"Ah, here he is," said Haldir quietly, stepping into the parlor.
"Thus concludes the search for Gimlin," replied Legolas, entering after Haldir and Elodien.
On the overstuffed golden chair, Elrond lounged with his eyes closed and a sleeping elfling curled up against him. The three elves at the door looked upon the picture and smiled. Haldir came forward to collect the elfling.
"What are you doing? He's perfectly fine where he is," whispered Elodien. "Let him stay, they look so peaceful. You'll disturb his sleep."
"I won't wake him," protested Haldir. "I'm just going to move him."
Legolas put a hand on Haldir's shoulder and pulled him back. "Don't do that! He's going to wake up if you do!"
"No, he won't," argued Haldir.
"Yes, I will," came a soft voice, and the three elves turned to look once again at the elves in the chair.
"Up to bed with you," chuckled Haldir, even though the elfling had not moved and appeared still to be asleep. "Gran'papa can't be comfortable sleeping with you on his lap like that." Haldir reached forward once more."Up to bed with you," chuckled Haldir, even though the elfling had not moved and appeared still to be asleep. "Gran'papa can't be comfortable sleeping with you on his lap like that." Haldir reached forward once more.
"I'm not asleep," came another voice, and Haldir was startled this time, and shot a look of contempt over his shoulder at the elves laughing at him. When he looked back, he saw that Elrond had wrapped an arm around the elfling, and that both of Gimlin's arms were now around Elrond's neck. "We're fine. Go to bed."
Attempting to protest, Haldir was silenced when his son added, "Gran'papa and I are spending some time 'lone. You can shoo now, please."
Elodien put her hand to her mouth to keep from laughing out loud, and grinning, Legolas stepped out of the room with her. Haldir shook his bowed head, hiding a smirk in case either occupant of the chair dared to open their eyes. "Love you," said Haldir as he approached the chair and knelt down to kiss his son's brow.
"Love you," repeated Gimlin.
"See you tomorrow in the morning," Haldir added, pressing his cheek to Gimlin's and hugging him gently with one arm.
"Pancakes for breakfast?" asked the elfling hopefully.
Haldir smiled. "With strawberries and cream. Good night." As he stood to leave, he heard his son clear his throat just as he turned. Haldir looked back around.
"Doesn't Gran'papa get a hug, too?" asked Gimlin.
Haldir hesitated for a moment, until Elrond lifted up his free arm, still with his eyes closed. Stepping back, Haldir bent down and gave Elrond a hug that encompassed his son as well.
"An' a kiss," insisted Gimlin. Elrond opened one eye at this and mouthed to Haldir 'You don't have to', but Haldir shrugged and kissed Elrond's brow. "An' tell 'im you love 'im," continued Gimlin with a yawn.
Both of Elrond's eyes were open as he regarded the youngest of his great-grandchildren in a most amused fashion.
"Well, if it's not true..." said Gimlin sleepily.
Haldir placed a hand on his child's head and looked up at Elrond. "Contrary to popular belief, Elrond, I do love you," he admitted, stroking Gimlin's head.
"That's nice," said Elrond, and then after chuckling quietly to himself, leaned close enough to kiss Haldir's brow and said, "I love you, too, Haldir," as he settled back into the chair.
"Anything else for you this evening, my lord?" teased Haldir, but Gimlin was fast asleep now. A few moments more he watched the elfling before standing up and heading to the door.
"Haldir?" Turning around again, he noticed that Elrond had closed his eyes again, but still remained awake. "Thank you, Haldir," he said, putting his other arm around the tired elfling.
"No. Thank you, Elrond," replied Haldir softly, smiling as he took a final look at Gimlin for the night.