Characters: Frodo, Aragorn
Summary: At Cerin Amroth.
Disclaimer: Don't own them and don't make any money from them.
A/N: One egregious canon error around the use of the term "by the Valar". *hangs head in shame but doesn't change it*
It is a green land,
It is a kindly land,
And the hill of vision broods above us.
(Islandman, The Waterboys)
They went back to Cerin Amroth one day during that timeless month in Lorien, just the two of them—Frodo and Aragorn. It wasn’t that they planned it that way, but when they ran into each other outside the gate of Caras Galadhon, it seemed natural to fall into step together. And then it seemed that there was only one place for them to go, and so they went back to Lorien’s beating heart.
It was early morning when they started and they were silent at first. There was no sound but for their soft padding footsteps rustling among the fallen leaves of seasons long gone.
“Could you not sleep, Frodo?” Aragorn finally asked, looking back as he led the way confidently through the winding green way.
“I slept well. I like it here in the early morning. There’s something very peaceful about it,” Frodo said. He laughed. “Of course it’s peaceful all the time, but there’s something particularly special about this time of day. Not sure I can put it into words.”
Aragorn nodded. “There is no need to. I understand. The peace of Lothlorien is all about you all the time, but it is natural to be more responsive to a certain time of day.”
“And you? What is your special time of day?”
Aragorn was silent for such a long time that Frodo began to think he’d either offended him with his question or had spoken so softly that the man had not heard him. But eventually, a quiet answer drifted back to Frodo as they stepped from the cool of the mallorn wood into Cerin Amroth’s green clearing.
It was late morning now. The sun was shining, and the sky was blue without a cloud in sight.
“Evening,” Aragorn said. He bent down and plucked a bloom of white niphredil and one of yellow elanor, cupping them gently in his palm. “Early evening. As the sun sets and the moon begins to rise.”
He had that look on his face again, the one he’d had when the Fellowship had first been here and Frodo had climbed down from the high flet to find him standing at the foot of the hill and remembering ... something. Only this time Aragorn held both the silver and the gold in his hand.
Frodo started to say something, to ask something really, but just as he opened his mouth, Aragorn laughed. It was not a laugh he’d heard from Aragorn before—young and carefree and barely tinged with sorrow. And with that laughter, Frodo was glad he had not spoken and asked something that might have brought back the dour Ranger, not when there was a moment when he—they—could be free from all those things which pressed from outside.
Instead, Frodo asked, “Shall we climb?”
“Yes,” Aragorn answered. “Follow me.”
Frodo did just that, though first he stood a moment with his hand on the tree’s smooth trunk, greeting what seemed now to be an old friend. Then he followed Aragorn farther up and further into the green heart of Dreamflower.
When they both arrived at the high flet, they sat with their legs hanging over the edge. They faced only one direction that day—south to Caras Galadhon.
The expression on Aragorn’s face was so light-hearted when he turned to Frodo that Frodo could not help asking his question.
“Tell me about evening here.”
The smile on Aragorn’s face broadened and he put one arm around Frodo’s shoulder. “I have walked here in the evening before ... many years ago.”
“Who with?” Frodo asked, knowing the answer but wanting to hear the words. He remembered well that first evening in the Hall of Fire and how fair they had looked together.
Aragorn shook Frodo’s shoulder gently. “Hobbits are very pert creatures. I think you know well with whom I plighted my troth here.”
Frodo laughed. “Yes, and hobbits are also rather stubborn ... you’ve gotten more than one taste of that, I think.” He folded his arms across his chest and cocked his head at Aragorn. “Well?”
It wasn’t a smile on Aragorn’s face now; it was a grin, a big toothy, goofy grin. And young, oh his face was so young now.
Young face and wide grin notwithstanding, Aragorn’s voice was soft when he spoke the words. “My lady Arwen and I plighted our troth together here one evening.”
There were tears in Aragorn’s eyes now, but Frodo knew they were not from sadness. “Tell me what you said to each other.”
Aragorn went to that place again where only he and Arwen existed. He did not stay there long, and Frodo did not feel uncomfortable watching him as the memories washed bright across his face. When he returned his gaze to the present, he laughed a little and said, “It was the dearest night of my life, but by all the Valar, I do not remember!”
They both laughed then. When they quieted, Frodo patted Aragorn’s leg and said, “Don’t worry. I shan’t tell Arwen when I see her again.”
The smile on Aragorn’s face faltered. “Will we see her again?”
Frodo looked across to the city of trees for a long moment. Then he looked up into the sky to find that a cloud had appeared after all, drifting from the east to cast a shadow over the land. But there was something fluttering in his heart, something that pushed against all the dark thoughts that had grown in his heart and mind ever since the day Bilbo had gone away and his life had changed utterly just because of a gold bauble.
Aragorn pulled Frodo against his chest, his arm solid and warm around the hobbit’s shoulder. Frodo felt the thud of his heart, reassuring in its steady beat. But when the sky darkened as the cloud hid the light of the sun on Cerin Amroth, Aragorn sighed.
“Yes,” Frodo said. “I see it.”