And now that nice fluffy rounding-up of the loose ends.
One Friend to Another
18: The Epilogue
It was to a bright, but chilly, Autumn morning that Legolas awoke. Jumping out of bed feeling refreshed and light hearted, he dashed to the bath chamber to quickly wash, then back into the room to find his clothes. Pausing to fetch his brush from the dressing table, the elf stood in front of the mirror to work at the tangles that his blond mane had acquired during the night.
Setting the brush down and straightening to begin his braids, Legolas caught sight of his torso in the mirror. He lifted his right hand and ran an index finger over the small indent on his chest. No bigger than his fingertip, the scar had all but faded, leaving behind only the indent where the torn muscle had yet to fully reform. He no longer had pain from the old wound, and his torso had filled out again, the broad muscled shoulders of the archer, strong and defined after weeks of practise. Once more his skin was tanned and glowing after a summer of days in the sun in Imladris, his eyes bright and hair shining.
He felt and looked the picture of perfect health. The only remnant from his Shadow sickness was the occasional nightmare, when he woke up shaking with imagined cold and struggling for breath against a suffocating force that was no longer there. It was because of the nightmares that he was still here, in Imladris. Lord Elrond would not let him go home until they had completely gone, but thankfully they were growing fewer and farther between. Elrond had warned him that the dark would still probably be the worst torment for him for a long time. He hated to feel closed in and confined by a deep, far reaching darkness, so candle globes were kept always in his room. He couldn't go to sleep unless at least one globe was lit and his door was left open. The only time, since his ordeal, that he had slept soundly all night in the dark, was the one time a late summer storm had disturbed Estel.
The child had retired long before the Mirkwood prince and the twins, and when Legolas finally made his way to his room, it was to find the child curled up on the bed with Legolas' blanket over his head, shaking with fear at the thunder. Estel had flung himself into Legolas' arms and cried that he would never be able to sleep again, unless he could stay here with the Mirkwood elf until the storm blew away. So, Legolas had let the boy stay in his bed, and the two were fast asleep long before the storm had begun to ease. It was only in the morning, when he had risen, that Legolas realised he had slept all night with no candle globes and his door closed tight.
Finishing his hair, Legolas quickly dressed in brown leather riding trousers, white silk undershirt and russet suede tunic with green silk trim. Hurriedly, he pulled on his boots and vambraces, then snatched up his weapons, quiver and travel pack, putting them on over his back as he walked out the door.
Turning the corner that lead from the family wing to the rest of the house, Legolas ran into Elrond.
"My apologies, Elrond," he excused himself to the ruffled, but grinning Lord, "but I must hurry or those twin orcs of yours will leave without me." He moved to go on his way, but Elrond stopped him with a hand on his arm.
"Twin orcs?" the Lord of Rivendell queried, one eyebrow raised so high, it almost reached his hairline.
"My apologies again…." Legolas started, then thought better of it "No, wait…actually twin orcs suits just fine, mellon nín. They put frogs in my bed last night."
"Frogs?" the other eyebrow rose to join its brother at his hairline. "Are you sure it wasn't Estel who did this ghastly deed?"
Legolas paused as if thinking deep. "No, it was 'Dan and 'Ro, I am pretty sure of it," he stated confidently. "No doubt revenge for the time when Estel and I……." Catching himself Legolas paused again. "Umm…never mind!"
"Legolas?" Elrond tried to give the young wood elf his best glare, but failed miserably. "Alright fine, penneth. Keep your secrets. The twins and Estel are in the dining hall having breakfast. I told them to let you sleep long this morning. You must not tax yourself today," he warned gently. "You are all still going hunting, are you not?"
"With your permission, Elrond, yes." Legolas, at least, had the decency to look sheepish. The last thing he wanted was for the ancient elf to change his opinion that the wood elf was finally recovered enough to go on this first proper hunt since his illness.
Elrond studied the young elf. "How did you sleep last night, penneth?" he asked in all seriousness, looking for any signs of unrest or disturbance on the elf's fair face or in those startling cerulean eyes.
"I slept well, Hir nín," came the reply, and though the title was a cheeky swipe at the elf lord, the answer was honest. Elrond chose to ignore the title, and giving the wood elf's arm an affectionate squeeze, he released him.
"Good. Just be sure to eat well before you go, and be home before dark" he instructed. "At least for Estel's sake, if not your own. He is young yet, and the nights turn colder. I do not want my favourite little adan catching a cold."
Legolas answered with a genuine smile and a quick nod. "I promise, we will be home before supper, mellon nín. I will let no harm come to him."
Elrond smiled back. "I know."
Elrond continued on to his study, to compose the letter he had been meaning to write to his friend Thranduil. The Mirkwood king had returned to rule his realm over a month ago, once he had been assured his son was well on his way to healing. Before going, however, the king had made Elrond promise he would write every once in a while with a report on how his son was doing.
Entering his study, Elrond heard the joyous sound of elven laughter and a human giggle coming from down in the garden below. He couldn't resist going to the window to take a peek outside at the scene of Legolas, Estel and the twins striding across the lawn on their way to the stables. At least, Legolas was striding, the twins were laughing so hard they were barely able to walk, the object of their amusement gallivanting about behind Legolas in a poor attempt to imitate the wood elf's long-legged walk. Estel's short legs were being stretched to their limit in an attempt to follow the long steps of the wood elf.
"Stop that, Estel!" Legolas barked at the child, but even from here, Elrond could see the prince was struggling not to laugh.
Estel kept up his long steps for another moment, then stumbled on a tree root and would have went down, only Legolas snatched him up before the boy could meet the ground. The prince swept the child up and perched him on his shoulders.
"Come on, Strider," Elrond heard the elf say to the boy as he took off at a smooth run across the grass, the boy's hands held securely in his own. "Let's beat those lazy brothers of yours to the best horses!"
Laughing to himself at the antics below as the small group disappeared from the garden, Elrond sat at his desk and took up a quill and parchment, then began writing his letter.
"My dear friend Thranduil," Erond wrote."You son is fine…………."
Hír nín: sindarin; my Lord
mellon nín: sindarin; my friend
penneth: sindarin; young one,
adan: sindarin; man, human.
hannon lé: sindarin; thank you.
Navaer: sindarin; farewell
Wow, I can't believe that this had ended. This writing thing is fun, torture, rewarding, frustrating, fun and tiring. Did I mention fun? Hmmm...I wonder if I have another story left in me somewhere? Fred taps the keyboard impatiently Yes, yes, my sweet. We can begin that new story soon. Just give me a day or two to recover from this one!
clears throat and begins the "Oscar Acceptence Speech"
I want to thank NiRi, first of all, for taking the time to beta this story and give me the much needed prods when I needed them, even though she is busy writing her own masterpiece.
I could not have done this without you. I also must thank my regular reviewers, Silvren Tinu, AspenJules, Aldalena (no relation) SiriusBlackFan2, IwishSan and childoftheking, Evergreene and grumpy123 (love that name). I must mention Deana, for also being one of the first established authors to encourage me to keep this going and turn my vignette
into a full blown fic. Any chance of a new LOTR Legolas-centric fic from you again some time soon, sweetie:)
The rest of you know who you are and I thank you from the heart of my bottom. Sorry, bottom of my heart.
Ok, so is that everybody? Did I leave anyone out? Ouch! Fred...you bit me! Oh yeah, sorry.
I want to also thank Fred, for being my muse and giving me the imagery that a lot of people seem to think was a nice part of this fic.
Do you think NiRi wants you back now, my precious? You think she might let me keep you?
hears knock at the door
Quick, hide Fred! She's coming for you!