DISCLAIMER: Tolkien is a genius, I am not. Everything belongs to him.

Note: I believe that Glorfindel of Gondolin is the same as Glorfindel of Rivendell. That is how I wrote Glorfindel in this story. Also, Ada basically means Dad, Daddy. Adar is father.

~*~

With each passing second, Elrond became more troubled. A hunting party had been overrun by a pack of orcs and now the wounded had found their way back. But that was not what troubled the elven lord. It was the fact that several were still missing, his twin sons and best friend among them.

Elrond pushed the thought from his mind as he set to work, putting all his energy into helping those in need. For the most part, none of the injuries were very serious. A few had Elrond worried for a moment, but they were quickly treated.

It was as Elrond treated one of the last elves that some of his fears could be allayed. "My lord!" Elrond's heart flew to his throat as he turned and promptly ran to the four elves in the doorway.

Elladan was leaning heavily on one of the elves, a bloody gash down his leg. Elrohir was unconscious and being carried into the hall, where Elrond immediately took his son in to his arms. "Follow me," he ordered curtly to the others, leading them to a spare room.

Elrond carefully laid his son on one of the beds, cringing at the gash on his head. Elrohir seemed well enough, besides the obvious. Elladan cried out involuntarily as he was lowered onto the opposite bed, his leg giving an unnatural jerk.

"What happened Elladan?" asked Elrond tersely as he set to tending to the unconscious Elrohir.

"The orcs came in great numbers," Elladan began as one of the healers tended to his leg. "More than we were prepared for. Most of us became separated in the attack. I was fighting next to Elrohir when he was struck with an orc blade when his back turned. I fell moments later when I heard him cry out and I could not stop block the blade quick enough. Were it not for Thalion and his hunting party nearby, we would be captives right now."

Elrond nodded and sighed. He was thankful his sons have been returned to him, somewhat in one piece. Though one thought still loomed in his mind. Turning to Elladan he softly asked, "What of Glorfindel?"

Elladan's face became alarmed. "Glorfindel has not returned yet?"

Elrond's eyes closed briefly. Fear for his best friend was close at hand. "No he has not."

A moment's silence came before the twin offered, "Glorfindel has defeated balrogs before, I doubt some foolish orcs will keep him." The words were said halfheartedly though.

Elrond nodded. "I'm sure you are right. Now get some rest my son. I do not need you to aggravate your injury."

"Yes Adar," replied Elladan with a slight smile as he then drifted off to sleep. Elrond pulled up a chair between the two beds so he could watch over his sons.

Elrond examined their profiles in the waning light. They were so alike, yet so different. They were trained warriors now, and skilled healers at that. Still, he could not help but see them as the innocent younglings that they once were.

"Ada?" came a weak voice.

Elrond sat up, startled, before realizing that Elrohir was awake. "I'm here Elrohir."

"What happened Ada?" Elrohir struggled to sit up, but Elrond pushed him back.

"You were attacked by orcs. Elladan tells me you suffered a hard blow to the head, as I'm sure you can feel."

Elrohir winced. "Indeed. What of the others in the hunting parties?"

Elrond sighed. "Most were injured, though few grievously. We are still unsure of Glorfindel and Tathar's whereabouts." Elrohir struggled to sit up again. "My son, stop. They are no doubt find, I suggest you return to your rest."

"I am no longer a century old Ada," replied Elrohir. "I do not need you to send me to bed."

"Humor me," remarked Elrond dryly. "You gave me quite a scare when you were carried in here unconscious. Please just go back to your rest Elrohir."

Elrohir smiled weakly as he drifted off once again. "Okay.Ada." Elrond watched his children sleep. It warmed his hear to hear them call him 'Ada'. They had not done so in years.

Elrond spent the night keeping a tireless vigil over his twin sons. He was overjoyed that they were home and safe. Yet he could not help but worry about the absence of Glorfindel. It was nearly morning when he rose and stretched. Glancing again at the slumbering figures, he moved to the balcony and took in a breath of morning air.

Elrond's eyes traveled over the courtyard, taking in every movement. As his eyes moved from side to side, he suddenly froze in alarm. It was at the tree line that two figures appeared. One was obviously unconscious as the other was carrying him along. The golden hair of the one still standing brought hope to Elrond's heart followed by fear when he saw the figure collapse.

Elrond ran from the room, calling for the healers as he went. As he burst through the outside doors, he held his breath as he raced to the two motionless elves' sides.

"Glorfindel!" he cried, kneeling next to his friend's side. The elf's face was badly bruised, blood marring his brow. When Elrond carefully rolled Glorfindel to his side, Elrond's hear leapt to his throat. The golden- haired warrior was bleeding profusely from wounds in both his chest and abdomen, soaking his tunic an ugly crimson.

Healers ran out of the house and joined Elrond next to the two fallen elves. Realizing his friend had little time left, the elven lord scooped Glorfindel into his arms and rushed into the house, regardless of the extra weight.

It was all Elrond could do to keep his head as he worked. Th only thought that ran through his mind was that he had to save Glorfindel. He would not lose his dearest friend.

Elrond barked orders to a healer nearby, he would need athelas if Glorfindel were to live. "Hold on my friend," he whispered, cleansing one of the many wounds. "You cannot grace Mandos with your presence once again."

The athelas was brought and Elrond quickly employed its use. Glorfindel's pallor scared him to a degree he did not wish to admit. All he wanted was for the warrior to open his eyes so that Elrond could know that he would be okay. "A balrog could not keep you down, do not let orcs be your bane." The whispered words fell on deaf ears, as the warrior made no move to awaken.

When there was nothing left to do, the bandages in place, the athelas in use, Elrond stood next to the lifeless body. He had done everything he could. Now it was left to Glorfindel to pull back from the edge of the Halls of Mandos.

Elrond wearily looked around him. Leaving one of the healers to briefly watch over Glorfindel, he left to go check on his sons. He found them both in the same bed, lying awake next to each other like they had done when they had had nightmares when they were children.

"Will Glorfindel be alright Ada?" asked Elladan in a childish voice, betraying his years. "I went to find you and I saw Glorfindel. The orcs caused more damaged than I had thought."

"My lord," interrupted one of the healers. "I am afraid that we are going to have to make funeral arrangements."

For one horrible moment, Elrond felt the world stop. Glorfindel must be dead. The gallant warrior that was his oldest and dearest friend was gone. The one that had helped raise his children and keep his life together had passed. And there would be no return from Mandos this time.

"My lord, we must see to Tathar's burial." Elrond froze, reality setting in. Glorfindel was still alive. Relief soared within him.

"Of course," he said, rather cheerfully. It wasn't until the healer looked at him that he grasped that he was grinning. Guilt overtook the relief and Elrond realized what he had been doing. "Of course," he said again solemnly. "Erestor can begin the arrangements."

The healer bowed and left. Elrond leaned back in his chair, sorrow radiating through him. Tathar was dead. And for a moment he had been happy about it. A great sense of self-loathing washed through him.

"It is not your fault, Ada," whispered Elrohir. "There was nothing you could do."

Elrond shook his head. "I could have done something. I could have tended to him and let someone else heal Glorfindel."

"Then two elves would have lost their lives," answered Elladan, sitting up. "You saved Glorfindel, he would have died otherwise. There is no telling what would have happened if you had tried to help Tathar."

Elrond closed his eyes. He could not think of it that way. "Please try to get some more rest my sons," he said softly as he rose and left the room. He walked the hallways slowly, all the while heading for the room where Tathar lay.

He entered the vacated room, and moved to stand next to the motionless body. Tathar's blue eyes were glazed over in an unnatural sleep. His dark hair was matted with blood from a head wound that had been dressed. All his wounds had been cleaned and bound. One would expect him to simply stand and leave the room unless they could see his eyes.

Elrond sat down in a discarded chair next to Tathar. Monumental grief assailed him, coming in waves as it did to all elves. "I am sorry for my failings," he whispered to the lifeless elf. Tears gathered at his eyes as he came to realize that it was his fault that Tathar would not rise on the morrow.

A burst of noise from one of the rooms nearby startled Elrond and he quickly moved toward it, swiping at his eyes as he went. He stopped in the doorway and tried in vain to stop the smile that fought its way to his face.

Glorfindel was awake and fighting to sit up, though the healers were quite forcefully telling him to stop. The golden-haired warrior was not one for idleness and even less for being confined.

"My friend," greeted Elrond, stepping into the room. "You must sit and rest."

"I cannot rest while those foul beasts walk the land," growled Glorfindel as he pushed away the hands of a healer and sat up. He jumped to his feet and would have collapsed, had Elrond not caught him.

"You were nearly dead when I last saw you, now stay and rest!" Elrond put more force into the words than he would have liked, but it was necessary. He motioned for the others to leave as he helped the warrior back into the bed, checking to make sure he had not reopened any of his old wounds.

Glorfindel sighed in defeat. Looking closely at Elrond, he detected the weariness in his eyes. "What is truly wrong Elrond?"

The elven lord shook his head, dropping ungracefully into a chair. "I nearly lost you Glorfindel, I do not wish to see you that close to Mandos again."

Glorfindel frowned. "That is not all. What are you not telling me?" The silence increased until the golden-haired warrior spoke. "It is Tathar."

Elrond winced at the name. He blinked rapidly to allay the tears. "He has passed. And it is my fault that he has."

"What?" exclaimed Glorfindel. He nearly jumped to his feet again, but Elrond rose and placed a restraining hand on his shoulder. "How could it possibly be your fault?"

"I did not tend to him. I could have saved him but I did not. His death is on my hands."

Glorfindel snorted. "Hardly. Unless you wielded the blade that delivered the blows then it is not on your hands. Tathar would not have made it Elrond. Even I knew that when I was carrying him back. But I would not leave him to be among yrchs." The word slipped from his mouth with much distaste. "Do not think that way Elrond. I will not have it!"

A small smile rose to Elrond's lips. "And what would you do to me, when you are confined to your bed?"

Glorfindel growled deep in his throat. "I am not confined to my bed and to do so would be folly on your part."

Elrond chuckled. "Indeed. Though you are forbidden to leave this house until I say otherwise. You were badly injured Glorfindel."

The warrior nodded. "I know, believe me." He winced as he shifted. Glorfindel then tried to stifle a yawn but was unsuccessful. At Elrond's stern, look he sighed. "Yes, I will get some more sleep. Now go tend to Elladan and Elrohir; I'm sure you are fussing over them like the overprotective father that you are."

"I shall be fussing over you too for the time being," replied Elrond. "Now rest, please." He sat by his friend's side until Glorfindel's eyes clouded over in sleep. Rising slowly as if a great burden were laid upon his shoulders, he left to go check on his sons. Then he would tend to Tathar. He felt it was his duty to do so.