Chapter 10: Brothers of the Heart
Thank you all for the reviews you have left! They are all so kind and your words are genuinely encouraging. Please know that I am always eager to hear your thoughts and ideas! Also, this will probably be my last update until several days after Christmas. I may not have school, or even celebrate the holiday, but my schedule still seems to be getting more and more packed as the hours go by! Anyway, as always I hope y'all enjoy this chapter! P.S. Sam's injury in this chapter is actually inspired by an actual injury that happened to Sean Astin while they were shooting Lord of the Rings.
Cottoncandybeefalo: Ah, the cursed cliffhanger…I apologize for making your suffer so, but I needed to throw that little twist in there, I mean it seemed like the most logical thing to do at the time, as if that chapter didn't have enough action in it already. I am glad that you enjoyed hearing my reply! Often I would see other authors write responses in their stories, and I felt that it was the right thing to do in order to thank y'all instead of just saying a group thank you in the beginning. The fact that you are enjoying my story so much and leave me reviews most definitely makes you special in my book! I hope to hear more from you as this story continues on! Thank you reviewing!
Mjg43: I know, it wasn't very kind for me to leave you all hanging in such a manner, but hopefully this chapter will satisfy you. Don't worry, Legolas is in no way facing death, well…he is in the fellowship, so I guess he is always facing death in one way or another, but that isn't the point. In this story, Legolas will be fine in good time. I appreciate the time you took to leave me a review, so thanks!
HelloDenmark: um can I just say….oh my flipping god you reviewed my story! You are like my favorite author and I see you as a huge role model! Your writing is so fantastic, every time you update it makes my day! I have read Coldness, and I loved it, and now I am reading Aid from a friend! You have no idea how big of a deal it is that you like my writing! I have really tried to model my Legolas with the perfect balance of stubbornness, strength, and also vulnerability, so to hear that it is working out is really great.
LotR-HP-PJ: I know, the cliffhanger kills you every time, but don't worry, I will make it up to you, I promise! I am really glad that you thought I did a good job with the battle; because personally I have always thought that my writing skills with describing torture and battle are not nearly as strong as my other writing skills. As for the hobbit…I LOVED IT! It was absolutely fantastic and you are going to really enjoy it when you see it, trust me! Hopefully I will have some extra time to type over break, but it seems like I am going to be even busier than normal! Gahh….sometimes life can be just, well just plain old sucky…but what can you do right? Anyway, thank you so much for your review!
Spottedmask12: Well I don't want to give anything away before you read, but Legolas is going to heal physically within this chapter, and psychologically by the end of the story, well hopefully….please enjoy this update, and I really hope that you continue to read this story.
Pie in the Face: I know, and sorry it took so long, but I just haven't been able to type recently. I am glad that you accept my liberties, I wouldn't want to lose you as a reader and review, because I really enjoy hearing you thought! I really just needed something to distract Legolas and cause him some more angst, cause why not? I agree with you on the hobbit, it was fantastic in my opinion with one or two hiccups here and there, but no movie can be perfect. That is really cool you live so close! And yeah I have been in Seattle for my entire life, and what can I say, my city if filthy! But I gotta love it! I am glad you are enjoying the plot, thanks for your thoughts!
The Oz Meister and Jen Baas: Poor Leggy is correct! Unfortunately things are not going to get too much better for our elf until the end. More angst and hurt/comfort is on the way so buckle in! By the way thanks for answering my questions about your pen-name. I think that it is really cool! Thank you for your review as always!
Masked Man 2: I am so glad that you love it! My mission is accomplished then, because that is of course my number one aim! Thank you! The angst does make it more exciting does it not? Those types of stories are always so much fun to write as well.
Queen Sigyn: Yay! Enjoyment is always welcomed and looked forward to be yours truly! I am really happy that this plot is going over as well, especially because I was so unsure about it in the beginning. I mean it started out as slash from a friend, and then I nixed that because I'm not really into that, and the whole mute Legolas thing is definitely far-fetched…sorry I rant. Anyway, I am glad that I was able to introduce you to something new that you hadn't ever seen before. Thanks for the support, I hope you enjoy my further updates!
Lady Winterlight: Yeah, I have always thought of writing this as a chance to play with the plot, while still staying within reasonable boundaries, or what I hope are reasonable boundaries. Now that doesn't mean that I don't second guess myself every time I put something like this out there, but the support from you guys is always so helpful. I plan to continue my updates on as much of a regular schedule possible, so keep an eye out!
i-have-a-llama-army: Don't worry, and certainly don't cry! Legolas shall recover, in fact he shall be just fine in a physical sense. All will be revealed so read and find out! I am glad that you are like the emotional moments I am putting in between Legolas and Aragorn, trust me, those thing are damn hard to write. Half the time I have to re-write them because I feel like they just develop into slimy, sticky, globs of sap! One of the many frustrations I experience with this! But it is all worth it in the end! Thank you for sticking with me, and being so kind. I was also so excited to see that I had been invited to become a staff member for your community! I feel like I have so much power, even though I really don't, it is definitely enjoyable.
Adreandarksky: Oh that makes me so happy to hear! Fear not my next update is here (finally) and hopefully it is up to your satisfaction. Let's just say that I am going to be very happy when this chapter is finished and posted.
Emzieluvsbooks: I know, it snowed in Seattle on Friday so school was canceled and I got to start my break early. God it was so nice to wake up Friday morning and see the text from my school saying that I didn't have to go in at 6:45 am! Aww, thank you so much. I have never had my writing described as absolutely fantastic, awesomely brilliant, and phenomenally written! It makes my heart sing to say the least. Don't worry about the talking to the screen thing, I do it all the time. Like today when I was watching Grey's Anatomy (it is my guilty pleasure, and I have spent the past three days overdosing on past seasons on Netflix) and one of the characters was bleeding to death in an elevator and the other two just kind of standing there watching. I am very glad I was home alone at that moment….anyway, I am so happy that you like to angle I am working from! It took me a good week or so to plan for the plot line of this, and I probably spent two or three days out of said weeks trying to figure out how I wanted to portray Legolas, and convey his thoughts. Since he can't speak it really changes the dynamic of his character, or at least I think so. I appreciate that you like my angst writing, because that is where I personally feel I have the most concentrated talent. My tragedy (my torture and death scenes are pathetic and horrific compared to the other stuff) needs some work, but I am getting there. I apologize for the cliffhanger. I debated with myself for a while about it, but I must say that I was happy with the final outcome. As for the hobbit, dude you understand me perfectly. Being a Tolkien nut and a superwholock, that movie was like my dreams on screen. There were several moments when I nearly made a fool of myself because of the sheer awesomeness. Like when Legolas gets the bloody nose and then looks absolutely pissed, that part got to me and I almost started laughing. Then to make matters worse, the next day my friend made a gif of it, where (excuse the language) during the time he is touching the blood it says, 'bitch you did not just do want I think you just did…', and then it shows his face looking like he is about to explode and it says, 'you just touched the face…you touched THE FACE!' It gets me every time, and now whenever I see that scene, that gif is all I am going to think about. Thank you again so much for your kind words!
Everyone: Worry not, my holiday gift to you all is another update today, and then hopefully I will get to post again by Monday, maybe Tuesday….I am not entirely sure at the moment.
The ranger mechanically lurched forward to grab the elf before he hit the unforgiving ground. It was as if his body moved on its own out of reflex, for the man himself could not remember giving the command to move afterwards. Thankfully Aragorn was fast enough to slow the elf's decent and keep him from causing any more damage to himself. Once the archer was within his arms, the ranger placed him gently on the ground, and started a frantic search for any sort of injury marring the flawless complexion of the elf. First he ran his hands over the prince's chest, checking for broken ribs or lacerations. Finding nothing that would've caused the collapse, the man continued his search over Legolas' arms and legs, only to once again find nothing. Finally Aragorn checked the elf's neck, face, and head, but ended up with the same result. Besides the superficial cuts and bruises they were all wearing, there was nothing wrong with the elf in question.
"Is he alright Mister Strider?"
The ranger turned around to look at the still teary eyed Sam. He sighed and nodded, before turning back to look at the elf.
"I think so Sam. As you know, Legolas was reluctant to go into the mines in the first place, and it took a large emotional toll on him."
The man paused and pushed a few strands of golden hair behind the elf's ear in an act of tenderness.
"Then he said something about demons from his past returning in the mines, and I think that adding on the grief of Gandalf may have tipped him over the edge. His injuries are superficial, so I believe that he may have just been so overwhelmed that he passed out. Hopefully he will be okay in an hour, maybe two. The fact that he didn't tell me he was in such a spot worries me, but that is something to discuss at a different time."
The ranger pushed his hands underneath Legolas' back, directly in-between his shoulder blades, and under the crook of the elf's knees in order to pick up the prince. Aragorn hefted Legolas safely up into his arms and stood to face the rest of the fellowship, who by now had gathered behind him. He jerked his head towards the forest behind him in a gesture for the group to continue forward.
"Come, we need to leave this place before more danger falls upon us. We head for the woods of Lothlorien, and hopefully we can reach them within two days."
The fellowship watched him—grief still clouding their eyes—for another moment before they began to follow.
Aragorn led them over the rocky cliffs with reasonable speed, while he still remained mindful of the unconscious elf in his arms. Occasionally he would check in with the rest of the fellowship behind him, and he could tell that they were sluggish, grieving, and in desperate need of a rest. However, he kept pushing them forward, and he would continue to do so until he deemed that they were a safe distance away. The ranger could also feel the other six pairs of eyes watching his back with scrutiny. He could feel the judgment they were giving him, and parts of him knew that it was well deserved, but others felt deeply hurt by it. What none of them knew is that while on the outside he looked calm and cold regarding the death they had just been faced with, on the inside he was a ticking time bomb. He was worrying about the fellowship's success, the emotional stability of those in the fellowship, the unconscious elf in his arms, how he was going to lead them, the fate of middle earth, the ring falling into Sauron's grasp, basically he was worrying about everything.
The ranger's thoughts were frantic and jumbled, but he could never let his façade drop in front of the others. They were all still too vulnerable to see their new leader crumble. So that was his mentality as he continued to push the group forward, and past their breaking points. That was until he heard a yelp from behind him. Aragorn's brow furrowed in confusion and he turned around to see Boromir kneeling in front of Sam with his hands holding up the hobbit's left foot.
Worry began to settle in the man's mind, so he quickly shuffled over to where the remainder of the fellowship was standing. He carefully set Legolas down so he was leaning against a nearby tree, and moved to take Boromir's place. Once the ranger was in front of the hobbit, he could clearly see that in his haste to push the group forward, he had remained ignorant to the fact that the gardener had impaled his foot with a shard of wood lying along the ground. Blood was streaming down the sole of Sam's foot, but from what the ranger could tell, the wound was benign.
Aragorn looked up to see that the hobbit's face was screwed up in a grimace, so he gently lowered the foot, and asked Sam to keep it raised off the ground.
"I need to stitch that Sam, but after that you should be completely fine. However, today you are no longer going to be traveling, so we should find shelter for the night."
The hobbit shook his head and tried to decline through his gasps of pain.
"Nay, we need to keep moving, we need to get to safety."
Aragorn smiled softly, with a non-genuine air about it, and without warning picked up the hobbit. Sam yelped again, this time out of shock, and gripped the ranger's tunic for support.
"I appreciate the bravery Sam, but everything will be alright if we rest."
He then gestured for Boromir to pick up the unconscious elf in his place. The larger man nodded and hefted the elf into his arms. Unfortunately, the soldier from Gondor drastically underestimated how light the archer would be. The result being, when he pulled up, the amount of force he put behind lifting upwards was too great and therefore the man accidentally jostled the elf's body severely. Legolas moaned through his state and shifted around. The group watched the prince for a moment or two to see if he would wake, but all of them sighed when instead the elf remained still and went limp in the soldiers grasp once again.
With that, the fellowship moved forward for about twenty or thirty minutes, before they found a large oak with wide spread branches. Their shade covered the ground around the base of the trunk, creating a perfect place for rest. Once they reached the tree, Sam was set down and the ranger got to work, while the others made a fire and began cooking dinner. Legolas was laid down to rest on top of his bed roll, with Merry, Pippin, and Frodo watching over him.
Finally Aragorn finished with the hobbit's foot, gave him a very small dose of pain killing herbs, and settled in beside the elf on the ground. He placed a hand on the elf's forehead just to check on his temperature, even though the man knew that Legolas wouldn't have a fever. Then, when he found the conclusion he knew he would find, Aragorn grabbed the archer's hand firmly in his own. Occasionally he rubbed the top of the pale hand with his thumb in a loving gesture. His friend had suffered too much already, he didn't need this much pain in his life.
Soon dinner had been consumed, and the group decided to settle down and sleep. There was a brief argument over who would take the first watch, but eventually Aragorn won and smiled triumphantly as one by one the others fell into the peaceful lull of sleep. Once he was sure that everyone was asleep, he began to hum quietly to himself, and the elf.
Minutes turned to hours when the ranger noticed movement to his left. He turned to see Legolas moving his facial muscles and attempting to get up. This caused him to smile a little and rub his thumbs over Legolas' temples while he began to murmur quietly.
"Creoso ad-mellon-nin. Sut naa lle umien?" (Welcome back my friend. How are you feeling?)
The elf turned his head and looked up at the man with a slightly blurry gaze. Once he realized how he was talking to, the prince smiled. I am fine Estel. Honestly you worry way too much. At this Aragorn chuckled lightly and moved his hands down to grab Legolas'.
"With you, there is no way for me not to worry. Why didn't you tell me you were hurting so much?"
Legolas closed his eyes as he signed. I am sorry Estel. I just did not want to burden you. It was just too much with Gandalf, the orc from Dol Guldur, the nightmares, and the memories were just too much. Just too much…I still can't believe he is gone, Mithrandir is gone.
Aragorn sighed and wiped away the tears now falling upon Legolas' cheeks.
"You are never, and never will be a burden Legolas. I am just glad that you are okay…you are okay right? No hidden injuries this time?"
The prince smiled sadly and shook his head. No Estel, I truly am fine. Besides, I am not the one who looks like he needs to be worried over. Legolas raised a blonde eyebrow at the ranger. Are you alright mellon-nin? I mean you no offense when I say this Estel, but you look positively horrible. (my friend)
The man chuckled with a choked quality and shook his head.
"I am fine Legolas, I just need…some…..time…."
The ranger trailed off as his eyes gained a certain far off look. When the man remained silent for several moments, the prince became concerned and furrowed his brow. He then raised himself up until he was sitting with his back against the trunk of the tree. The elf grimaced slightly when his head began to protest, but he pushed the pain to the back of his mind. Legolas then looked into the face of the man and tenderly grabbed the ranger's battle worn hand, using his other to speak. Estel, you know you can talk to me. Everything is going to be okay Estel, everything is going to be okay.
Aragorn turned to look at his friend while he opened and closed his mouth several times, for he was at a loss of what to say. Finally he settled for closing his eyes as tears escaped him and sobs racked his body. The noise was broken and defeated, which made the elf's heart shatter. He began rubbing small circles along Aragorn's back as he squeezed the man's hand.
"I-I can't lead e-everyone Legolas! I am not Gandalf! I j-just can't do this!"
The man's tears were drowning out his words and making it hard to understand his speech, but Legolas had been around the man enough times when he was distraught to understand him perfectly. As the ranger continue to sob, the prince slowly lifted the man's chin so he was looking him directly in the eye. Legolas released the man's hand in order to sign. Oh Estel, you do not have to be Gandalf, you just have to be you. You are a wonderful leader, and you have all of us supporting you. We trust in you Aragorn, we believe in you, I believe in you Estel. Yes, we are on the most dangerous quest ever conceived, but we are together through and through, never to leave the other's side. Do you remember that hunting trip we went on in the middle of July, the one where it got so hot we decided to abandon the trip and camp near the river for a week and a half?
Aragorn sniffed and nodded. And do you remember what I told you? Once again the man nodded and responded with a crackling voice.
"You said that you promised to always look after me and never lead me astray. You promised to always be my brother in arms, never to leave my side. How could I forget, you pushed me in the lake five minutes later."
The man finished with a rueful smile which made the elf smirk and nod. Indeed I did, but that isn't the point. What I said to you that day I meant with all my heart, and I intend to keep that promise until the end of my days, and this moment, right here and now, is certainly no exception. Finally Aragorn's shaking and tears subsided and he wrapped the archer in a hug.
"Hannon lle gwador-cormamin. Manke Irma amin nauva yassen-ten lle?" (Thank you my brother of heart*. Where would I be without you?)
Walking around in circles Estel. The elf replied with a grin before his expression become sober once more. I am glad that I was able to comfort someone else for a change. Sometimes I feel like an unstable maiden with my constant need for comforting from others.
The elf held a rueful expression on his face which the man sighed heavily at.
"You need to stop thinking of yourself so Legolas. You have had a past that most people would not have been able to survive, yet you are here, alive and well. Do not forsake that."
Legolas nodded and moved so the ranger could lean against his side. I know Estel. Now try and get some sleep. You are exhausted, and we have a long journey ahead of us tomorrow. As if to prove the elf's point, Aragorn yawned and slumped against the elf's shoulder. His eyes fluttering closed. As sleep finally overcame him, the ranger murmured a few words to the prince.
"Yeah, yeah…quell undome Legolas…hannon lle au." (Goodnight Legolas…thank you again.)
The prince slung an arm around the ranger's shoulder, happy that his friend could finally get some time to put his mind at ease. However, the elf couldn't help the bout of jealousy that came upon him at the sight, for he longed for nothing more than to be able to rid himself of the nightmares and horrors which had been re-awakened in the mines.
Oh my goodness…that chapter was really hard to type for some reason. It took me about twelve hours—spread over two days—to finish. I hope you all enjoyed, please review!
*The term 'my brother of heart' was apparently a commonly used term among elves for beings they considered kin, without any blood relation. I learned something new today, very exciting.