Disclaimer: I do not own Mirkwood, Legolas, Orcs, Gollum, or any other thing that J. R. R. Tolkien himself created. (I do own Echiril! feels special because she actually does own something)

Um…I've got nothin'. Other than: I'm sorry, I'm so very sorry. I sort of lost interest in this story entirely shortly after the last chapter and couldn't bring myself to write about it. I've started several new fictional works that aren't fanfiction and moved away from this genre. But! I do owe it to myself and to any readers I still have left to finish this story, which I will try my best to do. I'm not giving any updating promises, though. My life has changed quite a bit since my last update—going to college will do that, I guess.

- - -

After Legolas spoke, Aragorn slowly crept back to him and sat again.

Legolas lowered his gaze to his hands. "It's…a long story."

"I've got all night," Aragorn offered.

Legolas sighed. "It is the fault of the spell Saruman placed upon me. He is the cause of all of this! If he had never interfered with me, it wouldn't be happening."

Aragorn nodded sympathetically.

Legolas took a deep breath. "It—has to do with how I died. After Galadriel spoke to me, my thoughts took me to a dangerous place, and I began to blame myself for Mithrandir's death. I thought things like, 'I can walk on snow; I should have been able to run out there and save him!' Blame and guilt were always what held me back from defeating the spell…I could have done it, with Mithrandir's help, but I still blamed myself for Echiril's death at the time…" He looked over at Aragorn suddenly. "You were there," he said. "I remember you, and I remember your voice calling for me."

Aragorn smiled sadly. "Yes," he said. "I was." He still remembered those dreadful moments of screaming at Haldir to cease his fire against the Orc. He licked his lips. "So…you can remember what happened while you were an…" He trailed off.

Legolas shrugged. "Some. This memory is clearer than others because of my death right after…" He thought for a moment.

"What is death like?" Aragorn asked.

The Elf laughed sardonically. "For an Elf, it should be peaceful, no matter how it was caused…though violence is mostly likely the reason." He gestured with his hands as he sought for words for the image he was about to describe. "It is—surreal. But extraordinarily clear. You feel as if you don't exist, but your senses are more heightened than they have ever been before, and you are—you are hurled towards large…" He hesitated. "I suppose you could call them gates."

"Did you experience that?"

"To that point," Legolas said carefully. "The gates should then open, and…I have no knowledge of what lies beyond them."

"What happened?"

"Because I died as an Orc," Legolas said slowly, "So was I recognized as one. My spirit was elfish after physical death, but the form I had taken lead one to assume that I had simply been a mutilated Elf. The gates would not open, but my spirit had nowhere else to go, and I was pressed against them as a pull tried to bring me in, while they themselves repulsed me. I just waited outside until the Valar realized that I was being held in that limbo. They attempted to bring me in, but it couldn't be done…so I was repulsed fully. And so…I wandered."

"Wandered?" Aragorn asked.

Legolas nodded. "Through eternity. I saw the history of Middle Earth and back again, and observed the lives of millions, though it all seemed to take place in a second, and I could no more remember anything than I could allow myself entrance. It felt like I was caught on a current of air and was just blown around and around the world…" He shuddered. "It was many terrible eternities, though none more than a breath. I can't—I can't imagine having to have done that for the rest of time."

Aragorn thought while the Elf paused. "So…you found a body?"

"No," Legolas said. "I had an encounter without another familiar spirit who was stuck in the same timestream…though he had power enough on his own and also the will of Valar behind his return to flesh."


"Mithrandir. He welded my spirit to him, recognizing me, and I was dragged with him to the very tops of the world. My first real memory is of the snow and seeing the dead Balrog, though that was through Gandalf's eyes. His body could sustain no more than one of us, so he again captured me from the currents and bound me to his staff and after Gwahir brought him to level land again, he searched for an elvish body for me to inhabit." Legolas looked at his hands. "His name was Antahroa, and I do not know what was so terrible for him, but he took his own life by drowning himself. Mithrandir found his body and restored it to life by blessing it, though Antahroa's spirit had long departed. Then," he shrugged, "My spirit took residence within. I was able to see, and talk, and move, and my memory was complete."

"How is this body different?" Aragorn questioned.

Legolas shrugged again. "Obvious things. My hair is a different color, and my form is also Antahroa's. He was young, even by my own standards. You saw what happened with the arrow; his muscles were not honed as mine were, and while a good shot, did not have my speed and reaction." He paused. "I have his scars, now, and no longer my own. Something was very ill for him." He held out his forearms, and Aragorn could see long, silvery scars crisscrossing the skin.

The man winced. "What about…Saruman?" he asked.

Legolas, for the first time, smiled. "The spell that he set upon me was one attached to my physical form, and died along with it. I am free of him."

Aragorn grinned. "I am glad for it," he said.

Legolas sombered. "So now you know."

"Why didn't you want to tell me?"

"As I told Mithrandir…I am ashamed of what happened. I am a Firstborn—yet I was rejected from the gates of those departed." He shuddered and bowed his head. "My soul is heavy with the rejection, and I didn't want any others to know of my shame."

"But Gandalf said the Valar tried to let you in; if they themselves knew you to be pure, shouldn't that be enough?"

"However," Legolas argued, "Even they, all-powerful, could not grant me entrance, my spirit was so deformed as that."

"Legolas," Aragorn started in frustration, but he was interrupted.

"Estel," Legolas said firmly. "I have also explained to you the differences of this physical heart not recognizing your friendship. You may seek to persuade me as you will, but I will not listen. My mind is made. I will finish this war, for good or ill, and I will disappear."

"But—your father?" Aragorn asked. "He was so grief-wrought—"

The mention of his father did give Legolas pause and tempted him for several long moments. Then he shook his head. "No, it is better for everyone that I do not reappear. No one wants to go through such an experience."

"Your host body must have been lacking of wit!" Aragorn exclaimed. "Thranduil not want to go through the experience of his son being returned back to life? You are mad, Legolas!"

Legolas just shook his head. "I am so ashamed, Aragorn…the thought of explaining my denial from the Halls of Waiting…"

"You told me," Aragorn offered. "'Tis not enough that I still love you?"

"It is enough," Legolas said. He was loathe to admit it because of his pride, but now he was glad that he had told Aragorn his story. It was comforting to have someone know. "But not to make me alert the world to my presence."

"You are not dead, Legolas," Aragorn scolded. "It would be unfair to those who love you to keep yourself hidden away. Therefore, when the war is ended, if you do not, I will tell all who know you of your revival. It is only fair!"

"Please do not!" Legolas begged, horrified. "I want to fade from the world in solitude. You would ruin that for me."

"I would," Aragorn said. "You are being very selfish. There are many who love you and they deserve to know about you. Mark me, prince: you have until the end of this war to go to your father, or I will do it for you."

Legoals's eyes narrowed in anger. "We will see," he said. "I am going back to camp now, my watch is ended." And with that, he jumped up and swung away into the night.

- - - - -

No reviews. If I made myself do these right now, this would never, ever get updated. Ai.