Title: A Long Way Down
Author(s): SkyFire

Rating: G
Summary: Elrond. A sleepless night. An unexpected twist. To say more would give away the story. ;o)
Genre: Angst/Humor/Drama/??
Warnings: AU

Author's Notes: 1)Inspired by a silly stray thought the plotbunnies had while I was reading
'elen atarwa' [FF.net storyid:812341] by Kazaera. It is a beautiful fic. Then again, I *am*
slightly biased in favor of little-Elrond, and Gil-galad, and teary-eyed Elflings... :o) You
don't need to read that fic to understand this one.

2)Earendil 'becomes' a star at the end of the First Age. The Second Age approx. 3000 yrs; Third Age
approx. 3000 yrs.

3)Translations: (A) Ninion = nin(my) + ion(son) = "my son"
(B) Adar = "father"

4)Takes place a few centuries before FotR. The Twins and Arwen are born and Celebrian is gone,
though none of those four show up (or are even mentioned) in this fic.

Disclaimer: Not mine. Never were. *sob*

A Long Way Down
by SkyFire

It was a fine, clear night, like so many others he had seen.

And, as happened more and more often of late, Elrond couldn't sleep. He had gone to his study to
work on some of the seemingly-neverending paperwork that went along with the ruling of his Valley,
in the hopes that doing so would make him ready to retire to his bed.

Around midnight, he signed his name to a parchment and set it aside, then looked for the next.
His eyebrows rose in amazement as he saw, for the first time in longer than he cared to remember,
the rich wood that formed the top of his desk.

//I am actually finished *all* the paperwork?// he thought, shocked. Then another thought came
to him. //Truly, if I *am* done it all, the others are right in that I am awake more nights than
I sleep!//

All that staring didn't make more papers appear, though, and he was still wide awake.

He sighed. //Now what?// he wondered. //I do not particularly wish to go back to lie sleeplessly
abed for the rest of the night. Perhaps a walk in the night-chill air shall do what paperwork
could not.//

With that thought, he rose to his feet and went out into the garden via the balcony-doors.

Within seconds, his bare feet were drenched with dew, as were the hems of his sleeping-clothes.
He took deep breaths of the clean, crisp air as he walked aimlessly along, his eyes closed, head
thrown back, his feet carrying him unfalteringly in directions only they knew. A slight breeze
made the ends of his unbound dark hair flutter.

He opened his eyes and looked around him as he sensed that he was no longer alone, his eyes
coming to rest at last on a familiar figure coming toward him from the direction of the stables.

"Glorfindel," he acknowledged quietly as the other neared, then fell into step beside him.
"Sleep eludes you as well, this night?"

Glorfindel smiled softly. "Nay, my Lord. 'Tis simply a night too beautiful and clear to be
spent in slumber. I take it, though, that you are not awake of your own desire to gaze upon the

Elrond shook his head. "Nay. I find I can find little sleep of late. I had thought paperwork
would help, but 'tis all finished."

Now it was Glorfindel's turn to blink in amazement. "Finished? *All* of it?"

Elrond nodded glumly. "I can see the surface of my desk," he said simply. "And so I thought
that a walk might perhaps-" He paused, blinked. "Glorfindel?"


"What is that?" Elrond asked, pointing.

They had come without noticing to a small clearing in the garden. All around the clear space
grew rosebushes and nightflowers, the delicate scent of the nightflowers teasing the air. Thick
green grass covered the ground of the clearing, delicate white Eleanor nestled in it, though they
were closed for the night.

The thing that Elrond pointed at was a thin cord, it seemed, of silvery grey that glistened in
the light of the moon and stars. It dangled there, its end perhaps a dozen feet above the ground,
and went up into the sky as far as their sharp eyes could see, and further. It blew gently in
the breeze, and was anchored to nothing as far as either lord could see.

Glorfindel studied the thing for a long moment, then turned to Elrond. "I know not," he admitted,
a look of puzzlement on his face. "If Mithrandir were here, I would be tempted to think that it
was one of his tricks, meant to amuse. But he is not here, and I *know* that this was not here

"Indeed," Elrond said, staring at it. "Look. It seems to be agitated."

Glorfindel looked again. It was true. The silvery cord-thing was swaying a lot more than it had
been. He went over to a spot beneath it and looked up. "Elrond, look! There seems to be

Whatever Glorfindel was about to say was cut off abruptly as he was flattened by something that
slid swiftly down the line and off.

Elrond hurried over to where his golden-haired friend lay on the grass, beneath... a person?

Glorfindel sat up, ungently pushing away the person who had seemingly just fallen from the
heavens. He rubbed at his sore ribs and head, both bruised by the unexpected impact, then turned
a glare on the stranger.

Seeing that glare left Elrond with no doubts at all that the Elf was capable of facing down a
Balrog, singing all the while. That Look gave him the shivers, and he wasn't even bearing the
brunt of it!

After making sure that Glorfindel wasn't hiding any more serious injury, Elrond turned his
attention to the other. It- he -was dressed in fashion that had been current near the end of the
First Age. His hair was short, perhaps an inch long, and was dark as Elrond's own. The face was
kind and weathered in a way that suggested a long time spent in the wind. His skin was very pale,
as though he spent little, if any, time in the sun. It was not a sickly pallor, though, and he
nearly glowed with health.

"Who are you, and why did you fall from the sky?" he asked as he turned the other to face him.
He frowned as vague memories many millenia old stirred inside his head, telling him that he
should know this man... Elf... person. That he should recognise him from somewhere. "Who are
you?" he asked again, softer this time as confusion painted itself across his face.

He was taken completely by surprise by the hearty embrace the stranger pulled him into, nearly
squeezing the breath from his lungs. He struggled briefly, finally managing to extricate himself
from the other's grasp.

For a moment, he could only gasp for the breath that had been denied him, but then he asked again.
"Who *are* you?"

"Ninion, do you not know me?" the stranger asked, gazing at Elrond with something akin to
adoration. "It is I, your Adar. I am Earendil."

Elrond stared at the other, unable to speak. Yes. That was it. That was what those ancient
memories had been trying to tell him. It was. This person... man... half-Elf standing before
him was his father, Earendil.

"Adar?" he asked weakly. Then darkness closed in about him.


Glorfindel caught Elrond as he fell. A quick look was all it took for him to see that Elrond had
been rendered unconscious by the shock. Gently, he lifted the Lord of Imladris up into his arms
and carried him toward the House, turning slightly as he went to tell the stranger- Elrond's
father -to follow. He blinked, stopped.

Earendil was missing.

Then Glorfindel heard a rustling in a nearby tree. He looked over in time to see Earendil make
the jump from a low-hanging branch to the ground.

"What-?" Glorfindel asked.

"I tied the line to the tree," Earendil said simply. "Else my ship might drift away without me."

Nodding as if he heard of anchoring stars to trees all the time, Glorfindel spoke. "Ah. I go to
put my Lord into his bed. If you would follow...?"

The legendary mariner nodded. "Of course," he said, falling into step beside the blond Elf. He
reached out, gently brushed a strand of dark hair from Elrond's face.


It was nearly dawn when Elrond awoke, feeling fully rested for the first time in weeks. He could
remember only bits and pieces from the night before. Doing paperwork. Walking in the gardens
with Glorfindel. The night air must have worked as he had hoped, then, and sent him to sleep.
He hoped he hadn't fallen asleep outside where Glorfindel would have to carry him back.

Then he could remember the dream, a dream he had had on nearly a nightly basis during the first
century or so of the Second Age. The dream about his father coming back to him, even though he
knew it to be impossible. When had he stopped having that dream? Why had it come back last
night? And why had he dreamed his father with such short hair? Earendil had always been proud
of his long locks, despite their tendency to knot in the winds...

He looked over as his bedroom door swung gently open on oiled hinges. He saw a head poke into
the room, face turning to peer in Elrond's direction.

"Ninion," the other said, a smile crossing his face. He came fully into the room and over to the
side of the bed. "You wake?"

"Yes," Elrond said, staring. It *hadn't* been a dream...? "I am awake."

Earendil reached out, smoothed back a stray lock of hair from Elrond's face, his touch warm
against the half-Elf's cheek. "I have not much time left," he said. "The night is nearly
finished and I must away before the dawn." He smiled gently, seeing the alarm in his son's grey
eyes. "Fear not, I shall return tomorrow night."

Nodding, Elrond sat up slightly in bed, sitting back against the headboard. "How did you...?"

Earendil ran his fingers through his shortened hair. "Remember the old tales, where the maiden
who was trapped spun a rope of her hair as a means to escape her imprisonment?" At Elrond's
incredulous nod, he continued. "I remembered those, when I heard Ereinion tell you of my exile,
when I heard you cry because of it. It has taken me these past millenia to let my hair grow, cut
it and twist it into rope that spans the distance between the heavens and Arda, as I have no
magic to make my hair grow faster. I could not leave you alone, Ninion. I swear to you that I
never meant to."

"You..." Elrond could only shake his head in astonishment. A rope of that length... it was
inconceivable! And yet Earendil had done it. For him.

Earendil looked outside at the fading darkness, then back to Elrond. "I must go now, Ninion," he
said simply. "But I *will* return." A small smirk danced on his lips. "And this time I will
*try* not to land on poor Glorfindel."

Elrond smiled, nodded. "I will see you tonight, then, Adar," he said softly.

The mariner smiled at the last word, then went out the balcony-doors into the garden.

That day, the inhabitants of the House of Elrond could do naught but wonder why their
usually-serious Lord went about his duties grinning like an idiot all day.


The comings and goings of Earendil, father to Elrond, was known to but a few in Rivendell, and it
was a secret they guarded as well as that of the Three. They knew that the Valar would probably
be displeased at Earendil's violation of their sentence of exile, and saught to keep it secret
for that reason.

Which was why it was not widely known then or for many years after why Earendil's star began its
nightly journey across the heavens the same as it had for millenia, but now stopped in its course
when it came over Rivendell, only to speed across the sky, completing the last of its journey,
just before dawning.


About the 'exile' of Earendil:
"Earendil's fate is not known for sure, though it is certain he never again came to Middle-earth.
Some tales maintain that he was bidden to sail the evening sky for ever, in a ship made of
mithril and elven-glass, with the Silmaril affixed to his prow, shining as a beacon-star and a
symbol of Hope to all dwellers in Middle-earth. Other legends say that the Ship was set in the
Firmament by the hands of Elbereth herself, and that Earendil dwelt ever after in Valinor, as a
reward for his great journey."
-- Excerpt from the entry 'Earendil the Mariner' in the "Tolkien Companion" written by JEA Tyler.

This fic went with the first theory, obviously. ;o)

The plotbunnies thought Earendil should have a happier ending to his story than to be forever
exiled to the stars. *shrugs* They dictate, I write... and write... and write... *grin*

The whole Glorfindel-flattened-by-Earendil part was what popped into my head while reading the
other fic. That's the image that inspired this one. *grin*

So, did you like? Click the button, leave a review and let the plotbunnies and I know! ;o)