Title: Mad as a Hatter
Author: Tuxedo Elf
Summary: Gildor has lost something and he thinks he knows who to blame...
Series: Wandering Home
Gildor, an Elf who was usually the very picture of calm, hurried through the Golden Wood frantically. He darted this way and that, looking about him as he went almost desperately. His unusually bare head gave a clue to the cause of his current distress.
After a somewhat lengthy run, he finally found at least part of what he was looking for. “You!”
Orophin turned from where he had been stood talking to a fellow Galadhel, startled by the sudden cry. “You again?” he asked, resignation in his voice.
Gildor strode up to him angrily. “Where is it?”
“Where is what?” Orophin replied, clearly confused.
“You know perfectly well what! Where is my hat, Orophin? I took it off to bathe and wash my hair and when I returned, it was gone.” He crossed his arms, not prepared to be easily dismissed by the Lórien Elf.
“I thought you looked different!” Orophin dared to smile. “However, I do not have your hat; I am sorry to disappoint you. I have rather better things to do than steal ugly and worn accessories.”
Gildor glared. “I do not believe you.”
“You accuse me of lying? You press your luck, wanderer.”
Orophin sounded so serious that Gildor was momentarily startled. “I said no such thing,” he replied, recovering his wits. “Only that I doubt the accuracy of your statement.”
To that, Orophin did not reply, though the look he gave Gildor spoke a thousand words.
As they stood there, silent and at odds, a noise reached their ears. Children were playing nearby, some wonderful new game by the sound of things.
“They are too close to the training fields,” Orophin stated. Turning away from Gildor, he walked away to move the children on.
Without really knowing why, Gildor found himself following Orophin. It was only a moment’s walk to the clearing in which the children could be found. They were laughing constantly, their shrieks of enjoyment echoing in the trees as they played their game. A game that seemed to involve chasing whoever was currently wearing the large, floppy, worn grey hat and pulling it roughly from their head.
Gildor gaped in astonishment. It was a few moments before he found the words he was looking for.
“What in Eru’s name are you doing with my hat!” he roared, shocking the children into stillness. “How dare you take what does not belong to you!”
The children stared at him with wide eyes.
“We found it!” a young boy protested. “By the river! It was no-one’s!”
Gildor forced himself to calm down; they were only young and could not know the importance of the hat. “It is mine and I left it there while I was bathing.” He held out his hand. “Give it back now and we will not speak of it again.”
The boy took the hat from the girl who had been clutching it and handed it to the Elven lord. “Sorry,” he mumbled.
“Thank you,” Gildor said, managing to smile. “Go on, find anther game to play.”
The children ran off quickly and Gildor checked the hat over for damage. It was not until he heard the discreet cough that he remembered that Orophin was still there, looking at him expectantly.
Gildor suddenly felt ill. “I… appear to have made a mistake,” he said, the words sticking in his throat. “I… apologise for my error.” Oh, how it stung to have to apologise to the now smug-looking Galadhel!
“Apology accepted,” Orophin said sweetly. “We will not speak of it again.” He deliberately echoed Gildor’s words to the children.
Gildor growled and pulled that hat back onto his head before stalking off without another word.
Chuckling, Orophin watched him go. Not until Gildor was well out of sight did he fetch the tray of pastries he’d promised the children if they helped him out. Revenge, like the cakes he now carried, was truly sweet.
One day, these two might actually get along...