Title: Caterpillars and Worms
Disclaimer: Only in my dreams do I have two darling little twin elflings to play with. The rest of the characters aren't mine either *wails*
Summary: The twins have a small accident with a trowel and a caterpillar. Can Glorfindel save the day?
This is a response to Skyfire's Caterpillar challenge on Mellon Chronicles. The fic has to include an elf lord with a fuzzy green caterpillar, and the line. "Do I want to know what you are doing with that?" Which may or may not be in relation to said caterpillar.
Author's notes: None really. I will get the next chapter of this out when I have finished the latest instalment of Rough Landings…which will be soon, I promise! So…on with the story if you please.
As always, enjoy (and review…begs for reviews ^_- )
Caterpillars and Worms
"Look Dan!" Elrohir called excitedly, jumping to the floor beside a leafy bush. "Look at this!"
"What is it?" Elladan called, running after his brother, laden down with trowels and gardening tools.
Elrohir turned to his brother, his hands cupped around something small and green. When his twin reached him, Elrohir slowly opened his hands a small way, and the two small elves peered inside.
"It's so small!" Dan said, reaching a finger into his brother's hand to poke at the wriggling thing. "Does it tickle?"
Elrohir giggled as he felt the fuzzy creature worming along in his hand, which he held splayed out before him, watching as the creature crawled between his fingers, nearly falling from tip of one. Immediately Elladan held out his hand underneath his twin's to catch it, and the two watched in delight as it crawled from the one to the other.
"Ewww! It tickles!" Squealed Elladan in delight, poking at the caterpillar, and watching it curl up away from his finger.
"Can we keep it?" Elrohir asked; reaching out for it, and taking it from his brother's reluctant hand, holding it up to his face, and feeling its legs brush against his skin. "I want to keep it Dan."
"I do too!" Elladan agreed, "Let's take it to our garden, and we can see what leaves it likes to eat."
Elrohir happily agreed to that, and skipped ahead, still holding the insect in his hands. When Elladan arrived a few seconds behind him, Elrohir had already plucked leaves from most of the plants nearby, and had settled this new pet on a nearby stone, surrounding it with a bed of plants to choose from. Kneeling down beside his twin, he shared out the trowels, and the small mats for them to kneel on, and the two settled down to weed their beds, and till the soil in blissful happiness, before planting their seeds.
"Shall we plant this one?" Elladan asked, waving a packet with elaborate drawings on the front.
"No! I want the red flowers, not those horrible purple ones." Said Elrohir, waving an equally pretty drawing.
Elladan pouted. "They aren't horrible, Ammë says so!"
"Well Ada prefers the red, I know he does." Growled Elrohir; folding his arms in a perfect imitation of his father when he was angry with them.
"Well the red flowers look like someone's bled all over the place." Retorted Elladan, glaring back at his twin.
"They do not! Take that back!" Elrohir yelled, clenching his fists.
"Won't" Shouted Elladan, throwing down his trowel.
Elrohir threw his down, before turning and shoving at his twin. Walking quickly past, he picked up the packet of seeds, and prepared to tear them up. Elladan swiftly got to his feet, and threw himself at his brother's legs, knocking them both over. The twins pushed at each other, rolling around on the grass, before glaring at each other and stomping away to opposite ends of the garden.
After several minutes of cold-shouldered silence the two scuffed their feet on the grass, feeling sorry, but still too proud to admit it. Arms folded, they kept glancing back at each other, scowling as they saw the other looking back at them. Eventually their ire cooled, and the two wandered over toward each other, apologies in their eyes. When they reached the middle again they shuffled around again, arms behind their backs, staring at each other from lowered eyelids. Elladan, ever the peacemaker, was the first to speak. "I'm sorry." He said, reaching out and clapping his twin on the arm. "You were right. Lets plant the red ones"
Elrohir glared, rubbing his shoulder far more vigorously than the gentle tap warranted, staring up at his twin from wounded eyes. When Elladan looked worried enough, he allowed a small smile to appear on his face, and gently touched his fist to his brother's arm. "Lets plant both, then Ada and Ammë will both like it."
Elladan grinned at that suggestion, and picked up both packets of seeds; they shared them out between them. Issuing a silent challenge, the two grabbed their trowels and began frantically digging holes, racing to get the best spot. Within minutes their little spat had been forgotten, as they competed with each other over who would be the fastest to bury the bulbs in the soil.
Their play was interrupted when Elrohir let out a horrified squeal.
Elladan shot up, and raced over to his brother's side, looking at him carefully. "What happened, are you all right?"
Elrohir turned an horrified face to him, before looking down in the hole he had just made, and pointing. "I've cut it Dan, I've hurt it. I didn't mean to, but it fell in, and I was digging too fast, and it couldn't get out of the way." He wailed.
Elladan peered into the hole, gently moving aside his brother's trowel and hand. He sighed as he saw that a leaf had been blown off the stone, and the caterpillar had been knocked into the hole without Elrohir realising.
"Is it dead? It's all squished." Ro asked, too afraid to look and see for himself. He had felt the creature being cut in half by his blade, and dreaded what he would see.
Elladan placated him, seeing something moving in the hole. "It's not dead Ro, look." He made to pick it up, and squealed, shaking his hand, as part of the caterpillar stuck to it.
"It's cut in half Dan, I've killed it!" Elrohir wailed, sinking to his knees by the little caterpillar, frantically trying to push the two ends together. "It won't stay together!"
Elladan responded by putting his arm around his twin, staring down at the two pieces of caterpillar lying bleeding on the leaf.
"Maybe its like worms." Dan whispered, his arm around his brother as he wiped at the goo on his hand off on a leaf. "Maybe each part will grow into another caterpillar, and then there'll be two."
"You think, whispered his brother, tears still falling from his face? "And maybe they won't be mad with me and we can be friends?"
"Maybe they'll let us have one each, and we can have races." Elladan whispered back, a smile forming in his voice.
"And when they evolve we can race the butterfly's too!" Elrohir grew suddenly excited.
"Yeah! And I bet mine will have the brightest colours" Elladan grinned.
"Dan!" Elrohir's voice suddenly warbled, fear lacing through it. "It's not moving!"
"Of course it is; you've just got to give it a reason to." Elladan poked both segments of the caterpillar with a stick, waiting for them to wriggle away.
"It's not moving Dan," Elrohir whispered, trembling. "Worms squirm when they're cut in two. I killed it!" He wailed.
"Maybe its just fainted from the shock. It's losing a lot of its inner stuff," Elladan said, wiping his hand on his trousers legs, "We should take it to Ada, and he can fix it."
Elrohir sniffed, swiping at his face with his sleeve, and bent down and slowly pushed each segment onto a leaf, with a stick. Picking up a leaf each, they headed slowly towards the house, careful not to drop their charges.
"What have you got there?" Celebrian called, walking slowly towards them, mentally frowning at the amount of dirt they had brought in with them.
"Ammë, I cut it in half, I didn't mean to!" Elrohir wailed.
"Let me see." Celebrian said, worried at the word cut. Kneeling down beside him, she brushed away at the tears on his face, sneaking a look at what he cradled in his hands. "Oh Elrohir." She pulled his face into her chest.
"It's bleeding Ammë, and it's not moving. Ada can fix it can't he?" Elladan asked, cradling the small leaf safely within his hands, as he stood watching the two.
Celebrian reached out and touched his face gently, a sad smile on her own. "We can but try Elladan; he can but try." She corrected herself.
"Are we going to have two caterpillars now? One each?" Came Elladan's inquiring voice.
"Two meldir? What do you mean?" She responded, laying her head against Elrohir's.
"It's like worms Ammë, we're going to get two 'pillars instead of one" Her youngest answered, staring up at her.
"And they will have races, and will be like us." His twin continued.
"Like you?" Celebrian asked, bemused.
Elladan continued, answering her. "Two halves of the same. That's what you and Ada always say about us."
Celebrian smiled sadly at him, and pulled both of them into a hug. "I do not think that caterpillars are the same as worms, ionnath nin." She brushed Elrohir's hair out of his eyes, as he raised watering eyes to her, his lower lips trembling. "Maybe Ada will be able to heal him." She consoled him, not wanting to be the one to break the news to him.
Standing, she put an arm around both her boys, and they walked together towards Elrond's study, the twins still holding tight to their little bundles.
"Several travellers have been slain from neighbouring villages, we need to step up the frequency and number of our patrols." Glorfindel declared, pointing to several small marks on the map beside him.
"Doing so will only engender fear, these people have come to regard this as a haven, and I would not worry them needlessly." Elrond was reluctant to admit that the danger was nearer than he would like.
"You would prefer that they continue on blissfully unaware until someone is captured or killed?" Glorfindel responded.
Elrond scowled at Glorfindel. "You know that is not true, I wish only that such danger does not exist at all."
"There is nothing we can do to prevent that at this time, all we can do is strive against it." Glorfindel answered sagely. "I will see to the defence of our borders. I give my word it shall not be overt; the children will not notice, and if the adults curtail their children's antics then so much the better."
Elrond opened his mouth to respond, but was interrupted as two tearful elflings entered the room, escorted by Celebrian. Walking carefully over to his desk, they placed a bundle down upon it, before throwing themselves at him.
"Ada!" Came the muffled cries, as his two boys buried their faces in his tunic, sniffing.
"What is wrong ionnath nin?" He asked, flinging both arms around them.
"I hurt it."
"Make it better Ada."
"We didn't mean to!" Came the muffled answers, in two identical voices.
"Hush you two" Elrond soothed, not understanding in the slightest what the two where attempting to tell him. He looked at Glorfindel in bewilderment, but found him equally confused.
"Cel?" Elrond asked, raising an inquiring eyebrow as he clutched at the small bodies trying to climb up his legs and perch in his lap. Glorfindel came to his rescue picking up Elladan, and resting him on his knee.
Celebrian stepped into the room, perching herself in the edge of the desk, waving down Glorfindel as he tried to rise and offer his seat, Elladan still clinging tightly to him with both legs and arms.
"What happened?" Elrond asked again.
"Elrohir had a little accident." She replied. At this the elfling in question burrowed his head even deeper, leaving his father's shirt quite damp.
"What happened?" Elrond asked, worriedly glancing over the twins, checking them for injuries. "Are you all right hîn nin? Are you hurt?"
"I hurted it Ada, can you make it better?" Elrohir whispered.
Elrond's worry stepped up a notch, "You are hurt, where are you hurt?" He held Elrohir away at arms length, frantically running his eye up and down him.
Celebrian placed a calming hand on his shoulder, smiling warmly at him. "He is not injured, neither of them are. They had an accident with a spade and a caterpillar."
Elrond raised a demanding eyebrow at her, as he hugged his youngest against his chest. "What has happened?"
"I didn't mean to Ada! I didn't know it was there, and I cut it with the trowel." Elrohir hiccupped swiping furiously at his eyes as he sought to hold in his tears. "I broke it in two Ada, and it was bleeding and all hurted."
Elrond gently shushed him, rubbing the back of his neck calmly. Rising to his feet, he hefted his elfling onto his hip, and bent over the desk staring at the two halves of what was once a fluffy green caterpillar.
"Can you fix it Ada?" Came a tiny voice from the direction of Glorfindel's shirt. "We tried to stick it together, but it didn't work."
"Let me just take a look." Elrond said, inwardly sighing as he realised that a creature in two pieces would not be mended. Lifting up the leaves, he stared at the limp segments, dripping their ooze onto the papers below. Sighing aloud, he ran his finger along the fur of one, locking eyes with Celebrian.
Celebrian smiled sadly, her dark blue eyes gently apologising for laying this burden upon her husband, but she had not the strength of will to hurt her two elflings like this. Elrond rolled his eyes, accepting her apology with a wry smile, before turning to face his twins. Putting Elrohir in his chair, he knelt down at eye level with the pair, as Elladan leaned forward on Glorfindel's knee, holding on to the blond elf's shirt with one hand to prevent himself from falling.
"Can you fix him Ada?" Elladan asked, staring straight into his father's eyes, looking for the truth. When Elrond didn't answer he glanced worriedly at his twin, who lowered his head blinking away at tears. "I am sorry Elrohir, there is nothing I can do for him. He is too damaged."
Elladan looked confused, and desperately struggled for an answer that would make things better. "Will we get two 'pillars then Ada?"
"Two?" Elrond looked confused, staring at the twins, as Elrohir raised his head, his face beaming with eagerness. "Oh yes Ada! Can we get two 'pillars? Is it like worms?"
Elrond sighed, and eyed Celebrian who grimaced, showing that she had known about this too. Glorfindel hugged Elladan close to him, as Elrond placed a sorrowful hand to Elrohir's face. "I am sorry Elrohir, it is not like worms. A caterpillar is designed differently from a worm, and it cannot duplicate itself after a wound this big. I am sorry ionnath nin, it is dead."
"Can't you heal it Ada? You can heal anything!" Elrohir wailed, flinching back into the chair, away from his father's comforting hands.
"Elrohir, some wounds cannot be healed." Elrond began.
"NOO!!!" Elrohir wailed, throwing himself passed his Ada, and into his Ammë's arms. He buried his face in her robes, and she gently lifted him up, rocking him against her.
"Hush tithen min. Hush. It was an accident."
"I killed it!" He wailed, clinging tightly to her. "It's dead because I hurt it."
Elladan wriggled off Glorfindel's knee and went over to stand behind his brother, throwing his arms around Elrohir's waist, and hugging him tightly; he laid his cheek against his twin's heaving back.
"You didn't mean to, I know you didn't." He whispered soothingly.
Elrohir wailed. "But it's dead!"
Elladan's only answer was to squeeze tighter.
After some time Elrohir's sobs died down, and all that remained of his distress was the occasional hitch of his breath. He lay still, his head resting against his Ammë's chest, listening to her heart beat, which soothed him. Elladan stared sadly at the remains of their new friend, jumping slightly as Elrond placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Why did it have to die Ada?" Elladan asked, leaning into his father's hug from behind. "Things don't just die for no reason, do they?" His voice grew worried then, at the thought that his twin might suddenly wake up dead one day.
Elrond shuffled uncomfortably behind him; this was an area that he did not consider the twins old enough to think about. Fortunately Glorfindel came to his rescue. Standing up, he stepped over to the desk, and peered at the caterpillar halves in their leaves. Very gently, he rearranged it so that they were lying part on a leaf, and he tugged slightly on it. Elladan caught the movement out of the corner of his eye, and run forward exclaiming excitedly. "Ada! It's not dead! It's not dead Ro, it moved!"
Elrond frowned at Glorfindel; unable to see how teasing the twins this way was at all helpful. Celebrian also wore a thunderous look. Hastily Glorfindel explained to the two tiny people before him, looking so endearing. "Why, they are not dead after all, they must only have been sleeping."
"But Ada said they were dead." Elladan accused Glorfindel, placing a protective hand on his father's leg. All three adults smiled at the eldest twin defending his father's reputation.
"They are very nearly dead Elladan, indeed they are very close." Glorfindel answered him, "It is understandable that your father could come to such a conclusion."
"But they live?" Elrohir asked, hope shining again in his watery eyes. "Can Ada make them better now he knows they aren't dead?" He turned to his father, eyes begging for a positive answer.
Elrond glowered at Glorfindel for building up their hopes in this fashion, but halted himself from voicing his thoughts as he spotted a sly wink from the Gondolin elf.
"Well, I don't know about your Ada, but I have a special healing power that works on caterpillars. It is one that has been passed down among my family for three generations. I am sure that I can make this one better." Promised Glorfindel.
The twins stared up at him solemnly, "Do you promise?" Glorfindel nodded.
"Are you sure?" Elladan was unconvinced that Glorfindel could heal where Elrond could not.
"I am quite certain elfling." Glorfindel raised himself to his full height, appearing offended by their doubts. "You doubt me?"
"Of course you can heal him! Can we watch?" Elladan hurried to placate him.
Glorfindel gulped, thinking swiftly, "You cannot watch Elladan, nor you Elrohir." He hurriedly added, as the younger twin began to look gleeful and the elder started to pout. "For your mother looks ready to send you for a nap."
The twins groaned, hating their afternoon nap, wanting to be outside playing in the sun. However Celebrian was firm. "The weather is too hot for elflings to play in, and if you do not rest now you will not be able to stay up later to eat dinner with us." As the twins looked ready to object, she continued. "Nor will you be able to come in and check up on the caterpillar later." That was more than enough for the twins, who rose slowly to their feet, still looking at the green insect lying among the leaves on the desk.
Glorfindel sighed, "Before you leave, how about you help me find a tiny box, fill it with leaves, and put it by the fire for your caterpillar to sleep in."
"Two boxes, Glor." Corrected Elrohir.
"Two?" He asked, confused.
Elrond laughed, "Two boxes Glor, for there will be two caterpillars. It is like worms remember?" Glorfindel groaned, eyeing the amused elf-lord with a distinct look of annoyance on his face. Celebrian laughed, ushering out the twins, who escaped from her grasp and ran forward to hug Elrond and Glorfindel before wandering over to check on the caterpillars again. "You will hurry won't you Glor?" Elladan whispered, so as not to wake them. When the blond elf nodded, the twins left the room if not happily, then lighter of heart.
The instant that they were out of earshot, Elrond swung round on Glorfindel, holding him in place with a piercing gaze. "I hope you know what you are doing."
Glorfindel looked affronted. "I always know what I am doing, Elrond!" He stated. Elrond just fixed him with a glare that promised dire retribution if he failed. Turning on his heel, he strode out of the room, muttering, "Two caterpillars Glor, do not forget they expect two!"
Next chappie has the really good stuff, including Glorfindel's hunt for the elusive caterpillars!
*Ducks out to go back to Rough Landings*