Title: For Estel
Author: Ice Cube
Spoilers: Not unless you've know almost nothing about Lord of the Rings.
Disclaimer and warnings, see Chapter 1…
HarryEstel: Here's the last of this story for you, I hope you enjoyed how I handled the final ending of this story…
Cexya: Sorry, I'll have to remember two boxes of tissues for chapters like that in the future…I don't think you'll need both boxes for the epilogue though…it's shorter at least…
Catmint: Yay, a new reviewer…thank you for your kind words…
IWishChan: I'm sorry that you will miss Elladan, and yes, everyone is crying, but keep reading…
Grumpy: Yes it was nice of Elladan to give Estel his horse…wonder what will happen with that?...
Rangerofthenorth: -hides the Elrondion from you- … keep reading…
Mari: I'm sorry you fried your keyboard with my last chapter…this one should be a little bit safer for it.
Denise: Thank you, I'm glad you liked it, keep reading to find out what finally happens…
Rhonda: Aww, sorry Rhonda…have some tissues and finish the story…this is the part you haven't seen yet…
Celebwen: You…me…him…yes. He did and so did I…but here is the epilogue…
Misty: Not many stories can make me cry either, and I'm afraid to go back and read my own writing because of it…the epilogue…you'll have to tell me if it made you cry or not…
Aranel: I think that a small child will find comfort wherever they can, but it is also the base of a strong friendship that we can see culminating in things like the Mellon Chronicles, so I guess it makes sense…and I figured that as old as Elrohir is, he wouldn't know what to do without his twin and can only solve the problem by not being separated from him…but there is that pesky 6 year old to hold him back…I don't really want this to end either…lol
Vi: I'm sorry.
That said, on with the tale…
The simple, grey ship seemed to loom in front of Elladan as he waited his turn to step onto the gangplank and begin the last great journey of his time. Longing to see his mother once more, the Elf was impatient to begin his journey, and yet, imagining that he could hear a young boy's sniffles tugged at his heartstrings. Coughing slightly, Elladan looked down at his feet, seeing the braces on his legs that even now were helping to support him. His father had told him that they would come off in time, but they were for now just one more sign of weakness that the proud Elf was not accustomed to showing.
Elladan looked back at his family one last time, taking notice mostly of Estel. The 6 year old was sitting proudly atop the eldest Elrondion's horse, by himself, tears remaining checked at the corners of his eyes, a small teddy bear tied to the saddle behind him. A smile crossed both of their faces, and the rest of the extended family also returned the gesture. They were all facing the sea, seated atop horses on one of the landings that marked the stairway down to the pier. Even from this distance, however, Elladan could tell that each from his envoy despised the ship that he was about to board. In some way, he guessed, he hated it too. While it was going to bring him to peace and calm, it was also taking him away from the rest of his family, and one of them he would never see again.
Knowing there was nothing he could do that would ease his passing; Elladan bowed his head once and took another slow, labored step towards the ship. Tears caught in the corner of his eyes from pain in his heart and in his body. Only a few agonizing steps to go, and he would be able to rest. A bittersweet smile graced his lips as he stood on the wooden bridge that braced the boat. 'At last,' he thought, 'I'm going home.' But before he could take another step, a noise caught his ear.
Elladan turned as he heard the hoof beats pounding down the stairs. He saw Estel racing down, and stepped off the gangplank. "What is it, Estel?"
"'Dan, who's going to read me my bedtime story every night?"
"I'm sure 'Ro will, tithen pen." Estel looked contemplative for a moment before reaching behind him and untying Belur.
"Here, 'Dan, you can take Belur with you so you don't forget me ever." Elladan wiped a tear from his eye as the bear was thrust into his hand.
"Estel, I can't take Belur from you. He promised me that he would help keep your dreams light and protect you. I will never be able to forget you, muindor nin; you will always be in my heart. You know that, don't you?"
"'Dan, I know that you won't try and forget me, but Elves live for a very long time, and I don't want to take the chance. If you're going to do this, then let me know that Belur is there to remind you of me always." Estel sniffled once before looking down at his bear. "You're really going to go, aren't you?"
"Yes, Estel, I am."
"Then I'm never going to see you again?"
"No, tithen pen, I'm afraid you aren't."
"Then I need to tell you something. Seeing as you won't be able to get even with me for it." Estel paused and motioned for Elladan to bend over. With a whisper that the Elf could barely hear, Estel revealed; "you remember the worms that were on your and 'Ro's faces on the way to Mirkwood? It was me who put them there. I wanted to let you know that you taught me well, and I'll make sure that 'Ro gets caught in his fair share of pranks even if you aren't there to think them up." With that, Estel pulled back and grinned, the first true smile that Elladan had seen the boy show around him since they left for Mirkwood.
The memory of that morning assaulted Elladan, and now that he could pay attention to something other than the slimy creature wriggling around in his nose, he could see the small smile that Estel had schooled quickly. "You? You did that, Estel? Hunh, I guess we did teach you well enough. Neither of us suspected that it was you, you know."
"I know, I was awake when you wondered if it was me or not."
It seemed as though the little boy's confession had an almost immediate effect on Elladan. Whether it was the simple fact that he could have such an impact on such a small child, or the innocence of the prank that he had fallen victim too, or maybe it was just the full grin that graced a future king's face, Elladan would never know. Whatever it was, however, the tears that had been threatening to fall from his eyes did, and he found a new strength, giving a shout and swinging Estel up to his grasp. He held the child under one arm and tickled him mercilessly in the other, laughing as he did so.
"You thought you'd get away with that, did you? I guess I'll have to show you what happens when you prank one of us, muindor nin. You will have to pay the price, and I'll have to think up some new tricks to get you back." The laughter that came from Elladan drifted up to the family, and Elrond held his breath as he spurred his horse down the steps once more.
The family followed their patriarch, and as each dismounted rather clumsily from their mounts, they joined in the ever growing hug that had started with the innocence of a child.
"Does this mean you're staying, 'Dan?" someone asked.
"Yes, I am staying. For Estel. Did you know 'Ro…"
"No, 'Dan, you can't tell him!"
"I'll tell you at home, 'Ro. I'll tell you at home."
And so the family turned their backs on the disappearing ship. The past could not be changed, and the future was not yet shaped. All they had was the present, and they were still determined to make the best out of it that they could. After all, there was a young boy who needed looking after, one who was already wise beyond his years, and he had fit into his name on this day; no matter what, to his family, he would always be Hope.
Honestly answer: How many of you thought I was actually going to have Elladan leave Middle Earth?
Tithen pen – little one