Five Senses

picture challenge

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Mmmmmmmm...

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Five Ingredients - Your Recipe

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What If ...?

One Title: Your Story

A Fairy Tale, Middle-Earth style

Games People Play

Friends in Small Places

Blood of a Brother: One and the Same by Canis


One Title: Your Story

No summary given

Rating: K





They say that you can never go back and fix the things that you have done.  Once the past is over, it is over and you are not able to do a damn thing about it any longer.  Well, I have to say I am coming to the conclusion that I am going to have to agree with them on this one.  I certainly cannot change the events that have occurred over the past rise and fall of the silver moon.  Oh believe me, I would love to.  By the Valar and all that is good, would I love to be able to go back in time even in the smallest fraction of the passing sun.  Anything would be given to not have been here, at this time, on this day.  But I am only a simpleton, a mortal.  Nothing special granted to me even with my so-called special destiny.  No way to go back in time and stop the blood of my brother from spilling onto the grass.  There is blood spilt on this night.  And by the hands of one who should have not done it.
 
******
 
“Aragorn, if you do not get moving we are never going to be able to get back in time to beat your brothers.  I don’t know about you, but I personally do not want to lose our bet on this one.”
“Oh come on Legolas.  You mean you do not want to grace the twins with your presence for the next evening as their personal…assistant.”
The wood elf turned blue eyes back over his shoulder with confusion written all over his brow.  His posture spoke of his troubles with keeping his laughter down so he would be able to speak in a fairly dignified voice to the man behind him. 
“I certainly do not remember hearing that word come up into the conversation.  But I do distinctly remember hearing others.  Slave, servant, and lowly creature of Mordor do ring a bell.”
Aragorn couldn’t contain the snort.  “But they meant it in the most loving way my friend, for that I am sure.”
“Hm.  You have been living around those two twigs for way too long.  No wonder you have no decent thoughts left in that thick head of yours.  I wonder what is left in you head that allows it to stay upright for so long on your shoulders.”
Shaking his head, Aragorn began moving forward once again.  The two friends were supposed to be closer to Rivendell than they were now.  They had a bet to win after all.  Dark hair swept up with the current of the cool winds and flicked against gray slate eyes of the ranger.  He was tired, but not enough to give up on getting back in time.  Like the Mirkwood Prince, he had no desire to have his foster brothers push him around for a full day’s period.  Orcs would be more fun than that.
“I know what is left in my head is enough to know how to get somewhere.  It seems it was good enough to get us on the right track again was it not?”
The elf nimbly made his way up the man’s side.  The pace was not one of great speed and there was little trouble to keeping up with him.  Legolas looked at the young man to his left with a smirk.  ‘He is not going to let me live that one down, wolves or no wolves.  Humans have incredible memories when they wish for it.’
“Well, next time I will simply stay on the correct course and let the wolves snack on the delicacy that seems to be found in that head of yours.”
Legolas bent his knees at the right moment to allow the man’s hand to swing straight over his head.  With a laugh, the elf was off down the trail.  Aragorn chuckled to himself before setting off after his friend.  The two friends weaved themselves in and out of the trees in their path as the ran.  Birds unsettled with calls of displeasure and small mammals scurried away from boots, but the forest was peaceful. 
Aragorn pumped his arms in time with his legs as he trailed after Legolas.  There was no real hurry to this race and he was glad to be able to have some fun on what was becoming a boring journey.  After the wolves had tried to steal the meager dinner the ranger had caught, the two had decided they went far enough and turned around.  The twins never really mentioned how far they had to set out to. ‘In fact, I really do not remember the true terms to the bet!’
Neither friend was hurt badly in the event.  Aragorn had a minor bite to his lower right leg that was healing nicely and Legolas suffered from three cuts to the side of his face which were simply harsh red lines on pale skin.  Things could have gotten worst if Legolas had not shot the alpha male down off Aragorn when it went to attack his face.  The man had been once again reminded of his appreciation for the wood elf.  But since then, nothing happened other than a lot of walking.
The elf suddenly turned to the right off the path and before Aragorn could really keep his eyes on his friend, Legolas was in the trees.  Struck with surprise and shock at the sudden action, Aragorn skidded to a halt on the leaves and dirt.  The trees didn’t move.  The elf was not moving anymore.
“Legolas?”
The whisper was soft, but it reached the pointed ears of Legolas.  But his lips were pinched too tight into a line to have any response to the ranger.  Something had moved.  Not moved as in normal forest movement of the many animals that call it home.  No, it was something larger, something not right in this environment.
Aragorn moved closer to the area where he guess Legolas has jumped to the canopy from.  All was quiet around the area and he couldn’t figure out what had caught the other’s attention so quickly.  There was nothing for miles.  They would have noticed it yesterday when they were on this same path heading for the fight with wolves over those scrawny rabbits.  There was no sound from an elf in a tree either.
“Legolas?  What is going on?  What did you hear?”
Still no response.  ‘He is trying to make me do something stupid isn’t he.  Yeah well, I will prove him wrong.  I am going to do nothing but stand here until he comes down and explains what has his elvish head all in a twist.’
Getting ready to press against a tree for lazy support, Aragorn was little prepared for the elf almost dropping right down onto his head.
“What was…are you trying…you want me dead?” Aragorn gasped for breath as his heart remembered the steady beat of survival.
But again silence was the only sound from the elf.  More action was brought forth though as Legolas quickly slapped his hand over the man’s gaping mouth.  “You need to be quiet my friend.  There is something foul in the air.”
Legolas looked deep into the ranger’s eyes to make sure that Aragorn got the message to be quiet before removing his hand.  With little thought or procedure, his bow was notched and ready in his hands.  Aragorn did not attempt to question the action, but immediately pulled the sword on his hip out to ready.  He looked over to the elf, but did not receive his attention.  Legolas was focused on something else, something he couldn’t see.
Legolas took a small step forward and looked off the left of their position.  The sound was getting clearer, but he could still not make anything out of it.  All he could tell was that this was not something you wanted to hear in a forest anywhere in Middle Earth.  One thing he could hear was the silence the forest threw at him.  Even the trees stopped talking and singing. 
“Something is coming.  From where or what it is I know not.  But we must avoid it at all costs.  I do not believe it is something we can defeat my friend,” Legolas whispered back to Aragorn.
The man simply nodded his head.  He was not going to try to argue with the elf about something he couldn’t even hear.  He learned long ago to trust the elf with his life with no questions asked.  He had taught the same lesson as well.
With slow and steady steps, Legolas began to move forward through the underbrush.   With the sounds coming towards them he was hoping they would make little to no sound on their trek, but he knew that while he could do it, his human companion would not be able to.  Legolas only hoped that the man’s steps would be softer than the rumble of the others coming at them.
Aragorn strained his ears and eyes to figure out what they were trying to avoid.  The elf was moving quietly and he was trying his hardest to keep his personal noise at a minimal.  He had learned much from the elves on how to move with little noise, but he was still human and gravity liked to make fun of such a fact, especially when elves were close at hand.  But the brush was not thick and it was not hard to move his feet to fit in places with few leaves and branches.
“Where are we going  Legolas?  We are not heading in the right direction.”
“No.  And we must not.  That is where they are.”
Questions bombarded Aragorn with that statement.  “Where who are?  Who is out there that we are trying to avoid?”
“I really do not know who or what they are.  Only that their travel is heavy and causes the forest to go into silence.  Whatever there is in that direction, we must not go.”
Aragorn’s eyes followed the path of the finger that Legolas used to point the direction of the noise.  It was perfectly in line with the way they needed to go to retrace the trail they only took yesterday.  Something was not right about this.  Legolas seemed more unnerved by this noise that Aragorn still couldn’t hear then by anything the man could think of in a while.  It was odd and a little frightening.   But these thoughts were quickly banished with the need to keep his head from impacting with the ground as he was pushed down from the side.
“Down now!  Quickly Aragorn!”
The air in his lungs was successfully knocked out by the slighter elf as they collided to the dirt.  Legolas was completely covering the man when they finally came to a rest.  The elf put his hands to the man’s head while he lifted his up to look around the trees that encompassed them.  The noise had been a decoy.  The real threat was already here.
Aragorn looked up through the cracks in Legolas’ fingers that were covering his face in an awkward manner.  The elf’s left palm was smashing his nose funny and made it hard to breath normally.  But the pressure was strong and there was nothing Aragorn could do to move his head.  The look he caught on the elf’s face was clear and he suddenly had no desire to move his head up from the ground.
Dark shapes materialized from the bushes surrounding the two friends.  Even with his sharp sight, Legolas could not make out anything distinct about the new presence to the area.  If they didn’t move, one could mistake them as just another tree or bush.  But the movement they had proved they were something out of the ordinary. 
“I do not know what they are, but there are many.  Too many to count with the way they are moving.  Strider, I do not know what we should do.”
The confession from the elf was startling to Aragorn, but he would not dwell on that now.  The pressure of the hands on his face had disappeared along with the weight of the elf.  Taking this as a sign that he could move now, the man pushed himself up into a sitting position.  Legolas was on his feet once again off to his left, but was not moving.  He was glaring into the doom of the forest around them.  Nervously, Aragorn turned his head to look about them.  His breath froze in his throat.
The shapes looked almost like mist and did not seem to have any distinct lines at all.  To Aragorn, there was nothing to them that he could recognize to figure out what they were.  They almost looked like they were horror figures from the horror stories that the twins had told him when he was little to scare him to his room so they raid the kitchens on their own.  “Legolas, what is going on?”
If the situation would have been different, Legolas might have started laughing at the question from the man.  How in the world was he supposed to know what was going on?!  He was as lost as the mortal was.  This was a new experience for him as well.
Just as he was about to retort in a hissed whisper to his friend, the shapes began to move forward towards them.  As they got closer, characteristics began to take shape.  Legolas couldn’t keep his eyes from widening at the sight.  In his study of sounds around him, the elf had completely missed the fall of the sun and the mists that had come into the area from the lake nearby.  Now that he could see the mortal shapes in the silver clouds on the ground, he took in the rest of the falling night around him.  ‘How could I have been so caught up that I did not even notice this?  And if there are these men here, how many are present at the place of the decoy?’
One of the shapes became more bold than the others.  The man enveloped in the mists took three great strides right in front of the two friends.  Their faces were almost comical as they took in him and his employees.  Sometimes knowing the way of this area came in handy when trying to catch two beings off guard.  Can’t be great slave traders otherwise.
“Well, well.  Look at what we have here.  Two men that do not seem to know the price of passage to this area.  And since you didn’t pay the initial price, you will have to pay the ultimate price.  Your lives will suffice.” Eregran said with a smirk.
Aragorn was quickly brought out of his shock at being caught in such a position.  Only he and Legolas would get themselves into such a mess without really understanding what was going on.  He continued to push himself up until he was on his feet next to the elf. 
The ranger glared at the dark haired man in front of him, “This is a free area to all.  We owe you nothing for being here.  It would be best if you moved aside and allow us passage.”
Eregran could not help but grin.  These two could be interesting.  Most of the people that had come through the area as of late were all either old or frozen with fear.  So far, neither showed either trait.  He could hear his companions coming closer from the trees.  This small glade was nice since they were able to surround the two with little trouble.  And the drummers and his other men were loud enough to throw them both off. 
“I do believe you two are new to the area.  All men that step in this forest are fair game to my men and I if they linger for too long.  And you two certainly did so.”
Aragorn straightened at his comment.  They thought they were both men, not that Legolas was an elf.  That was good.  Slavers often valued the capture of an elf highly and would do anything to ensure they kept one in their possession.  He took a step forward. 
“Slave traders are not welcome in the forests of the North.  It is a shame that they are welcome anywhere, but if the Haram want you, then you would be best to stay in their lands.”
Legolas watched his friend with growing concern.  The group of men were well armed and numerous.  They would be able to fight them, but the elf was sure that injuries would be present when they were done.  He sighed softly before looking into the face of the lead slaver.
“If you and your men would like to see the sunrise of tomorrow, it would be best if you let us pass with no trouble.”
Eregran tore his eyes from the younger man to the blonde at his side.  There was something odd about him, but that was not important now.  He would figure that out when they were in chains.  “And what are you two going to do to the seven of us?  And besides, there are more of my men only two miles from here.  You two do not stand a chance.”
The slaver looked to his left at his second in command, Luinros.  The man did not looked humored either with these two.  It looked like they were going to have to do something drastic with them.  With a nod, both men pulled their swords from their scabbards.  The others followed suit immediately.
The elf looked to the ranger for his reaction.  The man’s face was neutral, but Legolas was sure if he could see his eyes, they would be swirling with emotion at their predicament.  His knives felt heavy suddenly on his back and he watched the slave traders around them move in closer.  Looks like blood was going to be spilt that night.  He only hoped not a whole lot of it would be his or Aragorn’s. 
Aragorn  slowly moved his hand to the hilt of his sword as he watched the two men exchange looks.  They must be in charge of this little mess.  They would most likely be the hardest to get rid of. 
“I do not know about you slaver waste, but I would like to get a move on sometime soon.  If you are going to do something, I would advise you do it soon.”
Legolas allowed the eye roll.  ‘Just like that foolish mortal to invite his own death.’
Eregran and Luinros did not need anymore of an invitation.  They both sprung forward at the same time.  The other five followed almost right after.  Aragorn pulled out his sword in time to block the swipe to his neck.  He heard the contact of blades behind him to know that Legolas had his twin knives out and in action.  Aragorn wanted to stay close to his friend.  Even though there were only seven, he did not want to risk anything.
Legolas had spun on spot to block the two men that came charging the two friends from behind.  He could sense Aragorn about a foot behind him and vowed silently to protect his friend at all costs.  A broad sword jabbed sharply towards his middle, but a quick swipe of his left knife changed its direction.  This left the man open to his right, which found soft flesh quickly.  And slight twist dislodged the knife from the first man and immediately found the second.  Both fell to the forest floor with no sounds.
The sword of Eregran was long.  It was like nothing Aragorn had ever seen before.  Had there been time, the ranger thought he might have actually asked the man where he had gotten it from.  But the sight of it aiming towards his neck once again stopped anymore thoughts of chatter.  The other man was good, but Aragorn also had talents from the elves on his side.  He was able to dodge another slash from the man and got inside his defense.  Muttering swears under his breath, the slaver looked to his thigh.  Aragorn grinned at the sight of blood.
“You are going to pay for that boy.”
“We shall see now won’t we.”
Meanwhile, Legolas had taken on three of the other men.  All of them met with death quickly.  The elf turned around to check on his friend and watched as the lead slaver throw a murderous glare at the ranger.  Blood was quickly darkening the man’s pant leg, but there was still a lot of fight left in him.  The other man left was also watching the battle.  Legolas knew he had to take care of him as well.  ‘Just like Aragorn to leave all the work for me while he takes time with only one.  Figures.’
Legolas moved towards Luinros swiftly.  The slave trader was not surprised to see the blonde man coming towards him.  But he was surprised to see that he had taken out the other five with little work.  He wasn’t even sweating.  His sword trembled slightly in his hands as he took him own steps away from Eregran and Aragorn to meet with the young looking man.  Something was seriously not right about him.  He was too graceful and the way he held the knives, Luinros knew this was not going to be easy.
The elf watched the man closely.  He could see the fear coming up into his eyes and the way his arms trembled slightly.  He had figured out like Aragorn had that these men did not know he was an elf.  Hoping to be able to keep it secret a little longer, Legolas went on the offensive.  His right knife swung in a low arc towards the man’s legs.  The slaver had to jump back a step.  But even being off balanced, his sword impacted hard with the other knife.
Eregran threw his head back to get rid of his hair that had fallen into his eyes.  The dark haired youth was good.  The slaver didn’t really understand what he was doing wrong.  He should have been winning.  “Who are you boy?”
Aragorn stared hard, “I am a Ranger of the North.  You will not defeat me.”
“A ranger?  Well, that will be something to tell the grandkids.  I have never killed on of your kind before.”
“And you never will.”
The ranger moved forward towards the other with his own attack.  He wanted to get this over with.  Although they were down to only two men here, he remembered that there were others two miles off and most likely making their way to their leader as they fought.  Legolas was still behind him and he wished to be able to check on his friend.  But there was no way he could turn his attention off the man in front of him.
Luinros was tiring quickly.  The blonde man was almost too good to be a normal man.  He had heard the other claim to be a ranger, but they only had so much talent.  It was then with his thoughts on the man’s talent in front of him when Legolas spun to put more weight behind his attack.  The blonde hair lifted in the wind and exposed the pointed ears.  Luinros gasped as he blocked the blow.  “You’re an elf!”
Legolas froze with his knives crossed over the other man’s sword.  Their secret was now out.  The elf was going to have to end all of this quicker.  They had to get out of the area and back to Rivendell with all speed. 
“You’re one of those damn elves!  You…creature!” Luinros spat again.
Aragorn and Eregran was distracted by the shouts and both glanced towards the other two left in the tiny glade.  The ranger’s heart dropped as he took in the wide eyes of the red headed man that Legolas was fighting and the quick breath of the man he was working on.  They knew.  This had to end and it had to end now.  With a burst of speed and strength, Aragorn turned towards the distracted slaver.  This was his advantage.
Legolas simply looked at the man before bringing his knives up.  The other man was too shocked and disgusted to really do much to avoid the slashed.  His eyes were still wide when the elf took his life with those knives.
Swords still clanged in the area as Aragorn fought still with Eregran.  Aragorn put everything he had into his hits so he could get the best advantage.  The other man was weakening and was getting more sluggish as he attempted to avoid the sharp blade. 
Eregran could feel his arms getting more and more sluggish as he blocked the blows as best he could.  The damn ranger had gotten through his defenses again and now there was blood darkening his upper arm.  The slaver’s eyes narrowed at the man and he threw his weight behind his next blow.  Aragorn was ready for the desperate jab and was able to more to the other man’s right so that both were lined up side by side.
Legolas moved closer to the pair slowly.  He knew his friend could finish it on his own, but wanted to get away from there.  They would only be able to do that once the man was down.  The elf was going to help finish this.
Still standing by the heavy breathing slaver, Aragorn brought his sword up and brought it in an arc towards the back that was bared.  This was his moment.  Deep down, he knew this might be the only last chance to take out the man without getting any more injuries to his own person.  The swing backward was hard and fast.  Flesh was soon split, blood soon spilt.  Aragorn’s mouth curved upward as he felt the blade come to a stop.  It soon fell.  The pained cry was not deep and mortal.  ‘NO!’
Eregran had felt more than heard the sword coming to his back.  His eyes quickly focused on the elf.  A small smile came to his face as he reached out, quicker than he himself would have thought possible, and his hand locked around the elf’s wrist.  He threw his body to the side and the elf was pulled forward.  A grunt of satisfaction at the sound. ‘Always enjoyed the sound of flesh being sliced in the morning.’
Without turning, Aragorn pulled his sword back towards himself quickly.  A gasp of pain met his ears.  The sword fell from numb fingers as his body tried to figure out what was going on to his side and back.  This was all wrong, the elf was not supposed to be any where near them or their fight.  He heard the slaver begin to laugh.  Finally he was knocked out of his haze and spun on his heels.
“Legolas!”
The elf slowly looked up from his bloody hands he held in front of the gushing hole in his upper stomach.  The once bright blue eyes were now cloudy with pain and confusion.  Aragorn took a small step closer to his friend, his hands held out in case the elf were to fall.  But the ranger was pulled up short from helping his friend by the sword tip that was now lodged under his chin.
“Now I have to say.  This is almost too good to be true.  You took care of your friend and now it will be nothing to take care of you.  ‘Tis almost a shame though.  You two would have made me a lot of money in the market.”
Red anger flowed through Aragorn’s veins at this other man.  “You will die for all of this, I swear it.”
“And how young ranger are you going to kill me with my sword at your throat.  Your friend will be useless to you now.  Can’t do too much from your knees even if you are an elf.”
Sure enough, Legolas had fallen to his knees out of weakness.  His legs felt like they were made from the jelly that Elrond enjoyed so much with his bread in the morning.  The elf had had many wounds in his days, but he never had gotten used to feeling his own blood pouring into his own hands. 
“Legolas, I need you to stay with me.  Do no give up!  Fight this!”
Eregran sneered, “Yes, yes.  Patronize the dying.”
Ignoring the deadly blade on his skin, Aragorn turned a hard glare on the slaver.  His hands tightened into fists at his sides.  He knew he was going to have to do something and do it quick.  Legolas may be an elf, but he was slowly losing his immortality.  He had to wait for the right moment though.
“Legolas, say something to me my friend.  Please.”
“I am…still here…my friend.”  The elf gasped out through his pain.
“I must say.  You two are still most interesting even though he is going to die any minute now and then you are going to follow him.  Fools you both are.  Here I though elves and rangers were supposed to be something of talent and intelligence.  I seemed to have been misinformed.”
The slaver’s eyes turned from the ranger to take in the elf.  The creature was sitting heavily back on his legs while his head was bowed forward.  Bright drops of blood turned silver in the moonlight fell steadily to the grass below his body.  But the smile on his lips didn’t last long.
Aragorn had found his moment.
The sword was thrown to the side quickly.  Aragorn ignored the pain as the blade sliced his hand in the process.  The slaver fell forward slightly as his weight was readjusted to the sudden move.  It was perfect.  The ranger reached down to his boot quickly and retrieved the dagger.  Standing quickly, the dagger had soon found a new home in the slaver’s chest.
Now it was Eregran’s turn to look down at the bloody hole that was now in his body.  The pain was not as bad as he would have thought though.  He expected worst from a mortal wound.
“Now you will pay for all your sins and all the wrongs you have committed to others.  May you never find peace.”
The ranger’s hard voice forced Eregran to lift his eyes to the other.  Gray steel glared at him.  “Same goes from that elf creature.  I shall watch the demons of death destroy him first.”
Pain flared through his senses as the ranger jerked the blade upward then out.  Eregran saw nothing but hard gray as his world went to black.
Aragorn spared no more time on the slaver, but turned quickly towards his friend.  The elf was almost slumped to the ground, still on his knees.  The man’s heart clenched at the sight.
“Legolas!”
As carefully as he could, Aragorn pulled his friend back so he could see the wound that now bled even more freely.  Legolas groaned as the wound was pulled.  He looked up into the ranger’s eyes and could see the concern in them.  He had a feeling the wound was bad off even if he couldn’t see it.  And the tale that his friend’s eyes told made his blood go even colder.
“Just hang on Legolas.  I will fix this all up and before you know it we will be back home with Ada yelling at us for being stupid once again.”
“Whatever you say Aragorn.”
Aragorn smiled down at his friend before moving his eyes back to the wound.  It looked bad.  He was going to need his pack.  Quickly Aragorn scanned the glade to locate it.  He sent up a thank you to Valar that it was not too far away.
“I will be right back.  I need to get my pack.”
Legolas watched as the man’s face disappeared from his view.  He could hear rustling of leaves and the man shuffled around to get his pack.  There was not a long wait till the face was back.
“See.  That was not too long now was it.  I am going to have to see about getting the bleeding to stop.  At least we know that it is not poisoned.”  Aragorn wore a tight smile at the comment.  His guilt was slowing eating his insides, but he tried his hardest not to let it show.  Legolas did not have to worry about  him at the moment as well as himself.
But the elf was not fooled.  He knew what the man was thinking.  Aragorn was going to eat himself alive from the guilt.  Legolas did not blame his friend.  It all had happened quickly and it was not Aragorn that threw him in the path of the blade.  It was that dead slaver.
“Now, this is going to hurt.  I need to do this though.  Please forgive me for causing you more pain Legolas.”  Aragorn chattered to his friend as he dug through his pack and got the bandages ready.
“Aragorn,” Legolas breathed as deep as he could, “Do not blame yourself.  You did nothing wrong here.”
Aragorn refused to meet the prince’s eyes as he reached towards the wound.  A groan echoed through the glade as pressure was applied to try to stop the blood.  It faded off quickly.  Aragorn’s eyes jumped to Legolas’ face.  The elf had passed out.
“Come on now my brother.  Do not give up on me.  You are stronger than this.  I am so, so sorry my friend.  This is all my fault.  Please do not leave me!”
Working quickly, Aragorn managed to get the bleeding to stop.  The sword had entered and exited cleanly.  It was not as deep as Aragorn had originally had thought by the amount of blood that covered the elf, though it was still deep enough to cause problems.  What really caused him to worry was the fact that Legolas had yet to wake. 
Everything was foggy for the elf.  He could hear sounds of Aragorn, but there just was not enough strength in his body to make his eyes open.  The pain was great, but he could offer nothing to his friend to express it outside of his head.  Inside his head, he was screaming.
“Okay.  I have the athelas, the bandages…where is the needle?”  Aragorn mumbled to himself as he worked on Legolas.  He wanted to make sure he did everything he was supposed to.  This was something he wanted perfect.  He did not want a scar to mark Legolas and show the man’s shame for ages to come.  It was bad enough that blood covered his hands and the ground below both of them.  Blood of his brother.
“This is going to hurt, but I need to stitch this up or it will not heal correctly.”
Legolas could make out the words more clearly now.  His haze was lifting slowly.  The first prick of the needle into his skin forced a moan from his throat.  “Legolas?!”
The elf forced his jaw to move.  “I am here…Aragorn.”
“Oh thank you brother!  You had me scared there.”
“You tend to over react on everything.  It must be a human thing.”
Aragorn couldn’t stop the chuckle.  Even at a time like this Legolas had to give him a hard time.  It made the man’s heart lighter at the statement.  He finished the stitching in silence all the while watching the prince’s face.  Discomfort was clearly evident which did nothing for the guilt he still carried.
“Okay.  Legolas I am going to help you up.  We need to get out of here.”
“Sounds good to me.”
                Quickly the two friends got to their feet.  Aragorn slung Legolas’ arm over his shoulders to help his friend move along.  The man wanted to get away that glade as soon as they could.  He had no idea where the rest of the slavers were and he didn’t really want to meet them.  Getting lectured by Elrond was much more desired at that moment.  The two friends made their way home.
 
****
 
Ada really didn’t yell at us all that much.  He was more concerned with Legolas and his wound to his stomach.  We had explained everything to him.  I was just so glad to be home under the roof of his family.  But I would still like to be able to repeat the past.  Legolas still was injured and miserable.  He had been locked in his room by Ada so that he would be able to heal.  I understand his frustration.  Ada always did that to me too when I was injured or sick.
 Guilt still racks through me at all times in the day.  I made my brother bleed.  His blood covered my hands.  I have had blood on my hands before, but never before did the blood feel so warm, so condemning.  I had talked with Legolas already this morning.  He gave me the biggest lecture I think I have ever had in my life.  He yelled, he cried.  It was painful for me.  I knew guilt and pain racked through my soul, but I didn’t realize that it did the same to me.  Legolas confessed to me that he felt guilty that he made me feel bad all the time.  My best friend said he was the worst thing to happen to me.  I remember the shock I felt at that.  Of course I had told him no.  I held him through his tears.  I explained to him that he was my chosen brother and that meant a lot to me.  Without Legolas, I don’t know where I really would be today.  The look he gave me with watery eyes would be one I would never forget, nor his words.
“Aragorn, things happen without reason or without cause.  You feel quilt at something you could not control.  Deep in your heart you know that you don’t have to at all.  I love you with all my heart, my friend.  The things you just said to me, they all apply to you.  You are the brother of my heart and there is nothing you have to feel guilty about.  Nothing you could ever do would make me remove you from my heart.”
My eyes stung.  But I refused to let my hands anywhere near my face.  I still saw the blood on them even though I had scrubbed them what seemed to be hundreds of times.  They were clean.  Nothing anyone, including Legolas, said to me would make them clean.  I could not go back in time and erase the pain I caused.  There was nothing I could do, but accept things for they way they were.  I had bathed my hands in the blood of my brother and he had forgiven me.  His blood poured due to my hand.  It stained my soul.  I could never give it back.  But I didn’t want to.  His blood, my blood…it was all the same.  We were one and the same.  Brothers.
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