Title: 12 lonely nights
Author: Blue Gold
Pairings: Erestor/Glorfindel Elrond/Celebrian
Summary: Erestor has a yule idea that goes very wrong for him.
Disclaimer: I *sniff* do not any of the characters in this story. They are owned by Tolkien/Jackson.
-A week before Yule-
“Erestor that’s a wonderful idea, I would have never thought of such. Whatever gave you such an idea?”
“It’s a human tradition I had read about some years ago and I overheard some of the kitchen staff discussing how they would love to give the head chef something but did not want to look as the were asking for favors liked the gossips tended to say. And I supposed there would be more elves simply embarrassed to give gifts to their superiors. Or even their lord.”
Elrond smiled. “But how will they know who’s is which?”
“I was thinking of making them in colors other than yule ones, for example burgundy and gold for you and if the tailor has time he can initial each one.”
“You have thought this out fully,” Elrond said smiling, it was always nice to see Erestor act more his age. He had started to worry he had given the elf too much responsibility too soon but Erestor had been perfect for the position.
“I suppose,” Erestor said marking down Elrond’s color choice now that there was no objection. “They would be hung in the hall of fire so anyone could go to them unwatched.”
“Yes, I think an opening ceremony each night would be a nice addition, so the mystery givers can see their gifts are appreciated.”
“I did not think of that,” Erestor said quietly.
“Its fine, I will make the announcement before dinner, and ask Celebrian if she is interested in aiding with the embroidery.”
“I will,” Erestor said walking out and going to Celebrian’s sitting room. She and the twins seemed to be simply enjoying each other’s company. Elrohir on his stomach reading a book as Elladan rested his head on Elrohir’s back holding up what was most likely a gift for Elrond as she tied the bow.
“My Lady, Elladan, Elrohir,” Erestor said then went into explaining his idea.
“That sounds like great fun,” Elladan said with a smile.
“Yes but why would anyone shy of giving us gifts?” Elrohir asked.
“You are the future lords of Imladris, your close friends may not care but others might.”
“Erestor is right, I would like white and silver, I think all would know who it stands for.”
“Lindir!” Elladan joked. Celebrian playfully whacked her son then frowned.
“How will there be no mix ups?”
“That is where your skill would come in handy should you be willing to Embroider a few letters or in the case of your family their full names to bar any confusion.”
“I would welcome it. Have you visited the tailor?”
“No I had planned on making him my last stop so I would have the list all ready for him.”
“Erestor I know how many duties you have how do you have the time to chase down all these elves?”
“It was my idea so I do not have much of a choice.”
“I will do it for you and work with the tailor,” I’m assuming you have a full list?”
Erestor showed Celebrian the list and she was surprised that it was much longer than she had thought, people such as the stable master, game master, and head of the cleaning staff would have never crossed her mind. Though there was a missing name that caught her attention.
“You forgot one.”
“I did?” Erestor looked over the list confused checking off each office as he went. He had even put Glorfindel’s second in command since most of the warriors saw them as equals who had he forgotten? “Who?”
“Oh, I did not think it was necessary.”
“Nonsense,” Celebrian said taking a quill and adding his name to the list.
“Well I have many correspondence waiting for me thank you for your help my lady. I will see you at dinner.”
“You have a good day Erestor.”
“You too, boys,” he said with a nod as the twins stood to get a better look at the list.
“Wow I didn’t know there was a Master hunter,” Elladan said looking at the list.
“Where did you think the foul and hare we sometimes have came from?”
Elladan paused, “I suppose I never really thought about it.”
“Well then how would you both like to come with me to collect the colors?”
“Alright,” Elladan said and Elrohir nodded and together the trio went about the house collecting colors and by the end of the night gossip about it had spread like wild fire and Celebrian was praised for her kind and open heart for thinking up such a thing. By dinner the formal announcement was mostly redundant except for the warriors returning from border patrol.
“That was a wonderful idea my lady,” Glorfindel said.
“It was, Erestor you should be proud the whole household seems excited for it.”
“Yes, thank you again for collecting the colors.”
“What are mine?” Glorfindel asked curious knowing there were many choices for him.
“I chose blue with a gold trim,” Celebrian said and Glorfindel smiled.
It was midday when Erestor entered the hall of fire a large basket in his hands. He was worried that the gift giving might be a failure and had small velvet pouches of sweets for everyone involved. But was relieved to see most of the stockings already held something.
It was also then he noticed his own stocking. All black with a silver trim. And he wished the lady had asked him but he doubted any one would believe his favorite color was bright red, and he just did not wear it because it was impractical.
Filling the stockings any way he had gifts planned for all twelve days just in case. He was surprised to see his own stocking held something and decided to wait until that night like everyone else to find out and left the empty hall his basket now empty and headed back to work.
That night the twins were most eager to see what everyone had gotten and their eagerness was most contagious. Elrond was the first to go sitting at a chair moved to the center of the hall for this occasion as Elladan brought over his stocking, which was brimming with gifts.
“Come on Ada open them,” Elladan said and Elrond laughed.
“Are these gifts for me or you?” Elrond asked as he unwrapped the first and was surprised to see a pair of winter gloves. It was a thoughtful gift especially being lord over many who did not even feel the cold. “Thank you,” he said quietly and never noticed the blushing maid in the back of the room though Erestor did and a tiny smile crossed his features. Then realizing something fled to his rooms. Quickly emptying his baskets all lined up for the next twelve days he returned to see Elrond already nearly done with his stocking and nibbling on some peppermint candy from his pouch.
The last thing in Elrond stocking was a letter, unsigned it was praise for being such a good a gracious lord and when he was done the room erupted in cheer. Erestor handed him a basket and he took his things and went to stand off to the side after leading Celebrian to the seat.
Elladan took Elrond’s stocking to hang on its hook again as Elrohir brought his mother her own. The first gift made her gasp in delight, a tiny crystal model of her home in Lothlorien. “This is beautiful. Thank you.”
“Wow nana can I see?” Elrohir asked taking a seat on the floor and Elladan joined him and they looked at the large talan in awe. Before carefully placing it in the basket provided by Erestor.
There were few gifts after that some hair clips and the same pouch of candy Elrond had received. “Oh nana there was this on top. It fell.”
Celebrian read the note and smiled. ‘I have placed something very delicate in the lady’s sock please save your gifts for tomorrow night if you do not mind.’
The twins went next sharing the chair as they went through their stocking. Both turning bright red when they removed a heart shaped card. The twins had just turned twenty but apparently some of the more forward girls thought it was about time they started pursuing a mate.
“Read it!” Glorfindel called laughing.
“Fin behave!” Celebrian said with a shake of her head. As the twins placed the cards into their baskets and started eating Erestor’s candy. Pouring out the rest of their stocking which was more and more sweets. Grinning they took their baskets to the side trading their favorite candies.
“Do not eat all that in one night.”
“Yes Nana,” they said in unison.
“So I think its your turn Glorfindel,” Celebrian said ushering the blond to a chair.
“No it is Erestor’s stocking that’s next in line,” Glorfindel said pulling the advisor to the chair the baskets he was holding flying to the floor as he fell into the chair glaring daggers at the blond. Glorfindel laughed as he lifted the stocking. “Ooo Erestor this is quite heavy,” he said passing it to the elf.
Erestor looked inside the stocking and his eyes widened. “I think I will open it in my room,” Erestor whispered standing.
“Oh no you don’t,” Glorfindel said pushing him back into the chair. “Everyone is opening them in public and so will you.”
“Fine,” Erestor said his features going hard. Glorfindel was somewhat surprised at how cold the elf suddenly seemed but said nothing.
“I seem to have received a lump of coal. Oh and here’s another, and another, oh and yet another one, what could this be? Oh yes more coal.” Erestor turned the stocking over and poured out the rest of the coal. “I thank you for the coal, and you all will excuse me if I am not feeling festive any longer.” He said lifting the basket of coal and leaving the hall.
“He didn’t even get some candy,” Elladan whispered to his brother, though it was heard throughout the hall in the silence that followed Erestor’s departure.
“That was the most detestable act I have seen in a long time, I would not have expected it from a bunch of grown elves,” Glorfindel snarled at the room in general though most elves flinched at his tone. The rest of them simply poured their stockings into the remaining baskets, knowing the festivities were over for the night.
It was the twins who brought Glorfindel his stocking as he replaced Erestor’s on the wall.
“Glorfindel, you didn’t take yours,” Elrohir said quietly.
“Do you think Erestor would like some candy?” Elladan asked.
“He gave it to everyone that’s why he didn’t have any,” Elrohir whispered. “Why doesn’t anybody like Erestor?”
“Why do you say that?”
“Ada and nana are the only ones who ever give him presents,” Elrohir said and Glorfindel frowned.
“I’m sure you just don’t see,” Glorfindel pointed out.
“Oh okay,” Elrohir said.
“Come on, Nana said she would tell us about her house,” Elladan said leading his brother away as Glorfindel looked at his stocking and the small pouch of candy sitting inside. He walked to Erestor’s room and found the elf sitting at his desk poking the coal.
“I don’t know how they could do that.”
“Be kind enough to give me used coal?”
“Yes, I suppose it is the thought that counts correct?” Erestor asked blandly.
“It is not fair, this was your idea.”
“And it is the reason I did not want to have one of my own, I constantly make decisions someone doesn’t like, financial cuts, new duties, denying time off, all those things Elrond would rather not do. Glorfindel I am not surprised in the least.”
“Then why did you leave? I know you must be upset.”
“I left because I assumed without my presence things could continue the way they should,” Erestor said not about to admit to his sometimes friend that the coal didn’t bother him, so much as the fact that there was nothing else in his sock and if not for the insult he would have been made a greater fool of. He knew every single elf he had a sock made for, looking at the small gifts for the remaining days he wished he had gotten one for himself to make it more anonymous and at least then he would have something to show come tomorrow.
“Erestor…Erestor are you even listening to me?”
“No, goodnight Glorfindel,” Erestor said standing and made his way to his bedroom. The blond stared a moment and shook his head before leaving.
The atmosphere in the hall was strained as the twins lifted Erestor’s stocking. Blinking Elrohir peered inside.
“There is nothing I know, bring Glorfindel his,” Erestor said rising out of the chair and slinking back to the shadows of the hall. Glorfindel wanted to protest but he could not force the others to give Erestor gifts.
His own sock was bulging again and by the time he was done receiving his gifts, he looked up to find Erestor gone. He smiled graciously and while everyone was distracted by Lindir opening his gifts he slipped off to find Erestor.
Knocking softly he pushed open the door to Erestor’s room to find the elf staring out on the balcony.
“Erestor? Did you get rid of what they put in there this time?”
“No, when I went to place the pins it was empty. I am not surprised; I heard your bellow from down the hall. You put the fear of the valar into them.”
“Glorfindel we will not have this conversation every night. It will not change anything, tomorrow night I will take my empty stocking with me and that will be the end of all this nonsense. The lady meant well any I will not have this idea ruined because no one likes me.”
“I like you, Erestor. I’m sure there are others that…”
“Oh yes the grand total of elves that like me is five. Soon to be three once the twins start their extensive tutoring with me in the spring. What more could one ask for?” Erestor asked sarcastically.
Glorfindel frowned but had nothing to say to that comment. “Goodnight, Glorfindel.”
“Goodnight Erestor,” Glorfindel whispered slipping out of the room.
Erestor sighed and wiped his nose. Glorfindel hadn’t even noticed. The blond didn’t even realize he wasn’t friends with Erestor. That had been the second time Glorfindel had entered his rooms since he had come to Imladris ten years ago. And it had all been for pity.
Why would he be liked? He had come to Imladris only thirty years prior and had overstepped all elves before him and become chief advisor in only a years time. Yes the valley had not been that old to begin with but many resented the fact that some boring elfling had so easily risen to the top. He was only 132 after all. Something he was sure Glorfindel wasn’t even aware of.
He sighed wondering why he was spending so much time dwelling on the blond as he stepped off the balcony wiping his teary face before changing for bed.
Glorfindel returned to the hall to see the games master examining a new dagger to the twins delight and he motioned to Elrond.
“I really wish there was something we could do about Erestor,” he said quietly.
“Can you imagine his reaction if we forced others to give him gifts? We will have to simply wait it out and hope. Erestor doesn’t deserve such treatment, and the sad thing is most of these elves are older than he is.”
“Erestor is not older than you are?”
Elrond couldn’t help but laugh. “Erestor is not even 200 years old. I think he is 132 or three. I’m not positive.”
Glorfindel started at Elrond. “But he is your chief advisor.”
“Do you see another elf who could do that job? Even half as well? He started as assistant to the elf that I have planned on making my chief advisor and all of a sudden the elf had brilliant ideas and good plans. It did take long to realize where it was coming from. I made Erestor my assistant instead and Chief Advisor shortly after that.”
“Who is this elf?”
“You do not know him, he left Imladris shortly after that.”
“Oh, I can’t believe he is so young. He is so serious.”
“Glorfindel for the first few years Erestor would stutter when he had to approach me, let alone another elf. That is all an act. I am sure he is still the same shy little elf. He learned quickly many favored the other elf and he withdrew and became the Erestor you know today.”
Something about Elrond’s tone worried Glorfindel. “How did he learn?”
“That is not a story I am allowed to tell. But nothing that can be placed in a stocking can be as cruel as what they have already done.”
“Were they punished?”
“Erestor would not allow me to reveal that he had come to me for help. He felt he would never be respected then so no they were not punished, and worst of all some are sitting here enjoying to gifts no one would ever give to Erestor.” Glorfindel shook his head sadly. “Why your sudden interest in Erestor?”
“I do not like to see anyone treated badly. Especially one who does not deserve it. Do you know he has gifts for everyone for all twelve days? And all he gets in return is used coal how is that fair.”
Erestor’s face showed increased confusing as Elrond and his family emptied their socks. He didn’t understand. Where were his gifts? He could see the twins rising nervousness as they approached his sock. He hadn’t bothered to sit down this time.
“Empty I know,” Erestor said already moving back to his corner in the hall.
“No! Erestor its full!” Elladan exclaimed happily. “And its so shiny, he added as they brought the sock over. Looking inside Erestor wasn’t sure exactly what he was seeing and decided to remove his gift. Sticking his hand in the sock he removed it quickly hissing. As his finger bore a bloody gash.
Turning the sock over he poured it out on the table trying to see what cut him and he stared at disbelief. Shattered in his sock were each and every one of his gifts for the day. Tiny stained glass figures of each elf’s station. He had spent hours browsing the market trying to find them all and gifts for the other days. These were one of his favorites.
“What is it Erestor?” Elrohir asked not understanding the shards of glass and bent copper wires that had made the frames.
“Nothing, just some glass,” Erestor whispered sadly.
“This nonsense ceases now!” Elrond bellowed watching as Erestor sucked on his finger. It would have been much too easy for the twins to simply stick their hands into the bag and grab at the *shiny things*. “You are acting like a bunch of childish fools and now you put my children in danger. I am sorry Erestor, this was a lovely idea but clearly some fools can’t appreciate it. This is the last night of this celebration.”
The cries of dismay from elves still working on getting gifts; or saving their gifts till the end was hard to ignore and Erestor shook his head. Most were enjoying this so he would not see them suffer for three fools.
“No Elrond. I have a much simpler solution,” Erestor stood and took his sock and simply tossed it into the fireplace before anyone could think to stop him. “I am going to get something to clean this glass with so Glorfindel can open his gifts.”
A maid approached with a small pail and brush but Erestor stopped her. “You are supposed to be celebrating; I’ll take care of it.” Shrugging she handed off the brush and pail and Erestor cleaned it up standing stiffly he made his way out of the room ignoring the whispers.
Elrond and Celebrian exchanged a looked and Celebrian whispered to Elrohir and Elladan and the entire family stood and left without a word casting a dark shadow on the rest of the celebration.
The room was silent for a moment as everyone wondered what they should do. None had noticed when the Balrog slayer had left but a voice muttered loud enough to be heard in the silence.
“Its all that fool Erestor’s fault.”
The mutters increased as Elves nodded in agreement and those with socks remaining went to collect them.
“I have dresses older than that brat,” the head seamstress, and tailor’s wife said even as she emptied her moderately filled sock into her basket.
“My favorite skinning dagger is three hundred years old. Twice as old as that whelp. And he drove off Bregan, now there was an elf worthy of the position of chief Advisor.”
“Yes he was, a brilliant elf, he mad Imladris what it is today and that little whelp comes in and just takes over. Woos Elrond who was too kind to realize he was being played for a fool.”
“And now we are stuck with that elfling.”
“I mean the nerve of the brat to even think to give himself a sock at all.”
“I should have never bothered to make it for the fool. Arrogant little weed. Can you believe that he wouldn’t allow me and my wife to take three months to visit some friends that were planning to sail because I told him the day I planned to depart. He wanted me to wait three weeks? I would have lost half the time with them.”
“What did you do?”
“I told him he could take his rules and choke on them. I went to the barracks, and told Lord Glorfindel Erestor had approved the trip and must have forgotten to send word. I left that night.”
“Look at this!” The elf in charge of housekeeping exclaimed as all gathered to look at the silver locket Glorfindel slipped out of the room, remembering the incident well. The elf had appeared so earnest and honestly confused as to why Glorfindel hadn’t know about the trip the lord had practically begged three guards who had the next few weeks off to escort them to the gray havens. And three more that were to go on patrol that night. It had caused havoc with the scheduling for months.
As those elves were gone for months and when they returned they wanted their promised free time to spend with family. And the other guards did not appreciate the extra work load, training new elves and keeping Imladris safe.
He had been enraged when Erestor had approached him during that time asking why some students had been left to their own devises because their tutor for that day had been scheduled for morning patrol and morning classes. Erestor had then told him if he could not handle the scheduling he would do it for him.
Glorfindel had exploded and told Erestor in no uncertain terms that it was his entire fault and if he could not tell him when elves were departing for journeys a reasonable time in advance maybe it was he who should get some help. Erestor had simply stared at him stunned and walked away.
Later that day he had sent a formal message via messenger that asked exactly how scheduling was done and how much time was needed in advance to coordinate a trip since he had assumed three weeks was sufficient time.
Glorfindel had replied with three weeks would be more than sufficient time if idiot quill lickers had the decency to tell the guards in advance instead of keeping it to themselves.
The atmosphere in the great hall was strained as the elves waited a few moments more to see if Elrond, Celebrian and the twins were coming. When it became clear that they had turned their backs on the celebration the remaining elves filled their baskets and went to their rooms a cloud now hanging over the once happy celebration.
Glorfindel passed the great hall and noticed the twins near where the socks were kept and wondered if they were giving gifts.
“Careful ada’s is heavy, should we take Fin’s too?”
“Take mine where?” Glorfindel asked startling the twins.
“Nana said, she wanted to make it clear that we don’t support what the elves did. She said she doesn’t want the family to be any part of this farce. So we are taking our socks back. Do you want yours?”
“Yes, let me help you carry these,” Glorfindel said with a smile taking his own and Elrond’s and walking with the twins to their parent’s chamber.
It was midday when Glorfindel entered Celebrian’s sitting room glad to find the entire family there at once. He explained his plan and all agreed it was wonderful but would need a few more days to be perfect.
“Shhh…” Elrohir hissed.
“You’re the one making noise,” Elladan snapped.
“He’ll hear us!” Elrohir snapped.
“Too late, what are you doing hiding outside my room at this hour of the night?” Erestor asked.
“Its not that late,” Elrohir countered.
“Plus we’re nearing majority,” Erestor arched his brow and the twins smiled revealing a wrapped bundle.
“We wanted to put this at your door. Its from us.”
“Really? Thank you,” Erestor said taking the small parcel. Glancing at the expectant faces of the twins he smiled and began to unwrap it. Inside was a lovely bound journal with a silver tree etched into it. “It’s lovely.”
“We got it from the mortal traders, it looked nice,” Elladan stated.
“Do you know what this symbol means?”
“A little, its from Gondor right?”
“Partially, do you know the story of the two trees?”
“Yes, we learned about them and Morgoth in our lessons.”
“Well I was about to have some tea, I have some cakes as well. I can tell you all about it,” Erestor said in his element.
At some point the tale of the white tree of Gondor, spread and the three of them settled in Erestor’s bed as he continued his tale about the line of kings. The twins drank it up partially Erestor assumed because of their connection to the line of kings.
It was Celebrian who found them the next morning and she stood at the door smiling. All three were sound asleep the twins on either side of Erestor, who woke first feeling the eyes on him followed by the twins.
“Nana?” Elladan whispered sitting up and reaching for Elrohir, slightly startled to find Erestor.
“I’ll leave you all to get sorted and join us at breakfast.”
Erestor stared at Elrond, to say he was stunned would have been an understatement.
“It seems you are quite appealing. They want to start their lessons immediately. It seems they are bored to tears in their history lessons. They said and I quote, they did not know history need not be so boring.”
“I have heard them, they usually drag themselves to the lessons and bemoan them afterwards. I had thought they would loathe me once they began their lessons.”
“Far from it, I don’t know what you did but they want you right away,” Elrond said with a smile. “Join us for dinner I am sure we can have their tutoring begin a little earlier.” At Erestor’s reluctance the elf lord smiled, “we have been having dinner in our quarters as a family as of late. It would be wonderful if you joined us.”
“I’m sure, but do not neglect everyone on my account. You have to be at the final meal of yule.”
“Oh, I’m quite aware,” Elrond said with a dark expression. “We will all be there.”
“I will leave you to get back to your work. I just wanted to make sure you agreed to this before you were pounced on by the twins.”
“I suppose it could work, I have the first few weeks of lessons already planned, I could continue to work on them as they learned.”
“Only if you are sure it would not be too much.”
“Once the traders leave once yule is over, my duties are less stringent, with less surprises.”
“Alright, I’ll let you give the boys the good news at dinner tonight.
“I will,” Erestor said smiling feeling lighter than he had felt in days.
He went back into his office and was surprised to see his desk nearly covered in scrolls. Wondering what this could be about he went to his desk and sat down unwrapping the nearest one.
As he continued through the scrolls he did not notice the passage of time or how his vision blurred while reading.
“Its not like Erestor to be late,” Elrond said glancing at his family and Glorfindel. Before them sat plates and plates of Erestor’s favorite dishes, as well as the gifts Elrond and Celebrian had gotten for the elf. Usually exchanged over tea on the last day of yule they had decided to make this night about Erestor and make him forget about those foolish elves.
Not to mention Elrond was not sure how Erestor would take what he planned to do on the last day of the celebration.
“I will go see what is keeping him,” Glorfindel volunteered standing.
Glorfindel went to Erestor’s room and found it empty short of some scrolls on his bed. Wondering if the elf had lost track of time in his office with his work he headed there next. Hearing the sobbing as he neared the door Glorfindel picked up the pace.
He found Erestor on the floor on his knees throwing a stack of scrolls into the fire. By the size of the fire Glorfindel assumed that Erestor had already tossed in a considerable amount. The elf seemed to be unaware of Glorfindel’s presence lost in his despair.
Glorfindel lifted on of the scrolls and began to read.
You are the vilest of the vile. A mockery of the name elf and something that should not be allowed within fit company. Why someone as pure and noble as Lord Elrond allows you anywhere near him or his family is beyond me. You are a conniving despicable, horrible wretch, who should have been born an orc. At least then there would be no denying what you really are, for you are no elf. You should do all of Imladris a favor and leave and never return. In time the valley may be able to heal from the suffering your presence caused. Simply looking upon you from day to day is enough to make an elf wish to fade.
Glorfindel read the scroll in growing horror snatching up another that spoke even more coldly of the advisor. Tucking both into his tunic he realized that Erestor must have read all of them and was now burning the horrible messages.
“Erestor?” Glorfindel called softly and despite he had been standing there for quite some time Erestor was startled by his presence. Hastily trying to wipe his eyes, was a futile effort as he couldn’t stop the tears and Glorfindel didn’t bother with any pretense, kneeling besides Erestor he wrapped his arms around the distraught elf and let him sob.
Once Erestor had calmed slightly he helped him to stand and together they made their way to Glorfindel’s rooms. Erestor looked at him in surprise.
“You will have peace here,” Was Glorfindel’s explanation. Exhausted as Erestor was he did not need much convincing and after a few minutes of searching Glorfindel handed Erestor one of his sleep shirts so the elf could get out of his robes, but when he turned back to Erestor he had already stripped out of his heavy robes and was slipping to sleep in his leggings.
Glorfindel headed back to the family room when he was sure that Erestor was well settled. The twins were eating though both Elrond and Celebrian were still waiting for Glorfindel and Erestor.
“Where is Erestor?” Elladan asked swallowing a large bit of food.
“He is resting, he fell asleep at his desk, silly elf,” Glorfindel said trying to keep his tone light.
“He did that before, when Thranduil was visiting,” Elrohir said as Elladan nodded.
“He was working too hard. Its too bad he will miss his surprise,” Elladan added.
Elrond eyed Glorfindel who slipped a scroll into the lord’s hand. Elrond read it and worked hard to keep his expression neutral as he read what the note contained. Passing it to Celebrian, Glorfindel took his seat and worked to distract the twins.
“So you decided to eat without me?” Glorfindel asked looking at the twins’ plates. “I suppose this means that I must eat twice as much now.”
The twins laughed as Glorfindel pilled his plate impossibly high, and then decided the twins must help him eat it, barely noticing their parent’s expressions.
“How is Erestor?” Elrond asked as they entered the elf’s office as Celebrian went to deal with what was in his room.
“He was still asleep, Elrond the volume, of letters an the fact that he had been burning them…I do not want to think of how long he was in that state.”
Together they gathered all the remaining scrolls shoving them into a sack glancing quickly at them to make sure they were not correspondence.
“I think that is all of them,” Glorfindel said looking about once more.
“These elves are despicable. The complete nerve of them.”
“But don’t you think that what you did is a little extreme?” Glorfindel asked.
“Not in the least. Tell Erestor that he has the day off when you see him, and ignore his worry about this task and that task.”
“Glorfindel I’m sure you will succeed.”
As the day progressed and the rumors spread the elves did not believe it. Still the lord and his family were absent from dinner yet again but that did not mean it could possibly be true. It was a great number of elves who made their way to the great hall only to stare at the shut doors.
“I didn’t even know it had doors,” one elf whispered as they drifted away.
Erestor woke disoriented as he was not in his room. Looking around he was surprised to see Glorfindel sitting at a chair with a plate of breakfast watching him.
“Finally, do you know you have slept for an entire day?”
“A day?! But I have to…”
“Calm yourself, Elrond has already given you the rest of yule off,” or he will once I tell him Glorfindel added inwardly.
“He has but…”
“He will see to your duties.”
“No buts, relax!”
“I don’t want to!” was shouted from the hall, causing Erestor to shut his mouth rather quickly as he was about to say the same.
“You are a horrible tutor! I want ERESTOR!” Elladan roared.
“That’s a new one,” Glorfindel said. “Oh you get used to it, I am down the hall from where the twins take their history lessons.”
Erestor ignored the blond and forgetting he was wearing nothing but his leggings made his way to where the twins were taking their lessons. He opened the door just in time to hear the tutor.
“It is a simple task if you want to learn from a more knowledgeable source, not some fool who is barely older than you two.”
“Boys,” Erestor said ignoring the tutor, “what is going on?”
Both Elladan and Elrohir moved to stand on either side of Erestor. “He was going to make us ask Fin.”
Erestor did not need any more elaboration, when Glorfindel had first arrived in the valley, he had suffered nightmares. The twins learning this when he had accidentally broken Elrond’s nose during one of his night terrors and had lead to two swift kicks in the shin, to anyone who mentioned Balrog, or Gondolin in Glorfindel’s presence. The dreams had subsided, and Glorfindel had admitted to the twins and a shocked Elrond, that no one badgering him for the story had been the cause.
“Well then boys do your duty,” Glorfindel said having heard the boys. Each boy walked over to their tutor and kicked him in the shin, much harder than they had been able to at the age of 10.
“You will not be instructing the boys again,” Erestor said as the boys went to engulf Glorfindel in a hug.
“You are no one to make that decision,” the tutor said even as he rubbed his shin.
“I am Chief Advisor, and one of the twins guardians. Everyone knows how they feel about that tale. To even think to force them to keep your substandard teaching by threatening someone they love? Are you even an elf?” Erestor snapped and the twins and Glorfindel watched wide eyed as Erestor truly lost his temper.
“You will not lecture me whelp.”
“I will do more than lecture you, you arrogant self serving bastard. Consider your position revoked. You will not be teaching anyone if this is how you treat students. And do not bother to think I can’t do it, who do you think appointed you to your position in the first place?” At the elf’s faltering Erestor snapped his fingers. “Fool does Elrond know of your love of history? Does he know you spent two centuries in Lindon studying lore? Does he? No! He knows you are bonded with no children and your mate likes strawberries, and he trusts my judgment to know the rest. Get out of my sight!”
The elf looked at the twins who were kind enough to stick their tongues out at him before he gathered his books in a huff.
“I should have gone with Melpomean,” Erestor muttered.
“Mel? He whispers too much,” Elladan said.
“But he’s nice.” Elrohir added.
“Well he will be the replacement for that idiot. Of all the…”
“Will you be teaching us now?” Elladan asked as he approached smiling.
“Yes, I had already decided to, after yule. I was going to tell you both at dinner.”
“Really!” Elladan exclaimed bouncing on the balls of his feet before throwing his arms around Erestor, followed by an equally excited Elrohir.
“Yes now let’s go tell your father about this.”
“What if he gets there first?” Elladan asked.
“As if I would be concerned. Besides, he will go to your father’s office and we all know where your father is right now.”
“With nana because we always have lunch together.”
“Yes so lunch?” Erestor asked and the twins giggled.
“You may want a shirt Erestor.”
Erestor blushed, “Yes.”
Glorfindel went to Erestor’s door to collect the elf for dinner. The night before having been interrupted by the twins former tutor having finally found Elrond and ranting to their sometimes overly kind lord for over an hour, before being informed that he was no longer welcome at council either.
“Glorfindel?” Erestor asked confused.
“I am here to collect you for dinner. Your suitors nigh insisted.”
“Yes, a matching set you are very lucky. Many elves would dream about twins,” Erestor stared at Glorfindel and then burst into a fit of giggles at the thought.
Walking to the family quarters, the twins, Elrond, and Celebrian, were waiting. The twins jumped up and tossed silver sparkles at Erestor.
“Happy Yule!” They exclaimed happily claiming Erestor from his escort and leading him to his seat.
“I know we usually exchange gifts tomorrow after the feast but we wanted to do this today. Some idiots have been saying things that we want to make sure you understand that is all they are, including their ring leader that fool tutor.”
“Now as we wait for dinner to arrive, I believe this is the point where you open your gifts,” Celebrian said presenting a box, and Erestor smiled remembering when he had seen Celebrian and the twins wrapping this very gift.
Placing it on his lap Erestor slowly unwrapped it, to find a book of mortal mythical tales collected from the people of Gondor, Rohan and places south. Erestor smiled at Celebrian.
“Thank you very much my lady.”
“You are welcome, I’m sure the twins will be hounding you to read it to them soon enough.”
Elrond placed another box on Erestor’s lap this one heavier and he opened it to find a chess set. But unlike most it was made of solid wood. Erestor grinned at this gift.
“I assumed you would need a new one after…in any case we can have two games going once again,” Elrond said implying the chess game that was always set up in both his and Erestor’s office. Whenever the elf visited the other they would move a piece. The game in Elrond’s office had been going on three months now.
“We got you another gift too,” Elladan said as he and Elrohir presented Erestor with a smaller wrapped rectangular package. Opening it he found a decorated wooded box, usually used to hold ink and quills.
“Open it,” Elrohir indicated and Erestor gasped finding crystal inkwells and what could only be eagle feather quills.
“This is…I…can’t…” Erestor stammered.
“Oh no you don’t me and the boys spent much to long in the market to find that for you to attempt to turn it down.”
There was a knock at the door then and the servants came in with trays of food for the family. Elrond waved them away when they tried to set the meal up on the table.
“Enjoy your night, we can fend for ourselves,” Both servers grinned and bowed making their way out of the room.
Erestor stood and Glorfindel gently pushed him back into the chair. “There is still my gift.”
“Glorfindel…I…you..” Erestor tried knowing if the twins had been with Glorfindel their gift had been purchased by the golden lord.
“Hush, and open it.” He said handing Erestor what had to be the largest package. Opening it Erestor was shocked to find a set of crimson robes. Erestor could not stop staring at the robe. And Glorfindel took his stares to mean something else. “I know you don’t usually wear red but…”
“I love it. Red is my favorite color.”
Glorfindel grinned then, “Well then you must wear it to the feast tomorrow night.”
“I do not think I will go.”
“You have to,” Elladan said seriously. “Ada decreed it.”
“Really? Why?” Erestor asked.
“That is for tomorrow, now we eat.”
They gathered at the table serving each other and Erestor was amazed that everything was a favorite of his. He saw Elrond and the twins smiling and realized that this was part of their gift giving.
“I don’t know how to thank you.”
“Just enjoy it,” Elrond said with a smile.
The dining hall was filled to the brim with elves, so much so that extra tables and chairs had been brought in. Glorfindel, Erestor, Elrond, and his family entered and a silence fell on the large crowd gathered.
Erestor was wearing his newly gifted robes and Glorfindel could not help the constant glances he cast at Erestor.
As they reached the main table Erestor noticed that both Elrond and Celebrian looked anything but festive. A far cry from last night, filled with smiles and laughter.
Elrond motioned for everyone to sit as he and Celebrian remained standing. Waiting a moment for total silence before he began to speak.
“Yule, a celebration of friendship, love, life and all the good the year has brought you. This is what yule is supposed to be. Instead a pack of foolish elves turned it into a time of ridicule, insults, injury and hate. For what? For an elf that stole the ideas of his apprentice, called them his own then fled with his tail between his legs when caught?”
Celebrian picked up then, “In my home there was never snow in yule but still we celebrated the calm of nature during this time, happy to be reunited with friends and family over fires and exchanging gifts. But never had there been a gift exchange like the one here, gifts for those in power for the simple sake of giving them gifts. No motives suspected, and you would see your gift accepted and appreciated.”
“But it did not work that way, not in our home, heralded the last homely house, I’ve never been ashamed to be associated with a group of elves. The very first day of this new idea it is tainted by fools. Worse of all, not only do you insult the reason we are having this new gift giving, you have the nerve to enjoy the gifts he is giving you. All of you enjoying your candy, I can see many a pin of station on elves today. Amazing you can accept the gifts of a whelp who is wet behind the ears.”
“Amazing how that ‘whelp’, was more astute than I, I had to make his sock for him. Can you image Chief Advisor and he did not think he should have something, someone as common as a Tailor, or a full of himself scholar should have. I used to feel so welcome in this valley, now I wonder how many are smiling to my face, while calling me a witch.”
“Thankfully I know a majority of you have no idea of what we speak, but sadly there is also a large enough number that does, and does nothing to stop it. I hope you are all proud elves. Enjoy your feast for it is exactly what you deserve,” Elrond finished and extended a hand to Erestor who sat frozen at the turn of events.
“Those of you who are ignorant or innocent feel free to join us in the great hall where there is a true yule celebration waiting. And if even one of you other’s dare show up it will be the last thing that you do in Imladris,” Elrond finished as portions of the room stood.
As most of the room left, leaving behind many an elf who had helped in the writing of scrolls or joined in the insulting of Erestor trays and trays of onion soup were rolled into the room as their yule feast.
The servants quickly left carrying a few tables with them to the great hall which was overflowing already with food and drink.
Glorfindel still had an arm around a shell shocked Erestor as they pause in an alcove watching the elves mile about.
“Snap out of it, it’s a celebration.” He chided as Celebrian whistled. Looking at the lady she pointed over their heads where there was a sprig of mistletoe. Glorfindel looked at Erestor and back up at the mistletoe.
Before he could make up his mind Erestor grabbed him and tilted him back and kissed him. Releasing the blond once he was upright he smirked and walked away.
“Shy?! That’s what Elrond calls shy?” Glorfindel exclaimed to himself while hearing Celebrian cheer Erestor on.