Hi Folks : At long last, the Interlude story is over. I have many things I'm writing right now and had to find the right words to tie all the ends together. I hope that this worksJ

CHAPTER 12 -- Interlude 2 -- Rating R -- FINAL CHAPTER

Legolas paused near the door, holding his hand against it gently. He knew Merilas was in Bag End…but he also knew the hour was very late indeed for hobbits if not for elves. He thought perhaps it better if he waited until the morning to announce his presence. The Prince of Mirkwood sighed and wandered over to the bench by the gate, leaning down to sit there. He had spent a great deal of time thinking about what had happened between him and Merilas and had come to the conclusion that he couldn't treat her as though nothing had happened. Deep in his heart…he did love her…but he also knew that he couldn't expect her to live a normal life and to return to the life of an elf.

He hoped that she would understand when he told her that he meant to accompany her to the Gray Havens…to say goodbye. He wouldn't go with her to Valinor…but at least he would see her off. He'd contacted Gimli and the Dwarf was going to meet him at the Gray Havens in a few months. They'd discussed traveling together before and he felt that was his only recourse right now. Perhaps a life on the road would help him to let her go. He wanted to be with her…but he also knew that they bore different paths. Merilas could never return to a normal life and he didn't want to force her. So he waited where he was.

Patience did pay off, for eventually…Merilas came from the direction of the garden, having apparently been out for a little walk. She spied the elf where he sat and did not move any closer, watching him curiously. She knew he had been following her…but she didn't know why.

He smiled when he saw her and rose from the bench. "Merilas…" he bowed a little stiffly. He did not hold out his arms…nor did he look at her with anything other than a calm expression. He was keeping control...and holding himself together as best he could. It was not easy to accept that you had to let the only person you would ever love go. Especially when you had the rest of the ages to deal with without her. The blonde elf regarded her steadily, trying hard not to jump over to her side and pull her into his arms.

Merilas smiled coolly, walking forward until there was merely a few feet between them, "You followed me here….." she raised her eyes to meet his own.

"I had to." he shrugged simply, "I couldn't just let you come here… without … "

"Without what, Legolas? You didn't have to come…I told you I was done with Mirkwood…" she turned away, her heart was slowly beginning to melt at the tremor in his voice, but she had made up her mind…and he would have to accept it.

The Prince drew himself up steadily to his full height. He locked away his true desires and spoke only what he knew she wanted to hear…doing what he could to remain cool and calm. "Without telling you that I understand." he cleared his throat, "It took me a while to accept it…but I understand. I can't fight ghosts Merilas…and I know they haunt you still. Valinor…" he swallowed. "Valinor is the only place which will heal you. If that is where you must go…that is…that is where I will take you. But I can't go myself…not all the way."

Merilas looked up but not back quite yet…He was letting her go…finally. She turned around then to catch his eyes, "Legolas…I'm sorry…" she whispered softly and went to him. She sighed as he wrapped his arms around her and held her. "I'm sorry it has to be this way…"

"I'm sorry too…but some things are what they are." The prince sounded very much like his father then as he stroked her hair, "I love you…but I know where you must go…its as simple as that. I will think of you there…and be happy that you will find the healing you need."

"I wish there was another way." She sighed, "But too much happened to me…it cannot be fixed with a kiss or the wave of a healing spell….Legolas…I love you too…" she smiled then…for the first time in a long while, her lips came free and the expression shown was true. "I think though…before we leave…there is something that we will need to attend together…will you?"

"What is it?" Legolas smiled back at her curiously. He'd done the right thing…he knew it. Then why was his heart so heavy? She was happy…he ran his fingers through her hair and prayed that Elbereth could help her in the Undying Land with far more ease than could he here…

"Frodo and Gailethil…he's asking her tonight…finally." she smiled looking at the hobbit hole with a wistful expression. "Poor thing…he's been through more than I have…and yet…he managed to perserveer and to find strength in her. I would like…to attend their wedding…before I leave these shores."

"He has been through a lot yes…but his was only a year…whereas yours…much longer in the darkness." he held her gently, "Of course we shall…and I am certain there will be many who will come from across the realm for this event. Are you sure it will take place?"

"Listen…." Merilas hushed him for a moment.

From inside…they could hear laughing…and for the first time really since she had ever known the Hobbit…Frodo was clearly laughing….with joy….

Merilas turned back to the Prince and he smiled…leaning down to take her lips in a gentle caress. There's was a love that endured the greatest of all tests…the test of letting go that what you want the most…so that it can survive.

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