Sleep Little Estel
It was a cold late winter's evening in the hidden valley of Imladris and most of the elves were retiring for the night. The fire in the Hall of Fire had died down to gentle glowing red embers, casting a soft light on the few remaining elves seated around the large hearth. The evening's entertainment had drawn to an end some time ago, but there were those that were reluctant to leave the place of laughter and joy.
Down the corridor, inside the large comfortable study, Lord Elrond sat behind the desk finishing off several layers of paperwork. Signing off on a trade agreement with a nearby human settlement, the elf lord put down his quill and sighed, running his hand over his face.
He was weary, he would admit that. And the long night ahead of him of catching up on the documents and paperwork was not looking pleasant. The majority of the day had been given over to tending to his adoptive human son, Estel.
Estel. The elf lord couldn't help but smile as he thought of the small human asleep upstairs. He had adopted the boy after he had been brought to Imladris by his mother after his father had been killed by orcs. Less than a year later his mother had died, leaving the two year old on his own, with an elf for a father. But Elrond had quickly grown to love the boy, as had everyone around him.
Estel still missed his mother terribly , but with time and love from Elrond and his twin sons, Elladan and Elrohir, he slowly broke out of his shell and came to love his new family. There were occasions when the nightmares that had frightened him for almost a year would resurface and the small boy would break down and start crying for his mother.
It was in moments like these that Elrond found himself holding Estel close to him as he sang a gently lullaby that he could remember his wife, Lady Celebrian, singing to his own three children whenever they were upset or scared in her sweet soft voice that could calm even the most frightened of animals.
Most days, life in the Last Homely house was peaceful and uneventful.
But this morning Estel had not been himself. The five year old boy had arrived down to the morning meal earlier, complaining of a sore throat and a headache. It was soon clear that the boy was not well. As the morning wore on, Estel became more ill, until Elrond had confined him to his bed.
By midafternoon the child had a raging fever, chills and a deep chesty cough. Elrond had stayed constantly beside Estel's side as the boy twisted and turned, crying out as he was caught in feverish dreams.
Lord Elrond sat back in his chair, his mind drifting back to earlier that evening when he had looked in on his youngest son.
Estel had been lying in the middle of the large bed, his forehead covered in perspiration, crying as he held his tiny stomach, that hurt him so much. The young boy could not keep any food or liquids down. This caused the elf lord great worry for Estel was quickly becoming dehydrated. Any time Elrond managed to coax Estel to eat a few mouthfuls, it would come back up a moment or two later.
After many hours of alternating between the healing rooms and Estel's room Elrond was finally able to come up with a special mixture of mint and healing tea, which soothed Estel's stomach and allowed him to take small sips of water.
When he was sure that Estel wouldn't throw up the small amount of water he had given him, Elrond slowly managed the coax the boy into drinking a fever reducing tea, laced with a sleeping draught.
He had sat with Estel wrapped in a blanket on his lap, talking to him softly as the herbs began working. Slowly Estel's eyes began to droop and his fingers loosened their hold on the elegant robes of deep purple Lord Elrond wore. Moments later, the boy was sleeping peacefully in his father's arms, his small body relaxed and his mind content.
With tenderness, Elrond stood, ever so careful of the precious bundle in his arms and walked over to the bed, gently lying the child down on the mattress. Estel sighed softly in his sleep and rolled over onto his side, his tiny thumb in his mouth.
Elrond smiled as he drew the thick comforter up over his sleeping son. "Sleep little Estel," he whispered, before gently kissing his forehead. His hand absently combed through the dark untamable curls on Estel's head for a moment. "So small and yet so great, the Hope of men," Elrond murmured to himself.
Straightening up, he took one last look at the sleeping child as he left the room, intent on returning to his study.
With a start Elrond looked back at his desk. He realized that he had been staring out at the garden that was bathed in moonlight. He didn't know just how much time had gone by but one glance down at his desk told him he hadn't achieved much.
Shaking his head, he forced himself to work through the night into the early morning hours determined to finish his work before the sun rose, until sleep finally overtook him just as dawn peaked over the mountains.
As he slept, he failed to noticed the door to his study being pushed open and a small being toddled in, dragging a blanket with him.
"Ada?" a small tired voice asked.
When he received no reply, Estel looked at his Ada sleeping in his large chair. Frowning as an idea came to his five year old mind.
Quietly and as carefully as he could, he crawled onto the elf lord's lap covering the both of them up with his small blanket thrown clumsily around Elrond's knees. Reaching up he placed a small kiss on his father's cheek. "I love you Ada," he whispered as he curled down to sleep once more.
Lord Elrond stirred softly and smiled as he heard little Estel whisper to him. "I love you too ion nin." His hand brushed over his son's forehead, feeling the now cool skin. Together, father and son drifted off into their own separate dreams.
Hours later when neither the elf lord nor Estel had turned up at the morning meal, the twins went to search for them. They found them as they were; Estel curled up on Elrond's lap, the elf's strong arms wrapped securely around son.
"Leave them," Elladan whispered to his twin. "They need the rest." With a nod, Elrohir closed the door softly, taking care not to make a sound that would disturb the sleeping pair inside.
Yes life was certainly good and they couldn't have asked for a better family.