Hello, everyone. I said I would be back sometime now… and here I am! Or what you'd rather, here's the last chapter of Not A Word (as far as I'm planning. If I get really good ideas in reviews, I may continue a chapter or two… but not much.).
Thanks to everyone who reviewed, but between typing up chapters for the last few hours (I typed up the wrong chapter for Among the Brambles… typed up the one I had already posted) and the manual labor earlier… I'm hungry and my muscles are cramping left and right.
If you have questions/comments for this chapter/the story as a whole that you want answered, let me know in your review, and either leave me an e-mail address (unless you're signed in, then I can find it), or check back. I'll post replies at the bottom of the chapter eventually.
Bye! It's been great—I hope to see you all in the future with another story!
Leherim couldn't stop smiling. Nor could Gimli or Thranduil, for that matter. Legolas was somewhat exasperated by the lot of them, but he was feeling too good to let it bother him too much. Almost over, my love, he murmured softly.
Mirimir laughed just as softly, leaning back against him. Hmm. Times like this I wish I was shorter than you.
Because then you would be the perfect height to be a headrest.
He chuckled and kissed her cheek, tilting his head against hers. Like this? he asked innocently.
Mm-hmm, she agreed, turning her head to catch him for a kiss. How much longer?
I'm not entirely sure. I thought we would be done by now, actually.
Leherim laughed softly and came to their sides. "You two may as well get comfortable, it's going to be a while."
Mirimir looked at Legolas, one dark brow lifted in accusation.
He shrugged. I didn't ask her.
Mirimir sighed and shifted so she was leaning entirely against him, her head tilted to rest beside his. Why can't they just send us a note? Or a general greeting from the entire extended family?
They would, if I were anyone else, he murmured ruefully. But despite it all, I'm still one of the ruling class. As are you, actually,
Only through an unfortunate circumstance.
Unfortunate circumstance? Oh, I like that!
Not you, she protested, smiling faintly at his pout, your blasted title.
"Congratulations, Princess," another elf murmured, bowing his head. What seemed like an unending supply of elves that—after so long of seeing various different elves she had never seen before—looked just like him were waiting to take his place, standing in line behind him.
When can I start retching?
Patience, love. I think I can see the end of the line.
Wishful thinking. I overheard Elrohir exclaiming the line wraps around the building.
He groaned. You're kidding.
She smirked and straightened. Nope.
He sighed heavily and dropped his head to kiss her shoulder. Wake me when it's over, he groused.
She smiled and nodded her head at another group of elves who lowered their heads to her. Why do they do this? They know I'm the same as I was yesterday, when they didn't even bother trying to make eye contact with the little common elf.
But today you have a title. Sucks, doesn't it?
She sighed. Well, I have Thranduil, and Leherim, and Elrohir… and Elladan, and even Gimli, so I suppose I shall survive.
What about me?
What about you?
You have me.
Yes I do, don't I?
Legolas, I think you've been spending a bit too much time with Gimli. She laughed softly and patted his cheek as he sent her a mock glare before kissing her jaw. Yes, I have you. You go without saying. Have for a while, actually.
He smiled and reached up, concerning himself with smoothing every last raven hair into place, more or less ignoring the countless elves who had lined up to offer their congratulations on the royal wedding. What? he asked at once when she went still, his eyes darkening in concern. "Mirimir?" he asked aloud when his mental inquiry failed to receive an answer.
She took a deep breath and looked up at him. Her eyes were reverting to pale grey from the star-lit silver they usually were when she was with him. He's here.
Legolas stiffened, and watched as his wife's eyes unfocused as a thousand images battled between her ears to be seen. He could feel the pain she was fighting down, and kissed her temple, pulling her to his side. Shh, love. He cannot do you any harm now.
Is it him?
Is it Madan? You said he was probably my father… Or at least the head of the house I was in.
Legolas waited until she was a little calmer before he looked up. It didn't take him long to spot him. Madan is here, yes. If it is the elf you remember or not—he was stopped as she sent him an image of Madan, his eyes full of cold hard hatred and insane, unfounded and unreasonable anger. He shuddered. It is him. Looking objectively at the elf, he could see why she had said there were several similarities between himself and Madan. They were probably the same height or very close, had blond hair, blue eyes—though Madan's were always a bit darker than Legolas's—and they had the same build, the build of a warrior. Madan had been in the service of the King as a guard for many centuries, long before he had married… and had children.
She took a deep breath and nodded, her chin lifting almost to a defiant angle. Let him come, she murmured softly.
Legolas tilted his head at her, took in the flashing of her eyes—still mostly grey but with hints of silver shining through—the tilt of her head, and smiled, glad she had seen through the things he had in common with her father to see everything that made them different. He kissed her ear and straightened himself to face the coming crowds a bit more properly, keeping one arm around her, his thumb arching over her bare skin. You've grown up beyond beautiful, my love.
She looked at him, her eyes sparkling truly for a moment, a smile touching her lips. Then she turned back and waited for Him to come. She nodded at several other elves, saying nothing as they commented on what a lovely couple they made—Legolas answered for her, pride and love in his voice as he laughed with them about the stunning contrast between light blond with bright blue and midnight black with star-silver, not venturing a guess what their children would look like, though he always held her a little bit more tightly when such was mentioned.
Finally, He was before them. His eyes were lifeless, dull. He looked up, offered his congratulations to Legolas in a bland tone. Legolas responded with a voice of granite, his arm tightening around her as he tensed farther, though he didn't do what she could tell he wanted to—shove her behind him, shield her from the world… or just Madan, her father. The bane of her early existence.
Madan looked at her, blinked disinterestedly, and began to leave, when he suddenly froze, turning back even as the elves behind him were making their comments to the pair before flowing around him to leave. Mirimir met his gaze steadily, saw him search her face and eyes for the cowering creature he had left locked and chained in a cellar, barely alive, and beyond recognition as an elf.
"Morwinyon?" he breathed, his eyes narrowing as he tried to see her through the elf she had become, perhaps sensing he was correct about who—or rather what—she had been.
Looking at him now, she saw a broken elf, one who would probably give up on living before too terribly long. He had lost everything that had mattered to him—wealth, power, prestige. All he had left was what he had never really cared for—her, and she was Legolas's now. She was called daughter by the King with the same love he had for his own children, and she called Thranduil her father willingly, with all the love she had never dared bestow upon the elf watching her.
His confusion turned to certainty. "Morwinyon!" He began to draw himself up, his eyes darkening as he saw the last thing he had a claim on being taken away.
She lifted her hand, stopping anything he might day with that gesture, backed by a glare. "I am Princess Mirimir. I have no family besides that of my husband, and I will hear nothing to the contrary. Understand? Not a word."
He blinked and moved his jaw a few times, looking from her to the hard light in Legolas's glare, back to her, visibly stunned that she spoke at all, much less with the authority of a Princess, backed by a Prince. The darkening light in his eyes, which had always before forewarned her of horrible things about to befall her or her family, faded away. Mutely he bowed his head, his hands—the hands she had seen in countless nightmares for centuries—hanging lime and useless at his sides. Once again a broken shell of the sadistic bastard who had delighted in torturing and tormenting her and her dear siblings, he walked slowly away.
Laying her head against her husband's neck, she smiled faintly and closed her eyes as Legolas wrapped his arms about her waist, kissing her forehead gently, though the raging emotions of fury and possessiveness she could feel were at odds with that tenderness.
She would guess she would never see her 'father' again.
She didn't mind in the least.