Grief at last wholly overcame them and they wept; some standing some cast upon the ground.
J.R.R. Tolkien FotR- Bridge of Khazad-dûm
Legolas prided himself on his iron will. He had determined that he would not cry in front of the others.
When Gandalf fell, Legolas heart felt anguish that he had not felt since the day his mother was killed by Orcs.
In spite of his heartache, he would not give in!
Legolas Thranduilion was the Crown Prince of Mirkwood! It would not be fitting for him to be seen crying!
He did not fault the others for succumbing to their grief, certainly not! They grieved in a way appropriate to themselves.
Aragorn sat in stony silence, supporting Frodo who sobbed as if his heart had shattered. Loyal Sam sat at his master’s feet, burying his face in his hands and crying silently. Boromir gathered Merry and Pippin into his great arms and held them tightly as all their tears fell to the ground together. Gimli sat on the ground in shock, clutching his axe so hard his knuckles turned white. A casual observer might have thought the Dwarf was stoically controlling his grief but Legolas’s keen eyes could see the teardrops rolling down his cheeks.
But Legolas Thranduilion would not weep! He could not allow himself to show emotional weakness, just as if he was a mortal himself!
So, he stood.
When Aragorn said that it was time to move on, Legolas followed, forcing himself to be aware of their surroundings and watch for danger.
He surprised himself, by noticing when Frodo and Sam lagged behind. He had not thought that he had achieved enough mental composure to be so aware. However, his brief elation soon faded as he realized that Aragorn had spoken to him and he had not even heard the man, much less responded.
"Legolas?" Aragorn stood in front of Legolas and laid his hands on the Elf's shoulders, looking him full in the face. "Mellon nín, are you all right?"
Legolas shook his head distractedly.
"I'm fine, Estel."
Aragorn blinked in surprise.
Legolas cocked his head to one side.
"What is it, Estel? I told you, I'm fine!"
Aragorn looked worried and he locked eyes with Legolas, peering into their blue depths as if they were a book that he wished to read.
"You have not called me Estel for some time," he said slowly. "And the last time you did, it was because you were troubled inside." He shook his head. "I do not believe you are all right."
Legolas hardened his eyes and lifted his chin defiantly, as if daring the man to argue with him.
Aragorn sighed and turned away.
Running a hand through his hair, he seemed to see for the first time just how much Frodo and Sam were falling behind.
"Come, Boromir," he cried, running back to the Hobbits.
Legolas stiffened slightly. He could have helped Aragorn carry the Hobbits!
Even as his mind reared up in anger, a small voice spoke suddenly in his dark and confused mind.
"No. You could not have helped him," it said firmly. "You can not even help yourself."
Legolas shook his head angrily. It did not matter that the small voice was right; if anything, it made his heart ache more to acknowledge the truth.
Aragorn, gently carrying Frodo in his arms, resumed his place at the head of the Fellowship.
He led them into a forest of fir trees, across a foaming and bubbling stream, the Silverlode, and then down into a small, flat, dell.
Legolas noted with detached interest when Aragorn asked Gimli and the two younger Hobbits to start a fire and boil water.
What he did notice was the red gold light of sunset filtering slowly through the trees about them.
At last he could bear no more.
Slipping away into the forest he quickly disappeared from view.
He did not notice Gimli watching him closely as he left.
Slipping through the trees, silent as a shadow, he wandered about until he was unsure where he was.
Then, somehow, he found himself in a small cluster of Beech trees!
Here, in the midst of the fir trees, a grove of Beeches bravely made a stand, forcing back the darkness, standing tall and strong, all alone in the forest.
Legolas could no longer control his grief.
The trees beckoned him to ascend into their welcoming branches, but he could not summon the strength.
Instead, he collapsed on the ground, wrapping his arms about the slender trunk of the nearest tree; clutching it as a drowning sailor might clutch a piece of driftwood.
The tears he had been forbidding, spilled out of his eyes and ran down his cheeks. Legolas was soon weeping so hard that he failed to note the presence of a second person.
Suddenly, strong arms encircled the Elf’s shaking form, holding him gently and letting him cry.
Legolas’s grieving mind could not work out who could be holding him.
Aragorn was tending Frodo and Sam, Boromir was standing guard, and these certainly did not feel like Hobbit arms!
Indeed, if Legolas had not known better, he would have said that his father was the one holding him. The gentle tenderness revealed in the touch was of the sort that Legolas had only received from one source throughout his whole life; his father. Legolas knew it could not be his father, but he could not help accepting the offered comfort.
Closing his eyes, he released his grip on the trunk of the beech tree and relaxed into the supporting arms.
Whoever it was, held the Elf until his tears were completely spent.
At last, Legolas slowly opened his eyes. He was unsure of whether he was truly awake, when he discovered that the person who had been comforting him so tenderly was Gimli!
Legolas did not know what to think. The Dwarf had shown such tenderness towards him; he would not have thought it possible!
Perhaps… Perhaps he had misjudged Gimli!
Gimli hesitated before answering. “Aye, Legolas. It’s me,” he said slowly.
Before Legolas could force his muddled brain to make sense of the situation and ask Gimli about it, the Dwarf spoke.
"I never thought I would see the day when an Elf would refuse to cry in front of others."
Legolas started up in anger, but Gimli held up a placating hand.
"You're different, laddie! Don't be ashamed of that. You Elves have a tendency to be rather emotional, especially in public. But you're different! You care how you look to others, you care what others think of you; you even care when those others aren't Elves."
Legolas was confused. He sank back to the ground and watched the Dwarf suspiciously as he spoke.
Gimli grinned. "I've been watching you, laddie. Sometimes it seems like there's two of you! One of you is the part that most people see; the Crown Prince of Mirkwood. Strong and unbending as an oak tree. But I think that the other one of you is the true you. When you think no one's looking, when you think you're alone, then the other part comes out. Plain, simple, Legolas Thranduilion."
Legolas shook his head. He could not understand what was going on! What was the Dwarf doing? And how did Gimli know Legolas's full name?
Gimli saw his confusion and pressed on.
"You don't want anyone to see the real you. The part of you where you hide all your fears, all your sorrows, all your weakness's. You think if you hide all these things away then perhaps, after a time, they'll simply disappear. Laddie, they won't! They never do! Being hidden away simply makes them stronger. They are like weeds. The only way to kill them is to pull them out by their roots and leave them to shrivel up in the sun. What are your weeds, Legolas? Let me help you pull them out!"
Legolas shook his head slowly. "I don't understand," he said.
"Oh yes you do, laddie," Gimli replied. "You understand perfectly!"
"Why would you want to try to help me?" Legolas bowed his head. "I don't understand," he repeated.
"Actually laddie, I don't understand myself! I'm a Dwarf. Dwarves hate Elves. I don't know why I want to help you!"
"Yet you do," said Legolas slowly.
"Yet I do," said the Dwarf. "So let me help you! Tell me, Legolas. What sorrows do you keep locked up in that other part of you? Who do you cry for in the dead of night when there is no one around to hear you cry?"
"Gandalf... My mother... My wife... So many! Too many!!" He buried his face in his hands and started to sob again.
Gimli gently pulled Legolas into his arms, holding the sobbing Elf against his broad chest, supporting him as one might a small child.
He cried for his mother. He cried for all the people who had had to continue their lives without their mothers. He cried for all the mothers who had had to continue their lives without their children. He cried for Gandalf. He cried for the men who came home to their homes and families destroyed. He cried for the men who never would come home to their homes and families. He cried for his wife, his beloved Tauriel. He cried for friends and loved ones lost. And he cried for the Earth. That poor place where war and strife rage unchecked. He cried.
After some time, he could cry no more.
Slowly, his shuddering sobs ceased and he was still.
Gimli continued to hold Legolas in his strong arms, even after he had stopped crying.
"Thank you, Gimli," Legolas said eventually. "I do not think you can ever know what this means to me."
Gimli smiled a strange smile and murmured something in his own tongue.
Legolas could not understand him, but he decided not to ask for a translation.
Suddenly, Legolas wrapped his arms around Gimli and embraced him tightly, as one might a close friend or a brother.
For a moment, Gimli held himself stiffly in surprise; then he grinned widely and returned the hug.
“There, there, laddie,” he said after a minute. “It’s all right.”
“Oh, Gimli! Thank you, mellon nín!”
“It’s all right,” the Dwarf repeated. “Now, it’s time we went back to the others. Aragorn will be wanting to press on.”
Legolas blushed and hung his head.
“I’m afraid I don’t know where we are. I’m lost!”
Gimli sat still, staring at the Elf in astonishment. Then suddenly he burst out laughing. He laughed so long and so hard that Legolas was close to becoming offended!
“An Elf, relying on a Dwarf, to get him out of the forest?” Gimli started laughing again.
Legolas scowled and favored Gimli with a look that would have frozen Mount Doom.
Eventually, Gimli managed to bring his mirth under control.
Standing up, he offered Legolas his hand, which Legolas smacked impatiently away.
Legolas leapt lightly to his feet, but was astonished to find that his legs would barely support him.
He swayed unsteadily. Gimli darted to his side, wrapping an arm around his slender waist and supporting him.
“Easy there, laddie!” he exclaimed.
“Thank you, Gimli,” Legolas said, placing his hand on the Dwarf’s broad shoulder to steady himself.
“Come on,” said Gimli firmly. “I’m holding onto you for a while. You’re as wobbly as a newborn deer!”
Together, the two friends walked back to camp, Legolas still leaning slightly on Gimli.
When they entered the dell, they were met by more than one surprised look and several anxious cries.
Aragorn strode forward.
“Legolas! Man…?” (1)
Legolas stopped him before he could finish.
“U-car achas, Estel. Pain an maer!” (2)
Aragorn still looked uncertain, but Legolas looked him in the eyes until the man shrugged his shoulders and turned away.
The others were slower to stop staring but eventually they too seemed to accept that things truly were fine.
Before they left the dell, Legolas took Gimli off to one side and knelt down in front of the Dwarf.
“Gimli,” he said. “I want to thank you again. I said it once and I’ll say it again, you will never know what this means to me!”
Gimli grinned. “I think I might, laddie,” he murmured.
Legolas impetuously embraced the Dwarf again and this time Gimli did not hesitate to respond in kind.
(2) “Don’t fear, Estel. All is well!”