Twisting the Hellmouth Fic-for-All

Title: Guest
Pairing: Rupert Giles & Elrond (LotR)
Words: 350
Disclaimer: Elrond and all things Lord of the Rings belong to the Tolkien estate. Giles and BtVS belong to Joss Whedon. I own neither property.

Elrond walked through the clearing to the opposite end, where their visitor was resting on a rock outcropping. He had his elbows propped on his knees and his hands clasped loosely between them as he stared off into the forest surrounding Rivendell. Elrond could tell that the man before him did not actually see the graceful trees or vibrant undergrowth; what he was viewing was all in his mind, memories of those he had left behind when he had come to Middle Earth.

He felt for this mortal. In the two years since he'd been brought into the valley--a rough collection of broken bones and bloody flesh--by a patrol returning from the Misty Mountains, he had talked long with Elrond, Celebrían, and Glorfindel about his home and the young people he viewed as his children. Though the place his friend hailed from was dangerous and life there short, he longed to go back to his self-made family and his duty of protecting the innocent against the encroaching darkness. All sympathized with him; they knew well the perpetual battle against shadow.

Not moving or otherwise acknowledging Elrond's approach, he spoke quietly, his voice resigned and thick with unspoken emotion. "You've come to tell me there is no way home."

"I have." Elrond placed his hand on the man's shoulder in silent support. For a long moment, both were quiet.

"I would that I could bring you news of a way home. Mithrandir and Galadriel agree, however. What magic there was that sent you here is not available to us to return you to your home. I am sorry, Rupert. I had hoped we could help you."

"The Lady Celebrían invited me to dine with you this evening. If I may have some time to gather myself beforehand?"

Elrond smiled gently. "Of course." His guest would need time to grieve the loss of his home. He hoped, however, that the mortal would adjust and eventually call Rivendell home. Mortal or not, he was a fellow warrior against evil, and he, his wife and his children, viewed him as a friend.