Galadriel frowned as she watched as Elrond, Celebrían and Glorfindel disappeared into the vast gardens of Lindon for a picnic – trailed by an annoyed, sulky twenty-one year old Haldir and Oropher’s young son Thranduil, who was five and had a gift for getting into mischief – as chaperones.
Elrond loved Celebrían. Celebrían loved Glorfindel. Glorfindel loved Elrond.
Gil-galad wanted Elrond to marry the woman he loved, and Celeborn was convinced that Celebrían had found her true love in Glorfindel.
Galadriel was convinced that this burgeoning love triad was going to end in disaster, and she gave thanks that Oropher’s son was too young to have any thoughts of marriage.
“There is nothing like true love at first sight, is there Gala?”
Galadriel turned to her guest, glaring at him as he helped himself to another cup of tea and several more sandwiches.
“This is not amusing, Oropher. And stop calling me Gala.”
“Of course, my dear Gaddy.” Oropher smirked at her, which she found even more annoying than his penchant for silly nicknames. “Your wish is my command.”
Galadriel glared at him once more, wondering if she dared to slap him for such disrespect. Something in his eyes though made her think better of it.
“Really, Gaddy you must not scowl so. All it will do is make your beautiful face sag like that of an old human woman.”
That was too much. Galadriel growled low in her throat and began to stalk toward Oropher with her fists clenched. Just then the door crashed open as Celeborn walked into the room
“I hope you did not eat all the honey cakes again, cousin.” Celeborn said as he looked anxiously at the tea cart. “They are my favorite.”
Galadriel paused for a moment to glare at her husband, who remained oblivious to everything but fixing his own plate from the tea cart. Finally, the silver-haired lord turned from the cart and seated himself beside a small decorative table which was just large enough to hold the plate of full of honey cakes.
“Is there anything wrong, darling?” he asked as he took a cake and ate in two bites. Galadriel watched in disgust as he reached for the tea, gulping it down. It was disgusting; he acted as if he was starved.
“You have the manners of a human, Celeborn. Really, the least you could do is…” She bit back the rest of her answer as he belatedly used his napkin.
“Are the cakes to your liking, cousin?” Oropher had turned his attention to Celeborn now, and Galadriel could see the mischief that danced in his eyes even as his words were carefully polite.
“They are wonderful, Oropher. Have you had any yet?”
“I prefer the pâté. I seldom eat it, for it is not made in the Greenwood.”
“Save some of those honey cakes for me,” Gil-galad said as he hurried into the room and tossed his cloak onto another small chair, where it slid to the floor. “They are my favorite too.”
Erestor, who had been waiting in the hall, followed the High King into the room with another sheaf of papers.
The picnic was not quite going as anyone had planned.
Celebrían, in age-old tradition, supervised the placing of the picnic blanket before arranging herself to her best advantage – which meant sitting as centrally as possible so all of the men could wait on her as was her due. Except for Haldir, her half-brother, who was nothing more than a spoiled brat. If only Father was not required to participate in that silly Silvan custom of taking a “bride” on Midsummer’s Day – how poor Mother endured such a yearly humiliation was impossible for her to understand. But Glorfindel was of the Vanyar, who were not bound by any such ridiculous custom, so she would not have to suffer that particular embarrassment if they were to wed.
Haldir, when not glaring at Elrond, ruthlessly questioned Glorfindel about various battle strategies. Haldir had been careful to position himself away from his half-sister because he knew just how sharp and pointy her elbows could be when she thought he was being ill-behaved. He was convinced that a few of her sharp jabs had come close to cracking one of his ribs more than once, judging by the bruises left on his skin.
Thranduil had (ostensibly) settled himself beside Celebrían in order to be closer to the food. But the golden-haired prince was thinking of something other than food for once. He was thinking how pretty the lady was, how nice she smelled and most importantly, how willing she was to indulge his whims and pay attention to him. She was almost as pretty as his own nana, he decided as he nibbled at another sweet biscuit.
Elrond was trying to be at his most charming for Celebrían, hoping to draw her attention to him instead of playing with the child in her lap. Just one smile from her, just one… But no, she was busily chatting with the young Prince. It didn’t really matter though because Elrond was more than happy to indulge in fantasies where the child in her lap belonged to them… a son or two, and perhaps a daughter. Elrond suddenly decided that he wanted a daughter more than anything and redoubled his efforts to charm the elusive Celebrían, while Celebrían modestly ignored him. But Elrond was nothing if not determined, and he would win his prize. Eventually.
Celebrían thought Elrond was quite charming and he certainly was very handsome but she was uncertain if she could ever trust anyone who had been raised by the Fëanorians. Glorfindel, who had been born and raised in Aman, was much more to her liking.
Glorfindel, as usual when it came to women, was totally oblivious to Celebrían’s attempts at flirting. She reminded him of his beloved younger sister who still resided in Aman. He didn’t know she was convinced that each friendly smile he gave her was further proof of his love. In the meantime, Glorfindel tried to answer Haldir’s questions as politely as he could while trying not to ogle Elrond’s long legs that appeared to have been poured into the tight leather breeches. Glorfindel had been infatuated with Elrond when he met him for the first time, and their friendship had deepened over the years – except for Glorfindel, the friendship had deepened into love as well.
Celebrían was trying to subtly show Glorfindel what a fine wife and mother she would make by paying attention to young Oropherion – if only her stupid half-brother would shut up and quit monopolizing the conversation with the golden Vanya.
The evening meal was held late, for Thranduil insisted on joining his father at the table with the rest of the court. Oropher, who was never one to deny his son any reasonable request (or even those that were unreasonable), always looked for ways to spend more time with his son. It had taken but a moment for him to mention the child’s request to the High King, who readily agreed. Gil-galad loved children and he personally changed the dining list to allow young Oropherion to attend.
Oropher informed Thranduil’s valet (for Thranduil had informed his father that he was too old to have a nurse) that the boy would be attending the evening meal, and to see that he was ready on time. This proved easier said than done, for Thranduil was intent on raiding his father’s cupboard where some of the royal jewelry was kept and the valet, Galion, was hard pressed to keep the child on schedule.
“What are you looking for Thranduil?” Oropher asked as Thranduil burst into the room once again and began digging in the jewel box.
“I am looking for my circlet, ada.” Thranduil replied as he held up several jeweled chains at arm’s length. He chose one at random and dropped the rest into the box once more before turning his attention to some jeweled pins. He did not see how Oropher winced at the thought of having to spend hours untangling the mass of links.
“Why don’t you have Galion help you finish dressing, ion nin? When you are ready, come back here and I will help you with your circlet.”
“Yes, ada. Thank you, ada.” Thranduil raced out of his father’s room. “Come on Galion, hurry up!”
Galion gave Oropher a long-suffering glance before he turned and followed the boy to the adjoining room.
Oropher watched as Thranduil walked into his bedroom, all dressed up in his court finery.
“I see you are ready at last, ion nin.”
“Come along then.” Oropher slowed his steps so his little son could easily keep pace, and all who passed them in the hall smiled at the pretty picture they made, for to see young Thranduil was to see Oropher in miniature.
“How does it look, nana?” Celebrían turned anxiously to look at her reflection, hoping this new dress might catch Glorfindel’s eye.
“You look fine, darling.”
Galadriel was busy with her own preparations and hardly spared a glance for her daughter.
“You are beautiful, daughter.” Celeborn said as he came in the room. “The dress brings out all of your best features.”
“Oh ada, thank you.” Celebrían smiled happily at her father’s words and rushed to give him a dainty hug. “You always say the nicest things. I love you, ada.”
“Of course he does.” Galadriel scowled at her husband and daughter. “Really Celebrían, you must show more dignity and refinement. You are not a child and you should not behave as one.”
“Yes nana.” Celebrían felt tears well in her eyes. Why did mother always find fault? Father hardly ever found fault, though if he did, he never made her feel silly and empty-headed.
“Go along now, daughter. You may tell Meren that she is to dress your hair tonight.”
“Thank you, nana.” This was a rare concession for her mother to make, for Meren had been the lady’s personal maid since Galadriel had arrived in Lothlorien. Celebrían hurried out of the room to enjoy this rare privilege.
“Do you think she will like this?” Elrond studied his new robe as he turned to Glorfindel, a faint look of worry in his eyes.
“I am sure she will,” Glorfindel replied. If only he dared tell Elrond of his feelings – but Elrond had made it very clear that while he did not disapprove of men lying with other men, he did not desire such a love for himself. “She is lucky to have your love, Elrond.”
“You do understand, don’t you Glorfindel? I must have an heir. Ereinion insists on that. ”
Neither man could fully understand why the High King did not take a wife himself, for he was surely the most desirable of all men. Glorfindel often thought if he had not fallen in love with Elrond at their first meeting, then he certainly would have fallen in love with Ereinion.
“I understand.” Glorfindel said in a soft voice.
“You should marry. You would be an excellent father.” Elrond told him, and then gave an odd little laugh. “Though it is a pity you cannot bear children, beautiful one.”
At the banquet, no one was really surprised to discover that Thranduil had once again managed to sit beside Celebrían. The young prince was very proud at his accomplishment while the adults looked on the scene with fond indulgence.
Gil-galad was impressed as he watched Celebrían politely deal with Thranduil. She had an easy, kind way about her that was most unlike her mother or her father but he sensed she had a deep core of inner strength. And she would need to draw on that strength if she was to make a decision regarding marriage.
The High King noticed that Thranduil appeared somewhat sleepy so he rose, nodded to the rest of the table and made his exit. He knew the other adults would be in his study soon enough so they could discuss the implications of that decision.
It soon became apparent to all that there could be no easy decision. Elrond was deeply in love with Celebrían and it was the wisest political match. And while Celebrían liked Elrond well enough, she loved Glorfindel, although it could only be a courtly love that was destined never to be consummated. But it was Glorfindel truly loved Elrond and it was clear that Elrond had no wish to hurt his best friend by rejecting him. But if Elrond chose him, there would be no children, and Gil-galad had already seen that the line of Eärendil would continue.
“Well this is a fine mess you have brought me.” Gil-galad scowled at each of them in turn. “There is no other way; the three of you must form a bond.”
“That is un-heard of among our people.” Galadriel objected. “We do not believe in such things.”
“Elrond is the key to everything.” Gil-galad stared directly at Galadriel. “You know this, cousin.”
“I know that my daughter and Elrond will be fine rulers,” she agreed. “But Glorfindel is so… military. And he is not a lover of women.”
“We know that Glorfindel was sent back for a purpose that has yet to be fulfilled. Further, hearts are too precious to break. Our hearts can accept more than one love.”
“It is still very strange and… mannish.” Galadriel was not going to give in easily. “I do not think I can agree.”
“It is not uncommon, and it will be done.” Gil-galad drew himself to his full height and his voice rang out. “I am the High King; you are all my subjects. I command it.”
Thus it was that a rare three-bond was forged between Elrond, Celebrían and Glorfindel, though only the bond of Elrond and Celebrían was remembered as the official binding, while Glorfindel was always their truest friend.
Notes: meren: joyous
Beta: thank you to kalypso, for excellent beta-ing and suggestions. Any remaining mistakes are mine.
Warnings: None, really.
Warnings: None, really.
Written for: Amber (LotR_SeSa 2011)
Author's Notes: (prompt) Rather than make Elrond choose, they all bond despite Galadriel’s disapproval.
Author's Notes: (prompt) Rather than make Elrond choose, they all bond despite Galadriel’s disapproval.
Chapter end notes:
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