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Chapter Seven: Namaarie

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Three weeks later…

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"Legolas…" Aragorn sighed as he clasped the elf on the shoulder. "Are you sure you won't change your mind…? You won't come with us?"

The valley around them was in the full blossom of spring, the wind whipping relentlessly at everything not weighted down, including the two friend's cloaks and Legolas' long golden hair. It whipped about him, stinging at his face and eyes, but he seemed not to notice it.

Legolas smiled sadly, but shook his head. "I'm sorry Estel. Maybe someday… But I'm just not ready yet."

"Take care of him, Wolf, you mad animal." Aragorn said with a grin to the animal as he knelt to bid the creature farewell. The wolf whined softly and licked at the man's beard in silent consent to his request, worded in jest but meant in earnest.

"You do know that someone will have to tell your father that you're alive?" Elladan asserted as he led his mount up beside the human. "If he learns it from us, Valar knows he'll probably torture us until we tell him where you are. He never was the sort to be kind to the messenger."

Legolas nodded thoughtfully. "I will return before he is pushed to such measures." He half-smiled, but the scenario was far too serious for any real humor.

"On my travels back north," Aragorn promised firmly, "I will come back, and go to Mirkwood with you if you are ready."

Legolas nodded.

"We're going to miss you, Legolas." Elrohir said softly. "As ever, it has warmed my heart to see you, and to know that you are still with us. My father will be overjoyed."

Legolas managed a full smile at the mention of Lord Elrond. "Give him my greetings." He said softly. "And tell him he has my eternal gratitude… For his son, Estel, brought me hope…" He smiled at the human. "When he told me that it takes not eyes, but sight to see."

"We shall tell him, Legolas…" Elladan assured the elf as he mounted his horse, who was prancing impatiently. "But we hope that you will be able to do so yourself soon enough."

Legolas' smile widened slightly. "You may count on it."

Elrohir sighed, as if searching for farewell words for his old friend. He finally settled for simply embracing the Prince a final time, and then swung up behind Elladan, which left the last horse ready and waiting for their human brother.

Aragorn turned back to Legolas, and each regarded the other for several long moments as the wind whistled between them. Wordlessly, Aragorn extended his forearm, keeping the movements of his arm beneath the leather coat noisy enough for the elf to detect.

Smiling, Legolas returned the grasp.

"Friends?" Aragorn grinned softly.

"The best." Legolas returned seriously, pulling the man into a one armed embrace, their hands still clasped between them.

"I am honored to call you friend, human," Legolas teased lightly once they parted. "However I fought it at first. Now I name you such without hesitation."

"And I you…" The man returned smilingly. "As I hope to for many years more."

"You will." Legolas replied confidently with a gentle smile as he gave the man's arm one more squeeze, and stepped back. The moment broke, and the man turned, jabbing his boot into the stirrup of his mare's saddle and swinging up.

"Farewell, Legolas." The twins offered simultaneously.

"Farewell." He nodded to them. "If fate is good to us both, I hope it shall not be long ere our paths cross once more."

"Namaarie, Estel." He turned to the man, reaching up and handing him one of the small daggers that he treasured so much.

"Namaarie." Aragorn returned solemnly, accepting the gift. The highest form of honor an elf could give to a human beside a vow of friendship was a weapon as a gift, which symbolized complete trust. Aragorn felt humbled to have gained both from Legolas.

With a nod Legolas stepped back, and Elladan spurred his horse. Aragorn's steed wheeled and followed, more out of habit than any real command from its rider.

When they reached the edge of the meadow, Elladan and Elrohir continued riding on through the trees. Aragorn on the other hand, paused and wheeled his horse back around towards the Prince.

Legolas stood, a lonely sentinel of gold in a world of rolling green. Aragorn raised his hand in silent farewell, knowing the elf couldn't see but hoping he would feel it. To his pleasant surprise, the Prince returned the signal, and Aragorn grinned widely.

Clicking to his mare, Aragorn turned and disappeared into the trees.

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Legolas listened as the hoof beats of the brothers' horses faded into the distance. He could pick up the distinct pace patterns of each horse, just as he could tell when one of the animals halted just shy of the trees. He smiled, and raised his hand in the silent farewell he knew the human also offered. The hoof-beats picked up once more a moment later, and he slowly dropped his hand to his side.

He stood on the grass-covered knoll by the same now-empty field where he had first reunited with the twins. The wind roared with a driving vengeance despite the bright sunlight filtering through the leaves, threatening to blow him over and carry him across the field.

And as one lone elf melted into the foliage, trailed by a darker grey shape that might have been a wolf, he realized that this was not the end, as it seemed.

No…

It was only the beginning.

He was going to miss that human.

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"Meet me there,

At the end

Of the long and the weary road

Bring the bond we used to share,

And remind me how it goes

But,

If you can, be patient please

All of this is new to me

But,

Don't give up, don't say goodbye

This time I'm going to try

Lift me up

Take me higher

Leave everything behind

Don't give up

We're on fire

That's what happens when we try."

-Stoked

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THE END

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Yay! I finished it! Isn't everyone happy now? I haven't done much work on the sequel, but I've been thinking about it.

First off, I've gotta answer Lumberjane—Taylor, Chris, Kellie, and Mandisa are all my faves! I really liked Kevin too, but he got booted... Bummer.

And emily: Hmm, don't know quite how you got confused on the Thraduil thing—Basically, Thranduil locked himself up after his wife was killed, and only turned Legolas away back then because he didn't know he had been blinded. Later, when Thranduil found out, he was really sorry. Lol, sorry if the story confused you.

To all my other reviewers: Thank you all so much! I LOVE you guys! Your reviews, seriously, make my day! If I didn't get back to anyone, e-mail or message me or something! Again, thanks so much to everyone who stuck with me this far, and I appreciated all your comments and criticisms like you'll never know! So, until next time, tata!

-GoA