"I see you've
"Yes, do you
compliments the other wing of your home.
Now it is symmetrical."
"Oh, well I
guess there's that too. But
you should look more closely. Did
I give you enough room?"
"Did you give
me enough room? What does
it have to do with me? And
enough room for what?"
would it be for? The new wing
is for you and Elladan of course. I
figured he'd want to stay close to his twin, and he certainly shows no
intention whatsoever of wanting to leave his father's side."
certainly but-but . . . you expect me to move in--to your house!"
"Grow up, Námo.
Where else would you live? You
don't really expect me to believe you're going to make Elladan live in
your cold, dreary halls, do you?"
not! I just assumed . . ."
That you would still live there and Elladan would live here?
Námo, you're getting married.
You and he need a space of your own where you can retreat to
live together. Elladan has to become a part of your life; that means you
come home every night to him, and to do that you need a home to come to."
". . . well, perhaps, but you really expect me to live with you?"
not? Do you have a problem
"Well . . . I
mean . . . that is it is very generous of you to offer such a thing, but
surely you cannot want me in your realm."
realm? The forest belongs to
itself, as does any forest. It
is there for the enjoyment of all; you can hardly call it mine. Besides, it's not like your presence is going to cause
some cataclysmic devastation . . . unless . . . are you intending to do
something I should be worried about?"
"No of course
not. But still, to let me
wander around without your leave . . . you would be laid bare."
"Oh please, Námo.
Like you couldn't sneak in here without my knowledge whenever it
suits you. Didn't you do that
just a few weeks ago? So, why should I bother trying to keep you out when
you can stroll in whenever you like anyway?"
"It was only
the one time, Oromë. And I
assumed you would be on guard considering that embarrassing display Vairë
made. I was not far from her
and I expected you to show up. I
would never have done so otherwise."
your quality. I trust you, Námo,
and I've never been given cause not to."
certainly kind of you to say, but you really should be more concerned.
With that kind of attitude, just anyone can waltz in here and learn
whatever they like."
Not everyone keeps the secrets of the One hidden in the foundations
of their realm. I am happy
for anyone to come here and learn from me.
Whatever I know is open for everyone's perusal.
Isn't that the purpose of the Valar, to teach?
Well my husband is an excellent educator, and he would tell you
there is no better teacher than experience.
Why should I not open up my own experiences for others to share?
Why do all of my kin so zealously keep themselves hidden from
everyone else? I do not
understand it. We may not
tell them about destiny and the hidden secrets of the One, but that
doesn't mean that our own journeys need be kept locked away.
Indeed, I think I have much to teach in this respect.
I have a wonderful husband; we have survived much adversity and our
love is stronger than ever. Surely
there is some wisdom to be learned in that, and the student can divine the
good in it for themselves. They
don't need me to interpret it for them."
The only thing I care about is the well-being of my family, and
trust me, not even you could get nearer than five hundred feet to any one
of them without me knowing. I protect what really matters, and you should learn to do the
". . ."
speaking of what is dear to us . . . how did things go with Elladan?"
" . . . I am
"Because I do
not know how to read him. He
says he is okay with what happened, but I still sense turmoil in him."
you asked him what's wrong?"
" . . . I am
unsure how to ask him so that he will reveal to me the truth.
Usually he evades and says he is fine."
half-elves do have that tendency, but then I suppose that is equally true
of most men of any species. Luckily
for us, we two have a weapon on our side that makes it far easier for us
to deal with them than if we were normal elves."
"And what is
Námo! We have the ability to
see the subtle inflections of our lovers' souls.
Reading them invariably leads to the heart of the problem."
already said I do not know how to read him.
How am I to do as you suggest if I cannot do that?"
course you'll need practice, but you need to do one other thing too."
really wish you would stop dancing around your thoughts and get to the
"Patience is a
"Well I know,
but fear of hurting a loved one can wear down even Manwë's tolerance."
"I know Námo,
and you really are doing well. Just
have a little faith in yourself and your soulmate.
And heed my advice. You
have bonded with Elladan in the manner most familiar to him, and it is
right and proper that you did so. But
you should not neglect yourself; you only end up hurting Elladan when you
do. Therefore the best course
of action that I can see is for you to bond with him as you should have
done with Vairë. I should
think most all of your problems will be solved if you do this."
"But I thought
. . . well, sex had a remarkably similar effect."
"But you did
not let yourself be open and free then, did you?
Hence all of your problems."
". . ."
"Besides . . .
this is important to you. You
may not realize it, but bonding on the spiritual level has always been the
thing you most need. Just as
you need to make allowances for Elladan's needs and wants, so too does he
have to do for you. For you
to feel like you and he are truly soulmates, you must bond with him in our
way and in his."
". . . I shall
ask him how he feels about it."
That's exactly the first thing you should think; never make a
decision involving the two of you without consulting him first."
"I believe I
learned that lesson at least."
once you're bonded you can move in with us here."
don't mind me living here, under your roof?"
don't mind. It'll be nice to
have more company. And if you
don't mind me saying so, I think interacting daily with living, lively
elves would do you some good."
". . . Lord
Elrond will not mind either?"
wants what's best for his children, but if he had a choice, he would want
Elladan close, and he would want him to be happy.
You make Elladan happy; I know you haven't been doing too well
lately, but I also know that once you get over this awkward period of
adjustment, you and he will make a great couple.
So I can say with certainty, Elrond would be delighted to have you
come live with us, no matter what he says to the contrary."
ask Elladan about that too. Thank
you for your time, brother."
"It is always
yours to have, brother."
Elrond said handing his eldest son a large mug of dwarvin beer. Elladan raised an eyebrow at it, but accepted willingly.
He hadn't been aware his father even had any beer left, but he was
glad. His father knew
Elladan's preference for harder liquor when under stress.
the younger half-elf grunted, before promptly taking a long swig of the
bitter drink that was more alcohol than barley.
The two half-elves sat
in silence, both contemplating the she-elf busily writing lists at the
table on the other side of the room.
Both could hear Celebrían happily humming to herself.
It was several long
minutes later that she sat back, a satisfied expression on her doll-like
face. She turned her long
torso toward them. "Come
see if I've missed anyone," she commanded, her face practically
beaming even as she turned back to her list.
Elrond and Elladan
exchanged a look before the younger half-elf's eyes darted away and he
took another long pull from his beer.
Understanding, Elrond gracefully stood and moved to look over his
former wife's shoulder. If
Celebrían noticed Elladan remained where he was, she said nothing.
Leaning over slightly,
Elrond straightened the edge of the scroll so he could see the bottom
names. He made no comment on
the way Celebrían stiffened at his closeness and then forcibly relaxed
again. "I don't see
Galadriel's name on here," he said quietly, feeling his former wife
stiffen again. "She is
Elrond knew about
Celebrían's feelings for her mother, and he wasn't too keen about her
either but he had never had anything against her.
The healer in him thought he saw a long-ago hurt as the cause of
her actions and he couldn't help wanting to find it, to heal it.
But the practical scholar in him knew that if Galadriel had wanted
healing she would have found it long ago on her own. Denial was her choice of cures, and he would not question it.
Gently Elrond began
rubbing Celebrían's bony shoulders.
Though he couldn't see her face, he knew her lips would be pursed
and her pencil-thin eyebrows would be drawn together in an adorable scowl.
"Elladan?" she said, glancing toward her disinterested
he said without looking up from contemplating the inside of his mug.
Elrond wondered if his former wife heard the slight edge of
frustration in their son's voice.
"What do you
think of inviting your grandmother to the wedding?" Celebrían said
tightly. Elladan startled at
her words, turning quickly to meet her eyes.
For the first time, a look of interest passed his eyes and he
"Well, of course
she has to come. And
grandfather too," he said cheerfully, obviously happy with the idea. Celebrían frowned.
she said under her breath. For
a moment she was confused since her father had never sailed to the West.
But then it dawned on her who he meant.
murmured, but quickly jotted down Elwing and Eärendil onto her list. She shook her head at herself, wondering how she could forget
those two. One of the first
things Oromë had done after Elrond was settled into their home was to
introduce him to his parents. Though
Eärendil's time was not really his own, he visited his son as often as he
could. Elwing visited more
often, as there was no real vow holding her to meeting her husband each
morning. It was just that he
was the only one who held her heart and she wished to see no one else.
But now that her son was in the Blessed Lands, she was glad to
spend time with him and her grandsons.
Celebrían liked her very much, and they got on very well together.
It answered a few questions about where Elrond's dry humor had come
she sat up and turned back to her son, giving him a weighty look.
"Of course your father's parents will be invited, but I was
referring to Gal- er, my mother," she quickly amended, feeling her
husband give her shoulders a soft squeeze in caution.
shuttered expression came over Elladan's face.
"Oh, um, sure . . . if that's what you want.
I mean, she's my grandmother too," he said, looking down into
his empty mug. Celebrían
frowned. She glanced up at
Elrond, but his face was carefully blank. Warning bells went off in her head; Elrond only had that
expression when he knew something. Celebrían
knew it would be useless trying to pry the information from him, so she
gracefully stood and went to sit by her son's side on the couch.
Elrond's hands dropped from her shoulders to lay on the back of her
son glanced at her out of the side of his eyes, his expression almost
wary. More warning bells went
off, and her frown deepened. "Elladan
look at me," she commanded in that tone that none of her children
could refuse. Reluctantly
Elladan turned in her direction, but his focus was obviously somewhere
over her shoulder.
you want Galadriel at your wedding?" Celebrían questioned again,
taking the mug from his hand and setting it on the floor.
Elladan said, but still refused to meet her eyes.
don't sound very enthusiastic about it.
Are you telling me the truth?" she pressed.
Secretly she wondered if she was seeing things, hoping that he
didn't want her mother there because she didn't.
But then she looked at his dodgy behavior and trusted her
course," Elladan stuttered. Celebrían's
delicate eyebrow rose; her eldest didn't stuttered.
she said ominously, and his gaze finally met hers. It hardly helped, as she couldn't even begin to read his
eyes. Doubtless his other
worries about Námo clouded everything else, but still . . . there was
certainly something there.
she is my grandmother, and I suppose she should be there.
Whatever you want, mother," Elladan said after the silence
grew too oppressive for him.
I want?" Celebrían said, arching her eyebrow.
um, I mean I don't really have an opinion about this," Elladan said
she said again, putting an end to his babble.
His mouth shut with an audible snap.
Covertly he glanced at his father, but Celebrían was glad to see
his stone face was as much for his son as for her.
It was between mother and son then; that was fine with her.
"Do you want your grandmother at your wedding?" she said
again, this time weighting each word with her own brand of magic.
Elladan knew that this was his last chance to tell the truth and
she would know if he lied. She
may not like being her mother's daughter, but that didn't mean she wasn't.
head bowed and his hands twisted nervously in his lap.
"No," he whispered.
He glanced up through his hair.
"I'm sorry mom. I
know she's your mother and all, but I don't . . . I mean she gives me the
creeps sometimes and . . . I didn't want to disappoint you," he said
quietly seeing her expression.
let out a slow sigh. "What
disappoints me is that my son won't be honest with me," she said.
mom-," Elladan began, his head jerking up. He stopped under her stern look.
She could see him biting the inside of his cheek in nervousness.
else don't you like about this wedding?
What else have you just 'gone along' with?" she said quietly,
a touch of hurt in her voice. Elladan
glanced at his father again, but scowled when Elrond merely raised an
eyebrow with an expression that clearly said 'you're on your own, son'.
not like that, mom," Elladan said, taking her delicate hand into his
rough ones. "I just
wanted you to be happy. I
really don't care much about the wedding one way or the other, so why not
let you do whatever if it makes you happy?
It's not like you're doing anything I don't like."
I am, aren't I? If I invited
Galadriel, you would be unhappy," Celebrían said, studying her son
closely. His silence spoke
volumes. The she-elf jerked
her hand out of his, and stood up abruptly.
"I'm very disappointed," she said quietly, wrapping her
arms around her defensively.
Elladan grabbed her skirt gently so she couldn't walk away.
He bolted to his feet and stood in her path.
"You happiness outweighs any small unpleasantness," he
said earnestly. Obviously
wanting to say more, he looked conflicted as to how to do it.
He glanced again at his father.
Elrond took pity on him.
tell her the truth, Elladan. You're
making things worse by dancing around the issue," he said solemnly.
Elladan nodded once and then turned to look his mother in the eye.
Gently he unraveled her arms and took her hands in his.
the absolute truth . . . I've never been keen on a wedding, certainly not
a big one. I always wanted
one like dad's," he said slowly.
our wedding was big," she whispered, confused and even more hurt.
I mean like dad's first wedding," Elladan said, his face a little
Celebrían said, but made no further comment.
Uncertain how to read that, Elladan once again looked at his father
who merely gestured for him to continue.
So I don't really want a wedding, and according to Námo we're
Celebrían asked incredulously.
according to the Valar, my dear," Elrond cut in smoothly.
Celebrían pursed her lips but said nothing.
so anyway I don't need a wedding at all, but Námo and I got to talking,
and I realized that . . . um . . . well . . . I mean I'm the only one of
the three of us who isn't married and you never saw Elrohir or Arwen's
weddings, and . . ." he drifted off, obviously hesitant to bring up
everything clicked into place for Celebrían.
"So you were going to have a wedding just for me?" she
asked, touched despite that she thought she should still be a little
angry. Elladan nodded,
shuffling his feet the way he always did when embarrassed.
yeah," he mumbled, no longer looking his mother in the eye.
Celebrían studied him for a long moment before pulling him into a
the sweetest stupidest thing I've ever heard," she said, holding him
okay." Celebrían could practically see her son's bewildered
expression, which made her laugh. Squeezing
him affectionately, she drew away pulling him back to the couch.
They continued to keep a tight hold on each other's hands.
Elrond watched them silently from the other side of the room,
leaning casually against the back of the chair.
"Well, you're not getting away with no wedding at all," Celebrían
stated. "But that
doesn't mean you can't have a wedding the way you want it.
Even if you are having one for me, even if you let me have some
things the way I would want them, that hardly means you should be forced
to suffer something that really bothers you.
Why would you think you should?"
Elladan ducked his head again, this time in thought.
"Well Arwen didn't much listen to what Elrohir wanted for his
wedding. Figured it'd save
some butting heads if I just shrugged it away," he said honestly,
shrugging his broad shoulders. Celebrían
rolled her eyes at her eldest child.
"Sweetheart, that was your sister, who I might mention was still
looking forward to her own wedding when she planned her brother's.
She wasn't designing his wedding; she was dreaming her own.
I, on the other hand, have already been married so I feel no need
whatsoever to impose my every thought and whim on you.
I will, however, give you advice from what I learned from my own
wedding. But that doesn't
mean you have to take it. Sweetheart,
I only want you to be happy. If
you want a small wedding, then we'll have a small wedding."
"Really?" Elladan asked.
"Really," Celebrían nodded, and was promptly crushed against
an iron hard chest. She
patted her son's back tolerantly, glad that they had cleared this up.
Finally they drew apart, and Elladan took her hands in his once more.
"I'm glad about that, but seriously mom, I hate planning anything and
I have a two-minute attention span on the best of days. I meant it when I said I wanted you to plan the wedding
because I honestly don't think I have the patience for it."
Celebrían laughed, and freed her hand to pinch one of her son's cheeks.
"Mo-om!" he groaned, rolling his eyes and batting her
playful hand away.
"Don't worry, sweetheart, I'll still pick out the flowers and the
music. And I'll make them
hideously garish so you'll be glad to have the wedding over just so you
won't have to stand them anymore," she said lightly.
Elladan rolled his eyes again, but unexpectedly he caught her hands up
and his expression turned serious. She
cocked her head to the side in query.
"Thank you," he said sincerely. Celebrían gifted him with a rare, sweet smile.