Thanks to JaydeRayne, ziggy3, midnight13731, Alanic and Metoochocolate for reviewing, and thank you to all of you for sticking with me (if you're still reading!).
And finally, I'm working on the closing of this story, and it will set up some MARVELOUS angst for a nice little epilogue-story that I have in mind. Totally AU, complete nonsense, but super angsty and fun nonetheless.
Someone Said Goodbye
Elrohir slit the throat of another dying orc and moved to killing another dying creature. It felt like he was very, very thirsty and he was unable to quench that thirst unless he was killing something. Orcs, specifically. He heard a voice speaking and Elrohir looked up to find Elladan approaching slowly, holding a hand over the side of his face, regarding the carnage around them in mild distaste.
"Give it up, Elrohir," Elladan repeated, taking his brother's arm and guiding him away from the dying orcs. "They won't become any more dead than they will be soon."
Elrohir shook himself free.
"It's not enough!" he hissed angrily. "It will never be enough! They made her go away! They made her leave!"
Elladan watched his brother stalk away, his own shoulders held tight and tense under his cloak. He sighed. This quest had changed them, aging them in ways Elladan wouldn't have thought possible. As he passed a hand across his cheek, he wondered if it was lined like his father's was. He wiped a tear from the corner of his eyes (Must be a little rainy, he thought hopelessly) and followed Elrohir.
His brother had been changed more than Elladan had been. Elrohir had become more angry as they had travelled, killing with more fury than ever before each time. Elladan had become slightly afraid of him, and had not reached out to him through their bond in some time for fear of the unknown rage that filled his other half.
Elrohir had stopped by a small withered tree that stood beside a small, dirtied pond. To Elladan's shock, Elrohir dropped to his knees and buried his face in his hands. His shoulders shook with tremendous sobs. Elladan, still some ways off, raced to catch his twin before Elrohir fell.
For a long time, they sat like that, Elrohir laid across Elladan's legs, sobbing unrestrainedly while Elladan wiped tears away from his own eyes. Finally, Elrohir sat up and pulled away from Elladan as if realizing that he had been crying on his brother. Elrohir wiped the tears from his eyes and sniffled loudly, running his sleeve across his nose. Elladan placed a hand on his brother's shoulder gently.
"Come, Elrohir. Let's go home."
It had been two full weeks since Elrond's terrible premonition, and two weeks, Legolas thought, was a long time.
In that time, it seemed to Legolas that he had died and gone to heaven, for as he healed in his body, he found a presence that healed his heart as well.
Arwen was always at his side, there to talk, offer advice, help him overcome his injuries, or simply sit and share a beautiful day with him. As Legolas' body grew strong again, he found that his heart also began to mend itself, warmed by the soft presence of Arwen.
Within a few weeks, Legolas approached Elrond and asked humbly for permission to court Arwen. Elrond had seemed reserved, and even a little preoccupied, as he had consented, and Legolas had found it extremely difficult not leap into the air and whoop with joy as he walked away.
But when Elrohir and Elladan arrived home, more grave and serious-looking than ever before, Legolas found an entirely more complicated subject to tackle: telling his close friends that he was currently courting their only and younger sister.
Elladan handled it well, simply nodding and running a hand through his newly-clean hair, but Elrohir raised an eyebrow and had asked why.
Legolas was stumped.
"Why what?" he asked in return.
"Why," Elrohir elaborated, speaking as though he was treading on very fine ice, "why, in a time like this, are you doing this?"
Elladan jerked his head up very fast, and Legolas felt that he had been kicked in the stomach.
"What? What do you–"
"Don't listen," Elladan said firmly. "Elrohir, shut up right now."
Elrohir met his twin's glare with a similarly defiant expression.
"Why should I stop? Why shouldn't I tell him what I think of him waltzing in here and courting our sister right after our mother was forced to sail, for heaven's sake! And especially since he was the one who was with her, and he's here and she's not!"
Legolas sighed shakily, closed his eyes and dropped his head into his hands, resting on his knees. Elladan placed a hand on his shoulder, and spoke angrily to his brother. Legolas blocked out the argument.
He knew it. He had known it all along, hadn't he? He had known that it was his fault, that he should have done more to stop it? Hell, if he had been required to be killed so that Celebrían would have stayed in Imladris, he would have died.
Anything to have never heard those words come so venomously from his dear friend's mouth, full of hate and spite.
Legolas stood, ignoring the arguing brothers and headed out of the Hall of Fire, where they had been talking, and headed away through the halls to the gardens where he had spent so much of his time with Arwen. He sat on a bench far removed form the main paths, and rested his head in his hands, and his hands on his knees.
Elrond had told him, reassured him that it wasn't his fault, that Celebrían's wound's were too severe for healing in Middle Earth. Arwen had, on the verge of tears one day, told him much of the same. So why did Legolas feel like they were lying, or telling him half-truths?
He heard his name, but instead of hearing Elladan or Elrohir, he heard Arwen's soft voice, gentle and like a healing balm to him. He turned to greet her.
"Hello, my love," she said softly, sliding onto the bench next to him. "Have my brothers been bothering you?"
Legolas laughed humorlessly.
"No," he said, "no, I just–"
"I know they did," Arwen said firmly, giving him a look so reminiscent of Elrond that Legolas was surprised to still be sitting next to her instead of quailing under the bench. "Elladan told me what Elrohir said. He's not happy with Elrohir right now."
Legolas rested his chin in his palm and looked at her, but said nothing. Arwen continued talking.
"For your information, no one around here believes you are at fault for anything that has happened to our family. The circumstances were outside your control. As I have told you before, you were injured as well. I believe you recall that happening at the very least. Now," she continued, drowning out Legolas' feeble attempts to butt in, "I don't want to hear anything more on the subject, understood?"
Legolas grinned weakly.
"Yes," he said, feeling more lighthearted. Arwen smiled.
"Now," she said, "let's talk of more pleasant things, shall we?"
"Such as how to torment my brothers to punish them for their behavior!"