-Note- Well, I originally had this taking place in a more chic setting, but for a few reasons- playing Tchaikovsky's "Elegie" and having the strange, burning desire to write something taking place at the duck pond I frequented when I was little- I changed it. Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while…science fair, state orchestra contests, and a few other things intervened.
-Dedication- For Indy (Crystal113), who deserves lots of chocolate and Glorfindel. And thanks in advance for catching any stupid errors I've made here. :P Hope this cheers you up!
-Disclaimer- All characters belong to Tolkien, of course! The duck pond really exists, though. But I don't own that, either.
Celeborn leaned back from the sagging, wooden picnic table, folding his arms over his chest and stretching his legs. He waited.
Any minute now.
He scanned the path, which was empty and nearly invisible under the snow. The parking lot was a few hundred yards off, through the snow-laden pine trees. A sagging, rusty Model T was there. Celeborn had passed it on his way in, and after a surreptitious glance determined that the coffee-sipping occupant, with gelled, crew-cut hair and thick black glasses, was certainly not the person he was meeting.
The expansive pond before him curved in an out of view, hidden now an again by tall pines. It had snowed only the day before, and drifts had formed like white sand dunes across the windswept ice. Celeborn was, essentially, alone.
Well, apart from the geese.
Thinking this, he tore another piece of bread off of the loaf he cradled and tossed it to the small crowd in front of him. They scrambled toward it, pushing each other aside. A scrawny yearling took it up in his beak, but it was ripped away by a larger male.
He checked his watch. Ten minutes after noon. He tossed another piece, aiming carefully for the young goose. When he saw that it had eaten, he tucked the loaf into his cloak. The geese slowly dispersed.
He heard, suddenly, a metallic jingle and a crashing of underbrush. He looked up to see a black-haired puppy darting through the trees, burying his nose in the snow.
"Herenya!" called a voice from the parking lot. A car door slammed shut.
Celeborn knew that voice.
Glorfindel strode down the path toward him, grinning. His hair was tied back in a tail, and he wore an unusual-looking grasshopper green cloak. In his left hand was a leash; in his right was a large thermos.
The puppy came back to Glorfindel, dancing about his shins. Glorfindel set the things on the table and motioned to the dog, who immediately sat.
"Good morning," said Glorfindel brightly, extending a hand. Celeborn took it.
"Good afternoon," he answered. "You're late."
They sat, and Glorfindel rolled his eyes. "Roads aren't plowed, and my car can't handle the snow. Sorry. How long have you been waiting?"
"Not too long. Sit down. How are you?"
Glorfindel shrugged and brushed off a thick layer of snow on the bench opposite Celeborn. "Same as always. You?"
"You know," said Glorfindel conversationally, "I didn't know you had moved here. You ought to have told me. I'd have cooked you dinner, or something.
"I'd rather you stay away from the kitchen," Celeborn chuckled. "Who told you, anyway?"
"You grandsons," said Glorfindel lightly, pushing the thermos across the table. "Tea?"
"You haven't burnt it, have you?"
Glorfindel shot him a glare, which was somewhat offset by the upturned corners of his mouth.
"I'll have some soon," said Celeborn. "Who's your friend?"
"The dog? Herenya. He's five months old tomorrow," said Glorfindel, and they watched, amused, as the puppy excused himself and jaunted across the ice in the direction of a large group of geese.
"He's well behaved, for the most part."
"He is, isn't he?" mused Glorfindel. "I suppose I've got little else to do with my time. Perhaps I should give up my job and become a puppy trainer?"
"Oh yes," said Celeborn dryly. "It would fit you."
Glorfindel chuckled. "At any rate, it would be awfully lonely without a dog. I would recommend getting one to you, but I think you'd be more suited to having cats."
Celeborn shrugged noncommittally.
"And Herenya makes me laugh. I needed a laugh after the war, and your grandsons gave him to me. By the way," Glorfindel added in a slightly too-offhanded manner, "Elrohir cut most of his hair off. He called it a crew-cut."
The revelation had the desired affect upon the other Elf: Celeborn's eyes widened and his mouth opened slightly. His reaction may not have been spectacular, but having Celeborn show any surprise was a victory on Glorfindel's part.
"Don't the Men notice?"
"Notice what?" asked Glorfindel. Celeborn raised his eyebrows and tucked a lock of silver hair behind his ear.
"Oh. Come now, people are far too busy to pay attention to trivial ears, my friend. And far too polite to ask about them." Glorfindel flashed a quick, lop-sided grin.
"They used to. Remember Socra-"
"Yes, and he was always asking questions. How long has he been dead now?"
If it was possible, Celeborn huffed. But his eyes twinkled.
"Right," said Glorfindel decisively. "Have some tea."
Celeborn took a sip from the thermos and was met with the painful, instantaneous realization that he had more than likely scalded off half his taste buds. He blinked carefully and set the tea down.
"Where are my grandsons, do you know? I heard from them last spring, but not a word since."
Glorfindel took a tentative swallow of the tea. "Greece, last I heard. I received a postcard from Crete two months ago, and they telephoned me a few weeks past."
Celeborn chuckled. "Still checking in with you on occasion, are they? Not even their grandfather gets that kind of special treatment."
"Oh," said Glorfindel, rolling his eyes in a way that was distinctly un-Elven. "They wouldn't dare drop off the face of the earth without telephoning me first."
"Will you sail together, then?"
"I hope so," said Glorfindel, taking a swig of his coffee. "I do not foresee any of us departing soon."
Celeborn was quiet, nodding. Neither needed to provide lengthy explanations as to why they held on here. In the end, their reasons were the same.
There was a crunch of fresh snow under tires, and they heard voices. A young man strolled down the path, linking arms with a young woman. She wore thick woolen knee socks under her skirt and petticoat, and her eyes caught on the two Elves as she passed. Glorfindel winked at her, and she turned away quickly, pulling her companion along.
"Well done, Glorfindel," said Celeborn, grinning. "Are you accustomed to such attention?"
He shrugged. "You ought to see the twins." Glorfindel checked his watch. "I'm frightfully sorry, my friend, but if I want to be back at the office before they think I've spun off into some ditch somewhere, I ought to go now."
"That's fine," said Celeborn. He fumbled in his shirt pocket for a pen, took a napkin from the inside of his coat, and scribbled briefly on it. "My telephone. Call me if you have any word of my grandsons, will you?"
Glorfindel took Celeborn's pen and wrote his own number on the same napkin before he tore that portion off and handed it to the other Elf. "Here's mine. Let's stay in touch, this time."
Celeborn nodded, handing Glorfindel the thermos. Herenya returned.
"We ought to see one another more often," said Celeborn. "Let's do this again."
"Sure. How's spring sound?"
"We'll see. You've got my number. We'll talk before then."
They stood and Glorfindel wrapped his cloak more tightly about himself. They clasped arms briefly, and then parted; Glorfindel whistled sharply and he and his puppy headed back up the path. Celeborn watched them go.
When he was alone again, he produced the loaf of bread from his cloak and began to meander lazily beside the ice. The geese toddled back to him, and bit by bit he fed them the last of his bread.
Thanks for reading! Unless sudden inspiration hits (ha!), this is the end. :D
Herenya: Quenya, "Blessed"
Perpetuō (Latin)- adv. forever; utterly
Perpetuō; -āre (Latin)- v. to preserve
A random fact: the thermos was invented in 1892 by Sir James Dewar and hit the markets in 1904. :P