Okay, I'm so so so sorry this took so long but medical issues, family issues and school work prevented me from getting to this sooner. I apologize profusely for the lateness of this chapter and I'll try to get them up sooner in the futur. Please don't hate me for it

emily

Legolas moaned softly at the pain in his side. He could feel a presence in the room and tightened his arm around Eowyn protectively before slowly allowing the sight back into his eyes. They barely had time to register what they saw.

The force of the impact sent him careening from the bed. With a strangled gasp he landed, limbs sprawled out, across the floor as stars exploded behind his eyes. Pain laced its way solidly through his jaw and instantly, instinctively he was on his feet in mere seconds, body bent in a defensive stance. In the background he heard Eowyn cry out in anger but remained as he was. His whole being was focused on the man before him.

"Eomer?" Bright blue eyes surveyed the horseman with a look of confusion and incredulity. The pain in his side returned with a vengeance and he bit back a groan waiting for the young man's reply.

" You have no business being here!" The reply was short and practically spat in the elf's direction. Legolas' brow furrowed momentarily before his eyes swept across the room to Eowyn who stood by the bed, face red with anger and eyes like ice.

" If anyone has no business here it is you!" She stormed past Legolas, allowing enough time to pass him a tender look before glaring at her brother. " How dare you barge into my chambers! My private chambers! What I do here is-" But she had not the time to finish because Eomer has pushed her to the side. His attention was focused on the slightly bent elf.

" How can your people act so superior to men when they are found in the chambers of young unmarried women?!"

" Eomer I do now wish to fight with you…I understand your anger, I can feel it but there was nothing wrong done in these chambers this night…I merely sought aid for my injuries."

" Then go to the healers like all the rest!" Eomer's voice was rising. His face was dark with rage and Legolas tracked the path of his hand as it strayed towards his sword before looking back up to the man's visage.

" I will not fight you here in your sister's room or any other time if I can escape it. You are an ally and a friend Eomer." Legolas' words were very controlled although it took most of his composure to keep them that way. " Do not let your anger overshadow your judgement.

" Says the elf who has stolen away to a young maiden's chambers!" Eomer retorted angrily, this time his hand was gripping the handle of his sword tightly. Legolas could see the whiteness of his knuckles as they flexed almost imperceptibly around the well-crafted weapon. The horse master was ready to strike and Legolas was sure he would be hard pressed to avoid the attack given his condition. Briefly a memory of finding a young stable boy in his younger sister's room flashed behind his eyes and he sighed wearily. How stupid he must have looked barging in to save his sister's innocence.

" As I said before it was for medical purposes!" As he spoke Legolas felt a wave of dizziness pass over him and swayed slightly where he stood. " Look, I tell the truth!" He fumbled with his tunic momentarily but finally pulled it back to reveal the bloodied bandages. " I was wounded." As though to fortify his announcement an agonizing pain left him blind and gasping for a moment. He cursed his weakness silently.

Eomer seemed to be studying him for a moment and slowly the redness left his face and his hand loosened though he did not say a word.

" Eomer, if you do not believe him then believe me, I beg of you." Eowyn had come to stand between the two once more. "Can you accuse your own blood of lying?" Eomer turned his hazel eyes on her with a hint of annoyance. " Why let something like this destroy a strong alliance?"

" Eowyn you are making this far more dramatic than needs be." Eomer's words were short with only a flicker of a gaze towards his sister and Legolas groaned inwardly.

" I am being overly dramatic? I was not the one who came storming in here demanding blood! If Uncle-"

" If uncle knew you were lying in a bed with an elf he would take my side." Eowyn grew silent at these words, her own face still dark with unspoken anger which Eomer either seemed immune to or simply ignoring it. " Get thee from my sister's chambers." Legolas nodded curtly, glance sweeping over the room and then slowly turning his body to the door leaving Eowyn fuming. The anger radiated from her in waves. This was a discussion he would have been loathed to witness.

Slowly his attention flickered back to the door, he could hear thudding footsteps in hall, two sets of them. What new problem is this? He thought wearily and deliberately taking no notice of his body's want to sink to the cold stone floor.

" Legolas! Eomer!" Aragorn came bursting into the room, sword in hand and Gimli in tow.

" You touch one hair on that elf's head and I'll cleave you in two you-" But he broke off in mid-sentence and Legolas realized it was for the best because Eomer had turned angry eyes on the pair.

" Eomer do not do anything you'll regret." Aragorn said with an air of authority hastily stepping between the dwarf and man. There were angered looks wherever he turned his head and desperately he tried to calm what he could. " There's a perfectly logical explanation for all of this…now is a time to make allies, not enemy's and I would hate to see something broken over an assumption."

" An assumption?' Eomer seethed. "He and my sister were lying together in the bed." To emphasize his words he made a grand sweeping motion with his sword to the said piece of furniture. Aragorn cast a glance first at Eowyn and then towards the bed once more.

" And what were they doing?"

" We were simply lying there! Ask Legolas!" Eowyn said. " Legolas…" Her voice trailed off

All eyes turned to the empty space where the elf had stood seconds before.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Letting out a low hissing breath Legolas leaned heavily against the wall. The stone was cool against his heated skin and he tried to banish the voices in his head. Too much shouting, too much conflict. He felt suffocated by all of it.

The pain in his side was rising and falling in waves and his mind recalled vaguely the warnings of Galadriel in regards to the sea longing. Would it be thus?

" Prince Legolas...?" The voice was oddly familiar and he turned his head to find the young servant girl from earlier standing behind him. He managed a small smile.

" Yes?"

" I beg your pardon, but are you well?" Legolas opened his mouth to say the answer foremost in his mind. Yes, everything is fine, I am weary. He studied her face and she blushed under the sudden scrutiny.

" No, but do not tell those who ask of me that you saw me." She nodded immediately though the elf could see the confusion in her eyes. A current of pain made him hesitate before he continued. " It's important."

" Of course…" She made as though she were going to curtsey but stopped and then hurried off down the hall.

Legolas watched her progress for a moment with uneven rasping breaths. They rattled in his chest and he cursed inwardly at his weakness once more. Finally sure in the fact that he was alone in the hall he took off in the direction of the doors.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

" I see and hear no one." Aragorn muttered frustratedly to the space before him. Gimli was crowding him closely from behind, eyes scouring the corridor.

" Let's face it laddie…he's gone and hid on us." Aragorn grumbled his dissatisfaction at the prognosis and glared heartily first at the deserted hallway and then to the door leading into Eowyn's bedchambers. Strains of the loud argument between brother and sister drifted through the hall. " If I didn't already know so I'd say that you were acting the dwarf right now Master Aragorn." Gimli chided softly. "Come to bed, he'll be found when he wants to…you know him as well as I and it will be folly to look for him while he does not want to be found."

" But he is injured." Aragorn argued taking another step forwards. Gimli's hand fastened around his arm and drew him back. Concern swirled deep within the small black eyes but a hint of resignation mingled also.

" And I've no doubt that he'll come back, he would not abandon us Aragorn…as it is let him be." The ranger looked as though he was about to press the matter but remained silent. " Aye…lets go back." And then he turned back towards the direction of their chamber.

Aragorn followed for perhaps a few yards, allowing Gimli to keep up a conversation. Once the dwarf had launched into a one sided discussion of the benefits of rocks versus trees he hung back, ducking behind a small pillar. He could hear the heavy footsteps slowly fade and then he paused for a moment, eyes scanning the hallways quickly. Without hardly a sound he turned and ran towards the Deep's exit.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Rumil stretched out languidly on his cot eyes staring with dissatisfaction and thinly veiled disgust at the tent's enclosed space. Beside him Orophin's cot lay empty and unused. The archer had returned to find his brother gone, food untouched and although it had been common habit of the elf over the past two days it was beginning to wear on Rumil's nerves. He at least ought to leave me notice of his whereabouts, I do not-will not lose another brother to death be it by grief or battle.

He was restless. He longed to see the forests of Lorien and climb amid their branches. He would have given anything to sleep in a talan.

A soft sigh escaped his lips and he sat up slowly. A steaming bowl of broth sat on the small table opposite his cot and he stared at it for a moment before reaching down and retrieving a packet of Lembas.

As he dipped the bread into the hot soup his thoughts strayed back to the castle and to Legolas.

The look in the Prince's eyes had scared him. Never had he seen such feverish confusion and pain in someone of his race. It didn't belong, especially in someone he had known for so long. The Prince's aura was faded, dimmed by what the Lorien elf had no idea, and it was more unnerving than perhaps the expression on Legolas' face. The fevered heat and colored skin were new to him. Never had he seen his people suffer from illness and the Prince's actions were surely worth taking into consideration. Stumbling, gasping, pain. None of it belonged in a being of light, none of it and Rumil was fast realizing the repercussions of the quest.

No longer did he think it some folly. Sending one of the little people into Mordor with nothing but a few more of his kind, two men, a dwarf and only one elf. The idea was laughable at the time and to him it had seemed a thing that could only end in failure and by all evidence it appeared as though it had ended so. What he hadn't considered was how much it would matter to those involved. Why Legolas had gone he hadn't understood. It was the mistakes of men that had begun this and shouldn't it have been the men who put things to right?

" We leave three nights from now." Rumil started, eyes fastening immediately to the figure in the entrance. " By that time all who survived should be healed…" Orophin's quiet monotonous voice echoed throughout the small space and Rumil nodded, folding his legs before him and setting the bowl down into his lap.

" Where were you?"

" I went for a walk, to seek some solitude." Orophin sank down onto his cot, eyes glazed and expressionless. " You were gone long."

" I went in search of bandages, our supplies were running low. They've already begun repair on the gate."

" I saw." Orophin's answer was toneless. The elf exuded nothing beyond cool detachment.

" I spoke with Legolas." His eyes flitted up briefly to meet those of his brother's and he waited silently for him to continue. " He is ill."

" He cannot be."

" But he is…" Rumil persisted, food forgotten. "Something plagues him.. He was in pain, he was fevered and he was confused." Orophin continued to watch and Rumil could see that he was thinking deeply about something.

" Is it the ring?"

" I do not know. He spoke haltingly and then he ran. I told him where the encampment was. I told him to visit us." Orophin opened his mouth to speak but paused mid-motion and snapped his jaw shut once more. Rumil too went silent and both stared at the tent's opening. They could hear soft footsteps outside. They were too light for those of men although they had never known elves to be heard when walking.

With quick, agile feline movement both rose to their feet, hands searching for knives and eyes trained at the door.

A pained gasp escaped from the creature outside and Rumil took a step forwards peering out into the darkness. The slow shock of recognition registered briefly on his face before fading fast into concern. "Legolas?!" He cried as the archer fell into the tent, fall broken only by the brothers.