A highly un-amused Lord Elrond found himself once
again having to patch
up Legolas and his foster son. At first Legolas’ stab wound and
Aragorn’s concussion had him a little too concerned for levity but,
once the true danger was past, he did not miss an opportunity to note
the reoccurring irony of their situation.
"You know, Estel," the elf lord remarked as he
changed the dressing on
Aragorn’s shoulder wound. "Until you came along, I lived many
generations in the contentedly mistaken thought that Elladan and
Elrohir were as much trouble as a father could ask for."
Aragorn grinned around a wince. "They’re just better
at hiding it."
Elrond chuckled despite himself. "Considering I
didn’t have to remove
an arrow from either of them until they were well over 100 years old,
and I have taken three out of you in the first twenty years of your
life, not to mention concussions, stab wounds and the odd assorted
poison oak incidents..."
Predictably, Aragorn protested that that been his
brother’s fault, and
Elrond quietly ignored him. "...I would have to agree with you," the
elf finished, tightening the bandage.
"It’s not fair to compare us, elves age slower and
Aragorn pointed out.
"And watching you I begin to understand why!" Elrond
shook his head.
"Estel, given what I have seen of you thus far, if you had the life
span of an elf, I would hate to see what kind of shape you would be in
by the time you reached your brothers’ age."
Aragorn gave into his father’s teasing and settled
back against the
headboard of his bed. "With your excellent care? I’ll be fine."
Elrond smiled somewhat softly. "The world is
changing and many things
are drawing near in the mist-shrouded future. I cannot say what they
portend, but I feel that the wheels which shall turn them have already
been set in motion. I may or may not always be here, Estel. Someday my
time to pass over the sea shall come and I will leave Middle-earth as
so many have already done."
Aragorn sobered and nodded. "Would I sound selfish
if I hoped that it
did not come too soon?" he said quietly.
"Fear not, young one," Elrond assured. "I will not
depart and leave
these fair lands to the creeping darkness. If the elves do not oppose
the evil one, who will? But things must soon change, for better or
worse. Besides," his gaze turned warmer, "I would not leave until I
have seen you come into your destiny, Estel, wherever it may lie."
Elrond rose from the bedside and passed to the door.
"Now, Estel, I have
some good news for you. Moranuen has recovered almost fully from the
injuries the townsfolk dealt him. He woke up several days ago and has
made rapid progress."
Aragorn sat up once more, a happy smile lighting his
face. It eased his
heart to know that his old friend was going to be all right. "Can I go
"No," Elrond shook his head and Aragorn looked
"Young one," the elf lord smiled gently, "You are not well yet and I am
still concerned about the after-effects of your concussion. You need to
remain still for a time and take it easy. However..." Elrond opened the
door. "There’s no saying he can’t come to see you."
A dark-haired elf, slightly shorter than Aragorn’s
the room. One arm was still in a splint and carefully tucked into a
sling across his chest, but his merry eyes were smiling and alert, a
thing which did Aragorn’s heart good to see.
"Mora!" Aragorn said when the elf seated himself on
the edge of the bed
and gave the ranger a careful hug. "They didn’t tell me you were up and
about. I’m so glad you’re doing better."
Moranuen smiled. "Which is more than I can say for
you. What happened
to you, Estel? You look like a cave troll got at you!"
Aragorn rolled his eyes. "It’s a long story..."
Two or three days passed uneventfully, which, as
Elrond saw fit to
remark, was unusual with Aragorn around. Aragorn was finally released
from his enforced bed rest on the conditions that he take it easy yet
until Elrond told him otherwise.
Legolas was also able to be up and about and right
now he had found a
moment alone in the great Hall of Fire. The elf sat cross-legged in the
corner, perched easily on the high, thin, decorative shelf that spanned
the upper half of all the walls of the room. He was staring
thoughtfully at the fire when the young ranger entered.
Aragorn wondered how his friend had gotten up there,
but had finally
given up paying much attention to the elf prince’s penchant for taking
repose in unusually odd places and flopped quietly down into the seat
of a chair below.
"Better view from up there?" he inquired of the elf
above his head with
a small smile.
Legolas jumped down gracefully, lighting almost
weightlessly next to
the young human’s chair. "Quieter. You should try it sometime." The elf
was incredibly mobile considering that his injuries were still so fresh.
It was late and the great hall was empty except for
the two friends and
the many roaring fires. Shadows danced and flickered across Legolas’
face and Aragorn watched his friend with concern.
"I didn’t mean to interrupt," Aragorn apologized.
"If you want to be
Legolas shook his head as he took a more normal seat
next to his young
friend, reassuring the human that no intrusion had been made.
"Thinking of Hebrilith?" Aragorn queried softly
after a few moments of
silence. He immediately wondered if it had been a wise thing to say,
but before he could tell Legolas to ignore the question, the prince
"Yes, I was. Of him... and other things," Legolas’
eyes were distant,
still seeking the fire. "I’m glad he is at peace now. He was right
about some things, you know."
Aragorn’s brows knit tightly. "Legolas... the things
he said to you...
Legolas raised his hand for silence, his eyes
finding his friend’s at
last. "He was right that I had not let go of what happened to me as
much as I told myself I had. The pain was still there if something
prodded deeply enough to disturb it, but I didn’t realize that. It took
you, and he, for me to really see what I’ve been carrying around all
these years. But he was wrong about what it meant. My pain did not
poison my soul as his did."
Aragorn remained silent. There was nothing he could
think of to say.
Legolas’ frank confession to him was startling. He would never have
dared ask for, or expect his friend to be so entirely candid with him
about the very personal hurts of the prince’s past.
"As strange as it may sound Estel," Legolas shook
his head slowly, "I
am glad for everything that’s happened. And I’m glad I met Hebrilith,
even under those circumstances. He forced me to look at things I didn’t
want to look at. But I needed to see them, so I could finally let go of
the hurt... and let go of my own fear that it had somehow changed me
deep inside, planted something dark there that I needed to fear..."
Legolas had never admitted that secret fear to anyone in all the
hundreds of years of his existence. Until now, he could not have.
Legolas stopped and couldn’t help smiling at the
very serious, almost
overly-intent look on his friend’s face. "I’ve lost you, haven’t I?" he
"No, no!" Aragorn shook his head. "I understand
Legolas’ smile widened, but it was gentle. Aragorn
was too young and
unburdened to understand the effects of long-buried pain like Legolas
had had to deal with. "No, you don’t, and I’m glad for it. All too
swiftly the world will rob you of your innocence and I would not see
that happen too soon."
Aragorn was used to essentially being told he was
too young to
understand things by the elves around him and sighed good-naturedly.
"Well considering I shall never have your hundreds of years of
experience, I suppose I shall have to take your word for it," he
replied with a puckish grin. "But I already knew that something was
working for the better inside that elvish head of yours."
"Oh?" Legolas raised an eyebrow inquiringly. "And
why is that?"
Aragorn’s eyes softened a shade. "Because when I
checked your bandages
earlier, you did not pull away from me when I touched you," the young
human said quietly. "And when I looked in your eyes, you were only
seeing me, not ghosts of the past."
Legolas was taken by surprise. He had never realized
that Aragorn was
aware of the involuntary reaction he sometimes had to the human’s
touch. The elf blinked several times as he absorbed that. "It was never
because of you."
"I know," Aragorn nodded simply.
Legolas smiled softly. "Maybe you understand more
than I gave you
"Finally!" Aragorn smiled playfully at the elf,
trying to lighten the
mood. "I've been trying to tell my family that for years."
The elf shook his head confused momentarily, "What?"
"That I understand more than I am given credit for!"
"Oh, right." Legolas moved a pace back from the
continuing. "That same old argument, 'I am older than you think I am'.
Is that the one?" He smiled openly at the ranger.
"The one he will never win." Elladan had quietly
entered the room,
hearing the tail end of their conversation. He walked up behind Aragorn
and ruffled the young man’s long brown hair as he passed him.
Aragorn tried to move out of the way, but he still
ached severely from
the abuse he had taken from Hebrilith and his actions were noticeably
slower. He glowered at his elven brother and graced his friend with the
same scowl, knowing the elves were taking advantage of his weariness.
"So what makes you think you are suddenly so much
older than you were
two days ago?" The eldest twin seated himself out of the range of the
human’s reach. He knew full well that his taunting would have garnered
him a good fight if the man had felt any better.
"I don’t recall anyone addressing you during our
growled at his brother.
Legolas stepped back near Aragorn and seated himself
on the chair’s
large arm, his eyes locked onto the human's. "No, I do believe it is
true. You understand more than you are given credit for, human." The
elf smiled at the dark eyes, watching him carefully. "And you are able
to teach more than you realize. Without your help, I would have been
defeated by Hebrilith. It came very close."
Elladan smiled and stood to his feet, leaning down
as he passed by the
young human. "I guess Father was right in keeping you, Estel, instead
of selling you to the traders." He teased the ranger, knowing full well
Aragorn wasn’t up to the challenge.
"Yes, it's you I question Iluvatar on, Elladan."
Elrond entered the
room, smiling at his eldest son, caught in the act of tormenting his
younger brother. He had heard the old taunt throughout the many years
the human had been under the roof of their house.
Elladan's face turned red, having been found out.
wickedly up at the twin. "Told you he always liked me best," he
whispered fiercely at the elf.
Legolas couldn’t help himself as he started laughing
at the easy banter
and the look on Lord Elrond's face as he barely overheard his youngest
Elladan leaned down on the armchair pressing in
close to Aragorn,
speaking so low that Legolas had to strain to hear him, "It’s a good
thing, young human, that you are still wounded or Elrohir and I might
have to take you out for a little trip into the hills."
"Why? So I could beat you again?" Aragorn smiled
innocently back up at
Legolas easily grabbed the human and pulled him back
against the arm of
the chair he sat on, out of reach of the twin. Aragorn tipped his head
back so his gaze was redirected. "Perhaps you would be safer if you
accompanied me home. Raniean and Trelan should be here any day now. You
might live longer that way."
The offer of protection caused the human to laugh.
"They can’t kill me.
Father would have their hides."
"No, but it does seem that they do try from time to
time." Elrond moved
away from the window he stood near and approached his sons, smiling at
the eldest twin and interrupting the conversation.
"Sorry, Father, we failed again." Elladan smiled
sweetly at the elderly
"That’s not funny!" Aragorn glanced at Elrond who
simply shook his head.
"Out, Elladan." Elrond motioned towards the door. "I
need to see to
these two for a few moments, alone and without you aggravating them."
"I'd love to stay and help. Perhaps I can change
Estel's bandage for
you." He smiled at the human knowing the offer was only in jest.
"Out, now." Elrond turned to the elf. "You may take
him out later when
he's well and finish this conversation then. But not in my house or
while they are still wounded."
"Yeah. Gives you an unfair advantage," Aragorn
cocked his head to the
side thinking, "although you may need it."
"Enough!" Elrond pushed the twin out the door and
glared at the prince
who was still laughing at the whole exchange. "Estel, you do not help
your situation at all."
"And you." The elf lord approached the young prince
and guided him over
to a chair, seating the elf in it and carefully looking over his nearly
"Forgive me, my lord." Legolas glanced at Aragorn.
"I miss the banter,
being an only child."
"Lucky, that’s what I call it," Aragorn murmured.
"He's still outside the door. I can hear him
breathing out there,"
Elrond walked over and kneeled down in front of the
human, his eyes
smiling as he worked gently with the man. "You keep me young, my son.
But you also take years off my life coming home as you do."
"I'm sorry, Father. Truly I am." The ranger turned
serious. "You know
we were only teasing."
"Yes." He stared at the man. "And so does Elladan.
You scared them more
than you can know. Both of you did." He turned and glanced at the
prince, who dropped his gaze. "But I sense something different about
you, both of you. You are older, Estel, somehow calmer. And you, young
prince, " he turned back to the elf seated across the way, "You are
free." His smile was sad. "It has been many years, but I can see the
difference in you. It is a welcome one."
Legolas' smile was bright and he nodded once in
understanding as Elrond
stood. "If you would remain our guest, I will send to your father. It
is spring and the mountains are beautiful this time of year. It would
please us if you stayed on a few more weeks."
"Stay." Aragorn leaned forward. "You haven’t seen
the best parts of
Rivendell yet." A small smile played across the ranger’s lips. "Besides
I think I could use the protection."
A soft snicker could be heard just outside the door.
"Elrohir!" Elladan’s hushed voice came to their ears.
"He's right! He's going to need protection from
you!" Elrohir protested.
"Be more loud would you?" the elder twin’s voice was
Elrond glanced at the friends and pressed his finger
to his lips,
silently walking back near the door. "Both of you are loud! Have
neither of you anything better to do?" He stepped into the hallway,
startling the eavesdropping twins.
"I wanted to make sure Estel and the prince were all
face came into view around the edge of the door. "You will stay, won’t
you?" he addressed the question to the prince. "There is a great pool
that we swim in, in the summer. We would love to show you."
Aragorn glanced at Legolas. "What about it? Stay a
bit. Let me show you
my home. There is more to do here than get into trouble."
The prince smiled back at him from where he sat. "I
would love to stay
longer." He looked to the elderly elf. "Lord Elrond, I would take you
up on your offer. Would you please inform my father that I will be
Elrond nodded and was about to speak when Elladan's
voice could be
heard from the hallway, softly muttering, "Good that should even things
up a bit."
"He's teasing, Father," Elrohir spoke quickly as the
lord of the manor
turned a dark glare upon the twin.
"No I'm not."
"No he's not," Aragorn spoke at the same time his
brother answered the
"This will be fun," Legolas laughed from his seat.
"Yes, maybe you can teach them how to shoot too.
They are, after all,
Noldor elves," Aragorn spoke up.
"What!?" The chimed response set the friends to
"Iluvatar help us," Elrond rolled his eyes. "I’ll
need to keep an eye
on you, after all. Hopefully we can return you to your father in one
piece someday, young prince."
"Just not today." Aragorn smiled at the elf,
ignoring his brother’s
The summer would prove to be very full and
interesting indeed with an
extra young elf under Rivendell’s roof.
we get ahead of ourselves for that is another story entirely...
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