47. Chapter 45
Legolas took a last look in the full-length mirror before leaving his quarters. He looked more like himself than he had in years, but he was overly thin and his face was a bit drawn. His eyes lacked sparkle and showed a weariness that one so young should not feel. He sighed and pulled the door closed behind him. The time for atonement and hopefully redemption was upon him.
The pre-celebration had already begun in the courtyard when the young prince descended the steps. He entered from the side, hoping to apologize to Lindir and Maglor first. He feared approaching the couple if Maedhros was present. Fortunately, the great elf was nowhere in sight. He located the pair standing near a fountain. As he approached, he had to admit that they were one of the most beautiful couples to grace Arda. The Noldo's dark hair and eyes was a striking contrast to Lindir's moonlight features. The prince stopped next to Lindir. "I am so sorry" Legolas choked. "I have behaved so poorly. Please forgive me. I…"
Lindir pulled him into a tight embrace, pulled back and stroked his friend's cheek. "Hush. All is forgiven. Here, there is someone I wish you to meet." As the minstrel stepped back, he reached for his lover.
In all the weeks Legolas had been in Imladris, he had never met the either of the sons of Fëanor. He tentatively looked into deep eyes and was surprised to find the spark of friendship, albeit with a bit of reservation. It was more than he could have hoped.
"Hîr nin," he said, placing his had to his heart. "It is a great honor. I ask your forgiveness as well for my poor showing. I was jealous and selfish."
Maglor smiled and returned the gesture. "I am please to meet a close friend of Lindir's. You arrived under duress…there is nothing to forgive as you intended no true malice.
Legolas started to object, but seeing the understanding and forgiveness in Maglor's eyes, he stayed his words. Maglor knew he *had* intended to create a rift between the lovers but was willing to let it go. Legolas smiled in silent thanks.
The three chatted briefly, unaware of dancing green eyes watching them. They looked to the main stairs when a collective gasp was heard in the courtyard. Erestor and Maedhros arrived. The two elves blushed when all eyes seemed to turn to them. Neither liked to be the center of attention, but there was no denying they were a stunning sight. Maedhros' discomfort mounted when elves began to bow as they would to Lord Elrond.
"See," Erestor whispered, "I told you they see you as a lord."
The former warrior squeezed his lover's hand. "It is your beauty that captivates them so. I will not leave your side lest someone steal you away."
Erestor stopped. Maedhros turned to face the smaller elf. "No one can steal me away!" Erestor said with heated conviction.
Maedhros leaned down and kissed the councilor's cheek chastely before moving on. They greeted those they passed on their way to join Elrond.
"It is about time," Glorfindel said as a way of greeting. "What kept you?"
Erestor blushed crimson. Maedhros took a breath to speak but Elrond's hand stayed him. "No, do not answer that," the elf-lord said quickly. Maedhros just smirked and winked. The group, including Erestor, chuckled.
Across the room, Legolas watched the pair enter. He owed the couple an apology also, but seeing the ancient Noldo, taller than even Glorfindel, caused his courage to fail. Maglor noticed the fear in the young ellon's eyes.
"Do not fear penneth. He is the most reasonable of my father's seed," Maglor said. "His growl is worse than his bite." Lindir smacked his lover's arm but nodded his agreement.
The young elf gave a little smile and excused himself, promising to return after he had taken care of business. He centered himself and approached the Lord of the Valley and the small group he was talking with. Among them were Erestor, Glorfindel (a rather large elf), Maedhros the Tall, and Orophin. The Silvan elf and he had developed a bit of a friendship some seasons ago…before the prince began to change. There was one other elf present that he did not know. Something about the unknown elf made his body hum. The ellon was clearly someone of importance. He carried himself with dignity and was dressed in fine robes. His eyes were a beautiful bright green and the prince expected to see great wisdom in them. The surprise was along with that expected wisdom, there was mischief shining through the orbs. The elf was strong and handsome, and Legolas found himself staring into those playful eyes as he approached the group.
"Prince Legolas." Elrond addressed him coolly.
"My lords," he replied, again with a bow of respect. "I wonder if I could trouble you for a moment of your time."
Several eyebrows rose at the humble request. Erestor was the first to speak. "We will leave you two then." Before the group could break up the fair Prince spoke up.
"Please, stay. What I have to say I need to say to you all. I have acted very poorly and have brought dishonor to myself and my father," he continued, making eye contact briefly with Elrond before looking down. "Lord Elrond, my behavior and words to you were most inappropriate! There is no excuse for it and I can only hope that in time I can show you that I have changed. My father is quite lucky to have you in his life. Furthermore, it was most gracious of you to take me in at my father's request."
He then turned to Erestor and continued, "Master Erestor I spoke wrongly to you as well. You are a most respected councilor and my elder. I had no right to address you as I did. Lord Maedhros, we have never met, but I did you and your brother an injustice just the same. He has forgiven me; I hope that I can prove to you that I am worthy of forgiveness. Captain Glorfindel, thank you for the 'training sessions' you have provided. They have helped me burn out the fire which was consuming me." Here he paused, not sure what to do next; he was suddenly very tired. With bowed head he quietly added, "I am very sorry to you all. If you will excuse me, I think it best I return to my room; I will leave for home come morning. I have caused enough trouble."
He turned to leave when a hand on his forearm stopped him. "Stay penneth. There is no reason to rush off. I am sure all will be forgiven, and if you leave now, how can you show everyone that you have in fact changed." Gildor looked at the young prince with compassion. Legolas felt his heart flutter.
"You are welcome to stay in the valley as long as you would like. I am sure Lindir would like to visit with you." Elrond gave Legolas' shoulder a squeeze. When Legolas looked up with moist, contrite eyes, the older elf could do naught but pull the young ellon into a paternal hug. "It is good to have you back," he said as he released the prince.
Gildor felt a pang of envy, wishing his arms encircled the prince. When Elrond finally stepped back, he made his move. "Forgive me, but we have not been introduced. I am Gildor of the Wandering Company."
Legolas' eyes went wide. He had heard stories of the Wandering Company…and their leader who was from Aman. "Hîr nin." The prince began to bow low to the Vanya.
Gildor stopped him with a laugh. "Oh no. Do not start all that. I am a simple gypsy elf."
" But…" Legolas began
"But nothing. Come, let us get a drink. I am grateful you came along. No matter whom I spoke with, I felt like a third wheel. All this couple-ness is driving me to drink." He draped his arm over the young blonde's shoulder as if they were long-time friends and led him to the wine table. He handed the prince a glass with a wink. There was little doubt in his ancient mind that not only was he to take Legolas with him, but the young, attractive prince was the love he was promised.
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