Title: A Love Unknown
Disclaimer: I own nothing, except the rude warriors which I don't think I want to own. ;) Everything else belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien.
Summary: Erestor is feeling lonely and unwanted, he decides to spend the evening in The Halls of Fire looking for some company. But the night doesn't turn out exactly as planned in many ways.
This is slash so if you don't like it, don't read it!
Sometimes I had the feeling of not being a part of the everyday life around me. I stood on the side like a stranger and watched the happenings around me. It was a surreal feeling; I could be standing in the middle of a crowded room but still felt like a shadow on the wall. The Elves who were joking and laughing around me felt like a part of Imladris I had yet to find, even though I had been living here for centuries. Those kinds of feelings would haunt me from time to time, but lately they had been more persistent and would leave me sleepless at night.
That didn't mean I did not enjoy my dwelling in Imladris. Far from it; my life had in many ways turned out better then I could ever hope for and I felt very much content with my existence here. I had been lucky to find a place in this sanctuary for all elves, the Last Homely Home.
I had the fulfilling job of Chief Councillor for my lord and friend Elrond that allowed me to spend many hours at my favourite place in Imladris, the library. A large and airy room packed with enormous bookshelves of books from all ages. This was a place of tranquillity for me and I spent many hours there in both my work and free time. And instead of raw strength and skill with the blade, which let's face it was non-existent in my case, my work depended on my wit and intelligence. Therefore I loved my job, for it matched my personality, and at councils I managed to suppress my natural shyness, for I was in my territory where I felt safe.
As Chief Councillor I also was allotted beautiful rooms which I carefully had decorated with a simple set of functional furniture in dark earth colours. Nothing too luxurious, just plain and simple as I wanted it. My chambers were my safe zone which I would retreat to when not spending my time in the library. Or so it always had been, but lately they just felt empty and instead of feeling at peace I felt lonely. Their emptiness and silence just made it easier for my thoughts to wander to the distressing feelings which had been gnawing on my mind lately.
Actually nothing had changed except for my way of thinking; I wasn't lonelier than I had been the last centuries. But suddenly I felt lonelier and I wasn't content with the situation anymore. I had always been a reserved elf with little interest in big social gatherings. Actually for the most part I loathed them and felt both insecure and shy whenever I found myself in those situations. A good book in my rooms or some quiet time in the library was often a much more appealing choice for me than a noisy evening in The Hall of Fire, though Elrond had often pleaded with me to join him and the numerous other elves which went to the hall for some evening company and entertainment after supper.
My lord Elrond and his lovely family, who by the way were very dear to me, was actually one of the few people I could truly call friends. From time to time I would share a private dinner with them in their quarters and twice a week I acted as a tutor in history for Elrond's and Celebrian's wild and very inquisitive twin sons Elladan and Elrohir. My time in the library also granted me some interesting and rewarding conversation with one of the librarians, a young but intelligent elf named Melpomaen. Nevertheless my friends were few, and though I knew most elves in Imladris by name, few of them I could call friends.
I was the dark-clad reserved Chief Councillor who I guess was seen as someone you didn't try to befriend because of my, which I admit, pretty cold appearance. I had built a protecting wall around me which I now found to have been built a little too well. Only those close to me managed to see through it. The other elves respected their Councillor's need for solitude and no one tried to befriend the dark elf in the corner. And why should they, when there were many other merrier elves to socialize with. I had admittedly not made myself very approachable; some of it was by choice but it also was part of my shy nature. Therefore the elves left me in peace, and now I didn't really know how to approach them.
It was because of this growing feeling of loneliness Erestor now stood fidgeting in the shadows of the doorway to The Hall of Fire. He still contemplated over if he should enter or just return to his chambers, which at the moment seemed like a much more appealing choice.
Angry at his own cowardliness the advisor stopped his fidgeting and straightened his back. He felt foolish for acting like a nervous elfling and was most grateful for no one was there to see his rather embarrassing behaviour.
He had taken extra care about his appearance tonight, and black shiny hair flowed freely over his back except for two wisps of hair on either side of his face which been carefully fastened with two silver clasps. For probably the third time in the last minute his slim hands gently straightened an invisible wrinkle on his robe, which was much more colourful than what the dark elf usually wore. Nothing too bright of course, but instead of his regular black robes he had chosen a maroon robe in the finest velvet adorned with small ornamentations of silver and gold. Both the hair and robe felt very different from his usually rather strict appearance and it only made him feel more out of place and nervous.
A loud echo of laughter erupted from the hall and brought Erestor out of his musing. His gaze landed on the group of warriors which had gathered around the fire and now were having a rather loud conversation. Unconsciously his eyes passed briefly over the group, looking for a certain golden-haired warrior, but to his disappointment the Captain didn't seem to be among them.
Instead he caught sight of his lord and lady on the other side of the room. With a sigh of relief for seeing some more familiar faces, he entered the hall heading for them. He managed to take about three steps before he abruptly bumped into something or someone rather violently. Surprised, he stumbled back a few feet, nearly losing his footing by the sudden collision and came close to falling when two strong arms shoot out to catch him.
He gasped and found himself pressed lightly to a muscular yet soft chest. Erestor slowly raised his head to look up at its owner. He felt his face flush in an instant and his heart beat violently when he unexpectedly looked up into Glorfindel's intense blue eyes.
"Erestor! I'm sorry, I didn't see you, are you alright?" he exclaimed while worriedly looking over the petite advisor.
"I-I'm fine. No harm done," he stammered, still blushing fiercely. This was not his idea of a graceful entrance.
Glorfindel gently tucked away a strand of black hair which had come lose and gave him a dazzling smile. "There, just like new again." Erestor gave a weak smile in return while nervously straightening his robe.
"I had not expected to see you here tonight Councillor. You're looking quite lovely if I may say so," the golden warrior said with a grin.
"Thank you," he murmured shyly. "I was in the mood for some company this evening, I was just on my way to join lord Elrond and his family." He tilted his head in their direction.
"I hope your enjoy your evening then, I will go rejoin my noisy and too intoxicated warriors," Glorfindel said with a lopsided smile. "Good evening, Councillor."
"Good Evening, Seneschal," he courtly answered with a nod.
Erestor glanced after the retreating warrior when he went to join his comrades, his heart still racing a bit too fast for his liking. Glorfindel was the Captain of Imladris and he always seemed to have the most peculiar effects on the usually collected Councillor. However, he was a rather special elf. The Balrog Slayer's return to Middle-Earth after his heroic death at Gondolin was little more than a sensation. He had been warmly welcomed in Imladris by Elrond and his family, which he had been sent to protect. His charming ways quickly made him popular both as a Captain among his warriors and with the other inhabitants of Imladris as well. Glorfindel was really quite the opposite of Erestor with his merry ways, making friends everywhere, and he frequently spent his evenings in the company of others.
Why Glorfindel had caught his attention was a mystery to the advisor; warriors were defiantly not any company he would seek out freely. He of course appreciated the job they were doing to keep Imladris safe, but they had little in common with him. However, Glorfindel was in some ways an exception. Erestor found him to be rather charming and he was always very polite and respectful towards him, which was more than he could say about some warriors. Of course they didn't dare say it to his face, but there was nothing wrong with Erestor's hearing and he had sometimes heard the rather crude comments said behind his back. Glorfindel on the other hand had never once ridiculed him for his love of books or his shy nature.
So admittedly he was a little infatuated with the golden-haired warrior, much to his own dismay. Glorfindel was unquestionably out of his reach and the two of them really didn't have much in common. But even though Erestor had tried to suppress his feelings, he still found himself with a racing heart and sometimes embarrassedly pink cheeks whenever he spoke with the Captain. The dark elf's usually stoic façade would crack just when he needed it the most. But being Chief Counsellor he couldn't truly avoid the Seneschal, they were both responsible for the running and safety of Imladris. Not that he was actually sure that he wanted to avoid the warrior, and his traitorous eyes often landed upon the Captain during councils. He even suspected that Glorfindel managed to catch him staring a couple of times, which had made him blush fiercely and quickly look away.
'Ai, and yet again I'm staring,' Erestor scolded himself as his gaze followed the golden-haired warrior's stroll across the hall. He tore his eyes away from the sight and decided to once more head for his intended destination. Elves were already starting to cast curious glances his way, probably wondering what their shy Councillor were doing here. It wasn't attention Erestor felt comfortable with, so he hurriedly made his way over to his lord and lady.
Elrond greeted him with a smile when he saw the Councillor approaching.
"My dear Erestor, I'm glad to see you join us tonight."
"My lord, my lady," he answered plainly with a nod.
Celebrian smiled brilliantly to him and waved him over. "Come and sit down Erestor, Lindir is just about to play one of his newly composed songs for us."
However, before Erestor had time to sit down properly, he was tackled by two quick shadows.
"Good evening, Erestor," two voices said in unison.
"Good evening, children. Shouldn't you be in bed by now?" he said with a small smile on his lips as he looked down at the identical dark-haired elflings which were now situated at his feet.
"Elladan, Elrohir, behave and give poor Erestor some space," Celebrian said firmly.
"Yes, Naneth," they said in unison without even looking back.
"We're not tired," Elrohir exclaimed heatedly.
"We're going to listen to Lindir's new song, are you going to listen with us?" Elladan said excitedly while Elrohir nodded in conformation of his twin's words.
"Yes, I think I will."
They smiled widely at him before Celebrian shooed them back into their seats. Then she returned her attention to the advisor who was accepting a glass of wine from Elrond.
"It's a beautiful robe you're wearing tonight. The colour suits you Erestor; you should wear it more often."
He smiled shyly. "Thank you my lady, that's very kind of you to say."
"Oh please Erestor, do call me Celebrian," she responded with a smile and placed a delicate hand on his upper arm.
"I will try."
Erestor spent a rather enjoyable hour listening to the minstrel Lindir's songs while slowly sipping his wine, thinking that this wasn't so bad after all. At one time Elrohir had curled up against him and he now had a sleeping elfling's head in his knee. Celebrian had offered to remove him but Erestor had just shaken his head and assured her it was fine. He gently stroked a little lock of black hair from the elfling's face with an affections smile. Lindir had just finished his performance and received a round of applause. Elrohir merely muttered something in his sleep while snuggling closer to Erestor.
"I think it's time for us to retire and bring these tired little elflings to bed," Elrond said while gathering Elladan in his arms. Erestor nodded while carefully handing a sleeping Elrohir to Celebrian, who gave him a quick peck on his cheek.
"Good night Erestor, it was nice having you here tonight."
"I agree, I hope to see you join us more often friend," Elrond said with a smile.
"I had a very pleasant evening as well, thank you for your company. Do you want me to help you with them?" Erestor inquired, referring to the sleeping twins.
"No, no, you stay here and continue enjoying yourself," Celebrian promptly insisted.
"It's really not a—" Erestor started but stopped in mid-sentence when he saw Celebrian's resolute face.
"I think my wife wants you to stay here, Erestor," Elrond said with a chuckle.
"Very well, I'll stay, good night to you," he said, defeated.
"Good night, I'll see you in the morning." Elrond replied before he swept out the hall with his wife at his side.
Left alone, Erestor sat back, undecided of his next action while lightly running his fingertip along the rim of his wineglass. It had been quite a pleasant evening after all, he decided; maybe he could do this more often. Though he still hadn't spoken to any other elves than Elrond and his family. Except Glorfindel, of course, but that encounter wasn't of his own doing and had more than anything just been embarrassing. Nevertheless, he couldn't suppress the small flutter he felt in his stomach when thinking about how the warrior's arms had felt around him.
He sat the empty glass down and decided that maybe it was time to retire, even though it wasn't very late yet. On his way out his feet, however, unconsciously steered him towards the small group of warriors. He made sure he was unnoticed as he slowly approached the loud assembly, concealed by the shadows. He felt a bit foolish for lurking in the shadows and eavesdropping on the group of elves, but still drew forward.
"Did you see the Councillor tonight?" a rather loud voice carried from the crowd.
Erestor froze at those words and his gaze landed on a clearly intoxicated blond elf conversing with his dark-haired companion.
"He looked much better tonight than he usually does in those dreadful black robes he always insists on wearing. It's a shame that such a lovely creature as he is cold-hearted like ice. I'm sure he would make a wonderful bed warmer in this damn cold whether." He slurred slightly on his speech and waved a glass of wine at his friend.
His companion snorted. "Would you really want that haughty elf, who thinks of nothing more than his precious books, in your bed?" the dark-haired warrior retorted with a smirk.
"Oh no, my dear friend, don't let his arrogant façade fool you," he said, leaning over the table and pointing a finger at his companion. "I'll bet if you could just get him in bed he would be submissive as a lamb and would surely offer a wonderful tight virgin ass to pound into. He's most definitely never had a lover, who would ever put up with him?" he said with a laugh, making the dark-haired elf grin.
"What do you say Glorfindel, has our heartless little Councillor had any lovers?" the blond elf shouted, not really caring who would hear him.
Glorfindel, who had heard the whole conversation, standing but a distance away, was horrified by the drunken elves' words and thinking this conversation had gone too far for too long. He was about to put a stop to it when his eyes caught something in the shadows. He narrowed his eyes and looked closer, and gasped when he recognized Erestor, who brought a trembling hand to his mouth. Their gazes met but a second before the dark elf suddenly bolted out of the hall. Glorfindel eyed the two drunken elves furiously; he would definitely have a long talk with those two but now there were more pressing matters at hand.
Erestor ran out of the hall with tears watering in his eyes and with a painful lump forming in his throat. 'Why did I come here tonight? I should have followed my instincts, I knew this was a bad idea,' he thought miserably.
They were probably in there right now laughing about his cowardly escape. He had never felt so humiliated, and to make things worse Glorfindel had seen him. He was mortified at being ridiculed like that in front of him. But the thought of the Captain seeing him in the same way as those drunken elves did made his heart ache more than he cared to admit. He had really thought the golden-haired elf to be different from the rest.
His run didn't take him back to his rooms; he couldn't bear the thought of returning to his silent quarters at the moment, so he headed outside into the cold winter night. Which admittedly wasn't one of Erestor's brightest ideas, only wearing light indoors shoes and no cloak, but at the moment he didn't care. He looked up at the star-swept skies while angrily wiping away the tears that had started falling down his pale cheeks, which quickly became rosy in the cold wind. He still felt miserable, but maybe just a little lighter at heart when surrounded by the beautiful winter night. Nature always did have a calming effect for Erestor.
If he could, the advisor would have gladly stayed outside the whole night, but it was a bitter evening and the ground was covered with sparkling snow. He was already starting to get a little chilly in the cold breeze. Still, he decided to go just a little bit further into the night so he didn't have to hear the laughter and voices carried by the wind from the house he left behind him. He knew he was succumbing to self-pity but didn't care; he felt more unloved and lonely than ever and a shaking sob passed his lips.
In his distressed state he didn't watch were he put his feet, and the dark elf suddenly felt himself slipping on an icy part of the stone path which he had failed to notice. With a surprised yelp he flailed widely with his arms to gain his footing, but when he finally did he stepped down at the wrong angle and pain shot through his right ankle. He cried out once more but this time from pain, and fell to the ground when his injured ankle gave away under him.
Breathing deeply, Erestor took a couple of calming breaths, his heart still racing, before he assessed the damage. His ankle throbbed painfully and brought new tears to his eyes. He carefully lifted his robes and hauled up his leggings to get a good look. It had already started to swell, he concluded; he definitely had a sprained ankle.
'Could this evening get any worse?' he thought gloomily.
It was starting to get cold and although he was still upset he now just wanted to return to his rooms and get cleaned up. He probably looked like a mess; his hair had come loose, the maroon robe was stained with dirt and his eyes were probably red and swollen with tears.
He made a move to stand but as soon as he put pressure on his ankle the pain doubled and he fell back with a cry. He couldn't even imagine how painful it would be to try and walk the whole way back to the house on it. The thought of jumping on one foot crossed his mind, but not only was it degrading, it was a long way back and if he were to hop along the icy path it was a big chance he would slip again and hurt himself even worse. He let out a sigh and took a handful of snow which he placed on his quickly swelling ankle to dull the pain.
'Oh how I hate this!' Not only had he been ridiculed and humiliated tonight, it also had to be in front of Glorfindel of all people. And like that wasn't enough, instead of at least hiding in his chamber he now had to sit here out in the cold with a painful ankle and no way to get back inside. He buried his head in his hands with a loud sob, not caring about his dignity anymore. It's not like anyone would hear him anyway; they were all inside enjoying the warmth of the hearth.
So caught up in his sorrow, the petite elf didn't even notice the other elf's presence until a large hand landed on his slender shoulder. He flinched in surprise and looked up at the hand's owner, and once again this evening found himself staring into those impossible blue eyes. Glorfindel sat crouched beside him and was placing a lantern he had been carrying on the ground.
"What are you doing here Glorfindel? Please just leave me alone." He irately wiped away his tears, not wanting to show any more weakness, especially not to this elf.
But the golden elf just ignored him. "Erestor, what are you doing out here in the cold? It's freezing and you're sitting on the cold ground."
"Why would you care? This is none of your business. I don't need your pity," he replied sharply, regaining some of his bearings. He clenched his jaw and looked away as a shudder ran through his body. It was starting to get really cold. He wrapped his arms around himself stiffly and tried to ignore the dull ache in his ankle.
"Erestor, please look at me. I do not pity you, I'm just worried about you. I went to look for you in your rooms but you weren't there." Glorfindel stroked back a curtain of raven hair which obscured the advisor's face. When he noticed the shivers, he unhooked his thick woollen cloak and quickly draped it over the shaking shoulders. When the dark-haired elf still stubbornly looked away from him, the warrior gently cupped a cheek and turned the small elf's face towards him. It saddened him to see Erestor's tear stricken face and red swollen eyes.
"Oh my sweet Erestor, what they said was unforgivable and I will make sure they are punished for it, but they were drunk and didn't know what they were saying. They probably will not even remember the words spoken tonight by tomorrow."
"But I will," the dark elf declared heatedly. "And they only spoke their true feelings, their tongues loosened by alcohol." Erestor snatched his head away from the Glorfindel's gentle grip. "Don't think me foolish Captain, I have heard the whispers about the Councillor's cold heart before."
Glorfindel sighed and rubbed his chin. "That's not—" he started, but was interrupted by Erestor's once again gentle voice.
"Do you think any of those things of me?" he asked quietly, while looking down in his lap.
Ones again Glorfindel made the small elf face him, but this time with a firm grip on his chin. He waited until Erestor met his eyes before he spoke firmly.
"Never would I think such things of you. You give your affection to those who deserve it. There is nothing wrong with that, and it doesn't make you cold-hearted. They are only jealous of what they can't have. I've seen your true heart, Erestor, and it's a loving, kind heart; they are just too blind to see it."
He released his chin and Erestor blushed slightly when the golden-haired elf placed a gentle kiss on his brow and a comforting arm around his shoulders.
"Thanks," he murmured, and leaned slightly against the warm body beside him.
"Come on, you're ice cold. We need to get you inside, this is no weather to be out in," Glorfindel exclaimed after a few moment of silence. He tried to get the advisor on his feet with him as he stood up, but was stopped by a pained cry.
"No, wait, I can't!"
"What, what's wrong?" he asked worriedly when he saw the pain-filled expression in the delicate face.
Erestor looked down, embarrassed. "I slipped, I think I sprained my ankle."
"So that's why you were sitting on the ground," he said with a chuckle. "Good thing I found you then."
The dark elf just nodded, still a little embarrassed about his clumsiness.
"Let me have a look at it," he said, serious again, and Erestor held out his right foot. Glorfindel carefully took it in his large hands and removed the advisor's light leather shoe, which now was soaking wet with snow. The warrior carefully examined the swollen ankle with surprisingly gentle hands.
"It definitely looks like a sprain," he confirmed. "This is going to hurt a bit but I want to see if the ligament has been torn."
Erestor gritted his teeth when the Captain carefully moved the ankle in various ways to examine the damage.
"It looks like it has only been twisted, but the ankle is pretty swollen. It's good that you reduced it some with the snow. However you shouldn't put pressure on it for awhile or you will damage it further."
"How come you know so much about sprained ankles?" Erestor said with a furrowed brow.
"Well, I'm Captain, and some of my men are bound to get injured from time to time. Elrond insisted on teaching me some basic healing if we should be out on patrol and far away from Imladris. I have seen countless sprained ankles before and had quite a share myself actually," he replied while putting Erestor's shoe back in place. "Now take the lantern and I will carry you."
"What?!" the dark-haired elf cried out. "You're not carrying me anywhere, what if someone sees us?" Erestor definitely thought he had been humiliated enough for one night, he did not want to be seen carried around like some weak maiden in distress.
"Erestor, there's nobody here to see us. Besides, how were you planning on getting back to the house? I'm going to get you inside right now whether you want it or not, and it will be a lot easier if you just cooperate and allow me to carry you. It's nothing to be embarrassed about."
Erestor glared at the golden-haired warrior who just smirked at him. "Fine, but you better put me down when we get back to the house."
Glorfindel didn't answer, instead simply handed him the lamp and swooped the light elf up in his arms.
"Now that wasn't so bad, was it?" he said with a grin, looking down on the small elf in his arms.
"Just get me back to the house," Erestor murmured while stubbornly starring at the lantern in his hands. He just wanted to get back to his chamber, crawl into bed and try to forget this evening ever happened. The golden warrior's word had just confused him even more and he didn't really know what to think about the whole situation. Glorfindel had sounded sincere enough, but were they just skilful words of comfort to console him? To add to the advisor's confusion he now found himself abruptly gathered into strong arms and pressed up against the warrior's firm chest. The evening couldn't get more surreal than this, Erestor concluded.
His whole body had tensed at the sudden close contact at first, but after a while the advisor managed to relax and hesitantly laid his dark head against the warrior's broad chest while placing a slender hand on one of his shoulders to support him. He felt the blond elf lean down and he thought he felt a feather light kiss placed upon the top of his head. The whole situation felt intimate and Erestor didn't know how to react to it. His normally stoic bearings seemed to have flown away with the wind this evening and left him shaky and dumbfounded. So he surrendered and silently let himself be carried while enjoying the feeling of being surrounded by the warrior's warm body heat.
It was Glorfindel who finally broke the silence.
"We need to bandage that foot of yours," he pointed out.
"It's fine now," Erestor persisted, though it still ached rather painfully.
"No, it's not," Glorfindel countered firmly. "I got some medical supplies in my rooms, I'll take you there and wrap it."
"Your rooms?" Erestor asked tentatively.
Glorfindel simply nodded.
When they approached the building Erestor looked up at the warrior and was about to tell him to put him down, but the look Glorfindel gave made it quite clear that it wasn't going to happen. So he swallowed his words as he felt the arms around him tighten; the Councillor didn't think he was going to be let down even if he demanded it. Not that he minded being carried, but he hoped they wouldn't run into someone on their way. Glorfindel's voice brought him out of his musing.
"What?" Erestor looked up.
"The door handle, you have to open the door for me." Glorfindel repeated while nodding towards the door.
"Oh, right." Erestor leaned forward, turned the handle and the door swung open. Glorfindel entered cautiously so he wouldn't accidentally hit Erestor's head on the doorframe and kicked the door back into place with his right foot.
Glorfindel smiled at the pretty little blush which had formed on the councillor's cheeks. He had felt the earlier stiff elf slowly relax in his arms and now he even had one hand placed lightly on his shoulder. The head, however, did not rest on his chest anymore; instead Erestor nervously looked around him as Glorfindel made his way through the hallways to his chambers. He sighed.
"Don't worry Erestor, these hallways are always empty at this time of hour."
He was rather tired, so Erestor decided that maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to relax. He placed his head back at its place on the broad chest. It was wonderful to be inside again and feel the warmth surround him. Glorfindel was right, it was too cold being outside any longer and now he was grateful that the blond elf had found him after all. The cloak together with the warrior's body heat had warmed him up some but his hands and feet still felt like ice.
When they arrived at Glorfindel's rooms he once again opened the door for them and the warrior shut it a bit more carefully this time with his shoulder. He was gently placed on a large bed and some pillows were swiftly propped behind his back and under his injured foot. The cloak was replaced with a thick blanket and Glorfindel removed his wet shoes, which he put down by the hearth to dry and quickly started a fire. The warrior worked efficiently and it looked like this was something he would do every evening, Erestor thought with an amused smile.
"I'll go fetch some bandages," he suddenly said and went to the adjoining room.
Erestor had never been in the blond elf's rooms before, so he took the opportunity to look around. Looking closely he noticed they appeared pretty similar to his own, but the furnishings made them look very different. Instead of neat tidiness and earth colours this chamber was colourful, almost a bit glaring, and things laid scattered across the room. The worktable was overstuffed with objects and over its chair hung a wrinkled green tunic. It almost itched in the advisor's fingers to do some cleaning and at least pick up those things that managed to find their way to the floor. He turned around when he heard Glorfindel enter the room again. He had changed into a light blue tunic and had in his hands a box with what Erestor assumed were the medical supplies.
"Sorry, it's a bit messy, I had planned to clean up…" He trailed off and looked around the room. "I guess I should do it tomorrow," he said with a sheepish grin. Erestor just snorted in reply.
"Now let us take a look at that ankle." The warrior sat down at the Councillor's right foot and moved it from the pillows to his lap. He pulled up the leggings a couple of inches before he carefully began to wrap the foot from the toes to the middle of his lower leg. Erestor had to admit that it certainly looked like the blond elf knew what he was doing. It was a bit painful but not too bad, the callused hands worked very carefully and only tightened the bandage hard enough so it would support the damaged ankle.
"There, all done," Glorfindel stated while placing the wrapped foot back on the pillows.
"Thank you," Erestor said softly.
They looked apprehensively at each other during an awkward moment of silence before Glorfindel moved up the bed until he was seated next to Erestor, facing him.
"About tonight…" he started cautiously.
The Councillor looked away. "Don't, Glorfindel."
"No, listen Erestor." He grabbed the slender hands in his. "You're none of the things they said, you can't believe them. I know you still do, I can see it in your eyes."
"Oh Glorfindel, it's not just what they said, it's…" He trailed off, looking down on their joined hands.
Glorfindel leaned forward and brushed his knuckles over Erestor's cheek, and then gently raised his chin, but the advisor still stubbornly looked away. "Please continue," he pleaded while stroking a pale cheek.
Erestor took a deep breth. "It's just that I been living here as long as anyone, but no one really knows me, at least very few do. I seems like I have managed to scare everyone away and now no one dares to talk to me about anything except formal matters. I have no one to really talk to and share things with." He timidly looked up in the warrior's eyes "I-I'm lonely Glorfindel, and hearing those comments about me tonight…" Erestor exhaled a shaking breath and cursed himself when he felt tears stinging in his eyes.
He angrily wiped them away. "I thought I would try to break my habit and come to the hall this evening…" Erestor sighted loudly. "Ai, I'm so foolish! Look what that brilliant idea got me into." He cried out, shaking his head and let the tears fall. He had no idea why he was saying all this things to Glorfindel but it felt good to finally let it out.
Suddenly he found himself circled by strong arms and pressed against a warm chest. He stiffened at first, but soon relaxed into the embrace and placed his arms around the golden elf's waist. Glorfindel squeezed him closer and whispered soothing words in his ear while slowly rocking him when he cried heartbreakingly. Erestor's tears gradually dried out and eventually they were just leaning against each other as Glorfindel idly played with the small elf's dark tresses. Erestor breathed in deeply, enjoying the special scent of the warrior which calmed him and almost lulled him to sleep.
"If you ask me," Glorfindel suddenly said in a husky voice, "I would say you ended up in a pretty good place." He lightly kissed the tip of Erestor's pointed ear.
The dark-haired elf's head snapped up at the words and he stared wide eyed up into the sky blue eyes of the warrior.
Glorfindel cradled his head in both hands and looked intensely into the dark eyes of the advisor.
"If you let me, I would make sure you never felt lonely again."
Erestor could see the sincerity in his eyes and was baffled.
"Why?" he asked breathlessly
"Because I love you," the golden elf responded without hesitation.
"But you could get anyone you wanted," he said lamely.
"But I don't want anyone else. No one has your heart, Erestor." The blond leaned forward, placed his mouth to his ear and whispered. "Or your beauty."
Erestor felt his cheeks flush.
"Or that pretty little blush of yours," he said with a chuckle, and chastely kissed a pink cheek. He leaned back, waiting for Erestor's response.
"I-I don't know what to say," h whispered, barley audible. "If this is a cruel joke, please stop, because I couldn't bear it."
Glorfindel took one of the dark elf's hands in his and rubbed its knuckles with his thumb.
"This is no cruel joke, sweet one." He raised the slender hand to his lips and kissed it. "Am I welcome? For I would very much like to court you, Erestor."
Erestor thought he stopped breathing for awhile, but when he saw the warrior's worried expression he drew a shaky breath again.
"Yes?" The warrior smiled.
He felt a small smile forming on his own face and he dared to meet Glorfindel's eyes once again. "I love you too, Glorfindel. No one has ever seen me like you do. I just thought you were out of my reach."
"You foolish elf," the golden-haired elf said with an even wider smile plastered on his face, and gathered him into a crushing embrace which made Erestor yelp in surprise.
When they broke apart they still rested their foreheads together, feeling their hot breath against each other's mouths. Erestor licked his lips nervously, a sight which drove Glorfindel mad with desire to kiss those full lips.
"May I kiss you?" he asked breathlessly
"Please do," Erestor responded in a whisper.
The dark elf's lips were caught in a chaste and gentle kiss, the warrior's lips softly brushing against his. Erestor slowly opened his eyes when it ended, much too quickly in his opinion.
But Glorfindel didn't draw back and still stayed close, their noses nearly touching each other.
"Another?" Glorfindel breathed against his lips.
Erestor only nodded and gasped in surprise when his lips this time were caught in a more firm, lustful kiss. Finally the need for air broke them apart, leaning their foreheads together and breathing deeply.
"I love you, Glorfindel."
"And I love you, my sweet and foolish Erestor."
A brilliant smile spread across Erestor's still tear-stained face as he stared into those clear blue eyes. He was lonely no more.