Harvesting season was the most exhausting time of the year. Finduilas had never expected that she would be subjected to any real sort of laboring during her ‘apprenticeship’ with Glorfindel, but preserving came close. Not only were there fruits to peel and process into various jams or dessert fillings, but a large quantity of the tomatoes from the First Homely House’s fields were brought to the cottage to be boiled or pickled and preserved as well.
It began with the washing, for although the glass containers that were used to pack the preserves into were washed by the family who had received the last jar of whatever went into it, they sat stored either in the barn or in one of the sheds at the homely house as they were returned to be reused. Everything had to be cleaned again, and set out in the sun to dry. Some of the containers were very large, and made of clay. Because of their size and crafting – for it was Elrond who made most of them and Celebrian who painted them – many were not returned, and so more needed to be produced of these items.
Once the containers were all ready, the harvesting had already begun. Erestor and Gwindor, with the aide of young ellin sent by their parents for the summer to learn about the cultivation of crops and their harvesting, would methodically go through the orchard. Each tree would be climbed by two or three of the lads who would toss the fruit down to an equal number of elves on the ground who would catch it and pack it in wooden crates to be taken back to the house, where Glorfindel and Finduilas would be in the yard, peeling apples, peaches, and pears, pitting them along with the cherries, slicing them up, and the strawberries, too. Once the tomatoes arrived, they would need to boil and skin them.
The fruit would be made into whatever it was to become in large pots half the size of an elf, and then ladled into the right type of container. These had metal covers that fit over the top and were sealed with wax, then packed back into the crates and stored until everything was completed. The very last thing was for the orders to be filled. This, Glorfindel did, with Erestor simply being directed as to what boxes items that were handed to him should go. They finished with a feast before sending the workers home- each of them would take their horse and make deliveries along the way, thus eliminating anyone from the cottage or the house having to make the trips.
Erestor called it ‘Production in Mass’, and was quite proud of the streamlined process. No one else in Valinor seemed to much notice or try to convert to his system, however, no other farm in Valinor produced so much with so few workers in such a small area of land. Finduilas thought many times she would rather be on one of these lazier farms, but then, Gwindor was not on some other farm.
The day after was one of rest, and no one woke before noon. When they did, Glorfindel and Erestor would spend the entire day in the living room, with a fire burning and the information on that year’s harvest. Tired as she was from the work the previous few weeks, Finduilas would offer to make the evening meal. This had now become a tradition, for before she came, they would all simply snack on whatever they could find. Arguing that they needed a proper meal, Finduilas took the task upon herself. Gwindor would spend the day in the fields, collecting whatever remaining fruit might have been missed.
That evening was always a private sort of holiday for the four of them. They would dress like royalty, discarding the comfortable clothing usually worn in the kitchen or the orchard. Wonderful dishes would be brought to the table one at a time, and always there was one that was brand new to try. Only candlelight would be used, not the harsh light of the lanterns, and there would be a few bottles of very good wine passed around the table. They drank themselves silly, and then in fits of giggles would make it to bed.
“Cheers!” Glorfindel clinked his glass against Erestor’s even as it was being filled, and received a half-serious scornful look from the dark-haired elf as red liquid ran down the stem and puddled around the base of the glass. The blond was already congratulating Gwindor, who had raised his goblet up, and then, he ended by tapping it to the edge of Finduilas’.
After mopping up the spilled wine with a damp rag from the kitchen, Erestor sat down with a sigh. “I may not make it to dessert tonight,” he apologized. “Those vegetable pies were just too good not to have a second.”
“You had four, Ada!” laughed Gwindor, and Erestor shrugged with a smirk on his face. “They were delicious, Lasiavis,” he commended as well. Across the table, she beamed, unable to come up with a reply, and so she blushed and bowed her head. “You need not be modest- they were great!”
“It... it was just an old recipe I tried,” she stammered. “Just something I thought you might like.”
Erestor gave her a knowing look; it was indeed an old recipe, one from the days of Doriath, and one which Gwindor in his first life had been more than fond of. Finduilas took a deep breath and then smiled. “We have pie for dessert,” she announced. “Apple-raisin, and Blueberry-peach.”
“Oh, my... how will I manage dessert, too?” pondered Erestor with a slight smile. “I think... I will have...”
“Both,” snorted Glorfindel. “Might as well just give him a slice of each, because he’ll never make up his mind.”
“With extra cream, if you have whipped any,” called out Erestor as Finduilas stood up and walked to the kitchen only a few feet away.
“I have,” she confirmed, holding up the bowl that was on the counter.
“Gobs of it, then,” said Erestor. “So that you cannot even see the pie.”
Gwindor laughed. “Then whatever is the point?”
“Exactly. That is the point,” smirked Glorfindel, refilling his wineglass. A knock sounded upon the door, and Erestor looked at Glorfindel with confusion. Glorfindel shrugged and began to stand up, but Gwindor was already reaching for his walking stick.
”Let me. I am curious to see who it is.” Gwindor swiveled around to look over the high counter that separated the kitchen from the dining area and leaned over best he could. “I just wanted to tell you, that dinner was excellent, Finduilas.”
“Thank-“ Finduilas looked up abruptly. “What did you say?”
“I... said...” Gwindor blinked and looked off to the side, perplexed. Erestor stood up suddenly, realizing what had just happened, but Glorfindel held onto his wrist to keep him from advancing.
The knock came upon the door again, more insistently this time.
“I’ll get it,” offered Erestor, walking between Gwindor and Finduilas, who were now staring at one another. Glorfindel was slowly standing up as Erestor took hold of the handle and pulled the door open. He tightened his grip, afraid that he would otherwise slam it shut. “Well, my word...”
“Erestor?” The others in the cottage could only hear their unexpected guest. “Erestor, my goodness, it is you! I prayed the Valar whoever lived here would be someone kind and... well, my prayers were answered. I am sure you know why I have come, and I make my most sincere apologies it was not sooner.”
“Guilin, I can... hardly imagine, I... excuse me, my manners are lacking tonight, the wine...” And Erestor left it at that, opening the door wider and moving to the side. “Welcome to our home, Guilin. It is a blessing to see you alive and well.”
And when Guilin stepped into the house, the dam that held back the many memories of Gwindor’s past life broke. Everything began to flood back, and he could not keep up with the thoughts invading his mind. He looked from Finduilas, to the ellon standing near the door, to Erestor, and to Finduilas again. With a smile nearly too wide for his face, he let go of the cane, hobbling around the counter to his long lost love. “My darling, my beautiful Faelivrin, my love.” Theirs was a tearful embrace, the wooden spoon left forgotten on the counter, the cream bowl knocked askew to the floor.
Erestor began to step forward, but he stepped aside as Guilin nearly knocked into him. The old elf’s knuckles turned while as his fingers tightened around the door handle. In the kitchen, the reunion continued. Glorfindel managed to catch Erestor’s gaze, beckoning him to come back to the table. Reluctantly, Erestor closed the door and did so.
Breaking away from the lovers in the kitchen, Guilin took hold of Erestor’s hand and shook it fiercely. “I cannot thank you enough for all that I know you have done. My wife, when he was born, she could not bear the mental anguish. She blamed herself; she was inconsolable. I could not take care of both her and my son. So I left with him, riding out into the night, hoping to find someone who could see to his needs until she was right again.”
“After going to a number of our friends, and being turned away, I lost my way in Orome’s blessed forest. There was a spirit there, something of goodness and light, a maia, a vala, perhaps, I know not what, that led me here. It was with great anguish that I left him, but she told me things would be well,” explained Guilin.
“She?” questioned Erestor.
“The voice in my head, well, it sounded like a she. I just had to believe... and my wife, aiya, such pain she was in.” Guilin looked to Gwindor and Finduilas, happiness evident in his expression. “Look at them. So happy together- terrible it took so long-“
“What made you decide to return tonight?” asked Erestor abruptly. Guilin turned back with a frown. “Sorry, I am just curious. It has been near a hundred years; I merely wondered.”
“That same voice.” Guilin paused, then said, “Every time I would think to come, she would tell me, ‘Not yet’, but then, three days ago, she said to come back, that now was the time. I came as soon as I could. I rode all day and all night.”
Glorfindel cleared his throat and stepped forward. “You must be tired. May we offer you food? There is still quite a lot left from supper, and dessert now.”
“Oh! I forgot about the dessert!” exclaimed Finduilas, and no one could help but laugh at this.
“It is to be expected – I forgot about dessert, too,” admitted Gwindor, his arms still tightly around her waist, partly for not wishing to let her go, and partly for keeping his own balance.
“I would be honored to partake in your hospitality, Erestor- that is, if your wife does not object. Where is she, if I may ask? Turned in for the night?” Guilin’s face fell as everyone shifted uncomfortably. “Sorry, something I said?”
“Someone should have made introductions. Allow me to do so,” spoke Gwindor. “Adar, I would like you to meet my Nana, well, my Nanafin I call him, but everyone else calls him Glorfindel. Nanafin, my, well, it seems odd to say ‘my other Adar’-“
“Thank you, Gwindor, I do know whom this is,” said Glorfindel. Holding out his hand, he offered his own greetings.
“Ah, I-“ Guilin steered the conversation, looking to Erestor. “I see I have assumed too much. I thought, since you once were with Artanis, that... well, I suppose that... well, leopards really do change their spots sometimes, don’t they? Does that still make him your wife?”
Again, Glorfindel cleared his throat, lowering his hand. “No, it does not.”
“Ah. I see.” Guilin looked away uneasily, and focused his attention back upon the pair of happy elves in the kitchen. “Finally. I have waited so long for this. It will be wonderful, for them to be married. Finally.”
“And as soon as is possible,” Gwindor added, nuzzling his nose against Finduilas’s, causing her to giggle.
“Well... well, I suppose now is as good a time as any to mention it,” said Erestor. “Some time ago, Finduilas, your grandfather mentioned that, if there was to be a wedding, he would gladly offer his inn for the affair.”
“At’ada Thranduil is always so generous,” she said absently, kissing the tip of Gwindor’s nose, and making the young ellon blush. “Does anyone still want pie?”
Gwindor snorted. “Here,” he said, lifting the pies onto the upper counter, one after the other. “Ada, may we be excused?” he asked.
There was an awkward bit of time, wherein neither Erestor nor Guilin knew who was to be the one to answer. Finally, Glorfindel said loudly, “Go ahead, Gwindor. You’re both excused.”
Fast as they were able, the pair headed out the back door, likely to the gardens, or to some other equally romantic place outside. The trio inside looked at each other uneasily. Glorfindel walked to the counter, picking up the apple pie. “Anyone care for a piece?”
“Absolutely. I’m famished!” announced Guilin.
Glorfindel cut a slice for their guest, and then placed another onto a plate for Erestor, but as he handed it towards him, it was pushed back. “Thanks, Fin, but I’m not much hungry at the moment. All the excitement... if you’ll excuse me,” apologized Erestor, hurrying up the stairs.
Torn between being a good host and being a good husband, Glorfindel decided Erestor likely wished to be alone anyhow. Motioning to the sunken room where a fire was blazing, Glorfindel waited until Guilin had made himself comfortable on the couch before sitting down in his chair. “You seem a little uneasy,” remarked Glorfindel. “Was your journey pleasant?”
“Yes, thank you,” answered Guilin, trying to smile.
“You know,” said Glorfindel after several minutes of troubled silence, “the old tale that ellith tell their children, that touching someone who is attracted to those of their same gender will cause the one who touched them to be afflicted with it- it isn’t true.”
“Oh. Oh, really?” Guilin laughed nervously. “Forgive me, then. My mistake.” To further make amends, Guilin leaned forward and held out his hand. “A privilege to make your acquaintance...”
“Glorfindel,” finished the balrog slayer, edging forward to shake Guilin’s hand. He settled back, and couldn’t help but wonder how things would have turned out differently had Gwindor been raised by his birth parents. And how differently. “Did you travel alone?”
“Aye.” Guilin ate another forkful of pie. “This is delicious. So fresh.”
“It should be; the apples were picked today,” Glorfindel said proudly. “Your wife is still at home, then?”
“That she is. After I convinced her that I needed to go, she decided to ready our home. You see,” continued Guilin, “I used to be a fairly high guard in Doriath, back when Erestor was, well, in trouble a lot,” he chuckled. “A good ellon,” he added swiftly, “but what a temper! Surely, though, you’re well aware of that.”
Glorfindel merely smiled.
“Yes, well, I moved up the ranks nicely. I have quite the residence here, you see.” Guilin looked around the room and said, “Our sitting room is, oh, four times larger, I think. And no fireplace; a waste of space, really.”
“We have good friends who are peredhil,” said Glorfindel by way of reason.
“Eight bedrooms,” continued Guilin as if he hadn’t heard. “We have an entire separate house for guests – and actually, we hardly have guests.”
“You don’t say,” said Glorfindel, reaching for a bottle of wine from the cabinet behind him, as well as two glasses.
“What I plan to do, soon as I have the chance to speak with him, is to offer the guest house to Gwindor and my future daughter-in-law. Beautiful view, plus, the gardens are full of fragrant flowers. No stench of dead fish, like here,” he added.
“That’s... the smell of the sea,” corrected Glorfindel pointedly but politely, handing a glass of wine to Guilin.
Guilin accepted the glass. “Well, whatever it is, they won’t be bothered by it in their new home. Cheers!”
- - -
“We have been discussing the wedding, Ada.” Gwindor was sitting in the living room with Finduilas on his lap. They were cuddled near the fire. Sitting on the chair opposite was Guilin. Erestor hadn’t looked up when he was addressed, nor did he look up when he heard his husband approaching. Glorfindel entered with a tray of biscuits and jam, which he placed on the table before tending to the kettle over the fire.
“Oh?” Erestor’s comments as of late had been less lengthy than usual, and were decreasing as the week went on. His eyes stayed focused on the fire.
Gwindor nodded. “We thought, well, you and Nanafin have done so much over the years, it would seem rude to continue to impose upon your kindness. We thought, well, Adar offered use of his home and lands for the wedding and reception. Then, everyone won’t have to travel all the way out here for the wedding; just a few would need to travel from here to there.”
“I thought the wedding and reception were to be at Thranduil’s inn,” interrupted Glorfindel when he realized that Erestor was not about to respond.
“The King’s Kastle is hardly a place for a formal affair,” said Guilin. “’Tis a place of drunken revelry, from what I have seen of it. The yards behind my property are lush with flowers even at this time of year, a perfect spot for such an event.”
Biting his lip, Gwindor looked from his birth father to his adoptive father. “What do you think, Erestor?”
Without blinking an eye, the Elda said, “Whatever you want,” and forced a smile.
- - -
It was well past midnight when Glorfindel awoke, something bothering him, like a tickle in the back of his mind. Rolling over and finding that he was alone in bed, he threw off the covers and stumbled to the chair, grabbing a discarded pair of leggings. Cursing when he realized they were too long and not wide enough, he flung Erestor’s pants across the room and went to the dresser for a pair of his own.
His hair was already braided back behind him, and after pulling on socks, he silently made his way to the first floor. Near the door, his boots were waiting, and he left the cottage with them. They still had guests, and would for another week, until Gwindor, Finduilas, and Guilin would travel to Valimar to prepare for the wedding, which was scheduled to take place in approximately a month. Once on the front stoop, he settled himself down and pulled them on, lacing them up as he looked around for any sign of his mate, in case he was merely sulking near the front porch.
When it was clear that Erestor was further away, Glorfindel hopped down the stairs and headed for the stable. Stretching and yawning as he observed the empty stall where Thay normally stayed at night, he clicked his tongue, the sound waking Nahar, better known to some as Asfaloth, immediately. “Alright. Let’s go find him.” Glorfindel pushed open the gate, which was never latched, and mounted Asfaloth without worrying about bit, bridle, or saddle. “Did you see them leave?” A nod. “Was he upset?” They were already leaving the stable behind, Asfaloth trotting into the orchard, but he took the time to nod and snort. “Yes, he is temperamental, but I think that’s part of what I like about him. That slight unpredictability of his spirit. Let’s find my wild stallion.”
The ride was slow, the ground covered with a layer of snow and refrozen ice over the decomposing leaves and branches found underneath, making them obviously audible to anyone nearby. Past the apple orchard, in the first grove of cherry trees, they found Thay grazing in a somewhat disgruntled manner. Dismounting, Glorfindel gave his mount a pat on the rear. “Go home, both of you, it’s too late for you to be out in the cold.” Neither horse argued, trotting back in the direction they had come.
Glorfindel continued past the trees, hearing a commotion in the fields where they had their personal garden laid out. Once he came to the edge of it, he saw the one he was looking for. Erestor was amid the remnants of the crops, where green pumpkins and other vegetables that had been gnawed on by animals or ruined by insects had remained. His heavy breathing was visible in the frosty air; in his hands he wielded a long wooden staff.
As Glorfindel closed in, he took note of the scattered carnage. Normally, the remains were left and tilled into the soil come the late winter. Now, the seeds and pulp were strewn all over, the defined rows gone. The crop of the next year would prove interesting. “Feeling any better?” wondered Glorfindel as he approached.
“No.” Erestor kicked up a squash he had missed, and swung the staff around to meet it as it tried to fall to the ground. Pieces flew in every direction, skidding to a halt in the snow. A rancid cucumber faired no better. Glorfindel looked about and spied a long, straight branch on the ground, making little work of the twigs that were attached to it. Rolling his neck back and forth and to the sides as he walked to Erestor, he lifted the staff to tap him on the shoulder.
Still, he was ready for the blow. Erestor turned on his heel before Glorfindel could reach him, bringing the staff over his head and down. Glorfindel blocked, his branch held between both hands. “That was a dirty move,” he said, knees bent slightly as he fended off another swing of the wooden weapon.
“A warrior must be prepared for anything.”
“Indeed.” Glorfindel valted over Erestor, using his staff for leverage, landing on a patch of ice. He lowered himself to the ground, using the slippery surface to his advantage. He slid in a semicircle, his arm out to one side for balance while the other held his staff. Judging the distance, he swung his weapon toward Erestor’s legs, but the dark elf managed to take note of the move, and leaped back just in time.
On one hand, Glorfindel wanted to drop his weapon, draw Erestor into an embrace, and snuggle him until everything was alright. On the other hand, he knew that wasn’t going to make anything alright, and it wasn’t going to make Erestor feel alright. So instead, he crouched a bit lower to the ground, narrowed his eyes and said, “Are you giving up already?”
Anger flashed in Erestor’s eyes, temporarily. A look Glorfindel hadn’t seen since days long past in Rivendell, in a time when they were verbally at war with one another. “Your ass is mine,” growled Erestor.
Glorfindel grinned as he was once again attacked, the sounds of wood cracking and splintering rising up in the darkness. Only the light of the stars and moon guided them, and their own natural abilities. Snow sprayed as their feet kicked it up, and attacks came swifter and more brutally as Glorfindel’s muscles loosened up. “Is that your best?” he chided as the staff missed his head by inches.
Teeth were bared, and Erestor swung his weapon with full force at his opponent. The impact caused Glorfindel’s branch to be snapped in two, and knocked him a step back. Throwing the broken wood to the ground, he cracked his knuckles as Erestor twirled his staff before bringing it to rest at his side. “No weapon?”
“Don’t need one,” replied Glorfindel, crouching in a defensive position.
Erestor spun the staff again, then tossed it again. “Take your boots off,” he said, stepping out of his own.
“Why? Afraid they’ll leave a mark?”
“I don’t want to ruin them.”
Glorfindel snorted – even in battle, ever practical was Erestor. “There. Shall we?”
Erestor tossed his boots aside to where Glorfindel had thrown his. “No biting,” he added as an afterthought.
“No biting? My dear counselor, in war, there are no rules.” Glorfindel was now circling, getting closer, but not too close, looking for a weak spot.
Erestor gave him a wicked look. “Well, I meant not to hurt your fair skin, but if you insist-“
“Oh, not to hurt me? How kind. I decline the offer,” Glorfindel shot back.
“Suit yourself.” And Erestor pounced, Glorfindel now realizing that he himself had taken too much time, and Erestor had merely stalled long enough to observe and decide on his own move. How many more games of chess had Erestor won? Too many, thought Glorfindel as he blocked a punch but neglected to dodge a kick. His instinct kicked in, and soon enough he managed to make an equal amount of connections. A well-placed jab made him bite his bottom lip and draw blood, but he didn’t so much as back away. Instead, he fought harder, gaining the upper hand. He forced Erestor onto constant defense, throwing punches without thinking, by simply knowing, from years and years of practice, as it came back to him.
Erestor blocked the best he could, but his weariness at having been tired when Glorfindel had first found him was fast catching up. A vine caught his ankle, causing him to stumble back, and a kick to his side managed to knock him down. Instead of trying to stand up, he fell back into the snow, fighting to catch his breath.
“Are we done?” questioned Glorfindel as he approached.
“Almost.” Erestor lifted himself up, and his leg shot over with great force, landing behind Glorfindel’s shins. Once the balrog slayer was prone on the ground, Erestor flopped back into the snow. “Now we’re done.”
“Now are you feeling better?” asked Glorfindel, closing his eyes and deciding not to try standing up.”
“Maybe. A little.” Erestor balled up a fist full of snow and threw it at the trio of partially dismantled scarecrows, hitting the one that was dressed in an old skirt that Celebrian had discarded and one of Orophin’s torn up tunics. “Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it. We should do this more often.” Finally daring to sit up, Glorfindel edged over to Erestor, and leaned against him. “Our little peanut’s finally grown up.”
Erestor said nothing.
“I know it’s hard, and he has said a few things that have hurt me as well, but in time, all will be well.”
Erestor said nothing.
“Ress... in a way, you’re a lot like him.”
Erestor gave Glorfindel a defiant look. “How? My parents never wanted me, well, at least not the one I thought was my father. And Orome had a damn good reason for keeping things from me.”
“Like the ‘damn good reason’ you have for not telling your real son that you are his father?” Glorfindel knew he was crossing a line, but continued further. “Gwindor will always be our son, but, I think we have to give him this chance to know the rest of the story.”
“I AM giving him that chance. I let him do whatever he wants, do I not?” Erestor shoved away the arms that tried to embrace him. “He wants the wedding in Valimar, fine. He wants to invite scores who never cared enough about him to come and see him until now, fine. He wants to move away and stop calling me his father, fine. Bloody well fine. But then, this is it. I wash my hands of it. I am through.”
“You don’t mean that,” argued Glorfindel.
“I damn well do.”
Shaking his head, Glorfindel muttered, “Stupid, stubborn fool. It amazes me that the most brilliant elf in all of Arda can be the most pig-headed at times.”
Snorting with disdain, Erestor stumbled to get to his feet. “And it amazes me that the most brilliant elf in all of Arda ended up with such a... a... well, with you!” He stomped off in the direction of the cottage, leaving Glorfindel sitting in the snow.
The blond sighed, and gathered up their boots and Erestor’s staff, then followed after his mate. In the back of his mind, he began to wonder if there would be room enough in Asfaloth’s stall for him to sleep there. He heard a loud thump, almost a cracking sound, and then, he heard a whimper. Throwing the boots and the staff to the ground, he ran through the orchard to catch up to Erestor.
Once within range of sight, Glorfindel shouted, “You want to fight me or kick the garden around, fine. Leave the trees out of this, you bastard.” Glorfindel gulped back the words, but they had already come, and Erestor turned around and shot Glorfindel a heated look. The Vanya took a step back, but stood his ground. “You hit another tree, I’ll break your arm. I swear, Ress, I have no desire to hurt you, but you have no right to harm them. They didn’t do a damn thing.”
Erestor stood motionless, guilt washing over him. He looked to the cherry tree he had rammed his fist against, and bowed his head as it shuddered. Slowly he approached it, reaching one hand out and placing it upon the trunk. He began to talk, a heartfelt apology, sincere as the tears he was crying. Glorfindel reached him as he finished his penance, placing a kiss upon the spot he had injured on the tree. “It’s so hard, Fin.”
“I know.” This time, Glorfindel managed to embrace Erestor without having him fight back.
“I’m not going to the wedding,” said Erestor as Glorfindel took a moment to lead them back to their footwear to retrieve it.
“We’ll talk about that later,” shushed Glorfindel as they walked back to the cottage.
- - -
Erestor half-heartedly answered the door. He had heard the sound of the carriage pulling up and what he assumed was a horsemaster coming to the door. It surprised him to see Thranduil on the other side. “Do come in. Glorfindel is just getting his things together.”
“Excellent. And where are your things? We can load them into the coach,” said Thranduil, removing his gloves.
Frowning deeply, Erestor shook his head. “Perhaps Glorfindel did not mention it. I’m not going to the wedding.”
“Nonsense. Where are your bags?” insisted Thranduil.
Erestor crossed his arms as he heard Glorfindel slowly coming down the stairs, his footfalls hesitant. “I know what’s going on. I am still not going.”
Thranduil cocked an eyebrow up. “My granddaughter is getting married next week. My granddaughter, whom you will recall in her prior life made our lives a living hell in Doriath. Still, I love her dearly, and will not miss the event. And you, Erestor, are going to be present for your son’s wedding.”
For a moment, it looked as if Erestor might concede. “I really don’t want to go, Thranduil.”
“Neither do I,” he admitted. “I would rather see them have a formal engagement, followed by a year of further courting, culminating in a traditional wedding, preferably at my home. Or, at the very least, at my father’s palace. However, this is their life, and their decision. And I will support them; so should you.”
Glorfindel used the pause to slip between them and out the door with his bags, taking them to the coach. He returned to retrieve his cloak. “Ress? Are you coming?”
A deep sigh issued forth, and Erestor nodded slightly. “Let me pack a few things. I shall be right back.” Reluctantly, Erestor climbed the steps.
Once Erestor was on the second floor, Glorfindel looked at Thranduil with disbelief. “How do you do it? I mean, I should be able to do that, but you, just... how?”
Thranduil gave a regal shrug of his shoulder and a sideways tilt of his head. “I am a king. I say to do something; it gets done. It comes naturally.”
“Huh.” Glorfindel rocked back and forth on his feet, whistling a little while waiting for Erestor to return. Thranduil adjusted his cloak, and looked around the small hallway that led off towards the dining room and kitchen in one direction and a guest room in the other.
“The two of you have a nice little place here. I suppose it will quiet down for you, with Gwindor and Finduilas out of the house.”
Glorfindel smiled sadly. “Well... maybe a little too quiet. Did Erestor ever tell you what he planned to do when Gwindor’s memory returned?” Thranduil shook his head. “We knew the two of them would want to get married, and would want a place of their own. Erestor and I have been fixing all the little problems in the cottage through the last few years during our free time. It was going to be their wedding present. This and the orchards. We had already talked to Elrond about moving into the Homely House. We’re both a little old to be doing so much work, and Gwindor knew how to run the farm. Now, I suppose we’ll just stay.”
“I’m sorry. I had no idea,” replied Thranduil.
“No idea about what?” asked Erestor as he came down the stairs.
Opening the door, Thranduil waved his hand. “Time to go. Do you have everything?”
Erestor hoisted the sack over his shoulder and nodded. “Just need my cloak. We need to stop at the Homely House, to let someone there know to come up and milk the cow while we’re away.”
“I, ahm, I took care of that already. Yesterday,” added Glorfindel, flicking an uncertain look in Erestor’s direction. The past three months had been tense to say the least. For the first time in their relationship, Erestor had demanded both space and time, something Glorfindel gave without question, but with obvious pain in his heart. “I know... you’re mad at me,” he mumbled as he walked out the door.
Thranduil cleared his throat as Glorfindel disappeared. When Erestor gave him an uncertain look, Thranduil ahemed a little louder and nodded his head in the direction of the door as he replaced his gloves on his hands.
Taking the steps two at a time, Erestor hurried down to meet Glorfindel. “Oh, here, let me get that,” offered Glorfindel, taking hold of Erestor’s bag. “Would you like the seat by the window? I know you like to look at the scenery.”
Erestor jerked the bag back, and tossed it onto the nearby ground. Before Glorfindel could question what he had done or said wrong, he found himself the recipient of a long, passionate kiss. Thranduil passed by moments later, not breaking stride, and picking up the dropped bag as he went. As Erestor relinquished his hold on Glorfindel, he looked back at the cottage with a sad smile, and then gave his husband’s hand a tug. “Come on, love. We have a wedding to attend. Our baby’s getting married.”
Glorfindel nodded, and gave Erestor’s hand a squeeze. “Gwindor might be Guilin’s son, but he’ll always be our baby. He can’t take our little peanut away from us.”