Gates Of Dawn

BY : Massanie
Category: +Third Age > Threesomes/Moresomes
Dragon prints: 1568
Disclaimer: I do not own Lord of the Rings, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

CHAPTER 9: Mind Me



'Thoughts'; ~visions~; **mind speech**; -l-Letters-l-

Glorfindel casually leaned on the wall at one of the high windows of the healing wing, his tall frame blocking out the red-golden light of the setting sun which fell through a cleft between the heavy drapes and the window frame with one hand as he looked outside, watching the light retreat from the valley in a fading, glorious kaleidoscope of oranges, reds and gold.

He felt calmer now, more peaceful after almost eight hours of watching over his charge, Erestor's deep breathing being like a soothing balm, interrupting and quieting his thoughts whenever he got too lost in contemplation until finally after some hours he came to the conclusion that Elrond *might* be right in saying that his errors were remediable and as such shouldn't impair all of his future dealings with Erestor. Though whatever that would mean in regards to said elf would have to be decided by the advisor himself. He could only offer his friendship once more and if that yielded fruit someday, maybe Elrond, Erestor and Glorfindel could even become something more, if Erestor was at all interested, that is. But right now, that seemed too unlikely a goal to even contemplate for longer than a moment.

Behind him, he heard a slight rustle as Erestor moved in his bed, trying to get comfortable once more. In the past hours he would then release a deep breath, followed by some more noises as the younger elf adjusted his pillow to his liking with small movements of his head. The little routine had raised an affectionate smile from Glorfindel each time he had seen it and once more he turned around just to be a silent witness once more.

But this time the expected movements didn't come. Erestor lay facing him, seemingly relaxed in slumber; his breathing was even and deep, but as Glorfindel watched him, he saw that each time after releasing his breath the young advisor was just a tiny bit quicker to draw it in again, almost as if the intake barely sufficed to sustain him. 'My dear Erestor, are you feigning?' he wondered with no small amount of amusement.

Languidly, Glorfindel strolled over to the resting form on the bed that seemed so much smaller and less imposing with the lack of formal robes. As he came closer, he let his eyes roam over the advisor's elegant features that held a youthfulness and innocence that Erestor otherwise lacked or at least concealed. 'A pity, that!' the captain thought.

As he watched him, Glorfindel could indeed observe the tell-tale signs of feigned sleep: the forced slow breathing, the eyes no longer clouded in a relaxed restive state, the eyelids shivered slightly with the strain of trying to appear totally in reverie, but as Glorfindel stood next to the bed Erester closed his eyes completely.

"Good morning, Erestor. Or good evening, actually." Glorfindel murmured, unable to suppress a smirk as he saw Erestor's chest stop moving for several moments, the advisor holding his breath in surprise and obviously contemplating whether his charade stood any chance if continued.

"You have slept the day away." Glorfindel teased as he strode over to the windows and pulled the curtains open again, letting the soft golden glow of the setting sun fall into the room. He wanted the other to give up his pretence without having to call him up on it. No need to embarrass Erestor further, after all.

It worked at least partly: the black haired elf blinked his dark silver eyes open to glare at him, his cheeks flushing faintly.

Slowly, so as to not scare the skittish elf, Glorfindel returned to the bedside and sat down on the edge of the mattress but nonetheless Erestor scurried to sit up and scrambled backwards a little bit, eying the captain warily.

Forcing a reassuring smile on his face, Glorfindel tried to ignore the hurt he felt at the obvious distrust. "How are you feeling?" He inquired.

"What happened?" Erestor asked in turn, looking aside and completely ignored the Vanya's question. His voice was still a little bit coarse from sleeping but otherwise cool and composed; it was hard to align the broken, sobbing elf from that very morning with the unsmiling, sober advisor now sitting in front of him, Glorfindel thought.

"Don't you remember, Erestor? You had a br…"

"My memory is impeccable as always, lord seneschal! I am aware of what happened this morn and certainly do not need you to remind me." Erestor all but growled, almost successfully glaring holes into the blond captain before he checked himself with a curt grinding of his teeth.

"I merely tried to express my curiosity at the happenings that followed afterwards." He amended somewhat haughtily.

Glorfindel cocked his head and raised a perfectly shaped eyebrow at the other elf's insolence, holding the gaze until Erestor began to blush and looked away. Satisfied, Glorfindel nodded once before he began to relay the day's events to the advisor in brief.

"Not much, really." He said, smiling down at the advisor's still flushed and still averted face. "After bringing you here, Elrond left to have a rather long talk with Gandalf and some of my wayward soldiers… 'twas rather amusing, he reminded me somewhat of a wolf whose pack had been threatened."

Briefly Glorfindel wondered if Erestor would understand what he wanted to convey with his jesting, that no one took any offence at what had happened and that he and Elrond cared deeply for him. As an advisor, he should pick up on the intentions of those he spoke with, but then again, this was not exactly an ordinary situation either and Erestor had never been good at handling more private matters.

"What…" Erestor croaked then halted in mid sentence as he heard his own voice. With his face not betraying any feeling he cleared his throat and licked over his lips before he continued, just like an orator whose voice gave out slightly after talking for too long.

"What did they say?" he asked finally in a polite yet indifferent manner, forcing his eyes to meet the captain's steadily on.

Immediately Glorfindel grew serious again. That Erestor was interested in the exact details that Gandalf, Tauron as well as the other soldiers might have revealed was evidence enough that the advisor had planned to play down the incident. That must not happen, Elrond had been very insistent on that and Glorfindel himself agreed wholeheartedly.

"They told us everything that happened this morning, Erestor." The seneschal deadpanned. Erestor had always appreciated honesty and forwardness and the seneschal didn't think that he would take kindly to any attempt at softening his words.

Erestor's eyes narrowed. "A subjective version, a *coloured* version. You realise that?"

"Of course." Glorfindel relented readily. "If you told me yours, however, we might be able to decipher what truly happened."

Erestor opened his mouth for a retort, eager to avert the ill-informed rumours that surely had developed while he slept. But no words came to his mind. He could not think of any argument that would put the captain of Imladris to ease; on the contrary, every possible, at least halfway truthful explanation was bound to send them worrying even more.

'Play it down, then!' A voice in his mind said. He didn't realise that this was exactly what he had thought right before his breakdown that very morning, what he had always thought when confronted with worry, sympathy, compassion or other such nonsense. It was his way of dealing with other elves on a private level: distracting them from the crucial matters in his life, directing their thoughts into the patterns that he wished them to run in; and he was never really aware of it. Even if he had been, he would probably have condoned it.

"You must realise that it was not as dramatic an incident as Tauron and my … sire probably made it out to be."

"You had a panic attack, Erestor! Elrond almost got himself attacked by you, you were so afraid. You walked the whole way from your chambers to the dining hall without any footwear and never realised it, for Valar's sake!"

Glorfindel exclaimed, upset but not really surprised at Erestor's attempt to trivialise this morning's happenings. It was crucially important that he would stop denying everything and start to accept help; both he and Elrond had agreed upon that when they had talked in the early afternoon. Still, though Elrond had cautioned his optimism, Glorfindel had dearly hoped that Erestor finally would be more open to offers of help after his breakdown. It seemed the Half-Elf had been right.

"I am fine! I would have been if everyone had just left me alone, for pity's sake! It was a one-time occurrence that would never have happened if not for that soldiers' trespassing. They entered my rooms uninvited, interrupting me when I was… well, I … I was … just …"

Valar, he couldn't say it. What could he say anyway that didn't sound completely mad? 'I was standing naked in front of my mirror, intentionally recalling rather vividly how I got the dozens of scars littering my body!' … Glorfindel would think him insane and call Elrond and that … wouldn't go so well. Valar, he himself started anticipating dawning madness.

Well, maybe 'curative self-finessing' wasn't possible after all.

"What, Erestor? What did you do?" Glorfindel inquired softly as Erestor had fallen silent. Of course he knew, or at least he had a good idea as to what the dark haired elf had endeavoured to do in the privacy of his rooms – Galadriel had told them after all – but he wanted the black haired elf to *acknowledge* it.

"I faced my memories of the Orcs and Fiondil, all right? I might have been a little bit incautious but I would have been fine if I had been given but some minutes of privacy and rest afterwards! I thank you and lord Elrond for your assistance this morning and I apologize for any inconveniences resulting therein, but be assured: I *can* and *will* deal with this on my own from now on! Your input is not required."

Glorfindel straightened and looked at Erestor once more with fiery intent, his blue eyes piercing, rendering the dark haired elf once more flushed and unable to hold his gaze. "In contrast to you, Erestor, I lived and died in times that provided oh so fertile soil for traumas of all kinds and natures: When Gondolin fell and I died, there were hundreds of souls rushing to the Halls basically at the same time as I did, given or taken a few hours. There were so many tortured and broken faer littering the place… look at me!" he demanded, his harsh voice allowing no disobedience.

Slowly, hesitantly, Erestor turned his head, dark silver eyes gazing up at the captain, a thunderstorm of emotions swirling inside of them: anger, uncertainty, confusion, defiance, stubbornness … mostly the latter two. Glorfindel narrowed his eyes. He had thousands of years more experience in getting his will, he would just have to be more stubborn.

"So many faer, Erestor. Do you know how many of them actually had truly healed or almost healed at the time I left to be reborn?"

Erestor shook his head almost as if time had slowed, as if he didn't want to give the captain even this silent answer but had to, nonetheless, forced by the intense stare. He never took his eyes of the captain, but defiantly he pressed his lips tightly together, conveying his determination to not accept what the reborn Gondolinion offered.

The seneschal however didn't allow that to deter him. "Three out of five, Erestor."

Actually, Glorfindel was not quite sure if that number was correct, no one had ever thought to make a statistic about this particular factor. But Erestor was an elf who *believed* in numbers; he knew that. And it was a good guess

"And do you know how many of them achieved that without any help?"

Again that slow headshake that made Glorfindel wonder how Erestor managed to put so much defiance and dourness in a simple head movement.

He leaned forward, holding the other's eyes captive with his own. "None."

Erestor lowered his head, but Glorfindel could see that his words had some effect on the younger elf. His breathing quickened and his eyes darted around on the folds of the blanket covering his lean legs as he tried to assimilate the information he had been given.

Of course, that didn't take long.

"I'm no elf." Erestor stated quietly, the words 'I'm stronger than you think and I will prove you wrong' remaining unsaid in the tense, short silence between them; but nonetheless Erestor found himself obeying when Glorfindel ordered him to look at him once more.

"You are elf enough!" Glorfindel pressed out. "I will not let you do this to yourself, Erestor. I will not *allow* you to do this to yourself. I will see you healed and mind me, pen neth, you will accept help! If not mine, then another's!" But oh how he wished it would be his.

He glared some more at a very stunned Erestor (it had been centuries since the seneschal had called him 'young one', and never before had he talked him down like that) before he stood up from Erestor's bed. "For now I will inform Elrond that you are awake – he will surely want to speak with you – and I shall tell him to have someone bring you a proper dinner. A bath and new robes would be in order also."

And with that he turned towards the windows again and contacted his husband through their bond. All the while Erestor watched him with wide, surprised eyes, observing the seneschal's tense posture as he stood there, an imposing silhouette against the sun's deep orange light.

His mind seemed to have shut down after being stunned like that.

Erestor frowned. He really needed to learn to handle his fellow elves' new protectiveness and how to gauge their reactions. But somehow he knew that it would be for naught: he was already doomed, for he knew that the reborn elf was no match for him in stubbornness, he always got his way, except maybe with lord Elrond.

Then why did that make him feel so panicked on the one hand and on the other make his stomach flutter almost uncomfortably so? He found that he didn't care very much for this feeling.



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