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Paranoidangel asked for a discussion between Elrond and one of his sons for her birthday story. Knowing your penchant for a bit of Elrond angst, I tried to work a little of it in. Happy Birthday, Nic!
Elrond heard the faint whoosh of air as his door opened, followed by a muffled exhalation of breath. He waited patiently while hesitant feet took several steps forward, then stopped, then started again. The footsteps ceased, and Elrond next heard a sliding sound. From where he sat, he could not see the one he expected, but the sliding sound progressed. Finally, a tousled head appeared around the edge of the bed. Estel’s eyes widened as he looked up and found Elrond watching him.
Elrond closed the book he was reading and set it aside, then held out his arms. Estel did not need to be invited twice; he leapt to his feet, favorite blanket in hand, and ran to him, jumping into arms he fully expected to catch him. He wrapped his arms around Elrond’s neck and clung to him.
The child’s heart was racing. Elrond pulled his much loved blanket over him and rested a calming hand on his back. He enclosed both of Estel’s cold feet in his hand and felt them gradually warm. He waited until Estel had relaxed before speaking.
“Did you have a bad dream?”
Estel nodded, his head bumping against Elrond’s chin.
“What was it about?”
Estel pulled back slightly so he could speak, though he did not loosen his hold on Elrond’s neck.
“Trolls and orcs,” he finally said, then buried his face back in Elrond’s hair. “They kill people.”
Elrond frowned. He had asked the twins not to tell Estel scary stories, for his active imagination had recently led him to have bad dreams after hearing such tales. “Sometimes they do,” he agreed, and he held Estel a little tighter. “You are safe, Estel. No evil things can come here.”
When Estel did not answer, he asked, “Who told you about orcs and trolls?”
He felt the boy tense. “No one.”
“Ah, so this was something you overheard?”
After a long moment, Estel nodded.
“Who did you overhear?”
Elrond felt a tug on his hair. Estel was absently rolling several strands between his fingers while pondering his answer.
“My father was killed by orcs and my grandfather by trolls,” he informed Elrond.
Elrond took a deep breath. He hadn’t expected to have this conversation quite yet. “I know,” he answered.
“Ada, are you going to be killed?”
Elrond tilted his head back so he could see Estel’s face. Grave eyes met his. “No, Estel, I am not.” Logic told him he should not make such a statement, for no one could see all ends. But he could not bring himself to amend his statement.
“Glorfindel fights orcs,” continued Estel.
“Yes, he does. Did you overhear Glorfindel speaking to someone?” asked Elrond, though he could not imagine Glorfindel speaking of Arathorn’s and Arador’s fates anywhere Estel could overhear.
“No,” sighed Estel. “I was in the stables with Elrohir. He was talking to the stable master, so I went to see the new colt. A man was there and asked an elf who I was.”
“Who did the elf say you were?”
“He said I was Elrond’s son ever since my father was killed by orcs. The man asked why my father’s father did not raise me, and the elf said he was killed by trolls,” explained Estel.
“I am glad you are my son, Estel. Your father and grandfather would have been very proud of you.”
Estel snuggled against him, content in that praise. He shifted, turning in Elrond’s arms, and his hand caught on the chain around Elrond’s neck. It broke and fell into Estel’s lap. He looked up, his mouth open, shocked.
“Ada, I did not mean to break it!”
“It was not your fault, Estel. The clasp was loose and in need of repair,” explained Elrond as he held the chain up.
Estel fingered the pendant that hung from the chain. “What is this, Ada?”
Elrond lifted the glass gem so it reflected the flickering light of the fire. “The strands of silver are strands of my wife’s hair. Glorfindel had them set in glass for me.”
A confused look crossed Estel’s face. “You have a wife?”
Elrond smiled. “Her name is Celebrían, and she is away in the west, over the sea.”
“Does she come visit you?”
“No, she cannot return here,” replied Elrond. He caressed Estel’s head. “She was injured by orcs many years ago, and she had to sail west to heal.”
“Why did you not go with her?” asked Estel innocently.
“I could not leave here, Estel. I could not have been your ada if I had left.”
“Do you miss her?”
Elrond felt a pain in his heart, and he did not try to squelch it. He needed to feel that pain every so often. “I miss her terribly.”
Estel pondered that for a moment. “I do not miss my father.”
Elrond squeezed him comfortingly. “You were very young when your father died. It is hard to miss someone you do not remember well.”
“Will you see Celebrían again someday?” asked Estel, pronouncing Celebrían slowly and carefully.
“I hope so.”
Estel picked up the chain carefully. “I can ask Glorfindel if he can fix it. Glorfindel can do anything.”
Elrond laughed. “Yes, he can. I should have had it fixed when the clasp first came loose, but I do not like to part with it.”
Estel nodded in understanding and clutched his blanket. “Maybe you can put it in your pocket and carry it with you, and then Glorfindel can fix it while you wait.”
Elrond laughed softly. “That did work well when you broke your spinning top, did it not? I think that is a fine idea.”
Estel grinned, well pleased with himself. He sank against Elrond contentedly. A few moments later his eyelids began to droop.
“Are you ready to go back to bed?”
Estel half opened an eye and looked at him, then pulled his blanket tighter around him and rested his head against Elrond’s shoulder. “I think I will not dream of orcs and trolls if I stay here, Ada,” he yawned. He patted Elrond’s hand. “And you will not miss Celebrían as much if I am here.”
Elrond smiled. “I love you, Estel.”
“I love you, Ada,” murmured Estel, his eyes already closed. His breathing became deep and easy, and Elrond knew he was fast asleep.
He settled Estel on the bed next to him, then picked up the chain. The clasp needed only a minor repair. He tucked it into the pocket of his night tunic. While he missed the weight of it around his neck, he found he had a different comfort this night.
Thanks to Karri for beta reading.
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