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Tough Love

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Title: Tough Love.


Author:  washow


Rating:  G


Summary:  Desperate times call for desperate measures so Elrond takes steps to save his sons while putting his relationship with them in jeopardy.


Disclaimer:  I do not own Lord of the Rings nor am I making any profit from this story.  Any similarities to other fan fiction are purely coincidental.  I tried to remain as true to the books as I could but there may be a few discrepancies.  This is not slash but a tale of friendship and family love.





Tough Love



The lord of Imladris was becoming more and more frustrated as he paced about his study.  His daughter had moved to Lorien thirty years ago and since that time his twin sons had been traveling Middle Earth slaughtering orcs.  He wasn’t frustrated because his sons were hunting orcs; he was frustrated because his sons were letting their desire for revenge destroy them.  When he looked into the twin’s eyes he could only see a desire for blood and death, no longer did they reflect the beauty and joy of the world.  It was those eyes which kept the lord of Imladris awake at night and broke his heart.  He feared that he would lose them either to the halls of Mandos, which was likely, or to their hatred and desire for revenge. 


Elrond had tried talking to his sons about their need for revenge on the few occasions they had been home but they turned a deaf ear to his pleas to reconsider their actions.  The more his sons were consumed by their hatred the more desperate Elrond become to find a way to bring them back to the elves they were before their mother left.  He considered sending them to Lorien and letting their grandmother try to get through to them but then thought better of it because she was already raising his daughter for him.   No, he had to do this and prove that he was a good father who was capable of raising his sons without the aid of his wife.


As Elrond continued to consider his options it occurred to him that what he needed was to find a way to keep his sons in one place long enough long enough to talk some sense into them.  While he was thinking about ways to do that an idea suddenly presented itself and he rushed to his desk to compose a letter.  After the letter was sent Elrond sighed deeply and picked up a small painting of his wife, “Celebržan I’m doing the best I can raising our children but it is difficult without you.  I’m trying to save the twins from themselves but our sons may hate me after this, but hopefully they’ll be alive and able to join you some day in Valinor.”  Elrond put the painting back in it’s place and wandered to the balcony where he gazed at his beloved valley and thought about his family.  Yes, his sons might survive to join their mother but would he survive if he lost the love of his sons?


Three weeks after Elrond sent the letter a response was delivered by a very weary messenger who had ridden as fast as possible to get the message to his lord.  After reading the message Elrond smiled grimly, his request had been granted so now all he needed were his sons and the plan could be set into motion.  Apparently the Valar were in approval of Elrond’s plan because not two hours after the letter arrived horses were heard in the courtyard.  Elrond wasn’t expecting visitors so he went to the door to greet the new comers and was surprised to see his sons on the steps leading to the house.  For long moments father and sons stood looking at each other in uneasy silence.  Finally Elrond broke the stalemate by first embracing one twin and then the other.  After breaking the last embrace Elrond looked his son’s up and down with a critical eye, “You are well?”


The younger twin nodded, “Aye ada we are uninjured.”


Elrond breathed a sigh of relief, “Then come to my study once you have cleaned off the trail dust and refreshed yourselves.”  While his sons were getting cleaned up and having something to eat Elrond was quickly composing another message which he sent with a fast messenger.


A few hours later the twins were in their father’s study where they were greeted warmly and gestured into seats. “I trust the hunt went well.” 


Elrohir nodded, “We managed to wipe out two orc hordes that had moved into the Misty Mountains since our last hunt.”


     Elrond nodded, “How long do you plan to be home?”


     Elladan ignored the tension in his father’s voice and responded off-handedly, “We were going to stay a few months but we learned the rangers are planning a series of raids on the orcs this fall and offered our assistance.  I’m afraid we must leave at mid-day tomorrow in order to join up with Arahad and his band of rangers.”  Seeing the disapproval pass over his father’s face the twin added, “If that pleases you.”


     Elrond smiled at the icy politeness in his son’s last statement it was obvious his son no longer thought it necessary to ask permission, “I’m afraid that is impossible.”


     The twins nodded at first but then realized what he had said, “What to you mean impossible?  We aren’t elflings anymore we can go when and where we please”.  Elrohir stated hotly.


     Elrond gave his sons an icy look in response to their defiant ones, “No my sons you aren’t elflings anymore but you are MY HEIRS and therefore have duties to this realm.”  At this moment Elrond held up the letter which had arrived just hours before his sons, “Thranduil wants to improve relations between the two realms and requests that I, along with my sons, attend a summit which will be held in Mirkwood a week and a half from today.  That means you will be leaving Imladris tomorrow but you won’t be meeting rangers but instead you will be going with me to Mirkwood.  Do I make myself clear?”


     “Yes my lord”, Elladan growled just before he and Elrohir turned to leave the room.


     “I expect to see you at the feast tonight” Elrond added just before they left. The only sign that they had heard him was a short nod from his youngest before the door closed.  After his sons were gone Elrond sank dejectedly into his chair and rested his head in his hand.   


Quietly a door to the rear of Elrond’s desk opened and a figure walked to the half-elf’s side.  Glorfindel put his hand on Elrond’s shoulder, “Are you all right my friend?”


     Elrond sighed deeply, “As right as I can be”


     The golden-haired elf squeezed his shoulder in support, “Are you sure you don’t want me to come along?”


     Elrond motioned his friend into a chair beside his desk, “No, if this can be done at all I must do it alone.  I just hope I can get through to them in time.  I’m not sure how much of my sons is left beneath all that hate and anger.


     Glorfindel sighed in his turn, “Don’t give up my lord there is always hope.”


Elrond nodded to his ever-optimistic advisor and headed for his chamber to pack for the journey.  Yes, there was always hope and the Valar help him he wouldn’t give up until those sons of his listened to reason.


     Early the next morning Elrond, his two reluctant sons and their guard left the hidden valley bound for Mirkwood.  When the group finally reached the gates of the Mirkwood palace Elrond felt a jolt of fear and anticipation travel up his spine.  He hoped that this plan would make the twins to see reason and repent from their reckless pursuit of revenge but he was aware that it could also part a father from his sons forever.  As they entered the palace courtyard Elrond caught sight of the woodland king standing in front of the stairs which led to the grand entrance of the palace. 


     The woodland king approached his visitors once they had dismounted, “Welcome to Mirkwood my lords I’m pleased you could come.  I trust it was a safe journey”.


     Elrond bowed to the king, “Aye it was and I thank you, your majesty for inviting us here to improve relations between the realms.


     Thranduil nodded, “Of course I suspect after that long trip you would like to be shown to your accommodations.”  Elrond and his sons nodded, “Fine then if your allow my men to escort you they will show you to your rooms.”  Suddenly four guards approached the twins from behind; two quickly grabbed their arms and held them while the other two took their weapons.  Once they were unarmed the guards started dragging them toward the palace while the king and their father following behind.


“What is going on here?”  Elladan demanded.


“Is this the way you treat guests?  Ada!”  Elrohir called.


Elrond’s heart fell into his stomach as he watched his sons struggle and listened to their calls.  He couldn’t help wondering if he was doing the right thing but he had a sinking feeling this was the last chance he would have to talk some sense into his sons.  So Elrond steeled himself against their calls and solemnly followed them to the one place he had found that they couldn’t leave and he would have all their attention.

When the twins were secured in their cell in the dungeon they were able to see their father standing on the outside looking in, “How could you!”  Elladan growled, “Our own father, how could you betray us like this!”


Elrond had to fight back tears “I have not betrayed you my sons, this was the only way I knew how to get your attention.  You have to stop living your lives the way you have.  You have to stop killing out of revenge.”


“So that’s it, you’ve locked us in here to get us to stop hunting orcs!  Have you forgotten what they did to mother?  Have you forgotten how hollow and lost her eyes were?”  Elrohir screamed.


Elrond had to fight to maintain his decorum and sadly replied, “Yes, I remember how lost her eyes were because I see the same look in yours.”


Elladan ignored the sad response of his father and demanded, “How long do you plan on keeping us here?!”


“Until you’ve come to your senses” Elrond replied then turned and started back up the stairs. 


Both twins started pulling at the bars like wild animals and shouting at their father, “You can’t do that, what about the orcs?  Are you just going to let them continue to slaughter elves?  We hate you!”


Elrond was nearly at the top of the stairs when that last statement was uttered and was glad of the fact because his composure collapsed.  If it wasn’t for Thranduil’s firm grip on his elbow Elrond would have ran back down the stairs and released his sons while begging for their forgiveness.  But Thranduil held firm and steered Elrond into his study, “They need to get this out of their system, if you set them free it isn’t going to do anyone any good.” 


Elrond collapsed into the chair Thranduil directed him to and put his head in his hands, “I know but it is difficult to leave them down there.  Did you see how angry they were?  Even if they change their ways they will probably never forgive me for putting them through this.”


Thranduil reached out and put a reassuring hand on Elrond’s shoulder, “You know how children are, they overreact in the moment but then later when things are calmer they will see the reason behind your actions and not only forgive you but will thank you for what you’ve done.” 


Elrond sighed, “I hope your right.  I’ll leave them alone tonight but tomorrow I’m going talk some sense into them”


The next day Elrond went to his sons to plead his case only to find them still openly belligerent and hostile to the point where he couldn’t get in a word edgewise.  He continued to go to them each morning for a week but found them in the same mood each day.  At the end of the week the half-elven lord again sat in Thranduil’s study with his head in his hands and looked distraught, “Thranduil, they won’t listen to a word I say.  They were distant before but now they hate me.  My own sons hate me!”  The admission caused the flood gates to open and the elf burst into tears in front of the Mirkwood king, “I don’t know what else to do Thranduil, I’m going to lose them just like I lost their mother and their sister!”  Elrond continued to cry as Thranduil pulled him into an embrace. 


“Don’t give up hope my friend, I’ll talk to them tonight while you rest.  Tomorrow you can give it a last try.”  Elrond raised his head to meet the kind eyes of the elven king who continued, “Trust me in this and rest tonight.”  The king then turned to call for his aide, “Thalinar”.


The aide entered the chamber at the call and bowed to both occupants, “Yes sire”


“Take lord Elrond to his chamber and have a sleeping drought sent up.”  The lord of Imladris looked sharply at the Mirkwood king but Thranduil just shrugged, “You need to rest my friend and if you need help so be it.”  The elves parted company with Thranduil heading to the dungeons and Elrond and Thalinar heading for the visiting lord’s guest chambers.


Thranduil was steaming mad, how dare those young upstarts reduce their father to the broken elf he just saw in his study. He pounded down the stairs and came to a stop in front of the cell which held the Pendril twins.   The elven king narrowed his eyes and studied the identical twins, he cold tell they were tired and disheveled from having to live for the past week in one room but he could also see the defiance burning in their eyes.  Thranduil signaled to the guards and the cell was opened so he could proudly stride into the center of the cell.


The twins studied the new comer for a moment than one spoke, “What do you want?”


The Mirkwood king grabbed the collar of the elf (he later learned it was Elladan) and hauled him to his feet, “I want some respect child and not just for me but for your father.”  He released his hold and shoved the twin onto the bench, “The two of you sit in here acting as if you are the only ones being affected by your behavior.  You are so caught up in grieving over your loss that you don’t even think about what you are doing to your father.  I don’t know your father well but I remember in the last alliance he was a proud elf who held his head high while he stood in front of the black gate.  Tonight in my study I saw that same elf reduced to tears by the selfish actions of his sons.”  The twins looked up when they learned their father had been weeping, “That’s right your father cries and why you may ask, he cries for you.  He cries because you are no longer capable of seeing beauty and joy.  He cries because he believes your hatred and anger will destroy you.  The one elf on Middle Earth who has lost his twin brother, his parents, his king, and his wife doesn’t cry for himself but weeps for you!  Lesser elves would have died of grief long ago but he remained only to be brought to the pit of despair by his own sons!  I’m going to leave you to your thoughts and perhaps your guilt.  Your father will return in the morning and all I ask is that you hear him out.”  Thranduil didn’t give either of the twins a chance to respond but instead stood and strode out of the cell. 


The twins glanced each other before moving to separate corners of the cell to mull over what the elven king had just told them.  After a couple of hours the younger twin broke the silence, “Dan?”


Elladan raised bloodshot eyes to his brother, “Yeah Ro?”


Elrohir sighed at the haggard appearance of his twin but continued, “Do you think Thranduil was right?  Do you think we’ve been selfish in our actions?”


Elladan sighed, “I’m not sure anymore.  I didn’t think we were being selfish if anything I thought we were being selfless by spending all of our time ridding Middle Earth of orcs.”


Elrohir moved closer to his twin, “But now?”


Elladan turned to look into his brother’s eyes, “Now I wonder if we were doing the right thing.  After Thranduil said we made ada cry I started to think about the dozen or so times we’ve been home these last thirty years and how ada seems to have aged so much during those years.  Now I wonder if he has aged because of the worry we put him through.”


Elrohir leaned against his brother, “I’ve thought of that and I’ve also been wondering what mother and Arwen would say if they could see what we have done to him.  What are we going to do brother?”


Elladan placed his head on top of Elrohir’s, “I don’t know, I just don’t know.”  The two brothers spent the rest of the night gathering strength from the proximately of the other and pondering where their path in life was going to lead them next.


The next morning Elrond arrived looking more refreshed than he had in days.  The half-elf noted that his children looked less defiant than they had in years so he poured his heart into the matter.  “My sons I know what happened to your mother caused you to despair.  I know because I was suffering as well and all most left Middle Earth with your mother.  Do you know what kept me here?”  The twins both shook their heads, “It was you and your sister.  It was brought to my attention that you needed me so I stayed and discovered that I needed you as well because your love and company filled my heart.  The only thing that allowed me to survive the ordeal with your sister was the thought that I still had the two of you to complete me.  But now I fear I’m losing you as well and if I do then there isn’t anyone left to pull me back from the brink of despair.  I love you with all of my heart and it is destroying me to watch you destroy yourselves.  I understand that you are angry at the orcs for destroying your mother’s spirit.  It’s all right to be angry but it isn’t all right to let that anger consume you.  Please it isn’t too late you can still pull back from the void you are walking on the edge of, come back to the elves you used to be.  Do it for your mother, do it for me, do it for yourselves but please come back because I don’t think I could handle it if I lost you.” 


The twins exchanged a glance and immediately their hearts wept for the anguish they were putting their father through.  “Ada” Elladan ventured, “we never wanted to cause you more pain after the loss of mother.”


Elrohir piped in “but we can’t stop hunting orcs”


Elrond looked at his two sons, “I don’t want you to go soft on orcs my sons all I want is for you to stop hunting them out of revenge and instead protect others from them when they are a threat.”


Elrohir looked at his father with sad eyes, “We want to obey you ada but I’m not sure we can.  We have spent so much time seeking revenge that I’m not sure it is possible for us to give it up.”


Elrond nodded, “I know it will be hard, all I ask is that you make progress at letting go of your anger.  Come back to Imladris with me and allow Glorfindel and I to help you work through your anger.”


The twins nodded and embraced their father, “We will try ada.”


After the family had dried their tears Elrond looked around the cell, “Now if you like I can ask Thranduil about some better accommodations”


“I don’t know ada, I kind of like it down here.  Do you think we can do this at home?”  Elrohir chirped as his father led them out of the cell.


That day was the beginning of the healing of the twins hearts.  They had to work hard to overcome their taste for revenge but it was worth it as they once again were able to experience the beauty of Middle Earth.


The End