3. Chapter III: A Lucky Break
Elrond headed into the baths with his ‘Morgoth-spawn‘. There, with the door closed and towels ready, he unceremoniously dropped both twins into the tub, not bothering to check the temperature of the water first. Both promptly started screaming that it was too cold.
"ADA! It is freezing!"
"ADA! Let us out!"
"ADAAA!!" They cried together, splashing him to show him just how cold the water was.
"Fine." Elrond relented, dripping, and allowed both elflings to crawl out of the deep tub and wrap themselves in towels, shivering pathetically. "I shall leave for a moment to fetch some hot water. Do Not Leave this room."
"We will not leave..."
The door closed.
"Until you do!" They cried together, bursting from the room, giggling.
* * *
Elladan, Elrohir and a poor little frog, scampered along the corridor, wet feet pattering along the floor. Remarkably, they managed not to trip. They turned a corner, and were suddenly met face-to-face with Glorfindel.
"That horse! You little... I shall throttle you!"
Elladan and Elrohir screamed and they broke into a run. This was followed by a chase scene, of course; doors were opened and slammed shut, Glorfindel slipped a few times. There were yells, curses, crashes that sounded as if they were made by priceless Numenorean vases, and one elf-maiden's indignant shriek at Glorfindel just before he was cast out of her chamber.
Eventually, when Glorfindel thought that he could handle no more of the chaos, he caught sight of the naked elflings making for the Hall of Fire entrance, where he knew Lady Galadriel, Lord Celeborn and their escort from Lothlorien probably were staying, chatting with Celebrian over tea.
"They would not dare to..."
They would. Unworriedly Elrond's sons burst into the Hall of Fire and rushed to where their mother was seated. There they climbed onto the table and sat in the middle of it, putting on an act as if they were frightened or upset. "Nana!"
"Ada tried to drown us!"
"And Glorfie said he would throttle us!"
Celeborn stared at the naked elfling that was his grandson, sitting in the middle of the table in front of him, dripping water, though there was still mud and hay in his hair. He raised one eyebrow.
Elrohir latched onto Galadriel, rubbing his muddy head against his grandmother's white dress. She looked down and frowned a little.
"Save us!" They implored together.
Just then Glorfindel limped in, looking as frazzled as ever and smelling of horse manure.
"Those little..." He reached the table and gave everyone an awkward grin, "Those little... rascals. They ran away during their bath..."
"I am glad to see you too, Lord Glorfindel. But I hope that you do not seriously intend to do that to my grandsons." Galadriel said coldly.
He stared at her, eyes widened.
"You really should guard your thoughts better."
Glorfindel thought he was really in for it now, but just then Elrond came in, bearing two large buckets of hot water, which he then abandoned at the door. He was in a state, basically, the opposite of his sons. His head was wet whereas his tunic was muddied after carrying the two.
Elrond reluctantly approached the table. Celeborn raised the other eyebrow at his son-in-law, both eyebrows now coming dangerously near his hair-line.
"Do not drown us ada!"
"We beg of you!"
Both twins scampered over the table, effectively knocking over everything in their paths, until they were able to clamour onto Celebrian's lap and wrap their arms around her.
"This is most unusual Elrond." Galadriel said.
"I was merely trying to bathe them—"
"He was trying to drown us, nana, really - he was!"
"I was not."
"And Glorfindel was going to throttle us!"
"I was not."
"We were not!" Elrond and Glorfindel chorused together.
"Were to going to."
"Were not!" Elrond suddenly felt very young, but he couldn't stop there and let them get the last word. Celebrian grinned at her husband, eyes twinkling with barely contained mirth.
"Were not!" Elladan and Elrohir grinned.
"Were to!" Glorfindel and Elrond cried, not realizing their fumble until it was too late.
"You see nana, they were!"
Meanwhile the frog had hopped onto Celebrian as well, and was looking up at her hopefully. In an attempt to distract her sons, she picked up the frog and asked, "Where could this frog have come from?"
"We found him today."
"His name's Bella."
"Cause that's what he says."
"I think that his skin looks rather dried out..." Celebrian winked at the adults present.
"Well, it does..."
"Maybe if you give him a bath I’ll let you keep him until tomorrow morning, but then you must let him go."
"It is either that, or else Lord Glorfie brings him back out to the bog right now."
"If it means we can have Bella for a little while longer."
"Good. Shall we go?" Celebrian stood up, taking her sons each by the hand in a gesture that made Elrond extremely jealous for the ease with which it was performed. She led her sons from the Hall, to a bath that they were willing enough to take, and Bella overjoyed.
Now Celeborn and Galadriel turned their eyes to the frazzled, muddy, wet, stinky, bruised, prickled, annoyed elf lords.
"My daughter was never like that... I do sometimes wonder where they get it from." Celeborn said.
Galadriel smiled, but said nothing, inclining Elrond to believe that she agreed. If Celeborn had been a little impervious to their daughter's true nature, it was just as well.
"Oh yes, and Lord Glorfie," Celeborn said, snickering a little at the title. "I spotted a beautiful mare in the stable... I was wondering if you could saddle her for me later on this afternoon."
"Which mare." Glorfindel asked, with a sense of dread.
"Oh you know, that lovely, tall, dark beast. Fi... Fiona... Fioner, I think her name was."
* * *
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