It's In His Eyes
Acknowledgement: Oakenshield, who posted a drabble
that reinforced the theme I was going for—and she did it at just right
time. And to Claudio for letting me ask question after question. To Circe
for inspiring the dream idea. And finally to the secondageelves group, who
were an invaluable source of help.
Timeline: During the War of the Wrath. I'm assuming that Elrond and Elros (and Celebrimbor) did *not* fight. They were on Balar during this time.
A/N: After asking on the Second Age Elves list, I was told that yes, it's highly possible that Elros and Celebrimbor knew one another. Since the people that told me that know tons more about SA than I do, I figured it was okay to write this.
A/N2: This is for the Valentine's Challenge at Halla Quenta. Jess asked for Celebrimbor and Elros. This probably isn't what she had in mind, but it's what they told me to write.
[ ] = Dreaming
* * * * * *
"The strength to follow his path had been hard to find, but it had been done for the good of the world.
The sacrifices had been great, yet they had all been made to preserve the race of Men.
He had set the foundations for a new world that he would never see."
-Oakenshield, in her drabble titled Sundered.
Elrond boarded the ship just behind Galadriel. Cirdan tipped his head in greeting and reached for his hand. He squeezed it tightly and smiled. Elrond's smile in return didn't quite reach his eyes. Once they were under way, Cirdan took a bottle of wine and two glasses and knocked on the door to Elrond's cabin. They sat without speaking, both of them comfortable in the silence until Elrond drained his wine and sat forward.
"You said I would understand. And finally, I do, no matter how I tried to deny it back then."
Cirdan nodded. "Yes. He knew. He saw it in Celebrimbor, even before Celebrimbor himself knew."
"Then tell me. I know he came to you."
*Balar, during the War of the Wrath*
Elrond and Elros had come to live with Cirdan as children. They were quiet and serious. They did not show anyone else the unconditional trust and affection they held for each other. They were similar in appearance and temperament, but they each had their own interests and pursuits when they finished their studies for the day.
When Elrond disappeared to the library or to visit the healers, Elros could be found in the ship yards or watching the metalsmiths. He never made anything himself, but he was fascinated by the entire process. He was seated in the corner, well away from the flying sparks and glowing furnaces, when he saw a new resident of the island enter.
Of course, he and Elrond knew of him, and though neither was particularly pleased about his presence, neither did they hold a grudge against him personally for the sins of his father and uncles. Though Elros was not very experienced, even he knew that Celebrimbor was a smith of extraordinary talent. He wanted to see Celebrimbor at work, for Elros knew whatever he fashioned would be art.
Elros and Celebrimbor never spoke to one another. In fact, they barely acknowledged each other beyond polite nods or a quick glance in passing. That changed one day when Elros was helping one of the smiths and as soon as Celebrimbor entered, the smith called him over as well. Elros was now close enough to see his face, and the expressions he wore while he worked. He saw passion. Desire. Even lust. All for the work.
When they finished, Celebrimbor and Elros began to walk up the path to their respective homes.
Elros stopped and looked at the obviously uncomfortable elf.
"I know anything I could say would not be enough, so I've said nothing. But please believe me when I say I'm sorry. If I could change things, I would."
Elros just stared at the taller elf.
"Well, good night, Elros, I will trouble you no longer."
Elros reached out and touched the smith's shoulder. He almost hissed at the strange heat he felt where his hand came in contact with Celebrimbor. He jerked his hand back, but he knew he hadn't been the only one to feel the almost painful connection. He looked into dark blue eyes, and saw the sympathy, and sorrow that was there, but he also saw the bordering on …fanatical desire to achieve, to create…power.
Elros turned and ran up the hill, leaving Celebrimbor standing, calling after him.
The young half-elf ran until he reached the house, where he slammed inside, looking for Elrond. Maybe Elrond could help him understand what he'd just felt, and seen. There was nobody around though, so Elros, lacking any better ideas, lay down on his bed to think about things.
[ It was dark, so dark it felt like it was pressing on him. He was running, his lungs burned, he couldn't catch his breath, and his limbs were heavy. The only light he could see was in front of him, and he knew he had to get there, had to reach it. It didn't get bigger as he got closer, just brighter. And hotter. He threw himself into the shack where it was coming from and stumbled to his knees. When he looked up, he saw a tall dark-haired elf. The light from the fire, for that's what it was, hid most of his features in shadow and flame. His chest and arms were hard-sculpted and muscular, from working the bellows and forming the metals.
Elros was near a forge of some kind, the red light was from the furnace, not just a fire. He didn't think he should be here, but he didn't want to leave. The elf reached down and helped him up, leading him to a bench along the wall, where he sat. The elf went back to work, melting, then pouring hot metal into molds, but he talked to Elros.
"You see. I know all the things I create from the inside out. Every strength. Every weakness. Every beauty. Every flaw. I can see them in elves too. Then I use that knowledge and insight to create the best sword, or a piece of jewelry."
"What do you see in me?" Elros had to know.
"Strength. And pain. Your path lies over the sea."
"What is my weakness?"
"NO! He makes me strong."
"That is what will weaken you. You want to be with him. And you cannot. You have your own place to go. Just as he does his. Your desire to remain with him dooms you."
"NO! You're wrong!"
“Your life must diverge from Elrond’s. They will come back together again, but only after time has passed. Your descendents will right a wrong, a mistake, but you will not live to see it.”
Elros grabbed for the smith's hand trying to push him away, to get away from his lies. And he saw it then.
"I can see you, too. Do you know what I see?"
The smith nodded, but said nothing.
"I see your need to …harness power. To create with the best of intentions, but to lack the strength to rein it in. That is your doom."
The smith smiled then. "But my weakness will not drive me to betray my own brother."
He turned back to his work. "Leave me now." ]
Elros woke up as it was just nearing twilight. The dream had shaken him. The smith was of course, Celebrimbor.
The next time he watched the older elf work only reaffirmed the things he'd seen in the dream, at least about Celebrimbor. Elros had no reason to think that the things he'd seen about himself and Elrond were any less true. He knew somehow, his doom and Celebrimbor’s were tied together. That was why they had that odd connection and why they had seen each other so clearly in the dream.
He never forgot the dream, and he never told anyone about it until that terrible day when he chose to be mortal. He took a different path than Elrond. Elrond didn't understand, and Elros wasn't sure if he ever would. But it had been so clear to him. He needed to follow his own path. He had to. For it would be his descendents that would determine the fate of whatever power Celebrimbor created.
He finally told Cirdan about the dream after Elrond had stalked off, refusing to speak with him after they'd each chosen.
"I had to. The elves will try to wield the power of his creations. Men will be corrupted by it. Only by working together can it be controlled. Cirdan, I saw it, when I saw him. It's in his eyes."
Cirdan had agreed. He trusted Elros' visions. He'd seen the nature of Celebrimbor's heart too, though he did not yet know where it would lead. Elros obviously had.
"So please, try to explain it to Elrond. I have to leave, to make sure the line of men is preserved, strengthened. To make sure they are here when needed."
Elrond and Elros were never as close as they had been during
those first years. Elrond could never quite get past the feeling of betrayal.
But as he gave the hand of his only daughter in marriage to the returned King
of Men, he finally knew why Elros had left him.
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