Elrond smiled as he watched his son gesticulate animatedly. Elladan was in the midst of a particularly funny tale about some of the younger Dunedain exploits. Though his son was regaling him with wild arm motions he keep his voice soft and even toned careful not to disturb his twin who was slumbering in Elladan's room.
Elrond mentally frowned at the thought of Elrohir and his damaged ribs – he would have to go check in on him at a point. Still he was careful not to let any of these stray thoughts slip past and show on his face. He wanted nothing to halt the smooth flow of tales coming from his eldest just yet. He was still somewhat disbelieving that he was here in this moment sharing wine, stories and laughter by firelight with Elladan.
Elladan his brooding, angry, guilt ridden son. He had truly feared for Elladan for a long time; for Elrond had seen just how deeply Celebrian's departure had wounded his son's fëa. Elladan had as usual, wrongly, taken all the guilt for his mother's torment upon his shoulders and had punished himself mercilessly. The guilt had eaten away at his son driving him to seek out vengeance with Elrohir.
And such vengeance it was. Long years they had spent on their errantry – indeed even now they both still rode out – though it was less frequent and they spent more and more time at home. Yet before these past months, their thirst for hunting and killing orcs could not be quenched or rivalled. They would spent up to six months at a time or more out on the hunt and roaming Wilderland with the Dunedain. They would return home bruised, cut and broken; staying for only as long as it took for them to heal before they rode out to do it all again.
It had been hard on Elrond to see them like that. Harder still for him to be the one to have to patch them up – setting broken bones, sewing up fine stiches and re-aligning dislocated joints. Their hunt was destroying them and it had started to destroy him too.
Of course he had raised his concerns like any father would. Mildly at first then harder and more forcefully as time went on without them heeding any of his warnings. He had grown frustrated and went to seek the help of those whose opinion he held in highest esteem.
It had been a mistake.
Glorfindel and Erestor had meant well – of course they did -yet their intervention had a dire effect on the twins. They shut down completely and took to the wilds – to the Mountains. Elrond had not seen them for two long years. He'd been worried almost to the point of illness and then to add insult to injury when they had finally deigned to return to Imladris they had not even come to see him. They had not even sent word via servant. He'd found out only through a very worried and white faced healer bringing him news that both his sons had returned and that they were in a grave way.
That incident had saddened him beyond measure. And it had angered his two closest friends and advisors who had taken it upon themselves to confront the twins over their behaviour. Perhaps that was wrong, perhaps he should have told Glorfindel and Erestor to let him handle it. Yet he'd been too heartsick and sorrowful at the time to intervene.
The twins had taken it just as badly as they had the first time Glorfindel and Erestor had tried to intercede. His sons felt as though they were being ganged up on, had lashed out and hurtful things were said all round. They disappeared for years at a time after that – and they had never again come to him for any aid – healing or otherwise. In fact tonight had been the first time in all those years that they had called for him of their own free will. He'd tended to them before certainly, but that had usually been in the direst of circumstances and when they were either unconscious or too ill to have any say in the matter. It had warmed his heart when the servant girl had come bearing Elladan's message tonight asking if Elrond would come and see to his twin brother.
Elrond stopped his daydreaming and thankfully Elladan hadn't seemed to notice his momentary lapse. Elrond gave his eldest his full focus again; piping up with a question as an odd anecdote caught his attention. He smiled at Elladan's reply feeling a calm and peace settle upon him as he watched his usually troubled looking son appear so relaxed and happy. It had been a sight Elrond had feared lost for good and he was relieved beyond measure to see it was not so.
He knew of course there was a lot more work to be done to heal the huge strain upon their relationship. For the moment though Elrond was content; he would enjoy this time with Elladan and lay the haunting ghosts of the past to rest for now.
Elladan laughed again and Elrond drank in the sight and sound of it. They continued their light hearted chatter – soft voices and muted laughter floating into the night.
Chapter end notes:
Fëa – Soul (Quenya)
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