After Erestor's attempted suicide, Elrond and Erestor must come to terms with their feelings. Sequel to Thirty Minutes
FPS, FPS > Elrond/Erestor, FPS > Erestor/Elrond Characters:
Celebrķan, Elrond, Erestor
Angst, AU, Disturbing themes, Het Content
August 19, 2012 Updated:
August 19, 2012
Back by popular demand, the sequel to Thirty Minutes
. I just hope it meets expectations. AU. **This is the 'happy ending' fic, for those of you who whined about how depressing Thirty Minutes was. Enjoy.**
I personally like this sequel better than the alternate sequel, Time Stood Still
, but that's just me...hey, read 'em both and let me know. Also, I'm debating the idea of doing a prequel piece, so drop me a line if you think it's a worthwhile endeavor. Keep your eyes peeled for another piece I'm working on, called Innocent Again (Elrond/Legolas). I also have an untitled Glorfindel/Erestor in the works, which will be finished sometime after Innocent Again. Check 'em out if you liked these fics!
1. Chapter 1 by Crista
"Erestor? Are you awake?" Elrond pushed the door open and frowned. Something was wrong...
"Erestor?" a step forward caused Elrond to nearly trip over something on the floor, and his eyes went wide. "Erestor?!?" Elrond hurriedly lit the lamp on Erestor's nightstand, and gasped at the sight that met him. He didn't stop to think, just fell to his knees and laid a hand on Erestor's chest. The breathing was shallow, but it was there. A quick check revealed the faintest hint of a pulse, and Elrond shrugged out of his velvet overrobe and used it in an attempt to stem the bleeding. "Glorfindel!" he screamed at the top of his lungs, for the seneschal's rooms were just down the hall. Sure enough, it was only moments before he appeared in the doorway. Elrond spared only a glance up at him before his eyes returned to the figure on the floor. "Go to my rooms, get my healing supplies, and wake Celebrian." another glance up. Glorfindel seemed rooted to the spot, all color drained from his face.
"Glorfindel! Go, or we will loose him!" the blonde nodded and fled. It seemed like an eternity before he returned, Celebrian at his heels. "Celebrian," he said, without looking up, "go prepare a room for him in the Healing Chambers. Glorfindel, help me get him there." Celebrian merely nodded and left the room, and Glorfindel knelt on the floor beside Elrond. "Will he make it?"
"I do not know. Get his legs." Glorfindel silently acquiesced, and Elrond supported Erestor's head and upper body as they hurried down the corridor. Celebrian, to her credit, had been quick. Glorfindel moved out of the way once Erestor was on the bed, retreating off to the side to stand beside Celebrian, who was shaking violently.
"My Lady, calm down. Perhaps you shouldn't be here?"
"I will stay, he might need help...aiya, Glorfindel, there is so much blood..."
"Sssh, I know." he murmured, and folded his arms around her in a comforting embrace. He had never been terribly fond of Celebrian, but right now...well, they all felt much the same.
"Erestor..." Elrond whispered, half to himself. The bleeding was slowing, the wound beginning to clot, but Erestor had almost severed the artery completely. Elrond drew a thin piece of thread and a slim needle from his healer's bag, but found his hand were shaking. Impatiently, Elrond shook his head and downed a small dose of the mixture he kept for just such instances. After a minute, the shaking subsided, and Elrond drew a deep breath as he threaded the needle and set about attempting to repair the damage that had been done.
It was a long and difficult process, but Elrond suspected that it would heal if Erestor made it through the first few days. Elrond carefully cleaned and bandaged the wound, then turned to Glorfindel and Celebrian. "Go get some sleep, both of you. I will keep an eye on him."
"You should rest as well." Glorfindel said, and Elrond shook his head. "I would not be able to fall asleep if I wanted to. I may as well stay."
"Very well." the blonde replied, and paused at Erestor's bedside to place one hand gently on his friend's shoulder before retreating. Celebrian hesitated. "Do you need anything?"
"No, I have everything I need here. Go back to bed, my Lady."
"You shouldn't be alone."
"Yes, I should. Think how it would look to him if he were to wake. If anyone were needed, I would have asked Glorfindel to stay, I know he won't sleep. I know you have only the best intentions, but I daresay he is a bit more fragile right now than he would have us believe." Celebrian nodded. "You're probably right." she agreed softly. She favored him with a quick, reassuring embrace, and placed a gentle kiss on Erestor's forehead before leaving the room.
Celebrian went straight to the healing room when she woke the next morning to find that Glorfindel was already there, standing beside Elrond.
"My Lords, have you eaten?"
"Not yet." they both chorused absently. Elrond almost smiled, and he looked up.
"No, we have not eaten. Glorfindel came in here as soon as it was late enough he could claim he had woken." off the seneschal's look, Elrond raised his eyebrows.
"What? I know you didn't sleep."
"I did try to."
"I know." Elrond replied, though he wasn't really listening at that point. Celebrian just shook her head. "I'll have something brought to you." she said, in a tone that brooked no arguments, and swept out of the room. Elrond sighed and checked Erestor's pulse for what must have been the thousandth time, and felt marginally better when he found it a bit stronger. Satisfied that, if anything, Erestor was improving, Elrond took his love's hand in his own. The motion did not go unnoticed by Glorfindel's sharp eyes, and the blonde shifted and looked over at his friend. "What are you going to do?"
"I do not know." he admitted, and Glorfindel sighed. "There are only two choices. Either you remain faithful to Lady Celebrian, or you do not."
"She does not deserve such treatment from me, this is not her fault." Elrond said quietly. "But I do not want to loose Erestor...in any way."
"You already gave him up."
"Yet I seem to still hold his heart." Elrond murmured, looking at Erestor. The expression in his grey eyes was too complex to read; there was worry, sorrow, guilt, affection, longing, bittersweetness, deep memory...yet that was only scratching the surface.
"He would never ask you to betray Celebrian for him. He would probably turn you away if you tried."
"I would be a fool if that had not occurred to me, Glorfindel." Elrond paused.
"I think, perhaps, I should speak to Celebrian. Much depends upon how far she will allow me to go."
"She may surprise you."
"Nothing can surprise me any longer." Elrond remarked, rather darkly.
"A dull world it must be for you, in that case." Celebrian said, and both Elrond and Glorfindel jumped.
"How long have you been there?" Elrond asked, and Celebrian shrugged. "Long enough." she replied, and walked into the room, setting down the tray of food she bore on a small table off to the side before sitting down opposite the two Elf-Lords. She met Elrond's gaze evenly. "Elrond...you have my leave to do whatever you must to spare him. In fact...I happen to think it would be better for both of you if you returned to him. He needs you, Elrond, and I am not so foolish as to believe that you do not need him in turn. You do not want me, you did not want this marriage, and neither did I. You shall have your heirs now, what matters beyond that? It is done, and look what it has brought upon us."
"But, My Lady-"
"I will hear no arguments, Elrond. Elbereth, I know how this feels, I had a lover in Lothlorien, before I left. One of Ada's best captains, so of course he had no choice but to let me go. I know the way of these things; this marriage of ours cannot tether our hearts. Should we let it instead destroy innocents?" Celebrian sighed. "Return to him, Elrond, and do not let his pride or noble ideals stop you from saving him. Good day to you, my Lords." she said, and left. Elrond paused for a long moment, just digesting her words, and Glorfindel glanced down at Erestor. "Well," he muttered under his breath, "this should be interesting."
Erestor woke slowly, and began to wish he hadn't done so.
"Stay still, or you'll hurt yourself." Elrond said. Erestor looked up at him somewhat wryly. "I just discovered that."
"Hush, meleth-nin." Elrond soothed, and he gave Erestor a gentle kiss. "You need to rest."
"Why didn't you just let me die?" Erestor asked softly, a hint of bitterness in his tone. Elrond closed his eyes for a moment, and he sighed. "Because I love you too much to let you go."
"We've been through this Elrond. You already did let me go."
"No." Elrond murmured. "And I don't think you want to loose me either." Erestor had nothing to say to that, and Elrond paused for a moment. "Erestor, I spoke to Lady Celebrian, and she gave me leave to do whatever I wish."
"Why? You want to, I want to, she doesn't mind."
"Elrond..." Erestor sighed. "Of course I want to, there was never any question of that, but it would be wrong. Which, might I add, you know perfectly well."
"My morals are as sound as they ever were, Erestor." Elrond replied, tenderly brushing a strand of dark hair away from Erestor's eyes.
Elrond moved back slightly at the sound of footsteps, but it was only Glorfindel who came into the room. A relieved smile lit his face upon finding his friend awake, and Erestor smiled back. "Mae govannen, meldir."
"Elbereth, I was worried about you." Glorfindel said, and he strode across the room and leaned down to embrace Erestor, albeit gently. Glorfindel glanced at Elrond and and nodded slightly at his friend. "If you would excuse me, I was only stopping in, I have quite a few matters to attend to. Good day to you both." Glorfindel left then, and Erestor looked up at Elrond. "He knows?"
"Of course. And he can be discreet when he actually bothers."
"Which is rarely."
"He would for us. If he is nothing else, he is fiercely loyal."
"I know, 'tis one of his better qualities." Erestor sighed. "I think perhaps I should speak to the Lady herself."
"Then speak." Celebrian said, and both Elves looked up. "You do have a habit of appearing without warning."
"I've been told as much before. Glorfindel thought my presence might be needed here."
"He would." Erestor muttered darkly, and Elrond raised his eyebrows. "You were the one who wished to speak to her."
"I know, I know."
"I assume you wished to speak to me about what Elrond has doubtless already told you."
"Aye, my Lady."
"I stand by that." Celebrian said. "Though there is one thing I would ask in return." she added, turning to Elrond.
"I think I should very much like to become homesick, to the point of needing to visit Lorien frequently." Elrond laughed. "To see your, ah, friend?"
"It is the least I can do." Elrond said. Celebrian returned her attention to Erestor. "Any arguments, Lord Erestor?"
"Several, my Lady."
"Each having to do with morals and propriety?"
"Then that's settled. Kiss him, Elrond, and be done with it."
"But-" Erestor started to protest, but whatever objection he was about to voice was quickly silenced by Elrond. It was all very well when they were just talking...but no amount of resolve could have stopped Erestor from leaning into the kiss and pulling Elrond closer. Even when they finally parted, it was some time before Erestor managed to catch his breath, but Elrond placed one slim finger over Erestor's lips, forestalling argument. "No, Erestor. This is a fight I cannot let you win."
"Elrond...I think perhaps you should go."
"No, listen. I am tired, and I know you too well to think you have slept. Get some rest."
"You shouldn't be alone."
"Find Glorfindel, if you must. He has gone longer than one night without sleep in the past."
"It's an occupational hazard, doubtless." Celebrian said, her soft voice a rather startling reminder of her presence. "Erestor is quite right, Elrond. Go, I shall fetch Lord Glorfindel and tend any matters that might need it."
"Go." she said firmly. Elrond sighed and dropped a quick kiss on Erestor's cheek before leaving the room, and Celebrian did likewise.
It was not long before Glorfindel returned and settled himself in the chair beside the bed. "Why do you deny yourself, meldir?" he asked, without preamble. Erestor started to shake his head, thought better of it, and sighed. "You know I think it's wrong-"
"Aye, but that isn't all there is to it."
"Don't be foolish." Erestor snapped, and Glorfindel frowned, searching Erestor's dark eyes. Finding no answers, the blonde simply shrugged. "My apologies." he murmured. "Go to sleep."
Time wore on...
"Erestor, I need to talk to you."
"I am busy, Elrond."
"That's one of the many things I wish to discuss. The work can wait."
"No, it cannot."
"I am the Lord of Imladris, Erestor. I think I know what in my realm needs immediate attention and what does not." Erestor sighed heavily. "Very well." he replied, reluctantly setting aside his quill. Elrond took a seat, and hesitated briefly, gathering his thoughts. "Erestor...you have already voiced your objections to my unfaithfulness, and Celebrian herself has given her leave. Yet you give every impression of avoiding me, and I am not so blind that I have not seen the way you must restrain yourself from flinching away at my touch. There is something you are not telling me, Erestor."
"There is much weighing on my mind, Elrond. I almost died."
"I deserve to be told the truth, meleth-nin." Elrond said, rather more sharply than he had intended. Erestor looked away, and Elrond caught one whispered word.
There was dead silence, and Elrond's breath caught in his throat.
"Betrayal, Elrond." Erestor repeated, his voice stronger now. "I trusted you with everything I had, and you proved yourself unworthy of that trust. I would rather die than risk going through that again." he paused, and finally met Elrond's gaze. "Does the truth hurt?"
"Yes." Elrond admitted, looking down. He couldn't face those eyes right now...
"Look at me. Do you think that's painful? Do you think that's heartache? You don't know the meaning of pain, Elrond. Live the nightmare I have, then you can tell me you are in pain. But until then, stay away from me."
"Erestor..." Elrond whispered, and he dimly felt hot tears spill down his cheeks. Erestor's gaze was cold, distant; when it became clear that Elrond was not moving, he simply left.
"Lord Erestor, if I may, what game are you playing!?"
"I do not play games, my Lady. I generally find myself a piece on the board." Erestor replied coolly, though there was a bitter edge to his voice.
"Elrond told me what you said."
"It's good that he shares his feelings with his wife."
"None of this is my fault, my Lord."
"I never said it was. It is, however, Elrond's. He brought this upon himself, and as such I find I have very little sympathy."
"He was forced-"
"He was not. I was there when he discussed it with your father, my Lady. Nor was he forced to-" Erestor broke off, and Celebrian almost took a step back when she saw the animosity in his eyes. "Never mind. It is no concern of yours." he said shortly, turning away. "Perhaps you ought to rest, my Lady. I am told carrying children is tiring."
"Is that what this is about?"
"One of many things. Good day, Lady Celebrian." he snapped. She drew her hands protectively over the slight swell in her abdomen and fled without another word.
"Erestor, would you walk with me?" Glorfindel asked, and Erestor nodded his acceptance. They often walked in the gardens together after dinner, when they were quiet, and it was an exceptionally beautiful evening. The air was warm, with a soft, cool breeze, and the stars shone brightly, thousands of tiny points of light in the dark velvet of the evening sky. The silver sliver of the moon shed just enough light to illuminate the paths, and the two friends walked for some time without talking; it seemed enough to simply admire the beauty of the night. It was Erestor who at last broke the comfortable silence between them with a quiet murmur. "Do you think I acted wrongly, Glorfindel?"
"Would my opinion change your mind, if I did?"
"Perhaps." Erestor said with a slight shrug, and Glorfindel sighed. "Truthfully, I do not think that at all. It was Elrond who acted wrongly, not you, and you have every right to be completely furious with him. I am certainly far from pleased; I do not like seeing my friends hurt. Yet by the same token, I do on some level disagree with your actions. He is my friend as well, whatever he has done. He deserves all that you are putting him through, more than deserves it...yet my heart also aches for him, much as it does for you."
"I am not certain I could ever forgive him."
"I know that." Glorfindel replied. "The question is if you even want to."
"I don't even know."
"When you do, you will know if you can forgive him. Until you have answered that question, however, I think there are two things you should do."
"First and foremost, apologize to Lady Celebrian. You were in the wrong."
"I know it. How did you find out?"
"Elrond. Which brings me to the next action you should take. If nothing else, Erestor, you should speak to him. Hear him out; he has heard you. He would have sought you out already, but he fears another rejection."
"Don't we all." Erestor muttered.
"You still have some common ground." Glorfindel replied wryly. Erestor almost laughed. "You have a gift for selectively misunderstanding the gravity of a situation."
"I shall take that as a compliment." he retorted, swatting his blonde hair out of his eyes. Erestor shook his head. "Hannon le, Glorfindel. I appreciate it."
"Where would you be without me?" he asked, and instantly regretted his offhanded words when Erestor's hand went to the fresh scar on his neck. "I would probably be dead." he murmured. "Goodnight, meldir. Sleep well."
"Ai, Glorfindel, I don't know what to do."
"Talk to him."
"He made his wishes very clear, Glorfindel. Stay away. There is very little room for misunderstanding." Elrond replied, and the blonde seneschal sighed.
"You need to talk about it. Look at you, you're upset, you're not eating, probably not sleeping either, you're lonely..."
"Of course I am upset."
"Because you feel his accusations were unfounded, or because you think he's right?"
"I know he is right."
"Then you are wiser than you were." Glorfindel said. "Elrond, you cannot possibly make this up to him, and you know that. But I swear to you that you will find no forgiveness if you do not at least try."
"What could I possibly do? He is not impressed by gifts, certainly; nor is he placated by my affections, my caring, my love, or my guilt. What more do I have to give?"
"You owe him an explanation and a thousand apologies. You owe him sixty minutes out of your life to talk to him. Erestor doesn't know if he wants to forgive you yet, but there will be no forgiveness if there is no apology."
"Why does this make so much more sense when you say it?"
"Because I know you both, and I am not the one going out of my mind trying to understand my feelings. Also, advising you is part of my job."
"Not this kind of advice."
"Perhaps not, but that is what friends give, is it not?" Glorfindel said. "Just calm down, get your thoughts together, and talk to him. I think you will find Erestor more receptive to discussion than he would have you believe; he is confused as well. Now go, don't let me keep you."
Elrond did not have to go far to find Erestor; the dark-haired advisor was in the Hall of Fire, talking to Lindir. The younger Elf froze when he saw Elrond enter the room and glanced at Erestor, who regarded Elrond for a long moment. "If you would excuse me, Lindir." he said, and nodded to Elrond, his eyes plainly suggesting that they go elsewhere.
Without so much as a word, they went directly to Elrond's study; it had always been their favorite place to talk. They took their favorite seats without hesitation:Elrond in the overstuffed green chair by the window, and Erestor draped comfortably on the small divan opposite. At length, Erestor spoke. "You wanted to talk to me."
"Yes...forgive me, you did tell me to stay away..."
"I knew better than to think you would. Go ahead."
"Erestor...you have every reason on Arda to be furious with me. To hate me. As such, I cannot hold it against you if you choose to do so. But I would ask that you at least hear me out."
"It is done. Speak your peace, Elrond, I owe you that much."
"Hannon le. I need to tell you, Erestor, why I did what I did. Saes, believe me when I say I never wanted to hurt you, but it was unavoidable. I have the gift of foresight, as some call it; curse is a more apt term. Call it what you will, but I have also looked in Lady Galadriel's mirror...and I saw things in it that I could not ignore." Elrond's voice caught, and Erestor felt an emotion stab at him that he had not felt for a very long time:compassion. For the briefest moment, Erestor wanted to wrap his arms around Elrond, just for a moment...
"Erestor...I did not want you hurt. Those twins Celebrian is expecting will do great things, for war looms in the future ahead of us, though not for a while. They will be needed. But Erestor...'twas not the deaths of nameless Elves that made my blood run cold. It was...it was you, Erestor. Yours..." Elrond finally lost his fierce battle with the tears in his eyes, and they spilled down his cheeks in silver rivulets. "Forgive me, Erestor, for causing you pain...I was trying to save your life. I feared it was in vain, that night, that I had put us all through this for naught...saes, meleth-nin, forgive me. I was trying to save you...." Elrond let himself slide off of the chair and fall to his knees before Erestor, who was now sitting upright, his expression unreadable. After what seemed like an eternity, Erestor knelt beside Elrond and pulled him close, allowing the Lord to bury his face in the soft fabric of Erestor's robes. He felt...numb.
"I'm so, so sorry, Erestor..." Elrond whispered. "I love you, I did then...I loved you enough to leave you, because I had no choice. If nothing else, saes, just forgive me..."
"Aiya, Elrond..." Erestor murmured, pulling his love closer, crooning soothing nonsense into one pointed ear as he gently tried to ease the shuddering body in his arms. Uncountable long moments passed; one, two, a hundred, a thousand...it didn't really matter. Eventually, Elrond stilled, and Erestor sighed. "You should have told me."
"How could I have done that? And would you have even believed me? I did what I had to, Erestor."
"You did, meleth-nin, and it is forgiven. 'Tis I who should be begging your forgiveness, I did not treat you fairly."
"I cannot say I would not have done likewise in your place." Elrond murmured, and impulsively dropped a quick kiss on Erestor's neck, one too fast and delicate to be offensive. To Elrond's surprise, Erestor returned the sentiment with a soft line of kisses along Elrond's jaw. "I have much to think about right now, lirimaer, and I imagine you do as well, but I should like to leave this room on better terms with you than I have been."
"I would like that as well." Elrond replied softly. Erestor pressed a gentle, lingering kiss to Elrond's lips. "Then it is done." he murmured when they parted. "Do you have anything to do this evening?"
"No, not tonight."
"Then meet me here after dinner."
"Of course." they rose, and Elrond wrapped his arms around Erestor in an abrupt and fierce embrace. "Thank you." he whispered, and then let go. Erestor paused, his chocolate regard difficult to read, and finally just nodded. "I will see you tonight."
"You will." Elrond agreed, and watched as Erestor left the room, pausing briefly for one backward glance before stepping across the threshold and turning the corner, gone from sight.
Elrond was already waiting when Erestor entered the study, occupying about half of the divan Erestor usually sat on. He smiled and settled himself beside Elrond, draping one arm loosely around his love's shoulders. Elrond sighed softly, leaning into the familiar touch without thinking. They sat like that for some time, each lost in their thoughts, until at last Erestor broke the silence.
"Do you still want me?"
"You even need to ask?"
"I do...because I said some terrible things."
"You didn't know...don't worry about it. I do still want you, Erestor. The question is, do you still want me?" Erestor paused a moment, gazing into Elrond's slate-colored eyes, and he smiled slightly. "Yes," he murmured, "I do."
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.