Though the sun had long since set, and all was quiet, to him, there was no rest. Celeborn, Lord of the elven kingdom of Lothlorien, had finished his day and was passing the time among the woods of his land. For many long years he had dwelt in this forest, seen the trees come and go. Yet, as an elf, he had remained as he always has. Unchanging and ageless, like all of his kind. To his ears, the forest was not silent, but abuzz with the many far-away sounds. The winds blowing through the leaves. The animals scurrying about the forest floor. Even the footsteps of his own kin. All was heard by him.
He had lived through many ages, like many elves, and had seen much of the darker horrors this world had to offer, in war, or in the simple squabbles of those who lived beyond their borders. But here, near the edges of their protected realm, he found some peace. There was a tiny lake here, hidden among the many trees, known only to him and a select few others. Though he had come here often, it never cased to amaze him just how spectacular this place could be. The trees formed a perfect ring around the waters, and the sky above was clear, showing off the brilliant light of the moon and stars. It was a paradise within a paradise. To one as old as he, he had come to appreciate the simple things, and the beauty that nature could provide those willing to find it.
Tonight though, he could see that he would not be enjoying this glade alone. To his left, he saw that clothing had been set upon a nearby low-hanging branch. Approaching it, he saw that it was a pure white robe, one of fine elven weave, decorated with the images of leaves found on the trees of their wood. Casting his eyes downward, he also caught sight of a pair of white slippers upon the ground. It was here that he afforded himself a small smile. He knew well who was here, and what she was doing. So, finding a large nearby stone to sit upon, he looked out upon the waters of the lake, and simply waited.
He did not have to wait long, for the stillness of the water's surface was broken by the emergence of a figure from beneath. Though the night was dark, the light of the moon above illuminated her enough for his eyes. It was an elven woman, taller than many, and possessed of a grace and beauty that few in the world could ever have thought possible.
Though, as a being of great renown, she had many names across the length and breadth of Middle-Earth. The Lady of Light, the Lady of the Golden wood, and many others. To Celeborn, the one she had joined in marriage, she was simply Galadriel. Feared and revered in equal measure by all in their world, only a few could ever say they truly knew her. Celeborn was one of those few, and it was a fact he cherished. Looking upon her, in the middle of what she'd probably have thought would be a private bathing session, he saw her stop and turn in his direction. Upon seeing him, she did not glare or look disdainful at his viewing of her, but merely smiled. He was the only one who would have ever been allowed to see her like this. It was a beauty that was his alone to see, a privilege for which he returned the smile.
As he looked on, he saw that, as she stood unclothed in the waters, there was one item she kept with her. It was upon a finger of her right hand. A ring, of elaborate craftsmanship, forged of mithril and adorned with a brilliant, white diamond. Nenya, the ring of water. One of the three great elven rings, forged in the second age, it had serves as a source of great power for those who weilded them, Galadriel included. Though the rings had been concealed during the time of the One, the Lady of Lothlorien had never parted with it, not even during a moment like this.
His beloved wife turned her face away, and continued her washing as he watched her. Her hair, golden like the sun, had been the inspiration for many a great elven artisan. Her bare skin, still covered in the droplets of the lake's water, were glistening with the light they reflected. And ever there was the glow of the moon, which covered and illuminated her. Not even the bearing of their daughter, Celebrian, had managed to diminish her form. It was a gift of elvenkind that not even the passing of countless years could make them any less than what they were now. To Celeborn's eyes, she was perfect. As beautiful as Lady Varda herself, the mistress of the stars and moon. Though he would never say so. For he knew that, as much as his wife would appreciate the compliment, to compare a person, even one of the eldar, to a Valar, was hubris of the greatest kind.
That thought brought to his mind the memories of ages long past, when Galadriel, along with the other great leaders of the Noldor elves, refused the advice of the Valar Lords and Ladies, travelling to Middle Earth from the undying lands of Valinor, in pursuit of the dark one, Morgoth, master of Sauron. That pursuit had led to the eventually founding of Lothlorien itself, of which Galadriel and Celeborn now ruled together. But still, he could not deny how proud he was of his love's accomplishments. No woman of their kind had ever stood taller than she did on that fateful day, when she proved herself the equal of any of the great Lords and Kings of their race.
Even so, there had been times that he would wonder, why him? Why, of all the elven males in their world, had he alone been chosen to stand beside her in matrimony? He was not the oldest among their race. He was not the greatest warrior. He was not the wisest. He was not even possessed of the greatest skill or arcane knowledge. And yet, in spite of that, it had been him, and him alone, that Galadriel had chosen to stand at her side these many thousands of years. The two had met in their youth during the first age of their world, and had been inseparable ever since. They'd endured much together, married, even had a child. But through it all, not a day went by when he didn’t tell himself that he wasn't worthy of her.
But then, he knew her gift. For Galadriel, above all other elven people, had the gift of sight. A sight that allowed her to peer into the hearts and minds of others. This gift had contributed to much of the fear that others felt about her, and yet she had used it many times to see the good in others, their best, not just their worst. When the day came when Celeborn had finally asked her why she'd chosen him, she'd simply answered "because I saw you were worthy". He knew she had seen into him, into his heart. She had seen the love he bore for her, and that alone had been enough for her, even though he himself often questioned if that alone was what she deserved.
He knew it would not do to dwell on such matters. That day was many hundreds of years ago, and not once had their love lessened in all that time, for which he was eternally grateful. As such, he simply allowed himself to view his wife in the waters of the lake before him. Every once in a while, there would be a moment where the Lady of the wood would glance at him, and he would see her eyes. Those deep and piercing eyes, feared by so many, but loved by him. He would smile at her, and she at him. A time came when the Lady had finally finished her cleaning in the waters, and began to move out of the lake.
Celeborn stood tall once more and looked upon her as she moved out of the water and onto solid ground. Her skin still glistened with the water that clung to her, and with every single step she moved with a grace that many would think impossible of any creature which walked upon this world. So graceful was she that her steps did not even break the blades of grass on the ground she now walked upon. She reached down next to the stone he'd been sitting on, and lifted a concealed towel, which she then dried her hair with. Turning, Celeborn carefully removed her white robe from it's place on the branch and offered it to her as she approached. The Lady took it from him and slipped it on, only looking him in the eyes once the robe had been closed. The two elves, lovers since the start of the first age, gave a warm smile to each other as they moved forward to hold each other.
The two had lived alongside each other for thousands of years, so much so that only a glance need pass between them to know what the other was thinking. Even without her gift of sight, Galadriel knew what thoughts were passing through Celeborn's mind as he looked upon her. Thoughts of her. Her wisdom. Her beauty. But most of all, how fortunate he considered himself to be with her. She loved him in turn, and showed this by moving closer, placing her soft lips upon his in a kiss. As the two lovers held each other and revelled in their warm embrace, they both thought the same thought, which the Lady's gift made heard by both of them.
"I love you".