Eye of the Beholder by Ezras Persian Kitty
Summary: Cryptic Nonsense and Mystic Bulls***.
Categories: FPS > Orophin/Erestor, FPS, FPS > Erestor/Orophin Characters: Erestor, Orophin
Type: None
Warning: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 2278 Read: 862 Published: September 10, 2012 Updated: September 10, 2012
Story Notes:
For TopKat.

1. Chapter 1 by Ezras Persian Kitty

Chapter 1 by Ezras Persian Kitty
When Elrond met Erestor for the first time, the Half-Elven confided to him something of a prophecy. "Erestor, I'm astounded by your eyes. You have a sight beyond light and shadow. You will see what others do not; you will see your future there."

Well, Erestor thought this to be particularly cryptic nonsense and immediately forgot it. Erestor never was one for 'mystic bullshit' he would tell Glorfindel on many an occasion when the blonde bull would cajole him into such ridiculous things as sťances, rituals, and all manner of pointless ceremonies.

Erestor didn't believe anything unless he saw it with his own eyes. Also, Erestor did not believe in love.

"It's as ephemeral as swamp gas," he would say.

"How romantic. But at least there IS swamp gas," Glorfindel would argue. "Love exists, Erestor, and it's neither as frail nor fleeting as you imagine."

Erestor would find that particular statement to be true, not that he would ever admit Glorfindel was right.

Erestor liked traveling. But not Lothlorien. There was something oppressive about the trees, something too closed off about the people. Galadriel frightened him, Celeborn was all together too quiet, and he invariably ran into Haldir, who was -- by far -- the most pig-headed, obnoxious, arrogant Elf he'd ever known, which was saying a lot considering that Erestor's closest friend WAS Glorfindel, who had quite a reputation of his own.

And although Erestor cared little for formal introductions and flaunting of power, he was at least amused by such shows, so when the little troupe of Imladrian guests was marched in a line up one side of the welcoming glade and their Lothlorien counterparts paraded down the other, he could smile to himself and roll his eyes at Lindir and stand perfectly still when he had to, and raise his voice to accept the welcome and yatta yatta yatta.

As the various counselors and other Important People made their Important Announcements, Erestor glared sideways at Glorfindel, who was beginning to fidget. "Stop that," he hissed out of the corner of his mouth.

Glorfindel glared, but made a more concerted effort to keep still.

Lacking any other form of entertainment, Erestor scanned the Lothlorien crowd opposing them. Galadriel's guards were out in great number. (That's how Erestor always thought of them.) There were counselors in abundance, not that Galadriel ever listened to them. Celeborn listened, Erestor conceded, not that it mattered. And oh, the diplomats. Erestor had barely enough diplomacy to handle House affairs; he was glad he'd never been asked to be an ambassador, even though this was officially a diplomatic visit. He was only there as a matter of official concern. He wasn't really supposed to do anything. He would oversee a few councils and even then, he wasn't supposed to say much; that was all for the ambassadors.

My, there is a very attractive Elf, he thought.

Shocked by his own off-track observation, Erestor momentarily blinked, feeling as though all thought processes had suddenly froze, as he looked across the glade at a finely formed being dressed all in Lorien gray with silver flaxen hair and wide gleaming eyes in a strongly defined face.

Erestor elbowed Glorfindel and nodded in the direction of his interest. "Who's that?" he hissed.

Glorfindel looked across the great divide. "Oh, don't you know Haldir?" Glorfindel whispered back.

"Oh I know Haldir, all right. I meant next to him."

"That's his brother Rumil--"

"No no, the other one."

"Uh, I think it's a relative . . . brother? Cousin? Something like that."

"Well, if you don't know him, I can't ask you to introduce me then."

"Why would you want to?" Glorfindel asked, eyeing the Galadhel's uniform. "He's just a sentry, and a low-ranking one at that."

"So what?" Erestor pestered. "I'll just have to introduce myself."

To Erestor's surprise, Glorfindel made no further comments, and -- indeed -- seemed to have forgotten their brief conversation all together.

It was a torment of frustration to wait until all the talking was done and they were freed from their obligations. (About damn time, too; they'd barely been allowed to dismount before they'd been accosted and summoned to the welcoming glade.) Voices were suddenly loud and rambunctious after having been so long silent. Almost immediately, there was music trilling through the air, and Erestor cut his way through the milling crowd.

Dreading what was coming, he hallooed a welcome. "Haldir! How are you?"

"Erestor?" Haldir was dumbfounded. He and Erestor had so little regard for one another that they'd nearly made a habit of ignoring one another. "I am well," he recovered. "And yourself?"

"Merry as a lark," Erestor grinned. "Tell me, who are your friends?"

"This is my brother, Rumil."

Rumil and Erestor bowed to one another. "I do believe we've met before, Counselor," Rumil observed. "Once. Maybe last century?"

"Sounds about right," Erestor agreed.

And then they were silent. The crowd around them laughed and buzzed, but the four Elves on the edge of it said nothing. Erestor looked at the unnamed Elf, half-cowering behind Haldir, wide eyes irreverently staring at Erestor.

Realizing that Haldir had finished, Erestor pushed, "And this?"

"Oh," Haldir turned around, as if having forgot anyone else was present. "My other brother, Orophin," he grunted.

Strange, Erestor thought. Very strange behavior. Even for Lorien Elves.

"Orophin, a pleasure to meet you." Erestor bowed again.

As though it was not something he was accustomed to, Orophin haltingly imitated him.

"I saw you across the glade," Erestor willingly confessed.

Orophin seemed surprised.

"And I wanted to meet you. Will you walk with me?"

To Erestor's frowning puzzlement, Orophin looked to Haldir, as though for permission.

Haldir and Rumil had been grumbling at one another, but Haldir then acknowledged Orophin's stare with a glare of his own. "Well? Go if you like. I'm not your keeper." Then he and Rumil whirled away with the flare of their short dress cloaks rippling behind them.

Orophin looked faintly terrified.

Erestor smiled, trying to put him at ease. "Your brother didn't introduce me. I am Erestor of Imladris, Chief Counselor to Elrond."

"I know," was Orophin's answer. He did not whisper, but his voice was low and quiet, the kind of voice Glorfindel used to talk to his horse.

"Yes," Erestor agreed. "My reputation is one that tends to precede me."

"I hear you are very good at what you do." Orophin's eyes were a gleaming, star-like pair of something mysterious that Erestor couldn't quite name, and those eyes looked into him.

"Well, that's refreshing," Erestor told him. "And are you very good at what you do, Orophin?"

"No one tells me so," Orophin said it as though it was an off-hand thing. "But I know I am."

Slightly uncertain, Erestor answered, "Well, that's something, I suppose."

"Can we go for that walk, now?" Orophin asked, honestly curious.

Realizing that they were the last of a thinning crowd in the green and gray glen, Erestor agreed at once.

"I am surprised that you noticed me," Orophin confided.

"Why is that?" Erestor curiously asked.

Erestor was letting the Lorien resident lead. Orophin was picking a careful path among the wide-trunked trees. No matter where they went, Erestor never saw anyone else in the forest. It was as though they alone wandered the ancient woodland.

Orophin thought a moment before offering his answer. "Ever since I can remember, people don't perceive me. I'd cry and cry as a child, and my parents barely noticed. I'd hit my brothers and they'd scarce offer me a look. I would try to play with other children, but they would forget I was even there. I would wander my home, our land here, and no one ever met my eyes. I watched the way they interacted with one another. I knew something was wrong with me, but I couldn't tell what. Well, my brothers had always said, 'In Lorien, life is a joke, and only Galadriel knows the punchline.' So on the day of my majority, which no one remembered, I went to Galadriel. She seemed to see me, the way most people don't. I explained my life, how no one really sees me."

They had come to a break in the trees, where a bit of a fire had once raged, and new growth was green and vibrant these thirty years later. Orophin led them to a fallen tree. It creaked a bit when they sat upon it.

"What did she say?" Erestor asked, intrigued.

"Do you know what fairies are?" Orophin countered.

"You mean the little pixies that put knots in my hair and pull down my books?"

"Yes, those sorts," Orophin easily agreed, as though every creature should be so familiar with the little sprites.

"I'm one of the few people who can see them," Erestor agreed. "Most, even Elves, have trouble recognizing the fair folk when they're about."

Orophin nodded. "As I know all too well. Galadriel said she couldn't say for sure, but that she guessed a fairy was present at my birth, or maybe even conception, that I was born a little out of phase with the rest of the world. Or maybe that when I was but a wee babe, the fairies liked to play with me. As such a young age, I was impressionable and so easily believed in the fantastic that the more attention I paid the fair folk, the less attention other people paid to me."

"And that's the way your whole life has been?" Erestor quietly asked, feeling deeply for someone so alone.

"Except for Galadriel. And you." As though this was nothing profound, he went on, "Galadriel has been very good to me. She would take me on walks through our land, show me things, tell me things. She explained that I would make an excellent guardsman because orcs and other enemies wouldn't be likely to see me. So that's what I became."

"And do you like it?" Erestor gently asked.

"It has its appeal," Orophin supposed. Then, he laughed.

Erestor watched that handsome face alight with gladness, eyes reflecting the whole world. That's what it was, Erestor realized. Orophin's eyes were like mirrors. They didn't even have a color that Erestor could pin down. "What's so funny?" he enquired.

"I can't remember the last time I had a conversation!" Orophin confessed, again as though it were an everyday statement. "This is amazing! We both think things, and we portray those thoughts in words, and we can agree or disagree and argue our cases like real people!"

"We are real people," Erestor pointed out, a fond smile tugging at his lips.

"But we're NOT!" Orophin argued. "We see fairies! You see me! REALLY see me! This is wonderful!"

Then Orophin quieted. He pulled his legs up beneath him to sit in a tangled clump of arms and legs upon the dead tree. He frowned deeply, glimmering eyes growing dark.

"What's wrong?" Erestor asked him.

"You are soon to leave my home."

Erestor slowly queried, "Must Lorien always be your home?"

Orophin looked up, eyes wide. "Are you . . . Is that an offer?"

"A suggestion," Erestor corrected. "When I go back to Imladris, come with me. You would be more than welcome. I can set you up anywhere you like. Many of our guardsmen live in huts along the river. There are even a few from Lorien who have built their own telain in the eastern wood. Or you could have quarters near my own, in the north wing of the house. But I understand how difficult it can be to leave a home. It is a difficult decision to make."

"Not for me," Orophin decided. "I will come to Imladris. With someone who sees me."

Erestor nodded. "Maybe being away from this forest will affect your place in the world. There is more magic in one mallorn than in the entire Homely House."

"If I wasn't convinced before, I am now," Orophin laughingly told him. "I will go to Imladris. You aren't worried that I'll become dependent upon you?"

"You can force yourself to be seen and heard, can't you?"

"Yes, but I don't like to," Orophin said. "It's uncomfortable. It doesn't feel natural." He paused, and seemed to grow quite sad. "I've been alone a long time."

"But no longer," Erestor tried to cheer him. "You'll be with me."

"I don't want to disrupt your life," Orophin pleaded. "You have a huge career to maintain, and aren't you and Glorfindel . . ."

Erestor laughed, a deep-bellied guffaw. "Not that old rumor! Oh no! Not at all! You should see how awfully we get along as it is; he's a dear friend, in a way, but I couldn't imagine attempting to share anything else with the oaf."

"Ah. Good. I mean," he cleared his throat. "I could very well fall in love with you, you realize?" Orophin informed him, completely serious. "I think I'm halfway there already."

It was one of those rare moments in Erestor's life when a revelation left him speechless.

"You really shouldn't be surprised," Orophin went on, just a little nervous. "A stranger swoops down upon me, wanting to know my name. You're the only one who's ever asked my name. Suddenly there's a presence in my life who seems to care about me. Love, for someone like me who so desperately craves it, is only a step away."

"Well," Erestor finally spoke, "don't be afraid to take that step. That's all I'll say for now."

They looked at one another.

"Would you like some tea?" Orophin asked, gently leaping to the ground.

"Yes rather," Erestor agreed.
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