Title: Nighttime Monsters

Author: Jo Slater

Rating: PG

Summary: Monsters under the bed aren't the only thing to worry about.

Genre: Humor

Note: All conversations are held in Elvish unless stated otherwise.

From Slater: Just want to give a shout out to my fabulous readers. I love you all.

This is a very short fic, but I needed to lighten things between the last one, The Promise and the next one Blessed. So, this is a very short, cute spotlight for the kids which I just love. Heh. So, this is all mostly just fluff.I hope you guys enjoy. Look for Blessed by Friday!

Nighttime Monsters

Ashk

"Onduras, get back here this instant!" I demanded, grabbing for the sky clad three-year-old as he raced after the cat rather than listening to me. "Onduras!" I shoved myself to a stand, hands dripping with soap and water as I stalked after him.

"If you wake your sister up, I'm going to be very...Upset!" I hissed, being as quiet as I could be going down the hall.

Yet, then I heard loud hiccup from Ana's bedroom and barely managed to stifling my frustration.

I had just put her to bed. I glared towards the common room where my son continued to pursue Moss as the cat bounded onto the book shelf.

"Ama."

I jolted, staggering slightly as I spun to see Ana standing in her doorway. The girlish curls of her dark hair were jumbled and yet her eyes were wide awake.

"Did we wake you, dear?" I asked as I swept her into my arms.

"No," she replied, a tiny finger twisting around a fallen lock of my own hair. She glanced back into her bedroom with wide eyes. "The monster did," she whispered to me.

Oh, I was going to kill Rumil. He had watched the children with Orophin only three nights ago, and apparently he had told them a rather horrific bedtime story. A story about monsters that hid under beds and outside windows, waiting for children to go to sleep.

The idiot. I hadn't had an undisturbed night's sleep ever since.

My eyes widened for the sake of my daughter. "A monster, you say?" I asked, and Ana nodded quickly, her curls flying. "Well, let us see about this." I opened the door and Ana immediately slapped a small hand over her eyes and peeked through the spaces between her fingers.

I peered around the room, carefully listening for Onduras in the other room.

"I don't see any monster," I said, walking towards the bed.

"Ada checks under the bed," Ana told me, pointing to the space under the bed. I suffocated a sigh, glancing towards the door as I spotted Onduras go racing by with a giggle.

"All right. Under the bed." I put her down and dropped to my hands and knees, peering under the bed. "Um...No. No monster." I pushed myself back up and laid her down.

"Ada checks the closet, too."

Did her father have to be thorough in everything he did? Honestly!

"Wh– " Something crashed in the common room.

"Accident!" Onduras cried.

"That boy..." I turned towards the hall, but stopped and swirled to tuck Ana in. "Now, you stay here like a good girl and I'll come back to finish my hunt for the monster," I told her. The cat shrieked in the hall and came tearing into Ana's bedroom, leaping onto her bed and burrowing beneath the covers. I sighed. "And keep Moss safe from your brother."

Ana giggled and nodded just as her brother came tromping into her room. I snatched him.

"Ama!" he cried.

I tucked him under my arm. "Bath. Now."

By the time I had Onduras in his bed, bathed and all, I was exhausted. The two had been on a constant terror all day. From Ana insisting that babies were coming to Onduras leading a pack of toddlers into the winter gardens to attack the ice sculptures found there, they'd been on a raid all day.

My son had later defended himself in saying that the ice sculptures had been the enemy in the battle for Mount Doom.

I, for one, certainly believed his father telling him stories of battle was becoming a problem.

I stood from Onduras's bedside after kissing him goodnight and moved towards the door.

"Ama," he called, and I turned to look at him. He frowned. "Ada is not here to check for monsters."

I paused long enough to make a face at the door I was at.

"...Monsters," I repeated, swirling around. I pointed to the wardrobe. "In there?" Onduras shrugged, drawing his blankets to his tiny nose.

I opened the wardrobe. "No monsters there," I announced. Next, I peered under the bed and sat up without a monster in sight. "I suppose Uncle Rumil was wrong."

Onduras grinned at me.

"Ama!" Ana cried. "Monsters!"

My hand thumped against my forehead before I pushed myself to a stand. "Goodnight, dear," I whispered, kissing my son's forehead before leaving his room and keeping the door cracked.

Standing in Ana's doorway, I looked at her as she peered at me with wide eyes. She pointed to her wardrobe immediately and I flicked a wisp of hair out of my face and stalked to it, throwing the doors open.

"No monster...s.." I frowned, peering into the darkness for a moment as I heard something scrape slightly against the clothing and the wood.

"Monster!" Ana shrieked, lunging out of her bed and racing into the hall with Moss sprinting after her.

"Ana!" I frowned at the door and looked back into the shadowed wardrobe. "This is ridiculous," I grumbled, throwing the clothes aside.

I was met with two wide eyes and a jaw full of fangs that hissed with a shriek.

I staggered back, muffling a scream of shock only to see the intruder launch itself at me and scurry under the bed.

Whatever it was, a gremlin or a rat, I didn't care as I scrambled out of the room, closed the door and locked it from the outside.

Chest heaving with giant breaths, I was met with the two expectant gazes of my children staring at me.

"Monster?" Onduras asked softly.

I forced a smile. "Let's just...wait until Ada comes home," I told them. "Get a book. We'll read." Something scratched around inside Ana's bedroom and I frowned even as the twins raced off to find a book.

We'd just read loudly. Very loudly.

Later

Haldir

As I stepped into the brightly lit hallway, I frowned.

My wife and my two children were sitting outside Ana's bedroom door, a blanket strewn over them while Ashk read aloud from a red covered book that I recognized well enough.

"What's this?" I asked, tossing aside my cloak towards a chair in the kitchener.

The three looked up at me, and the sleepiness in the twin's eyes and the exhaustion in Ashk's caught me off guard.

"We have a situation," Ashk told me. "And your brother has brought it all around."

I raised a brow. "Oh?"

"Monsters," Onduras explained. "They are trapped in Ana's room."

"Are not!" Ana argued, horrified.

"Are too! We are sitting outside your room to guard the door!"

Ashk gave me a look and I choked back my laughter before I moved forward. "All right, that is enough from both of you." The two silenced and looked at me with equally as pathetic looks.

"-m sleepy," Ana complained.

"Well, let us get these monsters out of your room and you can go to sleep," I told her, picking her up from the ground as Ashk moved to get up as well. I looked at my wife in question and she only shrugged.

"I don't know what it is," she told me.

"It's a monster," Onduras said again. "Like the ones Uncle Rumil told us about."

"Oh, I see," I mused, my hand reaching for the door handle and turning it downward.

Light gushed into the room, streaking to the bed directly as I stepped inside. And, just as I did so, a shadow on the bed moved and suddenly glared up at me with a furious hiss, the gleaming of the creature's teeth reflecting off the light behind me.

I staggered, bumping into Ashk as I backed out of the doorway again and slammed it shut.

"Well?" Ashk prodded.

I glared at her. "You didn't say something was in there," I said between clenched teeth.

"A situation," she echoed herself. "That's what I meant." She pointed frantically at the door. "It was in her wardrobe."

"Well, now it is on her bed," I replied.

"Was it a gremlin, Ada?" Onduras asked in pure curiosity.

"...No. And stop listening to your uncles. Gremlins are not real."

Onduras frowned. "Then what is it?"

Ashk and I exchanged a look.

"A gremlin," Ana provided with a great sigh of disappointment. "In my room."

Ashk

"Now, you stay here and don't move," Haldir instructed the twins as he set them both on the sofa. Moss sat in the corner, bemused, and Ana immediately pulled him into her lap.

"But what if the monsters eat you? Uncle Rumil said– "

"No monster is going to eat us," Haldir interrupted. "Monsters do not like to eat Elves." He glanced at me. "Or humans."

Ana gave him a look. "That's not what Uncle Rumil said."

I was going to kill that Elf. A slow and painful death, I decided swiftly as the night was deepening towards midnight.

Haldir didn't reply to her this time and instead straightened. "Stay here," he told them one last time. They both nodded and he looked to me as he walked towards the hallway. I followed silently, grabbing a pan from the counter in the kitchener on nothing more than impulse.

"It is nothing big, we shou– What is that?" Haldir was glaring at my pan.

"A pan," I replied.

He gave me a less than enthused look. "I see that. Why do you have it?"

"I don't know. That thing nearly took half my face off. I'm not going in there unarmed," I informed him seriously. There was nothing worse than some critter moving around in a dark room in the middle of the night.

He stared at me a long moment and, perhaps, if he knew just how exhausted I was, he would not be looking at me so.

Finally, he just shook his head and opened the door.

I peered in from behind him as he entered slowly, cloak in hand. Apparently he felt he could capture the creature. I had no intention of that.

Inside, nothing moved nor made any sort of sound. He entered slowly, one hand moving back towards me. I, however, decided letting go of my weapon with even one hand was completely a bad idea.

"Do you hear anything?" I asked.

"Besides your breathing? No," he replied, his voice amused, and I glared at the back of his golden head.

"Perhaps it left," I whispered.

"To where?"

"...Where Gremlins live?"

"Ashk!"

"Sorry."

He shot me a look as he moved towards the bed. "Stay there. Close the door if it tries to get out," he ordered me.

"Right," I agreed, nodding.

Haldir went to the bed, ripping off the blankets to find nothing. Slowly, he dropped down and looked under the bed. He straightened only to shake his head at me. I shrugged in uncertainty before glancing at the wardrobe and he went to search that as well.

He hadn't even gotten the door fully open before he was staggering backwards, tripping over Ana's toy chest and crashing onto the tiny bed it was at the foot of.

The demon creature leapt out of the wardrobe, landing on the bed near Haldir before he flung out his hand, hitting it off to collapse to the floor. It sprang to a stand and scampered its way towards me.

I let out a small shriek, unsure whether I should run or smash it with my pan.

"Ama!" one of the children shouted at my scream.

I swung down, closing my eyes while doing so.

I didn't strike the floor, but instead I hit the animal. I didn't open my eyes to see what had happened immediately as I heard no clawing or shrieking.

Haldir sighed. "No one can ever accuse you of being faint at heart, Ashk," he informed me as I opened my eyes only to see the I had apparently killed the small creature. I had no idea what it was and I frowned as I peered at it.

"What is it?" I questioned.

Haldir joined me in the doorway. "It is a squirrel, Ashk."

I spotted the fluffy tail and immediately felt terrible. "...I killed a little squirrel?"

Haldir

It was early morning by the time we put Ana to bed. She looked around the room with wide eyes and I smiled at her. "No worries, Ana. There are no monsters," I told her gently.

"Did Ama kill the monster?" she asked.

I swallowed a chuckle and glanced at Ashk.

"Yes, dear. Ama killed the monster," she told our daughter even as I stifled my laughter. She promptly stepped on my foot. "But, no more listening to Uncle Rumil's stories, all right? He is just a silly old Elf."

Ana giggled and nodded her head.

After saying goodnight and watching her to see that she turned over to sleep, I closed the door to a crack.

Ashk glanced in on Onduras to find him sleeping and turned to me, a look of pure devastation on her face..

I smiled at her. "Do not feel so bad, Idril," I told her.

"I killed a squirrel," she reminded me sourly.

I chuckled slightly. "Yes, you did. ...Squirrel slayer."

"Haldir!"

I laughed again, closing the bedroom door.

I had just stripped off my tunic, informing Ashk of my half of the day, when there was a soft knock at the door. We looked at each other and Ashk immediately covered her face with a pillow.

When I opened the door, I looked down to find my son standing in my shadow.

He cleared his throat.

"There's a monster outside my window...Can I have a glass of water?"

I sighed.

- - -

And, of course, that last line came from Signs. I had to throw that in there for Fruitloop. She understands, lol. Hope you guys enjoyed. The next small installment is titled Blessed, and will be posted on June 29.

Thanks for all your support as always!

-Slater

Summary for Blessed: The Warden's little family is about to get a big shock.