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Fic: Afterlife
Three
dbalthasar
A very brief sketch of Celebrimbor in the Undying Lands, drawing on both artaxastra's In the Halls of Nienna and penknife's Nothing Gold Can Stay and The Counsel of the Wise. A bit hand-wavy as to the timing and possibly not entirely compliant with canon.

His hands should be scarred. It’s not the first time that thought has crossed his mind as he labors at the workbench, shaping cold metal against the form, the small hammer striking cleanly.  They should be scarred because they had not forgotten, even as they shaped the bowl of a spoon with quick precision. He had been determined to forget, but these hands could not renounce the lure of tools and metal, hammer and fire, and he walks in nightmare now and then, for fear of what these hands may do. His hands have done enough — he has done enough — and yet he cannot resist the pull of making, coaxing form and use from sullen brass and kinder silver.  The spoon in his hand is nearly done, the bowl curved like an autumn leaf, with just the lightest suggestion of veins and a fluted edge, the handle extended like a stem at just the right angle for use. He prefers leaves that fall and perish, not the glossy strength of those ever green.

He is done for now, just the polishing to finish, and he sets the spoon aside, working his shoulders as the effort strikes him. It feels treacherously good, and he shies away from memory, other days in other workshops, lest he be lost again.

Outside this one there is only garden and the softest of evening breezes, sweet with the scent of late-blooming flowers, and he tips his face to a sky that still seems strange. He was not made for this, a treacherous voice whispers, none of Fëanor’s kin were made for this. He turns away from the voice, away from the hall and the finer part of the garden, pulling his gown tighter against a chill only he seems to feel.

“Cousin?  Celebrimbor?”

Her voice is one he did not expect to hear again, and he turns already braced for treachery, illusion and mocking laughter. But it is her in seeming and as yet without a sting, tall and golden-haired and fair as ever.  He has loved her through long ages of the world, her and her consort stern at her shoulder, and even if it is a lie he cannot resist one step toward them.  Nenya gleams on her hand, pale and without power. The world wavers, a ghost of pain and darkness, illusion on illusion, and mercifully his feet betray him, vanishing from under him so that he goes stumbling to his knees.  His hands have gone as well, and he catches himself on his elbows, struggling up to see her drop to her knees beside him, hands outstretched in dismay.

“I did not tell him,” he says, his voice ragged. “I did not speak.”

Celeborn goes to one knee beside his lady. “We knew that.” His voice is rough, too. “We saw that writ plain —“

He stops at Galadriel’s glance, closes a hand on Celebrimbor’s shoulder instead. His hand is warm, strong, not painful at all; Galadriel’s fingers wind about Celebrimbor’s wrists, and he closes his eyes.

“I gave him the others,” he says, so quietly he cannot be sure he is even speaking. “The Nine and then the Seven. But not the Three. I never spoke of them.”

“I know,” Celeborn says again, and it occurs to Celebrimbor that what he hears is pain.

“Cousin,” Galadriel says, but he cannot meet her eyes for fear of what she might still become.

“The Enemy is defeated,” she says. “Cast down and utterly destroyed.”

Still he cannot meet her eyes, but he leans his head against her shoulder.  “Destroyed? You’re certain?”

“Yes, cousin,” she says firmly.

“And — it?” He cannot name it, and is grateful that with them, at least, there is no need.

“Unmade. Cast into the fires from whence it came.”

He has not wept since he left the Halls of Mandos, memory and grief and guilt too great for that release, but the tears come now, hot and aching, and her arms enfold him, her hair like summer against his cheek.  Celeborn’s hand is on his shoulder still, and he reaches up to twine those fingers in his own.
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Oh, Celebrimbor ... That's really all that you can say here, is, oh, Celebrimbor, darling.

Yeah. Though... he's getting better? Sort of?

Oh dear Celebrimbor! I do love him! Poor darling. He's so good in his own messed up way. I just want to give crazy!Celebrimbor a big hug.

He's finding ways to be - less dysfunctional? And surely having them around will help?

Ohhhh, and Owwww, and a little bit of Meep.

He is getting better - making things again (even if he cannot bear to think of Making). And I have to believe he will get better still with them there with him.</p>

What is Galadriel going to think of Celebrian's idea, I wonder?


Surely they will be good for him, and will make it - somewhat safer? - to contemplate Making again.

And what Galadriel makes of this plan... I'm almost afraid to think!

oh, poor Celembribor. But at least he's getting better, that's good.

He has some way to go, but he is indeed getting better. And he has time.

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