Home » Fiction

Butterflies Are Free (PG-13) Print

Written by Helmboy

20 June 2009 | 7070 words

Title: Butterflies Are Free
Author: Helmboy [email1] [email2]
Codes: LOTR, PG-13, Challenge
Disclaimer: Tolkien has the ownership. I merely entertain within his world. Nothing more than satisfaction is my payment.
Summary: Make a story where one or the other – man or elf – gives in to the other, humorous or not is fine.
Feedback: All is welcomed and response is guarenteed. Thank you in advance.

Written for the 2009 Midsummer Swap.

Request by Jade: Something that is “spur of the moment” can be wither either man or elf or even both but someone unlikely or unexpected. can either be a drunk moment that leads them into bed or a serious of events that cause them to finally give in for one night.


— In a great hall in Gondor…

“This place is funereal.”

The slightest shadow of a smirk graced soft red lips and then was suppressed. Was it there? He couldn’t be sure. Dark eyes, wise and filled with sardonic amusement cast their gaze upon him. “It has that certain… something I will grant you.”

Glorfindel, lounging elegantly in a chair glass in hand glanced at the sinuous and deceptively relaxed figure of the person in the next chair. Erestor was tall, seemingly slender, self contained and almost supernaturally tuned into the world around himself. Erestor was never surprised by anyone or anything. That is, Erestor was never surprised by anyone but himself. He, Glorfindel, could twist his elegant tail and coax publically displayed emotions from his companion that no one else could. It was his special glory, his personal project and he seldom let an opportunity pass by unattached without something of his own wit. “It does. I do recall tales from antiquity of the fabled and storied hospitality of these halls. How it has changed. And not for the good I might add.”

Erestor relaxed slightly, settling even more casually into the cushions of the divan that he had selected. It gave him a clear view of all the participants in the room as well as access to his nemesis, the talented, handsome and luminous Lord Glorfindel. “Truly. I do recall those moments myself. I am sure you do as well, moments when the Kings of Men were actually present and the quality of hospitality much improved over these latter days.”

Glorfindel nodded, smiling at a lovely woman who had passed near to him, blushing with the shyness of someone unused to Elven kind yet drawn toward its fabled exotic otherness like a bee to honey. She continued on, her cheeks flushing prettily and Glorfindel glanced at his companion. Erestor had not lost a nuance and there was only the barest of emotion visible. What it meant, Glorfindel was not sure but it was there. That counted for something, surely.

Nearby, holding a wine glass, draped prettily in expensive clothing, a handsome young man stood alone, awkwardly glancing toward the front of the room where the local dignitaries had congregated. Glorfindel studied him, noticing his slim and well-made frame, the luxury of his attire and the softness of his fair hair, shoulder length and wavy. A son of the Steward, this he remembered. Faramir, the younger son, the bright one, the one favored by Mithrandir. Gossip seeped into his mind unbidden, gossip that had been gleaned from others who had come through their own lands, conversations made over dinner distilling into sets of facts that filed into his mind one by one. This son was the second, the lesser of the two according to all accounts. That is, the lesser of the two in the eyes of his father. Lesser was in the eye of the beholder and in the minds of most, he was equal if not the better in many instances of the two sons in the eyes of everyone but his sire.

Faramir was accomplished, respected and intelligent. He was bookish but enormously capable of arms. Obviously, well-rounded and thoughtful were not the traits his father, Denethor, favored in a son. Favoring a son. The idea of it mystified Glorfindel. He had no children of his own but felt a proprietary interest in the children of friends, especially those of his beloved Elrond. His three children, all fair and accomplished, they were the children he never had. Musing on that for a moment, he pushed it out of his mind and watched as Denethor’s favored son moved to stand next to his less favored younger brother.

Tall and strong like a warrior should be, delightfully as handsome as his brother, Boromir was a martial man, that was clear. He carried himself like one, like a man who had years in saddle with sword in hand. Of course, he had. The stories of Boromir and his fighting ability were well-known throughout Elvish lands and among the men and women at arms among them.

They stood together talking, each taking delight in the company of the other and Glorfindel felt their pleasure. He took some of his own in the sibling love. Memories of a twin, loved and beloved by another flooded into his mind and he turned them over, as if turning the pages of a much loved book for a moment or two before catching the approach of the father.

Tension accrued in the younger, himself facing in the direction of the advancing father. Catching the transformation in the younger, the older brother glanced over his shoulder. His expression tightened, becoming distressed and then was gone. Turning to his brother, biting his lower lip over the discomfort that Faramir was struggling to hide, he sighed deeply. Glorfindel wondered again at the man approaching them.

Denethor had devious eyes, a pinched expression and the manner of a man with secrets. He wore contempt like a second skin and didn’t bother to hide his feelings it seemed. Glorfindel shifted to watch the moment and noted as the father leaned in, obscuring his view slightly that the tension had only increased in the two younger men. Faramir’s glance remained on his cup, fixed in his hand, lowered toward his waist. Boromir turned just a bit, unconsciously placing himself between his father and his brother. How many times have you done that, Glorfindel wondered. All his life his concluded.

As quickly as Denethor had come, he turned and left, walking toward other guests in the room. Faramir stared at his glass, stilled. Boromir turned and noticed, squeezing his brother’s arm. Faramir looked at Boromir, the older man talking intensely for a moment. Whatever he said it improved the moment, a slight sad smile forming on Faramir’s lips. Glorfindel, unaware that he had been holding his breath, exhaled.

“Interesting isn’t it,” Erestor whispered, glancing at his companion for a moment.

“Yes,” Glorfindel replied, shaking his head. “Like a spider sucking the life out of a butterfly.”

Erestor nodded, a thoughtful look on his face. “Odd isn’t it that the two of us, childless, should have more compassion for them than their own father.”

“Yes,” Glorfindel said, sighing. “I will never truly understand men.”

“You and me both, my brother,” Erestor whispered softly. “You and me both.”


—Earlier

The ride from Imladris was as long and arduous as he knew it would be though he made pains not to express it to anyone. Far be it for him to allow his great age to be used against him by the younger among their party. They had gone east to Lothlorien and had spent a few days there enjoying the company of the Lord and Lady of the Great Wood. Joined by other elves from other kingdoms, they then turned their progress toward Rohan and the hospitality of the Great Hall and its most gracious king. That had taken more time and more joined them, men in green cloaks and gleaming helmets and men in travel worn dark clothing marking them as Rangers of the North. That Glorfindel knew them all and their fathers and their father’s fathers was of little consequence to him but had been a tale of much discussion among the humans. That and his tale of the balrog, that is.

He was much amused with the surreptitious glances made in his direction when he was believed not to notice. The younger men and elves were well versed with the ‘fables’ and ‘myths’ as men were wont to call them and the ‘living history of their People’ as the elves called them and he was questioned by awkward youngsters showing a degree of respect toward him that simultaneously made him feel old as the mountains and as godlike as the Valar. It helped pass the time and enabled him to be gracious to the youngsters as they cheerfully and worshipfully volunteered to tend to his horses. Erestor, not as gifted with such a past found himself pitching his own tent and tending to his horses without a lot of help. Glorfindel, lounging by the night’s fire, would offer commentary for the Seneschal about how to fasten guy wires and hobble his horses for the night. Needless to say, he also received as evenly as he gave.

The winding path through Gondor, passing villages and small towns, huts and houses and farms was peaceful and entertaining as young children ran alongside them, waving and holding flowers and exclaiming over the beauty and mythological impossibility of seeing elven kind in their part of the country. Truly the world was blessed, truly they were blessed that the heroes of tale and song should appear among them, beautiful and elegant and so friendly. Surely there were great lords among them, heroes of the past come to life.

Passing over the Pelennor, the gleaming White City coming ever closer, he was reminded of other times, other battles, other lives that had entwined with his. Watching the clouds pass over Elrond’s face was sobering as the great lord remembered dangerous and strife-filled times long gone by. But as quickly as the old feelings had come, they passed onward, folded into a corner of his mind where old memories lay gathering dust once more.

The gathering at the city gate was loud and appreciative and by the time they reached the King’s House Glorfindel was as burdened down by flowers as everyone else. Greetings were given and a reception held in their honor attended by scions of all the great houses of men that still held sway in Gondor. It was gala and funeral, carnival and wake. Glorfindel struggled to put a finger on the twist of the circumstances that made him feel just a bit out of kilter. He could see with a glance the others felt it too but were adapting as he was to the moment.

By the time dinner had arrived things were more relaxed and as long as he kept his distance from Denethor he felt the festivities as keenly as they were intended. Toasts were long and intricate, Rohan, Lothlorien, Imladris, the Belfalis, and Gondor being feted to the nth degree as was the custom. He felt a pleasant buzz as he sat relaxed in his chair his hands folded in front of him and a smile on his handsome face. Women and men cast him fond admiring looks and he smiled sweetly finding their attentions a pleasant distraction from the ordinary flow of his everyday life. Aw, travel. It was broadening.

Sitting beside his brother, chatting with Elrond about who knew what Faramir of Gondor showed himself to be an admirable dinner companion. He knew Sindarin and spoke it with a charming accent, the accent of Gondor combining with Elvish to provide a lilt that neither possessed alone. Obviously the education that he had received from Mithrandir had paid off well in his case. Others respected and liked Faramir Glorfindel noticed but the pall cast by Denethor was deep.

Denethor. A rattler wrapped in velvet and silk. He was not right, Glorfindel thought. Something was off about him and he set himself to figuring it out until three cups later he didn’t care. The company of Aragorn, seated to his right surpassed whatever his curiosity could dredge up from the deep and fetid well that was their host.

And so the night passed, lounging on settees and comfortable chairs, watching people, speaking to people, drinking Denethor’s best wine. By the time he dragged off to bed Glorfindel was feeling a pleasant hum and no pain. That was for tomorrow he thought hugging Erestor’s shoulders more tightly than usual as he made his slow and foggy progress to the room he would use during their stay. Walking in front of them half turned as he negotiated the stairs sideways, Faramir smiled. The great and glorious Glorfindel was in his cups and the handsome elf was the sweetest and funniest sot he had ever seen. Ordered by his father to help them to their rooms, overriding Glorfindel’s assurances that he could climb steps quite well thank you, he had done so since an elfling in some far distant land that probably was still under water and Erestor’s low and barely heard chuckle, this was one duty imposed by his father that he actually enjoyed.

They made it intact and when they squeezed through the door, laughing lord and long suffering seneschal, they careened toward the bed where Glorfindel flopped flinging his arms outward and sighing with contentment. “See? I can climb stairs. Stairs are easy. Choose something difficult and I will show you skills you never knew were possessed by anyone. Ever.”

“He is very drunk,” Faramir said with a chuckle.

“He is but he is a very good drunk. He never gets angry or violent like some. Just sweet and funny,” Erestor said pausing from turning aside. “Do not tell him I said so.”

Faramir smiled and bowed slightly. “Your confession is safe with me.”

Erestor paused finding pleasure in the younger man before him. “May I trust him to you for a moment. I have to attend to my Lord.”

“I will help him into bed if it pleases you, my Lord,” Faramir said glancing at the sprawling figure of his guest on the bed.

Erestor paused a moment and nodded. “That would be most kind of you. He should not give you too much trouble. He is truly a good person even in his cups.” He turned and then paused, turning back. “Do not tell him I said so.”

“He won’t,” Glorfindel said raising his head and chuckling. “I am sure he will keep that secret too.” He dropped his head and giggled. “Ah, Erestor. Man of secrets and mystery.”

Faramir barely suppressed the grin that came over him as Erestor rolled his eyes and shrugged, turning and leaving the room.

“Is he gone?”

Faramir turned back to the golden figure sprawled and slightly disheveled on the bed. “He has.”

With a struggle Glorfindel sat up and chuckled, looking toward the door. “Gone with a swirl of corsets and disapproval.” He grinned, rubbing his chest absently with his hand. “You are Faramir of Gondor, second son of Denethor.”

Faramir bowed slightly, grinning at Glorfindel. “I am, my Lord. And you are Glorfindel, slayer of balrogs and a most astonishing figure of the First Age of our world.”

“True,” Glorfindel said burping slightly. He grinned and chuckled for a moment. “That’s me, all burps and balrogs.” He fell back, sighing. “Would you be so good as to pull off my boots, my good and most newly made friend?”

“I would do that for you, sir,” Faramir said. He reached down and gripped Glorfindel’s foot, holding fast his boot. He tugged and with effort it came off. Also coming with it was a long embroidered sock. The other came off too and when they were set aside Glorfindel struggled up, sitting and watching his toes as they wiggled in their new freedom.

“You are a miracle worker,” he said. “They were in rebellion and now they have surrendered. Feet, they demand what they demand and you defy them at your own peril.”

Faramir chuckled and moved to sit on a nearby chair watching Glorfindel with great amusement and pleasure. The elf lord was removing his shirt and was soon enveloped in its voluminous folds tugging without much luck at the garment as he struggled to remove it from his body. Rising, Faramir gripped it and pulled him free, watching as Glorfindel wadded it into a ball and threw it on the floor. “I do that to annoy Erestor.”

Faramir nodded and sat back, noting a long line of elvish script that ran from his shoulder to his elbow. The script was not Sindarin but perhaps Quenya. What it said he didn’t know. Various parts of his chest and left shoulder bore the faintest trace of scars. He could only guess of what event they were trophies.

Glorfindel sighed and looked up, their eyes meeting. “I am half naked. You will pardon my undress. My dresslessness.” He burped again, drawing a glorious smile onto his handsome face. “My lack of attire.”

“You are pardoned, my Lord,” Faramir said smiling back.

“I have tattoos and scars,” Glorfindel said. Pointing to one on his arm he tapped it. “I got this one from a knife fight. I got this one,” he continued tapping a white mark on his left wrist, “when I got too close to a bread oven.”

Faramir smiled. “A bread oven.”

“I was hungry,” Glorfindel said chuckling. He rose more steadily than Faramir would have guessed and began to tug at the fasteners on his breeches. “This is the hard part.”

“Do you wish assistance?” Faramir asked.

“Would you be a dear?” Glorfindel asked grinning widely, swiping his arm in an arc to complete an awkward and slightly unsteady bow. “I do not wish to add to my scar collection by pitching forward onto my head.”

Faramir nodded and rose, stepping in front of Glorfindel. Amusement filled his expression and he paused, thinking. “I think it would be more helpful if you were to stand behind me. If I start to fall over I believe it will be in that general direction. It usually is.” Faramir moved behind Glorfindel. “But then I could fall forward on my face as well.”

Faramir chuckled and turned the elf, ensuring that if he fell backward it would be on the bed. Moving to stand in front of him, Faramir stood arms ready, an expectant expression on his face.

Glorfindel smiled and then looked down fiddling with his belt a moment. Then he looked up, smiling again. “Did you know you smell wonderfully?”

“No,” Faramir said smiling. “Thank you.”

“Do not mention it,” Glorfindel said smiling. “I am not having much luck with my buckle.”

“Allow me,” Faramir said kneeling. He took the belt into his hands and worked it through the loop. Behind him the door opened and a deep intake of breath caught his attention. Turning his head he froze. His father was standing in the doorway with Lord Elrond and King Théoden. Letting lose of the belt he rose abruptly causing Glorfindel to lose his footing. Falling back, he landed on the bed startled at the turn of events. For a moment no one spoke. Then Faramir cleared his throat. “He needed my assistance.”

No one moved. It was silent and then Glorfindel sat up staring with amusement at the tableau before him. “You have come to tuck me in?”

Elrond grinned moving slightly into the room. “You appear to have the situation in control. I am grateful, Lord Faramir, that you would assist my friend in his… current moment of greatest dysfunction. He is unable to navigate his belt buckle at such times.”

Théoden chuckled and the moment relaxed. Faramir smiled and nodded at Elrond in gratitude. “He asked for assistance, sire.”

“And you have my gratitude at your kind response,” Elrond said once more. He looked at Glorfindel and smiled. “Do carry on, my brother.”

“Oh I shall,” Glorfindel said with a chuckle. “I wish you good evening, your worship,” he said grinning at Denethor who stood as a statue in the doorway. Jolting, his face flushing, Denethor nodded. Turning, he stepped back and Théoden joined him. Elrond, pausing, smiled at Faramir. “Thank you for tending to this man. He is greatly loved by me and all who know him.”

“It is my honor, my Lord,” Faramir said bowing slightly.

“Good luck,” Elrond said with a chuckle. He glanced at Glorfindel who was sitting on the bed braced by his arms and grinning at both of them. “You will need it.” With a chuckle, Elrond turned and left the room closing the door behind him.

“Well, that was something you do not see every day. Three lords a leaping,” Glorfindel said chuckling. “They all wished us nighty-night.”

“They did,” Faramir said shaking his head. “Do you get drunk often?”

“No. Can you not tell?” Glorfindel said rising. “Let us endeavor to make work of this infernal buckle.”

Faramir grinned and knelt again, tugging the buckle loose and bracing Glorfindel as he bent over and tugged his breeches off. Sitting down heavily, his pale skin and golden hair almost shimmering in the flickering light of candles and fireplace, he looked up at Faramir. “Are you a married man?”

Caught off guard a moment, Faramir shook his head. “I am not in that estate yet, my Lord.”

“Ah, an interesting way to put it. Estate. Real estate,” Glorfindel said. “Nor am I, I must state. I find it oppressive and yet oddly alluring at the same time.” He hiccuped and grinned.

Faramir nodded and sat down again watching with enormous interest and a growing affection the impossibly handsome and intensely amusing figure before him. “You never wed?”

“No,” Glorfindel said sighing slightly, leaning forward and affecting a conspiratorial demeanor. “I died you know.”

Faramir smiled at the offhand sound of the remark so matter-of-factly given. “So I heard.”

Grey eyes looked up, meeting his as a slight smile formed on his lips. “Most people get all perturbed when I remind them of my vulnerability. My poor and pitiful prior existence.”

“It is a fact,” Faramir replied.

“It is,” Glorfindel said leaning back on his arms again. “Death is such a… I struggle to find the word…” He sighed. “Such a bore.”

“You did much good before your passing,” Faramir said.

“You must make your life matter, it must count for something,” Glorfindel replied suddenly serious. He sat forward affixing Faramir with his darkling eyes. “That is what matters. Not all the rest. Not the unreasonable expectations of others, not someone else’s condemnation of your efforts. None of that matters.”

Faramir nodded, his father’s shadow clouding the moment before he pushed it away. “Perhaps it doesn’t but sometimes… it does.”

“Not in the long run. You must live your life and not let someone else do it for you.”

Faramir looked at Glorfindel, noting the serious expression and direct stare of his eyes. For a moment he was deadly sober and then it passed.

“Of course, I could be totally wrong,” he said scratching his arm as he yawned. “I am totally alone. No bed companion. No children.” He stopped and then grinned broadly. “I daresay I am quite pathetic.”

Faramir laughed with him, staring at Glorfindel with great fondness. “I cannot imagine you being alone but by choice.”

Glorfindel shrugged. “Where is my love? Where are my children?” He snorted and grinned broadly. “Oh woe is me!”

They both burst into laughter and then Glorfindel moved to lay back, sighing deeply. “Would you find me too abundant in my solicitude if I asked you to join me here?” He patted the bed beside him and smiled, waggling his eyebrows. “I do not bite. At least not the first time around.”

Faramir smiled and shook his head. “You wish to cuddle then.”

“Oh but that I could hope such bounty would befall me. Yes,” he said turning on his side and propping his head on his hand. “I am so terribly lonely. Humor me.” He grinned enormously, his face reflecting such youthful good nature as to be irresistible.

Faramir sat a moment and then tugged off his boots. Rising, he walked to the bed and lay down on his side facing his companion. “Happy?”

“Deliriously,” Glorfindel said. “And for one more night, my demons are exorcized.”

“Your demons,” Faramir said relaxing into the pillows.

“Oh yes.” Glorfindel relaxing as well. “They are legion. They come in the dark and demand payment.”

“Are you sure they are not prostitutes?” Faramir said grinning slightly.

For a moment it was quiet and then Glorfindel burst into laughter. “You never know!” he said. “You are funny as well as pretty.”

“I am pretty am I,” Faramir said a wry smile on his face. “Not very manly.”

“No, but accurate,” Glorfindel said reaching over and brushing blond hair from Faramir’s eyes. “You are most fetching and manly but you are also a most pretty man.” Glorfindel smiled. “Humor me.”

“If you wish, my Lord.”

“I do,” Glorfindel replied sighing softly. “You and your brother, you are soul mates.”

“Boromir is my closest and finest companion. I love him more than my own life,” Faramir said sincerely.

“I see that reflected back to you like a mirror,” Glorfindel said. “It is as good to have a champion as to be one.”

Faramir nodded. They lay quietly and then Glorfindel turned over onto his back staring at the ceiling. “Life is long and arduous sometimes. You help yourself in having companions worthy of your company. It helps one through the darkest parts of the journey.”

“And you, my Lord? Is that so for you?” Faramir asked.

Glorfindel turned his head, gazing for a moment at the younger man, the softness of his hair and the gentleness of his eyes affirming the warmth that was growing inside of him. He reached out his hand rubbing gently the line of Faramir’s jaw. “That is so for everyone,” he whispered.

It was silent for a moment and then Faramir leaned forward, his lips pressing gently against Glorfindel’s. Soft and smooth, a richness of tenderness, Glorfindel thread his fingers through Faramir’s hair pulling him closer. The kiss was as soft and sweet as any he had ever taken and then it passed as Faramir leaned back again. His eyes were filled with emotion, unspoken feeling passing over his face like clouds on a spring day. Glorfindel sighed and then Faramir moved, settling against the chest of his guest without a word.

Glorfindel’s skin was soft and smooth, pale as his kind were wont to be. Slight indentations of scars spoke of battles long gone past and Faramir wondered what it meant to live as long and
fabled as his companion. What great splendors, what impossible moments had been his lot? What terrors he had faced, balrogs and age and the passing away of a lot of what was wonderful had he endured over the generations and years that stood between his youth and Faramir’s. It was impossible to quantify and so Faramir didn’t try, relaxing instead against the warm and solid body of his newest confidant.

Glorfindel sighed and rolled over, staring down into Faramir’s face, smiling slightly. “The hospitality of your house is much improved, my Lord Faramir. I appreciate the quality of your generosity.”

Faramir grinned, his hand threading through the soft gold silk of Glorfindel’s long hair. “It is my honor, my lord,” he said. And then words were needed no longer.


—The next day

The sun was bright when it finally reached the windows along the side of the King’s House that was last to be warmed. He sighed and rose, sitting on the bed, memories of loveliness and tenderness still fresh in his mind. Moving slowly, he cleansed himself and dressed into his finery, making his way down the winding staircase to the dining room where people were gathering. Glancing about, he noted his party and the parties to other parties and the glowering and parsimonious smirk of their host. Denethor watched him as he made his way to the table, sitting and accepting bounty with his usual warmth and joyous good humor.

The room lightened up with his presence, others giving their takes on the night’s carousals and he felt only the smallest, most minute shame face at the spectacle of his own excess. It had been a good evening and the culmination was as unexpected as it was welcomed. Glancing at Faramir, who had watched him throughout his entry into the great hall, he smiled. Faramir grinned and nodded, relaxing slightly at the appearance and good nature of his newly found companion. Then he turned to his food with gusto, enjoying the company of the Rohirrim and elves that sat all around him.

After a moment or two of eating Denethor rose, tapping a glass with a knife. When it had all quieted down, he smiled his poisoned and pinched smile. “I am glad to see you all are here, wide-eyed and awake. We have a day of amusements planned, horse racing and games of martial ability for all to attend.” He turned and looked at Elrond and Glorfindel, pausing his eyes on both men before smiling oddly once again. “It would be a great honor that men of such stature in battle as yourself would partake in the festivities. The Great Alliance of Man and Elf would be made real once again if you agreed.”

A burst of applause and enthusiasm came over all in attendance and Glorfindel felt the challenge that was unspoken in Denethor’s offer. Glancing at Elrond, Haldir standing nearby, his own expression alert, he grinned. “It appears that a challenge has been passed down to those of us who should know better, my Lord Elrond. Are we foolish enough to accept? That is the question,” he said grinning broadly.

Elrond smiled slightly and rose, standing with a dignity that was impressive. Glancing all around him, he smiled and turned toward Glorfindel. “I would no more deign to accept such a challenge in the face of your greater skill and honor than I would fly to the moon, my dear Glorfindel.” He turned and smiled at Denethor, bowing slightly. “I would choose as my champion, my companion and advisor, the great warrior and Chief of the House of the Golden Flower of Gondolin, Lord Glorfindel.”

All eyes turned on Glorfindel who sat cup in hand staring at Elrond with a slight smirk on his lips. Then he sighed. “It appears that you are as crafty as ever, my Lord Elrond. How can I deny you the glory of my virtue and skill?” With a slight shake of his head conceding his defeat he raised his cup toward his friend.

“And how gracious you are in your defeat, my friend,” Elrond replied raising his glass toward his companion.

“Then it is settled.” Denethor smiled. “We will begin post haste.


—In the yard beyond, near a meadow, just outside the gates of the city

“Can you manage or will the glorious House of Elrond find itself draped in crepe and mourning?”

Baleful eyes met Erestor’s, foot pausing in stirrup. “Thank you for the great vote of confidence, Erestor. It comforts me in my greatest hour of need that you should extend yourself so warmly to me.”

“It is the least I can do,” Erestor said with an uncharacteristic smile. “And I plan to do the least I can throughout this whole ordeal.”
Glorfindel smirked. “Then next time advocate harder for the option of no harness for race horses.”

The call of a silver trumpet brought everyone to the starting line, the overland trail markers gleaming in the morning sunshine. They were metal tags fastened to fences and trees, identifying the path of a five mile trek that they were expected to complete. Haldir for Lothlorien, Boromir for Gondor, a Rohirrim prince named Éomer, the ranger Aragorn, and a couple of riders from the southlands beyond Gondor looked over their shoulder as he joined them, all of them pausing as they waited. A crack rang out and the horses bolted as one moving swiftly over the flat lands of the course toward the trees and bushes beyond.

Glorfindel, out in front almost immediately allowed his horse its head, trusting its ability to find the best footing and keep the best pace possible for the circular route to the finish line. Behind them, relaxing on chairs and enjoying refreshment, the spectators waited for their return.

Denethor sat with several courtiers, his eyes never leaving their restless search of his guests, going from one person to the next as if seeking something that was lost and harbored on their person. The banter was polite and between some quite warm as they waited for the riders to return. Beyond them, disappearing from view, the riders melted into the trees.

The pounding of his horse’s feet, almost a musical tapping filled his ears as the flow of the cool morning air enveloped him in its bracing embrace. He could sense the closeness of the others, angling his horse with his heels to keep them at bay in the narrows of the trail. The silvery waters of small creeks, the green barrier of hedges and shrubs all flew past him as he lay his head against the neck of his horse, his long fingers filled with long white mane.

Breaking from the trees, the sound of rivals falling farther back, he looked ahead, noting that the spectators had risen to their feet, arms waving, the tinny sound of their distant calls coming slowly to him. He felt as if he was flying as he rode and when he crossed the finish line he sat up straight, arms spread out like the wings of a bird as his horse slowed his full gallop to a jolting and exhausted trot.

Hands grabbed him and pulled him off, setting him on his feet and he was congratulated with the slap of hands and the smiling exhortations of the crowd. Glancing over his shoulder, tugging down his tunic, he caught the eye of the others. Jumping down, hugging his brother, Faramir turned toward Glorfindel, pausing and smiling with warmth and pleasure. Walking toward the elf, he extended his hand, grasping Glorfindel’s tightly. “You are truly a wonder, my Lord.”

Glorfindel laughed. “Not bad for an old soul.”

“No,” Faramir said laughing. Then Glorfindel pulled him into an embrace hugging him tightly. “Not at all,” Faramir whispered, hugging back. Turning, filled with the pleasure of the moment, his eyes met his father’s. A moment of chill overtook him and the smile faded from his lips.

Glorfindel, glancing at Denethor and then Faramir, slipped his arm around Faramir’s shoulders. He squeezed them and then slapped Faramir on the back. “You came in second, Faramir. I felt your breath on my neck.”

Everyone chuckled and then the moment passed even as Denethor’s eyes never left Glorfindel. They moved on, putting on displays of archery, swordsmanship, horsemanship and wrestling. Glorfindel held his own, winning some and losing others and by the end of the day had proved to the younger men his worth as a elf and as a warrior. The comradery forged among the participants had spilled over to the crowds of people watching and by the time they went to dinner, all had made good on the promise of the day.

Dinner was boisterous and filled with good food and drink. Glorfindel, dressed casually with the warmth of an emerald green robe sat beside the fire, glass in hand, his eyes moving from one happy knot of revelers to another. Elrond and the other elves were in conversation with leaders from other lands, all of them congenial and forging together trade and security agreements not possible before this gathering. In a corner talking with Éomer, Aragorn and Haldir, Faramir sat happy and content. Boromir, breaking from another group joined them and Faramir’s joy grew exponentially.

Sad, he thought sipping his wine. A rustle of cloth caught his attention and he noticed that Erestor had pulled a chair next to him settling in like a cat who sees prey nearby. “You surprised me today with your virility. I did not know that you had such agility left in you.”

“Thank you,” Glorfindel said grinning at his prim companion. “I could not have made it through the whole ordeal without the assured knowledge of your support.”

“I know,” Erestor said, smirking. “The younger men are quite smitten by you. They find substance to the mythology of your storied past.”

“Mythology?”

“To most of the infants among us, the stories of your great moment with the… creature often sounded like mythology. Of course, we know better,” he finished, patting Glorfindel’s hand with the touch of a comforting nanny.

“Yes,” Glorfindel replied, the blurred and age-dimmed swirl of that moment seeping into his mind unbidden. He pushed it away and turned his gaze back to the crowd beyond their little island of peace and quiet.

The evening was long gone by the time most of the participants took to their beds, the elves retiring with great dignity hours before. Faramir, moving up the stairway toward his chambers paused as he rounded a corner, suddenly without expectation confronting his father. Denethor, his face the usual glacial formation it always was turned toward Faramir blocking his path. “Father,” Faramir said startled.

“Faramir,” Denethor replied pausing a moment. “I am curious about a remark.”

“Father?”

“I felt your breath on my neck.”

For a moment Faramir was uncertain as to the remark his father spit out chewing each syllable as he spoke. Then the fog lifted and he sighed deeply. “Lord Glorfindel. He said that to me about the race.”

“Only the race?” Denethor asked moving to stand on the step next to his son. “I am curious if that is all it meant.”

“It is,” Faramir said casting his eyes downward. He stood stilled waiting for the next verbal blow but it never came. Denethor merely walked down the steps disappearing from view. The sound of a night bird through the window drew his attention and he could feel the swell of emotion in his eyes and his heart. Quashing the sentimentality he could ill afford, Faramir paused considering what it would take to feel the way he had all evening. Moving without thought he continued upward pausing before a door uncertainly. With a hesitation he felt to his core he rapped lightly on the doorway listening with his ear for a reaction.

The door opened and he moved back, flushing with embarrassment as he did. The smiling figure of Glorfindel greeted him and without a word the elf gripped his arm and pulled him inside. The door closed and they turned to stare at each other, awkwardness on the part of the man, curiosity and warmth on the part of the elf.
“I am sorry to disturb you, my Lord,” Faramir stammered rubbing his hands nervously.

“I am not and you aren’t,” Glorfindel replied.

And moments later, neither was Faramir.


—The next day

They gathered in the courtyard, horses saddled and packed and the retinues making noises of goodwill and goodbye. Breakfast had been completed, formalities made right and by the time they worked their way toward the gathering outside every kingdom had committed to trade, security and cultural exchanges that had not existed before this day.

Everyone wore their best livery and the sun broke brightly over the mountains beyond warming the cool morning air. Hearty salutes and warm goodbyes were taken, promises made as well for future gatherings and competitions in faraway lands. Men and Elves mounted horses as men bid their farewells to those leaving. Faramir, smiling with both pain and pleasure paused beside Glorfindel’s horse. Reaching up, their grasped arms, saluting with a warrior’s sensibility their newly found friendship.

“I shall miss you,” Faramir said with great heartfelt feeling.

“And I, you,” Glorfindel replied. Without a word, he leaned down and whispered into Faramir’s ear. “Live your life for yourself. You cannot do it for another.”

Faramir pressed his face against Glorfindel, the softness of his skin and the silkiness of his hair comforting. “I shall try.”

“Do not try, my friend,” Glorfindel whispered back. “Do it. For me.” With that, he leaned in and kissed Faramir softly. Sitting up, glancing back and catching the startled and then pleased expression of Boromir, he smiled broadly. “We go now! But we shall never forget this day!” He paused and glanced down. “I shall never forget you.”

“Nor I, you, my Lord,” Faramir said nodding with great emotion on his face. Boromir stepped up to him slipping his arm around Faramir’s shoulders.

Glorfindel, nodding with a smile glanced at his party which had started to begin the long trek down to the great gates of the city. “Next time, Imladris. I will show you a good time. And maybe, just maybe, I will let you win.”
Faramir burst into laughter. “You have a deal.”

“Good,” Glorfindel replied his heels tapping movement out of his horse.

Faramir and Boromir stood a long time at the ramparts watching them wend their way down to the gates and the road leading across the plains beyond.


—Imladris, in the spring

Blue wings. They fluttered here and there. Blue winds and black antennas.

He watched it flitter and settle on a flower. Tendrils gently flicked here and there over the pollen taking nectar into its tiny mouth. Such a short life, so filled with beauty yet fraught with danger.

Butterflies.

For a moment he was silent and then he exhaled, suddenly aware he was holding his breath. He glanced down and then reread the letter smiling slightly. “Good for you, Faramir. Good for you.”

The butterfly swept its wings open and floated off, going from flower to flower making the best of its short life, taking beauty and bounty where it could.

So like Men he mused rolling up the letter and slipping it into his pocket. “So like Men,” he whispered. Sighing deeply, he turned and walked back into the hall beyond, the darkness enveloping him as he did. Beyond him, the sunset continued. The world continued. It was silent.

The end.

© 6/16/2009 Helmboy Feedback

NB: Please do not distribute (by any means, including email) or repost this story (including translations) without the author's prior permission. [ more ]

Enjoyed this story? Then be sure to let the author know by posting a comment at https://www.faramirfiction.com/fiction/butterflies-are-free. Positive feedback is what keeps authors writing more stories!


9 Comment(s)

This was totally different. I never read a story on Glorfindel and Faramir. I loved the laughter in getting Glorfindel out of his clothes and having the ‘three lords a leaping’ entering. Thanks.

— balrog    Monday 22 June 2009, 6:55    #

Wow!! So full of emotions, humor and deep thoughts, going from drunken to deep wisdome in one instant. there’s so much, I’m at a lack of words. Just WOW!

— phytha    Thursday 25 June 2009, 1:10    #

I love it thank you. Glorfindel is just perfect and how I’ve always pictured him to be and Faramir is great as well.

thanks for writing the story I enjoyed it very much

— Jade    Thursday 25 June 2009, 2:11    #

You are all most welcome!

I loved this prompt and I am delighted to have entertained you today.

H

— helmboy    Tuesday 30 June 2009, 20:52    #

This was glorious! Glorfindel is one of my favourite characters and you portrayed him beautifully. It is a treat to read such a well written story with him and Faramir. The depth is wonderful – the way you make this story a part of something much greater. Some lines are absolutely hilarious, and yet the overall feeling is one of peace, a little sorrow and much joy. Thank you!

— Geale    Saturday 4 July 2009, 20:26    #

I echo above commentators when I say I love your Glorfindel! He is perfect. Faramir is great too— kind, strong, funny and maybe a touch shy. I like that the problems and the faults of the characters are touched on but not dwelt on excessively, it adds to the sweetness of the overall piece. Overall this fic is just fantastic.

— Haily    Sunday 5 July 2009, 5:52    #

Thank you both so much. I love a humorous Glorfindel, one so old would be filled with humor and wisdom. Faramir is one of my favorite characters and there are few better foils than Glorfindel and Erestor. I am delighted to have entertained you. Thank you for the lovely remarks. You made my day. :-D

— helmboy    Monday 6 July 2009, 7:40    #

I would have commented before, but I forgot the title of the story.
G
I like this story, full of humor and joy.
I like the way Glorfindel behaves, happy and sweet and Faramir’s response to him.
It made me happy to read it.

— lille mermeid    Friday 7 May 2010, 9:47    #

Thank you for the kind words. I am delighted to have entertained you and I know Glorfindel is as well. :)

— helmboy    Sunday 9 May 2010, 6:39    #

Subscribe to comments | Get comments by email | View all recent comments


Comment

  Textile help

All fields except 'Web' are required.
Your email address will NOT be displayed publicly. It will only be sent to the author so she (he) can reply to your comment in private. If you want to keep track of comments on this article, you can subscribe to its comments feed.


About the Author


Helmboy

Read more of Helmboy’s (aka Arctapus) fiction at http://www.ithilas.com/helmboy.html