24. Chapter 22
"My lord?" Glorfindel looked up slightly. "Are you well? Has something happened to the elf?"
Glorfindel shook his head and sighed, "No." He dropped his head back into his hands, elbows resting on his knees
Orophin waited for more but it never came. Steeling himself for an encounter, he sat next to the golden one. "Yet something troubles you greatly. Is there any way I can help?"
Glorfindel looked sideways at the young elf from his and gave a halfhearted smile. "Thank you, penneth, but no. I'm afraid it's a bit," he paused hunting for the right words. "Well, sort of personal is all."
The silver haired elf leaned back against the wall and took a deep breath. It seemed so unlike Glorfindel to be in such a mood, and with resolve, Orophin offered a small bit of advise that had worked for him in the past. "I do not mean to pry, my lord, but it often helps to talk to a stranger who has no biases. It is similar to talking to your self actually, there is just someone else to offer comfort or advice."
Sitting up and looking thoughtfully at the Silvan, Glorfindel could not stop the smile that crept over his face. "You speak as if you know this to be true."
"Aye, I lost a close friend some years back; Legolas of Greenwood was in Lorien for diplomatic reasons. At the time, I did not know who he was when he offered to listen, I finally let it all out and came to grips with the situation. I was, mind you, mortified when I finally learned *who* he was, but a strong friendship developed."
"How old are you, penneth?" Glorfindel eyed the younger elf.
A sweet blush crept over Orophin's face. "Three hundred twenty-four. I know I have lived little but, if you should want to talk, I will be on the archery field for a while, and then in the library." The slim elf stood to leave. "All is well with the elf?" He nodded toward the room.
Glorfindel nodded, "Yes." As Orophin walked away, the golden warrior stared after him, amazed at the wisdom in one so young.
Erestor stood motionless. Had he heard correctly? Looking up from the bedside, expectantly, Elrond prodded, "Erestor?" The advisor quickly moved to the far side of the bed and helped the injured elf roll onto his side. He began to talk soothing nonsense when a grimace of pain distorted the strong features. Slowly Elrond tended to the burned skin. His hands trembled as he worked; his mind awhirl with questions. Once his patient was re-bandaged and lying as comfortable as could be expected, he sat on the side of the bed and stared lovingly at one of the most important elves in his life.
Erestor cleared his throat, "Um, my lord, should I perhaps fetch Lindir?"
Looking up the elf lord smiled softly with understanding. "Yes, please. Bring both back."
Giving a little bow, Elrond's chief advisor left the room.
Elrond just stared and stroked Maedhros' thick hair. "I do not understand and nor do I really care," he began, "I am just happy to see you again. I thought you were lost to me forever." The elf lord's voice was barely a whisper.
The reborn elf did his best to smile. "I have missed you so. I wanted to return for you, but the jewel drove me mad with regret. You deserved better than a broken elf for a father. I hoped Maglor would return to you. I know now that he did not. I am so sorry we left you alone." Silent tears rolled down his cheeks giving new meaning to the adage, 'rubbing salt into a wound.'
Elrond lifted a teacup and helped the older elf to drink its contents. "This will ease the pain and help with the healing of the skin."
"I now understand Namo's words to me. I can live with this, as long as I have you."
Not knowing how to broach the subject, Elrond wavered before speaking. "I am not the only one you have. Someone else has come, who will be equally happy to see you."
"I know. Varie let me see what I have missed. I am proud of you, pen dithin. So very proud."
A knock at the door interrupted them and Elrond rose to the door. "Give me a moment," he said as he slipped out.
After seeing Erestor rush by him, Glorfindel got up and headed back to his rooms to think. He had never met any of Feanor's sons, but he had learned a lot about them.
Simiril aside, Maedhros was renown for his military tactics and skill in battle, and was a natural-born leader. Maedhros the Tall, Maedhros the One Handed; the names said it all. Glorfindel sighed as he reached the door to his chambers. He did not enter though - he was far to distressed. Maedhros was millennia older than he and had far more experience in battle and defense than Glorfindel did. In addition, he was considered a father to his lord. The golden warrior's shoulders slumped. This was not good. He thought Namo wanted him to be the protector of Elrond and his family. Had he somehow failed? Of course he did. Had Celebrian not been attacked and forced to sail? He failed, and that explained everything. Ecthelion certainly would not want a lover who failed at so important a task, and Elrond obviously needed a new protector. The only question now, was what was Glorfindel to do? He was supposed to help Maedhros adjust, but…
Glorfindel found his legs taking him to, of all places, the library.
Elrond met Lindir and Maglor in the hall. Neither elf could read his expression nor imagine what he wanted. Taking a deep sigh, Elrond indicated for them to sit. Both complied with great concern on their faces. "I do not really know what to say," Elrond floundered, something highly unusual for the great Lord.
Giving an encouraging smile, Maglor said, "Just speak what must be said. Obviously, something is off. How can we help?"
"Is this about the injured elf?" Lindir asked. Elrond nodded slowly but gave no other answer. "Has he…?" Lindir really did not want to finish for if Elrond could not save the elf, it would devastate him. Ever since Celebrian, Arda's finest healer had doubted himself.
"Ahh, no. He lives. It is just, I... I know who he is and I do not know how to tell you." Neither of the other elves knew for certain whom he was addressing so Maglor made the decision for the others. Standing, he took Lindir by the hand and went to the door. Looking back at Elrond, who also stood, he quietly opened the door and let Lindir enter first.
Lindir certainly did not know the elf resting on the bed, but he heard his lover gasp behind him. The elf on the bed opened his eyes at that moment. Lindir was struck by the unusual color… a rich shade of mahogany, a dark cinnamon.
Letting go of Lindir's hand, Maglor advanced slowly, as if approaching a frightened animal. Elrond stood at the door and watched, tears flowing freely.
"Brother?" Maglor whispered. The elf on the bed just smiled lovingly. Maglor's eyes went wide and he lunged for the bed. Lindir stood in the middle of the room looking from one elf to the other, then behind him to Elrond. The young minstrel was extremely confused.
"Maedhros! It is you! I do not understand. How? Oh, I have missed you so. Please tell me I am not dreaming." By this point, Maedhros found his arms filled with a trembling elf. He chuckled. Maglor might have been second oldest, but he had a young spirit. Maedhros was glad that had not changed. Lindir stalked closer and sat in the bedside chair as Elrond came to stand at the foot of the bed.
"You are not dreaming," the Imladran Lord said. "He has returned to us." Maglor looked up with glistening eyes. This was second-best day of his life. He looked around the room and realized he had his whole family with him. He was no longer alone and he never would be again. Burying his head in his big brother's shoulder, he said exactly what he felt. "I love you."