indeed. "I'll leave you to your work," Elrond told him. "Until tonight, then."
"Until tonight, my Lord," Erestor agreed. ". . . Hey! Not the red ones!!! No! Green! GREEN! Did you even SEE the color scheme?!"
Glorfindel did not reappear until events in the Hall of Fire were well under way. Usually, the place breathed a subdued atmosphere, but people were excited about the following day, and there were guests from every corner of Middle Earth, and so the eve was a bit boisterous: the music loud and rollicking. Glorfindel was flung into the midst of this, dancing with the maidens and drinking ale with his men and joking with the guests.
Elrond sat in his accustomed place. All his children were there: Elladan sitting with the guardsmen, Elrohir dancing with Arwen.
Erestor was lurking about somewhere.
But it was not long before the Counselor seated himself comfortably at Elrond's side, so that they might survey the crowd together. Erestor said nothing, and Elrond noticed for the first time how such an easy silence might lay between them.
Elrond noticed for the first time a great many things, like how Erestor so often gazed at him with a supposedly indifferent look. And how truly beautiful Erestor was, with that pale almost bone-white skin and coal-dark hair, and eyes as deep as the unknown ocean.
Yes, Elrond noticed a great many things.
The following day was an early one for many in Imladris. Cooks, chefs, and bakers had worked throughout the night. Ebelth and her crew were following Silinde's signs and setting up wares from around the world as soon as the morning sun shed light into the great hall.
Vendors and other representatives of wineries were there, placing the white wines in buckets of ice being carried in from the wagons outside, which had been carted all the way from the slopes of the Misty Mountains. Glorfindel had taken charge of arranging the buffet. He set out several plates of his Gondolin wish cookies before directing the youths with the rest of the food to their proper places. Erestor was trying to supervise everyone, which wasn't particularly working very well.
Three hours later, it was not yet noon, but festivities were well underway. The hall was packed to overflowing, and the noise of talk and laughter and music and the clinking of glasses was practically deafening. Men and Elves mingled and brushed against one another in an effort to cut a path through the crowd. The scents suffused the room in a thousand perfumes. Smiling faces were everywhere. People rolled up their sleeves from the heat of the overstuffed hall. Already, cheeks were flushing red with the alcohol; hands flailed and tables were bumped.
By the time evening threatened and the shadows had grown their longest, the crowd had not thinned, but Glorfindel found himself up on the gallery where Elrond had been dangling the night before. The Golden Captain slowly walked round the balcony, surveying the scene below: the mass of swirling colors and waving hair. The many many candles that had been lit since the skies began to darken. The volume was lessened up on the gallery, as though there was a screen of clouds between their mouths and his ears, as though he heard but an echo of the present. Blue eyes scrutinized the pattern Elrond wove through the crowd, from here to there and all around, chatting to Lindir and to Arwen. Every time the Lord saw Erestor, he went the other way. "Well," Glorfindel sighed to himself, "this won't do." And he crept down the staircase.
Having decided that there was no reason to cease his interference now, Glorfindel sashayed up to Erestor, who was leaning on an otherwise unoccupied counter, a variety of wine bottles and empty glasses haphazardly circling his elbows. Glorfindel watched the Counselor down a half-glass of a blood-dark wine. "Whoa there, 'Res. You're supposed to be tasting the wine, not inhaling it."
For his comment, Glorfindel received a slightly unfocused glare. "Don't call me that. Besides, I only need a drink after working with YOU, Glorfindel. And then, I need a LOT of drink. . . . Why are you bothering me?"
"Well . . . . . . . . . . ." (As anyone who knew him could explain, there was a certain language to the way Glorfindel handled the word, 'well.' He used it in many contexts in many different ways, and if one knew him greatly enough, one eventually learned the many distinctions evident in his intonation of the particular word. For example, when asked about his health, Glorfindel would always reply, 'I am well.' But depending upon the manner in which it was said, one could interpret the meaning as, 'Great!'; 'Okay'; 'Just ducky'; 'Miserable'; and 'Leave me the fuck alone.' The words did not change. Their significance, however, did. Another common phrase of Glorfindel's was 'Well, it's like this, see . . .' which meant he was either A: about to attempt to extricate himself from a whole heap of trouble or B: he was about to relate a Most Entertaining and Devious Anecdote. Again, experience would tell which was which. Also, Glorfindel would commonly add the word 'well' to the beginning of any number of sentences, and just the way in which he said that word could mean any number of things, among them: 'I'm afraid you're not gonna like what I have to say, but . . .'; 'there's nothing else we can do, so we're gonna have to . . .'; 'don't shoot the messenger, but I gotta tell ya . . .'; 'I'm about to start flirting with you so get ready . . .'; and 'I KNOW you're not going to like what I'm going to tell you and I hope you won't kill me with sticks.')
It was this last intonation that Glorfindel evinced when he uttered with high-pitched intonation and drawn out consonants, 'Well . . . . . . . . . . .'
Erestor's glare sharpened. He lowly enunciated, "What. Did. You. Do."
"Well . . . ." there it was again, "You know how you're in love with Elrond? Yeah . . . I kinda told him."
Part 3: SYNTHESIS
Erestor's eyes slowly widened as he realized that Glorfindel was telling the truth. "Glorfindel, why? What? Why?"
Glorfindel forced out a smile. "Honey," he said oh-so matter-of-factly, "Unrequited love is a bore."
Shaking his head, Erestor turned back to pour another deep, dark glass of red wine.
"You drinking that merlot shit?" Glorfindel asked.
"Glorfindel," Erestor ground out unhappily, "you've fucked up my life. Again. Leave me alone. Now."
Glorfindel wound his way around the counter, as though he were a bartender. "I do believe you're being a bit ornery. I also believe the Valar set me on this earth again for a reason--"
"Yeah yeah, everybody should believe in something. I believe I'll have another drink." Frowning, Glorfindel leaned in close. "I promised you happiness, Erestor. I want you to have it."
"Get away from me, Glorfindel; I mean it." Erestor's eyes were so dark they were black. And from his voice, he was not in a state to be trifled with.
"Fine," Glorfindel whispered over the noise of the crowd. "But I think you should know, Elrond's coming this way." Then Glorfindel slithered his way out of sight with the ease of a snake in the grass.
Clenching his jaw and closing his eyes, Erestor tried not to cry. He forced back the tears and clutched his wineglass tight. So tight the glass broke. The stem cut into his hand as the bowl shattered. He opened watery eyes to watch the blood pool on the surface of the counter, indistinguishable from the wine. "Damn." And damn Glorfindel too. For all his shit, for all these truths. It wasn't supposed to be out in the open like that. Erestor had bared himself to Glorfindel in a moment of weakness decades before and now he would pay the price. Now weakness would be yet another of his attributes.
Nothing would be the same. He could never look Elrond in the eyes again. Comfort and contentment in his presence would become a thing of the past. "Fuck."
"Erestor?" Elrond's voice.
"Fuck." Erestor didn't even bother turning around. He grabbed the fullest, uncorked bottle and stalked off into the crowd, literally pushing people out of his way. "Move!"
"Erestor! Wait!" Elrond watched his Chief Counselor flee like a mouse from a cat through the mass. "Dammit."
Erestor stalked into the growing darkness, one hand white-knuckled from clutching the bottle so hard, the other -- still bloody -- scraping the tears from his cheeks.
He took the paths he knew best, those old, narrow trails grown over by grass and weed, those ancient, slender passageways through broken stone walls and overgrown gardens, past stunted, twiggy black-barked trees and around statues headless and shapeless from the weathering of a thousand years.
As the last of the sun's light retreated and there were no sounds of Elven life yet audible, his feet came to a stop of their own accord. He found himself on a dirt path, barely there, that was carved into the tall grass in a long line behind a long, ancient garden wall -- green and mossy from age, covered with vines. To his other side was a short sward of grass before the wood began. He leaned back against the wall, the vines doubled over him, enfolding his robed form, caressing his cheek, entwining his hair. He lifted the bottle to his lips, gulping down the spicy, bitter merlot.
Erestor frowned and pushed further back into the vines, knowing that they would only hide him if his searcher avoided the dark patch made by his robes in the dark night.
"Erestor, come out from there."
No such luck. "I'd rather stay here, if it's all the same to you," he told Elrond.
"Please come out."
Taking another drink, Erestor looked up through the leaves to see Tilion's orb not quite half-full and high and distant sailing in the sky. He pushed himself forward, away from the cold stone wall and into the chill of the summer night air. With his most severe glare in place, Erestor regarded his lord. He could not know how very frightening he looked, what with an already fair face drained from fear and smeared with blood from his hand along both his cheeks like a warrior's paint. "Glorfindel had no right. No right to betray my secrets."
"I'm glad he did," Elrond said, though he nearly pitched it like a question. "Though I'd like to hear you say it for yourself."
"Why?" Erestor demanded, daring to look more closely at Elrond, who was dressed in his bright festival robes, who looked so curious, so concerned. His gray eyes were wide, as though he could see the love that Glorfindel had spoken of if he searched hard enough. His face was ashen in the night. "Why?" Erestor repeated.
Elrond shook his head, glanced away, folded his hands before him. He looked at Erestor once more, Erestor with wine-spattered robes and blood drying on his hand, Erestor with black hair all askew and caught up with leaves, Erestor with hateful black eyes. Elrond told him without poetry or thought, "I am more ashamed than I can say to admit that I simply never thought of you as being capable of love. Of having a heart. I put you on some sort of pedestal, Erestor. But I wish I hadn't. If I hadn't, I think I would have noticed. Glorfindel wouldn't have had to be the one to tell me. And now I can see how ridiculous I was to have ever considered such nonsense. Everyone can love. Everyone has a heart."
Erestor didn't know what to say to that.
Then, Elrond added, "I would do anything, Erestor, anything to keep your heart from breaking."
"Oh fuck," Erestor whispered, barely perceptible.
"What can I do, my friend, to keep your heart from breaking?"
Erestor had one of those moments when the mouth disobeys the mind. "Let me fuck you." He didn't even know he'd said it. For a moment. "Oh shit." He turned, retreating away along the path that was no more than a line of packed dirt where the grass was worn away beside the wall.
At first taken aback by the blunt words, Elrond blinked spasmodically and watched Erestor depart. Then, he hiked up his robes and followed. "Erestor, wait."
"Gah," Erestor spat and stopped. He didn't turn around. He looked up at Tilion's chariot, whispered at the quiet sky, "Wha'd I do to piss you off, eh?"
Elrond had followed, stopped just behind his Counselor, reached out a hand.
Elrond grasped his shoulder and Erestor froze. He sighed and clenched his eyes shut. The bottle slipped from his hand, thumping harmlessly to the grassy ground, a little red wine spilling out over the night-green grass. "I'm sorry," he ground out through his teeth. "I shouldn't have said that." He wanted to pull away from the warm hand on his shoulder. Even more, he wanted to curl in toward it. But he stayed where he was, relishing the simple feeling, the unique contact of the warm hand of someone who wasn't disgusted by him.
"It was nothing if not honest." Elrond's smooth voice was at his ear. "I always have prized honesty among my counselors and my friends . . . and my lovers."
Erestor felt his jaw clench. His eyes shot open and he walked forward, out of Elrond's hold. He stopped once more, as though hoping Elrond would pursue him, touch him again.
The Lord did not. Elrond watched the tension lining Erestor's shoulders, the stiffness of his back.
"I'm not female," Erestor informed him.
"I'm not easy to live with."
"Or work with," Elrond pointed out.
"I love you."
"I know that now."
Erestor told him, "I love you more than I can express with words, more than I could express with my body, if you let me. I love you more than Tilion loves the night."
"I love you too, Erestor."
For Erestor, breathing was suddenly painful. His eyes rolled up and he felt light-headed. He put out a hand to the wall to steady himself. "How?" he wanted to know. "How do you love me?"
"I'm still working that part out," Elrond quietly confessed, concerned at Erestor's reaction.
"But it's love, right?" Erestor sounded suddenly, finally, hopeful. "It's love?"
"Yes," Elrond assured him, "It's love." He crept forward again, one long step bringing him up behind Erestor. Elrond, uncertain, slipped his arms about Erestor's waist, tucked his chin over a shoulder. He felt his Counselor trembling in his arms. "Don't cry, Erestor," he whispered, just the tiniest of breathy whispers. "Please don't cry; I've had tears enough in my life."
"Sometimes," Erestor coughed, "I think tears are all I have left." He let Elrond embrace him, pushed back into the hold, as he had earlier leaned into the wall. "I do not dare to let you love me, Elrond."
"I'm afraid." Erestor's voice was stifled with restrained sobs.
"I don't know!"
They both laughed.
"It's too different, too abrupt, far too unexpected," Erestor decided. He regretfully pulled out of Elrond's hug. He put his back to the wall, examined his lord through tear-blurred vision. Erestor's brows met in a confused line. "What about your wife?" "Celebrian; remember her?" Erestor softly demanded. He held out his hand, "Yay tall, silver hair, pretty as starlight, mother of your children?"
"I remember her quite fondly," Elrond answered, a sad smile on his face. "But she is not my wife. She dissolved those ties before she left these shores."
Erestor knew everything that happened in Imladris.
Or he thought he had.
"Yes, it's true," Elrond told him. "After everything that happened, she wanted me to be whole again too, and she knew I would never again find that with her."
Erestor kept blinking. "And, you think you can find it with me?"
Slowly, Elrond smiled. "I do not doubt it. Who better? Who better to complete me than my other half, my loyal friend, my devoted counselor, my secret admirer?"
"How drunk are you?" Elrond abruptly asked.
"Just-the-right-amount," Erestor decided. "Too drunk to be stupidly obstinate, but not enough to do anything I'll regret."
A slow smile, fearful and joyous, crept across Elrond's handsome features. "Do you really want to, uh, 'fuck' me?"
Erestor didn't need to answer. Elrond could see the nostrils flare, the eyes spark, the nervous, reflexive gulp. "I want you," Erestor rumbled.
Elrond's grin firmed. "You have a sexy voice," he told his Counselor, who was flushed not with embarrassment but with arousal. "You love me," Elrond marveled. "You want me."
"Keep talking," Erestor warned, "And I might not be able to control myself."
"How well do you know me, Erestor?" the half-Elf tested.
"Enough to know you can be recklessly rash," Erestor huffed out.
Elrond stepped into Erestor's personal space. A slow movement. A careful movement. A sinuous movement awash with desire, with sin, and with sex. "I find," Elrond whispered too close to Erestor's face, "That I am immensely attracted to you."
"So suddenly?" Erestor asked. "So easily?"
"Oh. All right."
They were so close, it was inevitable. Elrond closed up the distance between them until they were kissing. Erestor was the one who controlled it, one hand wrapping like steel around Elrond's waist, the other creeping into Elrond's black hair, and his tongue pressing into the moist mouth that tasted of champagne.
Erestor was surprised to feel Elrond's arousal pressing against his own. Elrond was not.
When the kiss died naturally away and their breathing was heavy and their skin was hot, Elrond pulled out of the strong embrace and shifted sideways, pressed himself back into the vine-covered wall. He gestured with his hands for Erestor to come forward.
Erestor flew into him, all caution and reason abandoned. Erestor crushed Elrond into the vines, into the wall, crushed into him, ground his pelvis against him, swallowed his tongue and pulled his hair. Clawed his robes and mashed their mouths and barely remembered to breathe.
"Aiya Erestor!" Elrond panted into the night, his hot breath not quite misting the cool air. "Fuck me!" he cursed at the sudden flood of awakening that rushed and roiled through his veins.
"I will," Erestor growled into the pointed ear. "Oh yes." Tears streamed from dark eyes as he latched his mouth to the supple skin of Elrond's neck and sucked. His wandering hands -- that clutched at Elrond's ass through his robes and groped round the front -- slowly ceased until Erestor was only hugging him close and breathing in the natural woodsy scent of him. His words ran together in a stream-of-thought voicing. "I love you so much; I have, for so long. I can't believe this; how is this happening; why are you letting me do this?"
"I love you, Erestor," Elrond said with a smile, as though he was freeing himself from something by saying it. "I need this. I've been too alone and too afraid, for too long."
One of Erestor's hands crept down to interlace his fingers with Elrond's. "You are my Lord, and I love you. You were my student, and I love you. You have been a better friend than I deserve and I love you. My heart feels like a burning fire in my chest," he sobbed heatedly, "my hands are tingling from touching you. It hurts to breathe and I'm so hard for you. Ai!"
"Then take me," Elrond demanded, insinuating those pale, long-fingered hands between them to pull at the ties to his own robes, pushing the fabric away, releasing his leggings and pushing them down, stepping out of them until he was bared to the night, his cock hard and heavy, jabbing at Erestor's abdomen. "Come on then," Elrond heavily huffed.
Erestor seemed uncertain, but then he fumbled at his own robes, their midnight velvet parting to reveal a white shirt tucked into brown leggings. He pulled at his laces to reveal his own turgid length, purpled and far too aroused. Erestor stepped back and leaned down to scoop the wine bottle from the grass. He doused his hand in the merlot that looked black in the night and drew his dripping hand in spirals up Elrond's pale, taut thighs. Erestor sank, as though worshipping, to his knees. He licked teasingly at Elrond's hard, narrow length as his wine-drenched hand sought the puckered opening to his body. Elrond parted his legs and surged forward into Erestor's mouth.
Erestor gagged with surprise and darted back before cautiously accepting him again, licking across the bulbous head, sampling the salty bitter taste. He spat to the side and then played his tongue along the length, moving to the rhythmic huffs and moans from Elrond's throat as his first finger breached the hot and shaky body.
Swiftly losing himself to sensation, Elrond moved forward into wet heat, backward onto the strange penetration. "I've never done this," he warned.
Pulling back, Erestor promised, "I'll try to go slow." He added another finger, chasing Elrond upward onto his toes.
Erestor pulled back, poured more wine onto his hand, knowing it was a poor substitute for oil, knowing that it would sting. "Does it sting?"
Elrond nodded and pushed himself down onto the hand, experimentally tensing, squeezing his muscles around the fingers.
Moaning, Erestor writhed and leaned forward to swallow Elrond's cock again, taking as much into his throat as he could, knowing the feeling would be extraordinary, even as his two searching fingers dug as deep as they could go.
The sounds that Elrond emitted were downright sinful: lusty sighs and dirty words and shocked cries and sluttish moans. "Take me deeper. Ah! Fuck yeah!"
And Erestor would oblige, and he was stretching Elrond brutally with three scissoring fingers, in and out and open/close. He sucked Elrond's cock as deep as he dared, swallowing around the shaft, laving it with his tongue.
Abruptly, Erestor jumped to his feet, much to Elrond's chagrin. Erestor had the bottle of wine and he dumped the last of it over his own straining cock. "Are you ready?" he demanded.
"Never," Elrond moaned. "Always. Just take me, Erestor. I need it now, I need you, I do love you, you know."
His lips parted in awe, dark eyes searching the lust-glazed face before him, Erestor lifted one of Elrond's bare legs, holding the knee in the crook of his robed elbow. With his other hand, Erestor shakily guided himself forward, the blunt head probing the tiny entrance. He looked into Elrond's eyes, saw the confirmation. The grey eyes that told him 'Do it.'
Erestor thrust forward, upward, violating that body, that vessel for the soul he loved so brilliantly.
Elrond howled his pained scream into the night, but bore down on the thickness that broke him. He trembled and his nails clawed at Erestor's robes and he bucked spasmodically, unable to decide if he should move forward or back.
Daringly, Erestor scooped Elrond's other leg up into his arm, so that only he and the wall were supporting the half-Elf's weight. Thanks to gravity, Elrond sunk even farther onto Erestor's thrusting prick. Elrond did not bother to lower his voice; he screamed animalistically into Erestor's hot mouth, which devoured him once more.
Erestor broke the kiss to bite his tongue to keep from coming as he was suddenly plunging into this perfect, tight, hot, buried, secret place. He keened this high-pitched whine into the side of Elrond's neck, holding himself, holding them both still, crushing Elrond against the wall.
Elrond felt unbearably exposed, his legs parted and up in the air. He felt out of control; he could do nothing to change the situation. A deep, deep part of him thrilled at that sensation. He literally begged Erestor to fuck him. Hard.
That's the way Erestor took his Lord, up against the old garden wall, the vines folding over them, the grass flattened beneath their feet, the night air cool and the moon smiling down. Erestor rammed himself without restraint into the tight, hot body, impaling the wriggling form against the wall.
They moved like animals and sounded like them too, in the cool and the calm of the night.
Erestor fucked his Lord with absolute abandon, pinning him to the wall and surging up into the writhing body until the spasms of orgasm sung through his very blood and he screamed nonsensically into the night and spurted his seed into the depths of Elrond's body.
Erestor collapsed to his knees with all the grace of a drunken man to consume Elrond's needy shaft and swallow swallow swallow. Elrond released himself into Erestor's mouth with a cry of completion and fell to the ground beside him and they kissed and they petted and they murmured words of love and they fell asleep on the narrow, dirt path beside the ancient, stone wall.
Erestor awoke to the sound of laughter. He opened an eye to the dawn of a new day, knew that his robes were shucked up around his waist, his penis hanging out. Elrond was probably worse off than that; he felt the bare skin of a belly beneath his hand.
The half-Elf was waking as well, blinking against the sunlight. He and Erestor were entangled in clothed arms and bare legs, with grass in their hair and wine and blood and semen smeared all around.
Glorfindel was smiling down at them. He was alone. He held a vibrant blue blanket in his hands, which he used to cover the awakening couple.
When Erestor met his eyes, Glorfindel's smile was brighter than the sun. "Happiness," Glorfindel told him with a wink. "As promised."
I really really wanted to write sex up against a wall. Who was I talking to about that? Oh well.
I'm not totally satisfied with the ebb and flow of this story. But I couldn't figure out how to fix it, at least not without a lot of editing. So this is what ya get.
Also, my computer tells me 'animalistically' isn't a word. I have decided to disagree. 'Animalistically' is TOTALLY a word.
I do not own this fic :3 just wanted to share it.