Kids do the Darndest Things
1. Kids do the Darndest Things
Not wanting to think about the new baby, Celegorm rolled from his bed and wandered down the hall. There had to be something to do. Of course, he could always ask his brothers to play with him, but they weren’t exactly fun. Maedhros was currently going through what his mother called a ‘melodramatic adolescent phase.’ Celegorm wasn’t quite sure what melodramatic meant, but he was assuming that it involved feeling their parents did not know what they were talking about, believing the world was unfair, and suffering from unrequited love for the daughter of one of their mother’s friends. No, Maedhros would not be fun to spend the afternoon with.
His other choice was Maglor. Celegorm suppressed a gag. Maglor was the most boring person he knew. When he was not being a perfect little angel to their parents' faces, he was annoying to no end. Recently, he'd found teasing his younger brothers to be a nice diversion. Not only that, Maglor was just…different. He’d sit in his room and play the harp for hours on end. Why would anyone want to do that? No, trying to actually do something with Maglor would be even more boring than amusing himself.
That only left Caranthir. Well, an annoying little brother was better than no playmate at all. Celegorm pushed open the door to his brother’s room.
“I am still not speaking to you.” Caranthir glared at him angrily from where he was perched on his bed. To emphasize the point, he crossed his arms and pouted.
Celegorm rolled his eyes. Earlier, he’d gotten into an argument with Caranthir after the younger Elf ratted him out to his parents. “Be reasonable. You are incapable of entertaining yourself. Who else will you play with?”
“Maedhros will play with me.”
Celegorm snorted. “He is too old for building castles of blocks or playing make-believe. He cares only for maidens and saying things to make Ata and Amme mad.”
“Maglor, then. He does not mind playing make-believe.” Caranthir uncrossed, then recrossed his arms.
“Maglor.” Celegorm raised one eyebrow. “Think about it.”
Caranthir frowned, silently pondering the words. “At least Maglor will not call me a rat,” he said at last.
“No. But he will make you listen to his latest compositions. His most recent work is almost forty-five minutes of harp playing before the singing even starts.” Celegorm shrugged, “But if you’d like to spend the day listening to that, I can play by myself. I was only trying to include you.” That would get him. Caranthir always complained his older brothers excluded him. They usually did, too. Maedhros actually had friends – this concept was surprising to Celegorm, as he could not understand who would want to be friends with someone who complained as much as Maedhros - Maglor spent his time working at his music, and as for himself, well, Caranthir always scared the animals away when they went exploring together. There was a reason he did not want his little brother tagging along on his adventures. “Enjoy the performance.” Celegorm turned towards the door. One, two, three, four…
“Wait.” There was a small thud as Caranthir dropped off the bed. “I am not mad at you anymore.”
“That is nice.” Celegorm took a step towards the door.
There was an annoyed sigh behind him. “Are you not going to play with me?”
He turned back towards Caranthir. “I suppose I could include you, but we will have to play what I want.”
“If you do not want to, you can always listen to the harp all afternoon.”
Caranthir crossed his arms again. “Fine. What are we playing?”
Celegorm thought for a moment. “Let us pretend we are hunting a wild beast.”
“How are we going to do that?” Caranthir tilted his head to the side, looking at Celegorm with confusion on his face.
His brother had no imagination what-so-ever. Celegorm turned towards his room. “First, we need to prepare our weapons.” He had a bow and two arrows that his father had made for him to practice. When he got really good, Ata had promised they would camp in the forest, just the two of them, and go hunting. With no annoying brothers! So far, he had not gotten good enough, but it was only a matter of time. After all, he had come rather close to the center of the target one time last week. Smiling with pride at the memory, Celegorm entered his bedroom and took the weapon from its place beside his bed. Of course, Amme had insisted that it was not a plaything, but Amme over-reacted to everything.
“I do not have a weapon.” Caranthir pouted.
“That is because you are too little, but you can be the scout.”
“Scouts are boring. They do not do anything.”
“They find the animals. You can search for the wild beast, and then I will shoot it,” Celegorm explained. He climbed onto his bed and pulled a small crate from the shelf above it. Dumping the contents, he found a carved wooden dog with bright blue gems for eyes. “Here,” he held the toy out to his brother, “You can train the hound, too.”
“Does it have a name?”
Celegorm shot his brother a look. “No. Does it need to?”
“I will call him Sugar-cube,” Caranthir declared.
“Sugar-cube? What kind of a name is that?” Celegorm made a noise of disgust.
“A good one.”
“Hounds are not ponies. If you must name him, give him one that is appropriate.”
“Fine. What is appropriate?”
“I know what appropriate means!” Caranthir exclaimed. “All the sons of Feanor are highly in..in…smart!”
“Intelligent?” Celegorm supplied, amused. “If you are going to quote Ata, at least know how to say all the words.”
“I do not want to play with you anymore,” Caranthir whined. He sounded a lot like Maedhros at the moment.
“Fine, call him Sugar-cube.” He did not care what his brother called the hound, as long as he stopped annoying him. “We will need supplies as well.”
“What sort of supplies?”
Celegorm pulled his pack out from under the bed. “We will need sleeping gear for when we make camp,” he stuffed a blanket into the pack as he spoke, “And fresh water.” He had a canteen that his grandfather had made him somewhere. Celegorm looked around the room and located it on the bookshelf. He held it up to show Caranthir before adding it to the pack. “And food.”
“We are not allowed to have food upstairs. Amme says it makes a mess,” Caranthir informed him.
“Amme can only be upset if we make a mess. We will play neatly and she will never know.” Celegorm shrugged. “Come on.” Leaving his supplies on the floor – he would finish packing when they returned with the food – he led his brother down the back stairs. Pausing at the bottom, he motioned for Caranthir to be quiet, then leaned around the corner. The kitchen was empty. Celegorm silently slid into the kitchen and began making his way towards the open pantry door.
There was a large crash behind him and he whirled towards the sound. Caranthir looked at him sheepishly and began picking up the wastebasket he had knocked over. This was why Caranthir never got to play with him. Celegorm thought about informing his brother of this, but decided it would be unnecessary noise. Instead, he helped clean the mess up quickly before pushing his brother ahead of him and into the pantry. He shut the door partway, hiding them from the view of anyone who could wander into the kitchen, then turned to peruse the shelves. What to bring on a hunting trip?
“Why can I not go?” The door between the kitchen and the dining room opened. “Everyone else is going.”
“If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you?”
Celegorm rolled his eyes. Maedhros and his mother. It appeared that he would be stuck listening to another one of their pointless arguments. Maedhros should realize that Amme always won and just save everyone the trouble by keeping his mouth shut.
“If it was fun.”
Celegorm hadn’t realized the word ‘fun’ had that many syllables. He snickered and returned to his inventory of the pantry. Beside him, Caranthir silently held up a prize. Someone had bought fudge the last time they had gone to market. He gave his little brother a large smile. Those would make excellent supplies for their camp.
“Amme says Maedhros is going through a phase,” Caranthir whispered, “But that he will grow out of it.”
“I doubt it,” Celegorm replied quietly, “Ata never did.” He moved to the door, listening to the sounds in the kitchen and waiting for his mother and brother to leave.
“This is exactly why you cannot go,” Amme was still arguing with Maedhros. “It worries me that you will not think for yourself.”
“I think for myself,” Maedhros protested. The door opened and he most likely followed their mother from the room. Whatever Amme’s response was, Celegorm never heard it.
“Ready?” Caranthir pushed a piece of the fudge into his mouth.
“Ready.” Celegorm peeked around the door, checking to make sure the kitchen was, in fact, empty. This was too easy. “Come. Let us finish our packing.”
This time, Caranthir managed to make it to the stairs without alerting the whole house. Together, they returned to Celegorm’s room. “When Amme and Maedhros came into the kitchen, I thought we were gonna be caught.”
“Going to. Ata would not like it if he heard you saying things like ‘gonna.’ You know how he is with proper speech.” Celegorm held his pack open.
“Why should you get to carry all the food? I found it,” Caranthir pouted.
“Well, you could always carry the pack,” Celegorm suggested.
Caranthir brightened at this idea. Little kids were so gullible. “Really?”
“Sure. You are old enough.” Lately, he’d noticed that he could get people to do what he wanted by playing on their weaknesses. Of course, the only two he’d been successful at tricking were Caranthir and Maglor, though he had come close with Maedhros. He really should learn how to utilize this skill more.
“Celegorm? Why do you think Ata acts like Maedhros?” Caranthir pulled the pack on over his shoulders, then picked up the wooden dog.
“Have you seen Ata around his brothers and his Ata? All he does is whine. If being grown up means you whine all the time, I do not want to be an adult.”
“Oh. But you don’t have an early bedtime, and you get to do whatever you want, and…”
“Let us go. We need to travel some distance before reaching the place we will build camp.” Celegorm took his weapons from the bed and led his little brother into the hallway.
“I should lead. I am the scout.” Caranthir pulled on his arm.
“Fine.” Celegorm let his brother move in front of him.
“Come, Sugar-cube, we need to find a good place for camp,” Caranthir talked to the toy. “ ‘I know the perfect place, Caranthir.’” He made the dog reply.
“Hounds do not talk.” Celegorm interrupted his brother’s game.
Celegorm opened his mouth to reply that everyone knew hounds couldn’t speak, then thought it sounded too much like Maedhros’ argument and changed his mind. “Manwe. He is the king of the Valar and he should know, should he not?”
“I suppose, but Sugar-cube is a magic dog…”
“Hound,” Celegorm corrected.
“And he can talk if he chooses to,” Caranthir finished. “If you do not like it, I will tell Amme you are being selfish again.”
“And I will tell Amme that you stole fudge from the kitchen. As it is in the pack you are carrying, who do you think will be in more trouble?”
“But you told me to!” Caranthir protested.
“I am not the one with the evidence.” Celegorm shrugged. “But go ahead, tell Amme I am being selfish. I do not care.”
Caranthir set down the pack and pulled the fudge from it. “I told you we should not bring it upstairs, too.” He held it out to his brother. “Take it. I do not want to get into trouble.”
“A minute ago you were whining to carry it,” Celegorm shot back.
“Oo, fudge.” A hand grabbed the bag from Caranthir. Celegorm looked up to see Maglor fish out a piece and pop it into his mouth.
“Hey! That is mine!” Caranthir exclaimed. He jumped, trying to get the bag.
“No.” Maglor held it out of his reach. “It was.”
“Give it back, Maglor.” Celegorm joined Caranthir in trying to get the bag back from his brother.
Maglor laughed, moving the bag so it was inches above Celegorm’s head, then jerking it away when he jumped for it. “Go ahead, Celegorm. Take it. Do you not want it?” He pulled the bag away a second time.
Caranthir looked from Celegorm to Maglor, then did what he did best. He sat down on the floor, threw his head back, and screamed. “Amme!”
Celegorm tried to take advantage of the situation, lunging at his older brother. Unfortunately, Maglor stepped aside and he crashed into the floor face first a moment later. He sat there for a moment, dazed, before pulling himself to his feet to try again.
Not getting the attention he wanted, Caranthir began to scream louder.
“Oh for the love of the Valar!” Maedhros appeared in the doorway to his room. “Maglor, give them the bloody candy back!”
Celegorm felt his mouth drop open. Maedhros had just cursed. That was worse than breaking any of Amme’s stupid rules. He had just broken one of Ata’s rules, and those rules were not to be broken. Ever. The entire hallway was deathly quiet.
“It is fudge,” Caranthir broke the silence by correcting his older brother. Celegorm was surprised his little brother hadn’t said something about telling their mother, but then again, Maedhros was intervening on their behalf. One does not bite the hand that feeds you.
“I could care less what it is.” Maedhros crossed the hall, ripped the bag from Maglor’s hand, and dropped it in Caranthir’s lap. “Now be quiet.” He stormed back into his room, slamming the door behind him.
“He is going through a stage,” Caranthir told Maglor.
Maglor rolled his eyes and retreated to his own room, but not before yelling something very un-brotherly at Maedhros’ door.
“And you said Maglor would be nice to you.” Celegorm shook his head. “Come on.”
Caranthir returned the fudge to the pack, forgetting that he had taken it out in the first place out of fear of getting into trouble. “Where are we going?”
“To make a camp and hunt wild beasts, remember?” Celegorm pushed open the door to his father’s library. No one was in sight, so he motioned for Caranthir to follow him inside. “Let us camp by that large cliff, as it will provide protection from the elements.”
“Celegorm, we are inside. There is no cliff.” Caranthir looked confused.
“The fireplace. We are pretending it is a cliff. We are also pretending that we are not two children in a house, but two great hunters in the wilderness.”
“Great hunters?” Caranthir looked doubtful.
“Yes, like Orome. Come on.” Celegorm began pushing some of the lighter furniture away to make room for them to play beside the large fireplace. When it was cold or rainy, Amme would let them have hot chocolate and she would read to them. Of course, that was before Curufin. Curufin ruined everything.
“Now what?” Caranthir sat down in front of the fireplace.
“Well…why do you not take the things out of the pack, while I secure the perimeter.” Celegorm picked up his bow and one of the arrows, then scurried to crouch behind the sofa. He took a moment to close his eyes and imagine a dense forest. Overhead, a bird called. The deep scents of the woods filled his nose, and he could feel patches of sunlight filter down through the large branches overhead. He opened his eyes, the slunk behind a large rock. Something caught his attention and he turned to see a giant bear standing a few feet away. At the moment, the animal was remaining perfectly still, but it could always attack. Celegorm slid the arrow into the bow, pulling the string back and sighting along the shaft. If the bear moved an inch, it was dead.
“Celegorm! I set up the camp!” Caranthir’s loud voice startled him and he released the arrow.
In horror, Celegorm watched as it flew through the air and neatly pierced the ceramic vase grandfather’s wife had given Amme. The vase fell to the floor with a sickening crash, and the pieces scattered.
Caranthir came to stand beside him, his mouth hanging open. “You are in so much trouble.”
“Maybe we can fix it…” Celegorm moved to what remained the vase, trying in vain to gather up the pieces. “We have to fix it.”
“What are you going to tell Amme?”
Celegorm looked up. Amme would be furious. She had gone on and on about what a wonderful gift it was, and how much she loved it. She displayed it on one of the tables in the library all the time. “I…I do not know.” He had broken the vase while playing a game that he was not to play inside, using his weapons as toys…he was going to be in so much trouble. “I have to fix it. Amme cannot find out.”
“That is too broken to fix.” Caranthir shook his head. “Too, too broken.”
“No. It can be fixed. It has to be able to be…” Celegorm looked up as the door opened. Too late.
He bit his lip as he watched his father enter the room carrying three leather bound books. Ata must have realized something bad had happened, for he stopped, setting the books on the desk. “Boys?”
Caranthir, not one to enjoy trouble, pointed at Celegorm. “It is all his fault.”
Ata raised an eyebrow and looked at Celegorm.
“I, I broke Amme’s vase. The one grandfather’s wife made her.” He felt tears coming to his eyes. Ata would be mad at him for sure, and he hated disappointing his father more than anything. “I shot it with an arrow.” Realizing it sounded as if he meant to do so, Celegorm quickly added, “It was an accident. I was pretending to hunt a bear, and then I got startled and let go and…I am sorry, Atar.”
“Where were you when you shot this?” Ata frowned, looking at the mess. He knelt down and pulled the arrow from the pieces.
Celegorm pointed at his rock – the large easy chair in the corner.
His father studied the distance a moment. “That was a rather good shot.” He held the arrow out. “Do not use this in the house again.”
Celegorm took the arrow back, looking at the floor. “Yes, Atar.”
“Come, put your things away and we will clean up this mess.” His father's voice became kinder.
There had to be more of a scolding that that. He deserved to be in a lot of trouble. Not wanting to tempt fate, Celegorm quickly helped Caranthir shove everything back into the pack. He turned back to where his father was collecting the broken ceramic pieces and placing them into a wastebasket. “Ata?”
“Can you fix it?”
His father shook his head. “No. Your mother would notice the cracks, even if all the pieces could be gathered and placed together again.” He stood, then turned towards the door. “Do not worry. I never did like that vase much.”
Celegorm heard his father call for his mother. He was in for it now. His last hope had been that Ata could fix it and then Amme wouldn't be so upset. Glumly, he studied his shoes.
“What is it, Feanor?” Amme appeared beside Ata a moment later.
“I am afraid I bumped the table and broke your vase.” Ata held up a piece of ceramic. “The boys were playing and I tripped over one of their toys.”
Amme glared at him, obviously angry. “You ‘bumped’ it,” she repeated. It sounded as if she did not believe him.
“It was an accident.”
“Like how you accidentally told Indis she was not welcome in our house? Or how you accidentally told your half brothers what you truly thought of them?”
“Ask the children. They were here.” Ata glanced over at them.
Celegorm watched Amme look from Ata, to him and Caranthir, and back to Ata. “Caranthir?”
“Is your father telling the truth?”
Celegorm wanted to groan. Caranthir would never not tell Amme something. Well, perhaps not the thing about Maedhros cursing, but if she would ask him…
“Yes, Amme. Celegorm left Sugar-cube by the table and Ata tripped.” Caranthir looked up at their mother. He was the vision of innocence.
“Sugar-cube is the hound,” Celegorm added, pointing to the carved dog that lay on top of the pack. “I told Caranthir it was a stupid name, but he whined until he got his own way.”
Amme looked at Ata, who shrugged. She sighed. “What am I going to tell Indis?”
Ata mumbled something under his breath.
“What was that, Feanor?”
“Nothing, love.” He smiled, “I will ask her to make you a new one when I next see her.”
Down the hall, Curufin started crying. Amme gave them a tired look, then quickly glared at Ata before going to see what the baby needed this time.
Ata picked up the bow from where it lay behind the pack. "Come, Celegorm. The rain has let up. Let us see if we can get your aim to improve when you shoot at something less breakable."
"Me too?" Caranthir asked hopefully.
"You may be too little, yet, but you can watch." Ata picked him up and set him on his shoulders.
Not getting in trouble and getting to do something with Ata? Celegorm grinned. He should break gifts from grandfather’s wife more often. Happy for the first time all day, he followed his father.
Amme is mother in Quenya, Ata is father. Atar is the formal version of father. I used the Sindarized versions of the characters' names throughout. They probably would be using their mother names or their father names in Aman. Some hounds do talk in Tolkien's world; Celegorm just doesn't know that yet.
Parts of this story were inspired by the artwork of Jenny Dolfen.
I do not own anything from the Silmarillion. I just play for fun.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.