Glorfindel hoped to arrive in Imladris well before Yestarë. The first day of the year was always celebrated with good food and wine, song and dance, and he would not want to miss it – not when the valley had missed its lady for so many seasons already and not when it would be the first time he would celebrate the beginning of the year with Legolas. One year past, so shortly after Gîl's birth, he had still been weak and spent most time in bed, trying to regain his strength. Even had it been different, Glorfindel admitted to himself, he had not spent much thought on Legolas then and probably would not even have considered celebrating the year's first day with him.
He looked towards where Legolas rode, near the front of their group for the present since they were still in peaceful territory, close by Laindir's side and by the looks of it deep in an animated conversation. Legolas was beautiful – had always been beautiful, but now that each day saw him slowly regain some of the confidence the past had torn from him, Glorfindel only felt his appreciation grow while damning himself for his own misdeeds. Legolas sat his horse with ease and confidence, his back straight, his face warmed by a smile. His hair was held from his face by two simple braids while the rest of the silken mass streamed down his back. At the moment, he looked no different than any other youth his age. The clothes he wore were simple, yet of a fine quality: a shirt of dark linen and over it, a short-sleeved tunic of fine, thin wool dyed a pale brown. Legolas had taken off the fur-lined cloak Glorfindel had given him before they left Imladris, for the spring sun shone with amazing strength, although it was rolled up and fastened to his saddle to be in easy reach should the weather change. Around his waist was girded the sword Glorfindel had given him, as well as the knife that had been a gift from his men; and on his back he carried the bow of golden mallorn wood.
The image was deceptive, Glorfindel knew. Beneath the veil of happiness and confidence were the same old fears and doubts which would not be vanquished by a few gifts and kind words. And yet, this vision of Legolas was irresistible; a vision of the man he should have been – would have been, had it not been for the actions of Thranduil and himself.
“What does he look like to you?” Glorfindel asked, wistfulness in his voice as he acknowledged Arwen's approach with a nod. “He is truly not so different from your brothers, when they were his age...”
“Are the rumors I heard true, then?”
“All of them – and worse,” Glorfindel admitted, watching how the wheaten hair danced in a light breeze. “Look at him. How could I hurt him, knowing how vulnerable he was? Knowing how alone he was? Yet hurt him I did, in such ways... Ah, if ever you saw me as exemplary, then know now that I have committed crimes against him as foul as anything the Enemy could think of.”
“You are no Morgoth Bauglir,” Arwen spoke unflinchingly, “nor are you Sauron the Deceiver. You do not lack empathy or mercy; indeed I have always known your strength to be tempered with compassion. Your crime is of a different sort; no great evil wrought before our time, but simply that which taints all those who deal in death and pain while denying the effect it has on the fëa. Have I not observed its effect in my own brothers? Hate begets hate, Glorfindel, no matter its reason.”
“You spoke out against this hate before, and I did not listen.” The admission pained Glorfindel. “Neither did Elrond, or your brothers. Now I see that you were right – but it does not change what I did. Nothing can; that is my burden to bear. And when we arrive at home, you will see for yourself just how I wronged him. He is almost universally reviled there – and I invited it! Do not be deceived by how he was treated in Lórien, by how he has managed to win himself a small place among my men. That is not how it was at home for him at all. He had no friends, no allies, and was an easy victim for all the hate and cruelty fostered by this conflict between our people.
“I encouraged it; I freely admit it. I am not proud of what I did at all. But if you still feel affection for me despite what I did, then I beg you to think kindly of him, to be his ally here where most still feel hate for him, although he never did anything to invite it. I do not ask for pity, for he does not deserve that, but I know you are compassionate, Arwen. Do not let others sway your opinion of him.”
“You were the hero of my childhood.” Arwen held his gaze even when Glorfindel flinched. “Perhaps it is only natural that such high expectations will lead to disappointment, but ah, Glorfindel – to see even you sink to such base depths? What then, is the difference between us and yrch if not compassion, empathy, mercy? You always treat me courteously but I am no child, Glorfindel. I know, as all the valley does, that your desires are harsher than those of most others. And yet, what you did to Legolas went far beyond that. To think that my brothers encouraged you, when our own mother...”
She broke off and shook her head, fighting to keep her composure while Glorfindel could only look at her, stabbed by sudden heartbreak when he realized that Legolas had indeed suffered much like her mother had.
“I have no words with which to defend myself,” he said, his voice breaking. “It is the truth, all of it. And yet I love him.”
“As he loves you. I can see this. And you were given a child, Glorfindel. You know what a great gift that is. Do not squander it, I beg you. Already we have lost so much to this enmity. But perhaps, with you to lead the way, even Elladan might in time find it in himself to forgive and forget...”
Her smile was wistful, as if she herself could not quite believe it might come to pass and Glorfindel sighed, knowing all too well how deeply Elladan's heart was ensnared by the thorny tendrils of bitterness and hate. And yet, had not he, too, at last realized where the path he was treading led?
The stars spread above them that night, brilliant and bright against the darkness of the sky, for the moon had waned to a thin sliver. One of Arwen's handmaidens had Gîl on her lap and was pointing out the constellations to him, together with the stories that went with them while Glorfindel nursed the single cup of wine he allowed himself while journeying. They had eaten well that eve; a barley stew flavored with the meat of three fat rabbits which Legolas and Laindir had managed to trap during the past night.
“We have put out snares again. Maybe there will be fresh meat tomorrow also.” Legolas sat down at Glorfindel's side, who lifted his cloak and wrapped it around the youth's shoulders as well.
“That would be very welcome. I much prefer it to the dried stock we brought.” He smoothed one hand over Legolas' hair, brushing aside a leaf that had caught in it and then entwined his fingers within the silken mass, just for the pleasure of it. Legolas took the cup of wine when he offered it, taking a cautious swallow, for the heavy, oaken reds Glorfindel preferred were not quite to his taste though he loved the intimacy of sharing his Lord's cup. He returned the cup afterward and smiled when Glorfindel sought out his lips instead.
“It always tastes much sweeter on your lips,” Glorfindel murmured, and Legolas, eyes gleaming with the reflection of flames from the fire, leaned in to claim another kiss, despite their company.
Glorfindel turned his head so that his breath teased against Legolas' ear. “Were we at home, do you know what I would do to you now?” He chuckled at the soft sigh his words produced, and then cursed, for he was tormenting himself as much as Legolas. He could not very well have his way with him right in front of Arwen and her maidens, and yet, oh how he longed to bury himself inside that sweet body, feel Legolas' reaction to the pleasure he could give him and that intoxicating, unconditional surrender that never failed to rouse his own desires...
“Where did you put our bedrolls, Lord? Certainly not next to the Lady Arwen?” Legolas asked softly, throwing her a furtive glance. When he found himself unobserved, he used the cover of the voluminous cloak to rest one hand on Glorfindel's thigh, slowly inching upwards until he could feel Glorfindel's girth pressing against the confines of his breeches.
Glorfindel could not suppress a low chuckle. “Eager for me?” He covered Legolas' hand with his own and held it in place for a moment, letting Legolas feel how his touch roused him to further hardness. And then those slender, agile fingers sought out the shape of his shaft and began to slowly massage him so that he closed his eyes for a moment, biting back a curse, a moan.
“Truly eager for me then. Fear not, I will remember – all of it, roch neth. And do not forget that it is your sweet little bottom that will suffer for it, once we are back home...”
Now it was Legolas who almost moaned at his words and then, with a rueful expression, pulled back. “I am sorry, Lord. I know I should not tease you...”
“I want you just as much as you want me. If we were anywhere else...”
For a moment, Glorfindel played with the thought of taking Legolas into the little copse of woods that bordered their camp to the west, to take Fairion with them to keep watch while he would push Legolas against a tree, take him like that, hard and fast to sate the niggling desire...
“Go to bed,” he said almost gently, though it was unmistakably an order. Legolas flushed at his tone, bit his full lips and trembled ever so slightly, so that Glorfindel's own lust was fanned to a new height.
“Go. I will bring Gîl.”
He watched as Legolas obeyed, wishing those still gathered around the fire a good night as he went, flushing again with pleasure when his wish was returned with genuine warmth and affection. Legolas' hesitant joy at finding himself accepted by Glorfindel's company woke his more tender side, the part of him that desired to protect, to guide and care for someone. The gleam of his hair in the firelight, the elegance of the slender body in turn roused a darker hunger, the need to bend that body to his will, to give Legolas pleasure or pain as he pleased and have the youth accept all of it.
After a moment, Glorfindel said his good-nights as well, collecting Gîlríon from Arwen's circle of friends. The journeying, as well as the stories by the fire had made him tired, and he fell asleep against Glorfindel's shoulder before they had even reached their bedrolls.
Legolas lay beneath their blanket. He had taken off the tunic, though he still wore the soft shirt, and Glorfindel gave him a quick smile as he laid Gîl to rest in easy reach of Legolas' arms. Then he too stripped until he stood before Legolas in naught but his shirt, slipping beneath the blanket to take the youth into his arms.
“Were we at home now, roch neth, your pretty behind would be striped red,” he murmured. “See what you did to me...”
He took Legolas' hand and drew it down, pressed it to his shaft that was still hard from his earlier teasing. Legolas' fingers curled around him again and the youth bit back a soft moan. “Oh, Lord,” he breathed, “I want you in my mouth!”
Glorfindel laughed softly. “I want to be inside you, roch neth - take you so deep, so hard that you will not be able to walk for a week. I think that is the first thing I will do when we are home. Take my pleasure from you, past what you think is bearable, until you have learned once and for all that your place is to give me pleasure, nothing else.”
Legolas' breath hitched at Glorfindel's words and he closed his eyes, trying to keep from rubbing himself against his Lord's thigh like an animal in heat. But oh, those terrible, mind-melting words his Lord said made him want to spread himself out like an offering, beg for his Lord to use him right here at the fire, if that was what he wanted...
Legolas tried to hold back a moan when Glorfindel's warm, sword-calloused hand wrapped around the both of them. He raised his head, knowing that if Glorfindel did not kiss him he would moan, whimpering against Glorfindel's mouth when he was obliged.
It was too good, it was always too good and yet it was not enough; not when his body was aflame with the need to be completely possessed, completely vanquished.
He broke the kiss when he came, panting his pleasure against Glorfindel's throat, his own climax heightened by the way Glorfindel throbbed and spurted against him. His mouth was taken again then, gentler, though just as possessively, and when Glorfindel finally released his lips, he pressed his hand to his mouth, fingers stained by their mingled seed, and allowed Legolas to clean him.
“Just wait until we are home, roch neth - I have so much left to teach you. The depths, the heights I can take you to...” Legolas shuddered deeply, remembering those moments of deepest surrender at Glorfindel's hands, yearning for it again with a blind, bone-aching need.
“The flogger, Lord,” he whispered, his trembling intensifying though they both knew it was not from fear. “The flogger of black leather, the one Haldir bought – will you use it on me?” His eyes were dark and wide with surrender, seeing only Glorfindel, who gently cupped his face in his hands.
“I will, roch neth... I will. In my own time.” He brushed the pad of his thumb across Legolas' lower lip, watching with breathless hunger how Legolas' lips parted to allow it to slip inside. “There is much I long to do to you. And in time, you will take that flogger too, and I will turn your back into an artwork of hot, red lines while you cry out your surrender.”
Legolas sighed his agreement, so sweetly yielding in his arms that Glorfindel once more cursed the proximity of Arwen and her maidens, and when Legolas sank into reverie at last, sleep continued to elude Glorfindel for a while as his mind tormented him with visions of the youth's unquestioning, worshipful submission.
fael amrûn – the brilliance of sunrise
echuir – stirring (one of the six seasons of the elvish calendar)
Yestarë [Quenya] – the first day of the year; according to Boris Shapiro around March 29 of our calendar
roch neth - colt