Recipient's name: Talullah Red
Title: Wine and Mistletoe
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)
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.”