Disclaimer: See Chapter 1
A/N: I know it's been awhile, but I wanted to add a little epilogue to tie up some loose ends. Thanks for everyone who stuck with this story and who reviewed. Enjoy!
As the weeks passed, everything seemed to have finally reverted back to normal. Aragorn apologized to his brothers copiously as soon as they returned from their hunting trip. They were glad to see that their brother had finally found peace and was able to let Legolas go, but they also knew that the man was not fully healed and probably never would be. A part of Aragorn died that day, and it was false to believe that he would be the same man he always was. But Elladan and Elrohir accepted that truth and treated their brother as they always did, trying to help him forget the past and live for the future without the support of his best friend.
Erestor surprised the human by wrapping him in a big hug as soon as Aragorn apologized to him for his offending outburst that happened that dreadful morning. Aragorn explained that the prepared breakfast was one of Legolas' favorites and it was served the morning that they left on their tragic hunting trip. The elf smiled in understanding but refused to accept an apology that was unnecessary. Lord Elrond was indeed correct that Erestor held no anger towards the young man. He worried more about him than Aragorn ever realized.
Aragorn seemed to be coping rather quickly as he began accepting the fact that Legolas was not going to be there to help him in a battle, to prank his twin brothers, or to just lend an ear and listen to his human worries. Some days were better than others, of course, but he was much healthier than he had been before. There were still lines on his world-weary face that would probably never fully fade, but there were no longer dark bags under his eyes from frightful nightmares of his friend's demise. He attended meals again, joked around with his brothers, and continued to practice his sparring with Glorfindel. It seemed that all was well again.
Despite his moves forward, there was never a passing day that Legolas did not fill his mind. Elrond found his son on many early mornings blankly staring at the rising sun, sometimes as silent tears rolled down his cheeks. It was almost as if each new morning served as one more day that Aragorn would be parted from his best friend. It was one more day from the moment he said goodbye. Elrond thought better than to disturb his son knowing full well the embarrassment the man would feel at being caught daydreaming and crying in the early morning hours lost in an endless ocean of memories of their times together. He needed this time; it was what got him through each day. Reminiscing helped him deal with the absence and enjoy the rest of his time living a normal life. He had to remember since he couldn't forget, and morning was the ideal time to be undisturbed by any innocent onlooker. Elrond knew his son would be alright with time, so he left the man to himself.
One year to the day that Legolas passed from their world, Aragorn found himself kneeling in that very clearing where the elf was lost. He brought with him a single arrow from Legolas' quiver and embedded it deep within the ground as a marker. He refused to make it a grave site with a stone, because to Aragorn, the place was his and his alone. As pathetic as that was, it was his special place and the last place he saw Legolas both alive and dead. A few stray tears tracked down his cheeks, but his composure remained intact. He bowed his heads and said a soft, elvish prayer, before standing up to leave.
"I'll miss you, mellon nin," he whispered to the empty clearing. "I think it's time for me to move on now. I know that's what you would have wanted. I'm sorry it took me so long to realize it. A day does not go by that I don't think about you. Every morning I watch the sun rise, and the grief washes over me again. Knowing that you will never be there again to tell me when I'm being stupid, or to call me names, or to drag me back wounded and sick to my father…it becomes too much sometimes. I just wanted to you to know that…to know that I'll never forget you. I think…I've learned that maybe not every morning is another day apart, but rather, just one more day closer to our next meeting. Rest in peace, gwador nin. I love you."
Aragorn turned his back for one last time to the place that had held so much of his life for so long a time. Everything had revolved around that night. His mind was constantly consumed with the memories that were associated with that very clearing. But now, a weight had been lifted, and he took in a deep breath feeling lighter than he'd ever felt. Perhaps, he could move on completely. A part of him was still out there in that clearing, but he found that his heart was not beyond repair.
Aragorn had finally let go. He allowed himself to live his life again without his early morning vigils and the memories of old. He'd finally said goodbye to sleepless nights of darkened dreams, and found comfort in the notion that they would meet again if only in his heart.