Two Glittering Trees

Summary: Thorin's not going to let Thranduil outdo him when it comes to decorating trees, and what on Earth is Gimli getting Legolas into? Sequel to The Glittering Tree.

Pairing/s: None that you can see. You may fantasize freely.

Warnings: Deviates from canon plot.

Disclaimers: I don't own Hobbit nor do I make any money writing fanfiction.

-o-

The sequel from last year's Hobbit Christmas story. Enjoy!

-o-

Thranduil had prepared two trees this time for Yule, so when the dwarves arrived the race began. The race of putting shiny stuff on trees. Thranduil and Thorin kept hurling insults at each other, but it was more good-natured than anything. Legolas kept climbing up on other elves' shoulders to get something up at the top while the dwarves had to use ladders, or stand three on each other.

Bilbo was not going near that chaos. Other dwarves were setting up the drinks, and he was a bit alarmed at the amount of ale they had brought.

"Are you lot having a drinking contest?" he asked Gimli as the young dwarf passed.

"Only a wee one," he told Bilbo.

"You dwarves don't have a small drinking contest. You will not be dancing on these tables, do you hear me?"

"Aye, I do. I'll just drink the elf prince under the table."

"You what?!"

"He agreed on it, by letter," Gimli said and smiled. "This is going to be a fun night!"

"Oh no," Bilbo moaned, "it will not. Thranduil will behead you all if he knows."

"Not at all, he agreed to let us have it."

"He did what?!"

Gimli nodded as they watched the two trees turn into standing jewellery boxes. Thorin yelled out orders, Fíli and Kíli quick to climb up on shoulders to throw a necklace or a bracelet on a branch. Legolas laughed and, not to be outdone, did the same only twice as fast.

"He wrote in the letter too, saying he can stand the chaos at least once a year. Plus our screaming would at least scare most of the spiders away."

"Oh, he just wants you to do some work," Bilbo said.

"Aye, but I don't care much. I'll drink the boy under the table!"

"You do realize he's ancient?"

"Not when I'm looking at him."

Bilbo had to agree there. Legolas was so much older then them, yet acted like a child for the most part. The serious elf Bilbo had met at first was a face Legolas put on when he was on duty, or in battle. It seemed like Thranduil was the same, as he now seemed almost as excited as Legolas.

"The trees are gonna break," Gimli said after a while. "They'll fall and break and Thorin and Thranduil will have a war sorting out their jewellery."

"Don't say that," Bilbo told him, "you just made my heart jump up into my throat!"

But the trees held, and they all stood back to see who won. Thranduil's crown, this time with red berries and silver details, was at the top of his. Thorin's, likewise, was at the top of his. The two kings stood for a while and watched each other's trees, compared and then turned to each other.

"Win-win?" Thranduil suggested. "Yours is admittedly well done."

"Likewise," Thorin replied. "Win-win. Let's drink to that."

Bilbo breathed out. He had no patience for drama during Yule. Thranduil was given a goblet of wine, Thorin a mug of ale, and they even raised it to each other before drinking, signalling the beginning of the feast.

This year, the meat was from Erebor which left the elves to make the dishes they enjoyed. Kíli kept nicking pieces from Tauriel's plate, and Fíli shook his head at his brother.

"Vegetables, Uncle Bilbo," he said when Bilbo asked. "Of all the things he could steal at dinner, it's vegetables. There are loads of other things he could eat!"

"I think he just wants to steal from Tauriel's plate," Bilbo told him.

"When will those two stop being so… them?" Fíli wondered. "Just snog already!"

Tauriel raised an eyebrow at him. Kíli put his tongue out and chucked a small pie at him, which Fíli caught and threw back.

"No food fighting this early," Bilbo warned them. "Tauriel, don't encourage Kíli to do anything. Legolas, why don't you sit down here? Yes, right by Fíli."

"You are horrible," Fíli muttered but the two brothers stopped throwing food in fear of accidently hitting Legolas.

They liked him more than they liked the Elven King, and angering him meant he'd carry them off to the cells. Why did Bilbo know this? Because he'd found the brothers there at least three times since the first agreement between Thorin and Thranduil was reached and dwarves began to visit Mirkwood. Granted, Legolas wasn't that angry with them but left them down there just to let them know he could.

Everyone had begun by eating at the tables, but soon enough groups began to break off. Some elves started singing. Dwarves sang their own songs, and some agreed to sing together, creating a melody of fresh wind and steel in the dark. Bilbo found he didn't mind.

Thranduil picked Legolas up by the waist and carried him up into a tree despite Legolas' protests. Tauriel handed them both a goblet of wine. Bilbo fervently hoped there would be no drinking contest, that Thranduil would keep his child with him for the rest of the night.

No such luck, and a few hours later Bilbo realized at some point the contest had begun and Legolas matched Gimli ale for ale while others shouted and betted on them. Thranduil was watching in mild interest from a nearby tree, lying on one of the thicker branches with a goblet dangling from his hand.

"This has better not turn into a disaster," Bilbo told Thorin as he sat down next to the dwarf. "Or by all that's holy, I'll make sure Thranduil receives several of your pretty gems and gold."

"It's not like I can do anything about it!"

"Well, you can demand your compensation to those who do it afterwards."

Thorin looked at him.

"As if they'd remember, master Baggins! I'm gonna be lucky if they all are uninjured by tomorrow!"

"Well, still warning you. Who's winning?"

Thorin looked up at the trees.

"Thorin," Bilbo said, "who is winning?"

"… the elf…"

"I didn't quite catch that."

"The elf princeling!" Thorin growled. "Gimli's getting drunk, yet we see nothing on Legolas yet."

In fact, the blond elf seemed just as cheerful as before, gulping the ale down while Gimli was having more and more trouble finishing his mugs. Bilbo moved closer, dwarves and even other elves cheering the drinkers on; few were still going. Soon it was only Gimli and Legolas.

Finally, after what felt like endless hours, Legolas stopped for a moment. He rubbed his fingers against each other.

"There is… a tingling sensation," he said. "I think it's affecting me."

"Can't handle ye ale, right?!" Gimli howled, burped and promptly passed out.

Legolas looked under the bench at him, then at Bilbo near him and drained the rest of his mug.

"I guess I won," he said.

Dwarves groaned while elves cheered, but soon the talk got loud and cheerful once more as the betting was finished and the contest over. Legolas rose up.

"Are you alright?" Bilbo asked.

"Yes," Legolas said. "Although the lights are moving. I think."

"You're drunk."

"Am I? Oh, that would be my first time then. Dwarf ale is most interesting. Odd flavour, yet strangely good."

Thranduil beckoned for his son and Bilbo noticed Legolas' gait was a bit slower than usual, and he stumbled once before Thranduil pulled him up into the tree.

When the good mood spread out dwarves began drinking wine while the elves tried ale, and Bilbo lost sight of king and prince. They could be anywhere up in those trees, and he couldn't hear any singing that sounded like them. Laughter sounded, more singing, and lanterns burned softly between the trees. Bilbo saw Kíli, Fíli and Tauriel sitting together, Tauriel letting the brothers braid parts of her hair.

No matter how much they drank, the elves kept singing everywhere. Up in the trees, by the benches and by the decorated trees. Bilbo finally gave up keeping track on people and settled down next to Thorin, whose eyes had begun to droop.

"Is the king tired?" the hobbit wondered.

"Hush, little hobbit," he replied. "Those blasted elves and their singing…"

"It's rather soothing, isn't it?"

Thorin growled, but didn't actually protest. Finally he began to yawn and was pulled up by Dwalin and Nori, who told him to go to bed. Bilbo waved them on and began to make his way around the tables. Some elves lay stretched out on quilts, sleeping the easy sleep of their kind. Dwarves were snoring where they had ended up sleeping by the tables. Gimli lay where he had landed after the drinking contest, but he seemed at ease so Bilbo moved on, and started back towards the decorated trees and the guest chambers.

That's when he saw Thranduil and Legolas once more. He was reminded of last year, when Legolas had been sleeping with his head in Thranduil's lap. Now they were both still awake, Thranduil braiding Legolas' hair while the younger sang softly, eyes on the trees.

"Going to bed, master hobbit?" Thranduil wondered.

"It's been a lovely evening but yes, I am going to bed," Bilbo said. "I'm dead on my feet. How are you faring, Legolas?"

"Tingly," the elf replied. "I like ale."

"You shant be having more for a while," Thranduil said.

"Gimli invited me to Erebor. Can I go?"

"Not tonight. We'll talk about it tomorrow, ion-nin. Come now, I believe you are in need of some rest."

Legolas took Thranduil's hands and let his father pull him up on his feet.

"Whatever shall we do next year?" Legolas wondered. "Three trees?"

"Valar forbid. I suppose we shall continue with one tree each."

Bilbo smiled. Thranduil didn't even sound put out with it. The Elven King reached out and adjusted a necklace on Thorin's tree.

"A wonderful start of a new tradition," he murmured softly. "About bloody time for it as well."

Legolas was gently swaying on his feet, and Bilbo wondered how drunk an elf had to get to be doing that. Thranduil saw his look and said:

"Did you ever see how much ale he consumed?"

"No, but he out-drank every single dwarf so I'd have to say it was a lot," Bilbo confessed.

"At least he won."

"I dearly hope he won't be having a headache in the morning."

"Elves don't get headaches," Legolas said. "Or do they?"

"No, ion-nin, they do not. If they go and rest properly at least. Come."

Bilbo followed them for a bit. Legolas began to talk, slipping in and out in elvish without seemingly being aware of it. Thranduil merely talked back without missing a beat. Bilbo turned one last time and saw the two glittering trees in the distance.

Perhaps he'd show them a hobbit's Yule next year…

End


Bit short, but enjoyable to write and read!

Until another time,

Tiro