Dinîf en Qualen
The week had passed quickly and now Elrohir was getting himself ready to attend the ceremony that would officially bind Erestor and Glorfindel. When he had heard about their plans he had been extremely pleased and happy for both of them. And when Erestor had asked him to help him get ready, he had eagerly accepted. But he still regretted having to leave Legolas’ side, even if it only was for a few hours.
Elladan had offered to take the blond under his wing and his twin had taken Legolas for a ride, showing him more of Imladris. Elrohir sighed; Legolas and Elladan had only been gone for a few minutes and he already missed both of them.
Knocking on the door to Glorfindel’s rooms, he grinned, hearing the nervous edge to Erestor’s tone when his former mentor told him to enter. Elrohir stepped inside and closed the door behind him. A bemused laugh escaped him, seeing the state Erestor was in.
The elder Elf stood in front of the dressing table, wrapped in towels. His hair was a tangled mess and confusion shone from his eyes. Staying calm, Elrohir advanced on his friend.
“I do not know where to start,” said Erestor, pointing at himself.
“Let us attend to your hair first. Sit down.” Elrohir waited for Erestor to seat himself in front of the mirror and then reached for brush and comb. Glorfindel had asked him to make sure Erestor wore the golden circlet and the flower-shaped beads in his hair, and Elrohir had happily assured the Elda that he would take care of it.
Untangling the raven mass of hair, he glanced at Erestor’s reflection in the mirror. “You seem nervous, meldir.”
“I am,” admitted Erestor in a hoarse tone. “I am afraid that Glorfindel will realize he is making a mistake and will reconsider. I know I am driving myself crazy that way, but a part of me still cannot believe he wants to spend the rest of his life with me.”
Elrohir smiled reassuringly. “Erestor, Glorfindel loves you. And in your heart you know that. You just need to hear Glorfindel say it a few more times.” Now that he had untangled the dark mane, he began to weave the flower-shaped beads into Erestor’s hair. “Speaking of Glorfindel, where is he?”
“Elrond offered to keep him company until the ceremony takes place. I am so nervous that I was making him nervous in turn!” Erestor fidgeted with a corner of a towel. “It is just… I still expect Glorfindel to cancel the ceremony.”
This time Elrohir remained quiet, concentrating on braiding Erestor’s hair. He hoped that his former tutor would feel more confident once their vows had been exchanged. “Have you already prepared your vows?”
Erestor nodded and Elrohir barely refrained from uttering a soft curse; wayward strands of hair escaped his fingers as the braid was undone, and he had to start anew. “Keep still.” The fact that Erestor managed a weak smile reassured Elrohir.
“I haven't needed to prepare any vows. I already carry them with me in my heart.”
Elrohir’s smile broadened. “You are a romantic soul, Erestor.”
The comment made Erestor blush slightly. “No one has ever said that before.”
Elrohir laughed softly. “Oh, I am sure Glorfindel will in the future.” Having finished another braid, he continued to weave in the last few beads. The golden beads and circlet did suit Erestor’s dark hair and brown eyes. He even thought he saw golden specks in the dark orbs.
Erestor remained motionless, and when Elrohir began to weave the circlet into his hair, his breath caught. A few weeks ago he had seen a stranger in the mirror and Glorfindel had merely smiled at hearing this. But now the happy and contented Elf that looked back even felt like him. Glorfindel truly completed him. Now that he felt happy, he was scared to lose Glorfindel. What if the Elda reconsidered and called off the ceremony? This question had tormented him for the last few hours and was the very reason why he had shooed Glorfindel from their rooms. He didn’t want the blond to say the words that would take away his happiness.
Elrohir had a pretty good idea what was haunting Erestor and wished there were some magical words that would take away the Elf’s fears, but there weren’t any. Now that he had finished weaving the circlet into Erestor’s hair, he stepped away from the dressing table and opened Glorfindel’s closet. “What do you want to wear?”
Erestor slowly rose to his feet and joined the half-Elf. He pointed at the mauve robes Glorfindel loved to see him in.
“A good choice,” said Elrohir, pleased. He straightened the fabric and placed the robes on the bed. Erestor had disappeared into the bathroom and emerged a few moments later, wearing a beige linen shirt that would go underneath the robes. He allowed Elrohir to help him into the robes and then let the half-Elf fuss over his hair again.
“Perfect.” Elrohir nodded his head once. “Glorfindel will fall in love with you all over again." He collected a pair of soft leather boots, and whilst Erestor stepped into them, he watched the elder Elf closely.
Erestor still felt skeptical, looking into the mirror once more. It was obvious that he had changed these last few months, and that was due to everyone’s apparent care. He seriously doubted he could have coped with his father’s visit without everyone’s help. Elrohir and Thranduil especially had made him see how much they cared about him.
And Glorfindel? The blond was a completely different matter. What he felt for Glorfindel was so deep, so unique, that his heart wept when the Elda wasn’t close; like now.
Elrohir and Erestor looked at the doorway, seeing Thranduil standing there. The Elf carried a small wooden box in his right hand and when he advanced on Erestor, he presented the box to the nervous Elf. A few days ago, Erestor had come to him, asking for help, which he had happily supplied. “I hope this is was what you were looking for.”
Elrohir strained to see the contents of the box when Erestor opened it, but all he caught was a flash of gold in the sunlight. Following tradition, Erestor and Glorfindel had decided to exchange wedding bands and he figured that this one was meant to go on the Elda’s finger.
Erestor gasped. “Aye, it is beautiful.” Smiling weakly, he looked at Thranduil. “Thank you for taking care of his for me.” He had known he could count on his former protector. After slipping the small box into one of his pockets, he slowly wrapped his arms around Thranduil’s shoulders. He had begun to realize that his touches and embraces were welcomed by his friends, but he still felt hesitant reaching out in this way to any other than Glorfindel.
Thranduil carefully returned the embrace, as Erestor trembled against him. “You have come such a long way, Erestor. You have made me proud.”
Pulling back just enough to look at Thranduil, Erestor raised an eyebrow. The blond was still holding him close, and the expression in Thranduil’s eyes was reassuring. Now that Erestor was letting his guard down, he found it easier to welcome a friend’s touch. “Proud?”
Thranduil smiled warmly before addressing his former protégé. “I already felt as protective as a father when it came down to you, Erestor, but now I feel as proud as a father would of his son.”
Erestor blushed fiercely. He should have known Thranduil would say something like that. “But I am not your son.”
Thranduil’s features contorted in displeasure. “Why do you say that?”
“It is the truth,” replied Erestor, averting his eyes. Suddenly the loose embrace was becoming awkward, but Thranduil refused to release him.
Choosing his words carefully, Thranduil said, “I would be honored if you looked upon me as your father.” Eridhren had been a pitiful excuse for a parent and Thranduil wanted Erestor to know that he did have a family if he wanted one. “My wife greatly cared about you and we even tried to convince your father to let us raise you. If he had agreed, you would have grown up as my son.”
Elrohir beamed at hearing Thranduil’s words and gently poked Erestor’s side. “Do it,” he whispered impatiently. Whenever Legolas mentioned Thranduil, it was with much love and admiration in his voice. Thranduil made an excellent father and Elrohir strongly suspected his former tutor did need someone in his life to fulfill that parental role.
Erestor’s blush deepened. “I am not worthy of such an honor.”
“Ah, but you are!” Thranduil pulled Erestor close, hugged him tight and planted a chaste kiss on the younger Elf’s hair. “You are one of the kindest souls I have ever met… my son.”
Hearing those last two words brought tears to Erestor’s eyes. Eridhren had never called him his son and never had there been a kind and gently tone to his father’s voice. Feeling emotional, he briefly rested his head on Thranduil’s shoulder, relishing the feel of the powerful arms around him. A few weeks ago, being held like that would have truly upset him. “Diola lle, Adar.”
Thranduil’s eyes radiated pride, hearing Erestor thank him and call him father. Looking past Erestor, his gaze locked with Elrohir, who was smiling warmly.
“Come, Erestor, it is time to go to the Halls of Fire. Glorfindel will be waiting impatiently,” said Elrohir, when Erestor finally stepped away from Thranduil, breaking the embrace. “It is time to speak the vows and to become one soul.”
Glorfindel nervously looked at Elrond. “Would you mind checking on them? What can possibly be keeping them?” Flanked by Elrond, Elladan and Legolas, he stood in the Hall of Fire, impatiently waiting for Erestor to arrive.
“He is not late –yet-,” said Elrond amused. “Do not worry, meldir. Erestor will be on time.” This was a joyous day indeed. Finally two souls would become one and he was happy that Erestor and Glorfindel would live their lives united in love and understanding.
Glorfindel looked over at Elladan and whispered, “Are you sure you have the ring? You did not lose it?”
Elladan, grinning at the blond’s nervousness, showed him the box, which held the ring Glorfindel intended for Erestor. “It is safe and sound.”
Glorfindel shuffled his feet, wishing Erestor would hurry. His heart ached now that the other half of his soul wasn’t near. He hadn’t thought it possible, but being apart from Erestor hurt physically. The next time he was sent on a mission or patrol he either had to take Erestor with him –which wasn’t really an option - or suffer heartbreak, being away from his dark-haired lover. Sighing deeply, his gaze shifted to the doorway, hoping Erestor would appear there any moment now.
Elrond placed his hand on the blond’s arm in an effort to reassure Glorfindel. “Thranduil and Elrohir are with him. They will make sure Erestor gets here.”
“What if he has had second thoughts?” Glorfindel frowned, feeling miserable. “What if he realizes…”
“Look,” whispered Legolas into Glorfindel’s ear. “They have arrived.”
The worry faded from Glorfindel’s mind, seeing his lover wearing the circlet and the mauve robes that he loved to see him in. “Erestor…” He nearly broke out into a run, wanting to wrap his arms around his lover, but Elrond’s hand, resting on his arm kept him in place.
Erestor now began to blush. Elrohir and Thranduil had reassured him that Glorfindel hadn’t changed his mind and now that the blond was waiting for him, he felt incredibly relieved. Glorfindel still wanted him! Swaying momentarily, he felt Thranduil rest a hand against the small of his back for support. He gave the elder Elf a thankful look and then came to a halt next to Glorfindel, who immediately offered him his hand. Erestor curled his fingers possessively around Glorfindel’s and their gazes entwined.
Thranduil and Elrohir remained standing behind Erestor, just in case their charge needed their support. The Sinda Elf smiled at Elrond, exchanging a pleased look with his lover.
Elrohir’s eyes were drawn to Legolas, who soundlessly moved toward him to stand at his side, slipping his hand into the half-Elf’s.
Elrond cleared his throat, trying to gain the couple’s attention. “Erestor? Glorfindel?” Required to remain serious, he chuckled privately, whilst keeping a straight face. The two Elves had a hard time tearing their gazes away from another to look at him.
Erestor forced his eyes away from Glorfindel and stared at Elrond. He was constantly repeating his vows mentally, afraid he would forget the words when the moment came to speak them.
Glorfindel continued to stare at Erestor. He should be focusing on Elrond as well, but he was relieved that Erestor hadn’t changed his mind and still wanted to take the vows. Erestor had never looked more attractive to him; the circlet and golden beads already told everyone who wanted to know that Erestor was his, and he cherished the fact that his lover had been willing to wear them for him tonight. Ignoring Elrond, he whispered, “You look beautiful tonight, nîn amdir.”
Erestor radiated warmth and affection. He gently rubbed his lover’s knuckles and briefly brought Glorfindel’s hand to his lips, bestowing a kiss on the back. “You are a vision too, nîn faer.” Glorfindel had dressed in mint robes and wore a dark green cloak, which brought out the golden glow to his hair. “I love you…”
Elrond cleared his throat again, this time giving them a stern look. “I would like to start now.”
Glorfindel chuckled softly and gave Erestor an apologetic look. “Later,” he said, hinting at the upcoming night, which most certainly would be filled with passionate lovemaking. To his delight, Erestor squirmed next to him, already craving that intimacy.
Elrond raised an eyebrow, hoping they would finally let him proceed. Taking Glorfindel’s nod as his cue, he said, “The Hall of Fire is always warm, always bright, and when I look upon the two of you, I see warmth and fire in your gazes and touches. A fiery love binds the two of you, which started as a fragile spark - which could have easily been smothered by the past. But instead it grew stronger and blazed radiantly.”
Erestor’s gaze met Glorfindel’s again and their fingers remained tightly entwined.
Elrond continued, realizing he wouldn’t have their full attention during this ceremony. They were too focused on one another… and wasn’t that the way it should be? “Both of you prepared vows. Who wants to speak them first?”
Erestor nodded quickly, still scared he might forget the words. “May I go first?”
Glorfindel smiled indulgently. “Of course.”
Erestor swallowed past the lump that had formed in his throat. “Glorfindel, I thought long and hard about what to say, and always the same words tumbled from my lips. I love you, I love you, I love you. I have loved you since you arrived in Imladris, but I hid my feelings. I was so certain that you would reject me and hurt me that I never dared to let my feelings show.”
“Aiya, nîn ind,” whispered Glorfindel, rubbing Erestor’s fingers.
“Please let me continue.” Erestor drew in a deep breath. “But now that I do have you, I vow to love you, protect you and make you happy. When you are sad, I will cheer you up. When you are troubled, I will listen to you. When you are happy, I will laugh with you. I want to be there for you as long as you will live. I will never stop loving you.”
Glorfindel’s eyes were swimming and he longed to wrap his arms around Erestor, but he couldn’t, not yet. He had to wait until the ceremony had been completed. In the mean time, he settled for running his fingertips over the palm of Erestor’s hands.
“The ring…” whispered Thranduil, when Erestor continued to stare at Glorfindel.
Thranduil’s voice broke Erestor from his reverie. He regretted letting go of Glorfindel’s hands for the briefest of moments, but he had to, opening the box and removing the ring from it.
Glorfindel’s heart missed a beat when Erestor slipped the ring around his finger.
“I want you to have this ring because it symbolizes my love for you.” It was a stunning gold ring in the shape of a heart, and in its center sat a ruby, sparkling with a fiery glow. “You have captured my heart, and it now beats only for you,” finished Erestor shyly.
“Oh, Erestor…” Glorfindel was unable to keep his distance any longer and folded his arms around his dark-haired lover, pulling him close and deeply inhaling his scent. “My heart beats in the same rhythm as yours, nîn ind. It always will… until it stops beating all together.”
Erestor breathed a relieved sigh, realizing Glorfindel liked his gift. “And so will mine…”
Elrond sighed dramatically, wondering why they had asked him to be master of the ceremony. He had the distinct impression that they didn’t need one. “Glorfindel, are you ready to say your vows?”
Glorfindel nodded eagerly. He reluctantly released Erestor from the hug, but gathered his lover’s hands close to his own chest, holding them there. “Erestor, a few months ago I found love where I least expected it. For centuries I allowed you to keep me at a distance when I should have been trying to look behind your mask of indifference. And when I finally did, I looked at the face of love instead. Erestor, you are my life. I will always love and cherish you -- protect you if necessary and my heart will always, -always- be yours to command. You are my life, nîn ind.”
Elladan stepped forward and handed him the jewelry box, which Glorfindel quickly opened.
Erestor’s eyes widened, when Glorfindel slipped the ring onto his finger. It was a beautiful golden ring, adorned with a golden flower and leaves, set with emeralds.
Seeing the expression in Erestor’s eyes, Glorfindel explained, “Imladris’ finest goldsmith worked on it day and night. I want you to wear the golden flower of Gondolin, nîn ind.”
Struck speechless, Erestor flung himself at Glorfindel and kissed him, hard, on his lips.
Elrond chuckled and met Thranduil’s pleased gaze. “May Elbereth bless your love and keep you safe.” Actually, he wondered if Erestor and Glorfindel had heard him at all, as they were kissing one another passionately.
Elrohir sighed blissfully, and squeezed Legolas’ hand, which rested in his. Looking at his new lover, he wondered if Legolas also wanted to kiss him. They hadn’t kissed yet, preferring to let everything happen in its natural pace. Suddenly Elladan poked him in his side.
“What are you waiting for? Kiss him!” Elladan grinned, wickedly, seeing his twin shuffle his feet.
Moving closer, Elrohir rested his hand at the nape of the blond’s neck, and then placed a gentle kiss on Legolas’ lips.
Legolas eagerly accepted and answered the kiss, pulling Elrohir even closer. Once his lips were released he looked dotingly at Elrohir; there was no need for words. Both knew their love would prosper in time.
Thranduil, who had walked up behind Elrond, wrapped his arms around the half-Elf’s waist and pressed him close.
Erestor and Glorfindel had to break the kiss, growing breathless, and they looked apologetically at Elrond. In the end, Erestor said, “Thank you for everything, Elrond. I do not know what would have happened if you had not given me sanctuary all these centuries ago…” His voice trailed off, unable to finish.
Glorfindel hugged him tight, disliking the saddened tone to his mate’s voice. “But all is well now. You had to travel a long and weary road, but it led you here, right into my arms. And you feel so right in them.”
Erestor gave Glorfindel a warm smile. “Aye, it feels right being in them.”
Glorfindel nuzzled the back of his mate’s neck. Yes, it was true; the mask of indifference was gone and what shone from Erestor’s face was love. Pure love.
Burying Erestor in a tight embrace, he entwined their fingers and rested them against his chest, just above his heart. Elbereth had truly blessed them and he would love Erestor until the End of Days.
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