Summary: With power well-nigh unmatched was he sent back to Middle-earth, and with a purpose and a mission. But no one prepared him for this: that in their eyes would live the light that would stir the love in his heart.
Pairing: Glorfindel/Elladan/Elrohir, Elladan/Elrohir established relationship
Warning: Mild slash and mild twincest. I have tried to write it tastefully but, even so, if that is not your cup of tea, please make no effort to read this.
Disclaimer: Eä and the Void and all their inhabitants belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.
A/N: Liberties with the published material have been taken. Again, if you missed the warning, there is mild twincest.
It could be any year. Any season perhaps. Any day or any hour of the night. But it is high summer and the sky is a luminous pale blue, and it gleams in the waters of the pools and ponds, as if mirroring itself in the sheen of their surfaces. Soon the moon will rise with the lighting of the stars and then the blue will be shot through with silver until the blending of hues makes the world shine like the banners of Fingon, once upon a time.
Long had been the years. Heavy had been the weight of them. There had been joy and much laughter, but the melodies of grief and loss are woven into the very fabric of Arda and at times it overwhelms him. Even him.
The days are long in the summer. Water cascades from upon high, gleaming, and glittering. Cheerfully it tumbles from the rock, uncaring of the labours and sorrows of those that walk in the Hither Lands. The scents of blossoms and grass shift through the shimmering sun-lit air and songs of birds drift on the breeze.
This is a warm summer. Doors are left open in an invitation to the wind. Meals are taken on shaded patios and terraces and long into the night, the inhabitants of Imladris linger there, in soft lamplight, singing or telling such tales of the past as will not burden the heart.
It becomes easy to let the mind wander into memory. For three thousand years he has dwelt in Imladris and though it is not Gondolin the Fair it has been a blessed haven and he was happy here. That was until a shadow fell upon him and he knew peace no more. For there came a day when the silvery stars of the heavens he saw only in clear grey eyes and the silken embrace of night became the ripple of long, dark hair. And then Glorfindel, once chief of the House of the Golden Flower, honourable and mighty in arms, despaired.
She comes to join them as they exit Elrond's study and she smiles as she lays eyes on them.
"Have you now made very wise decisions?"
Elrond takes her hand and draws her to him, and he laughs. "No decisions today."
Celebrían is fair like her mother, the lady Galadriel daughter of Finarfin, and she settles by her husband's side, content to have his arm come around her waist. But her bright eyes land on Glorfindel and she suddenly says:
"My sons were looking for you."
There is something in her voice. She is watching him. He stumbles on a breath and wonders if he reads her wrong – if he is imagining that she is encouraging him. It might well be that he is fooling himself for his heart is wearied and worn after so many years of longing, and there is no reason for why she should do so tonight, of all nights.
"They should be in the garden," she says.
He looks to Elrond. His lord, his friend. Their father.
"I think we are done for tonight," says he, after a moment. His eyes are keen on Glorfindel's face (as if he at all needed to divine his wish) but he does not appear concerned. Indeed, if he would prefer Glorfindel to retire to his own chambers at once, his face betrays it not.
Therefore, Glorfindel nods. And he says, with a voice surprisingly steady and unaffected by an uncomfortable trickle of uneasiness through his breast:
"I shall seek them out then."
So he leaves. He does not feel his own feet as he makes his way towards the family's private gardens. For Celebrían certainly meant those, he is sure. Where elderflower blooms in spring and birds sing from dawn to dusk. To these he comes, with his heart having lost its regular beat. Poorly prepared.
There meets him no sight that he has not seen before and yet now... Now he is seeing with new eyes. Hoping, suddenly. Afraid, almost.
They are sharing one of the low cushioned couches, cradled by the sky and the slender branches of a climbing honeysuckle. It is Elrohir who is trailing his fingertips down his brother's arm in a gentle caress.
Most will swear that they cannot tell the twins apart but Glorfindel has always known. Since they were born he has been able to say who is Elrohir and who is Elladan, even from a distance. He has loved them since then, too.
It was never his intention for that love to transform. But they grew tall and went from endearing to handsome, dark of hair and gleaming grey of eye. Alike to the princes of the Noldor who walked in Beleriand in the Elder Days they are, but unburdened by pride and softer of heart, and laughter comes quick and easy to them. They are strong, valiant and hopelessly in love, for their fëar are as if one and the same. Two halves of one whole. Yet different, yet not. It is a complicated matter. As for Glorfindel, he too is in love.
Elrond knows of course – they all know. They have seen Glorfindel's head turn, his eyes turn, his heart turned to the twins and they know he has fought it. Bitter are his memories of burning battlefields, but whatever trials he has overcome in the past, they pale in comparison to this: to never step across what he always perceived were iron-clad boundaries in Elrond's house. But Glorfindel is weak. With power well-nigh unmatched was he sent back to Middle-earth, and with a purpose and a mission, but no one prepared him for this; and how it has torn him asunder.
He lingers in the archway, with a hand on the wall to steady himself against the merciless, never-abiding rush of guilt and mounting desperation. He, too, knows that soon the moon will rise above the Valley and wash the twins in his white and silver rain and the starlight will find its way into their eyes and dance there until they seem to be filled with light only.
They know he is there. Somehow they can feel it. Where he lies against the cushions, with his dark hair spilling almost to spread upon the grass, Elladan slowly turns his face towards him. His gaze is on Glorfindel even as his twin shifts to press a kiss into his skin, to his throat. Glorfindel's own throat is tight around his breath. On numb feet he begins to walk towards them, for it seems his restraint is no longer. Possibly, it has finally perished in the pulsating pits of his shameful desire.
There are several more couches and benches but only one close enough. It is narrower and not made for sleeping on. Just as he reaches it, Elladan breaks their connection and looks away. Indeed, he turns his head to the other side for Elrohir's kisses have journeyed along his jaw and now he is seeking his brother's mouth with his own.
Mesmerised, Glorfindel watches them kiss. It is soft and slow. Dark eyelashes flutter against pale skin and then Elladan's hand comes to cup the back of Elrohir's head. His fingers drown in the shadow-smooth silk of his brother's hair and the angle of the kiss is perfected.
He has seen it before, but never quite like this. Never so intimate, never so tender. The kiss lingers long on the very edge of ending but deepens again, until Glorfindel feels his own heart flood with an aching warmth. Then they part, at last, and he can see that they are smiling.
"Aye," says Elrohir softly.
And Elladan, without looking, holds out a hand for Glorfindel to take.
There is stillness. Not in his heart and not in his mind, for they now race in unison and the thunder of his blood through his head is like the hoofs of the steed of Oromë, but nothing else moves. Surely, even the spinning stars have come to a standstill and are holding their breath, silently waiting.
And as reason and wisdom abandon him, all his misgivings and fears fade from him, and Glorfindel falls to his knees; and he grasps Elladan's hand. He is guided by his heart, by Elladan's hand, by fate or by madness, to Elrond's son's side and he is blind when this twin once again turns his head and their lips meet.
He has longed for this since the dawn of time.
It is the warmest kiss. He throws himself into it, parting his lips and pleading for more. It is not soon enough when Elladan's tongue finally slides against his own. He hungers. Indeed, even fiercer now that he has had a first taste. Heat is lapping at his cheeks and he is starved and starving still, and he cannot control himself, and he kisses wildly. But this only causes Elladan to break the kiss. With half a surprised laugh he pulls back.
"Easy," he says, and he sounds breathless. "Slower."
This is when Glorfindel's eyesight is returned to him. Elladan's lips are reddened and there has crept into his eye a mild shade of shock.
"I cannot," he admits, and his voice is not his own. It is cracked despair, welling up within, and his breath is tangled and knotted in his breast. He is still cradling Elladan's hand to his chest. "For this is what I yearn for."
Elrohir lifts his head, then, and rests his chin on his twin's chest. His eyes are piercing, bright like diamonds. As he regards Glorfindel, the latter imagines that Elrohir in that moment learns all his secrets, all his most ardent and abhorrent needs.
But this twin's voice is soothing when he finally speaks, "As do we. But slow is just as good."
"Not tonight," says Glorfindel, somewhat harshly. For how can it be so when his only desire seems to suddenly be within reach?
"Oh, aye, tonight," smiles Elladan. "I think especially tonight."
Elrohir reaches across him. His arm is long enough to allow his fingertips to brush Glorfindel's temple. They have touched before, of course. They have trained together, embraced, staunched each other's wounds and clasped shoulders and elbows, but that is all something completely different. That is nothing like this touch, which is what Glorfindel craves and yet finds far too light.
"We too have waited," says Elrohir.
The pale hint of a smile flitters across Elrohir's lips. "Does it matter?"
It does. There must be a reason for why he was made to suffer so long in solitude.
And it does not. As he regards them it strikes him that it has taken them time to sort through their own feelings.
He is coming out of a dizzying dream, full of twisted shapes and faceless foes. He eases his grip on Elladan's hand, almost relinquishes the hold and so giving the other elf a chance to sever their connection. He can feel the grass under his knees and the soft night breeze shifting through the leaves, carrying the heady-sweet scent of the honeysuckle.
"Do you trust us?" Elrohir is regarding him intently.
He swallows. "Yes."
"Then slow," says Elladan, and in his voice, though it is low, there is a hint of a command.
It takes him far too long to realise that they are untangling and rising to their feet. Glorfindel gets up, feeling old and young at the same time, and at a loss. Just as they stand, the first glow of the moon peeks over the ridge of the Mountains. In the play of light and dark, Elladan reaches for him. His hand, with its imprint of Glorfindel's torment, comes to brush his cheek. Tentatively, Elladan slides his fingers into his hair and to the back of his head. His touch is light, like air. He brings him in.
And Glorfindel the Returned moves to fall against him, the son of Elrond, who has not yet seen two thousand years in Arda. Yet he is strong, stronger than Glorfindel in this moment, and he allows the golden head to come to a rest upon his shoulder. It is there, in his arms, that Glorfindel feels his breath leave him: a breath he is sure he has been holding since anguish descended upon his heart and he knew that he loved them.
Hands move up and down his back, calming and comforting. Then someone is lifting his hair aside and soft lips are pressed to his neck. He shudders then, as Elrohir steps up close and hugs him from behind and thus sealing him safely in the twins' embrace.
Elrohir's mouth is warm where it moves over his skin. It makes him tremble. He adjusts his stance, turns his head and finds a way to give in turn. Just as Elrohir kisses his neck, Glorfindel kisses Elladan's throat and his very bones melt when he hears the elf give a faint moan.
"Will you come with us?" Elrohir's murmur over his skin causes it to tingle and his hands tentatively slide up Glorfindel's sides. "I think we would do wise to leave the gardens."
"Mother?" Elladan's voice is moonlight.
"Nay… father I think."
This makes him lift his head and look. Where before the chambers above the private gardens lay dark, the glow of lamplight is now sifting through the thin curtains. A cold trickle of dread runs down Glorfindel's spine. Without wanting to, but too anxious now, he stiffens in the twins' embrace, for he cannot be seen like this with them. But fate will no longer suffer his secrets and ere he can take action, one of the curtains is pulled aside and there is Elrond looking down upon them.
Time comes to an abrupt halt. There is ice grinding through Glorfindel's heart as he imagines how Elrond will handle this treachery. No longer does it matter that the latter seemed to be giving Glorfindel leave before. In this moment, all he can think is that he who was sent here to serve has trespassed and wrought bitter woe.
Therefore, it is the strangest thing when Elrond inclines his head just a fraction; and something moves over his face and he looks to be oddly at peace. For another frantic heartbeat he regards them, for two, and then he slowly turns away and the curtain flows back into place. Glorfindel stares at the window, for his eyes have surely deceived him.
But the world does not end here. No Power smites him. He is yet breathing.
And Elrohir's arms once more tighten around him and Elladan finds his twin's mouth with his own over Glorfindel's shoulder, and he marvels at this fate. For Glorfindel knows what it is like to dwell in the Halls of Mandos on the northern shores, yearning for incarnation. And yet life in Arda can sometimes be as dreadful as it can be glorious, and, because of this, being here is sometimes equally painful to coming unhoused to the feet of Námo.
He glances up at the window and allows himself to relax even as the golden light from the chamber spills into the garden. It may be that they understand.
Then Elladan kisses him. Warmth begins to flow once more though his body, breaking to bits the ice that cut through his heart at the sight of Elrond above. Elrohir is again moving against him, pressing close and leaving kisses on his neck and Glorfindel wraps his arms around Elladan's waist as the kiss deepens to allow for no more agony.
"Maybe not here," mutters Elrohir, but there is humour in his voice and his hands, even as he speaks, settle on Glorfindel's hips.
But here they are, heart to heart and lips to skin. It is unthinkable that they could be anywhere else.