Rating: G

Feedback: Constructive criticisms will be kept close to the heart and flames will be used to power the balrog that I'll be sending after you. LOL!

Spoilers: None

Archive: Who in their sane mind would want to archive this? LOL! But if you insist, feel free to do so. :D

Disclaimer: Not mine. Will never be. Have no money. Don't sue me :P

Summary: As the title says… painful experience for both our heroes. Teeheehee.

-----------------------------------------

"Hold still..." Aragorn gritted his teeth, a deep frown slowly creeping into his weary face. Sighing for the twenty-seventh time that night, the ranger shifted his position to get a better view of his patient's injury.

Legolas hissed in pain and let out a string of colorful curses that would make the dwarves proud as the man prodded at his wound. Instinctively, he recoiled from the healer's touch and if not for Aragorn's strong grip, he would no doubt had fallen backwards and probably hit his head in the process and added another injury to the list.

"Hold still... I'm almost done..."

The moon and stars were hidden by thick clouds tonight and the only light source was coming from the flickering fire that the two friends had kindled earlier before disaster struck. It was a rather unfortunate and unpredictable accident, thought the ranger darkly. His father was correct. Disaster seemed to follow them wherever they went and there was no way they could avoid it. No. No way. No matter how hard they tried.

Hunching over, Aragorn squinted at the agitated elf and then gently pressed down at the wound. Legolas tried to suppress a small whimper from escaping his lips but failed miserably. He swore that the ranger was trying to make him feel worse rather than helping him. With a deep sigh, Aragorn straightened and looked apologetically at his elven friend.

"I'm sorry my friend, but it is much deeper than I have anticipated. I'm afraid that I'll have to cut it open."

"Do it," Legolas ground out tensely. "Just get it out."

With a curt nod, the man rummaged through his pack and withdrew a small knife. Running the blade over the fire to disinfect it, he allowed it a few seconds to cool down before turning back to his friend. Giving the elf an assuring squeeze on the shoulder, Aragorn pressed the tip of the knife onto the flesh, making a cut into the already painful wound.

A small cry broke from the elf's lips as the pain intensified. Spitting and hissing at the ranger like an angry serpent trapped by its tail, Legolas had a sudden urge to strangle his friend when he saw a shadow of a smile playing across the human's face.

"Dear Valar! It hurts! Are you trying to kill me?!" the elf gasped through clenched teeth. The fingers of his left hand balled into a fist and slammed down repeatedly onto the bedroll that he was sitting on.

"I know," said the man, a flicker of annoyance and irritation shone in his silver-green eyes. And they said he was a difficult patient! If he was difficult, then Legolas was downright impossible! "Just hold on for a little longer…" he forced his voice to be as gentle as possible. Under normal circumstances, he would have knocked the elf over the head for his little display but tonight, their situation was anything but normal.

Legolas winced again as he watched Aragorn worked nimbly and expertly with the needle in his hand. "You have been saying that for the past half an hour," grumbled the elf but his complain was unheeded.

Aragorn was concentrating hard on his task and hoping to get this grumpy elf off his back as soon as possible. He was exhausted after a long day's hunt and was eager to get some rest before they depart for home the next morning. And then this had to happen. He sighed deeply for the twenty-eighth… or was it the twenty-ninth time. He had lost count and frankly, he didn't care anymore. All he wanted now was to finish up his work. The faster he got it done, the sooner he could get some sleep.

With one final flick of the needle, the ranger would have jumped up with joy had he not been so tired. "I got it!" he exclaimed with triumph. "It's out!"

Without even a 'thank you', Legolas wrenched his right hand from the ranger and promptly stuck his index finger into his mouth while glaring darkly at his human friend.

"Now, it wasn't that bad, was it?" the human grinned at the infuriated elven prince, who was trying to bore a hole into the young man's face and that only served to amuse the ranger even further.

"It was only a splinter, Legolas! You don't have to kill me with that look!" No longer able to contain himself, the ranger doubled over in laughter.

Reluctantly, the elf plucked his injured finger out from his mouth. "It was NOT a splinter! It was a piece of wood!" he retorted hotly.

"Compared to an arrow? It was a splinter." Wiping a tear from his eye, Aragorn took a shuddering breath only to burst out into another howl of laughter. "You should see the look on your face! I don't think I will ever be able to forget that look!" the man choked out between gasping breaths. After many unsuccessful attempts, the man finally regained his composure as he took several deep, even breaths to urge his body not to lose control again.

"Let's see YOUR reaction if I stick something like that into YOUR finger." The elf glowered at the man who was in the process of unrolling his bedroll and preparing to settle in for the night. When the man simply smiled at him and ignored his comment, Legolas sprang up to his feet and, in a few quick steps, moved over to a nearby tree. He leapt into the air, grabbed a branch above his head and swung himself effortlessly onto the tree. Within a few seconds, the elf disappeared among the leaves to nurse his bleeding finger and bruised ego.

Aragorn smiled as he watched his friend stomped away from their campsite like a sulking child. He could never understand this elf. Legolas could survive the most grievous injury without uttering a single sound and yet a simple splinter in the finger could make him wake the entire forest. Perhaps Legolas was doing it just to annoy him, Aragorn thought, amused. But then again, the elf would rather kiss an orc than to openly display weakness. With a silly grin still plastered on his face, Aragorn lay down on his bedroll and wondered if Legolas would ever forgive him if he told Elladan and Elrohir what had happened tonight.

- The End -