Elrond stood in the doorway, watching Erestor for long moments. The counselor sat on the window seat, a soft smile on his face, watching Estel as the young man walked off through the trees. Finally, the Elf-lord asked quietly, “What are you thinking of?”
Erestor looked up and his face brightened. “Estel. Do you remember the day Elladan and Elrohir brought him here? He was barely two years old.”
“I remember,” Elrond said. “I took him from Elladan and held him in my arms. The last in the line descended from my brother. And then he started screaming. Healthy lungs.”
Erestor chuckled. “And I took him from you and he stopped, and then he started playing with my hair and smiling at me. I think he captured my heart at that very moment with his smile.”
“I think he loved you the moment he saw you,” Elrond said. “It took him a while for me.”
Erestor laughed. “All of a day. When he had nightmares or was scared, who did he run to? You.”
Elrond smirked. “Well, yes, there was that. Do you remember that first night when he woke? You picked him up and held him, but then he held his cubby little arms out to me. That was the moment when he captured ‘my’ heart.”
Erestor watched Estel disappear into the trees. “He will be much like you,” he mused. “And he will be a wise and good king, just as Elros was. The line of your twin has come full-circle with Estel. For hundreds of years you have fostered descendents of Elros here in Imladris, but Estel….Estel is the one. It is he who will unite Middle-earth. The time of the Elves will be over, and the time of Man will begin.”
Elrond nodded. “This, you and I have known since he came to us. Tonight I will deliver into his keeping the shards of Narsil: no other has had them since the days of Isildur.”
“He is the one,” Erestor agreed. “But my heart aches that he must leave us for a time.”
Elrond crossed the room and sat opposite Erestor on the window seat. He leaned against the wall, raised his legs to stretch them out along the seat, and opened his arms for Erestor to move into them. “As does mine,” he said softly. “But we will see him often, and the end is still many years away.”
Erestor sighed as he moved between Elrond’s legs and felt strong arms close around him. He rested his back against Elrond’s chest, his head under the Elf-lord’s chin. Stalwart, powerful, strong, and unshakable: that was Elrond, and even little Estel had sensed it in his need. Might, tempered with kindness, brought to fullness with love for all of Eru’s creations. “I do not want to think of the end yet,” Erestor whispered.
“Then we shall not,” Elrond replied, bending his head to place a soft kiss on Erestor’s temple. “Do you remember the day he wanted to help you write? He crawled up onto your lap as you sat at your desk. He stood on your legs with his little hands holding onto the desk, staring at the paper, fascinated. When you put a quill into his tiny fingers and helped him to write, he squealed with delight.”
“I remember. I could hardly keep him away from my desk after.”
“Ada? Erestor?” Two tall, strong figures stood in the doorway, one the mirror of the other. “Forgive the intrusion, but we were looking for Estel,” Elladan said.
“He is walking among the trees,” Elrond replied, resting his chin on Erestor’s head. “I told him who he is this morning.”
The twins nodded. “Perhaps he will meet Arwen then. She has gone walking there as well. She is happy to be home, but misses the trees of Lórien, I think.” Elrohir said.
“Will you two promise me something?” Erestor asked Elrond’s sons.
“Of course,” Elladan said as he and his brother moved further into the room.
“Promise me you will look out for him. Teach him all you can,” Erestor said.
“My sons, Estel is the hope of Middle-earth. You know he is the one the prophecies speak of. You must help prepare him for his tasks ahead,” Elrond added.
The twins nodded solemnly. “You have our word. We will watch over him and teach him all we know. He will be ready when the time comes,” Elladan said.
After the twins had taken their leave, Erestor relaxed back into Elrond’s arms. “Now is the time for them to take our place as his teachers. Estel will fare well under their tutelage.”
Elrond nodded. “Tonight we celebrate his coming of age and place Narsil into his hands. Tomorrow morning they will leave for the wilds. But right now, do you think there might be time for me to take my husband to the bedroom and have my way with him?”
“I think that might be arranged,” Erestor said. Grinning, he leaned up and snatched a kiss from his beloved mate’s lips.
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