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Summary: Sometimes, itís hard to decide what to keep and what to leave behind. First place in the ALEC challenge ĎThe End of Thingsí.
"How about this? Keep or throw away?"
Elladan turned to see his twin holding up a bow. It was made of yew, of course, and in spite of the fact that it was thousands of years old it was still in good condition. It was one that Glorfindel had made for him when he was an elfling. He gave Elrohir a disgusted look. "What do you think?"
Elrohir shrugged. "I donít know what to think, brother. Itís your bow. Do you want it or not?"
Instead of answering, Elladan pointed to the pile of items on Elrohirís bed. "Are you planning on taking all of that with you? The ship is likely to sink."
"I havenít decided yet," Elrohir said somewhat defensively.
Elladan snorted and took a few steps towards the bed to get a better look at what was there. The twins had been sorting through their things, deciding what they would take with them when they sailed, but they had been doing it separately. Now Elladan glanced at what his brother had piled onto his bed, presumably meaning to take the stuff with him, for there were other things lying about on the floor that obviously had been discarded. "Wait! What is this?" He held up a plush toy that had seen better days. It was a toy rabbit, dressed in a tabard of green velvet with a golden flower stitched on the front, and holding a sword made of felt in its paw. It had been given to them by their daeradar. He turned to face his twin. "Youíre seriously planning on taking this with you? Do you want all the Elves of Aman to laugh at you? I can just see it now: the great warrior striding down the gangplank holding on to this." He thrust the toy in his brotherís face.
Elrohir went red, then white, then red again. "Itís a keepsake," he said, trying to snatch the rabbit from his brother, but Elladan danced out of his way, smirking.
"You were always a bit of a softy," the older twin said somewhat derisively.
"I am not!" Elrohir yelled, his emotions fluctuating between embarrassment and anger. He hadnít really planned on taking the stupid toy with him when they left Imladris for the last time. It was just that he had discovered it hidden in a box with other toys and had taken it out on an impulse. He had truly intended to send it to Gondor with the other things they no longer would need. Eldarionís youngest daughter had a little boy who might like it. But now, the way Elladan was sneering at him... maybe he would just keep it and to the Void with what anyone thought.
"Give it back, Dan," he pleaded.
"Why should I?" Elladan asked. "Itís as much mine as it is yours. Daeradar gave it to the both of us, as I recall."
"But you donít really want it."
"And you do? Why?" Elladan demanded, now giving his twin a considering look.
"Perhaps because Iím such a softy," Elrohir retorted with a trace of bitterness in his tone.
Now it was Elladanís turn to look embarrassed. "Sorry. I didnít mean to call you that."
"So, can I have the toy back?" Elrohir asked, holding out a hand.
But Elladan gave him a sly look. "Only if you can catch me."
Before Elrohir knew it, Elladan was rushing out of the room, yelling at the top of his lungs, "Look what Roh wants to take with him! Isnít it cute?"
"Elladan!" Elrohir screamed, running after him. "Thatís right, brother. Youíd better run because when I catch up with you...." But he did not complete the sentence, for by now he had followed his twin to the main staircase and with a yell that would have frozen an orc in its tracks, he took a flying leap and together the two tumbled down the stairs. "Give it back! Give it back!" Elrohir cried as he and his twin wrestled together at the foot of the stairs.
"Say please," Elladan replied laughingly, managing to keep the toy out of Elrohirís reach even as they continued rolling about the floor.
Elrohir snarled a particularly vile oath as he lunged for the toy, but then he gave a squawk of surprise when he felt someone grabbing him by the nape of his tunic and hauling him up. He found himself dangling a good foot off the floor as Glorfindel held him in his grip. Elrohir stopped struggling when he saw the Elf-lordís expression. Glorfindel glared down at Elladan, still lying on the floor panting, gripping the toy rabbit.
"Get up," he ordered softly and Elladan scrambled to his feet, looking suitably chagrined as Glorfindel let Elrohir down, releasing him. He glared at the twins, both of whom had trouble looking at him. "Do you want to explain yourselves?" he asked and they cringed at the tone. It was the same one Glorfindel had used in the past whenever he was about to give them some particularly nasty punishment for their misdeeds.
"We were just... fooling," Elladan answered, pushing the toy towards his brother. "Here, Roh. I didnít mean to upset you."
But Glorfindel reached out at the same time and took the toy instead, gently smoothing the rumpled tabard and straightening the sword that had gotten bent in their struggle. The twins couldnít be sure, but they thought they saw a twitch of a smile on the Balrog-slayerís lips, his eyes brightening with humor, but then the moment was gone as he glanced up at them. His expression was sober as he addressed Elrohir, handing him back the rabbit. "Are you seriously thinking of bringing this with you?"
Elrohir shrugged and gave a sigh. "Not really. Itís just...."
"You should see what he has piled on his bed," Elladan interrupted with a sly smile. "Most of it is junk from our childhood."
Elrohir glared at his twin, then gave Glorfindel a sheepish look. "I was just going through it, remembering...."
Glorfindel gave him a sympathetic look. "I know itís difficult to let go. The Belain know Iíve done it enough times myself. You canít take it all with you."
"Well, what can we take?" Elladan asked. "Adar took half his library, but weíre not planning to bring the other half. All we really have are our weapons, but you said that we wouldnít need them there. So, are we just supposed to show up in Aman with only the clothes on our backs like beggars at the gate?"
"You take only what you truly treasure," Glorfindel replied, "those things that have the greatest meaning for you. And if itís a toy rabbit, then so be it."
"What are you planning on bringing?" Elrohir asked, giving Glorfindel a curious look.
"Only what I prize the most," he answered, giving them a brief secretive smile.
"And that is what, exactly?" Elladan demanded. "Oh, I know! Your second best sword." He gave Glorfindel a smirk.
"But he already said we wouldnít need to bring weapons," Elrohir pointed out, completely serious, "so it must be something else."
"Well that leaves his war bow out as well," Elladan said, musing. "What else does Glorfindel have that he would prize the most?"
Elrohir shrugged. "The casks of Dorwinion stored in the wine cellar?" he suggested.
"Too heavy," Elladan replied with a shake of his head. "What about his horse? I heard Mithrandir took Shadowfax with him, so why canít Glorfindel take his horse? You know how much he prizes him."
"But they have horses in Aman," Elrohir pointed out. "Oh, wait! I know." He gave the golden-haired Elf-lord a smile. "Youíre planning on bringing all those maps you love to pour over. Donít you remember, Dan, how Glorfindel always waxed lyrical over those fusty old maps, saying that they were a gift from the Valar and how he could never live without them?"
"Oh, yes," Elladan said with a nod, smiling at Glorfindel, who merely stood there with an amused look on his face. "Iím sure the Elves of Aman would really appreciate seeing them. Why, I bet they will come from every corner of Valinor just to get a glimpse of Glorfindelís famous maps."
Both twins had identical grins on their faces. Glorfindel shook his head. "You are both wrong," he said. "Swords or bows or even maps may have been highly prized here, where they are needed, but there is one thing, actually two things, that are far more important to me. They are what I plan to bring when we sail. Everything else, I can cheerfully leave behind."
The twins looked at one another, identical puzzled looks on their faces. As one, they turned to Glorfindel. "What two things?" Elladan demanded. "What are the two most treasured things that you have?"
Glorfindelís smile broadened. "Can you not guess?" he asked as he drew them both into his embrace. "The two things I treasure the most are you. You are what I will bring to Aman."
"Bu-but, weíre already planning to go!" Elrohir protested. "So how can you claim to be bringing us?"
"Whose idea was it to finally sail?" Glorfindel asked rhetorically, giving them both a brief kiss on their foreheads before releasing them. He then gave them a sterner look. "Finish packing," he ordered, sounding more like their Captain of old. "We leave at first light." Then, he strode away, leaving the twins gaping at his retreating figure.
After a moment or two of silence, Elladan turned to his brother. "Letís go over our things together and decide what we want to bring," he suggested. Elrohir nodded and together they climbed the stairs and headed back to their room.
Words are Sindarin.
Note: The word junk, earlier jonke, meaning, Ďrubbish, discarded objectí first appears in English circa 1480-90. Its origin is uncertain.
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