***** BROTHER'S WORDS*****
***~shadowfaxgal~***


*Summary* The young twins get in a fight and don't want to be brothers. Elladan runs away but is horribly wounded and lost, presumed dead. Elrohir feels horrible and guilty and in his desperation as he looks for his twin they realize that you never realize the true importance of something until its gone forever.

*Rated* PG-13 - For pain and injuries and maulings and violence, etc., etc., No romance or swearing.

*Genre* Mostly angst with some action. Lots of Hurt/Comfort.

*Characters* Elladan and Elrohir with a little Elrond, Glorfindel, and an original character, Akare. (I just made that name up randomly so sorry if it's already been used.)

*Disclaimer* (Do I really need one? *shrugs*): I don't own LOTR. (But if I controlled the movie..........I'd have had Elladan and Elrohir in it! *Pouts*)

/// This is a one-shot fic. Something like this probably has been done before with guilt, etc., but this is an original idea of mine I've had for a while just thinking about how lots of siblings say really mean things to each other and would never forgive themselves if they never got to apologize. I had it typed and ready to post but then the computer crashed and I had to retype it so it should have been here sooner, sorry. I hope everyone is somewhat 'like their character' but I'm not sure exactly how to so I just hope their not OOC. I also don't know anything about avalanches or how long you can stay under the snow and how much you can see etc., so I made up stuff to fit with my story and please go along with it. Please review and just tell me what you think. It's one-shot, remember, so this is the only chapter you get. I have, though, started a sequel and reviews may prompt me to finish and post it. ^-^ ///

 
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Elladan absentmindedly stroked his bow as he thought about the archery contest set for the following day. He wished his mother would be able to see him but she was visiting her parents, the Lord and Lady of Lothlorien, Celeborn and Galadriel. He, as well as his twin, Elrohir, would be competing against other young elves in the contest in Rivendell but everyone knew it would be one of the sons of Elrond that would win for they were the best archers of all the nearby elflings.

There was a contest every season. So far, Elrohir had won the spring and summer contest and Elladan had won the autumn one. Now the oldest son of Elrond was determined to win this one and make the score even.

Abruptly, Elladan's door flew open.

"Don't you knock?" He asked his twin as he set his bow down on the bed and Elrohir raced up to him.

"Nope!" The younger twin said with a smile. "Don't tell me you just woke up!"

Elladan shrugged slightly. "I woke up a few minutes ago, I was just thinking about the contest tomorrow evening."

Elrohir sighed exaggeratedly. "You act as if it's some big deal, 'Dan, and it's not."

"Is too," Elladan countered. "You're just not worried because you've won two out of three of the contests."

"I can't help it if I'm better than you," Elrohir joked with an impish smile.

"Hey!" Elladan said with a smile and jumped for his brother, sending them both to the ground with wild shrieks and giggles, waking up any of the elves nearby that weren't already awake at the break of dawn.

"Okay! Okay!" Elrohir shouted between laughs once his twin had him pinned and was tickling him mercilessly. "You're just as good as I! Please - Stop!"

Elladan laughed and stood up. Elrohir smiled despite his loss as he too, stood up. He walked up to the window.

"You haven't looked outside yet, have you?!" he exclaimed.

"No..." Elladan answered. "Why's it so important?"

Elrohir smiled and threw open the curtains his brother liked covering the window in the night. The youngest twin gasped and raced forward, gaping at the sight outside of the window. Every inch of his homeland was covered in a thick sheet of sparkling snow. He glanced at his brother, and they exchanged identical mischievous looks before darting out of the room.

"I'll get there first!" Elladan shouted to his brother as they raced down the seemingly empty hallway. He sped ahead of Elrohir as they turned a corner and---BAM! The oldest twin of Elrond ran full-tilt into Glorfindel.

Elrohir ran past with a laugh. Elladan picked himself up quickly. "Sorry, Glor," he said breathlessly as he ran to catch up with his brother. Glorfindel knew the twins well, sons of his best friend. He simply smiled as he heard the excited shouts of the elflings racing out the door like children who had never seen snow.

Elrohir, in the lead, grabbed his cloak from the coat-rack and with a playful smile, knocked it over as he continued running, causing Elladan to have to pick it up before catching up.

Elladan put on his cloak and raced outside, taking a deep breath of the fresh winter air. He looked around skeptically. Elrohir was no where in sight. Before he could prepare himself, a well-aimed snowball hit him roughly in the back of his head. He whirled around to face Elrohir who had an arm full of firmly packed balls of snow.

Elladan took only a moment, regarding the stack of snowballs, before running as fast as he could. Elrohir frowned as he realized he couldn't take all of his ammunition with him. He grabbed a choice few and ran after his brother. They ran and ran, scarcely paying attention to where they were going, until Elladan stopped with a gasp. Elrohir ran beside him and the snowballs fell silently to the ground.

"Wow," Elladan breathed.

"You thinking what I'm thinking?" Elrohir asked with a grin, peering up at the over fifty foot tall tree glistening with snow and ice.

"Don't you think that's dangerous?" Elladan whispered softly.

"Yes, point being...?" Elrohir replied.

"Well, I don't want to be hurt for the contest." Elladan said simply.

Elrohir rolled his eyes. "You care far too much about that contest. Or are you afraid?"

"I am not afraid!"

"Well then what are you waiting for?"

Elladan paused and smiled slightly, looking at his twin. "Okay," he said finally.

Elrohir grinned back at him and within moments the brothers were scrambling up the tree.

They skillfully climbed throughout the tree. Even young, being elves they could gracefully move from branch to branch.

Elrohir easily grabbed one and swung onto another, standing straight proudly. Elladan leaped onto one and after a moment of cautious swaying, balanced perfectly.

Elrohir rolled his eyes as if the stunt his brother had done was nothing. "Betcha can't jump over here." He jested.

Elladan narrowed his eyes. "Bet I can."

"I'd like to see you try."

"Alright!" Elladan crouched and jumped for the branch his brother stood on. He misjudged the distance, however, and missed the branch. He yelped in surprise but managed to grab another slightly farther below and pull himself up.

Elrohir sighed in relief. "Don't try that again, 'Dan!" he shouted. "It's too dangerous!"

Elladan frowned. Elrohir could beat him in archery, he wasn't going to let him be better at climbing trees. Determinedly, he stood up and leapt for a slightly higher branch. He heard Elrohir gasp slightly when his footing slipped and he flailed his arms uncertainly, but within seconds stood up perfectly.

Elrohir smiled and clapped sarcastically. Elladan smiled back but suddenly heard a heart-wrenching cracking noise. Before either twin could do anything the brittle branch snapped where it connected to the tree. Elladan screamed in horror as he plummeted to the ground.

"'DAN!" Elrohir cried, scrambling down the tree.

Elladan closed his eyes and braced his arms for the fall, yelping in pain as he hit the icy ground, on his right side, until he rolled with a moan, face down with his arm underneath him. Then he did not move.

"Elladan!" Elrohir cried breathlessly as he scrambled down the tree. He felt an eerie and unsettling tingling sensation in his arm.

He jumped to the ground and ran alongside his brother. Trembling with fear, he gently rolled Elladan over.

Elladan moaned softly as he was moved.

"'Dan? Can you here me?" Elrohir pleaded.

Elladan slowly opened his eyes and winced as his brother helped him sit up.

"Are you okay?" Elrohir asked nervously.

"Yeah, 'Ro, my arm just hurts," Elrohir said dismissively until he moved his right arm and let out a feeble cry of pain.

"'Dan?"

Tears brimmed in his eyes. "I think it's broken." Elladan whimpered as he stood, cradling the arm to his chest.

Elrohir gaped in shock. He gently helped his brother up and they made their way home. Once inside, the identical elflings raced into their father's study.

Elrond turned quickly.

"What's wrong?" he asked worriedly as he knelt in front of his tearful son.

"My arm, Ada, I fell out of a tree, and it really, really hurts."

Concerned, Elrond gently outstretched the arm. Elladan cried softly.

"Shh, it's alright," the elven lord said comfortingly. He reached onto a shelf and pulled out a small vile, "Drink this, alright?"

Elladan nodded and did as he was told without question. He trusted his father. Almost immediately he felt lightheaded and fell backwards but his father caught him.

"Does your arm hurt still?" Elrond asked. Elladan shook his head. It was remarkable. He felt tired and slightly dizzy but all pain was gone. Then everything went white.

* * *

"What was that?" Elrohir questioned. He felt sort of faint after his brother collapsed into his father's arms.

"It was to dull the pain so I can set the arm." Elrond replied, laying the small elder twin onto a bed in a healing room so he could work on the injury.

"So it really is broken?"

"I'm afraid so, but it's only broken in one place and should heal quickly"

"Does that mean he can't compete tomorrow?" Elrohir asked in terror, suddenly realizing what a horrible thing he'd consequently made happen. That contest meant a lot to his twin and now he couldn't compete.

Elrond nodded sadly.

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Elladan sighed and blinked back tears. 'Tis foolish to cry over a contest, he told himself, holding his bandaged arm to his chest as he walked to his room later that day. He stopped by Elrohir's room and peered in, but his brother was not there. He walked in anyway, and sat down on the bed.

He noticed his brother's beautiful bow laying next to him and ran his fingers over it. Then he gripped it and had a brief thought.

 'If I break this Elrohir can't win the contest. It's so fragile, it would be easy to do. He's so used to it, if he used another he'd lose for sure.'

He was immediately horrified at this thought. 'How could I ever do such a thing?'

Suddenly the door flew open. Startled, Elladan jumped, not realizing he still held the bow. Without realizing it, he snapped it in two. He hadn't meant to, with his broken arm he hadn't even been able to apply much pressure.

Both twins stood for a moment, one in disbelief the other appalled. They were immediately overcome by their emotions. Elrohir was infuriated that Elladan had broken his bow.

"'Dan!" Elrohir exclaimed in horror. "How could you?"

Elladan gaped for a moment. He hadn't meant to break it, he truly hadn't.

"Elladan you are so selfish! Just because you can't compete you decided that I shouldn't be able to either, huh?!"

"That's not it 'Ro-"

"You're so greedy and self-centered! All you care about is that stupid contest!"

All thoughts of apologizing left Elladan. "That's not true! If it wasn't for you and your idiotic idea of climbing trees I wouldn't have broken my arm!"

"Hey! That's not-"

"All your ideas are dumb! You probably planned on me falling because you knew I was better at archery so you didn't want me to compete!"

"I did not! I am just as good as y-"

"Yes you did! You knew how much that competition meant to me but you didn't care! You don't care how I feel!"

"I do too! You would realize that I did if you weren't so brainless!"

Elladan stood up quickly. It wasn't fair! He hadn't meant to break it! Why was Elrohir being so seriously mean? "You conceited- stupid- worthless excuse for a brother!" he shouted, caught up in the argument and not really thinking about what he was saying.

"What?" Elrohir gasped. Elladan never saw the hurt in his grey eyes at that comment.

"Yes, I wish you weren't my twin! You are so annoying!" Elladan shouted, not thinking or realizing what was being said.

"Me?! I wish you weren't my brother! I wish you'd just go away and never come back! I hate you!" Elrohir shouted, also caught up in the fight.

Elladan stood for a moment, the words slowly sinking in. "Fine then! I will leave! And you'll never see me again! I'll run away!"

"Great! Good Riddance! See if I care! I hate you!" Elrohir shouted.

Tears brimming in his eyes, Elladan raced out of the room and outside. He couldn't hold back the sobs that racked his body as he ran. He felt horrible about what he had said, and greatly feared what Elrohir said to him was true. His brother really hated him.

He raced into the forest, other elves occasionally glancing at the crying elfling. He ran until he collapsed against a tree, hugging his legs against his chest as he sobbed uncontrollably into himself.

Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up quickly. It was an elf, a messenger, he recognized.

The elf, Akare, knelt next to Elladan. "What's wrong?" he asked softly.

Elladan sniffled and wiped his nose on his sleeve. "Nothing," he said softly, standing up.

"Little Elladan, I can tell it is not 'nothing'. What is wrong?"

Elladan took a shaky breath. "I, I got in a fight with Elrohir. A big one. And I said some really mean things. And I didn't mean them but I think I mighta sounded like I did. And he said something to me. And I don't want to go home."

"What did he say?"

Elladan composed himself for a moment. Quietly, and barely audibly, he whispered, "I said I didn't want to be his twin anymore and he said he didn't either, and......and that he hated me and never wanted to see me again."

Akare gently wrapped his arms around the elf child. "I'm sure he didn't mean it, Elladan."

"I think he did."

Akare sighed. "So you don't want to go home?"

Elladan shook his head. Akare paused. He was going on a message to a nearby village. Perhaps if he took Elladan the child could relax a bit and would be alright by the time they returned.

"Do you want to accompany me on my errand for a while?" Akare asked.

Elladan nodded softly.

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It was early in the evening, as the pair was walking slowly through the woods, when they came across a small band of elves returning to Rivendell.

"Ai, vendui, mae govannen il'er!" Akare greeted. "Will you please bring a message to Rivendell.....?"

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Elrohir sat on his bed the next morning, holding his broken bow. He tried to will himself to be mad at Elladan but the anger seemed to be dying down. Now that he thought about it he realized perhaps it had been an accident and now he felt bad about what he had said. He hoped Elladan hadn't meant what he had told him.

Suddenly there was a soft knocking on the door. Elrohir hastily shoved the broken weapon under his covers as his father entered the room.

"Hi, Ada," he said innocently.

Elrond gave his youngest son a small smile as he sat on the bed next to him, fortunately missing the hidden bow.

Elrohir looked up at his fathers and gripped the sheets worriedly.

"Elrohir..." Elrond began.

"Yes?"

Elrond sighed. "Elrohir, messengers returning from Mirkwood informed me that on their way here they encountered the messenger, Akare, and Elladan. It seems your brother is accompanying him on his next delivery. Apparently Elladan didn't want to come home." The elven lord raised an eyebrow at his son. "Do you have any idea why he wouldn't want to come home?"

Elrohir bit his lip and shook his head silently.

Elrond sighed. Obviously his son did not want to talk about whatever had happened between the twins. He stood up and left his youngest son to contemplate whatever had occurred.

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"Ada?" Elrohir inquired softly, later that day. The contest was to start within hours.

"Yes, ionamin?" Elrond replied.

Elrohir took a deep breath. "Since 'Dan isn't going to participate in the contest I don't want to either," he said quietly.

Elrond smiled. "That is a very noble thing to do." He told his youngest.

Elrohir smiled back half-heartedly and made his way to his room. He sat on his bed, staring out the window. Tears burned his eyes as he thought about the argument and what had been said.

"I'm so sorry 'Dan," he whispered softly. He couldn't wait for his brother to return so he could apologize.

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It was late that night when Elladan and Akare stopped for a break. The messenger tied the horse to a tree and went to gather some herbs. Elladan absently walked to the edge of the clearing. He thought to himself about the fight.

'Ro hates me. He doesn't want to be my brother. He hates me.'


"I'm sorry," Elladan whispered softly.

 'I can't believe I said that. I didn't mean it. Did he mean what he said? Does he really hate me?'

Suddenly Akare stood up sharply. "Elladan get on the horse, quick!" he shouted.

Elladan looked around nervously before heading over to the mare. He knew something was very wrong.

Suddenly a giant brown blur flew out of the trees, heading for a mare.

It all happened so quickly Elladan could scarcely comprehend what was going on. The horse bolted as a warg lunged for it and Akare was immediately fighting off the beasts, yards away from the elfling.

"Run!" the messenger managed to call as a warg pinned him to the ground.

A large warg turned and spotted the older twin. It licked its muzzle with a low growl. And Elladan ran.

He ran like he never had before, his elfling legs burning as he forced them on, not daring to look back. He spotted a good tree and sprinted for it, tearing his hands and knees as he desperately scrambled to get to safety.

Suddenly, all he felt for a fleeting moment was the sharp impact of the beast's body throwing him out of the tree as he crashed to the ground. Before he could get up the warg jumped for him. He tried to move and vainly raised his arm, the right one, instinctively. He let out a heart-wrenching scream as it tore into his arm.

Then the warg ran. Elladan did not know why it ran, he was so blinded by agony, and didn't see the two other creatures who were also keen on having the elfling as a meal. The one latched onto him was intent on keeping his prey and ran, dragging the helpless child with him. Elladan was in such terrible anguish he never thought possible and couldn't help but cry out as his already injured arm was crushed.

The warg ran on, dragging the poor elfling along quickly. It emerged from the forest where there was an open clearing and a cliff. The beast ran to the edge of the cliff and turned, growling, challenging the approaching two. Elladan whimpered pitifully as gray spots began to blur his vision.

Suddenly, the precipice the creature was standing on cracked and began to crumble. The warg barked in surprise, dropping the elfling, as it raced to safety.

Elladan landed on solid land for only moments before falling with the crumbling cliff almost a hundred feet down. He landed in a pile of icy snow and screamed in pain. The wargs peered over the edge hungrily but none were willing to risk their life for the tiny morsel of food.

Blinded with anguish, Elladan tried to stand up and walk but fell and rolled down a slight incline, landing in a crumpled heap beyond the sight of any looking over the cliff.

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"ELLADAN!"

Elrohir screamed in terror as he sat up in bed early the next morning, covered in a cold sweat.

"'Dan!" he whimpered softly, shuddering.

Elrond was there within moments, horrified. His youngest son sat upright in bed, clutching his blanket. His grey eyes were wide with panic yet unseeing. His body trembled and he was soundlessly mouthing his brother's name. His long dark hair was plastered to his face and tears streamed down his face.

"Elrohir!" the elven lord exclaimed, rushing forward. "Ionamin, what's wrong?" He quickly sat next to his son on the bed and hugged the quaking elfling close.

Elrohir sobbed into his father's chest, mumbling 'Elladan' over and over.

"Elrohir, what's wrong? What happened?" Elrond asked sternly. He softly shook his son's shoulders.

Elrohir blinked a few times, looking around the room in alarm. "Ada?" he whispered softly, looking up at his father.

"Yes, I'm here," Elrond said softly. "What's wrong?"

Elrohir shut his eyes tightly. "It was horrible," he whimpered.

"It's alright, Elrohir," Elrond said soothingly, rubbing the youngest twin's back. "Tell me what happened."

"I can't remember what it was, only what it felt like...." Elrohir sniffed. "I just know that Elladan was there. And he was really, really, hurt... but I couldn't do anything. And then, something horrible happened but I don't know what. I just know that Elladan wasn't there anymore and I felt really cold...cold, and alone. It felt like he was gone forever and a part of me was gone. It hurt. I was all alone."

Elrond stared, aghast. He had the gift of foresight and his sons' shared a very strong link. Those together could very well cause Elrohir to have a premonition if something happened to his brother. The elven lord's heart froze. Something horrible had happened to Elladan.

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Elladan whimpered quietly but couldn't move. He rested his head back in the bed of snow and cried softly. This was it. The end. He'd never see his father again, his friends...his brother.

"'Ro," he whispered brokenly. "'Ro, I am so sorry." Then he remembered nothing more.

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Later that day, Elrohir was still in his bed. He had his quilt wrapped tightly around him and was curled in on himself, leaning against his headboard and pillows. A cup of tea his father brought him sat untouched on his nightstand.

He tried to rid his mind of the memories of the dream. At least, that's what he hoped it was...Just a dream. Suddenly there was a soft rapping on the door.

"Come in," he said softly.

Glorfindel walked slowly in. Elrohir could tell there was something wrong immediately. His stomach churned as he thought back to his prior dream.

"What's wrong, Glor'?" he asked timidly.

"I'm sorry, Elrohir," Glorfindel began, kneeling in front of the elfling and putting his arm around his shoulder. A lump formed in his throat and he took a deep, unsteady breath. "I'm sorry, Elrohir, but just a little while ago some messengers returned. They found the body of Akare, the messenger accompanying Elladan, in the woods. There was a gruesome warg attack." Glorfindel closed his eyes. "Your father and some others have left to look, but there is no doubt that....that....I'm sorry, Elrohir," he whispered. "But Elladan is dead."

Elrohir stood there, paralyzed by horror. 'No. This couldn't be happening. Elladan couldn't....'

"No! NO!" he screamed. "I don't believe you! It's not true! It's not!"

Elrohir collapsed to his knees with his face in his hands. It couldn't be real. It couldn't. Elladan couldn't be gone. He'd know. He'd be able to feel it wouldn't he? His twin couldn't be gone.

"It's not true!" he sobbed.

And the last thing he had said was...'I hate you'

Glorfindel wrapped is arms around the crying elfling and blinked back tears himself. "I'm sorry, Elrohir," was all he could say.

Elrohir pulled back quickly. "NO! You can't say you're sorry because you didn't do anything! It's not your fault! But it is..." he took a shaky breath. "It's my fault! It's my fault!" he shouted through tears. "It's all my fault!"

He fell to the ground. He knew that it was his fault. He had lost his brother over an irrelevant archery contest. He had never felt such hate...and it was hate against himself. He hated himself. He had killed his brother. He wanted to die. He didn't want it...the eternal pain and guilt. Suffering. He couldn't spend his life without his twin, he had always known that, but the fact that it was his fault...

He'd said he'd hated his brother and at the time meant it. And Elladan died believing what Elrohir had said, even though the truth was that Elrohir loved his brother more than anything else. He wanted to die. He felt he'd deserved it. He'd killed his brother.

His brother. His twin. His best friend. Gone forever. For eternity. Never again would the two play merrily, play jokes, talk, or laugh with each other. Never again would they share each other's feelings and memories. The only thing Elladan felt where their bond had been was grief. He sat paralyzed by horror.

"'Dan," he sobbed softly.

The twins loved each other more than anything. Rarely, though, did they express how much they cared. Now the twins were separated forever. And the last thing Elrohir had told his brother was...

'I hate you'

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Elrohir sat up, tears spilling freely, and ran out of the room.

"Elrohir, wait!" Glorfindel shouted, following, but the elfling paid no heed.

The youngest twin ran out of the House of Elrond and to the stables. He ran to his horse's stall and leapt on bareback.

'I'll leave. I don't want to stay. I'll run away. I'll die. Then I don't have to feel the grief.'

"Noro!" he shouted and the white steed took off.

Elrohir leaned down and buried his face in his mount's mane, sobbing softly. He didn't care where the horse went. He just didn't care anymore.

His horse ran and ran but he didn't even bother to look up to see where it was going. It seemed like days, but he knew that when his horse stopped running, breathing harshly, it had only been hours. Elrohir didn't dismount, though. He stayed, lying on its back, eyes closed.

Suddenly he heard voices and sat upright. It was the band of elves that went with his father to look for Elladan even though they knew he was dead.

"Ada?" he asked as his father ran up.

"Elrohir, what are you doing here?" Elrond asked. He was having a terribly hard time with the news of Elladan but unlike everyone else, he still had hope for finding his oldest son. He was not about to let his only son left come with and risk getting hurt.

Elrohir didn't say anything at first...then he began to cry and hugged his father. "I want Elladan." He sobbed

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Hours later, evening was falling. Elrohir sat in front of his father on the elven lord's horse while someone else guided his mount. Elrond had allowed Elrohir to come with only because he knew the terrible sorrow the youngest twin must be in. He dearly hoped they wouldn't find a mangled body of Elladan for Elrohir to see.

"Do you really think we'll find him?" Elrohir asked softly as they neared a cliff.

Elrond frowned sadly. "I don't honestly know, ionamin, but you have to hope. That's the only thing to do. Hope. Have hope."

Elrohir nodded miserably and tried not to cry.

The elves reached the edge of the cliff and all dismounted so they could look over the edge.

Elrohir knelt at the very edge, looking into the endless plain of white covering a barren rocky and mountainous terrain. He felt something there.

"There is nothing down there." Erestor said simply, turning back to his horse with a sigh. The other elves did the same, including Elrond.

"Elrohir, get on the horse, we have to keep moving." Elrond told his son, who sat staring over the edge.

Elrohir didn't want to leave. How did they know Elladan wasn't down there? It had snowed considerably and any tracks would be covered. The group had passed many spots but there was something about this one. He inched to the edge until his legs dangled over. He stayed as if in a trance.

"Elrohir, what are you doing?" Elrond asked, beginning to dismount to retrieve his son.

Suddenly there was a loud rumble. Everyone, save Elrohir, looked up towards the mountains.

"Avalanche!" Glorfindel shouted. The ground began to crumble and the crowd of elves galloped their horses to safety. Elrond didn't however. He ran forward for Elrohir.

Elrohir yelped in surprise as the ground beneath him cracked and he plunged downward. He could hear snow rolling down the giant mountainside the cliff and plain were on. When he hit the ground painfully he kept moving, rolling about as the snow quickly covered him. Then he saw nothing more.

"ELROHIR!" Elrond cried running forward.

"No!" Glorfindel shouted, pulling the elf lord away from the perilous edge.

"No..." Elrond sank to the ground when Glorfindel let him go and the rumbling subsided. He had lost both of his sons.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Elrohir blearily opened his eyes as he felt the wetness of snow tingling against his face. He slowly pushed himself into a sitting position. He quickly realized that he was in a small pocket underneath the snow. Then he saw a horrible image that would forever be imprinted in his mind. Elladan lay crumpled in the corner on the space on his back, his eyes closed on his pale face, his right arm laying limply at his side, bloody and mangled; and his blue-tinged lips not appearing to draw breath. Elrohir's heart froze and he was filled with a feeling of such utter terror and despair he had never felt before. He had believed it before, but not, actually seeing it, the slighting spark of hope was extinguished.

"'Dan!" he exclaimed, crawling forward. He pulled his brother into his arms. "'Dan no...No..." he closed his eyes in despair. There was no more hope. Elladan was gone.

As Elrohir faded into an abyss of grief he felt a movement against him and slowly opened his eyes. He looked into the face of his brother, as he did when he had closed them, but this time Elladan was staring back at him, a look of sheer pain across his face, his half-open eyes full of anguish.

"Dan?" Elrohir managed in disbelief.

Elladan took a shaky breath but could only manage to mouth ''Ro'. Elrohir took only a brief pause before embracing his brother lovingly.

"'Dan, oh 'Dan, I thought." He felt such relief. Somehow, miraculously, Elladan was alive. He could, however, feel through their link, that Elladan was in horrid pain. "'Dan." He cried softly. "Dan, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean what I said, I'm so sorry. I don't hate you. I don't want you to go away. I do want you to be my brother. I love you, 'Dan, don't leave me."

"I love you too, 'Ro." Elrohir whispered hoarsely. "I'm sorry, 'bout what I said."

Elladan hugged his twin tighter. "It's okay, 'Dan, just please don't ever do that again - makin' me think that you were-, I thought..."

"'Ro," Elladan whispered. "I don't feel, like...like I can hold on much longer. I can't-" His breathing was labored and weak.

Elrohir gaped in terror as he tried to compose himself. His father was a healer, the best, actually, so the twins had medical knowledge. Elrohir knew he needed to clean the wound and stop the bleeding. But where was he supposed to get water?

"Let me see your arm," he said softly. Elladan nodded softly as his brother gently inspected the mangled arm. From the greenish and black tint Elrohir could tell it was infected. Hastily, he grabbed a handful of snow and began to dab in on the wound.

Elladan whimpered pitifully and pulled back weakly. "Please," he pleaded, tears streaming down his pale face. "Don't-hurts-too-much-"

He began to tremble involuntarily and Elrohir dropped the snow and held his brother close. He knew his twin couldn't handle anymore trauma. "It's alright, I don't want to hurt you," He quickly took off his cloak and hastily wrapped in around the arm.

Elladan's shaking subsided and his eyelids drooped. "No!" Elrohir commanded. "Come-on 'Dan, you just have to stay awake, please,"

Elladan cried at the excruciating pain. "It hurts..." he whimpered.

"I'm sorry," Elrohir told him. "Just please hold on."

"I'm sorry," Elladan whispered. "About your bow..." The he went limp in his brother's arms.

Elrohir shook his brother. "Wake up!" he cried. "Please, gwanur nín!"

Elladan breathed weaker and his elven glow faded.

"No, 'Dan!" Elrohir pleaded. He softly kissed his brother's forehead. "Hang on. Please. Don't you dare leave me," He grabbed his twin's hand in his and focused with all his might at their bond. "Stay with me," he whispered softly, forcing his life force into his brother. "I'm not letting you go."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"Find him! Find him!" Elrond commanded the group of elves as they all scrambled to the valley. They had to find Elrohir. They had to.

Glorfindel walked up to him and put his hand on the elven lord's shoulder. He had rode all the way after Elrohir, he wasn't about to lose hope either. "Don't worry, mellonomin, he will be found. He'll be alright."

Elrond nodded dejectedly. "I hope so." His heart felt like it was breaking.

Glorfindel smiled slightly. "Hope."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

A crunching noise was heard in the pocket underneath as someone dug out an opening in the snow but neither of the twin elflings heard it for they were oblivious to everything, hand in hand and bound to each other's life. Their eyes were closed and their weak breathing synchronized.

Elrond jumped into the pocket from the small opening, Glorfindel right behind him. He gasped to see that finally he had found Elrohir, but froze in awe when he saw both of his sons.

He quickly recovered his equilibrium and rushed forward, dropping to his knees in front of the elflings. He shakily laid his hand on Elladan's neck, almost scared of what he might, or rather, might not, find.

Elrohir did not awaken but feebly slapped at the unseen presence touching his brother. "No!" he whispered hoarsely. "You can't take him, I won't let you! Go away!" He clutched his twin closer.

Elrond carefully hoisted both his beloved sons into his arms, protectively draping his cloak around them.

"How are they?" Glorfindel asked worriedly.

Elrond sighed disconsolately. "Elladan has been badly injured, but lives. I fear it's only Elrohir that's keeping him alive. Is there a nearby town?"

"Yes," Glorfindel answered. "Not even two miles."

"Good." Elrond said. "Elladan needs healing immediately but we do not have the tools with us and Imladris is too far away."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Elladan slowly opened his eyes and immediately was afraid.

'Where am I?'

'Why were my eyes closed?'

'Am I still outside?'

No, that wasn't right. He was in a soft bed, inside. He was comfortable.

'Am I dead?!'

No, that wasn't right either. He looked around the room slowly. It was his bedroom.

He tried to move his arm but found he couldn't. His right, wounded arm, was bandaged tightly and wrapped to his chest to prevent moving. His other hand was lightly bandaged from being torn when he tried to climb the tree.

"'Ro!" he exclaimed suddenly, sitting up. Not before he said this did he realize that his twin was curled at the foot of the bed. Elrohir obviously had fallen asleep without planning to because he was sitting up but slouched awkwardly and someone had placed a blanket over his shoulders. His eyes were half-open like any sleeping elf and he clutched some wrapped bundle in his arms.

"'Ro..." Elladan said softly. He knew he probably should have let his brother sleep but wanted to talk to him.

Elrohir blearily blinked a few times. Yawning slightly, he raised his head.

"Dan!" he exclaimed ecstatically, scrambling forward.

"'Ro!" Elladan exclaimed back. "You're here..."

Elrohir nodded vigorously. "Of course I am." He added softly, "I'll always be there for you."

"You should have left, you know." Elladan told him, bowing his head.

"What?" Elrohir gasped.

"You should have gotten yourself out of the snow instead of staying with me. You could've..." Elladan trailed off uncertainly.

Elrohir edged forward. "I know what could've happened but I wasn't going to leave you, 'Dan. I'm never going to leave you, okay?"

Elladan smiled.

"And I didn't mean what I said!" Elrohir exclaimed suddenly, remembering the fight. "You know that, right?"

Elladan nodded. "Me neither. I do want to be your twin, 'Ro! I wouldn't want anything else."

Suddenly Elrohir fumbled at his bundle. "Here, I got you something," he said.

Elladan took the item with his left arm and awkwardly opened it, turning the object around in his wrapped hand. It was a small wooden statue with a block and a carven archer on the top. On the block, 'Elladan Elrondion- Winter Archer, Year 145 of the Third Age' was engraved.

"What is this?" He exclaimed.

Elrohir smiled. "The town we stopped at happened to be having their archery contest that day. I entered and won under your name. I know you would have won the one here if you had participated and it was my fault you didn't get to." He was startled when Elladan embraced him suddenly, wrapping his good arm tightly around his brother.

"It wasn't your fault," Elladan said softly, "Thank you,"

Elrohir smiled and hugged him back. "You're welcome, brother."

"I love you, 'Ro,"

"I love you too 'Dan,"


* * *

The twins hugged each other tighter and longer than ever before. Some people don't realize the importance of something until it's gone. Realize the importance of those you love and watch what you say to them - it may be the last.