Betas: LenaLove and Nautika

Summary: UNDYING FRIENDSHIP SERIES: Many years after the death of King Elessar, some still remember…

3rd place 2006 September Teitho Challenge 'Lest We Forget'

Every Year On The First Day Of March

by Nieriel Raina

On the horizon, pale light tinged the sky with lavender and gold. Legolas stood on the cliff top, silently overlooking the crashing waves. The wind teased strands of his golden hair and he brushed them from his face in annoyance. Behind him came the faint sound of a footfall, but he did not turn to acknowledge the other's presence. He stood tall, almost forlorn, looking east over the darkened sea.

"Every year you stand here on this day. Have you found it brings you comfort?"

The broke through the barriers he'd constructed. Slowly, Legolas turned and gazed upon Lord Elrond, noting the same sadness in the elf lord's eyes that filled his own heart.

"Nay; there is no comfort for the pain my heart endures. Yet, I cannot let this day go by without coming, and remembering." He paused, swallowing hard. "I do not wish to ever forget," he added in a whisper, turning back towards the east as the sun continued to rise over the water. Oranges and reds now drove away the darker blue and lavender shades. "And I find peace…looking to the light of this new day, watching the shadows being chased away by the sun."

Elrond sighed, his eyes fixed on the young one standing so forlorn. The melancholy that had plagued this one since his coming to Valinor several years ago always grew worse at this time of the year. Elrond understood completely, for in Arda, it was spring, and today was the first day of March. Today was the birth and death day of the one known as Elessar but would always be Estel to them. Neither he nor the young prince could forget the one who had brought them such love, heartache and joy during his lifetime.

Remembering Estel only brought an accompanying pain to Elrond, for the man he loved so dearly had cost him much. Arwen. He grieved for her alongside Celebrían. Every day he was reminded of the daughter he had lost when he looked into his beloved's eyes and saw Arwen in them. But his grief over the loss of his daughter was no less than the grief he bore fort Estel. Arwen had chosen her fate, and Elrond had accepted it, knowing his daughter would never have been happy here if she had left the one she loved so deeply. Their parting had been painful, but no less than the parting between himself and the man he had raised as his son.

But Elrond was older, wiser and had long understood the sadness that grows in the hearts of the elves over time. The young prince before him should not yet have felt such a burden of loss or time. Legolas had also chosen his fate when he had given his heart to so many mortal friends. The sadness that filled the young one would not diminish over time, but Legolas would learn to cope with it and go on, as he was doing by coming here to remember — for memory was all that remained of those they had loved who had passed on.

There were few tangible memories here to help ease the loss, for Elrond had left much behind when he had sailed. Now, he regretted it. Over the last several years, it had become harder to picture the man and his daughter together and so in love, to remember the things Estel had done as a child. Perhaps, here, overlooking the sea, he could also find some measure of peace as he drifted back in time and remembered.

"May I stand here with you awhile?" he asked, not wishing to disturb Legolas's traditions.

Legolas turned to gaze sadly at Elrond. "Aye, I would welcome your presence, my lord." He smiled ever so slightly. "Ever do you remind me of Estel, for always were you there if ever we found trouble."

"Indeed," Elrond agreed. So together they stood side by side watching the sun rise.

As the bottom rim of the sun lifted from the edge of the water into the sky, a throat cleared behind them. Elrond and Legolas turned as one to find two new arrivals to the cliff top. Elrond's eyes fell to the parcels being held by each, and he raised a questioning eyebrow.

Erestor and Glorfindel shared a small smile before closing the distance between the four of them. Erestor found his voice and began to explain haltingly. "Lord Elrond. Legolas. I…er… we have some things…to share with you."

Glorfindel interrupted his flustered friend. "Since our arrival in Valinor, we have been unsure of whether to present these to you. Our desire is not to cause either of you pain, but perhaps to offer a tiny bit of Hope. We have watched you both mourn over the last years, and recently, turn that mourning into remembrance. We have surmised, perhaps now is the right time to give these things to you."

The tall warrior removed the cloth coverings on several items he was holding to reveal several painted portraits. The famed Balrog Slayer was also known for his ability to paint masterpieces from memory, and these were no exception. To Elrond, he handed a small portrait of a young Estel, sitting on the front steps of Imladris between Elladan and Elrohir, mischievous smiles on all three faces. A larger one of Aragorn and Arwen on their wedding day was also put into Elrond's trembling hands.

To Legolas, he handed a small framed likeness of the prince teaching Estel to shoot an arrow, and a large detailed painting of the Nine Walkers, in which Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn stood side by side, one of the man's hands resting on the Legolas's shoulder.

Legolas and Elrond both stood quietly, stunned at the gifts, tears filling each one's eyes, though neither allowing them to fall. Their eyes traced the faces so dear to them before one of Elrond's fingers lightly outlined the faces of his children. To see his sons, all of them, together again… He lifted his eyes to meet Glorfindel's bright blue gaze.

"Thank you," was all he could manage to rasp out of his suddenly tight throat. Legolas simply nodded, unable to find words as he swallowed and lifted his own eyes to the golden lord before him. Glorfindel smiled. No words were needed.

Erestor fidgeted nervously, drawing Elrond's attention. The dark haired advisor smiled stiffly and moved forward slightly, two books held tightly in his arms. "I am afraid I am not the artist that my friend is, but I have managed to find a book I kept during our time in Imladris, and I have copied it so you each may have one." He handed the thick tomes over and stepped back.

"When Estel came to live with us, I began to keep a journal of his activities. I believe in the beginning it was to keep track of what I needed to tell you, my lord," Erestor smiled as he addressed Elrond, "about the trouble that little human had caused during the course of a day. Over time, it simply became my habit to write what had happened in the boy's life, which eventually included you, Legolas. I kept writing all I heard of Aragorn until we sailed. Then I wrote much of what Gimli told me about him…" Erestor paused to blink suddenly blurry eyes. "until the very end."

When Elrond's advisor had finished his short speech, both Elrond and Legolas had tears streaming down their faces as they held the treasures in their arms tighter to themselves.

Erestor and Glorfindel shared another look before Glorfindel spoke again. "We will leave you to your memories." And the dark and golden haired friends departed, leaving a similar pair on top of the rise overlooking the sea.

Several hours later, anyone passing by could hear the sound of soft laughter coming from the cliff top as an unlikely pair found peace and comfort in each other as they took turns sharing stories they had found in their books as they remembered.

And so began a tradition in Valinor, every year on the first day of March.


Author's Note: For those wondering about Elladan and Elrohir, they have sailed but deal with the memories in their own way. That is why they are absent from this fic.