Gift of Song
From Sian (Denise)
For the Secret Santa Fic Swap
Beta: Lady Mirfain, my deepest thanks for the last minute help with this story!
The great bell atop the tower of Imladris sounded once, twice, then a third time. Each Elf paused to listen and at the third ringing, the healers and Lord Elrond himself scrambled for the courtyard, for the third toll of the bell signaled wounded arriving. Lord Elrond and Lady Celebrían had been expecting the ladies parents from the Golden Wood at any time, and the warning of wounded could only be from their party. The Lady stifled a cry as she followed her husband in a rush to the yard, almost stumbling as she ran into the small white-haired Elfling that had come out of hiding to see what the commotion was.
Not much could entice Lindir to venture from his self-imposed exile. He had only been a resident of Imladris for days, having lost his parents and been given as a ward to Lord Erestor, Chief advisor to Lord Elrond. Lindir had not known Lord Erestor, but the councilor had been a family friend, and with no other relatives, little Lindir had come to him. Grief and inherent shyness had prevented the Elfling from settling in, and he rarely could be seen except glued to Lord Erestor's side. But now as the courtyard became filled with the sounds of horses and concerned questions, Lindir had cautiously come forward and peeked around a corner at the noise.
He saw a small Elfling, about his size being gently lowered into Lord Elrond's arms, then the Lord hurried off towards the healing wing with his bundle. Lindir's eyes moved back to the large party now dismounting from their horses. He gaped at the beautiful Lady of the Wood, having heard tales of her, but never imaging that he would ever see her. The magical silver-haired Lord next to her must be Lord Celeborn. Lindir watched as his guardian, Erestor came forward to greet the pair. The Lady Celebrían had flown into her parent's arms the minute they dismounted and was now leading the pair along with two of the Galadhrim towards the healing wing. Lindir's small head followed the trio curiously, but indecision gripped him as his eyes flew back towards his guardian.
Lindir had not left Erestor's side since his coming, but he really wanted to see the other Elfling, and if he was okay. Silent, as he had been since his arrival, Lindir followed the Lady and her parents. Lindir slipped through the open door and moving slowly he inched his way into the Elflings room. The Lord's and Ladies along with the two Galadhrim stood over the small Elf's bed as Lord Elrond examined him. Lindir heard the shorter, stockier of the two Galadhrim angrily tell of what had occurred. The little one had evidentially followed the warriors when they had gone ahead to check out an Orc sighting, and having climbed a tree to see the action, fallen and struck his head. Lindir saw the other Galadhrim sooth the upset one, whose name he heard was Haldir, brother to the little injured Elfling.
Lindir heard the Lady Galadriel comforting the two, both brothers to the little one, Lindir learned. Lord Elrond pulled back from the Elfling and told the others that Rúmil, the Elfling, had a concussion. Lindir did not know what a concussion was, but it sounded serious. Lord Elrond also told them that the little one needed to be awakened; it was not safe for him to be sleeping. But nothing the adults did could wake Rúmil, and finally all left except the brothers and a healer. Lindir stayed quiet, still, in his corner. He heard the brothers, Haldir and Orophin agree to bathe and refresh themselves before they would return to attempt to wake their little brother. The healer also left, probably also to eat and go about other duties, and Lindir was then alone with the other Elfling.
Lindir inched forward, staring at the other Elfling curiously. The small body was larger than his own, and unlike his curly wild mane of white hair, this little one had golden hair straight and fine with strange braids pulling it back from his small pale face. Lindir looked about him, chewing his lower lip, before he climbed up and sat beside the sleeping Elfling. Lindir thought it a great shame that Rúmil would not awake, what if he slept right through Yule? Lindir shook his small head. He would not like that! Erestor had told him all about Yule here in Imladirs, and it sounded like great fun to Lindir. The Lady Celebrían had been excited like an Elfling herself, as she had awaited her parent's arrival. The whole valley had thrown themselves into the upcoming celebrations joyously, for when the Lord and Lady were excited, everyone was.
Erestor had asked Lindir just the other evening what he wished for Yule, but Lindir had not been able to answer him. For besides the return of his own Ada and Nana, he did not want for anything else. Lindir knew that was not possible though, Erestor had explained that his parents were now with Lord Mandos and that they could not come back to him, not for a very, very long time. Erestor had told him that some day when they went home, to the White Shores, that his Nana and Ada could be there waiting for him. But that was a long time away, Lindir knew.
Lindir was as still as the sleeping Elfling as he sat beside Rúmil studying the other child. There were no other Elfling's in Imladris, all the Elves in Lord Elrond's service having come with their Lord from the older Elven community of Lindon. Lindir would like for the Elfling to wake. He was curious, would he have green eyes like Lindir's or blue like the Elfling's brothers? Would he want to play with Lindir, be his friend maybe? Lindir thought he would like that.
Lindir did not hear his guardian enter the room, so he jumped when Lord Erestor spoke. "Lindir, there you are. I have been searching everywhere for you, little one," Erestor moved to his ward's side and looked down at little Rúmil. His eyes softened and he smiled at his ward. "Did you come to keep Rúmil company?"
Lindir leaned his small body back against the comfort of Erestor's form. His small hands plucked nervously at the black robes Erestor wore. "Will he wake?" Lindir asked. Lindir knew Erestor would know the answer, he knew everything.
But Erestor only soothed a hand down Lindir's white curls and shook his head before replying. "We do not know. He needs to. The longer little Rúmil sleeps the harder it will be for him to wake."
"Oh," Lindir said, his voice tiny. Sadly he looked down at the other child.
Erestor smiled fondly down at his ward. Lindir had a sweet heart and was a very kind and caring Elfling. He would make a wonderful friend and companion to some lucky Elf someday. "Would you like to stay with Rúmil for a while longer, Lindir?" Erestor asked.
Lindir nodded, never taking his eyes from the still body in the bed. "I will have the servant's bring you some dinner, and come to fetch you for bed later," Erestor patted Lindir's small head once more before leaving the two Elfling's alone.
Lindir sat with the sleeping Rúmil the rest of the evening. He munched on the apples, cheese, and bread the servant brought, with a little set to the side just in case Rúmil awoke. When Erestor and Rúmil's brothers arrived, he reluctantly gave up his place beside the other Elfling, smiling shyly when the brothers thanked him for staying with their younger sibling. He allowed Erestor to help him into his nightclothes, but his mind was still in the healing wing as he snuggled in his bed, Erestor perched on the side, ready to tuck him in.
"I have changed my mind," he whispered sleepily to Erestor.
"About what, little one," Erestor asked.
"What I would like for Yule. I would like Rúmil to wake up, Erestor-." Lindir's voice trailed off softly as he drifted to sleep, and Erestor tenderly placed a kiss upon his white curls before leaving the room.
The next morning, Lindir rushed through his washing and dressing. This was Yule-eve, Rúmil had to wake up today! But when he arrived at Rúmil's room, the other Elfling was still sleeping, his brothers seated beside him on the bed. The pair looked so sad to Lindir. He knew what they were feeling, that ache in your heart that never went away. Cautiously he inched his way close to the Elfling's bed until he stood next to Haldir.
Haldir smiled down at the little Elfling. "Good morning, Lindir," he said.
Lindir shyly ducked his head and mumbled a good morn to Haldir and Orophin. He did not look at the older elves however; his attention was firmly fixed on Rúmil.
Orophin also smiled at the sight of the serious little one. He looked to Haldir both happy to see such concern for their little brother. "Lindir," Orophin said, and waited till tentative green eyes lifted to his own. "Would you mind staying with Rúmil while Haldir and I refresh ourselves?"
Lindir nodded and when the older elves departed he scooted himself back up beside Rúmil on the bed. The older elves of Imladris all were touched at the devotion the little Lindir showed as he spent the day by the sleeping Rúmil's side. Erestor brought his ward food and books, and Lindir read to Rúmil until his own eyes grew heavy with sleep. When Erestor came to check on Lindir in the early evening, it was to find him curled up beside Rúmil, both small heads asleep on the same pillow, white and gold strands of hair mingling. Erestor covered Lindir and set the tray he had brought beside the bed. He did not wake his ward, Lindir had shown none of this interest for anyone or anything else in Imladris, and Erestor has worried for his ward.
Lindir blinked and rubbed his fist across his eyes. All the lights were out except for one-lone candle that sat beside the bed, and Lindir could tell that all of Imladris lay abed. He sat up, confused for a moment as to where he was. But at the sight of the sleeping Elfling beside him, he remembered, Rúmil. Lindir sighed sadly; he had not woken up yet. Lindir did not want the other Elfling to miss Yule, and he reached out slowly to shake Rúmil. But no matter how hard he moved the small shoulder of the other Elfling, Rúmil refused to wake.
Lindir thought back to his own Nana, and how each Yule morning she would come into his room and wake him with song. His Nana had the most beautiful voice Lindir had ever heard; even his Ada had said that the Valar must love to hear his Nana sing.
Softly, voice small and delicate in the quiet of the night, Lindir began to sing.
Silent night, Solstice Night
Like the wings of a dove, his gentle voice rose and drifted through the halls, awaking those whose hearts opened to listen. No sound as sweet or as lovely had ever been heard in Imladris. The wind stilled, and the very night seemed to listen and rejoice to hear such a gift. Erestor and Elrond, along with Celeborn, Galadriel, Celebrían, Haldir and Orophin all gathered in the doorway to Rúmil's room; their eyes trained in awe upon the sight. Upon the bed, with one of Rúmil's small hands tightly held in his own, sat Lindir, singing.
No one said a word as the last notes of that blessed voice trailed off and the little Elfling noticed his audience. Lindir blushed and lowered his head. "Sorry," he whispered as Erestor came towards him.
Erestor picked up the small body and hugging him tightly, sat Lindir back upon the bed. "That was beautiful, Lindir," Erestor said, smiling down into those bashful green eyes.
It was as everyone came forward to stare in awe at Lindir, that a small voice could be heard.
"P-pretty," Rúmil whispered as he blinked sleepy eyes at the other Elfling.
Joyous cries of "Rúmil" were shouted as the little Elfling was hugged and fussed over by his brothers and Lord and Lady. Lindir tried to release Rúmil's hand, but the other Elfling would not let go. Indeed, Rúmil held tightly to the hand of the magical voiced Elfling that had called to him and woken him from his sleep. For Rúmil was sure that the little white-haired form beside his own was sent to him by the very Valar, his Yuletide gift.
From that day forward, few questioned the sight of the two elflings, hands clasped, always together. When it came time for Rúmil to depart, he gifted Lindir with a childishly drawn map of the route one took between Lórien and Imladris, and promises of visits were made and kept for many of Ages. When the two elflings grew to elves, one a warrior, the other a master mistrel, no one was surprised that their choices of mates were each other. The bonding was on Yuletide eve, with Lindir signing his love beneath the night sky and each year, Rúmil received his best and most cherished gift from his friend, Lindir, a song on Yule...