Come Morning
Chapter Fourteen

Erestor arrived at his office just as Anor lit the sky, as usual. He spent a moment on his normal routine, preparing for work. Quills, fresh pot of ink, and clean parchment were set out from the cabinet behind his desk. Erestor was about to sit at his desk when he noticed a wrapped package placed in the seat of his chair. The object was gaily wrapped and even sported a large bow. Erestor glanced around perplexed, as though expecting to see the giver of said package or the recipient of the gift. A gift, in his chair Erestor had never experienced this.

He gingerly picked up the mysterious package, holding it a safe distance from his form. He almost dropped the object in surprise. There upon the top, a small card read, "To Erestor." Erestor blanched. The gift was for him! He sat down, cradling the precious object closely. A small uncertain smile graced Erestor's fair features. It was not his begetting day, or any other other such occasion that he could recall.

"Well, open it," a voice said from the doorway.

Erestor looked up, and flushed upon seeing Elrond smiling at him from the entranceway. "Did you do this, Elrond? What is the occasion?" Erestor asked.

"No, my friend, that is not from me. But I am as curious as you to the contents. Go on, open it." Elrond appeared greatly amused by Erestor's hesitation.

Erestor looked down; slowly he untied the bow and carefully peeled the colorful wrapping back. Inside was a flat wooden box engraved with an outline of a raven on the top. Erestor eyed the box cautiously, and slowly opened the lid. He gasped at its contents a beautiful quill lay on a lining of Emerald velvet. The quill was made of the finest black feather Erestor had ever seen, the depth of the color so rich that the light revealed deep blue highlights. The quill point was sharp and appeared made from mithril. It was the finest of writing instruments Erestor had ever known. His gasp drew Elrond across the room. From over his shoulder the Elf-lord admired the gift.

"That is beautiful, Erestor. Who sent it?" Elrond appeared almost as eager as Erestor to learn that secret.

Erestor removed the small note that accompanied the gift. He was almost afraid to open it, not sure if he wanted to know who his mysterious gift-giver was. The hand the note was written in was very familiar; the flowing script he had often seen gracing supply request and defense strategies. Glorfindel. Erestor clutched the note to him, not wanting to share its contents with Elrond. "The gift is from Glorfindel, my Lord." Elrond gave Erestor a slight smile, understanding the subtle hint that the note was private.

"I will leave you then to read its contents. It is a most wonderful gift, my friend." So saying, Elrond retreated to his own office, leaving Erestor to stare with wonder at his present.

Erestor once again opened Glorfindel's note. "Erestor, I am very sorry that I ran from you the other evening, but seeing the fear in your eyes deeply stung me. I hope that a day may come when you can look upon me without fear or distrust. Yours, Glorfindel.

Erestor's breath caught, shock assaulting him at Glorfindel's wrods. He gazed longingly at the quill. He could not accept such a valuable gift, especially since it had come from Glorfindel. Such an expensive gift spoke of a level of intimacy, a relationship that they did not have. But, he wanted to keep the gift, oh how he wanted to keep it! Erestor rose, resigned, and went in search of Glorfindel. He found the Elda in his office next to Imladris' barracks. He waited for a moment outside the door, gathering his courage and resolve. He knocked and at Glorfindel's bark of entry, went in.

Glorfindel rose, surprise showing at the identity of his visitor. He blushed at the gift in the Advisor's arms. "Erestor, what brings you to my office?" Glorfindel waved a hand, indicating a seat for the councilor.

Erestor sat, nervously folding his hands atop the box containing the quill. That he still held it and had not returned it to its giver reaffirmed his desire for possession of the gift. "I wanted to return this to you, Glorfindel." He reluctantly placed the gift upon Glorfindel's desk.

Glorfindel looked down at the box and raised eyes that showed the beginnings of hurt. "You did not like it? If not, I will choose something else. I'm sorry, Erestor. I thought you would like the quill." Glorfindel reached to take back the box, but before he could get it an inch across the desk, Erestor's hands reached for the gift, halting Glorfindel's pull.

"No!" Erestor resisted the need to clutch the box tightly to his chest. "I loved it, Glorfindel. It is the finest I have ever seen. I simply cannot accept something so valuable from you; it would not be appropriate." Erestor took a deep breath, forcing himself to meet the Elda's eyes honestly. "The way I reacted the other night, it was instinct, instinct that I cannot control. I saw the hand reaching for me, and I just reacted." Erestor looked down, unable to lie to Glorfindel and say that he was no longer afraid of the blond. He did not want to lie to Glorfindel; there had been enough of that.

Glorfindel came around from behind his desk and drew near the seated councilor. Erestor tried with great difficulty to halt the need to stand and back away. He watched the Elda, unaware that the unease showed in his dark eyes. Glorfindel stopped an arm's reach away and leaned against the corner of his desk. "Erestor, can you honestly tell me that you no longer fear me? That you can be in my presence without worry or without recalling what I did to you in Lindon?"

Erestor look regretfully at the blond, his eyes already answering Glorfindel's question, and wished he could tell Glorfindel differently. Erestor sat, silent, head bent for a moment. He then faced Glorfindel, his eyes showing resolve. Erestor rose and moved to the door, turning to face the Elda. "I do not know you, Glorfindel, therefore, I have no reason to trust you. All I know is what I feel based on your actions all those centuries ago. I would be willing to get to know the Glorfindel I see before me now. That is all that I can offer that this point."

Erestor saw the gratitude and hope in the Elda's gaze. He nodded then, in silent agreement. He turned to leave, but stopped briefly at Glorfindel's words.

"Erestor, when I have earned your regard and trust, will you then accept my gift?" Glorfindel asked.

Erestor nodded once again and closed the door behind him. By the Valar, he thought, what have I just agreed to?

Over the next moons, many in the household of Lord Elrond regarded the Seneschal and Chief Councilor with wonder. The pair's history of coldness and acid remarks were well remembered. Now they watched wide-eyed as the pair began spending time together. Dinners were spent seated next to each other, quiet conversation not reaching curious ears. The two could be found nightly in the libraries of Imladris, playing chess, reading, or again speaking quietly. Erestor had been quite cautious around the Elda, but he came to gradually relax more and more as Glorfindel made no threatening or forward gestures toward the Advisor.

Erestor began to deeply value his budding friendship with the Elda. He found Glorfindel to be intelligent and they were able to speak about a great many things. Their subjects were varied but general. They discovered they shared many similar views, from politics to their favorite books. Erestor even found to his great surprise that he enjoyed the Seneschal's slightly goofy sense of humor, and he shared some of his own wicked observations with Glorfindel. The Elda seemed to greatly appreciate the councilor's more acid comments, now that they were not directed at him. Erestor let down his guard more and more as Glorfindel seemed settled. The Elda still wrote nightly in his journal and there were some mornings, though not many, that he appeared more haggard, pale and bleary eyed, but his mood stayed congenial. Erestor was aware of the household gossip concerning him and Glorfindel. He saw the many envious glances sent his way. Many of Glorfindel's former bed partners looked upon Erestor with a great deal of jealousy, incorrectly assuming that the councilor was now sharing Glorfindel's bed, because they were not.

Erestor admitted to himself that Glorfindel's absence of over-indulgence of spirits and the apparent easing of his mental torment reflected favorable upon the Elda's form. He looked more attractive than the Counselor had ever seen him. Anor seemed to love Glorfindel, turning his golden hair even brighter and making his sky-colored eyes even more blue.

It was a couple months into their plan of getting to know each other that something changed. One evening upon Erestor's arrival in the library, Glorfindel handed him a single rose.

Erestor looked at the Elda with surprise. "What is this for?" But Glorfindel just looked calmly back at the Advisor. "I thought of you when I saw it," was the only answer he received. Erestor shrugged the occurrence away, not thinking much of the incident. That is until the next evening, when he took his usual chair next to the Elda and upon the table between them was a plate containing a variety of sweets. Erestor further noticed that the sweets were all favorites of his.

Erestor once again looked to the blond for an explanation. Glorfindel shrugged, offering only that he thought Erestor might be hungry. Erestor continued to send the blond slightly perplexed looks, unsure of the Elda's motives. Several days went by, each bringing something new Glorfindel would shock the councilor with. His chair was held out for him, a hand placed at the small of his back as they walked together in the evenings.

There were also gifts. Oh, nothing like the beautiful quill, just little things. One evening Erestor received a small book filled with simply poetry. The next gift, left at his door, was a short lap throw embroidered with vivid reds and blues. The gift-giving kept up until Erestor was completely confused. He would look to the Elda for an explanation, but the blond would only shrug or say something like he thought Erestor would like the item. Finally, at the end of his rope, Erestor went to Elrond, hoping the half-Elf could help him figure out what the Elda was up to.

Erestor closed Elrond's door behind him, and slumped against the wall. Stunned disbelief, even a little panic, appeared on his face. Repeating Elrond's words, Erestor spoke aloud. "I'm being courted."

To be continued...