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The Greater Part of Life by Alquien

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Table of Contents

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Story notes:
Beta: A very special thank you to Chloe Amethyst for her hard work, her patience and helpful suggestions.

Gift for: Alexcat

Rating up to = PG-13

Requested pairing = Any pairing is good. I like elves the best. Favorite elves: Gil-galad, Cirdan, Celeborn... elflords, more or less but pairing can be men or others as well.

Story elements = LOTR or Hobbit based. Bromance type fic is perfectly good too. I love humor. I love canon but I don't have to have strict canon.

Written for My Slashy Valentine 2014.
~*~*~

Celeborn had known the minute he saw Círdan’s seal on the letter that he was about to be asked for yet another favor. While he didn’t mind whatever favor Círdan was about to request, he did wish it had come at a more opportune time. Perhaps in a century or two?

Sighing, Celeborn sat down at his desk and opened the missive.

My dear cousin, it began. I send you greetings and hope that all is well with your lady wife.

As you know, I have a new addition to my household. Young Ereinion is settling in here well enough, but the boy is lonesome and needs a playmate. I was hoping that your nephews or perhaps your young cousin Oropher could come and stay for a short visit.

Celeborn sighed and rubbed his forehead. Círdan, who had Awakened under the stars at Cuiviénen, often saw nearly everyone as far younger than they actually were. Ereinion was far from a boy; indeed Ereinion was nearing his second decade rather than his first.

His ‘nephews’ Haldir, Orophin and Rúmil were far too young for such a journey, for they were still children. Their parents had been lost in a raid by the Feanorians (or so it was believed), and Celeborn and Galadriel planned to formally adopt them as soon as they could.

That left Oropher. While Oropher was close in age to Ereinion, he had very little liking or tolerance for the Noldor. Even Galadriel was not immune from his dislike, and Oropher took a positive delight in finding little ways to tease and torment her. In fact, Oropher’s most recent escapade had ended up with Galadriel banishing Celeborn to sleep in his study for two months.

Celeborn sighed once more, took out a sheet of parchment, and began to write. Perhaps this would be a good time to take Oropher on a visit to Círdan; if anything went wrong, he could always remind Círdan that it had been his idea after all.

~*~

What Celeborn had not foreseen was the reaction of his young nephews.

Haldir had started by sniffling loudly.

“You gonna go ‘way, Ada?”

“Yes, but only for a little while. I will be back soon.” Celeborn smiled at him and laid a hand on the soft silver hair.

“That what Papa said and now he gone. The bad men got him and made him go ‘way!”

“I will be quite safe, pen neth.”

“No, Ada! Don’t go! Want you stay!” Haldir screeched and clung to Celeborn’s leg like a leech. “Ada! Ada!”

Orophin promptly glued himself to Celeborn’s other leg and began crying as well while little Rúmil was left sitting alone on the floor, wailing as loudly as possible and beating his little fists on the floor.

Celeborn stood there helplessly, wondering what he should do next.

Fortunately for him, Oropher arrived at the door at the nursery just then, no doubt drawn by the cries of the children.

“What’s the matter, Rúmil?” he asked, picking the youngest up and holding him snugly. “Can you tell me what’s wrong, little one?”

Rúmil’s cries quickly died away and sniffling, he pointed at Celeborn.

“Haldir? Orophin? Can either of you tell me what’s wrong?” Oropher said to them as he began to rub small circles on Rumil’s little back.

Both Haldir and Orophin had quieted along with Rúmil, though they remained clinging to Celeborn’s legs.

“Ada go ‘way,” Haldir managed to say at last in a choked voice, while Orophin nodded along with his brother’s words. “Want Ada stay!”

“Why don’t you come over here and tell me all about it?” Oropher walked over to a thick fur rug and sat down, while Rúmil began to doze against his shoulder.

Haldir and Orophin slowly unwrapped themselves from Celeborn’s legs and followed their older cousin and little brother to the rug, where they sat and began telling him their woes while he listened quietly, nodding in all the right places.

Celeborn stared on in amazement; it seemed that Oropher had an absolute gift for quieting upset children, a thing he would not have believed if he was not witnessing it firsthand. Even more astonishing to him was the fact that Rúmil had fallen asleep; Oropher was easing him down to the rug and placed a light blanket over him.

“Why don’t the two of you lay down as well and rest your eyes for a little bit?” Oropher suggested gently. “You want to grow up to be big, strong Galadhrim, don’t you?”

Two silver heads nodded vigorously and Celeborn watched as yet another miracle occurred: Haldir and Orophin taking a nap without any argument.

Oropher covered the other two boys with matching blankets and withdrew with Celeborn to the nursery door.

“What happened, uncle?” he whispered. “I could hear them from the library, so I thought I would investigate.”

“It’s a long story, nephew.” Celeborn replied in a hushed voice. “Meet me in my office after supper. We have a lot to talk about.”

“Of course.” Oropher bowed his head slightly before turning back to watch the sleeping children. “I assume you will be staying for milk and cookies?”

~*~

Gil had been summoned to Círdan’s office and wondered vaguely what he had done wrong now. He had great admiration and respect for his older guardian but he often wondered if the man genuinely liked him.

“Uncle Círdan?” Gil said, tapping on the door as he entered the large airy room with its windows facing the harbor. “Erestor said you wished to see me.”

“Yes, I did, Gil.” Círdan turned to smile at him and settled a letter on his desk. “Please, sit down.”

Gil eased his lanky frame into a nearby chair, hoping that he might have a chance to read the letter, too.

“I have good news for you, my boy. My kinsman, Celeborn, is sending his nephew to spend the summer here so that you will have a friend to play with.”

Gil cringed inwardly and hoped his face did not show his distress when Círdan continued.

“He is travelling with Gildor and his company. Expect them before the week is out.”

“That is wonderful news, uncle.” Gil managed a smile this time because Gildor’s stories of his travels made even the longest formal dinner interesting.

~*~

The meeting had not gone as well as Celeborn had planned, for Oropher took one look at Círdan’s letter and threw it on the desk in a fit of temper, which only made things go worse much more quickly.

“You are going, and that is final!” Celeborn scowled at his young nephew. Really, Oropher could be as stubborn as a Noldor, and just as mule-headed.

“Why do I have to go?” Oropher whined. “I don’t want to leave here. Besides, Círdan’s place is dull and boring and worst of all, he has that stupid Noldor prince there, too.”

“Ereinion is not stupid—”

“You know, this all could have been avoided if only –”

“Enough!” Celeborn barely managed to keep from shouting at the youth. “I suggest that you go to your room and start packing your things at once. Gildor leaves the day after tomorrow and you will be with him.”

Oropher turned and stalked to the office door, then paused to give his uncle one last glare before he slammed the door shut with enough force to create a slight echo in the room. Or so Celeborn thought to himself.

*

In the end, Oropher agreed to go but only because he knew he would be traveling with Gildor and his company. And secretly, he did want to meet Círdan but he would never admit such a thing to Celeborn.

~*~

The journey to the Grey Havens proved to be more interesting to Oropher than he had expected, for Gildor was a seasoned traveller and had many stories to tell about the lands through which they passed. Gildor quickly put Oropher at ease with conversation and with his readiness to answer Oropher’s questions, even those he had not realized he had.

Gildor found he was very curious as to why Círdan believed that Oropher and Gil-galad could ever be friends, for it was clear to him that the two young men were not very much alike; in fact they were almost complete opposites. But Círdan always had a good reason for his plans and Gildor was eager to learn what the old fox had in mind this time.

*

On their arrival, Círdan was waiting to welcome Gildor and Oropher in the main courtyard.

“You had no trouble on your journey?” Círdan asked Gildor as he dismounted from his horse.

“None at all,” Gildor replied. “Lord Círdan, I would like you to meet Oropher, Celeborn’s nephew.”

“It is an honor to meet you, my lord.” Oropher said, and made a formal bow. He was duly impressed by the elder Shipwright. “My uncle sends his regrets that he was unable to accompany me here.”

“It is no matter. I am sure that I will see Celeborn at a later date.” Círdan turned back to Gildor. “I have prepared your usual rooms and your young charge will be in the guest suite across the hall.”

“That will be fine, my lord.” Gildor replied. “Will you excuse us then?”

“Of course. Dinner will be at eight, with drinks an hour before.”

“As you say,” Gildor said to him before turning back to his companion. “Come with me, Oropher.”

*

After supper, Gildor sought out Círdan in his private study.

“Círdan, are you sure this is going to work? They don’t seem to like each other very well.”

The meal had been superb, for Círdan had easy access to a vast array of foodstuffs: fish, exotic fruits, wines and most of all, rare spices. There was no lack of cooks and chefs eager to come to the Havens, for to work in his kitchen was considered the highest honor.

But the atmosphere had been far less congenial, for while Oropher and Gil-galad had been on their very best behavior, they had spent the meal staring sideways at each other. It had reminded Gildor of two dogs eager to fight over new territory.

“It will be fine,” Círdan assured him. “Give them time; for once they work out their differences, they will be the best of friends.”

And so it proved.

After a very tense week, it seemed that Gil and Oropher would be nothing more than arch rivals, never finding common ground in anything.

Then most unexpectedly – and to widespread consternation – the two of them disappeared for the better part of a day. When they returned, their clothes were torn and muddy and they had a good many bruises but it was clear that they had resolved their differences and made peace with one another.

Círdan had received two separate reports that day.

The first detailed a ‘slight’ boating accident, when Gil and Oropher had gone out in a small rowboat to try and catch some fish for the next meal. The boat had overturned, and only then did Gil – and the watching guards – realize that Oropher was unable to swim. Gil managed to get his arm around the Sinda and quickly swam to shore, dragging Oropher behind him. Once safely on the beach, they had a brief brawl that ended with Oropher stalking off into the trees.

The second report was less clear on what happened, other than Gil deciding to follow Oropher into the woods. Apparently Oropher had entertained himself by throwing pine cones at Gil, who scrambled up a tree and prepared to ‘chase’ Oropher through the trees. They had disappeared then. But an hour later, Gil and Oropher were discovered sitting beside a small stream, talking quietly.


Just as Círdan had said, it was a friendship that would prove to last a lifetime.


xxxEndxxx
Chapter end notes:
Author’s Note: The title is from this quote by Thomas Jefferson: "But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life; and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine."


Please note: This is also archived at AO3 under my alternate pen name of "laSamtyr".