Celebrian smiled at her husband as he settled on the bench beside her, twitching his elaborate robes into place. “The gardens are looking most beautiful this spring, aren't they dear?” she asked as she made another neat stitch in her embroidery.
“Indeed they are, love. It heartens me to see the tightly furled buds slowly opening, revealing their hidden secret splendors to the world in the fullness of time,” he replied, looking about thoughtfully.
He watched the elves passing through the elaborate gardens. His gaze lingered on their daughter, nearly hidden from sight in a bower of vines. She too appeared to be watching the passing elves, her eyes bright and a strange smile flitting about her face.
Celebrian delicately snipped a thread before following her husband's gaze to their daughter's hiding place. She pursed her lips and darted a glance at her husband. “It appears that the flowers are not the only thing blossoming this spring, husband.”
He turned back to her, looking puzzled. She nodded toward Arwen meaningfully. He raised a brow in surprise. “Surely you don't mean. . . not Arwen. She isn't, isn't . . . blossoming. She's much too young to blossom. She's hardly budding yet.” He glanced back at Arwen, then nodded to himself. “No, not blossoming at all.”
Celebrian frowned at him. “You should look again, O wise one. She is well-budded already. We should begin considering possible spouses for her. Maybe Cirdan knows of some appropriate young lads,” she mused, thoughtfully. “We can't inquire at Lorien. Mother would certainly try to foist some political protege on us, and Father would present some strapping young Marchwarden to catch her fancy. Sometimes I think they have no idea of what makes a desirable spouse for a young woman,” she tutted, then had the grace to look abashed when her husband cleared his throat, loudly.
“I think your parents did a fine job of arranging our marriage, dear wife,” he said huffily. “But, if you don't wish to inquire at Lorien, then our options are limited. We certainly cannot ask Thranduil. I've heard that brat of his already has a reputation for winking at all the comely maids and carousing with all the lads. And it wouldn't do at all to have to ask Thranduil to holiday gatherings.” He shuddered at the thought. “Yes, we'll send to Cirdan.” He paused for a moment, furrowing his brow, then glared at her. “When the time comes, dear, we'll send to Cirdan. That won't be for some decades yet, I'm sure.” He nodded to himself as if the matter were settled.
“Well, you may want to take a look at your innocent little rosebud, Elrond,” Celebrian suggested, threading her needle with a new color.
Elrond looked up, then flushed a bright red as he watched Arwen tuck a newly opened blossom, still glistening with dew, behind a handsome clerk's ear. She trailed her finger down the clerk's chest, gazing up at him dreamily. Elrond looked stunned. “What is she thinking, Celebrian? Behaving like that. . . you must speak with her. Now!” Elrond insisted, turning an alarmed gaze to his wife.
“Oh no, not me, dear. This one is all yours. I let you trick me into have “The Talk” with the boys, which was a horror I am still trying to forget, so it is your turn,” she replied, training her eyes deliberately on her stitching.
“What!?! You can't honestly expect me to talk with Arwen! She's a female. She'll need to discuss female things with you, not me. It isn't a father's place,” he choked out, a look of almost fear upon his face.
“Husband, I had to explain to the boys that 'special dreams' and nocturnal emissions were perfectly natural, so you can certainly answer Arwen's questions. You are a healer. These things shouldn't be embarrassing. You'll do fine,” she assured him, a wicked gleam in her eye.
Elrond could think of no reply to that, so he rose in his most dignified manner. He huffed a disgusted breath at his wife and departed to find Glorfindel. Surely he would have some advice.
~ ~ ~
Several hours later, Elrond found himself knocking softly at Arwen's doorway. He still couldn't believe how loudly Glorfindel had laughed at him. Sometimes he wondered why the Valar chose Glorfindel, of all elves, to send back to Middle Earth. A dire emergency such as this, and he was no use at all.
Arwen welcomed him with a smile, taking him by the hand to sit with her on the chaise. “Father, what brings you here?” she asked pleasantly.
Elrond cleared his throat uncomfortably, gazing steadily at the floor. “Arwen, it has come to our attention that you are starting to mature into a young lady. As you grow, it is only natural that your thoughts begin to take new paths,” he said slowly. He glanced up to see her gazing at him with an odd look on her face.
“Um, Father, are you going to have this talk with me?” she said, her voice so high she nearly squeaked.
“Yes.” He forced himself to hold her gaze.
Arwen had a look of panic on her face. “Shouldn't mother. . .” she trailed off as he narrowed his eyes at her.
“I am a well-regarded healer and the leader of our people, Arwen. I assure you I can answer any questions you may have. Were you to have any. Um, do you have any?” Elrond winced inwardly. He had started so well.
“What kind of questions?”
Elrond wasn't sure who was blushing more deeply, he or his daughter. Silently, he cursed Celebrian for doing this to him.
“Why don't I start, then you can ask any questions you may have.”
Arwen looked relieved at that. She nodded and settled back against the pillows, only her hand twisting at her skirt revealing her embarrassment.
“Well, Arwen, as I was saying, when a young woman begins to mature, her thoughts may turn to new matters. Adult matters.” Elrond paused, unsure how to proceed.
He cast his mind back to how Maglor had explained matters to him. “Arwen, in the spring, a bee gathers pollen from a delicate young flower, spreading it and pollinating the plant. This is part of the natural cycle. The continuance of creation. A circle of life, if you will.” Elrond didn't know how to interpret the odd look on Arwen's face. He decided it might possibly be encouraging, so he pressed on.
“Like that flower, a young girl blossoms into a woman during the spring of her life. It is only proper that her thoughts turn toward finding the right bee to come to her and, um, gather her pollen.” Elrond cleared his throat awkwardly. “Do you have any questions so far?”
Arwen looked embarrassed, but a touch of excitement lurked in the back of her eyes. “Yes Father, I have a question. Why does the flower have to wait for the bees to come to her?”
Elrond's eyes widened at the direction that question was going. “Arwen, it is only proper for the flower to wait for the bees. It would be most unseemly for the flower to chase the bees around the garden, wouldn't it? The patient flower attracts the best bees.”
Arwen didn't look satisfied with this answer. “So, the bees -”
“No, wait, Arwen. Not bees plural. Bee. Just one bee. The right bee for the patient flower.” Elrond caught himself wiping his sweating palms on his robes. He thought had broken that nervous habit centuries ago. He was definitely going to get Celebrian for this.
Arwen didn't look any happier with the situation. “What do you mean, only one bee? Surely the flower has to entertain all the bees to decide on which one she likes best.”
Elrond grew really alarmed at this. “No! The flower most certainly does not 'entertain' any strange bee that comes along looking for pollen! One bee and only one bee, for the entirety of the flower's life. No decent flower would dream of sharing her pollen with more than one bee.” Elrond could not believe his daughter didn't know this. Perhaps they had sheltered her too much, like Erestor always said.
Arwen was clearly dismayed now. “Just one bee? But what if the flower likes more than one bee? What can it hurt if she just visits with the bees she likes?”
“Arwen Undomiel, watch your tongue! One bee, one flower and that is that. A flower meets a bee that the mother flower and father bee approve of, they agree to be joined, they wait a year, then the bee and flower wed, have a baby flower or bee or two, then they grow beyond their interest in pollen and just buzz and blossom contentedly and watch their young mature to find their own flowers and bees, and live happily ever after until the breaking of the world. No looking at other bees, no waving leaves at other bees, and certainly no entertaining of other bees. It is quite simple.”
Arwen's lip trembled. She looked torn between crying and having a tantrum. “You mean, just one, forever? And ever?” her voice quivered.
“Yes,” he said firmly. “Your mother and I think Cirdan may know of a fine young bee appropriate for you. I mean, a fine young man. We shall send a missive on the morrow.”
Arwen seemed dazed, repeating “Just one. . “ softly to herself.
Elrond stood, relieved to have it done with. He settled his robes into place. Despite some treacherous moments, “The Talk” had turned out satisfactorily, he thought. He patted Arwen's head lovingly, then turned to go.
He had nearly reached the door when Arwen called to him, “Father, wait!”
He looked longingly at the door, just inches away. He had nearly made it. “Yes, dear one?”
“If what you say about the one bee is true, then can you explain these, um, 'special dreams' I've been having?”
Elrond's control broke. He darted through the doorway, his cry of “Celebrian!” echoing down the long hallways.
Author's Chapter Notes:
This is based on an orphaned plot bunny by Dancingkatz, asking for a young elf to get the Facts of Life talk from a parent.
This is my take on it. It is utterly silly, out of character, and not meant to be taken too seriously.