Here comes my challenge fic for Tux´s challenge. I don't know if it comes already too late or should have been posted somewhere else and not on this list, but here it is nevertheless.

I know I should be working on Delw yomenie, but this plot bunny would not leave me alone; I guess you know what I mean.



Tux Challenge

Write a missing scene between Aragorn and Legolas, either shortly before or after the coronation

Title: The meaning behind the words

Rating: K+

Warnings: None

Spoilers: For ROTK, who has NOT seen it yet?

Timeframe: Before the coronation

Disclaimer: I own nothing from the works of Tolkien, neither books nor movies. Therefore, I would be very happy if you would not sue me.

The night had fallen some hours ago and most of the citizens had already retired to their beds, blowing out the candles and shutting out the world. It was a cold night, the stars numerous in the sky and blinking on the earth below. Silence had settled in the city and the surrounding lands. Silence and peace.

The War was over. Many good men and women had lost their lives, many were still missing to be never found again. Some would be soon forgotten, others would be remembered forever.

The citadel stood towering over the rest of Minas Tirith, guarding it and providing shelter for those who had none anymore. The servants had retired to bed, the soldiers had taken position around the building. They were not afraid of the dangers from the East anymore. They did not protect the Steward anymore. No, they stood there to protect the new king. Because the king had returned.

Inside the palast, most flickering candles had been blown out, the fires had burned down, doors had been closed to be reopened in the morning again and quietness had risen inside the white stone walls.

And still, one person could not rest as he should. He had retired early to bed as his coronation day was only one more night away, but sleep evaded him and after some hours of rolling over and pointless pacing, the human had dressed and started to walk around.

If Aragorn had thought that a short walk would tire him and help him to find sleep, he was mistaken. The more he wandered inside the stony walls, the more he wished to be in the open again, to be a ranger and to be free as he wished it to be. But he knew, deep inside, that it was not to be.

Tomorrow, he would become King. Gandalf would lead the coronation and place the crown on his brow. Although the sign of his status was not yet decorating his head, the former ranger could feel its weight on his shoulders already, pressing him down and making breathing difficult.

Sighing, Aragorn directed his steps back to his chamber. It would do no good if he kept walking around. The walk had not helped him to relax and he doubted that he would find any sleep, but at least in his chamber he would be alone and would not have to see the masses of stone surrounding him and with them, think of the many souls he would be responsible for.

Heading slowly to his room, Aragorn passed the big double door leading to the throne room of Minas Tirith. He stopped in his tracks and without thinking, he opened the door a crack and slipped inside.

The hall lay deserted, silent and dark before him, the former ranger the only intruder. And he felt that way, as an intruder, as he hesitantly stepped up before the throne and let his gaze travel over it. Aragorns gaze found the top if the throne, high above him, towering over him and diminishing him.

Aragorn stood there for many moments, unmoving, starring and contemplating why it had to be him who had to face so many obstacles, who had to fight and loose so much that was dear to him, for a throne that was too huge for him and a life he did not want.

The hours of the night moved on, the moon wandered over the black sky, trailing the blinking and shining stars behind him. In the early hour of the new day, when the night is the coldest and the air the clearest, when the darkness is complete and the mind asleep, another pair of feet found their way to the throne room, entering silently and coming to a stop beside the other ones.

Aragorn minutely glanced at his friend, a small smile showing on his face. Legolas nodded to his human friend, then directed his eyes to the throne before him, following his friends´ gaze, but not really seeing what the former ranger saw.

Long moments they stood in silence, each one lost in his own musings, before Aragorn spoke, almost whispering in the still air that filled the room: "It is so huge, almost monstrous." Without looking at the human, the elf replied: "Aye, it is."

Not aware that Aragorn was not speaking of the size of the throne itself, but rather about other things, Legolas went on: "You could rebuild it, mellon nin. Once you are king you can do what you want with it."

Aragorn sighed and tilted his head a little to the side. In a low voice he answered his friend: "If it was so easy, Legolas." Frowning, the elf averted his eyes from the throne before him to look at his human friend beside him. Aragorn was pale, even in the silver moonlight. His features were drawn and it was evident that he had not slept properly for a few days.

Glancing from the former ranger to the throne, Legolas took a deep breath and realized, with a sudden clearness, that his friends words had contained more meaning than he had noticed at first. Sighing inwardly, the blond price fixed his eyes on the throne, which loomed over them and said: "Oh, it is as easy as I say, my friend. Even the largest and most difficult tasks begin with the first step."

Aragorn, still thinking that Legolas had not understood the meaning of his words and not feeling as if he should burden his friends with his own doubts, took another look at the huge stone building before him.

"It think this task is too great for me to do. So many things could go wrong."

"You don't have to do it alone, my friend. I will always be at your side to help you."

Sighing, the man gazed at the marble stone and the many steps that lead to the throne. Every step seemed too high to climb and the feeling of fear and doubt that had long nibbled at his insides only grew at the sight of them.

"Legolas, this is a task that has been laid before me and I know that I have to do it alone. I wish it was not so, but I fear you cannot help me; not this time."

Feeling his friends doubts, Legolas took at step towards the human and placed his slender hand on his strong shoulder. "You need no help, my friend. You are strong enough to do it alone. You can rebuild it. You can change anything you want and make it as you wish it to be."

Still starring at the throne and therewith his future, Aragorn replied: "But so much can go wrong. What if I do more harm than good by changing it?"

"And what if you don't?"

The former ranger took a deep breath and silence settled once more over the two friends. When Aragorn turned his eyes away from the throne to look at his friend, a small smile had appeared on his face and his eyes shone brighter than before.

"Aye, you are right, mellon nin, as always. It is worth a try, I guess, and with you by my side, what could possibly go wrong?"

The elf smiled at this and, taking his hand from his friends shoulder, pushed the man gently out of the room. It was time for both of them to catch some sleep, as the next day would be very long.

Aragorn took a last look at the throne before the door closed behind him and he felt the weight on his shoulders lessen somewhat and he was sure, that the weight would not return. Not tomorrow and not the day after that day.

When the King of Gondor thought about that night in later years, he had the feeling that his elven friend had understood more than he had said that night, and Aragorn was him forever grateful for that.

The End