Gilraen was unpacking. They had just gotten home an n hour earlier. She was very relieved to be home and she felt much more comfortable here than she had been in Mirkwood. She was never fully relaxed there because of all that was happening. Plus she knew there was danger not far from where they were living. She was sure that she could never be truly happy in such a place.
Estel was busy saying goodbye to Legolas. He had come along with them because Elladan and Elrohir were called away for duty with the Rangers. A group of Rangers were going to attack some ors that growing heavy on a pass over the Misty Mountains. They were called upon to go and help.
Estel had grown fond of Legolas and he was disappointed to see him leave. They said their farewells and Estel walked back with Elrond. They spoke about whether he should be allowed to help in the House of Healing.
“I want to help father. I learned a lot taking care of Sermë during her sickness.”
“Yes, but I do not want you cutting out on your studies because you are trying to do too much.”
“Well how about 3 days a week for an hour after school.”
“What about fun and games time? You should not be cooped up all day.”
Estel’s head dropped. Elrond looked down at him and had to laugh at the pitiful site he made. For all his boasts about being so grown up Estel still had a way of showing how much a child he really was still. It also tugged at his fatherly heartstrings and he said, “Two hours Saturday mornings and that is it for now.”
Estel just kept walking normally hardly changing he demeanor but a twinkle in his eye and a broad smile on his face showed Elrond all he needed to see.
When Estel got home he was famished. “Momma, what’s to eat? I am ssoo hungry!” He then proceeded to “faint”.
She laughed at him and asked if he would like to go for a picnic near the waterfall. It was one of their favorite places to picnic.
He jumped up and down yelling at the top of his lungs, “Yes yes yes!” then he asked if they could invite Raion and Sermë to go with them.
” Well sure we go right by their house on the way so we can stop there on the way.
Raion and Sermë were happy to go with them. The children had lots of fun chasing each other around the meadow and swinging on the wooden swing that had been there for hundreds of years. Raion and Gilraen talked and enjoyed each other’s company.
“I do not think there is any place in middle earth as peaceful and soothing as right here in Rivendell.” Sighed Gilraen.
“You have never been to Lothlorien. The Lady there causes a peace to reign that pales in comparison to the peace here. You almost feel like you are no longer in Middle Earth.”
She looked at him and saw a longing in his eyes as he remembered his last trip to Lothlorien. She also saw a sorrow flash though them as he remembered Lirinen and that she had died on the way home from that trip. When he felt her looking at him he smiled and he was his old self again. It was at times like this that she wished she could erase all the hurt from his mind. Then she felt shame for such thoughts about an elf.
“I could never truly love him for it would cost him too much. I can’t be responsible for his death”, she thought. This caused no small hurt to her heart.
They walked home and decided that the Sermë could spend the night with Estel if they promised to be quiet when it was time for bed. They excitedly promised and ran home as fast as their legs could carry them. Raion walked Gilraen home. He felt a need to be in her presence a little while longer. He asked if she would like to watch the stars come out while the children played in the house. She agreed.
Gilraen loved the stars and always felt as if they washed the days happening from her shoulders. She sighed contentedly and unconsciously leaned her head on Raions shoulder. She immediately jerked herself up sat straighter hoping he was not offended by that move.
He laughed softly and said, “You did not have to move. I liked you leaning on me.”
She laughed nervously and said, “It was not right for me to do it. I am sorry. I was feeling way too content.”
“Are you afraid of that feeling?” he asked softly. She jerked her head around to look at his face and saw something there that shocked her. His eyes held a tenderness that she had seen before but totally ignored.
She twisted her hand nervously. Her mind was racing and she had no words to say that made sense. So she babbled something she hoped would suffice. “I have had those feeling once before but not recently in anyway that I have ever…. I mean afraid is not the word I would use. I never… I mean…” She stopped speaking because her thoughts were all jumbled up and if she said what she really was feeling she knew she would regret it.
Raion looked longingly on her face as he mustered up the courage to say what he really wanted to say. He took her chin in his hand and turned her toward him. Tears started to flow from her eyes as he Lightly brushed her lips with his. The kiss grew deeper and she melted in his arms. They parted all too soon. Gilraen drew in a ragged breath and felt her head swimming as though that kiss wiped everything from her mind.
Raion felt as if his world was perfectly right at that moment. “I tried to say the right words but when it came time to speak them I could not come up with anything that fit just right. I hope you are not offended and that you know I love you with all my heart. I have for a while but I never felt comfortable telling you. I LOVE YOU, Gilraen. I want to bind myself to you.”
As he said those words she gave a soft cry. “I can’t love you. It’s not right. You are an immortal elf who never dies. I am a mortal human who only has at the most 100 years on earth. If we see this through it will take your life. I can’t ask that of you.”
“I do not care. I am asking you for your love. I could have died any time during our trip or at any moment while I am doing my duty for Elrond. Elves can die you know. I do not care if I die anyway I love you more than life. I was afraid to tell you but I feel as if I would burst if I did not say something. You are gentle, kind, and I see your love shining in your eyes more than you think. I can give you love again. You don’t ever have to be lonely. I don’t want to be lonely any more. I want you by my side all my life.”
She heard his words but she could not truly believe them. “I can’t do this,” she cried as she got up and ran for the cover of the house.
He sat on the bench stunned.