Help Me Get Back

Chapter 14: Summer Solstice

Rachel slowly proceeded into the small clearing, walking toward the statue commemorating Legolas' mother. Engraved into the stone she read in elvish:

Elowen, mother to many, Queen to all,

The Kingdom was devastated to hear of her fall.

She remained for as long as she could,

But she sailed into the West as we knew she would.

She left behind a family all with her golden hair

They all will sail to the Undying Lands, to meet their mother there.

"What happened to her?"

"She was out in the forest and was attacked by orcs. Father never told us more than that but we all believe that something else happened also, or the orcs did something to her that was more than skin deep. She was never the same when she returned…"

"I'm so sorry. I had no idea… Please forgive me for bringing it up. I know it must be painful."

"I do forgive you, though I had never held it against you. As you said, you had no idea. I could never blame you for it, it was only, I had held it inside for so long, refusing to discuss it with anyone outside of my family."

"She was so beautiful." Rachel stepped closer to admire the wonderful craftsmanship.

"Everyone says that I have her eyes. I wish I could remember her more. She was always running around. She never tired. She would play with us whenever she could, even after having to attend banquets or long audiences. Happy, that is another thing I remember. You almost never saw her frown. Her smile was radiant, like yours… Rachel, now that I know more about you, I wish you to know, that my offer still stands. I wish for you to be my bride and queen. I always have."

"Legolas, I appreciate that, I really do, but… well, I can't. I believe that I love you, more perhaps, than I will ever love anyone else, but I do not belong here. I belong back on Earth with my family, with my friends. Especially around this time, it's been a year and I haven't been able to see any of them. I miss them so much. Think of your mother, Legolas. You miss her, but you know that you will be able to join her in the Undying Lands whenever you wish. For me, I don't know if I will ever be able to see them again. If I was to be your bride, I would want to be able to give you all of myself, and my true self, but as long as I am here, missing my family, I will not be able to do that."

"Will you, at least, permit me to spend as much time with you as I am able to do while you remain here?"

"I do not know how long that will be, but, I suppose, yes. I enjoy your company, Legolas. Try not to stifle me though, spending too much time together isn't good either."

"Legolas… where are you? Are you here in the garden?" came a voice from the other side of the shrubs.

"That's my father's messenger. I must go. I will see you tomorrow?" he asked, glancing over his shoulder to look into her eyes as she answered.

"Yes. You will see me tomorrow." After Legolas left Rachel sighed and collapsed onto the ground. "Why must I make such difficult choices? I am only 18. Why must I choose between love of my life and my life? I wish he could have come to Earth. Maybe then we wouldn't have these problems." She glanced up at the memorial; the statue of Elowen seemed to be gazing comfortingly down on her. "I wish you could speak. Maybe you could tell me what I should do."

"Gandalf, why did you call me so urgently?" Legolas questioned after following the messenger back to his father's study.

"Legolas, you do not have four more days to convince Rachel to stay with you. You have tonight. At 11:37 tomorrow, the sun will be the furthest away. It will seem to stand still. Rachel arrived here one year ago during the summer solstice if the information I have received is correct. I believe that she must be at the same location that she was found at at 11:37 tomorrow morning to be transferred back to her home."

"No… I only have one night left with her? How can this…" Legolas pulled himself together. "Thank you, Gandalf. I really do appreciate your work. I shall go and inform her of your findings now."

"Legolas, I am sorry that you do not have more time to share with her but I believe that this is the only way, otherwise she will need to stay for another year."

Legolas couldn't think of any way to respond to this so he gave Gandalf what he hoped was an understanding sort of look before turning away from the old wizard's piercing eyes.

He made his way slowly through the corridors toward Rachel's room trying to decide how he was going to tell her the news. He couldn't convince himself that he really wanted to tell her, he just kept repeating in his mind over and over again that this was what he needed to do, this was what Rachel wanted. She needed to be back with her family in her own world, but still, he couldn't help feeling selfish about his love. When he reached her room and found that she wasn't there he jogged out to the gardens, hoping that he wouldn't lose his resolve.

She was where he had left her, except that she was sitting now. Her face was tilted up toward the sky but her eyes were shut tight.

"Rachel…" Legolas said tentatively.

"You're back!" she exclaimed, opening her eyes and turning to look at him.

"Yes. I've something to tell you. Gandalf… Gandalf believes that he has found a way to send you back to your world."

"That's great!"

"You must be where you were found tomorrow at 11:37, I believe he said. It is the summer solstice. I will travel with you there if you would like."

"Yes, yes. I would love for you to come with me. Gildor should come too, seeing as he found me. I'll need to say good-bye to Faerlain, Linwë, Itarilde, Amras. Oh, Legolas. Thank you for getting Gandalf here!" She jumped up and hugged him. He put his arms around her but he could not share the joy that she felt.

He let her be that night. She was around everywhere, thanking people and saying good-bye. He couldn't stand to hear her saying good-bye, he knew that his would be coming all too soon. The next morning, though, Legolas was the first to her room. He woke her at seven to be sure that she was prepared to leave. They sat in her room discussing her time in Mirkwood until nine when they left for breakfast. Rachel's friends joined them there to say their final farewell. Finished with their meal the two made their way out to the stable to join Gandalf, Gildor, and a small guard that would be accompanying them to the clearing.

They arrived at the clearing thirty minutes early. The guard took posts in the surrounding forest, Gildor among them. This left Gandalf, Legolas, and Rachel. Mercifully, Gandalf quietly announced after fifteen minutes that he thought Shadowfax needed some water and left them to their good-byes.

They talked about nothing for ten minutes but when Gandalf returned they knew their time was running short. Legolas did not ask her to stay, he knew that it would do no good and Rachel could not bring herself to ask him to leave his family, home, and kingdom.

"Good-bye, Legolas," Rachel said, a single tear escaping her eyes. "I love you."

Legolas said nothing but instead, bent down and captured her lips in a soft kiss. She didn't pull away, she didn't even want to. She could have stayed with him forever there if she knew that her family would know that she was alright.

"Legolas," Gandalf said warningly.

They parted reluctantly and Legolas stepped back. There was a brilliant flash of pure white light and Rachel found herself back in her world, back, in her own backyard.

A/N: That's the end of it. Thanks for sticking with me! I hope you enjoyed it more than I enjoyed writing it. I'm not sure I like the ending but that's how I decided to write it and that's how it's going to stay. Here are the last review responses!

Emiliana: I hope you enjoyed it. I'm proud of myself for updating. I can't say the same forRayame though... or you for that matter, but that's a different story... Are you in Mexico? I can't bring myself to remember when you wereleaving or comingback.Hope it goes/is going well.

Rayame: I've updated. You have no excuse not todo thesame. Chapters 3 and 4. It took me an hour to write this.Uh. I'm going to finish my next story before starting to update it. It'll go so much easier. All I'll have to do iswrite responses... Ah, the life. Well,thanks forreviewing!

Faerlain: I was going to put moreof you in it but then I got sick of the whole story and ended it as quickly as possible. I have another story started but you probably won'tbe reading that one since it's under Tamora Pierce. Hope you enjoyed this chapter! Thanks so much for reviewing!