15. The Elladan Show: 4
It is slightly past noon. I have just gotten out of bed. Aerthos has just left to go home. I think the whole story needs a once-over.
I hung about the entrance to the PoliSci cabaret last night for a while before it opened, hoping to catch Elrohir before he arrived. I saw neither him nor Aerthos. After about an hour of nothing, it occurred to me that Elrohir might have made for the Theatre cabaret to talk to me. So I went over there. Also no Elrohir. I hung about at that entrance for about twenty minutes before someone, who turned out to be Nova, came and grabbed my arm. I had to dance with her for what seemed like eternity, all the while pretending to be Elrohir and all the while worrying about what was going on over at the PoliSci cabaret (probably chaos, with Elrohir right in the thick if it). Nova kept "accidentally" touching me in inappropriate places.
"You seem a bit distracted," she said. "Is something wrong?" "No no, I'm fine," I said. Then I remembered I had to talk like Elrohir, so I added, "dude." She gave me sort of a funny look. I know I'm not a very good actor, but I had to keep up the charade. I did the first Elrohirish thing that popped into my head. "Guess what?" I asked. She blinked and said, "What?" I grinned like an idiot and yelled, "Chicken butt!" This was followed by "Guess why?", "Guess who?", and "Guess how come?", all with answers pertaining to some chicken body part or bodily function. Afterward Nova was sufficiently pleased with my level of Elrohirishness, so we went to go stand in the drinks queue for vodka coolers.
I had to use up so much concentration on being Elrohir that I lost track of the time. It has never occurred to me before just how much energy he must go through in a day. No wonder he sleeps so much. When I finally thought to check my watch, it was three minutes past midnight. I quickly excused myself, telling Nova I had to go find "Elladan" for a minute, and promised I'd be back. Then I took off running from the theatre building to the Uni Centre. I arrived to the very welcome sight of Elrohir standing around outside the multipurpose room looking bored. He was wearing my vampire cape. "I want to change back into me now," he said. "Your social life sucks." I had no complaints about that suggestion, so we headed for the gents' toilets.
Once we had switched clothes and officially changed back into ourselves, I briefed Elrohir on the Nova situation, including a list of all the jokes I'd gone through (Guess what/chicken butt, knock knock/who's there/grape, owah tagoo siam, and so forth). He should be able to pick it up from there. Then I asked him what he did all evening. He said, "Not much," and shrugged. "Just hung out, looked at people. You know, stuff. Oh yeah, and I kissed that dude over there." Shocked, I spun around to see who he was gesturing to and almost fainted when I saw Aerthos standing at the end of the corridor sort of waving lamely at me. I would have grabbed Elrohir and made him explain everything in excruciating detail, but he was already off and running to his own cabaret to tell more lame jokes to Nova. I had no choice but to try to go along with his severely inadequate information.
Thus, doing the most logical thing I could think of, I walked over to Aerthos. And since my head was already spinning and my hands were shaking and I figured I might as well apply all this nervousness to a worthy cause, I kissed him right there in the corridor. He didn't yell or run away or anything, which was good. He did look a bit surprised, but in a smiley good way. "What was that for?" he asked. "No reason," I said. Then, since the kiss had gone well and thought I might as well try my luck, I asked, "Do you want to get out of here?" He smiled and said, "Sure. Where do we go?" I decided to keep pressing my luck. "I live in the Mindon Residence- really close. We could go there and watch a movie or something." "Cool," he said with a nod.
When we got back to my room, he looked over the DVD collection while I changed out of the clothes that Elrohir picked and into something that doesn't need to be ironed. He picked Star Wars to watch, which seemed like a logical choice because we'd both probably seen it fifty times before and by that point we both knew we wouldn't be paying much attention to the movie. I think we stopped watching sometime around when the Princess' ship is picked up by Darth Vader's.
All was well until around three, when just as we were drifting off to sleep, the door opened. Elrohir peeked in. He waved to Aerthos and said "Hi" before asking, "Do you have any thingies?" "What thingies?" I asked. "You know," he said. "Those thingies that you use." I got out of bed and went to the door. "What exactly do you want?" I asked. "Thingies" he repeated, more urgently. I looked toward his door. Nova was standing there, giggling. "OH," I said in a voice somewhat louder than was necessary, "you mean CONDOMS." "Yeah," he said. "Those thingies."
"No," I said, "I'm not Glorfindel. Try asking the machine in the biff. It sells them." He sort of nodded and was about to walk away, but then he turned back and asked, "Do you have some change I could borrow?" I slammed the door and propped my desk chair up against it, just in case. When I got back into bed Aerthos was laughing. "Your brother's adorable," he said. I had to assure him that Elrohir is not adorable- he's exasperating. We argued over whether Elrohir is adorable or exasperating for the next few hours before finally getting to sleep.
And that brings me to now. Overall, the start of this weekend has been very much to my satisfaction. Very much.
I made sure to set the alarm for four this morning so I'd be able to ring dad and see if he's in bed with Erestor again. Given the time difference, it was seven there and still early enough for them to be asleep. At four minutes after four I dialled home, and a few seconds later dad picked up. I asked to speak to Erestor, please. Dad said, "Nrrrjussminnuh..." and passed the phone to Erestor. Erestor said, rather groggily, "Hello?" and I yelled, "WHAT IN THE NAME OF ELBERETH ARE YOU DOING IN BED WITH MY DAD?!"
"Bugger..." he muttered, then hung up the phone without another word. "Bugger" is probably right! And two weekends in a row! I'm not going to let this slip by, no way! I'll keep telephoning every Sunday until they explain things to me.
Dad rang tonight, just as I was about to leave to go wash up and brush my teeth before bed. He started into the explanation straight away, saying, "Look, Elladan, I know this is unexpected but you're going to have to accept it." He then went on to say that he and Erestor have actually been "sort of" together ever since Gil-galad died, though they'd been keeping it a secret from everyone. But, now that mum's gone, Glorfindel's moved away, and Elrohir, Arwen and I are out of the house, they felt it was safe to be a bit more open about it.
So this has been going on for nearly 3020 years and nobody had any idea! And now I'm not supposed to tell anyone. Actually, dad said I can tell Elrohir, because he won't care, but I can't tell Arwen, because it would make her upset. I made him promise he'd eventually tell her, though. He said he would. Someday. Which I take to mean, "many years in the future when she's distracted by screaming children and won't be paying attention." I also asked what he's going to do about mum when he moves to Aman. He said he'd worry about figuring that out when the time came. He has no sense of planning.
Before I went to bed, I told Elrohir about the dad-Erestor situation. Dad was right. He didn't care. I think I'm going to have to tell Aerthos though. This is just too strange not to tell. I don't think dad will mind.
Aerthos came by for a meeting after class, which involved a satisfactory combination of fooling around and actually getting work done. We scanned a few photos of dad, Erestor, Glorfindel, grandma, and grandpa onto diskettes to use in a Power Point presentation. Then I rang dad to ask him to send me all the old video tapes and Super 8 reels of home movies he can find, since I need them for a class project. I didn't say what the class project is about. Then, after Aerthos and I decided we had no desire to do any more schoolwork, we sort of watched The Empire Strikes Back.
I made sure to get his telephone number before he left. He wrote it on a piece of masking tape and stuck it to my phone. After he was gone I surreptitiously added it to my memory dial. He's number five, after dad, dad's work, grandma and grandpa, and Arwen.
Aerthos and I are going out tonight. When he asked me yesterday if I wanted to go out somewhere tonight, it made me suddenly realise that I've not been off uni property since September when I went to the bus depot to pick up the box dad sent. And that made me realise that my life must be very sad indeed. I should make a point of going out more. Even if it's only to wander around downtown and get leered at by bums.
LATER: I just remembered why I don't like wandering around downtown. Apart from the getting leered at by bums, I mean. In September I tripped over an exceptionally large cobblestone on the way to the bus depot, which caused me to smear mustard from the hotdog I was eating all down the front of my favourite jacket. The jacket still has a mustard stain, since I haven't left uni property to go to the drycleaners yet.
I ended up staying over at Aerthos' place last night. He lives in a rental house near the uni with a roommate, who wasn't home. His roommate, I found out, is deeply religious and had gone to some sort of youth group retreat for the terminally self-righteous. I mean, for the weekend. There was a poster of Elbereth in the front room, a little ceramic light-up Elbereth on top of the stereo, one of those country-craft-type wall hangings with a cross-stitch of Elbereth in the corridor to the bathroom, a set of embossed cardboard Valar standees on an end table by the window, and a fibre-optics picture of Taniquetil above the sofa. It was a bit distracting and overbearing in a shameful sort of way, so we had to spend the night hidden in Aerthos' room, well away from Elbereth's melancholy gaze. I think we watched a DVD of Cabaret, but I'm not sure.
Earlier we had tried going out to a restaurant, but that turned out to be less fun than anticipated. Aerthos doesn't have a car, and the only restaurant within walking distance is the crappy pizza place across the parkway from the uni. I had a small cheese pizza, which was thankfully uneventful. Aerthos ordered spaghetti. He found something that looked like a Bic's Yum Yum hidden amongst the noodles. We decided not to stay for dessert and left as soon as possible, which really wasn't very soon at all since our waitress spent a disproportionate amount of time ignoring us while standing in the smoking section having a cigarette with her friends.
So, my adventure out into the beyond-uni world turned out to be no more exciting than any adventure that could theoretically be had on university property. I will have to insist on Aerthos coming over here from now on. My room might be tiny, but at least it's devoid of fibre optics religious art. Plus, the cafeteria here doesn't have smoking waitresses or random gherkins in the pasta.
Aerthos stopped by to bring me oranges just as I was writing an email to Glorfindel to tell him about the religious kitsch. He explained that he used to live in residence and knew all about the unsatisfactory fruit supply in Mindon. I was thankful for his concern, but also at the same time a bit worried that maybe he's crazy. I mean, really! Who brings anyone oranges?! Has he been taking classes from Elrohir's School of Awesomeness?
Though to be completely fair, he was wearing a tight black shirt. That sort of made up for the peculiar behaviour.
The entire Quenya class today was spent working on our group assignment. We have one line of dialogue so far. It goes something like this:
Talathuir: (approaches Elrohir, who is sitting at an information desk) Aiya nildo! Essenya Talatoiron. Utúlien Laitaurello Tol Eressëanna ar lá quetin Quenya.
That's as far as we got before arguments arose over how to properly translate "Talathuir" and "from Mirkwood". I don't care what Elrohir says; trying to get Talathuir to say "Ezellatavazello" just isn't practical or sensible, considering that he can't even say "Quenya" properly. This Vanyarin fascination is becoming a serious hindrance, not only to Elrohir but also potentially to my mark in this class.
(Anniversary of the Defeat of Sauron in the Last Alliance)
My PoliSci 412 term paper is due tomorrow. I awoke in a panic this morning suddenly realising that I'd forgotten completely and hadn't started yet. I think I might be in trouble.
I just handed in the term paper, having finished a grand seven minutes before class ended. The prof gave me a dirty look for skipping class and handing it in right at the end, but I don't care. It's done. It's only eight pages long and thoroughly terrible, but at least it's done. I might have to rely on the final to bring my grade up.
Now I am going to go back to the library and get to work on my 441 paper, since it's due on Monday and has to be at least thirty pages. How does this happen?! I spend all semester doing nothing, and now suddenly everything is due next week! I think the speed at which time passes must be directly proportional to the amount of homework due in the immediate future. If I were in physics instead of political science, I would look into that.
Aerthos had words with me before class today. Apparently I was supposed to meet him after class on Tuesday, which I skipped in favour of writing my forgotten paper. We were supposed to work on our media project. Now that I think about it, I vaguely remember him saying something to that effect over the weekend. I tried to apologise, but he remained sort of distant all through class. We organised another meeting, though, for tomorrow evening. And none too soon, since we really need to get to work. The project is due in one week and all we have so far is a crappy Power Point presentation of scanned photos and some home movies.
It is midnight. Aerthos just left. I was quite impressed by his ability to use Windows Movie Maker, a program which has thus far been present in my Start menu but remained something of an enigma.
It took eight hours, but we managed (occasionally via roundabout ways) to load all the home movies onto my computer and edit them into a four-minute sequence. We even added some music in places. So that, coupled with the five-minute Power Point show, brings our presentation up to nine minutes. We need half an hour by Thursday. I hope the class has a lot of questions to fill up the time.
After our work session, Aerthos left without so much as a goodbye kiss! I think he's still mad at me for skipping on Tuesday. Also perhaps because I told him I couldn't work on the project tomorrow because I have to work on my 441 paper. He is quite selfish, I think. If it were up to him all we'd ever do is go for coffee in the Uni Centre and have sex. Actually if it were up to me, that's all we'd do too. But unfortunately it's up to dad right now, and he's expecting me to pass this semester.
I invited Aerthos to come by and work on our project for a while but he said he was busy. I asked busy doing what, but he wouldn't say. I told him I needed relief from the drudgery of slogging through stacks of musty old PoliSci books from forgotten corners of the library, one of which smelled like rotten paint, but he was rather unsympathetic. He'd better be doing actual schoolwork and not just acting like this because he's mad at me!
As soon as I had fifteen pages of my paper written and was officially halfway done, I took a break to go see if Elrohir wanted to go buy sandwiches or something. I knocked on his door and he answered, wearing naught but lime green underoos. I asked why he wasn't dressed, though as soon as the words were out of my mouth I regretted it since I knew his answer wouldn't make sense anyway. It didn't. "I work better when I don't have clothes to distract me," he said. I asked what he was working on, and he said, "Quenya." I tried to be worried, but in all honesty I think my relief that somebody was actually getting something done outweighed the concern that it would incorporate a great deal of Vanyarin words and other nonsense.
I decided I'd be best off forgetting about Quenya though and just enjoying my break from the 441 paper. I asked Elrohir if he wanted to go for sandwiches. He said, "Yes!" very enthusiastically and started off down the corridor toward the lifts. If I were a more evil person, which I really wish sometimes, I would have let him go in just his green underwear. But unfortunately I am too nice for my own good, so I called him back and made him get dressed. He pulled on some gym shorts and a mesh shirt. I'm not sure if that was an improvement over the underwear, but I didn't really care so long as he was technically dressed. I followed him down to the cafeteria. I had a nice break listening to him recount the mind-boggling tale of the icy square chocolate he found under the radiator that miraculously wasn't melted. He thinks it might be a religious icon, or perhaps a scientific marvel of the modern age.
When I got back to my room I played two rounds of pinball, two games of Freecell, and looked up random words on Google for a while. I think I should get started on the other half of my term paper soon. It's due in two days and I have fifteen more pages to go.
I skipped Quenya in favour of working on my paper. I'm sure I didn't miss anything, and Elrohir's working on the presentation anyway. So my entire day was full of:
The city-state model outlined by Pengoloð in his analysis of post-war political structures can therefore be clearly traced back to earlier models presented by Rúmil in his Democracy treatise. Rúmil's "Tirion" model, when loosely placed in comparison to later theories forwarded by Pengoloð, is applicable not only to the timeframe in which it was postulated but also to supervening governments with roots, however tenuous, in classical Western theory. With few modifications, both models can be applied successfully to modern-day Mithlond, Imladris, and Lórien as a whole, this being indicative of the potential "universal city-state" as touched briefly upon in The Declining Superpower (ibid. 557).
I swear that made sense when I wrote it, but now that I look back, I have no idea what in the world I was trying to say. I'm concerned that I might be getting stupider.
I finished the paper last night. It's only 28 1/2 pages long, including notes and bibliography, so I hope I don't lose marks. Now I just have to write my history paper tonight (which I very thankfully already have started), then finish the media project with Aerthos for Thursday and work on the Quenya presentation for Friday, and I'll be all set! Somehow that seems like too much work.
Aerthos frowned at me in class today, then afterward came over saying that we really needed to finish the project. I suggested working on it tomorrow. He asked why not tonight, and I explained about the history paper. He scowled and stormed out of the classroom in a huff. I followed close behind. He went into the biff. I still followed. He tried to shut himself into a stall but I followed him there too and gave him a thorough kissing while pressed up against the graffiti-covered metal wall. That seemed to work. He apologised for being a knob and I had the sudden realisation that I can always hand in my history paper a week late and only lose 5%. Funny how kissing in a public toilet can make everything better, even though you'd suspect from its unattractive décor and general level of filthiness that it would offer little in the way of helping.
Anyway he's coming by in about an hour to work on the media project. And by "work on the media project" I really mean "maybe work on the media project, if we remember and can find our clothes."
Aerthos stayed over last night. So we could work on the media project until the last possible minute, of course.
It's almost done. Last night we cut together another segment of newsreels to show alongside the home videos, to highlight how different politicians are in real life as opposed to what they appear to be like on television. Then we worked on the script of what we'll say to the class. So tonight all that's left to do is fine-tune the script part and do a run-through of the Power Point. I am feeling quite relieved.
We finished the media presentation at eight-twenty last night. That called for a celebration, so we went to Taco Time and had celebratory burritos, with extra sauce. Then we came back to my room and had celebratory smooches as we basked in the glory of having finished the damn assignment on time.
Just before midnight, as we were lying on my bed and sort of watching Return of the Jedi, the door burst open and Elrohir peered inside. I really, really, need to get that keycode changed, since I know that trying to explain to him the courtesy of knocking would be a wasted effort. He looked at us, sort of nodded hello, then proceeded to sit down, turn on my computer, and monkey around with it. I politely asked what in the world he was doing. He said, "Quenya," and kept monkeying. I honestly tried to just stay where I was and let him do his thing, but with each passing second I became more and more convinced that he was about to accidentally delete some critical Windows file. Worry eventually won out and I got up to supervise his computer usage.
"There," he said, pointing to a file he had saved to my desktop, "you'd better learn that by Friday." Then he left as unexpectedly as he had come. I opened the file, and it turned out to be a nine-page-long Word document. I did a quick scan for my name. I have twenty-four lines. I am never going to learn all that in time. I must've made some sort of despairing sound, because Aerthos said, "Just come back to bed and worry about it tomorrow." I did go back to bed, but I kept worrying and couldn't sleep. The last thing I remember before the alarm went off was looking at the clock and seeing 5.53 am. When I finally did get to sleep, I had a stressful dream about Elrohir being run over by a ferris wheel and me having to sell state-of-the-art transparent computers door to door to get enough money to pay for a specialist Hobbit surgeon to reattach his legs after the accident. Then dad started yelling at me for showing orcs the secret path to get into the front yard. Then I woke up, feeling even more exhausted than when I went to bed.
I took Aerthos down to the cafeteria for breakfast and we both apathetically picked over the selection of rubbery eggs and cold toast. There wasn't even any jam left, so we had to have peanut butter. Then I got changed into my fancy Noldo costume for the presentation, and Aerthos borrowed Elrohir's. I'm not sure why we thought this was a good idea. The costumes didn't really make us look more respectable at all: just a bit more ridiculous. Also, Aerthos got his sleeve caught in the security door on the way out of the residence building, and the door made a small black grease smudge on the fabric. I hope Elrohir doesn't notice. These things cost a fortune to dry clean.
But, barring the sleeve mishap, the rest of the day went very well. We went first with our presentation, and the class seemed to enjoy it. Especially the part in the video where dad sat down in a broken lawn chair and dropped his plate of coleslaw all down the front of his shirt. Even the prof laughed out loud at the old super 8 movie of dad and Gil-galad doing tequila shots with Elendil, who was wearing a cowboy hat and had enormous sideburns. I think that's a good sign. After class, Aerthos and I went for lunch, still wearing the Noldo costumes. He dropped a meatball in his lap and got a sauce smudge on the robe. I hope Elrohir doesn't notice that either.
Now the only thing that's left to do this semester is the Quenya presentation. I'm supposed to be meeting with Elrohir, Nova, and Talathuir in the library in an hour. I hope they don't expect me to have this script memorised.
I think I can safely say, without any sort of exaggeration, that our Quenya presentation was the best in the class. Elrohir was the star, since he's easily the best out of all of us. He played a confused university student (big stretch there). I played his good conscience, who kept telling him to act responsibly and get his homework done. His bad conscience was played by a television showing a pre-taped video of him telling himself to go out and get drunk every night. Talathuir was an exchange student from Mirkwood who was a bad influence on Elrohir, while Nova was the innocent-girl-next-door type who fought valiantly to keep Elrohir on the right track. Highlights include Elrohir arguing with himself on television, Talathuir playing up his already terrible Silvan accent to hilarious extremes, me hitting Elrohir over the head with a biology textbook, Elrohir and Talathuir's elaborate stage fight (with cardboard Fiommereth wrap tubes painted to look like lightsabres), and Elrohir and Nova's cliché romance movie True-Love-Conquers-All kiss at the end. The class cheered. The group that had to go after us looked worried, and rightly so. Their presentation was about a girl asking for directions to the train station.
Then, since I was in a good schoolwork mood, I was able to quickly finish my History paper. I emailed it off to the prof, and allowed myself to spend a good seventeen minutes basking in the satisfying glow of my own general stupendousness before going down to the cafeteria for supper. And it was even pizza night. I sat with Elrohir, and he ate my pepperoni for me since I don't like meat on pizza. He provided dinnertime music by singing "Building a Mystery" over and over in many different ways. Only he kept changing the words, so instead of "building a mystery" he was "kicking the table legs", "taking [his] jacket off", "looking at Elladan", "eating a Dixie cup", and so forth.
The best thing about waking up today was realising that I have nothing to do. And so I did nothing all day, except ring Aerthos. He's coming by tomorrow, but today, there was blissfully nothing. I stayed in bed until two and then watched videos. Maybe tomorrow I should do something, like go down to residence security and ask them to change the key code on my door so Elrohir can no longer pop in randomly at inopportune moments.
The security technician came up and changed my key code. The new code is 7294. I just know I'm going to forget it. I asked him if he could change it to something I'd remember easily, and suggested perhaps 1532, 3726, or something like that, but he refused, saying that the codes are generated randomly and he has no control over them. However, I distinctly saw him punch 7294 into the keypad twice and press "set", so I think he was just being surly and uncooperative. He could've just as easily entered 1532, and made my life much easier by doing so.
Aerthos came by a few hours later. I thought we'd be just sitting around watching videos as usual, but he wanted to go somewhere. So we took the bus downtown and went to the public library. I don't know what it is about public libraries that attracts insane people, but there were two of them fighting over a video copy of "The Thief of Valmar" and another one walking around with a grocery bag full of National Geographics, muttering about feeding the cats. We ended up quickly picking out a few DVDs and hurrying out. We were leered at by bums on the bus back to the uni. We spent the night watching movies in my room, which (I wanted to point out) we could have easily done without the whole traumatic trip to the library. Next time he wants to go somewhere I will have to remind him of this.
We got our marks back for the Quenya presentations today. Everyone in our group got 25/25. I might do reasonably well in this class after all.
I bought a ticket to the Fiommereth Formal cabaret on Friday. I don't really want to go, but I figure I might as well since I went through the trouble of getting this dumb formal Noldo costume here and I should probably get some use out of it. And Aerthos thinks it's attractive in a stuffy old-fashioned sort of way, so...
My telephone rang just before four this morning. At first I didn't want to answer, but then I thought that for somebody to be ringing me at this time it had to be either a family emergency or some knob over long distance who didn't realise what time it was here. I picked up the phone. And I was right with my second guess.
It was Glorfindel on the line. Glorfindel, who hasn't telephoned or written or even emailed in all the three months he's been gone. Glorfindel, over a terrible long distance connection with a two-second time delay. He sounded excited. Crackly and staticky and about to disconnect at any moment, but excited.
Aralindë just had the baby, and Glorfindel is now the very hyperactively excited father of a little boy named Elairon Almárëo. He is 49 centimetres long and weighs 3,2 kilograms. I didn't hear any baby wailing in the background, which I mentioned, and Glorfindel said that Elairon doesn't really cry, he squawks. He then held his mobile closer to Elairon (presumably), and I heard a vague squawking sound. Then Glorfindel came back on and said that was the most beautiful sound in the world. I didn't bother to tell him that I think his son sounds like an albatross.
Then Glorfindel hung up. I think he was trying to telephone everyone he knew in the space of five minutes. I'm guessing he rang Elrohir next, since shortly after he let me go I heard someone pushing the keypad on my door and then rattling the handle when it mysteriously wouldn't open. I had to get up and let Elrohir in, who looked about as excited as Glorfindel had sounded. He bounced around and went on about how much he loves babies. I told him the baby sounded like an albatross. He didn't know what an albatross sounded like. But, since he still had eight hours to go before his first class, he decided to walk down to the docks and find an albatross to listen to. He came back in time for breakfast, smelling a bit like seaweed, and then spent the rest of the day in bed because he was frozen from sitting on the breakwater in the dark at the end of November like an idiot. He didn't hear an albatross either, so to cheer him up after supper I found an albatross WAV file online. He listened to it twenty-six times before I made him leave my room.
I don't think the Fiommereth Formal cabaret was significantly different from any other cabaret I've been to, except that everyone was wearing fancier clothing and drinking spiked egg nog instead of beer. I wore my dumb Noldo costume, which gathered many comments. Most people said, "Wow, I haven't seen anyone wearing one of those in a long time!" I will have to tell dad that. He's still under the impression that they are the height of fashion. He obviously hasn't looked in PEOPLE magazine since... Well, he's probably never looked in PEOPLE magazine. Elrohir also sort of wore his Noldo costume. That is, he wore the drapey robe part over tight vinyl trousers and his mesh shirt. Somebody took a photo of him for the uni paper. I sincerely hope this doesn't start a new trend in masculine formalwear.
Aerthos and I stayed around until midnight, when they did the door prize draws. Neither of us won anything, but Nova won a GHU key chain. Then the Fiommereth Classics karaoke started up and we knew it was time to leave. We made our exit just as Elrohir started belting out "Jingle Bell Rock". He's not the best singer, but he is loud and enthusiastic and had put on a red funfur Aulë hat with a sparkly pompom. We could hear him down the corridor and halfway across the Uni Centre as we made our way back to the residence.
Back in my room, we had our own private Fiommereth cabaret. It wasn't nearly as flashy as the one in the Multipurpose Room, but it was very satisfying all the same. Also, we had a 26 of rum.
Last week of classes! Well, aside from finals, but those don't really count. We spent the entire Quenya class today singing "Fiommerelindi" and making "hyelleni", which is a fancy way of saying star-shaped tree decorations made out of wax paper. As soon as class was over I had to look around and check to make sure we were still in university.
Then in PolySci 412 I got my paper back. On the back page was written, "I am a bit disappointed with your effort here. Some of this is well written, some of it is not. You have to be more careful. 60%." After reading the paper over again, I am a bit disappointed in myself too. I can't believe I handed in this crap.
I got the 441 paper back today, with a mark of 81%. I tried to read the prof's comments, but they were largely illegible. The only words I could make out were "advantageous" and "references". I'll just have to be happy with the 81 and assume I'm on the right track for the final.
96% on the History paper. I'm not really sure how that's even possible, since I handed it in late and should've lost 5%. Actually, I didn't even technically hand it in. I emailed it. The comments said stuff like "excellent job", "poignant observations" and "informatively written." The girl who sits next to me got a 73 and mediocre comments, even though she worked on her paper for a week and a half and it was a good five pages longer than mine and included many more references. I'm starting to suspect that the prof just tossed the papers down the stairs and marked according to which ones landed where. Not that I'm complaining. This 96 means I only need to get 20% on the final to pass the class.
In Quenya we sang more lindi and made Fiommerel cards for our parents out of construction paper and sparkles. The prof helped write quaint Quenya sayings inside each of them. Elrohir had to borrow her big dictionary to look up the Quenya word for "beetle" to write in his.
Last day of classes. Aerthos and I went to the uni pub to celebrate. We were also celebrating getting a 90 on our in-class presentation. I figured I deserved it, so I ordered a spicy chicken sandwich. "Smothered in cheese and jalapenos", the menu read. It didn't look too smothered when it arrived. I don't suppose anything can be technically "smothered" in three slices of banana pepper and a Kraft single, except maybe a Triscuit. Then Aerthos' "loaded" burger came with one slice of bacon, two pickles, one tomato, two onion rings, and a leaf of lettuce on a Kraft Single. I think this university has started cheating us in the food department as well, since it already charges outrageous tuition prices for mediocre classes, and $1,75 for a 591 ml bottle of Coke that could reasonably be purchased for $1,26 at the convenience store across the Parkway.
When we got back to the residence tower, more end-of-semester celebrations were already in full swing. Someone had rigged a Fëanorian flag up to the pole on top of the tower, and the residence director was screaming at the custodian to get it down. Then inside, a group of engineers had hijacked four hapless agriculture freshmen, stripped them down to their shorts, duct taped them to wheelie chairs, and were placing bets on which one would wheel down the big entrance ramp fastest. Aerthos had to jump to avoid being hit by a crop science major. By force of habit, I almost turned around to yell at Elrohir to be more careful, but caught myself just in time. Elrohir was in fact nowhere to be seen. Which was strange, given that all sorts of trouble was going down wherever I looked. It made me nervous that he was off somewhere getting into the ultimate trouble. Aerthos agreed that we should probably look for him.
We found him in his room by himself. He was lying on his bed reading a book. Not a comic, and not a magazine: a real book, without pictures. Tenacious D was playing quietly in the background. Not playing loudly, nor even at a moderate volume: honest-to-goodness quietly. And Elrohir was even dressed, in jeans and a GHU tee-shirt. He looked up at us with a smile and said, "Hello." I asked him if he was feeling alright. He said, "Yep," and went back to reading his book. Aerthos and I looked at each other questioningly, just as a girl in very tight jeans ran up and yelled, "Elrohir, the Coke machine in the basement is broken and giving out Cokes if you put any coins in! Wanna come check it out?" I fully expected him to jump up and run after her, since I was tempted to do so myself (having become suddenly very thirsty), but he just rolled over and said, "Nah, I'm gonna have a nap." He asked me to hit the lights on the way out.
Now I'm seriously worried. Elrohir appears to have been replaced by a pod person, and a very sensible and studious pod person at that. I can't think of any instance of him getting into trouble in the last several days. The last week, even. I might have to ring dad tonight, after I finish my three 15-cent Diet Vanilla Cokes. That was all the machine had left by the time I got there.
I got a Fiommereth card from Arwen in the post this morning. I guess she started with the cards even earlier this year, probably to make sure I buy her something fabulous and exotic from the Grey Havens instead of some crap from the Giant Tiger when I get back to Rivendell. I think I'll get her a book on all the latest Telerin trends in home décor. Making designer lampshades and slipcovers seems like something she'd do.
I did talk to dad last night about Elrohir, but it was after I'd drank all the Coke and had a stomach ache from all the carbonation. When dad asked me how I was, I tried to say, "Good," but all that came out was one of the loudest burps I've ever produced. It was mortifying. I'm glad I was only talking to dad. Dad yelled, "Elrohir!" then caught himself and yelled, "I mean, Elladan!" I stayed silent for a few seconds before I trusted my mouth enough to speak properly. Then I told him about Pod Person Elrohir.
I should've guessed that dad would get mad at me for thinking that Elrohir acting like a normal person for once meant there was something wrong. He's still sadly clinging to the hope that one day Elrohir will become a productive and useful member of society, so he took Elrohir's change as a good sign, not something to worry about. I really miss Glorfindel. Glorfindel would be on my side for this. I should write him an email.
I got an email back from Glorfindel. I knew I shouldn't have tagged on that courtesy line asking about his dumb baby.
- - - - -
From: "Lauron" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Pod brother
Hey El, good to hear from you. Guess classes
are almost over at GHU for the semester? Must
Elairon is fantastic so far. Still sleeps most
of the day, but is getting more active during
the time he's awake, starting to move more.
Usually that activity is in the middle of the
night. Ara read in some parenting magazine
that babies sleep better when they share a bed
with their parents, so guess where he sleeps
now... I don't mind too much, and he isn't
squashed yet from anyone rolling on top of
him... It's amazing, really, just to lie there
and watch him sleep. He's so little still.
Might seem more real as he starts to get
Ara and I went shopping the other day to get him
his first real clothes, not that you can buy
much other than those snap-up stretchy suits for
newborns. Usually in pastel colours too, and we
really wanted bright red or blue. Took an hour at
least to finally find tiny corduroy overalls,
though those were sized for three months. Ara had
to make them smaller when we got home. Even then
they didn't fit too well, kept sliding off his
shoulders, so we put him back in the snap-up
stretchy suit as soon as grandma and grandpa saw
how nice he looked in his new clothes. I took a
Of course he's had lots of visitors so far, from
grandparents to great-grandparents and my aunts
and cousins. We're still looking forward to the
day when he can stay awake long enough to see
everyone. Apart from sleeping at night, he has
naps every two hours or so.
- - - - -
I stopped reading at that point and just scrolled past the next several paragraphs of Elairon's sleeping and feeding patterns, right on down to the bottom. Glorfindel had sent photos. One of a floppy-looking sleeping baby in a humorously large pair of red overalls, one of the floppy baby lying naked on a sheepskin and looking ornery, a closeup of the baby holding onto somebody's finger, the baby nursing (I really didn't need to see that), Glorfindel holding the baby, Aralindë holding the baby, Glorfindel and Aralindë holding the baby, Glorfindel and some random Vanyar (whom I'm guessing are somehow related to him) all staring at the baby in awe, the baby all bundled up in many fancy blankets, and then one of Glorfindel and Aralindë sitting nicely under a tree with their new son, posing in a way that looks suspiciously as if this is a photo they plan to send out to everybody they know, likely in a Fiommereth card. It would be a nice photo if Elairon weren't sleeping floppily, his tongue sticking out at the camera.
I have finals all this coming week. The wise thing to do would be start studying, but for some reason I can't seem to stop myself from playing Freecell. Hmm.
I went to check on Pod Elrohir earlier, and he was still being poddish, organising his DVD collection alphabetically by genre and making a plan of his shelving unit. Then Aerthos came by, bearing a thermos of coffee. He filled my mug right up to the brim, almost spilling it, and I almost spilled again when I added sugar without sipping any off the top first. Aerthos said, "Good thing it has a meniscus," and just then I had a very odd sense of déjà vu. He left shortly thereafter. The rest of the afternoon was clouded in an aura of weirdness. Though I did finally beat the expert level on Minesweeper.
Now I really ought to get around to studying. Really.
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.