Title: It Was Nothing
Author: Calenlass Greenleaf
Disclaimer: Estel, Elladan, Elrohir, and any other canon beings belong to Tolkien. Only the spiders and OCs belong to me. I am not a doctor. I know only the barest information about venom and other related medical information from what I could find on the internet. You may consider it AU if you wish.
Rating: PG-13 for angst and h/c. No adult themes. No slash, sex, smut, or romance. Any mentioned love is brotherly, familial, or parental love.
A/N: This is the last chapter of the story. Thank you to all who reviewed the two previous chapters of this story! The story will change scenes several times. Translations are at the bottom of the story.
A/N #2: I apologize for the long wait. Though I have a number of excuses, I know that you will accept none of them—so I will simply say that I truly am sorry for making you all wait this long.
A/N #3: This story placed third in the EAC contest. I am definitely a happy person…
Elrohir stared morosely out of the window, his grey eyes reflecting the dark color of the sky. Occasionally his eyes would stray to the figure that was sleeping in the bed.
His lips parted to let out a sigh as he leaned back in his chair. When would Elladan return? Elrohir tightly gripped the armrests of his chair, feeling both frustrated and helpless as he watched the shallow rise and fall of the chest of his sleeping brother. Estel's condition was declining by the hour.
Elrohir wished his father was here. The half elf tapped his fingers on the edge of Estel's bed. The stubborn adan should have not kept his injury a secret. For the umpteenth time that day, Elrohir berated himself for not examining his brother more closely when he first noticed the injury. If only it was been discovered earlier—the situation might have been better. Sighing heavily once more, he let his head drop into his hands.
Five long hours had passed since Elladan had left—five long agonizing hours for both Estel and Elrohir. Estel had slept fitfully, awakening frequently and tossing and turning in his sleep. Elrohir could do naught but soothe his brother's agitated movements. He had finally decided to drug him, thus granting him oblivion to pain.
Estel suddenly stirred, eyes fluttering as he slowly returned to consciousness. Elrohir leaned forward and rest a hand on the boy's forehead. "Estel," He murmured softly.
"—time is it?" Estel mumbled, rubbed his eyes with his sleeve. "Is it night already?" he glanced out window.
"It is only early afternoon." Elrohir replied. "How are you feeling?"
The boy blinked. "Must I answer that?" He said with a weak grin.
"Good." He pushed the blankets down. "You drugged me." He said in an accusing tone.
His brother shrugged. "The sleep was needed, Estel."
"But you know how I hate taking them!" He tried to sit up. "They make my head feel cloudy."
"I'm not a baby, Elrohir!" Estel looked indignant. "I can take a little pain."
"I know, I know," The peredhel answered softly. "But I dislike seeing you in any pain."
Estel was about to reply, but he was suddenly interrupted by a series of harsh coughing. Elrohir helped him sit up and soothingly rubbed his back until the hacking stopped. Estel gratefully took the cup of water from his brother, nodding his thanks. When he finished, he slumped against the pillows, exhausted.
"Is it hard for you to breathe?" Elrohir questioned him as he helped him lie down and readjust the pillows and blankets.
"A little." The boy absently rubbed the bite on his hand.
The half elf quickly caught his hand. "Do not touch it."
"But it itches!" He protested, even though he knew Elrohir was right.
"It will stop when I get the antidote."
Estel looked at his brother, anxiety evident in his eyes. "When will Elladan return?"
"Soon," Elrohir assured him. He firmly clasped Estel's good hand in his own, not willing to let go. "Soon, gwador nîn."
Elladan paused to take a drink of water. As he did, he glanced up at the sky and saw that the sun had been overshadowed by dark clouds that hinted at rain. Adjusting the quiver on his back, he once more urged his horse into a canter. Elladan knew he was near the encampment, and thoughts of his youngest brother spurred him on.
After another hour of hard riding, he finally reached the place. Quickly jumping off his horse, he approached the pile of wood and kicked it. A number of the red-and-orange arachnids scurried out. Cautiously, the half elf retrieved a large jar from his pack and set it in front of the spiders. He waited patiently until two spiders had crawled in the jar, and rapidly scooped the jar in his hands and capped the lid. As he bent down, he noticed a spider crawling up his boot. With a curse, Elladan knocked it off his leg and hurriedly moved away from the irate spiders. Only when he had mounted his horse and send it on a gallop did he let out a sigh of relief. The things I do for you, Estel, he thought. You had better be living when I come back. Elladan silently entreated the Valar to keep Estel alive until he and Elrohir could create an antidote, for there was nothing else he could do.
Candlelight flickered, illuminating the look of utter frustration on Elrohir's face as tried to wake Estel. After their short conversation, Estel had once more succumbed to sleep, even without the drugs. Elrohir had allowed him to sleep for three hours before finally deciding to wake him. He was alarmed when Estel did not respond to his insistent calls.
As a last resort, he sought the advice of one of Rivendell's many healers. "Is there anything we can do?" he asked of him. "Anything to awaken him?" Using a cloth he wiped the sweat that covered Estel's face and neck.
The healer shook his head sympathy. "Only when he receives the antivenin will awaken."
Elrohir set his mouth into a hard line, his face betraying his anguish. He nodded wordlessly.
"Do you want me to send word to Lord Elrond?"
"Nay. For what use is there in that? He will be too late." Elrohir turned away to look at Estel. "Only Elladan can help him now."
"Have hope," The healer told as he left the room. "He will come in time."
The half-elf could only nod as he once more took Estel's hand and bowed his head over it. Valar help him…
Outside, the rain began to fall.
The dark-haired peredhel impatiently shook water from his hair and pushed the sodden braids away from his face as focused his gaze on the road ahead of him. Elladan had been traveling in the rain for nearly three hours; he could sense his brother's tension now, and it filled him with apprehension. Elladan wished he could go faster, but he knew it would be taxing on his horse in this treacherous night. The rain had made the lands wet, muddy, and slippery. The mountains passages were slick with water and loose stones, making it difficult for even the fleetest Elf.
Flashes of lightning and sounds of thunder made his horse skittish. As he straightened up, a bolt of lightening struck a tree near him. Gritting his teeth, he tried to prevent his horse from bolting. "Dartho!" He exclaimed, "Avo no delo, mellon nîn." His words were soft but commanding. The horse obeyed him, and gradually settled down. Elladan absently wiped the water from his face and he checked to make sure the Saew-lam Ihingrilath were still intact. The two spiders moved restlessly in the container, occasionally climbing on top of each other as they tried to escape. You will not find it to be easy, Elladan thought to himself as he rode on through night.
Rivendell was two more hours away. But in this rain, Elladan knew it would probably take longer. Pressing his feet into the sides of the horse, he urged it on faster until the trees appeared to blur all around him. Rain was blown into his eyes by the harsh wind and braches scratched his face, but Elladan did not notice them. He was past caring. What mattered was his life of his brother.
One hour went by. The rain continued to fall. Still Elladan pushed on through the rain, driven on by his will. He could now easily sense his twin's distress, and he feared for the worst…
He couldn't breathe.
There was a feeling that someone was sitting on him, slowly suffocating him. Estel opened his mouth to scream, but only a whimper came out. He felt weak, too weak to raise even a hand—it was as if someone were holding his arms down. He could not get free, despite his frantic struggles.
There was also pain, a deep and terrible pain in his chest as he struggled for air. Clawing desperately, Estel tried to free himself. If did not get any air soon, he feared he would die.
Someone was calling his name, but Estel did not know who it was. The voice seemed very distant, yet it was familiar. Estel strove to listen, for the tone of voice seemed urgent and pleading, pleading for him to listen.
Cease your struggling, someone commanded him. Please, Estel, open your eyes and wake up...
Awake? Was he not awake already? Estel felt confused.
Edro hin lîn! The command was repeated in Elvish. "Estel! Gwador! Echuio!"
He managed to open his eyes and saw a white-faced Elrohir. "W-what?" He winced at the throbbing pain in his pain.
The half-elf sighed in relief. "Thank Eru." He breathed. "Estel, please, do not do that again."
The boy was confused. "What did I do?" He winced at the hoarseness of his voice. His throat felt extremely dry, and it still felt as if there was a heavy weight upon his chest.
Elrohir rinsed out a cloth. "You did not wake up at once, and I feared for you." He replied, his face strained. "I thought you had died on me."
"S-sorry." Estel responded with a cough as he pushed himself up on shaky arms. "I mean for you to worry, Elrohir."
"I do not blame you." Elrohir used the cloth to wash his brother's flushed face. "But if you do it again and if you truly die on me, I swear I will go into Mandos' Hall to hunt you down and bring you back." Elrohir threatened in a jesting matter.
Estel gave him a smile and laughed. But it was soon overtaken by his coughing. Turning away, Estel covered his mouth and hacked, hoping it would pass soon so that he could breathe. But they did not stop. Instead, they grew more intense. Face paling, he looked at Elrohir, panic in his eyes. Elrohir immediately realized what was happening and he quickly pulled Estel towards him so that the boy's head rested on his shoulder. He could feel the convulsions as Estel tried to inhale and was alarmed, knowing that the poison had progressed. He soothingly rubbed Estel's back, murmuring comforting words. Inside, however, he was shouting out to Elladan, urging him to hurry. Muindor, where are you? Slowly, he could sense the tremors gradually slowing. "Just breathe, Estel. Just breathe." He quietly said to his younger brother
Estel nodded wordlessly as he tried to catch his breath. "Trying…" he gasped out.
"Shh, don't talk." Elrohir continued to hold him. "Save your strength, little one."
"I wish…Ada were here." The boy said, pressing his forehead against the warmth of Elrohir's shirt. There were tears in his eyes but he did not care.
"I do to, Estel."
Elladan could see the lights of Rivendell, still bright even in this weather. Suppressing the urge to cry out in relief, he allowed himself a smile as he made his way into the valley. "I am coming, Estel." he whispered, "Just hold on for a little longer."
He allowed his horse to run freely now that they were home. Both the he and his animal were wet to the skin, and fatigued from the long ride. But he had made it, and hopefully he and Elrohir could quickly make an antidote.
Galloping into the courtyard, Elladan hurriedly dismounted and gave his horse into the care of the stable hands. "Thank you, my friend." He fondly touched his horse on nose before running in the direction of his home. Flinging a door open, he paused momentarily to shrug off his wet cloak and his bow and quiver before rushing up the stairs and into Estel's room.
"Elladan!" Elrohir looked up. "You have come," The relief on his face was apparent
"So I have." When he saw that Estel's eyes were open, he smiled a bit. "Estel? How are you feeling?"
"Like I died and was thrown out of Mandos' hall." The boy replied ruefully. "Do you have the spiders?" He looked anxiously at Elladan with bright eyes. Too bright, Elladan thought darkly. It must be the fever.
In answer, the elder twin showed him the jar. "I have them." He slowly looked at Elrohir, sending a clear message to him. The peredhel gave a subtle nod.
Estel broke the silence. "You do know how to create an antidote, don't you?" His voice was soft; he was too tired to speak any louder. He coughed, eyes watering.
"Of course," Elrohir assured him. "Ada taught us well." He chose his words carefully. "But it will take some time for us to create one."
"H-how long?" Estel asked between coughs. "How long…will it take?"
The twins exchanged glances. "Possibly an hour, maybe more." Elladan finally said.
Estel slumped against the bed. One more hour. He was tired despite all the time he had been sleeping, and his head ached. He did not know how much more of this he could take. He closed his eyes. "Don't know...how much more of this…I can take…" His voice held a pleading tone.
Elrohir placed a hand on his shoulder. "One hour, my brother. Please. For my sake. For Elladan's. For Ada." He did not want to be the one to tell Elrond that the Heir of Isildur had died from a spider bite, for it sounded all too preventable. And he knew the grief would be devastating on them all.
The boy nodded. He did even open his eyes. "Try…" he mumbled. "Want to sleep."
"You cannot," Elladan told him, coming to stand beside the bed. "You need to be awake, Estel." He gently prodded Estel in the shoulder. "Open your eyes, Estel."
Making a face, Estel obeyed, blinking slowly.
"I will call for someone to stay with you while we work on the spiders," Elrohir said, smoothing Estel's unruly hair away from his flushed face. "We will be back in an hour."
"Do not go to sleep."
"I know. Not going to." He was too weary to speak in full sentences.
"Then why are your eyes closed?"
"I'm resting them. Leave me be."
For a moment it was silent. Then, "Would you stop poking me?"
Estel tiredly glared at Glorfindel. "You are incori- incorhig- in—"
"Incorrigible?" The elf interrupted. "Is that what you are trying to say?"
"Aye. You are incorrigible, Glorfindel." Estel grinned.
"You wound me, Estel."
"'Twas Erestor who said so." Estel retorted before snapping his mouth shut. Oh, oh…
"So it was Erestor?" The elf remarked dryly. "Very typical of him."
"Shall I tell him you said that?"
"If you wish to." Glorfindel said slowly. "Unless he didn't want me to know that he calls me such names." He carefully watched Estel, who flushed. "So you were not supposed to say anything, young Estel?"
Estel disguised his smile with a cough. "Don't you dare start fussing over me—Elrohir has done that for the whole day."
"And with good reason." The elf responded. "You should've told him earlier."
"I know, I know. Everyone tells me that." Estel fingered his coverlet. "I already am sorry."
"I trust you will learn from this?"
The boy nodded, eyes closing once more. "Stay away from spiders." He felt someone jab his shoulder. "Glorfindel!"
The elf simply looked at him. "What?"
"Stop. poking. me." Estel glowered at him.
"Then stay awake."
Giving a growl of frustration, Estel turned to face the face. Truly, Glorfindel was incorrigible.
Elrohir shoved his hair behind his ear, eye fixed on his task. "Slowly, Elladan," he said softly.
"I am trying."
"Your hands are shaking."
"Stop talking! You aren't helping a bit." Elladan resisted the urge to slam the beaker he was holding. Instead, he slowly set it down before letting out a series of words that Elrond would have disapproved of. Running his fingers through his damp hair, Elladan leaned back against the wall, trying to work out what he was doing wrong.
The two had already worked for nearly an hour in Elrond's personal room. Twice they had failed. Now they were trying for the third time, and for the life of him, Elladan could not figure out he was doing wrong.
Elrohir, nonplussed with his brother's anger, took the opportunity to thumb through a book. "I do not see how Ada can remember all this information. It is quite daunting."
"He had a millennium to perfect his skills." Elladan answered sarcastically. "We are not even that old."
"The information is here."
"But you seem have forgotten that the antidote for Saew-lam Ihingrilath require a special process, of which I can barely recall." The elder twin struck the wall with his fist. "Confound it all!"
"Getting angry will not help, Elladan!" Elrohir retorted. "You neither are helping me or Estel." He stood up and slammed the book shut to stare at his brother.
Elladan let out a dejected sigh. "I know." He looked up, eyes bleak. "Forgive me."
Elrohir nodded. "Now will you sit down and read this with me?"
A few minutes passed by as they looked through the book. Elrohir pointed to something. "Do you think it could be this?"
Elladan peered at the page. "I see…" He looked at the next page. "So that was what I was missing." He stood up. "Are you ready to try again?"
"If you are."
Half an hour passed as they worked laboriously, spurred on by the fact Estel's life depended on them.
Finally, they were finished. Elladan held the container to a light, inspecting it critically. "We have it, Elrohir."
Grinning with relief, Elrohir clapped him on the shoulder. "Estel will be saved." He quietly said.
(Few days later...)
Estel sat on a stone bench, letting his bare feet swing freely as he looked up into the sky. No longer did he have to stay in bed, and he glad of that. The warm wind blew through the gardens, ruffling his dark hair and his clothes. He sighed in content.
Estel turned his head slightly to see his brother heading toward him. "Aye," he answered. "It's nice to be outside once more."
"Ada would have made you stay inside a day longer." Elrohir said sitting down at Estel's left side while Elladan took Estel's right.
"But you are not Ada." Estel told him. "And I know you would not keep in longer than it was necessary."
Elrohir chuckled. "How is your hand?"
Estel ran his thumb over the scars. "They no longer hurt or itch." He answered. "And it's no longer swollen." He suddenly looked at his brothers. "Do you plan to tell Ada about this whole incident?"
"Well…" Elladan began. "If he asks."
Estel made a face. "He will only want to fuss over this little bite and make me drink something nasty."
Elladan laughed. "That he will." He lightly swatted Estel on the side of his head. "Don't give me that look, little brother. If he asks, I will tell him you were bitten and were healed by me, the great healer."
Estel good-naturedly shoved his eldest brother away. "You are such a child, Elladan. Your skill cannot compare to Ada." He slowly inched away from Elladan who had a wicked look on his face.
"I will teach you to respect me, little brother!" Elladan began tickling him, Elrohir joining him. Soon Estel was in stitches.
"Stop, stop!" He gasped. "Dan! Ro!" he laughed helplessly. "Elladan!" He tried to move away.
Gradually, the two elves stopped, and Estel pulled himself up, still laughing. "Two against one is not very fair."
"It will never be fair, brother." Elladan smiled as straightened his shirt. "Not as long as you live with us and are our brother."
Estel looked at him. "I never did thank you, did I?"
"What do you mean?"
The boy fiddled with a strand of his hair. "I mean—I'm truly thankful that you helped me." His grey eyes darted from one twin to the other. "That you were here for me."
Elrohir smiled. "You don't have to thank us, Estel. We were glad to help you." He placed his arm around his younger brother. "I would do anything for me, gwador. Elladan, too."
"Is that a promise?"
"You have word." Elladan solemnly said. "We will always be here for you."
Estel smiled. "Le hannon," he said softly, eyes shining. "Thank you."
Peredhel – half-elf
Gwador nîn – my brother (sworn)
Dartho! – Hold!
Avo no delo, mellon nîn. – Don't be afraid, my friend.
Saew-lam Ihingrilath – Poison-tongue spiders (My own creation. I fear they will begin to haunt my dreams.)
Edro hin lîn! – Open your eyes!
Echuio! – Wake up!
Muindor – Brother
Le hannon – Thank you
A/N: Well, that's it. -Sniff- Here I am, dissatisfied with the story. There will be revisions, but no new chapters.
A/N #2: A quick note EAC—which stands for Estel Angst Central. The forum is run by Oxpecker and is moderated by the great Starlight9. 'Tis a nice place to chat and talk about our favorite Númenorean and Dúnadan, Aragorn, and other interests. Go to Oxpecker's profile for the links, as I am too lazy to type it here. Next contest's theme: Prejudices in Middle-Earth. I may or may not enter. If I do, I promise updates will be quicker.
Navaer, mellyn nîn.
Calenlass Greenleaf, Keeper of Legolas' pronunciation of "Aragorn" and the brotherly love between Legolas and Aragorn.