He's Not Heavy, He's My Brother
Disclaimer: I don't own anything in the Tolkien universe. I make no money on this whatsoever so suing me will serve you no purpose.. Ya greedy Orcs!
Summary: When Rúmil is captured while on a mission, it is up to Haldir to rescue him. However, fate is not kind to the brothers and Rúmil suffers mortal wounds. His only hope is to return to Lothlorien, but time may be running out.
Rating: PG at most
Archive: Sure if you want it, just ask and give me a link to it.
Characters: Haldir, Rúmil, and a couple of characters from my imagination.
A Special Thanks goes to those that write Haldir Stories. I thought I was the only fan!
Feedback: Would be greatly appreciated. Criticism would be appreciated as well, but only constructive.

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"The trouble you get yourself into." Haldir sighed softly, his dark blue eyes searching the semi-darkness of the town.

"It was not my intention brother." Rúmil said, keeping his own voice low.

The pre-dawn rays of the sun filtered through the lingering cloud cover, slowly diminishing with the heat of the coming day as the sun rose higher over the cleft of the vale in the distance. Staring into the horizon, Haldir left his thoughts drift momentarily back to the late eve, the easiness it was to slip past the slumbering patrols on the edge of the human town and the simple distractions it took to overcome the guards standing watch over his brother. His eyes drifted over to his brother, taking in the bruises forming on the fair beings face, attesting to the beating he had received when captured the previous day. Haldir felt his anger at his brother fall away, and relief that he was once again in Elven company and they were on their way home. The only obstacle that stood in their return was the angry mob that had gathered after a fallen guard had alerted the townsfolk of the Elf's escape.

The two Elven brothers were hidden behind barrels lined along one side of a dusty, human street, near the edge of the town. It had taken the better part of the night to skirt the city way, avoiding the gathering posse and hiding in complete and utter stillness until all hostilities had passed.

All around the sounds of angry men shouted, cursed, and ordered one another around, clearly perturbed about losing their prisoner.

Rúmil opened his mouth to speak again, but Haldir quickly raised his hand, cutting off any further verbal communication. The source of the Elf's defensive nature made it known as a cluster of shouting men rallied together near the Elves hiding place. A large burly looking man shouted, ordering the enraged humans to fan out and find the Elf that had eluded captivity. Heated arguments sprang up as the men disbanded, breaking into smaller group and setting out on their search. The air was thick with the scent of hatred, burning and raging for the elf that dared to slip through their clutches. Torturous words were called, threatened, and ordered by the men that whoever caught the elf, would be allowed to instate the punishment.

The sounds of the frenzied masses drifted to the distance as the men fanned out and began to comb through the buildings and alleyways, searching every dark nook and cranny they thought could house a cleverly hidden Elf.

Haldir nodded towards the forest a short distance away. Rúmil answered back with a nod of his own, waiting for his kin to give the signal that it would be safe. Both knew if they could gain the tree-line they could easily blend into their surroundings and fade away from site.

With a quick visual sweep of the area, and finding it now devoid of those that wish harm to them, the two elves perked their ears and listened for any sounds that would give away to any hidden enemies. Hearing only the distant roar of the villagers as they combed through houses and stables a short distance away, the two slipped out from behind their cover and started sprinting for the forest, their footfalls silent and swift.

A late arrival, barely awake in the early morning hours, came from around the corner of a hovel, and startled in surprise when he saw the two beings coming towards him. Both were tall of stature, elegant and graceful of feature, their heads crowned with golden hair that fell about their shoulders. Fumbling through slurred senses due to the remnants of sleep, he haphazardly notched his bow and let an arrow fly.

The aim was off but only by a few centimeters. Roaring at his own body's slow responses, the man shouted, "They are two Elves! Hurry, they are getting away!!"

Realizing their discovery, the two elves turned direction, angling off away from the man, their speed increased as they neared the forest line. With shouts of an angry mob growing closer the elves prayed to the Valar that they make the approaching trees safely.

Knowing that the mob would never make it in time to catch the two elves, the man growled with anger and notched another arrow and let it fly. It sang through the air, landing on target perfectly. He smiled in grim satisfaction as he saw one of the fair beings jolt, then stumble forward.

Haldir heard a familiar swoosh through the air, then glanced at Rúmil just in time to see his brother stumble. Rúmil gasped out as he felt the searing pain enter his back, the arrowhead slicing between two ribs and lodging greedily at the elves prone body, ripping through tendons and muscle and finally lodging itself deep within a womb of warm elven flesh.

Haldir snarled, turned, his bow already notched and poised with his eyes blazing a deep sapphire and his mouth curled into a twisted grimace. Within the blink of an eye, he released its deadly cargo and smiled with satisfaction as the man soundlessly dropped dead, the shock of an Elven arrow resting securing between his eyes.

Rúmil had slowed, the arrow protruding from him making his breath hitch and pain threaten to overwhelm him and send him spiraling down into darkness. He gritted his teeth through the pain, keeping his path true as he stumbled into the trees and began to disappear into their foliage.

Within a few minutes the pain became too much, and Rúmil stopped beside a large oak tree, placing his hand shakily on it and gasping for breath. The arrow grated against the bones of his ribs with every inhale, causing more pain to tear through the elf's body.

Haldir stopped by his brothers side, his eyes taking in the crude arrow and the blood staining his brothers back and side. Though used to battle and the wounds they undoubtedly sustain, the elf still couldn't bear to watch his own flesh and blood suffer from injury.

"Rúmil?" Haldir asked softly, placing his hand on the pale shaky one of his brother as he clutched his side.

"It hurts brother." Rúmil gasped, his breath becoming harder to intake.

"It looks to be deep. Do you wish me to remove it now or can you wait until we return home?" Haldir asked, the question striking him as absurd the moment it left his lips.

"I do not think you will be able to remove it. I feel it buried deep." Rúmil said through gasps. His eyes focused on that of his kin, their depths swirling with pain and the fight to remain conscious.

"If it is buried deep, then we must get you back to Lothlorien. The Lady will be able to aid you." Haldir said in a rush, his mind painfully aware of the slick wetness of his brother's blood pouring from the wound.

"Do not let them get away! They will pay for what they have done!!" Angry shouts rent the air as the brothers stared at one another.

Rúmil grabbed Haldir's arm, his eyes pleading. "Break it. Leave it buried but break it. I can not risk it becoming stuck or ripped and cause further damage."

Haldir nodded; though not entirely sure it was a good idea. Nonetheless he quickly unsheathed a small knife and cut the arrow shaft protruding from his brother's body, trimming it down to a much smaller size. He kept his face set as he surveyed the already crimson clothing and the shorter, yet still deadly bolt buried in Rúmil's back. He reached out, easily grabbing his kin in his arms and steading him as he tried desperately to regain his composure.

Rúmil cried out as Haldir cut the arrow, then felt his brethrens arms around him to keep him upright as the pain subsided and balance returned, fighting off the black swirling mist of painful unconsciousness.

"Over here! The Elves are hiding over here!" Someone shouted, and then joined in the many voices thundering towards the two elves hiding in the foliage.

"Ready?" Haldir questioned with uncertainty.

Rúmil nodded, pushing himself away from the tree and starting off at stiff pace. He pushed his body forward, willing it to forget about the agony it was reliving over and over with every step as the arrowhead rubbed and grating around against his bone and tissue. He knew if it was removed without proper care, the wound would bleed freely and his life would drain away.

The morning sun gave way to the brilliance of a hot, humid afternoon. The sun peeked through trees, dotting the ground with glimmers of light. The two Elven beings flitted through the trees, their feet making no sound and leaving no trace of their presence.

Thinking that they had eluded capture the Elves stopped for a rest, Haldir worriedly glancing at his brother's paling face and ragged breathing. The shortened arrow that still protruded from Rúmil's back blended in with the bright red that spread across the elf's back and side.

Haldir opened his mouth to speak but shut it quickly, his heightened hearing detecting the approach of a large group of people, their hunting dogs baying and barking in the distance, leading the men to the Elves. Haldir cursed softly to himself, then studied Rúmil, noting the beads of sweat forming on his brother's face, and the shakiness of his posture.

"We must continue. If we linger, they will find us." Haldir said, searching the woods with his keen gaze.

Rúmil heard the hunting dogs and nodded, shakily taking a deep breath and pushing himself upright to begin running. He took one step, and then fell to his knees with a cry of pain that left him gasping for air. He felt Haldir's arms around him, easily cradling him away from the hard, rough ground.

"Rúmil?" Haldir whispered hoarsely, his throat constricting as he held his brother to him protectively.

Rúmil's head lulled forward, his chest heaving as he struggled for breath.

Haldir eased himself down onto the ground, easing Rúmil down against him. "Rúmil? Rúmil, we are almost home. We just have to go a little further. Then the Lady can make you well. Just a little further brother."

Rúmil's body went slack, his head falling back against Haldir's cradling arm. He coughed roughly, his eyes becoming distant.

"Rúmil, I can remove the arrow. It has caused too much damage. Let me remove it and we can start for Lothlorien." Haldir pleaded, wiping errant strands of hair from his brother's face.

"Nay. I fear it will do no good either way." Rúmil panted, his face rising to stare into his elder brother. "I do not think I will see home again, Haldir. I feel my life leaving me already."

"Do not speak of such things!" Haldir snapped, a bit harsher than he meant.

His hand gripped Rúmil's, holding it firmly. The thought of losing his brother so late, or so early in life, was more than the elf could comprehend. Being the March Warden, he had of course seen his fair share of death of his kindred, but never that included his brethren in such peril.

"Flee Haldir. Let them find me. They can do no worse." Rúmil said, his face pale ashen in the waning light of the sun. The normal candescence of the Elf's face dulled to a barely registering glow, his eyes clouding over as his consciousness waned.

"Nay!" Haldir nearly shouted. With extreme gentleness Haldir scooped his brother up in his arms, careful of the arrow imbedded in his back and started sprinting through the forest once again, leaving the shouts and angry outcries of the villagers behind them.

Rúmil shuttered then drew a deep breath, glaring at his brother. "Accept the inevitable Haldir. Do not risk yourself over something that is already gone."

"Speak no more of this." Haldir said, biting back the sting of tears that welled up in his eyes. He didn't wish his brother to see his anguish.

"Haldir.." Rúmil started but was cut off by a shush from Haldir, who kept his face set in a stony expression, his eyes focused ahead, winding through the darkening trees.

Haldir raced as fast as his legs would accommodate he and Rúmil, all the while his ears alert to the sounds of men thrashing through the woods in search of their prey. The voices seemed to be getting closer; the sounds of hunting dogs baying to their masters filled the air, answering to each other and eliciting more shouts and curses.

Knowing that Lothlorien was still a good distance away, the elf changed directions frequently, hoping to lose the dogs and mingle up their scent, criss-crossing and confusing the animals. The sounds of the dogs and posse searching for the elves came to close for Haldir's liking, though he pushed on, knowing that if they were caught, it was certain death for Rúmil.

Haldir looked down at his brother cradled in his arms and felt a stab of guilt settle into his stomach. He chastised himself for ordering Rúmil so near the human settlement that he should have investigated himself. Feeling guilt gnaw at his mind, Haldir raced on, his soul twisting with the feeling that it was his fault, and now Rúmil was going to die because of his poor decision.

Darkness began to creep into the day as night started its greedy ascend on the countryside. Long fingers of shadow spread, mixing and devouring all threads of light that marked the trail to Lothlorien that remained with the fading sun.

Hearing the sound of trickling water, Haldir raced towards the sound, hoping that he could use the water to mask their escape. Panting, he reached a small hill, inclining gradually until it neared the small stream nestled in its cleavage, where it dropped sharply onto the banks, the brook already lost in the veil of night. Haldir's keen Elven eyes easily picked a path down the hillside, the fading light not diminishing his vision, but hoping that the lack of light would detour those in pursuit.

Testing his footing, Haldir began to ascend the height, wary of his brothers labored breathing and the wet feeling against his stomach that signaled his brothers loss of life blood. Gritting his teeth and refusing to give in, the stubborn elf continued down the hill, his feet barely touching the ferns and fallen bed of leaves.

As he neared the bottom, he turned right, taking the safer route down to the stream. Rúmil shuddered hard, catching the March Warden off guard. He missed the hidden tree root hidden under a thick carpet of leaves until it was too late.

Haldir's ankle twisted sharply as he stumbled over the root and struggled to keep his brother safely in his arms and not further injure him. A sick grating pop issued from Elf's ankle. Intense shards of pain snaked their way up Haldir's calf, sending his nerves on fire with burning agony. Skidding to the side of the stream, he winced as he gingerly tested his ankle, and fighting the urge to cry out in pain as the bones ground against one another, then slid sharply into place. Haldir grit his teeth knowing it was going to swell from the strain, and that the injury would impede his trek with his brother. He closed his eyes, trying desperately to ignore the overwhelming urge to pass out and the hot flashes of light flickering behind his closed eyelids.

Rúmil looked up into his brother's face and saw the pain he fought to control. His heart wrenched in his chest knowing his brother would kill himself trying to protect him and get him safely home. "Haldir? Do not do this. Leave me here."

Haldir's eyes snapped open and he stared down hard at his brother. "I would not leave you, even if it meant my death."

Rúmil smiled, his lips starting to tinge a pale blue. "That I know brother. That I know."

Voices lifted over the hill and startled the two. The men were getting closer.

Haldir took a deep breath, bit back the agony his ankle screamed at him, and started off at a painful gait, occasionally running into the stream and back again, hoping to confuse the dogs that howled in the distance, tracking him.

All down the ravine Haldir raced. The pain in his ankle heated and traveled up his leg, causing stabbing sensations through the very marrow. A light sweat broke out over the elf's face as he fought to control the wave of nausea that now threatened to overcome him. Blinding sparks of light flashed before his eyes as heat radiated throughout his chest, the fight to remain mobile and conscious raged in his mind, fueling his aching legs.

Within an hour, the sounds of the barking dogs and shouting men faded with the waning daylight, now tingeing the sky a vibrant orange and giving the earth a strange unnatural glow.

The arrow protruding from Rúmil's back had finally stopped bleeding, though the life was already fading from his body. His breath was ragged and difficult to withdraw, his eyes clouded, partially closed and glazed.

Haldir's heart begged the Valar that his brother lived; hoping the glazed look was a sign of sleep instead of passing. Dashing haphazardly onward, looking down at his brothers prone form in his hands, the elf didn't realize he was heading straight for a person, standing on the waters' edge lost in thought.