Slow Comes the Morning - Chapter 8
Need to remember just to breathe
Need you to stay away from me
In disbelief I didn't know
Need you to go
Feel like I trusted you too well
Just feel like screaming at myself
In disbelief I didn't know
Need to be alone
Forget our memories
Forget our possibilities
What you were changing me into
Just give me back myself and
Forget our memories
Forget our possibilities
Take all your faithlessness with you
Just give me myself back and
I don't need you anymore
I don't want to be ignored
I don't need one more day
Of you wasting me away
With no apologies
"Don't Stay" by: Linkin Park off the Meteora album
Aarynne now sat with her back against the willow tree, arms wrapped about herself, knees drawn up. She didn't want to cry, she didn't want to feel hurt again, especially since she knew it was coming this time, and she was strong, but not invincible. The unwanted tears fell softly into her lap and she continued to fight them. Taking long, slow breaths and wiping the tears from her cheeks, she eventually calmed herself and the tears stopped coming, though she felt the familiar hardness in her heart more clearly again.
Soon, her ears picked up two sets of footsteps approaching from behind her. She prayed that one of them was not her father, and was relieved when the first figure revealed himself, resting his sympathetic face on her shoulder, tail wagging.
"Hello my boy," she sighed, kissing his muzzle. The second half of the company came around slowly and sat next to Aarynne without looking at her. "Arwen, why did you come?" Aarynne asked, knowing that Arwen had learned by this point that talking was futile.
"Because you are my sister and I care for you," she stated simply, continuing to stare out to the horizon. The two sat there for a few silent moments without speaking, their eyes never meeting, until Aarynne broke the silence.
"I don't know why I trusted him, I don't know why I ever trust him, and I don't know why I came back here."
"If it truly is so horrible for you here Aarynne, what is stopping you from leaving?" Arwen asked, only a slight hint of bitterness laced in her words.
"I have nowhere else to go, Arwen...I'm not going to be a drifter any longer, and this is all I have," Aarynne sighed, burying her face for a moment in Lomion's soft white fur, breathing in his comforting scent.
"Aarynne, I know you say that I could never understand your past, but how can you know when you don't give me a chance to?" Arwen asked slowly, hesitantly, turning to face her sister for the first time since she joined her. Aarynne's answer was quick and certain.
"Because I don't understand, Arwen, I don't understand who I've become anymore than you do. I would not pass this shadow in myself to you, I would not cause you that pain...I would not allow this deadly regret to claim two souls," her words were quiet and sure as she rose, beckoning Lomion to her heels and walked away, once again unsure of her destination, only knowing that she wished to remove herself from the pain she was causing her sister.
The world was bright, vivid colors dancing to a summertime song, the sweet songs of birds carried on the gentle breeze, and yet, it was not quite right...was not quite how the world should look. Aarynne saw a young elfling girl, not yet aged 50 years, and realized it was herself. Long, dark locks of hair hung all around her, bouncing and swaying as she played with Arwen and her brothers. Her throat seized up when she saw her mother, beautiful and smiling as always, catch her up in her arms and kiss her laughing face. Her father joined then, pulling back strands of her hair to kiss her cheek and take her hand as her mother set her back on the soft earth. Elladan, Elrohir, Arwen...all were here, laughing, the light innocence still in their hearts. Unbeknownst to Aarynne, a small trail of tears ran down her cheeks, her eyes taking in this bittersweet sight.
Things were so different then. Her father had not yet become hardened toward her, his daughter, who, in this picture, was as precious to him as Arwen and his sons. Her mother had not yet left them, not yet leaving that weight on their hearts, and Aarynne herself...she had not yet seen the horrors of this world. She longed for that simple time with a deep pain that seared her heart. This young, happy elfling, so full of life and joy, and this weathered, lonely soul who had forgotten how to laugh were so different, so utterly different.
Aarynne drew in her breath sharply, once again in the reality of her world, the night stars now bright and evident through her gossamer curtains. How could she have become this? How could she have changed so drastically? These questions and many more haunted her mind daily. She sat on the edge of her bed, staring out at the night world, pondering what to do with her midnight hours. Sleep was a thing unheard of, a thing filled with dread and nightmares that were worth the effort of avoiding sleep all together. After all, elves had inhuman stamina, but when you had not slept well or at all every night for a handful of years...Aarynne knew that all too soon it would take its toll.
Several slow days passed with Aarynne refusing to speak to her father, and her father not making an attempt to speak as well. Then a slow, sweet morning came. The sun had risen early, surprising the world with its magnificent light, and a playful, warm breeze was blowing, causing leaves to dance and play amongst their woody homes. It was days like these that not even the darkness in Aarynne could stop her from feeling awe.
Morning quickly became day and Elrond seemed expectant, pacing the floors of his study, every once in a while stopping to write something down or absentmindedly turn a page in a book. Aarynne observed him for a few moments and resolved to speak to him.
"Ada, what in all of Arda is having you pace so?" She asked, attempting to jest.
"We are having company, Aarynne, if you intend to know, who should have been here yesterday...will you please leave me to myself?" Aarynne nodded shortly, no longer as light-hearted as she had been, if she had been at all. Aarynne despised company, strangers, noblemen...all of it, and visitors were the last thing she wanted.
Her perspective changed however, when a small group of riders arrived in the main court. Elven was their dress and many were golden haired, except for two among their company.
"Elladan? Elrohir?" She asked quietly of herself, and then finally seeing their faces, her spirit lifted and she ran to them. "Elladan! Elrohir!" Elladan turned first, his emotions a tangled web. For all he had known, throughout these many long years, Aarynne was gone, no one knowing when, or if, she'd return. His brother and himself had always been especially close to their youngest sister, and the joy the leapt in his heart was bursting.
"Aarynne!" He cried out, catching her in his arms and twirling her around for a moment. "Oh, Aarynne," his voice emotion filled, "I cannot express..." his voice broke, unrestrained tears flowing down his defined cheeks, "how I worried," then he paused hearing a cough from behind him, "we worried," he corrected himself. Then Elrohir approached, embracing her and kissing her hand.
"If you ever try something like that again," was all he managed to say. Tears threatened to escape from Aarynne as well, but she reigned them in, wishing to keep the beauty of this moment un-tarnished.
"Little sister...not so little anymore," Elladan sighed, putting his arm around her waist, squeezing her close to him.
"No, Elladan, not so little," she answered quietly, taking solace in his presence, resting her head upon his shoulder. Her other hand held Elrohir's own.
"Where in Eru's name have you been, Aarynne?" Elrohir questioned, grasping her hand tightly.
"Almost everywhere, Elrohir, to the end and back, if you will. But let us not waste this time with the details of my journey, you must be hungry and tired."
"I was," Elladan confessed, pausing and turning to face his youngest sister, "until I saw you; now I only want to know of you, where you have been and why you left." Aarynne's heart broke a little, knowing that once she told all, her brother's may not accept her. Yet another reason for the web of secrecy and deception she spun around her; some secrets were better not told. The moment was made worse by the presence of her father, come to greet the company. Once again, she saw that joy, the joy of a father reunited with his children, that crossed his face for Arwen or these, his sons, but never Aarynne.
"My sons! You are come!" He embraced them each and walked with them ahead of Aarynne a ways. Elladan turned to look back at his sister, her eyes never leaving the ground in front of her. Though he wished with every fiber of his being that it was not true, he knew as he looked upon her that she was no longer little Aarynne, his youngest sister who was always so full of joy and laughter. She was cold now, and different, and though it went unspoken in that moment, the animosity between his father and sister was evident.
As night fell, Elrond wandered the halls until he came upon Aarynne, as was quite usual, in the Hall of Fire, staring blankly out to the night world beyond her.
"Aarynne?" he said more than questioned. Aarynne turned, taking in the sight of him without outward emotion. "I know I broke our tea together last week, but you must understand, I had many affairs at hand. I am here, however, to ask if you would give me a second chance tomorrow, the same time?" He said rather with a mixed countenance of nervousness, agitation and indifference. Aarynne scoffed,
"You honestly expect me to trust you? A second chance, Ada?" She paused, shaking her head lightly. "No, I've given you hundreds of second chances, and yet you still deny me. No, Ada, not a second chance this time...I'm tired of being disappointed, and I'm tired of your empty promises." Upon her last word, she stood, walking past the man that was her father and never turned back to see him watching her leave, tears in his eyes.