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Tales of Life  by Aelaer

Prompt 35: Birthday
Ficlet: Everlasting Memories
Rating: G
Imladris, Spring of 3007 TA.

Aragorn had reached Rivendell before dawn, while the rest of the household was still sleeping. The night door warden for the Last Homely House had admitted him in immediately, and when asked if he wished to wake and greet the household, the man refused. The knowledge of his homecoming could wait until morning. Instead he sought out his old room with his old bed. He had noted even in his weariness that the elves still kept the room as clean as they did when he still lived in the house. It was as if they were expecting him.

Aragorn had not sent any letters warning of his coming for he had not known he would wander to Rivendell. He was at an outpost near the Shire when he received the news of his mother’s death, and found that he needed to be alone. The man had known that her passing would be soon, but the news had nonetheless hit his heart deeply. The Ranger spent three weeks in the Wild before he found himself going down the white stone path that led into the vale of his childhood home.

The moment Aragorn hit the mattress, he was asleep. His usual vigilance faded as his exhaustion finally took over his mind, and for the first time in weeks the man found himself truly resting.

As the morning came and Anor began to rise, Elrohir watched the door to Aragorn’s room silently. It had been years since he had last seen his foster brother, and while the passing years were nothing to elves, the peredhel felt it deeply. He knew that the man was getting older, and even on this day his age increased once more.

The elf could not but help to miss his presence on the man’s birthday. He recalled the many celebrations in Aragorn’s youth that celebrated the happy day and missed them. Elrohir, hit with nostalgia, opened the door to his foster brother’s room to glimpse around it once more and remember those days.

He was startled to see that there was an occupant in the bed in the room. Taking in the tangled mess of dark hair on the pillow, the worn boots on the side of the bed, and the well-known sword leaning nearby, he rushed forward, eager to see if his suspicions were correct.

Elrohir soon confirmed his beliefs when he went to the other side of the bed and found Aragorn’s face. The elf was surprised, however, to find that the man did not wake up; while elves were silent, the man was able to detect a nearby presence even in his sleep. He could only assume that the man was truly exhausted.

He quietly debated about allowing the man to sleep longer, but his eagerness to speak with him won out. The elf gently touched his shoulder, muttering, “Estel.”

When Aragorn grabbed his hand and pulled him forward, the elf smiled inwardly. ‘Not as weary as I believed.’ Elrohir let the man hold him, waiting patiently for him to wake up completely.

Aragorn blinked twice before he realized where he was and who was about to throttle in his half-sleep. “Elrohir!” He quickly released the elf, blinking once more and then shaking his head in irritation. “Why did you do that?”

“I thought you were fatigued; clearly I was wrong,” he said with a smile. “Then, of course, I had not realized you would be here.”

“Did Falasdir not tell you?” Aragorn frowned. “He let me in last night.”

“I have yet to speak with him, though I imagine adar will find out soon,” the elf replied. “I was quite surprised to see you here. I last heard you were near the Shire.”

“I was,” he replied. “However, I needed some time alone.”

Aragorn did not need to explain to Elrohir why. “Of course,” he replied lightly. “Still, it is wonderful that you managed to come on this day.”

The man frowned quizzically. “Indeed? Why is that?”

Elrohir raised an eyebrow, and then laughed lightly when he saw that Aragorn was serious. “Oh, Estel! Do not tell me you forgot your own birthday.”

“Birthday?” Aragorn’s frowned deepened. “It cannot already be March 1st.”

“But it is, brother, it is!” Elrohir laughed again and embraced the man. “You have been plagued with many troubles recently, I can see. This, however, shall be a happy day. Not every day is your birthday, after all!”

“Yes, there is always that one day of the year in which I am happily reminded that I am getting older,” Aragorn said wryly.

Elrohir laughed once more. “Your eternal optimism never fails to amuse me, Estel. Now come, get dressed and sit with us at breakfast. The rest of the household will be pleased to see you.”

“Very well. Be off, then!” he replied with a smile, shoving the elf lightly towards the door. The elf complied, shutting it as he left.

As Aragorn dressed, he could not help but be touched that his foster family still remembered his birthday, even when he was too busy to remember it. Despite any discord between them, they still loved him, and that fact made life all the more bearable.

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