Author: Jo Slater
Summary: A Pirate has invaded the Warden's home!
Time: About two weeks after Heavy Hearted. Twins are four.
Note: I had started writing this one forever ago, and I found it again. I had to finish it and post it, cause I just think it's cute. If you all remember, during Heavy Hearted Little Ana found herself a friend – the puppy. Here's what happened because of that…heheh. This is the last installment to the first chapters of Haldirion. The first chapter of the newer works will begin on – or before – June 1st.
I also want to thank all my lovely, lovely readers for welcoming me back so kindly! I'm so glad I'm able to start writing again. Thank you all SOOO much!
"This will never work!"
"It will work! Stop doubting - then it will never work!"
I glanced over my shoulder at my brother. Orophin's face was pale with a shine of sweat gleaming off of it. I almost laughed, but wisely withheld my chuckles.
"She is not going to go along with this," he grumbled as I peered around the corner, carefully looking both way and finding the early morning coast clear.
"It's Ashk. Of course she will!" I whispered back, ducking back behind the corner.
As carefully as possible, we exchanged the small duffle bag between us. When it squirmed, I clutched it close and peered around.
I was more paranoid than a deer in Mordor.
Cautiously, I hooked a finger on the rope and tugged it loose.
Pirate's head immediately popped out with a slobbery kiss to my chin.
"That is disgusting. You know what he does at night? Licks himself, that's what. And now his– "
"Orophin, please!" I hissed, tucking the pup's head under my chin.
Orophin gave me a look before he glanced beyond me. His eyes immediately widened and, before I knew it, I was shoved behind the statue we stood under.
"Good morn, Ladies," Orophin greeted, his voice layered in a thick suave as he leaned casually on the statue. I, on the other hand, spit a mouthful of moss back to the ground I'd landed on.
"Good morn, Warden Orophin," chorused the two Ellith passing by. My brother grinned at them and the two immediately giggled amongst themselves as they strolled on.
Just as I was carefully getting to a stand, the pup still safely next to me, I was suddenly yanked out from behind the statue by my foot.
"Orophin!" I hissed, kicking his hand away.
"You are going to get us killed!" Orophin hissed, his hands fisting in my tunic and shaking me.
"Calm down!" With a free hand I punched him in the stomach. "Pull yourself together, damn you!"
With a shudder, Orophin's face gained back a hint of his color. I glared at him, waiting.
He had a valid reason for being terrified. A very good reason. In fact, I had been more confident and less petrified when entering a cave full of Orcs - alone - than being on the mission we were currently on.
Pirate whined and bit at my shoulder.
"Don't worry," I told Orophin while also trying to calm myself. "Haldir will not even know it was us. We'll just deposit the dog and leave. He won't even know!"
"He will, and you know it!" Orophin hissed, pointing at me. "He knows that sort of thing. What if the children say something?"
"They better not," I grumbled, peering around again. "We bribed them enough for the next century."
The only way we'd discovered to keep the children quiet for the past two weeks about their new friend was to stuff their faces with candies. Lots of candies...
"All right...Let us review."
Orophin nodded, brushing the sweat from his forehead.
"We take Pirate," I provided the dog for exhibit, "to the door. Put him down."
"Should we knock?"
"No! Haldir will know! Somehow, he'll...recognize the knock..."
Orophin nodded again.
"After putting him at the door we..."
"Run. Run and don't look back?"
"Sounds good to me."
With that, we both peered around the corner again. With no one coming from either direction, I shoved Pirate's furry head back into the bag and sprinted across the way with my brother in tow.
In the early morning, just before dawn, we took the stairs two at a time. Orophin scouted forward, ensuring Haldir O'Lorien was no where in sight. At his signal, I dashed up the remainder of the stairs to the March Warden's door.
With Orophin on the lookout, I carefully removed Pirate from his hiding place and put him in front of the door. He sat, looking at me for a moment.
"...Look cute," I ordered. His tongue immediately flopped out as he panted.
With a stirring inside the flet, I muffled a curse and snatched Orophin. Looking down the stairs, I knew we didn't have time.
Therefore, I shoved my brother off the landing and dove after him.
We tumbled down the limbs of the nearest tree before landing at the bottom. Orophin immediately kicked me off of him.
"Shh!" I lunged, covering his mouth.
Looking up, I watched as the door opened.
Little Ana rubbed her sleepy eyes with a fist before Pirate yipped at her. Immediately, the little Elleth's face bloomed with joy as she wrung her arms around the dog.
Watching as she safely drew him inside, Orophin and I looked at each other.
Orophin then grimaced. "I think you broke my arm." He inspected his arm thoroughly.
I shifted, feeling all my joints and bones. Shrugging, I looked at him. "You broke my fall."
I sighed, not opening my eyes.
"Is it dawn yet?"
There was a pause.
"Are you bleeding?"
"Is Onduras or Nethin bleeding?"
"Then what's Ama's rule?"
"Do not wake Ama until after dawn," Little Ana recited.
I nodded into the pillow. My hand went out blindly, patting my daughter's head before I rolled over.
"Ada is awake, sweet," I mumbled. Ana gave a giant sigh before I barely heard her shuffle off.
Ana was normally not so noisy.
Ignoring the strange thought, I cuddled with my pillow and relished in the coolness of the morning. I could hear Haldir banging around in the wash room before I let myself drift back toward sleep.
I smiled slowly, hearing Ana tap on the door.
"Look what I found."
I frowned immediately at her words and opened my eyes. I could barely see her shadow, oddly distorted, from the wash room hall in my bedroom. A beat passed and I knew Haldir felt the same dread I did before the door opened.
"What– " There was a staggering sound and the crashing of the water basin soon followed, flinging me up in bed.
Ana was cackling with laughter even as I heard Haldir staggering nearby.
"Where did you get that!" he demanded and dread swirled around me.
Perhaps it was a snake. A big one.
Maybe a large spider. Or a frog. Lizard perhaps...
I frowned then. None of those animals yipped.
"He likes you, Ada!"
I cringed and quickly bounded out of bed, dashing to the hall.
There was Ana, standing in her father's shadow. His hair was slightly damp while a look of pure loss covered his face as he stared down at her.
"Oh my," I muttered, looking at the fluffy creature sitting dutifully beside Ana, his furry tail thumping on the ground.
The pup turned his head at my voice. With one dark ear and a patch over one eye, he was the most adorable creature I'd ever seen. Thick, fluffy white fur surrounded him while he caught a lip between his teeth as he peered at me.
"Where did it come from?" Haldir demanded, inspecting the dog before picking it up by the scruff of his collar.
"Oh, Haldir! You're hurting him!" I cried as the puppy's feet and tail curled to his belly.
"I am not," Haldir scowled, staring the dog in the eye.
"Ada!" Ana whined as I charged down the way, "You have to hold him like Nethin!"
"I most certainly will no– "
I snatched the pup from him, cradling the animal in my arms just the same as I did with my infant son.
"See?" Ana said, pointing at me.
Haldir's scowl was still deep and he knelt down before our daughter. "Ana, you must tell me where you found him."
Ana peered at him a long moment before she smiled. "He was at the door," she informed him.
He raised a brow. "The door?"
She nodded with enthusiasm.
"He was! He was sitting and waiting to come inside!" Ana told him, beaming a grin at her father.
"He's not very old," I said then, peering at the little dog. I presented him to Haldir. "Look at him!"
"Ashk, don't start," Haldir warned, scooping Ana into his arms. Her little hands reached for the puppy even as Haldir kept her at arm's distance.
"Well, goodness Haldir, it is not like he is savage," I said, bobbing the quiet pup in my arms.
"He is an animal, Ashk. Gods know where he came from."
I gave him a look before turning and walking back to the bed.
"Not on the bed– "
I plopped down with the puppy on the bed, letting him roam as he wished.
"His name is Pirate!" Ana informed us as Haldir tumbled her onto the bed as well. "See? He has a patch." She pointed to his dark eye. The puppy immediately wagged his tail and licked her thoroughly across the face.
I laughed but Haldir made a disgusted sound.
The door opened and Onduras suddenly came racing through. He barely managed a good morning before he leapt onto the bed, pouncing on the puppy with blunt cheer.
I raised a brow.
For having only seen dogs in human villages, and being warned profusely of their temperamental nature, the children certainly seemed quite fond of the puppy. Of course, he was the cutest thing on four legs.
I glanced at Haldir only to find him glaring at the sight with his arms crossed in that commanding way he had.
I cleared my throat.
"So...What should we do with him?" I murmured.
His eyes pierced mine. "I will take him to Celebruim this morning," he said, whirling away to get dressed.
"But, Ada!" the twins cried in unison.
I looked down, smothering a smile into my hand as Haldir dared not to look back at the two.
"He wants to live here!" Ana told him.
"Let him live here, Ada!"
"Yes, Ada, why not have him stay here?" I added, tilting my head as I peered at my husband's ridged back.
"Ada – "
The twins looked at me, the puppy lying on his back between them, a gleeful puppy grin on his open mouth.
Nethin suddenly cried from his nursery. With a humph, I stood, sweeping the puppy into my arms, and left the room with the twins in tow.
I could almost feel Haldir's glare into my back.
The sizzle of breakfast cooking almost drown the sound of the children in the common room, but it didn't. Though I tried to concentrate on the papers before me, I was failing miserably. My eyes continued to move into the common, seeing two of my children having a rioting good time with a furry, slobbery beast.
"Haldir, stop glaring," Ashk admonished.
I glanced at her as she tooled around the kitchener with Nethin gleefully tucked on her hip.
"It may have a disease," I told her.
"Oh, it does not!" Ashk laughed.
I gave her a look. "It may. It's a wild animal."
Ashk stared at me then looked into the common room. The puppy - whom I refused to call by the childrens' appointed name - was rolled onto his back, allowing the twins to scratch his belly.
Ashk snorted with laughter. "Oh, I see now. You're right. He's vicious."
I glared back down at my papers. "We're not keeping it," I grumbled sternly.
Ashk sighed, putting Nethin in his chair before suddenly sitting on me. She gave me a look.
"Don't," I said seriously, "We're not keeping that animal. We already have a cat!"
"Haldir, there's no harm in having a dog."
"It's not normal."
"For you," she said, smiling, "For Humans, it's quite normal." She wrapped an arm around my neck, turning her head to look at the children. "Now, look, they adore him!"
I forced myself to look at the pure joy on the twins' faces. They were obviously playing some sort of game. Ana was hiding behind the sofa and Onduras crawled forward. The pup watched the boy a moment before lying on his belly and crawling beside him.
Ashk cooed with pure adoration and I threw my hand up. "Oh, give me– Real dogs don't do that!"
"Last time I looked, that is a real dog," she told me before plastering a kiss to my cheek and getting up. She rushed to the skillet, the cooking food beginning to burn. "Where are your brothers?"
I sighed, looking back to my morning reports. "I don't know...It wouldn't hurt to have a morning meal without them."
Ashk shot me a look I cleanly ignored.
It wasn't a few minutes later when the door suddenly blasted open, a knock only following it.
"Good morn!" Rumil shouted as he and Orophin paraded inside. The twins squealed with joy, racing to their uncles. I glanced up to see Nethin's blue eyes wide with shock as he peered around, unsure of what was causing all the chaos.
Orophin entered the kitchener, smacking my shoulder in greeting before going to my wife and kissing her cheek. Rumil, I noted, had been taken to the ground by the children.
However, the patter of four feet drew my attention to the kitchener floor. I frowned, seeing the pup following Orophin faithfully. I looked up at my brother, his eyes darting around as if he didn't even notice the dog.
"Orophin," I said slowly, "You do realize you have a furry beast shadowing you?"
My brother looked down. The puppy sitting at his side thumped his tail, his mouth opening with a slobbery grin.
"Funny," Ashk scolded, pushing him away from her and the pup. Orophin laughed before clamoring into a chair at the table. Again, I noticed the pup following him. I raised a brow, pretending to be interested in the reports.
"He seems to have a liking for Orophin," I said to Ashk.
My brother gave an enthusiastic bark of laughter, desperately trying to shove the pup away. The dog latched onto his sleeve, tugging on it with a playful growl.
"Perhaps he should go home with Orophin."
"No!" Orophin cried causing Ashk and I both to look at him in surprise. My brother cleared his throat. "I mean...Why...Why don't you keep him, Haldir?"
"Keep what?" Rumil asked, coming into the room with twins latched onto each of his legs.
I didn't miss the look Orophin gave our youngest brother. Skeptical, I put my papers down. I knew that look. It was the only look Orophin had to tell one of us to either help him or to be quiet. Rumil obviously missed it.
"The puppy!" the twins shrieked, releasing Rumil to go after the dog still yanking on Orophin's sleeve. Rumil watched them with an oblivious stare before giving a dramatic doubletake on the dog.
"What is that!"
I tilted my head. "A dog. What does it look like?"
"What's it doing in here?"
I looked between my two kin. Orophin looked hopelessly dejected while Rumil studied the dog in depth. I tapped a finger on the table. "Ana found him at the door this morning," I said slowly, "No one seems to know how he got there."
"Fascinating," Rumil muttered, picking up the dog and turning him in all directions as if to examine him.
"Ana, Onduras - Wash your hands," Ashk said then, placing a platter on the table. She looked at Rumil. "You too."
Rumil dutifully put the mutt on the floor and went with the twins to wash his hands. I preyed on Orophin. "Amazing how a dog made it all the way through Cara Galadhon...Past the gates...without anyone noticing, hm? I certainly don't see it in any of these." I provided the reports for him to see.
Orophin gave a strained chuckle. "Amazing!" He looked to Ashk as she sat down. "I've been meaning to ask you-"
Orophin only changed subject on a mystery when he was guilty...My brother had a knack for assumptions and solutions since he was no more than an Elfling. Now, with something as simple as a puppy finding its way to my door, he didn't even bother to try to come up with a reason?
I grabbed my brother's tunic, yanking him closer. "Orophin, brother, do you happen to know how this animal found its way to my door?"
Ashk sighed, resting her chin in her hand. "Haldir, please...I'm sure Orophin had nothing to do with it."
"I had nothing to do with it!" Orophin echoed.
"Pirate's a smart dog - maybe he smelled breakfast?"
"I– " My own words interrupted themselves as I realized my oaf of a brother used the pup's bestowed name given to him by the twins...A name given long before Orophin had entered the flet.
The two of us stared at each other briefly.
Orophin slowly tried to pull away from my grasp. "Don't hurt me?"
Ashk had calmly started dishing plates for the children. I moved as if to get up with my brother before Rumil and the twins came back into the room. Rumil nearly turned around.
"Rumil! Sit down!" I demanded. The twins' chatter abruptly stopped. Everyone slowly took a seat at the table. I let go of Orophin and looked from my brothers to my children. Ashk sat placidly in her seat across from me.
"Now, someone had better tell me the real route by which that," I pointed at the pup laying under Nethin's chair, "came to the door this morning."
Ashk snickered as the twins and my brothers had a heated staredown from opposite sides of the table. Finally, Ana took a giant breath and gave me one of her pouting, heart-wrenching looks. "I found him, Ada...While you and Ama were gone."
"While we were gone..." I looked to Rumil and Orophin. It had been nearly two weeks since Ashk and I had returned from Sarubrim.
Rumil sighed. "Well, I tried to do the right thing and take it away from her, but she cried when I did! And that look - you know the look, Haldir. What was I supposed to do?"
"Pirate's a good dog, Ada, I promise," Onduras said from beside me. I looked at him with a slanted stare. A good dog to a child could be leagues different than a good dog to a parent.
I sighed, pinching the bridge of my nose.
"If you found him while we were gone, where has he been since we got back?" Ashk asked then, curiously looking at my brothers.
The two immediately glanced at each other with a brief chuckle. Orophin, grinning with humor, told her, "Ana chased down Lord Celeborn. She begged him to keep Pirate until we could get him here."
"He put up a good fight," Rumil chimed in with a nod. "I almost thought he was going to say no to her."
"The dog's been staying with the Lady and Lord?" I asked just to understand correctly. The thought of such a thing was shocking to me.
"Andira told me that by the end of last week, he was sleeping on the bed with them," Rumil replied. I knew it was very possible he was right; Andira was one of the Lady's handmaidens of whom Rumil was often...social with.
"Can't we keep him, Ada?" Ana asked, her blue eyes batting at me.
Onduras shifted beside me. "Please, Ada?"
I looked at the two then hopelessly at my wife. She only smiled at me - that devastating smile - and I knew I had lost this battle...yet again.
"All right, all right," I grumbled, "He can stay."
The twins squealed with glee and I didn't miss the shared look of victory between my two brothers. I pointed my fork at them. "Don't think you two are out of the dark."
A moment later, we all paused to hear the vicious hissing of Moss - yet another battle I'd lost. I turned my head to see the cat had discovered the dog, and likewise.
"Look, they're saying hello," Ana announced.
With one bark, the fight was on and Pirate bolted after the cat, flying under the table, nearly knocking out one of the legs.
"Pirate!" Onduras shouted, diving from his chair to follow the race. His sister immediately followed as the cat bolted through the open window near the door. Pirate launched through it as well.
"Ana - Onduras!" Rumil sprang to a stand, running after the two with my other brother close behind. The four of them flew out the door in pursuit.
The table now empty despite my wife, my youngest, and myself, I only stared at the open door. I could hear the dog barking, my children laughing, and my brothers shouting all the way down on the floor level.
Ashk slowly stood, taking Nethin from his chair. She paused and I finally stood, walking to her reluctantly. Only at the door did we see the parade of my family charging through the once peaceful city.
I sighed in dismay. Once, my life had been quiet.
Ashk laughed softly. "I love you, Haldir." I looked at her to see her smiling hopelessly at me.
"I used to have a normal life, you know," I told her, the distancing sounds of the chase still ringing in my ears. She only smiled at me and Nethin cooed between us, tugging on a lock of his mother's hair. I kissed her briefly, my son grabbing onto my hair as well, before I pulled away.
Something in the distance crashed and we heard the shrieking of the cat. Ashk sighed. "Now, please go retrieve our children before they take the city apart..."
I started down the stairs. "Yes, dear."
As I said, this was something I found from the first series of chapters. I thought it was cute – hope you thought the same! The next chapter – the beginning of the new stories – called "Returning Home" will be posted within the next few days. It's very short and it's just kind of an introduction back into their lives. I can't wait to get rolling on this series again!
Thank you all for your faithful kindness and support! All my love!
New Projected Date for "Returning Home": June 1st