23. Reasons Are Always Revealed In Time
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Reasons Are Always Revealed in Time
Gimli continued to ride as sunset approached. He had been able to see his destination, rising before him for quite some time. The dwarf would make it before sunset. There, once he was able to just sit and look over the horizon, perhaps he would be able to be at peace. Be able to bring closure to the wound in his heart. Watch the sun set in the west, think of his friend, and begin to heal.
Gimli set his sights on the road before him. That was when he noticed the other horse coming towards him. Gimli slowed Moroch to a trot, and waited for the other horse to approach. He smiled as he recognized the other immediately and called out a greeting. The dwarf told his friend of his intentions and invited the other to join him. It would be easier is he were not alone.
Soon they were traveling quickly together. Gimli determined to arrive as the sun set, his heart lighter with a friend to talk with as they traveled side by side.
Legolas had been nervous all day. The closer it came to sunset, his heart raced faster, his stomach churned, beads of perspiration from his nervousness appeared on his upper lip. He brushed them away in irritation. It was at sunset that the ship would set sail.
Many of the other elves, who were sailing on this ship, had already boarded. Legolas could not bring himself to do so just yet. He would wait until the last call. Then there would be no waiting on board, it would be time. He would look into the west and not look back at the land he left behind, the land of his birth, the land of his friends.
Knowing this would be the last time he set sight on it, Legolas turned around and let the surroundings sink into him. He took in the trees, the beautiful buildings of the havens, the rolling hills in the distance. The bell tolled for all to board. Legolas turned back around and moved towards the ship.
As he walked closer to the plank that would take him onto the ship, that strange pain grew much sharper. Yet the sea called to him, it ached within him. He stopped on the dock and bowed his head.
Shaking himself, he tried to throw off the feelings and continue moving towards the ship. But his feet seemed to be stuck to the dock. He took a deep breath and with great effort moved forward again. The pain shot through him again, and it felt like lightening had struck his soul. Legolas brought a hand to his chest in an effort to still the tremendous ache there.
What was wrong with him? He was an elf, he needed to heed to call of the sea. The sea was screaming at him to get onto the ship. Legolas took another step forward. And another. He reached the plank that stretched over to the grey ship. Those on board and standing on the docks looked at him curiously.
Surely, he must be a strange sight. An elf, dragging himself across the dock to sail. An elf who clearly heard the call of the sea, yet whose feet would barely move towards the ship. It would have been amusing, had it not hurt so badly.
Finally, he lifted his foot to step on the plank and the piercing pain almost brought him to his knees. He stumbled back several paces and stood there breathing heavily, trying to figure out what to do. He needed to get on the ship. Didn't he? Rimedur's warning crossed his mind.
"The pain you speak of is not normal.
Are you sure this is the right thing for you at this time?
There is no turning back once you have sailed."
He wasn't supposed to go now. Somehow Legolas knew that. Somehow, his heart remembered what his head could not. The elf struggled with both pains for a moment. One pushing him to leave, the other pulling him to stay. He felt torn in half, as if his heart was being ripped from his chest. His head ached. His feet were frozen. Why could he not board the ship? Why could he not leave?
The name was spoken aloud as a soft whisper. And then it hit him. The magnitude of what he had almost done. Planning to sail. Leaving the friends he held so dear...his reason for staying.
An excruciating pain hit his chest as he remembered who he was and all he had done and all those he had forgotten. Legolas gasped as his heart throbbed and his ears rang as he sank to his knees...he had forgotten...again.
The elf knelt there, head bowed, hardly able to breathe. Tears slipped down his cheeks. How could he have done this? How could he have left them? Now, more than ever, he wished that stubborn, stunted friend of his was here. But Gimli was in Rohan, the dwarf had went home after Legolas had told him he was sailing.
A sob escaped him as he remembered their last meeting. He had hurt Gimli greatly, yet the dwarf had still sent him with his blessing. Gimli had given him the greatest gift he could ever receive, but he had been in no frame of mind to understand it. Gimli had set him free, to go with no regrets or sorrow.
There was a commotion behind on the dock, but in his pain, he did not hear it. Legolas knelt there as tears streamed down his cheeks. The pain was almost unbearable. It was the pain of being separated from his friend. It was stronger than the call of the sea; it did not drown it out, but it was stronger, more insistent. It was what had kept him here since the end of the war.
The elf took a shuddering breath. "Gimli..." he whispered again. How Legolas wished the dwarf were here. He needed his friend. His heart leapt as he realized, he could go to Gimli.
Legolas struggled to get to his feet and failed. He knelt a moment longer, trying to calm his heart and mind. Someone approached from behind him. Not one to easily accept help, the elf would be grateful for the assistance this time. He needed to get off this dock, find Celedae and head back to Rohan.
Legolas started to turn his head and look up to see who had come to help him, when a gruff voice spoke.
The elf's wide eyes snapped to his friend, who knelt next to him. Legolas's face contorted as a sob escaped his throat. The dwarf said nothing else, simply pulled the elf into his arms and held him as one would a small child. The sobs wracked the elf's body as he cried.
An elf approached and kneeled down next to them. "If you are going to sail, you need to get on board now. I would not recommend it, as it seems you have much more to ponder before you should go."
Legolas lifted his head and looked into the eyes of Rimedur. Then he looked again at Gimli.
"Legolas, I will help you onto the ship, if you desire. I had hoped to be here to see you off." The dwarf spoke, tears in his eyes.
But Legolas shook his head as the tears would not cease. "No," he managed to rasp out. "I am not sailing yet. It is not my time to go." The elf let his forehead sink down to rest against Gimli's shoulder and the dwarf held him and let him cry.
A grey ship sailed out of the harbor, leaving two friends on the dock, oblivious to all else as the sun sank below the horizon.
The sun had set. The sky was still tinged pink and gold. Gimli felt his legs would fall off if he had to kneel in this position any longer. He stirred, feeling the elf shift as well. A sniff sounded, and a golden head, hair in disarray, lifted and piercing grey eyes, red rimmed from tears, locked onto the dwarf's deep brown ones as they moved apart.
"What a sight we must make, my friend. I can no longer feel my legs, can you?" The elf spoke, his voice slightly hoarse. The corners of his mouth were twitching slightly upwards and Gimli had to laugh.
"Nay," Gimli replied, shaking his head in amusement. "I can not feel a thing below my knees. Mayhap, we should attempt to straighten our limbs before we even consider rising?" Gimli chuckled.
The two shifted to sit side by side, legs outstretched before them as they watched the waves lap against the dock. Both grimaced as blood returned to their lower legs and feet. They sat in silence until they could feel their limbs again.
It was Legolas who broke the silence. "Never have I so wished you to be present, yet knew it was not possible. How did you come to be here, Gimli?"
The dwarf smiled as he answered. "Din sent me off to the Lonely Mountain. He figured I needed to be somewhere without a lot of reminders of you. But once I left, I knew I had to come here instead. It wouldn't be right for you to go, without me here to see you off."
"But what if I had already left." Legolas tilted his head curiously to the side and looked up into the twilight sky, where the stars were beginning to peek out at them.
"I thought you probably already had. I needed to make my peace either way. Samwise said the ships always leave at sunset, so I would have sat here and watched another ship depart, and said goodbye." The dwarf turned to look at his friend, and noticed something was different about the elf. "Why didn't you go, Legolas? What happened?"
Legolas sighed and closed his eyes before explaining. "There was a strange pain in my heart that started when I didn't come to see you last year. I felt it again in Ithilien and Minas Tirith after the accident. I didn't understand it then. I didn't understand it until I tried to step onto the plank of that ship." Legolas opened his eyes and locked them with those of his friend. "I cannot leave, not yet. I will keep the vow I swore to you and Aragorn."
Gimli's heart pounded in his ears at the elf's words. The way he was talking, what he was saying. "Legolas, do you remember me?" The dwarf almost feared to hope.
Legolas looked at his friend and narrowed his eyes. "The sight of a dwarf, running and screaming from a bat, will never leave me, my friend." He grinned. "Yes, I remember everything." Legolas laughed, the musical sound filling the chilly air.
Gimli grinned back, no longer caring about the stupid bat. His joy at having his friend restored to him was great. He lifted a work roughened hand to the elf's shoulder.
"Well, in that case, I think you will be happy to know I found something of yours on my way here." The dwarf turned to look over his shoulder towards the back off the docks. Legolas turned as well, and took in the sight of Moroch standing happily next to Celedae.
The elf smiled. "I was wondering how I would find him again. I am glad he found you. What do you say we head back to my room, leave our things, see to the horses and find some dinner?" Legolas asked the dwarf.
"Aye" Gimli nodded. A smile on his lips that would be hard to remove anytime soon.
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.