“Who is that?” Glorfindel asked Elrond. His gaze was drawn to the young man standing by the window, looking out on the garden. The object of his curiosity had long, silver blond hair and looked like a noble in disguise, dressed as he was in a simple, unadorned blue tunic and green trousers. Even in profile Glorfindel was taken by the silver-blue of his eyes and the grace of his bearing. The young man was holding a blue tabby, scratching it behind the ears while it purred and smiled the enigmatic smile of feline contentment.
“That is Rúmil. He is a guardsman of Lothlórien,” Elrond replied. “He is part of the contingent from the Golden Wood who has come to train with you.”
“A guard?” Glorfindel mused. “I would not have taken him for a warrior.”
“Neither did I, but he comes highly recommended by Lord Celeborn, and he and Arwen grew up together during her time in Lothlórien so she was quite happy to see him.”
“Where is he staying?”
“Here in the east wing. I was going to make the introductions tonight but you may do so now if you wish,” Elrond said. “You can get acquainted and let him know the itinerary.”
“I believe I shall. Is he a Captain?”
“No, his Captain is his brother Haldir who did not make the journey. I understand this is his first time to leave the wood so he may be homesick. I trust you will do your best to make him feel at home.”
Glorfindel smiled. “Of course.”
He approached the young man, who turned to him with a bright eyed smile that died on his lips when he saw the person facing him was the legendary Elf Lord. He gaped for a moment then dropped his gaze, his cheeks coloring slightly.
“My lord,” he said softly, and gave a slight bow, causing the cat to squirm in his arms. He set the creature down gently and gave it a parting pat before it wandered out a side door into the garden.
“Please, Glorfindel is fine. I am told your name is Rúmil.”
“It is, my lo. . . I mean Glorfindel.”
“How is it you were chosen to come to Imladris for the training?”
“My Captain thought I needed to improve my sword work. I have not had much cause to use a sword in patrolling the marches and he wanted me to learn from the best.” He colored again and Glorfindel smiled inwardly, wondering how deeply he could make this young one blush if he truly tried.
“Your brother looks out for you then,” Glorfindel said.
Rúmil’s blush turned to heat in the blink of an eye. “I am not here because of favoritism, I assure you,” he said sharply. “I am one of the best in the Golden Wood with a bow.” Flustered he added, “Nor am I prone to idle boasting . . . my lord.” He grasped his left wrist with his right hand, a nervous habit, and his gaze darted out toward the garden.
“Forgive me, Rúmil,” Glorfindel said. “I meant no offence. I was told your Captain is also your brother. I think it is admirable that he sent you here, not as a brother, but as a Captain who is attuned to the proficiencies of his men. Lord Celeborn would not have recommended you if you were not a worthy candidate. The Golden Wood will need warriors skilled in many areas when war reaches our lands.”
“You have the advantage of me, my lord,” Rúmil said. “You seem to know as much about me as I know about myself. I did not realize I had become a subject of gossip ere I ever set foot on the practice field. I hope whatever you have heard will not sway your opinion of me. I would rather be allowed to prove myself like any other of the trainees.”
Glorfindel mentally chastised himself for how quickly he had discomfited the young man with his ill worded remarks. The relaxed, modest young man he had met moments before was now standing stiffly before him, twisting his hand around his wrist, his eyes downcast.
“Forgive me for the clumsiness of my introduction,” Glorfindel said. “I hope you will give me the chance to redeem myself when the training begins. I will speak with the candidates tonight after supper and tomorrow we will meet on the practice field where I know you will comport yourself with the utmost honor and skill.” He gave Rúmil what he hoped was a reassuring smile and departed, chancing a glance over his shoulder at the young man who was gazing out at the garden, his brow furrowed in thought.
Glorfindel looked for Rúmil that evening when the Lórien guard met in the dining hall. He was speaking with his companions, laughing merrily at some comment. Glorfindel was heartened to see him in a lighter mood than he’d left him. When the meal was called they all sat and Glorfindel made a welcoming speech, glancing around at the faces of the guests. He could tell immediately which of them would excel and which would struggle, but Rúmil he could not read easily. He had the physical attributes to make a good swordsman but he sensed a reticence that could prove fatal on the battlefield. This one would bear watching.
Sometime after supper, and after Glorfindel had met each of the trainees individually, he was lounging in the Hall of Fire listening to Lindir sing about a Maia who could make Elves fall in love by shooting them with a magic arrow. The Maia’s name was Melethonion and the old tales said he wandered the forests and mountains with his master Oromë, only instead of hunting game he was a hunter of the heart, stinging hesitant Elven lovers with his arrows to make them realize they were perfect for each other.
Glorfindel caught sight of Rúmil listening to the music a few feet away and thought how well the description of the Maia hunter fit him, youthful, lithe, fair of face. He felt as if his heart had been pierced by Melethonion as he gazed upon him. He was debating whether to approach him for another attempt at conversation when Arwen entered the hall. When she saw Rúmil her eyes lit with fondness and she came over and sat next to him, taking his hands in hers as they talked of old times.
“It has been so long, Rúmil,” she said. “What news do you bear from Lothlórien?”
Rúmil reached into his tunic and brought forth a letter. “From the Lady Galadriel,” he said. Arwen took the letter and ran her fingers lovingly along its edge before putting it in the pocket of her dress.
“Thank you, Rúmil. It is long since I have had a message from grandmother,” she said, giving him a peck on the cheek.
“You are most welcome, my lady. As for me, I am still at the East March. In all the time I have patrolled the fences never has evil been so evident as of late. Orcs and warg scouts are a constant threat, and spies of Sauron seek to enter the wood by stealth, but Caras Galadhon is as beautiful and peaceful as ever. Your presence there is much missed, my lady, and not only by your kin.” His smile was so adoring that Glorfindel felt a small pang of jealousy nip at him.
“I think often on the fair days of our youth,” Arwen said. “I remember how sweet you were to befriend me in my loneliness, making nosegays of niphredil for me by the banks of the Celebrant, making up silly songs about grandfather’s stuffy advisor. . .”
“Himarod,” Rúmil laughed. “His humor has not improved over the years I fear.”
“Do you recall the time I put ribbons in his hair as he slept, at your urging?”
“And he did not notice and went to a meeting with Lord Celeborn looking like a maiden at a harvest dance.”
The two laughed at the memory. “I knew he would not be angry if he found out it was you,” Rúmil said. “I was a bit of a coward in those days.”
“Oh no, Rúmil, never a coward,” Arwen said sincerely. “I also recall the orcs who attacked when you and your brothers met my escort at the mountain pass, when I first traveled to Lothlórien. I was so frightened, and you were no older than I. Yet you killed two of the orcs with your bow before Haldir even drew his sword.”
Rúmil turned scarlet and kissed her hand to hide his embarrassment. “If only slaying orcs could protect us from all the evils of the world, I would slay them all for you.”
Arwen’s face clouded for a moment. “You would be hard pressed to best my brothers in that work.”
Rúmil put his arm around her and gave her a hug and Arwen rested her head upon his shoulder. They were so easy and comfortable together that Glorfindel suddenly felt like an interloper, even though neither seemed to have noticed he was there.
Lindir finished his song and Bilbo stepped up to recite a poem he had been working on that he hoped to set to music soon. When he finished he asked the audience for advice or criticisms and as the others shouted out their suggestions Glorfindel managed to slip from the hall and back to his rooms.
As he readied himself for bed his thoughts turned again to Rúmil. Yes, definitely a difficult youth to read, but pleasure to be had in the attempt perhaps. He was looking forward to tomorrow.
The next morning Glorfindel was up and on the practice field before dawn to prepare for the trainees. To his surprise, Rúmil was already there, running through a series of sword movements. In the few seconds Glorfindel watched he saw five bad habits he would have to correct to get Rúmil on the right track. He cleared his throat and Rúmil spun around, sword in hand, barely missing Glorfindel’s chest.
“Oops, that was close,” Glorfindel said, but Rúmil looked mortified. He dropped his sword and snapped to attention.
“I’m sorry sir. I was taken unaware and I should not have been. I will accept whatever punishment you deem fit.”
Glorfindel raised a surprised golden eyebrow. “Punishment? What are you talking about?”
“Increasing my exercises, making me hold my sword hand in a bucket of cold water until it goes numb, making me empty the slop buckets for the troop. . .” Rúmil looked at him nervously. “Not that these things are necessarily what you might do, my lord. Only that they are standard disciplinary actions.”
“And is this how the Captains of Lórien train their guards?”
Before he could reply the other guards came on the field. When they saw Rúmil one of them said, “I told you he’d be here.”
Another said, “And from the look of it he’s in trouble already.”
They all laughed and Rúmil’s hand went to his wrist, twisting then letting go. Glorfindel could see he was forcing his hand to his side and that the effort made him tense. He barked for the guards to line up and began the instruction.
Glorfindel’s mental notes of the night before proved his judgement sound as this trainee proved naturally adept while another struggled with balance or form issues. He set them to sparring in groups of two, watching and adjusting stance, form, or movement where needed. Rúmil took instruction well, he had strength and balance, but he still fell into his bad habits again and again, forcing Glorfindel to correct him often. When it came time for the killing blow he always hesitated for the fraction of a second it took for his opponent to gain advantage over him. Glorfindel pushed him all day, forcing him to repeat the moves until Rúmil was exhausted. Finally he called a halt to the training and sent them all off to supper, all except Rúmil who he told to stay behind.
He could read the disappointment on the young man’s face when Rúmil turned to face him. “I am sorry for my performance today, sir. I promise I will do better.”
“I know you will,” Glorfindel said, “but it is not your training I wish to discuss.”
Rúmil’s hand went to his wrist and Glorfindel said, “That.”
Rúmil pulled his hand away as if burned. “It is an old habit, my lord, one that I have broken for the most part. It seems to have returned since my journey here.”
“I thought it might be something like that,” Glorfindel said. “Why do you think coming here has brought it back?”
Rúmil’s blush returned and he clenched his fist to keep from grasping his wrist again. “I would rather not say, my lord.”
“Unacceptable,” Glorfindel said sternly. “Answer the question trainee!”
“It is you, my lord,” Rúmil said softly.
“Me?” Glorfindel was stunned. “How so?”
“I cannot say, my lord.”
Glorfindel sighed. “You needn’t be impressed with me, Rúmil. My glory days were long ago, and even then I was no different from any other Elf.”
“Thank you, my lord. I will bear that in mind.”
Glorfindel studied him closely but could not read what Rúmil was hiding behind his contrite gaze. It was getting late, however, so he decided to let the matter rest for the moment.
That evening after supper Rúmil did not appear in the Hall of Fire. Curious, Glorfindel asked one of the other trainees but he said he did not know where Rúmil was. A poll of some of the others garnered the same answer. Glorfindel went out into the house and discreetly questioned the servants. At last one of them said they had seen Rúmil go toward the east garden so Glorfindel went to seek him there.
As he entered the garden he saw Rúmil with his sword, practicing the moves he had learned, going through the routine flawlessly. Glorfindel lingered in the doorway watching how the young man’s silver hair caught the diffuse blue light of the garden lamps, the grace with which he spun and parried. There was no hint of hesitation or reluctance in his movements now. In fact there was a ferocity in him that impressed Glorfindel. If he had not spent the day going through the training he would have thought Rúmil a natural swordsman.
The blue tabby was sitting on a bench nearby, watching Rúmil run the routine, its eyes following the sword with interest. When Rúmil paused the cat noticed Glorfindel and, with a soft meow, leapt from his perch and hastened over to rub against Glorfindel’s legs. Breathing heavily, Rúmil’s eyes followed the cat and he saw Glorfindel standing there looking at him.
He sheathed his sword and went to sit on the bench, slumping with a defeated air. “Have you nothing better to do than spy on me?”
“Apparently not,” Glorfindel quipped, but Rúmil did not smile. He approached the bench and the cat followed along jumping up beside Rúmil who scratched its chin absently. “May I sit?”
“Why not?” Rúmil shrugged. “You live here, I am but a guest.”
“You were amazing just now,” Glorfindel said. “You know, I pride myself on being able to gauge the men under my command but I cannot get a handle on you. While you performed well enough today, I could see you were capable of much more and so I pushed you harder than the others. I thought my instruction was falling on deaf ears but here you are displaying the form and speed of a seasoned swordsman.”
“It is different with a partner,” Rúmil said.
“The moves are the same, you just have to anticipate the moves of your opponent. Stand up and let me show you.”
“I am weary, my lord. Perhaps tomorrow?”
“As you wish, Rúmil, but you do not have to be early to the practice field unless you would like to use the time to spar one on one with me.” He smiled and this time Rúmil gave him a genuine smile in return.
“I would be most grateful, my lord.”
The next morning Glorfindel was at the practice field so early he beat Rúmil by a few seconds. The young man came hurrying up just as Glorfindel was readying his sword. Rúmil hastily drew his own sword and was going into his stance when Glorfindel attacked.
Caught off guard, Rúmil’s sword was struck from his hand when he made a clumsy parry. Glorfindel backed off immediately but Rúmil was wild-eyed and panting. He grasped his wrist and twisted his hand back and forth instead of attempting to retrieve his weapon.
“When you have a sword in your hand you must always be prepared for an attack,” Glorfindel lectured. “Pick up your weapon and let’s try again.”
Rúmil took up his sword and Glorfindel began to pace around him like a cat, not attacking but rather stalking him, sizing him up. Rúmil remained at the ready and when Glorfindel attacked he made a better show before Glorfindel relieved him of his sword once again.
On the third try the blade of Glorfindel’s sword grazed Rúmil’s left arm just above the wrist, causing him to cry out and drop his weapon. The blade had scratched his bracer but had not gone through. Glorfindel picked up the young man’s sword to return it to him but Rúmil looked at it like it was a fearful thing, a snake about to strike, and refused to touch it.
“I cannot do this,” Rúmil said, his tone verging on hysteria. “I never should have come here.” He turned and ran from the field, leaving Glorfindel to gaze after him in confusion.
When Rúmil did not return after the morning drills, Glorfindel had Elladan take over the afternoon session and went looking for him. Predictably he was in the garden, but this time Arwen was with him. They were engaged in an animated conversation when he arrived, Arwen looking concerned and Rúmil shaking his head at whatever she was saying. They both looked up at Glorfindel’s approach and both fell silent.
“Rúmil, we must talk. Would you feel more comfortable if Arwen was to leave or stay?”
The young man’s look clearly showed that neither option was to his liking. Arwen took his hand and gave it a squeeze. “You really must tell him my brave Rúmil, just as you told me. No one is more understanding of these things than our Glorfindel.”
She stood to leave and Rúmil clung to her hand briefly then released her. As soon as her hand left his he grasped his wrist then forced his hand to his side and smiled at her reassuringly. Glorfindel found it touching that he sought to comfort Arwen on his behalf rather than seeking comfort from her.
When she left, Glorfindel sat down beside Rúmil and waited for him to speak. At last Rúmil said, “I am sorry, my lord. I have deceived you, and Haldir and my Lord and Lady as well. I did not deserve the honor of coming to Imladris.”
“In what way have you deceived both your Captain and the Wise?” Glorfindel asked. “Are you not a guardsman, a warrior? Have you not comported yourself with bravery and compassion in your duties?”
Rúmil grasped his wrist hard and burst out, “I have not, my lord.”
“You have not? How have you managed to hide this fact all these years?”
“It was just me and Baradvaeth, alone on patrol when the attack came. It was so sudden. Warg riders, a pack between five and seven. I had no time to draw my bow and by the time I freed my sword they were upon us. Baradvaeth was behind me. He took out one with his bow while I fought a second, but I was slow, clumsy, and the warg riders had surrounded Baradvaeth as we fought. The warg caught my arm when I thrust and bit hard, the hand was nearly severed. I switched my sword to my other hand and managed to kill the beast. I then fought the rider hand to hand and dodged his dagger, but he struck the side of my head and I fell back, stunned. By this time the riders had taken Baradvaeth’s sword. I could see blood running from his arm and scalp when the riders seized him. They came for me but there was a shout from the wood. The rest of our patrol had heard the noise and was coming to our aid. The riders took Baradvaeth and fled. By the time the others reached me it was too late, he was gone beyond retrieving, though Haldir and Orophin tried to track them.”
Glorfindel listened patiently but when Rúmil finished he was confused. “How does that make you a coward? You fought bravely, you did all you could.”
“They took him, do you not see? They would have taken me as well if the others had not come. The orcs took him but I escaped, and I was glad. I was glad it wasn’t me!” Rúmil cried. “I have no right to call myself a guard when I failed Baradvaeth. He was my best friend and I failed him. I failed him in body and spirit.” Rúmil began to sob and Glorfindel looked upon him with pity and laid his hand next to him on the bench, not attempting to touch him. Rúmil seized his hand, squeezing and wringing it until he was able to get himself under control.
At last Glorfindel asked, “Do you think if Baradvaeth was here he would condemn you as strongly as you condemn yourself?”
“How could he not? If my sword work had been better. If I had been more alert. If I had done anything right I could have saved him,” Rúmil said bitterly.
“Two against seven warg riders? No one could have won against those odds, Rúmil.”
“You seek to absolve me but it is not possible, my lord. I thought I could redeem myself by coming here, but I was wrong.”
“You do not need absolution, Rúmil. You need only to forgive yourself. Speaking as one who has been through Mandos I can tell you this lesson is most important but perhaps the most difficult to learn.”
“But you are perfect,” Rúmil insisted. “You died a hero and were sent back by the Valar to continue the fight against evil. Your life was exemplary, your death a sacrifice that saved many. You have no need for redemption.”
“Not anymore, but I had my share of decisions to answer for,” Glorfindel said. “Imladris is a place of healing, Rúmil. Perhaps in coming here, in admitting how your attack has affected you, you can begin to heal. Even after Mandos I only found true healing when I came to Imladris.”
“I would like to believe you,” Rúmil said. He grasped his wrist again and Glorfindel held out his hand.
After a moment’s hesitation, Rúmil complied.
Glorfindel removed Rúmil’s bracer with care and examined his wrist, pressing and probing. “You said this hand was almost severed in the attack. What did the healers do for it?”
“The bone was shattered, the flesh severely damaged. The healers put a splint on it and gave me draughts to drink. I was unable to use it for many weeks.”
“There is no pain?”
“No, no pain. It is just a nervous habit.”
Glorfindel’s touch became softer, more tender, until he was stroking Rúmil’s wrist almost like a lover. The blush that had so captivated Glorfindel returned and he felt the pulse beneath his fingertips quicken. He smiled and decided to take a chance.
“You said I caused your habit to return and I thought it was because of some misplaced hero worship on your part, but that is not the reason, is it?” he said.
Rúmil’s silver-blue gaze met his with a look of apprehension and hope. “No, my lord.”
“Would it surprise you to learn that I felt the sting of Melethonion’s arrow from the moment I saw you standing by this garden’s window?” Glorfindel said.
“Yes, my lord.” Rúmil’s blush spread to his neck and finely pointed ears. He lifted his free hand and placed it on top of Glorfindel’s, his slightly callused fingers resting on Glorfindel’s knuckles. “Would it surprise you to know I felt Melethonion’s sting from the moment I first read about you as a child?”
“It is a long time to love an idea of a person,” Glorfindel said.
“The reality does not disappoint,” Rúmil said with a little smile, “but is it not also a short time to love a person you barely know, and who has given you so little reason?”
“Perhaps we can remedy both,” Glorfindel said. “I would like for you to speak with Elrond, to tell him what you have told me about your attack, and then come to my rooms tonight. Will you do this?”
A look of panic crossed Rúmil’s face but Glorfindel squeezed his hand and he swallowed hard and nodded.
Glorfindel put his hand on Rúmil’s shoulder and looked deeply into his eyes. “Never doubt your courage Rúmil.”
After checking in with Elladan and receiving a report on the progress of the afternoon training session, alerting Elrond that Rúmil would be calling on him and giving a brief description of why, Glorfindel had a light supper brought to his room, did a little reading, and finally began to pace the floor as he waited. Would the young man even show up? Perhaps he would be too melancholy after relating his story again for Elrond, or too tired from the emotional upheaval he had undergone since coming to Imladris. Presently a light knock sounded upon his door and Glorfindel hurried to answer it.
The sight of the relaxed, all but glowing young man standing in his doorway gave Glorfindel great joy. He ushered Rúmil in and bade him sit upon loveseat near the balcony. Summer was ending but the nights were still warm enough to have the balcony doors open and a light breeze blew in, scented with night-blooming jasmine from the garden below. Rúmil was wearing his blue tunic, the one that brought out the blue in his eyes so beautifully. His moon pale hair was unbound, softening his fine-boned features and full pink lips into a youthful wholesomeness that made Glorfindel’s heart sing.
Gone was the hesitation, reticence, and sense of something unnamable lurking beneath a façade of innocent modesty, and yet, to Glorfindel’s delight, the intriguing enigma of Rúmil remained. He still couldn’t read him. He took a seat on the loveseat next to Rúmil, fighting the urge to simply seize the young man and taste the promise of those lips. ‘I wonder if I could pass a kiss off as a nervous habit?’ Glorfindel mused to himself, the thought making him smile. Rúmil smiled back and Glorfindel held out his hand, which the young man accepted without hesitation.
“I cannot thank you enough for making me speak with Lord Elrond,” he said. “It was the first time since Baradvaeth’s death that I was able to make peace with myself and my actions. One day I hope to have the opportunity to make peace with Baradvaeth too and seek his forgiveness.”
“Do not be surprised, when the time comes, if he finds your appeal for forgiveness unnecessary and perhaps even confusing, for he bears you no blame.”
“Still, it is something I must do and will do when I may,” Rúmil said.
“I knew if anyone could help you it would be Elrond. His skill as a healer is unparalleled.”
“You have been so kind to me, so patient,” Rúmil said. “I cannot wait for the training tomorrow for I feel as though nothing can stop me now.”
“Then why wait?” Glorfindel said. He stood and kicked the furniture out of the way.
“Surely you must be joking,” Rúmil laughed.
“I never joke about swordplay,” Glorfindel said so seriously that Rúmil sobered at once.
“As you wish, my lord.”
Glorfindel could not hold back a burst of laughter. “Do you really still want to call me “lord” in light of what we shall be doing soon?”
Rúmil was flustered and so naturally he blushed, which was just what Glorfindel had been hoping for. “No. . . Glorfindel.”
Glorfindel was still chuckling as he retrieved two practice swords from his bedroom and tossed one to Rúmil. The young man caught it nimbly with his left hand and rushed Glorfindel before he could take his stance. Glorfindel met the attack with fluid grace, trying to force Rúmil’s sword from his hand as he had in practice, but this time the young man held his ground. They fought all around the room, Rúmil stumbling over furniture despite the large open space Glorfindel had cleared, yet never falling or losing his sword to Glorfindel’s relentless swings and thrusts. At last they both paused, panting, sizing each other up. Rúmil looked ready to attack again but Glorfindel held up a hand and shook his head.
“Nay, you know the lessons well enough. Stay your sword before you best me and tarnish my legend.”
Rúmil’s eyes went wide at the thought, making Glorfindel laugh again. They were facing each other, all but breathless from their exertions. Rúmil was slightly flushed, his hair damp upon his forehead. The sight of him standing there, sword in hand like an avenging warrior, a sexy mixture of dismay and longing in his eyes made Glorfindel drop his sword. It hit the floor with a loud clatter as he crossed the space between them, taking Rúmil’s wrists in his hands. “You are too delectable not to kiss,” he said and helped himself to Rúmil’s pliant lips. He was delighted when Rúmil returned his venture with skill, their tongues sparring with a determination that mirrored their earlier swordplay. Glorfindel’s legend remained secure when the young man melted into him at last, allowing his dominion.
Glorfindel pressed his advantage, pulling him closer while his hand twined in that quicksilver hair. Tuning into the rhythms of the robust body in his arms, he fed on the young man’s budding passion. Rúmil suddenly pulled away to scramble out of his tunic. He then flung himself into Glorfindel’s arms again. Rúmil kissed and mauled his throat and chest, tugging at the laces of Glorfindel’s tunic in a frantic effort to remove it, giving him an all-but-forgotten reminder of the urgency, the hungered need of youth.
Glorfindel caught Rúmil’s wrists in his hands and looked into his eyes. “Slowly, Rúmil. We have all night.”
“All night won’t be enough,” Rúmil returned with a moan.
“Then as many nights as we can capture,” Glorfindel said, bending to caress Rúmil’s sweat-slick chest with his tongue.
Rúmil writhed so enticingly that Glorfindel almost broke his resolve to allow a slow build to their pleasure. He moved down, down, until he was kneeling at Rúmil’s feet, pressing gentle kisses against the growing bulge in his trousers. Strong but gentle fingers meandered through his hair and he looked up to see Rúmil regarding him, his eyes veiled with arousal.
Glorfindel grasped the laces of Rúmil’s trousers with his teeth, pulling them apart seductively. Rúmil’s arousal burst forth with youthful vigor, slapping against his belly with an audible snap. Glorfindel tamed it, drawing it in and cradling it on his velvet tongue like a rare and fragile treasure. Rúmil’s head fell back and rolled from side to side. He bit his lip and stroked a finger over his nipple, his soft moans rising in intensity with every move of his golden haired love. Glorfindel picked up the pace, drawing him deep into his throat then grazing the head teasingly as he pulled back. Rúmil fought as hard as he could, though it was a contest he had no hope of winning and Glorfindel knew it. He held Rúmil expertly on the edge then abruptly released his straining arousal, rising to his feet. Rúmil’s legs wobbled and he clutched at Glorfindel’s shoulder.
“Please. . .”
Without a word Glorfindel seized Rúmil and lifted him over his shoulder, giving him a playful slap on the butt. He carried him into the bedroom where he laid him on the bed and removed his boots and pants. He stood over Rúmil, still fully clothed, his gaze taking in every inch of the young man’s resplendent nakedness. Rúmil lay propped upon his elbows, beguiled by the light in Glorfindel’s eyes, all but trembling with anticipation. A tantalizing blush spread over his muscular frame, his proud arousal arching from its thicket of silver. He felt more vulnerable than he ever had in his life, and at the same time completely safe and desired.
Glorfindel undressed slowly, watching Rúmil’s rosy pink blush deepen, his breath quicken, as he revealed himself. He crawled upon the bed, covering Rúmil’s body with his own, pinning his wrists to the bed. Bringing their hips into contact Glorfindel began to move slowly while he kissed and nibbled at Rumil’s neck and ears.
“Glorfindel, please, I. . .” Rúmil began.
He stopped, hearing the panic in the plea. “Tell me what you want, Rúmil,” he said, looking deeply into his eyes.
“I want you,” Rúmil said, “all of you. In me. Now!”
“Have you ever. . .” Glorfindel hesitated.
“Yes, by all the Powers, yes!” Rúmil moaned. “Quit acting like my nursemaid and take me already!”
Glorfindel needed no further urging. He pinned Rúmil’s wrists in one hand, enjoying the token resistance the young man gave him as he urged his legs up. He gathered a generous measure of prerelease from Rúmil’s quivering arousal and used it to prepare himself. Rúmil struggled briefly as he sunk home, his writhing sending Glorfindel deeper into him, right to the target. Rúmil came instantly with a groan and a whimper.
“I’m sorry,” he said breathlessly. “I couldn’t. . .”
“Shush,” Glorfindel said, “now the good part begins.”
He stilled briefly while Rúmil caught his breath then began to move again, grinding his hips with each thrust. It wasn’t long before he felt Rúmil’s arousal grow against his belly his sliver-blue eyes glazing with lust. Now that the urgency was gone the buildup was all the sweeter. Rúmil followed Glorfindel’s lead, meeting his thrusts with joyous abandon until they climaxed together, their fëar merging for a brief second before retreating back to their sweaty, perfectly sated bodies.
Rúmil did not return to his rooms that night. He and Glorfindel dozed and made love again. When morning came he bathed hastily in Glorfindel’s private bath then hurried off to breakfast so the others wouldn’t ask unwanted questions regarding his whereabouts.
Glorfindel was waiting on the practice field when the Lórien Elves arrived. This time Rúmil was walking with the others, who were teasing him again.
“Is the little prince up to practice this morning?” one asked, punching him on the arm.
“He was chipper enough at breakfast,” said another. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so merry.”
“It was because I took a day off from you,” Rúmil countered with a good natured chuckle.
“In that case I will partner with you on the exercises today,” said the first, the most promising of the trainees and the one who had put the rest of the troop to rout for the past two days. “You shall see what your laziness has bought you.”
Glorfindel could not help but smile listening to the bravado of the young trainee. He was in for a big surprise. . .
For the rest of the Lórien Elves’ time in Imladris, Rúmil and Glorfindel spent almost every night together. Most nights they repeated the pleasures of their first encounter, with countless delicious variations, Rúmil proving quite adventurous and exceptionally willing. Glorfindel had never been so happy, or so tired, in all his long years.
They also talked, a lot, discovering that despite their disparate lives and experience they never seemed to run out of subjects to explore. The only subject neither ever broached was the reason for Rúmil’s presence in Imladris, the threat of impending war. No promises or pledges were exchanged but an unspoken understanding existed they both could feel, deep within.
Their last night arrived and Glorfindel led Rúmil to a small clearing in the woods beyond the garden. There he laid out a light meal and bottle of wine. They ate and talked and made love in the cool night air on a carpet of soft grass, the sound of a rushing waterfall nearby and the song of a nightingale providing accompaniment. Afterward they dressed and sat with their arms around each other’s shoulders, looking up at the stars until the lightening sky forced Rúmil back to his rooms to pack.
When Elrond and Glorfindel arrived at the courtyard that morning Rúmil and his companions were preparing to mount up and move out. Glorfindel and Elrond said their goodbyes to the Lórien Elves while Arwen said her goodbyes to Rúmil. She handed him two sealed letters, one with Galadriel’s name and one with his. “Do not read it until you get back to the wood,” she said. “It is nothing terribly important, just some thoughts to keep you until we meet again.”
“I look forward to the day, my lady. I thought there was no place in Middle-earth I could dwell with happiness save Lothlórien, but I shall henceforth think of Imladris as my second home.”
“Not only because of me, though,” Arwen teased.
Rúmil glanced at Glorfindel, who was chatting with one of the other trainees, and his eyes took on a dreamy, faraway look. His gaze returned to Arwen and he blushed and smiled. “Mainly for you, my lady,” he said with mock seriousness. Arwen giggled and Rúmil gave her a smile and a sly wink. They embraced tightly, Arwen giving him a kiss on the cheek when they separated.
He mounted up with the rest of his company and Glorfindel came over to say his farewells, taking Rúmil’s hand and giving it a squeeze. “Safe journey, Rúmil.”
“Thank you, my lord, and thank you for all you have done. You do not know how much our time together has meant to me. I hope one day we will meet again.”
“We shall,” Glorfindel said. “I know we shall.”
The call sounded to move out and the troop fell in line and rode away. Rúmil lingered at the end of the company, glancing back to wave at Arwen and Glorfindel who returned his gesture with loving and wistful looks.
As Glorfindel watched him go, wondering if they would, indeed, see each other again he had a sudden flash of foresight. He and Rúmil were walking on a rocky shore hand in hand with all of time stretched out before them. As Rúmil’s horse disappeared around a bend in the path he sent a silent thanks to Melethonion for gracing them with his arrow.
Written for the 2011 My Slashy Valentine fanfiction swap.
MEFA 2011 Nominee
MEFA 2011 Nominee
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