When There Are Few Words to Speak
Disclaimer: I am not a woman referred to as JKR, nor am I man so I cannot be JRR Tolkien or Robert Frost. But if you want to think that as you read this story, feel free.
Summary: "Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart." (Martin Luther King Jr.)
Harry doesn't know when he started living by that philosophy, but in the end, he finds that it works just as good as any. And Legolas agrees.
Thanks to Dragonb8 for going above and beyond to edit this while on a mini vacation with her family. I know for a fact that I don't deserve her.
Thank you, my dear!
And to everyone else, enjoy!
When There Are Few Words to Speak
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep.
"I'm not dead yet, you bastard."
Those were the last words Harry remembered speaking to the portrait of an elderly man with a long white beard, smiling benignly at him and asking if he would rather not rest now and finally leave the job of protecting the Wizarding World to some of the younger generation coming up. After that, so many things occurred in quick succession that in the future Harry would be hard pressed to explain what really happened.
For one, nearly a hundred and sixty years after Dumbledore's death, Fawkes materialised in an awe-inspiring spectacle of light and fire, coming out of nowhere to land softly on Harry's shoulder. For another, the Elder Wand, which had been safely tucked away in the old headmaster's tomb for almost two centuries, appeared in Harry's hand. And finally, the shouts of an old portrait were drowned out by the trill of the red phoenix, the cry of Harry's own shock, and the deep roar of the fire as bird and man were engulfed in bright flames.
He would like to say that few things surprised him anymore, that he had been battle-hardened and jaded by the loss of friends, thankfully from old age, over the years. But he would be lying if he said that waking up alone next to a wide, rushing stream in the middle of a dark forest did not shock him. And that would be just the tip of the iceberg, as he couldn't remember the last time he didn't feel an ache in his bones or a protest from his stiff body when moving too fast in any particular way. Yet as he jumped to his feet on instinct and whipped his neck back and forth, senses alert for danger, with the Elder Wand clutched firmly in his hand, he felt as limber as a teenager.
The skin on his hands was smooth and no longer were his fingers bent, nor did they creak and crack with every movement. That, looking down at his hand clutching a wand that should not be there, said more to him than his surroundings did at the moment.
Fawkes was gone, and the pile of ashes where he had lain a second ago being scattered to the winds let him know that the phoenix would not be coming back.
Harry would spend time for days, years, after wondering on the logistics and possibilities of it all, but it seemed quite clear in that moment that Fawkes had returned to somehow use his last and final regeneration on Harry. It would certainly explain how Harry suddenly felt like he was in his twenties again, and no longer like an old man waiting for his turn to pass on into the 'next great adventure'. True, he had been planning on living and working and protecting the Wizarding World, the world that finally viewed those of all bloods equally, a world he and his friends had fought for over the years, until his last breath. But now he no longer felt like the end was near, nor even anytime in the foreseeable future. He would have to investigate those instincts and thoughts later on, but for the moment, he needed to explore his new environment.
A quiet nickering sound to his right had him turning quickly to see a beautiful pure white horse ambling slowly towards him, its head bent in what Harry took as a greeting, though he couldn't say for sure how he knew so. Following the same instincts, Harry raised a tentative hand and smiled when the horse butted its head against his palm and before Harry knew it, he was riding away from the stream, bareback, and towards Merlin knew where.
They rode for days, Harry feeling only slight hunger and thirst every now and then. And when he needed to stop, Nature always seemed to find ways to let him know exactly what was safe to eat and what wasn't. And as Harry knew, anywhere a horse chose to drink was clean and safe for people to drink from as well. So for a while, they just travelled, and Harry was content to let her lead him where she may.
He was in no rush.
He didn't know how far they rode, out of the forest, over grassy plains, down valleys and hills, and skirting a few tall, rocky mountains, but eventually they found civilisation. A small village of Men, who seemed to live and dress as though they belonged in the Middle Ages; the high Middle Ages, if he was being generous. But he wasn't entirely sure how generous he was feeling, as the moment he and his horse, Luna as he had named her, came into view, all activity came to a halt.
People came out of their homes to just stare at the pair, wide eyed, as Harry rode through the parted streets like he was some kind of hero come back from war. Folks leant into each other, speaking softly behind curled palms, and he thought he heard some garbled remarks of 'not possible to –' and 'did you see – ', but there was little he could clearly make out. And he wasn't sure he wanted to. Nor was he sure he cared.
But he could read their faces, faces that looked on at him in confusion, awe, and what Harry was confident in recognising as reverence. He did not know what he could possibly have done in this strange land to have already garnered such respect, but he knew it would be no use stopping here to even ask a question of who they were, what this place was called, and how far he was from home. He had left people like this behind in the Wizarding World; he wouldn't be dealing with them again here.
So he rode on.
It was several days later, maybe weeks, perhaps even a good month, before he came upon another settlement. It was much smaller than the last, but more natural, and blended in with its environment than the other one had been. In being that it was not several houses built closely together of wood and stone and thatched roofs, sticking out in the middle of a plain as the only thing around for miles. This one was on a river, partially in the woods, with small, yet tastefully constructed homes of stone, buried into the earth, and abutting ancient trees, that overall had a feeling of peace and serenity. If it were not for Harry's improved sight, somehow much sharper and clearer and farther reaching than it had been before, he would have missed it entirely.
But as it was, he saw the small village and decided to stop and investigate.
This time he dismounted Luna first, and was able to walk past the first several homes before anyone seemed to even notice his presence.
Men came out though eventually, as well as those that looked like men, almost, but were much shorter and stockier, and had long, thick beards growing to their knees. Harry didn't know what to make of them, but he did not feel threatened as this time when a crowd began to build, they did not step away in fear and awe, but cautiously gathered around him and began asking him questions in strange tongues, none of which Harry recognised.
Some came closer to stroke Luna's nose, some brought forth water and food that they tried pressing into his hands and into the bag slung across his back, and some yet seemed to be pointing him to look beyond the cluster of homes and to a small house that lay nestled high up in a tall tree that overlooked the edge of the river which skirted the village.
It looked like a place of importance. Or at least a place where Harry could stop and rest his feet and maybe find some answers; that is, if he was even still looking for them.
Harry nodded his thanks and hid his sigh of confusion, and then parted from the crowd to lead Luna towards the tree-house. Though this journey he had been on, was on, was clearly not Death, he felt that from the moment he'd climbed atop Luna's back and allowed her to carry him through these foreign lands, that this surely must be a great adventure of its own. The kind of adventure he had not had the pleasure of having since he and all of his friends had still been alive and healthy and young. He felt so very young again, in both body and mind, but other than Luna, he felt he would like to have another friend again.
Maybe a friend was exactly what he would find in the house ahead.
So he walked, and he walked, and when they were closer to the water's edge, he pushed Luna to go and drink while he went and climbed up the aforementioned ladder-less tree with just his bare hands and feet. And when he stood upon the small porch in front of a door made of a thick, cloth-like paper material, he knocked. Twice.
And it opened.
A man, though not a man, stood before him clothed in a beautiful tunic of deep green and a pair of soft, white leggings. His hair was long and held back from the sides of his face with an intricate plait, and with the long hair, bluish-grey eyes, strong jaw, and light complexion, all Harry could think of was that he had never seen a sight more fine.
The man blinked and his mouth open and closed in quick succession as though he was receiving the shock of his life from Harry's mere presence, but when he finally took in a deep breath and seemed to pull himself together, a bright, excited, gorgeous smile lit up his face, and he swiftly took Harry by the arm, pulling him into his home and speaking rapidly in yet another strange tongue Harry could not decipher. And with a sudden, poignant longing he had not felt before, Harry dearly wished he could understand exactly what was being spoken to him in such rapid, musical tones.
He thought it must be something special if it sounded like spoken music to the ear.
Through hand gestures, facial expressions, patience, and a magic all of its own that could not and should not be named, Harry and the stranger were able to communicate. And little by little, information was exchanged, a language was learnt, and Harry found himself sharing the simple tree house with a new friend.
Legolas was his name, Harry eventually found out, and he was an elf, a race separate from Men. The last of the Elves left on Middle Earth, in fact, as all the rest had sailed to a land across the sea several hundred years ago after the last war of Middle Earth. It had been a war over a Ring of Power and had heralded in the Age of Man.
The Age of the Elves had come to an end. But Legolas had stayed.
Legolas had stayed after all his friends, save one, had passed onto their own 'next great adventure'. From their limited communication Harry got the impression that Legolas was waiting for something, but for what he would not say.
Harry had also found out that Legolas was no longer the last elf living on Middle Earth since Harry was now here as well. Another phenomenon he could little explain, but Magic seemed as good an explanation as any, as did the reason for why his friend Luna, who was also the last of her kind –a special race separate from horses, as Elves were separate from Men –had come to him. She was one of the Mearas. And she had chosen him, had brought him to this place.
But again, Harry wasn't attempting to understand anything anymore. It had all gone well past confusing and strange the moment he had found himself over a hundred years younger, his ears strangely pointed, and his entire body attuned finely to the world around him. Not to mention when he had begun taking to understanding Nature, speaking to his 'horse' as easily as any person, and letting Fate lead him to the door of a gorgeous stranger who was now closer to him than his best friends had ever been, and yet they still spoke so little of the same language.
That did not prevent them from communicating with each other though, or from Harry telling stories of his life up to leaving the Wizarding World, and knowing that even if Legolas did not understand the words, he understood Harry and what he was trying to say on a visceral level, in a way Harry had never before experienced. But he enjoyed it, relished it, and appreciated the connection, and Legolas himself, in so many ways. Harry knew at least that he was old enough to value the friendship Legolas offered. And he did not hesitate to accept or offer the same in return to Legolas as well.
And with few words shared between them, they got along, fell into a routine, and learnt things about the other that words could not share. And maybe they didn't want them to.
Harry found he much enjoyed exploring the surrounding forests, waters, and lands with Legolas, just as he found that Legolas loved all things Harry could show him with Magic and the marvellous things it could do.
Some days they chose not to speak at all, but to just listen. And besides, Magic had always had a silent language of its own.
It was a good several months before Harry understood enough of the Elven language to listen and be able to fully understand it. And then another several months after that before he felt confident enough to speak in full sentences. Short though they were.
Legolas was a patient teacher.
And Harry was patient in learning.
Neither thought of changing their living arrangements. Not even once. And Harry never questioned how odd he would have found it had he been in a similar situation in the Wizarding World. Everything was just as it was meant to be, and that was all right with him.
It was another year or so before Harry felt comfortable enough with his Sindarin to begin speaking freely and without reserve. Though it was still not yet perfect; that would come with time, he was sure.
And he did not know when it began, or if there had ever been a time with Legolas that it had not been comfortably so, but Harry liked the occasional brushing of skin, of hands, the casual act of sharing the same drinking glass, and Legolas finishing Harry's sentences when he could not find a word, or even later, when Harry did not feel the need to. He liked when Legolas fell asleep with his head on Harry's shoulder, slumped exhaustedly against him after spending the night acquainting Harry with all the names of the stars and constellations.
Harry liked that he could climb trees with abandon, for the first time really, as it was not something he had ever had the chance to do as a child for fun. And he liked learning to use a bow and arrow, a sword and long knife, and a myriad of other weapons to hunt and fish and survive in this land, though they both knew perfectly well that his Magic could accomplish any of those tasks just as well.
But that did not matter.
They rode Luna bareback across the different lands of Middle Earth, though Harry's favourite moments, no matter where they were, were during those first bursts of bright morning light when the dawning sun hit Legolas just before he woke, and Harry could just watch him in those precious seconds as he slept so peacefully.
Legolas once admitted to loving watching Harry as well, in those moments during the night when the moonlight made its appearance high in the sky to cast a warm glow on Harry's sleeping face. And when Harry told him the meaning of the name Luna in the language of his home world, Legolas declared it fitting.
"Legolas," Harry said early one morning, turning the elf's attention from the newly rising sun to his own contemplative face.
"Will we always be the last of our kind here?" He knew he was asking a lot of things in that one question, things that didn't necessarily need to be said, some things that he wanted to say anyway, and others that he did not yet know how to ask exactly. But like always, Legolas seemed to understand him just fine, and Harry expected nothing less.
"Yes, Harry, we will."
And Harry thought that his own 'next great adventure' was everything he could have ever hoped for and more, for now he knew for certain that Legolas would be forever his to keep.
And so he lay back down to sleep.
~ Heriad ~
A/N: * shrugs* I just wanted to write something, and this is what came out. It was a snow day Friday– and isn't it fun to love those again, like a little kid? And besides, I had no desire to actually get any real work done. Perish the thought!
So, tell me what you think. Though, I will say that if anyone asks me why there wasn't more dialogue I will not respond as...well, that was frankly the point. ;)
And just for fun, did anyone recognise the first line of the story? Not the poem, but the first line of the actual story. It's what got the ball rolling for me, so to speak, in the first place.