A/N: Well, here’s the last part. I hope you enjoy it!
The ship hit a valley between waves, it lurched, seawater washed over the deck – one of the Noldor lost his grip in just that moment. Clinging to one of the masts I somehow got a clear glimpse of him as he was blown over.
It was Taime.
And he had never gone near water again, after we were caught in that riptide.
“Elf overboard!” I screamed above the wind. “ELF OVERBOARD!”
No one could hear me, and even if they had I doubt there would have been anything they could do.
I hurled myself to the railing, and took a running dive overboard. I hit the water – it was cold – and then kicked back to the surface, searching frantically for a sight of Taime. It was a moment before I caught a glimpse of his dark head, several yards away. I dove under, swimming against the waves as hard as I could. When I surfaced I was only halfway there. “Taime!” I shrieked, hoping he could hear me. “Hold on!”
I went under again. When I reached where he should have been, though, there was no sight of him. Trying to be calm for a moment, I scanned the waves around me. I was getting too far from the Lomevaiwa, but if I didn’t find Taime…
I dove straight down, opening my eyes despite the harsh saltiness of the water. It was almost black; I did not see anything that could be the figure of an Elf. I stayed under as long as I could, searching.
But the second time, praise Iluvatar, I felt cloth beneath my fingers six feet under.
Holding on to it hard I kicked to the surface, nearly running out of breath, and hit Taime on the back. He coughed slightly; that was a good sign. I had been in time, just barely.
I held onto the scruff of his tunic, and began to fight back through the waves to the ship. I hoped Elion had noticed I was missing – otherwise getting anyone’s attention would be almost completely impossible.
The high waves ducked me again and again. I was tired, and Taime’s limp weight was not helping matters. I spat seawater out of my mouth, took a deep breath, and went under, kicking, once more.
“Linde!” The Lomevaiwa was only a few yards away. Elion was holding onto the railing, battered by the storm. “Here!”
He threw a rope; it landed two arms’ length away from me. I reached for it, kicked, never letting go of Taime’s tunic, found it, held on tight. I had to let go of Taime for a moment, so I could change my hold to around his chest. Now I just hoped that I could keep that grip. “Elion! Ready!”
He pulled – there had to be someone else as well, there was no way he could take both our weight. A moment later we were out of the water, dashed against the ship’s side by the winds. My breath was knocked out of me, and Taime slipped slightly down.
No – I tightened my grip – Valar, he was heavy, we were almost there – Elion caught my arm and pulled us over the rail.
I collapsed to the deck, coughing. It was a moment before I could sit up, wedged against the railing, and drag Taime over. I tilted his head up and pushed hard on his stomach. Seawater came out of his mouth, he coughed, blinked, coughed again.
“Get below deck!” Elion shouted, holding onto a rope. I nodded, caught Taime’s hand, pulled him up, and staggered to the hatch. We stumbled down the steps, and then were – blessedly – out of the storm.
I stopped for a moment, resting my forehead against the wonderfully solid wooden wall, before carefully taking the last few steps to the small sick bay. It was empty; I sat down on one of the two small bunks and tossed a dry blanket to Taime, wrapping myself in another.
Now that I was in a relatively calm state I was a little…suprised by how I had reacted to Taime’s falling overboard. I’d been frantic, only able to think about getting him back, alive. Odd, for someone I’d hated for five centuries.
Taime was very pale, still coughing a bit. He must have swallowed rather a lot of water. “Are you all right?” I asked.
He coughed again. “Well as can be expected. Thanks, Linde. You…”
I shook my head. “Don’t bother.”
We sat in silence for a moment, until Taime spoke. “Do you still hate me, then?”
I leaned back against the cabin wall. “No. I don’t know if I ever did, really. I realized that when you went over. I just didn’t want to think about any of it, before…”
“Don’t apologize,” he said. “You have every right.”
“Don’t start,” I snapped. “I may have the right to, but I don’t. So do not try to make me.”
Taime smiled. “You really haven’t changed, Linde.”
I smiled back, now just relieved that the years of distance and hate were gone; as Amme had said, they were not forgotten, but now I realized why she had wanted to forgive.
Holding onto anger and enmity is like scraping the bark from a tree trunk, over and over, never letting it grow back. It doesn’t kill, but it hurts; keeps hurting, slowly weakening, never being healed.
But now I had forgiven, and something inside of me felt lighter.
The storm was gone the next day. I’d slept through the last of it, completely exhausted. Taime had left the sick bay when I woke.
I stretched – I was rather cramped – and walked to the cabin that Elion and I shared. He was there pulling off his boots.
“Good morning.” I nodded to him, and sat down on my bunk, pulling out a clean, dry, only slightly wrinkled tunic.
Elion lay back on his bunk, hands behind his head. “I thought you hated Sinyetaime in particular.”
“Ah.” I took off the still slightly damp garment, and pulled the clean one over my head. Elion sighed and sat up.
“All right, I’ll have to be direct. Why did you go after him? It would have been easy for both of you to be drowned.”
I drew my knees up to my chest. “Do you know why I hated him particularly?”
“No. I assumed you had a reason, though, beside your general feelings for the Noldor.”
I leaned back on the bunk. My brother had been very, very small at the time of the Noldor’s revolt. I had been young too, barely fifty. I had never spoken about Taime, after the Kinslaying, and neither had Amme.
“We were friends,” I said softly.
“I see,” he answered quietly. Elion, being the Elf he was, did not need more of an explanation than that.
The storm had died down by then. I went out on deck; most of the other Teleri were still exhausted from the night before, and I was needed on shift.
The sky had the washed-clean, bright blue that often comes after the worst gales, and the waves were calm. There was a breeze, though, carrying us steadily East. I took the wheel again, following the flagship. It was nice, not having to navigate.
I looked up at the sun; it was bright, a light high above, climbing slowly as noon drew closer.
The sun was directly overhead, its light reflected, sparkling, on the Sea, when Taime appeared at the railing beside me. I nodded, he nodded, and a silence stretched on.
Finally, after a time of faintly creaking wood and waves and wind-blown sails, Taime asked, “Do you still not hate me?”
I smiled, turning the wheel slightly. “No. I don’t.”
He let out a long, long breath, smiling brilliantly. “Thanks.”
I grinned up at him, for the first time in five centuries, never taking my hands from the helm, and we didn’t need to say anything else. After far too many years of deep-hidden anger and sadness and betrayal, we were friends again. Back in the light of Anar.
Well, that’s the end. Please comment-I love comments!