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Mirkwood's Plague II:
Chapter 30 ~ Epilogue
Legolas patted his steed's neck with a smile and Glorfindel squeezed his shoulder gently. He had just finished attaching their luggage to the horses and they were finally ready to leave. It was still only just past dawn but they wanted to leave as early as possible so as to avoid a scene.
Their friends had different ideas, though.
"You didn't honestly think you could just sneak away, did you?" Elladan asked as they approached.
"They really don't know us well at all," Elrohir grinned.
Despite their plans being ruined, both Legolas and Glorfindel smiled at this. "We should have known we couldn't escape," Glorfindel laughed. Elrond approached his old friend and they shook hands. "My Lord, it has been an honour to serve you."
"Glorfindel, you were never a servant to me," Elrond smiled kindly. "Good luck with everything."
They spent a while exchanging goodbyes; none of them really tearful except for the Hobbits. Mostly they were all putting on brave faces for their friends. Only the Elves were genuinely not upset – they knew this wasn't the end. They would see each other again soon in Aman. Gimli did not seem to be taking the parting well, though. Dwarves did not have access to the Undying Lands and to them; leaving earth was basically like death.
"Gimli," Legolas smiled softly.
"Legolas," the Dwarf mumbled gruffly, avoiding Legolas' piercing gaze.
"My friend, please don't be angry with me." Gimli just nodded. "Maybe one day we will see each other again."
"Thought your precious Lands were an exclusive, Elves-only club."
"Maybe they could make an exception. You are a personal friend of some very powerful people," he said, nodding over to Galadriel and Celeborn. "I have no doubt we will see each other again."
"We had better because if we don't I will eventually hunt you down, Elf."
Legolas laughed softly and they shook hands. "I'll see you soon, I promise," Legolas assured him. Elrond soon replaced Gimli in front of Legolas. "Elrond, thank you so much for everything," the prince said softly.
The healer pulled him into a hug without hesitation and said gently, "Goodbye for now, mellon nin. Take care of yourself and of my seneschal." Legolas nodded, his eyes drifting over to Glorfindel who was saying farewell to the twins. "I'll see you soon, mellon nin."
"Legolas, are you ready?" Glorfindel asked and Legolas nodded slowly. Before he could turn back to the captain, Aragorn flung his arms around the Elf and held him tightly for a long moment.
"Goodbye, Estel. Good luck with everything."
"And you, my friend."
Aragorn helped Legolas mount his horse and the king prompted the steed forwards. Glorfindel followed close behind him but Legolas looked back at his friends until he could no longer see them. Turning to face the path, Legolas quickly wiped the tears from his face.
"Are you alright?" Glorfindel asked, pulling his horse up alongside Legolas' and the king nodded across at him. The captain reached over and squeezed Legolas' hand tightly. Again, all Legolas could manage was a weak smile. "It'll be alright, melleth nin."
"I know," Legolas sighed. "I know."
It took several weeks to reach the Grey Havens but as slowly as they went, the journey was hard on the already shattered king. They entered the small port a day early and were met by an eager-looking blonde Elf. Glorfindel nodded in greeting to him and swiftly dismounted his horse.
Legolas did now acknowledge the Elf who had obviously been sent to meet them; right then he was having enough trouble keeping his eyes open and staying on top of his horse at the same time.
"Come on, let me help you down," Glorfindel's voice said softly and Legolas felt gentle hands being placed on his waist and back to support him down. Sliding rather gracelessly down, he leant against Glorfindel, for a moment letting the Elda's warmth comfort him.
"Your Majesty, welcome to the Grey Havens," the new Elf bowed low to the king of Mirkwood but Legolas just nodded against Glorfindel, too exhausted to be bothered with unnecessary formality. "Your ship sails at midday tomorrow. If you wish I can escort you to your accommodation for the night. Unless, of course, you wish to make your own arrangements."
"No, thank you. A room sounds ideal," Glorfindel answered for Legolas, who had at least managed to open his eyes and straighten himself out. He was sure thought that were it not for Glorfindel's arm wrapped around his waist he would have simply slid to the ground.
"Where are we going?" Legolas asked wearily, his voice quiet and slow with exhaustion, as they started walking.
"Shh, don't worry about that. You just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. Can you do that?" Glorfindel whispered so the other Elf couldn't hear what they were saying. Legolas nodded wearily, laying his head against Glorfindel's shoulder, pleased for the tightening of support the captain offered. When their host caught up with them carrying their bags, Glorfindel asked in concern, "Is it far?"
"No, sir. Just over there," he answered, pointing to a small building under a narrow bridge near the seafront. Glancing behind him almost reluctantly, the Elf asked, "Do you need further help?" His eyes scanned over the king of Mirkwood and Glorfindel supposed he had seen many Elves pass through here not in the best condition.
However, he also knew that Legolas hated to be pitied, especially when he wasn't well, so he pulled the king closer to him and answered, "No, we're fine, thank you." He suddenly felt wildly protective over his love. Of course, he hated seeing Legolas like this but he didn't like the thought of other people intruding on what Legolas would have considered a humiliating experience. He always liked to appear strong in front of others so he probably wouldn't want to be examined by this stranger, no matter how well-intentioned he was.
Thankfully, it didn't take them long to reach the small inn in which they would be staying. The Elf walking in front of them opened the door for them and motioned them into the foyer where a tall, elegant Elf stepped out from behind the wooden desk.
"Your Majesty," he bowed low. Of course he knew exactly who Legolas was and his position within the Mirkwood monarchy. "It is a pleasure to have you here. Anything I can provide you with please do not hesitate to ask."
"We would appreciate being shown to our room now," Glorfindel said in Legolas' place, wondering if the king was even listening to the other Elf.
"Yes, of course, Captain Glorfindel," the Elf bowed again. "If you would follow me." He relieved the other Elf of their bags and again bowed to the king before leading them towards a high, winding staircase.
Legolas' eyes looked upwards and he sighed softly, muttering, "Stairs," to himself.
"Here, let me help you," Glorfindel said softly. "Here, can you take this?" he told their host, handing him the pack he had been carrying. Once relieved of his burden, Glorfindel easily swept Legolas up into his arms, ignoring the brief mumble of protest at being carried, and started ascending the staircase, ignoring the startled looks the other two Elves gave him. Now he was in Glorfindel's arms, Legolas stopped protesting and let his head rest on the seneschal's shoulder.
"Straight ahead," their host instructed when Glorfindel reached the top of the stairs. The tall Elf rushed ahead of them and opened the door allowed Glorfindel to step inside and gently lay Legolas down on the closest bed.
"Thank you," the prince smiled up at him, as Glorfindel settled him down.
"You're welcome," the captain smiled gently in return before turning to their host, who had laid their bags down in the corner.
"Is there anything I can get you?" he asked.
"Yes, some food and water," Glorfindel answered even though he knew that the Elf was actually speaking to the king. "And please ensure that we are called in plenty of time to catch our ship tomorrow."
"Of course, sir." Moving slightly closer to Glorfindel so they could speak privately, their host asked, "Would you like me to send for the healer, sir?"
Glorfindel glanced over at Legolas then moved to perch on the edge of the bed, taking Legolas' cold hand in his own. "Melleth, do you need a healer?"
Legolas considered this for a moment before shaking his head softly, "No, I just want to sleep."
"Alright," Glorfindel smiled reassuringly, caressing Legolas' pale cheek only briefly before turning to face the stunned inn owner. "We are fine, thank you."
"Of course," the tall Elf bowed.
"Please see to it that we are not disturbed tonight unless it's absolutely necessary."
"Yes, sir." The Elf bowed one last time and backed out of the room, pulling the door closed quietly behind him.
Once they were alone, Glorfindel looked down at Legolas who was looking wearily around the small room. "You should get some rest. The hard part is over now," he told the king kindly and Legolas nodded in agreement, letting his head rest back against the soft pillows. "Do you need your medicine?" Another small nod told Glorfindel that Legolas was probably feeling a lot worse than he was letting on. He quickly got up and rifled through their bags until he found the case containing the small amount of painkilling herbs Elrond had provided them with before they left. They had used them sparingly on their journey and there were just enough left for that night. After that they wouldn't be needed anyway.
After taking his painkiller, Legolas let his eyes fall closed and just about felt a blanket being laid over him before he fell asleep.
Whilst Legolas slept Glorfindel unpacked what they would need for the night then went into the small bathroom to quickly wash up. Even for him the journey had been long and arduous – worrying for Legolas had not helped in that.
He was forced to dash for the door when there was a sharp knock, not wanting to disturb Legolas abruptly whilst he was peaceful.
"Thank you," he said, taking the tray of food and wine from their host.
"Sir, are you sure there is nothing more I can do for the king?" he asked eagerly, looking past Glorfindel into the room.
"No, I don't think so. He'll be better in a few days."
"Indeed," the Elf smiled. "Well, if there is anything else you need please send for me."
Glorfindel nodded and closed the door on the overly-attentive Elf. Even though Legolas looked peaceful, Glorfindel decided to at least attempt to waken him so he could eat something. Surprisingly, the king woke easily, looking blearily up at Glorfindel.
"Here, Grey Havens specialty according to our host," Glorfindel smiled, holding out a plate to Legolas.
"Thank you," Legolas whispered, dragging himself up into a sitting position. He ate slowly, not really enjoying it but only doing it because the seneschal was watching him. "Are you alright?" he asked to break the silence.
Glorfindel smiled at this. "I am fine. Don't worry about me." Legolas handed the older Elf the half empty plate with a grateful smile. "You should rest."
Legolas looked down at himself, still in his muddy travelling clothes. "I should change," he corrected. With Glorfindel's help he managed to get to his feet and then rifled through his pack until he found some clean loose fitting clothes. He went into the bathroom and quickly tidied himself up before returning to the bedroom and climbing gratefully beneath the fresh sheets.
Glorfindel leaned over and placed a kiss onto his forehead. "I'm going to take a bath. Will you be alright?" he asked and Legolas nodded, already half asleep again. "I'll be just next door. I won't be long." Once Legolas was properly asleep, he slipped away. When he returned half an hour later, the king was still sound asleep, exhausted from his long journey. Glorfindel had expected this, he'd known the trip would be hard on Legolas but at least it was all over now.
Even when Glorfindel made considerable noise lighting the fire, Legolas merely turned over and sighed and remained in his dreams. The Grey Havens at dusk was certainly something to behold and Glorfindel was almost tempted to wake Legolas so he could see it but he looked so peaceful that Glorfindel just didn't have the heart to disturb him. So instead he climbed into be beside the blonde Elf and Legolas immediately moved towards him. Taking the king into his arms, Glorfindel closed his own eyes and allowed himself to drift off into sleep.
A loud knocking followed by hushed voices disturbed Glorfindel but for the first time, he ignored it, pulling the sheets up over his head to hide away from the sunlight. Sunlight: that didn't make sense. He was sure he had closed the curtains last night. Then he realised that Legolas was no longer beside him in the bed. Suddenly, he threw the sheets off himself and looked around the bright room. It took him a moment to spot Legolas but eventually he found him sat on one of the balcony chairs overlooking the sunlit harbour.
"Legolas?" he called and the king glanced around at him.
"Good morning," Legolas smiled tiredly from his seat.
Glorfindel dragged himself out of bed and gracelessly plonked himself down in the chair beside the king. "What are you doing up so early? I would have thought you would want to sleep in this morning."
"I had the oddest dream about my father."
"Oh, I'm sorry."
Legolas shook his head. "No, it's alright."
"I suppose it's nearly time then," Glorfindel said softly and Legolas nodded. "Are you ready for this?"
"I am so tired, Glorfindel. I just want it all to end."
Glorfindel smiled and laid his hand against Legolas' pale cheek. "I know."
"Your Majesty," the tall, blonde Elf bowed low as Glorfindel helped Legolas board the ship into the West. No one paid heed to the seneschal but Glorfindel didn't mind. This wasn't about protocol.
"So, this is it," he said as they took a seat beside some other Elves.
"This is it," Legolas sighed, his head going to Glorfindel's shoulder.
"Have a good journey, Your Majesty," the captain of the boat bowed to Legolas.
Legolas closed his eyes and breathed in deeply the fresh sea air as the ship began to sail from the port. Glorfindel smiled at Legolas' reaction and held him closer. Here with the person he loved, Glorfindel knew this was right. Soon they would be in Aman and all this would be over and Legolas could finally rest – as he deserved.
A/N: Yep, that's the end of Mirkwood's Plague II – Aftermath. I hope you enjoyed the story. Please review and let me know what you think one last time. I really appreciate everyone who had continued reading this story (I suspect there are a couple of you out there!) and everyone who has reviewed so far.