Here it is, the sequel to Long, Long Journey! A note to those who haven't read LLJ: If you haven't, please do so. I think this story will make some sense by itself, but there will obviously be a lot of references to its predecessor. It picks up almost exactly where LLJ left off.
Someone Said Goodbye
Year 2509 Third Age of Middle Earth
Is there a reason why a broken heart begins to cry?
Is there a reason you were lost although you don't know why?
Is there a reason why a broken dream can never fly?
Is there a reason you believe and then you close your eyes?
Give me a reason why you hide away so much inside.
If there's a reason, I don't know why.
~ Enya, "Someone Said Goodbye"
"Pass me that."
Elrond's voice was tight and focused as he leaned over the prone form of another elf. Erestor, standing at his side, sighed slightly and rolled his eyes. It was fortunate that he knew Elrond's tone so well, and knew which "that" the healing lord referred to.
Elrond held out his hand vaguely, and Erestor placed the scalpel in the lord's palm carefully. Elrond retracted his arm and continued to work on the unconscious elf.
Erestor looked sadly upon the elf who they operated. Given to him had been the task of keeping the elf sedated throughout the operation. Elrond had explained how difficult and trying this procedure would be. Elrond had insisted on performing the operation himself, though both Glorfindel and Erestor had advised against it. The elf on whom they operated was, in fact, Lady Celebrían herself, Elrond's beloved wife. Erestor and Glorfindel had conferred about the fact that Elrond would be too preoccupied with whom he operated upon than being able to look objectively upon the operation and what needed to be physically done, not just for the Lady's comfort.
Erestor hung his head sadly when he remembered examining the wound himself just before Elrond had burst trough the doors of the Healing Ward to begin the operation.
Erestor had seen this type of wound twice before; once it had been a Greenwood warrior who had been stricken, and the other had been his cousin Erendhiel. Both had died, and though Erestor had tried to tell Elrond this, being very careful to do so, the Lord had shaken off his advice and continued with the operation.
Now, Elrond sat up and wiped a hand across his brow, leaving a bloody smear there. His eyes were tearful, and Erestor knew that Elrond had finally come to realize the truth of Erestor's words: Celebrían could not be healed in Middle Earth.
Erestor laid a hand on Elrond's shoulder cautiously. Elrond turned his head and regarded his longtime friend with a hollow and lost expression.
"Is Lady Fate so cruel as to take my love from me? To take a mother from her children, and a Lady from her people?"
Erestor closed his eyes at the grief in Elrond's voice. He was unsure how to answer. Erestor had never been good at consoling the grief-stricken. Glorfindel was better at this sort of thing, and always had been. Even in Greenwood at the time of Queen Lauredhiel's death, it had been Glorfindel who had talked Thranduil out of his crippling grief to convince him that his sons needed him.
Elrond sighed and stood, gazing down at his wife. He had laboured for two long hours trying to remove the poison from his wife's body in the hope that it would revive and restore her.
"She will leave these shores, never to return."
Erestor cleared his throat.
"Yes," he said quietly, "but she will wait for you from that moment until you join her there."
Elrond wiped his eyes and gently picked up Celebrian, removing her to a clean bed. Erestor stood as well and began to clean up. Allowing his eyes to glance around the room, his gaze fell upon the only other inhabitant of the Ward.
Legolas, the prince of Greenwood and Celebrían's savior, lay prone in a bed far from the door. He had not woken since he had been brought in two hours ago by Glorfindel and laid on the bed carefully. Erestor felt a jump of guilt as he realized that both he and Elrond had eclipsed the prince from their memory. Now his focused turned exclusively to the still prince, worry furrowing his brow. Glorfindel had left about an hour ago, claiming to need to see to Elrohir and Elladan, who he had "detained" in his room.
Erestor shuddered. How the twins had allowed the golden haired elf to lock them in that place was beyond him. Glorfindel was renowned for his messiness and his room was a location to be avoided at all costs. Erestor wondered vaguely if the twins were knocked out.
The door opened and the golden haired elf in question strolled through, looked slightly amused, though his face fell slightly at the sadness permeating the room. Meeting Erestor's eyes, he asked the silent question pertaining to Celebrían's health. Erestor shook his head and nodded to Elrond, who sat next to his wife on a bed a ways away. Glorfindel nodded, lowering his head slightly in respect, and stepped lightly over to Legolas' side.
Erestor wondered at the relationship between the two golden elves. Glorfindel was many years Legolas' senior, yet the two were fast friends, never missing a moment to take a scouting trip (most of which ended up with a trip and a stay in the Healing Ward for one or both of them!) or to play a game of chess. A lot of their free time was spent looking up ridiculous things in random books from Erestor's pried library, and reading them to each other in annoyingly tragic or exaggerated voices.
Erestor knew that their relationship had a lot to do with the death of Lauredhiel, Legolas' mother, and that Glorfindel had played a crucial role in consoling the small elfling when his own father had been too consumed by giref to do so. Thranduil and Lauredhiel had been very much in love, and their bond had been deep.
A sharp cry interrupted Erestor's thoughts.
Erestor glared at Glorfindel for interrupting Elrond's moment with Celebrían, but Glorfindel's eyes held something akin to panic and fear, and Erestor focused upon the elf upon whose chest Glorfindel's hand lay.
Erestor walked over to Legolas, and he could see that he and Elrond had made a grave error in forgetting the prince. Legolas was deathly white, almost blue, and dark hollows stood out around his eyes. Bruises stood out sharply against his pallid skin, and the uncleaned cuts, crusted over, looked like gashes of the night sky to Erestor, who wondered how on earth no one had thought to at least clean up the poor elf.
Glorfindel pulled out a knife from his belt and cut away at Legolas leather jerkin. It could be replaced, Legolas could not. Cutting open his tunic, Glorfindel pulled it off and heard Erestor take a breath in sharply.
Legolas had been terribly abused in that orc hole, Glorfindel mourned. Two stab wounds stood out, one in his chest and the other in his side. His ribs were most certainly broken, and dried blood still oozed sluggishly from the wound in his stomach, a tear as big as Glorfindel's hand. Glorfindel closed his eyes for half a moment, then turned to call for Elrond again, only to find the Lord of Imladris already at his side, tying back his hair and preparing for another surgery.
Without speaking, Elrond directed the other two elves, realized he would need another pair of hands. Before he had even completed the thought, another presence was at his side.
Turning his head, expecting Elrohir or Elladan, he jumped at the sight of his daughter Arwen. Opening his mouth to tell her to go find one of her brothers, she shook her head, a fierce look entering her eyes.
"I'm helping you, Father. I know how."
Elrond nodded and turned back to his work, slightly shocked, but the task ahead of him wiped other thought from his mind; if Thranduil's son was to survive, he was in for a tiring ordeal.
Short, and fast-paced, I think, but it's not too bad! This story will be interesting, just you wait. I think it will take you by surprise!