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5
The home front

B2MeM Challenge: O68: Economy: war; Women of the Silmarillion: sisters and sisters-in-law
Format: ficlet
Genre: Character Study
Rating: Teen
Warnings: Um... yes. Mature themes; story may not be suitable for children, regardless of their understanding.
Summary: Home is family. She wanted her home back.


~~~

The home front

She remembered heat, and strange, swimming visions. And then they had gone, and she had been… elsewhere. Outside herself, looking in, and no one could hear her, save the shadow-man, who told her they would forget her.

No, she vowed. They would not. They were family.

War wrought death, destruction and deception, and she saw it all and could not weep. But she followed her brother like a shadow, singing their games to him in his sleep.

Sometimes, he remembered, when he woke, and her heart swelled.

One day, he found a woman he loved, and she was glad, though she was so in his dreams then, she couldn’t reach him anymore. But he liked to dream of her, and so his sister tried to understand.

“I would I had my sisters both – Laughter and Tears,” he told Tears, who laughed, and Yes! thought Laughter; That is what I wish!

Sometimes wishes come true, even. For Tears could not escape her name, and since her brother loved her, Laughter thought she should try to help her. It did not end in heat, like it had for her so long ago – she does not know how to soothe one dying cold and breathless, but she tries, she tries.

It is well, she tells her. I am here! Your sister.

Sister? comes the confused question of a half-birthed ghost.

Better than that – we are sisters twice, she tells her, and beams, holds out her hands. Come stay with me, and I shall teach you how to laugh! You, and my niece-sister!

Tears is dying – it is a hard passage into the next life. Memory spins every which way, no rhyme, no reason, no air – there is so much horror, she cannot fathom more. Sister, aunt, sister, sister…

It’s well, Lalaith tries to tell her. I love you, you see. Do not fear, brother will come soon for us.

Túrin! Nienor curls about herself in the depths, as air escapes through blue lips in a laugh colder than her death, and she breathes deep...

The waters of Taeglin are swift; the bubbles rise, break the surface, are lost with all the others, save to one, who embraces her sister brother’s wife, and her babe, sister and aunt and brother-sister – and she is home. Claimed. Complete, for she feels Túrin crossing, drawing nigh in search of them. Hurry, brother!

Lalaith sees the shadow-man then, and smiles fiercely, taunts:

Not forgotten! See how we are bound?

The shadow-man bows. Indeed, his cold mind brushes against her. Now hush, child, go and find your mother and father – be a good girl, and bring them both home…

~~~

Because why wouldn't three-year old Urwen Lalaith fall under the curse, too?


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