Legolas sat for a moment, trying to decide if the dream had just come from his weariness and desperation, or if Luminal had truly contacted him to give him her forgiveness. After several long minutes of thinking, he decided that it had been the latter of the two. His mother had once contacted him in much the same manner, and besides, his heart told as sure as the sun shone above him that Luma had indeed forgiven him.
Slowly, a gentle smile crept across the young elf's face as the wind seemed to carry his burdens right off of him. Everything was right in the world once more. He no longer had to feel badly for being alive, for enjoying a moment, or for being loved. Luma had forgiven him, and so he could once more rejoin the world of the living.
Legolas leaned against the tree with a breath of relief, feeling as if he were experiencing every sensation for the first time. -I must go, my friend.- He told the tree.
Farewell.- The tree replied with slight sadness, but Legolas could feel its happiness at his visit. He clambered down quickly, anxious to return to the palace.
"Namarie, nin mellon." He said both aloud and with feeling to the tree, forgetting the tree could not hear him. He took off in a quick sprint towards his home.
Thranduil nervously paced just outside the palace, as if not sure whether to go out into the forest or to return inside. There had been no news of the hobbit, and Elrond would allow no one in. The human child had not awoken yet, and his son had still not returned from his walk. It had been hours, and Thranduil was beginning to become worried.
"Adar, saes tulesse." -Father, please come inside.-Kadorin asked plaintively from the archway that led out into the garden. Thranduil did not respond, did not even turn to look at his older son, his eyes searching the woods as if he could make his younger child appear by sheer willpower. "Saes, Ada?" Kadorin asked sadly, as if he already knew that his father was not going to come in.
"Is there any news?" Thranduil queried his son, not bothering to turn and look. There was a long moment of silence, and that was enough of an answer for Thranduil. He looked over his shoulder, his blue eyes intense with emotion. "Go back in the house, Kadorin. I will wait for my son's return." Thranduil's gaze stayed long enough on his son to see the hurt expression flash in the younger elf's eyes. He sighed and turned back to the forest. Perhaps that had come off cold, but he had not meant it so. He hoped his son wasn't too hurt.
Soft footsteps came up behind him, and a hand settled on his shoulder. "I will wait with you for Legolas." Kadorin said, and Thranduil gave his first genuine smile for many months.
Legolas ran out of the woods, barely giving notice to the change as he made his way into the palace before him. He gave no attention to the various servants and guards expressing their happiness at his return, instead making his way to his ada's rooms. He burst through the doors, already shouting. "Ada! Ada, where are you?" He quickly went through all the rooms, but found no sign of his father.
"My lord?" A voice came from the doorway, and Legolas returned to it to find one of his father's personal guards looking in at him. "My lord, your father is waiting for you at the east entrance." The guard explained.
"Thank you!" Legolas said quickly, starting towards the indicated place. Of course his father would be waiting there, it was the direction he had left! He had lost track of time and now realized from how dark it was getting how long he had been gone, and felt badly that he had kept his father waiting that long.
Upon reaching the east entrance to the palace, he found his father and brother standing out in the garden gazing into the forest, oblivious to the gathering dark around them. A soft smile crept across his lips. "Ada." He called, and waited for his father to turn back to him. "I've come home."
Thranduil stared at his son for a long moment before tears sprung to his eyes. Beside him, he could hear his older son murmuring in their own tongue. Legolas smiled hesitantly at him, and he could no longer hold himself back. "Nin ion!" He exclaimed rushing forwards and enveloping his younger child in a crushing embrace. They remained like that for a long time, neither willing to let the other go as Kadorin came up and laid a hand on his brother's shoulder, fighting the tears that burned his eyes at the relief he felt to finally have Legolas back again.
Bramblerose opened her eyes slowly, fighting back the pain that swirled through her to see Legolas sitting over her, his expression at once grateful, worried, and hesitant. The elf looked breathtaking, the bruises all faded, wearing a tunic of light blue that brought out his eyes, and a small circlet of silver adorning his gleaming hair. She could not help the smile the crept to her lips. "I am pleased to see you well, my lord." She said, smiling even wider when she saw the faint blush that crept to Legolas' cheeks.
Legolas knew he was blushing, and Bramblerose's smile was not helping matters. It felt so strange to have been returned to his former position after having denied it so long. He knew it was the crown that was causing her to behave such, and frowned. He didn't usually were his crown, but there had been a ceremony his fatehr had given, in honor of his return, and it was only proper. He pushed his embarrassment away, looking back into the hobbit's clear eyes. "It's Legolas. I will not have you, of all people, calling me lord."
Bramblerose shook her head. Being a slave had drilled into her low self-worth, and she was not willing to give in. "It would not be proper. You are a prince, and I…" She began, but was cut off by the elf above her.
"You are merely the brave hobbit who saved my life." Legolas returned, not backing down. "I have much to be grateful to you for." Legolas assured her, a faint smile coming to his own lips.
Now it was Bramblerose's turn to blush. "One does what one must, Legolas." She said quietly.
Legolas laid a hand on the smaller being's arm. "And some do more." He added firmly. "You were under no obligation to save my life. Nor were you under any obligation to save Verald's."
Bramblerose looked up quickly, suddenly remembering where she had been last. Somehow, her brain had accepted where she was without question, but now she was starting to question how she had gotten there. "Verald! Is he all right!" She cried, sitting up quickly.
Legolas pushed her back down gently into the bed. "He is fine, no small thanks to you. Revenhal unleashed his anger on you, and so left Verald alone after having beaten you into unconsciousness, according to Verald. The boy knew you wouldn't live without care, and so came to the only other place he had heard of. I am still at a loss as to why he didn't go to Rivendell. He rode in the opposite direction, and finally emerged here. I am amazed that you both survived." Legolas shook his head softly. Bramblerose did not look assured yet, so he turned to the door, calling to the servant stationed there. "Send for Verald, and for Lord Elrond while you are at it." He looked back to Bramblerose as the servant scurried away. "Lord Elrond is the one who healed you. He will no doubt want to see you now that you are awake."
Verald arrived quickly, but Legolas was not surprised. The child was never far. "Bramblerose!" He cried happily, and came barreling towards the bed, running past Legolas to envelop the hobbit in a crushing embrace.
Legolas pulled gently on the boy's shoulder. "Verald, Bramblerose is just getting better. You don't want to make her worse, do you?" He asked, but let go of the boy when he heard Bramblerose murmur that it was all right.
Elrond arrived a few minutes later, much more serenely. Bramblerose looked up from the ecstatic boy next to her to give a soft smile to the older elf. "I understand I owe my being well to you." She said quietly. "Thank you."
Elrond shook his head. "No thanks is needed." He returned. "I am glad I was able to help you. Such bravery deserves more than you have been given." He finished, and for the second time that day, Bramblerose blushed.
Legolas stood next to his horse, shaking his head with a smile as his father told Elrohir and Elladan for the third time that he would blame them if anything happened to his son. "Ada, we are only traveling to Bramblerose's home, not into the clutches of Mordor!" He said with a slightly teasing tone.
Thranduil turned to his youngest quickly, trying to look unconcerned and failing miserably. "I know that Legolas, but it seems that whenever you leave with these two, you are always being carried back home, if you come at all!" He turned to glare back at the twins. "I know why you visit so often. It is not to see my son, it is because you are in trouble for something in your own lands!" Thranduil said with mock anger.
Elrohir put on a shocked face quickly, perhaps a little too quickly. "I am hurt that you could even think that, my lord!" He cried. Elladan snickered, and Elrohir turned and elbowed him hard. They soon were distracted in a fight, and Legolas did not miss the smile on Elrond and Arwen's faces as they watched. Legolas had already made his goodbyes to Elrond and Arwen, who were going to head home. The twins would catch up, but said they could not pass up an opportunity to "torment Legolas."
Thranduil shook his head with a slight chuckle and walked back to his son to envelope him in a hug. "Be safe, Legolas." He murmured in the younger elf's ear.
Legolas nodded into his father's shoulder. "I will, Ada, I promise." He drew back to nod over at the hobbit and human boy waiting with their own horses. "I cannot allow Bramblerose and Verald to make the trip alone, not after all they have done for me." Though he had offered to let Bramblerose stay in Mirkwood, she had declined politely, asking that they be sent with a small escort back to her home. Legolas had volunteered, and the twins were next, much to Thranduil's chagrin.
"Of course you cannot, nin ion." Thranduil smiled gently. "I am not disputing that. Just come back in one piece this time, all right?" He asked, laying one hand on his son's shoulder and shaking it gently, as if chiding him, but Legolas knew that his father was disguising his worry under his jokes, so he simply laid his own hand on his father's forearm and nodded solemnly.
Kadorin approached from behind his father. "Are you finished with the worrying, ada, or can I give this rascal brother of mine a hug?" He asked, and Legolas and Thranduil were torn back to the present.
"Rascal, eh?" Legolas asked with an arched eyebrow. "Shall I tell ada of the time you broke his favori…" He began, but Kadorin embraced him quickly, squeezing him hard to prevent him from finishing the sentence.
"Don't even think about it, little brother." He warned the younger elf before letting go. Thranduil was staring at them with a curious expression, but Kadorin merely smiled innocently and threw an arm across his brother's shoulders. Thranduil gave a soft, un-kinglike snort and turned back to house. Kadorin quickly went to follow.
Legolas clambered onto his horse and rode up to were the others were waiting. The twins had finished saying goodbye to their father, and looked at him with an expression Legolas knew to well. The Mirkwood prince pretended not to notice as he turned to wave at his father and brother.
"So, what did your brother break?" Elladan asked. Legolas looked from him to his twin and back again.
"Oh, no, we are not going to swap stories this trip. Last time, my father found out, somehow," Legolas enunciated the somehow, eyeing the brothers, "that I was out with you in the dead of night during your last trip and we accidentally shot the fountain."
Elrohir gave a loud laugh, but Elladan looked at Legolas blankly. "Why would we tell your father that, we were with you!" He said, which made Legolas laugh.
"You shot a fountain?" Verald asked disbelievingly.
"Chipped it, actually." Legolas said with a soft shrug as he looked to the boy.
"CHIPPED IT?" Elladan snorted. "You took off its ear!" He cried, and the memory alone threw the twins into laughter.
"You shot its ear off?" Verald exclaimed with wide eyes. Elrohir and Elladan turned to the young boy, and grins Legolas knew too well spread across their features. Legolas sighed. This would be a long trip.
Well, that's it. Sorry it took so long, but ending a story is like killing a friend for me. I have to grieve over the last chapter for a few weeks before I can release it to the world. Hope it was all right. Thank you all for your patience, your encouragement, and your love. -blows kiss- See you all later!