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Summary: Little Hadir stumbles upon his lord. Drabble
Disclaimer: I don't own them; they belong to Tolkien.
Author's Notes: None
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Haldir stomped noisily through the forest, his little face scrunched up into an impressive scowl. Angrily, he kicked a tree, which only made him seethe more as now his toes throbbed in pain. Limping slightly, the little elfling continued forward, ignorant of the tree's protests at the treatment it had received. He was not too angry, however, to fail to notice he was moving into a part of the forest his parents had forbidden him to enter and he wavered only a moment before resolutely moving ahead.
His parents were stupid anyway. All they did was yell at him and make faces at the new baby. What was so special about Rúmil? All he did was cry and drool. Haldir knew that he was much more interesting than a slobbering little runt. He could fish with his father, and sing for his mother or many other things, though his father had no time for him now, and his mother was always telling him to be quiet lest he bother the baby. He wished it had never been born.
A sudden shift in the wind caused Haldir to stop. He sensed something just at the edge of his consciousness. Spinning around, he searched for whatever it was that had disturbed him and found to his horror that he no longer knew where he was. Chills of panic ran down his spine and he was tempted to break into tears. His little fingers curled into fists. Haldir son of Captain Halmir knew no fear. He was the toughest elfling his age and had nothing to be afraid of. Taking a deep breath, Haldir nodded to himself and resolutely started forward. If he more crept from tree to tree instead of striding confidently, he was sure it was only tactically sound. He wasn't afraid.
The trees above him popped and groaned with the wind, and Haldir thought they were growing even more unfamiliar as he went along. He was about to cry in frustration when he spotted a faint silver light ahead of him. Cautiously creeping forward, he peeked around the edge of a sturdy oak to see a small clearing, but it was the creature standing serenely in the middle that made his mouth drop in wonder. It was none other than his lord, Lord Celeborn.
The Lord of Loríen stood as still as a statue, his head dropped back so he could gaze at the stars and yet his eyes were closed. He was dressed not in the silver robes Haldir had always seen him in, but in grey leggings and a pale green tunic. To little Haldir's eyes, he seemed to be as one of the great trees that stood solemnly around him as if awaiting his command. Brilliant light glowed from within the lord, and Haldir was awed. He had thought the Lady was beautiful, but in this moment, nothing compared to Lord Celeborn.
"You are far from home, little one," the silver lord said, not moving. Haldir yelped in surprise, falling from behind the tree and into the meadow. Celeborn opened his midnight blue eyes, turning to look at the little elf. He favored the youth with a sad smile. Haldir could not think of a reply and only sputtered like a fish before he firmly shut his jaw. Mustering his courage, he rose to his feet, jutting his chin out with bravado though his insides were quivering.
"I felt like a walk," he said audaciously. Celeborn's lips twitched with amusement just before his face became very grave.
"Indeed." The deep baritone rolled though Haldir and the little elfling wondered what punishment he would receive for disturbing his lord. "And do you always kick defenseless trees when you go for a walk?" the lord asked mildly. Haldir colored and ducked his head in shame. He didn't know what to say. Suddenly, he felt cool fingers beneath his chin, forcing him to look up. When had Lord Celeborn moved? He hadn't heard anything.
His lord was once again wearing his sad smile. "Perhaps it is better if you told me what troubles you and possibly I may be able to help you." If it were possible, Haldir turned an even deeper shade of red.
"Oh no, my lord. You shouldn't trouble with me. I'm only being silly," he said in a rush, horrified and yet gratified that his lord would care about his problem. The silver lord's expression did not change, save perhaps his eyes grew more compassionate.
"It is not silly if it troubles you so." Haldir was stopped from further protest by a stern look from his lord. Perceiving that his lord would not let him go until he confided in him, the little elf sighed, backing away from the tall elf. Celeborn allowed him to distance himself.
"I hate my brother," Haldir finally whispered, not daring to look at his lord. His statement was greeted with a stony silence. The little elf waited, but it was not long before he risked a glance at his lord. Celeborn's expression was unreadable.
"Hate is a strong word," the silver lord finally said once he was sure he had the elfling's attention.
"But he's so annoying! He's always crying and spitting up things, and momma never has time for me any more. I'm always in the way, and I never was before," Haldir said hotly, his anger returning. Celeborn nodded thoughtfully, letting Haldir continue until he had gotten all of his pent up frustration out of his system.
"Yes, I remember thinking my brother Galathil was quite a pest when he was born."
"Really?" Haldir asked, wide-eyed. The last thing he expected was for his lord to agree with him. "How did you get rid of him?" At this, Celeborn laughed, and Haldir thought he liked the sound very much. Once the staid lord calmed down, wiping tears from his eyes, he smiled broadly at the boy.
"I did not get rid of him. I did not need to. By the time I could have formulated any plan to dispose of my baby brother, I found I did not want to anymore."
"Really?" Haldir asked again, and he could not hide his incredulity, which made Celeborn laugh again.
"Yes, really. I think you will come to love your brother as I did mine."
"My parents keep telling me that too," Haldir said, eyeing Celeborn critically, wondering if he was also under the baby-spell. Still, this was his lord, the wisest elf in the whole world. Surely, he would not be blinded by a baby. He had said so himself.
"And they are correct. Your brother may be a nuisance right now, but soon, you will be able to do many things with him, and you and he will come up with many fun things to do together. I know my own brother was endlessly inventive when it came to playing."
"Was he? What kind of things did you do?" Haldir asked curiously, moving forward without thinking. Smiling, Celeborn settled down gracefully on the grass, inviting the elfling to do the same.
"Well, he would find the best places in the woods to make forts, and sturdy sticks to pretend that we were soldiers. It's far easier to play-fight with someone else. And as he was so much younger than I, he could still weasel candy from the cooks when I was too old for it. He even managed to get our parents to let us have a dog."
"Did he?" Haldir asked. Suddenly, a brother sounded like fun.
"He did, and when we were older, my brother would always cover for me with our parents if I were out late from . . . um, playing a prank."
"You played pranks, my lord?" The little elf's eyes grew even further, and his lord's pedestal grew another foot. Celeborn laughed.
"Yes, but they weren't any good until my brother came along. Though, I first started playing pranks on him, but soon we teamed up against our great uncle and his guards. Really, Haldir, think of all the fun things you do with all your friends. Your brother will do all of those things too, but to him, you could be his idol, the one he turns to when he doesn't know what to do. And whenever your friends are away, you will always have your brother. You may think now that you are stuck with baby Rúmil forever, but conversely, you will have him by your side forever. It is a great gift."
Haldir remained silent for a moment, thinking over all that he had heard. Then, he looked hesitantly at his lord.
"If I shall have my brother forever, shouldn't you have your brother still? Where is he?" At the innocent question, a look of such sadness came across the silver lord's face that Haldir would have done anything to reclaim his questions.
"My brother has gone to Mandos. I hope one day to see him again, but it is hard to wait. Hopefully, the evil which took my brother is long gone from this world, and you will never face it," Celeborn said, but a great weariness passed over his face, and it seemed to Haldir that he doubted his own words. The little elf boldly reached out and took his lord's pale hand into his own little one, giving it a reassuring squeeze.
"If brothers are truly so much fun, then I will wait for Rúmil to grow up, but I wish he'd hurry!" Celeborn laughed heartily at this, allowing Haldir to tug him to his feet.
"You will not have that long to wait. Elflings grow very fast," the Lord of Loríen said, smiling fondly at the little elfling clutching his hand. "Shall we return home, elfling?" he asked, and Haldir nodded his head. Together they moved away from the little meadow.
"Oh, and I believe you have a tree to apologize to," the silver lord said as an afterthought. Haldir winced.