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And where do you think that you're going?

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Emyn Arnen in the Fourth Age:

"And where do you think that you are going, young ones?" Glorfindel asked Eldarion's three year old twin sons, who were hand-in-hand with their closest in age cousin, Faramir's younger son.

"To the creek. To go swimming." Elros, the older of the twins, explained.

Glorfindel squinted at the sky, just now lightening with the dawn. "Not so early, and not without an adult." He said firmly, turning the three small children back towards the main house. With an exasperated inner smile, Glorfindel wondered how many times he had asked this question, over the span of his life. Chuckling to himself, he decided to regale his younger family members with certain of those tales, later that evening.

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Imladris, late in the Third Age:

"And where do you think that you are going, young one?" Glorfindel grinned as he asked the question, but it was an expression that struck caution into the hearts of those who knew him well.

Estel was just nine years old, and cute as a button. He was also accustomed to getting what he wanted, even from Glorfindel.

"Out to play." Estel said, a wistful look in his clear gray eyes.

Glorfindel tolerantly shook his head, "Not in that rain, pen-neth." With a firm but far from full-strength swat to the boy's backside, Glorfindel led him back towards his grammar lesson.

Estel squeaked, and then protested, "Aww, Glor!"

"Nay, back to lessons with you, guren." Glorfindel directed, a gentle hand on Estel's shoulder guiding him back down the narrow stairs, towards the brightly lit schoolroom where Erestor waited with transitive verbs and other instruments of torture. Considering the boy's stealthy route, Glorfindel praised, "Good on you for thinking to escape towards the roof-garden, I'm sure Erestor didn't think of that. I'll take you hunting when the weather clears, for being such a clever young strategist."

"Doesn't help me today." Estel muttered, although his shoulders had straightened with pride at the compliment.

Glorfindel chuckled, "That's what strategy is about, youngling. Learning to wait, and plan, to get your rewards."

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Lindon, around 1600 of the Second Age:

"And where do you think that you are going, young one?" Glorfindel asked, his arms crossed over his chest disapprovingly.

Elrond Peredhel blinked. "Out. Um, to see a patient? I'm a healer...surely someone mentioned that..."

"Oh, your Aran and your foster-father mentioned that." Glorfindel agreed, falling into pace beside Elrond as the young half-elf walked out of the palace complex. "They also mentioned that you are to take guards or at least an armed companion with you, when you go to see patients outside the healer's wing."

Elrond peered around absently, as if surprised that there were no guards. "Oh. They were just here, I thought...no matter. Not if you are willing to accompany me, Lord Glorfindel?" Elrond smiled shyly as he made the request, and Glorfindel was struck by how much he resembled his mother.

"You are going to be no end of challenge for me, pen-neth." Glorfindel told Elrond.

Elrond smiled again, and this time Glorfindel saw the spark of humor glimmering in his eyes, and thought of Earendil.

"I've been told that before, for some reason." Elrond confessed.

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Imladris, near the start of the watchful peace during the Third Age:

"And where do you think that you are going, young one?" Glorfindel asked, not fighting to hide his smile as the raven-haired elfling juggled a large, annoyed frog. The elfling was almost eleven, and his eyes were a bright, emerald green. The youngling was to be an attendant in Elrond's daughter's wedding, on the morrow.

"I'm going to give Lady Andreth the handsomest frog in the pond. For good luck." The elfling sincerely told Glorfindel.

Glorfindel chuckled, "Well, that is very thoughtful of you, young Thranduilon. However, Lady Andreth would probably prefer that the frog stay in the pond where he is more comfortable, and that you bring her some flowers, instead."

Thandrin, Crown Prince of Greenwood and only blood son of Thranduil, frowned worriedly as his present escaped, "Come back, frog!" He called, as it leaped desperately back in the direction of the pond. Sighing, the elfling agreed, "Maybe flowers would be ok."

Shaking his head in amusement, Glorfindel offered Thandrin a hand, "Flowers, and then perhaps we will work on tracking down whoever was supposed to be watching you."

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Imladris, near the start of the Third Age:

"And where do you think that you are going, young one?" Glorfindel asked, being careful to keep his voice gentle. Erestor was fond of his new scribe, and Melpomaen startled easily.

"The..the stables, Lord Glorfindel." The elfling stuttered bravely, his brown eyes meeting Glorfindel's gaze despite his fear.

Glorfindel raised an eyebrow, but was careful not to be too harsh as he ordered, "No. It is too late for elflings to be wandering outside. It's the day before Yule, you should go find your bed, young Edrahilion."

Melpomaen swallowed around the lump in his throat, his shoulders slumping as he started to obey. Then he thought about the courage it had taken to tell Lieutenant Caradhon that the twins were missing, and why, and how happy everyone had been that he had. And Melpomaen also thought about how kind Lord Erestor had been to him. Straightening his shoulders, and lifting his almond-shaped brown eyes, Melpomaen appealed, "Pl...please, my Lord, I left Lord Erestor's present in the stable because she wasn't ready to leave her mother yet, and the Stable Master said I could pick her up, tonight! I have a warm basket for her and everything!"

That was a new one. Glorfindel blinked in astonishment, "Ah...I see. Well, in that case, I will accompany you."

Half an hour later, with an ebony-furred kitten purring happily away in the warm basket, Glorfindel and Melpomaen returned. "Just out of interest, Melpomaen," Glorfindel asked, keeping his voice clear of suspicion, because he didn't suspect Melpomaen of trying to get around Lord Elrond's centuries-old order that no animals actually be permitted inside the family apartments of his home, "Whose idea was it, to give Lord Erestor a kitten?"

Melpomaen cradled the basket carefully, and Glorfindel was impressed at how graceful he was with the burden. Almost as graceful as...elves of Gondolin, whom Glorfindel had once known. "The kitten was my idea." Melpomaen answered, his gaze flickering uncertainly to Glorfindel, "But Lords Elrohir and Elladan thought it an uncommonly good one."

"So long as it was your own choice of gift," Glorfindel responded kindly, "I think all will be well pleased." Well, all except Elrond, the elder thought to himself with some amusement, knowing that Elrond would never tell Erestor that he couldn't have a gift that a young Melpomaen had picked out himself.

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Osgiliath, Late in the Second Age:

"And where do you think that you are going, young ones?" Glorfindel asked, trying not to slur his words as he leaned on Sendoron's shoulder. It had been...yeni, since Glorfindel had been this drunk.

"Ah..." Prince Elendur started, before apparently stopping to reconsider his words. At the base of one of the hidden tunnels leading out from the citadel complex to the city of Osgiliath, it was fairly clear that he and his four companions, none of whom appeared to be parents or guards, were on their way to do something that wasn't officially sanctioned.

"It's Inkeri's birthday." Imrazor explained with a hopeful grin, the torchlight bringing out the reddish-gold highlights in his blond hair, "Elendur took me out drinking when I came of age, all four times. And Inkeri said that it wasn't fair, that we didn't take her just because she's a girl. So we're going to celebrate her birthday with her in the city, now. Lossarnach and Lebennin are coming with us." Imrazor pointed out, nodding to the two young knights.

"Stay together." Sendoron ordered the young humans.

Elendur nodded, solemnly promising, "We will."

As the four young knights and Princess Inkeri headed off, Glorfindel faintly heard Imrazor ask, "What are we doing here? What are THEY doing here?," and swallowed a self-conscious laugh.

Sendoron shook his head in disgust, "The next time you think that it's a good idea to try to drink an entire regiment under the table, I am NOT covering for you with your Lord, Laure."

Glorfindel burped, then smiled gratefully at his oldest friend on Middle Earth. Glorfindel was grateful. Erestor, still grieving his wife's death, might not be in any condition to notice his grandfather's less-than-stellar state, but Elrond and Arandil would never pass up an opportunity to tease him, or to get even for however-many-hundred pre-dawn practices or hunting trips that Glorfindel had instigated when they had been terribly hungover. And Galadriel never forgot. But because Glorfindel was Glorfindel, and could not leave a good thing alone, he had to tease, "Ah, Sendron. We both know you don't mean that, that's just what you always say."

And Sendoron had no response to that, because it was true.

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Minas Tirith, Fourth Age Year 8:

"And where do you think that you are going, young one?" Glorfindel asked sternly. Without waiting for an answer, he smacked Faramir's backside firmly, and grasped the Prince's shoulder to propel back through the hidden tunnel towards the Citadel. Specifically, towards the King and Queen's apartments.

Faramir stifled an indignant squeak, and gave Glorfindel a part-irritated, part-grateful, part-apologetic look. "Would you believe that I was sleep-walking?" Faramir asked, grim humor in his gray eyes.

Glorfindel snorted, "No," he replied with a twinkle in his eyes, "But I'll buy you a drink if you try that explanation out on your father."

Faramir muttered something in a southern language that sounded roughly like, "Infernal busy-body elves," or similar.

Glorfindel chuckled, and then grinned at his unwilling companion as he cheerfully related, "I think you're going to be in a lot of trouble."

Faramir's eyes narrowed, and Glorfindel recalled that Ethiron had warned him not to take too much joy in Estel's oldest son's predicaments.

"I never in a million years would have figured that out myself," Faramir replied levelly, but there was a hint of a twinkle in his eyes that Glorfindel found mildly disturbing.

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Aman, during the Years of the Trees:

"And where do you think that you are going, young one?" Lord Turucano, who would later be called King Turgon, sternly inquired of his youngest friend.

Laurefindil, who would later be called Glorfindel, Lord of Gondolin and later Balrog Slayer and Reborn Elf, hiccuped and listed against his friend Sendoron's shoulder. "Don' know, Tur'cano." Laurefindil confessed sadly, "The rainbow badgers wouldn't...they...it's a secret."

Turucano blinked, then turned accusingly to Sendoron and Ecthelion, who were supposed to have been WATCHING their loose cannon that night. Amidst their protests of, "Only took my eyes off of him for a minute..." and, "Just one dance, and then someone said his father had confronted him, and he disappeared," Turucano gently pulled Laurefindil onto his bed, supporting his younger, hurting, very drunk friend carefully in his own arms.

"Where in the name of all of the Valar have you been for the past four hours, Laughing Laure?" Turucano inquired gently, accepting a cloth to wash a sticky substance out of Laurefindil's golden hair.

Laurefindil relaxed against his Lord and friend, trying to explain, "Argued....Atar, he..."

"Shh, my dear friend. I know that part." Turucano assured, thinking that his friend's father was a complete and total idiot. Just because Laurefindil wanted to work for Turucano, and help Prince Nolofinwe keep the peace throughout Noldor lands in Aman, was no reason to disown him. But Vanyaran elves could be peculiar about any elves who bore the new weapons that Feanaro had forged for his retainers and Nolofinwe's. And Laurefindil's father was a Vanya, even if his mother...wasn't. Turucano shook his head, and gently tapped Laurefindil's nose. "What I need to know is where you disappeared to, when you left the party." He prompted kindly, adding more firmly, "Specifically, anything you ate or drank."

Laurefindil blinked, and batted Turucano's hand and the warm cloth away in an uncoordinated fashion, "Drank...no' sure. Lots and lots. Ate...wi' the rainbow badgers. Think I did, at least. "

Turucano sighed, and turned to his other sworn brothers, 'Rainbow badgers?' He mouthed questioningly.

Sendoron shrugged helplessly, and Ecthelion started to answer, but cut himself off when Laurefindil began speaking again.

"And then...I was in an elleth's bedroom, and I...I 'splained about the....hic!" Laurefindil hiccuped again, leaning against his Lord Turucano's shoulder, and supported on the other side by Sendoron, "'splained about the angry...rainbow...badgers. And the...the elleth said, I should tell you, so I came here." Laurefindil frowned.

Ecthelion winced. "Two of Cousin 'Tani's ellith brought him. 'Tani says that all four of us owe her our assistance at her next fund-raiser, for her faking a vision to distract Anatar so that he didn't notice Laure leaving that wing of the palace."

Turucano winced in turn. Artanis wasn't his favorite cousin to owe a favor to, certainly. That would be either Ecthelion, or Artanis' oldest brother Findarato, who had a pretty good sense of humor and was Turucano's friend as well as cousin. Failing that, his choice would probably be his own brother, Findecano. But Artanis wasn't as bad as Angarato, her middle brother, or even as bad as Turucano's own sister Arelda, called Irisse, who could be unpredictable. Artanis wasn't one of Turucano's least favorite cousins, even if she did have a tendency to act superior at times. And anyway, keeping Laurefindil out of trouble with Aran Finwe was certainly worth helping out at Artanis' next fundraiser, whatever it was for. "Ok." Turucano said resignedly, as Laurefindil started shivering.

Accepting a blanket from Ecthelion to wrap around his youngest friend, Turucano scolded, "When you're recovered, we're going to have to have a long talk about wandering off and eating strange substances, Laure."

Laurefindil tried to clap a hand over his mouth, and ended up hitting Turucano in the eye. As Turucano irritatedly but gently collected the errant hand, Laurefindil whispered in a horrified tone of voice, "No' suppos'd t' tell you, Tu'cano...'Risse, an'...an' the rainbow badgers..."

"'Irisse." Growled Turucano, finally making some sense of this situation. His younger sister had taken a dislike to Laurefindil, for some reason which defied Turucano's comprehension. Laurefindil was generally easy-going, and unsuspecting of the occasional olive branch from Irisse. Who could be heedless enough, at times, to offer a younger elf an interesting hallucinogenic substance, and wait around to see what amusing situations ensued.

Ecthelion groaned, "I'll go have my sister ask your minx of a sister what exactly it was that she gave Laure."

Turucano nodded, more concerned with settling Laure for the night. He knew that Irisse wouldn't have given the younger elf anything too dangerous.

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Emyn Arnen in the Fourth Age, late in the evening:

"Where in Eru's name did you hear that last one, Faramir?" Glorfindel inquired good-naturedly, though he was blushing. As 'Laughing Laure,' he'd learned quite young how to laugh at his own past antics.

Elrohir and Elladan, both wide-eyed, merely stared at Glorfindel in wonder.

Glorfindel was glad that Elrond's twin sons hadn't heard this story when they'd been younger, and more impressionable.

Aragorn and Legolas both chuckled, as Faramir merely smiled, and explained, "If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret."