Disclaimer: I hope you know by now. Nothing belongs to me, more's the pity.

A/N: All right, here goes – Eärendil's pov. This one will probably be even more character introspection… One quick question from someone who hasn't read Sil yet – whatever happened to Elwing? I'll try to avoid the subject as I don't know, but is she on the ship with Eärendil, still a gull, in Valinor, in the Halls of Mandos, doesn't say,… ? And yes, I consider Elrond to be the eldest son. I suppose I got this from all of the Elrond-childhood fics I read, but Elrond has always struck me as the serious and responsible type…

Once again, thank you all for the reviews :) – couldn't do it without them - or hantanyel as the Elves would have said (well, back in the Elder Days), I know, I'm obsessed with my Quenya! :-P

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Far above the trees of the garden, a golden ship sailed through the night sky, gleaming in the breathtaking brilliance of the stars around it – and, of course, the light shining from the brow of the lone person aboard.

Eärendil stared down. By rights it should have been too far, he shouldn't have been able to see anything, let alone hear what anyone was saying, yet somehow, whenever he listened, he could hear every word. 'Blessing, or curse, that I am able to observe what is going down in my old home, yet never participate?' he wondered. Would it have been worse to sail through eternity without knowing what was going on? Or was watching his friends, his family go about their lives not knowing of the lonely watcher, more of a torture than remaining ignorant?

He'd watched as his youngest son had forgotten him, and that had caused him enough grief. But somehow what his eldest was going through tugged at his heart even more. How many nights had Elrond sat there, staring up at him without knowing that he could see him, tears forming in those large, sorrowful gray eyes? Somehow the situation struck Eärendil as ironic. He'd hardly ever seen his sons, before. He'd only be home for a short time, hug Elrond and Elros and marvel at how much they'd grown, give Elwing a kiss, and then be off again. The calling of his ship, of the sea, overrode any feelings for his family. And now that he would have what he had yearned for for the rest of time, he wanted nothing more than to be with his family. To take Elwing into his arms, to make Elrond smile again, to wake Elros' dormant memories. But that, which he had had but rejected, was now banned to him.

A figure joined his son beneath the tree. "You should be in bed with your brother, istyarinya piinëa." The melodious elven voice sounded untroubled, teasing slightly, but there were undertones of worry. Eärendil sighed. Apparently Elrond spent the days in the library, holed up in some corner, reading some tome or another… books large enough to hide his face behind, corners obscure enough so that no one could hear his sobs. The father didn't really know what was the matter with his son. He hadn't been a good father, Elrond couldn't miss him that much. And he was loved and well cared for here, better than he'd been at home – the Silmaril had been growing upon Elwing's mind near the end, and he could imagine that the boys had felt neglected. No wonder that Elros had adapted to this place so quickly, and called Gil-galad Ada. But Elrond was troubled, and even the watcher, who'd seen the tears Elrond tried so hard to hide from others, didn't know why.

Gil-galad. Eärendil envied him, almost more than he could bear. To be there, to speak with his son, to be able to ask him what was wrong… not that the child would answer… 'Stop it,' he thought, furious at himself. 'You don't deserve the love of your family, you only drove them away and caused them nothing but grief. Gil-galad loves the boys, he cares for them better than you ever have.' Yet he couldn't quite shake that lingering jealousy.

"He's asleep," Elrond said softly. 'Ah… little one, always caring for your brother before yourself. Although I was not there to see it, I heard that when you were lost in the woods after Sirion's destruction, you willingly starved yourself so Elros would not go hungry. You have a large heart, my son. I hope it serves you well,' the man mused. "I wanted to see Father." Eärendil felt hot tears sliding down his cheek at the child's loyalty and love to one he could hardly remember. 'Who am I to deserve this affection?' he lamented silently.

"You are right, Eärendil is bright tonight." The person so named saw Gil- galad beginning to reach out to the boy, then stopping. Why did he stop? Elrond needed the comfort… and Gil-galad was too willing to offer it. Eärendil had seen the expression on his face, looking at the boy when he thought no one was watching. A rip in a mask, giving view to many, confusing emotions, but love and worry were foremost among them. And a longing… Gil-galad wanted to take Eärendil's place as Elrond's father, as he already had with Elros – 'stop it, you're being jealous again,' he scolded himself.

"Can he hear us? Does he know we are talking about him?" The question hit Eärendil like an arrow piercing his heart. He wished nothing more than to shout, "I am here! I am here, my son!" and have Elrond look up, a smile blossoming on his sad face… but he knew no one could hear him, he had tried before. Eärendil buried his head in his arms, stifling the sobs that threatened to overwhelm him and feeling hot tears soak through his sleeves. Then Gil-galad's answer floated to him through the stars.

"I do not know. But I am sure that on nights like these, if you look at that star and think of him very hard, he will know it and think of you as well." In that instant, all of Eärendil's jealousy flew away. It would have been so easy for Gil-galad to pull Elrond away from the memories of his father, to show him that his old father was gone yet that a new father waited for him. But the elven king did not do that, he let Elrond keep his hope and maybe forfeited any chance of hearing him say "Father" to any but a bright point in the sky. It was a truly noble deed, one that Eärendil might not have been able to do in those circumstances. Now, although he could not be with his sons, Eärendil realized that they was in good hands. He would miss Elrond, he would miss Elros, but they were now with the best role-model he could imagine.

"Thank you, Ereinion Gil-galad," Eärendil called, voice scratchy from disuse. He realized that there was no chance of it being heard, but somehow his heart prompted him to say the words. Eärendil looked down on the two figures, seeing that Gil-galad had pulled Elrond into his arms and that both were looking back at him. He smiled through his tears.

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A/N: Now I know what it means to have a story write itself – I did *not* mean for it to turn out like that. It started turning into angst around midway (I was getting worried that Eärendil would start contemplating suicide, to be honest), I managed to save him in the end – I hope it's not too hastily done. It was just that Gil-galad's answer convinced Eärendil that this person was a very honorable one, and that his sons would be safe without him… I hope that came across. And the idea of Gil-galad being jealous of Eärendil and Eärendil jealous of Gil-galad is slightly bizarre, seeing as they both want the same thing!

Also, it seems that Elrond's mental state is getting worse with every fic. I'd better write something happy to pull him out of it soon… a dream or so maybe. This whole thing is complicated by the fact that I truly have no idea *why* Elrond is so unhappy – another completely unplanned thing, and I hope I can come up with an answer to this question soon!

Ada is still daddy, and istyarinya piinëa is still my little scholar. Not likely to change anytime soon.

Please review, and I hope the *next* fic goes the way I plan it and doesn't take off and start doing strange things on its own! ;)