One Day At A Time by elwen of the hidden valley

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Story Notes:

I do not own any of these characters or settings.  Nor do I own some of the events.  They belong to J R R Tolkien.  I hope he will forgive my intrusion on his story telling.


Galadriel let her arm slide from her daughters’ shoulders and circled to stand before her.  “Remember my words, my child.  The mirror is not a reliable foreteller of events.  What you have seen, tonight, may never come to pass.  Do not let it overshadow the joy that you have now.”  She lifted one delicate hand to cup Celebrians’ cheek, moving her thumb to brush away the last stray tear that spilled from red rimmed eyes. 

No matter how many years had passed since her birth, nor how many grandchildren she presented her with, Celebrian would always be her child and no mother could bear to see her child cry.  The younger elf leaned into the comfort of her mothers’ soothing touch and swallowed down another sob.  Leaving a cool soft kiss on her cheek, Galadriel turned away, slipping silently into the dappled moonlight and shadows of the mallorn trees.

Celebrian stood before the door to her daughters’ chamber, almost afraid to enter, lest she found her visions already come true.  Elrond would be waiting in their room but she did not trust herself to his scrutiny until her tears had stopped.   Slipping quietly into the room, she sought for the bed and the dreaming head of her child.  Her heart stopped.  The covers were drawn back and the pillow dinted but there was no sign of Arwen.  For a moment vision and reality blurred and she thought her child already carried off, and then her ear caught the whisper of a gentle sigh.  Spinning to the right her eyes fell on the long dark swathe of her child’s hair and her heart resumed its tempo.

For a moment, Celebrians’ mind could not make sense of the things her eyes were seeing.  The corner was deep in shadow and, although she could see Arwens’, hair she could find no sign of a face.  Blinking away tears that she did not realise had resurfaced she finally deciphered the image before her.  Her husband sat in a chair, their little daughter held secure in his lap.  Her head lay on his chest and his own hair, unbound for sleep, was entwined with hers, hiding the white curve of her cheek behind its raven curtain.  He sighed again and lifted his face to the moonlight, silvered eyes softly unfocused in sleep, to let his head fall against the high padded back of the chair.   Celebrian sat on the end of the bed, entranced by the picture.

Every plane of that elegant face was familiar to her and yet, tonight, she had seen an expression in it that she had never thought to see directed at a member of his family.  In the silvered rim of her mothers’ mirror she had seen a visage so tortured that it had wrested a cry from her.  Her husbands’ sometimes merry, often solemn, always loving, face had been carved into a cold mask.  Now, looking at soft curve of his smooth, high brow and the gentle bow of his mouth, she could not believe that such a hard expression was possible on his features.  Celebrian let her eyes slip down from the study of his face, seeking out their daughter. 

Elrond had wrapped her in one of her mothers’ shawls, for comfort, and she leaned upon his chest, her little body moving back and forth with each shallow breath that her father drew.  His arms were wrapped around her, holding her secure even though he slept deeply himself.  Nothing would have made him drop his little princess.  There was no mistaking they were father and daughter.  Both shared the same long, slightly melancholy face, the same dark hair and Arwens’ eyes mirrored the deep grey, solemn gaze of her sire.  Celebrian could easily reconcile the face she saw before her and the older version she had witnessed in her mothers mirror earlier.  Perplexed, she could not imagine what Arwen could possibly do to hurt her father so and why he should respond with such harshness. 

He loved the twins, of course, but he adored Arwen.  She was the apple of his eye.  And she, for her part, returned the adoration in the way only a daughter could, climbing in to his lap to plant wet kisses on his cheek at any opportunity and following at his heels half the day if she was allowed.  Celebrian was not surprised that the little elleth had turned to her father tonight, when she had obviously awoken from some bad dream.   She remembered going through a similar period of nightmares when she was her age.  In the past few months Celebrian had often roused in the morning to find Arwen in the bed between them, her little head resting on her fathers’ shoulder and his arm draped loosely about her.  There was a bond between them that she would have envied if both child and husband had not lavished equal amounts of love on her.  Perhaps the mirror was wrong or maybe Celebrian could prevent whatever it was from happening.  Yet, Galadriel had said that the visions could not be trusted as a guide for actions; warning that sometimes the events did not come about unless one tried to prevent them. 

The vision drew her in again.  Who was the stranger in the shadows behind Arwen?  He was tall as an elf but broader of build and dark bearded.  What connection had this mortal with the events she had witnessed?  Celebrian watched her child’s sleeping face and compared it to the grown Arwen she had watched in the mirror.    Willow thin, with dark hair floating in waves down her back, she would grow tall like him too.  Study of the physical frame of her child only served to distract her for a short while from the emotion of the scene she had witnessed.  

Celebrian could see the woods of Lorien.  Arwen was crying, her hands reaching towards her father, in supplication, but Elrond was standing tall and firm.  He turned a face, set in a hard and emotionless mask, to his daughter.  Although no sound could be heard, Celebrian knew enough of her husbands’ many moods to know when he would brook no argument, the chopping movement of his arm indicating that the matter, whatever it was, was closed.  For one moment longer, Arwen had stood, tight lipped, tears rolling down her flushed cheeks, then she had spun on her heal and fled her fathers’ presence.  The mortal had faded back into the shadows. 

Elrond stirred in his sleep once more, unconsciously shifting the child’s weight in his lap.  For her part, Arwen reached out a hand to grasp the front of his tunic, where it hung open to expose his shirt.  Celebrian could see that her husband had been undressing for bed when he had heard his daughters’ cries.  She smiled as the image came, unbidden, of the normally unruffled Lord of Imladris, running from their room, his hair billowing behind him, desperate to reach his dream tormented child.  When she considered it, Celebrian realised that the only times that she had ever seen her lover look worried or upset was when one of their children was in distress. 

Her thoughts returned, once more, to the vision.  What could happen that would elicit such a rift in the father, daughter relationship?  Could it be anything to do with the other, fleeting image from the mirror?  She had seen Arwen, a grown elf, with a small household escort on the road to Lothlorien.  Suddenly the little party had been surrounded by orcs.  Despite the best efforts of the other elves, Arwen had been overcome and Celebrians’ final image was of her daughter, draped unconscious, over an orcs’ shoulder as they ran back into the woods.

“Good evening, my love” Her husbands’ soft voice brought Celebrian thoughts back to the present.  His eyes were focussed on her face now and a smile bowed his lips.  She forced her lips to mirror his and, for a moment, thought he had not noticed but then his smile faded and his face filled with concern as he noted her still red-rimmed eyes.

“You did it, then?”

“Yes.”

Their daughter stirred, a small whimper escaping her lips and Elrond dropped his face to place a kiss upon her forehead, adjusting his hold slightly.  She settled back into sleep.  “You know my opinions on that mirror.  You have not your mothers’ skill to bend it to your will.  Whatever you saw cannot be a reliable prediction of events in Arwens’ life.”

“I know.  But you should know the vision.  It could be important.  I saw Arwen……”

Elrond interrupted, “We discussed this before.”  His face had adopted the stern look she had often seen him set in council meetings.  “I could not prevent you from going to your mother but I do not want to know what you believe you saw.”

“But, my love . . . ”

“No, Celebrian.” 

She had lived with him years long enough to know that, “No,” in that particular tone of voice meant precisely that, and she sighed.  Elrond stood, careful not to wake the sleeping child, and moved to the bed, where Celebrian helped him lay their daughter back amongst the covers, the mother tenderly bending to lay a kiss on the tip of her child’s upturned nose. 

Feeling a comfortable presence behind her, Celebrian leaned back and came to rest against her lords’ chest.  Hands slid down her ribs, reaching forward to clasp loosely on her belly, and she smelled the soft sandalwood perfume of him as a kiss was breathed upon the tip of her ear. Turning, within the circle of his arms, she reached up to slip her hands behind his neck, entwining her fingers in the warm weight of his hair.  Her husbands’ face had softened and she bathed in the love that she found in those deep grey eyes.  Their lips met and her stomach fluttered in response to the familiar touch of her lover. 

“I will speak of it no more, my love”, she whispered. 

Elrond bent to plant a feather soft kiss on each tear reddened eyelid then turned, taking a hand to draw his wife away to the seclusion of their chamber.

 




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