The Sons of Thunder: 20. Chapter 20: THe Gift of Men

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20. Chapter 20: THe Gift of Men

Beta: Wonderful Anarien. Ithilien. Anarithilien. Go and read her stuff.
Ninna and Elladan fans everywhere - this is to keep you happy/ ier… maybe. 
Warning: Tolkien's elves are not pretty and drift around in some aloof and ethereal faery way. If you have read the Silmarillion you know this. 
Warning in this chapter for especially violent behaviour, foul language, and sexually aggressive behaviour. 
Quick summary: Elladan has not seen Legolas since the battle. A lot has happened since then! Legolas had begun his seduction of Elladan when they were interrupted by Nestor's accident. Elladan left Elrohir stitching the wound and the next thing he knows, Legolas is snarling at him that he doesn't want his pity, etc., believing that the brothers have deceived him - which they have but not how he thinks.
Since then Legolas has realised he was mistaken and went to seek them out to apologise, but was interrupted by the Nazgul. He has now realised that Elrohir is the one who brought him to the SeaSong and healed him…and where does that leave Elladan?
Chapter 20: The Gift of Men.
Elladan strode down the steps of the Houses of Healing and into the square.  A small knot of men lounged beneath the interlaced branches of the lime trees, dusted in the pale green of Spring. One man had his arm in a sling and where his hand should have been, there was a bandaged stump. Another leaned heavily on a crutch. Such were the casualties of War.
One of the men saw Elladan and raised his hand in greeting. Elladan did not recognise him but saw from his blond braids and the white horse emblem on his tunic that he was from Rohan.
'I have recovered my lord, thanks to your kindness,' the man called, and Elladan realised the injured warrior thought he was his brother. He nodded anyway and smiled, although Elrohir rarely did. The man left the small group and wandered towards Elladan. He bowed slightly and added, 'I have a horse whose master was slain so we make a goodly pair. We mourn our losses together.' 
Elladan pressed his hand lightly against the man's arm. 'Then I wish you both swift healing,' he said kindly, and bowed slightly as he turned, for he sought Elrohir.
Elladan frowned, wondering where his brother would be. He was no longer in the Houses of Healing, he thought, for the Dunadan who had brought Gandalf's message had been relieved to find Elladan and had been searching for the brothers for some hours. It was most likely Elrohir had made his way to the Mews. They had always stabled their horses in there and although it was many many years since their last visit, they were no strangers to the White City. The quickest way to descend the city was through the maze of narrow alleyways that criss-crossed the main streets and squares. 
He turned towards one of them leading off the square, between the tall tenements with their iron-wrought balconies that crowded out the thin strip of sky. A line of forgotten laundry had been strung across the alley from one balcony to another. Rent and torn, dusted with ash, the bedsheets billowed in the light breeze like the sails of a wrecked ship. He thought briefly of the women and children who had been sent out of the city before the siege, and wondered if it would ever be safe for them to return.
A light voice, clear and urgent, broke in on his gloomy thoughts.
'Elladan! Elladan!' 
He looked around and then up to see Legolas poised on the edge of the upper level wall, some thirty feet up, higher than the roofs of the houses in this alley. It seemed to Elladan that his heart gave a shout, and he grinned and waved hopefully. The elf had called a greeting to him and that gave Elladan great hope too for the intimacy he wished for.
'Wait! I will come down,' Legolas called and disappeared from view.
From the brightness of his smile, Elladan hoped the Woodelf had forgiven him and Elrohir. The last time he had seen Legolas had been on the battlefield with the Nazgul converging on the bright-haired archer. Elladan had leapt over the slain in his haste to reach him then, but Legolas had turned on him, full of venom and fire, and his words were burned into Elladan's memory. 
'Leave me be!' he had snarled. 'I do not need your charity. I need not your concern either! I would not grieve for either of your deaths so give me none of your pity.'  And the green eyes that Elladan had gazed into only hours before, the mouth he had pressed his own lips against, had turned hard and cruel. 
But now Elladan's heart pounded with relief to think that Legolas had come to forgive them. For he had much to forgive, thought Elladan, recalling his brother's violence and assault upon Legolas when he was unconscious. And for his own complicity in the deceit.
Elladan leaned against the wall and crossed his arms to keep his hands still, waiting for the object of his admiration to come into view, hoping that this friendliness meant he could pursue his interests as he wished. That one kiss, the longing and the lust he had felt, that sensuous mouth upon his, had been beyond Elladan's experience for he had never kissed one of his own gender in anything but a familial affection… and this was nothing like the soft kisses from a woman. This had been hard and demanding and unyielding and would take as soon as give…to his own surprise, he found himself wanting that again and his fingers pressed against his lips. 
'You are very deep in thought,' said a voice by his shoulder and he jumped. Legolas. 
'Make the most of it, it happens rarely, or so says my brother.' Elladan smiled and glanced up to the wall where he had seen Legolas only moments ago. He gave a wry smile and clasped Legolas' arm, wanting more and leaning close. The Woodelf did not step back, but he did not close the distance either. He simply stood, looking at him with those long green eyes that Elladan found so attractive, a smile on his generous lips.  
'Yet you strike me as being the more thoughtful of the two of you.' 
Elladan heard the words but he could not help but notice the dryness of the other elf's lips, and he found it overwhelmingly erotic whereas he liked a woman's lips moist. 'Ah. Well, it is true that Elrohir is a man of action rather than words. He dislikes being still,' he said, trying to look away.
But Legolas smiled then and it was dazzling, like he had been lit up from within and Elladan stared, wondering what had set his soul ablaze. He barely heard the next words for he wanted to lean in close and press his mouth against the warm lips.
'Whereas you are stillness itself; you are the moonlight on still pools where Elrohir... is passion and fire, and snow on the high mountains where eagles soar…' 
Elladan could not tear his eyes away and he only heard part of Legolas' words… Legolas thought him like moonlight on still pools? Had he ever thought of himself in such a way? Had anyone? It thrilled him to be seen thus and he reached out his hand to touch the other elf, to confess his desire. 
'Elladan…' Legolas interrupted and stepped closer, his fair face was suddenly wrung with distress. 'No, please listen,' he begged and Elladan stilled. 'I do not have much time and I have something I need to say to you.' He breathed deeply and looked away, as though preparing himself for something painful.
'I have…I have behaved discourteously at the least, and presumptuously,' Legolas said, his face still turned away and a flush on his cheeks. 'I … pressed my suit upon you when you had no thought of it…I should not have done so.' 
Elladan stood aghast and breathless, wanting him to stop, wanting him to change what he was saying. 
'Please say you will forgive me, forget what I have done.' Suddenly he raised his eyes to Elladan.  'I was unforgivably rude to you on the SeaSong, and then when we waited to dock I deliberately ignored you and insulted you. When you showed me nothing but kindness and concern on the battlefield, I spurned you intolerably.' The Mirkwood elf stood erect, spoke humbly. 'I dishonoured myself.' 
Elladan swallowed but the lump in his heart did not shift. He thought it would choke him, for his hopes were deceived and his dreams suddenly dashed. If Legolas still wanted him, he would not be seeking to put away that moment when he wrapped his strong arms around Elladan and drew him close; he would be recalling it, stroking his arm, his face, his hair. 
Elladan reached out and grasped Legolas' shoulder, aware of the strength beneath his lean athletic frame. He opened his mouth, wanting to protest that it was no violation, that he had wanted the Woodelf's touch, that they could take their time. 
'No. Please,' he said instead. 'It is my dishonour I need to confess to you…'  but Legolas was no longer looking at Elladan but past his shoulder and there was that light again on his face, as if his soul were set ablaze. 
Elladan felt an overpowering surge of jealousy, startling him with its intensity, but when he turned to see who it was that Legolas gazed upon with such longing, it made Elladan gasp. 
Elrohir, approached swiftly, furiously. His long black hair pulled in a high tail back from his face. It emphasised the angular black brows, the high, strong bones of his face. It made him look dangerous, powerful. And his dark eyes burned with intensity.
Elladan felt sudden vertigo. It was his beloved brother for whom Legolas yearned? For a fleeting moment, knowing it was overly dramatic, he wondered if Feanor had felt such as this on the theft of the Silmarils. He had to turn away to stop himself from seeing anymore.
But Legolas clapped Elladan on the shoulder and stepped towards his twin. 'Elrohir!' he cried. There was such joy in his voice, such pleasure that Elladan trembled a little. 'I am glad I have found you. I am sorry I did not find you last night. I had hoped to…' He paused and said hopefully, 'I want to thank you. Again.' 
Last night? Elladan turned suddenly to face them both, shocked out of his misery. To thank him? For what? There was no mistaking the tremulous hope in the Woodelf's voice, or the way Legolas looked at Elrohir now. It echoed too much of his own hopefulness, and he winced at the irony. It hit him then with sudden intensity: Legolas knew it had been Elrohir who had healed him. Something in his heart recognised Elrohir, recognised it was he who had called him back.
But Elrohir barely glanced at Legolas and ignoring the outstretched hand, he pushed past Legolas deliberately and strode towards Elladan. 'I am glad I have found you brother. I have word from Gandalf that he wishes to speak with us.'
'Ah, that is why I sought you too, brother,' replied Elladan but he was not looking at his brother but at Legolas. For at Elrohir's words, Legolas' face seemed to tremble and he put out a hand to steady himself against the stone wall. He seemed off balance. Elladan began to reach towards him even as his brother spoke.
'He has an errand it seems only you or I can fulfil.'  
At that, Legolas lifted his head to stare at Elrohir. But it was Elladan who saw the horror and despair in the dark green eyes, and it was Elladan whose hand fell back to his side. 
But Elrohir either did not see or did not care because he stood close to his brother and said furiously, 'Glad I am to see you,' he said and then jerking his head towards Legolas, he added bitterly, 'but I am not pleased to see the company you keep.'
Elladan stared at him. Could he not see the way Legolas gazed at him, with that hungry adoration? 
'Elrohir, I have been looking for you,' Legolas tried uncertainly. It was strange, for all the swagger and light seemed have been knocked out of him in those moments since Elrohir's arrival. 'I looked for you last night after…after I had talked to Eomer. I had to explain to him.'
Elladan stared wonderingly. So whatever had happened between Elrohir and Legolas last night had been complicated by Eomer. Elladan was no fool. He had not missed the way Eomer had stared at Legolas in Edoras and he marked well the reunion on the Pelennor field. 
It was only then that Elrohir turned to Legolas, looked at him with contempt. 'And what did you explain? Everyone knows you rutted with him like a beast. Saruman made sure of that.'
Elladan gasped at the venom and fire in those words and stepped towards his brother to protest but he was interrupted by Legolas, his face devastated. 'Elrohir! Please. Wait!' The Woodelf reached out and caught Elrohir's black sleeve. 'I was his lover, I am not ashamed of that!' he declared. 'But that is all over and it was so brief. Ai, Elrohir, he is so young, and bereft. His uncle, like a father to him, is dead and he thought his sister dead too. To walk in on us like that...You would not have wanted me to ignore him, surely?'
'I am not the fool you take me for, Mirkwood whore.' Elrohir pulled his arm away violently from Legolas' grasp. 'Now you can boast you have fucked the King of Rohan no less as well as the Marshall,' Elrohir continued relentlessly, 'Did you plunge into him like a stallion? Or did he ride you like the wild thing you are? Did you fuck him? Or he fuck you?' 
Elladan cringed against the venom in those word. But Legolas stared wild-eyed and frozen in the hot blast that was Elrohir's fury.
 Elrohir's full lips curved into an unkind sneer.  'A king is of course higher than a Prince, although if Aragorn wants a taste of you, you will find it harder to decide between them, I think. Or perhaps you would choose both? It seems to be your proclivity to be fickle.'
Horrified, Elladan caught his brother's arm and pulled him round to face him. 'Stop Elrohir! How can you say these things!' He shook him, but Elrohir turned and glared, and Elladan felt all his red crimson rage, the pounding fury that cloaked him like blood, that roiled and burned and seethed.
'You are right,' Elrohir said furiously. 'I should not have spoken of Aragorn that way. He has done nothing.' And then he bared his teeth in a snarling grin that made him unrecognisable. He tilted his head on one side and looked at Elladan carefully, slowly, calculating the hurt, and said, 'You are welcome to this whore, brother. Use him well. That's all he's good for.' And then he pushed Elladan aside and whirled away, his sable cloak billowed around him as his long strides took him quickly between the crowding tenements and into the shadows of another narrow alley.
Elladan could not speak.  He dipped his head in both shame and hurt,  pierced more keenly than any sword. Legolas still stood staring, open-mouthed and Elladan caught his devastated, desperate gaze for a second but Legolas looked quickly away, as ashamed as he. He mumbled something Elladan barely heard and then followed Elrohir. 
Elladan leaned against the stone wall for a moment, and looked up at the sky. It seemed the wind was up because ragged grey clouds tore along the narrow strip of blue. He watched for a moment without really seeing, and slowly he realised what must have happened…Eomer had walked in on Legolas and Elrohir. He closed his eyes briefly and bowed his head. Legolas had then gone after Eomer, leaving Elrohir alone.   
Elladan looked down towards the narrow alley where they had gone, thinking. He remembered how Elrohir and Legolas had fought on the docks at Linhir, how Elrohir had admitted his desire to hurt Legolas. And then the memory renewed itself again …of last winter and Elrohir returning alone, cloaked against the winter cold, hunched over and hugging a secret shame. With sudden fear, he pushed himself away from the wall and set off running the way both his brother and Legolas had gone.
He heard their voices raised before he saw them. The narrow alley spilled him suddenly into another deserted square. An empty water trough at one end and before it, an overturned cart, the timbers splintered and torn by a huge granite boulder. 
Legolas stood in front of Elrohir, with his hand against the other's chest, as if to stop him from running further. Elrohir's body was at battle stance, trembling and furious. He leaned slightly forwards and pushed his face up close to Legolas. Elladan could see the spittle fly from his lips as he spoke but he could not hear what his brother said. Legolas did not cringe or fall back. He stood firmly, hand against Elrohir's chest and earnest.
'…that was a mistake. Why did you not tell me it was you who healed me?' Legolas was crying distraught. 'You let me think it was Elladan! It is not him I want!' Legolas suddenly caught sight of Elladan's approach and faltered.  His hand flew to his mouth as if he could stop the words that had already been spoken, too late, and realising Elladan had heard, his shoulders slumped. He reached out his other hand to Elladan but not in the way Elladan wanted him to but as a conciliation, as an apology. He had not meant for Elladan to hear, not wanted to hurt Elladan by his disregard.
But almost as if resentful of Legolas' sudden distraction, Elrohir grabbed Legolas and threw him hard up against the wall, shoving his forearm across Legolas' throat and pinning him there. The Woodelf gasped in surprise and,  choking, his hands flew up and clawed ineffectually at Elrohir's arm, his shoulder. 
'This is what you want then?' Elrohir demanded harshly. He pushed his whole body against Legolas, chest to chest, hip to hip, thigh to thigh and pressed his mouth onto the Woodelf's violently, bruising and hard. Legolas tried to pull away, to turn his head but he was held fast, his eyes squeezed shut and Elrohir's mouth pressed his, violently, rapaciously. Elrohir rolled his hips against Legolas. Choking, frantic, Legolas scrabbled at Elrohir's arm across his throat.  
Elladan cried out and leapt forwards. 'Elrohir! Stop!' He began tugging desperately at Elrohir's arm, but all his brother's weight was pressed against the archer's pinned body. Elrohir jerked his hips against his captive and leering, he slid his free hand slowly up and down the lean thigh, and then gripped Legolas' groin hard, sneering at his muffled cry of pain.
'You just told me it was me you wanted,' Elrohir leaned in close and murmured, as if to his lover. He ignored Elladan's attempts to drag him off the choking elf. Instead he shoved Legolas hard again and whispered in his ear, making sure he blew against it. 'I was ready to give you everything,' he gently, almost tenderly licked along the edge of his ear. 'Mirkwood whore…'  
To Elladan it seemed that Legolas suddenly had no fight in him. Gasping for air, he slumped wearily between Elrohir and the wall, eyes downcast, fingers still clasped against the crushing arm of his assailant. 
'Elrohir, you do not need to do this!' Elladan cried in distress, still pulling at Elrohir. Unable to dislodge the choking arm across Legolas' throat, Elladan flung his arms around his brother's powerful shoulders and began to pull him away but Elrohir's fury leant him strength and he simply leaned even more heavily against Legolas. 
Elrohir slid his gaze towards Elladan briefly before returning to his captive.  'You are eager, brother! Perhaps we should both fuck him? I will hold him for you and then I will take my turn.' 
Elrohir laughed at Elladan's shocked face. He pushed Elladan away easily then. With his free hand he grabbed Legolas' long pale hair in his fist and pulled his head back violently so his throat was exposed and the Woodelf gave a strangled cry.  
'Elrohir, please stop!' Elladan shouted. 'You are hurting him!'
'Hurt him? I will break him before I have finished!' Elrohir cast a furious glare at Elladan. 'Did this whore not kiss you on the ship? Do you not want him?' Elrohir laughed again, more scornfully and turned back to gaze lasciviously on the blond elf. 'Let me tell you, brother, about this whore… the day he kissed you, he tried to seduce me also.' He bent his head then and licked slowly up the exposed throat. Legolas struggled a little and a sob wrenched its way from his bruised mouth.
But at his brother's news, Elladan paused, suddenly appalled. Legolas tried to drop his head as if to hide from the scorn and shame but Elrohir had the long blond hair tangled in his fingers and he jerked him upright again, dragged his head round so he had no choice but to face Elladan though he would not meet the peredhel's eyes.
'Ah, but you did not know he was playing with both of us.' Elrohir was not apologetic but triumphant, and Elladan suddenly realised he was as jealous of Elladan as he himself had been of Elrohir in that moment Legolas had caught sight of Elrohir.
Elladan stared then, not at Legolas, but at his twin. He barely recognised him, the desire to hurt not only Legolas but him. It seemed the moment froze and he was able to feel the crimson fury swirl and seethe and then he glimpsed the absolute pain that caused this; the piercing hurt that tore at his brother's heart. It was enough to make him pause, to gather his own thoughts and to see the helpless, burning confusion and rage.
'Why do you seek to hurt me, brother?' he asked gently. He put his hand  on his brother's shoulder and calmly said, 'Release him now. Do not let this come between us.' He met the angry, hurt gaze steadily and let his own blue energy pool and flow around them until he felt Elrohir relax. 
With a great gulp of air, Legolas pushed Elrohir away and stood panting, unable to look at either of them. His chest heaved and a breath forced its way past his bruised lips. But to Elladan it sounded like a sob and he was ashamed at witnessing this, at not stopping his furious, hurting brother before. 
The blond elf stared at Elrohir, gasping, his beautiful face anguished. His hand clasped his throat, his lip was cut and swollen, and there was blood on his mouth.
'Let me go, Elrondion,' he said miserably and a huge wave of sorrow washed over Elladan. 'You have made it clear what you think. I was wrong. I am sorry … to you both.' Elrohir made a disgusted sound and shoved Legolas away again. Legolas' anguished green eyes locked on him briefly and then tore away. 'I have tried…' He paused and took a gasping, choked breath. He did not look back at them again.  'Let me go and I will not trespass again upon either of you. I swear it.'
'Legolas…I…'Elladan began but Elrohir put his hand out and grabbed his tunic, stopping him.
'You fool only yourself if you think that to him any of us are anything more than a quick fuck,' he said venomously, glaring at Legolas. The Woodelf stumbled back, head bowed.
Elladan turned to him. 'You forget yourself, brother. And you forget your oath to me.' He struggled to keep his own calm peace from swirling away into Elrohir's surging tempest. 
'My oath to you is as worthless as this pathetic creature.' Elrohir stepped closer, and glared at his brother, fists clenched. 'I know you have feelings for the whore, Elladan.' He gave Elladan a calculating, spiteful look. 'You need not feel so ashamed of liking one of your own flesh and form. He is very skilled. I was as unable to resist him as you, or that boy-king.' Elrohir smiled nastily as he saw Elladan recoil. 'But you are better off bestowing your favours on a hog, or an Orc. At least they will not deceive you with a fair face and a filthy heart.'
'You should know!' Elladan lashed out, unable keep calm any longer in the face of such persistent, bruising hurt. He hurled his brother's own bitter words uttered on the SeaSong back at him. 'It is YOU that behaved like an Orc!'  
He was aware, somewhere in the bit of his brain still appalled at what was happening, that Legolas had gone. A scent of meadows and new hay lingered briefly and then was swept away by the rising wind. A storm was brewing. He felt the electric crackle in the air but they could not stop now. 'What has he done that is so terrible?' he asked, hearing his own voice rise in anger. 'He has had a lover before you! And he kissed me, yes. And I am not ashamed of that either!' he said defiantly, the thought of that hard, masculine passion thrilled him even now. He would never regret it, he decided. 'He did not fight you just now! And he could have. You were the one beaten last time. You think he could not have bested you again?'
'Then why didn't he?' Elrohir spat. The question was contemptuous, furious, full of longing and loathing and Elladan could no longer control his own disappointment. 
He grabbed two handfuls of Elrohir's tunic and hissed, 'Are you such a jealous fool? He did not fight because he wants you!'
Elrohir curled his lip in contempt but did not fight. 'You would know that for the lie it is had you seen his face. Like a kicked puppy Eomer comes back over and over. It is not finished for him.  And you should know that he has gone from you to me to his boy-lover.' He pushed at Elladan but his brother did not release him. 'He is probably on his way there now, to rut like a beast, to ride him hard, like a…' he choked.
'You do not really believe that!' Elladan said tightly. He drew a breath and then said, 'We deceived him! And it is HE who apologises? You assaulted him. And it is he who searches for YOU to make things right?' Elladan said bitterly. He held his brother's dark gaze intently. 
With a bitter, disappointed resignation, he said, 'Legolas could not foresee that Eomer would interrupt you, and when he did, he went after this young man who was bereaved, desolate in Legolas' eyes. And he left you - you who in his eyes must appear a strong powerful, immortal elf!' Exasperated, he shook Elrohir. 'And he does not fight you though you assault him again? If he didn't want you, why would he bother to find you, to even attempt to reason with you?' 
But Elrohir pulled away, stony-faced, his body stiff with anger. 'You know nothing about him.'
'I know he does not want me.' It hurt Elladan to say that, more than he thought it would. 'Perhaps it is Legolas who is the fool. He is wasting his time on you when he could …' He broke off and looked away. 'But you …you have driven away the only chance you will have of healing, of pleasure, of any happiness! That's what you always do… You drive away any who care about you.' 
'And if you think that, you know nothing of me either!'
'No? I know that you said you wanted to hurt him!' Elladan retorted. 
There was a brief silence and Elrohir ground his boot into the dust. He heaved an irritated sigh and then turned back to Elladan. But Elladan had watched him, and slowly something began to dawn upon him.  'You said once that he reminded you of Mother.'
He thought Elrohir would hit him then. His face went white and it seemed he could not speak. Then he ground out through his clenched teeth, 'Never…never mention her again in the same breath as that… whore. She was innocent! A victim. She was helpless! But he asks for it. He taunts me.. he begs to be taken, forced…' Elrohir seemed barely aware now of his brother, his voice growing louder, more intense, and he gripped the hilt of his sword so tightly his fingers were white.
But Elladan suddenly saw something in Elrohir's eyes, a dreadful violent self-hatred and he wondered for a moment why that was; why did Legolas remind him of their mother… and he wanted to hurt him… He remembered that dreadful night when they found her… Elrohir had emerged from that awful hole, clutching their poor, blood-stained mother to his breast. Elladan would never forget the look on his brother's face.
'Elrohir…' he almost trembled at the question he was going to ask. 'Did you want to hurt Mother?' he said in a low, compassionate voice, for he too had been angry that she had left without a backward glance…He could suddenly understand. Gently he asked, 'Do you want to punish her for leaving you?'
He could never have anticipated the reaction he got. A low animal cry from deep in his chest burst forth, a terrible moan of despair and Elrohir leapt at him, shoving him hard. 'How dare you! How dare you suggest… I would never hurt her!  I hardly recognised her, I thought she was some half-orc, I never knew… not until…'
'No, I know…' Elladan started to say soothingly. Of course he did not think that…he had not mean to suggest Elrohir would actually hurt her, but even as he spoke, he felt a bubble of fear rise up in him.  Elladan had long studied the healing of minds and souls and this made him pause. He frowned for a moment. Elrohir was answering another question entirely, one that Elladan had not even thought of.
Slowly, almost afraid, he asked, 'What happened that night we found her?' He pulled Elrohir round to face him but his brother turned away, unable to look at him. 'Elrohir?' he cried, suddenly afraid. 'You would not let me see her. You told me it was too much for me to take.' Elladan recalled that memory almost more vividly than the one of Elrohir stumbling from that dreadful cave, clutching that bundle of rags and filth to his breast like it was his heart ripped from him. It was howling and he came to realize the struggling, shrieking bundle was his mother. But Elrohir had held her cradled to him ferociously, snarling at everyone who came close, looking wild and feral and more like an Orc himself. It had been the worst thing Elladan could ever imagine… surely it could not be worse…
'You would let even me near. You said it would be too much for me. Like I was some child. But it wasn't that. You stopped me because you did not want me near you.… '
He remembered the blood on Elrohir's hands, red blood, blood on her torn dress, on her thighs…but Elrohir had been right. Elladan had not been able to bear it then and had stumbled away, vomiting violently until he fell weakly, clutching his stomach, head on his knees. It was Elrohir who had poured his energy into her, drenching her in his love, his desperate, terrified, panicked love…but she had screamed and torn at his face like she did not know him… and it was only when Elladan was finally able to go to her that she calmed…yet Elrohir had been her favoured one…
He moved closer to Elrohir and studied him. His brother could not look at him, sudden panic on his face. Elladan leaned towards him, and whispered almost fiercely, 'What did you think when you found her? You have always told me that you thought she was some half-orc or mortal woman…' Almost unspeakable dread surged up in his chest then and he closed his eyes and whispered, 'What did you do?' And then not waiting, Elladan caught Elrohir's face in his hands, gripping him. 'Tell me!'
'Nothing! I did nothing… I swear. I swear. Elladan, I swear it…' But Elladan could not bear it now. He no longer believed him. This time the red rage was in his mind.
'But you thought it, didn't you?' He grabbed Elrohir's tunic again but this time he could kill him. 'DIDN'T YOU? Is that why Legolas reminds you of her? Because of the violence you feel towards him? You want to hurt him! You would have raped him had I not interrupted you! What else…? ' He could not breathe suddenly, could not speak the dreadful words in his heart. Elrohir pulled back but Elladan held onto him, dragged him closer and shook him. 
'No!' he protested, ' No! Elladan! How could you think it? I never…' 
But Elladan shoved him away, breathing hard. 'I have sworn to love you whatever you have done, Elrohir. But  I swear, if you have harmed a hair on her head, I will kill you.' He stared at his brother for a moment and then turned on his heel and was gone. 
The wind swirled the dust into drifts and clouds tore across the narrow strip of sky. In the far distance there was a low rumble of thunder. 
Elrohir sank onto a fallen rock and put his head into his hands.  Above him a raven croaked harshly and a raindrop hit the dusty ground before him. He did not look up. A low moan came from deep within him, and he knew he was worse than any evil Sauron created. And now Elladan, his beloved brother, knew it, knew him for the unnatural fiend he was. The violent passion in him, the desire to hurt as he loved was overwhelming…a memory of long wheatgrass hair, not corn silk, tangled in his fist …bunched muscles straining against chains, sweat shining on skin, in the dark, in the deep dark that no one who loved him could see… Elrohir struggled with his dark lust and lost.
There was nothing but the taste of ash in his mouth and his heart felt like it had been torn from his chest. He was vile, hated. Even his own brother felt disgust for him. And then he realized that for all his suffering the fates had delivered a kindness upon him with a way to flee his torment. Never had the way of Men seemed more attractive. He could escape the hollow loneliness that stretched away and away into immortal infinity. He could choose the gift of Men, the eternal rest of mortality. He wanted to die.

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.

Story Information

Author: ziggy

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: General

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 06/12/12

Original Post: 04/04/10

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WARNING! Comments may contain spoilers for a chapter or story. Read with caution.

The Sons of Thunder

Tanis - 12 Sep 10 - 2:09 PM

Ch. 20: Chapter 20: THe Gift of Men

Spoiler Alert - Don't read further if you haven't read this chapter-----

How deliciously ironic that Gandalf chooses one or both of the twins to carry out this mission, particularly when Elladan has come to the full-on recognition that Legolas is what he wants after all.  And now, it appears, he will have to make a choice between his brother or the one he loves.  Delecious indeed.  And heart wrenching. 

I cannot see through those low=scudding clouds of Mordor how this can have a happy ending, but me thinks there are still many chapters to go and you have such a wonderfully twisted mind I'm still Holding My Breath that my hopes will come true!

Yummy chapter, Ziggy.  And I already read it this morning over at  Smile

The Sons of Thunder

eliza61 - 13 Sep 10 - 9:07 AM

Ch. 20: Chapter 20: THe Gift of Men

Sweet Lord Ziggy.  Talk about guys with issues!!  I agree with Tanis, how in the world are these three going to be able to live with themselves let alone each other.

Very fine writing.  Elrohir's anger is unbelievable, almost to the point of madness.  Middle earth is going to need some serious pyschiatric help when this is over. LOL.

Now, I hope you update soon because you left us with an evil cliffie, at this point I would not be surprised if both Elrohir and legolas took a leap off a cliff.

Well done, mellon nin

The Sons of Thunder

curiouswombat - 13 Sep 10 - 10:40 AM

Ch. 20: Chapter 20: THe Gift of Men

Oh My Goodness.  Ziggy  you know how to give us triple angst with a side order of extra strong angst...

And how will Gandalf find this meshing with his oh-so-clever plan?  Which could he trust to do the deed?  His is a stupid plan, anyway....Frown

The Sons of Thunder

Imber - 14 Sep 10 - 12:57 PM

Ch. 20: Chapter 20: THe Gift of Men

I thought we'd had enough angst already and you just pile on more.I can barely cope with the intensity of it all. And they've got a war to fight at the same time as all this.

Please don't leave us waiting too long for more.

The Sons of Thunder

Azalais - 09 Dec 10 - 5:49 AM

Ch. 20: Chapter 20: THe Gift of Men

Now at last Elladan's got to the heart of it. And I wonder whether, now the dire secret is out, Elrohir will be able to be healed - and whether, given the way he equates Legolas and Celebrian in his mind, Gandalf's plan is going to offer some opportunity for him to atone?

Poor, poor Legolas, and poor Elladan. But also poor Elrohir for the appalling situation he finds himself in. If you do manage to come out with any sort of happy ending that is convincing, from here,  I will heave a huge sigh of relief and take my virtual hat off to you!

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