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*Across the night, it was the moon that stole my slumber. Across the night, I fell tired, asleep in a golden ocean. Your eyes perspired, a spike in my fascination. I've never seen the sunshine from higher points than sunrise. I don't want to be lonely*

Elladan splashed his face with the cool water; the coldness had an invigorating feel to it and gave a new lease of life. Sitting back he watched a solitary golden leaf drift down to the surface of the water, causing minute waves until it was swept downstream with the rest of its dying kind. Autumn was fast approaching. Leaning forward, he gazed at his rippling reflection and sighed noting how much he resembled his father.

"My father!" he snorted, unleashing a brutal attack on the water and splashing it angrily with his hand, achieving nothing but releasing his own pent up fury. The water was unperturbed again in moments and the tranquillity of the surroundings returned. Elrond was well aware of his eldest son's susceptibility to tantrums, only always seemed to aggravate him further whilst the youngest, Elrohir, often remained calm and composed. He too, was very aware of his brother's temper and would frequently be on the receiving end of his rages, although being close siblings forgiveness soon followed an apology.

Lying back, he mused over the situation, still annoyed his father was showing so little support for his sons, but when it came to his sister...

"Elladan?" said his brother, sitting beside him, "how are you feeling?"

Elladan glanced at him for a second, revealing nothing in his eyes. He did not reply, instead staring upwards at the deep blue sky

"Has your life been how you imagined it would as a child Elrohir?" he asked deeply. Scratching behind his ear, Elrohir shrugged.

"I do not know. I never considered what my life would be like outside Rivendell until we left and even then I did not know what to expect."

Elladan leaned up on his elbows.

"You have never thought there was more to life than what father orders us to do?" he said, almost with malice. Elrohir shrugged again. Disappointed, Elladan lay back again, "it seems I am alone in this after all."

"Alone in what?" Elrohir asked, looking out cross the river towards the trees.

"It does not matter," Elladan said, pulling himself into a sitting position. He heard footsteps nearby and inclined his head in their direction to see three figures materialise from between the low hanging willows, laughing and chattering away without a care in the world. Elladan recognised them to be Serondai, Legolas and Teruthiel arms linked together in a chain. Serondai was endowed with a chain of daises hand made by Legolas which she wore with pride as she was so impressed with the 'craftsmanship' as she had put it some time before. Her eyes lit up when she spotted Elladan, and breaking away from the other two, she ran towards him. Elladan smiled broadly and greeted her with a bow.

"Serondai, I am sorry for this morning. I hope you received my message," he said with anticipation, but was almost positive she had.

"Yes, but what is the trouble with your father? I saw you arguing with him."

"Oh, it is nothing, please do not worry yourself over it," he replied unsteadily, avoiding her eyes. She knew immediately it was something awful.

"Elladan," she whispered, "please, tell me. I thought we were friends?"

"We are," Elladan whispered in reply, taking her hand in his, "but I think it is best I do not tell you, for nothing has been confirmed yet and I do not wish to upset you unnecessarily."

His sincerity touched Serondai deeply and she smiled, squeezing his hand gently. Elrohir watched them with interest, while Teruthiel was silently praying the meeting would be over soon as he could feel every muscle in Legolas body had tensed.

"If you are sure you would rather not confide in me?"

"Oh please my dear Serondai, it has nothing to do with that. I simply have no wish to jump to any conclusions just now. I am awaiting a final decision from my father and then I shall be sure to tell you. I promise," he leaned forward and kissed her softly on her cheek and caught a look he had not seen in her hazel eyes before as he pulled away. He sighed inside for her, "Would you join me for supper this evening though? I would be delighted with your company."

"I.." Serondai began, but was interrupted.

"She has already agreed to eat with us!" Teruthiel said, stepping forward. Legolas gave him a warning look, but he was relentless, "have you not, Serondai?"

"Well, yes," Serondai murmured, "but I see no reason why we cannot all eat together."

"Of course," Elladan said indifferently. Teruthiel looked to Legolas for help, but he had none to offer.

"If you insist," he said through gritted teeth. It would be an interesting evening.

***

It had been a long time since Legolas had dined along with Elrond and his family, but it was one time he wished he had not, for the tense atmosphere was almost intolerable. At the end of the table sat Elrond proudly, and on his left there was Erestor. Upon his right was an empty seat for which he assumed Glorfindel who had not yet arrived, and next to him was Lindir who was speaking to Arwen. Elladan had refused to sit near his father for the time being and Elrohir soon followed suit and so they were placed halfway down the table. Opposite Elrohir sat Teruthiel, his brow knitted into a frown and beside him Serondai, slightly unnerved by the sudden change in Teruthiel's mood. Legolas had failed to turn up.

"Where is Prince Legolas?" said Elladan to Serondai, noticing his absence, "I thought he may have at least attended as he was formally invited."

"Perhaps he had other more important engagements!" Teruthiel defended, to Elladan's surprise.

"What is it you are suggesting?" Elladan said, trying to stay calm, though inside he felt insulted.

"I am suggesting only that Legolas may have had more imperative things to be doing than sitting here with you, your sheep of a brother and a girl who cares only about her own happiness!!"

"How dare you!" Elladan screamed, standing and thumping his fists on the table, causing it to rock slightly, "you may insult me, but you may *not* insult my brother or the Lady Serondai!"

"What has gotten into you!?" Serondai asked Teruthiel urgently. He turned on her, anger eating away at his very soul. He did not understand how no one could see how much Legolas cared for Serondai, and hated to see him hurt so much inside. In all the time he had known him, Legolas had been a friend to him and not once had he hurt him or offended him in any way. For this he held him in great respect and admired him greatly.

"You have no idea! You really have no idea! I cannot believe you do not see it, and can sit here with him," he pointed at Elladan, "and not care!

By now, most of the table's attention was on the argument. Tears pricked at Serondai's eyes like pins and she fought them back with difficulty.

"I will not stand by and let you upset my friends and family!" Elladan shouted, hitting the table again. This time, his father intervened.

"Elladan! Sit down!" he shouted down the table. The attention was turned to Elrond. Elladan stared at him for a few moments, "Elladan, do as I say and sit down or you shall leave this table and we shall have words later!!"

Slowly, he lowered himself until he was seated again. He knew better than to cross his father too often. Serondai could feel imminent tears and suddenly had no appetite. Standing without a word she left the room and Teruthiel soon followed.

Glorfindel spotted Serondai across the hall as he entered from the other direction and gave Elrond a questioning glance. He beckoned him over and explained the situation. Glancing back at Elladan, Elrond realised his son had vanished and felt a sudden sense of foreboding. After the discussion they had had that morning, he was worried what his son may do and the situation clearly needed to be resolved. Immediately.

Elladan had gone after Teruthiel for what can only be described as a showdown. He was not about to allow himself and his friends and family to be insulted by an elf who was so low in social rank. To him anyway.

He paid no heed to those in his way, storming down the passageways and hallways until he caught up with the dark haired elf, seeing him no more then a few metres in front. As he drew closer, he gripped his shoulder and span him around roughly to face him. He gave him a shove and said.

"This is not over!"

Teruthiel did not retaliate, but stood tall. He was shorter than Elladan, but he was as big in build and it was unclear who was a match for whom, "you cannot talk to people in such a manner and expect to get away with it my friend, because I assure you, you will not! Not while I am here!"

"And what is it you propose to do about it Elladan? Your brother is not here to help you, Serondai is not here to defend you and your father is not here to give you a good telling off," he replied coolly, a smile twitching at the corner of his lips. Elladan almost growled in anger.

"Do not bring them into this! I want to know what problem you have with me and I would like to know now!"

"Do not flatter yourself! Middle-Earth does not revolve around you. It seems I have dented your pride Elladan and we can not have that now, can we," he mocked, pushing him backwards.

Elladan snapped and threw the first punch, hitting Teruthiel squarely on his left eye. He stumbled and fell backwards, clutching at his face in astonishment, but was soon on his feet again, grappling his assailant to the ground. Elladan managed to throw him off and they were both back up in seconds. It was Teruthiel's turn to attack and he did so, landing a punch in Elladan's stomach for which he cried out in pain, but this succeeded in making him even more enraged and he dived at the other elf and together they both thudded to the stony ground wrestling one another fiercely.

"What on Middle-Earth is going on here!" said a voice, before Elladan was dragged off the other injured party by the collar. Another elf, Erestor, helped Teruthiel to his feet, but he rejected the helping hands and dusted himself off, wiping the blood from his face with the sleeve of his collar.

"It was *his* fault father!" Elladan cried to Elrond.

"I do not care! Go to my study both of you, NOW!"



***

Serondai sat on a corner of her bed, wiping away her tears. With a shuddering sigh, she at last ceased her weeping and wrapped her arm around one of the bed posts, leaning against it in her exhaustion. Just when my life was starting to go well, she thought, I am betrayed by one friend whilst the other does not even wish to be around me any longer. What am I to do? All I wished for was love, but still I am left with none. Have I not suffered enough anger and loss in my life without all of this commotion and turmoil? I did not deserve this no matter what I have done. I can not imagine how it is I have hurt Legolas and done so enough for Teruthiel to turn against me in such a vindictive and malicious way. We were friends this morning, and now what are we.....How is it I am always in the centre of these things. Where are you, mother, when I need you most!? Yes, I have lost you also. I have no one. I had only forgotten, but in truth I had not healed. My soul is half restored if it has not died.

A song held clear in her memory. She did not know where she heard it, mayhap from her childhood, locked away in a memory she did not wish to keep, but she felt the need to hear it and barely audibly she spoke, but did not sing.

*Miles away there are hopeless smiles, brighter than mine, and I need for you to come and go without the truth falling.

Old incisions in my heart to stay, like sun through the trees on a cloudy day. Even if the trees bloom, I will not see you soon.

It feels like the wind blows, holding you beside me.

You take no other false light and ashes, blooming like winter.

I am beneath the stone wall, withdrawn and wishless other than for your return.*

Behind her door Glorfindel listened intently, absorbed by the words she was speaking, longing to give her comfort but knowing a broken heart must heal alone. He could see that it was impossible to wipe out the memories of the human heart and that it is easy to deprive someone of some thing they never had, but almost impossible to erase something already experienced. Serondai's heart was still broken after thirteen years.

He knocked lightly on her door after a few minutes and after a further few moments she answered, her eyes red and sore. She had guessed it would be Glorfindel, the only one who ever seemed to show an interest in her who would not benefit from it. She fell into his arms and he held her tightly, stroking back her hair gently and whispering soft reassurances to her. She did not cry. She had no tears left.

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