1. Brotherly Love
Charity Begins At Home
Hoofbeats, and voices from the latest arrivals roused Aragorn as he dozed in the sun in a sheltered corner of the stableyard at the Pony.
"Look - a beggar."
"So I see. Should we give the poor fellow alms?"
A handful of coins landed in the dust at his feet, and Aragorn looked up with a sigh. "Someone is going to kill you both one day - and it will probably be me!"
Elladan looked down with great surprise. "Merciful havens - is this scruffy fellow really our littlest brother?"
Elrohir grinned. "Come, Estel - you can bathe while you tell us your news!"
Aragorn scowled as his brothers turned away. He wished that just once, he could get the upper hand with them - but it was difficult, and he was always outnumbered. Then he grinned as he bent to pick up the coppers from the dust. If Elladan and Elrohir wanted to give him 'alms', the least he could do was take their coin.
He followed them into the inn, where he found they had already ordered three brimming mugs of ale. He smiled. Perhaps they were not so bad after all.
Elladan glanced at him. "Oh, Estel? We said you would pay."
Aragorn slapped the coins onto the bar and sat down. Like shadows, Elladan and Elrohir appeared on either side of him, sliding onto the bench.
"Did you torment the others like this?" he snapped.
"Torment?" Elladan echoed.
"What others?" Elrohir added.
"The other heirs of Isildur. Did you torment them as much as you do me?"
Elladan shook his head. "Of course not!"
"Though Arathorn did pour his ale over Elladan once," Elrohir remembered with a grin.
"Then why ..."
Elladan shrugged. "The others were ..." - he waved his hand vaguely - "just fosterlings. Whereas you - "
" - are our brother."
News From Bree
The mug of ale before him emptied and was refilled several times as they talked, exchanging news and sharing reports. This time, he did not have to pay.
"I am glad you made our meeting in time, Estel," Elladan told him.
"We were afraid you might be late," Elrohir added.
"Why? Three days after the full moon; or four days or five - what does it matter?"
Elladan frowned. "Have you forgotten the date, littlest brother? It is the first of March."
"Yes, but ..."
Elrohir sighed as he pushed a package across the table. "Happy beg - happy birthday, little brother."
After a long, companionable evening of laughter and reminiscing they retired to bed. Elladan and Elrohir stopped by their door. "Estel - we will say farewell now. We leave before dawn."
They hugged him warmly. "Take care, little brother." Elrohir ruffled Aragorn's hair.
"And do not forget to bathe!"
He returned the hugs. "Goodnight. Goodbye."
By morning the twins' room was deserted, apart from an envelope on the table. Aragorn felt rather melancholy - he would miss them, despite the incessant teasing.
Opening the envelope, he found a bill for the night's accommodation, and a note:
'Estel - we said you would pay.'
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.