39. Chapter 37
A/N In this fic, the twins' connection is not so all-powerful. They can sense each other, but only when a conscious effort is made.
A shadow crept through the deserted halls of the healing house. Using skills honed from years of orc hunting, the lithe figure passed the healers on duty. A silver head peered cautiously around the door into the darkened room. Hopefully, Elrond had retired for the night.
Haldir had to make sure Elrohir was all right. He felt terrible that the younger twin had been able to deceive him so. Elrohir was the sensible one, what had possessed him to hide the injury? Walking silently to the bedside, the Silvan elf sat in a vacant chair, resting his elbows on his knees and rubbing his face in his hands wearily.
"What were you thinking?" he whispered to the unconscious elf. "We have just started to get to really know one another; I really enjoyed our talk at the campfire." Haldir sat back and sighed. "You have such a calming effect on me. Then you go and do something so boneheaded even Elladan would not pull it. It has been a long time since I have felt fear like that; to know you were in trouble and unable to reach you. Then to see you in a growing pool of red." He ran a hand through his unbraided hair. "You gave your Adar quite a fright, you know. He was right though, I should have been more observant. I hope it was not a fatal mistake on my part." The warrior stood, looked at the peaceful expression gracing the dark haired elf's face, leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on Elrohir's forehead. With one last look, Haldir left the room as silently as he had come. He never noticed a pair of steely eyes watching from the balcony. Elrond dropped his gaze. How could he have reacted so poorly? Haldir was as honorable an elf as Glorfindel. The young captain did not deserve to be treated so disrespectfully.
Maedhros managed to get his brother to let go of the wine bottle and into bed. In his current state, the older brother decided to keep his sibling in his room for the time being. Sitting by the fire, Maedhros debated what to do about the situation. He just could not believe that Lindir would be so foolish as to simply throw his relationship with Maglor away. He wished he knew the minstrel better so he could simply confront him. He sipped a goblet of wine. He thought about the events of the past couple of days. Things seemed fine up until the Mirkwood elves came…hmmm, could it be? He needed information before he could proceed and he knew just the elf to ask. It was too late to do anything now; it would have to wait until morning. Finishing his wine, Maedhros settled back into the comfort of the chair and fell asleep.
The night was uneventful for the brothers. Maglor had drunk himself into oblivion and Maedhros was too worried to enjoy any pleasurable dreams featuring a certain raven-haired ellon. Waking and stretching out his cramped muscles, Maedhros washed and dressed quickly. He set a kettle of tea at the hearth edge and quietly left his rooms. He doubted that Maglor would wake anytime soon and once he did, he probably would not wish to move much.
With his mahogany hair in a simple ponytail, the tall elf made his way quickly to Erestor's office. He hoped that the advisor would not stray from his normal routine. Erestor was known to rise with the sun, organizing the day's work in his office before having breakfast. The Noldo knocked on the door and waited.
"Come," came the commanding voice. Maedhros smiled as he entered. "Yes?" Erestor had yet to turn from his bookshelf.
"Have you a moment, Lord Councilor?" The startled elf turned quickly.
"Umm, ah, yes. Please." Erestor indicated to a chair near his desk. Maedhros noticed the slight blush on the advisor's cheeks and thought it was absolutely enchanting. Unfortunately, this was not a pleasure call and he had little time before he was expected at the forge. "What can I do for you?" Oh, there was a loaded question.
"At the moment, I simply need some information," the re-born elf said with a wink. "I am worried about my brother. He seems distressed and will not tell me exactly what the trouble is." Erestor was touched by the concern in the other elf's eyes. "I believe it has something to do with Minstrel Lindir."
Erestor raised an eyebrow. "Why do you say that?" he asked, coming to sit in the chair next to Maedhros. Sad cinnamon eyes locked with deep pitch eyes.
"Well, for starters, he came to the forge yesterday needing to speak with me. Yet, when I inquired about the trouble and if it was related to Lindir, he clammed up and said it was nothing. I know my brother well. It was something and I am certain it involves Lindir." Maedhros took a deep breath before continuing. "I went to his rooms last night. He was drunk. He opened the door with such a look of hope, Lindir's name on his lips. The resulting look of disappointment broke my heart. He was too far-gone to give me any rational explanation. All he could say was that Lindir was with some prince. I took him back to my rooms and put him to bed. Then I got to thinking. This prince would not happen to be from Mirkwood, would he?" It was hard to keep bitterness from creeping into his voice.
Erestor looked at his hands folded in his lap. "I know that Lindir has been with Prince Legolas in the healing wing since they brought the Prince in," the dark haired elf said, finally looking his companion in the eyes.
Maedhros' eyes darkened and Erestor could not help the flash of fear that raced through his body at the sight. "What is this Prince to the minstrel? You mentioned last night that they had a 'close' relationship." the great elf ground out.
"Friend," came the rushed answer. "They have been friends for decades. That is all." Erestor dropped to his knees before the angered elf, clasping the other's hands. "I swear it. They are only friends. Legolas is betrothed to an elleth. Please, I assure you Lindir is not cheating on your brother," the younger elf beseeched.
Maedhros looked into the panic stricken eyes. Releasing a hand, he gently caressed Erestor's cheek. His anger fled and was replaced with weariness. "Then why does the penneth behave as he does. Does he not sense what it is doing to my brother?"
"Lindir can be, well, single-minded. Legolas was near death. Lindir has had his share of loss and I think he feared losing Legolas. I know that if he was aware of how he was acting, he would be ashamed of himself."
Leaning toward the kneeling elf, Maedhros captured the soft lips is a tender kiss. "Thank you," he whispered against the delicate flesh. He stood and helped Erestor to his feet. "I must go or I will be late to the forge. If you have a moment later this morning, would you stop by my rooms and check on Maglor? I did not lock the door."
Erestor gave a shy smile. "Certainly." With a slight nod of the head, the tall elf turned and left the office. Now it was Erestor's eyes that turned black with anger. He was not about to stand by and watch Lindir throw the best thing that happened to him out the window. He stopped a passing servant and asked that his meal be brought to him as he had much to do.
Elladan woke rubbing his chest. Rumil propped himself up on an elbow. "What is it?"
"I am not sure. Something must have happened to Elrohir," the dark haired elf moved to sit up. "Would you mind if we made it back to Imladris today? It will be a hard ride, but I will feel better once I see him."
In way of an answer, Rumil stood, gathered up their now dry clothes and whistled for the horses. They dressed quickly. Wanting to get moving, they each grabbed an apple to eat on the way. Rumil approached the horses and began fastening his pack and bedroll. Looking at the renegade horse, he moved to its side.
"Now listen here," the elf whispered into a twitching ear. "We need to get home as quick as possible. You will stop this incessant behavior." The horse gave what appeared to be a nod of understanding.
The dark haired elf looked to the stubborn horse. At this point, he could care less if the horse got home with them or not. Right now, his only concern was getting back to his brother. Elladan looked at his lover and the horse, deep in conversation. He approached with a smirk. "What was that about?"
Rumil mounted his horse, a grin his only response. Shaking his head, Elladan mounted and moved to the lead. He took off in a gallop followed closely by Rumil. To his surprise, the escapee was right behind them.
Erestor looked out the window. It was about mid morning and he decided it would be a good time to look in on Maglor. As he made his ways to Maedhros' rooms, his temper began to rise again. Lindir was a fool who needed to be smacked. With a controlling breath, he knocked gently at the door. When he received no answer, he entered and looked around. Maglor was nowhere to be seen. Walking bashfully to his heart's desire's bedroom, he found the bed empty. The dark haired elf looked about in concern and saw an odd shadow in the bathroom. "My Lord?" he called softly. He approached the tiled room. There, to his dismay, on the floor was Maglor. The Elven lord looked horrible. His face was an odd combination of gray and green. He sat against the stone wall; head dipped forward, eyes closed. A wave of anger again rolled through the normally calm advisor. "My Lord?" he asked again, this time laying a hand on the elf's shoulder. Haunted eyes looked up questionably before the head dropped again.
"Come now, my lord. Your brother sent me to look in on you. Come, let us get you back into bed and I will get you some tea that will help make you feel better." With great effort, the slight advisor managed to help the disoriented elf back to the bed. As Maglor sat down, Erestor lifted his legs to the bed and placed several pillows behind the lolling head. Once he was certain Maglor would not fall over or off the bed, Erestor retrieved the pot of tea. He poured a cup and held it to the now trembling elf's lips. He managed to help Maglor drink a full cup before the ill elf turned his head to the side. Elrond's chief advisor then helped the elf lay back, tucking the blankets in. "Sleep. You will feel better when you wake." Erestor sat on the side of the bed and smoothed the hair from a damp brow. "It will be well, I promise. I will take care of everything." With a small smile and a final caress to the dark head, Erestor rose to leave. As he exited the room, he heard a mumbled "thank you."
Taking a deep breath, Erestor set out to make good his promise. He decided to first check the Hall of Fire. If Lindir was not there, he would look in the healing house. As luck would have it, the minstrel was sitting with his fellow musicians, going over music for the welcome feast. Erestor marched right up to the white haired elf and cuffed him across the back of the head.
"What?" came the startled reply. Everyone now looked at the fuming advisor.
"YOU! I cannot believe you are so dense! The Valar bless you with a wonderful lover and you are oblivious to his needs! You should be ashamed of yourself. Now if you all would give us a few minutes, I think it best the rest be handled in private." The other minstrels scrambled to leave. Everyone knew Erestor was a force to reckon with and the musicians felt sorry for their friend who seemed to be at the heart of his ire.
Elrond made his way toward the training grounds. He walked with as much elegance as he could muster given the night he had had. After Haldir left the healing wing, Elrond sat at his son's bedside and thought long and hard. No one deserved to be treated the way Haldir, and Glorfindel, had; especially since it became quite clear that the guardian cared deeply for his son. Elrond was wise enough to know when he was wrong and strong enough to admit it.
He walked down the slight incline toward a pair of silver haired warriors, locked in swordplay. As he approached, the two warriors stopped and Orophin took a small subtle step toward his brother in an extremely defensive manner. Before the Valley's Lord could reach his destination. He found the way blocked by none other than a large golden elf looking like a lion guarding its cubs. Elrond sighed and looked into the rich blue eyes of his captain.
"Captain," he began with a nod.
"My Lord," came the cool response. Behind the warrior, Orophin glanced at Haldir with trepidation. If it were Haldir and Celeborn, Haldir would have already found himself on his backside with his Lord's boot at his throat. Haldir was equally shocked. He did not understand why Glorfindel would interfere on his behalf.
"I would like a word with Captain Haldir; if you can spare him a moment."
Glorfindel glanced over his shoulder. Haldir was no coward; he nodded consent. He cared for Elrohir, more deeply than he had thought. He was not about to back away from his overprotective father.
Glorfindel moved aside to let Elrond pass. Orophin moved to join the golden warrior; neither elf felt inclined to leave the area. There was a pregnant pause.
"Captain, I owe you an apology," the dark haired lord said, looking (he noticed for the first time) up into Haldir's eyes. "My behavior yesterday was horrid and unbecoming an elf of my age. I let fear take hold and looked to blame anyone, other than my stubborn ion."
"It was understandable, my lord," Haldir said gently.
"Be that as it may, it is inexcusable. Furthermore, I was touched by your visit last night."
Haldir's eyes bulged. How could Elrond know about that? Elrohir was certainly not conscious.
A slight blush stained Elrond's cheeks. "I had stepped onto the balcony for some fresh air when you decided to visit my son. I did not want to drive you away, so I stayed silent. It became clear to me that you care greatly for my son and would never knowingly allow harm to come to him. I saw what you did to his chamber door." Elrond smirked and Haldir was unable to hide a grin. The Lorien elf had done a fine job of destroying the offending piece of wood.
The two elves locked eyes and in that moment an understanding was formed. With a bow and hand to his heart, Haldir quietly replied, "Thank you." Elrond nodded with a smile, knowing that Haldir caught the hidden meaning. The Elven lord could only hope that his youngest son could find someone of Haldir's caliber. Locked between his apology, was hidden the blessing to pursue the young elf.
Looking about at the small group, Elrond turned to his longtime friend. "I fear I have done you a great injustice as well. Can you ever forgive a young fool." Glorfindel's rich laugh filled the air.
"I think I can find it in my wise old heart to forgive an irrational, overprotective adar." Elrond blushed and the rest laughed. Peace once again ruled the land…or at least, that side of the land. On the other side of the house, a small minstrel received a dressing down by one of the most feared mouths in all Arda. Moreover, deep down, he knew he deserved it.