Glorfindel's Darkest Hour
Chapter 13 - Secrets
Haldir slowly returned to awareness. His whole body felt comfortably warm and a pleasant tingling moved down his leg. The pain, which had become familiar during these last few days, was gone now. Looking about, he caught sight of the young half-Elf sitting next to his bed. After a moment’s thought, he recalled the name. "Elladan?"
Elladan looked up from the book he had been reading and smiled. "Ah, so you decided to wake up again?"
"How long… have I… been asleep?" Cautiously, Haldir pushed himself into an upright position. The lack of pain puzzled him, but then he saw the new bandages and sachets filled with herbs that showed beneath the cloth.
"A few hours," said Elladan, shrugging his shoulders. "My father removed a remnant from the arrowhead that still penetrated your flesh and the herbs pulled the poison from your body."
"Will I… recover?" Haldir had finally made himself comfortable, but he instinctively tried to move as little as possible, as he didn’t want to wake the pain that slumbered in his leg.
Elladan nodded once. "My father thinks you will make a full recovery and he is seldom wrong."
"Then I should thank him for tending to my injury." Haldir sighed, relieved that his body felt relaxed.
"You can do that when he wakes up. He is currently asleep in the next room." Seeing Haldir’s puzzlement, he explained, "He has been busy these last few days."
It wasn’t his place to question the young half-Elf and Haldir remained quiet, brooding. He hadn’t dared to hope that Elrond would be able to heal his injury, but now it looked like he would recover after all. Hopefully he would get his chance to properly thank the healer later.
A servant entered, carrying a tray filled with food items and hot tea. Elladan signaled for her to take the tray to the bed. "Please eat whilst I check on my father."
Haldir mumbled a ‘thank you’ and then proceeded to drink some of the tea. He ate several pieces of fruits, before eating the bread and cheese. Until now he hadn’t realized just how hungry he was!
Elladan stepped into the next room, walked over to the bed and sat down on the side. "Ada?" Elrond might be hungry as well. When the blue-grey eyes opened, Elladan searched them. He was relieved to see that some of the dark circles beneath his father’s eyes had faded.
Elrond smiled, still feeling sleepy. At first he wondered where he was. This weren’t his quarters, but then he recalled Haldir’s arrival. "How is he?"
Elladan understood at once. "He seems better, Ada. He is eating dinner right now."
Elrond felt relieved at that. "Is he displaying any signs of a fever?"
"Nay," replied Elladan pleased. "Removing that tiny shard might have been the key to his recovery."
"Good, I will check on him and then I will return to my rooms. I need to bathe and to change into a new set of clothes." Elrond pushed himself into a sitting position and then got to his feet. After straightening out his robes, he followed Elladan into the adjoining room.
Once more, he was stunned, seeing the silver-haired Elf’s beauty. Now that the hazel eyes were free of pain, they sparkled brightly. The life energy was strong in this one and so was his healing ability. Elrond remained standing in front of the bed, carefully hiding the attraction he felt toward Haldir. "My son tells me you are feeling better?"
"I do feel better. Thank you for your kind care." Haldir bowed his head respectfully. "I am in your debt."
"There is no debt," said Elrond lightly. "But you are far from healed. You will have to stay in bed for a few more days." Elrond regretted that he had to leave, but drawing this out wouldn’t help either. Haldir would stay until his wound had healed and then return to Lothlórien. It was best to ignore this attraction, which could never flourish. /Haldir probably has a mate at home. Someone this beautiful must have a lover./ He didn’t stand a chance anyway. Haldir wouldn’t settle for an old half-Elf like him.
Reminding himself that Haldir was his guest, Elrond inclined his head and said, "Maybe you will be able to join me for dinner before you return to Lothlórien. I would like to know how everyone is doing, especially Galadriel and Arwen."
Haldir nodded, gracefully accepting the invitation. "The last thing I heard was that Arwen is enjoying her stay in the Golden Wood. Galadriel and Arwen often seek out each other’s company. They are well."
Elrond smiled thankfully. "That is good news indeed." He knew he was stalling, but he didn’t want to leave yet. He enjoyed looking at Haldir and talking to him. /I am setting myself up for heartbreak./ And he wasn’t sure he could currently deal with that. It would be best to keep some emotional distance. "The healers will continue to look after you and I will also check on you regularly." /Stalling again!/
Elladan cleared his throat, trying to draw his father’s attention. The tension that had formed between Haldir and Elrond was obvious and made him wonder. "Ada?"
"Ah, I need to go." Reluctantly, Elrond turned around to face Elladan, who signaled for him to follow him into the corridor.
Elladan closed the door behind them and then rested a hand on his father’s shoulder, turning him around. "Ada, what is going on?"
Elrond sighed; why couldn’t he ever hide things from his sons? "It is nothing."
"I do not think so. Something is on your mind, tell me!" He hoped his father would confide in him.
Elrond shook his head. "Really, Elladan, it is nothing." Involuntarily, he looked over his shoulder at the door, wondering if Haldir was asleep again. Now that the poison was losing its hold, a healing sleep would come over the Elf for the next few days.
Elladan’s eyes narrowed. "I really am stupid," he whispered eventually. "It took me long enough to recognize the look in Erestor’s eyes whenever he looks upon Glorfindel. That same look is in your eyes now. Ada, have you fallen for Haldir?" Puzzled, he probed his father’s eyes. Haldir had arrived only yesterday!
Elrond had the grace to blush. "Elladan, I am not comfortable discussing my feelings with you." It was the truth. This attraction was still too new,
The blush and Elrond’s hesitant tone told Elladan all he needed to know. "You are falling in love with him!" For one moment that knowledge confused him, but then a huge smile surfaced on his face. "That is fabulous!"
Elrond cringed, seeing his son’s enthusiasm. "But Elladan—"
"Nay, think about it! You might have lost Glorfindel, but Haldir…" Suddenly his smile faded. "We need to find out if he already has a lover. Oh, I can do that! Leave that up to me!" He was surprised to realize how eager he was to play matchmaker!
Elrond sighed deeply and placed a hand on Elladan’s, which still rested on his shoulder. "You are forgetting something very important. Haldir might not feel the same way about me. Actually, I am quite sure he does not."
"How do you know? Did you ask?" Elladan was shuffling his feet, eager to return to Haldir’s side and talk to the Elf to find out if he was already bound to someone.
"Elladan," said Elrond, smiling weakly. He loved Elladan, but sometimes his son’s perception was black and white. "He is one of the Galadhrim and he will return to the Golden Wood shortly. Why should I pursue this?"
"Because you are in love with him!" A sly grin appeared on Elladan’s face. "And now that Glorfindel is unable to perform his normal duties, we need a seneschal temporarily. Haldir has the necessary experience and skills…" He let his voice fade away, hoping his father understood.
Elrond did understand the hint, but shook his head. With a fond expression on his face, he said, "I know you mean well, but this can only end in tears."
"We will see about that," said Elladan softly, eyes sparkling. Turning around, he opened the door and stepped into Haldir’s room.
Elrond briefly considered stopping him, but he knew his oldest son well enough to know that Elladan would do as he pleased. He could only hope Elladan wouldn’t do too much damage. Slowly, he walked down the corridor, heading for his private rooms.
Haldir had eaten his fill and now watched Elladan enter the room again. The sly grin that seemed glued to the half-Elf’s face surprised him, but he decided not to mention it. He was growing sleepy again and knew better than to fight it. It was his body’s way of telling him a healing sleep was about to set in.
Elladan sat down and busied himself with preparing more of the herbal tea that relieved Haldir’s pain. It would also help him sleep soundly. "You probably miss Lothlórien. I have only been there twice, but the Golden Wood is exceptional in its beauty."
"Aye, it is." Haldir frowned, wondering why Elladan was bringing up Lothlórien.
"Do you have any brothers or sisters?" Elladan handed Haldir a cup of the healing tea and smiled friendly.
Haldir realized Elladan was up to something. He had seen that expression before, usually on Rúmil’s face when his youngest brother wanted a favor from him. "I have two younger brothers, Rúmil and Orophin."
"Oh, you are the eldest then?" Elladan grinned impishly. "They can be trouble, younger brothers."
Haldir nodded and then sipped his tea. What were Elladan’s intentions? He could tell that the half-Elf was steering him in a certain direction. Normally he would call Elladan on it, but he felt too sleepy to make an effort.
"Does your lover not mind having them around? Younger brothers can be a pain."
/My lover?/ Haldir’s brow furrowed. Why did Elladan want to know about his lover? He considered ignoring the question, but he was too curious to see what reaction his answer would draw from the half-Elf. "I am bound to no one."
/Yes!/ Elladan failed to keep the ecstatic grin from his face. Chuckling, he nodded his head once. /Ada, you might have a chance after all./
Haldir, always direct and honest, asked, "Why? Are you interested in me in that way?"
Elladan nearly choked at hearing that question. His eyes widened comically. "Nay, I am not interested in you."
At hearing that answer, Haldir dismissed the notion. Apparently Elladan simply lacked conversational skills. "If you are done interrogating me, I would prefer to go back to sleep."
"But of course!" Elladan decided he liked Haldir; the silver-haired Elf was amusing. "Either my father or I will check on you later tonight."
Haldir nodded once and suddenly a curious thought entered his mind. /What if he is inquiring on behalf of his father? Is Elrond interested in me? Elladan asked me if I have a lover for a reason./ He liked the idea that Elrond might be interested in him, because he had felt the sensual tension between them as well. It had been there from that very first moment.
Elladan watched Haldir’s eyes grow vacant again. He took the now empty cup from Haldir’s fingers and grinned broadly. /Looks like I will be playing matchmaker after all!/
The next morning, Glorfindel awoke to stomach cramps. Feeling nauseous, his features contorted. He had hoped morning sickness wouldn’t hit him, but it had after all. Looking about, he recalled he was in Erestor’s rooms and slowly he entangled himself from the raven-haired Elf’s embrace. He needed to visit the bathroom!
Glorfindel’s moving away from him woke Erestor. Seeing the pained expression in the blond’s eyes, he acted at once. "Tell me what is wrong."
"Bathroom… Now…" Glorfindel quickly covered his mouth with his hand, hoping Erestor would move out of the way.
Erestor did more than that. He slung an arm around Glorfindel’s waist and assisted him when they walked into the bathroom. They had just reached the sink when Glorfindel doubled over, emptying his stomach. Erestor tenderly gathered the flaxen hair in his hand, and continued to support Glorfindel. He quickly reached for a wash cloth, turned on the water and pressed the wet cloth against the blond’s sweaty brow. "Do not fight it, mellon-nîn."
Glorfindel leaned heavily against Erestor, letting his companion support him. He had wrapped one arm around his waist, and the other rested against the wall. When the heaves finally stopped, he bleary-eyed looked at Erestor, grateful that the other Elf was close.
"Rinse your mouth and drink some water," advised Erestor.
Glorfindel cupped some water in his hands and followed Erestor’s suggestion, but he only drank a few sips, uncertain how much his stomach could handle. "I… do not… feel… well."
"That is very understandable. Come, I will help you to get back to the bed." Erestor maintained a tight hold on the blond and helped him to lie down again. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he studied Glorfindel. "You should talk to Elrond. He can tell you what to expect during this pregnancy."
"One thing I am already aware of… Morning sickness," said Glorfindel, trying for a joking tone, but failing. Raising a hand, he massaged his brow. "Would you mind if I go back to sleep?" A headache was building behind his temples. "You do not have to remain close."
Erestor’s heart ached in sympathy, seeing the blond’s misery. "I will stay." Gently, he caught Glorfindel’s hand in his, lowered it and took over massaging the other Elf’s brow and temples. Glorfindel’s sigh pleased him. "Good?"
Glorfindel nodded slightly. "Very good." Erestor’s touch seemed to drive away the headache and he hoped that the raven-haired Elf would continue the massage.
"I will ask Elrond to make time for you this evening, so the two of you can talk." He had recalled Lindir’s words and assumed Elrond was looking after the Galadhrim at the moment. "Try to rest in the meantime. I won’t stray far away from you."
Grateful for his friend’s care and concern, Glorfindel rolled onto his side, curling up into a tight ball. "Don’t stop," he whispered pleadingly, when Erestor withdrew his hand.
Erestor smiled and inched further onto the bed, resting his back against the headboard. Fascinated, he watched as Glorfindel moved closer, resting his head on his thigh. Involuntarily, his hand returned to stroking the smooth skin, hoping his touch would relieve the blond’s pain.
"Do you think I will feel like this every morning for the next weeks?" asked Glorfindel, worried. He still felt queasy, but now that his stomach was empty, it was settling down. Rubbing his abdomen, he flinched, feeling a distinct swelling.
"Maybe for a few days," said Erestor soothingly, but the truth was that he didn’t have a clue. He had never before looked after someone who was pregnant.
Exhausted, Glorfindel sighed. Reaching out, he curled one arm around Erestor’s leg, using the Elf’s thigh as his pillow. With his other hand, he searched for Erestor’s.
Seeing the movement, Erestor gently curled his fingers around the Elda’s, rubbing the skin, whilst he continued to stroke the blond hair as well. "Rest. You must feel drained."
"I…do…" Already surrendering to exhaustion, he fell asleep again.
Erestor couldn’t help being worried. /We will talk to Elrond tonight. We must know what to expect./
/Tonight… Tonight…/ Erestor’s eyes widened. /How could I forget about tonight?/ Looking down at Glorfindel, he felt conflicted. /I cannot stay with you tonight./ It was the one night in which he needed his privacy. /But I can make sure you won’t be alone. I am so sorry, melamin, but I need tonight to remember my lost love…/ He hoped Elrond would be willing to look after Glorfindel this night.
Elrond had been restless all day long, but he had ignored the urge to check on Haldir again. Now that the silver-haired Elf felt better, he didn’t need constant supervision, plus Elladan was already keeping an eye on their patient. Haldir might wonder why Elrond would pay him more attention than a healer normally would, and he didn’t want to arouse Haldir’s curiosity.
During the day he had busied himself by catching up on the paperwork and reading the reports of this week’s patrols. Their borders still weren’t free of Orc activity and he decided to double the number of patrols. This was a moment where he would have appreciated Erestor and Glorfindel’s advice and support, but his two friends were currently unavailable.
In the afternoon, he had eaten a light meal and had then retreated to his rooms. His heart was telling him to check on Haldir, but he decided to keep his distance instead. Now, he tried to concentrate on reading, but his thoughts continued to stray to Haldir. What was it about the other Elf that had instantly attracted him?
Sighing, he gave up, closed the book and put it away. Maybe an early night’s sleep would help. He was about to change into a sleeping robe, when suddenly a knock sounded on his door. /I hope it isn’t Elladan./ He didn’t have the energy to deal with his oldest son right now. But the knock sounded again and he walked over to the doorway to open the door. To his surprise, he found Erestor and Glorfindel in the corridor. "Please, come inside," said Elrond, frowning. What had brought them here?
Erestor remained one step behind Glorfindel and then stood behind the blond, as the Elda sat down near the fireplace.
Elrond could tell they were worried and he quickly joined them, seating himself opposite Glorfindel. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
Glorfindel nodded once. "I need to talk to you about my pregnancy."
That was Erestor’s cue to excuse himself. Gently resting a hand on the blond’s shoulder, he waited for Glorfindel to look at him and then said, "You are in the best of hands. Would you excuse me for a few hours? There is something I need to do."
Glorfindel frowned at the vague explanation, but nodded. "Of course…"
Erestor gave Elrond an apologetic look. He was certain the half-Elf would understand why he needed this night to himself.
Elrond inclined his head and watched Erestor leave. He wondered about the request as well, but dismissed it, seeing the worried expression in Glorfindel’s eyes. "What do you want to know, mellon-nîn?"
"This morning… I felt nauseous."
"Morning sickness. That is quite common." Elrond nodded encouragingly. "It will continue for some time. You might also experience food cravings."
"I hope it does not want raw meat," Glorfindel said, shivering.
"It?" Elrond frowned disapprovingly. "Try not to think of your son in that way."
"I cannot stop myself. I am scared," admitted Glorfindel in a timid tone.
"Give yourself time to get used to this, to accept this," advised Elrond. "You might surprise yourself."
"I do not think so," said Glorfindel, feeling miserable. He doubted he would ever be able to accept this.
Now that the evening had finally come, Erestor slipped into the black leggings and blue shirt that he had removed from his chest. Not bothering to arm himself, he reached beneath the weapons in the chest and withdrew a blue cloak. Made of velvet, it would keep him dry on this rainy night. It was only fitting that the star-speckled heavens released their tears tonight.
After fastening the cloak, he checked if his warrior’s braids were still in place and then headed for the doorway. He closed the door softly behind him and sneaked down the corridor, taking great care in not being seen. Tonight he wanted to vanish and he stole onto the courtyard, keeping close to the shadows of the wall.
But one pair of eyes caught sight of him and followed his form.
"Glorfindel?" Elrond sat near the fire, but hearing the blond gasp in surprise caught his attention. He had hoped that his company would keep the Elda from brooding too much about the child that was growing inside him. "Glorfindel!"
This time Glorfindel looked at Elrond, hearing the half-Elf’s persistent tone. "It is Erestor. He is leaving."
Elrond frowned and then a sigh left his lips. "I should have remembered." Whilst he had been taking care of one friend, he had forgotten about the other. "It is *his* night."
"His night?" Glorfindel’s brow furrowed. "Elrond?" Looking at the half-Elf, he waited for Elrond to join him in front of the window.
Elrond’s eyes found the dark figure and he sighed saddened. "I cannot tell you what Erestor is hiding, -- but he is suffering. I suggest you follow him and find out." He suspected that Erestor wanted to tell Glorfindel about his past lover, but lacked the necessary courage, afraid of the blond’s reaction. "Take my advice, mellon-nîn, go and talk to him."
Glorfindel wasn’t so sure that it would be the best thing to do. "It looks to me like he wants to be alone."
Elrond shook his head, once more blaming himself for ever taking Glorfindel into his bed. /Once I knew Erestor had feelings for you, I should have set the two of you down to talk./ But he had let Erestor dictate their steps and although he knew Erestor’s counsel was wise at times, he also realized that his friend was hiding from himself.
"Trust me in this, Glorfindel." Elrond moved to a closet, removed one of his warmer cloaks and draped it across the blond’s shoulders. "It is raining and you must be careful in your… condition."
Glorfindel flinched. Why did Elrond have to remind him of the evil growing inside his body? "Can’t I stay here instead?"
Elrond shook his head. "Nay, the two of you need to talk. Go to him." He hoped Erestor was ready to lower his walls and let Glorfindel in.
Reluctantly, Glorfindel walked over to the doorway. He looked over his shoulder, his eyes silently begging Elrond to reconsider, but the half-Elf shooed him out of the room. Sighing dejectedly, he stepped into the corridor. Why was Elrond making him do this?
But no, Elrond couldn’t make him do anything. He was giving in himself. Part of him was curious to find out more about his solitary savior and now that Elrond was encouraging him, he decided to take this step and follow Erestor.
Pulling the warm cloak tighter around his frame, he put up the hood and stepped into the rain.
Return to Archive | next | previous