Author's Note: Okay, this wait wasn't so bad was it? New chapter, still not Tolkien and make no money, enjoy!

Chapter 26

"But I thought you had left Gondor already," Gimli said.

Legolas was sitting in the chair next to the dwarf's bed, the first place he had come to after taking the mortal father to Aragorn and Faramir and telling them all that had just happened. They had gone to see to Edrahil's body already, but Legolas had opted to come straight to Gimli's chambers and rouse the sleepy dwarf.

His wounds were still not tended to, he had told Aragorn the blood had been Edrahil's and not his, and Gimli had noted that immediately. When Legolas had vaguely answered he had been in a fight, Gimli had demanded that he be told the entire tale. Legolas had already told half of it before Gimli finally interrupted.

"I only said I was leaving to throw Edrahil off," Legolas answered. "I knew he would try something, and I wanted him to think he had free reign in which to do it."

"But why tell me? Why did you not just let me know of your plan and we could have both gone after him?"

Legolas sighed. "Because I am afraid you are still not fully healed and I had to tell you because I knew you would then tell Aragorn and Faramir. It was only just in case any of you went to see Edrahil again. He would have been able to read you easily enough and known I was lying in wait for him."

Legolas did not bother to mention that he also did not want to risk another possibility of perhaps harming Gimli or anybody else again. He had to do it on his own just to keep others safe.

Gimli looked like he did not fully believe what Legolas was telling him, but he decided not to press the matter any further. "So then what happened after you came across him and the father?"

"We fought and I killed him before he could kill the man," Legolas answered simply.

Once again Gimli frowned, the elf was still holding information from him. But with a sigh he let it go. Legolas would tell him someday when he was ready, if he ever was at all.

"Now that this is all over and done with will you finally start behaving normally again?" Gimli finally asked.

Legolas smiled faintly. "Only you can insult me while being concerned for me."

"I insult because I care," Gimli replied without hesitation.

"Then I will most definitely remedy myself," Legolas said, "that way you can stop harassing me with your constant worrying."

Though it was meant as a joke, Gimli could sense the seriousness underlying it all. Hopefully Legolas would finally snap out of whatever had been ailing him.

Silence stretched between the two friends as they became lost in their own thoughts.

Just as Gimli was about to make some sort of remark to break the silence that was becoming disturbing, Legolas was staring into space without blinking again, Legolas took a breath and spoke up.

"There is one thing though, that Edrahil said to me before he died, that I cannot shake from my thoughts. He said, 'You were never a true warrior like me, you chose the life or a hero.' It seemed like such an odd thing to say."

"Not at all," Gimli replied immediately, "he spoke the truth."

"But I think that is where my discomfort was coming from," Legolas interjected. He began to speak quickly, his jumbled thoughts spilling from his lips. "I felt so out of place here, like I was wasting to nothing. My whole life I had been trained to be a warrior, whether defending Mirkwood from spiders and goblins or fighting off armies of orcs. That was what I was meant to do, what I was meant to be. But I never felt like I truly fit the role. I would watch those beside me, those who would fight emotionlessly and not keep track of what or how many they slew. And surely I felt the same when fighting the orcs or spiders, but when it came to losing a companion or an innocent in battle, it would threaten to tear me in half. The only thing that kept the grief at bay was the fact that there was always something new to battle, something else to focus upon.

"But after the War of the Ring, there were no more battles, there was nothing for me to do except listen to my own thoughts. So I began to suspect that perhaps I was not meant to be a warrior at all. There had been so many mistakes and failures in my long life, an experienced warrior should not have any failures to their credit. And then when the murders began and I would come across the victims, I could not bring myself to react and break myself from watching them die. Perhaps I was not meant to be involved in any type of warrior act anymore. But that too left me disturbed and the feelings of failure grew even more, because then I knew it was because I did nothing that they died. How can somebody be a true warrior or a hero when they cannot prevent even the simplest of things?"

Gimli remained silent even after Legolas was done speaking. This was the most the elf had ever said to him about his internal feelings. The elf was very aloof in that manner, always acting like nothing affected him and he could rise above anything. But that was not the case at all. Even after hundreds of years of experience, Legolas was still searching for something that nobody could find, the true meaning behind the purpose of existence.

Legolas glanced over at Gimli when the dwarf did not say anything right away. He saw the confusion in the dwarf's eyes and knew that he had finally done it. He had finally let Gimli know that he was just as lost and twisted as somebody like Edrahil. Edrahil had wasted his life trying to avenge for one failure, Legolas had plenty of failures to answer to.

"Legolas," Gimli finally said.

Legolas looked up again and met the dwarf's steady gaze. The confusion was gone, only to be replaced by what could only resemble anger.

"You are such a fool," the dwarf finished.

Legolas was taken aback. That was not what he had expected his friend to say.

"You are not perfect," Gimli continued, "I know you elves have a high- and-mighty complex, yet you are not perfect. Sure, you can heal faster, move faster, and do most things than the rest of us better and are immortal, yet you are still not perfect. You do what you can and cannot be expected to do any more. Out of anybody I have ever encountered in my life, you always try the hardest to rise above anything. That was one of the many things that angered me so when I first met you, because on the outside you do appear perfect. You are cool and precise in battle, you do not lose your faith even in the face of almost absolute death, and yet you still find the time to enjoy the simpler things in life. Why do you think your constant singing was always annoying me so?

"But then I found that I began to look forward to your songs, because if you were singing then there was nothing else that could possibly be going wrong. If this being that was to become my best friend was light- hearted and happy, then I had the faith that there was no reason to care about anything else in the world because nothing that bad could really be happening if you were singing."

Gimli took a breath and waited to see if Legolas would say anything. But Legolas was sitting quietly, staring at Gimli intently.

"And that was when I first began to worry about you, when you stopped singing. I knew that you were becoming unhappy here, but I figured it had to be because of the call of the sea or some other elvish thing I could not fathom. I had no idea that you were festering such foolish thoughts in your head. And if you had confided in me earlier, I would bet my beard on it that none of these doubts would have come to a surface like this. For I would have told you right away that you were stupid for thinking that. Because even though you are not perfect, you are the closest thing to it that I have ever seen.

"No warrior can win every battle. I have had my share of mistakes, same as Aragorn and anybody else in this world. The only difference is that we know it is inevitable, you seem to think you can somehow avoid it. Well you cannot, and if you don't change your line of thinking right now I might have hit you over the head with my axe to knock some better sense into you."

Legolas let out a small laugh and Gimli felt his anger melting. He was furious at his friend for keeping all of this in and allowing it to become so bad he would doubt himself. But when Legolas looked at Gimli again, Gimli saw something in the elf's eyes that lightened his own heart. They were no longer dark and alien, but clearer, as if some sort of haze had been lifted from them. It was the look that Gimli was so used to.

"And if you want me to stop worrying over you, and consequently Aragorn, for do not think you were fooling him any, then stop behaving like an orphaned child that just lost his puppy and can find no other meaning in life for him. Edrahil said you are a hero and nothing like him, and no truer words have ever been spoken. You are too empathetic for your own good, but that is what true heroes are cursed with. I have witnessed that as the biggest similarity between you and Aragorn. If Aragorn loses a patient that he cannot heal he seems as though he just witnessed his entire family die.

"Now quit all this foolishness and go back to being your perfect self that makes me want to laugh and be near you and also hit you at the same time to bring you down to the same level with us mere mortals."

Legolas laughed again, but this time it was a clear sound that Gimli had not heard in such a long time.

Gimli found himself chuckling as well. The elf's mirth always had been infectious. "Now quiet down and let those of us who need it catch some sleep. After you go see to your wounds of course. You can't expect me to believe Aragorn let you get away with those."

Legolas sobered. "I lied and told him it was not my blood."

Gimli rolled his eyes. "As I suspected. But no more foolish actions from you little elfling. I expect everything to go back to how it should be or I will be forced to take drastic action with my axe."

Legolas stood in a smooth motion. "As you wish good sir. I suppose it is selfish of me to deny you your much needed rest."

Gimli laughed at the jest. Not because it was the funniest thing Legolas had ever said, but because his posture had seemed to change as well. It seemed as though some great weight had been lifted from the elf and he was truly going back to his old self.

Legolas turned to leave.

"Wait," Gimli said.

Legolas paused and looked over his shoulder.

Gimli shifted a bit and coughed while he glanced quickly around the room. But finally he said, "Would you mind singing something until I fall asleep?"

Legolas' eyes widened slightly but he turned back around and slipped back into the chair without a word. Gimli settled back into the pillows and closed his eyes as the elf thought for a few moments before coming to a decision and starting a low song. It was in elvish of course, and Gimli did not understand most of it, but the soothing voice of his friend carrying the words effortlessly along the haunting melody was enough.

Legolas noticed that Gimli fell asleep only into the second verse of the song, but he continued to sing until the song was over. It made him feel immensely better just to be singing, and he had not even realized until Gimli mentioned it that he had not been singing as he normally did. That had been a mistake.

When the song was finally done and he had silenced the last lilting note, Legolas did not stand right away. He sat and looked at the face of the dwarf smoothed out in slumber. He snored a bit, but he always snored and Legolas felt a smile pulling at his lips. He remembered the many nights when they had been camping as a fellowship and he was always eager to volunteer to be the night's watch, only because he could never hope to catch any sleep himself with the dwarf snoring away.

Legolas felt a warm feeling of love and longing sweep through him, something he had not felt since the final parting of the fellowship. It was as though his inner sensations had been dead and were just now beginning to come back to life. All because of the complete faith and love from a dwarf that should have very well been an enemy of his.

He must be doing something right.

The End

Author's Note Again: Finally, another story ended! Thanks so much to all my faithful reviewers, you are truly what kept me going. I'd never be able to finish if it wasn't for you guys. And you have no idea how happy it makes me when you guys comment on specific parts or lines of the story, because often they're my favorite as well and I'm so glad when they're picked up on! As for those who were saddened by Edrahil's death, I felt bad for the poor elf too, and again I'm glad that I was able to successfully create a sympathetic bad guy, I love those kinds of characters. But hey, at least Legolas' suffering is over....for now anyway. Yes, in case any of you were wondering, there is another story fermenting in my mind, one that will be Legolas and Gimli centric with cameos by other beloved characters of course. It will be called "From Ancient Grudge", so look for it soon if you want. I guess poor Legolas isn't off the hook quite yet....*evil laughter*

Once again, I love you guys so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you for actually reading and enjoying. If I never manage to get anything published, this will still make writing worthwhile for me. Bye for now!