"Again ada!" Alyan said squealing in delight as Legolas brought Arod to a trot after their ride across the Pelennor Fields. He was amazed at how much his son had grown in a year.
Here he was at almost two years old. Legolas knew that elf children developed mentally faster, but he never knew that they grew fast as well. Perhaps all children grew fast. He remembered when Alyan was so tiny that he could easily hold him with one arm but now it was a struggle to carry the growing boy with two arms. Never mind that fact that Aria could barely carry him any longer for long amounts of time. Alyan was built like Legolas through and through – a lithe frame yet tall. He most definitely was his father's son.
"Perhaps tomorrow since it is getting late," Legolas said as he led them through the city gates and up towards the Citadel.
By the time that Legolas got Arod back into the stables and carried Alyan into the King's House, the elfling was sound asleep – worn out from his day of riding with his ada.
"Looks like he had fun," Aria said greeting them in the hallway near Alyan's bedroom. She gently brushed the blond chin length hair out of Alyan's face and kissed his forehead.
"Nana?" he asked, waking up a bit.
"Love you," he said, closing his eyes again as his snuggled back down in his ada's arms.
Aria smiled and kissed her son's forehead once again. "Love you too."
"I will put him to bed," Legolas said. Aria nodded as she watched him carry Alyan down the hall and off to bed. For the first time in a long time, she could actually smile.
It had taken them both a long time to get to this place – a place where they could be comfortable again. Comfortable with life; comfortable with moving on; comfortable in letting their son grow up; and comfortable knowing that somewhere, their daughter was still alive. More so for Aria then Legolas, but still it had been a struggle. Taking the advice of her husband, along with his guidance and love, she eventually was able to let Alyan have more freedom. At first, she did have panic attacks where all she wanted to do was check on him even if she had allowed him to go for a walk with Arwen or even have a play date with Miriel under the watchful eyes of Glorfindel and Erestor. Between Legolas taking time to spend with her away from their new colony in Ithilien and Lord Elrond teaching her new relaxing techniques, Aria slowly became herself once again.
The only thing missing besides Lassiel were her visions.
That was still a mystery that no one could explain. Yet she had learned to live without them.
But for both her and Legolas, the biggest hole in their lives was still the fact that after almost a year, Lassiel still had yet to be found. Numerous search parties had been sent out to all corners of Middle Earth from all kingdoms – man, elf and dwarf alike all took part. All of it had been in vain. It was almost as if Lassiel had disappeared into thin air. Even Alyan questioned where his sister had gone from time to time. His parents were truthful to him and explained that someone had taken her, but that someday they hoped that she would return home to them. She wondered if her son understood. Perhaps in the future they would have a longer, more detailed conversation about what took place on that night.
"He is in bed," Legolas quietly said, joining her in the hall once again as he brought her out of her thoughts. He wrapped an arm around her and pulled her tight against him. "And he is sound asleep."
"Looks like the two of you had fun," she said with a smile as she kissed his lips softly.
"We always do," he said with a smile. "However he wants you to come riding with us next time."
"Perhaps. I do need to break in Argo's filly," Aria said looking away from her husband. Legolas gently turned her chin back towards him. Not only had they lost Lassiel within the last year, but also her beloved horse, Argo, had passed away from old age. Thankfully she had been able to breed her a few years before and she had her ada bring her Argo's filly, Kya, to Minas Tirith during his one of his many visits over the course of the last year.
"I know it has been a tough year, meleth nin. It has been for me as well."
She forced a tiny smile. "Riding tomorrow?" she asked.
He nodded, returning her smile before leaning in for another kiss.
Aria sat on the side of Alyan's bed, reading him a bedtime story. Legolas stood in the doorway watching over his son and wife. Tonight was the night of the one-year anniversary of the abduction of Lassiel. He knew that Aria was already on edge along with the palace guards.
For most of the day, the family had spent it away from the city out riding together, having a picnic and just being together. The point of it all was to simply enjoy their time together and savor the fact that Haldir had been able to save their son, which Legolas and Aria were ever indebted for.
Next to Aria, Alyan yawned and snuggled into his pillow. She leaned over and kissed his forehead before she set down the book for the night. "Good night pen neth" she whispered.
"Night nana, night ada," he mumbled.
"Good night Alyan," Legolas said as he walked over and pulled the covers up tighter over his son's shoulders once Aria had stood up before kissing his forehead as well. He turned to look at Aria, who was standing motionless in the window of Alyan's bedroom. She was starring at something outside of the window.
"What is it?" he whispered moving behind her.
"I am not sure…" she said moving out into the hallway silently. She nodded to the palace guards, who moved into position outside of Alyan's bedroom door as she and Legolas moved past them.
Legolas was not sure where she was leading him nonetheless he silently followed her. Aria led them out of the King's House and out into the main courtyard of the Citadel, where an amazing sight greeted them both.
Thousands of people stood before them, all holding candles in complete silence. Standing in the front of all of them were Aragorn and Arwen – both of them holding candles as well.
"What is this?" Aria asked moving towards her brother.
"The people of Minas Tirith, as well as Gondor, want to let their princess and prince know that they have not forgotten about their little princess," Aragorn said. "The entire city has come together and essentially made itself a beacon to guide Lassiel home."
Tears formed in Aria's eyes as she hugged her brother and then moved to hug Arwen.
"We know that you are moving to Ithilien in the next few months," Arwen said. "However please come back and make this a yearly tradition."
Aria looked at Legolas, who smiled at her before she turned back at Arwen and nodded yes in agreement.
A little girl giggled as she looked out her window into the distance.
The large cat that seemed to be made out of a thousand twinkling stars stood off in the distance starring at her house again.
Was this cat looking for her?
The little girl giggled again as the cat disappeared from sight.
AN: Short, sweet and to the point. Get ready for a time jump next chapter! Reviews make me happy! And a happy author = more updates!