Disclaimer: If you recognise it then it isn't mine. All the good stuff is the creation of JRR Tolkein. Anything else is the product of my own over-active imagination.

Author's Note: This is my first Lord of the Rings fic. I did read the books ages ago, but can't really remember many of the details so I am mainly going by the film and the vague memories of the books. This is just one of the many Legolas/OC fics, I just needed to throw in my two pennies. It's pretty slow for the first few chapters, but I have some plans which will see it spice up eventually. I'm just setting the scene at the moment.

Reviews: Please do. it would be nice to hear what you all think. I'd prefer that they were nice but if flames is all you can think of then go knock yourself out. I'm going to finish writing it eventually whatever happens.

Rating: This is PG for the minute, but I'm not entirely sure how the whole thing is going to pan out so it could go up to R depending on where the muse takes me.

It has been pointed out to me that quite a few things I have written are incorrect and I have just finished reading the books again and so have made quite a few corrections and rewritten chapters 1-8. I apologise for all of the mistakes so far but it is ten years since I read any of these books and the films don't really give an adequate retelling of the immense amount of detail in Tolkein's Middle-Earth.

Just as a matter of interest, the person who pointed out that Legolas's mother was in the Grey Haven's (a claim for which, by the way, I can find no evidence), did you mean the Grey Havens, which is the town by the sea from where the White Ships sail the straight road. Or did you mean Valinor in the Undying Lands? I don't mind being corrected, but I do like the corrections to be correct.

Chapter One - The Hero Returns

Legolas could hear the horns sounding from miles away. He could not pretend that he did not know what they were for. For over a year he had been away from his homeland, the trumpets signalled his return. The Guard would have seen him enter the Kingdom on the Southern borders, past the ruins of Dol Guldur, many hours ago and word would just be reaching the city of his close proximity. His father, Thranduil, King of the Elves of Northern Mirkwood, would have had half of the country's soldiers looking for him waiting for him to come home ever since the news that his company had come to Isengard and there he and Gimli had left them to look upon the wonders of Fangorn.

He had wished to return without all of the ceremony that was deemed necessary for a prince of the realm. But there was bound to be feasting and balls and Legolas would not be allowed to truly rest until he was ready to collapse with exhaustion from the festivities. His father was a kind elf, but had no idea of what his son had gone through and this would be a great excuse for him to be extravagant and to share his best wine with his loyal subjects.

He had requested that his companions from the quest ride with him to his home in victory, and partake in the hospitality of his Kingdom, but they had all declined. The Hobbits were once again happy among the trees and fields of the Shire, Gandalf had accompanied them. Aragorn, now King of the reunited kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor and husband to Queen Arwen Undomiel, had a duty to his kingdom to remain in Minis Tirith. Lady Eowyn was now settled in Ithilien with her husband Faramir, and King Eomer was happy as Lord of the Mark. Even Gimli, his dearest friend, had tired of exploring the caverns and woodlands of Middle-Earth with Legolas and was heading to the Glittering Caves where he was to claim lordship. Therefore Legolas was forced to make the journey back to the Greenwood alone.

Legolas felt a little sad thinking about his comrades. They had all found worthwhile things in the aftermath of the War of the Ring, family, lovers, a home of their own. He returned to nothing of value to him. He hadn't the warmth of a lovers arms waiting to bid him welcome home or even a home that he could call his own. Of course there was nothing he could do about that. He had a duty as prince of Mirkwood to remain in his kingdom until his father set out for the undying lands. He would have to take a wife one day, but he very much doubted that he would be able to do it for love. Love was a rare and precious commodity that he could ill afford. The life of a warrior was simply incompatible with happy married life. Besides battle had hardened his heart, he didn't think that he would even be able to fall in love. He had lain with many maidens in his long life, but never had he felt the feelings of love clutch at his heart.

He stopped his horse at the top of the hill which overlooked the entrance to the city of his ancestors. The towering beech trees seemed to be acting as an honour guard, welcoming him back to that place which he had so gladly left. The river rushed past from deep in the forest. From his vantage point, it didn't look like the home of a great elven king such as Thranduil. But Legolas knew of the beauty within. The large caves opened and spread far under the hill. Smaller openings made the great halls and dwellings of the 'palace' of Thranduil. The huge pillars carved from the living rock, were in the image of Menegroth, once the fairest city in all of Middle Earth. Behind the magic gates but above the city there lay a pool filled with the waters of the great Elven realms of Middle Earth. This pool was accessible only through a glass staircase which began in the centre of the city and was heavily guarded. The King, his wife and his son were the only beings allowed access to that place.

Legolas sighed as he took in this basic, yet magnificent sight. He so wanted to return to the place he knew as home, but at the same time he was desperate to put it off. Returning home was simply leaving a state where he had purpose and entering a state where he had nothing. There was nothing in Mirkwood for him except his duty, a thing which he would gladly relinquish were he given the chance. He knew that was not an option however, so he gently dug his heals into his horse's rump and descended.

His appearance on the roads near the palace brought much excitement, well as much excitement as was possible among elves. His Elvish hearing allowed him to hear every whisper of curious guardsmen and the giggles of pretty maidens who had left their homes in the trees to look upon their Prince. Had he the strength he would have been flashing them a glimpse of his most charming smile, he may not have wanted love, but he had an eye for a beautiful woman. All he wanted to do though was return to his bed and sleep for the next century. The war had been over for many months, but he had rested little in that time. He had watched his comrades begin their new lives and had been among the trees which he had waited all his life to see.

He stopped his horse just in front of the gates and looked at the doors. They were made partially from the fallen trees of the forests of Greenwood the Great and partially from the Mallorn of Lorien. Scenes of Mirkwood's history were carved on those doors. He could see at the moment there were elves working on another piece of the puzzle. Thranduil had always said that only when the last elf left Middle-Earth would the doors to his Palace be finished.

His thoughts were broken at the sound of a loud voice.

"Legolas my son, you return." Legolas looked down and saw his father walking towards him, his entourage in tow. It always bothered Legolas to see how much he looked like his father. He, like his son, was tall and slender with strong features. His hair was as golden and gleaming as it had been in the second age when he had come into the East and was made King of the Woodland realm and his eyes were a crystal clear light blue. Only the look of wisdom which came with great age set the two men apart and told the casual observer who was the father and who was the son. The only real difference between them was their eyes. Legolas had inherited the deep azure blue of his mother Taedriel, who stood beside her husband, waiting to welcome her son home.*

Legolas dismounted and handed his horse over to a waiting groom. He turned to his father and spoke. "Father, it is good to see you and know that you are well." He was drawn into Thranduil's embrace. It was suitably fatherly, if not a little awkward.

"No my son, it is I who am glad to see you well for I had no idea that sending you to Rivendell would result in such a dangerous quest."

"I volunteered to go Father. Elrond did not force my hand, I knew that I could be of help to the Ringbearer in his mission."

"All the more reason to celebrate your heroism and to be thankful for your being here at all."

"Father I am returned unharmed, I would rather it be left at that." He now turned his attention to Taedriel. "Mother." He could see that there were tears in her eyes, doubtless tears of joy.

"Legolas, my son." She could say no more for the tears came forth quickly and she pulled her only child close to her, enveloping him in her warm embrace. "I had begun to fear that you would not come back to me. I despaired that I had lost my only child," she whispered so that not even the elven ears of her husband coulod hear her. These words were menat for her son alone.

"I was with good men mother. They would not let me down."

"I am glad to hear it. I hope that one day I might be able to thank them for delivering my starlight safely home." Legolas pulled back from her.

"So my son, where are you travelling companions? Surely they will be here soon to experience the hospitality of our fair city."

"I fear that they were unable to travel with me for they have their own homes and families to see to." Thranduil looked as if he was about to object but Taedriel, ever the diplomat, jumped in.

"Of course they must be with those people who love them. I would not have their loved ones waiting any longer for them than I would wait for you my dear son. Thranduil you must issue invitations for them to come and stay with us once they are recovered from their quest and their affairs are in order. We must let them know how grateful we are for their looking after our son." Legolas suddenly felt guilty at having purposefully avoided returning home.

"Of course we must my dear." The conversation suddenly came to a stop and silence enveloped the group for a moment, that is until Murdris, the King's Butler stepped forward to speak.

"Your Highness," he bowed to the Prince. "Might I say on behalf of the elves of Eryn Lasgalen how happy we are to see that you have returned." Legolas was puzzled by this new name given to his home, but he didn't question it. He was sure that all that had passed would be explained to him in due course. "Perhaps you would like to rest for a few hours before the feast?"

"Feast?" If it was possible, Legolas' face went even paler at the thought of having to mingle with and be polite to the elves of Mirkwood.

"Yes, your welcome home feast my boy. You cannot expect that I would allow your heroism to go uncelebrated. You have done well Legolas and I want you and everyone to know that. Therefore every elf in Mirkwood is tonight invited here to eat at my table and honour you. "

"Thank you Father, I am honoured," Legolas managed to say whilst holding a weak smile. The truth was he was so exhausted he wasn't sure that he would be physically able to keep his eyes open, let alone endure an evening of aristocratic elf maidens fluttering their eyelashes at him in the hopes of coaxing him to take them as his bride. He had taken so many of them to his bed, never once letting them think that he felt anything like the love which would induce him to matrimony. Why would they think that a few giggles and compliments would win them a crown now?

"Murdris is right Legolas," the King said. "You should go and prepare and rest for the feast. I believe that Lady Valmari is now of age and I am sure that her mother means for her to be here tonight." Legolas rolled his eyes at his father's persistence in trying to get him married.

"I think I shall go and sleep for I am weary."

"You must bathe first, you are filthy. I cannot have you greeting my guests looking like that." Legolas looked down at himself. His travelling clothes were weather stained and his face and hands were covered in the grime that always comes with a long journey.

"Yes father I shall, by your leave." With that he walked past his parents and through the magnificent doors of his home. It all looked exactly the same as it had when he left two years ago. In fact it looked exactly the same as it had ever since Legolas could remember.

He wearily walked the many corridors which led to his chambers, deep within the ground. A bath had been prepared for him and clean clothes were laid out on his bed. Now though he was just concerned with climbing into his bath and scrubbing away the past two years, a task he was sure he would fail in.

*It has been pointed out to me that Legolas's mother is gone to the Undying Lands. I haven't found any evidence of that however from any of the books. The Queen of Mirkwood is emphatically not a character in 'The Hobbit' or 'Lord of The Rings'. She could be doing the can-can on Broadway for all I know. It may be just convention that it is always written as if she has sailed but if anyone can actually steer me towards any information on whether she really has sailed or not I would be grateful. I am trying to make the environments as close to those which Tolkein gave us as is possible and that information could be contained in the 'Silmarillion' or one of the volumes of 'The History of Middle Earth', which, I have to confess, I haven't even attempted to read yet.