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That I should rise and you should not

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“Is this really the last bottle of it?”

Elros cast him a glance, plucking the glass out of Elrond’s careful hands and taking a long drink. “Well it’s not as if they’re still producing it in Thargelion, is it? Seeing as it’s mostly under the sea now.”

All of what was once Beleriand, and more specifically Beleriand’s wine country, is under the sea now” said Elrond. He pursed his lips. “And I don’t know what you’re doing drinking that like it’s water. You said yourself, it’s the last bottle of Maglor’s supply. There will never be another one.”

Elros’ face did something odd, that Elrond probably wouldn’t have been able to interpret at all if he hadn’t known him quite so well. As it was, he thought he understood a little.

“I always knew he was keeping a secret supply of his dead brothers’ favourite vintages in the cellar. Typical” said Elros, grinning in amusement at Elrond’s disapproval as he took another long drink, almost emptying the glass. “Oh, don’t look at me like that” he said. He kicked his feet off the edge of the parapet where they were sitting side by side, tipping his head back to stare out into the glimmering night sky above the ocean, restless waves reflecting a tapestry of stars. “If you ask me, it doesn’t make sense just to keep things for ever and ever and never enjoy them” he said, more to the ocean than to Elrond. He passed the cup back to Elrond with a grin. “Besides. As soon as my new kingdom has some decent vineyards, you know I’ll send you our very best, don’t you? They’ll be like this, but even better. Everything we make will be just wonderful. Everything.”

Elrond tutted. “Too young” he said. “You’ve got to leave them to age a while. At least…about a century, for proper Valinorean-style maturity.”

“Oh, since when do you know so much about Valinorean viticulture” scoffed Elros. “Stop being so pretentious.”

Everyone knows that” said Elrond, with dignity. “Besides, there was that translation exercise about Vanyarin vineyards that Maglor gave us when we were first learning Quenya, remember?”

Elros rolled his eyes. “Unfortunately.” He sighed. “So, leave them. Then drink them after I’m gone, and think of me. Just…” He turned and looked at Elrond, a note of something imploring. “Don’t leave them there forever, alright?”

Elrond bit his lip; he had worried this conversation would turn to their separate paths, as so many seemed to these days. “I wouldn’t…”

“You idiot. Don’t look away from me. I know you.” He frowned. “Promise you won’t lose yourself in your forevers.”

Elrond gave a put-upon sigh, looking back at him. He took a tiny sip of the wine. “I suppose there isn’t any point in asking if you really have to go.”

Elros grinned, but there was a sadness to it. “Absolutely none. But we’ll see each other again. But…don’t think I don’t see you trying to get out of it. Promise.”

Elrond rolled his eyes, taking a sip of wine. “I promise.”

“….Thank you.” Elros’ weight was warm and familiar against him, sagging with obvious relief. He leaned his head against Elrond’s shoulder, and Elrond let himself lean against his brother in his turn, as they both looked up at the stars, at the sea, and, though their eyes couldn’t see it, to what lay beyond.