Authors Note: This story will be completely Alternate Universe and I won't follow Tolkien's writings when dealing with reincarnation!
Erestor immediately looked at the door when it opened. Upon seeing Elrond, he signaled for the half-Elf to approach.
Guilt was written all over Elrond’s face and his head was slightly bowed when he came to a stop in front of the bed. Tentatively, he looked at the blond Elf, still naked, tangled safely in Erestor’s arms. “How does he fare?” He regretted reacting that harshly last night and was grateful that Erestor had taken pity on the Elf.
“He is still cold. And he is scared.” Erestor studied Elrond closely. “You should be the one holding and comforting him. What made you challenge the Valar? Did you lose your mind?” No one else would ever dare address Elrond like this, but their long friendship made him feel entitled to it.
“I needed a moment to calm down,” said Elrond, shamefaced. “Now I must find a way to send him back to Mandos.”
Erestor frowned, worried. “Send him back? Why would you do that?”
“He is dead, Erestor. He does not belong here.”
Erestor wanted to protest once more, but at exactly that moment the sapphire eyes filled with life. “Glorfindel is waking up.”
“Glorfindel?” repeated Elrond in amusement. He would never understand why anyone would name a child after one of their greatest warriors. Those names should be revered, not used idly.
Erestor ignored Elrond’s mocking tone and looked into the blond’s eyes instead, immediately picking up on the anguish and confusion. “Do you remember me? I am Erestor and you are in Imladris.”
Glorfindel stared at the dark haired Elf, trying to deal with the fact that he was no longer in Mandos. He could barely believe that the cold had receded and that he was able to communicate again. Lost for words, he stared pleadingly at Erestor. Then his stomach growled hungrily, causing his eyes to widen in surprise.
“My, you are hungry,” said Erestor in a warm tone. “I will get you something to eat.” When he tried to disentangle himself from Glorfindel, the blond refused to let go. “You are not alone, Glorfindel. Elrond is here to talk to you and the two of you should have some privacy.”
Surprised, Elrond noticed the shock that appeared in the blue eyes at hearing his name. Suddenly the sparkling orbs were aimed at him, making him feel slightly nervous. “Erestor is right. We need to talk.”
Glorfindel tensed up in his arms and Erestor regretted leaving the blond behind. He wished he could remain present, but the look in Elrond’s eyes told him the half-Elf wanted some privacy. “Do not worry. I will return shortly,” said Erestor, trying to soothe Glorfindel. The blond finally released him and he slowly rose to his feet. Passing by Elrond, he shot the half-Elf a venomous glare.
Elrond averted his eyes, knowing he deserved to feel his friend’s wrath; he had misbehaved last night. Now that Erestor had left the room, Elrond pulled up a chair and seated himself, observing the blond.
Glorfindel, feeling trapped, pulled the blanket up to his shoulders. Why was he naked beneath the covers? Had he arrived in Arda like that? Glancing at Elrond, he realized that this was the one who had brought him back. What was he supposed to do? Thank him? He decided to remain quiet. He would let Elrond take the initiative.
“My name is Elrond Half-Elven and I never intended to take you back to Arda with me. It was a mistake which I intend to render.”
Elrond’s words sent shivers down his spine and Glorfindel wrapped the blanket more tightly around his frame. Forcing himself to listen, he stared helplessly at Elrond.
“I traveled to Mandos to reclaim Gil-galad, but instead you appeared on the floor of my study.” Elrond glared at the blond. “Did you trick me?”
Glorfindel’s eyes widened. Trick him? How could he possibly have tricked him? He shook his head, not trusting his voice to sound steady. No, he hadn’t tricked Elrond! He hadn’t even known what was happening at the time!
“I wish I could believe you,” said Elrond in a distant tone, “but I cannot. I called out for Gil-galad and yet you came to me.”
Glorfindel now frantically shook his head. His eyes dashed wildly and his fingers clawed the blanket. “Did… not… know!” He had been wandering aimlessly, hoping against all odds that his torment would end, that the Valar would relent and have mercy on him, let him communicate with the others! “Did… not… trick you!” Shivers once more racked his body and his teeth chattered madly, as the memories of Mandos became stronger. “Please… do not… send me… back!” If his body had obeyed, he would have fallen onto his knees in front of Elrond, begging the Elf to have mercy on him. He had finally escaped that cold, the solitude, and he would do anything to make Elrond let him stay!
Elrond couldn’t help become worried at seeing the panic in those midnight blue eyes. The blond was shaking himself to pieces! He had thought he would enjoy frightening the Elf, but was stunned to find he was growing extremely worried instead. “Calm yourself.” He leaned in closer and raised an eyebrow at seeing Glorfindel crawl away from him. The blond’s back hit the headboard of the bed, forcing him to stop moving.
Squirming, Glorfindel raised his hands pleadingly. “Will do… anything… if you… let me… stay.”
Elrond marveled at Glorfindel’s panic. “Why are you so determined to not return to Mandos?”
Glorfindel sighed, distressed. Once Elrond learned about his punishment, the Lord of Imladris would make haste to send him back. “Cold… Cold and lonely.”
The words nearly caused Elrond’s heart to stop beating. Cold and lonely. That was how he had felt since Celebrian had left. “What is Mandos like?”
Glorfindel averted his eyes. “Terrible.” He didn’t want to remember the Halls of Waiting. “What… must I do… for you… to let me stay?”
Elrond sensed the fear and panic that kept Glorfindel from meeting his gaze. The blond was terrified of being sent back to Mandos. “How did you die?”
The brutal question took Glorfindel by surprise and his eyes closed, recalling his death. “I was consumed… by fire.” The Balrog had lashed out at him when it was dying and had engulfed him in scorching flame. Why did Elrond want to know?
Elrond realized how blunt his question had been and apologized. “I regret putting it like that. I did not mean to bring back painful memories.” Elrond rose from his chair and slowly sat down on the bed. Glorfindel instantly moved farther away from him and Elrond honestly regretted the way he had acted last night. “I am a healer. Maybe I can help?”
“A healer?” Glorfindel didn’t feel comfortable at having Elrond this close. The Elf somewhat intimidated him. Elrond had to be powerful to challenge the Valar like that!
“Aye, a healer.” Elrond’s eyes narrowed. “Why are you constantly shivering?”
Glorfindel pulled away when Elrond tried to reach for his arm. Erestor’s touch had been warm and friendly, but he wasn’t so sure about Elrond. Something in those piercing eyes made him shake even more violently.
Elrond suddenly noticed Glorfindel’s discomfort; his fear of him. He regretted implying that Glorfindel had tricked him and realized he owed the blond another apology. “I had no reason to threaten you. Be assured that I won’t send you back.”
It took a while for the words to sink in, but when they did, Glorfindel seemed to collapse into himself. Only now did Elrond understand just how afraid the blond had been. “You can stay.”
Glorfindel fumbled with a corner of the blanket, staring at Elrond in disbelief. “Are you… serious? Can I… trust you to keep… your word? What if… you change your… mind?”
Elrond managed to claim Glorfindel’s hand and almost cringed at feeling the frozen skin beneath his fingertips. “I brought you back; you are my responsibility. I won’t send you back against your will. It is the least I can do.” He rubbed the cold skin and saw the exact moment when the blond realized he was holding his hand.
Glorfindel considered pulling back, but then this unbelievably pleasurable warmth seeped into his body. He sighed blissfully, and tears flowed from behind closed eyelids. “By Elbereth… more… please!”
A puzzled smile appeared on Elrond’s face and he found himself unable to deny the blond. Sending more of his healing energy into his fingertips, he watched as a warm blush spread over Glorfindel’s face, throat and arms. Shifting a little closer, he pushed one arm beneath the blond’s shoulders and encouraged him to lean against him. Glorfindel tensed, but allowed him to maneuver him into the desired position.
He had no idea what Elrond was doing, but his skin now tingled with heat. Involuntarily, not aware of what he was actually doing, he wrapped his arms around Elrond, trying to soak up as much heat as he possibly could.
The healer in him was pleased when Glorfindel finally relaxed against him. “Be at ease. You are among friends.” During the night his wrath had lessened, and he was almost ready to admit his failure. Almost, but not yet. Whilst warming Glorfindel’s ice-cold body, he whispered, “Did you ever speak to Gil-galad during your stay at Mandos?”
The question made Glorfindel’s shivers return and Elrond frowned at feeling them.
“I was not allowed to speak… to anyone.” Glorfindel simply couldn’t lie to Elrond, not when the dark haired Elf was sharing this incredible heat with him.
“Why was that?” Elrond’s frown deepened. Why would the Valar forbid Glorfindel to speak with the other souls?
“I was punished…”
“Punished?” Elrond pulled back, and made eye contact with Glorfindel. “What terrible deed did you commit in your life?”
“I was arrogant.”
“Arrogant?” Elrond shook his head in disbelief. “The Valar punished you for being arrogant?”
“I was a warrior once…” whispered Glorfindel, lured into trusting Elrond by this warmth that now seeped into every pore of his body. “I took too much pride… in slaying my enemies.”
Now it was Elrond’s turn to grow tense. /I knew it! The Valar played this trick on me! They punished Glorfindel for his arrogance and why not do the same thing to me? I was beyond arrogant for challenging them like that! They would think this a fitting punishment for me!/
Glorfindel’s body sagged against his and Elrond slowly lowered the blond back onto the bed. “I exhausted you,” said Elrond, thoughtfully. “You should rest now.” Glorfindel’s eyes were vacant, telling him a healing sleep had set in.
“I see you changed your mind?” said Erestor sharply, entering his rooms. He carried a tray filled with bread, cheese, dried meats, fruits and tea. “I recall you telling me that you did not want him close, that he tricked you, and now you are using your healing powers on him?”
Elrond drew in a deep breath. “Erestor, I am sorry for—“
Erestor cut him short. “I know you, Elrond. Once you calm down you always regret your actions, but you need to control your temper. You have the power to hurt people and you should act with more tact.”
Elrond nodded once. “You know me so well.”
“I have known you for several thousand years, Elrond.” Erestor had reached the bed and brushed some locks that had fallen into Glorfindel’s face behind pointed ears. “Did you mean it when you told him he could stay?”
“I did. I was wrong to judge him without knowing him. I was angry and my fury clouded my judgment.”
“And now you are calm again?” Erestor poured them some tea and handed Elrond a cup filled with the steamy hot herbal liquid.
“I am calm, and I regret my past actions. I should never have tried to reclaim Gil-galad, but I was so lonely.” Elrond made his last admission softly, after ensuring Glorfindel was still asleep. “I miss Celebrian so much.”
“Aiya, mellon-nîn,” whispered Erestor in a compassionate tone. “You are most unfortunate to have lost two lovers in your life.” He sat down and claimed his friend’s hands. “You have your children and you have me. You still have a family.”
“But not a mate.” Elrond, finally allowing his misery to show, looked pleadingly at Erestor. “Why could I not succeed? All I wanted was Gil-galad.”
“And the Valar gave you Glorfindel instead.”
Elrond’s eyes darkened. “What are you implying?”
“For someone as wise as you are, you can be remarkably slow at times. It is obvious that Glorfindel has nothing to do with this. Someone else sent him back. Now why would the Valar do that?”
“I do not know,” admitted Elrond, confused.
Erestor judged the time not yet ready to share his thoughts with Elrond and told his friend to sip his tea. “I assume you will take Glorfindel to your rooms?”
Elrond nodded, tiredly. “I will look after him, as I should have from the start. I should never have let my temper get the better of me.”
Erestor placed a hand on Elrond’s shoulder and squeezed gently. “You have a good heart, Elrond, but no one can enter when you keep it locked. After Celebrian left, you locked us all out. Elrohir and Elladan tried to get through to you and so did Arwen, but you continued to reject them. Arwen could no longer see you suffer and is now at Lothlorien, where Galadriel hopefully can console her, but the twins are still suffering. They miss you. They miss the close bond the three of you used to have.”
Elrond’s eyes were filling with tears, realizing how much he had made his loved ones suffer. “I will talk to them.”
“Do that.” Erestor rose from the chair and stared at the blond Elf asleep in his bed. “His skin no longer possesses that ghastly pale color. Your healing powers helped.”
“I will tend to him later. First I want to talk to my sons.” Elrond shakily got to his feet. “I cannot believe the mess I made.”
“You were hurting,” said Erestor, understanding Elrond’s motives for acting the way he had. “But now you must set everything straight, and your first concern must be Glorfindel.”
“I will make sure he recovers. Maybe we can find him some rooms? And he mentioned he was a warrior once. We always need new guards to join the patrols.”
“You can worry about that later. First he needs to recover. When I talked to him his speech was awfully slurred, but he seems to be improving.” Erestor was quickly developing a soft spot for the blond. “If you need someone to sit with him, let me know.”
“Thank you,” said Elrond sincerely. “Thank you for setting me straight. Not many dare to put me in my place.”
“Isn’t that what friends are for?” Erestor smiled warmly. “We don’t you seek out the twins and I will make sure Glorfindel is settled comfortably in your rooms and eats?”
Elrond nodded once. “I hope they will forgive me for being this distant lately.”
Erestor waited for Elrond to reach the doorway and then said, “Don’t forget to tell them about Glorfindel. My heart tells me he will need friends and Elladan and Elrohir could take him under their wings.”
“I will inform them, though I am not looking forward to telling them that it was I who brought him here, and then turned my back on him.”
“They do not need to know the whole truth,” said Erestor, “Tell them a distant relative has arrived in a bad shape and that he needs to regain his strength. Knowing the twins, they will offer to help.”
“There is a reason why I made you my chief advisor. You are wise and cunning.”
Erestor gracefully accepted the compliment with a single nod. “I know.”
Elladan stared listlessly out of the window. Rain was pouring down from the heavens and had quenched his desire to go hunting today. Turning around, he looked at his twin, who was on the bed, reading. “I am bored,” admitted Elladan. Usually they would spend time with their father during this time of the day, but Elrond no longer wanted them around.
Elrohir placed the book aside and signaled for his brother to walk up to the bed and sit down. “We must be patient, Elladan. Ada is grieving. I never thought someone could hurt that badly, but every time I look into Ada’s eyes I see a pain I cannot comprehend. He wants to be alone.”
“I miss him,” admitted Elladan in a broken tone. “First Nana leaves, then Arwen goes to ‘Lorien and now Ada shuts us out. I would not know what to do if it was not for you.” Elrohir opened his arms and Elladan flung himself at his twin.
Elrohir hugged his twin tightly, feeling the same emotional pain. Now that their mother was gone, they needed their father close. “Ada will come around eventually. You know what he is like.” Seeing tears drip from Elladan’s chin caused his heart to ache. “And you still have me.”
The twins stared at each other in shock, recognizing their father’s voice. “Ada?” said Elladan, “What are you doing here?” He freed himself of his brother’s embrace and hurried over to the doorway. Opening the door, he looked at Elrond with badly disguised hope in his eyes. His arms were still open, from when he had been holding Elrohir and he took a step closer to his father, mutely begging to be held.
Elrond cringed at seeing the lost expression on his eldest son’s face. “Elladan, what have I done?” Opening his arms as well, he caught Elladan in them and hugged his son tightly. “Please forgive me.”
Elrohir jumped up from the bed and hurried to join them, staring at their father in disbelief. Elrond had been so distant and now he was here, hugging Elladan?
“Elrohir.” Elrond reached out for his youngest and wrapped an arm around his waist, pulling him close. Finally reunited, father and sons wept hot tears. It wasn’t long before they went down onto their knees, but still the hug remained intact. “I love you, my sons. I am so sorry that I locked you out, but I was hurting and I did not know how to share my grief with you. I wanted to keep you at a distance, protect you from my grief and anger. I pushed you out of my life. Please forgive an old fool.”
Elrohir released a strangled whimper, and pressed a kiss on his father’s hair. “We were so worried about you, Ada. It did not matter how we tried, we could not get through to you. We were afraid of losing you.”
Elrond nodded once, and then pulled back slightly so he could look at his sons. “It stops here and now. I won’t lock you out any longer.”
Elladan was happy to hear that, but couldn’t help but wonder. “What brought on this change?”
Elrond sighed deeply and signaled for his sons to seat themselves. They sat down on the bed and Elrond pulled up a chair. “Consumed and controlled by my grief, I tried to reclaim Gil-galad. I called out to Mandos.”
Elladan nodded, shakily. Their father had told them about his first love, and they had never judged him for being in love with a man. “What happened?”
“The Valar denied me. I should have known better than to try, but I was not thinking rationally.” Elrond rested a hand on Elrohir’s shoulder and took Elladan’s hand in his, making sure the three of them were connected. “I did bring someone back from the Halls of Waiting, but it was not Gil-galad.”
“You brought someone back from Mandos?” Elladan’s eyes had widened in shock. “One of the dead?”
Elrond nodded slowly. “Apparently his name is Glorfindel and—“
Elrohir interrupted him. “Glorfindel of Gondolin? The Balrog slayer? Ada, you regaled us with tales of his deeds when we were little!”
Elrond hated to set them straight. “Elrohir, he is not that Glorfindel. He just carries the same name.”
Elrohir’s enthusiasm faded slightly. “What will you do next, Ada? Will you let him stay or send him back?”
“I told him he could stay. He was terrified of returning to Mandos and I must say I cannot blame him. During my short stay there, the cold invaded my being as well.”
“The cold?” Elladan frowned. “I thought Mandos was a perfect resting place.”
“It is not perfect,” said Elrond, thoughtfully, “but I suggest you talk to him yourself. He will need some friends.”
“Of course we will talk to him,” said Elrohir in a compassionate tone. “Just let us know how we can help.”
“I will,” said Elrond, smiling warmly at his sons. “I am glad we talked. I had no idea how much I had alienated you.”
The twins moved closer and hugged him again. “We will always love you, Ada,” whispered Elladan.
“And I will always love you.”
Erestor contently looked about. Glorfindel had remained asleep during their trip to Elrond’s private chambers and the blond was now softly snoring in the half-Elf’s bed. “But you still need to eat something,” said Erestor in a thoughtful tone. “I will leave it to Elrond to wake and feed you.”
After walking over to the bed, he pulled up the satin sheets and covered Glorfindel with them. Although the shivers had lessened, they still remained. The blond’s face was relaxed in sleep, but one fist rested close to his head, telling Erestor Glorfindel didn’t feel at peace completely.
“And the Valar sent you back instead of Gil-galad.” Erestor studied the handsome face. “I think I know why, but only time will tell if I am right.” Erestor walked over to the doorway and closed the door behind him. “I am certain the Valar sent you here for a reason. Maybe they hope you possess the key to unlock Elrond’s heart.”
Beta read by Ilye, thanks!
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