Disclaimer: I do not own LOTR, or any of its characters. Haldir: Great Eru! I am such a good kisser - not to mention incredibly handsome and romantic. Me: Every time I think I have seen the limit of your arrogance, you manage to outdo yourself. Haldir: Hey - I calls 'em as I sees 'em. Me: Next fic I write, I swear I am having you fall in love with Gimli. Haldir: Wouldn't work. Everybody knows that Legolas loves Gimli. Legolas: That's it palthe gloves are off! I am going to shove my bow up your butt sideways! Me: WAIT! STOP! I have to make popcorn, and get my camcorder

Chapter 19

A Boy, A Girl, and a Warg

One year later

Haldir poked his head in the talan doorway, looking for Caladria. The horses were loaded, ready to go, but his wife was nowhere to be found.

Sighing, he closed the door and retraced his steps down to the forest floor. Movement caught the corner of his eye, and he turned to see Caladria coming toward him, carrying two bundles in her arms. Smiling, he walked to meet her halfway.

"Are you ready to go? The sun is already half way upI had hoped to make it halfway to Mirkwood before nightfall," he asked, taking one of the bundles out of her arms. He looked down at the bundle, and his smile returned as he gazed at the tiny face of his infant daughter. Her twin brother lay nestled in their mother's arms sound asleep.

"HALDIR!"

Spinning around at the sound of someone shouting his name, Haldir saw Orophin stalking toward him. The look on Orophin's face was not promising.

"Look at this! Will you just look at this!" Orophin stormed, as he approached Haldir and Caladria. He lifted his right leg, pointing to his boot, which was covered in some nasty smelling, thick brown goo.

"Something has to be done about that warg of yours! Can you not control that animal? She has left piles all over the Scouts' training area again!"

Haldir bit back a laugh, though his eyes twinkled with humor. "Orophin, I am sorryshe got off her leash yesterday, and, well, you know how much she likes the little onesevery time she gets loose she makes a beeline for the Scouts' training area, knowing she will find them there. I will clean it before we leave."

"No, noI've already set a couple of Scouts to that task," Orophin replied, his eyes taking on a mischievous light. "This should teach them to stop asking me about Legolas!"

Peeking at the bundles in Haldir and Caladria's arms, Orophin asked, "How are my favorite niece and nephew today? Ready for their first big trip into Arda?"

"They are your only niece and nephew, Orophin, and yes, they are ready. I am so looking forward to seeing Legolas and Gimli again! Haldir says we should be arriving just in time for the Hunter's Moon Festival," Caladria replied, smiling at her brother-by-marriage.

"Which reminds me - your escort is waiting at the forest edge. You should hurry. They're probably goofing off, just waiting around. Make sure you put on your "March Warden" face when you get to them. Keep them on their toes!" Orophin laughed, putting his hand on his brother's shoulder.

Haldir put two fingers to his mouth and whistled loudly. A few moments later, a gigantic creature burst out of the brush running full tilt towards them. Orophin's eyes widened with fear as the creature rushed straight for them.

The next thing he knew, he was flat on his back, having his face licked off by the Warg's huge pink tongue.

"Down, PugUgly! Down, girl!" Haldir ordered, pulling at the warg's collar. The warg backed off of Orophin, and sat at Haldir's feet, a rather stupid, happy wolf/boar grin on its tusked face, her long pink tongue hanging out of the side, panting.

"Argh! That beast ALWAYS knocks me down! Why doesn't she ever attack Rumil like that?" Orophin asked, wiping his wet face with his sleeve, and standing up.

"She likes you, Orophin," Caladria said, taking a handkerchief and helping him wipe the warg drool from his face.

"With friends like that, I hardly need enemies" Orophin growled. Caladria and Haldir both knew that secretly Orophin was very fond of the warg - though he would never admit it.

Haldir handed his daughter to her uncle to hold for a while, while he re-attached PugUgly's collar. Turning to Orophin, he took back the bundle of joy and said, "We will be back before the first snows, Orophin. Remember, the patrols will need to be rotated every seventh day, and the Elf Scouts need work on sparring, and "

"March Warden! We have been over this a hundred times! Go on your vacation with your family and STOP WORRYING!" Orophin laughed, slapping Haldir on the back. "I'm sure that between Rumil and myself we can fill those gigantic, oversized, arrogant boots of yours!"

"We just need to bid farewell to the Lord and Lady, then we'll be on our way," Haldir said. He handed Orophin PugUgly's leash, much to his brother's dismay. "Walk her around the mallorns for a while, will you? Just watch where you step!" Haldir chuckled, looking down at Orophin's boot.

Haldir and Caladria climbed the steps of the mallorn that housed the pavilion. Celeborn was waiting at the top of the stairs, and he smiled as they approached.

"How are the little ones? They look so peaceful, sleeping," Celeborn asked, touching a finger to the babies' cheeks. "Then again, I'm sure Elrond thought the same of his twins when they were infantsnow look at them!" he chuckled. "Enjoy them before they learn to speak."

"Where is the Lady?" Haldir asked, looking around for Galadrial.

"Oh, it's showtimeshe has a line five deep this morning!" Celeborn pointed to a white tent set up in the pavilion. The tent was painted with gaudy silver stars and moons, and strewn with brightly colored scarves and beads. Sure enough, five Elves were waiting patiently in line in front of the tent. "Let me see if I can disturb the 'Galadrial the Great.'"

Celeborn poked his head in the tent. A moment later, Galadrial stepped out, though if Haldir hadn't known it was she, he never would have recognized her. Her long blond hair was held back by a brilliantly colored fringed silk scarf, and her eyes were made up heavily with eye shadow and liner. Her lips were painted a dark red, and she wore huge gold hoops in her ears. Her dress, fashioned after the peasant's dresses, had a full skirt that seemed to be made of many scarves similar to the silk scarf on her head. She wore many bangle bracelets on her arms, and strings of tiny bells on her ankles.

Walking up to them barefoot, she smiled at the family. "Leaving already? I wish you a safe journey there, and an equally safe journey back."

"Thank you my Lady," Haldir said, bowing - as well as he could while holding the baby - to the King and Queen of Lothlorien. Caladria curtsied, and asked "How's business today, Galadrial?"

"Booming! Elves are coming from all over to hear my phony readings! I never knew prophesizing could be so much fun! You should hear the crap I come up with. I crack myself up sometimes!"

Haldir and Caladria looked at each other, little half smiles on their faces. Since Celeborn had put the word out about Galadrial, they had seen more Elf visitors to the Golden Wood than ever before. Galadrial had never before been so in her element, with all of the attention. She was a completely different personfor the first time in a long time, Haldir suspected, she was happy. He knew just how she felt.

After Celeborn wished them a good journey, the family went back down to where they had left Orophin and PugUgly. Taking the warg's leash, each hugged Orophin in farewell. Haldir turned and led the way to the stables, where horses had been saddled for them.

Haldir and Caladria put on baby carriers that Caladria had had made by the Elves, according to her designs, which would hold the babies close and secure during the journey. Tying the warg's leash to his horse's saddle horn, Haldir set off, Caladria following, to the edge of the Golden Wood where their escorts were waiting.

"You know, the last time I left the Golden Wood was on my quest. I never imagined that just a year later I would be leaving it again with my wife and children!" Haldir said to Caladria, his face showing his happiness.

"Haldir, whatever happened to the Whatzit? I never saw it again after the night you talked to Celeborn and told him the truth."

"Oh, I suspect it's still around" He replied, not meeting her eyes.

"Haldirwhat did you do with it?"

Haldir remained silent, and just smiled.

The Elven White Ship reached the shore of the Blessed Realm, just as the sun began to set behind the tower Ilmarin. Elves clad in glowing white robes disembarked, singing a lovely, haunting melody. They carried few objects with them, most just keepsakes of their old lives that they wished to bring with them. The last Elf carried a gift for the Valar given him just before he boarded by Rumil and Orophin. He was anxious to present it to the Valarthis Great Ring Ceeunsae.

The End