Play Fair 6/? – Did I fucking stutter?

Authors; azzy & erestorjunkie
Title; Play Fair.
Fandom; LoTr
Rating: M
WIP; 6/?
Pairrings: Haldir/Maedhros, Haldir/Echtelion,
Warnings: Language, crack, smut. AU (very much so!)
Summary; Middle eart is lost to the infection, and all the surviving elves are safe in Valinor. But since when have things ever really gone like you wanted them to, and how does ‘happily ever after’ work out for them?
AN; Yeah well so we just weren’t done with this craziness. This is the sequel to Play Dead, and we strongly suggest that you read that first, otherwise this will make even less sense than it does already. AN II; Sorry this is sorta short, but figured we better update. =)

Did I fucking stutter?

Maddy was surlier than normal today, and Maeglin was in no mood to deal with it. While he was glad to get out of his cell once a week, and even enjoyed his afternoons with Maedhros on occasion, this was not such an occasion.

“Either tell me, or quit sulking.” He finally demanded after Maedhros refused to even pick up the offered pen.

“Shut the fuck up,” Maddy snapped and continued to sit with his arms stubbornly folded. “What do you care,” he sneered. “You get out of your box whether I play nice or not.”

“That is not the point,” Maeglin struggled to be patient. “If you do not participate, they will not allow us to continue.”

Stony silence from across the table.

“Have it your way.” Maeglin began to collect the pen and sheets of paper he had put out. He was carefully aligning the edges of papers when Maedhros hand shot out and sent them fluttering to the floor.

“Look, you anal retentive retard,” Maddy snarled, “Quit with the fucking rain man, OCD shit.”

Maeglin sat very still. He really wanted to beat the hell out of the red head in front of him, but he knew that would mean sitting alone for another 2 or 3 millennia, so he struggled to keep himself under control.

“Too much of a pussy to so anything about it?” The belligerent red head said. “Too much of a mama’s boy to stand up for yourself?”

With a flash of insight that bordered on prescience, Maeglin realized what Maddy’s problem was. Just because the guards were not allowed to speak to the two prisoners, it did not mean they did not speak around them. Maedhros had gotten a visit from his mother earlier that day.

“Didn’t have a nice visit with your dear mummy?” Maeglin said snidely as he picked up his papers and restacked them. One was slightly bent and the stack was not even, which vexed him almost as much as Maedhros.

~*~

Etchelion checked the lights in the library, and then turned off the last lamp on his desk, calling it a night. Haldir still stirred in his subconcious, it was better this way, He wouldn’t have to deal with the ‘what ifs’ or any dilemmas of any kind. The keys jingled as as stepped out and pulled the large metal doors closed, locking it up. He smiled at the guards at the exit, ”Goodnight,” He said with a little polite smile, like he would every day. The guards wished him a good night as well, just like they would every day.

Haldir took a deep breath watching as Etchelion made his way down the curved road from the halls towards where he stood. He could still leave, pretend this never happened. Truth is he felt horrible for taking his anger out on the Librarian. He had been a perfect gentleman about it, unlike Maddy. So in the end he stepped out of the shadows, ”Hi.” He said lamely, amused as Etchelion jumped a little in fright before he saw who it was.

”Ah Haldir, Hi.. Oh, I am really sorry about that earlier, I didn’t mean to be insensetive about it, I mean I probably should have -”

Haldir held up a hand to stop Etchelion’s steam of words. ”I am the one who’s sorry.” He eyed the books in Etchelion’s arms. ”Planned on some light reading I see.. Flora and Fauna of Beleriand – Second edition.. wow, just wow.”

”Uhm.. well, there is this.” Etchelion flipped through the books in his arms, and pulled out, ‘Hobbits – Second breakfasts, the cookbook.’ He smiled disarming at Haldir, ”Glorfindel eats like a pig. Or a Hobbit if you will, which you wouldn’t cause that would be racist, and I don’t think that you are – racist I mean, I just don’t peg you for the type who’d -”

”Etchelion.” Haldir sighed, ”Stop yourself.”

”Sorry?” Etchelion tucked the book back into the pile.

”Maybe I should let you get home to Glorfindel.” Haldir smiled, ”He doesn’t strike me as the most patient of elves.”

”Oh he can wait.” Etchelion’s smile widened, ”You don’t think that we.. Oh” Etchelion laughed softly, it was a pretty laughter that Haldir suddenly wished he had heard some more. ”We’re not, together – that is.”

”Oh?”

”We are room mates, that’s all.” Etchelion shrugged, ”He just likes to embarrass me cause most think there’s more to it.”

Haldir nodded, and then smiled a little smile which he saw mirrored on Etchelion. ”So he wouldn’t mind if I took you out for a late night dinner?”

”Absolutely not!” Etchelion beamed, ”I mean..” He shuffled his feet, ”I mean he wouldn’t mind at all, and neither would I.”

Haldir laughed, ”Alright, what do you feel like eating?” He slowly started to walk down to the huge market, amused as Etchelion fell in line next to him, still clutching the books..

”Hmm.. Something from Sirion? The have the best seafood.”

”Sirion food it is.” Haldir smiled, ”I know just the place.”

~*~

Etchelion held up his glass to toast with Haldir, ”What’s the occasion?” He asked, happy that he figeted less after a couple of drinks and Haldir’s easy smiles.

”Actually,” Haldir said, ”This is my apology for blowing up in your face yesterday. I was way out of line, and for that I am sorry.”

”Oh don’t worry about it.” Etchelion said, ”I am normally surrounded by.. uhm.. unsane individuals, so your tantrum was nothing new.” He studied Haldir’s face which seemed to falter a little, ”I mean.. oh my that came out wrong.”

”Yeah.” Haldir downed his drink.

”I mean, I don’t mind. And no appology needed.” Etchelion said shyly, tucking some of his hair behind his ear, aimlessly poking his food with a fork. This had gone all wrong man. All wrong. Why couldn’t be be confident and charming? He supposed people were shocked at first when they met him, since the history books had him down as this gung-ho fella. Truth is that it’s easy to be brave and confident when you are following orders. And when he had no orders, he just didn’t know what to do with his muddled thoughts, like his brain fired too rapidly so it spilled out his mouth.

”Etchelion,” Haldir said leaning in over the table to establish eye contact with the other elf, and when it happened, he felt like his mouth went dry. Where as Maddy had the most stunning green eyes he had ever seen, then Etchelion’s were the color of the sea in the summer.

”Elly,” Etchelion whispered, staring back at Haldir for a moment and then looking down at his plate again, ”Just call me Elly, everyone does.”

”Alright.” Haldir smiled taking another sip of his new drink, what the hell was it with these first age elves and the nicknames? For an insane moment he wondered how it would go over if he were to visit the lord and lady of Lothlorien and went ‘yo Gads and Cebby’. An insane chuckle made it’s way through his throat.

”What’s so funny?” Etchelion asked with a questioning expression.

”First age elves.” Haldir chuckled.

”That’s a first.” Etchelion rose a confused brow.

”Your ridiciolous flair for nicknames.”

”Oh well, have you ever ‘tried’ to pronounce someone’s name in Quenian?” He shrugged, ”Guess it started with the royals and then moved down ranks.”

”Why am I not surprised,” Haldir stated drily thinking of Maedhros, giving everyone and all obnoxious nicknames.

”Exactly.” Etchelion chuckled as if he had read Haldir’s thoughts.

Haldir laughed too, it felt fantastic to laugh, he felt like he hadn’t laughed in what seemed like aeons. Etchelion knew he should leave right now, before he started to like Haldir for real, nothing good would come from it. He was itching to tell Haldir how heartbroken Maedhros sounded when the conversation fell on Haldir, and that he knew why he had done what he had done, no matter how stupid it seemed. Etchelion remembered how Maedhros had cracked when Fingon had moved on, there had been rumors about restraints and sedatives for a while. Etchelion was sure that Maedhros just wanted to make Haldir happy, and shield himself from the blow in the same. Poor sod really. But he didn’t want Haldir to stop smiling and laughing, and he knew he would, should he mention it.

”Hey Haldir.” Etchelion said, before he could think, because if he had he would probably have kept his trap shut. ”You were close to someone called Erestor, right?”

”Why yes.” Haldir said with a shrug, ”He was Elrond’s advisor, and well yes, I knew Erestor very well, is he alright? I mean I just assumed he was at the ward or something.”

”He was.” Etchelion said, ”He was at my house the other day, so I guess the Ward let him out, or maybe Lorien I don’t know.” Etchelion sighed and finally pushed his plate away, ”Anyway, I think he needs a friend. He seemed pretty out of it.”

”He threw a tantrum?”

”Yeah, well we have our silly nicknames, you second age elves have your tantrums I suppose.” Etchelion snickered at his own unfunnines.

”I haven’t seen him at all, I didn’t even know he was in Tirion.” Haldir admitted, unsure how to react to the lame attemp at a joke. He could not decide if he felt pity for Ellie or found it unbearably endearing that the other was clearly unable to hold a conversation. ”It really went badly for him there at the end, so I wasn’t too surprised that they kept him so long, but if he is still acting unstable I can’t imagine why he is here.”

As much as he enjoyed spending time with Ellie, he was now worried about Erestor. Where was he now?

”I’m sure he is fine,” Echthelion tried to reassure Haldir. ”He was just a little emotional when he left.”

”Yeah, that is not fine, Ellie,” Haldir sighed. ”At least not for him. I should maybe go look for him.”

”Did he not have any other friends here?” Ellie was starting to worry that Erestor was more than just a friend of Haldir’s. Had he just walked into another mess?

”Of course!” Haldir spluttered, offended for his friend that anyone would think he had no friends. ”He is normally quite calm and charming, he has lots of friends.”

”Then he went to see one of them.” When was he going to learn to not bring up subjects that were going to make Haldir upset?

~*~
The knock at his door startled Haldir. The sun was not even up, who would be knocking on his door? His heart started to race. What had Orophin done now? He was certain it had something to do with his brother as he grabbed a pair of loose pants and shuffled to the door. He still had not decided if he should act shocked that his brother had done something stupid or resigned when he opened the door in the pale pre-dawn light.
It was not who he expected. Standing there, looking small and deflated was Erestor. His pale face was streaked as if he had been crying and his large green eyes were red rimmed and showed dark circles like soot underneath.

“Erestor!” Haldir could not hide his excitement at seeing his old friend, despite the sad state of the other elf. “You’re here!” He threw his arms around Erestor and tugged him inside. No sound from Orophin’s room told him his brother had either not returned home, or was too far gone to hear the noise coming from the front room.

“Have seat, I’ll get us so tea,” He directed the dark haired elf to the small couch in the living room as hurried to the kitchen to start water boiling. Instead of waiting in the next room, Erestor followed Haldir into the kitchen and hovered uncertainly near the door.

“I’m sorry to wake you up,” he said with uncharacteristic meekness. “I should have waited until you got up, but I was getting tired wandering around.”

Haldir stopped as he took the cups out of the cabinet and turned to look at his guest. “I thought before dawn seemed like a strange time to let you come back, so when did you get here?” Haldir asked, concerned. Ecthelion had already know Erestor was back, why had it taken the elf so long to make it to his door?

Erestor looked down, avoiding his friend’s eyes and mumbled, “I wasn’t sure where to go,” he admitted. Haldir decided to ignore the evasion for now and put a cup on the table and gestured for Erestor to sit. “I was hoping may be you could help me find somewhere to live?” he asked hopefully. He couldn’t help but notice how much warmer Haldir was than Glorfindel had been when he first arrived.

“Sure!” Haldir agreed eagerly. “We’ll work on that later today.” He smiled at Erestor and got a weak, crooked grin in return. “There are lots of nice places around here, we’ll just go take a nap and start looking when you are a little less tired.” He reached out and stroked the tangled black hair. Erestor did not look very good, had the Valar made a mistake by letting him come home so soon? There was also the issue of Haldir’s cowardly reaction at the end. Did Erestor remember? Did he forgive him?

“Look, about what happened in the Mirkwood,” Haldir started, but Erestor shook his head violently.

“Don’t,” was all he would say. “Don’t talk about it.”

“Sure,’ Haldir agreed softly as the kettle began to whistle. With his back to Erestor, he poured the hot water into the tea pot and brought the steaming vessel to the table. “Why don’t you go take a shower once we finish here and we’ll go back to bed for a while. Orophin might be home soon, so I am afraid you will have to sleep in my room.” The tension from the elf across the table from him increased to a startling level at his words.

“I’ll stay out here if it makes you more comfortable,” Haldir offered, confused. Before, even the mention of a chance to sleep in Haldir’s bed would have been met with lewd comments and suggestions that may not have even been physically possible. But instead Erestor just shook his head.

“Don’t worry about it,” was all he would say.

Haldir did not like this turn of events. Erestor had sometimes made him crazy with his constant attempts to seduce him, but this sad elf was nothing like his old friend.

~*~

Midmorning, Orophin had returned home and crashed around like a wounded buffalo. The noise had woken Haldir, but the exhausted Erestor had remained deeply asleep. Quietly, Haldir extracted himself from the bed and had almost made it to the door before Orophin burst in and started ranting about something that was missing, or imagined missing. When the younger brother saw Erestor still sleeping on the bed, he had really started raving.

Haldir managed to push his brother out into the hall before he woke Erestor up, but the string of insults continued. From what he could gather, Orophin was angry at Haldir for bringing a lover home, and no amount to explaining would convince the still drunk elf that Erestor was not there for sex.

The argument ended with Orophin demanding to get a turn with the dark haired elf. Having had enough from his sibling, Haldir had finally lost his temper and thrown Orophin against the wall so hard pictures fell to the floor and the walls shook.

Still shouting at each other, the pair almost didn’t notice Erestor as he slipped out of the bed room and into the living room. He was looking for his boots when the door to Orophin’s room slammed shut and Haldir crept out, looking sheepish.

“I’m sorry about that,” he said, obviously embarrassed. “I didn’t mean to wake you up.”

‘Don’t worry about it,” Erestor was braiding his hair. “It was probably time to get up anyway. I need to start looking for somewhere to live.” He gave a half-hearted smile.

“Let me get dressed,” Haldir offered. “We’ll go get something to eat and see what is open in this neighborhood. “

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