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Author: Oshun/Heartofoshun
Title: Winter Came Earlier
Rating: G-rated
Theme: Melancholy/longing/established relationship
Elements: Only my own—a winter theme.
Author's Notes: None.
Summary: No context really; just a bit of fluff and a little heartbreak centering around a long-term relationship. I was asked for a story in which Elladan and Glorfindel loved one another. That’s what I wrote!

Beta for this is IgnobleBard, the most awesome enabler in the world.

Word Count: 1,401


"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore.” – Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Lord Byron

Winter came earlier, stayed longer, and was generally harder to bear than it had been before Imladris had been released from the protection of the Ring. He enjoyed the first several days of his trip home, soothed as they passed into the quiet woods, he was pulled forward with an ache that approached joy as they neared the range of the Misty Mountains beyond.

After leaving his fellow travelers behind, despite the fact that he felt increasingly unwell, he was ever more anxious to complete the last leg of his trip before the debilitation overcame him. And Glorfindel waited for him also. Once he had arrived home, after a couple of days of recovering from his physical malaise, he would take up the details of his daily life slowly. He intended to allow himself the gentle delight of reuniting with his spouse. Of course, Glorfindel would be annoyed with him for arriving sick. He would assume the better choice would have been to stay in the White City, until he felt better. But there was nothing to be done for that now and, anyway, there was no possibility that he would permit the impeding winter to interfere with his return.

He realized a few days earlier that he had caught a bad cold on his holiday. He’d probably encountered the infection through his close proximity to so many Men in the Palace and in the raucous celebrations of the harvest festival of Eruhantalë in the streets of Minas Tirith--one of the inconveniences of the having the constitution of the Peredhil. He did not suffer as Mortal Men did from these minor ailments, but suffer he did and always had, even more than his twin or his sister. He wondered if this would trouble him still after they had sailed. No one sensible would take a position on that one way or the other, Estel always told him. He would tease him that if Elladan enjoyed fruitless arguments, he could no doubt encounter no small number of individuals at the Houses of Healing would be willing to enthusiastically argue either side for the sport of it, on the basis of speculation alone.

The heartening rays of the sun that broke through the canopy above him, thinning as he rode higher, had helped Elladan keep his back straight and his chin up during the morning hours. Once, shortly past midday, he thought he heard the sound of someone chopping wood filter through the background music of bird-song, the constant crackling of animals scurrying over fallen twigs and leaves, and the soft wind in the branches above. The sun’s warmth dimmed and grew less effective as the day progressed. The trees grew sparser causing him to feel the chill of the wind more keenly. The cold moisture from nearby springs and fountains increased. He grew more and more able to discern the full roar of a not-so-distant waterfall interrupted occasionally by what might have been the voices of men at work in some clearing in the wood beyond his line of sight.

If he had not been so thoroughly chilled, with a pulsating pain behind his eyes, he might have begun to feel drowsy. Thank the Valar, he was drawing closer to the cleft in the rock that would lead him down to the steep path into the valley below.

Whenever he left Minas Tirith to return to his valley home, it always took him a day or two of morbid gloominess before he was able to regain his equilibrium. While in the city he spent time with his sister, his nieces, and Eldarion his only nephew. Arwen and Estel were doing well. But it bothered him to see how slowly but inexorably his law-brother showed signs of aging. Estel’s hair had turned almost entirely silver, although he was still a handsome man. His sister showed few conspicuous signs of age, but an older brother who loved her could not help but notice a dimming of the vibrancy of her slowly waning beauty. The blush on her cheeks and the glint in her eyes had started to fade.

Lucky for him, the horse knew the way. He gave up his struggle for consciousness with nary a protest when he saw a vision of an Elven warrior, hair shining in the light of a hand-held lantern, as he emerged from a turn in the trail in front of him.

When he came to, he found himself bound from chest to waist to the form of another, astride a horse—must have been an admirably powerful beast to have plodded so steadily forward bearing the weight of two men. He did not even try to open his eyes. In fact, he allowed himself to relax heavily against the inviting body again. Inhaling a familiar scent, he thought ‘Glori!’as he continued to regain sensibility. He was safe. Elladan sighed and accepted his fate with a resignation which produced a singular overlap hovering between faint mortification and total relief.

In their bedroom, next to a fire of hot-burning hardwood, nearly smothered by a mountain of blankets and quilts, Elladan was willing to consider how much of his sadness was rooted in his head cold and how much a prolonged grieving process that he perhaps was not handling well. Home and warm, dry, and cuddled in Glorfindel embrace, Elladan said, “It’s easier to talk to you about all this than anyone else."

“It should be! But, why do you think that is?” Glorfindel asked, in his best professorial tone.

Elladan had to laugh, not at Glori, but at himself. “Because you listen but never tell me what to do, or why I am full of shit.”

“Works for me. No one ever got anywhere trying to tell you what to do. I sometimes think about what a brat you were as a kid. But even then, hard not to love.”

“It still makes me twitchy to think about what an ungrateful wretch I was.”

“You should not think that. You had parents who carried the weight of a lot of history. They came together with the shadow of tragedy over their hearts and tried to heal one another as best they could. But they also tried to protect and nurture their children and keep all pain away from them. Holding all pain away is ever a losing proposition.” At the bottom of a frozen cliff surrounded by a wintry forest, Glorfindel had stroked Elladan’s forehead with a strong, calloused hand, gentle and comforting. But finally they were now warm inside of a homely house with the damp and dangerous twilight well behind them. “We all know that never works! But parents do have to try.” He shook his head, laughing.

“Well, I was lucky to have you.”

“Not everyone would agree with you. Although Elrond finally forgave us. He had trusted Erestor and I with the tasks of looking after the heirlooms and treasures of Imladris. 'Restor got the library and I got the kids! I didn’t handle my side very well, did I?”

“Get out of here! I was nearly a thousand years old before you noticed how much I wanted you and another 500 years before you succumbed to my flirting and stalking. And it’s been another millennium more since anyone thought of our union in terms of any impropriety.”

“Ah. Yes! I’m a legend and you’re my lucky partner!”

“That’s about it.” Elladan received a sweet kiss in return for his uncharacteristically sweet capitulation to Glorfindel’s teasing.

When they broke apart, he said, “But, don’t get too smug. Maybe when we cross over to the West I will be the more adulated. I do have a more impressive list of antecedents—all the way back to Finwë first King of the Noldor! Why there are those who even tell me that I remarkably resemble Dior Eluchíl, Dior the Fair . . . .”

“Please, what a choice! A pretty face, known for his vanity, poor judgment, and his loss of the realm of the great Thingol!”

The affectionate squabbling of two stalwart lovers, masked the melancholy sounds of a winter night’s wind. Come summer, there would be time enough to face future losses or sorrow, but a well-stoked fire, warm embraces, and lasting friendship seemed most consoling when the wind blew cold.

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
blslarner
Jan. 1st, 2017 10:54 pm (UTC)
Love the banter.
heartofoshun
Jan. 1st, 2017 11:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
silver_trails
Jan. 2nd, 2017 12:33 am (UTC)
This is perfect! Thank you for writing this for me! I love it! =)
heartofoshun
Jan. 2nd, 2017 12:49 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I hoped you'd like it. Happy New Year!
silver_trails
Jan. 2nd, 2017 01:06 am (UTC)
Happy New Year to you too! =)
ignoblebard
Jan. 2nd, 2017 04:19 am (UTC)
I really like this take on the Elladan/Glorfindel relationship. It's one I don't often see and one that would probably be a turn off in the hands of a lesser author. I always enjoy descriptions of the Elven realms after the rings are gone and the winters being longer and harsher is a good representation of that.

I like Elladan being prone to colds and that at least some of his illness has to do with his grief. A very real thing that he recognizes. That's a nice touch. I also love the Arwen and Aragorn descriptions. I always thought it must be hard for the twins to see that mortality in their sister.

Of course the centerpiece here is the relationship and that's handled beautifully with Glorfindel being so protective and Elladan relying on Glorfindel's strength to see him through. Their banter is sweet and affectionately teasing and Elladan's crack about Dior was spot on. I laughed at Erestor getting the library and Glorfindel getting the kids.

It's so nice this time of year to curl up in a comfy chair and read stories set in winter and depicting the comforting warmth of home.

heartofoshun
Jan. 2nd, 2017 04:28 am (UTC)
This is what I mean about you being an enabler! You make this story sound terrific! I wanna read it. thank you so much and I appreciate your selfless Beta at the last minute with no warning. Wow! If I were rich and famous I would have you on my payroll!

Thanks again. Back in the day throwing something into a fic like that stuff about the head cold could start a stupid discussion which would last for months. We have matured as a fandom to some extent, haven't we?

Thank you so much again for the Beta and the lovely comment. You do say nice things when we are wrapping a story up, but in the rush of the moment they are never that detailed. It's terrific to get a comment like this.
ignoblebard
Jan. 2nd, 2017 04:44 am (UTC)
You make this story sound terrific! I wanna read it.

Well give it a try, it's really good!

I don't know if we've matured as a fandom or if we're all just getting too old and tired to argue. lol I've always been easy going as far as that stuff goes, and your take on canon gives me more depth and insight into Tolkien's world.

You know I always love reading your stories. The way you write just speaks to me and I'm so lucky you allow me to beta for you. I should put you on my payroll, writing Elf stories for me and keeping my imagination fed.
curiouswombat
Jan. 2nd, 2017 03:55 pm (UTC)
You have said, so much better than I would, all the things I thought as I read this; so I am simply going to second it!
heartofoshun
Jan. 2nd, 2017 07:26 pm (UTC)
Thank, Wombat for reading it! I'm glad you liked it. (Still catching up and am now finishing a character biography today.)
hhimring
Jan. 2nd, 2017 09:35 am (UTC)
What a comforting story to read when you've caught a cold (as I have). Fortunately, my cold is not as bad as Elladan's! Especially as I don't have Glorfindel to carry me down a cliff.
Lovely story, Oshun--the contrast between that lonely, anxious ride and the warmth and banter between the lovers.
heartofoshun
Jan. 2nd, 2017 03:07 pm (UTC)
I had fun imagining we had a big, strong, take-charge type like Glorfindel around here. I have a cold and Laura has strep throat.

Thanks for reading and commenting! Hope you feel well soon.
talullahred
Jan. 2nd, 2017 07:24 pm (UTC)
So sweet. :) I love the old couple feeling their conversation has. They fit so very nicely together.
heartofoshun
Jan. 2nd, 2017 07:28 pm (UTC)
I liked the idea of melancholy without horrible handwringing. They do have one another and they will have a life together after those last days in Middle-earth.

Thanks so much for reading it!!
indy1776
Jan. 2nd, 2017 08:09 pm (UTC)
Poor Elladan! At least he has Glorfindel.
heartofoshun
Jan. 2nd, 2017 08:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and commenting, Indy!
ysilme
Jan. 2nd, 2017 10:34 pm (UTC)
Awww, this is such a sweet tale! I love the idea of Peredhil being susceptible to infections and such, and how you describe Elladan's arrival - very realisitc! ;o) I find it very comforting, too, to see what a kind of life he leads and how he and Glorfindel care for each other. Lovely! :D
heartofoshun
Jan. 2nd, 2017 10:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading this and for making such a lovely comment on it. (Sorry, I am late at reading most of these stories, because I am rushing to finish a character bio--past-due.)
ysilme
Jan. 2nd, 2017 11:22 pm (UTC)
Don't worry, lots of people don't read all the stories, or a lot of them, right away - myself included! :D I haven't managed more than three so far, or rather am in the middle of my third. But it was lovely to see you participate. I hadn't planned it, needing December for my other writing, but pinch-hitting was something else.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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