First of all, a comment on the spoken languages. In my HC all people here speak Quenya, which is also reflected in the names at the appropriate places. Yerna-saira for example for Frodo; in Sindarin his name is given as Iorhael, which I translated into Quenya. For Bilbo, unfortunately, I did not find an Elvish name, but he certainly had one. For the sake of readability I decided to continue writing the old familiar names in the continuous text.
For many years now, Celebrían had made it a tradition to celebrate the first harvest of their fruit plantation near Tirion with her family. Galadriel and Celeborn came from the nearby city for a few days, together with Gil-galad, even though he was only a guest on the estate on paper. Elrond was happy to celebrate this year for the first time together with his foster-fathers Maglor and Maedhros. Bilbo and Frodo, who had moved to the manor with Elrond, had also taken part in the celebration. But at over one hundred and thirty years of age, Bilbo had not had long to live, and so it was now only Frodo, now well over one hundred years old himself.
Laerwen and Ceomon had the little twins Elellinde and Anarhin, while Rethtulu poured the first fruit brandy of the season for the adults. Celebrían handed out pieces of the cake she had baked. The children romped in the meadow in front of the veranda. They were just over a year old and made abundant use of their newly discovered ability to reach any place by running. Frodo watched them smiling.
Celeborn was the first to taste the new vintage. He nodded in acknowledgement to his daughter. "It will be a good year," he praised her. "Daughter, I really didn't think you had the knack of the wine press."
"Just wait and see when we store it and let it age," Celebrían replied. "I'll give him a hundred years, then he'll be ripped out of our hands. Yerna-saira, which piece do you want?"
"Please do not trouble yourself, my lady," Frodo replied. "A small piece, if that is all right."
Elrond and Celebrían ran the estate mostly by themselves. Besides Ceomon, Rethtulu and Laerwen, they employed only a kitchen help and a few servants to help them with the harvest and the sale. Celebrían's estate did not produce large quantities of fruit, which they processed into their fruit schnapps, but in the past centuries, word had spread about the quality of their fruit brandies to such an extent that they could charge good prices.
"Up the goblets and toast!" exclaimed Gil-galad.
"To Bilbo!" said Frodo and toasted them all.
Elrond had to agree with Celeborn: It was a promising vintage. At the same time, he hoped the liquor would ease the mood a little. They sat on the veranda behind the house at a table, Celeborn and Galadriel at one end, and Maglor and Maedhros at the other, as far apart as possible. Between them stood Doriath after all this time; Celeborn had lost a considerable part of his family on the swords of the Feanorians. Elrond was astonished that not a bad word had spoken between them since Maedhros and Maglor had come to Valinor. They probably held back for the sake of Elrond and Celebrían.
"Children, come here! There's food," cried Celebrian, while she was already splitting a piece of cake and putting it on two plates.
Elellinde and Anarhin rushed over and took the plates from their mother with beaming eyes. With serious faces they balanced their cakes to their places at Frodo's side. The twins were proud that they could now eat alone and no longer needed the help of their parents.
Elrond wrapped an arm around his wife's waist and pulled her down to him. Laughing, she let him do so and sat on his lap.
"You sit down now too and eat with us," he said with a played stern tone and pressed her cake plate into her hand. In reply she gave him a kiss on the nose. With butterflies in his stomach he smiled at her. Ever since he had his beloved Celebrían back, he felt as if he was newly in love again. It was a wonderful feeling.
"Tyelpetari, the cake has turned out splendidly," Galadriel remarked.
"I got the recipe from Maitimo," replied Celebrían. She had noticed from the first moment on the cool distance between her parents and Elrond's foster-fathers, and she had therefore asked Maedhros if he had any ideas to change that. The latter had initially fussed until Elrond addressed the cakes that Maedhros buked to all those who were dear to him. Thereupon he had told her this recipe, the favourite recipe of his youngest brothers, he said.
Elrond watched as Celeborn suddenly seemed more reluctant to continue eating his piece.
"How was your holiday?" Celeborn distracted.
"Oh, it was wonderful," enthused Celeborn. "We looked at the two trees and Makalaure has so many stories of the old days."
Galadriel smiled. "I can well imagine. I still remember their former glory back in my youth. I regret that you were never allowed to see it, daughter."
"But Makalaure can sing so well, his songs can describe it so well," enthused Celebrían. She had apparently made it her mission to reconcile the two sides.
"Elerondo, have you heard anything from your parents in the meantime?" Celeborn turned to him.
This was almost vicious, Elrond thought. Wordlessly, he pointed to Maglor and Maedhros, who were obviously uncomfortable with the whole situation.
"Yes," he just said. He was tired of being asked about Eärendil and Elwing by everyone and that this subject always had to be brought up. Almost out of defiance, he had started wearing Feanor's star again a while ago. At least after that the questions had eased a bit.
"I mean Ardamíre and Elvinga." Celeborn wouldn't let up.
"Of course not."
"Father, let it go," Celeborn came to her husband's aid.
Frodo looked back and forth between the former lords, poking uncertainly in his cake. When Maglor and Maedhros had moved into the manor less than a year before, he had shown himself irritated at first and then deeply reverential, almost fearful, when he learned that they were Feanor's eldest sons. He knew a bit of Elvish history, and Feanor was certainly a familiar subject to him, a mythological figure from the ancient world. Until that time, however, he had not known who Elrond considered to be his parents, although he had always avoided mentioning Eärendil in Elrond's presence; he had sensed that this was a difficult subject.
"No, for it surprises me too much," Celeborn contradicted his daughter. "You have been here for some time and your parents still show no interest in you, Elerondo. I do not understand."
Maglor took a breath and seemed to want to say something, but then he let it go.
"I do," Elrond replied. " Their sole achievement as parents werw to bring my brother and me into the world. We are complete strangers to each other. And why should they care about a strange elf? I made my peace with it long ago."
"It never ceases to amaze me that you allowed Bilbo to sing his song of Ardamire in your house then," Frodo interjected.
"He has done great heroic deeds. Being a father alone is not one of them," replied Elrond.
"Perhaps I should apologize for Uncle Bilbo. He did not know what I know now."
"There's nothing to apologize for."
He was released from this unpleasant subject when Maglor leaned over to him. "Look, we've got visitors," he said, pointing to two people approaching.
"Olórin", Maedhros remarked.
Frodo turned and his eyes grew larger and larger as he saw who was with Gandalf. "Sam!" he cried out with joy and wonder.
Since Frodo was no longer so light on his feet, Elrond helped him up and accompanied him to the newcomers. The two hobbits fell into each other's arms, crying and laughing at the same time.
"Mr. Frodo!" Sam snorted over and over again.
Sam had grown old. Over 100 years himself. And yet he had sailed across the sea to be with his Frodo again.
"My Sam! My dear, dear Sam," cried Frodo. "That I might see you again!"
"The ring-bearers are reunited," said Gandalf. These days he no longer appeared as an old man, but dressed himself again in the handsome figure of an elf, as he had once done in his youth, when he had been Olórin. But the same secret fire still burned in his eyes.
Elrond noticed Celebrían translating for Maglor and Maedhros behind him, explaining to them what had just happened. The Hobbits had spoken Westron, a foreign language to the Feanorians.
Galadriel joined them. "Welcome, Samwise, to Valinor," she solemnly said. "Even the last of the ring-bearers deserves the sight of the Undying Lands."
She had known, as had Elrond, that one day Sam would find his way here. They had agreed, however, not to tell Frodo, lest he be surprised.
"Sam, you always wanted to see elves," Frodo said with a laugh. "And now look where you are. Tea and Biscuits at four, remember?"
Sam couldn't stop his amazement as he looked around. No less astonished, Elellinde and Anarhin had come to their father, clutching onto Elrond's legs and curiously examining the hobbit.
"Mr. Frodo, who are these people?" Sam asked shyly.
"Do you remember the song you sang beneath Uncle Bilbo's trolls on the Trollshaws?" Frodo asked. "Why don't you sing it for us again?"
Sam blushed and coy at first, but then he began.
Gil-galad was an Elven-king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing;
the last whose realm was fair and free
between the Mountains and the Sea.*
Elrond did not need to turn to know that Gil-galad smiled broadly.
"Oh, how nice," he said. "Mortals still sing songs about me these days. Elrond, did you write this?"
"Perhaps," he confessed. "Bilbo must have found it in my library."
Sam suddenly became more subdued and reddened as he realized he was facing the mythical heroes of his childhood in person.
"Oh, Sam, that was wicked of me," Frodo said, still laughing. "You'll have to brush up on your elvish lore and learn a bit of Elvish yourself. This is Lady Celebrían, daughter of Galadriel and mother of the Lady Arwen. She owns this estate. Gil-galad is surely still familiar to you and this is Maedhros and Maglor. Remember what Uncle Bilbo told you about Feanor? They are his eldest sons."
Elrond wondered what was going on in Sam at that moment. The Hobbit looked wide and said not a word. Elrond tried to imagine how he would fare if he were in Sam's position. It was hard for him, for what were merely mythical figures from an unimaginably long past for Sam were his family and friends.
All the while, he had noticed Anarhin fidgeting. Now she could no longer tame her impatience and curiosity. "Master Halfling, where are you from?" she wanted to know. From Frodo, she and her brother had learned some Westron.
In the meantime, Celebrían had joined her husband and laid her hands on the heads of her children. "Sére, nica-ninya," she said softly, then continued on to Sam at Westron. "I am pleased to welcome you here. Frodo has told us much about you. If you wish, my house is open to you and you may stay here with Frodo as long as you wish. But please do sit with us first. There will be cakes and, if you like, fruit brandy as well; we make it ourselves. Olórin, if you wish, you are welcome to join us."
"I accept your offer, my lady." Gandalf replied. "Your estate has already made a name for itself far beyond Tirion. Come, Sam."
Rethtulu had, of course, already brought more chairs and platters. Sam praised the cake and the brandy in the highest tones and was not averse to another piece of pastry. Meanwhile, he told Frodo what had happened in the Shire and, as far as he had been able to follow, in Gondor over the past sixty years. The elves present held back, leaving the Hobbits their joy of reunion.
Maglor bent over to Elrond. "Looks like Maitimo and I will have to learn Westron after all," he remarked. "So this is Persaira that Yerna-saira told us about, huh? I'm sure you will let him live here like Yerna-saira. Did you know that the Valars would allow him to see the Undying Lands?"
"Of course. Even if they did it mainly for the sake of Yerna-saira," Elrond confirmed.
" What do I even ask. Your gift..."
Sam seemed to have relaxed a bit by now when he saw that they had all come together for a relaxed round and that the fate of the world was not decided here. An afternoon snack with the family was one thing he could do with, although Elrond could see that he didn't get on well with Maglor and Maedhros. The two of them kept silent for the most part and could not participate in the conversation too much anyway, because unlike Elellinde and Anarhin they had never picked up more than a few scraps of Westron from Frodo. And Elrond knew too well how intimidating his foster-fathers could be to other elves themselves. He could well imagine that their mere presence might even frighten Sam.
Eventually, Sam cleared his throat embarrassed. "Lord Elrond, may I ask you a question?"
"Are these your children, Lord?" Sam asked.
"Yes. Elellinde and Anarhin."
"I've never seen elvish children," Sam slipped it out. Then he blushed. "Oh!" he suddenly exclaimed. "It almost slipped my mind. I have a message for you, Lord, from the King and Lady Arwen."
"From Arwen? Have you also heard from Elladan and Elrohir?" urged Elrond. All these years Celebrían and he had always listened for news of their children, but as time passed, fewer and fewer elves had come from Middle-earth.
"Lady Arwen want to let you know, that you have become grandfather. She has a son, Eldarion, and three daughters," Sam said.
"My Arwen is a mother." Celebrían had tears in his eyes. "Oh, if only I had lived to witness it."
"And Elladan and Elrohir?" Elrond demanded to know. "Will they come to us?"
"I don't know, Lord," confessed Sam. "When I left, they were still living in Rivendell, but I don't know if they will stay there. I'm only a humble Hobbit. I just wanted to see Master Frodo again."
Elrond took a deep breath and gathered himself. Yes, why should Sam know about the affairs of Elvish lords? He had hoped to hear more from his children, though. To have lost them had hurt more than anything else, and even in Aman, that pain had only been eased but not taken away from him.
In the meantime, Gil-galad had taken over translating for Maglor and Maedhros. Maglor placed a hand on the arm of his foster son to comfort him.
"Perhaps the twins will come after all," he said.
"Please do not get my hopes up if you cannot know," Elrond replied gloomily.
"Maybe the Valar are capable of grace," Maedhros ranted. "But they can also be cruel to fate."
* Quote from The Lord of the Rings
Yerna-saira - old-wise, Qu.; translation of Frodo's Sindarin name Iorhael
Elvinga - Star foam, Qu; Translation by Sindarin Elwing
Sére, nica-ninya - Quiet, my little ones, Qu.; literal quietness, little-my
Persaira - half-wise, Qu.; translation of Sam's Sindarin name Perhael