Disclaimer: One of those weird bits that come to you and won't unsink their sharp little teeth from your ankle until you oblige and write them. It's most likely set in Orodruin, but what is here is all I know. All characters and situations are the property of J.R.R. Tolkien and his Estate.


by Levade



The quite tone, devoid of emotion, was an indication of his temper. Dark crescents bruised the area below his grey eyes, gaze as flat and uncompromising as his tone.

"I am not listening to you, Peredhil." Glorfindel arched an arrogant brow, crossed his arms and widened his stance as he stood before the flap of the tent.

Elrond's anger rose a notch, seeing the blonde elf smirk. He was enjoying the conflict. Enjoying taking him away from the wounded, the planning, all of which he needed to attend to. Who else would Gil-galad trust? Healers were already perilously few. And Glorfindel selfishly pulled him away to rest.

Rest, when some would be going to their final rest that very night.

"Move." There was no jest in his voice, nor in the set line of his mouth. Shoulders tense, he advanced on Glorfindel, eyes narrowing.

The Vanya was a bit taller, and quite a bit older, if one took his first life into account. Elrond had on his side the brawn of men that made his body denser, bones thicker. Hours of sword use had put more dense muscle on him, and the half-elf was willing to pit his strength against the skill and experience of Glorfindel.

He would have to, it appeared, for Glorfindel had not budged, and only gained a more stubborn set to his mouth.

"I say once more, Captain, as your commander and your sworn lord; stand aside."

That caused a flicker of something dark in the azure eyes, and Glorfindel uncrossed his arms, lowering his chin, expression sobering. "And again, I say no."

Elrond pivoted, checking the instant fury, clenching his hands into fists as he attempted to calm himself. He did not want to fight Glorfindel. Who else had been so loyal in recent times, behaving at times almost as an esquire. Certainly that was far below his status as Chief of his own House.

No, he would not be checked. Elrond turned and charged in one, smooth movement, catching the blonde elf around the waist and bearing him down. The flap of the tent, caught under Glorfindel's body as he hit the ground with a grunt, pulled at the top of the tent, bowing the pole holding it up.

Long legs wrapped around his, and Elrond growled, baring his teeth as Glorfindel grabbed his tunic and rolled them.

Silver-grey filled his vision as the tent collapsed around them, but he refused to let go or give up. There was a line and Glorfindel had crossed it, refusing his order. Grimacing at the squelch of mud and the feel of it oozing into his hair, Elrond shoved hard against his opponent.

Sounds of voices came to him as they wrestled, some excited, some nervous. He recognized a few voices, elves under his command, wagering who would win.

Simply lovely. Now he was being mocked by his men, and it was all Glorfindel's fault!

Growling, Elrond struck up, towards where he thought the blonde elf was, and was rewarded with a grunt. Fingers tightened on his shoulders, shoving him hard into the soft mud.

"You blasted, stubborn Peredhil!" Glorfindel's voice was muffled by the tent surrounding, enfolding them.

Elrond thrashed in a fury, hitting, rolling, fighting to be free as he had not fought since Maedhros had grabbed him in Sirion when he was still but a child. He channeled all the fury and frustration of the war, of the loss of men and elves, the petty arguments and heavy weight of living up to his king and scrambled free. Panting, hair wildly mussed, braids and tunic askew, cloak lost to the mud somewhere, Elrond rolled to his feet.

Wincing, bleeding from a split lip, Glorfindel rose slowly to his feet, kicking aside the tent that tried to ensnare his foot. There was a mirthless expression in the blue eyes, not the fury or pain Elrond had expected. Golden hair hung in disarray around his shoulders, his tunic was ripped and mud stained his knees. So Glorfindel found no joy in this, neither did he!

"You will not ever tell me what to do, when to do it, or how. Do you understand?"

The bystanders, so amused by the tussle earlier, realized it was something quite serious, and left before their commander or captain could vent their wrath upon them.

Mouth curling into a grim line, Glorfindel shook his head. "No."

No. He had said...no? Elrond stared incredulously for a moment, before throwing a hand in the air. "Void take you, Glorfindel, what must I do to make you see?"

"See what?" Stalking the several steps to close the distance between them, Glorfindel stopped with a mere handspan separating them. "See that you will not listen to sense, or your own body begging you for rest? See that grief has made you insensible to anything but your duty?"

Now he was angry.

Elrond almost burst into hysteric laughter, but why risk death? And there was a deadly gleam in the Vanya's eyes. An edge Elrond had never seen before.

"You think I care if you strike me if that makes you feel better? I do not."

Oh, the disdainful tone was almost dripping from Glorfindel's words now. "Strike me. Laugh at me. If that eases your mind, your mood, brings back the vaunted sense the Valar saw fit to increase, then so be it." The blonde elf flung his arms out to the sides. "There is precious else here that will allow you to act as less than perfect."

"You ..." Elrond glared. "What foolishness is this, telling me to strike you? I will not!"

"I know." Lowering his arms, Glorfindel's expression gentled. "Too often of late you will not allow yourself to be less than what everyone expects either. You push yourself to perfection, to limits only a Vala could keep." Determination fired the blue eyes. "I will not see you work yourself to death, Elrond. There are others who are capable of doing some of what you do."

The mud was beginning to dry around the neck of his tunic, itching and he wriggled his shoulders, frowning. Pulling a muddy stick out of his hair, Elrond tightened his lips. How was it that he came out so filthy, and Glorfindel was nearly spotless? Ah, but there was blood on his once-white tunic and that gave him a moment of savage satisfaction.

He sighed, mouth turning in a surly twist. "Yes, fine." A thought came to him then, a devious, wonderful plan that was the worst possible thing he could ever do to a dear friend. The smile he offered was not a nice one. "Thank you for pointing that out with such tact, dear friend. I shall pen a list of duties for you to begin immediately."

Glorfindel's eyes narrowed for a moment, realizing the trap had closed on him, and glowered. All traces of satisfaction gone. "Very well." A smirk curled his lips as he glanced to his side, gazing at the collapsed tent, black in spots with mud, and accumulating small ponds as the rain began to fall. "It appears your tent is not quite up to regulation standards, Elrond."

Pursing his lip, Elrond nodded. "You're right." He smiled, expression brightening suddenly. "I shall simply have to share yours!"

Blue eyes narrowed, as the grumpy Vanya nodded reluctantly. "I will not promise to not prod you when you snore."

"I do not snore!"

"You do!"

"Is there a problem here, mellon nin?" Gil-galad, arms crossed, one eyebrow arched, gazed at his officers with a curious glint in his eyes. "I had not heard the storm had grown so strong as to begin knocking tents down."

"Not at all, milord." Elrond gazed back at his king with a perfectly composed expression. "My tent had...difficulties and Glorfindel kindly offered his own for the night."

"Ah." Nodding, Gil-galad tsk'd as he saw the blood spotting the formerly white tunic. "And the bruise blooming on your jaw so beautifully, Glorfindel?"

"Happened when the tent came down, milord."

Smooth, Elrond thought, almost snickering. Not a lie, but perilously close.

"Did you need me for something?"

"No." Gil-galad held their gazes a moment longer, faintest of smiles gracing his mouth. "I see you two have everything perfectly under control...." One dark eyebrow arched. "As always."

"Milord." Elrond bowed his head, grimacing as a swath of muddy hair brushed his face. "If you don't mind I think I'll go clean up and seek my ....Glorfindel's second cot."

"Certainly." Gil-galad gestured for him to go, wriggling his fingers.

It took the finest of timing, the space between Glorfindel bowing his head in acknowledgement to Gil-galad, and shifting slightly, grace only an elf possessed, to make it look entirely accidental and sheer audaciousness to jab his elbow into Glorfindel's ribs as he turned.

As if Elrond had scripted it, Glorfindel stumbled back, tripped as his bootheel caught in the tent, and went down in a flailing tornado of golden hair and curses...

...directly into a large, rather deep mud puddle that had steadily grown over the weeks since Elrond had pitched his tent.

With a satisfied nod, Elrond grinned and hummed as he walked away, anticipating a bath with glee.

"Gl...Glorfindel..." Gil-galad was doubled over, hands on his knees, laughing in a most un-kingly manner. He couldn't speak, he was laughing so hard.

"Ha ha." Shaking mud off of his fingers, looking every inch the disgruntled feline, Glorfindel rose to his feet. "If you don't mind, my liege, I'll take my leave of you."

Nearly whooping, Gil-galad waved him off, wiping his eyes.

Oh...what would he ever do without those two to keep things lively?

And as he walked through the camp to see to his elves, the High King was snickering.