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“…and there are supposed to be streets literally paved with gold and set with diamonds as large as your fist, and even the lowliest peasant dresses in silk… a little like Valinor, I suppose.”

“Ereinion, whoever told you this nonsense?” Erestor, in the midst of peeling an apple, stopped and looked over at the High King in disbelief. Ereinion Gil-galad, clad in loose sleeping pants and rather a lot of long dark hair which he had just finished brushing, was lounging diagonally across the bed, wrapped up in some distant inner vision of the city he had just been describing in such detail.

“Everyone knows about the Lost City of Gold hidden somewhere in the midst of the southern desert,” Gil-galad responded immediately. “It isn’t nonsense, Erestor, it really exists. Where else do you think that lovely green silk for that dress robe you’re so fond of comes from?

“Eregion,” Erestor replied pragmatically. However, when he saw the outraged look on the king’s face, his expression softened and he smiled affectionately. “Was this by any chance one of those stories you were told when you were growing up?” he hazarded.

Gil-galad frowned at him, correctly suspecting he was being humoured. “How do you know the silk comes from Eregion anyway? And yes, I heard about it when I was young. No reason for you to think that makes it untrue.”

“Um – I know it comes from Eregion because I ordered it personally. And no, I didn’t say it wasn’t true. The truth is out there, after all, if you know where to look. Do you know anyone who has actually seen this Lost City?”

Gil-galad rolled over onto his back and lay trying to outstare Erestor. “No, not personally,” he admitted finally. “Though I knew several mariners who knew others who had met explorers who had been there…”

Erestor tilted his head to one side, raised an eyebrow and gave this ‘proof’ the response it deserved - a kind of waiting silence. When he saw he was still not being taken seriously, Gil-galad gave a sigh and stretched out, linking his hands behind his head and gazing up at the ceiling, studiously ignoring the brunette when he came to sit on the edge of the bed. Grinning, Erestor used the end of one of his shining black braids to tickle the king’s nose, which caused Gil-galad to sneeze and turn his head away.

“I think I just learned a valuable lesson,” the king grumbled. “Trust no one, because if you do you’ll have your dearest dreams trampled on, your fondest beliefs mocked. You are so unfair and practical and – logical, Erestor. Unlike you, I want to believe!”

“Dear love, I’m sorry,” the elf with the midnight hair and amber eyes said gently, bending down to place a soft kiss on Gil-galad’s forehead. “I’m not mocking you, not really. I’ve always assumed such tales were fables, but if it means so much to you perhaps we can agree to disagree?”

“I’m hurt, I’m deeply wounded,” Gil-galad told him, taking hold of a lock of black hair and tugging softly. Erestor’s eyes sparkled with mischief, and he bent to slide his tongue wetly across the king’s mouth, persuading him to part his lips and accept an upside down kiss that was neither deep nor long-lasting but was still immensely pleasurable.

“Perhaps I can kiss the hurt better?” Erestor suggested in the husky tone that made Gil-galad’s blood sing. “The truth may be out there, but I think I can find a few things for you to believe in without us even leaving this room.”