Disclaimer: All facts and characters related to Tolkien's works are his.

Hidden Tempers

Summary: A rare moment when Aragorn witnesses Legolas losing his cool. What exactly can make the Prince of Mirkwood's control slip…

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Aragorn stared at the elf walking slightly ahead of him. To put it simply, the man was stunned. He had never seen elves lose their cool. Especially this elf. The idea had been barely conceivable… until today that is.

In the Elven realm of Mirkwood, Legolas was much respected and loved. Not merely because of his status as a Prince. He fought with his people, bled crimson with them and for this he earned their gratitude and admiration.

In Imladris however, that was another matter…

A few days earlier…

"That good for nothing Prince of Mirkwood… the way he struts about… as though he has plenty to be proud of… why then, I ask, are there so many foul creatures plaguing the woods, if he is as competent as they make him out to be?"

This statement was accompanied by venomous laughter. Aragorn stopped walking and glanced at his companion, who seemed to have frozen to the spot. He knew how hard Legolas worked to rid his father's woods of orcs and spiders and other dark creatures. It was almost a kind of obsession for him. Aragorn privately worried that one day his friend's fervor for his cause would get him mortally wounded.

Aragorn put a hand on Legolas' shoulder comfortingly, he felt the tension in his friend's body and knew the words had cut him deeply. Always it had been Legolas' greatest disappointment in himself that he had failed miserably in the protection of his realm. It didn't matter that the deed of restoring Mirkwood to Greenwood was something he could not do alone. He carried the full weight of his failure alone.

Aragorn was startled when Legolas began striding away, back to the last homely house. The man was hard pressed to keep up. It was clear the elf wanted to be alone but the ranger insistently followed. 

Finally, the elf halted. Without turning around he said curtly,

"Leave me Aragorn."

The man hesitated.

"Just leave me alone…"

The usually melodious voice of Legolas trailed off miserably. He sounded strained and his shoulders trembled ever so slightly as though he was struggling to hold back his emotions.

"No…" Estel whispered. Legolas' bowed head jerked upwards.

"No… I will not leave you alone." Aragorn said firmly and louder this time.

Legolas put his hand on the railing and gazed outwards at Rivendell. An Elvish haven for healing wounded bodies and minds... How different it was from his home, he thought wistfully.

An image of charred trees and burnt rocks came to his mind and he shuddered. When he opened his eyes, there were only the lightly browned leaves of a tree hanging trembling on full branches.

Perhaps it really was his fault… he pondered wearily. Maybe it was due to his incompetence that the flow of evil creatures into Mirkwood seemed never-ending. His father had always assured him that it was not his fault, did his best to assuage his  son's guilt. But tiny seeds of doubt always remained in his heart, just waiting for the right soil to sprout.

"Don't."

That one word, uttered so determinedly pulled the Prince of Mirkwood abruptly out of his own thoughts. Don't… what?

"Blame yourself for everything…" Aragorn said, reading the elf's thoughts.

Legolas sighed deeply. If only it were so easy. The two friend's stood in silence. One quietly offering what comfort he could in his presence and the other battling with his own inner turmoil.

When at last Legolas turned to face the man, his eyes had hardened.

He said lightly," Fear not my friend, I will not let… a few loose tongues bother me too much."

But Aragorn knew the hurt those words had inflicted on the elf, and his heart bled for his friend. That thoughtless elf had no right to make such unfounded statements. It was a pity one could not control the words that flowed from another's mouth but an even greater pity that they could not control their own words.

The next day …

They had just finished dinner in the great hall and many of the residents of Imladris were lounging around the comfortable couches and chairs scattered around the place talking to one another or simply enjoying each other's company.

The elf and the ranger sat in a quiet corner. The elf was observing the occupants of the room discreetly while the man was falling into a light dose.

A nasal voice uttering the word, 'Thranduil' caught Legolas' attention and he couldn't help himself zeroing onto that particular conversation.

Aragorn noticed the sudden change in his friend's mood and sat up straighter, shaking off the last vestiges of sleep quickly. He was taken by surprise when Legolas' suddenly stood up and strode with purpose towards a group of elves.

Legolas did not know what he was going to do but he had to do something. Trying hard to regain some of his usual calm he unconsciously clenched his fist. His shoulders trembled with rising ire.

He reached the group of elves which had mentioned his father and stopped in front of one of them. He pierced a particularly well dressed elf with a cold stare and grabbed him by the collar, pulling him close.

"You can insult me. You can despise and belittle every fiber of my being. But you will not sully the name of my father, the son of Oropher with your foul words."

The Prince of Mirkwood paused and pressed his lip together tightly. His brows arched downwards and his grip tightened on the other elf's clothing. He inhaled deeply and seemed to regain some control over his emotions.

Roughly, he shoved the shocked elf back onto the chair and gave a small bow with his head before he stepped rapidly away from the group.

 Walking swiftly out of the great hall, Legolas instantly regretted what he'd done. He should not have lost his temper like that, he berated himself. But they were insulting his father… how could he let that go unchallenged?

He heard footsteps behind him and knew Aragorn had followed.

Staring at the lithe form of the wood elf from the back, Aragorn wondered what the elf would do if he were really incensed. Something told him that this was just a taste of what one would get if they offended the Prince of Mirkwood.

Whatever it was, he hoped he would never be on the receiving end of that anger.

- End-

I just felt like seeing Legolas get mad… hence this fic. Anyway, I might use it as a reference for another fic soon.

Comments anyone? Please review!