TAKE MY ADVICE, Glorfindel/Erestor, Rating R
Disclaimer: Tolkein's. Not mine.
Warnings: Nothing too bad, to be honest. I hard a hard time meeting the R-rating requested!
Request: 3rd Age Imladris. A light, warm and romantic story with a happy ending. Can be first time or established relationship, but the Elves should be in a committed relationship with each other or heading there. Include a candle, a special room, and a rose. No weak, wimpy Elves please! No blood, rape, incest, BDSM, non-consensual sex, threesomes or promiscuity. No angst.
Summary: Elrond's new advisor isn't what Glorfindel expected.
Seventeen years after first founding Imladris, Elrond decided he needed another advisor.
How he'd come to that conclusion I don't know. He had a whole gaggle of the blasted creatures already and, if you ask me, they were more trouble than they were worth. They squabbled. They wheedled. They prevaricated. In fact, pretty much everything they ever did involved them opening their mouths and emitting noise. I don't know how he could stand them.
I'd felt compelled to point out this fact. It was in his best interests, after all.
"They're a different breed to the likes of you or I, Glorfindel," he'd replied with a grin. "Though I must admit, there are times when I'd like nothing better than to gag the lot of them."
"Then why get another?"
"Galadriel recommended him," Elrond shrugged. "She said I might even like him."
I snorted loudly.
I suppose it's fairly obvious I don't have much love for those of the political persuasion. Never have done. I've always preferred the fighting kind of elf. Sure, they're as likely to want to beat you into a bloody pulp as buy you a drink but, generally speaking, they'll let you know their intentions before hand. With advisors, you never know where you stand.
Advisors skulk around the library at all hours of the day and night, glaring accusingly at innocent elves who so much as dare to look at one of their precious books. Advisors waltz into your office, peering down their noses at you and demanding reports as if you were a recalcitrant elfling who hasn't finished his homework.
Once a week I would have the utter delight of watching Faelon's face screw itself up into the most amazing contortions as I explained that I simply hadn't had time to be sitting around writing reports.
"Patrols, you know." I would nod with exaggerated weariness. "Keeping the borders safe must come first!"
Of course, the report would always be sitting, completed, in the top drawer of my desk - but Faelon didn't know that. Just as he didn't know how I awaited his visits with a perverse sense of anticipation. Baiting the poor elf had become something of a hobby.
Only tonight he was late. I frowned, listening to the sound of loud, raucous laughter from the nearby barracks and wishing I could be out there instead of stuck in here. Where was that wretched Faelon?
That was when the door burst open.
A strange elf staggered into the room, in such a fit of laughter that he practically fell face-first onto my desk. His face was obscured by a length of black hair that spilled over his shaking shoulders, wild and loose as a horse's mane.
Beneath that windswept mass he wore a stunning, deep blue robe that clung to his tall frame in all the right places. It was at least as expensive as any I'd seen Elrond wear, although I doubt Elrond would ever be caught in robes with two of the buttons missing, ink stains on the sleeves and fraying threads trailing from the hems.
"Glorfindel!" The strange elf cried in a familiar manner, as though we were age-old friends. "Your report! I need it!"
He raked his hair back from his face and my sharp retort died on my lips. The face that peeked out from behind that hair had an aristocratic nose, a boyish grin and dark eyes that sparkled with unconcealed mirth. It was the most incredibly vivacious face I'd ever laid eyes on.
While I sat there trying to formulate something that might pass as a sentence - trying to be witty at this point would have been pushing my luck - the stranger started rifling through the papers on my desk. To say I was taken aback would have been an understatement.
"It's not finished…" I began.
"Of course it's finished! The safety of the realm is at stake! It simply has to be finished! Now where is it?"
With that he started opening cupboard doors and drawers, haphazardly tossing things aside in his haste. I stared at the miniature whirlwind in shock. How dare this ridiculous creature come into my office and start rummaging though with my things! I don't care how good-looking he was! This was my office!
"Stop that!" I ordered, in a tone that would stop most elves in their tracks. This elf, however, seemed oblivious to my rising anger.
"Not until I find that report!" he sang.
I leapt up from my seat and made a grab for him but the nimble beggar danced out of my reach. By this time my office was beginning to look like it had lost a fight with a pack of wargs. Desperate measures had to be taken.
"Here!" I took what seemed like the only sensible course of action, thrusting the report into his hands and pointing furiously at the door. "Just take it and get out! Out! OUT!"
He stumbled backwards with the report clutched tightly to his chest, staring at me with puzzled eyes.
There seems to have been a terrible mistake, they said to me. You're not supposed to yell at me.
"AND STAY OUT!" I finished with a roar, ignoring those eyes in favour of slamming the door in his face.
Afterwards, I stood there in the middle of what used to be my office feeling strangely violated. It was only then it occurred to me who the strange elf was.
Suffice to say, Erestor was not what I'd expected.
Erestor wasn't like the other advisors, I soon discovered. He didn't squabble, or wheedle, or prevaricate. He demanded. He would waltz into a room as if he were one of the Valar incarnate, honing in on his target with an unerring accuracy that would have made the best of elven trackers proud.
He wasn't snooty, either. Erestor was not the kind of elf that spent half his morning braiding his hair for the sake of 'the image of Imladris.' Nor did he mind if little Lindir coated his robes with sticky finger marks of the honey or blueberry variety. It drove all the other advisors crazy.
Naturally, everyone who wasn't an advisor adored him.
Well, everyone who wasn't an advisor and me. For all that he was widely considered to be a gregarious and charming elf, I, for one, never quite forgave him for ransacking my office. He was never allowed to enter again, on pain of a thousand sharp, pointy objects used in a complicated manner which varied from one telling to the next.
It wasn't long before Erestor and I settled into a comfortable routine. I would stay out of his way, for the most part, except for formal functions and meetings which Elrond required both of us to attend.
During these affairs Erestor would be disgustingly cheerful and would invariably try to engage me in conversation on a multitude of topics. I would restrain myself from smacking him.
Did he never shut up?
Why he persisted I don't know, for my responses tended towards monosyllabic grunts. I felt it wise not to encourage him.
Oddly enough Erestor didn't seem to mind. He was as doggedly persistent in his attempts to befriend me as he was with everything else. In return I was just as stubborn in my refusal to be mollified. It was petty, yes, but what else could I do? If he had been a warrior, like me, I'd have simply marched him outside and showed him the error of his ways.
Unfortunately Erestor didn't know a sword's pommel from its point. His weapon was his tongue, with which he ran rings around the other advisors every day. The only way to defeat him in that field was to deny him battle altogether.
The longer I continued to ignore him the more persistent he became. I think he saw me as something of a challenge.
He stayed the full duration every meeting, whether he was required or not, just to talk to me. He tried engaging me in games of chess or Hnefatafl. He invited me for quiet drinks after the evening meal.
Each week he would stand in the doorway of my office, smiling at me expectantly and bouncing on the balls of his feet. I could tell it took all of his willpower not to cross the threshold. Erestor was not accustomed to boundaries.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying the attention. I'd never admit it but I started to look forward to his weekly visits much more than I ever had Faelon's.
Then came the week I had to make what later turned out to be a fateful decision.
I looked down at my weekly report, fingering the curled edges. It wasn't due for another day but I was to ride out in the morning. I was to provide escort for a delegation from Mirkwood and wouldn't return for a fortnight or so. It should be an enjoyable assignation, if it stayed as sunny as it had been the last few days.
I could have left the report with my second-in-command. No one would have thought twice about it, especially given my strained relationship with Erestor. I suppose I'll never know why I chose to deliver it myself.
For whatever reason, I found myself walking the darkened corridors of the Last Homely House, report in hand.
As I approached Erestor's study the door was slightly ajar and I could just make out the form of our resident scribe, Melpomaen. I slowed as I drew near, not wanting to interrupt their meeting, and that was when Erestor's words started to register.
"…not sure what he used but it glistened in the candlelight…"
I edged closer.
"…curled his fingers around it and tested its girth, like this, and then coated its entire length, like this…"
Heat rushed to my face.
"…slipped in easily; he was so hungry for it! I swear I've never heard such a beautiful, wanton moan in all my days…"
I very nearly dropped the report.
According to Erestor, the real reason he had been sent to Imladris was because he had been working late in the library one night when he had come across Galadriel's chief advisor, Silinde, doing all manner of unspeakable things with a candle. Silinde had been so utterly mortified he had arranged for Erestor's transfer the very next day.
All of which sounded terribly exciting, except that I happened to know that Silinde was something of a stuck-up prude who would have quite happily died before so much as thinking about committing such indecent acts in a public place. He was also bonded to an exceptionally attractive elf by the name of Rumil, so I rather doubt he would ever have any need to resort to a candle. Or any other inanimate object, for that matter.
Melpomaen, however, clearly wasn't aware of any of this. He was hanging on every word Erestor said, one hand clapped firmly over his gasping mouth and his eyes bright with scandalised delight. He was not entirely unaffected by Erestor's rather detailed and erotic account either, if the pink flush on his cheeks was anything to go by.
Suddenly I decided I didn't like Melpomaen any more.
That was when it struck me. I was envious. Of Melpomaen! How completely preposterous was that? Melpomaen was the most unassuming elf I'd ever met.
But it was true, because it was Melpomaen who was listening to Erestor's outrageous stories with rapt fascination and carefully crossed legs. Why didn't Erestor tell me any of these stories? I could cross my legs with the best of them!
I was glad there was no one else around to witness my reaction to this revelation. I turned tail and fled, report forgotten, like a raw recruit on his first patrol.
Of course Erestor didn't tell me any of these stories. Why would he? He was under the impression that I hated him! Except that I didn't. I'd only just realised quite how much I didn't. Now what was I supposed to do?
I didn't get much rest that night.
The following days passed in a restless, distracted blur. Thoughts of Erestor plagued my every waking moment. If the warriors serving escort under my command noticed anything different about me they never said anything. Someone else did though. Let's just say I wasn't making a very good impression on the delegates.
"You're not what I expected," Galion, Mirkwood's foremost ambassador, confessed to me.
"What were you expecting?"
Galion shrugged. "Don't get me wrong, but from what I've read, I expected you to be consumed by duty and loud to the point of brashness."
I didn't bother correcting him. That was what most people thought. In reality I was a quiet and conservative sort of elf, fond of my own privacy. If it wasn't for my deeds in battle I'd be completely unremarkable.
"I've had a lot on mind."
"Ah. Anything I can help with?"
I gave him a sidelong glance. Perhaps an outside perspective would help? "There was something I thought I didn't want and now that I've realised I do, I might not be able to have it."
Galion processed my garbled admission like the professional he was. "Have you tried?"
"To get it. Take my advice, Glorfindel, you won't know until you try!"
He made it sound so simple. Maybe it was.
By the time I returned to Imladris, my mind was set. I would win Erestor the only way I knew how: through a traditional, time-honoured Gondolian courtship.
That was how I ended up in the gardens, hunting high and low for a symbol of my house to serve as a declaration of intent. A yellow rose would have been perfect but every one I found was wilted and scorched brown from the sun. Curse this streak of hot weather!
Eventually I discovered one hidden in the shade of a tree. It was more of an orange or peach colour than golden-yellow and it drooped alarmingly but it would have to do. If I didn't go through with it now I might never pluck up the courage again.
Thorns and tattered outer petals trimmed back, I went to present my token to Erestor.
The dark-haired elf looked up as I entered his domain, staring at me with those ridiculously expressive eyes of his. It was obvious he was surprised to see me. He quirked an eyebrow in question, causing me to wonder if he'd always known how to do that or of he'd learnt it from Elrond.
"It was the best one I could find," I offered by way of apology, thrusting the sorry specimen forward.
Erestor blinked and looked at the rose in abject confusion. Tentatively he plucked it from my grasp and turned it over in his hands, examining it.
A cold sweat broke out on my brow.
Then, suddenly, the puzzled expression cleared and he gasped.
"Come with me!" He leapt from his seat and I followed, bewildered.
To my horror Erestor led me to the council chambers, threw open the doors and marched right up to Elrond. Both Mirkwood and Imladrian parties fell silent at the intrusion, appalled at our effrontery.
"Elrond!" Erestor cried. Yes, Erestor's irreverence extended even to Lord Elrond. "Look at this!"
Oh, sweet Eru. What was he thinking?
"It's dreadful!" Erestor was saying, waving the rose under Elrond's nose. "And apparently this was the best rose in all of Imladris. I can't believe you would let it get this bad! Honestly, one or two days I can understand but this is terrible! We need rain!"
On and on Erestor went. Paler and paler Elrond turned. A petal fell into his lap.
One of the advisors snickered. We all knew what it was like to be on the receiving end of one of Erestor's tongue lashings. We just never imagined that Elrond would ever be subjected to one.
"…and if the rose gardens are this bad what about the crops?"
"Are you really willing to risk the crops just to impress some visitors?"
"ERESTOR!" There was a collective cringe as Elrond finally snapped. "That is enough! I don't know what you were doing in the rose gardens instead of working in the first place but you can be assured I will deal with you later."
"Oh, I was working." Erestor was cheerfully blasé about the danger he was in. "It was Glorfindel that pointed it out to me."
I changed my mind. I didn't want to court him; I wanted to kill him.
Elrond's steely gaze fastened on me. I glanced around the room, desperate for an escape. Galion caught my eye. The Mirkwood ambassador glanced meaningfully at Erestor holding the rose, grinned, and threw me a surreptitious little wink.
"Forgive my interruption, Lord Elrond, but might I ask to be introduced?" Elrond paused; he could not politely refuse Galion's request.
"Of course, Councillor Galion. May I present Erestor, one of my junior advisors?"
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Erestor. Lord Elrond is fortunate to have such a diligent advisor in his service. Who knows how much longer this would have gone on had you not intervened?"
"Well, yes," Erestor agreed enthusiastically. "Exactly!"
"My colleagues and I have, of course, been aware of the distress the dry weather has been causing the local plant life. It has been causing us quite some discomfort, I must say."
Elrond looked like he'd swallowed a bug. I don't think he'd taken into account how highly wood elves regard their flora.
It rained that night.
Erestor was promoted to senior advisor the next day, in charge of 'all things Mirkwood.' He and Galion were fast friends in no time. It became common to see the two of them together, jabbering away as if they'd known each other all their lives.
I retreated to my office and sulked.
I was surprised when Erestor knocked on my door one evening looking for the weekly report. I presumed someone else would take over that relatively minor duty now that he'd been promoted. Apparently not.
Erestor bounced on the balls of his feet and grinned at me. I met him on the threshold and handed him the report.
"I wanted to thank you for bringing me that rose," he began. "I'd never have noticed if you hadn't pointed it out. I know, I should have stopped by sooner, but I was just so excited about the promotion and meeting Galion. That elf is practically a legend!"
"I'm happy for you," I ground out, glaring at him.
"He's very clever, you know, and ever so thoughtful. It was he who reminded me to thank you. I hope you can forgive me for being so selfish."
"Though I am curious, just why did you bring that rose to me anyway? Why not just take it to Elrond yourself? It's not right that I should get all the credit."
I could only imagine the look on Elrond's face had I presented him with that flower.
"Elrond prefers females." There. Let the blasted creature work it out for himself.
A long moment passed as my words sank in but when it did it was well worth the wait. Erestor's eyes flew open in shock and his mouth worked as he searched for something to say. I'd never seen Erestor lost for words before. I liked it.
He took a step forward.
"Ah! My office!"
He froze. "But…"
I gave him a look.
"Well, that still doesn't explain why you gave it to me!" Oh dear. He'd found his voice again.
"Why not you?"
"I thought you didn't like me."
"I try not to. You're bossy. You talk too much. You're flighty and impulsive and impractical. I shouldn't like you at all. But, for some Valar-forsaken reason, I do."
He stared. I think that was the longest speech he'd ever heard from me.
"For someone who professes to like me you have a funny way of showing it! Why didn't you just tell me?"
"I did. Then you went and showed half of Imladris before taking off with Galion." I crossed my arms and scowled.
"Oh! Oh, I'm sorry, Glorfindel. It just never crossed my mind that you'd actually meant that rose for me! Why would I? You act like you don't even want to be near me most of the time and, besides, it wasn't even red!"
"It was meant to be gold."
"Oh. That does make sense, doesn't it?" Then he grinned and a spark of something that made me unaccountably wary flickered across his features. "Is the offer still open, by any chance?"
I narrowed my eyes, suspicious, before nodding. Erestor's grin grew wider. He took a very slow and deliberate step forward.
"Where do you think you're going?" I growled.
"Come now, Glorfindel, you can't expect me to believe you'd let me into your heart if you won't even let me into your office."
I felt my jaw twitch. I've never liked advisors. Bossy little beggars, twisting their words like so much yarn and tying you up with the rope they make from it.
"Fine. You can come in. Just… don't break anything."
He kissed me then, to my surprise and delight; a soft and breathy brush of his lips over mine.
"I won't," he promised.
And he never did.