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That Wondrous Song by cheekybeak

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Story notes:
This follows shortly after Walk Beside Me.

The title of this story comes from the poem The Secret of the Sea by Longfellow.
Chapter notes:
A short depressing chapter to start. What can I say.... Legolas is a mess.

I am tired.
It has been a long day and we have ridden far, the sun beating on our backs but it is not that which tires me.
My shoulder aches, it has never been right since I injured it after my fathers departure. Now it reminds me I have ridden too far, a nagging discomfort. It reminds me also my father is far from here and I miss him. It used to be I could feel his presence no matter where I travelled. He was there within me, supporting me always. I feel nothing now except the gaping hole in my fea where once he was. I will never get used to that.

I am so tired, and yet I continue. One foot in front of the other, day after day dragging myself forward. The sea grinds at me relentlessly, wears me down until I cannot remember why I remain. Even the dwarf at my back cannot turn it aside for me. He is solid and strong, my shield, but my defences are weakening. Now the sea flows around him and engulfs me.

It used to be the sea was once a pleasant thing. In the beginning I would retreat to it with pleasure, as a distraction but it has changed. Louder and louder it grows until I cannot hear Gimli's voice over the roar of it. It is insistant now, demanding even, it will not be ignored. And I forget, I forget those who hold me here. I forget my love for them. All I can think of is it's call and how much I want to leave. I no longer have the energy to remain.

We travel to Imladris. I do not go there often but I am miserable, we were nearby, and Elrohir is there. I have forced Gimli out of his caves, it has been a long time since we last travelled but I was desperate. Perhaps it would remind me of better times? Perhaps if I run, if I ride and never stop I can outrun the sea? That was my theory but it is failing so now I go to my last resort. If anyone can lift these clouds it will be Elrohir. Or perhaps it is Elladan I seek? He can understand my pain. He can take the roar of the sea and make it a lullaby.

I should not be thinking of Elladan.

It is late when we arrive, the sun is setting but I see in the courtyard a bright flash of gold. I know what that means and I am crushed by it for it is Glorfindel. Elrohir is not here. I needed him and he is not here.......again. Glorfindel has met me here once before when I staggered, broken into pieces, to the respite of Imladris after my father's departure. How I needed Elrohir then. The promise of him was all that kept me upright as I had made my way here and the emptiness of his absense poured misery on my soul. I feel that same neverending, bottomless misery now.
He is never where I need him.

"Legolas, this is unexpected! I am pleased to see you." Glorfindel is bright and welcoming and I know his joy at my arrival is genuine but his eyes cut through me and he sees the knot of pain at the heart of me.

My reply is blunt and verges on rudeness but I am cut to the core and not in the mood for pretence. I am not happy to see him.

"Where is Elrohir?"

Glorfindel places a hand gently on my shoulder, my sore shoulder and I flinch.

"They are gone for the night, Aragorn is here. They were in the mood to have some time together riding, hunting."

Aragorn is here. I had thought him to be in Arnor, I had not considered he might call in here to see his brothers. I do not need this, it is as if the world conspires against me.
Aragorn is my friend, as close as a brother, but I have hurt him. I know the responsibility for that is not mine, not as I once thought it was but things between us are still awkward. Where once the conversation flowed now there are silences as he picks his words with care. He is not at ease with me nor I with him. I grieve for what we have lost but I do not know how to find it. I remember what we once were but it is as if I have to fight my way upstream to reach him and it is all too hard.

It hurts to be with him. It hurts to know how far we have fallen from what we were. On dark days in the past I used to try to imagine how the pain of losing him would feel and I could not. The idea of it overwhelmed me. Now it is the pain of being with him that defeats me, being with him and yet having lost him already. I cannot bear it.

"When do you expect them back?"
Gimli's question interrupts my thoughts. He is worried for me I know. It is hard to hide from Gimli, He sees all. He knows all is not well with me but he does not know the truth. He does not know I toy with the idea of leaving him.

"Tomorrow. They will be here tomorrow."

"Hear that Legolas?" Gimli smiles at me. "You have a days grace to make yourself respectable. One more night Lad."

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, it repeats, the word bouncing off the corners of my mind. One more night and Elrohir will be here, but that was what I had told myself yesterday when the sea came to drown me in the dead of night and I no longer believe it.

"You look tired Legolas," Glorfindel frowns at me. "Some rest might be in order."

"I am fine."
It is an automatic reply, for I am anything but. How can I tell him though what weighs me down? He will not understand. He is Noldor and has never heard the sea, He has returned from Valinor. He is alien to me.

"Come and eat then, and I will see you to your rooms." Glorfindel leads us away and I follow one foot after the other, dragging myself onward. It is a routine more more day. Tomorrow will be better and yet it never is.

I am relieved when the meal is done, night is fallen and I am left alone. I do not have to hide when I am on my own. It is exhausting, this constant pretence of wellbeing. In my room there is no one to see me and I can be myself, I can wear the pain on my sleeve. I thought I would not sleep, I often don't but it seems Glorfindel is right, I am tired and sleep chooses tonight to overtake me but it is not restful.

I dream, a dream I often have, a dream of torture and grief. The faces of the men who chained me dance in front of me jeering. They hate me and I hate them for they have ruined me and they will not leave me alone. I wish I was free of them but I do not know how to achieve that. I wake, my heart pounding, drenched in sweat and the room is dark. It takes several minutes to convice myself the Men are not here, were not real.

I wish Elrohir was here. He knows of the dreams and he will chase them away for me. He is a light in the darkness of my life. When he is with me the sea recedes, my fear takes flight and I can remember happiness. But we are often apart, seldom together, and I am afraid he will not be enough to keep me here. But if I lose him what will happen to me then?

And tonight when the Men come to haunt me and the sea pounds at my door he is not here.
He is not here.

I am alone.