The lightening flashes between loud claps of thunder illuminated the walls of the young elfling's room in Imladris, as she sat up in a panic with her black hair in waves around her.
"NANETH!" She shouted, but even elf ears couldn't pick up the elfling's voice all the way from her parent's room. Her twin brothers across the hall could, though, and they charged into their sister's room acting like the warriors they would one day become.
"Arwen, it's just a storm." Elrohir said. He climbed into the small bed next to his sister, who was clutching a stuffed cloth bear her mother had sewn for her.
"It's loud." The elfling cried, as her other brother, Elladan, climbed up too. "And it's bright."
"It'll stop soon, I promise." Elladan told her, and both twins hugged her, before particularly loud clap of thunder made all three of them jump.
"I want Ada and Naneth!" Arwen cried.
"Okay, fine." Elladan said, and slightly rolled his eyes to Elrohir. Despite their brave pretenses, however, the twins were still young enough to be afraid of the storm too, and were not about to put up too much protest at waking their parents.
Each of them took one of Arwen's hands, though she still clutched her bear to her between one of her arms and her body, and the three of them ran barefooted through the hall to their parent's chambers.
Elrohir pushed the door open, and then Arwen let go of her brothers' hands, yelling "Ada! Naneth!" and pouncing on the bed, crawling over her father to her mother.
"Arwen, what's wrong meleth?" Elrond said sleepily.
"I don't like storms." The elfling answered, tears still running down her face as her mother stroked her hair.
Elladan climbed up too, and Elrond lifted Elrohir up.
"Arwen, we've talked about storms before, remember? They won't hurt you- they're just noise and light, and they're far away in the sky. You have nothing to fear." Her father told her gently.
"But I don't like them they're scary can I sleep in your bed tonight." Arwen said very quickly, still clutching her bear, and giving her father the cutest pleading look she could manage. Elrond's face cracked into a smile in spite of himself, and he laughed.
"Yes, I suppose." He said, looking at Celebrían who was smiling behind Arwen, then he turned to his sons.
"Can we stay too, Adar?" Elrohir asked.
"How big do you think our bed is?" Elrond laughed good-naturedly. "I hardly think we all fit."
"Two big strong warriors like you?" Celebrían teased. "I would have thought a storm would be nothing!"
"Of course it is nothing!" Elladan said fiercely. "But we want to make sure Arwen's okay!"
Elrohir nodded fervently in agreement, and both their parents laughed.
"All right." Elrond said.
"But just this once." Celebrían added, looking at the three of them seriously, until another clap of thunder sounded and Arwen started crying again. Celebrían picked her up and Arwen buried her face in her mother's hair.
"Will you sing to us, Naneth?" Elladan asked, snuggling closer to them.
"All right, what would you like to hear?" Her soft eyes looked down at him.
"Sing the one your mother used to sing you, about the trees in Valinor!" Elladan said excitedly.
Celebrían smiled at Elrond and began. It was an old elvish song from Valinor, and one her mother had learned as an infant there, being born in the Years of the Trees. It told of the two trees, the silver and the gold, which had lit the land the Valar lived in. She sang in her clear voice as many of the verses as she could remember, drowning out the sounds of the storms to her children's ears.
"Sing it again!" Arwen and Elrohir chorused when she finished.
"Not tonight," Celebrían said gently "listen, there's a break in the storm, you three should sleep now."
"Aww." All three sighed in disappointment.
"Your mother's right." Elrond said firmly, and he helped his wife tuck them in tighter.
"But now it's almost morning, we could just stay up." Elladan offered.
"Yeah!" Elrohir added. "I'm not even tired!"
"Don't even start that." Celebrían said, laughing. "Elflings all need their sleep, or tomorrow will not be a very fun day." For anyone. She thought, sharing a glance with Elrond. They each kissed the elflings good night, and then everyone quieted for sleep.
Sleeping didn't go well for anyone though. Elrond had been right about five being too many for the bed. Elladan kept rolling over and kicking Arwen awake. Elrond lifted her up and settled her on the other side of the bed, but soon enough she woke up to find it was thundering again, and then began crying because she wasn't next to Celebrían anymore. Celebrían took her back from Elrond, but by that point the twins were up and arguing over whether or not the other was more afraid of thunder. Elrond sighed in exasperation and finally quieted them by threatening to send them back to their own room if they didn't behave, but it was clear no one would be getting any more sleep that night.
Celebrían calmed Arwen down again, wondering if Elrond might be able to slip something to put the elflings to sleep for a nap into their tea tomorrow morning, and save everyone from three tired and cranky elflings all day long.
"Naneth, if we're up anyway, could you sing us something else?" Elrohir asked hopefully.
"Please?" Elladan pleaded.
"I suppose so." Celebrían sighed, giving her children a half smile. "But how about your Ada sings something with me?"
"No, no, surely you don't want to hear me sing too!" Elrond said, widening his eyes in mock protest.
"Yes, Ada! Sing, Ada!" The three elflings chorused.
"If you really insist." Elrond smiled, mock exasperated, but they all knew he didn't mind one bit.
Celebrían made the elflings lie down again and "try to sleep." Once they were settled, and Elrohir and Elladan had switched places so that Elladan wouldn't kick Arwen anymore in his sleep, Celebrían and Elrond began singing to them. They sang another old Elvish song, a Sindarin one, of when Elves first awoken in Middle-earth, and they woke up the trees and the rocks and the rest of the lands.
Elrond and Celebrían's voices intertwined in the long, elegant Elvish phrases of the music, and after many verses the magic of it eventually lulled all three elflings off to sleep. By that time, the storm clouds had cleared and the sun was beginning to rise, so Elrond and Celebrían decided to get up anyway. Celebrían smiled at Arwen, stroking her long dark mass of hair out of her sleeping face, and Elrond went to close the curtains so the light didn't wake up the elflings.
"They are beautiful, aren't they?" Celebrían whispered quietly as Elrond came up behind her and put his hand on her shoulder.
"Just like you." He smiled.
"And you." Celebrían added, allowing herself to be pulled into a standing position and into his arms.
"Good morning, meleth nin." Elrond said softly, as she wound her arms around him.
"Good morning." Celebrían smiled, kissing him gently.
They dressed for the day, careful not to wake the elflings. Celebrían planned to let them sleep for a few hours into the morning, and hopefully that would save anyone from suffering the effects of ill-rested elflings later in the day. Only a few quarter hours later, however, they heard a knock at their chamber doors.
Elrond and Celebrían looked at each other quickly in horror, holding their breaths and hoping it was quiet enough the elflings didn't hear, but they heard Elrohir yawn and stretch, informing them "I'm hungry," which was enough to wake up his siblings.
Elrond groaned and went to answer the door as Celebrían went over to the bed.
It was Glorfindel, who was way too cheery for the crime he had just committed.
"Good morning, my Lord!" He said happily to Elrond. "I was just coming to inform you of a council matter for today, and to see if the elflings were with you, as we noticed they were not in their own beds."
"They are- and were sleeping, until you woke them up." Celebrían told him fiercely, coming over to the door, carrying a sleepy Arwen balanced on her hip.
"Oh, my lady, I am sorry!" Glorfindel said sincerely. "Good morning, Arwen!"
"G' mor' Glorf'el" Arwen mumbled, through her thumb in her mouth, and Glorfindel beamed merrily.
"No matter, it is your fault, YOU can watch them today! I am sure you'll have loads of fun with three elflings who hardly got any sleep last night." Celebrían said, smiling mirthfully.
"Oh, I don't know my lady…" Glorfindel said, suddenly backing away from the doorway. "Really…"
At that moment Elladan and Elrohir bounded towards them. "Yes! Yes! Glorfindel gets to watch us today!" They chorused with way too much energy, pouncing on him.
Glorfindel looked helplessly at Elrond.
"How could I deny my children something that clearly makes them so excited?" Elrond asked honestly, holding his face as straight as possible at Glorfindel's distressed look.
"Come with us!" The twins shouted, dragging the frazzled blond elf down the hall.
Celebrían laughed out loud at the sight, and Elrond closed the door behind him, raising his eyebrows at his wife.
"Your sons are a handful." She said to him, seriously.
"Two hands full." Elrond corrected.
"Good thing Glorfindel has two hands." Celebrían said still serious, raising her eyebrows to mimic her husband's, and then they both burst into laughter.
"You know he doesn't mind too much, he loves them." Celebrían said.
"Yes, but I fear he might mind by the end of today." Elrond winced a little, as they could still hear the twins' voices carrying from down the hall.
"Yes, maybe so." Celebrían agreed. "Arwen, you will be good for Glorfindel today, won't you?"
Arwen nodded, still sleepily, and laid her head on her mothers shoulder.
Elrond smiled adoringly at his daughter.
"She might actually go to sleep still, I am going to go put her in her own bed." Celebrían told him, shifting Arwen to her other hip.
"Good luck." He told her, kissing his wife on the cheek. "And good night, Arwen." He kissed her on the forehead.
"Goodni' Ada." Arwen said to him, and then buried her face in her mother's hair.
Elrond opened the door for them and then returned to his chambers. Maybe he should go find poor Glorfindel and help him with the twins some before breakfast. Or maybe he should just prepare a relaxing tea for his sons so they might give Glorfindel a moment's peace. And one for Glorfindel, too. He would surely one by the end of the day, Elrond thought to himself, chuckling, as he heard Glorfindel's voice carry across the House, pleading the twins to stop whatever it was they were doing.
It was going to be a very long day.