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in that deepening evening

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Erestor does not join them for the evening meal in the Hall, and Glorfindel, with a fond sigh, resigns himself to seeking out his lover later and tempting him away from his duties – or, well, from what Erestor calls his duties and everyone else can see is really more responsibility than even a chief counsellor needs to be carrying. This will not be the first time that Erestor has been distracted from mundanities like eating, or has decided to focus on his work over his own wellbeing, and Glorfindel knows that it will not be the last, either.

So. With this important task for the evening ahead in mind, Glorfindel eats as quickly and speaks as little as common courtesy will allow. Luckily, it is close enough to the great autumn festival that everyone else is somewhat distracted as well, and he can snag a seat close to those who probably won’t delay him much. But still. Even as he answers Lord Elrond’s question about the new rotation of the guard and how it is working, or commiserates with Lindir about soon being snowed in to the Valley for a few months, Glorfindel’s thoughts are far, far away from the bustle of the Hall and its residents tonight.

And Elrond at least seems to realize this. “Something on your mind this evening, my friend?”

His voice is kind and he does not sound rebuking, but still, Glorfindel shakes himself from his reverie guiltily.

“A few things. Forgive me – my concerns should occupy my own time, not this fine supper’s.”

Elrond is raising his eyebrows even as he smiles. “Your concerns are always valid and welcomed, supper or no supper. For tonight, though, they wouldn’t have anything to do with a missing member of my senior staff, would they?”

Glorfindel returns his lord’s smile with a small grin of his own. “They might.”

Elrond nods. “An excellent and most timely concern, then. Do not let us keep you, Glorfindel.”

He is already rising, thankful all over again that Imladris and its lord do not stand on formalities, when Elrond adds: “And Glorfindel? There is no need to sneak back for a plate later, either. Take one now: he deserves as full a meal as those of us who could make it to the Hall tonight.”

And Glorfindel, grateful now for another reason, does as Elrond suggests.

But Erestor is not to be found in his office, or the great library, or the council chambers where tomorrow’s meetings will be held, so eventually Glorfindel makes his way to the rooms they now share, planning to leave the plate there while he searches the last Homely House a little more thoroughly.

But when he enters their rooms, they are not as dark or quiet as he was expecting. The curtains are drawn, but not fully, and the new moon’s light steals through the cracks; and there are candles lit, here and there, although most are now burned at least halfway down. The fire glows, now closer to embers than flames; and Erestor himself is curled atop their bed, his dark hair spread in tumbled waves across the pillows and the coverlet.

Seeing him so, Glorfindel cannot quite stifle the smallest of gasps. It seems obvious what happened here: that Erestor left his duties early, earlier than he ever did, and came here planning to meet Glorfindel and walk down to the Hall together. But fatigue had taken its toll, and now Erestor simply slept, not realizing that Glorfindel had never stopped here after leaving his own office, or that supper had already begun without him.

. . . This shouldn’t be as sad a thought as it is, but Glorfindel feels a pang in his heart all the same.

He sets the plate down as quietly as he can, and carefully, carefully, steals across the floor to take a seat beside his sleeping lover. Erestor lies upon his side, his hands clasping at the coverlet before him; Glorfindel takes a seat at his back, and looks at his dark form in wonder.

For all that he is quiet and reserved, Erestor is rarely still. Awake, his eyes are always tracking those around him, so that he never misses a detail; his mouth is usually set, or pinched, and his brows are full of subtle movement, signaling his judgment or displeasure to anyone skilled enough to read them. And Glorfindel has been called silly for observing it so, but Erestor walks with his entire body, stepping forward with such intent – shoulders chest and legs – that the very floors seem to grow smoother and neater beneath his boots. Even when seated, reading or working, his hands still only when Erestor knows that he is being watched; otherwise, his slim fingers tap silent but restless staccatos against the nearest surface, or toy idle motions with whatever quill or scrap of string lies closest to him.

He never stops. He never rests.

Until he is actually asleep, as Glorfindel has found him now.

For it is only when he is asleep that Erestor is still, at peace, in ways that even Glorfindel so rarely ever sees him. It is only then that his diligent eyes ever slow and fall shut, and his occupied brow releases even a little of its tension; it is only when he is asleep that Erestor’s capable shoulders are permitted to relax, his busy hands to fall still across the coverlets or – better still – Glorfindel’s own chest.

And so, to come to their rooms and find his lover this way – and to notice that Erestor hardly stirs when Glorfindel takes a seat beside him – feels so much like a blessing that it steals Glorfindel’s breath away.

There are many things that Glorfindel adores about the chief counsellor: Erestor’s passion for the subjects he adores and his infectious joy in speaking of them, Erestor’s fastidiousness for the things that he deems worth being done correctly and even for the things he doesn’t. Oh, and certainly Erestor’s hard-earned knowledge and his sometimes-worrisome, sometimes-endearing inability to pair it with wisdom regarding petty necessities like food and rest.

But all of these things come to a head with Erestor’s conviction. Once the chief counsellor has decided that something must be done, it does not matter what that decision will take from him: Erestor will accomplish it.

Even when the doing then leaves him so tired that he cannot wake up in time for supper.

So it might be a fancy now, but Glorfindel’s hands actually itch with the desire to smooth through that flowing hair, strewn so messily across their pillows. He yearns to lean over, or encourage Erestor to roll upon his back rather than his side, so that Glorfindel can trace all the lines of that much-beloved face, slip his hands beneath the soft day robes that Erestor has fallen asleep still wearing, and explore every plane of the arms and chest and abdomen that those robes currently conceal. His lips tremble with the need to pepper kisses up and down that strong neck; to fall upon Erestor’s own lips, probably slightly parted in sleep, and seal them shut with a kiss, just for a breath.  

“If you were hoping to fuck me, surely you have better options at your disposal than just your eyes,” comes a murmur from the other side of the bed.

A helpless, ungainly laugh escapes Glorfindel. Trust his lover to wake quietly and realize exactly what he was doing – and then call him on it.

“And what if I was just admiring you?” he asks with amusement, standing and making his way around to the other side of the bed now that he knows he won’t be waking Erestor with his tramping.

Erestor’s open eyes seem to shine in the thin sliver of moonlight that falls through the half-drawn curtains, and the light catches in his hair, the silver clasps upon his robes, before Glorfindel’s own frame blocks it out. Glorfindel kicks off his boots before stretching out alongside his lover, but that is all; trousers and shirt remain.

He hasn’t even settled into place before Erestor is reaching out for him, hooking a hand around his neck and pulling him down for a kiss.

“You are late, this evening,” Erestor murmurs against his lips, when they part again.

He laughs, before accepting those lips again. “No,” he murmurs, when they come apart. “I was quite on time, though I went straight from my work to the Hall, and so missed this pleasant surprise.”

Erestor’s eyebrows rise, and he shifts forward with a slight groan, grabbing at Glorfindel’s shoulder and using it raise himself and peer up at the moonlight. Glorfindel is treated to the warmth and strength of his chest up close before Erestor sighs and lets himself collapse back into place. “Mmm, so it seems. Ridiculous. The one night I am able to let myself go early, and it also happens to be the one night that you cannot be bothered to stop here before meals and I apparently cannot be roused for love or coin until you reappear.”

To anyone who does not know him as Glorfindel has come to, the words might sound overly harsh and censorious: that Erestor is ridiculing his lover, and castigating himself. Glorfindel knows, though, that whatever his words say, only the second is ever true.

“Psssh. You know that I am glad you were able to rest.” He leverages himself up on one elbow, looking over to make sure the plate is where he had left it. “And I brought you your meal.”

Immediately he can feel Erestor’s fingers at the ties of his shirt. “I see. Very kind of you.”

He huffs, leaning down to capture those fingers and still their work. “Supper first, love.”

“I am trying.” Erestor’s fingers wriggle loose and get back to work, both hands this time.

Glorfindel cannot help but laugh. “And people say that I am the lascivious one!”

“Well.” Beneath Erestor’s industrious hands his shirt gapes at the neck, and Erestor raises himself enough that he can nuzzle forward into Glorfindel’s chest. The next sentence is pressed directly from his lips into Glorfindel’s skin. “Perhaps that is only because I save such attentions for you and your eyes alone.”

He feels so good there, pressed right above Glorfindel’s heart, that Glorfindel lets himself be drawn back to the bed and arranged as Erestor sees fit – which seems to be upon his back, with Erestor lying atop him, ear to Glorfindel’s chest and Glorfindel’s hand stroking through his hair.

“You really must eat at some point, love,” Glorfindel feels obliged to tell him.

“Stop fussing,” Erestor murmurs. “Let me sleep a little while longer first.”

This is, of course, a ploy, for his fingers rise again soon enough, this time playing with Glorfindel’s chest. He lies mostly atop his left, so he has all the expanse of the right to toy with, and Glorfindel gasps when the idle circling motions become a soft pinch. “Aaaah!”

He can feel Erestor’s smile. “Ah. Clumsy of me.”

“As if you would stoop so low as to be clumsy! Sit up, let me – aah – let me have it off entirely.” And Erestor obliges, but as provokingly as he can, placing both hands atop Glorfindel’s chest and pushing himself up to sitting, scratching lightly at Glorfindel’s shirt as if he truly needed that much more leverage to do so.

When Erestor is finally fully upright he pulls his hands away, but his new position is hardly any better: he is seated atop Glorfindel’s thigh, straddling it, and he rocks against Glorfindel ever so slightly, watching with hungry eyes as Glorfindel struggles to pull his own shirt and under-shirt off. When these obstacles are gone, though, Erestor will not be pulled down to lie against Glorfindel again; instead he stays where he is, smirking, and draws his hands up his own body contemplatively, as if wondering whether he should follow suit.

“My but that is a much better look for an evening,” he says, lasciviously. His hands leave his belly and trace his own chest. “No shirt, full trousers: dear me.”

“You are a terrible tease tonight,” Glorfindel tells him, laughing. “If you envy my bare chest so much, you may have it or you may imitate it, but make up your mind which one!”

“Mmmm – very little is ever improved upon by rushing,” Erestor admonishes, but for all his words he shrugs himself out of his own robes, and then – Glorfindel’s breath catches – his undergarments, quickly enough.

“Better?” he asks, settling atop Glorfindel’s clothed thigh again as he pulls the pins from his hair, and nearly a moment passes when Glorfindel cannot speak for the perfection of him: moonlit skin half-hidden by a sudden cascade of dark hair, and eyes, a grin, as unknowable as the peaks that once ringed Glorfindel’s old home, now long burned and then drowned.

“No,” Glorfindel finally manages, somewhat hoarse. “Not better. But only – only because what came before was already more than enough.”

Erestor’s playful mood cracks a little at this admission that Glorfindel finds him alluring, desirable, whether or not he is unclothed. Shaking his head, he leans forward for another kiss, and this one Glorfindel lets him lead. His hands rise to either side of Erestor’s face, framing him and holding him there, even when the kiss is done.

Erestor tolerates this for a heartbeat or two before tugging his head from Glorfindel’s grasp. Glorfindel lets him go – watches him sit up again, groans as his weight settles tantalizingly across his thigh again – and Erestor, given free rein, rewards him with a quicksilver smile.

“So, my lord,” he murmurs, with a more forceful rock than before, and now that he is naked Glorfindel can see his arousal as well as feel it through their earlier layers of clothes. His own interest strains within the trousers that neither he nor Erestor have bothered to remove yet, but Glorfindel does not mind waiting to see what exactly his lover has in mind for tonight. “How do you imagine I can work up a proper appetite for my evening meal?”

There is perhaps a moment’s shocked silence before Glorfindel begins to laugh, convulsing enough that he almost dislodges his lover.

“Erestor!” he cries. “That was terrible!”

Erestor’s own lips are trembling with laughter, though he makes a valiant effort to hold it back. “It was, wasn’t it. Ai. Perhaps I am more tired than I thought.”

“Now who is ridiculous,” Glorfindel asks him, still laughing as he pulls his lover down. Erestor follows him, likely expecting another kiss, but when he has come low enough, Glorfindel raises the thigh he is seated upon and tips Erestor upon the bed again, quickly rolling up himself so that he can wrestle the other onto his back and pin him there, holding his wrists against the bed a little ways above Erestor’s head.

“Well done, you,” Erestor murmurs approvingly, his eyes shining at having been outmaneuvered. Glorfindel gasps as his lover arches beneath him provocatively, pushing up to rub against the placket of his trousers: one pass, two passes, three passes. “Well done – ah – well done indeed.”

Glorfindel grins back down at him, already nearly breathless. “Will you stay, if I release you long enough to get these damned things off?”

“Perhaps,” Erestor says archly, but he doesn’t do more than wriggle when Glorfindel relinquishes his wrists and, cursing just a little, struggles out of his trousers and underclothes.

“There,” Glorfindel says, taking his wrists again and pinning them a little higher this time: his arousal is only stoked further by the way that Erestor, smirking, allows him this with darkening eyes. And finally, finally, Glorfindel lets himself grind down against his lover, and aaaaaah but Erestor is hot and hard against him too. “Oh – oh, love, that’s so much better.”

Really,” Erestor says, but he sounds as breathless as Glorfindel feels. “Interesting, since earlier you were saying that I was quite enough the way I was.”

“Incorrigible,” Glorfindel murmurs, and when Erestor laughs, arching up again in search of another kiss, he obliges him.

The friction is about to become too much without at least a little slick, so Glorfindel draws back, already struggling to remember where they left the oil, but luckily Erestor seems to have anticipated him. He tugs one hand from beneath Glorfindel’s grip, and Glorfindel lets him go; that hand quests beneath their pillows for a moment before withdrawing with a vial that Erestor offers him with a grin.

Glorfindel accepts it, but only to hold it in place near the recently released hand until Erestor takes the hint and removes the stopper for him. “I do not plan to release you any time soon,” he tells Erestor, grinning. “So it’s up to you to make sure that that hand can do what you need it to do.”

Of course this isn’t quite true – Glorfindel will always stop and wait if his lover needs him to – but Erestor hums, pleased, and pours oil out liberally across his palm.

Then he drops the vial to the sheets with a grin of his own, utterly unmindful of the slight, sweet-scented spill across their sheets.

“I imagine that you could at least start out with that,” he tells Glorfindel. “Yes?”

In lieu of an answer, Glorfindel wraps his hand around him and strokes up, brushing a sword-calloused thumb against Erestor’s tip as he does – and Erestor arches with a high, shocked gasp.

“I imagine I could do a bit,” Glorfindel tells him, dropping his head so that he can murmur right into one beautiful, quivering ear. “And later, when you’ve actually had your rest, we’ll do this all over again with a little more oil, eh?”

Erestor moans, wordless beneath another long smooth stroke, so Glorfindel coats himself next and then lowers himself the rest of the way atop his lover, where he thrusts, length against length in the quickest way Glorfindel can think to satisfy them both before hopefully persuading Erestor to take an actual meal and rest.

But Erestor does not protest, or even accuse him of coddling. He moans when Glorfindel’s hand forms a loose fist around them both, forcing their lengths tighter against one another and his calloused hands alike; he keens when Glorfindel picks up speed, grinding down against him harder and faster. The hand that Glorfindel still holds trapped to the bed strains beneath his grasp, and the one left free flies to Glorfindel’s shoulder, where Erestor’s close-cropped nails still manage to dig crescent marks into his skin.

All Erestor’s teasing has been stripped away, leaving him wordless; all Glorfindel can see in his face when he draws back to check is bliss. He asks all the same. “Doing – aaaah – doing all right, love?”

Erestor’s hand moves from his shoulder to his hair, taking a fistful and tugging to encourage him back down to Erestor’s own neck. “Yes yes yes, stop teasing, please!”

Glorfindel nips gently at his neck – as if this were teasing, hah – and pulls back just enough that he can see how and where to take Erestor in hand alone now. His own arousal abandoned for the moment, he strokes Erestor harder, with a twist up his head and a thumb across his slit, over and over until Erestor shrieks his completion.

“I could show you real teasing,” he murmurs in his lover’s ear again, continuing to stroke even as Erestor shivers with new sensitivity. “Mmmm? If you’d eaten already, and slept more than one night in three this week, I’d open you up next and pull another from you that way. You can feel I haven’t come yet, love, and you know that I could wait for you, don’t you?”

Erestor gasps and kicks weakly at his calves, obviously still a little ways away from forming words again, and Glorfindel laughs, finally releasing his other wrist and brushing a gentle kiss to his forehead.

“But because you haven’t done any of that, I guess we’ll have to wait a little. Eh?”

Erestor grumbles wordlessly as Glorfindel pulls the blanket immediately beneath him away, using a corner to wipe him down – maybe a little rougher than actually needed, setting him squirming again – and stripping out the wet spots before lying down and pulling Erestor to lie across him again. Erestor complies, brushing against Glorfindel’s own straining interest as he does, but Glorfindel grunts and wills it away; he’ll save that for later, if Erestor decides that he’s up for it again, or if not, take care of himself. For now – and who is he fooling, always – Erestor is his priority.

Now you can rest a bit, love, and when you wake up this time we’ll go on a kitchen run, as I imagine that the plate I brought has grown a bit cold. Sound all right?”

But Erestor is already breathing deep and heavy again, the way he had been when Glorfindel first entered their rooms, and Glorfindel smiles, resolving to make sure he sleeps a little longer this time.