Chapter Five: Elven Meetings

Title: Lord of the Forest

Rating: T

Pairings: Harry/Legolas

Warnings: Slash, mild gore, AU, language, some angst, a touch of depression, OOCness. That's a bit hard to avoid with an immortal Harry, though.

Summary: The grief after Harry's friends' deaths threatens to overcome him. With nothing and no one left, he slips into a new world, where he can start over. There he discovers he plays quite an important part... Harry/Legolas; powerful!Harry; Harry centric. Written for CasheyHooray1.00's challenge.

AN: So sorry for the wait you guys. Time just sort of got away from me! Anyways, I shall pay you for your loyalty with a chapter with Legolas's introduction! And I would like to warn you! This chapter begins introducing some AU. I'm okay if you don't like that, and feel free to tell me, but please, do not claim that I didn't inform you. I'm even changing my summary to advertise it.

DISCLAIMER: Just recently I was going back and rereading the LotR and HP series. The writing styles of JK and Tolkien never fail to humble me.

NOTE: I've gone back and edited the previous chapters. There were no major changes, so it isn't required that you reread to understand what's going on, but I did add a lot of things to Chapter Three: An Explanation is in Order. If anything, you might want to read that one, because some of that stuff may or may not be alluded to later.

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SECOND AGE, YEAR 3441

All of Harry's training against the threat that was Sauron was proved meaningless. Not only could Harry tell that, should he ever have attempted to fight the Dark Lord, the sheer power the evil being possessed would've crushed him, but the other Lord was defeated by a mere man while the wizard looked on with incredulity. The entire battle had passed with Harry remaining a simple spectator.

It was clear, though, that with Sauron's death, a shadow had been lifted from the land. All of the creatures in Harry's forest grew livelier with the Dark Lord's defeat, as did the Ents and Harry himself, too. He no longer had to deal with the shrinking borders or the grimy aura of the Dark Lord and his creations licking at his magic.

He could finally breathe easy.

Harry sighed and rested his cheek on his palm. Now that Fangorn was safe again, he had little to entertain himself with. He loved his forest subjects dearly, but he missed learning and exploring and adventure!

Perhaps that's the problem, Harry pondered, maybe I need something new.

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THIRD AGE, YEAR 4

"I'm not saying you are old, dear Gandalf, just that you are older than me!" Harry laughed.

Gandalf chuckled along with him. "Maybe that is so, but one wouldn't know it by looking at your hair."

"Why Gandalf!" Harry put a hand to his chest and cried dramatically, "You wound me!"

"Your defenses against insult are so soft," said Gandalf, poking the younger wizard in the back of the head, "And you are so quick to call foul. Perhaps you are young." The two magic users ambled along a forest path on their way to Lothlórien. The old friends had reunited two years back when Gandalf had come calling. It had taken less than a day for the old man to convince Harry to travel the world with him. Since then, they had grown immeasurably closer and Harry had begun to see Gandalf as a sort of grandfather figure mixed with a close friend.

"Come now, you know that's not true."

And Gandalf did know. The full, unedited version of Harry's life story had been shared on a cold, cloudless night. Seeing the stars, but not his favorite constellations (they were all up there, in their own way, Sirius and Draco and Hermione and the others. They used to joke that the only one without a constellation was Harry, because Harry was space and gravity, just holding them all up) had brought up the topic, and after it was all gone and said Harry cried himself to sleep on Gandalf's shoulder.

The next day, Gandalf had shared tales of the Valar and the creation of the world as they rode. They laughed and cried together, and when it finally came time for them to drop the horses, they walked arm in arm and shared gossip like children.

They had become inseparable, so much so that Gandalf was leading him to one of the hidden treasures of Arda: the elven city of Lothlórien.

Harry was still a bit on edge about the elves, but Gandalf had assured him that they were lovely creatures who wouldn't hurt a fly (that didn't do much to reassure him, as he had seen the elves fighting Sauron and what does not hurting a fly look like to you?!)

"Aha!" Gandalf exclaimed, making Harry jump. "We are almost there; we should meet someone who will greet us soon."

Harry settled down and hummed in response. The stillness of the forest and the eyes he could feel on his back were making him jittery.

"Don't be nervous Harry. The elves are most kind," Gandalf winked. Harry couldn't contain his chuckles.

They walked in silence the rest of the way. Their destination ended up being a small clearing; rather reminiscent of the one Harry appeared in all those years ago. Standing in the middle of the open space were three elves, two males and a female. Upon their approach, the elf-maiden spread her arms in welcome.

"Nae saian luume', Mithrandir." Her voice was soft and kind, and very beautiful. Harry instantly felt calmer in her presence. (1)

"Oio naa elealla alasse', arwenamin," Gandalf's voice rumbled from behind Harry. The elvish tongue, as always, rang out like song. Gandalf placed a hand on his shoulder. "This is a dear friend of mine, Harry of Fangorn." (2)

The two males looked at him in disbelief at hearing his introduction, but the White Lady (for she could be no other; the Ents sang many songs in her praise) just smiled. "Mae govannen, heru Harry en Fangorn." (3)

Her smile was contagious; Harry felt a matching one stretch his face. "Mae govannen, arwen en amin Galadriel. Saesa omentien lle." (4)

The Lady of the Wood laughed lightly. "I'seasamin." (5)

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The rest of their visit with the Lothlórien elves went marvelously. Lady Galadriel took an interest in him, so much of his time in the beautiful city was spent in her presence. She taught him much about the history of the elves since their interactions with the Ents, as well as some information about the other races of Arda that Treebeard had not know.

Harry also got well-acquainted with two elves named Rumil and Orophin, and their brother the marchwarden of the northern borders, Haldir. The former took great amusement in Harry's many attempts to crack Haldir's unshakable emotionless mask (this was partially because Harry's 'attempts' were either him glomping the elf when he least expected it or flirting so ridiculously blatant that there were running bets on when Haldir would blush). The three of them became known throughout Lothlórien as some of the greatest troublemakers the elves had ever seen.

When Gandalf finally decided it was high time he left (it had been over a year), he was unsurprised to learn that Harry was staying. The announcement of his farewell nearly caused Harry to regret his decision to leave Fangorn in the first place (you knew this was going to happen, you knew you'd get hurt, you knew) until Galadriel showed him one of the most amazing things: a mirror that could show the future.

She had meant to show him a future meeting with Gandalf to comfort him, he knew, but neither had predicted that the mirror would show him more.

Not images, precisely; rather emotions and vague imprints of events yet to pass. There had been warmth and love, but also despair and heartbreak, and Death had tinged all his senses a dark gray, so that he could sense the entity even on the images meant to be happy. Many, many feelings had swept through him, so many that he couldn't recall them afterward. Through it all, only two things had been clear to him: a plain of shattered blue that reminded him of glaciers and broken mirrors reflecting the sky, and a bloody red streak that flowed like magma. When he had awoken from his trance, a pale and shaking Galadriel had forbidden him from looking into the mirror any more. She had apparently tried to wake him up many times without success.

So when Harry finally waved goodbye to his dearest friend, he was comforted by the knowledge that they would meet again, but worried over things to come.

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THIRD AGE, YEAR 1012

Harry crept through the Mirkwood undergrowth under disillusionment and silencing charms. He was extremely glad he had continued training in the magic of his home world along with the magic of here; otherwise he would have been caught by the elves of Mirkwood by now.

He didn't think they would believe him if he told them he had left Lothlórien for a journey north along the outskirts of Mirkwood just so he could turn around and go south again to reach the kingdoms of Rohan and Gondor. He had to admit that, had he known the size of the spiders here, he probably would have just gone straight to Rohan and left the exploring to some other idiot.

Harry paused and frowned. He could have sworn he heard something, something just out of his reach…

There!

Harry cocked his head and moved closer to listen. The elves were singing. What on earth about? Harry wondered. They haven't sung along the borders in at least a year. I haven't heard them this happy since the marriage of Thranduil and the conception of…oh. The immortal's eyes widened. Oh.

Harry smiled with delight. Though dark times were ahead, not all hope was yet lost. New life was still springing from the ground (or, in this case, Thranduil's bed, thought Harry, and his smile grew to a grin) and there were still many good things to be found.

As Harry turned his back on Mirkwood and began his journey south, to Rohan, he ignored the urge to spin right back around and visit the little elfling. Surely the Elvenking would not be happy with an intrusion, and Harry had never been very good with children anyways.

Unbeknownst to him, his decision to disregard that tiny push to return to the celebrating lands of Mirkwood saved Middle-Earth, but condemned his heart to thousands of years of suffering.

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THIRD AGE, YEAR 1050

A large group of elves traveled along the road to Rivendell, chattering and laughing. Amongst the pack only one stood out- a child who looked barely thirteen giggled at the actions of some elves in front of him. It was only when his hair shifted to show pointed ears that both his appearance on the road as well as the large number of elves were explained.

"Come along, prince Legolas!" An elf cried, "Let us be rid of these foul beasts." The elf snatched the elfling out from under the arm of the one he had been walking with.

The elfling giggled again at his previous watcher's exclamation of outrage.

This and many other antics continued as the entourage kept at their journey until night fell. Then, the elves set up camp in a clearing by the path, leaving only two awake for the watch. They did not expect to be ambushed here, on the open road, as their seclusion in the center of their dark forest prevented many messengers. Thus, they were unaware that darkness was rising in the land once more.

The sleeping elves were startled by a loud crash and the sounds of arrows leaving crudely-made bowstrings. One of their sentinels had been shot and had fallen from his tree; the other soon followed. At once the elves shot to their feet, some rushing for weapons and a large group of them swarmed around the frightened elfling.

One adult grabbed the child and whispered, "Nurta, Legolas, asca!" He darted away. (6)

The elves fought long and hard, but they were outnumbered and the moonless night ailed them. Many dropped beneath the enemy arrows, but some ran into the trees, hoping to find the beings assaulting them. Those elves were quickly cut down by sword.

At last, the camp grew still. It was only then that the assailers could be seen in the firelight. They were bulky, misshapen creatures; wicked and dark, they did not hesitate to rifle through the dead or steal their possessions. The things remained unaware of the young prince cowering in a hollow tree just along the tree line. He stayed silent, but large, soulful blue eyes looked on the scene in horror.

The little elfling may have managed to escape. He might have, had he not seen one of the things begin to eat his friends. The prince's whimper caught the attention of every one of the beasts, and, as one, they turned to his hiding place.

The whimper was louder then.

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Why is it, Harry wondered, that whenever I actually TRY to stay out of trouble, it is drawn to me even more?

Harry had, quite honestly, actually been minding his own business (for once). The path to the Shire from Rohan was long, and so he had thought to make the most of it and stop by Rivendell on the way. He had already gone through both Fangorn (making extra sure to tell Treebeard all about his travels) and Lórien (where the Lady had spent the entire time acting as if she knew something very important that he didn't) and had just reached the road to High Pass when he caught an overwhelming stench of blood.

Had Harry been anyone sensible, he would have turned right back around and found some other way to the Shire. But all those years by himself hadn't quelled his saving people syndrome, and he decided with a sigh that he might as well go look for survivors.

What he had not been expecting was thirty odd dead elves and an Orc pack of nearly sixty that seemed to have found something of value among the dead.

Great, Harry groaned. So much for keeping these clothes clean.

And with that, Harry threw a blasting curse and leapt into battle, not even thinking of looking for what the Orcs had so coveted.

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I'm going to die! Legolas sobbed. I'm going to die and I'll never see Ada or Nana again!

The gross creatures were close to him now, and they were all snarling and jeering in some weird language and one came up and touched him!

The clawed hand gripped his face and turned his head this way and that. Then the thing turned to the others and said something to make them all cackle that he didn't understand, but the look on its face made Legolas sick to his stomach.

It reached for him again, and he tried to scramble back but instead he felt rough bark on his hands. His pathetic escape attempt set them off again, and Legolas felt fat tears run down his cheeks.

He choked when the thing renewed its efforts to catch him. The hands were just within snatching reach when an awful crunching noise made his tormentors spin around. Within moments of that final action, many of them joined their crushed companions on the ground. The rest were reaching for their weapons when a lightning-like smell invaded the hollow, and they all dropped dead.

Legolas sat there, dumbfounded. Just seconds ago he had been sure he was going to die or be captured by the things, and then they were gone. Just like that.

Thinking about the things impromptu death made him realize he had not seen his savior. The elfling jumped up and glanced around franticly. No, no! He did not want to stay here with the bloody dead! What if some of them were actually still alive?! He looked about the bodies fearfully, but saw no one.

"H-hello?"

"Ed' i'ear ar' elenea!" Legolas started violently at the deep voice speaking elvish. He turned around once again, and this time saw him: a tall, slim man with white feathery hair. He thought he saw feathers in it. The man's white cloak was stained at the bottom with elf and thing blood. Legolas's eyes trailed back up the man's front to his face, where spring green eyes stared at him from above high cheekbones and a strong chin. Legolas couldn't help but think that the man was very handsome. (7)

"W-who are you?"

"Little one, shouldn't I be asking you that?" Then, as if coming upon some grand revelation, understanding dawned on the man's face and he rushed over to the elfling's side. "Are you alright?! Not hurt?"

Legolas pulled back from the man's gentle grip to study his face. "I am unhurt. Who are you?"

The man smirked. "So the little elfling that's got all of Mirkwood and Lórien in a tizzy's got a bit of a stubborn streak, eh? Well, I'm very glad you're not hurt. I can't imagine what Galadriel would do to me if anything happened to you on my watch…"

The blonde looked at him in surprise. "You know the Lady of the Wood?"

"Aye, little one. But that is a story for another time. Where was your company going?"

"We were heading to Rivendell," Legolas looked at the ground sadly. "I was going to meet Lord Elrond and Lady Arwen and the others. But… I do not know what to do now."

"Oh little elfling," the strange man replied, "I can still get you to Rivendell if you so wish, but I will be unable to travel with you."

Legolas frowned. "But I will be in danger then."

"Do place some trust in me, little prince." The man got to his feet and whistled. A large, otherworldly black mount heeded his call and melted out of the shadows. Legolas took a step back, wary of the black horse with the golden eyes.

"Do not be frightened," the man smiled softly, "She will not hurt you."

The Mirkwood prince edged forward and cautiously put a hand towards the beast. The mare walked slowly forward and placed her head on his palm.

"There we go, see? Now, let me help you up, and then my pretty girl here will take a few hours to get to Rivendell. When you reach the city, tell them the Lord of Fangorn aided you. I will be heading back to Lórien to send word to your father. Do you understand?" The green-eyed man lifted him onto the horse, and Legolas clutched her mane tightly. He frowned again. Many things the man was saying did not make sense. How could a horse reach Rivendell from here in mere hours? Fangorn didn't have a lord. Why could the man not go with Legolas? And, most importantly, who was he?

"Understand?" Those green eyes looked straight at him, and the blonde felt himself nodding even despite his doubts.

The man looked satisfied and turned to leave. "Good. Then I bid you namarie. Tenna' ento lye omenta." (8)

"Wait!" The infuriatingly odd man turned back around and raised an eyebrow. Legolas cringed, but spoke anyway: "Lle vesta?" (9)

Both eyebrows rose to his white hair. "Mani?" (10)

"Do you promise I will see you again?"

The man's expression softened into something almost tender. "Amin vesta." (11)

Then he was gone.

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Harry watched from afar as the little elfling kicked the horse into action. Creating and maintaining that shadow beast would use up a lot of energy, and Harry lamented its loss. But, as he contemplated the little elfling Legolas Greenleaf, he couldn't help but admit that it was worth it.

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Longest chapter ever. Ugh, my eyes hurt. Well, does this at least earn some of your forgiveness back? Haha, well either way, this chapter was super fun. I love elfling!Legolas! So cute. Anyways, on to more important things. So, for the rest of the fiction, how do you want elvish translations worked in? I know some people don't like them because they're a bit of a pain to read (trust me, their worse to write- I don't think I've ever had that many spelling error on a document before) but I like them and they will be there. So I can continue marking them like I did here, or I could go ahead and not mark them but still put translations here, etc etc. Another thing: notes about the AU stuff in this chapter. Okay, now I'm aware that canon says that the Istari didn't arrive in Arda until TA 1000, but I'm going to write it so that they were always there, but just started actively aiding the effort against Sauron in the Third Age. The other thing is that I'm going to have creatures like Shelob, the other spiders, and the orcs gaining strength earlier than canon. So, its kind of like the Dark was building up for a while, and Sauron was just the catalyst to push everything to light. That should be just about everything; I may go back and flesh out this chapter a bit more later, but for now this is good.

-MC

PS- Oh, and guys, I took the hiatus status off my beta profile, so if anyone needs/wants a beta (for really almost anything) I'm available!

TRANSLATIONS:

(1) "Nae saian luume', Mithrandir." –It has been too long, Mithrandir.

(2) "Oio naa elealla alasse', arwenamin." –Ever is thy sight a joy, my Lady.

(3) "Mae govannen, heru Harry en Fangorn." –Well met, Lord Harry of Fangorn.

(4) "Mae govannen, arwen en amin Galadriel. Seasa omentien lle." –Well met, my Lady Galadriel. It's a pleasure meeting you.

(5) "I'seasamin." –The pleasure is mine.

(6) "Nurta, Legolas, asca!" –Hide, Legolas, hurry!

(7) "Ed' I'ear ar' elenea!" –By the sea and stars!

(8) "Namarie. Tenna' ento lye omenta." –Farewell. Until we meet again.

(9) "Lle vesta?" –Do you promise?

(10) "Mani?" –What?

(11) "Amin vesta." –I promise.