Aaah! A finished story. I managed to cram the rest into a long super chapter! The characters and setting and stuff still isn't mine and all belongs to Tolkien. Thanks for all reviews and stuff, I really appreciate them.

Elrohir opened his eyes slowly, wondering sleepily at the coldness and stillness of the air. His next thought was that his brother's breathing seemed rather louder than normal, in fact comparable in volume to that of the monster that they had once thought lurked under their beds. Turning his head Elrohir found himself looking into his brother's face just as the sleepy eyes screwed shut in a yawn.

The pair looked at each other for a few moments, the grey eyes calling to each other in silent song, and the identical smiles growing on each face. Then, in a sudden movement, both leapt to their feet casting the blankets aside and cheering loudly.

"It is Midwinter's Day!"

The two elflings leapt off the bed with happy yells and scampered down the corridor to their parents' room at top speed, only pausing to gape at the smooth white landscape visible from the frosted panes of the high arched windows that lined the passage.

"Ada! Ammë!" Two small bodies leapt onto the end of the large bed, jolting Elrond and his wife into sudden consciousness.

"What? What is wrong?" Elrond sat up suddenly, anxiously looking from face to face.

"It is Midwinter's Day! May your days grow ever lighter!" The twins chorused together, bouncing on the soft bedcovers.

Elrond sighed and lay back down, watching both sons as they beamed at him in the pale morning light. The sun was not yet up and they had woken him to greet him in this manner.

"Aye. May your days grow ever lighter." Elrond patted a small hand with each of his, adding in a whisper that only Celebrian could hear, "Preferably before you should wake others."

"Ammë!" Elrohir descended on his mother to give her a huge hug willingly assisted a moment later by his brother.

Celebrian bit back laughter and cuddled the two warm little bodies to her.

"It is a beautiful day for the festival." Celebrian peeked over a dark head to admire snowy hills streaked with early silvery light and attempted to poke her husband into enthusiasm.

"It is indeed." Elrond made a token effort at sitting up to admire the view, only to find on lying down again that two little elflings had slipped under the covers between them, leaving him a miserly quantity of bed space. He wriggled uncomfortably for a while, trying not to appear displeased as the boys hugged any part of his body that they could reach. Eventually however he decided that he would have to take action if he were to have any peace this morning.

"Boys." Two rumpled heads popped up out of the other end of the bed, listening eagerly. "Do you remember when I told you that part of festivals is giving joy to others?"

The twins nodded solemnly, unable to keep the proud smiles from their faces. Hidden under the pile of summer tunics in their room were a collection of small gifts, painstakingly carved and painted over the long winter evenings.

"Well." Elrond kept his face serious but his voice held a mischievous tone that Celebrian recognised. "Poor Glorfindel has nobody to wish him good cheer this morning."

The twins looked at each other with expressions of horror before jumping down off the bed.

"Do not worry Ada! We will greet him!" Elladan called merrily, already heading for the door.

"We will make him all happy!" Elrohir promised as he skipped after his brother.

Celebrian snuggled up to her husband whispering softly, "That was most unkind."


"Glorfy?" Elrohir called questioningly as the tiptoed into the elf-lord's chambers.

"I think he is sleeping." Elladan said in a whisper calculated to be loud enough to wake even the deepest sleeper.

"No, I think he wakes." Elrohir clambered onto Glorfindel's bad and crawled across to give him a hug. Elladan mirrored the attack from the other side. Eventually the blond elf blinked open his eyes, looking uncomprehendingly from one beaming face to another.

"It is Midwinter's Day!" Elladan called joyfully as the pair descended on the elf, squeezing most of the air from his lungs in their enthusiasm.

"So it is." Glorfindel said with little enthusiasm as he glanced at the pale sky. "What is the hour?"

The twins looked at each other and shrugged.

"We do not know. It is quite early yet." Elrohir spoke for the pair.

"Do not worry, for you are not late for breakfast!" Elladan added reassuringly.

"No. I did not think so." Glorfindel said wryly, then picking up on the happy smiles on the twins' faces made an effort to wake. "It is Midwinter's Day. Thank you for thinking to come and greet me."

"May your days grow ever lighter!" The twins chimed out the familiar greeting with Elrohir adding at the end. "Ada said that you had nobody else to wish you good cheer so early."

"Oh?" Glorfindel mentally began making his own snowball list, putting one Lord of Imladris at its head.

"We did not wish you to be lonely." Elladan assured him, patting his hand as if he was afraid that the older elf would become upset at his narrow escape from solitude. "But we are here now."

"And for that I am extremely grateful." Glorfindel sat up and put an arm around each twin, his loose blond hair falling down onto their shoulders. Elladan picked up some strands and fashioned them into a fringe for himself causing his brother to sprawl on the bed in laughter.

Finally after a few more hugs the twins looked at each other in silent agreement and slipped off the bed.

"Where are you off to?" Glorfindel caught hold of one thin arm.

"The others!" Elrohir wriggled free and danced up and down importantly. "We are going to greet all others who are lonely this morning!"

"Ah." Glorfindel raised his eyebrows as he thought for a few moments. While he had little doubt that Elrond had derived great amusement from sending the twins in to disturb him, he suspected that he had not meant for every elf in Imladris to be woken in this manner. "Why do you not stay with me?"

"Because we wish to give out joy to others!" Elladan explained with his best helpful smile. "To lonely people."

Glorfindel immediately let his smile fade into a sad expression and patted the bed by his side.

"But I will be lonely if you leave." The twins looked at each other, clearly wavering between doing good and having a cuddle. Glorfindel decided to tip the balance. "I will tell you a story."

The twins had darted back to the bed and scrambled under the covers before he had even finished asking which story they wished to hear.


Elladan was sitting on the floor, one leg extended in the air before him as he tried to tug on his boot. Uttering a sigh of frustration Elladan grabbed the polished leather with both hands and pulled hard. There was no shift in the position of the boot, but Elladan exclaimed in surprise as he rolled over onto his back.

"Undo the laces Elladan!" Glorfindel spoke at last after five minutes of watching the boy's progress, waiting for him to come to the obvious conclusion himself.

"But that takes so long!" Elladan scrambled up again to sit on his knees as he made a vain snatch at the boot that Glorfindel had picked up.

"It does not!" Elrohir said smugly, leaning forwards to balance on the stiff leather toes, his arms held out wide for balance. "I am already finished!"

Elladan pulled a face and threw the old sock he had found at the bottom of one of his boots at his brother. Elrohir pulled back with a repulsed expression, teetering off balance and dropping back onto his feet.

"Smelly orc!"

"Smellier orc!"

"It is small wonder that you cannot unlace your boots Elladan." Glorfindel cut in with a voice that while apparently unconcerned with the squabble left no doubt in the boys' minds as to his thoughts on the matter. "For I must wonder if you have ever untied any knot you have made in the bindings."

Elladan flushed and looked at the floor. Both boys had been delighted to receive proper boots on their begetting day, and for the first few wearings he had been immaculately careful to clean and polish the footwear after use, and carefully unlace the stiff leather bindings. Over time however it had seemed more important to run to get the pick of the snacks or the largest glass of milk than take proper care for his equipment. And as the bindings got ever more tangled and mud-caked, it was ever easier to forget about what he should be doing.

"I. . ." Elladan began, his shoulders slumped miserably as he poked at the knots in the boot that remained within his grasp. Glorfindel was notorious among the Imladris Guard for his perfect standards in all things military. In fact some had gone as far as to call him obsessive. Elladan held little hope that this perfection would not run as far as boots.

The blond elf worked in silence for a few moments, his bony fingers making short work of the tangled mess that Elladan had left. He could not scold Elladan today - he already felt guilt for being the cause of the passing of the excitement that the boy had exuded only minutes before.

"Here." Glorfindel handed Elladan the boot, which now slipped easily onto the child's foot, ruffled the troubled dark head, and held out a hand. "Come Elladan, let me do that. You hurry and dress yourself."

Elladan gratefully handed over the rather squashed looking object, leaving behind a dusty mark on his tunic where it had been resting. As he heard his mother's light footsteps he rolled onto his stomach to hide the evidence, earning a grin from Glorfindel.

"Ammë! Ammë!" Elrohir ran round and round the hallway in jubilant circles. "Can we go outside now? Can we?"

"In a minute child. First you must dress warmly!" Celebrian brought down two matching deep red capes from the ornately carved wooden hooks and handed one to each child. The boys immediately swapped to ensure that each had their own cape - a movement so ingrained in habit that they hardly realised what they were doing.

Once she had fastened two small silver brooches the blonde elf turned back to the hooks for her own garment. Elrond reached over Celebrian's head for the cape and helped her into it, using the occasion as an excuse for an additional cuddle. This required great powers of concentration as two elflings were chasing each other around the living room trying to tag the tail of each other's capes, one of whom was alternating between loud and quiet steps whilst complaining loudly that it was not fair.

His task finished at last Glorfindel got up and tossed the boot to Elladan who caught it with a dazzling smile.

"Oh thank you Glorfindel!" The blond elf found himself nearly bowled over by a violent hug, probably partly to reassure him that he should not be lonely.

"It was my pleasure Elladan." Glorfindel slung his heavy cloak around his shoulders and fastened it with the mithril triple spiked insignia of Imladris, then turned to the boy and playfully lowered his eyebrows. "Now get your boots on!"


The morning was early yet, and only those families with young children were awake at this hour. The snow that blanketed the realm of Imladris was still white and crisp, its smooth surface as yet undented by the light imprints of elven feet.

Every twig and branch was covered with a light dusting of snow and frost, giving the wooded hill sides a pale golden sheen in the weak morning sun. The noise of the river seemed unnaturally loud, the gentle music filling the whole of the valley, as if the main current felt need to make up for the small pools and streams that had frozen into icy steps overnight.

"It is snowy!" Elrohir ran ahead of the adults, leaving his brother still struggling into his winter boots. After pelting along the swept terrace and skidding on the icy patch by the fountain he took a flying leap from the steps into the sunken gardens, shouting joyfully as he landed in a flurry of snow.

"Wait for me!" Elladan at last managed to fit his foot into his boot and bounced up off the floor to race after his brother, nearly sweeping his parents off their feet as he charged between them, ducking under their linked hands.

"You cannot catch me!" Elrohir jumped back to his feet and darted away, his laughter daring his brother to give chase.

The three adult elves walked sedately side by side down the steps, watching the twins dance over the snow leaving delicate patterns as intricate as the frost on the window panes. The small figures swung around icy columns and darted from tree to tree to hide, the occasional bright flashes of a cape and peals of laughter being the only indication as to the boys' whereabouts.

"It seems hardly possible to imagine that they will still have strength left, come this evening." Elrond observed seriously although a proud smile was playing at the corners of his lips.

Celebrian looked from her sons up into the face of her husband and squeezed his hand more tightly, slipping her fingers in-between his.

"I think that the challenge lies more in whether we still have strength left." Celebrian laughed, moving Elrond's arm so it wrapped around her waist.

"Ah." Elrond shot Glorfindel, who had moved a little apart from them, a mischievous look. "I will be most busy with the singing. I am sure my dear friend will be more than happy to occupy our blessed children."

The blond elf retaliated with a mock glare whilst one blessed child screeched loudly as the other jumped on his back, bringing them both down into a snowdrift.

"I?" Glorfindel skipped forwards a few steps and spun lightly to face the couple. "And who is say that I shall not fall when faced with the combined power of the Sons of Elrond, Master of Imladris!"

"You are legendary for your stamina Glorfindel," Celebrian laughed as she lightly touched the blond elf's arm, "You shall vanquish this power!"

"Aye." The blond elf placed a steadying hand at Celebrian's back as they descended some icy steps. "I shall enjoy their company. For every member of this fair house shares your blessing with these fine boys, oh Lord and Lady of Imladris!"

Elrond gave his friend a look worthy of Mordor as Glorfindel sounded out every word in his melodic tones, grinning infuriatingly. The twins had not exactly been badly behaved during the last visit of the King of Mirkwood - in fact they had set out to he charming with all the grace that children of four years could muster - but Thranduil was yet to see the amusing side. And his farewell speech had not lacked in irony.

"Look! Look!" Two small boys whirled around the corner and raced towards the older elves, grabbing hold of Elrond and Glorfindel's free hands to break their flight.

"The waterfall Ada!" Elladan was first to regain his breath, his eyes huge. "It is beautiful!"

"Ammë," Elrohir took his mother's hand and tugged her eagerly, "You must see! It is a palace!"

After tortuously long seconds for the little elflings, they managed to drag their parents and Glorfindel down the path to the plunge pool to admire their discovery. Whilst the main torrent still flowed freely, the smaller streams that made their way down the rough surface of the cliff had slowed to a standstill and frozen in long frosted icicles that hung from the crags. The spray from the waterfall was freezing in the cold air, giving a misty haze to the entire area, and the early light made the icicles appear to glow faint shades of yellows, pinks and violets.

The party stood wordlessly for a few minutes, each admiring the beauty in their own way. Then Elrohir began to fidget and turned to his father, his brow furrowed slightly.

"What are they Ada? Did they come just for midwinter?"

Elrond pulled his eyes away from the beautiful sight and looked down at his son, his mouth moving into its characteristic thinking expression. Not that his son was any less beautiful, with his nose and cheeks pink from the cold and snowflakes scattered across his hair.

"They are icicles Elrohir. They are made of ice."

"The ice on the ponds is not that pretty." Elrohir's voice rose questioningly as he looked back at his palace of ice.

"This ice freezes as the water flows down the rocks. That is why they are that shape." Elrond let go of his wife's hand to pick up his younger son and strode over to the rock face. "See - this little one. It is growing."

"Do they taste nice Ada?" Elladan darted forwards and stood on tiptoes to reach one of the more beautiful icicles, trying to lick the frozen surface.

"No Elladan." Glorfindel was quickly at his side and scooped the child up, just before the warm pink tongue could make contact. "They are very cold and your tongue would go all frosty."

"Really?" Elladan managed to wriggle around in Glorfindel's arms to face the blond elf, unaware that this action had nearly resulted in him being dropped into a very cold puddle, and swept some snowflakes and strands of hair from the blue woollen fabric to rest his head on the larger shoulder.

"Truly. And you would not be able to taste any of the good things that you will eat today." Glorfindel used an explanation that he knew would prevent all further argument.


They took the paths up through the glades, crunching over the snow on the lesser-known tracks, the snow still thick on the gnarled boughs that overhung the path. It was cold and windless under the trees, the moss on the age-old trunks now covered in frost, and the frozen streams eerily silent.

The three fully grown elves walked in step through the woods, each in their own thoughts, smiling at the happy laughter and conversation from the small elves that were skidding and twirling on the frozen surface of pools and ponds.

Presently they entered a large open glade, the expanse of snow streaked with long blue shadows from the sun behind the trees that surrounded the clearing. The snow lay deep and powdery, its surface crisp from the frost.

Whooping with joy Elladan ran forwards and dived to the ground, making an impressive wake of flying flakes behind him. Elrohir was about to follow suit when he noticed that his brother had bent down as he got to his feet, and was now holding something behind his back. Leaping to the side he managed to duck behind his father as a snowball flew through the space where his face had been moments before.

In a flash Glorfindel's face lit up from its ponderous thoughts, and he grabbed Elrohir and ran to a safe distance.

"Peredhil!" A well-aimed missile hit Elrond's left ear in a puff of snow. Elrohir giggled as Glorfindel raised his arm in a victorious battle cry. "I forgot to thank you for my wake up call!"

Elrond looked abashed for about a second before kneeling to make his own snowball, and beckoning his eldest son to his side.

"What treachery is this? Elladan, we must unite to defeat this evil!" The half-elf's stormy eyes lit up playfully as he shouted commands.

"We shall win!" Elladan called happily as he scooped up more snow and packed it between his palms.

"You shall not!" Elrohir called in a shrill voice, throwing his snowball with all his strength. Elladan threw himself onto the ground, but even his quick reactions could not spare him a cold bump on his head. Elrohir jumped around giggling gleefully, joined by Glorfindel who dropped the snow he carried in his mirth. Mirth that was soon cut short as two snowballs hit him in the face, one flung rather harder than the other. Spitting out snow, Glorfindel glowered at his friend, and retaliated with a huge missile. Then the fight began in earnest.

Celebrian's face was alight with her laughter as she watched those that she loved rolling around in the snow, trying to take aim without being brought down themselves. Occasionally she threw a few small snowballs of her own, safe in the knowledge that nobody would dare to retaliate against her, although for sake of inclusion Glorfindel had flung a few snowballs carefully designed to miss in her direction. A kindness for which he had paid dearly, for he had been as yet unable to remove Elladan from his chest and had probably swallowed more snow than was good for him.

Eventually the family got tired of the game, and cold and wet from snow stuffed down the necks of tunics, gathered before traipsing back to the house. Celebrian brushed down her sons as well as she could considering how damp their clothing was.

Smiling, Elrond helped his bedraggled friend to his feet. Glorfindel sighed as he wriggled in an attempt to remove handfuls of melting snow from his itchy wet tunic. He and Elrond had, as usual for any rough and tumble games with the twins, taken the brunt of the attack. Careful to moderate their throws to avoid harm to the young elflings, they had pelted each other with all their remaining energy, and since the twins also favoured aiming for them rather than each other both adult elves were soaked through.

"Ada! Ammë! It is time for breakfast!" Elladan shook snow out of his hood as he bounced irrepressibly on the spot, looking forwards to the special breakfast of porridge and maple syrup that they had had ever midwinter's morning since the twins had been old enough to hold a spoon.

"Yes! I am hungry!" Elrohir rubbed his stomach in vigorous circles, casting significant glances up at the path back home.

Elrond looked at Celebrian, his eyes laughing. "Why, do you not think we should forgo breakfast this morning. . ?"

He was cut off by two high-pitched indignant voices yelling "No!". The family was soon climbing the steps back up the valley, Glorfindel lagging behind a little as he rubbed his soaked hair dry with a less damp patch of his cloak.


After a morning spent staging a ferocious battle across the entire living room with their father and being read stories of midwinter traditions from an old lavishly decorated book in front of the fire, the twins finished their midday meal in record speed. Their favourite part of Midwinter's Day was about to begin and they had no intention of being late.

Formal shirts and tunics were wriggled into without fuss, and even the hated woollen undershirts were endured without complaint, so eager the boys were not to be late for the celebration. Eventually their parents obliged by finishing their dressing, and after an inspection and tidying Elladan's hastily done plaits, they met up with the other important elves to be escorted to one of the largest glades above the house.

After what seemed like an agonisingly long time for the twins, their parents stopped making polite yet boring conversation with their friends and they finally began to walk up to the glade. Lilting music and happy laughter was audible from beyond the evergreen trees that populated the slopes of this region of the valley and Elladan began to skip forwards eagerly, trying to overtake his father.

Elrond broke off his conversation with Celebrian and turned round with a faint scowl as Elladan's feet bumped into the back of his heels for the third time. Elladan gave him an impatient look, and jumped up and down on the balls of his feet, clearly encouraging his father to hurry up the slope.

"Elladan." Elrond spoke with irritation, looking hard at the spot several feet back where the boy should have been standing, hand in hand with his twin.

"Sorry Ada." Elladan slunk back to stand beside his twin; a matching pair in their maroon tunics embroidered with leaves and vines. Elrond scowled with irritation at himself. Elladan did know the etiquette for formal escorts, but deep inside he could well understand how the boy could have been too excited to keep in line.

Smiling encouragingly he held out his free hand. Both boys ran forwards happily, each linking a hand with a parent, and together the four led the group into the glade.


It was a tradition in Imladris that on Midwinter's Day that the tallest of all the pine trees, standing in the centre of a large snow covered glade would be decorated with pyramid shaped bags of brightly coloured cloth symbolising the gifts that they received from the earth during the year. Due to Mithrandir's presence among the crowd, this year the tree was also lit by tiny specks of starlight that seemed to be hovering among the needles and in the surrounding air.

The elves of Imladris had gathered in a large circle around the tree, singing joyful songs in rounds as they awaited the arrival of their Lord. Both boys beamed at the sight of the tree, drawing tolerant smiles from the crowd.

"Master Elrond!" Mithrandir smiled fondly as the Lord of Imladris and his household came over to where he was standing on a small hillock. He had neglected to join Elrond's escort, instead choosing to join the crowd at the glade early and improvise some decorations. An entranced crowd of knee high elflings was just drifting away as the group entered the glade, and catching the last few sparks of some trick Elrond grinned at his old friend with raised eyebrows. Mithrandir answered this with the suitably bland expression of an Istari that had been caught entertaining chattering children when he should have been talking to other high-ranking members of the household.

"Mithrandir. I trust that you have not lacked entertainment." Elrond cast an eye over the gleaming tree and the delighted elflings and gave his friend a barely perceptible wink.

"Nor you." Mithrandir nodded down at the twins who were explaining all about the snowball fight to Erestor and several other advisors. They illustrated their account with actions, and with each comment that they rushed over each other to make, Glorfindel's ears turned a shade darker. Elrond grinned boyishly and raised his eyebrows before staring off at the tree, assuming the serious expression that came with his office.


It fell to Elrohir this year, as the youngest member of Elrond's household, to be the first to receive his gift from the tree. He ran forwards a little shyly, almost tripping on the edge of his cape in his hurry.

"Master Elrohir." A tall elf dressed in ceremonial robes lifted him high to allow him to take his pick of the little coloured pyramids. "And have you been good this year?"

Elrohir paused, and looked at Elladan and then his father, his hand loosely clasped around a bright blue wrapping.

"I. . . I suppose so." Elrohir thought back to the events of the year, wondering whether or not he would be denied his gift as an additional punishment. They had not done anything so very wrong. At least the things that had been so very wrong had not been his idea.

"Excellent." Elrohir's pondering was cut off as he was gently lowered to the ground again and guided off towards his family as Elladan came skipping to take his place. Once both boys were back side by side they held the pyramids up to their ears to give them a shake and then swapped to do the same with each other's gift.

"I think it shall be chocolate!" Elladan guessed, choosing the thing he wished for most rather than what he thought it sounded most like.

"It sounds like maple fudge." Elrohir said thoughtfully as he shook the bag vigorously enough that Erestor doubted whether anything would come out of there whole.

"I am sure that it will be chocolate!" Elladan snatched back his bag and bounced it impatiently in the palm of his hand, waiting for his father to return thus allowing them all to open their gifts.

"What colour did you choose Ada?" Elrohir bobbed up and down, trying to see into his father's hand. His mother had chosen a red bag and his brother had selected a bag of bright yellow, so his father had the family's last chance to redeem itself in sense of colour choosing.

"Blue." He had always chosen blue. It had been his brother's favourite colour.

"You are very sensible Ada." Elrohir said seriously, hugging his father's legs with one arm.

"Thank you Elrohir." Elrond's eyes twinkled as he reached down to pick up his son and noticed the small face register disapproval at Glorfindel's colour choice. "Shall we open our gifts?"

He had barely finished speaking when small fingers undid the drawstrings of their packages and tipped out the contents into warm palms.

"Maple fudge!" Elrohir beamed both with pleasure at his favourite sweet and having guessed correctly.

"Raisins." Elladan tried not to sound too disappointed as he admired his gift, it was not that he disliked raisins, it was just that he liked all the other options so very much more.

"Why do we not share?" Glorfindel interjected smoothly as he offered both boys some of the chocolate balls that he had found. Elladan brightened immediately, quickly changing most of his raisins for Glorfindel's sweets.

As well as raisins, sweets and chocolates a few of the bags contained special gifts such as tiny silver bells. One bag contained a tiny leaf brooch wrought out of mithril and silver. It was said that whoever ended up with that lucky bag would be blessed with new life during that year. As Elrohir watched a pretty young female elf open her bag and gasp happily as she drew out the leaf he couldn't help feeling that the distribution was rigged.

Celebrian watched as the girl flushed prettily as she returned to the side of a handsome elf wearing a cloak of the Imladris Guard. She remembered the Midwinter ten years before when she had found the leaf within her own gift. And they had thought that they had been so very quiet as yet. . . but in mentioning anything to Glorfindel there was a risk. His innocent look that kept fading into a grin had been most infuriating.

As they watched each elf getting their own gift Elrond wrapped his arm around his wife's waist and pulled her nearer to him, eventually wrapping both arms round her body and resting his chin lightly on her blonde curls. Bending slightly so that his mouth was next to one pointed ear he whispered to her, too quietly for any other to hear.

Once all the elves had received their gifts and the laughter over the embrace between the couple that had received the leaf had subsided, many of the elves began dancing around the tree in time to the tune that the others sung. Several young elves carried brightly coloured banners and twirled and waved these about their bodies as they danced, creating an ever-moving kaleidoscope of colour.

The twins looked at each other before skipping out to join the whirling and moving crowd, their feet joining the others to create whorls of ice crystals in the snow. Someone caught hold of their hands and soon they were caught in a breathtakingly quick skip around the tree, their short legs moving doubly fast to keep up with the older elves.

"They are growing up." Elrond observed quietly to Celebrian as the music faded and their sons came to a halt, flushed and laughing with the exercise. Celebrian tilted her head to look up at him, her smile bringing life to her whole face. Then the singing started up again with a bright happy melody and she stepped away from him towards her confused looking sons.

"They do not know this dance!" She called over her shoulder to her husband as she ran to take the boys' hands to make a circle and began showing them the steps. The threesome danced slowly and carefully at first on the edges of the circle, but as the twins grew in confidence they joined in with the others, a laughing whirl of blonde curls and dark braids. He watched them as they spun around; making ignored protests as he was dragged into the group by willing hands.

Glorfindel and Erestor spent most of the afternoon talking among themselves, the blond elf pleasantly surprised at how easily he was getting on in Erestor's company. Erestor was not the most militant elf, having wielded a pen rather than a sword in the battles that his friends had fought in. All the same they had plenty to talk about, and were a little surprised at the interruption when Elladan sprinted towards them and seized Glorfindel's hands in his.

"Come and dance Glorfy!" The boy bounced up and down, his tone suggesting that anyone who would refuse would be branded a spoilsport. Glorfindel looked over the child's head at Elrond and Celebrian who were laughing and motioning for him to join them.

"Very well." Glorfindel permitted himself a grin as he was half-dragged over to the group, joining hands with Elladan and his mother.

Erestor watched as the blond elf joined in with the singing and laughing with a slight pang of loneliness. It was not often that he regretted not having married, but right now seeing all the other elves with groups of their friends and loved ones, he wished that he had someone to share this moment with. The scene was too beautiful to remember alone.

"Erestor!" A small hand gripped his and tugged violently until the owner got his full attention. He guessed it to be Elrohir for the child dancing with Glorfindel was matching him for energy and activity. "Come and dance with me!"


Finally as the sun set and the valley was filled with darkness the elves dancing around the trees dissipated, drifting off to their rooms to dress for the evening, the air alive with called greetings and farewells.

By this time even Elladan had grown tired of the dances and had edged steadily closer to Glorfindel until the tall elf had finally picked him up, and drawn his cloak around the pair of them.

"Shall we return?" Elrond asked quietly on catching Glorfindel's eye. Glorfindel nodded with a smile at the sudden memory that the sight of Elrohir with his father had brought back. It had not been long since the twins had been so small that they would have been lost among the crowds, and he and Elrond had taken turns at holding the cuddly little bundles as they had danced around the tree.

As they reached the corner where the path to the family's private quarters diverged from the main path up into the halls, Glorfindel halted and gently placed Elladan back onto his feet.

"Farewell. I will see you at dinner!" Glorfindel raised his hand in parting, and drew his cloak closer around his shoulders.

"May your days grow ever lighter!" The twins chorused by way of farewell, thankfully Celebrian noted, sounding rather sleepy.

"Aye. And yours!" Glorfindel turned and began taking long strides up the steps back to the house. Elrond and Celebrian watched him leave, then turned to each other with identical expressions and identical thoughts.

"Glor!" Elrond called loudly and reached out his hand when the blond elf turned. "Stay."


The fire flickered dimly in the darkened room, it's fading light sending long shadows of the armies gathered on the rug by the hearth up the pale walls. The twins were sprawled on the rug, talking quietly as they moved their armies across the soft woven surface. From the window seat where Glorfindel was sitting the boys were little more than dark silhouettes against the glow of the fire, one resting a thoughtful head on a palm, the other lying down with a pointed chin digging into his crossed arms. For a brief moment he wondered what two little fair-headed elflings would look like with the orange light of the fire shining off their golden hair. Then he dismissed the thought as quickly as it had come, returning to his conversation with Elrond and Celebrian.

As the evening wore on the stars grew brighter in the sky and the conversation in the little sitting room continued, sometimes serious but usually laughing, its steady rhythm only interrupted by a high-pitched squeal as someone executed an attack on the other's soldiers. Eventually as the fire flickered it's last and began to fade, Elrond got up and encouraged the charred wood back into flames then led the two little boys back to the seats.

"Do we get gifts?" Elladan wriggled with excitement, finding it very difficult to even sit in his chair.

Elrohir's eyes became large and he jiggled up and down on the edge of his seat as his parents drew out a lumpy looking bag. Elrond smiled at his sons and carefully took out a pair of daggers, the wooden handles carved with flowing script and the slightly curved blades held in belted leather sheaths.

"Daggers!" Elladan's eyes lit up as he reached eagerly for his blade and unsheathed it to admire the slightly blunt blade. "Thank you Ada!"

"Thank you." Elrohir hugged his mother and father before eagerly examining the delicate engravings on the blade, pleasantly surprised to find that he could at least get the gist of the unfamiliar words.

Glorfindel's eyes met Elrond, teasing him gently. He knew that the half-elf would have stuck to his original intentions and chosen blades that were too blunt to do accidental harm to the elflings that would play with them. As usual Elrond had ignored his advice to allow them to learn responsibility for weapons by giving them blades that were sharp enough to slice through skin at the faintest scratch. His assertions that he had survived the same without harm had been somewhat lessened when his friend had remembered that he had once mentioned slicing his finger to the bone on a carelessly placed spear.

"When can we use them?" Elladan waved his blade around a little, testing its weight in his hand.

"I think you will be beginning dagger work in the new year." Elrond said thoughtfully, bracing himself for the inevitable response.

"But you will practise with me before that?" Elladan asked hopefully, looking at his father with pleading eyes. Elrond felt himself caving in.

"Very well, but you must be very careful."

"Oh I will Ada!" Elladan jumped across the room to give his father a hug. "I cannot wait!"

Next came brooches made of interlocking circles of silver wire from their grandparents and more toy soldiers from Glorfindel, which along with the usual gifts of chocolate balls, sweet red winter berries and the special spicy dough twists in the shape of elvish letters, pleased the twins greatly.

Once the twins had finished exclaiming over their gifts and were beginning to set up the biggest battle yet with their new toys, Elrond suggested that it might be time to get ready for dinner. Elrohir looked at Elladan and the pair jumped up.

"But we have a surprise for you!" The twins spoke together and darted to their room, to return a few moments later hiding their surprises behind their backs.

"This is for you." Elladan handed his father a carved quill holder in the shape of a quiver of arrows. Elrohir equally solemnly handed his mother a comb carved out of beech wood and painted with flowers accurate enough to satisfy even the most testing examiner.

"Why thank you!" Celebrian kissed her two happy sons who then scrambled into their father's lap for a hug.

"We made them specially for you!" Elrohir explained, moving his head to rest it fondly against his father's arm.

"I painted the quiver!" Elladan pointed at his father's gift. "Just like the one in your study!"

Elrond nodded. He had recognised the pattern.

"I painted the flowers!" Elrohir added. He had spent many hours ensuring that the drawing was perfect.

"They are very pretty." Celebrian gently rubbed his small ear, bending to give each boy another kiss. An awkward movement by Glorfindel, who was beginning to feel like he had intruded on a family time, disturbed both boys.

"We have not given you your present Glorfindel!" Elrohir scampered across the room to give the blond elf a reassuring hug, lest he should become lonely.

"I thought of it!" Elladan leapt from the bench to give Glorfindel a hug that knocked the breath out of them both.

"But we both made it." Elrohir handed the blond elf a carved model of a soldier wielding a sword and shield. The twins gave him exactly three seconds to admire the gift before demanding together "Do you like it?"


"Elrohir," Elrond paused with a forkful of vegetables halfway to his mouth, "Would you like me to cut that for you?"

Elrohir smiled and surrendered the huge knife with which he had been trying to cut himself another piece of ham. The edge of the meat was now rather ragged and mauled looking, but with a few careful strokes Elrond tidied away the evidence of his son's attempt and served him a delicious looking slice.

"Thank you Ada." Elrohir treated his father to his best smile.

"May I also have some Ada?" Elladan wriggled in his seat to gain attention. Elrond raised his eyebrows slightly causing his son to hurriedly add "Please?"

The large hall was packed with talking and laughing elves, many of who were rather merry from the excess quantities of good food and wine. The large table on the dais was surrounded by all of the high-ranking elves in Elrond's household and the less high-ranking but equally important twins. There was a lavish centrepiece of rich green leaves and colourful garlands that went well with the sparkling cutlery and glassware, and a huge selection of delicious dishes were scattered down the length of the table.

Resting his chin on his fist for a moment, Elrond lost interest in the food to watch his wife as she jested with Glorfindel, who appeared to be in extremely high spirits that evening. Her blonde curls were hanging loose over the pale silk of her gown, and as she moved the candlelight caught the bracelet on her wrist, sparkling off the finely sculpted gulls that hung from the chain. He had given her that bracelet long ago. Before he had even had summoned up the courage to say how he felt.

"Elrond, is it true?" Glorfindel's amused voice cut across his thoughts, bringing him back to the dinner table where a delighted Glorfindel, surprised Erestor and giggling Celebrian were all staring at him.

"True?" Elrond looked desperately at Celebrian, becoming aware that most of the elves at the table were now listening to the conversation whether they appeared to or not. Even his sons had taken a break from picking the tomatoes out of the vegetable mix to listen with identical expressions of glee.

"Well?" Glorfindel pressed, taking great pleasure in his friend's discomfort. Elrond looked again at his wife who was trying to control her mirth and slowly turning pink in her efforts.

"Yes, I suppose." Elrond answered in a bewildered voice, assuming that nobody would dare to spread lies about him. The trio immediately burst into noisy laughter, with the rest of the table soon following suit.

"Excellent Peredhil!" Glorfindel slapped him heartily on the back with a large grin. Elrond turned to him puzzled.

"What did they say?" He whispered in an undertone.

"Why did you not hear?" Glorfindel asked innocently, knowing full well that Elrond had not heard since there had been nothing to hear.

"No. What was said?" Elrond's voice took on a slight tone of irritation. Celebrian gave Glorfindel a stern look. Glorfindel made a noise that was disturbingly like a snigger for such an elf-lord.


"Naught?" Elrond exclaimed in disbelief, drawing down his brows in frustration.

Glorfindel shrugged and grinned at his friend.

"You are so entertaining Elrond."


Once every last elf had eaten and drunk all that they could wish, the party slowly filtered through to the Hall of Fire, which was pleasantly warm from the large log fire that had been burning throughout the day. The exquisite decorations made the elves gasp in delight as they entered the hall and found a seat on the benches or on the floor. Elrond had to lay a guiding hand on each of the twin's shoulders as they walked in, to avoid them bumping into people as they stared up open-mouthed at the sparkling garlands that hung from the arched ceiling.

The family and their close friends crossed the room to the chairs that had been prepared for them and sat, watching as the minstrels settled and began to play a tune. As tradition was, on Midwinter's Day the minstrels did not sing alone, and after a hesitant start the voices of the elves of Imladris rose together to fill the hall.

Sitting cross-legged on the floor before the tall imposing chairs on which the most important elves were seated, Elladan was just able to differentiate the high sweet voice of his mother and the deeper richer tone of his father from the merging music of those in the hall. After a while however the novelty of singing the tunes began to wear off, and the floor began to feel increasingly cold and hard. He cast a glance over at his brother who was still singing lustily, his eyes dancing with enjoyment.

Stumbling sleepily as he got to his feet, Elladan walked into the knees of the first person he saw and held up his arms in a childish request to be picked up. Smiling Glorfindel obliged, easily scooping the elfling into his lap. Elladan must have been so very sleepy to revert to such behaviour. Warm and comfortable at last, Elladan burrowed closer to Glorfindel's body his cheek up against the silky warmth of the blond elf's shirt, and fell to sleep wrapped in the older elf's arms.

"May your days grow ever lighter Glor," Elrond whispered in the rustling quiet between songs. "Brave slayer of Balrogs."

The blond elf frowned slightly at the mention of the demon, but as he followed Elrond's gaze down to the sleeping child his expression softened.

"And yours Peredhil." Glorfindel placed an arm around his friend's shoulders for a quick squeeze. "But if I should ever be woken at such a forsaken hour again, may you enjoy that dawn as your last."

Elrond chuckled and gave his friend a sidelong look before launching into the next song. Finally as the night wore on and the singing died down to only a few of the more enthusiastic individuals, Elrohir grew weary and finding that his parents were busy talking and that Glorfindel had already been taken approached the as yet fairly unfamiliar haughty looking dark- haired elf.

"Erestor?" Elrohir rapped on of the counsellor's knees to attract his attention.

"Yes little one." Erestor bent down to look into the child's face.

"Will you give me a cuddle?" The child asked as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Erestor paused halfway between being flattered and uncertainty. Before he could make any response the boy had scrambled into his lap and was watching him intently from his new viewpoint.

"I do not intend to sleep." Elrohir explained with perfect logic. "For I do not wish to miss a second of Midwinter's day!"

"Ah." Erestor nodded sensibly, agreeing placidly with the sleepy little boy.

"I shall stay awake all night." Elrohir elaborated, laying his head against the soft sleeve of the chief counsellor's robes.

"I see." Erestor awkwardly copied Glorfindel by placing an arm around the child, holding him safely.

Elrohir snuggled up to him and before long was fast asleep, the half-closed eyelids fluttering as he dreamt of gifts and music and dancing.

The End

I will update and finish all my stories eventually. I have not forgotten any of them apart from the ones that are complete or were only intended to be one scene. There will however be long delays in the next updates because I shall be elsewhere. Merry Christmas, and if anyone has any good luck hanging around that they don't need can I borrow it?