Title: The Troll in the Closet
Author: Fairy Laughing
Beta: That damned Microsoft Word dolphin that tells me that all of the names are wrong.
Rating: PG to PG-13 for the strict.
Summary: Something is living in Estel's closet between his winter cloak and black tunic. It's Very Big, has glowing red eyes, wrinkly green skin, sharp yellow teeth and It's favourite food is little boys. And Glorfindel is reunited with an old friend.
Author's Notes: This is another of those 'young Aragorn' fics, abounding with cuteness, brotherly affection and pranks... well, mostly of pranks. And embarrassed elf-lords if I have any say in the matter. grin
Canon Notes: Takes place when Aragorn was fostering in the House of Elrond under the name Estel. He's young, obviously, but I'm not going to attempt to slap an age label on him because it'll only be argued by everyone.
WARNINGS: Some falling sexual references. Chance of out of character-ness, but... well... it's humour. Occasional capital letters at the beginning of words for emphasis. Oh! And a mostly naked Erestor, but no one should complain about that.
The Troll in the Closet
by Fairy Laughing
It was back - he should have known that It would come back, and there it was, eyes glowing red, piercing his mind from the dark interior of his closet, between his winter cloak and black tunic. It was Very Big and had wrinkly green skin, red eyes and big, sharp yellow teeth. Maybe, he thought, It was a troll, and a troll's favourite food, as everyone had always told him, was of course little boys like himself.
Estel shuddered and tried to burrow deeper beneath his mound of coverlets. It was defiantly a troll. Maybe, he thought, if he hid and was Very Quiet, It wouldn't notice him. But maybe not, because It had big, floppy ears that could hear all the small noises little boys made, and right now, between his breathing and racing, pounding heart, he was making a lot of noise. Then another sound came...
With a gasp, Estel shot up like a spring in bed, wide-eyed and staring at the dark void that was his closet. He had to get out of there! What should he do? Estel gathered together all his courage – a lot for such a little boy, of the self-assured courage of little boys – and flung his pillow at the closet. Then he fled, clutching Gil-Galad, the stuffed rabbit in one small fist.
The door closed behind him with a satisfying 'Thud.' And he leaned against it, panting, for a few moments before creeping on bare, silent feet down the cold-floored corridor. Both Elrond and Elrohir would make him go back to his room and look in the closet – like they had with the goblins under his bed - and he couldn't do that or let them do it. But the goblins liked to cling to the bottom of his bed, so they had never seen them. Elladan's room, however, was right next to his own. Maybe he had heard the troll as well? In any case, he usually believed Estel's stories, at least enough to move aside in the bed and let the child sleep there for the night.
Slowly Estel opened the door, just peeking in first. Once he had stumbled in when Elladan had one of his lady friends in his bed. Maybe she'd had a nightmare too, but she didn't seem too intent on sharing. She had gotten really angry with Elladan, who in turn got angry with Estel, and he had to go to Elrohir who seemed to think it was all highly amusing. The lamps in Elladan's room were lit, and someone was talking, but it wasn't a lady voice. In fact, it sounded like Elrohir was talking to Elladan, and then they spotted him.
"Estel!" Admonished Elrohir. "What are you doing awake and out of bed at this hour?"
Estel looked from one twin to the other, able to easily tell them apart unlike some elf lords who had known the pair for centuries. It looked, from the disorganized furniture and their messed up hair, that the two had been wrestling with each other, one of their favourite pastimes along with arguing with each other, playing pranks and injuring themselves abroad. "Ahm..." he said uselessly.
"Come now, tell us." Elrohir said, smiling in what he thought was an encouraging manner.
"There is a troll in my closet!" Estel said, feeling a little bit silly in saying this, even if it was true.
"A troll?" Elladan raised an eyebrow.
"In your closet?" Elrohir raised both eyebrows.
Estel nodded sagely, chewing his lower lip.
Elrohir had hoped that when they had fallen against the wall they hadn't disturbed the child, but obviously luck would not have it as such. Now he would have to prove it otherwise. "Well, I do not think that it is probably just your imagination, so how about we have a look?"
"No! You cannot!" Estel cried, stricken.
"Why ever not?"
"It will eat you if you go in there!"
"'Tis your imagination..."
"Comes out of your no—"
"How about," Elladan intervened, "if we take weapons with us? Elrohir and I have fought trolls before."
"You mean I kept three idiot trolls busy until day break because you had gotten your head smashed against a rock?"
Elladan scowled at Elrohir. "I took out the first one!"
"If 'tis just one troll, I am certain we can handle it."
"What if it is more than one?" Estel asked, suddenly worried. His little boy mind spawned images of hundreds of trolls pouring out from the inside of his closet.
"I do not think one troll could fit in your closet," Elrohir said, "much less more."
"You see, we will be fine," Elladan said, grabbing Elrohir's ornate daggers from their rack on the wall. Elrohir picked up his sword, being careful to keep in sheathed.
"Here, you may use one." Elladan said, handing Estel one of the daggers. The boy held it reverently, admiring the beautifully crafted blade with a touch of fear directed at the pointy end. "Careful. The blade is sharp.
"Elladan!" His twin protested, under the impression that children and weapons were a bad combination.
Elladan ignored this and proceeded to prove his obvious statement by running a finger along the glimmering edge. "See—ow!" He yelped and put a bleeding finger in his mouth.
Elrohir gave him a serves-you-right sort of look that he'd learned from their father, and the corners of his mouth quirked into a sardonic little grin.
Estel grinned as well, though he was a little surprised to see blood on Elladan's finger. "Gil-Galad says that you should listen to your own advice." He voiced the stuffed rabbit's opinion.
"Smart bunny." Elrohir agreed.
Elladan glared. "Let us see about this troll before daybreak."
They slipped out of the room, and crept down the corridor until they came to Estel's room. Elrohir carried a lamp into the room, setting it on the dresser, while Elladan went directly to the closet, walking in a mock- battle stance. Elrohir came behind, with Estel pressed close against him.
The room was furnished for a child, with a little bed, bright walls, and low windows. The hearth was well protected against little fingers with two sets of bars, and the floor stained with the various paints of childhood, as it had been Elladan and Elrohir's before, and Arwen's after theirs. When Estel had come along they had taken the opportunity to clean it out and find toys for the child. There were painted metal and wooden figures, toy swords, Arwen's musty old dolls, and even a wooden rocking horse. It held memories of playtime, miniature wars, naps, stories and building blocks for all of them.
"Oh Siiir Troooll..." Elladan called in a sing-song to the inside of the closet. "On the count of three, if thee will not surrender, I shall come in and slay theeee!" He winked discreetly at Elrohir. "One, two..."
Estel clutched Gil-Galad. What would happen to Elladan? He had to be ready to run and get Glorfindel or adar if anything went wrong.
"Three!" Elladan cried, pushing into the closet, disappearing into the folds of clothes. He immediately caught something wrinkly and gross that felt exactly like troll skin, and nearly panicked for a moment before he took a close look at it. Even in the dark he could tell what it was. It was the mask he and Elrohir had made so long ago. How it had ended up on Estel's closet was beyond him. Well – when they were cleaning up for Estel, they had found a lot of old prank supplies among the other treasures.
In fact, he could use the mask right away. Elladan grinned, and called out, trying to make himself sound distressed. "Elrohir – I could use a hand in here!"
Elrohir rolled his eyes and turned to Estel. "Stay here, and for Valar's sake, but careful with that dagger!" Then, he bravely rushed into the doomed closet. And promptly screamed like a young maiden.
Estel tensed when he heard Elrohir's scream, and then sighed when it dissolved into two laughing voices. Elladan and Elrohir emerged, Elrohir blushing a little, and between them carrying the troll's head. Estel stared wide-eyed at it.
"'Tis a mask." Elrohir explained, showing Estel the reverse side.
"And you thought it was real." Elladan grinned.
"Actually, dear brother, 'twas your ugly mug that had me scream as such."
"Uh..." Estel wondered, looking from one of them to the next. In his opinion they looked very nearly the same.
"We are sorry for leaving the mask in your closet." Elladan said.
"Why, we had forgotten about it for years." Elrohir added.
"And soon, I believe, Glorfindel shall be reunited with an old friend."
Elrohir mirrored Elladan's expression. "Oh... may we?"
"What do you mean?" Estel asked.
"Nothing!" The twins intoned together.
"Bed-time!" Elorhir said happily.
"Story!" He demanded.
"Well..." The elf was reluctant. It was late and he had plotting to do still.
"How about if I tell you about brave Lady Arianwe the Well-Endowed?"
"Elladan! That one is hardly appropriate!"
With Estel tucked safely, troll-free, in bed and sleeping quietly, the twins continued their plotting and planning. In fact, they stayed up the rest of the night reminiscing and planning, and were able to enter Glorfindel's room at the first rosy light of dawn, the mask in their grubby hands.
They crept, they stalked, and then they went back to creeping until they were beneath the bed.
Glorfindel, oblivious to this, was having a Very Nice Dream involving a large piece of cake – for he had skipped dinner the night before – and a very large bottle of Thranduil's special vintage. There were also many smiling maidens idling about in (what would be indecent outside of his dreams) flowing garb and (suggestive) postures. Life was good. And then there was, all of a sudden, a troll.
Glorfindel's eyes flew open from their half-lidded position of elven sleep, and his warrior instinct came into full alertness. He cried out loudly and backed against the headboard, effectively hitting his head on it in the process, and when he opened his eyes the troll was gone.
He looked about, thoroughly confused, and then Lindir, the bard, came in armed with a broom. "What is has happened, my Lord?"
"Troll." He replied, helplessly gesturing at the bed.
"I see none but you and I."
"Vanished." He muttered.
"Of course..." Lindir reassured, obviously believing Glorfindel had lost it in his old age. "Lie down now, you are safe here in Imlandris."
Beneath the bed, Elladan and the troll snickered quietly.
Lord Elrond stretched luxuriously out in his bed and absently gazed out the nearby window. The sky was clear, and sunlight streamed through the window in such a way that one half expected flutes and harps to be playing pretty music. Birdsong was in the air.
Elrond was going have to lecture Estel on feeding the ravens near the house. He turned around, onto his other side, and blinked, his mind slowly working out what he was seeing. Why, he wondered, was there a troll next to his bed?
Lindir rushed into the room again, and sighed.
"Lindir! Call the guard! There was a troll!"
"And it suddenly vanished, right?"
"Yes!" Elrond cried, frantic.
"Just relax now..." Lindir wondered what was put into the wine last night.
On Elrond's private balcony, Elrohir and the troll snickered.
Erestor was ready to start the day. He had put it off for as long as he could, and now he had to get dressed. He draped his sleeping robe over a chair, and went to his closet. He opened the closet, and screamed, loud ad shrilly.
For the third time that day, Lindir came rushing into the room of a frantic elf-lord, this time to have said undressed elf lord attached to his waist, hiding his face in his shirt. Lindir sighed and stroked Erestor's head. "There, there. It is gone."
Once Erestor had sufficiently calmed down, Lindir put his sleeping robe about his shoulders and led him to the closet to prove the falsehood.
By now Elrond and Estel had arrived on the scene, the little bare-foot human smiling sweetly with Gil-Galad, as always, paw-in-hand.
"Maybe it was the same troll that was in my closet last night." He proposed, "Elladan and Elrohir took it away."
"Oh, did they now?" Erestor asked, suspiciously, his mind reaching all sorts of conclusions.
Lindir, looking at the empty, secure, closet thought he really should write a ballad or something... 'The Vanishing Troll' or something along those lines.
Outside of Erestor's window, dangling from either stretched ear of the troll mask which was draped precariously over a single, flimsy, creaking tree branch, were Elladan and Elrohir.
"Erestor does not have a balcony, does he?"
"Enlightening observation Elladan." His twin hissed.
"I wonder how long we shall be up here for?"
"As long as the branch holds out, I expect."
(karmic justice is served!)