1. Beautiful, Unanswerable Questions
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions.
- Carl Sandburg
Legolas put on an extra burst of speed, his muscles straining to overtake his companion. The effort proved fruitless however when the Peredhel reached the tree selected as the finish line and slapped it with one hand.
"I win again," Elrohir crowed, as Legolas came running up and leaned on the tree, bending over to catch his breath.
"One day… I will… beat you," Legolas panted, straightening to look at Elrohir, his eyes drawn to the gleaming muscles of his friend's bare chest.
"Only if the physical world of Aman is so altered as to give a Wood Elf unnatural speed," Elrohir laughed.
Legolas scowled and punched him on the arm. "Very funny, Elrohir. Tell me, did you bring me along to hunt Orcs or to run the wind out of me?"
"A little of both," Elrohir smiled, as they headed down to the stream to wash up.
Though Elrohir and his brother seemed identical in every way, Legolas knew and relished their differences. While Elladan was a good friend and trusted companion, Legolas loved Elrohir above all others. Elladan was practical, serious, and often too thoughtful, preferring fighting to wine and song, whereas Elrohir was gay and affable, always teasing and joking, more interested in making merry than in martial pursuits. For years Legolas and Elrohir had been forced to make whatever time they could to be together, for their many obligations separated them and the conventions of their people prohibited them from making their feelings for each other known.
They removed their boots and peeled off their damp leggings, wading into the knee high water to sluice off the sweat of their exertions. The cleaning up soon turned into good-natured horseplay as a splashing contest ensued and they both ended up soaked, the icy water dripping from their lean bodies.
Legolas waded out of the stream and Elrohir called out, "Heads up!" Legolas whirled instantly, just in time to catch the projectile zooming toward his head. He snatched it from the air and saw it was a small river turtle. Elrohir strode over to him, laughing.
"There is someone you can beat in a foot race," he teased.
"Then I shall always keep him near," Legolas said, sitting cross legged on the grass in his loincloth looking at the turtle as it rested on his palm, its beady eye regarding him languidly. "I shall call him "Sarnith" and he shall have a long and prosperous life in the fountain in my father's courtyard."
"'Wise stone'?" Elrohir said. "I did not take you for a sentimentalist, Legolas."
Legolas grinned. "Not at all. The Drúedain revere these creatures for their wisdom and longevity. It is a fitting name."
"Only a Mortal would confuse longevity with wisdom," Elrohir chuckled. "Just as only a sentimental Elf would make a pet of a river turtle." He shook his head at Legolas' indulgent look and threw himself down on the grass on his back, one arm behind his head the other stroking Legolas' leg, as he looked up into the clear blue sky. "Ai, but this place is peaceful. Would that I could spend some time enjoying a few relaxing days here upon the river, or the hospitality of your father's halls, instead of tracking Orcs."
"The Greenwood is grateful that you and Elladan warned us of their movements toward Erebor. We must rout them before they reach the Lonely Mountain."
"And we are grateful you agreed to act as our guide. The area is known to us but the particulars are unfamiliar."
"You know I am always pleased to have the opportunity to assist you," Legolas said, resting his hand on Elrohir's chest and settling the turtle on his own knee. He turned to look in Elrohir's eyes, a slight flush coloring his cheeks. "In any way you might need."
Elrohir's grey eyes darkened and his heart quickened beneath Legolas' fingers. He gently squeezed Legolas' thigh and rose up on one elbow even as Legolas lowered his head, their lips meeting in a tender kiss. Legolas gently set the turtle down in the grass and the little reptile, as if sensing what was to come, ambled a distance away and began to search the grass for food.
Legolas ran his hands unhurriedly over Elrohir's body, fascinated as always by the solidity of the Peredhel whose muscles were more starkly defined and denser than those of a full Elf. Elrohir tasted of cool water and sunshine and Legolas dove deeper, tickling his tongue along the roof of Elrohir's mouth, making him moan in delight.
Rolling atop Elrohir, Legolas settled his slighter weight comfortably upon him and began to nibble at Elrohir's neck and ears. Their breeze hardened nipples nudged each other's smooth chests and their cloth clad groins nestled warmly together as Elrohir's fingers meandered through the golden river of Legolas' hair, gliding like fish through the wet strands.
The scent of spring leaves, of young shoots with the promise of fresh beginnings, filled Elrohir's nostrils as he breathed against his partner's neck. He nuzzled into the softness of that neck, his hands drifting lazily down Legolas' back and over the swells of his firm buttocks. He slid his hand beneath Legolas' loincloth, causing him to give a gasp of pleasure and spread his legs slightly. Elrohir's fingers traversed the cool, damp flesh of his cleft, following the crease down to smooth orbs, caressing them firmly as Legolas' growing arousal surged against his own.
Legolas slid his body down, creating a sensual friction and bringing Elrohir's fingers up, up to his waiting opening. Elrohir circled, pressed his finger inward and Legolas lifted his head and looked at him with shining eyes. He shook his head teasingly and began to kiss and plant small love bites down Elrohir's chest and belly, sending a tremor of anticipation rippling through him. As Legolas reached the edge of Elrohir's loincloth he gave a tug, loosening the brief garment which another, more insistent tug, caused to fall away. Elrohir's eyes closed in bliss as Legolas' lips encompassed him, his loins echoing the pulse of his heart. His hips raised a little, his arousal seeking the warmth of the mouth that caressed him with gentle abandon.
He moaned through wave after wave of delicious sensation as Legolas kissed along the underside of his arching arousal, cradling the pulsing vein between his tender lips and then continuing down to prepare Elrohir's opening with probing flicks of his tongue.
As Elrohir's excitement grew, Legolas became bolder, squeezing Elrohir's buttocks in his hands as he massaged his opening with increasing fervor, rolling his head from side to side to bring the pointed tips of his ears into contact with the soft skin of Elrohir's inner thighs. Legolas rose up and Elrohir drank in the pretty pink flush of his skin, lifting his legs as Legolas tore off his loincloth and took him hungrily.
Elrohir gasped, taking Legolas' face in his hands and bringing his head down for a needful kiss as they moved as one, their tongues matching their rhythms below. Elrohir's fingers skated lovingly along the rims of Legolas' ears, down his silken neck, coming to rest at last upon his chest, idly stroking his nipples as they made love, reveling in their stolen moment as only two Elves, with all the years of immortality but no power to be together, could do. The afternoon sun had fallen almost to the tops of the trees by the time they found their release and they lay in each other's arms, basking in the afterglow, touching and sharing kisses full of soft, yearning hope until it was time to return to camp.
After a quick washing up, they donned their leggings and Legolas took up the turtle and wrapped some duckweed in a leaf, tucking it in his pocket to feed the turtle later. He would gather more upon the morrow for they would follow the river until sunset and then take a sharp turn to the east to gain a position to engage the Orcs. They made their way back to camp to find Elladan sitting by a tree, perusing a map. He looked up at their approach.
"Who won this time?" he asked with a grin.
Legolas held up the turtle. "He did."
Elladan looked confused but then the joke sunk in and he laughed. "I am glad you two had your fun but I need your input, Legolas. This map does not show the route you spoke of earlier.
Legolas looked at the map where Elladan indicated. "No, the way we are going will be more difficult, taking us through the marshes. However, it should give us the advantage when we meet them upon the plain. The foothills will provide us cover so we may assess their numbers and plan our attack.
"But if we go through the marshes, will we not lose time?"
"The way through the marshes is a shortcut known only to our people. It should give us a day or more to prepare before meeting them in battle."
Very well. Could you perhaps sketch the way?"
"Certainly," Legolas said. He and Elladan went to find a pen and ink while Elrohir went to find some food.
Later that night, they sat around with their small party of warriors, singing softly and swapping stories before finally setting a watch. Legolas laid out his bed roll and took the turtle from his pocket, stroking its head as he fed it a bit of river weed. Elladan was preparing his own bedroll nearby and he came over.
"Do you plan to keep it then?" he asked.
"Yes, I shall," Legolas said. "Since Elrohir found him I have felt a kind of kinship with him. It feels as though he wants to make the journey with us."
"Then perhaps he is not as wise as his name suggests," Elladan said, "for we may find ourselves outnumbered this trip."
"Perhaps he will remind us of the value of studied patience," Legolas said, "an advantage may sometimes be won by holding back until the moment is ripe."
Elladan glanced over to where Elrohir was on watch and lowered his voice. "Speaking of holding back, I would like for you to not engage when we meet the Orcs. Then, if the tide turns against us, you can raise the alarm among the Dwarves. We have not been able to get word to them of the impending threat."
Legolas frowned. "I did not come along only to act as your guide, I want to do my part. Besides, Elrohir is the swiftest. If someone is to raise the alarm he would be the better choice."
"He will never agree, Legolas, you know that. Moreover, Stonehelm will listen to you. He knows your father. I would not ask you if it was not important." Elladan pleaded.
"Do you know the bitterness of what you ask? What will your warriors think if I hang back, that the Wood Elves' prince is a coward? Do not ask this of me Elladan."
"None of our people will think you cowardly," Elladan assured him. "You were one of the Nine, they respect that - and you are doing a brave thing by leading the way."
Legolas' gaze flickered to where Elrohir stood watch, his back to his companions. What he did not want to tell Elladan was that his reluctance was not for his reputation. He did not give two figs for what a few Noldor warriors thought of him. No, his concern was that he would not be able to protect Elrohir, to keep him out of danger, unless he was fighting beside him.
Yet Elladan was no fool, he knew Legolas' true fears. "I will look after him. This is not our first battle you know."
Legolas lowered his eyes. "It is difficult, Elladan. If things were different…"
"We would not still be chasing after Orcs in the wilderness," Elladan finished. "The world is a better place since Aragorn became king, but it will never be perfect Legolas. I know you two cannot declare yourselves openly, and that you are both in great pain because of it. Your lives are such that you cannot be together outside Aman, this is the reality. Worrying for him and placing yourself in unnecessary danger will not change what must be."
Legolas looked up at him, unable to keep the ache in his heart from reaching his eyes. "Sometimes I wish I had sailed as soon as the war was over. The longing takes me at unexpected moments and is so strong it consumes me. Sometimes just the smell of rain or the crying of a heron along a riverbank makes me think of the great water and my longing is… I cannot describe it but it makes my spirit feel like a bird flying in the rain, soaring and weighted at the same time." He paused reflectively, "Yet my time has not come. Our time has not come. Perhaps it never will."
Elladan's gaze was sympathetic as he laid a hand on Legolas' shoulder. "It will, Legolas. I have not developed the gift of my father for I cannot bear the visions, but this I know; you will be together one day."
Legolas smiled sadly, "At least we can make the most of the time we have. I will do as you ask, Elladan. Just make sure that if I must leave, no harm befalls him."
Elladan nodded. "I will. I love him too you know." He smiled reassuringly and moved away as Legolas laid down his bedroll. The turtle, meanwhile, pulled its legs and head into its shell and lay beside Legolas like a stone.
The next two days of their journey was an uncomfortable walk through the marshes as Legolas led them unerringly over the soggy ground. They did not stop to rest and ate from their pouches as they walked. Legolas tended his turtle and Elrohir smiled to see him moving gracefully at the head of the company, the turtle riding on his shoulder or nestled in the palm of his hand.
"It seems you're growing fond of Sarnith," Elrohir said.
"He is an agreeable companion, to be sure," Legolas said. "He eats little, seems to enjoy my company…" he gave Elrohir a mischievous look, "and never asks how much farther is the journey."
"Now that you bring it up, how much farther is it?" Elrohir asked with a grin.
"We will be out of the marshes by nightfall," Legolas assured him. "Then we must find shelter in the hills so we will not be seen. If the Orcs mean to attack the mountain gates they must either be planning to use stealth or be many in number."
"I fear it is the latter, though we will not know for sure until we get there." Elrohir lowered his voice. "Elladan tells me he has asked you not to fight. I feel it should be your choice, but I know why he has asked. Did you agree?"
Legolas hesitated before he replied. "Yes, though against my judgment. If the Orcs are many, we will need every sword and bow. Even if the Dwarves are warned, there is no guarantee that I can reach them in time or that they will leave their refuge to aid us."
"Did you not say patience is as important a virtue as strength? It is easy to do battle. It is much harder to let others fight while you seek to ensure their safety through different means."
"It is true; I would rather fight than run." Legolas turned to look in Elrohir's eyes. "And I would fight beside you rather than leave without knowing your fate."
"If I swore to you I will not take any unnecessary risks, would that ease your mind?" Elrohir asked.
Legolas could not help but smile. "I have seen you in action. I have seen you take risks which were too great. You are too bold, Elrohir."
"And you are too protective," Elrohir said. "I am older than you, and therefore wiser. Just ask your friend," he said, indicating the turtle.
Legolas laughed and held the turtle to his ear, pretending to listen. "He says only a fool would confuse age with wisdom."
Just before nightfall the marshes gave way to a plain that sloped and rolled into gentle hills. The mountain rose majestically ahead and the Elves went on alert, their eyes scanning the area for any sign of Orcs. They could not yet see the Running River but in the cool evening air they could hear the water rushing southward and smell the clean crispness of it.
They moved northeast toward the mountain gates, deciding to make camp in a brushy area in the valley between two hills. They set a watch at the top of the hill and laid out their bedrolls. Legolas put his close to Elrohir, a little away from the others. He reached for Elrohir and they clasped hands, lying together sleepless but content until the morning forced them to again pretend they were mere comrades in arms.
The next morning Legolas offered to scout ahead and Elladan agreed. He ate a quick breakfast of waybread, since they had not been able to hunt for several days, and set out. He moved quickly but carefully, keeping to whatever cover the bushes and long grasses could provide. Then, close to midday he saw two Orcs cross the river. It looked like a scouting party but Legolas couldn't be sure, so he waited as they came in his direction. Using his Galadren cloak for cover, he stood perfectly still as the Orcs passed him by at a distance of no more than a hundred yards. They were heading for the western side of the mountain and Legolas wondered why they were scouting in the direction of the secret door. Could the Orcs know of the passage? Legolas knew the door was only visible on Durin's Day so he did not think they could get in, yet it still bore closer observation.
He followed them as they made their way around the slopes of the mountain, skulking through the rocky outcrops, hugging the mountain face as they made their way to toward the western door. Legolas' concern grew when he realized that the door was, indeed, their destination, but he was truly shocked when he spied a Dwarf waiting for them. The Dwarf looked around nervously as the Orcs approached, greeting him as a comrade.
Legolas halted and slipped into the shadows of the surrounding rocks his ears tuned to the conversation.
"Did you bring the jewel, Gubgha?" the Dwarf asked greedily.
"We don't 'ave it with us, but it's on the way with the rest of our men," the Orc growled. "You get us inside an' then you get paid, 'ats the deal."
The Dwarf looked unhappy but there was nothing he could do. "If I don't get the jewel, your men don't get in, just keep that in mind," he said stubbornly, "and don't forget, the craftsmen are not to come to harm. It will do no good to get Stonehelm and the warriors out of the way if there is no one to work the metals."
"Me an' me fellows'll keep to the plan, don't worry, Svíkja. You just do your part."
From where he was standing, Legolas could see the glint of red in the Orc's eye and hear the condescension in his voice. His heart sank at the thought of the Dwarf selling out his fellows to this obviously lying Orc. Did he not realize the creatures could not be trusted?
"The gates to the mountain are well guarded," the Dwarf continued, "so make sure to hit them hard so the alarm will bring the warriors to the front. I will take you through a passage directly into Lord Stonehelm's halls. If your men are here after moonrise, his personal guard will be changing shifts, making him vulnerable to your attack."
The lead Orc nodded. "They're moving up the river now, two hundred strong and more meeting up with 'em in the woods past Dale."
Legolas' heart clenched at this news. More than two hundred Orcs on their way? The Elves would never be able to stop them.
He slipped quickly away and ran to tell the others. By the time he returned to camp the moon had risen and time was growing short. When he relayed what he had heard, the others looked surprised but determined.
"The Dwarves must be warned, Legolas," Elladan said. "You go back to the western door and see what you can do to keep the Orcs from gaining access through the secret passage. We will try to head off the Orcs before they make the main gate."
"Wait as long as you can before you engage," Legolas said. "If I go through the western door to warn the Dwarves it might be some time before reinforcements arrive, if they arrive at all."
Elrohir smiled grimly. "We shall have the patience of a turtle if you have the speed of a hare, for we cannot wait too long."
They looked at each other for a moment, the solemn, unspoken farewell, reassurance, and encouragement in their gaze resonating in the air between them like the sound of a rung bell. Then Legolas turned and ran, sprinting over the moonlit grasses and leaping lightly over rocks as he made his way back to the western side of the mountain.
He picked his way along the mountain slope, moving as swiftly as his need for stealth would allow. On his way, he heard the Orcs coming up quickly behind him, their gear clanking and creaking in the still night. He leapt upward, clinging to a rocky ledge above as they passed beneath him. Breathing a sigh of relief that he wasn't seen, he went up the sheer slope where the going was somewhat more level, though at a severe angle, and pushed himself to go faster. If he had not been an Elf, keeping his footing while maintaining his speed would have been impossible, but he managed to overtake the Orcs and reach the door, and the traitor Dwarf, ahead of them.
He hesitated as he watched the Dwarf pace before the doors wringing his hands. He did not want to kill him but he feared the Dwarf would give him away to the Orcs at the smallest chance. Legolas dropped down behind the Dwarf and seized him, putting his knife to his throat to ensure his silence. "If you do not speak the words and open this door, I will kill you and do it myself," he said.
"And how would an Elf know the words?" the Dwarf scoffed, struggling mightily despite the sharp knife cutting into his beard.
"Because this Elf is of Mirkwood. I believe my father knows your Lord."
The Dwarf froze. "It… it cannot be," he stammered, "…how?"
"Speak the words!" Legolas said urgently, pressing the knife closer. "And do it quietly or I shall not be merciful."
Sufficiently frightened, the Dwarf spoke the words and the door swung open. Legolas dragged his struggling charge inside and down the hall having the Dwarf repeat the words to close the door behind them. However, Legolas had not arrived in time to keep the Orcs from catching up and as the door began to close three of them made it into the passageway and gave chase. Legolas was forced to release the Dwarf as he turned to meet their charge.
"The Dwarf has betrayed us to the Elves!" one of them shouted, "Kill them both!"
Upon hearing these words, Svíkja took off down the hallway faster than Legolas had seen any Dwarf, other than Gimli, move.
The passage was too narrow for the Orcs to take him on all at once and so two of them came at him with the third close behind. Legolas gutted one, pulled his knife free and slashed the throat of the other, the swing of its sword grazing his tunic and cutting the laces. The Orc behind stumbled upon the falling bodies and Legolas dispatched him effortlessly with a downward swing of his knife. He made sure the Orcs were dead before running down the passage that led deep into the mountain. As he ran, he looked for the Dwarf who had escaped him but the traitor was nowhere to be seen.
Suddenly, a net dropped from above and Legolas went down under the weight of it, tangled in the thick ropes before he knew what was happening. He was instantly surrounded by axe wielding Dwarves.
"Peace, brothers," Legolas said in Khuzdul, "I am Legolas, friend to Gimli of Aglarond and King Elessar of Gondor, son of Thranduil of Eryn Lasgalen. I bring your Lord most urgent news."
The hard faces of the Dwarves did not soften. "You will see our Lord, that's certain," said their leader. "Bind him," he said to his fellows.
As the guards moved to comply, one of them noticed the signet ring Legolas wore. "He speaks the truth, he wears the sign of the Royal House." the Dwarf said, "Perhaps we should treat him with more care."
"Perhaps you should," Legolas agreed as the Dwarves lowered their axes helped him untangle himself from the net. "An attack upon your city is imminent and one of your own has betrayed you to your enemies. I saw Svíkja speaking to the Orcs after midday outside the western door. He told them he would lead them to Lord Stonehelm's hall during the change of the guard. There are three dead Orcs down the passage and approximately fifty others beyond the door. The Elves of Rivendell and Eryn Lasgalen are trying to hold two hundred more at your gates. I must speak with your lord now."
The Dwarf leader told one of his men to seek for Svíkja and then he said to Legolas. "I shall escort you to our Lord's hall. The others will remain here lest more Orcs find their way in. Follow me." He and Legolas ran off down the hall while the other Dwarves went down the passage see about the dead Orcs.
When they arrived in the Great Hall, Stonehelm was astonished to see his guards enter with an unlooked for Elf in tow. Legolas quickly explained what was happening, including the conversation he had heard between Svikja and the Orcs.
"Thank you for your warning, Prince of Elves," Stonehelm said. "I will send my men to aid your companions at once." But before he could call his troops to arms, a messenger rushed in, panting.
"Orcs at the gates, my lord! Hundreds of them are storming the stronghold at this moment. The guards are holding them but without help will be overrun."
"Send up the call, all warriors to the gates at once!" Stonehelm commanded.
Legolas was panicked to hear that the Orcs had made it past the Elves. "Lord Stonehelm, I must take my leave and see to my fellows."
"Follow my advisor and he will lead you by the short way to the gates. If any of your company need healing, bring them in and we will see to them," Stonehelm said.
Legolas made a quick bow. "Thank you, lord."
He followed the advisor closely, forcing himself to patience as the shorter legs of his companion did not carry them along as fast as he could have traveled alone. The way through the mountain was built for Dwarves and Legolas found himself forced to bend low as they ran along. Finally they came to the path that paralleled the river and the advisor turned to go back to the Great Hall as Legolas dashed into the fray.
Axes and Elven knives met swords with a ringing clash as Legolas fought his way through. He wielded his knives to their usual deadly effect, taking down two Orcs at a time as he leapt and spun like a whirlwind through the foul creatures. As he fought, Legolas' thoughts were on Elrohir and the other Elves, wondering how they fared and what damage they had sustained. He wished he could have been fighting with Elrohir, yet he had seen the twins in battle many times and their ability to read each other, to wield their weapons almost as one, was truly a wonder to behold.
Despite the long odds, the Dwarves fought like wounded wargs, cutting down the Orcs furiously until the river ran with black blood and the survivors retreated across the hills. The wounded and dead were everywhere, and Legolas left the gates to search for his companions as the Dwarves dispassionately finished off the dying Orcs and gathered up their wounded and dying comrades. Legolas ran along the river then turned onto the plain looking for any sign of the company, an ominous feeling growing in his stomach.
He met a group of Dwarves and Elves coming toward the gate and he looked frantically for Elrohir, his fears confirmed when he spotted him, bleeding and unconscious, being carried on a litter by two other Elves. In fact, many of the Elves were being carried and many others were missing. Elladan was limping, his left arm hanging uselessly at his side, his tunic soaked in both red and black blood. From the look of it, all the living Elves had sustained injuries, some of them more serious than Elrohir.
Legolas ran to Elrohir and took his hand, close to tears as he rubbed at his cold flesh. "Elrohir, can you hear me?" he said urgently. When there was no reply, he put his hand to Elrohir's nose, feeling the shallow exhalation that let him know his love still lived. He trailed the litter bearers to the healing hall and looked on wretchedly as the Dwarves assessed the wounded.
After their examinations, the Dwarven healers announced that they did not have enough healing herbs in store to treat everyone. Elladan shared with them the stores of his warriors but much more would be needed. The Dwarves also bluntly let the Elves know that they did not know enough about the firstborn to know if their healing skills would be useful in saving them. Distraught, Legolas clung to Elrohir's hand, past caring what the others might think, as he spoke to Elladan.
"I must get him back to Eryn Lasgalen. My father's healers will know what to do. Please, Elladan. I will have one of my men help me carry him. If we are swift we can be there in a few days."
Elladan looked at him sadly, his stitched arm in a sling, his leg bandaged heavily at the thigh. "The Orcs still roam the hills nearby, Legolas, and you would never make it through the marshes carrying a litter. We must wait here and see how things develop. When Elrohir wakes, he will want to see you beside him."
Legolas stood and paced back and forth, unable to contain his distress. "But what if he does not awaken? What if his wounds become infected and there is no medicine? Something has to be done, and quickly. Not just for Elrohir but for all."
"I have no answers, Legolas. I am sorry," Elladan said.
"Perhaps he cannot be moved but I can go and get help," Legolas said, warming to the idea as he spoke. "I can travel faster alone and have a better chance of moving through the hills undetected. I will bring back the healers, and medicine enough for everyone." He was becoming so excited that Elladan hated to bring his practical side to bear.
"The Dwarves have no steeds large enough to carry you. It will be many days before you are able to return, Legolas. What will you feel if he takes a bad turn and you are not here if he…?" the unspoken word hung heavy in the air and Legolas could feel Elladan's pain, as strong as his own but not as deep.
Legolas took the turtle from his pocket and laid it beside Elrohir's hand. "If he wakes, show him this and tell him to have patience and hang on until my return. He will know what it means. I must go, Elladan. I will not simply stand by and watch our people die for a lack of herbs that our healers gather daily in the forest." He looked into Elladan's eyes. "I will be back soon, I promise."
"And what do I tell him if you do not?" Elladan asked. "If you are captured or killed by Orcs before you reach the marshes, or are set upon by the wargs that follow large parties of Orcs, what then shall I tell him?"
"Tell him not even Námo will keep me from his side," Legolas said. He turned and left before Elladan could reply.
Legolas took an audience with Stonehelm, outlining his plan and asking his leave to bring Elven healers to his realm. The Dwarf Lord gave him leave but also expressed concern for his safety.
"Will not the Elven-King's wrath fall upon Erebor should his son fall in service to the Dwarves?" he asked.
"No, lord, my father knows of our journey and supplied us from his stores before we set out. He understands the vagaries of battle as well as any warrior and I believe he would expect this of me for he would do the same."
Thranduil's exploits were legendary among the Naugrim and Stonehelm had no doubt that Legolas spoke the truth. The Dwarf Lord told Legolas to take whatever he needed for his journey and thanked him formally for his aid.
Legolas stopped by the kitchens to replenish his rations and fill his waterskin. Then, carrying only his provisions and weapons, for he knew he must travel light, he set out. Overhead the clouds gathered and began to darken. Legolas could smell the rain in the air as he ran across the plains, his eyes searching the hills ahead for any sign of danger. In the late afternoon the air grew suddenly cooler and, with an enormous clap of thunder, the sky opened, dropping a torrent of rain on the sprinting Elf.
Night fell early due to the thick cloud cover, and with the rain falling in curtains blown by the high winds Legolas found it nearly impossible to see his way. Only the frequent flashes of lightning ahead kept him from stumbling as he raced along. Then, as lightning again lit the sky, he saw a warg cresting the hill ahead, running toward him at great speed. Legolas stopped and readied an arrow, sighting his shot during the brief explosions of light above. He loosed his shot but the rain and wind sent it awry and it only grazed the warg's ear.
The creature was on him in an instant and Legolas dropped his bow as he went down under the warg's weight, only managing to grasp his knife before he was pinned under massive paws. He caught the warg's neck with one hand, straining to keep its slavering jaws from his face, as he drove his knife into its gut with the other. Awash in steaming entrails, mud, and rain, Legolas pushed the dead warg off him and struggled to his feet. He felt a sharp pain in his ribs when he inhaled and swore under his breath. He had probably cracked, if not broken, a rib. Taking up his bow and sheathing his knife, he pushed on, but soon realized he that he was getting nowhere. The ground was almost as soggy as the marshes and he could not see in the darkness that came after each strike of lightning.
Cursing the Orcs, the warg, and the storm, in that order, Legolas found a boulder strewn area to shelter in and wrapped his cloak tightly around him. A few hours before sunrise, the rain let up and the sky cleared enough for a few stars to shine through. Legolas sent a silent plea to them as he stood, shook the rain from his cloak and took off running again.
He made it to the marshes on the second day, only to find the rain had swollen the tributaries so as to make the fens nearly impassable. Finding the paths swallowed up he was forced to wade into the water, seeking the way from memory. His ribs screamed with every intake of breath and he sank up to his knees or waist each time he missed the path, which was ever more often. He knew now his rib was broken, and that one of his missteps had caused it to puncture his lung. He stumbled onward, heedless of his body's cries for respite. Whenever he found himself drifting into reverie the rain cooled wind would hit him in the face, reviving him and lending him strength. He mentally fortified himself with thoughts of Elrohir: his laugh, his smile, the way he looked lying beneath him with his hair spilling over the grass and his bottom lip caught between his teeth. Legolas was determined to save him, even if he breathed his last in the attempt.
When he finally reached the raft cove, Legolas was met by the raftsmen who were shocked to see their prince looking so dire. He was covered in mud and blood beneath his cloak and his face was pale as milk. A trickle of blood ran from the corner of his mouth and his labored gasps were loud and ragged. They tried to help him but, delirious, he struggled to pull away.
"Healers are needed in Erebor… medicine…" He coughed weakly and a foam of bloody spittle bubbled from his lips.
"Rest easy, Prince Legolas, we will alert the King," one assured him.
Legolas fell into a swoon and they took him to the stronghold and called for help. He was taken to the healers and made comfortable while they discussed his treatment. Thranduil rushed to the healing rooms as soon as he was told of his son's arrival, devastated to see his condition. Legolas had come back from the Ring War without a scratch and now he was in danger of losing him to a battle with a few Orcs? His mind could not fathom it.
In a few moments, Legolas came to and Thranduil was astonished to see him struggle to rise. "Ada, I must get back to Erebor. Healers are needed, and medicine. The battle went ill, though the Orcs were driven away, and the Dwarves do not have enough supplies to treat the wounded."
The healers urged Legolas to lie back down and he groaned in pain as he reclined upon the pillow. Thranduil regarded him with concern.
"Save your strength, Legolas. The supplies are being prepared and the healers and their guard will leave at once. You have done all you can."
"No, Ada," Legolas insisted, his voice surprisingly strong. I must return with them, Elrohir…"
"Is in capable hands," Thranduil broke in. "Thorin will see he has the best care."
"It may already be too late," Legolas wheezed, "I left him many days ago. He was unconscious and had taken severe wounds. Even if it is as you say, I must see to him."
"I will not allow it," Thranduil said, the finality in his voice all too familiar to his son. "You may go when you are able, but not now. The healers are your commanders this day and you will obey them."
Legolas' stubborn expression did not change even as he agreed, "Yes, Ada."
Thranduil nodded as though he believed the too quick acquiescence and went to speak to the healers. Legolas closed his eyes, pretending to doze and straining to hear, but he could not make out what Thranduil said.
When the king left, the healers came to Legolas and cut away his clothing. They had him help them as they repositioned him to shift is broken rib into place, a small shuddering groan the only sign of the prince's agony. They wrapped his chest tightly and brought him an infusion of herbs and alcohol to drink to fight infection. As Legolas sipped it a peaceful warmth spread through him, making his pain seem a faraway thing, a trifling thing. The healer leaned over him, whispering softly, and the part of Legolas' mind that yet struggled toward wakefulness was overcome by the sleep spell.
Legolas' eyes fluttered open and the room slowly came into focus. A healer was at a table by the window, mixing medicines, and he turned and hastened over at the 'oof' that heralded the prince's awakening. He held out a hand to assist, but Legolas waved him away in annoyance, rising shakily to his feet, his hand going to the bedside table for support.
"You should not be out of bed," the healer said, his exasperation tempered with concern.
"I just want to see my father," Legolas said evenly, "so I can kill him," he mumbled under his breath.
"The king will come to you. I will go call for him now if you promise not to leave the room," the healer bargained, trying to retain some control over his willful patient.
"Very well," Legolas agreed, "go fetch him while I walk around a bit. I promise not to exert myself." He gingerly moved his legs and arms to test his soundness, wincing a bit at the stiffness in his limbs. "It feels like I've been lying in that bed for a week."
"Two, rather," the healer said, feeling a small thrill of satisfaction as Legolas looked at him, mouth agape.
The healer left quickly and Legolas rubbed his eyes and sighed. "Oh, Ada, what have you done to me?"
He took a few small steps and when no ill effects resulted he took a deep breath, ignoring the discomfort deep in his chest. Going to the door, he stepped out into the hall and was met by two of his father's personal guard.
"The king has requested you wait for him," one of them said.
"He also counsels patience," said the other, "the patience of a turtle."
Taken aback, Legolas went back into the sickroom and sat on the edge of the bed, wondering what it all meant. Thranduil entered a few moments later, looking so relieved and contrite that Legolas forgave him immediately.
"How do you feel?" Thranduil asked carefully.
"Like I could ride to Erebor," Legolas joked, and Thranduil relaxed, smiling.
"That will not be necessary," he said, becoming serious. "There has been a complication but be assured that all is well."
"What do you mean?" Legolas felt like the wind had been knocked out of him. "How is Elrohir?"
"The Peredhil have left for the Havens," Thranduil said. "Elrohir's head wound is grave."
"Tell me the truth. Will he die?"
"He is as good as new, save for one thing; the blow to his head has blighted his memory." Thranduil hastened on at Legolas' frantic look, "The healers believe he might improve in time but they do not know how much of his memory will return." With a sympathetic gaze, he reached into a pouch at his belt and brought forth the river turtle. "Elladan sent you this, with a message: 'Time moves swiftly, though the days are slow. Our time has come and someday so shall yours. Have patience and have faith.'"
Legolas took the turtle and looked at it thoughtfully, running his finger over its wizened head. He remembered that day at the river, the last he and Elrohir were to have, with bittersweet melancholy. He looked into the turtle's eye and could have sworn the little creature winked at him.
Thranduil did not apologize for his actions nor would Legolas have asked it of him, for he knew his father's designs were not of deception but of love. It had taken him many years and many encounters to recognize the protective need that dwelled within the heart's core of fatherhood - he felt a bit of it himself whenever he was with Gimli or Aragorn - and though he knew he would never fully understand the feeling without siring a child of his own, still he embraced it within his own heart with a son's humble gratitude for being the wellspring of its inspiration.
Still, Legolas would not be put off longer. He took a horse from the stables and packed quickly, hoping to catch the Peredhil on the road. If he rode fast he might be able to see Elrohir before he sailed. Thranduil tried to talk him out of it; reasoning that it would be more painful if Legolas found him and Elrohir did not remember him. But Legolas reasoned that seeing him might be just what Elrohir needed for his recovery. In the end there was nothing Thranduil could do but watch him go, his heart heavy with the knowledge that he must someday lose his son to the sea, and that that day might be sooner than he anticipated.
Legolas set out on his journey but was too late. His injury, still not fully healed, hampered him and his horse pulled up lame after being pushed to haste for too long. Forced to turn back, he returned to Eryn Lasgalen to spend time with Thranduil and allow the healers to give him leave before traveling on to Ithilien. Thranduil was greatly relieved and they passed many pleasant days, savoring their moments together as they had not been able to for many years. Thranduil was happy to have Legolas near but he could see that the Greenwood, Legolas' joy from his earliest days, no longer held his heart.
In fact, though even Thranduil did not guess to what extent, Legolas was in mourning for his love. Legolas remembered the last time he had seen Elrohir, his battle gear honed and ready, his black hair braided in the style favored by Elrond's people, his half-smile, even in the face of such bleak circumstances, giving Legolas a warm glow in his heart. Even though they had spent many years apart in the past, knowing there was no longer a chance for even a surreptitious meeting left Legolas with an emptiness of spirit that he feared would never again be filled.
At the last, Legolas said his farewells to Thranduil and the few friends who remained in the Greenwood and went to spend some time in the courtyard alone. He sat for a long time by the fountain, watching the turtle swim and bask in the sun, thriving in his new home just as Legolas knew he would. He thought of Elrohir and sent up a silent prayer that the same might be said of him.
Upon his return to Ithilien, Legolas went to the river and looked over the ship upon which he had been working for the past two years. Now completed and waiting, the grey hull seemed to absorb the sunlight and the masts stood naked above the deck, like trees in winter. Legolas heard the cry of a gull and his heart leapt in joy, then shriveled in sorrow. He inhaled deeply, imagining a salt tang in the air and himself upon the deck, sailing to Aman. Now he had reason to sail, beyond that of the sea longing, yet still his feet would not take him aboard - not yet. His heart ached to think that Elrohir might not recognize him when he arrived, or that he would meet another, and that their time together might be only as the fleeting images of a dream.
For the next seven years Legolas toiled in Ithilien and the land prospered under his stewardship and that of the Greenwood Elves. Each year his satisfaction in his accomplishments grew even as his contentment upon the shores of Middle Earth waned. Then the day came when word arrived of King Elessar's death and with it Legolas' only remaining tie to Middle Earth. His heart now told him his time had come and he traveled to Gondor to pay his respects to the Mortal man who had reigned so munificently over a war torn land, returning to it a large measure of its former glory. There he met with Gimli, as they had discussed many years ago, and Gimli told him he had turned his realm over to his sons when he received news that the king had passed on. He and Legolas left for Ithilien the next day and when they arrived, Legolas immediately ordered the ship fitted to sail.
While they waited, he and Gimli shared a few drinks and many fond memories of Aragorn, their times on the quest, their battles, and their days of peace, his happiness with Arwen and the beauty and grace of their children. Eldarion had appeared the very reflection of his father at the funeral, so regal in appearance and gracious in bearing that he gave Legolas hope for the future of the Edain.
Eventually the conversation turned to events that had happened in the intervening years since they had last seen each other. Legolas told Gimli of the Orc attack on Erebor and Gimli told him of the news he had received of the battle.
"I wish I'd been there to put my axe to use," he said. "It would have been like the old days. What was your final count this time?"
Legolas laughed. "I did not have time to count, my friend. I was a bit preoccupied that night." He paused and the two passed a moment in silence. "Twenty-three," Legolas said at last.
Gimli burst out laughing and clapped him on the back. "And there are those who say Elves have no sense of humor."
"And which Dwarves might they be?" Legolas teased.
Gimli was spared his reply when Legolas' seneschal appeared to tell them that their ship was ready to board.
They set sail down the river, Legolas at the helm and Gimli standing at the railing, which Legolas had built with his height in mind, looking out over the Anduin. Legolas sighed as the wind caressed his face, a sense of peace such as he had not felt in numberless years filling his heart. Yet it was not until they passed the Bay of Belfalas that he began to feel trepidation at what might await him at the end of his voyage.
Gimli noticed the change in his friend's demeanor the closer they came to their destination. He had expected Legolas to have some qualms about the journey, for though he knew of Aman from the histories he had no idea what it would be like to walk the paths of his distant ancestors, the welcome he would receive, how he would feel seeing those who had preceded him in sailing or death.
"Tomorrow will bring us within the bay, won't it?" Gimli said as they stood on the deck, looking at the stars. Though Legolas had steered them true, the ship was now at anchor for he did not consider himself a skilled enough mariner to navigate through the Enchanted Isles by night.
"If my calculations are correct, it will," Legolas replied, his voice dreamy as the peaceful lapping of the waves against the ship.
"Yet the closer we approach, the more ill at ease you seem. What troubles you, my friend?"
"It is only a slight fear of the unknown I suppose," Legolas replied. "My heart knows this is the right thing to do, but my thoughts plague me with the possibility that Aman might not hold the key to the peace my heart seeks."
"It is said this is the true home of your people. If you do not find peace upon these beautiful shores, where then shall you find it?"
"Indeed. I have thought such myself," Legolas said. He smiled gently. "This is why I am troubled."
Gimli nodded. "I have my fears as well, yet I would not miss this experience for all the wealth of the mountains. Not knowing is what makes it an adventure." He grinned broadly and Legolas could not help but smile in return. This is what he admired about Gimli, his fearless, inquisitive spirit and adaptability to new and diverse situations, quite unusual for a Dwarf in his experience.
The next day they sailed on, coming into the bay in the afternoon. Gimli's eyes were wide with wonder to see the white beach with the mountains rising in the far distant background. A more beautiful sight had never met his eyes. It was though he could feel the magic emanating from the place, and the light of Anor was different here than it was in Middle Earth. It had a diffuse, ethereal quality that Gimli could not have described but which made him feel as hearty as if he were young again. He wondered if Legolas had the same feeling, coming to a place so ancient even he was as a child to its memory.
They made their way ashore heading inland from the beach until they spied a group of Elves sporting and making merry in a large green field. They looked so happy and carefree that Legolas was moved to join them. He and Gimli walked on but then Legolas stopped cold when he saw the sons of Elrond were among them.
Legolas had never seen Elrohir so hale and joyous, his dark hair flying in the wind as he raced across the field slightly behind a beautiful dark haired Elf. Just before his rival could reach the makeshift finish line of a large boulder, Elrohir came close enough to seize him around the waist and hoist him off his feet, laughing playfully.
"I win by default," Elrohir said, "for you did not finish."
The Elf in his arms laughed. "You cheat, Elrohir," he chided. "This is how you always win."
Elrohir spun him around and let him go, then made for the finish line as his companion chased after him. Elrohir slapped the boulder with a shout of triumph.
"You are too bold, brother," Elladan admonished, shaking his head in disbelief.
Elrohir turned to him with a grin. He saw movement from the corner of his eye and glanced to where Legolas stood watching. He froze, a stunned look upon his face.
Gimli, having continued forward, also stood looking back at Legolas curiously. Why did he hesitate when his friends and a whole new life awaited him just ahead?
Time seemed to slow as Legolas stood looking upon the scene between Elrohir and the other Elf, his heart sinking lower with each moment that passed between them. Elrohir held the beautiful young Elf in his arms, the muscles of his chest and arms bunching with the effort, his striking companion's strong, lean body pressed to Elrohir's chest to chest, a radiant smile on his face. Their strong bodies glowed in the midday sun, their auras reflecting their great joy, and Legolas gazed at them with a bittersweet joy of his own. If Elrohir was this happy, he could not but be as happy for him, even if it doomed him to infinite pain.
Then Elrohir was running toward him smiling, his elation reaching Legolas a good twenty paces before his body did. Legolas, coming out of his trance at last, seized him up and swung him around as Elrohir kissed him fully, unabashedly, and with a heat that had haunted Legolas' dreams for nearly a century. He set Elrohir on his feet and the kiss lengthened as a warm breeze flowed over them. Reluctantly Legolas pulled away and looked into Elrohir's eyes, a twinkle in his own.
"You do remember me, do you not?" he teased.
Elrohir grinned radiantly. "I have a vague recollection.
"Ai, but I have missed you," Legolas said softly. "I tried to reach you before you made the Havens."
Elrohir's eyes lost a bit of their light. "It was a dark time, I fear. I barely knew Elladan when I awoke. He showed me the turtle and gave me your message but everything was gone. The strain of trying to remember was working ill with my spirit. Elladan had lost his will to remain and fight, hunting Orcs in the wilderness, unable to see better days ahead for us as more of our people left for the Havens. He was certain if he brought me here I would be healed, and so I was but at great cost. I remembered you at last and everything we meant to each other, but I could no longer reach you. I did not know when or if the sea longing would bring you to me and I all but despaired. Then Manwë spoke to me and told me how he was watching after you, how he had strengthened you when you left to save me, how true you were to my memory, but how strong your ties remained to Middle Earth. He said if I had patience you would not forsake me, and when we were together again he would bless our union and we would never more be parted."
"Manwë?" Legolas said, surprised, recalling his trek through the marshes and the bolstering wind that had kept him on his feet. He remembered how the turtle had reminded him of patience whenever he thought to despair, and the sense of rightness he felt when he first held the turtle in his hand. "Is that how you knew to be here today? Did you know I was coming?"
"As a matter of fact, yes," Elrohir said. "Allow me to introduce you."
Legolas looked on in astonishment as the Elf Elrohir had been racing approached.
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Prince Legolas. Your passage was agreeable I trust?" Manwë smiled.
Legolas found it difficult to gain his tongue but at last he managed to bow and say, "Very much so, my lord. A fair, swift wind brought us safely. Thank you. And were you with me, as Elrohir said, when we were fighting in Erebor, and afterward when I ran for help?"
"Yes Legolas. There are times when we must intervene in events, as unobtrusively as possible. Not to change their course, but to give others the opportunity to make their choices and put forth their best effort. This is the charge of the Valar. And sometimes it takes being a turtle, or an Elf, to appreciate the value of seeing the world from another's perspective." he winked.
Legolas colored slightly and bowed to cover his chagrin. "Then I thank you also for your aid, for Elrohir might have died without you."
"No, it is you who saved him with your spirit and tenacity. I just gave you a little...boost," Manwë shrugged.
"You are most kind, lord," Legolas said.
Manwë then turned to Gimli, who was standing with Elladan's hand on his shoulder, amazed by the events unfolding before him. "And you, Master Gimli. It is an honor to meet you as well, one of the nine walkers and Lord of Aglarond. Your service to Middle Earth has not gone unnoticed."
"My lord," Gimli bowed, awestruck.
"Aulë tells me he is looking forward to meeting you. Shall we?" He motioned Gimli to follow him and the Dwarf looked to Legolas.
"With your leave?" he said, his dark eyes glittering with excitement.
"But of course, my friend," Legolas said. "We shall meet again later."
"At supper, if Master Gimli is agreeable," Elrohir said. "We have much to tell you about your new home and Galadriel has been kind enough to ask us to dine with her this eve."
Legolas smiled inwardly to see Gimli's face light up at the mention of the Lady's name. It would be a merry night indeed.
As Manwë and Gimli departed, Elladan slung an arm around each of Legolas and Elrohir's necks. "I shall take my leave as well. I know you two have some... catching up to do." He kissed them both on the forehead and walked away over the field, shooting them a wave over his shoulder.
Alone together for the first time since their day at the river, Legolas and Elrohir gazed at each other, savoring the moment.
"Our time has come at last," Legolas said. "Elladan told me it would but I almost did not dare to hope, especially after you were injured. If I had been there…"
Elrohir silenced him with a finger to his lips. "Everything happens in its time and for a reason. If I did not believe it before, I do now."
"I have tried to believe it since you left. I think I am beginning to," Legolas said softly.
They kissed and Legolas' heart warmed to feel Elrohir's body against his at last, his longing for the sea replaced by longing for Elrohir's touch. He moaned his assent against Elrohir's lips as the Peredhel began to undress him and he fumbled for the laces of Elrohir's leggings. Only when they were naked did Legolas become self conscious. He stole a look around the wide, green field, suddenly fearful of being seen.
"No need for modesty," Elrohir said. "No others are expected in from the sea this day. I am assured we have as much time as we wish."
"Then the time for patience is past," Legolas said, laughing as he tumbled Elrohir to the grass.
He laced hands with Elrohir and kissed him slowly, devouringly. Their tongues moved in a sensuous dance, their fëar pulsing together as one. Legolas nibbled his way down the velvety sumptuousness of Elrohir's throat, small gasps of pleasure vibrating against his lips. He felt Elrohir's arousal swell against his belly and his hand slid between them to capture and caress, stroke and tease, until Elrohir began to squirm desperately beneath him.
"Wait Legolas, please," he moaned. "Have you learned nothing of patience?"
"Indeed I have, that is why I want to make sure you last when you take me," Legolas said, his eyes glowing with impish delight.
Elrohir gave in to the magic Legolas worked upon him, crying out as he dug his fingers into Legolas' back, his release sweeping him up into a whirlwind of ecstasy. He was distantly aware of the lips grazing his earlobe as he slowly came to himself, and when he looked into Legolas' eyes at last it was with idyllic adoration.
For a long time they merely touched and kissed as Elrohir recovered and Legolas allowed his passion to build. Elrohir looked at him earnestly, his usual carefree demeanor replaced by a seriousness Legolas had never seen before.
"I know you have just arrived, and we have barely had time to think of our future, but since my memories returned I have been doing a lot of thinking. I promised myself when I saw you again I would not hesitate to put you to the question. Are you willing to bind our fëar, to declare ourselves before all of Aman?"
"It is what I ever have wanted, Elrohir, to bind with you, to be with you until the ending of the world. We have always trusted that there would be no barriers to our bond here. Manwë himself has blessed us and now we are free to do as we will. Take me now and make me yours, as you have always been mine, and I will find my home at last upon these shores."
Elrohir's eyes shown with purpose as he took Legolas in his arms and kissed him, his hands trailing down the willowy frame of his Sinda love. Legolas moaned and gently bit Elrohir's lips, weaving eager fingers through his fine, dark hair. Then Elrohir pulled away and rose to his knees, looking down on Legolas with euphoric adoration. He stroked a hand over Legolas' chest and belly, allowing himself a long moment to feel and tune into the sensation of the dynamic pulse beneath his fingertips, the play of muscle beneath smooth, lustrous skin. Legolas flushed beneath Elrohir's dark, erotic gaze, warmth flowing through him like Anor's rays flooded a summer meadow.
Elrohir positioned himself and Legolas opened to his arrant arousal, writhing to deepen the contact when Elrohir began to move within him. As they approached their release, Legolas buried his face in Elrohir's neck and Elrohir put his lips to Legolas' ear and together they spoke the words of binding. Fëa twined with fëa, the mystical, fathomless connection binding them irrevocably together. They cried their rapture with the same breath, clinging to each other as the feeling of both taking and being taken cascaded exquisitely through them.
The spiritual and physical force of their release drained them and they lay dazed upon the grassy field, Elrohir draped upon Legolas, his chin nestled upon his shoulder, while Legolas caressed the backs of Elrohir's thighs with his heels, tenderly nuzzling his neck. Time halted as they absorbed all they had just experienced, their hearts rejoicing in the love their bond now confirmed for eternity.
Elrohir finally rolled away and he and Legolas rose to dress, walking across the lush field. Legolas spied a turtle making its way slowly toward a stream just ahead. He picked it up and put it on his shoulder then continued on, Elrohir eyeing him curiously.
"I just thought he might need a little boost." Legolas said with a grin.
Elrohir laughed and pecked him on the cheek as they walked hand in hand toward the setting sun.
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.