The Grey Shores

by Nefertiti

Disclaimer: No rights claimed, no income earned.

Feedback: Yes, please, but don't bother to tell me that Gandalf having sex squicks you. I am unrepentant. (If you tell me that Gandalf having sex squicked you before but no longer does, you will make my day.)

Author's note: Book-canon. The basic ideas concerning Olorin's relationship with Glorfindel (and his earlier experiences of Middle-earth) derive largely from two short draft manuscripts concerning Glorfindel written late in Tolkien's life and included in the twelfth volume of the "History of Middle-earth" series. According to Appendix B of LotR, the Istari arrived in Middle-earth about 1000 years into the Third Age, or roughly 2000 years before the story action. Cirdan's speech at the end comes from Appendix B. (For film fans who have not read the book, Mithrandir is Gandalf's name among the Elves.)

I am deeply grateful to Elanor for betaing, for urging me to improve the structure of the story, and for generally being a wonderful muse. River Woman and Sarah both have been enormously encouraging.

Chapter 1

The old man leaned on the ship's railing and gazed fixedly at the shore that had gradually drawn closer until it was clear that the vessel would slip alongside the quay in a few minutes. The Grey Havens. Grey indeed, he thought. Grey shores, rocky and inhospitable. A grey sea under an overcast, late afternoon sky. Grey clothing for his newly embodied state. The pine forests beyond the shore added only a touch of dark, somber color to the view.

He struggled to remember his previous visits to this huge continent that was to be his home indefinitely. He knew he had been there at least once in the distant past, explored it, admired it. But during the days of travel to this harbor, his thoughts had often been confused, and so many memories hung tantalizingly just out of reach. He had never felt this limited, this inadequate, and consequently this frustrated. And even if he could remember more about his visits long ago, he knew that much of Middle-earth had gone through cataclysmal changes. This western shore was no longer anywhere near where it had been then. So many people had struggled and died. The great evils of the world had been different in those distant days, and yet now here he was, sent to oppose the new ones that had arisen to replace them. For how long? Hundreds of years? Thousands? It did not bear thinking about. And besides, he had not yet had a chance to experience time passing in the way that Men perceived it. In short, he was not sure just how difficult his sojourn in Middle-earth would be to endure.

He glanced down at the wrinkled hands that rested on the railing and the long white beard that stirred slightly in the sea breezes. The days of journeying had not yet fully accustomed him to his body-much less reconciled him to it. Rationally, he somewhat understood why Manwe had sent him and the other Istari in this aged form. Ultimately the evils perpetrated by Sauron were the business of Middle-earth. Its inhabitants must deal with them themselves. The Istari were there only to help them to do so, not to bludgeon evil out of existence with their own power-which was tamped and contained by embodiment as old men. Just bringing together the peoples of Middle-earth in a united struggle against Sauron would require power, but power of a different sort. Power to persuade, power to strategize, power to explain. From what he had heard of the various cultures of this continent and what he had seen of the great struggles in the Uttermost West long ago, uniting people would be a maddening task. But it was his task, for however long it took.

Rationally, yes, such embodiment made sense. Emotionally, he simply felt trapped. So much was lost to him. Confined in a clumsy form that took an astonishingly long time to get from one place to another, far weaker than he had imagined, and distractingly alien in the limited ways it experienced the sights, scents, tastes, sounds, and feel of the world. The strange needs that that body exhibited baffled him as well. The needs to sleep, to breathe, to eat. It would all take a great deal of getting used to.

But get used to it he would. He was here, there was no help for it, and he had formidable tasks to accomplish. At least he could explore this continent, learning its beauties and sorrows by using the human senses he now had-such as they were. He could belong to it, for a time, and experience it as deeply as he was able. At that thought a little tickle of excitement came into his mind, and he smiled slightly. Yes, the prospect of discovering this place was beginning to intrigue him, he had to admit to himself. He suspected that he would be trammeled by the burden of Middle-earth, yet he would also be able to escape into its abundant variety. The continent was, after all, one of the beautiful products of the Music of the Ainur, and the parts that had been sullied by Morgoth were now largely gone. Surely it would contain much to comfort him in his exile.

Now, as the ship neared the quay, the old man curiously surveyed the little group who had come down from the large house halfway up the slope, a house that looked welcoming in the approaching dusk, with its windows glowing bright yellow. His eyesight, he had discovered, was not quite as good as that of the ship's Elven crew, but he had been grateful to find that he could see things clearly at a considerable distance. There was a tall, bearded Elf-and that was in itself intriguing, since he had never heard of an Elf looking so old, with a long grey beard. There were several others drifting down to join him. Suddenly a relieved, delighted grin transformed the old man's face. As he had dearly hoped, Glorfindel was among the group ready to greet him. The Elf's pale golden hair, the source of his unusual name, was unmistakable even at a distance and surrounded by other blond heads. No doubt he had traveled all the way from Rivendell to meet the old man and would escort him to the places where he would need to establish initial contact with the Wise.

The idea of seeing Glorfindel again had been one thing that sustained him during the long days and nights of the sea voyage. Long ago the Elf had been his follower and dear friend in Eldamar. He loved and admired Glorfindel. True, he had been one of the Noldor who had rebelled so long ago. But many admirable Elves had taken part in that dreadful conflict, and many had come to regret it. Glorfindel at least had taken part only through his kinship with Turgon, and he was relatively innocent in the worst deeds of that era. And he had moreover paid for his actions and been redeemed through his battle with the Balrog, plunging to his death himself in killing it. Yes, through long expiation Glorfindel had changed greatly, becoming almost as much a Maia as an Elf, and he had been reincarnated in his original dazzlingly beautiful form. How wise and compassionate and powerful he had become, and the old man liked to think that his tutelage had something to do with that. He had himself learned pity of Nienna, and his pity had allowed him to recognize Glorfindel's underlying worth. The old man had greatly missed Glorfindel when the Elf finally returned to Middle-earth to aid Gil-galad and Elrond in the dreadful battles against Sauron late in the Second Age. It was immensely comforting to know that he would finally be reunited with the Elf and have his aid in the daunting tasks that lay before him.

As the ship gently bumped against the quay, a gangplank was quickly set in place, and the old man walked along it to set foot on the stone pavement. The bearded Elf stepped up to him and with the ghost of a smile stared deep into his eyes for a short while. His smile broadened as he gently laid his hand on his guest's shoulder. "Welcome, Master," he said in a soft voice that none of the onlookers would hear. "I am Cirdan." The old man knew of this powerful and ancient Elf, and he simply nodded. Cirdan's gaze had so riveted him that he had briefly ignored the presence of the tall Elf standing behind his left shoulder. But then Cirdan moved aside to allow Glorfindel to face the old man directly. The Elf surveyed him from head to toe, his lips pressed together to stifle a chuckle. Then his eyes returned to those of the newcomer, who gave a rueful little smile. Glorfindel laughed quietly, then moved forward and rather hesitatingly embraced the old man. "Olorin," he whispered against the man's ear. Startled at the physical contact-the first embrace he had experienced in this body--Olorin hesitated, then somewhat clumsily put his arms around his old friend.

As the other Elves bustled about, greeting and talking with the crew, Cirdan and Glorfindel drew Olorin onto the shore for a more private talk. "What are we to call you?" Cirdan asked. "For though a few of us know who you are, it can hardly become common knowledge."

Olorin looked at him blankly for a moment. "Call me what you will," he finally replied, shrugging. The two Elves glanced at each other, then began to talk in low voices. As they did so, the old man turned aside and wandered a few steps, looking down and slowly scuffing the toe of his boot against one of the rough, weathered granite boulders sunk in the sand along the shore. As Cirdan and Glorfindel turned back to him, he was bent at the waist, absorbed in gazing down at a small crab that was scuttling across the sand toward the lapping waves. Cirdan moved to his side. "I was suggesting that perhaps Mithrandir would be appropriate. My heart tells me that you will seldom be at rest during your time here."

Olorin straightened up. "Yes, it sounds well. Why not?"

Cirdan glanced at the Elves unloading the small ship. "We can go ahead up to the house and allow them to bring your luggage."

Mithrandir again stared at him for a moment, then said, "Oh, I have no luggage beyond this little bag and my staff, and no one needs to carry these for me."

Cirdan frowned in puzzlement for a moment, then turned to Glorfindel with a brief smile. When he turned back, Mithrandir was looking upward, following the flight of a small shore bird as it swooped down to catch a fish. Cirdan said, "Fine. We can supply you with whatever you need, Mithrandir."

The three walked up toward the house, built of pine logs. Mithrandir kept stopping and asking them questions about the trees and rocks and other aspects of the surroundings. At last Glorfindel took his arm. "Let us go in . . . Mithrandir. The time for dinner approaches. I assume that in this peculiar form you inhabit you probably do eat?"

Mithrandir tore his attention away from the environs and looked into the Elf's eyes with an utterly delighted smile. He was overwhelmed by the joy that had suddenly flooded over him when he stepped onto the shores of Middle-earth. He felt torn, dizzied by all the possible things there were to investigate in this world that had seemed so unpromising when seen from the ship. Yet indoors there would be more new things to experience. "Yes, I eat. Definitely! And drink! I'm sure whatever the house of Cirdan has to offer will please me."

Although he had enjoyed the meals on the ship-which were of necessity fairly simple--Mithrandir had found it difficult to appreciate anything thoroughly, given his apprehensions about the arrival in Middle-earth. Now, as he approached the table, the odors of the various dishes being brought in were pleasing indeed, and he realized that he was quite hungry. He was introduced to a few Elves who had not been part of the welcoming party at the quay, including Galdor, a key adviser to Cirdan. Galdor sat beside Mithrandir and explained how he was the one who typically carried important news from the Havens to other Elven enclaves, and who attended various council meeting as the representative of Cirdan, who seldom went far from the Havens now. Mithrandir began to get a better understanding of how his mission in Middle-earth could be organized and what kinds of help he might expect to have.

During the meal, he reveled in the new tastes and smells and textures of the delicious dishes that circulated around the large, informal dining table of Cirdan's house. Upon seeing this, Galdor began to recommend certain foods to him, and soon all the Elves joined in welcoming the Istar, delighting in urging him to taste this or that delicacy and pouring fine vintage wines into his glass. By the end of the meal he felt at ease among them, and the whole group sat long at table, talking and laughing freely.

Thus began Mithrandir's discovery of Middle-earth.

In consultation with Glorfindel, Cirdan, and Galdor the next morning, Mithrandir agreed that it would not do to set out for Rivendell right away. Anxious though he was to begin meeting the various leaders whose help would be vital to him, he had to admit that he was scarcely prepared to get along in this new body and this new world. There was much he needed to know. About riding horses, since that would be their means of transport to the distant Elven settlements. About the languages of Middle-earth, since the only one he knew was Elven. About camping out, about the etiquette and different cultures' customs that he would need to know for his diplomatic missions. About the many spells recorded in the books and scrolls of Cirdan's library. His brilliant mind allowed him to pick up everything he was taught quickly-but there was an enormous amount to learn.

During the day, Mithrandir tried to be outdoors as much as possible, and he took to horseback riding quickly. He found it difficult to ride without saddle or bridle, however, and Glorfindel, who had undertaken this particular series of lessons, allowed him-after some teasing--to outfit his horse with the necessary tack. Fortunately the gentle mare chosen as the Istar's first steed was patient with this unaccustomed mode of riding.

After the third lesson, the pair walked their horses back to the stable. Glorfindel led his own horse into its stall, and when he returned, he found Mithrandir staring into the mare's face with a frown and shaking his head at intervals as the animal uttered low, whickering noises. Glorfindel walked back to stand beside them. "Are you talking to that horse?" he asked amusedly.

"Well, at the moment she's talking to me, but I can't quite make out what she's saying. As you can imagine, the language of horses is fairly simple, and I do not think it will take long to learn. Apparently she's trying to tell me about something I was doing wrong while riding her, but I can't understand what. Oh, well, I shall learn."

One evening a few days after Mithrandir's arrival, he and Glorfindel stood on a broad platform not far from the house. It was used for outdoor dining in warmer weather, as well as for viewing sunsets, as the pair was doing now. The cloudy weather had finally cleared, and this was the first sunset the Istar had witnessed since his arrival. Because of the fair weather, rare at this time of year, a number of other Elves had also wandered down from the house to watch alongside them. The Firth of Lune broadened so to the west that its waters resembled an open sea, though the Blue Mountains were visible in the distance to the right and left, now that the persistent mists had dissipated for a time. As the sun nearly touched the horizon and flamed into a deep, rich pink color, Mithrandir was disturbed by the sudden sense of loss and longing for home that the sight created in him. He had slowly been reconciling himself to the long stay in Middle-earth that faced him, and he had thought that perhaps his yearning for Valinor would fade-and yet here it was, welling up strongly once more. He sighed.

Mistaking the reason for the sigh, Glorfindel smiled at him. "Yes, beautiful, is it not? I was afraid that the clouds would remain for your whole stay here and that you would miss this sight. There are few places in Middle-earth better suited for watching the sun go down."

As the dusk deepened, the other Elves gradually returned to the house in little groups, but Mithrandir touched Glorfindel's arm and detained him. Despite the cool wind, the pair continued to stand leaning on the railing at the edge of the platform, still facing West and watching the stars quickly kindle. The Istar seemed uncharacteristically quiet, and Glorfindel glanced at him curiously a few times.

"You have made wonderful progress in learning the skills of a wizard, though that hardly surprises me," the Elf remarked encouragingly. "Perhaps we can depart for Rivendell in a week or so. I can of course continue to offer you instruction while we are on the road-particularly in the Common Tongue, which you will need to learn first among all languages. I hope I am not rushing things, but I must confess that I prefer the gardens and woodlands and mountains of Rivendell to the flat sea and the dark pines of the Havens. Perhaps someday I shall develop the sea-longing so common to Elves of Middle-earth, but so far it holds little interest for me."

"Yes, I shall be glad to see your home and meet Elrond and the others."

It was a curiously short remark, and one delivered in a somewhat absent tone. Glorfindel stared at his friend's face, seeking a clue as to his thoughts. It was too dark, however, and the Elf moved to light a few small torches ranged along the railing, then returned to stand beside Mithrandir. He raised his eyebrows inquiringly and tilted his head sideways to bring his face more firmly within the Istar's view.

Mithrandir glanced at him and frowned, then looked back out toward the now invisible horizon. Finally he said quietly, "I do not know how to bring this up, but I hope I will not offend you. It is strange, after having been a sort of teacher to you for so long, to become the pupil instead. I feel clumsy and naïve, despite the progress which, as you so kindly say, I have made. I knew when I was embodied in this fashion that I would have the frailties and needs of mortal men, and I accepted that idea. Well, what choice did I have, really?"

Not knowing fully the circumstances that lay behind Mithrandir's mission to Middle-earth, Glorfindel could not reply but only wait for his friend to continue.

Mithrandir took a deep breath. "The point is that, rather to my surprise, I seem to have been given absolutely all the needs of mortals-beyond simply sleeping, breathing, eating, and so on."

Glorfindel frowned briefly in puzzlement, then gave a startled little snort of amusement.

Mithrandir looked at him quickly. "I am sorry. As I say, I do not even know whether I am offending you by mentioning it."

"Oh, far from it. I am not offended. It is just that this comes so unexpectedly. I have known you for such a very long time and naturally never thought of you in that way-there was no opportunity, really. And forgive me, but I suppose that to the extent that I thought about it at all, I assumed that your current form meant that you would not be interested in such things."

"Well, I was not aware of it myself until after my arrival. But in recent days I have increasingly been thinking about things that make me very aware of it. Things like, well, like touching you and seeing you unclothed. And . . . well, doing things--I'm not exactly sure what-just whatever will quiet the urges that I feel."

"You feel them strongly, I take it."

"Yes, more each day. I find that at times it is rather difficult to concentrate on other things. Oh, not when I am learning about or exploring Middle-earth. Such activities fully occupy my attention. But in more idle or quiet moments, my mind does tend to wander in that direction, I must admit."

"Do you . . . and believe me, you will not insult me however you answer this question . . . do you feel this way about any of the others here?"

Mithrandir hesitated, looking into Glorfindel's eyes, but seeing the candor in them, he replied, "Yes, sometimes, though not as strongly. But I know you well, and I feel more comfortable asking you about such things." He smiled, almost impishly, the Elf thought with a rush of fondness and an answering grin. "And you are more beautiful than any of the others here in the Havens. I have always thought you extraordinarily beautiful, even among Elves-but in the way a flower is beautiful or a mountain or a star. But now, my reaction is quite different. Suddenly yours is a beauty that I want to touch, to hold . . . nay, to clutch and devour, so strong is the feeling."

Glorfindel lowered his head, closing his eyes in some confusion and pressing his fingertips to his forehead, just between the eyebrows.

Mithrandir turned again to gaze out to sea. "I have embarrassed you."

Glorfindel struggled to find words. "No! You mistake me . . . I, well, perhaps just a trifle, but beyond that I am .. . glad that you have spoken so openly to me. Am I right in assuming that you are inviting me to initiate you sexually? Adding another series of lessons to your program?" he added with a quiet chuckle.

The Istar smiled again. "It seems rather odd to put it that way, but I suppose so. Of course I have long known about sex in general, but I know little of the specifics. The means for satisfying other human needs seem obvious, but . . . well, I find myself wanting to take you in my arms, to press against you, to kiss and taste you, my dearest Elf. To touch your flawless body . . . but as I say, I am not quite sure what else. Simply to enjoy your beauty as much as I possibly can. And, to be blunt, to satisfy these confounded urges, which will not let me alone!"

Glorfindel laughed. "Well, in future I would suggest that you not be quite so blunt with those whom you desire. Later on we can have a discussion of the art of seduction." Despite the Elf's light tone, the Istar's frankness and need tugged at him. He moved against his friend, staring into the deep, dark eyes as he rested his forearms lightly on the wizard's shoulders. He smiled slightly with affection, then leaned forward to press his full lips delicately against the man's thinner ones. He moved slowly and tried to vary what he did, sucking now at the upper lip, then the lower, and finally brushing his tongue lightly over them. Within seconds Mithrandir began to suck and lick in similar ways, and soon the kiss deepened slightly as the Istar wrapped his arms tightly around Glorfindel's waist and pulled his body closer. The Elf felt his companion's erection swelling rapidly against his upper thighs, and he pushed away slightly. They stared at each other in mingled arousal and amusement, with perhaps a trace of lingering embarrassment. The wizard was slightly flushed and had begun to pant. The Elf was startled by the depths of the desire that he already could read in the intense eyes by the torchlight.

Glorfindel whispered. "I think it would be best to retire to my room before we take this any further."

"Why your room in particular? My room is a bit closer, and it has quite a comfortable bed. For I believe that that is where such activities usually take place, is it not?"

"No doubt beds are the most common arena for lovemaking. And I am sure yours is very comfortable. But, well, depending on how far these lessons proceed tonight, there are things in my room that might prove useful."

Mithrandir simply nodded, but then he gasped and tried to press against Glorfindel to kiss him again. The Elf pushed against his chest, holding him back, and glanced downward. He grinned. "Best not start that again. Indeed, I think we should both wait a short while before going inside. No one here would be shocked by what we intend to do, but I would rather not stroll through the halls of Cirdan's house with such an obvious erection, and I imagine you feel the same."

"Yes," the Istar said, reluctantly letting go of the Elf. "Sex, as I understand it, is considered a very private thing."


The wizard licked his lips and looked at his surroundings, avoiding staring at the beautiful Elf and trying to ignore how much he longed to kiss him again. He had had no idea how difficult passion was to dampen, once enflamed.

Glorfindel watched this little struggle play out in the Istar's face and smiled at him fondly. "I must say, Mithrandir, I am finding all this quite arousing, more than I at first thought I would."

Mithrandir could not help glancing back at him, in a mixture of amusement and concern. "Why, because you thought it would not be particularly interesting to lie with an old fellow like me?"

"No, that was not it at all. I could never think of you as an old man, despite your current appearance. No, I simply feared that it might be awkward for us both, given how very long we have been friends. Now, though, I do not think so. I look forward to showing you the ways of this very joyful aspect of life . . . and I suspect that ultimately we shall both be very glad that Manwe endowed you with the full range of human needs . .. . Well, I think we look respectable enough to go in now."

The pair walked slowly back toward the house, glancing at each other in quiet anticipation. Again, the desire was apparent in Mithrandir's eyes, and the Elf suspected that his friend, however inexperienced, would bring to lovemaking an enthusiasm that belied his aged form. And if he learned as quickly in this as in other subjects . . . then this could be a schooling as pleasant for the teacher as for the pupil.

In fact they met no one as they entered the house and mounted the stairs to the upper-level hallway leading to the bedrooms. As they reached the top of the stairway, they joined hands, and their fingers stroked at each others' palms as they walked to Glorfindel's door and entered.

Mithrandir had been in this room before, sitting and talking with his friend for hours. But now the chamber seemed distinctly different, and the bed, which he had barely noticed before, now appeared wide and inviting. He moved and sat on it, planting his hands firmly on the mattress and leaning back on them, watching Glorfindel expectantly.

The Elf paused, looking at the floor. Mithrandir found his sudden nervous smile quite charming in so powerful a being. Glorfindel began to undress, gracefully and quite completely. Having in his fantasies always envisioned himself as undressing the Elf, Mithrandir was startled and captivated by this boldness. He stared with rapidly mounting desire as the clothing slipped away from the broad shoulders, down to reveal the rosy nipples, the flat belly, the swelling sex, and finally the sturdy, shapely legs. Initially the wizard struggled out of his cloak and boots, but then he stopped undressing to concentrate on Glorfindel. His body shifted slightly on the bed, and his breath came faster. Glorfindel paused, enjoying the stark longing he saw in the wizard's face. Suddenly he found it difficult to hold back and proceed with the slowness appropriate to his companion's inexperience. It would be a tantalizing lesson.

The Elf stepped forward to stand directly before the wizard, putting out his hands to unbutton his shirt. But abruptly Mithrandir slid his arms around Glorfindel's waist and lay back on the bed, pulling the Elf with him. Startled, Glorfindel was unable to catch himself, and he fell somewhat heavily on the smaller body beneath him. This seemed to bother the wizard not at all, for his mouth quickly caught the Elf's in a slightly clumsy but definitely eager kiss. The wizard rocked his hips, stropping his erection against Glorfindel's and moaning at the jolts of pleasure that passed through him. He sought to roll over on top of the Elf, managing to get both of them on their sides facing each other, with one of Mithrandir's legs up over Glorfindel's hip as he continued to thrust slightly against the Elf.

Glorfindel freed his mouth and laughed breathily. "Just who is giving the lesson here, Istar?"

Mithrandir managed to smile, though he was deeply flushed with arousal. "No skills involved there, I'm afraid, simply instincts and desire." He surveyed the Elf's torso and rigid member and gasped, "You are every bit as beautiful as I imagined." He reached out and gently ran his fingers up the underside of the long, slender erection. "I wish I already had the skills to pleasure you as you deserve."

"You are making quite a good start as it is," Glorfindel replied, reluctantly pushing the hand away. "But let us proceed with the lesson. Move up and lie against the pillows."

Pushing himself backward, Mithrandir settled down as instructed and watched avidly as the Elf straddled his thighs and leaned forward to undo his shirt. As he spread it wide, he examined the thin, muscular body, then lowered himself to tongue and suckle at one dark brown nipple. The man arched convulsively up off the mattress once, then lay back, moaning loudly as the Elf switched to the other little nub, pinching the moistened one between two scissoring fingers. Soon the Istar was whimpering with desperation, and Glorfindel decided to take pity on him and reserve his exploration of Mithrandir's body for later. He moved slightly lower along the wizard's legs and quickly unlaced the trousers, freeing the pounding member. He paused and traced his fingertips lightly up and down the shaft as Mithrandir writhed, pinned beneath him.

Glorfindel grinned. "I see that Manwe has been quite kind to you, Mithrandir. Some compensation, I suppose, for making you into an old greybeard. Most impressive!"

The Istar's eyes opened slightly, and he grinned in return. "Is it really? I have had no means of comparison, obviously."

Glorfindel pursed his lips and nodded, "Well, take my word for it. I am sure that your future bedmates will confirm my assessment. But enough of talk. I think that you have been teased to the edge of endurance. This first time will probably not last long enough to make a proper lesson, but you may pick up a few pointers."

Despite his prediction, the Elf tried to delay the Istar's release a little, licking the large tip and roughly veined shaft slowly and delicately at first. Though he was once again achingly ready for relief, Mithrandir managed to note what Glorfindel did with hands and mouth as he continued to gently caress his length. Seeing this, the Elf murmured, "A diligent pupil indeed," and he blew provocatively on the wet skin, making the man quiver. Soon he felt that he had provided enough of a demonstration to begin with, and he lowered his mouth over the tip, pushing nearly halfway down the shaft before beginning to move up and down, sucking hard and pumping the thick base quickly. Almost at once the Istar grimaced and dug his heels deep into the mattress, involuntarily trying to thrust upward. Glorfindel's free hand pressed hard onto his belly to prevent that, and he gulped the long series of hot jets that cascaded down his throat. His mouth and hand coaxed as much ecstasy as they could, and finally Mithrandir's body went limp.

Immensely aroused himself by the sight of his friend's first climax, Glorfindel slid up to lie beside him, trying discretely to rub his own painful arousal against the wizard as he kissed the bearded cheek gently. Finally Mithrandir's eyes opened.

"You seemed to enjoy that," Glorfindel murmured.

"Unimaginably pleasurable," the Istar sighed blissfully. He smile faded slightly as he turned to look the Elf in the face. "But it lasted such a short time, that intense part at the end."

The Elf threw his head back and laughed loudly at that. "Well, I assure you, I did my best, and that was quite a lengthy and forceful climax by most standards, at least from my reasonably extensive experience. But no, you are right: however long it lasts, it never seems enough. Still, that is not the only point, of course. There is the pleasure of the anticipation, the foreplay, the build-and the afterglow. You said you wanted to rid yourself of those 'urges.' No sign of them now, I dare say."

Mithrandir smiled lazily at him. "No, not now. But obviously you are feeling those urges! I have recovered enough, I think, to take the other part of this lesson."

Glorfindel hesitated. "If you wish, the next step could simply be your learning how to use your hand for this purpose."

The Istar reached out and stroked the bobbing erection gently, as if petting a cat. "Well, I suppose so, but really, I could do a little of that and then find out what it feels like in my mouth. I think I saw enough to be able to pleasure you fairly well-and I can always put in more practice later."

Glorfindel nodded and lay back as Mithrandir rose. He stared down at the superb body as he shed his own loosened clothing and, once naked, lay down on his side, propped on his elbow, by the reclining Elf. He leaned down to slide his tongue tentatively between the slightly parted lips and received a slow and very thorough demonstration of the many ways in which mouths could explore each other. At last he moved on, finding that Glorfindel's soft moans were in themselves instruction enough as to where the Elf's sensitive spots lay. In this fashion the Istar made his way around the throat and up to one ear, which he tentatively licked. The response encouraged him to probe harder and soon he was swirling his tongue wetly through every fold and hollow. By now Glorfindel was writhing and bucking up slightly off the mattress. A strange thing to cause so much pleasure, the Istar thought, but there could be no doubt at all as to its efficacy.

Moving down to the silky smoothness of the Elf's chest, he ranged slowly across it until his tongue encountered the small, relaxed mound of the dark pink nipple. As he sucked gently at it and felt a hard little peak form, a tiny moan of desire escaped him and mingled with the Elf's louder sounds. Unprepared for how much such caresses excited him, he sucked faster and more insistently, dimly aware of Glorfindel's fingers combing through his white hair to cup the back of his head and press him slightly more firmly against his chest. The Istar felt his own penis, so recently spent, stir slightly. The sense of giving the Elf such pleasure made him giddy, and he hungrily sucked and tongued each nipple in turn, rubbing his budding erection slowly against Glorfindel. Time seemed to drift imperceptibly, but finally the Elf released his head and gasped, "Please, Mithrandir!"

The Istar rose and slid down to Glorfindel's straining erection. After a moment's hesitation, he leaned over and seized it around the base with one hand to steady it, then touched his tongue to the tip and lapped it around in a leisurely fashion. Closing his eyes, he dragged his relaxed lips wetly down the shaft and up again, moving his head from side to side to explore the entire surface, as Glorfindel had done with him. The feel of the smooth skin and slightly raised veins of the Elf's erection under his tongue and lips was intoxicating, and he listened with joy to the soft groans that his companion was emitting. As he continued, he opened his eyes and glanced up into Glorfindel's face, seeking guidance, but the Elf merely smiled at him and nodded, his eyes clouding with approaching bliss. Thus encouraged, the Istar rose slightly and pushed his mouth down over the tip, sucking slightly and beginning to pump his hand up and down on the pulsing member. Glorfindel ceased to look at him and grimaced, tensing his body and clutching at the sheets on either side. Not much guidance there, Mithrandir thought with amusement, but probably not much needed. He tried to push his mouth further down, but could get only about an inch beyond the round tip. It seemed to be enough, however, judging from the way Glorfindel was barely able to restrain himself from thrusting up against him.

Suddenly the Elf gasped, "I'm . . . I'm going to . . ." Despite this warning, the wizard was startled to suddenly have thick warm liquid flood the back of his mouth, and he struggled to swallow. It came too quickly, however, for him to accept it completely, and he choked slightly, allowing some to leak from his lips and dribble down the Elf's shaft. He managed to continue sucking and pumping as the flow diminished. The panting Elf relaxed and, after a moment of dazed reaction, smiled rapturously at him. He reached over to the bedside table and passed Mithrandir a small cloth, which the Istar used to wipe the trailing drops of semen from the shrinking penis and from his own lips. He rose to kneel and looked down at Glorfindel with a delighted and slightly smug smile. "I must have done something right."

The Elf laughed quietly. "I have no complaints. Very satisfying indeed. And you did manage to swallow a bit, which is fine for a first attempt. I hope you did not find the taste too unpleasant."

Mithrandir considered. "No, not unpleasant. I'm sure I shall quickly get used to it."

Glorfindel laughed harder. "Very diplomatic! Come here and kiss me, my dearest Mithrandir."

He had intended that to mean that the Istar should lie beside him for a while, kissing and caressing gently. Mithrandir, however, quickly rose to place his body partly on top of the Elf's and began to kiss him deeply again, sliding his fingers across the sweat-slicked skin of his torso and rocking his hips against Glorfindel's groin. Soon his tongue moved down to trail across the Elf's throat. Still slightly woozy from his recent climax, Glorfindel smiled and moved languorously under the increasingly fervent caresses of the wizard.

"Another lesson so soon?" He chuckled. "Yes, I can feel that you are well on the way to needing one." He put on a small frown of disappointment. "So, I have not satisfied your urges after all."

The Istar's head rose so that he could look into Glorfindel's eyes. "Well, as far as I can tell, since that last, intense pleasure is so fleeting, one must repeat the process to get enough of it."

"Never enough, perhaps, but yes, one can try to achieve it." He grinned as Mithrandir again pressed his lips against the Elf's neck and nibbled at his ear. "Again I wonder who is giving the instruction here." He took the wizard's head between his hands and gently drew it back until they were gazing into each other's eyes. "I had not seriously thought to go any further tonight, for the next lesson is more difficult. But as you are so eager . . . well, I think I will get no rest tonight unless I provide you with even more intense pleasure. You must, however, make me as eager for it as you are. Let me see what you have learned so far."

The Elf watched with quiet delight as Mithrandir shifted fully on top of him and moved against him, his mouth trailing down from his ears and again dwelling on the taut nipples as his hands kneaded and rubbed the firm buttocks and thighs. After this went on for some time, Glorfindel could feel the wizard's erection sliding between his knees, and he rolled slight to one side to separate their bodies enough so that he could guide Mithrandir's hand to his own reviving cock, murmuring "yes" as the fingers began to stroke him. Having climaxed so recently, he hardened slowly, but the Istar seemed willing to spend any amount of time enjoying his body and encouraging his returning desire. He had not known quite what to expect in taking the Istar to bed like this, but the result surpassed his hopes. Mithrandir needed few explicit directions, noticing the slightest responses and letting them guide him in his lovemaking.

At last Glordindel felt ready to take their intimacy to another level, and he reached down to caress the wizard's erection. It was fully hard, and he whispered in his lover's ear, "I want to go inside you, Mithrandir, if you are willing. It will give us both great pleasure, but you must follow my guidance carefully. And I fear that it will inevitably cause you some pain, though obviously I shall as far as possible avoid hurting you." He reached up to the table again and picked up a small jar of thick, clear ointment. Pushing the Istar onto his back and then kneeling between the spread thighs, he looked down into the deep, intense eyes. He handed the jar to the wizard, who opened it and looked up inquiringly. "Prepare me for you," Glorfindel whispered, glancing down at his member, which he held around the base to steady it. The Istar dipped his fingers in the ointment and tentatively began to smear it over the tip. Glorfindel swallowed hard, then gasped as the fingers drifted down a bit further. When another questioning glance brought a nod from the Elf, Mithrandir moved more confidently, coating the shaft down to Glorfindel's hand, rubbing in slow little circles over the skin as he felt the erection gain full hardness beneath his fingers.

Finally the Elf reached to take the jar and gently bent the Istar's knees and slid a pillow beneath his hips. "I'm going to prepare you now, and it will feel odd at first. Let me know if I hurt you or go too far or too quickly. It will be easier if you try to relax as much as possible rather than fighting my entry." With a hint of trepidation in his eyes, Mithrandir breathed slowly and deeply, trying to relax as instructed. He quivered and clenched his teeth briefly as he felt the Elf's finger slowly enter him and then begin tiny movements that gradually increased. As the wizard relaxed again, Glorfindel pushed further in and gently pressed over the spot of deepest pleasure. Mithrandir, who had been watching as much of the Elf's movements as he could see, suddenly clenched his eyes shut and groaned, then panted raggedly as the caresses intensified. He opened his eyes again in disappointment as the finger withdrew, then lay back whimpering as two fingers slid in and continued the process, rubbing and swirling and stretching until the Elf felt that his companion was prepared for the final invasion.

Glorfindel murmured, "This is where it may hurt most," and very slowly pushed the tip inside. Despite registering some pain, the wizard was soon eager for more, the Elf's stroking fingers having given him strong hints at the pleasure to follow. Gently Glorfindel began to thrust, taking a long time to get in far enough to slide the tip along the pleasure point again. He moaned, blinking and gasping at the tight heat clasping him. He paused to gauge whether the wizard was still in pain, but a little grunt of frustration led him to thrust somewhat harder, moving slightly deeper inside until he felt the wizard tense and gasp in discomfort. At once Glorfindel withdraw a bit and settled into a moderate pumping rhythm that would prolong their pleasure. Both hovered in a haze of bliss during the long, slow ascent. Finally Glorfindel reached down and softly stroked the wizard's pulsing member, and Mithrandir moaned hoarsely in encouragement. Soon he was writhing and whimpering again, trying to push against Glorfindel, and the Elf leaned forward slightly, resting one clenched fist on the mattress beside the man's waist. He thrust faster, all the while restraining himself from allowing the force to increase. Finally the wizard groaned loudly as he shot his seed up over his own chest. At once Glorfindel spilled inside him, snorting and gasping as he managed to open his eyes and watch as the sharp ecstasy slowly drained from Mithrandir's face, lapsing into utter contentment.

Glorfindel remained exactly where he was for a few moments, panting and watching the Istar shift against the sheets as he gloried in his satiated body. The Elf pulled gently out, and after using the same small cloth to wipe them both, moved to lie beside his friend. They joined hands, and the Elf lifted them to his lips to kiss Mithrandir's palm lightly.

The Istar sighed, then glanced into Glorfindel's eyes, which held a note of inquiry. "Yes, my dear Elf, the 'urges' are definitely banished for now. I think sleep is far more likely than further passion." He was silent for a moment. "But all this has helped me to realize something. I may have been sent here on an enormously difficult task, and I may be exiled from my beloved home for a very long time. Still, the limitations of a human embodiment do come accompanied by considerable pleasures. You have shown me a joy that I never expected to find. One which I suspect will offer a wonderful respite from my worries and duties.

"Quite apart from any pleasure, however, in my days here in the Havens I have begun to sense how much this continent has in it that is worth struggling to save. And I have barely seen any of it yet! I shall no doubt continue to long for my home, but perhaps I shall develop a nearly equal longing to explore Middle-earth and its riches. Well, time enough to talk about that another day."

He yawned, and his eyelids were drooping. Glorfindel remarked, "Yes, you said that you need to sleep in the way Men do. Well, go ahead, my dear pupil. You have earned it."

"I neglected to thank you for this marvelous lesson, my dear teacher." Mithrandir stretched his head out to brush his lips gently against the Elf's.

"The only way you need thank me is to allow me to give you another," Glorfindel whispered.

"In lovemaking, of course--but perhaps we won't need the one on the art of seduction. Note that on my very first attempt I managed to lure the most beautiful Elf in the world into my arms. Quite impressive for a beginner!"

A week later, on the evening before Mithrandir and Glorfindel were to set out for Rivendell, Cirdan invited the wizard to sit alone with him by the fire before retiring. They talked for a while of the Istar's plans and hopes, then fell comfortably silent. The warmth of the fire on this damp, chill evening was agreeable indeed, Mithrandir reflected. He was beginning to become accustomed to the idea that weather affected him now, that extreme heat and cold could be quite unpleasant. It appeared that the autumnal clouds and the chill he had experienced at the Havens were mild in comparison with some seasonal conditions he could expect to encounter.

It was as he sat thinking about such things that the Elf astonished him by suddenly producing Narya and handing it to him. Mithrandir had felt challenged by the vast, amorphous task before him, and now unexpectedly he had this amazing and encouraging offer of support and strength. He knew something of the history of the Great Rings, and he realized that there could be no better way to start his great labors here. He thanked Cirdan many times over for offering such a gift. Eventually, however, it occurred to him with a pang to ask why the Elf had not presented the ring to one of the Istari who had arrived before him, in particular . . . well, he realized he had no idea what their names were here, and even to Cirdan he hesitated to speak the name of Curunir. When at last he reluctantly hinted to Cirdan that the ring might better be bestowed elsewhere and offered to return it, the Elf continued to gaze into the fire for a short while. Then he turned his wise eyes to Mithrandir and replied, "Take this ring, Master, for your labors will be heavy, but it will support you in the weariness that you have taken upon yourself. For this is the Ring of Fire, and with it you may rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill. But as for me, my heart is with the Sea, and I will dwell by the grey shores until the last ship sails. I will await you."

Thus began Mithrandir's defense of Middle-earth.