Title: Erfier (Only Mortal)

By: Chloe, the elvish, angst-loving, enthusiast, and being the third "Write" sister. ;)

Feedback: Yes please! You can e-mail me at: evenstar47@hotmail.com and ff.net feedback is more than welcome as well! :)

Rated: PG-13 (for major angst, and some rather heavy violence) This is NOT A SLASH FIC!!! I can't stand slash, I don't intend to ever write slash, and if you *do* like slash, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't bring it up here. So yeah. No slash. Bleh. ;)

Summery: Aragorn and Legolas have returned from their frightening adventure with the horrific plant Bengwiil, and are now safely back in Mirkwood. But are they safe? What is this young elf's fascination with the nightmarish effects of Bengwiil? Why does Legolas continue to relive the memories of his infection of the plant? And what is wrong, or right, with Aragorn? (sequel to: Iston, I Know)

Spoilers: If you haven't read this story's back story, "Iston (I Know)" then yes, there are quite a few. Otherwise, no.

Disclaimers: Legolas, Aragorn, Mirkwood, Rivendell, and any other recognizable people or places in this aren't mine. Gee, wouldn't have guessed that! ;) These are all J.R.R. Tolkien's only, and I'm just borrowing them. And after a whole load of angst and character torture, I'll put them RIGHT back where I found 'um! :D

Also, "The Song of Eä rendil" and "The Old Walking Song" are Tolkien's, not mine, didn't write it, not talented enough. Anyways, just in case you take one look at that (assuming you forget reading it in the books) and say: "WOW! I want to e-mail Chloe, and throw a party for Chloe, and be Chloe's best mellon, because she can write poetry REALLY WELL."

…sorry to dissolution you, but if you took a look at my poetry…you would probably despise me. ;) So, yeah. You are, however, welcome to do ANY of those things listed above ANYWAY, but I'm no poet. :D

Disclaimer Notes: As I said previously, on Iston (I Know) I couldn't really find a place to put this story in Tolkien's world, so I tried to write it so it *could* have happened, but you wouldn't necessarily have heard about it. I apologize for anything in this story that doesn't line-up with the events in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I did my best. :)

NOTE: If you haven't read the back story of this, Iston (I Know), then you will like-as-not not get a whole lot of this. If you'd like to read it anyway, I hope you enjoy it despite slight confusions at times! And I will also be more than happy to answer any questions regarding the plot of the last story, if you'd like. :)

Marks: // marks are elvish translations. Example:

Erfier

//only mortal//

* marks are italics

Dedication: To Sarah and Hannah. Because, well I love them, and this is how I can repay them for that BEAUTIFUL story they just finished. *kisses Death or Despair* I LOVE THAT TOO!!! And yes, this is also a way of bribing them into posting their next fic early! *leaves to hunt down Thorongil*

Love you maer nosenari nin! :)

Also, a special thanks to:

Cassia and Siobhan for inspiring me to write these stories in the first place ;)

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Cheysuli for convincing me Iston (I Know) deserved a sequel, and you were SURE I could write it!

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Kaylaigh-Taitha for helping me out with my elvish :)

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Lina, Halo, ElvenFlower, Salysha, Legolas' Sweetie, KarateElf and Golden Days for being extremely enthusiastic for me, and keeping me writing :D

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Jenny, Katherine and Kellen for being highly supportive of my story, and wonderful correspondents!

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And to everyone who has reviewed my stories in the past thank you ever so much for writing me, talking with me, encouraging me, and praising me to the high heavens! You guys are the only reason there IS an Erfier. Your comforting and continual support is more than appreciated.

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Hantach idher mellhyn nin!

(thank you my dear friends!)

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Well, you came to read the story, not the Disclaimer notes. Onto the fic! :D

Erfié r

(Only Mortal)

Chapter 1

Too Many Memories

A steady wind pushed the trees of Mirkwood around, causing them to sway back and forth, to the loud protest of their ancient trunks. It was a beautiful day in that deep forest, and promised to keep the pleasant weather, provided the rain held off just awhile longer.

Beyond the towering trees, over the Old Forest Road, through the enchanted river, and on past mile upon mile of fresh greenery, stood one of the most amazing structures in Middle Earth. Built into the hills of Mirkwood, and fashioned by the meticulous hands of the Woodelves years ago, it was now quite as ancient as many of the trees around it, though it did not show in these pale walls. It was indeed a site to behold. The Halls of Thranduil.

Through the gate, and past the great walls, there was a set of staircases. Up these three staircases was a row of rooms. And in the greatest of these rooms, there were three people; and Thranduil was among them.

He had begun the conversation with the two travelers before him, erect, and with an imperial look on his fare face. A look befitting an elfking. But as the story being told by these two people wore on, the regal air he'd donned came away, and he became solemn, and almost visibly distressed.

There was a long pause, as he let the most recent turn in the story sink in. He stared blankly at the one who had spoken that fatal word. A word he thought, and hoped, he would never hear again. It took him awhile to force his numb tongue to repeat it.

"Bengwiil?" the other nodded, and looked away from the elven king, with a sad sigh.

"Please father, would you not speak it often before me? Though Aragorn and I have had almost a fortnight since that night, it brings such terrible memories back to me."

The second traveler looked over at the one who'd just spoken, and put a hand on his shoulder in reassurance. The other looked up at him gratefully.

Thrunduil was still deep in thought, though he nodded at the elf who had spoken first. "Pray continue, Legolas."

Legolas nodded at his father as well, and looking towards the open window across the large room, stared out onto Mirkwood awhile. "Bodruith claimed that you had kept this plant from his uncle, and his father died because he couldn't be treated with it. He said in that way, you killed his father."

Thranduil nodded absently. "I see." was all he said, and Legolas looked hard at him.

"But Lord Elrond told us later that you were indeed innocent of this." but Thranduil only nodded again, and forced Legolas to simply continue with the tale. "After telling us of his plot, Bodruith told me I would have but one hour still to live, and then the- this plant would destroy my mind, and I would die." at this point, Legolas smiled over at the man beside him. "But thanks to Aragorn, I lived. He spoke comfort in my own tongue. Grey words that alone could get through to me in comfort. Once I knew this comfort, my mind could fight the poison away, and I came back again. Though, I had been determined to die. I- I had thought that Bodruith killed Aragorn, and I couldn't bare it. But Aragorn brought me back, and I could even see with truthful eyes again.


He then tried to kill Aragorn, but thanks to another dwarf, Binwen, we both lived in the end, and Bodruith ran away. The dwarves went after him, and Aragorn after the dwarves to find a way out of their tunnels. While I was alone, Bodruith, who had feigned his retreat, came upon me, and I thought to kill me. But he instead drove his dagger through his own heart, and died there." Legolas paused a moment, and steadied his voice, the grief of that day seeming so close still, but he soldiered on.

"Aragorn and I traveled away from those tunnels, and up the stairs to the surface of Mirkwood again." Legolas glanced to his right, and a smile began to spread across his face. "Aragorn knows *exactly* how many stairs we climbed as well. How many, Aragorn?"

Aragorn glared at the other good-naturedly. The well-known looked earned him a soft laugh from his friend, and the human then turned his earnest blue eyes on the elfking, who was still deep in thought. "It was indeed your son, Lord Thranduil, who counted all the steps of Gabil Gû ndu, not I."

"Aragorn!" Legolas laughed, cuffing the other gently on the shoulder. "I told you I did not want to present at this story's retelling!"

Aragorn couldn't answer for laughing, so he simply shrugged at his friend, while Legolas half-glared, half-grinned.

"Here. Right here in Mirkwood?" The friends tore themselves away from the private joke, and back to Thranduil, who was still looking distant, but now, also engrossed.

"Yes, he found the plant in an abandoned spider's nest. Why father? What is wrong?"

After a moment, Thranduil focused back on his son, and tried a week smile. "Nothing, my son. Nothing. I thought we had destroyed all traces of Bengwiil after Minaeg died of it."

Legolas flinched at the plant's name again, but Thranduil didn't notice. He had become quite detached again.

"Well, we rode through Mirkwood, over the Misty Mountains, and reached the House of Elrond by nightfall. Elrond and Aragorn saved my life, and we left to come home again. And- that is all." Aragorn turned to Legolas with a slightly quizzical look at his friend's sudden curtness.

Legolas turned his silver gaze on Aragorn, and the annoyance with his father was quite visible in the look.

"I must retire, father." Legolas continued, his voice now more weary, than impatient. "The hour is quite late."

"Indeed." Thranduil mused, not turning away from the blank wall he appeared to be gazing at. "Maer fuin."

"Maer fuin, father." and with a slight bow, Legolas and Aragorn left to rest.

**********

"Something unsettles you, Legolas." Aragorn said softly, as the two walked down the stone hall.

"He hides something from me. He *never* hides anything from me. He is so distant, I cannot tell what ails him!" Legolas sighed, and for awhile, did nothing but watched his feet walk the long hall's length. Finally, he spoke. "I am sorry, Aragorn, that I go on so. I am just not accustomed to my father keeping things from me. And he is not normally this detached." Legolas sighed again, watching his feet once more. "And, of course, anything having to do with that plant unsettles me, and I am in no doubt that that is what my father is so distressed over."

"Indeed, it must be, for that was the moment he became so 'distant' as you have put it. When we mentioned Bengwiil." Aragorn, realizing his mistake, glanced quickly at his friend. The elf seemed to concentrate very hard on his shoes awhile. "I- I am so sorry, Legolas, I hadn't meant to-"

"I know. I know you don't mean me pain, I only- I only wish that I did not *need* you to not speak it. Whatever is wrong with me, Aragorn? The pain is gone. It is over. Why do I still think of it constantly? Why do I dwell on that which I want more than anything to forget. Why- why must I be frightened of a plant? Nay, but only the *name* of a plant. Why am I so weak?"

"You are *not* weak." Aragorn's voice was firm, and almost angry. But he slowly walked a little closer to his friend, so he could put a hand on his shoulder. He murmured in a gentler voice, "I do not know what it is that causes continual pain to you, Legolas. But I know you can conquer it." he squeezed the shoulder tight, in reassurance. "Iston nach."

//I know you can//

And Legolas smiled at him, putting a hand on the one that rested on his shoulder. "Hantach, mellon nin."

//thank you, my friend//

They walked in silence for awhile, before finally reaching the room they'd been heading for. Legolas glanced up the staircase that stood outside his bedroom door. "Is your room up there?"

Aragorn nodded, also looking up the stairs. "Your father said it was the only empty room this close to yours." he shrugged "I don't mind the dark, Legolas, I'll be fine."

"Oh, I know, Strider. I was only wondering, I- it seems familiar to me somehow."

Aragorn cocked an amused eyebrow. "Well, it should, Legolas, it's your home."

Legolas chuckled, and turned into his room momentarily, his voice continuing from within the bedroom. "Yes, Aragorn, thank you. I never would have guessed that I *lived* here." Aragorn only shook his head in silent laughter as Legolas returned with his things.

"Here you are." Legolas handed the ranger his bed role, and grinned. "Though I really don't see why you need a bed role. We have *beds* you know, Strider."

"Oh do you? Ah, yes. That's right, *you* live here. Can't be without beds!" Aragorn's innocent expression was shattered by the balled-up cloak thrust in his face.

"Thank you for your help, Strider." and Aragorn only caught a glimpse of the elf's smile before he turned, and went into his room. "Maer fuin!"

"Maer fuin, mellon nin." and Aragorn began up the stone staircase.

As his footsteps echoed off the ancient walls, Aragorn was reminded strongly of his and Legolas' journey up the light stairs of Gabil Gû ndu, and the memory made him cringe. He kept telling himself what he'd told Legolas on their journey back from Rivendell.

"It won't be long 'til we can forget it all, Legolas. We can put it behind us, and even laugh some day. We won't let it steal our courage."

But even as his own words rang through his head, Aragorn found himself quickening his pace, and mounting the many stairs faster than he'd meant. Upon reaching the top, Aragorn found, to his surprise, that there was only one room up here, rather than another floor. Shrugging, he pushed the door before him open, and stepped in.

It was a welcoming room. The bed was large, and full of inviting over-stuffed blankets and pillows. Aragorn collapsed into the bed, and had the wonderful sensation that it was almost swallowing him. He lay there, half covered in the bed's folds, when all of a sudden, he sat bolt upright. A memory had flashed unexpectedly through his mind. One he was hoping he wouldn't see again.

Erlond, draining the Bengwiil's poison from Legolas' system, a grim look on his face as the opaque liquid flowed from the gash in the young elf's neck. Elladan and Elrohir were standing on either side of the bed, holding the prince's struggling form to the bed. And Aragorn was trying desperately to calm him in the grey tongue. Calling him back to the light. But all the while, sure he was going to lose his friend.

Aragorn wondered what had sparked such a memory so suddenly, and hoped that it wouldn't happen again. Slowly, he climbed off the bed, and walked to the washing basin. He dipped his hands into the icy water, and splashed it over his face, feeling a little better once this was done.

Aragorn paced around the large room awhile, looking at the various tables and stands. Each had something on top of it. A candle, another basin, some elven decoration or another. He looked into the table drawers, but found nothing of interest. Extra blankets here, more pillowcases there, and in one drawer, a spare, pale blue tunic.

Looking around the room again, Aragorn spotted a small writing desk beside the open window looking out onto Mirkwood forest. He sat at the desk, and reaching along it's frame, found the latch to the top of it. Carefully, he opened the desk, and inside found a quill, a few bottles of ink, blank parchment, and then, an even bigger stack of parchment with writing on it.

Aragorn was intrigued. He lifted the stack of written parchment, and flipped through the pages fascinated. Each page was written on one side in a delicate scroll, but Aragorn couldn't make all the words out. Every once and awhile, he'd catch a word like pain and artificial but for the most part, he couldn't make sense of it.

He finally flipped the stack over, and on the last page, caught a word he understood. Iston. He stared a moment, then re-read it. The pages were not written in elvish, and so it was curious to him that there would be only one, and that one in particular. He made out the rest as best he could.

Need shield. Not can get through. Must be saying of comfort knew. But cannot get through that, so must, Find of something that's here at last. Must say what is always known. Elf of Sindar. Iston! Iston…

And the script cut off as though the writer had been in a hurry.

Aragorn cocked a judgmental eye as he read over the poor grammar again. It didn't make sense! All that rang a bell was Iston but even that didn't make sense, really. What was this writer talking about?

Sighing, Aragorn let the papers fall back into the desk. As he did so, another paper, lighter than the others, floated from between them, and onto the floor. Aragorn leaned over, and picked the paper up. On it was a pen and ink drawing of an elf. He looked rather like Legolas, but on closer inspection, Aragorn realized that he was merely another woodelf.

Below the picture was an inscription Aragorn couldn't make out. Just an M here and a G there. All he could really tell was it was roughly five or six letters long. And below the inscription, the shadow of a leaf was drawn.

Aragorn understood this fairly well. It was clearly just a picture of an elf, possibly the one who had owned this room before him, and the leaf wasn't too surprising, if it was indeed a Mirkwood elf. Leaves, trees, ivy, and any other symbol of nature were not uncommon among them. What perplexed him was the writing he'd read a few moments ago. It was practically not writing at all!

Confused, and figuring on asking Legolas about it in the morning, Aragorn blew out the candle on the table, and sank back onto the great bed.

As Elrond got farther into the chant, Legolas slowly became wilder. He jerked and cried, trying to break free of Elladan and Elrohir's grip on him. The twins merely tried to hold him still while Aragorn bravely persevered through another song, and tried desperately to think of another.

More poison seeped out of the cut, but this liquid was almost not liquid. It seemed so coagulated and the stench of it almost drowned out the lovely odor of athales.

Aragorn almost threw himself out of the bed, panting. He leaned against the bedpost, and pressed his palms hard against his eyes, trying to shut out the memory. It would not go away! Why wouldn't these memories go away?

He decided that whatever was wrong, it seemed to be so much stronger when sleeping on the huge bed. Maybe because it rather resembled the one Legolas had been forced down on, on that dark night a week ago. At any rate, he resolved to simply sleep on the floor.

He rolled his small, and Legolas had thought unnecessary, bed role, and lay down on it. He rolled over. Twice. And again. Rising up off the floor, the disgruntled human went for a pillow, and laid it on the floor at the top of his bed role. Once again, he lay down, this time with something to cushion his head on.

He lay for a long moment, but all he could think about was that evil night. He kept hearing his fearful words to his father when he'd lost his friend's heartbeat.

"Oh father, I do not want to lose h-him!"

Aragorn closed his eyes to the memory again, trying so hard to shut it out, but to no avail. Finally fed-up, he grabbed the pillow, and decided to trade with Legolas. It was silly, and almost superstitious, but he had nothing better to do, and should also like to tell Legolas about the papers and picture he'd found anyway.

He made his steady way back down the ancient staircase, reminded once again of the nightmarish hours in Gabil Gû ndu. This thought, combined with the darkness now all around him, and the lack of candle light at the foot of the stairs, was likely why he made his way down the flight of steps quicker than he had up. He hated to admit it, but the long experience under the grounds of Mirkwood, in the Dwarvish city, gave him a phobia he'd never had before of the dark. It embarrassed him to think of it.

Once he'd gained the foot of the stairs, he stopped and leaned against the pillar beside Legolas' bedroom door. He stood a long moment, catching his breath so Legolas wouldn't know he had run all the way down from his tower bedroom. Finally, he straightened, and walked into the dark room.

It was slightly small, smaller than the one Aragorn had been put in. The walls were pale gray, and there was a window on each wall, and though they were covered by velvet curtains, they managed to make this room look less like a cave than most of the rooms in Thranduil's halls.

Aragorn couldn't help smiling at the thought, and the look widened as he gazed around at the many candles set on each table, windowsill, shelf, and anything else that would fit a candlestick. Legolas had obviously done everything possible to make his room look less like a cave. His fear of the underground, and especially caverns was understandable though, considering how many misadventures had taken place in them. Even so, the thought that he was so avoiding them was almost comical.

Aragorn could recall how Legolas' previous bedroom had been a much larger one, on the same floor as his father's. A grand room, but with no windows. After about the fifth night of waking up sweaty from claustrophobic dreams, Legolas had been moved to the floor below. A floor of good rooms, but certainly not ones for a prince. But Legolas was content, for there were several windows, and had no more claustrophobia dreams.

Ah, Legolas. Aragorn thought at the memory. So brave, and yet so frightened of such a little thing. Something that makes you almost human. Aragorn's smile became unconsciously wide, and he no longer felt embarrassed about his sudden fear of the dark.

Aragorn approached his friend's four-poster bed, where the prince was half buried in several layers of blankets. His face was covered by the hills in his feather pillow, and his normally tidy hair was sleep-tousled, and strewn over the rest of his pillow.

Aragorn leaned over his sleeping friend, and whispered quietly, "Legolas?"

Nothing.

He leaned over a little more, a little closer to his friend's ear, and whispered again. "Legolas? Are you awake?"

From the depths of the pillow came a groan, and slowly, the elf turned over, and squinted up at the form in front of him.

"Aragorn?" He asked around a yawn. "What is the matter?" He rolled over a little further, and glance at the pillow that Aragorn held in his hands. "Oh. Go back to sleep, Strider, it was just a dream." And with that, he flopped back onto his pillow, and kicked some of the blankets off him fitfully.

Aragorn rolled his eyes. "Legolas, really."

Silence.

The annoyed human, out of other options, reached down, and jerked the blankets off his friend. Legolas propped himself up on his elbows, and was laughing. "All right, I can take a hint."

"Yes," Aragorn agreed hardily "after the third try."

Legolas was trying to laugh and yawn at the same time, as he said "So, what is it my friend?"

Aragorn sat on the edge of the elf's huge bed, setting the pillow aside, pulling his knees against his chest, and gently resting his chin on them. "Well, I was looking around my bedroom, the one your father assigned me, and I came across something very odd in the desk drawer. About a twenty-page stack of parchment."

Legolas pushed himself up against the backboard of his bed, and leaned his head back, watching the ranger intently. "What was on it?"

"Well, for the most part, I couldn't understand it. It was like scattered thoughts, or a whole sequence of unfinished sentences. But there was something I caught that was familiar. Iston. It is a very, very familiar word now…"

Legolas' eyes went to his friend and looked slightly worried. "Aragorn, do you believe this has to do with- with Bengwiil?"

Aragorn only nodded shortly, and looked away, wishing he had not driven his friend to saying the word he hated so.

Legolas was silent a moment. "Well," he began "if these are writings of the previous owner of that bedroom, it's very likely he was and elf of Sindar, and therefore, a word like 'iston' wouldn't be so odd. It is a common enough Sindarin phrase."

"True," The young man agreed, but was not convinced yet. "But there was so much attention around that word. Oh, I should have brought it to show to you. Well, as best as I can remember it, it was something like, 'Must be saying of what is known. Iston.' It seemed as though the writer had been working up to this point, but didn't even know it. It was…daunting." Aragorn shook his head, and shrugged. After what Legolas had said about this Sindarin elf, it all made sense. And now he felt silly for running all the way down from his room to fret over it with his tired friend.

Legolas could see the embarrassment in the human's eyes, and hated it. He hadn't meant to make him feel so foolish. "Aragorn, I am sorry. You were right to inform me of this. If it unnerves you, you *should* heed that. I am sorry that I crushed your suspicions so easily. I shall not do it again."

Aragorn seemed even more embarrassed that his embarrassment had been so apparent. But he was grateful none-the-less for his friend's words, and smiled up at him when they were through. "Thank you, Legolas."

Legolas smiled back. "How about you show me this paper you found in the morning. Perhaps I can decipher more of it."

"All right." Aragorn stood up from the bed, and turned to leave, but Legolas voice stopped him.

"Were you going to stay the night down here?" Aragorn turned a quizzical eye on the elf, and smiled sheepishly when he saw him holding up the pillow from upstairs.

"Forgive me." Aragorn walked over and reached out for the pillow. "Every time I laid down on it, I had visions. Terrible memories of that night you nearly died." He shrugged and looked down at his feet. "And, well, I thought it may be the pillow."

Legolas didn't laugh. He didn't find the little fear of his full-grown friend at all silly, or comical. He reached out a hand, and laid it on Aragorn's outstretched arm. "Dear Estel. Do not be troubled over such things. It was only a vision. Memories fade with time. At least I hope they do." At this he sat back a ways, letting his hand slide off of the human's arm, and his gaze blew distantly over the bedroom. "For these memories haunt me as well."

There was a long silence. Aragorn stared at the velvet curtains of Legolas' window awhile. They blew back momentarily, and Aragorn briefly saw a late-night hunting party taking off into the woods. Then, with a shutter, the curtain flopped back onto it's sill again.

Finally, Aragorn saw fit to brake the throbbing silence, and return to life, rather than drift around in dark memories.

"So, may I have the pillow back?"

Legolas came back from his mind's wanderings, and realized that he still held onto the pillow. His face broke into a half-concealed smile. "No, it is *mine* now."

"There is not difference between it, and the ones you have, Legolas."

"No, I think there is!" Legolas threw the pillow behind him, and fell on top of it with a contented sigh.

"Good grief, Legolas." Aragorn chuckled, shaking his head.

"What?" the other demanded, feigning a hurt look.

"Well, I should like to go to bed, and I need a pillow."

"Well, you cannot have this one back. I am growing far too attached to it."

Aragorn couldn't help laughing. "By the Valar, just give me a pillow, please!"

"Very well, very well." Legolas pushed himself up off his mountain of pillows, and searched over them. "I think I should like to keep *all* of these." Aragorn was still laughing as the elf threw himself over the side of his bed, and dug around in it's unseen depths. Finally, he emerged, holding up three pillows. "One of these should do."

"Goodness, how many pillows could you possibly need?!"

Legolas sighed, dropping the pillows onto his bed. "Alas! Every time I leave home, someone comes in and straightens me room. The unfortunate thing is, they always add half of a million things I don't need, and certainly don't want! And obviously, pillows are one of those things." He grinned. "I can get you three more, if you should like."

Aragorn shook with silent mirth, and snatched one of the pillows. "Thank you, but I think one will do."

"To go with that bed role I *still* say you don't need!" Legolas laughed, and lay down on his pillow-tower.

"Yes, exactly!" Aragorn laughed, knowing full-well Legolas wouldn't know he was serious.

"Well, maer fuin, Aragorn. Sleep in peace."

"And you as well, my friend." And Aragorn made his way to the door.

Again he stopped, but this time by his own demise. And when he turned, there was a grin spreading across his face. "You know what this room reminds me of? Remember that one cave we-"

But because Legolas chucked the unwanted pillow at him, Aragorn was forced to make a hasty retreat out the door.

The human made his steady way back up the stairs; the conversation with his friend too fresh in his mind to think about the gloomy staircase. True, it made perfect sense to have a word like 'iston' in the midst of a Sindar elf's writings. But somehow it was still unsettling. Deep down, the words on that dusty page had made sense to Aragorn.

Need shield. Not can get through. Must be saying of comfort knew.

Were these not the very things that had rushed through Aragorn's mind when Legolas had lain writhing at Bodruith's feet? He had wanted to get through to his friend. And his panicked mind had landed on Sindarin. Iston. Just as this mysterious writer had said. This was the very remedy for Bengwiil, and anything that made reference to that horrible plant couldn't be good.

But despite all this, Aragorn was determined to keep a clear head. Legolas had, and he'd been through much more than the human, so why couldn't Aragorn stay composed? He could, with determination, and he would. At least he would try. These dark memories couldn't rule him forever. He'd rise above himself, if only he could try and forget his nightmares.

But though his thoughts were resolute, and his intentions good, Aragorn found himself sleeping on his bed role that night, propped up on Legolas' pillow. Just in case…