The Choices that Matter by Liek|
Warning: character death, AU, a tissue might be needed.
Disclaimer: I do not own the LOTR.
Summary: What happened when Elladan and Elrohir decided they would have to make the choice.
The choices that matter.
I blink in the bright sun and raise my head to feel its loving warmth upon my face. It has been too long since I have felt it, too many days of cold air and dark prison cells.
It is good that those times are over.
It is good that it has come to the end at last.
I do not look at them when they force my weapons into my hands, but keep my eyes at the sky instead. I do not recall it ever having been this blue.
It is beautiful.
They try to hurt me as they dress me, they try to hurt me with their words, but they can’t reach me anymore.
I am immune now. They cannot hurt me.
Yesterday I might have been their slave, today I am free.
I have nothing left to fear.
I should have told Elladan it was a bad idea to spend some time separately. I should have told him, but I agreed at the time. It seemed a good idea to make the choice alone.
I did not know then I would fail.
I did not know then what I do now:
It does not matter whether we are elf or human, it only matters we are twins.
I cannot wish you are here with me, my brother. I would never wish you such an evil thing. But I have missed you. I have missed you since the first step I took to go with Estel when you were left behind.
It was decided then that we would not meet again until the choice was made. But I cannot. For me only one choice would be wrong: the choice you do not make.
And because I know you, I fear you feel the same.
That is why it is a good thing that this is happening, brother.
It will take the choice away from us.
Its weight will no longer crush our shoulders.
So don’t you cry.
My eyes seek out the birds in the sky and follow their flights. No giant eagles today, it is a good thing I have held no hopes. It does not matter, even vultures are graceful when they fly and so my glances at the sky are not wasted.
I would never have expected Gwaihir to come for someone as unimportant as myself.
One of the vultures glides down, and as I follow its movements my eyes fall on the one they will make me fight. I cannot help but wave.
He does not wave in return. Even from the distance I can see the fear in his eyes, by the way he stands I can tell he is feeling ill.
He walks as if he is dreaming.
They have hurt him, I can see the blood on his shirt. They have beaten away all joy that he had in his life, but still he is more kingly than they will ever be. I cannot help but feel proud.
I wave again.
He lifts his hand hesitatingly and mimics my motions.
Well done, my brother.
I needed a friendly gesture.
He looks pale.
Has he not realized that eventually they would make us fight each other?
Had he hoped to be killed before it would happen?
Well I am glad it has come to this. It gives me a chance to see him again, to see his bright eyes and the intelligence behind them.
And perhaps to repeat to him, one last time, the first words I have ever spoken to him.
"It is alright, little one. Do not cry."
Of course the two-year old-boy in his arms had every right to cry. He was alone in an unfamiliar and dark room without a familiar face to help him feel better. Without his parents to comfort him, for his father was dead, and his mother had left him temporally as she and Elrond were discussion the boy’s future.
Elrohir did not know at that time he held his future little brother in his arms, he just knew he needed to say something, to do something to stop the child’s body from breaking into a thousands sobs.
He wished he had better words to speak. He wished words existed to make the boy’s father, his friend Arathorn, come alive again.
He softly repeated the words over and over again, not sure if he was speaking to the boy… or to himself.
I watch as they force weapons on my little brother’s body and how he tries to fight them. So strange it is to see Estel fight someone putting weapons on him. If someone had told me 100 years ago that this day would ever come I would have advised him to get his ability of foresight checked examined. I would roll over the ground with laughter if it had not been so sad.
Come on, Estel, don’t fight them. You will only fight yourself.
"Come on, Estel, it is raining like Mordor. Come back inside the house!"
"One more time! Please, Ro, pleeeeease?" The little child was almost dancing with excitement. "One more time. Come on." The slight hiss caused by two missing front-teeth and the way his eyes were shining made it impossible to deny him anything. The child was already pointing the wooden sword at his chest. "Come on… fight me! Fight me again!"
From behind a pillar he could see his twin chuckle at his despair.
"Alright then." He sighed and raised his own practice weapons.
His elvish ears picked up the sound of his twin rolling over the ground with laughter.
As the young boy advanced on him, he concluded that who-ever said that elves had more endurance than humans had yet to meet a five-year-old human child.
The public roars and I turn my head to see why. I do not like it when the public roars, for I do not trust them, not the thousands that support Estel, and the few that support me, I trust even less.
As my eyes search the reason they are screaming I can see Estel doing the same.
Will they make us fight something together before we are made to fight each other?
I would not mind.
I would not mind fighting beside my brother one more time.
He stood on top of the stronghold as the rain streamed down his eyes and the darkness clouded his vision. But even despite the darkness and the rain they were impossible to miss: tens of thousands uruk-hai standing in front of Helm’s Deep.
"Are you sorry to have come to my assistance, Ro?"
Elrohir looked away from the ugly creatures to see the eyes of his brother, and then he shook his head.
"No" he said, looking back at his enemies.
Estel looked at them too. His voice was soft and sad.
"I don’t think there is a chance we win this battle, Elrohir. I believe the odds are 1 to 3000."
He smiled. "Then none of us is to die before slaying 3000."
"We will do well, brother. We have hope at our side."
His younger brother looked up at him, pain in his eyes. "Ro, please. This is not the time to tease me."
Elrohir shook his head and looked into his brother’s eyes. "I was not teasing." His voice was soft and serious.
"I trust you, little brother. You should do the same."
But no. It is not a common enemy the public is shouting about, it is only the lanistra, the ruler of the show.
He smiles and walks into this arena as if he is a hero. And, to this audience, he might be.
He is the master of the play Estel and I and forced to play.
He directs the roles we are forced into, we cannot refuse.
But I don’t like this part I am given.
I will not play along.
He had not even noticed the little boy sitting there, until he heard the sob.
The child did not look up. Instead he pulled back further into himself, as if he could hide still even now that Elrohir had spotted him.
"Estel, what is wrong? Why aren’t you out playing? The weather is beautiful. "
"They don’t let me join." The words were spoken with an immense sadness attached to them. "They say I am too ugly."
Elrohir knelt closer to his little brother and wrapped his arms around him. "They sound like a bunch of blind idiots." He commented softly, rubbing the boy’s back. "You’re not ugly."
"They say my ears are too round and my feet are too big and I don’t shine." The child sniffed and Elrohir gently shook his head.
"Well, your ears are round because you are special, and your feet are big because you carry a lot of responsibility and for your information, you do shine. Maybe not the way of elves, but when you smile… yes like that… when you do, there are rainbows inside your eyes, Estel."
"Then why don’t they play with me?"
"Because they are a bunch of a-cultural trolls that apparently don’t appreciate true beauty."
"You are not, are you, Ro?" the child looked up to him, his eyes begging.
Elrohir grinned. "No Estel, Most definitely not."
"Then will you be my friend?"
Elrohir smiled and hugged the child a little closer "How about I’ll be your brother?"
I look at my brother one more time as the lanistra speaks to the crowd.
"Only one of these fighters will be the champion! Only one will leave the arena alive tonight!"
I look Aragorn into the eye and nod.
You, and don’t feel sorry.
This is my choice.
This is my choice.
I will not be elf, nor will I be human.
I will die; right here, right now, by my own sword, my own hand, my own wish.
I will die because I once swore to protect my family, and Estel has ever been a part of it.
If it were any other facing me today, anyone that was not Aragorn, Ada, Arwen or you, my opponent would not stand a single chance.
But things are the way they are.
I take out my sword and I watch how the perfectly shaped blade reflects the bright sunlight. I watch how its sharp end points at all the men here today that made me fight, all the men who have come here to shout for my death.
And then I turn it around and watch it from an angle I have never seen before, the angle that until now, I reserved for enemies alone.
I smile at Estel one last time. Nod once more.
It is alright.
It is alright.
Estel’ss eyes wide in horror as he finally understands what it is I am doing. And I softly shake my head. Not your fault. A choice. My choice. The last one I ever made.
And then my eyes turn at the sky one last time, and I think of another.
Though I will give up my life for him, the last thoughts I have are not for the brother in front of me.
They are for the brother who stood beside me all the long years of my life.
They rise up with the wind and sail over prison cells and vile dungeons, over grassy lands and rivers, over water, through the air until they reach the home I will never see again.
Elladan, if you hear this…
See this path I am showing you
It leads to Estel
I could not.
Dan, if you hear this…
I love you
I will always love you
Farewell, my brother.
Meet me in Mandos’ Halls.