|The First Storm
Author: HaloFin17 PM
Ereinion experiences his first storm after being sent to the Havens. A fluffy CirdanEreinion fic, partially inspired by a few lines from my story 'Weakness'. Please enjoy, and feel free to review!Rated: Fiction K - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - Gil-Galad & Círdan - Words: 2,442 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 8 - Published: 07-24-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3678467
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Summary: Ereinion experiences his first storm after being sent to the Havens. A fluffy Cirdan/Ereinion fic. Please enjoy, and feel free to review!
Disclaimer: I will never own Cirdan or Ereinion no matter how much I love them. Yet no small amount of credit for this fic must also go to Dragon Confused and Levade. Even if they never read this, their own superb writings have helped inspire this story, and I would be honored if they would consider it as a sort of tribute story to some of theirs. Incidentally, f you like this, check out their profiles for some more amazing young Ereinion stories! You won't be disappointed!
Author's Note: This oneshot was kind of inspired by a very small part of my story "Weakness," in which Cirdan gently teases Gil-galad about how he used to wake him up during the storms of the Havens as a child because he was scared. So hopefully those of you who have also been reading along in that story will have a special appreciation for this one as well. Enjoy!
The First Storm
The rumbling thunderclap was rapidly followed by yet another strobe of lightning and the subsequent cacophony. Ereinion shivered beneath his covers and anxiously pulled them tighter over his head to muffle the echoing noise. He tried to still his involuntary trembling, reminding himself that such fear was most unfit for a High Prince of the Noldor who was nearing his eleventh begetting day.
But he had never experienced such monstrous weather back home. There had been occasional thunderstorms, yes – but nothing like this. And besides, back home he had always had his parents and his grandfather to comfort him during the storms and keep him safe, to tell him that it would all pass and that everything would be calm again in the morning.
They were still there now, without him – his Ada and his Naneth. But not his grandfather. Not anymore. Fingolfin had fallen in battle shortly before Ereinion had been sent here, to the Havens. And though the young prince knew no details concerning the late High King's death, he did not ask about it. It was enough to see his parents' grief and know that his beloved grandfather would not becoming back. Ever.
Stubbornly shoving away those bittersweet memories and melancholy thoughts, the Elfling experimentally poked his head out from under the blankets, but another round of lightning and thunder sent him retreating back under them in seconds. And suddenly, Ereinion yearned for his parents so badly it was almost painful – for someone to hold him and be strong for him until the raging storm had passed. Such longings were nothing new to him now, but that did not make them any easier.
And somehow he did not think Cirdan would be overly inclined to cuddle an intrusive little Elfling late at night. Indeed, the grumpy old shipwright with whom Ereinion now dwelt seemed to be extraordinarily inept when it came to comforting a scared and lonely child, very rarely taking the initiative in a hug or any other such physical contact. He always seemed so awkward and…stiff.
The ancient Elf had even required his new charge's guidance in something as simple as holding hands when the two of them walked about the Havens together! Ereinion simply did not comprehend how anyone could live for so many years and not know how to hold hands. Although, he did have to admit that, after almost a month now of practice in that particular art, the shipwright's intuition had improved considerably.
But Cirdan would most certainly be irritated if his tiny ward were to disturb his rest, seeking refuge from a blustery storm. Being such a seasoned sailor, the older Elf was probably sleeping right through all of this in perfect peace. Although, perhaps Ereinion would feel better if he simply knew Cirdan was close by.
Encouraged by that thought, the Elvish princeling clambered hurriedly out of bed, taking care to bring his favorite stuffed toy with him, and tiptoed down the hall as quickly as he could until he had reached the shipwright's bedchambers. Still cowering from the erratic flashes of lightning and the terrifying explosion that always followed, he slumped down onto the floor with his back against Cirdan's door and brought his knobby little knees up to his chin.
Ereinion still clutched the soft toy fawn against his chest, but it was reassuring to know that his guardian was just on the other side of this sturdy wooden door. At least this way he wouldn't be waking Cirdan.
Cirdan the Shipwright lay in bed with his hands behind his head, staring up at the ceiling as the storm raged on outside his window. He usually was not disturbed by such squalls, but this one was exceptionally violent. It would have to be in order to wake even him. But he was not too concerned. There were no ships out on the open water that night, and they'd had sufficient warning to secure everything down at the harbor before the storm hit, both facts for which he was exceedingly grateful.
Hopefully there would be equally minimal damage to his own well-constructed home. And surely all those within his household were also well, for they were likewise familiar with the potentially destructive tempests of the Havens.
But then the shipwright grimaced beneath his silver beard. On the contrary, not all within his walls were accustomed to such storms. No doubt the young Noldorin prince a few doors down had never experienced such intense weather back in Hithlum. He really should check on the boy, to see that he was content in his bed and not lost in a fit of panic. It would only be fair, as such turbulence could be most terrifying to a child who had never before endured it. Now, if only he could get himself out of bed…
It proved to be a most difficult task, for he actually found it quite relaxing to just lie here, listening to the wind and the rain. But at last he made it, his body responding grudgingly despite its well-earned strength. Stifling a yawn, Cirdan ambled over to the door and swung it open, only to have a very startled and very sleepy little Elfling come tumbling down in front of him.
Ereinion yelped in understandable surprise when the support behind him suddenly gave way, and he fell over backwards onto a large pair of stocking-covered feet. He looked up, in a sense relieved to see his guardian now here with him, but his tiny heart still pounded uncontrollably within his chest.
"Ereinion!" Cirdan exclaimed, almost as startled as the small form crumpled at his feet. "Whatever are you doing out here, child?"
He did not mean for the question to sound so harsh, but he was rightfully concerned to find his priceless charge sneaking out of his room in the middle of a dark and stormy night. But judging by how the child still cowered on the floor beneath him, grey eyes wide and fearful, the genuine concern in his motives had clearly not come across.
Ereinion did not say anything, just continued to look at him with those bright eyes that shone like stars even in the darkness until another abrupt clap of thunder suddenly made him jump and grab hold of the hem on Cirdan's nightclothes until his small knuckles were white with the effort.
The shipwright sighed wearily, comprehending, and crouched down next to his young ward. "Are you frightened by the storm, child?"
The boy nodded quickly, his mop of tousled black hair bobbing up and down with the movement. He looked so helplessly pathetic, Cirdan could not help but pity the poor child. Although, of course, he could not be too obvious in the fact. So he stood and held out his hand down toward the shivering bundle of Elfling.
"Come then, Ereinion."
The prince scrambled to his feet and gratefully accepted the proffered hand, feeling rough calluses beneath his own smooth little fingers. Cirdan led them back inside his own chambers which were still pitch black except when illuminated by the sporadic flashes of lightning. Ereinion looked around nervously. He had only been in Cirdan's room once before, and that was when he had first arrived and been told that this particular chamber was off limits.
But the typically gruff shipwright made no complaint about his company, only sat down in an overstuffed chair near the fireplace that had long gone cold and pulled the frightened child onto his lap. Ereinion curled up there and rested back against Cirdan, glad for the comfort even if his guardian's beard was prickly beneath his cheek.
But the shipwright's arms were warm and strong around him, and he felt sheltered and secure. Almost as though he truly were back home. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to pretend that it was his grandfather who held him now, not Cirdan, but the omnipresent beard made that impossible.
So Ereinion reopened his eyes with a sad little sigh and accepted the truth of where he was. There was little point in pretending, really. But at least he was learning little by little that he was safe here. Cirdan was not going to let anything happen to him any more than Fingolfin himself would have. And so he buried his face in Cirdan's chest, fisting his tiny hands in the shipwright's simple tunic while the storm raged on.
Cirdan gazed down at the precious burden in his lap some time later after the thunder and lightning had begun to diminish. The boy was still awake, staring off aimlessly into the darkest corner of the room.
"Are you ready to go back to bed now, child?"
But Ereinion vehemently shook his head.
"Why not?" the Lord of the Havens asked with a tired yawn. "The worst seems to have passed."
"But you told me once that sometimes more storms come, and then they last all night," the little one protested nervously, miraculously managing to tighten his grip around the cloth in his hands. "Could that not happen now?"
Cirdan let out a longsuffering sigh, ruing his decision to disclose that fact to the child several days back. "Aye, I suppose it could."
"And if it does, I do not want to be alone, Cirdan."
Ereinion turned around to try to see his guardian's face better but ended up sticking his bony elbow directly into the shipwright's stomach, earning a painful wince from Cirdan as he deliberately rearranged the mass of thin limbs into a more comfortable position.
"You will not be alone, Ereinion. You know I am always nearby should you need me."
The child nodded reluctantly, but he still showed no sign of releasing his viselike grip on the older Elf. Cirdan closed his eyes and wearily ran a hand over his face. He was in need of his own rest, as was the stubborn Elfling on his lap, but there appeared to be little hope of separating the two of them anytime soon.
Deciding to concede to the inevitable sooner rather than later, the Telerin lord gathered his diminutive charge up in his arms and walked over to the bed. He carefully set Ereinion down near the pillows and began to arrange the blankets over him.
"Sleep here then, child, for I know you are tired."
Ereinion let Cirdan tuck him in, but he was still clearly uneasy about the storm and the prospect of being left alone.
"Are you going to leave me?" he asked timidly.
"No, Ereinion," his guardian answered him. "I will stay here with you. This is my bed, after all."
The prince smiled wide and looked about ready to thank the shipwright, when his face suddenly fell.
"Wait, Cirdan!" he exclaimed with sincere urgency and pointed back to the doorway they had previously deserted. "We cannot leave him there alone all night!"
Cirdan followed the extended finger and complied in total understanding. It was an oddity he could never empathize with, but the child loved that stuffed toy as though it were a living, communicative creature. He retrieved the fawn from the floor and handed it to Ereinion who immediately snuggled it lovingly up against his nose.
"There now, go to sleep. And I promise I shall not leave you. If the storm returns, child, I will be here."
"Thank you, Cirdan." The small voice was muffled as Ereinion spoke into his toy, but that did not make his gratitude any less heartfelt.
The shipwright favored his charge with one of those rare, genuine smiles that emerged from beneath his beard, though he wasn't sure the child could even see it in the dark.
"You are welcome, Ereinion."
With that, Cirdan settled down beside the now peaceful Elfling. He sat with his back against the headboard of the bed and wrapped a reassuring arm around Ereinion, even though he knew that the young prince was already sleeping soundly.
Ereinion did not know how long it had been since he'd fallen asleep in Cirdan's bed when he next woke up, but it was still dark out even though the storm had passed completely. Sleepy and content, he stretched and yawned, his little mouth opening far wider than would have been thought possible, and glanced up at his guardian.
Cirdan may have been in an upright position once, but now he was slumped down against the bed frame, half sitting and half lying down, with his head drooping over one shoulder. Ereinion thought it looked most uncomfortable.
Suddenly, another noise startled him, and he jumped against the shipwright's body. But it was not thunder. This time, the sound had come from directly above him, and Ereinion tilted his head upward, just to be certain that his ears had not deceived him. Cirdan was snoring.
The Elfling repressed a giggle, not wanting to wake his guardian, but he was unspeakably amused nonetheless. He had heard his Ada snore on rare occasion, but somehow it did not seem to fit the shipwright. Indeed, the grouchy old Elf did not look so scary at all when he was like this. Suddenly reassured, he snuggled back up against Cirdan's warm side. Perhaps living here would not be as unbearable as he'd first thought.
After all, if the two of them could survive the trials of a storm like this, they could withstand just about anything.