Blood and Water

Ending a Long Road

As Elrond gazed up at the now clear night sky, a horrible omen flitted across his vision. Two stars fell from their perch leaving only a light trace of their presence behind until that too disappeared as quickly as it came. The meaning behind this was clear. Two beings had recently died. His fëa instantly went in search of his children.

"Elrond? What is it?" asked Glorfindel from atop his horse.

Tears slipped down from the Elf Lords' eyes. "Two stars have fallen."

Glorfindel cast down his eyes in sorrow. "Do you know whose they were?" he asked, almost afraid of the answer.

"Glorfindel…I can no longer feel Elladan or Elrohir." Elrond looked down at the sleeping form of Estel, and was glad the child, for now at least, was ignorant of the twins' fates. However, that wouldn't last; such secrets could never be hidden.

"We must ride quickly; it may not yet be too late, my Lord." said Glorfindel, compassion and sympathy wrapped in his words.

Elrond nodded, and they raced off in the direction of home, urging their horses past their limits. The animals were Elvish, and understood the predicament their masters were in, at least to an extent. They needed no urging.

Elrond rode through the passing night with neck-breaking speed; his steed almost flying as he galloped. His worry increased tenfold with each passing minute, and it was not only for his twin sons. Estel's temperature had been steadily growing; he could feel the heat radiating through the boy's clothes. His entire body felt like a growing fire. He could hear the rasping in the boy's chest and feel the shivers as his insides were assaulted with illness. Great – just what he needed: a sick child. This was going to make things even more complicated.

"Glorfindel, I fear the Fates conspire against us."

"Why's that?" yelled Glorfindel, the wind whipping hair into his face.

"Estel is ill."

Hours later…

In Rivendell's infirmary, Celsil, the healer in charge in Elrond's absence, was frantically dashing between the twins, who were growing worse by the second. They were slipping away from him. Both had a great deal of internal bleeding that was once again flowing from every possible orifice. They were dying, and Celsil was beginning to panic. He had to put a stop to this, at least until Elrond returned. What would he say if they weren't here when Elrond came back? How could he possibly explain? How could he tell a devoted father that his son had fled to Mandos, much less BOTH of his sons? If there was one thing he couldn't do, it was telling parents that he couldn't save their sons. Telling parents that their child would die, or worse, was dead.

Celsil was snapped from his thoughts as Elladan began to seize. He rushed to hold him down and avoid further injury. Specks of blood flew from the sick Elf's mouth, splattering Celsil's face and arms, as well as the bed and wall behind.

If he had been listening to his surroundings he would have heard a horn blowing in the distance, signaling Lord Elrond's return, followed by the sound of running through the hallways. What did grab his attention was the healing wing doors flying open, each heavy piece of oak slamming into the wall. Startled, he looked up to see Elrond running through the door, Estel still asleep in his arms and an exhausted Glorfindel on his heels.

Elrond arrived in time to see Elladan stop moving on the bed. Panicked he rushed to his side pushing Celsil out of the way and shoving Estel into the Elf's open arms. He didn't notice his friend had nearly dropped Estel in the shock of it all, nor how Glorfindel flopped down on a nearby bed.

He crouched down between the two beds his eyes and hands searched for a sign of life, any sign. He didn't care how faint it was; anything would do. There he found it: a faint, slow heartbeat.

"Glorfindel, the antidote. NOW!" he commanded, holding his hand out.

Glancing at the healers that surrounded him, the blond elf dug through his pockets for the small bottle. Finding it, he handed it to one of the other healers, who in turn gave it to Elrond.

To say Glorfindel was tired was a gross understatement; all he wanted to do was sleep. He almost felt ashamed about it, but figured it mostly because of the blood loss that made him this way. Finally his task complete, he lay back, and he was asleep before his head hit the pillow.

Celsil watched everything from a distance; Elrond was in control now and it was not his place to be there. Feeling his arms and hands warming up, he looked down at the child that had been temporarily placed in his care. He was relieved to see the youngest family member had been returned to them, but not in good health, it seemed. His cheeks were flushed and the rest of his face was pale. His breath was labored and he wheezed with every bit of air he took. Frowning in concern, the Elf walked a few beds down, so he was out of the way, and tended to the sickly child.

Elrond fed the antidote to each of the twins and waited. That was the hardest part about being a healer and a father both: the waiting. He looked over at the bed where several other healers were with Glorfindel, attempting to fix his wound. It wasn't a serious one; at least, it wouldn't have been if he had been treated sooner. Now he had to battle with severe blood loss that should, in all rights, have killed him. Elrond swore in that moment that if they all made it out of this lovely predicament alive, none of them would ever leave Rivendell again. In fact, he would tie them all up and lock them in the cellars, only letting them out for occasional bathroom breaks and once-daily exercise. He knew how exactly he would do it: they would be tied on a leash, so he could keep track of them and they couldn't run off. Yes; he could see it all now.

A harsh coughing caused him to jump. Ai; he had forgotten Estel in his rush to tend the twins! How could he have forgotten about his most precious and beloved human? Quickly, he ran to the boy's side, attempting to calm him.

Estel struggled for breath as each cough passed. He felt a hand gently rub his back and someone picked him up and holding him close, all the while whispering something in his ear. What the voice said, he didn't know, but soon the coughs subsided and he was able to breathe. His eyes watery, he looked up at the one who held him. He smiled when he saw his foster father and nuzzled closer, trying to absorb some warmth and comfort.

Elrond began to breathe himself when Estel's coughs stopped. For a moment, he had feared they never would. Though the coughs were gone he could clearly hear the child's wheezing with every breath. This cold was not yet over, it was only the beginning. Elrond smiled as he felt Estel nuzzle him slightly and Elrond held him closer. The Elf Lord sat down on the bed with his son in his lap, and slowly rocked him from side to side humming an old tune, lulling the human to sleep.

Before sleep took its claim on the young child Estel heard the strong gentle beat of his father's heart and knew everything would be all right.

One Week Later

Elrond made his way back to his chambers, feeling a burden being slowly lifted off his shoulders. Elladan and Elrohir were recovering nicely, and were finally able to be out of bed for short periods of time. It had taken a long while for the antidote to take affect; at first it hadn't seemed to work, but a day and a half later they were awake and doing better. Estel, on the other hand, had developed a serious cold, but that too was slowly dying out as the boy's body fought off the virus. He still had a bad cough that shook his whole form with each spasm and left him almost breathless afterward, his nose constantly ran (the sneezing, not being very powerful, had done nothing to ease the sniffles) and his fever spiked yesterday, but that too was going down. Glorfindel was also doing well. Though still very pale, he was slowly recovering and was active, but he was forbidden to do anything too strenuous. More often then not he was found resting in his room. At least he isn't overexerting himself, Elrond thought with a smile. The twins were also allowed to leave the healing ward, but Estel still needed looking after to make sure he didn't relapse. Elrond would have stayed by his ailing youngest son, but Celsil didn't like the idea and shooed him out, except for visits.

Elrond thought of only a few moments ago, when the Noldor Elf had forced him out of the healing rooms. "Elrond you may be the Lord of Rivendell as well as the best healer in all of Arda, but even you must rest at some point. Being your friend, I think it is only right for me to tell you to leave before you pass out where you stand," Celsil had argued. What exactly had happened then, Elrond wasn't sure, but he had an inkling Celsil may have forcibly pushed him out the door, and he knew it'd been locked behind him.

Walking down the quiet halls of the private family wing, he checked on his most precious treasures. His first stop was Elrohir's room.

The younger twin was sound asleep with his back to the door. He looked so peaceful, Elrond could hardly believe his son was grown. Walking to the side of Elrohir's bed, he watched his son sleep. After what seemed like an hour but couldn't have been nearly so long, Elrond left to see to his other son, Elladan.

Elladan's sleep was not as peaceful. The elder twin tossed and turned in his sleep, his hands gripping at the sheets, threatening to tear them under the strain. Elrond ran to his side in hopes of calming the troubled twin.

"Shh, Elladan, shh," he soothed. Taking the elf's hand, he gave it a gentle squeeze as his other hand went to Elladan's tangled hair, stroking it lovingly.

"Shh, Elladan. Everything's all right now, Ada's here. Shh." He continued until Elladan clamed down and his vision cleared.

"Ada?" he asked

"Yes, I am here."

Elladan sat up and looked frantically around his room.

"What is it?" asked Elrond, though he knew it was only a remnant of the twin's dream it would make him feel better he if told him.

Elladan relaxed after he realized what had happened. "Nothing," he said as looked at his father. "'Tis nothing, Ada. Only a dream."

Elrond smiled. He should have known Elladan would never say what had frightened him. "Must have been quite a dream."

"It was. Still, it was only a dream. I'm sorry to have woken you."

Elrond reached up to hug his son. As he held Elladan tight, he inhaled the scent of one he had nearly lost. Elladan returned the hug; after all, how often did his father come to see him as he slept? He felt his pervious fears and worries melt away in that moment. He was safe; his brothers were safe; everything was fine now. Nothing would dare try to ruin it again.

The End
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