This little fic is no more and no less than an experiment. It is my first fanfic, and the first story I have ever written in English (my native language is German). So I kept it short and simple. I'm still rather fond of it, and I would love it if you would tell me what you think! Did you survive my English? Should I try more in this language?
Inspired by Peter Jackson's movies and Cassia's and Siobhan's Mellon Chronicles I assume that Aragorn and Legolas have known each other and been friends for quite some time before "The Fellowship of the Ring".
A certain human has some bad luck (not that he is entirely innocent about it) and finds help…
Before books and movies - young Aragorn (20 or so), old Legolas… :-)
All Tolkiens, not mine. -pouts- Apart from the spider. -thinks a moment- Well, perhaps the spider is his, too. I'm not sure. Baah! Who wants to own a spider, anyway? -throws spider over her shoulder and shuffles off-
A River, Orcs and a Spider
"Tasssty!" hissed the spider and poked her intended victim with one of her long, thin legs.
"No, I'm not," answered the human in what he hoped to be a convincing voice. "I'm indigestible. See, I'm not even an elf. You would upset your stomach, believe me."
He retreated slowly, trying to escape the touch of the long leg and get as much space as possible between him and the hungry spider. He cursed his bad luck. He'd fallen into a river and lost his supplies, been attacked by orcs that scared his horse so much that it had run away, received a wound that made him limp, and now he'd managed to encounter a spider before he was able to retrieve his sword, which was still solidly embedded in the last orc he had fought and pinned to the ground.
He wasn't sure what it was about him and Mirkwood - a curse, perhaps? Whenever he was alone in this forest he seemed to attract danger like a magnet. How anyone could live here and survive for more than a day was beyond him. If this forest hadn't been the place where his very best friend lived, he would probably never have set a foot into it out of his own free will. He wondered how Legolas could ever have gotten as old as he was living daily in a place like this. It surely couldn't be so dangerous if elves were able to survive here for thousands of years?
Perhaps it had something to do with his being human, he decided. Or the forest had some kind of private feud against the heirs of Isildur. He snapped back to attention, as the spider prodded him again. He hated spiders, and this one was especially ugly, hairy and pushy. It made him feel like a fat well-hung steak about to be sold on a market-place. Only that he wasn't dead yet. He looked at the beast suspiciously. If a spider could grin, this one did.
"Tasty," the spider insisted. "Better than orc-flesh. Fresh and tender."
Aragorn began to ask himself whether this spider was alone or not. Could he tackle a single spider? A big, healthy, hungry single spider? Looking at those gleeming eyes and the saliva dripping from formidable palps he suspected that he probably wouldn't be given a choice.
"Orcs taste much better than humans do," he tried again. "And they are fresh and already killed. Easy meat!" It was no smile on the spider's face, he decided, it was a smirk. He tried to gauge the distance to his sword without being to obvious. Could he reach it with one single jump? Would he be able to get it free before the spider was upon him? It was stuck in the orc's ribcage. He had tried before, and then decided to rest a bit before trying again. The spider had had other ideas.
Aragorn decided he must have been out of his mind to enter this forest at all. To enter it alone. Three times he had almost been eaten, killed or abducted, and here he was again. Trying to prove that he could do it, that he could survive travelling through Mirkwood on his own. Something had to be seriously wrong with his sanity - or his sense of self-preservation. An heir of Isildur and king of men who ended up as spider-fodder. Legolas had told him to wait for him at the edge of the forest, but Aragorn had been early and decided to surprise his friend. He wondered how surprised Legolas would be to find him in the stomach of a spider. If he found him at all.
The human tried to favor his hurting bad leg without drawing the attention of the spider to the wound. It alarmed him that the spider wasn't in a mood for talking any longer. He knew the foul creature could jump at him any moment now. He tried to brace himself for the attack as best he could. He would have to fend her of for long enough to get his hands on the sword. One of the spider's legs was twitching, and even more saliva was dripping out of her mouth.
Aragorn narrowed his eyes. What was she waiting for? His leg had begun to tremble slightly under the strain. The spider raised her head, as if she was sniffing the air. Then she drew herself up to her full height, looked warily into the branches of the trees overhead and hissed. The human, now completely confused, followed her gaze. There, on a branch directly above them, stood Legolas, bow in hand, arrow ready to fly.
Aragorn stared at him open-mouthed, perfect disbelief written all over his face.
"I knew you would not heed my advice," Legolas said quietly, sparing a brief glance at the human before gazing at the spider again.
With this words, realization set in, and Aragorn felt such a profound relief that he felt dizzy all of a sudden. He was grinning at his friend. "I know I'm a fool," he confessed to his obviously slightly annoyed friend. Aragorn knew he had worried the elf.
There was a smile on Legolas face now. "I came to invite you for dinner, but as I can see you already have an invitation," the elf said lightly, looking at the spider.
Aragorn shuddered involuntarily. "I would rather go with you, if you don't mind," he said, trying to sound casual, but his eyes were pleading now.
The elf gave him a reassuring smile that told Aragorn he had already been forgiven. Then he fixed a cold gaze on the spider.
"It seems your dinner is unwilling to be partaken of," he remarked. "Perhaps you should consider to leave."
Aragorn gave him a glare. Legolas still couldn't resist teasing him. The spider hissed again, a vicious snarl that needed no translation.
The next moment she jumped at her prey.
She was so fast, that Aragorn couldn't even move a muscle in the time it took her to reach him. But someone was even faster. Before the spider could bite him or even touch him, she crashed to the ground, two arrows deeply embedded in her head. A few drops of dark blood hit Aragorn's boots and leggings. The human stood frozen for a moment, gaping in shock.
Slowly he realized that the spider was dead and he was unscathed. He took a deep breath and stepped back, away from the cadaver, his bad leg wavering slightly beneath him. He didn't even flinch as Legolas landed gracefully on the ground at his side.
"Thank you," was all Aragorn could say.
"You're welcome," Legolas replied warmly, taking in the human. "Though I would prefer it if you would just wait for me the next time."
Aragorn smiled weakly. "I promise," he said quietly, locking his gaze on that of the elf. "No more foolishness."
Legolas only nodded, relief obvious in his eyes. "You are hurt," he then remarked, quiet concern in his voice.
Aragorn smiled a bit ruefully, looking down at the bloody gash on his leg. He knew it was too late to try and hide his injury. "I'm fine," he said nonetheless. "It is only a scratch." He was rewarded by a snort from the elf.
"What have you done to yourself this time?" Legolas asked, and there was a no-nonsense look in his eyes.
"Nothing!" Aragorn started to protest. And sighed. "I fell in a river, lost my supplies and had a run-in with some orcs that scared my horse away," he confessed grudgingly.
Legolas followed his gaze. He looked at the orcs, the sword, the spider, and then back at Aragorn. He raised an eyebrow and tried unsuccessfully to stifle a smile.
Aragorn sighed again. "I know," he said. "I already told you I'm a fool, didn't I?"
Legolas wisely chose not to say anything to that.
"Let us get you over there," he said instead. "I want to have a look at this leg of yours."
Aragorn nodded reluctantly, took a step and promptly felt his bad leg crumple under him. Before he could fall, he felt a strong arm wrapping around his waist, catching him and holding him upright.
"Easy, Estel," a soothing voice said near his ear.
With Legolas' help he managed to walk over to the nearest tree root and allowed the elf to sit him down. Legolas took a closer look at the bloody gash and glared at the human.
"Fine, hmmm?" But his hands were gentle as he cleaned and bandaged the wound as best as he could without any supplies.
When he had finished, he looked up at the young man with a weary smile. "Some day, if you will let me, I would like to show you how to survive in my forest, ranger! Or this visits will be the death of both of us yet."
Aragorn chuckled, though he knew Legolas was only half-joking. He laid a hand on the elf's shoulder. "I would like that very much, my friend. And I promise to listen - this time."