also that whole tale of aragorn and arwen thing where he saw her in the woods at twenty and fell instantly in love and it’s very beren and luthien? lies.
aragorn decided he was going to marry arwen when he was like, six.
and everyone thought it was just the cutest thing, baby estel with his little crush on the great immortal evenstar, and everyone would tease him about it relentlessly and he would get so mad, and pout, because how dare they doubt his word.
(arwen spent a lot of time biting back smiles and nodding very seriously when aragorn brings this up with her. no, estel, I do not know why they are laughing perhaps they have remembered a particularly funny joke.)
and then aragorn grows into this gangly teen and oh my god can you imagine being a pimply greasy teenager around fucking elves it’s a wonder he has any self-image left. His voice breaks every other word and the laundresses are beginning to wonder if something is wrong with the sheets because estel keeps washing them himself and aragorn wants to die, god, arwen is never going to marry him if he stays all elbows and skinny knees and he can’t even look her in the eye anymore without blushing, eye contact is probably something to look for in a husband—
(arwen, who never had to go through puberty because elves don’t do anything so undignified, tries to comfort him by saying she likes his blemishes. aragorn gives her a look of such utter, miserable despair that she starts laughing.)
(this is a mistake. he spends the next three weeks nursing his wounded ego and refusing to see her.)
estel is twenty when he asks for her hand. he is lean, slender and fair as a new tree, and so arwen does not feel guilt in kissing his cheek and gently refusing. he is still green, he will weather greater storms than this—and he takes it as he should, clasping her hand and swearing to ever be her loyal friend.
they write to each other—when she is in lorien, when he wanders with the rangers of the north, fights alongside gondor, travels to distant lands. it is an inconstant tie—he is rarely afforded time enough to put pen to paper; she is reserved so as not to encourage what may not be. (she signs her letters always, your friend. She likes him too well to be cruel in this.)
the years pass. his weariness and strife creeps onto the page, and she sends him tokens to fend off the darkness—leaves from lothlorien, the ribbon from her hair, snippets of poems. it is not enough it is never enough I am sorry, she writes.
his reply is gentle: you are enough. do not stop writing.
(she carries that letter tucked inside her sleeve for a long while, like a talisman—though against what evil, she does not know.)
she is in the house of her grandmother when a familiar voice calls out to her: my lady luthien!
this is when arwen looks up, sees aragorn—broad of chest and rugged, still wearing his battered mail, with one hand balanced lazily on the pommel of his sword. All the trees of caras galadhon are gold but he is shadow and silver, kingliness resting lightly on his shoulders—
and arwen thinks, oh fuck