|It was a rare occasion that
Erestor drank alone. On most nights there had been a second to
bring him wine or spirits, either as a devoted gesture of "surprise" or
out of a keen sense of chivalry at the slightest wistful sigh and
batting of eyelashes. The truth was, Erestor could easily count
on one hand the number of times he had actually found it necessary to
obtain his own liquor. Three, he figured, and not once since he
left Lindon. His record was improving overall.
Tonight he was alone, but only so far. By the moon, it was not yet midnight. There was time. He was seated currently at his dressing table, facing to the mirror. One hand held a comb while the other rested upon the head of the lazy old cat that lay in his lap. As he twirled the comb, he scratched the cat's ears. This was a skill that had taken some time to acquire, but he now found that he could do most anything with his right hand while scratching the cat with his left. The cat, coincidentally, no longer woke up or meowled ornery complaints at inopportune times.
Erestor studied his reflection in the mirror. He turned his head to the side, and the other side, following the shadows on his skin. People constantly told him he was beautiful. He was inclined to agree. He worked for that beauty. He plucked hairs from his eyebrows, sculpting them thin and neat. He wore a trace of kohl on his eyes, and gloss on his lips. He drank arsenic to whiten his skin to a shade so unnaturally pale it shone in bright sunlight. People said he looked so fragile and dear. If he was already that naturally, then he worked hard to make it doubly true. He actively cultivated the image of the delicate little counsellor, hiding behind his books by day and playing the shy virgin by night.
The word "virgin" never failed to make him snicker inwardly.
He had lost his virginity so many times that it was impossible to count. What had started off as a foolish little game had grown into something of a lifestyle when he discovered, early on, that the words "Please be patient with me; it's my first time" were the greatest aphrodisiac known to Elvenkind. No other phrase, so shyly spoken, carried such charm or had power enough to forge a chain of devotion around the hearts of others. Followed on a second meeting with, "I’m afraid I'm still terribly nervous; I have so much to learn from you about the ways of love," he was guaranteed a lover willing to teach him just about anything, including that curious trick with clove paste and that other little surprise with the cup of tea and the icicle, for as long as he held interest. Sometimes longer, if the other party involved was prone to drinking himself into a stupor and forgetting large segments of the evening. He had lost his virginity to Thranduil twice for this very reason.
His latest teacher had been a visiting messenger from Lórien: a typical runner, tall and thin, with flat hair and plain eyes. Average-looking and not terribly entertaining, but the best option available at the time. They had spent a decent, if not wholly satisfying, three nights together. That had been only nine days earlier. It already seemed like a dull and distant memory.
What Erestor needed now was something worthwhile.
A knock at the door, which he had been half-expecting all evening, woke the cat. It leapt down from his lap and slunk under the dressing table, allowing Erestor to stand. "Come in?" he called.
The door opened, as if by a shy hand, and Lindir stepped quietly inside. Erestor suppressed all but the smallest of smiles. Dear Lindir: his project. It had been going on near two years now. A little game, to see how little he could do to sustain the interest of a potential lover. As it turned out, he hardly needed do anything at all. A brief smile and a kind word kept Lindir returning in hope of more.
"I brought you a cordial," Lindir said. "I noticed you've been in here all evening... I thought you might like a drink."
The little dear, Erestor thought. Noticed I've been in here all evening. More likely he's been pacing about outside the door all evening, trying to think up an excuse to knock. But all he said was, "Oh... thank you. How lovely." He smiled, lowering his eyes demurely, and took the cup from Lindir's hand.
Lindir shivered at the brush of their fingers. "Erestor..." he said. "Um. Do you have a... emm... I mean, are you... You look a bit..." He took a breath. "I wanted to ask you something. If you have a minute."
"I'm sorry, Lindir, but I was just about to get into bed when you knocked. Can this wait until tomorrow?"
Lindir's hopeful smile fell. "Oh... yes, of course. I'm sorry if I disturbed you. I'll see you tomorrow. Good night. Erestor."
"Good night, Lindir," Erestor said. "Thank you for the cordial." He grinned to himself as he shut the door.
"That wasn't very kind, Erestor."
Erestor smirked into his morning tea. "It was true. Every word I spoke. I cannot accompany him to the festival, because I have too many things I need to do. Those windowsills aren't going to dust themselves."
"Erestor," said Elrond, and he leaned across the table in an authoritarian sort of way. "I can't believe that you'd choose dusty windowsills over food and wine and general foolery at the festival tomorrow. Are you completely mad?"
"Different Elves have different preferences," Erestor replied. "You like to get drunk and rowdy and throw buckets of water over innocent maidens. I like to hear about it afterward and feel superior for not lowering myself to such nonsense."
"I didn't throw any water. That was all Glorfindel's idea."
Erestor snorted. "Well, you didn't stop him, and that's just as bad. I know what goes on at those festivals, Elrond. And I want no part in it."
Elrond was silent a moment, tapping the end of his spoon against his lip while his gaze remained fixed on Erestor. "Do you really?" he finally asked.
"Do I really what?"
"Do you really know what goes on at 'those festivals', if you always insist on dusting your way through them?"
"I have an idea," said Erestor, and he took a sip of tea.
"I've heard the rumours about you," Elrond said quietly. "I know about your secretive ways."
Immediately, Erestor's hand tensed. He held his tea cup in mid air, waiting for Elrond to speak again. If he had somehow discovered the ruse...
"You're a virgin, aren't you," Elrond finally said.
Erestor exhaled and lowered his tea cup.
"I know what kind of reputation these festivals have," Elrond continued when Erestor stayed silent. "A wild night of drunken debauchery. Toss all common sense and decency to the wind. Throw water at others so they have to take their clothes off, get them to retaliate by throwing water at you so you have to take your clothes off, hiding all the clothes up a tree so nobody can get dressed again... Really, Erestor, it's not that bad. Most of the time. Yes, you see a bit of... primitive behaviour. But there are also innocent pleasures like singing and eating and archery contests and throwing water at people so they have to... Alright, that's not innocent, but it's fun. You should experience all this for once in your dull life!"
"My life is not dull," Erestor said thinly.
Elrond pressed on. "Then perhaps you're afraid. Lindir only wanted you to have a nice time at the festival."
"Oh, a 'nice time'. Is that what they're calling it now?"
Elrond laughed. "Well. It wouldn't hurt, you know. For once."
Standing, Erestor downed the remainder of his tea. "I am not that sort of Elf," he said, a sharp edge to his voice.
"No," Elrond agreed, though is grin stayed in place and he seemed dangerously close to laughing again. "But one can always make exceptions."
"For festivals, or for Lindir, do you mean?"
"For... whatever- or whomever- might pique your interest." The tip of Elrond's tongue slipped out to skirt the line of his upper lip as his eyes locked unblinkingly on Erestor's. "Or whomever might be interested by you," he added.
Erestor's breath hitched in his throat. "Elrond," he murmured, voice low. "Are you coming on to me?"
Laughing again, Elrond said nothing.
"What would your dear wife say?"
"Did I say anything to which she might find the need to say something in return?" Elrond asked.
"No, but you implied... Oh, I don't have to put up with this." Erestor put down his tea cup, loudly, and left the table without another word.
"Erestor, wait!" Elrond called after him.
And Erestor did wait. But only once he had reached the corridor, out of sight. He paused a moment to lean against the wall. The morning had not gone at all according to plan. In fact, it had been far better. This was an unusual turn of events. Unusual, but welcome. He allowed himself a wide, indulgent smile, and then started walking again, but more slowly. He heard the legs of a chair scrape against the stone floor; Elrond was following him. Now he needed only flee slowly enough that Elrond would be able to catch him again.
The library, at this time of morning, was deserted. In the stillness of the great room, Erestor could hear Elrond's careless footsteps coming down the corridor. He grabbed the first book he saw, crossed to a nearby shelf, and stood waiting with his back to the door.
Elrond was behind him at the count of twelve, standing too close. "Erestor. You left rather suddenly. Did I say something to offend you?"
"Not at all," Erestor said softly. "You said nothing, if I recall. But what you implied was scandalous."
"Is it so scandalous to desire something?" Elrond asked.
"Noooo... but to follow through on that desire..."
Elrond leaned in, close enough that his breath skimmed Erestor's cheek. "Have you never wanted to?"
"Of course not," Erestor whispered.
"Never needed the touch of another's warm skin against your own?" Elrond asked, and his hands slid around to cup Erestor's hips as he pressed his body close.
Erestor shivered. "Elrond. You are touching me."
"No I'm not," said Elrond. "You must be imagining it. And that proves you've been alone for far too long, if you're imagining me doing something so inappropriate in this very library." His teeth grazed Erestor's earlobe.
"You're biting my ear."
"And your hands are... oh..." Erestor hissed in a long breath as Elrond's worked at the fastenings of his clothes. "Am I imagining that you're undressing me now?"
"No, I think I'm imagining that," said Elrond. "And a pleasant fantasy it is, too. Turn around."
Elrond did not repeat himself. He grabbed Erestor by the shoulders and spun him around, slamming him back into the bookshelf and pinning him there with a fierce kiss. Erestor had neither the time nor the desire to struggle. He met Elrond's mouth gladly, tasting and toying as far as his virginal persona dared, until Elrond broke away to mark a heated trail down his neck to his exposed chest. "Elrond..." he gasped. "I don't think..."
"Don't worry," said Elrond. He pulled Erestor's robe away, baring his upper body entirely. "I locked the door behind me."
"It's not that. I just... I worry..." He took Elrond's face in his hands and forced their eyes to meet. "I've never done this before," he said shyly.
"Well yes, I know," said Elrond. "But it has to be done sooner or later. You can't be a virgin all your life. It's not natural. So that's why I'm here. Elrond, at your service."
Erestor half closed his eyes. "What kind of service?" he asked.
"Keep standing right there and you'll see. But from the look of your pants... I'd say you were lying about never wanting to follow through with desire."
"You're imagining it," said Erestor.
Elrond smirked up at him. In an instant, Erestor's breeches had been yanked down around his knees, and the head of his already-hard member was pressing against Elrond's lips. Elrond opened his mouth, only a little, but it was enough. The slick warmth of his circling tongue made Erestor's spine arch. He dropped his hands, blindly fumbling for Elrond's hair.
Elrond pulled back as far as Erestor's grip allowed. "You're hurting my- ow- hair..."
"Shush," said Erestor. "I've never done this before. I'm nervous."
"Then perhaps you should lie down." Without waiting for a reply, Elrond pulled at Erestor's waist, dragging him clumsily to the floor atop the crumpled clothes. He lost no time in parting Erestor's thighs and taking him again, in hands and mouth, at a fiendish pace. His tongue swirled and dipped along the straining shaft. Erestor shuddered and squirmed beneath him, tensing further with every second of the merciless touch.
"Elrond... stop... I'm going to..."
Elrond heeded the words, if only partially. He pulled his head back and crawled up to lie face to face with Erestor, but his hand remained where it was, moving toward completion with each slick, quickening stroke. Erestor's fingers grasped his shoulders in a bruising grip.
"I.. told you..."Erestor gasped, but his words were cut short by a growl spiralling up from deep in his throat. In a second, his mouth was covered by Elrond's, all sound swallowed, and savage lips pressed close. Release rose within him like a storm, and spilled so suddenly over Elrond's fiery hand. He bit down hard on the sides of his tongue at the power of it.
Elrond was the first to move following the brief frenzy of lust, after some moments. He rolled away to lie on his back while still looking at Erestor, who blinked lazily between ragged breaths. Then, with a final kiss to Erestor's cheek, he pulled himself to his knees, straightened his clothes, and stood. "Looks like you enjoyed that," he said. "You should do it more often."
Erestor groaned. "Where are you going? You'd just... sod off and leave me here like this?"
"Yes," said Elrond.
"What happened to Elrond-at-my-service?!"
"I don't want to overdo it," Elrond said. "It's your first time. Sort of. Now you're ready for the next step, and I think that should be with someone less... me."
"Someone more Lindir, you mean," Erestor growled as he pulled his clothes back on. "Someone more at the festival, you mean. Someone less imaginary?"
Elrond smiled. "Exactly."
"That's very considerate of you."
"Besides," Elrond continued, "I promised I'd meet Glorfindel directly after breakfast, to gather up buckets. He's probably looking for me. We're going to find Celebrían. She's wearing a very thin dress today. So can I count on seeing you at the festival later?"
Erestor stood and pulled his shirt back on. "Are you going to throw water at me?"
"Throw it at Lindir instead," said Erestor. "You'll get more for your effort." He fastened his breeches, slipped on his shoes, and smoothed down his hair. "Oh, and Elrond..."
Erestor stepped close, touching Elrond gently on the arm. "Please don't tell anyone what happened in here today," he murmured. "If anyone ever found out... You know what a fragile reputation we virgins have. I can't have anyone thinking I'm easy, can I?"
"I won't even tell the stars," Elrond promised.
Erestor found Lindir not long later, sitting under a nut tree and looking forlorn. "Lindir," he said. "It seems I've finished my tasks earlier than expected. Is your offer to go to the festival still open?"
Lindir, staring in surprise, managed to mumble, "Yesofcourse."
"Lovely," said Erestor. "Although..." He lowered his voice to just above a whisper, speaking close to Lindir's ear. "I've... I've never done this before, so I'm not really sure what to expect... you'll have to be patient with me."
"Of course I will," Lindir whispered back.
"Thank you, Lindir... Thank you. After all, it is my first time..."