By Any Means Necessary
Elladan was the first one to see Elrond approach. His breath caught, realizing something was amiss with the elder half-Elf, but he held his tongue as he didn’t want to put even more pressure on their first encounter after having claimed his twin. He quickly searched his father’s eyes and sighed relieved. Elrond seemed mostly happy to have found them, but Elladan also identified concern in his father’s eyes. “Elrohir? Ada is here.”
Elrohir trembled momentarily and then lifted his head, making eye contact with Elrond. He held his breath involuntarily, seeing Celeborn and Glorfindel were also present. “Celeborn probably already told Ada what happened.”
Inclined to agree, Elladan gathered his brother’s hand in his and squeezed gently. They would face Elrond together.
Slowly, Elrohir managed to get to his feet, aided by his brother. He briefly considered sweeping Elladan’s arm away from his waist, but needed the support his brother offered, and leaned into the embrace, desperately hoping that their father would understand what had happened.
Elrond opened his arms and enfolded his sons in them. He rested his head against Elladan’s shoulder and enjoyed the fact that they were united again. Sensing his son’s tension, he pulled away to make eye contact with Elrohir. “I sensed you were fading and hurried back here.”
Swallowing hard, Elrohir nodded once. He simply accepted that his father knew, and replied, “But I am fading no longer.”
“Because of your brother.” Elrond forced himself to smile, but privately he felt greatly burdened. “We need to talk about this in depth, but first I need to make sure you are healing.” Expertly, his hands probed Elrohir’s bandages. He had to compliment Celeborn; the elder Elf had done a good job at keeping the twins safe. “Will you follow me back inside?” His strength was beginning to fail him and he leaned heavily against Elladan, who gave him a concerned look.
Glorfindel, who had watched closely, now approached. “Your father is injured and needs rest.” He ignored the enraged look that Elrond gave him and wrapped an arm around his lover’s waist.
“Injured?” His problems forgotten, Elrohir pushed Elrond’s cloak aside and found the bandages. “Ada! Why didn’t you tell us?” He exchanged a concerned look with Elladan, and his older twin also folded an arm around their father’s shoulder. “You should be resting in your rooms,” said Elrohir in a chiding tone.
“So should you,” interjected Celeborn calmly.
Elrohir gave his grandfather an unreadable look. “You are right. We will all return to the house.” Right now, he didn’t want to verbally fight with his grandfather. Getting Elrond to lie down was more important.
Elrond, leaning on his son and his lover, allowed them to walk him to the Last Homely House. Looking at Elladan, whose brow carried a deep frown, he realized he couldn’t postpone this talk much longer. “We will retire to my rooms. Elladan, Elrohir, I want you to stay as we need to talk.”
“Don’t you think you should rest first?” Glorfindel cringed when Elrond glared at him.
Elrohir quickly came to the Elda’s rescue. “Ada and I will rest and Elladan can keep us company.”
“Glorfindel should stay as well,” mumbled Celeborn, taking Asfaloth’s reins.
Elrohir frowned at that, but decided not to comment on it.
Elrond however, nodded tiredly. “You are right. Glorfindel needs to hear this as well.” He wasn’t ready yet to tell his sons about his new lover, but the Elda was entitled to know what had transpired in the past.
Glorfindel nodded firmly. He saw the doubts in Elrond’s eyes and was determined to live up to the challenge. He would stand at the half-Elf’s side and support him.
Celeborn discretely left them alone, as he already knew what Elrond needed to tell his loved ones and he hoped that the half-Elf would find the strength and courage to get it all out in one go.
Glorfindel then led Elrond to the bed, but his lover protested and made for the comfortable chair near the window instead. “You should lie down,” said the Elda in a worried tone, but Elrond’s expression told him that his lover was determined to sit up. Gathering a blanket from the bed, he arranged it, making sure Elrond was warm.
Now that Elrond refused to lie down, Elrohir wasn’t inclined to rest on the bed either. After signaling Elladan, his older twin moved a chair close to Elrond’s so Elrohir could sit down close to their father.
“Ada?” After seating himself, Elrohir gathered his father’s hand in his. Elrond seemed distant and lost in thought, which worried him.
Drawing in a deep breath, Elrond nodded once, determined to do this now. But first he needed to know Glorfindel still supported him. Reaching out with his other hand, he pulled the Elda close, who now perched on the armrest, making sure they were close.
Elladan walked over to them and came to a standstill behind his brother’s chair. He rested his hands on Elrohir’s shoulders for silent support. He had no idea why Elrond was this apprehensive, but they would give their father all the time he needed.
Elrond finally found the courage to clear his throat and start. Elrohir was rubbing the back of his hand and Glorfindel had claimed the other. Leaning against the Elda, he savored having his loved ones close.
“Ada, what is troubling you?” Elrohir moistened his chapped lips, hoping Elrond would finally confide in them.
Elrond sighed distressed and his eyes filled with old tears, recalling the past. His voice was monotonous and devoid of any emotion when he finally spoke. “Elros and I were close as well. Being twins, we never were apart. We lost our parents at a tender age and only had each other. We found comfort in each other’s presence and were hard to separate.”
Glorfindel and the twins exchanged a puzzled look, wondering why Elrond was brining up Elros. Elrond hardly ever mentioned his lost twin brother.
“We never took lovers, afraid our mates wouldn’t understand our closeness and try to pry us apart. But we didn’t mind as we shared a bond deeper than that of lovers.” Elrond finally released the first tears and he instinctively rubbed his face against his lover’s arm, hoping Glorfindel understood.
And the Elda did. Using his free hand, he stroked his lover’s long, dark hair. “You can tell us.” He was beginning to feel apprehensive, realizing what might follow.
“Then things changed. Elros became distant. He would leave for days without telling me where he was headed and each time he came back, the gap between us had further deepened. We drifted apart and the pain I was in continued to grow.”
Elladan, understanding his father’s pain best, placed a loving kiss on the top of his brother’s head.
Glorfindel, finally realizing the truth, tensed.
But Elrond was oblivious to his lover tensing up and continued with blind eyes, which stared at the floor. “Then he told me he had chosen to be mortal. He had made me choose first and then he had chosen the opposite. My heart cried in pain, realizing he had tricked me. Because of his Elven blood he would live longer than any Man, but he would die eventually. He had ripped my heart in two and I was devastated.” Elrond sighed, and tried to compose himself again. “One day Gil-galad and Celeborn visited. I was instantly drawn to Gil-galad, but lacked the confidence to act on my feelings. Instead, I found myself turning to Celeborn for help.”
Elrohir now sucked in his breath. “Ada?”
A forced smile appeared on Elrond’s face. “Your grandfather is more powerful than you know. He consoled me and even tried to talk some sense in to Elros, but my brother refused to talk anymore and left. I was devastated and joined Gil-galad’s army.”
Elrond wasn’t sure he had the strength to continue, but then Elladan handed him some water and he sipped thankfully. He had to do this now. It would clarify things for his sons and Glorfindel had to decide where he stood where their new relationship was concerned. “Elros refused to see me until his dying day. When I finally shuffled into his rooms, I found a mere shell of the Elf he had once been. I knelt at his side and gathered his hands in mine.” Elrond’s voice took on a distant tone as his mind traveled back in time.
His eyes filled with warm tears, looking upon the wasted body of his twin. Elros’ hair had turned white over the years, what was left of it at any rate. Bald spots showed on his head and the once vibrant grey eyes had darkened with the years.
Elros was too weak to move about, but when their eyes met, Elrond read recognition in them. “I tried so many times to see you, but you never allowed me close. I thank you for talking to me now.”
“I have to make my peace with you, gwenneth,” whispered Elros in an exhausted tone. “I know you have many questions.”
Elrond collapsed and threw himself at his brother, whose arms opened to accept him. Hot tears crawled down his face and made contact with Elros’ skin. “Why?”
Elros flinched, hearing the amount of pain in his twin’s voice. Oh, how he wished he could take it away and replace it with happiness. “For your own best.” He knew his words would enrage Elrond and they did.
Elrond jerked away from his brother and glared at him. “You tore my heart in two and then rejected me. How could that have been in my best interest? You are my twin. The other half of my soul!”
Now that he had nothing left to lose, Elros raised a shaky hand and touched the tears that clung to his twin’s face. Bringing a fingertip close to his lips, he tasted the salty liquid. “Don’t cry for me, gwenneth.”
“My heart has been weeping for centuries!” Unable to maintain eye contact any longer, he rested his head on Elros’ chest. His twin’s fingers ran gently through his long mane and his pain doubled. “I missed you! I missed your touch! Your mind!” Even now Elros’ thoughts were still hidden from him.
“Gwenneth, I don’t have much time left. I am dying and before releasing my last breath I want to ease your pain. I left because I loved you too much.”
Elrond’s eyes widened and he quickly sought out his twin’s orbs. Aiya, the light in them was fading and it wouldn’t be long until he had to say goodbye to Elros for all eternity. “I won’t let you die.”
“I am mortal now,” said Elros gently. “You cannot keep me alive.”
“Why?” Elrond suddenly recalled Elros’ words. “You loved me too much? Why does that mean?”
“I loved you as I would have loved my mate. Aye, I took a wife, and sired sons, but I never felt the same passion for my wife as I felt for you.”
The horrid truth slowly registered with Elrond. “Love? Passion?” Shaking like a leaf, he stared at his older brother.
“I fell in love with you, gwenneth, and I desired you in a way no brother should. I had to choose mortality and reject you. I couldn’t allow you to fall into disgrace with me. I had to protect you from my lust, gwenneth.”
Elrond’s eyes burned. “Lust or love?”
“Both, I suppose.” Elros sighed deeply. His strength was leaving him. “It was my last wish to look upon your face once more, gwenneth. That is why I allowed this visit.”
Elrond’s heart contracted painfully. “I could have stopped you back then… If only I had known!”
But Elros shook his head. “Nay, I wouldn’t have allowed it. My love would have tainted you. This was for the best.”
“You should have told me! You should have given me a choice! Now you made it for me and I never had a chance to keep you with me! Why didn’t you tell me?”
Elros’ eyes now also swam with unshed tears. “I am the older one, gwenneth. I needed to protect you from myself. I truly believed I did the right thing. I still believe that.”
“I don’t!” Elrond, finding it hard to control his temper, stared at his twin. “I would have accepted this. I would have loved you in turn. Don’t you know I am nothing without you? These last few centuries were…” His voice trailed off, recalling the loneliness he had faced. Not even Gil-galad’s love had changed that. “I felt crippled!”
“I am sorry, gwenneth, and now… Now I will leave you again.” A gentle warmth started at his toes and was slowly making its way up to his waist. “I always thought death’s touch would be cold, but it is warm.” Elros managed a weak smile. “Elrond, meleth-nîn, I am sorry that I hurt you. But I didn’t have a choice.” The warmth had now reached his waist and slowly advanced to his chest. “You are strong, gwenneth, and you will survive without me. You always do.”
Elrond, bursting out in sobs, gathered Elros in his arms and rocked his twin frantically. He knew he should slow down the movement, but couldn’t. He was losing his mind. “Nay, don’t die. Don’t leave.”
Elros smiled against his twin’s shoulder. “I will always be with you in your heart, melme.” Gathering his last strength, he pried one of Elrond’s hands open and placed a silver hair clip in it. “Remember me kindly and with love, Elrond. I cherished this hair clip because it reminded me of you. You went through a transformation when I severed the link and you will change again after my death. But please keep our love alive in your heart and don’t let it turn into hatred. Maybe one day you will find love again and give this clip to the one you love.”
Elros’ eyes began to close, but he managed to whisper one more sentence. “Im mela lin, gwenneth.” Those words carried his last breath away and when he died, he felt contented because he was in his twin’s arms.
Elrond’s sobs turned into screams and Gil-galad hurried into the room. Struck by the scene he was witnessing, he remained at a respectable distance. After giving Elrond time to begin grieving for his twin, he knelt behind his lover and slowly pried Elrond loose from his twin. “I have you now.” He rocked Elrond and comforted his lover as Elrond grieved for his twin.
It took Elrond long moments to regain his senses and when he did, the pain hit even harder. Pleadingly, he looked at Gil-galad. “I don’t know what to do.” He was enfolded in a tight hug, and Elrond opened his right hand, recalling Elros had pressed something into his palm when he had died. The butterfly clip lay in the palm of his hand and mocked him. If only Elros had told him the truth before choosing mortality! “He has been fading for centuries,” he realized horrified. “And I could have stopped it, if only he had told me.”
Gil-galad held his lover close, braving that first emotional storm that now overwhelmed Elrond, holding him close and rocking him.
Elrond blinked. His mind had taken him back to that dreadful day and he had lost himself in his memories. “I didn’t want to remember that…” His voice slowly faded away and suddenly he was pushed aside, as Glorfindel squeezed himself onto the chair, partly pulling him onto his lap. Had he been fully alert, he would have protested, but now he simply accepted the comfort the Elda offered.
“Ada!” Elladan had left his place at Elrohir’s side and now knelt in front of his father. He thanked the Valar that he had been spared his father’s fate and that he had managed to claim Elrohir as his own. The pain that stared back at him was awfully familiar.
Elrohir sat frozen, finding it hard to believe his father’s tale, but looking at Elrond’s lost expression and at seeing the tears, he realized his father had been brutally honest with him. /And I almost did the same thing to Elladan!/ Pushing his chair closer to Elrond’s, he squeezed his father’s hand reassuringly. “The past didn’t repeat itself, Ada. Elladan claimed me and I am slowly learning to accept our new relationship.”
Elrond blinked, hearing his youngest son’s words. “That is good.” He was confused and lost in his memories, uncertain how to find his way back to the present.
“What happened next?” asked Glorfindel, who buried the half-Elf in a tight hug. So far the twins weren’t questioning his actions and he hoped Elrond and he wouldn’t give away their new relationship just yet.
“Gil-galad saved me from insanity. He helped me recover. Though I am not sure I ever completely recovered.” Elrond swallowed hard and suddenly his eyes danced wildly in their sockets. “But then disaster struck again.”
Glorfindel already knew what Elrond would say next. “You lost Gil-galad at the Battle of the Last Alliance.”
Tears ran hotly over Elrond’s face. The half-Elf tried to compose himself, but failed, reliving unspeakable anguish. “I wasn’t so much fading, as trying to take my own life. I was suicidal when the war was over and was looking for a way to join Gil-galad in the Great Halls.”
Elrohir gave Elladan a worried look. /I would have sentenced you to either insanity or fading had I refused you./ It was the first time he felt relieved and even happy that he had accepted Elladan’s love for him. “Aiya, Ada, I am so glad you failed to take your life.”
Elrond blinked once. “Erestor, who had fought alongside Gil-galad and I, realized the danger and took me to Lothlorien. I don’t remember much of that trip. All I recall are horrible nightmares and trying to end my life several times. Erestor stopped me. I think he even tied my wrists to make sure I didn’t try again.”
The twins were openly crying, and Glorfindel rocked his charge slowly. All three of them realized how hard this was on Elrond. “Take your time, meleth-nîn.”
Elladan and Elrohir’s gazes locked, hearing that endearment, but Glorfindel didn’t seem to have noticed his slip. Revelation upon revelation unbalanced them and they decided to deal with one thing at a time. They could address their father’s love life later.
Elrond drew in a deep breath and leaned heavily on Glorfindel, relishing his lover’s presence in this dark hour. “Erestor talked to Celeborn and Galadriel. Celeborn was considered a great healer and Erestor hoped he could help me. After Celeborn had reassured Erestor that he would look after me, Erestor returned to Imladris to prepare everything for my arrival in a few moons. Erestor always trusted me to overcome this.”
Elrond sipped from the water when Elladan handed him some more and gave his oldest son a thankful look. He was so glad that Elladan hadn’t shared his fate. “I was completely unresponsive when Celeborn first talked to me.” He locked gazes with Elrohir. “He ‘tricked’ me into telling him about my pain in the same way he made you talk about it.”
Elrohir nodded, his mouth turning dry. He was beginning to understand why Celeborn had been that determined to make him talk. “You told him?”
“I told him everything. I told him about Elros and my twin’s love for me and then about Gil-galad. My deepest wound was the one Elros had inflicted and he coaxed me in to letting go of my self-hate. You see, I blamed myself for my twin’s death. With Sauron I knew I faced an enemy much stronger than me, but I could have saved Elros, if only I had been more persistent. I have never let go of my guilt completely, but Celeborn helped me heal.”
Elrohir now felt guilty for having treated Celeborn with such cold fury and contempt. He realized he had to apologize for his crude behavior. “How does Celeborn do this?”
Elrond understood at once. “It is his voice and his touch. They are soothing and lure you into a trance. You will tell him everything he wants to know. Later, he used it to comfort me.” Elrond sighed and pressed closer to Glorfindel, who was still holding him and was running his fingers through his dark hair.
“Then, during one of his visits, Celeborn wasn’t alone. Celebrian had come with him. It was hard not to hear my sobs at night and her heart urged her to comfort me. At the beginning, I pushed her away. But then Celeborn stopped his visits and Celebrian came to me instead. After a while she gained my trust and I willingly told her everything. Slowly, I began to sort out my thoughts and emotions and she was a great help and support.”
Elrond looked Elrohir in the eyes. “We fell in love.” Then his gaze shifted to Elladan. “I never wanted to give my heart away again, but it just happened. She knew about my emotional scars and was prepared to walk the rest of the way with me.” His fingers curled possessively around Glorfindel’s, holding on tight. “It turned out that Celeborn had set me up. He had conspired to bring us together.”
A smile curled Elrohir’s lips, finally realizing Celeborn was more complex than he had ever thought possible. “So he got Nana and you together.” And Celeborn was the reason Arwen, Elladan and he had been born. He really owed his grandfather a huge apology!
“Galadriel and Celeborn arranged for our marriage and I brought Celebrian to Imladris. We were happy here… until that fated day.” Elrond seemed to shrink into himself, resting against Glorfindel. “No more, I beg of you.” He was emotionally drained and needed to rest. “I felt you needed to know why Elros was lost to me. For every day, during these past few millennia, I wished I could turn back time and reclaim him.”
Elladan nodded his head. “I understand.” He paused to gather his thoughts and then continued, “Elrohir and I were worried you would never accept this and banish us.”
“Banish you?” Elrond’s eyes widened, panicking. “Never! I don’t want you to leave! I wouldn’t survive losing you!” He tightened his hold on Elrohir’s hand, making sure his youngest son couldn’t leave. “You have no idea how relieved I am that Celeborn interfered and that you accepted Elladan as your mate. I have watched the two of you closely these last few decades, and was afraid that history would repeat itself. I am so glad Celeborn got to you in time.”
“I realize that now as well,” said Elrohir in a guilty tone. “I was angry with him for betraying my trust and telling Elladan, but now I understand why he did it. I will offer him my apology.”
Elrond, fatigued, nodded against Glorfindel’s shoulder. “I won’t ever judge you for your love, Elrohir,” he said, looking at his sons. “I just ask of you not to leave Imladris. At least not for a while.”
“We will stay,” said Elladan quickly. “And you can nag Elrohir about resting and I can fuss over you in turn.” Glorfindel coughed and Elladan shot him a curious glance. “Or do you want to fuss over Ada?”
“He already fusses over me, Elladan,” whispered Elrond, blushing weakly. “We are in love.” He cringed; this was so much for his sons to take in! “I hope you will understand that—“
Seeing his father’s uncertain expression, Elladan soothed him. “We understand. We always thought there was something going on between the two of you and we accept this.”
“You do?” Elrond sighed relieved. “I am glad to hear that.” His eyes closed and his fingers relaxed in sleep.
“He needs rest,” said Glorfindel, who gathered Elrond in his arms. Elrohir let go of his father’s hand, and the twins followed Glorfindel to the bed, where the Elda lay down his charge. “He has exhausted himself in order to get here.”
Elladan folded an arm around his twin’s shoulder. Both felt the need to talk about their father’s revelations and they gave Glorfindel an apologetic look.
“Off with you,” said Glorfindel, interpreting their expressions correctly. “I will take good care of your father. Just stay inside the house. He will want to see you again shortly – just to convince himself the two of you are fine.”
The twins nodded and then left their father’s rooms. Elrohir suddenly stopped his twin in his tracks and made eye contact with him. “Elros told Ada when it was too late.”
“That could also have happened to us, hadn’t it been for ata’da.” Elladan rested his hand at the nape of his twin’s neck and slowly brought their lips closer together. A surprised groan escaped him when Elrohir reacted passionately.
Elrohir pressed his length against his twin, plundering the sweet mouth. When they pulled apart, things had changed between them once more. The bond vibrated with energy, making them very much aware of the other. Elrohir gathered his courage and then whispered, “Im mela lin, gwaniur.”
Elladan reacted by hugging Elrohir close. Now that his youngest twin had finally spoken those words, he was confident that everything would be all right in the end.
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