Wrote this on a whim on Christmas Eve in 2010, for I’ve been in the mood for some fluff with the Lórien brothers.
The days were drawing towards the Yule celebrations; Haldir had yet to return from his duties, and Rúmil was ever disheartened. He was the smallest of all elves in Lothlórien, which often left him alone for hours without one to play with. Orophin was not always there for him, not when he had reached the age to begin training into Lady Galadriel’s army. And though Ullenn and Thavrondir, mother and father to Rúmil, were often busy at work, they made space for their youngest child to help them with their tasks.
But Rúmil did not wish to spend his days working. Most he missed was seeing his eldest brother. Often he wrote Haldir letters begging for his return, for Rúmil worried he would forget how his brother once looked. Rúmil knew not where Haldir was, and words like Dol Guldor and Sauron elicited not a flinch from the small elfling who was no more than three on the winter of 2460 of the Third Age. To young Rúmil, the greatest peril lied in the fact that his brother would not join them for Yule.
“Why is Haldir not returned?” Rúmil asked Orophin on the eve of the celebrations.
“You have asked this many times, and I have answered you already! Haldir is far too busy to come home this Yule! Now please, leave me! You are crushing my knee!”
Rúmil slid from his brother’s lap, tears in his eyes. Orophin sighed. He had not meant to sadden the elfling more than he already was, but when he rose to chase after his younger brother, Thavrondir motioned him to sit back down. His father did not appear upset; rather, his lips were stretched into a small smile.
Golden leaves filled the scene beyond the window of the elven home. As Rúmil gazed out he thought about snow, which did not touch Lothlórien. He had never seen snow but heard descriptions of them. Rúmil wondered if Haldir now walked on snow, and how many days away he was from his family. And the more Rúmil thought of Haldir, the sadder he became. Why was Sauron getting all the attention this Yule?
Though snow did not touch the Golden Woods, the land still suffered from the winter chill. Rúmil snuggled under the blankets and willed himself to sleep. The chill of the night could be felt even under three layers, for the blankets were very thin. Rúmil shivered, but he did not move to get more blankets; he had already entered elven sleep.
When he became aware of the world around him, his body was considerably warmer. His cheeks had gone red from the warmth, and his teeth no longer clattered.
Rúmil sat up to study the thick blanket on him, deciding that the blanket must have been new. His little heart gave a lurch, but he did not dare think from whom these blankets came. It wasn’t until he looked up and spotted the soft plush toy on the ledge across from him that he let his spirits soar.
Eagerly he clambered out of the blankets, hugging the soft toy. It was of the shape of a bear the color of snow, crafted by the expert hands of an elf. He did not need to search for the person who gifted him, for he knew it right away: Haldir had come!
But where was he? Rúmil looked around his room and made to go back to the family room. But he did not wish to disturb Orophin again, to whom he owned an apology for crushing his knee. Instead he slipped back under the blankets, for it was freezing in the room, and he held his plush toy bear close to him. He would wait for Haldir to return to thank him, but as the minutes ticked by, Rúmil had fallen back into elven sleep.
It was not long after Rúmil fell asleep that Thavrondir and Ullen’s eldest child entered the room. He noted the bear missing from the shelf, now snuggly tucked next to the sleeping elfling covered in the new blanket he had gotten for him.
“Twice I’ve missed you,” Haldir said softly, chuckling. “I suppose I must wait till morning to speak with you.” He inched closer and lightly brushed his lips on Rúmil’s brow. “I wish thee a most joyful Yule, little Rúmil.”
He turned his back on his brother and in that moment Rúmil stirred. He had woken when Haldir kissed him, but he pretended he was still asleep. He could not find the answer why, for he had much longed to hug Haldir. In the morning he would properly wish him a happy Yule. He had caught a glimpse of his brother. Haldir was back home, and that was the greatest gift of all.