It was raised voices, the slamming of a door, and a voice crying, "Ada!" that pulled Gil-galad from slumber. His hand unconsciously moved across the expanse of bed, but instead of warm flesh, all he encountered was cold sheets. Gil-galad rose groggily on one arm and looked to the door as it opened and Elrond returned to the room. The Peredhel looked upset, and a fierce frown was upon his brow.
"Was that Arwen I heard yelling?" Gil-galad asked voice still husky and rough with sleep.
Elrond sat beside Ereinion on the side of his bed. "Ah, she is angry with me."
Gil-galad placed a hand upon Elrondís tense back, ignoring the slight jump the half-Elf made at his touch. *They still had much to do to return them to the comfort they once felt in each otherís presence*. "What is she angry about?" Gil-galad asked.
Elrond sighed. "She resents and blames me for Estelís decision to seek out his kin in the North," Elrond moved away from Gil-galadís touch. He did not see the flash of hurt in Gil-galadís eyes as he moved to a small table and poured himself a glass of juice.
Gil-galad rose and swung his legs to the floor. He dragged the sheet to cover his nude lower body. "Does she have grounds?" he asked simply, knowing too well Elrondís need to manipulate his love onesí lives for what he perceived as the greater good. Elrond, Gil-galad knew, did not do this out of malice or any need for control, but the half-Elf felt strongly that he knew what was best for his loved onesí and had no plans to ignore the means at his disposal to accomplish those goals.
Elrond glared at Ereinion, ignoring the flash of heat that rose in his loins, at the vision Ereinion made, sitting nude, draped only in a bed sheet. "No!" he snapped. "I had nothing to do with Estelís desire to leave Imladris."
"But you have in the past?" Gil-galad asked. Elrond looked guilty, and Gil-galad had his answer. "Why?" he asked simply, knowing that Elrond would understand what he was asking.
The look on Elrondís face went from anger and irritation to heart-rending sadness. The emotion on the half-Elfís face cause tears to prickle in Gil-galadís eyes.
"I know what you would say. That it is the Oneís will, and the Valarís design. That a father should accept that his only daughter has found true love... nay, that the father should rejoice in that! But tell me, Ereinion, how can any father not fight with every fiber in his being to halt that love, when it will cost him his daughter? Indeed, when that love would cost her very immortality? So yes, I have schemed and interfered. I cannot sit idly by and accept this latest plan of the Valar as I have all the other fates they have tossed at my family. I would regret it for eternity if I did not at least try and keep my Arwen with me." By the time he finished speaking, Elrondís face was wet with tears.
Gil-galad rose and wrapped the sheet about his waist. He approached Elrond tentatively, not sure if the Peredhel would accept his comfort. But Elrond did allow himself to be drawn into Gil-galadís strong arms and held tightly. Gil-galad knew that Elrondís gift of foresight had shown that the Evenstar of their people would be joined to the King of Men, that Elrondís blood would once more enrich the lines of the Kings of the West. All Elves had some endowment of foresight, but none to the extent that Elrond and Galadriel possessed.
Should foresight be called gift? Gil-galad did not truly believe so. He had suffered nightmares of his own death weeks before the actual event, and he did not possess even close to the full powers of Elrond. The Ring of Air, Gil-galad knew, enhanced Elrondís natural abilities, and this sent a stab of guilt through Gil-galad. He had burdened the half-Elf with more than just his death. He could argue with Elrond about the futility of fighting against fate, but that would accomplish nothing. Elrond would do what he felt he must. All Gil-galad could do was what the Valar had wanted, and that was to be here, to offer his love, his comfort, and support to Elrond.
Elrond pulled back gently, giving Ereinion a small smile of thanks, embarrassed by his show of emotion. Wordlessly he moved to the wardrobe and pulled clean robes and leggings from within. Anxious to change the subject, he said, "The day is mostly gone. It amazes me that none have intruded." Elrond pulled out a thick crimson robe and handed it to Ereinion.
Gil-galad showed none of his earlier restraint; instead, he flung the sheet back onto the bed and pulled the robe about his body, smiling to himself as his bare form captured Elrondís attention. He indicated the tray Elrond had earlier obtained the juice from. "This speaks of Erestorís fine hand, I imagine, and none would dare disturb his Lord and face Erestorís wrath." Gil-galad moved to the table and took a seat awaiting Elrond so they could share the bounty on the tray.
Elrond shook himself; the sight of Ereinionís body had wiped away all thought but those of the morning and what had occurred between them. "Yes, it seems that Erestor has assured us some privacy this morn," he moved to take a seat across from Ereinion, and once more the air between them became tense and uncomfortable.
Gil-galad cleared his throat and accepted the cup of tea Elrond handed him. "I have noticed that your Seneschal seems not to fear Erestor. Indeed, Glorfindel appears to hold the Advisor in high esteem and seeks to court him."
Elrond laughed and flashed Ereinion a grin. "Ah, it has been quite amusing to watch such a courtship. Erestor has led Glorfindel about for months now, but he will not commit to the Seneschal until Glorfindel ceases his philandering ways. Glorfindel does not even realize what Erestor is about. My money would be on my Chief Councilor."
The laughter eased the tension between them, and their talk became more light-hearted. Gil-galad went on to tell Elrond that he had agreed to assist Glorfindel with training and even take a turn or two at patrols. "Unless you also, Elrond, would like to put me to work?" Gil-galad asked, ignoring Elrondís brief frown at the news he would be leading patrols soon. Elrond would have to accustom himself to Gil-galadís new role on Arda. He might not be a King of Elves any longer, but Gil-galad was still a warrior and he could help defend his land and loved ones.
Elrond looked thoughtful for several moments, and then he pushed his plate aside and regarded Ereinion silently for several minutes. "Ereinion, well do I remember when our thoughts would turn fanciful in the days of old, and we would discuss our choices if given a second chance to do what we desired instead of what duty thrust upon us. So I ask you, Ereinion, what would you like to do in this day and Age, in your second chance?" Elrond smiled at the look of surprise dawning on Ereinionís features.
Gil-galad laughed and bestowed a brilliant smile upon his love. He grew thoughtful, but quickly a light appeared in his eyes. "Metals," he said, and his grin grew. "I would like to work in the forges and create with tools and, my hands. That is what I would do, Elrond!"
Ereinionís joy and excitement were contagious and the rest of their meal was spent discussing what Ereinion wanted to create. Cleaning and refreshing themselves was also carried out still in light-hearted conversation, and only at the door to Elrondís room did unease grip them once more. After they exchanged nervous smiles, Elrond finally reached out for one of Ereinionís hands and placed a gentle kiss on it. "I will see you at the evening meal?" he asked.
Gil-galad nodded and leaned down for a slow careful kiss. He brushed his lips softly over Elrondís, feeling the trembling in the Peredhelís lips. "And then we can come back here, to bed, together?" Gil-galad asked.
Elrond could only nod. Already his body reacted to the promises in Ereinionís voice. He watched that broad back as Ereinion headed towards the barracks, before he too left and headed towards his neglected office. Elrond was unable to suppress the fanciful sigh that left his lips or the slightly naughty smile that followed.
Gil-galad was watching two of the young recruitís spar, when his attention was caught by the twinsí activities across the training yard. The pair, for all appearances, was engaged in their own sparring, but it was their manner that gave Gil-galad pause. Their efforts with swords were half-hearted, with frequent smiles and smirks at each other. But it was the touching that was most revealing: a brush of an arm or hand across the chest, legs intimately pressed together as they thrust and parried, the telltale flush across high cheekbones as the two exchanged whispers. Gil-galad had seen the signs before, though not as far progressed as the twinsí actions, but the emotions were similar.
Gil-galad was taken back to a scene in Lindon Ages ago. Elros and Elrond were sparring together when suddenly Elros had thrown down his sword practically ran from the field, leaving his twin staring after him in confusion. Gil-galad had watched the match and had recognized Elrosí reaction for what it was... sexual attraction. Elrond had never realized the feelings his twin had for him. He had been oblivious to Elrosí struggle with emotions that were not brotherly. Gil-galad had suffered along with Elrond when Elros had chosen the path of Men, and had seen the desolation Elrond had felt, made all the worse for not understanding why Elros had chosen that fate.
Elladan and Elrohir had finished their exercise and were headed back towards the Halls. The touches were subtle, but to one who had seen the signs before, they were telling. Gil-galad could almost feel their arousal and hunger for each other on the air. Now, seeing this new pair of Peredhel twins, he could not but think that their love was the way it should be.
Gil-galad dismissed the young warriors and as he gathered together the weapons, his thoughts turned to the Valar. Had they known of the twinsí relationship was that their reason for wanting intervention and counseling by Gil-galad? If that was their design, they were going to be very disappointed, he speculated. Perhaps someone who had no knowledge of twins and their special closeness could find wrong in their love. But, Gil-galad had spent much time around Elros and Elrond and had seen first-hand the bond between twins. He could not find it in his heart to denounce Elladan and Elrohir.
Gil-galad shook his head. He did not truly believe that the Valar disapproved of Elladan and Elrohirís love for one another. They would not have placed such importance on the twinsí choice, if that were the case. Their words to Gil-galad had been more to the effect that they wished the pair to make the choice of the Eldar, not that of mortality. Surely, if the Valar planned on denouncing the brethren, it would please them if the pair stayed on Arda? To convince the twins to be counted among the Eldar has been a condition of his return, and now Gil-galad knew why the twins were conflicted about their choice. How to approach them with this knowledge was what Gil-galad needed to figure out.
To be continued...