It still all belongs to Tolkien. Nothing is mine apart from the errors.


Elrond sat back on the rug, looking at the old and worn objects scattered around him with a somewhat bemused fashion. They were past their best now, just scraps of wood, fabric, leaves and parchment. The colours were faded and edges crumpled and frayed, wood scuffed and scratched, and paint chipped. By themselves they were worthless, items of sentimental value alone, but the memories were priceless. For a few short hours he had imagined that he was back in that long hot summer. There had been tears shed and lessons learnt, but they had been together and had been so very happy.

He could not take the contents of the whole chest with him, for there was little space for anything but essentials, and he would not be returning. Some he did not doubt that his sons would wish to keep with them, but others. . . like the memories, they would fade with those that treasured them.

Finally Elrond picked up the bow, running his hands carefully over the smooth surface and tracing the delicate markings and scripture. It was small and light, around half size. Perfect for a child of around nine years. The wood was faded by long years of use but it had obviously been well cared for in its time.

He slowly wrapped the bow in a cloth of deepest blue, and carefully placed it in the bottom of his pack. It was but a bow, but it would carry the memories of an entire childhood, and he could not let it go.


Elladan approached the rug on the grass rather apprehensively, suddenly feeling as if he was no longer wanted. Elrohir was hunched up with his back to him, leaning against his father. The food and drink had not yet been touched, and Elladan felt as if every eye was turned accusingly on him.

"I. . ." The sun began to feel very hot and itchy on his head and shoulders, and with every step the new bow he was carrying would bounce lightly off the back of his calf, as if it were trying to make its presence felt. "I. . ."

"Come and sit down, Elladan." Celebrian called gaily, getting to her feet and holding out her arms to her son. "We are just about to start."

Still wearing a rather worried look, Elladan ran gratefully to her and returned the hug wholeheartedly, unwilling to leave the comfort of his mother's arms. He did not want to look at Elrohir, but he could feel the angry grey eyes boring into his back.

"We are so proud of you." Biting her lip slightly she stroked the back of her son's head, seeking to ease his distress. "Glorfindel was just saying how impressed he was by both of you, learning archery so well."

Elladan raised his face momentarily from his mother's arm to glare at the blond elf. "He is lying. I was bad."

Rather stunned by the bitterness in the voice of her eldest, Celebrian looked around at the others for support. "Nonsense. You both tried hard, I am sure."

"Aye," Glorfindel reached across the sandwiches to tap lightly on the boy's knee, "I was ashamed of you in the first rounds, and disappointed in the last, but that apart I have never seen you shoot so well."

Celebrian felt the child's mouth twitch into a smile at that, and she smiled encouragingly at her father. "Yes. Did you not think so, Adar?"

Caught between his daughter's sweet smile and his younger grandson's venomous glare, Celeborn shifted uncomfortably and made a noncommittal grunting sound. "I was proud of both my grandsons."

Pleased to have a statement that they could agree with without risk of causing offence, Galadriel and Mithrandir nodded and smiled.

"And you, Lord Cirdan?" Celebrian smiled brightly at the shipwright, the slight steeliness in her gaze leaving him with no delusions over whether answering was optional or not.

"Aye." Cirdan spoke blandly, hoping to avoid chance of conflict then, on seeing Celebrian's frown, elaborated. "You shoot well for one so small."

Unsure about whether this was a compliment or an insult, Elladan raised his head again and attempted to spear the shipwright with a glance. Unmoved by this, Cirdan took a bite of his sandwich, turning his attention to the rather different taste of freshwater fish. He had never understood why little elves seemed to object so strongly to comments about their diminutive size. Since they quickly became distressed if refused a cuddle when scared, and expected to be picked up and carried when they were tired or could not see, he felt their small size was well suited to their temperaments.

Celebrian coughed slightly and looked hard at Elrohir, who was glaring at the shipwright.

"Aye, Elrohir too." Cirdan added with a strong hint of frustration, holding up a hand to excuse his talking with his mouth full. All could see that both of Elrond's sons had unusual talent with the bow, and he did not feel that it was necessary to make a point of it. He had known other elflings in the past, and they had never shown such poor behaviour although he had seldom, if ever, praised them.

Elrohir gave him a look of intense hostility, and turned back to look at the unfastened buttons on the neck of his father's shirt. The pale fabric had become crumpled and the furrows created interesting blue and grey furrows amidst the brightness of the patchy sunlight.

"Well. . ." Celebrian looked around at the tense look on the faces of their guests, and wondering for a moment why their little party was not one of the merry gatherings dotted elsewhere on the grass. None of the other mothers understood what it was to have to share their time and attention between two elflings so small, and she had always felt that they looked down on her slightly for her inability to keep them as contented as their own children. They had never had to decide between causing one to cry because they wanted a drink and rest, and making the other fret by taking them away from the game before they were ready. "Shall we start?"

"Ham?" Elrond kept one hand on Elrohir's shoulder and offered around a plate of delicious freshly roasted meat. The guests had already started their meal, grateful to have something to distract them from the awkward family situation.

Smiling at her father as he helped himself liberally to his favourite snack, Celebrian pushed a small earthenware pot of mustard towards him, then gently removed the small quiver of arrows and bow from her son's back. "Are you hungry, my little bee?"

Elladan shook his head, but dropped down to sit cross-legged on the ground, leaning his head against the softness of his mother's tunic. It was all his fault. He had spoilt the day for everyone, and although neither his mother nor father had said anything as yet, he was sure that they were thinking it. All the books and tales had proper brothers being kind to each other and doing brave and valiant things together, not making each other upset by lying and spoiling things. If only someone else had won, then at least he would not have to carry this bow as a symbol of what an unkind and awful brother he was.

"Would you not like a beef and pickled tomato sandwich?" Celebrian offered her son a plate of warm bread rolls filled with delicious ingredients.

Elladan's resolve wavered, and he looked up questioningly at his mother. Beef and pickled tomato was a favourite of his, especially when someone had added lettuce and cheese too. He was sure that his Ammë had made them especially for him to cheer him up when he lost, and they looked so good.

"Thank you, Ammë." Elladan took a single roll and bit deeply into the crusty roll. It would have been rude to refuse anyway, and he was so hungry. "They are nice."

"May I have some?" Elrond nodded towards the platter. Elladan was not the only one fond of this particular filling, and he knew from experience that if he left the snacks near his son that they would soon disappear, however weak his appetite may seem to be.

Elladan nodded a little sadly and held the plate out for his father, his hand wobbling slightly as he tried to hold the weight with only one hand as the fully-grown elves did.

"Thank you." Elrond moved quickly to support the heavy dish just in time to prevent the sandwiches slipping into the jugs of juice and herbal tea. The twins were distressed enough about the events of the day without there being a whole new cause for an upset. "These look delicious."

Celebrian smiled at her husband, and Elrond reached across the rug to ruffle his eldest son's hair. "Good boy. I am proud of you."

Elladan smiled a little shyly at him and wriggled into a more upright position. "I aimed. . ."

Frowning deeply, Elrohir clambered onto his knees and cut bitterly across his brother's cheerful comment. "You are a liar! I hate you!"

"Elrohir!" Celebrian spoke in a shocked voice and glared at her younger son, hoping to warn him to behave. While she knew that her boys would confront each other at some point in the future, she just hoped that it would not be a public argument in front of half the elves in Imladris.

"But I did not mean to win, 'Ro." Elladan said in a very small voice, his expression hurt and woeful. "I did not know."

"You lied!" Elrohir shouted, putting down his beaker of juice and clenching his fists determinedly. "You told me that I would win! You are not supposed to be good at archery!"

"Elrohir, hush little one." Elrond caught hold of the child's arm and drew him close to his body. "It matters not."

"I did not lie!" Elladan swallowed back some tears and got shakily to his feet. "Everyone said that you were good at archery, only then you were. . ."

Elladan trailed off lamely, wary of unwittingly insulting his brother, but Elrohir was not pacified by the silence. Squirming violently in an attempt to free himself from his father's restraint, he looked at his brother with great hatred and spoke with rather frightening calm.

"I shall never, ever like you again. I shall hate you always."

"Elrohir, you must not speak so!" Celebrian's eyes widened in surprise, and she tightened her hand comfortingly around Elladan's arm. "Apologise to Elladan."

"No!" Elrohir jerked away from his father and scrambled to his feet, placing his hands on his hips and squaring his shoulders as he faced his brother. "It is not fair! Archery is my special thing, not Elladan's!"

"But Elrohir. . ." Elladan too rose to his feet, and reached down to grip the bow and arrows.

"I do not like you!" Elrohir's voice was a high-pitched screech, and he clenched his fists tightly as he watched his brother. "I practised so hard! You are no good at archery, you are too hasty, Ada said so!"

Elladan gave his father a quick betrayed look, and his eyes began to fill with tears. It was not fair for his Ada to take sides. He had practised hard all summer too, and it was not as if he had not had to try hard to win.

"I tried hard, too." Elladan said defensively, looking to Glorfindel for support. The bow suddenly seemed heavier in his hands, something rather dark and shameful. He had thought that he wanted it, but now he would have given anything for it to be Elrohir's. Clenching his fists to give him more strength, he walked stiffly over to his brother. "Here, have the bow, it is yours!"

Elrohir stepped back with a rather strange look as the bow was thrust against the flat of his chest. "It is yours."

"No, it is yours!" Elladan said eagerly, trying to hand his brother the small leather quiver. "I do not want it."

"Well, I do not want it either!" Elrohir's eyes narrowed angrily and he flung the bow to the ground. "I did not want to win for the prize. I only wanted to win. . . only because then I would. . . I wanted to be special."

As he spoke, Elrohir's breaths became increasingly gasping and his voice began to break. The first lonely tear trickled unasked for down his cheek, and despite his brave swallowing he could not control the impending tears. "It is not fair! I only wanted to win for one day. You always win and you never take turns!"

"I. . ." Elladan reached down to pick the bow from the ground and rubbed the polished wood against his thigh for longer than was strictly necessary to remove the dirt. "I do not always win. . ."

"You. . . do. . ." Elrohir sobbed loudly, his chest heaving with each shuddering breath. "It is always you that people like best, never me!"

"Elrohir." Shaking his head slightly, Elrond pushed himself up onto his feet and began walking towards his twin sons, who were standing a few feet away from each other, as a mirror but for their expressions.

"'Ro. . ." Elladan's brow furrowed with concern and he gently patted his brother's arm. "I like you best."

Elrohir looked at him for a moment, his view marred by the tears that were flooding down his face. "I do not."

The younger twin turned on his heel and darted across the grass, narrowly avoiding his father's grasp. Sparing a moment to give Celebrian a quick look and Elladan a hug, Elrond put down his sandwich and chased after him.


As the eldest and youngest of the family of Imladris disappeared into the trees, those sitting around the picnic cloth gave each other awkward looks and seemed to have to turn their full attention to their stomachs. The grey and blue eyes were focussed only on the sandwiches, biscuits

"I did not mean to win, Ammë." Elladan gulped loudly and rubbed the back of his wrist across his eyes. "I did not mean to."

"Shh, little one." Celebrian suddenly turned her attention from the ease of her guests to find her eldest was closer to tears than she had seen him for years. The grey eyes were brimful of tears, and his chin was quivering ominously. "I know."

The Lady of Imladris ducked her head to kiss her son's forehead and allowed him to crawl into her lap for comfort. "I love you, my Elladan."

As Elladan snuggled deeply into his mother's arms, Mithrandir caught Cirdan's eyes with a look that shared slight amusement as well as a great fondness for the young elves.

"Well," Mithrandir nodded slowly a few times with a slight frown then raised one bushy white brow questioningly, "shall we continue?"

"Oh yes, please do." Celebrian stopped rubbing Elladan's back for a moment to wave a hand over the spread before them. "Do not let it go to waste. They will soon return."

She hoped they would at least. It took much more to cause their younger son to lose his temper than his brother, but his moods and tempers tended to linger for hours or days. In truth she suspected that she would be lucky to regain the attention of her husband before dinnertime. This had been a bitter blow for Elrohir and it would take him some time to recover from it.

"Who is for tea?" Curunir paused with the jug of iced herbal tea in his hand, and looked around at the assembled elves and men. "That is, if nobody else wishes to pour?"

The last comment was directed at Galadriel, but the Lady of Lorien did not respond beyond a slight upward curve of her elegant brows.

"Aye, we should like some." Celeborn spoke for both himself and his wife and held out both glasses toward the wizard. He did not wish the bitter conflict between the pair to resume. Curunir suspected that Galadriel wished the council to be led by one of like thought, and at times he too had shared that opinion. His wife had always been thirsty for power, even when the decision mattered little. "That is enough."

With a slight nod, Curunir tilted the jug back to the upright and Celeborn withdrew the glasses with a comment of thanks, and handed one to his wife who seemed intent on trying to pierce the Istar's eyes with her own.

Ignoring the offers of a cold drink, Celebrian continued to comfort her son, turning her body away from the small group, toward the broad trunk of the tree to allow them some small degree of privacy. Rather to her amazement, Curunir and some of the elves sitting nearby seemed to think that this arrangement had damaged her excellent hearing, and she could hear several families making comments that ranged from sympathetic to disapproving. Frowning slightly, she ignored them and returned her full attention to her son. Only one person was important at this moment.

"We are fortunate not to have such problems." Curunir said rather smugly, sipping at a fragrant herbal tea with an air of great placidity as he looked at Celebrian's straight back. "Infants!"

"Aye, but you should borrow one, at least once." Cirdan said slowly, the apparent lightness of his tone betrayed by his deep frown. "They have their own charms."


It was late in the night before the twins next faced each other. As Elrond had expected, Elrohir had come along to sleep with them, leaving his brother alone in their simple bedroom. Elladan had been strangely silent that evening, unable to put his thoughts and wishes into words, and in truth, Elrond regretted how little time they had spent together. When upset, Elladan became quiet and stubborn, pushing away the comfort that he so badly needed; and Elrohir, with his tears and tantrums, tended to monopolise the attention. Elrond had lain awake for a long time already this night, watching his son as he sobbed out his sorrows, and later as he lay relaxed in slumber. It was a dark night, the new moon a slender crescent that gave little light, but he could see the solemn tearstained face and the dark lashes twitching slightly in dreams.


Elrond turned over onto his side, abandoning his sleepless vigil over his youngest to face his eldest. "Elladan."

Elladan did not manage to speak, but made a strange gulping sound and held his arms out to his father.

"Here." Elrond wriggled into a sitting position and drew back the covers, then reached down to scoop up the child into his arms, bringing him up close against his chest. "I have you."

His son felt warm and soft as he slumped against him, locking his arms around his neck and clinging to his chest. Feeling no need to struggle to put his feelings and love into words, Elrond held his son tightly, whispering soothing nonsense into his ear and rubbing his back until the small body relaxed.

Elladan burrowed down into the sheets, safe and warm between father and brother. His mother was but an arm's reach away, and from the dim light of the moon, he could see that Elrohir was in a deep, calm slumber. Frowning slightly, he wriggled round onto his stomach and sprawled on the bed, burying his face into the warmth of his father's bare arm.

Trusting that all would be well, Elrond allowed his mind to empty and his eyelids to flutter to a close. They were a family, and a family they would stay, held together in the good times and the bad. He drifted off to sleep at last, his last thoughts being of warm sheets and soft blankets, and the first of the hot tears trickling damply into the crook of his elbow.


Years had passed since then, and he had watched them grow. He had seen them grow into leggy young elves, and his chest had swelled with pride as he had watched them come of age and assume their responsibilities as his sons. They had grown taller and broader of shoulder, and he had seen them ride out with the Guard to fight evil of which he wished that they did not have to learn. His sons had come quickly into wisdom, and he could remember his pride at being flanked by the pair as they had walked together into councils and debates.

There had been other rights of passage too, ones that were less pleasant to remember. He had seen too much bloodshed in his time here, but the sight of that of his sons' had been the hardest to bear. He had watched helplessly as their eyes had darkened and their faces had begun to show the years of grief and despair. He had not been able to shelter them from all that he would have wished.

They were fully-grown by now, belonging to nobody but themselves, but they would always be his sons.

His boys.


Well what do you know! I'm done. I've never really finished a whole big story before! Anyway this story is finished although I might go back and correct and add things at some point.

Many thanks to everyone who has reviewed, added to favourites, offered suggestions etc. It always makes me smile and gives me a bit of a boost. Thanks also to everyone who read this far even if they did not review. I'm still surprised that anyone reads this stuff except me. I only wrote it because I thought there was a shortage of little twin fic. (There was when I started, honestly).

Anyway, from now on all my updates on other stories will be very irregular and infrequent. I will finish all the stories eventually, but it will take time.

Thanks for reading, and if you have time please review - if only to let me know who got this far!