Chapter 28 – Road to Recovery

When Legolas woke again, it was already late afternoon. The first thing that his mind registered was Aragorn eyeing him intently from the side of the bed.

"Legolas? How do you feel?" asked the man anxiously.

Elrohir must have told Aragorn that he had awaken earlier, and now the man was back at his post, rooted beside Legolas' bed.

"I want to sit up," said the elf, who was still lying on his side, his right leg slightly bent to hold him in position, while his right hand draped casually across his abdomen.

"Sorry, can't let you do that just yet," replied the man. "But is there anything else I can do to make you more comfortable?"

Just as the words left Aragorn's lips, the voice of someone singing drifted in from the open window in his room. On normal days, he would have welcomed the cheery song, but not today. Right at this moment, his head felt like it was going to split open, and the singing was not helping. So when Aragorn asked what he could do, Legolas ground out his absurd request.

"Kill… the singing elf…"

"Pardon me?" Aragorn raised an eyebrow that would have matched Elrond's infamous frown, but then a wicked grin broke out on his face. Without a word, he picked up the prince's bow, which was leaning against the wall near the foot of the bed, and removed an arrow from the quiver. Then he headed towards the window.

Legolas' jaw fell open. He didn't think the human would take his request seriously, but before he could utter a word, Aragorn leaned out of the window, took aim, and fired.

The effect was immediate. There was an "Oww!", followed by a string of colorful curses.

"You son of an orc! Are you trying to kill me?" the victim of Aragorn's latest prank hollered from below.

The ranger ducked back into the room just in time, as the arrow came flying back through the window haphazardly, the trajectory of its path clearly showing that it was thrown rather than fired from a bow. A few moments later, Elladan came stomping unhappily into the room, nursing a scratch on the back of his hand. The elf glowered at Aragorn, before advancing menacingly towards him.

The man gulped and took a step backward.

"He asked me to do it!" He tried to put the blame on the defenseless elf.

The said elf was watching the show in silence. Although Elladan looked furious, he could detect a glimmer of mischief dancing behind those grey eyes of his. Knowing that the older twin would never harm his little brother – at least, not seriously – Legolas did not attempt to break off the staring contest. Finally, the human was backed up against the wall, and he lifted his hands in a wordless defeat. With a triumphant smile, Elladan approached the bed and deposited himself on the empty chair.

"You find that amusing, princeling?" the raven-haired elf asked grouchily, but his voice was soft and gentle.

Legolas flashed him a small smile. "Sorry, I didn't know he would take that literally," the prince said apologetically as he tried to rise.

Elladan immediately pushed him back towards the bed. "Lie still."

"I have already done that for the past several days," Legolas said jokingly, and he heard a snort from behind Elladan. It was Aragorn. "Thanks for the support, Estel," the elf grumbled.

The sarcastic remark drew another snort, but this time it was from someone at the door. Legolas tried to turn his head towards the sound, but failed miserably. Thankfully, the person stepped into the prince's view before he could do more damage to his neck. Elrohir strode in with a try in his hands. A bowl of broth and some bread lay neatly atop the tray.

"You need to eat something to regain your strength," Elrohir said as he set the tray down on the table and picked up the bowl. "Which means you'll have to sit up."

Legolas face brightened.

"Don't be too happy," Elladan admonished. "It will hurt."

"I know," the prince replied, "but it's better than choking on my broth." He laughed lightly and regretted it, as an involuntary groan followed shortly after. Instinctively, his hand pressed down on the bandage that still decorated his healing body.

"Told you so," the elder twin teased good-naturedly as he moved over to prop up the prince and settled him against the headboard.

The three brothers waited for their friend to catch his breath and for the color to return to his pale face.

Legolas opened his eyes. He had no idea when he had scrunched them shut. Then he realized with horror that he had a fistful of Elladan's tunic clutched in a death grip in his fists. Quickly releasing the twin, he muttered an apology sheepishly. Elladan dismissed him with a small wave of his hand.

"Don't worry about it. Unlike some people, I'm not overly worried about ruined tunics." This time it was Legolas who snorted, but before he could retort, a bowl was pressed into his hands.

"Eat. Or do you need us to feed you?" Elrohir laughed at the shocked expression on Legolas' face.

The wood-elf took the bowl and was appalled to find that his hands were shaking so badly that he almost spilled the contents.

Retrieving the bowl from Legolas before he could drop it, Elladan grinned like a Cheshire cat.

"Looks like we DO have to feed you after all!"

"Fine! Go ahead and humiliate me while you can!" the golden elf growled like an infuriated orc, which sent the three siblings into a wild fit of laughter. When they finally regained their senses, Aragorn knelt down beside the bed and looked compassionately into Legolas' eyes.

"Let me help you please. There's nothing to be ashamed of. I remember you doing the same for me countless of times, so let me repay you in kind."

The ranger nodded at his brothers as he took the bowl from Elladan. The twins caught the hint and nodded back understandingly. They slipped out of the room and closed the door behind them.

Legolas sighed. Whether with relief or frustration, Aragorn couldn't tell. But it didn't matter. All that mattered was that his friend had accepted his help without further objections.

Legolas felt ridiculous being fed like an invalid, but he knew that there was no way he was going to be able to eat the broth without aid. The broth would most probably end up on him, rather than in him, if he tried. So he swallowed his pride and allowed Aragorn to do what he did best, half expecting the man to tease him mercilessly. But the elf was rather surprised when Aragorn took care of him diligently without so much as a word. After finishing his meal, the human eased him back onto the bed with great care.

"Thank you," Legolas said with a genuine smile.

"You're welcome, my friend," came Aragorn's reply as he pulled the blanket up to Legolas' shoulder.

The elf sighed, this time in contentment. Elrohir must have slipped something into that broth, for the pain in his body was not so unbearable anymore.

'Bless that elf,' Legolas thought with gratitude and let his eyes drift shut. He would have to thank him some other time. Right now, he was just glad to be able to sink into the comfort of sleep, knowing that his friends would always be there to chase away his nightmares and keep him safe. And he let his dreams claim him.

- The End -

Well, that's the end of the story. I hope you all liked it. :) Thank you all for sticking with me until the end. Special thanks to my faithful reviewers. I really enjoyed reading your reviews! You have no idea how much each of your reviews meant to me :D I'm still working on "To Err is Human" Hopefully my plot bunnies will return soon so that I can finish that fic. :P
Responses to reviewers:

Alinah – Yes, it's a happy ending. :D Everyone rejoice. No one got hurt… well… except for Elladan's little scratch but I'm sure Estel can kiss the boo boo and make it all better. LOL!

Alinamel – Ahh, I remember that episode although I can't recall which sister that was. It was soooooooooooo long ago. No, I'm not that evil. Hehehe.

Silverstreak Wolf – The arrow came from Aragorn. -:snickers:- And of course he wasn't injured too badly. Just a little scratch on the back of the hand. ;)

KerowynGreenleaf – Didn't hurt Elladan too badly. I meant it as a little joke. :D

Joee1 – My dear, Elladan is well. No harm done :D And this ending is no cliffhanger. Everyone's happy. :)

Authoressinhiding – Ahh, the last I heard, the mumakils were detained by customs for lacking a valid entry permit. Muahahahaha! Anyway, you won't need them anymore. I'm done with the story. -:g

Lumberjane – Nope. No break for them. -:evil grin:- But now that the story has ended, they had better take whatever rest they could because who knows where I'll be taking them in the next story. ;)

Arialas – No more cliffies for you. LOL!

invisigoth3 – I am not evil. See? The arrow was from Aragorn and not some mysterious assassin. :D But still, Elladan wasn't too happy about that scratch on his hand. LOL! Poor elf…

Luthien Tunivel – No, thank YOU for reviewing:D

Slayer3 – You'll have him back… once I'm done torturing him -:cackles:-

QueenofFlarmphgal – No one is damaged. Perhaps Elladan's pride but other than that, everything is peachy :D But I bet Aragorn would still feel guilty for quite some time.

Trinilee Greenleaf – I'm not doing anything to Elladan! Really! See? He's a-ok. :D No broken bones, no fatal injuries, just some ruffled feathers. Hehehe.

Elven hope – No more waiting. It's done! Finish! The end! You can rest easy now.

HarryEstel – I plead 'not evil'! It WAS someone playing a joke. Hahaha. Elladan can't kill Legolas for suggesting it but he can surely do some damage to Aragorn. LOL!