Dark shadows haunted his mind as he struggled to surface into the world of the living. He heard voices fade in and out and they were somehow familiar. Random words were clear to him but most were jumbled as he tried to focus. He hoped that he would succeed this time instead of being pressed into darkness again. The voices remained fuzzy but slowly got louder until he could distinguish whose voice it was. Elrond was speaking softly to him as he slowly rolled his head to the side.
"Wake, Estel, open your eyes for me, my son."
Aragorn opened and closed his mouth feeling nothing but dryness. An arm slid under his shoulders and gently lifted him up. A glass was held to his lips and he thankfully drank the cool water. The arm eased him back to the bed as he slowly opened his eyes. Bright lights assaulted his senses as he clenched his eyes shut again to block everything out.
"Elrohir, close all the drapes," Elrond directed softly as his middle son did so.
The room was quickly bathed in shadows as all the drapes were closed. When it was dark, Aragorn slowly opened his eyes and slowly looked around the healing room. He saw Elladan to his immediate right, Elrohir towards his feet, and Elrond to his left. His hand slowly moved up and rested upon the thick bandages encircling his upper chest. He felt a dull ache from the wound and the rest of his body was sore beyond belief.
"How do you feel, Estel?"
"Sore," he murmured and slowly turned his head. "Where…Legolas?"
"How does your chest wound feel?"
Aragorn was still so foggy that he didn't notice the worried glances between the elves or the sudden change of topic. Elrond shook his head discreetly to his twin sons for them to say nothing. He turned back to Aragorn and laid his hand over the wound while reaching for a glass. Holding his youngest son's head up, he watched as Estel drained the glass without question. The weak herbs just helped to nudge Aragorn into a healing sleep before Elrond did a quick examination. Nodding to his sons, he motioned for them towards the hallway and silently closed the door behind them. Passing his hand over is eyes, Elrond walked to a nearby bench and sat.
"Ada, what will we say if he asks of Legolas again?" Elrohir asked softly.
"We will have to think of something. He needs to rest and heal without trying to leave to go after Legolas. We all know how Estel can be."
"Has there been any news yet?" Elrohir questioned as he looked to his twin.
"Nay, Thranduil has ten patrols out around Mirkwood looking for Legolas but none have found his trail. Legolas knows how to stay hidden in his own forest," Elladan supplied as Elrond sighed deeply.
"It is dangerous for Legolas to be out there alone. His body has not healed and I doubt that his mind has fully grasped what has happened to him. He needs to be with those that are close to him, not out wandering in the forest," Elrond snapped and stood quickly.
"We know, Ada, but what are we to do? If Legolas does not wish to be found then no one can track him except maybe Estel and he is not physically able," Elrohir said and glanced towards the door.
"I know, my son. I would like both of you to ride out and help the patrols look for the prince. Your fresh eyes may see some clue that will tell us where Legolas disappeared to."
Elladan and Elrohir nodded before turning and disappearing down the hallway. Elrond turned and slowly walked in the opposite direction with his arms folded in his robes. The hall was practically empty as Elrond moved slowly to the throne room. The door was partially open and Elrond pushed it open to allow him passage into the room. He spotted Thranduil sitting on the throne with his long legs stretched out in front of him. Several parchments were in his hand which he dropped a few inches to see who entered. Seeing that it was Elrond, he tossed aside the sheets and watched the elf lord approach. The two powerful elves eyed each other silently until Thranduil sighed and turned his gaze to the balcony doors.
"Have faith, Thranduil. Your warriors are well trained, they will find your son," Elrond advised quietly as the elf king raised his eyebrows.
"You know my son, Elrond. Do you really believe your own words? Honestly?"
The two chuckled for a moment before Elrond moved to sit in the chair by Thranduil's side.
"Our sons are a hand full, Elrond. I do not know where Legolas got it from," Thranduil said, slightly confused.
"I blame it on their mother's side of the family. Elros and I were never this bad."
"I seem to remember differently of what my father told me. Elros and you were a pair of troublemakers," Thranduil commented dryly as the elf lord chuckled.
"Have you received any news yet?"
Thranduil shook his head mutely and they lapsed into silence. Elrond could easily sympathize with what the elf king was going through; he himself felt the same when his sons got into trouble, which was quite often. The hopelessness of not being able to do anything and not knowing anything. He rested his head back and gazed off towards the far wall where a painting of Mirkwood's queen hung. This was going to be a long day for the realm of Mirkwood.
Elladan stretched out his long legs as he shifted in his chair by his brother's bed side for the umpteenth time. Elrohir had gone to the kitchens in search of food as Elladan watched over Aragorn. The twins took shifts which Elrond said was unnecessary, Estel was out of danger and they needn't be so worried but neither paid attention. As big brothers it was their job to worry; Estel sometimes thought they did too good of a job. Standing, he walked to the balcony doors and leaned against the door frame as he looked out across the courtyard. A storm was heading their way, Elladan noted as he watched the dark clouds at the horizon. He hoped that Legolas had found some good shelter that would keep him safe and dry when the storm arrived.
Hearing sounds of movement behind him; he turned and saw Aragorn shifting in bed. Moving back to his brother's bedside, Elladan sat on the bed's edge and waited for his brother to awaken. Aragorn's eyes fluttered wildly before slowly opening and landing on his brother's smiling face.
"Welcome back, little brother," Elladan greeted softly.
"Three and a half days. Your wound was very severe. Ada says it was a miracle the blade didn't pierce your heart."
"My life seems to be filled with miracles lately," Aragorn muttered and slowly moved to sit up.
"How right you are," Elladan chuckled as he helped his brother sit up and slipped several pillows behind him.
Aragorn bit his bottom lip painfully as his wounds protested the move. His chest wound stole his breath away when it flared to life and he grabbed Elladan's forearm tightly. He waited for the pain to ease before nodding to his brother to show he was okay. Easing into the plush pillows, Aragorn sighed as he pressed a hand to his tightly bound chest.
"Where is Elrohir?" he asked and accepted the glass of water from his elf brother.
"In the kitchen to procure some food. Or at least he should be in the kitchen."
"And Legolas? I expected him to be here to mother me along with Elrohir and you."
"He had to disappear for a moment, but he shall be back later," Elladan supplied, hoping that Aragorn could not see behind his lie.
Aragorn raised an eyebrow at his brother's answer. Something was wrong; he could sense it emanating from Elladan. Most humans could not read elves' moods except for very few. Aragorn had grown up with these elves; he knew their every tendency and quirks. He also knew when one of them were lying or keeping something from him.
"What are you not telling me, brother?" he asked bluntly.
The small twitch at the corner of the elf's eye proved Aragorn's assumptions correct. That twitch only occurred when Elladan with held something. Elrohir's lips tightened just barely and Legolas' right index finger twitched. Aragorn knew every time when they tried to keep something from him.
"There is nothing to tell, Estel."
"I know you are holding something back, Elladan. Now tell me," Aragorn demanded as he held Elladan's gaze.
"Do you swear you will not get upset?"
"Yes. Now tell me."
"Legolas is gone. He left the night you were stabbed."
Aragorn jerked up sharply in disbelief before yelping in pain. He rolled onto his side and curled around himself to try and negate the pain. Elladan tightly held onto him and rubbed his back until the pain eased to a sharp throb. A cool, damp cloth was pressed against the back of his neck as his breathing slowed.
"You promised me you would not get upset."
Aragorn opened an eye and glanced towards Elladan with a small snarl. The elf weakly grinned as Aragorn slowly started to uncurl himself with Elladan's help.
"What happened with Legolas? And do not lie to me, brother," Aragorn warned, though his weak voice didn't put conviction with the veiled threat.
Elladan sighed and slowly took out a folded parchment from a pocket in his jerkin and handed it to his little brother. Aragorn slowly took it and glanced up at Elladan.
"He left that in his room. His weapons, pack, and travel clothes were all gone. Patrols are out looking for him but I doubt they will find anything. Legolas is too good at escaping detection, especially in his own realm," Elladan commented before standing and wandering out onto the balcony.
Aragorn looked at the letter and slowly unfolded it to reveal Legolas' flowing script. Leaning back into the pillows, he started to read and heard Legolas' voice resonate through his mind.
There are no words to express how sorry I am. None of this would have happened if not for me. Though I do not deserve it, I hope that one day I may have your forgiveness for all that I have done. Estel is dead because of my incompetence and that guilt will never go away. Memories of our friendship will forever haunt me as does Estel's spirit. I can only hope to be forgiven before my eventual death. Namarie.
Aragorn's hands dropped to his lap in shock and disbelief. Legolas thought him dead? He tried to remember all that happened the days before but nothing came to him. It was all a blur to him. Running his fingers through his hair, he sighed and squeezed his eyes shut.
"I see you have read Legolas' letter."
The human's eyes snapped open and locked with Elrond's gaze. The elf lord stood silently in the doorway watching his youngest. Elladan appeared again at the sound of his father's voice to draw Elrond's attention.
"You might need to go and rescue your other brother. Last I saw him; the master chef was threatening him with a ladle."
Elladan raised an eyebrow before bowing and silently departed from the room. Elrond turned back to Aragorn and approached his son's bedside. Aragorn slowly sat up to allow his father to inspect his wounds; he had gone through the same routine every time he was injured. Elrond unwrapped the bandages and carefully examined the dagger wound and other minimal wounds. After applying medicine to the stitched wound, Elrond carefully bound the wounds before helping Aragorn lay back. Aragorn panted slightly under the pain and willed the pain away. Elrond sat on the edge of the bed and waited until Aragorn's breathing eased.
"Are you well now?"
"Yes, I am better. Tell me everything that occurred while I unconscious."
"You started healing. Legolas left the night everything happened. We have heard nothing since. I worry about him greatly, though."
"He has not yet healed from what Bretharso did to him. You can read it in the letter. His mind is in disarray and having hallucinations. He should not be alone right now," Elrond said as Aragorn nodded slowly.
"I can read it in his words. How much trouble and danger could he be in like this?"
"A good amount if he is not allowed time to collect and clear his thoughts."
"I have to go after him."
"Estel, be reasonable; you are in no condition to go after Legolas. You can not exert your heart anymore than now until it fully heals. It could kill you if you over exert the muscle."
"I know that, Ada. But Legolas needs help or he will get himself killed," Aragorn muttered before sighing.
"Legolas is a very capable warrior. He will be able to defend himself if need be until he is found. Do not worry about the prince," Elrond said quietly as his son slowly nodded.
"He is my friend, Ada. I cannot help but worry about him. He would do the same if roles were switched and you know it."
"Yes, I do; but you are a healer and you understand the need for rest after your injury. That blade came dangerously close to your heart."
Aragorn nodded again and rubbed his eyes tiredly. His energy was starting to wane from his extended time awake. Once his heart healed, he would start to exercise and regain the stamina and strength he lost while being laid up. He needed to go out and find his friend before anything bad happened to him.
"I will leave you to rest, my son," Elrond said quietly and kissed his son's forehead.
Bidding his father goodbye, Aragorn sat back and carefully slid down into the bed. He pulled the covers up and stared at the ceiling. He started to construct a mental list of all the places he thought Legolas would go to hide. Would he stay in Mirkwood or not? There really were no places outside of Mirkwood that Legolas felt comfortable going to alone. Elves were not welcomed everywhere and some locations were down right hostile towards the elven race. And if Aragorn knew Legolas then the elf will wander right to the middle of those bad locations. And Aragorn would have to come and get him out of hit, as usual.
A week later, Aragorn anxiously awaited Elrond's prognosis on his health. He had been on strict orders to do nothing but walk the halls and his brothers stayed nearby to ensure he did just that. But now, Elrond was about to tell him if his heart was strong enough to withstand exercise and normal activity of a Ranger.
Elrond pressed an ear to his chest and carefully listened to the beating muscles. Pulling away, he looked closely at the pink and healing scar before glancing to his son's expecting face.
"Do you promise to stop and come find me if your chest begins to hurt?"
"Of course, Ada."
"Like I have not heard that before," Elrond muttered under his breath as Aragorn rolled his eyes. "Fine, you may do what you wish."
Aragorn jumped up and pulled on a tunic as he exited the room to find his brothers. Opening the doors, he slid to a stop at the two solid bodies that blocked his path. Elrohir and Elladan both stood there with their arms crossed across their chests as Aragorn looked to both of them with confusion.
"Do you really think that we would allow you to train alone? We have to make sure you train correctly," Elrohir said with a smirk.
"Remember, my sons, we leave tomorrow morning for home and I am sure Estel wishes to leave as soon as possible to search for Legolas. And you cannot go with him," Elrond said sternly as he raised an eyebrow.
The twins nodded and left with Aragorn as they walked towards the training grounds.
"Why must you leave so soon?"
"Grandmother and Arwen have been planning on coming to visit and unable to delay. Father wants us both to be there to greet them so we must go home," Elladan said as they walked into the bright sunshine.
Aragorn nodded and listened vaguely to his brothers discussing the best way for him to build his strength back up. He turned his gaze towards the thick line of trees and stared into the deep shadows. He knew Legolas was not near by; he couldn't feel the special bond the two shared. It was almost like the elf had closed him off and retreated into himself. Aragorn figured it was because Legolas thought him dead; it was the only possible reason. Ignoring his brothers, Aragorn pushed off and started running at a steady pace. He heard the twins scramble after him as he continued on. He started making a list of what he would pack for his journey. He was going to find his friend.
You would not believe what I have gone through to get this chapter to you lovely readers. I had to go through a hurricane for one, starting a new job, starting my third year of college, beginning a relationship, and just getting through my life as usual. So here is the ending to 'An Ancient Bond'. This story was a great ride and I thank everyone that took their time to read and review and patiently wait on me to post the chapters. I am working on the sequel to this story and probably will not post until I have a few chapters under my belt; so hopefully I will not make anyone wait for the following chapters. So, please, review for me and I will see everyone at the next story.
Linuvial Greenleaf- Girl, I was falling over myself in hysterics when I read your review. I can see all that you described in my mind and it was hilarious. Every time I read your review, I just fall over and start snickering uncontrollable. I hope you had a good time beta reading this chapter; I know I had a good time writing it. Heehee. THE CROCODILE HUNTER RETURNS. Heehee.
Kelly Kragen- I see Thranduil as a good father, a little strict but overall good. I can not read any of those where Thranduil is an abusive father. Linuvial and I just bounce back and forth, throwing ideas at each other and sometimes it is really amusing. Some of our conversations can get really weird too.
Hiei-Rulez It was close but death just barely missed him…like it always does. I just might kill him off to see you light up into flames. Heehee, I am so bad.
Got-lotr- Because cliffhangers are what make good stories. I am so sorry about taking so long with this chapter; I was a bad author; Heehee.
Lynn-G- Ok-this-is-the-way-I-will-end-that-chapter. Thank you so much for the compliment. I write as much as I can during classes.
Wolf Jade- A headache makes me writer the angst scenes much better because I am also in pain; kind of works out. Legolas just has everything happening to him; we authors are so bad to him and Aragorn.
XxgemxX Thank you so much for the compliment. Poor Linuvial freaked out when she beta read for me; put dents around her house, it was hilarious.
Elvendancer A lot of people are conspiring against me; most of the ones that interact with me. I think I need to go to sleep. I really do.
Deana- Sorry it took me so long. Enjoy!
Hamsterjuice Thank you so much for the compliment. These ideas just come to me out of nowhere; I really wish I knew where it did come from. I would plug it up for a while until my other stories were finished.
Jadesaber This is the last chapter to this story; so depressing…for me that is. I am sure there are people out there that are thinking 'thank god this story is finished'. Enjoy!
Elvingirl3737- Thank you so much for the compliment; I am very glad that you are enjoying the story. Enjoy!
Lindahoyland You are posting? Marvelous, I will have to go and read the story whenever I have some free time online. I loved London; every time I go I can not wait to get back. Such a breath of fresh air compared to the states.
Dha-Gal- I can only handle techno music when I am in a certain mood. Not sure when that mood is but I know that I have one. Your little conversations are so cute too read; I look forward to reading them every time I post a new chapter.
LOTRFaith It was freaky. Linuvial yelled at me because I freaked her out and made her put dents in the walls and shelves in her room. I thought it was hilarious myself. And I wrote that in the middle of the night…probably after watching a scary movie but I really can not remember. Enjoy!
Lina Skye- Well everyone else can get to chapter ten. Did you finally get in later or not? If not then I can happily send you the chapter through email if you would like. No one should have to wait to read a chapter if it is already out and you can not read it. Enjoy this chapter…if you can get it.
Firniswin I am so sorry that it took me so long to get this story updated. School is just being so…bothersome. Hope you enjoy.
Elenlor Edhelen- You is confused? Me too honestly. Heehee. What confused you and hopefully I can rectify it.
Snow-Glory- I am working it as a side-effect thing from the small possession bit earlier in the story. I also figured that it opened the door nicely to a sequel; it was a last minute thing. I think I answered all of your questions in the chapter and small author's note at the end. Yes, there is a sequel coming. I am not sure when it will be posted or what it will be titled but I know that there is one in the making.
ELFan You did not forget, it was a small little snippet in there that I figured would probably be overlooked. Really, they all should have stayed in bed and just pulled the blankets over their heads and ignored the world. I have the urge to do that every single bloody day.
Linchi I certainly hope he is not allowed to play with knives anymore after that experience. Wow! That would just totally freak me out; I am perfectly fine with the sight of blood but the blade moving when the heart pumps; that would just freak me out of my mind.
Miriel Thank you for the compliment. Enjoy!
Star-Stallion- If you have read Linuvial Greenleaf's story, Dementia of Love, Reniannen is one of the best bad guys that I have ever read of. He is hilarious; one of those bad guys that you do not want to see him die. And please do not kill Aragorn, he is kind of important to these stories; just a bit though.
IcyLeo Thank you so much for the compliment. Yeah, I probably did under-write that piece a bit. At that time I really had no idea what I was going to do with the story so I was just writing. Hope you enjoyed this chapter!
Joslin I am so sorry for taking so long. I am a bad author, I know.