Author's Notes

Inspired entirely by Lee Pace and a fanart that had Alexandria meeting Thranduil. Enjoy!

Alexandria often dreamed of Roy, in the time after the time.

He was not there to tell her stories anymore, no, but she knew the things that he would say. With his beautiful, English words, full of colors and gold and things she only barely knew.

She dreamed, sometimes, of the Bandit, blue and full of strength, and like him, handling his guns with truth and kindness, and her father's smile.

Sometimes she dreamed of Luigi, or Darwin, with their wide, rainbow-filled coats, where they had not died, where they continued to explore in a world that they deserved, that was fair, and full of endless sky for fireworks to grow, and butterflies to fly.

But this night, she dreamed of something new.

She dreamed of gold-white trees, where the leaves were edged with dying sunlight, and the webs of spiders veiled the sky like a bride.

She walked through the forests unafraid, for her teeth were strong, and the words of the Mystic were in her mouth. There were spiders in those trees, she knew, she could see them fluttering between the branches, but she was not afraid of them either. Spiders had crawled over her hands before, and gently, and were not the sort of thing to be scared of.

As she walked, she saw one come close, and she saw that it had teeth as well. They looked to be strong teeth, and it had shiny, black-pea eyes, and it hissed like a snake.

Snakes, yes, she could be afraid of. But Alexandria was brave, and she could choose not to be afraid.

"Googly, googly, googly, go away."

Light was in her bones, and the spider hissed again and backed off, edging up into the deadwood trees, wiggling and twitching. It knew she was not afraid, and it knew she had the Mystic's power.

And then, she heard a horn. It was a low horn, and warm, and she smiled at the sound of it. Someone had taken the Mystic's horn, and was using it. It meant that a friend was nearby.

She walked on in confidence, knowing she would be found, wondering who it was she would meet. The Bandit was still alive, but perhaps he had made a friend, one he could trust with his secrets, as he trusted his little daughter.

There were hoofbeats behind her, like heartbeats, and she stopped, and waited.

A great man on a great beast rode before her, a thing with antlers like a deer, but far bigger, and far whiter. He was so high above her that she had to crane her neck, and squint her eyes to try and see his face.

Another man on another beast rode beside him. She could see his face, and she recognized him. He was the man that owned the orange trees, a pretty man, but he had a cold face and a cold voice, and blue eyes like glass plates.

"What sort of creature is this that walks through the Mirkwood alone without harm?" He had sour on his face, like bad milk. "Some sort of witch?"

"I am not a witch," Alexandria said. "I know the Mystic, but I am not a witch."

"A likely story."

The man with the light in his face raised a hand, and the orange-tree man went quiet. Very smoothly, and quietly, he got off of his beast, and Alexandria finally saw him.

The Bandit had become a king. His clothes were beautiful, colorful and shining like pearl-stuff, and his hair was pale and old, but his face was the same. He wore a crown made of sticks, which she also knew, for she had made one just like it, some time before.

"Hello, Bandit-King," she said, and curtsied, like people always did in the fairy stories. "I am happy to see you."

"Bandit-King…?" the orange-tree man said.

"Are you here to see me, indeed?" the Bandit-King said. He clasped his hands behind his back, tilting his head at her, as if thinking.

"I see you now, so I am here, seeing you," Alexandria said.

He tilted his head again, and it reminded Alexandria of a cat. "How did you get this far into my forest without the spiders catching you?"

"I remembered the magic words," Alexandria said. "Googly, googly, googly, go away." She waved her hands for emphasis. "Like the Mystic said."

She saw something prickle over his face. She knew, he knew. "Ah, yes. The Mystic's enchantment is a very powerful one."

"Who is this Mystic she speaks of?"

"This girl is a friend of wizards." The bandit-king looked back at the orange-tree man. "She will be treated as our guest for the time being." He bent down and held his hand out for Alexandria. "You will ride with me."

Alexandria smiled, laughed. He was still the Bandit, underneath all that pearl and scowl. She took his hand, and he lifted her up onto his beast, and they rode on.

He took Alexandria to a grand and beautiful castle where the walls came together like fingers and hedge-roots, like the bushes where she played some time before. "This is a beautiful place," Alexandria told him. "Even better than Odious."

"Thank you," he replied.

He had her dressed in a pretty little gown the color of a new penny, and had her dine with him at a very long table, longer than even the ones in the canteen.

The orange-tree man watched all this, and he did not eat the food on his plate.

Alexandria talked to him, after she had wandered the palace a while, and taken in all of the wonderful things that the Bandit had no doubt stolen from the Governor for himself. "Why are you so angry?" she asked him.

He was walking the halls, alone, among the church-gold windows. "Excuse me?"

"You are making a angry face," Alexandria said. "You did not eat your supper."

"I was not hungry, Wizard-Friend," he replied. "I prefer to dine alone."

"Okay," Alexandria said.

He walked along the hall for a while after, and Alexandria followed him, step for step, shadow for shadow.

"Are you angry because, the lady ran away with the little man?"

The orange-tree man turned around, and he made an angrier face. "What are you talking about?"

"The lady, she lived in your house, and then the little man came and they ran," Alexandria said. She had seen the little man herself, in between the trees, holding the hand of the lady with the hair like rotten oranges. They ran quietly, and when Alexandria saw them, he held up a little finger to his lips, and smiled when she did the same.

His sour-milk mouth tightened. "That has not made me angry."

"Then why are you angry?"

"I am not."

Alexandria knew better. She slipped her hand into the pocket of her gown, and she took out an orange, which she'd been carrying with her since always. "This will make you feel better," she said, and handed it to him. "It is good for your soul."

The orange-tree man looked confused, mostly, but Alexandria just smiled.

"Don't be sad," she said, and went on her way.

She did not stay much longer in the Bandit-King's castle, even though it was all very beautiful. The stars were coming out, and that meant she had to go.

"I miss you very much," she told the Bandit-King, meeting him on his throne.

"I miss you too," he replied, and he smiled with Roy's smile. She kissed him on the forehead, like she always did, and she woke up.

As she picked oranges, the next day, she saw the man that owned the trees walking there. His hair was black, and combed behind with oils, and he wore suspenders and an uneasy face.

There were new people in the orchard that day, and her friend the Indian was showing them around. The one she liked most was a short little man with a very big beard the color of leaves in autumn, and he laughed often, and smelled like bread.

The orange-tree man crossed his arms, in looking at them, his face still covered in sour.

"Hey!" Alexandria waved at him, and smiled with all of her teeth. "Don't be sad."

He looked up at her, shook his head as if shooing an insect, and continued down the grove.

If he had eaten the orange, Alexandria knew, he would be fine, and his soul would be stronger.

Besides, the Bandit-King was looking after him, in his castle of roots and copper.