Note: This is fanfiction and thus not mine. Also I think one phrase is pretty similar to something I flicked through in Borders a while ago, but I can't remember the title.
I was writing something different but it just didn't work out… so, a surprise instead.
Merry Christmas. I always wanted a happy ending. They deserved it.
- - -
"Ada!" There was a shrill cry over smooth snow of the gardens and the elf, nearly out of sight behind the pines halted. The sun was setting now, the last beams of light that ventured over the mountains staining the pale ground blood red, and as he turned the weak light cast flowing shadows across the heavy folds of his cloak. "Ada, wait! Wait for me!"
There was a flash of bright red cape as a tiny figure leapt down the icy steps, a soft patter of footsteps as small boots raced over the crisp surface of the snow, and a flurry of white powder as the elfling skidded to a halt and wrapped his arms tightly around his father's knees.
"You said you would wait, Ada!" The elfling said reprovingly, glowering at his father as he was lifted safely onto a hip. The snowdrifts were deep in the woods, and for a child not yet five years old they could be dangerous. This little elfling in particular had a history of leaping long before he looked, and only finding out later that the water was deeper, the mud stickier, the leaves crunchier or the means of escape much trickier than he had anticipated.
He took after his father, in fact.
"And wait I have done." Laughing, the elf pushed a handful of golden hair back from his face and bent his head to kiss the child's forehead. The small brown tunic was covered in gingerbread crumbs and smears of sticky white icing, and the scent of candle smoke and holly garlands lingered in his hair. "You have been helping your Ammë in the kitchens?"
The elfling nodded importantly, and licked a stray scrap of spiced dough from between his fingers. "We made cinnamon twists and gingerbread elves and wreathes. Ammë is making the letters now!"
"And you are not helping?" Feigning surprise, the elf wrapped a supportive arm around his son's back and set off through the snow-covered trees, ducking under green branches sagging with the weight of the snow and scrambling over half-buried frost covered logs.
"Ammë said that I have helped quite enough already, and that you may want my aid." The elfling smiled brightly at his father, blue eyes wide and happy and innocent of all that had gone before.
Making chocolate letters was an intricate task of mixing spices and spirits with bitter dark chocolate and pouring the molten mixture in loops and curls over the snow. The elf could well imagine why his wife had not wanted small wriggly fingers and a high-pitched clamouring to lick the spoon to distract her.
"And indeed I do!" laughing, the pair skipped down some steps, moving more carefully than either would do if they were alone, "For I am becoming old and solemn and I fear that I can no longer choose the perfect fir bough."
The elfling giggled, a mop of silky blond hair tumbling across his flushed and excited face. It was beginning to snow this cold Midwinter's Eve and fine white flakes were nestling in the pair's hair and eyelashes.
"I shall help choose!" his proud grin the mirror image of his father's, the little boy wriggled and scrambled to sit on his father's shoulders, cold pink hands held high in triumph to catch and pull at the highest of the branches that passed above them.
It was an important business, picking out the greenest and most fragrant bough to form the centrepiece of their table during the Midwinter Festival. As was usual, they would be visiting some friends of the family for the Midwinter Feast – friends whose own children had not yet arrived from the harsh land across the sea and were all too willing to provide toys and sweets and cuddles for an elfling so small – but tonight they would be eating alone, just the three of them.
For some this little gathering would have been too small and quiet for a festival such as this, but for the three that mattered it was perfect. They had waited for so long.
- - -
The sky was clear and full of stars, the night quiet and timeless. The dark had fallen heavy as a blanket across the land in the West, and on this darkest night of the year, even the sky over the city was black and swirled with countless stars. The moon was full and silver-blue light was rippling across the dark waters of the harbour, and far on the horizon a bright speck followed Eärendil's journey across the Heavens.
The road was several inches deep in snow, a fresh snowfall whilst all elves of the Undying Lands were inside laughing and singing leaving the surface smooth and unsullied. There was nobody outside this Midwinter's Eve and the streets were silent and still apart from the quiet passing of a fluffy grey cat and the slow dripping of water from the gables of the overhanging roofs. Even this was freezing, so cold was the night, and sharp icicles were forming, catching the moonlight in a silver glow.
Almost every window in the city was lit, tiny gold and amber jewels sprinkled across the heavy black outline of the hill. Inside shadows were dancing and kissing and laughing, and with the drapes drawn close against the biting cold, few would have seen the two cloaked figures even if they had glanced out through the frost-whirled windows at the frozen street. Black hoods pulled forwards over their faces and thick grimy cloaks wrapped tightly around their shoulders, the pair hurried unseen and unanticipated through this new world.
They had walked fast and silently since the boat had landed some hours before, moving gladly from rough grey seas to the pure, crisp white of the snow. Not stopping to eat or drink, or even change from the heavy leather tunics and stiff mithril mail in which they had sailed, the pair had travelled onwards, not daring to speak of their hopes or their fears.
"We are here." One figure, slightly the broader and with a hand resting on the hilt of a sword – a rare sight in Aman – paused by the tall arch of a doorway and hammered impatiently on the heavy wooden door. A great holly wreath had been hung there, half concealing the silver star insignia that had once stood for the great realm of Imladris in Middle-earth, but for these two it was too familiar to be missed.
"They have heard us." His brother spoke softly, catching sight of silhouettes moving against the golden light of a window, half-visible through the trees. Two figures, one tall and strong, the other slight and delicate left the room and another elf, even from this distance giving off an aura of dignity and power, stood at the window for a moment, peering into the shadows before returning to his seat with a smile. As he turned the flickering candlelight caught the dark shadow of his velvet gown, lighting up his silhouette in a sea of silver stars.
"I am not surprised," Elladan grinned weakly, his fear too strong to him to fully conceal. "They should hurry!"
Elrohir smiled back sadly at him as he added another three hearty thumps for good measure.
"If Ammë is not…"
His voice seemed too loud in the silence of the night. It was a wordless fear that they had shared for too long, and the moment the whisper had left his lips he wished that he had not voiced it.
A single tear ran down his cheek and fell silver to the snow where it froze.
Elladan turned and embraced his brother, his face pressed close to his twin's dark hair so that none saw the teardrops in his own eyes, and at that moment the door was pulled open, letting warm golden light flood into the bare winter garden.
For a long silent second they stared at each other, the twins lean and weary, their hearts aching with years of sorrow, and their parents laughing and strong, full of joy and very much in love.
"My boys!" Choking on sobs, Celebrían flung herself forwards and buried herself in her sons' arms, body interwoven with theirs and long silver curls falling amidst dark braids. "My lost boys."
Tears flowing freely down his face, Elrond moved forwards to hold his sons, his body as warm and reassuring as it had always been when they had been children. They stood as a family, all four of them arm in arm and at peace once more, as around them the snow began to fall, and in the distance the soft musical bells of the clock tower rang out for Midwinter's Day.
- - -
The fire was flickering in the grate, causing the shadows of fir garlands and holly leaves cast grey on the walls to wax and wane. All candles had been dimmed by now, and by this time of night it was dark in the cosy little room apart from the warm glow of the fire that spread in a golden circle about the hearthrug.
Spread lazily across a vast bench, one arm folded as a pillow behind his head and his wife resting sleepily against him, Glorfindel stroked his hands, still strong and hardened from sword work, through her dark curls. Above his head the firelight was sparkling off the subtle lines of his mithril sword, the weapon hung up to rest when he had at last come home.
Happy and at peace, Glorfindel smiled, his gaze soft upon his wife, the maiden who had waited for him for so long, and their tiny son, sprawled fast asleep on the soft fluffy rug, thumb in mouth and the warm amber light of the fire shining off his golden hair.
He had dreamt of this.
And then, disturbing the stillness came a hammering at the door – strong, impatient and expecting an answer. Hardly able to believe his pointed ears, Glorfindel sat upright, smiling but his lashes unexpectedly damp. The elfling curled into a tighter ball, wrinkling his nose in disapproval and blinking sleepily his wife rose, but he placed a reassuring hand on the arm of her gown.
"It is well. These are a pair who shall always be welcome."
They were thinner and paler than he remembered, their hair untidy and their faces unwashed, but their smiles were brighter than they had been in an Age or more and when he embraced them he felt peace and joy.
"Elladan, Elrohir, I would like you to meet someone." Smiling, Glorfindel crossed the room and scooped the small sleeping figure into his arms. The drooping golden head, so like his father's, settled against the older elf's shoulder and bobbed sleepily just under his chin.
The twins glanced at each other, faces breaking into identical delighted laughter as the Balrog-slayer gently moved towards them, his face so very proud. "This is my son."
- - -
Have a great Christmas, holiday season, time throwing snowballs, time relaxing under the air conditioning (for those from the southern hemisphere), or doing whatever makes you happiest. Thanks to everyone who has read my stuff, reviewer or not over the year!