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Title: Washed Up
Author: Enismirdal firstname.lastname@example.org
Summary: The latest thing to wash up on the shores of Valinor is curiously familiar.
Disclaimer: As always, the lurvely Elves are the exclusive property of Professor Tolkien. Oh, how I envy him. No insult intended and no profit made.
(Bizarrely for me, this was written in one single evening. Read at own risk.)
I think it's just over 700 words.
The knock came at the most inopportune moment, right in the middle of Ecthelion's intricate dissection of a perfectly-cooked globe artichoke. Sucking the butter from his fingers after finding that the dog had run off with his napkin and seemed to be trying very hard to kill the poor object, Ecthelion resigned himself to the interruption and wondered what Penlod wanted this time around. As fond as he was of his friend and fellow former captain of Gondolin, Ecthelion did wonder how Penlod ever managed to make it through a day. There was always one disaster or another that required Ecthelion's immediate assistance, or else they would all be doomed.
The first thing to hit him as he opened the door was the odour of seaweed. The next thing was a spray of similarly-scented water droplets. He rubbed his eyes and blinked them open again as a voice said, "Oh, sorry. I had no idea you were going to open the door at that precise moment."
Ecthelion looked up. Glorfindel's hair was stuck to his face, and when this wet looked less golden and more a kind of antique-bronze. To be generous. The strips of brown bladderwrack hanging from one dishevelled braid did not lend much to the overall effect. "You did knock on the door," Ecthelion observed midly, schooling his expression to remain carefully neutral - despite the fact that the unheralded appearance of this particular Elf should rightfully have left him speechless. "This usually suggests that you expect someone to open it soon after."
"But I did interrupt your dinner," Glorfindel countered. "I had not thought you would abandon it so hastily."
"You try living next door to Penlod," Ecthelion replied with a weary sigh. "After having to save the world for him at least once an evening, you learn about dropping everything. Even perfectly-cooked globe artichokes." He glanced back at it ruefully.
Glorfindel stepped through the doorway, the movement depositing a rain of sand and seashells on the neatly-swept flagstones that Ecthelion had gone to considerable trouble to acquire for his hallway. It was a similar white stone to that from which his house in Gondolin had been made and it added a familiar touch to this new home in Valinor. "New home" was, in fact, not entirely accurate; Ecthelion had been reborn some six centuries ago and had spent the last five hundred and forty eight of those years here. Still, there was something about Valinor that felt transient to him, perhaps because he had been so young when he had departed it the first time with the host of exiled Noldor.
Ecthelion's curiosity finally got the better of him. "Glorfindel," he sighed, "why, exactly, did you turn up here unannounced, after we have not seen each other for millennia beyond count, looking like you swam here at high tide?"
Glorfindel looked down at the puddle and broke out in a wide smile. "My dear, it is because that is exactly what I did do. The ship was apparently going to turn north and drop anchor in the main harbour nearly a day's ride from here, and..." his voice softened, "...I glimpsed someone walking a dog on the beach and I would have recognised Ecthelion, shining Lord of the Fountain, ten miles away." His damp hand reached out to stroke Ecthelion's hair, and Ecthelion found himself leaning into the touch, rather than shrugging away. "As it was, we were only a mile or so from the land, so I dived from the rail and swam ashore. The current was a bit stronger than I had anticipated, but never mind - I got here, did I not?"
"Wait - rather than waiting another day out of thousands of years, you threw yourself from a ship and swam through the ocean, to turn up dripping wet and smelling like a dead fish on my doorstep in the middle of my dinner?"
Glorfindel nodded sheepishly, then wrapped his arms around Ecthelion and gave him a light but very sincere and emotion-filled kiss.
"Your idea of romance is the oddest one I have ever come across," Ecthelion said quietly, "but it will work for me..." He smiled through a curtain of bladderwrack-adorned hair and contemplated a future containing probably many more joyful, seaweed-scented embraces from his very favourite Elf.