Unexpected Lessons

Rúmil sighed for what his brother swore was the thousandth time since leaving Lórien. When he sighed once again in the space of less than five minutes, Haldir reached over and poked him with the sharp stick he had been using to wave the flies away from his horse's head with, causing Rúmil to yelp loudly and turn to his brother with a glare.

"Tell me again why I have to waste the next five years in Imladris?" he grumbled, rubbing the sore leg where his brother's stick had poked.

Haldir sighed himself, and when Rúmil turned back to look at the trail, rolled his eyes at his youngest brother. "You know why, muindor."

"But why can I not just practice with you and Orophin? Why do I have to...."

"Rúmil!" Haldir interrupted in the tone that told his brother to drop it. Instead of saying anything further, Rúmil continued grumbling softly to himself while they continued down the winding pathway toward Imladris. Haldir rolled his eyes again, nudging his horse a few steps ahead of Rúmil's so he would not have to listen.

They rode in silence for close to an hour, finally making a sharp bend in the pathway that brought them through a narrow cleft in the rocks where the path narrowed by half, forcing their horses to squeeze through, their sides nearly brushing the sheer rock walls on either side. Haldir glanced up, and though he knew border guards were stationed at the tops of the cliffs on either side, he could not see them. He marveled again at Elrond's good fortune to find a valley in which to build his refuge, the only entry and exit through the narrow cleft they had just passed. No doubt it was why he had been able to keep his realm safe for so many years, though his border guards were far less in number than either Lórien's or Mirkwood's. Any enemy who might attempt to invade would be forced into the narrow chasm, becoming easy pickings for Glorfindel and his highly trained border guards.

A few steps more and Rúmil pulled his horse to a stop, gasping as Imladris appeared before him in all her glory, the late afternoon sun glinting off the many waterfalls and nearly blinding him. Though he had not wanted to come here, he could not deny the beauty of the sight before him. Haldir saw his brother gaping, much as he had his first time seeing Elrond's realm, and smiled. "Lovely is it not?"

Rúmil nodded, too caught up in trying to absorb everything at once to respond to his brother's question. The sweeping architecture, the glistening spires, the way the buildings seemed to be a part of the forest....Rúmil gaped as each feature seemed to be more beautiful than the previous. Though he loved Lórien and his heart would always belong there, if he had to be here, there were far worse places to spend the next five years, he thought to himself.

Finally, he nudged his horse down the pathway toward the valley, telling her to pick her steps carefully, for he could see the shifting gravel was also designed as a protective measure, to trip up an enemy who may have made it through the narrow cleft and charged down the steep slope, thinking they were out of danger. For the space of several hundred feet, both sides of the pathway fell away in sheer sides, the path narrow, the shifting gravel forcing his horse to pick her way slowly and carefully to avoid plunging her rider to the valley floor below.

Up ahead there was another narrow cleft, and Rúmil sighed in relief when he saw that was the end of the narrow pathway. Though he trusted his mare to guide him safely, one tiny misstep and he would plunge to his death. Waiting at the cleft was a tall blonde elf on a powerfully built grey stallion who Rúmil guessed to be Glorfindel, though he had never seen the warrior before.

The golden-haired elf waited until they were within the safety of the cleft before bowing slightly. "Marchwarden Haldir, Marchwarden Rúmil....mae govannen....I am Lord Glorfindel, seneschal and Captain of Lord Elrond's border guards. Welcome to Imladris."

The brothers bowed deeply to Glorfindel and, when Rúmil said nothing in return, Haldir poked him with the stick again, causing him to yelp. "Introduce us, muindor, " he hissed under his breath. "Do you remember nothing of your diplomacy?"

Rúmil glared at his brother, rubbing his side, and turned back toward Glorfindel, who was trying very hard not to grin, and almost succeeding. "Mae govannen Lord Glorfindel," he said with a bow. "I am Rúmil, and this is my brother Haldir."

Haldir poked him again. "Of Lórien, Rúmil!" he hissed again.

"Of Lórien," he repeated obediently, causing Haldir to roll his eyes and Glorfindel to throw back his head and laugh loudly. When Rúmil turned his glare on the seneschal, he held out his hand.

"Peace, friend. Such formality is not required here. Come....if we hurry, we can make it in time for the evening meal. I am sure you would appreciate a proper meal after weeks of lembas and water."

The brothers nodded. "Aye," Rúmil said. "A proper meal sounds good." Glorfindel motioned to another elf who, until then, had remained unseen behind the bend.

"Tirion, inform Lord Elrond that our guests have arrived and that there will be two more at the evening table." The other elf nodded, and galloped quickly down the pathway. "Come....the loose gravel ends at the second cleft, it is safe to move more quickly now."

Rúmil followed behind Glorfindel as the warrior urged his horse into a quick trot. For several minutes, nothing was said, but finally he could not contain his curiosity any longer. "Lord Glorfindel?"

Glorfindel slowed his horse, allowing Rúmil to catch up to him. "Yes?"

"Were those clefts and the narrow pathway put there naturally, or was it altered?"

"They were there naturally, but the path was altered years ago, to make it narrower, and the loose gravel is refreshed every few years."

"To provide another barrier against possible enemies?"

"Aye....any horse, even a horse bred by men, can easily traverse it at a walk, and it is no trouble for a man or elf on foot, but is a deadly barrier for anyone moving quickly."

"You mean an invader."

"Yes. Several groups of orcs have managed to find the valley, but none have made it past the second cleft. Most are killed in the first cleft by the arrows of the guards there; the few that make it past that either run too quickly and lose their balance on the loose gravel, or are picked off by the guards stationed at the second cleft."

"But is it not a hazard to those who are simply in a hurry?"

Glorfindel smiled. "Aye....why do you think guards are posted at both ends? So as to remind anyone of the danger that they may be going too quickly." Rúmil nodded and glanced again at the valley spread out before them, neither noticing when Glorfindel pulled back to ride alongside Haldir, nor the warm smile and gentle hand clasp the two had for each other.

They rode for close to an hour until finally they reached the archway leading to the courtyard. Scouts had apparently alerted Elrond to their presence as the Lord of Imladris was standing on one of the many balconies, waiting to greet them. The horses stopped, the riders climbed off, and Elrond smiled, spreading his arms wide. "Welcome to Imladris, my friends. I trust your stay will be a pleasant one."

"Not likely," Rúmil grumbled under his breath, causing a sharp stare from Glorfindel and a frown from Haldir.

"Keep your feelings to yourself, Rúmil," he said softly, for only Rúmil's ears.

A group of servants and grooms appeared, unpacking the horses and leading them to the stables, then taking the brothers' bags into the house. Elrond continued. "If you will follow them, please, they will take you to your rooms. The evening meal will be in an hour in the dining room if you wish to rest or bathe beforehand." Haldir nodded and bowed slightly, poking his brother in the ribs when Rúmil made no motion to do likewise. With a frown, Rúmil did, grumbling under his breath the whole time.

Haldir followed his brother to the room assigned to Rúmil, and once the door was securely shut, turned on him with a glare. "I have had just about enough of your behavior, Rúmil," he snapped. "Whether you wish to be here or not, you are a representative of Lórien and, as such, I will have you show the proper respect for the lord of this realm, and all those who choose to dwell here. You can dislike this assignment all you wish, but you will not show your dislike openly. You will bow when it is expected of you; you will call Lord Elrond and Lord Glorfindel and Lord Erestor by their proper titles. You will not grumble under your breath like a spoiled elfling, do you understand me? You have long since passed your majority, it is time you started acting like it." Rúmil looked away from his brother's intense stare, feeling his cheeks pink at the reprimand. "I will be here for several months, ensuring your transition goes smoothly. When I return to Lórien, do you wish for me to have to tell our lord and lady that you disgraced them?"

"No," Rúmil whispered, not looking up at his brother.

"Rúmil," he said quietly, his tone softening. "I know it is difficult. You will of course miss your friends, as I did when it was my turn to come here. But remember why we do this. The warriors here have seen different battles, different threats than we have in Lórien. We can learn from them, as their warriors can from us when it is their turn to spend five years in our realm. I know you were still an elfling but you must remember the wealth of knowledge I gained during my time here." Rúmil nodded mutely. "Do not let your resentment at having to be here get in the way of what you are here to learn."

Finally Rúmil looked up, meeting his brother's gaze. "I would never shame you, or our lord and lady, Haldir. You know that. I do not forget how they took us in, raised us as their own sons when nana and ada were killed."

Haldir nodded. "Then show me, muindor. Make me proud of you. Conduct yourself as the son of Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel."

"I will."

Haldir nodded again before pulling him into a tight hug. "I know you will, Rúmil." Pulling away, he kissed Rúmil's ear. "The dining room is at the bottom of the staircase at the end of the hall. I will see you there for dinner." Rúmil nodded and, going to the bed, began to unpack. With a smile back at his brother, Haldir headed to his room to do the same.

Elvish translations:

muindor: brother

mae govannen: well met ("hello, good to see you" basically)

*******************

Dinner was uneventful, though several times Elrond had to shush his sons, who seemed to enjoy making their father blush by telling bawdy stories more suited for an inn than the formal dining room in the Last Homely House. Afterwards, the group retired to the adjoining Hall of Fire, where they were entertained by minstrels and dancers, musicians and poets. The entertainment went on long into the night, until finally Rúmil excused himself, begging a long journey. Erestor stood from his place near the fire and accompanied him.

"Forgive me, it seems I forgot to introduce myself at dinner," he began.

"Lord Erestor," Rúmil said, then remembering his promise to Haldir, bowed slightly. "Haldir told me who you were. Your abilities as Elrond's chief councilor and librarian are spoken of even in Lórien. It is said that no other library in Middle Earth can match the libraries of Imladris for completeness."

Erestor nodded. "Aye, so it has been said. Elrond takes great pride in maintaining a library second to none. Perhaps you would like to see it?"

"Aye, I would. I enjoy reading for a while before bed, but our travel pace necessitated traveling light and I was unable to bring anything from the Lórien library with me."

Erestor nodded and motioned him down the corridor. "Then come. Perhaps you will find something to your liking."

They wound through the corridors, up a long staircase, and into a large building set apart from the rest, bored into the side of the sheer rock face. Rúmil gaped at the clear evidence of Dwarven stone work. "Aye," Erestor confirmed, seeing his expression. "It was crafted by dwarves. You will find any race of being is welcome in Imladris, elves, men, dwarves." He swung open the heavy metal door and motioned Rúmil inside, where several torches were already burning in the wall sconce.

"But why is the library in the side of a mountain? I saw books on shelves lining the hallway, why are the books not stored in the main building?"

"Most of the books stored in the main building are copies of the originals stored here. Many of the books here are irreplaceable or too delicate to allow to be exposed to the elements."

"But....a cave?"

Erestor nodded. "When it was first crafted, it was designed to house the library and was created in such a way as to allow moisture to escape, yet to ensure the temperature remains constant. Temperature variations and moisture are the deadly enemies of books and no one understands how to craft a cave for a particular purpose as well as a dwarf." He took a torch from the wall sconce and started down a winding staircase. The light flickered off the stone walls, casting eerie shadows across the steps. Down they continued, further and further into the mountain, and Rúmil could tell Erestor was correct. The further down they went, the drier the air became. After a while, Erestor indicated a side passageway which Rúmil could see emptied into a large, high-ceilinged room. "That is our storage for perishable foods, fruits and vegetables and the like. It is slightly cooler than the library and keeps them fresh during the heat of summer or the biting cold of winter."

After several more turns, the hallway opened into a huge room, brightly lit by innumerable torches set into sconces around the room. A dark haired elf in dark blue robes was bent over a table, studiously copying a scroll, and Erestor smiled. "I see Melpomaen is working all night again. Come, let us not disturb him." He motioned the way down a short hallway to another large room, filled floor to ceiling with shelves, upon which were more books than Rúmil had seen in one place in his entire life.

"Valar...." he breathed, stunned at the sight before him. He could read day and night for years and never come close to reading all the books in the library.

"Aye, it is impressive, is it not? Elrond takes great pride in his collection. What did you have in mind to read?"

"I....I do not know. I had not expected the choices to be so numerous."

"Perhaps a book of legends and stories? Nothing too difficult?"

Rúmil nodded. "Yes, that sounds good." Erestor led him down another passageway and stopped before a tall bookcase. Rúmil chose a book at random and followed him back up the staircase and into the night air. Erestor closed the door behind them.

"I could most likely lock it and Melpomaen would not even notice. He gets so engrossed in his work; he often goes for days without eating or resting."

"Is he a scribe?"

"And my personal assistant. A most capable one at that." They headed back into the house. "Your training begins early tomorrow; do not stay up too late reading."

Rúmil groaned. "Ai, I forgot to ask Lord Glorfindel where I am to report to him tomorrow."

Erestor smirked internally but did not correct him. "The training grounds are on the west side of the valley. Do you remember seeing the large field on the right just before you made the turn to cross the river?"

"Yes."

"Those are the training grounds. Lessons begin one hour after dawn."

Rúmil nodded. "Thank you. I will be there. And thank you for the book."

"You are most welcome. When you are finished, feel free to take another one. If the door to the library is locked, leave the book with one of the servants and they will see it is returned."

"I will, and thank you again."

Erestor nodded and bowed slightly. After a slight hesitation, Rúmil did the same. "Good night, Rúmil."

"Good night, Lord Erestor."

***********

The next morning:

Rúmil readjusted the leather belt on his leggings, unsure what the proper training dress in Imladris was, and decided to play it safe by wearing a plain tunic and loose leggings. Looking at the position of the sun, he saw that even if he hurried he would be late. Grabbing his weapons, he sprinted down to the training grounds, breathing a sigh of relief when Glorfindel was not there yet.

Erestor was however, smoothing down the soft dirt in the center of the open area, and Rúmil approached him, assuming he must also be waiting for Glorfindel. When he heard Rúmil's footsteps, he turned toward him with a bit of a frown. "Do they not teach you to be on time in Lórien?" he asked acidly.

"Aye, I am a bit late, but I am here before my teacher, so I hardly see what it matters." For the first time, he noticed Erestor was dressed similarly to him, the loose counselor's robes discarded in favor of snug leggings and a plain, unadorned tunic.

"You are NOT here before your teacher, Rúmil."

"But Lord Glorfindel is not...." he ventured hesitantly, not understanding why Erestor was talking in such a manner to him.

"Do you think that only Glorfindel has something to teach you, pen neth?"

Rúmil's eyes opened wide. "You....you are my teacher?"

Erestor picked up a rope and began laying it down in a large circle. "For this lesson yes."

"But....but....you....you are a councilor, a librarian....." Rúmil stumbled.

Faster than the eye could follow, Erestor had pulled a small dagger from his belt and leaped at Rúmil, tackling the younger elf onto his back. Landing on Rúmil's stomach, he had a hand around his throat, the dagger pressed against the artery in his neck. Rúmil did not even have time to gasp as he was taken down quicker and more efficiently than any opponent ever had. "Did you not wonder what today's lesson was, Rúmil?" he asked softly, pressing the knife in just a little harder, just enough to sting.

Rúmil nodded, paralyzed with fear. "I....I did...."

"Today's lesson is to not underestimate your opponent. Threats can come from places you least expect them. If I had truly been intent on killing you, you would be dead. Is there any disputing this?" Rúmil shook his head quickly. "Then perhaps next time you will not be so quick as to assume there is no threat." Pulling the knife away, he climbed off Rúmil, standing up and offering him a hand.

Still a bit shaky, Rúmil accepted it, climbing to his feet and rubbing his sore neck. "Aye, but I thought...."

"That I was a librarian and that I had always been? Or perhaps that Glorfindel was the only one who had anything of use to teach?" Erestor finished with a grin. Rúmil did not answer, but the pink ears gave him away. "I was one of Glorfindel's lieutenants in Gondolin, Rúmil," he said gently, not wanting to further embarrass the young warden. "I assure you, there is little he knows that I do not. And as far as my being a librarian....In the great wars of ages past, our race came dangerously close to annihilation more times than I care to remember. Even those who would have preferred other pursuits were often pressed into service out of necessity. My love has always been in books and scrolls, but that does not mean I have not served as a warrior at many times during my life. I simply have not chosen to continue with those pursuits when I was no longer needed, unlike Glorfindel who has."

Rúmil flushed deep red, dropping his eyes from the councilor's. He knew this; his own lord, though looking and behaving like nothing beyond a diplomat and a scholar, had also been a skilled warrior at one time, and he knew Lord Elrond had as well. Few of the elder elves had not fought in a war at some time in their long lives.

After a moment, he took a deep breath and again met Erestor's gaze, his expression embarrassed and contrite. "Forgive me, my lord. I did not mean to insult."

Erestor reached a hand up and gently caressed the side of Rúmil's face. "There is no insult young one. I am here to teach, you are here to learn. And you just learned a valuable lesson about not taking your opponent for granted." He picked up one of the wooden training swords lying on the ground and handed it to Rúmil, taking the other for himself. "Now....if you are finished making assumptions, are you ready to learn, pen neth?"

Rúmil nodded quickly, holding his sword at the ready, seeing Erestor in a new light and determined to learn everything he could from him, determined to have the councilor see him as a worthy opponent.

Elvish Translations:

Pen neth: young one

*************************************

Glorfindel stood on the balcony of his room, looking out over the valley, a slight breeze ruffling his long golden hair. The scent of roses and lavender wafted up to him from the gardens below him and he smiled, watching Anor rise, feeling her rays warm his face. His smile widened when he heard movement in the room behind him, strong callused hands wrap around his chest, a soft mouth kiss his neck.

"Mmmmm," he sighed, closing his eye and tipping his head to the side. "You should not do that. Haldir would not appreciate you touching me in such a manner.....AI!!!" He yelped as the kiss unexpectedly became a bite, the soft caresses on his chest abruptly changed to a hard twisting of a nipple. He turned around, grinning, in his love's arms, to see Haldir, attempting to look angry with him and failing miserably.

"If you were not so good in bed, I would have discarded you long ago meleth," Haldir said softly, leaning forward and gently nibbling on Glorfindel's chest.

"Oh, is that so?" the seneschal replied with a grin. "You love me only for my body then?"

"Mmmmm." Haldir continued his perusal of Glorfindel's chest. "Even less than that.....only for what your body can do to mine."

Glorfindel's smile widened, running his hands down his lover's back, deliberately sliding one finger between his cheeks and pressing it inside his opening. Haldir flinched slightly as Glorfindel knew he would. "Then you like this?" He slowly moved his finger in and out, still feeling the remnants from the oil, and his seed from the night before.

Haldir closed his eyes, moaning softly as Glorfindel's finger gently moved in and out of his body. The initial sting of his sore opening being touched was quickly giving way to pleasure as his shaft began filling with blood. "Valar....you undo me, Glorfindel," he whispered, opening his eyes to look into Glorfindel's, the warrior's deep blue eyes darkening with passion.

"Did I not use your body enough last night, love?" he said softly, nipping Haldir's neck, adding another finger. Haldir flinched and could not stop his body from clamping down on the invasion. Glorfindel immediately removed his fingers and settled for gently massaging the puckered opening as Haldir smiled ruefully at him.

"As much as I would enjoy another session like last night, I do believe I would be screaming more in pain than pleasure by the time we were through," he said softly, causing Glorfindel to immediately look concerned.

"Did I hurt you, love?"

Haldir shrugged. "A little. You know our first time is always painful for me after we have been apart."

Glorfindel nodded. "Aye, I know....but Haldir.....you need not be celibate when we are apart." He reached up a hand to slowly run through Haldir's silver locks. "We knew the difficulties of maintaining a long distance relationship and did not make any promises to save ourselves for the other. You are free to be with others if you wish."

Haldir nodded, tracing the lines of muscles on Glorfindel's chest with a fingertip before looking into his eyes. "I know. And I do lie with others occasionally. But after being with you, there are none who can satisfy me as you do."

Glorfindel raised Haldir's hand to his lips and gently kissed the back. "Nor are there for me, meleth."

Haldir's eyes widened in surprise. "You do not....lie with others?"

The seneschal smiled gently. "Aye, I do, occasionally as well. But they are not you, they do not make my heart soar with love, nor my body sing with pleasure." He looked sad. "There are far too many who look on me only as a conquest. I hear them telling their friends later how they were able to lure the great Glorfindel to their bed."

Haldir looked shocked. "Meleth, I do not...."

"I know....." he interrupted. "Which is exactly why I love you so, Haldir. Nor have you ever, even when we first met. Which is why, though we never made any promises to each other, I made one to myself."

"To yourself?"

Glorfindel nodded. "There are times when the ache of need in my body is too great to ignore, and though I try to take care of it myself as often as I may, there are times when I crave the touch of another." Haldir nodded. "But when I do, I let my partner know that if they wish to be with me, they will not be allowed to take me. That honor is reserved exclusively for my far away lover."

Haldir's mouth gaped open in surprise. "I....I never knew, meleth....all these years we have been together, you never let another...."

"No," he interrupted again. "You were the first to take me and I want you to be the last as well." He leaned forward and gently kissed Haldir's forehead. "Perhaps it is too difficult to completely save my body for you, we are apart far too much for that, but I want something of mine to be yours and yours alone."

Haldir nodded, close to tears. "That means so much to me that you would say that. I never thought you....you would want to be exclusive with me."

"I do....and were we together more often, I would be completely exclusive with you, Haldir."

Haldir nodded again, a single tear running down his cheek. Glorfindel reached a hand up, gently brushing the wetness away. "As would I, love."

"Have you let others have you, Haldir?" Glorfindel asked softly. "If you have, there is no shame in it. I know how you crave letting go of your control."

Haldir shook his head quickly. "No, I have not," he said softly. "But I will be honest with you, meleth....it was not out of a desire to give that exclusively to you. I simply....did not desire it with another, nor did I feel I could trust another enough to give up control."

"Aye, it can be frightening. To give up one's control is the ultimate vulnerability, not to be taken lightly."

Haldir nodded. "Aye, it is. But now I have another reason for refusing. For I would not ask you to give something to me that I would be unwilling to give to you."

"You need not...."

"I want to," Haldir said firmly. "Perhaps we cannot be together in body, but we can in spirit. And Valar willing, someday when our responsibilities in this life are finished and we both return to Aman, we will be together for eternity."

Glorfindel smiled. "Are you asking me to bond with you, Haldir? Formally?"

Haldir flushed. "Aye, I am....if you will have me." He yelped as he was pulled into a crushing hug.

"I would have no other, love. You, only you...." He held Haldir even tighter, burying his face in the soft silver hair. "Make love to me; show me how much you love me." Haldir nodded against his shoulder and, untangling himself from the bone-crushing embrace, led the seneschal back into the bedroom.

"I will show you how much I love you, my golden warrior," He whispered, nipping on Glorfindel's neck. "I will make you mine and only mine. You will desire no other after I take you."

"Yes...." he moaned softly, his shaft twitching in need as the soft nips caused it to quickly fill with blood. "Take me, use me as you will...."

"Oh yes....I shall take you....so hard you will have to stand at the evening meal." He backed them both up until the backs of Haldir's knees hit the side of the bed and he was forced to quickly sit. Grasping the seneschal's buttocks, he pulled him closer, nibbling on his flat stomach for a moment before sliding his tongue down the rapidly hardening shaft. Glorfindel groaned softly, reaching to entangle his hands in Haldir's hair. Haldir grunted softly as his hair was pulled, but refused to allow Glorfindel to dictate what he was doing.

Ever so slowly, he nibbled down one side of Glorfindel's now fully erect shaft, then up the other, feeling his own arousal begin to stir at the needy groans of his lover. The golden warrior dropped his hands to Haldir's shoulders, steadying himself as his legs weakened with pleasure. "Take me....please...." he gasped as Haldir reached a hand between his legs, gently massaging his tight opening.

"All in good time, love," he whispered, taking the hard shaft into his mouth over and over, licking and sucking softly. He grinned as Glorfindel groaned in frustrated need, knowing that his lover preferred more friction, but refusing to give it to him.

"Haldir, please....take me...."

Haldir immediately let the hard shaft slip from his mouth, removing his hands from the golden body. "Are you trying to take control? You know you are not allowed to do that...."

Glorfindel quickly shook his hand, panting slightly. "No....I....I am not....please....do with me what you will....use me to your satisfaction...." he quickly added, hoping he had not displeased his lover. Haldir had remarkable control for one so much younger than him, and if he thought his control was being taken away from him, would torture Glorfindel for hours before finally allowing him to climax. Though at times, he may have deliberately baited Haldir just for such treatment, it had been too long since they had been together and his body longed to feel the hard shaft of his lover inside of it.

"Mmmm. That is much better love....for a moment there I thought you might have forgotten the rules." He ran his hands up and down the golden chest for a moment, enjoying the feel of soft skin over hard muscles. "Mmmm. So nice....yes...." After a moment, he pushed Glorfindel toward the head of the bed. "Bend over, grasp the headboard. One foot on the bed." Glorfindel did as he was bid, flushing slightly at how he felt so utterly exposed with his legs spread, his puckered opening clenching tightly as it anticipated being filled. "Close your eyes, meleth," Haldir whispered softly into his ear. "And do not open them again until I tell you to." Glorfindel nodded, clenching his eyes tightly shut, but then opening them with a yelp of surprise when he felt not a finger entering him as he had expected, but instead a soft tongue swiping over his opening.

He yelped again when he was rewarded for his disobedience with a hard slap on his bottom. "Did I tell you you could open your eyes, meleth?" Haldir growled softly, again swiping his tongue across the puckered skin. Glorfindel shook his head and quickly clamped his eyes shut again, but could not stop the low, needy groan that escaped his lips with each stroke of his lover's tongue.

But sounds were not against the rules. On the contrary, Haldir loved to hear his lover whimper and groan, gasp and plead. With a grin, he reached both hands around Glorfindel's legs, grasping his shaft with one, stroking it with slow, leisurely strokes and, with his other, squeezing and rolling the soft sacs between his fingertips.

Glorfindel's moaning was continual now as his entire body was on fire with pleasure, hands and mouths seeming to be everywhere. With each low groan of his lover, Haldir felt himself hardening further, and though he would have loved to keep the seneschal like this for hours, torturing him and denying his release, he suddenly could not hold back his own need.

He pulled his hands away, earning a disappointed sigh from his lover, but when he handed Glorfindel the bottle of oil on the nightstand, his disappointment changed to confusion. "I thought you were going to take me," he said softly, staring at the bottle of oil.

Haldir leaned back on both elbows on the bed, his proud arousal jutting straight up, clear fluid leaking from the tip. "I am, love. Prepare yourself and when you are ready, pour some of that oil on me and take yourself on my lap."

Glorfindel's uncertainty was replaced by a grin as he coated one hand with oil and reached behind him, pressing one finger into his opening. He closed his eyes and groaned softly, then louder as he added another finger. He heard Haldir groaning softly at the show he was putting on, and when he added a third finger, deliberately screamed loudly, pretending he was brushing his fingers against his pleasure spot inside.

Haldir growled and grabbed his hand, pulling him closer and yanking the oil away, coating his shaft with it. "You cannot fool me with that act, seneschal....I know you cannot reach it yourself." Glorfindel smirked and straddled Haldir's waist, slowly lowering himself down until he was seated in the marchwarden's lap. They both sighed softly, and for probably the thousandth time since becoming Haldir's lover, Glorfindel wondered why he had been content to only take others for so many years; why he had never let another take him.

For a long time he held still, giving his body time to relax and adjust to the invasion. Haldir slowly ran his hands up and down the broad chest, stroking and gently pulling on the pebbled nipples. "Are you alright, love?" he whispered, trying to ignore the throbbing need in his body that demanded some type, any type, of friction on his aching shaft.

Glorfindel nodded but kept his eyes tightly shut, waiting for the stinging pain to diminish. When it finally began to he started to move slowly, reaching out to lay his hands on Haldir's shoulders, both to steady himself and to help provide leverage. His legs were already so weak from the pleasure his lover had given him earlier he did not think he could move himself with just them.

"Yes...." Haldir moaned softly. "So good, so tight....you feel just as tight as the first time I took you. Do you do exercises to keep yourself tight, love? Or are you just naturally that way? So good....good...."

Glorfindel moaned softly, the pleasure building quickly, and though he would have liked this to go on longer, knew it was not to be long until he spent. Haldir pulled him closer and he yelped as his pleasure spot was suddenly touched. With a grin, Haldir thrust his hips upward, deliberately banging the tip of his shaft into the same spot, and Glorfindel went nearly boneless with need. "Coming...." he groaned softly, and when Haldir reached to stroke his shaft, groaned loudly, releasing across his lover's chest.

The clamping of his inner muscles around Haldir's shaft made his lover groan and shut his eyes tightly, and a moment later, he too was climaxing, spending himself deep inside his lover's body. Even then, he kept thrusting up into the golden body above him until he could move no longer. Glorfindel arched his back and groaned louder as he felt his lover's warm seed bathe his opening. For a moment, he continued moving, but finally his body gave out on him and he collapsed against Haldir's chest.

Haldir pulled him closer, feeling his sated shaft still twitching within his love, his legs weak in fulfilled pleasure. For a long time they sat like that until finally Haldir helped his lover off his lap and crawled up the bed, taking Glorfindel with him. The seneschal sighed softly, snuggling up close to his lover and pillowing his head on the strong chest.

For a long time, nothing was said as the two gently touched and kissed each others' bodies, the only sounds the soft music of the breeze, the birds singing in the trees. They had never had a need for words after lovemaking, their actions speaking more clearly than words ever could. Finally Glorfindel spoke, the question he most dreaded hearing the answer to. "How long are you staying, meleth?" he asked softly, trailing his hand up and down Haldir's chest.

Haldir sighed, wrapping his arm more tightly around Glorfindel's shoulders. "Only till spring, love."

Glorfindel relaxed slightly, looking up into Haldir's sky blue eyes. "That long? I had thought you would leave within a few days."

Haldir sighed. "The passes will still be open for a few weeks yet. Winter is nigh upon us. But I do not think Rúmil will be settled into his life here yet. He did not wish to come here."

Glorfindel laughed softly. "Nor did you as I remember."

Haldir grinned. "No, I did not. I was an impudent elfling, I did not think I could possibly learn anything here."

"Until Lord Elrond's seneschal taught you a few things."

Haldir's grin widened, stroking Glorfindel's silky golden hair. "Aye, not least of which was swordplay." After a moment, his smile dropped. "My time here was made far more bearable by the time I spent with you, love," he said softly. "But I fear there is no one here for Rúmil."

"He is lonely?"

"Aye," Haldir said sadly.

"I thought the three of you shared a talan."

Haldir nodded. "We did until recently. Orophin mated a few months ago and moved into his mate's talan. I still return when I can, but we have had increasing Orc activity on our borders the last few years, and the patrols have grown longer. I am often away for a week, home for only a night, then gone for another week."

"You do not share the same patrol?"

"Not often. Lord Celeborn seldom assigns siblings to the same patrol."

"So that if you are ambushed and your patrol killed, only one member of a family is killed."

Haldir nodded. "Aye....I assume Lord Elrond does the same."

"Except for the twins, yes. They refuse to patrol separately."

Haldir sighed. "I only wish Rúmil could find someone to spend some time with. His patrols tell me he seldom speaks and keeps to himself as much as he is able. I have tried to set him up with others I thought he might like, but he refuses to go."

Glorfindel shook his head. "Haldir, I know you mean well, but love is not something that can be forced upon someone. It must come as it will. You never expected to find love when you first came here for your training. Perhaps Rúmil will find someone equally unexpected. There is no shortage of unattached elves in Imladris."

"I know. But no one like you."

Glorfindel grinned. "Thank the Valar for that! I do not think Arda could stand two of me!" Haldir laughed for a moment but then grew serious again. "Haldir, in all seriousness, would your brother be interested in someone like me? From what you have told me about him, he is a warrior by necessity, not choice. You said he would rather spend all day in bed with a good book than be out patrolling the borders."

"I suppose you are right. He is still that way. He grumbled the whole way here, and most of his grumbling was that we had to travel light and could not take any of his books with us."

"Aye, and there is no shortage of scholars here, love. Perhaps he would be interested in someone like Lindir or Melpomaen? Someone who would challenge his mind?"

"Lindir? I thought he was a minstrel."

"He is. And one of the most gifted I have ever heard. But he is also a talented scribe and scholar. He has worked with Erestor for many years, learning history and languages."

Haldir sighed. "I see....I still do not see Rúmil being interested in either of them, though. He loves his books, but he also derives a great deal of satisfaction out of disemboweling an Orc. He would need someone who was a warrior as well, and neither of them are."

Glorfindel smiled for just a moment, quickly dropping the smile when Haldir looked at him. No, neither of them were. But there was someone else who was. Someone else Rúmil would be spending a lot of time with in the next few years. One never knew. "I would not worry yourself, Haldir. If it was meant to be, it will happen."

"Aye, I suppose you are right, meleth. I just hate to think of him so lonely."

"I know, Haldir, I know....." He wrapped his arm more tightly around Haldir's waist and closing his eyes, soon drifted off to sleep.

Elvish Translations:

meleth: my love

**************************************

Rúmil jumped back, only just barely managing to avoid the hard swing of the sword slashing at his unprotected stomach. "Good!" Erestor called, advancing on his student again, but again Rúmil avoided the lunge. "Yes, like that!" Rúmil sidestepped and lunged, brushing the tip of his sword against Erestor's sword arm, a blow that, had they been using real swords, would have laid it open to the bone.

Erestor lunged forward again, ignoring the throbbing in his back and shoulders. He had told Rúmil that the lesson would continue until one of them was disarmed, or made what would be a killing blow with a real sword. But he had not expected his young pupil to give him such a challenge. Most of the young warriors from Lórien were good, no doubt about it, but Rúmil was exceptional. He wondered vaguely if that was due to being raised by Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel. Celeborn had been a gifted warrior in his day and loved passing his knowledge on to others. His adopted sons would have acquired the bulk of his knowledge when they were elflings, and as they grew to adulthood.

The councilor grunted and backed away from another near killing blow, his dark hair damp with sweat, his breath rasping in his throat. This one was a challenge, no doubt. But he could see his opponent was also tiring and a moment later, Rúmil tripped as he lunged forward, his weary legs refusing to support him. Erestor took the opportunity to hook a foot behind Rúmil's knee, dropping him to the ground. The impact caused Rúmil to lose his grasp on his sword and it skittered away, out of reach. Erestor followed him down, kneeling on his chest and pressing the tip of his sword to his opponent's throat.

Rúmil sighed deeply, dropping his eyes. "I give. You have beaten me." Erestor climbed off his chest and helped him to his feet. "Do not look so discouraged, pen neth. Aye, you were defeated. But it has been many years since an opponent has given me such a challenge."

Rúmil's eyes widened. "Truly?"

"Aye.....you have been well trained. By your lord I would presume?"

"Yes, he is a good teacher."

"Clearly so." He wiped the sweat off his brow with the sleeve of his tunic. "Come, the noon meal will be served in an hour or so. We should bathe before that. I do believe Elrond would kick us out of the dining room if we appeared like this." He grinned at Rúmil and motioned him back toward the house. "Have you had a chance to see the baths yet?"

Rúmil quickly jogged for a few steps to catch up to his teacher. "No, I fell asleep reading my book last night. I guess I was more tired than I realized."

"Ah, the book was to your liking then?"

"Very much so. I was quite intrigued by the story of Maedhros and Maglor and the Silmarils."

"Ah yes...the book you were reading was written by Maglor, was it not?"

"Aye it was. I had read the stories of their deeds, but never by one who had been there."

"Yes well.....Maglor was a skilled story teller, but tended to embellish his tales. Particularly the ones about himself and his family. Do not believe everything you read from him."

Rúmil grinned. "So that is why his book was in the legends and stories section rather than the histories?"

Erestor laughed. "Precisely." They turned a corner on the path and entered a large enclosed building, and Rúmil took a deep breath as the smell of sulfur assaulted his senses. The ride to Imladris had been made as quickly as possible, the two brothers not wanting to take a chance of getting caught in the passes if there was an early snow, and they had not had much time for bathing on the way. The water of the hot springs sounded utterly delightful to Rúmil.

The building was huge, the center taken up by a large communal tub, easily able to accommodate two dozen bathers. Along the sides were smaller tubs, cordoned off by long fabric curtains, for those who were shy about being seen naked, or who simply preferred bathing alone. There were large fireplaces in opposite corners with comfortable couches in a semi circle in front of each, with a long table with fruits and breads laid upon them. Clearly the baths were an informal gathering place, not just a place to wash yourself.

"There is unlikely to be many others here at this time of day. Shall we use the large tub?" Erestor asked, starting to untie his tunic. Rúmil looked at the large, inviting tub, then back to the councilor, who had removed his tunic and was now working on his leggings. Without warning, he felt his sex give a hard throb at the sight of the muscular, glistening body revealed to his sight. Who would have imagined a councilor having such a glorious body? Long, strong arms, muscular legs, a flat stomach....Rúmil groaned softly when Erestor's leggings were pulled off and the councilor stood before him in all his glory. The young warden was suddenly, achingly hard and, flushed with embarrassment, turned away before Erestor could see his state.

"I....I am not used to communal bathing. I will use one of the smaller tubs." He quickly bolted for the nearest tub and pulled the curtain behind him, yanking off his clothing as quickly as he could and sliding into the water quickly, hoping the warmth would soothe his need. In that moment, he had never felt such a base need for someone as he did for Erestor. On the practice field, he had grown to appreciate the grace and skill he showed in battle, but had managed to keep his arousal under control by concentrating on his lesson. But here, when Erestor was so near, his glorious body close enough to touch, to run his hands over, to kiss and lick every square inch of that perfect skin, to hear him sigh with need and beg for more....Rúmil groaned again and laid his head back on the side of the tub, trying to will his erection away.

He heard Erestor enter the water of the large tub and reached a hand under the water, taking himself in hand and quickly jerking himself to a much needed, but utterly unsatisfying climax. He did not want to feel his own hand, he wanted to feel Erestor. He wanted those soft scholar's hands roaming his body, that soft mouth whispering words of endearment in his ear, that hard shaft entering him, making him moan and cry with pleasure. He groaned again as his lewd thoughts caused his shaft to quickly re-awaken, and once again leaned his head back on the side of the tub.

"Rúmil?" He yelped in surprise as the curtain was pushed aside and Erestor's concerned eyes met his. "Are you well? I heard you groaning, I thought you might be sore. That was rather a vigorous training session."

"Fine!" Rumil snapped, louder than he intended, causing Erestor to frown.

"Are you sure? You look tense. You hold your shoulders so rigid. Perhaps I can release some of the tension from them."

"No, really! I am fine! Please, I just need some time to soak."

"Nonsense," Erestor said, moving closer and Rúmil averted his eyes, not wanting to look at the shaft dangling between Erestor's legs, not wanting to think about touching, caressing that shaft, feeling it inside him, stroking him from the inside. He could not hold back another groan. "See, pen neth, you are sore." Erestor laid his hands on Rúmil's shoulders, causing the warden to gasp, his shaft once again achingly hard. He bit his lip, attempting to keep himself under control as the soft, strong hands kneaded the tension from his shoulders. "Easy now...." Erestor said softly. "Try to relax, you have a knot right here near your neck, I will attempt to work it out for you."

Rúmil bit his lip harder, tasting blood, trying not to groan again, but he could not help but imagine how those hands would feel caressing his body, stroking his shaft, threading through his hair. What kind of lover would Erestor be? Would he be gentle and careful or hard and forceful? Would he give pleasure with love and concern, or demand a response? Would he use his mouth, his hands? Would he take, or ask to be taken? Another groan escaped Rúmil's lips and he tensed, shuddering as he released another climax into the water. He pulled away in shame, moving to the opposite side of the tub and laying his head on the side, tried to bring his racing emotions under control.

Erestor said nothing for a long time, suddenly understanding the reason for Rúmil's soft groans. He was not in pain; he was aroused. But why did he try to hide it so? Why was he so afraid of admitting his need? Slowly, he lowered himself into the water, moving to the far side and laying a hand on Rúmil's back. Rúmil flinched but did not pull away. "I did not know, pen neth. Why did you not tell me?"

"You could not want me," Rúmil said softly. "I am a nothing, a nobody. One of a thousand border guards, all the same."

"Rúmil...." Erestor said gently, slowly stroking his back. "You are like no one else, in Lórien nor anywhere else. There is no one else quite like you."

Rúmil sniffled, wiping his running nose on his arm. "That is not so....I hear how others talk about me. I am the little brother of the legendary Haldir, who acts like a spoiled elfling when he does not get what he wants."

"Rúmil, you are young, but you are not a spoiled elfling. You are remarkably intelligent and skilled for one your age. Few elves your age have even heard of Maedhros and Maglor, much less read a story about them. And I do not know any others, save for perhaps Haldir when he was your age, who could have provided as much of a challenge to me on the practice field as you did."

For the first time, Rúmil looked up, meeting his eyes. "You mean it?"

"I do. You are a beautiful young elf, a lovely mixture of skill and intelligence. That is something rare in one so young. Scholars are seldom interested in sword play, nor do warriors wish to read books. I find the combination in you utterly delightful."

"You....you find me delightful?" He stuttered, turning to face his tutor.

"Aye, very much so. And very desirable as well...." He leaned forward, softly nibbling on the tip of Rúmil's ear. "You were so intent on watching me on the training field, you did not see me watching you, pen neth." He breathed into Rúmil's ear, causing the young elf to groan softly. He slid his hands up and down Rúmil's chest, squeezing each nipple until they pebbled under his touch. "I want you, Rúmil," he whispered. "I want to teach you there is far more pleasure to be had from life than in books and swordplay. Will you let me? Let me touch you and love you?" Rúmil nodded quickly, too overwhelmed with need to speak. "Then come...." He gently lifted Rúmil from the water and to a soft mattress on the other side of the enclosure. Laying the warden down on it, he lifted one hand, stroking his hair, the other roaming down his chest.

"My lord, I...."

"Erestor...." the councilor breathed softly, sucking on his ear lobe. "If we are going to pursue this I will not have you calling me by a title."

"Erestor....I....what.....what do you want me to do?" Erestor pulled away slightly, looking the frightened young elf in the face.

"You are not untouched are you?"

Rúmil blushed the color of a ripe apple, but nodded. "Except for the touch of my own hand, yes."

Erestor nodded slightly. Though he usually preferred his partners to be more experienced, there was something utterly appealing about this young Galadhrim, and the thought of being the first to give him pleasure caused his member to stir with interest. He could not remember the last time he had made love to a virgin.

"If you do not want an innocent, I understand," Rúmil blurted out quickly. "I know that I am not...."

"Shhhh," Erestor said soothingly, laying his hand over his partner's mouth. "I did not say I did not want you, I just wished to know." He gently stroked Rúmil's face. "You can only have one first time, Rúmil. Are you completely certain you wish it to be with me?"

"Aye, I know. I trust you. To take care of me, to not hurt me."

"Good....then try to relax."

Rúmil nodded, trying to force himself to relax, but he knew that despite his partner's words, it was likely to hurt, at least a little. Though he had not joined in the bawdy talk around the campfires at night, he had heard enough from the others to understand what was done. His eyes widened when he glanced between Erestor's legs and saw his size. A size that he knew would increase even further once he was fully aroused. How would it fit?

"Turn onto your stomach, pen neth." Rúmil did as he was asked, pillowing his head on his arms and sighed softly when Erestor poured some warm oil onto his back and began gently massaging it into his skin. Despite what he had tried to deny earlier, he WAS sore from the long training session and the soft, strong hands, working out the kinks from his neck and back felt utterly delightful.

For a long time, Erestor kneaded the tight muscles of Rúmil's back and shoulders, until he felt his student relax under his touches, then moved lower, gently stroking the skin of Rúmil's buttocks. The warden moaned softly as he kneaded the soft flesh, then gasped in surprise when a finger slipped between the rounded globes, gently brushing against his untried opening. He flinched, expecting the finger to press inside, but after a moment, Erestor moved it away again, resuming his gentle massage of Rúmil's back and legs.

Rúmil shifted uncomfortably on the mattress as the soft touches caused his arousal to grow once more. Just when he thought he could stand no more friction on his aching shaft, Erestor rolled him onto his back and began to gently touch Rúmil's front side. He moaned softly at the loss of contact on his erection, but sighed in delight when the soft hands moved to his weeping member, taking it into his knowing hands and slowly stroking it. Rúmil shuddered hard, biting his lip to keep from screaming in delight when Erestor slid down his stomach and engulfed his arousal fully within his mouth.

"VALAR!!!!" He moaned, trying to thrust up into the wet heat of his partner's mouth, but Erestor held him firmly against the mattress, taking his time to pleasure his partner. With a grin, he allowed Rúmil's shaft to slip from his mouth. Rúmil sighed in disappointment, but squeaked in surprise when he felt something soft and warm flicking against his puckered opening. He opened his eyes and looked down in surprise at the councilor, who was lapping the skin. He had never expected Erestor to wish to do this. He yelped again, nearly sitting upright on the mattress when Erestor rolled his tongue to a point and pushed past the tight ring of muscles.

Rúmil collapsed to the bed, moaning softly in need as Erestor's tongue lapped inside of him, gently preparing him for what was to come. After a long while, he withdrew and poured more of the massage oil onto his fingers, reaching for his partner again and gently pressing one finger inside. Rúmil gasped and tensed at the invasion and Erestor once again took the warden's shaft into his mouth, sucking and licking on the hard flesh. After a moment, Rúmil began to relax and the councilor added another finger, gently stretching him, spreading the oil deep inside. He withdrew after a while and coated his hand well with the oil, then added a third finger.

Rúmil tensed again, but relaxed more quickly this time, the oil making the digits slide in and out easily, with little discomfort. Once the tightness around his fingers lessened, Erestor turned his hand palm up and searched for the pleasure spot within his lover. Once he felt the edge of it, he deliberately avoided touching it for a moment, bringing his other hand up to Rúmil's soft sacs. All at once, he assaulted his partner with all three sensations, a hard stroke against his pleasure spot, a gentle squeeze on his sacs, and a deep plunge of his mouth onto his erection.

"AI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Rúmil screamed. His body felt as if it was on fire with sensation, pleasure shooting through him harder than he had ever imagined possible. Quickly, before he could come down from the sensation, Erestor slicked his erection with oil and lifted Rúmil's legs onto his shoulders and pressed inside slowly, not stopping until he was fully sheathed.

Rúmil gasped, his eyes dilating in pain and pleasure as he was taken for the first time in his young life. Erestor reached between them and took Rúmil's erection into his hand again, slowly stroking it, waiting for his young lover to relax before beginning to move. Rúmil arched up into his touch, and after a while began to relax, and Erestor began to move in short, shallow strokes.

He bit his lip to keep himself from thrusting with abandon into the writhing body underneath him, using all of his self control to not give in entirely to his own need. Rúmil was so hot and tight, he knew he would not last long, but refused to find his own release until Rúmil had his.

Shifting the angle of his hips slightly, he searched for the pleasure spot within his lover and, once he found it, pressed his erection against it with every stroke. Rúmil was nearly undone with pleasure, his hands clenching around nothing, his head tossing from side to side, erotic words spewing from his mouth. With a last hard shudder, he came hard, spilling his seed across his stomach, clamping around the hard shaft within him, which just increased his pleasure all the more.

Erestor groaned, feeling his partner climax around him and not able to hold himself back any longer. With a hard thrust he moaned, spilling himself into the young warden. He continued moving until he could not remain upright any longer, and then collapsed on Rúmil's stomach, breathing hard.

For many minutes, the only sound was their harsh breathing as they tried to regain their breath. Finally, Erestor gently withdrew from his partner, seeing Rúmil was red and a little bruised, but not torn, not bleeding. He found his tunic and removed a small vial of healing salve, gently rubbing it on the sore flesh before crawling up Rúmil's body and enfolding him in a gentle hug.

Rúmil clutched tightly to him like a drowning elf, the aftershocks of his climax still making his shaft twitch occasionally. "Easy love...." Erestor murmured into his ear.

Rúmil nodded, closing his eyes and waiting for his head to stop spinning before opening his eyes and looking into Erestor's. "It was....was....."

"Too pleasurable for words?" Erestor finished gently.

"Aye....I....I never knew my body could feel like that. I expected it to hurt, to tear, to bleed, but it did not."

"It can tear and bleed but only if you are with a partner who does not take time to prepare you properly, pen neth. If it is done properly there should be no blood and minimal pain."

"Mmmm. I suppose so," Rúmil said softly, snuggling into his lover's embrace. "I am going to be here for the next five years; perhaps you can show me the proper way to do it?"

Erestor laughed softly. "Are you asking to be allowed to take me, young one?"

"Mmmm. If my teacher would allow....after a proper period of instruction of course." He grinned impishly up at Erestor, who returned his smile.

"Aye, I would of course....it seems you have much to learn yet. It is good you will be here for five years."

It was Rúmil's turn to laugh. "This morning five years seemed an eternity. But now it seems as if it will be over all too quickly."

"Then you shall learn all you can in five years, Rúmil," Erestor said softly, kissing the top of his head. "And I shall teach all I can in five years."

"I will look forward to the lessons, my teacher."

"So will I, my student....so will I...."

******

~End~

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