A spray of powdered snow glittered in the frosty morning air in the wake of the twins’ stallions as they cantered towards the Last Homely House, plumes of steam rising from their nostrils. A stand of tall firs lay directly on their path and while lesser riders would have gone around it, the brethren could not resist the exhilaration of dodging the trees at high speed. Accordingly, they spurred their steeds straight for the stand.
All thoughts of a race were abandoned however, when they passed through the eaves, for the clump of firs was a truly magical sight this midwinter dawn. The wind had blown a coating of snow onto the trunks and branches, making them sparkle in the low rays of sunshine. Icicles festooned the branches and clinked softly in the light breeze, casting an ever-changing pattern of light with their every movement. Even the cobwebs were lovely to behold, their finest details picked out by shimmering ice.
Elrohir brought his steed to a halt and gazed about him in wonder. His thoughts flew instantly to the one with whom he would dearly love to share this sight.
“Legolas would love to see this. Do you think Father would let us bring him here?”
Elladan patted his shoulder sympathetically and shook his head. “You know Father would have him stay in bed for another week.” He looked around and chuckled softly. “Perhaps it’s for the best. You know that if he could see this place, he would feel the need to sing of its beauty to each and every tree. Most likely we would not see him for at least three days!”
Although Elrohir laughed at his brother’s jest, he could not help but shudder at the memory of Legolas being carried in to Imladris, a gory wound from a poisoned scimitar blade laying open his left leg from hip to knee, sustained when he and his escort had been ambushed in the mountains by orcs. Legolas had been on his way to Imladris to celebrate Midwinter with Elrohir, but instead of celebrations, there had been a tense few days while Elrond and his sons fought to save the prince’s life. Although Legolas was now out of danger, the lingering after-effects of the poison meant that his recovery was slow.
With a regretful sigh, he cast his eyes around one last time, to drink in the beauty of the place. “Still, it is a great pity he cannot see this. He—”
“What is it?” prodded Elladan, puzzled by the way his twin had broken off abruptly to stare thoughtfully at a clump of small saplings. When Elrohir finally turned to regard him, Elladan’s heart lightened to see a joyful light in his brother’s eyes that he had not seen since Legolas’ sorry arrival.
“Maybe we can bring Legolas to the wood after all!” Taking Elladan by the arm, he explained his idea.
“If I get any more needles stuck on my person, I’ll look like a hedgehog!” grumbled Glorfindel as he lowered his load to the floor.
“Shh! He’ll hear us!” Elladan whispered to his lover. “We want it to be a surprise.”
“Well that’s all very well, but how do we move all this into the sitting room without Legolas hearing us?” Glorfindel muttered, indicating the numerous bundles that now stood in the corridor outside Elrohir’s chambers.
“Distracting Legolas is my job,” Elrohir told him with a grin. “Wait here until it’s safe to come in.”
Glorfindel caught him by the arm as he was about to enter the room. “But how will we know when it’s safe?”
“Don’t worry, you’ll know!” replied Elrohir with a grin. Freeing himself from Glorfindel’s hold, he went in.
Legolas flung aside his book and smiled glowingly at Elrohir as the twin walked into the bedchamber. “You’re much later than I thought you’d be. Did you meet any trouble?”
“Nay, beloved,” replied Elrohir, sitting on the side of the bed and brushing his fingers along the angle of Legolas’ jaw. “But I ended up having to help carry in a delivery of goods for the Yule celebrations. How have you been?”
“I am feeling much better. I do not see why I cannot get up,” grumbled Legolas. “This is not at all how I planned to spend my stay here. At least,” he amended with a wry smile, “I had planned to spend much of it in bed, but not reading books on Second Age battle tactics.” He indicated the abandoned tome with a grimace.
“Oh? And just what did you have in mind?” Elrohir’s fingers swept up to lightly stroke a delicately pointed ear, causing Legolas to shiver and squirm deliciously against the pillows.
“Ai, do not torment me so! You know very well what I had in mind, and you keep insisting I am not well enough.” Legolas tried to bat Elrohir’s hand away, only to gasp when Elrohir caught his hand and slowly and deliberately drew his index finger into his mouth, suckling and swirling his tongue around the captive finger, holding Legolas’ gaze meaningfully.
“Ai, Elbereth!” whimpered the prince, his kingfisher blue eyes turning almost black with lust.
Elrohir released his finger and planted a quick kiss on his lover’s lips. “I have been away for three days. Perhaps I should examine you to see what progress you have made. So saying, he traced a line of fluttery kisses down the elegant lines of Legolas’ throat and then moved a little lower, pulling the blankets away to reveal Legolas’ magnificent form as he did so. For some time all that could be heard were Legolas’ shuddery breaths.
“Mmmm… absolutely nothing wrong with your nipples,” murmured Elrohir eventually. Then he licked his way down his lover’s taut stomach, chuckling to see how the muscles twitched with each teasing swipe. By the time he reached Legolas’ navel and plunged his tongue deep into the hollow, Legolas’ breathing was coming in shallow gasps and he was clawing his fingers through Elrohir’s raven tresses. When the younger twin moved lower to lick and nibble the sensitive skin of his groin, deliberately ignoring his aching arousal, Legolas groaned in frustration.
Elrohir glanced up, his eyes dancing. “So impatient!” He nipped the tender flesh of Legolas’ inner thigh. “But I haven’t finished my examination yet.” So saying, he tenderly laid a line of feather-light kisses down the length of the still-healing scar.
“Hmm – that is mending nicely. But you do seem to have a lot of tension in certain areas. I think I should tend to that now.”
“Yes!” gasped Legolas, then moaned in appreciation as Elrohir nibbled his way up Legolas’ other thigh, before holding firmly onto his hips. When Elrohir finally ran a teasing tongue up his throbbing erection, Legolas howled out his pleasure.
Still waiting in the corridor, Glorfindel nearly jumped out of his skin at the howl that resounded through the halls. He was on the point of dashing in to the bedchamber, convinced that Legolas had somehow come to harm, when it finally registered in his startled brain that the noises emanating from the chamber were ones of intense pleasure.
Elladan chuckled. “I think that is our signal! Let’s get started.” Then he grinned at Glorfindel, eyeing him appreciatively. “Although it does give me ideas. Perhaps we could—”
Glorfindel cut him off by thrusting one of the packages into his arms. Then hefting his own burden, he carried it through to Elrohir’s sitting room, shaking his head and muttering about insatiable Peredhil.
They set to work with a will, moving quickly and quietly, although, as Elladan laughingly murmured, judging from the impassioned cries coming from the bedchamber, they could have trooped a herd of mûmakil through the room and Legolas would have been none the wiser. Of course, working under such conditions was arousing, to say the least. Several times Glorfindel looked up to see Elladan gazing at him with naked desire in his eyes. Glorfindel himself had to fight the urge to hurl Elladan upon the nearest couch and rip his clothes to shreds.
At about the same time as they set the last of the bundles in place and carefully unwrapped it, there was one final ear-splitting yowl from the next room and then silence. Presently Elrohir emerged, a smug grin on his face.
“He’s asleep,” he announced. “I don’t think he’ll wake for a while.” Then he looked around the transformed sitting room and whistled appreciatively. “You’ve done a wonderful job! Now all we need to do is add the finishing touches.”
“We need to do nothing of the sort!” Glorfindel growled, grasping Elladan firmly around the waist. “Elladan and I have a most pressing engagement elsewhere. You can add the finishing touches.” With that he pulled an unresisting Elladan from the room.
“Keep your eyes closed!” ordered Elrohir as he and Elladan carried Legolas into the living room. They settled him on the couch that Glorfindel had moved closer to the fire, then Elladan moved to stand beside his lover, while Elrohir knelt down beside the head of the couch. They all smiled expectantly.
“Now you may open you eyes,” said Elrohir, taking Legolas’ hand and squeezing it gently.
Legolas opened his eyes and gasped at the sight that met his eyes. The room was filled with fir saplings in brightly coloured pots. Each tree was laden with mithril and crystal decorations: there were tiny bells that chimed softly in any draught; crystal beads hung from nearly every branch, spinning and catching the light with each twist and turn, and delicate strands of mithril thread wove among the needles like frosted cobwebs. To crown it all, tiny candles shone amid the branches, their light glinting in the decorations just like rays of sunshine on a frosty morn.
Turning enraptured eyes to his mate, Legolas said, “You did all this for me? They’re beautiful!” His eyes misting over, he whispered, “This is the perfect Midwinter gift.”
“I couldn’t bear the thought of you being apart from your beloved trees any longer,” replied Elrohir, stroking his lover’s cheek. “And before you ask, we took great care not to damage the roots when we dug up the saplings; they will all be replanted in their rightful place after the Yule celebrations are over.”
Legolas shook his head. “Never fear, the trees are all singing of their happiness in being here. I know you have treated them with care.” And reaching out to brush his fingers along the spiny branches of the closest tree, he closed his eyes and started to sing softly.
Elladan chucked softly and pulled a wry face. “Three days, brother! Come on, Glorfindel – I’ve still got needles stuck in various parts that I’m going to need your help with.” With that, he pulled Glorfindel from the room, leaving Elrohir and Legolas alone with the trees.