Title: Gweston, Muindor
Author: Calenlass Greenleaf
Disclaimer: I am not the creator of the Silmarillion or the Lord of the Rings. Elrond, Elros, and Estel all belong to Tolkien.
Spoilers: Spoilers for the Silmarillion and "the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen", found in Appendix A of the Return of the King.
Summary: Elrond POV. The choice had not been easy for Elrond and Elros to make. But of the decisions they made afterward? There were many reasons why the heirs of Isildur were raised in Imladris…
A/N: :-:-:-: means a flashback.
A/N #2: Thanks to all who voted for this story! Story placed third in the September Teitho Contest for the entry "Me, Myself, and I."
The night is quiet, save for the sounds of the crickets and other nocturnal animals. Tilion shone brightly in the sky, along with many stars; their brilliance casting a soft glow over the lands. The garden path is empty save for one person—me. But I am not looking at the plants and trees of Rivendell, despite their beauty. My eyes are directed to the heavens, searching for the one star that has never ceased to fill me with hope—Eärendil, my father. A sigh escapes from me as I look up; thoughts of the past run through my mind.
For it was this day Elros and I had made our choice. I, to be counted among the Firstborn; and he, of the Second. It had been a shock to me. I had assumed we would choose the same fate, but it had not been so. It was odd that these memories could still be so clear in my mind hundreds of years later.
I rounded a bend where I knew there was a bench nearby, and was surprised to find my youngest curled up on the wooden bench, asleep. I drew closer and placed a hand on his shoulder. He immediately awoke, jerking upright. "Ada?"
"Estel, it is quite late. I thought you had retired some hours ago." I sat down next him. "Are you well?"
"I could not sleep," he replied, rubbing his eyes with his hand and pulling his blanket tighter around himself. "So I decided to come out to see the stars." he looked me with a quizzical gaze. "And you, Ada? Why are you out here?" His eyes searched mine.
"I also came out for the same reasons, iôn nîn." I replied, smiling and resisting the urge to tuck the wayward strands of hair from his face. He was no longer the little boy I knew, but a youth approaching his eighteenth year. "To reflect on many things." I folded my arms and leaned back.
I smiled. This was Estel's way—to prod and pester until he had an answer. "You are being nosy."
He shrugged. "Perhaps, but it works." A grin. "So, tell me, Ada." He leaned in closer.
I looked away. "It was this day I was named one of the Eldar," I told him, "And the day Elros named one of the Edain."
"Oh," the quiet word held compassion in them. It made my heart a little lighter. "And you miss him?"
"Always." I returned my gaze to my son. He was watching me closely. It ached to see how this one was so much like my brother—the eyes, the open gaze—though in appearance he resembled Elendil, his personality reflected much of his first ancestor.
"Is it hard for you to talk about him? If so, then I will not ask anymore," Estel hastily said.
"Nay, it is not hard." I shook my head. "It no longer hurts." And it was true. My twin's choosing was not mine, and I no longer begrudged it to him.
"Were you…upset when he chose differently?" There was a hesitant tone to the boy's voice.
"At first." I sighed. It had been foolish thing to. "We argued and did not speak to each other for two days. Though Erenion scolded us, saying we acted more like children, we still did not speak to each other. By then, it was no longer simply anger that ruled me. It was also fear." I closed my eyes. "Yes, fear. I thought him lost to me forever, that we would be eternally parted." I paused for a single moment. "But it was not true." I opened my eyes to look at Estel. "For you are here, reminding me of him."
I laid a hand on his shoulder, and pulled him closer, letting him rest his head against my shoulder. For a moment we simply gazed up at the myriads of glistening stars in the heavens.
"Ada," The young voice broke the silence. "Why did you take me in? Out of pity?"
"Nay," I said more sharply than I had meant to. "Pity was not one of my reasons. It was…" My voice faltered. "It was because I promised someone I would."
"My father?" he questioned.
"No. Elros." The name clung to my throat. "I swore to him…"
"Elrond." He spoke my name. I ignored him, blinking away angry tears as I looked across the sea, trying not to see the ship that would take me back to Lindon.
He repeated my name, his voice louder and somewhat strained. "A word with you—please, Elrond."
I finally turned towards him, letting him see my full ire. "Say whatever you want." How I hated the fact my voice cracked under the strain. "It will not change anything."
"Muindor…" Elros walked forward, grasping me by the arm. I shook him off. "Why, Elros, why?" I swallowed with some difficulty, closing my eyes so that I did not have to see the tears.
My brother choked back a sob. "I cannot bear the thought of living forever, Elrond." He struggled to find the right words. "An eternity would weary me. I believe that life has a beginning and an end." He reached towards me again.
"Do you not understand?" I jerked away. "Ever since you made that choice, you have begun to die—to die, Elros." I let out a bitter laugh. "And we will never see each other again." I stepped up to him, grabbing him by his cloak and jerking him toward me. "Or have you not even taken that into thought? Would you rather have us be together for an eternity? Or to be separated forever?"
"I did think of that," Elros answered quietly, "But I could not choose your road. You knew that I preferred the company of Men. Somehow they always seemed easier to speak with." He looked at me. Our eyes met as he spoke. "I cannot revoke my choice. Nor will I ever do so."
Cannot. How I despised that word. I sighed; there was nothing more I could do. I swiped at the tears that coursed down my face and exhaled slowly. "Then this is goodbye, Elros."
"No." My head snapped up. "I will not say good-bye to my only family." Elros' eyes bore into mine. He moved to tightly grip my shoulders. "This is only farewell."
"Farewell? We can never see each other again."
"But we will. I swear it, Elrond; we will meet each other again." The fervent tone of his voice caused my control to snap, and I pressed my forehead against his, my hands hanging on to his cloak. I breathed in deeply; trying to memorize every detail of my brother. Everything about him suddenly seemed precious to me. Curse his choice and mine; I wished we had never been given it!
"Elros…" I whispered. "When?"
He showed me the Ring of Barahir that was on his left forefinger. "It will be passed down the generations." He whispered back. "And I have foreseen that Númenor will only last in this world for a period of a few hundred years, perhaps a few thousand, before it falls." he visibly swallowed. "And when it does, my descendants will be scattered by the wind." His grip on my shoulder grew painful. "Promise me you will watch over them. Please, brother, for my sake."
I shut my eyes. If this was the last thing I could do for my brother, then so be. I would do it. "Gweston, muindor." I gently unhooked his fingers from my tunic and laid a kiss on his forehead, which he returned. "Gweston." I repeated.
"Le hannon." With that he suddenly closed his arms around my neck. I returned the gesture, feeling his body trembling with sobs, and was amazed at how steady my voice was. "May the Valar be with you, tithen muindor." I swallowed the urge to weep openly.
"And you." He pulled away from me. "If my offspring are anything like me, you will need to keep a watchful eye on them."
"Two eyes," I responded, even managing a smile. "Of course they will be like you."
Estel's touch on my hand brought me back. "You are crying," he informed me.
I brushed my hand over my face. "So I am." I absently answered. I surprised when his fingers caught my hand and pressed it down. Instead, he gently brushed his fingers over my cheeks. The action was oddly reminiscent of my brother, and I smiled at him through my tears. So old, and still so young…
"Ada, am I anything like him?" he questioned me.
"Very much." You are, after all, the Heir, I wanted to say.
He smiled at this before asking another question. "Did you ever make a promise that you were forced to break?"
I shook my head. He seemed awestruck at this, making me chuckle. "But it was not easy." I let my hand drape over his shoulder.
My son nodded. "I thought as much." He shifted slightly as if finding a more comfortable position on the bench. "I think I would like to meet him someday."
I pray that day will not come anytime soon, I thought. This particular heir had found his way to my heart; I counted him as one of my own now. "Perhaps one day you will, iôn." I replied.
He blinked his eyes. "Ada," he said around a yawn. "Did you really take me in only because you promised your brother? Or because it was tradition?"
"Yes, and no." I rested my chin on his head and pulled him closer. "When you were brought in fifteen years ago, you were no different from any other Dúnadan that I had met. But you proved yourself different. Perhaps it was your personality, or the way you seemed to trust us during that first week. Whatever the reason, you became part of my family and took your place in my heart." I finished with a smile.
He returned it sleepily, his eyes nearly closing. "I'm honored…Ada." He said before he finally succumbed to sleep.
I tucked his cloak more snugly about his body and looked at him with affection. "Sleep well, son of Star-Foam." I quietly said to him.
Indeed, I would not give up this son of mine for anything. Someday I would reveal to Estel his true heritage, but for now we were both content to simply be father and son.
Though I might not ever see my brother again, he was right about one thing—his children would always be with me. It was well that I had made such promise to my brother—else I would have missed the joy of being a father for a little while longer.
"If only you could have known him," I said up to the sky. "You would be proud of him, too."
Ada – Dad
Iôn nîn – My son
Muindor – brother (by blood)
Gweston – I swear
Le hannon – Thank you
Tithen - little
A/N: In The Lost Road and Other Writings, there is an ambiguous note that suggested the possibility that Elrond had gone with Elros to Númenor, and then returned to Middle-Earth. It was one thing that inspired this story.