Two by Two

Chapter Six: What's in a Name?

by Jay of Lasgalen

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“It is no use,”  Celebrían moaned in despair.  “I cannot wait any longer.  I want to see them again!”   She turned to Elrond.  “Am I being foolish?”

“No,” he admitted.  “I miss them too.  Come, we have been away too long.  It is time to return.”

They walked – not too swiftly – back along the paths that led to the house, acknowledging good-natured congratulations and kind wishes from those they passed.  Celebrían felt the familiar bubbling joy welling up inside as she thought of her sons, such tiny miracles, so very alike.  Would it ever be possible to tell them apart?  “There is something I wish to do when we get back,” she mused.  “I want to see if I can tell one from the other.  Give me one of the twins, and I will see if I know whether it is Elladan or Elrohir.”  She smiled impishly.  “Do you think it possible?”

“At this stage?  I do not know.  My parents could usually tell me from Elros, but that was when we were a little older.”

She looked at him quizzically.  “Usually?” she questioned.

“Unless we were trying to trick them or they had an absent-minded moment,” Elrond explained.

“You tried to trick your parents?”  Celebrían tried to sound shocked, but with little success.  She smiled.  “Do you think our sons will do that?”

Elrond laughed at her expression.  “Of course!  Where is the benefit of being a twin if you cannot fool people?”

“What else did you do?  I think I need to be forewarned.”  As they returned to their rooms, Elrond regaled her with a long list of what he termed ‘twincidents’, ranging from dressing identically; pretending to be each other; both pretending to be the same twin; and generally creating havoc and mayhem.

“Kindly do not tell these tales to them!  I am sure they will need no encouragement.”  Celebrían sensed a subtle change in his mood, and her laughter faded.  “I wish I could have met Elros.  You miss him, do you not?”

“Always,” Elrond relied simply.  “I always will.  But you, and now the twins, have brought me such happiness; something I never thought I would feel again.”

They reached their suite of rooms and Elrond opened the door of their bedroom.  All was peaceful.  Celebrían had half expected to be greeted by heart-rending tears, screams and wails, and was rather shocked to find herself faintly disappointed.  Had the twins even noticed her absence?

Soft noises of contentment rose from the sleeping drawer, and Tasarian stood to greet them.  Celebrían noticed immediately that she looked worried, and hurried to look at her sons. 

“My Lady – my Lord Elrond – there is something I have to tell you,” Tasarian announced nervously.

“What is it – what has happened?” Celebrían demanded in panic.  She bent to look at the twins, but they appeared placid and happy, both gazing back at her with wide grey eyes.

Tasarian held her hand out to reveal the two name bracelets.  “We bathed them.  The – the bracelets were removed by mistake.  I am so sorry – but I do not know which is Elladan and which is Elrohir.”  She dropped into a curtsey.  “Please forgive me – I have never made such a dreadful mistake!”

The girl Firienë, who had been standing near the window, hurried to her side.  “It was not her fault, my Lady – it was mine.”  Her voice trembled slightly.  “I took them off.  It was my fault.”

Celebrían’s reaction surprised them all.  Her giggle had a slightly hysterical tone to it, but compared with the terrors they had already endured over Elrohir, and the horrors conjured up by Tasarian’s first words, this was trivial.  “You removed their bracelets?  You do not know which is which?”  She turned to Elrond.  “Well, my husband, I think it is time for us to test my theory.”

Elrond took the mithril bracelets from Tasarian, glared at Firienë, and turned to his sons.   The two nursemaids made to leave, but stopped at his words.  “Firienë?  Next time, please do not take the bracelets off.”  His voice was mild, but Firienë blanched. 

“No, my Lord Elrond,” she whispered, and fled.

Celebrían settled herself on the bed by the twin’s drawer and looked down at them.  “I suppose that it was inevitable that this could happen sooner or later, but I rather imagined that it would be later.”  She gazed at them both.  “What if we cannot tell them apart?  What will we do then?  Elrond, they could grow up bearing the wrong names!”

“Their names will be the ones we call them.  What is in a name, after all?” he reassured her.  “We will make our best guess – and it would be best if we never tell them about this!”  Kneeling, Elrond picked up one of his sons.  “Are you ready?”

Celebrían nodded, leaning back and holding out her arms.  “Yes.  Give him to me.”  Receiving the baby from Elrond, she cradled him closely, cooing softly.  She closed her eyes and concentrated.  There was something – not character or personality as such, it was too early for such traits – but there was an indefinable feel to this child.  “Elladan,” she said on a faint note of surprise.  “This is Elladan.  I am certain of it!”  Looking up in triumph, she returned Elladan to his father’s arms.  “Again.”

Again she closed her eyes – it was easier to focus her attention and will.  Holding the second twin, she groped again for the vague essence she had glimpsed before, for a slight difference that would identify Elrohir.  “Oh …”   She hesitated, perplexed.   “I can feel no difference.  I would have said that this was Elladan as well.”   Dismayed, she opened her eyes and looked up at her husband.  He was grinning smugly.

“Elrond, you wretch!  It is Elladan again!”

“I wondered if you would be able to tell,” he admitted.  “Try again.”

This time, it was easy.  More familiar now with what she was looking for, Celebrían quickly found the something she could still not describe.  “Elrohir,” she stated with certainty.   “He feels quite different.  Elrond, we can tell them apart!  It works!”  She smiled down at Elrohir.  He gazed solemnly back at her, one hand grabbing at her hair, and yawned.  “I can sense a little of you as well, an echo of your healing.  This is Elrohir.”  Smiling in relief, she picked up the bracelets, checked the names, and placed Elrohir’s on his wrist.  “You try it.”

“I already did.  I found the same things.  You were right, they are different.  But I hope we will not have to put the theory to the test too frequently!”

By now, the twins had decided they had been apart for long enough, and simultaneously began to wail.  Hastily, Elrond sat next to his wife, close enough to placate them again.  He looked at Celebrían, his eyebrow raised.  “This will be the biggest trial of all.  It would appear they do not like being parted.  I think the next few years will be … interesting.”

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