A Moment's Rest by elwen of the hidden valley

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I don't own anything.  JRR Tolkien is the creator of Elrond and his world.  This is fanfic.

Alone for the first time in what seemed like an age, the lord of Imladris wondered along the banks of one of Bruinen’s quieter tributaries.  He was not surprised when his steps led him to this place, although it had been many years since he had taken this once well loved path.

The ancient willow whispered greeting, trailing fronds parting to beckon him into the cool and silent womb at her heart.  No grass grew within the deep shade but a century of autumn falls had carpeted the ground about her feet with musty softness, and Elrond settled himself between two gnarled roots.  They welcomed him, encouraging the weary lord of the valley to rest cradled in their strength.

Elrond closed his eyes against the filtered sunlight, smiling as memory took him back to a moonlit night when he had sat thus.  It was the night of Arwen’s conception and then, too, he had sought a few hours of freedom from his responsibilities.  That Celebrian had discovered his retreat so easily was not a surprise but her suggestion for relieving his ennui had been . . . although a rather pleasant one.

Afterwards they had lain entwined in each other’s arms, bodies cooling within the whispering curtains of the willow, as they made plans for their daughter’s future.  That their precious child would marry a mortal had not been any part of their considerations, and Elrond wondered how he would be able to tell his wife when they met again upon the far shore.

Trying to push aside such worries for just a little while he leaned back and let the memory carry him away on the wings of imagination.  The rough bark at his shoulders became a soft breast, the flow of sap the steady beat of another’s heart against his ribs.  Gnarled roots were transformed in his mind to pale and slender arms enfolding him.  A silver voice came so close at his ear that he could almost feel warm breath teasing the delicate tip.

“This is not the same willow.”

“Time flows.  A daughter or granddaughter, I think,” he replied drowsily.

“She holds no memory of me.  But she holds an echo of the other.  She will always be Arwen’s tree.”

The words almost made Elrond want the flee the dream, yet her arms held him still.  Celebrian’s voice stroked his mind.  “She is very happy.  And that was our greatest wish fore her, after all.”

“But he is mortal,” he replied, unable to hide the bitterness in his heart from she who was his soul mate.  “He will die and happiness will turn to grief and, perhaps, bitterness.  Then she will follow him.”

“That is the path she has chosen, my love.  And we cannot know Iluvator’s plan for mortal kind when they depart this Middle earth.  The history of your own family line must tell you that.  For are you not descended from the mortal Beren and elven kind’s fairest flower, Luthien?”

Elrond felt the ghost of gentle fingers carding through his hair.  “You must let her go, as you did me.” 

“You, at least, I will join again upon the western shore.  I will never see our child again and I am not certain I have that strength.”

Slender but strong arms drew closer about him, splayed hands stroking gently across his chest.  His heart stuttered as his body tightened in remembered response.  Celebrian’s voice was gentle benison to his fea.  “You were ever my strength.”

Her words only deepened his pain.  “Would that my strength were sufficient to have kept you from that fateful day.”

Slender fingers brushed his lips.  “Yours is not the ear of Iluvator, to hear every verse of the song of my life.  And if your strength failed, your love prevailed.”

The bitterness of loss and failure could not be withheld from his reply.  “How so?  My love was not sufficient to heal your heart and hold you to my side.”

“Some hurts there are that cannot be wholly healed with love.  But time can often heal what love does not.”  Soft lips feathered his cheek and the warm bow of her lips against his skin soothed the hurt.  “And yet love still plays a part.  For although time has brought my healing it was love that set me free to find it.  And it is that same love that has set our daughter free to follow her song.”

Her words unlocked the chains that had bound his heart for so many years and silent tears rolled down his face.  Her voice began to fade.

“You are and always will be my strength and my love.  Come to me and let me be your strength for a while.”

Celebrian’s touch melted away but something of her remained within him and, with a sigh, Elrond settled more firmly into the willow’s embrace.  Rough bark pressed against his spine and sap hummed just beneath the surface:  a promise not, perhaps, of permanence, but of continuance.





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