"Kill me," Kib whispers to his Charp when the doorknob turns, and the wrought iron fist caves in his skull too fast to feel.
The first thing Lu dreams is Kib realizing that Aly spoke Harthanic and must have been real.
He realizes this in that southwest common tongue. She can't hold together enough of the Harthanic to check up on it, but the common she can get down several words, and she has a friend who speaks it, who doesn't ask too many questions, confirms the translation.
Lu has eight more dreams before she buys a phrasebook and tells her teacher that she's taking a vacation and she gets on her zebra and she heads for Wrebb.
There are Elves there, but not her Elves. But once she's called a stork down and sent it on its way again they believe she's who she says she is, and they fill in a lot of her gaps. She's guessed enough from the Little Valinor information sheets not to fish too hard about information on her Elves but she can cover for a lot by remarking on how spotty the dreams are, she had one about this guy, was he important, who is he, fill her in she's forgotten so much and doesn't have her notes...?
Aydanci's not there either, Aydanci's in the Elves' world because he couldn't do without her and now he's doing exactly that, poor Aydanci - she doesn't even know how Kib died, the Elves assume "in the war" but they can only guess about possible details - the portals are closed -
Lu restricts herself to checking for her Elves by osanwë once each a day, Findekáno in the morning and Maitimo in the evening, they'd be reasonably likely to arrive together and they'd probably be told by the Little Valinor Elves that she was present at once anyway but she wants to check and she can so she does. Every now and then she composes a breathtakingly diplomatic speech to the Valar and tries addressing them in case they can hear her even when the portal's closed.
Years go by and the dreams speed up and Lu wakes up alone alone alone in the Little Valinor apartment she's moved into and Aydanci's not there and Maitimo's not there and Findekáno's not there -
Well, she can occupy herself. The Little Valinor Elves have a worthy project going and she can help. And she can give them news about how things are going back home - seventeen years out of date and then some - in little bits and pieces - and she can wait.
They win. It's ugly but they win. They spend a few exhausted weeks making sure they've gotten out everyone who they had a chance at, making sure people have food and clean water, singing until they are hoarse.
Then the King says he's going to Lórien.
Want me to come with?
It'd be hard to explain.
Yeah. Okay. Let - let me know -
And he goes to Lórien, who gives him back his memories or purports to, gives him back his hand, heals the scars, and he is an exemplary patient, quiet and grateful and politely awed by Lórien, and then he asks for the portals.
The Valar demur.
He travels to Taniquetil and he pleads and he petitions and he makes friends and he finds angles and it is going to take years, because of course it will, so he goes home. Waves to his people with both hands, tries to hide everything that remains unfixed, everything he did not give Lórien leave to touch, certainly hides the doubt it was Lórien at all. Not all of his brothers believe it. The Noldor sing and grieve and at Elf-pace start to build a city. It's a short boat trip, shorter by air, so once everything is underway he goes back and he pleads and he petitions and eventually he gets somewhere.
The portals open.
He goes back to Tirion and walks through them and - Kib?
I'm here I've been waiting where are you is the portal where it used to be?
Yeah - yeah, it is...
She's still got her zebra, trots up thereupon. The zebra kneels to let her down and she slides off and beams up at him. "- hi."
"...hi," he says. "War's over, we won. I'm - I'm sorry we let you die - have you been okay -"
"It was complicated, took half a million servants and weapons my father developed - Aydanci helped him - Aydanci needs to know you're alive and alright, want to - send a servant through, that'll be fastest...you had a golem kill you when you were trapped and about to be captured. Would have been quick."
He's okay. He's doing a lot of the heavy lifting on running the country for me, since I'm not - have you dreamed that yet -
The Valar are actually sort of competent within sufficiently narrow domains.
Unfortunately most of them got destroyed when the continent sunk, I'm so sorry, I think Aydanci might have a few and we can at least tell you everything that happened - Lórien also might be able to put all your memories back, he did it for me -
When the Enemy died.
Indeed. Uh, do you want to sit down somewhere and get - the history, at least, first...
She has not yet remembered that the majority of her boyfriends are gay. He should say something. Instead he just watches her, looking for Kib, and -
- uses her face like he used his, looks at her surroundings the same way, she's got an accent in Quenya which isn't the same one he had but she does use his phrasing -
- here's her building, she slides off her zebra and tells it to go home and shows him upstairs.