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THERE IS NEVER A ROSE WITHOUT THORNS
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DISCLAIMER

I don't own Tolkien characters or settings… Rufferto loves all her readers and gladly accepts comments, suggestions and desires from them. I write for the enjoyment of others and myself. I do not take kindly to reviewers who 'flame'. Flaming is unnecessary. Constructive Criticism is. Rufferto please asks that everyone "Be excellent to each other".and that we are all here for the same purpose to write and have fun reading fan fiction.

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THERE IS NEVER A ROSE WITHOUT THORNS

This story is about Legolas and Merilas. For those of you who have not read Interlude, it is the Sequel to Interlude. I was begged…so here you are. A nice angst elf romance!

Merilas was a slave of Orcs for 15 years. She regained her soul when she looked after Frodo in the Tower. Legolas continued to love her even though she was scarred horribly by the Orc who kept her prisoner.
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CHAPTER ONE : On the Way Home
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We left Frodo safe in Rivendell, though I had wanted to stay. Legolas did convince me that since he had someone to take care of him it was best to let him deal with only one person. We both had horses and rode in silence for the first couple of hours. I did not really know what to say. I had a feeling of dread…going home after all this time. After everything…I didn't look at him, but kept my eyes fixed on the road. I don't know why I had agreed to it, it just seemed futile. I would end up hurting him because I couldn't stay. I don't think he really understood what I was going through and might have been hoping that I would change my mind.

I wasn't altogether sure that he really did love me either. He had spent a lot of time looking for me, but I thought that he did so more out of duty than out of love. Love developed with his desire to find me. I was pretty sure he had convinced himself over the years that he was in love with me. I certainly doubted he really knew me. Even back then…he never really tried to get to know me.

Sure he desired me back then. I was…beautiful once. Now I think he might be deluding himself…or maybe he was acting out of pity. Regardless. I didn't want his pity, and I wasn't sure that I wanted his love either. I did not even want to go home. Why was I doing this? It would only end in heartbreak.

I was pretty sure that he was taking me home…as if I was a trophy. He wanted to prove to his father that he'd found me. But he didn't really. He only found me because I had let myself be found. I pulled the hood down further, I did not want anyone seeing us…or me. Legolas moved his horse back a few paces and then next to mine. He looked at me, and it seemed like he wanted to say something but did not know what to say.

"Meri." he spoke at last. "Are you alright? You're awfully quiet…" And I was. I suppose he wasn't used to that. In the past, I never stopped talking. "Do you want to stop and rest?"

I glanced at him, his face showed only concern. I found it impossible to be angry or upset at him. He truly -did- care. He just did not know how to handle me, and did not understand. "I'm fine." I spoke softly, leaning down to pat the neck of my mare. I did that mostly to avert my eyes from his.

Legolas frowned and looked away himself. "If something's bothering you…please…talk to me." he looked back. "I will understand."

It was impossible for him to understand. I turned to fix my gaze on him then, a gaze that spoke more than words could possibly do in a thousand years. "Understand?" my voice was hollow. Emotion boiled in my heart as I tried to sort through what I was feeling. "You'll never understand." I said coldly, and clicked my heels against the mare to move away from Legolas' steed. I did not miss the hurt expression that clouded his eyes and he cleared his throat, trying to find an answer to that no doubt.

"Maybe not right away." his voice was soft. "But if you let me, I will try." he moved his horse beside mine again. "I don't know what happened to you. I can only…guess…" he swallowed. "You can tell me…anything. I won't judge you, and I won't turn away from you. I want to know…I keep imagining what must have happened, and every thought that goes through me fills me with sorrow. I've spent so long thinking about what had become of you. Please…you can talk to me. Maybe it will help…"

I didn't doubt it would, but I doubted that he would be able to listen if I went into detail about what had been done to me, and what I'd seen them do to Frodo and others. How many times had I watched them torture innocents…too many…more than I could count….more than I could remember. "Maybe." I shook my head. "Legolas you cannot even begin to understand. You have never been at the mercy of people who do not know the meaning of the word. You have never watched death in progress…or seen the flesh ripped off of a living being strip by strip…You have never had to rest amid screams of pain and suffering. You are not ready to hear my story."

And the horror in his eyes was enough to convince me that he truly was not. I saw him tremble slightly as he stared at me. I think perhaps he was wishing that all my innocence had not been lost. His wish would not come true. I knew that my words had been harsh and I reached over to take his hand and squeezed it gently. "I will try to understand." he assured me, resolve strengthening within him. "I know that it will be hard to hear." He then lifted my hand to his lips and kissed it tenderly….as though my fingers were made of glass.

I pulled my hand away and did not speak anymore for a while after that. He might try…but he never really would understand. Was I glad to be with him? I didn't really know. It had felt good…to be held by him…but I did not want him looking at me. I didn't want anyone looking at me. I didn't know -why- I had agreed to stay with him for a year, only that it seemed to help Frodo…and that a part of me wanted to be with him. The other part of me wanted to flee…to run and hide and lick my wounds. I did not know how I could carry on like this.

I had given my word, and I would keep it. However hard it was going to be, I would let him have his year.


To be continued