Alagos Adu by BJ Malata
Summary: The twins of Imladris learn a lesson in good behaviour.
Categories: FPS, FPS > Erestor/Glorfindel, FPS > Glorfindel/Erestor Characters: Erestor, Glorfindel
Type: None
Warning: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 4 Completed: No Word count: 11617 Read: 12786 Published: March 16, 2009 Updated: March 16, 2009
Story Notes:
Series: Alagos adu. Best order to read them: Yanking practice, Waterplay, Catching a cold, Riding lessons, Visits
Betaed by Rawly, thank you!

1. Yanking practice by BJ Malata

2. Waterplay by BJ Malata

3. Catching a cold by BJ Malata

4. Riding lessons by BJ Malata

Yanking practice by BJ Malata
It has been two years since the twins were born. Recently they have managed to make a big step in their development. They rose and walked. Having terrorised their surroundings while still toddlers, now they were really dangerous.

I was standing around innocently when suddenly a sharp pain made me jump. Surprised I looked down and found Elladan standing beside me, hitting my leg with a spoon. Nice, yes, I really love the children.

A careful kick sent Elladan to his diaper-protected butt. First he looked up at me in total shock, wide blue eyes staring, plush lips gaping.

"Elladan! Do you want to be hit? Do you want to be hurt? No? So do I. Stop attacking me, it's not nice!"

Immediately a wall-shaking scream alerted the whole Homely House, especially the blond guardian angel, who instantaneously came over to the living room. "Elly! What's wrong?"

Cute little Elly promptly ran to his saviour, let himself be lifted to the broad chest and pointed angrily at me, effectively wiping away his tears with the other stubby hand. "He hurt!"

I received a dismayed blue glare. "You have hurt him?" asked Glorfindel threateningly.

I sighed. "He forgot to mention that he attacked me with a spoon."

"Hurt! Hurt!" screeched Elladan.

"Yes, you hurt me!" I snarled, angry about this nonchalant usage of his saviour against me. You should never let children get away with such things, they only grow worse and worse! But guardian angel Glorfindel hugged the pretty little one tight, petting him and pampering. "Hush, Elly, hush. It's alright now. He won't hurt you again."

I was ready to burst. Glorfindel pretended I was a danger for the children! I loved them just as much as he did, and that's why I don't let them get away with these things!

Cursed poor innocent Elly stuck his tongue out to me from Glorfindels' broad shoulder. Yes, there you feel safe, right? There you can hide and he doesn't notice that he spoils you into brutal little brats. Damn, raising children is really hard sometimes.

I was working in the study when Celebrian went to Elrond with the twins. They passed me and Celebrian smiled at me in greeting. I smiled back and promptly received another stuck out tongue from Elladan, unnoticed by his mother. Oh how I loved him.

Whilst Celebrian was in Elronds' study, eventually the door opened slowly and a little elfling padded inside with insecure steps. Elrohir looked up at me with wide eyes. I smiled and stretched out my arms. He giggled happily when I lifted him to my lap. And observed curiously what I did on my desk.

"Da! Da!" He wanted to grab the quill, imitating my behaviour. But I couldn't allow that. Ink is poisonous and a quill sharp.

"Sorry, little one, I can't give you that." I looked around in the study for something for him to play with. I knew children loved to imitate the adults. So I found him a thick paper and a pencil, which I rubbed blunt before I gave it to him. "Here, look! You can write, too!" I encouraged him to take the pencil. He grabbed it with his fist and scribbled at the paper.

Whilst he was well-occupied with that, Celebrian left Elronds' study with Elladan on her arm and smiled at me again. "Ah, already educating a helper for your work?"

I looked at the wild scribbling on the paper and laughed. "Yes, he'll definitely be of much help for us one day."

"Come with me, Elrohir?"

"No! Work!" Elrohir beamed with joy.

Celebrian chuckled. "Can I leave him here a bit?"

"Yes of course." I said, gently rubbing Elrohir's back. So his nana left and I resumed writing my letter to the wool-traders of Gondor. Elrohir paused for a moment and looked at my hand, securely writing even rows of Tengwar with the black ink.

Suddenly he leaned forward without warning and scrabbled at the letter with his pencil, shrieking: "Work! Work!"

I should have known it. Suppressing a groan I left the letter to him and began a new one, this time placing it so far away from him that he couldn't reach it with his short arms. But he seemingly grew bored by his work, because suddenly he looked up at me, then drew back and rammed the pencil into my thigh.

"Ai! Little bastard, what are you thinking?" I wrenched the pencil from his hand and poked his thigh, too, careful not to injure him but causing pain nonetheless.

He wailed.

"So you don't want this? Then why do you do it to me?" I asked sternly and shoved him from my lap, placing the screeching child on the floor. He rubbed his thigh and wept heartbreakingly. But I stayed firm. I don't surrender to children's tears. They simply use them too often for their very egoistic purposes. And I was not willing to let myself be punched and poked and hair-wrenched only because they would cry when you punish them. They had to learn that it was not right to hurt other elves. When they needed to learn that the hard way, then they should get it. Therefore I ignored him even when he cried louder to gain my attention and only hoped that Elrond wouldn't mess up the educational measure by busting in and "securing" his son from me.

But oh Valar be blessed, he didn't. And eventually the wailing stopped and I looked down to Elrohir, who now stood there, insecurely looking up at me.

"Have you thought about it? Will you hurt me again?" He hung his head. Finally my heart softened. I smiled. "Have you understood this? Don't hurt others and they won't hurt you. Alright?"

He nodded and stretched out his chubby arms, signalling for me to lift him up. And I did, gathering him to my chest and stroking him lovingly. "Alright, Elrohir. I'm sorry I poked you, but I think you needed to understand what you cause by ramming pencils into me."

"Sorry" he muttered quite prettily and stroked my thigh for emphasising his will to be nice.

I smiled and kissed his dark head. "Love you."

He smiled up to me and stroked my chest, never ceasing to prove his good will. "Love too!" Pretty little one. I only hoped this would last.

Finally Elrond appeared in the doorframe. "Everything alright?"

He received a simultaneous smile from his chief advisor and his younger son. "Yes, everything fine."

From then on Elrohir often stayed with me in the study. But it was difficult to find him something to play with. One always has to jump and say: "No! Leave that!" because nearly everything is dangerous for the child or visa versa. Ink, books and scrolls simply are not to be played with. So I thought hard what I could give Elrohir. I could guess it must be most frustrating when you may not touch anything and I didn't want to quench the interest he had in the study. Therefore I went to the tailors one day and fetched soft leather. I cut pages from it to make a soft and stabile book completely made of leather. Using fruits and berries I mixed edible colours.

I winced when I suddenly felt Elrond behind me, watching me whilst I painted a simple horse on one page. A pretty blush covered my face. Yes, I knew I was on duty and in the study...

"What is this?" asked my Lord with an amused smile.

"It's a book for Elrohir. He want's to "work" in the study, but there is nothing I could give him. He rips every book into pieces. His mind's simply not yet ready for such delicate things. So I made a book of soft leather he can't rip."

Elrond smiled warmly. "That's a very good idea! He'll love it."

I hoped so, too. After filling the pages with nice, simple pictures I placed the book in a drawer of my desk. And when Elrohir came to me that afternoon, I greeted him cheerfully, lifting him to my lap like I always did. "I have something for you, El!" I said and he looked up at me curiously. I opened the drawer and pulled out the book. "A book for you." He watched it with wide eyes but didn't reach out. So I placed it on the desk and opened it. "Look, a horse!" I tried to encourage him. He twisted and looked up to me.

"My book?, he asked.

I nodded. "Yes, yours. I give it to you."

I was rewarded with a beaming smile. "My book! Ellohies book!"

"Yes, Elrohir's book."

Now he eagerly flipped the pages. "Oh! Flower!"

"Yes, right! Very good. And what's that?"

"Dunno."

"A butterfly." He impatiently turned the pages. Elrohir isn't very quick with speech, and he didn't know the most things in the book and grew a bit frustrated. But then we came to a page were I had drawn a feather. His eyes lit up and he stretched out to point at the quill on my desk with his short fingers. "Da!"

"Yes! Right. That's a feather."

"No!"

"No?"

"No, da!" He vehemently pointed. "Da!"

"Yes, it's that." I took the quill and placed it beside the drawn feather to show him it was similar.

"Da!"

"Yes, feather."

"No!"

I was confused. Why not? "What do you mean, little one? Isn't that a feather?"

"Fesa?" He pouted and his eyes swam. Oh what have I done wrong this time?

"Yes, a feather. Or a quill."

Suddenly his eyes beamed. "Quill! Quill, right!"

"Ah! I'm sorry. Yes, you're right. It's a quill, too."

I sighed. Sometimes it's really hard to please little children. It's so difficult to understand them and prevent disappointing them.

The next morning when Elrond came to the study, he greeted me friendly. "Good morning, Erestor. Already at work?"

Yes, I had to be. By spending so much time with Elrohir I had neglected my "real" work and had to make up for it. "I have plenty to do."

"Right. You have." He laughed. "For example you have to make another children's book. Or Ell and El will soon kill each other for the one they have."

"The one Elrohir has. I gave it to him. Don't encourage them to share it in this case! I wanted to reward Elrohir for his interest in the study. Elladan didn't show such and so he won't get a book either."

My Lord sighed. "Well. Oh Valar, I haven't thought it so difficult to bring up children. I still ask myself if Elros and I were tiring like them at times."

I smiled. "They have to be. They wouldn't be children otherwise."

They wouldn't be children if they hadn't fought for the book. And when we were in the living room, Glorfindel and I baby-sitting the two for Celebrian and Elrond needed some time off, I had a hard time with them again. And with Glorfindel. I sometimes hate him as much as I secretly love him.

Elladan was quicker and as we already know more brutal than Elrohir. He had wrenched the book from his little brother's hands within seconds, running off and to Glorfindel with it, quickly hiding on the blonde's lap. I saw the devious grin on him while little Elrohir helplessly wept, dancing around Glorfindel and not daring to approach him. So it was up to me again.

"Glorfindel, please, give me the book."

"Why?"

"It belongs to Elrohir. Elladan has no right to steal it from him." Elladan furiously stuck his tongue out at me. He had even begun to make sound as he did that. Really pretty, yes, very lovely.

"Mine!" he said and pressed the book to his chest.

"It is not" I sneered dangerously. "I made it and I gave it to Elrohir. Now give it back!" But with huge, warm Glorfindel in his back there was nothing that could intimidate Elladan.

"Erestor, leave it, it is child's play," argued the seneschal. Bah. I can tell real and useful tears apart. And I saw how real the tears of my poor little Elrohir were now. He had stopped trying to influence and blackmail me with his tears since the incident with the pencil, realising they didn't work with me.

I rose and stepped up to Glorfindel. Holding out my hand to Elladan I growled: "Give me the book!" The dangerous little brat promptly bit me.

"Ai! Bastard!" I snapped.

Glorfindel quickly rose to rescue his sweetling from sinister Erestor's unfair wrath. "Erestor! It's a child! You are scaring him!"

Yes, I saw how horribly I scared the little monster when it stuck out his tongue again, giving me a proud grin. "I have won!" it told me, "You can't harm me!"

You'll see. I was on Glorfindel and had him down with a knee-hook within a second, wrenching the child from him and immediately kneeling on his back to keep the warrior down. Elladan looked at me in open horror. "And now?" I asked levelly. "What will you do now without your big saviour? Elladan, stop relying on him You can't always run to Glorfindel for rescue. You have to stand for your own actions. Now give me that book." A few seconds' hesitance, a cold black glare from my side and the child whiningly gave the desired object to me.

"Fine!" I said, "Thank you. That's very nice." I smiled and put him down. As soon as I rose Glorfindel immediately turned, looking bewilderedly at me. I smiled quizzically at him, too, and turned to Elrohir. "Now, here you have your book back. Don't let Elladan anger you with it. If he takes it again, simply ignore him. He's only envious." I gathered him in my lap and he clutched the book to his chest, smiling gratefully. I petted him and we began "reading" the book as if nothing had happened before. But when we finally brought the twins to bed, Elrohir going to sleep with his beloved book in his arms, Glorfindel grabbed me by the shoulder in the living room, angrily glaring at me.

"Erestor, you can't do this! They are children! You have to let them play!"

"You're blind, Glorfindel. They don't play. They fight. Fight for dominance, for attention and their place in the world. They are much less harmless than you think. Elladan plays you off against me! Have you never realised how he subtly uses you for his purposes? Stop believing they are witless! They are our Lord's children, and children don't use their wit for good things from the beginning. They have to be taught what's good and what is not. So kindly stop pampering Elladan when he does something obviously wrong. I even saw you patiently suffering him yanking your hair out. Why do you let him do this? You spoil him."

"Nonsense. Children need comfort."

"Children need limits."

He shook his head.

I sighed. We would never come to an agreement in this.

Funny, funny. The next day it was Elladan who sought me out in the study. He looked up at me with big eyes. I smiled. Now, what was he up to? He observed me for a while. Then he stretched out his arms. Alright. I lifted him to my lap. He did nothing else, so I returned to writing reports. He looked up to me. "Want book. Please."

Pretty. "You want a book like Elrohir has?"

"Yes."

"Alright. You kindly asked me, so I will make you one. But I will need some time for it. I have to prepare it first. Alright?"

"Right."

I felt he was watching me closely whilst I wrote. His little mind was obviously working hard. So what was troubling him now? Suddenly he rose to his feet, grabbed a strand of my hair and yanked at it.

"Aiii! Off of me, brat, how do you always come to such things?" I grabbed his collar and yanked at a strand of his soft, dark hair too, making him screech, and put him down to the floor. I shook my head angrily. "Now, do you think I like that? No! Remember that for the rest of your life, I don't like to be hit, bitten or yanked at, understood? What do you think you're doing? Now leave me!"

He had stopped screeching and looked up at me, fuming. No, little beast, I won't pat you saying "Nice little one" whilst you rip my hair out. Go to Glorfindel for that. I childishly stuck my tongue out at him. He fumed even more and stuck back. But he didn't leave. His mind was still working. Suddenly he stepped up to me stretching his arms out again. But I only raised an eyebrow and turned away. No, you won't have it that easy, little Elly. He promptly broke out into tears. Unfortunately he's quart human and in opposite to elven children he can be really loud. I stayed strict anyway. But to my horror the door to Elrond's study opened and my Lord came in, arching a questioning eyebrow at me. I furiously shook my head and mouthed words at him. "Don't interfere! He tries me!" Elrond sighed and walked over to a shelf, taking a scroll with him and leaving again without paying attention to his wailing son, who only wailed louder for that. Yet thank the Valar, Elrond ignored him. At least he understood.

Only minutes later Elladan stopped whooping. Probably because he was running out of breath. For some more minutes he was silent. Then he came back to me and when I looked down at him the defiant glare was gone and he was all big pleading blue eyes, shimmering with tears.

He held up his little hands. "Sorry! Please?"

I chuckled. "Ah, becoming reasonable, uh?"

As soon as I had lifted him up he clasped at my robes, huddling against my chest. "Sorry, sorry!" he sobbed, "Won't hurt again, promise! Please?"

I smiled. "Alright. I forgive you. But stay true to your word! One more yank or whatever and I won't be so quick to forgive anymore!" He nodded frantically and stroked the abused lock of black hair on my shoulder. I smiled to myself when he huddled into my embrace, seeking comfort. And I gave, lovingly stroking his back and kissing his forehead. Now I had a reason to be good with him. And hopefully he would learn from this experience.

In the next morning I began the second book. I had cut the pages and just stitched them together when Elrohir came with Celebrian.

"He wants to see you" explained the Lady. I welcomed him in my lap. "I will care for him."

"Thank you. I have just taken Elladan to Glorfindel and will hopefully enjoy a quiet hour now. But don't hesitate to send him back to me when he disturbs you." Now, children never disturb. It may only be that the surroundings are not right for them.

I simply said: "He won't." She shortly visited Elrond and then left.

"What's that?" asked Elrohir and curiously opened the new book, finding it empty.

"Elladan came to me yesterday," I explained, "And promised me to behave. Did he try to take the book from you again?"

"No."

"Very good. So he was kind, like you, and deserves a book now, too, don't you think?"

Pure Elrohir nodded happily. He always shared with his brother whilst Elladan tended to snatch things away from his twin. I have never seen Elrohir envying Elladan anything.

"What shall be in the book?" I asked. "Do you have an idea?"

"Yes! Quill!"

I laughed. He was pretty proud about learning that word. "Alright, a quill then. What do you want to do? Draw?"

"Yes."

So I placed him on the floor, giving him a paper and the pencil. "Will you draw me a circle?" I asked to prevent boredom.

He nodded and eagerly began drawing. So did I, painting another feather into the second book.

Soon I felt Elrohir tugging at my robe. "Finish!"

I looked at his paper and smiled. It was more of a shaky egg, but still he had known what a circle was. "Very good. Do you want to draw a flower?"

"Yes."

"You can draw a flower like this. Draw many circles around the one in the middle. See?"

"Yes."

And he went to "work".

I could finish a flower for myself before he waved the paper at me. "Flower! Finish!"

I praised his artwork sufficiently and then offered him colours to paint it. He eagerly made the middle bright yellow and than painted the petals in all colours of the rainbow.

While he was well occupied with that I quickly finished more pages. When I looked down to him he had even added a kind of leaves and stalk and his eyes beamed with joy. How easy it is to make a child happy. It always refreshed my heart.

When he declared he had finished his artwork, he crawled back on my lap and watched me patiently whilst I painted. With every page I asked him if he had a new idea and he came up with a fish, a pillow and a spoon. Sometimes we paused to cuddle and play and my heart filled with equal joy when he giggled and screeched with excitement when I hauled him upwards and held him in the air.

And when Elrond came out from his study to fetch me for the dinner, he found me awkwardly working with one hand, whilst the other held and stroked the tiny child settled on my chest. He smiled warmly. "I'm glad I have you and Glorfindel for my help and for them."

Right. You can be lucky to have me, because your children would have been brutal sadists otherwise someday.

But now they were nice and tender, at least with me.

Elladan was very happy and covered me with kisses when I gave him his book, and I "read" it together with him and Elrohir. Later in the evening our "family" gathered in Elrond's living room. Elrohir stayed with me whilst Elladan jumped on Glorfindel and quickly went back to poking and yanking. I sniggered to myself. There you have it, golden angel. Because as soon as Elladan came back to me to reread the book, he was all well-behaving and loving again. Glorfindel realised that and eyed me quizzically. And finally, when Celebrian and Elrond had brought the twins to bed, he asked: "What has happened between you and him?"

"I was stern with him. He came to me yesterday and suddenly yanked at my hair. I immediately punished him with scolding and put him off of me and didn't react to his screaming, either. Yes, thank you my Lord for your co-operation. Finally he saw he didn't get anywhere with his blackmail with me and asked for forgiveness. Of course I gave him and comforted him then, afterwards, as a reward for his good behaviour, and Tada, he learned. They are not stupid, Glorfindel, remember that. They are cunning and tricky. So stop treating them as if they were the most innocent and lovely children in the world."

Glorfindel snorted critically. But Elrond smiled with understanding.

End
Waterplay by BJ Malata
Author's Notes:
Summary: The twins of Imladris learn another lesson. A bit more is revealed about Erestor.
Screeching and jumping the twins returned from the gardens with their nanny Glorfindel in tow. They stormed into my Lord's living room whilst I was urging him to go to a meeting with Gandalf the grey. The wizard had come to Imladris just this morning and wanted to see the Lord. Elrond was just leaving when the twins stormed in, leafs in their hair, their clothing dirty and their faces stained. I looked down at them, then over at Glorfindel. "Nice work," I said sarcastically.

But the blond beauty of Gondolin only smiled. "They're children, Erestor. We should not restrain them. They want to play freely, without thinking of avoiding mud or soil."

"What we really should do is bathing them, I think," I said and wrinkled my nose.

"Excellent idea. Come, little ones. Off into the bathroom with you. Will you prepare the tub, Erestor? I will fetch fresh clothes." And off he went without even giving me the chance to decline. I sighed. Well, alright, I could spare half an hour and the twins were obviously very pleased by the thought of having a bath. So I followed them into the bathroom, turning on the tap as the twins stripped eagerly out of their clothes.

I filled the tub halfway and poured a nice foaming bathing oil into the warm water. The twins were now old enough to use the small bathroom stool and Elladan was already perched atop it when I finished. "Wait!", I said. "Not yet." Sitting on the edge of the tub I began picking at the clinging leaves, listening patiently to his grumblings as I combed his messy hair.

Then I washed his dirty hands and face with a washcloth before I allowed him in. "You don't want to bathe in dirty water, do you?" I asked whilst lowering the pouting twin into the warm water. Elrohir got the same treatment but didn't whine. I was actively involved in combing his dark mane when Glorfindel returned and was thankful for the distraction as I struggled not to gape.

He had stripped out of his doublet and shirt, leaving his torso bare. His swelling muscles were finely shaped and round, his skin tanned. The flat stomach had a deep cleft down to the navel, the dark nipples stood out from the cold and the golden hair framed him in long waves. Such beauty should be forbidden.

I steeled myself against the walking seduction and lowered Elrohir into the bathtub beside his brother.

"I'd take off that robe," said Glorfindel and it made me blush like an innocent elfling. Oh stupid warrior! There was nothing I could say, so I stayed silent on this subject but never tried to undress. Robes, wide and shapeless, were perfect to hide a sudden and unwelcome erection. Just like now.

"Will you manage on your own?" I asked Glorfindel. "After all, it was you who brought them back in such a state."

"I won't. It's impossible. You'll see. Celebrian once made the mistake to bathe them without help and swore she would never ever do it again." Just in that moment a fat portion of wet foam hit the side of my head. It dripped down and wetted my shoulder. Yes, fine, let me guess who that was. My well-behaving Elrohir or Glorfindel's ill-raised monster Elladan?

My cold glare caught the twins and both looked up at me with innocent eyes. Damn it, I always thought I knew elves. But these two were perfect in pretending. Not even I could discern which of them was trying to deceive me.

Though, I was rather sure the attack had been from Elladan, my conclusions were called into question when I observed my Elrohir scope a large dollop of foam and throw it at Glorfindel with enviable accuracy and a screech of joy. It hit Glorfindel's chest and dripped down to his navel, wetting his... Erestor! Do not think that way, it will only get you into more trouble!

I turned back to the children with the intent of scolding them. The lecture was effectively cut off when Glorfindel knelt down beside me, joining his laughter to theirs as he dipped his hands into the warm water and began returning the barrage of foam back at the squealing elfings.

They jumped in the tub with joy, attacking Glorfindel with water, foam and wet hands and soon he was just as wet as they were.

I stared at the scene in disbelief. It saddened me. Somewhere along the long road of my life I had lost the capability of being spontaneous and joyful. Simply doing things without thinking of the consequences. Without bothering if it suited me. And now I saw how easy it was for Glorfindel, playing big bad whale, sea monster, letting it "snow" on the twins and giggling and joking.

I couldn't change it. I turned and fled, leaving them to their merry play. Returning to the study, knowing Elrond was not there, I gloomily thought of my hopeless fate. I was much too aware of myself. Always calm and serene. How boring. I bit my lip. How I wished I could be charming and amusing like Glorfindel! But it was impossible for me. Too much thinking. Thinking about how I affect others, how they might react, how I do everything best. I simply was not a social being

Drowning in my work I hoped it would distract me from my depressive thoughts. But that horrible warrior didn't leave me alone. Later that day he showed up in my study, pretending he wanted to fetch a scroll, but I suspect he only did that to have a reason to come here. "Why did you suddenly leave?" he asked boldly.

"I had the impression you got along with them rather well alone."

"Well, alright, it worked. But still you could have helped."

"I had no time for it."

Glorfindel frowned and I feared he suspected that it had been a different reason that drove me away. Quickly averting my eyes to the reports I had been reading I showed him I didn't wish to continue this talk. And eventually he sighed and left. Why did he sigh? He seemed to be annoyed. But why? I didn't harm him, did I? I didn't know the answer to that question until much later, and much there was to come before that.

End.
Catching a cold by BJ Malata
Author's Notes:
The twins of Imladris learn another lesson and a bit more is revealed of the Lord of Imladris.
Betaed by Rawley, thank you!
It was early spring when I decided to have a walk. I left the study and went down the Bruinen. Many flowers were blossoming and the fresh and sweet smell of spring was in the air.

Soon I heard giggling and laughter, the crystal voices of my two beloved twins. I was a bit concerned and followed the voices down to the riverbank. Quickly I hid behind a tree when I realised what was going on. Oh, Glorfindel was with them! Their clothes were spread across the beach and they were romping around in the shallow water between the bank and the island in the middle of the northern Bruinen arm.

I barley kept myself from drooling. Glorfindel was nearly naked! He had undressed down to the loincloth, and that was now wet and clung to his body, displaying his taut ass... Closing my eyes I swallowed. Back to composure, Erestor, or do you want to risk being caught gaping? My glare wandered over the muscular form, admiring the sinewy movement, the tanned skin rippling over well-carved muscles. His hair was damp and glittered like a golden waterfall. So beautiful. So horribly beautiful.

Elladan's merry laughter pulled me out of my musings and I frowned. The twins were naked and wet all over. They played and frolicked around happily, but I was concerned. My concern for them even quenched my longing for Glorfindel and made me able to step out of my hiding spot without blushing fiercely like an elfling in his sight.

"Glorfindel?"

He turned towards me, unashamed of his nearly-nudity. "Erestor? What do you do outside? Are you ill?"

"Ha ha. Very funny." I crouched down and dipped my hand into the water.

"It doesn't bite," teased Glorfindel. "But I suggest you better take off your robes before joining us."

Now I had it, my cheeks grew hot with a blush with the mere thought of being with him in such a state. "No, I was thinking about something else," I stated, trying to sound cool despite my embarrassing blush. "It is still rather cold, Glorfindel. And the twins are not only much smaller than you, keeping less reserves of warmth in their little bodies, but they are quart human. Have you asked Elrond if he thinks it is not dangerous to let them bathe in the Bruinen at this time of the year?"

He prettily bit his lip with guilty conscience. "I'm afraid I didn't. Oh, I'm sorry, my little ones, but I suggest we better leave now and warm up again, alright?"

They pouted, but I nodded and with my supreme authority of the one who goes against them sometimes they obeyed and hopped out of the water. I used my robe to rub them dry, because Glorfindel hadn't even thought of taking a towel with them. Then I quickly dressed the two little ones.

When I looked up again I froze in shock. Glorfindel had taken off his loincloth, wringing the water from it and turning his glorious backside towards me. I only managed to rip my eyes off of him when the twins started to giggle. How embarrassing! I quickly rose and said: "I'll take them to the house now."

He turned to me and nodded, looking down at the toddlers and leaving me the opportunity to stare at his naked body. "I hope I haven't done you harm. Do what Erestor says, he'll know what's best for you." They nodded eagerly and I abruptly turned away and marched towards the Last Homely House.

I took the twins to Elrond's rooms where Celebrian was stitching together with her friend Curuhargam.

"My Lady," I bowed slightly. "I just caught the twins and Glorfindel bathing in the Bruinen. I wonder if that was a good idea, it is still very cold."

Celebrian rose and knelt down on the floor to hug her beloved children. "Oh, I'm afraid I don't know, are such things dangerous for humans? Then I suppose it is better to get you dry and warm again, isn't it? Thank you, Erestor, I will take care for them now." I bowed and left, returning to the study. But pictures of a certain mighty warrior without many clothes on stressed my mind, distracting me from my work.

When I happened upon Elrond, I asked him what he thought of the twins' risk of becoming ill. He seemed to think. "Until now they haven't shown signs of that. But we can't be sure. They have not been in close contact with humans yet and were probably not confronted with infective illnesses. We have kept other possibilities to catch some kind of sickness from them. It may be that they haven't been ill yet because they simply had no reason for it and not because they are immune. We'll have to see. I very much hope they inherited Celebrians immunity and not my weak human tendency to become ill."

We were not that lucky. That same evening the little ones began to sneeze and complain about headache and tickling noses. Glorfindel obviously felt very guilty and tried everything to make up for his carelessness. But no amount of hot honey tea helped, soon we had two whining feverish ill little twins.

Elrond and Celebrian carried them around in the living room, trying to soothe them. I realised too late that this was another mistake. "Elrond, give Elrohir to me. I will take care of him and you take care for yourself." I took the feverish mumbling child from his arms, and as soon as he had let go he turned and sneezed. I sighed and Celebrian bit her lip. There we had it, two ill children and an ill peredhel.

"Stupid me!" cursed Elrond. "I guess it doesn't matter any more... I can take them into my bed and Celebrian, you can sleep in their room. There you will have peace to sleep. I'll probably wake up myself with sneezing through-out the night anyway."

Glorfindel hung his head. "I'm horribly sorry. I really must have forgotten my mind somewhere."

"You couldn't know. Now please, stop musing. We'll survive", said Elrond.

Probably the night Elrond had was rather miserable. When I went to visit them in the morning, he was having a frugal breakfast with his children and wife and he looked rather horrible. His eyes were swollen and sleepy, his nose red and his skin covered with feverish sweat. The twins unhappily munched on slices of apple, complaining that it hurt in their throats when they swallowed. I took Elrohir onto my lap while Celebrian held Elladan and Elrond was occupied with blowing his nose every two minutes. Our poor Lord. I had once seen how he had become seriously ill with pneumonia, some decades ago, and Lindir and I had to fight for his life to keep him on Arda. That would hopefully not repeat itself now.

To prevent such a thing I tried my best to convince my Lord that he should rest and not come to the study. I succeeded, but that meant taking on Elronds responsibilities as well as my own; taking care of the study, the writing of messages, reading of reports and greeting of guests. ... The last one was always the worst for me. I was not naturally open and friendly and I was afraid the people meeting me instead of Elrond had not so good an impression of Imladris' ruler at first. I only hoped Elrond would manage to improve that impression later on.

After a full day of handling both duties I was pretty groggy when I visited my Lord and his children. To my horror I found Lindir here and Elrond was not in the living room. "My Lady," I bowed towards Celebrian. "Lindir. How is Elrond?"

"He is rather exhausted and retired an hour ago. He's in his sleeping chamber. I just checked on the little ones."

"And how are they?"

"Stable. Even better than Elrond. They are sleeping with Lord Glorfindel as a living hot-water bottle. I think they will be alright."

I sighed. "I hope so. Can I be of help somehow?"

Lindir smiled compassionately at me. "Take rest yourself, Erestor. That's the best way to help Elrond."

He probably was right.

In the next morning I nearly over-slept in. That hardly ever happened to me. I cursed and jumped out of bed when I realised sun had long since risen when I woke. I took a quick cold shower, dressed in my favourite black velvet robe and hurried off. A quick check visit to my Lord's chambers told me that I could not count on his help for the day. He had developed an ugly fever and Celebrian was fussing over him while Glorfindel had all hands full with the whimpering twins. Well, he deserved it. Therefore my day consisted of work, work and more work again, not even leaving me time to eat properly. Yes, Elrond was an eager worker, just like me. We both did everything we could, always nearly touching our limits. And that meant it was impossible for one of us to make the work of both without breaking them.

I slumped into the plush chair when I paid my visit to the Lord's family this evening. My Lord came from the sleeping room with a blanket around his shoulders. He still looked very ill. His hair was loose, something you seldom saw on him, his eyes dazed and now he was coughing every two minutes. Valar it must be horrible to be human! To feel so miserable so many times in their short lives! Our Lord was at least half elven, meaning he did not become ill easily, but humans must have a bad time with their flues and colds.

"Elrond? Are you any better at all?"

"It changes," he sniffed, "First I couldn't breath due to my nose, now I can't because I get coughing fits from it. Not exactly better, but it will be over soon. Don't make such a face!"

I hadn't even realised that my shock was plainly visible in my features.

"I'll be back. Don't work too hard until then, do you hear me? Get yourself help. You don't have to manage that alone."

Nobody knew our study as I did, every other elf would only be in the way, but to reassure and keep him from worrying, I nodded. Suddenly a small form burst out of the sleeping room and I soon found Elrohir climbing onto my lap. "Ehestoa!" He sneezed. "Hello!"

"Hello my little one." I cuddled him to my chest. He gratefully savoured my body heat.

"My pretty one. I hope you're feeling better?"

"Bit. Not that head anymore."

"Not hot or no headache?"

"Both."

"Ah. Very good. Would you please use a handkerchief to blow your nose and not my robe?"

"Sorry."

I helped him to blow his nose. Then he quickly fell asleep on my lap. Glorfindel had entered the room with Elladan on his arms. He still looked rested and healthy. Had he the better job with looking after the twins than me with the study? Or was he always like that? I imagined him looking all radiant, clean and powerful in the middle of the Battle of the last Alliance and smiled to myself. Yes, most probably he had been a bright light for the alliance, striking down orc after orc. If only he had been near the High King he would surely have saved Elrond's lover and spared our Lord immense pain. Then again, if that had happened we would not have the twins. So even the fall of Gil-Galad had at least one positive aspect.

That was the last thing I thought about before waking in the morning, awkwardly lying on the sofa with a peacefully sleeping Elrohir on my stomach. I groaned when I moved my stiff neck. Now, I had fallen asleep in my Lord's living room! It was empty now, but I could hear Elrond coughing every once in a while in his sleeping room. I held the child to my chest and rose carefully. Elrohir mumbled and opened his eyes.

"Good morning my little one. I hope you have slept well?"

He yawned and gave me a beaming smile. "Yes."

"Good. You're probably the only one." I ignored that he had accidentally drooled all over my shirt. I went to the bathroom with him, cleaning myself up whilst he told and showed me very proudly that he had learned to go to the toilet all alone. The cold he had was obviously forgotten. Very well. At least it had not affected him too deeply.

We had the idea of preparing breakfast for the family and I carried him to the kitchens. I fetched a tray with food and drink and gave Elrohir the bread to carry. Fortunately my Lord had his own dishes and cutlery in his private rooms. I would not have liked to give Ely such. But he was obviously pleased that I included him in my task, giving him purposeful work to do. The longer I'm with them, the surer I am that it is most important for children to be part of the adult world. To let them do things the grown-ups did. That makes them feel accepted and important. And my trust was not disappointed, little Ely managed to take the bread to Elrond's chambers without stumbling or sneezing on it. That impressed me most, he even thought of turning his head away when he had to sneeze! I rewarded him with a proud smile when we had reached the living room. "Good one. Now spread the food on the table, will you?"

He eagerly climbed onto a chair and finally onto the table, too, for his arms were much to short to arrange the things properly otherwise. I fetched dishes and cutlery from the cupboard and when Celebrian came from the sleeping room, she found me with Elrohir on one arm and pouring tea with the other, explaining him where it came from and how it was made.

She greeted me, seemingly a bit embarrassed. "I hope you have slept at all?"

"Surprisingly well. I'm sorry, you really could have woken me up."

"Why should we? You needed rest. And Elrohir seemed to be really comfortable on your chest." She kissed her son good-morning and disappeared into the bathroom.

Soon afterwards Glorfindel emerged from the twins' room with Elladan. "Morning."

"Good Morning." Yes, really horrible. He looked like freshly bathed, all fit and smooth. No signs of sleep or mess on him. How did he do that? He just came from a bed shared with sneezing Elladan!

He went to the bathroom after Celebrian had returned. The Lady went to fetch her husband and soon returned with a still ruffled looking, tired Elrond. Poor lad! What did Glorfindel do to him by swimming in the Bruinen with the twins?

"Good morning, Erestor." He coughed. "I'm afraid the couch was not too comfortable?"

"It was alright, thank you. I fear your body was not comfortable for your fea tonight?"

"It's not like I'm complaining, but sometimes I really can imagine that it must be delightful to be without illness."

We sat down at the table and had breakfast. Our Lord really struggled with that, hardly being able to breathe and swallow. Yet the children were already remarkably better, what was a positive surprise for us. I managed to get Glorfindel and Celebrian into leaving for the library, garden, stables or anything, and they obeyed, Celebrian being obviously very happy about the option. Frowning I closed the door behind them when they had left. I found something odd. But I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I turned and smiled at my Lord, who still sat at the table.

"Thank you, Erestor." he said.

I chuckled. He had realised, in opposite to the great patrol organiser and seneschal who was supposed to guard Imladris' borders and the daughter of foreseeing Galadriel, that I had purposefully driven them away. "What do you need, my Lord? What would you like?"

"I think I'd like a bath. I can imagine a special medicinal bathing oil, but I feel too drained to mix it for myself."

"Give me the recipe and I will deliver it to Lindir."

He smiled thankfully and rose. After searching his bookshelf he pulled out a file with several loose papers in it and skipped through them. One paper he read and then gave to me. "I'd be most grateful."

"No reason for it. Will you wait here?"

"Yes. Should I fall asleep, please let me be. I believe I haven't had more than two hours real sleep tonight."

And Celebrian had woken him up for breakfast. Humph.

"Of course." I bowed and left.

The feeling followed me and I mused. My Lord seemed to be not only tired from the illness but somehow sad, too. Was it because he had realised his children were not safe from sickness? Safe from death?

I came to no conclusions as of yet. Reaching the healer's wing I searched for Lindir and found him in the herb garden outside. "Good morning, Lindir."

"Suilannad Erestor. How is Elrond?"

"Not better. I have a recipe here from him, could you please mix this bathing oil for him?"

Lindir scanned the paper. "Yes. One moment."

He finished tending to the herbs and afterwards I followed him to the cosy little salve kitchen Elrond had designed. It was a place my Lord loved very much. He dwelled here in contentment to be able to help, dwelled in the fascination for medicine. Quite ironic that the only one he could care for in Imladris was he himself. Well, the humans of course. And now unfortunately the twins. Lindir fetched some items, picked fresh blossoms from the camomile on the window-sill and ignited the flame of the little hearth. I watched him when he sat down and began to mix the oil. My thoughts were still in turmoil. A certain concern for my Lord held me here and urged me to ask the healer about it.

"Lindir, do you know if a light depression is part of the cold?"

The white-haired sindar turned to look at me and arched his eyebrows, but soon he turned back to his work, obviously thinking about it. "A real depression, no. Not necessarily. Bad mood, yes, of course. I think we full-elves can hardly imagine how frustrating it must be when your body fails you, when you have the impression it works against you. I have seen that on humans before, some get really angry when ill, and in a certain amount on my Lord, too. Do you have the impression the illness ails him much?"

"In a way. But it is perhaps better when you judge that for yourself. It may be that I'm wrong."

I was pretty sure I was not, but still I could use a reliable second opinion here. Lindir nodded. "I will. I will bring this to Elrond and take care for him. Don't be concerned, Erestor, he's in no real danger."

Oh, now he had accidentally manoeuvred me out of this, sending me back to my work. That was not what I had intended! Darn, these things often happen with Lindir. He's so damn innocent that you sometimes have the impression he walks in a white cloud, shielding him from the bad world outside. This was not true, of course, he had seen many horrible things and I knew that. But they seemingly did not affect him. Nothing could break Lindir's faith, he was always serene, contented and forward-looking. And with his innocent believing into the goodness of the world he often crossed my plans and cunning, being totally unaffected by my skill of careful influencing of other beings' minds. Just like now. Super-intelligent Erestor thinking he could skilfully manage to get Lindir into helping him in revealing what ailed our Lord was just being set aside by that very elf. Bah. With Lindir nothing helped but the direct way.

"I'd like to care for our Lord. I must admit I'm tired of the study and want to help him. Would you perhaps check on Elrond and leave the rest to me?"

I received a pure smile. "Of course."

Sigh. Sometimes I wondered why it was so hard for me to use that simple way. Erestor, you definitely enjoy influencing other peoples' minds too much.

Later we went to the Peredhel's room together. I quietly opened the door, but Elrond was not asleep. He had obviously stuck with the file and still read the recipes in it. "Having found something delightful to do?" I asked cheerfully.

He winced and raised his head, obviously hadn't even realised we had entered the room. "Oh! Erestor, Lindir! Yes, it is quite interesting what you can find here." He rose and had to blow his nose before turning back to us.

"I have made the bathing oil," said Lindir and gave Elrond the small bottle. "Here's the recipe, too. Is there anything else you could use? A salve of similar contents perhaps?"

Elrond chuckled to himself. "I would love to experiment with that. Unfortunately I'm not in the mood. So I leave it up to you. If you have the time..."

The same pure smile I had received earlier lit up Lindir's face. "Always, my Lord. Stop thinking you are the only one here who delights in working in your beautiful salve kitchen." He bowed to my Lord and in leaving winked towards me, showing me he intentionally left me alone with him.

Pah, innocent! Never! All fake! I had to smile. Sometimes you had the impression Lindir knew exactly what he did, and sometimes you were positive that he had no idea of anything. Really difficult to judge that one.

"Was that a private joke you shared?" asked my Lord and now I learned what the only thing was that could keep him from raising his eyebrows in such a situation. A horrible coughing fit.

I rushed over to him and kept him steady by his shoulder. When he had calmed down somewhat, I expressed my thoughts. "Not really. But I often find myself surprised about Lindir. You never know if he really is as innocent as he looks, or if it is all fake and his brain's in fact as sharp as yours."

Elrond chuckled again, but his amusement didn't cover the general sad look he carried at the moment. "I'm afraid I can't help you with that. I don't know either."

We walked into the bathroom and I poured hot water into the tub. Elrond had opened the bottle and sniffed at it, obviously savouring the effects of the healing herbs to his breathing system. When the bath was ready he sighed and poured an amount of the oil into the steaming water. Then he began undressing himself.

"Can I be of help somehow?" I asked, "Would you like a book or something?"

"Thank you, Erestor. I'm alright. I could even manage that myself!", he winked at me, signalling for me to calm down.

With raised hands I shrugged. "I know. Still it bothers me."

He had stripped and stepped into the tub. I observed him. It always surprised me how much human he was under that elven robes. I had seen him naked before, but still it was odd. His body was sturdy, his chest wide, and the legs seemed to be too thin and long in comparison to that powerful body. And a dark and curly hair covered his groin and crawled up to his navel. Some hairs had even found their way to his chest and legs. Sighing deeply he sank into the water. It obviously served him well.

"What bothers you?" he asked.

I sat down on a stool, thinking about how I could express my concerns. "I don't want to intrude into your privacy, Elrond, but it seems to me that this illness affects you not only in body."

He arched a questioning eyebrow at me.

"I mean... I have seen you suffer from that pneumonia centuries ago. It was much more dangerous, but still you were brave, even cheerful at times. You fought. Yet at the moment you look defeated. What ails you?"

He turned his gaze from me and I guessed that I hit a sore spot. Obviously he knew what I was talking about. First he didn't answer but occupied himself with washing his arms and legs. But to my surprise that action seemed to add to his depression and suddenly he let all his limps drop and his face showed his gloom openly.

"It's different things," he said evasively.

"Such as?"

A musing frown was directed at me now. "I had hoped Elladan and Elrohir would be safe from illness."

"Well, that would have been nice. But still it is no catastrophe, either. As you said yourself, you survived that, too."

He nodded slowly, observing the circles his movements made on the smooth water surface.

"It has something to do with Celebrian," I guessed. The proof I had was small, but when he closed his eyes in pain and sighed deeply it confirmed that I was right.

"Yes," was all he said.

I cocked my head and waited. Things were ailing my Lord, tormenting his heart, and I wanted for him to share them with me. Perhaps that would ease his pain a bit. When he turned back to me, his eyes were sad. "You have sharp eyes, Erestor. I suppose you know Celebrian and I didn't marry out of a heart-consuming love."

I nodded serenely. Yes, I know that, my Lord, and I even know why you can't open up to her. Because I'm old and I have seen you then with Gil-Galad. I know you still love him. But you don't know me and I don't want you to. So I pretended that I had only guessed that from my observations.

"We are friends," he finally continued. "I trust her. She's adorable, yes, beautiful and intelligent. Every elf could be happy and honoured to have her. A shame, yes, quite a shame..."

I cringed. A shame? That he had her? Did he think so low of himself? "What shame, my Lord? You have just the same things to give!"

His brow knitted and he snorted wistfully. "Yes. Everything. Unfortunately a human heritage, too."

There was so much pain and anger in those words that it drove gooseflesh down my spine.

He leaned back and looked at the ceiling. "I don't know why I didn't exactly fell in love with her. But I do know that she was moved into this marriage mostly by her mother, by politics, by expectations of her people towards her and by her own desire to have a realm of her own. Not by me." He raised his arms and looked at it for a reason yet unknown to me. But soon I understood.

"Have you realised how uncomfortable she is around me at the moment?"

"Yes, that I have."

"She can't get along with it. I'm half human and she can't put up with it. In normal times she can overlook it, even best when I'm fully dressed. But now I'm ill. And everybody can see it. I'm peredhel. That irritates her. She can't handle it. Perhaps the thought that I could die from such illness frightens her, but I'm afraid it is more her natural loathing for the Edain that surfaces on such occasions."

"But my Lord, is there such a thing?! A natural loathing? By the stars, no! There were so many elves and humans who loved each other! And, if you would allow me to say, there are many elves who dream of you by night, too, I think. At least I would judge so by the uncountable flirting attempts you still receive despite marriage at feasts and gatherings."

He snickered tiredly. "Yes, maybe. But you have to be used to it. Or drawn to such extraordinary things such as pubic hair or a beard. But Celebrian is not. She is from the Golden Wood, a place far off from humans. All elves, and beautiful ones, her parents a most striking example for that. As a child she learned to savour elven beauty." His lips thinned. "She was wed to me before she saw me naked for the first time." He turned a quizzical look at me. "Perhaps that was a grave mistake?"

I hung my head. "My Lord. That is really a pity to hear. Most unfortunate. And that is what you are reminded of when ill and she is avoiding you."

"Right."

I wished I could have consoled my Lord somehow, but there was hardly anything I could do about this. It made me sad to know the marriage of Elrond was so deeply affected by his human heritage. And it made me kind of angry at Celebrian, but I quickly discarded that thought. She was not to be held responsible for this. When you thought about it she even held herself bravely. She was just as entrapped in this marriage as was Elrond.

"Don't let it pull you down like that, my Lord. It's a sad thing, but it happened. You torture yourself for no use at all when you suffer from it. It is a shame, yes, quite a shame that both of you are now unavailable for others who could cherish you as you are." Yes quite, unavailable for example for the golden flower, who can swing his hips so enticingly for my Lord, or "unconsciously" drives his hand through his ocean of golden waves or winks his long, thick lashes in a very unmanly way at Elrond. Argh, no, Erestor, stop working yourself into another fit of jealousy! I quickly returned to the topic at hand. "But Elrond, are you not proud of yourself?"

A lazy smile curled his lips. "Now, don't panic, Erestor. I like myself. It is not like I stand in front of the mirror chiding my reflection: How ugly are you! Bah, this hair all over! Those long skinny legs, this raw and unshaped bones and those short ears! No, Erestor, don't worry, I can live with myself very well. But still it hurts when someone so near you feels a kind of disgust towards you. My first night with Celebrian was awful, I can tell you, and it took us years to try it again. But we will manage. As soon as I'm healthy again we will return to normal."

I made a face. "I didn't know things were so difficult between you. I'm sorry about it. I wish I could help, but I'm afraid there is not much one could do about it."

He shook his head. "I'm afraid no. But don't let that bother you, Erestor. It is not that bad, really. When I'm healthy and elven it's no problem. Only when my human blood shows itself so obviously it becomes tricky." Rising one leg out of the water he looked at it snorted scornfully. "Sometimes I shaved my whole body for her. It made it easier and I'm afraid the twins would have been impossible otherwise. But I'm tired of it." He dove under and then washed his hair. When he was finished he rose and stepped out of the bathtub. I was satisfied with the physical improvement he had made. He looked much more energetic and his coughing and nose-blowing had lessened. Elrond quickly dried himself and went to the sleeping room to dress into fresh robes.

I waited in the living room to check on him one final time. "Are you feeling better?", I asked when he came back in.

"Yes, much. Thank you, Erestor."

"You're welcome."

"I'd like to work a bit. My head feels lighter, I think I can concentrate."

"Very well." For me, work was the best thing to happen to me, and I imagined it was the same with Elrond. So I much appreciated that he came with me to the study not only for the help he would be but for his sake, too.

In the evening I found I had been right. My impression was that Elrond's state had finally improved, too. He had emerged in his work and regained some of his energy with it. When we went into the great hall for dinner, he was already nearly back to his own self.

During the meal I observed Celebrian closely. Yes, you could sense her discomfort. She was mainly fussing over her children. And when Elrond showed his illness somehow, by blowing his nose ore coughing or whatever, she showed an over-interest, always asking if she could help him or telling him she wished he would heal quickly. Yes, that she really did. For the "weakness" of her husband obviously embarrassed her. I sighed to myself. Mine was not the only life that was hard, loving someone I could never reach. Other elves had problems, too. And perhaps they were even more grave. I at least could masturbate in the night in peace, thinking of my secret love, whilst Elrond and Celebrian were both bound to the other and not open for showing interest elsewhere.

Yet eventually Elrond healed, too, after the twins had long become whole and healthy again. And the tension between the Lord and Lady lessened again until it was practically invisible - at least to those who didn't know what I now knew.

End
Riding lessons by BJ Malata
Author's Notes:
Summary: The twins of Imladris learn another lesson.
"Ehestoa?"

I smiled down at the child that stood beside my desk. Big blue eyes looked up at me. "Yes, Elrohir?"

"Play with me!"

Well, that was an unusual request given to me. I felt a bit at a loss. How do you play with three-year-olds? I had no idea what he expected of me. But I wanted to try, nonetheless, because I loved him so much. So I set aside the work I had to do, took the sweet child of my Lord into my arms and left the study. There was hardly room to play there, so I went to Elrond's private chambers. I knew Lady Celebrian was in the forest to pick flowers and Elrond was in is study. So I found his living room empty and set the child back to the floor. "Where have you left your brother?" I asked.

"With Gloafindel."

"So. And he didn't want to play with you?"

"He did. But I wanted to play with you, Ehestoa!"

Oh, I felt much honoured. "What do you want to play?"

"Hoase!"

"Horse?"

"Yes! I've seen Gloafindel on his hoase, I wanna ride, too!"

I sighed and slipped out of my formal black robes, leaving me in a sleeveless shirt and black trousers. Down to my hands and knees. Yes, stuffy old Erestor played horse for his beloved foster child. I was rewarded with a gleeful wail and beaming eyes. Elrohir climbed on my back and promptly grabbed my hair to use it as reigns. I turned my head an glared at him in warning. "Use my collar, not my hair!"

He pouted, but said: "All right" and grabbed my collar instead. "Heya!"

There he was, patient chief advisor Erestor, crawling around on his hands and knees awkwardly, carrying a shouting and kicking child on his back.

Suddenly the door to the twins' chamber opened and Glorfindel stepped through it. He immediately caught me and his beautiful face lit up. "Erestor! I never dreamed I could see you on your hands and knees before me!"

My ire rose into my head, just like my blood. My cheeks turned crimson at the sexual implication of this. Was it deliberate or unintended? But before I could defend myself, he went down, too, and suddenly Elladan jumped on him from behind, roughly pulling at the marvellous blond hair. "Oh! Ehestoa! Ellohia! Got a hoase, too?"

I felt how Elrohir straightened is composure and patted my shoulder proudly. "Yes. A beautiful black hoase!" I blushed again. Well, at least I made a nice horse, if not an elf.

"I have Asfaloth!" screeched Elladan and kicked Glorfindels' flank brutally. He had still not learned how to behave! It enraged me how Glorfindel let it pass without scolding. And suddenly oh so controlled chief advisor Erestor snorted like a horse, making both twins laugh in joy and Glorfindel cock an eyebrow. Oh yes, what a beautiful day. The seneschal got it wrong, thinking I would play along, and whinnied quite professionally, then began trotting through the room. Elrohir pulled at my collar and nudged my flanks - gently, I might add - and I could hardly disappoint him by quitting the game I had promised him. So I crawled after Glorfindel. In circles around the table, into Elrond's room, into the twins' room, then we were even fed and got drink from our little riders and I smirked about how true Elrohir's name was at the moment. Though I did not believe Elrond called him elf-rider with his chief advisor as horse in mind.

Suddenly Glorfindel was behind me and rose. I jumped away with a start, avoiding his touch. By the Valar, he didn't want to bring me into trouble now, did he? We were both stallions! But Elladan and Elrohir laughed with joy when he advanced on me once again, pretending he wanted to attack me in a horse-like way. I bared my teeth and hissed, a bit out of character, since I was no big cat, but it comes most naturally to me in such situations.

Glorfindel backed away, a little irritated.

I pranced, a bit ashamed. Elrohir stroked my temple soothingly. "No fear! I defend you from big bad Asfaloth!" he said merrily and both Glorfindel and me had to grin.

"Well then you better do it!" growled the seneschal and attacked me again.

I rose and defended me with my forehands and Elrohir screeched, striking for Glorfindel. "Go away, bad hoase!"

But Glorfindel simply plucked him from my back and gently lowered him on the rug. "And now, what do you do?" Elrohir thrashed about and Elladan quickly slid off "Asfaloth", playfully attacking his brother and soon the three of them ended up in a thrashing bundle. I carefully avoided being drawn into the play. I could not stand Glorfindel making remarks about my most inappropriate erection that had built up in my trousers for being so near to him.

So I rose and quickly dressed in my robes, hiding my discomfort.

Elrohir immediately jumped out of the fight, looking up at me. "No more playing?"

"No, little one, I'm sorry. I still have much work to do. Perhaps another time."

He pouted and I was very sorry, but I couldn't afford the risk of being discovered. So I quickly left the chambers, before Glorfindel could ask me about it.

I fled to my private rooms first. I had to rearrange... in several ways. The privacy of my bathroom allowed me to relax a bit. Oh stupid warrior! How can he be so open and easygoing? I always cramped up in his presence, always afraid of betraying myself and making my damned feelings for the blond beauty the laughing stock. But yes, of course he could be relaxed. He had no reason to fear me near. He didn't love me. I sank down to the floor with a sigh. This was hopeless. I wished my unrequited love would finally ebb and release me from my pain. But still, after hundreds of years of private longing and secret lusting, I desired him with all my heart. I impatiently rubbed myself, thinking of him and crying whilst I released -alone on the cold tiles of my bathroom.

End
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