Glorfindel loomed over the twins, his arms raised and his hands shaped like claws. He grabbed Elrohir's blanket and swung it over his shoulders, making sure to wrap part of it around his face. From underneath, he laughed evilly, then reached down to snatch Elladan up in one arm and Elrohir up in the other. After pretending to bite their necks, he handed them to their parents and stood up straight, smiling brightly.
"And that is what vampires do, so you should not go into the caves alone, ever again. Only adults with garlic can save you from vampires. Isn't that right, Elrond?"
Elrond glared at the tall elf, and gritted his teeth before spitting out his agreement. Before he and Celebrian left the room with the shivering, scared twins, he leaned over and hissed into Glorfindel's ear.
"You will pay for this! We'll never get them to sleep now!"
Glorfindel shrugged and, with a smirk, said, "You were the one who told me to convince them not to go into the caves alone again!"
Elrond just glared at him again and left the room.
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"Glorfindel, you shouldn't tell those stories to the children before bedtime. It will take Celebrian and Elrond half the night to calm them down enough to get them to sleep. And you know Elrond wanted to discuss the trade agreement with Thranduil with me tonight. Now it will have to wait until morning."
"That, my dear Erestor, is precisely why I told the story! The both of you work far too hard. It will do him good to spend time with his family and you could use some time away from your desk as well."
"And since when were you appointed my keeper? I know you have some sort of Valar-destined assignment to protect Elrond, but now me too?"
"I am not your keeper. I just think you work too much and socialize and relax too little. There is more to life than trade agreements and inventories, you know."
"Ah. You want me to socialize more? With anyone specifically?"
Glorfindel laughed. "No, no one specifically. Why? Do you have someone in mind?"
Erestor coughed and felt his face warm just a bit, so he waved Glorfindel off and stalked out of the room, muttering. "Meddling elves. Don't need him to tell me to take a night off!"
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Over the next several weeks, Glorfindel endeavored to get Erestor to take more time off, usually by making sure Elrond was tied up and unable to work. He'd noticed the way Celebrian had smiled her approval as both elves got into the habit of quitting early at least once a week. She had been unable to lure Elrond from his work often enough, but now that Glorfindel was trying the same thing, it was more successful. She decided to form an official alliance with him to make sure that this remained a permanent state of affairs.
She approached him one morning in the barracks, where she knew neither Elrond nor Erestor would see them talking.
"Glorfindel? Might I have a moment, please?"
He stood up from whatever paperwork he was doing and nodded, stepping around his desk to pull a chair out for her.
"Of course. Tea?"
"No thank you, I won't keep you long."
He leaned on the edge of his desk, smiling down at the Lady of Imladris with curiosity.
"I have noticed that you have managed to get my husband and his friend to take some time off from their duties on a fairly regular basis."
Before he could object, she held up a hand to stop his protests, and continued to speak. "I would like to help with that. I tried without success to get Elrond to slow down and relax, but that meant that Erestor worked even harder, which was not my intention, so the fact that you were able to get them both to respond to your…schemes, well, I am impressed. I would like to help so they don't become suspicious of you."
"I knew someone would figure it out before long. I'm very happy that it was you, milady."
"We have only their best interests at heart, I know, milord. But before we get into the specifics, may I ask you a rather personal question?"
Glorfindel thought for a moment before slowly giving his assent.
"Are you doing this just to take care of Elrond and…a friend? Or do you have a less noticeable objective in mind?"
This time, Glorfindel coughed to cover his shocked gasp. "Less noticeable objective? I…"
"Don't try to deny it too vehemently. I've watched you with him."
"Oh. Then yes, fine, I do have other goals for the long term."
"I thought as much. Have you approached him at all?"
"NO! I don't even know if he'd be receptive. He doesn't seem to…socialize with anyone in general, let alone give signs that he might be willing to spend time with say…one other elf."
"I see. Your plans are really only half-complete then. You get him to leave work, but you can't get him to spend that time with you. It is good that I decided to speak with you then. You keep getting Erestor and Elrond to take time off, and I will make sure that Erestor's free time is spent more in your company. Do we have a deal?"
Glorfindel wasn't totally sure he should turn this over to Celebrian. He wasn't used to letting someone else steer his destiny like that. Well, at least unless they were Valar. But he nodded, and stuck out his hand so they could shake on it.
"We have a deal." Celebrian smiled and left the barracks, planning for the next time Glorfindel managed to make Elrond and Erestor stop working early once again. Maybe this would even turn into a good habit for the two elves.
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It took Glorfindel only a few days to put his next scheme to work. This time, he laced Erestor's dinner wine with a colorless, almost tasteless liquor. It made the wine very potent, and Erestor always drank at least two glasses with dinner. Tonight though, Glorfindel got him to drink a third glass, so Erestor was more than tipsy when he left the dinner table.
"But…but Glo..Glofrindel! I have to work! Elrond wants me to meet papers..uh..meet HIM to paperwork."
Glorfindel laughed and steered Erestor toward Elrond's study, just to show the Lord of Imladris how futile work would be tonight.
Elrond took one look at Erestor and waved him off.
"Go sleep off that…drink, Erestor. Nothing that can't wait until tomorrow anyway, really."
Glorfindel was getting the impression that Elrond was starting to enjoy these nights off since he practically knocked them over as he hurried to leave.
Erestor scowled at Elrond's retreating back and tried to get past Glorfindel again.
"Erestor. Elrond told you to go to your quarters and sleep. I'll take you there myself, I guess. You'll try to get back here to work, won't you? Maybe I should stay with you until you fall asleep?"
He tried to say that easily, without sounding too anxious. It must have worked because Erestor was nodding and smiling at him now.
"That's a wonnerful idea, Glofrindel! You can tux me in."
They somehow arrived at Erestor's rooms, and once inside, Glorfindel shut the door and guided Erestor to bed. He was lighting the small bedside lamp when he heard the snoring. Erestor was passed out cold! He lit the lamp, then removed Erestor's shoes and tucked him under the covers. He gave the sleeping elf one last longing look before extinguishing the lamp and exiting the room.
"Reminder to yourself: Erestor can't hold his liquor. In any amount."
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At breakfast the next morning, Elrond and Celebrian were too cheerful by half. Erestor had a headache, and Glorfindel was irritated. As soon as Erestor and Elrond left the table, Celebrian scooted over to sit next to Glorfindel.
"Thank you. Elrond is starting to see the benefits of quitting at a reasonable hour. I'm beginning to think you won't have to scheme much more. How was your evening? Did you get to spend the time," she paused and licked her lips, "enjoyably?"
"No. Erestor passed out. Did you know that he SNORES?!"
She stifled her giggles when she saw Glorfindel's scowl. "I can see that I need to step in now. Your plans work well to a point, but it's going to take a real specialist to open Erestor's eyes, isn't it?" She leaned over to kiss his cheek. "I'll make sure that your evenings are less—snore filled from now on." As she stood to leave, Glorfindel grabbed her hand and kissed it.
"You’d better, milady."
Erestor quickly turned and left the small alcove where he'd been standing. He'd left once, but had turned around almost immediately to ask Glorfindel a question. He'd stopped short before making himself known when he'd seen how close Celebrian was sitting to the other elf. Then she'd kissed his cheek and he'd kissed her hand! It might have seemed innocent to most elves, but then Glorfindel had said, plain as day, "Your bedroom, later." They were obviously having an affair! At the same time as that thought crossed his mind, he had another, just as important one flash into his brain. 'That was a very interesting remark. I may have to report that.’
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Luckily, Elrond had sent Erestor down to the cellars to check on the stores that had just arrived. He could busy his mind with counting and inspecting and not have to dwell on what he'd just seen. He didn't have to tell Elrond right away either. He wasn't looking forward to that at all. To think, his wife and one of his best friends, having an affair! It was scandalous. Elrond shouldn't have to deal with this. Erestor made up his mind that he would take care of it before Elrond ever found out. He'd speak to Glorfindel about it as soon as possible. Maybe even suggest that the other elf leave. Then Celebrian wouldn't be tempted. Yes, that was the best solution. Now if only this dratted headache would go away so he could plan what he wanted to say!
Erestor never caught up with Glorfindel before lunch. When he did manage to make his way down to the barracks, he was told that Glorfindel had gone up to the house as he had to take care of something personal. Erestor knew the guardian hadn't missed his gasp of surprise, surely they wouldn't dally in broad daylight?! Would they? And right under Lord Elrond's nose! He just wouldn't stand for anymore of this lunacy! Elves, especially elves of rank like Glorfindel and Celebrian, were supposed to know better. They were also supposed to act better. How could Celebrian forget her vows so easily?
The dark-haired elf muttered under his breath all the way to the family's living quarters. If he had to break the door down to stop them, then by Valar, he would! He knocked sharply on the door to Elrond and Celebrian's private suite then flung it open without waiting for admittance. There was no one in the room. Not a soul! He knew they couldn't have hidden so completely or quickly, he'd not given them enough warning to do that. There was only one answer. They were in Glorfindel's rooms.
As Erestor tried to remain outwardly calm during his walk to the other living quarters, he raged on the inside. Really, this was absurd! Why would Glorfindel have an affair with Celebrian? There were so many others in Imladris who would easily follow the warrior. Erestor wouldn't even pass up a chance to find out just how skillful Glorfindel was. Wait! What was he thinking?! He wasn't attracted to Glorfindel! Of course he wasn't. Was he?
Well, no matter. He was going to break Glorfindel and Celebrian up for the good of her marriage. He had no ulterior motive. He wasn't the least bit jealous of the attention Glorfindel paid to her. Besides, he could get any elf he'd like. He just didn't like any. Not romantically. Except for Glorfindel. That settled it then, Celebrian had to go! Back to Elrond, he meant.
He was at the door to Glorfindel's rooms before he had his speech completely planned out. That's what happened when you walked quickly with righteous anger driving you. He stood outside the door for moment, scrunching up his face when he was sure he caught a whiff of a heavy floral scent. Celebrian's prized roses! Glorfindel had the audacity to give her her own flowers? He probably had the room filled with vases of the flowers. Of course he'd have used roses. Just another stab of pain into Erestor's back, as he'd recently mentioned that he, himself, absolutely loved how roses could scent a room without being cloying. Finally, he rapped loudly on the door and flung it open before the two conspirators could make a move. This time, he actually caught them red-handed!
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"Ah-ha! I've caught you now, you faithless wretches! How could you betray your husband, Celebrian? And you betray your calling from the Valar, Glorfindel?!"
He was ready to keep haranguing the two, when he finally noticed that they were indeed together, but Celebrian sat on a chair, sipping some tea, while Glorfindel paraded back and forth in front of her, turning and twirling, apparently modeling the clothes he wore. And the room was full of vases and bowls, roses dripping out of them all, the different shades of pink and red filling the room.
Celebrian frowned but Glorfindel cut her off before she could say anything. He dived behind a dressing panel, almost screeching. "Erestor!? What in Arda are you doing here? It's customary for a guest to be given leave to enter another's private rooms, you know!" He paused and pulled off the clothing he'd been wearing, and came back out dressed in a more everyday uniform. He talked nearly the whole time he changed though. "What do you mean? Faithless wretches? Exactly WHAT do you think was going on in here?"
Celebrian looked at Glorfindel's irritated expression, then at Erestor's confused, then quickly embarrassed one and she started to laugh. "Erestor, you thought Glorfindel and I were…? Oh my! This is a story I'll need to share with Elrond!"
She stood up, brushed her skirt off and stepped past Erestor, pushing him further into the room as she left.
"Glorfindel. I wouldn't wait one moment longer. Give it to him now. And Erestor? I'll tell you what was going on in here. Glorfindel was practicing how to seduce you. I guess you could call it before foreplay." She darted out the door with a giggle.
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Glorfindel sat on the chair that Celebrian had just vacated and thrust a brightly wrapped package into Erestor's hands. "She's telling the truth, you know. I didn't think you'd ever look at me twice, so Celebrian offered to help me…attract you. I thought of the flowers. She suggested a gift. I suppose I've lost any chance with you now, haven't I?"
Erestor walked slowly around the room, touching rose petals, stroking some lightly. When he came back to the spot in front of Glorfindel, he pulled one rose out of the vase and brushed it over the warrior's down-turned lips.
"You should know better than to jump to conclusions, my…friend. I never do."
He smirked and quickly opened the package.
When he held up the gift, he smiled and shook his head. "The roses would have been quite enough you know. Roses are a special…weakness of mine."
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Elrond wondered where Glorfindel and Erestor were when their dinner places were left vacant. He was ready to send someone to check on them when Celebrian stopped him.
"I think you can count on your evenings being free for some time to come, my dear. You and Erestor could have never stood against Glorfindel and I for long. We know what's best for you both."
"Oh? And what is that?"
"Relaxation after some strenuous physical activity."
Elrond could only smile and agree.
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