The early morning sun painted the
river into a ribbon of gold. Silver
fishes jumped out of the slow-moving current, glinting like coins in the
sun. Along the edges were
rows of purple and blue flowers, orange butterflies fluttering around
their colorful petals.
Elladan stood quietly near the forest
edge, an empty wicker basket in his hand. Despite the fact that he was feeling more and more foolish
the longer he stood there, a feeling of relaxation was swimming through
his veins. It was a beautiful
day, and he just let the sun soak into him like some ancient tree.
Even if Námo did not show, it was worth coming out today.
But Elladan was curious what the Doomsman would look like in the
light of bright day.
The sun was rather high overhead when
Elladan finally tired of waiting. He was rather disappointed when he finally turned around to
Only to find Námo watching him from
the tree line.
Elladan blinked in surprise.
Námo made no move. A
thick cloak wrapped around him from head to toe hiding his features from
view. It was strangely
reminiscent of the Black Riders.
"Um, hello," Elladan said,
unsure what to do. But that
seemed to be the norm when he was around the great Vala.
Námo inclined his head in response.
"Have you been here awhile?" the half-elf asked.
"Since daybreak, as you
requested," Námo's voice came from somewhere deep within the dark
"Oh," Elladan said, not sure
what to think about that. It
seemed odd that Námo would not make himself known, especially as his time
seemed so valuable. "Well,
then should we start?" he asked, not sure what else to do.
Námo gracefully raised his delicate
hand, pale against the black of his raiment, and gestured for Elladan to
precede him. Slowly, they
walked along the edge of the golden river.
At first, they were silent. Elladan
didn't know how to start a conversation and Námo seemed absorbed in his
Awkwardly the half-elf would point to
a flower and ask quietly what Námo could tell him about it.
Elladan would take a sample of those his father would be most
intrigued about and tried to file away what Námo said about each.
A few he recognized after his companion named it, a few he wasn't
certain about, but there were a few that he was sure were new.
Elladan had just about given up hope
of using this outing to get to know the brooding Vala, resigned to simply
collect plants, when Námo suddenly stopped and turned to look at him.
Elladan gave him a questioning look, but said nothing.
His companion seemed to be debating
something. The air seemed
heavy with serious reflection and Elladan was loath to interrupt.
For a moment he felt out of his depth.
Námo was too far beyond him, far too powerful and all-knowing to
be interested in a mere half-elf.
"You are wrong," Námo said.
"There is much about you that interests me."
"There is?" Elladan asked,
wondering if Námo was thinking along the same lines he was.
Námo merely nodded gravely, which gave Elladan no sense of his
"I have spent this previous night
in deep reflection, as my kinsman Oromë suggested, and I have come to the
conclusion that he and Vairë are correct. It was irrational of me to deny the destiny they both
accepted, and now that I have looked deep into His Thought, I see glimmers
of it too. I must ask for
your forgiveness that I should have denied you so long," Námo said.
Elladan's eyebrows drew together in a
familiarly confused expression. "Um,
okay. I still have no idea
what you're talking about."
Námo stiffened slightly as if in
surprise. "You do not?
Surely you must know that you and I are destined for each
"We are?" Elladan asked
incredulously, his eyes widening to the size of dinner plates.
Sure, he had hoped to progress in catching the elusive Vala but he
had hardly thought it would be this easy.
Indeed considering that Námo was married, Elladan had been very
certain he was going after the unattainable.
That Námo could so readily, so casually talk about being each
other's destiny seemed surreal and very suspicious.
Elladan must have heard wrong. "You mean like father and
Tauron were meant to be?" he asked warily.
Though it is not exactly the same, the outcome seems to be similar.
We will bind our souls together as they did before the eyes of the
One." Binding souls. That
Elladan needed to sit down.
He dropped his basket and moved to the
shade of the trees. Námo
watched him with concern. The
half-elf leaned against the tree but almost immediately whirled back to
look at the imposing Vala.
"So, you're telling me that you
and I are going to get married, just like that?" he demanded.
"But what about Vairë?"
Elladan asked, thinking back to the imposing woman in purple.
"She has already given her
permission to the union. It
was she who first foresaw it. She
is happy for us both . . . I thought you would be pleased," the Vala
said softly, but Elladan could have no idea what he was feeling. It was the bloody hood, keeping him from seeing Námo's face.
That guard made it worse; Námo was laughing at him under there, it
was just some kind of joke, something was wrong.
Sensing the confusion he had sent
Elladan in, Námo hesitantly stepped forward but stopped short, unsure.
After a moment his hands moved to his hood, gently lowering it to
reveal his beautiful face. Elladan
looked into his eyes, not knowing what he hoped to find there.
There was no duplicity, no amusement or cruelty, only a deep
concern, which could only mean one thing.
Námo was telling the truth.
Elladan couldn't think.
He leaned back against the tree, going back to his childhood days
when his father had taught him to draw comfort from the world around him
when he felt lost. The
ancient trees were a source of great wisdom and strength, their long
enduring years a testament to the triumph of life and light over
The trick worked, the trees' solemn
calm working through the half-elf, calming him.
Námo remained silent, sensing the work of nature upon Elladan's
soul. He had dared to move a
little closer, hoping to offer solace though he had no idea why the
half-elf had reacted as he had.
After several long minutes, Elladan
took a deep breath and turned back to face the imposing Vala.
"So you and I are going to get married," he said again,
his voice steadier, his soul calmer.
Námo nodded, not sure what to say
since his words had caused such trouble for the half-elf.
Elladan shook his head in amused exasperation.
Really there seemed to be no other possible reaction for these
"You know, you could at least go
through the motions of courting me," he said, moving to close the gap
"Do you wish me to?" Námo
asked, seeming surprised.
"Well, yes!" Elladan said
emphatically. The Vala
studied his face for a moment, before turning away slightly.
The wicker basket was suddenly in his hands.
"Very well," Námo said,
handing the half-elf the basket. "But
I fear I do not know much about the ways of elvish courting."
Elladan took the basket, and managed a
small smile. "Don't
worry. I'll help you through
By silent agreement, the two returned
to walking along the riverbanks. Neither
said anything, lost in their own thoughts but not yet willing to have the
other out of their sight.
"Finished," Elrond said,
gently setting the book aside. He
had stayed up all night rereading it, meticulously making marks in another
ledger. Oromë was sitting
quietly before the fireplace in their bedroom, merely soaking up his
Now he opened his eyes to look at his
beautiful husband. "Will
you now seek out Erestor and give it to him?" he asked.
"Perhaps later," the
half-elf said, stretching his hands over his head and cracking the bones
along his spine. Yawning, he
slowly stood up and moved to the door.
"Beloved," Oromë said,
stopping him. Gracefully the
Vala stood up and gestured his husband closer.
Elrond raised an eyebrow but obediently came.
"Close your eyes," the Vala
commanded and Elrond complied. The
half-elf could feel his husband begin to slowly circle around him.
When Oromë was behind him, his warm hands reached around to gently
slip Elrond's outer robe off. The
heavy fabric fell to the floor with a soft thud.
But the Vala was moving again.
Elrond could feel the heat of his body though nothing else.
Now he was on the right, now on the left.
The half-elf felt his husband lean closer, as if to whisper
something, but only a whisper of cool air reached his delicate ears.
Elrond shivered, but Oromë moved on.
A hand ghosted over his silk-covered
arm, but then was gone. A
slight shift nearer brought the Hunter's unique scent of pine and lilac
into Elrond's delicate nose. A
slow inhale reached his ears, and Elrond could picture those cat eyes
darkening with desire.
Oromë stopped again, this time in
front of the half-elf. There
was no real feeling, no sense of the Vala's hands working at the buttons,
but Elrond felt cool air on his chest, suggesting his shirt had fallen
open revealing his pale skin to his husband's gaze.
Warmth settled over his heart.
Behind his eyes Elrond could picture Oromë's hand hovering just
over his chest, not touching, catching his heartbeat nonetheless.
Against his will Elrond felt the excitement drain out of him, his
heartbeat slow. His late
night was catching up with him.
His nerves jumped when he felt his
husband's hands gently settle on his flanks, under his shirt.
Oromë held him for a moment, his skin warming to Elrond's heat.
Then he gently pulled away, pulling Elrond's shirt out of his pants
as he did so, leaving the shirt loose on his shoulders.
A stray breeze blew in the window, stealing beneath the fabric,
finding any stray patch of skin it could.
Elrond shivered again.
Oromë continued his path around his
still husband. He moved close
to his ear again, this time darting out his tongue to lick the tip before
moving on. Elrond shuddered,
his heart picking up speed again. Soon
his husband was once again behind him.
Warm hands settled on his shoulders.
They remained still for a moment before gently pushing his shirt to
the floor. The Vala's warm
hands remained on his husband's arms, soothingly rubbing them.
"Keep your eyes closed,
beloved," Oromë thought, his mental voice a growl of thunder.
Elrond tilted his head backward, feeling his husband press close
against him. The Vala gently
kissed his pale neck. His
arms wrapped tightly around Elrond's trim waist.
His leg pressed gently against the back of the half-elf's thigh,
forcing it to move. He did
the same thing to the other leg and Elrond perceived that Oromë was
moving him to the bed.
It was a little disorienting to move
without sight, but Elrond leaned back into this husband and trusted his
guidance. Soon enough they
stopped. Moving his foot
slightly, the half-elf could feel the hard wood of their bed against his
Gently Oromë maneuvered his husband
around so that he could sit down. "Lay
on your stomach," he commanded.
Elrond shivered at his words and immediately obeyed.
The sheets were cool against his bare skin.
It was a moment before he felt the
mattress dip near his hip. Elrond
felt his husband's weight settle over his thighs, straddling him.
A slight pop near his ear followed by the gentle scent of vanilla
told him that the bottle of oil was near his head.
His breathing grew more rapid.
A warm hand settled over his heart and
that odd feeling of lethargy settled into his bones again.
Moments later the hand was gone.
Elrond rested his head over his arms, listening intently in the
hopes of figuring out what his husband was up to.
The feel of warmed-oil hands beginning
to rub his worn muscles quickly answered that question.
Elrond relaxed further into the mattress and let out a contented
sigh. Near his ear he heard a
"It amazes me that you can
work yourself so hard over a mere book, love," Oromë thought,
gently kissing his husband's pointed ear.
"I'm impatient I guess.
I never could put a book down until I'd finished it,"
Elrond thought lazily.
"For an old tale, I might
understand. But wasn't this
the book about bird migration? Surely
the end is not so much more necessary than the beginning?" the
Vala said, continuing his firm caress, massaging out the deep knots in his
"It's better to take in the
book as a whole so that you can appreciate the author's points better,"
Elrond responded. Oromë
chuckled in fond amusement. He
leaned down for another kiss, letting his nose graze the half-elf's warm
"Have I mentioned that I love
you recently?" the Vala asked, warm affection coloring his mental
"Mmm, this morning,"
Elrond said, almost asleep. Oromë
said nothing more, hoping to lull his husband to sleep.
It was almost a half hour later that
he felt all of his husband's muscles completely loosen.
Quietly Oromë moved away to sit on the edge of the bed.
He put the jar of oil away, and pulled the blankets over the
sleeping half-elf. It seemed he could never get enough of simply watching his
A slight noise near the door made him
turn his head. Elladan stood
quietly near the entrance. Oromë
had been aware of his presence for awhile, but as the younger half-elf had
made no move to make himself known, the large Vala had not addressed him.
Now he raised an eyebrow in silent
query. Quietly Elladan moved
into the room, his eyes on his father lest he disturb him.
"Do you have a moment?"
"Of course," Oromë said,
gesturing for Elladan to draw up a chair. The half-elf hesitated.
"I will not disturb father, will
I?" he asked. The Vala
smiled at his concern but shook his head.
"I shouldn't think so.
He's been up all night reading."
Elladan managed a half-smile for his
father's quirk but seemed preoccupied as he quietly moved a chair so he
could sit by the bed.
"How did your meeting with Námo
go?" Oromë asked when Elladan made no move to speak.
The half-elf's head snapped up and he scrutinized the other's face.
"You know?" he asked.
"Námo told me last night that he
was to meet with you today," Oromë said smoothly.
It was not exactly a lie. The
Valar spoke on many levels, not all of which were obvious.
"Oh," Elladan said, looking
back at his hands, which were absently playing with the edge of his tunic.
"Well, Námo had some interesting things to say to me."
The half-elf darted a gaze to his sleeping father, who had mumbled
something quietly. Oromë
followed his gaze, a fond light entering his cat-eyes.
"Did you seek your father's
advice?" he asked. Elladan's
head snapped back to look at him. He studied him for a moment before shrugging.
"You'll do fine, I guess.
You seem to understand what's going on." Oromë laughed.
"And I doubt it'll be a great surprise to you," Elladan
The Vala cocked his head to the side.
"I take it you were unduly surprised?" he asked.
"Apparently," Elladan said,
looking up at the ceiling. Oromë's
eyebrow rose in query.
"Why don't you tell me what
happened?" he coaxed, wondering how his kinsman had screwed up now.
Elladan took a deep breath before retelling the whole story from
the start. Oromë's lips
twitched in amusement by the end and his eyes twinkled, but he kept his
voice carefully steady.
"You will have to be patient with
Námo. He is used to speaking
with his kin and with the dead, both of whom are removed from the ordinary
concerns of the world. He
really has no idea about the mechanics of elvish relationships.
As far as he sees, two people are destined to be together and so
they are. There is no awkward
period of adjustment in his mind. I also think he has never had a real idea about what a couple
does together. To my
knowledge he and Vairë have only ever worked together.
You'll have your hands full trying to get him to understand the
concept of simply relaxing with the one you love, but I think you're up to
Elladan frowned upon hearing this.
"You don't seem hugely surprised," he said at length.
"Well, I'm not.
You've been interested in Námo since he helped me rescue you.
And I know a thing or two about half-elven stubbornness.
It was only a matter of time before you snared him," the Vala
said with a smile. Elladan
startled before returning the smile with a brilliant one of his own.
no match for us either," he said.
For any other Valar such a statement would have seemed profane, but
Oromë only laughed. It would
be very interesting to see Námo, the straightest-laced of the Valar, with
the irrelevant Elladan.
indeed. I should hate to see
Him matched against you."
laughed at the absurd notion, and Oromë could feel his stepson's spirit
lighten. He was glad of it.
With his supposedly unobtainable crush on Námo, Elladan had had a
tough time adjusting to the Blessed Lands.
wouldn't happen to know any other 'obvious' parts of this destiny I should
already be aware of, do you?" Elladan asked after a long moment.
Oromë shook his head slowly.
best you find out such things on your own.
Your part in this destiny is to be yourself.
I'm sure if there is something more, Námo will let it slip out
unintentionally," Oromë said with amusement.
He could never remember the unflappable Vala so out of his element
before, and he found it hysterical.
then, I heard Elrohir puttering in the kitchen.
I think I shall go and save us all from his cooking," he said
standing up. Oromë nodded in farewell.
sure everyone will be eternally grateful to you," he said, watching
the younger half-elf leave. With
a smile on his face, he settled back against the headboard.
you going to tell me about this?" a sleepy voice asked.
The Vala blinked in surprise, looking down to see silver eyes
peeking at him from over Elrond's folded arms.
long have you been awake?" he asked.
Elrond shrugged, which looked odd from his position.
think I ever actually slept," he murmured, still looking intently at
his husband, the question still volleying between their souls.
Oromë sighed, reaching out to stroke Elrond's soft hair.
didn't mean to keep things from you.
Vairë visited yesterday and started the whole thing into motion
and you were engrossed in your book.
I honestly had no idea what Námo would do.
He seemed to be denying his destiny, but now he's not.
And really it's Elladan's place to tell us."
Elrond said, closing his eyes under his husband's caress.
"I shall want a full account of what's going on anyway,
including all those little Vala things you pick up."
sure I have no idea what you're talking about, love," Oromë said
affectionately, his hand sliding down to cup his husband's cheek.
the half-elf said, moving his head to kiss his husband's hand.
They remained silent for several long moments, simply enjoying each
Elrond levered himself up. "Come,
Elladan's going to need backup," he said, flinging the sheets off. He grabbed a clean shirt and headed out the door, Oromë at
"I am in need of your aid,
"I thought you were going to
learn from Elladan."
"I believe I may have . . .
hurt him today. I do not wish
to do so again."
"You didn't hurt him, merely
surprised him. Now that he
has some idea where it's all headed, he'll be fine."
"He may know where 'it's' all
headed but now I find that I do not. What he said . . . what he wants . . . I did not expect it,
and I find I do not understand it."
"What don't you understand?"
"Why does he need to be . . .
courted? I thought courting
was merely a means to find your soulmate.
It is already found in this case.
Why then does he feel it necessary?"
"It may be crystal clear to
you, but it's not to him. Elves
don't simply accept destiny because someone tells them that that's the way
it's going to be. It has to
ring true for their own souls. That
hasn't happened yet for Elladan. You
and he barely know each other."
"But he felt the pull on his
soul the same as I. He is
already aware of our shared destiny.
Indeed he accepted it before I did."
"That means nothing.
And he did not accept it as destiny.
What he accepted is that he was interested in you.
Elves cannot always tell the difference between the stirring of
their heart and the stirring of their soul.
Surely you know it is possible for an elf to fall in love with
someone other than their soulmate. Elves
are not cerebrally aware of this, but in their hearts I believe they have
some understanding of it. That
is why they do not immediately accept just anyone they find an interest
in. That is why it is
important for them to take time to give their souls a chance to really
speak to them."
How much time?"
"It depends on the elf, on how
in tune to their soul they are, on how exact they wish to be."
"Is there no way I can help my
soulmate discover the truth within himself?"
"The best thing you can do now
is to spend time with him, lots of it. He will tell you what else he needs, but the more time you
spend together, the better he will be able to judge the situation."
"But I have no such time.
I have the dead to look after, the Mystery to attune to."
"I thought you were going to
let Vairë help out. Isn't
that what she wants?"
". . ."
"Besides, the Mystery has led
you to Elladan. Obviously the
One wants you to learn more about elvish interaction. Spending time with Elladan will be like meditating before the
void. Subtle answers will
appear and will give you great insight into His mind if you have the
presence of will to see it. Indeed
it is a great challenge set before you.
Few can see the great mysteries that are hidden deep within His
". . .very well.
Elladan wishes to see me again tomorrow and I have accepted.
Perhaps I should go to him now if he needs more time with me."
"That you should not do.
You have given him a shock and he needs time to figure things out.
He needs time with you but he needs time to reflect."
"How am I to know when to be
with him and when to give him space?"
"He will tell you.
He asked to see you tomorrow.
He will not expect you before then, so he will use the time in
between to reflect."
"This seems very confusing."
"Yes, but it is perfectly
normal to elves. It is a
confusion they understand and accept.
The wisest thing for you to do is to follow Elladan's lead.
If you are observant, he will tell you everything you need to know
though not always directly."
"Well, as you deem
appropriate. I shall at least
try. Is there nothing else
you could advise me on?"
"Only this: don't expect
Elladan to know what you think he should know. Elves discover things; that is part of their charm.
They don't just have them appear from thin air the way we do.
Courting is a time of discovery for elves, but I counsel that you
let it be a time of discovery for yourself too.
Don't expect anything, don't look for anything.
Just let yourself flow."
". . . thank you for
the advice, Oromë."
"You're welcome, Námo."