The day has finally come.

The last chapter.


But yes, this is the last chapter of Life. It's been long overdue, and it's about time I packed it away and gotten on with my real life, and it should be a relief to have ended it so I can finally start to concentrate on school, (and it's about bloody time! My grades are slipping!) but *sigh*..... I feel so rotten..... there's this emptiness within me..... (wah, so melodrama)

A big, huge, enormous, gigantic thank you to all of you, especially those of you guys who never tire of sending me reviews. You've brightened up my life. Thank you so much for the blessing of having you read my fic. It has been such an honour writing for you, and I would like to thank you for all the little miracles that you have left in my inbox every now and again. =D

Anonymous: yupyup, Legolas *will* be devastated if he dies, wont he? Awww...... you wanna give him a huggle, the poor dear? Awwww..... (at this point fazy notices movieleggy giving her a Death Glare and quickly stops talking about huggling. Fazy makes the sign of warding against the evil eye. Begone, movie incarnation, and leave this fic in peace!)

Mel: every single thing you commented should happen gets it's fate decided in this chappie, so I wont even try to answer that cos to do so is pretty pointless..... *grinz*

Tap Dancing Widow: Oh, surely I'm not *entirely* evil? *blink, blink* Er, you might not want to take my word on that. Especially after the first line. But really, it's not all evil-ness. There *will* be sweet bits, I promise. Really. =D

Ode2joy: erm... much apologies. Pray, do not make real your threat. *innocent smile, blink, blink, blink*



Warning: Long Chapter. But that's okay, cos it's also Last Chapter as well, so you can either bulldoze through and get all those irritating little nagging questions answered (or maybe not answered), or you can go slow and stretch it to last. Either way, it's still 14 pages worth of Times New Roman, about 3x the length of an average Life chappie.

And as before, //..... \\ indicates a person's thoughts. (Responses to reviews at bottom.)




The party from Gondor never reached him in time. Even Legolas, who had ridden on ahead was too late. By the time he arrived, they were readying Oremir's body for his funeral.

Anyone else would have wept. Anyone else would have been beside themselves with grief, but Legolas felt strangely hollow. It was as if he had stepped out of his body, and was watching his movements from a distance. He said nothing. He felt nothing. It was as if he had drawn a complete blank, even when there was some confusion about the funeral. Nobody knew which rites to perform, and Legolas would say nothing, and so they performed the rites of all three of Oremir's peoples.

The body was brought back to Gondor to rest with others of his adoptive house.

And even then, Legolas could not bring himself to cry. It was as if the part of him that lived and felt had died along with his son, and Legolas avoided the entire Ithilien party throughout their stay in Gondor. In fact, it was not just the Ithilien party whom he avoided. For the next few months, he shut himself up like a hermit, leaving his chamber only when forced out by starvation or need. Then as the months passed, he slowly shed his shell and reluctantly returned to the bosom of society, but even then he was quiet, and kept to himself a lot more than was usual for him. He went about his life as per normal, but the spark was gone, and his senses dulled, until one day, he received a letter from Ithilien.

Eowyn had written to him to share the news of her pregnancy, and had begged that he be there when her time drew near. He thought at first of disregarding her letter, of pretending perhaps that it had never reached him, but the memory of how she had supported him all those years ago made it impossible to refuse her request.

The couple greeted him when he arrived at their gates some months later, and the sight of Eowyn smiling and heavy with maternity was almost enough to bring him back into his body. Almost enough, but not quite. Grief and depression hit him so hard the moment he allowed himself to feel that he instantly retreated back into the hard shell he had built around his heart. It was so much easier to dissociate himself once more from his emotions, and live each day as if it didn't matter. He talked and laughed with his hosts as before, but it was little more than an empty display: there was no feeling left behind his smiles. He was so weary that he had not the strength left to feel anymore.

And so the weeks came and went till at last came the day of the birthing. Or days of the birthing, more like, for Eowyn's labour was unbearably stretched. For some reason or other, her women had allowed him entry to a place strictly forbidden to men. Perhaps they felt the effects of superstition only with regards to human men? Or perhaps they attached a different set of standards to elfkind? Then again, perhaps the entire House had suspected Eowyn's secret lover? Could it also be that the servants knew that Legolas had bore a child before? Or maybe it was that they simply confused his delicate beauty as that of a female, he didn't know. All he was aware of was the privilege of being accepted into that sacred circle of women.

Legolas held Eowyn in his arms as they sat together in the birthing room, dabbing away her perspiration with a damp rag as the other women sat and chattered. Occasionally, one of them would get up and check on Eowyn, or offer her something to ease her way, but for the most part, the two of them were left alone. Legolas for once did not blame them. It had been two days now since her pains had started, but she still seemed no nearer to the actual birth, and the other women were quickly growing bored.

//It should be Faramir that's keeping her company, not me,\\ he thought. That husband and wife had grown even closer since Oremir's death was obvious, and with his keen hearing, Legolas could hear Faramir pacing uneasily outside the corridor. Every now and then, the man would be called away to tend to state affairs, or be dragged away to indulge in food and alcohol by well-meaning friends who tried to distract him from his anxiety, but always the man would return.

He felt Eowyn stiffen and cling on to him even more tightly. "Faramir," she whimpered. "Legolas, where's Faramir?" she asked then shut her eyes and moaned terribly.

"It's alright, child. He's outside, waiting for you," he answered for what felt like the millionth time that day.

"Are you sure?"

"He's worried. He'll hardly leave his post," he said her, but though she nodded and was reassured, it wasn't very long before she was asking for her husband again.

And so on it went as the hours crawled slowly by. The shadows grew long, and the sunlight dimmed. Torches were lit as the room grew dark, and the woman looked at each other worriedly and wondered if she could pull through a third night of labour.

As for Eowyn, she wept. She was so tired that she could hardly hold herself up anymore, and still the end seemed nowhere in sight. She wanted nothing more than to lie down and sleep, but the pains prevented her even a moment's rest. Pushed beyond her limit, she clung to Legolas' neck and wept with exhaustion.

It was a welcome relief to all when the true labour started, but it had come so late that everyone was afraid she had not the strength left in her, and the rising panic in her eyes said it all. The baby was stuck fast, unable to return to the womb but too large to be pushed out, and no matter how hard she tried, she could not get it to budge. //She's going to die,\\ Legolas thought with certainty. //She's going to die in my arms and there's nothing I can do about it.\\

In an instant, all the other deaths rose to torment him, deaths of his friends and comrades, deaths of his Mirkwood cousins, deaths of those that fought in the alliance, deaths of those who fell to disease..... he could remember the looks on the faces of the dead, the eyes of the dead staring emptily out of the soul's abandoned sockets, the cold clamminess of grey skin when the living blood has stopped flowing.....

He remembered the more recent deaths during the quest, re-living the horror of war, or loosing Boromir, and later during the days of peace, of loosing his son. Oh, how he had lost! And now, he was about to loose another close to his heart.

//The child is afraid to be born.\\

The thought came to him unbidden, but the moment it spoke, he knew it to be true. He also knew what he had to do to save them. Placing a warm hand on her swollen abdomen, he closed his eyes and let his energy flow through the warmth of his palm as he tried his utmost best to soothe both mother and child.

"Send love to your child," he told Eowyn. "Talk to it if you must, but let it know that it's wanted. Trust, and all will be well."

Eowyn nodded, and started whispering, wild, rambling thoughts, but though her fatigue prevented her from thinking straight, the message being it was clear; that already their unborn child was the most precious thing in the world to both her husband and herself, and that there was nothing they wanted more than to be gifted with the opportunity to love their child.

And somehow, mother and child pulled through. "It's crowning, your grace," her women crooned when the baby's head finally emerged. "Your grace, you're almost there. Just a little bit more....."

And exhausted as she was, she felt a strange connection with her unborn baby. It was as if they became one of spirit. They understood each other, and the understanding gave them both unspeakable joy, and she felt her heart sing within her even as the child slid free of her body.

Over in the corridor, the strangled wail of a newborn greeted Faramir's ears. He pounced anxiously for the door, only to find it locked, and pounded on it impatiently before throwing propriety out the window and breaking the door off it's hinges.

As the wooden divide fell before his eyes, he was brought into another world. The hot air from the room hit him in the face, as did the smells of the birth, and he froze, suddenly uncertain. He heard the soft moans coming from his wife, and took in the silent efficiency of the women bustling about, and was suddenly filled with dread. What if something awful had happened?

He looked up to see Legolas beckoning to him, and he hurried over, relieved at being given something to do. Following the elf's lead, he sat down beside the mattress Eowyn had been shifted to and took her gently by the hand. Immediately, her eyes fluttered open and a smile played across her features, setting his heart at rest. With his free hand, he reached out and stroked her damp cheek.

"How are you?" he whispered. She smiled her reply, too tired to say anything. "You look terrible."

"She's had a tough time. You should let her rest," Legolas said, and Faramir nodded obediently. Still, that didn't prevent him from leaning in to kiss her.

"And how about the child?"

"We don't know yet," Legolas said, gesturing to the women. "They'll tell us soon."

Again Faramir nodded and turned back to his wife. He kissed her again and stroked her hair adoringly, and Eowyn smiled and held his hand warmly in both of hers. Not long after, the elderly midwife congratulated them on being blessed with a son, and handed it to it's father. Faramir very nearly dropped his infant in awe. "Eowyn," he whispered as he stared transfixed at the precious bundle in his arms. "Oh, Eowyn....."

She struggled up for a first glimpse of her newborn, and seeing her effort, Legolas piled up the pillows and gently helped her lean back into her new support before allowing Faramir to pass the child to her. Instantly, her fatigue seemed to vanish as they gazed upon their son in undisguised delight.

And Legolas stepped back. He knew now that he no longer belonged there. In her family, Eowyn had finally rediscovered her strength, and she had no more need of him as a source of support. He didn't belong here anymore. He was not needed. Not anymore. Wordlessly, he slipped out of the room, gathered his belongings and set off on his return journey to Gondor.

All the way back, his heart was heavy. Images of the three kept flashing through his mind; of mother, father and child wrapped in embrace, their warmth and joy striking hard at the unbearable hollowness in his heart. For the first time since Oremir's death, he felt the beginnings of tears prick at his eyes, but still they refused to fall. He couldn't cry. He just couldn't, and for a fleeting moment, he wondered if he even remember how to.

As if in a trance, he felt himself drawn like a magnet towards his son's resting place. The walking dead..... yes, that was what he was. One of the walking dead, and even the guards seemed to realise that, for they made no attempt to block his passage to the tomb. Let him go, they must have thought. He might as well be one of them anyway. Let him rest with the rest of the spirits.

He stumbled unseeing along the dark hallways, even though his elven eyes adjusted to the darkness the way no ordinary mortal's could. He walked blindly, letting his feet lead the way until he stood over the mound under which where his son lay. They had buried him as was the newer way of the people, and a part of Legolas was thankful of it. The very idea of his son's body up in flames was too painful a thought to even dwell upon, and his secret heart was glad the child was not cremated.

Without warning, he felt his knees give way, and he fell heavily onto the grave. And finally, finally, the tears came. Clutching his head in agony, he screamed and wailed with complete abandon as he writhed in the dust, and even when his tears had been used up, he covered his eyes and keened. "No!" he screamed long and hard to the hollow emptiness around him, the strength of his emotions making him rise once more to his knees. "No!!!!"

He screamed and screamed until he ran out of breath, and then fell bonelessly back to the ground. Slowly, he felt his tears rise again, but they were tears of utter hopelessness this time. His anger and defiance was spent, and all that was left was that hollow, empty feeling again. There was nothing left in him to feel.

He felt the cold creep up his fingers and toes, a piercing icy presence that seemed to claw it's way mercilessly up his body. It was his life force was leaving him, he sensed it, and knew with a cold certainly that was dying. It didn't matter, though. He had nothing left. There was nothing left for him in life but pain and heartache, and he welcomed his approaching death with open arms. //Let it come, \\ he thought, too drained to even mouth the words. // Ai, Elbereth, have mercy on me. Let it come.\\

He felt a shudder of breath echo through the walls, and then the ghost of a touch run through his hair. A wave of misery he knew was not his washed over him.

"Boromir?" he whispered. "Is that you?" He felt the energy expand and surround him strongly in it's presence. Remembering the few seconds from the time of his birthing, Legolas opened his eyes in desperate hope, but he saw nothing in the dark, uncaring chamber. "Boromir?" he whimpered aloud. "Don't go. Don't leave me. I need you."

Immediately, he felt a wave of love and protectiveness engulf him. It was like being hugged, except that it was not just his torso that felt it: every cell in his body was being embraced by the ghostly presence. He felt the breath of a touch against his cheek, as if the spirit were trying to wipe away his tears with a disembodied hand, but the faint touch only made him weep even harder.

"I cant feel you, I cant see you. Why did you go?" he wept. "Why aren't you here with me!"

But I am here with you. The barest suggestion of a thought sounded itself in his head, an echo of a voice felt but not heard. An echo of a voice never to be heard again by any living thing on the face of the earth.

"No! No you're not! I need you! I can't see you," he said wretchedly, his voice just the barest whisper of a sound.

You're looking with your eyes. Look with your heart.

Legolas dried his eyes and tried to open his heart, but it hurt him too much to do so. "I cant," he whispered, his hands clutching his chest painfully. "I cant!" He felt the hopelessness return to haunt him, but sheer need made him push it aside. "I'm trying!" he cried, his eyes rolling back with effort. "I'm trying, but I cant do it!"

He felt a warmth surround his heart, somehow making him feel safe and loved. Taking a deep breath, he tried one more time. He opened his eyes.

And he could see.

He saw the ghost of an image kneeling in front of him, in the centre of what was the barest hint of golden light, and he could just barely make out the man's features as Boromir looked mournfully into his face. When he leaned forward to kiss Legolas, the elf felt just the barest breath of a touch against his lips.

At the faintness of the touch, Legolas felt his eyes fill with tears once again. "You're not here," he wept, referring to the man's presence in the physical plain. "You're not here, you're not here, you're not here. I need you here with me, but you're not!"

No. I'm not. I've died.


But it's true. You know it to be true. I shouldn't even be here. It hurts to enter your world, Legolas. But it hurts me even more to see you suffer. And so I do.

With those words, Legolas felt a wave of the most excruciating pain he had ever experienced sweep over him, and knew it for the pain Boromir had mentioned.

I love you

"Don't leave me!" Legolas called out in panic as he felt the presence slowly start to fade. "No, you cant! Don't leave me! Boromir! Don't leave me! Please don't leave! You can't leave. Not now."

It hurts

"Help me! I cant do this."

You must

"No, I cant. Boromir, I cant. Let me go with you."

You must be strong. You must live for our son.

"But he's dead. You're dead, he's dead, you're both dead, and you've both left me. I can't do this alone."

He's still with you. You've kept him with you all these years. Just the way you've kept me with you. He's still there, watching you, learning from you. You didn't allow him to leave, Legolas. You've kept him with you all this time. You must let him go.

"No," he whimpered. "I can't. I can't. I need him."

He felt Boromir turn once more into a smoky presence and embrace him like a cloud, and filled him completely with such unconditional love that Legolas wept uncontrollably. "Meleth-nin," he whispered. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I've let you down."

//No. No, you haven't Legolas. I'm so proud of you. You're such a wonderful person, Legolas. Remember that. But you must let go. You must let us go. You cannot move on until you have let us go. Oh, Legolas, I don't want to see you suffer anymore. Please, you must set yourself free.\\

"NO!" Legolas screamed. "No, I cant! No, Boromir, no! I cant do that! I cant, I cant! I cant do that, Boromir. You cant force me. You cant. You cant. I cant do it. Please, don't make me do it, Boromir, I cant. I cant, I'm sorry, I cant. Ai, Elbereth, help me. Boromir, I cant, I'm so sorry, I cant. I cant. I cant. I'm so sorry, I cant. I cant. Boromir, please, don't."

A wave of sadness, and of guilt.

"Don't leave me," he whispered again, suddenly frightened. "I need you," he said again and again with every breath he exhaled. "I need you. I need you. I need you."

Again, he felt a wave of love, but this time it was mingled with sadness and pain, so intense that at length, Legolas felt himself come to a decision. He was hurting them. His inability to let go was hurting all three of them. For the sakes of those he loved, he had to move on.

"I don't know how," he whispered. "And even if I did, I don't know if I'm strong enough. Help me."

Again, the wave of love, and of bursting pride and confidence in Legolas. It reassured him somewhat, that Boromir believed in him. Taking a deep breath, he forced himself to think of Oremir, to relive every moment of his son's unbearably short life.

He remembered his own denial when he first discovered his pregnancy right up till the time of the birth, and was plagued with shame and regret. Oh, how he should have rejoiced when he knew! How he should have cherished every second of time he had with his son! How could he have been so blind, so ashamed. How he regretted it. If only he had the chance to go back and change the past, and show the child how crazy his father was over him..... as it was, Oremir never even knew the truth..... if only he had done things differently..... if only he had cherished his son when he still had the chance... "I'm so stupid," he whispered. "I am so, so stupid," he wept.

But still Boromir reassured him, gently supporting him while he revisited the most painful moments of his recent past. He remembered giving Oremir away when the child was barely four days old. He had thought it was for the best. He had hoped his son would be happier in a proper family, with two loving parents to care for him, he truly did. And the Ithilien couple adored Oremir, they did, they did. They loved Oremir to bits. But what if he had decided against giving his son away? Perhaps Oremir might have been happier with him. Perhaps Oremir would still be alive today. It was all his fault! All his fault! If only he hadn't been so afraid of being found out! If only he hadn't been so selfish!

Unable to face his thoughts any longer, Legolas curled up and shook. "Go away," he whispered to Boromir. "Go away, go AWAY! I don't deserve your kindness. I'm evil. I'm so evil. I'm an evil person. I don't deserve your love. Oremir, I'm sorry. Oh, my son, my son..... what have I done..... Go away, Boromir, leave me, I don't deserve your kindness. I let you down. I've let you all down. It's all my fault. I let everyone down."

Against his will, the image of Oremir lying on his deathbed rose before his eyes. Oremir cold and lifeless. Oremir with his skin rubbed raw. Oremir with his abdomen ripped across. Oremir with his guts spilling out. He imagined his son's last waking moments..... Oremir's panic as he fell from his horse, Oremir's terror as the boar attacked him, the pain Oremir must have felt, the absolute horror of being ripped apart by a wild animal..... He imagined the horrified look on the boy's face, his screams, his desperation.....

"Why didn't anyone help him!" Legolas cried to the world. "Why didn't anyone do anything! Why wasn't I there! I should have been there. I should have been there for him. He called out for me. They told me they called out for me, but I wasn't there! Why? WHY! Why couldn't I have been there.....I might have made a difference. I might have stopped it. At least I might have held him as he died. At least he wouldn't have doed thinking that he was alone. At least he would have died knowing I love him. Why? WHY? WHY!!!!

"It's my fault. It's my fault. It's my fault. I wasn't there when he needed me. It's all my fault! How can I ever live with it? It should have been me who died. It *should* have been me who died. He was so young, Boromir. It should have been me. Why couldn't it have been me? I couldn't even be there for my son. What sort of parent am I? I don't deserve to live."

But again Boromir spoke to him. Oremir is watching, the presence said. He's watching you now, and he's so unhappy. He doesn't want you to blame yourself. He doesn't want his Ada to be sad. He knows you love him, and he loves you..... so very much, Legolas..... and it hurts him to see you so miserable. He loves you, Legolas. All he wants is to see you happy. Don't you want your son to be happy, Legolas? Seeing you happy will give him great joy.

Legolas closed his eyes and took great deep shuddering breaths in an effort to calm himself. "I don't know how," he said at last. "Show me how to let go. Show me what to do. I cant live this way anymore. It's killing me."

He felt the cloud grow warm and dense, and fill him with love and energy. //Oremir, my son, \\ the thought that was not his sounded in his own head, stronger than ever.

"Oremir, my son," Legolas repeated, instinctively following Boromir's lead.

//I love you.\\

"I love you."

//I've always loved you, and I always will.\\

"I've always loved you, and I always will."

//And I'm sorry,\\

"And I'm sorry."

//But I cant grieve for you any longer.\\

"I cant..... grieve....." he trailed off as he collapsed once more into tears. And Boromir let him cry. He knew how much Legolas needed to shed those tears. More than anything, he needed to release his pain before it claimed him completely. Finally, Legolas took a deep breath and continued. "I'm sorry..... but I cant grieve for you any longer."

//Forgive me.\\

"Forgive me."

//We both have our own paths to follow, and I can't keep you with me any longer.\\

"We both have our own paths to follow, and I can't keep you with me any longer."

//Forgive me any wrongs I have done you. I was only trying my best.\\

"Forgive me..... any..... any..... Boromir, I cant do this!" he moaned, and covered his face. "I cant, Boromir, I cant. I wasn't! I didn't. I was so selfish. I was so afraid of being found out. Boromir, no....."

//Forgive me any wrongs I have done you. I was only trying my best.\\ the voice that spoke in his head was gentle and warm.

"Forgive me any wrongs I have done you. I was only trying me best."

//I've only ever wanted you to be happy.\\

"I've only..... ever..... wanted..... you to be..... happy." Legolas gasped. He was having difficulty breathing.

//And so I release you now.\\

"And so I release you now."

//I love you, and I release you, and I set you free.\\

"I love you, and I release you, and I set you free." Legolas bowed his head and took a deep breath. A sudden calm filled him, as did a strange sense of completion. "And so it is," he whispered, then looked searchingly at Boromir's image. The spirit nodded with quiet strength. "And so it is."

Legolas wept for awhile, safe in Boromir's ghostly embrace as he slowly came to terms with himself. What he had just done was right. It was best for everyone, and he knew that in his heart. It was difficult, but it had to be done. Just like what he was about to do next had to be done.

"Boromir," he whispered. "Meleth-nin..... I cant rely on you forever. I've held you back for too long. I need to let you go, I know that now, but..... I'm not sure I can. I don't think I'm strong enough."

He saw Boromir emerge from the cloud and assume his bodily shape once more. He knelt before Legolas and looked sadly into his lover's eyes. //You don't have to do this, Legolas. Not yet. I can wait until you're ready. You know I'll always wait for you.\\

"It'll hurt you."

//I love you\\

The elf nodded, and sobbing convulsively, he raised his hands to cup the ghostly face. "I know," he whispered. "And I need you so much. But I can't hold you back. I can't hurt you anymore. I just can't. I love you too much. But if I don't do this now, I'll never have the courage to do it, ever again. I need you to be free so that I can be free."

The form before him wavered and dissolved back into a misty presence that surrounded him completely. Again, Legolas remembered the voice that echoed in his heart. //I'll always be there for you.\\ He had heard it for many years now, as a soft whispering at the back of his subconscious whenever a situation threatened to overwhelm him, and now he finally knew it's source. //I'll always be there for you.\\

"No, you can't," he whispered, suddenly certain. "You cant. As long as you are, I'll never be strong. I need to reclaim my independence again. I've denied myself my strength for so long, but I'll never be whole again until I reclaim what I made myself loose," he said. "I know what I have to do..... but I'm afraid."

Calm yourself, the voice murmured, and Legolas felt the barest brush of lips against his ears. I will wait as long as it takes, it said.

And so Legolas sat and wept and relived the short time they spent together. He remembered their first meeting, their first kiss, their first coupling..... remembered how surreal his lover looked bathed in the moonlight, the soft musky scent of his body, the solidarity of the man's physique, his strength, his size, the broadness of his shoulders, the way his coppery fringe tumbled across his eyes, the texture of his hair ..... his thoughts then turned to their other matters. He remembered their arguments in Rivendell, the first of many quarrels they had gotten themselves into..... remembered all the harsh words that were exchanged..... recalled the scathing remarks they had thrown at one another.....

"No....." he moaned softly. "Don't make me remember..... you cant make me remember. it hurts too much to remember," he said, but still he forced himself to confront his memories.

He remembered the day of Boromir's death. They had just had another argument, that day. They were always arguing. Always. But things had gotten so bad that time that Legolas had given up on them ever working things through, and in his hurt he had said some words he had instantly regretted. Something along the lines of ending it..... something along the lines of wishing Boromir out of his life forever..... something along the lines of cursing Boromir would just die and leave him alone. Boromir had stormed off, and angry as he was, Legolas had been too stubborn to look for him, even though he sensed the danger.

He had.

He had.

He had know, but he didn't do anything about it.

"I didn't mean it," he whispered. "I didn't mean what I say. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. I didn't mean for you to run off like that. I didn't mean for you to get killed."

He remembered the paralyzing horror that coursed like ice through his veins when he had heard the mournful cry of Boromir's horn. Oh, his pride, his pride, his accursed pride! It had cost him everything he loved! It would have been so easy to have just apologised, but instead he had let Boromir walk out like that..... he was so stupid!

He had remembered running into the clearing as his lover lay dying. He had remembered how he was too overcome to react, how his limbs betrayed him when he most needed the use of them. All he could do was stare, blinking stupidly from afar as Boromir breathed his last. How could he ever forgive himself for that?

Forgive yourself, the voice said. It wasn't your fault. You cannot count yourself responsible for the fate of the world. It is beyond you, Legolas. It was meant to happen. The quest could not have succeeded otherwise. Either way, I'm not elfkind. I would have died hereafter. And you would have been heartbroken all the same.

And Legolas had to laugh. He threw back his head and laughed helplessly, choking and spluttering on his tears, then covered his face again and wept. "I love you, Boromir, and I always, always will..... Ai, Elbereth, I don't want to let you go! What will happen to me if I do?" He closed his eyes and groaned, but at length, a quiet peace decended upon him. It was time now. It was time to let go.

"Forgive me..... my dearest love..... I never meant to hold you back. I never meant to hurt you. I never realised how I've kept you with me, and how painful it is for you. But now I do. I do. And I'll be alright. You don't have to watch over me. You have your own path to follow, and I cant hold you back any longer. I love you so much. Too much..... to keep you here...."

He shut his eyes and let his fear and apprehension claim him. He knew he could ride it out. It was like his labour, in a strange sort of way. He knew that nothing would be achieved by denying it, or by fighting it. It would not go away if he did, and that the best way out would be for him to surrender himself to the pain. Only then could he learn. Only then could he let go.

But oh, it hurt! It hurt so much..... he felt like he was dying, like all his insides were being cruelly ripped out of him. How could he survive without Boromir as his source of strength? How could he carry on living with that awful abysm in his heart?

"I release you, Boromir," he whispered. "I set you free." He looked up and smiled at Boromir's concerned face. "You don't have to worry about me anymore. You're not answerable for me. You're not responsible for my well being. You don't have to be. I can take care of myself now. I don't need you..... to protect me any longer."

Are you sure, the voice asked.

"Yes. I know I am strong enough. I know I can pull through this. Be at peace now, son of Gondor. I have kept you too long from it."

And with a last swirling of emotion, Boromir was gone.

Legolas wept for awhile, grieving once more for the loss of his lover, letting the icy cold of loneliness creep into his heart. Already he missed him. Already he wished he had not let him go. But to keep him here by his side would have denied the man his peace, and Legolas wept the tears of a man so dependant on his walking stick that he had forgotten how to stand without it.

Slowly, shakily, Legolas rose to his feet. This was it then. His walking stick had been taken away from him. He only hoped that he would not fall for the lack of it.

Suddenly weak, he collapsed heavily against the wall, but still he fought to regain the use of his feet. He would pull through this. He knew he would. He had to.

Stumbling a little with the effort, he made his way painfully out of the wondering labyrinth and emerged at last into the crisp night air. All around him, the sounds of silence reigned. Soon, the dawn would break, and the peoples would rise to go about the business of the day, but for now, the whole city slept.

A brisk breeze picked up and Legolas turned his face to feel it's welcoming caress. The chill bit at his nose and cheeks, painting them a rosy red, but the cold did not bother him in the least. There was one last thing he needed to do. Closing his eyes, he raised his arms in surrender to the mother earth and all her elements.

"I release myself," he whispered, "and I set myself free."

And for the first time in years, he felt calm and at peace, knowing that the people he loved most had found their peace. His son and his lover were finally free-- he had not even known that he had held them back all this time-- and Eowyn had relearned and rediscovered her inner strength. In the east, the first glimmers of light stirred against the swirling grey of dawn. A new day was dawning. Legolas smiled.

It was to be the first day of the rest of his life.



Okay. That was it. Life. *takes deep breath* Erm, yeah. Final chapter. You see, I'm not *that* evil right? *blink, blink*. Okay, so well, maybe I am.

On a litghter note, here's a bit of blatant self-promotion. I will be starting on two new fics sometime late April after my exams, a YuGiOh fic and a LoTR fic. The YGO one will be basically a short continuation of 'Kiss Me Quickly' cos I really didn't like the ending. Many loose ends to tie up.

The LoTR one is going to be a rather dark, nasty piece tentatively to be called 'Grim Tales of a Faraway Land'. It's post war, perhaps on the day of Aragorn's marriage. Some characters get sucked into an alternate universe and take on multiple fairytale roles. I haven't decided much. Probably will star Faramir, Boromir, Eowyn (the three of them HAVE to come as a package cos of the dynamic between them), and the Aragorn & Arwen package. There will be bits of Legolas, tho he wont appear till much later. I'm hoping to boarder Grim Tales on horror, but I cant write horror for nuts so I'll settle for blood and angst. Bright red blood. Muahaha.

I also have an account at, but I haven't done anything with it yet. I'll probably be uploading some of my completed stuff around May as well, and the Grim Tales might just be posted under adultfanfiction cos there are elements of violence and rape, and might just flip on me if it tried it here. So check it out in May!

Well, I've said it once and I'll say it again, thanks for staying this far. It's been great. You guys rock!

Hugs, fazy