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Story Notes:
This is a songfic, but it's not all lyrics, promise!
Songfic Title: Broken Vow
Author: Tuxedo Elf
Rating: PG13
Pairing: Surprise elves!
Summary: Duty or love - the choice is never easy.
Beta: Elvensong
Warnings: AU, Mild het content, Angst
Disclaimers: The song this fic is based on is from Josh Groban's album 'Closer.' All else belongs to Tolkien.
Author Notes: My first attempt at het – I usually do prefer slash, but hey – variety is the spice of life!

*************

//Tell me his name
I want to know
The way he looks
And where you go//

"Who?" One word, yet it spoke volumes in the face of what he had just been told. Not the word in and of itself, but the emotion behind it and the pain in the voice of the one who spoke.

She told him, though it hurt her as well to speak the name of the one who had torn her heart in two. Oh, she knew it was not his fault any more than it was hers, really, but right now the pain was so raw and fresh that she did not care.

"I see." His words were so short and clipped that they felt like physical blows. "He is a good elf. I hope you will be happy."

She shook her head, understanding his pain, but wanting to make him see why she was doing this, despite her heart protesting at such an action.

"I will never be truly happy apart from you, you must know that. I do this for duty, not for love. You know of duty, you have your own - can you not understand?"

It was hard, but she kept her voice soft in the hopes that her gentle plea would get through to him, more than anything she wanted to part on good terms.

He nodded - a sharp, jerky movement, devoid of its usual grace.
"I understand. But it does not mean I have to like it. Why did you not tell me sooner? You must have known that this was coming!"

At that she blushed, turning her head away in shame.
"Yes, I knew. I also knew that you would have sought my hand in marriage yourself had I told you, which would have been a quest doomed to failure. Your love can not give our people the rewards that this joining can and it would never have been allowed.

I withheld the truth from you and for that I am sorry, but I wished only to enjoy the time we had left."

She spoke the truth. He knew that. But it still hurt so much and now he had barely any time to adjust before she was taken from him. He had loved her for centuries, how could he just let her go now, knowing she was to be with another?

//I need to see his face
I need to understand
Why you and I came to an end//

"When do they arrive?" He asked softly, not replying to her last words deliberately. He knew it would not be long though and he dreaded the answer. His world was falling apart and he was struggling not to give in to his emotions. He would not be weak – he could not be weak, for his dignity was fast becoming all he had left.

“They are already on their way,” was the quiet reply. “They will be here within the week.”

He could not help the sharp gasp that left his lips. That was sooner than even he had feared; he had thought he would at least get a month.

“Will you meet him?” She asked. Though she had no wish to hurt her lover, she wanted to make sure he knew that her husband would always treat her with respect. Maybe the peace of mind would ease his heartache, if only a little.

“No,” he wanted to say, “No, I want nothing to do with him.” But then he would always wonder – always worry. He had heard of this elf and his reputation was sound, but he knew he had to find out for himself, just to make sure.

“Aye,” he said heavily. “I will meet him, love, if only for peace of mind.”

Smiling gratefully, she stepped forward and into his arms. He held her close, playing with soft strands of her silky hair, clutching at her gown possessively and wishing he could freeze this moment so that the future would never come and he could stay by her side for all time.

“I am sorry,” she whispered, wrapping her arms around his neck. “I never meant to cause you such heartache.”

“I know,” He responded, “do not blame yourself. I still love you.” Gently tilting her head up, he pressed a soft kiss to her lips.

//Tell me again
I want to hear
Who broke my faith in all these years//

How many times had he run that conversation over and over in his mind? He didn’t know; he’d long since lost count.

He had met her betrothed on the day he arrived and he was at least satisfied now that the stories were true and that she would be treated well by him.
The introduction had hurt though, for it had not been said that he had been her lover, only a good friend. He supposed that was all he would ever be now and it felt like a terrible rejection, even though the change in their relationship was not of either of their making.

In a strange way he was jealous of her, at least she would not be alone and without love, for her husband would be by her side and eventually they would grow closer, it was inevitable.
But he had no such comfort. He was of no status, no one would really care if he wed or not. It made the future seem terribly bleak and he knew he would have to find something to distract him after her departure lest it eat away at him to the point of grief.

//Who lays with you at night
When I'm here all alone
Remembering when I was your own//

They had been here for two weeks now, preparing for the change that would soon affect all of their lives. In that time he had hardly seen her, as she got to know the one she was promised to wed.

In all of his life he had never felt so alone and yet, he knew it was only going to get worse after she was gone.

Lying in his bed, he stared up at the wooden ceiling as he let his mind drift back to times when losing her had not even entered his thoughts, when they had both been younger and much less concerned with the outside world.

*Flashback*

She almost always went barefoot, loving to feel the grass beneath her toes as she walked. Today however, it was hot and she had opted for a different sensation – the refreshing feeling of the river as she trailed her feet in the cool water.

He saw her sitting there and grinned, knowing that she was completely oblivious to his presence. With a warrior’s stealth he crept up, and without a moment’s hesitation, pushed her into the river.

With a high-pitched shriek she plunged into the river, spluttering as she was soaked and turning furiously to glare at the one who had dared to push her in, trying to maintain some dignity despite looking like a drowned rat.

Unfortunately, the effect was more comical than anything else, and her glare was met with barely stifled laughter rather than remorse.

“I suppose you found that highly amusing.” She said, pushing a strand of wet hair out of her eyes.

“Oh it was extremely funny!” He replied, grinning. “I am especially enjoying the after effects!” He gestured to her thin dress, which was now almost completely see-through due to its soaking.

Looking down, she blushed as she realized the state she was in, put her hands on her hips and glared at him once more.
“Well then, I hope you are enjoying the view, because it is all you are going to get,” she informed him haughtily.

“Ah, come now, you don’t mean that,” he replied, and before she could protest, he had scooped her from the water and wrapped her in his cloak, rubbing her arms to help her dry and smiling adoringly at her.

As always, she had melted under that gaze. When he gave her that look it was utterly impossible to be angry with him – and he knew it.
Instead, she slipped the cloak from her shoulders, pressing her damp form close to her lover, smiling wickedly at the effect it had on him.

Pulling her closer still he kissed her deeply, chuckling when her sodden dress squished uncomfortably against them both.
“You know, you should not wear wet clothes, it is not good for you.”

Laughing lightly, she nodded. “You are quite right, I should not.” Stepping back, she quickly peeled the sodden dress from her body. “Is that better?” she asked, smiling wickedly.

“Much better,” he replied with a grin, beginning to tug at his own tunic as he appraised the delightful vision before him. “In fact, I may have to take a closer look!”

She giggled as he stepped up to her again; joy in her eyes as he pulled her down to the soft grass. Soon her giggles were replaced by soft moans of pleasure, as he gently loved her.

The afternoon passed quickly in the sunny glade by the river and by the time they were ready to leave, her dress was completely dry.

*End flashback*

Those had been such good times, he thought with a sigh. What he wouldn’t give to make a million more memories like that one. But no, he was alone now, while she stayed with her betrothed. Had she lain with him yet? Though he doubted it, if he was honest with himself, he didn’t really want to know.

Turning over he tried to clear his mind and get some rest, but even before he slipped into reverie, he knew she’d be dancing in his dreams.

//I let you go
I let you fly
Why do I keep on asking why
I let you go
Now that I found
A way to keep somehow
More than a broken vow//

As the days passed he clung to the memories like a lifeline. He saw her less and less, even when he did see her it was only in passing and *he* was almost always with her. It was understandable, she had to get to know him, but the pain was almost unbearable.

Only respect for his love and his sense of duty kept him from pleading with those responsible not to make her go through with this and break both of their hearts. But even in his pain he had come to see that they were a good match and that their union would bring prosperity to the people of Middle-Earth.

But that didn’t do much for the emptiness in his heart. No matter how good a match, how wonderful a world they would help create, he would still be forever apart from her and forever alone. It was a selfish feeling and he knew it, but nonetheless, it was what was in his heart.

He wished he could convince himself that he would get over it in time; that he’d move on and love again, but no matter how many times he tried to tell himself that, it always rang false. They had been in love for too long to just forget and maybe that was the worst pain of all, the knowledge that he was fated to love someone who could never be his.

For the rest of eternity he would have to content himself with the memories that they had already made and try to let them comfort him when he lost his way. Those at least would always be his and there was no force on Arda or elsewhere that could take his precious memories from him.

//Tell me the words I never said
Show me the tears you never shed
Give me the touch
That one you promised to be mine
Or has it vanished for all time//

One more day; that was all there was left. Tomorrow she would leave and travel to her new home, far away from him. He tried not to dwell on it, but it was impossible. With each day that passed his heart hurt a little more and he knew that tomorrow would be the hardest day of all.

He rubbed his hand wearily over his face as he walked into his bedroom – and stopped dead. For a moment he thought he was seeing things, but no, she was definitely sitting on his bed.

“What are you doing here?” He asked softly, trying to stay in control in the presence of the one he had missed so badly these past weeks.

“Am I no longer welcome?” She asked in reply. “I wanted to see you again before… before I leave.” She raised her head to meet his gaze, her eyes glittering with a mixture of love, sadness and hope.

“You are always welcome here,” he said sadly. “That will never change. But I am not sure you should be here anymore… you are no longer mine.”

She rose then, coming to stand before him and reaching up to caress his face.
“You are wrong,” she told him quietly. “I will always be yours, no matter who I am wed to or where our futures lead us. No other will ever hold my heart. Even if I come to love my husband, it will never be in the way I love you.”

He leaned into the caress, bringing his hand up to cover hers.
“I’m going to miss you so much,” he whispered, voicing his heartbreak for the first time. “I don’t know how to be without you.”

“I know, I feel the same,” she assured him, resting her other hand on his chest. “You’ve been the most important thing in my life for so long, it tears me apart to have to say goodbye.”

“But that is why you have come, is it not?” he said softly, “to say goodbye?”
A soft nod was the only reply as she sought the words she wanted to say to him.

“I am selfish.” She said at last, the phrase earning her a slightly incredulous look from her lover. “I know that tomorrow I must leave here and make a new home with the one who will soon be my husband. But all I can think of is you, and how much I want to spend just one more night in your arms. Will you have me, my love, one last time?”

To say no, to tell her to go back to her betrothed, was the right thing to do. That was what duty demanded of him. Yet much had already been sacrificed for duty’s sake, maybe too much. No, tonight he would take what he wanted – what they both wanted, before they lost the chance forever. Unless a miracle happened, they would never be together again after tonight and he could not let this last chance pass him by, duty be damned.

“Aye,” he said softly, reaching out to take her hand, “I will have you tonight.”
She smiled in sheer relief and joy as he took her in his arms he kissed her with all the love in his heart before they undressed each other and lay down on the bed, to make one last memory before everything changed.

Nothing of that night would ever be forgotten, every kiss, every caress and every moan would be burned into both of their minds forever, to be thought of when they felt as if they could no longer bear the separation.

//I close my eyes
And dream of you and I
And then I realize
There's more to love than only bitterness and lies
I close my eyes//

She was gone when he awoke, the sheet she’d been laying on already cold. He laughed bitterly, that was exactly how he felt inside – empty and cold. After today he would not see her again, unless she returned for a visit someday. But even if she did, he was not sure it would be wise to see her, once she was wed. He did not think he would be able to resist temptation should the find themselves alone at any time.

Getting up, he drew a bath and settled into the hot water, trying to distract himself, but only finding more and more memories. There seemed to be so many of them right now, but he knew that as time went on they would seem to grow smaller, until it appeared that their time together had only been the blink of an eye. Such was the way of memories and yet, part of him was glad it was so. It made it easier to hold on to the details.

Resting his head on his arms, he allowed the time to slip away, the water lapping gently over his tired body, the soft scent of the soap soothing and relaxing him. He felt safe here, hidden away from the pain of the outside world and though he could not hide forever, today he would indulge himself.

He did not go to see her off. He knew he could never watch her leave, not without calling out to her and causing a scene. So he stayed behind, sitting alone in his room as a huge crowed gathered to see them off and wish them well. She would understand, he knew, most likely she would be glad he was not there as well.

Even had she wished him there, she would know why he was not and would not hold it against him. They had said their goodbyes the previous night; there was no need to prolong their parting any more than necessary.

But he knew when she’d left. He’d felt the pull on his heart lessen more and more, until there was nothing but a terrible ache where she had once been.

//I'd give away my soul
To hold you once again
And never let this promise end//

A month later, Celebrian, daughter of the Golden Wood, married Elrond, Lord of Imladris. All the elven realms rejoiced at such a powerful joining and elves everywhere talked excitedly about the future that would follow. All but one.

In Lothlorien, a lone Galadhel climbed into a high talan to keep watch, his eyes trained on the distant mountains, wishing he could see the hidden valley beyond them.

For long hours he stood there, watching as the sun slowly set and the mountains faded into the night. Even when he heard soft footsteps coming up behind him, he didn’t move, not seeing the need.

Still, he couldn’t deny that he felt comforted when no words were spoken, but instead loving arms wrapped themselves round his shoulders.
Orophin sighed gratefully and leaned back into the embrace, remembering then that even though she was gone, he still had this, the love of his brothers. He just had to hope it would be enough to sustain him through the long years ahead.

//I let you go
I let you fly
Now that I know I'm asking why
I let you go
Now that I found
A way to keep somehow
More than a broken vow//

THE END
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