The Fellowship - Nightfall
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 turned out a little different than I had planned. Arwen apparently dislikes exposition as much as I do. Thanks to that, the next chapter is going to be a bit longer than I had originally planned. It's going to have at least four scenes in it, so it may take a little longer for me to get it out. -sighs- I hate delays.

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


Night in Imladris was much the same as it was in any of the lands of Arda. When the sky was clear the stars shown down brilliantly as they did elsewhere. Though perhaps, if one were well traveled and feeling poetic, then it could be said that Earendil seemed to glimmer just that much brighter upon the realm of his remaining son, Elrond. However, Imladris was an elven realm and wasn't quite just the same as everywhere else. Those who found shelter within the valley's borders could be assured of a sense of peace not found anywhere else in Middle-earth save Lothlorien. And unlike the Golden Woods, whose mystical beauty at times seemed to separate it from the lands that it dwelt within, Imladris, Rivendell, still retained an earthy sense of belonging to the world, to Middle-earth.

Arwen had never really realized just how much she had come to miss her home. She had not realized how empty a forest could sound without the distant roar of the waterfalls overlying the gentle creaking of the trees. Nor had she realized how much she had missed the babble of the Bruinen as the wind fell down from the mountains and rippled across the river's cascades. The peace that had sustained her in Lorien had been well needed, but it had not been the peace of home, the peace she had craved unknowingly, but even that was lost to her now.

Imladris was the place of her birth, where she had grown from a little sprite of an elfling and had learned to love the world that surrounded her. But the valley was no longer home. Too much had been lost, too much pain had come to dwell within her home for it to remain so. Too much was gone, and soon, even that which remained would depart. The remnants of her family would leave soon, she among them, and never return. And those who chose to remain behind out of loyalty to the land would depart across the sea ere the passing of another age. The elves were leaving Middle-earth bit by bit, eventually nothing would be left of her kind save the memories retained by the land. Perhaps that was for the best though, too many of those memories were now wrapped in a heavy shroud of grief, 'twas best for them to go before they inflicted more of their unending sorrow upon Middle-earth.

Sighing quietly at her own melancholy thoughts, Arwen kneaded at her shoulders, as if she were warding off a nonexistent chill, and headed towards her favorite glade for stargazing, the one with the narrow bridge that arched over the pond. She knew well that is a was a favorite for romantic rendezvous, but she also knew that she would not be disturbed. The others well knew their lady's nightly walks through that particular area and kept well away when it was known that she was out amongst the trees.

Arwen smiled gently in silent thanks to their thoughtful consideration. She well needed peace this night, for the coming days would be beyond trying. In just a handful of days she would have to say goodbye for the last time to a brother who had in all truth departed long ago. And then she would have to watch her other brother tear himself apart even more because of it, for she had her doubts that the Undying Lands could heal such a singularly unique wound that both of the twins bore. She was not naive, she knew well that such a sickness would be shared between them, a wound borne by a soul already halved would harm them both. Such a wound would fester even if one half were to be granted some manner of peace, for both of them would need care if actual healing were to be obtained. No, she had no illusions as to the fate of her elder brothers if things remained as they were. They would both be lost, Valinor's grace willing or not.

And yet, there was nothing evident that could be done to change the course they had taken. She had spent enough time with Elrohir to understand that he wasn't really there anymore, at least, not the person he had once been. There were little things, of course, small things, mere wisps of a ghost who was than the ghost itself. A gesture here, a tilt of the chin there, just little things. They were there for only the blink of the eye, and then they were gone, lost again, as if they had never been. It was heartbreaking to watch, maddening even, but she could not make herself stop. She could not make herself leave him be. If she did that, then that would be the end of it, and her big brother, Elrohir, would only exist in her memories. That time of parting was swift approaching, where only memories would remain, she knew this, but it would have to come of its own accord. She would not rush it.

There was still time.

Arwen shook her head and reached up to brush back a few stray strands of ink black hair that had come loose. No, she would not think of that right now. Closing her eyes, she allowed the night, and all it afforded, to wash over her and rid of her of such sorrow and grief, if only for the moment. The trees were singing, their melody soothing and compassionate. She did not know of what they sang or why, for she was not a wood-elf, but even a Noldor could hear the wordless whispers, could feel the essence of the trees' song.

But no, Arwen frowned, her brows furrowing slightly, the trees were not singing as they usually did. They were singing at someone in particular. If there had been a Silvan present in Imladris, then she knew it would be they for whom the trees sang, but there were none within the valley. There was someone else in Rivendell, however, who was not a wood-elf, and yet, ever since his arrival the trees seemed overly eager to turn their attention in his direction.


By the intensity of their song, that meant that her brother was nearby and since she was drawing close to her favorite glade, then it was quite likely she would find him there. Arwen wondered briefly at the relevance of such an occasion, for she knew he had not parted from the halls much since his arrival. What was it about this night that made it different from any other night?

There was little time left to ponder upon the subject, Arwen soon discovered as she threaded her way through the last copse of trees shielding the glade from view. Elrohir was there, standing in the very center of the bridge, his back turned and his head tilted ever so slightly, as if he were listening to something that she could not hear. And perhaps he was.

"Do you know what they say now?" Arwen asked curiously as she stepped out onto the bridge, frowning when she noted him stiffen minutely at her words. "They don't just sing at you, they sing to you, don't they?"

"They do," Elrohir answered her hesitantly, tilting his head further to the side so that he could glance back at his sister, "But I do not know exactly of what they sing. I cannot make out the words, but I do sense the emotions that they wish to convey."

"And what would that be?" Arwen whispered quietly and reached out to run her fingers comfortingly down her brother's back, her shoulders drooping in defeat when he shied away from her touch. It had not always been so, once he would have welcomed such comfort from her, would have welcomed it from their brother and their father also, but that was long ago, in another life.

"Grief." Elrohir shook his head, as if arguing with himself over something she could not even fathom to guess at, then turned at last to face her. "It is only grief now. In the beginning..." He hesitated again, trepidation flitting across his face as if he were unsure of what he was going to say, but he continued nonetheless, "In the beginning, they were so angry and so very worried. You see, I was dying when Elladan found... us, Arwen, make no mistake about that. I doubt very much that I would have made it back here were it not for the trees."

"I don't... understand," Arwen stammered, unsure of herself now that he had unexpectedly thrust such knowledge upon her. It should be Elladan or their father that he spoke to of such things, not her. She did not know what to say or even do.

"It is the trees, Arwen. You did ask about them," Elrohir smiled lightly, taking pity upon his flustered little sister. He did not know why he was telling her this, for he had never truly spoken of it to anyone else, but it felt right and at least he was assured that she would listen, "I don't know when it started, and in the beginning I wasn't really aware of what was going on. But I do know this, I was only semi-aware and slipping in and out of consciousness when Elladan dragged me out of that cave. I could not see the light of day nor could I smell the shift in the air. But I could feel the trees, could feel their presence. I cannot tell you how much of a difference that made."

"I still don't understand," Arwen shook her head in abject confusion, "How is that possible? You are not a wood-elf."

"Therein lies your answer, Arwen," Elrohir turned his gaze up to the stars, his face settling into familiar blankness. "I am not close kin to the trees, but he was, thus I place the blame solely at his feet. I know that he was speaking to them when we were attacked and I can only surmise that he communicated something along the lines of protecting me before we were lost to the darkness, so I am quite certain that I can thank him for their continued interest in my wellbeing."

"I suppose I should be surprised, but I can't seem to be considering the who of it," Arwen murmured as she moved to stand next to him. After a moment spent studying him, she leaned her head companionably against his shoulder and smiled joyfully when this time he did not draw apart from her, "It would be just like him."

"No, it is not much of a surprise at all," Elrohir agreed as he raked his gaze across the night sky, searching for the elusive glimmer that he still had yet to find in over three hundred years. One of them had to be his, but none, not even the most avid astronomers, could ever say whether a new star had come to glitter in the heavens that fateful night or not, and so it was lost to them. But it had to be up there somewhere, and one day he would find it. Elrohir would not fail in that.


"My lady?"

Arwen started violently and cursed herself mentally for getting so caught up in stargazing, or star searching to be more precise, that someone had caught her, an elf, unawares. Elrohir had left her not more than half an hour ago, but she had not wished to retire yet that night and so had remained. There was a star in the heavens that she had wanted to find, one that she well knew her brother still searched fruitlessly for, and she had wanted to try and find it for him. It was there. He was there. But it eluded all searchers still. If only it could be found, then perhaps her brother could find some small amount of contentment. Perhaps they all could.

Turning towards the one who had called out to her, Arwen started again, though only slightly. Estel. Oh my, this was embarrassing. Not only had she allowed someone to sneak up on her, she had allowed her human brother to sneak up on her. In the past, if this had occurred, the twins would have teased her endlessly over it. Now, they'd probably just tsk at her about it, but that didn't make it any less embarrassing.

Smoothing down the fabric of her dress self-consciously, Arwen studied her little brother for a moment before answering his call. He looked rather... haggard, as if something quite distressing were weighing down upon his mind. Perhaps a little teasing was in order to cheer him up. "Really, Estel," she admonished, smiling sweetly, "We have been over this before. It is just Arwen, not 'my lady' or any other title you feel the need to bestow upon me."

"Ah, my apologies, Arwen, I didn't realize," Aragorn replied, looking only mildly abashed, and glanced around the clearing as if he were searching for someone.

Arwen frowned at his reaction, he'd never been this out of sorts before in her presence. Something must truly be troubling him. "Is there something wrong, Estel?"

"You could say that, my la-, Arwen," Aragorn muttered somewhat sourly as it became obvious to him that the two of them were the only ones present, "Have you seen Elladan lately? I really need to speak with him about something but I can't find him anywhere. He's done another one of his disappearing acts."

"Ah," Arwen nodded sadly in understanding. Her eldest brother had been avoiding all of them of late. It distressed her that he would not seek her out, but she could not blame him for wanting solitude. The tragic lack of choice that he had been burdened with must truly be excruciating. She did not blame him at all for not wanting to share such pain. "I'm afraid I have not seen him at all today."

Aragorn hissed through his teeth in annoyance. This was getting ridiculous. Bowing slightly, he prepared to take his leave of the Evenstar so that he could continue his search, "My thanks all the same, Arwen. I shall simply have to search elsewhere."

"Hold, Estel," Arwen called, stretching out her hand towards him as if she could catch him before he spirited himself away, "Perhaps I can help you in our brother's stead."

"Nay," Aragorn shook his head. He had to speak with Elladan about what he had heard earlier in passing. "I do not think so, Arwen. I fear he is the only one who can confirm my suspicions."

"Ah, I see," Arwen murmured as she lowered her hand in a vague sense of defeat, "You have heard then."

"You know?" Aragorn's eyes widened in shock and then it was as if something crumpled within him, so forlorn was his expression, "It's true then."

"Yes, I'm afraid so," Arwen smiled apologetically. This should not have been the way that Estel learned of such knowledge, but there was no changing the past. Not now, or ever. "When I depart to pass beyond these shores, Elladan will be going with me."

"But why?" Aragorn shook his head in disbelief, his voice cracking under the weight of his emotions, "I don't understand. Why? Why have I heard nothing about this before?"

"Forgive him, it is a very difficult path that he must take now," Arwen looked at Aragorn mournfully before turning her gaze back up towards the stars, "He does not wish to leave, yet it is the only choice left to him. If he stays, he will die."

"What?!" Aragorn stared at her aghast. Elladan would die if he did not take ship? By the Valar, what was going on?

Arwen glanced back at him, an eyebrow cocked curiously. "It is Elrohir's design. He is growing weary, I think, and none believe that he will continue to cling to life much longer. He does not expect to either. Elrohir has told Elladan to sail, so that he will not drag our brother down into death with him. I do have my doubts that the Undying Lands will prevent that though."

"I don't... understand," Aragorn shook his head again, this time more in shocked confusion than disbelief. This didn't make any sense. Elrohir was expecting, perhaps even wanted, to die? He couldn't say that that little revelation surprised him. In fact, he'd be more surprised if it were the other way around. It could not be said that their brother really lived anymore. But Elladan dying too? Elladan seemed to be in perfect health, not that elves were ever really not in perfect health. So why would he die?

"Have you been told nothing of elven twins?" Arwen asked, her brows furrowing vaguely at Aragorn's lack of understanding. Did he truly not know?

"It... never really came up," Aragorn grimaced at her question. That she felt the need to ask him that, and by her very expression, told him quite a lot. He was missing something here, some little tidbit of information, that would make everything fall into place. What was it? "I did not even know that Elladan had a twin until recently."

"I see," Arwen nodded sadly, "We have done you a great disservice then, for it is supremely important where the fate of my brothers is concerned."

Shaking herself just a bit, Arwen pondered quickly over how best to impart the necessary knowledge, "I do not know if it is the same with twins born to men or dwarves, or even the little hobbits, but I do not think so. In elven twins there is but one soul, one spirit, shared between them. They are halved in ways that none but they can truly fathom."

"How is that possible?" Aragorn wondered, trying his best to not boggle at what seemed an impossibility. How could life exist when the soul maintaining it was in two separate pieces?

"Only the Valar know, Estel," Arwen laughed lightly, "But it is so, and it is very true for our brothers. Before... before it was always apparent. They were different, but never so different to be considered separate from the other. It is how others can be of two minds about something or other. For them, they truly were. But said differences were never enough to drown out the similarities. They could be of one mind, literally, if they wished it. And several times they were."

"I still don't understand," Aragorn repeated hesitantly, "They seem as different as night and day to me."

"That is because they are now," Arwen explained mournfully, "Something happened to Elrohir in the past, something that broke him. To protect Elladan from succumbing to the same doom, Elrohir blocked the bond between them. He froze our brother out."

"Something happened?" Aragorn muttered, recalling now memories of the first time he had seen the younger twin, "Did this something happen to occur three hundred and forty-six years ago?"

Arwen blinked in surprise. How did he know that? "Of a sorts. Though honestly, I think it originated over five hundred years past. I think what happened three centuries ago was just the final nail in the proverbial coffin."

"Will you tell me what happened?" Aragorn pleaded, wanting desperately to know what had shattered his family so.

"Five hundred years ago," Arwen began, tears already shining in her eyes at the painful memories she spoke of, "My mother, Celebrian, the Lady of Imladris, was captured and tortured by orcs. It was Elladan and Elrohir who rescued her, but none could truly be said to have saved her. Her physical hurts were mended, after a time, but the soul deep wounds could not be healed, not even by father. It came down to a choice, she could either sail for the Undying Lands and the healing she could only receive there or she would fade and die. Thankfully, all of us managed to convince her to go."

"I did not know," Aragorn murmured as he hung his head, feeling some shame at not having known. He should have asked, but he had never known how to do so. And perhaps it was for the best that he had not, his innocent curiosity most likely would have only caused more pain.

"Do not feel bad about it, Estel," Arwen smiled tremulously at him in encouragement and absently wiped at her eyes with the tail end of a sleeve. "It is not something we wish to dwell upon. And besides, I will see her again soon."

"Yes, I suppose you will," Aragorn said sadly. He was absolutely sure that when Arwen passed across the sea, his life would be made that much lesser, for she would take so much joy along with her. Already, he felt bereft.

"Elladan and Elrohir blamed themselves for what happened to mother," Arwen continued after a few moments spent drying her eyes, "It was not their fault, but they would not listen and for the longest time all that mattered to them was killing orcs."

"That sounds familiar," Aragorn muttered darkly. Oh yes, quite familiar indeed.

"It is," Arwen laughed bitterly, "And in it you can see the foundation for our present tragedy. They did recover their senses, but it took some time and even more grief on father's part. We all thought they would be consumed by their bloodlust, but eventually they did come back to us."

Aragorn nodded. That he could understand. He probably would have been just as bad had it happened to him. "But that changed?" he prompted.

"Yes," Arwen agreed hesitantly, growing unsure of herself now. Should she really tell her little brother about what had happened or should she let it lie? But no, she could not stop now. He deserved to know. "Three hundred and forty-six years ago, the past repeated itself. Elrohir and a very dear friend were captured by orcs while they were making their way to Mirkwood. Elladan managed to find them thanks to the bond he shares with Elrohir, but he was not in time. Elrohir was the only one still alive, and only in the barest of sense."

"I see," Aragorn murmured after a moment of silence stretched awkwardly between them, "That does explain a very many things."

"Once he was healed, Elrohir parted from Imladris. He left Elladan and father... and me," Arwen swallowed thickly, "He has never been home before now, and you and I both know that he will not stay long, nor will he return when he does leave. He may travel with you and Mithrandir's Fellowship, he may even survive it, but he will not return. Never again."

"Yes, I do understand that much," Aragorn stated simply. He did understand, he could even see how he might have chosen such a path at one time or another. It didn't make it any easier to live with, but he could understand it, at least. "But that doesn't-"

"Tell you why Elladan will sail?" Arwen finished the question for him, her eyes lighting for a single moment with affection. It faded quickly, however, as she answered, "Elladan and Elrohir share a deep bond. If... when Elrohir dies, Elladan will feel it. Elrohir will not be able to block his death from our brother, and Elladan will not block it himself. He would experience everything."

"And it would kill him," Aragorn spoke the last for her when it became apparent that Arwen could not force herself to do so. He sighed heavily at Arwen's shaky nod of agreement. He was going to lose his brother one way or another it seemed, and there was nothing he could do about it. It rankled, this grim knowledge and his inability to do anything for it. He almost wished he didn't know, but no, it was better this way. As long as he knew he could avoid hurting his family inadvertently, even though... it hurt too much to think about it.

Something occurred to him then, right before he slid any further into his dark, depressing thoughts of what was to come. "You don't think sailing will save Elladan, do you?"

"No, I don't," Arwen answered quickly, too quickly. It was very obvious that she was upset, perhaps she felt just as helpless as he did. "Elladan and Elrohir are too close. Even now, when they are more separate than ever, they are still too close. It is not like father and Elros. Neither of my brothers have made a choice that would change them enough for the other to survive their loss, nor will they. They are elves at heart, Estel, and they are determined to die as elves."