Opposition by WendWriter

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Sunshine sparkled off the waterfalls of Imladris as the sons of Elrond returned from their latest raid on the Orcs that plagued the Misty Mountains. Dusk had painted garish streaks of pink, orange and purple across the sky, and the twins and their horses were tired. As they wearily plodded across the bridge to the Last Homely House, their spirits lifted at the sight and sounds of home. The strains of "A Elbereth Gilthoniel" drifted towards them.

"It is good to be home, Elladan," said Elrohir. "The evening songs are lifting my heart."

"Why did they have to sing that one?" Elladan groaned.

"Why do you always have to spoil it for me?" Elrohir snapped at his brother. "You just have to go and ruin the moment by complaining. I am weary of it!"

"Well I am sorry, brother, that your pleasure is ruined by my sorrow," Elladan shot back. Really, this was too much!

"Must you always go around with a face like..." interrupted Elrohir.

"You care only for your own pleasure!" shouted Elladan.

"And you love to wallow in misery like a pig in..." snarled Elrohir, but he never got to finish his rant.

Staring at them both, his eyes full of sadness, was their father. "If your mother could hear you both now, she would weep," he declared. "When word came to me that you had returned safely from your errantry, I rejoiced. Word spread throughout Imladris, and our people were glad. They sang this song to express their joy, knowing that your mother loved it."

Elladan and Elrohir hung their heads in shame, knowing that their father was right. Dismounting, they put their hands on their hearts and stood silently, listening to their father as the last chorus of their mother's favourite song faded away in the distance.

They could barely stand to look at each other. Shame had pinched their cheeks, which glowed a bright red as they stood before their father.

Elrond walked over and put his left hand on Elladan's right shoulder, and his right hand on Elrohir's left shoulder. "I love you," he said, "and cannot bear it when my children fight. Look at each other."

The twins complied. This was the way their father always resolved disputes between them.

"Your mother and I used to joke that you were so alike in voice and appearance you would never need a mirror. Now turn to each other and put your hands on each other's shoulders," Elrond instructed. "Look into each other's eyes."

The twins knew exactly what they would see. How many times had they already seen each other reflected in each other's eyes? How many times had each seen the other in himself? That was the object of the exercise.

"What do you see?" asked Elrond, patience softening his voice.

The twins were silent, their mutual resentment simmering under the surface of their obedient demeanour. To disobey their father was unthinkable.

"Elladan?" asked Elrond, clearly expecting a response.

Elladan stared into his brother's eyes, seeing the aching sadness and longing for their mother, who had been taken by Orcs and put to torment many years before. She had sailed away to the Undying Lands to recover because the peace of Imladris and the love of her family would not suffice. Filled with fury at the memories evoked by his brother's grief, he wanted nothing more right then than to go out and wipe them all out forever. "I see sadness, Adar," he replied. "He misses our mother."

Elrond squeezed his shoulder gently. "And you, Elrohir?"

Elrohir gazed into his brother's grey eyes, searching for the truth of the matter, for a resolution. "I see my own reflection, Adar," he replied, his voice low and quiet.

Gathering his sons into his arms, Elrond embraced them both. "Oh, Elladan!" he cried. "You see weakness in your brother, and hate him for it. You were ever the practical one, and now you see only the need to kill Orcs. Everything else, even your love for your family, takes second place to your desire for vengeance!"

Elladan said nothing. His father's wisdom was honoured throughout Middle-earth. The twins were famous for killing Orcs. While he knew his father was right, Elladan found that changing his attitude was hard for him because of how he felt. Sadness filled his heart as he realised that rage had all but consumed him, leaving only emptiness and despair in its wake.

"Elrohir," said Elrond, "you say you see only your reflection because your brother has shut out everything else and only lets rage dwell in his thoughts. You were ever the impulsive one, and now your heart seeks to make things better by aiding your brother, though you do not share his motives. His fury repulses you, and you do not recognise him any more. Thinking of your mother reminds you of when we were all close, and you grieve for those times."

Elrohir embraced his father and brother, a lone tear dripping from his eye. "I am sorry I grieved you by quarrelling with my brother," he said, sincerity in his voice.

"I am sorry that my rage has tainted my love for my family," said Elladan. Tears would not come so easily for him.

"I forgive you both," their father assured them. "Can you forgive yourselves, and each other?"

The twins looked at each other again, awkwardness coming visibly between them.

"You will not be able to forgive each other until you have learned to accept those things that make you different from each other," their father told them.

"I will try, Adar," said Elladan, his voice hoarse with emotion.

"You should never stop trying," said Elrond. "There will always be ways in which you differ from each other. Now let us go inside and get ready for dinner."

Grooms came from the stables and took the horses as the three of them went into the house with their arms around each other.

The End.

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