2. One Twin
“I thought you were merely an image in a mirror,” Elrond said.
“If I had been, I would have reached forth with my left hand, not my right as you did,” Elros said.
“A dream then.”
Elros stroked Elrond’s cheek. “I thought you were a sweet dream as well.”
The twin brothers rose and bathed together in lavender-scented water. Elrond wore a robe of deep burgundy with golden embroidery; Elros chose a robe of similar fashion but in royal purple with silver embroidery. Even so, the two were splitting images of each other, and the night of restful slumber in the Elven lands had wiped away even the minute traces of care-worn wrinkles about Elros’s eyes and smile. Elros had been closer to Maglor than Elrond and had learned from their foster father the art of caring for hair. Elros brushed his brother’s silky black hair then combed it through with various scented combs to produce a most exotic, layered scent to his hair. He braided it in a fashion popular in the Blessed Realm: eight long braids in honor of the Aratar, four on either side of his head, each fashioned from seven strands of hair (for the seven Valar and seven Valier) and one braid of three locks that was wound about the head in a closed crown to represent the elements of air, water, and earth that had been brought together by Iluvatar. Elrond apologized (unnecessarily, Elros said sternly) for not being able to return the favor since he’d never leaned the more difficult and elaborate aspects of hair care, but he did braid Elros’s hair in the manner favored by Gil-galad.
Elrond had duties to attend to for the Opening Ceremony of the Sea Festival and urged Elros to join him, but Elros refused. Elros did not even want to see the High King immediately, which was not required of him since he’d already met with the main host of the Sea Palace, Cirdan, the night before. Elros wished to mingle among the Elves as an Elf, if even for a day, for he had been a Man for far too long. Elrond did not fully understand but did not withhold his brother; instead, he went to join Cirdan in the greeting of the Lord Osse and Lady Uinen of the Seas and later assisted in the welcoming of guests to the mayhem of festivities with Gil-galad.
The excellent cuisine of the Eglain was nothing new to Elros, for he had been in close contact with the Egladrhim for over 50 years after the establishment of Numenor, during which time the Cirdain of Mithlond had ferried the remnants of the three Houses of the Edain and the Druedain to the Isle of Elenna, but the delicate flavors of the Eglain never ceased to please, for even the most skilled chefs of the Numenoreans were not so skilled. The seafood of the Mithlondrim were not only delightful to the palate but also a feast for the eyes, for the thin slivers of fish-red, orange, and white in color-were cut in the shape of autumn leaves and snowflakes in honor of the seasons to come and rested atop crackers or balls of sweet, vinegared rice. Larger helpings of various fishes were available steamed for the true connoisseur, lemoned for those that disliked the smell of fish, baked with other seasonings to mask the true flavor of the fish, or grilled or fried for those who desired the extra crispiness. These were set beside lobster tails, crab claws and shells, mussels, oysters, and many foods beside, all of which were available both shelled and without shell, and most were offered in or with a variety of garlic sauces, mixed seasonings, butter oil, soy sauce, fruity sauces and compliments, or plainly and simply as themselves, without the extra garnishes to hide the natural flavor of the seafood. For those who were squeamish about eating the bounty of the Sea, the Mithlondrim served chicken, quail, duck, pheasant, goose, turkey, and even some swan, which was rarely served because of the reverence that the Sea Elves held for the favorite bird of the Lord of the Seas. They even offered some beef, pork, lamb, deer, rabbit, and the very rare horse meat, just as infrequent as swan as a dish because of the importance of the animal in travel over land. And for those who loathed to eat any animal, great or small, there were fruits of all kinds, nuts, vegetables, and sweet desserts of flaky pastries, custards and creams or flavored mousses, white, milk, and dark chocolates, some as truffles, cookies, cakes decorated with fruits and whipped cream or buttercream or sometimes even chocolate cream, and more than could be tasted in one day, which was just as well since the Sea Festival lasted for six days.
Elros practically lost himself in the elegant Egladrhim cuisine as he ate and sipped on his drink of finely crushed ice, honeydew melon, and sparkling white wine. As he feasted, he watched from behind the glass panes of the dining hall, which was located underwater as opposed to most of the rest of the Sea Palace, the fine swimmers among the Cirdain compete with the dolphins of the Sea in a game of waterball. The Cirdain were winning by a score of 2, but perhaps the dolphins, which all knew to be Maiar in other guise, were not yet playing their utmost. The competing Elves were clothed only in simple loincloths, and their bodies were lithe and smooth, a marvel to admire as they darted to and fro in the water as the waterball was passed between them or brought out of range of the equally quick dolphins. Lord Cirdan of Mithlond was among them, and although there were some wrinkles on his otherwise youthful and muscular body, he seemed little aged and certainly unslowed by the passage of time to Elros’s eyes. Beyond the Elves and dolphins were the pearl thrones of the Lord and Lady of the Seas, and though they had earlier come forth amidst great white foam and silver surf of the waters, they were now again submerged in their native element and watching the waterball game with much interest. Around Elros, the guests cheered as the Elves scored a third point against the dolphins. Lost in the crowd, Elros felt like just another Elf among Elves, a Peredhel to be sure, but at least not a Peredhel who had chosen to be a Mortal Man.
Now with a content stomach, Elros traded his empty glass of honeydew melon for a strawberry mixed drink and mingled with the other Elves, occasionally turning his attention from his conversation to check the waterball score. For the most part, perhaps because the morning was still young, the Elves mistook him for Elrond, and Elros chose not to correct them. They chatted about the food, the game, the wonderous Sea Palace, and the Sea Festival. It was light conversation, but there was something Elven in their very conversation style that made Elros feel that he was at last home after having been abroad in a grand adventure for over 400 years. Is this how the Noldor felt when they were at last permitted to return to the Blessed Realm? Elros wondered. And there was a personable friendliness between Elves that was only possible in the merry folk that reveled in Midsummer’s Day as no other creature could, for no other race was so in tune with Arda as the Firstborn Children of Iluvatar.
Gildor came and greeted Elros as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do, undoubtedly because he did not realize the Peredhel to be the younger, not the older, of the twins (and probably didn’t know that there were two of them about on this day). The young Elf had hair as golden as the Light that Elros had seen in visions created by the songs of Maglor, and his manner was as bright as one from the Days of Bliss. It took very little time for Elros to identify the descendant of Finarfin, whose resemblance to Finrod Felagund was even stronger than Inglor’s, as the same boy who’d been pampered and praised in the days after the War of Wrath on the shores of a broken world. Elros did not dislike the Prince, per se. He’d always been awed by the tale of his stepfather’s friend Finrod, who’d given his life to fulfill an Oath in a quest that had no hopes of success. In truth, Elros was drawn by Gildor’s noble bearing underneath his light and easy mannerism. But he couldn’t help but to resent him a little. There was something about his life, seemingly unmarred and untainted, that grated on Elros’s nerves. And that was exactly the kind of edge that appealed to Elros at the moment.
Elros had never really flirted with his wife Nerdanwen, not in this manner, for she was not an Elf. As they chatted casually about the waterball game and the seafood delicacies, Elros scratched lightly behind his ear and then pushed the loose strands of silky black hair back. Gildor’s eyes flickered for just a moment at that succulent, pointed ear. His brief gaze made Elros’s blood run hotter, and his ear became faintly flushed. Elros tried to play it smooth and turned his attention to the food offered on a nearby table. He selected a peach, but when he sank his teeth into it, with the sweet juices trickling into his mouth, he found his mind on other matters.
“This is a delicious peach,” Elros said. “Please, have the rest, Lord Gildor.”
“How sincere is your friendship for me,” Gildor said. “You immediately forget your own appetite and think only of giving me good things to eat.” Gildor took a bite of that peach, which truly was delicious beyond other peaches, and then licked the juice that threatened to spill out over his hand. Elros felt more than his ear becoming rigid. Each motion of Gildor’s lips brought to mind images of that same action running over the length of his arm, down his chest, and along his inner thigh. Even before Gildor laughed at him, Elros knew that he was blushing like a youth who had just reached maturity. Gildor leaned over and whispered into Elros’s ear, “You need only ask, Half-Elven, and I would gladly share the pleasure of Midsummer’s Day with you.” Gildor’s tongue flickered out and touched the tip of Elros’s ear. Elros gasped softly.
“I would not know how to ask,” Elros confessed, “and there are too many people here.” He pushed Gildor away. Elros’s eartip was still slightly moist, and the rest of his body seemed keenly aware of it.
Gildor smiled and took Elros’s wrist. “Come with me, and I will gladly teach you how to ask,” Gildor offered. His finger traced senseless patterns in Elros’s palm. Elros only nodded.
Once away from prying eyes, Elros no longer felt the need to be proper, to be Elven, so to speak. Between kisses, he pulled Gildor’s clothes half off his body but did not entirely undress him. Thus, Gildor found his arms partially pinned, but he was not about to let that stop him. He nipped at Elros’s ear, and though Elros drew away, the very sight of Gildor lightly licking his lips forced him to offer up his other ear. Gildor took it into his lips and sucked gently on the tip before sliding his tongue along the earlobe and encircling his mouth around the entire ear. Elros pulled Gildor close to him and felt the heat growing at Gildor’s crotch. They moved against each other, and sometime while Gildor was tugging gently on his earlobe, Gildor slipped out of his clothing and was undressing and caressing Elros. Gildor finally released the wet ear and crossed over Elros’s face and open mouth. They shared heated kisses and found themselves on the bed, neither able to stay still against the other’s body, neither staying on top for very long. Gildor found the other ear, the more sensitive right ear, and then he was able to hold Elros down and thoroughly torment him with his nibbling and licking and kissing. Elros squirmed underneath him but when he turned his head away from Gildor’s mouth, Gildor found him again and took his ear in his mouth anew. Gildor tried to pour lubricating oil on Elros, but their frolicking was such that the oil got everywhere on their bodies and on the bedsheets. The oil certainly helped them move against each other though, and still, there was the matter of the ears, which Gildor attacked mercilessly, either one or the other, once he realized how hypersensitive they were even for an Elf. That ear thing proved to be Elros’s undoing, for when Gildor, with mouth fully engulfing Elros’s right ear, plunged his tongue into that ear, Elros cried out in helpless abandon and finally offered himself up to Gildor. Gildor’s entry into him matched the thrusts of his tongue. Elros took Gildor’s rear in his hands and helped him find a rhythm by pulling him in at just the right moments (while parting his halves, for there would come a time in the near future when Gildor would have the favor returned, and his ass was much too stiff and in much need of serious preparation). Shortly after they finished, Elros had completely forgotten that he wished to make love like an Elf and climbed on top of Gildor anew, and Gildor, being born to rule, could not let the challenge go unanswered, and so they began another and then another round of frenzied coupling.