Disclaimer: not mine, Tolkien's, Valar bless him!

Author's Note: in answer to a challenge to provide Túrin with a moment of unshadowed happiness. Perhaps catching him before the Nirnaeth Arnoediad is kind of cheating, but I don't care!



A Moment of Laughter

"Three, two, one!" Túrin said to himself, grasping the hilt of the makeshift wooden sword that had been a present from Sador the woodman only that morning. "Be you ready or nay, I am coming to seek you!" he called out, and broke cover to race across the clearing, ducking to look behind every tree and straining his eyes for a flash of blonde.

Nothing. He paused, and thought for a moment, and then ran up the little hill out of the wood, waving at the men tending the Dor-lómin cows, and halting before he reached the straw stacks ready for the winter to come. He held the sword ready, and poked his head around the edge of the first stack. Still no sign of his quarry. Holding his breath, Túrin looked around the next one - nobody. Out loud, he said, "I wonder where she could possibly be?" and listened. Sure enough, about ten yards distant there was a small giggle, quickly stifled. He grinned, and moving slowly, crept towards the source of the sound.

He made a great pretence of looking inside the empty barrels before he looked behind them, seeing the small figure in a blue pinafore before she saw him, and prodding her with the end of the sword.

"Caught you!" he said. Lalaith looked up with a squeal. "You hid very well, little sister," Túrin added, and she grinned and jumped out, running out from her hiding place with him chasing her, waving the sword like a madman. At the top of the hill she threw herself down, laughing too hard to speak. Túrin sat down next to his sister, and laughed with her.

"Roll down the hill?" Lalaith asked, after a few minutes' laughter, and he nodded, tucking the sword into the belt of his tunic.

"Ready?" he said.

"Ready!" Lalaith answered, and Túrin lay down next to her.

"Go!" he shouted, and they were off, rolling down the slope like logs, the early autumn leaves catching in their hair. At the bottom Túrin hit a bump, and his roll halted with the breath knocked out of him. Lalaith cannoned into him with a soft thump, and they lay in a heap, too out of breath to do anything but grin at each other.

"Well, what have we here, my lady?" a deep voice said above them. Túrin looked up at the sky and saw an upside-down face.

"Father!" he cried, scrambling to his feet and hugging the newcomer.

"Two ragamuffins, I believe, my lord," the soft voice of his mother said. "Túrin, you have leaves in your hair."

"So does Lalaith," he pointed out reasonably. "Look, Father, Sador made me a sword." He pulled it out and showed his father the weapon. Húrin laughed, and examined it carefully.

"Indeed a sword that could outfight any other," he said gravely, passing it back to his son.

Morwen bent and picked up Lalaith, pulling leaves out of her daughter's hair. "I think it is time for us to go to table."

Túrin took his father's hand, and with Húrin's arm around his wife's waist, the family made their way to the house, content in each other's company. It had been, Túrin reflected, a perfect afternoon.