Title: In the Bleak Midwinter
Author: Maggie Honeybite
Web page: www.ithilas.com/maggie/maggie.html
Betas: Tehta, Manon
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, nor do I make any profit from
them. Any writing I do is done with a deep respect for Tolkien and out of
an abiding love for his Elves.
Feedback: It really does make my day. :)
Archiving: Library of Moria, Galadhrim.net, Peredhil.com,
Melethryn.net, OEAM, Elf Fetish; if you want to archive it, just ask.
Summary: On a cold winter night in Lindon, things heat up between the High
King and his herald for the very first time. PWP. Can be read
as part of the "Sweetness and Gall" story arc, but also stands alone.
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Manon for the beta job, to AC for help with research,
and to Circe for motivating me to finally get this thing written. Thanks
also to Tehta for her editing help.
Lindon, SA 250
Elrond shivered and pulled his thick wool cloak tighter around him.
His hands, reddened from the cold, clutched the rough fabric in a futile effort
to stay warm. The wind from the sea was no gentle breeze; instead of
easing the bitter chill, it multiplied its effects tenfold. The fine
sea spray froze in mid-air, covering all clothing with a coating of frost,
dampening wool and making it heavy and unpleasant to the touch. Elrond's
eyelashes were wet with it, and his exposed skin smarted from the water droplets
that had turned into tiny pinpricks of ice.
"Cold?" Gil-galad turned to him with a grin.
Although the High King's dark hair hung in a wet mass around his shoulders
and his cheeks were ruddy from the frigid air, his spirits were not dampened.
He stood tall and unbowed, meeting the weather head-on, as if the unmerciful
whip of the wind were a gentle caress.
"I'm frozen to the core," Elrond replied truthfully, for indeed, his very
bones felt as if they had turned to ice. "Aren't you?"
Gil-galad laughed and shook his head, sending his half-frozen braids flying,
a few wet tendrils clinging to his mouth. He spread his arms and raised
his face up to the onslaught of the biting gusts. "Frozen? Nay,
I feel alive!" he called out, his voice carrying far across the Gulf of Lhûn.
Catching Elrond's sceptical expression, he smiled and ran a hand through
his damp hair. "Such weather shakes me awake, makes the blood in my
veins run faster. Just like a good sparring match. Isn't that
right, my friend?"
The question was addressed to their third companion, who turned to the High
King and clapped him on the back in a gesture of familiarity. Elrond
Ever since Gildor Inglorion's arrival a few days earlier Elrond had felt
on edge, though he would be hard-pressed to say why. Gil-galad and Gildor
were old friends who had not seen each other in many years; it was only natural
that their exchanges would be informal, intimate even. It was to be
expected that they would clasp hands, embrace and sit close in the steam
bath, unembarrassed by each other's nudity. Still, Elrond felt distinctly
uncomfortable to see someone act so forward with his King. During his
mere three days in Lindon, Gildor had said and done things Elrond had not
dared to say or do in the past two hundred years.
"It is good to make the blood run fast," Gildor replied, glancing at Gil-galad
with an expression Elrond could not read. "One cannot afford to sleepwalk
through life -- especially not in times like ours."
"Wise words indeed," Gil-galad said. "And all the more reason to go
hunting tomorrow! A visit from an old friend would not be complete without
a midwinter hunt. The mountain forest is full of game, our hounds are
famed for their keen senses, and much has been said of your skills with a
With that, Gil-galad put his arm around Gildor's shoulder and gave it a
hearty squeeze, inclining his head toward him so that strands of their hair
mingled, black against gold.
Elrond suddenly felt very tired. The day had been long, that was true,
but it was not the ride along the coast or the intense sparring match that
had so worn him out. It was rather the constant presence of Gildor,
with his smug smile and easy manner that felt like an intrusion. Elrond
had never before seen Gil-galad give his affection so freely. It galled
him to think that the ease between the two warriors might be borne of something
more than shared camaraderie.
"What say you we go sit by the fire and enjoy a cup of hot mead?"
Gil-galad's voice sounded inviting, but the last thing Elrond wanted was
to spend another evening with Gildor. It was far better to be alone.
"The day has been long and we rise early on the morrow... I hope you
do not think me rude if I bid you good-night now," he said, catching a flicker
of disappointment on Gil-galad's face and a shadow of a mocking smile on Gildor's.
"Sleep well then," the High King replied, and the low timbre of his voice
was enough to send rays of warmth to Elrond's chilled centre.
Elrond bowed, cast a last glance at the dim lights flickering across the
bay, then turned and walked away. Ice-encrusted snow crunched under
his feet, and even the blue-and-silver banners that usually flew proudly in
the wind now hung limply, weighted down with the heaviness of the season.
He thought longingly of dry clothes and his warm bed, and of the privacy of
the night, where he would be free to think of his King without feeling Gildor's
subtle derision burning into his back.
When he pushed open the wooden door, he found his chamber cold and dark,
lit only by the glimmer of embers from a nearly burned-out fire. He
crossed the room to the fireplace, noticing with dismay that his breath formed
a misty cloud in the chilled air. It would take some time to heat the
room, with its walls of solid stone. Thinking enviously of the hot mead
he had declined, Elrond began piling logs on the near-dead fire and stoking
the embers into a flame.
He had just managed to coax the fire back to life and was about to remove
his wet cloak and boots when he heard a familiar rap on the door. The
sound was distinctive enough in its authority to leave no doubt as to the
identity of the visitor.
With his heart beating faster, Elrond crossed over to the threshold and
pulled the door open. He was greeted with the sight of amused grey
eyes, a roguish smirk and two hands offering him a cup of enticingly hot
"I thought this might help rid you of your chill," Gil-galad's voice rumbled,
and Elrond immediately felt warmer.
"Thank you, my Lord."
He took the cup with gratitude, and brought it to his lips. The mead
burned on the way down, blazing a path of heat to his stomach and banishing
the cold. It felt good.
"Thank you," he repeated with relief. Setting the cup down on a nearby
table, he reached for the fastening on his cloak, which still clung to him,
heavy and damp.
"Let me help. Your fingers are frozen and clumsy." Gil-galad
brushed Elrond's hands aside. Undoing the cloak, he lifted it off his
herald's shoulders, carefully gathering the wet braids in his large hands
to prevent snagging. He threw the cloak over a chair, but let his hands
linger, smoothing Elrond's hair away from his face and carefully tucking it
behind each ear.
"Much better..." Gil-galad whispered in a tone Elrond had not heard before.
His eyes, too, held Elrond's gaze a few moments longer than was his wont.
"I would not have you trembling from the cold."
A shiver of anticipation ran down Elrond's spine like a sudden flame, culminating
in a swell of desire between his thighs. His senses reeled from the
closeness of his King -- the scent of leather and metal on Gil-galad's hands,
the roughness of his thumbs against Elrond's sensitive ears. The air
of authority radiating from the older Elf was a force to be reckoned with
even at a distance. With mere inches separating them, Elrond found Gil-galad's
masculine appeal to be headier than the most intoxicating draught.
«This is why you never get too near to him,» Elrond reminded
himself, alarmed by the intensity of his body's response to the High King's
touch. «Now calm down before you show yourself to be a complete
fool. His actions are spurred by friendship, nothing more. Do
not disgrace yourself by reacting like a hot-blooded youth.»
As if to confirm Elrond's silent argument, Gil-galad stepped back and let
his hands drop, instantly banishing the electricity that had passed between
them to the realm of the conjectural.
"Rest well. I'll see you at first light."
"Good night, my Lord." Elrond's voice was less than steady.
The door closed behind the retreating figure, sending in a gust of cold
wind that made the flames hiss in the fireplace. Elrond exhaled and
stumbled backwards until his hands made contact with one of the heavy wooden
bedposts. He closed his eyes and slumped against the carved pillar,
welcoming its solidity. «You are no better than a blushing maiden,"
he scolded himself. «One touch, one look from him and your knees
quiver. For shame... A warrior should have more self-control.»
Yet, despite this harsh reprimand and the embarrassment that reddened his
face, Elrond found that he could not ignore the ache that pulsed in his groin.
Fully aware that his actions were rash and reminiscent of his younger, more
impulsive self, he wasted no time in loosening the lacings of his breeches
and slipping a cold hand beneath the fabric.
His fingers grasped his erection and gave it a few forceful strokes, the
chill of his palm against the more delicate, desire-warmed skin adding a certain
thrill to the familiar pleasure. In his mind's eye he saw Gil-galad's
face and heard the High King's voice whisper his name, its rich timbre resonating
in his ears.
"Elrond, I..." The door suddenly swung open and, to his utter mortification,
Elrond found himself looking into Gil-galad's astonished face.
"I just came back to ask if you..." the King broke off and stared in fascination
at Elrond's right hand, which, though concealed by folds of heavy cloth, was
quite conspicuous in its actions.
"Elbereth..." Elrond quickly withdrew his hand from its hiding place and
set about hastily doing up his lacings, letting his hair fall across his face
to conceal his blazing cheeks.
"Nay..." Gil-galad whispered, "do not hide such beauty from view..."
With his eyes still focused on the very place Elrond's shaking fingers were
trying so desperately to cover, the King advanced with measured steps.
His lips slowly curved into a smile.
"It seems your hands are skilled at many things, meldir. I've seen
them grip both sword and bow, but never..." he glanced up into Elrond's wide
eyes "...never a weapon of such surpassing loveliness..."
Elrond blushed crimson. Gil-galad's voice was a low growl, and the
High King's unexpected appearance, far from being a deterrent to the pleasurable
course Elrond had set for himself, actually caused the flames of his desire
to burn brighter. Gil-galad's face reflected neither dismay nor disgust,
but rather amusement and mischief.
The King closed the distance between them with a few deliberate strides.
Gazing deep into Elrond's eyes, he sought the hand that had been busy in his
breeches only a few moments earlier, and kissed the palm. Then he reached
for Elrond's clumsily tied lacings.
"Allow me to continue what I so rudely interrupted..."
"My Lord... you need not..." Elrond's chest rose and fell in a rapid rhythm
and his eyes betrayed yearning and alarm in equal measure.
"But I want to. Sweet Peredhel... let me touch you..."
The words reached Elrond's ears as if through a haze. Breathless and
hardly daring to believe Gil-galad's actions, he found himself pressed against
the carved bedpost as the High King's powerful hands grasped and stroked him
until he thought he would crumble under their insistence.
Those same hands whose touch he had imagined on nights the wind howled outside
his window, eyes closed tight and his own grip working guiltily under the
covers, those same impossibly long fingers that had wielded both sword and
spear now held him in their mastery, commanding his pleasure at their will.
Elrond leaned against Gil-galad's broad chest and buried his face in the
King's long hair, powerless to do anything but succumb to the erotic thrill.
"Is this what you do when the door has shut behind me, lirimaer?" Gil-galad's
breath teased Elrond's ear. "When you touch yourself in the darkness,
is it my face you see? Is it my name you cry out?"
Gil-galad accentuated his words with a firmer grasp on Elrond's sex, his
other hand working its way under waterlogged cloth to squeeze a cold buttock.
"Yes..." The long-overdue admission fell through clenched teeth.
"Say it." The High King's voice had dropped nearly an octave, his tone authoritative
and demanding. "I want to hear you say my name."
Pressed firmly against the bedpost, with Gil-galad's hands urging him ever
closer to his pinnacle, Elrond felt the tide of pleasure come in. Its
currents circled about his feet and knees, tugging and coaxing, climbing upwards.
Delightful sensation spread and grew, like a force of nature, not to be denied.
Wave after wave crashed against him, each stronger than the last, until finally
the undertow gripped his thighs and pulled him, unresisting, into a vortex
of spinning, dizzying bliss. The sea roared in his ears and he felt
his legs give way.
As his cry echoed through the stone chamber, Elrond felt a hot mouth cover
his in a possessive kiss. A strong arm held him up and kept him from
falling, the High King's other hand still stroking his shaft.
Gradually, the rushing current of sensation slowed to a trickle and a languid
contentment pervaded Elrond's body. He sank deeper into Gil-galad's
arms, savouring the closeness of the High King's solid bulk. It felt
even better than he had imagined it would: the warrior's sinewy muscle
all dormant strength and silent power.
Looking up, Elrond beheld Gil-galad's eyes. The look in them -- playful,
hot and inviting -- was enough to make him forget any qualms or hesitations
he might have had about their encounter. His beloved King, whom he had
coveted for what felt like an Age, had come to him and loved him. Elrond
would not ask why -- not yet, though the time for questions would no doubt
come later. «Let the morning bring what misgivings it will,»
he thought. «Tonight he is mine.»
With that, he slid his hands down Gil-galad's back, feeling the muscles
shift under his fingers, then brought them down to cradle the High King's
rear. "I would touch you and please you the way you have pleased me,"
he said hoarsely, and tightened his fingers' hold.
"Yes..." Gil-galad's answer was more a growl than a whisper. "Put
your hands on me."
Elrond did not have to be told twice. Deftly, his fingers parted heavy
wool and leather, diving under damp garments to touch hidden skin. Gil-galad
arched into his touch, pulling off Elrond's clothes in turn.
"You're shivering," the High King whispered. "You should get these wet things
off. Get under the blankets..." He motioned with his head toward the
bed. His hands, accustomed to being obeyed, tugged at Elrond's shirt,
nearly ripping it in two. His mouth never stopped seeking out Elrond's
They tumbled down on the wide bed, cleaving to each other and pulling the
rough blankets over them. Elrond found himself on his back, with Gil-galad
half on him, between his parted thighs. He trembled still, partly from
the chill, which seemed to seep out of his pores, and partly from the sight
of his King, who leaned over him in an attitude of dominance, like a hunter
over his prey.
"Still shivering..." Gil-galad smiled and ran a calloused palm up Elrond's
thigh. "I could warm you..."
Elrond looked down with apprehension as Gil-galad's hands found their way
to his cleft and lingered.
"Let me..." The urgency in Gil-galad's plea was such that Elrond could only
nod. The High King's fingers began to probe.
Elrond would later wonder at the gentleness and dexterity of those fingers,
which entered him slowly, teasingly making him crave an unfamiliar pleasure.
At this moment, however, all other thoughts paled next to the wonder of having
Gil-galad above him, the hale King so gloriously naked, his heavy erection
brushing against Elrond's leg.
"Have you any salve?"
"It would ease our way..." Gil-galad arched a knowing eyebrow.
"Oh. Shelf... corner..."
Elrond felt cold air chill his limbs as the blankets were pulled aside and
Gil-galad rose from the bed. He watched in anticipation as the tall
Elf's feet trod on the frigid stone floor. In a moment, Gil-galad was
back, the straw mattress shifting under his weight.
"Where were we..." The King leaned over his herald again.
Elrond had once watched his King calm a young horse startled by a violent
thunderstorm. The colt, clearly terrified of the noise, had reared and
neighed, flaring its nostrils and tearing at its bonds in a desperate attempt
to break free. Unafraid, Gil-galad had approached it slowly, arms outstretched
and voice soothing all the while. The animal had shied away at first,
but was soon nuzzling at Gil-galad's palm as he gently stroked its flank.
The memory, which suddenly surfaced out the depths of his mind, unsought
and all but forgotten, seemed oddly appropriate, for now it was Elrond who
bucked under the High King's hand -- though not in fear -- and Elrond whom
Gil-galad hushed with his touch and soft words.
Even after he had sheathed himself, in a push surprisingly careful and restrained
for one who usually moved with such robust self-assurance, Gil-galad continued
to run his fingers up and down Elrond's thighs, caressing and appeasing, almost
as if afraid that his actions might cause fright.
A strange new awareness opened up within Elrond and he was overcome with
wonder, not only at the intimacy of the act itself but at the knowledge that
what he had thought unattainable had actually come to pass, for now Gil-galad
was moving inside him, and Elrond was giving of himself like he had never
before given, and yet taking in return. And above all this, there was
the feel of Gil-galad's breath on his skin and the sight of the High King's
face -- open, unguarded and so close.
As Gil-galad's thrusts grew fiercer and more intent on achieving their aim
and his mouth twisted in a grimace that might have been taken for pain were
it not accompanied by a groan of the purest pleasure, Elrond could only marvel
at how such a primitive pantomime could be so beautiful and how their bodies'
graceless striving could seem as fine a thing as ever there was -- the ridiculous
miraculously made sublime.
Afterwards, they clung to each other quite unlike two hardened warriors,
unwilling to let the immediacy of the moment pass. It wasn't until the
wind rattled the windowpane that they pulled apart. For a long time
they gazed at each other in silence, their recent actions having made words
Finally Gil-galad spoke, "Gildor will be wondering where I've gone.
I left him with a roaring fire and a cask full of mead."
"He should be happy enough then."
Gil-galad smiled at the note of jealousy that had crept into Elrond's voice.
His eyes glinting with amusement, he ran his thumb across Elrond's lips, then
leaned in for a leisurely kiss.
"You're right. He will come to no harm if he spends the evening alone,"
he said, pulling back.
"I only meant--"
Gil-galad placed his index finger against Elrond's mouth.
"You need not explain that which I can read on your face. You have
looked on him with suspicion since the very hour he arrived in Lindon, though
you made great attempts to hide your disapproval."
In an impatient motion, Elrond twisted his head to the side, freeing his
lips of the King's silencing finger.
"I had no cause to be wary of him--"
"And yet wary of him you were. I could see it." Gil-galad cut
him off again. "At first it pained me to see you disfavour him so, but
Elrond saw the expression on the High King's face soften.
"Then what?" he asked.
"Then I realized that the reason for your guarded reaction might be cause
for joy rather than distress."
Gil-galad paused. For the first time ever, Elrond saw him looking
uncertain, as if a few words had the power to confound the warrior who trembled
before no foe, no matter how terrible.
"Joy?" Elrond asked.
"It was Gildor who helped me see that you might not be altogether indifferent...
to me." Gil-galad sought Elrond's eyes. "As a man."
He smiled again and all traces of timidity seemed to vanish from his bearing.
Quirking an eyebrow, he added, "Imagine my delight when I found you engrossed
so completely in..."
Now it was Elrond's hand that flew up and quickly covered Gil-galad's mouth.
Laughing, they wrestled on the bed, finally settling back in each other's
arms and pulling the blankets closely around them.
"What happened here just now... What we did..." Searching for words,
Gil-galad looked into Elrond's face. "I am glad of it."
"What of you?" The uncertainty was back in the High King's voice.
Elrond brought his mouth up to Gil-galad's ear.
"I am warm," he whispered.
Notes: meldir – friend (male)
lirimaer – lovely one
On Elves and their resistance to the cold: Although it is generally
accepted that Elves handle cold quite well (Legolas on Caradhras, for instance),
the biting chill was an essential element of this story, and one I could not
simply dispense with. Tolkien does say, in "Of Tuor and His Coming to
Gondolin" (Unfinished Tales), that "Tuor and Voronwë were tormented by
the cold" (p. 50 in my edition). Although Tuor and Voronwë *did*
have the Fell Winter to contend with, and not just any cold day, and although
"In the Bleak Midwinter" is set in the Second Age, and not the First, I did
not think I'd be straying too far from canon if I made Elrond suffer from
the effects of the cold weather.