Do What You Have to Do
By Maybe (email@example.com)
Disclaimer: Not mine; Tolkien is the creator. Just playing: no money made.
Summary: Late night in Imladris, Glorfindel and Elrond share a candid conversation on the latter's behaviour.
"You are out of your mind!"
"When I want your advice on my private occupations, Glorfindel, I shall ask it of you and not before. Your interference is not welcome, and I think perhaps you need reminding of your position, seneschal."
Glorfindel started, his eyes widening at the icy tones of his lord and long time friend. Even with the front of his robes torn from one shoulder and his dark hair roughly pulled from its braids to fall in a tangled ebony curtain down his back, Elrond's severity of countenance brooked no further argument. The lord of Imladris limped to the bed in the healing wing and sat upon it, fixing steely grey eyes on his seneschal. Glorfindel poured the contents of the vial he held into a small basin and set it at Elrond's elbow.
"Very well, my lord Elrond," he said quietly. "I believed that I spoke as a friend and not as your seneschal. My apologies for out-stepping the boundaries."
Turning on his heel, Glorfindel walked to the door of the west wing healing collegiums. Elrond's sigh stopped him, his hand upon the handle.
"Glorfindel, stay. It is I who should apologise." Elrond tore a strip of cloth from one of the many soft rags that were neatly piled in a basket at one end of the long table, set beneath the cupboards against the eastern wall. Dipping the cloth into the arnica solution, Elrond wrapped the damp material around his wrist. A grimace crossed his features and he sighed again.
Returning across the room, Glorfindel knelt beside him, tenderly taking Elrond's wrist in his hand and binding the ends of the cloth together. Setting the injured hand on his lord's knee, Glorfindel gently pushed back the other sleeve of Elrond's robes, running his fingers lightly over the wrist there. The skin was bruised, dull patterns of grey-blue flesh forming four stripes, and a fifth, circular imprint across the veins. Elrond did not flinch, his grey eyes calmly regarding his seneschal, making neither comment nor protest. Glorfindel rose then, walking to the tap and filling a glass of water. He handed it to Elrond, watching the lord of Imladris take a long sip from it and then lean the cool side of the glass against his forehead.
"Why do you let him do this to you?" Glorfindel asked quietly.
Elrond lifted his eyes, regarding Glorfindel through the clear sides of the glass.
"He needs it."
"You are a healer, Elrond, not a prostitute."
"I am not being paid for this, Glorfindel," Elrond remarked with a slight, amused twist of his lips.
Glorfindel's face remained sober and he shook his head.
"For what you are tolerating perhaps you deserve remuneration."
"Are you so sure that I do not receive anything for these nights?"
"Do you?" Glorfindel asked wearily. "Something that goes beyond bruises and backaches and exhaustion each dawn after the nights he spends here."
"I do," Elrond replied quietly.
Glorfindel stared at him, feeling despair gather deep and dark inside him. He shook his head again. "I hope so, Elrond. But I cannot believe you." He sighed. "At least it was only your wrist this time. Do you think it is strained?"
Elrond shrugged a shoulder, setting aside his glass and rubbing hand tiredly over his features. "It will be better in the morning, or at least useable. You should get some rest, Glorfindel. I will see you at daybreak."
Glorfindel sighed again. "Goodnight, my lord."
He stood for a moment longer, watching as Elrond curled himself back amidst the cushions and blankets of a bed that was not his own. He would not return to his own chambers until the light of day touched the horizon. And that is for the best, Glorfindel grimly noted, for he would get no sleep if he returned there tonight.
Opening the door to the chambers he paused, turning back to look at the weary figure curled upon the bed, his eyes half-closed.
"Elrond, why?" Glorfindel asked softly. "If you need a companion at night all you need do is ask."
The lord of Imladris arched an eyebrow, opening his eyes once again.
"You are offering yourself, Glorfindel?"
Glorfindel closed the door again and leaned his back against it. "Elrond, if you so badly need someone to share the nights with in Celebrian's absence, then yes. Elbereth knows it would do you less damage!"
"And what of our friendship, Glorfindel?" Elrond shook his head against the pillow. "No. I do not ask that of you. Your tastes do not run strongly to the male gender."
"Nor am I averse to it," Glorfindel corrected gently.
"I know," Elrond admitted and he sighed. "Glorfindel, if I were to accept that offer you would be prostituting yourself to me and that is no better than what you believe I am doing. Why, what would you possibly gain from it?"
"Peace of mind," Glorfindel said softly. He tilted his head back with a sigh, resting it against the hard wood of the door.
Elrond smiled in a slightly twisted manner. "Your concern is touching, Glorfindel, but you need not fear for me. I know what I am doing and if it causes me a few bruises in the morning it is an assessed risk."
Glorfindel stared at the calm figure upon the bed. Elrond's injured wrist rested upon the pillow beside his cheek, the arm bandaged and bruised. Yet serenity reigned in the grey eyes. Elrond smiled at him again, closing his eyes once more.
Pushing away from the door, Glorfindel straightened up with a shake of his head.
"Elrond, why Thranduil? Why must you subject yourself to this?"
Elrond opened his eyes and a sad smile graced his features.
"Because sometimes," he said quietly. "Sometimes to feel anything at all, it has to hurt."