Main Page ~*~*~
'Even Quicker Than Doubt'
Lindon S.A. 32
response to the current dispute, it is my decree that the arable
land between the boundaries of these two towns will be held in
common to both, the revenues to be divided equally…’
Gil-galad leaned back in his chair for a minute, took a slow, deep
breath and closed his eyes. He had been working steadily since
arriving home from Forlond, and was starting to wonder if the pile
of documents, requests and reports industriously supplied by Thenin
was in fact bottomless. The Sinda had arrived home hours ahead of
his King, and Gil-galad already regretted sending him back by ferry
with Galadriel instead of allowing him to make the journey on
horseback as he had requested.
Turning to the next item, which came from a watch station high in
the Ered Luin, he read it with the same thoroughness that he brought
to even the most mundane administrative detail, and frowned.
Unaccounted for - probably misappropriated – items were becoming too
much a fact of life in the garrisons. Dipping quill in ink, he
scrawled across the report in bold lettering: ‘Henceforth, to avoid
a repeat of the current dispute over figures, a monthly inventory of
arrows in stock is to be sent to the head quartermaster …’
He had two rather arbitrary piles of documents to his left. One
would be returned to Thenin as requiring further attention or the
drafting of a response, while the other contained those items,
already bearing His Majesty’s signature or margin comment, that
were, in his opinion, ready to be dispatched. After a moment’s
thought, he placed the report on this second pile, wondering as he
did so if this watch station would remain operational for very much
longer. He had a suspicion it would be on Glorfindel’s list of
places that no longer justified a military presence. He suspected
that Glorfindel would produce such a list – possibly several such
lists – within a matter of days.
He picked up another report, this time from a Fleet officer, which
outlined a troublingly similar situation. A pattern was emerging, he
realised, that he would need to mention to Glorfindel. It suggested
the beginnings of a problem with discipline. This led him to wonder
a little uneasily how Círdan, who controlled the Fleet, was going to
respond to taking instructions from the blonde. The Telerin had
originally been very much in favour of giving Glorfindel control of
the army, although that had been before discovering the reborn Elf
was sleeping with his foster son. Still, the King thought, a polite
reminder along those lines would not be out of place.
After selecting a round of bread from the plate that had been sent
up from the kitchen – this one topped with his favourite combination
of cheese and bacon - Gil-galad rose and strolled over to the window
that looked out towards the stables. Mingled in with the moaning of
the wind and the associated rattling of shutters, he could hear
indistinct voices from the floor below. He smiled to himself. No one
understood why he had designated the space above the palace baths
for his workroom but, on the too-frequent nights when he worked
late, he enjoyed the sounds of activity below. It gave him a sense
of being not wholly alone.
He had his own private bathroom, of course, but he rather liked
visiting the baths. He made regular use of the area set aside for
senior courtiers and members of his inner circle, taking the popular
view that it was the ideal place to socialise and unwind. A view not
shared by Glorfindel, he recalled with a fond grin. The blonde
loathed the baths. Clearly feeling exposed and vulnerable, he was in
and out as quickly as he could manage, barely pausing in the cold
water plunge pool before hurrying to dress. Relaxing in the warm
water and chatting with fellow bathers held no appeal for him.
Of course, Gil-galad mused, the idea of public baths as a social
gathering place was a fairly recent innovation, although he seemed
to remember them existing in Nargothrond when he was small. The
concept of socializing whilst wearing nothing more than a small
towel – at most - was certainly new and unwelcome to Glorfindel.
Unbidden, an idea fell into place. Those apartments in the palace
possessing their own bathrooms were few and jealously guarded, but,
with careful management, Glorfindel’s new position with the military
might well serve as an excuse to insist he be given new, more
appropriate quarters. With, coincidentally, his own bathing
The King remained looking out across the twilit grounds, gloomy
under the cloud-filled sky, and feeling rather pleased with himself
for having thought of a way to procure the perfect gift for his
lover. He was enjoying a small fantasy about Glorfindel’s possible
response to the news when movement on the edge of vision caught his
attention. He looked down, to be confronted with a sight that had
become a nightly occurrence in recent weeks; Elrond, taking an early
evening walk around the perimeter of the palace.
Gil-galad stood quite still, bread raised halfway to his mouth, and
stared, while his mind struggled to catch up. The last time he had
seen the dog – and yes, it was quite definitely the same dog – she
had been waiting to be placed on board one of the ships currently
making their way to the New Land. And yet here she was, being taken
for her customary walk as though nothing had happened. Elrond also
gave no indication of this event being in any way unusual. His main
concerns seemed to involve keeping his swirling, wind-disordered
hair out of his face with one hand while controlling the lead with
the other. He was looking down at the dog, and appeared to be
talking to her.
The High King of the Noldor remained by the window while he finished
eating his sandwich, then walked slowly back to the document-laden
table. Absently licking his fingers, he contemplated the work still
awaiting his attention and sighed. A brief search amongst the
apparent chaos finally produced the plain silver circlet he wore as
a kind of badge of office while conducting the day-to-day business
of rulership. Setting it firmly on his head, he went out into the
winter dusk to find his young cousin and ask him a few pertinent
Sipping her tea, Galadriel recalled Celeborn’s predictably irate
response upon her return with an amusement that she had been far
from feeling at the time. Relief at receiving word from Ereinion
regarding her whereabouts had dissipated overnight, given way to
annoyed exasperation at her for leaving with no explanation for
her absence beyond a brief note which had read ‘gone to Forlond,
be home later’.
After the briefest of greetings, they had spent the best part of
an hour shouting at one another - he regarding her lack of either
consideration or common sense, she concerning his apparent
obsession to be a party to her every thought. Eventually he had
reluctantly assured her that he was not sufficiently insecure to
need to be informed of her every movement and she had grudgingly
acknowledged that perhaps, in this case, a discussion would have
been more appropriate than a one-line note. The resulting
reconciliation had been immensely satisfying, but had left no time
for her to assess her visit until late afternoon when Celeborn
left to call on one of his numerous relatives.
With the house to herself, she took a cup of chamomile tea and
went back to curl up amongst the covers and cushions of the
still-unmade bed. She reclined, propped up on an elbow so that she
could contemplate recent events while observing the curious
phenomenon of the rain clouds ending abruptly out over the open
sea, the calm waters of which remained sunlit long after dusk
covered the wet, windswept shore.
Her impromptu journey to Forlond had proven even more successful
than she had anticipated. Firstly, she had been able to say
farewell to Elros, whose steadiness and determination so resembled
his fore-mother Melian - a contrast to his brother whose demeanour
was startling reminiscent to that of wayward, unpredictable
Lúthien. Secondly, besides being able to confirm the truth of the
rumours regarding Glorfindel and her nephew, she had, as hoped,
come to a thoroughly satisfactory arrangement with Lord Círdan.
As she had anticipated, he foresaw little difficulty in having her
letters forwarded to Tirion. Kings generally received their mail,
after all, and one of the letters in the small package she had
brought with her was addressed to her father. She had been in some
doubt regarding her second request, which involved sending a gift
to her grandmother in Alqualondë, but the master mariner had been
However, as with all favours, there was a price. Speaking quietly
to her as she was leaving Master Edhelûr’s house to catch the
ferry home, Lord Círdan told her that, after some thought and a
brief conversation with Elros’ senior advisor, Silbaron, he had
arranged to have the dog, Laslech, removed to the dock serving the
Lhûn ferry. All that he requested was that she oversee the
animal’s return to Elrond.
For once in her life, Galadriel had been – temporarily -
speechless. Not that she objected in principle; she had been
appalled to discover the animal was going with Elros. In fact, she
had seen it as one more example of life’s many sad injustices and
had said as much to Círdan as they walked together to the
pavilion. She recalled that he had fallen quiet, seemingly
distracted by some activity on the water, and at the time she had
thought nothing more of it. It now appeared that her casual
observation had provided a solution to a potential problem. In the
very near future, Círdan would be attempting to guide Elrond in
the use of his unique abilities, but from all accounts relations
between the two of them were anything but amicable. She could see
how a peace offering of sorts might be very much in order.
The sea-filled silence was abruptly broken by the sound of horses
travelling at speed along the road behind the house, almost
certainly heralding Ereinion’s return home. Galadriel stretched
and, finishing her tea, smiled to herself as she pictured
Glorfindel’s response upon discovering the surprise awaiting him
in his room. She had searched for Elrond on her return, but no one
seemed to have any idea where he was. Finally she had written a
brief note and instructed Thenin to have both it and the dog
placed in Lord Glorfindel’s rooms. Findel would sort it out – and
Ereinion would be more inclined to believe him than Elrond, who
might well be suspected of having stolen the creature.
Elrond was known for his unpredictability, but he had an
instinctive understanding for the needs of a young animal and had
provided Laslech with a routine that was all but immutable.
Anticipating the general direction he would follow, Gil-galad took
a shortcut that brought him out through the healing wing, from
where Elrond and the dog were easy to find. They had stopped in
front of the new library and Elrond was sitting on one of the
benches watching the sea while Laslech investigated a newly-dug
The roar of the ocean masked the sound of Gil-galad’s approach,
and he had almost reached them when the dog suddenly lifted her
head to sniff the air before rushing over to greet him, trailing
her lead and barking ecstatically. To Elrond’s hastily offered
apology, Gil-galad made no response beyond a raised eyebrow and an
absent-minded pat for Laslech. Instead, while the Half-elf was
attempting to enforce discipline, the King stood watching pale
light shimmering on distant water.
“They’ve been granted good sailing weather,” he commented when he
eventually had Elrond’s attention. “Clear skies and a following
breeze. The Mighty are making sure of a smooth passage for them.”
Elrond nodded. He was about to explain that he knew this as he had
been in Forlond the previous day, but thought better of it.
Glorfindel, who could be trusted with a confidence, had already
expressed pointed disapproval at the risks involved in travelling
the coast road. Instead he said, “Glori said you were catching up
on work, Sire. Have you finished or are you just taking a break?”
Save for the night when he had put his cousin to bed, he was still
not quite ready to try his luck at calling the King ‘Ereinion’ to
Gil-galad nodded briefly, still gazing out to sea, ignoring the
moisture-laden wind tugging roughly at his hair and clothes.
“Taking a break I suppose, yes.”
He turned his attention to Laslech, who had calmed down and was
now sitting between them wagging her tail, then fixed the young
Half-elf with a stern look. “Something you feel you want to tell
me?” he asked mildly. When Elrond merely looked confused, he
gestured to the dog. “Laslech. How did she get here? And please
don’t tell me she threw herself over the side of the boat and swam
“Why would I say that?” Elrond asked, apparently genuinely
puzzled. “Glori gave her to me, of course.” He paused, his face
lighting up with amusement, “She chewed his boots, and I found a
puddle in his room when I went to fetch her. I cleaned it up, sort
of, but – he’s not happy, is he? It’s his own fault. He should
have let her out first before coming to find me.”
Yes, that made sense.
Elrond was studying him curiously. “No one told you, did they?”
“No, Elrond, but then again that happens to me quite frequently.
So… Glorfindel decided to return the dog to you, even though I
made Elros’ wishes on the matter clear to him?”
Elrond blinked – not quite as effectively as Erestor did it, he
was sure, but he had been practising The Look before his mirror
for the last few days. “No, of course not. Círdan arranged it and
sent her back on the ferry with Galadriel. I was still…she
couldn’t find me, so she left her in Glori’s room. I don’t think
he had much else to do with it.”
Perhaps not, the little voice that concerned itself with such
things as insecurity and jealousy whispered to Gil-galad. But the
warrior would have been more than willing to involve himself in a
venture that would contribute to Elrond’s happiness. He frowned
the voice into silence. “Let me see if I have this right. Círdan
reached an arrangement with Elros and sent the dog back on the
ferry with my aunt, who left her in Glorfindel’s room because she
couldn’t find you.”
Elrond nodded, suddenly less certain of his facts than he had been
earlier. He had imagined that Círdan’s actions would be accepted
as respectable beyond dispute.
“I assume Glorfindel asked him to do this?” Gil-galad mused,
making it sound more a statement of fact than a question.
Elrond watched his cousin out of the corner of his eye, his innate
caution warning him to think before he spoke. He shook his head.
“No Sire, I shouldn’t think so,” he said carefully. “He told me
Galadriel left him a note – I had the impression that was all he
knew about it. He seemed to think it was quite funny, though…
Maybe you should ask him?”
Gil-galad, looking once more out to sea, nodded slowly. “Yes, yes
I’ll do that. Later.” After a thoughtful pause he turned back to
Elrond, his infinitely charming smile in place once more.
“Meanwhile, you seem to have inherited a dog and I’m glad for you.
Come and join me for breakfast tomorrow and I’ll tell you about
your brother’s last few days here – whatever you haven’t already
heard from Glorfindel. And you can tell me your version of what
happened between the two of you and Eönwë. Elros has a tendency to
Glorfindel proved easy to find. He was in the courtyard, passing
the time before dinner by listening to a young minstrel who was
playing a light, delicate tune reminiscent of leaping water,
accompanied by lyrics that spoke of spring time and new love.
Gil-galad, who disliked sugary love songs, pulled his expression
straight lest the musician take the sneer personally. He beckoned
the warrior over and Glorfindel complied immediately, greeting him
with a smile that was polite and correct, with just the tiniest
hint of intimacy.
“Not your kind of song, I know,” he said, indicating the minstrel.
“But he has a really good voice. He’ll become more versatile with
time, too. He’s still very young. Not quite Maglor, I know,” he
added with a grin. “But promising. I think his name is Lindir…”
Gil-galad grunted something that might have been agreement, then
jerked his head towards one of the doors opening off the
courtyard. “In there,” he said briefly. “We can’t talk out here.”
The room appeared to be a repository for the lamps, chairs and
cushions that were brought out after dinner to transform the
courtyard into an entertainment and social venue. After lighting a
lamp from the wall sconce, the King pushed the door half-closed
and turned to face Glorfindel, who was watching him curiously.
“The dog,” Gil-galad said tersely.
It took a moment for Glorfindel to understand the reference, but
then he smiled, relieved. He had thought the matter more serious.
“Oh, you saw her, did you? I was going to tell you later. Seems
that Círdan and Galadriel decided she belonged with Elrond, not
Elros. When we got back I found her asleep in my room… probably
from boredom after killing my favourite boots.”
“I heard mention of my aunt and of Círdan, yes, but I cannot help
but wonder if the idea did not originate elsewhere…with you
perhaps?” Gil-galad asked bluntly. “After all, you wanted me to
speak to Elros about her. At the time I thought you accepted his
reason for keeping her a little too easily.”
Glorfindel’s eyebrow twitched. “I had nothing to do with this,” he
interrupted, his tone unusually sharp. “As I understand it, Círdan
formally asked Silbaron if it would be in order to give Laslech to
Elrond as a parting gift between brothers. Galadriel’s note
implied that he worded it so that refusal would seem petty. I
doubt anyone had time to fuss about it either,” he added,
remembering the scene of controlled chaos as the travellers began
embarking on their allotted vessels. “If you think I went against
your decision, I can show you the letter…”
His voice trailed away into insecurity and there was silence in
the room save for the clear voice singing in the courtyard. The
wind caught the door, pushing it open and causing the flame in the
wall bracket to flicker violently. Eventually Gil-galad cleared
his throat and, eyes straight ahead, muttered, “Sorry. I expressed
myself badly. I just thought… It would be very like you to want to
look after Elrond’s interests.”
Glorfindel’s eyebrows shot up, but he kept his voice steady.
“Elrond and I are friends. More than that, he is the
great-grandson of my lord and has my fealty. Of course I wanted to
help. As it happens I wasn’t much use, but fortunately Galadriel
and Círdan were. Yes, someone needs to look out for his interests,
Gil, and he has gone out of his way on my behalf more than once.”
He stopped, deciding this was not an opportune moment to mention
his concern about Elrond's growing relationship with Erestor,
especially as he doubted the Half-elf had confided details of
their visit to Forlond to his cousin. Personally, Glorfindel liked
Erestor - in fact, if he was honest he was far from immune to the
black-haired Elf’s charms - but his instinct was to protect Elrond
from any threat that might present itself . And that included
fortune hunters and the politically ambitious
After another long pause, during which Gil-galad examined his
fingernails and Glorfindel waited, the King said, "Glaur, you and
Elrond…is there something we need to discuss?"
Glorfindel stared at him, not quite sure he had understood the
question. When he was certain that Gil-galad was, in fact,
serious, he burst out laughing, and kept laughing until eventually
he had tears in his eyes and was holding his ribs.
"Glorfindel, stop it."
"That's…that’s probably enough, yes… it's …not that funny…" he
admitted in sobbing gasps.
"Would you stop?" Gil-galad grasped Glorfindel's shoulder and
The blonde, face flushed, blue eyes tearing, struggled for
control. "Gil, that is ludicrous…!" he began, before he was once
The King took a deep breath and exhaled audibly, then stood back
shaking his head, a smile tugging at his mouth despite his best
efforts to suppress it. Glorfindel finally pulled himself
together, straightened up and said, still chuckling, "Gil, in all
seriousness, I have enough problems without adding a secret affair
with Elrond to the list."
Gil-galad gave an involuntary snort of mirth. The point was
probably valid. Being Elrond’s love interest would be a full time
job. In honesty, he was glad to have finally broached a subject
that had been bothering him for some while. Glorfindel’s denial
was sufficient. There was no circumstance under which he could
imagine the reborn Elf looking him in the face and lying.
"I did rather hope I was overreacting," he admitted, not quite
hearing the question in his own voice. Glorfindel, however, did,
and was instantly serious.
"You didn’t really believe there was something going on between
us, did you?" he asked, his eyes meeting Gil-galad's light, clear
ones. "We talk, we share our thoughts, we solve problems together,
nothing else. I'm sorry if you thought… Why would you think that,
Glorfindel was tall, but he still had to look up at Gil-galad, and
something in the tilt of his head, the honest concern, made him
look very young. No, not young, Gil-galad corrected himself,
unsullied perhaps. Like clear spring water, untouched by any
stain. He reached out, meaning to place his hand on Glorfindel's
shoulder but his fingers moved of their own accord to wind gently
instead in the bright gold hair. He drew a breath.
"I think I spoke from fear of the possibility," he said slowly.
"No matter how much we enjoy being together, no matter how well
our bodies fit, in a lot of ways you are a complete stranger to
me. Yet you hold no mystery for Elrond. Every time you say or do
something that surprises or confuses me, I find myself thinking
that he would have expected it, he would have understood. I
He looked at what he was about to say, Ereinion Gil-galad who
seldom said a word without first considering it. And said it
anyway, the words leaving his tongue even quicker than doubt or
"I suppose I’m afraid that you could never trust your heart to me,
that you would want someone like Elrond, someone who understands
how you think and what you want from life… Someone who would be
open with you in his turn. That despite how much I love you, love
alone may not be enough for you."
He had said it - badly, perhaps, but he had said it anyway.
Gil-galad abruptly felt an intense, vulnerable awareness of
himself, right down to the weight of his braided hair and the
discomfort of the silver circlet cutting into the skin above one
ear. Other than being taller and more solidly built than most
Elves, and possessing what he believed to be a passable sense of
humour, he had always suspected there was very little else to
recommend him to anyone who was neither ambitious for power nor
blinded by the glamour of a crown. Up until this moment, however,
he had never been called upon to put this theory to the test.
He waited somewhere between hope and terror for Glorfindel’s
puzzled frown to resolve itself one way or the other, waited in a
room, too small and still, within which each sound was clearly
defined: the rushing wind mingled with the swell of the ocean, the
sputtering torch flame, the music and conversation drifting in
from outside. Then Glorfindel’s face cleared and softened into a
smile that Gil-galad knew well; he had seen it on the night they
first made love, and the time the blonde had finally beaten him at
chess and on the day he had eventually managed to disarm
Glorfindel while sparring – a smile of delight, proud and yet
He reached out to touch Gil-galad’s cheek lightly, almost
wonderingly, with the tips of his fingers and said, “You don't
have to understand me, Gil. I don't even have to understand you –
though sometimes it would help. I think love is usually in spite
of, not because of. What we have here and now is all I need. You
are all that matters, all I will ever want.”
Gil-galad found himself smiling back. He twined the lock of golden
hair more securely around his fingers and tugged gently, not even
sparing a glance for the open door, before leaning forward to
place a quick kiss on warm, responsive lips. Understanding would
come in time, for them both. Right now there was love, and that
was the best possible beginning.
Very much later that same evening, Glorfindel finished putting his
clothing away in the drawer reserved for him, the candlelight
bathing his naked form in pale gold. He removed the final clasp from
his hair and, as he walked towards the bed, shook it out around him
in a shining cloak, combing it through with his fingers. Smiling, he
got into bed and settled against Gil-galad with a contented sigh,
his head on the King’s shoulder. Gil-galad pulled him closer and
they spent a few minutes settling so that their bodies fitted
Lying on his side, Gil-galad ran his hand lightly down over
Glorfindel's chest, his fingers casually following the line of his
ribs as they moved lower to the well-defined muscles of his abdomen.
He lay stroking smooth flesh, relishing the feeling of the warrior’s
skin which was always warm as well as being surprisingly soft to the
touch. There was nothing sexual in his intent; that would follow
shortly – probably very shortly, he acknowledged to himself with a
grin. For this time though, he was content to lie and simply enjoy
being alone at the end of the day with the person he loved.
The window shook as an exceptionally hard gust of wind rattled rain
and sea spray against it and, instinctively, the couple in the bed
drew closer. Gil-galad slid his arm around Glorfindel's waist,
drawing him closer, and his hand came to rest in the small of his
lover's back. He moved it in lazy circles that took in the contrast
between bone and muscle and the softly inviting curve of buttock.
Glorfindel turned his head to press a kiss against Gil-galad’s
shoulder before resting his hand on the King’s chest and extending a
single finger to toy casually with his nipple.
Gil-galad lay listening to the rain, feeling at peace with the world
and very aware that he was in the one place where he could be
himself without artifice or fear of judgement. No matter what the
future held, whether an eternity of days that would finally see him
cross the sea to the home of his father's people, or the more
foreshortened ending Galadriel had hinted at, he was content. He
could ask no more than what he had now, this strong, warm place that
sheltered his soul as surely as the walls of his palace sheltered
his body from the ravages of the storm without.
Glorfindel flicked the nipple casually in a bid for attention. “What
are you thinking?” he asked, tilting his head to look up
enquiringly. Gil-galad responded by aiming a kiss in the general
direction of his cheek, which found his mouth instead and was
transformed into something considerably more thorough than
“Not thinking,” the King told him when the kiss finally ended.
Glorfindel, who had turned to lie on his back, reached up to cup his
cheek, smiling playfully. Eyes the warm blue of a summer sky offered
tenderness and the beginnings of desire. Gil-galad paused before
seeking another kiss, tracing the outline of Glorfindel’s lips with
his thumb. “Not thinking at all,” he repeated with certainty. “Just
savouring the moment. Just loving you.”