“Good morning.” Elros had woken first that morning and was content to just hold his twin close, occasionally stroking the silken hair. Waking up like this brought back long forgotten memories and he controlled his passion for Elrond rigorously, knowing he couldn’t grow aroused now that his twin was beginning to trust him again.
Smiling, Elrond turned in the embrace until they were face to face. “And a fine morning it is.” He had woken next to Gil-galad and Celebrian in the past, but having Elros close again felt even better. It was probably due to the tight connection they had always shared and which was growing even stronger now. He felt Elros’ contentment, and his twin’s regrets, but he ignored those for now. “I will have to work in my study for a while today,” he started, “but we can spend the rest of the day together.”
“I would like that.” Elros looked deeply into his brother’s eyes and almost tried to kiss his twin’s lips. He caught himself just in time, restraining himself. “Do you want to use the bathroom first?” He had to get Elrond out of bed, or himself, before something happened that would show his attraction. He couldn’t take that risk.
Elrond saw worry in his twin’s eyes and easily figured out why it was there. Why? Because he was feeling something he had never experienced before; an attraction where his twin was concerned. Looking into the stormy gray orbs, he realized he was slowly falling in love with Elros, something he had thought impossible.
When he had lost Elros to mortality, his heart had been broken and now it was finally beginning to mend. /I am not going to lose him again – no matter in what way./ He had often wondered what life would have been like if he had accepted and returned his twin’s love. The Valar had given Elros back to him – for whatever reason – and he was determined to do things differently this time around. “You never answered my question,” he said eventually.
Elros frowned, hoping Elrond wasn’t addressing what he thought was he addressing. “Gwenneth…”
“Elros, I need to know. I need to hear you say it!” Elrond cupped his brother’s cheek in the palm of his hand, gently rubbing the soft skin. “Do you still love me?”
Elros felt trapped; Elrond was close, caressing his skin and there was no escape. His twin wouldn’t allow it. “I told you not to ask me that question again.”
“Stop avoiding answering it. Do you still love me?” Elrond was growing frustrated. He was fairly sure Elros still felt the same way about him, but he needed to hear him say it.
Elros was desperate to stall. “When I admitted my love for you, you reacted with loathing and we grew apart. Now that I am back, I don’t wish to repeat past mistakes. I would rather lie to you or not answer you at all, for I couldn’t bear losing your love over this. I refuse to chase you away again.”
Elrond had his answer, but he still wanted Elros to admit it verbally. “Do you still love me?” Keeping his eyes trained on Elros, he could tell the exact moment his brother gave in.
“Of course I do. Do you really think I could ever stop loving you? You are in my blood, my soul. You are a part of me – the most important part. But I don’t want to lose you over this. I restrained myself in the past whenever we were close – except for giving you that one kiss, which I still regret to this very day. You don’t have to be afraid I will overstep your boundaries ever again. Just don’t turn me away. Please.”
Until now, Elrond had never fully realized how much his rejection had hurt Elros. Tears gathered in his eyes, whilst he gently stroked his brother’s cheek. “I will never turn you away again, and I don’t want you to deny yourself these feelings.”
Elros, extremely confused, blinked. “But…”
“I have changed,” started Elrond thoughtfully. “I am no longer the same person I was when we drifted apart. I have loved – and lost. I now know how rare and precious love is and I want… I want to give us a chance.” Nervously, he moistened his lips, watching Elros’ eyes widen dramatically. “I know this is unexpected, but the truth is that… I am developing similar feelings for you. When I fell in love with Gil-galad and Celebrian, I felt this way, and now it is you I want.”
“Elrond…” Lost for words, Elros tried to make sense of what his twin was telling him. After gathering and sorting out his thoughts, he said, “I don’t know why you are saying these things, but they cannot be true. You rejected my love in the past because you thought it was wrong and I agree with you. We shouldn’t be in love.”
Frowning slightly in consternation, Elrond quickly placed a finger across his twin’s lips to silence him. “I have grown wiser since then. The Valar and our Elven kin may frown upon our love, may even shun us for it, but I don’t care. You are back in my arms and I refuse to let go. You are mine. Mine!” In order to impress upon Elros the sincerity of his words, he removed his finger from his twin’s lips and claimed them in a kiss full of passion and need.
Elros’ eyes widened in surprise. He even tried to pull back, convinced Elrond was going against his own instincts for some reason, but when the tip of a demanding tongue pushed against his teeth, he parted them. Elrond’s tongue entered his mouth, exploring, and Elros lost himself in the sensation, letting the younger half-Elf do as he pleased. A part of him couldn’t believe this was happening, but another part eagerly craved it and wished the kiss would never end.
Growing breathless, Elrond had to release his twin’s now bruised lips. Meeting Elros’ questioning gaze, he smiled brilliantly. His own actions and feelings baffled him, but he was convinced he was doing the right thing. Elros’ lips tasted divine and he wanted to possess them again, but seeing the puzzled expression in the gray eyes he knew more questions were about to follow.
“Why are you doing this?” Elros involuntarily stroked his brother’s back, enjoying holding him this close, but he was afraid that Elrond would unexpectedly jerk away from him and look at him in utter disgust.
“I lost you once, I won’t lose you again.” Elrond gave his twin a long, probing look. “I speak the truth when I say that I am falling in love with you. I would prefer to take this slow and to keep this attraction private, but I definitely want to explore our feelings.”
“I want to believe you,” mumbled Elros, “But I can’t.”
Elrond opted for the only thing that might convince his twin and claimed Elros’ lips again in a slow and passionate kiss, allowing all of his newly awakening feelings to pour forth into it. Pressing the length of his body against Elros’, he was determined to make sure that nothing would ever separate them again. Convincing Elros would take time, but he vowed to succeed.
When Glorfindel returned from the kitchens, he found Erestor struggling futilely to push himself into a sitting position. He could tell by the expression in the chocolate brown eyes that the advisor was growing frustrated with his inability to move about. “Let me help,” he said, placing the tray on the side table and then hurrying over to the bed to assist Erestor. The glare Erestor threw at him stopped him in his tracks, confusing him. He thought they had gained some measure of understanding, now that Erestor had stopped fighting him about everything.
Erestor, seeing Glorfindel halt, realized what he was doing and quickly lowered his eyes, centering himself. It was hard to change his whole demeanor after so many centuries. Once he had composed himself again, he reestablished eye contact with the blond. “I cannot sit upright.”
Realizing Erestor was trying to make up for his previous glare, Glorfindel nodded and sat down on the side of the bed. “Let me do this?”
Erestor nodded once and let Glorfindel maneuver him into a sitting position. He had regained a small amount of control over his hands and feet, but his movements were still awkward and he lacked the ability to control them. Resigning himself to the fact that he couldn’t possibly eat breakfast without the blond’s aid, he forced himself to accept being fussed over.
“Are you comfortable?” Glorfindel had put several pillows against the head end of the bed before settling Erestor against them and now waited for an answer.
“Yes, I am comfortable. Thank you.” He gave Glorfindel a weak smile, reminding himself to act politely and nice. /Did you really forget you rejected me?/ The question continued to haunt him, but he lacked the confidence to confront Glorfindel.
Glorfindel rose from the bed, collected the tray and sat down again, placing the tray on Erestor’s lap. The cook had prepared porridge this morning, and he doubted his charge could feed himself. “Erestor… I…”
“I understand,” said Erestor, sighing, “You may feed me… Just this once though!”
Glorfindel gave the dark-haired Elf a reassuring smile and lifted the first spoonful to Erestor’s lips. His charge ate the porridge obediently and they managed to empty the bowl in a few minutes. “Would you also like some tea?”
Erestor nodded and waited for the blond to place the cup against his lips. Shakily, he tried to raise his right hand, but it fell back onto the bed once it had reached mid-air. Erestor sighed, frustration mounting again.
“You are improving,” offered Glorfindel softly. “Yesterday you couldn’t move at all. You should make a full recovery within the next few days.”
“Did you already tell Elrond that I am unavailable?” Erestor preferred not to address his current state and tried to introduce a new topic.
“I did.” That reminded Glorfindel there was something Erestor should know. “I must also tell you, something unexpected has happened. The Valar returned Elros to us.”
Erestor’s eyes narrowed. “What are you talking about?” Glorfindel forced him to sip more of the tea, which he did and he eagerly waited for the blond to explain this to him.
“I found Elros standing in the study. At first I thought it was Elrond, having lost his mind and pretending to be his twin, but when I went to fetch him, I realized there really were two of them.” Glorfindel put down the now empty cup. “I am happy for Elrond.”
“Are you sure this is no imposter?” Erestor reminded himself that the Valar had also returned Glorfindel to Middle-Earth, so it could have happened again.
“I am certain.” Glorfindel cocked his head, enjoying the relaxed tone of their conversation. “You will instinctively know that it is Elros when you see them together.”
Erestor decided to take Glorfindel’s word for it. It wasn’t like he could confront Elros now that he was confined to bed. “I am happy for Elrond. He has been lonely since Celebrian left for Valinor.”
Glorfindel smiled warmly, slicing an apple into small pieces, which he slowly fed his charge. Privately, he had to compliment Erestor for accepting his help without sneering at him. This had to be hard on the dark-haired Elf.
“You don’t have to sit with me for the entire day,” said Erestor, after eating the last slice of apple. “I know you always have a fairly busy schedule during the day.”
Erestor was right, but Glorfindel still wavered. “I don’t want to leave you alone when you are still this immobile.” His gaze searched the room and Glorfindel reached out with his right hand, wrapping his fingers around the wooden carving that he thought resembled him. “When I first saw these I wondered how they had ended up in your room. They are beautiful.”
Erestor blushed weakly. “Do you really think so?” Only a few Elves knew he was a skilled artist and that he occupied himself during his lonely evenings by carving these.
“Who made them?” Glorfindel placed the wooden carving on the blanket, and then met Erestor’s nervous gaze. /Nervous? Why is he nervous?/
“I did,” admitted Erestor in a reluctant tone, doubting Glorfindel would believe him, but he couldn’t tell the blond lies. “I have been carving them for many centuries. What you see here is only a fraction of what I made.”
Glorfindel’s eyes widened with surprise. “I never knew…”
“It is my only true talent,” Erestor said, smiling weakly. Many Elves at Turgon’s court had asked him to carve representations of their family members, but he had seldom indulged them.
“Your only true talent,” repeated Glorfindel, mystified to why Erestor would say that. “I am sure that…”
Growing uncomfortable discussing this, Erestor said, “You should head for the barracks and instruct our guards. We cannot risk the border patrols to leave late.”
Glorfindel picked up the carving again. “Is it supposed to be me? I think I recognize some of my features.” Why would Erestor immortalize him in wood? The advisor disliked him, didn’t he?
Erestor decided to ignore the question. “Seriously, Glorfindel, the guards are already waiting for you. You should leave.” There was no reason for Glorfindel to find out that he found comfort in looking at his love’s face, even merely carved in ancient wood.
“I cannot leave yet,” said Glorfindel thoughtfully, wondering why Erestor had avoided answered his question. “What if you somehow fall out of bed?” Smiling pleadingly, he hoped Erestor would go along with the teasing.
It took Erestor a moment to realize that Glorfindel was actually joking with him, as he couldn’t remember the blond ever doing that before. “You are right. I will need someone to pick me up and tuck me back in.” Just to confuse Glorfindel a tad more, he said it with a perfectly calm and straight face.
Glorfindel quickly caught on that Erestor was retuning the joke, but it still came unexpected to him. “Very true. We cannot leave you lying on the floor all day long. What would people think if they walked in on you like that?” The grin that surfaced on Erestor’s face was an unexpected but welcome sight and Glorfindel was beginning to thank the Valar for letting him crash into Erestor and knock the Elf off his feet, for the fall was greatly improving their relationship.
“I might be able to help pick him up…”
Erestor and Glorfindel’s heads turned, looking at Elladan who had now appeared in the doorway. “I knocked, but you didn’t hear.” Elladan advanced on them, and he liked what he was seeing. The two Elves seemed to be getting along for the first time since he could remember. “How are you feeling this morning, Erestor?” Signaling for Glorfindel to make way, he sat down on the side of the bed after the blond had vacated the spot.
Erestor met Glorfindel’s gaze. He appreciated the blond’s offer to sit with him, but he also knew Glorfindel was needed elsewhere. “Go. Elladan will make sure that I am comfortable.”
Glorfindel still hesitated to comply. “Are you certain? They can probably manage without me for a few days.”
“No, you need to make sure our borders are safe and now that I cannot assist Elrond you will have to take my place.”
“Aiya, I am not good with paperwork.” Glorfindel’s features contorted dramatically.
“Go, Glorfindel, I will sit with Erestor. And he is right. My father will need you at his side today. He will be rather distracted now that Elros has returned to us.” Elladan checked the range of Erestor’s movement by manipulating the Elf’s arm. “I doubt my father will get any work done and with Erestor confined to bed, all work will come down on you.”
Glorfindel raised his arms in a pleading gesture. “Ai, may the Valar have mercy on me! I am a warrior, not a scribe!” Hearing Erestor chuckle, his eyes sought out dark ones, surprised to hear Erestor laugh. The chief advisor never laughed at things he said! “Are you sure you don’t have a fever? Or are hallucinating?”
Erestor released one last, pleased chuckle, and nodded. “I am fine, Glorfindel. Now go and help Elrond.” Watching the blond leave, he was unable to wipe the smile off his face just yet. He was grinning madly, delighted that Glorfindel seemed to like him after all.
“Elr-rrr…” His younger twin’s name came out as an unintended growl, as Elrond’s lips unexpectedly – and possessively! – claimed his. Wondering why Elrond was acting in such an odd way, Elros tried to free himself of his twin’s embrace, but the other half-Elf wasn’t letting go.
Elrond ignored his twin’s squirming and moved closer, determinedly straddling Elros’ hips and burying his hands in the long, loose mane. An insane urge to make sure his twin stayed close consumed him and feeling Elros move beneath him only made him hungrier for his twin’s touch. Briefly releasing Elros’ lips, he looked possessively at his twin, whose lips were bruised, his dark hair disheveled and with his mouth agape. He had definitely surprised Elros, as had been his intention. “I want you,” growled Elrond, “I need you. You are not leaving me ever again!” Diving in closer, he claimed Elros’ lips again, exploring his twin’s mouth and easily besting his twin’s tongue in a one-sided duel as Elros remained passive beneath him. “Do you hear me? Never, Elros...You are mine!”
Elros was at a loss. Why was Elrond reacting in this way? Now that his brother was staring at him, he managed to whisper, “I won’t leave you, I promise.” Raising a shaky hand, he brushed a wayward lock behind Elrond’s ear. “You don’t have to pretend that you want me in that way to make sure I stay.”
“Pretend?” Elrond frowned, displeased that his twin had reached the wrong conclusion. “I am not pretending. I want you!” His right hand tangled in his twin’s hair, whilst the other slipped beneath the fabric of the tunic, moving down Elros’ side.
Although he had thought it impossible, Elros’ confusion continued to mount. “But… You rejected me!”
“I was a fool back then,” grumbled Elrond, displeased that his twin was bringing this up now, when all he wanted was to kiss him again. Looking deeply into eyes that were identical to his own, he saw the desire in them, but also doubt. Once more he was reminded that they needed time to get reacquainted, time to rebuild the trust. The bond, love, desire and need consumed them both, but Elros was calm and intelligent enough not to act rashly, and for that, Elrond felt grateful. “Gweniaur, I had no idea what I was saying no to. Only *you* have ever truly understood me – loved me the way I craved being loved, but I didn’t understand that at the time. Can you forgive me?”
“There is nothing to forgive,” mumbled Elros absentmindedly, running his fingers down his twin’s long back. Elrond was still straddling him and his body reacted instinctively, growing aroused. “You did what you thought was right. You followed your heart at the time.”
“But now my heart dictates a different course.” Gazing at Elros, he nearly lost himself in the gray sea of his twin’s eyes. “Will you give me a second chance? I want one, but do I even deserve a second chance after what I did to you?”
Elros tenderly caressed his twin’s face, tracing the strong jaw line. “Are you serious? Or are you doing this out of guilt? For if you are acting out of guilt, we will fail.”
“I have felt guilty for so long, gweniaur,” mumbled Elrond sincerely, “It started when you chose mortality. But it ended the moment I held you in my arms again. Although there is still an echo of guilt inside me, it is not directing my actions. As I said earlier, I am falling in love with you, but I won’t force this on you. I need to know if you are willing to take this step and walk this path with me.” Seeing Elros’ wavering expressing, he added, “And I *am* certain. I know what I want, and I want you.”
“In *that* way, gwenneth?” Elros swallowed hard. He had wished for this to happen for so long, but had given up hope after choosing mortality. “Elrond, please be honest with me.”
“Yes, I want you in that way,” said Elrond as firmly as he could muster. “But not yet. I need more time to really understand that you are back in my life. I was thinking that maybe we could explore… slowly.” Elros searched his eyes for a long time and Elrond involuntarily held his breath, realizing his twin was using their bond to establish the sincerity of his words and his motives. Having nothing to hide, he looked deeply into Elros’ eyes, hoping to convince his twin that he was being honest.
“I believe that you think you want this, but you might be acting like this because you are afraid of losing me again.” Elrond wanted to interrupt him, but Elros stopped him with a determined look. “No, hear me. You are overreacting, gwenneth.”
“Can you not give me a single chance to prove my feelings to you?”
Elrond looked truly lost, and seeing his younger twin like that caused Elros’ heart to ache. “How far do you want to take this?”
“Kissing? Caressing?” Elrond grew hopeful again.
“I will agree to the following,” started Elros, “Let us continue the kissing and touching for some time, but we won’t go any further until you are fully convinced that I am not leaving you. Once you feel secure knowing me close – and you still desire to be with me in that way – we will discuss this again.” Disappointment showed on Elrond’s face and Elros moved to caress it away, tenderly touching his twin’s brow. “Your feelings might be temporary, gwenneth. You are afraid you will lose me again.”
“I don’t agree with that,” growled Elrond, growing frustrated now that his twin wasn’t cooperating. “But I will agree to your offer.” At least that way he could continue kissing those luscious lips and feel his twin against him in such an intimate way. “I will prove to you that my feelings are true.”
“I am looking forward to that,” said Elros slowly. “I hope you will succeed. I hope it from the bottom of my heart.”
“I won’t let you down,” vowed Elrond, leaning in closer to claim Elros’ lips again.
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