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Fanfic100 Prompts #085 - She, #084 - He

Title: Sketch: Girl by Starlight
Fandom: J. R. R. Tolkien
Characters: Eärendil, Elwing, Tuor
Prompt: 085 - She
Word Count: 451
Rating: G
Summary: The first meeting between the young Eärendil and Elwing.
Author's Notes: Everything belongs to the Professor.

She was seven years of age when we first met, but looked older, like an eight year old at least, perhaps nine. It wasn't her face, or the fact that she was still nearly two inches taller than me back then, but a motionless tension about her demeanour, the way she sat wrapped in a grown-up's great blue cloak. As if she was concentrating on something you couldn't see.

I could not sleep that night because of the sea, so I'd wandered off by myself along the shoreline, past our campfires. I almost missed her sitting there atop the little ridge. At first I thought she was all alone.

"Have you been looking at the sea for a long while?"

She started, turning to stare at me for the first time. The shade of her hair was so dark you could reach out and pluck the stars right off the strands. She was a stranger.

"I saw the sea for the first time today," I said. She did not reply.

My father had been telling me stories about the sea, and the Lord of the Sea, ever since I could remember. But I did not want to tell her those stories because then I'd have to tell her other stories and everything else, too. I gazed around, and glimpsed another quiet figure standing a little ways down the ridge, an adult. A wind came from the openness, and I shivered.

"Do you suppose if it ever snows around here? What kind of winter is it with no snow?"

Still she said nothing, but remained as she was, guarding her secrets, and in the distance someone else stood watch over her. I was the one alone. My grandfather had once built a city beside the sea. I did not want to tell her about those things. Yet I sat rooted to the ground and I wanted to talk, about today, about tomorrow but not yesterday, about this strange southern land, anything and everything else, just not what I knew.

"But I've never seen forests like these," I began.

Later I glanced aside, and found she had fallen into a deep dreamless sleep. She was really only my own age.

My father came searching for me, and as we descended the ridge, away from her people, he told me--voice serious, eyes careful--be especially kind to her, as if I'd never known an orphan before. I nodded.

"Your mother and I have been busy lately, too busy..." He must have seen me biting my lips.

I nodded again. With my hand in his like a little child, I allowed him to lead me back toward the glimmering of our own fires.

Title: Sketch: Boy by Sunlight
Fandom: J. R. R. Tolkien
Characters: Eärendil, Elwing
Prompt: 084 - He
Word Count: 599
Rating: G
Summary: The second meeting between the young Eärendil and Elwing.
Author's Notes: Everything belongs to the Professor.

He was seven years of age when we first met, and snuck up close behind me before I knew his presence. I should have been more careful; I was watching for other things. And suddenly the sea-light against his hair was like dawn in midnight.

He was a stranger, and spoke to me as if I had no reason for wariness. Not about who he was, not about where he'd come from, not about who I was, not about where I'd come from. About the sweet green river. About the salty grey sea. Unknown forests and this southern winter burnished like ripe bronze. He didn't pause much--never occurred to me why until years later--at first from time to time to see if I'd reply, later only rarely to catch his breath. Waters before us and lands behind waters. And later the thought descended that I had not slept for days. I tried to fight, but the last words were sparrows and larks and wild thrushes; they scattered and took flight into the mist. My mother said these trees...My father...

My mother will take me by the hand...My father will return for me in a little while...

I awoke to the scent of warm lamps, and a voice crooning a familiar tune above me. He must have been a dream.

Until he came calling the day after, together with his mother and his father--On Behalf of the People Of Gondolin in Gratutude for Our Acceptance and Aid--was that how it went? Something similar. He seemed different by daylight, clean and serious and no fidgeting, but I couldn't look at him standing there between the two grown-ups. We exchanged names. His mother knelt to bring her own gaze level with mine. Will you very kindly take this boy's hand and show him--what was it, the reed flats, the encampments? Ships just arrived from Balar?

I remember relief, and sunlight, people--ours, theirs--hurrying along the bank. I remember holding myself very straight, because you are the Lady of Doriath now, or so they all said. I remember wanting to apologise or maybe thank him, because I'd fallen asleep yet nothing bad had happened. But he had turned quiet. Maybe the brightness made him shy. After all he was only a silly little boy beside me, sent off by his mother and his father while the adults discussed important things. They thought I was another foolish child just like him, even though I had to keep watch about me, I always had to keep watch. The fingers of my free hand curled and tensed behind my back as if still clenching It, but don't forget, Lady of Doriath--head up, paces even. I bit my lips.

There was going to be a city, he said when we stopped at last. An embryo curled in its womb of trees. I bet he didn't know anything about--

"We had trees," I said.

He turned, and for the first time I saw he was frowning. We really were nothing but two silly little children, standing hand-in-hand upon the edge of Beleriand. Bustle and hubbub surrounded us, and the air was a crystal, but clouds were racing across the northern horizon, and winter was deepening.

"Don't cry," he said, no longer younger than me.

I wasn't going to cry, I wanted to say. I was never going to cry. I wasn't going to cry for years. For ages and ages.

But I didn't say it to him, not out aloud. Not for years. Not for ages.

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