As Was Custom by Zhie

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Written for Jet, in remembrance of the silly, scholarly times we had. *bear hugs* You’ll be missed, but never forgotten.

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“Hmm? Yes,” replied Erestor without even looking up across his desk to where his companion stood at the doorway of their office. “Gondolin, the Hidden City, Ondolindë, Rock of the Music of the Water, Gondobar, Gondost, Gar Thurion the Secret Place, Gondothlimbar, Gwarestrin, Tower of the Guard. What about it?”

Glorfindel stared at Erestor long and hard before retrieving a vase from the small closet. “You know, you sound like a hobbit when you do that.”

“Do not,” Erestor playfully argued back, making a space on his desk for the vase full of yellow roses he knew was to be soon deposited there. “What about Gondolin?”

“Gondolin is underwater.”

“Yes. I regret to inform you that is not a new discovery,” said Erestor as the vase was set down between his history lesson plans and a potted plant that looked suspiciously like Longbottom Leaf.

“The point it, Gondolin is underwater.” Glorfindel sat down at his desk with a grin on his face.

Setting his quill aside, Erestor took a moment to nudge the petals of one of the flowers with his nose and take in the scent of late spring before looking to Glorfindel. “I hate to be the one to ask, but did you drop yourself on your head this morning?”

Snickering at his friend’s jest, for Glorfindel knew it was all in fun, the blond said, “Everyone declares that Gondolin is a myth – ancient legend, a place far gone from history.”

“And your point is that is it really just underwater,” added Erestor.

“My point is, if Gondolin is underwater, it still exists.”

Erestor thought on this for a few moments and then nodded. “I will agree on that point. Underwater, check. Exists, check. Accessible, not so much, but still there. Not a place I plan to visit on holiday, but correct, physically, just extremely flooded.”

The grin was still on Glorfindel’s face. “Accessibility might be a bit difficult, but I would wager that the highest parts are well within diving distance.”

“You still have to take a boat to get to it. One would need to dive off of the boat, into frigid water, hoping you do not dive head first into a rock formation, and... and why on Arda do you want to go searching for Gondolin anyhow?”

Glorfindel shrugged. “Just because.”

Erestor arched one brow higher than the other. “Just because.”

“Mmmhmmm.” Glorfindel nodded, pressing his lips together to avoid smirking.

“You do nothing ‘just because’, my dear friend. What completely insane idea have you invented now?”

“What? Me? Nothing.”

“You are worse than Elladan and Elrohir. Combined.” Erestor shook his head, reached for the vase, and inhaled the scent of the roses again. “Tell me.”

“There is nothing to tell.”

“Sooner or later, you will anyway.”

The grin returned, and Glorfindel sat mischievously back in his chair, twiddling his thumbs and looking rather roguish. “Alright, I was thinking—“

“Dangerous, as always.”

“—how funny it would be to go back into the ruins of Gondolin, and retrieve... my skull.”

Erestor blinked. “Your—“

“Skull. My skull. You know.” Glorfindel gave a little knock on his noggin. “I died, right?”

“Well... yes... umm...”

“And the body got buried under some rocks.”

“ ‘And amid the bareness, yellow flowers bloomed’,” recited Erestor. “But... why?”

“I told you; just because.”

Erestor leaned an elbow on the desktop, and pressed his fingers to his forehead. “Your skull is thick enough, Fin, I see no reason you need two of them.”

“Hypothetically, all I have to do is wander back over to Gondolin—“

“Sail. You cannot wander, you would drown,” Erestor corrected.

“SAIL, back over to Gondolin, dive into the ocean, pry up a few rocks, and fish out my skull.”

“But... why?” Erestor looked over at Glorfindel through the spaces between his fingers. “Why?”

“Just imagine the fun I could have... Elrond, walks into the office here, ‘My, Glorfindel, that is a lovely sword on your wall’, and I would respond by saying, ‘Why, thank you, m’lord, a gift from a friend in Greenwood’. And then he would say, ‘It goes so very well with the shield’, and I would reply with a simple nod as he continued to walk through the room, complimenting me on the décor. Finally, he would reach a pedestal, a small wooden one in the corner, right over there,” he pointed. “And he would pick it up and say, ‘And pray tell, what is this from?’” Glorfindel grinned again.

“You are mad.”

“I have been called worse.”

Erestor finally sat back up, and reached out to touch the petals of the roses. “You are, of course, assuming that Elrond has a sense of interior design and that he will ever happen down here to our office to peruse the odd collection of antiquities you have collected for display.”

“Oh. Right.” Glorfindel nodded. “Bad idea, then?”

“Quite.” Erestor pulled the lesson plans over to review them before class.

Glorfindel stayed silent for a bit before stating, “This office would look much cheerier if it were painted yellow.”

“What? Good heavens, no. It is an office, not a... a room to be painted yellow,” Erestor argued. For several weeks, Glorfindel had attempted to sway Erestor about repainting the room, to no avail.

With a nod, Glorfindel surveyed each wall separately before he said, “We could paint the room yellow... or, I could go and retrieve my skull from Gondolin.”

Looking up with a sigh, Erestor said, “How is it that you always manage to win?”

“Two reasons. First, I happen to be a brilliant tactician with a persuasive personality. Second, you happen to be a very sweet and compromising friend.”

Rolling his eyes but unable to keep from smiling just a bit, Erestor waved his hand toward the door. “Go find an artisan before I change my mind.”

Glorfindel walked around the desk and kissed Erestor on the top of his head, then gave him a hug. “I knew you would come around.” Glorfindel left the room, in happy pursuit of the nearest painter.

Taking a look around at the bland, white walls, Erestor secretly admitted that the room could use a fresh coat of paint, and that yellow was not a terrible color. Besides, it would match the flowers he was brought every day, and perhaps more importantly, there would be little chance of any misplaced Gondolin skulls showing up on his desk any time in the near future.

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