Disclaimer: I own nothing
Warnings: Slash, war
A/N: So it's been over a year. Quite a long time really. But finally, an update. I don't really think it was worth the wait lol. Also, I've revised the story. I thought it was the least I could do, since some will need to re read it to even remotely remember what was going on when I left it. I couldn't remember what was going on! And wht i read was pretty shit. Good thing i found it funny rather than depressing. But also, I was 13 when I started writing this. I am 17 now, with a better understanding of spelling and grammar, and basic plot devices. I hope the difference is noticeable. The first few chapters are the most changed since they were the worst, with new lines and better flow. But all have been spell checked and such, though I still may have missed some.
And lastly, thanks to everyone who has continued to review. It does remind me continuously that I need to update. To those who personally emailed me, I apologise for the lack of reply. I wished to wait until I had a definitive answer as to the future of this story, but one never really came. So, a new chapter. Mediocre perhaps, and not particularly long, but it's a start lol. I hope everyone enjoys it J
Italics = dream sequence
The ride to Isengard had been surprisingly untroubled. No orc appeared to waylay them on their journey, no wild men congregated to block their way. But little happiness could be felt, of course, for the number of dead behind them was still uncounted, yet many courageous men and elves had fallen, still entwined with the corpses of the enemy before Helms Deep.
Harry rode beside Aragorn. Beside Gimli rode Legolas, in deep discussion of the wonders of Middle Earth. Gimli had championed the Glittering Caves, a wondrous site for Dwarves, so beloved to them was stone. Captivated by the depth and age of Fangorn forest, the elf argued as any of his kindred would, for the beauty of the tall, whispering trees. Harry glanced over somewhat surreptitiously every few minutes. Legolas either did not notice, or pretended not to: the more likely of the two. After they had been disturbed on the walls Harry had slipped into cold detachment and Legolas, unused to, and unwilling to accept such behaviour, had given up trying to persuade him to talk, and instead ignored his very presence.
Despite their many years, elves were not always known for their maturity. And Legolas, young as elves counted and a Prince besides, could be forgiven his petulant countenance. He was used to getting what he wanted rather quickly, not having to chase after it with only a few scraps every now and then to keep him going. Yet Harry had affected him deeply, quickly. He had known Harry but months, many spent apart, yet the wizard had touched him more than any being in the centuries of his life. He needed time to regroup, yes, to understand this gorgeous creature better. Perhaps patience would be better than unsubtle pursuit? He sighed, but smiled at Gimli's animated arguing. He would not give up.
Harry smiled slightly as they entered the defeated Isengard. Merry and Pippin sat casually in the midst of the destruction, chatting happily and smoking a pipe. He was well aware that such moments of casual serenity were rare in war, and was pleasantly surprised to note how sturdy hobbits were. To go through such a journey, be captured by orcs, and witness the fury of the Ents whilst still retaining the joy of youth? Strong minds indubitably. Perhaps there was hope for the ring bearer. Perhaps there was hope for Middle Earth.
Harry sat up straight as they neared the Ents. Most looked relatively unharmed, a few burnt branches here and there, and he was relieved. The last march of the Ents they may have said, but there was much, much time left for them. The disappearance of such a race would be of great sorrow to this world, even if most had forgotten them. The trees would run completely wild, yes, trees with angry minds and blackened hearts could make the woods of Middle Earth impassable, more than perilous. But the Ents were also one of the oldest races, and the loss of their knowledge and lore would be great.
He returned from his thoughts as Treebeard turned to him and bowed, rumbling out a greeting in Old Entish. Harry returned the welcome, his vocal cords somehow able to the same language as the Ent. The others looked on confused. They spoke of times long forgotten, legends and myth that very few now knew the truth off. They spoke as old friends come together after many years apart, and it struck the remaining members of the Fellowship how different Harry was to the stoic man they left in Moria.
Eventually, they bowed again and stepped back, Harry's head filled with the changes to Middle Earth, the loss of the Entwives and much of the elves, and the dignity of men. He resolved to visit Tom Bombadil. One of the eldest of this world, he always knew more than he should about things others would consider meaningless. He held a different kind of wisdom to that of Gandalf and the Istari. He lent his mind to loftier things, though mostly less useful. Things that had little impact on the present world, but would be the end of all if left to their own business for centuries. When you are as old as he, centuries are the near future. You no longer count the hours of the sun.
Harry now noticed the eyes boring into his back, as they had been for the last five minutes. He turned, and his emerald orbs met those of Legolas. There was a tumult of emotion in his eyes, lots of confusion, and a little understanding, as if he finally realised just how old Harry was. Or perhaps, how old Calhoun was. Harry was still only 18. He didn't feel older than worlds. He didn't have memories lasting that long.
He couldn't tell how long it was before they looked away. Or who looked away first. But eventually they were looking anywhere but at each other, and Harry sighed and closed his eyes, leaning his head against Cameo's neck and stroking her silky mane. He needed to be alone, to think, and he could easily find out what was said later. He'd already seen the defining moments of 1000s of worlds. He could miss this minor one.
"I'm gonna go take a look around." He said, eyes firmly fixed away from the only elf in the group.
"But my Lord," Eomer cried, "we go to speak with Saruman. Surely wizardry is your domain?"
"Perhaps, but Gandalf holds far more knowledge than I do of the magic in your world. He is strong enough to counter Saruman's power sufficiently. My presence is not necessary here."
"Not necessary," Legolas agreed, resolutely staring at a far off point. Harry felt a twinge of hurt, and sat up straight as Cameo readied herself to move. He turned to leave when Legolas spoke again, "But wanted all the same."
Harry froze, looked at him, looked away, smiled a tiny, tiny smile, then looked him in the eyes. "I won't be gone long. I'll be back soon." Something passed between them, noticed by the others but unidentifiable. The elf nodded. Harry smiled a little wider before digging his heels gently into the Noctis, and then they gently trotted away to explore the ruined Isengard.
He couldn't help but look back once, already quite far away.
Legolas was still watching after him.
"What's there to explore?" Gimli asked gruffly, "Broken machines and moving trees? What's interesting about that? I want to see the wizard, see the resemblance between him Gandalf."
"Besides the beard and hair we share very little resemblance at all Gimli," Gandalf mused." But then, to others there are many similarities between dwarves, and very little differences, so perhaps it is the same with wizards."
"Either way, he is not exploring Isengard. He has left." Legolas almost smiled at the shocked, and some horrified, looks of the people around him. "He said he was going to look around. He never specified where."
"But…he's coming back isn't he?" Pippin asked, a little confused by the turn in events.
"Of course," Aragorn said soothingly. "He would not leave us completely, not now. Have you forgotten the old lore Pippin? Bilbo must have spoke of it, if no one else. He is the Protector of Worlds. He would not abandon us to our fate."
As confident as he sounded, he looked at Gandalf for agreement and the Wizard shrugged.
"He'll return, "Legolas said, smiling slightly. "He said so didn't he?"
And the look in Harry's eyes when he left told Legolas he meant it.
It was many leagues to the house of Tom Bombadil. Through the gap of Rohan, past Rivendell, and finally to Bree. Days it took him, despite the speed of the Noctis, and he when he finally reached the Old Forest that bordered the Shire he was tired and weary and stiff. Dusk was falling quickly, and the air was chill. He'd felt eyes on his back as he'd rode past Bree, and though he knew they couldn't hurt him it made him wary. All was not well in the Shire. But there, waiting at the entrance to the forest, was the man himself.
"My Lord Cal,' he exclaimed happily as Harry stopped before him. "Me and Goldberry have been awaiting you! Come into my forest, it won't harm you, and have supper with my lady and me. I've been expecting for you for quite a while now. You never did turn up when expected!"
"Well," Harry smiled, relaxed by the familiarity he felt whilst with Tom, " It wouldn't do to be too predictable. I heard you speak in rhyme these days Tom? Why the exception for me?"
"Ah, well, my power has dwindled some since last we spoke. I no longer leave my woods, but the darkness within them is growing. More trees are awakening with rotten hearts, and the barrow wights are wakening stronger. The power of my voice has always been enough for me, but it is stronger now in rhyme. Middle Earth weakens my Lord, and so do I. But whilst you walk in my forest, I do not fear. Ever did you have dominion of creatures of the dark."
They walked comfortably through the forest, the trees clearing a path for them and Tom Bombadil singing loudly and free. When they reached Withywindle the river's daughter was waiting at the door, and greeted both with a kiss on the cheek.
"Welcome back my Lord." Goldberry smiled, voice musical and tinkling like water over stones, " Please make yourself at home. Though millennia may have passed our house remains the same."
"Ever was it with the two of you. The world passes by, evolving, changing, but here in the forest you stay the same." Harry said taking a seat at the table. " Yet the forest, too, has changed greatly. Your domain has lessoned Tom."
"As do all great things eventually my boy. But Goldberry and I are happy in our little house in the woods. We have little interest in the world outside, you know that. Any information I have I'm sure you already know. And I am of little use out there."
"I desire nothing from you but good company and some space. Treebeard says hello, by the way. It was he who suggested I come say hello."
"Oh ho, did he now? It is many long, long years since I spoke to the Ents. When the forests joint we spoke often and in those days Goldberry and me would visit the Entwives too. Their leaving was a great loss of the last war, along with the sundering of the forests. But we're happy enough here, in our small forest with only the Barrow wights and Old Man Willow causing mischief."
"But come," Goldberry sang, "Off to bed and early rise."
Harry was far too tired to disagree.
Legolas walked through the forest, Elf eyes barely able to see the gaps through the trees. His graceful steps, always so quiet, now made him sound like a terrified badger fumbling through the forest. Not even elves can walk quieter than pure silence. He shivered. There was a feel here reminiscent of Fangorn, a malevolent presence among the trees. In the trees. Legolas had spent most of his life under the branches and leaves of Mirkwood, and evil spirits were often found there. He felt less fear than others would, but there was something else, some kind of comfort to be found there.
He walked on, endlessly it sometimes seemed, but in time uncounted he entered into a clearing, and spied a dark shape huddled against a tree. Familiar, oh so familiar…
The figure looked up with a gasp, eyes wide and scared, face tear stained.
He scrambled to his feet and stumbled backwards, putting further distance between himself and the confused elf.
"Harry? My love? Why do you turn from me? What is wrong?"
Harry stilled, looked at him, inched a little closer. Legolas knew to make no sudden movements. Closer and closer Harry slowly got, until he stood in front of him. Legolas had never realised how small he was. A hand raised to the elf's face, fingers skirting along cheekbones, trailing over lips. "I know you…"
"Of course you do Harry."
"Harry? Am I… Harry? Calhoun? S'gath? So many names and faces and places and I, I, I don't know who I am or why I am or what I am or"
Legolas kissed him, hard, and Harry's arms were round his neck and his hair and his were all over Harry and then they were on the floor and legs around his waist, hands gripping and pulling and teeth and skin and sweat and moans and oh so desperate.
"Oh god I need you Legolas I…god…Make me someone new?"
And as hands descended lower, they woke up in opposite realms.
"It's a strange night to be out alone child. The dark is moving, and this is not where you should be."
Harry opened his eyes, found himself surrounded by the forest, and watched by a goddess. The same green eyes as he, the same red hair as Lily, but inhumanly beautiful, completely flawless. Pale, paler than snow, but glowing somehow, a light from within, as if her skin itself held the moonlight within it. Perfect, weirdly symmetrical. Harry was sure that if he measured her, she'd fit wholly the dimensions given by the Greeks for perfect proportions. Something told him it would hurt to look at her, if he was anything else but a child of the gods.
But he was and she, she was someone he knew, someone he'd once called mother. "Aysel…"
"I'm not your son anymore." Harry said, looking down at his hands.
She lowered herself to sit on the ground before him, a hand reaching out to raise his head to look at her.
"You will always be my son, our son. Nothing will change that, whether you remember it or no. But you should not be here child. The war is many leagues away, as is your love. Why do you linger here?"
"The first battle is over, but the next has not yet started. I've still time to join. But this is the battle of men and dwarves and elves, hobbits and Ents, orc and troll and other such things. I am merely a watcher, a waiter. I do not wish to interfere too much, their victory must be their own."
"Yes, it must, but your presence alone inspires the morale that wins battles. And your elf waits for you forlornly."
"He is not mi-"
"He is yours, as you are his. Deny it as you like child but you know the truth. And he too, will live forever, if an unnatural death does not claim him, so you have a long time to make your mind up. But not forever. Nothing really lasts forever, does it?"
"You do," Harry muttered, " I do."
"But we are outside the rules that define such things. We just are, and we made you in the image of ourselves. Even the Umbrae may perish one day, we are not yet sure. We know only that nothing is infinite but us, and you.
You must find yourself again, darling, but your path starts in Rohan and leads to Gondor. Now go back to sleep and when you wake you'll be there."
Then she held his face delicately in her hands, and kissed him on the forehead. It left a glowing mark and then he fell into a dreamless sleep.