Patient, The: 12. Epilogue: The Anemone

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12. Epilogue: The Anemone


THREE WEEKS LATER.

Aaron stared across the pier where the boat was docked and saw Eve waving at
him.

He offered her a smile and returned the gesture before resuming his journey
across the wooden deck towards the motor yacht that he and Eve had bought almost
a week ago. The Anemone was a trawler-style motor yacht, 75 feet in length with
a 20-foot beam with a top speed of 12 knots. It came complete with spacious
living areas and had cost Eve and Aaron virtually every cent they possessed to
buy. In less than a day it would be ready to sail from its dock at Point
Pleasant Boro where it had been berthed for the last week.

Eve had received a hefty settlement on the insurance for her house, spitefully
destroyed by Sandra Collins during the woman’s rabid pursuit of them. While
the house had been a family heirloom, it also had the good fortune of being
situated on prime real estate. Aaron had sold his apartment, choosing to leave
New York while he still could. The destruction of the Malcolm Building had
unfortunately left him in a rather serious predicament. Too many people had
seen him drive into the lobby of the structure prior to its destruction on T
Bird rampage. While they had yet to place a name to his description, Aaron knew
it was only a matter of time before a warrant was issued for his arrest. Thus he
had wanted to be well away from New York before that happened.

Unfortunately, Sandra had ensured that he would have nothing to leave behind
either. He discovered the day after the Monolith’s destruction that he was out
of a job. The hospital board, no doubt pressured days earlier by John Malcolm,
had fired him for his unauthorised removal of Moses from the premises. Since
Aaron was unable to tell them what had become of the old man, they saw no reason
to rescind that decision. Eve had taken a leave of absence from the force and
since she and Aaron had no connection to each other that anyone was aware,
remained unscathed by the fallout following the death of John Malcolm.

Aaron had converted almost everything he owned into cash and departed New York
for Point Pleasant, where Eve had joined him and the elves to decide their next
move. The elves had aided in the financial aspect of his flight as well,
contributing the gold they had intended to use as currency in the new world.
Pooling their resources, he and Eve had bought the boat and still retained
enough money to ensure they could remain at large for quite some time without
financial difficulties. The vessel had been a first priority because the elves
would need to return to Valinor now that their quest was complete. Although
Legolas wanted to stay, it was becoming increasingly clear that this age was
impossible for elves to remain unnoticed. They were too different and the
modern was too alien a place of them to acclimate. In truth, Aaron wished them
gone because he and Eve were unable to offer the elves sanctuary when they
themselves, were fugitives.

Recovering the grey ship they had arrived in was an impossibility since it was
still sitting in impound somewhere in Bay Shore. Although the elves had not
liked it much, they were forced to rely on the modern equivalent make the
journey home. Aaron’s plan was to see the elves safely from these shores before
he and Eve would make for Canada. He wished she did not have to give up her
life in New York but Eve was determined to be with him and a part of Aaron could
not help feeling wonderfully happy for that. Whatever happened in the future,
they would face it together.

“Hey Doc,” Eve greeted as he made his way across the gangplank into the
Anemone’s main deck. “Bring me my Oreos?”

“How do you keep that great body with the junk you eat?” Aaron teased as he
reached into the box of supplies he had been sent out to get and handed Eve her
favourite snack.

“I shoot a lot of people,” Eve deadpanned. “Its great exercise.”

“Then I think I better get you a thigh master instead,” Aaron retorted giving
her a look, never being able to tell whether or not she was kidding about things
like that.

“That better be because of some medical need to save lives and not because I
need it,” she stared at him through narrowed eyes as she tore open the Oreos.
“Besides, its not my fault I’ve run out. We have elves who have never had
chocolate in their hundred thousand year existence and they’re making up for
lost time.”

Aaron decided not to ask her to elaborate as he followed Eve into the main cabin
where the elves were presently staring at the television set that was inbuilt
into the Anemone’s recreation area, complete with a small video library. Aaron,
who knew something about boats, having chartered one on occasion to go fishing
with Stuart, ensured that the Anemone was extremely well equipped. There were
GPS units and solar panels attached to rechargeable batteries capable of
generating sufficient power to run the electrical appliances on board for an
indeterminate point of time. Of course, none of these were as important as the
ten cases of Coke in the galley.

Aaron wondered if Coca Cola knew what a potential market they could have in
Valinor.

The elves would be spending months on the ocean and Aaron was determined that
they did so with some creature comforts. He had shown them over the past two
weeks how to handle the vessel and was reasonably certain that they were capable
of sailing the craft on their own once it came time for them to part company.
He was astonished at how quickly they learnt and supposed that if proper studies
were ever conducted, it would be discovered that elves had a higher learning
capability than humans.

“Any word on whether there’s a warrant out for me yet?” Aaron asked Eve quietly
in English because it was virtually impossible to keep anything out of the elves
hearing.

“I’m not sure,” Eve confessed sadly. “I can’t make too many inquiries without
someone wondering why I’m so interested. At the moment it makes things simpler
if people think I don’t know you. They won’t look to me as a lead to finding
you.”

“I know,” Aaron frowned with annoyance. “I never thought it was going to end
like this.”

“Its not going to end at all,” Eve said leaning over and giving him a comforting
kiss, trying to make him feel better. “Once we get out of here, everything will
be alright.”

“In Canada,” Aaron shrugged unhappily not at all looking forward to the idea.
“You think that bastard could have fixed it so I could speak French as well
elvish.”

“Well your average dark lord is very near sighted,” Eve pointed out, wishing
there was more she could do for him than offer him unconditional support.

Eve could not believe that he was being punished in this way. If only people
knew that John Malcolm was a monster in the literal sense that could have
brought about the destruction of the world then Aaron would have nothing to
fear. He had saved them all because of what he had done but instead of being
hailed as a hero; Aaron was quickly becoming the prime suspect in the
destruction of the Malcolm Building. Eve knew that the net was closing, far
more than she made Aaron aware. It was a matter of time before the
identification on him was complete and she dreaded to think what would happen
then.

Suffice to say, they had to leave for Canada soon.

“Hey guys,” Aaron greeted the elves and noted that their eyes were fixed firmly
on the television set and found it very disturbing that it was a certain warrior
princess that was holding their interest so.

“Hello Aaron,” Elrohir greeted from the sofa, his eyes not moving from the
screen. “ We were watching the tales of Xena. She is indeed a great warrior in
battle, though they do not reveal of what kingdom she is a princess of.”

Aaron gave Eve an accusing stare and asked with sarcasm, “you let them watch
that?”

“It was either Xena or Baywatch,” Eve retorted as she liberated the box of
groceries from him and took them into what passed for the yacht’s galley.

For the sake of his continued existence, Aaron refrained from saying he would
have opted for the other choice. Instead he turned back to Elrohir, “you do
know that it isn’t real right? I explained it to you.”

“But the tales of her adventures cannot be lies,” Elladan replied. “Even if they
are as you explained earlier, recreations.”

“Yes they’re recreations of stories,” Aaron answered, wondering if he had lost
something in the translation when he had tried to explain the concept of
television to the elves. “However, those stories are no more real than the rest
of it.”

“Then what about the beasts?” Legolas asked. “Would you have us believe that the
creatures the lady is battling are falsehoods as well? I do not think this
enormous worm is a creation.”

Aaron decided at this point that explaining that the mythical creatures they
were seeing were in actual fact CGI creations was far more trouble than it was
worth and let the matter go. Besides, he was not getting into a philosophical
debate about Xena with a bunch of elves. The whole thing sounded absurd enough
as it was.

“Never mind,” he conceded defeat.

“Have you preparations to leave been completed as well?” Legolas asked Aaron,
aware that the healer was facing severe consequences of his actions against
Melkor. While Legolas did not fully understand how Aaron could be held
responsible for the death of the dark lord by the rest of his people, he it
pained him to know that Aaron was made fugitive because of it.

“More or less,” Aaron nodded slowly. “When you are ready to leave tomorrow, Eve
and I will be heading up north.”

“You did a great service to your people,” Elladan remarked unhappily. “You
should not be punished for it.”

“I’ll be fine,” Aaron replied and knew that he would be because Eve was with him
and because he had done what was right, even if he were a little melancholy
about the outcome of those convictions.

Suddenly, Legolas’ eyes hardened and he met Aaron’s gaze sharply. “Something
draws near.”

“What?” Aaron stared at him blankly. “What do you mean something draws near?”

There should be nothing drawing near! Melkor was destroyed, Sandra Collins was
dead, her body recovered within the debris of the Monolith and Malcolm
Industries had fallen into receivership when stocks plummeted at the death of
its CEO. Yet there was no denying the danger that had suddenly risen because
Elladan and Elrohir were also exhibiting the same perception. He heard Eve’s
footsteps running up the galley and joining them, her expression filled with
worry.

“Aaron, I just saw at least three suits asking questions across the wharf. They
look like FBI.” Eve said out of breath as she hurried up the steps from the
galley.

Aaron let out a deep sigh uncertain of what to do. He wanted to run but to do
so would endanger the others, especially the elves once the Feds took a closer
look at them. However, remaining behind was not an option either because he
did not want to spend the rest of his life branded as a terrorist responsible
for the destruction of the Malcolm building. Considering the post 9/11 climate,
his life expectancy would be measured in the months once he was in custody.

Legolas could see Aaron’s worry and decided that for once, he was going to take
charge of the situation. What had been an idle thought had now become the only
solution as far as the prince was concerned.

“Eve,” Legolas turned to the woman. “We have everything we need to depart do we
not?”

“Yes?” Eve nodded, her gazed fixed on Aaron’s, her eyes showing her anguish at
what was about to happen to him. She did not know what to do any more than he
did. “We have everything we need, she replied somewhat dazed.”

“Good,” Legolas nodded promptly. “Elrohir start the vessel. Elladan cast us off,
we are leaving.”

The light of understanding filled Elladan’s face as he stared at Legolas and
nodded in agreement with his decision. He glanced briefly at Aaron and Eve
before hurrying out of the room without saying another word, to raise the anchor
and unmoor them from the dock. His brother, similarly aware of Legolas’
intentions, hurried to the bow of the ship to take charge of the controls.
Legolas turned his attention to Aaron and Eve who were staring at the elf prince
in question, wondering what could Legolas possibly be thinking. However the elf
gave them no opportunity to speak deciding that for once they would listen.

Since their arrival in this realm, Eve and Aaron had aided them immeasurably in
their quest to find Mithrandir, by providing both sanctuary and destroying the
dark lord Melkor. Aaron had ensured that Mithrandir had been kept safe from the
clutches of Melkor and his agents and when it mattered most, was the only person
who had courage and fortitude enough to do what needed to be done. It was time
that bravery was repaid with more than just incarceration by his own people.
Restitution needed to be made and Legolas was determined to be the one to do it.

“You are returning with us,” Legolas stated firmly, expecting no argument from
either on this point.

“What?” Aaron exclaimed in astonishment. “Returning with you where?”

“Valinor,” Legolas retorted, meeting both Aaron’s and Eve’s eyes in quick
succession to show his determination in this manner.

“Valinor?” Eve gasped in similar shock. “Legolas, you can’t be serious.”

“Why not?” Legolas returned pointedly. “You are both forced to flee because of
us. At Valinor, we can offer you shelter as long as you live without any fear of
being pursued. Let us offer you sanctuary for a time. Your stay need not be
permanent. As possible as it was for us to journey here, you can return when
your people no longer hunt you. In Valinor, you would unreachable. Can you say
this is solution is any less promising than your decision to live as fugitives?”


Aaron knew he would have to go to ground because of his involvement in the
destruction of the Malcolm Building but this, this was hardly what he was
expecting. A part of him was terrified by the notion of leaving everything that
he knew for a world that was nothing less than straight out of a fantasy. Yet
another part of him, a secret part, was thrilled by the possibility. The more
Aaron thought about it, about seeing Valinor the place where the Great Music was
still heard, the more he became enthused by the idea. As if prompting him
towards decision, he felt the engines of the yacht come alive and knew that once
again he was going to have to trust him instincts.

“What do you say Eve?” Aaron looked at her, seeing the confused emotions on her
face as she wrestled with the same questions as he. “Want to sail away with
me?”

Eve swallowed thickly, feeling as if this decision was coming upon her too fast.
She was a woman who liked to be in control of her destiny with a rational mind.
Except lately, she had done so much on impulse alone and Eve was starting to
think someone else inhabited her skin. She was afraid of the unknown, of what
lay ahead in this inordinately beautiful world that Legolas and her brothers had
so fondly described to her. She thought of how she had lost her family and had
found them again. She thought of how it would be to say goodbye to the brothers
she had come to cherish as much as Darien.

Then her thoughts turned to Aaron and how much she loved him and she did love
him so. Eve could not bear to stand by and let him be held accountable for
something he should be lauded for, not punished, not when there was a chance at
something so much better. Aaron he deserved better than living the life of a
fugitive. They both did. What did it matter where they went? After what they
had been through together, Eve knew that she could follow him anywhere.

And she would.

“Yes,” she nodded after what seemed like an eternity of time as Aaron waited for
her answer. “I think I could. I love you Aaron.” She admitted, her sapphire
coloured eyes glistening with emotion. “How can I let you anywhere without me
when I love you?”

Aaron felt a swell of happiness at hearing her say those words. He knew that as
long as he lived, he would never tire of hearing it. Aaron took her face in his
hands and kissed her lips with a lingering kiss before responding in kind, I
love you Eve,” he said softly. “I’ve always loved you and we don’t have to stay
there forever,” Aaron replied smiling, grateful that she had agreed to come with
him because he could never imagine going without her.

“We can come back right?” He glanced at Legolas. “This isn’t a one way deal?”

Legolas had no idea what a one-way deal was but he understood the spirit of
Aaron’s question. “Yes, you can return whenever you wish.”

Aaron stared at Eve again and knew that this was right. As surely as he had
known that he had been awaiting her all his life, he knew that they were meant
to embark upon this odyssey together.

“Then I guess we’re going with you,” Aaron replied still holding her gaze.

“As if there was every any doubt of that,” Legolas snorted. “I knew you would.”

The boat had started moving, slowly at first but Aaron could feel the motion
beneath the deck. Looking through the porthole, he saw Point Pleasant Buro
starting to disappear from view as the craft sailed further away from the docks.
The three men that had Eve had described were still making their inquiries and
did not notice their departure. Hopefully, it would take some time before they
made the connection between the Anemone and Aaron Stone.

“It will take them a while to realise that you’re on the Anemone,” Eve stated
once they were underway.

“Good,” Aaron nodded. “If we can get to international waters as quickly as
possible, they won’t be able to come after us.”

“What then?” Eve asked, having never sailed anywhere in her life. She was both
excited and a little apprehensive at the same time, especially considering their
destination. She had been prepared to walk away from her life but a journey to
a mystical land inhabited by elves and strange gods with great singing voices
was more than she had bargained for. Still, she was as enthusiastic by the idea
as Aaron even if she knew how to hide it better.

“We sail towards the western sea,” Legolas answered.

“The western sea?” Eve asked confused.

“The North Atlantic,” Aaron replied, “with a few stops in between. Canada,
Newfoundland and then Valinor.”

As Eve gazed out of the porthole and saw Point Pleasant Buro becoming more
distant in the horizon, she wondered how she would cope journeying in this
strange new land. However, the faces around her filled Eve with the realisation
that she would be just fine.

********


The journey had been strange even Aaron who was an experienced sailor. Once
leaving Point Pleasant Buro behind, they made swiftly for international waters
to ensure they would remain out of the Coast Guard’s reach. Once there, the
Anemone sailed up the coast of the continent, making stops in Halifax, Canada,
as Eve wanted a few supplies before they disappeared off the face of the
civilised world. As she explained it, there were some things the modern woman
required which Valinor was certain not to have and that she was unprepared to do
without. Aaron did not press her too much on this since this would most likely
earn him a lecture on feminine hygiene and the purpose of birth control pills.
As a doctor, he somewhat knew the text by heart and simply signed the
prescriptions she needed without further debate.

They stopped at Glace Bay and then at St Johns in Newfoundland to get resupplied
with food and fuel since Aaron had no idea how far they would need to go to
reach Valinor and the elves were somewhat tight lipped on the subject. Aaron
had the feeling that while it was not secret, the way to west was something only
for elves and without them, no one would ever find their way there. After
leaving St Johns behind, Aaron let the elves take complete mastery over the
navigation and then things started becoming very, very strange.

While the stars were the same, they were also different.

Even though for all purposes, they were sailing the North Atlantic Ocean, Aaron
knew they were passing into something else. The waters seemed to become
extremely turbulent the more and more they travelled. Eve who had only just
discovered her sea legs did not take the experience well. Fortunately being a
physician ensured that Aaron was always prepared and his doctor’s bag contained
a good dose of Dramamine.

There came a point when the weather was so terrible that Aaron could not even
begin to discern where they actually were. Thick rain clouds had blotted out
the sky as sheets of moisture lashed at the Anemone with such violence that
Aaron had serious fears that they might capsize or worse. However, the yacht
managed to stay afloat and after almost a week of such calamitous weather, the
storm it appeared they had sailed into, vanished suddenly.

Aaron was certain that the storm was a barrier between Valinor and the rest of
the world because once they left it behind; the sky became gloriously alive
again. It was like sailing into a perfect summer’s day with crystalline blue
waters and diamonds sparking off the unbroken surface. The air seemed to smell
sweeter, tinged with more than just salt. It was very strange, it smelled
cleaner somehow, so much purer than what it was a few days ago. Breathing it in
infused Aaron with a sense of exhilaration.

Sunshine and good weather followed them for the rest of the journey. Aaron
noticed that the elves were exceedingly happy that they were bringing home Aaron
and Eve. Legolas in particular no longer seemed as sad as he did before. When
Aaron had first met him, the human sensed that the elf had been mourning for a
very long time and seeing him had changed all that. He knew that if it had been
all possible, Legolas would have stayed behind in New York to remain at Aaron’s
side as his loyal friend. The doctor did not say it but it was good to know
that although he had lost Stuart, he had found a friend who meant almost as much
to him.

Eve’s presence was also as cherished by Elladan and Elrohir who spent the voyage
telling her all the things that awaited her in Valinor. Aaron also knew that she
was becoming a little overwhelmed with what she was hearing and had assured her
that everything would be all right because he would be there with her. After
losing an entire family, Eve was overwhelmed by the notion that her former self
had parents waiting for her in Valinor. Elladan had spoken of how pained
Celebrian had been when news had reached her at the end of the Third Age that
Arwen had chosen to stay behind in Middle earth.

They reached the Enchanted isle, a series of small islands Legolas explained,
was the main fortifications that protected Valinor from Melkor when the beast
still walked the earth. Since Valinor was now separate from the rest of the
world and could not be breached unless one was an elf who knew the way, those
fortifications were seldom tested although the purpose still remained. Once
past the Enchanted Isles, they reached the coast of Tol Eressea and sailed into
the Bay of Eldamar.

What awaited Aaron and Eve was the singularly most breathtaking landscape either
had ever seen with a city that was not merely an expression of architecture but
a work of art. Tall white spires that stretched into the sky from buildings that
seemed to be constructed around the land not on top of it. There was nothing
hard about this place, nothing that wore a person down after a few years with
jaded cynicism. It was idyllic and more of a paradise than either of them had
possibly imagined. Even from a distance, it was magnificent to look at. They
never felt so far away from home as the moment when they came into view of this
beauty.

New York really was a world away.

When the Aenome finally sailed into the harbour, Aaron was more than anxious at
how they would be received. Despite Legolas’ assurance, Aaron still felt
nervous about this. He knew that in a distant past he had been a king of men
but these people were elves and seemed beyond the concerns of title. Aaron
thought that it might be presumptuous to assume that simply because he had been
Aragorn Elessar, he should be welcomed with open arms.

Eve was even more anxious about meeting the people who Elladan and Elrohir
claimed would see her as their daughter. She thought of her own parents and knew
that nothing would supplant the love she had for them but Eve’s nights during
the voyage here had been filled with dreams and in many of them, she could
almost remember Undomiel’s father and mother. As much as she was trying to
maintain her own identity, Eve could not help but feel a little more of herself
slipping away the closer she came to stepping on the shores of Valinor.

*************

Legolas searched the dock expectantly when they were finally ready to leave the
deck of the Anemone. Aaron noted the elf’s eagerness to disembark and supposed
that after being away from home for such a long time, he was naturally pleased
to be home. It was just that the elf’s manner was so different from the usual
mercurial demeanour he had come to know of Legolas since meeting him. More than
Elladan and Elrohir, Legolas always seemed to keep his emotions behind a
carefully erected façade of control and while there was no doubt that his heart
was full of warmth, it was not always easy to see behind his aloof mask.
However, on this occasion, his emotions were exposed for all to see with
anticipation being the most discernible of them all.

“Are you always this excited when you get home?” Aaron teased Legolas a little
when they descended the gangplank leading towards the dock.

“As if that is the reason,” Elladan snorted with amusement before glancing at
Elrohir who sniggered in similar fashion.

Legolas threw the twins a venomous look and bit back promptly. “At least I have
a reason. You two still have only each other for company.”

“We prefer to remain free of entanglement,” Elladan said defensively. “We are
simple waiting for the right lady to offer our affections.”

“You two have been waiting for a hundred thousand years for that,” Legolas
retorted. “I think you may be a little too selective for your own good.”

Aaron quickly deduced what was at the heart of this conversation and he stared
at Legolas with a little hint of annoyance. “Are you telling that after three
months on the high seas with you, you haven’t even told me you have a girlfriend
waiting for you back here?” Aaron accused.

“Ariel is not my girl friend,” Legolas declared haughtily, finding the word
‘girlfriend’ utterly undignified. “She is my wife.”

“Wife?” Eve exclaimed with even more amazement. “That’s even worse Legolas. Now
I’m dying to know what she’s like.”

“She is no different from most elven ladies?” Legolas answered but quickly
shifted his gaze from Eve when his sense told him that the object of his
affection was finally here. As he did so, a voice sailed across the dock
bearing his name.

“Legolas!”

The prince burst into a smile as he hastened his pace. A dazzlingly beautiful
woman, whose dark, sheeny hair captured the sunlight as it swayed behind her as
she ran, met him halfway across the dock. Her skin was slightly bronzed,
indicating that she liked the sun and the smile across her face revealed the
depths of her happiness to see him. She was as beautiful as Legolas was
handsome and when they met there was no doubt in Aaron’s mind at the deep
intensity of the affection between the two. They met in a warm embrace, with
Legolas lifting her off the ground and spinning her around as their lips met in
a passionate kiss. Seeing his friend so happy to be reunited with the woman he
loved was a good feeling and Aaron instinctively wrapped his hand around Eve’s
and squeezed it tight.

It did not take long for them to join the happy couple who only broke off their
passionate exchange when they reached them. “Aaron, Eve,” Legolas turned to his
friends once they had arrived, “this is Ariel, my wife.”

“You are the ones who defeated Melkor,” Ariel regarded Aaron and Eve while her
arm was still wrapped around Legolas’ waist. “We are in your debt and I thank
you especially for bringing home my prince.” She glanced lovingly at Legolas who
smiled back in return.

“Well he was no trouble,” Eve remarked casually, “except for his addiction to
soft drink.”

Ariel’s brow knotted in confusion but could see that Eve was having a joke at
her husband’s expense, “I see that we will have a good deal to discuss regarding
my husband’s exploits in your realm.”

Legolas did not know whether or not this was a good thing but noted that both
women warmed to each other immediately. Why should they not? In their past
lives, both had been fast friends.

Aaron was uncertain how to accept gratitude for what he had done at the Malcolm
Building because home, what he had done was considered tantamount to terrorism,
a word that had almost as much stigma as murder these days. It was different to
be applauded for the choices he had made instead of being branded a criminal and
he wondered if this would be the reaction of everyone he met in Valinor.
Secretly, Aaron hoped not. However, his thought were soon interrupted by the
appearance of more faces coming to greet them.

“Father, mother!” Elladan and Elrohir brushed past them and hurried the man and
woman who was staring at them with a good deal of emotion.

Eve found her attention torn immediately from her conversation with Ariel and
fixed upon the couple who were smothering the twins with hugs and kisses worthy
of parents delighted to see their sons home, alive and well.

This was Elrond and Celebrian, Eve though silently.

As she studied them from a short distance away, Eve suddenly became rooted to
the spot, too frightened to move. Her heart was pounding in her chest because
the realisation that she knew these people was so strong she could hardly
breathe. If she looked as identical to Undomiel as Elladan and Elrohir claimed,
then Eve could understand why because she did resemble Celebrian. The lady
looked very much like her own mother, Alicia McCaughley. In fact there were such
striking similarities that it was rather unnerving, even more so because it just
happened to be coincidental since Alicia could not have been a reincarnation of
Celebrian in the same manner that Eve was of Undomiel. Somehow, Eve knew she
would be debating that question for a long time to come.

Celebrian broke away from her family and approached Eve first which she entirely
expected because she had the look of a woman who was expecting to see her
daughter after a long absence.

“You are as beautiful as I always thought you would be,” Celebrian greeted her
with that remark as she neared Eve.

“I’m not Arwen,” Eve wanted to establish because in the last few minutes she
felt like her persona was being stripped away and she could lose herself in this
place, “I was her once but now I’m Eve.”

“I know,” Celebrian smiled taking Eve’s hand in her own. “I can feel her soul in
you and that is the same as if she were here in the flesh. I may not have given
birth to you but you are my daughter still.”

When Eve was drawn into her warm embrace, she was suddenly struck with the
memory of Alicia who had passed away when Eve was but a child. While the images
of Alicia had faded with time, Eve held some rather strong memories of her
nonetheless. When Celebrian held Eve in her arms, Eve was suddenly ten years
old again. It had been so long that Eve had forgotten how it felt to know that
there was someone who would always try to make the bad things go away for no
other reason other than the fact that they loved you and you were their child.
As Eve was held like a little girl that had been lost for a long time, she felt
tears rolling down her cheeks in a burst of emotion that culminated when she
finally returned the elven lady’s embrace.

“Husband,” Celebrian said emotionally when she pulled away from Eve after a
brief pause and gazed at her husband who had yet to approach either. “We are
finally together.”

Elrond approached and Eve noted the serious looking man in the dark robes who
had her cheekbones and resembled her in more subtle ways than Celebrian. She
could not imagine what he was thinking where Celebrian’s emotions were an open
book of happiness. Eve remembered how Elladan and Elrohir had told her about
his ritual of lighting a candle for the Evenstar to mourn her passing. She
supposed it must have been unfathomable for him to lose a child especially when
elves were immortal. Even with all his experiences, there was no preparing for
a loss like that.

He said nothing for a long time as he stared at her, studying her with great
scrutiny. Eve thought for a moment that he was not going to accept her as his
child the way his wife had so readily done. Eve could not blame him even though
she felt their connection far more potently that she felt it with Celebrian.
Her own father had shown early on in Eve’s life that it was Darien who held his
hopes and dreams. When Eve joined the force, her father had disagreed, believing
that she should do something else with her life instead of supporting her like
he had supported Darien’s choice. It did not surprise Eve that he died soon
after Darien because her father could not bring himself to stay alive for her
when his bellowed son was dead.

Yet it felt different as she looked at the elf called Elrond because she could
almost remember lengthy debates and lessons where he tried to teach the things
he knew. Eve knew without doubt that Elrond had been involved in his daughter’s
life, that she was as important to him as his sons, perhaps more so because she
was the youngest. He had wanted to protect her, even when she had chose a
mortal as her love, knowing the consequences of what that would mean eventually,
having seen it all before somewhere.

Almost as potently as Eve had reacted to Celebrian, she could feel that he was
her once her father.

Then with a soft sigh, the hard flint in his eyes cracked and when it did, he
stepped forward and took his daughter in his arms and held her without close
speaking a word. He held her for a long time and those who stood discreetly by
and watched the exchange, saw tears in his eyes as he embraced the child he had
not stopped mourning for the past hundred thousand years. Seeing her now gave
him hope because he knew her soul would have life beyond her death and there was
always the hope that it would find its way back to them as it had now.

“Welcome home,” Elrond finally broke his silence, his voice full of emotion,
“welcome home.”

*************


Aaron left Eve alone for a time as she was reunited with the family that had
been waiting forever for her to return. Eve looked understandably awed by the
affection being showed to her and Aaron could tell that it was breaking through
her jaded exterior despite her efforts not to be affected.

“Aaron,” Legolas called out and as Aaron turned to Legolas and his lady, he
suddenly realised that he had a greeting of his own to make.

“Moses!” Aaron exclaimed as he saw the old man standing next to Legolas, clad in
white. His hair and beard was white and he bore none of the injuries that had
been the cause of his death back in New York. Seeing him alive and well was more
than Aaron was able to express in words because he finally had more than
Legolas’ assurance, that Moses had survived the gun shot wound that had
extinguished his physical life in New York.

“Mithrandir has told us much about you since he returned to us,” Ariel added as
doctor and patient greeted each other warmly with a hug.

“I am pleased to say that I do not need further therapy doctor,” Gandalf smiled
broadly once they had parted.

“I’m glad,” Aaron grinned, “because I do have a bill,” he joked.

“You deserve full payment and more,” Gandalf said warmly. “You freed me Aaron
and I am most grateful for that.”

Aaron’s smile faded a little as he allowed Gandalf to see the extreme relief he
felt in knowing that he had not killed anyone in cold blood. “I was praying I
wasn’t wrong. Even at the moment I pulled the trigger, I was terrified that I
was mistaken.”

“It was difficult for you I know,” Gandalf met his eyes in understanding. “You
are many things but I am happy to say a murderer you are not. You undertook what
you did at great expense to your conscience and I grieve at the pain you were
caused by it, however, you saved me Aaron. In fact, you saved us all.”

Aaron felt the emotion churning inside him and managed a rather controlled
response despite it, “I promised you that we were going to find your past
together, no matter what. I couldn’t do anything less, you were my patient.”

“You freed me from more than my inability to remember,” Gandalf confessed. “You
took away the hiding place for my guilt. I was partially responsible for my own
fate in Melkor’s hands, I allowed him to defeat me.”

“Because of Elizabeth?” Aaron stared at him. Eve had told him of Gandalf’s
battle with Malcolm and how at one point in the hostilities, Gandalf had spoken
that name with great anguish.

Gandalf’s eyes blinked in surprise. “You know about Elizabeth?”

“Who is Elizabeth?” Legolas who had been silent until this point asked.

“She was the woman who sired Melkor’s first vessel,” Gandalf answered after a
long moment. “She was but a child when a misguided band of worshippers, thinking
they were raising some equally mythical dark lord, convinced her to bear the
vessel in which he would be reborn. She had been young and innocent, swayed by
their words and foolish enough to believe their promises. She allowed herself
to be with child and furthermore permitted the infant to be imbued with Melkor’s
spirit. She realised too late the full magnitude of what she had done and in
fear, fled into obscurity with her unborn infant inside her.”

“Gandalf, you do not have to speak of this now,” Legolas said gently, able to
see the pain in his old friend’s eyes.

“Yes he does,” Aaron said firmly, knowing this was the great trauma that he had
never been able to coax out of the man during their sessions. Whatever Melkor
had done to him, it had all stemmed with this one incident. “You need to tell us
Moses, you need to tell someone.”

“I am afraid that he is right Legolas,” Gandalf sighed. “I found her after many
years of searching and learnt that she had tried to instil her child with a
sense of decency. It was impossible of course but she had no idea how beyond
her that was. When I explained what she had sired, I took away the last shred of
hope that what she had left of redemption. I told her because I was impatient
and because I wanted to learn the whereabouts of her son. By then, he was a man
and no longer living with his mother. I was tired of searching; I only wanted
to return to Valinor once more. However, in doing so, I drove that poor woman to
hear death. I burdened her with even more guilt so she drowned herself.”

Aaron saw Gandalf’s shoulders slackened as he concluded his tale and knew just
how horrified Gandalf must have been to be confronted with Elizabeth’s body, to
know that he was responsible. For a person like Gandalf, who was used to saving
the world from evil beyond description, the loss of one life because of its
impulsiveness must have been terrible to bear. With this guilt inside him,
Aaron doubted that Gandalf even put up a struggle when Melkor took away his
mind.

‘Oh Gandalf,” Ariel reached for his hand and squeezed it in sympathy. “I am so
sorry.”

“Thank you my dear,” Gandalf said gratefully, “however I am responsible for my
actions.”

“Its not your fault Moses,” Aaron returned automatically. “We all make choices
and sometimes the hardest thing to do is to live with them but that’s how you
learn and the lessons don’t stop no matter how old you are. Elizabeth also
made her choice, you have to remember that.”

“I do,” Gandalf nodded. “Since my return, I have thought of nothing but that.
However, I cannot deny my part in her death and guilt is the penance I can no
longer hide from.”

“I liked to help you in any way I can,” Aaron offered, still unable to shake the
feeling that Gandalf was his responsibility.

“I should like that Aaron,” Gandalf replied.

“Now if we can only have you call him Gandalf,” Legolas spoke, trying to aid
some levity to the moment.

“I’m sorry,” Aaron laughed. “I got accustomed to calling him that. Besides, you
seem to have enough names already. I don’t think one more is going to hurt.”

“You are the last one to be talk,” Gandalf remarked, “Aragorn, Elessar,
Thorongil, Elfstone, Strider….”

“Who is Moses, might I inquire?” Legolas interrupted the recital much to Aaron’s
relief.

“Apparently an old man with a bad sense of direction,” Aaron turned to Gandalf
and they both burst out laughing, leaving Legolas shaking his head in confusion.

“I shall never understand men,” Legolas retorted.

“That makes two of us,” Eve added joining them. “Hello Moses.”

“I am glad to see you Eve,” Gandalf flashed her with a warm smile. “Though
Valinor may seem rather tame after New York.”

“Oh I am certain that I’ll find something to do,” Eve glanced at Ariel who had
been silently listening to the banter of friends. “After all, I think this place
could use a 21st century woman to shake things up a little.”

“It sounds intriguing,” Ariel remarked before asking, “what do you mean?”

“It means,” Aaron, grinned as he looked at the people of Valinor and felt a
twinge of pity, “say goodbye to paradise.”

THE END








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.

Story Information

Author: Scribe

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: Other

Genre: Action

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/07/03

Original Post: 04/03/03

Go to Patient, The overview

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