Because of You

Author: Aranel


Dedications and Disclaimers


Na Eru Ilúvatar, beleg Aran nîn, uir Adar nîn, sîdh-Oneth nîn, Megil nîn; aglar anuir na Le!

Na noss nîn, am meleth chin

Na gwethil nîn, an nad bân, a niel sí anim. Ú-natha
erbado, ae non ú-tharn
.

Chapter 12's battle scenes are for my Society President

The poem of Chapter 14 was written lovingly for the encouragement of sell nîn, who should have been given it a long time ago.

And last but not least, this piece of fanfiction is for all my dear readers and friends.


Warnings and Notes
Tolkien, not me, owns all Lord of the Rings–, The Hobbit– and The Silmarillion– canon characters, places and events. And no, canon items are not things that are fed into a cannon.

The story grows darker with time and includes quite some character death. You have been warned.

Whenever any form of love is mentioned, it is platonic love. I must emphasise, there is no slash implied, but some characters do get slashed, I mean cut, no, I mean injured.

Well, I tend to bend grammar rules a little if I want a certain effect; please pardon me for this.

I'm not a Medicine or Physics student nor an archer or a rider, neither am I a weapon-smith or anthropologist (or whoever studies the peoples of Middle-earth) nor an English or Tolkien expert – you get the picture – so please, please don't kill me for any errors... pointing them out nicely will do...

The geography of Mirkwood comes largely from my personal interpretation, which often proves erroneous. Once again, please pardon my mistakes.

Aragorn, Estel and Strider are one and the same; they are just used interchangeably.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could provide feedback on mistakes etc. in this work.

Once again, if you are easily disturbed by angst or dark tales, you are advised to avoid reading this or read with extra care. Please refer to point 2.

Enjoy the story and hope you can finish reading this
rather "mammoth" story!


Chapter 1- Alone


I only want to sing
Is this too much to ask?
Music, my hope will bring;
In silence, despair falls as dusk.

In this world of vanity,
My heart wants no other thing.
Is not sweet music more lovely?
I only want to sing…

The sweet elven voice sang softly in perfect pitch, drawing comfort from the beautiful melody. It was dark here, and he could barely see anything. He felt himself to be in an enclosure, with four stonewalls surrounding him. There was sufficient space to walk five paces from each wall, and though it was not his idea of a cosy room, it was far better than any other cell he had been in.

He sat on the stone floor, leaning against a cold wall, blond tresses falling before his face as he hugged his knees. He was still fuming mad. Tricked in his own home; he should have been more careful! A few days ago, he had fallen in through a well-concealed
trapdoor in the floor; tricked and now trapped as the flap sprang upwards and shut him in.

Estel, Legolas thought for the millionth time, you're going to pay for this!

In the back of his mind, he still could not believe that Strider would leave him there for almost five days now. Strider had come suddenly to visit, and at the very first moment, had proposed this pointless game of hide-and-seek. Though thoroughly suspicious,
Legolas had decided to play along. Strider, with his superior tracking skills, had not taken long to find Legolas (although he had been rather careful about leaving tracks), and without wasting time,
the man had found a hiding place for himself. Legolas had then followed a faint trail that led across an empty room into another, and fallen after a few steps into the first room.

He had not done anything to deserve such a treatment. Wasn't his presence missed at all? They were in the Mirkwood palace. Someone should have noticed that their prince was missing, especially after
almost a week.

Like who? he thought miserably, who could miss me?

Estel would, if he had not been the one who had locked him here. After the trapdoor had shut, he had heard the sounds of a key turning in a lock.

He used to think his father would wonder where he was. Used to. Not anymore. He sighed as he remembered his last conversation with his father.


Flashback


A sound from the next room woke Legolas from his sleep. Blinking a few times as he sat upright in bed, he heard the sound again. It was his father calling. Curious and worried, he entered his father's room cautiously.

"Ada?" he called softly. No response.

Thranduil's eyes were still glazed in sleep, but beads of sweat were forming on his brow. Legolas took a cloth from a nearby table and wiped them gently off. Without warning, Thranduil grabbed his wrist, vice-like.

"Laeglas, don't go!" Thranduil practically shouted, "don't leave me again!"

Legolas tensed involuntarily at the grip, his mind wondering who his father was calling. How many people shared a name with the same meaning as him?

"Ada?" he asked questioningly.

"Laeglas, stay, please," his father's tone was pleading, "just a while longer."

"Ada, I'm Legolas."

"Don't speak of your brother. You are you, not him, my dear son. I still remember, you showed so much promise, even though you were only 36 laer summers old when you passed on..."

Legolas listened quietly, hurt by what his father said. How could he be compared to someone who had barely seen the years go by? He had a brother? This he never knew. He was curious, yet he did not
wish to hear his father say anything more. He felt he had heard enough.

But Thranduil went on, "Laeglas, you would have been our best scholar, healer and everything else. You would have been our finest king. You could have even been Mirkwood's finest archer! You can't just go and leave us all. No one can ever take your place,
not even Legolas!"

Legolas felt the hot tears well up in his eyes. So, this was what he was. A replacement! So, he was to be the son that Thranduil had lost. He was to match up to what his father expected his brother to be. Legolas had never been Legolas. He was the epitome of
Laeglas. Even his name indicated that. This explained so much! Every single mistake that he had made, no matter how minor, had brought upon serious consequences. Without exceptions.

Thranduil carried on talking, mumbling incomprehensibly at times. Legolas could take it no more. He let the tears fall onto his face, feeling each warm teardrop slip down his cheek, feeling the globule
drip, hearing the soft splat as the bubble burst on the ground. Thranduil had long released Legolas' hand, but he had not bothered to wipe away the tears.

"What for?" he thought.

It was a whole assortment of emotions welling up within him, crying out to be released. There was anger, thinking about how immensely unfair things were and will be. There was grief, feeling how alone
and lost he was, how much he yearned for warmth and comfort. There was frustration, remembering all these years when his father could never understand him and he wondered why. Legolas did not want to
hide anything anymore. Anyone who saw him sobbing could say what they wanted. He did not care.

Then Thranduil awoke. The first thing he saw was Legolas tear-stained face.

"Legolas, what is it?"

Legolas was still overcome by his emotions. Unrestrained, he burst out in a long tirade,

"So all these years you have never cared for me, but for someone who is long dead, is it not? You have never wanted to consider my thoughts, my opinions, my feelings! You can call me selfish, but all I want is someone who actually cares about me! Whenever I talk to you, you give non-committal answers. When I tell you of the favourite things in my life, you give me that occasional smile or nod and only think of your work!"

"There are things that matter more than others. Do you think that your affairs matter more than the kingdom's?"

"I know I am not that important, but I have always done my best to obey you. Can you not spare just an hour of your time? Have you even tried to understand me? Do you even care about me?" the pain and betrayal he felt was clearly evident in his speech.

"Of course I care for you, and you shall stop this nonsense. You do as you are told, and not as you wish, Legolas. If it be your will to defy me, then I shall see it stopped."

Legolas was stunned.

So I matter as much as another of your subjects, he thought.

Somewhat confused, he raised his voice further, the words tumbling out of his mouth,

"You are my father! We aren't supposed to be like this! We only have each other!"

"That would not have happened if Laeglas and your nana was around. But – "

"Whenever you see me, you only remember that your wife and son have died and you blame me for it! Have you ever let me be myself, and not what you perceive someone to be? Have you ever given me a chance to prove my worth? Why won't you even let me try?" Legolas' voice carried much bitterness in it.

"Give me a reason why I should."

"Because I am your son!"

Another silence. Thranduil seemed to be considering what Legolas said. Perhaps he had been just too irritated at being woken up from sleep. Perhaps he had not meant what he said. Perhaps –

Thranduil spoke again, and all hopes that Legolas held on to were dashed,

"You can try your best, but you will never ever be perfect–"

That was all Legolas heard as he stormed out of the room to a sleepless night and more tears.


End of Flashback


His eyes were now brimming with tears that had sprung up anew. He thought he would not feel anything at the recollections. He thought he had accepted it, acknowledged it, but he knew Estel had broken him; the man had broken his resolve not to weep. He had learned to release every single emotion bottling up in him, and he could not go back any more.

His whole life had been like a game. If he behaved as what his brother did, he would be spared, if not, he lost. Perhaps, if his mother were here, she might have helped him somewhat, but now, there was no chance of winning at all. He sought for some form of comfort, but the empty room gave him none. This had perhaps been a cellar, but was now vacated. Other than an empty barrel in a corner, there was nothing. Perhaps he could reach the flap if he could drag the barrel, climb onto it and jump the remaining distance, but he did not bother to try; he would never make it, and
even if he did, he may not be able to keep it open long enough to get out.

Most importantly, there was no point in it.

Because of you, he thought, because of all of you.

He had no idea how he managed to survive without food and water for so long. He felt weak all over, but other than that, nothing else. Five whole days on his own. He had had ample time to think and reflect on every incident in his life, but he only thought of one
thing: he was so caged in life that it did not matter whether he left this hole. He sang again, slowly, hanging onto each and every word as though it was his lifeline,

Retire sweetly for the night
Every hurt and weary soul now mends.
Strong exceedingly is Your might,
The stars forever are Your friends.

tbc...