By Any Means Necessary
“I entrust Imladris to your care,” said Elrond, closely watching his twin sons. Elrohir and Elladan had been flabbergasted to find out that their father was leaving them in charge. Learning that Glorfindel was accompanying Elrond to Mirkwood explained their father’s decision, but the surprise remained.
Yes, they had been trained to rule Imladris one day, but they hadn’t expected for their father to put his trust in them so soon. “We won’t disappoint you,” vowed Elladan passionately. “We will look after the lands and its people during your absence.”
Elrond nodded approvingly. “I will be gone for several weeks. Upon my return I expect to find Imladris at peace and flourishing.” He exchanged a glance with Glorfindel; the blond was leaning against the wall and his face carried a smug grin. He still wondered why his seneschal insisted they traveled together. Didn’t Glorfindel trust his men to keep him safe? His instincts told him that there was a different reason for Glorfindel’s demand to personally guard him, but he couldn’t figure it out. Had it something to do with the fact that Glorfindel had woken him the other day, feeding him cherries?
Composing himself, Elrond’s gaze traveled from Glorfindel to Elrohir. Although Elladan was the oldest twin -by mere minutes- Elrohir had always struck him as the most sensible one. “Keep one eye on Imladris and the other on your older brother.”
Elrohir smiled broadly and released a pained ‘ai’, when Elladan elbowed him in the stomach. Elladan didn’t like to be assigned a minder! But the truth was that Elladan often got himself into trouble and then Elrohir was left to solve the problems, which his twin had created. “I will keep him safe, Ada.”
Glorfindel laughed warmly, squeezed Elrohir’s shoulder, and then patted Elladan’s back before leaving the study. Elrond and he would leave for Mirkwood in mere minutes and he had to check if everything was ready for their departure.
Elrond’s gaze darkened slightly. “I do not want to leave you, but… The time has come to make my peace with Thranduil. And now that Legolas is on his way to Mount Doom I promised to take care of Thranduil.” The Fellowship had departed that morning, and Elrond felt burdened by the knowledge that some of its members wouldn’t survive the quest. The gift of foresight was also a curse.
“We understand, Ada,” said Elladan reassuringly. “Do not worry about Imladris, or us. You have prepared us for this day and we won’t fail you.” Stepping forward, he folded his arms around his father’s shoulders and hugged Elrond tightly. “Be careful on the road to Mirkwood. I heard terrible stories about the venomous spiders that roam Thranduil’s lands.” Pulling back, he let go of his father, giving Elrohir a chance to say his goodbyes as well.
Elrohir enfolded his father in an even tighter hug, pulling Elrond as close as possible. “I will miss you,” he whispered into his father’s ear, “But I understand why you have to do this. We have known Legolas for decades and he is an honorable warrior. How much different can Thranduil be when he raised Legolas that splendidly? I am sure there are unsolved matters between the two of you and now that Thranduil is dying it is only proper that you make this trip. Please return to us safely.”
Touched by Elrohir’s words, Elrond kissed the top of his son’s head. “I love both of you.”
Elrohir released his father and returned to Elladan’s side. Almost subconsciously Elladan’s arm settled around his twin’s waist, giving his brother the emotional support he needed now that their father was leaving. They would always stand side-by-side, understanding one another without words.
Elrond smiled at them one more time and then gathered his traveling cloak. “I will be back in a few weeks and I will try to stay in contact with you by sending messengers.” Reluctant to part from his sons, he slowly walked toward the doorway. Looking outside, he found that Glorfindel had already mounted Asfaloth and was now waiting for him. He couldn’t postpone his departure any longer.
Elrohir leaned into Elladan, and appreciated the fact that his older brother was soothingly rubbing his back. He might not show it openly, but he didn’t want their father to leave. An ominous feeling swept through him, seeing Elrond mount his stallion. “I am worried,” he admitted to his twin. “I see danger, pain and darkness when I look at Ada.”
Elrohir’s words caused Elladan to grow concerned as well. They hadn’t told their father, but Elladan strongly suspected that his brother had inherited Elrond’s gift of foresight. At times, Elrohir’s predications came true. “Is there no hope at all? No light in the darkness?”
Elrohir closed his eyes to center himself. In the distance he heard the party leave. “There is light, but it is dim at the present.” The light that he encountered in his waking dream emanated from Glorfindel and enveloped Elrond, who seemed to stand in shadows. “It is good that Glorfindel accompanies Ada.”
Elladan looked at his twin now that the party had vanished from sight. “Glorfindel will keep Ada safe then?”
“I hope so.” Elrohir sighed deeply and rested his head against his brother’s shoulder. “I feel cornered without knowing why.”
“Maybe it is because we cannot be close to Ada on this trip. We cannot keep him safe.” Those very things might be the reasons for Elrohir’s worries. “But Glorfindel will watch over Ada.”
Elrohir didn’t reply verbally, instead, he pressed closer to Elladan, needing his twin’s strength now that their father had left Imladris. “I hope Glorfindel is strong enough to ward off the impending darkness.”
Elladan, who was determined not to give in to Elrohir’s mounting depression, pulled his twin along. /Ada might be gone, but I am still here. You are not alone, pen-dínen, (silent one). At least you told me about your worries. Most of the time you keep them to yourself./
Elrohir sighed. He had never been able to keep things from Elladan for a long time. His twin always found out what was troubling him. His head still rested against Elladan’s shoulder, as they looked out of the window at the horizon. /I miss Ada already. I am glad I still have you, êl. (Star)./
Elladan smiled, as he rested his chin on his brother’s head. /I feel the same way about you, gwanunig (twin brother)./ They were two halves of one soul.
Elrond looked over his shoulder to catch a last glance of the safe heaven he had built in this beautiful valley. He knew his sons would do an excellent job of keeping Imladris safe in his absence, but it pained him to leave home.
/Home./ Only now did he realize how much Imladris had become home. He would always return here.
“Feeling homesick already?” asked Glorfindel, who was riding alongside the half-Elf. He could tell Elrond felt strained and burdened. Deciding that a Fellowship had to be formed, and making Legolas a part of it, weighed heavily on Elrond’s conscious now that the half-Elf knew Thranduil was dying. It wasn’t a decision Elrond had made lightly.
“I did not realize before how much Imladris means to me. Since founding it I have barely left.” Before creating Imladris he had traveled constantly.
“We will be back in a few weeks,” said Glorfindel in an effort to comfort his friend. Maybe later he would find a way to distract Elrond from his worries and pain. But now he had to concentrate on taking Elrond to Mirkwood without anyone carrying away injuries. He had sent several scouts ahead and the rest of the escort was positioned around the half-Elf. By chance, his gaze traveled to Elrond’s hand and his breath caught.
“You are wearing Vilya!” He hadn’t thought Elrond would take the ring with him on this trip, exposing it to danger. This meant he had to be even more careful. He had to keep the ring and its owner safe!
Elrond stared at the ring as well. “It has kept Imladris safe for so long. Maybe now it is Mirkwood’s turn to benefit from its protection. I am hopeful it will fight off the Shadows and keep Thranduil alive until Frodo has managed to destroy the One Ring.”
“Do you think destroying the One Ring will give Thranduil his life back?”
“His life energy, aye. The Shadow is draining Thranduil. Once the One Ring has been destroyed the Shadow will lose their grip on Thranduil and he would recover quickly.” At least Elrond hoped so. “I do not want him to die, Glorfindel.”
“Do you think Legolas suspects that the Shadow will come for him once Thranduil has succumbed?”
Elrond gave Glorfindel a troubled look. “Nay, I do not think so. That is one more reason to keep the Shadow at bay.”
His jaw set grimly and Glorfindel nearly grinded his teeth, determined to make sure Elrond reached Mirkwood safely.
When the night fell, Glorfindel decided they would seek out the cover of a cave they had encountered to get some rest. After assigning the guards to their places, he stepped into the cave where Elrond and the remaining guards were settling down for the night. He headed straight for the half-Elf, who sat upright, leaning against a rocky wall. “The guards will change shifts in a few hours. You can sleep safely tonight.”
Elrond felt like he had grown weak, spending all his time in either the library or the Healing House. Ages ago he had been a hardened warrior, now he felt out of place among his men. “Are you expecting any problems tonight?” He pulled his cloak tighter around his frame. It was a cold night and Glorfindel had decided against building a fire. The Elda and the rest of the Elves didn’t feel the night cold, but Elrond, being half-Elven, did. However, he didn’t point this out to his friend.
Glorfindel grabbed hold off a bedroll, spread it out onto the ground and signaled for Elrond to lie down. He even folded a cloak into a pillow and waited for his charge to lie down. “You need the rest.”
Elrond raised an eyebrow. “I do?”
“You have no idea how much of your strength is needed to help Thranduil survive. He needs you rested.” Glorfindel signaled for Elrond to lie down.
Reluctantly Elrond gave in. He had to admit this felt better than leaning against the rocks. “What about you?” Touched by his friend’s concern, he watched as Glorfindel covered him with his riding cloak. He knew the blond didn’t feel the cold and bit back his protest, letting Glorfindel attend to him. “I know I do not say it often enough, but your friendship and concern mean a lot to me. It is much appreciated.”
Glorfindel stilled in his movements. Was this the moment he had been waiting for? Or was it still too early? He was still debating whether or not to tell Elrond about his attraction when he noticed that the half-Elf’s eyes had closed. “Aye, sleep then.” He didn’t know when Elrond would get another chance to sleep undisturbed as evil and pain awaited them in Mirkwood.
Giving into his need to be close to Elrond, he lay down as well, trusting his men to keep them safe; after all, he had trained them personally! Spooning up behind the half-Elf, he stopped worrying about Elrond’s possible reaction at finding him this close and wrapped his arms around his secret love. /Soon, melethron-nîn, it won’t be long before I make my love for you known. But this hardly seems the right time or place./
Holding Elrond close, he smiled against the raven locks that teased his face. He drew in a deep breath, growing aware of that scent that was uniquely Elrond’s. Spicy, yet refined, and with a touch of lavender. That scent, which he solely attributed to Elrond, made him grow hard and he slightly shifted away, not wanting Elrond to wake up with this hardness pressed against him. He tucked Elrond’s head beneath his chin, looking forward to the half-Elf’s reaction upon wakening. Maybe he would silence the raven-haired half-Elf’s protests by kissing him.
Elrohir, seated behind his father’s desk, stared at the blank parchment in front of him. In his hand was a quill, which he now dipped in the ink. Decades ago he had begun to write down his feelings in a journal, and now he would add another page to the pile that he kept safely locked away from everyone, even his brother -- nay, especially his brother. He prayed to Elbereth that his older brother would never find these papers.
Rationally he knew he should not keep them at all. He should burn them. Or even better, stop writing his feelings down. Or did he secretly hope that Elladan would find them? No, that would mean the end of their relationship.
Sighing, he placed the tip of the quill on the paper and began writing.
[Ada left for Mirkwood today, leaving Elladan and I in charge of Imladris. I feel confident that we won’t disappoint him. We were trained to take over his duties one day and I console myself with the fact that Ada and Glorfindel will be back shortly.
Elladan was as understanding as always and tried to console me. My heart feels so burdened… But this is one thing I have to keep from him. He would never trust me again. This is my secret to bear, my shame, my disgrace.]
Staring at the words he had just written down, he placed aside the quill and bowed his head. He had to keep this secret and take it into the grave with him.
His grave… Soon they would have to make their choice. They could choose to belong to the firstborn and become practically immortal, or belong to the race of Man and become mortal, which would make his life a little more bearable. He didn’t want to continue to lie to Elladan and Ada. To become mortal meant that his suffering would end eventually.
Picking up the quill again, he continued to write.
[Elladan and I talked last night about our choices. He told me he desires to belong to the firstborn. Isn’t it ironic that history repeats itself? Ada chose to belong to the firstborn and Elros chose mortality. I wonder if Elros made that decision for the same reasons as I will.
I cannot tell Elladan yet that I will not stay with him for the rest of his life. Whenever he talks about his future, I am in it. How can I explain to him that he will have to sail for Valinor alone in the end? That he has to leave me behind? That I will be dead when they sail for the Undying Lands? By Elbereth, how do I tell Ada? I know he wants me to remain part of his life as well. He told me how much he mourned Elros’ passing when his brother died. Now he will have a son to mourn.
But I cannot continue like this. How much longer will I be able to hide my disgrace? I will slip and they will figure it out.]
Elrohir sighed distressed, and stared at the parchment. His senses alerted him as his hearing picked up on soft footfalls in the corridor. Elladan was heading his way. They had always been able to sense each other’s presence and this time it came in handy.
He put down the quill, folded the paper and quickly slipped it into a pocket. Rising from his chair, he headed for the doorway where Elladan had appeared. He forced a smile onto his face and inclined his head in greeting. “Gwanunig, what did you find out when you walked your rounds?” They had agreed that Elladan would keep in touch with the staff and servants, whilst Elrohir would deal with Elrond’s advisors.
“All is well. There are no urgent matters that demand our attention.” Elladan walked over to his brother and looked into the gray eyes. They appeared stormy and unfocused to him, reflecting his brother’s inner turmoil. He knew something was troubling Elrohir, but his younger brother refused to discuss it, claiming it was too personal and not urgent. But he doubted that. During the last few years he had become aware of a deepening rift between the two of them. He couldn’t quite identify the discomfort that sometimes appeared between them. That Elrohir no longer completely trusted him didn’t help either.
“We should retire for the night,” said Elrohir calmly. The fact that they still shared rooms complicated matters as well. Elrond had once offered them separate suites, but Elladan had declined before he’d had a chance to answer. Later he hadn’t dared to speak out and ask their father for new quarters, realizing Elladan wanted --maybe even needed-- him close.
Elladan nodded his consent. After wrapping an arm around his twin’s shoulder, he led the way back to their quarters. “Do you have any appointments for tomorrow?”
“A meeting with Ada’s advisors. They already asked to be heard today, but I told them to come back tomorrow as there are no pressing matters.” Elrohir smiled weakly. “This is one aspects of Ada’s work, which I am not looking forward to; those endless meetings. Usually Erestor dealt with them.”
“But he is in Mirkwood now,” said Elladan gently. They had reached their rooms and he pushed the door open, letting his twin enter first. “Will you join me for a bath before going to sleep?” He hoped Elrohir would say yes, but doubted it. These last few months Elrohir had gone straight to bed instead of joining him.
“I would rather go to bed,” said Elrohir, hoping his brother wouldn’t press the matter. He headed for his bed, whilst Elladan headed for the bathroom.
Elladan sighed deeply. “We are drifting apart, pen-dínen. Why won’t you tell me what troubles you?”
Elrohir swallowed hard. Emotions, which he couldn’t deal with right now, were making it hard for him to speak. “’Tis nothing, gwanunig, do not worry about it.” He turned his back toward Elladan and pretended to be busy getting ready for bed.
Another pang of pain swept through Elladan at being denied. His shoulders slumped forward as he entered the bathroom. Their beds used to be close enough to touch if they desired so, but Elrohir had moved his bed away from his, pushing it against the opposite wall, creating this distance between them. /Why, Elrohir, why?/
By the time Elladan had finished his bath and towel-dried his skin, Elrohir had safely slipped beneath the covers. His younger brother’s back was toward him and he couldn’t see Elrohir’s expression. His instincts however told him that his brother was still awake.
He hadn’t bothered to get dressed again --not even a sleeping robe--. He had never worn any clothes to bed --like Elrohir-- and he still wondered why Elrohir had begun wearing a nightshirt to bed. “Gwanunig? I know you are still awake.” He sat down on the side of the bed, hoping Elrohir would acknowledge him and roll onto his other side so they could look at each other.
“What is it, êl?” Elrohir sensed his older brother’s tension and his need to be close, because he felt the same way.
“Can I sleep in your bed tonight? I need you close. It has been so long since we slept that way. I miss it.” Elladan cringed, hearing the pleading tone to his voice, but he couldn’t help it. “Please?”
Hearing Elladan say please made Elrohir feel guilty. “I never wanted to hurt you.” Slowly, he shifted until he was face to face with his brother. He paled, finding his brother naked. Physically, they were completely alike and by looking at Elladan, he was looking at his own reflection. Long, dark hair reached Elladan’s narrow hips. The forelocks had been braided into elegant plaits, framing his face. Although Elrohir knew he looked just like his twin, the beauty in his brother’s features took his breath away.
Sensing his twin’s melancholy, Elladan reached out and touched Elrohir’s shoulder. He frowned when his younger brother tried to pull away. He had noticed before that Elrohir was distancing himself, but the reason why still escaped him. “Can we sleep in the same bed tonight?” he asked, reminding his brother.
Elrohir knew he should say no --that he should reject Elladan-- but was unable to follow through and nodded once.
Elladan felt somewhat relieved when Elrohir finally gave in. He quickly slipped beneath the covers, making himself comfortable, but distinctly noticed the tension in his brother’s body, which now rested in his arms. Absentmindedly, he tugged at his twin’s braids, loosening them. “Elrohir? Why are you so sad? So silent? Why are you keeping me at a distance? I can tell you are hurting.”
Elrohir cringed. Elladan had always been his second half, the one person that completed him. With that realization had come love, but not the love that one brother should hold for the other. It had grown deeper throughout the centuries until he had finally realized it for what it was. The attraction had become sexual and that frightened him.
They were so used to touching each other, always chastely, but now he found himself eager to be in his brother’s arms for completely different reasons. Elladan was blissfully unaware of the attraction, and Elrohir wanted to keep it that way. Closing his eyes, he tried to chase away any impure thoughts. He couldn’t think of Elladan in a romantic way! They were brothers! Twins! A love like his was forbidden!
Elladan’s voice startled him and Elrohir’s eyes flashed open. He quickly masked his feelings before making eye contact with his twin. Meeting Elladan’s radiant gaze, he was overcome by sensual longing, which he brutally suppressed. Elrohir tried to distance himself from his brother, but Elladan kept him in place. Being in his brother’s arms felt divine, but for the wrong reasons. The brotherly love that existed between them had to suffice.
“Elrohir? Why won’t you answer me?” Elladan’s worries increased. “We never hid things from each other.”
/Aiya, Elladan, this is one thing I cannot tell you. You would shun me and leave me. Then Ada would find out and he would loathe me as well. This is one secret I have to keep for the rest of my life./
“You are scaring me, Elrohir.” Elladan cupped his brother’s chin in the palm of his hand and stared into eyes, identical to his. At times, he could sense his brother’s thoughts and moods, but Elrohir had taken to guarding them closely, no longer allowing him that close emotionally. “I want to help.”
Elrohir swallowed hard. Elladan’s lips were so close… -- he only needed to lean in for another inch and he would be able to taste them. /Nay! I cannot feel that way! It is forbidden./ But how to fight this love? Or this desire that was quickly consuming him? He bit down his pain, trying to deny he was having these feelings. Seeing Elladan’s worried expression, he knew he had to offer his twin some kind of explanation. “I worry about so many things… Ada, Glorfindel… Legolas and Thranduil… You.”
Elladan’s frown deepened. He could tell that his twin wasn’t exactly lying to him, but Elrohir wasn’t being completely honest either. Something else troubled his brother. Allowing Elrohir to distract him, he nodded once. “Ada, Glorfindel and Erestor are determined to take care of Thranduil. Once the quest is over Legolas will find his father alive.”
Elrohir was relieved that Elladan allowed the distraction. “I hope they will find a way to ensure Thranduil’s survival. I do not want Legolas to lose his father.”
Although Elladan nodded, his thoughts were otherwise occupied. Something about Elrohir seemed off. He couldn’t label the sensation and that fact worried him immensely. “Are you sure you are all right, Elrohir? I do not know why, but I worry for you.”
Elrohir forced himself to smile. “I am fine, Elladan. Stop worrying about me.”
Elladan continued to study Elrohir, frustrated that he couldn’t find out what was really going on.
Elrohir wanted nothing more than to stay where he was; safely tucked away against his brother’s lean body, but… /Stop it! I cannot think that way!/ But his thoughts possessed a mind of their own and once more his gaze was trained on his brother’s lips. Quickly, he closed his eyes, trying hard to suppress his longing. “I thought you wanted to sleep? Then I suggest you stop talking.” Just feeling Elladan this close was enough to unbalance him. He had never felt happier to be wearing a nightshirt. That way he didn’t feel Elladan’s skin against his, and should he grow aroused, the fabric would hopefully hide it.
Elladan was tempted to push his younger brother into revealing what was truly ailing him, but in the end he decided against it. He knew Elrohir well enough to know his brother would clam up even more when pressured.
Elladan curled his fingers around Elrohir’s hand, offering his twin the contact they both craved. Now that his brother was hurting he wanted to reassure Elrohir in whatever way he could. To Elladan’s shock, Elrohir pushed his hand away, refusing him the contact. /Elrohir, what is wrong with you?/ His brother had never shunned him before! /We used to trust each other and now you are shutting me out. Why?/
Elrohir hoped Elladan took the hint and would stop talking. Forcing himself to relax in his brother’s arms, he pretended to fall asleep.
Elladan could tell Elrohir was merely pretending to be asleep and felt deeply hurt by his twin’s apparent need to shut him out. /I do not know what is wrong with you, but I will find out!/
Return to Archive | next | previous