Dinîf en Qualen
Glorfindel quickly closed the door behind him and led Erestor to the bed, where he sat the shaken Elf down. Seeing him shiver, Glorfindel left Erestor on the bed to pour his friend a glass of wine. He also retrieved a blanket and draped it across Erestor’s shoulders. Hopefully Erestor would find some comfort in being in his private rooms again, far away from Eridhren. “Drink this, maybe it will help settle your nerves.” Glorfindel sat down next to Erestor and handed him the glass, watching him carefully.
Erestor sipped mechanically, not realizing he was actually drinking wine. His father’s glare haunted him and his hands began to shake, making the wine slosh over the rim.
Glorfindel quickly curled his fingers around Erestor’s and steadied them. He assisted the Elf in drinking the sweet liquid and then disposed of the empty glass. Once more retrieving Erestor’s hand, he clasped it in his. With his other hand, he cupped the dark-haired Elf’s chin in his palm, lifted his face and made eye contact with Erestor. “Will you tell me what haunts you? You are hurting because you are trying to deal with this on your own when you do not have to. Please confide in me.”
Erestor closed his eyes momentarily. Shaking violently, he tried to fight down his shame and rising nausea, which the returning memories were causing. “I am afraid… Afraid you will leave me… when you learn the truth.” His eyes opened and he stared pleadingly at the blond. “I never had a friend before! I do not want to lose you!” He was certain that opening up to Glorfindel would make the Elda look at him in disgust and desert him.
Glorfindel sighed deeply, realizing how fragile Erestor’s trust in him was. The dark-haired Elf expected to be abandoned the moment his friend found out the truth. “I won’t desert you,” said Glorfindel firmly. “I will stand by you.” Sensing the inner struggle that was taking place in Erestor’s mind, he reassuringly squeezed the Noldorin Elf’s hand, hoping to convince him to continue.
“I –will- lose your friendship,” sighed Erestor, distressed. “I know I will...” He shook his head when Glorfindel wanted to object and said, “So… you want to know the truth?”
Holding his breath, Glorfindel nodded once. Had Erestor really decided to trust him? “Please, tell me everything.”
Erestor released a shaky breath and averted his eyes. He couldn’t possibly tell his story whilst looking at Glorfindel. “It s-started…” he stuttered nervously, “be-before I was even born.”
Glorfindel released the breath he had been holding. It hurt that Erestor refused to make eye contact with him, but he allowed it. He still had a tight hold on the Elf’s hand and showed his support by rubbing Erestor’s knuckles.
“Eridhren got my… m-mother pregnant and he was ordered to marry her… w-which he did. He never loved her though… He felt t-trapped, and neglected her… during her pregnancy.” Erestor’s features contorted with emotional pain as he continued, "S-she began to fade… and after I was born… her s-soul traveled to the Halls of Waiting.”
Glorfindel’s heart contracted painfully, seeing the anguish in Erestor’s eyes. He had never heard Erestor stutter before; it showed in how much emotional pain the Elf was. “She died in childbirth?”
“I… n-never knew her. She must have been beautiful… I wish I had known her... Maybe things would have been… different if she had s-survived.” Erestor’s large, dark eyes filled with unshed tears. “She had long, golden hair and sky blue eyes… At least… that is what Thranduil told me.”
“Thranduil?” Glorfindel frowned. What had Thranduil to do with this?
“I grew up in M-mirkwood… and Thranduil often tried to p-protect me from my father’s rages... In the end, he helped me escape… I traveled to Imladris, h-hoping to find a home, a r-real home, here.” The tears finally left Erestor’s eyes and flowed down the Elf’s cheek, and the stutter worsened. “I was s-so afraid Eridhren would t-track me down and follow me here... B-but Thranduil made sure my father did not f-find out… I am eternally
g-grateful for that… it enabled me to build a life here.”
Glorfindel grew sad; what a cold and lonely life Erestor’s had been! He hadn’t noticed, hadn’t probed beneath the surface! No one had! “I never knew you grew up in Mirkwood.”
“I k-kept it a secret. I did not want you or Elrond to become s-suspicious… The one thing I was most afraid of… was Eridhren f-finding out and coming here… M-my worst nightmare has now come true… How did he find me after all this t-time?”
Glorfindel, feeling guilty and ashamed, cleared his throat. “That might be Elrond’s fault.”
“Elrond?” Erestor blinked through his tears, pleadingly looking at Glorfindel.
“We were so worried about you that Elrond contacted Eridhren. We did not know—“
“So that is how he f-found out,” whispered Erestor brokenly. “M-maybe I should have confided in Elrond when I f-first came here… but I was afraid… afraid he would send me back…. I had not reached my majority yet, and –“ Sobs made it impossible for Erestor to continue.
“Calm down, mellon-nîn. You are safe here; you know that.”
“But I… I no longer feel safe! Not now that I know –he- is here! His presence is b-bringing b-back all kind of memories!”
Erestor’s upset tone was getting to Glorfindel, who was becoming severely worried, seeing the dark-haired Elf’s eyes grow big. “What kind of memories?” Did he even want to hear this? But he had to follow through now, for Erestor’s sake.
Erestor closed his eyes and his tone dropped, until it became emotionless and hardly understandable. “It began when I was lit-little... He would get
c-cross with me for everything. At one p-point I was afraid to just br-breathe in his presence. He constantly ordered me around... I was his personal sla…ve… and…”
Glorfindel folded an arm around the trembling Elf and pulled Erestor close. “Then what?”
“I dropped a… c-cup accidentally and he… he hi-hit me. There was blood coming out of my nose… and I did not understand w-why I was hurting, or why he had hi-hit me.” Erestor raised his head and stared helplessly at the blond. “I s-said I was s-sorry for dr-dropping that cup. I did no-not do it on purpose. I was only a child!”
“I know you did not do it on purpose, but even if you did, it did not warrant his reaction. He had no right to hit you!” Anger was beginning to build in Glorfindel.
“It be-became worse from that p-point on. He would hit me… for no reason at all, just because I was t-there. He yelled at me… blamed me for my… my mother’s death and said he –hated- me... He wished she had never con…conceived and that I should never have been b-born!”
Glorfindel hugged Erestor tightly. “What an awful thing to say to a child.”
“If only it had st-stopped there…” Erestor hesitantly returned the hug, which felt awkward and unfamiliar to him. “The beatings got worse... The
br-bruises showed on my face.”
“And no one tried to help you?” Glorfindel barely managed to keep his anger under control and he wasn’t sure how he would react when being confronted with Eridhren. He wanted to make the Elf pay for hurting Erestor like that!
“Thran… Thranduil tried to help and so did his wife, Aewithôn… They often v-visited, trying to r-reason with my father. They offered to raise me instead, but my father r-refused... I do not know why, what kind of p-perverse p-pleasure he—“ Erestor’s breathing stopped momentarily, and his body froze against Glorfindel’s.
Glorfindel realized the worst was yet to come and mentally prepared himself for Erestor’s next admission. He tightened his hold on the dark-haired Elf and made eye contact. “What happened next?”
“The m-maidens did not w-want anything to do with him... They knew Gildin had d-died because of grief and they avoided him. But, he… he…” Unable to continue, Erestor sobbed softly.
Glorfindel told himself to be patient and give Erestor the time he needed. He rubbed his friend’s back with strong, soothing strokes and held him tight. “You can tell me.”
Erestor felt terrified and desperately wanted to flee the room, but he couldn’t stop now. Glorfindel wouldn’t let him. “Sex-sexually, he…”
Glorfindel sucked in his breath. He had feared Erestor would reveal something like this, but had hoped his fears were ungrounded. “He touched you? Intimately?”
Erestor lowered his eyes in shame and nodded once. His faltering voice was barely audible. “And I… I was ordered to… to t-touch him.”
“How far did it go?”
“I had to ma-make him c-come… Pl-please… please do not make me tell you the de-details! I s-still feel so ashamed because of it.” Erestor buried his face against Glorfindel’s shoulder, unable to bear the blond’s gaze any longer. “It continued for… years.”
“You are not to blame for this; you know that, don’t you?” Glorfindel pulled back slightly and lifted Erestor’s chin. “His mind is twisted and he should never have gotten his hands on an innocent.”
“Thranduil and Aewithôn… t-tried… to get me away from him, but he… he is my father! They could n-not overrule his parental rights... but they did make my life more bearable… I knew –someone- cared about me.” Erestor’s voice faltered each time his emotions overwhelmed him.
“You said earlier that Thranduil helped you flee from Mirkwood?” Inwardly, Glorfindel was raging. His anger, aimed at Eridhren, was making it hard to concentrate on Erestor’s needs. He wanted to hurt Eridhren like the bastard had hurt Erestor!
“That… night… was the w-worst of my life. A maiden, who he had pursued, had re-rejected him… and, frustrated, he came to my r-room… I was so scared… I had n-never seen him that f-furious before… and I was at a loss at what to do… so I tried to r-run away, but he caught me and…I got the
w-worst b-beating of my life… When… his rage faded…he… left! He simply left me there, b-bleeding and b-bruised. I left a bloody trail on the floor; that is how ba-badly he had hurt me!”
Glorfindel’s eyes were now filling with tears as well. Erestor had suffered so much!
“Thranduil m-must have heard me… or maybe one of his guards told him, but he found me, hi-hiding behind his throne... I hid there often… It was the last p-place where my father would look for me. Thranduil took me to his r-rooms where Aewithôn tended to my wounds.” Erestor drew in a deep breath. “I begged Thranduil to help me.”
“Which he did.” Glorfindel moistened his lips. His mouth felt awfully dry and a lump had formed in his throat. “I am so glad he helped you. I never liked Thranduil, but I do feel thankful that he reached out to you.”
Erestor searched Glorfindel’s eyes, looking for rejection and loathing, but instead he found understanding and compassion in them. The blond was also still holding him, rubbing his back, another sign that Glorfindel didn’t blame him for what had happened in the past.
“It was not your fault,” said Glorfindel firmly, sensing Erestor’s fears. “It was not your fault,” he repeated, emphasizing every word. “Eridhren was wrong; he is to blame, not you.” Erestor collapsed against him and the raven-haired Elf rested his head on his shoulder. Glorfindel rocked him slowly, whispering, “It was not your fault, please believe me. There is no reason to feel ashamed.”
“But I –do- feel ashamed, and I…I…” Erestor paused, reminded himself that he could trust Glorfindel, and added, “I am so… afraid that –it- will happen again now that he has f-found me. I feel like the fr-frightened child which I once was... I feel helpless and defenseless.”
Glorfindel understood. “He won’t touch you ever again. You are no longer a child, but an adult. You can defend yourself and I will make sure that he will never get you alone. Never!”
Erestor took comfort in Glorfindel’s promise, hoping the blond would keep his word. It was still hard to trust, but it had just become a little bit easier.
Glorfindel waited until Erestor’s sobs had died and the dark-haired Elf simply rested against him, soaking up warmth and comfort. When Erestor finally raised his head from his shoulder, Glorfindel read a question in those dark eyes. “What is it?”
“I do not feel safe here,” said Erestor in a tone hoarse from crying. “He will come for me, and he can easily locate my rooms.” Involuntarily his gaze drifted off to the door, almost expecting his father to appear there.
“I will stay with you. You should know that the twins, Elrond, or I will always be here for you. We won’t leave you alone, not even for a minute.” Glorfindel smiled, saddened, when he tried to let go of Erestor, who continued to cling to him. “You are safe, mellon-nîn. Trust in me.”
Erestor tentatively nodded. “I hope he will leave shortly.” The mere thought of his father being in Imladris was enough to distress him.
Glorfindel looked through the window. How many hours had passed since lunch? The sun was quite low and it wouldn’t be long before the moon would start to rise again. His gaze shifted to Erestor and he sighed, upset, seeing the eyes were still red from crying. The raven-haired Elf looked absolutely miserable. “Why don’t you try to sleep, mellon-nîn? You must be tired.”
“I am afraid to close my eyes,” admitted Erestor, caught off guard.
“What if I promise to stay close?” Glorfindel gathered Erestor’s hands in his, and met the other’s gaze. “I promise you won’t be alone tonight. Even if I should be called away I will make sure either Elladan or Elrohir will stay with you.” Involuntarily, he held his breath as Erestor raised his right hand to brush a blond lock from his face. The touch was gentle, almost intimate, and he smiled encouragingly. It was the first time that Erestor reached out like that.
Suddenly growing aware of what he had done, Erestor jerked back his hand and gave the Elda an apologetic look. Even the slightest touch had spooked him for years and now he wanted to touch Glorfindel? What if the blond didn’t want to be touched? Sighing, he wondered if he would ever be able to make sense of his messed up thoughts. What his father had done to him had changed him forever.
“Let us get you out those formal robes; they cannot be comfortable to sleep in.” Seeing Erestor’s eyes go big, Glorfindel smiled reassuringly.
“I do not want to impose on you,” whispered Erestor, shakily, but the blond was gone already, opening his closet and withdrawing a white sleeping robe. Erestor lowered his gaze; the thought of Glorfindel helping him undress was causing strange, unknown emotions to wash through him.
Glorfindel noticed Erestor’s unease, but pretended to not see it. He began to unbutton Erestor’s robes because his friend’s hands were shaking. “I need you to stand up.”
Erestor did, shaking like a leaf, and the robes dropped to the floor. Glorfindel quickly told hold of the sleeping robe, and helped Erestor into it, buttoning it up again at the end. “Comfortable?” The way Erestor shied away from his touch and gaze caused his heart to ache in sympathy.
Erestor nodded weakly, uncomfortable with the fact that Glorfindel had seen him naked. Why it unnerved him, he couldn’t explain, but it caused gooseflesh on his skin and he shakily sat down on the bed again.
Lowering himself onto his heels, Glorfindel removed Erestor’s boots. “Lie down,” he said in a soft tone, whilst pushing down the covers.
Erestor gave him a questioning look. It was strange; first Elrohir had gained his trust and now Glorfindel as well.
Glorfindel wondered about the different emotions in Erestor’s eyes when he helped his friend to lie down.
“Where will you… sleep… then?” Erestor stifled a yawn, and his eyes were already growing vacant. The bed was warm, comfortable and feeling relaxed and safe, he let go of his struggle to remain awake. But he still caught Glorfindel’s words as the blond spoke softly.
“The bed is big enough for me to lie down as well, but for now I will sit here and watch over you. Let go of your fears and tension. You are in good hands.”
Erestor even managed to smile although he was quickly falling asleep. /Thank you for being a friend… A true friend./
Glorfindel found himself stroking the long, dark tresses, whilst watching Erestor’s eyes turn vacant. Now that the Noldorin Elf was asleep, he sighed deeply. The anger, aimed at Eridhren, was still there; in fact it was growing and would demand a way out eventually.
A soft knock on his door caught his attention. “Who is it?” He spoke softly to not wake Erestor.
“One moment… I locked the door.” Glorfindel regretted letting go of the dark mane and rose to his feet. After unlocking the door, he stepped aside and Elrohir entered.
Elrohir smiled saddened, seeing Erestor asleep in the bed. “What happened?”
Glorfindel signaled for Elrohir to follow him and they sat down in front of the fire, exchanging worried looks. “Erestor told me how his father hurt him. It is even worse than we thought. Eridhren is extremely dangerous. I urge you, and Elladan, to remain on your guard at all times.”
Elrohir’s gaze came to rest on Erestor. “Will you tell me what he said?”
Glorfindel told Elrohir what Eridhren had done to Erestor.
The young half-Elf gasped in shock and sympathy when he learned how badly Erestor had been abused. “That explains so much. It explains why he is afraid of being touched, why he never visited his father, and why he is so concerned about Elladan and I. But we will be careful. Eridhren won’t get a chance to hurt anyone again.” Elrohir concentrated on Glorfindel and saw the fury in the azure eyes. He felt equally as angry.
“Would you stay with Erestor for a short while? I need to—“ Glorfindel paused, searching for the right words. “I need to talk to Elrond about this.” Maybe talking to Elrond would subdue this anger that was consuming him. The healer always managed to calm him down. “And I will inform Elladan as well.”
Elrohir nodded. “I will gladly sit with Erestor. Take as much time as you need.”
Glorfindel looked over his shoulder at Erestor to make sure the Elf was still sound asleep and then headed for the doorway. Suddenly, he halted. “Aren’t Elladan and you supposed to take care of Thranduil? I hope you did not desert him?”
“Actually, he excused himself. He wanted to go for a walk in the gardens and I have not seen him since.” Elrohir frowned. "Glorfindel, he is nothing like I thought he would be.”
“Thranduil is a mystery,” confirmed Glorfindel. “I never understood him. But I will also check on him before returning here. He is a guest after all and should be treated accordingly.” He would also put up guards close to Eridhren’s rooms. “Take good care of Erestor.” After seeing Elrohir nod, he left in search of Elrond.
When Erestor’s sleep became restless, Elrohir exchanged his chair for the bed, sitting down on its edge. Erestor was moving in bed, occasionally releasing a soft whimper. Acting instinctively, Elrohir reached out and stroked the dark hair. “You can sleep safely, Erestor.”
Suddenly the dark eyes flashed with a moment of awareness. “El… rohir?”
”Aye, I am here.” Elrohir smiled reassuringly. “As I said earlier, you are safe.”
“Elrohir…” Erestor’s eyes still had a glint of awareness, but sleep was heavy in them again.
Elrohir was caught by surprise when Erestor suddenly reached for him, wrapping one arm around his shoulder and blindly pulling him down. He didn’t struggle and gave in willingly, letting the troubled Elf pull him close. Lying facing each other, Elrohir returned Erestor’s embrace and enfolded the elder Elf in a hug of his own.
His heart contracted in sympathy when Erestor curled up against him, resting his head against his shoulder. “Aye, you are safe now. You can sleep,” murmured Elrohir, realizing how desperately Erestor needed to know he was safe. Holding his former mentor close, Elrohir was content to watch the elder Elf’s sleep turn quiet and peaceful again. /I am here for you, Erestor. And I won’t let your father get to you./
Beta read by Ilye, thank you!
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