Disclaimer: See Chapter One.
A/N: Hey there people and I am terribly sorry about how long it took me to update this. This is my longest chapter and due to the horrible week, I have not had that much time to write this. Thank you all so so much for your incredible reviews! They have truly made this past week bearable. I have had a horrible week and your reviews helped to cheer me up. Many many thanks to my incredible beta enb2004 who had two great HP stories. Well folks, here is the Chapter that you have all been waiting for. Here is Chapter 25, the last chapter of The Love of a Family. See the second A/N at the bottom once you are done, trust me, it's important.
The next few days flew by at an incredible pace now that Estel was most certainly on his way to a full recovery. The Winter Solstice was only two days away and the entire household was in a flurry of activity.
Wherever one looked, there was someone running around trying to get a decoration or event set up in time for the Solstice. Estel and his family were no exception to this.
While Elrond worked diligently on Estel's Solstice gift, Estel was running around between his grandparents, brothers, sisters, Glorfindel and Erestor. Being only four years old and only having one arm to work with, he needed a lot of help with some of the presents he was giving to his family, and he cajoled everyone and anyone into helping him.
Not that he knew what he was doing of course. Because he was only four, all he knew was that when he looked up at people and ask, they usually said yes. Estel couldn't possibly know that they said yes because his big silver eyes seemed to plead at people and that he was just to adorable to say no to. Estel was just happy that they were helping him.
The days passed by quickly and before anyone realized it, it was the night before the solstice.
The night before the Winter Solstice found Estel heading for Glorfindel's office very late at night as he remembered he had one last thing to do before the holiday's the next day.
Estel was very excited. He knew that tomorrow was going to be an incredible day for both him and his family! With so many people having helped him, his presents looked great!
The one final thing he had to do though was check on the present he had made for his Ada, which Glorfindel still had.
He couldn't wait until he saw Ada's reaction to his drawing. He had worked so hard on it. He just knew that his Ada would love it.
The drawing was precisely what had prompted Estel to be out of bed so late at night, at least, for a little boy.
He had just been about to fall asleep after his Ada had tucked him in when he remembered that he had not yet wrapped the gift. The present absolutely had to be wrapped, so, Estel had gotten out of bed and was heading towards Glorfindel's office, where he knew the blonde elf would be waiting for him.
Glorfy had promised to help Estel wrap the gift when the time came. Well, if the night before the Solstice wasn't the time then no other time would be either.
"Estel! What are you doing out of bed tithen pen?" Estel's grandfather said picking Estel up from behind.
"Grandfather, I'm going to wrap my Solstice gift for Ada," Estel said while squirming, trying unsuccessfully to get out of Celeborn's grip.
"Can you not do that in the morning tithen pen?" Celeborn asked somewhat confused.
Estel looked at him in horror. "Of course not Grandfather! Glorfy promised to help me wrap it and I can't do it in the morning," he said seriously.
Celeborn just chuckled and gently put Estel back down. "Of course not. Go on then, but I expect you to be back in bed in thirty minutes," he said sternly.
"Okay!" Estel said cheerfully before he started toddling along to Glorfindel's office again.
Celeborn watched Estel walk away and shook his head in silent laughter. Children were and would always the same, be they Men, Elves, Dwarfs, or Hobbits.
Glorfindel was in his office, despite the late hour, for he knew that Estel would sneak out of bed and come to the office to help wrap the present he had made for his Ada.
Sure enough, Glorfindel soon heard the little footsteps approach and he went to open the door.
"I had wondered when you would find your way down here tithen pen," Glorfindel said smiling at the little one.
"I made it Glorfy! Grandfather caught me but I told him what I was doing so he let me go," Estel said cheerfully, not mentioning the time limit that Celeborn had set.
"Did he now?" Glorfindel said, an eyebrow raised in disbelief.
Estel fidgeted a bit and finally looked up. "Well, as long as I'm back in bed in a half an hour," he said frowning. That couldn't possibly be enough time to wrap the gift, let alone stay up late!
Glorfindel laughed. Now that sounded like the Celeborn he knew. Oh if Elrond knew about this, both his and Celeborn's heads would be adorning a silver platter for the feast tomorrow instead of the deer that had been planned.
"Come then, we don't have much time and I know that you don't want to only wrap a part of the present," Glorfindel said teasingly.
Estel shook his head in agreement and climbed up onto the couch.
"What do we need to do Glorfy?" Estel asked curiously.
Glorfindel frowned in thought. The wrapping of the gift was easy enough, but he had to make sure that Estel felt included in the wrapping of it. With the use of one hand, that would make things somewhat more difficult.
tell you what Estel, why don't I put the paper around the gift and you
can hold the ribbon and help to put it around the gift when I say so,"
he said thoughtfully.
"Okay!" Estel agreed happily.
Smiling, Glorfindel handed Estel some gold ribbon and instructed him to hold on to it tightly.
While Estel was clutching the ribbon in his good hand, Glorfindel cautiously took out the drawing. Before the traitor had attacked Estel, he had been working on the picture. The picture had already been incredible, at least for a warrior and a four year old, but when he had added the frame, it was truly exceptional.
It was a piece that came directly from the heart, and that was all that mattered. Glorfindel knew that Elrond would love it, as would his in-laws and other children. There were so few pictures of Celebrian, and to have one drawn by Estel made this gift all the better.
Gingerly picking up the frame, he place it in a special box that was just the right size and closed it. Taking the box, he sat in down in the middle of the deep blue paper he had found it very carefully wrapped it, making sure to keep the box facing upright.
"All right Estel, I need you to hold the ribbon very tightly in your hand, can you do that?" Glorfindel asked when he had finished wrapping the box.
"Yep!"Estel answered immediately.
"Good, now hang on tightly," Glorfindel said as with one hand he took the other end of the ribbon and stretched it taught. Once he was sure that it was taught, he placed the box in the middle and instructed Estel to let go.
"All right Estel, what you need to do is bring your side of the ribbon to meet mine in the middle and then we'll tie the bow, all right?" he asked.
Estel nodded and gingerly brought the gold ribbon up to meet Glorfindel's. Glorfindel nodded in approval and quickly tied the two ends together into a neat bow.
"There, now that looks like a proper Solstice Gift if I do say so myself," Glorfindel said happily.
"It's so pretty looking! I hope Ada likes it," Estel said.
Glorfindel bent down and gently scooped the little boy into his arms.
"Trust me Estel, there is no way that your Ada will not love this gift. He will adore it so very much. Trust me on this tithen pen," he said looking Estel in the eye.
Estel looked at him and nodded. "Okay Glorfy, I trust you," he said while yawning.
Glorfindel chuckled at the yawn. "I do believe that it is far past your bed time Estel. In fact, I do believe we went over the thirty minute time limit," he said worriedly.
"If your grandfather, or your Ada for that matter, catch you up at this hour, with me none the less, I am in a lot of trouble tithen pen," Glorfindel said fondly, knowing the little imp couldn't hear him for he had already fallen asleep.
In all honesty, he wouldn't have it any other way. He had done the same for Elladan and Elrohir when they had been elflings, and had done so for Arwen when she had come along.
Now, he was doing it for Estel and he was to glad to. It had been far to long since he had helped raise a child. For many centuries now, the twins and Arwen were considered adults, although at times they acted anything but.
Then this little bundle of joy had arrived on their doorstep. Estel had not been expected but they had taken him in. Estel had proved to be everyone's miracle, most of all though, Elrond's. Estel was his baby, and would always remain so, no matter how many years passed. Estel was their miracle from the Valar, and Glorfindel was forever grateful to the Valar for bringing Estel into their lives.
Soon enough, and after ducking a few near encounters, Glorfindel got Estel to the safety of his bedroom. "Goodnight tithen pen. Dream of bright and happy days and tomorrow when you wake, the Solstice shall be upon us," he said softly and kissed Estel's brow before leaving the room and retiring for the night.
When Estel awakened, he found himself back in his bed. When this had happened, he wasn't to sure but it mattered not. He looked out the window and grinned. The sun was just starting to rise up from the mountains. It was the Winter Solstice!
With a yelp of glee, Estel scrambled off the bed and headed for the closest room next to his, which just happened to be Elladan's.
Opening the door, Estel saw that Elladan was still sleeping but he cared not. Taking care to be careful with his arm, Estel leaped onto the bed and crawled onto Elladan's chest.
Elladan woke up with a start as his bed suddenly jerked violently beneath him. Before he could even begin to comprehend what had caused the unexpected motion, Estel had moved onto his chest.
"Morning Dan!" Estel said cheerfully, far to cheerfully for the current hour of the morning.
"Estel?! What's wrong, does your arm hurt?" Elladan asked worriedly.
He relaxed though when he saw his little brother's grin and cheerful expression.
"Dan! Today's the Solstice! Come on, lets go get everyone so we can open presents!" Estel exclaimed while tugging at Elladan's arm in order to get him moving.
"Whoa, slow down there tithen pen. It is not even morning yet," Elladan said while yawning.
Estel scowled up at him from his position on Elladan's chest.
"It is too! Ada said that it is morning when the sun has come up and look, it's up!" he said pointing out the window.
Elladan looked and to his dismay, saw that Estel was right. The sun was in the sky, barely, but it was there. If he didn't get up now he would never hear the end of this when Estel told their Ada.
"All right little one, I'm up. While I get dressed why don't you go and wake the others," he said while putting Estel down on the bed.
"Can I wake them the same way I woke you? It was funny!" Estel said.
Elladan grinned. This would be good. "Certainly Estel, you may pounce on anyone you like, after all, today is the Winter Solstice," he said while laughing at the thought of what his grandmother would have to say about the wake up call she was about to receive.
"Good! Thank you Dan!" Estel said, giving his eldest brother a hug.
"Think nothing of it Estel. Oh and Estel, after you wake them, go down to the breakfast table and wait for the rest of us, okay?" Elladan said more than asked.
"All right! See you later!" Estel said and before Elladan could blink, he was gone.
Half an hour later, Estel was at the breakfast table and was smiling angelically.
As the other members and guests of the household came in, they all glared halfheartedly at Estel.
Last, but not least, Elladan came down while beaming at everyone else.
"Good morning everyone. I trust you had a pleasant wake up call," he said, his silver blue eyes sparkling with laughter.
Elrond groaned and mock glared at his eldest. "So it was you who gave Estel the idea to pounce on us all at this hour in the morning," he said playfully.
"Not entirely, you see, Estel woke me up first with the same method as he used on the rest of you. I only encouraged him to wake the rest of you up the same way," Elladan said smiling.
Elrohir growled and cuffed his twin. "You are very fortunate that today is the Winter Solstice or I would most likely do bodily harm," he said.
"Aye, as would I. Don't think that I won't forget this Elladan," Arwen said while glaring daggers at her eldest brother.
"Children, children, as Elrohir has said, this is a holiday. Why don't we push any and all revenge plans for a later date, hmmm? Erestor said.
"Indeed, there shall be no pranks today, of any kind," Elrond said looking directly at the twins as he said this.
The twins sighed, but agreed.
"Good, let us eat and then we shall make our way to the Hall of Fire to open the gifts," he said smiling in anticipation.
As one, everyone started to eat. Everyone ate a bit faster than was the norm, but they all were excited about the upcoming presents. Everyone knew, the faster that they ate, the sooner the gifts would be exchanged.
Within minutes the food was gone and everyone headed for the Hall of Fire.
Once they reached the hall, a beautiful sight lay before them. A huge stack of presents were sitting in front of the fireplace, and there were holiday decorations all over.
"All right, who want's to go first?" Elrond said taking charge of the situation.
For a moment, everyone had a silent battle and then they all turned to Elrond. Nearly as one, they said the same thing.
"You!" said several voices at once.
"All right, I'll go," Elrond said while laughing. "Hmm, I think I shall go with this one," he said picking up the largest package that was in his pile.
"Ada! Not that one. You have to open that one last, after everyone else is done," Estel said.
Elrond raised an eyebrow at this and was about to ask his youngest why when he noticed Glorfindel shaking his head in agreement with Estel.
Although he was puzzled, he did what Estel said and picked one of the others.
The exchanging of gifts continued in this way, leaving only Estel's gift from Elrond, and Elrond's gift from Estel.
"All right you two, which one of you wants to go first," Galadriel asked smiling at the looks of anticipation on their faces.
"Estel, why don't you go on and open yours," Elrond said, sensing that Estel wanted him to open his gift last.
"Okay!" Estel said and quickly ripped apart the paper. Inside the paper was a small velvet box.
"Go ahead Estel, open it," Elladan urged. He was very curious to see what their father had given Estel. He had been usually tight lipped about Estel's gift this year. Normally, he would let a couple of hints slip by or outright tell them, but not this year.
Slowly, Estel opened the box, somehow sensing that this was an important gift. Inside he found a beautiful brooch that read Estel Elrondion and was surrounded by silver and gold leaves.
"Oh thank you Ada, it is beautiful!" Estel said happily. He ran over to his father and hugged him hard and plopped himself down on his father's lap.
"You are very welcome ion nin. Now, no one will doubt who you are. You are, and always shall be a part of this family. Never forget that ion nin," Elrond said warmly, hugging Estel tightly to his chest.
"I won't Ada, I promise! I love you Ada," Estel said happily.
"I know you won't tithen pen. Now, let us see what is in this great big package hmm?" Elrond said.
Elrond was dying of curiosity. He had wanted to open this gift long ago but Estel insisted that he open it last. Already he knew that this had to be a very special gift if Estel had insisted it be left for last.
Gingerly, Elrond tore the paper off the box. Once he had the paper off, he felt Estel stiffen underneath him in anticipation and from the corner of his eye, he saw Glorfindel smile.
"Ahh, he knows what this is, the little balrog slayer!" Elrond thought silently.
Tenderly, he opened the box and gaped at the contents in awe. To say that he was shocked, was a serious understatement. He was beyond shocked! He was speechless, a rare occurrence to be sure.
"Ada?" Arwen asked concerned when her father didn't respond after a few seconds.
"Elrond, what is it?" Galadriel asked somewhat concerned as well. The last time she had seen Elrond this speechless was when he had set eyes on her daughter at their wedding.
"It's Amme Ada," Estel said softly.
Everyone in the room, save Glorfindel gasped, and tried to surround Elrond so that they could see for themselves.
Wordlessly, Elrond passed the picture frame over to Arwen.
Arwen gaped at the picture and studied it for a few moments before handing it over to an eager Elladan and Elrohir.
For a few minutes, the picture was passed around the room in total silence with the occasion gasp of surprise.
When Elrond finally had the picture back, he carefully placed the picture back in the box and looked at his youngest with awe.
"Ada? Do you like it?" Estel asked hopefully. He was becoming worried for no one had said anything.
"Estel, I love your gift! I can not believe that you did that for me," Elrond said, tears coming to his eyes.
"I'm glad that you like it Ada," Estel said while hugging his Ada. "I just wish that I knew Amme like you all did," he said a bit sadly.
"Oh tithen gwador, she would have adored you so much! I know that she loves you Estel, even if she can't be here with us right now," Elrohir said who also had tears in his eyes.
"Estel, as you know, your Amme is my daughter. I know for a fact that she would be very proud to call you her son. Very proud indeed," Galadriel said while hugging Estel and Elrond at the same time.
In an unspoken cue, both Elrond's friends and family joined in and created a group hug, one, that no one wanted to release.
Elrond closed his eyes in contentment. This group of people, so different, and yet so similar were his family. This is what family's were. They were there for each other in both the hard times, and in the good.
The love of a family was the most incredible thing on Arda, and Elrond nor his family would ever forget that.
Ion nin: My son
Tithen pen: Little One
Tithen gwador: Little brother
Arda: Middle Earth
Mellon nin: My friend
A/N 2: Hey there people! First, let me say thank you to all of my incredible reviewers. I still can not believe how many I received. Never in a million years did I expect anything like that. Now, onto business. Sad to say, this fic has come to an end. But, and yes, there is a but. You have two choices here folks. For my next fic I can either do:
1) Estel and Greenleaf: Estel and Legolas meet for the first time in Imladris. All does not go as planned however when a simple horseback riding trip turns out to be anything but simple.
2) The Edge of a Knife: When Elrond finally lets Estel and Legolas out of his clutches after their latest misadventure, they head to Mirkwood with Legolas's father and two older brothers in tow. When they reach Mirkwood, they encounter a new guard that has only just recently joined the Mirkwood patrols. A guard that seems very familiar, yet not at the same time.
So far the tally stands as thus:
Estel and Greenleaf: 5
The Edge of a Knife: 5
You must choose! Please, help break the tie! I'm getting desperate here. And yes, before you ask, both will be full of angst. Thank you all once more for sticking with this story and for your incredible reviews. You can vote in your review or email me. Thanks!