Disclaimer: The Lord of the Rings and everything associated with it belongs to J R R Tolkien and New Line Cinema etc.

This fic is more influenced by the Haldir fanfic I've read that by book or movie canon. Elvish words and names you don't recognise, I've made up.

This fic is written to a) have fun and b) hopefully break my writer's block. It does not pretend to a) conform to Tolkien's vision of the elves or b) be a great literary masterpiece. You have been warned.

Have fun! Feedback greatly appreciated.

'Traps'

Part 1

Salia danced across the lawn, sprang over Tulienne, who was lying on the grass decimating ahrane flowers and sat down with a thump beside Ceilwyn. "They're back," she announced.

Ceilwyn's relatively relaxed expression vanished from her face and she went as pale as her hair. "Already?" she gasped. "But . . . but . . ."

"I don't know what you're getting so panicky about," Tulienne said, raising her head to stare at her cousin. "You should be glad to see him."

"Yes, but what if he's changed his mind?" Ceilwyn whispered plaintively, starting to twirl locks of her hair around her fingers.

Salia and Tulienne rolled their eyes at each other.

"And here I was labouring under the delusion that the fact that he asked you to marry him, told everyone he knew about it and literally went down on his knees and begged my uncle for his permission, might actually have convinced you of his affection," Tulienne said dryly.

"How wrong can one get?" Salia agreed.

Ceilwyn had the grace to blush. "I just worry, that's all. He's been gone almost four months."

"For the final time, Wyn," Tulienne said. "Rumil loves you. He always has and he always will . . . unless he wants me to decapitate him with his own sword. As soon as he's tidied himself up he will find you and start whispering the frankly revolting sentiments you seem to like so much into your ear and all will be well. In a week you'll be married and that will put an end to it, because if you even attempt to carry on this behaviour through your married life I will personally pack you off to the borders with him every time he goes."

"You'd need Haldir's permission," Salia pointed out, smiling slyly at her cousin.

Tulienne's lip curled. "An unpleasant detail, I'll admit, but desperate times call for desperate measures."

"After my wedding you'll be related so you will stop saying such things, won't you?" Ceilwyn said anxiously.

"Distantly," Tulienne said. "Very distantly. And I will continue saying such things for as long as they are deserved. The March Warden is an arrogant, conceited, snobby, tight-arsed pain in the evlonne with an ego the size of the whole of middle earth and nothing could possibly happen to change my opinion of him."

"But you will admit that he has a handsome face?" Salia asked, winking at her sister. Tulienne missed it.

"Freely. But I do not consider that to make up for the rest of him."

Salia grinned, a teasing look in her blue eyes. "I see no fault in the rest of him either."

"Don't think I don't know what you are trying to do, cousin," Tulienne said, looking back up from her flowers. "But I assure you, until the leaves of Lothlorien turn black, the March Warden and I will remain the truest, most devoted enemies this world has ever seen."

***

"Haldir, hurry up. Ceilwyn will start to wonder if I am with some other maiden," Rumil said, leaning on the doorframe. Then he paused and smiled wryly. "And then her father will render me incapable of fatherhood."

Haldir pulled on his boots. "That is your fault for marrying into such a family. I see no reason why I need to attend this reunion."

"As chaperone."

Haldir's expression grew grimmer. "I begin to suspect that he will expect me to supervise your wedding night."

Rumil shuddered, then recovered. "I am starting to wonder myself," he said. "At this rate, he may decide that I must be married for a century before I am allowed to be alone with my own wife."

"As I said, perhaps an unwise choice of bride. I do not see why she is worth all the aggravation."

A smile finally came to Rumil's lips. "I know you do not, Brother, but I do. So come, Orophin is waiting. Besides, you wouldn't want to miss seeing Tulienne."

Haldir gave a rather undignified snort as he stood. "Indeed, I could hardly bear the loss of that chance."

"You enjoy sparring with her and you know it," Rumil said, as he led the way out. "She's just like you. Only female. And dark."

"She is infuriating," Haldir replied, as they descended the stairs. "Arrogant, stubborn, conceited and rude."

Rumil grinned. "As I said," he said. "She's just like you."

He felt Haldir's eyes narrow behind him. "If you wish to be in good health for your wedding, I suggest you avoid any more remarks of that nature."

"Fine," Rumil said cheerily. "I'll just leave them to Tulienne."

***

Haldir sat, his face impassive, trying to watch Rumil without seeing what he was doing. It was a skill even he hadn't quite mastered.

For six months he had had to tolerate chaperone duty. It was an old custom. A very old custom. Old enough to have almost been forgotten, even by elves. Frankly, Haldir could see why everyone had wanted to see the back of it. Trust Rumil to fall for one of the only two maidens in Lothlorien whose father insisted on it. Worse still, he had a terrible suspicion that Orophin was about to follow suit and start to court Salia. Just when the end was in sight . . .

Something appeared in front of him and blocked his vision.

"March Warden, I see you have returned once again."

Haldir looked up. "I have. You have not yet succeeded in destroying all my joy in returning, though with a few more centuries' practice perhaps you will come close to it."

Tulienne stared down at him, arms folded. "Do you suggest I learn from the master, then? The one who defends our borders by making our home seem so unpleasant that no one wishes to enter?"

Haldir kept his smile hidden deep inside. "I would prefer it if you did not insult my brother like that."

"I do not insult your brother. As you well know, I insult you. There are none more deserving."

"I would suggest one. The maiden who insures that those few guests who are permitted through the borders never again wish to return."

"I will thank you not to speak of my dear cousin that way."

The desire to smile grew. "Ah, but I do not insult your cousin, I insult you."

Before she could open her mouth again, Haldir stood. "Much as I have enjoyed this discussion, I must return to my duties."

Behind him, he caught her whisper. "Always you must have the last word."

He turned, and winked at her. "Yes," he said. "I must."

And then he marched off before she could speak again, finally letting a ghost of a smile float across his face.

***

As soon as he was safely distracted, Orophin turned to Rumil. "Did you see that?" he asked.

Rumil tightened his arm around Ceilwyn's waist and grinned. "I did. He likes her, more than he will admit. She is a perfect match for our brother."

Salia hastily smothered a laugh before she attracted Tulienne's attention. She shifted her position, co-incidentally moving closer to Orophin. "They would talk themselves mad in a week."

Orophin smiled and moved the tiniest bit closer to her. "You underestimate them. I cannot see that it would take more than a day."

Rumil leaned towards Orophin. Ceilwyn and Salia followed suit. "I don't know about you, but I would very much like to find out."

Orophin's eyes twinkled in mischief. "What have you in mind?"

"I will bet you that we can make Haldir and Tulienne admit that they are in love with each other by my wedding day."

Orophin considered this. "That's not much time. Haldir has always said he will never marry. If you are wrong, what do I win?"

An identical mischievous expression appeared in Rumil's eyes. "I will put in a good word for you with Salia's father."

Orophin blushed crimson, furious with his brother for putting him on the spot like that. He had meant to broach the subject when he and Salia were alone. Although, come to think of it, that might never have happened.

He made himself glance at Salia. She smiled shyly, but encouragingly, back at him.

"And what if you win?" he asked, his arm beginning to snake very slowly round Salia's waist.

"Then I will still do it," Rumil promised, with a smile. "And we will all have the pleasure of seeing our brother finally proved wrong."

Orophin grinned. "I will help."

"As will I," Salia said. "Ceilwyn?"

"If there is something you think I can do."

"We are in agreement then," Rumil said. "We will have Haldir and Tulienne in love in a week and married before the year is out. Whether they like it or not."

The four conspirators grinned at each other.

Tulienne chose that moment to walk up. "What are you four twittering about?" she said. "Anything I would like?"

Rumil grinned. "That remains to be seen, cousin."