Paradox of the Fourth Age
19. Chapter 18~Return to Me
A/N I know some of you enjoyed the flashbacks in the beginning but going forward I will not have those. I decided when I began the story that as soon as they were married in both Laurëanna 's past and her present I would stop the flashbacks. Hopefully this isn't too disappointing to you all. The good news is that I should be able to write and post chapters faster. I hope! lol
Thanks so much to Gwynnyd who beta'd this chapter. It was a real mess.
Over the next few weeks, Laurëanna went through each day feeling completely numb. While those around the city continued to celebrate, she had not heard from Elrohir nor had she been able to find out any news about him. Merry and Eowyn received summonses to the army gathered at Cormallen, although Eowyn remained behind. Laurëanna asked the messengers if they knew of the twins and they had no news for her. Feeling certain that if they were well, Elrohir would have sent for her, she fell into despair.
"Laurëanna, each day you seem more subdued," Eowyn said one day. "The Ring has been destroyed and Sauron has fallen. Do you find no solace in this?"
"I do find great solace in that but…" Laurëanna began then swallowed hard. After a moment she continued, "I suppose I should be stronger and braver, as is my duty. But I have heard no news and I fear something has happened. I am worried about Elrohir, Elladan, Legolas and Gimli. We know that both Aragorn and Eomer are alive and well, and Gandalf and the hobbits, but no news of the others."
"I am sorry, my friend. A messenger came for me and I know that Gimli and Legolas were not injured, but no news of the Sons of Elrond. I wish I could tell you more," Eowyn offered.
"It is good news that Legolas and Gimli are safe. Thank for you setting my mind at ease about them. I will try to celebrate rather than dwell on my own fears."
"It is normal to worry for the ones that you love. I do not fault you that," Eowyn answered reaching out and squeezing her hand. "Do not apologize."
Laurëanna made every effort to not show her fears when around others. She continued to work around the town as well as sewing clothes to wear as she could not continue to borrow dresses forever. Each night she attempted to see Elrohir again but could not. She felt abandoned by the Valar. If he could not return to her, she would find her way to her parents, to bring them together before she returned to Valinor. Without Elrohir, Middle Earth would be cold and unpleasant and she would most certainly fade from a broken heart.
When the day arrived that the Lords of the West returned, Laurëanna stood lost in the crowd amongst those watching the coronation of King Elessar. She had a hard time seeing Aragorn and Faramir, much less any others with him. As soon as the procession entered the city, she ran through the crowds looking for the twins. She saw Elladan riding alone, leading Elrohir's horse and her heart dropped into her stomach. . As she rushed to him, he saw her and quickly dismounted.
"Where is he?" Laurëanna said into Elladan's shoulder as he enveloped her in an embrace.
"He is fine, Laurëanna. He was injured," Elladan said. "His leg was both cut and broken. It has mended, but it is not strong enough to ride such a long distance without risking re-breaking it."
Tears streaming down her face, Laurëanna hugged him tightly. "I saw him fall. I did not know…I thought you were both dead. And when he did not send for me…"
"Elrohir wanted you safe, in Minas Tirith. He sent you a message, though. There were so many messages sent, most likely they overlooked yours or could not find you," Elladan answered. Gesturing to a nearby squire, he said, "Please take our horses to the stables."
Putting his hand under her elbow he led her to where Elrohir stood arguing with one of the healers about whether or not he could walk into the city on his own. Seeing her standing there, he pushed past the man to limp to her. For a moment he just cupped her face in his hands while she smiled through happy tears.
"I thought you were dead," she said at last.
"I told you I would return to you. You must learn to trust me more." Elrohir said.
"It was not a matter of trust! It was a matter of not knowing whether my husband was alive or dead since he sent no message," Laurëanna replied indignantly. Part of her wanted to kill him for worrying her so much but the bigger part of her was so happy that he was in one piece, she did not care about her endless nights worrying.
"What do you mean? I did send a message but apparently you did not receive it. Forgive me, my sweet." He kissed her, grabbing her into his arms and holding her tightly in his embrace, ignoring everyone with them. In the crush of the crowd celebrating the coronation, people took little notice of what they were doing.
After a few minutes, she heard the hrrumph of clearing throats and Laurëanna twisted to see Legolas and Gimli. When Elrohir let her down, she hugged them both, laughing for the first time since the day they had left.
"Let us go into the city. They have prepared chambers for you the returning soldiers and tonight there will be a feast to celebrate your return," Laurëanna said. Turning to Elrohir, she asked, "Should you be walking?"
"Yes, and do not try to get me back into that cart again," Elrohir said, wrapping his arm around her waist. "I bounced in it for our whole return journey."
Laurëanna laid her head against her beloved's shoulder. "Will you remember to tell me later how you injured you leg?"
"There's not much to tell." Legolas' expression could only be called a smirk. "Though if he had to loose a fight, having a troll for an opponent is some excuse."
"Yet I did not stop fighting." Elrohir raised his head. "I managed to do just as well injured and yet Aragorn made me ride in a cart from…"
"He was doing what was best for you," Laurëanna interrupted. "You are too stubborn for your own good."
"Estel quickly forgets that even though he is the king, I knew him when he was a just a pup and I could easily best him…"
Laurëanna put her fingers over his lips. "Do not ruin this moment with arguing." Snatching kisses as they walked, they followed the others into the city.
The streets overflowed with people in their finest clothing, laughing and celebrating. It took the procession nearly an hour to walk up to the second level. Children ran up to the King or the soldiers with flowers or fresh fruit. When they walked by, some of the people rained flower petals down on them. Laurëanna held Elrohir's hand tightly, occasionally touching his face or arm to assure herself that he was alive and here with her.
Finally, they reached the Citadel where food and drink had been laid out in abundance for the guests. There was also music and dancing. Both Faramir and Imrahil took turns introducing Aragorn to the nobility of Gondor. Eomer reunited with Eowyn at last and both looked, considering all that had happened since the first time she met them, happier than Laurëanna had ever seen them.
"I want to introduce you to two of my friends," Merry said coming up to her with Pippin and two other hobbits. Both had half pints of beer in their hands. "Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, this is Laurëanna of Mirkwood."
"It is indeed an honor to meet two such brave heroes." Laurëanna bowed her head. "I am certain there will be many songs and tales of your story sung tonight, in Elvish, Westron, and Rohirric."
Sam blushed crimson and looked at the floor causing her to giggle. Despite the fact he seemed happy, Frodo was more withdrawn than she had expected after meeting Merry and Pippin but then he had been through much on his journey.
"And I am most glad to see you again Pippin. Merry was beside himself with worry. It is good that Arag…I mean King Elessar sent for him or he might have walked there on his own," she added.
"Pippin showed his worth in battle as well." Legolas winked at her.
"I think we should focus more on drinking than on boasting." Pippin laughed. "Come Sam. Let us show Gimli and Legolas to the food and drink." Merry wrapped his arm around Frodo's shoulder and they walked after the others.
"I think I will join them," Elladan said, following.
Left alone, Elrohir pulled her towards a quiet alcove and kissed her with an eager tenderness she had thought lost to her forever. "I have wanted to do this every moment since I left you," he whispered. Wrapping her arms around his neck, Laurëanna pulled him tightly against her, eagerly returning his kiss with her own passionate fire.
Moaning, he buried his hands in her thick hair as she nibbled on his lip. "Can we stay like this forever?" she asked.
"With so many people?" Elrohir whispered into her ear and a shiver gripped her as his tongue flicked over her lobe.
"We could return to my room. The feast is not until tonight. You must rest your leg for a while before the dancing this evening," she pointed out, mischief in her eyes.
Elrohir kissed her once more, and took her hand to lead her out a side door to the hallway. Elladan called out his farewell to them yet Elrohir did not stop, striding out in his hurry, despite his injury. Laurëanna giggled as she jogged to keep up with him. He put an arm around her and slowed down, but turning down the corridor to her room, his steps quickened again.
Laurëanna went into his arms still laughing as he shut the door behind them. Her laughter soon stopped as his embrace turned passionate.
His hands caressed her back. She ran her fingers through his hair, unbraiding it and allowing it to fall loose in a thick curtain on his shoulders. Elrohir kissed her eyelids then her cheeks before lingering on her lips. His kisses moved slowly along her neck, tasting her flesh as he inhaled her feminine scent.
"I have missed you so much," she whispered, unbuttoning his tunic and pulling it over his head. She kissed his shoulders and chest, her fingers moving swiftly over his heated skin. "I cannot stop touching you, assuring myself that you are here and whole."
"I am fine. I have had far worse injuries," he reassured her. "But I will die from frustration soon if I do not make love to my wife."
Laurëanna giggled as he stripped off her dress and ran his fingers in a light dance along her ribs. She slid her fingers under his waistband and unfastened his trews. Pushing them down over his hips, she paused at the sight of his bandages.
"We should be careful. I do not want you to re-injure yourself," she said, concern filling her eyes.
She gestured to him to sit down on the bed and sat gingerly down at his side. Elrohir pulled her close and rested his head on her belly for a moment. "Laurëanna, my love, it is not my leg that is throbbing painfully."
Unable to help herself, Laurëanna laughed out loud and he smirked at her while lying back, pulling her with him. He allowed her to straddle him and she leaned over, kissing him with mounting passion. Her hair fell down on them like a curtain, smelling of fresh flowers. After a few moments he was not content to merely kiss her and pulled her down on his manhood, drawing deep moans from both of them.
Laurëanna tried to move slowly and delay their satisfaction but he urged her to ride him faster. Finally overwhelmed, they clutched together, his thrusts meeting her downward strokes. Her climax pushed him over the edge and he lost himself in her depths.
Panting slightly, they continued to move against each other, their skin slick with a fine sheen of sweat. They rocked at a slow and gentle pace before shuddering once more. Happily spent, they fell asleep in each others' arms.
Lying in bed, Laurëanna heard the celebration in the city continue on all through the day. As the sky outside the window grayed towards evening, a boom louder than thunder bolted her head up.
"Fireworks," Elrohir said sleepily, nuzzling her neck. "Nothing to worry about."
"How does one work fire?" Laurëanna looked at him curiously and settled back into his arms. "And why does it make such a noise?"
"Gandalf makes noisy displays and patterns of fire in many colors in the air. It is better after full dark, but perhaps he was encouraged to start early by the children."
"It is getting late Elrohir. We need to get ready for the feast," she said, trying to get up before he pulled her back to the bed.
Ignoring her protests, he kissed her neck and shoulders, his hands running up her legs to cup her behind.
"Elrohir, we really must go. It is very late already. We will have all night to make love," she said with a smile.
"You torture me so," he moaned as he released her.
Rising from the bed she walked to the chest and pulled some clothes from it, bringing them to him. "While you were gone I had a lot of free time on my hands so I made you this to wear tonight." She handed him a crimson silk tunic, with intricate scroll embroidery.
Elrohir took it, pleasantly surprised. Other than the few pieces he had from his mother and Arwen, he usually commissioned his clothes from the seamstresses in Lothlorien or Imladris. The care Laurëanna had put into the garment showed in every seam and stitch.
"It is very nice. I will wear it proudly. For once, someone made something for me alone without an identical copy for Elladan." Elrohir furrowed his brow. "You did not make one for him, did you?"
Laurëanna shook her head. "I do not mind sewing things for my husband but I do not enjoy it enough to clothe Elladan."
Getting dressed, he watched her getting ready, still amazed that everything with her felt so natural. The way she washed up then brushed her golden hair, braiding the sides away from her face, before pulling a deep blue dress over her pale skin, all seemed as if he had seen her do it a thousand times before. Sensing her watching him, she turned and smiled.
"I knew the color would be perfect on you. You look very handsome, husband, even more so than normal. All of the ladies of Minas Tirith will be watching my husband and looking at me with jealous eyes." Stepping into his arms, Laurëanna kissed him then finished buttoning the tunic.
"And all of the men will be watching you and think you are a dream," Elrohir whispered, pulling her hands to his lips. "Is this a dream? I dreamt of this every night I was away from you. I do not understand how I could come to love you so much, so quickly. Perhaps Gimli is right. You are a witch and have put a spell on me."
"Love is stronger than any spell. A spell would not feel so right," she said, studying his concerned face. "Do you still doubt your feelings for me?"
He did not answer for a few moments, simply watched her while running his fingers lightly across her arm. "No. I do not understand it, though. I have heard tales of love all of my life but never knew how it would feel. Now that I do, it worries me."
"I do not know what I will do if I lose you. I do not wish to be parted from you. My life will never be the same as it was before," Elrohir replied.
"Do you wish it to be the same; that you had never met me, never loved me?"
Elrohir kissed her, pulling her into his arms and holding her secure in his embrace. After the kiss ended, he pressed his forehead against hers. "I would never wish that. But things have changed so quickly and I am not used change."
Laurëanna could not help but smile at him. "Elrohir, Sauron has been defeated and the Ring destroyed. Our marriage will not change your life as much as those two things."
The two of them laughed together. "You are very wise, my wife. But I merely meant I need your patience. For the first time in my life, I do not feel…in control. I do not know my destiny, nor do I know what I want other than I want to spend the rest of my days with you."
"There will be plenty of time to plan the rest of eternity. However, our time to arrive at the feast before Aragorn is almost gone. We need to hurry."
Pulling him along behind her, the celebratory spirit of the city filled Laurëanna. Minas Tirith was not nearly as special to her as Tirion, but she was growing fond of the white city nonetheless. Perhaps it was the relief of the war's end that made people here seem so generous to her, but so far she had been treated very kindly.
All the fabric she needed had been given to her in exchange for helping the merchant restore his shop after some damages during the Battle at Pelennor. The man had also had his daughter help Laurëanna sew the clothing. Perhaps the gowns were not the same quality that she had in Aman but the fact that she had earned them and sewn them by her own hands made her feel quite proud. She had often doubted that she could survive by herself, but she had been alone for weeks without family and friends to watch over her and all during the darkest times in Middle Earth. She had proven her strength.
The Ring was destroyed, Sauron defeated, and Aragorn was King. Now all she had to do was reunite her parents and she could stop worrying about what she had lost. She missed her family and friends more each day and could not wait to be reunited with them.
"Glorfindel, you seem quieter than normal," Arwen said riding up beside him. They had left mid-morning on the way to Minas Tirith and she had a hard time not being overwhelmed with excitement. Her father had been quiet but she knew he dreaded their separation. But she sensed Glorfindel's withdrawal despite her excitement.
"Hmm?" The elf lord looked over at her in confusion.
"What has you so quiet lately?" Arwen asked.
Glorfindel did not answer for a moment. "You should be looking forward to your wedding not worrying over me."
"You are my friend. Of course I am worried about you, especially when you evade the question."
They rode in silence for a few minutes before he finally answered. "I have been haunted by dreams lately and I have been trying to resolve the meaning behind them."
"Have you talked to my father? Perhaps he could guide you."
"He has enough concerns of his own without worrying about mystery ladies only revealed to me at night. Well not completely revealed, for their faces are blurred. It's very obscure."
"Ladies? More than one? My, Glorfindel, you naughty…"
"They are not that type of dreams, Arwen." Glorfindel could not resist a chuckle. "No, one of them is definitely not…I mean, I do not think…no, I am certain…" He stopped, a scowl crossing his handsome face. "That is what I do not understand. One is obviously not my lover, yet I love her above all else."
"Perhaps you are seeing your future family," Arwen replied, merrily. "Or are you too old to be married?."
Glorfindel grumbled under his breath. "I am not too old. You and I should not be speaking about this. I should never have brought it up."
"But you already have so you might as well tell me. You know how persistent I can be if I want to find out something."
"I know them. I do not know how, but they are part of me. I do not understand how that is possible. Perhaps memories from Gondolin I have forgotten…" Frowning, he shook his head. "No, they are not from Gondolin."
"Could it be that they are from Aman?" Arwen asked, worried suddenly, sensing a great unknown in Glorfindel's future that could possibly hurt him. "Would the Valar take these memories from you to spare you if you had a family before you returned to Middle Earth?"
"If the Valar were trying to spare me, I would be blessed with the lack of memories of leaving Aman the first time or the fall of Gondolin. To take beautiful happy memories, and leave me with only the sorrow of my past misdeeds, would be cruel. I do not wish to think that Námo would curse me that way," the elf lord replied, his golden hair caught in the breeze and obsuring his face from her.
Arwen pondered for some time before answering. "If it is your future, then eventually you will know. If it is your past, then you must accept that it is out of reach."
"I wish it were that simple, Arwen. But just as you would do everything to be with Estel now, including sacrificing your immortality, I know that I am linked to these two. They hold my heart. Until I find them - where ever they might be - I cannot let them go."
Reaching out Arwen squeezed his arm. "Perhaps my grandmother can provide you with some guidance or solace if you do not wish to discuss it with my father."
Glorfindel smiled and said, "As I said, do not worry for me Arwen. You have a big task before you that you have longed for." Glancing at Elrond he felt his heart ache with the loss his friend was feeling. He wished Arwen all the best, for he loved her fondly, but he too wished she had made another choice.
"I know that no one believes me when I say this, but I understand my sacrifice and my future. I am at peace with all that I am losing, because I know all that I am gaining. Certainly, love is never easy or without complications but with Estel it is worth anything I lose," Arwen smiled peacefully then a flicker of concern crossed her face. "I am worried about my brothers. I do not know what choice they will make and Ada could not bear to lose all three of us."
"Elrohir and Elladan are both very close to the rangers," Glorfindel agreed. "I think Elladan will choose the way that leads him to peaceful days, possibly a family. But Elrohir…I do not know what he will chose and his choice will not be swayed by any other, save maybe Elladan. Elrohir fears his demons closing in on him if he stops to give himself a moment's peace."
"I have felt him so strongly lately," Arwen said. "Confusion, happiness, anger, sorrow all rage in him now. He hides his thoughts from me but I feel the turmoil in his heart and mind though I do not know the cause. Something tells me that even though he is feeling very uncertain now, something good has happened. Something other than the end of Sauron."
"Your brothers could use something good happening. For long years they have been in turmoil. It is my wish that they find peace soon,"
Laurëanna smiled brightly as Gimli sat down beside her. The feast had been grander, and longer, than she could have ever predicted. After enduring hours of stares from people who had never seen an elf, she withdrew to a corner while waiting for Elrohir to bring her some cider.
"Are you hiding?" Gimli winked.
"Not very well if you could find me," she said. "There are so many people. I am not used to being stared at."
"Yes, a lot of the noble citizens look at me the same way. The soldiers traveled with me so I do not have to endure their looks, but I am certain that even those who are used to seeing Legolas are not used to seeing an elf so fair as you," Gimli replied.
"Do you realize you just said something complimentary to me?" Laurëanna could not help the laughter that bubbled from within her. "I think you drank too much tonight, Master Gimli."
"I have seen that you do not have ill intentions to my friends so I no longer have misgivings about you," Gimli answered before raising his mug. "Besides, tonight is a night of celebration for all peoples of Middle Earth, even Elves."
They sat in silence, enjoying the music before Gimli turned to her. "I was surprised by your marriage to Elrohir. I thought you two would kill each other long before you made peace."
"Love is a powerful emotion, Gimli. It is as strong as hatred and it is easy to get the two confused if you are not ready to allow love to happen." Laurëanna glanced at Elrohir, who was in an animated discussion with Eomer and Elladan before the three erupted into laughter. "There are many who would never understand the friendship between you and Legolas either, especially considering the history of your fathers."
"Ai. I never thought a friendship with an elf was possible, but he is not as bad as I feared," Gimli replied, acting gruff despite his obvious affection for Legolas. "Perhaps I shall go visit him in Mirkwood. I am certain your Elvenking would be most pleased."
The two of them laughed at the thought. Gimli stood up and bowing, kissed her hand. "My lady, would you favor me with a dance or should I ask if you husband will allow it?"
"My husband will not mind a dance between old friends. I will be honored to dance with you."
Laurëanna rose and followed him stopping at the edge of the dance floor. He dragged her out into the center.
Everyone turned to stare at them and she blushed a deep shade of crimson. Looking at Gimli's face as he danced gaily around her, she realized that the dwarf was enjoying every moment of creating such a spectacle. "Master Gimli, if I did not know better I would swear that you are enjoying being so scandalous. You shall be the talk of the city by morn'."
"Let them never say that a dwarf does not know how to enjoy a celebration then!" Gimli called out before spinning her around.
After they parted, she danced with Pippin while Merry danced with Eowyn, then the two ladies traded partners. Laurëanna turned to find Gimli dancing with a woman of Gondor who seemed delighted by his infectious enthusiasm.
"May I please dance with this captivating elleth for I fear she has stolen my heart?"
Turning around, Laurëanna waited as Pippin thought about it for a moment before allowing Elrohir to take her in his arms.
"You seem to be enjoying yourself," Elrohir pointed out. "Do I need to worry that you intend to run off with Gimli?"
Laurëanna pretended to be shocked. "How dare you. I am not the type to run off into the night with a dwarf! Besides, I do not think we would both fit with Legolas on his horse." He smiled then pulled her closer. "I love you Elrohir. I am overjoyed just being in your arms."
"My love, you may remain in my arms forever, but my leg is beginning to ache so I think perhaps I should rest. Go dance with Elladan." Laurëanna noticed he favored one leg.
"I will stay with you. Should I get Aragorn to look at it?" Laurëanna offered.
"No, I do not need a healer, just rest," Elrohir said, leading her to a bench near her previous hiding place.
"Perhaps we should return to our room. I do not wish you to injure yourself again."
"Neither do I. We are leaving in seven days to go to Edoras with Eomer and Eowyn. I refuse to be put in a cart again," Elrohir added with a groan.
"We are not going to Imladris?" Laurëanna asked, trying to keep the disappointment from her face. "I assumed you would wish to see your father right away."
"They are coming here and will leave Rivendell today or tomorrow, I think. We will meet them after they leave Lothlorien. I am sorry we will not be going to Mirkwood right away." Elrohir said.
"I do not wish to go to Mirkwood, I already told you that. My place is with you and your place is…"
"I thought that you would want to least visit Mirkwood once more as it is not far from Lothlorien. Do you not wish to say farewell to your friends? King Thranduil trusted you with something so important; I assumed the two of you were close. You seem to be very friendly with Legolas."
Laurëanna realized he was studying her face and tried not to look at him directly. "King Thranduil knew I would not be returning and now Legolas can explain to my friends what has happened. It is not as if I have any family left there."
"You seem upset at the thought of going back to Mirkwood," Elrohir pointed out, suspiciously calm. She cringed inwardly.
"There are many bad memories for me there, Elrohir. I merely wish to start my life with you in my new home and not look back to the past." Placing her hands over his, Laurëanna looked at him with a slight smile. "Is it wrong that I want to be with you and only you?"
"You keep telling me that the secrets you keep from me do not matter to our love but, one day they can destroy it," Elrohir said, his jaw tightening. "I do not wish to fight with you tonight but you need to decide if the secrets you hide are worth destroying our future."
He turned away from her in frustration, and they sat in silence for many songs. Neither knew what to say to the other and silently Laurëanna cursed the Valar for putting her in this position. After the rest, Elrohir decided he was able to walk to their room, which they did in silence. She tried to think of something to say but nothing seemed right.
After removing his clothes, Elrohir got into the bed and, rolling on his side, turned his back on her. Laurëanna knew she did not have enough experience with lies and deception to continue to argue with him. She had to do whatever it took to keep him distracted from asking these questions in the future. Disrobing, she climbed into bed and wrapped her arms around him even as he lay rigid and stiff against her.
"Elrohir," she whispered. Moving his hair out of the way, she ran her tongue along the ridge of his ear as her hands wandered his chest and lower on his body. "Please do not be like this. Make love to me."
After a moment, he rolled over, pinning her hands against the mattress. She saw both desire and anger in his eyes and was briefly afraid. Ravenously he devoured her mouth giving her no chance to object. He held her hands together with one hand. The other hand spread her legs apart and he moved his body between them. Her eyes flew open and his eyes smoldering down at her gave her goose bumps. A flicker of regret crossed them.
"Laurëanna," he said, his voice was strained, almost a plea for forgiveness for his moment of anger.
Wrapping her legs around his waist, she arched up to him. "Please," she whispered. "Make love to me."
Unable to resist her, Elrohir thrust into her, driven on by her nails digging into his backside. He could not have stopped if she had begged him now. Like a man possessed, he moved within her. She moaned at each deep thrust before she threw her head back and cried out. He was completely undone, and called her name at the peak of his ecstasy before collapsing on her, completely spent.
"Forgive me," Elrohir said. "I was angry but I did not mean to scare you. I would never hurt you, my love."
"There is nothing to forgive, love. You were angry but you did not hurt me, just surprised me a bit," Laurëanna reassured him. "I do not fear you."
Elrohir gazed down at her, brushing her hair back before kissing her gently. "I would not be able to live with myself if I hurt you." Rolling onto his back, he pulled her into his arms and covered them both with the blankets.
Her head resting on his chest, Laurëanna said. "I love falling asleep listening to your heart beat. I have missed this so much."
"This will be the first night that I have been able to sleep with you in my arms rather than dreaming about you." Elrohir's voice sounded drowsy and she looked up to see his eyes closed.
"Go to sleep my love," she whispered then kissed him gently.
Once again the dreams came to Glorfindel and he woke frustrated and confused. Rising, he quietly moved around the elves' encampment. He noticed that Elrond, rather than sleeping, walked near the horses and went to join him.
"You should be resting," Elrond said quietly.
"As should you."
"Hmm. Yet sleep evades me."
Elrond drank from a flask and handed it to Glorfindel. The wine was strong and sweet, a good vintage, obviously a bottle from Elrond's select stock.
"Are you unable to sleep because of the wedding?" Glorfindel asked.
"Not only Arwen's marriage, but my sons worry me as well. I sense something is... different for them. Not wrong, perhaps, but different. Nothing is certain anymore. Will their choice be the same as Arwen's? I do not wish to lose my sons as I lost my brother, as I will lose Arwen. The pain of that is too great. I had always hoped to have grandchildren around me in Aman. Fostering so many descendents of my brother and watching them age and die created an ache inside of me." Elrond sighed. "I know it is selfish and I wish my children's happiness above all else but to stand by again and watch them choose to be Men, to choose death is…almost unbearable."
"I understand, mellon. But I do not think that the twins will choose as Arwen has. While they have been amongst mortals they have seen age and death as you have. They will, most likely, wish to find escape from that. I still think that Elladan will find someone to love and begin a family with. I hope the same thing for Elrohir, but I feel that Elladan wants it more than Elrohir does."
"Perhaps you are right and, if so, then maybe Elrohir will follow his brother to the Undying Lands because of their bond. I cannot imagine they wish to part," Elrond replied.
"No, I do not think they would."
"Now that we both know what disturbs me, but what troubles you, old friend?" Elrond asked, looking at him in the moonlight. The moon shining down made Glorfindel appear even fairer of face but Elrond saw past that to the sorrow in his eyes.
"Dreams. Mysterious dreams," Glorfindel replied. "Or memories. I do not know which."
Elrond studied his friend for some time before Glorfindel turned to look at him, asking, "What do you see when you look at me? Do you see what I seek?"
"I see you are searching and I feel your frustration but it is not time for you to understand. You must be patient, for you are fortunate that these memories have been gifted to you," Elrond answered. He felt a great unease at his own words. While he did not have the answers for Glorfindel, he saw enough to know that there was tragedy to come.
Glorfindel nodded solemnly, biting back words. He knew it was folly to argue with the Valar or Eru about his path. Since his death in Gondolin, Glorfindel felt each day had been a trial of his strength, his honor, his character. This would be no different. But deep in his heart, he felt that this was the final test. If he passed, he would be rewarded with what his heart most desired.
Irmo watched Manwe walk into the garden and knew what he had come to ask.
"He has a right to know," Irmo said defiantly. "We have all but abandoned Laurëanna, after all she has sacrificed."
"You have been haunting her dreams since she went to Middle Earth and now you continue to meddle when you promised me that you would not do so again," Manwe sighed. "Did you stop to think that your meddling could cause more pain instead of less?"
"How could I cause more pain to him by showing him a daughter and a wife in his future? I did not show him all. I did not even reveal their faces to him, I just showed him a glimpse of what his life had been, what his life could be again."
"To go against Eru…
"But He allowed me to enter their dreams! The first time Varda wished I could talk to Laurëanna, and it happened in her dreams. Eru guided that, not me. No, I do not think He opposes this," Irmo reassured him. "And Varda agrees."
"You have discussed this with Varda?" Manwe asked with a subtle lift of his eyebrow.
"Yes. He has," Varda said as she entered the garden. Stopping to smell a bright yellow blossom, she came to her husband and rested her hand on his arm. "Irmo and I only wish to help guide them, not change their futures. We are both careful. Námo felt that Glorfindel had suffered enough and…"
"Does everyone know of this? Why did no one talk to me before?" Manwe replied, his annoyance plain.
"Only the three, now four, of us know. We discussed it the day after Laurëanna returned to Middle Earth. I feared she would give up and not be able to complete her task if we did not give her some hope," Varda answered in soothing tones. "Then Námo felt Glorfindel's pain. You know that Námo frequently watches over him. He still feels guilty that he asked Glorfindel to return to Middle Earth rather than remain in Valinor."
Manwe sighed. After a few moments, he looked at them both and said sternly, "No more dreams. Allow Laurëanna a chance to rebuild what she has lost without your interference. Glorfindel has to fall in love with Indil on his own or their love will not be true. I must have your word."
The two Vala exchanged glances, then reluctantly gave their word.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.