Celeborn Runs Away

by Erestor

Disclaimer: I own nothing pertaining to The Lord of the Rings.

The opinions of the characters do not necessarily reflect those of the author. I do actually like Celeborn.

"This is it," said Celeborn to himself as he shoved a cloak into his bulging suitcase. "This the last straw, the last insult I'm going to take, the final injustice I will suffer at her hands. I am running away!"

Celeborn was pleased with the dramatic fashion in which he uttered those final words. He said them again. "I am running away!" And then, "Take that, Galadriel!"

Unfortunately, his moment of pleasure was brief, for he could not shut his suitcase.

Celeborn jumped up and down on it frantically, muttering all the while, well aware that he would have to hurry. His wife would suspect. Any moment now she would appear, furious with him, as usual, and she would go a funny color and yell at him in an unearthly voice. Celeborn's nerves were not prepared for such a strain. He was an emotional wreck.

The suitcase snapped shut, which was good, but it closed on his foot, which was bad. Celeborn had horrible visions of himself crashing around the house with a suitcase fixed to his leg, while his wife watched with enjoyment. She was sadistic! She was evil! His foot was going numb!

Celeborn scrambled onto his bed, kicking at the suitcase with his unencumbered foot, but it remained securely attached. He sighed. Why did things never go his way?

Galadriel was reading Celeborn's letter. Packed with melodrama, as usual, and presumably meant to make her feel guilty, it really had none of the desired effect. She thought it was rather funny. She read it again, and chuckled to herself.

Galadriel, (it read)

I am leaving Lothlorien... forever. It is your fault, because you made fun of me all the time, and you lowered my self-esteem and you wouldn't let me buy a pet dog. I am not coming back. I know you loved Thranduil more than me anyway. I hope that you are lonely and miserable for the rest of your life. I'll be partying and having fun. So there.

Galadriel looked up and saw Haldir looking at her quizzically. Really, the marchwarden was cute, but he had absolutely no sense of humor. He seemed more worried than amused by Celeborn's departure. She smiled at him. "That makes six escape attempts in the past fifty years," she explained. "He always comes back. He knows I don't love Thranduil, but he likes to imagine it sometimes, so he can feel wronged."

"Oh," said Haldir. He would never understand why Galadriel thought her husband was so funny. It seemed to him that Celeborn was a tragic figure.

Galadriel sighed. "I suppose we should go and look for him. Last time he fell into the Nimrodel and almost drowned."

As predicaments have a habit of doing, Celeborn's predicament was steadily growing worse. He could not scramble out of the window as he had planned. He could not even get out the door. He could only thrash around helplessly on the bedroom floor, trying to pry the horrible suitcase off.

Just then, Celeborn had a clever idea. He would tie the suitcase to something, and then he would jump out the window. The suitcase would stay firmly in place, while his weight would pull his foot out of it. Then he would fall safely to the ground, using a blanket as a parachute. It was a fail-proof plan.

Celeborn pulled a sheet off the bed and then puzzled over how he would secure the suitcase. He looked around for some rope, but there was none in the room. Why was there never rope when he needed it? It wasn't fair!

The Elf-Lord shuffled around the room, wondering when his circulation would give out and his foot would drop off. He probably didn't have much time left.

Then, to his delight, he saw a knife. He grabbed it and began hacking the suitcase off, pretending that it was a warg or something equally dangerous. Having slaughtered his foe, he put away the knife, pulled on the bed sheet (thinking it was a cloak), and hurried to the window.

Galadriel was peering into Celeborn's favorite hiding place, a bush in her garden, when she glanced up. She was just in time to see her husband plummet from the window, a blanket drifting slowly through the air after him. She shrieked in alarm, and dashed to where he was lying on the ground, moaning.

"Celeborn, my darling sweet pea!" she cried, struggling to lift him to his feet. "What on earth are you doing?"

Celeborn was heavier than he looked. Galadriel managed to lift him for a second before she dropped him again. He lay groaning at her feet.

"Haldir!" yelled Galadriel over her shoulder. "I need you for a moment!"

Haldir rounded the corner. He took in the horrifying scene in one quick glance. His lord was wounded! His lady need his help! He dashed to her side. "Whatever has happened, Lady Galadriel?" he asked.

"My poor, confused, accident-prone husband jumped out the window," said the Lady of Light. "And he's wearing a bed sheet."

Haldir scratched his head. "That's strange," he said, trying to look wise and understanding. Galadriel would need someone strong to support her in her time of trial. "What should we do?"

"Pick him up, of course," said Galadriel. "He's obviously incapacitated."

Haldir froze for a moment. His lady had just used a six syllable word! What did that mean? Hurt? Injured? Unable to walk? Was 'incapacitated' like 'intoxicated'? Had Lord Celeborn been drinking?

"Why are you looking at me like that?" snapped Galadriel. "Pick him up."

Haldir was still confused.

"Up!" said Galadriel. "You know, it's the opposite of down. Pick. Him. Off. The. Ground."

"Oh," said Haldir, snapping back to reality. "Yes, my lady."

He picked Lord Celeborn up. Galadriel looked at him. She was thinking, "I can't believe I left Valinor for this."

Celeborn recovered consciousness slowly. Someone was carrying him. He could hear his wife talking. Why were women always talking? Could she not tell that he was injured, and that his head was sore? He groaned, to give her a little hint to stop prattling.

"As you well know, Haldir," said Galadriel, tramping through her garden towards the healing flet, "when properly trained, rats can do all sorts of interesting things. You can teach them all sorts of amusing tricks."

"Yes, my lady," said Haldir, staggering after her. His arms felt like they were about to drop off. He wasn't really listening to whatever she was saying, but he nodded and looked attentive, and tried not to drop his lord. Then he said, "Rats?"

"Mm-hmm," said Galadriel absently. "Rats. They're quite cute, you know."

Celeborn decided it was time for him to get their attention. "Aaaahhhh!" he wailed. "I think my skull is fractured!"

Galadriel hurried back to where Haldir was wobbling down the path. She gazed at her husband with both interest and mild concern. "Really? Your skull?"

"Yes," whimpered Celeborn. "And I can't feel my toes."

Galadriel grabbed Celeborn's boot and squeezed. "How odd," she said. "I can feel them."

"Yes, but I can't," said Celeborn. "I'm not sure if they're still attached."

"Nonsense," said Galadriel crisply. "Toes do not fall off without reason."

"Perhaps mine do," suggested Celeborn.

Haldir looked rather anguished. He could feel his arms stretching longer and longer. He gazed at Galadriel desperately, hoping that she would realize that he was about to drop her husband into a bush.

Galadriel, however, was too busy checking Celeborn's skull for fractures. Eventually she announced, "I think you'll be all right." And then, "Come along, Haldir. We'll carry him to the healing flet."

"We?" wondered Haldir mutely. He followed his lady down the pathway again while Celeborn sat back and enjoyed the ride.

Five minutes later, when they were still wandering around in the woods, supposedly heading towards the nearest infirmary, Haldir knew that his arms were about to give out. "My lady?" he said.

"What?" asked Galadriel.

"Could we stop for a moment, please?"

"Why?" asked Galadriel.

"My arms hurt."

"Really?" asked Galadriel.

Haldir nodded. "Can you walk, Celeborn?" asked Galadriel.

"I don't think so," said Celeborn hoarsely, trying to look injured and unhappy. "My feet are too sore."

Haldir dropped Celeborn. Celeborn hit his head against a tree and passed out.

"I'm so sorry, my lady!" whimpered Haldir, sinking to the ground, exhausted. "I didn't mean to drop him!"

Galadriel stared at the two of them. "Men are morons," she thought.

Haldir was sure that Galadriel would be furious with him. He had knocked her husband's head against a tree! He had failed her! He rubbed his numb arms worriedly.

Galadriel went over to Celeborn and nudged him with her foot. He made a strange noise. Galadriel took it mean that he was all right. She said, "Come on, Celeborn, get up."

Celeborn went completely still.

Galadriel sighed. "Stop playing dead."

Celeborn didn't move.

Galadriel began to feel worried. What if her husband's skull really was fractured? She stooped down and tried to pick him up. It was like lifting a sleeping cat: perfectly impossible.

"Haldir," said Galadriel, "do you have a brother?"

"Yes, my lady," said Haldir. "I have two."

"Go get them," said Galadriel.

A few minutes later, Haldir returned with RĂºmil and Orophin. "Pick up Lord Celeborn," commanded Galadriel. "Carry him to the infirmary flet."

When Celeborn opened his eyes, he saw that he was lying in the infirmary flet on a hospital bed. Galadriel was sitting on the chair beside the bed, knitting a scarf.

"Ah, good," she said, starting a new row. "I see you're awake."

Celeborn tried to look miserable and unwell.

"I'm knitting you a scarf," said Galadriel.

"Thank you," murmured Celeborn.

"Did you know that Glorfindel is arriving in Lothlorien today?" asked Galadriel, knitting away busily.

Celeborn shook his head.

"Well, he is," said Galadriel. "And you won't have to greet him, because you're injured."

Celeborn silently thanked the Valar for their many blessings.

"Of course, I will have to tell him that you are wounded," said Galadriel, nonchalantly.

Celeborn's eyes widened a little.

"I will have to tell him that you jumped out a window and hurt your head," said Galadriel. "He may find the story somewhat amusing."

Celeborn decided he was feeling a bit better.

"And I know for a fact that he's journeying to Mirkwood next," said Galadriel. "He may tell King Thranduil about this bizarre incident."

Celeborn sat up straight, staring at his wife in horror. "No," he gasped. "You wouldn't tell Glorfindel about this, just because... I mean... Thranduil... if he finds out..."

"No, perhaps I won't have to tell him," said Galadriel thoughtfully. "It would be nice if you felt well enough to greet him."

"Yes, I do feel well enough, I think," said Celeborn cautiously. He got out of bed, tripped... and Galadriel grabbed him by the shirt. He managed to regain his balance.

"I was curious though. Why were you wearing a blanket?" asked Galadriel, putting away her knitting needles.

"I have no idea," said Celeborn. "I think I was pushed out the window, you know. I distinctly remember someone pushing me."

"And why was my best suitcase lying on the floor, hacked to pieces?" asked Galadriel.

Celeborn took a deep breath, and choked.

"Please," he said, hobbling towards the door, "Don't tell Glorfindel about this. I don't want Thranduil to hear it."

Erestor stirred his cup of tea, looking about as innocent and well- intentioned as a lion about to pounce on a cute furry animal. Thranduil was looking nervous and worried. His arm was in a sling. He was not drinking tea. He was drinking something strong and alcoholic. "You won't tell Celeborn about this," he begged.

Erestor smiled to himself. "I suppose not," he said. He sipped his tea.

"I was just practicing something," said Thranduil. "You understand that, of course. I have to be good at archery in any given situation."

"Of course," said Erestor. He loved being an ambassador.

Legolas peered into the room. "Uh... Dad?" he said.

"What?" asked Thranduil tersely, drinking some more.

"Why is there a broken shield lying at the foot of the stairs?"