Disclaimer: I do tend to forget these… all characters and concepts mentioned herein belong to Tolkien, not to me.

A/N: This is set some time before the choice of the Peredhil. It might be AU because I have no idea whether Celebrían was even born at the time or where Galadriel was then.

Edited this in reply to Joan Milligan's review – I wasn't particularly happy with the ending either but couldn't think of anything better until after I re-read it after reading your review (thank you!). I hope it gives more closure now. Thank you to everyone who reviewed, I'm glad you like it.

*****

Does it hurt?

It looks as if it hurts, as if there is a battle going on within you. I can see it, you know. Father does not believe me, but I can. I can see that-what-was-first fighting against that-what-came-after, clawing at your mind, capturing your thoughts in their endless struggle, shifting. The other children, they are simple – they glow inside, steadily, like the stars on a cloudless night. You, however… you are like sunbeams dancing across the forest floor – dark mixed with light, inseperable yet battling. You are like a candle-flame, blowing in the wind – fighting fiercely, yet near being extinguished, and I feel that if I come too close to you, I will get burnt. Eldar and Edain were not meant to wed, to bear children. Their natures are different, unique, uncompromising – yet they fight each other for the command of your soul, your mind, of you yourself, for who can be part of many yet all of none? But you are, and you must be so, for if one side were to win, the other would disappear, and there is not enough of one to nourish all of you, so you would disappear like a candle-flame, blown out by the wind.

It must hurt, this battle, this thoughts battling thoughts, mind turning on itself, killing itself, killing you, devouring your essence bit by bit… you do not look it, though. To the eyes-that-are, the ears-that-are you are but a child, a normal child, with a normal laugh… but the eyes-that-are-not see blood fighting blood, and your laugh is a scream of pain that no one but me can hear.

Father scoffs at me when I run to him, and tell him I do not wish to play with you, because the flame of your fëa is hot and flickering, battling itself in a never-ending war, and it is like a wild animal – clawing at everyone that comes near in its pain, and I do not want to be hurt. Yet I am drawn, as though I am a moth fluttering about you, and although I know one day a spark will set my wings aflame I cannot stay away. So we play, and we talk, and although the others are blind, I see the tears that are not tears that you shed when you think no one is watching, hear the helpless pleas that echo soundlessly in your words.

You once told me you had a brother, a twin brother, another one like you. I heard the pain in your voice, and I know that your brother is as you, for you are reflections, reflections of each other, and I do not know who is the origin and who is but the image… nor do I know if it matters, for the in the end it is the same, and your battles, your minds, your hearts are the same… or not? For the skies are cloudy, and the stars are gone, and the path is hidden by fog so that I cannot see all ends anymore.

But there is something else hidden within you, something I did not see in the beginning, was too blind to see, until Mother bade me to look, and look closely, for sometimes we see more than we think we do… and she was right, as she always is, for Mother is not blind and her eyes see far.

For you are not of two kindreds, but of three, and the third is beautiful and wise and ancient and terrible, so terrible I ran when I saw it for the first time. It is hidden – no, it is not hidden, you hide it, try to hide it but however hard you try it shines through, like the sun shining through leaves in the forest, for they are not thick enough to hide something so bright. It is bright, too, bright as the Sun and the Moon, only it is not a warm light, not a warm light at all, it is so cold, so cold I ran to Mother because the light was drawing the heat from me!

It shines through you as if you were but mist, like bright-glowing veins running beneath your skin, and once in a while your skin is too thin to hold and it breaks through and I cry because it is so terrible and I do not know how you can stand it running through you, through your inner battle, through your pain and tears and thoughts like white-hot metal burning all in its path. When the light breaks through, strange things happen and the people whisper that you are fey, a ghost-child that should never have been born! I try to tell them that it is not your fault but they are deaf as well as blind and do not listen to me.

For normal blood is like wine, and when you mix wine with water it is no longer as strong. But this ancient blood, this powerful blood that runs in your veins, it is not like normal blood, not like wine, and although you have only little of it that little is still strong and potent and glowing so bright I cannot look at it directly. Indeed, you have just the wrong amount, for if you had less of the alien-blood it would be more like normal blood, and no longer as strong, and maybe, maybe I could look at it without burning my eyes, and the strange things wouldn't happen anymore. And if you had more of the alien-blood then it would not run where it wished and do what it willed, but do what you willed and you could control it and conceal it so that I would not be so afraid anymore. But you don't have more, or less, you have this much and it runs through your veins like a wildfire in a forest, uncontrollable and it hurts you and you know not what to do!

Yet it is this that draws people to you, although they are blind so they cannot see it, they can only see its effects – the light in your grey eyes, the power in your voice, the way the people's thoughts dance to obey your alien blood. You do not like it, you hate it, but it draws them, curious, staring at the fey child, the ghost-child. And you become angry, and you seem as one of them, one of those whose blood runs in your veins, alien and untouchable and oh so terrifying… and strange things happen, things I do not want to remember, things that make them mutter and whisper and look at you like a strange animal they have caught and caged. And you run away, away from those who would cage you, into your sanctuary, your books, your imagination, trying to supress that which cannot be supressed, trying to quench the light in your eyes. You cry, and your tears are not tears at all but something else which hurts me when I touch it, crystal-hard and stone-cold, like the eyes of the people that watch you unseen, peering out of the shadows that gather where the sunlight is afraid to go. And I worry, for perhaps one day the blood, so powerful, will devour you and you will become but a shadow yourself, dancing beneath Varda's stars and staring at us who yet walk beneath the Sun with eyes cold and devoid of life. And what will I do then? What does a lone moth do when its flame is gone?