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Fanfic100 Prompt #024 - Family

Title: Other Voices
Fandom: J. R. R. Tolkien
Characters: Eärendil, Elwing
Prompt: 024 - Family
Word count: 675
Rating: PG
Summary: A yong Eärendil learns that for his friend, the call of the sea means something quite different.
Author's Notes: Everything belongs to the Professor.


One evening in his eighth year, he discovered yet another way in which Elwing was unlike himself. They were running along the beach, bare feet weaving in and out among the water's glittering plumes. Dancing sparks of sand blossomed about their toes. Here we are, he shouted, a childish voice carrying high-pitched but already strong-winged upon the wind, and she, too, laughed. They can hear us all the way over on Balar, he told her, and imagined perhaps she'd finally forgotten all else, if but for a moment.

Then Elwing stopped, and her gaze turned away from him and outward to the openness. Her breath, still a little quickened, caught with a faint hitch, and her body tensed into abrupt stillness. After a few heartbeats, she walked forward, three or four paces against the breakers, and halted again. The hem of her dress eddied about her; the twilight swirled it into the surf.

"You are listening," said Eärendil, coming to stand next to her.

"Yes," she replied without looking toward him.

"I do, too. All the time." Out upon the ocean's edge, sunset dyed the heavens with gigantic strokes of crimson and purple. To the boy's eyes, it appeared the horizon were alive with flames, and he had to remind himself that no smoke stained these fires. "It is beautiful, like--like music you've never heard before, isn't it?"

"It is."

"Sometimes I wish I could listen to it forever--" He glanced over at her, and something about the light in her eyes made his voice trail off in mid-sentence.

"Me too."

"Elwing?" he asked, trying to hide his confusion though he understood not why.

"The sea speaks to me," she whispered. "It's calling to me..."

Of course, I know that, Eärendil wanted to say. He thought back to their first meeting over a year ago, the days and nights after, how the girl--little more than a stranger then--had hardly ever seemed to sleep. It calls to everyone, doesn't it? But then he took a second look at her face, and the answer, which had seemed so obvious, died upon his tongue.

"They're calling to me." Elwing was staring fixed away into the waves. They were heavier now, slapping against their legs, deep-green and veined with ragged flashes of cold silver. Then she took another step forward. "They are right there, and I wish...But I cannot. I cannot...I have to stay and guard It...Father told me I must..."

In an icy blink, he understood what she meant by 'they', and before he knew it his fingers had clamped tightly around her wrist. Elwing did not move. Rapidly, he scanned the shore, but caught no sight of adults nearby.

"Let's go home," he said, heart already pounding like a drum, not knowing if she could hear him. "It is getting dark, and the tide is rising. We need to go home now."

He had to tug before her legs began to move. The waters had deepened around them, and he had to struggle a little--against the current or against her reluctance, he was not certain which. Back to higher ground, up onto the path. Elwing had fallen silent, and the boy dared not speak. He did not let go until they were well within the settlement, and a row of newly built houses stood between the two of them and the sea.

"They were talking to me..." Elwing drew in a ragged breath, as if returning to the world, and finally the line of her sight found him once more. "I heard them--They were so close, and I wanted--"

Unthinkingly, Eärendil flung his arms around her, and with a slow sigh--not that of a child--Elwing leaned into his shoulder. For the first time, he noticed she was no longer taller than he, and once more that feeling of being strangely and terrifyingly already grown-up rushed over him. He clung onto it for a long while, just the same as he clung onto her.



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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ithilwen
May. 13th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
Sweet and disturbing simultaneously. Very nice!
alena_hu
May. 13th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you very much! I am glad that you liked it!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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