1. Five things that never happened to Nerdanel
2. It is easy to let him go, because there was nothing between them (or so she tries to tell herself). She watches from a distance as he marries a laughing, dark-haired lady, so dainty and delicate that she might be porcelain, and she tries not to remember his eyes and hands and lips, pressing against hers with an almost terrifying urgency.
3. She just slips out of her body, leaving all the blood and noise and confusion behind. She was tired, down to her very bones. There were only fragile threads holding her spirit together (years of giving children and her husband all her energies had drained her), and those were too easily broken when her last two children decided to be born.
4. There is no sin they do not share. This was their own oath, secretly sworn when they departed in the stolen swanships: What is yours is mine, and mine, yours, and let this bind me for eternity. Years pass, and there is soon enough blood to stain all of Beleriand scarlet. There is no atrocity ascribed to just one of them, it is always both, and their oath soon transforms into chains that scar heavily. Their sons die, one by one, and soon they are left only with years of tragedies, memories that were once good, and enough love (obsession, desperation? Familiarity? By now, it doesn't matter the reason, so long as there is one) to cling to each other and damn the rest of the world.
5. Sometimes, occasionally, they think back to that dangerous time when the elven cities were on the verge of splintering apart through pride and vengeance. They never need to wonder aloud, "What if?" because they have already done so, thousands upon thousands of times, and all what-ifs have been exhausted and sanded into a comfortable background. They have their own territory in western Valinor, the goodwill of Aule's strange little people, and there is enough sky and earth here for them to breathe freely. They don't need anything more.
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