After the first minute, it was obvious that the incesent knocking upon the door was not about to cease. Thaladir gave the door a withering look before regarding the other elf who was occupying the room. Prince Thranduil, who had been removing his boots after the long journey from Greenwood to Gondor, squeezed his eyes shut and nodded as the pounding increased in volume. Thaladir crept to the door, and then the seneschal of Greenwood yanked the door open, somewhat hoping that whomever had disturbed them in such an improper manner would promptly fall into the room, simply for the fact that they would hopefully never think to do such a thing again.
This, however, was not the case, for the occupant of the connecting suite had pulled a chair up to the door, and now lowered his hand as a grin formed across his face. “Good day to you! It appears we are to be neighbors for the duration of the conference!”
Thaladir narrowed his eyes at the cheeky blond ellon sitting in the doorway. ‘Not if I can help it’, was the thought that came to mind, however, what he said was, “How charming. Pleased to meet you...”
“Glorfindel, are you antagonizing the people next door?” Into the view that the pair from Greenwood had came a second elf on the other side, wearing a thick bathing robe and drying off his long, inky hair with a towel. “Thaladir! So very good to see you, my friend,” said Erestor as he took a look over Glorfindel into the adjoining rooms. “Thranduil? Is that you as well?”
“Aye,” came the tired voice from around the corner. Thranduil wearily stood up from the comfort of the bed he had claimed in the room, simply from the fact he was the first one into the room and this was the bed closer to the entryway. He had had a very simple plan for the evening: arrive, nap, shower, eat, sleep. Proper etiquette was now dictating otherwise. “Erestor, you look well. Who is your boisterous companion?”
“This is our new captain of the guard,” said Erestor, draping the towel around his shoulders and placing his hands upon the back of the chair that the blonde elf sat upon. “We served together in Gondolin. Perhaps you have heard me speak the name Glorfindel before.”
Thranduil took his first look at the elf so praised in story he was nearly a legend. “Ah, so this is your friend Glorfindel. Pardon my rudeness; I thought you to be deceased.”
“Only recently so,” admitted Glorfindel. “NOT planning on doing THAT again.”
“Very good. As I always say, a live elf is better than a dead one,” Thranduil said, holding out his hand and introducing himself. “Thranduil Oropherion, Prince of Greenwood the Great and Chief Advisor to his majesty, King Oropher, long live the king.”
“Yes, I agree,” confirmed Glorfindel as he clasped Thranduil’s arm in greeting. “Too many kings die much too young.”
As on so many occasions, Thaladir wanted to do nothing more than to correct the number of indecencies transpiring at this moment, the least of which was the fact that Thranduil did not ‘always say’ that live elves were better than dead ones, for who truly would say such a thing? Instead, he bowed slightly to this strange, cheerful elf and made his own introduction. “I am Thaladir, the General of His Royal Highness’ Grand Army.”
“Pleased to meet you,” said Glorfindel, and he stood and bowed back. “You must forgive me; I am still trying to remember customs and everything else. Things were done so differently in death.”
“Quite a lot of constant knocking on doors in the Halls of Mandos?” Thaladir raised on brow, but did not smile nor smirk.
“All the time,” answered Glorfindel without missing a beat. “Not a day went by that I did not begin my morning by pounding upon Namo’s door to see what he was having for breakfast.” So involved was Glorfindel in his mock conversation, he missed Erestor’s glare, and consequently, the movement to his side until Erestor had reached over, taken hold of his ear, and tweaked it. Instead of yelping or moving away, Glorfindel simply continued and attempted to retaliate. “Sometimes, I would get an entire group together, and we would all bang on his door until he let us in.” Settling for rubbing his pinched ear, Glorfindel asked, “I wonder if the two of you would care to join us for dinner downstairs.”
‘We have other plans,’ was what Thaladir really, truly wished to say, but instead he answered, “We would kindly accept your invitation, but are rather fatigued from the ride.”
“Allow me to have something brought up for us. We can dine here, discuss things other than political matters for a while. I shall return in a moment,” Glorfindel replaced the chair at the desk he had taken it from and then made his way to the hall- however, he entered into the rooms that had been assigned to the Greenwood party, missed the baffled and disturbed looks he was receiving from Thranduil and Thaladir, and then continued into the hallway. He also left the door wide open behind him.
“Erestor, I do believe your friend may have been born in a barn,” remarked Thranduil as he walked to the door, rubbing his temples with the tips of his fingers. “Well, he is certainly... different,” decided Thranduil.
“Your pardon, Erestor, but he seems a bit queer to me,” Thaladir said after the door had been closed.
Erestor, who was now leaning his back against the doorway between the rooms and combing his hair, smiled slightly. “You have no idea. Oh, and before I forget- he knows about me.”
“Does he really? I seemed to get that idea from the fact you are sharing the room.” Thranduil smirked at his own jest. “What is it he knows; the same secret we have kept these many years?”
Giving them a nod, Erestor tossed the comb in the direction of the bed on his side of the doorway and then started to braid his long, ebon hair. “I told him, back in Gondolin. Back in those days, he was not so...”
“Queer?” offered Thaladir.
“No, no, I think he was always like that,” said Erestor, and the response from Thaladir was a slightly more baffled look. “He is...” Erestor fought for the most delicate way of putting it.
Instead, Thranduil answered bluntly for him. “He likes males.”
Erestor blinked in confusion. “Hmm. I never recall mentioning that about him to you, Thranduil.”
“You did not need to,” said Thranduil. “Any ellon whose eyes linger in certain areas of others the way his did is not fighting on our side. So to speak.”
“Where were his eyes lingering?” Thaladir shifted uncomfortably.
“Not on you. No offense, but those robes are very unflattering to your form,” pointed out the prince.
“Good. I shall wear them the entire conference.”
“Oh, just change into something comfortable, Thaladir.” Though it was not really an order of any sort, Thranduil said it as if it could have been. “He glanced at us; his eyes lingered elsewhere.”
Leaning in the doorway with one long braid draped over his shoulder, Erestor said, “His eyes have ‘lingered elsewhere’ the entire journey; I do hope Gildor is here for these meetings. It would be nice for Glorfindel to have someone around who can linger back.”
Down the hallway, the sounds of knocking could be heard. A rather loud familiar knocking, which came just before a cheerful, “Good eve’n’, and my apologies for disturbing you. I seem to have lost my rooms!” or something of the sort.
None of the three made any attempt to open the doors until the loud knocking was heard on the other side. ‘Perhaps he will move on’, thought Thaladir to himself, but this hope was shattered when laughter rang out and the knocking continued.
“I know the three of you are in there! Now, it has been fun, but our dinner is getting cold. Please open the door for me?”
When the door was opened, Glorfindel bowed to Thaladir for obliging him and said, “I left it open to know which ones were ours, but the wind must have caught it and shut it. Yes, that wind, always doing such tricky things.” The golden elf placed the platter he was carrying on the middle of Thaladir’s bed, though he could not have known that was whose bed it was at the time. “Let me get the chairs from our room- or, we can have a picnic between our rooms on the floor,” mused the reborn elf as his eyes wandered about the room looking for another option.
“Allow me to help you,” offered Thranduil, walking past Erestor to aid Glorfindel in retrieving the chairs.
- - -
“I almost forgot,” said Glorfindel as the four elves finished their meal. “I asked the cook about dessert, but it was not finished. Then I convinced her to take a request,” he said with the ever-confident smile he wore so often. “She has peach cobbler waiting for us, with baked apples. I will not be gone but a few minutes,” he said as he excused himself, and as he left, he said, “Please, leave the door open this bit for me.” The door was left ajar, and he was gone.
When he was sure that Glorfindel was far enough down the hallway, Thranduil turned to Erestor and said, “I take back what I said earlier.”
“Oh?” Erestor sipped his wine.
“He does not linger his eyes upon you; he was leering all through supper.” Thranduil’s comment was met with a shrug. “There is also the matter of the half dozen compliments he paid upon your behalf.” When this received no verbal response, Thranduil finally stated, “Erestor, I do believe he is in love with you.”
“Nonsense. He is just very, very friendly,” countered Erestor.
Thranduil sighed. “Think what you like, say what you like, but I do not believe he has as great an interest in Gildor as you say he does.”
The room was silent until Glorfindel returned, carrying a tray of desserts and a bowl of freshly whipped cream. “Delightful little place, this Gondor,” he said as he set the tray down. “Shall we retire to the other rooms for drinks and dessert?”
“Splendid idea,” said Thaladir, thankful to get them away from eating on his bed. He made haste in helping to gather the plates and utensils so that they could be stacked on the large platter. Once it was placed in the hallway, they moved into the rooms assigned to Rivendell, which were nearly a mirror image of the ones the Greenwood delegation was using, except for the personal belongings that were scattered around.
Now the chairs needed to be brought on this side of the doorway, and they were not so comfortable after having spent the last hour in them. So Glorfindel sat on the floor leaning against Erestor’s bed, while the dark elf sat upon it with his back against the headboard. Thranduil and Thaladir took up residence on opposite ends of the couch that was provided in the room.
“So,” asked Thranduil, swirling around the wine in his glass as he leaned back to relax, “Erestor, do tell us- what is it like to be one of the Valar?”
- - -
“Stop.” Legolas was leaning his elbows on the table, rubbing his temples with the tips of his fingers much in the same fashion his father did. “Thaladir, surely you are not seriously telling me-“
“When I was first told of it, Legolas, I was in a state of shock. I could not believe what I was hearing,” said Thaladir.
“Neither can I,” admitted Legolas, looking exhausted and drained.
The clock in the hall chimed three.
And there was a knock on the main entrance door.