Disclaimer: Tolkien would never write something like this, so it is safe to assume I am not he. I make nothing outside of the joy of amusing my readers. (Though you may feel free to donate towards my Renaissance wardrobe fund.)

Warning: Do NOT drink or eat while reading. Somewhat AU.

Written for the Middle-earth Express Prompt 79: Early


Undaunted

by Nieriel Raina

A butterfly alighted on the closed drapery of a window overlooking the falls of the valley. Clinging to the green material, it closed its wings, its long tongue uncurling to taste a golden flower embroidered on the curtain. Finding no nectar to drink, the insect spread its shiny blue and black wings, fluttering away from the deceptive fauna in the window.

Bap-Bap-Bap

Behind the curtains, twilight filled a large room, the light of the morning cut off by the carefully closed drapes, though some light seeped in around the edges. It was a room meant for sleeping, as the occupant had spent the last week on patrols around the valley, an occupation that did not allow one to take much rest. Not arriving until an hour before sunrise, he had slipped into his room, thrown off his clothes, and crawled into the comfortable bed that graced one wall of the chamber. Sleep came easily and long after the sun had risen from its hiding place, the elf slept in blessed silence, unaware of the world that continued while he wandered a green hill and a white stone city.

Bap-Bap-Bap

A muscle near the elf's eye twitched, though his eyes remained unfocused in elven dreams.

He walked through the courtyard of his home, smiling at the yellow flowers, which surrounded a fountain comprised of four large blooms: stalks together buds facing outwards, the water spouting up from between them and dancing down and off their petals and into the basin below.

Bap-Bap-Bap

Annoyed that someone would disturb the peaceful day with such clamor, Glorfindel went in search of the source of the sound.

Bap-Bap-Bap

Yet, no matter how near the sound seemed, or how hard he searched, it remained elusive. And every thud - every knock - irritated him to no end.

Bap-Bap-Bap

Throwing open a door, he peered inside, finding nothing but a storage room. Then the sound came again! So close, as if it were just across a room from him.

Bap-Bap-Bap

"G'orfin'el?"

The elf sat straight up in his bed, blinking his eyes to remove the sleep from them, his breathing rapid, heart racing. He was in his bedchamber, and it was dark, though by the faint light near the window, he could tell it was bright daylight outside.

"G'orfin'el?" The voice that had woken him spoke again, followed by another knock, a rather determined knock.

Smiling, Glorfindel threw back his bed clothes and scrambled over to a chair, where his dressing robe lay tossed over the back. Covering his nakedness with it, he walked to the door, opening it partway and peering down at the small, dark haired boy on the other side. He pretended to frown in displeasure.

"What is the reason you disturb my rest?" he asked gruffly.

Estel looked up him, undaunted by his brusque tone and fierce scowl. The child put his hands on his hips and frowned back at the tall, elf towering above him. "Eres'or sent me to get you!" he retorted. "You promised him you would be early for the meetin', but you didn't show up. He was very angry and was comin' to get you when I ran into him."

Glorfindel smiled, dropping the facade of being upset. He knew very well that Estel meant he had ran into Erestor very literally. "And then he decided you would be better suited to finding me, eh?"

The boy nodded, determination radiating from him. "He isn't gonna like that you were still sleepin'. So, you better get dressed quick, so I can 'scort you to the meetin'. Then I can go play with Lind'r. He's gonna teach me a long song!"

Reaching down, Glorfindel scooped up the boy. Estel screeched in laughter as the elf spun around with his escort in his arms, closing the door with his foot.

"I suppose since you have such an important task, you should help me dress." Marching to the bed and dropping Estel onto it, he proceeded to tickle the child, eliciting shrieks of laughter.

"St-stop, G'or...G'orfin'el! I'm... I'm supposed..." Whatever Estel was trying to say was lost in a fit of giggles.

When the boy was breathless with laughter, the elf ceased his tickling, and pulled Estel into a hug, smiling hugely as the small arms wrapped around his neck. "Now, I can get ready," he said, pulling back and grinning at his small companion.

Estel nodded, returning the grin. "I'll get your clothes!" Hopping up, he ran over to the elf's wardrobe and flung it open. Reaching in, he began to pull garments out. "This, and this, and...oh, yea, this."

Glorfindel moved to his wash stand and wet a cloth to wash his body as best he could. There was no time for a bath. He watched from the corner of his eye as his official escort grabbed clean trousers, tunic, and formal robe, draping them over the end of his bed, then running back for his boots. With a smirk, he noted none of the clothing Estel had grabbed, matched. He imagined Erestor's face as he showed up to the council meeting late, wearing a bright yellow tunic and rust colored trousers, topped off with royal blue robe and leather boots dyed forest green. He would look like a passel of dwarves!

Donning his garb dutifully, having no intention of informing Estel that his choices were not the best suited for each other, Glorfindel slipped into his boots, then ran a comb through his long, golden hair. His smirk in the mirror became a feral grin; he left his hair loose about his shoulders, another slight against proper etiquette.

"Don't forget your cir'let!" Estel ran over with an intricately wrought silver circlet. Glorfindel knelt down so the boy could set it over his loose hair, arranging it so that the large yellow citrine, set in the center of two emeralds, sat in the middle of his forehead. He chuckled at his thoughts. It would most certainly be a different sort of meeting, and not just because he was late...again. Standing, he looked down at Estel for his approval.

The child gave it. "Now you are ready for a corn...cown...meetin'."

"Council."

"Yea, the meetin'. Come on! We have to run!"

Laughing, he allowed Estel to take him by the hand and drag him from his rooms. They ran - or rather Estel ran while he jogged bedside him - all the way to the Council Chamber. Bowing to his escort, he excused him, saying he would let Erestor know how good a job Estel had done in getting him to the meeting.

"Thanks!" Estel cried over his shoulder as he barreled off in the direction of the Hall of Fire.

Glorfindel watched until the boy was out of sight, then pushed the door open and stepped in as regally as he could. He kept his face clear of any emotion, and avoided looking at the other occupants of the room as he shut the door.

When he looked up, his jaw dropped as he gaped at the other members of the room.

"Nice of you to join us," Elrond said with a smile, beginning to laugh. "I see we are not the only ones who had the privilege of Estel dressing them this morning."

Glorfindel started laughing, deep, belly chuckles that caused him to wrap his arms around his middle.

Elrond, seated behind his desk, wore a burgundy robe, not that unusual, only there was a bright, summer green tunic showing through the opening in the front, and someone had attempted to put warrior braids in his hair, over which sat Elrond's official, very formal circlet.

Seated in two of the chairs set in a semi-circle around the desk, the sons of Imladris' lord were garbed similarly. Elladan wore a pale blue tunic, dark green leggings, and a robe of cherry red with brown boots. On his head - hair pulled back in a single chaotic mess resembling a braid - was a band of gold. Beside him, Elrohir was clothed in a dark blue tunic, deep purple trousers and a pale gold robe. He wore light green shoes that looked suspiciously like a pair of his sister's slippers. A silver, delicate crown that also resembled one of Lady Arwen's belongings, adorned his dark hair, which was parted straight down the middle and left loose, all but a thick strand on either side tucked behind his ears.

Closest to Elrond's desk, Erestor sat with a droll look on his face, clothed in a long, flowing black robe which covered any clothing underneath from sight, except for a flash of very normal looking white. His hair was braided in its normal fashion, and the tips of black boots peeked out from the hem of his garment.

Glorfindel grinned and bowed extravagantly. "Ah, I see we are ready for this very important meeting. I do wonder, Erestor," he said to his friend, who was attempting to conceal his humor, "that you would flaunt the current fashion thusly."

To his surprise, Erestor smirked, untied the ties that held his robe shut, revealing one of Arwen's dresses - a white elegant gown complemented with a ladies silver belt.

Glorfindel blinked, gaped, and lost any form of control. He dropped to the floor in a heap, howling with laughter. The others joined in, enjoying the humor of the moment.

When he could breathe again, Glorfindel said, "I am most grateful Estel did not raid Arwen's wardrobe for me. My own was enough!"

"Indeed," Erestor said, laughing. He stood and offered Glorfindel a hand up, which the grinning elf took, whist eyeing Erestor up and down. "Do not say it. I would have to hurt you," the councilor said thru his laughter.

"I would not dare!" Glorfindel said as he rose to his feet. "Rumors might be spread by those two!" Glorfindel pointed at the twin sons of Elrond who were snickering.

Elrond stood, drawing their attention. "I will not have rumors circulating about my Captain of Arms and Chief Councilor." And he stepped out from behind his desk. Under his open burgundy robe, with his summer green tunic, was a lady's light brown riding skirt. "Before you know it, the rumors will include myself as well."

The laughter began all over again, Elladan and Elrohir pounding each other on the back as Elrond collapsed back in his chair, laughing so hard tears ran down his face. Eventually, they managed to control their mirth and were all seated. For a moment, there was simple silence as they just sat and stared at one another, then the chuckles began again.

It was a long time before any official business was conducted, and some members of the house wondered at what kept the lords of the house locked away behind closed doors. But when Elrond's council entered the dining hall that evening, (dressed appropriately, of course) the concerns were dismissed. The lords all appeared to be in very good humor.

The next morning, one of the servants stopped before Lady Arwen's room, so that she might keep it fresh for when the lady returned from her visit to Lothlórien. To her surprise, the door was securely locked. Shrugging, she moved on to the next room.

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Estel is 4 1/2 years old in this story, and it takes place shortly after Never, In All My Days... not long after Legolas has returned to Mirkwood.

Comments make my day! Tell me what you think, eh?

NiRi