Disclaimer: Again, don't own (any of it), so don't sue.

time/place change

Mild AU.

Normally, I take a break from fanfiction on my birthday, but seeing as how I'm turning seventeen today, I decided to break that rule and post this story. I love the relationship between Arwen and Elrond, but Elrond is sometimes maligned, thanks in part to Peter Jackson and Hugo Weaving (as much as I love 'em)he seems stern and bad for 'standing in the way of true love' but you have to look closer. Elrond's wife is gone and Arwen is his only daughter. He loves Aragorn as a son, but he loves his daughter too, so he is torn between them. He is definitely a tragic figure, and one of my favorites to portray.

Anyway, this is my gift to you guys, since it's my birthday. Thank you for four great years, loads of good fics, and great reviews. Come on, come back to Middle-Earth with me. I started here four years ago, and even if I wander, I still return. 'Not all who wander are lost.' Let's go.

I peek into her room and see her sitting up in bed, waiting for me. Her face lights up in a smile when she sees me.

There's two things I know for sure:

She was sent here from heaven and she's daddy's little girl.

As she talks to Eru in her sweet, clear voice, I close my eyes and lean my forehead against her bed from where I kneel beside her bed.

As I drop to my knees by her bed at night

She talks to Jesus and I close my eyes

Eru, are you listening to my beautiful little daughter? Thank you for the joy that my children have brought into my life.

And I thank God for all the joy in my life

She finishes praying—this is my favorite part of our nightly ritual. "Goodnight, tithen pen." I murmur, gently tucking her in.

Her slim little arms go around my neck—and she plants a soft butterfly kiss on my lips. I smile and kiss my beloved little daughter on the forehead, once again so grateful for my child.

Oh, but most of all

For butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer;

We're out in a field in the valley. Arwen's giggling is silvery as she plucks tiny while flowers from the field and weaves them into her dark braids.

Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair

I'm watching her from the window. Today will be her first riding lesson; Glorfindel is holding her pony, waiting patiently for Celebrian to release Arwen. Finally, my daughter runs out into the yard, beaming at Glorfindel—then she looks up at the window and her smile grows bigger. "Ada, come down!"

When I join Glorfindel—he's already placed Arwen on the pony—Arwen leans out to grasp my hand. "Ada, will you walk beside me? It's my first time…"

I nod reassuringly and walk along beside my daughter.

"Walk beside the pony, Daddy, it's my first ride."

"Ada?" An elleth's head peeks around the door of my study—I lay down my pen and turn around.

"Yes, tithen pen?"

"I made this for you…" she stammers, holding out a plate filled with…something. It smells all right, but it looks like a deflated waterskin.

Before I can speak, she hastily says, "I tried, Ada, I really did…"

I gently place the plate on the table, then gather my daughter up in a hug. "I know. I love it."

"I know the cake looks funny, Daddy, but I sure tried."

With everything I've done in my life, and all the mistakes I've made, somewhere along the line I must have done something to deserve my daughter, her hugs, and her butterfly kisses.

In all that I've done wrong I know I must have done something right

To deserve a hug every morning and butterfly kisses at night.

It's Arwen's birthday today. She is turning 1600—sixteen in human years—and she is growing more and more beautiful by the day. She has my dark hair and gray eyes, but her mother's beauty.

Sweet 16 today

She's looking like her mama a little more everyday

She may be a young woman now, but I see traces of the girl she used to be.

One part woman, the other part girl.

Her mother and I gave her a bottle of lily-scented water, Elrohir gave her a book; and Elladan gave her a butterfly hair clasp. The note attached said, "Happy sixteen hundred, little sister. Try your wings, but don't fly too high. Love, 'Dan."

To perfume and make-up from ribbons and curls

Trying her wings out in a great big world.

Looking at my beautiful elleth, I can still see the elfling that she once was, and the feeling of her butterfly kisses. Her friend gave her a silver hairnet with diamond chips—she is wearing it in her hair now, and the silvery chips of diamond remind me of the white flowers she used to weave into her hair.

But I remember

Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer

Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair.

When I come into her room that night, she looks up at me with her innocent gray eyes and murmurs, "You know how much I love you, Ada, but if you don't mind—I'm only going to kiss you on the cheek."

I obediently kneel by her bed—she slips her white arms around my neck--

"You know how much I love you, Daddy, but if you don't mind

I'm only gonna kiss you on the cheek this time."

Very gently, she plants a butterfly kiss on my cheek. "I love you, Ada." she whispers.

With all that I've done wrong I must have done something right

To deserve her love every morning and butterfly kisses at night.

Time goes by so fast. My precious daughter is now a beautiful woman—and old enough to make her own choices.

All the precious time

Like the wind, the years go by.

Precious butterfly.

Spread your wings and fly.

She will be wed today—to a brave honest man—but in my heart of hearts, I do not want to give her away.

She'll change her name today.

She'll make a promise and I'll give her away.

As I watch her standing in the bride room, I am smiling, but my heart is breaking. Her elder sister, fully aware of my feelings, arches an eyebrow at me silently. Seeing her sister's eyebrow rise, Arwen turns around to look me in the eye. "Ada, what are you thinking?"

"I'm not sure, iel nin." I admit. "I just feel like I'm losing my tithen elleth."

Standing in the bride-room just staring at her.

She asked me what I'm thinking and I said "I'm not sure-

I just feel like I'm losing my baby girl."

Arwen studies me for a moment, then leans over—and plants a soft butterfly kiss on my lips, ignoring her elder sister's presence and sad smile. Her sister will take on Celebrian's—their mother's—role today.

She leaned over...

Gave me butterfly kisses with her mama there,

"It's time, tithen muinthel." her sister murmurs quietly, holding out a mithril hair-net. The chips of adamant wink against her dark hair like stars—or like white wildflowers an Age ago.

Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair

"Ada, will you walk me down the aisle?" Arwen requests. I offer an arm—she takes it, before softly whispering, "Ada?"

"Yes, iel nin?" I murmur back.

"Does… does my wedding gown look pretty?"

At this unexpected question, my calm façade shatters. As hard as I am trying, a tear still slides down my face. Arwen instantly looks concerned. "Ada, please… don't cry…"

She wipse the tear away—I take a deep, calming breath and smile at her.

"Walk me down the aisle, Daddy-it's just about time."

"Does my wedding gown look pretty, Daddy? Daddy, don't cry!"

Before the doors are opened, Arwen turns to me with such a tender look in her dark eyes that my heart breaks anew. She stretches up slightly—I lean down—and she gives me an affectionate butterfly kiss. The last one.

Oh, with all that I've done wrong I must have done something right.

To deserve your love every morning and butterfly kisses

My eldest daughter comes to stand beside me, her eyes shining blue with love and pride in her sister. Arwen embraces her, then looks us both in the eye. "I love both of you very, very much—Ada, muinthel nin."

I hug Arwen tightly. "I couldn't have asked the Valar for anything more in a daughter."

I couldn't ask God for more,

Man this is what love is.

"Time to let her go, Ada." My eldest daughter whispers, smiling sadly up at me.

"I know, iel nin." I slip my arm around her and we watch Arwen exchange vows with her love.

I know I gotta let her go, but I'll always remember

At this moment, I remember an elfling's arms around my neck—

Every hug in the morning and butterfly kisses.

—and the soft touch of her lips as she plants a butterfly kiss on my cheek.

"May the Valar bless you, my beloved daughter." I whisper.

Miraculously, she hears me and turns around to give me an angelic smile. Seeing that smile, I know everything will be all right.


Ada: daddy

Elleth: elf-maiden

Tithen pen: little one

Tithen muinthel: little sister

Muinthel nin: my sister

Iel nin: my daughter

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