Chapter 4

                  Celebrían laid her head on his shoulder.

                  " You do not speak much, Herven."

Elrond kissed her forehead.

                  " What is there to speak?  I am more than surprised."

                  " You have never shown so much apathy in the begetting of your children."

Elrond hastily sat up, the light illuminating his raven dark hair.

                  " Forgive me, Celebrían.  Forgive me for being so stupid."

He hugged her to him with an apologetic kiss.  Celebrían gently laid another kiss on his lips.

                  " The council still weighs heavily on your mind."

Elrond nodded. 

                  The two were silent for a long time and Celebrían was sure Elrond had drifted off to sleep. He suddenly turned his head.

                  " What do you think it will be?  We already have at least one of each gender."

Celebrían smiled demurely.

                  " As long as it is not twins again, I will be happy with whatever the gender is."

Elrond kissed her forehead.

                  " Twins run strong in both our families."

She groaned.

                  " I know.  I have Elladan and Elrohir to prove it."

~*~

                  Arwen could hear her mother's laughter already and cleared the corner.  She smiled, loving seeing her parents so close to each other.  Her father was busily teasing her mother.  Arwen could tell by the way his stern face had lightened into the looks of one of her twin brothers' mischievous faces.

                  " Ada."

Elrond let an arm fall around her neck also.

                  " What a treat.  To have both the ladies of Imladris escort me to breakfast.  Why, is there not an Elf worthy of your hand, Undómiel?"

Arwen just laughed at his playful undertone.

                  " Not one you have not scared off."

Elrond just shrugged.

                  " You are my Undómiel, my baby."

                  Arwen caught her mother's poke to her father's ribs.  Elrond tensed, moving away from her tickling fingers.

                  " Maybe not my baby anymore."

                  " What?" Arwen's head swung up.

Her parents suddenly looked like two young children caught in a naughty act.  Elrond simply squeezed her arm.

                  " We will speak of it after breakfast."

Arwen nodded.  She glanced at her mother, but her mother was busy looking ahead.

                  " Elrond, there are quite a few Edain here today…  My word," Celebrían picked up her skirts taking off at a sprint.

Elrond was not too far behind, his face suddenly as pale as the moon. 

                  " Get him up to a healing room.

~*~

                  Elrond bent over him, carefully opening one closed eye.

                  " He is out cold."

                  " Will he be ok, Ada?  We have been traveling for a week straight.  He was our last healer."

Elrond looked up at his son.

                  " Elrohir, go outside.  Take a bath and then try to keep your sister calm."  Elrohir did not move.  " Please."

Elrohir nodded.  Elrond looked over at his wife.

                  " I need to prepare his shoulder.  Get Glorfindel in here.  I want to know exactly what happened."

~*~

                  Glorfindel closed his eyes once he sat down, refusing to watch the procedure.

                  " We were doing a routine crossover into Mordor territory.  We go from Osgiliath traveling with the river towards Minas Morgul.  A scream resounded in the air, a Nazgûl scream.  We were doomed from the moment it sounded.  Orcs fell upon us, as did the Wraiths.  It seems they are running low on Elves to mutilate and use for breeding."  Glorfindel shuddered a bit.  "Thankfully your sons are well trained.  We were able to pull back, but they pursued us. I have the hilt of the sword, which struck Elladan.  It is a wraith's sword."

Elrond's face fell.  He glanced up at Celebrían.

                  " Were there any pieces remaining?"

Glorfindel shook his head.

                  " There is no way to know."

~*~

                  Galadriel entered the healing house, seeing most of the household of Elrond sitting outside one room.  She went to the door and lightly knocked on it.

                  " Elrond?"

Glorfindel opened the door.  He put a finger to his lips.

                  " Elrond sleeps finally.  Elladan is stable, but we do not know if any slivers remain."

He allowed Galadriel inside.  Elrohir scrambled up, but Glorfindel held up a hand.

                  " Please go and sit back down, Elrohir."

Elrohir paid no heed and pushed by. Glorfindel just sighed, closing the door before any other family members tried to run through.

                  Elrohir caught sight of his father dozing lightly in the corner.  Their mother sat in his lap, gently brushing his hair and keeping him in his dreams.  She caught Elrohir's eyes.

*Do not upset your brother.  He can hear you.

Elrohir took his brother's clammy hand.

                  " Elladan?"

Glorfindel moved a chair so Elrohir could sit beside his brother.  Elrohir took it thankfully.  Celebrían softly rose, going to kneel beside her son.  Elrohir looked down at her, one tear trailing down his cheek.

                  " So this is what Ada meant?"

Celebrían laid a hand to Elladan's heart and then to Elrohir's.

                  " Your hearts still beat strongly.  This can be overcome."

She kissed his forehead.

                  " It is not lost until there is no heartbeat, and even then, there is still hope sometimes."

Elrohir just nodded, turning his attention back to his comatose brother.

~*~

                  Elrohir watched his father jump to his feet suddenly.  His father washed a small knife hastily, cutting into the new bandages and then into the wound itself.  Elladan arched up against the pain.  Elrohir watched in near horror, echoes of screamed pain resonating in his mind.

                  " Ada, what-"

Celebrían pulled her son away, dropping her head onto his shoulder, as she kept him a little off to the side from the main area.

                  " Glorfindel, hand me that cloth and then those tweezers."

                  Celebrían had to note with a smile Glorfindel's sudden greenness around the gills.  Elrond took no notice, his eyes set forward.

                  " Someone else come over here and aid me."

Elrohir pushed by quickly.

                  " Take that lamp and keep it so I have light on the wound at all times."

Elrond deftly cut a little deeper into the infected and blackened skin.  Elladan let out a soft moan before he paled considerably.  Galadriel stood then, her hands hovering just outside Elladan's temples to stabilize him.  Elrond bit his upper lip.  He could see the sliver.

                  " No one move," he ordered.

With a shaking hand, he snatched the long sliver from its place stuck deep in Elladan's shoulder.  Elrond let loose a pent up sigh, shaking his head slightly and wiping his face.  Celebrían brought a towel to him.

                  " You have blood all over your hands.  You will scare the Household to death if you go out like this.  Wash your face."

                  Elrohir watched his mother carefully sew up the cut.

                  " How did Ada know?"

Celebrían shrugged.

                  " He has done this before.  He will simply doze off and it is revealed to him.  He did it when Glorfindel received the poisoned dart."

She gently wrapped the soft cloth around the sewn up wound just as Elrond came out from a room nearby, drying his face off.

                  " How is he?" Elrond asked.

Celebrían nodded.

                  " Improved.  I believe if he survives tonight, then he is out of the hard places."

Elrond rubbed the back of his neck with the towel, dropping it then so he could tie back his hair.

                  " Let us go face the rest of the family."

Galadriel joined them. 

                  " Thank you," was all Elrond said.

She just nodded.

                  " He is my grandson, Elrond."

Elrond exchanged a glance with Celebrían.

*Should we tell them now?

Celebrían shook her head.

*Once we are sure Elladan is out of trouble, then we can share.

                  Arwen stood, searching her father's eyes.  She took his hands and many smiled at the image of the father and daughter.

*The Halfelven and Undómiel.  It would make a fitting tale, Herven.

Elrond sent his wife a half-smile.  He turned to direct his words to all.

                  " If he survives tonight then he is home free and we expect full recovery. Tonight is crucial, so all I can say is go, eat and try to sleep."

                  " Will he be ok, Ada?" Arwen asked softly.

Elrond ruffled her dark locks.

                  " If I have a say in it, he will."

She grinned, leading her father over to the seats.  Celebrían smiled, watching her daughter curl up beside Elrond.

                  " She has always been her father's daughter," Celebrían said sadly to her mother, " I was ever in Lórien in her teen years.  The twins lean towards I, Elladan the most, but Elrohir is a distinct mix.  I wonder…" she caught herself.

Galadriel sent her an assessing glance.

                  " Is there something you have not told us?"

Celebrían sighed, knowing it futile to keep the secret from her mother's perceptive eyes.

                  " We were going to tell the Household and such after we were sure Elladan was fine.  News of it now would only be dampened if Elladan…" Celebrían did not finish.

Galadriel merely smiled.

                  " In the eyes of the Elves, you and Elrond are breeding your own army to go against Sauron."

Celebrían pushed her mother.  Elrond glanced their way with raised eyebrows.  Celebrían only rolled her eyes.

*My mother thinks we are breeding our own army.

Elrond chuckled.  Arwen looked up at him.

                  " What is it, Ada?"

Elrond shook his head.

                  " Nothing.  Just something your Daernaneth said.  She is quite a joker."

Arwen's eyebrows rose. 

                  " Ada, did you take any of that pain medication that was meant for Elladan?"

Elrond shook his head.

                  " Undómiel, what makes you think that?"

Arwen just grinned.

                  " You are acting crazy."

Elrond took a pillow, laying it in his lap so his daughter could nap.

                  " It is what thousands of years do to you."