A/N: This is *all* Cirdan's fault. On the Silmfics discussion, he posted an idea that just *wouldn't* leave me alone until I wrote it. It didn't even have the decency to wait in line, so I'm writing this instead of the fifteen-page school essay due next Friday that I should be working on… all Cirdan's fault, I repeat.
And, I'm sorry if the ending seems a bit… odd… this was supposed to be a vignette, but Lúthien got angry. So it's slightly AU on top of everything else *sighs*.
You sleep. You look so… peaceful… when you sleep. So young, so innocent. When you are awake, you stand tall and proud, hair gliding like shadows around your face, fire flashing from her eyes and none dare look at you, for you are fair and perilous as a Maia. But when you sleep, you look like what you are. A child.
Do you understand what you are doing, child? You claim you are in love, yet do you understand what that means? You say you would do everything for the one you love, child, yet do you know what everything can be?
You do not. You have spent your days in peace, dancing beneath the stars. You have no comprehension of grief, of pain, of blood running into water, of darkness creeping across the land. You stare at me and tell me that you will rescue your love, and I do not know whether to laugh or to weep at the child's innocence that speaks out of your words. You curse at me and tell me to let you go. Tell me that if I truly loved you, I would not keep you here against your will!
Child, I want to say, it is because I love you that I keep you here. I do not wish to possess you, as you think. I know what comes of "love" that is merely a byword for greed and covetousness – did I not see my mother leave my father because of this? Because he did not love her, he merely wanted a copper jewel to keep for himself? I am not selfish, child, nor am I jealous.
You are so young, so carefree, so innocent… yet that will not avail you if you run into the Black Foe's arms. Do you know what he can do to you, child? What do you know of terror, of scars that run deeper than flesh, of eyes filled with agony, of screams in the dark, of torments too horrible to speak of, of missing hands and marred faces, of fëar twisted and broken? Nothing.
I know. I remember when my brother, another child, innocent and carefree and proud, walked into Morgoth's trap. I remember who… no, what came back, for what came back was not my brother. My brother was joyful, my brother was innocent, my brother was gentle, my brother would not hurt a living creature… my brother was a beautiful child laughing in Formenos. This… creature… that returned was scarred. Haunted. Mortally wounded in both flesh and spirit. An Elf, neither beautiful nor a child, with dead eyes. Broken. He… it… tries to hide that, tries to hide the defeat in its eyes behind fury and torment and lust for revenge, hacking at yrch on the battlefield with a snarl. But I see that it is broken, defeated, and all that remains is the pointless struggle of an animal already sure of its own demise. I see deeper than it thinks. Than he thinks. For much as I would act as not, tell myself not, when he wakes screaming in the night, clutching at the air with his remaining hand, haunted eyes staring up at me, I realize that he is my brother, my elder brother, once an innocent child laughing in Formenos… but he is much changed, for the scars run so deep, and the flame of his fëa is gone, and only ashes remain now.
Ashes. Do you understand what that means, child? Do you want run to Morgoth and never return… or worse, return like my brother? Do you want me to see the fire in your eyes turned to ashes, your face scarred, your body marred? Do you want me to hear the defeat in your voice, realize that your spirit is broken like my brother's? To listen to you scream in your sleep when the path of dreams turns into a path of nightmares? You do not know how often my brother begged me to kill him, how often I denied him… shall I deny you as well, child?
It does not have to be this way. Run home, little child. Run home to your mother and father, they will be waiting for you. They know what you have to lose. Forget this ever happened – forget your lover, forget my cousin, for they are both dead. Forget me. See? I am not jealous, I am not greedy. I do not wish to keep you here, I wish to keep you away from those who would hurt you. Laudable, no?
You look so peaceful while sleeping, so small, so innocent. I can almost delude myself into thinking that you understand why I am doing what I do and forgive me for imprisoning you.
But you wake, and you are no longer a child but an Elf-lady, perilous and untouchable. You hiss at me, and you curse me, and you try to run away so that I catch your arm. You stare at me with hate-filled eyes, and it hurts more than I would care to admit, for I do love you. I love you as much as I loved… love… my brother and I do not want to see you broken like him. Why can you not understand? It hurts you, I realize. You are a wild one, a free spirit, a bird soaring unfettered in the sky, and you do not wish to be caged. But I must cage you, for if you fly to your lover, you will be caught and your wings torn off and the songbird that does not sing in cages will never sing again. Please, stop looking at me so! I wish to help you, I wish to save you, save you from your foolish, childish love which will destroy you! Can you not see? Your mother is a Maia, they say, you must see! Stop staring at me, staring at me with those fire-flashing eyes, eyes brimming with anger, burning… Stop… stop… stop… hurting… me…
A figure lies sprawled on the ground, face white, unbreathing, as behind him the door creaks as it swings shut. The bed is empty.