The horse crashed through the undergrowth and practically flew across the leaf littered ground. Sweat lathered the horse's flanks and neck to fly off in the animal's haste. The rider pushed t he hrose harder while keeping his eyes towards the surrounding forest. This forest was not one to travel through unwary and alone. He may have been alone but he was far from unwary. His horse and he had been on the move since early evening the day before and it was now a few hours after dawn. He couldn't stop now, he was so close to his destination and he couldn't waste anytime. The message had come from King Thranduil through Lord Elrond, his father, and it was short of a miracle that the messenger had found him. Upon reading the message, he had immediately set off and traveled without stopping. The forests of Mirkwood flew by him in a blur as the few words in the message echoed in his mind.
'Come quickly Aragorn. Legolas has been grievously injured. He will not survive for long.'
Ice cold fear still clutched his heart now as it did when he first read the message. The handwriting was that of King Thranduil and it had been hastily scrawled. He was exhausted and hungry but he would not rest. The chance that his close friend might die while he rested was unbearable to think of.
His horse suddenly stumbled and he flew over the horse's head to crash painfully onto the ground. Shaking the stars from his vision, he sat up and looked over at his horse. The animal rested on his side while his sides heaved in exhaustion. He nickered pitifully to his master, knowing that he just failed his beloved master. Aragorn crawled over to the animal and removed all the horse's gear.
"I apologize, mellonin. Rest here and come to Mirkwood when you are rested. You have been faithful," he murmured to the animal and grabbed his travel pack.
His back was aching from the fall but he ignored all of his small pains and sores. He was close to the palace, only about two more hours. A gust of wind rippled the leaves of the trees to reveal a cloud covered sky. Any moment, the skies would open and cry for the life of the prince. His thighs pumped and propelled him over small downed trees as his footfalls barely made a sound. Thankfully, he encountered no orcs, spiders, or anything else that could delay him. An hour later he could see the top of Thranduil's palace and hear the songs of mourning. No Mirkwood patrol had stopped him or even made them known to him. They knew why he was here and would not think to stop him. All the patrols loved their prince and knew of his friendship with the human. Aragorn could no longer feel his legs but he paid it no mind as the grounds became more cultivated.
Legolas couldn't die; he was immortal, an elf, and a first born. They had been through too much together. Aragorn, the human, was supposed to die first. How can he saw a final farewell to his close friend? There were just simply too many things to say. Would he be dead when Aragorn arrived? What if he never got the chance to say farewell? Legolas would die before Aragorn could tell him how much his friendship meant to the Ranger. The elf believed in Aragorn more than anyone ever could. The two of them had a friendship that none could explain. Aragorn somehow knew that it was similar to what Elladan and Elrohir felt for each other. Legolas and he shared some kind of bond that turned them into each other. If Legolas died then Aragorn would lose a part of himself.
The gates were open, waiting for him, to embrace him. The few elves around watched the human sadly as he sprinted up the steps and busted through the doors. He didn't stop as he ran towards the healing wing. His feet knew the path and knew it well. How many times had Legolas and he been escorted to the healing wing for countless injuries? How often had they joked about their inability to stay out of trouble? This could not be happening.
Reaching the doors, he came to a stop and his pack slipped from his suddenly dead fingers. He had faced countless servants of the dark lord, the nazgul, orcs, goblins, wargs, and wolves and he was scared of a simple door. Terrified seemed to be a better word. Terrified of what might lie on the other side and what it could mean if he ventured across the threshold. What would people think if they learned that Aragorn, son of Arathorn, Isildur's heir, heir to the throne of Gondor, the Kind of Men was scared of a simple door? If he entered, he didn't know if he could watch as his close friend's fäe fled his body and traveled to Mandos, leaving behind an empty shell. His hand reached out to gently push the door open, when did his hands start to tremble he wondered.
The door opened silently to allow him entrance to the dimly lit room that held all of his fears. A few light globes were placed around the room to give it an eerie glow as he stepped into the room. The door closed silently behind him as his eyes adjusted to the dim lighting. He saw the still form on the bed and the tall form moving towards him. Aragorn's eyes flickered towards Thranduil before looking back to the bed.
"How did it happen?" he whispered, barely concealing his anguish.
"He was traveling with a patrol when they were attacked by a group of orcs and wargs numbering about thirty. They had no motive other than grievously injuring Legolas. I was told that once they did this, the orcs ran. The other warriors told me that an orc had implied that it was an assassination attempt on Legolas. The healers tried everything when he was brought in but they tell me that it is hopeless. He has only lasted this long to wait for you, I believe," he whispered as Aragorn looked up at him.
Thranduil's blue eyes shone with unshed tears. He used to protest against his son's friendship with the human but over the years his opinion had changed. One occasion, Thranduil had witnessed Aragorn take a poisoned orc blade that was intended for Legolas. He knew that each would protect the other with their life. Thranduil had already sent off the message to Aragorn before Legolas had requested it. The King had hoped and prayed that the human would make it in time. He knew that Aragorn would travel as quickly as physically possible.
Aragorn looked back to the bed and slowly walked towards it. His feet moved numbly until he reached the side of the bed. If possible, the cold buried deeper into his chest as he looked at his friend. Legolas' face was drawn and pinched in pain while a slight sheen of sweat glistened from his brow. His face was chalky and his lips were parted for shallow gasps. Aragorn carefully pulled down the sheet and pulled aside the cloths pressed against Legolas' abdomen and side. Countless years of healing and treating injuries served to accustom him to all types of injuries but he knew this one was bad and he hoped it didn't show on his face. It appeared that the orc stabbed him in the belly and ripped the blade out and to the side. The wound was gaping and bared the inner organs; the wound was a deadly one.
Aragorn looked up quickly and his eyes locked with the blonde archer. The blue eyes were dimmed and cloudy with pain and near death as they locked with teary silver eyes. Legolas knew he was dieing, he could feel death's icy grasp slowly tightening. However, he wouldn't leave until he could say farewell.
"I came as quickly as I could, mellonin," Aragorn whispered and pulled a chair up to the side of the bed.
Legolas weakly smiled and slowly turned his head to look at his friend.
"I kn-knew you…would."
"You can not die Legolas. Who will watch my back in battles?"
"Your…brothers. Oh…h-how I pity…them."
"You needed someone to watch your back, mellonin. And I was not there to protect you or help you. I am sorry," Aragorn murmured and brushed away his tears.
"Do not…apologize…Estel. Your friendship…has meant…everything…to me. You…are a true…friend. I will…be waiting for…you," Legolas murmured as his eyes slowly closed.
"Legolas! Do not give up! We can get through this."
"So tired…so much…pain."
The elf's eyes lost their focus as Aragorn stood quickly. His hand searched for a pulse while his eyes searched for any sign of life. His search became frantic as he refused to believe his friend was dead.
"Aragorn…he is gone," Thranduil said and gently squeezed the human's shoulder.
"No," he growled and felt something come over him.
Now knowing what he was doing, Aragorn ripped aside the sheets and pressed his hands over Legolas' wound. Something ancient and primal raced under his skin and out of his hands. His vision bleached out as Legolas arched against his friend's hands. A burst of light and energy exploded from the two to knock Thranduil back and off his feet. Aragorn felt the energy pour out of him and into Legolas. White hot pain soared over him as sound roared in his ears. Just as quickly as it began, it stopped as Aragorn stumbled back in shock. His world suddenly titled and blurred as his legs crumbled under him. The unyielding floor reached up and caught him as darkness engulfed him.