The Acquisition of Brothers
I am an only child.
I have no siblings, and yet it seems, as I have grown and lived my life, I have developed an ability to acquire brothers. It is a strange skill but a good one.
There is a brother for every aspect of my life. No matter who I am there is someone by my side.
Elrohir and Elladan are the brothers of my childhood. Always have they been there. They lifted me up when I fell, soothed bruised knees and the damaged ego that went with them. They told me stories of the Elven heroes of old and filled my days with excitement and adventure. They placed my feet upon the road ahead of me and made that foundation firm.
How I love them.
To others they are fierce and stern, bad-tempered and ferocious. Even those closest to me look upon them with unease and trepidation. But to me they are my protectors, my beloved older brothers, always.
But they have lived long and lost much. Now they tire of life. They miss those they love and they yearn for a brighter place, a better future. They are not comfortable in this world of peace. They do not fit well in it. They stay only for me . . . And for Arwen.
Where they were loving and attentive in my childhood, with my own little boy they are awkward and aloof. They do not pour the attention on him that I basked in. Perhaps he is just one person too many for them to love and then lose. They cannot bear it, and so, instead, they are shadows in his life. Uncles he adores from afar who absently ruffle his hair before disappearing again on their own adventures, which do not include him. It breaks my heart he will never know them as I know them, but I understand it.
At some point pain will break us all and they have reached their breaking point.
But still they are here for me, beside me if I need them. The brothers of Estel, the child. They will forgive me anything.
Even the loss of their sister.
Faramir is my latest acquisition, my advisor and my friend. He is loyal to a fault. Without him I would have floundered and lost the trust of my people. He translates for me, their thoughts and needs, and leads me through the streets of this city I have inherited with a gentle hand.
When I am all at sea or bemused by these folk who are mine and yet not mine, he is the one who enables me to see them clearly. He helps them understand me and, in turn, helps me understand them. He is my conduit. He shows me their dreams and their beliefs, their fears and their trepidations. He is the window through which I can see them.
Never once has he resented me though I take his place, his brother’s place, his father’s place. He casts no aspersions, stirs no trouble.
Faramir is learned and kind. A discussion with him is always an interesting one . . . The things he knows! His knowledge of the elves almost matches mine, and I grew up with them. Long hours we spend in talk and negotiation and always it is entertaining.
He supports me in all things.
I am honoured to call him friend and brother. The brother of Elessar the King.
Halbarad, though, is the brother closest to me in blood, for he is my kin.
He took a young man raging against life, against the unfairness of his fate, and moulded him into a leader. So much of who I am I owe to him. He found me my identity, my birthright. He enabled me to claim it.
Halbarad is the brother I have lost for he is now gone from me. Dead on the fields of the Pelennor. Dead because he followed me. It was a loss, such a loss and yet I could not grieve for we pushed ever onwards and there was no time. I grieve now, and forever. His is a loss I can never replace.
When I doubted, he steadied me. When I wavered from my path he steered me straight. Elladan and Elrohir may have given me that strong foundation but Halbarad kept my eyes, my steps, upon the straight road. He kept my focus on our goal. When he left me I was adrift without an anchor. So nearly did I stumble then, so nearly did I fall.
We none of us know the gift of Men and yet I hope, for me, that gift will reunite me with Halbarad. That I will see him once more. He could not see me fulfil my destiny—he did not see the triumph of our people, and I would tell him of it.
Halbarad, my cousin. Brother of Aragorn the Ranger. My kinsman.
But then there is Legolas.
Legolas is the brother I have chosen—or did he choose me? It is difficult to tell with him.
Our brotherhood was born on the battlefield; it is awash with fire and death. He followed me towards death also, or so he thought. Our friendship has rewarded Legolas with a heavy burden for he is drawn to the sea. I have caused him to lose his home, and the joy that bought him. What a debt I owe him.
Our brotherhood is mired in guilt and grief—my guilt, his grief. But never does he remind me. Never does he hold it over me. Never does he complain.
Legolas is Silvan and Sindarin both. He is the light of the sun on the waves, the brush of the wind through the trees, the warmth of the land under my feet. He can be all of that; a true Wood-elf—flighty and changeable and yet at the same time he is solid. A rock behind my back, the support at my side. Silent, still, but always there.
It is difficult to pin down the essence of Legolas, so complex is he.
He is a puzzle I cannot solve. A mystery I cannot follow, an enigma I cannot ever hope to understand, and yet at times I know him as well as I know myself. I know his thoughts and his desires, his worries and his woes. He can be an open book to me . . . When he wishes.
He will throw me a grin filled with mischief, so fast it is almost invisible, behind the backs of others and I can see the workings of his mind then. The boredom, the need to move, move, move. The silvan fluidity bursting from him. And the others see none of it. They see a blank slate, a noble prince, an elegant creature poised and composed. I am the only one who knows, at that moment, he burns to fly through the trees. It is a secret he only allows me to see.
He is the uncle to Eldarion that my Noldor brothers cannot be. He holds his hand in the dark places and tells him all he knows. He fills the void they leave in his life—in my life—and how my boy loves him for it.
How I love him for it.
He shows Eldarion the way a man should be, for my son will listen to Legolas when he refuses to hear it from me. He is Eldarion’s guide through life as Halbarad was to me. Together, as he grows, we steer my boy in the right directions.
Legolas is beyond the others. He is more. He is brother to all parts of me. There is no place in my life where he cannot wander, no aspect of me he does not know. He will laugh in Sindarin with Estel, roam the wilds with Aragorn, and sit in the council chambers with Elessar.
Elrohir, Elladan, Faramir, Halbarad, Legolas: brothers of my childhood, brother of my kingship, brother who is my kin, brother of my heart . . .
I am an only child.
And yet I am not.
Written for Teitho, prompt: Brothers.
Somehow managed to get first.
Somehow managed to get first.
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