By Any Means Necessary
Elrond was sweating profusely whilst making his way over to the horses. In his weakened state, he was forced to lean heavily on Glorfindel and Lindir, as his injured side refused to cooperate properly. But there was nothing wrong with his ears and even from this distance he could hear Thranduil’s comment.
“He will exhaust himself,” Thranduil dryly commented to Erestor, who stood beside him, arm wrapped tightly around his waist.
“This is folly, I agree, but Elrond is stubborn. We won’t be able to change his mind.” Erestor fell into step beside Thranduil, as they made their way over to the panting half-Elf, who swayed dangerously in the saddle after being helped onto Asfaloth’s back.
“I want to ride my own horse, not yours,” said Elrond in an irritated tone.
But Glorfindel didn’t agree and he sighed deeply, seeing Elrond’s fragile balance. He had already suspected that his lover couldn’t ride a horse by himself and that someone would have to steady and support him. That was the very reason why he had chosen Asfaloth to carry Elrond. Realizing Elrond was about to lose his balance again, he quickly mounted, settling down behind the half-Elf. “Rest your body back against me.” After wrapping his arms around his lover’s waist, he reached for the reins.
Frustrated with his own weakness, Elrond reluctantly complied. “I hate this.” He glared at Thranduil and Erestor, and after looking over his shoulder, he glowered at his lover as well. He knew he presented a pitiful image of helplessness.
“My sentries will accompany you and help to keep you safe,” said Thranduil, gesturing for twenty of his finest archers to join the Imladris’ party. “They know the safest paths and how to avoid running into spiders. They will accompany you all the way to Imladris.”
“Thank you, meldir,” said Elrond through gritted teeth. He had reached the conclusion that he had overestimated his strength, and the pain in the injured parts of his body was mounting. He refused to show it though.
“Drink this before you leave.” Thranduil raised his right hand and offered Elrond a flask filled with a bitter, brown liquid. “It has the same healing qualities as the salve, and the added miruvor will strengthen you.”
Elrond slowly emptied the flask. From the corner of his eye, he caught Thranduil handing Glorfindel another flask filled with more of the bitter, healing substance. After drowning the foul liquid, he then handed the empty flask back to Erestor, who looked at him worriedly. “I will survive, Erestor,” he snapped in an edgy tone. He understood their worries, but he needed to ensure Elrohir wasn’t in any mortal danger. He wasn’t sure he would survive losing his youngest son.
Erestor wisely held his tongue and exchanged a knowing glance with Glorfindel, who tucked the flask into his saddle bags. “Make sure he rests regularly.”
“I will.” Glorfindel smiled reassuringly at his friend. “I will take good care of him.” Behind him, Elrond snorted. “Behave yourself, melme, or Thranduil might reconsider and keep you here.”
Thranduil laughed warmly. “I might do that, Elrond. After all, I am King here.” Beside him, Erestor blushed fiercely and Thranduil hoped strongly that one day they would get a chance to act out their little role-playing in the corridor, but this time he wouldn’t get caught in the act. Whispering into Erestor’s ear, he made sure his words were only heard by his lover. “And I do plan on ravaging you after tying you down to my bed.”
/Thranduil! This is neither the time nor the place to say such things!/ Erestor briefly glowered at his lover, but he couldn’t completely hide his own desire to explore that side of their relationship. How would he react when placed in such a delicate situation? But he could ponder that later.
“That flask holds more of the healing substance and I advice you make sure Elrond drinks some of it at dusk and dawn. It will also help to keep his pain bearable. Again, I strongly advice against this trip.” Thranduil couldn’t help feeling protective of his charge. The moment Elrond had been brought to him for treatment he had accepted responsibility for the half-Elf’s health.
“Noted,” sneered Elrond at Thranduil. He just wanted to leave Mirkwood and make for his home where he could check on his sons. Realizing he was being rather impolite, he managed to add, “We will keep in touch.”
Erestor nodded once. “I will farspeak with you.” It no longer worried him that Thranduil would be part of that conversation now that Elrond and the Sinda had buried the hatchet. He even hoped that Elrond and Thranduil would become friends in time.
Elrond pressed his back against Glorfindel’s chest in an effort to tell his seneschal to get moving. “Now, Glorfindel. I want to leave *now*.”
Sighing, the Elda complied, pressed his heels into Asfaloth’s flanks and followed Thranduil’s sentries, which now led the way. Looking over his shoulder, he smiled at Erestor, hoping his long-time friend would be happy here.
Celeborn was nervous. About half an hour ago the moans and whimpers coming from the bedroom had stopped and silence now filled the cabin. He deemed the time ready to check on his grandsons and nervously made his way over to the doorway. Should he knock? He dismissed that thought, not wanting to disturb the twins in case they had fallen asleep.
/I did the right thing. There was no other way. We lost Elros and nearly Elrond as well. I couldn’t let the past repeat itself. At least these two now have a chance at happiness./
Soundlessly, he pushed the door ajar, peeking inside. Ithil’s silver beams illuminated the small bedroom and the bodies of the two sleeping half-Elves on the cot. Celeborn briefly struggled for his next breath, realizing a silver glow emanated from the twins. It was the strongest around Elrohir’s form. /That is Elrohir, isn’t it?/ He had learned to tell them apart a long time ago, but they had never looked this identical to him. For the first time in his life he doubted his ability to tell them apart.
But then he caught sight of the improvised bandage, which told him it was Elrohir all right. Approaching the bed, he studied them closely. Elladan had curled protectively around his younger twin and was demonstrating a strong possessiveness in the way he was holding Elrohir.
Elrohir was pressing tightly against his older twin. His dark hair was a tangled mass and tiny beads of perspiration still clung to his brow. His breathing was slightly labored, and at times, tiny tremors rocked his sleeping body. Both half-Elf’s eyes were closed in a deep and restful sleep.
His gaze shifted to the open phial resting next to the pillow. Elladan had used it then. /He made love to Elrohir, and thus saved my youngest grandson. Everything went well. Elrohir has accepted Elladan’s love, then./ At least he hoped so.
Elrohir still looked awfully frail to him, and way too thin. Maybe he would find some food supplies in the kitchen? The twins needed to eat in order to regain their strength.
Now that he stood at the head end of the small cot, which offered just enough space for the two half-Elves, he reached for the blanket that had slipped down to their waists and pulled it back into place, tucking it around their forms. Bending down, he placed a parental kiss on Elrohir’s brow. The younger half-Elf remained sound asleep, but as he bestowed a similar kiss onto Elladan’s forehead his grandson’s eyes opened. The probing eyes were still clouded with sleep and briefly fastened on him.
“Sleep some more, Elladan. The storm is still raging outside and we are confined to this cabin’s safety for a few more hours. In the meantime I will try to provide you with some food.” Celeborn swept back a wayward lock that had found its way into Elladan’s face.
“Elrohir?” Elladan’s questioning gaze shifted from his grandfather to his twin and his breath caught, feeling Elrohir this close to him. The skin on skin contact only added to the sensation and he smiled giddily. “I succeeded in reclaiming him, ata’da. He will stay now.”
Celeborn smiled approvingly, but felt he had to warn Elladan. “You still have to face him when Elrohir is fully awake. Do not expect him to simply accept this. I can still sense feelings of guilt and shame.”
“So can I,” said Elladan in a thoughtful tone. “I had hoped that they would vanish during our lovemaking.”
“You have to be patient, Elladan,” Celeborn cautioned. After making sure his charges were warm, he left them alone, knowing they needed food and privacy.
Erestor rested his head on Thranduil’s shoulder and sighed. Elrond and his escort had just vanished from view, and Thranduil and he were alone again. With Vilya in Mirkwood the darkness no longer felt oppressing. “Look closely,” he whispered into his lover’s ear whilst pointing at the treetops. Arien had risen and now warmed the talan with her warm fingertips.
Thranduil understood. “Before the arrival of the ring Arien was barely able to reach the highest treetops. She is regaining her strength.”
“Sauron will be defeated, and until that day Vilya will protect you and your realm.” Erestor quivered with love for Thranduil, feeling his lover’s hand slip beneath his robes to rub his naked back. “The time has come to look toward the future and rebuild everything Sauron’s Shadow destroyed.”
Nodding his head, Thranduil turned Erestor in his embrace until they were face to face. “I feel stronger each day and I doubt it is just Vilya’s presence. Having you at my side strengthens me, nîn-cuil.”
“I am not a hero,” protested Erestor weakly. “We both know I bonded with you accidentally.” Seeing sudden doubt in the emerald eyes, he quickly added, “But I would have done so at any rate once realizing what a caring soul you truly are.” Leaning in closer, he claimed the other’s lips. /I can hardly wait for the day that we will make love, melamin. I want to feel you inside me./
Thranduil’s eyes darkened with passion, hearing Erestor’s admission. /You want to be claimed? Taken?/
/Aye, I want to see you above me, feel you behind me. Make love to me for endless hours./ Erestor released his lover’s lips and smiled, feeling Thranduil’s erection brush against his hip. /And you want that as well./
/I never before met such a sensual being as you, my dearest Erestor./ With his wife he had made love in order to produce children, but this was different. He wanted to lay with Erestor for the mere pleasure of it. /I vow to make our first time special./
/I will hold you to that promise,/ replied Erestor, feeling truly content. But then his sense of duty returned and he sighed regretfully. /I wish I could let you ravish me right now, but your advisors await./
Thranduil shared Erestor’s regret, wishing he could show his lover just how much he desired the Noldorin Elf. /We still have the night./ Nights, which were no longer filled with frightening nightmares. He planned on filling them with soft mews and whimpers of desire, which would tumble from Erestor’s lips for each night from now on. /Let us return to our duties then, but the night is ours and you are mine./
Erestor kissed his lover passionately and then allowed the Sinda to lead him back to the royal talan.
/Do you see it, Belldoron? Do you see how this accursed Noldorin Elf has bewitched your mighty King? Thranduil has been reduced to a drooling Elfling, who cannot keep his hands to himself. Erestor is Elrond’s pupil in the art of magic. The Peredhel is a sorcerer and no healer! He is evil and has trained Erestor to seduce your King. Belldoron, you are your King’s seneschal. How can you let this happen?/
Belldoron didn’t quite remember when the whispers had first started, but now they had become part of him. They were growing stronger as well, and now that he was watching the Imladris’ party leave, his gaze came to rest on Erestor, who was holding and kissing Thranduil in front of everyone.
/How does he dare claim my King in public? Thranduil must be under some sort of spell to allow this./ He grew enraged, watching them kiss. Thranduil’s hand had even slipped beneath the burgundy robes to make contact with the Noldorin Elf’s skin.
/Erestor is using your King’s desires against him. It has been a while since your King indulged himself in the physical act and Elrond taught Erestor well. It won’t be long before your King will be the half-Elf’s puppet, to be played with and then thrown aside. Erestor might even go as far as to kill your Ruler and take his place, for that is Elrond’s ultimate plan. After so many centuries of feuds Elrond will assume command in Mirkwood and imprison and torture all Elves that remain loyal to their King. Who knows, maybe Erestor will keep your King to warm his bed, humiliating him further./
/Never! That will never happen! I will make sure that this accursed Noldorin Elf won’t get away with it!/ Belldoron’s outrage fed this insane urge to protect his ruler at all cost. /I will end that bastard’s life if necessary!/
/End his life, my dear Belldoron? Wouldn’t that mean granting him an easy way out? Don’t you want this Noldo to suffer? You can always kill him later. You should show Thranduil how he is being manipulated and what would be a better way than to force Erestor to confess to his crimes? You are a warrior. I am certain you know of ways to convince him to admit his true nature? The Noldo is vile, but cunning. You will have to break him before you can convince Thranduil that Erestor bewitched him. Take your time and move with caution. You need a plan first./
Belldoron nodded his head once. Venomous eyes followed Thranduil and Erestor, as the two Elves headed to meet the advisors. /Your advice is sound. I will give this matter thought and act when I am ready./
/And do not hesitate to call for my help or advice, valiant Elf. Your King is most fortunate to have such a loyal seneschal./
“Aye, very fortunate indeed.” He had served Oropher and had promised the elder Elf to take care of Thranduil. It was time to keep that promise.
Marching toward his quarters, he considered the situation. The whispering voice was right. Maybe if he ‘convinced’ the Noldo to confess his vile crimes to Thranduil, his King would return to sanity. Aye, Thranduil would prefer to personally deal out the Elf’s punishment. All he had to do was open his King’s eyes.
Elladan had been unable to go back to sleep after Celeborn had woken him up. He had enjoyed watching Elrohir sleep and tenderly brushed damp, dark hair behind a slightly pointed ear. He had faced losing Elrohir too many times these last few days. First, Elrohir had threatened to choose mortality and then his twin had fled Imladris. “Too close, gwenneth. I came too close to losing you.”
Hearing the door open, he grew silent again. His gaze traveled to Celeborn and he nodded approvingly, smelling the soup his grandfather was bringing.
Celeborn placed the two bowls and spoons next to the bed and looked questioningly at Elladan. “Do you want me to stay when you wake him?”
Elladan considered the question. “Nay, thank you for your offer, but this is something Elrohir and I must face alone.”
Celeborn nodded his understanding. “I will be in the next room in case you need me. Be patient with him. It will be quite a shock to Elrohir that you took this step. Only a few days ago you didn’t even know that he was in love with you and then you did this.”
“I will be patient,” promised Elladan. He waited until his grandfather had left and then gently rubbed his twin’s face. He was somewhat apprehensive where Elrohir’s reaction was concerned, but counted on their bond to pull them through.
“Elrohir? Gwenneth, it is time for you to wake up. Ata’da brought us soup.” Involuntarily he held his breath when his brother’s eyes finally opened to look at him.
The feelings of shock and disbelief that washed through Elrohir made him tremble in Elladan’s arms. The memories of what they had done rushed through him, making him whimper in misery. Elladan immediately soothed him, but that only resulted in Elrohir trying to pull away. “Nay… Elladan… Why did you do it?” The tears that had been swimming in his eyes were now released and dripped down his face. “I left… to keep this from you.” Everything had been in vain. Misery, melancholy and despair settled down in his soul.
Now that Elladan refused to let go of him, he averted his eyes, staring at the ceiling. He had no idea where Elladan had taken him or why his twin had decided to claim him. He just wished Elladan had never found him.
“Elrohir? Gwenneth? Look at me, please.”
Elladan’s pleading tone instantly registered with him and he was unable to deny his twin so he met the other’s compassionate eyes. “Ata’da told you.”
Elladan nodded once. “He did.”
“He betrayed my trust. He lured me into some sort of trance and I had no idea I was telling him, or why I was telling him. I couldn’t stop myself. He had no right to tell you of my shame.” Although Elrohir closed his eyes, hot tears remained sliding down his cheeks.
“Ata’da did what he did because he was worried about you and so was I. I still am. Why won’t you look at me, gwenneth?”
“How can you possible bear my presence? Or to look at me after what I have done?” Elrohir’s eyes suddenly opened and he glared at his twin. “Why, Elladan? Why? Why couldn’t you let me fade or chose mortality? Why did you do this?”
Elladan forced himself to remain calm. Elrohir was emotional enough for the both of them. “Ata’da told me that you are in love with me. That you have been for some time and that it was the reason why you were fading. You were pining for me, thinking you could never have me.”
“Elladan, this is wrong. We are brothers! Twins! How could you do this? I tried so hard to keep my distance!” Elrohir was angry and hurt at the same time, and he shook in his twin’s arms. “I never wanted you to know!”
“You were afraid that I would claim you,” said Elladan in a flash of revelation. “You kept this from me because you knew I love you too much to let you fade!”
“I didn’t want you to fall into disgrace with me,” whimpered Elrohir miserably. “I am so sorry, Elladan. You should never have done this.”
“I don’t regret a single moment of it.” Elladan was done talking and opted for action instead. He rested his right hand at the nape of Elrohir’s neck, keeping him in place whilst kissing him. Elrohir gasped and then struggled, trying to break the kiss, but Elladan didn’t let him. /Stop fighting this, Elrohir. This was meant to be./
Elrohir suddenly went limp in his arms and Elladan instantly grew worried. “Elrohir?” He loosened his hold slightly to check on his twin and then cursed, when Elrohir elbowed him in his stomach.
But Elrohir whimpered in pain as well, not having realized his arm was broken. Ramming it into his brother’s abdomen had caused the dull ache to return to full force, and tears of agony filled his eyes. It seemed that he couldn’t struggle free, even if he wanted to. He felt utterly pathetic.
“Hush now, gwenneth, all will be well. I have you now and we will face the future together.” Elrohir had gone motionless again and Elladan used that to his advantage. He helped his twin into a sitting position. Mimicking the position they had been in when making love, he pulled Elrohir onto his lap. As they were both still naked, the exquisite sensation of flesh moving against flesh caused them both to moan.
“Nay, Elladan, don’t do this.” Elrohir lifted his tear streaked face and met his twin’s knowing eyes. He sobbed quietly when Elladan guided their arms around each other’s waist, tightening the hold. “It is wrong. We are brothers. We should not be doing this.” But his voice had lost some of its earlier conviction.
Elladan soothingly rubbed his twin’s back. “That was my first reaction as well when ata’da told me about your passion for me. I fought it. Then he pointed out to me that by fighting it I would lose you to the Halls of Mandos and the truth is that I cannot live without you, Elrohir. We are one. Do you remember how it felt when our bodies were joined? Our fëar mixed and for one moment in time we were one. We cannot deny the truth, gwanur-nîn.” He managed to make eye contact with his twin and then continued. “This is how it is supposed to be.”
“It is not!” said Elrohir vehemently. “I don’t understand how ata’da could let you do this… Why he didn’t stop you! He knows it is wrong too!”
“We love you, Elrohir. That is why I didn’t stop Elladan.” Celeborn, who had heard the muffled screams had been unable to stay away any longer and now approached the bed. Seeing Elrohir’s severe distress he felt deeply for his youngest grandson. “Don’t me angry with Elladan. If you need to be upset with someone, be angry with me, for I advised Elladan to claim you.”
Elrohir glared at his grandfather and Celeborn trembled, seeing the fierce emotions in his grandson’s eyes. “Please understand, pen-neth.” Celeborn moved closer, and sat down on the edge of the bed, facing Elrohir. “Your death would have caused a terrible reaction. Elladan would have faded too and what about your father? Would he survive losing the two of you?”
“You betrayed my trust by making me tell you, Celeborn! And you should have stopped Elladan!” hissed Elrohir, too upset to call the elder Elf grandfather. He was exhausting himself by being this angry, but he couldn’t help himself. “Don’t you understand that you ruined Elladan’s life? He is now bound to me! He can never have a lover of his own! You sentenced him to that!”
“What?” Elladan, shocked to hear this, placed his hands at either side of Elrohir’s head and forced his twin to look at him. “You are my love. Don’t you know that? I never had these feelings for any other Elf. It is you who completes me.”
“But…” Elrohir, too drained to continue the argument, whimpered softly. His arm and head hurt and his heart… he wasn’t sure if it was broken or mending. “You shouldn’t have done this, Elladan.” Closing his eyes, exhaustion overwhelmed him and he collapsed against his twin.
Elladan now released his own tears which he had been holding back. Gently, he lowered his twin back onto the cot and then looked over his shoulder at Celeborn. “You were right; he would have fought me. At least now I know he will stay with me.”
“But this is only the beginning. The real battle is still ahead of you. You must make Elrohir understand that you truly love him and that will take time. But you did well. Don’t let him push you away. Hopefully his feelings of guilt and shame will fade after he talks to Elrond.”
“You think so?” Elladan frowned. Why would talking to their father ease Elrohir’s pain?
“I cannot tell you why, but Elrond will… In time. Now, eat this soup and try to make Elrohir eat as well when he wakes up again.” Celeborn briefly rested his hand on the top of Elladan’s head and teasingly ruffled the dark mane. “The storm is fading and we might be able to leave in a few hours.” Rising from the cot, he smiled warmly at Elladan. “I am proud of you. You did well.” Soundlessly he left the room and closed the door behind him. Elrohir’s accusation, that he had betrayed his trust, echoed in his ears and caused him heartbreak. He would try to make Elrohir understand in time. Now he had to deal with his pain alone.
Elladan sipped his soup, whilst keeping one eye on his shivering twin. After emptying the bowl, he set it aside and pulled Elrohir into his arms. “You won’t succeed in driving me away, Elrohir. I love you too much.”
As if hearing those words, Elrohir moved closer in his sleep. His lips now rested close to a coppery disk and its nipple quickly turned into a hard nub. “Aiya, Elrohir, I desire you.” Making love to Elrohir had shown him how much he desired Elrohir and he yearned to become one with his twin again. When they had been joined, they had been one for one eternal moment… and he wanted that again – wanted to feel like that for the rest of his life.
“I am truly bound to you then.” As long as he lived he would desire no one but Elrohir, and that thought gave him all the peace of mind that he needed.
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