To Make a Widower
Disclaimers: Middle-earth, Aman and all their inhabitants belong to J.R.R. Tolkien and his estate. Mary Sues belong to their creators, and I have no wish to claim them. I doubt that he would either.
Summary: Quixotic Valar, annoyed Elves and murderous fangirls. Why you should always be careful when killing off a character…
A/N: Yes, I know the archaisms are all screwed up. It's parody.
Feedback: Yes, yes, my precious. Nice, isn't it, my precious? Very nice.
On any normal day the bright sunlight streamed into the courtyard of the house in Tirion, filling every corner with a radiant brightness and seeping into the stones themselves. But this was no ordinary day, and the stones were afraid; very afraid. The marble tiles in the atrium quivered away from the sunlight like Hobbits before anything even slightly more unnerving than a gorse thicket. They knew what was about to happen. But then, stone is rarely any help when faced with the armies of fandom – unless, of course, the stone happens to be plummeting from a great height.
The balmy air rippled, sighed and ripped with a noise like the death-throes of extremely cheap PVC trousers.
Finwë's eldest and least endearing son, perusing Vairë's tapestries in the hope of finding a way to escape the Walls of Awaiting, grinned suddenly. Tucking his spectral legs under him, he curled up on the floor, absent-mindedly chewing his nails, and began to watch intently, the Bumper Book of Crossword Puzzles for Kinslayers forgotten beside him. Maedhros, hearing his father's only too familiar maniacal laughter, began to hit his head against the wall – as a spirit he could not knock himself out, and at least it would afford him some relief.
Three girls stepped through the gap in the reality of the world, dressed in a fashion that would have all the seamstresses of Middle-earth and Aman wailing. Truth to be told, there were more slits, gaps and strange lacings than actual fabric. And the embroidery was alive…
"Well," Areniaeialiaonia said cheerfully, reapplying one of the false eyelashes which had been adorning her cheekbone not unlike one of Ungoliant's smaller offspring. "We ist here. Let's go."
Tari and Lemi exchanged vaguely scared looks.
"Art thee sure that we should be doing this?" Tari asked dubiously. "I mean, don't you think that we'll get in trouble if thine father finds out?"
"Dad? Nah, he's on a business trip in Budapest."
"No. I meant the other one: scary-eyebrows man."
"Oh he won't care," Arei asserted, tossing her flame-red hair out of her purple eyes. In response, a tidal wave hit the coast, driving several Teleri fishing boats halfway up the Pelóri as Ulmo and all his Maiar tried to escape from the unnerving radiance. Several of the more nervous starfish decided that the business of living was not worth it, if they were to be subjected to this torment. "He didstn't like her anyways. He'll probably be glad she's dead anyway so he can marry Pippinlia. And she should have been dead: after all, she was attacked by orcs and Leggy-kins wasn't there to protect her."
"So that's settled. But what do we get out of this?" Lemi inquired with the customary camaraderie of Mary Sues everywhere.
"You get Elladan and Tari gets Elrohir. Or you can duke it out for Haldir if you change your minds. Blonde hair is soo much cooler."
They tried to sneak into the house, which was more than a little difficult in four inch stiletto heels, not to mention the frequent stops to repair their make-up. Everybody knew that real Elven assassins wore enough cosmetics to sink Númenor again – and of course that it had to be bought from the branch of Miss Selfridge in Mirkwood.
The elf-maiden lifted her head from her book and looked at them curiously. Closing the volume with a sigh, she gave up all thoughts of a pleasant day.
"May I help you?"
"You are Celebrain?"
"I am Celebrían," she corrected. "And you are?"
"Arwen does not have red hair, and she does know how to pronounce my name."
"Nope, your other daughter."
"I have no other daughter. Think you that it was easy to stop Undómiel jumping out of trees? Think you that peredhil twins…" Tari and Lemi went glassy-eyed. "…Were simple to raise? Nay. I love my children dearly, but three were quite enough. Besides, I doubt that Elrond would allow any daughter of his to dress as you do."
Arei had thrust one leg forward defiantly, leaving very little to the imagination.
"Stupid old fart. I know why that is: he doesn't like sex."
Celebrían could not repress her giggles as certain images rose unbidden from her memory.
"Oh, I would not say that. I would not say that at all. 'Tis merely that he does not wish his daughter – as he only has one - to dress like meat on the butcher's hook."
Tari tugged uneasily at her leopard-print hot-pants.
"Anyway, that mattereth not," Arei continued blithely. "That's not why we are here."
"Then why are you here?" The Lady of Imladris felt that having spent the previous evening listening to Nerdanel's imprecations against the Spirit of Fire, only to have Nienna materialise abruptly and flood the house with her tears, she was at least entitled to avoid the company of fangirls whose ever-changing eye colour was making her queasy.
"To kill you."
"Are you sure that you are not Fëanor in disguise?" She cast around for some heavy object to defend herself with. "If you are, I can promise you that I have no hold over my mother's decision to deny you a lock of her hair." Her eyes alighted on a heavy work on the history of Middle-earth and she began to sidle towards it.
"Who is Fanor?" Lemi struck a pose, pulling a dagger from the trailing sleeve of her bilious yellow – she thought it looked like sunflowers, but 'twas more like seasickness – gown.
"F-ë -a-n-o-r. It seems you are not. Well, 'tis a shame, as I could have told him exactly what his wife thinks of his brilliant ship-burning idea."
She hefted the book in her hands.
"Now, if it please you, depart at once. I do not wish to be dead."
"But you shouldest be," Arei proclaimed. "The orcs should have killed you."
"But they did not." Celebrían shivered gently at the unwelcome memory. "I cannot see what business it is of yours whether I live or die."
"You must be dead. Then dad can refuse my marriage and Arwen's because he doesn't want anyone else to be happy – as well as because he was never happy with you."
"You know not of what you speak." The daughter of the Golden Wood drew herself up to her full height and wished she had her mother's trick of glowing green. Galadriel had always availed herself of it in warding off fangirls and mosquitoes both. "Were I dead, he would still wish happiness on our children."
"Ah, but he doesn't love you, does he?" Lemi taunted, trying to disentangle her ankle-length hair from the fringe of the carpet. "He didn't come with thou."
"Great burdens awaited him yet in the lands of Middle-earth, and, loving him as I do, I could not ask him to abandon them."
"Who cares?" Arei was becoming bored of any conversation which did not revolve around her or Mirkwood's wonder-child, and preferably both. With a war cry culled from far too many viewings of Braveheart, she threw herself on the silver-haired Elf. With a shrug, minds and consciences dulled by visions of the Imladris twins in matching tuxedos, her cronies flung themselves after her.
Not for nothing had Celebrían been married to the Herald of the High King – who had also had many years experience biting the hands of red-headed murderous lunatics – for three thousand years. She ducked under the flailing hands of the fangirls, narrowly missing being brained with several tons of sterling silver jewellery and a lump of amber the size of Minas Tirith, and rolled smoothly to the floor, lashing out at her assailants.
Lemi cursed and wailed like a Balrog at the fall of Thangorordrim as her shoulder hit the floor, the natty silver buckles of her gown leaving a sizeable dent in the tiles. She forgot that she was supposed to be the daughter of the most wise and benevolent king of Silver-Birch-Wood, betrothed to Elladan of Rivendell, and her face contorted into a mask of petulant rage. Mistaking one flailing foot for another, although she really should have noticed that the silken slippers belonged to Celebrían and the clunky purple-and-orange striped platforms to her co-conspirator, she stabbed Tari in the ankle.
The Lady of Imladris danced free, trying to remember if she had brought any of Elrond's amassed weaponry with her to the Undying Lands.
Alas, three against one is the sort of odds which Morgorth preferred, and with good reason. Tari caught one of her feet, Arei the other, and tugged her to the floor. Once she was down, they preceded to sit on her in the manner of exhausted oliphaunts – if oliphaunts had inch-long nails to dig into one.
Arei was grinning maniacally now, bearing a striking resemblance to Carnistir Fëanárion, as she laid her dagger against the trapped Elf's throat. She was not entirely sure how to use this thing, as she had always fainted during dissection lessons in Biology, but she was sure that if she just pushed down…
Celebrían saw her chance. While the fangirl's attention was involved in the messy process of making one very much alive Elf into sandwich filling, she brought her hand up and pinched the back of her neck sharply. It had always worked with the poor misguided youths Celeborn pushed in her direction in the hope that it would distract her from a certain peredhel lord. It did not fail her now. Arei screamed and her knife slipped from her had.
"Aaaaaaaagh. The Elf-witch is using magic."
But fate was against our gallant heroine, as Vairë was rather … ah, let us say busy, as we would rather not know what the Doomsman of the Valar looks like with no clothes on. We suspect it can only be scarier than the black robes.
Even as her fingers curled around the handle of the dagger – and she noticed that it belonged to Elrohir. Really, she would need to remind him not to leave his possessions lying round – she found herself pinioned once more under three bodies painted like eighteenth-century madams.
"She's using magic? That's not fair," Tari complained.
"Don't worry. She can't do anything against me." Lemi ran one hand through her alarming hair, and plucked an oddly bright stone from the depths of her Wonderbra. "I have the Wind-and-Water-Stone, given to me by the spirit of the Bui … Brin … the river that runs past Rivendell."
"I don't care if you have a bloody great diamond in each armpit," Arei squawked. "She hurt me with her magic. Aren't you going to do anything about it?"
"Get her ring. It must be the tenth Ring of Power given to her by Sauron himself to seduce that mad old coot of Rivendell."
Celebrían reflected that he had never needed much seducing, and she had certainly not needed a Ring… But she had no time for such pleasant thoughts. Tari, who was in awe of Areniaeialiaonia's HTML skills which had brought them here in the first place, grabbed her hand. For a moment, the Elf was glad that it was not her left, which held the knife … but only for a moment.
"Aha, I see it." The peredhil-obsessive tugged at the golden band, while her victim tried desperately to curl her fingers to prevent its removal.
"Leave. My. Ring. Alone," she warned through gritted teeth.
"Ooh … now you're scaring me," Arei giggled maliciously, looking more like a rabid squirrel with each passing moment. "I'm not stupid enough to let you keep the source of your power."
"That is no source of power, child. That is my wedding ring."
But the fight was unfair and Morgoth was cheering the fangirls on from beyond the Walls of the World, munching on ethereal popcorn. The slender strip of metal slipped away, and Tari bounced around the room.
You're so yummy.
I want to bake you into a cake
You my hubby."
The ring spun away into a corner of the room, and Arei joined in the unholy racket.
"Leggy will be my lover,
Oh yes he will!
Leggy will be my smoochy-pie,
Oh yes he will!
And all the green greenness,
We can use to undress,
Oh yes we will!"
There was a sound of cracking rock as Manwë slammed his head against the peak of Oiolossë in pain.
Arei screeched to the end of the thirty-fifth verse and beamed contentedly. Remembering her mission, and the absolute necessity of being motherless, she disentangled her second knife (a useful tip from the blond princeling himself) from the trailing edge of her sleeve, and dug it into the hollow at the base of Celebrían's throat.
"Y'see," she explained, "Leggy-kins will like me better if I actually don't have a mother, and anyway this whole Havens thing is far too complicated. Bye bye."
"That would rather depend on who strikes first." Celebrían brought her much-neglected left hand up and shoved the steel blade against her opponent's ribcage. Unfortunately, her hand was bent at such an angle that a teaspoon would have caused more damage. She rather hoped that the fangirl would not notice this.
Arei, however, was far too entranced by images of a white wedding, in a dress resembling an overgrown pavlova, under the mallorns, with pretty unicorns transported from Eru knows where. She would not have noticed if the sky fell on her head.
"Me." And she plunged.
But not fast enough, for the sky did fall on her head, in the guise of a large hand twisting itself into her hair, and another catching her hand. Just as she always forgot to lock her diary against her younger sister's depredations, so she had forgotten to close the spatial anomaly she had created. And Manwë, his immortal ears bleeding from the artistic abuse, had shoved someone through it.
Her skimpy gown clashing neatly with her hair, she was pulled upright, face to face with an incandescent peredhel.
"Hello, Mr. Elrond. I was just getting rid of your wife." She never had had much tact, but then tact was not a quality much found among Mary Sues.
"Leave. Her. Alone." His burgundy robes billowing, the Master of Rivendell exerted his not inconsiderable strength and flung her into the corner. She landed squarely on top of her cowering friends.
He crouched down beside Celebrían, who raised herself on her elbows.
"I would have defeated them myself, meleth-nín," she chuckled weakly. "I was merely momentarily indisposed."
"Of course you would," he said affectionately. "But you are bleeding…"
"'Tis a flesh wound."
"Aye, and I am a cave troll."
"You are?" Tari piped up from the corner. "I didn't…"
He shot her a look that would have paralysed Maiar, and she prudently – for once in her life – fell silent.
Elrond tore a strip from his sleeve and pressed it to his wife's throat.
"Now." They stood slowly, arms tightly locked around one another's' waists. "Would you like me to feed you to a Balrog, or would you prefer me to spit you myself?"
"But if she was dead, then we could comfort Elladan and Elrohir."
"Ah, yes. My sons bid me to tell you that if you do not cease leaving obscene messages in their bedchambers, they will roast you alive over a small fire." He paused. "But I think the pleasure will be all mine…"
A blond head poked round the door.
"Legolas!!! Leggy-kins!!!" Arei screamed with the extra exclamation marks reserved for the seriously mentally disturbed. The Elf winced.
"I should sincerely hope that of all the Free Folk, I do not look in the slightest like Thranduil's son…"
"Nay, uncle. 'Tis simply your hair."
Finrod Felagund edged cautiously through the gap and strode gracefully across the room, his noble face anxious.
"Perhaps I should consider using that foul-smelling henna die one of Amarië's friends boils up."
"Thee aren't Leggy," Lemi persevered.
"Why are you here?" Elrond asked, dragging his gaze away from the inspection of his wife's face. "'Tis not that your company is offensive, but…"
Finrod laughed, and suddenly he looked far less like a panic-stricken elfling.
"I believe all of Aman heard the appalling screeching issue forth from this house, and 'twould not surprise me if Tol Eressëa has been similarly assaulted. At first it reminded me of Sauron…" He shuddered. "But Amarië guessed. My wife has never been terribly fond of these creatures since I told her of the one who crept into my tent in Ossiriand. She told me that I would be sleeping in tents, and without her, until the end of Arda if I did not rescue whoever was being assailed. And now I find that 'twas my own niece's husband. I did not know that you had arrived from across the sea, Elrond Peredhil."
"I had not," the elf-lord stated grimly. "I was not the target of this infamy. These three…" He gestured at them with contempt clear writ in his face. "…Decided that they would much prefer it if I were a widower, as it would suit their own nefarious purposes. The first I knew was when a sudden wind pushed me towards a hole of the deepest night which seemed to hover in the middle of the air, and I was brought here."
"I see. Well, I have a promise to keep to my lady wife, and I believe atar would be only too glad to oblige me and devise some suitable way of freeing Eä of this Morgoth-born bane." The golden-haired Elf drew a long coil of rope and a wickedly sharp knife from his robes. Ignoring Arei's batted eyelashes – she had decided, in the sinkhole of her mind, that he would do as a substitute for the Prince of Mirkwood – and aided by Elrond and his bleeding wife, he bound their hands securely.
"Does Lord Finarfin have a plan?"
"Oh yes." And with another shift that mobile face became a mask of glee. "I believe the last time I talked to him he was muttering something about the 'Mary Sewer'. Of course, they must be returned to their own place and time, but for the moment…"
With a devious grin, he prodded the fangirls towards the door.
"Namarie, my kinsmen. I hope that the days will not be long until we meet again in a fairer time."
Elrond and Celebrían stared at each other before falling into a tight embrace. Drawing back slightly, he lifted one of her hands to his lips.
"One of them took it. She was convinced that 'twas a source of power against them. It should be in the corner…"
But as they searched, it became abundantly clear that 'twas not there. The elf-maiden grew pale and tense, wringing her hands together as her husband tried to comfort her.
"I am intruding." Finrod's quiet voice rang through the room once more. "I left the girls propped up against the pillars in the courtyard like so many bales of cloth. But one of them had something which I believe to be of great value to you." He stretched out one hand: in it lay the gold band. He pressed it gently into Celebrían's waiting palm.
"Thank you, Finrod." She kissed his cheek.
"'Tis naught. Once I mislaid my betrothal ring and Amarië threatened to make me eat it."
And with a bow he was gone again.
"I am here." Elrond curled a strand of her silver hair around his finger. "I am here, my love. I am with you once more."
"Aye." But a cloud obscured the dancing joy in her face. "Yet you cannot stay. The One Ring is in Imladris?"
"Aye. But I can stay. I shall not leave you."
"Nay." But instead of moving away she clung closer to him, tugging at the high collar of his robe to bring his face down to hers. "The task which stayed you once stays you yet. And at least one of us should be there to witness Arwen's marriage … and to keep our sons out of the clutches of these cockroaches. Go back, dear my love. I should imagine that Lord Manwë will be here soon to guide your return."
"I could stay until the morrow," he whispered hopefully, his fingers trailing the curves of her body through the thin fabric of her dress. "After all, is it not my duty as a healer to ensure that my wife does not bleed to death?"
"'Tis the morn; the morrow is very far distant." But her heart was not in it.
"Not so very far, and we should make the best of the hours we have. Would you deny a poor old peredhel a few pleasures before you bid him back to a pit of fangirls, insane Dwarves, ravenous Hobbits and an insane Sindar archer?"
"Nay. If your mind gave out, 'twould be a sore shame."
And they fell together onto the couch.
Manwë decided to leave them be. Anyway, he had to ensure that Finarfin did not feed the girls to anything unsavoury. And there was always Varda waiting for him… She had been busy at work on some rather interesting nebulae, birthing a few stubborn stars, and she would be in a very good mood. Very good indeed… On second thoughts, the Lord of the Breath of Arda decided that the fangirls could just trust to their own luck, such as it was. And their screams were rather more musical than their singing.
Namarie – farewell.
Meleth-nín – my love.