Well this is the final chapter… I received some pleas for a sequel… well I would say 'On the Road again' is one :-)

Not good enough?

Well, I will finish OTRA and think about a sequel to that story… ok?

Oh – maybe I should mention I am really bad in writing endings… sigh…

Thanks to all of you who read this and a special thanks to all of you who took the time to review. I got (until now) 100 reviews and can still hardly believe it. Well, I guess it shows you liked this story and this is a great encouragement for me to keep writing.

Thanks to all of you, you were wonderful !!!!

Love,

cat



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The rest of the night passed slowly. The pain from his wounds as well as the unusual sleeping position made it hard for Legolas to find sleep again. The elf's restlessness as well as his concern for his friend kept Gimli awake. He refused Legolas' offer to leave the room so he could find rest with the cross declaration that dwarf's did not need to rest.

Both the elf's and the dwarf's mood was slightly dimmed when they appeared at the palace the next morn. The servant led them to the room where Elrohir and Elladan were already waiting. The table was laid for six revealing that no one else had been invited to join the King and Queen of Gondor.

'Legolas! How do you fare?' Elrohir called out upon seeing them.

The elf's face was still pale and he did not move with his usual grace.

'I am well again, thank you.' He answered, a weak smile on his face. Gimli's snort he answered with a dark look.

Before anything else could be said the door opened again and Aragorn entered, Arwen on his arm. The king of Gondor greeted his friends with a wide smile.

Arwen's beautiful face betrayed nothing as her eyes wandered over them, coming to rest on Legolas.

They bowed and greeted her with a little bit too much enthusiasm causing Aragorn's smile to grow ever wider.

She let go of her husband's arm and stepped close to Legolas looking into his eyes. Her fingers gently touched his cheek for a moment.

'I thank you for defending my honor, my friend.' She said softly. 'But I feel like strangling you for your stupidity. Not only did you have to keep this from us, you had to go and seek another fight when your wounds were not healed yet.' She shook her head in exasperation. 'I would have thought more of you.'

Her soft words cut deeper than any angry shouting could ever have. Legolas' eyes flickered away from hers not able to stand the mixture of sadness, pain and compassion he could see there.

The usual proud elf was a picture of misery under her scrutiny and Gimli could not help a small grin forming on his face. If he thought it to be concealed by his beard he was proven wrong when Arwen suddenly turned on him.

'And you, son of Gloin? Not only did you help him but you had to bring violence into the house of healing!'

She quickly turned on Elladan who took a step back in surprise.

'And you, my dear brother, were there along with him. It will do nothing for the reputation of elves if you behave like this.'

The usual gentle and kind elf was not to be stopped and the four stood still taking her verbal lashing with as much dignity as they could muster. Aragorn watched arms folded in front of his chest and leaning against the wall with unhidden amusement as his beloved wife tore into them. She never raised her voice but there was no need. Her words were sharp and well aimed enough.

When she was finished with them they stood like children that had just been scolded and the looks on their face undid Aragorn. He broke out in laughter. For a moment Arwen scowled at him but when her look returned to her victims she could see the humor in the situation and a smile softened her features.

It was Elladan who dared to speak first.

'I would advise you, Legolas, the next time you come across anyone who utters an insult, let Arwen handle it. She will have them cowering within minutes.'

'Aye.' The dwarf mumbled. 'Anyone would rather beg for being exiled than face her wrath.'

Having exhausted her anger Arwen could not help but laugh, slight embarrassment flushing her cheeks.

'Well done, my love.' Aragorn said his voice still shaking from laughter. 'Some of this things I wished to say myself last night but somehow I never got the chance.'

His voice a little bit more sober he added.

'Let us sit and eat, my friends. We will have to face the people of Gondor soon.'

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The people of Minas Tirith followed their king's order and gathered in front of the palace. Rumors had quickly made the round about the death of Bethrol and their curiosity was piped.

It was Aragorn himself who stepped in front of the crowd, Noldim at his side. The young man was ordered to tell what had transpired and he did leaving nothing out.

But doubt still remained and Aragorn could feel his people were not convinced completely. He could see it in their eyes that some of them still doubted that whatever had been done to the elf did warrant his taking a life.

The king called Legolas to his side and upon seeing him loud shouts could be heard and they were not friendly. It were only few that called out but a crowd is easily manipulated and the reaction turned not to the elf's favor.

Aragorn talked quietly to Legolas and Gimli standing behind them could not hear his words due to the angered crowd.

The dwarf could feel his own fury rising at their behavior toward his friend. He had been a honored friend, a hero only short ago. Had they so quickly forgotten about the elf's deeds?

He could see Legolas nod and the king raised his hand, silencing the crowd. Without a word he motioned to the elf and Legolas slowly started to take of the light tunic he wore. His movements were slow and not hiding the pain he was in. Aragorn took the cloth from him. Gimli himself had rewrapped the bandage around his torso after checking his wounds in the morning and he knew what it cost his friend to undo them. The pain on his features was plainly visible to the crowd and they stayed silent watching as the white material fell away. The bruises on his chest and abdomen were nearly faded but still visible. But it was the sight of his back as he turned to show it that made many gasp in horror.

An elf heals quickly but having torn them open only the night ago the welts and cuts covering Legolas' pale skin still looked horrible.

Whoever had doubted the words spoken could now see the undeniable proof.

It was Aragorn who stepped to Legolas after a few moments and rewrapped his wounds again. Helping his friend into his tunic he gave him a tight smile. He knew what this had cost the proud elf but it had been the only way to truly show the people of Gondor the full extend of what had been done to his friend.

When Legolas turned to meet the crowd's stares once more the reaction had changed dramatically. Applause welled up as the elf's eyes swept over the crowd. For a moment he stood taken aback until he realized the meaning and bowed in acceptance of the apology offered. Then he stepped back again retaking his place next to Gimli. He hardly heard Aragorn voice the judgment he had spoken over those involved in the attack as his glance met Arwen's. Tears shone in her eyes as she looked at him for a moment ere she turned her head away. She herself had not known the viciousness of the attack until now.

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'The matter is settled.' The king said with a sigh.

They had all come together once more and this time the hobbits had joined them. They had been shocked to hear about the ambush on Legolas and had hardly stopped asking questions until even Gimli was tired of answering them.

Aragorn's words and the glare that accompanied them finally stopped Pippin from another curious query and silence fell as the hobbits' voices ceased their chatter.

'There is a promise I still have to fulfill.' Legolas said slowly getting to his feet. His smile was directed at Arwen. 'I would like you to accompany me when I have a look at your gardens, my lady.' He said with a respectful bow.

'Ai, stop this formality, Legolas.' She sighed. 'I did apologize for tearing into you like this, although I still believe you deserved it. Mostly.'

He laughed at her and extended his arm for her.

'Are you sure you are well enough?' she asked concern in her eyes as she accepted it.

'The garden will do me more good than the closed rooms of this palace, beautiful as they may be.' He answered truthfully and she smiled at that.

For a moment his eyes turned to a forlorn figure standing in the corner of the room. True to his word Noldim had followed him everywhere ready to accept Legolas orders. He had given none until now as he motioned for the man to follow them.

Stepping outside into the wide but neglected garden Legolas could feel his spirits rise. Although much damage had been done here life still remained and trees and grass mixed with wild flowers were struggling to grow.

Out of curiosity as well as some unshakable worry for his stubborn friend Gimli had followed them and with awe he watched the effect the presence of the wood elf had on his surroundings. Although wounded and weakened his magic was felt by trees and greens and a whisper seemed to go through leaves and grass. All of a sudden the colors and smells seemed to intensify as fresh strength was given to the plants as the elf wandered through them a soft song raising from his lips. He had let go of Arwen and walked around, sometimes stopping to touch a leaf or let his fingers run over the bark of a tree. A soft glow seemed to emanate from him as he wandered around completely in tune with the wildlife around him.

They stood and watched as Legolas used the magic of the wood elves to heal the wounds that had been inflicted by war and carelessness. When he came back to them some color had replaced the pallor of his face as if the healing had also strengthened himself.

It was then that Gimli saw the look on Noldim's face. It was a look of wonder and awe as he had for the first time in his life seen the true nature of an elf.

Legolas turned to the young man and gave him advise of what to do in the garden and to the plants to ensure they would grow. He listened and nodded eagerly completely taken by the elf and whishing to please him. With a shy look at his Queen he bowed and hurried away to fulfill his tasks.

Shaking his head Gimli followed the elves as they returned inside. How quickly the man's opinion had changed from almost killing the elf to something close to worship. He would never understand elves but even less would he ever understand men.