Rating: PG-13, possibly 15 in future instalments. (After checking for rating qualifications, I think I'll err on the side of caution and label it M, just in case I decide to get violent later on!)
Disclaimer: I do not own nor claim to have invented the recognisable characters or settings used in this work; they are the property of J.R.R. Tolkien and his estate. This is a work of fiction created for entertainment purposes only, no financial gain is being made. Any original characters are of my own design for the purposes of this story.
I'm not sure about the origins of some of the characters I will mention, however. After reading so many fanfics, it is hard to remember what is canon and what is fanon, so I can't state where the nicknames 'Dan and 'Ro originated from, although I read them in one of Dragon's fics first, and Nili's too. I haven't asked for permission, though, because I don't know whose they are!
Spoilers: None that I can foresee, but if any come up I will note them at the beginning of relevant chapters.
Notes: This story is set when the twin sons of Elrond Peredhil are approximately 20 years old in elven terms, making them about 6 in the eyes of men. (This may be completely incorrect, as I have no idea how elves age in comparison to men, but I wanted the twins as children and 20 seemed like a nice round number. Just go with it!) To make the scope of this tale a little larger, I have decided to include Legolas as a major character, and am making him about the twins' age.
A/N : Any and all quotes will be referenced in the chapter they are found in. Many will be non-Tolkien in origin, but it was a quote which sparked the idea for this tale, so I felt it to be fitting to continue in the same way that I started.
Any elvish in the tale will be loosely translated at best, as I do not claim to be a scholar of Sindarin, nor of Quenya. Oft used phrases and titles are most likely to appear, but anything more complex used will also have an English version in the footnotes.
To excuse any glaring mistakes in the tale, I have labelled it AU. It will hopefully not deviate tremendously from canon Tolkien (barring my personal writing style and any O.Cs) but I am conscious that relations between the different elven realms were actually strained during these times. This did not fit with my plotlines, and so I have brought together the elves of Mirkwood/Greenwood and Rivendell as friends, in order to again make the scope of the tale a little wider.
Summary: The elven city of Rivendell has been a place of peace for the last age of men. Stories of the warrior elves and past alliances have dwindled, forgotten, existing only as myth and legend. With only few humans having ever met members of the Firstborn race, men and elves live divided but content with their own kind. Yet when a group of bandits stumble across an unlikely opportunity amongst the woods of Imladris, this comfortable existence is shattered, and war between elves and men seems inevitable…Chapter 1
'Elladan! Elrohir! Please, my sons, it is not even breakfast time yet. Can we at least make it to the first meal of our day without the threat of another kinslaying?'
The Hall of Fire seemed to echo at the exasperated tones of its Lord. Outside, the sun had just risen and a slight breeze drifted through the ornate archways surrounding the small family. Elrond Peredhil, ruler of Imladris, the Last Homely House and every Noldor elf present on Middle Earth inhaled the soft draught as though it was the last hope of maintaining his sanity. Glaring at the cause of his displeasure, he raised what he hoped was an intimidating eyebrow and gestured towards the table in the centre of the room.
'If there is a problem between you, then it will keep until after we have eaten. And then…' Elrond continued quickly, seeing that any pause for breath was an opportunity for argument, 'And then I will listen to you - one at a time – and we will finally put a stop to your bickering.'
At this, he swept over to where his wife was already seated, and took his place at the table. Looking at her face for some sign of support, his resolve began to fold as he saw only the laughter in her eyes and the ever so slight quirking of her lips.
Ah, she was beautiful, his Celebrian. And wilful. And stubborn. And… as though she could read his thoughts, he felt her hand drop over his, and he raised his eyes to hers, only to be confronted with a knowing look that denied sole responsibility for producing children of such trouble making proportions.
No, sighed Elrond inwardly, there can be no denying of my part in creating two of the most trying elflings in all of Arda. Looking over at his twin sons, he could not suppress his small smile. Identical in almost every way, Elladan and Elrohir Peredhil were smaller versions of their father. Black hair hung poker straight to their shoulder blades and piercing grey eyes told of their Noldor heritage. Yet handsome as they were to their father's eyes, it was not their elven beauty that made him sure of their bloodlines. No, he could see that from the looks on their faces. As Glorfindel had often told him;
'A person may not recognise a Peredhil from a pumpkin, but one glimpse of that glare and even the Dark One himself would know him. It is infamous. And deadly.'
Elrond may not have believed it for himself until this moment, but unfortunately, if glaring could be deemed a family trait, it would seem that his sons had both picked up the ability.
Still standing, with their arms crossed over small chests and glaring at each other for all they were worth, the twins seemed to have come to an unspoken agreement; foregoing breakfast in order to have the last word. Or glare, as the case may be.
Celebrian, obviously deciding to take pity on her husband, turned to her children, and with a patience that Elrond envied this early in the morning, spoke.
'Elladan, Elrohir. I don't think I could eat any breakfast with the two of you so unhappy. Why don't you come sit by me and tell us what is troubling you both?'
The twins faces subconsciously twitched in an identical way as each considered the consequences of being first to back down. However, the implied idea that they were the cause of their mother being unable to eat seemed to sway each at the same time, as Celebrian's lap was suddenly filled with two small elflings each clamouring for attention.
'It was El, Amme, he said that you…'
'No I didn't Amme, it was El, I said that you…'
'Elladan! I'm talking to Amme now, you have to wait your…'
'It is my turn Elrohir, and Amme is listening to me, aren't…'
'Children! Children!' The voice of their father bursting out from so close behind them caused both twins to spin in fright; even though they knew the speaker and that there was no danger here, both had forgotten his presence in their rush. As a consequence, Elrohir, being closer to his father slipped from the bench he was kneeling on, crashing to the floor behind his mother. Elladan simply jumped, and gripped his mother's sleeves for fear of following his brother to the stone floor.
There was total silence and stillness in the Hall of Fire as the Lord and Lady looked at each other in surprise and then immediately turned to the nearest child.
Celebrian stroked a soft palm down her eldest child's cheek, soothing the stunned expression there. Why would a simple loud noise scare her boisterous boy so? Especially here, sitting on his Amme's lap? He should feel safe here and… her thoughts drifted off as her ears registered a small hitch of breath, and then another from behind her. Elladan slowly looked down at his hand, and raising his palm and teary eyes to his parent, whispered,
At that moment, Elrond lifted Elrohir from the ground and settled back in his chair, where his youngest son immediately buried his face in his father's tunic and began to cry. Startled, Elrond looked to his wife in hope of an explanation, but met only bewildered eyes. Softly, he murmured to his child;
'Elrohir? Are you hurt? It's okay, you're safe here, you know that. Come on, tell Ada what is wrong.'
Elrond's voice had become slightly higher as he neared the end of his monologue, and distractedly wondered at the fact that, for all the battles and hardships he had seen and endured, nothing hurt him more than his children crying just one single tear. And what was worse, he, Lord Elrond, master healer and bearer of Vilya did not understand why his sons were upset. Maybe he had been a little sharp with them, but they'd had worse lectures in the past and rarely even seemed phased by his apparently 'infamous' glare.
With the wet spot on his tunic growing ever larger, Elrond tried to peel the elfling away in order to check him over. However, with surprising strength, Elrohir remained clamped to his father and pressed his face deeper in to his chest. Sighing again for what seemed to be the hundredth time that morning, Elrond left Elrohir where he was, slowly rubbing his son's back and rocking in a gentle soothing motion. Realising he could do nothing until Elrohir calmed down, he turned his attention to his other son.
He was puzzled by what he saw. Celebrian was sitting with Elladan on her lap as before, but now his back was against her, and she seemed to be checking his hand for injuries. Elrond's mind backtracked. Elladan hadn't fallen, had he? How would he be hurt? And why were his sons so upset? They were at home, safe and loved. They hadn't been in any real trouble for at least a week, and whilst that was a little odd for them, their parents were simply enjoying the peace while it lasted. Needing answers, Elrond spoke quietly to his sons, in fear of scaring them again.
'Elladan, what is the matter? Why are you and your brother so upset? Have you hurt yourself?'
His son looked over at him with bleary eyes, making it clear to Elrond that even he did not know exactly what was wrong.
'You scared us Ada. We weren't looking and you shouted and my hand hurts, and he is still scared of the dream and when you shouted it was like that, and we thought you were them and we fell…'
Elrond jumped in, attempting to stem the flow of words and trying to make sense of all the information given to him.
'Let's see, so you had a dream last night, where someone shouted at you. And when I raised my voice, you remembered the dream and got a fright. But then why did Elrohir fall? And why were you so upset? You know it was just a dream Elladan. You and your brother are safe here.'
Celebrian tightened her arms around her son at his whispered, 'We know…' She was puzzled though, and he still held his palm upwards on his knee, as though injured. Yet she could find no gash or marring of the skin. Reaching out, she gently ran her fingers over his hand and said;
'There's nothing wrong I can find with your hand, Elladan, and you did not fall. And you have not answered your Ada's questions, ion nin. Come now, we need to know these things so we can help you and your brother.'
Elladan pushed himself back a little, as if to ensure himself of Celebrian's presence, and looked at his father.
'It wasn't my dream, it was Ro's. But I saw it too. And it was like real. Dark and with lots of voices shouting. I can't remember, but Ro can, he told me we were locked up. I said I would have picked the lock, so we couldn't have been, but Ro said I was sleeping even in all the shouting, and anyway, we didn't have a lock pick. And when we woke up, Ro was crying, but I wasn't because I couldn't really remember it all, so it wasn't scary for me. But when you shouted, I remembered, and Ro did, and we fell, and now my hand hurts.'
Elladan paused and looked down at his hand and then back at his father. 'Well, not so much anymore.'
Elrond looked at his child with a mixture of sorrow, fear and pride on his face. These were his sons, his strong boys, and they did everything together. Even, it would seem, in their sleep. Sharing nightmares was a new one for the twins, he had to admit, but it wasn't so bad. This way, they could always help each other get over their fear and pain. If ever, the Valar forbid, he or Celebrian were not here, his boys would have each other. And looking closer at Elladan, he could see now the remains of a restless night. How could he not have noticed earlier? He was supposed to be a healer, and more, a father! At least that explained the argument this morning though, well, at least to some extent. With no sleep and nightmares, anyone would be grumpy. Still, one question remained;
'Elladan, why were you and Ro arguing this morning?'
Elladan looked down and, slightly sheepishly, said;
'Ro wanted to tell you about the dream, because he was scared and he said you'd fix it.'
Elrond could tell there was more, but Elladan was being stubborn as usual.
Now was Elladan's turn to sigh. 'And…' The elfling sat up straighter.
'And, I didn't. I said we are too old to come running after a bad dream, and that you'd think we were silly, and just babies, and then we wouldn't get to do sword practice with Glorfy, 'cause babies can't use swords.'
Celebrian smiled slightly, and kissed the top of her sons head as he settled back after his outburst. Elrond looked at her, then at Elladan and spoke softly in an effort to get his point across.
'Elladan, I know you and Ro like to practise swords with Glorfindel, and I wouldn't make you stop. If you or your brother ever have a problem or are scared, you come to me or Amme. We won't say you're babies, as everyone needs help sometimes. Even though you've got Ro and Ro's got you, sometimes, you will need your Ada and Amme too.'
Celebrian kissed her child again and added;
'And don't be in such a rush to grow up Dan. You and Ro are still elflings, and your Ada and I love you the way you are. Remember that.'
Elladan nodded slowly and smiled slightly. Then, in the way of children, looked straight at his father and announced, 'Ada, I'm hungry. This has been a tough morning, don't you think?'
At this, Elrond's face broke in to a smile and he chuckled, saying, 'Indeed it has been, Elladan. Let us eat then, shall we?'
The breakfast food, long since forgotten, was soon rediscovered by a hungry elfling and his two more sedate parents, who had not the heart to scold his table manners on this day. Elrond ate silently, one arm still holding Elrohir tucked to his chest. He had felt his youngest grow limp under his circling hand a while ago, obviously tired out from his sleepless night and early morning. Not to mention me scaring the life out of him, Elrond chastised himself.
Noticing Elladan still eating with only one hand, Elrond suddenly remembered another part of Elladan's story that puzzled him. Before he could question his son however, the doors at the far end of the hall opened, and in strode Lord Glorfindel, Elrond's seneschal.
Golden hair flashing in the early morning sun, he walked to the table, and bowed.
'My Lords, Lady, I hope I find you well this fine day.'
Barely straightening up in time, Glorfindel found himself forced to catch a leaping elfling, and being immediately verbally accosted.
'Glorfy! You're here! Isn't it early? But it's alright, I've finished breakfast now. Do you want to sword fight? Aw, or are you tired from patrol? Ada said last night you might be. But you're not, are you Glorfy? Because Elrohir went back to sleep and I've got no one to play with!'
Lord Glorfindel of Gondolin, slayer of a Balrog and one who returned from the very Halls of Mandos simply stood with Elladan balanced on his hip and looked wide eyed at the elfling, at a loss for words after such an onslaught.
'Lord Glorfindel has come to join us for breakfast Elladan. And it is still too early for sword fights. You'd wake up all of Rivendell with that clanging! Now come, sit down and finish your breakfast properly.'
Glorfindel shot Celebrian a grateful look and settled down at the table, returning Elladan to his place. The seneschal then looked back towards his lord and realised the strangeness of having only one elfling to fend off.
'My Lord? Is there something wrong with Elrohir?'
Elrond smiled at the open distress on Glorfindel's face at this possibility. He silently marvelled at the power of his sons, being able to capture the heart of one of the deadliest warriors in all of Middle Earth. At the shrill cry of 'Glorfy!', an indignity which Glorfindel had come to bear with pride, the golden haired elf was theirs until they fell asleep at the end of the day. Stroking a gentle hand over Elrohir's dark hair, he replied;
'Simply a restless night combined with a little accident this morning, Glorfindel. He is fine, just worn out.'
Glorfindel nodded, appeased, and began to eat his breakfast. In the renewed hush, Elrond remembered his former trail of thought. He knew he should ask Glorfindel for a report on the previous night's patrol, but first…
'Elladan, before when I asked what was wrong, you said you both got a fright and 'we fell'.'
'Uh huh, we did.' Elladan took another piece of fruit from his plate and watched his father questioningly.
'But Elladan, you did not fall. Elrohir did, and you jumped, but you did not fall. So how did you hurt your hand?'
At this, Glorfinel straightened. 'Elladan is injured? Why is he not in the healing wing?'
Elrond looked over at his friend and instead of being annoyed at the interruption, the elven lord felt a rush of warmth at the protectiveness. He truly could not ask for a better seneschal, or more devoted guardian for his children. Celebrian spoke up in his stead.
'That is the point Glorfindel. I checked, and I could find no injury. His hand is hale and whole.'
Celebrian held up Elladan's hand, yet looked sharply in concern when her son hissed and pulled it away. Glorfindel took the elfling's hand gently and teased the fingers away from his palm, in order to have a look unhindered. The seneschal checked and found nothing, so looked at the child's face to see if he could find the truth there. Maybe, with his brother garnering so much attention from his Ada, Elladan had wanted the same, and so pretended to be hurt. Yet, that didn't ring true either. He had seen the little one's face pale and his eyes narrow at the touch to his palm, and obviously had felt some pain.
Both Celebrian and Glorfindel were at a loss, however. Disliking her feeling of helplessness, Celebrian stood Elladan up and nudged him towards his father.
'Let Ada see. Maybe he can find something. Or at least stop it hurting.'
At this, Elladan stopped dead and pulled a face. Elrond's herbal pain relief and medicines were almost as infamous as his glare. They worked wonders for all kinds of ailments, but tasted terrible. No way was Dan taking any of that stuff.
Elrond saw the hesitation and knew the cause, but put on his stern voice and called his son to him. Balancing the sleeping Elrohir on his left shoulder, however, proved somewhat difficult, as he needed both hands to check Elladan. Seeing his lord's difficulty, Glorfindel stood.
'Let me take Elrohir for a while. He seems quiet enough now, just until you've seen to Elladan.'
Elrond nodded quickly, as he had noticed Elladan edging away again, and moved to catch his tunic before he could fully escape. Glorfindel reached down and with considerable difficulty managed to detach Elrohir from Elrond.
The elfling began to whimper as his hands left the security of his Ada's arms, so Glorfindel quickly turned him around and, sitting down, settled him against his own chest. Elrohir could feel the warmth of his elfin cushion, and snuggled in again. Celebrian looked on, worried about the fretfulness of her child. She knew this nightmare was one they were going to need to talk about. Her youngest was more sensitive and empathetic than his slightly more boisterous twin, and would need more reassurance about his safety in the night.
Content that Elrohir seemed comfortable for the moment, she switched her attention back to Elrond and Elladan, smiling softly as she took in Elladan's stance. The elfling was caught between looking ready to flee and trying to suppress his interest in what his Ada was doing. Elrond, on the other hand, seemed deep in thought, his forehead drawn down in to a frown. Then Celebrian glanced down at her husband's rumpled clothing, and she blanched.
Glorfindel, who had been watching the smile play across his lady's face saw her suddenly pale, and his eyes followed as she stood and strode to Elrond's side. Glorfindel could not recall her ever having 'strode' before. She would glide over the stone floors of Rivendell with little sound at all. So, to see her movements now brought everyone's attention to her. She knelt at Elrond's chair and reached out, not to Elladan as Glorfindel expected, but to her husband. More specifically, to her husband's tunic. Elrond, still holding on to Elladan's wrist lest he should try to escape, looked down at his wife and saw what held her aghast.
Celebrian and Elrond both stood, and instinctively, Glorfindel drew the elfling in his arms closer to him.
'What is wrong? Elrond? Celebrian? What…'
Elrond reached for the sleeping elfling and Glorfindel relinquished his hold immediately. As Elrohir was lifted up, Glorfindel saw the bloody handprint on Elrond's clothing and his face turned white.
'That's not…El…How could we not notice?'
Glorfindel's pained voice struck a chord in each elf present, but Elrond pushed his guilt aside as he settled Elrohir across his lap. Carefully lifting the elfling's hand, palm up, he held his breath as he uncurled the fingers. Ro's head twitched, and he unconsciously tried to pull his hand back.
'Ow! Ada! Stop, that hurts!'
Celebrian and Glorfindel's heads snapped round to the source of the outburst with looks of bewilderment on their faces. Engrossed in Elrohir, both had forgotten his brother, until he had spoken up. As they watched, the elfling curled his fingers up and held his hand against his chest, a pained look on his face.
Elrond spoke up, stopping his examination of his youngest for a moment.
'Can you feel that Elladan? You can feel Elrohir's cut?'
Elladan looked up at the shocked faces around him and found he didn't know the right answer. Why was everyone looking at him like that? Putting his head down, he shrugged his shoulders and mumbled a soft, 'I don't know.'
Celebrian rushed to her child and pulled him in to her arms.
'Oh Elladan! I'm sorry ion nin, for not believing you. And you don't have to hide from us, remember? Just tell Ada what you can feel. That way he can help Elrohir and stop his and your hand from hurting anymore.'
Elrond watched his wife and son for a second longer and then turned his attention back to Elrohir. Peeling back the small fingers again, Elrond shuddered. The injury itself was not too bad. A deep gash ran from the base of the little finger to the base of the thumb, and the skin was scuffed from hitting the flagstones of the floor. A few stitches and a sleeping draught would heal the worst of the damage, and stave off any lingering nightmares. But Elrond couldn't help but think of the length of time he had sat here - eating breakfast! – whilst his son was bleeding. And his other child had told him of his pain, and still he had not thought of this eventuality.
Elrond, master healer, elven lord, member of the Firstborn race, could not hear his own children's pain. What kind of a…
The hushed murmur brought him back from his guilt as he saw his wife and friends' worried faces.
'He will be fine. Don't worry. A few stitches and he'll be good as new. How are you Elladan?'
At this, his son looked up at him from his mother's arms and with a quivering voice, said;
'Will the stitches hurt too?'
And Elrond, Celebrian and Glorfindel were hit by the full force of their discovery. Twin empathy. Not even Elrond and his own twin, Elros had had that deep a bond. Elven twins were rarity. Ones as identical as the Peredhils nearly unheard of. Yet, until now, they had merely been as special as every child should be to their family. No different to other elflings. But with this, a new line had been crossed.
Elrond grimaced. Think of the advantages. One will always know if the other is in danger, or hurting, even if unconscious. They will always be safeguarded… But think of the drawbacks. They would feel double the pain; the physical and their twins' reaction to it. One could barely be treated without drugging them both first. And then came the thought that Elrond could not push away. If one was ever to die… what would become of the other? Would they both feel the death stroke, the pain? Could either stand it if…
Elrond's eyes snapped back in to focus, and he knelt down to his child, still holding Elrohir against his shoulder. His injured hand was resting lightly in front of him, so as to restrict its movement. This meant more blood on Elrond's tunic, but the elf lord did not even think of it. He reached out with his right hand to stroke Elladan's hair and shushed him.
'It's alright penneth nin. The stitches won't hurt. I'll put some ointment over your hand so you won't feel anything at all. And don't fret. We'll take care of everything now.'
Elrond hoped that he had managed to keep the doubt from his voice. He had no experience of this circumstance to draw upon and it scared him that it would be his sons that he would test his theory out on. It did not help either that he was almost sure that the ointment he had mentioned would simply be a placebo for Elladan, making him believe he was no longer in pain. It may work. After all, it is not truly Elladan's pain, so if he believes the treatment will fix his hand, maybe it will be enough to eliminate it. We shall see.
Elladan looked at his father for another moment, then his eyes fell to his twin instead. Elrohir's head had slipped to the side and his forehead was pressed against his Ada's neck. Elladan reached out and touched his brother's cheek ever so softly. Then he drew his hand back and whispered conspiratorially to his father, although easily heard by both Celebrian and Glorfindel who were standing close by.
'I didn't mean will the stitches hurt me, I meant Elrohir. Because his hand hurts a lot, and he's still really sleepy from last night, and I don't think he wants to hurt anymore.'
Elrond was flooded with such pride at that moment that he could scarcely breathe. He reached out and grabbed Elladan around the waist, hefting him up too, so standing, he had a twin at either shoulder. He kissed Elrohir's hair and turned his head to do the same to Elladan, as he said;
'I am so proud of you, my sons.'
Then, he led the way out of the Hall of Fire towards the healing wing, in order to treat his sons' hurts.
As a master healer, in demand from all over the elven lands, Lord Elrond had a suitably sized and well equipped healing wing within the walls of his home. It had always served both he and his patients sufficiently, and with the other gifted healers and herbalists keeping the patients treated and comfortable, it was known as a haven for the injured. However, after the twins were born, it became clear that the wing was not enough. As with any children, they bumped and scratched their way through early infancy, always ending up in the healing wing with their normally steadfast father flitting about, disrupting the peace that had been upheld for decades.
So, it was decided much to the relief of the other healers in the wing, that the Lords Peredhil needed a separate room for healing. Whilst this may have seemed presumptuous to an outsider, it was widely regarded as a gift from the Valar when suggested, and within days an old herb room had been cleared, in order to fit the requirements. Lord Erestor, Elrond's assistant, had led all of the changes, and even added some more personal aesthetic touches than were truly necessary.
Erestor, of course, argued for these additions in light of the rooms secondary function; doubling as a children's ward should the need arise. It was true that there were not a large number of elflings in Imladris, and those who did get injured were more often treated at home than at the Last Homely House, but this reasoning allowed Erestor to decorate as he wished, and put him in a rather pleasant mood for two weeks whilst it was finished.
So it was that Elrond, Celebrian and Glorfindel were making their way through the winding corridors, with Elrond holding his twin sons close to him. Unwilling to waste any more time before treating his children, Elrond set a quick pace, which was rather startling to those elves they happened to meet. Their speed and the fact that Elrond was carrying the twins caused many to look back in concern, and Glorfindel stopped more than once to reassure onlookers of the Lordlings health.
Elladan, however, did not see the concern on their faces, and began to wriggle in his Ada's grip. After two corridors of attempting to hold him still, Elrond finally stopped dead and looked at his son with a little impatience.
'Elladan ion nin, I know you are nervous about the stitches, but I promise they will not hurt your brother. Now will you please stay still? I'd like to start treating Ro's hand before he wakes up.'
Elladan looked at his father and stilled for a minute, yet just as Elrond began to walk again, he squirmed around, whining;
'But Ada, I don't have to be carried, and everyone is looking. We are not babies, we practice swords with Glorfy and have both jumped in the Deep Pool where the willows meet…'
Elrond suddenly realised the true reason for his son's discomfort, and lowered him to the floor.
'Alright Elladan, then you may walk like Amme and Glorfy…ah, Glorfindel. But you must keep up.'
The elfling nodded his head solemnly, and Glorfindel let out a snort of laughter. He looked so much like Elrond! Ah, these two were going to be trouble when they grew up. After all, one Elrond Peredhil was fearsome enough, but three?
Celebrian and Elrond looked at Glorfindel in bemusement and the warrior felt his cheeks warm. Changing the subject deftly, he looked down at the elfling.
'I know you don't want to be carried Elladan, but we are some way from the healing wing yet, and your Ada still needs to hurry, faster than an elflings legs can go. So, if you like, you could ride there instead.'
Elladan's eyes lit up at this, and he almost squeaked;
'On Asfaloth? Can I? Glorfy can I? You promise? I always wanted to, but you said he was too big and…'
Glorfindel realised his mistake and dropped to one knee in front of the elfling.
'Sorry Elladan, but I didn't mean on Asfaloth. How would my horse fit through the corridors?'
Elladan's face dropped, and Glorfindel hurried on;
'And besides, what would Erestor say?'
At this, the elfling's mouth twitched in to a small smile. Taking this as a small sign of victory, Glorfindel explained his original idea.
'What I meant was, you could ride on the shoulders on one of the most fearsome warriors in all of Arda!'
Elladan's head shot up again, but instead of the excitement Glorfindel expected to see, there was a look of regret and a little doubt on the small face.
'But Ada's carrying Ro, and he can't hold me too, because Ro's hurt…'
Now it was Elrond and Celebrians' turn to laugh. Glorfindel raised an eyebrow at the two, which only succeeded in making the Lord and Lady of Imladris turn away, in order to hide their increasing mirth. Elladan was growing more confused, however, and Glorfindel hurriedly spoke before his bewilderment could transform in to anger. If there was anything the eldest Peredhil child hated, it was to be laughed at.
'Elladan, I know your Ada is a fierce warrior, but as you said, he is carrying Ro. So, would you settle for me instead?'
Now came the excitement as the elfling immediately leapt at Glorfindel, hanging from his neck. Amidst squeals of 'It tickles!' and several grunts of pain as golden hair was pulled, Elladan was eventually seated high on Glorfindels' shoulders.
'Are we set? Alright, to the healing wing!'
Glorfindel set off at a trot, and after thoroughly checking the corridor for observers, even delighted his rider with a few quiet whinnies. Elrond and Celebrian followed behind, smiling as they heard their eldest say;
'Elrohir'll be mad he missed this, won't he Glorfy?'
At this, husband and wife looked at each other and then down at their youngest, still huddled against his Ada's neck.
'Should he still be sleeping Elrond? He has not stirred since we left the Hall of Fire.'
Celebrian's voice was quiet but taut with anxiety, as she reached out to rest a hand on Elrohir's forehead.
'The fall was not serious Cel, nor is the cut to his hand. I believe he is just exhausted. Does he feel hot?'
'No, if anything, he's a little cool. His eyes are open, and he is dreaming, so I know he is not grievously injured. But he is so still Elrond. He should be running round shouting that it is his turn to ride 'Glorfy', not huddled up like he's terrified.'
Elrond maneuveured himself so he could wrap his right arm around his wife's shoulders, and pulled her close.
'I know my love, I know. He will be. He just needs to rest, that's all. After I've finished with his hand, he will. The problem is going to be keeping Elladan away from him until he wakes up.'
This drew a small smile from Celebrian as they neared the healing wing.
'Oh my love, that is easy. Have you learned nothing since the twins were born? We will simply tell Elladan to go play with Uncle Glorfy until lunchtime, and not to come back before.'
'Surely you don't believe even Glorfindel has the power to keep these two separate for so long?'
'Ah, but I have a secret weapon. If he does come back before Ro wakes up - and I mean by himself, without being jumped on – then he has to spend the rest of the afternoon inside.'
Elrond simply raised an eyebrow at his wife in response. Celebrian caught the look and laughed, a sound that warmed Elrond's heart.
'You do know what today is, don't you, my love? Elladan certainly does. Today is when Erestor begins the new catalogue for your library. And he's more than happy to conscript any idle passer by he sees.'
Elrond's eyes twinkled as he remembered the last time Erestor had begun this particular arduous task. He had enslaved forty-six elves for a total of three months, and grown more irascible with each passing day. By the end, there were murmurings of everything from mutiny to murder, and it was only Glorfindel's timely intervention that saved Erestor from being beaten black and blue with a three hundred year old manuscript.
'If Glorfy hadn't persuaded him to leave half until this time, I doubt Erestor would still be with us.'
'I don't believe Lord Glorfindel's powers of persuasion were that big a factor, Elrond. It was more likely the Dorwinion brandy that he plied poor Erestor with for over five hours that decided it. He felt the effects of that for three days afterwards, and still cannot stand the smell of it.'
Celebrian chuckled to herself as Elrond grinned. But she knew how to chase away that smile at Erestor's expense.
'And don't think I don't know whose secret stock those bottles came from, either, Peredhil.'
As predicted, Elrond's smile disappeared, and his eyes widened. His steps became slightly faster, and it was with a look of relief that he announced;
'Oh, here we are at the healing wing. Let's go on inside, shall we my dear?'
Celebrian allowed herself a brief smirk of triumph before following her husband through the door, only for it to fall away as she remembered why they were here. Bypassing the original healing wing, Elrond walked to the room at the far end, where he spent far too much time for his liking.
As soon as they entered, Elrond was struck, as always, by the amount of light in the room. All of Rivendell was constructed around nature, and open archways meant sunlight streaming in during the day and moonlight seeping through at night. Yet this room seemed to reflect every sun beam, and he knew the boys loved it. Erestor had done a fine job, fine enough for the room to be informally referred to as the 'twin's other room'. All of the healers called it thus, although they did not realise Elrond knew this. There were toys scattered over a chest of drawers, and a small practice bow leaning in one corner. Elrohir's favourite books were piled on one half of a small shelf, whilst Elladan's wooden carvings filled the remainder of the space.
Glorfindel, having obviously been 'stabled' by Elladan, was now sitting on the floor by the drawers, whilst the elfling circled him, alternately brushing his hair and patting his head.
'Good Glorfy! Now, after all that riding, you need to be brushed down, don't you? Now you sit there, and I'll go get you a treat! Stay!' Elladan punctuated this with a pointed finger at his father's seneschal, then patted him once more and ran to his mother.
'Amme, can I please go and get Glorfy a treat? He was a good horse you know!'
Celebrian smiled and nodded at her son, trying to ignore the heated glares she was receiving from his 'horse'.
'Of course Elladan, but remember to ask before you take anything.'
Elladan spun away from his Amme and seemed poised to take off running for the kitchens when he noticed Elrond taking a seat on the edge of the bed. The elfling paused, then trotted over, and leaning in close, whispered in his brother's ear.
'I'll bring something for you too, Ro, alright? Because you missed breakfast and because I wouldn't let you tell Ada and so you fell and you cried.'
Elladan seemed to wait for a response, but when none was forthcoming, his shoulders dropped a little. Then, just as suddenly, the elfling came to life again, and he stage whispered;
'I'm getting a carrot for horse-Glorfy, but I'm going to find a biscuit for me and you!'
With that, he grinned, and ran from the room without looking back at the amused faces of his parents. Fortunately he also missed the look of horror on his newly christened steed. It took only an instant from Elladan's exit for a deep growl to rumble around the room.
'I don't want to hear a word. Not one word.'
Although this set Elrond and Celebrian chuckling, the tone of the warning obviously distressed the sleeping Elrohir, as he shifted in Elrond's lap and let out a small hitched breath.
Immediately Glorfindel was on his feet, apologising to Elrond, Celebrian and even the elfling himself, but was soon shushed by the Lady of Imladris.
'It's not your fault Glorfindel. He is fretful and tired, and is just reacting to his fear from last night's dreams. Now, shall we gather the herbs to treat his hand?'
Glorfindel bowed slightly in her direction, and they moved over to the shelves to select the tools needed to sew Elrohir's wound.
Having been married to Elrond Peredhil for centuries, it took Celebrian only seconds to locate the necessary implements and carry them to her husband's side. However, knowing which herbs to use and actually sewing her own child's skin were two completely different things, and Celebrian bit her lower lip as she watched her partner thread his freshly cleaned needle. Elrond glanced up, and seeing his wife's anxiety, decided a distraction was needed.
'Celebrian, I think it would help if we gave Elrohir a numbing draught, to stop him from feeling the stitches. Could you mix one for me, my love?'
Celebrian may have been apprehensive, but she saw this diversion for what it was. Immediately she straightened.
'Elrond, I am the daughter of Celeborn and Galadriel of Lothlorien. I have helped heal and tend countless wounds and battle injuries over the centuries, and I certainly do not fear that small scratch.'
Elrond ducked his head and smiled. His wife was so proud. And stubborn. His sons may have his glare, but the stubbornness was all Celebrian's. So, he used his secret weapon.
'I know that Cel, but none of those wounds were on your child.'
Celebrian resumed biting her lip and gazed at her son's sleeping face. Elrond spoke quietly.
'The pain killer is not so much for Ro anyway my love, but for Dan. I don't think Ro will wake up before I finish, but Elladan will probably feel every stitch. I don't want him to if I can help it.'
Celebrian's head came up, and her eyes flashed, showing her irritation at Elrond's emotional blackmail. But she understood him too, and so reached out, stroking Elrohir's hair before whispering to her son.
'I'll be back soon, ion nin, and Ada is here. You're safe Ro, those dreams can't hurt you here. Be brave little one.'
Then she looked up at Elrond with tears in her eyes, slowly drew her hand away, and was gone.
Blinking away the moisture in his own eyes, Elrond quickly stood, and gently handed Elrohir to Glorfindel, who had been standing protectively behind his Lord.
'I know Glorfindel, she'll be angry, but it will be easier on everyone if I do this before she comes back. Now could you hold Ro in your lap? Yes, like that. He may become restless when I begin, so hold on to him.'
Glorfindel settled himself against the head board and wrapped his arms around his precious burden.
'What about Elladan? Won't he feel it like before?'
Elrond smiled suddenly, and, gathering up his tools, sat down next to Elrohir's head, across from his friend.
'I put some numbing ointment on Ro's hand as soon as we got here. It should have worked by now. Thank you for the distraction, by the way. With yours and Elladan's horse act, I doubt if Celebrian saw me.'
Glorfindel sighed and lightly rested his cheek on the elfling's head.
'I'm never going to hear the end of this. But be warned Peredhil. If I walk to weapons training one day and find an apple left out for me, or if Erestor 'mistakenly' announces me as Lord Horsindel at the next feast, I'll know where to look in order to exact my revenge.'
Elrond let out a short laugh, and concentrating, snipped off the excess thread.
'There, all finished.'
Glorfindel's eyes widened in surprise.
'Finished? I didn't know you'd started!'
Elrond raised that infamous eyebrow and looked quizzically at his friend.
'It seemed that Celebrian was not the only one who needed distracting, Uncle Glorfy.'
Glorfindel looked slightly sheepish, but soon broke in to a broad smile as he realised he was being watched. He looked down to meet Elrohir's gaze.
'Well met, little one. And how are you feeling, Lord Elrohir?'
Elrond looked up from wrapping his son's hand at this, and quickly finished his work, shuffling backwards to speak with his son.
'Elrohir? Are you alright, my child? Do you know where you are? You cut your hand at breakfast, but now it's all better…'
Elrond's voice dwindled to a halt as Celebrian re-entered the room with a bowl and a cup.
Placing them on the nearby table, she sat next to Glorfindel on the bed, and simply looked at her child. Elrohir's eyes had been wandering the ceiling and the faces above him rather sluggishly, but when they met his mother's, his face seemed to crumple, and he reached out to her.
Celebrian drew her child in to her arms, rubbing his back and murmuring soothing words. He soon quieted, and she could feel him growing heavy again, so before he could sleep, she pulled back a little and faced him.
'Elrohir, why are you crying, my love? Surely you are not afraid anymore, are you? Why, Ada and Glorfy are here, and Amme has got you. Tell us what is wrong, ion nin.'
The elfling blinked slowly and deliberately, and said in a tiny voice;
'I don't feel good.'
Celebrian looked at Elrond in alarm, even as her husband leaned in to feel his son's forehead with a frown marring his face. Glorfindel stood anxiously, having tactfully retreated to the doorway to watch for a certain absent elfling.
'Hmm, a little cool and clammy. Probably a bit of shock from both exhaustion then the fright in the Hall of Fire. Not to mention that cut on your hand. You've had quite the morning, little one.'
Elrond spoke softly to his son, yet simultaneously informing the rest of the room of his diagnosis. Brushing some dark hair away from his child's tired face, he proceeded to stand and pick up the cup Celebrian had brought.
Sniffing it, Elrond cocked his head to the side and looked in puzzlement at his wife.
'Cel, this isn't a painkiller. You used a different herb. This would put him to sleep.'
Celebrian never looked away from her child, but stated calmly and rather smugly;
'I know, Dear. I thought after you'd completed the stitches and wrapping it would be best if Elrohir slept some more. And after all, why would he need a painkiller when you'd already applied the ointment to the cut?'
Elrond gaped, and Glorfindel choked.
'Now,' she continued smoothly, 'If you would pass that bowl I think a good wash then bed is just what this little one needs.'
Elrond passed the bowl in silence and watched as his wife dipped a cloth in the lightly scented water, and proceeded to rinse away the tear tracks on Elrohir's cheeks.
The elfling sighed at the touch of the warm water and leaned heavily against his Amme's shoulder.
'Ro, before you sleep you should drink something, penneth. You've had a fright, and this will make you feel better.'
Elrond leaned over with the cup and supported his child's head while he sipped, trying to suppress a smile at the grimace Elrohir mustered at the taste, even half asleep.
After half the cup was gone, Elrohir simply turned his face away, pressed it in to his Amme, and fell asleep.
'It would seem he has had enough,' Glorfindel quipped, as he collected the bowl and cup, and moved to the doorway. 'Now I know he will be alright, I will take my leave. When Elladan returns, send him to the stables if he is too rowdy. Tell him we can play horses again.'
The golden haired elf smiled, bowed to his Lord and Lady and swiftly exited.
Alone in the room, Elrond and Celebrian sat side by side on the bed. Elrohir had managed to squirm so that his head lay on his Ada's shoulder but his body draped over his Amme. His good hand was twisted in the front of Celebrian's dress, and was surely destroying the delicate fabric there, but neither moved to change it.
Sighing, Celebrian let her head fall to her husband's shoulder as Elrond turned and kissed her hair, resting his lips there. Both drifted serenely toward sleep until suddenly, the bed rocked. Two sets of eyes blinked and widened, and Elrohir grasped the dress tighter in response to the movement.
Sitting on the bed watching the three, sat Elladan. In one hand, he held half a carrot. In the other, a slice of apple. He had a suspicious amount of crumbs on the lower part of his face, and Elrond was eyeing the bulge in his tunic with the ware withal of a father.
'What are you doing?'
Elrond smiled at the open curiosity.
'Resting my eyes. It's been a tough morning, you know.'
Celebrian's eyes crinkled with mirth, and she returned her head to Elrond's shoulder to watch her eldest.
'Oh, I know Ada. With bad dreams, then we fell, then Glorfy was a horse and all I could get was half a carrot! But I did get a biscuit for Ro, though.'
Realisation dawned on Elrond.
'Is that what is down your tunic, ion nin?'
Elladan glanced down and suddenly grinned before dropping the carrot and apple slice to the bedspread. Reaching down his top, he withdrew three biscuits, and crawled slowly up to his parents, being careful not to wake Elrohir.
'I brought breakfast,' Elladan whispered.
'That was very thoughtful Elladan. Now, if you like, Glorfindel said you could spend the morning in the stables with he and Asfaloth.'
Elladan looked down at his biscuits and then up at his parents. Softly, he placed one on Elrond's lap, then another on Celebrian's. He snapped the third one in two and gave one half to his Amme.
'Can you keep this for Ro, Amme? He'll be hungry later.'
Celebrian smiled and put the half on the bedside table.
Elrond patted the bed beside him, and Elladan crawled over and into his Ada's encircling arm.
'So are you going to play horses with Glorfy then Dan? Ro won't be up to playing until later on and you'll have to be quiet if you stay here.'
Elladan peered over at his twin, then shook his head.
'No, Ada, I think I'll stay here. I'm going to eat my biscuit, then maybe have a nap too. But not a baby nap. Just because I was awake some of last night.'
Elrond took a bite of his biscuit and nodded, sagely.
'I think Amme and I will do the same.'
'I think Amme already is.'
Elrond looked to see his son was quite right. Celebrian's eyes were glazed in sleep, resting on his shoulder, and the sound of her's and Elrohir's gentle breathing was like a balm after the hectic morning.
'I think you're right, Elladan.'
Glancing down, Lord Elrond realised that he was the only one still awake, and he smiled to himself. Resting his cheek on Celebrian's hair, he began to drift off, only to feel Elladan begin twitching under his arm. He waited to see if it was a dream, and if it would pass, but if anything, it grew worse. And, he noticed, his son was not asleep anymore either.
Finally, he could stand it no longer.
Without looking, he asked quietly;
'Elladan, what are you doing?'
A moment of silence, then a loudly whispered reply.
Elrond took a breath.
'Scratching what, Elladan?'
Elrond conceded that it had been a stupid question. He waited for another moment and felt the wiggling stop.
Then he heard a tentative voice.
'You know how you yelled, and Elrohir fell, and he got cut and cried, and you asked me why he was sad, and I said because I didn't let him tell you about the dream and he was scared, and then you said it was alright to ask for help because everyone needs it sometimes?'
'Will you help me?'
Elrond suddenly paid astute attention, and looking down at his son's pained expression, felt a rush of concern.
'What is it Elladan? Does your hand hurt again? Are you scared to sleep in case of nightmares? Are you…'
Elrond stopped his questions and looked deep in to the small face so like his own.
'I've got biscuit crumbs up my tunic.'