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"I see you've remodeled."

"Yes, do you like it?"

"It 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?"

"Who else 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."

"Well, 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?"

"Of course not!  I just assumed . . ."

"What?  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?"

"Sure, why not?  Do you have a problem living here?"

"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."

"Pfft, what 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."

"Which shows your quality.  I trust you, Námo, and I've never been given cause not to."

"Well, that's 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."

"Námo.  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."

"Really, Oromë-"

"Relax Námo.  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 same."

". . ."

"So, um, speaking of what is dear to us . . . how did things go with Elladan?"

" . . . I am not certain."

"Why not?"

"Because I do not know how to read him.  He says he is okay with what happened, but I still sense turmoil in him."

"Well, have 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."

"Mmm, yes 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 that?"

"We're Valar, Námo!  We have the ability to see the subtle inflections of our lovers' souls.  Reading them invariably leads to the heart of the problem."

"I have already said I do not know how to read him.  How am I to do as you suggest if I cannot do that?"

"Well, of course you'll need practice, but you need to do one other thing too."

"Oromë I really wish you would stop dancing around your thoughts and get to the point."

"Patience is a virtue."

"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."

"Excellent!  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."

"Good, and once you're bonded you can move in with us here."

"You really don't mind me living here, under your roof?"

"I really 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?"

"Elrond only 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."

"Well, I'll ask Elladan about that too.  Thank you for your time, brother."

"It is always yours to have, brother."


"Here," 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.

"Thanks," 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 Elladan's grandmother."

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 son.

"Yeah mom?" 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 smiled brightly.

"Well, of course she has to come.  And grandfather too," he said cheerfully, obviously happy with the idea.  Celebrían frowned.

"Grandfather?" 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.

"Oh!" she 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 from.

Slowly 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. 

A 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 abandoned chair.

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. 

"Do you want Galadriel at your wedding?" Celebrían questioned again, taking the mug from his hand and setting it on the floor. 

"Yes," Elladan said, but still refused to meet her eyes.

"You 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 instincts.

"Of course," Elladan stuttered.  Celebrían's delicate eyebrow rose; her eldest didn't stuttered. 

"Elladan," 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.

"Well, 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. 

"Whatever I want?" Celebrían said, arching her eyebrow. 

"Er, um, I mean I don't really have an opinion about this," Elladan said inelegantly. 

"Elladan," 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.

Elladan's 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.

Celebrían let out a slow sigh.  "What disappoints me is that my son won't be honest with me," she said.

"But 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.

"What 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'. 

"It's 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."

"But 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. 

Desperately 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.

"Just 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.

"Okay 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.  Celebrían frowned.

"But our wedding was big," she whispered, confused and even more hurt.

"Er, I mean like dad's first wedding," Elladan said, his face a little pink.

"Mmm," 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.

"Right.  So I don't really want a wedding, and according to Námo we're already wed."

"What?" Celebrían asked incredulously.

"Only according to the Valar, my dear," Elrond cut in smoothly.  Celebrían pursed her lips but said nothing.

"Er, 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 his sister. 

Suddenly 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.

"Um, yeah," he mumbled, no longer looking his mother in the eye.  Celebrían studied him for a long moment before pulling him into a tight hug.

"That's the sweetest stupidest thing I've ever heard," she said, holding him close. 

"Um, 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.

"You're welcome."