Author: Wolf (darkwolvine@y...)

Rating: PG-13 (possible change, but highly improbable)

Spoilers: Maybe some book stuff I'm not noticing as I write, but I

wouldn't think so.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or the world. All of

it belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien. Written for enjoyment only.

Warnings: Unorthodox Legolas... and now that I think of it...

Unorthodox Aragorn too.

Author's Notes: The title is as much for the fic itself as for the position of the fic in the order of things. I mean that in the way that I'm taking up another look at the history between Aragorn and Legolas. I'm assuming that they meet much later in life, when Aragorn is... I'd say about... 70? Old anyway. *g* Legolas's age is never mentioned in the books, Jackson's team has it figured to be around 3000 years old or

such, after the alliance war. I figured from the way Legolas speaks

in some parts of the books, such as when he notices light and

beautiful things as they enter dark times, that he was either young,

or sindarin. *giggles* I decided he oughta be both.

This is a Work In Progress which means there could be unpredicted

delays between the parts, depending upon inspiration and time.

It's also unbeta-ed, and I am not that big on looking for my own mistakes, please be as forgiving as possible.

********************

Another Look

********************

Beautiful, that's what she was. So very beautiful...

It seemed impossible. Before he saw her, he would never have imagined such beauty. By all rights, she shouldn't look at him twice. He wasn't worth attention from those amazingly deep, beautiful eyes.

Oh but how he craved, lived on that feeling. He lived as though she were forever watching. As impossible and vain as it was to do so, he hoped.

Aragorn wasn't a man who wanted, or needed a lot of things to survive. Or even to live. He had his sword, his cloak, and he could manage without the rest. He could enjoy life, solitude, beauty, without so much as a warm meal or comfortable bed for the night. He could admire the wilderness, the power of nature, enjoy the soft caress of the wind on his face, of the rain. He was pleased by occasional company, he found himself amused by other humans and humbled in the presence of the elven kind.

He could laugh with any race, speak any language, love any kind.

But he could also go without all this.

He could live under the harshest circumstances. He could survive the long dark and desolated desert of Mordor. He could hide under the very eyes seeking him, be they Haradrim, Rohirrim, Gondorian, even Noldor or Sindarin. He could be invisible, merciless, swift and deadly as any elf. He could live for months with no company but his own. He could sleep with one eye open for as long as he required it of his body. He could endure torment greater than any, for his body was conditioned to the exhaustion and pain that comes from traveling and being wounded.

He could talk circles around mostly everyone, he could hide his identity and he could be colder than ice when the need arose.

What he couldn't do however, was live without her image, lulling him to sleep, accompanying him into the darkest places of the worlds he visited. No matter how deep he became Thorongil the Captain, Strider the Ranger, Ælric the Rider, he could always be Estel for her.

- Thinking, ranger?

The voice startled him, but he had enough sense not to show it. He didn't think an answer was required however.

- About her I presume?

A smile crept up, the curling of the ranger's lips unnoticeable to anyone but the one addressing him.

- You know me too well Mellon.

- You brood more than the Noldor. Which, considering where you were raised, isn't much of a surprise.

- Are you saying Imladris is somber?

- Nay, nay, far from it. It is... austere. Beautiful. As any sorrow ought to be. You did lighten it up quite a lot as a child.

Another reluctant smile from the ranger. Such is the way of the elves, contradictions that agree with each other.

- As a child only? Would you be insinuating that my rare brooding moods now make me boring?

- Elves don't insinuate.

- It seems to me that it is all they do.

- You are human.

A chuckle this time. Aragorn knew that his companion was trying to distract him from his dark mood. He didn't know whether he should indulge in being nursed to joy any more than what he had already allowed.

Before he could formulate deeper thought on the subject, he found himself distracted by the elf accompanying him. Legolas was acting rather strange...

- I thought that would indeed get your attention.

- Hugging trees is not that far-fetched for you mellonin.

The slight huffing of Legolas' chest told him all he needed to know. Elves... the wisest and fairest beings of all, basking in their glory, unused to being questioned or pushed down from their pedestals.

It was almost amusing enough to make the ranger forget his mood.

Almost.

- You are very human, ranger.

- Thank you.

- That wasn't a compliment you know.

- I do.

- You are trying to make me react in an inappropriate way.

- I am.

An exasperated sigh. The ranger hid a smile. He'd learned the art from the very best. And Sindarin elves, always so happily dancing and singing, had no concern for subtlety games, or the art of annoying others.

Aragorn didn't think the Noldor preoccupied themselves with it either. Only Peredhil, then.

He turned to look at the elf for the first time since they started conversing. The look on the Elf's face was quite priceless. Aragorn was certain his eyes were dancing with merriment, but he kept his features serious and sombre.

The elf was obviously frustrated with him. But also amused and trying to hide it. Aragorn was glad that this elf in particular had not quite had the time, or the concern to work on the capacity to hide his feelings.

He silently blessed the Valar that such innocence hadn't been robbed from the elf.

- Fine. Be a Peredhil.

- I shall.

Merry laughter greeted his answer, he found himself responding before he could think about things too much.

- That is a problem of yours, ranger. You think too much.

With a chuckle, Aragorn gave up brooding for the night and he rose, ready to be as merry and mischievous as his wont would let him.

As he dusted himself off from the dirty ground where he had been sitting, he noticed the elf beside him freezing, all movement stopped. Alarm spread through the both of them as their eyes met. Legolas for what he was no doubt hearing, and Aragorn for what he was seeing in the elf's stance and face.

Danger.

Aragorn knew better than to speak up and dumbly ask what was coming. He simply drew his sword and waited for the elf to signal fight or flight.

- Spiders.

- Are we surrounded?

- I believe so.

Fight it was then. He drew closer to his companion, raising the sword at a ready. He was hearing them now. There were many of them. And they were very close.

He gave a silent prayer for the Valar to keep his companion safe through the fight, a short one for himself, and as the first beast surged through the foliage, he swung his sword vertically, slashing its head nearly in two.

He heard Legolas cursing for his inability to use his bow in such close quarters and with no opportunity to climb and gain leverage.

Aragorn resolved to keep an eye on him at all times, but it soon became impossible as the spiders were many and obviously less stupid than orcs. They were working at separating them, attacking from the centre and off to push the companions further away from each other as they swept and slashed and killed.

As Aragorn cut off another spider leg reaching for him, he resumed that they were succeeding and cursed loudly. He has lost sight of his friend. Worry gnawed at him and he made more moves to look for his friend than to attack the enemy.

More spiders were massing around him for his lack of aggression. They were slowly working him back towards a rocky surface he knew he couldn't climb without losing focus.

Spiders were definitely brighter than orcs.

He quickly refocused his attention on slashing his way out of the trap he was walking straight into, but the spiders sensed their quarry too close and more came to the screeching beasts' help.

The ranger felt something slash at his leg and he cursed again, decapitating the spider clutching at his limb with one swift move. It had pierced the skin. Which probably meant venom.

He needed to get to safety before it took hold.

But with more and more spiders coming his way, and Legolas... Gods where was Legolas?

Aragorn focused more on defending himself than attacking, not only because those moves took less energy, but also because with the number of spiders attacking, an aggressive move would leave too much opening. And that would doubtlessly bring his death.

He felt the fatigue, the urge to fall asleep on his feet. Just let everything go and sleep.

But he would not allow it. For his sake and Legolas's.

He tried to block another aggressive slash of the enemy, but the move was too sloppy and weighted down by fatigue. He had been fighting for too long, with too much venom in his veins... Staggering under the blow, he fell back against the rock that meant he was at the spiders' mercy. His sword fell from nerveless fingers. Aragorn had no idea the poison could work so fast...

Another slash across his now unprotected chest, and yet another on his stomach, he fell to his knees, dizzy and disoriented. Fighting the urge to retch, he grabbed the hilt of his sword on the ground and steeled his resolve. He would not fall to this.

His eyes took on a glazed look and his consciousness fled his failing body, instinct taking over. Aragorn pushed his body beyond the limit, he was capable of doing this, but he knew if no good came out of this very quickly, he'd be dead very soon. The sword moved as if alive, cutting through spider after spider, Aragorn was killing and killing, letting the bloodlust take over.

There came a time when there was nothing moving in the forest. Aragorn stood, dazed, before looking around for any sign of his friend, hoping against hope that he was safe. That he would not have to announce a death, that he would enjoy again the light and pleasing company of such a good friend.

He thought he saw a glimpse of golden hair to his right. Taking a step in that direction, Aragorn promptly passed out.

End part 1