Just to avoid any confusion: I will change my penname during the next days, I just wanted to wait until this story is complete. I will no longer be SmilingDragonGirl, but Silivren Tinu. So, if you want to find my stories, please look for the new name:-)
Here is the second and last chapter of this story. Judging from the reaction of my German readers, this chapter warrants a tissue alert. ;-)
Thank you to my dear reviewers Gemini969, Invisigoth3, Masterarcher, Boromir, Svana, DarkStarofMirkWood (nice to see you again!), Captain Morrigan Savvy, Briryan (thank you for being such a faithful reviewer:-), Keji and Del Rion!
This story is close to my heart and each review is very much appreciated! ((hugs))
I'll have to work on some unfinished stories now, so I don't know yet when I'll post the next story. I'll announce any new story in my profile (English stories section) and you can of course e-mail me if there are any questions:-)
A Night in Lothlórien: Part 2
After a moment's hesitation Aragorn followed him, and he felt the anxious gaze of the man rest upon him. A hand touched his arm gently.
Legolas resisted the urge to close his eyes. Instead, he raised his head and looked at Aragorn. He knew that his friend was effortlessly able to read in his gaze. The quiet concern in Aragorn's face subsided slightly and was replaced by deep understanding. The ranger put his hands firmly on the shoulders of his friend.
"You should not have touched on this old pain for my sake, my friend," he said gently.
A slight smile played around Legolas' lips for one moment. "My mourning is for Mithrandir, not for those who fell a long time ago," he answered quietly. "It was his death that woke the memory, not the attempt to make a stubborn ranger see reason."
The quiet laughter of the man was his reward. Aragorn squeezed his friend's shoulders briefly and affectionately, then he withdrew his hands.
For a while they simply sat together in silence, listening to the sounds of the night and lost in their own thoughts. Legolas looked up to the crowns of the trees and the sparkling stars, while Aragorn's gaze rested on the tender blooms which gleamed between the blades of grass. Then, hesitatingly, the elf began to sing. At first his singing was soft, and again and again his voice would break and he would fall silent for one moment before he began anew.
He sang about Mithrandir, some of the songs which he had heard today, and more of that what was in his own heart. The grief surged up in him and streamed over him, constricting his throat sometimes so much that he believed to suffocate. But then the pain lessened and allowed melodies and words to flow out of him that mingled with the sounds of the wind and the singing of the stars to become a carpet of sounds and light. It engulfed him and buried him under it and he let it happen. With time his voice became firmer and his song clearer, but the pain and the sorrow therein testified to the dark, heavy load upon his heart.
Aragorn listened, spellbound, and his astonished gaze rested on the face of his friend. An almost celestial shine lay on the features of the elf and radiated from his eyes. Legolas kept his face turned upward, to the stars. The melody was beautiful, but filled with nostalgia and so sad that a heart might break over it. Aragorn noticed that the trees leaned towards them, as if they wanted to be closer to the elf, and even the air around them seemed to hold its breath. Legolas' whole life, his whole heart lay in this song, and Aragorn felt how something deep inside him quivered and gave answer.
A second, deeper voice joined in and took up the melody, as easy and harmoniously as a brook joining with another. Legolas' consciousness was far away, but the voice that mingled with his own was like a warm touch in the darkness, connecting him with a heart that shared his sorrow. He closed his eyes and felt tears run over his cheeks. A long time they sang together, until the time came that Aragorn's voice broke off.
The ranger sank forwards, buried his face in his hands, and cried. A moment later he felt a warm hand on his back. Legolas' singing had become quieter, but he had not fallen silent. Aragorn heard an echo of his own feelings, his own tears in the gentle melody.
Finally he had no more tears. The pain inside of him had changed into a dull throbbing. He felt hollow and exhausted. His eyes burned. Slowly he straightened up. The hand lay still on his back, and Legolas' gaze met his as he raised his head. Both their faces were wet, and their eyes tired from tears and pain. Legolas' song fell silent. Aragorn sighed but did not break the silence.
For a long time they simply sat together and found comfort in each other's company. An echo of their singing seemed to linger still in the air around them and filled the forest with a gentle charm.
"It is not true," Aragorn whispered finally, his words no more than a soft ripple in the silence. There was a weak smile on his face, but his eyes were filled with pain.
Legolas turned to him. "What?" he asked quietly and a bit confused.
"That tears soothe the pain," Aragorn answered simply.
Legolas stayed silent for a long moment. "It depends," he said then, almost hesitatingly. "It depends on whether they are tears of despair or tears of hope." The gaze of the elf rested on the ground before him, but he was not really aware of the grass and the flowers. "Mithrandir is not dead."
This time it was Aragorn's turn to be confused. He looked at Legolas but remained mute.
The elf raised his head, and his gaze seemed to go into an indeterminable distance. "All that he was is not lost," he continued quietly. "It is only far away, in another place." He blinked, and his eyes became clear. On his face there was a very thoughtful expression. He met Aragorn's gaze. "You taught me this at that time of grief," he said with a slightly wistful smile, "but I forgot."
Aragorn eyed the elf with surprised affection. "You have become wise, mellon nîn," he said seriously.
That conjured up another smile on Legolas' face. "I was already wise for a long time before you were born, human!" he answered with a hint of ease that did Aragorn good.
The ranger laughed quietly and shook his head. "You need not bother trying to convince me," he recommended to the elf at his side, "that I will never believe."
"There is another thing which is not true," said Legolas and watched his friend. The man saw the seriousness in his eyes and looked at him questioningly. "It is a myth that humans are not able to die from grief. The body may live, but the soul perishes. The firstborn do not differ so much from humans."
Aragorn looked at him and tried to understand what was going on inside his friend. "I do not intend to die," he said gently. His heart felt that Legolas needed this assurance.
"I would have followed you," Legolas added finally, in so quiet a voice that Aragorn hardly understood him.
He needed a moment before he realized what Legolas was speaking about. He thought back to the moment in the mines of Khazad-dûm, to the moment of decision. He had never thought about what would have happened if he had decided to ignore Gandalf's command. Legolas would have followed him... and probably not only he. He asked himself how many of them would have survived the hail of arrows that the orcs let rain down on them at this time, and he shuddered. He could have led them all into death. In that instant he suddenly knew that his decision - and Gandalf's command - had been correct. He could not find words that would have been adequate to express what he felt in that moment. Instead he put a hand on Legolas' shoulder and pressed it firmly. He saw in Legolas' eyes that the elf understood.
"Would you tell me something?" Legolas asked quietly. "Something of your journeys... with Mithrandir?"
Aragorn looked at him in surprise. He pondered the question seriously for a moment, not sure whether he would be able yet to speak about his lost friend again. To his astonishment he realized that he even wanted to. Despite the pain which still tore at it, his heart had found a little peace. He wanted to remember what had been before. The good times. His friend. He recognized that Legolas wanted it, too. That he needed it. "Agreed," he said with a fine smile. "If you tell me thereafter about Gandalf's visits to Mirkwood."
Legolas nodded and returned his smile.
Neither of them knew how long they sat there and told each other stories of their friend. There was much to tell, but less that they had not already shared with the other at some time. This time when they came to an end their hearts were easier, and the shade over their souls had subsided a little bit.
Legolas looked around like someone who awakes from a long sleep and realized with surprise how much time had already gone by. "It is late," he said, turning to Aragorn. "We should go back. We are not the only ones who require comfort tonight."
"I know." Aragorn sighed again. "I could not face them. Not before... " He broke off and fell silent.
Legolas gazed at him understandingly. "Not before you had faced yourself," he ended the sentence gently.
Aragorn nodded, once more surprised at how easily Legolas was able to read in him. He looked the elf in the eyes.
"Hannon le, mellon nîn," he said seriously. And added: "Thank you for coming."
Legolas tilted his head slightly. "I did not help you more than you did me," he answered calmly.
Aragorn shook his head, yet was unable to completely suppress a smile. Why couldn't the elf simply accept his thanks just this once? "You are incorrigible, my friend," he murmured while he rose and offered Legolas a hand.
Legolas seized it and let himself be drawn to his feet. He held Aragorn's hand one moment longer and looked him in the eyes. "If you begin to thank the sun for shining," he said, "then thank me for the fact that I am your friend."
- The End -