2. Long Lost
Notes: Well, this chapter ended up a great deal longer than I expected … it was supposed to be more amusing than it turned out, but then, the story does have a lot of dark undertones.
Thank you so much for the overwhelming response to chapter 1! Many of you have high expectations for this story … I hope I can live up to them … ^^x;;
~~~Three Months Later~~~
"Isn't she simply lovely?"
Two men stood on the long concrete dock at sunset, largely oblivious to the business of crewmen, cargo masters, and general insanity of the work in the minor commercial port. One of the two men, a tall, broadly built captain with a weather-beaten face and the beginnings of a full-grown gray beard, waved his hand at his docked boat, a fishing vessel freshly painted white and green. "Named 'er Chaser. She's gonna catch me a fine load."
"If she fishes as fine as she looks, than your luck is well sealed," agreed his companion, a slight, brief smile gracing his features and a vaguely English – or maybe Welsh? – accent touching his words. He was taller than the captain, but slimmer, and his face was clean-shaven, although like the captain he wore a heavy coat and a wool hat to keep out the strong, gusty winds of a seacoast in late November. "Have you her registration papers?"
"Of course, Lawrence, of course," laughed the captain, slapping the man on the back and taking a long drag on his cigarette. He breathed out smoke that was immediately whipped away by the winds and reached into his breast pocket, freeing a package of rumpled, folded yellow papers. "Wouldn't 'a bothered you if I didn't. Inspection papers are in there, too, but I thought you might like to take a look at 'er before you simply signed her off."
"Considerate of you," conceded Lawrence, taking the proffered papers and studying them with a slight frown. "Hm … they are in order … You sold the Argonaut?" He raised his eyebrows and gazed at the captain with piercing green eyes. "I admit, I am surprised, Jason. She rather suited you, going by her name, of course." He smiled again, slightly.
Captain Jason could not meet Lawrence's eyes for long, but he smiled and gazed out at the sea, puffing his cigarette. "I suppose she did, at that, but I'm not chasing any golden fleece, you know." He dropped the cigarette and crushed it under his foot. "Chaser's better for me, you'll see."
"I do not doubt it," Lawrence murmured, taking a pen from his pocket and scribbling a signature on the bottom of the papers. He slapped them into the captain's hand. "I have signed her off. Send me copies of the papers by next Monday, or I shall be forced to impound her, and that would truly be a shame. Would that I could sail out with you sometime." He turned sorrowful eyes upon the waters and simply watched the rolling waves, a distance within him that had not been there before.
"Aye," agreed Jason, replacing the papers in his pocket. "You'll have a chance yet, young man. There's many a summer before you, and I'd be honored to take you for a pleasure trip sometime."
Jason did not see the small, amused smile that lit up 'Lawrence's' features, or catch his murmured words over the wind.
"Thenid … uireb laeri teli."
* * *
"Good to see you back, Mr. Green," smiled the doorman as he tipped his hat to the approaching man. 'Mr. Green' smiled back amiably, meeting the doorman's eyes and touching his fingers to his forehead in greeting as he bowed slightly. The doorman broke their eye contact after only a moment, though, ushering him in.
The lobby of Lawrence Green's apartment complex was freezing cold in the summertime and overheated in the winter, but the man didn't seem to mind; he stopped at the mailboxes, tossed the junkmail into the trash bin and stuffed the two bills into his pocket, and made a beeline for the stairwell, completely ignoring the elevator as he always did. He jogged up the stairs to the 15th floor without even breaking a sweat, deftly freeing his keys from his coat pocket, and slipped into his apartment, where he shed his heavy black coat, hanging it on a peg.
"Ai, Legolas," the 'man' murmured, pulling his woolen hat off his head and swiping his hand back over his long ice blond hair, pushing it away from his face and gently pointed ears. "You've been living by the sea too long." He closed his eyes for a moment, a smile gracing his lips, before he opened them again and gazed in the unnerving Elven way about his apartment.
Legolas Greenleaf, aka Lawrence Green, aka any number of other aliases over the course of the past nine thousand years, had settled on the East Coast of America about 55 years before (just after World War II) and established himself shortly afterwards in the fishing industry – first sailing his own boats, but later as a shipwright, registering boats as they came in and keeping track of their captains' success as a fisherman. He'd moved a few times, it was true, but only from necessity; after all, it began to look suspicious when after twenty years or so one's coworkers had begun to go bald and get age wrinkles, but one still looked as if one hadn't aged a day over 21 …
He'd been in Norfolk for five years now, and he liked it here; it was a relatively small town, not far from the trees or from the sea, the first two loves of Legolas' long life. On his day off he usually went for long walks in a nearby wood; at work, he spent what time he could gazing at the rolling waves. Answering the call of the Sea all those millennia ago had assuaged the Sea-longing that afflicted him, but the Telerin origins of his Sindarin blood had caught up with him; Legolas found it very hard to abide living far from the coast.
His own apartment … well, Legolas mused as he meandered his way into the kitchen, pulling his blond hair back into low ponytail to keep it out of his face, it couldn't be described as overflowing with house plants, precisely … although he did have quite a bit of greenery about. He filled a TupperWare container with water (a brilliant invention, this tough plastic stuff) and began his usual rounds, watering each of his plants and whispering encouragement to them in Sindarin, telling them to grow and be prosperous. After he finished, the small apartment was always filled with the soft song that all living things sang, and Legolas usually indulged himself by lounging on his tired brown couch and drifting off into a gentle doze.
Today, however, was not a usual day, as it turned out. He was just finishing up the balcony plants when his doorbell chimed. (Yes, chimed; it had once buzzed, but Legolas had been so aggravated by the sound that he had finally bothered to figure out how the doorbell worked and reinstalled it with a more pleasing bell.) "Coming," Legolas called absently, closing the balcony door behind him, putting down his TupperWare half-full of water on the counter, and crossing the common room soundlessly to open the door. He did so somewhat cautiously; one did not live for nine thousand years among Men without learning a little caution around strangers.
But these were certainly not strangers.
It was eerie, Legolas decided (for well nigh the thousandth time since their first meeting some sixteen thousand years before), that Elladan and Elrohir could – and did – speak in perfect unison like that. Before he could get out a word, though, the twin sons of Lord Elrond had pushed the door open fully so they could embrace him simultaneously, kissing him on either cheek. "S-suilannad!" Legolas managed, returning their embraces.
When the twins detached themselves from Legolas, he took a short moment to gaze at them, and they took that moment to gaze at him. The Silvan Elf noted that they no longer looked exactly alike; one of them (Elladan, Legolas guessed) had allowed his hair to continue to grow long – to the middle of his back, in fact – and had at some point gotten his ear pierced. Elrohir, on the other hand, had chopped off nearly all his dark brown hair into a traditional haircut for Men. But there was something more … he frowned slightly at them, struck by a sense of tiredness. He met their eyes, and they were bright and eager, but also grim.
Ai! I have been away from my people for too long …
"Well, come in," Legolas encouraged, stepping back from the door and bowing slightly. "I was not expecting company, so the apartment is something of a mess."
"Thank you," they again spoke in near unison, and crossed the threshold. "I like the decoration scheme," began Elrohir, looking over the paintings of flowered landscapes, pots and vases filled with plants, and the earthy tones of all the furniture.
"Yes, very Silvan," observed Elladan, before grinning widely at Legolas. "And you still clad yourself in green and brown, I see."
Legolas glanced down at his green sweater and brown slacks, and his mouth twitched, momentarily reminded of their old jokes about Silvan Elves and their obsession with all things tree-colored. "At least I have a sense of the aesthetically pleasing, unlike a certain pair of half-Elves I know," he replied coolly.
"Ai, who here has the blood of a Maia flowing in their veins?" demanded Elrohir, laughing.
"What has that to do with your sense of fashion?" Legolas replied smartly, but he sobered even as he spoke. "Come, sit down; I'll make tea."
"Tea?" asked Elrohir, sounding a bit amazed, even as he sat on the old brown couch. "You haven't adopted coffee, or something of the like?"
"Why should I?" Legolas inquired from the kitchen; he had several flavors of tea, including hazelnut, mocha, and mint, but he was so low on the first two he just went with the mint flavored tea. "It is not as if I need something to help me stay awake, and I prefer not to put excessive caffeine in my system for no good purpose."
"But that is not the reason to drink coffee. It just tastes good," Elladan said, sitting next to his brother.
"I beg to differ," Legolas arched an eyebrow. "Did you want tea or not?"
"Yes, please," they chorused.
"… Very well." Legolas barely refrained from asking if they were actually still children hidden in fully-grown bodies, forcibly reminding himself that he was, in fact, 682 years younger than they.
There was a short pause while Legolas heated the tea in the microwave (another wonderful invention, in Legolas' humble opinion) and brought it out to the twins, then sat opposite them on his armchair to their simultaneous 'thank you's. But while Elladan began to sip his tea, and Elrohir blew on the steam rising from his cup, Legolas simply looked at them. Something is wrong. Why do they take their time speaking of it?
Elrohir interrupted Legolas' dark thoughts. "So, Legolas, what have you been up to? We have heard nothing of you for nearly eighty years."
"Oh, this and that," Legolas dodged the question. "That is a rather involved question, you realize; in this age, eighty years is a long time in which much is accomplished."
"We have missed you," Elladan said seriously.
Legolas felt a pang of regret again and reflected that he had indeed been gone for too long from his people. This was not the first time he had spent almost a century without contact with other Elves, but always towards the end of his self-exile he began to feel this way. It was just that the need to simply be away from all the Elven lords that reminded him of how much had been lost was sometimes overwhelming, and the desire to merely rest amongst the trees and unknowing Men became irresistible …
"Legolas?" Elladan had cocked his head slightly. "Is your head in the trees?" he smiled.
The Elf shook his head to clear it and smiled at the sons of Elrond. "I suppose it was, but seeing you both again has given rise to many memories. I've missed you, too." Legolas took a sip of his rapidly cooling tea; perhaps he'd left the thermostat too low. He often didn't notice the temperature until the plants began to lament the climate or his drinks lost their heat too fast. Yes, Legolas, that is the key; think about insignificant things to distract yourself from the matter at hand. He cleared his throat. "I did not leave an address with anyone by which to contact me."
"Oh, tracking you down was quite a trick!" Elrohir enthused. "You have hidden yourself well, 'Lawrence Green'." The short-haired half-Elf's face quirked with a slight smile, and Legolas felt a touch of color in his cheeks.
"Indeed," agreed Elladan. "You left few clues. But you have done this before and you have always returned from your mysterious absences, so we would not have so violated your privacy …"
"But we have a reason," Elrohir finished for his twin. He gazed intently at Legolas, and green eyes locked with grey ones. "You know what I speak of?"
Legolas did not look away. "I do." He allowed himself a long, deep breath and spoke of the feeling that he had barely even allowed himself to think upon. "The threat hovers on the edge of my knowledge, like a wave about to sweep over our precarious boat. It is almost as if he has …"
"Returned?" Elrohir finished.
Legolas nodded, and Elladan again spoke. "Legolas, we cannot speak of this here. Our father wishes to talk to you on this matter. Will you come with us?"
Ah … I should have guessed. Legolas was torn between a smile and a grimace, and he settled for keeping his features schooled to stillness. "I will, although I cannot imagine why Lord Elrond would wish to speak to me on the matter. I … I am not best suited to aid him." Legolas was not afraid to admit this truth to himself. "There are others more wise than I."
"Nonetheless, he has asked after you," Elrohir replied soberly. He drained his teacup to the dregs and put it down with an air of finality, and a smile curled his lips. "Come now; surely being summoned by Lord Elrond is enough of an honor for you, you greedy Elf."
"'Greedy' Elf? Who was it that stuffed himself like a Hobbit at King Richard's table?" Legolas shot back, allowing the subject change even as he knew it was occurring; he privately appreciated it. He needed a bit of time to absorb this.
Elrohir managed to pull off an appropriately affronted look. "I know not of whom or what you speak!"
Elladan laughed and cuffed his brother on the shoulder. "That is because drank yourself under the table with the finer wine that night, brother-mine. Your memory of that incident is surely addled."
"Not I," scoffed Elrohir proudly. "Perhaps it is the two of you that need your heads examined."
"How do you figure upon that?" Elladan inquired innocently.
"I can hold my liquor better than you, dear brother, and I shall wager I can hold it better than our friend Legolas here, as well!"
"Ah no, do not drag me into this bet," Legolas held up his hands defensively. "I cannot compete with either of you when it comes to the matter of drinking."
"But surely you would not let this challenge go—"
"I shall get more tea," Legolas interrupted smoothly, collecting the empty cups and returning to the kitchen before the jest could get out of hand.
He could not, however, shake the foreboding in his heart … that he would spend his night with two half-Elves in the local bar.
* * *
Author's Notes: Legolas is, by his own definition, a Silvan Elf, but his blood is at least partially Sindarin (because his father is a Sindarin Elf). For this fic I have supposed that Legolas' mother is a Silvan Elf and his father is Sindarin, giving Legolas a few traits from either race of Elves; for instance, the love for the Sea that is partially due to the Sea-Longing and partially due to his Telerin origins can be attributed to his Sindarin blood, but his love for the trees is Silvan.
"Indeed … many a summer ahead." (But that's a very loose translation … lit. "True … eternal summers to come.") Also, this is probably an inappropriate use of 'Thenid', as it means 'true' more in the sense of 'firmness' (If Galadriel had said 'Yet hope remains while the Fellowship is true' in Elvish, she would have used 'thenid'.)
 Thingol married Melian the Maia, and they had Luthien, and she is somehow related to Elrond, and so the twins have Maia blood in them.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.