"Hmph." Glorfindel turned so that he was facing Erestor but could still see the book, which he held tilted to catch the light from the bank of candles on the bedside table.
“Apparently we’re snowed in. The pass is closed. Tomorrow you’ll need to decide with Elrond and Caedion what to do about the men stationed at the fort - the steps down to the bridge are covered in ice. It’s getting dangerous to come and go there."
“See to it tomorrow, yes.” He turned a page, trying to be discreet about it. They were getting to the interesting bit.
Moving up to sit cross-legged in the middle of the bed while he brushed the tangles from his hair, Erestor was close enough to nudge him with a foot. "Are you listening?"
"Mm, snowed in, you said. Can't go anywhere. Decide about the men on duty." Glorfindel pretended to consider this while he quickly finished his paragraph. And the next one. "Like living in Gondolin in other words - not going anywhere." He thought about what Erestor had just said and something struck him. "Was there somewhere you wanted to go?"
"That's not the point," Erestor told him, irritated. "And I swear you're not really listening to me. The point is, we can't go anywhere if we should want to."
Having brushed his hair till it shone, Erestor tied it back with an old ribbon and got under the covers. "It's the principle of the thing. I hate this feeling of something else controlling our lives. Elrond shouldn’t allow this kind of weather, it wreaks havoc with everything."
"You’d like it even less if he used Vilya to control the seasons, Ery, and you know it. Unnatural, you’d call it. Anyhow, I’m the one who should be upset about this, not you – I had centuries of not being able to come and go freely. And as for snow, there’s no use getting upset. It’ll thaw in its time."
"What are you reading?" Plainly not in the mood for logic unless he was offering it, Erestor changed the subject.
"It's First Age – the true, untold story of Túrin."
"Why not? I saw it and was curious..."
"Why do you want to read about a walking disaster like Túrin? Why not an artist or a musician or a..."
"No one has ever written a book about a great mortal artist or musician, kitten. Not sure there are any."
"Of course there must be, don't be silly. And don’t call me kitten! There are always people singing anyway, that’s an art."
Glorfindel put the book down and frowned at his partner. "I'm not sure I understand the problem... I shouldn't read about Túrin because I should be reading about a non-existent mortal musician or painter or...?"
"Well it would be much more interesting."
Glorfindel considered this in silence before picking up the book again. "You need a hobby. What happened to your painting lessons anyway? You haven't mentioned a word about them lately. Did you finally give up?"
"I never give up, remember."
"Know that to my cost, yes. So - what happened?"
Erestor sighed. Turning on his side he twisted a lock of Glorfindel's hair round a finger and began to play with it idly. "I miss it," he said finally. "Everyone’s too busy. We'll resume classes after Yule. Right now it's impossible for us all to be together at the same time. Maeneth likes a full class, she says there's no point otherwise."
"Makes sense. Still, you could practice in your spare time."
"Oh come on, Ery, you're not working day and night. You have time to hang around the Hall of Fire and drink with Lindir, and you spend an age fussing over your plants..."
"Lindir and I talk," Erestor said with dignity. "I might have the occasional drink with him… You're never balanced about Lindir, I have no idea what your problem is with him."
"No? Typical musician, morals of an alleycat, loved and left more partners than your friend Gildor."
Erestor sat up. "If you’re going to start about Gildor, we’ll just end up fighting. I can feel it. This room has a fighting energy about it tonight.”
“All I wanted to do was read my book... Ery, don’t be ridiculous. Where are you going? I’m not saying a bloody thing about Gildor.”
Erestor was out of bed and padding across the room. He wore black socks so thick and warm they looked like small boots. “My crocuses,” he said over his shoulder. “I’m sure I never watered them.”
Glorfindel looked regretfully at his book. “I don’t know a lot about plants, but you shouldn’t over-water them in winter, should you?”
“I’m not over watering. I first check if the soil is still damp and not too hard. If it’s hard, I’ll loosen it up with a fork tomorrow. What?” He shot a defensive look over his shoulder. “Otherwise it doesn’t drain properly.”
The plants were all on the table that served as a desk in summer. Each evening he moved them there from the cold windowsill, and every morning he returned them. When he was running late, which was most mornings, Glorfindel saw to this for him if he remembered. It wasn’t unusual for the little collection of pots to spend several days on the table.
Erestor prodded soil, checked leaves, and talked softly. He would not speak to a plant in front of another living soul besides Glorfindel, a fact which still made the warrior smile a little and feel absurdly pleased. One plant got fed from the jug of drinking water. The rest were moved closer together as protection against the night air. Finished, he went over to the window and knelt on the window seat. Opening one shutter a little, he looked out.
“Oh, the clouds have cleared a bit and the moon’s finally up. It looks beautiful out there now. The bridge is all white...”
Glorfindel fought the urge to make some funny comment about how snow will do that. Erestor had a wonderful, dark sense of humour, but often somehow missed the point of his own more traditional wit. “Has the river frozen yet?” he asked instead.
This had only happened a handful of times since elves had settled in Imladris, and was the ultimate test of a winter’s severity. Glorfindel had never seen it, but life in Gondolin had left him with the suspicion that winter with flowing water was – well, autumn.
Checking the state of the river had been simple before, needing no more than a glance out the window, but they had reached the point in their relationship where they wanted more of a home than shared rooms in the Last Homely House, and had recently moved to a small cottage in the adjacent village. They could only see the river obliquely from the bedroom, though the spray from the waterfall drenched their windows when the wind came out of the north-east. “Seems to still be moving,” Erestor said, craning to look. “The waterfall is anyhow, I can hear it. But the air’s freezing my breath.”
“Of course it is. You’re letting the night in. Leave it be now and come to bed.”
“Someone’s crossing the bridge,” Erestor said, ignoring him. “Can’t see who... oh, it’s Rhovanor. He must just have come off duty. Is it that late already? I should be asleep. I have so much to do tomorrow.”
Glorfindel rolled his eyes, put his book away and shook out first his and then Erestor’s pillows. “I have no idea why you aren’t asleep,” he teased. “Something about watering the plants and being snowed in. Come then. If you hurry I’ll help you to warm up.”
“And if I don’t?” Erestor paused halfway to the bed, head tilted, curious.
“If you don’t,” Glorfindel told him with a straight face, “I’ll turn over and go to sleep, and all you’ll have to cuddle will be your pillow. Oh, and that moth-eaten mouser skulking at the end of the bed, of course.”
Erestor raised an eyebrow in Nubbin’s direction. The cat paid no attention. He was old and jaded and tended to ignore everyone outside of mealtimes. “I’ll settle for you,” he said finally. “You’re bigger and more interactive.”
He made a leap for the bed, sliding in under the covers in a series of fluid, graceful movements. “And I also won’t have to feed you until morning.”
Imladris was busy for midwinter. There was a party from Mirkwood in search of a market for a new style of weaving, and some warriors from Lórien, a bunch of hooligans who were meant to be sharing their archery skills, but seemed to spend most of their time drinking and chasing girls. They were currently engaged in a ball game that was fast degenerating into a raucous but cheerful snowball fight down beside the river path.
Glorfindel had a theory they would be calmer guests if life wasn’t as restrictive back in the Wood, where a lot of the ‘old fashioned Nandor values’ still held sway. Despite Galadriel’s best efforts to modernize things, Amroth liked the old ways. Lórien wasn’t as rule-bound as Gondolin had been, but Imladris still offered heady freedoms unknown or at least frowned upon at home. Right now he had some sympathy for their exuberance; snow was rare in the Wood, which lay well to the south, and they were spending every spare moment out in it.
They formed a strong contrast to the Mirkwood elves, who were generally bundled up to the eyebrows and visibly depressed by the weather. From Greenwood, he corrected himself with a grin. Erestor had told him Mirkwood always had to be referred to as The Greenwood in their presence. He had not looked amused. There was a little party crossing the courtyard behind him now, possibly on their way to meet with Celebrían or Erestor, both of whom spoke of the visiting weavers through gritted teeth. He watched their hurried progress along the recently swept route to the main door then turned back towards the path.
He gave the river a long look before he moved on. The Bruinen had not yet frozen over and seemed unlikely to do so, but there was ice in the churning water, sheets of it, and frosted chunks, all rushing along from the high falls – Big Bruinen - at the head of the gorge to the lower waterfall near the village and onward down a series of rapids. He and Erestor had gone to take a look before leaving that morning, a quick detour as there was a viewing platform with a bench only a short distance from their cottage.
Erestor had been fascinated by the sight. “Isn’t it gorgeous? Snow on the rocks and shards of ice like diamonds in the water. If the sun came out it would be stunning.”
Glorfindel considered the ice-laden river crashing past rocks and down the drop and an old memory surfaced, of snow and cloying mists, of ice that shifted and growled underfoot and sometimes split asunder, dropping the unwary into the icy water below, people like his cousin Elenwë...
“Pretty,” he had conceded, not wanting to dredge up past horrors – no one asked questions like Erestor when he wanted to understand something, especially if he thought the ‘something’ was upsetting Glorfindel. “Pretty, but damn cold. And we need to keep people away from the river bank, it’d be too easy to slip and fall in if the snow starts icing.”
Erestor had given him a curious look but said nothing, which was the other thing he did really well sometimes when Glorfindel least expected it.
Reminded of his words earlier, he changed direction and strode towards the young Galadhrim, meaning to warn them to keep their distance from the river. During more clement weather the space where they were fooling around was a flower-studded, open grass sward stretching to the water’s edge, a popular spot for picnics and the setting for the weekly craft market. Right now it was a field of trampled white that sloped ever so slightly down to the Bruinen.
There was a chase going on with a lot of yelling, dodging and diving, and somehow one of the young boys who helped with the horses and around the garden had managed to get in the middle of it. There was a scrabble going on for the ball and Glorfindel was almost within polite hailing distance when someone lobbed a fair sized snowball into the midst of this, missing the intended targets and hitting the child instead. He balanced a moment, arms windmilling, then with a yelp he lost his balance, hit the ground and slid down the slope into the river.
No one moved for a matter of heartbeats, including Glorfindel. Then the shouting started, from which he gathered as he raced up that none of the young men from the Wood had ever done more than paddle in a stream: the Anduin was forbidden territory.
The current ran hard and treacherous past the house even in summer, and the boy was whipped screaming away from the bank before he could find something to grab onto. For the second time that day, Glorfindel relived ice, cries of terror, swirling water closing over heads. Then he was dropping his cloak and outer coat onto the snow as he ran, hands busy knotting back hair.
“Get up to the house and get help,” he barked as he passed the men – boys themselves really, and meaning no harm – and leapt into the rushing water.
Darkness closed over his head and he fought his way up towards the light. There were no reeds here, he remembered, thinking with surprising clarity. They grew further downstream, beyond the cottage. Just sheer banks with rocks closer to the falls. Breaking the surface, he was shocked at how powerful the water was, how much strength it took just to swim at an angle instead of being tumbled along like a log of wood. He was a middling swimmer, tireless and strong but lacking experience and finesse. Erestor had taught him to swim the same summer he had taught Ery to play chess, back when they were getting to know each other. Not so long ago really.
He could see nothing to begin with, just the water rushing past and around him, the cliff rising straight up on one side, the house going past on the other. Still, the child could only have gone one way. He stopped swimming and concentrated and eventually he saw a flash of colour, there then gone, and struck out towards it.
The boy was helpless against the current, but trying nonetheless to fight it. Glorfindel called out to him but the wind and water caught his words back at him: all he could do was find more speed and catch up. He was cutting through the water, drawing slowly closer, when his quarry was suddenly swept in against a jutting spur of rock near the right bank. Glorfindel watched, horrified, as the slight form was flung up against it and then dragged out again, into the midpoint of the stream. He bobbed there for a few breaths, then the current took him, tossing him over and back, and even from two body lengths’ distance, Glorfindel could see he was no longer making an effort to stay afloat.
Ery would have reached him by now. Erestor swam like a bloody dolphin when he could be persuaded to get that gorgeous hair wet. Glorfindel kicked hard, pushing himself through the water, and finally caught up with the rolling body before the Bruinen could turn him onto his face and hold him there. With water slapping his face and the current urging him on, he caught a handful of hair, let go, got hold of an arm instead. He realised he had no idea how someone could tow an unconscious swimmer while still controlling their direction, but at least the boy was breathing because when his head slipped briefly under water as Glorfindel got a grip on him, he started coughing.
He had almost forgotten about the waterfall up ahead, but was reminded as he caught a glimpse of the end of the Hall of Fire and realised where he was. A short stretch of river lay ahead, then turmoil followed where the torrent ploughed between rocks and dropped down to the next level – not far, but far enough to do all kinds of damage to soft flesh, brittle bone. He started looking around in earnest for a way up the bank. There was none, it was almost sheer on both sides here. He could see no one on the path either. Further on though, just before the falls, the trees closed in and hung over the water... Tightening his hold on his unresisting companion, he let the river carry them along, harnessing his strength for what came next.
The noise increased as they drew near, and cross-currents almost too strong to fight buffeted them. The boy squirmed in his grasp once or twice but was barely conscious. Glorfindel ignored him and kept alert for their one chance before the falls. He wished he had taken off his boots, although he knew they gave his feet a little protection against the cold that was sinking into his bones. His clothing was heavy too, now it was wet, but he could manage that. A small sheet of ice barely missed him at one point and several ice blocks struck him and careered on; he ignored them too. The place he was looking for was just around the curve – had he been in a boat, he would have been able to see their cottage.
Trees came towards them, too fast, leaning from a low bank towards the water. He struggled to grab hold of branches, ignoring the scrapes and blows, but there was nothing to get a grip on strong enough to take his weight. At one moment he thought he saw help as a shape loomed into sight, but it was just a deer who was as startled by the sight of him as he was disappointed by the sight of her.
And then the trees were behind them and the waterfall roared ahead, close enough for him to see icy water stream white around jagged rocks and then fall away out of sight. Taking a deep breath he tightened his grip on the boy, pulling him closer, trying to keep his head out the water while shielding him. Now there was no other choice, he was calm. He breathed in time with the beat of his heart and turned on his side, the child against his chest, an arm extended to try and protect his head. And waited.
The cataract was deafening, making it hard to think. The sky tilted, tipped, something struck his back, then his leg, a sharp pain went through the arm protecting his face. Water covered his head, held him down, and he fought his way up gasping and swallowed in mouthfuls of the Bruinen. Something scraped the length of his leg and he knew without looking that it was one of the ice sheets, jaggedly sharp. The child half roused, struggled, and Glorfindel swore violently in Quenya, shouting at him to be still.
They were being battered repeatedly against snow-covered rocks, too slick to hold onto, and then without warning there was air and water and rushing and flying as they went over the edge. He tried to picture if there were rocks at the bottom and wondered briefly how angry Ery would be if he got himself killed.
They struck the water hard at the bottom. He gasped for air, dazed and hurting in the conflicting currents at the foot of the waterfall, able to hear nothing above its roar. There were more rocks, but nothing like those above, and somewhere dimly he remembered that if he kept moving to his left somehow, the river filled a hollow almost level with the bank, used by the brave for swimming in summer. The boy hung quiet and motionless, but there was no time to worry about that and nothing he could do about it right now.
He swam one-armed with pain lancing through his chest and with a leg that ached when he moved it. The river fought him but he had faced all manner of beings – men, orcs, wargs, wolves, a Balrog – and was having none of it. And finally the water was less rough though somehow colder, and then he was crashing through thin ice and dragging himself and the child up onto the snow-covered bank, which was where he collapsed. As the world grew dim around him, he barely remembered to pull the boy on top of him and wrap his arms round him to try and protect him from the cold.
An endless amount of time passed, or possibly not even a candle quarter, and then he started to hear something other than the river. Hear and sense. Help. He opened his eyes slowly and looked up and for a few moments the shape hovering above him made no sense at all. Then it resolved into a stocky brown pony with a shaggy winter coat. It stood on the bank staring down at him. One of the farm horses, he thought hazily, though he had no idea what it was doing there. They looked at each other a while longer and then his eyes closed and even though he could hear voices somewhere, he no longer cared. He just hoped the snow would hold off until they were found.
He sat on the side of a bed in the infirmary, sipping hot tea. They had dressed him in one of those gowns they gave patients to wear with a towel around his hair and a blanket wrapped about him for added warmth. He felt the blank exhaustion he associated with the aftermath of battle, a combination of bodily ache and mental flatness. They had told him the boy - Thandir, whose mother worked in the kitchens – had mild concussion; but would be none the worse for the experience. Once his mind was at rest about that, there was nothing else to engage him.
Beyond the room someone was laughing, metal clanked against porcelain, someone else was whistling, but the sounds of the infirmary seemed disconnected, as though coming to him from far away. Even so, something in him stirred to alertness at an indistinct murmur of voices and a set of quick footfalls approaching the room where he waited. They stopped at the door.
“What on earth happened to you?”
Erestor stood in the doorway, dressed for work as he had been that morning, even though that morning seemed an aeon away. The only things that suggested concern were a slight narrowing of his eyes and the too-straight set of his shoulders.
“I took a dip in the Bruinen,” Glorfindel responded. His voice was a bit hoarse and raspy from all the water he had swallowed and all the yelling he had an idea he might have done going down the waterfall. “Not to be recommended.”
“I can see that.” Erestor came closer but stopped at arm’s length to take a good look at him. “All I was told was that you got a bit battered.”
“Ribs, fractured arm. Cuts. Bruises. Oh – the leg, I had endless stitches in the leg. I don’t know what cut me – it looks clean as a dagger.” He was matter of fact about it, watching Erestor because he still wasn’t over the pleasure of being able to do so openly. For a large part of his life, this kind of love, this kind of attraction, would have been frowned upon or outright forbidden.
Erestor shook his head as though to clear it. “You said you wanted to get volunteers to shovel and salt. You never said anything about being a hero.” He stepped closer as he said this, reached a hand to briefly touch Glorfindel’s cheek as he did when he came home from riding with one of the patrols or something even more dangerous. “Well, I suppose I need to organise us rooms over here for a few days till you can make it down to the village again...”
Glorfindel closed his good hand around Erestor’s fine-boned wrist and tugged very gently. “I want to go home,” he said. “My own bed. Our things around me.”
Erestor studied him through a small frown then nodded. “All right,” he said simply. “I’ll organise a cart.”
The Galadhrim took him home. Somehow they heard he was to be carried home on a cart – possibly the kind farmers used for market – and presented themselves at the infirmary neatly turned out and demanding the honour of transporting him. They were torn between admiration, embarrassment at their own lack, and a need to make good the harm they had inadvertently caused. Glorfindel gave them a short lecture on discipline around civilians, and then let them get on with it.
Erestor refused to be part of the parade, as he called it, choosing to go on ahead and get things ready at home. What ‘things’, he never explained.
They got hold of a cart, the type families used to travel across the valley. Celebrían, who felt vaguely responsible for them after all the years she had spent in the Wood, provided a well-behaved horse to pull it, and the journey down the river path and across the village was almost painless. Erestor met them at the door and had them help Glorfindel through to the bedroom before dismissing them with a suggestion they find someone to give them swimming lessons come summer. No one argued. His reputation had gone before him and he might be capable of ordering said lessons in the dead of winter should he so choose.
After they left, he came through to the bedroom and perched on the end of the bed. “Aren’t you getting in?” he asked, seeing Glorfindel still seated on the edge. “Do you need help?”
Glorfindel, idly stroking Nubbin, managed a faint smile. “In a while. They gave me something for the pain and it’s slowed me down a lot. Plus Elrohir offered to sew up my leg... I rated a qualified healer in the end, but I’m still getting over the shock.”
“I’m sure he’s very good at it by now,” Erestor said, “though I’m not sure I’d want a trainee practising on me either, no. And Elrohir has a history of being – inventive.” He shuffled up the bed so he could lean against Glorfindel’s good arm and shoulder. “That was one of the more unsettling mornings I’ve spent lately. I was trying to make sense of the winter crop rotation – don’t ask – when someone came charging in to tell me you were in the river and likely to be swept over Lesser Bruinen. It was only later I found out why – at the time I thought somehow you’d fallen in.”
“Yes, I’m likely to fall into an ice-filled river, Ery. I’m careless that way.” Half laughing, he rested his cheek against the top of Erestor’s head. “How did I get back to the house? I just remember a lot of pain and bumping along.”
“The Lórien boys got help and everyone went rushing downriver to see if they could reach you, which they couldn’t. Then you washed up at the foot of the falls so they got one of those trailers, you know, slats of wood on four wheels, and hauled you both up here.” Erestor ducked under his arm to sit close, a hand carefully exploring. “You need to tell me which ribs, I can’t tell with all this padding.”
“Other side. It’s fine where you are. They transport wood on those trailers, you know. Building supplies.”
“I know. Still, it did the job. And you came home in luxury, after all.”
“Yes, if you say so. Move, I want to lie down.”
Erestor obligingly moved back. “How can I help without getting snarled at and being told I’m babying you?”
“I’m fine, I think. If you can just pull down the covers...”
“I’ll get you something to wear.”
“No, leave it. I’ll keep this – thing – on that they gave me in the infirmary. Not feeling up for getting my arm into a tunic right now.”
“Shouldn’t it be in a sling or something?”
Glorfindel divested himself of the blanket and the outer coat Erestor had fetched for him and shrugged, wincing as he did so. “Don’t think so. It’s strapped and I don’t have plans to use it much for the next few days. I’ve had worse things happen.”
“I know,” Erestor said cheerfully. “They sing songs about it.”
Glorfindel glared. “Besides the Balrog, I meant. You’d swear I’d done nothing else worthwhile in my life.”
The dog – called Dog for complicated reasons either to do with not imposing names on animals, or disagreeing about the names chosen, depending on who was asked - came in the bedroom, gave Glorfindel a puzzled look for being in bed, then lay down on the mat near the window with a deep, heartfelt sigh. Erestor gave him an absentminded pat as he went to hang the coat up then folded the blanket neatly, placing it on a chair. After this, he walked slowly back to the bed, divesting himself of clothing along the way.
Glorfindel stared at him blankly for a moment, then shook his head. “What in Arda are you doing?”
“Taking my clothes off, what does it look like?”
“Like you’re taking your clothes off, yes. What I meant was, why?”
“Obvious reasons.” Erestor dropped the last item at the foot of the bed and then, completely naked now, sat with his legs curled under him and began unfastening his hair.
Glorfindel watched, and despite the pain medication and general injuries, felt a very distinct stirring in his groin. “You’re quite mad, aren’t you? And just how do you think I’m to do my part in this?”
Erestor raised his eyebrows as he combed fingers through his hair before shaking it out to fall like black silk over his shoulders, caressing his torso. “Oh, you’ll just lie on your back and enjoy yourself, I thought? While I do the real work.” He arched his back and smiled seductively, but there was a question in his eyes.
Glorfindel held out a hand and he came to sit beside him, resting a hand lightly on his chest. Glorfindel ran his fingers through Erestor’s hair first then cupped his cheek. “Why?” he asked softly.
Light brown eyes met his gravely. “Because you’re my hero? And you damn near killed yourself saving that child who should have been nowhere near there in the first place. And I know you avoid ice and cold because of all the bad memories attached, but you never hesitated. Because I might have lost you and I’ve barely found you... Unless you’d rather sleep? I can always curl up with a book. Maybe spend some time getting to know Túrin. Everyone dies, right?”
Glorfindel hooked a lock of midnight hair and tugged him down to be kissed. “I can tell you how the book ends,” he promised. “Later. Right now you’re talking too much again.”
“You could have been killed,” Erestor muttered, subsiding against him.
“But I wasn’t. Hush.”
“And tell me if I’m hurting you or I forget which ribs...”
“Ery? Quiet now. All right?” He slid his hand down warm skin, over ribs and waist to the curve of Erestor’s flank and left it there as they kissed.
After a while Erestor carefully straddled his waist and rested his hands on Glorfindel’s shoulders, his long hair falling down around them both, his eyes shadowy and intense. “You are to stop doing things to scare me. This should be the safest place in the world now that the snow has us cut off from the world and you still find a way to almost kill yourself.”
Glorfindel’s hand was busy rubbing his back, carding through his hair, moving down to stroke the soft skin at his waist. His other arm rested out from his side, protected by a pillow. He glanced at it, grinned wryly. “I’ve done myself no favours. Want to hold you close, but...”
“One hand is better than none,” Erestor promised, nuzzling the side of his face near his ear. “I’ll find a good use for it presently. Now get comfortable. This may take a while.”
It did take a while, something about which Glorfindel had no complaints. Afterwards, sated and content, they lay together under the covers and listened to the weather outside.
“That’s rain, isn’t it?” Erestor murmured sleepily behind him. They had changed sides to accommodate the injuries, which meant he lay with his chest to Glorfindel’s back.
“Mm. You going back to work?”
“No. Told Elrond I’d be spending the day with you. There’s nothing urgent. I brought my reading down with me, so I can look at farming literature later.”
“Are we going farming?”
“Not in a million years – unless you really want to.” Erestor moved closer and tightened his arm, making Glorfindel draw in his breath with a hiss. Erestor jerked his arm back hastily. “Gods, I’m sorry. Your ribs.”
“My ribs, yes. Just – lower. Your hand.”
“You normally say that in a different tone.”
“Not usually in pain then.”
“Oh? Would swear you were, you always sound so urgent.” Erestor was trying not to laugh but they were too close for him to disguise it well.
“Different kind of pain,” Glorfindel suggested, placing his hand over Erestor’s and linking their fingers.
Erestor pushed blond hair out the way so he could kiss his shoulder, then turned his face to lie with his cheek against Glorfindel’s skin. “You want to rest a while?”
Glorfindel nodded and gave his hand a brief squeeze. “If you don’t mind? I was feeling fuzzy from whatever they gave me for the pain, and I’ve had a lot of exercise today. Think you finally wore me out.”
“Apologies. I won’t do it again.”
Glorfindel glanced over his shoulder, amused. “Oh yes you will. As soon as I’ve had some rest. I could get quite spoilt, I like this lying back and letting you do the work routine.”
“I like spoiling you,” Erestor said softly, settling his head comfortably on the edge of Glorfindel’s pillow and preparing to sleep. “I like it that you’re here to spoil. Sleep. My turn to keep you warm now.”