TITLE: Just Details

AUTHOR: Marethiel

SUMMARY: Estel and Aragorn… different facets of the same jewel? After all... it's just details, right?


DISCLAIMER: All characters and premises belong to Professor Tolkien. I merely take them out to play with once in awhile.

PROMPT: OAA #238: Detail

"It is all merely details, is it not?" asked Elrohir, gently. "After all, your essence has not changed, Estel."

"Don't call me that!"

Eyebrow raised, Elrohir gazed at him. "Why not? Is it not part of who you are?"

"Nay, it is not! I'm now told exactly who and what I am, and who and what I am to be. I am Estel no longer!"

The sleek, dark head in front of him shook in negation. "You will always be Estel. Just as you have always been Aragorn."

The youngster's stormcloud eyes were filled with betrayal and hurt. "Yes," he ground out bitterly, "Oh, yes. But *I* was the only one not to know it!"

His voice cool, Elrohir replied, "Does that change the truth any?"

Aragorn's mouth opened to retort angrily, but stopped. He nearly winced as the thought struck him, almost as concretely as a blow. Did the fact that he had not known he was Aragorn, son of Arathorn, change the truth at all? Did knowing his birth father's name make him any less 'Estel'? His mother… she had always known who he was. Did she love him any differently as Estel than as Aragorn?

"… I…" The young face before him struggled, desperately trying to hold back the grief, the sense of having been used, of being lied to. The young shoulders sagged. "I do not know anything, Elrohir," he said dully, turning away, head bent. "I do not know what or whom to believe any longer."

"We have not lied to you, brother. We – "

"I am not - !"

"You are!" blazed Elrohir, three millennia of wisdom and power radiating at the youngster. "I do not CARE what you say or think! I have not spent the last twenty years in the succor of you, in guiding you, in training you… in loving you, by the Valar! … for nothing! You are blood of my blood! And if, for reasons of the most important caliber, you were not told certain aspects of your birth, then you must learn to accept it!" Elrohir crowded the younger man against the wall, his own grey eyes more flint than winter sky, now.

"Hear me, Estel," he growled, in the boy's face. "We have NEVER lied to you. We did not tell you all the truth. For your safety, like it or not. But you ARE what you have always been. Of the House of Elrond, Master of Imladris, and of the Dúnedain of the North. NEVER has anyone told you otherwise than that! If anything, you are MORE of Elrond's line than you believed yourself to be!"

Elrohir moved back as suddenly as he had crowded the younger man.

The young man struggled, staring into the eyes of his brother… no… YES! He growled to himself. My brother, and damn-all to anyone who says otherwise! His eyes softened, gentled, grew moist. "You have never lied," he agreed softly, swallowing hard. "And… though I don't like it, you're right, I do need to accept it. I did not ask for this destiny, but…" he sighed. "I guess it's mine, regardless."

Elrohir studied him, then nodded. "Few ask for it, Estel," he said softly. "But fewer still are as prepared, by training and by excellence of self, as you are to meet it. We are so proud of the man you are, my brother. And that is YOUR making. No one else's. We can forge the sword, my brother, but the quality and temper of the metal is its own." He reached out and placed a large hand firmly on his young brother's shoulder. Of a height, he gently drew his brother so that their heads rested forehead to forehead and gazed into the younger man's eyes. "I love you, Estel," he whispered. "Say what you will, you are and will always be my little brother."

Estel's eyes close tightly in emotion. Fiercely, the boy hugged the ancient Elf.