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Author name: Red Lasbelin
Recipient's name: Talullah Red
Title: Wine and Mistletoe
Rating: PG
Request: A happy Yule in Imladris. I'd love it to be happy, peaceful and sweet and maybe, even, slightly humorous, if that works out for you.
Author's notes: (optional)
Beta: keiliss
Summary: Glorfindel wears mistletoe.

----


Glorfindel was not particularly fond of snow, as a rule. He had been fond of it as a child in Aman; the rare snowflakes they had were a joy and delight and something to be celebrated. But after crossing the Helcaraxë, his experience of it soured. Gondolin hadn’t much changed his opinion on it either, as the heavy mountain snow could be suffocating in such a cramped city, compounding the inevitable restless winter feelings. Spring had always been looked for with anticipation and welcomed with relief.

But snow in Imladris felt different. Glorfindel still wasn’t sure why. When he tried to unravel it, he figured maybe it was more space; there were still a great many trees and the Bruinien wound together with the architecture, making it all into something almost magical. Or maybe it was because of Elrond’s ring, which kept the severe winter storms away and left the gentler snow-falls to come through, covering everything in a soft blanket of white.

But regardless of snow, good weather or bad, the one thing that everyone in Imladris could count on was the annual Yule party at the Homely House. It was a tradition started from the very beginning, back when there were no formal settlements or even very much to share, but the settlers, many of them refugees, celebrated the turn of the wheel and were generous with what little they had.

After the Last Homely House had been built, the party was held annually in the Hall of Fire. This year, it was well on its way to being one of the most well attended parties ever, spilling out onto the verandas and surrounding rooms. It has been a good year, filled with bountiful harvests and successful trades. Now everyone was ready to celebrate the turn of the season, winter-dark giving way to light.

Glorfindel’s contemplation of the snow was broken by a tug on his tunic. He turned away from the window and looked down at the young girl, only as tall as his waist, with silver-blue eyes and long, dark curly hair. She carried a garland in her fist.

“Glory! Dan told me I wasn’t getting any presents this year. He’s not right, is he?” She wore such a look of distress that Glorfindel dared not laugh.

“Why ever would he tell you that, my lady?” He reached down and picked her up. She slid an arm around his neck and settled comfortably in his arms. Glorfindel realized with a jolt that soon she’d be too big to carry around like this.

“I lost his archery glove.” Arwen said, “but it wasn’t my fault, really.”

“Really now?” Glorfindel gave her a look and she blushed a little and dropped eye contact.

“Maybe a little. But Mother got him another glove, so it’s not fair if I don’t get any presents, is it?”

“Not getting any presents this year wouldn’t be right, no, but hopefully you’ve learned your lesson about not playing with your brother’s things? Particularly without permission?”

“Yes, Father said I wasn’t to touch Dan’s things, and I did say I was sorry.” Arwen looked properly contrite now that the issue of presents had been resolved.

“Good.” Glorfindel was confident in Elrond’s lecturing skills. “Now what do you have here?” He touched the garland.

“Oh, this is for you. Mother said you should wear it.”

Glorfindel eyed the wintergreen garland studded with red berries. “Did she?” he asked, half to himself. He was ready to say no, but the wide blue eyes and the vigorous nod were his weakness. He found himself reminded of Artanis. Celebrían was her mother’s daughter, and he had no doubt she sent Arwen over on purpose.

“Do you know anyone who could help me put it on?”

Arwen giggled. “I’ll help you, of course.” She moved her arm and took hold of the garland, placing it with great ceremony on his head.

It scratched the top of his ears a bit, but Arwen was positively beaming and so he didn’t fuss.

“Well, how do I look?”

“Oh you look wonderful! And now you get a kiss!” She kissed his cheek with great affection, and he fought back a smile.

“Thank you,” he said solemnly. “Now don’t fight with Dan anymore.”

She wrinkled her nose at him. “Do I have to?”

“Your father could change his mind on the whole present idea if you don’t,” Glorfindel reminded her.

Arwen made a face, quickly, but then schooled her expression into something he imagined she thought was more ‘ladylike’. “Yes, Glory.”

“Good. Cook’s ladling out hot cider, go check and see if she has a sweet or two.”

------

Glorfindel stood by the fireplace letting the warmth soak in and trying to decide what he’d do next. The younger children, including Arwen, had been put to bed already - Elrond had arranged for several rooms to be set up with mats and blankets and someone to watch over them while their parents relaxed into the rest of the evening. Celebrían’s insistence on dance lessons for the twins had paid off, he noticed, after spotting them in the crowd of people dancing.

There was more room for dancing now, the food had been whisked off the tables and the tables then moved up against the walls, leaving the space open. It was all efficiently done, but then Erestor was in charge of the party tonight, and event planning was his specialty. If Glorfindel recalled properly, there’d be a musical performance later as well. He’d been able to sit in on a few of the rehearsals and had been impressed.

Elrond and Celebrían had taken a break from the dancing. They made a pretty sight, Bri perched on his lap, their faces flushed and the remnants of laughter lingering in their smiles. They were the heart of the Valley, Glorfindel thought, and he was glad to see them so happy.

He had just taken another cup of the mulled wine, which had flowed freely all night, when Gildor came up and stole it from him.

“There’s a whole tray of these, you know,” Glorfindel said mildly. Gildor was a law unto himself, which could be difficult to deal with at the best of times. But there was something in the air, the warmth and good cheer, helped along by the mulled wine he’d already had, so he couldn’t find it in himself to be too cross.

“Where’s the fun in that? Nice holly, by the way. Gotten many takers?” Gildor took a swig of the wine. He was dressed for the party with bits of jewelry and pieces of clothing from his many travels, a style that only made sense to himself, but somehow still worked. Glorfindel was very sure if he’d tried to replicate it himself, it would be a disaster.

“A few. I think I intimidate people,” Glorfindel replied, reaching to take the cup back.

“Wintertime can make you broody, that’s why. Not your best look.” Gildor evaded the gesture and finished the wine before handing him the empty cup. “Also there’s the whole grand reputation that proceeds you.”

“Toss off. I’m plenty festive. And I’ve been here long enough for them to realize I’m pretty normal.” Glorfindel looked at the bottom of the cup. ”Just because I don't smoke pipeweed… did Mithrandir give you that, by the way, or was that something you ‘liberated’ like you did my wine?”

“I’m flattered you think I’m daring enough to steal from someone like Mithrandir. But no, I picked that up in Bree. And I shared with Elrond. He says it’s medicinal.”

Glorfindel raised an eyebrow. It said all he needed.

“Oh, don’t look at me like that,” Gildor grinned. “It’s Yule, you’re wearing mistletoe, and the world’s happy tonight; the wheel has turned, spring will come again.”

“I’ve always liked Yule. Reminds me there’s always hope.”

They shared a look, one without words. They’d seen a great many winters when the world was cold and dire, not soft, warm and filled with laughter, music, dancing.

“Yes, there is.” Gildor’s characteristic smile softened for a moment, flickered like a candle at a brief gust of wind before returning to normal. “And now it’s time to steal properly.”

“What?” Glorfindel laughed. “I’m out of wine, you might have noticed, you thief.”

Gildor gripped his shoulder and stepped firmly into Glorfindel’s personal space. Glorfindel let him, his good mood gave him more patience than he usually had with Gildor. He watched the firelight glint on auburn hair, then he had a sharp moment of realization, the ‘ah’ moment, a heartbeat before Gildor leaned in to kiss him.

There was no hesitation or second guessing with Gildor. His lips were softer than they looked, and he tasted of spiced wine mingled with the sweetness from the pipeweed. His tongue was clever too, giving Glorfindel just enough room to object but persuading him not to. Glorfindel, though he would never admit it to himself, had always wondered if Gildor was as good a kisser as he had acted.

It was a good kiss.

Gildor let him go when the kiss ended, sliding his hand out of golden hair and releasing his grip on Glorfindel’s shoulder. It was the first time that Glorfindel was aware of him looking like he might not know what to do next.

The party still whirled round about them, it would carry on well into the early hours before it flickered out, like one of the many candles decorating the Hall tonight. Glorfindel decided, without really thinking, to grab a handful of Gildor’s shirt and tug him back for another kiss. The surprise on Gildor’s face was strangely satisfying.

The second kiss was as good as the first. Maybe better, because they were both on the same footing. It was like a dance of their own, his arm around Gildor’s waist and Gildor’s hand warm around the back of his neck.

The kiss ended, coincidentally, as the song finished and the dancers slowed to halt. They
drifted apart, unhurriedly, then Gildor looked at Glorfindel with a question in his eyes.

“No point in doing anything half way, is there?” The corner of Glorfindel’s mouth twitched as he fought back a smile.

Gildor blinked. “You probably don’t need the pipeweed.”

“No, I never have,” Glorfindel said, giving up the fight and smiling properly. A thought struck him, and he removed the garland - it took a moment, the prickly leaves wanted to tangle in his hair – and then placed it carefully atop Gildor’s head.

“Here, I’m sure you can get some more use out of this.”

“Oh, I rarely need mistletoe.” Gildor adjusted the garland anyhow and looked pleased with himself.

Glorfindel rolled his eyes, but the damage was done. He’d already kissed him. “Happy Yule, Gildor.”

Gildor let go of the garland, smiled at him, that flicker of a smile from before, and bowed his head briefly. “Happy Yule, Glorfindel.”

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
heartofoshun
Jan. 1st, 2018 05:14 pm (UTC)
Great setting. Terrific atmosphere. Wonderful visuals. Warm and happy. With the appropriate wistfulness for these particular characters. Great kiss!
red_lasbelin
Jan. 10th, 2018 12:55 am (UTC)
Thank you, Oshun. It really means a lot to hear that the atmosphere and visuals worked nicely. On a good day, I feel like I get it 80% of what I see in my head, and on a bad day, closer to 40%. So when I get feedback like yours, it really makes me happy.
heartofoshun
Jan. 10th, 2018 01:15 am (UTC)
There is a funny cartoon on Tumblr about that phenomenon. I'll have to try to find it for you! (Why is it so impossible to find anything there?)

It was absolutely filmic in its clarity. I struggle with that too!
red_lasbelin
Jan. 10th, 2018 01:17 am (UTC)
It was absolutely filmic in its clarity.

My god, thank you!

And I swear it's because if you like something, you can't actually search to find it again, you just have to scroll and scroll and hope that you haven't missed it.

It is terribly inconvenient!
dreamflower02
Jan. 1st, 2018 05:19 pm (UTC)
Little Arwen is adorable!

Such a fun celebration; i'd never thought of Gildor having such a mischievous streak before!
red_lasbelin
Jan. 10th, 2018 12:57 am (UTC)
I couldn't resist writing young Arwen with Glorfindel - it's a character combination that just makes me happy!

And I'm very happy to introduce you to another side of Gildor. He's always shown up pretty mischievous for me. :)

Thanks, Dreamflower, for the comment and for hosting this!
shirebound
Jan. 1st, 2018 06:54 pm (UTC)
This is a sweet story, definitely full of hope and joy. I especially love Arwen calling him 'Glory'.

They shared a look, one without words. They’d seen a great many winters when the world was cold and dire, not soft, warm and filled with laughter, music, dancing.

That's a solid anchor to a free-floating celebration. Very nicely written.
red_lasbelin
Jan. 10th, 2018 01:04 am (UTC)
I tried Arwen calling him a different name, actually, but it didn't feel right. I changed it to Glory as I finished the first draft. It felt right to me too!

And thank you for picking that verse out - I quite liked that bit myself and wanted it to be an anchor to everything.

Thank you, Shirebound!
talullahred
Jan. 1st, 2018 11:03 pm (UTC)
Hi! I got you! I can't believe it! I was so giddy just clicking on the story to read it and I wasn't disappointed. Little Arwen is adorable. She steals the show (and I love when you say that Celebrían takes after her mother).

Then Gildor... oh my, he's just perfect. I love their banter and how there are so many little unspoken things. Loved the use of 'liberated' that Glorfindel makes - you had me snorting there.

The second kiss was as good as the first. Maybe better, because they were both on the same footing. It was like a dance of their own, his arm around Gildor’s waist and Gildor’s hand warm around the back of his neck.

I especially loved this passage. The whole setting is so warm and lovely, so, despite whatever burdens they may carry, it's just so warming that there is a second kiss and that it's even better and so intimate. It's like I'm watching them from somewhere in the room and squeeing (naturally alongside Celebrían).

Thank you so much for this lovely fic. It's wonderful and so much more than what I could have hoped for.

Happy 2018!
red_lasbelin
Jan. 10th, 2018 01:09 am (UTC)
I'm so thrilled that you liked this, Tal, I so hoped you would! I jumped at a chance to write a happy Yule in Imladris, and then Glorfindel and Gildor told me that if I wanted them to share a first kiss it would have to be under mistletoe. The second kiss - well, that was just them deciding they liked it. :)

I loved writing Arwen too - and Glorfindel with Arwen is one of my favorite things. And yes - Celebrian takes after her mother and is very into matchmaking when she has the opportunity. :)

Thank you for this lovely prompt, I got to write some of my favorite things!
zedille
Jan. 13th, 2018 09:17 am (UTC)
This is such a sweet fic! I love how you showed the holiday spirit both on a nonromantic/familial level with Elrond and Celebrían and young Arwen, as well as on a personal romantic level with Erestor.
red_lasbelin
Jan. 16th, 2018 01:48 am (UTC)
Hey thank you for the comment! I love both balances of familial love and romantic love and find a mix of both satisfying to write.

I am a little confused though, cause Erestor only got a mention in this fic, instead of a starring role.
zedille
Jan. 23rd, 2018 10:25 am (UTC)
Oh gosh, now I do feel silly -- I was wondering if I had somehow entirely misinterpreted the last scene, but I just realized I wrote Erestor instead of Gildor in my comment!!! I meant Gildor, but no wonder you were confused.
blslarner
Jan. 14th, 2018 08:37 am (UTC)
Indeed, the atmosphere is perfect! And I love Celebrian sending Arwen over to present him with his evergreen chaplet.
red_lasbelin
Jan. 16th, 2018 01:50 am (UTC)
Arwen was one of my favorite parts of the fic too. And I knew Celebrian would send her off on a mission. Just love the idea of Glorfindel with mistletoe. :)

Thank you, Larner!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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