55. Chapter 55
Fari sighed with relief. He could hear the gentle roar of the Bruinen River up ahead. After a week of sleeping on the ground, they would finally have a bed tonight.
“Is that the river, Fari?” Goldi asked.
He nodded. “We’ll be in Rivendell soon. Then we’ll have a decent meal and a comfortable bed. Nothing better than an elven mattress. And they’re big!” He winked at her. They’d been too tired lately for anything more than some kisses. He hoped to make up for that tonight.
They crossed the river, only to be stopped on the eastern shore by elves stepping from the woods.
One of the elves stepped forward. “Who are you and what business do you have in Rivendell?”
“I’m Faramir Took and this is Goldilocks Gamgee. I’d like to speak with Lord Celeborn, or else Lord Elladan or Lord Elrohir.”
The elf appraised him cooly. “Took and Gamgee?” He turned to speak with his fellows. Fari wished he’d kept up on his Sindarin lessons with Ivy.
The elf turned back to them. “Follow me.” The other elves stepped aside to let them pass.
Their guide didn’t say anything else. Their ride to Imladris was silent. Fari thought it fit the mood. The valley seemed different than the last time he’d been here, about ten years before. More still, like the life was going out of it.
The elf left them waiting in a courtyard. Fari looked up at the window overlooking the yard. “That’s where Ivy was born,” he said, pointing out the window to Goldi. “Dad told me, when we were here last. This is the courtyard where Éomer King handed her over to Uncle Merry, and she didn’t see Éowyn again until she was six.”
“I’d never really thought about it,” Goldi said, studying the shuttered window “that she’d been born here with the elves and not in the Shire. That must have been strange for Uncle Merry, to come to Rivendell and get a child.”
“Dad said Uncle Merry was overwhelmed by it all, but he was also very happy.”
She giggled. “It must be strange for your dad, too. To have been here when Ivy was born and then he ends up marrying her.”
“Yeah,” Fari said coldly.
The smile fled from Goldi’s face. “Fari?” She touched his arm. “I didn’t think it bothered you.”
“It’s just...” He sighed. “Diamond. She says things. She tries to make it out like there’s something... bad...dirty... about Dad and Ivy.” His fists clenched. “She did it before, when we’d seen her in Hobbiton some years ago, and she did it again, when she came to the Smials.”
Gold snorted. “Well, you know she’s lying to you, Fari.”
Fari turned away from her, pushing away the doubts that had been spinning around in his head since speaking to Diamond.
“Fari?” Goldi grabbed his arm. “You don’t believe her, do you? You can’t believe that--”
“I don’t know, all right?” he snapped, yanking his arm out of her grip. “I don’t know if my father was...doing things with Ivy when she was a child! I don’t know if when she was hugging him or kissing him or sitting on his lap, if he was thinking about--”
“How can you say that?” Goldi exclaimed. “You know your dad wouldn’t have done that! And Ivy said there was nothing like that between them until she returned from Gondor, when she was old enough to do those sorts of things.”
“Maybe.” He clenched his fists. “Do you think she would have said anything if it had been otherwise?”
“I believe her, Fari!” Goldi said, narrowing her eyes at him. “Since when do you take Diamond’s word over Ivy’s--over anybody’s?”
“I’m not taking Diamond’s word!” he yelled, stepping towards her. “I’m just--” He covered his face with his hands. He didn’t know what he was. For some reason he was very angry, he was doubting his parents--he was doubting his father--because of something Diamond had said, and now he was shouting at Goldi over it. He looked up at her and was horrified to see that she was backed against the wall, watching him, and she looked afraid. Of him. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly. “I didn’t mean it. I”m just...tired, I guess.”
“I know,” she said. She came toward him and reached out a tentative hand to touch his arm. Her hesitation to touch him hurt him more than he could have ever imagined.
“I won’t hurt you,” he said, half-collapsing to sit against the wall. “I don’t ever want to hurt you, Goldi.” She sat next to him and embraced him. He clutched at her, burying his face in her hair. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” he sobbed. “I’ll try to stop feeling like this. Don’t leave me, Goldi! Please. Don’t leave me.”
She tightened her embrace and kissed the top of his head. “I’m not going to leave you, Fari,” she said.
He turned, but kept his head on her shoulder. “I don’t know why I’m like this.” He squeezed his eyes shut, steeling himself, pushing the anger and doubt away. He didn’t want to feel those things.
“You’re tired,” she said, her voice soothing. She kissed his brow. “You’ve had a rough time.”
“Are you all right, Master Faramir?”
Fari looked up. Elladan was standing over them, concern on his face.
“Lord Elladan.” He scrambled to his feet, quickly wiping his face, then pulled Goldi up. He took a deep breath. “I’m fine, thank you. It’s been a long journey and I’ve had a difficult time recently.”
Elladan gave a slight nod. Fari suspected he had heard quite a bit, if not all, of his confrontation with Goldi. The elf swept his arm towards the entrance to the building. “Lord Celeborn will see you now.”
“I will not stop you, Master Faramir,” Lord Celeborn said.
Fari sighed in relief. “Thank you.”
Celeborn gave a twitch of a smile. “I am aware of the stubborness of hobbits and I know that you would continue your journey with or without my assistance. You may have access to the library and my grandsons will assist you in planning a safe route. The Misty Mountains have been cleared of orcs, but there are other dangers to consider.”
Fari turned and smiled at Goldi, squeezing her hand.
“I will have to tell your fathers all that you have told me,” Celeborn said, “when they come looking for you.”
“I know that, sir,” Fari said. He was just glad that Celeborn was going to help them.
“I am sure you are weary from your journey. Rooms have been prepared for you, with baths, and you are invited to dine with me.” The elf smiled and bowed his head to them.
“Thank you, sir!” Goldi said. Although she hadn’t complained, Fari knew how much she was looking forward to a bath.
“It’s a beautiful place,” Goldi said, looking up at the stone arches as they walked to their rooms. They’d had an enjoyable meal with Lord Celeborn and his grandsons. Talking to the elves and made them forget how tired they were.
“Dad said it’s nothing like it was, back when they were here for their Quest. He said a lot of the magic left with the elves.”
“Why did these elves stay?” she asked.
Fari shrugged. “Don’t know. Dad doesn’t either. He felt it wasn’t polite to ask. I do know Lord Celeborn is from the line of elves that never left Middle-Earth. He’s never been to Valinor.”
Goldi sighed. “It must be awful, to be separated from his wife like that.”
Fari shrugged. “They’ve been together a few thousand years. I suppose it’s just like being apart for a month or two for us.”
“I suppose,” Goldi siad. “But I know I wouldn’t want to be separated from you for even a month.”
Fari laughed. “You say that now. Maybe you’ll change your mind once you’re stuck with me.”
She looked at him thoughtfully. “You’re probably right,” she said.
He tried to grab her, to tickle her, but she evaded him and went through a doorway. “Here’s my room!” she giggled and started to shut the door on him. He managed to push his way inside and catch her. He picked her up and tossed her onto the enormous bed, then jumped on after her. He lay back. “I like your room better,” he said. “I think I’ll stay here.”
“Oh really, Mister Took?” She sat up. “Then I suppose I’ll have to trade with you.”
Fari tackled her and pulled her down to lay next to him. “I wouldn’t want to inconvenience you,” he said. He kissed her. “This bed is more than big enough for the both of us.” He reached up to tug at the laces of her bodice. “You probably won’t even notice I’m here.”
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.