An Unexpected Side Story 03.3 – Younger Years: Elrond and Arwen
"Estel, hold still!"
"Come on. It'll be over in a minute."
Arwen struggled to keep her little sister inside the bathtub. She struggled even more when Arestel was pushing her hand away. Arwen was trying to wash the child's head with soap but she wouldn't hold still. The green dress Arwen had was starting to get very wet.
"Please, Estel. This doesn't hurt," Arwen tried to smile. She began to put the liquid soap on her sister's hair. Again, Arestel flinched.
Arwen sighed tiredly. A knock came from the door and Arwen turned to see who it was: Lindir. He had been walking down the hallway when he heard the daughters of Elrond struggling over something.
"Do you need any help, Lady Arwen?" Lindir asked thoughtfully. His gaze went over to the youngest daughter and he made a mental note to himself never to engage the said toddler.
The Evenstar shook her head. "No, thank you, Lindir." She couldn't possibly ask for help when her father asked her to give Estel a bath. Lindir was reluctant to leave her, but seeing as Arwen looked determined to do the task on her own, he left her.
Arwen panted as she took a good look of little Estel. The child was soaked, and so was her dress, and the child's silver hair was in definite mess. Arwen nodded to herself and proceeded to pour another amount of liquid soap into her palm. As she reached out of Estel's head, the toddler stood up and ran about inside the bathtub, shoving Arwen's hand away.
"Estel, please!" Arwen pleaded. "Why don't you like it?"
"'Wen never uses liquid soap!"
Realization dawned. Toddler see, toddler do.
"Oh no, Estel. I use liquid soap all the time." Arwen smiled as she started to apply to liquid on her hair. "It keeps my hair nice." She continued until her hair had bubbles on it and the Evenstar felt rather silly. But she'd do anything to stop her little sister from squirming about the liquid soap. Arestel watched her older sister in wide eyes. She reached for the liquid soap container and Arwen smiled to her accomplishment. She began to wash off the soap from her hair and started applying the same thing to Arestel.
The bath went smoothly. Arestel was given a new set of clothes, and Arwen did the same with her dress being soaked. After dressing up, Arwen carried her little sister towards the dining hall to have lunch.
Afterwards, she wished she hadn't.
Every member of the House of Elrond was present that day including Erestor, Lindir and Glorfindel. The brothers Elladan and Elrohir sat side by side, smiling when their younger sisters arrived. The others nodded at them Elrond patted a seat where Estel could sit. The toddler sat between her father and Glorfindel, with the latter fawning over the child every once in a while. It was a rather normal lunch. There were few exchanges of words from the brothers and Erestor. Arestel ate lunch quietly today as Lord Elrond gently fed his youngest. Everything was indeed normal, until dessert came.
Pudding was served to them. Arwen smiled when her favorite dessert was being served right in front of her. She took a mouthful delightfully, closing her eyes to taste it more. As she opened her eyes once more, she saw Arestel reaching out for the pudding of her father and grabbed it.
"Arestel, don't!" But Arwen was already too late. Everyone at the table turned their attention to the toddler. Arestel had already shoved the entire thing, bowl and all, onto her head. Elrond was speechless as globs of the dessert dropped from his daughter's head.
She looked at Arwen with a huge smile. "Look, 'Wen!" she chirped. "I'm pretty!"
No one said a word. Even Elladan and Elrohir, who had been in more mischievous affairs with Arestel, didn't say anything. Everyone just fixated their eyes on the toddler. Slowly, ever so slowly, Arwen got up from her seat and picked up Arestel. The Evenstar had her back face the elders as she left the dining hall.
"'Wen should be pretty too," said Estel. She reached up into her own hair and pulled out some globs of pudding. She began to rub the dessert onto Arwen's beautiful raven locks. Arwen flinched when she felt the sticky substance mixing into her hair and sighed.
"Come on, Estel. We'll be having another bath."
"Why? We're already really pretty!" Esterl chirped.
Arwen looked down to her. She wanted to tell Estel that the pudding in his hair was not pretty but she couldn't bring herself to break her poor little sister's heart. Instead, Arwen smiled wider and said, "We need to be more pretty, okay?"
Later that night…
Thunder rumbled outside Imladris. Elrond was prompted to close the windows and pull the curtains, refraining the cold wind to enter his and little Estel's room. The toddler was in her crib, playing with the Glorfindel doll she was given. Elrond smiled warmly as he reached out for the book he was finishing and sat on a chair. They remained like that for several minutes until lightning crashed down the heavens. Arestel squirmed and began to cry. Elrond immediately dropped his book to pick up his youngest, hushing the scared child. Fortunately, Arestel was in an incredibly good mood today that she didn't cry for too long. Elrond was about to drop her back into her crib when the child squirmed again.
"No!" Estel cried.
Elrond blinked. "Why not, Estel?"
Instead of speaking, the girl had her mouth clamped shut and only shook her head violently. Elrond nodded thoughtfully and sank back in his chair, cradling Arestel on his lap. The toddler giggled as her father played with her. Elrond laughed to himself and when his daughter had finally become tired, he let her sleep on his chest.
Arestel snuggled into his chest and then jumped back with wide eyes.
Elrond frowned. "What's wrong, Estel?"
She looked at her father with a very serious look on her face. Estel leaned her ear back to Elrond's chest, particularly where the heart was supposed to be. She listened carefully for a few seconds and then looked up to Elrond again, confusion written all over her face.
Arestel tapped her father's chest lightly. "What?" she asked.
Elrond was a bit startled. "It is called a heart, Estel." He smiled at her. "It makes noise."
His youngest gave him a blank look which clearly asked "Why?"
"Because I'm alive," Elrond said again.
Arestel cocked her head to the side. "What?"
In all honesty, Elrond was quite amazed of his daughter's curiousness.
"Being alive is a gift from the Valar, Estel," Elrond smiled. "We are both alive."
Arestel cocked her head to the other side, pondering about the new information told to her.
"Alive!" she chirped. Elrond nodded and patted her head. She giggled once more.
With that, Arestel confidently snuggled back into her father's chest and listened as his heart beat. She began to doze off, breathing lightly. Elrond kissed her forehead and run his free hand on her silver air with sad eyes. She looked so much like her mother Celebrían which made Elrond happy and sad at the same time. Happy that his little Estel was like Celebrían; sad that the child reminded him of his lost love. Elrond heaved a sigh of content and snuggled his daughter closer to him. He didn't bother to pick up his book; he would rather finish it at some later date. Right now, he was contented of having his daughter with him.
He began humming the tune of Celebrían's favorite song:
Love is a song that never ends
Life may be swift and fleeting
Hope may die yet love's beautiful music
Comes each day like the dawn
Love is a song that never ends
One simple theme repeating
Like the voice of a heavenly choir
Love's sweet music flows on
The next morning, the three older siblings decided to greet their father a good morning. They talked and laughed on their way there and finally hushing when they almost reached his room. Arwen and Elladan pushed Elrohir forward, gesturing him to knock on the door.
"You owe me for this," he mumbled whilst his brother and sister suppressed a laugh. Elrohir knocked once and then twice. No answer came. The three of them exchanged glances at each other. Elrohir gathered all his courage to open the door. The wooden door creaked. They poked their heads inside.
By the corner of the room, Elrond and Arestel were still sleeping. The child was still in her father's arms and lap, sleeping soundly. Lord Elrond looked peaceful as he slept, and a small smile was in his face. Elladan, Elrohir and Arwen smiled.
"Aww, don't they look cute together?" Elrohir drawled. Elladan nudged his brother's side and placed an index finger on his lips, telling him to keep quiet.
"We wouldn't want to disturb them," Elladan whispered. "Let's go."
He and Elrohir started to walk towards the doorway but seeing as Arwen still stood there, they stopped. Arwen looked at her father and younger sister lovingly, like what a mother would do. She smiled to herself and turned her heels, left the room as Elladan closed the door behind him.
EDITED: The sequel, A Long-Expected Adventure, has already been published! For those who are interested in the continuation of Arestel's mischief, please check it out! Thank you for all the support!
Author's Notes: Hurray for a singing Elrond! The song is not mine; it is from Disney's film Bambi. I really like that song even as a child so I thought that would do for Arestel.
Thank you for reading and hope you'll consider posting reviews. Take care!