“This is rather unexpected…” Rina began.
“I know…I just thought you would enjoy a quiet moment or two after all of the excitement.”
“I could have enjoyed it in my room…” Rina teased.
“I can take you back, if you would rather…” a panicked look crossed his face.
“No no!” Rina cried, “I didn’t mean that, I just…was saying…” Confusion was painted across Elladan’s face, “I just…well…thank you.” She finished weakly, “This place is so much lovelier in the moonlight!” She changed the subject quickly.
“Yes!” Elladan said gratefully, “Amille loved to be in this garden in the moonlight, her and father.” Rina’s heart skipped very involuntarily.
“She had wonderful taste” she said quickly. Elladan nodded. They walked together in silence for several minutes, allowing the sheer beauty of the evening to wrap them up. The stars looked to Rina like laughing children in some strange way. She couldn’t have described it to anyone, but she could almost feel that they were joyful. Elladan thought how they were in many ways the same stars that Beren and Luthien danced under in their secret meetings.
Rina glanced over at her companion and noticed that he was no more relaxed than she was. The silence persisted and grew awkward, yet Rina could think of nothing to break it. Why in Middle Earth did he ask to walk with him? She asked herself as she observed his awkwardness.
“Is Imladris all that you expected it to be?” Elladan tensely broke the silence.
“Yes!” Rina exclaimed a little more vehemently than she meant to, “Yes, it is everything that I expected and bit more” she assured him. Elladan nodded, not sure how to continue. Silence reigned again. Confusion danced in Rina’s mind, why had he asked her to come when he so obviously felt awkward with her presence.
Elladan awkwardly stepped about, not sure of what to say, not sure if calling Rina to walk with him was the right thing to have done. He didn’t want to be alone; not tonight. And Elrohir was always so much worse than company on this night, as was his father. He didn’t know how to tell Rina.
“Why did you ask me to walk with you?” Rina finally asked, exasperated. Elladan’s head snapped up and looked at her sharply.
“I…I…why do you even ask?”
“Because you so obviously do not know what to do with me…because, well, you seem as though you would be far more comfortable if I were not here, and it is such a contrast to the rest of today I do not even know what to think anymore.” Rina avoided the prince’s eyes.
Elladan was very quiet for a long moment, unsure how to answer the sudden question. “You do not know the significance of the day you came to us or of today, do you?” he finally said quietly, avoiding her eyes just as well.
“No I do not…should I know?” She clasped her hands together in front of herself and knitted her brow in deep concern, what had she tread on here?
“’Twas 424 years ago today that Amille was wounded in Redhorn” Elladan’s voice was little more than a whisper, “Elrohir and I thought to bring some happiness to it this time, the day you came to us was exactly a week before that cursed day. Elrohir and I were in Redhorn exacting the vengeance we have custom to exact on the anniversary of the that week when we found you waylaid by the goblins.” Elladan looked sidelong at Rina, “The entire week is seen as remembrance to our mother’s pain. As I said, Elrohir and I hoped to bring some joy to the day Amille would not have us think on vengeance as we do…and yet…we…I cannot banish it from my mind.”
Rina did not know how to answer such a revelation so she remained silent for some time.
“Do not feel guilty or any such thing from the matter!” Elladan begged seeing her distress, “You brought some joy to the day and we hoped to banish the pain of our loss…but Amille is still living, in Valinor, waiting for us all. And for that assurance there is easement of pain.”
“But the pain is not gone” Rina said softly, forcing tears back, “I can understand that.”
“I suppose you can” said Elladan quietly.
“You know you could have told me that before, don’t you? Why did you feel the need to make such a charade from your pain and hide the whole affair from me?” Rina looked directly at Elladan for the first time that evening.
“Could I have told you?” Elladan looked confused.
“You know the story of my own family…of course!” Rina didn’t understand his confusion, “I don’t see why you wouldn’t…”
“I don’t tell just anyone! It is not a pain that I wish to go explaining to everyone.” Elladan stopped walking abruptly. Rina came to rather fast and dangerous halt along with him.
“After all that I told you,” she began in a low voice, “You did not see fit to trust me with such a thing as that, my lord?” Rina’s voice held a very cool air of formality. “You were unable to tell me the same things of your own sufferings that I told you of mine? Short has our acquaintance been, but I would have thought more than that of it. Do you really think you would have had to ‘explain’ such a pain? I am not that simple…would you have told me if I did not ask?” Rina feared the answer, and did not know why.
Elladan was quiet, panicked answers swirling through his mind, would he have told her? Should he have told her, maybe earlier? Maybe just to explain why he wanted her to walk with him at least? Would he have? “I do not know, lady” he said quietly, “I am not a youthful spirit as you, I take more care in such things.”
“You did not that night in the library…you did try to hide the same pain then…”
“I told you to ease your pain! And I said little then…if you had remained silent I would not have said a word.” Elladan regretted the words the moment they left his lips.
“You wish I would have remained silent then? You wish that I had not bothered you with such problems that you care nothing about? Why then did you ask, oh noble prince? A mere courtesy I was supposed to deny to spare you? Fear not! I shall next time.”
“I did not mean that” Elladan protested, “You know I don’t.”
“I know nothing of your meanings! They seem to be all twisted together meaning nothing if they mean anything!” Rina’s emotions knotted together and her mind refused to function.
Elladan thought hard but he could not make sense of her words. What in Middle Earth did she just say to me? His mind screamed, but Rina’s face warned him not to even consider asking such a question at this moment.
“I am not ‘just anybody’, of that I am quite sure.” Rina fought back confusing tears, “Find somebody else to walk with you in silent confusion.” She turned and made her way out of the garden as quickly as her sore leg would let her. Tears blurred her vision as she thought of the events of the day. “They were nothing but an attempt to ease their own pain! In Elladan’s case anyways!” She cried to herself as she through the halls and stairwells till she came to her chamber and fell weeping and sore onto her bed.
Elanna had heard her and wished to go speak with her, but knew better. She didn’t know what could have transpired between Rina and Elladan, but the matter troubled her own sleep that night.
Rina woke with a throbbing head and thigh, her emotions still knotted together and her heart aching. The last pain she couldn’t understand, didn’t want to have and wished gone more than the other two together.
“Are you well, Rina?” Elanna called as she came into the chamber.
“Yes” Rina answered, her head throbbing with the very effort of speaking. She pulled herself up to a sitting position, and quickly lowered her heavy head into her hands.
“Are you sure…?” Elanna questioned as she came closer to the bed, “You do not look well.” She sat next to Rina, “I saw you go walking with Prince Elladan last night…I also heard you come back weeping,” she paused, “I am here Rina, you can tell me what happened.”
“Nothing!” Rina screamed through her tears, “Nothing happened! Yesterday was merely an attempt to distract the twins from their painful memories, the whole joyful, beautiful day was a lie!” She fell sobbing onto Elanna’s shoulder.
“I see…” Elanna was troubled, “He told you of the day’s original significance?”
“Yes! And he…wait” Rina looked up at Elanna, “You knew? And you didn’t tell me why they were making such an event out of the day?”
“That wasn’t why they did it!” Elanna soothed, “I know that about the twins for certain, they would never use someone else to drown that pain…in fact they have been far more known to brood alone on this day. They really wanted to celebrate you.”
“Then why am I so angry?” Rina cried through her sobs.
“Angry about what? About their antics yesterday?” A small smile was finding its way onto Elanna’s face; she thought she might know this ailment.
“No…that Elladan asked me to walk with him last night purely so that he would not be alone on that painful night…and not tell me why!”
“I believe I know” Elanna was fully smiling, “But somehow I doubt you will hear me…”
“I will hear anything to explain this!” Rina shook, fighting back her sobs.
“Perhaps it is, dear friend, that you have fallen in love with prince Elladan of Imladris?” Elanna could barely suppress her giggles.
“What?” Rina pulled sharply away, “In love?”
“Yes!” Elanna cried, “Why else would you be so angry about his invitation unless you wanted for him to want only to be with you?” Rina sat quiet, watching Elanna closely, “How many times did your heart skip last night before he told you why he asked you to walk with you? Hmm? How many?”
“Three” Rina mumbled. Elanna fell over giggling. “What?” Rina asked angrily, “What is so funny?”
“It is not funny so much as adorable!” Elanna explained through giggles. Rina glared at her angrily, “The most adorable part is that he may love you as well, but he fears you even more than you fear him!” Elanna composed herself, “Apologize for your outburst, as I am sure you had one, and he will surely apologize for his lack of honesty, and he will explain how much they wanted to celebrate you yesterday.” Elanna smiled encouragingly.
“If I love him, and I really mean if!” she gave Elanna a warning glance, “Is there any chance in the world that Prince Elladan of Imladris would fall in love?”
“With you? Of course!” Elanna grinned, “I know he would…just be his friend and give him time…”
“I SAID if!” Rina exclaimed.
“I know!” cried Elanna through hysterical laughter, but you didn’t mean it!”
“We’ve only known each other a week!” Rina couldn’t bring herself to believe this.
“Oh really? and how long did Beren and Luthien know each other?”
Rina did not answer and she wouldn’t have said anything for the world, but at those words her heart leapt and touched the sky…perhaps she could fall in love…