A Father's Love

(part 2)

By Imbecamiel

Rating: G?

Characters: Aragorn, Arwen, Elrond, and a crowd of anonymous people :-)

Summary: It's Aragorn's wedding day, but one thing is still weighing on his mind, threatening to detract from the happiness of the day.

Disclaimer: See part one.

A/N: Along with the first section, this was done for the SNWCG "Fear" challenge. While it's also Post-ROTK, it's only loosly related to the last vignette, taking place at a different time and involving different characters. I think this could be either movie-verse or book-verse, though I took many details from both - I guess in the end it's more like fanon-verse :-) I hope you enjoy it!


2

Celebration

It was still so hard to believe, even now... He was really here, with her, after so many years of dreams, wishes, and hopes deferred. It was finally his wedding day. One would have expected this day to have brought nothing but unadulterated joy. And it did... Almost.

There was only one thing keeping him from enjoying this day completely. In all their years together, there had been only one thing that had truly come between him and his father. Only one thing that had truly damaged their relationship - for a time he had feared, permanently.

As the years had passed, he had realized that, however strong his feelings were on the matter, his father did not intend to allow his choice in love to sever their bond entirely. But that had not prevented their relationship from cooling somewhat in the time since it had become clear that the path his heart had chosen was not to be diverted. In truth, he knew that said cooling had likely resulted primarily from his own frequent choice to avoid Rivendell, in order to avoid the possibility of more conflict over the matter. He had avoided conflict, in that much he had succeeded, but in doing so he had also avoided healing.

Now, even as Aragorn stood, looking into Arwen's eyes, he was still keenly aware of Elrond's presence in the crowd of happy observers at the ceremony that would declare before all the world that they were one, for the rest of their lives. Or, perhaps, it would be more accurate to say for the rest of his life. And that was where the difficulty lay.

In returning his love, she would condemn herself to death. From the moment he had first acknowledged his love for Arwen, the thought had grieved him more than he could find words to express, no matter how many times he had tried. He wondered if Elrond knew just how well he understood the elven lord's own overwhelming sorrow at the idea of Arwen's precious, immortal life being cut short.

He had tried to prevent it. Despite the fact that it tore his own heart out to do so, he had tried to sever their relationship. He had begged her to follow her father's wishes and take the ship to Valinor, had tried to convince her that he would not marry her, and that it was for the best.

But Arwen... Always so perceptive, and with the added intuition of love, she had seen through all his words in an instant, and had refused to accept them. She had seen that, though his torment at the thought of her sacrifice was real enough, he did not truly believe his own words. He loved her, the thought of losing her brought a pain as great as the thought of her staying for him, and whatever might be said on the matter, he could not bring himself to believe that denying their love for each other would be the best solution.

In the end, it had not been Elrond's entreaties, fears, and pain, nor Aragorn's conflicted and torn heart that had made the decision, but Arwen herself. She had made her final choice, irreversible now, and accepting it, Aragorn had found both peace, and incredible joy. She was his, and he was hers, for as long as they remained on Arda.

But could Elrond accept it? And, perhaps even more important, could he find the same peace? To expect that he might find happiness in losing his only daughter to a mortal life was too much, Aragorn knew. But was it possible he could at least reconcile himself to the idea enough to wish them well? Aragorn truly did not know.

Elrond had brought Arwen here, to him. But what did that mean? Did it signify any change of heart, or did it only demonstrate that he would keep his word, whatever the price? Elrond had told him that no man less than the King of Gondor could marry Arwen. And now, against all odds, he was King, and Elrond had fulfilled his promise, bringing his daughter here to become the Queen of Gondor.

But again, the question pressed on him - what did it mean? His heart was torn between hope and fear. Oh, how he wished now that he had had an opportunity to speak with his father in private. But, as he was discovering, it was no easy business being the new king of a recently war-torn country, still reeling from the blows it had been dealt, and attempting to re-organize, when so many in positions of authority had been lost. Unfortunately, at the moment his new responsibilities meant that, even as he was preparing for his wedding day, urgent demands for his attention seemed to fill his every waking moment - and far too many of his not-quite-awake ones as well.

Aragorn felt his heart clench in apprehension, but he knew he could put it off no longer. He had to know. Valar, how was it that such a simple act could petrify him, more even than the terrible battles he had recently faced? But at that moment, more than anything else, he needed to know his father's true feelings, whatever they might be.

Gathering his resolve, he looked over to where he knew his Elrond was standing... and felt his breath catch, as the tight knot in his stomach melted in relief.

Elrond met his gaze steadily, and the joy and peace in his eyes far outweighed the sorrow Estel knew must linger in his heart. Aragorn felt a broad grin spread over his face in response to the encouraging smile his father sent him. His father. His Ada.

He should have known. After all these years, he should have known. The love and happiness that he could feel practically radiating off Elrond eased his heart and silenced his fears. His father loved him, and was glad for them. He might grieve the loss of his daughter, but he did not disapprove of or grudge her her choice.

Now, this could be a day of true joy for him. And, whatever else the future held for him, Aragorn knew he could face it now, in this knowledge. He and Arwen would face it, together.

The End


A HUGE thank-you to everyone who reviewed the last chapter - you were a wonderful encouragement! (And I'd also like to say a special thanks to SusanMc - sorry I couldn't reply to your review, since you didn't leave an e-mail. It was very appreciated!)

Thank you for very much for reading! And, of course, comments and constructive criticism are very much appreciated. Please let me know what you think!

- Imbecamiel