Elrohir stirred slightly, focused his eyes and took stock of where he was. He was surprised to realise that he was back at home – in Elladan's bed of all places – until he remembered recent events. They had come home just that evening from their latest stint out on errantry and he was very much worse for wear with cuts, bruised and stiff muscles and a broken rib to top it all off nicely. To say that he was feeling sore would be the understatement of the decade.
He lay perfectly still and stared up blankly as he waited for sleep to claim him once more. Then he heard it – the noise that had roused him in the first place. He concentrated then and listened intently to see if it would come again. He did not have long to wait for after a moment it came again - the soft, muted laughter of his twin. Elrohir smiled, contented now that he knew what the noise was. He unfocused his eyes and prepared to go back to sleep before he promptly focused them again.
Elladan? His twin – his moody, ever serious twin - was laughing?
Elrohir made to sit up before a sharp pain lanced through his side that caused him to quickly abandon that plan of action. Still he was very curious – who had managed to make Elladan laugh? It was not so rare for Elrohir to see and hear Elladan laugh, for around him his twin was at his most care-free and happy. He would relax and joke around with Elrohir in a manner he did with none else.
Elrohir listened again. It seemed as if Elladan were holding court as his soft and amused voice was the only one he could hear at the moment; and it sounded as though Elladan was in their joint sitting room, so whoever he was with would be known and trusted to them both. For the twins jealously guarded the privacy of their shared suite and only a select few were ever given entry.
Elrohir ran the limited list through his mind to see if he could figure out who Elladan's mystery guest was.
Glorfindel and Erestor had been on it ever since the twins had moved into the suite. Yet in recent years both had been refused access and even barred as things between the four of them had gotten horribly tangled and out of hand in the aftermath of their Naneth's sailing.
Of course their Nana had been able to come and go as she chose. Indeed Celebrian had often sought moments of reprieve from her sometimes demanding role as Lady of Imlardris to relax and fool around with her sons hidden away from the rest of the Valley.
Elrohir swiftly blocked the resulting memories of his Nana that threatened to appear – it was all still too near and too painful for him to think on.
Instead he carried on with his list.
Naruon - their best friend from elfinghood - had also been free to come and go as he pleased yet it could not be him with Elladan now. No matter how Elrohir wished that might be the case, Naruon had been residing with Mandos for a good long while now having perished when Celebrian's entourage had been attacked in the Mountains.
Elrohir briefly entertained the thought that both his Nana and Naruon were now safe, happy and whole in Aman before he forcefully pushed it aside. He really did not want to travel down that path of thinking tonight.
He moved to the next person on their list.
Their Adar he mused had also once had free reign to enter their chambers as he pleased. However he too had been banned from ever entering their rooms uninvited since the night their Naneth had announced her decision to sail. He knew Elrond had come to tend to him earlier that eve but that had been at Elladan's bidding.
Elrohir sighed, he had been nagging at his twin for some time now about them making a serious effort to make amends with Elrond but so far as he could tell his pleas had fallen on mostly deaf ears. Things were still not well between those two. Surely then it could not be Elrond that Elladan entertained? Surely his Adar had left by now?
A small frown creased Elrohir's face. The only other person who was on their list who hadn't been barred and was still in the land of the living was Arwen, his dear baby sister who was currently having an extended stay with their Daer-edhryn - so it was most definitely not her.
His frowned deepened as he came to the sad realisation that currently there was not a single soul in the Valley that he and Elladan would willingly welcome to spend time with them. He had not noticed it before but now that he truly thought about it both he and Elladan had slowly but surely shut themselves off from those who were closest to them. It had been a long time indeed since they had taken any time to rest and relax or seek and enjoy the company of others. Their time in the Valley in recent years had simply been healing and recovery time. The went to see the healers and then once able went out to train on their own private training ground. They had their meals sent up to them and generally kept themselves to themselves until they left on errantry again.
Elrohir rubbed a weary hand over his face – Elbereth above how had they let things get this bad? He hadn't realised just how deeply caught up in their own grief they had become.
Yes sure, he had resolved with himself (and he had tried with Elladan) to try and amend things with their Adar but he wasn't exactly doing a stellar job at it so far. He had picked situations such as council meetings and helping around the apothecary to try and re-connect with Elrond. Poor choices really as they were situations where they weren't truly alone and therefore unable to really have any meaningful conversation or connection. It was cowardly of him and Elrohir knew it, but underneath his sunny and chipper facade was a lot of hurt – he really didn't think his heart would be able to take it if things went even more ill between himself and his Adar.
As for Glorfindel and Erestor he had not ever managed to work up the nerve to speak to them since their last big fallout about three years ago. It was sad as they were like family to him and losing their company along with his Naneth's permanent departure had cut him to the quick. He had long wanted to make it up to them but had no idea where to even begin. For their last dealing had been an explosive argument where he had said plenty of awful things to them both.
Elrohir shook his head suddenly annoyed with himself and determined to bring an end to all the selfishness and self-pity he had been drowning in for far too long. He would never reconcile with his nearest and dearest by making half-hearted attempts at it or by avoiding them all together. He kicked off his blankets and ignored his body's protest as he sat up. He would go and join Elladan and whoever he was entertaining and begin to open himself up again. He would begin to truly live and laugh again. After all if the perpetually sombre Elladan could share late night chats and laughter once more then why couldn't he?
He gently padded his way over to the door that connected Elladan's sleeping chamber and their sitting room. His hand was on the door knob poised to give a twist and open the door when he suddenly heard his Adar's laugh – his real laugh – deep, clear and full of joy. Elrohir paused in wonderment – Elladan and Elrond were in the same room and sharing laughter rather than bitter accusations and desperate pleas?
Elrohir smiled – he was so very pleased with his development. He had been afraid of the bitter resentment he had often seen in Elladan's eyes when it came to Elrond. Yet wonder of wonders here they were chatting and laughing. He was suddenly quite thankful for his broken rib that had prompted his worry wart gwanûr to send for their Adar.
He took a step backwards – he would leave them to it for now – Eru knew they needed the time alone. He would take up his new found resolve to make amends with his loved ones tomorrow. With a lighter heart he turned back toward the bed when his Adar's voice came to him.
"Leaving so soon Elrohir?"
Elrohir could hear the smile in his Adar's voice and he turned round again, opened the door and poked his head around it. "You knew I was here Adar?"
Both Elrond and Elladan looked up at Elrohir before Elrond answered, "I felt your presence just now and thought you might join us but then you started to leave. You are not in pain are you?"
"Ahh – no Im maer," Elrohir waved his hand, "I simply did not wish to disturb you."
"Just come and sit Elro," Elladan waved impatiently at a spot beside him, "I was telling Adar of the folly some of the younger Dunedainhave been getting into."
Elrohir nearly laughed aloud at the thought – the latest bunch of young Dunedain to come through the ranks had some very strange ideas about things. He plonked himself down comfortably at his twin's side with abandon which caused Elladan to eye him wryly.
"Really Elro? Does your enthusiasm truly know no bounds – be mindful of your ribs."
Elrond laughed, "Listen to your brother ion-nin – it will be quite painful if you hurt them again."
"Yeah and then you shall have to drink Adar's vile tea," Elladan crowed at him in glee.
Elrohir stuck his tongue out at the both of them good naturedly before he pillowed his head on Elladan's shoulder. He was unbelievably happy right now – he had thought that this – moments like this had been forever lost to them all.
He shuffled slightly and pressed his cold feet up against Elladan's warmer ones revelling in the scowl the action garnered him.
"So which one of the little hellions where you telling Adar about?" he inquired before he took a quick swig from Elladan's unguarded wine glass.
His brother treated him to another glare before answering, "I was telling him of Balarodon."
Elrohir couldn't smother a snigger and Elladan grinned at him before he picked up his tale again. The three chatted and laughed long into the night. Their glee no longer soft and muted but full, rich and jubilant as it rang out into the night.
Chapter end notes:
Naneth/Nana – Mother/Mamma (Mommy)
Adar – Father
Daer-edhryn – Grandparents
Gwanûr - Brother
Im maer – I'm fine/well
Ion-nin – My Son
Adar – Father
Daer-edhryn – Grandparents
Gwanûr - Brother
Im maer – I'm fine/well
Ion-nin – My Son
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