Exactly 500 words.

By Nieriel Raina

Apart. Distant. Divided. Estranged. No matter how he defined it, the end result was the same. His heart ached. He longed for the friendship missing from his life. He craved the easy banter, the laughter. He even missed those dratted caves!

Legolas sighed and lowered his head into his hands, letting his long fingers tangle in his loose hair. It was his fault, too. This distance between them, the anger and hurt - he had caused them. He knew the delicate balance that existed between them, and the cultural differences best left unspoken. Better to focus on their similarities, than to look at the disparity and the remaining prejudice still hiding in the corners of their hearts. But no, he had to say it, had to speak the words that had ended the friendship between them.

He was a fool.

: - :

Apart. Splintered. Broken. Fractured. Gimli sighed heavily. No matter how he looked at it, the separation remained. Something of vital importance was simply not there. He yearned for the teasing, lighthearted discussion. The deep, honest talk. He even missed those damned trees!

Gimli tossed his chisel across the workbench, unmindful of where it landed, stood, and began pacing his workroom. It was completely his fault. The fractured friendship, the animosity and pain – he had created it all. Well he knew just how much weight those stress points could take. The places in the soul best left unexplored. Shore up the common ground between them first, and then build bridges to those less surveyed. Just leave those fragile places alone! But no, he had to open his mouth, say the words that ended the friendship between them.

He was a fool.

: - :

Legolas checked his horse, shaded his eyes to make sure they were not deceiving him, and swallowed hard. Steeling his resolve, he urged his mount towards the figure in the distance.

: - :

Gimli drew back the reins of his pony, squinting in the afternoon sun. He gulped, chewed his mustache, then pressed onwards.

: - :

He dismounted, never taking his eyes from the dark gaze of the dwarf, hoping against hope it was not too late.

: - :

He climbed down from the pony, only glancing down once to get clear of his stirrup, and strode towards the elf, trusting that a friendship such as theirs could not end.

: - :



“Forgive me!”

“I’m sorry, Elf!”

Their words were spoken simultaneously and brought smiles to both faces. Closing the remaining distance between them, they clasped each other’s forearm.

“I do not know what I was thinking,” Legolas sighed.

“You were not,” Gimli chuckled, “anymore than I. We both know that there is ground we cannot tread.”

Legolas raised a brow. “For now.”

Gimli pondered that a moment. “Aye, for now. I suppose one day, when the ground is less porous...”

Legolas laughed. “Indeed, when the branches are stronger.”

“So, now what?”

“Your home, or mine?”


The friends departed. It mattered not where they went, so long as they were no longer apart in heart.


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