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Title: All I have
Author: Uli (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Beta: Tallulah and Tux
Pairing: surprise dearie ;)
Author’s Note: A Christmas present to my wonderful beta Eni who deserved something for all her hard work. A great thank you to both Tallulah and Tux for wonderful beta input and all stubbornly remaining mistakes are mine :)
His brother was crying. Eluréd wrapped his arms around the elfling beside him, hugging him hard and trying to soothe him as he had seen Nana and Ada do when they had woken from nightmares. “There now, Elurín,” he whispered, trying to sound brave and strong, “there now, all will be well.”
He knew he was lying; nothing would ever be well again. They huddled together in the cold and the snow. Only a week ago they had been looking forwards to the midwinter celebrations and now, on the eve of celebration, their lives were shattered. They were on their own.
“I will take care of you now,” he whispered against his brother’s hair, a small child becoming an adult too early. “No one will hurt you again.”
Elurín rubbed his eyes tiredly as he fought to keep the small fire burning. The world had changed and the woods of Doriath were no more. He did not know where Eluréd was; his twin had left several hours ago and had not yet returned.
He curled up beside the fire as he thought back. This winter, he decided, was the worst he could remember since the year when their family had been murdered. It was midwinter eve and he was surprised to find himself alone; Eluréd knew how he hated this night, they both did, and still his twin had gone. He fought down his fear of being left on his own, of losing the only one that remained in his life.
Soft footsteps drew closer to their cave before his twin entered, shaking snow out from his tangled, unbrushed hair as he dumped the worn cloak on the floor of the cave with a heavy thump.
Elurín refused to raise his head, hurt and angry about having been left on his own on the day that felt longer than all others. He leant his head against his knees, trying not to cry. For some reason this year was worse than before, the cold and snow deeper, the night darker and the hideouts they had made through the centuries gone, lost beneath the water. He felt adrift, lost and afraid.
“Elurín?” His brother’s voice was soft, worried – his brother always worried. Strong, sinewy arms wrapped around him. “What is wrong?”
The fury exploded in him as he jumped up from the cave floor, away from his brother. “You!” he screamed, wanting, needing to make his brother hurt as much as he did. “You are what is wrong!”
Eluréd stared at him, his grey eyes dark of hurt and pain before he lowered his gaze. “I see,” he whispered, his voice rusty. ”I…” He straightened slowly, his shoulder slumped and dejected. “I will leave you alone,” he continued in a dreadful hollow voice. “Whatever is wrapped in my cloak is yours.”
Eluréd’s steps were heavy as he left, walking back into the snowstorm, his head lowered. Elurín stared after him, his heart shattering. All he wanted was to cling to his brother, plead with him not to leave. He had not meant it, he had just been angry, but he was unable to move as he stood there, frozen in horror at what he had done.
Slowly his gaze turned to the cloak on the floor, the worn and thin material had been wrapped into a large bundle, making the many stitches and patches threaten to burst at the seams. He kneeled by it numbly, his clumsy fingers untying the knots that held the material together, unfolding it reluctantly.
Tears welled up in his eyes and he cried helplessly, his thin body shaking of harsh sobs at the small wrapped gifts and the foods and sweets that must have cost his brother dearly. The thoughtfulness and love that it must had taken his brother to approach others made his heart ache, Eluréd more than himself avoided others and still he had done this, done it for him and he in return had hurt him.
He scrambled to his feet desperately, his need to find Eluréd overriding all other things as he ran out of the cave, sliding over the ice and snow.
“Eluréd!” His voice rang out in the storm, unanswered, as the winds carried his voice away. “Eluréd!” he screamed, again and again as he desperately searched for his brother. The storm howled around him, cold snow whipped his face but he did not care. Not even when his body no longer felt the chill did he care about a thing apart from Eluréd.
Finally he saw him, the thin huddled shape against a tree, almost buried in snow. “Eluréd!” He knelt brushing the show away from his brother’s face and hair.
The elder twin raised his head, his eyes empty, as he stared at a point over Elurín’s shoulder. “Why did you come?” he asked in the strangely hollow voice. “I slow you down, I make us hide. Go away, Elurín, go back to other elves.”
Elurín sobbed and wrapped his arms hard around his brother, unable to stop touching him. “I am so sorry,” he whispered over and over again as he rocked with his brother’s body clasped tightly. “So very sorry... I did not mean it… you are my everything Eluréd”
He felt his brother’s tears against his neck. “No,” Eluréd mumbled hoarsely. “I am wrong… I keep us hidden but I cannot keep you happy… you need others... go away, Elurín.”
He refused to leave, clinging to his brother as they both sobbed, crying over lives that were so very different from what they had been born to, lives that never changed, never saw others.
“I could not leave without you,” he mumbled finally, pressing fevered lips against his brother’s. “Come now, let us go back.”
Slowly and carefully they stumbled together towards the cave, their bodies chilled through to the point where cold no longer hurt before they reached their shelter. Eluréd stopped at the entrance, staring at the small presents and foods and sweets on his discarded coat. “Midwinter never came that year,” he whispered, his voice small and lost. “I wanted it to come but it never did… I thought this year…I thought it would make you happy.”
The younger twin nudged his brother in, pushing him down beside the fire before wrapping one of the hides they used as blankets around him, taking care of the one that had always been the strong one. “It did,” he said. “I was angry because I thought you had forgotten... I was scared you had left me.”
A shiver ran through Eluréd and soon his whole body shook as heat returned slowly. “I will never forget,” he promised, his voice strangled. “I never could.” He looked up at Elurín, the empty expression in the eyes fading slowly. “I hunted when you did not see,” he said, “I hid the hides and the carvings I managed to do when your back was turned, for a year I hid them. I took them to the village this morning, trading them.” He nodded towards the small gifts. “You should open them.”
Hesitantly Elurín’s shaking hands unwrapped the gifts, a small hairclasp, a hairbrush, a soft warm tunic and a new cloak and boots. Overawed he stared at his brother, fighting back tears; never could he remember seeing so many fine things in one place. “I have nothing to give you,” he said, his voice small. “I…”
Eluréd crept unsteadily to where his brother sat, wrapping his arms and the hide around them both. “You do not need to,” he whispered, stroking Elurín’s hair, “all I ever wanted was to see you happy.” He pressed his lips against his brother’s ear. ”You are my life, Elurín.”
He closed his eyes, grateful for what he had; he needed nothing as long as Eluréd was with him. He turned his head, smiling shakily at his brother as he leant in, touching his lips lovingly against his twin’s. “My Eluréd,” he whispered softly, lovingly. The cold and storm no longer mattered, the memories of the night forgotten as they kissed, tenderly, gently their breaths danced together, mingled and mated. They needed no one else.