Summary & Timeline: Of course Glorfindel had thought about it, by the Gods, he was obsessed! But he wasn't going to do anything! It simply wasn't... what he was going to do.
This takes place in (Third Age) III 2702, 192 years after Celebrían sailed West. I decided that nearly 200 years of mourning would be enough for Elrond.
Warnings: Slash. Since when do I write anything else? A tad bit (or a lot) of silliness. AU.
Disclaimer: Eä and all its inhabitants belong to Master Tolkien. Humbly (and sneakily) I borrow them from time to time.
A/N: For long I've wanted to write an Elrond/Glorfindel story, but not until now is it done. As this is my first one, I'd be happy to see some reviews coming my way!
This is my homage to Grey Pigeon whose wording "Two wooden tables were covered with papers and the elf Lords were walking around them, discussing, arguing, signing the documents. Or doing nothing, like Glorfindel." (Trying to push the past away, ch 11) FINALLY kicked me into motion!
Tea and Other Pleasures
Imladris, the Hidden Valley and Sanctuary,
Tuilë 44, III 2702
"So what is your opinion? Glorfindel?"
The golden Elf-lord reluctantly dragged his eyes away from the item he had been watching for a good long while now: his teacup.
It was empty, although that didn't really matter.
Well, in some ways of course it mattered (it was always a disappointment to find a teacup devoid of tea when one desired to ingest some) but as an item to train your eyes on, it was excellent. Especially when trying to avoid looking at other items. Or simply others. As it might be. As it was, to be exact, in this very moment.
And to be honest as well, for the past, say… months, Glorfindel had needed plenty of cups to look at. Any item would do really, but cups had the advantage of sometimes being filled and were thus very handy to have around. They were neutral too, which undoubtedly was a good thing.
Alas, he was now required to look elsewhere and so he raised his eyes.
Elrond was sitting across the desk, presenting a rather confused expression that unfortunately did nothing to devastate his handsome face. Proud demeanour, expertly sculpted chin and cheekbones, high forehead, long dark hair with delicate braids, deep grey eyes, sensual lips... yes, there we go again. Glorfindel would have grumbled, had he been alone.
"I think it sounds good," he said instead, deciding that would make a better impression on Imladris' Lord.
Said Lord leaned forward a little – always unnerving – and gave a wry smile. "I have presented you with several options, my friend, not solely one."
Ah. How should he know? He had been far too busy trying to avoid even thinking about Elrond, something that was usually more difficult when seated opposite him in a room occupied by no others.
So he did what he did best: he produced a winning smile and leaned back in his chair. "I trust you to make the right decision."
"I see." Elrond raised an eyebrow and that wry smile of his refused to go away. "So if I were to have them cut down you would be perfectly happy with it?"
"Cut down?!" Oh no. Glorfindel quickly straightened in his chair. "I won't allow you to have the birches 'cut down'!"
"I see," repeated Elrond, nodding slowly. "So what do you propose?"
"Leave them. You must leave them to grow. No, yet they don't shield us from intruding eyes, but that's what we have the fir-trees for." Glorfindel pointed to the map that lay spread on the desk. "The Ford is well protected as it is. You can afford to give the birches some time to grow strong and tall... It would truly be a shame to see them come down."
If he was not mistaken, Elrond actually blinked at him.
"Indeed, I haven't heard you speak so many words together in several weeks. Are you quite alright?"
"Quite." Glorfindel leaned back again, a little taken aback by his own reaction himself. The teacup was calling.
"Then that's settled." Clearly satisfied, Elrond rose from his chair and began storing away the maps and whatever other documents he had been poring over while Glorfindel was not paying attention. "These shall have to be returned to the library," he mused aloud. "I do not suppose you will do that for me?"
Glorfindel looked up at him. "Nah, I'd prefer not to."
It was partly true, partly false. He wasn't sure what he would prefer. He could leave now and let today's torture be over, or he could stay and suffer some more. He did not like to be considered weak, least of all by himself, and so he decided to stay. After all, looking fear straight into its dreadful eye was far more honourable than running away.
Why he continued staring at his cup though, was not something he wished to consider in depth.
"I guessed as much," said Elrond. "For a Balrog slayer you are extraordinarily lazy."
"I am not lazy," Glorfindel informed the teacup. "I am being strategic."
"Oh? How so?"
"Well, should another Balrog rise from its sorry ashes, then I have all my energy left to counter the attack. Would it not be a shame to see Imladris ruined by a monstrous creature just because you sent me to the library?" He could not resist grinning triumphantly at Elrond.
Who was rolling his eyes. "By the Valar, that is the lamest excuse I have ever heard. Not even my sons could come up with a scheme such as that one!"
Elrond should know – he was raising three children. Therefore Glorfindel was even more proud of himself.
"'Tis brilliant, I know," he nodded wisely.
"Brilliant," muttered Elrond as he replaced the last one of his quills in a drawer. "You are lucky I love you anyway."
Glorfindel nearly choked. (And he had no tea to blame it on.) He was still relocating his breath when Elrond positively smirked at him.
"Are you heading off somewhere, mighty Balrogbane, or is your energy too precious to be spent on walking?"
Shaking his head, Glorfindel now tried to form a coherent sentence. "I have no engagements."(He did pretty well, considering the circumstances.)
"Then will you have some more tea with me? You have been staring at that empty cup long enough, I deem."
"Right," said Glorfindel, not really finding that he could deny this.
It was strange, he had to admit. He had been Elrond's close friend for centuries but it was only of late that he had felt this stupid attraction to him. It had come as a surprise to him. Not because he didn't know that Elrond was good-looking – he had always been exceptionally pleasant to look upon – but because Glorfindel simply was not prepared. And Glorfindel didn't like to be caught unawares; it was like his own body and mind had betrayed him, and those were always the most horrible of treacheries! One could get angry for less.
"Yes?" He spun around in his chair only to see Elrond standing in the arched doorway leading to his private chambers.
"I thought we'd take tea in here instead. I have had enough of the study for today."
See? No wonder Glorfindel was confused. For as long as he could remember, Elrond had spent hours after hours working: copying texts, reading, writing, reading, planning, reading, reading... He did a lot of reading.
He had every right to be confused, he decided as he rose to his feet and joined his friend in the comfortable sitting-room. His loyal teacup was filled once more, and the steam elegantly rose in the air before him. Elrond handed it to him and then walked over to the unveiled window-opening with a smile on his lips.
"It looks like summer might come after all."
"Yes?" It was a jolly nice cup. Not too heavy, nor too light. And with tea in it, it was even better.
Fine. He looked up. "Yes, well it would, wouldn't it?" clarified Glorfindel. "We had winter, then spring... and though it is not yet very warm, summer is bound to be on its way."
Elrond was wearing a peculiar mask of some emotion that Glorfindel was unable to name. "Always the voice of reason, my friend," he said mysteriously. Sort of.
"I try." Glorfindel shrugged.
Elrond did not reply. Instead he put his cup down on a small table and proceeded to slide his long robe off his broad shoulders. Suddenly the intense study of the teacup became less prioritised by Glorfindel.
The problem – or one of them – with Elrond was that despite his massive interest in books, he had never neglected his body. He still wielded a sword with great force, and his arms and hands could let loose an arrow from the heaviest bow around anytime. Dressed in only a shirt and leggings, Lord Elrond of Imladris was a sight to behold, for sure.
And now he was coming closer. To his extreme annoyance, Glorfindel actually swallowed nervously.
"You have not been yourself lately," said Elrond slowly as he moved closer to where Glorfindel was standing, all of his attention focused on his friend. "Tell me what ails you."
"Nothing at all, I assure you." He tried. At least he tried.
"Why, I do not think I believe you." Elrond's grey gaze was piercing, but there was an odd smile playing in the corners of his lips. He strode nearer and nearer, and when he was scant inches away, he spoke again. "No, I don't believe you at all."
"Elrond," began Glorfindel, forgetting all about tea."It is nothing, really..."
Ever so leisurely Elrond moved to stand behind him. Very close.
And not only because it caused some awfully improper ideas to awaken in Glorfindel's mind.
He desperately stared out through the window to try and find something far more powerful than his teacup to focus on. As it was though, apparently this was Elrond's very intention.
Imladris' Lord spoke softly but clearly. "See how the afternoon sun is flooding the Valley... All that golden sunlight, lovingly caressing every newborn leaf and blossom. That is a sight you never grew tired of seeing, my friend. What has happened that you should forget the beauty of this part of Arda?"
Shifting nervously, Glorfindel tried to form a satisfactory explanation. "I have not forgotten, Elrond," he said at last when he could think of nothing else.
"Perhaps you are... distracted?" Elrond's innocent tone did not prepare him for what was to come.
A hand landed lightly on his shoulder. Holding his breath, Glorfindel registered how fingers found his hair and carefully brushed it aside, baring his neck. Elrond's warm breath floated across his skin as he spoke.
"Do not think I don't know what is going on," he murmured. "I have seen all the signs before, I know them well."
It would be so easy to sway backwards now, to lean into the touch, no matter how tiny it was. He still needed air, but Glorfindel could feel his breathing growing more and more shallow. Where this conversation was headed, he could not tell.
"Elrond, this..." he tried weakly.
Gently, he was cut off. "This has never been your area of expertise, no." A low chuckle wound its way into his system. "Allow me..."
Before Glorfindel had time to react to this – or maintain that he skilfully handled all parts of life – soft lips pressed an equally soft kiss into his skin.
"I have missed you, my friend," mumbled Elrond against his neck before he left a new kiss there. "Will you not be yourself again?"
In truth it was hard for Glorfindel to do anything at all in this moment, let alone reclaim some long-lost personality. He was feeling quite dizzy and was sure reality had wandered off alone, leaving him in a dream that corresponded perfectly with his own fantasies. He was stunned, and all he was capable of was experiencing how his skin absorbed the trail of kisses Elrond was leaving on his neck.
"Set aside your tea and talk to me," suggested Elrond from behind, his voice still low.
The mundane request helped to revive Glorfindel somewhat and surprised he looked down at his own hands. He was still holding his cup like his life depended on it. Not sure if it was such a wise thing to do, he stepped away from Elrond and deposited his cup on top of a small cupboard containing various, milder healing herbs for everyday use.
Slowly, slowly he turned around to face Elrond. There was a peculiar light dancing in his eyes and it caused Glorfindel's newly-kissed skin to tingle. Anor was sinking towards the horizon and the golden hues deepened and painted the walls of the sitting-room in warm oranges and reds.
"What is going on, Elrond?" he asked when he finally managed to summon some confidence.
"Why do you not tell me? Tell me whither your thoughts stray so often these days." Elrond smiled. "And," he added after a pause, "tell me where your courage has disappeared to."
Glorfindel gave a half-hearted smile. "I do believe I have lost it." He shook his head. "I confess I know not what to do."
Now there was openness in Elrond's features that had not been there before. He looked tenderly at Glorfindel. "The world is changing around us. Cannot we change also? Could not you discover that your feelings for me has greatly changed, and perhaps discover that mine for you are of a similar kind?" He held out a hand as if offering this suggestion in physical, yet invisible, form. "Could that not be?"
Glorfindel dared not speak for a moment, lest this was all jest, but the longer he remained silent, the more urgently the small – but eager – non-dazed part of his mind was screaming at him to take this opportunity. To chance it.
"Elrond," he heard himself saying at last. "I love you. And mind you, not only as my friend."
The smile that he was rewarded with was all he needed. He was the Balrog slayer after all, the Chief of the House of the Golden Flower, and a Hero. And he loved Elrond, his Lord in this lifetime, and nothing was going to stop him now.
Resolutely he walked up to Elrond. "I am warning you, when I love someone, I don't hold back."
And Glorfindel was given no time to reflect upon this for instantly his mouth was claimed in a first, long kiss that nearly melted him. Elrond tasted him over and over again; his tongue gently parted his lips and ventured inside, generously offering Glorfindel plenty of new ideas on how to spend many future hours. He, in his turn, wound his arms around Elrond's waist and drew him closer. He desired to know everything about his new lover, and he intended to begin at once.
When the kiss ended and they pulled apart to breathe, his hands were already busy with the hem of Elrond's shirt.
"So, I suppose you will be retiring to your chambers?"
Glorfindel let go of the fabric to stare properly at him. "By Manwë, what are you talking about?"
"Are you not the one who wishes to save all your energy for the upcoming Balrog attack?"
"Nonsense," said Glorfindel dismissively as he resumed his work, further encouraged when he found warm, smooth skin underneath the shirt. "Whoever told you that is gravely misinformed."
"Hah!" Elrond let him pull off the shirt. "It seems to me your scheme has a flaw or two." He slid his hands along Glorfindel's upper arms, fingering the tunic he wore. "But we shall talk more of this later I think."
He leaned in for a second kiss, a more passionate one this time.
Glorfindel smiled into it, quite pleased with the world, and himself, after all.
Tuilë - the first season of the elven year, covering the period between modern 8 April and 21 May.
Arda - the World
Anor - the Sun
Manwë - is the greatest of the Valar and the King of Arda.