Daughter of the Golden Wood - Celebrian's story, part four
Celebrian took a deep breath and plunged in. "Father, I...wanted to...tell you..." She was babbling, and there was no excuse but nervousness. This was her father! She had spoken to him every day for the thousands of years she had lived! She stopped babbling and tried again. "Father, there's something Elrond and I need to tell you." There! Much better. "We're in love, and we want to be married." It was out.
Her father's expression froze in the epitome of Elvish unconcern, but Celebrian knew her father better than to think that he didn't care. He did, and in what seemed to be a bad way for her and Elrond. Celebrian gulped.
"Lord Elrond?" Celeborn's voice was cold.
"We have spoken to Lady Galadriel already, my lord," Elrond replied. "She favors it." If the moment hadn't been so crucial, Celebrian would have been amused to see Elrond blushing. "My lord, I know this is a very sudden thing, but I do love Celebrian! I would take care of her to the utmost of my ability, I would protect her from all I could, and I will love her forever." There were frightened, loving tears glistening in Elrond's eyes. Celebrian held his hand more tightly. "Please, my lord. Please give your consent."
Celeborn stood up. "Leave us alone, Lord Elrond." Elrond's eyes were still wet, but he gave Celebrian a final look and left, softly closing the door behind him. But Celeborn said nothing.
Celebrian could not stand that horrible dooming silence. "Why?" she burst out, running to grab Celeborn's hand. "Why won't you let us marry?"
He turned away from her. "You are too young."
"I'm older than Mother was when she married you!" Celebrian shot back. "Why don't you believe us? We love each other!" Now she was crying, too.
Her father's silver-clad back told her nothing of what he was feeling, but his silence did. He did not believe her. Worse, he did not believe in her, in her ability to fall in love with the right person. Celebrian stood there, shocked and wounded at his distrust of her, then turned to go.
"You are young, Celebrian, to make up your mind about something so important." She had not expected him to speak, and the words rooted her to the floor. "Perhaps if you waited for a century or two, you might change your mind." She wanted to speak, but kept silent. "And, all that aside, Celebrian - " He turned to face her. Even he was crying! Celebrian had to bite back a gasp at the tears on his cheeks. "All that aside, you are my daughter, Celebrian, and I love you! I cannot imagine Lothlorien without you."
Celebrian longed to hug him, but she did not, could not. "I love you, too, Father, but you can't keep me with you and Mother forever. I have to grow, like a mallorn tree. It needs space, and it needs to grow in soil other than what another mallorn grew in. Can't you see that? I can't be kept in a golden cage locked by your love! I have to be free!"
It was Celeborn who hugged her, his eyes still wet, but his mouth smiling. "You're right, of course," he told her, "although I would wish you were wrong in this matter." He let go of her, but his hands rested on her shoulders. "You may marry Elrond. You have my consent."
Celebrian hugged her father again. "Thank you for understanding," she whispered. Then, feeling both elated and sorrowful, fearing that she might take back her words to make her father happy again, she let go of him and slipped out the door.
Elrond, leaning against the wall, trying to control himself, leaped up when Celebrian left Celeborn's room. His heart fell at the sight of her tearstained face. "What did he say?" he asked, at the same time not wanting to know. As long as he didn't, he could pretend the answer was yes.
Celebrian's reply was to throw her arms around Elrond, lay her head on his shoulder, and return question for question: "When would you like to have the wedding?"
Elrond whooped and flung his own arms around Celebrian. He kissed her exuberantly, then answered, "As soon as possible!"