A/N: This story just came to me the other day, and it's for all my readers who have been persistently asking for more light-hearted or fellowship stuff... I think this has been done already, but I thought I'd give this idea a bash, and thought it an opportunity to unleash some delightfully friendship-based antics upon you all! And I thoroughly enjoyed a certain part of Return Of The King (which I went to see the other day) near to the end, and thought it so lovely and heart melting that I'd do something along the same lines.

Hope you like, I loved writing it!



Aragorn, the King of Gondor, couldn't quite believe had actually been forbidden to move one inch from his bed.

Not one to send his soldiers into battles whilst he himself stayed holed up in his comfortable palace with his family and friends, Aragorn had briefly joined some of his fighters further to the east of his lands who had been having a recurring problem with gangs of wandering orcs. The men were obviously capable and skilled in the art of fighting, yet the swiftness between the orc attacks upon their one, small settlement set in the rolling plains of the east had surprised them, and they had been unable to defend themselves properly with each bout. So Aragorn, along with some soldiers he had ordered to be transferred from the defence of the palace, had ridden out to lend their aid. The fighting had been short but fierce, and though the Gondorimm had finally won, there had been many injuries and Aragorn himself had sustained a fairly deep gash to his left thigh in the process. He insisted that he was fine, but his wife and queen, the beautiful Arwen, was having none of that and refused to allow him to walk about - and after more than one occasion of her coming into their chamber to find him in the midst of some sort of activity, he had been confined to his bed where he was to stay until she saw fit.

As a consequence of her *most* touching concern, Aragorn thought he might possibly be going mad with boredom. Yet there was absolutely nothing he could do about such a thing: the Evenstar was more than a little intimidating when she wanted to be, and though Aragorn would never admit to being frightened of his own wife, he didn't see the point in doing anything out of his way to... upset her, either.

He was stuck, as well, because the book which had previously held his attention was now lying, spine-up, across the other side of the chamber. A flash of uncharacteristic frustration had over-taken the King suddenly and, seeing as he was unable to reach any other object to vent his anger upon, the novel had been the victim and had been flung at the wall with a fair bit of force. Aragorn was not about to tell anyone that it hadn't even hit the wall: at the height of his tantrum it had fallen short by a mere hobbit's-breadth. And he was not about to risk getting out of bed to fetch the said book in case his wife should somehow appear, so now he sat sulking, surrounded by twisted sheets and piled blankets, unable to move.

There was a small but sharp rap at his door, and he sat up slightly. Aragorn did not know who it could be, as the queen had forbid guards to come near him in case he tried to bribe them to let him out of bed or something, and his children and Arwen did not knock. It was a pleasant surprise to him, then, when two well-known heads, topped with mops of auburn and chestnut-brown curls, peaked around the door. "Excuse me?" came a teasing, familiarly high voice. "But we were told someone was throwing a tantrum?"

"Pippin! Meriadoc! Whatever are you doing here?!" Aragorn was delighted, of course, to see his good friends: he was not able to get away to see them as often as he wished to, and missed them terribly. Nevertheless, he was very surprised to see the two hobbits as he had not heard they were in his lands.

The pair of halflings stepped out from behind the door, into the room, both wearing happy grins. They had barely changed at all since they had been members of the fellowship, more than a few years ago now - except, perhaps, they might just have had a few more laughter-lines, and the light that constantly shone from their bright eyes was less unruly and more experienced.

Merry thrust his hands into his pockets and rocked back on his heels as he said, "Well, you know, Strider... we were in Rohan, and Lady Arwen sent word to Eomer that you had been injured, and we were ordered - ordered I tell you! - by the King of the Horse-lords to come and see what we could do." He looked about the room, expectantly, and his face fell slightly, "Seems no one else has bothered... see what good friends *we* are!"

Aragorn chuckled, heart gladdened immediately by the mere presence of the hobbits: he loved them dearly, and always found their hilarious souls and unquenchable spirits truly awe-inspiring and very amusing. "Aye," he said, grinning at the pair, "It appears I am a bit of a Billy-no-mates..."

"Hey, come on," countered Peregrin, raising a finger and seeming serious all of a sudden. "I have a good friend called Bill, let's not go bad mouthing him and say he's got no chums, now... it's not his fault..." he grinned widely, then changed subject in a flash of a fryingpan, as he always did - it was one of the many phenomenas concerning the mind of this certain Took, that his brain was always ahead of him and seemed to have many tracks, and so Pip was forever changing subjects unconsciously in the middle of a conversation. "Hey, Strider... which side is your injured one?"

The King, not catching the fake-earnestness of the young hobbit, nor the wicked glance that flashed between the pair, indicated the left side of him, the furthest from them. "This one - stupid thigh.... *Oooofff*!" He exhaled sharply as the two halflings jumped readily onto his stomach, seeming to mistake it for the bed's mattress. "What did I do to deserve this?" he wondered aloud with mock-desperation, grinning as he moved the fidgeting beings from off his abdomen and to a more comfortable position.

"You got yourself injured, that's what, my lord," Merry came back at him, using the same, typically-concerned tone of voice he had used when he had continuously asked Frodo of his well-being during their travels in the fellowship; or when Pippin had hurt himself falling down or doing something or other; or the time when Legolas had returned to Mirkwood after the war for the first time and had been found by the halfling, recovering after a fierce argument with his father... it was a chiding and half-angry, but well-meant way of speaking which Aragorn found eternally-endearing and very admirable. Merry's chestnut-brown eyes flashed with exaggerated vexation as he said this, seemingly annoyed at his friend for injuring himself in the first place.

"Yeah," added Peregrin at length, poking the King in the ribs as he nodded his auburn head with vehemence. "Why in all the Shire did you think you were tough enough to take on that amount of orcs, ay? You should have learnt by now..."

"Well, maybe..." Aragorn trailed off, as if thinking deeply. "Well *maybe* it was not the first - nor dare I say, even the umpteenth -time I've been threatened with odds against me? I trust Legolas has told of the time in a Mirkwood winter with those Wargs... or that one when the land shifted in Rivendell and we were caught out, or the time when we were captured by men of the woods and- "

"All right, all right!" cried Pip, holding his hands up to stem the tide of stories he knew would flood from Aragorn. He loved hearing the many tales of all the trouble Aragorn and Legolas got themselves into during the early years of their friendship (and quite a few when they really should have known better!), of course, even though some stories obviously held dark memories for them both - but Peregrin thought himself a hobbit who had done great things. He had, of course, without a doubt - but he himself thought his great claims of courageousness paled into insignificance beside those of great warriors such as the ex-ranger and the elven prince, who saw danger and strife as part of everyday life and seemed to thrive on it, dealing with it in their stride, it seemed. He didn't like to be reminded that though his deeds were near-unbelievable in the sheltered world of The Shire, when compared with the world of Men and Elves, he had really done very little.

He really, in all honesty, had no idea that both Aragorn and Legolas held him the highest esteem, and thought so with very good reason. "There's no need to show off!" he carried on, lowering his hands and glowering at his long-time friend good-naturedly.

Aragorn merely chuckled, and shifted his right leg so that it would not go numb under the weight of his two dear companions. "You started it," he grumbled.

"Oh, and that's mature," retorted Pip sarcastically, green eyes sparkling with amusement before he looked away to study the mural on the wall opposite the bed.

The King looked at the two small beings in utter wonder, starry grey eyes open wide with near-disbelief. He opened his mouth to say something, but found himself uncharacteristically speechless, and so quickly shut it again. A quiet moment passed in comfortable silence, with the hobbits looking every which way, their attentions constantly grabbed by something or other, though they had seen the room before in the past, and Aragorn merely watched them with calm amusement. Then, Merry suddenly remembered something: "Oh, Pip! We have not yet done the song!"

"The song?" asked the King.

"Yes, the song... oh, wait - you do not yet know of it do you?" Merry had begun the sentence as though it was obvious and his friend should know immediately exactly what he was speaking of - and he ended it rather sheepishly, realising that Aragorn could not even have the slightest clue about what he meant. He began to explain, "It's just a nonsense a song that me and Pippin made up one night, near the beginning of the quest to try and capture the moment... when we hadn't known what we'd gotten ourselves into, and we reckoned it was our first great adventure."

"How innocent we were then," side Peregrin, with mock-earnestness and a hand upon his heart.

Aragorn snorted, rather un-Royally, and then quickly apologised when he saw the dagger-looks his friends both shot his way. He held up his hands as if in defence, knowing that hobbits were capable of tickling rather viscously, and usually played dirty when they fought. "All right! I am sorry, dear friends! I know not what came over me... please forgive me!"

"Well... I suppose we can... ay, Merry?" Pippin said appraisingly, giving Aragorn the once over, seemingly deciding whether the King of Gondor was worthy of their forgiving natures.

The elder hobbit nodded and Aragorn grinned, "As a punishm- " At the sharp warning looks the halflings gave him, their large eyes flashing dangerously, he switched tact in the middle of his sentence, " -To show my appreciation for your forgiveness, I humbly ask you to now perform this wonderful song you speak of." He yielded the stone floor of his chamber to his friends, waving an arm in the direction of the centre of the room.

"Flattery will get you nowhere, Strider," Meriadoc recited the well-known line from their long days in the fellowship, travelling together, where this chiding comment was eventually heard from all of the nine companions at once point or another, having originally been Merry and Frodo's warning to their younger cousin Pippin, back from when he was a mere hobbit-lad. "But we shall sing you our song, nonetheless."

Aragorn chuckled, and settled back into his pillows to enjoy the show, not really knowing what to expect - he knew both hobbits had sweet voices, but was unsure to their song-writing abilities... Frodo had always been the one to sing songs he made up, just like Bilbo before him. He watched as Merry tapped his large foot, slapping it rhythmically against the stone, and began humming a background tune. After a moment, Pippin began to sing, in a delightfully soft way - he managed to convey the joy one felt on a summer's day, and his tone was full of excitement, anticipation and happiness. And Merry joined in periodically at the end of each line, and sometimes backed Pippin's song up with a wonderfully beautiful chorus. The song sounded like this:

'Step back from the world around you. Look onto your pastures new - you will grow. Live through all your empty moments... Keep hope that the ones you love, love you.

'I'm going down and you'll follow me - if you want to. Going down for good...

'If you go down winding roads, only winding roads will follow you...

'Hold onto your thoughts, the thoughts that matter. Think back and remember more - they are yours. Time stops when you're always moving... Stand still and you'll never leave that spot.

'I'm going down and you'll follow me - if you want to. Going down for good...

'If you go down winding roads, only winding roads will follow you... Honeysuckle grows and flows: if you stay it will grow over you...

'Scrape me from the cities' pavements - throw me out into the sea... like a stone. Set sail on the windy ocean: swim free, it's your only chance to be alone.

'I'm going down and you'll follow me - if you want to. Going down winding roads for good...

'I cover everything you do. Everytime you're on the floor - I'll help you up.

'I'm going down winding roads, following you because I want to. Going down winding roads for good... with you.'

And so the song was finished, and Aragorn was left dumbstruck. Not all the words had been relevant, but they had captured beautifully what the hobbits had been trying to say. For a moment, the King of Gondor had been back, at the beginning of their quest when, although it was cold, the sun had shone brightly; Frodo and Sam were inseparable as always; Boromir was still in the midst of figuring everyone out, and reluctantly finding that he could not avoid some friendships; Gimli and Legolas prowled about one another like dangerous Wargs, circling ever closer until, when one of them got too close, the other lashed out and they went back to keeping their distance. Aragorn could almost see the memories he was thinking of: the song made him remember the feelings in the air, the way they tasted, the wonderful smells of the ever-changing countrysides they found themselves travelling through... and the eventual, unbelievably-secure feeling of camaraderie they had all felt, looking out for the person at their side, knowing that that person would do the same for them. Very fond memories were connected to the fellowship.

"That was... by the Valar- " Aragorn breathed, then chuckled at his lack of eloquence.

"Good, hey?" asked Pip, a wide, smug smile adorning his cheeky, freckled features.

"Astounding," was all the ex-ranger could say. They sat in silence for a moment or two, beaming at one another but without any words to say. Just sitting and basking in the warmth of their friendship. Merry grinned daftly at his best friend, who in turn smirked at Aragorn, who was having a hard time trying to stop chuckling. Just as it seemed that one of them would be able to bring up something to say, the door to the chamber swung open.

"Excuse me, but I was wondering if this belonged to anybody- ?" The heavy door had opened smoothly to reveal a tall elven prince, grinning and struggling to hold on to the squirming bundle of a human child he had flung casually over his shoulder. Eldarion was screaming with laughter and waving his arms and kicking his legs as Legolas bumped him up and down regularly, making his dark curls fly. The elf carried on, as if he did not know Aragorn, Merry and Pippin were watching the whole show with vast grins on their faces. His voice was loud and theatrical, tone going up at the end of words in a very stylised manner, put on purely for his godson's benefit, of course: "My, my. wherever can they be?" He whirled to the left, dipping his left leg and straightening his right comically, a hand to his brow as if trying to see past a large distance, "They're not over there!" He did the same to the right, and the volume of Eldarion's laughter doubled as he was swung. "And they're not over there! Whatever can we do???"

"Foolish elf," called out Aragorn, a merry grin plastered across his stubbled features at the mighty prince humouring a mere lad of eight, "Please. just watch my eldest child's head on the door frames." He wasn't really all that anxious - though his best friend could act ridiculously some times, who would never put anyone in danger. Aragorn was merely saying it to annoy the elf.

It worked. The Mirkwood archer immediately snapped out of his actorial role, to send a withering green glare at the King, sparking with vexed silver lightening. Sarcasm dripped from his voice as he said, "You would do well to hold your tongue, dearest Estel: obviously I was about to go and clobber the closest thing I have to a son repeatedly over a hard inanimate object, but now you have chided me in such a passionate way, I have rethought the direction of my whole life and will now." Here, he swung the child - in an unnatural but extremely graceful way - the wrong way over his shoulder, so that Eldarion ended facing upwards and balanced upon the prince's lean hip, still chuckling ecstatically. "Change my original course of actions."

Merry applauded heartily as Legolas dropped the lad down onto his own two feet once more, grinning widely at the boy. "That was a brilliant trick, Legolas! I see King Eomer got to you, too!" At Aragorn's surprised look, Merry swiftly became all innocent and widened his large chestnut eyes even further, "What? Did we not say.?"

"NO you did not say," Aragorn answered - he had had no idea Legolas had been charged to come and entertain him. It seemed his good friend Eomer was doing his best to cheer Aragorn up, and the King of Gondor appreciated that greatly. and he could have asked for no better beings to answer the call of duty.

"Adar!" cried Eldarion, running and taking a flying leap, just as the hobbits had, onto his father's stomach, managing to deftly avoid Aragorn's injured side. Once there and after hugging the King's neck, he immediately turned and set about playing with Pippin, who he loved dearly, and proceeded to ignore his father from then on.

"I see the little one's attention is as extensive as ever," grinned Legolas, strolling into the room with his hands behind his back and a superior air about him.

Aragorn held up a hand, and narrowed his grey eyes threateningly, "Hey. you had better not be insulting my son, princeling, or. or." he trailed off, unable at that time to think of a threat great enough to deter his bull- headed best friend. Instead he just pointed all the more viscously, hoping that would be enough.

Obviously, it wasn't.

The prince staggered back theatrically, clutching a hand to his chest as though shocked,. then he straightened gracefully, raising a mocking golden brow. "Or what?" It was a dare - one of many that punctuated the life of the two friends - they both knew the terms.

The King's eyes darkened dramatically, and a wicked grin grabbed his face: "I'll set the hobbit's on you."

Pippin and Merry both looked up from Eldarion, identical surprised looks gracing their small faces. They saw for the first time the mock stand-off, looked at each other, grinned, and got up off the bed to form a small sort of wall between their King and their prince. It was clear which side they were on.

Legolas' fair expression quickly changed to one of minor betrayal and hurt as his silver-green gaze latched onto his former hobbit friends. "You wouldn't," he said - not in the daring tone he adopted for use when trying to bait Aragorn, but in a more uncertain, evaluating voice.

Merry sighed, as though he regretted what he ands his cousin had to do, and looked up at Legolas mournfully. "It is no choice of ours: King Eomer sent us to make Aragorn feel better. to amuse him."

"Yes," Aragorn called out triumphantly from his bed, smugness radiating from him. "And what would amuse me greatly right now is if they fought for mine and my son's honour to be returned."

"It's our duty as halflings," added Pippin, nodding his auburn head but still looking at Legolas as though asking his forgiveness. Then he grinned.

Legolas understood. but that didn't mean he liked it. He glared over the hobbits at Aragorn once more, and his green eyes narrowed. "Not Balrogs nor Arwen will be able to save you from me once you have recovered, human..." he hissed, voice uncharacteristically frightening - the effect was somewhat ruined, however, by Eldarion, seated in Aragorn's strong arms and thinking his godfather was merely playing again, giggled wildly, pointing at the golden-haired elf and laughing. Legolas did not have the heart to glare at him, and so instead deflated somewhat.

Aragorn laughed heartily, "You insult me and my son. and now my beloved? Now the halflings will have to fight for my family's honour."

Legolas nodded. He straightened bravely, laying a hand flat across his chest, above his heart, and lifted his head with courageousness and pride even in his last moments. Then he grinned, "No amount of hobbits fighting for you will ever be able to return your honour, Estel!"

"Halflings! Charge!" came Aragorn's furious yell. The two Shirelings obeyed at once, and Legolas disappeared under a flurry of curls, brightly-coloured waistcoats and large, kicking feet.

The triumphant and involved shouts of the hobbits, crying out battle-cries and giving mighty roars; the yelps of a deserving elf; the screams of laughter from a young prince and the jeering encouragement from and immobile King who really should know better drifted through the door and into the corridor, where the Gondorimm guards charged with their King's security picked up on it. Datarn and Greful exchanged glances of alarmed confusion, but did not move from their stations. they knew their orders, and weren't about to risk a chide from their fairly-formidable Queen.

And so, no one came to Legolas' aid, and he was beaten continuously by the hobbits to the sound of his godson and best friend's laughter.

End.



Hope you liked that. I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. Please review and let me know what you thought. If you did like it, and have not yet read my story 'Vignettes of the Fellowship' then I suggest you do, as this is almost exactly the whole idea behind that story! Cheers and review. AliciA

I shall leave you now with my new favourite quote, it's from the Pirates otC DVd and it's this. brace yourselves: "Bearbreast and ankles all the way!"

Genius.