1. A Bedtime Monster
Huddling in the middle of the expanse of his bed he peered apprehensively into the gloom of the room. His breathing quickened as he grasped his pillow as some form of weapon. What had his Ammë and Ada been thinking when they had made him sleep here? He could fall off into the endless darkness beyond the edge of the mattress. The nameless fear that lurked in the shadows under the bed could creep out and eat him whilst he slept.
Cuddling up close to the soft pale blue blanket that was all that remained from the familiar safety of his cot, Elladan waited motionless, listening for any sign of razor sharp claws being unfurled or a rough tongue being run over hairy lips.
Unaware of his brother's fear Elrohir turned over in his sleep, snuffling slightly.
Elladan jumped violently, his heart pounding so hard that he felt that his chest must be about to burst open. It had been growling. It was there.
A twig brushed against the window in the wind.
Elladan was on his feet in an instant, wobbling slightly on the soft surface as he clutched his blanket for security. It was moving. It was coming for him.
A cloud passing over the moon, plunging the room into darkness was the final straw. Dropping the pillow, Elladan took a flying leap off the bed to avoid the thing snapping at his ankles, and ran as fast as he could from the room.
The short corridor to the security of his parents' room suddenly seemed endless and he was sure that he could hear large paws padding after him. Barely able to breathe in his terror Elladan pushed open the door and stumbled in, beginning to whimper slightly.
But the room was empty. There was nobody there to protect him from that which stalked him. Only an empty bed. A bed that was large enough to hide a whole pack of monsters in its shadow. Elladan backed off slowly, dragging his blanket on the floor with each uncertain step.
An ominous creak behind him caused him to spin around, dropping the blanket in his fear. He was trapped and nobody was coming to save him. Unable to reach his comforter without going closer to the shadows, Elladan forgot all chance of a rescue and began bawling with all the strength in his lungs.
Celebrían was with him in an instant. She had heard tiny feet pattering down the corridor with haste that spoke of fear, and had intended to investigate. Instead she had managed to scare her small son witless.
"It is over darling. I am here." Elladan was soon in her arms and reunited with his precious blanket. Soon the gentle rocking took effect, the howls subsided into whimpers and she could feel his heartbeat slowing. Seeing that it would be quite some while until he would be calm enough to return to the bedroom without waking his brother, she carried him into the sitting room where they had gathered that evening.
Elrond glanced up from where he was kneeling by the bench, tending to his friend, when Celebrían came in with her armful of tearful elfling. He gave the pair a small smile before returning to the matter in hand. Glorfindel had returned from the wild and although the news he brought was welcome, Elrond had noticed the telltale stiffness of the shoulders and sour look on coughing that meant that the blond elf was hurt. He had however managed to persuade his friend to submit to being examined and on seeing his wounds, to being treated.
"Glorfy!" The small face that was still wet with tears lit up as the child waved enthusiastically at the blond elf who was sitting stiffly, gripping the carved wooden edge rather tightly. Elrond smiled both at his son's happiness and for his friend who had relaxed slightly, as if the presence of the child made it easier to bear the pain.
"Good evening Master Elladan!" Glorfindel grinned as he spoke, but wasn't able to keep the tightness out of his voice.
Elladan watched his father closely as Celebrían sat down, settling him into her lap. Both he and his brother had gained small cuts and bruises on many occasions, but this was the first time that he had seen his father heal anyone that he could not sit on his knee as he worked.
"Did you fall down Glorfy?" Elladan asked with more interest than sympathy. His eyes widened as he admired the bruises and cuts on the blond elf's bare chest.
Glorfindel smiled slightly.
"Not quite, I was hunting."
"Oh." Elladan paused to think. Celebrían cut in hastily before he could open his mouth again. Elrond was giving Glorfindel a disapproving look - obviously he still felt that the boys were too young to know of what existed outside the confines of the valley.
"Would you like a story?" Celebrían ran a hand over the soft hair, also conveniently shielding her husband and patient from view.
"Yes." Elladan wriggled to try and peer around his mother's hand. Glorfindel rolled his eyes at Celebrían, laughing awkwardly at the little boy's interest. Celebrían smiled back at him, hoping that Elladan's antics could at least distract him from the pain. However as she reached for the colourful picture book that the twins favoured, she heard a distinct whimper from the twin's bedroom.
Elrohir had woken and was doubtlessly somewhat distressed to find that the monster had eaten his brother.
Hurriedly handing one elfling to her husband, Celebrían excused herself and rushed to pacify the other.
"Ada." Elladan reached for a roll of bandages and wrapped it in loose tangles around his body.
"Yes my son?" Elrond looked down from where he was removing splinters from a wound. Seeing Elladan's attempt at healing he sighed and unravelled the boy before forcibly sitting him down on the floor. "You must not play with medicines Elladan."
"I made me better Ada." Elladan commented using both hands to see how far above his head he could lift his foot.
"I did not know that you were unwell." Elrond spoke with absentminded tolerance as he spread an ointment around the cut. Glorfindel drew in a sharp intake of breath, closing his eyes. Guiltily Elrond rubbed his friend’s arm in comforting circles. He was beginning to doubt whether he should have attempted this without an anaesthetic.
"I am not! I made me all better." Elladan clapped his hands in glee. "It worked Ada!"
"Excellent." Elrond said a little dryly. However since his friend was now smiling and struggling not to strain his injuries by laughing, he could not be too cross.
Glorfindel winced as Elrond ran his hands over his battered ribcage. Elladan looked at him with surprised concern before scrambling up onto his lap to give him a violent hug and sloppy kiss.
Glorfindel immediately went white enough to make his hair look quite dark. With an apologetic look at his friend Elrond plucked his son up by the back of his tunic and deposited him on the bench.
"No Elladan! You will hurt Glorfy - Glorfindel!" Elrond quickly corrected himself, but unusually Glorfindel did not bother to laugh at this. "Are you well Glorfindel?"
Glorfindel grunted slightly and nodded, the colour slowly returning to his cheeks.
"I am sorry Glorfy!" Elladan cried shrilly and grabbed at Glorfindel's arm, snuggling up close to its warmth. The blond elf relaxed again, cuddling the child as best he could with one hand. There was a few moments silence while Elrond finished bandaging his patient and fetched a glass of foul tasting medicine.
"Glorfy," Elladan asked as he wriggled onto his back to look up into the elf-lord's face, "Were they big rabbits?"
"Rabbits?" Glorfindel looked up at the boy's father for a translation. Elrond shrugged.
"Big rabbits. That made you hurt?"
Glorfindel grimaced slightly and looked at the sleepy child for a few seconds longer before turning to Elrond. Elrond returned the look and sighed before sitting down and taking Elladan onto his own lap.
"Glorfindel was not hunting rabbits, Elladan." Elrond accepted the empty glass, smiling to himself at the disgusted twist to Glorfindel's mouth.
"Deer?" Elladan gripped hold of his father's large hand with both of his, and leant backwards over the drop.
"Not deer. There are nasty things that hurt people." Elrond placed his free hand behind Elladan's back to catch him if he should fall.
"Monsters?" Elladan's eyes grew wide and he crawled back to rest against his father.
Elrond chewed his lower lip slightly as he paused, trying to overcome his habit of going into excessive detail. He did not want to scare the child, especially since the chances of an undisturbed night would diminish considerably if he did so.
"Monsters." Elrond confirmed, stroking dark hair back behind an ear. "But there are none near Rivendell."
Elladan sat back with a wary expression.
"But Ada, you said that there were no monsters."
"Not under your bed, no." Elrond ignored Glorfindel's sudden laugh that turned into a choke then a groan.
"And if there are monsters then Glorfy will come and stick them with his sword?" Elladan tugged on the blond elf's fingers.
"Aye. That I will." Glorfindel coughed uncomfortably drawing a querying look from Elrond.
"What if Glorfy is sleeping?" Elladan rested his head against his father's arm, trying to keep his eyelids from drooping.
"Then I will come and stick them with my sword." Elrond adopted his son's phrasing, putting yet more strain on his friend's injuries.
"And if you are sleeping?"
Elrond had severe doubts as to whether he would be sleeping if either boy should even suspect that the monster was under their bed, but answered anyway.
"Then the whole of the Imladris Guard would come running to your rescue. And they would stick, shoot and spear them."
"Good." Elladan giggled sleepily at the thought of hundreds of soldiers crowding into his bedroom.
"Well," Elrond stood up and moved his son up against his shoulder, "I think it is time that some of us returned to our beds."
Elladan was too sleepy to protest, his eyelids already flickering to the half-open position of sleep.
"I'll be going." Glorfindel began getting up, supporting himself heavily on the edge of the bench.
"You are staying put." Elrond spoke in his most authoritative manner, pressing down on one of his friend's shoulders to give him no choice but to sit.
"Is he sleeping?" Elrond asked softly, peering at the tiny figure wrapped up in an overlarge blanket in his wife's arms.
Celebrían bent down to look at the dark lashes in the dim candlelight.
"He sleeps." She smiled at Elrond and nodded towards the scrap in his arms. "Elladan?"
"Close." Elrond carefully set him down and tucked the blankets in around the child. A small hand reached clumsily out of the covers, searching for something.
"Here." Glorfindel limped in and placed the baby blanket into the worried hand. Elladan pulled the blanket up to rest against his cheek and then, unable to stay awake any longer, drifted off into the dream world.
Celebrían mouthed her thanks to the blond elf as she settled Elrohir down. Sighing Elrond got up to slip an arm around Glorfindel's back and under his arm for support, giving him a look halfway between gratitude and frustration.
"Did I not tell you to stay put?"
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.