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Story Notes:
Sequel to the Black Rose. Dedicated to my wonderful beta's, BookLuva 7 and Shadow Ranger! Please read and review!
Author's Chapter Notes:
Greetings! Read, enjoy, and please leave a review on the way out!
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: I do not own LOTR and I do not make any profit from writing this work of fiction. For those who haven't read The Black Rose, the OC's are; Libren: Legolas' eldest brother, crown prince of Mirkwood Rethan: Legolas' best friend. Niphredil: Glorfindel's daughter
“We are lost.”
“No, we are not.”
“Then why haven’t we found anyone yet?”
A pause.
“Maybe they are playing hide and seek?” Rethan suggested, cringing as the others glared at him.
“Why would they be playing hide and seek?” Libren demanded.
“I do not know, but it is an explanation.”
“Rethan, if you cannot say anything sensible then keep your tongue to yourself!” Libren said, losing his temper. They had been lost for an entire day, and Legolas was blaming him. Why was Imladris so damn difficult to find?!
Legolas glared at his brother, “It is not Rethan’s fault we are lost!”
“You are right," Libren's eyes flashed in an accusing manner, "It is your fault, you told me to take the right turn!”
“But you insisted we take the north path!”
“Why did you follow me if you were convinced I was wrong?”
“Because you did not listen to my protests!”
“You merely sighed!”
“It was an ‘I do not think this way is wise’ sigh!”
“Oh, and now there are different types of sighs?”
“This is getting us nowhere,” Rethan said, attempting to calm the situation. “Let’s decide where to go from here.”
“This way,” both princes said simultaneously, taking a step in opposite directions to each other.

There was a burst of laughter from above their heads, and all three of them reached for their bows.
“Peace, we mean you no harm!” a cheerful voice called out, before three Elves dropped down from the trees.
Legolas recognized one of the Elves as Bragolan, the elf who had played Ecthelion in the Yule production three seasons ago.
“Greetings princes of Mirkwood, Rethan, welcome back to Imladris,” Bragolan said formally, placing his hand over his heart, his companions mirroring him.
“Hannon lle Bragolan, it is good to be back,” Legolas replied, with a sidelong look at his brother, who was failing to conceal a grin.
“Thalion will show you to the city,” Bragolan said, indicating the tall dark-haired elf on his right.
Libren thanked Bragolan and Thalion led them off.

As they left, Bragolan heard the two princes start again.
“I told you we were not lost.”
“And I told you we needed to go this way.”

***

As the four of them entered the courtyard at the front of the Last Homely House, Lothwen ran down the steps to greet them. She hugged Legolas and Rethan, but stepped away from Libren.
“I cannot hug you. Nymph would get jealous,” she said innocently, causing Legolas and Rethan to roar with laughter. Thalion covered his mouth with his hand in an attempt to conceal his own smile. Libren glared at the laughing Elves, before attempting to explain to Lothwen that there was nothing wrong with two friends hugging, and Niphredil wouldn’t mind.
“Indeed, I do not.” Libren jumped as Niphredil spoke, he had not heard her approach. Turning he blushed as he discovered she was only a step away. Like last Yule. At least a mistletoe-wielding Lindir wasn’t around. Hearing Lindir’s voice behind him, he winced. Maybe he was not completely free after all.
“Are you not going to give him a hug?” Lothwen asked her sister.
Niphredil’s cheeks turned pink, but she was saved from answering by Glorfindel.
“Lothwen! What did I tell you about teasing them?”
“Sorry ada.”
Glorfindel smiled sheepishly, “Forgive Lothwen, she is a little over-excited. It is good to see you again.”
“Likewise, it is wonderful to be back here.”
Glorfindel gestured to Lindir, “Lindir will show you to the guest bedrooms. Thalion, I must speak with you. Lothwen, stay out of trouble.”
“Yes ada.”
“Niphredil, may I speak with you?” Libren said. Although he spoke softly, Lothwen heard him. She let out a low whistle.
“Of course,” Niphredil replied, glaring at her sister, “but let’s go somewhere more private.”

She led him away from the others, into a small garden. They sat down on a bench which was engraved with the words “In loving memory of Nimdil.”
“We never got a chance to speak together, alone, after Yule,” Libren stated, waiting for Niphredil’s nod before continuing. “I never got a chance to ask you about the kiss,” he leaned forward, gazing intently at her, “Was it for tradition’s sake or something more?”
She looked at him for a few moments, a sad expression coming over her face, “Libren…this time…this age … is not one for romance. Both of our lands are being threatened, Sauron’s power is growing. I…I am not looking for a relationship with anyone.” Seeing Libren look away uncomfortably, she added, “but one day…maybe something could happen between us.”
Libren was silent for several tense minutes, before he rose, still refusing to look at her, and said “Hannon lle for clearing that up Lady Niphredil. I must go and find my companions now.”
She watched him leave regretfully. Knowing that she had done the right thing did nothing to lessen her guilt.

***

Legolas knocked at his brother’s door.
“Come in,” Libren replied. Legolas frowned; things couldn’t have gone well with Niphredil, his brother sounded anything but his normal cheery self.
Legolas entered the room. His brother’s pack lay unpacked by his bed, whilst his brother was lying on the bed, staring at the ceiling.
“Libren…?”
“She does not feel anything for me greater than friendship.”
“Libren…I am sorry,” Legolas said uncomfortably, unsure of what to say.
“It is not your fault. It is mine. I should not have…” he sighed, “It does not matter now.”

The two of them were startled by Rethan’s voice shouting for them. Libren sat up, whilst Legolas hurried to the door. Rethan was running down the corridor, panic etched across his face.
“What-?” Legolas began, but Rethan cut him off.
“-A ranger has returned from the scouting group the twins and Estel were with! He is badly injured, close to death. He says their group was attacked, and he does not know if any are still alive!”
Libren came up behind Legolas, “Who is going to investigate?”
“Glorfindel and Niphredil, but I volunteered our help.” Rethan frowned as he noticed the brothers trade a look, “Forgive me if I have done wrong, but I thought you would have wanted to help. They are our friends-”
“-Of course we wish to help,” Libren cut him off, “Find Niphredil; tell her we will come.”
“Brother…”
“My self-pity can wait,” Libren smiled sadly at him. “No matter what, Legolas, you always have to help your friends.”
Chapter End Notes:
Elvish:
Hannon lle - Thank you
Ada - Dad

AN//: To clear up any confusion, the twins and Aragorn weren’t in Rivendell when the Mirkwood Elves arrived. This was told to Legolas and Rethan when Libren and Niphredil were having their conversation, but I didn’t want to add in another scene, as I thought it would disrupt the flow.
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