SUMMARY: Gilraen's thoughts as she lays dying

DISCLAIMER: I do not own LOTR in any way, it belongs to JRR Tolkien. However, I do own the plot of this story.

Time

By Tiger

When you live among immortals for so long, you forget the concept of time. The elves don't really have a use for it, save to use its markings to record history. Things never change in Imaldris, no matter how the seasons change, or who passes through this sacred haven. The inhabitants themselves stay the same, they are the immortal ones.

It is no different for me, I am still considered a fairly young woman, at least among the Edain I am. Because I have aged so slowly, I never noticed how quickly my young son became a man. It all happened in the blink of an eye. I swear that only yesterday he was a mischievous child of six, running around with his adopted brothers.

He stands before me now, tall and strong. How like his father he stands. His hair is mussed and out of place as usual, and there is a sad twinkle in his grey eyes. My smile fades quickly. I know why the sadness is there for I am the cause of it.

"Mae govennen, Nana," he greats me with a bow of his head and a peck on my cheek. "How do you fare?" My heart sinks when he asks me this question, for I cannot answer yes and bring hope to his eyes. I am dying, my heart is failing me, I have a sickness that is unknown to even Lord Elrond. I know that my time on Arda is short. But Estel does not know of this. Lord Elrond believes that it would be best if I were the one to tell him that.

"No, ion nin," I reply at last. "I do not fare well at all. Lord Elrond has informed me that I am dying." I cast my eyes away form his face as it begins to cloud with sadness and disbelief.

"What? How?" he demands. "It was only a mild illness, you should be better…" his voice trails off as I shake my head at him. I cough lightly and nod my head in thanks when he hands me a cup of water.

"You are training to be a healer, Estel. Surely you know that a small sickness can hide a larger one until it is too late. You also know that my heart has been weak since the night your father died," I take a breath to calm myself. I have no wish to upset my son more than he already is.

"But surely there must be something that can be done!" he exclaims, leaping out of his chair. I smile a little with amusement. Twenty years has passed since he was six, but his enthusiasm remains the same. But the smile fades as the memory is gone and my mind returns to the matter at hand.

"There is nothing that can be done. My heart is weak, it does not wish to beat for me much longer," I say this firmly, but I feel my heart break as I see the tears that begin to fill his eyes. I pull him towards me, embracing him the way I did when he was a small child. No matter, to my mind, he is still one.

"You are one of the Edain, Nana," he mumbles to me. He stands up and begins to pace around the room. "Your life should not be cut so short." He stops next to a window and stands there with crossed arms and a sulky look on his face.

"Hmph!" I harrumph. "Ion nin, do not compare a long life to a full one. Yes, I am saddened that I must leave you and other loved ones behind, but I accept it. My life may be shorter than that of the other Edain, but I do not resent it. I loved you father, and I watched you grow into a young man much like your father. You are my life's reward." Instantly, the look is gone from his face.

"Thank you for your kind words, Nana," he says softly,

"They are only the truth," I correct him. "Now, go and fetch the Lord Elrond for me, there is a matter I must speak with him on."

Estel stops at the door and quizzically looks at me. "May I aks what is it that you wish to speak with him about?" he asks somewhat stiffly. From the look on his face, I know that the subject of Arwen had once again come between father and son.

"You may ask, but I will not answer," I do not want to raise a foolish hope in him. I do not approve of he and Arwen, she is an elf, and he is only human. Lord Elrond guards her love jealously, as kindly and wise he is. No father wishes to lose their daughter's love to another man. But Arwen makes Estel happier than I have ever seen him. As his mother, I would do almost anything to keep him that way. Even if it means having an unpleasant conversation with my healer.

I watch my son as he leaves through the doorway, perhaps for the last time. I am feeling weaker by the minute. I hope he comes back quickly enough.

Finis