Two Days Later
It was late at night in Rivendell, and Legolas had fallen asleep in his father's bed hours back after a long day spent waiting for news of his parents, speaking with Thalion, scanning the skies for Gwaihir, playing with the twins and Mellon, and pressing Lord Elrond to contact Lady Galadriel for tidings. He had succumbed to the call of slumber with none of his questions answered; and the burning need for them conceived dreams, nightmares in the young Prince's mind.
He had seen Thranduil reaching the Queen in time to stop her departure, but instead boarding the boat and sailing to Valinor with her. He had seen the ship sinking into the vast ocean, taking his mother down, down, down into the blue depths. He saw himself, years from now, being denied entry to the Undying Lands where Laerwen waited for him. And each nightmare roused him from sleep, where he would find that his cheeks were wet with tears.
As he slept restlessly now, as the moon drifted across the inky sky, a giant bird was landing outside the Last Homely House, its great wings silent. Two Elves slipped like water from its back, and were greeted almost immediately by others – Elrond, Glorfindel, Alondir. Legolas slumbered on, unaware that any of this was happening. The trees outside his balcony turned their song to one of joy; and he stirred slightly, recognising the change, but not for what it was.
He was seeing something else in his troubled mind – himself stepping off the path of dreams to find that he was held in a pair of loving arms that he knew well. Around his neck was a crystal pendant. Laerwen's pendant. It had been promised to him should the Queen of Mirkwood sail to Valinor, so that meant, it had to mean that she was…
"No," Legolas whispered as his true self woke for the fourth time that night. "Nana, no…"
The realisation that he was not alone came quickly. He felt the arms wrapped tightly around his quivering body, and he slowly released his hold on the twisted bed sheets. This was too much like his dream. He lowered his eyes to his chest, fearing what he would see. The silver pools flooded with grief as they fell upon Laerwen's necklace. Thranduil must have returned – without the Queen.
But then the young Prince hesitated. His father's hold was stronger than this one, safer and more protective. This was gentle, tender, full of a love that could come only from a mother. Hardly daring even to hope, Legolas glanced at the locks of hair hanging over his shoulder, mingling with his own. They were silver. Thranduil had blond, Laerwen had… And that smell. Thranduil's scent was of the forest, of leaves and pine. But Laerwen wore fragranced water which reminded her son of roses and fresh rainwater.
"Oh no," the child breathed. "No, it is another dream."
A gentle laugh trilled through the air, and loving hands caressed Legolas' hair. "My little leaf, why do you deny what you know to be true? Turn around. Look at me."
The Prince slowly obeyed. As his eyes fell upon one whom he had feared he would never again see, they filled with tears; and he shook his head, unable to find the words for the moment. It was Laerwen. It was his mother's gentle hold that he had rested in, and… She was back. She had returned from the Grey Havens. She would not be sailing. Too many thoughts whirled through Legolas' mind, he could not understand any of them.
"It is I," the Queen whispered, leaning forwards to tenderly kiss her son's forehead. "I have come back to you. Do not fear that this is anything but real."
"I didn't think that Ada would reach you in time," Legolas murmured, silent tears coursing down his cheeks. "And when I woke, the necklace… I saw it, and I knew that… I thought that you had gone, and… Nana, you are here."
As the Elfling dissolved into sobs, Laerwen gathered him into her arms and pulled the small body to her breast. Her own eyes glistened with unshed tears. "Of course I am here. And I swear to you, never again will I leave you alone. Never. Do you understand that?"
"It wasn't your fault. You thought that I was dead, that you would not see me again," Legolas breathed. "I am so sorry."
"Hush," the Elven lady soothed. "Hush, my child."
The door opened without a sound, admitting a sliver of light from the lamps outside into the darkened room. Thranduil came in and leaned against the lintel, content for the moment to just watch his wife and son in silence. It was a tableau that only a few days ago he had doubted would ever exist again except in his mind. But this was real, and that knowledge made his eyes sting with tears.
"Meleth-nin," Laerwen said softly. "Come here."
Legolas looked up sharply as his father approached the bed. "Ada. You did it," he whispered. "You brought her back."
"No, you did," Thranduil amended. "You saved her, ion-nin. You saved us."
The child was not going to argue. He felt his tears being brushed away, and he nestled as close to his mother as he could, a smile gracing his features as he realised that he now had all that he had wanted whilst a prisoner of Seregeth's: his parents. It was over. He had been free for over two weeks, but now that his family was whole again, the trauma had truly ended.
Laerwen leaned back against the pillows and Thranduil lay beside her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and pulling both her and his son close. His eyes drifted from the Elven lady to the child, and back again. He had to constantly reassure himself that they were really there, that they were safe, that they were together. He knew that for this first night at least, no sleep would come to him. He would stay awake through the hours, watching over his family.
The next morning dawned brightly, and Thalion limped onto the outside balcony without the aid of any healers. It was the first short journey he had made on his own since arriving in Rivendell a few days back, and although he knew that the Elves caring for him would usher him straight back to bed if they were aware of what they would look on as risk taking, he was willing to take the chance. He was not jeopardising his health, and the need to be outside and underneath the rays of the sun was strong indeed.
Until the blissful effects of Elvish medicine wore off, his injuries did not pain him; and he had been comforted by Elrond declaring that he would make a full recuperation in next to no time. He knew that physically he would heal. Where his emotional wounds were concerned he had always doubted that such a thing as recovery was possible, but now that he was free from any hold that Seregeth had had on him before, he was sure that his fortunes could and would turn around.
Although, he did not know where life would lead him. He had a cottage back in the town, but he could not return there now. Of course he would keep his word and visit at times to ensure that Amarth and Surwen were doing their jobs as parents, but the place could never again be a home to him. Too much had happened, too many devastating secrets had been revealed for him to return as if nothing was changed. But that determination still did not offer a solution to his predicament: Where would he go? What would he do?
"I don't suppose the healers know you are out of your bed, do they?"
Thalion turned around sharply, and immediately wished he hadn't. The movement dizzied him, conceiving flashing lights before his eyes. "Valar, it is you! When did you get back? And why have I not been told?"
"What a charming thing you are," Thranduil said mildly. "We have not laid eyes upon each other for close to two weeks, and that is how you greet me."
"Well, if you insist upon creeping up on a weakened man with less noise than a shadow, what do you expect? And less of the 'thing', please. I find it to be a most offending term," Thalion retorted.
"We have both been insulted, so now we are equal," the Elf concluded. "I guessed correctly, though. The healers do not know that you are out of bed, so more than likely they would prefer you to be in it. Will you please go back inside? I fear that standing out here will bring one of those strange human illnesses to you, and you will keep Lord Elrond's household awake for nights on end with coughing and sniffing. I should warn you that my wife does not like being kept from sleep, and will be most upset if-
"Your wife?" Thalion cut in sharply. "The Queen is here?"
"I did not think that you would ever ask! Yes, she is in Imladris," Thranduil replied, his eyes sparkling with infectious joy. "We all feared for a time that we would not have the power to stop her departure, but I brought her back from the Grey Havens last night."
"That is truly a wonderful piece of news, and I am happy indeed for you and your family," Thalion said, grasping the immortal's shoulder. "Legolas confessed to me during your absence how he feared the outcome, and he told me of the nightmares he had in the dark hours in which you did not return with the Queen. I know that you yourself never expected to have your wife and son back with you after such an ordeal."
Thranduil sobered immediately, and cast his gaze to the floor. "No. I did not. Not so many days ago I expected to be meeting either Legolas in the Halls of Mandos or Laerwen in Valinor. My survival seemed an impossible thing when the two I love most of all were not with me. But we are now together again, and that is all that matters."
"I am pleased to see you well," Thalion continued softly. "I know we had our differences to begin with, but once we put them aside I grew to respect and admire you, and I saw that there was more to your character than I first of all thought. Whilst Legolas had his first experience with men, I had my first experience with Elves. You and your people have made quite an impression."
"You are not so awful yourself," Thranduil replied, his voice careless. Then he paused, and looked seriously at the man. "My son told me what happened to Seregeth. I want to thank you. Had he lived, my family would be chasing demons until the day of his death. As would you, I deem."
"Aye. But I did not take his life. He killed himself," Thalion said bitterly.
Thranduil shook his head. "It matters not how he died. The point is that he is gone forever, and it is because you were strong enough to face your fears and your past that we are all free. I am grateful to you, as is my wife."
A fond smile appeared on the mortal's face at that. "I should very much like to see her again. The Queen is a lovely lady, and-
A small cry suddenly sounded from the healing room, and the two stood on the balcony rushed back inside – or rather Thranduil rushed, Thalion limped. At the doorway was a young apprentice healer, and they caught only a brief glimpse of her retreating back as she spun on her heel and went like lightning from the room. Elf and man looked at each other; the former accusingly, the latter in bewilderment.
"I told you."
Thalion raised his hands in defence. "What?"
"You should not have left your bed," Thranduil admonished. "Now she thinks that you have disappeared whilst under her care; and when Elrond discovers that you have been up and about with no aid he will gift you with one of his hour long lectures."
As he made his way back to the bed, the young man gave a slight smile. "Actually, I do not think my vanishing was the cause of her alarm. Cast your eyes towards the bookcase, and you will see."
"Why? What is…?" As Thranduil's gaze fell upon the cause of the healer's cry, he froze, and his face paled ever so slightly. "It is…a spider."
"Yes," Thalion agreed. "What a lovely little creature he is too."
"Well, if you like such animals then I suppose he is, but I am much fonder of horses myself," the immortal replied. "Now, if you will excuse me I have some…things which urgently demand my attention, so I am going to take my leave now. Goodbye."
Thranduil turned back with a long suffering sigh, and spread his hands in frustration. "What? What do you want?"
"I am unsure how hygienic spiders are," Thalion said thoughtfully. "But I do not think that Lord Elrond would want them in his healing rooms lest they infect his patients. I cannot remove it for I am not permitted to leave the bed. My healer has vanished. You are the only one left, so would you be kind enough to deposit it elsewhere?"
"No, I think not," Thranduil replied. "Forgive me, but I really must go."
"Are you afraid of it?"
The Elf caught himself before turning, and levelled the man with a suspicious gaze. "Has Legolas been speaking of me at all?"
"No," Thalion said, innocence colouring his voice. "Please, do this one thing for me. I wish to make a swift recovery, and if it is delayed by the presence of a spider I will be most aggrieved. And you will feel ever so guilty if-
"Very well, I will get rid of it!" Thranduil snapped. "Just never ask me to do anything for you again, insufferable human."
The mortal chuckled under his breath at that, and his gaze fell upon two dark heads in the tree outside the balcony. Elladan and Elrohir. He had been told enough stories of their tricks, and so it had come as little surprise to him that morning when he was approached by them and asked to participate in one. He liked the two young Elves a great deal, and had readily agreed.
"I am grateful to you for doing this, I…" Thalion's eyes widened as they fell back on Thranduil. "What are you doing?"
The Elf had pulled one of his twin knives from his belt, and gave a slight shrug as he sighted it on the spider's thin body. "I am removing the creature from your presence, which is what you asked me to do."
"I asked you to put it elsewhere, not kill it!"
Thranduil lowered his weapon, and glared at the man with cold eyes. "You are indeed difficult to please. I agreed to do a favour for you even when I am needed elsewhere, and now my method of carrying out the aforementioned favour is not to your liking and you have asked me to stop. Well, I will. You can feel free to dispose of the…thing yourself."
"I will," Thalion retorted. "I assure you that the spider will be gently put outside instead of massacred by the tip of your knife."
"What is the meaning of all this noise?"
The Mirkwood ruler turned towards the door, and released a deep sigh as his eyes fell upon Elrond and Glorfindel. "Your patient is most trying, my friend. Might I suggest that you give him a greater dosage of sleeping draught next time?"
"He is no longer receiving such medicine," the Peredhil replied evenly. "Thranduil, why do you have a knife in your hand? I do not allow weapons in my healing rooms – as well you know."
"My Lord, he was preparing to commit murder of a most heinous kind," Thalion explained. "Might I suggest that you call your guards and have him locked away?"
"There is no prison in Imladris," Elrond answered. "Now, would either of you care to explain yourselves to me?"
Thranduil glanced down at the spider, and shuddered as it scuttled across the room. "Look at that creature. Do you want it around your patients? I offered to remove it-
"You did not offer," Thalion scoffed.
"I offered to remove it, but my kindness is not good enough for this man," the Elf continued. "My method of removing it may have been slightly…violent, but that is quite irrelevant, and-
"You were going to throw your knife at it."
"Thranduil!" Glorfindel gasped. "No, surely not. I did not know that such cruelty existed in you."
"Who is cruel?"
The Mirkwood Elf closed his eyes as his wife and son appeared in the doorway with Alondir. "Wonderful," he murmured. "Is the whole of Imladris journeying here to witness this scene?"
"Who is cruel?" Legolas repeated.
"I am, apparently," Thranduil sighed. "I was going to kill the spider."
"Meleth, why would you do something like that?" Laerwen asked disapprovingly, though a small smile was upon her lips. "What has it done to you that is so awful it must have its life taken?"
"I fear that I must retract my earlier words," Thalion said from the bed. "I see now that you are indeed a heartless Elf."
"The spider would not stand a chance against your knife," Elrond agreed. "How very callous of you."
Thranduil stared at the small group in shock, and shook his head slowly. "I did not want to be persecuted so. I have done nothing wrong, and yet you treat me like a criminal. If I had known that such a furore would be caused I would not even have touched my knife. Since you are all so upset, the spider can live. It can make its permanent home here for all I care, and… Why are you laughing?"
"We laugh at you," Laerwen said gently.
"Is it not obvious?" the Queen continued. "Meleth-nin, the twins put the spider in here because they knew you were coming to see Thalion, and they also know that you are…that you do not…"
"That he is afraid of spiders," Glorfindel offered helpfully.
Thranduil flushed at that, and looked towards his son. "Legolas, did you tell Elladan and Elrohir? Ion-nin, you promised…"
"I'm sorry," the Prince muttered.
"And now everyone knows?"
"It is quite amusing," Elrond said mildly. "Come, you must agree with me. The great King of Mirkwood, fearing a mere insect? Do you not see the humorous side?"
"Oh, of course. It is so funny I think that perhaps my sides will split from laughter," Thranduil replied. "It is the funniest thing I have heard in all my life, and I am so happy that your hellion sons concoct such jokes, because this has truly brightened up my day. Send them my thanks, will you?"
The Peredhil nodded calmly as everyone else stifled laughter. "I will."
Legolas watched the scuttling spider for a moment, before nudging Alondir with his foot. As the commander leaned down to him, he whispered: "Can you get rid of it? The joke is over now, and it is unfair."
Laerwen smiled at her son's compassion. "You speak the truth, little one. Thranduil, I apologise for laughing at your expense. It was wrong of us to use your fear against you for our own humour."
"Even though it is but a fear of spiders," Glorfindel added quietly. He grinned as the Mirkwood ruler glared at him. "Sorry. I will go now, before you throw something at me."
The seneschal left with Alondir and the cause of all the furore, and Legolas sighed as he went forwards and took his father's hands in his own. "This was my fault, Ada. I did not mean to tell the twins, and I did try to take back what I said. I am sorry. I feel as though I have let you down, after all you did to help me conquer my fear of storms."
"It matters not," Thranduil replied, swinging the little boy into his arms, and holding him tightly. "It gave everyone a chance to laugh, so I suppose that maybe I can find it within me to forgive the twins. But I may have to tape your mouth up to stop you from spilling any more secrets, impling."
"Ada," Legolas giggled. "Don't do that."
"Yes, that would be cruel of you," Laerwen agreed.
The Elven-king rolled his eyes as he took a seat at Thalion's bedside. "I must be careful from now on, lest everything that I do is looked upon as 'cruel'. Ion-nin, I will not tape your mouth shut. This time. But prepare yourself to be tickled mercilessly later."
Legolas winced, though a smile was upon his face as he rested his head against his father's shoulder. If he had made such an error in judgement whilst living with Seregeth, the man would have beaten him, spilt his blood, made him sob with pain and fear and… The Elfling shuddered as memories came flooding back, recollections of himself lying on the floor at his captor's mercy, helpless to protect himself. Thranduil seemed to sense the change in his son, for he suddenly tightened his hold on the child.
"All is well, little one," he whispered. "You are safe here."
"I am sorry," Legolas said quietly. "About the spider."
Thalion watched the tender moment in silence, before letting his gaze travel to Laerwen. "My Lady, your return gladdens my heart. The reunion of your family is a perfect ending to a story which could have been so different."
The Queen looked towards her husband and son, and let out a silent exhale of breath. "I see them together, and I cannot imagine what my life would be without them. Even in Valinor, happiness would not be granted to me." She paused, and glanced back at the mortal. "You spoke the truth. The ending could have been different, very different indeed."
"What will you do now?" Thalion asked softly. "Will you stay here a while, or return to Mirkwood before long?"
"We must think of Legolas, and I deem that he would prefer to spend some more time in Imladris before making the return journey home, though we cannot be too long away from our people," Laerwen replied. "We will decide in a few days. You, however, will take longer in choosing the course of your life. Is that not so?"
"Yes. I feel…lost, I suppose," the man admitted, his voice low. "I do not know what to do now, where to go. I have no home, no friends. I have to make some sort of living for myself, but I know not how to do so. Where do I go from here?"
"Mirkwood and Imladris will always gladly receive you," Thranduil interjected. "And, you will be known in my realm as a friend of the House of Oropher. Yet I wonder why you are so desperate to know where your road leads. All your life you have walked a path set out by other people – for fifteen years you were imprisoned in that cottage because of Seregeth, and for another five after that you lived in the town to be near your sister. Maybe it is time to do something for yourself."
"Anything. Learn healing whilst you are staying here. Become a carpenter, a craftsman, a hunter," the Elf replied. "Or, make no plans at all. Leave Elrond's house when you feel ready, just let your feet carry you across Arda; and eventually they will take you to where you are destined to be."
Thalion allowed a small smile to pull his lips upwards. "You make it sound so easy."
"It does not have to be difficult," Laerwen said gently.
"I think that you should do it," Legolas contributed. "I would, if I was given the chance. Just imagine how much freedom you will have. You will be like a bird, able to do anything, go anywhere. Is that not something you have wanted? To be free?"
""I suppose so, but…" Thalion thought for a moment, before nodding his dark head once in determination. "No. All of you speak the truth, and I would be unwise to disregard the advice of three Elves. I will do this. I will walk until I find the place that is right for me, although, I wonder if it will be a lonely road."
Mirkwood's Queen looked up as a small dog bounded into the room, and a smile graced her fair features. "I do not think that you will feel too lonesome with this little creature. He is sure to keep you company on your travels."
"Nana," Legolas began hesitantly. "Ada… That is Mellon. He does not belong to Thalion."
"No, then whose is he?" Laerwen asked. She caught the sudden darkness in her husband's eyes, and her smooth brow furrowed. "Meleth?"
"Seregeth gave him that dog," Thranduil replied quietly, his voice brimming with hate. "Is that not so, ion-nin?"
"Yes, but it does not mean anything," the Prince answered. "He is quite friendly, and will even sleep on my bed at night. He eats from my hand, but Lord Elrond frowns upon that. He says that it is unhygienic. He also licks my face – Mellon that is, and…"
As the Elven-king listened with only half an ear to the child's happy talk, he released a silent exhale of breath. Upon hearing that the dog had come from Seregeth, his instinct had been to tell Legolas that he could not keep it, that it was an attachment to his captor and thus should be broken. But then he had looked upon Thalion, and realised that the man also was a tie to everything that had happened at the cottage, and that was not something that he wanted to sever. Even his son himself was a tie.
Thranduil blinked, and looked up sharply. "I am sorry. What did you say, penneth?"
"May I keep him?" Legolas repeated. "Please."
Laerwen laughed as the dog licked her face with a long pink tongue. "He is friendly, if not overly so. But he is beautiful. Look at his eyes, meleth-nin."
"And he only has four legs," Thalion added. "Not eight."
"I knew that someone would mention that, and of course it had to be you," Thranduil sighed. "Very well, he can stay. But Legolas, he is your responsibility. Do you understand that?"
"Of course. I promise to look after him."
The King glanced sideways at his son and nodded slowly, remembering that the child had said exactly that of a book five weeks ago. "In that case," he replied, "I have nothing to worry about. I know that you will keep your word."
"Thank you." Legolas' voice was coloured with joy, and an infectious smile was on his face as he ran across the room to the door. "I am going to find Alondir and tell him. He did not think that you would let Mellon live with us."
Even before he had finished speaking the Elfling had disappeared from the room. Thalion let out a soft peal of laughter at the boy's youthful enthusiasm, though he had to lie back against his soft pillows to ease the dull ache that spread through his body at the movement. The sharp eyes of the two Elves did not miss his poorly concealed wince, and they stood up together.
"We will leave you," Laerwen said gently. "You are still recovering, and must keep up your strength."
"Do you need more medicine?" Thranduil asked. "I will find you a healer."
As the Sinda Elf left the room, Thalion looked towards the Queen and gave a slight smile. "You are a lucky lady. Take care of them both. Especially Legolas. He is a precious child, and deserves to have the very best. But then, I do not need to tell you that. You already know."
"I do." Laerwen was silent for a moment, but then she reached down and took the mortal's hands in her own. Her expression was sad as she said: "Goodbye. I do not think that we will see each other again, for I see in your eyes that you mean not to return to either Mirkwood or Imladris once you have left here."
Thalion shook his head slowly. "No. In eighty years I will have passed from this world. To my race that is a long time, but to yours it is nothing. Legolas will still be young, and I would not have him introduced to death at such an age. He has witnessed it already, but not in anyone that he cares for. I would see him protected from such finality. For that reason I will stay away from the friends that I have made over the last month. I hope that you can understand that."
Laerwen held the man's ocean coloured eyes with her own violet ones, and nodded slowly. She said nothing else, instead gracing him with a final smile before turning and walking silently onto the balcony. She stood there with her hands resting on the stone balustrade, watching as her young son talked animatedly with Commander Alondir and the twins in the gardens below. Mellon ran around the Elves in circles, barking happily, his high pitched voice disturbing resting birds that took to the azure sky with trills of indignation.
"He has received medicine."
The Queen smiled as her husband came onto the balcony and wrapped his arms around her waist. "Good. He seems to be recovering well."
"Nonetheless, he will not to return to Mirkwood."
Thranduil was silent a moment, but then he nodded slowly in acceptance of the fact. "I think we knew that all along. He and Legolas have become friends in the short time they have known each other, they have a bond made strong by all that they experienced at Seregeth's hands. But Thalion's death is inevitable. Our son's is not. He wants to spare him the loss, I deem."
"He said almost exactly that," Laerwen replied quietly. "And when he leaves Imladris, he will go with my blessing."
"He deserves it." Thranduil paused, and looked down at his only child in the gardens. The small boy was laughing, his silver eyes bright with joy. "Do we tell Legolas? If we keep quiet, he will ask questions."
"And we will answer them – when they come," Laerwen said. "Let us not spoil his happiness after so long spent in darkness."
Silence fell on the balcony, a silence that was broken only by child's laughter, a dog barking, the whisper of trees as gentle wind whistled through the valley of Imladris. Mirkwood's Queen raised her hand and tenderly caressed the soft hair of her husband which trailed over her own shoulder like liquid gold. She sensed him smile at the touch, and a similar expression graced her face as she gazed at the gardens beneath them, as her eyes fell upon the pendant that Legolas wore.
During the past month the crystals had been dull, their deep pools lacking any soul. But now the jewels twinkled and danced in the bright rays streaming down from the morning sun, their new found beauty symbolic, a representation of the reunion of the royal family, and the new chapter of the life that was just about to open for the three Elves who had suffered so much in so short a time.
Their days had been dark, filled with a blackness that none of them had ever known before, nor wished to know again. All they had felt was anger, grief, despair, a pain so acute that it nearly conceived death. But it was all finished now, the terrible sentiments pushed away and replaced by ones that shone out like beacons in comparison – relief, happiness, joy, love.
Laerwen felt the sting of tears, but they were not born out of sadness. Down below, as if sensing the sudden rush of emotion, Legolas turned away from his friends and looked up to the balcony. He gazed at his parents, and the three felt the bond that they all shared as a family tighten and grow in that one moment which seemed to last forever. The young Prince held the violet eyes of his mother, the silver eyes of his father. And he smiled.
So, where do I start? I have quite a lot to say. Firstly, it's the end of this story. I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I've had wonderful feedback and reviews for this, so I want to thank each and every one of you for leaving me your comments – especially the readers who have been with me for a while now, and are constant in their loyalty. I love you all to bits!
I also have to explain why this final chapter has taken so long to be posted for those who haven't read my reasons on my bio page. I was cleaning out my room one afternoon because it looked awful, and I threw away all that I had done on the epilogue without realising until the next day. But by then it was too late because the bin men had already been and gone. So, I had to write the whole thing again.
Finally, I'll just say a little bit about upcoming stories. I have not finished writing yet, not by a long shot! I do have many ideas still left in my head – most of them the same as when I was writing my last story. One of them I am already putting into writing, and I'm about six chapters into it. So, I should be able to start posting probably by April, but I will try my hardest to do so sooner. When I have more details about posting dates and the like, I'll update my bio page with them to let you all know.
Again, thank you all for being such great readers!