Chapter 1: A Bad Day

by Jay of Lasgalen

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Elrohir was lazing by the river, reading and keeping half an eye on Arwen as she paddled, when Glorfindel hailed him.  “Elladan, there you are!  I have been looking for you.  Elrohir said you may be down here.” 

“He did?”  Elrohir asked cautiously, not wanting to commit himself.  He was surprised at the slip – Glorfindel was one of the few people who rarely confused the two of them.   It was also rare for Elladan to deliberately mislead him – what was his brother up to?  “You were looking for me?”  he added.  “Why?”

Glorfindel sighed.  “To remind you – and it is clearly necessary – that the duty rosters are to be on my desk tomorrow morning without fail.  Do not forget again!”

Elrohir sighed, stifling a flare of exasperation with his twin.  Elladan hated the monotony of routine tasks like compiling duty rosters and writing patrol reports.  Wherever possible, he delegated the work to someone else – not always reliably.   On occasion, the work had not been done.  Elrohir hesitated, wondering how to respond.  If he promised Glorfindel, he would be honour-bound to do the work himself – and he had his own duties and responsibilities to contend with.  If he admitted the truth, Elladan would end up with even more of the administration work he so hated.  Furious with his brother for placing him this difficult situation, he nodded at Glorfindel.  “It will be done,”  he hedged.  “You have my word.”  He shot a warning glance at Arwen to say nothing.

“See that it is!”  Glorfindel snapped as he left.  “I do not wish to hear that you persuaded Elrohir – or anyone else – to do it for you!”

“Do not worry – Elrohir will not be doing it; you can be certain of that!”  Elrohir responded a little sourly.

Glorfindel turned and gave him a long look, evidently hearing something in Elrohir’s tone of voice.  Arwen, bright-eyed, splashed out of the stream.  “I’ll make sure that Elladan does the rosters properly, Glorfindel!” she promised cheerfully.   “Won’t I, El?”  she added to her brother.

Glorfindel surveyed them both suspiciously.  “See that you do,” he said at last.  He turned, and stalked off towards the training fields.

Elrohir lay back with a muffled curse, closing his eyes in despair.  Why did Elladan do this to him?

“Well, Elladan,”  came Arwen’s bright, malicious voice.  “Are you going to do the rosters?”

“Go away, Ar!”  Elrohir sighed.  “Just leave me.  Why not go and pester someone else instead?” he begged, wishing to put someone – anyone, especially his brother – through this same torment.  There were times when he desperately envied Legolas.  His status as an only child was most attractive at moments like this.

You’re Elrohir!”  Arwen told him.  “Don’t pretend you’re not – you know I can always tell you apart!”

He sighed.  It was true.  Although they had frequently tried, especially when Arwen was younger, he and Elladan had never managed to fool her.  She always knew who they were.  “Of course you know.  You knew when we came down here,” he responded.

“I don’t understand why everyone else finds it so difficult,” she continued.  “It’s not fair.  You should do something about it – wear different colours, do your hair differently, something – to make it easier for everyone!  Poor Glorfindel was quite confused!”

“You are right,”  Elrohir growled.  “I  wish we did not look alike – I wish we were different!  Be thankful, Arwen, that you are not a twin!”  They made their way back to the house.  As soon as possible, Elrohir abandoned his sister on the lawn in front of the house, and stormed off to find his unrepentant brother.

He cornered Elladan in his bedroom.  “I have just had Glorfindel demanding to know why I have not done the duty rosters yet!”  Elrohir fumed.  “He wants them tomorrow, without fail.  What are you playing at, Elladan?”

Elladan raised his hands defensively.  “I am sorry, El!  It was not my fault.  Well, not entirely,” he conceded.  “Glorfindel came to me and asked where I was.  I said I – you – were down by the river.”  He paused, reviewing this odd sentence, then shook his head.  “Anyway, I did not deliberately set out to mislead him.  He thought I was you.  It happens, El, you know it does!”

Elrohir glared at his brother.  Such mistakes and misunderstandings did indeed happen, but he wished they did not.  “Well, see that those forms are on his desk tomorrow – I will not make excuses for you again!”  he threatened.

Matters were not helped over supper, when Lindella, a young musician whose attention Elrohir had been trying to attract, sat next to Elladan.   She listened to him attentively, smiling and laughing as he quoted scraps and snippets of poetry to her.  “But that is one of my favourite ballads!” she exclaimed.  “Do you know the whole of it?”   Elladan floundered helplessly, gazing at his brother in mute appeal.  Elrohir pretended not to notice, and turned his back on his twin.  “Will you sing it to me?”  Lindella murmured softly.  “Please, Elrohir?”

Elladan coughed, nearly choking on his wine.  “Lindella, I – I am not – that is, I am Elladan.  Not Elrohir.  I thought you knew …”  he said weakly.

Lindella stood, anger flashing in her eyes.  “Elladan?”  she raged.  She glared at him, then at Elrohir, who was watching in horror.  “You did this deliberately!  Both of you!  I suppose you think it is funny!”

“Lindella, no,” Elrohir began helplessly, but she was beyond listening.

“How far were you going to take this?  You were making a fool of me!  Humiliating me!  How could you!”  She swept from the room and disappeared.  The soft hum of music and conversation, which had stopped, resumed more loudly than before.

Elrohir felt an overpowering urge to crawl beneath the table and hide. He resisted the temptation and stood, inclining his head towards his parents.  “Good night, Mother, Father.  I will see you in the morning.”  He turned to Elladan who had not moved.  “Elladan, I will talk to you later,”  he warned.

“El, please, that was not my fault!” Elladan protested.  “How was I to know …”

“I said, I will talk to you later!” Elrohir snapped.  “Good night!”

The hallway outside was deserted, for which he was thankful.  Making his way swiftly to his room, he collapsed onto the bed, and stared into the dim darkness.  How could his life possibly get any worse?

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