Come Morning
Chapter Eight

Several days passed before Erestor could work up the courage to approach Elrond. Finally one evening he stood trembling before the half-Elf's door.  Elrond answered Erestor's shaky knock and showed no surprise at finding his councilor at his door, despite the late hour. "Come in, Erestor," he said.

Erestor moved into the warm inviting sanctuary that was the Elf-lord's rooms. He declined the offer of wine and moved to a chair, where he sat with out his usual gracefulness. "I am sorry for disturbing you, my Lord."

Elrond waved off the apology. "I know you wished to speak with me, Erestor. Now tell me, mellon-nin, how can I help you?"

Erestor looked down upon his tightly clenched hands. Now that he was here, he was unsure how to begin. He grew more tense as he struggled for the words to begin. Elrond rose suddenly and moved closer to his Chief Councilor, laying a calming touch upon the upset Elf's back. "Erestor, whatever it is, you know you can trust me."

Erestor's pale face lifted quickly at those words. "It is not a question of trust, my Lord. I do trust you, Elrond. That is why I am about to tell you something I have not breathed a word of to another soul. It is just difficult putting something into words that I have spent centuries Trying to avoid even thinking of, let alone speak, about."

Elrond leaned back in his chair. He did not speak again, instead letting the silence build, waiting for Erestor to tell his tale in his own time.  Erestor took a deep breath and mentally stilled himself. He determinedly met the half-Elf's gaze.

"Do you recall the day that you offered me a position as your councilor?" He asked Elrond.

"Yes, I do," Elrond said. "It was the best decision I ever made."

Erestor gave a slight nod of acknowledgement at the compliment. "The night before we spoke, something happened to me. Something horrible, and if it had not been for you and your offer that day, I do not know how I would have survived. Your faith in my abilities and the trust that the position spoke of were what gave me the courage to put the horror of that night behind me. I have never thanked you for that, Elrond-". Erestor's words were interrupted by another touch from Elrond. This time the Elf-half took Erestor's hand and gave it an affectionate squeeze.

"You owe me no thanks for making you my councilor Erestor. As I said, it was the best decision to make."

Erestor, for the first time since entering the room, smiled at Elrond and gave his hand a brief squeeze in return. He grew restless as the silence once again built. Moving to the window overlooking the Imladris gardens, he broke the silence. "I was working late in library." Erestor calmly and with no emotion told Elrond about the rape. He left out no details except the name of his rapist. His attacker, he identified only as an Elf-lord.

While Erestor's voice might have held the same neutral tone it would have if thy had been discussing this season's wheat harvest or a delegation from Dale's request, his face held all the emotion his voice did not. His dark eyes that looked blindly out into the night held centuries of pent-up suffering. Silvery tracks of tears ran down his face to splash unnoticed onto his robes. With his back to Elrond, he told of the humiliation, of overhearing a conversation, in which the Elf-lord casually dismissed his rape of an unknown servant.

When his tale had been told, he kept his back to the room. Erestor did not want to see the pity, or worse, the disgust, on Elrond's face. Therefore he was unprepared for the gentle hands that grasped his shoulders and turned him to face Elrond and the lighted room. He was further disarmed by the tender kiss his friend placed on his forehead and the caring arms that pulled him into a loving hug. Erestor crumbled. His head came to rest on the half-Elf's shoulder and he sobbed, accepting comfort and understanding for the first time. Elrond let him cry until the sobs ceased and were replaced with hitches in breathing and hiccups.

Erestor allowed himself to be seated once again and accepted the glass of wine Elrond pressed into his hand. He took several sips before placing the glass carefully back down. He raised red eyes to met Elrond's gaze, and what he saw there almost sent him back into tears. Elrond sat next to him and took both of his hands, rubbing them gently with his own.

"Meldir nīn, I am so sorry for what was done to you. I wish I had been there for you all those centuries ago, and I wish you had felt comfortable enough to come to me back then. But I am very happy that you trust me with this now." Elrond brushed back a lock of Erestor's hair, tucking it back behind a delicate ear.

Erestor looked down, eyes tearing once more. "Elrond, back then I was so unsure and shy. It was no shortcoming of yours, my Lord. I was ashamed, Elrond, and so angry with myself. I felt I should have been able to do something, anything to prevent it!" Erestor doubled over, horror overcoming him as he spoke of his biggest weakness. "I responded, Elrond! I spilt my seed in pleasure." Erestor rocked back and forth, hugging himself.

Erestor was once again draw into comforting arms. He did not know how long they sat, Elrond holding him tightly. Gradually Erestor calmed. Reluctantly, he raised his head and looked at his lord. Warm, silvery, gray eyes stared back at him. Those eyes conveyed safety, comfort, and the hope of self-forgiveness. Erestor clung to the promise those eyes pledged and listened eagerly to Elrond's words. He wanted peace, to forgive himself for his called weakness. Elrond, reassured Erestor, that just because he had climaxed during the rape, that was his body responding, not his mind, and that was something he had no control over. He listened to the words, "it was not your fault," and he was relieved to find he somewhat believed them. Because he knew that one day, in time, he would believe that it was not his fault.  Shocked at the Elf-lord's next words, his head jerked up to stare at Elrond. There was no way the half-Elf said what Erestor thought he'd said. Elrond repeated his words. "You need to confront the Elf who raped you, Erestor."

"W-what," he stammered. "You can not be serious, Elrond. How in Arda can confronting Glo-," he broke off, horrified at what he had almost revealed!

Elrond's face was horror-struck. He knelt down and grasped Erestor tightly by the shoulders. "What did you just say, Erestor? Who was it?"  His grip became painful. "Who raped you, Erestor?"

Erestor stared down at Elrond. It was too late. Elrond had heard him. Erestor's answer, when it came, caused Elrond to let out an enraged roar.

"GLORFINDEL!"

To be continued...