SUMMARY: The sequel to "A Final Farewell". The reasons behind Elrohir's decision, and how each twin deals with the revelation.
DISCLAIMER: You know the drill...I play with the characters, but they aren't mine. I just borrowed them.
The Choices We Make: A Brother's Love
He grieved when he felt the bond sever. There was a darkness in his mind, a lost empty feeling. Alone, he was alone; he had never felt so alone before. The warm tingle in his mind was suddenly gone, leaving him colder than he had ever felt before. He sank into the soft sand that faced the sea. The tears began to fall from his eyes. Slowly at first, but then the anguish began to build in his heart, and the trickling stream of salty droplets became a rushing river. He felt a gentle hand squeezing his shoulder, offering him silent support. He grasped the hand on his shoulder, feeling the strength in the hand as he bowed his head and wept.
"He is not lost to you forever, Elladan, brother of Elrohir," a voice spoke quietly.
"You lie!" Elladan hissed, lashing out. "Elrohir is head, his fea given to the fate of men!" He shoved the hand away from his shoulder and rose to leave, but the strong hand gripped his arm and stopped him.
"Look at me, Elladan," the voice commanded. Elladan stubbornly refused to. He stared resolutely ahead into the inky darkness of the sea.
"Elladan," the voice had softened. "I cannot speak falsehoods."
"Why?" Elladan asked through gritted teeth.
"Turn around, and you will see truth," the voice said. Elladan spun around, wanting to get it over with as quickly as possible. His eyes widened when he saw who stood before him. All thoughts of anger fled his mind.
"Namo," he breathed. He cast his eyes down to the sand. "Forgive me, I was rude to you."
"No," the Valar kindly corrected him. "You are grieving for someone close to your heart." Elladan nodded, his tears beginning to dry.
"Is his fea well in the Halls of Waiting?" he asked.
"It was, but his fea does not follow the path of men," Namo tried to explain to Elladan without upsetting the already distraught elf.
"Then his fea is lost to nothingness?" Elladan fearfully asked. He couldn't bear the thought of his brother becoming nothing after his passing. Name gave a small chuckle which drew a glare from the twin.
"No my friend, his fea followed the path of Earendil." Namo said. Elladan smiled and wept as relief and joy washed over him in waves.
"Before his fea left, he bade me to promise him one thing," Namo soberly continued. "He wished for you to understand why he made his choice."
"He said that he could not bear to leave Arwen and Estel behind," said Elladan, a puzzled frown forming on his face. Namo shook his head.
"That was not the reason. That was never the reason," said Namo in a firm voice. "He chose his fate because he loved you enough to let you live, and to let you go."
"I don't understand."
"Because you do not remember," Namo countered. "Please, trust me and take my hand, I will show you." Elladan did as he was told and found that Valinor was disappearing to reveal a fierce battle.
"Pelannor Field!" he exclaimed, surprised that he was there. He flinched as an arrow flew near him.
"Yes," Namo confirmed.
"Don't ask anything yet, just watch and feel what Elrohir felt. All of your questions will be answered then," Namo said, putting a hand up to stop Elladan's flow of questions.
Elrohir shot arrow after arrow, not particularly caring that he was sore and in need of rest. This was war, nobody had any time to rest.
"Elladan" he shouted. "Aim for the Easterlings!" Elladan nodded and did as he was told. Elrohir focused on his own targets, but found it difficult to dodge so many spears and arrows while firing his own bow despite his reflexes. He heard Elladan shout something, but in the midst of the sounds of battle, he could not understand. He kept glancing at Elladan with confused expressions on his face. He turned back to the horde of Easterlings on a mumilkail, determined to bring them down. He felt a heavy weight force him to the ground. To his horror, he found that it was Elladan, covered in blood.
"No!" he cried, seeing the two spears that protruded from his twin. Luckily, they were light spears, easy to pull out. But the damage had already been done. Desperately he tried to staunch the bleeding with his hands and clothing, but the blood kept pouring out. He watched helplessly as Elladan slowly slipped away from him. He could feel everything Elladan felt, his pain from his own wounds, his intense fear of being alone and separated from his twin.
"Let me die, Elrohir," Elladan rasped, trying to put on a brave face. "There's nothing you can do for me. You must protect yourself."
"I won't let you die," Elrohir cried, holding Elladan in his arms, though they were slick with blood. Around them, the battle raged, but it didn't reach them, they were sheltered by a fallen mumikail.
"Go, Ada needs one of us alive," he tried to find the strength to push Elrohir away, but couldn't find it. His strength seeped from his faster than his blood.
"He needs the both of us!" Elrohir retorted.
"Only...one..." breathed Elladan before his eyes closed.
"Elladan, no!" Elrohir screamed, shaking his brother's body. He could still hear the soft, rasping breaths. "Don't leave me, you can't. We made a promise to each other," he brokenly cried.
"It is time," a new voice said in the midst of the sudden silence.
"It will never be time," Elrohir declared fiercely, knowing full when who he was talking to.
"He is dying from mortal wounds," observed Namo. "The grace has left him, there is nothing holding him back from the Halls of Waiting."
Elrohir took the information in, thinking hard. "What if I gave him something to hold on to?" he asked.
Namo looked hard at him. "There is nothing you can give without great sacrifice." Elrohir swallowed.
"I will make the sacrifice without condition," he glared at the Valar. Namo was taken aback. He had never seen so much love in a being's eyes before. "He is my brother, I would trade my life for his, without question."
"Without question," repeated Namo, searching Elrohir for signs of deception and weakness. He found none.
"Yes, I am nothing that without him. He would do no less for me." He looked defiantly into Namo's eyes, daring the Valar to say otherwise.
"Once you do this, there is no turning back," warned Namo.
"I am willing. Now hurry!" Elrohir pleaded. Elladan's face had grown paler as his blood left him. "Take from me what you must, kill me even, but don't let him die!" He gasped as he suddenly weakened and collapsed on top of his brother. He felt so cold, as if a sheet of ice had wrapped itself around his entire body and sucked away all his warmth. He looked up and saw a light take his form as it left his body. He reached to touch it, his hand went through. He looked at the host in puzzlement, his mind in too much shock to grasp what the form meant.
"You said that you would forfeit your life for that of your brother's. That is exactly what you have done."
"I am to die then, right here, right now," Elrohir said with a sad finality in his voice.
"No," corrected Namo. "You did not completely sacrifice your life, only your elven grace. Your light has already left you," he pointed to the light in front of Elorhir. "And will be given to Elladan if you wish for me to do so."
"I wish it." Elrohir watched with wide eyes as the light healed Elladan's injuries and returned the color to his face. The fallen elf took a shuddering breath and blinked his eyes.
"Ro?" Elladan whispered.
"I'm here, Dan, I'm here!" Elrohir wept with relief has he held the weakened form close to him. Though Elladan knew that he was getting stronger as the moments went by, he was still far too weak to do much more than to hold on to Elrohir.
It is done, he thought with relief. He looked over towards Namo, who gave him a small smile and a nod before fading from sight...
All was silent as the pair returned to the beach save for the ragged breathing of Elladan, who suddenly found that he could no longer stand and fell to the ground with a soft "thump." He looked up at Namo with wide, disbelieving eyes. Namo kindly looked back at him.
"He is never far away from you," he said softly, before turning around to leave. "He is always in you heart." He faded away.
Elladan looked up into the sky once more with a tear stained face, new tears falling still. "Why?" he cried. "Why did it have to be you instead of me? You, more than anyone, deserved immortal life with the Valar!"
"Dan..." the breeze whispered.
"Ro?" questioned Elladan.
"I am here..." it whispered again. Gently, the breezed flew around Elladan, wrapping around him in a gentle embrace. Elladan wrapped his arms around himself and lay down, his heart finally at peace with the knowledge that his brother was never truly gone. Elrohir's love had saved the both of them from an eternity of grief.