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Title: A Voice Unheard
Author: Orchyd Constyne
Contact: orchydconstyne@hithanaur.net
Website: http://www.hithanaur.net/
Update List: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nairn_orchyd/
Fandom: LOTR
Disclaimer: I do not own LotR or any characters, lands, or items from
the Tolkien world. They belong to their respective copyright holders.
Archive: LoM, OEAM, Galadhrim.net, AFF.net, Melethryn
Rating: PG
Warnings: Character death
Beta: Ilye
Cast: ??/??
Summary: Two reunite at the end.

---

"You came."

Flicker of worry in pewter eyes. "How could I not?"

A dry, rasping sound filled the air. "It's been a long time."

"Aye, it has."

"When did you arrive?"

A heavy sigh fell as the tall, youthful figure sat on the edge of the
bed. "Yesterday."

"You look well." He coughed, a hollow rattle resounding in his chest.

The newcomer chuckled and reached out a steady hand to brush back a
lock of white hair. "Better than you."

Laughter, weak though it was, echoed in the solitary room. "Aye, I
have seen better days." He became quiet, raising his dull grey eyes
to the Healer. "We've seen better days."

"We've seen worse, too," he said softly.

Silence hung between them for many minutes as they watched the path of
Anor through the closed window. Finally, the figure in the bed
reached out and took the Healer's hand, clasping it to his chest with
wizened hands. "Time has finally caught up with me."

"This did not have to be." His words were thick with regret.

The old Man smiled, bright and loving. "Aye. It did. I am glad you
came. I am but a shadow now, it seems. Will you rest with me?"

Darkness had begun to creep into the room, the coolness of night
descending. The Healer slipped between the bedclothes and drew the
brittle body close to his.

"I am afraid." A whisper, almost unheard, came from the fragile Man.

"I know." He kissed the cool, dry brow.

"I am angry."

"I know."

"I never thought you would come."

A choked sob forced its way from the Healer. "I know."

"You won't leave me?" The old Man sounded so tired, so frightened,
and the Healer held him closer.

"No, I won't." The gentle hands of the Healer stroked the wrinkled
face, soothed the aching joints and caressed the useless muscles. He
sang quietly, a song from childhood about a beautiful woman and her
husband by the sea. His purpose was to calm the old Man, to offer him
solace in his arms.

"I loved you," the old Man said, his voice heavy with fatigue. "More
than I should have, more than you wanted me to. And this is what I
reap."

"I would have had you," the Healer said. "I would have forsaken it
all for you and your love."

The old Man turned slowly so he could look into the stormy eyes of his
one love. "I know," he said simply. "But, it could not be. Just as
this *must* be."

"You cannot leave me," the Healer said, his facade finally cracking,
his own fear and defeat surfacing. "I love you, I have always loved
you, and I cannot let you go!"

It was the old Man's turn to offer some form of comfort. He raised
his hand, now age-ravaged, and cupped the young Healer's face. "I
can't believe you love me still." The dull grey eyes became clear for
a moment, shining with love and understanding. "I never thought you
would come," he said again.

The Healer shook his head, leaning in and kissed his companion's lips.
"You cannot go..." He opened his tear-filled eyes. "You cannot. I
am not ready."

"I am, melethen. It is my time. I love you, never forget that." The
old Man's eyes closed slowly. "Hold me while I sleep?" he asked, his
voice only a breath on the wind. "Keep the fear away?"

The Healer pulled him tighter against his body, his tears falling on
the snowy locks. The old Man exhaled, and all was still.

*****

He swung the windows open, letting in the sea-kissed breeze. The
Healer leaned against the casement, his long dark locks fluttering in
the cool wind. He was gone. The old Man's body lay on the bed, a
content smile on his lips, having died in the arms of the only one he
had ever given his heart to.

But, the one left behind, the one who must endure... His heartache
was acute and painful. The tears still fell, but the grief-stricken
sobbing had passed. The Healer knew he would mourn the Man's passing
every moment he lived without him. But, it had been his choice.

Always his choice.

Elrond Peredhel left the window looking out of the vast ocean and sat
next to the quiet form of his twin. "Navaer, Elros." He leaned over
and placed a chaste kiss on his brother's lips. "Melin chen."

The End
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