Notes: Because the next chapter of Forgotten Tree contains no kissing and it really needs some work (the story was written over six years ago – I don't even think I'm the same person now) this is a little peace offering and a sign of my unbelievable gratitude for all of my Tolkien loves who have stuck with me this long. Takes place within the Forgotten Tree arc in the year before the fall of the city. I promise the next chapter will be up very soon.

A Sudden Storm

The storehouse loft was warm. Sunlight passed through it in dust-specked bands that glimmered like flowing streams above the straw. The ravens that rested on the rafters kept their secret. The mice that hurried along the edges of the walls kept their secret. And the eagles that watched them glance over their shoulders to ensure they were not followed as they crossed the meadow, the eagles kept their secret and were pleased to protect any small scrap of love that they could spy from their busy height. The eagles knew how rare it was to watch love unfold, and eagles only spoke their secrets if it was absolutely necessary.

Glorfindel arrived first; he had waited all morning, pretending to work through his notes in preparation for the harvest. The summer had been unusually hot and wet, thunderstorms forming every afternoon along the peaks of the western range, the rain arriving like a moving, translucent wall across the vale. Some days the rain arrived as abrupt and hurried as a secret assignation. Other days it arrived and lingered, slow and steady, hours of rain that took up residence in the city and decided to stay the night.

Erestor arrived that afternoon like a seasoned spy as the storm threatened and grumbled in the sky; he showed a knack for subterfuge.

Glorfindel sensed Erestor standing behind him and tried his best to school the sudden, ridiculous smile from his face – to no avail. He soon abandoned all hope of stoicism, and simply closed his eyes and waited.

"If you're too busy for me, let me know so I can race the storm before it crosses the mountain."

Glorfindel, leaning low to the paper, pretended to write. His hair hid his face. "I am rather busy," he said.

He felt Erestor formulating a retort, and had no doubt that Erestor considered the least favored option of returning back the way he came. That approach would either teach Glorfindel a lesson or give Erestor a chance to see if he would be intercepted before he reached the door, an instructional tool either way.

Erestor almost turned away. Glorfindel felt it: a shifted foot behind him, but something made Erestor stop. He leaned over Glorfindel's shoulder and said, "Can I help?"

If Glorfindel turned his head, just so, his ear would brush Erestor's cheek. In the quiet hours of the night, when Glorfindel was alone with his thoughts, he reasoned an ocean's volume of excuses to put an end to it, whatever unnamed thing they had started, but when Erestor stood beside him, when he felt the soft brush of his hair, there was no logic or force strong enough to stop him. He turned.

"Hello," Erestor whispered. He regarded Glorfindel gravely, as if he were about to impart a very important truth. "It would be unfortunate if the storm were to trap us here. I have no skill with the weather, but the clouds don't seem to be in a hurry."

Erestor stifled a laugh formed by his own attempt at seriousness. His eyes were luminous, happy. Glorfindel had forgotten what a perfect mixture of delight and expectation looked like on a face, it had been too long since he had seen happiness. Glorfindel felt the desk's rough wood beneath his hand, felt the close, so close, warmth of Erestor, not touching but almost – too long since he had seen something that he wanted – no, had never wanted anything this much.

"I looked for you this morning," Glorfindel said. He placed his pen on top of the paper.

"From your window?"

"The palace, your father said you were with Idril."

Erestor placed his hand near to Glorfindel's on the desk. He leaned closer. "I hoped I would see you. When we're away from each other it feels like I imagined you – this you, the one that sometimes looks like he might flee if I move too quickly and other times as if he might never let me out of his sight."

"What of the other?"

"He belongs to the city."

The room darkened suddenly as the storm clouds reached the vineyards. Wind drew the scent of the forest, summer leaves and warm earth, in a quick rush through the uncovered windows. Erestor breathed deep and rested his cheek against Glorfindel's shoulder.

"This is no whim," Glorfindel said, as much an answer as a question.

"I'm afraid it is not." Erestor's voice was a low living thing against the skin of Glorfindel's neck and it seemed that the sound had always been near him, forsaking wisdom and better judgment, like the pull of the sea. Erestor's voice and mouth always delivering sound reasoning, such as: "We should not waste the storm."

Glorfindel was out of his chair in an instant, Erestor trapped between him and the desk. "We are resolved then, to see this through to whatever end?" Glorfindel asked.

"My decision was made the first time you kissed me. Are we to reason through your uncertainty every time we meet?" The happiness still colored the fierceness of Erestor's stare, but a fragile susceptibility under lied his strength, and Glorfindel knew that if he was the cause of one, he was also the cause of the other. Glorfindel had never wavered on the boundary of any decision, only Erestor – to drink his mysteries in completely or end it before their fate was irrevocable.

There was no sense to be gleaned from kissing him, but when had sense ever brought two spirits together. He felt Erestor's smile against his lips.

"See?" Erestor breathed, "All better. When your honor gets in the way of your better judgment, just kiss me."

The rain roared against the roof, the desk became the ladder leading up to the loft. Their mouths did not stop and Glorfindel could not keep Erestor close enough to him as they made slow progress past the barrels and supplies, with a reasonable pause to bar the main door which served a dual purpose of leverage and security. Erestor pressed Glorfindel against it while he troubled with the latch.