A/N: A slightly belated Happy Birthday to Nemis! I'm afraid only Gil-galad features in this little tale o' fluff, and not all that prominently… stupid Fëanorians, always taking over! I hope you'll forgive me!
Disclaimer: All characters, places, concepts etc. mentioned herein belong to Tolkien, with the exception of Súrewen whom I had to make up since Tolkien didn't mention Gil-galad's mom.
Findekáno collapsed in his chair with a weary sigh. It had been a long, tiring day. Before breakfast, his son Ereinion had gone missing, which led to several hours of searching until the little elfling had turned up safe and sound in the company of a tribe of Hildor. After his son had been sent off to his lessons with a scolding, Findekáno had had to arrange a treaty with the Hildor, who wished to help fight against Moringotto. This was the first time he had done such a thing, since it was generally his father's duty – but Nolofinwë was visiting Findaráto and Findekáno had taken over his duties in the meantime. At any rate, the meeting with the Hildor had taken all morning. He had been able to get a few bites of lunch before leaving to inspect the soldiers and tackle the paperwork he should have started on yesterday. That, however, had only lasted until he discovered that Ereinion had gone missing again. Another search followed, until Findekáno returned – long after sunset – with a very chastened young elfling in tow. Supper had consisted of a few mouthfuls of bread while bathing a recalcitrant Ereinion. Now it was long after the time Findekáno would usually have gone to bed, he was tired, sore and slightly muddy from a misstep while searching, and he had not finished any of the paperwork. Father will never leave me behind to take care of things again, Findekáno thought grumpily.
The door creaked open and he turned his head wearily. Perhaps his wife Súrewen had taken pity on him and was bringing him something to eat – he felt too weary to leave this chair.
A small face consisting nearly entirely of wide grey eyes topped with tousled black hair peered around the door. "Ereinion, what are you doing up?" Findekáno asked, attempting to add a tone of reprimand to his voice. He had to settle for exhaustion, however.
"Ata, I can't sleep." The child crossed the room to stand directly in front of him.
"Ah, I see. And why can you not sleep? Surely today was a… tiring day." This time, he did manage to sound reprimanding. Ereinion winced.
"I'm sorry, Ata! I just… it was boring here, so I wanted to see if it was less boring outside." The child looked guilty, then swiftly changed the subject. "Will you tell me a story?"
Findekáno sighed. He had never been able to refuse those wide grey eyes when they stared directly into his. Besides, he could imagine why Ereinion thought it was so boring here. When he had been Ereinion's age, he had had a good friend – his cousin Maitimo – and later his siblings and other cousins. Ereinion, however, was the only child here. It must be very lonely for him.
"All right… come here." He lifted Ereinion into his lap and the child snuggled into his arms.
"Once upon a time, when the Trees still shone and the Noldor lived in Valinor, there was a small boy named… Norno. Now, Norno was very lonely, for there were no other children where he lived – only his brother and sister, and they were both too young to play with! And he was so tired of always playing by himself that one day, he decided to go into the forest and look for someone to play with.
First he came to a stream full of fish. He knelt by the stream and asked the fish if they wanted to play with him. But the fish said 'No, we cannot play with you because you cannot swim.' So Norno walked on until he came to a tree filled with birds. He climbed the tree and asked the birds if they wanted to play with him. But the birds said 'No, we cannot play with you because you cannot fly.' So Norno walked on and on and still he found no one to play with.
After he had walked a very long time he heard dogs barking. Norno was happy because he liked dogs, and dogs did not swim or fly so perhaps they could play with him? But these dogs were big and fierce and they did not look at all friendly. So Norno ran and ran until he could not hear the dogs anymore. And he cried because it was very late and his feet hurt and he was hungry and still had not found anyone to play with! He wanted to go home, but he had gone so far that he did not know how to get back home anymore. So he walked on.
Finally he came to a clearing, and in this clearing was a house. It was a friendly house, with golden light shining out of the windows. A woman who lived in this house saw him and she let him in and gave him something to eat and told him that she would bring him back home. And Norno was happy that he could go back home, but he was sad because he still had not found anyone to play with. When he told the woman this, she said that he could ask her seven sons if they wanted to play with him. So he did.
Norno went to the two youngest sons first. He was a bit afraid of them because they looked so strange – as if someone had taken the reflection of an elf and given it life, so that there were two elves who looked as one. Still, he asked them if they wanted to play with him. But the two said 'No, we do not want to play with you because we are playing with each other.' So Norno went to the third youngest son.
The third youngest son was in a very hot room, pounding metal with a hammer. Norno was a bit nervous because he had never seen someone do such a thing before. Still, Norno asked him if he wanted to play with him. But the third youngest son said, 'No, I do not want to play with you, I am busy making things.' So Norno went on to the middle son.
The middle son was outside, riding a horse. Norno was very jealous because he could not ride and dearly wanted to. He went up to the middle son and asked him if he wanted to play. But the middle son said 'No, I do not want to play with you for I am going hunting and you would slow me down.' So Norno went on to the third oldest son.
The third oldest son was helping his mother in the kitchens, and was very ill-tempered. He did not even wait for Norno to ask if he would play with him, but shouted 'Go away! Can you not see that I am busy?' So Norno ran away to find the second oldest son.
The second oldest son was inside, singing. Norno was awed because he had never heard someone sing so beautifully before and he stayed a long time because he did not want to interrupt. Finally, when the song ended, he asked the second oldest son if he wanted to play with Norno. But the second oldest son said, 'No, I do not want to play with you, I am busy singing. Go find my oldest brother, perhaps he will play with you.'
Now Norno was very sad, because six of the seven brothers had already refused him, and he cried. But the oldest brother found him and said 'Hush, Norno, do not cry. I will play with you.' So the two played together and became very good friends, and they stayed very good friends even when Norno found other people to play with."
Findekáno let his voice trail off, smiling at the small elf fast asleep in his arms. No matter how much trouble Ereinion could be at times, Findekáno loved his son dearly and would not give him away for anything in the world.
A cough from behind him made him turn his head. "A very sweet bedtime tale, meldanya," Súrewen said, smiling. "I just hope you realize how much trouble we will have with him wandering off after this."
Findekáno groaned. "Ai! I had not thought of this. Maybe tomorrow's tale should be of how worried Norno's father was and the scolding Norno got when he came home the next day?"
Súrewen smiled again and came to stand beside him. "I do not know… 'tis your story, not mine."
Findekáno – Fingon
Ereinion – Gil-galad
Hildor – "Followers" (Mortal Men)
Moringotto – Morgoth
Nolofinwë – Fingolfin
Findaráto – Finrod
Ata – shortened form of Atar, which means Father
Súrewen – name meaning "Wind-maiden"
Maitimo – Maedhros
Norno – name (?) meaning "Oak"
meldanya – my beloved