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Story Notes:
Written for the live journal Triple Dog Dare Challenge. Prompt was "hair".
A hoard of orcs posed no challenge. Threats from a troll would make him laugh. Demons and dragons were worthy opponents, but none of these caused him to flinch.

Mention a balrog and it was a different story. His chest tightened and his mouth would go dry. Images unbidden would flow into his mind. Memories would give way to dreams, and in the night he would thrash and scream himself awake.

For this reason alone, Glorfindel lived in a little house of his own near the Last Homely House. Too many times he had frightened adults and elflings alike with his wild and frantic reactions to the nightmares that constantly plagued him. Glorfindel would have preferred living in the same house as everyone else, but there was no getting around it. It seemed there was no cure for his condition – at least, none that Elrond knew. Sleep potions only prolonged the bad dreams, and every relaxation technique had been met with the same amount of failure. Even attempts at mental therapy were to no avail. Elrond tried to convince Glorfindel that there were no more balrogs and therefore nothing to worry about. For some reason this did not put the slayer at ease.

He feared what was to happen when he left for Fornost with the soldiers he was training. It was impossible to think he would simply stay awake the entire journey, battle, and return trip. As he sat down on the edge of his bed and unbraided his hair, he wondered how far away from the rest of the army he could reasonably pitch his tent. He had just returned from the practice arena where his soldiers finished what would be the final practice. Tomorrow they would leave and join with Cirdan’s army to fight against the forces of Angmar. Glorfindel had complete faith in his soldiers; he had utter doubt in himself.

It would be an early morning for him and a nap initially sounded like a good idea. There was a flitter of a thought that perhaps he had best see to the rest of the preparations first. A soft pillow and a sigh later, and he fell asleep.

It lasted well enough until he went from blissful peace to fire in the heavens. There he stood, alone as always with his sword drawn and feet firmly planted. The cries of the refugees fleeing were drowned out by the roar of the terror before him.

One shadowy arm drew back the flaming whip, and just as Glorfindel did so many times he raised his blade and chopped down, going down on his knees upon the rocks to bring the full force of the blow down upon the creature. Once more he hacked into the blackened flesh as the beast roared. Down into the pit the limb tumbled.

Here was where Glorfindel tried to stop himself. If he had only cut the other arm from the beast, or perhaps hewn off the balrog’s head, he might have lived. Glorfindel, the famed slayer of this abhorrent foe, would have sung the songs of brave Ecthelion rather than be sung of himself. Instead, he plunged his sword into the breast of the foul beast and shoved it forward. With no way to get a good grasp, the balrog fell backwards to its doom.

And then – then! – as it always happened, a breeze brushed Glorfindel’s cheek. A flow of gold over his shoulder followed, and in one last desperate attempt the balrog reached forward. It was doubtful that the reason was to bring Glorfindel into the pit, but the ledge was too far away and the wisps of honey-colored hair were too good an opportunity to miss.

Clawed fingers snarled the golden tresses and refused to let go. Without his sword, still lodged in the chest of his enemy, Glorfindel frantically tried to untangle himself. The panic only ensnared him further and the sheer weight of the creature pulled him down. He hardly felt his knees scrape across the stone as he even made a last attempt to tear his hair from his own head to keep his footing.

And then, the fall.

He never told the story (which was only ever told after a lot of wine) after that point. No one knew how he had screamed in terror, how he had looked down and seen his doom. He never shared with others the cursed laughter that rang in his ears from the beast and how the foul creature growled with his final breath, “You will die with me, Elf. There is no glory for you!” The few thoughts Glorfindel had had before the darkness took him were kept private, and were in order as the ground approached much too swiftly: Is this what Eol felt? Why could Manwe not have held his breath a moment more? Please, Eru, take me swiftly and do not let me linger broken at the bottom! I miss my mother...

And then, nothing.

For a very long time, nothing.

It was about now he would wake up and he did not disappoint himself. As he blinked into awareness he could feel the rawness of his throat. Two of the dogs were whining by the door – the others were used to this. He checked to be sure the windows were still closed. When he saw they were he took a minute to catch his breath. His pulse slowed as he looked around the room and sat up to touch things and remind himself that he had not just fought a balrog and not just died again, and was very much alive.

A hand idly reached up and he ran his fingers through his hair. It was all there, flattened only slightly from its usual thick waviness due to his nap. He looked at the window again and noted it was only a little past lunchtime, but not quite early enough for supper. He could run a brush through his hair, change out of the sweaty clothing he was wearing, and charm some food from the kitchen maids.

As he sorted through his closet and selected a few items he realized he was hardly hungry. All the same, he did not wish to remain idle. Doing so after a nightmare only depressed him further. He dressed and sat down on a chair and picked up his hairbrush. The mirror displayed an elf arguably both handsome and beautiful. With each stroke, the golden locks seemed to shine brighter. Glorfindel cringed when he reached a snag and memories of his dreaming haunted him in his waking moments. He cursed the images out of his mind and tossed the brush onto the table.

He carefully set to working out the tiny knotted bunch of strands while admiring his hair. There were few elves who did not have nice hair, but his was quite exquisite. It was precisely the reason that he tended to stray from the logical solution.

When he and Elrond had discussed ways for him to overcome his nightmares a major part of their first talk had been directed toward facing whatever fears Glorfindel might have had. The one he kept hidden due to the fact it just sounded silly was that he was afraid of his hair. Rather, he was afraid of how it could be used against him. It was no secret that the tresses that fell past his waist in both this life and the last had been his doom. On a battlefield his technique was flawless whether on defense or the attack, but his hair was his major vulnerability. No helm could contain it and braids could never fully restrain it.

There was a solution, but even thinking of it made him nervous. He had always been Glorfindel – well, not always. He had been something else for all of two minutes from the time he was born until the moment his mother had seen the wispy golden curls atop his newborn head. From that moment on, he had been his hair.

Fornost would be the first real battle since his rebirth. It was doubtful that there were going to be balrogs, but there were all sorts of other horrible things. There was a chance that some of those horrible things would know of his fall and his weakness, and perhaps even attempt a reenactment on some level to spite him. The gnawing feeling as he briefly recalled the Halls of Waiting dueled with his vanity.

He pulled his hair back from his face and peered into the mirror. The face that looked back was attractive, and his form was obviously desirable from the looks that those of both genders failed to hide from him. What was hair, but one feature of many? An orc would not likely grab his nose or his ear or his lip, but his hair was a very viable target.

From his wandering in the house he knew there was a room on the third floor where some went to have their hair trimmed. Mostly it was patronized by those wishing to have intricately braided styles. He picked up the brush and ran it through his hair a few more times and decided not to leave the decision entirely in his hands: If the hairdresser was still taking appointments today, he would have his precious locks cut off in the name of safety; if the hairdresser was not seeing anyone else, Glorfindel would ride into battle with long hair flowing behind him.

After letting out his hounds to romp through the fields and play with the elflings, Glorfindel walked slowly to the house. He stepped in time with the breeze, letting it lift his hair gently from his shoulders with each step. Once inside the house, he took the route that would allow him to pass by the most hallway mirrors. The door was closed when he came to his destination, so he knocked quickly, waited but a moment, and turned to leave. No need to stand in front of a closed door when there was no one to answer it.

“May I help you?”

Glorfindel turned back again and found his mouth dry. He swallowed and cleared his throat before speaking. “I came to see if you were still taking appointments today. However, I am sure you are quite busy. I can come back later.”

“Actually, I think I might have a cancellation. Come in, and I will see if I can fit you in. How intricate were you looking for?” asked the ellon, whose name Glorfindel believed to be Melpomaen.

“Nothing special. Just a trim. Really, I can come back,” said Glorfindel hastily.

“No need to do that – come in,” repeated the ellon as he held the door open wider. Glorfindel had no choice but to enter. He hoped he was not trembling noticeably as the hairdresser shut the door behind him. “Follow me,” he said, and Glorfindel followed him into a room with a window that overlooked the gardens. “Please take a seat. I will be done in just a moment.”

Glorfindel sat down. There was a lady seated in a chair with a high seat. She was sitting in front of a pair of mirrors on the wall. Flowers were being woven into her hair, and Melpomaen continued his work as he chatted with her. Glorfindel nervously strummed his fingers on the arm of the chair and waited for his turn.

“I was just telling Tineriel that I believe Master Erestor is going to miss his appointment again this week,” said Melpomaen. “That is the appointment that I believe is going to be cancelled. Usually he has either arrived by now complaining about council, or he has sent his assistant to tell me he will not be coming.”

“Does Master Erestor visit here often?” asked Glorfindel. The chief advisor, in Glorfindel’s view, was wise, intelligent, stunningly gorgeous, and absolutely unattainable. He had always made a point of not getting involved with people he directly worked with, which made Master Erestor completely off limits. It was actually why he referred to Erestor with his proper title, keeping things absolutely formal between them. If ever there was a time that they did not work together, however, Glorfindel would take the first opportunity to make things as informal as possible.

“Every week, if he can manage it,” answered Melpomaen as he affixed the final flower into the masterpiece he had created. “He likes to indulge in a fancy hairstyle now and then, partly to show off my talents, and partly to show off his hair. I am sure you can relate, on some level?”

“Sure,” replied Glorfindel. He wondered what sort of reaction he would get when he explained what he was here for.

Melpomaen helped his customer down from the stool and motioned toward it while looking at Glorfindel. “If you would like to take a seat while I escort Tineriel out, I shall return momentarily.”

Once alone in the room, Glorfindel sized up the stool. He looked at what was on the counter as he stood up and approached. There were many combs and brushes of different types and sizes, and hairpins, and beads and jewels, and all sorts of other things with which to adorn one’s hair. Somewhere there was sure to be a scissors, but he did not see it. Perhaps it was kept in Melpomaen’s pocket, he thought as he sat down. For as tall as he was, Glorfindel’s feet did not quite reach the ground. It made Glorfindel feel a little like a child with his legs dangling and the world seeming so much bigger than it really was.

As Melpomaen returned Glorfindel saw that the hairdresser was not alone. Behind him was Master Erestor, laughing and chattering about some sort of legislation that was sure not to pass but needed to be discussed in length anyhow. In between bits of his anecdote the advisor apologized for his tardiness.

“Not a problem, Erestor. I understand how busy you are. My last scheduled customer just left, and Lord Glorfindel just promised me something easy. If you do not mind waiting, I can be with you in a few minutes,” said Melpomaen as he took a cape from a hook and shook it out.

“That is fine,” said Erestor as he sat down in the chair Glorfindel had been waiting in minutes ago.

“I can wait,” declared Glorfindel as he stood up. “I did not schedule an appointment, and you obviously have. In fact, I can return another time.”

“I thought you were heading the party leaving for Fornost in the morning,” said Erestor. Glorfindel had no reply but to nod. Erestor shrugged and said to Melpomaen, “I can wait, really, even if I need to reschedule. He cannot come back tomorrow; I, on the other hand, am able to.”

“I can do a trim in just a few minutes. His hair,” said Melpomaen as he motioned toward Erestor, “all the brushing and braiding will take me an hour at the least.” Melpomaen smiled and waited by the side of the stool for Glorfindel to sit down again.

Slowly, Glorfindel sat. A strip of gauzy fabric was tied around his neck. He folded his hands in his lap as the cape was draped in front of him and then brought up against the cloth. His hair was lifted up gently and draped over one of Melpomaen’s arms while the cape was skillfully tied shut. Melpomaen lowered his arm and the golden hair fell back into place. “I bet I can have this trimmed for you before you can count to sixty. Who normally trims your hair?”

“Uh, well, I really do not have anyone trim it. I mean, it grows to where it wants to and then it just stops by itself.”

Melpomaen laughed. “How true,” he said as he took a brush and ran it through Glorfindel’s hair. “Sit up straight, please.”

Glorfindel did his best to sit up and stay still. He could feel from the rustle of the cape that Melpomaen was crouched down behind him. A few snips and snicks later, the hairdresser stood up again with a smile. “All done!” he announced.

Glorfindel looked into the mirror. Nothing appeared to have changed. “Umm... thank you,” he said, but his disappointment could not be hidden. It was odd to him that he was disappointed, except he had expected that since he had made it this far he was going to reach his goal. The cape had been removed and he slid his feet down to the floor.

“I think by ‘trim’, Lord Glorfindel was looking for something a little shorter than that.” Erestor set down the book he had been browsing through and tilted his head to the side. “Because honestly? No difference. I very much doubt he had any split ends when he came in here.”

Melpomaen looked worried. “Is my work not to your liking?”

“No, no, not at all,” assured Glorfindel. “Your work is very good. Tineriel looked lovely,” added Glorfindel in defense. “But... Master Erestor is right,” he admitted.

“Master Erestor is always right,” announced Master Erestor as he picked up his book again. “I can wait a little longer, Melpomaen.”

“Well...” Melpomaen fidgeted with his scissors. “I am really more of an expert on braiding, but I will do what I can. What were you thinking?”

“Short,” said Glorfindel.

“How short?” asked Melpomaen nervously.

Glorfindel sighed. It was doubtful that Master Erestor was one to spread gossip for he had much better things to do with his time, and Melpomaen would not do such a thing either – why risk customers by passing on their dirty laundry to others? “I want it short enough so that no one grabs it in battle.”

“Oh... oh, I do not know.” Melpomaen frowned and shook his head. “I am sorry, but I have never done anything like that. Besides, people come here to have me make their hair look nice. How would it look if someone enters with gorgeous hair like yours and exits with it looking as if it has been butchered?”

Glorfindel frowned and nodded. It seemed his hair was spared by fate, and he was about to thank Melpomaen anyhow when Erestor spoke again. “Melpomaen, is there not still that back entry?”

“Yes...” said Melpomaen carefully. “He could sneak out there, but there is the matter that I do not think I could possibly do such a thing! No, I am sorry, I refuse – I cannot chop off such lovely locks of hair.”

If Glorfindel had been facing Erestor, he would have noticed the advisor roll his eyes. “Fine. I can do it.” Erestor placed the book on the table again and stood up. He walked right to Melpomaen and took the scissors from him. “Lock the front door when you leave, and I will lock the back when we go.”

“Oh, bother.” Melpomaen draped the cape he had in his other hand over Erestor’s arm. “Another week, and you have missed your appointment again!”

“Three is the charm; expect me back next week and nothing will stand in my way.” Erestor waited for Melpomaen to leave and close the door before he waved at the empty chair. “Really, he is being ridiculous. If he is going to call himself a barber, he should be able to cut someone’s hair. Sit down and let me take care of this for you.”

Glorfindel nodded dumbly as he sat down again, teased by the puppet strings he felt were holding him up. He watched Erestor set the scissors down and pick up a fresh strip of cloth. This one was wrapped around his neck a little tighter than the first had been. The cape was next, tied firmly. Instead of retrieving the scissors, Erestor picked up a large brush with soft bristles and brought it back with him.

“Do you usually cut your hair before battle?”asked Erestor, and Glorfindel realized for the first time that his coworker had never had the curiosity that others had about his past life. Never once had Erestor asked about the Fall of Gondolin; all questions were addressed to Glorfindel of Imladris, not Glorfindel of Gondolin. Where others might ask ‘Did you like to ride horses?’ Erestor would ask ‘Do you like riding horses?’.

“No, this was just a spur of the moment decision,” admitted Glorfindel. “Actually, I thought of it before, but I just got the balls to come up here and do it today.” He laughed. “To be honest, I was really hoping Melpomaen was going to refuse to do it.”

“Really?” Erestor was brushing the golden locks slowly in a manner that was soothing to Glorfindel. “It is not too late to change your mind, then.”

“I... died because of my hair.” Glorfindel wondered where this sudden need to confess was coming from as he continued. “I am so afraid that it is going to happen again. I suppose it is silly; lightning never strikes twice, right?”

“Actually, that big oak tree outside of the barn that looks like someone twisted it as if it was only made of clay has been hit at least three times by lightning. I have counted three times; perhaps it has been hit more,” mused Erestor as he continued to methodically brush out the golden waves.

“Well, that was not a very reassuring story.”

“It was not meant to be.” Erestor set the brush down. “Do you want me to proceed or not?”

“Umm...” Glorfindel twisted his hands, hidden under the cape.

Erestor smiled and used one hand to lift Glorfindel’s chin. “I could do it in stages. Instead of cutting it all off at once, cut a little and then a little more, if you want. I have time, and the longer I stay here, the less likely it is that Elrond will stumble upon me and hand me more work.”

Glorfindel looked into the friendly grey eyes looking at him and decided he would do just about anything to get to spend more time alone with Erestor, even if it meant he had to sacrifice a few inches of his golden mane. “That sounds reasonable,” he agreed. “A little at a time.”

The scissors were picked up from the counter and Erestor walked around behind Glorfindel. This time, Glorfindel did not need to be told to sit up straight, and Erestor assessed the task before him. “An inch at a time would make a big mess for Melpomaen, and I do not wish to do that,” said Erestor. “Enough to make a difference in appearance, but not so much that it is too much, is that right?”

“Yes,” said Glorfindel as calmly as possible, though he was feeling timid and thrilled and impatient all at once.

Erestor moved back to the counter and set down the small scissors. He pulled out a drawer and after he searched it came back with a sharp pair of shears that would do the work much faster. “Hold steady,” he advised, and as he gathered Glorfindel’s hair with one hand he used the other to slice through and sever it. It cascaded down and hit the floor lightly, but enough to make Glorfindel jump in his seat. “Shall we take a look? I will tidy up the ends if this length is to your liking.”

Glorfindel turned his head and gazed into the mirror, half in a daze over being completely under the spell Erestor held over him. His hair was still long, but now it barely reached the middle of his back. It was a drastic change for the blond. He was excited, but still somewhat disappointed. It had gone well enough so far, but his ultimate goal was still to be reached. “Maybe we should go shorter,” he said.

“As you wish,” said Erestor. “Shoulder length?” He held the shears with one blade tucked between the cape and Glorfindel’s hair.

Glorfindel looked into the mirror and shivered slightly in anticipation. The excitement he felt was rising up in him and he was beginning to doubt his vow of staying uninvolved with those he worked with. “Higher,” he said, his voice low.

“Alright,” answered Erestor, his own words husky, though whether it was Glorfindel’s imagination or not was at the moment unclear. What was clear was the feeling of the shears moving upwards, just above his shoulders. Instead of being asked this time, Glorfindel watched was the shears closed and rained threads of gold onto the floor to join the others.

“Better?”

“Yes.”

“Good?”

“Yes.” Glorfindel looked up, his mirror self doing the same. “But...”

“Yes?” Now the deepness of Erestor’s voice was unmistakable.

“But still not good for battle.”

“I see. Why not?” asked Erestor as he went to the counter and traded the shears for the smaller scissors.

Glorfindel watched Erestor’s every move and waited until the advisor was standing beside him again. “I think someone could still grab hold of me by it.”

Erestor ran his free hand through the short golden waves and gripped them firmly by the roots. He forcefully tilted Glorfindel’s head back and pulled down just enough to make Glorfindel moan. “Right you are,” he replied. “That would be quite compromising.”

“Quite,” panted Glorfindel, his eyes closed so that he did not see Erestor lower his head. He knew he had when he felt a pair of lips upon his own, and a tongue demanding entry, and delving deeply. As they began to orally explore, Glorfindel felt Erestor’s fingers slide away a little but still keep a firm hold. A moment later he knew why as he heard the higher pitched ‘snick’ of the little pair of scissors. He moaned as it was repeated over and over until he felt Erestor’s hand pull away, still holding a clump of his golden hair. He felt the hand grab again, and the other cut, and then grab, and cut, and all the while, they kissed, deeper and deeper. Suddenly, Erestor drew back.

Glorfindel opened his eyes and looked up. Erestor took the hair in his hands and dropped it down so that it fell against Glorfindel’s chest and tumbled down the cape into his lap. It spread out across his knees, blond curls once attached to him, once lovingly brushed and cared for, now nothing more than discard. The blond looked to the mirror, and saw that his hair no longer covered most of his neck. In fact, most of it was now higher than his ears.

“More?” asked Erestor.

“More,” Glorfindel begged.

They continued this way, kissing and groaning, with an occasional rub against each other as Erestor further tamed Glorfindel’s mane. In the midst of a particularly erotic kiss as Glorfindel drew Erestor’s tongue into his mouth and began to suck on it, Erestor had dropped the scissors to the ground. “I think that is as far as I can go,” said Erestor when they panted for breath. “I can go no shorter.”

Glorfindel took the moment to look into the mirror, and found Erestor’s words to be almost true. What he had left on his head and the back of his neck was a patch of golden fuzz, shorter than the length of his fingernails. “Yes, you can.”

“Only if I shaved it all off,” Erestor explained. He caught Glorfindel’s pleading look in the mirror. “Let me see what I can find,” he said as he walked back to the counter and loosened the collar of his shirt. Glorfindel yanked off the stifling cape, for he had been able to use naught but his mouth while restrained on the stool and covered neck to toe. He ran his hand over the soft, short tuffs and laughed. It seemed terribly funny, now that it was done, that he had been so fearful of this.

“Hush, there are residence rooms to either side of this one!” warned Erestor. “We do not want someone coming over to investigate. I certainly hope Melpomaen does not return and find us like this!”

“Then we must be quick about it,” said Glorfindel as he pulled one of the regular chairs away from the wall and nearer to the center of the room. He trod over the clippings of his own hair as he did so, but did not notice this as he loosened his trousers and lowered them to his ankles before sitting down.

Erestor returned with a bowl of water, a cake of soap, and a sharp knife. “This was the best I could find,” he said, shirtless now, his skin glossy from sweating. He handed the knife to Glorfindel and set the bowl of water on the floor behind the chair. He came back around and leaned down, grasping Glorfindel behind the neck as he kissed him. “What are you going to do, pleasure yourself while I shave you?” asked Erestor. It was not accusatory; in fact, Erestor sounded and looked aroused at the idea.

“Better than that,” promised Glorfindel.

With a smile Erestor said, “I am holding you to that,” as he circled around again and dipped the soap into the water. He lifted it up and began to lather up Glorfindel’s head. “This was certainly not how I expected to spend my evening,” he said as he massaged Glorfindel’s scalp until it was covered with slippery suds. “I have never cut anyone’s hair before, never shaved anyone before, and certainly never made out with anyone while doing such things.”

“I think we need to add another first to that list,” said Glorfindel. “Bring the soap with you.” Erestor did as instructed. He stepped in front of Glorfindel, who sat up and grabbed hold of his pants. With one quick motion, he used the knife to slice open Erestor’s leggings, much to the advisor’s surprise. Glorfindel then sat back and handed the knife to Erestor. He took the soap from him when his hand was freed. “Come a little closer.”

As Erestor did so, his pants slid down on their own accord. “And I always thought having my hair braided was a good way to relax after a long meeting,” he said as Glorfindel soaped up his hand and then rubbed it up and down Erestor’s erection.

“Come closer,” beckoned Glorfindel, and Erestor did so. Glorfindel used some of the soap to lubricate his own hard length and the tossed it aside. It slid across the room as Glorfindel took hold of Erestor’s thighs and guided him to straddle his lap. With their erections now touching, Glorfindel bucked his hips up and Erestor kneaded Glorfindel’s shoulders and groaned, his head tilted backwards. Glorfindel leaned in and sucked on Erestor’s exposed neck. He caught the knife before it hit the ground. “Finish what you started and I will finish what I started,” he promised.

Erestor got hold of his senses enough to kneel up on either edge of the chair. He pulled Glorfindel’s head against his chest and carefully positioned the blade behind one of Glorfindel’s ears in the midst of the blond soapy fuzz. He drew his hand smoothly over pale skin, drawing a moan from Glorfindel. “Hold very still,” he said as he repositioned the knife and moved it again. Pass after pass he made, deliberately slowing his hand in order to tease Glorfindel as much as possible.

The fear Glorfindel felt earlier was well diminished, and in its wake, lust had arisen. He kept himself under control until he felt the final scrape from his forehead backwards, removing any last remnants of blond from his head. The moment Erestor finished checking his work, rubbing his hand over the smooth, bald head, Glorfindel took the knife from him and flung it aside. “As promised,” growled Glorfindel as he lifted Erestor up slightly. He spat into his hand and rubbed Erestor’s length, which was only half-hard now but still covered in caked-on soap. The advisor groaned as lifted himself on his knees again when prompted.

Glorfindel slipped his soapy fingers between Erestor’s legs, easily finding his mark. The advisor grunted as one finger slid in, but was soon riding two with great vigor. As soon as his own erection was rock hard, Glorfindel slid down a little and lifted Erestor up. A moment later, he settled Erestor back down and thrust up into the slick passage. Glorfindel had a feeling he was going to sleep very well tonight.



Epilogue

Everyone in the house was sleeping when Glorfindel and his soldiers returned to Rivendell. There were many tales to tell of their journey and the battle, not the least of which was the retreat of the Witch-king. Glorfindel smiled to himself as he led his mount into her stall and left her in the capable hands of the horse master. Finally, there was a story about Glorfindel of Imladris. He hoped his most recent display of valor would overshadow the past.

At the moment he was dwelling on the future. He quickly took a report to Lord Elrond, who was only too happy to be awakened by the news that despite thirty-one injuries all of the soldiers sent out from Rivendell had returned. The peredhel asked very few questions, and to Glorfindel’s amusement, stared at the top of his head the entire time. As soon as he was able Glorfindel excused himself and walked to the other side of the house. He tapped quietly on the door he was standing in front of and then carefully opened it.

He covered his mouth to suppress his laughter at the sight he saw. Seven furry mongrels were sprawled out in different parts of the room. One of them was curled up on the settee, and another was on his back in front of the door snoring loudly. The others had piled up on the bed, three in a heap, one across the end of the bed, and the last one with his head resting over the arm of the only elven occupant.

Glorfindel knelt down next to the bed and reached forward. He drew the back of his hand across the cheek of the slumbering elf, who sleepily opened his eyes and smiled. “I have returned. I see you took my request of you to heart.”

Erestor pulled his pillow closer and rubbed at the corners of his eyes. “I tried to follow your instructions, but the first night after I fed them and let them run around the field for a while, they looked so lonely. I brought them back into your house and then one of them rolled over and whined. I just had to bring them back here with me. I have such a thin skin when it comes to children and puppies.”

“Puppies?” Glorfindel scratched the head of the one that was blocking him from crawling into bed with Erestor. “If they are puppies, I am an elfling.”

“Could be,” said Erestor. He reached up and rubbed the short fuzz of golden hair on top of Glorfindel’s head. “I have never seen another elf with hair like this, but I know of a number of elflings that resemble you.”

The dog Glorfindel was petting lifted his head and wagged his tail upon seeing his master. A snap of Glorfindel’s fingers brought the dog off of the bed and onto the floor. “Good boy,” said Glorfindel as he gave the hound another pat.

“Good. Now I have room to stretch out.” Erestor rolled onto his back and stretched his arms out to either side.

“Move over,” said Glorfindel as he poked Erestor’s shoulder. He started to crawl onto the bed before Erestor moved, which led to them jostling about in order to situate themselves. The remaining dogs on the bed jumped off onto the floor in order to find another comfortable spot to sleep. “Hey!” Glorfindel scrambled off the bed. “You have no clothing on!”

“Neither do your dogs,” remarked Erestor.

“Why are you naked?”

Erestor sat up and straightened the sheets. “Why are you still dressed?”

Glorfindel opened his mouth and promptly shut it. “Good point.” He quickly stripped off his clothing and joined his lover in bed.

Erestor snuggled up next to him immediately. “Did you sleep well when you had the chance?”

The last thing Glorfindel had told Erestor before leaving was the history of his fears and nightmares. With a better understanding, Erestor wished for Glorfindel’s safety not just in battle, but in his dreams as well. Whether it was the well wishes from Erestor, Glorfindel’s shorn head, or a combination of them, something had worked. “I slept like a baby,” he admitted.

“Another thing you have in common with an elfling,” teased Erestor. They cuddled together and talked a long while, and when Glorfindel finally fell asleep he no longer worried about the nightmares that once plagued him and dreamed of Erestor instead.
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