13. The Elladan Show: 2
We arrived back in Rivendell very late last night. Even though I've now done it, I'm still not really sure how it's possible to take a month to drive up from Minas Tirith. Really, it should take four days, maybe five. But when travelling with old people who want to stop everywhere and stay a while to reminisce, that time period is greatly expanded.
We stopped in Edoras for King Théoden's funeral, which is understandable, then at the Doors of Moria, which is not. Most of the time spent on the road wasn't actually spent on the road at all. It was spent rather at off-road "rest stops" where we all got out of the cars and met up to spend far too long reminiscing about boring things like sunsets and mountain views. Grandma and dad were the worst. Every once in a while dad would say "Well, I guess this is the last we'll ever see of this place," and then grandma would flop against grandpa's shoulder and break out into sobs. Not that things went any faster after she and grandpa left the convoy.
In any case, by the time we finally got back here, Glorfindel was in a bit of a panic. His plane to Valinor leaves in ten days and he's not packed yet. Elrohir and I are supposed to go help him later this afternoon, but to tell the truth, I'm not really inclined to leave the house. Or really inclined to leave my bedroom at all. I've been travelling around from place to place since March, and at the moment I'm incredibly interested in taking at least one day of rest in my own room in my own home. Sort of. I guess it's my home by default now, since my last home was condemned.
The Vala of rest (whoever that might be... Lórien maybe?) seems to be set against me. I ended up going to help Glorfindel yesterday afternoon, more as an excuse to get away from dad, who was in the mood for yet more reminiscing, than because I was really keen on helping Glorfindel pack 7000 years worth of accumulated crap into overseas shipping crates. Dad and Erestor had taken out all the old photo albums and were looking through pictures from the First and Second Ages. They were wearing jeans that were too short and sitting around the dining room table. Dad was wearing a hat that he got free with a can of Para Paint three years ago. It was incredibly difficult to try to equate them with the younger thems in the photos, especially when I realised that the younger thems look an awful lot like I look now, and I don't want to have to consider that I might look like the older thems in about 3000 years. I'd rather spend time with Glorfindel. He still looks exactly the same as he did before Erestor and dad were even born. That gives me hope.
Glorfindel does have 7000 years worth of accumulated crap. Thankfully not too much, not as much as dad by a long shot, but still enough to make packing a chore. It was my job to sift through it all and help him decide what was worth keeping. And owns some very odd things. Compared to everybody else I know, his collection of "stuff" is not at all normal. Most of it is from the early Second Age, if not the First. All of his furniture looks like it belongs on Antiques Road Show. He has a couple of lamps that look like they may have been manufactured within the last five hundred years, but that's it. And then there are the little things. A few old books, records, pens, cutlery, a paint set, little wall hangings, wood carvings, a box of jewellery, dishes, candle sticks, mirrors, hair brushes, slippers and so forth, all much older than I. In fact, I'd venture a guess that the only significant modern items he owns are his car and his mobile. Otherwise, his lifestyle doesn't appear to have changed at all in the past six thousand years. He still has clothes from the First Age, and even some that he brought from Valinor, and he doesn't have a television.
In the end, we decided to keep everything. If he'd had a condo full of crappy shopping-channel gadgets, then culling would be easy. But it's sort of hard to just toss out things that have been around for longer than I can even imagine. Glorfindel agreed, and in the end wanted to keep everything. I should hope so. If he's bothered to take the trouble to carry it all around from place to place over the past several millennia, I would hope it's all worthwhile. We packed as much as we could carefully into crates. Then Glorfindel asked me if I was hungry. I stalled my answer at first, thinking he was going to threaten to cook, but then he said, "We can stop someplace for supper before I pick Ara up from the mall."
We went to some crazy vegetarian restaurant where everything had soy or whole wheat in it. My salad had wheat in it. My drink was made out of soy. I don't know what the rest was, but it was probably made of wheat and soy too, with a few green things thrown in for good measure. It tasted like something that primitive Elves might have made way back in the day before they invented hunting and cooking. I'm at a loss as to why that sort of stuff is considered trendy and cool.
The first thing I did when I got back home was microwave a hot dog. They're nice and processed and seasoned and only take thirty seconds to prepare straight out of the package; truly the epitome of modern cuisine.
University starts in eleven days. I am going back to the Grey Havens in ten days. I've switched around my class schedule into something more manageable, but still I don't feel ready to go back. Somehow the prospect of packing all my belongings into two suitcases and a carry-on isn't all that appealing. I just know that whatever I deem unnecessary and leave behind will be required for whatever reason come mid-October. In first year I was convinced I wouldn't need my formal Noldo costume, but that turned out to be a very wrong assumption. I will have to plan every day carefully this time around to make sure I don't forget to bring anything important.
On the other hand, dad ingeniously booked me into the Mindon Residence, and those rooms are about the size of a bathroom, so I might also have to do some very careful space planning to make sure all of my stuff fits.
Started packing, got discouraged, stopped, watched telly for a while, started packing all over again. So far, I have decided that I need to bring my pillow, some bedding, my computer, television, DVD-video, movies, CDs, books, binder, pencil case, toiletries, alarm clock, calendar, and magnet board. If that all fits into one suitcase, then with any luck I'll be able to fit all my clothes into the other suitcase and carry-on.
I am able to fit the pillow, bedding, DVD-video, binder, pencil case, alarm clock, calendar, and magnet board into the first suitcase, with some candles stuffed in to fill up the corners and a few family photos on top. I will have to box up my CDs and movies and have dad send those to me on the bus, I think. For some reason, it seems like I have more and more stuff each year.
I had to unpack everything last night to take out my pillow so I could sleep. I think I'll have to leave that suitcase to pack last, on the morning of the 1st before my plane leaves.
I started to pack the other suitcase, and it was already full before I got to my closet. So I took everything out again, and only packed my favourite items. Two pair of jeans, three pair of black trousers, one pair of good dress trousers, twelve tee-shirts, six long-sleeve shirts, four button-up shirts, one good dress shirt, one tie, gym kit, twenty pair of underwear, twenty pair of socks, winter coat, light jacket, fleece hoodie, sport coat, the fancy Noldo costume, two pair of regular shoes, one pair of good dress shoes, one pair of boots, winter gloves, scarf and hat, vampire cape to wear to Balathin cabaret, regular pyjamas, winter pyjamas, and one bathrobe. And one bath towel, one hair towel, and one facecloth, though those don't really count as clothes.
It still didn't fit. I took out one tee-shirt, one long-sleeve shirt, one pair of jeans, the light jacket, and one pair of shoes to wear on the plane. It still didn't fit. I took out the Noldo costume and the bathrobe and squished it all down. It sort of fit. I took out one of the towels and squished again, and was able to close the suitcase. That task is done. Of course now I'll be stuck wearing my least favourite clothes for the next few days, but I guess it's worth it to be able to have the packing worry off my mind.
Elrohir is also packing. I'm not sure where he thinks I'm going or if he thinks he's coming with me, but he's packing. His method is to stand a suitcase up on its end vertically, stuff a bunch of clothes down into it, squish everything down, dump some more stuff on top, squish it down, stuff more, squish more, and so forth until the suitcase is full. Then once it's all full he shakes the suitcase so stuff settles further to the bottom, then opens it up just enough to stuff in a few more small items. He will repeat the shaking and stuffing process several times over the next few days. I've seen him do it before. By the end, his suitcase is always bulging so much out the sides he has to tie it up to keep the seams from bursting.
I watched Elrohir continue packing today until my curiosity got the better of me and I asked him where he was going. He said, "Grey Havens, with you." I had to pause for a minute before explaining that I was going back to university, and living in a residence room big enough to fit a bed, a desk, and a closet with enough space left over for maybe two people to stand side by side. He said, "I know, I'm going to university too."
I must've looked shocked or incredulous or something, because he turned around and grabbed a crumpled piece of paper from his backpack. It was his class schedule at GHU. He seems to be enrolled in Music Composition 310, Theatre Performance 403, Film Narrative Studies 251, and Conversational Quenya 300. The same conversational Quenya class I am enrolled in, I noted.
I asked him what degree this was for, but he sort of shrugged and said, "I dunno." Then he said, rather defensively, "Dad said I could go!" I asked where he was staying. "Mindon Residence," he said. Of course. Not only am I going to be spending the next eight months living in a cell the size of a bathroom, I'll be living next door to Elrohir. I don't know why I ever agreed to go back to university at all.
Oh that's right, I didn't. I don't have a choice in the matter.
After supper I asked dad if he knew what Elrohir was up to with this university-going, and he said, "Of course, I encouraged him to go." I couldn't help but ask why. We both know that sending Elrohir to university is a bit of a waste of time and money. He skips most of his classes, and the ones he doesn't skip, he sleeps through. But dad only looked stern and said that he was proud of Elrohir for acting responsibly and having the desire to learn. I could see by his eyes that he wasn't in a mood to discuss this further. He's always held a bit of an unreasonable hope that Elrohir might not be stupid after all, and it was obvious that there was no point in trying to take that hope away from him.
But honestly! Elrohir, a desire to learn? That's the last thing he'd want to do at university! Much more likely, he has a desire to get drunk indiscriminately on weekdays and spend weekends throwing impromptu toga parties in the residence common room. And sure enough, when I later asked him, he proudly told me he found a perfect pure white bed sheet to make into a toga.
I went and checked my own bedding and was pleased to see I'd had the sense to pack the hideous jewel-tone abstract pattern sheets. There's no better excuse for getting out of a toga party than inappropriate attire, really.
The first thing I heard this morning, as I was walking into the kitchen to discover breakfast, was an exasperated voice saying, "Can the crap, Peredhel, where's my idiot son?!" I peered cautiously around the corner. Dad was in the kitchen, and Erestor, along with what looked like two Glorfindels. Erestor was hiding behind a spider plant, and dad was standing at the table with a sort of deer-in-the-headlights look. One of the Glorfindels was sitting with a mug of coffee, and the other was standing in a decidedly aggressive pose opposite dad. From the back, they both looked the same- long blond hair and sharp black rayon suits, though one was noticeably shorter.
I tried to sneak away but dad, obviously looking for any escape from the situation, saw me and yelled out in a relieved voice, "Elladan! Come in here a minute!" I went. He said, "You remember Legolas' father, Thranduil, from Mirkwood? Thranduil, this is my son Elladan." I looked at Thranduil. From the front, he looked a bit like Legolas, if Legolas had been born with Glorfindel's personality and fashion sense. Though maybe a bit grumpier. I said, "Hi." He looked at me and said, "Hmm." I suddenly wished I'd thought to put on real clothes instead of dirty old jeans and a tee-shirt I got free from being in the Avid Readers club at the public library.
Dad said, "Thranduil was just wondering if we knew anything on the whereabouts of Legolas, Elladan. Did he happen to tell you where he was going?" I said no, our parting words had been on the topic of laundry. I'd hugged him goodbye and commented that his jumper smelled like Bounce sheets, and he'd told me about his trip to the laundromat. However, it was my impression that he was going to look around the Glittering Caves and Fangorn Forest with Gimli, and I mentioned that. Then Thranduil turned back to dad and said, "Damnit, Peredhel, the boy has the wits of a toothbrush! He needs to be supervised! How could you let him go off like that? And who is this Gimli character anyway?" Dad looked sheepish and started, "Erm, I believe he's a Dwarf from the-" but he didn't finish, because Thranduil cut him off with a string of unmentionable words.
Thranduil eventually calmed down and sat beside Glorfindel with a defeated sigh that sounded a bit like, "I need a drink." Dad, who has no sense of when to just flee a situation instead of trying vainly to improve it, kept talking. "I'm sure Legolas will be fine," he said. "The trip to Mordor with Aragorn seems to have done him quite a bit of good. He's much more responsible now, and better at thinking things through." I could vouch for that. I noticed a definite improvement in him, compared to what he was like last summer and at Fiommereth. I distinctly heard him use the word "insinuate" in one of our Minas Tirith conversations. Thranduil seemed to think this over, and said, "Well, as long as he's home in time for..." and then paused as if considering what he'd ever need Legolas home for. He amended his statement to, "Well, as long as he's not dead!"
I don't think Thranduil ever sleeps. He was up late last night playing Bubble Bobble with Elrohir when I went to bed, and he woke me up early this morning to get me to show him how to use the coffee maker. I asked him with some degree of annoyance why Elrohir couldn't be his coffee helper, and he said, "Elladan, your brother means well, but I wouldn't trust him to flush a toilet for me even if he'd taken an extensive training course and had special certification in toilet-flushing." And he's right. I wouldn't trust Elrohir to flush a toilet either. He'd probably get distracted by an ant on the bathroom tiles and forget completely what he was supposed to be doing.
He went on to tell me, while the coffee was brewing, how he'd tried to teach Elrohir some table manners last night after Glorfindel went home to finish up on last-minute packing. Unfortunately, Elrohir thought it was a game, and only agreed to learn if Thranduil agreed to play Bubble Bobble with him. Thranduil got a bit hooked, and they ended up playing Bubble Bobble until half three. I asked him why he stayed here instead of at Glorfindel's, where there is no Bubble Bobble and no Elrohir to distract him, and where he's supposed to be anyhow since he did in theory come to see Glorfindel off to Valinor. He said that there is no spare bed or even any bed at Glorfindel's now that all the furniture's been shipped, and he didn't fancy having to share the inflatable camp mattress. I guess that's reasonable. Then I asked him if dad knew he stayed here.
He said he didn't quite know. He didn't see dad at all last night during his Bubble Bobble tournament, and it was Elrohir who showed him to a spare room. I decided it might be best to inform dad that Thranduil was hanging around the kitchen before he got up and found out for himself the hard way. Dad was in his room, asleep, with a crossword puzzle book lying open across his chest and a pencil nestled into a crease in his pyjamas. He looked very peaceful and relaxed so I just stood and watched him sleep for a while. There was a piece of fuzz on the end of his nose that fluttered when he breathed.
After a minute I sat down on the edge of the bed and gently shook him awake. He startled, looked up at me, and immediately said, "What's wrong?" I assured him that nothing was wrong, then offered him my mug of coffee. I'd only had two sips out of it, and he couldn't tell I hadn't brought it especially for him. He eyed me warily and asked what I was up to. He knows me too well. I guess it's sort of sad that I can't bring my own father coffee in the morning without being suspected of something. I'll have to work at being a better son in the future.
I waited until he didn't have a mouthful of coffee before telling him that Thranduil was still here. He sort of groaned and said, "Tell him I'm sick. Tell him we half-Elves get sick all the time, like mortals. He'll believe that. He's ignorant. He once asked me if I could grow a beard." I nodded and left him there mumbling to himself, and went back to Thranduil in the kitchen. I informed Thranduil that dad was suffering from crossword sickness and couldn't leave his bed for fear of not being able to think of a six-letter word for "obsolete". "Well," said Thranduil, "I guess I'll just have to rely on you then."
Thus I was stuck entertaining Thranduil for the next twelve hours because Elrohir was too asleep and dad was too hiding and Glorfindel hadn't shown up yet and Erestor had just plain disappeared. I showed him around the house. He pointed out the room he was staying in: the one next to the furnace room where we always put Legolas when he comes. I told him he ought to move if he's going to be staying tonight as well, which he is, and we hauled his suitcase to Arwen's old room, which has a balcony, fireplace, television, and no noise from the humming furnace. He grinned and said, "Well Elladan, now I know for certain you're the smart twin!" Which is a compliment, I suppose, but it still concerns me that he had any doubt on that matter whatsoever. We sat in Arwen's old room and watched the news for a while, and when that got boring I took him for a drive to the Dairy Queen to get Dilly Bars because he had a 2-for-1 coupon that was valid only in Eriador.
Glorfindel finally showed up around seven, apologising profusely for leaving poor Thranduil at the mercy of the Peredhil for so long. Thranduil clapped me on the back and told Glorfindel not to worry, that he's been having a great time. I should hope so. He'd won nearly $30 off me playing Crazy Eights, which I don't think is even a gambling game at all. And I didn't get a chance to win my money back, since he and Glorfindel went off to the kitchen to make some sort of good-bye mess. They came out an hour and a half later bearing pots of popular foods from their respective cultures. To be honest, I preferred the regular Mirkwood soup and potato thingies to the ridiculously spicy Vanyarin whatevertheyares. The smell of food lured Erestor out of hiding, but dad didn't show up until later when the drinking started.
Glorfindel and Thranduil decided it would be a good idea to get roaringly drunk for old times' sake while fondly recalling stupid things they've done together over the years. There were a disproportionate number of stories involving luncheon meat (often in combination with Gil-galad in some way). They ended up laughing so hard they fell off their chairs. Dad and Erestor stared in shock at the confessions. I could tell by his expression that dad had always wanted to know who covered the windscreen of Gil-galad's Camaro with baloney. They ended up talking about Gil-galad for a while, and high kings in general. The more dad and Thranduil drank, the more argumentative the talk became.
Then because I've always wanted to know, and because I knew dad was drunk enough not to get too unforgivably mad at me, I asked him why he never took the crown of the high king after Gil-galad died. He looked thoughtful for several long seconds, then said (in a loud, drunkenly slurred voice), "I guess I just didn't feel like it." Glorfindel said, "I was the high king once." Then Erestor started laughing hysterically. But dad was still looking thoughtfully serious, so I asked him if that meant the crown passed to me after he refused it. He nodded once, as if thinking to himself, before Glorfindel stood up and shouted, "No! It's mine!" Dad nodded again, more emphatically, and said, "That's right, Glorfindel's the high king now."
I sarcastically said, "Oh really, when was the coronation?" but they didn't seem to catch the sarcastic part because Glorfindel's drunkenly unfocused eyes suddenly lit up and he said, "Coronation! We should do that before I go!" Thranduil jumped up and pointed an accusing finger at Glorfindel while yelling, "Bastard! I thought you were a socialist!" Glorfindel said, "I'll bring down the system from within!" That seemed good enough an answer for Thranduil. Then Erestor turned to him and asked, "Aren't you the king of Mirkwood?" Thranduil didn't answer that. He was too busy trying to stand steadily so he could help with Glorfindel's coronation.
I'm not sure why they thought they should go through with it, but dad stumbled off to get Gil-galad's crown down from the display cabinet and Erestor gathered up more celebratory wine. Glorfindel meanwhile debated with himself over whether or not his clothes were suitable attire to become High King of the Noldor in. He decided they were not, so he stripped down to his shorts and tied the tablecloth around himself as a cape. It seemed a bit beyond my power to explain to them that none of this could in any way be considered a good idea. Least of all the fact that the High King of the Noldor in the East would be a Vanya who is moving to Valinor tomorrow. Naturally they didn't listen to me.
The four of them, having decided that the back yard by the ponds would be an ideal place for the coronation, paraded outside. First dad, carrying the crown and sceptre on a pillow, then Glorfindel, looking very proud and noble indeed in his shorts and tablecloth, then Thranduil, shouting occasional curses to the Noldorin monarchy, then Erestor, taking an occasional swig from the celebratory bottle of wine he carried. They sang as they went, and made such a racket that Elrohir, who had been playing Nintendo through the whole spectacle thus far, came out to see what was going on. I sarcastically told him that we were about to witness the glorious historical moment of the crowning of the Seventh High King of the Noldor in the East. He didn't catch the sarcasm either, since he said, "Oh COOL!" and ran inside to get his camera.
Dad had to ask Glorfindel what to do, since Glorfindel was the only one who'd ever been to an actual Noldorin coronation before. It ended up being a bungled and very abridged ceremony. Dad sloppily placed the crown on Glorfindel's head and proclaimed him High King. Then they drank more, and Elrohir took some pictures of Glorfindel making obscene gestures with his sceptre. Then Glorfindel stumbled over and put his arm around me, and said, "Now Elladan... since I'm leaving for Valinor tomorrow, I think you'll have to be in charge of running things here. So don't do anything wrong!" I humoured him and said, "Fine." He seemed happy with that, and went inside to ring Aralindë and tell her he was the high king. It was twenty after one in the morning. I'm sure she was thrilled to hear it.
While Glorfindel was inside and Elrohir was taking pictures of Erestor balancing the wine bottle on various parts of his body and Thranduil trying to steal it from him, I took dad aside and tried to talk to him sensibly. I asked him if this coronation was legally binding. He said that as far as he knew, it was. Anyone descended from Finwë could claim the crown, if it were available, though it should in theory belong to the closest male relative of the previous king. So all this time the crown was just sitting there, I could have claimed it, being Gil-galad's first cousin three times removed! Also his second cousin once removed, on mum's side. I'll bet nobody could force me to go to university if I were High King of the Noldor!
I told dad this (not the part about not going to university, though), and also pointed out to him that Glorfindel isn't exactly descended from Finwë. Dad said, "Sure he is." I said, "No, he's not." Dad said, "Yes he is. He's the son of your great-uncle Finrod."
I think my first reaction to that was something along the lines of "What?!" which only made dad repeat himself even though I'd heard him the first time. I asked Erestor if this was true, but he only looked confused and said, "Maybe," then asked me to repeat the question. I asked Thranduil, but he didn't know. I didn't bother asking Elrohir. There was only one person I could ask who might know for sure. So I ran inside to ring grandma. I sort of forgot that it would be two-thirty in Lórien until grandpa answered he phone sounding groggy and annoyed. Grandma didn't sound much better.
I asked her if it was true that Glorfindel was actually the long-lost son of her older brother, and she said yes. I asked since when. She said, "Since he was born, I'm guessing." I ignored her sarcasm and asked since when had they known. She said, "Since Arwen's wedding. It came up in that talk you interrupted." So that's what they were "conferencing" about! They weren't having sex at all! Well, maybe they still were- I wouldn't put it past them. But I asked her how they found out, since Glorfindel's parentage has always been a mystery to everyone (except his mum, I'm guessing). She groaned and said, "It's a long story that would be better off not told in the middle of the night." I thanked her for her time and hung up.
So Glorfindel is really grandma's nephew, and my first cousin once removed, and Gil-galad's second cousin, and Finwë's great-grandson, and therefore the actual legitimate heir to the throne, not just some drunken idiot trying to cash in! Why doesn't anybody ever tell me anything?! Disgusted and annoyed with the whole scenario, I decided that the only reasonable course of action would be to eat a large bowl of ice cream and then go straight to bed. Which is what I did. Though it wasn't exactly straight to bed; I stopped off in the library first to look up a picture of Finrod in one of those fancy books dad likes so much. I suppose Glorfindel does look like him. That only made me more annoyed.
Stupid Glorfindel stupid son of stupid Finrod. Thinks he's so great! Well he wouldn't if I were High King of the Noldor. Like I should be. Nothing ever works out for me!
Glorfindel left for Valinor today. After sleeping on it, I realised that I don't really hate him. He just annoys me sometimes. And I'm glad he's High King and not me. He can deal with all the psycho assassins and Elrohir's peculiar songs of loyal devotion (which might be worse). I'll just continue innocently going to university to get my political science degree so that I can oust him from government with a plebiscite to establish a Noldorin republic.
He stayed over last night. I found him this morning, passed out on the kitchen floor holding half a lemon in one hand and an empty tequila bottle in the other. He was wearing his crown, though his cape had gone missing. Thranduil was a few feet away. He was using a few wadded-up rubber gloves and SOS pads as a pillow. Neither of them looked too happy to be woken up at the ridiculous hour of eleven. But by noon they were both awake and showered and dressed, sitting around the kitchen table discussing the finer points of last night's foolery and planning more foolery for today.
In order to remember everything about his life here, Glorfindel borrowed dad's camcorder to do some sort of in-depth video tour of the house. Elrohir was his tour guide, and was able to come up with an amusing anecdote related to every single room. Even the pantry. He still remembers the time a mouse jumped off the top shelf and landed on his nose when he was seven and had gone to sneak a cookie. The mouse ran under the sink and dad had to catch it with a minnow net. I'm not sure why Glorfindel would want to capture the stunning aesthetic of the pantry to cherish for always on Mini-DV, but he did.
It took over two hours to tape the entire house and surrounding yard. It was sort of a sad time. After the whole thing was done, Elrohir burst into tears and wailed that he was worried he'd never see Glorfindel again. It took Thranduil and Erestor fifteen minutes to get him to quit clinging. He continued sniffling all through lunch while dad and Erestor talked about their own moving plan, to be implemented sometime within the next few years, and Glorfindel talked about how great Valinor is and how glad he is to be going back. Makes me wonder why he ever left in the first place.
Ever-practical dad asked, "Do you have your ticket?" Glorfindel said, "Of course I do," and patted his pocket. Then he got a funny look on his face. He looked in his pocket. The ticket was missing. Panic. Elrohir was displaying a suspiciously smug grin. Glorfindel turned to him and asked, "What did you do?" to which Elrohir ingeniously replied, "You can't leave if you don't have your ticket." Glorfindel, obviously not in the mood for pranks, picked up Elrohir rather violently by his shirt collar. "Elrohir," he said, "I have been waiting for this day for the past 7431 years, and I'm sure not going to allow my plans to return to my home country to be ruined by you!" He looked capable of murder in that moment. Elrohir wisely handed over the ticket. He was not allowed to touch Glorfindel during the goodbyes, only wave forlornly from three feet away.
And that was that. There was a goodbye hug, a promise of emails, and then we all stood on the front step and watched Glorfindel drive off to the airport. He's been part of my family since I was born, and now he's somewhere over the ocean on his way to Tol Eressëa. It's possible I won't ever see him again, which seems strange to think about.
Everyone was pretty much depressed for the rest of the day. Dad and Erestor sat at the kitchen table drinking tea. Dad got out a jigsaw puzzle, but they were too sad to work on it. Thranduil sat with them when he wasn't pacing aimlessly. After a while he got a beer from the pantry, but he was too sad to drink it. Elrohir went and sat in the den, but he was too sad to play Nintendo, so he watched television. He vowed to watch only the news for the next 24 hours, to be sure that there was no breaking report of Glorfindel's plane crashing into the ocean or anything. I mostly drifted between sitting with dad and Erestor at the table and sitting with Elrohir in the den. It didn't feel right to be doing anything worthwhile.
Spirits were lifted briefly when we ordered in pizza for supper, but the joy only lasted about ten minutes. Then the depression returned. I'm going to have to write stupid Glorfindel an email to make sure he knows just how miserable he's making everybody.
Dad is worried. Thranduil doesn't show any sign of leaving. Rather, he appears to be making himself very comfortable in Arwen's old room. I was sent to ask him in a friendly-like manner when he's planning on going back to Mirkwood, but all he would say was "I had to book my trip for at least a week in order to get the best airfare deal." So that means he'll be here for another five days, if not longer.
Dad wasn't happy to hear that, since Elrohir and I are leaving for uni tomorrow and he'll be forced to entertain Thranduil on his own. He rubbed his forehead aggravatedly and said, "I know he's Glorfindel's friend, and I know that in theory he's not so bad, but somehow I just can't bring myself to like him." I asked if this was because Thranduil insists on calling him "Peredhel" instead of "Elrond". Dad said, "Maybe..." in such a way that indicated this was the exact problem or at least a large part of it. I pointed out that he has it better off than Erestor, whose name Thranduil never uses. Erestor just gets called "hey you Golodh!" most of the time. That didn't seem to cheer him up much.
School starts tomorrow. I don't feel ready. Maybe because I'm still here in Rivendell. I'll be in the Grey Havens in six hours though, so I'm hoping I feel more school-ready when I get there. The plane leaves at four and crosses over three time zones, so it'll still be four when I arrive. My suitcases are packed and ready to go by the garage door. That's not counting the three boxes of stuff I need to get dad to send to me on the bus. Elrohir's things are sort of in a pile next to mine. He's not even going to try to close the suitcases until the last possible minute, to minimise strain on the zips.
We had a last family lunch together at noon: dad, Elrohir, Erestor, Thranduil and I. Erestor fancied it to be quite the swanky affair. He'd taken the time to melt cheddar onto Triscuits in the microwave instead of just using Cheez Whiz. That didn't make much of an impression on dad, though, who was still in bad shape from Glorfindel leaving and Thranduil staying. As he stared down at his plate, I could almost hear him thinking about how to cope with the next eight months of only having Erestor around. From the look of things, that thought didn't do much to cheer him up. All the Beach Boys CDs and Trivial Pursuit parties in the world don't make up for having your entire family stolen by air transport.
Though I suppose there's always the telephone. Which reminds me, I haven't spoken to Arwen in weeks. Maybe I ought to ring her. Not that she's gone out of her way to contact me, I might point out. Maybe I'll just send her a postcard from the Grey Havens. She'll need something to take her mind off Aragorn. He can be a bit of a handful. I'm putting my bet in now that the marriage lasts two years, tops.
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.