A/N: Well, this was a quick update! (For me anyway) Sorry about the long wait on Rough Landings, I think I can get back to working on it now this is out of my head. Thank you for all the reviews, I really love every single comment!
Nilmandra: *squeals cos one of her fave authors reviewed her fic* Hehe, I absolutely love Glorfindel, and torturing him like this is so much fun! No comment about the outcome of the hunt, I'll let you discover that in your own time…so glad you like it!
SilverButterfly: Lol! Yes, there is a wee bit of angsty Glor in this chapter, but there's a lot of fun too…
Linwe Seregon: *sniff* I want the twins too! Although fictional twins are probably a lot nicer than the real thing.
Hellga: *hugs her poor tortured Glor* I'm just SO mean to him. And we won't actually get to see his revenge in this fic…I'll try to keep all insects away from you, *hugs*
little-lost-one: Glad you're enjoying it, here is the last chapter…
White Wolf: Hehe, I'm glad it's all good and that there aren't too many annoying rubbish bits. Sorry about the long wait for RLs, but its coming...slowly. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this…
Dot: Cliffie? Lol, I suppose it is, but I had to leave it there, because it was getting quite long. And also because I am a mean author who likes to make you all wait! Hehe, I have lots more Glor and Elrond humour in here, and a touch of angst as well. Hopefully it blends well. Anyway…I'll let you see what happens!
ThE iNsAnE oNe: ROFLMAO! Is there anyone you haven't muddied? Including yourself! Lol, I'm so glad you didn't think about pushing me in there…too late now though. Sorry! I'm guessing you liked it a little? LOL! I love you reviews! Enjoy!!
Goblz: Hehe, bit more angst in here now though, and less cutesiness! Lol, was this a soon enough update for you?
Lady of Legolas: LOL! I had to ask around to find out what jipped meant though! *Is a poor uneducated Brit* Hehe, you thought the bird was bad? I've got much more angst in here…
arabella thorne: MMMMM I LOVE Glor! And that scene was so wonderful to write; I kept going to edit the fic and getting stuck rereading that bit! Glad you liked it!
Marbienl: Awww, I didn't want to hurt the 'pillar, but I just couldn't drop the plot bunny! And I agree about poor Ro having to kill his friend. I'm evil. And eviller still in this one! No birds to spoil the fun, but Elrond has a go…
Elladan: Hehe, poor Glor. I couldn't resist having him defeated just as he's about to be triumphant! And I'm really mean to him here…So glad you're still enjoying!
Krisnkriss: Hehe, I loved torturing Glor, and there is more to come. Sorry about the long wait for RLs, but its coming…slowly. Here's the last chapter…Enjoy.
Well! *Dusts hands* I think that's me done, lol. It's off to bed after I post this, cos its 4am. THANK YOU THANK YOU for all the wonderful comments! And I hope you enjoy the last chapter as much as you have the rest!
As always, enjoy (and review pleeeeeeeaseeeees!)
Lost and Found
As Celebrian left to wake the boys up Elrond entered his study to check that all was well with the caterpillar situation. He suppressed a grin as he saw a wearied figure kneel slowly down before the boxes.
"Well?" Elrond demanded as he watched Glorfindel bend over the table by the fire. "Were you successful? Or shall I have to disappoint my two terrors?"
Before Glorfindel had even had a chance to stand, let alone face him and answer, Elrond continued on.
"I sincerely hope the next words that leave your lips are a variation of 'yes My Lord'," he spoke; a smile betraying the sternness of his voice. "I do not think that they will easily get over their beloved Glor failing them."
Elrond stepped closer, arms folded and prepared to push this as far as he possibly could. He well knew that those boxes were filled with green caterpillars, for he had placed them there himself. Glorfindel however did not know this, and judging from the look of him, he had not been able to locate any. It was a hard struggle for Elrond to keep his face straight, as he perceived the defeated slump in shoulders that were raggedly clothed at best.
"Do not tell me that the mighty Glorfindel has failed on a hunt? Why the blackmail possibilities from that alone are fascinating. Not to mention what it will cost to keep the Muddied Balrog Slayer story from escaping." Elrond smiled evilly as he reflected on the possibilities.
Glorfindel lowered his head still further, then braced his shoulders and turned around, sorrow and defeat in his eyes. "Hîr nin, I," he began, but was interrupted by Elrond; no longer a jesting elf, but a concerned one.
"Valar! What happened to you?" He asked. "You look as though…well," He paused, trying to find a suitable adjective, and failing. "I cannot even imagine what has left you in such a state."
"Did you fall into a river?" Elrond asked, puzzled. "Get dragged through a bush? Fall through a tree? What happened?"
Glorfindel stared back his face revealing nothing. A muscle in his cheek twitched at the last statement however, despite his efforts to hide it.
Elrond stared back, frowning, and abruptly his features widened into a broad grin, and then laughter. "You fell out of a tree?"
Glorfindel turned away embarrassed.
Elrond's laughter grew, " And the river?" He continued, having just noticed the damp patch that had begun collecting on the floor at Glorfindel's feet.
A rosy hue began to grace the blond's cheeks.
Elrond laughed louder, collapsing into a chair opposite the blond. He pressed his hand to his side, valiantly trying to stifle the nearly painful laughter which shook him. He was less than successful. After several minutes of trying, he glanced at the bowed head of the elf before him and finally managed to master himself.
Glorfindel's ire had grown at his friend's laughter, and he was quick to correct him, "I did not fall into the river; that was by choice. I had to remove the mud somehow."
"And you were not entirely successful, I can tell. " Elrond rebuffed.
Glorfindel looked mildly ashamed, as he lowered himself into a nearby chair paying scant regard to the dampness of his clothing upon the material.
Elrond frowned, mirth fading, as he watched the warrior wince at the motion, and he leaned forwards, looking past the torn and tattered clothing, searching for broken skin.
Moving forwards he knelt in front of the disarrayed elf, however before he could convince Glorfindel to allow him to examine him, they were interrupted.
The door crept open, and two very subdued elflings stuttered their way inside, forcibly moved forwards by a well-timed push from their mother. Hand in hand they faltered forwards sneaking glances at Elrond, trying to judge from his mood whether the caterpillars lived. As yet too far away to detect any movement, they still peered at the boxes, a little afraid to go nearer without knowing for certain. Seeing that their Adar looked neither concerned nor pleased, they turned to Glorfindel for the truth, and gasped.
At the sight of Glorfindel their eyes bulged and they ran forwards, halting behind their father, heads level with his shoulders.
"Are you aright Glor?" Elladan asked.
"What happened to you?" Elrohir echoed.
The twins turned wide eyes upon him, after solemnly staring at each other in horror.
"Did the caterpillars hurt you?" they asked in unison.
Elrohir shuddered, "I'm glad you wouldn't let us stay and help Glor, if they could do this to you then we would have been really hurt!"
Glorfindel opened his mouth to respond to both their concern, and to inform them of his failure to heal their caterpillars, but before he could answer the two had run over to the boxes, unable to contain their fear any longer.
"Did it work Glor?", "Did you heal them?" Came two cries from across the room.
Elrond smiled at the back of their heads, enjoying their enthusiasm; his smile widened as he heard Glorfindel sigh behind him. Smothering it, he turned back to the blond elf and smiled.
Glorfindel stared at the lord of Imladris in confusion, perplexed by his lack of anger. Elrond's smile grew and he leant back in his chair, a smug look upon his face. Folding his arms behind his head he stretched his legs out before him, crossing them at the ankles. Glorfindel's puzzled frown deepened, and he began to glare as he realised what this likely meant; Elrond had been stringing him along this whole time, while knowing that there were two caterpillars safely in their beds.
The staring match was interrupted by a small wail from Elrohir. "Oh, there's nothing here. It died?"
Elrond shot to his feet immediately, his brow creased; Celebrian joined him, silently questioning him. He shrugged in response. Elladan meanwhile had thrown an arm around his brother's shoulder and pulled him close, while glaring at the blond elf. "You said you could heal them!" He yelled. "Why did you lie to us?"
Glorfindel knelt down before them, holding an appeasing hand out, a look of unutterable sorrow in his face. "Elladan" he began, "I"
Elladan knocked his hand away, and just stared at the warrior, feeling betrayed. His other arm was still wrapped protectively around his brother who was sobbing into his shirt.
Glorfindel looked back, a tear rising in his eyes. He closed them as Elladan turned sharply away from away from him, raising a solid back to him. Massaging the bridge of his nose he tried to come up with anything that could make this situation better. His shoulders tensed and then relaxed as Elrond laid a cool hand across the base of his neck, and he opened his eyes to see Celebrian wrap an arm around her younglings, while staring in confusion at the empty box.
"Hush hîn nin," she begged, "are you sure you looked properly?"
"Oh course we did!" Elrohir sniffed, rubbing his eyes into her gown, "Its not there!"
Celebrian frowned, checking into the box herself to make sure. "You are correct, there is nothing in it." She said after rifling through the leaves contained in it. "Are you sure…?" She stopped herself hurriedly from giving too much away.
"I am certain!" Elrond responded, moving away from Glorfindel after a final comforting squeeze. Glorfindel's pain did not noticeably ease.
"Did the other one die too Ada?" Elladan asked, turning away from his twin now that Ammë was here to look after him. He moved to stand over the other box, and poked half-heartedly at the leaves. "I hope one lived at least."
He stirred the leaves around, lifting up one and then the other, looking for a sign of the caterpillar. Elrond found himself watching with bated breath, standing looking over his eldest's shoulder. Elladan let out a cry, and Elrond grabbed him into a warm hug, head bowed over him. "I am sorry ion nin" he murmured, still unable to comprehend how the caterpillars had escaped. Holding the elfling in tightly, he grunted as Elladan's squirm came a little too near a sensitive area, and released him.
"Elladan," he started, reaching out after him. "I," he broke off as Elladan yelled to his twin.
Elrohir turned a tearstained face up to his twins, and blinked. Noting the wide smile that crossed it, he pushed away from Celebrian, stepping towards his twin.
Elladan grabbed his brother's hand, "come and see!"
"See what?" Elrohir whispered, his voice hoarse from tears. He was dragged along slowly behind his twin, not keen on leaving his mother's embrace. Turning back to look at her, he saw her following behind, giving him an encouraging smile. Whatever had distracted Elladan, she hoped it would also raise Elrohir's spirits.
"What is it Dan?" he asked.
"Look!" Elladan pointed into the second box.
"I don't want to!" Elrohir tried to turn away.
"LOOK!" Elladan pleaded, lifting up a leaf.
Elrohir gasped, and a huge smile lit up his face.
"What is it ion nin?" Elrond asked.
"Its alive Ada! They're alive!" Was Elrohir's answer.
"They?" Elrond puzzled
Elladan answered this time. "There are two 'pillars in here! They must have got lonely!" He poked his finger in the box, smiling as the two insects curled up around it. "Look Ro, they're just like us, they sleep together."
Elrohir smiled, touching them himself to make certain they were really there. "Maybe they were scared and hurt, and wanted to comfort each other?"
The twins stared at each other sharing the same, unspoken thought, 'Like us!'
Each took a caterpillar gently in their hands, accompanied by a bounty of leaves, and turned to leave. They were stopped by their father's voice, "Elladan, Elrohir, have you not forgotten something?"
The two turned around, after flashing a puzzled look at each other. Spying the boxes on the table, they each put a caterpillar back inside one, and picked them up. "Sorry Ada," they muttered, leaving.
Elrond sighed in exasperation, but allowed the two to go off with their new pets, knowing that they would remember to thank Glorfindel soon.
Speaking of which…
Elrond turned to the blond elf, where he had last left him, wondering about his peculiar silence. He saw the elf, not where he expected him to be but leaning on the balcony outside, head bowed. Elrond sighed, and was pushed forwards by Celebrian who had crept up behind him.
"Go and talk to him; I will get the boys dressed for dinner," she whispered before leaving the room in the wake of the twins.
Elrond stepped out onto the balcony.
"Glor?" He asked, leaning on the railing beside the subdued elf. "What is wrong mellon nin?"
Glorfindel stared down at his hands, eying the dirt that was encrusted on them. Closing his eyes he kept his head lowered, unable to raise it and see the disgust in his friend's eyes.
"Glor?" Elrond asked, worriedly nudging the elder elf's shoulder with his own. "Are you well?" he scanned the elf again, but could detect no serious wounds, nothing to explain away this uncharacteristic silence.
"Glorfindel?" He asked again, nudging him more forcefully. "What troubles you mellon nin?"
"I failed them Elrond." He spoke, his voice scarce louder than a whisper. "I failed them and they have lost all trust in me. I have failed you." He raised his head then, and Elrond almost gasped at the loss in the normally brilliant orbs staring at him. Suddenly his guilt began to rise; he had knowingly kept up the charade, thus causing much of this injury. He hurried to rectify it.
"You do realise that they have two live caterpillars?" he said.
Glorfindel's head shot up at this, "what?"
If the other elf's emotions had not been so deeply involved then Elrond would have collapsed from laughter at the shock on the blond's face. For once he had managed to render him speechless.
"There were two caterpillars in the other box, the silly fools only checked in the one and assumed that it meant they had both died." he chuckled.
"But," Glorfindel swallowed his shock, eyes narrowing as he realised just where those caterpillars had come from.
"You!" he spluttered, "You knew all along!"
Elrond swallowed, trying to keep the mirth hidden, but it was too difficult a task when faced with an irate and exhausted elf lord. He ducked his head to try and hide his smile; let no one say that he had no spirit of self-preservation. Glorfindel however was wise to this.
"You knew that there were caterpillars in there, and yet you let me think I'd failed?" He half-shouted.
"Worse!" A full shout this time.
Elrond turned to leave at this point, but was held back by a firm hand grasping his right shoulder.
"You let me waste an entire afternoon searching for them? Knowing that I was having troubles?" Glorfindel's voice nearly shook with rage.
Elrond's shoulders shook in laughter, and this only added to Glorfindel's ire. "You watched me dirty myself, fall in the mud, laughing at me the whole time." he raged on.
"Peace Glorfindel, I had not found the caterpillars then!" Elrond sounded offended that Glorfindel thought he had enjoyed watching the other elf toil; in truth he had, but he would never admit that to anyone.
"Now I know why you were so smug back there!" Glorfindel muttered beneath his breath about nasty elves, and their evil habit of withholding information.
"Just how did you find two anyway? They must be the rarest caterpillars to exist this side of the Bruinen!" he asked.
Elrond swallowed another smirk, which rapidly died when he found Glorfindel's face suddenly thrust in his. He swallowed again, this time for another reason.
"I" he began, halting temporarily before rushing on at Glorfindel's expression. He was cautiously backing away back into the house; the warrior was following him unconsciously.
"Well, you remember when Celebrian and I were watching you in the garden?" He backed away slightly quicker when he realised that drawing attention to his mirth at the expense of the blond's dignity was foolish in the extreme.
"Do continue" Glorfindel insisted, in a sarcastic voice.
"Well, ummm," Elrond stuttered, "I was talking to Celebrian…"
"Do you think we should help him?" Celebrian asked once her laughter had settled down.
"Nonsense my dear, he is having fun. It is not often he gets an afternoon off his duties." Elrond replied.
"I do not think he enjoyed being half drowned in mud!" Celebrian winced as she watched Glorfindel stalking off into the brush.
Elrond cringed in sympathy, but remained where he was.
"You do not worry that if he fails then the boys will be disappointed?" she tried again.
Elrond smiled a peculiar smile, "I have a feeling that the outcome of this situation will not be a cause for alarm."
"You think that he will find them? You have some foresight of this matter?" She asked hopefully.
"No." Elrond answered, certain.
"No? Then why are we not out scouring the grounds helping him search?" she said, exasperated.
Elrond stared out at the valley, watching the figure retreat into the bushes, out of sight. Turning to face Celebrian, he brushed at her cheek with one hand, reaching behind her to lean against the wall with his other.
She turned her face away, frowning after Glorfindel, hoping to see him returning in short order, two squirming caterpillars in his possession. A cool hand turned her back to face him, and she frowned at him.
"I do not think this is the time or place for that Elrond" she scolded; and was silenced as he thrust a piece of fruit between her lips.
Left with no choice, she bit down on it, hoping to catch his fingers on the way. "Elrond! I do not think we should play while our sons will be hurt!"
"Meleth nin, you should trust me more." He smiled.
"Really?" Was the very sceptical reply.
"Yes!" Elrond removed his hand from where it had been resting in the wisteria, "You know I would not play if there was trouble approaching."
"But…" She smiled as she saw what decorated his hand.
"Yes, meleth nin." He responded, his smile widening.
"How did you…where did you?" She asked, nearly speechless.
Elrond smiled and indicated the bush behind her head; "They were ambling along right behind you the entire time."
"And you let me go on like that?" she affected displeasure, when truly she was overjoyed not to have to tell the boys that the caterpillars had died.
"I have just this moment noticed them!" Elrond objected.
Celebrian leant forwards and kissed him. "Now go and tuck them safely up in bed before we lose some more!"
Doing just that, Elrond returned outside and clasped his arms around her, pulling her back into his chest and planting a kiss on the top of her head. She turned in his grasp, smiling up at him, before taking him by the hand and leading him to a seat in the sun. Relaxing on the bench, the two supped from the chilled jug that rested in the shade, and nibbled on the light dish of fruit, staring out at the beautiful sunny day.
"So when are you going to inform Glorfindel, meleth nin?" Celebrian asked, knowing full well what was going through her husband's mind.
An evil grin rose to his face.
Elrond was knocked out of the flashback as the remnants of the jug of lemonade hit him in the face.
He glared at Glorfindel, who was scowling back.
"All afternoon? You let me toil all afternoon in that heat for no reason?" Glorfindel cried.
Elrond had no answer; he was too busy straining not to laugh.
"Why you…" Glorfindel was again rendered speechless, this time with rage.
Elrond found himself hit with a cushion from the sofa in his study, and from the looks of the advancing blond, more missiles were headed in his direction.
Forgetting his stiffening body, Glorfindel gave chase to the fleeing elven lord who ran chortling down the corridor.
"When I get my hands upon you, you will regret it." Glorfindel yelled after him, hearing the elven lord stumble and slow as he rounded the corner.
"Ada?" Came a small voice?
"Why are you running?" Came an identical echo.
"No reason," Was the slightly breathless reply, "You two go on in to dinner and I shall join you shortly."
"Glorfindel!" They cried as they spied him strolling up nonchalantly.
"Boys." He nodded to them, an evil gleam in his eyes when he stared at Elrond.
"Thank you Glor!" They cried, running over to hug him. He looked a little guilty about accepting their praise when he had actually done nothing, but Celebrian leaned over and patted his upper arm.
"You deserve it after all your efforts Glorfindel, thank you." She smiled at him, before ushering the boys into the dining room.
"Yes, thank you Glorfindel, it is very heartening to see how far you are prepared to go for my children." Elrond echoed.
Glorfindel blushed faintly before the gleam returned to his eyes. "Do not think you will get away that easily, hîr nin! I will have revenge upon you for your actions." That said he stormed off to his rooms to change for dinner, fingering two nasty caterpillars.
Elrond smiled uneasily.
(Although I predict a one-shot sequel coming along soon…If I get enough requests)