Alright I am thinking that this is going to be the last chapter, so please enjoy and review!
The atmosphere surrounding Helms Deep was slowly turning back to normal. It had been three days since the atrocious battle, and the grief for lost loved ones was finally beginning to subsiding slightly. Mothers, daughters, and the remaining sons and fathers were now filing the streets and market places, constructing homes and gathering supplies for restarting their lives.
Walking among them were two, very stressed companions. They were searching madly for the third member of their group. Legolas had finally healed enough to get up and move around, and had immediately slipped his 'guard' of two Rohan soldiers.
Aragorn and Gimli would have watched him themselves but they were preoccupied with helping out the Edoras citizens that still remained. They had been out all day rebuilding, carrying supplies, moving rubble, and cleaning the destroyed area. Both of them knew that as soon as they left, Legolas would try and disappear to some random and hidden place within the stronghold. He had been complaining about the cramped space since he had woken up, so it was only a matter of time before he tried to leave his confines.
In solution the two had assigned Legolas a guard of Eomer's finest soldiers, Halen and Nimli. Assuming that their friend was well looked after, Aragorn and Gimli had bid the elf farewell for the day, and left to complete their work. If only they had known how folly their decision had been. Almost immediately the elf had used his overwhelming skills, even while injured, to slip his assigned protectors and slip off to who knows where.
The man and dwarf had returned to find two very nervous soldiers standing outside the door to the healing pavilion, searching the area and asking questions of the locals. When they questioned the two soldiers on Legolas' whereabouts, they paled drastically and choked on their words. After much deciphering, Aragorn and Gimli had deduced that somehow Legolas had distracted the guards with some petty request and while they were off fetching some object or piece of supplies for the 'suffering' elf, the prince of Mirkwood had maneuvered his way through the ridiculously high, and tiny, windows of the shelter, and had run off to find a hiding spot.
So now the two were racing around town trying to find the frustrating elf. After all, Legolas still had a broken arm, several broken and bruised ribs, a minor concussion, sprained ankle, cracked collar bone, and delicate stitching holding together his deeper wounds. Aragorn knew that the elf would be careful but he had been around Legolas when he had been confined due to injury before, and it didn't end well. The prince had managed to tear out two sets of stitches and re-fracture his left wrist. Not wanting to have to tend to the elf's wounds again, or delay their journey any further by waiting for the elf to heal again, his pace had increased slightly after they hadn't found Legolas after an hour and a half of searching.
Gimli on the other hand was just plain old frustrated. He still hadn't forgiven the elf for risking his life in the first place, so running off when he was still healing wasn't helping Legolas' case. The dwarf was also exhausted by the hard labor that he and the ranger had been doing, so the last thing he wanted to do after a full day of work was chase after a pointy eared, spoiled, and impatient elvish prince.
Feeling the ache of exhaustion in his legs, Gimli slowed down to a minimal walk and called the ranger over. Aragorn sighed and diminished his speed while he waited for the dwarf to reach him. Once the stout creature was at his side the ranger stared his search again, albeit a little slower for the dwarf's sake. The man resumed his questioning of the passing humans as they entered yet another market. One by one he pulled people over and asked them the same question. Unfortunately for him, he received the same negative answer.
"Excuse me have you seen a tall blond elf pass through the area recently?"
"Yes, he is reasonably tall with long blond hair. He has blue eyes and he should be wearing the grab of a woodland elf. He would also have several bandages covering his body."
"Sorry I haven't seen an elf since the battle, and most of them are dead."
"Alright thank you."
"I am sorry I couldn't help, I hope you find your friend. He is very lucky to have such nice friends that are so concerned about his well being."
Aragorn smiled and bowed his head to the woman as she disappeared from his sight in the vast crowds. The ranger inhaled sharply as he looked to the now seething dwarf.
"That pompous princeling! First he scares us half to death by sacrificing himself, and then he does this? Does he want to be beaten senseless?"
The ranger chuckled lightly and placed a hand on the dwarf's shoulder.
"Calm yourself Gimli. As much as I hate to admit it, Legolas has reason for his actions."
Gimli looked at him with an incredulous expression painting his face. Aragorn nodded and pushed the dwarf forward as he talked.
"Legolas is a woodland elf, by definition they spend almost all of their lives outside. For Legolas to be kept immobile for several days inside a cramped building, we might as well be torturing him Gimli. Now think of this, if you were in his place how would you have reacted?"
The dwarf shuffled forwards in silence before mumbling something incoherent. Aragorn shook his head and placed his attention back to the hunt for Legolas. He scanned the surrounding houses and was about to return to his questioning when he felt a light tug on his jacket sleeve. He looked down, and to his surprise, he found the face of a slightly emaciated and dirty child gazing up at him. The ranger stopped the dwarf and bent down to the child's level. Sensing the nervousness around the child he spoke calmly and with a friendly twinge.
"Yes little one?"
The child turned his head downwards briefly and scratched at the ground with his tow absent mindedly. The ranger waited patiently as the child lifted his chin and titled his head sideways.
"Are you looking for the elf?"
Aragorn jerked slightly at the question before he smiled coyly.
"Why yes we are. Do you know where he is?"
Aragorn and Gimli had followed the child's directions exactly and now found themselves in a small clearing within the east wall. Aragorn chuckled when he realized that they had been headed in the wrong direction all day.
The two climbed the small hill in front of them and became curious when they heard high pitched laughter mixed with quiet songs in elvish. Aragorn and Gimli walked over the peak of the hill and nearly collapsed in laughter when they saw the current state of their elvish friend.
Legolas was sitting with his legs crossed in front of him in the grass, and he was surrounded by children. Three boys and four girls were sitting in front of him, their eyes watching him intently. It seemed that he was teaching them an elvish song because the two could clearly see his lips moving and the children repeating the various phrases. Aragorn immediately recognized it as a common lullaby from Mirkwood. However, this wasn't the most entertaining part of the situation. Standing behind the elf were three girls who were greatly absorbed in the act of braiding Legolas' hair. His warrior braids still remained intact but he now had seven or eight other small braids underneath and around them. They had been tied with several brown leather ties and tucked within the tiny twists and tucks were several small blue flowers. The elf didn't seem to mind very much and whenever the girls would ask him for an opinion he would smile brightly and tell them that he loved them.
Aragorn and Gimli continued to watch when suddenly the elf jerked his head upwards and his face drained of all color. He locked gazes with the ranger and Aragorn raised his eyebrows in question. The elf brought a hand up to his forehead and rubbed at his non injured temple. Gimli chuckled and began making his way down the hill with the ranger. Soon the two had reached the elf and were trying to contain their laughter. The children watched the new comers with curiosity before placing themselves around the elf once again one of the girls sat in his lap and giggled when he bounced her on his knee slightly.
"Leggy who are they?"
Legolas ceased movement and blushed at the nickname. He glared at the dwarf and man as they snickered before answering the child with a smile.
"These are my friends Aragorn and Gimli."
The little girl nodded and cuddled up against the elf's chest. Several of the other children scooted closer to him as well when Aragorn and Gimli approached their friend. Aragorn knelt down as he spoke.
"I am sorry young ones, but it is time for 'Leggy' to leave."
Legolas glared at the ranger but was quickly sidetracked by the chorus of protests. He turned to the pouting children and wiped at the tears that had gathered on some of their faces.
"I am sorry my friends but Aragorn is right. I need rest if I am going to heal. I had much fun with you all today though. Thank you."
Legolas smiled at them and slowly rose from his crouching position. However, before he could fully stand, he was stopped by a small pair of arms. The elf winced in pain as he was hugged tightly around his abused abdomen, but he returned the hug none the less. The kissed the little girl on the forehead briefly before shooing her home with slight pushes of his hands. She waved quickly before turning on her heels and running through the clearing. The other children ran to claim hugs of their own before following the girl's example and heading to their houses. Once they were all gone Legolas was left alone with Aragorn and Gimli. He turned to his friends and blushed when he found them both choking on laughter.
Gimli wheezed for air as he looked at the elf's new hairstyle.
"Nice hair Leggy."
The nickname caused the two to break into even stronger laughter. Legolas sighed in exasperation and began plucking the flowers from his hair with his good hand. He had soon gathered all of the delicate flowers and set them down on the ground in a small pile. Then he went to work on the braids around his face. However, it is rather hard to take out braids with one, so Legolas ended up instinctively moving his broken arm towards the back of his head and barely suppressed a screech of pain. This brought Aragorn out of his daze, and he switched in healing mode. He quickly checked over Legolas' arm, his other injuries as well, and assisted the elf in his previous task. Legolas' hair was soon free of unwanted braids, and since the hilarity had worn off, he was now faced with the rage and concern of his companions. He cringed through a ten minute lecture from the dwarf and dozed off slightly during Aragorn's. He jerked in alertness when laughter once again reached his ears. It was less teasing now, but the elf disliked it none the less. He huffed in annoyance and glared at the source of the chuckling, which he now knew, was Aragorn.
Aragorn raised his hands in defense and spoke calmly to the elf.
"Nothing mellon-nin." (my friend)
Aragorn paused as he reached for Legolas' shoulder.
"Lle anno ti amdir taus ennas ha crom mîn i ardhon." (You gave them hope that there is good left in the world.)
Legolas sighed and gazed in the direction where the children had disappeared.
"Amin iest amin him car-duir beleg." (I wish I could do something greater.)
The elf turned to look at the ranger with guilty eyes.
"The young girl who hugged me first, she lost her father and her two older brothers in the battle. I can't help but think…maybe if I had-"
Legolas was taken aback by the sudden interruption of the ranger.
"You need to stop blaming yourself. You did everything you could and you saved many lives that night. There was no possible way that we were going to get away with any causalities. Now get those thoughts out of your head and return to the healers pavilion with us. You could use some rest."
Legolas smiled at the ranger and nodded mutely. He looked over to Gimli and was delighted to receive a nod from the dwarf as well. The elf sighed once more before wandering off in the direction of the pavilion. He called over his shoulders to the other two in the clearing.
"Come! I never thought I would say this but I wish to return to my bed."
Gimli snickered and called back to the elf in return.
"Anything you say Leggy."
The dwarf chuckled for a few seconds longer before a calm, yet highly threatening voice echoed through the air.
"If you call me that one more time dwarf I will slit your throat while you sleep. Do not underestimate me because of my injuries because I can assure you that would be most unwise."
Legolas smiled when only silence was heard throughout the rest of the walk.
Well that's the end folks. I wanted throw in a little fun due to the overall seriousness of the story. I hope you enjoyed my story.
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