A New Love

By: Elenaiel

Rating: PG 13 (T)

Warnings: AU. Angst, blood, and drama.

Summary: What would've happened if Celebrían had been rescued in time? Arwen never resided in Lórien. Estel resides with two foster-parents instead of one. The twins never lost their innocence. The future of Middle-Earth is altered forever, and we can only watch as its inhabitants attempt to adjust.

Spoilers: None.

Disclaimer: I am playing in Tolkein's sandbox. I do not make money or get compensation of any sort for writing this. I own only the plotline.

Feedback: elenaiel (at) rocketmail (dot) com (or the review button typically works well). Constructive criticism is welcome, but if you can't be civil don't bother.

A/N: This is a rewrite. I was reading through this with my husband and found a lot of errors and plotlines that my fifteen-year-old self didn't catch. Enjoy!

Based on the Laws and Customs of the Eldar section of Morgoths' Ring and a little simple math, a pair of sixteen year old Elflings would be about the same size and have the same view of the world as a seven year old human.

Italics – thoughts, prayers, flashbacks. It should be clear which is which.

All speech is in Sindarin unless otherwise noted in-text.

ALSO, one final note: I had a reviewer ask why I didn't write Gilraen instead of/as well as Celebrían. My answer is simple: I do not know enough of Gilraen to do her justice as a character. Humans have rather unpredictable natures; I recall reading once that "the human race is too diverse to really even be considered one species', and I fully agree. Human personalities can differ greatly; Elven personalities are more predictable, and Celebrían is also mentioned more than once throughout Tolkien's works.

"Which is why, my sons, your father and I tell you to stay within the places we know you're safe," Celebrían finished, laughing melodically as her two small boys nodded so vigorously they almost toppled to the ground. She had been telling the twins a story from long ago, about a small Elfling who was about their size. He liked to explore as much as Elladan and Elrohir, and had gone into the forest all alone. He was lost, alone, and scared for several days before his family found him, and he had gotten into a great deal of trouble because of his disobedience.

Elladan and Elrohir flopped onto their back next to their mother, staring at the clouds for a few moments. It was calm and cool in Celebrían's garden, and the hot summer weather was finally settling back to comfortable fall. As a stray cloud wafted in front of the sun, momentarily obscuring it, Elladan's smile faded.

"Mama?" he asked after a moment, sitting up. Elladan and Celebrían both looked to him.

"Yes, Elrohir?" Celebrían asked after a moment, in which Elrohir was lost in thought. She smiled as his eyes snapped to her face.

"Is it going to rain?" the child tilted his head and looked at the sky. Before Celebrían could answer, Elladan cuffed his brother sharply over the head.

"Of course it is, silly! That's what clouds are for," Elladan said sensibly, ignoring his mother's scolding. "Mama, nothing will get us in the valley, will it?" his small voice was worried, and Celebrían pulled him into an embrace.

"No, my son, nothing will get you in this valley. It is very safe here, but if an adult tells you not to go somewhere or not to do something, you need to listen, or you might get hurt. Your father and I will always protect you, but you need to listen so that we can."

As she finished, Elladan's face screwed up in thought, and she had to smile. His thoughtful scowl was identical to his father's, with a slight hint of her own face mixed in. His dark hair tickled his nose in the breeze, and he wrinkled it before saying, "Mama?"

"Yes, Elladan?"

"I will always protect you and ada too. I promise." The little boy's voice was very serious and he grasped his mother's hand firmly as he nodded. Standing unseen in the archway to the garden, Elrond smiled. Elladan could be headstrong and stubborn when he wanted to, but underneath, he was a good child.

"Thank you, Elladan," Celebrían replied, squeezing his hand back and pulling both him and his brother into an embrace. Elrohir muttered around a mouthful of his mother's golden hair, and Elrond knew that he had repeated his brother's promise. Celebrían buried her face in her children's hair. "Thank you, boys. I'm sure your father and I shall never have need for worry, because we have our brave sons to protect us. Now, I hear two little stomachs growling. Why don't we go in for supper?" Celebrían asked, taking the hands of both her sons and turning. Surprise flitted across her face as she noticed her husband in the archway, smiling broadly.

"Daddy! Were you there the whole time?" Elladan asked loudly, dashing to Lord Elrond. Elrond crouched to better receive the child, catching and lifting him in one fluid motion before placing him on his hip.

"Yes, Elladan, I was, but I did not want to disturb you two and your mother," Elrond replied, placing his forehead to the child's. "Now, let us go sup, and perhaps you may stay awake a little later than usual in the Hall of Fire tonight. Remember, our guests from Lothlórien will arrive later this evening."

Both Elflings released a joyful little cry, Elladan hopping out of his father's arms and challenging his brother to a race to the house.

As the children ran ahead, Celebrían smiled, stepping lightly to her husband and enveloping him in an embrace. "The innocence of children…let us hope they need never act upon the promises they made today," she stated.