Rating: T for angst
Summary: Escape is calling for him, and he is willing to embrace it with open arms…
The war was over.
Sauron was dead.
Thanks to the courage of four brave Hobbits, peace was restored to Middle Earth, along with a new King of Gondor. Aragorn finally fulfilled his destiny and restored the line of kings to the White City. With Arwen by his side as queen, Legolas was sure his friend will rule with a fair grip. This he was confident of when Gandalf placed the crown on Aragorn's head.
Gondor shall rise once more.
After bidding his friends goodbye now that the Fellowship was ended, Legolas knew it was time to return to Mirkwood. The war had taken a toll on him, physically and emotionally. He needed to discover himself again. Ground himself in the roots of the forest he had grown up in, to listen to the voices of the trees he had so dearly missed while away. Of course he missed his father as well, wondering how the Elvenking was doing without his presence. The Ellon chuckled quietly under his breath. His father...well Legolas had no doubts his father was doing just fine. With Sauron gone and Dol Guldur vacant, Mirkwood can become a place of light and laughter anew.
A familiar neigh interrupted his thoughts as Legolas lifted his head, eyes falling upon intimate silhouette of his beloved horse. Extending a hand outward, fingers curling, he gently stroked the stallion's muzzle, reveling in the velvet feel of fur with each pass of his palm.
“I missed you too,” he murmured, giving his horse an affectionate hug.
“Legolas,” Aragorn's voice called out from behind.
Legolas turned halfway to smile at his friend. “Aragorn, is something the matter?” he inquired, tilting his head to the side questioningly.
“Are you alright? You don't look so well,” the King of Gondor rested a hand on his friend's shoulder.
The Prince of Mirkwood should have known he couldn't fool a Ranger of all people. Still the Ellon gently removed the hand, giving Aragorn a reassuring smile for good measure.
“I am fine. Why would you ask me if I am alright?” he feigned, trying to hide the pain that was coursing through his body.
“Your eyes give it away,” was the simple response.
A hand was waved dismissively in front of Aragorn's face.
“You worry too much. I am alright my friend, and I must return to Mirkwood. Adar will have my head if I stall any longer,” Legolas joked, climbing deftly onto the saddle of his horse.
Not wanting to press the issue further and strain the relationship with his friend, Aragorn merely inclined his head and stepped to the side, allowing Legolas to depart from the stable. Arwen joined his side shortly after, coming to stand beside her husband, watching as Legolas faded from view.
“You are worried about him?” she asked softly, recognizing the look on Aragorn's face to be one of worry and concern.
“He's hiding something.”
“The war has changed everyone, including yourself, but I believe Legolas and Frodo were the ones affected the most,” Arwen noted, while her husband dipped his head in agreement.
With the sun starting to set, signaling the arrival of night, Aragorn led Arwen back inside the White City, silently praying his friend was alright.
The moment Legolas arrived in Mirkwood, the first matter he attended to was greeting his father. Thranduil Elvenking was glad to see his son return alive, showing a rare instance of affection as he enfolded him in a hug.
“I am glad to see you are unharmed,” Thranduil breathed in relief, holding his son against his chest.
“Were you worried about me, my lord?” Legolas responded, hugging his father tighter as he did.
They broke apart when a guard came in to give a routine report on his patrol of the northern borders. Using this chance to excuse himself, the Woodland Prince left the throne room, making his way through the winding corridors of the palace he had grown up in. Along the way he passed by guards, all of whom greeted him with a bow of respect. To them Legolas would give a smile or two, though even this small task was putting a strain on his body. His vision blurring with each blink, Legolas hurried towards the sanctuary of his room.
Once inside with the door closed firmly behind, Legolas collapsed onto the floor, labored breathing filled the air as he struggled for each breath. Even the mere movement of his hand sent sharp spikes of pain shooting up his spine. It took a great amount of effort on his behalf, as he crawled and pulled his way towards the edge of his bed. Resting his back against the firm wood, Legolas took small breaths, trying to regulate the pain coursing through his body.
It was a miracle he managed to make it this far without fainting.
For someone who was beloved of Valinor and Arda, being exposed to so much darkness has tainted the Light within Legolas' heart. He knew of the risk it would take on his body when he first joined the Fellowship, aiding Frodo in his quest to destroy the One Ring, but the Woodland Prince thought he would be able to handle the negativity.
How foolish he was indeed.
Now he was going to fade away.
That word sounded like paradise as Legolas remained motionless, sweat beginning to form around his forehead and body the longer he did. As he contemplated on the graveness of his situation, the door to his room opened, revealing Thranduil on the other side.
One look at his son sent the Sindar flying to Legolas' side as the Elvenking knelt beside his son's motionless body. Alarmed by how cold his hands were, Thranduil lifted Legolas onto the bed, positioning him so that Legolas' head rested against his shoulder. Only upon closer examination did Thranduil realize the glow that all Elves carried, was absent from his son.
“Legolas! Ion-nin, open your eyes!” Thranduil urged, gently shaking his son's form.
“Adar...” Legolas murmured weakly.
“What is wrong! Why is your glow gone?” the Elvenking inquired gravely, pressing a hand against Legolas' forehead.
Mustering the last of his strength to lift his arm, Legolas gripped his father's hand in his own. Thranduil was scared, scared that his son was going to fade away in his very arms. With the death of his beloved queen so many moons ago, the Sindar did not know how he would be able to cope with the death of his only son as well.
“The darkness has tainted...tainted my Light...Adar...I want to escape,” Legolas murmured inaudibly.
“Come back to me my son! I will not let the darkness claim you!” Thranduil cried.
Dream...not of who you are...but of what you want to be.
A gentle voice whispered in Legolas' mind as his vision began to blur rapidly. In this dream-like state, he could see a spirit standing behind his father, and immediately a knowing feeling cocooned itself around Legolas like a blanket.
It was here at last.
Thranduil understood at that moment, that his beloved wife had come to bring their son to join the Valar. He could only watch helplessly as Legolas took his last breath, his hand falling limply to his side as that same breath was exhaled.
An agonized cry reverberated through the entire palace as Thranduil clutched the lifeless body of Legolas.
His beloved Greenleaf.