Just Being Alive… (Soul Cries Out)

By Faceted Mind

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"When your whole world changes, what will it take to keep the things you treasure most?"

Summary - Though still weak from his defeat at the hands of Isildur, Sauron is gathering strength and three of his Nasgûl inhabit Dol Guldur along with his avatar - the Mouth of Sauron. When Legolas and the twins are drawn too close to Dol Guldur they are caught up in his wrath. He is yet too weak to hold them for long and so they are left - wounded and alone - to wander the perilous forests of Mirkwood. They are more resourceful than they are given credit for - but are they good enough?

Genre: Angst/Drama

Pairing: Las/Elr/Ell (established)

Rating: R

Warnings: Torture, Elf-Harm, Rape, Slash&Twincest, Pre-WotR

AN: To Kate Bush for the title and the extract (below). To Sesshyangel for a great Beta. To Tolkien for the world we all know and love to play with. I will say that this is AU, simply to satisfy the nit-pickers out there, though I will not deviate too far from Cannon if I can help it.

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- Just being alive

It can really hurt

And these moments given

Are a gift from time

Just let us try

To give these moments back

To those we love

To those who will survive

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The outer walls of the Last Homely House were thick, and during the heated summer months there was no better place to sit than at their base in the shadows, breathing in the cooler air. This summer had been unreasonably hot and, only now reaching its peak, even the elves were beginning to feel its intensity as rivers dried and everything began to wither.

It was a mad dash across open fields to reach the outer walls from the cluster of buildings in the centre. It was Elrohir that dove first into that cool bliss, scattering the small animals that had also discovered the cool haven, and rolling elegantly across the short space until he rested up against the wall. Elladan followed him at a more sedate pace, taking a seat beside him.

"Are you ever going to grow up, Elrohir?" Elladan wondered, rolling his eyes at his twin.

"It is too hot here, brother of mine." Elrohir decided, ignoring the question.

"This is the coolest place in the valley, 'Ro! Where would you have us go?"

"Not here, 'Dan. I mean Rivendell. We should travel North, where it will be cooler."

"And by North you would mean…"

"Mirkwood would do."

"Ah, but brother. Some of Mirkwood is South of Rivendell. It is a much larger place than our modest vale."

"No matter, for we will be going to the Northern part." Elrohir replied decisively, his plans already made.

"I see. And who would take us in? It is such an inhospitable place." Elladan wondered, already knowing the answer.

"I can think of one elf, perhaps you know him… He is tall, blond, blue-eyes… he oft carries a bow for he is a great archer…" Elladan laughed at his teasing.

"Aye, I can think of one such elf."

"Do you think Father would let us?" Elrohir asked, reason setting in and uncertainty soon after. "It has been less than a year since we saw him last, and he has always hated our travelling to Mirkwood."

"He has said it himself, 'Ro. His issue is with Thranduil, not us nor anything we might do there."

"And still… he is not completely happy about our arrangement. Or our travels."

"He will have to live with it, then. For me it has been far too long."

"Only a day might be too long in my mind." Elrohir sighed. "We could spend Midsummer's with him."

"They do not celebrate Midsummer's Day, 'Ro. They have some earlier celebration."

"From what I have seen of Legolas' kin, they celebrate every third day."

"True, but if he is on patrol he will have no official respite."

"Then we will have to join him, and make celebrations of our own."

"That sounds like a good plan."

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And so it was that three days later Carangil, horse of Elladan, and Cúdîn, horse of Elrohir, reached the High Pass across the Misty Mountains. The track was usually wind-whipped and harshly cold, but as they approached they found it stiflingly still and scoured of its usual covering of snow by the relentless sun - still blazing even at this height. Summer was truly at its peak, the sun directly overhead as the two travellers sought shelter for their heat-exhausted horses in the sparse trees that had yet to fall away from the roadside. Plans were made for the scaling of the pass later that day, as the sun began to drop from the sky. They would make better time in the cooler part of the day, and they would be able to descend into the valley before full dark. They would rest in the lee of the mountain for the night and be in the arms of the forest before the week was out.

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As they topped the pass the sun was low behind them, stretching their shadows deep and long before them. The shadow of the mountains dulled the colours of the valley, reaching out towards the forest laid bare before them. So vast was Mirkwood that its furthest borders were not visible even to the sharpest of eyes, and here and there it seemed the forest blanched. Shadows too far from the mountain to be part of its gaze gathered around patches of bared land. Trees destroyed by their thousands to cause devastation visible from a great distance.

"I do not remember the devastation being so great." Elrohir murmured to his brother as they gazed out upon the lands of their lover.

"Legolas was with us when we saw it last. Our gaze was not upon the forest."

"But his was. The shadow that was in his eyes bears more meaning now."

"Come, let us find our elf and tell him of our celebration plans." Elladan urged, not wishing to spend any longer looking upon the spreading evil.

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The twins deflated a little when, upon arriving at the Elven-King's gates, it was a guard member that greeted them and not Legolas. He was obviously on patrol somewhere, for it was unlikely that news of their arrival had not filtered through the forest security. The whole palace had probably known the moment they had set foot in the forest.

The guard bowed low. "My Lords. Please, come inside. We have rooms prepared for you, and water heated." Yes, they had definitely known of their coming.

"Friend, we seek only Legolas, we need no pampering." Elladan spoke first.

"Speak for yourself, brother." Elrohir murmured, too softly for the guard to hear.

"He is travelling, you will not find him in these lands." The guard replied elusively.

"Then might we consult with someone who will tell us where we can find him?"

"There is none such save him and his company."

"Not even the King? Or the captain of the guard?"

"His task was a secret one, his company follows no paths through the forest. You will not find him until he returns." A second elf, also in forest-guard colours appeared at the side of the first, this one dark-haired with a face that spoke of constant humour.

"And when, pray, will that be?" Elladan asked, his patience for games wearing thin. The two Mirkwood elves exchanged a glance. It was the dark-haired elf that replied, though his fair-haired companion rewarded him with a sigh of exasperation, as though he had given away some long kept secret.

"They are already a week overdue."

"Come inside." The fair elf asked tersely. "This is no place to talk of such things."

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In only moments they found themselves ensconced in deep chairs in the cool halls of the Elven-King, Thranduil. The two elves had called for food and supplies for their journey and other soldiers had agreed good-humouredly to gather them while they entertained the guests.

"Why would they drive further South? Is it not dangerous?" Elladan asked, impatiently.

"You have answered your own question, My Lord." The dark-haired elf replied. "Our prince joined this company of highly skilled young-ones so that he might be at the forefront of any action. He would not allow himself to be left behind when excitement is being had on our borders."

"He's mad." The fair-haired elf murmured. "Begging your pardons, My Lords." He added, realising who he was speaking to.

"How well we know it." Elladan shared an amused glance with Elrohir.

"Come, brother. Let us go save him before he gets himself into more 'excitement' than he can handle."

"If you would will it, sirs, we would accompany you." The fair-haired elf put in as the twins turned to go.

"We were left behind when our company left on this tour, trapped by the vengeful healer." The dark-haired elf explained with a grimace.

"We were released shortly after their departure, but had no means to seek them out and it is dangerous to travel out as only two."

"We know these trees better than you, and could halve the time it would take you to find them."

"And you could use more sword hands if you are to rescue them from whatever their delay might reveal itself to be."

"Enough, we are convinced." Elrohir laughed at the pair's insistence. It was curious to note that the fact that the twins had travelled through the forest as only a party of two had not been brought up. It was obvious these two were used to arguing with Legolas, or other elves as stubborn as him. "May we know your names, if you are to accompany us?" Elrohir continued. The two serious elves exchanged a glance and laughed unexpectedly.

"Truly it is as Legolas has said, you do not do things as we do here." The dark haired elf spoke with a grin.

"Have I said something wrong?"

"You are Lords, My Lords." The blond elf supplied. "Our names should mean nothing to you."

"But surely Legolas knows your names… you are part of his troupe."

"I cannot think of one time where he has asked, or called us anything more than 'mellon' or 'eledh' when we are as a group."

"How terribly rude." Elrohir shrugged at Elladan.

"Well, regardless. We would know your names."

"I am Daefindir," The dark-haired elf replied, "though a call of Daef is normally enough to get my attention and so will suffice."

"And I am Minastir." The blond replied, a little more uncertainly yet taking courage from his friend's forwardness.

"Though if you find yourself short of time, Mina will do just as well." Daefindir added, to Minastir's disgruntlement.

"My thanks, and I fear we find ourselves short of time already for the day escapes us."

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Wooee, hello again. As always, reviews would be greatly appreciated, as it lets me know who's reading and whether or not your enjoying and whether or not I've made any huge bloopers :D

Speaking of Bloopers… Sorry to anyone who read this before editing, I put up the wrong version of this chapter. Minastir is the Blond guard's name… the other name was discarded shortly before posting.