The Fellowship - Meetings
by Meimi


Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with J.R.R. Tolkien or anyone who hold rights to Lord of the Rings. It isn't mine, I'm just playing with it.

Note #1: This story is basically Alternate Universe, though, perhaps I should say Alternate Timeline since it is still based in the same world, events just happen differently.

Note #2: As a final reminder, if you're still wanting to kill me about what happened in the prologue, please heed the fic title. If you feel the need to kill me for anything else, -weak laugh- then I probably deserve it.

Note #3: I have absolutely no idea which canon is in control at the moment.


Dusk had fallen, blanketing the valley in streaming shadows, when Elrohir finally made his way to his father's study. Elrond had come to greet him in the courtyard, along with a good deal of Rivendell's inhabitants, but their lord had been quite distant and painfully formal in front of the others. Elrohir knew the reason why, of course, as did many of the other elves, but his father's reticence had quite effectively dampened the enthusiasm of all of the well wishers. As expected, by himself if no other, Elladan had not made an appearance at Elrohir's arrival.

Despite all that had come between them, all that had come to separate them, Elladan could not help but know instinctively that Elrohir had not truly returned. Something had brought his twin back to the Last Homely House, but it had not brought him home. No, Elladan would not greet Elrohir, not with that bitter knowledge weighing his soul down. Elladan would avoid any contact with his twin in the hopes of staving off yet more pain.

It was a pity, really, Elrohir did not wish to hurt his brother, even though he knew that was really an impossibility at this point. Still, he had matters to discuss with Elladan despite the misery it would invoke, and he planned to seek out his twin soon. But first, first he must deal with their father.

Knocking soundly on the study door, Elrohir waited for some muted acknowledgment from within, then entered. It was a fact, unless there was some great upheaval, that elves did not change from century to century. Years mattered little in the long run. And as the elves did not really change much, then as long as they were still in one place, their dwellings tended to not change with them.

Elrond's study was a bit of enigma when that simple fact was brought to bear. It did not appear any different from when Elrohir had seen it last, in fact, everything seemed to be in exactly the same spot as it had been back then. A small, well contained, blaze still crackled cheerily in the fireplace. The shelves were still full of the same familiar books and knickknacks with a stray ledger wedged in here and there. The polished wood of his father's desk and the chairs surrounding it still glowed warmly in the firelight, the desk still piled high in places with papers. The glow lights still gleamed from their usual perches, providing the study with the remaining necessary illumination that the fire could not.

All in all, it was the same, and yet, it was not.

Appearances were often deceiving, however, for it was not the overall look of Elrond's study that was different. It was the atmosphere. Where once it had been warm and welcoming, if sometimes forbidding -he and Elladan had such a wonderful track record for getting into trouble, after all-, the study now felt cold and lonely, unwelcome to all. The addition of his father sitting rigidly at his desk only seemed to heighten the sense of wrongness in the air.

"Do not tell me that you were not expecting me," Elrohir said by way of greeting as he walked further into the room.

"No," Elrond said evenly in return, his voice and expression utterly neutral, though something sparked in his eyes, "No, I have been expecting you. I have been expecting you for quite some time now."

"Really?" Elrohir murmured offhandedly as he ran his fingertips along the front of his father's desk, "My apologies, I had not intended to give you that impression."

Elrond winced visibly at that. Of course not, he knew that Elrohir had never truly intended to return to them, not like this. It would never be so simple, never so easy. Shaking his head at where that train of thought would take him, Elrond decided to focus on something else of interest about his son. "You have been in Mirkwood then?" he asked, indicating the riveting braids Elrohir still bore.

"For the past two years or so," Elrohir supplied as he finally deigned to lower himself into one of the chairs in front of the desk. "I go back there from time to time, Thranduil welcomes any assistance in ridding his forest of some of the creeping foulness. The spiders are interesting to hunt, they always keep you on your toes. And then, of course, there are the orcs. There are always orcs."

"I see," Elrond nodded blankly, his mind processing what Elrohir did not say, "I had heard that Thranduil may finally be considering a new heir."

"Really, father, listening to rumors now?" Elrohir quipped, an amused smirk not quite reaching his eyes.

"When it is the only way to hear of news about my son?" Elrond shot back irritably, "Then yes, I will listen to rumors. I will wallow in them if necessary since it seems you are incapable of sending word of your continued health when left to your own devices."

"Again, my apologies, there really was nothing to say," Elrohir offered plainly, a slight frown marring his countenance. He did not think that the subject bore much deliberation and his father ought to realize that.

"Of course not, 'killed a few orcs here and there', 'killed some more orcs over there', 'lots of killing today, father', certainly nothing to write home about," Elrond rebuked, his tone growing scornful. "And what of Thranduil?"

"What of him?" Elrohir asked curiously, uncertain of where his father was going with this little tidbit.

"Is he considering a new heir?" Elrond demanded stiltingly, noting that the aim of the 'rumors' was finally dawning upon his son.

"Of course not," Elrohir said flatly in reproach, reaching up almost unconsciously to grip his braids, "There is no replacing what has been lost."

"Then what is there?" Elrond asked softly, hoping against hope that this time the true subject may finally be broached.

"There is nothing, only pain and time," Elrohir waved his hand hopelessly, "He wants so badly to give in, to fade. You can taste the palpable despair in the air when he is near. But he will not allow himself to let go, he has sworn to see the Greenwood restored, to see it free of the darkness." Elrohir inhaled sharply at that, turning hollow eyes upon his father, "He will see it done, father, have no fear of that."

"And what of you?" Elrond appealed further. He was not sure that he really wanted to know the full extent of the relationship his son shared with the king of the Woodland Realm, but then again, not knowing was just as bad.

"Me?" Elrohir blinked momentarily in confusion, "We get along as well as can be expected. Thranduil was never the most likeable of elves, but that is not all that he is." Biting his bottom lip thoughtfully, Elrohir tried to decipher some of that which even eluded him at times, "I suppose we have common enough ground. Our reasoning may be different but our aims are similar enough. We want to see them all dead." He nodded at that conclusion, it sounded about right, and added, "I think he finds some small amount of comfort knowing that he is not alone in that regard."

"I see," Elrond murmured, looking somewhat abashed as he dropped his gaze to where his hands lay clasped on top of his desk, "I suppose I should not begrudge him what little amount of peace he can gleam from your company."

"You are jealous," Elrohir teased, the impish grin he bore almost appearing real as his father gave him a halfhearted scowl.

"Yes, I suppose I am," Elrond admitted after a short while as he began to tap his fingers soundlessly upon the desktop, "It is just... I have not seen nor heard from you in over three centuries. I have missed you."

"I left long before then, father," Elrohir sighed in mild exasperation, "You know this."

"Aye, I do," Elrond said quietly, his fingers arrested in mid-tap as he gazed over at his son in profound sadness, "I just wish there had been something more I could have done."

"Be that as it may, it is done now, we cannot change what has come to pass," Elrohir frowned, annoyance creeping up on him. He did not need help or company when dwelling upon the past. He did not need it at all. He lived the past every second of every day, there was no need to expound upon it further.

Deciding that a change of subject was in order, before their conversation turned positively ill, Elrohir hummed in curiosity, "So tell me about the human."

"Human?" Elrond nearly parroted, perplexed for the moment at the new direction their discourse was taking.

"Yes, the human," Elrohir repeated helpfully, slightly amused at his father's reaction, "The one that was in the courtyard. I know that Imladris has often had guests from the race of Man, but they do not usually follow after Glorfindel or Erestor in greeting other guests."

"Ah, Estel," Elrond exclaimed as the facts finally came together in his mind.

"Estel?" Elrohir cocked an eyebrow at that, his amusement growing along with the blossoming of a little amazement, "A human called hope? There is quite a story there, if I am not mistaken."

"Aye, quite a story," Elrond agreed, lacing his fingers together solemnly, "His real name is Aragorn. He is the son of Arathorn and thus of Isildur's line."

"The Chieftain of the Dunedain and the Heir of Isildur," Elrohir mused aloud, "What is he doing here?"

"This is his home," Elrond smiled at Elrohir's surprised look, "His mother, Gilraen, brought him here after his father was killed. He was only a child. We... Nay," Elrond shook his head, it would all ultimately lie solely at his own feet, he might as well accept the full responsibility for whatever blame may come from it, "I decided it would be safer if he were raised here."

"So you adopted him then," Elrohir smirked winsomely.

"Fostered, my son, that is the word you are looking for," Elrond corrected smartly, "He is still Arathorn's son, he is simply mine as well."

"Of course, of course, forgive me for not using the proper term," Elrohir supplied hastily in appeasement. His father was known for getting his feathers ruffled from time to time when the proper term was not used for something important. It was an odd personality quirk that he had most likely learned from his long association with Erestor. "But that does not tell me why he is named Estel."

"No, I suppose it does not. And I suppose it does seem high-handed, but all I can really say is that it felt right at the time, and still does. He will be the hope for Man, just as he has been the hope for many here," Elrond trailed off then, his eyes growing vague as his mind drifted back across the years.

"You are very fond of him," Elrohir prompted when it seemed his father needed a little nudge to get back to the here and now.

"Aye, he is my son," Elrond explained simply, "We are all very fond of him. But that does remind me of something." Turning somber eyes to the youngest of his beloved twins, Elrond attempted to articulate his apprehension as best he could, "He considers me his father and Elladan his brother. These are absolutes to him. The concept of family is desperately important to him since he lost Arathorn at such a young age, and it only became more so when Gilraen passed on. He will consider you his brother as well, there is nothing that can change that."

"Ah, you are concerned that I will be offended," Elrohir nodded his understanding.

"To be perfectly honest, yes," Elrond sighed, gesturing helplessly at empty air, "I know that you would never be deliberately cruel, I only ask that you try to be polite. Even if you can feel nothing for him, at least know that Elladan and I hold him dear."

"Do not worry so, father," Elrohir smiled assuredly, projecting as much good humor as he could manage, "If he is Elladan's brother, then he is mine as well. I will share with him what affection I still have left in me, though it is nowhere near as much as it once had been."

Elrond bowed his head in thankful acknowledgment, grateful for this small sign that at least there was something left of the elf his middle son had once been. Perhaps someday Elrohir would return to them. Perhaps someday he would be whole. But unfortunately, it would not be today.


It was not a difficult task for Aragorn to find Elladan. For as long as he could remember, if there was something disturbing his older brother -and recent events certainly ranked as disturbing-, then he could easily be found hiding out in the library. The elf seemed to garner some form of comfort in the gloom cast by the massive bookcases.

Aragorn did not announce his presence as he approached the still form standing amidst the shadows. It was unnecessary, he didn't know of anyone who could sneak up on Elladan unawares, be they elves, humans or anything else. His brother simply just knew when there was someone there. He still said nothing as he drew near to the other, but he did reconsider how to raise the unhappy subject of family when he got a decent look at Elladan.

The elf looked rather... troubled, Aragorn noted as he leaned back against a bookcase, crossed his arms and studied his brother. Elladan simply stood there silently and bore his brother's gaze, not moving, -frozen-, so much so that he almost appeared to not even breathe. But move he did, at last, as the still fingers he had pressed against the books before Aragorn's appearance now began to tentatively stroke the soft, cloth bound spines.

Taking this to be as good an indication as any that Elladan was as ready as he'd ever be, Aragorn hesitantly began, "I have a sister."


Aragorn winced at the tremulous whisper. Elladan wasn't just troubled, he was quite upset by the sound of it. He had not been this way at Arwen's arrival, which meant that whatever the problem was, it stemmed directly from 'Elrohir'. "I have another brother."

Elladan flinched and audibly swallowed before speaking again, his voice, at least, sounding a bit steadier this time, "Yes."

"Why was I never told?" Aragorn asked hoarsely. He had family he had never known about, might never have known about. Why had no ever told him? Why hadn't he known? "Why did I not know about them?"

Elladan did not answer him. The silence between them grew, and Aragorn began to fear that there was a chasm growing between him and his brother, his family, one that he had absolutely no inkling on how to even begin to bridge it. What could have brought them to this so suddenly? What dark secret was looming between them all. Surely it must be something horrid to break them so easily.

"Estel," Elladan broke the smothering silence at last, his voice empty and lost as he brushed his fingers down the shelf, his gaze lingering there, not looking at his human brother, "Who am I?"

Aragorn blinked in confusion. How could his brother not know the answer to that? "You are Elladan."

"And who is Elladan?" Elladan asked again, his voice sounding even more lost than before.

"You are my brother," Aragorn answered plainly, totally baffled by whatever point it was that Elladan was trying to get to, "You are Lord Elrond's oldest son. I have known you all of my life. You are wise and even-tempered, a learned scholar, a talented healer and an unceasingly wise diplomat. You are, without a doubt, an elven lord's son." Aragorn would have gone further, but as the last of his words left his lips Elladan slammed his hands against the books viciously. What had he said wrong?

"That is not me," Elladan growled out, his knuckles turning white as his grip on the books tightened. "It is not who I am at all," his shoulders drooped then, all anger falling from him in a rush as he released his hold and sank to his knees. "'Tis not me at all. 'Tis Elrohir that you see in me," Elladan glanced up at Aragorn finally, his eyes shimmering with soul deep heartbreak, "Elrohir was the one who was more compassionate. A tender, gentler healer you could never find. He was the one who would prefer to read a book than participate in a contest of arms. He was the one who was wise."

Elladan shook his head, closing his eyes as a single tear traced its way down his cheek, "I, Elladan, am nothing like that."

"I... don't... understand." Aragorn murmured as he kneeled down, reaching out to grip his brother's shoulders lightly, hoping to convey whatever little strength and comfort he may in the gesture.

"Of course you don't," Elladan chuckled bitterly, his gaze slipping down to his knees as he began to pick at nonexistent dust on his leggings, "They are all too scared to speak of it, fearful that one of us will break when faced with the truth. Father, Arwen, me, we are all shadows of who we used to be." He shook his head again at his own words, his hands stilling their nervous movements, "But I digress, I know well of my own failings. I have ever been too late to save them. Always too late."

"Really, Elladan, that is just like you, to take the blame for that which you had no hand in."

Aragorn froze at the comment spoken from above, the voice flat, but ever so familiar and yet utterly foreign at the same time. Slowly he pivoted around on his heels, his eyes spying a pair of black boots first, then dark, grey leggings, a midnight blue tunic, and an under tunic the same dark grey as the leggings as his nervous scrutiny traveled upwards. Of course, the clothes were nowhere near as surprising as who wore them.

Well, at least he's not armed anymore, Aragorn's mind supplied hysterically as he stared up in abject shock at his other brother. Elrohir. This did not bode well. No, it did not bode well at all.

Elrohir, however, had a surprise in store for Aragorn. "Estel, isn't it?" he smiled genially, forcing every little dredge of good cheer he could muster into his expression and stance. There was little he could do about his eyes, unfortunately, but hopefully their lack of association would cause his new, little brother to skip over the ever present ice.

Aragorn nodded hesitantly, eyeing Elrohir cautiously. The forbidding air about the elf that he had caught a whiff of in the courtyard was still there, but it was not as overpowering as it had been. No, it was certainly not as forbidding, if that were it at all. No, he sensed something else beyond the initial fearsome sensation, something cold, cold, hard and infinitely lonely. Grief. Sharp, lingering grief.

Yes, Aragorn could see it now, could understand. He now knew why he hadn't been told, why he hadn't known about this other brother. Of course no one would speak of it, to do so would have only reopened old wounds that had never really healed. There was something broken in his home, his family, something that had been broken long before he had been born. Something that couldn't be fixed. And that something was standing right in front of him.

"Would you mind terribly, Estel, if I borrowed our brother for awhile?" Elrohir asked lightly, belying the seriousness of the situation they all found themselves in, "There is something I wish to discuss with him ere before speaking with any others."

"Yes, of course," Aragorn agreed reluctantly, sparing Elladan a guilty glance as he rose to his feet, hoping his brother did not see his compliance as some form of betrayal. It was obvious that Elladan did not wish to see Elrohir, his absence from the courtyard during Elrohir's arrival had made that painfully clear. Still, broken or not, Elrohir was Elladan's brother, his twin, and something he couldn't even hope to define told Aragorn that they both needed this. Should it turn for ill or naught, they needed to speak to each other alone, and he would not stand in the way of that.

Aragorn gave Elrohir a short bow of his head before stepping around the elf, a soft grip on his shoulder stopping him short. Aragorn blinked in surprise at Elrohir as the other tilted his own head in thanks before releasing him. A weak smile graced Aragorn's lips as he strode out of the library. Maybe thing would turn out for the best, after all. Maybe.

"I can see why father took to him so readily," Elrohir murmured as he watched Aragorn stride out of the library. "He has a peaceful aura." Turning his attention back down to his twin, Elrohir frowned. "Surely that is not comfortable."

Elladan flinched as strong, tauntingly familiar hands reached down and hauled him to his feet. He sighed in defeat when those same hands moved back, tilting his chin up, forcing him to meet ice, grey eyes. He did not want to be here. He did not want to see him. He did not want to hear him. This was not happening.

"Stop lying to yourself, Elladan," Elrohir bit out viciously as he grabbed his brother's arm and dragged him over to a table, forcing Elladan to sit in one of the chair, "You do us no favors. You are not to blame for what has come to pass, by heaping it all upon yourself you do us all a great dishonor."

"If I am not to blame," Elladan snarled, Elrohir's unexpected ferocity allowing his emotions an avenue of escape they would not have taken otherwise, "Then why did you leave?"

"Because if I had stayed I would have ended up killing you," Elrohir replied woodenly, scowling darkly as something occurred to him after those words had left his lips, "Do not take that literally, for you know I do not mean it as such. You know that which sustains me now, if I had remained with you I would have dragged you down with me."

Elladan shook his head, refusing to allow himself to heed his brother's words, "I do not understand."

"Yes, you do," Elrohir stated simply as he leaned forward and cupped Elladan's face in his hands, his ire fizzling out as his icy gaze bore into his twin's. "You do understand because I can see it in you. The Elrohir who was dwells within you." Bending over further, he rest his forehead against Elladan's and languidly closed his eyes, "You keep me safe."

Elladan swallowed thickly, his own hands reaching up to mirror his brother's. Yes, he did know. He knew it too well, for they had once before experienced such horror after their mother had been taken. Their rage, grief and fury had known no bounds, and through their bond they had dragged each other further and further into their own personal hell. It had only been through a miracle that they had emerged from it with their shared soul intact, tainted only by the torment of their own shame. If Elrohir had not barred their connection with that dampening glacier that even now glittered behind closed eyelids then they both would have fallen and neither would be here now. But even knowing that, it did not make it any easier to stomach.

"You hold our hope, Elladan," Elrohir whispered as he drew back, turned around and stepped out of reach, "I keep none for myself."

"Why did you come?" Elladan asked, unsure if he should break the silence that threatened to engulf them, but knowing that he did not wish it to fall into hushed emptiness between them.

"Thranduil asked me to deliver a message to father and Mithrandir," Elrohir explained readily, keeping his back turned to his brother, "And I felt it was time."

"But I know you did not intend to return," Elladan frowned, his confusion mounting, "You do not intend to stay, correct?"

"Well," Elrohir tilted his head to the side and reached up to rub his chin in mild amusement, "I had not, however, father has requested that I stay long enough for the upcoming council so that I may deliver Thranduil's message there."

"Odd... That's strange," Elladan blinked thoughtfully for a moment, then shook himself and glared suspiciously over at his twin, "That is not the only reason you are here."

"Nay," Elrohir drawled out, turning at last to face his brother, "That is not all."

"What is it?" Elladan asked apprehensively, the speculative look Elrohir was giving him making his skin crawl, "I'm not going to like what you're about to say, am I?"

"No, you will not," Elrohir answered vaguely and he strode purposefully over to stand before his brother again. Looking down, he faltered a moment, then began, "I have been told that Arwen has decided to sail."

"Aye, she has," Elladan agreed, frowning as pain and sorrow darkened his eyes.

Elrohir nodded resolutely, his face utterly blank as he spoke, "I wish for you to go with her. I want you to sail."

Elladan stared up at his twin in complete shock. It was as if the world, the very universe had stopped for him. He heard nothing. He felt nothing. He knew nothing. And then, it all came crashing back to him. Shaking his head in disbelief, Elladan stammered, "You cannot... you cannot ask that of me."

"I can and I will," Elrohir said stonily, an edge of pure steel apparent in his tone.

"But why? Why would you do this?" Elladan demanded, grief constricting his heart as his emotions raged and tears began to slip unchecked from his eyes. How could he? How could he do this to him?

"Because I have resigned myself to the fact that I will only truly return through the Halls of Mandos," Elrohir smiled gently as he kneeled before his twin, taking one of Elladan's hands within his own and brushing his lips across his brother's fingertips, "I would not see you die with me. That is why I wish for you to sail, so that you will await me in Valinor, free of the pain that I have visited upon you."

"I do not wish to leave," Elladan's voice cracked as he leaned forward, gathering his brother into a shuddering embrace, burying his face in Elrohir's dark, silken tresses.

"Neither did I," Elrohir murmured up into Elladan's neck, the ice forgotten for a single moment in the wake of their shared grief.