Loving and Leaving by Peregrin Ionad

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Author's Chapter Notes:

(Last line is Tolkien's... but I'm sure you can tell!)

Treebeard felt the elf’s presence as soon as they entered the forest. He sensed the power and knowledge, which radiated off the being and, with what would have been a small smile – had he possessed the correct muscles- he strode towards a clearing. He knew exactly who had come, and it had been far too long (by the count of men) since anyone had ventured into his wood.
The elf was dressed in silver, from the circlet in his hair to his slim boots. He shone in a bright stream of early morning sun, which dappled the leaves above him. As the Ent approached he bowed slightly, inclining his head out of respect for the ancient being.
“Hoom” The Ent broke the silence “So we do meet again, Celeborn the Wise. But not all together, as we were those many years ago.”
Celeborn frowned “I spoke not out of wisdom then, but out of blind hope. I was a fool to suppose I could change her mind or heart.”
“Hmmmm, it is said love makes fools of us all. I have much experience of it. Not since we, hmmm, lost the Ent-wives.”
“I did not come to discuss love or loss; they say people come to grief here, I want no more grief than already fills my heart.” Celeborn sighed, “But we are much alike, you and I, Fangorn. We have both lost that which we treasured above all, and,” he smiled gently “we have both warned travellers away from each other”
They stood in silent contemplation then, the Elf-lord and the Tree-herder, one leaning gracefully against the moss-laden trunk of an elderly oak, the other straight and stiff, towering far above the forest floor.
“Will you go to her, then” the Ent spoke slowly, as was his wont.
“I think I shall. I really have no other choice – I love her still, far more than she ever realised. Loving her is like loving the sun, the moon and the stars. She is as beautiful, and just as unattainable. But she could have had anyone, far more important than a Prince of Dorinth, yet she chose me. That has to count something, even if her love is not as strong as it once was.” Celeborn smiled softly. “My Grandsons are leaving, my Granddaughter is passed from this world and my realm is empty, save for the trees. Only Thranduil remains, and I doubt even his stubbornness will keep him here long, now his son sails.”
The Ent nodded his silent agreement and with a few, formal, words of parting they went their separate ways. Treebeard hummed a slow song as he strode which echoed through the trees. Celeborn smiled sadly as he caught the words, how true they rang in his life.

“…I’ll look for thee, and wait for thee, until we meet again: together we will take the road beneath the bitter rain. Together we will take the road that leads into the west, and far away will find a land where both our hearts can rest…”

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