Disclaimer: Er, none of this would be mine, except for a briefly mentioned council member. You'll probably see her again sometime, so please no taking of her without my permission. (Why you would wish to do so, I'm not ENTIRELY sure).

Time frame: Late winter, Second Age 1403

Important Note: Unless specifically noted (either in the chapter or in the companion tale), these vignettes will have no relation to any others of my writings. I plan (hope) to explore a few different AU's throughout the course of this series for one thing. For another, there are a few of these that conflict with my personal canon that I am building for Elrond.

Please note that THIS chapter IS part of my canon, and takes place a few weeks before a story that is in progress as we speak.

A/N: Whoa, I haven't updated this in ages. Which is really rather sad, because I have like five more vignettes in varying stages of completedness for this. And I adore writing El/Bri. I've just been so busy with other stuff, like working on Doomsday, Poisoned Star, and Darkness in the Forest (which I DO intend to update all of them very soon!), I haven't had much time to work on this. Most of my day yesterday was spent working on Poisoned Star, and for those of you who are reading it, I'll give you a spoiler alert - Elrond doesn't have a very happy next few days. By the time eleven o'clock rolled around, I just felt so bad for him, I had to write something happy and sappy with him and his wife. And then this came about (with finishing it today). This was in fact ALMOST called "A Nice End to a Bad Day," however I decided to go with something a little more poetic :P Also, I'd just like to say (proudly...?) that I think this fic has earned its T rating as of this chapter. Nothing graphic or explicit though, I promise. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who favorited and alerted last chapter, but SPECIAL thanks goes to all of you who reviewed: Crookneck, Silent One, and a Guest. Sadly, it seems as if I am losing readers (or is it just reviewers?)...a fact which makes me very sad, actually. Please, I would love it if you would take the time to drop off a few words. Most importantly though, enjoy.


Translations:

Meleth: Love


~Fire Warm, Fire Bright~

The fire burned merrily in the hearth, flames leaping and dancing and writhing, twisting together and then away in an intricate waltz. Golden light spilled from the grate, setting the deep red of the carpet aglow, until it blazed like an ember buried in the fire. Warmth too spilled from the fireplace, rolling through the room and dispelling the chill of the night.

A log snapped and collapsed among the smoldering remains of a half dozen of its brothers, sending a flurry of sparks up the chimney with a pop. A wave of heat rushed out as well, enveloping the air with its heady embrace.

Celebrían looked up at the sudden sound, her eyes darting to the steadily burning fire. She smiled slightly – really, it was barely more than a quirk of her lips – and then looked back down to the book settled on her lap. Her hair cascaded across one shoulder, falling against her face and forming a shimmering curtain of silver locks turned burnished gold by the firelight. Only the tip of one ear was visible through the tresses – tresses now looking so much like her mothers.

Elrond pushed open the door to the sitting room at the front of their suite, and entered quietly. He immediately caught sight of his wife sitting on the floor before the fireplace, a blanket draped over her legs, and absorbed in the book she held in her hands. He smiled softly at the sight, and the worry that had settled on his shoulders after the meeting with the Guard captains earlier in the day lightened.

On soft feet he drew nigh, his footsteps muffled by the luxurious carpet, and as he neared he held his breath. He knelt down behind her, and then snaked his arms beneath hers and latched his hands around her waist.

Celebrían squeaked slightly when his hands first brushed her sides, and then she laughed, realizing who it was. She turned to look up at him as he sat down behind her, his arms still securely wrapped around her stomach.

Elrond pulled Celebrían onto his lap, a move that Celebrían didn't mind in the least. She closed her book and leaned back, snuggling against his chest and leaning her head against his shoulder.

"Difficult day?" Celebrían asked. She could always tell when he had had a hard day because, although he would not say anything of it, he would always seek her touch in a way that he never did any other time.

"Yes," he answered, and a sigh escaped his lips.

"Would you like to talk about it?"

"No, not particularly," Elrond replied. "And no, it is not that I seek to keep any burden form you. I simply do not know what to think of matters to begin with, and I fear finding myself even more confused than I already am."

Celebrían reached up and gently stroked her husband's cheek. "I think you need not fear such a thing," she told him. "And even if you do, I think you will find that you will manage to un-confuse yourself before the end. You always do, and I have the utmost faith that you always shall."

Elrond smiled then. Celebrían could feel the smile in his chest pressed against her back, in the way that he held her, and in the kiss that he dropped onto the top of her head.

"What would I ever do without you, Meleth?" Elrond asked.

"Probably be driving your councilors and captains up a wall with your despondent mood swings, and writing overly dramatic poetry," Celebrían told him matter-of-factly.

Elrond let loose a short bark of laughter, and Celebrían began to chuckle as well.

"I would hope that I am not quite that bad," Elrond said, and Celebrían's laughter redoubled. She simply could not help herself, he just sounded so offended and distressed, all at once.

"No Love, you aren't," Celebrían assured him after she had gotten control of her mirth once more. "At least not quite," she added teasingly.

"Good," Elrond said, and then he chuckled again.

Celebrían finally truly relaxed in her beloved's arms, sensing that the worry and the beginnings of despair that had plagued his soul upon entry to their quarters had departed, at least for a time. She would be there to drive them away when they resurfaced, however, of that Celebrían was certain.

"Tell me about your day," Elrond urged, breaking the silence that had descended over them.

"There is not much to tell, really," Celebrían told him. "I finished writing the letter to my mother, and discussed Winter Solstice preparations with Sídhaer."

"And how did that go?" Elrond asked, unable to keep the slight wince from his tone. Sídhaer was one of his most stringent councilors, and was often in charge of organizing festivals and celebrations due to her immaculate sense of organization. She could be somewhat of a handful, however, if one could assign such a term to a two thousand year old elleth.

"Quite well, surprisingly," Celebrían replied. "Really, I just sat and listened to her discuss her plans, nodding and making agreeing sounds every once in a while. I trust that the Solstice celebration will come out perfectly fine without my input, and I have decided that it is simply not worth the amount of energy and ire that is required to change her mind once it has been made up."

"You have ever been the wiser of us, my love," Elrond said. "I seem to have not yet learned such a lesson."

"And I doubt you ever will," Celebrían informed him. "You are much too stubborn."

"Hmm," Elrond replied, and Celebrían wasn't sure if he was agreeing with her, or only making her think he was agreeing with her.

Celebrían shook her head slightly, before affectionately muttering, "Stubborn Peredhil."

"Ah, but that is part of my charm," Elrond rejoined.

"A bit self-assured, are we?" Celebrían asked.

"Why else would you marry me?" Elrond asked.

"Well, most definitely not for your wit," Celebrían retorted, rising from his lap and turning so that she was facing him, her long-forgotten book falling from her lap.

Elrond grinned, his eyes sparkling, and leaned in to kiss her. For an instant Celebrían considered teasing him further by pulling away, but then her own desire overcame her and she leaned forward as well.

Their kiss was gentle at first, loving, but as it lengthened, it also grew more passionate. Elrond drew Celebrían down, one hand tangled in her hair and the other on her waist, until she was lying beneath him, her own hands on his hips.

"Is the door locked?" Celebrían asked, breaking the kiss for an instant.

"No," Elrond replied, "But no one would dare disturb us. Leastways, not unless the house was burning down or there were wargs on our very doorstep."

"Glorfindel would."

"I would kill him."

Celebrían grinned and lifted her head, capturing her husband's lips with hers quickly once more. "Good," she replied, and pulled him down to her.

The fire died down slowly until it was only a shimmering bed of gleaming embers. The little light that the glowing coals still gave off was just enough to illuminate the hearth and the two lovers lying there, blanket draped over them, and clasped in the other's embrace.

Burnished silver hair was tangled with ebony, the woman's head, which was resting on the man's bare chest, rising and falling with each gentle breath. One hand was pressed to his side, and the other was holding his arms, which were encircling her stomach, against her.

Together they slept as the embers slowly died.