The Kiss

by Erestor

Disclaimer: I own nothing pertaining to Lord of the Rings.

The only thing Clara knew was that her sister was in a coma, and could not be woken up. She knelt by the girl's side, shaking her frantically. "Cindy," she cried, "are you all right?"

Blood trickled down Cindy's pale face, and Clara wiped it away silently, trembling inwardly. This situation had been a nightmare for a long time, now it was a reality. She had to look after her sister while her parents were gone. She had tried but somehow. . .this had happened.

Blissfully unaware of her sister's frantic efforts to wake her, Cindy was wandering through a dark forest. She was wearing a gown that swirled about her ankles. She felt grown-up, perfect, more alive than she had ever been before. When she looked up, she could not see the sky, only thick undulating waves of foliage above her. Her hand brushed against a tree, and when she glanced at her fingers, they were covered in soft sticky strands. Cindy sighed softly, almost numb with a strange delight.

She turned, her feet making no sound. In fact, the entire world was silent. "Where am I?" she whispered, her question somewhat rhetorical. There was no one to answer her. But nothing could make her afraid.

Clara dialed the emergency number, feeling stiff, cold, and unreal. This could not be happening. Her voice did not shake as she told the operator what she wanted, and for that much she was thankful. Now she slipped down into a chair, rocking back and forth slightly, trying not to think. And at her feet, Cindy lay motionless, a vague smile on her lips.

"Cindy," came a voice. The girl looked up, and found herself gazing into the brightest eyes she had ever seen. They were not blue or green or brown, they were grey, cool, and sparkling. "What are you doing in Mirkwood?"

"Mirkwood." She said the word quietly, with satisfaction. "I do not know why I am here."

The owner of the eyes took her hand gently. "Come with me."

Clara sat behind the steering wheel, watching the lights of the ambulance whirl in a wild harmony of disorder. The wail of the alarm sounded like a frantic dirge for the dying. She knew she was not really seeing, but driving the car like an automaton. The ambulance was carrying her sister to the hospital.

"Must I come?" Cindy asked. Something was holding her back. His hand was cool against her skin. She clutched it tightly.

"Don't you want to?" His voice was filled with mock surprise. "I can show you wonderful things."

She looked into his eyes. She was already seeing wonderful things. "Who are you?" she breathed.

"I am Legolas." His voice did not seem to break the stillness; it was a part of the stillness.

She repeated his name, letting it roll along her tongue. It almost had a flavor, and it felt good. "I'll come with you. Wherever you go."

Pacing the halls of the hospital, Clara ignored the strange looks the doctors gave her. The hospital felt blank and clean and colorless. Her shoes clicked sharply against the tiles of the floor, in a monotonous rhythm.

"Come this way," a nurse said, taking her arm kindly. "Don't worry."

But Clara was worried.

Cindy sat on the soft mossy seat of a fallen tree, Legolas beside her. Their hands were still clasped.

"Why have you come?" Legolas asked. She wondered that he did not know.

"I came for you," she said. "What was my life without you? How could I have been happy?"

He smiled. He was enchanting. She leaned forward, her lips parted. "I love you," she said simply.

The smiled widened.

"I'm sorry," the doctor said, "but your sister is dying. There's nothing we can do for her. It's doubtful that she'll wake before the end, but if you want to be with her. . ."

Silently, feeling nothing, not even pain, Clara walked into the hospital room. She took Cindy's hand, trying not to notice different wires that traced around the bed. Cindy looked pale and tired as she lay against the pillow, but the blood on her forehead had been washed away. "Why did this happen?" asked Clara. "Cindy, come back."

Held in Legolas's tender arms, Cindy leaned against his shoulder, winding her fingers in his thick dark hair. But the stillness of Mirkwood was broken by a whisper. She heard her name.

"What was that?" she asked, touching his arm. Fear pricked through her.

"It was nothing. Or perhaps it was the wind talking. It will sing you to sleep. The trees can lull you. This forest is more peaceful than anywhere else. Does the wind matter?"

She heard her name again.

Clara felt her sister's hand close a little tighter, and suddenly she began to cry. She made no sound, she only whispered the girl's name again. "Cindy, come back."

Cindy looked at Legolas. "You must make your choice," Legolas said. "Do you wish to go back?"

Cindy smiled. It was a smile very like his own. "No," she said.

The pulse was become erratic. Clara brushed tears away. This was only a nightmare. The pulse was dying away. She held on to the girl's hand tightly, but she begged no longer.

Cindy leaned forward. "I want to stay with you, Legolas. I love you. I love you more than anything."

He took her gently and kissed her.

She was not sure if she was falling or if she was flying. She only felt deliriously happy. She shut her eyes, and silently slipped into darkness.

The End