16. Where The Heart Dwells
Where the Heart Dwells
The door closed behind Aragorn and Faramir. Gimli glanced at Arwen, but the queen was once again soothing Legolas. His friend was quite distressed, and Gimli did not blame him. The dwarf could not imagine forgetting who he was. It was bad enough watching his friend face it.
Gimli was unsure of what he could do to help the elf. He had stayed in the background as Aragorn and Arwen spoke with Legolas, then attempted to calm him. Gimli had spoken up from time to time, uttering reassurances. How many times tonight had he wished he had made the effort to learn the elf's language?
The dwarf was also struggling with quite a load of guilt. He had been blaming himself for the cave in since it had happened. After all, he was the one who should have sensed things soon enough to get out. Now that Legolas had awakened without his memory, the weight of guilt had increased greatly. It was not a pleasant feeling.
Had not his own thoughts, that morning a month ago, wished for a way to make Legolas forget? Of course, the dwarf had not been serious. Well, he had, but only about that stupid bat incident! Gimli frowned to himself at the thought. He had not meant for Legolas to get hurt. Gimli would rather feel the sting of his pride for the rest of his days.
Then there was the matter of the caves. If the dwarf had not wanted to explore those caves, Legolas would never have even been there. Aragorn had only used them as an excuse to get Legolas to come to Minas Tirith. The king would not have pressured the elf into going in them.
Neither did you.
Gimli knew this, but would not allow himself to stop feeling the blame for what had happened to Legolas.
There was far more going on here than just the elf losing his memory. Legolas was suffering greatly, Gimli knew. Aragorn had said nothing, but the man did not need to. Gimli knew his friend well enough to know the signs.
Legolas still heard the sea, it was calling to him, and the elf had no memory of why he was still here. That late night conversation, that now seemed so long ago, haunted the dwarf. Gimli bit his lower lip, to still the turmoil in his chest. As he watched the elf's face and eyes, the dwarf knew and it frightened him. He could lose Legolas to more than memory loss.
The door behind them opened once more and Aragorn reentered the room. Gimli drew in a sharp breath and took a step back, as King Thranduil and Princess Anariel stepped through the door.
Well, Gimli told himself, you should have expected this one as well. It was only a matter of time. He grunted in acknowledgment, bowing slightly as custom dictated.
The dwarf turned his eyes quickly from the elves back to Legolas. If seeing his father and sister helped bring his friend back, then even Gimli could tolerate them. All he had against Legolas's family, other than the fact they disliked dwarves, was their lack of effort in accepting Legolas's decisions regarding his friends and where he lived.
Anariel was the kindest and had tried the hardest to understand her brother. Gimli was actually quite fond of the lass who loved his friend almost as a mother would. He could not call her friend, but Anariel had at least made an effort, where Legolas's brothers had not given the dwarf a second glance.
Legolas's eyes widened and a look a shock filled his face. Lips slightly parted, the elf inhaled a large breath. As he released it he breathed out one word.
Gimli felt his heart lurch and another lump form in his throat. The dwarf refused the tears that threatened behind his eyes. He would not let them fall in front of all these people. Legolas alone had seen the dwarf cry. The elf was the only one who knew this side of Gimli, but it was difficult to hold back the tears as his joy began to overtake his melancholy. Legolas had remembered Estel, now he recognized his father. It was a very good start.
Thranduil seemed to be having some difficulty with his eyes as well, the dwarf noticed. They were bright with unshed tears as Anariel let hers fall unashamedly down her cheeks. The elven king moved to the side of Legolas's bed, and sat next to his son.
Legolas moved to sit up, but another flash of pain echoed in his bright grey eyes. Thranduil put a restraining hand on his son's shoulder before leaning down to draw the younger elf into an embrace. They held each other for a long moment, before Thranduil released Legolas, and sat back just taking in the sight of his son. Neither spoke, though their eyes said much.
Anariel sat on the other side of the bed, taking one of Legolas's hands in her own. Gimli watched as Legolas turned his head to look at his sister. A look of confusion crossed Legolas's face for a moment. The elf searched his sister's face as if searching his mind for who she was. Then a soft smile touched his lips.
"Anariel? Thial Naneth. An uir thiad lîn 'ell, Muinthel vuin." Legolas spoke, his voice filled with love, caressing his sister's face with his eyes. "Guren linna le cened."
Anariel smiled sweetly at her brother replying, "a Guren linna le cened, Muindor vuin."
She reached a hand up to brush a strand of hair from Legolas's face, tucking it behind his ear. She asked, "Le mae, Legolas?"
Gimli listened to the exchange. The language was truly beautiful, but he did not understand enough to follow the conversation. The dwarf's heart was full at seeing the siblings interact and seeing Legolas recognize not only his father, but his sister also. If only the elf would remember his friends, then all would be well.
"Im maer, Anariel" Legolas answered his sister, then turned to look again at his father.
Gimli could see the love shining in the eyes of both. He was surprised. Gimli knew Legolas loved his father, but never before had the dwarf seen that love returned so clearly in the eyes of the elven king. Thranduil had changed, but had he changed enough? Would he attempt to convince Legolas to leave? Or had the king accepted Legolas's place in Ithilien. Gimli desperately wished it was so.
"Telo bar a nin, tithen pen." Thranduil spoke to his son in a tone full of love and concern. Gimli had never heard the elven king speak such, and his heart leapt that Legolas might have one of his desires fulfilled, to be close to his father, as a son should be. But the dwarf understood the words 'come home' and was instantly fearful as well. It had begun, the elven king had come to take Legolas away from them.
Even as the dwarf's heart despaired, Legolas answered his father.
"Ithilien na nev, sa bar nin. Le ista hi, Ada."
"Ithilien is near, it is my home. You know this, Ada."
Legolas spoke the words, but knew not from where they came. He had no memory of Ithilien, he only knew what Estel had told him about the land that had been his home for more than 9 years. The man had told him that Thranduil had permitted it, but Legolas instinctively knew his father had not been pleased with his move.
His father had always wanted him to be near home, though he had never spoken of it in the tone of voice he had a moment ago. It was as if in some ways his father was a stranger, and the young elf did not think it had anything to do with his memory loss. His father was different, yet the same. Always overprotective when it came to his youngest, yet now more open in his concern, emotions showing clearly in the Thranduil's eyes.
Legolas looked carefully at the older elf sitting next to him. The king's eyes had filled with a look of pain. Long had it been, since Legolas had seen his father allow any emotion but anger to be revealed. Not since...Legolas searched for when it had been, but he could not remember. He struggled for the answers, but they had faded from his mind. Instead, his father spoke.
"Yes, I know this, Legolas. Do you? Do you remember Ithilien?" Thranduil asked him, and Legolas looked to his father in surprise. The king had read his son very well. "You need to be surrounded by what you do remember, my son, not by those you cannot recall. I fear for you here."
That was an uncommon statement coming from the elven king, but only unusual because he had spoken it in front of others. Thranduil had spoken to Legolas of his fears before, but not with such love in his eyes and voice. Legolas hesitated to answer, knowing his reply would cause his father more pain.
Legolas's head ached as he realized how difficult this night had been. He needed to end this conversation quickly and insist upon some rest. Time. Legolas needed time to process all that had happened to him, all the information he had learned. The pain in his head and heart grew stronger and suddenly, he wanted to be alone in the room, save for the comforting presence of the dwarf, a thing he could not explain.
"My mind may not remember the land, but in my heart I know that Ithilien is my home, at least until I sail." Legolas glanced at the dwarf, sitting in a chair not far from the bed, his cane across his lap. Legolas noticed a look of despair in Gimli's eyes. He spoke again and all those in the room looked at the injured elf, lying in the bed, with surprise.
"I may not remember many things, Ada, but I sense that healing will only be found here among the familiar faces that I do not remember, or by sailing west. I will not return with you, I belong in that wood no longer."
As his eyes darted between their faces, Legolas was not shocked by the looks he received. He could not explain how it had happened, he only knew that in that moment, the dwarf needed to understand. So the elf had spoken in the common tongue, where before he could not. Legolas looked over at Gimli and smiled reassuringly.
Gimli's felt his heart stop as Legolas looked at him and smiled. Legolas had spoken in Westron! Now he would be able to speak with his friend and maybe, just maybe, the elf would remember.
"Legolas, You..." Gimli turned his head towards the voice as Aragorn paused, obviously pleased at what Legolas had said. But Legolas looked exhausted and in pain. Gimli was about to address that Legolas needed rest when the elf spoke again.
"Estel, lasto nin." Legolas looked to those in the room. "Boe i bedil si. Boe i poston."
That was when Gimli noticed the others recognize the toll this night had taken on his friend. Anariel and Arwen smiled, glanced at each other and both moved towards the door. Aragorn and Thranduil, both looked intently at the young elf before Thranduil nodded, consenting to his son's wishes.
"Ae han aníal, Legolas." Aragorn's voice expressed amazement as he smiled at the elf. "Indeed, it is good to see you taking an interest in your own health for once. We will let you get some rest."
Gimli knew the words had been spoken for his benefit as the king glanced his direction. The dwarf would rather not leave Legolas just yet, but it was clear the elf needed sleep. Legolas also wished time to be alone, the dwarf knew. Gimli nodded as well.
"Han aníon. Boe i loston." Legolas replied with a sheepish smile, his eyes slowly blinking in sleepiness. Gimli smiled at the look on the elf's face.
The dwarf stood and waited near the door for the others to leave, a hand upon his cane. Thranduil placed a hand lightly on his son's cheek, then stood and quietly left the room. Aragorn followed behind, waiting just outside the door for Gimli.
Gimli gave his friend one last smile then turned to go. The soft voice stopped him.
"Please stay, Gimli. I wish not to be completely alone." Legolas asked.
A smirk appeared on the dwarf's face as Aragorn's eyes widened. The king had heard the comment as well. Aragorn had told the elf that Gimli had rarely left his side since the accident, but Gimli had been unsure of whether Legolas would still like his company. Gimli turned back around, smirk firmly in place.
"Can't stand to be without my presence, can you elf?" The smirk turned to a full smile.
Legolas smiled back and shook his head, "No, I just do not wish to turn you away from your own bed." He gestured with his head to the bed not far from his own. "It has been a long night, and you are tired as well. There is no need for you to hobble any further."
Gimli quickly prepared for bed, unable to keep the grin off his face. The elf had fallen asleep almost immediately, but the dwarf did not mind in the least. For just a moment, his friend had returned.
Ada – father/dad duh!
Anariel? Thial Naneth. An uir thiad lîn 'ell, Muinthel vuin –Anariel? You look like mother. Ever is your sight a joy, beloved sister.
Guren linna le cened – My heart sings to see you
a Guren linna le cened, Muindor vuin – And my heart sings to see you, beloved brother.
Le mae, Legolas? – Are you well, Legolas?
Im maer, Anariel. – I am well, Anariel.
Telo bar a nin, tithen pen – Come home with me, little one
Ithilien na nev, sa bar nin. Le ista hi, Ada – Ithilien is near, it is my home. You know this father.
Estel, lasto nin – Estel listen to me
Boe i bedil si. Boe i poston – You all need to leave now. I need to rest.
Ae han aníal – If you desire it
Han aníon. Boe i loston – I desire it. I need to sleep
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.