Author's Note & Disclaimer: This is a moral/philosophical piece, an attempt to imagine what would really happen if Elladan and Elrohir were lovers. The subject of incest is not foreign to Tolkien's world, as shown in The Silmarillion, but I don't think this is quite what he had in mind for the sons of Elrond. All characters belong to Tolkien. Translation of Elvish (Sindarin, unless otherwise stated) and additional notes appear at the end of the story.

A Kiss Too Intimate

Elladan slipped from the horse's back and divested the animal of the light traveling packs taken into the wild. The twins of late went abroad more often than not and they had learned to travel lightly. In the paddock, Elrohir's horse grazed contentedly. The younger twin had gone ahead of the party to bring an injured man to Elrond's care.

And so, Elladan had passed two nights without the familiar presence of his twin. He had rested poorly. Even if they did not share a bedroll when traveling with the Dúnedain, always Elrohir lay near enough to touch, his company reassuring in the darkest hours of the night.

Glorfindel entered the yard and hailed the Peredhel as he led his horse toward the stables. Elladan's greeting died on his lips at the elf's grim countenance.

"Your father awaits you in his library."

"Tell him I will be up when I have finished grooming Dúthórod."

"I believe you are wanted now."

Elrohir, more attuned to the thoughts of the Eldar, might have read more from the elf-lord's restrained affect, but Elladan could nonetheless hear the gravity in Glorfindel's voice. "Is there something amiss?"

The golden elf called for a stable hand to see to Dúthórod and left the stables without further word. Elladan understood he was to follow. He felt ridiculous, as if he were a small child led to his father in the wake of some lapse.

Glorfindel left him at the door to his father's private library, still silent. After a moment of hesitation, Elladan opened the door.

Elrohir sat on the edge of his chair, his bearing so tense it looked painful. "Elladan," he said in an awful voice, "he knows."

---------------------------------------------------

A single moment, a kiss too intimate for brothers, burned its image into Elrond's mind. Unable to pretend the cordialities of daily life, he had sent Elrohir to the Dúnedain to bring news of the injured man's death and awaited Elladan's arrival with dread. Three weeks had passed since he had learned of his sons' indiscretions, and he remained at a loss as to his proper response.

He wondered if this depravity had begun with Celebrian's capture. At times, he no longer knew his sons. At times, these creatures full of vengeance and bile resembled more the sons of Fëanor than their noble forebears.

Noble, indeed. The mortal cousin of Elrond's grandfather had sired a child upon a sister. He could not even lay the blame upon his sons' mortal inheritance, for Maeglin had been cousin and would-be lover to Elrond's grandmother.

"You are not the first," he said at length, "but your deeds are no less heinous for their unoriginality. If you do not understand the moral imperative herein, then I have truly failed as a father."

"You have no fault in this, Adar," Elladan managed.

"Do not speak. I am only thankful that your mother is spared this revelation. When did this begin? What in Arda has so clouded your judgment that a most solemn proscription might be cast aside?"

"It was an accident, we never intended…" Elrohir began.

Elrond raised his eyebrows. "An accident? An accident is a broken vase."

"We…I could not help what I felt."

"We could no longer…we could not…" Elladan flailed.

"Could not what?"

"Resist," Elrohir whispered, glancing miserably at his brother.

"You could not resist," Elrond echoed. "Have I raised such spineless sons that their flesh is their master?"

"It is not only a matter of flesh," Elladan said hotly.

"It is entirely a matter of flesh!" Elrond cried. "Love one another - as brothers, exclusive of others, as lovers might. In that, ye shall be judged kindly. What you have done betrays such love.

"Fuion hin." [1]

It disgusts me. Elrohir swallowed, feeling sick. His hands gripped the arms of his chair so tightly his knuckles had turned white. He felt sick and unclean. He could not look at Elladan, would not share his brother's defiance.

For something had kindled in Elladan. He could not change the wishes of his heart, and if he must bear such love, he would not deny it the fullness of expression as only his body could achieve. "I did not choose this, yet I know comfort in my brother's touch that no other can give me," he said.

Elrond recoiled. "I do not wish to know the particulars."

"Do not ask me to explain if you will not hear me."

"It cannot be explained, Elladan! There is no defense for what you have done."

Elladan sat back in his chair. "Then, if we are doomed already, what is to keep us from giving what solace we can to one another?"

Elrohir stood, his face bloodless. "I am sorry, Elladan," he said. "Adar?"

Elrond gestured toward the door. "Go."

Elladan jumped up to follow.

"We are not done here, Elladan."

Elladan shook his head impatiently and was gone.

"Elladan!"

---------------------------------------------------

Elrohir stood frozen before the doors to their rooms. Inside, servants boxed Elladan's belongings, carrying them out and down the passageway with dispassionate elven efficiency.

"What are you doing?" Elladan demanded, blocking the egress of a chambermaid.

"I thought you knew, híren. Your father told us to move your things. He said that you needed more space."

"Stop everything."

Elrohir grabbed his arm. "Are you mad? We are lucky Adar does not cast us into the wild."

"No! I will not let him do this. He does not understand. He will not understand."

"What is there to understand, Elladan? We both knew it was wrong. It is wrong."

"If it is so wrong, then why does this hurt so much?"

Elrohir's face softened. "Muindor, we are still as we have always been to one another."

"How can you say that? How can you say that, knowing that there will ever be this tension between us, ever this want we cannot have? Ever until the end of Arda? I could not bear that." He paced the hall, pausing to glare at the servants from time to time.

"Elladan, leave them be. They are only following the orders given them," Elrohir said tiredly.

"It does not end here."

Elrohir stared at his feet. "I know."

Worriedly, Elladan stopped before his twin. "Look at me, Elrohir." His brother's eyes met his own briefly before looking away. "Will you be all right?"

"Yes." The word sounded hollow. "I just need time."

---------------------------------------------------

After Elladan had left him, Elrohir leaned his head against the wall, grateful for its cool hardness against his aching temples.

He had not been unwilling.

Even now, he clung to the bond between them, though it sickened him. The desires of the flesh had waned for him, as they had not for Elladan, but he could not let it go, whatever the cost - and there would be a cost.

Elrohir understood the implicit meaning in Elladan's threat: a brother's love would not sway him from the path of mortality. Only as lovers would Elladan accept the fate destined for his twin. 'He would do this for me,' Elrohir thought with a sense of wonder. All his brother asked was that Elrohir give himself in return. A steel trap, its jaws lined with velvet but no less unyielding, snapped shut in his mind.

---------------------------------------------------

Elrond ground his teeth in frustration as Elladan departed, heedless of his orders. What had he expected? No essay of Pengolodh or Rúmil explained how one was to confront one's incestuous offspring. He had no map, no time-tested advice to guide him.

Golden light in the doorway brought him out of his pensive state. "Come in, mellon."

With rangy grace, Glorfindel dropped into the chair Elladan had vacated. He regarded his friend with sympathy.

"I made a mess of it."

"Come, what could you have done? Sent them away? Separated them? They are not small children. What choices they make, they are old enough to make."

"They are no longer children, but they are still my sons."

"Discovery has forced into the light what they have hidden even from themselves. Each must face his conscience."

"And if that fails?"

Glorfindel waved his hand. "Do not take their fault upon yourself, Elrond. They will always need your guidance, but guidance is all you can offer to them now. They must answer to one another and to the Valar."

---------------------------------------------------

Elrohir sat up, gasping. The same dream: he saw himself in a great ring and felt a dreadful, shadowy presence. A terrible voice condemned him, calling out his crimes for all to hear.

He left his bed, shivering though it was not cold. On soft feet, he crept through the house to the west wing.

"Muindoren!" Elladan moved over. Elrohir lay down stiffly. "You are shaking," the older twin observed, folding his arms around his brother. [2]

"Bad dream - Naneth." Elrohir bit his lip, ashamed of the lie. He had avoided his brother, had not once come to these rooms since that fatal day. To all intents and appearance, he had taken his father's censure to heart. Yet, he had asked his brother for time with understanding that he would not refuse him forever.

Such faithlessness gnawed at his conscience and would not allow him to drift back into his dreamscapes. His weakness appalled him: even as he took comfort in his brother's embrace, he raged silently at Elladan for putting him in this position. For the first time in his life, he knew what it was to be alone.

And he was terribly afraid.



[1] "Fuion hin."
"It disgusts me." (lit. 'I feel disgust at this.')

[2] Muindoren
My brother