Characters/Pairing: Elrond, Celeborn, two Strangers
Disclaimer: Tolkien's the genius, not me.
They were forced to stop long before Elrond would have liked, but the wounded and the children needed to rest. Exhausted himself, he dropped his things at the roots of a large old chestnut tree, and almost instantly a chestnut, still inside its spiky outer shell, dropped on his head. Laughter followed when he flinched; Elrond looked up into the branches to find two identical faces smiling back down at him.
“Worry not,” said one, dropping lightly to the ground. “It isn't much farther.”
Elrond blinked at him. “What isn't?”
“A hidden valley, in the foothills of the Misty Mountains.”
Celeborn frowned. “You said there was a valley.”
The hunters grinned at him. “Just follow us, and watch your steps!”
Elrond and Celeborn exchanged glances, but followed without argument. They could just hear the distant baying of Sauron's hounds; the sooner they got their people to this hidden valley, the better.
The hunters darted up the hill ahead of them, dark hair flying behind them like banners in the fresh mountain breeze.
The ground dropped away so suddenly that Elrond nearly fell over the edge. But there it was—a beautiful green valley filled with the sound of flowing water.
Elrond found the hunters sitting beneath a beech tree, dappled sunlight dancing on their hair and faces, apparently entirely at ease, in spite of the army practically on their doorstep.
One of them smiled up at him. “Has everyone made it?”
“Yes. Thank you. I don't think we would have escaped Sauron's army without you.”
One of them fell backward onto the grass, sighing as he stretched his arms over his head. The other peered at Elrond, bright grey eyes sharp, his smile slipping just a little into wistfulness. “Has anyone ever told you you look just like your mother?”