||[Sep. 1st, 2006|04:00 pm]
Twenty Rings Fanfic Community
|||||Vivaldi, Four Seasons||]|
Title: Beyond Together
Theme: Set#1, Theme 15, Wall
Genre: General, slightly angsty
Summary: The call of the Sea affects more than those who hear it.
In appearance he is little changed from the Elf I knew as a child or, I suppose, from the Elf who fought his first battle before Gondor waned or ever the Istari set foot on Arda's soil. Or at least, if he is changed, my mortal eyes cannot perceive it and Arwen, when I ask her, only shakes her head in silence with such sorrow in her eyes that I cannot bear to ask too often.
Yet nonetheless, a difference is there. Not in the flawless beauty of his face, or the sound of his voice, or the familiar rhythm of his light step. He draws a bow with the same swift accuracy as ever and is as fiercely loyal as in the old days. He still sings at any hour of the day or night; still climbs up trees and out of windows without the least warning; still delights in provoking Gimli, his agile mind bending words to his mastery until the Dwarf roars with frustration at the elusive trickiness of the Elvish mind.
The difference is more subtle, more intangible, as impossible to vocalise as it is to ignore. Gimli, though he knew Legolas only a few short months before, is as keenly aware of it as any of us. Thranduil, I have heard, is half in despair over it, while the twins merely exchange ominous glances and do not even attempt to tease him from his moods.
There is a barrier between us now, invisible and implacable. Where his heart lies, I can never walk, and he shall never again be entirely of this world. If he were gone, if only he were happy, we would grieve for his loss but remember him with joy. As it is, he is torn—and how can anyone survive for long when their heart is uncountably distant from their body? And yet he yearns also for Middle-earth; I believe if he could, he would ignore the call forever and remain here among the trees and the people whom he loves. Strong though he is, however, it is stronger and he must submit or destroy himself beneath the strain. He is determined, I think, though he does not say so, to linger until we are gone. He imagines he keeps the thought hidden from us; he cannot know how much it pains us to know he suffers thus for our sake. But we do not speak of the matter, and it hangs silently between us.
Oh, there are still happy days, days when his laughter rings out and he tells me wild tales of the twins' youth—or Eldarion tales of mine. There are still days when we forget that I am king and he the ruler of a land that, beautiful as it is, cannot bind him to itself as once it would have done. Days when, like the ranger and Elf-prince we were, we race across the Pelennor, he riding bareback and shouting with exhilaration like a lad of Rohan. Days when he teaches the boys to shoot and hunt in proper Elf fashion, or dances with Arwen to a music only they can hear. Days when we sit Elladan and Elrohir, with Faramir or Gimli and Éomer, talking of past days, present doings and future hopes.
But we have learned, all of us, to pretend we do not see the longing that almost never leaves his eyes; we have been forced to expect the sudden turns of temper, when some unknown cause drives away mirth and speech; we struggle to cope with more gradual deteriorations as, over days or weeks, he becomes steadily more introverted.
On many battlefields far from his home he has given proof that he would die for us, but the one thing we desire most of him, he cannot give us: he cannot give us himself as he was. We are coming to know, therefore, that it is neither wise nor kind to speak of the change in him, or to regret that the passing of Sauron and those days of darkness brought to an end, among so many things, Legolas' days of content in Middle-earth.
I know that as long as the world endures, our old friendship, at least, will never return; when at last he, the twins and the rest sail and are healed of all the ills and burdens this world dealt them, I shall be long gone. Not until I am dead can they be whole. One hope only, therefore, is left me: that when Arda is broken and all things renewed, we shall meet again. If that day comes, I know there shall be neither shadow upon us nor wall between us.