Daughter of the Golden Wood - Celebrian's story, part three

Elrond pulled away from Celebrian, but he still held her. A few silent moments passed before he spoke. "I take it, then, that I have not upset you by telling you I love you."

Celebrian laughed. It was amazing how peaceful she felt, now that all was clear between them. "Not at all." She rested her head on his chest, listening to his breathing, and. Absently Elrond stroked her hair.

Finally he took her by the shoulders and gently pushed her away. "We should return to the banquet," he said reluctantly. "If you are completely diagnosed, that is."

Celebrian smiled. "Completely," she replied, "but you are also sick, as well as me." Elrond raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Luckily," she went on, "your cure is nearby, as is mine."

"What is my illness, Lady?" he asked amusedly.

"You, my lord of Rivendell, are sick from love." She grinned. "I am your cure, and you are mine."

Elrond smiled. As she had known it would be, it was a wonderful smile. "I wish I could be given my medicine now, Lady, but first I must persuade the...er...doctors to let me have it."

He was talking about her parents, about marriage. "How soon can we persuade them?" Celebrian asked.

"I will ask for your hand tomorrow - no, the day after. It would not be - well - fitting to ask to marry someone's daughter the day after you arrive as their guest." They shared a chuckle. "I only hope they will consent."

"They will. They have to." Celebrian leaned toward him and kissed him quickly before taking his hand and walking with him back to the banquet.

***

The next day passed agonizingly slowly for Celebrian and Elrond, but neither of them said anything about marriage to Galadriel or Celeborn. The next day, however, Celebrian woke up very apprehensive. What if they said no? What if they didn't want her to marry outside of Lothlorien? What if they thought she was too young? What if - and this was the worst of her frantic thoughts - they wanted her voice on the matter, and she wasn't there?

She threw on a dress, quickly brushed her hair, and ran outside to look for Elrond. As she had guessed, he was in the clearing where they'd first seen each other. His face lit up as he caught sight of her. She slipped her hand into his, and he kissed her by way of greeting. Then Celebrian told him, "I've thought it all over, and I think I have to come with you when you speak to my parents."

Elrond looked vastly relieved. "Thank you, Celebrian!" he said. "I wasn't looking forward to telling them on my own." Celebrian laughed.

"Should we tell them now?" she asked. "It's after breakfast, and they're just about to settle down to business. Trust me, once they start the work of ruling Lothlorien, you can never get them away from it."

Elrond swallowed. Celebrian was oddly glad that he was as nervous as she about speaking to her parents. She gave him a nervous smile and led the way into Galadriel's rooms.

Her mother was sitting in a low chair by a window, twisting her ring around one finger. Her face looked almost haggard. and her eyes were weary. Celebrian tugged at Elrond's hand. "Let's come back later," she whispered, but Galadriel's head came up, and she saw them. The care was wiped away, and she took her hand away from her ring. Celebrian gulped, but there was no escaping now.

Galadriel was no fool. Her eyes swept from her daughter's nervous but determined face, to Elrond's scared and resolute eyes, to their hands locked together, and she smiled. "There is no need to ask me," she told them. "I have been hoping this would happen."

Celebrian stared for a moment, then threw her arms around both Galadriel and Elrond in a fierce hug. There were no words to describe what she felt. There was a lot of shock and amazement, but mostly overwhelming joy and love.

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