By Any Means Necessary
Even hours later, Thranduil was still mesmerized by his new mate. He was content watching Erestor sleep, but on the other hand, he also felt eager for the dark-haired beauty to wake up. His fingers combed tenderly through the long, dark mane, exploring the texture, as he rubbed the silk-like strands between his fingertips. “So beautiful,” he whispered appreciatively.
He held his breath involuntarily when Erestor moved against him. The advisor’s arms snaked around his waist, returning the embrace. The gesture warmed Thranduil’s heart and he moved close enough for his lips to brush Erestor’s brow. /When did I fall for you, Erestor? I have only felt this way once before and that was when I married my wife. I don’t want to let you go ever again./
Pressing a passionate kiss onto Erestor’s brow, he smiled warmly. “My beautiful Noldo.” He had never thought he would find a Noldorin Elf magnificent, but Erestor was all that -- and more! “We will beat the Shadow together,” he vowed fiercely. “Don’t ever leave my side, nîn-cuil.” (My hero.) Now that he had lost his heart to the cunning advisor, he was even more determined to make sure that his savior didn’t leave him in the end. /I want to spend the rest of my life with you, nîn-cuil./
“I beg your forgiveness,” said Lindir, as he hesitantly stepped into the King’s private chambers. “Lord Erestor asked me to make sure food was available to you at all times.” After Thranduil had nodded his approval, Lindir made his way over to the bed where he sat down the tray.
With slight disapproval in his eyes Lindir stared at the untouched food on the tray, which he had brought after Erestor had carried Thranduil here. “Is there another way I can be of service?”
Thranduil considered the question. “How does Elrond fair?” He should check on the half-Elf, but he was way too comfortable in his bed with this warm and pliant body pressed against his.
“I visited with Lord Elrond before coming here, anticipating that question,” said Lindir smugly. “I am pleased to inform you that Lord Elrond was sound asleep, cautiously guarded by Lord Glorfindel.”
“Good,” mumbled Thranduil absentmindedly. “You have permission to leave then.” But Lindir remained, shuffling his feet. Curious, Thranduil raised an eyebrow. “Is there something else you wish to mention?”
“Actually there is.” Lindir moistened his lips. “Your seneschal, Belldoron, would like a word with you.”
“Ah, he returned from the borders then?” Thranduil eagerly nodded his head, but then stilled his body, unwilling to accidentally wake Erestor. “Is he near?”
Belldoron, who had been listening at the doorway, stepped into the room and bowed respectfully. “I am here, sire.”
Thranduil nodded at Lindir, and the white-haired Elf left the room. Concentrating on his seneschal, he felt relieved to see the calm expression in the other Elf’s eyes. “This could be considered a rather compromising situation.” He wasn’t sure how Belldoron would react to seeing a Noldorin Elf sharing his bed.
Nodding his head once, Belldoron stared deeply into his King’s green eyes. When he had left the talan weeks ago, Thranduil’s emerald eyes had been haunted. The ghosts and Shadow seemed to have lifted now, for which he felt grateful. “Sire? I have some questions. Are you agreeable to answer them?”
Thranduil nodded. “Sit down, Belldoron, but don’t make any noise. I don’t want this one to wake up.” His gaze came to rest on Erestor and he smiled indulgently. “He hasn’t slept properly these last few nights.”
Belldoron took in the scene in front of him with a questioning look. “One of my questions concerns this one. How did a Noldorin Elf find a way into your heart?” Thranduil’s concern and affection for Erestor were there to see for everyone who cared to look.
Thranduil realized that his seneschal needed to know the truth. Belldoron had been his confidant for many centuries and he trusted him completely. “During your absence the Shadow grew stronger in my mind. It tormented me at night.”
Belldoron nodded, taking in his Ruler’s appearance. Thranduil was a mere shell of the person he had been before Dol Guldur had awakened.
“Then Erestor arrived. Elrond ordered him to negotiate an alliance between us.”
“Imladris is prepared to aid us?” Belldoron frowned. This was rather unexpected news.
“The alliance was Elrond’s idea. I don’t know why I rejected the proposal at first. I mustn’t have been thinking clearly, for Mirkwood would greatly benefit from such an alliance. It must have been the Shadow’s influence.” Thranduil frowned when Erestor moved in his arms, groaning pitifully. He tried to soothe the raven-haired Elf and his lover calmed slightly. “Erestor cornered me -- with my son’s assistance, I should add. Before I knew it, he guarded my dreams at night. In the end, he bonded with me to keep me from fading. Without his life energy I would be dead.”
“He bound himself to you?” Belldoron coughed, trying to hide his disapproval at learning that news.
“Aye, he did.” Thranduil’s gaze traveled from Belldoron to Erestor when the advisor began to struggle against the embrace he was in. “He saved my life, meldir. We are indebted to him.”
“And what about Elrond? Is he to be allowed to roam the talan and the rest of Mirkwood if he desires so?”
“Aye, he is.” Thranduil made once more eye-contact with his seneschal. “Do you see this ring?” He waited for Belldoron’s eyes to settle on the ring at his finger and then added, “This is Vilya, one of the three rings of power. Elrond brought it here to strengthen me. Such a gesture demands faith, trust even. Elrond and Glorfindel are my honored guests and they will be treated as such.”
“I understand, sire.” Belldoron’s gaze was now trained on Erestor. “You might want to wake him. I can smell the nightmares on him.”
Acting at once, Thranduil took hold of Erestor’s shoulders and shook him slightly. A distressing thought moved through his mind. /What if the Shadow now direct its attacks at him?/ He hoped it wasn’t so, and that his dark-haired Noldo was having a regular nightmare, which had nothing to do with the evil that lurked in Dol Guldur.
“Wake up, Erestor,” whispered Thranduil in a pervasive tone. Opting for another approach -- now that the advisor wasn’t waking up -- he pressed his lips against Erestor’s, bestowing a passionate kiss onto the soft flesh. “Wake up, nîn-cuil.”
Thranduil was so focused on Erestor that he missed the unreadable expression that passed over Belldoron’s features.
Erestor groaned, and reacted instinctively, trying to reclaim the lips that had just left his.
Thranduil gave Belldoron a meaningful look. “I trust I answered your most urgent questions?”
“You did.” Realizing his King wanted his privacy, Belldoron rose from his chair. Thranduil was once more looking at the Noldo and missed seeing the disapproval -- loathing even -- that crossed his seneschal’s features.
Thranduil heard the door click shut and then allowed Erestor to find his lips. His lover’s lips parted, and he slid his tongue inside, exploring. As he had been studying Erestor’s eyes, he caught the exact moment when awareness returned to the dark orbs.
Thranduil’s tongue was doing incredibly things to his, making him squirm. The fact that they were both naked made it even harder for him to compose himself when Thranduil released his lips, leaving him breathless. Panting slightly, he stared into naughty, twinkling eyes. Thranduil seemed very much awake… and interested in him, judging by the erection that pressed against his stomach. /Well, I only have myself to blame for this as I stripped both of us before going to bed./
“I…” Erestor desperately tried to think of something to say, but his vocal chords didn’t co-operate. Thranduil’s coy smile took him by surprise. The Sinda seemed extremely pleased to have him in his bed! The blond’s hand smoothed back wayward black strands of hair and he found himself leaning into the touch, craving it. In his mind, he felt an echo of Thranduil’s feelings. It still surprised him that the other Elf was beginning to love him.
“You are right, you know. I like having you in my bed. That’s where you belong.” Thranduil felt unburdened and light-hearted now that the Shadow was leaving him alone and his fingertips curiously explored his lover’s body.
Erestor swallowed nervously when one of Thranduil’s hands settled on his backside whilst the other fondled his semi-erect member. “What are you doing to me?” Breathlessly, he stared at the Sindarin Elf.
“I want to show my love for you.”
Erestor gulped. “When did it become love?”
Thranduil lovingly stared into his lover’s brown eyes and noted that the pupils were dilated now. “You want this as well. Do not deny it, nîn-cuil.”
“What did you call me?” Erestor’s eyes widened at hearing that endearment. He was about to press Thranduil for an explanation when the Sindarin Elf began to stroke his now engorged member, drawing soft mews from his lips. The King had done this before and it made him wonder about Thranduil’s appetite for carnal pleasures. A finger gently massaged the guardian ring to his entrance and his irises darkened further, realizing Thranduil planned on making him come. “What about you?”
“Take me in your hand,” whispered Thranduil seductively. “We can give each other pleasure.”
Erestor’s hand was somewhat shaky when his fingers curled around the hard flesh. Stroking experimentally, he saw Thranduil’s eyes close with pleasure. The heat between them was building and it wasn’t long until their tongues were dueling again, wrapped up in a passionate kiss.
Yelping softly, Erestor pushed down as Thranduil’s finger entered him. He suckled the tip of his lover’s tongue hard and was stunned when hot cream splashed onto his hand. For some reason he had expected Thranduil to last longer.
“Nîn-cuil, the things you do to me!” Thranduil had arched his back in release and now grinned impishly at his lover. “I will enjoy having you in my bed until the end of Arda.”
Erestor realized his mistake when Thranduil pushed down the covers. The blond slid down his body, opened his mouth and… “Oh, melamin!” He called out in rapture, as an eager and -- very -- talented tongue wrapped itself around the slippery head of his erection, suckling gently. He bucked, instinctively trying to make his lover swallow more of him and to his surprise Thranduil complied.
“Ai… Thranduil… melme… what are you do—“ He was forced to stop talking when Thranduil blew softly against the heated tip of his member. “Saes!” (Please!) He stared pleadingly at the blond, wishing Thranduil would take pity on him. When the Sinda moved between his parted legs, he instinctively lifted his hips, offering himself to Thranduil. What would his lover do next?
A hand slipped under his buttocks, quickly followed by a pillow that was pushed in place by Thranduil. Staring pleadingly, he whimpered as his lover began to finish what he had started. Eager lips and a delicious tongue brought him to the brink, and when Thranduil’s finger brushed the hidden gland in his passage, he thrashed on the bed, finally finding release.
Quivering in orgasmic pleasure, he panted hard. He’d had lovers before, but making love had never felt this intense. /I made a mistake in judgment,/ he realized, /I assumed this was about sex, but it isn’t. It is about love!/
“You love me… You really, really love me.” The realization was instant and complete. “I never thought…” He didn’t get the chance to finish his sentence as Thranduil placed a finger across his lips to silence him. The blond truly looked seductive at that moment and Erestor wiped away a droplet of ejaculate that clung to the Sinda’s lip.
Staring at his lover, Erestor whispered, “It won’t be long until you’ll claim me.” A possessive look had appeared in the emerald eyes and told him everything he needed to know.
Exhausted, Thranduil collapsed next to him and Erestor quickly gathered the Ruler of Mirkwood in his arms.
“You are right, nîn-cuil. I desperately want to claim you, but…” Thranduil paused, wondering how to phrase this.
“Don’t shock me by telling me you want to take it slow!” said Erestor, mildly amused. He couldn’t really believe that, considering Thranduil had taken the initiative for intimacy twice so far. Thranduil gave him a nervous smile, which made him wonder. “What is it?”
“I…” Thranduil bit his bottom lip and lowered his eyes. “Claiming you is my greatest desire, but the Shadow… Our problems…” Lost for words, he shrugged. “I don’t feel strong enough in body and mind yet to fully pleasure you.”
“Oh,” whispered Erestor. He suddenly felt rather embarrassed for having pressured Thranduil. “I understand, melamin. Be assured that I can wait. There are other ways to pleasure each other, and you seem awfully talented at some of them. I thought you said that you had never had a male lover before?” *He* was supposed to be the experienced one, not Thranduil! But the Ruler of Mirkwood was too good at taking the lead and overwhelming him. /Oh, I already know what will happen when you feel strong enough to take me. You will try to posses me completely./ That was a surprisingly appealing thought. /I hope you will recover quickly./
Lying spent in his lover’s arms, Erestor relished the other Elf’s closeness. He hoped things would work out for them, for he didn’t want to lose this love that was growing between them.
“Elrohir?” Elladan shuffled onto the balcony. When he had woken a few moments ago, he had been startled to find his twin gone and he had panicked. For some reason he was deadly afraid that Elrohir would sneak out on him and leave Imladris. He truly couldn’t envision a life without his brother. /I don’t want to think about what life will be like without him. Utterly empty./
Studying Elrohir’s features, he caught the tears that were flowing down his twin’s face. “I hate this. I don’t want us to hurt -- to cry. Why won’t you tell me why you are fading, gwenneth? (Younger brother.) Who are you pining for? How can anyone not love you? Or not want you? Help me understand.”
After releasing a tormented sigh, Elrohir turned around to face him and Elladan held his breath. Had he really managed to change his brother’s mind? “Gwanunig, (twin) tell me and I will try to mediate. I am sure that once your chosen one knows that you love her things will change for the better. Who is it?” The sad look that Elrohir gave him tore him apart. “Please tell me.”
“I cannot tell you, Elladan. He and I can never be. Just accept that.”
“He?” Elladan’s eyes sparkled with new hope. “Who is ‘he’?”
“I should never have let that one slip,” said Elrohir in a self-berating tone. “Please forget I ever said that.”
“So you are in love with a male,” summarized Elladan smugly. “I wonder who it is. Glorfindel? Erestor? Lindir? One of the servants? A handsome Elf from Lothlorien? Is it because of your beloved’s station or location that you think he doesn’t return your love?” He was practically bouncing from excitement, convinced as he was that Elrohir would finally open up to him. “I am sure we can overcome any problems.”
“Nay, we cannot,” whispered Elrohir in a melancholy tone. “Elladan, this is something you cannot control -- cannot ‘fix’ for me. My love is unrequited and I will fade.” For one moment his eyes darkened ominously. “I cannot stay in Imladris, gweniaur.” (Older brother)
Elladan’s heart missed a beat. His greatest fear was quickly becoming true! “Nay, you cannot leave Imladris! You cannot leave *me*!” He roughly grabbed his brother’s shoulders and shook him. “I will track you down and drag you back home! Don’t you dare leave!”
The emotionless expression on his younger brother’s face startled Elladan. “I will track you down!” This meant he couldn’t leave Elrohir alone ever again. He had to make sure his twin didn’t get a chance to run away. “We will face this together like we faced everything together in the past. You are not going to spend your last months alone!”p class=MsoNormal style='text-align:justify'>Elladan calmed slowly, and noticed the calculating look in his brother’s eyes. He had seen it before. “You are staying here with me. You might not let me help you convince your love to accept you, but I refuse to let you suffer alone!”
Brick by brick, a wall was erected between them and Elladan cringed, realizing it was driving them apart. Opening his arms, he hoped Elrohir would move into them. But his younger twin steeled his features and swept past him, disappearing inside, leaving him on the balcony with empty arms.
Elrohir fought the urge to release a keening wail and to throw himself into his brother’s arms, but he couldn’t. The longer he stayed close to Elladan, the longer his ordeal would last. His older brother sustained him because Elladan *did* love his twin. /I need to put some distance between us. I have to let him go. That will make it easier for him when my soul travels to the Halls of Waiting./
Just being close to Elladan hurt. The fact that his brother was getting closer to finding out the truth, made him panic. What if Elladan realized he was pining for him? He couldn’t put his brother through that. /I have to leave Imladris. I don’t want to, but I have no choice. I have to protect Elladan. I cannot take the risk that seeing me fade will trigger a similar response in him. I do not want him to perish with me./
Elrohir drew in a deep breath. He felt relieved now that he had made his decision. It wouldn’t be easy though. Elladan would watch him now that his twin knew his intentions. He had to be patient and wait for the right opportunity to come along.
Haldir shot Celeborn a concerned look, as he unwillingly relived catching the Lord of the Golden Wood when the elder Elf had fainted. He hadn’t realized it at the time -- he was too occupied to take good care of Celeborn -- but the mere thought of losing Celeborn made his heart ache painfully. /Should he ever faint again, I vow to be there to catch him!/
When Celeborn looked up and locked gazes with him, he smiled warmly. He had stopped trying to hide his affection ages ago. The Lord and Lady had taken him and his two brothers in after their parents had been killed, and although he was content to look upon the elder Elf as his surrogate father, he wished they could be much more.
At times, he wondered if Celeborn felt something for him as well. Occasionally, he caught the elder Elf’s gaze and then it was filled with a longing similar to his. But the heavenly blue eyes would quickly break off contact and avoid his.
“We will arrive in Imladris early in the morning. Do you think Elladan is expecting us?”
Celeborn shook his head. “I doubt he even realizes he managed to reach me.” Celeborn moved closer to the fire they had built. This would be their last stop before reaching Imladris and he had ordered his escort to eat, drink and rest for a short while.
Haldir, leaning back against the trunk of tree, felt entranced by the way the fire was reflected in Celeborn’s eyes, which seemed indigo now that the fiery glow illuminated them. He hoped that the fire wouldn’t attract any Orcs. He had advised against starting one, but Celeborn had declared that he didn’t detect any evil in their vicinity and so Haldir had given in.
“I have tried to reach Elrond, but something is keeping me from making contact,” continued Celeborn in a worried tone. “There is darkness between us which I never felt before. He might be injured, slipping into sleep or unconsciousness, but I haven’t heard of any ill tidings.”
“It would appear that he found trouble after leaving Imladris.”
“I wonder why Elrond left in the first place.”
Haldir nodded once. “Apparently things fell apart in Imladris during his absence. Hopefully you can sort this out. Elrohir is very young and a valiant warrior. It would grieve me to learn he succumbed to the Elven Sickness.”
“We need to find out why he is suffering from grief in the first place.” Celeborn sighed. “I lost my daughter to the Elven Sickness. I refuse to lose my grandson as well. If there is a way to keep him from fading I will find it.”
“Do you think he is grieving for his mother?”
“Nay, Celebrian left decades ago. The Elven Sickness would have struck earlier if he were grieving for her.” Celeborn frowned. “It might be unrequited love.”
Haldir moved closer to the fire and sat down beside his Lord. He continued to ask him questions, knowing it might help Celeborn find out what was wrong with the younger twin. “Do you have any idea who Elrohir fancies?”
“I don’t,” sighed Celeborn distraught. “I will have to talk to him.”
Haldir hesitantly raised a hand and then rested it on the elder Elf’s shoulder. “I will do my best to help in whatever way possible.”
“I know you will, Haldir.”
Celeborn smiled saddened, as his thoughts drifted off to his own unrequited love. Haldir had always been beautiful to him, and charming in his very own way. He had overheard others, who claimed the march warden was rather distant and haughty, but he understood why Haldir made that impression on others. They hadn’t seen the way Haldir had tried to defend his little brothers when he had first found them.
After their parents’ deaths, Haldir had been left to protect his younger siblings. Only twelve years himself, the child had made a courageous effort to look after them. But he had failed, of course. No twelve years old child could take care of a baby and a four year old.
When his escort had come upon the three trembling Elflings, Haldir had raised a stick to defend his brothers, but an adult Elf was no match for the little one. Yet, Haldir had fought until Celeborn himself had stepped in there to take charge.
/He fought all the others, but he yielded to me./ Haldir had lowered his ‘weapon’ when his big, frightened eyes had caught sight of him. Shuffling his feet, the eldest of the three brothers had agreed that it would be better if a grown Elf looked after him and his brothers.
Celeborn had found himself with one baby in his arms, an Elfling on his shoulders and Haldir clinging to his right leg. Orophin and Rumil had prospered under Galadriel’s and his guidance and Haldir had become the best of his warriors.
And now he was in love with said champion. /Aiya, Haldir./ Looking at the younger Elf at his side, he saw the love reflected in the hazel eyes and that sight made him swallow hard. /I love you as well, but I am bound to my Lady./
Their love simply couldn’t be.
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