Change In Weather
This is an amateur effort and not intended to infringe on the rights of J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien or any other copyright holder. No monetary profit is being made.
My very first LotR fanfic, dedicated to CC.
Pairing: implied Elrond/Glorfindel
It had been snowing for hours, and the downy flakes were silently covering the world in white, making the dirty, dusty remnants of late autumn disappear. There was a sense of peace in the air that had been missing lately, along with the sharp smell of cold cleanliness. No animals were about to disturb the snow; they all were sitting in their warm nests and caves, waiting for the snowflakes to stop falling.
The soft nickering of a horse disrupted the silence, answered almost immediately by its companion as they carefully made their way through the snow. Their riders were bent low over their necks, trying to give the cold as little a target as possible. For them it was worse than for the horses with their thick winter fur which kept them warm and even mostly dry.
"There is the cave," one of the riders called out to the other, gesturing towards the right where the mountain was rising up sharply. "Just a little longer..."
Nodding in return, the other rider turned his horse into the indicated direction without a voiced answer. There was no need for him to verbally show his agreement with his companion's words; they had ridden together often enough to make such things superfluous. And on days like this it was better not to waste energy and warmth with talking too much.
They reached the cave without any major problems; one of the horses slipped and stumbled on the treacherous ground, but caught herself before falling, and a moment later they already were inside the dry, sheltered spot.
With a soft sigh of relief Glorfindel slipped off the back of his mount, stroking the damp neck briefly before turning to see whether his companion had already followed his example.
"We will have to wait until the snow stops," he said into the silence. It was something they had agreed on before they had come here, but he wanted to make sure once more that Elladan was not going to get any strange ideas about trying to ride in this weather.
The younger elf nodded slightly. "I know," he murmured, his voice clearly reflecting his dislike of the idea. He patted his horse's croup to send her a little deeper into the cave, away from the immediate cold.
Glorfindel watched the animal as it trotted forward, not showing any signs of unease. He had not seen any traces of Orcs in the vicinity lately, and they had checked this particular cave only two days ago. There was no reason to suspect Orcs this close to Imladris, in an area that was practically constantly monitored, but Glorfindel had lived long enough to know that sometimes the most unlikely things happened whenever the moment was worst.
"You know that the cave is not deep," Elladan said, almost as if having read his thoughts.
"But fortunately it is enough for us to spend the night here in the dry."
"Fortunately," the younger elf agreed softly, raising a hand to brush wind-ruffled dark hair out of his face. "But still I want to be back in Imladris."
"We will be home tomorrow," Glorfindel assured him, suppressing a smile which would only have annoyed his former student. Elladan was no elfling any more, not since many years, but there were moments when he and his twin reminded Glorfindel so strongly of the two stubborn elf boys Elrond had put him in charge of.
Elladan sighed, wrapping his arms around himself to keep warm. "If it has stopped snowing by then."
"I don't think it will take more than some hours until the weather gets better. Can't you feel it in the air yet?"
After a moment Elladan made a small noise of agreement, but did not say anything. Instead he went after his horse and busied himself checking the animal's legs. The mare was watching him with mild curiosity, lightly butting her head against his side and snorting as if she were wondering why the elf was fussing so much.
Glorfindel shared her puzzlement over Elladan's actions. The horse had stumbled, but if she had injured herself, then they would immediately have been aware of it. She radiated no discomfort, though, just some tiredness. Surely Elladan had to feel it too; still he continued his examination, making the horse raise one hoof after the other and looking at them closely. Snorting once more, the mare let him be, apparently deciding that if her rider was restless enough to need to do this, she ought to let him. Elf horses often shared a close understanding with their owner, and Elladan's mare was no exception in that regard.
"You would have been aware of it if she had hurt herself," Glorfindel said quietly, reaching out to pet the horse's face. There was a tension in the air that had not been there during the ride; or maybe he had not been able to sense it then. Were it the memories of the brief fight this morning which were bothering Elladan now? They had been pursuing a band of Orcs for the last two days, and had finally caught up with them early today. The battle itself had been fast, and it had been clear almost from the beginning that the foul beasts would lose. In Glorfindel's eyes there was no reason to brood over it now. But now that he thought of it, Elladan had been silent and withdrawn ever since they had left the site of the fight. Glorfindel had first attributed it to exhaustion and a need to put everything into perspective again; he knew only too well that for the twins every slain Orc had a meaning. Still, this time there seemed to be more to it.
Elladan rose again, his face blank. "I thought that maybe a stone had caught in the hoof," he murmured, stepping towards the entrance of the cave again to look out into the snow.
Shaking his head, Glorfindel watched as the younger elf stared into the tumbling snowflakes. This was not normal behavior for Elladan; the elder twin was the more silent one, but brooding did not usually lie in his nature. He normally was too balanced to truly succumb to it, and apart from some defiant moping as an elfling, Elladan had always been remarkably stable when it came to his emotional equilibrium. Glorfindel could remember only one time when the older twin had really lost his pragmatic mood.
But now, nothing had happened that could be compared to the time of Celebrían's torment at the hands of the Orcs and her later departure for the West. And yet Elladan was radiating discomfort and unsettlement strongly enough for Glorfindel to easily perceive, now that they had come to rest a little.
If it were Elrohir, Glorfindel would not have been surprised. The younger twin was the more sensitive of the two, always strangely aware of the feelings and moods of those around him and also listening far more to his own emotions than his brother had ever done. Elrohir reacted strongly whenever something unsettled him. Elladan did not. It was one of the small differences between the twins, one Glorfindel had known since he had taken up the charge of being one of their teachers so many years ago.
To him it was always a mystery how anyone could fail in telling the twins apart. Their outward appearance might be almost identical, and Glorfindel was ready to acknowledge that it was perhaps difficult for mortals to spot small things like the hint of an old scar or the slight difference in the color of their eyes. But elves could see these details, and yet they frequently mistook one twin for the other even after all this time. Maybe they did not bother to look closely enough; but even then they should have been able to sense at least to some extent who it was. And yet only their family and some of their closest friends could immediately perceive whether they were talking to Elladan or Elrohir.
Turning his thoughts away from this piece of puzzlement, Glorfindel watched Elladan a moment longer before stepping to his side. "This will be the last longer patrol ride until spring," he offered, not wishing to let silence settle too firmly.
"Hopefully it will snow enough to make moving difficult for the Orcs."
"The passes could be safe until the snow melts."
This time Elladan did not even speak, he merely nodded.
"Of course, it also means that travelling will be much restricted."
Another nod. Glorfindel was beginning to feel as if he were running against walls.
"Perhaps we can maintain contact with Lórien at least."
"Glorfindel, why did you kiss my father?"
"I... what?" The change of topic was a bit too fast for Glorfindel to immediately follow it.
"You were kissing him this morning before we left." Elladan turned to look at him, and Glorfindel was glad to see no anger on his face, although the clearly visible mix of confusion and disappointment was almost worse. "Why?"
So much lay in that little question. An explanation should have been easy, but at the same time Glorfindel found himself at a loss for words. It might be best to simply say that the kiss had just been a kiss, an expression of affection and love between two beings close to each other. But that reply would bring other questions in its wake, questions which would be more difficult to answer. And Glorfindel was certain that it were those answers Elladan was after. He had them; his mind knew the reasons for that kiss very well. Putting them into speech was the hard part.
After a few moments had passed, Elladan sighed. "Stay silent, then," he said, turning away again.
"Elladan..." Sighing softly, Glorfindel shook his head. He and Elrond had meant to let the twins know about their relationship as soon as the younger elves were back from their hunts that had kept them from Imladris. But once the twins had been back, everybody had suddenly been busy with preparations for the winter and the need to deal with the sudden increase of Orcs in the areas south of the valley. There simply had been no time when all four of them would have been in Imladris long enough to truly talk about it. And both Elrond and Glorfindel had been against turning it into a rushed confession.
Which, despite their best intentions, this was turning into.
"Elladan," Glorfindel repeated the younger elf's name. "Do you truly wish to know?"
For a little while there was no reaction, then Elladan faced him again. "Yes," he said, his voice sounding far calmer than the unsettled expression on his face would have suggested.
"And do you wish to hear this from me alone?"
The younger elf frowned at him. "Don't try to stall, Glorfindel."
In a way it made sense that Elladan would ask this now and not when they were back in Imladris. Glorfindel felt certain that it would be easier to demand answers from him alone, leaving Elrond out of it for the moment. Some issues were awkward to discuss with parents, and this probably counted among them.
"I kissed your father because I love him," Glorfindel said, watching Elladan's face to gauge his reaction.
Elladan looked more startled and surprised than anything else, and it puzzled Glorfindel. What had the younger elf expected to hear? That the kiss had come out of the blue, a minor departure from the normal routines of saying farewell before leaving for extended patrol rides?
Perhaps the direct admission was not what he had thought to hear. That would make some sense; there seemed to be a belief shared by many of the younger elves that talking about love was something to be done with much caution and careful phrasing. Still it was surprising that Elladan should see it like this as well; Glorfindel had thought that he would be well past that age.
Or maybe the reasons were entirely different... but as long as Elladan continued to merely look at him, there was no way to know.
Silence lingered between them for a moment before Elladan shook his head lightly. "I don't understand," he confessed.
Attempting to reassure, Glorfindel gave him a small smile, the same he had given the twins whenever they had gotten frustrated with their studies and tasks while they had been younger. "It is simple, Elladan..."
"No, it isn't," the dark-haired elf interrupted, his voice sharper than before. "It doesn't make sense. What about my mother? Did you forget about her?"
Glorfindel sighed softly at Elladan's words. "No-one will ever forget her," he said quietly. "Not I, and not your father."
"But..." Trailing off, Elladan closed his eyes briefly. "I thought he loved Mama..."
The turn this conversation was taken was making Glorfindel increasingly uneasy. Celebrían's memory had never truly stood between him and Elrond when they had begun their relationship, but at the same time it was impossible to completely forget about the fact that she and Elrond had exchanged their vows of faithfulness and love, vows which could not be broken.
"He loves her still, Elladan," he tried to explain. "But love can be of different kinds... I think you should speak to this with your father. He is the one whom you should ask about it."
"Probably," Elladan conceded, sounding a little calmer. "Still I want to know why neither of you told Elrohir or me... or does he know?"
Glorfindel shook his head, glad that their talk had not dissolved in an argument. He knew that the danger had been there, and that he had to credit Elladan for not letting his fairly obvious anger and confusion at this get the better of him.
"He does not know. Not as far as I can tell." If Elrohir had found out about this relationship, he would not have waited for a calm moment until he asked his questions. He was more likely to demand the world to stop around him until he had the answers he wanted.
"He won't be too glad to hear it, I think."
"Just like you are not glad about it?" Glorfindel asked, looking at the younger elf and hoping that he was misinterpreting.
Elladan shook his head. "No. I am... It's too quick for me to know what I think about it. I was startled when I saw you and Papa in your room together, and it made me angry that you would keep it secret. I thought that maybe it was because of Mama... I need to talk to Papa about this." He paused, smiling weakly. "It is not every day that you find out about your father having a lover..."
Returning the smile, Glorfindel breathed an inward sigh of relief. There had been no way to know how the twins would react to this kind of news, and knowing that at least Elladan was not immediately and completely against it was calming indeed.
"Will you tell Elrohir now? And Arwen?"
"I believe so..." He would have to consult with Elrond about this first, but there was no point in keeping the other two in the dark any longer. "We did not mean to hide our relationship from either of you. But there never was a calm moment to tell you, or your father and I would have done so." He paused for a moment, studying the younger elf's face. "We would not have lied to you about it."
"But you still kept quiet," Elladan returned. Glorfindel was beginning to get the feeling that this irked him more than the fact that his father had taken a lover. "Perhaps there haven't been a lot of calm moments lately, but you could have said something nevertheless. Why not? Were you worried that we would not understand?"
"Maybe," Glorfindel admitted.
Elladan sighed. "I am not a child anymore, and neither are Elrohir and Arwen," he said quietly. "I don't want Papa to be lonely. And I am sure that they don't want it either. It's just a little strange to imagine him with anyone but Mama... But that does not mean that I cannot accept that he has found love again." He met Glorfindel's eyes. "And he could do far worse than loving you."
"He could have picked Thranduil."
"Elladan!" Glorfindel raised an eyebrow, but soon found it impossible to suppress his smile.
The younger elf smiled back, most of the earlier tension gone from his body by now. "Just tell Elrohir and Arwen. They should know."
It was calming to know that at least Elrond's elder son was taking the new situation well. Glorfindel knew that Elladan had been the most unlikely of the three to react badly, given his tendency to not let anything unsettle him easily, but the risk had been there. Arwen would hopefully follow her brother's example, which only left Elrohir to worry about. The younger twin could be unpredictable in his reactions sometimes; still, Elladan's words gave Glorfindel hope that he, too, would come to accept the relationship. However, this was something to think about when they came back to Imladris. There was no use in pondering it now.
"Glorfindel?" Elladan asked, returning his gaze at the snowflakes tumbling down from the sky.
"About you and Papa... I am glad that he and you are not alone anymore."
Glorfindel looked at him for a moment, then also turned to watch the snow. "I am glad too."