I am not J.K. Rowling or J.R.R. Tolkien, and any characters from LOTR or HP are not mine.

Erestor was nervous. This was not a normal state of affairs, and thus rather disagreeable. She had something to give to Glorfindel, but this was rather important. And special. She scowled at herself mentally. It was just Glorfindel, there was really no need to be feeling so worried about it. Telling herself that didn't do much for the fluttering in her chest and abdomen. She could face down a council full of stodgy old elves, charge into battle, and even keep Lindir calm during his centennial anxiety attacks that struck him whenever he played for the Founding of Imladris celebration.

This, however- this was beating her. And it was complete folly! He was a friend. She wanted to do this for him. There should be no extra emotional involvement except for the fact that there was and even worse she wasn't sure why. She had mentioned it to Haldir, but he had only laughed at her a bit and claimed that he couldn't explain it to her before disappearing. Hopefully to laugh himself into a choking fit, the idiot.

Still, Erestor found herself taking an extremely nervous last few steps to Glorfindel's office. She hesitated, then reminded herself that she hadn't been a Gryffindor for nothing, and knocked. At Glorfindel's 'come in,' she entered and closed the door behind her.

"Erestor! Is there anything I can help you with? Is everything well?" Erestor hastened to reassure him.

"Yes, of course. I just had something for you. From me. As a thank-you of sorts." She handed it over to him, and watched his reaction carefully. She hadn't felt this nervous since her first quidditch match, she was sure. For a moment he stopped and stared.

"What is this?" Erestor nearly rolled her eyes. Scathing remarks she could do easily.

"It is a painting. Of your horse. I thought it was obvious, but then you are rather old, I imagine your mind slows down accordingly with time." Glorfindel snorted at her. "Really, there is no need for sound effects, Glorfindel. But I suppose if it helps you remember what it is you are looking at, then by all means continue your one-sided equestrian conversation." That earned her a full laugh.

"Erestor, my lovely, I never need fear for my ego exceeding its limits as you have designated yourself my personal ego stomper." He looked at her carefully, and she nearly squirmed under his gaze. Honestly, this was intolerable. "Try not to be so nervous, my dear. I love it. The artist is exceptionally talented- who did you ask to paint it?" Erestor felt her cheeks heating up as she answered.

"Does it really matter? Perhaps they would prefer to remain anonymous." And there Glorfindel went again, surveying something she wasn't aware she had.

"Erestor," and she refused to look at him directly, "did you paint this?"

Erestor could have died a thousand deaths right then, and counted it a blessing.

"Yes, I did. Wherefore ask?" And he was pulling her up from her seat all a sudden, and smiling gently at her, the one that made something inside twist in a way that felt like joy.

"Erestor, did I not just say that I thought it wonderful? I just want to thank you for it, you ridiculous, flighty creature." Erestor gave a superior sniff.

"Flighty? Birds now Glorfindel, truly- you could not end it at horses, could you?" Glorfindel smirked at her and- yep, there was that lurch inside again.

"Ah, but I only care for the finest birds. There are many to choose from, but if you care to recall, I only choose the best and most level-headed creatures." She shook her head at him.

"Your imagination does you credit, Glorfindel, as does your tendency to flatter in creative if strange ways. But never mind all that. I just wanted to thank you. I do notice you know, all the little things you do." This was hard, but it was right and important. "And…I wanted to tell you that you are my best friend. I mean, I know that we finally admitted that a while back but I need to tell you that you are very important to me. That I care for you, quite a lot. And I thank you for caring about me, too."

The room was very quiet, but it wasn't awkward- merely waiting. Glorfindel held her hand quite tightly- oh, apparently he had been holding it for a while now. She really needed to work on her observational skills. But he held it tightly with both hands, and then –blast it all! He smiled for a third time, his small smile that made her feel strange. She wondered if Elrond had ever studied the medical implications of Glorfindel's smiles, because she was feeling mighty fine, truth be told.

"Erestor, it is my pleasure." He sat her down again, gently, and went to replace one of his (quite frankly, ugly) fruit still-life's that some young art student had left and never reclaimed with Erestor's gift. It looked perfect for his office, and Glorfindel admired it.

"You paint quite well. When did you learn?" Erestor sighed deeply. Easier terrain to navigate by far. They just went from fighting a Boss back to instant K.O.-ing sycophants.

"Over the centuries. Time goes rather slowly for someone who was raised measuring time by mortal standards. After you hit your third or fourth century, the reality of just how long 'immortal' means tends to crash upon one's head rather starkly. I had to pick up something or go insane. I know quite a bit of this and that, but only ever really stayed with painting and music, though the latter not enough to suit Lindir. I-" They were interrupted by a knock on the door.

"Enter!" Elrond came through, along with a servant carting a tea tray.

"Greetings and good day to you two. How fare ye?" Glorfindel answered for both of them.

"Quite well, m'lord. Actually, Erestor just gifted me with a demonstration of her abilities- one lesser known than her word-smithing, I daresay. See here?" And promptly, proudly, displayed his newly acquired painting.

"I see. Erestor, it is good to see you painting again. It has been a while." Erestor ignored her blushing because obviously, it was an early warning of an impending fever and any moment Lord Elrond would begin dosing her with tea to stave off impending plague.

"I was unaware that you knew of it, My Lord." Elrond just looked at her over his tea cup.

"Erestor, do not forget that it is not only your job to know things that happen. Still, I am glad to see that you have taken it up again. You are quite skilled in the area, my dear." Erestor smiled from pleasure. Elrond had a keen eye for the artistic, and rarely complimented.

"Thank you." He reached over to pat her arm and force a strawberry topped biscuit on her.

"You are most welcome, but I would prefer to see more art come from you. Now eat your biscuit and drink your tea like a good little Seneschal." She scowled good naturedly, but obeyed. It was a very good baked good, and she accept his offer for seconds, which had the added benefit of making him beam approvingly at her. Glorfindel, who had had to fend for himself (that is to say, pour his own tea and fetch his own pastry), tried to snatch it before a Look of Doom came his way. He nearly blanched, and put a biscuit from his own plate onto Erestor's as a peace offering.

They spent a bit longer forcing Erestor to eat and talking before Lord Elrond departed with a promise that Erestor would join him for supper. She wasn't really sure how it had happened, but somewhere between guilt and an order and coercion from Glorfindel, they managed to rope her into it. Still, she was in a much more relaxed mood than she had been and so accepted her defeat with grace.

She and Glorfindel were alone in the office now, though. They chatted good naturedly for a while, but Erestor found that she didn't want to leave, and that Glorfindel didn't want to go either, making up topic after topic to elongate the conversation. She really need to be getting back to work, though and said so.

"I will see you tonight, though?" Glorfindel asked, and she stepped away from the door to assure him-

Which was when they struck. One twin slammed the window shut and locked from the outside, improvising with shutters that Erestor couldn't recall having been there before, and locking the door from the outside.

This would not have been a problem, except for the fact that Glorfindel was famous for leaving his office unlocked and forgetting his key. And true enough, there was no key in the office to set them free.

"We'll let you out in time for dinner!" Elladan called from the doorway and sped off. Erestor wondered if the door were booby trapped, but then realized that it couldn't be because she and Elrond had passed through, with her and Glorfindel sitting there watching the door for her impending leave-taking after that.

"I can pick locks," she volunteered, but Glorfindel waved her off.

"True, but would you really want to crush their feeble hopes?" It was a stretch, but it gave her an excuse to stay with him so she accepted.

"At least we have supplies," she added. Glorfindel agreed, and took another snack.

"It could be worse, both food-wise and in company. If I was forced to choose only one companion to take with me into solitude, it would be you, you realize," Glorfindel told her, all blue eyes and sincerity.

"Well, I would pick Beldes." Glorfindel stared a moment before laughing. "I apologize, it was too tempting. Truthfully, I would love to spend time with you, if forced to choose." There was a sense of waiting once again, and Erestor wasn't sure what to do with it.

"Erestor?" Glorfindel sounded extremely serious, and she sat next to him as she gave him her full attention.

"You- I- we…Huh," he said, running an agitated hand through his hair. It was beautiful hair too. But she waited patiently, focusing on his words and not his hair, or his smile, or anything else. "Erestor, I know we are friends, best friends, but sometimes…" And she waited, feeling suspended before the shock of reaching the floor. "Sometimes I think that my- my care is a bit more than strictly platonic," he choked out. Erestor twitched. Now wasn't the time for snark, but it was hard keeping the automatic switch in the 'off' position.

"What do you mean by this, Glorfindel? And I do not mean- I mean, I understand the implication. What I ask is, what are you meaning to do with this?" Glorfindel watched her carefully. He had been doing quite a bit of that recently, and it seemed that he could read her with a fair degree of accuracy.

"For now, I plan to keep on being your best friend. I mean to continue caring for you, come what may. Nothing needs to change if you do not want it to." Erestor sat, measuring her feelings but coming up with just shock.

"Please, I just do not want anything to change between us. Although I think the only thing that has changed between us is that now we acknowledge what the giant oliphaunt in the room is." Glorfindel looked relieved, which she wondered at.

"You do not wish to disassociate yourself?" Erestor barely gave it a thought, because the horrific cold that ran through at the mention nearly froze her to the bone.

"No! I want us to still be friends, no matter what. Idiot." Glorfindel smiled encouragingly at her.

"Erestor, relax please." But it was hard. "I have been thinking about it, why people kept laughing at me when I told them things I felt about you, and it was rather obvious. Erestor," and his stupid 'chill out' smile made her do so, "I practically admitted it not long ago. We can continue to pretend, nothing has to change I promise. We are still friends," and she could believe him this time.

"Good. Let us stay friends no matter what, aye?"


And they stayed there in silence until Elrond unlocked the door, holding hands all the while.

So...I just set up for the next phase in this chapter. Phew. And Beldes, for those wondering, is the rather bossy seamstress who forces Erestor to wear *Not*Black clothing items. Wee.

Thank you for all the reviews, my dear readers, adders, favers, etc. New Years Eve cookies to all!

I may not update for the next week- family vacation and all that includes sparse internet contact. Hopefully, I will have some nice plot bunnies come to my rescue- but not too many. See ya!