Title: Window to Your Heart
Author: Calenlass Greenleaf
Disclaimer: My last name isn't Tolkien. I didn't come up with LOTR.
Spoilers: Appendice A, 'Tale of Aragorn and Arwen.' Bookverse only. Movieverse!Elrond makes me twitch and sigh.
Warnings: Angst. Mentioned violence.
Pairings: Aragorn/Arwen and mentioned Elrond/Celebrían.
Summary: When they first met, she did not think too much of him. It was the second meeting which she had her heart stolen. Aragorn/Arwen. Written for OAA prompt 184—Window. Counts as a normal fic as it is 800words.
A/N: This fic loosely ties in with three of my other stories—Tithen Maethor, Fireflies, and The Warrior Is a Child in regards to subject matter. It doesn't matter what order you read the stories in. Originally, this story was supposed to be a follow-up to The Warrior Is a Child, but I decided it wouldn't really work for this one.
Window to Your Heart
He was love-struck.
She was not.
He might be a Dúnadan and traveled with her brothers, doing great deeds. He was indeed a grown man. He knew how to face hardship. He knew how to fight and defend what he cherished.
In the standards of the world, he was good enough.
However, her standards were higher and she did not think him thoroughly mature. To her, he was just a man enchanted by her beauty. What were his titles and names to her, the daughter of an Elf-Lord? He may be Isildur's Heir, but there was no pride in that title.
It did not help matters that The Lay of Leithian was on his mind. He had grown up around elves; perhaps he considered himself closer to the Eldar than that of his own kin.
But I am not Lúthien, she had thought, "Though maybe my doom will not be unlike hers," was her reply to him aloud.
But only maybe.
When he had realized her true age and looked embarrassed, she had wanted to reach out, pat his cheek, and tell him it was all right. He looked so lost and hesitant that she wanted to smile. He was still young in matters of love. His clear, grey eyes sought hers, and she found that he did not flinch when she piercingly returned the look, trying to read him.
While she did not have her father's ability to read hearts, he was still young enough that he did not attempt to hide his emotions from his eyes. Hope, determination, and pride were in his gaze, and though as she found these qualities to be excellent, she wanted to see more.
Grow a little older, child of the Dúnedain, and mayhap our story will be more like Beren and Lúthien.
While she had not aged in appearance, it was different for him. In twenty-nine years, he had changed. The vestiges of youth were stripped away, replaced by the evidence of worry on his features. Even dressed as he was in splendor, looking more Elf than Man, she could still tell that he was full-grown and changed from the person she had met those years ago.
Yet she had not expected to see so much hurt in those eyes. Grief and heartache were mixed in with the hope and determination, and the pride had diminished. Here was a man who knew hardship and the cruelties of the world. Without telling her, she knew that he had become great, maybe renowned, and hailed at a great leader.
She also knew that he now cared little for titles. He might even gladly cast aside those bearings if it meant he no longer being weighed down by his burdens.
Nevertheless, she saw that he had accepted his fate. He would go out, and protect Middle-earth from the Enemy. He would risk his life, and he would be fierce in battle. He would be able to encourage a people when his own heart was seemingly broken.
He would be Aragorn, son of Arathorn.
Was this how Lúthien felt when she discovered who Beren was, she wondered, and realized that he was a man worthy to be joined to her?
When he asked her to call him "Estel," she did so with a sad, knowing smile. His time in Lothlórien was only a reprise, and all too soon, he would depart on his journeys. For the moment, he wanted to forget his troubles, and be known as only Hope.
She spent a season with him, walking through the forests and learning about this Dúnadan. The more they talked, the more she realized that she had grown to love him.
My heart aches for you, Estel. I want to be with you…see you through troubling times, and be a support to you.
She realized her father would not have wanted this. Oh, she wished that did not have to choose between her father and her own life. Her father already knew so much sorrow, and she didn't want to disappoint him. However, she also knew that once she had glimpsed the heart of this Man through his eyes, she could not let him walk alone on this dark, dark path.
It is not pity that I feel for you. It is love—the love a wife has for a husband when he rides out to war as she waits by the window, watching for his return.
I want to return your love, and be at your side.
She fathomed little of death or how bitter her choice would be, but seeing how his face lit up, and perceiving how his hands gently held hers, Arwen could push away the doubts and follow her heart's desire.
And so she accepted the Ring of Barahir, and also her fate.
A/N: It was Arwen's beauty that made Aragorn fall in love with her. The same went for Beren, who saw Lúthien dancing, and it was "love at first sight." But neither Arwen nor Lúthien were enamored of this at first.
Then what was it about the second meeting that sealed their fates?
I believe it was for the same reasons: what they saw in their eyes and drew them together.
In "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen," I noticed two references to Aragorn's eyes:
Then Aragorn wondered, for she had seemed of no greater age than he, who had lived et no more than a score of years in Middle-earth. But Arwen looked in his eyes and said: "Do not wonder! For the children of Elrond have the life of the Eldar."
Then Aragorn was abashed, for he saw the elven-light in her eyes and the wisdom of many day; yet from that hour he loved Arwen Undómiel daughter of Elrond.'
Then Aragorn was troubled, and he said, "Can it be that my mother has spoken of this?"
"No indeed," said Elrond, "Your eyes have betrayed you."
"I see," said Aragorn, "that I have turned my eyes to a treasure no less dear than the treasure of Thingol that Beren once desired. Such is my fate."
After seeing the prompt "Window," my imagination took over from there.
I'm usually not a fan of "love at first sight," "hero saves damsel-in-distress and marries her" stories, or warrior herop/beautiful-supporting-female pairings. LOTR is one of the few fandoms in which it worked for me (I mostly prefer warrior hero/warrior heroine). I don't know whether it was the way Tolkien wrote the story, or whether it's just that these two belonged together; Aragorn/Arwen is my favorite couple in LOTR, and it'll stay that way. :)