"Come, hervess," he murmured, extending his hand to her. She gently placed her fingers in his palm and raised her face to meet his eyes as he drew her to her feet. She dropped her gaze to admire the angles of his body and lifted her chin again in a mock formality befitting the daughter of a queen.
"Oh, my lord?" she answered coyly, abandoning any attempt to hide the laughter in her eyes when she met the love in his. "Where?"
In answer he lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it. Time lingered, the sounds of celebration powerless to penetrate their unity. But some forces will invade even love; for a moment and an age Celebrían faced a flash of blue that engulfed the golden ring she had placed on his finger but an hour before. ‘Twas a jealous spark that mocked her, commanding a part of his heart she could not reach.
Then it was gone, and all the world was Elrond.
He drew her to him, then to the soft shadows at the edges of the great hall, then into the waiting night of Imladris.
Forever after would the touch of his mind return her to those first touches under the blue watchfulness of ithil.
His fingertips brushing hers, lightly, so lightly, more anticipation than sensation. His hands, guiding her, as she guided him. His lips in her most tender places, the sigh of his breath in her hair, the angle of his chest against her palm, the weight of his hips.
And at the moment of their joining his heart pounded in time with hers, his breath caught with hers. She arched against him, and held him blindly. And he was with her, and she with him, and suddenly it was more.
For she could feel him feeling her, the name on his lips the echo to the call in her mind. They shared equally in the sensation and passion of the other, and when they reached their physical end gasped as one, unable to resist the final pull into mind and memory.
She sat with him on the shore of a great sea beside his brother, long dead.
"Ai, muindor-nín," Elros cried, "how can you chose this? We have seen too much, you and I. Your eyes already hold the pain of ages unseen. You would choose torture over release? You, ever curious, would choose to remain than to see the beyond?"
Celebrían waited for her husband to answer.
"I am called here, Elros," he said slowly. "My heart tells me there is reason to remain. There will yet be joy."
Elros shook his head, his face gray with grief. "And you will live to see it all fled."
He watched her watching her mother.
Galadriel lifted her face but turned from her daughter's gaze. "It begins again. Must darkness always plague us? Are we fated to fight it until our hearts break from grief?"
They stood in silence under the heavens, looking up as Eärendil passed overhead, and neither could say whose memory it was.
"Gil-galad!" he screamed, the word torn up from the roots of his soul. He stood, stunned, his blood howling in his veins as the king fell. By instinct he deflected a blow aimed to kill and with an inarticulate cry of rage cleaved the orc in two, fighting toward Ereinion though he knew it was too late.
She swayed at the top of a mallorn tree, golden leaves in silver hair, and laughed for the joy of it.
He reverently touched the gem in his mother's palm.
"Would you like to hold it, ion-nín?" she asked.
His eyes widened. "What if I break it, naneth?"
"You shall not. This jewel breaks elves easier than elves break it. ‘Tis a silmaril, one of three," she said, tipping it into his hand.
"It is heavier than it looks," he exclaimed.
"Yes," Elwing whispered, "it is."
A friend returned.
Parents cried, cities burned.
Sunsets passed, bodies healed, exhaustion engulfed
Songs sprang up, swords clashed, a refuge breathed, children laughed, men died, evil survived, trees spoke, rain fell, journeys ended, stories began.
And he loved her when first he saw her, though he said nothing of it.
With that final confession, his passion broke within her thoughts, all his dreams, his pains, his joys, pouring into her mind, nearly overwhelming her before the caress of his presence settled into a rhythm of deep song in her soul.
And as he was in her, she was with him. *Ai, melethron-nín, uin ind bain a naer. Sĭdh …* she said, pulling him closer to explore his mind, as she had done his body a few moments before.
She traced its contours, pleased to discover strength in harmony with compassion. She admired all that he was with a vision that was not sight, touching as she went, pausing from time to time in ecstasy as Elrond slipped through her own reflections.
The couple moved together, for though the forms of thought were distinct they were no longer separate. His mind was adorned in bolder strokes; if it had physical quality, she would have described it as the hidden heart of an ancient forest, darker, more silent, but with tremendous depth. Her mind was painted with finer details, a meadow in a valley of light and water, eager to nurture all living things. Speaking with him was simplicity in itself; she had only to reach out to his presence, like taking his hand in her own.
Somewhere under the stars two lovers lay entwined in slumber, dreaming together, not of past or future or hidden burdens, but fairer things. And it was then that both learned the difference between body, a gift to possess, mind, a place to be, and soul, one to love.
Ai, muindor-nín – Ah, my brother
ion-nín – my son
ithil – the moon
naneth – mother
*Ai, melethron-nín, uin ind bain a naer. Sidh …* - Ah, my lover, of thought beautiful and sad. Peace.