Come Morning
Chapter Five

The eve of Elrond's departure, Erestor came upon a perplexing scene. He had rounded a corner leading to the Healing House when he spied Elrond and Glorfindel speaking quietly together. Elrond appeared to be reassuring Glorfindel about something, but the blonde's face did not lose its worried expression. Erestor watched as Elrond laid a calming hand on Glorfindel's arm and handed him a bottle of some liquid. Glorfindel shook his head rather violently before taking the bottle and moving away. Erestor had inquired of his lord if something was amiss, but Elrond had been distracted and replied "there was not". Erestor forgot the incident in the morning's rush to see off Elrond and the twins. Glorfindel departed soon after with a group of hunters to restock the storehouses. Erestor watched the blond go. Glorfindel had been preoccupied all morning, not noticing that he was receiving more than usual regard from Erestor. As Erestor's eyes stayed trained on Glorfindel's back, he wondered what had been in that mysterious bottle.

Work ensured that the rest of the day was uneventful. However, Erestor made sure to put away his work earlier enough to prepare for dinner in the great hall. He was determined to put his plans into motion this very eve. Erestor paid special attention to his appearance. His bath contained a soothing oil of Jasmine and he dried his hair carefully with a silken cloth until it lay heavy in a silken mass upon his back. His robes this evening were not the formal sedate black; instead he choose a rich deep blue satin, its color strangely reminding him of Glorfindel's eyes. Erestor eyed his reflection in the mirror as he carefully pinned a sapphire brooch at the throat of his robes. He was very happy with his appearance and knew it would draw some attention, especially since it had been centuries since he had dressed in anything but his usual stately black.

Erestor was slightly shocked at the silence his appearance in the dining hall caused. Conversation ceased and eyes followed his journey to the head table avidly. He ignored the whispered comments that followed; instead he gracefully took his seat and signaled for the servants to begin serving. Once dinner began, Erestor turned his attention to the only other occupant at the head table, the absence of Elrond and the twins making contact between them, almost a must. He made sure to meet Glorfindel's eyes and to keep his voice pleasantly cool, not its usual coldness, but not too friendly, either. "Good evening, Glorfindel," he said.

"Good evening to you also, Lord Erestor," Glorfindel replied.

Erestor bit his lip to keep the smirk from forming. The expression that formed on Glorfindel's face resembled that of one who is unsure if the creature he is about to pick up will bite or not. Erestor let the silence continue throughout the main course. It was only when the dessert was served did he address Glorfindel again. "Did you receive the additional funds you requested? I put them in the budget and Elrond approved them before he departed." Erestor kept the tone of his voice bland, just this side of disinterested. He could see out of the corner of his eye Glorfindel's gaze upon him, weighing his answer. Erestor brought a bite of his dessert to his mouth. He deliberately let the utensil linger on his lips with his mouth slightly open. His tongue swept out for a lick before he drew the rest of the treat into his mouth. Once again he peeked at Glorfindel. Good; the blonde's eyes were trained on the fork, leaving his lips.

Glorfindel's eyes rose hastily to meet Erestor's and he gulped before answering. "Yes, I did, and thank you for presenting it to Elrond so quickly." Glorfindel frowned and look away from the councilor.

Erestor saw the frown and backed off, for now. He did not want Glorfindel to be suspicious of his plan. Despite what Erestor knew others thought, he was well aware that Glorfindel was far from stupid. Time to back away and resume the attack later, when Glorfindel's defenses were down. Erestor finished dinner in silence. He did not join the others for entertainment afterwards, but he did bid Glorfindel a pleasant good night.

Erestor's campaign was underway. Erestor's talents, while numerous, were particularly brilliant when it came to strategy. He had outlined his plans. First get Glorfindel to notice him. The second step in his plan was a bit more difficult for Erestor. He had to let Glorfindel know, subtly, that he was approachable. This, Erestor figured, would require frequent visits to the Halls of Fire in the evenings, doing something that Erestor had little skill in -socializing. He was, however, not backing away from the challenge! How hard could it be to spend some time among his fellow Elves, drinking wine and enjoying some conversation?

Over the following weeks, Erestor quickly came to the realization that he hated socializing! He had been more than correct all those years. It was a frivolous waste of his valuable time! He had gone, had wine, had engaged in what had to be the most boring conversations imaginable, and nothing! He knew he looked good. The jeweled tone robes set off his dark hair and eyes splendidly. But Glorfindel had kept his distance.

Erestor sat in his office, chin resting on cupped hands. The second part of his plan was not going as he hoped. Yes, he had seen Glorfindel's eyes upon on several occasions, but the blond had not once sought him out. The councilor could not for the rest of the day concentrate on his work. He discarded idea after idea before his eyes landed on Glorfindel outside his window. The blond was walking across the courtyard towards the practice field carrying his sword. Erestor narrowed his eyes. What a brilliant idea. Both he and Glorfindel often spared, separately of course, with Elrond. While Erestor would never be the great warrior the other two were, he did like to stay in shape. Since Elrond's departure, both he and Glorfindel were without a partner. That was it, Erestor thought. This evening he would approach Glorfindel about sparring together. Physical combat, close bodies, sweaty parrying and thrusting… this was surely to lead to Glorfindel noticing him!

That very evening, Erestor approach Glorfindel. He carried his wine over to the corner where the blond was sitting enjoying the minstrels play. He politely bowed. "Glorfindel, may I speak with you for a moment?" Erestor asked.

Glorfindel straightened up and indicated for Erestor to take the vacant seat next to him. "Of course, Lord Erestor. What can I do for you?"

Erestor gracefully seated himself. "Thank you. I have noticed that since our lord's departure we both appear to be without a sparring partner. I was wondering if you would be interesting in us practicing together until Elrond's return?" Erestor could read the surprise in Glorfindel's eyes and he knew the blond thought it was some sort of trap. "I have greatly missed the exercise and hope that you will agree to join me," he said, hoping to alleviate some of Glorfindel's suspicion.

Glorfindel watched Erestor closely, as if to judge his sincerity. "I am often at the practice field an hour before the morning bell. If you are seriously interested, I will be more than happy for the exercise myself." Glorfindel seemed taken aback at the smile Erestor directed toward him.

Erestor rose from his seat and bowed once again. "That would be wonderful, mellonen. I will see you in the morning then. I wish you a pleasant evening. Good night Glorfindel." He laughed as he reached the doorway leaving the great hall. He knew he had effectively stunned the blond, not only at his request but also at his addressing Glorfindel as friend. Erestor rubbed his hands together in glee. The plan was back in place!

The morning found Erestor on the practice field attired in tight black leggings and a well-worn tunic of the same hue. He swung the twin blades rapidly, warming up. He had arrived a little early and was waiting for Glorfindel to arrive. Erestor heard his approach. He watched as Glorfindel gave a start of surprise at finding Erestor here before him. Erestor realized the blond did not think he would show up. He waited until Glorfindel picked up his own weapon to warm up before speaking. "Good morning, Glorfindel. Thank you again for doing this. I hope you had a pleasant evening?"

Glorfindel made a polite bow and came to the small ring where Erestor was standing. "I did, thank you, Lord Erestor. Are you ready then?"

Erestor gave a soft laugh. "Yes, and please, lord is not necessary, Glorfindel. We have known each other for many centuries now and I think we can dispense with the titles."

Glorfindel appeared genuinely confused by the advisor's unpredictable behavior. Erestor realized that some sort of explanation would have to be offered. He lowered his knives and looked at Glorfindel seriously. "I realize Glorfindel, that we have not been friends these many years. Yet we both share a love and commitments to Elrond and Imladris. I would ask if it is possible for us to start over." Erestor waited nervously, hoping that Glorfindel believed his words.

For perhaps the very first time, Glorfindel actually smiled at Erestor. It was not hurtful or mocking, but a genuine smile. Erestor blinked the beautiful sight almost blinding him. For one moment, he almost wished the words he had spoken were true. Glorfindel's voice was happy as he answered. "I would like that also, Erestor. I also thank you for having the courage to voice our problems and the common ground we share. Yes, let us start over, mellonen." Glorfindel clasped one hand on Erestor's shoulder and gently squeezed. Erestor stilled the sudden need to flinch away from the blonde's hold and with great effort returned the gesture by squeezing Glorfindel's arm in return.

Erestor and Glorfindel spent the next hour sparring together. While Erestor was not nearly as strong physically as Glorfindel, he was quick. Erestor had learned to adapt the movements to his own frame, which greatly resembled the lithe form of an archer. Both Elrond and Glorfindel were much more muscular than Erestor. His quickness enabled him to at least make a decent showing.

The warm morning sun soon had the pair drenched with sweat. Tunics were cast aside as weapons were once again engaged. Erestor strove to block out the sight of a bare-chested Glorfindel. It was made even more difficult by the moisture that gleamed on Glorfindel's chest and neck. The sun burned down, caressing the blond's hair and skin. Erestor had to ruthlessly push down the desire to lick the droplets upon Glorfindel's flesh. This distraction proved to be his downfall. He gave a yelp of surprise as he was suddenly thrown on his back. He looked up, startled at Glorfindel. Erestor dare not move, as a sword rested against his neck. He had still not recovered when the sword was removed and a hand was offered to assist him in rising. Erestor took Glorfindel's hand and allowed the blond to pull him up. Both stood, somewhat close together, still breathing heavily from the exercise. Erestor looked closely at the blond. Glorfindel's chest rose and fell rapidly and his eyes were an indigo color. Erestor smiled slowly at the blond. He stepped a little bit closer. "Thank you Glorfindel. I enjoyed this very much." He let their eyes meet for a long moment, then picked up his tunic and stepped away. "I shall see you at lunch, mellonen." Erestor could feel Glorfindel's gaze follow him as he walked back towards his quarters. Erestor smiled even more broadly once he was inside. Success, he thought. It had been desire he had seen in those blue eyes. On to the next part of his plan!

To be continued...