Erestor carefully planted and nurtured the rose bushes and wildflowers, trimming them here and there and watering them daily. Arranged in picturesque groupings, their colors and scents as they grew were soothing to his senses and put joy in his heart.
He added an old wooden bench, covering it with comfortable cushions and placing it beneath a tall, spreading tree. Above the bench, large green branches provided shelter in inclement weather and shade in the summer. An old, well used and warm wrap lay over one end, conveniently placed to be spread on the ground for an afternoon’s nap, or to warm an Elf on a chilly evening.
Elrond walked into the garden, focusing on the paper in his hand. “Erestor, this agreement…”
“Out!” Erestor said sternly. “Such discussions are for my office or yours! Out! Out! Out!”
The Lord of Imladris looked quizzically at his chief counselor, but wisely retreated.
Erestor worked cleaning the ancient, long silent fountain, removing debris and decaying water plants from it and repairing its broken pipes. Gently flowing water once again fell rhythmically, and he smiled.
Glorfindel dashed into the counselor’s garden. “Erestor, have you seen Lindir?”
“Out!” Erestor roared. “Out, out, out!”
Glorfindel raised his eyebrows and quietly retreated.
Erestor placed a collection of flat rocks that were carved to form shallow bowls near the fountain, and filled them with seeds for the birds, and nuts and fruits for the squirrels and rabbits.
Elladan cautiously walked into the garden as Erestor arranged the rocks. “Erestor, I was wondering if you could help me with something,” he said.
“Later, young one. When I am in my office. For now….shoo!” Erestor replied, waving the twin away.
Elrond, Glorfindel, and Elladan stood at an open window, gazing into Erestor’s little garden and shaking their heads. Erestor’s behavior was so unlike his usual self. The garden was set far enough away from the house to offer some privacy, but near enough to easily see the parts that were not hidden by the trees.
“What are you watching?” Elrohir asked, having just returned from patrol. He was still wearing his travel-stained garb and was weary and wanted to rest, but his curiosity when he saw the three gathered around the window had gotten the better of him.
The newly arrived half-Elf was pulled into welcoming embraces as the others explained what had been happening and expressed their concern for Erestor.
“No one is allowed in there except for Tinnu,” Glorfindel moaned. “He loves that cat more than us.” A swaying black tail could be seen meandering through the flowered bushes, the sleek black cat in pursuit of an elusive butterfly.
Elrohir watched Erestor as he reclined on his bench, book in hand, reading contentedly. “There is nothing wrong with Erestor,” he said softly, smiling. “Give me but a quarter of an hour and I will show you.”
It was slightly less than a quarter of an hour later when the three watching Elves observed Elrohir slowly enter Erestor’s garden. The younger Elf did not speak, and his bare feet made not sound on the soft grass; he moved quietly, making himself a part of the garden. He was clad in a comfortable, loosely flowing robe, his hair still hanging damp from his hasty bath. He laid the blanket and pillow he carried on the springy grass beside Erestor’s bench and made himself comfortable on his makeshift bed. The sound of the tinkling water from the fountain, the soft calling of the birds, and the gentle breezes lulled him to sleep within moments.
The counselor looked up from his book as his intruder entered the garden. In his place under his master’s bench, Tinnu opened one eye, saw who it was who disturbed his rest, and went back to sleep. Erestor smiled softly as the younger Elf lay down to sleep, and then returned to his reading.
“Now just how did he get away with that?” Glorfindel asked. “Erestor loves Elrohir more than me,” he sulked. “And I am his mate. I am crushed.”
“Surely not,” Elladan said sympathetically, looking up at his former teacher and good friend. “I have no idea why he let Elrohir in though.”
“I do,” Elrond said. Shaking his head, he chuckled. “How many times a day do we call Erestor or go to him to solve a problem? Someone’s goat has gotten into a garden and eaten a prize cabbage; one of the servants has a problem; someone can’t find something they need; I need a book, a map, or a trade agreement. The Valar know I must ask him things fifty times a day alone.”
“It’s his refuge away from all of us,” Glorfindel said, finally smiling. “Brilliant.”
Three Elves silently approached Erestor’s private garden. At the invisible boundary they planted a sign with the words, ‘Quiet, Erestor’s Garden’, etched on its surface. One by one, the elves filtered into the enchanted space, two to join the sleeping half-Elf on the ground, and one golden-haired Elf-lord to sit by Erestor on his bench.
Glorfindel opened his arms and smiled.
Erestor looked up and smiled, and then moved into his silent mate’s arms. Leaning against the warrior’s broad, familiar chest, he returned to his reading.
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