4. Early morning
Each elf appeared to have found an entirely different way of resting amid the cushions and blankets. Celeborn was stretched out flat on his back on the floor, without even a pillow supporting his head. Glorfindel sat cross- legged, leaning slightly backwards against a stack of cushions he had piled against the wall. One of the twins - she certainly couldn't tell them apart in sleep - was curled up on a pile of rugs. The other seemed to have built an untidy nest out of everything else, and was almost entirely buried in it.
She stood in front of Glorfindel, cocking her head in puzzlement that anyone could sleep open-eyed and sitting up. Suddenly one eye dropped in a wink. Kali jumped and realised just too late that she had been watched ever since she stepped into the room. A flying cushion hit her, as a twin (she was almost certain it was Elladan) erupted from the tangled nest roaring loudly.
The pillow fight that ensued between the trio was noisy and energetic. Celeborn and the twin who was probably Elrohir rolled out of the way and lounged in a corner of the room watching the game.
"Goodness gracious what's all this?" Estella Brandybuck stood in the doorway, with her hands on her hips and shaking her head as though she had never seen such childish behaviour from adults of any race - though of course she had, for her husband and Peregrin Took rarely missed a chance to behave like tweenagers the moment they weren't under the watchful eyes of the busybodies of the Shire.
For a moment Glorfindel and Elladan (for it was he) looked positively shamefaced and Kali pouted at her mother for spoiling the fun. Then Estella stooped, grabbed a cushion and flung it at Glorfindel's head. The game began again in earnest and after a few moments of being pelted with pillows, Celeborn and Elrohir were persuaded to join in.
By the time Merry and Theo arrived, having been out early to check on the horses and ponies, four innocent looking elves and two breathless hobbits were examining the mess caused by an exploded cushion. The twins were plucking feathers from each other's hair.
Merry raised an eyebrow at his wife, but said nothing.
An hour later everyone was dressed for travelling, wagons were loaded and Kali was yawning and complaining at being up so early. Merry suspected that the real problem was that she hadn't slept a wink for excitement.
It was another beautiful day and the hobbits donned straw hats as protection from the blazing sunshine. The Brandybucks were not the only hobbits setting out from Buckland - though many had departed the previous day, planning winding routes to pick up relatives on the way to the Fair.
Ponies, carts and wagons - some laden with barrels of ale or fruit, others with laughing children, were all heading west from Buckland. Of Brandy Hall's workers, only Rob the stablehand remained, to ensure all the mounts were ready for the morning ride. He would ride with the family as far as Hobbiton, where he would join Farmer Rowton's family for the next leg of the journey.
Merry took his place in the driver's seat of the Brandybuck wagon and the other hobbits scrambled aboard. The elves brought their horses alongside - and then they were off.
It was only a few seconds later that Theo proposed a travelling song.
"I've got one," said Elladan.
"No!" The other three elves said vehemently in unison.
But it was too late. Elladan had already taken a deep breath and began signing:
"O! Where are we riding
With hobbit folk singing."
Glorfindel clapped his hands over his ears, groaning melodramatically. Elrohir sighed and Celeborn shook his head wearily. The hobbits giggled. Rob nearly rolled out of the cart in shock that these tall, impressive looking folk could be so ridiculous.
"Our horses are striding
To the party us bringing."
Even Theo grimaced at the contorted grammar of that line.
The elves from the valley
Ha ha!" Elladan finished.
"But that's the song Bilbo wrote out in his book," said Merry. "Well, very like it. I always thought he'd made it up because it sounded nothing at all like the music we heard in Rivendell."
"See brother, you have ruined the elves reputation for song-crafting even in the Shire," laughed Elrohir.
"It is a fine song and it kept Estel entertained for hours," said Elladan, pouting his perfect elven lips. "Anyway, you try finding a rhyme for Baggins."
"I'm sure I could do better than 'beards a-wagging'."
The one-hundredth repetition of an ancient argument was cut off by Kali calling for "another verse".
Elladan would undoubtedly been happy to oblige but was cut off by Elrohir who made a sudden flying leap from horse to horse in order to clamp his brother's mouth shut.
"Mfl," protested Elladan. --
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.