The Fellowship - Decisions
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: This chapter wasn't actually planned at all and exists outside of the original story outline. However, I was hating on the last chapter so much that I decided to shuffle a few things around and ended up with two extra scenes that didn't really fit anywhere in particular. Thus, new chapter.

Note #3: Movie canon? Book canon? Hell, I don't know anymore.


The door to Elrond's study closed ominously behind its lord and the Istar the elf had beckoned within. Gandalf did not take this as a good sign, nor did he consider Elrond's ever so carefully schooled expression of serene calm to be very promising either. He could well see the cracks in it, and could only hope that after the resulting explosion he would still be able to draw breath. Surely the wise elf lord would deign to allow a wizard, his old friend even, to retain some small, infinitesimal spark of life afterwards. Unfortunately, Elrond didn't look to be of the mind for mercy as he sat down behind his desk and glared openly at the Grey Pilgrim. Oh dear.

"What exactly did you think you were doing in there?" Elrond inquired silkily as he leaned forward, propped his elbows upon the desktop and laced his fingers together.

"What was necessary," Gandalf remarked stiffly and flopped down gracelessly into one of the chair in front of the desk.

"Really? And what exactly do you perceive as necessary?" Elrond asked further, his tone taking on a fine, but very evident, edge.

"We have been over this before, my friend," Gandalf said wearily as he sunk down low in his seat and stretched his legs out, "Aragorn's destiny was predetermined. I dare say, his life's task was perhaps chosen even long before his birth. The time has come for him to start coming to terms with it and himself. With the discovery of the ring, it truly is only a matter of time until events come to a head. The course is set, now we have but to ride out the whirlwind of fate."

"You sound so sure of yourself," Elrond murmured smoothly, the false calm he exuded setting off warning signals in Gandalf's mind, "As if you had already seen what will come to pass. And yet, you did not see Saruman's betrayal, nor did you know the true identity of that which Bilbo carried until the impending doom it represented was thrust upon you." Holding very, very still, Elrond stared inscrutably at his old friend, "You knew nothing of this, did you not?"

"Nay, I did not," Gandalf admitted with an obvious wince as Elrond's words briefly brought to mind remembrance of his recent captivity at the hands of his fellow Istar, "much to my chagrin."

"And yet you strongly contend to know of Aragorn's fate," Elrond said scornfully, his voice rising bit by bit as he continued, "You contend to know of that which has yet to come to pass when you did not know, could not even fathom, of Saruman's faltering allegiance and the risk of the ring!"

Gandalf grimaced. Elrond was practically yelling at him now and he honestly couldn't think of what to say or do to calm the elf down. Oh well, might as well forge on ahead and hope for the best, or at least, hope that he survives this discussion. "Elrond, my good friend, it does not take the knowledge of the Valar to realize that Aragorn was meant for something specific. It is impossible to miss. I do not understand your reluctance now, you were more than supportive of Aragorn the first time he took off with Halbarad and the other rangers, and you have been supportive of his choices ever since."

"I am supportive of his choices," Elrond explained, untangling his fingers and laying one hand atop the other as he leaned back in his chair, "as I am proud of him and the choices he makes. However, I will not support forcing him into something he does not wish. In case you hadn't noticed, he does not wish to be king of Gondor, or anywhere else for that matter. He is quite content in leading the roving Dunedain."

"Be that as it may," Gandalf waved his hand as if brushing away unseen cobwebs, perhaps wishing that he could do the same to Elrond's agitation, "Whether he wishes for it or not, it will come to him, one way or another."

"I will not allow him to be forced into something he holds no desire for," Elrond retorted hotly.

Gandalf narrowed his eyes in annoyance, feeling his own indignation bubbling up now, "You have very little say in this matter, Elrond Peredhil. What will be will be."

"I will not lose another son to this madness that infests Arda," Elrond shot back acidly, unswayed by the dangerous glint that shown clearly in the wizard's gaze.

"Ah, I see," Gandalf exclaimed, his ire instantly vanishing as he finally understand the well from which his friend's emotional distress was springing, "We come to the heart of the matter now. It is not Aragorn and his fate that makes you despair, though you well know that some day he will be lost to you."

"Aye, he is mortal and some day he will die," Elrond sighed, reaching up and rubbing his forehead in obvious mental exhaustion as he leaned over and propped himself up on one elbow, "But I would not see him live out his life in discontent, and I fear he would never be happy as king."

"But it is ultimately his choice, you cannot take that away from him," Gandalf murmured comfortingly, waiting for a slight nod of acknowledgment as his words were heeded at last before pressing on, "Now, my friend, tell me what has happened with your other sons that has upset you so greatly."

Elrond frowned and eyed Gandalf questioningly, as if he were unsure that he really wanted to impart such knowledge to the grey wizard. "You know that Arwen has decided to sail?" he began cautiously.

"Aye, truly a tragedy that such beauty will soon depart these shores," Gandalf remarked dolefully, "But none would have the heart to deny the Evenstar if her despair has grown so much that her only recourse left is to sail."

"Yes, I would see her well away from the grief that has come to encompass my family," Elrond said, his voice tinged with anguish and his shoulders hunching down as if a heavy burden had fallen upon them, "She will not be journeying alone."

"Ah," Gandalf nodded as if the news was not unexpectedly, "I cannot say that I am surprised. Will the twins follow her then?"

"No, it is only Elladan who will go with her," Elrond whispered brokenly, his misery shining brightly in the unshed tears that gathered in his eyes.

"I don't understand," Gandalf's brows furrowed together in consternation, "Why would he leave without Elrohir?"

"Because it is Elrohir who has asked it of him," Elrond replied helplessly.

"But why?" Gandalf asked again in utter bewilderment.

"Can you not guess?" Elrond asked forlornly in return, not waiting for a response from the wizard before explaining further, "He intends to die. My son, Elrohir, is planning to die and he does not wish for Elladan to perish with him."

"Ai Valar," Gandalf blurted out in shock as he wiped a shaking hand across his face, "I had not realized that it had gotten so bad."

"I do not know what to do," Elrond muttered hopelessly, his eyes darting around the room as if they would alight upon something, anything, that would solve this horrible situation, "It is as if everything fell apart when Legolas died and nothing and no one has been able to fix it since."

"There there, my friend, do not despair so," Gandalf murmured soothingly as he rose to his feet and circled back around the desk.

"Do you have any idea how many times I have gone over it in my head?" Elrond continued, ignoring the grey wizard's attempts at comfort for the moment, "How I pondered over what I could have done differently that would have changed everything? Perhaps I should have allowed Elladan to go with them, wounded or no. But then, they may all have been taken instead and then there would have been none to know what had happened, none who would have been able to find them in time. Or perhaps I should have ordered them to remain in Imladris until such time as Elladan was fully healed. Mayhap it all could have been avoided instead."

"Nay, my friend, do not dwell upon such things," Gandalf said, his tone still soothing as he reached down and rubbed the elven lord's hunched shoulders comfortingly, "We cannot change the past and there is reason for all the things that happen, be they good or ill."

"I wish that Glorfindel were not the only exception to the rule," Elrond glanced up at Gandalf, his eyes showing a desolation of spirit that the wizard had not seen in one of the Firstborn in quite a long time, "If it were so, I would have him back, and I would have my sons whole again."

"Shh, Elrond, it is not within our power to change that which has been ordained by Iluvatar," Gandalf murmured softly, his hands never ceasing as he rubbed gently at the mournful lord's taut shoulders, "We can only accept it, however we may."

"What would you have me do?" Elrond asked sadly, his head drooping forward as long held tension melted away under Gandalf's tender ministrations, "For I no longer know what must be done."

"Concern yourself with the task of reforging the Sword of Elendil," Gandalf declared as he gave the elf a friendly pat on the back, "It is time. Whether Aragorn accepts it, and all that it represents, or not, it is well past time for it to be made anew."

"I suppose," Elrond mused, his thoughts turning from grief bit by bit as he pondered upon just how to go about that particular task. "And what will you be doing?"

"I will busy myself with assembling a Fellowship of sorts out of those fools from the council," Gandalf bemoaned, the twinkle in his eyes belying the perceived despondency at such a task, "Frodo cannot do this task on his own and ever hope to succeed. No, he will need assistance."

"And you will see that he receives such assistance whether those chosen wish it or not, hmm?" Elrond inquired, an amused smile showing that at least some good cheer had been returned to him.

"Indeed," Gandalf harumphed as he stepped back, stretched to his full height and scratched absently at his beard, "And, the Valar willing, I will see what I can do about your sons."

"Many thanks, old friend," Elrond's smile again turned mournful, the grief of his family far too close to the surface to ever truly fade, as he confided, "For I fear I have come to the end of my tether, and all that stretches before me has fallen into darkness and sorrow."

"Know this, Elrond Peredhil, if there is a way to save your sons then we will find it," Gandalf stated determinedly, his stony visage hinting that nothing less than success would be acceptable.

"If, Mithrandir, if," Elrond retorted, as if he were planning to argue the point, but he straightened up from his slouch nonetheless, "But you are right in one regard, I cannot allow myself to descend into grief prematurely. There is still much left to be done, and much of it that I must do myself."

Gandalf nodded silently in understanding, mournful that the elf would not accept even the smallest glimmer of hope that he offered, but not really expecting it to be accepted anyway. Elrond could be exceptionally stubborn and proud at times, more so even than other elves. Perhaps it was the combination of his human nature along with his elven nature. A likely explanation, for his children could be just as stubborn and proud, sometimes even more so if the situation warranted it. It was either that or just his natural ornery nature, which he had thus imparted to his children.

And here he was, Gandalf the Grey, one of the Istari, swearing that he would fix them one way or another. Here's hoping that the Valar's grace was smiling down upon him, otherwise his life was going to be pure, unadulterated hell from this point on.

By the Valar! What had he gotten himself into now?


Elrohir wended his way through the gardens, heading unerringly to his destination, the terrace where the Council of Elrond had been held just the day before. He had received a summons from Mithrandir asking for his presence there, and feeling some small amount of curiosity had set out for the designated location. He should be annoyed at this interruption, he had been in the middle of resupplying, for now that Thranduil's message had finally been delivered it was time for him to leave, but he was not. Instead he was curious as to what the Grey Pilgrim could possibly want with him. Whatever wisdom that could be gleaned from him personally, could just as easily be acquired from his father. Actually, it probably would be easier for Mithrandir to speak to his father about whatever the wizard wanted, they were old friends, after all, and Elrohir just didn't like having to talk to anyone much anymore about anything. Conversation really wasn't much of a necessity when killing orcs, or anything else of evil's make that chanced to cross his path for that matter.

His steps slowed as Elrohir drew near to the terrace and then came to a complete halt as his ears registered the hushed sounds of conversation coming from within. Odd, it seems that he was not the only one to receive a summons from the Istar. Interesting. Just exactly whom else would the wizard need to speak with? And for what reason?

His curiosity truly piqued now, Elrohir strode forward, swiftly cresting the stairs leading up to the terrace and came to a halt once more. He blinked in mild wonder as he gazed out across the stone floor and those gathered within. It seemed as if Mithrandir had been quite busy this morn, quite busy indeed.

The young hobbit from the meeting yesterday, Frodo, was seated in one of the chairs which had been moved closer to the central pedestal. The little one looked quite dejected. Sitting next to him was another hobbit, a blonde, homespun looking fellow, who was trying his best to cheer up his companion. Across the floor from them, on the other side of the pedestal, stood the young dwarf, Gimli, with his arms crossed over his chest and leaning upon his axe while staring incredulously at the other occupants of the terrace. Well, to be fair, one of the other hobbits was standing next to the dwarf and rolling his eyes skyward every now and then and thus was not receiving the odd, stray look from Gimli.

The last of the quartet of hobbits, was standing next to Boromir and appeared to be trying to emulate the stern expressions of the Gondorian, Aragorn and Gandalf in turn. The halfling standing next to the dwarf hissed out "Pippin!" every now and again, trying to get the little one's attention, but was ignored by the hobbit, too caught up in amusing himself with the humans to heed anything else.

The Gondorian, the Dunedan and the Istar, meanwhile, were facing off against each other across the pedestal. Apparently they had been arguing over something or other about Dunland, the Pass of Rohan and Isengard before his arrival, if what he had heard on the way up was to be taken into account, but had come to an impasse. Elrohir did not doubt that they would start up again any second now, assuming, of course, that he did not interrupt them. He deliberated for moment on letting them go at it, for amusement's sake if nothing else, but decided against it in the end. He really didn't feel like waiting for them to finally discover that they're not going to agree on anything if they can help it.

"My my," Elrohir called out, effecting good cheer as he casually entered the terrace proper, "What's all this about?" He smothered a delighted little grin as the dwarf practically froze in place and eyed him apprehensively. It really was rather interesting at how a little tall tale about something so silly as the 'Orc Bane' could get around and mutate. After all, he didn't just slaughter orcs with impunity. If it was evil, it was fair game as far as Elrohir was concerned, orc or not.

"Ah, Elrohir! Good! You're here," Gandalf smiled sweetly and waved the elf over. Elrohir did not like the look of that, not at all. A happy seeming Mithrandir was usually a bad sign for everyone's peace of mind. The Istar was up to something, something that he probably wasn't going to like.

Ignoring the appraising glances that Boromir was shooting his way and the pleading looks of exquisite frustration that Aragorn was giving him, Elrohir cocked a doubtful eyebrow in Gandalf's direction and decided that he did not wish to beat around the bush, "I received word that you wished to speak with me and that I was to meet you here. What do you want?"

Gandalf puffed his cheeks out, taking umbrage at the elf's tone, "Here now, don't I deserve some respect from you young lords? Must you always be so distrustful of everything I do?"

"In a word, yes," Elrohir scoffed as he crossed his arms and glared openly at the wizard, "You forget, Mithrandir, I know you far too well. There is nothing this side of Aman that would make me trust your intentions, and probably nothing over there that would either. Now what do you want?"

"Brat," Gandalf muttered under his breath, earning an even sharper glare from the elf knight. Grumbling, he gestured freely at all those whom he had assembled there, "I am gathering together a Fellowship to aid Frodo in his quest to destroy the One Ring."

"Truly? All of you?" Elrohir waited quietly as he was answered with agreeing nods and an "Aye." here and there before turning a questioning gaze to Boromir, "I thought the Steward's son did not approve of this course of action."

"I don't," Boromir admitted as he reached up and raked a hand through his hair, "But if it is to be done, then Gondor will see that it is done."

"Remarkable fortitude on your part," Elrohir quirked his lips at Boromir's look of stunned surprise before returning his attention to the wizard, "That doesn't explain what you want from me, though. So what is it?"

"Well, you see, there's this thing," Gandalf dithered, grimacing as he scratched at his beard in indecision. He wasn't really sure how to ask for Elrohir's assistance, and knew that no matter how he did it he would get one of those looks the Peredhils were so good at. That 'What, are you stupid?' look that Elrond had mastered so well and had passed on to his children. Well, no, the mastery of it wasn't just limited to Elrond and his brood, Galadriel and Celeborn could both pull off a rather scathing version of it, as well. There was just something about that whole family.

"Really, Mithrandir, get to the point. I may have the time to waste on your lack of skill where conversations are concerned, but I doubt your companions can wait that long," Elrohir frowned, his displeasure evident as he shifted his weight a bit. He really needed to get back to resupplying, he needed to be gone soon, very soon. "What is it that you want? Information? Perhaps about Rohan? I have been there fairly frequently in the last half century or so, a fact that I am sure you are well aware of."

"No, it is not that, though I am sure that such knowledge will be quite useful later on," Gandalf refuted gingerly, giving his beard another nervous scratch before forging on ahead, "Elrohir, I would like for you to join the Fellowship."

"You cannot be serious!" Gimli burst out, the dwarf having shook off the disbelieving shock at Gandalf's little announcement before the others could manage to do so.

"Oh, I am quite serious," Gandalf stated resolutely as he turned a stony gaze on the dwarf, hoping that he wasn't signing his death sentence by taking his eyes off of the elf, who, thankfully, still appeared to be frozen in shocked surprise. "The Fellowship has need of an elf, and he is the best candidate available."

"You cannot expect him to give his allegiance to this Fellowship of yours," Gimli countered heatedly, his disbelief still coloring his tone, "Everyone knows that the Orc Bane only cares about killing orcs. You cannot expect him to give one whit about a venture that will be doing its best to avoid any and all contact with said creatures."

"Well, there you have it," Elrohir broke in smoothly before Gandalf could argue his point with the dwarf, having at last recovered from his own shock. Smiling sickly as he did his best to ignore the urge to throttle the wizard, even though the Istar was really asking for it, Elrohir gestured pointedly at Gimli, "From the mouths of dwarves no less. Now is there anything else you want or can I go now?"

"There once was someone I would have very much preferred to ask this of. Someone who would have been quite eager to offer his bow to such a task," Gandalf said gravely, throwing his caution to the wind and praying that the Valar would continue to grace him with their protection. He did not doubt that he was going to need it at some point in the near future. "Unfortunately, his fate has long since passed and I can no longer ask anything of him. That leaves you."

"Tread carefully, wizard," Elrohir growled, his eyes narrowing dangerously in thinly veiled fury, "There are some trespasses you will not be forgiven for."

"We - need - you," Gandalf bit out, trying and somehow succeeding at looking as stern and fearsome in his old, grey robes and battered, blue hat as he possibly could. Which wasn't much as far as the furious elf, at least, was concerned, but it was the thought that counts. "The scouting abilities of the elves, and you in particular, are without peer. We will need that. Even now the Enemy searches ceaselessly for the ring, we will need every advantage that we can get if this quest is to succeed."

Elrohir sighed wearily as he tuned the Istar out. Closing his eyes, he reached up and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He did not want to be here. He did not want to be listening to Mithrandir's entreaties. He wanted to be on his way back to Mirkwood. He wanted, no, needed to be killing things. Evil things. Orcs, spiders, whatever, as long as it was evil he wanted to kill it. He wanted to be anywhere but here, and he certainly didn't even want to consider thinking about agreeing to Mithrandir's proposal, if only to shut the wizard up if nothing else. Unfortunately, he was.

Well, it was the One Ring. Maybe if he was lucky he'd get to kill a Nazgul.

"Very well!" Elrohir ground out, cutting Gandalf off in mid-plead, "I will go with you as far as I may. Do not ask anything further of me."

"See?" Gandalf beamed cheerfully as he stepped forward and patted Elrohir jovially on the shoulder, "That wasn't so hard, now was it?"

Elrohir just gave the wizard an altered version of the 'What, are you stupid?' look, this alteration being the 'What, are you crazy?' variant. One that Gandalf was more than familiar with after all this time, then again, he was quite familiar with all of those looks.

"Do not despair, Elrohir," Gandalf whispered softly in elvish, knowing that Aragorn was probably the only one present who could understand his words, but keeping his voice down nonetheless, "You will find some measure of peace upon this journey. That I swear to you."

"Do not offer hope where it is no longer welcome," Elrohir retorted back in elvish, keeping his tone just as soft, if only as an after thought. Estel was there, after all, even if, strangely enough, he had not spoken up this whole time. The elf did not want to upset his little brother any further than necessary. As it was, he was probably going to have to have a little talk with Estel, sooner or later. Doubtless, the wizard's meddling would surely see to that.

He really ought to give some serious consideration to killing the Grey Pilgrim one of these days.