Enjoy it because there is no more!

" Leaves of Glass "

Epilogue - Perhaps

The youngest son of Thranduil walked slowly down the stone steps that lead to the prison cells of Mirkwood's palace. His eyes were rimmed in red, his fair skin still held traces of the tears he had shed at Avarilas' funeral. His black robes slid over the stone as he reached the bottom and turned, searching out the deepest of prisons. He could hear the same dark laughter that he had heard for weeks as an echo in his head; that he had heard two short days ago as his friend lay dying in his arms.

But this time the laughter held no malice or dark intent. It held no anger or hysteria. It held only the deepest desperation of a man that had lost everything.

"He does not deserve a swift death." Thranduil argued once again.

"The other's received one." Legolas said softly, his voice tinted with sorrow and the same edge of fear that the king had prayed to never hear again. As they spoke the dead bodies of the most powerful of the Arandant were being taken to the darkest places of the forest. The creatures there would see them destroyed.

"We had no control over that." Thranduil insisted. "We had to kill them as we did in order to break the link with our people."

Legolas stood and walked to the door of his father's rooms. The last time he had entered these rooms was to kill him. "I am the one he has wronged." The prince said, his back turned to his father. "It is my choice how he dies. I want him dead now. I want this over with now."

He had reached the cell, could see the man that had taken so much from him through the bars in the tiny window. The ruined king sat curled in one corner, his body already a mass of bruises and blood, laughing. He did not move when Legolas turned the lock and entered the room.

The prince walked slowly over to the cowering man, once a proud king with the world at his fingertips, and pulled a knife from his belt. As he knelt beside him he saw visions of the past that he wanted nothing more than to forget. Visions of his own beaten and bloody body, curled into a corner, waiting for death that would not come.

In truth, he too wanted this man to suffer. He wanted him to feel the pain that he had been through. Wanted him to beg for the death he had given to Avarilas. Wanted to hear his tormented screams as he spent each moment of each day wondering when he would go mad from it all.

But he could not let the people he loved become this man. He could not let them give up their own souls to the same darkness that had taken this man's soul, and the soul of the woman who had been lost to the darkness centuries ago. He could not spend the rest of his long years seeing this man in the eyes of the people he loved.

He placed the dagger below one of the shaking man's ears then swiftly drew it across his throat to the other, slitting the arteries and the windpipe. He did not stay to watch his final breath; though the memory of its sound would forever haunt his dreams.

**

Thranduil clasped the young Ranger's arm gently. "Thank you for everything you have done for my son. Both now and years ago after Ilithien's death. You are a true friend. You are welcome in my kingdom any time."

Strider did not know what to say so he simply bowed. Thranduil nodded and turned to say his farewell's to the twins. Strider turned as well, to the presence that had appeared on his left. He looked into the prince's dark eyes and once again said nothing.

Legolas stared back at the young human, finally seeing in his eyes what was always there. Strength and honor. He reached out and grasped the man tightly on the shoulder, a sign of greeting, farewell, and thanks among warriors. This time perhaps it was all three. Strider smiled cautiously and returned the gesture.

"Where do you go now?" The prince asked as he pulled his hand back.

"To the camp where the rest of their army is." Strider said. He smiled inwardly. The feel of the elf's hand would linger long on his shoulder, for it was the first time the prince had ever willing made contact with him. "It is two weeks yet before they are scheduled to reach your forest and we intend to have them all destroyed well before then. We have the poison now. It will be simple."

"The slaves will be freed as well. Good." Legolas said, satisfaction covering his face. "Perhaps once that is accomplished, and I have assured my people once again that I am not dead, I will return to Rivendell."

"Ai." Strider nodded, then waved over his shoulder at his brother's call. "My brother's would like that."

"And you?" The prince asked.

Strider nodded, his eyes locked to the ground. "Ai. I would as well. Though I still doubt you'd want to see me."

Legolas laughed. "After what we've been through... after what you've done for me. I think it is high time I stopped hating you."

Strider looked up at him, a wide smile on his face. "Though," The prince continued, a smile pulling at his own mouth. "It does rather disturb me how easy it was for you to kill me."

The smile immediately fell from Strider's face and he stared at the prince in shock and outrage. "Easy!" He yelled. "Easy?! Are you joking! I-"

"Peace, child!" The prince laughed loudly, raising a hand to still the vehement protests. "I was kidding. I know what strength it must have taken for you to do that. And you have my eternal thanks for it."

Strider glared at the prince, waved impatiently at his brother as the elf called to him again. "I'm not a child." He muttered under his breath as he turned to leave.

Legolas smiled, weighing his millennia against the boy's few short years. Even at his oldest, the brave young soul would still be a child. "What would you have me call you then?" The prince asked, his tone not quite masking his humor completely.

Strider turned back around and stared at the prince for a long moment. Then, "Friend, perhaps?"

Legolas smiled again. "Perhaps."

The End

*looks up* *blinks* *looks again*

Yup. That's it. That's the end. It's been quite a ride, but as they say, all good things must come to an end.

*steps up to microphone* *pulls piece of paper out of pocket*

First, I'd like to thank God for giving me this ability. I'd like to thank my muses, who gave me the inspiration to create this story in the first place. I'd like to thank ff.net for making it possible for me to share my dreams with others. I'd also like to thank my idol, J.R.R. Tolkien, for being the basis on which my whole LotR fanfiction career was formed; you will always be sorely missed dear sir. I'd like to thank all those who were involved in the making of this story. Me. A big thanks to Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom for being the beautiful models for my work, you guys are awesome. My reviewers, for giving me that little extra nudge whenever I wanted to give up. And finally, I'd like to thank New Zealand.

Ummm... yeah. So here's my question(s).

Question 1) Okay, here's the deal. This story took me a lot longer to write than I thought it would. Like... a LOT longer. And now it is almost April, and in May I will be leaving my home to spend the summer as a councilor at a camp in Colorado. I will have very VERY limited internet access and will in no way shape or form be able to post any form of story whatsoever during that period. That in mind, do you want me to begin writing a new story, with the very real possibility that it will not be finished before I have to leave and therefore would come to the point of a 2 and a half month gap between updates? It's your choice. If you want it, I will write it. But seriously consider the fact that I may not finish it before I have to leave.

Question 2) If you answered yes to the above question (if you answered no, move on and review, this is not for you) what story do you want? Do you want the far overdue story of Legolas' first capture by the Arandant? Though you know the basics of what happened, I still intend on putting it into detail (i.e. all the gory angst that happened to our dear prince in a 10 to 20 chapter story). OR... do you want a sequel? The further story of the lives of our favorite Ranger and elf and the continuation of their budding friendship (along with a good amount of gory angst)? I know I promised several of you that my next story would be of Legolas' history, but you know what happened now in the Reader's Digest version, so I am once again leaving it up to you. Prequel or Sequel?

That is it. That is the end. No more ramblings. Leave you answers to the questions in you reviews and one week from today I will post the results on this story.

Until next time!

Adrienne