10. Chapter 10
“Sit,” Finrod bade.
Galadriel perched on the stone bench carved out of the walls of the corridor, and wondered what in the names of all the Valar made her obey him without a thought.
“You,” he turned to Celeborn, “I’ll… deal with you later.”
“Well then,” Celeborn replied, raising his eyebrows at Galadriel.
“No,” she managed to interrupt, squeezing Celeborn’s hand, and wishing Finrod wouldn’t insist on exercising whatever older-brother-charisma he employed on her in front of Celeborn - although she had a feeling he was doing it on purpose. “We both want to talk to you.”
“So you shall. But right now, I want to talk to Galadriel. All right?”
Galadriel assented with a slight sigh of exasperation.
“Good night then, my lord,” Celeborn answered, with a polite bow.
“Finrod,” he corrected absent-mindedly.
“Finrod,” Celeborn repeated, smiling. He raised Galadriel’s hand that he had been holding to his lips, then released it. “May your dreams be full of starlight and your waking blessed with sunshine,” he told her warmly, and departed.
“Is that some kind of traditional Sindarin ‘good night’ or did he make that up on the spot?” Finrod wanted to know, narrowing his eyes.
“No idea,” Galadriel replied, a little distractedly.
Finrod crossed his arms, and turned to her.
“Well?” he repeated more insistently.
“I’ve decided to accept Melian’s invitation to stay on in Doriath for a time as her companion and student,” Galadriel said, voice neutral, and proud.
Finrod gave her a flat look. “I see. You and Celeborn wanted to talk to me about your studies with Melian.”
“Well you certainly didn’t make this any easier by chasing him away!” Galadriel retorted.
“Who said I was trying to make anything easy?”
“Why are you so infuriating?”
“Years of practice… I can’t stop now.”
“Finrod,” Galadriel pleaded.
“I know, little one, I’m sorry,” he said ruefully, laughing a little as he sat down beside her, and put an arm around her shoulders. “I’ll miss you terribly, you know,” he said softly.
She nodded, and let her head fall to his shoulder.
“For a while,” he said softly, stroking her unbound hair, “it didn’t matter that we were all grown up. Parting with Amarië did break my heart, but no so much that I couldn’t see that I brought all of us closer again. And you, little one, have been like my shadow. I have held us together, I know, as I did when we were little.” He put his cheek against the top of her head, and held her tighter for a moment. “But we are not little any more. Not even you. And perhaps it is time for us to be apart.”
And for a moment, the picture in her mind of a slight elf-lad named Finrod leading his band of little brothers – the littlest of which was a sister – off on countless adventures through the glades dappled in the tree-light that had suffused their childhood, blurred with her tears.
“You know that Angrod and Aegnor and Orodreth have all accepted realms of their own from the King. He needs them in the north – we cannot stay together forever,” he said compassionately, wiping at her tears.
“I know,” she said, brushing his hands away and rubbing her own eyes dry, “nor do I truly think that we should, however I might want it.”
“But you also want Celeborn,” he ventured.
“I love Celeborn,” Galadriel corrected firmly.
Finrod smiled. “That’s what I wanted to hear.”
Galadriel found no better way to express her exasperation than to laugh.
“What became of your plans to convince him to follow you?” Finrod wanted to know.
Galadriel shrugged. “We… talked about it. Heatedly.”
“Quarreled,” Finrod interpreted.
“And we decided that for now, there is more I wish to learn from Doriath than he from the Noldor,” she continued.
“Or perhaps, Galadriel,” Finrod began slowly, “there is something you do not wish him to learn.”
She looked at him sharply, and pushed him away. Finrod looked back with guarded eyes.
“I do not take your meaning,” she lied. “Celeborn was not eager to be parted from his home, I assure you.”
“Oh, I have no doubts Celeborn wished to stay in his forest. But I also know the power of my sister’s stubbornness, not to mention how convincing she can be, when she puts her mind to doing her own will. What held you back?”
“Do not ask me ambiguous questions, unless you want answers of the same sort,” she retorted.
“I think you might’ve convinced him to leave Menegroth, with a little effort. I think you might’ve painted him a picture of the future – of the lord and lady of a forest realm, which would’ve bewitched him as well as it would you. I think you might’ve bent his will to yours.”
“How romantic,” Galadriel muttered.
“Perhaps not, but true enough. And yet you held back. You agreed to his logic, and you compromised. And I want to know why.”
“Why do you ask me questions when you know the answers?” she snapped angrily, eyes pained.
Finrod bit his lip, and smiled apologetically. “I’m sorry, my Galadriel” he said, pulling her back to himself, and hugging her tightly. “I just want to make sure you know them as well.”
“Do you think Father and Mother would have liked him?” she asked softly, after a moment.
“They’re going to love him,” Finrod assured her.
Celeborn shifted a little uncomfortably, and Finrod regarded him coolly.
“So?” Finrod prompted. The new day had dawned cheerfully, and, true to his word, Finrod had turned his attention to “dealing” with Celeborn. Finrod leaned back in his chair, and Celeborn tried not to fidget. It was his study, for pity’s sake. Finrod could at least have the good grace to look a little ill at ease.
“What do you want me to say?” Celeborn asked, at a loss.
“You’re stealing my baby sister, and you have nothing to say to me?”
Celeborn rolled his eyes. “I wonder if you’d apply that turn of phrase in her presence.”
“Probably not,” Finrod conceded with a grin. “It is, admittedly, less than accurate.”
Celeborn returned his smile.
Finrod sighed, and ran a hand through his hair, setting his curls in greater disarray. “I would like for us to be friends,” he said earnestly, “if for no other reason than Galadriel finding you worthy of her affection makes you extraordinary indeed.”
“One could say the same of you,” Celeborn ventured, unsure how to respond to this unexpected display of honesty, in the place of Finrod’s usual sarcastic banter.
“Well, she has to love me,” Finrod replied with a grin.
“But she doesn’t have to respect and admire you as much as she obviously does,” Celeborn countered.
“She is my truest and dearest friend,” Finrod said quietly. “And I begin to understand why she never cared for…” he trailed off.
Not wanting to press Finrod for information, Celeborn stayed silent.
“Well, I shall just have to exercise my superior maturity as the elder sibling, shan’t I?” Finrod told himself, much to Celeborn’s further confusion. “I told her, yesterday, that our parents would love you,” he went on, turning to Celeborn.
“That means a great deal,” Celeborn said warmly.
“There is something about you that makes me think of my father. A gentleness… and a kind of peace, that I have spent my life trying to find in myself.” He smiled. “Yes, they would be very fond of you indeed.”
Unsure of how to accept the compliment, Celeborn shifted a little uncomfortably again. “Thank you,” he tried.
“You know,” Finrod remarked thoughtfully. “I’m not sure what I would give to know what Galadriel is thinking right now, but it would certainly be something valuable.”
Celeborn laughed. “We could always go ask her, you realize.”
“And be subjected to her winning wit, no doubt.”
“I suspect she learned from the master,” Celeborn answered dryly.
Finrod grinned. “I could get to like you,” he conceded generously.
Finrod had been her protector, her harshest critic, and her truest and best friend for as long as she could remember. She loved Angrod and Aegnor and Orodreth just as dearly, but eldest brother and youngest sister had forged a special bond. Some of her earliest memories of the world were from Finrod’s shoulders. And since the first time Eärwen’s last baby learned to laugh, Finrod had made it his mission to draw that laugh forth as often as he could.
Leaving Finarfin had been possible only with Finrod’s curly head disappearing into the East…
Perhaps not. Her ambitions might have driven her to Middle-Earth without her brothers. But their presence and agreement had been her stay.
And now her stay was leaving.
Or rather, she was leaving him.
Finrod stood apart slightly from the group of architects he’d gathered from Menegroth, to make his final goodbyes to his host and hostess. After lifting Luthien, and twirling with her a few times to the sound of her delighted laughter, he bowed gracefully to Thingol and Melian. Thingol reached out to clasp Finrod’s hand warmly, and smiled.
Thingol seemed to have taken such a quick liking to Finrod, Galadriel mused. Her brother’s charming, forthright manner was certainly likable, but the preference still struck her. Thingol had been kind to her, but the warmth he showed Finrod seemed more towards the nature of the affection he lavished on Luthien.
Perhaps … Thingol dearly longed for a son.
Finrod laid a hand on Celeborn’s shoulder, and grinned. “I think I can trust you to keep Galadriel from getting into too much trouble.”
Celeborn smiled back. “I’ll do my best. And at the very least, I’ll make sure she takes me with her.” After Finrod laughed, and turned to his sister, Celeborn withdrew to a tactful distance for Galadriel to bid her brother farewell.
Finrod bent and kissed her white forehead. With a half-grin, Galadriel stood on her toes and returned the gesture. She didn’t have far to reach, as they were much the same height. Finrod laid a firm hand on her shoulder.
“If your happiness does not dwell where you seek it, you know where I will be,” he told her solemnly.
Galadriel shook her head and smiled.
Finrod pressed his hand a little more firmly on her shoulder. “Always remember that your brothers will be faithful to you,” he said, eyes afire with intensity, speech careful, “…just as you are faithful to them.”
His eyes burned like… Galadriel winced a little, and took his meaning.
He saw that she understood him, and his face softened again as he embraced her, lifting her off her feet a little. “Be well, little Galadriel,” he murmured softly, the fires in his eyes extinguished by the tears welling up in them.
This is where I turn to you, my dear readers and reviewers.
I have more. It may take me a while sometimes, but I always have more.
Trouble is, I don’t know what to do with it. It’s a little later, and a little more inclusive of the surrounding events of the Silmarillion, instead of concentrating so much on developing a relationship between Celeborn and Galadriel. It does, however, still closely focus on them.
Sequel? Or keep adding on to the long-windedness that already is Silver and Gold?
At any rate, I’m again very sorry for making everyone wait so long between updates. School is killing me, and I am slowly dying of Organic Chemistry and integration in three dimensions.
As always, I write this as a tribute to how fully Professor Tolkien’s Middle-Earth has captured my imagination and my love.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.