I am sad that there is no character filter for Erestor or genre filter for ‘General’. :'(

Erestor had finally tracked Glorfindel down to his study and paused in the doorway, smiling at the sight within. Glorfindel was sitting at his desk, carefully placing arrows into a quiver. This in itself was not too unusual; what was unusual was the size of the weapons. Each arrow was only about a foot long, and the quiver was scaled to match. As Erestor watched, Glorfindel finished loading the quiver and placed it beside a tiny bow, then picked up an identical one and a handful of little arrows, these ones with red fletchings instead of blue, to repeat the task.

“Is that your idea of a suitable begetting day gift for a pair of five-year-olds?” asked Erestor.

Glorfindel looked up and smiled. “Yes,” he said. “After all, it won’t be much longer before they start learning to use real bows.”

“These look real enough.” Erestor put down the things he was carrying and picked up the bow that lay by the full quiver. He strung it and tested its flex with practised fingers. “Hmm… I suppose it’s not got much power. Quite enough for one as small as…” He glanced at the name tooled into the leather of the quiver. “Elladan, though.” He unstrung the bow again and set it down. “Honestly, Glorfindel, Elrond may have chosen to be counted among our kindred, but that does not mean that your gifts to his children won’t give him grey hairs.”

Glorfindel laughed. “Come, Erestor, they can’t do much damage with them. Look.” He held up one of the arrows that he was now putting into Elrohir’s quiver. The tip not only lacked a point, but was buried in a pouch filled with some form of padding. Glorfindel punched it into his palm to demonstrate its softness. Erestor took it and poked it. Indeed, the twins wouldn’t be able to hurt each other with these unless they actively tried. Glorfindel had even had the sense to pad the tip to be larger than a child’s eye. Even so, Erestor still had his doubts.

“This will not stop them damaging things, even if not one another,” he said, waving the arrow.

“If they haven’t learned by now not to throw or shoot things at ornaments, that’s hardly my fault,” said Glorfindel, taking it back. “They’ll like them, you’ll see.” He finished loading Elrohir’s quiver and placed it beside a second small bow. “What brings you here, anyway? What are those?” He nodded towards the two boxes that Erestor had put on his desk.

“These are my gifts to them,” said Erestor, smiling. He was pleased with the toys, but Glorfindel, to his annoyance, was apparently unimpressed.

“Boxes,” he said, raising his eyebrow. “Truly, my friend, you are a master when it comes to entertaining children. I prostrate myself before you.”

“They are not just boxes!” snapped Erestor. “Look.” He picked one up – Elrohir’s – and showed it to Glorfindel.

“It has holes in the top,” said Glorfindel. Erestor suspected he was being deliberately dim.

“Did you never have one of these?” he asked. “Watch.” He took off the lid and tipped out a number of shaped pieces of wood. Then he put the lid back on and began putting the shapes back in through the appropriately-shaped holes.
Glorfindel watched, his eyebrow still raised. At last, when Erestor had slotted all the shapes back into the box, he laughed.

“Well, we’ll see,” he said. “But why come and show them to me? Did you seek my approval?”

Erestor shook his head, feeling rather embarrassed. “No. I want you to give these to them on my behalf.”

Glorfindel’s laughter died on his lips. He frowned. “But why me?” he asked. “Why can you not give them yourself?”

Erestor pulled nervously at the point of one of his ears, feeling himself starting to blush a little. “I think they are afraid of me,” he admitted.

Glorfindel arched an eyebrow. “Well, avoiding them will hardly help.”

“It is their begetting day, and I don’t want to spoil it for them by frightening them.”

“You come bearing gifts, my friend. I hardly think they will be so frightened that the thought of a new toy apiece will not help.” Glorfindel’s other eyebrow went up. “Are they afraid of you, or are you afraid of them?”

Erestor felt that he would rather sing the tra-la-lally song in public while sober than answer that question.
Glorfindel, however, had apparently guessed the answer from his silence.

“Erestor, you and I fought side-by-side on the slopes of Orodruin, and you are afraid of Elladan and Elrohir?”

Erestor nodded, pulling his ear again.

Glorfindel looked uncertain whether to laugh or sigh. Eventually, he laughed.
“Well, I shall give them their bows after you have given them their boxes. Then they will be unarmed when you face them.”

Erestor scowled, but Glorfindel remained totally unfazed. Of course, there was no reason for one who had once faced down a balrog to be alarmed by Erestor’s scowl, even though it was a fairly impressive one, but Glorfindel’s grin was annoying nonetheless. Bad enough that he got nervous in the presence of two children who were only just taller than his knees without his friend laughing at him for it.

Glorfindel had apparently realised that his joke had not lightened the atmosphere, for his expression sobered.
“What about them makes you nervous?” he asked.

Erestor sighed, sitting down in Glorfindel’s spare chair. “I wasn’t lying – I think they’re frightened of me, and I don’t like seeing that look in their eyes.”

Glorfindel nodded. “Well, they don’t see you much, and you’ve never really had a way with children.”

That was true, and Erestor inclined his head in silent acknowledgement.

“And that’s why I think you should be the one to give them your gift. Give them a chance to get more used to the sight of you as someone friendly, rather than someone who only appears from time to time, usually to take their father away to do something that he assures them is important but they don’t understand.”

Erestor was very busy and couldn’t spend much more time with Elrond’s sons, even if he was inclined to do so, but somehow he didn’t think that Glorfindel would listen if he told him that, so he just raised an eyebrow and tried to approach it differently.

“I refuse to cover my face with dirt and be chased around the garden.”

Glorfindel looked affronted. “I was a troll, and they were saving Imladris from me.”

“And what were you that time you leapt from the garden wall with a screech, wearing a black cloak with your face all covered in black paint?”

“A dragon.”


“Yes. The cloak was my wings.”

“We were entertaining visitors at the time.” Erestor had tried to explain to the dwarves who had been innocently walking in the gardens of Imladris that this was not normal behaviour for the Firstborn. Fortunately, they’d found it rather amusing.

Glorfindel blushed slightly – he hadn’t known about the dwarves or he probably would have taken the children somewhere else to play at being dragon-slayers – but otherwise he ignored the remark.

“I think we’re drifting from the point,” he said.

“Which is?”

“That Elladan and Elrohir will be far less scared of you if they see you more often, and then you will enjoy spending time with them much more, and then everyone will be much happier. And you can start by giving them your boxes yourself.”

Evidently there was nothing else for it.

“Glorfindel, I am honestly too busy to play with them, no matter how much I might like to!”

Glorfindel sighed heavily. “I have no wish to resort to bribery, my friend, but you leave me no choice.”

“What do you mean, bribery?”

“If you spend more time with Elladan and Elrohir – you play with them once a week, say – I will spend that time doing your paperwork.”

Erestor frowned, his hand creeping back to the tip of his ear. It was a tempting prospect. Contrary to the prevailing opinion in Imladris, he did not actually enjoy paperwork. If Glorfindel was right and this helped Elladan and Elrohir become more used to him and he to them, then that would also be a benefit. On the other hand, he’d had experience with Glorfindel and paperwork before. Glorfindel made absolutely no secret of the fact that he had no patience with it, and one of the tasks that Erestor counted among his duties was bullying Glorfindel into doing the paperwork that had to be done by him, as opposed to being passed on to some other unfortunate elf.
However, if Glorfindel gave his word that he would do the paperwork, Erestor know that he would do it.

Evidently, he was also completely serious about Erestor spending more time with the children. Part of him wanted to know why, but then he decided that he’d find out soon enough.

“I still refuse to disguise myself as a troll.”

“Did I say you had to?”

Erestor smiled. “Then we have an accord. I will try to spend at least a few hours with them this week.”

“And I will set those tax records that you’re forever complaining about in order.”

“Oh, no, Glorfindel, I’m not trusting you with those,” said Erestor, laughing. “I will set something aside for you myself.”

Glorfindel shrugged, grinning. “Very well, then. And you’ll give them those boxes tomorrow.”

“You drive a hard bargain, my friend.”

Glorfindel’s eyebrow rose. “I give you an afternoon with two of the most delightful children in Middle-Earth in return for an afternoon of drudgery over your paperwork, and I drive the hard bargain? I know that you enjoy paperwork, but honestly…”

Erestor rolled his eyes, but didn’t bother to correct the statement.

“Are you very busy this afternoon?”
Honestly, he could probably spare Glorfindel some time. Elrond was looking over the hated tax records – there were some things that needed his signature – and Erestor couldn’t get on with too much else until he had those back. However, he wasn’t sure it would be wise to admit this fact.

Glorfindel, however, chose to take his silence as a negative and sprang up, grabbing him by the elbow and gathering the gifts up into his other arm.

“Come, my friend, let’s hide these and then go for a walk; it’s a beautiful day and you look like you need some air.”

Erestor considered protesting. After all, there were things that required his attention, and as soon as he started working something else would crop up, it always did.

But instead, he just smiled and strode along beside Glorfindel. After all, the sun would only be out for so long, and he was with one of his greatest friends, and he’d finally got his most ludicrous fear off his chest.

It was indeed a beautiful day.

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