Title: The Advice of a Child
Author: Calenlass Greenleaf
Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction based on several works of fiction. I do not own anything.
Spoilers: For LOTR in general.
Warning: There is much angst. Story may not be canon according to some readers.
Summary: Children sometimes see things better than adults do. And sometimes mortals see things better than immortals. Estel and Erestor. Story tied for third in the May 2009 Teitho Contest.
A/N: This story changes various point-of-views; they are marked by line breakers.
This story has been revised, and there are tiny differences between the version on FF-Net and on Teitho. I recommend reading this one, because the mistakes have been edited.
The Advice of a Child
That was my crime.
Is my punishment.
Many called him proud and uncaring.
"The only reason he lives in Imladris is because he has nowhere to go," they said.
Maybe they were right.
Perhaps he was proud (he was too proud to tell anyone anything, not even to dispel rumours).
And perhaps he was uncaring (he used to care, and that had gotten him into trouble).
What did it matter, though? Not a single one of them attempted to ask him his reason for his personality. Even if they did ask him, he would not give them an answer, for he deemed all of them too prying, too foolish.
They would never understand. Few did. Elrond was one of them, but that was because he and the Lord of Imladris had understood each other for many centuries now.
The others kept their distance, as if his aloofness were something contagious. If he merely looked at them, they would turn pale and avert their eyes. They whispered about him when they thought he was not listening, and he could usually catch the words 'odd' and 'strange.'
Did he care? On the outside, it appeared it was not so.
Yet none of them knew what he kept hidden. And it was better that way—
At least, he thought so.
All of them already distrusted him. They would hate him if they knew the whole truth.
Then why did he not leave for the Undying Lands? Why did he still linger if it were so painful?
Because he was not ready.
Because he could not.
Because…something kept him here.
'Gwador, you—' he hoarsely whispered, 'you cannot leave me like this.' By the Valar, why was this happening to him? To them? 'Forgive me, I should have—'
'Did you think I would choose it this way? For the last time, stop blaming yourself.' A hand reached up to grip another's shoulder. 'You will live—'
'Yet you will die.'
'You will live,' the voice continued, as if it had not been interrupted, 'and you will w—' a harsh cough. 'Watch over Elrond and make sure he does not do anything foolish just because I am no longer there.'
A pause; rain was falling all about them, the only sound in this desolate graveyard.
'I promise.' He was not crying; he would not shame himself like that. Elrond should be here, but he was not—his healing skills were needed too much at the moment.
'And…' the voice was growing weaker, 'you will not grieve—when I…pass.'
He shut his mouth, heart and mind in turmoil. How could he do such a thing when his heart was breaking?
'Swear it!' The hand tightened on his shoulder.
'I swear.' He forced the words out.
'I can tell—you do not mean it.'
He wanted to close his eyes. His brother knew him too well.
'At least…' the other whispered, 'p-promise me that—you will find s-some way…' The grip on his shoulder weakened, 'to smile again and not blame y-yourself for my own folly.'
What was he to say? 'I—' Tears made his voice thick. 'I promise.'
'Good.' Then Gil-galad's—rather, Ereinion's— eyes closed, never to open again on Middle-earth.
And Erestor let the tears fall, for there was no-one to see his sorrow.
I was too late…
What sort of a friend am I?
Gwador – brother
A/N: Story notes are found in the last chapter.