Disclaimer: I do not own Lord of the Rings or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
By Hanane EL Mokkadem
Rivendell. October 9th 2998, Third Age.
There was something wrong with his sons.
Lord Elrond knew this with absolute certainty. He had studied them carefully over the last two years and he knew his sons well enough to know when something was bothering them. Something serious.
He wondered why they hadn't come to him seeking his advice like they usually did when something was wrong. The fact that they didn't only increased the slightly disturbing feeling in his gut that there was really something going on with his sons that he didn't know about. For someone who prided themselves in knowing everything there was to know about his family, this was a heavy blow.
He frowned helplessly as he watched his sons without drawing attention to himself. Ever since orcs had captured and tortured his beloved wife Celebrian, Elladan and Elrohir had not been the same. They had become harder and angry, but it was nothing like the rage he had seen in their eyes as they watched their mother sail for the Undying Lands.
Where he and Arwen had been sad and heartbroken for their loss, Elladan and Elrohir grew enraged and vengeful. After that fateful day all they desired was vengeance on every orc they could find.
Sometimes he thought their anger was mostly directed at themselves, and dedicating their lives to slaying every orc in Arda was their chosen punishment for not being in time to save his beloved Celebrian from torture.
Whatever the reason, their anger and desire for vengeance dominated their lives. Elrond regretted that most of all. He wished his sons would focus on more than their family, causing mischief, and hunting orcs. But more than anything he just wished they would be happy.
His worries at this point in time were of a different nature. There was something his gwenyn was keeping from him, something important. He did not know how it happened or why, all he knew was his sons came home from their latest orc hunting endeavor changed.
Elladan and Elrohir had always been close to each other, they were twins after all, but somehow, they seemed closer, if that was even possible. They used to at least open up to him or Arwen, or even Estel, but now, they seemed distant and preoccupied.
They still spoke to him and Arwen about their troubles, showed them how much they loved them, and played practical jokes on them, but something had changed. It was as if they had walled off a small part of themselves, and whenever he tried to uncover what is was they were hiding behind the wall, he could almost see them adding another layer to an already impenetrable fortress.
It was beyond frustrating.
They never spoke of their latest orc hunt, or why they stayed away from home as long as they did. Yes, they gave technical facts, like orc displacement reports, and fighting tactics, but nothing that actually happened on their hunt. No detailed account of their travels. No battle stories. No excuses for leaving for over three years without coming back to Rivendell for supplies.
Elrond knew there was something they were keeping from him, something that must have occurred when they were away. But what that something was, remained a mystery to him.
He tried everything in his power to uncover their secret, from waiting patiently until they came to him themselves, to enlisting others to spy on them, but he uncovered nothing of importance. They were very careful, another fact that worried immensely.
The only thing he did see, something that was obvious really, was that there were times where they would grow restless, anxious even.
It would start slowly, building up until one of them would erupt like a volcano and challenge Glorfindel to a violent spar, or a falcon would fly by, and they would deflate like a balloon.
He did not understand the significance of the falcon, and it even took him months to discover that it was the falcon that somehow calmed his sons, but once he knew, it was obvious to see.
He wondered why the falcon's appearance made them so happy? For he could clearly see the distaste and resentment that clouded Elladan's face every time it flew by. But he could also see the relief, as if the falcon represented something the rest of them did not understand.
It was not long ago that Elrond noticed the falcon did not idly fly by. It left his sons something, every time it came. He had naturally wanted to know what it was but he knew better than to pressure the gwenyn into revealing that information. So Elrond decided he had to resort to other tactics. He had his closest advisers and even Arwen try to listen in on their conversations, especially after the bird left. From the scraps of information he received, he had pieced together it was a letter the bird brought his sons. Now if he could only discover whom the letters were from...
Elrond had made sure to keep particularly close to his sons after the falcon's visit. He had overheard them speak about a warrior that saved their lives, and oddly something called a 'Buffy' came up often. What exactly a Buffy was and what it could possibly have to do with killing orcs, he did not know. Elrond surmised it must have been a weapon of some sort. He had, regrettably, not found out more than that, his sons were very cautious and rarely spoke of their secret where it might be easily overheard.
"My Lord Elrond," he heard Erestor call with an anxious tone of voice, bringing him out of his troubled thoughts.
He turned slowly, slightly curious at what had alarmed his usually unflappable chief counselor.
"My Lord, Legolas Thranduilion has arrived to escort Estel home after finding him in Mirkwood suffering from orc poison."
Elrond's eyebrows rose.
"I escorted Estel to his room to rest and wait for your arrival. He seems well, but Prince Legolas suspects the poison is still lingering in his blood. According to the Prince, Estel is...delirious."
"Delirious? In what way?" Elrond questioned gravely as he made his way towards his foster son's room.
"I do not know, my Lord. I have seen no signs of any delusions. He does seem aggravated."
"Mmm, curious," Elrond mused worriedly as he reached his son's room and opened the door.
"Estel," he sighed in relief as his eyes fell on the exhausted, but seemingly healthy form of his son. "What ails you?"
Estel's head snapped up at the sound of his father's voice. "Ada," he smiled slightly. "I am well. The poison has left my body, I will survive."
"What has happened?"
Estel opened his mouth to answer but before he could the door opened with a loud bang. "Father?" Elladan yelled worriedly. "What happened to Estel, how is he?"
Elladan was followed by an evenly worried Elrohir and a frowning Legolas.
"Legolas says he is suffering from delusions. What happened?"
"I am not delusional!" Estel cried exasperated. "I'm telling the truth, she was there, I'm sure of it!"
"Neither I nor my men found any evidence of another presence in your vicinity, Aragorn. If she was there, we would have found something."
Estel frowned. "My wound? It was bandaged when you found me, yes? She did that. And the campfire, I don't remember setting it. "
Legolas shook his head. "You could have done that yourself, Argorn. Perhaps you have forgotten because of your fever. There were no traces of anyone."
Elrond looked from his frustrated foster son, to his confused twins and back to a worried Legolas Greenleaf. "Who is this she, you speak of? What has happened?"
Estel sent one last irritated scowl to Legolas before turning back to his father. "I departed from King Tranduil's halls to journey home without an escort," he began deciding to just say it and face his father's ire.
"Yes, I know, Ada. It was a foolish act on my part."
"A foolish act that shall not be repeated again," Elrond frowned displeased at his son's actions. Hopefully Estel would not make the same mistake again now that he learned how dangerous it was. "Continue."
Estel nodded, grateful his father was willing to listen to the rest of the story without yelling at him how foolish his behavior was.
"I came across a party of orcs in the forest, but dispatched them swiftly. Unfortunately, one of their swords cut me before I killed them all. As you can probably surmise it was coated with poison."
Elronds's brow furrowed in worry and anger, and Aragorn winced at the lecture he knew was coming his way.
"I tried to reach home as fast as I could, but my strength was fleeting and I fell off my horse. I laid there falling in and out of shadows until she came. She saved me, Ada," he looked up at his father willing him to believe his words.
"When I woke up she had taken care of my wounds, built a fire, and talked to me for hours on end. Her voice pulled me from the darkness, her words filled me with hope that like her, I too could fight against the evil that was working its way into my soul."
Aragorn looked at his father and almost sighed in frustration when he saw his carefully blank face. His eyes turned to Legolas who was still watching him for signs of delusions, and then to the twins who were very carefully not looking at each other.
He watched them closely, looking for any signs about what they were trying to hide. He knew them well enough to see that they were up to something, and resolved to keep a closer look on them for now, lest he woke up to snakes in his bed, or honey in his shoes.
"There were no signs that pointed to another presence?" his ada asked Legolas.
"No, Lord Elrond. I am adept enough at tracking to find even the most carefully hidden tracks, there were none."
Aragorn resisted pulling his hair out in frustration at Legolas' pig-headedness. "She was there, I know she was," he hissed through gritted teeth.
"You had a fever," his ada pointed out carefully. "This poison is known to induce delusions. You could have hallucinated-"
"What did she look like?" Elladan asked abruptly.
Aragorn turned to him in surprise. Did his brother at least believe him, even when his best friend and father did not?
"She was beautiful," his voice sounded oddly wistful. "Her hair was the color of gold, like the sun shining over a field of barley. Her eyes were green, they were filled with wisdom and pain. She-"
He stopped to look at his brothers when Elladan started coughing and Elrohir was patting his brother on the back rather harshly.
"Pay no mind to him," Elrohir said giving his brother a suspiciously forceful pat on the back. "Go on, please."
Aragorn frowned. Now he knew they were up to something, and it was clear to see it had something to do with him. He also had the strangest feeling his brother was secretly laughing at him. One look at his brother showed him his suspicions were correct.
"She was there," he repeated forcefully, not wanting to finish his description of the woman who saved him now that he could see the amusement in his brother's eyes.
"Yes, yes, I believe you," Elladan snickered. "With hair as gold as the sun, and eyes as green as the forest."
Aragorn glared at his brothers, he was going to make them pay for laughing at him.
"Pay no mind to them, Aragorn, they were obviously dropped on their heads when they were infants," Legolas smiled.
"Children," Elrond interrupted, halting any argument that might have erupted in its tracks. "If you don't mind, I would like to get back to the story."
"Was this woman an elf?" he asked Aragorn.
Aragorn frowned thoughtfully for a moment before shaking his head. "No, she was not tall enough to be an elf, if it was not for her beauty I would have though she was a dwarf."
Elladan suddenly choked and started coughing furiously while Elrohir was patting his brother's back, trying but failing to suppress his laughter.
"We need to-"Elladan started, but stopped when another coughing fit overcame him.
"To leave," Elrohir finished. "To somewhere that...um..."
"Isn't here," Elladan interjected breathlessly. "Because we need..."
"Water!" Elrohir exclaimed triumphantly. "I mean water," he added in a normal tone of voice, when his father gave him a strange look.
"So that's what we will do now."
"Farewell," they finished simultaneously before running out the door.
The second the door closed behind them he could hear them laughing uproariously.
"It wasn't that unbelievable, was it?" he asked his father, trying but failing not to pout.
His father was still watching the door his brothers disappeared through with a thoughtful frown. "Definitely up to something," he muttered softly before turning back to Aragorn. "Tell me your story again, but this time don't leave anything out."
His instinct was telling him that whatever it was his sons were hiding from him, it had something to do with Estel's story. He would find out what it was, and act accordingly.
There was something wrong with his sons. And may Eru save him, he was fairly certain they were up to their usual mischief.
A/N: So, What did you think? Are you guys still interested in reading more stories of this series? If you see any mistakes please let me know? I don't have a beta so any and all help would be appreciated.
Next one will include Buffy. It's only one more one-shot, then it'll be a multi-chapter story before we reach the ring years. Hope you'll stick with me.