Disclaimer: All Lord of the Rings elements belong to the estate of JRR Tolkien. All thanks for his magnificent work. Note: Here I go...

To Pass the Night
Chapter 5: To Keep
by ArchFaith

And it had all come to pass to woe.

Oh misbegotten soul, how forsaken are you now?

He was staring straight ahead of him, almost incredulously, at the patch of bright sunlight that glistened a few yards away, a welcome sight to his grey-wearied mind. Though it brought him minor relief, it did not bring him comfort-no, comfort could never truly be had now.

Listlessly he trudged toward it, knowing that his journey out of the woods was soon to be ended. Sunlight again, and green grass, and other living beings-the world of the Fourth Age. The world without her.

With every step he bemoaned that ill-fated kiss-the feel of his lips on hers, the texture of her soft hair between his fingertips. How his heart had sung with her touch-how he had pulled away. And how he did not resist when she again pulled him to her.

Why could he not have stopped? It should not have been difficult-he had known that she had mistaken him for Aragorn. Why should he want to become a substitute for her husband when he was dead, to comfort her with kisses when he knew she longed for another?

And yet he had kissed her, lovingly and passionately. It was without lust, without the fleeting desire for any sort of physical consummation.

He kissed her because he needed her.

Need-an eternal wish. No, it was not as simple as simply wanting a person, or even a thing-it was much deeper than that.

He almost wished that he did only want her-for if that were so he could have continued on without her, could have felt his desire for her abate as time passed.

But as it was he needed her. He could not continue on without her; he wished to see her joyful and smiling once more, wished everything for her, the world for her.

And now he would have to return to the outside world without her-for now, now that he had disgraced himself in her eyes, she would have no more of him.

He did not cry, though he felt as such. He promised himself that sometime in the future, when the strength of her denial struck him with full force, he would. But not now.

He hiked along the trail of stones leading north, as she had told him earlier. A much simpler and direct route it was-it would lead him straight out of Lórien, and near to the River Anduin. From there he could proceed south towards Ithilien, back to Gimli and the elven colony.

But no-some wild part of him rebelled against this precise arrangement, scolded him from within. He could stay here, in Lórien...forever. To live amongst the trees, as she did...to forever live within her range, to glimpse her dark figure moving through the shaded thickets...he could do this. He could always be near her.

Quickly he shook the insane idea out of his head. The woods were making his mind weak...he needed to escape, to flee this forsaken land as soon as he could.

And Arwen...would she forever dwell here, mourning her lost love, until the end of the world bore her to her death, finally?

Finally. It was as if it were a blessing she should die.

He tried not to think of her, of her life, of his life without her, as he now approached the patches of sweet sunlight, filtered through the tops of the thick trunks. Soon he would emerge onto the plain-soon he would be able to forget that all things ever occurred. He would tell Gimli that he had departed Arwen in good grace; if her children inquired, he would say the same.

And the reality would always be there in his heart, slowly boring through his soul.

"Arwen." He whispered her name, felt it carried away by the wind. He loved her name-the harmony of its syllables, the gentle balance he felt whenever he called her.

Perhaps the wind would carry it back to her, he mused. Not that she should want to hear it.

"Legolas..."

And here was a trick of the wind. He heard a distant voice sound among its whistling-it seemed to call to him, the sound of it wispy and restless.

He continued along without hearing any other sound, save his own footsteps and the wind's usual low shrieking. The patches of light grew more numerous; he was coming nearer to the exit.

"Legolas..."

Ah, there it was again. He ignored it and trudged onward, having no wish to hear his name called by phantom spirits of the wood. He could see it now-the plain on which the River Anduin ran. Through the trunks he saw it, in the distance-not as bright as he thought it would be, but still a stark difference from this grey terrain.

He almost jogged toward it, his feet nimbly clearing the fallen branches and beds of leaves. He was half-relieved; it would be good to be outside again-outside, where she was not. Where mayhap she could be half-forgotten, the memory of her pushed away.

To trade the green earth and the sunlight for her-a hard choice. And still he would have taken the latter.

He passed the rows of trees that seemed to bend in on him, seemingly to prevent him from reaching his goal. Through and through and through-and there, it was done. He was standing on the edge of Lorien, looking out across the Plains of Anduin. Across the wide expanse of pale green grass he could see the running river, its waters clear and cool as it traversed the lands, distant and winding as it twisted towards the low hills. He was at least released from the realm of sorrow. But in his heart there was no real liberation-she was still within. Without her there was no true freedom. His heart felt caged; and it was, a cage belonging to her, a cage she kept in the corner of her dwelling, neither looking at it nor thinking about it, forevermore.

"Legolas..."

"Do you mock me, wind?" he whispered in a low voice, his hands at his sides, his hair tousled by the air which flowed out of the woods. "If you could die upon an arrow you would have done so by my hand, long ago."

"Legolas...proceed not..."

This voice...

He turned around. It was her...it was Arwen.

She was running through the trees, towards him, her cloak billowing out behind her, her hair lifted by the currents of air. She gasped for breath as she neared him-it had taken all her strength to have run the distance of the Plains in half a day-one half of the normal amount of time it usually took. But her heart had carried her, urged her on when she ached to rest. And now she was here, here in a place she had not seen for years-and it brought her quiet joy.

He was astonished as she came up to him, gasping, her face flushed yet glad. "Arwen?" he asked, as if he needed to clarify the vision he was seeing before him. "Do I see you before me? Is it really your face that I now gaze upon?"

She nodded-and smiled. "Yes, cousin...it is I. I have come."

A smile-so foreign on her face it seemed to completely change her. Her face no longer appeared long and drawn, but cheerful now-her eyes had regained their old glint, her cheeks again rosy. It seemed to amaze him.

"Why...why have you come?" He was almost speechless as he beheld her.

Her face became a mixture of hope and regret. She looked into his eyes, his eyes the color of the twilight sky, and there found her support. "Pardon me, cousin, for what transpired yestermorning-I was in great distress, great alarm, and I did not comprehend the true strength of your words. It was only after you had departed, after I had lain down and reflected, that I came...I came to understand..."

She trailed off as he came nearer and grasped her hand gently, pausing before he drew it near his heart. A simple gesture of affection, their endearment, formed when they were but children-it meant more than any words could ever express. "It was then that I understood...over the passage of time, throughout these long ages, I grew to love you deeply, deeper than the bond of friends. This love was cast aside upon my marriage, as it should have been-and now that he is gone, departed from this world-there is no reason I cannot love you as I do."

She was crying once more-tears of happiness now, or at least she hoped them to be.

"Forgive me, cousin...I was wrong to despair. In my grief my mind was clouded, and I could not remember what it was like to be loved. And when you declared that you loved me...I did not believe that I held the same feelings. But now I see...I was wrong to believe that I could not love again."

He could feel the tears welling up in his eyes as he looked down at her, grasping her hand near his beating heart. Was it true? This speech she had uttered-was it real? Was it not some trick of the woods, mocking him, goading him on in stupidity?

He reached up and touched her face, felt her tears as she gazed on, her face keen and ardent. Gently he stroked the tears away-they no longer carried a place in her life. He would see to it.

"Pray, do not ask for my forgiveness, cousin," he answered. "There is naught for me to pardon...with me you have no faults."

He drew her closer, so close their foreheads touched. His arms encircled her, as hers wrapped around his back. She was pulled up against him, now, in an embrace. It seemed to him that he had never held anything so beautiful, so powerful, as she.

Her face was buried against his shoulder as they embraced; eternity seemed to pass between them as they shared their feelings, emotions, and hopes all in the space of a few moments. He did not want to release her from his arms; not even the eternal years they would share together would make up for the time she was missed from his embrace.

She pulled away slightly, to look him in the eyes. Her eyes glistened red, but not with sadness. Nay...that emotion did not belong among them. Cast out it was, now, and forever; too long had the lady grieved. She smiled slightly, the sweet innocent child-like face peering into his, her hands grasping his shoulders.

She whispered: "You who have loved me from our first beginnings; pray, fly me from this forsaken land in which I have dwelt. With you I will journey, and remain at your side always; until time takes me, and I have faded hence."

"My lady...I am not worthy to perform such a feat," answered he. "But if it is your wish, then it shall be done so. I am yours; I belong to you."

She could not restrain herself as she drew him near to her. "Tyé- melane, Legolas," she whispered as she brought his face towards hers, bidding him.

"As do I, my Arwen," he answered before their lips met, in true and deep affection.

(-)

"And so it was that Legolas son of Thranduil brought Arwen Evenstar out of her seclusion in Lothlórien. They journeyed to the northeast, to Minas Tirinth in Gondor, where they were joyfully received by the king Eldarion, as well as the princesses Celebrían and Gilraen. All three were full of happiness at the sight of mother, no longer grieved nor sorrowed. There she stayed, Legolas at her side, for a few months, upon which they departed once more. They traveled now to Ithilien, to the colony of dwarves and elves that now dwelt among the forests. Here they were greeted by Gimli, and there they remained for many years, years filled with love and bliss. And when the time came Legolas and Gimli constructed a boat, a sturdy vessel, and all three journeyed forth to the Grey Havens, where they were received by their families and friends who had departed hence. And here was their eternal journey completed-here their love continued, and their happiness."

And so love did not die once a flame had been extinguished-it only lay dormant until a new flame sprung into being, a new light bringing with it new hope.

For without hope, life cannot exist. And a life itself cannot continue without love.

As the tale ends, remember, and believe.

THE END

Note: Whew! I hope ya'll liked that! Ohhhh Legolas x Arwen I just love it! I can't deny the rightness of Aragorn x Arwen, but these two are so right for each other...I couldn't help it! Hope you liked it, and of course reviews are welcome! If anyone wants to e-mail me as well, do it! I'd love to hear from you! AND ONE MORE THING GUYS! When you review, please tell me if you'd like me to write one more 'parody' chapter.basically, a funny and twisted version of one chapter of the story. It was an idea I had, and I think it's be great! And now.

Hope7: Thanks for always listening to me in real life, and also for helping with the structure of this story...and for listening to the entire chapters 3 and 4 on the phone

Licia: Again, thanks a lot for taking time out to read my story, and giving me some helpful advice. This story is going on Parma Eruseen soon, I'll make sure of it!

Tifiany-45: Thanks for all your reviewing! Your detailed reviews really perked up my spirits and encouraged me to write the best I could! And I as well love Moulin Rouge, though that's not where I got Aragorn's "There is no life without love" line from Truth, freedom, beauty, and love forever!

Dawn1: Thanks for putting my story on your site! If I ever write another Legolas romance fic, I'll be sure to think of you!

Ursa major: I was quite happy that an A/A shipper finds my story to be interesting and in character. It's hard to get anyone other than L/A shippers to read it! Thank you!

Skyshadow: hahaha, you are quite picky. But it doesn't matter; I'm glad I was able to touch someone's heart! Adjectives are delicious, I might add...

Gionareth: Hope I didn't really give you a heart attack...!

Winter sky, blush, Kaion Vin, mata, Eponine Enjolras, and ele15greenleaf: Thanks for your inspirations and compliments, they all really helped a lot.

To all future reviews: Well, what are you waiting for! Review!

ArchFaith signing out