Come Morning
Chapter Six

Erestor stepped out onto the balcony of his room. Heavy dark clouds veiled the night sky over Imladris. On the air, Erestor smelled a hint of approaching rain, and in the distance flashes of lighting lit the sky. Erestor tilted his head towards the sky; his body quivered and his nose twitched. He loved storms; the wind, lightning, thunder, and heavy rain. Everything about them called to him. The storm moved closer. Branches and leaves danced in the wind. A flash of lightning briefly illuminated his body. Clad only in silk sleeping trousers, he was quickly drenched as rain suddenly poured from the sky. Erestor threw out his arms in joy, fighting the urge to shout to release some of the energy building within him. Erestor was a vision of unfathomable fey beauty as he stood in the storm. His long black hair was heavy and clung to his back, and his dark eyes reflected flashes of light. Water dripped down his upturned face; he laughed and parted red lips to catch droplets on his tongue. Erestor seemed to be a part of that night storm.

A flash of gold close to the ground caught his attention. Erestor's face lost its look of joy. His laughter stopped and he shivered in the rain that suddenly felt cold. Moving below him through the trees was Glorfindel. He did not seem to mind the storm, but unlike Erestor's earlier enjoyment, Glorfindel appeared to simply ignore weather. Erestor's eyes narrowed, his mood shifting like the balance of the storm as it gathered in intensity and whipped the trees, shredding leaves and breaking branches. The wind, now angry, lifted Erestor's hair, swirling it around his head and shoulders. His hands tightly gripped the stone railing of the balcony. He watched as the Elda moved out of sight, and disappeared into the barracks. Erestor followed, ignoring his partially clothed, wet form. He moved silently towards Glorfindel's office. Glancing through a window, he saw the blond seated at his desk with an open wine bottle in front of him. He watched as Glorfindel emptied glass after glass of the wine. Erestor stood watching Glorfindel until the Elda's head lowered and he slept on his desk. He was confused. Why was Glorfindel drinking so heavily and sleeping in his office? What demons haunted the Elda? Could he have remembered the rape? Remember what he had done to Erestor, and was now afraid to confess to him?

The seduction had been going well. The morning sparring producing several occasions for sweaty, close, bodily contact. Erestor had caught Glorfindel more than once eyeing his rear, or glancing at his groin. But the blond had not shown any intent to move on their attraction, and Erestor was growing frustrated. Elrond would return in less than a fortnight, and Erestor knew the half-Elf would be suspicious of his turn-about regarding Glorfindel. He was at wits' end, unsure of what else to do to attract Glorfindel's attention. His lack of experience in seduction was apparent.

Erestor retuned to his room, frustrated. He threw himself, still damp, across his bed. He was beginning to have serious doubts about the effectiveness of his plan. If he could even attract Glorfindel enough, get him to approach Erestor, that is. Conflicted, Erestor let his imagination roam. What if he got Glorfindel in his bed? Would he be expected to surrender, let Glorfindel take him again? Erestor wasn't so sure he could go through with it. Over these long centuries, he had not taken a lover and knew not if he could let Glorfindel touch him without memories of that night overwhelming him. Would his memories flash back to the struggling, the helplessness, and the pain? But how else was Glorfindel to pay? If Erestor could not make the Elda feel how dirty and used he had felt? Erestor tried to clear his thoughts, but sleep did not come easily for the councilor that night.

Erestor continued the morning sparring engagements. But something was missing from their physical combat. For his part, Erestor no longer sought to entice the Elda. He kept his comments to subjects of mutual business or fighting techniques. Glorfindel also seemed to have much on his mind. He would arrive each morning at the practice field, pale and quiet. During the day, his usual vivaciousness seemed dimmed. He smiled less often and the bawdy jokes were absent. It took several days for Erestor to notice that Glorfindel also appeared not to be sleeping at night. Each evening the Elda would consume large amounts of spirits. His drinking began to attract attention. He had always drunk more than normal Elves, but now if not on patrol or training his men, he could be found with a goblet of some spirit in his hand. If he was subdued during the day, he more than made up for it in the evenings. His inebriated laughter rang out, too loudly and his humor became more lewd.

Then one morning, Glorfindel did not show up for their morning training. Erestor first checked the barracks, then the Elda's office, and finally with some foreboding, he approached Glorfindel's rooms. Erestor's knock went un-answered and he pressed an ear to the wood door, but no sound came from inside. Erestor tentatively pushed the door open and entered the dim room. The drapes had been pulled closed over the expansive windows. Erestor gazed around in shock at the destruction. The bed curtains had been pulled half of their tracks and most of the bedclothes were on the floor. Tunics and leggings covered most of the rest of the floor. Glassware littered every available surface and the smell of stale wine hung heavily in the air. Erestor stepped carefully inside; he could not control the twitching of his nose or his grimace of disgust at the condition of the Elda's rooms.

"Glorfindel?" Erestor called out. No answer came. Erestor moved further in the room. Glorfindel was not there, either. Erestor peeked through the open bathroom door; he caught a glimpse of pale legs lying on the floor. Erestor gasped and hurried into the room. Glorfindel lay nude, face down on the cold bathroom floor. Erestor knelt and called his name. "Glorfindel?" But the Elda did not move. Erestor gently turned him over, his hands quickly covering his mouth in horror. Glorfindel's face and hair were covered in blood and the Elda's body felt cold to the touch. Erestor quickly wet a cloth; and hurried back to kneel next to Glorfindel's head. He wiped Glorfindel's face carefully, then placed the cloth under the Elda's head, cushioning it from the hard floor.

Erestor quickly rose and ran to the hall to call for aid. The servant that came was sent to find a healer and Erestor retuned to kneel next to Glorfindel. He wet another cloth and sought to clean the blood from the blonde's head. He discovered the gash high on Glorfindel's forehead, bleeding heavily. Erestor heard the healer's approach and without thinking, grabbed a towel and covered the nude Elda. He didn't know why he was concerned with Glorfindel's modesty, but knew if it were he in similar circumstances, he wouldn't want to be lying on display. The healer rushed to Glorfindel's side and Erestor rose and backed away. He watched as the healer poked and prodded before removing something from the basket he carried. He held an herb under Glorfindel's nose, waving it back and fourth until with a cough, Glorfindel started to respond. Erestor moved even further away as Glorfindel struggled to sit up, resisting the healer's efforts to get him to lie still.

Glorfindel batted the healer's hands away. He sat up and, growled, "I'm fine." He scooted back away from the healer, drawing the towel more firmly over his lap. "Get out," he ordered. The healer reached for the Elda once more, to give him the bandage for his head. Glorfindel shoved it away. He shouted again for the healer to get out.  Erestor didn't know if Glorfindel saw him standing in a corner of the room. The healer looked at Erestor for direction, and Erestor nodded for him to leave. Glorfindel glanced, seeing Erestor for the first time, his pale face tuning even whiter. "What are you doing in here?" he demanded.

Erestor turned away and began drawing Glorfindel a bath. "You did not arrive for our morning sparring lesson and I was worried that something perhaps had happened to you. I knocked but when I received no answer I came in and found you like this on the floor."

Glorfindel carefully pulled himself to his feet. "Well, as you can see I am not on my way back to Mandos' Halls, so you can also leave."

Erestor ignored the order and continued to make ready Glorfindel's bath. He worked silently, straightening up as he moved about the room. He kept his back to the Elda and heard the blond groan as he entered the water. Erestor moved into the bedroom, picking up discarded clothes and straightening the bed.  Glorfindel broke the silence. "Aren't you going to ask me what happened?" he asked Erestor.

Erestor did not answer. He did not need Glorfindel to tell him what happened. The scent of wine was heavy on everything in the room. Obviously the Elda had been drunk, had fallen, and knocked himself unconscious.  Erestor could not help the sudden pity he felt. He returned briefly to the door of the bathroom, and looked at the blond. "I know what happened, Glorfindel. No need for you to tell me." He knew Glorfindel could see the pity in his eyes. Glorfindel leaned his head back against the rim of the tub and closed his eyes. "I figured you did," he said.

Erestor silently stared at the Elda. He knew if he stayed and pushed, he could get Glorfindel to open up to him. To tell him why he was drinking so much and why he could not find any rest. Erestor's lips tightened. He did not want to be Glorfindel's friend, to share confessions and provide a comforting ear. But at the moment, Glorfindel opened his eyes, and those cerulean depths silently pleaded with Erestor. He could not turn away. Erestor relented and knelt beside the bath. He poured a little cleaning oil on a cloth and began washing the Elda, gently cleaning around the wound. Nothing more was said as Erestor carefully bathed Glorfindel. He helped the Elda out of the water and dried him with a soft bath cloth. Glorfindel was tucked under newly-straightened sheets and a glass of water was placed next to the bed. Erestor smoothed back a stray strand of gold, tucking it behind one delicate ear. "When you wake, if you want to talk, you know where to find me." Erestor even surprised himself as he leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on Glorfindel's hurt head.

Erestor retuned to his office. He close and barred the door against any intrusions. He took a deep breath and sat behind his desk. Slowly his head lowered to rest in his hands. What was he doing? He was befriending the Elf that raped him! But when he looked into those pleading, almost desperate eyes, he had not been able to deny the blond. Whatever demons Glorfindel was battling, they were obviously horrid enough that the Elda was self-destructing, and Erestor could not add to his burdens. Erestor was so confused. It would have been much easier had the Glorfindel lying unconscious on the bathroom floor been the same Elf who had so hurt him in the past. But he could not reconcile this Glorfindel with the one in Lindon. Yes, in some ways the Elda was the same. He still took Elves to his bed every night. Glorfindel still drank and made merry, but the merriment seemed forced and false now. Was there perhaps, something that was driving the Elda? Something so terrible that he sought escape with se and drinking? Erestor simply did not know, but maybe if Glorfindel confided in him, he would have the answer he sought.

To be continued...