Elladan looked up sharply at the noise that had jolted him out of his admittedly dark musings and saw that his twin had entered his bedchamber. Elrohir was holding his comb in his left hand and held it out to him.
Elladan rolled his eyes "Why can't you do your own hair?" he snapped irritated at his brother's arrival and interruption.
Elladan was not truly upset at his twin but he had wanted to be left alone for the rest of the evening. They had only returned from their errantry about an hour ago each heading for a soak in their respective bath chambers. Elladan had thought that that would be the last he would see of anyone for the evening and that he would not have to feign politeness and general wellbeing to anyone at least until the morrow. It seemed that that thought – more of a hope really – was wrong as Elrohir simply waved the comb at him again.
"Please 'Ladan. I… can…not….hurts"
That had Elladan quickly snatching the comb from his brothers hand eyes assessing him rapidly. Elladan immediately felt guilt for snapping at his twin as he properly took in his appearance. Elrohir looked pale – paler than was his wont – and tired with faint dark shadows under his eyes. He was dressed in loose sleep trousers which were hanging off his hips and his sleep shirt was pulled haphazardly over him with only one button having been done up – incorrectly at that.
"I tried" Elrohir stated somewhat defensively having seen Elladan's stare. "I cannot really mange with only one hand and -"
Whatever Elrohir was about to say was interrupted as a wheezing, chest rattling cough took hold of him and he doubled over left hand clutching his shirt round him tighter.
"Elro!" Elladan was over like a shot and tried to bring his brother back upright holding onto his right shoulder and pulling him.
"Ahh 'Dan no" Elrohir was gasping as he shied away from Elladan's touch. Elladan released him as quickly as if he had suddenly turned into a warg and looked at his brother's pain filled face. Suddenly his panicking brain registered what Elrohir had been saying before his coughing fit – only one hand. Elladan now realised his mistake but it was too late Elrohir had straightened up somewhat now but he was cradling his right arm to his chest with his left hand clutching at his right shoulder, the pain in his eyes not hidden from Elladan.
"Why did you say nothing Elro?" he chided gently, pushing his brother towards his large four poster bed.
"Well that was my intention when I came in here" Elrohir sighed as he was eased down to sit on the soft mattress, "but you nearly bit my head off before I had even said two words."
Elladan felt shame rise in him again "I'm sorry" he said simply, taking up the comb he had dropped in his worry over Elrohir's coughing fit.
Elrohir waved off his apology with a slight shake of his sable head. "Just comb and b-b-"
He did not finish as another coughing fit took hold of him. It was an ugly cough Elladan decided, a very nasty cough indeed. He gathered Elrohir in his arms as he continued hacking and gasping for breath. Elladan did not like what he was hearing at all and he gently touched his brother's chest through his badly buttoned shirt starting to impart healing energy to his twin. His hand was suddenly slapped away however by an irritated looking Elrohir who was breathing more easily now that the coughing had stopped.
"Don't Elladan. You have nothing to spare. Just comb my hair and braid it please."
"Fine. Have it as you wish but just wait one moment I'll get some oil for your hair and ointment for that shoulder of yours."
Elrohir merely grunted still clutching his right shoulder paying Elladan very little attention.
Elladan slipped into his bath chamber and grabbed some of his favourite hair oil which he knew was Elrohir's favourite too. He also picked up a small vial of muscle ointment. He didn't go straight back to his twin though but rather out into the hallway outside his and Elrohir's suite. It was early evening and he was bound to find a servant wandering round. Having spotted one he walked up to the elleth whose eyes widened upon seeing him. Elladan couldn't blame her for looking at him so – he knew he looked dishevelled with his damp hair un-braided and loose, clutching two darkly coloured vials as if his life depended upon them and clad only in his night gown. Elladan pulled the robe around him a little more tightly and told her his wish unperturbed. He was a Lord here after all and his father's son, surely he could be excused for walking the halls in this state once or twice. His task done he returned to his chambers and his battered brother who had succumbed to his nasty cough once again.
Elrohir was lying on his left side coughing and alternately grabbing at his chest and right shoulder. Elladan scooped him back up and got him to lean against his chest stroking his hair until his coughing eased again.
"Sorry…think…cracked...rib" Elrohir panted.
Elladan shushed him and began to comb through his brothers tangled mane after having gently applied the oil. Elrohir was soon tangle free and Elladan gathered the soft dark strands in his hands pulling his brother's hair into one long thick braid down his back.
"Thanks" Elrohir smiled up at him tiredly.
"Shush and turn back around" Elladan commanded. He then reached for the vial of muscle ointment he had thrown onto the bed near him and dabbed some on his fingers before reaching to massage it into his brother's shoulder.
Elrohir tensed at first but Elladan persevered stopping only whenever Elrohir's coughing shook him - out of fear of hurting his brother further.
Finally just after Elladan was beginning to wonder if the servant had actually delivered his message a soft tapping could be heard at his door. Elladan gently shifted a now sleepy and more relaxed Elrohir to lean against a stack of pillows and crossed the room to open the door.
"Ion-nin you called for me?" Elrond smiled gently at his son but his worry shone clearly in his eyes.
"Elro needs you," was the clipped answer.
Elrond wasn't put off by his son's tone and entered the chamber. He spotted his other son and made towards him as another coughing fit choose that moment to take hold of Elrohir. Elrond hastened his steps and was at Elrohir's side in a moment running gentle hands over him – both checking for injures and soothing all at once.
"That's a nasty cough ion-nin and I fear one of your ribs is broken and I will need to get it fully back into position and bind your chest. It is what is causing your cough. The tip of the rib is irritating your lung."
Elrohir merely nodded his head weakly against his tower of pillows feeling rather childishly glad that his Adar was here and would soon make everything better. It had been a very long time indeed since he had had any such thoughts towards his Adar.
Elladan from a small distance watched his father's gentle care of his twin. Elrohir and he had only recently started to reconcile with their father after long years on errantry, hunting orcs and camping and living with the Dunedain rather than living at home. Long years of causing their Adar heartache and worry, long years of being at odds with him over their merciless pursuit of revenge for their Naneth. Now finally however there had been a recent thawing of their relationship – for they were spending far more time at home now – nearly as much time as they spent out in the wilds hunting. Things were still not yet as they were before; they still did not speak as much as in times past but this evening may yet push them further down the road of healing.
Elladan gave a small smile before heading over to sit on the bed next to his twin.
"Don't worry Elro, Adar will set your rib and bind your chest – he'll look at you shoulder too" Elladan looked at Elrond and made a small gesture at Elrohir's bruised shoulder peeking through the mostly unbuttoned shirt.
"Yes ion-nin, I'll do all that and we'll soon have you rid of that nasty cough too."
A Nasty Cough by KimicThranduilion