It Could Be Worse
By tHe InSaNe OnE & Arien Undomiel
AN- Hi everyone! ^_^ Yes, I know! What in the world is she doing with
another story when she still has two to finish. Well, this is a completed
story that I am posting for you all's enjoyment while I finish my other
ones. It was written at school by me and of course, my beta Arien.
^_^ I know you people are great reviewers! I mean, look at all the reviews
I have on my nice pointless stories. Can you all do me a favor? *blank
stare from people* Um, yeah, can you give Arien the praise this time? I'm
REALLY trying to get her writing because a lot of my ideas come from her.
^_^ So, lots of praise for Arien in the reviews, kies?
Well, I'll shut up now! Read and Enjoy!
"I think we should stop," Legolas stated firmly. He had said it many
times over the past hour and he was hoping that Aragorn's answer would
Aragorn answered him with a weak scowl. "I don't think we should make
any more stops. The more rests we take the longer it is before we reach
"Estel, we aren't going to make it to Rivendell if we don't rest,"
Legolas replied, exasperation lining his voice. They needed a break from
the walking whether the young man thought it was smart or not.
"Ah hah!" the human exclaimed, glaring at his friend. The first few
times that Legolas had commented on resting he had made the excuse that
Estel needed it, but now, the answer had changed to 'we' need it. "So, you
are tired as well! Hah! I knew it!" A smug look crossed his face.
"Listen, Strider," Legolas commanded irritably. "You have a hole
through your side-"
"Which isn't as bad as it looks-" Aragorn interrupted.
"-a deep gash in your leg-"
"It's just a scratch!" the ranger protested.
"-and a bad crack on the head. On top of it all, you can barely stand
and you may be poisoned. Me? Compared to you? Hah! A broken arm is
nothing!" Legolas nodded in confirmation of what he said.
"Oh come now, Legolas! No excuses! I know you want to stop because
you are hurting!" Aragorn grinned as the elf scowled deeply. "All you have
to do is say 'Aragorn, I am hurting, can we please stop'. It's that simple,
nin mellon. You can't blame it on me all the time!"
"Fine!" Legolas snapped. "I'm hurting so we're stopping." With that,
he lowered his friend to the ground, and slumped down beside him.
Aragorn noted Legolas' response worriedly. He had just been teasing
the elf, and he really didn't expect the prince to take the comment so
personally. Of course, Legolas had to be in a lot of pain. The break had
been quite bad, and Aragorn knew how cross someone could be when they were
hurt. In fact, he was experiencing similar feelings at that very moment.
"Sorry for annoying you," Estel muttered sheepishly. "I was only
joking. You know that right? Do you want something for the pain?" Reaching
down to the small pouch around his waist, he pulled a few healing herbs
"No, that's alright, you take them," the elf answered, pressing his
eyes closed. Leaning his head back, he tried to fight back the agonizing
throbbing in his arm.
"But you need them more than I do," Aragorn said. "After all, you are
doing the most work. You're walking for the both of us!"
"You have two gashes, one which is most likely poisoned. I'm also
assuming by that lump behind your ear that you have a terrible headache,"
the elf retorted.
Aragorn winced, as the pounding in his head became more noticeable.
He had been attempting to ignore it but as time passed, the agony grew. His
side was burning, and his leg was on fire. Overall, he felt terrible but he
really wasn't doing much. Legolas was relatively carrying him. A low grade
fever, a headache, and blood loss. So? Nothing he hadn't suffered through
before. He'd live.
"I'm fine." Legolas opened one eye, giving Estel the "yeah-right-I'm-
sure" expression. "You need it more than I do."
"It's just a broken arm," Legolas said. "Now take them before I force
you." With that, the elf closed his eye and went back to resting. His
statement was final.
Aragorn snorted, realizing that there was nothing he could do to
force Legolas to take the herbs. He was in no condition to pin the elf
down, and shove the plants down his throat. His mind was too muddled to
outsmart the prince at the moment.
Or was it? A plan formed slowly in his head, and a sly grin appeared
on his face. Taking their only surviving water bottle (the orcs had not
been kind), the human sipped a bit of it. Then, he carefully stuffed the
herbs through the mouth of the skin. Resealing it, he shook the container,
praying to the Valar that the properties of the plants would seep into the
"Legolas?" the ranger questioned tentatively.
"Hmmm?" the elf responded, sounding half asleep. His eyes had drifted
open slightly, and they were glazed over.
"Would you like a drink?" The man offered the water skin to his
friend, wincing as his injuries protested movement.
"Mmmph." Legolas took the object in sleep heavy fingers and took a
long sip of it. Aragorn attempted to hide a triumphant grin as the elf
nearly drained the container.
"Is there a stream nearby?" Legolas questioned groggily. He was
feeling very tired, but the water was almost gone. If the stream was close
enough, he could go refill the skin before he finished resting. After all,
Estel was bound to get thirsty.
"Yes," Aragorn responded casually. "But don't worry about it now. I'm
fine; I had some water before you did. Just rest yourself. We have a long
road ahead of us."
A realization smacked Legolas across the face and proceeded to beat
him to a bloody pulp. Barely able to fend off the darkness, he glared at
"Estel, you drugged me."
"Just rest, nin mellon."
"I'm going to beat you when I wake up."
"Yes, of course," Aragorn said dismissively, "now relax."
Against his will, Legolas felt himself calm down, and his limbs go
slack. As much as he wanted to stay awake, and keep going, he knew that it
was too late. Yawning, he embraced the darkness, letting the thoughts of
killing his friend drift away.
Strider waited until he was sure Legolas was asleep before forcing
himself onto his knees and crawling closer. His leg found this highly
uncomfortable and expressed its opinion fruitfully. Wincing, he cursed the
stupid orcs to whatever hell they feared and back. Shifting his aching
appendage into a less stressful position, he started reassessing Legolas'
The elf hadn't faired too badly considering the circumstances. Cuts
and bruises covered his body, but most of them seemed to be healing
already. None of them looked infected or poisoned, leaving Aragorn somewhat
relieved. So, that only left one thing. The elf's worst injury which, as
always, he was trying to make light of, even though the broken arm was
Grimacing, Estel removed the makeshift sling that he had insisted
Legolas should wear. The arm was swollen, already turning the most
beautiful shades of blue, black and purple. Most of the bruising, however,
centered around a gash on the elf's upper arm. The bone there had been
broken in two places, the upper part breaking through the skin. Cautiously,
Aragorn checked to make sure the bone was still in place. The last thing
they needed was for it to come back through. Concern wrinkled his brow as
he noted that the place where the bone had come through was a bit red and
warm. Infection was starting to settle in, and there was very little that
he could do. Sighing, he tore another few strips from his cloak, gently
wrapped the arm, and then he redid the sling.
Knowing he had done all he could, Aragorn leaned back, exhaustion
creeping up on him once more. Legolas would be out for at least an hour,
probably more. Taking this to his advantage, Estel closed his eyes and
started to drift off.
His father would be so angry when they arrived home, battered and
bloody. He could just imagine the lecture that Elrond would give them. Oh
and there would be threats on top of it all. 'I'll never let the two of you
go anywhere together again. Don't even think about asking if it would be
okay if the twins go with you next time. This is it! I draw the line here!
I am sending Legolas home with Glorfindel watching him, and I will make
sure to send a letter to Thranduil, specifically telling him to lock
Legolas up for the rest of his life. As for you Estel........' Estel
grinned to himself, and slowly fell asleep.
The first thing Legolas was aware of was that he was cold. Before he
had met the twins and Estel, this feeling had been rather unfamiliar. In
fact, he couldn't really remember being cold at all before he had met them.
He shivered, and pushed himself up, gingerly avoiding his wounded arm. Of
course, after sitting up for about two seconds, he collapsed back again,
his head spinning. His mouth was dry and his head was heavy. Oh Valar, he
thought hazily, won't these sleeping herbs ever wear off?
Blinking rapidly, he managed to stop the world from going in circles,
and taking a few deep breaths, he found that he was able to feel as though
he was on the ground instead of floating. The heaviness, however, spread
from his head to his arms and legs, making him feel as though he had
weights attached to him. There was the pain too. The terrible throbbing in
his arm struck him, making him wish that he was floating once more.
Floating without pain was more bearable than being weighed down with it.
Looking up, he realized with a start that the sun was setting. It had
been noonish when they had stopped to rest, and he realized he had slept at
least six hours if not more. A dwarfish curse escaped his lips, and he
struggled to sit up. It was not safe to travel the woods when it was dark.
It was nearly insane to do it when one was well, much less when one was
badly injured. There would be more orcs, wargs and other evils around, and
he and Aragorn were in no shape to fight anything. Aragorn knew all of
this. Why hadn't the man woken him? His eyes fell upon Estel, who was
curled up on his good side, sleeping soundly. Why did the human have to
Feeling entirely spent, he leaned over and shook Strider's shoulder.
They had to get moving now if they ever planned on reaching a safe place
before the sun sank completely, letting the dark things of night roam.
Well, the idea of reaching somewhere safe was hopeful at best and while he
was being hopeful, he probably should wish for a hunting party from
Rivendell to find them. The rather forceful shake he had given his friend
did not render a response, making him purse his lips. Worried, he shook the
young man once more. A moan was what answered him, along with a slight
twitch of the head. It was at this moment that Legolas first realized
exactly how red in the face Aragorn was and how sweat was beading heavily
on his brow.
The elf cursed, this time in entish. This was very, very bad. What
had he been thinking? How could he have given into sleep when he knew that
Aragorn was poisoned? Stupidity was clearly a good part in this. There was
no time for berating himself at the moment though. Legolas knew that he had
to get moving, because with each passing second Aragorn would simply grow
"Estel?" he called softly, in one last, desperate attempt to awaken
his friend. "Strider? Please, wake up my friend."
His pleas fell on deaf ears making him realize exactly how far gone
Aragorn was. Using great caution so he wouldn't injure his arm any further
and lessen their chances of making it to safety, Legolas slipped underneath
Aragorn's shoulder, taking his friend's weight onto his shoulders once
more. Standing slowly, he winced as another wave of lightheadedness struck
him, and he wavered for a few seconds, wondering if he should simply lie
back down and accept what fate was giving him. The idea was preposterous
however, and he brushed it away. He was going to reach Rivendell. Aie
Elbereth, Rivendell. Elrond would kill him when he dragged another one of
the elf lord's children home. He was so in for it...........
The last time he had dragged home one (or more) of Elrond's sons,
excluding Estel, it had been almost humorous. Elrohir, Elladan and he had
gone for a ride in the surrounding area, which, as always, was doomed to
end in some disastrous way. An hour's ride away from Rivendell, Elrohir had
been thrown from his horse, over a cliff and into a stream. The horse had
returned home without them, and Elrohir had survived the fall, thankfully,
with just a broken wrist. But hadn't ended the problems. When Legolas and
Elladan had managed to fish the younger twin out of the river, they had
decided to return home, Elrohir riding his brother's horse and Elladan
leading the beast. Elladan had not watched his step as carefully as he
should have and managed to step in the trap. Several calamities had
happened at once. The elder twin had been yanked into the air by the noose,
and unfortunately, on the way up, his head had hit a tree. The horse
Elrohir had been riding had taken off into the woods with the younger twin
still clinging to it. Somewhere along the line, Elrohir had smacked his
head against a low hanging branch and unfortunately had been knocked off
the horse. Meanwhile, Legolas had been left still on his horse, completely
lost and confused. Elrond had been most displeased when Legolas had
returned to Rivendell with both twins unconscious on one horse. Elrohir had
a concussion and a broken wrist while Elladan had suffered a broken ankle
and simple unconsciousness.
Legolas sighed at the memory, knowing that he was probably going to
receive a verbal lecture of a lifetime. Elrond was very good at giving
them, and that made sense considering all of the excellent practice
Legolas, Estel, and the twins had given him. Well, even as worried as he
was about that particular meeting, he had other things to worry about. Like
walking. He had to get moving now. His strength was waning, and Estel could
only last for so long. Slowly, he took the first painful step of what
promised to be a long journey.
Aragorn wished he could bat away consciousness with his hand but he
was simply too tired to fight it. He really wanted to stay asleep. However,
his body didn't really care about what he wanted. If it did, then it
wouldn't be hurting quite as much as it was. Groaning, he tried to pin down
his more rational thoughts, and put them into some sort of order. It was
useless though. Whenever one thought was caught, another would escape his
grasp, mingling with the other pointless conceptions of a feverish mind.
Finally, after much work, he was able to think a bit more clearly. He
was moving which was strange. After all, there was no way for him to walk.
He couldn't and Legolas wasn't up to it. The last thing he could remember
doing was drugging the elf, so there was no way that Legolas could be up.
Right? As much as he didn't want to wake up fully, his curiosity got the
better of him. He needed to know who was carrying him. Forcing weighted
lids up, he attempted to focus on his surroundings.
The green grass was dark, and shadowed, showing that night had
fallen. It moved past at a sluggish pace, waving in a softly blowing
breeze. He could hear his feet dragging across the ground, and he caught
glimpse of them with a bit of effort. Concentrating with all his might, he
attempted to lift his head to see who was carrying him.
"Estel, are you awake?" The voice was definitely Legolas'. So the elf
"Yes," the ranger whispered softly. It was hard to speak. His lips
were so heavy. His voice sounded thin, and wispy.
Legolas stopped, and knelt on the ground, lowering the ailing man
onto the ground. Aragorn noted somewhat distantly that the elf looked ready
to faint. His face was far too pale, spotted with strange red splotches.
His eyes were glazed, and the man knew that it was from fever and pain.
Gasping unevenly, the blonde managed to smile halfheartedly at his friend.
"I was worried," Legolas panted, clutching his wounded arm to his
chest. The pain was starting to reach an unbearable level.
"You should've woken me up," Aragorn slurred thickly. It was so odd
to feel burning hot, and yet, freezing cold at the same time.
"I tried," Legolas replied softly, using his good hand to check his
friend's temperature. The man was smoldering, showing absolutely no
improvement other than for the fact that he was awake. The unfocused and
uncomprehending gaze of Strider was worrying the elf more than he wanted to
let on. "I do believe you were more exhausted than you thought."
"Oh," Aragorn whispered, the answer not really making sense to him.
The darkness was beckoning to him, offering him release from the agony he
was in, and he was having trouble keeping his eyes open. He wanted to give
in, and find comfort in unconsciousness once more, but his plans were
foiled when something was pressed against his lips.
"Drink a bit," Legolas urged, tipping some water into the weakened
ranger's mouth. A few drops trickled between slightly parted lips, but the
rest dribbled down the side of the man's face when Estel turned his head.
The human's eyes narrowed into a weak glare.
"You aren't drugging me," he said firmly, though his voice trembled
with exhaustion. It had dawned on him that if he fell back into
unconsciousness, the elf would drag him all the way to Rivendell. That
could mean death for his friend, and Aragorn wasn't about to let it happen.
"Don't worry, I'm not," Legolas soothed, hoping that his word was
enough to get Aragorn to drink. He had carefully, and a bit regretfully,
cleansed the container, clearing the herbs from it. He wanted to be assured
that the next time he sipped from the skin he would not drift off again. "I
washed out the herbs; just a few sips, please."
"Promise?" Aragorn questioned his eyes half opened.
"I swear to it. Now, take a drink. You need it." Legolas' eyes
pleaded more than his words as he once again tipped the water out. Aragorn
obediently took a few mouthfuls, grimacing as his stomach complained. He
turned his head away, refusing more water. Legolas pursed his lips, wishing
that Estel would drink more, but knowing that the man couldn't. He had to
get this fever down. So many complications came from high fevers that were
left unattended. It aggravated him that he could do so little. If he
stopped to use a wet clothe, the chance of Aragorn worsening grew. His only
hope lay in Rivendell, where Elrond's healing hands could cure the
rampaging poison. But Rivendell was still so far away, and both of them
were so weak.
Time to face the music; they were never going to get that far.
"If your ready to go, nin mellon, we can continue," Aragorn rasped,
bringing the elf from his thoughts. "I am ready to go."
Legolas smiled. "Do not lie to me, Estel. I do not think you are
ready to go anywhere."
"Are you picking on me again?" Aragorn demanded weakly, his lips
twitching with suppressed laughter. He knew that he wasn't going anywhere.
The water had revived him a bit, but he wasn't sure he could stand up with
out passing out once more.
"Valar," Legolas moaned suddenly, sending a spike of worry through
the young man. "Your father is going to kill me!"
Aragorn laughed weakly, his grin mixed with a grimace as his side
protested. "Ah, Elbereth only knows how much trouble we will be in."
"I think," the prince said, looking thoughtful, "that I shall just
leave you by the gate and run home as quickly as I can."
"What?" Aragorn gave Legolas a look of true terror. "You cannot leave
me to face his wrath alone."
Aragorn opened his mouth, a response sitting on his tongue but never
spoke the words. A sharp pain shot from his leg, traveling up to his
wounded side and then consequentially, ending its journey at his head. The
agony caused him to nearly black out, and a small gasp escaped his lips.
Closing his eyes tightly, he clutched his side, willing the pain to stop.
Legolas realized how dire the situation was once more. He had almost
forgotten due to the short, light hearted moment but now, he was reminded
that he had very little time. Pulling his friend into a sitting position,
he prepared to get the man standing once more.
Aragorn was aware of the fact that Legolas was preparing to leave. He
also knew that he would soon have to walk. He didn't want to. Every fiber
in his body ached immensely and the new reminder from his leg had snapped
his courage. However, Legolas' pale, spotted face came back into his mind,
and spurred him into action. He could not let his friend deal with this
alone. He had to be brave even when it was hard. He was a ranger after all,
not some weakling.
In a choking whisper, the young man joked again. "Promise to protect
you if you promise to help me through the gates to my room."
Legolas smiled down at his very ill friend. "I suppose if you
Aragorn stumbled, barely biting back a cry of pain as his injured leg
crumbled beneath him. The minutes they had been walking had dragged into
hours, and the deep dark of the night had long since become a part of their
journey. The slightest sounds made Legolas jerk and tense, and though the
pain that it caused the man was unintentional, it was about to send Aragorn
into oblivion once more. The fire that had been burning in him had been
growing continuously and now it was a raging inferno. It stopped the breath
in his throat, slowly burning away the life left in him. Groaning, he sunk
forward, his mind leaving him for a second.
Legolas was not in much better shape. His arm was pounding, making
him queasy with pain. The fever that had begun hours before was getting the
better of him, making his steps clumsy more often than not, and leaving his
mind muddy. He knew that he was ailing and he knew that Aragorn was giving
up. Both of them knew the facts, though neither of them said a word. This
was the end. Their only hope depended on some sort of miracle.
Aragorn's weight was fully on him, sending the elven prince to his
knees. Cursing as his arm was jostled, Legolas frantically searched for a
pulse. A weak one met his trembling fingers, and he nearly laughed he was
so giddy with relief. However, something disturbing had also met his hand.
Aragorn's fever had risen, if it was actually possible. Raising his hazy
vision to the sky, the elf whispered a prayer to Elbereth for help; help to
keep walking; help to keep Aragorn alive; help to stay conscious; and most
of all, for help to come.
Elbereth did not appear to be listening because a rustling noise met
his ears. It was not very close by, but it was definitely not an elf. By
the hissing, and growls, it was most certainly not a human either. A tree
nearby whispered of a horde of orcs, warning all those that could hear it
to hide. Panicking slightly, the blonde archer searched for a place to
hide. The bushes were sparse though, and there was no way that he could
climb a tree at the moment, much less get Aragorn up as well.
"Why'd we stop?" The voice was barely audible, and it took Legolas a
few moments to understand what had been said. Apparently, Aragorn was
unaware that he had passed out. Legolas didn't take the time to explain,
saving his strength for running as he warily listened to the ominous sound
of approaching orcs.
"Danger afoot my friend," the prince warned softly. "I fear it is a
danger that we cannot fight," he paused, "at the moment."
"The trees say so and it smells of such."
"Too many." The sound of cracking branches was coming closer. "They
are nearly on top of us."
Aragorn sighed, feeling incredibly weak and helpless. His foggy mind
was trying to conceive a good hiding spot. He knew this area though he
could not think of how that would help. His eyes searched the many large
trees, strangely shaped rocks and bushes until they came to rest on a
pathetic looking oak. A memory struck him, and he struggled to move his
"There," he said, motioning to the sad looking tree.
"What is it?" Legolas took this action to be a signal of danger, and
his hand flew to the dagger at his waist.
"Under the tree," Aragorn gritted out, as the pain grappled at him.
"There's a badger hole........"
"Two of us cannot fit in a badger hole," Legolas interrupted. He knew
that Aragorn meant for only his friend to go down in the whole, and the elf
would not even consider leaving the man behind. If they had to go, they
would go together.
"Just.......go over," Aragorn wheezed, forcing the issue. The hole
itself was a childhood play place. Many a time he had won at a game of hide
and seek by hiding inside of it. It was larger than a normal badger hole,
it could hold two people. It had to be able to, it just had to.
Legolas helped Aragorn to his feet, only going over to this area to
please his friend. A bad idea was better than none, and perhaps the orcs
would overlook the area. The tree was slightly surrounded by small bushes.
Maybe, just maybe the stupid beasts would prove themselves doubly stupid
and go straight past the small tree. With this strange little hope, the elf
and the man stumbled over to the base of the gnarled old tree. This fabled
hole was not immediately visible, leaving the elf wondering if his friend
was delirious. However, with a bit of pointing out by the completely spent
human, the opening came into view. It was larger than usual. Perhaps
everything would work out after all.
"You go first," the elf said. Before Aragorn could protest, he was
being lowered into the hole by Legolas. The man stumbled as his injured leg
gave way beneath him, and he collapsed onto the floor. He landed hard on
his wounded side, leaving him sobbing for breath as the pain doubled. Blood
began to pool underneath him as the torn flesh ripped open further.
Legolas lowered himself in after the man, concern brewing inside of
him when he saw that his friend was curled into a fetal position. The
area was tight, and he was hard pressed to avoid stepping on Aragorn.
Stumbling to the back of the hole, he tried to not smack his arm against
the wall. He managed, though the pain was still there from the strange,
clumsy fall. Sinking down, he curled up close to Estel, and held his
breath, waiting for the orcs to come.
Hehe, reviews? *ducks a few blunt objects* Please?