suite no. 1 by Belladonna Poisoning

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Story notes: The title and sections are the movements of Bach's suite no. 1 for orchestra. the song in the forlane isn't mine; it was written by John Donne and is titled, conveniently enough, "Song." if anyone in the audience is a fan of the anime Bleach, I ended up giving Gildor and Melpomaen personalities strikingly similar to Ganjyuu and Hanatarou, so their characterization isn't exactly mine either.
overture (in the french style)

"Not dancing tonight?" Glorfindel descended upon the circle of his contemporaries seated at Lord Elrond's table with a cheerful, slightly tipsy grin. "So boring! Erestor, I suppose, is a lost cause, and you too, my lord, with all due respect. But Gildor! Sitting out when there is music to dance to, and pretty young things to romance! You disappoint me."

"Find me a pretty young thing willing to be romanced by a scarred old creature like me, and then I'll dance," Gildor replied good-naturedly. "Although I might challenge your ability to make such remarks, when I've noticed a distinct lack of pretty young things on your arm tonight."

Glorfindel's response, an exaggerated pantomime of being stabbed in the stomach to illustrate the injury Gildor had inflicted upon him, was interrupted by Erestor's dry voice. "When it comes to food, you know, Gildor, that Glorfindel's eyes are larger than his stomach, and so when it comes to pretty young elves, we may logically infer that his avaricious gaze is perhaps... disproportionate... to his... ahem."

Glorfindel gaped at him. "Are there any other insults your worship would like to heap upon me, while I stand here so conveniently available for your abuse?"

"Ah, but Glorfindel, you are so incapable of holding your liquor that you will no doubt still be here, sprawled unconscious on the floor with a raging hangover brewing, available for more abuse come the morning." Erestor smiled with poisonous sweetness and knocked back a full goblet of wine.

Glorfindel crossed his arms across his chest, glaring. "We'll see about who's taking abuse in the morning," he huffed. "And Gildor, I will see you on the dance floor with one of our young beauties ere the night is done."

As he stalked off, Elrond turned to Erestor with a slight smile. "You should not tease him so, my friend."

"It is merely the manner in which I show my love," Erestor replied smoothly, with such a perfectly straight face that no one could tell whether or not he was joking.

"One of these days, Glorfindel will hear you say that, and then there shall be a reckoning," Elrond murmured, shaking his head, but he let the conversation turn to more trivial matters.

"Lindir! Play faster tunes, my friend; none of us want to dance to your soppy love ballads!" Elladan (or maybe Elrohir) cried cheerfully as he descended upon the minstrel, a rambunctious troop of young elves following in his wake. Elrohir (unless he was Elladan) draped himself across his twin's shoulders, grinning, and added, "Or else play louder, and we shall dance a different measure beneath the tables!"

Lindir rolled his eyes. "You have no appreciation for my artistry," he complained, but his fingers on the frets of his mandolin obligingly sped up. One of the other elves whooped, and a pair of silver-haired Lorien wardens, nearly as identical as the twins, hauled the peredhil off to opposite corners of the dance floors, where the two couples began a competition in exhibitionist dancing.

"Idiots," Haldir scoffed affectionately, watching his brothers with the fond yet scornful eye of an elder (and hopefully wiser) sibling.

"You disapprove of their choice of dance partners?" came a soft voice behind him. He glanced over and smiled, pleased to have a caught a glimpse of the Mouse of Rivendell - Melpomaen, the notoriously shy librarian.

"No, only of their lack of style," Haldir replied lightly.

"And yet I do not see you upon the dance floor showing them the true meaning of the word," remarked Legolas, approaching with two full glasses of punch. He handed one to Melpomaen, who stared at it in bewilderment and finally set it down on the nearest table, and sipped at the other himself.

"Your eyesight is as keen as ever, prince of Mirkwood."

Legolas waited for Haldir to take him up on his unspoken invitation, then sighed and asked more explicitly, "Well, would you like to?"

"I'm afraid I choose my dance partners more carefully than that," Haldir said, grinning to take the sting from the insult. Legolas laughed and mock-swooned, dropping into the chair beside Lindir.

"Ah! Rejected! I fear I shall never dance again, from the pain of this outrage! But you'll keep me company, my darling minstrel, will you not, and soothe my sorrow with the balm of your sweet melody?" he asked merrily, his mood altering in a lightning flash.

"Oh, aye, I'll soothe your 'wounded' heart," Lindir snorted. "But what tune would suit your highness' injury? A lay of Luthien and Beren? Some tale of Maeglin and Idril, and the fall of Gondolin? Or - no, no, indeed, I know just the song!" He plucked out the final chords of the dance, and stood, clearing his throat. He experimented with a few notes, then settled on a key, and began,

"While once on a journey to Rivendell fair, I spied a young elf with a crown in his hair, So slender and fleet, Like a good horse in heat, Though he looked less like a stallion than mare!"

Legolas' eyebrows rose as he reached up to touch his delicate circlet. "An... interesting choice of song," he said carefully.

"An excellent choice of song," Haldir interjected, smirking. "Would you not agree, my Lord Glorfindel?" He waved to the tipsy Elda, drawing him closer.

"A fine song," Glorfindel agreed, tossing his own coronet (of simple flowers, rather than precious metal like Legolas') up and down with complete unconcern. "But not the reason why I came over."

"It wasn't the indefinable allure of my beauty?" Legolas pouted.

"No, sorry." Glorfindel shrugged. "Yon Gildor sits, alone and unloved, at a table full of decrepit old lords whose arthritis wouldn't allow them to dance even if they remembered how. I have come in search of a young and flexible companion to remind him of his spiritual youth, even if he is ancient in comparison to you wet-behind-the-ears rapscallions. Always excepting Melpomaen," he added, "who has never in his life been rapscalliony even though he no doubt knows a dozen synonyms for it."

"Very persuasive speech," Legolas laughed. "Why don't you go ask the serving maids?"

"I'll go," Melpomaen interrupted mildly. He blushed slightly as all four blonds turned to stare at him, and demanded defensively, "What? I'll go sit with him. If I'm as incapable of rapscallionism as Glorfindel says, just comparing himself to me will make Lord Gildor feel young at heart."

"Well spoken!" Glorfindel exclaimed, draping an arm over Melpomaen's slender shoulders. "Come, to the rejuvenation of Gildor!"

"Get your hands off him, you lech," Haldir sighed, peeling the drunken lord off of the cowed librarian. "Here, I'll take you over to the high table. You don't want this one to get attached to you. Hands like an octopus," he added, kicking Glorfindel in the ankle for good measure.

"My honor has been besmirched!" Glorfindel cried indignantly. "And that hurt, dammit."

"Go ask Lord Erestor to kiss it better," Haldir replied. "By the time your ears are done ringing, you'll have forgotten all about your leg."

"Good evening, my lords," Haldir said, smiling at the table of elder elves. "I come bearing a gift from Lord Glorfindel."

"Does it have fleas?" drawled Erestor.

"I should hope that you ensure better hygiene in your subordinates, Lord Erestor," Haldir replied mildly, and pulled Melpomaen out from his shadow, where the slender librarian had been lurking. "My lord Gildor, may I present your 'flexible young thing' of the evening? Melpomaen, this is Lord Gildor. He looks a bit rough-edged, but I can assure you that he's a perfect gentleman while our dear Counselor Erestor's gimlet eye is upon him."

"Good evening," Melpomaen murmured shyly. Gildor blinked - he certainly hadn't expected Glorfindel to succeed - and hastily pulled out a chair for the young elf.

"Please, sit," he urged, looking awkward. "I, um, well, that is... how are you?" Most of the other elves sitting at the table smothered snickers. Gildor was notoriously incompetent when it came to pretty young things. Or pretty things of more advanced age, really...

Celeborn's smile went slightly dreamy as he recalled the total idiot Gildor had made of himself the first time he met Galadriel. Really, the best part of old friends was the number of embarrassing stories one knew about them.

"My lord Celeborn?" Haldir's voice cut across both Celeborn's daydreams and Melpomaen's stammering reply to Gildor's query.


"Might I ask if you've noticed my brothers' dancing this fine night?"

Celeborn glanced over towards the dance floor, where Haldir's brothers were dancing with his grandsons. "I've noticed that it's rather overflowing with misplaced sensuality and lacking in grace."

Haldir grinned. "Would you care to help me show them how it's done?"

Elrond raised an eyebrow and kicked Erestor under the table when it looked as though his adviser planned to make a snide remark. "I should be delighted," Celeborn replied firmly, and rose to his feet, regally ignoring Erestor's yelp as Elrond's foot connected with his shin once again. "Until later, my friends," he added, and swept off, his hand on Haldir's arm.

"Why did you kick me?" Erestor demanded sulkily.

"Because you were going to make some sort of rude comment that would have killed the mood, and I find this new development interesting," Elrond replied absently, most of his attention fixed on Haldir and Celeborn. "If it hurts that badly, go find Glorfindel and have him kiss it better."

Erestor glared.


"I never thought of you as the exhibitionist type," Celeborn remarked lightly, spinning Haldir around. The marchwarden had submitted to his lead with grace for the most part, although his occasionally awkward movements revealed his greater facility with dancing the dominant role.

"Exhibitionist? How so, my lord?" Haldir smirked across the ballroom at his brothers, who had both turned to stare, much to the disgruntlement of their partners.

"Isn't it obvious?"

"Allow me at least the pretense of plausible deniability, my lord. Your wife terrifies me."

Celeborn chuckled. "Don't worry. She likes you."

"Not as much as she likes you."

"You'd be surprised, really... although it isn't especially relevant, since she isn't here. Elrond, on the other hand, is, but you seem rather unconcerned about his attention. In fact, you're flaunting more than usual."

Haldir smiled. "Lord Elrond is in no position to complain."

"Oh, really?" Celeborn's eyebrows rose. "And what do you know about Lord Elrond's position, pray tell?"

"Nothing I wouldn't repeat in mixed company, but..." Haldir jerked his chin towards the table they had abandoned, where the golden-haired king of Mirkwood was settling into the chair beside Elrond. "I have a feeling that Lord Thranduil plans to change that before the evening ends."

"That would be a piece of gossip fit to outshine even us," Celeborn mused. "Rather a liberating feeling, isn't it?"

"Hmm," Haldir hummed noncommittally. He glanced around, and noticed for the first time how close they were to the edge of the dance floor. "Ah, my lord, where are we going?"

"If for once no one will be gossiping about us, shouldn't we take advantage of the fact and do something truly scandalous?" Celeborn inquired, the wicked glint in his eyes belying his mild tone, and waltzed Haldir right out of the room.

gavotte (rounded binary form): Gildor/Melpomaen

"So, um..." Gildor glanced up briefly at his companion, then back down at the table. "Would you, uh, like to dance?"

"No, thank you," Melpomaen replied softly. "I'm not a very good dancer."

"Oh, uh, really? That's funny. I'm not either." Gildor waited for some sort of reply, but Melpomaen just ducked his head a little further and let his hair fall forward to hide his face. Bravely, Gildor soldiered on. "So, um, what are you good at?"

Behind his curtain of hair, Melpomaen blinked. "Putting books away?"

"That's, ah, interesting. Do you like to read, then?"

"Yes." Melpomaen looked up timidly and asked, "Do you?"

"Well, I'm kinda slow at it," Gildor replied sheepishly, scratching his head. "I used to like it when Lindir would tell really long stories in the evenings - did you ever listen? It'd take him weeks to finish one of them. But then I started going away on long trips, and I'd miss parts. I still don't know how the one about Celebrimbor and Narvi ends."

"I've read it," the Mouse-librarian offered shyly. "Where did he leave off?"

"Maybe you could just start at the beginning?"

"Well, once upon a time there was a dwarf named Narvi, and he was the finest smith of all the dwarves..."

"Sorry I'm late," Thranduil apologized carelessly, sliding into the seat next to Elrond. "Did I miss anything?"

Elrond glanced over at him. "Celeborn is dancing with Haldir and Gildor is trying to hold a conversation with the most reticent elf in Rivendell. Otherwise, nothing."

"How interesting," Thranduil murmured. "Is the most reticent elf in Rivendell pretty?"

Elrond's gestured towards Melpomaen with his chin, his lips twitching. "Pretty enough to render Gildor a stammering idiot, anyway."

"You look very pretty tonight, your majesty," Glorfindel announced, only slightly slurring the words.

"Why, thank you," the king said, smiling.

"How long did it take to achieve that effect, I wonder?" Erestor put in, rather nastily. "I'm surprised you were able to tear yourself away from your mirror at all. Have you ever considered not being so insufferably vain?"

"No, I can't say I have," Thranduil replied. "Have you ever considered not being such an insufferable bitch?"

"It's part of his charm!" Glorfindel exclaimed, a little too happily, and tipped over onto Erestor's shoulder. Elrond's adviser gave him a long, cold stare, but made no effort to remove him.

"And so they got married, built their own house in Valinor with gates even fancier than those to the palace of Ingwe, and lived happily ever after," Melpomaen finished.

"That was amazing," Gildor proclaimed, eyes glowing. "Tell me another one."

"Ah..." Melpomaen nervously tucked his hair more securely behind his ears. He'd shoved it back when he realized that he couldn't narrate very effectively with a mouthful of hair. "Which one?"

"It doesn't matter." Gildor was entranced. He was bedazzled. And he wanted another story, dammit.

"If you like, um, we could go to the library and pick a book," Melpomaen suggested.

"Will you read it to me?" Gildor asked.

"I, uh, I guess, if you want..."

"Library. Let's go." He grabbed Melpomaen by the hand and hauled him out of the ballroom, then realized that he had absolutely no idea where he was going. "Uh, which way is the library, then?"

forlane: Legolas/Lindir

"Why don't you love me?" Legolas asked mournfully, resting his head on Lindir's shoulder. The minstrel segued into an instrumental bridge and shot the blond prince an irritable look.

"Because you're a spoiled brat who's obsessed with his own good looks."

"Then you do think I'm good-looking!" Legolas said triumphantly.

"No, I think you think you're good-looking. How much punch have you drunk tonight, anyway?"

"Enough that I can't tell the twins apart anymore," Legolas admitted cheerfully.

"I don't think Rumil and Orophin can, either," Lindir replied dryly. "They'd better come up with generic pet names, and fast."

Legolas giggled. Lindir eyed him warily, and decided that the prince's alcohol level had long since passed the stage of twin-confusion. However, he decided with an internal sigh, it wasn't really his problem. He finished his improvised interlude and began the second verse of his song:

"If you be'st born to strange sights, Things invisible to see, Ride ten thousand days and nights, Till Age snow white hairs on thee; Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me All strange wonders that befell thee, And swear No where Lives a woman true and fair."

"Elves don't get white hair," Legolas pointed out.

"Really old ones do," Lindir retorted. "Lord Celeborn has white hair. And Lord Cirdan."

"I think Celeborn's hair is more silvery-blond than white," Legolas mused, frowning. "Hey, where'd he go, anyway?"

"Waltzed out with Haldir a few minutes ago. Why?"

"I wanted to see if his hair really is white. Wait, he left with Haldir? Where'd they go?"

"How should I know? All I saw was Celeborn's back as he danced Haldir out of the room."

"Oh. Weird." Legolas fell silent for a moment. As Lindir prepared to sing the last verse of the song, the prince spoke up again, "But riding ten thousand days and nights isn't even all that hard. Well, it'd get boring. But if you packed right - "

"Your highness. Please. Be quiet. I'm trying to sing."

Legolas looked pouty and obstinate, but obligingly made no more commentary upon Lindir's choice of song.

"If thou find'st one, let me know, Such a pilgrimage were sweet; Yet do not, I would not go, Though at next door we should meet. Though she were true when you met her, And last till you write your letter, Yet she Will be False, ere I come, to two or three."

"That's a depressing song," Legolas observed.

Lindir ground his teeth. "I knew it was too good to last," he muttered. Out loud, he replied, "It's about the fickle nature of love. Of course it's depressing."

"And is that what you're looking for? A woman true and fair?"

"I'm not celibate, if that's what you're asking," Lindir replied tartly. "I have no desire to chase a mythological creature to the ends of the earth. Minstrels don't go in for hopeless quests, anyway. We just sing about them."

"I can promise to be true till tomorrow morning," Legolas offered, smiling with slightly drunken sincerity.

Lindir exhaled slowly. "Is there any particular reason why you've been pursuing me so relentlessly tonight?"

"You're pretty?"

The minstrel stared for a moment, then began to laugh. "Well, even if you're not true, at least you're honest. Go dance for a bit, my prince, and when I've finished playing this set we can go back to your rooms."

Legolas beamed and bounced to his feet. "I'll be back soon!" he promised, and meandered off. Lindir watched long enough to make sure the prince was headed for the dance floor and not the punch bowl, then returned his attention to the frets of his mandolin. "At least I'll know if he shuts up in bed," he murmured to himself, and started a merry tune about lovers frolicking in the hay.

menuet: Erestor/Glorfindel

"Glorfindel, you enormous lush, get off of me." Erestor pushed ineffectually at the drunk blond draped over his shoulder.

"Councillor Erestor, it is my desire to dance with you," Glorfindel declared grandly, ignoring the other elf's complaint. "Would you please oblige me?"

Erestor shot a poisoned glare at Thranduil, who was rather unsuccessfully trying to hide his snickers in his trailing sleeves. Elrond's expression was more neutral, but a careful observer could have caught the sparkle of laughter in his normally serious grey eyes. "One dance," Erestor conceded grudgingly. "And then you will stumble off to bed, your own or someone else's; I don't particularly care which. And stop bothering me."

"Of course," Glorfindel replied with a sunny smile. It was that very cheerful expression which had helped him charm his way into many a serving girl's skirts, and back out again unscathed. Erestor was not, in any way, affected by it.


"Glorfindel actually succeeded," Thranduil murmured, amused. Elrond hummed noncommittally, and the king glanced over at him in mild curiosity. "You don't seem terribly interested."

"His relationship with Erestor is... complicated," Elrond replied. "But there is affection on both sides, I am fairly certain. And they do this odd little dance into bed with each other every time they get properly smashed, anyway."

Thranduil's mouth quirked to one side. "I am shocked at Master Erestor, in that case."

"Oh? Haven't you been trying to get me drunk all night so you can do the same to me?" Elrond leaned back in his seat with a tiny smirk. Thranduil's jaw dropped.

"All right, Glorfindel, you can walk," Erestor encouraged, staggering slightly under the weight of his inebriated sometime friend.

Glorfindel nuzzled Erestor's neck. "You always believe in me," he sighed happily.

"Yes, yes, sharp turn coming up, get your face out of my hair," Erestor said tolerantly. He had to be the only person in the Valley who was nicer when drunk and alone than sober and in public.

"Whoops!" Glorfindel giggled, clutching at Erestor as he only barely cleared the corner without falling over. "'Restor, how come you never trip?"

"Because I don't drink as disgracefully as you do, you overgrown delinquent." Of course, there could only be so much improvement upon Erestor's basic temperament. "Here, lean against the wall for a minute while I unlock the door."

"Miss you," Glorfindel whined from the corridor where Erestor had left him as the darker elf struggled with the keys. Relative sobriety aside, he had long since lost most of his fine motor functions to the haze of alcohol.

"I'm right here," Erestor replied absently.

"Miss you all the time," Glorfindel clarified, or attempted to.

"You see me every day." The defiant lock finally defeated, Erestor opened the door with a triumphant hiss.

"Not the same." Glorfindel tottered over and wrapped his arms around his friend-cum-petty-rival.

"I suppose it isn't," Erestor said in a strange tone, and helped Glorfindel into bed, then turned to leave.

"Stay," Glorfindel pleaded, hanging onto Erestor's arm. Erestor looked blank for a moment, then gave up and crawled in beside the blond.

"You'll be sorry in the morning," he informed Glorfindel severely.

"Nuh-uh," Glorfindel replied cheerily. He squirmed around for a bit, and ended up with his head resting casually on Erestor's stomach.

"Of course not, you won't even remember it in the morning," Erestor agreed. "But on the off chance that you do - this never happened. Ever."

"'Kay. Love you." If Glorfindel had any other earth-shattering remarks to make, they disintegrated into snores.

"You're impossible," Erestor sighed. Gently, he brushed Glorfindel's tangled mass of blond hair to the side of the bed, adjusted the pillows to make himself more comfortable, and eventually fell asleep.

bourrée: Orophin/Elladan; Elrohir/Rumil

"Sooooo... which twin are you again?"

Elladan (unless he was Elrohir) giggled. "You've practically engaged in sexual intercourse with me on the dance floor, and you don't know my name?"

"Which brother am I, then?" Orophin challenged, slightly irked.

"Um... not Haldir?"

"Thank you. I could have said you weren't Arwen, and that would have cleared all this right up, then?"

"Oh, fine," the twin who was probably Elladan said with a pout. "I'm Elladan. And you're ruining my fun."

"Sorry, your highness," Orophin said, stepping away to execute an elaborate bow. "I am called Orophin, and I am pleased to make your acquaintance."

"Same," Elladan said, only slightly ungraciously. Across the room, the twin who by process of elimination had to be Elrohir waved enthusiastically at them, and almost fell on his backside, saved at the last minute by Rumil (though their drinks unfortunately had to be sacrificed in the daring rescue venture). "Does your brother know which twin he's dancing with?" Elladan asked, his ill-temper diverted.

"Probably not." Orophin shrugged. "Does it matter? It's not like he's about to propose."

"How... singularly unromantic of you," Elladan observed.

"If you wanted romantic, you should've gone for the minstrel. Want to get out of here and hit the stables?"

"Why not."

Elrohir hung onto Rumil's neck, laughing uncontrollably at nothing in particular. "Hey, hey, Haldir's brother!" he demanded, giving Rumil's hair a yank.

"Yes, your highness?" Rumil asked patiently.

"Do you know which twin I am?"

"No, your highness, I'm sorry."

"Wanna know a secret?" Elrohir leaned forward to whisper in Rumil's ear, "Neither do I."

"That's, ah, fascinating, your highness - "

"Hey, Haldir's brother, let's go have sex in the stables!"

Rumil gave brief thought to thinking better of it, but annoying drunk or not, Elrohir was reasonably attractive, and it wasn't as though he would be around long enough for post-drunken-sex awkwardness.

"All right."

"Oh, my eyes," moaned Rumil.

"Thanks for breaking the mood, baby brother," Orophin snapped.

"Thanks for nothing! I'll never be able to be in the mood again!"

"I don't know, I'm still ready to go here," Elladan remarked.

Elrohir looked up from the pile of hay where he'd just been violently sick. "Twin! Which one am I? I can't remember!"

"He's Elladan," Orophin sighed long-sufferingly.

"Actually, I'm Elrohir," the twin formerly known as Elladan corrected. "We switched for the night, but I think it's confusing Elladan, so maybe we should switch back." He got to his feet and began pulling his clothes back on. He and Rumil exchanged a long "we are surrounded by idiots" look.

"So I'm Elladan!" the twin formerly known as Elrohir exclaimed. "That means I should be sleeping with you tonight!" he declared, flinging himself down on top of Orophin's half-naked body.

"You must be Rumil," Elrohir said wryly, offering his hand.

"And you're Elrohir. Unless you're lying."

Elrohir laughed. "No, this time I really am telling the truth. Look, it's getting a bit cold for rolls in the hay in the stable. Want to head back to my rooms?"

"Sounds good to me."

Elrohir and Rumil walked off arm-in-arm, Orophin's shrieks following them. "NO! EW! VOMIT-FLAVORED KISSES NOT SEXY! GET OFF!!!"

passepied: Elrond/Thranduil

"So I guess it's just you and me," Thranduil observed.

"Apparently." Elrond had contemplated the bottom of his wineglass a few too many times in the past hour, and his eyes were beginning to look a trifle glassy.

"They're all off to assorted assignations, various unfamiliar beds..."

"Which will be rendered even less familiar tomorrow morning by their staggering hangovers. Did you have a point?"

"Mmm, no. Probably." Thranduil lurched to his feet and wandered over to the terrace, where the first traces of dawn were beginning to lighten the sky. He stood watching as the horizon went first purple, then pink, and eventually the sun crept into view. "Much as I love my forest, I confess, I do envy you your view."

When Elrond did not reply, he turned to look at him. The lord of Rivendell was fast asleep at the table, a puddle of drool already starting to collect by his mouth.

Thranduil smiled helplessly and settled down across from him, to watch him sleep as the dawn crawled inexorably higher in the sky.

The first ones down to breakfast were Gildor and Melpomaen, for which favor Thranduil was obscurely grateful. He could have tolerated Celeborn's sly looks of Erestor's acidic remarks, but somehow he didn't feel like it that particular morning, with Elrond sleeping in front of him.

Melpomaen made the tiniest of squeaks when he noticed his lord's presence, but he was by nature so quiet that he didn't disturb Elrond. Gildor, despite his rough mannerisms, could be very considerate, so he was careful not to make too much noise as he ate. He then sent Melpomaen off to work with a shy kiss on the cheek. The Mouse of Rivendell was the color of a ripe strawberry as he slipped out of the hall. Gildor watched him go, then clapped Thranduil lightly on the shoulder in silent farewell, and left himself.

The other revelers drifted in in ones and twos. Lindir came in, ate quickly, and left again, though he seemed confused as to why he had bothered with haste. Rumil and one of the twins - he heard the Lorien elf call him Elrohir in a low voice, trying not to wake Lord Elrond - entered together, whispering to each other like the best of friends. Celeborn's entrance, still in last night's rumpled garb, was completely unselfconscious, unlike Haldir, who trailed in shamefaced behind him.

Thranduil, having witnessed the volume of alcohol Glorfindel had consumed the previous evening, did not expect to see the blond elf, but Erestor was conspicuous in his absence.

Finally, around luncheon, Elrond's eyelashes fluttered and rose. "Good afternoon," Thranduil greeted him mildly. "Did you sleep well?"

"Ugh," Elrond replied articulately. "I think there's a dead rat in my mouth."

"Seductive," Thranduil laughed. "Come on, I'll help you to your room."

"Thank you, by the way," Elrond said. He was in his bathroom attempting to repair some of the damage done by a night of heavy drinking with soap and lukewarm water. Thranduil was sitting on the floor watching him. "For not... while I was drunk."

"Don't be too grateful. I was going to, up until you fell asleep. I just didn't want to wake you."

"Well, thank you anyway." Elrond busied himself with wringing out his washcloth in order to avoid Thranduil's gaze. "I probably needed the sleep."

"Mmm. Which reminds me." Thranduil got up and moved in until he had Elrond pinned against the washbasin. "Sooner or later I'll find a way to have you asleep in my arms. And you'll be sober at the time."

Elrond blinked. Thranduil grinned a predator's grin, leaned in, and stole a kiss. "Just so you know," he added, and sauntered away.
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