Chapter 22: Don't Let Them Eat Me!
Hey guys, sorry I didn't update sooner, but I have been sick since last Thursday, and my mind has been so muddled I didn't like anything that I was typing. Oh and a random side note about being sick, a bunch of my friends decided that it would be hilarious to spam my tumblr page with the weirdest slash fiction they could find, and let me just say that there are some people out there that I am now greatly worried about. Anyways, I am actually getting close to finishing this story. I finally figured out an exact plan of where it was going to go this afternoon (last minute, I know) and I should have it done by mid-June. Finally some good news! Anyways, hope that you enjoy this latest chapter.
Oh, and I just realized that I have been forgetting to put disclaimers at the beginnings of my stories! Yikes! Please, if you notice that I am continuing to do this, tell me! I now have to go through and put disclaimers at the beginning to all my stories, but I only have like four of the "speak no evil" chapters in my doc manger so I have to reload them all. This is going to be so very fun…
Disclaimer: I own none of the material I am using, everything belongs to the estate of Tolkien.
i-have-a-llama-army: It did end up being adorably fluffy. It feels kind of weird considering the darker tone of the rest of this story. Yes, he is going to tell the rest of the fellowship, but not until the very end. That is going to kind of be the way I wrap things up when he does the big reveal.
Teapot of Transformation: Of course! I know, I am in love with the two of them as well. It is actually pretty hard not to be in my opinion. You know, the only explanation I have is that on, he is an elf, very resilient those guys, and two, he needs to survive for my plot line ;).
MuggleCreator: Thanks! Glad you like it!
The Willow Maiden: Why thank you my friend! Thank you as well, I was mutually happy with the last chapter.
Cottoncandybeefalo: Yeah, I thought that it was about time for a chapter that didn't leave y'all depressed at the end. I wanted to give you guys a brake and an excuse to smile, and apparently I succeeded. I know, that is probably one of my favorite lines that I have written thus far, and it kind of made my own heart melt a little after I read through what I had written. That isn't weird is it? I mean adorable soon to be ranger? Who wouldn't cheer up at that? Okay, you are the second person to bring this up, and I hope I don't disappoint you with this, but I really don't have anything behind that little moment. The reasoning I gave was truthful…sorry if I disappointed you…
Samigail: Oh I am so glad! Having your support is really one of the main reasons why I continue on adding my work to this website.
LotR-HP-PJ: Hopefully I don't disappoint you when I say that I wasn't planning on having Legolas suffer though any other complications…I apologize if I didn't make that clear enough in the chapter. I honestly did mean it in an innocent sense, and if that is confusing I will most likely go back and edit the chapter so it is clearer. I had a friend go through a similar situation…it was not good…
Emzieluvsbooks: Right? I mean can't you just be a good person and help a kid out? It is also kind of a big deal because I really want to go into law enforcement involved with criminal psychology, so having really good grades constantly is a big part of getting accepted to the intense and competitive program. But that doesn't have anything to do with this story so time to move away from that subject…I agree with you on the fact that Aragorn as a child is quite possibly the most adorable image I can come up with (well except for maybe Legolas as an elfling). I really wanted to make the chapter fluffy, even if it was a little sickeningly so, seeing as the rest of the story is pretty heavy. Hahaha, well I am glad that you like them so much that you can't decide. Again I agree with you, understanding things is definitely a good thing! Speaking of that, I wanted to thank you especially for all of the wonderful reviews that you have left for me over all of my stories. I mean you always have the sweetest things to say, and I always get really excited when I see your pen-name attached to the "new review" emails I get because I know that after reading what you have written, my day is going to get one-thousand times better! So thank you for all of your support and I wish you luck with your own busy schedule, especially the Supernatural. Trust me, I have been in that same position myself.
Elf With Redbull: Of course! I mean you can never have too much of their—frankly adorable—relationship if I do say so myself, am I right?
guest 2000: Yeah, I always feel kind of bad about it though, cause it is really my one way of individually thanking you guys for what you send me in reviews. However, like you said, school and life sometimes get in the way of all that if I want to post the chapter at all. Thanks for the compliment though!
world-classgeek: Well, thank you…I think? On a different note, I am glad that you are enjoying yourself with reading this story!
By the time Aragorn and Legolas finally approached the encampment of the fellowship, the sky was erupting in the vibrant oranges, yellows, and pinks of a new morning. The pale light glistened off the tips of the trees, before gently flittering through the branches, creating dapples of light along the two warriors' path. That added to the fact that they were surrounded by the healthy and beauteous greenery of Lothlorien overwhelmed the wood-elf with joy.
He tilted his pale face up to the sky and gently closed his eyes. The prince's easy gait also slowed to a stop as he enjoyed the calming atmosphere. He simply couldn't get enough of the Golden Wood, and Legolas knew that once the fellowship left, he would miss being around such sights greatly.
"Legolas, what are you doing?" The ranger asked with a chuckle.
The man had turned around after he realized that the elf was no longer following him, but was instead standing several feet back, looking rather content. Legolas turned to look at the man and his smile only grew.
I am enjoying the sunrise Estel. After all, one can never know how many they will get to witness.
The man nodded with a hint of sadness towards the gravity and self-reference of the elf's words, before he approached the prince. He mimicked Legolas' stance and turned his head to sky as well.
"It is indeed mellon-nin, and you will get to see many, many more of them throughout your long life." (my friend)
The elf kept his gaze on the colored sky for another few moments, before he smiled at the man, continuing their trek forward at Aragorn's side.
I can only hope so Estel. Although, I don't think that I will ever see a sunrise as beautiful as those of Lothlorien.
The man hummed and looked at the elf, who was absorbing his surroundings with a dreamy expression on his face. The look of pure and unadulterated peace and happiness that spread warmth through the elf's eyes and being provoked a similar feeling within the ranger himself. Moments where the carefree and life-loving Legolas from before his capture shined through were so rare nowadays. More often than not, the elf was plagued with horrible memories or thoughts of despair, and it pained the man. Legolas used to be able to find sanctity and delight in the smallest of things, but now it was a chore to get him to form a genuine smile.
As he continued to watch the prince wander about the area as if in a dream, the ranger couldn't help but slip into memories of his own. More specifically the last time he had seen the elven archer truly happy. A sadden smile played over his lips as he realized that it had been mere months before Legolas disappeared, which meant that it was over seventy years earlier.
The strong and well-muscled legs of the grey horse carried his rider through the gates of Imladris at a brisk jog. The daunting being tossed his head about in excitement as he recognized the large stone courtyard, and the four beings standing at the opposite end. Legolas smiled gently at the excitement of his mount, shaking his head at the horse's antics. However, the prince would be lying if he denied feeling the urge to behave similarly. After all, it had been almost two years since he had been able to visit the family of Elrond Peredhil.
His smile faltered for an instant when he thought on why he had been away for so long. The situation within Mirkwood had taken a turn for the worse in recent months. Attacks at their borders had become more frequent and deadly. Eventually the elves had been forced to retreat and bring their borders closer to the palace, for losing more elves was not an option in the minds of Legolas and his father. The frequency and the number of elves in each patrol group had been doubled, but even that couldn't stop the now constant fighting, and seeing as he was the commander for the whole of Thranduil's army, Legolas had barely been granted a day of rest. Not that the prince complained, he went where he was needed whenever he was needed despite the fact that he had most likely already been involved in a dozen battles that morning.
Yet, not even elves are invincible. The overwhelming amount of responsibility the prince had been taking on finally caught up with him. So at a month without sleep, and a week without a proper meal, Legolas collapsed on his way out of a strategy meeting with his father's advisors. The elf was immediately taken to the healing ward where they diagnosed him with severe exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition. At his father's orders, Legolas was forced to remain within the palace, only minimal activity allowed, until he was deemed healthy.
The prince had been ready to head out to the borders the next day, but the king had other ideas. Guilt and sadness fell upon him at the realization that his son had been shouldering far too much of a burden. All of the other soldiers were given breaks from fighting, where they could spend time with their families and relax, but his compulsion to care for his people had driven Legolas to forsake his own rest, and as the prince's father, Thranduil couldn't help but feel anger towards himself at allowing it to happen. In compensation, the king gave Legolas four months leave to go wherever he would like. Legolas had protested at first, arguing that Mirkwood was in too great of need for vacations, but the king would hear nothing of it. So the next morning Legolas was packed and on his way to the hidden valley for a visit that would last about three months.
A friendly hello from a nearby guard drew Legolas from his memories, and with a nod of his head, the prince responded in kind. He was well known in Rivendell, and was considered a friend by most. However, there are always exceptions, for several elves within the Hidden Valley held the prince in contempt over their festering jealousy towards him. After all, the archer was fair beyond measure, kind-hearted to the core, and an unrivaled warrior. Those few elves were ignored by most with Rivendell though, Legolas included.
As Legolas continued through the entrance to the large court yard, he was met by several other friendly greetings, and a small crowd of about seven elves standing behind the Peredhil's. Apparently news that the prince of Mirkwood was coming to visit had traveled fast, as had joy as the news, but the prince couldn't help but smile when he saw that the adopted son of Elrond seemed to take said joy to another level. He chuckled when he saw the young child standing at Elrond's left, bouncing on his heels, while he hand was grasped firmly in his foster father's. As far as the wood-elf could tell, Estel was trying to get away from his father's grasp and run towards him, but the elven lord didn't seem like he was about to budge anytime soon. However, the elf was proven wrong when he dismounted several minutes later.
Legolas had handed his horse of to a stable master, when a giggling blur came sprinting towards him. Yet again he thanked his battle-quickened reflexes, for he reacted quickly and picked the child up before the human could crash into the elf's legs. He laughed when Estel hugged him tightly about his neck and pressed a kiss to his cheek.
"Legolas! You're back! You were gone a long time and I've missed you a lot!"
The elf smiled and rubbed the child's back as he carried him back over to where Elrond—who was watching his foster son's before with exasperation—and the twins—who were snickering softly—were standing.
"The feelings are mutual Estel. I am sorry that it has been so long since my last visit, but I have had much that needed to get done in my home. Do you think you can forgive me?"
The child snorted in Legolas' arms and pulled himself just far enough away so he could peer into Legolas' eyes. The child rolled his silver orbs in a seemingly exasperated gesture before once again burring his face in the juncture of the elf's neck and shoulder.
"Of course Legolas! You are my friend, and you are here now."
The wood-elf smiled, kissing the top of the child's mop of curls lightly.
"Good, I am glad."
It was then that the pair reached Elrond and his twin sons, and once again Legolas was greeted warmly, especially by the twins. The two practically tackled him to the ground when they hugged the prince, and it was only due to Legolas' rather impressive balance that one, he didn't fall flat on his back, and two, he managed to shield Estel from the majority of the impact. The three wrestled for a moment before Legolas broke free and set a now peeved child on the ground.
"As my sons have so graciously shown, you have greatly missed penneth. It is good to see you within Rivendell's borders again." (young one)
Legolas bowed his head in greeting for a brief moment, before he felt a warm hand clasp his shoulder. He straightened and returned the gesture with his own hand.
"I have missed being here as well hir-nin. It is good to be in your company once more, I have felt its loss keenly over the years." (my lord)
Elrond smiled as this, opening his mouth to say more, but he was interrupted by a surprisingly high pitched squeal from the human.
"Save me Legolas! Those two are trying to eat me!"
Estel came running to Legolas and once again jumped into his arms. The twins were a few paces behind, and from the looks of it, they had been chasing the boy and teasing him. Legolas gasped in shock as he played along with the young boy.
"They were! Heavens that is horrible! We must be swift Estel and put as much distance between us and them as possible."
The boy grinned at the elf before his expression turned back to one of horror.
"You won't let them get me will you Legolas?"
"I wouldn't dream of it."
Legolas placed his hand over his heart in a sign of fealty, before turning his attentions back to the game. He turned to the twins who were chuckled good naturedly and raised an eyebrow, the silent question being 'are you two going to play or what?' The mirror image elves smiled evily and started creeping forward.
"We'll see about that wood-elf!"
With another gasp of horror Legolas swung the boy up onto his shoulders and held out a hand as a shield.
"Back you monsters! Caela ie'lle!" (have at thee)
The twins merely let loose two very sinister cackles and continued to advance of the pair. Estel squeaked and leaned down to whisper in Legolas' ear.
"We have to go before they eat us both!"
The archer nodded sharply and moved to firmly grasp the child's legs.
"By the Valar you are right Estel! Are you ready?"
With that the elf bolted up the steps leading into the Last Homely House, the twins hot on his tail, and the uncontrollable laughter of the child echoing off the walls.
A tap on his shoulder brought the ranger back to present day, and he turned to find Legolas at his right, a golden eyebrow arched in question.
What were you thinking about mellon-nin? (my friend)
The man chuckled and slung an arm about Legolas' shoulders in a brotherly gesture.
"Nothing, I was merely reliving memories from my days as a child."
Legolas nodded, it was clear that his curiosity wasn't satisfied as of yet. He gently poked the man's arm and secretively pushed Aragorn forward to continue walking. Once the man obeyed and started up an easy pace, allowing conversation to flow, the elf continued to push him for information.
Could you be more specific Estel?
Aragorn shot Legolas a slightly exasperated expression, but one look at the prince's pleading face instantly crumbled his defenses. He sighed and turned his gaze straight ahead.
"If you insist, I was thinking about one summer you came to visit Rivendell. You arrived and from what I remember you saved me from being eaten by Elladan and Elrohir. It quite a valiant act, and I believe that I owe you a thank you."
The wood-elf chuckled silently and nodded.
Indeed. If I hadn't been there think about the catastrophes that could have come about. Gondor would be kingless, Arwen without her beloved…the possibilities are just too horrid to even imagine Estel.
Aragorn shook his head in mock severity, which was greatly undermined by the smile on his lips.
"Agreed Astalder. Your heroism is unrivaled in this world." (valiant one)
Legolas raised an eyebrow and snorted at the name, before lightly cuffing the man over the head. However, the elf leaned into the half embrace the ranger held over him without complaint. Aragorn responded by hugging the elf closer to his body as the two continued to approach their destination, and the rest of the walk was held in silence. Yet it wasn't awkward, no, it was peaceful. The two friends didn't really need words to express the delight they found from each other's company, a true testament to the strength of the bond between them.
I know not much happened, but it was really more of a transition chapter in which I could abuse my power to inflict more Aragorn and Legolas cuteness on you guys. Anyway, the fellowship is going to be leaving Lothlorien in the next two chapters, and you all know what that means…Please review guys!