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A Friend in an Enemy
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"Serondai!" Arwen cried with joy when the young girl at last materialised in the large room filled with countless elves enjoying themselves. The celebrations, so it seemed, had already begun. She stood and gave her a gentle hug and kiss on both cheeks as she did with all of her family and taking her hand lead her to a seat at the end of a long table burdened with large amounts elvish delights. Serondai looked around the room and grimaced. She hated large crowds, especially large crowds of elves as they made her feel like an outsider and an outcast in her own home.

Elrond was sat at the head of the table with a smile on his face, his grey eyes alive with elation and his long dark hair drawn back with a silver clip. He sat proud and straight, deep in conversation with Erestor who had placed a seat beside him. Arwen, beside him on his right was too smiling; her cheeks were rosy and her skin soft and fair. Her blue eyes were wide and seemed to hold great wisdom and in her lap her hands were crossed while at her chest her pendant glowed and hung closely by her heart.

*How beautiful she is* Serondai told herself in her head as she watched Arwen's expressions change, watched her cerise lips move as she spoke. She somehow reminded Serondai of her mother. She was a beautiful woman as her father had commented on numerous occasions, with long auburn hair much like Serondai's only curlier and thicker and startlingly green eyes which always seemed to have a twinkle. Serondai felt almost ashamed that she had no inherited her mother's beauty and she envied Arwen's resemblance to her.

"You look absolutely wonderful!" Arwen said, bringing Serondai out of her trance. Arwen was smiling at her in wait of a reply.

"Thank you," she replied half-heartedly, wanting to scream at Arwen, Elrond and the rest of the elves mingling in the room. Serondai had had found it was difficult to be in the company of such beauty when she was merely a girl who had no similitude to elves in features or culture. Though she had grown up to act like the elves, it had always seemed unnatural and forced and this made her angry for there was nothing she could do. She longed to be herself, however she believed her true self would be unacceptable and improper under the care of another who expected much better.

Elrond had finished his conversation with Ererstor and turning to Serondai he said, "the twins have also arrived home. I should imagine it has been some time since you saw them last and I have no doubt they would wish to see you again, after all, twelve years is a long time to not see someone."

"I know they are home," Serondai said bitterly, holding her head up, "I spoke with Elladan before I came here."

"Oh!" Elrond seemed more than surprised, "I was informed he had gone to my private quarters for some peace from the welcoming committee arranged for Arwen. I thought he would have spent quite a while there."

Serondai was silent. She had to think of something quickly. Elrond's private quarters were strictly out of bounds for her and she had disobeyed his wishes.as usual.

"I saw him in passing," she lied, glancing to the side to see a blonde elf watching her. He quickly looked away when he noticed. Serondai ignored this and stared at the food in front of her.

"Ah I see," Elrond said, raising his eyebrows, "so what exactly were you doing when I saw you entering my quarter's alone young one?"

Serondai's eyes were wide with surprise, "oh!"

"Oh, indeed!" he said, light-heartedly, "but I have been well informed that to all intensive purposes you are putting your disobedience to some use and reading my books."

"Glorfindel?" she sighed in reply, already knowing the answer.

"Hmm, and it is lucky for you that I consulted him first before confronting you for he seems to know more about you than I. However in future, if you wish of something from me, please ask.do you understand?" Arwen laughed, causing Serondai to smile also and nod in agreement, "good, then it is in the past. Now, to the celebrations."

Arwen and Elrond stood and together they moved around the room, greeting the other elves and guests there to celebrate Arwen's and also the twin's homecoming and so Serondai left them to their own devices and glanced around the room for the elf she had spotted taking such a keen interest her. She could no longer see him and she shook her head with disappointment, closed her eyes and leaning back into the chair to relax she felt a presence opposite her and opened one eye curiously.

"Legolas!"

"Suilad," he replied in elvish, "I am not disturbing you, am I?"

"Of course not," Serondai said, sitting up straight and proud, something she had picked up from Elrond. In truth, Serondai was not in any fit mood to speak to anyone other than Glorfindel and the interruption was not welcomed. Legolas sensed this in her voice and at once felt embarrassed, but at the same time he felt glad she had not dismissed him in the same way many others in Rivendell had, merely because of his lineage.

"I will go if you wish it of me," Legolas said helplessly, "I would not wish to impose myself upon you on such an occasion."

"Nonsense!" Serondai said, raising her voice slightly, "in fact, I would very much prefer not to be here at all if you would like to join me."

"I would be honoured." Legolas put out his hand for her to take and helped her out of the chair and quietly they slipped away.

***

"It is a fine morning," Serondai commented, gazing intently up at the sky with a look of pure admiration.

"It is because Rivendell is once again blessed with Arwen's presence. Even the trees and plants sense her," Legolas replied, staring at her, unobserved. Serondai sneered and turned her gaze out towards the river.

"It is always because of Arwen!" she muttered under her breath.

"You sound so bitter," Legolas said, clearly concerned by the change in Serondai's mood, "is this because you are not glad Arwen."

"I am tired of hearing about Arwen!" she snapped, folding her arms childishly, "that is why I wished to elude the ties of the celebrations. If you are going to speak of her constantly, then I would rather you not be here at all!"

"I am sorry Serondai," Legolas apologised, feeling his heart-rate increase, "I did not mean to upset you. I feel I have only made you feel worse even though I sensed you were distressed.I am sorry."

"Well, well, well! The Prince of Mirkwood in Imladris," said a voice from above them. Both of them looked up to see the twins glaring down at them. Elladan was leaning over the balcony with Elrohir close by his side and both were eyeing the prince with disgust, "what an interesting situation this is. What could Thranduil's son possibly want to do with us lowly elves of Rivendell, pray tell, and how have you offended my young friend here?" He inclined his head in Serondai's direction.

"I was invited," Legolas explained proudly, "by your father as it happens."

"Invited?! Father must be deluded.does he not remember the rift between our families. Well, he knows best I suppose," Elladan chuckled, licking his lips, "so, tell me, why are the two of you arguing so?"

"We are not arguing!" Serondai answered with annoyance, "we are having a conversation which you are not part of."

"I am sorry Serondai, I am afraid the wood-elf has thrown me somewhat and I have forgotten my manners. Elen Sila Lumenn omentielvo," he bowed low, as did Elrohir and Elladan gave her a polite smile, "I feel we got off to a bad start earlier, and I would like to repair whatever damage I have caused our future friendship before it is too late. So, Serondai.am I forgiven for my discourtesy."

She glanced warily behind her at Legolas, who did not give her any indication of what she should say and so she smiled and said, "I will accept your apology, on the condition that you also ask for forgiveness from Prince Legolas."

Elladan gritted his teeth, but reluctantly agreed, "My apologies Prince of Mirkwood. I hope this does not affect our future friendship." "I hope it does not either, Sons of Elrond," his glance exchanged from one brother to the other and they both looked sincere, so he nodded his head to them both and whispered to Serondai, "I am not sure I trust these two brothers- their reputation for mischief precedes them even to Mirkwood."

"Do not be so suspicious," she replied, dismissing him with a hand, "I believe they are being honest and hopefully *they* will not wish to speak incessantly of their sister.Elladan, now we are friends, would you like to join Legolas and I."

"I would be honoured to my lady.greatly honoured."

"Perhaps I should return to the festivities," Legolas muttered, "I have abandoned Teruthiel and I should wonder he has not tired of my constant disappearances."

"Legolas, I thought you did not want to be there?!" Serondai said, frowning with irritation.

"I know, but."

"I am sure we will be able to entertain ourselves," Elladan interrupted, "let the prince find his friend."

Legolas smiled, turned and fled, holding his head high and proud.

"I honestly do not understand him sometimes," Serondai growled, "I really do not!!"

Who Should Understand

~*~Until we meet again~*~