Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, save the plot.

Rating: PG

Author's Note: All right, dear readers. This is the last vignette I will write concerning the elfling's stay in Imladris, until I get another inspiration cough ::Glorfindel cough cough Erestor cough:: My next story is a multi-chapter tale.

Thanks to BButtercup, for reviewing Trolls and Oliphaunts! That was sweet of you!

And I must thank Templa Otmena for reviewing Trolls and Oliphaunts as well! Another literary scholasticism I glimpsed from your review here! Hehehe. And I shall rant about Glorfindel in my response down below. And as you stated, I do believe you are completely caught up! ::laughs:: Therefore, here is another vignette! Oh, and how were your final exams? ::grins::

And hugs and kisses to kenzimone, for reviewing The Strength of One Green Leaf, Of Elflings and Adolescents, and Trolls and Oliphaunts, as well as In the Dark of the Night! It really means much to me when people tell me they liked the stories that I finished some time ago. Lets me know that it's not just a passing thing, you know? I am so glad and amazed; thank you so much!

by Kasmi Kassim

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A Winter Evening in Imladris

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Winter was beginning to spread its frosty breath upon the land of Imladris. The last of the leaves had been stripped down from the trees, and soft snow now coated the valley every night. In the quiet darkness, warm tranquility filled the House of Elrond.

Smiling, the lord of the house closed his eyes in contentment. Nothing was more blissful than a peaceful winter evening by the fire. He narrowly opened his eyes, and chuckled quietly at the intense concentration marked on the face of his companion.

"And as I was saying," he said slowly, raising his hand toward the small table between himself and his partner, "that was when Erestor and I were still young-"

"But you didn't tell us that part last time!"

An outburst from the direction of the fire drew startled eyes from the small table. The two pairs of eyes turned toward the fireplace, where long strands of gold and coal glowed with warmth. Elrond's twin sons, lying on their bellies near the hearth, were grumbling before an amused golden-haired elf.

Glorfindel, elegantly seated upon the carpet by the fire, wore an expression of solemn innocence. In his arms snuggled a wide-eyed elfling, curiously shifting his gaze from the twins to the face above his own.

"You two were too young to hear that part by then." Despite the seriousness of his voice, the balrog slayer, well-loved by elflings for his excellent storytelling skills and infinite patience, had a mischievous gleam in his eye. Elrond knew that gleam well. Smiling to himself, he turned back toward the table.

"...and we had no idea that the part of the forest we had entered was plagued with-"

"But Legolas is younger than we were at the time!"

This protest from the other twin startled Thranduil, who was beginning to listen to Elrond once again. Gracefully pushing back the fabric of his sleeve to move his hand across the table, Elrond simply went on with his tale as if nothing had happened. Distracted, Thranduil turned back to his calm companion, before glancing at the fireplace once more toward the children.

In a grave tone, Glorfindel slowly delivered his contemplative answer. "But dear Elladan, Legolas is so much more mature than you two were at his age."

The elfling in his arms smiled broadly. With a grin, Glorfindel bent down and blew teasingly on the child's sensitive neck, causing him to giggle and squirm. The twins scowled. They clearly thought that the golden-haired warrior was simply enjoying antagonizing them.

"...so we had no choice but to give in. Your move, Thranduil."

Startled out of his dazed stare, the woodland king quickly pulled his gaze away from his elfling and looked toward his companion. "Pardon me," he mumbled absentmindedly. "What did Erestor do again?"

Elrond smiled. Catching the king off guard was a rare and, he decided immediately, worthwhile experience. The blinking stare resembled that of an innocent rabbit caught off guard in a forest. "Nothing important," he mused, his eyes glimmering with mirth. "Nothing important at all."

Berating himself for the inattention, Thranduil scratched his head apologetically and turned his attention toward the chessboard. His eyes darted over the board, and his smooth brows creased slightly into a confused frown. After staring hard for long minutes, he looked up at Elrond, who looked back in perfect calm. But Thranduil had not known Elrond for only a century.

Crossing his arms, he leaned back in his chair and stared at the elf lord. "You did that intentionally."

Elrond raised his eyebrows. "Did what?"

Thranduil made a face. Elrond smiled in spite of himself. Father though he was, the king was a perfect mirror of his innocent elfling when he made that face.

"You told me that incredibly long tale during the game to distract me."

The lord master's face wore an expression of genuine surprise. "My, surely you are not a poor loser, Thranduil?" At seeing the king scowl darkly, he cocked his head with a charming smile. "Besides," he added, crossing his arms, "if a warrior is distracted, it is his fault and no one else's. Surely you, of all elves, should know this." He raised his eyebrows amusedly when the king remained silent, scowling.

"Scheming old weasel," Thranduil grumbled. Elrond burst into laughter.

"I'm waiting." The elven lord waved toward the chessboard.

The young king settled into deep concentration. Chewing on his lip unconsciously, he leaned over the chessboard, staring at the configuration of the pieces. Elrond watched, posture relaxed but eyes alert. Thranduil may have been distracted, but he was nonetheless a formidable opponent when it came to battle tactics.

However, the king's concentration was broken again when the door cracked open. He raised his head, and straightened his face into a smile to greet the raven-haired elf that entered the room with several books tucked under his arm. The slender elf returned the greeting with a genuine smile of his own.

"Join us, Erestor." Elrond pointed to a third chair of the square table. Thranduil was once again staring at the chessboard, leaning forward on his crossed arms, one hand distractedly pulling at a braid. Elrond smiled wickedly. This was too much fun.

"I see you have been pulling one of your tricks on innocent King Thranduil here," observed Erestor as he seated himself at the table. Ignoring the beginnings of Elrond's indignant protest, he put down the books he was carrying, and absentmindedly flipped through the pages of one of them.

"Erestor!"

The elf jolted at the ecstatic outburst from Legolas. He turned toward the hearth, and smiled warmly. "Why, greetings, Legolas." He cocked his head when he met Glorfindel's smiling gaze. "You are lucky tonight. Glorfindel usually does not tell stories anymore." His eyes twinkled in sync with those of his golden-haired friend.

Wide-eyed, an even more excited Legolas turned to look up at Glorfindel's face. The mighty lord scratched his chin embarrassedly as the elfling stared up in awe.

Elrond raised his eyebrow. "Are you going to move sometime, Thranduil?"

Breaking out of his stare, Thranduil quickly turned away from the fireplace and looked back toward the chessboard. A dark scowl set on his features once more. Elrond chuckled.

Slowly, the blonde king's hand rose to touch one of his pieces –

"Tell us another story!"

– until the excited voice of his elfling broke his concentration once again. Sighing, Thranduil rubbed his neck distractedly.

"Yes, tell us a story, Glorfindel," called out Erestor nonchalantly, eyes locked on the book as he flipped through the pages and scoured through the writing. "Tell us that episode about Elrond's encounter with pipe weed."

Elrond's head shot up. "You wouldn't dare."

The twins looked up at their father, shocked, and the elfling widened his eyes as well. Elrond stared intensely at Erestor, who simply delved his gaze further into his book, humming softly. Glorfindel looked toward the lore master's horror-stricken face, and a slow smile lit across his face.

"Glorfindel!" Elrond's face twisted in further horror.

The twins quickly sat up, excitement evident in their features. Their eyes hungrily devoured the unusual expression on their father's face. "Tell us," they chimed. Legolas giggled and tugged on the balrog slayer's sleeve as well.

"Tell us!"

"Glorfindel, no!"

The golden-haired lord smiled broadly toward Elrond. His eyes twinkled with that mischievous gleam again. Elrond had a sinking feeling of dread in his stomach. "Glorfindel," he warned, in a low and menacing tone. But it did not have an effect on his friend.

The balrog slayer shrugged innocently. "Ah, but how can I refuse so many expectant wishes?" he hugged the elfling tighter, who giggled enthusiastically. "And furthermore, I must indulge our guests."

Exasperated, Elrond turned and saw in the corner of his eye that Erestor was smirking into his book. He glared at the lithe elf. "Why did I invite you in here?" he growled.

With a sparkle in his eye, Thanduil reached over to place a hand on Erestor's shoulder. "Why, I think his idea is marvelous," he commented, laughter outlining his light, vibrant voice. Deftly moving a piece on the chessboard, he turned toward the balrog slayer as well. When the two pairs of mischievous eyes met, Elrond could not help but hear a scream of doom in his head.

"Glorfindel, if you tell them, I swear I will kill you myself and gut you with my lance-"

"Come, Lord Glorfindel, tell us. I will protect you from his wrath, though it is unlikely that you would need it."

"-and tie your corpse up a tree, throw you in a river, strip your family glory-"

"Tell us, Glorfindel! What happened when Ada came across pipe weed?"

"-throw you to the wargs, stuff you in a dwarf's cave, starve you in my dungeon-"

"For the sake of Eru, Elrond. Sit down." Erestor's voice lazily interrupted his ranting. Glaring at the smirking advisor, Elrond seated himself, briefly wondering when he stood up in the first place.

Glorfindel, who was watching silently with a glint in his eyes, suddenly broke into a smile. It was the sweetest smile Elrond had seen in a long time. And that meant disaster.

With terror evident in his eyes, the lord clutched the table.

"Glorfindel-"

"By the way, Elrond," interrupted Thranduil, his shoulders shaking with silent laughter, "I believe it's your move."

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To those who reviewed In the Dark of the Night:

Jopru: Aww, thank you! ;)

Brazgirl: Thank you! I believe this is the last vignette that ties in with Of Elflings and Adolescents, unless I get another inspiration. I think I might be getting one, but it's still preliminary. ;) And yes, I do have quite a few more short vignettes planned ;)

Erestor: Your words captured the essence of how I feel about storms! Terrifying and exciting at the same time...;) I'm really glad you liked the story. Thank you so much for your kind words!

LOTRFaith: Hehehe, it's good to hear that you liked my words! Thanks for reviewing again!

Beling: Oh, really now. I should be thanking you for reviewing! ;) And by the way, the story you requested is coming very soon. But it spun out of control. Sorry. ;)

Karri: Aww, your words are too kind. Thank you!

Gozilla: Glad you like my writing! Thanks for reviewing!

Leannan-S: Sad as it is, I think there is something about what I wrote there that I can't name either. ;) And your laziness is making me laugh. Thanks for your review!

Someone Reading: I was quite uncertain about the way I wrote this fic, but your visualizations of the scenes I painted were beautiful and made me happy that I got my message through. Thank you! And as for Glorfindel, he is going to make an appearance on a moderate-length, Imladris-centric fic I am working on. I am more and more intrigued by this elf, but it is a mind-staggering feat to even begin to attempt to fathom or grasp the insides of this immortal being who has been through death and back. I am working on it slowly. ) I am trying to do more research into Erestor as well, though it is not going very well...::grumble:: anyway, thank you for reviewing, and I hope you like my future fics to come too! ;)

Rede: Wow, a new reviewer. And your words are so kind. Thank you!

BButtercup: Ooh, really? Thank you! I am so glad to hear that!

Templa Otmena: Ahh, you make me smile like an idiot for days again, with your lengthy reviews on each of my chapters! And I must say, you are more disciplined than I! What was I doing during final exam week in college? Writing fanfics every night till dawn...hehehe. Hence my rapid succession of updates. ;) Anyway, I was amazed to read that you spent your fanfic time laughing and crying because of my little fic here. It is such an honor. ;) I really think Erestor and Glorfindel would be able to connect in a way that most younger elves popular in LOTR would not...I don't know much about them, but they intrigue me greatly and I would like to convey a friendship of a unique kind between them. ;) Ah, yes, before I forget! You are an English major, right? No? Tell me I'm right! ::jumps up and down:: Seriously, I am astounded by the literary prowess you display in your reviews! I have felt it before in your reviews for The Strength of One Green Leaf, and To Live Another Day, but wow. Your grasp of my metaphors, duality motifs, universal themes, light/dark contrasts, and other literary connotations and devices completely blew me away. And it was very gratifying too, since this story I focused not so much on plot but more on conveying spectacle/imagery and implied emotions. I consider myself lucky if even half of my readers peruse through my writing with attention to such detail and notice even half of the layered meanings I put in some of my pieces! (Not that I am claiming to be a Charles Dickens or Joseph Conrad, mind you ;) As for the elfling's stay in Imladris, this vignette is the last one I had originally planned out, so I am moving onto a longer story...but if I get inspired, I will post more vignettes in this timeline. I think Glorfindel and Erestor might inspire me ;) but as I said in above in my response to Someone Reading, Erestor is a mystery I know nothing about, and Glorfindel is an unfathomable enigma to me. So it might be long in coming. ;) Thank you for your reviews!

Unsung Heroine: Thank you! I do hope to read that book sometime soon, instead of surfing through the internet all day to dig out misled info about characters so that I can write fanfics about them! ;)

Galadryal: Now, you are going to have to specify what you mean by 'these types of stories' my dear. ;) Thank you for telling me that you liked The Strength of One Green Leaf. It means a lot when someone tells me that long after the story is completed – it lets me know that it is not a boring, one-time flick time killer. ;) I am glad that you liked my Of Elflings and Adolescents as well, and I am actually working on a story right now that follows the timeline of those two stories. A legitimate sequel, mind you, with the length that rivals that of The Strength of One Green Leaf. I hope you stick around! Thanks for reviewing!