The Return of the Elves

Chapter Eight: Sweet Silver Lining

Haldir tried and failed to compose himself. He schooled his features so he wouldn’t give away the emotions he felt rushing through him. The girl reminded him of an Elf he knew long ago when he was still a fledgeling, barely reached adulthood in the eyes of the Elves. She was a good friend, having been born a few months after himself, and he grew up with her. Only this girl standing before him with a radiant smile on her face brought forth feelings in him he never felt before…

She almost skipped over to him, tilting her head and gazing up at him unabashed. ‘Have you heard of Iredelies?’ she asked.

He snapped out of his thoughts. ‘I have not,’ he answered with a frown.

She smiled. ‘Few people have. They are a rare invisible creature which creates a halo around the head of a person who has fallen in love. I was curious when I saw you because you have the same halo. I came over to congratulate you and tell you the girl is lucky,’ she told him.

He stared at her in shock. ‘I do not know what you mean…’ he trailed off, wondering what this girl was talking about.

‘You will know eventually,’ she answered cryptically, kissing his cheek and skipping off down the hall. Haldir watched her, wondering about the strange girl whom he felt a curious pull towards.

He stood still staring at the same spot she was standing in for a long time, and subconsciously reached up to touch his cheek where he felt the lingering feeling of her lips. ‘Iredelies?’ he whispered in confusion.

Legolas emerged from the classroom only to find his companion standing outside. ‘Haldir?’ Legolas asked curiously.

Haldir snapped out of his trance and looked at Legolas. ‘It is nothing,’ Haldir said quickly, walking off down the hall. Legolas frowned and watched him go, wondering what was wrong with him.

Hermione sat in the library staring at the piece of parchment she was yet to write anything down on. The essay had to be in by the next day, and it was unlike Hermione to not have her work done already. She sighed, her thoughts wandering once again to the blonde Elf, wondering why he had not spoken to or acknowledged her since the night they talked in the library.

A sigh escaped her lips again, and she pushed the confusing thoughts from her mind. She pulled the Transfiguration book towards her, dipping her quill in the inkwell, and attempted to concentrate on her essay. She managed to write out the introduction, before hearing the unmistakable squeak of the hinges on the doors to the library, and she looked up to see who came in.

It was Legolas.

She watched him look around the room before his sapphire eyes came to a stop when they locked onto her own. She expected him to turn and walk back out, but he walked over to her table, much to her surprise. ‘Miss Granger,’ he greeted quietly.

His formal use of her name confused her, and she frowned because he usually referred to her as “Hermione”. ‘Hello,’ she greeted back, waiting to see if there was a reason for him coming over.

‘I was curious about when the DA is starting back up,’ he told her.

She shrugged. ‘Harry usually deals with it. I’m sure he will let you and Haldir know when,’ she answered almost coldly.

Legolas frowned. ‘I understand,’ he said, taking a seat across from her. ‘I sense you are angry about something,’ he deduced, watching her return to her essay, and try to ignore him.

Hermione glanced at him, before looking back at the book. ‘Why do you think that?’ She asked, reading over the same line a few times, and giving up. Sitting back, she regarded him with confused brown eyes.

‘I can almost feel it,’ he answered, and her frown deepened.

‘I’m not angry, but I’m curious about why you’ve become distant with Harry, Ron, and I. Have we done something to upset you?’ she asked him.

Legolas shook his head. ‘Haldir and I feel we are becoming too close to the three of you,’ he answered, looking down at the table.

‘Too close?’ Hermione asked, even more confused. ‘But the two of you barely speak to any of us as it is,’ she said to him, trying to understand his reasons.

‘This is true, but what I was referring to was the night we spoke in the library. As a Professor, it could be construed as inappropriate to meet a student after hours,’ he explained.

She frowned again. ‘But you gave me those Runes to decipher. You asked me to meet you here…’ she trailed off.

Legolas smiled, and she felt herself melting. ‘Another truth, but I was curious about the book you were reading,’ he answered.

‘You could have just asked me in class,’ she answered.

‘I could have, but then I may not have had the pleasure of speaking to you on a one to one scale, Hermione,’ he whispered, and Hermione felt her eyes widen. Legolas closed his eyes, having realised what he said. ‘I will take my leave,’ he said quickly, and with that he stood, turning to walk away.

‘Legolas?’ Hermione said, reaching out to take his hand, and he stopped, looking down at their hands before raising his eyes to meet hers. ‘Thank you,’ she whispered, and he nodded, his mouth twitching, and then he left her to wonder what he meant with his last comment.

Legolas leaned against the wall in an alcove just off from the library. The girl brought forth feelings in him he never thought he would feel again, and it confused him. It was causing him to slip up and say things he knew he shouldn’t say. She was a Mortal girl, a young one at that. Only 17, whereas he was…

He shook his head; this was the reason he distanced himself from the trio. He was becoming too attached to Hermione in a way which was disturbing him, and he was beginning to feel a protectiveness towards her he hadn’t felt since Arwen…

It was terrifying him.

Legolas shook his head, knowing deep down when he was walking towards the library he was hoping she was there, but why? So, he could somehow apologise for being distant? Or was it his curiosity about why she seemed disheartened and distracted as of late?

While these questions plagued his mind, without an answer, he heard voices in the hallway. They were coming closer to the alcove he was hiding in, and he looked out to see Hermione walk past with a frown on her face. He followed quietly behind her to see what was happening. Down the hallway, the young Ronald boy, and a blonde boy in Slytherin were exchanging heated words, and he noticed Hermione was about to take off angrily towards them.

Legolas reached out a hand to her shoulder, stopping her. ‘Before rushing over, observe your surroundings and listen, Hermione,’ he told her, and she nodded, but tensed when their raised voices reached their ears.

‘Stop mentioning my family in such a derogative way, Weasel!’ came Malfoy’s shout, and he took out his wand, pointing it at Ronald’s face.

‘Aww is the spoiled Slytherin brat getting all upset at hearing the truth? If I didn’t know any better, Malfoy, I would say I’d hit a sore spot. You, of all people, should know exactly what your Death Eater parents are like,’ Ron answered calmly, making a show of studying his nails uninterestedly.

Hermione looked on in disgust at Ron. She felt like Malfoy and Ron had somehow switched places. Ron was the git and Malfoy was the victim in all this. She did not doubt in her mind Ron caused this somehow.

‘What the hell would you know, Weasel!?’ Malfoy snapped back, shooting a spell at Ron, who ducked just in time.

Ron’s eyes flashed, and he took out his wand, pointing it at Malfoy. ‘Oh, believe me, I know all about your Father and his involvement with You-Know-Who. Everyone does. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’re a Death Eater in training along with your little Slytherin buddies. Oh, wait, I forgot, you don’t have any!’ he shouted.

Malfoy took an angry step forward. ‘Don’t you dare talk about things you will never understand, Weasel!’ Malfoy warned, his wand hand shaking with anger.

Ron smirked at him, a look which made Hermione’s stomach churn. ‘Oh, I seriously dare, ferret. Seeing your reaction tells it all,’ he answered menacingly.

Malfoy lowered his wand in shock, wondering what happened to the Weasel. Why was he being so cruel this year, especially to him? Well, he understood why he would be a target for insults, but he heard Weasley was being a prat to a lot of other people as well, though. After the first few times Weasley insulted him and his family, Malfoy opted to keep to himself. He hadn’t said anything to the trio after the second time in the Great Hall. Now, he found himself heading to the library to get a book for his homework, and Weasley started throwing insulting comments at him for no reason…

Had the world gone backwards?

‘What? No comment back? No insult? No defence? You are pitiful, Malfoy,’ Ron commented, his wand still pointed at the Slytherin.

Malfoy shook his head, stowing his wand back in his cloak. ‘There’s no point, Weasel. You’re not worth it,’ he answered, turning and walking towards where Legolas and Hermione were watching the exchange.

Hermione felt something shift in her at seeing this, but what angered her more was Ron stormed after him, his wand still drawn. ‘Don’t you turn your back on me, you arrogant bastard!’ Ron shouted, shooting the Stunning spell at Malfoy’s back.

Hermione pulled out her wand. ‘Protégo!’ she shouted, erecting a shield around Draco and the Stunning spell bounced off it. Draco stared at her in shock, but she stormed past him towards Ron, and smacked him across the face, making him take a few steps backwards.

‘What was that for!’ he shouted at her.

‘For being a complete prat! He walked away, Ronald! You do not attack someone when they turn their back on you! It was disgusting and uncalled for!’ she screamed, and Legolas walked over to intervene before Hermione got any angrier.

‘You have done nothing, but defend the prick since we got back to school! If I didn’t know better, I’d say you like the git!’ Ron shouted at her.

Legolas placed his hand on Hermione’s shoulder, and she calmed at the touch. ‘You are pathetic,’ she muttered, walking over to stand against the wall, and she glanced at Draco who was still standing in the hallway awkwardly.

She looked at Legolas, tuning into what he was saying to Ron. ‘I believe Hermione is right. Your attack on Mr Malfoy was uncalled for, and will also earn you a detention. I will disclose the place and time by Owl tonight, Mr Weasley. I trust you will know better in the future, and not allow this to happen again?’ Legolas said quietly, but sternly.

Ron narrowed his eyes in anger. ‘He attacked me first!’ he shouted.

‘Only because you provoked me!’ Draco put in.

“I will deal with Mr Malfoy separately, Mr Weasley. It does not matter who attacked first. You still retaliated with an attack of your own, which earns you a detention,′ Legolas told him.

Ron glared back but thought better than to argue with the Professor. ‘Yes, sir,’ he muttered before storming away down the hall.

Legolas turned, beckoning Malfoy over to him. ‘Mr Malfoy,’ he said in greeting.

‘Yes, sir?’ Malfoy acknowledged.

‘Would you mind telling me what occurred here?’ Legolas asked him.

‘Yes, sir. I was heading to the library to look for a book to help with a homework assignment. Weasley appeared, taunting, and insulting me for no reason. I was going to ignore him, but he keeps making comments about my family I can’t just shake off,’ Malfoy answered him.

It shocked Hermione how honest his answer sounded. ‘So his initial taunting was unprovoked?’ she asked him.

Malfoy turned to her, and she was even more shocked to see there was no malice or glare in his eyes, but almost a kind of loneliness and sadness. ‘Yes, I didn’t even see him. He must have come out of one of the other hallways further down,’ he answered her.

‘Maybe he was looking for me…’ Hermione muttered, trailing off in her sentence.

‘Am I going to get detention?’ Draco asked Legolas.

Legolas frowned for a moment. ‘Even though your attack on Mr Weasley was provoked due to the insults against your family, I have to go by the rules of the school, Mr Malfoy,’ he answered.

Hermione frowned. ‘We never actually saw what happened in the beginning, but we did see him taunting you into attacking him. Even if there was a way around it and you could prove he started a fight with you, I think it would be a bad idea not to give you a detention,’ she said, causing Malfoy to glare at her.

‘Why’s that, Granger?’ he retorted.

Hermione sighed. ‘Hear me out,’ she said, and he nodded after a moment. ‘Think of it this way, Ron always holds a grudge, and it gets the better of his temper. He also tends to think nothing is his fault and something you did in the past is to blame for his actions today. He will be angry he got punishment, and you never. So, if you get away without some form of punishment, he will probably attack you at some point…’ she answered.

He looked back, realising what she meant by this. ‘So, you think I would be safer in getting a detention?’ he asked her, receiving a nod in return, and he scoffed. ‘Like I’m afraid of him,’ he muttered.

‘Even so, Malfoy, it will give you some peace for a while. It will please Ron, and you can walk around without getting jumped,’ Hermione answered with a smile.

Legolas watched the exchange in slight amusement. ‘Do you agree to this, Mr Malfoy?’ he asked him.

Malfoy looked down for a moment, thinking his options over. He didn’t care about what happened because he knew Weasley would get into more trouble if he attacked him, so he thought about declining the offer. Then he thought about how he just wanted an easy year. Malfoy had enough going on behind closed doors to deal with and didn’t want the extra stress…

He sighed to himself, before looking back at them. ‘Fine, one detention isn’t going to kill me,’ he muttered.

‘You will receive an Owl tonight confirming where and when your detention will be, Mr Malfoy,’ Legolas told him, and with a nod Malfoy turned, walking down the hall towards the library.

Hermione smiled. ‘Thank you,’ she said quietly.

Legolas turned to look at her. ‘Why?’ he asked curiously, tilting his head in confusion.

‘Giving a student a detention under pretence to keep them from getting bullied... It isn’t something a Professor does,’ Hermione told him, looking a bit sheepish.

Legolas’ mouth twitched. ‘Should I retract the detention, then?’ he asked, amusement in his tone.

Hermione shook her head. ‘No, please don’t. He seems to have calmed down, and Ron is being horrible to everyone this year. It’s like the two of them have switched personalities,’ she answered in confusion, wondering what caused the shift in Ron.

Legolas frowned. ‘He is not like this usually?’ he asked her.

Hermione looked at him. ‘Merlin, no! He’s usually kind to everyone. He even has a few friends in Slytherin, but this year he… I don’t know…’ she trailed off.

‘He changed?’ Legolas asked, finishing her thought.

Hermione nodded. ‘Yeah… I just don’t know why. I mean, Ron and Malfoy have never been friends. They always had a mutual hatred for each other spanning back before we started attending Hogwarts, but the comments he has been making this year to Malfoy… Well, you heard some of them?’ she said to him, and Legolas nodded in confirmation of this while she continued, ‘It’s just not like Ron. He was never this nasty. He usually snapped back, sure, but never as harshly, and never about someone’s family. I just don’t know what happened to him…’ she trailed off again in her musings.

Legolas nodded, frowning a little. He wasn’t sure he needed the full background story on her friend but decided it may be useful for future reference. He watched her wander over to the nearby window and sit in the seat with her legs pulled up to her chest, looking out at the darkening sky. He looked down the hall, noticing it was empty. Making a quick decision, he moved over to the seat and sat next to her.

His mouth twitched in response to the beaming smile she sent his way.

Legolas closed his eyes in content, not knowing or caring how much time had passed since he issued the detentions to Malfoy and Weasley. He hadn’t felt this comfortable around someone, other than Haldir, in a very long time, but he knew it had to end at some point. They were sitting on a window seat in a hallway used by students and teachers quite regularly, and he was sure if someone came by they would say something or rumours would start up.

He opened his eyes, looking over at Hermione. She had her eyes closed, with her head leaning against the rain-kissed window. Her breathing was deep and even, and he realised she had fallen asleep. He smiled at the sight, deciding it would be a memory he would secretly store within himself. He carefully got up, not wanting to disturb her, and for a moment, he watched her sleep… A frown appeared on her forehead when he moved, and he knew, subconsciously, she realised he had gotten up to leave.

A small smile graced his lips again, and he reached forward, gently tucking a loose tress behind her ear. He let his hand stroke down her cheek before taking a step backwards, and he walked away towards the Defence against the Dark Arts classroom to prepare for the detentions.

From a dark alcove across the hallway, a figure emerged watching Legolas disappear around a corner, and they walked out into the hallway after making sure it was clear. The figure’s eyes moved towards the sleeping Hermione, a slight sadness appearing in them, and they sighed, turning and walking down the hallway in the opposite direction.

The Slytherin common room was quiet, and sitting on the couch facing the marble fireplace was a lone figure lost in his thoughts. Draco Malfoy was going through each scenario where Weasley insulted him or his family since the start of the school year. He also tried to piece together the reasons for Granger’s sudden change of heart towards him.

Draco knew he had never given her a reason to take his side.

If anything, Draco was nothing but cruel to her throughout the years. When he sat and thought about it though, he only found one reason for this other than she was friends with Potter, and it was her Muggleborn heritage. He also came to the startling realisation she had never actually picked a fight with him. Well, except in third year in the courtyard. She only ever retaliated in response to his offensive nature towards her, and he also realised he hadn’t said anything bad to her or Potter this year, and only picked fights with Weasley.

The central question in his mind though was why she stuck up for him in the first place?

While he pondered the answer to this question, with none appearing at the forefront of his mind, an owl flew into the common room through the two-way tubes they used to deliver mail, dropping a letter on the table in front of him. He gave the owl a treat, watching it fly off, and picked up the message, reading it quietly to himself. It was from Legolas, detailing where and when his detention was to be. He would be serving it with Haldir at 8 o’clock that evening, and he sat back with a sigh.

He secretly hoped he wouldn’t be serving it with Weasley…

Legolas looked up when Haldir walked into the classroom, but it wasn’t the mere fact his friend arrived early which caught his attention. It was the bounce in his step, and the new light which appeared in his eyes, and Legolas smiled when Haldir stopped next to the desk. ‘Good evening, my friend,’ he greeted the elder Elf. ‘You’re early,’ he pointed out.

Haldir smiled. ‘Yes, I am, but I have a reason for it,’ he answered, sounding brighter than he had in years.

‘Oh?’ Legolas said, motioning for Haldir to continue.

‘I have given our fading some thought, and I have decided to linger a while longer and see what happens,’ Haldir revealed to the shocked Legolas.

‘What made you reconsider?’ Legolas asked him in curiosity, not showing how much his friend’s words affected him. Deep down, he was ecstatic for reasons he was yet to fathom.

‘I met an angel, Legolas,’ Haldir told him, his eyes glazing over.

Legolas frowned. ‘An angel? Do you mean a woman at this school?’ he asked, the shock returning, and Haldir nodded. ‘I thought we agreed we would not get close to anyone, Haldir,’ Legolas reminded him.

Haldir sighed. ‘Yes, I know…’ he trailed off in his musings.

‘Who is she?’ Legolas asked instead, not wanting to ruin his friend’s good mood.

‘She did not give me a name,’ Haldir answered sadly.

‘Is she a student?’

‘I think so…’ Haldir trailed off again, weighing the pros and cons of the situation he now found himself in.

‘Haldir, we cannot-’

Haldir waved his hand, cutting him off. ‘I know, Legolas, but is it not the same as how you feel about Hermione?’ Haldir asked him.

This stumped Legolas. Was it obvious he felt something for the girl? Had he not been careful enough? He was sure no one saw them interact together on a one to one scale… ‘What makes you think that?’ Legolas asked him, before looking up at the classroom door when Malfoy made his way into the room.

‘Others may not be so observant, Legolas, but I have spent millennia with you. I can see it in your eyes,’ Haldir told him, to which Legolas had no reply, and they both looked up when Weasley entered the room. ‘We will talk of this another time, Legolas,’ he told his friend, receiving a nod from the younger Elf.

‘Mr Weasley, you will stay here with me to serve your detention. Mr Malfoy, you will go with Haldir,’ Legolas informed them, watching them leave the room.

‘What do I need to do?’ Ron asked him.

Legolas moved out from behind the desk. ‘I have been advised to tell you to clean the room, and you are not allowed to use your wand,’ he ordered him, and Ron nodded, feeling angry, and set off to complete his detention.

‘What am I to do, sir?’ Draco asked, entering a room off from the Gryffindor common room, something which made the Slytherin feel nervous. Haldir opened another door revealing a vast arsenal of weaponry and armour which had Draco in complete awe. ‘Wow!’ he exclaimed, wandering about the room looking at everything.

‘This is the arsenal which has been set up for when training begins for the upcoming war. You are to help me sort through them, and clean them,’ Haldir informed him.

Draco smiled and nodded, this isn’t so bad after all, he thought, setting off to work.

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