Just one more step...
"Where are you going?"
Elrond froze and closed his eyes. He turned back around, a pleasant smile on his lips. "Darling, I did not want to wake you. You slept so peacefully."
"Bull." Celebrian pulled the covers tighter around herself, snuggling down into their warmth. "Where are you going?"
"To bring up breakfast," he offered.
Elrond tried to think of some other excuse.
"Do not lie to me, I know your thoughts."
Sighing, he said, "I have a meeting this morning."
"No you do not! Erestor said he was taking care of all of your meetings for the next year. It has only been a month!"
"Thirty-five days," replied Elrond, scratching his head. "But who is counting?" he added quickly as Celebrian rose up and glared at him. "Celebrian, I am restless."
"You are restless?" Throwing off the covers, she swung her legs over the side of the bed, stabbing her feet at the floor to find her slippers. "You are restless? I carried them for a year, and you are restless? I am the one feeding them all the time, and you are restless?"
"Shh, Ria, you will wake them," he said, pointing to the cradle at the end of the bed. He stepped over and gently rocked them as they began to stir. Elladan rolled over onto his other side, while Elrohir resumed sucking his thumb, and soon they were once again both asleep. "It is a very short meeting, I promise. Just an update. I need to know what is going on in my realm," he reasoned.
Giving up on her slippers, Celebrian burrowed into the blankets again. "It had better be quick," she mumbled. "And bring back pancakes!" she called after him as he practically ran out the door.
- - -
"...so what we are going to do is scale back on the strawberry crop so that we can make more room for the raspberries," explained Erestor as Melpomaen made a few notes on a sheet. They were all assembled in a circle, with Erestor at Elrond's great desk and Melpomaen taking notes at the side. Normally, Erestor would have been the secretary for the meetings, but with Elrond otherwise occupied with his new family-
"Sorry I am late," said Elrond, entering the room swiftly and before Glorfindel had time to argue the current issue. All of the occupants looked up at him with varying degrees of confusion. The elf showing the greatest amount was Erestor, who had nearly hopped off of the chair when he heard Elrond enter.
"I... uh, Lord Elrond, I was not aware of the fact you were going to return early," stuttered Erestor. When Melpomaen began to write this in the notes, Erestor reached over and stayed his hand. "Have I done something wrong?"
"What? No," said Elrond, walking to an empty chair that normally would have been occupied by Melpomaen. "I thought I would come and observe, and find out what I have been missing."
The room was silent for a little while, before Glorfindel asked, "Getting tired of changing their soiled clothing, I suppose?"
"It is atrocious!" Elrond blurted out to the amusement of his staff. "I never thought something so little could manufacture so much waste!"
Laughter spread through the room, but quickly died down as the sound of wailing children could be heard down the hallway, coming closer and closer. Elrond shifted nervously, and the rest seemed to know what was coming.
Celebrian nudged the door open with her hip, holding both of her sobbing infants, one in each arm. With a polite smile to the rest of the group, she walked over to Elrond, presenting both of his sons. "Pick one. I cannot feed them both at the same time, and my head will surely split if I must listen to the other's protests." Forcing an apologetic smile, Elrond chose to take Elladan from her arms. Elrohir was smaller and wriggled less, he had observed, but he knew also that his wife favored the slightly younger twin because he complained a great deal less. Celebrian left the room looking slightly relieved.
Elrond tried in vain to comfort little Elladan, but the crying persisted, making it quite difficult to accomplish anything, let alone hear one another over the noise. "My lord, if I may," offered Erestor after a fourth time of trying to state a proposal to the group. He walked to Elrond and took the elfling into his arms. For a few moments, there was peace, until the baby looked up into the face of the elf holding him and let out a high shriek, followed by another.
"Oh, for the love of the Valar." Glorfindel stood and rolled up his sleeves. "Here, let me try." The golden elf had possession of the child for no more than ten seconds before he let out a wail and squirmed red-faced back toward his father.
"I am sorry, everyone," apologized Elrond as the door was pushed open again. Celebrian, also holding a squirming, whining elfling came back over to Elrond. "Done so soon?" he questioned.
"He does not want to eat," she spat out, handing him Elrohir and taking Elladan. "Do not try blaming that on MY side of the family, either," she warned him as his mouth began to open. She returned the way she came and Glorfindel gave him a sly look.
"You have been blaming all of the unpleasant things about them on her side of the family?" he questioned.
"When I have had to," Elrond defended. "Oh, sorry," he added as Glorfindel smirked.
Shaking his head, Glorfindel answered, "Not to worry, I am not that closely related to her. Just first cousins," he added with a wink. The door was suddenly kicked back open again. A very agitated Celebrian stepped through and gave her husband a most indignant look.
"He bit me," she growled. Glorfindel's smirk turned into a grin, and he covered his mouth. "On the finger," she added, scowling at him. The golden lord merely nodded, closing his eyes mirthfully. "Oh, honestly," she mumbled as she handed Elladan over to Elrond. She reached for Elrohir and stopped.
Elrohir was engaged in a marvelous game of 'yum, Ada's braid looks tasty, I think I shall chew it', while Elladan, noticing his brother's delight, decided to try his hand at a round of 'that looks delicious, I shall have one, too'.
"Hmmh." Celebrian nodded happily. "Well, have a lovely meeting," she said, and left the room.
Closing his eyes and drowning out everything save for the happy sucking and smacking noises of two elflings enjoying an early morning snack, he bowed his head slightly as Elladan began to pull on his hair a little. "I swear-"
"Hair chewing is not a trait of the Finarfin family," spoke Glorfindel. "We admit to wild dancing, brash insults, and the occasional slaying of kin, but not chewing hair."
"Maybe it came from the line of Galadhon," countered Elrond.
"Oh, I like that idea," Erestor said, surprising those in the room. "Blame it on Celeborn- was he not the one who said 'Elflings are a joy, why wait to have them'?"
"Yes!" Elrond winced as his braid was nearly yanked from his head because of Elladan's steel grip on it. "Yes, it must be his part of the family." Trying to readjust as his hair was further mangled, he said, "I think perhaps I shall just read the report later. They have become a bit... preoccupied, and I think we could use a... a more comfortable seat for this," he admitted as he made his exit.
"Blame it on Celeborn," chuckled Glorfindel, and Erestor shrugged. "You are getting bold, councilor."
"It is this desk. Makes me powerful. And the chair, I like the chair, he might not get it back." Erestor rubbed his ears. "Well, that was a most interesting morning. What say you to an early lunch in the gardens where we can observe the silence of the growing grass and contemplate our horrible luck to all be unmarried, childless elves?"
Elrond's office never cleared out faster before or since.