Constance peeked up at her fiancé through the dark hair that fell over her face. “Er, yep.”
Dafydd shook his head slowly. "That... really?"
"Sorry." Constance brushed her hair back from her face and sighed. "So when he found a webring with girls writing fanfiction about his books, he wasn't too amused. And when he later found out about the PPC... well, it wasn't entirely my idea to join."
"Urrr." Rubbing his eyes, Dafydd looked at Constance more closely. "So, er... since you've decided I want to meet him... look, have I ever PPC'd anything based on his stuff?"
"I doubt it. He's fairly obscure, and threatened the Pit of Voles with lethal force the second they started a section for him. You know, I come by my bloodthirstyness honestly."
The elf ruffled his fiancée's hair absently. "I believe it," he said. "So... all right. He's going to know everything about what I do and how dangerous I am and all, and you still think I should formally ask him for your hand?"
Constance smiled at him briefly. "He'll see it as an advantage." She thought for a moment. "You should probably know that he'll try to persuade you to let him use your portal activator to play around in the multiverse. Don't carry it in your pocket, backback, hand or any obvious secret compartment, because he'll take it."
Dafydd shook his head with a grimace. "This is all decidedly un-elvish," he said. "Are you sure we can't just run off into the forest somewhere and do this traditionally?"
The woman rolled her eyes. "Honestly, Dafydd. He's just going to shake your hand, tell you to be good to me, and mess with your head a bit. It's nothing millions of men haven't gone through before. Only not with my father, obviously," she added.
Dafydd sighed. "Fine. What about your mother, then?" he asked. "Should I expect her to do... whatever it is mothers do?"
Constance's eyes tightened. "Probably not," she said in a strained voice. "She's dead."
"... I'm sorry, Connie," the elf said, closing his eyes momentarily. "I know what that's like. I'll... okay. Shall we go and meet your father?"
Constance smiled. "I knew you'd come round," she said. "Go and grab your bag, I'll get the portal up."
Dafydd had faced down hordes of orcs with no weapon other than a magic ring, he had pursued the daughter of the Witch-King across half of Middle-earth, he had even confronted Glaurung the Golden in full flame, but none of these were so utterly terrifying as the kindly-looking gentleman who sat in a comfy chair and peered at him over half-moon spectacles. The elf gripped Constance's hand tighter.
"She sends me letters, you know," Joseph Sims said, indicating his daughter with one hand. "When she gets the time, that is. Recently you've become rather prominent in them."
Dafydd swallowed. "We, um. We've been assigned to work together a lot," he said.
Joseph smiled. "Yes, I know," he replied. "She mentioned how you got her name wrong the first time you met. Despite that, you'll be glad to know her first impressions of you were very favourable.
At Dafydd's left, Constance rolled her eyes. "Why bother with the buildup, Dad?" she asked. "You've got your heart set on embarrassing me, just come out and tell him I squee'd, already."
"But it's so much more amusing when you do it yourself," the grey-haired man said mildly. As Constance blushed, he added, "Could you be a dear and pour three glasses of lemonade? There's a jug in the fridge."
Constance raised her eyebrow. "'Be a dear'?" she quoted back. "Since when do you talk like that, Dad?"
"Constance," Joseph said sharply, "kitchen. Now."
Muttering under her breath, the dark-haired woman stalked out. Her father waited until the door had clicked shut, then turned back to Dafydd. "You only have one hand," he said, apropos of nothing.
Dafydd glanced down at the flat black cloth that covered the stump on his right arm. "We were on a mission," he said. "I had this ring-"
"Yes, Constance told me," Joseph cut in. "But I know about PPC Medical. Why haven't you had a new one grown?"
Dafydd blinked. "I... it didn't feel right, I suppose. Maedh-- my brother didn't have that choice, why should I?" He shrugged.
"Constance mentioned your... interesting parentage, too," Joseph said, and lent forward. "Dafydd son of Feanor," he said in a sharp tone, "on your last mission you almost got my daughter killed."
"I was killed," Dafydd didn't say. Nor did he say any of the other sarcastic, caustic or frivolous things which came to mind. Instead, he simply nodded. "I know," he said, and then added quietly but firmly, "Never again."
Joseph nodded approvingly. "I will hold you to that," he said. "And if you ever hurt her, whatever your excuse, I will hunt you down and send you straight back to Mandos, prince though you may be. Is that understood, Dafydd Illian?"
Dafydd's eyes were wide and he nodded nervously. "Yes, sir," he squeaked. Joseph smiled grimly.
"Good boy." He glanced at the door to the kitchen and raised his voice slightly. "Then since she has made her choice very clear, and seeing as you're too petrified to actually ask, I grant you my daughter's hand in marriage. Take good care of her. You can stop eavesdropping now, Constance."
As the door swung open and Constance entered with a tray and a guilty look, Joseph winked at Dafydd. "If you think that was scary," he said in a voice so quiet only the elf's ears could hear it, "you just wait till I tell you about the first time I met Laura's parents." He grinned. "And then you'll realise which of us Connie really takes after..."
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