Aragorn bolted wide awake, his hand
wrapped around the hilt of his hunting knife. His breath came in
short, quick gasps. He was covered in perspiration and entangled
in the blanket wrapped about him.
A cool hand gently grasped his fingers, which still clung tightly to the handle of his blade.
“Easy, Strider.” The words were elvish and cut through the last
vestiges of foggy dreams that entwined him. “We are safe.
The fighting is long over.”
There had been orcs and people everywhere... and the bear...
The human relinquished his grasp on the weapon and turned quickly to
his left. The animal was watching them closely. Its large,
dark eyes reflected the scant moonlight. It whuffled softly,
acknowledging the ranger's glance. Its breath ghosted lightly on
the cool night air. With a small smile, Aragorn nodded at the
animal and allowed Legolas to press him back down against the long
grasses that formed his bed tonight.
“Dreaming of it, were you?” Legolas’ voice was amused.
Aragorn rolled over and gazed up at the elf who had propped himself up
on one elbow. Legolas smiled slightly as he glanced over the
human's shoulder, watching the bear that lay behind them both.
It had only been a few hours since the chaos had ended and the plains
had returned to their normally peaceful state. The events of the
last few days coiled through Aragorn's thoughts, disturbing his waking
moments and invading his sleep. His head ached - a reminder of
the battle not long behind them.
Legolas’ soft fingers touched the human’s temple, and then drifted down
to rest upon Aragorn’s hand again. The fingers of the ranger’s
right hand were bruised and warm to the touch. “Does it still
“Only when I’m conscious,” Aragorn replied dryly. “That’s what I
get for being trodden upon by a horde of orcs and a clumsy elf.”
It was a joke and Legolas accepted it as such.
“Clumsy? I wasn’t the one on the ground,” the prince pointed out.
Aragorn smiled, but his eyes were beginning to glaze with
weariness. This was not how their little trip was supposed to
have worked out, but at least everyone was all right.
“Sleep, you'll need the rest.” Legolas' words cut through his
thoughts, the very same words the elf had spoken to him weeks ago.
With a soft chuckle Aragorn closed his eyes. “I’ve heard that before.”
“And I was right, was I not?” Legolas teased gently.
“Nothing will happen tonight. We are safe I think.” He
placed Aragorn's hunting knife next to the ranger's head. Almost
without thought, the ranger turned over onto his side and pulled the
blade closer to his body, within easy reach. It was a habit he
had never broken. By now he had finally accepted the realization
that he never would.
He let the memories flood back through his mind, trying to accept them
and own them, just as his adopted father Lord Elrond had taught him
so many years ago.
//”When a memory is owned, the fear with which it holds you is broken and it no longer enslaves you...”
Aragorn had thought them wise words then; he had had the chance to practice them many times since.
He did so now.
As he drifted off to sleep, Legolas' voice echoed dimly in his mind, words of the past reflecting within...