A week later, Legolas was sufficiently recovered enough to travel back to Mirkwood. His ribs were healing, as were Aragorn's, and they knew that the King had to be worried sick about them by now.

Master Galen lent them a boat, and had two of his servants bring Legolas and Aragorn home, citing the fact that neither of them should be rowing with broken ribs.

The Dorwinion wine had been ready for shipping, and the crate stood behind Legolas, who sat leaning against it.

"Do you think that we'll be able to keep what happened a secret from your father?" Aragorn asked.

Legolas shook his head without hesitation. "He will know the instant that he sees me."

Aragorn nodded. Legolas was walking very stiffly; the rib that had nearly detached from his ribcage was healing more slowly than a rib that had merely been broken. "At least we got his wine."

Legolas chuckled softly, holding it in because of his aching ribs.

When they finally arrived, they thanked the men who had done the rowing and took a cart from the port's stable. After lifting the box of wine onto the cart for them, Galen's servants left, heading back towards Lake Town.

As Aragorn and Legolas climbed aboard the cart and started riding towards the palace, the human suddenly snorted.

"That will do it," he said.

Legolas looked at him, askance.

The human laughed as they rode down the road. "Neither one of us can lift the crate. That will be proof enough that something happened to us!"

Legolas eyes widened, and he smiled. "Very true. We shall simply have to accept the fact that we'll need to tell him."

"We can lie."

Legolas looked at his friend again, eyebrows raised.

Aragorn smiled. "I mean, we can leave out the part about the vines."

Legolas nodded. "Definitely." He felt bad enough that his father would blame himself for his son's injury; Thranduil did not need to know how close Legolas had come to death.

After they pulled up at the palace, Aragorn carefully climbed down and reached up to assist his friend so that his still-weak rib would not be jostled.

"Legolas!" they suddenly heard.

Both elf and human froze.

Legolas was still standing in the cart with his hands on the wood at either side, having just lowered himself to reach the step.

Aragorn had his hands on Legolas' forearms, and the sight made it quite obvious to the approaching King that something was wrong with his son.

"Legolas!" Thranduil called again, as he jogged over. "What happened? Why were you both gone for so long?"

Aragorn had let go of the elf and Legolas had quickly straightened up, but he did it much too fast and the pain increased enough to make him gasp, though it came out muffled as he bit his lip.

Aragorn heard it, and apparently so did the King, who increased his pace and grabbed his son's arm as he looked up at him. "Where are you hurt?" he demanded.

"He is all right," Aragorn tried to assure the King. "He merely has some broken ribs."

"As does Aragorn," said Legolas, trying to lose some of the focus.

Thranduil looked from one to the other. "You both have broken ribs, and yet the human was helping the elf! What else, Legolas? How did this happen? Come down from there."

Legolas sighed as his father and friend both helped him down, the King putting an arm around his son as if to support him.

"I am truly all right, father, your worry is unneeded," Legolas said, as they began walking towards the palace.

Aragorn suddenly stopped. "The wine!"

Thranduil turned, to see the crate sitting on the cart. "I will send someone to fetch it. Now, tell me what has occurred!"

Sighing, the two friends complied. They told him of the storm and boat wreck, and how their injuries had been sustained by the waterspout's impact.

Thranduil listened, horrified.

Legolas started to turn down a corridor, but Thranduil tightened the hold on his son and continued walking straight—towards the healing rooms.

"Ada," said Legolas, nervously. "Where are we going?"

"I want you both to be looked at," said the King.

Legolas swallowed, not wanting his father to see the wound caused by the piece of wood. "There is no need, I am nearly healed."

"Then why did you need help getting down from the cart?" the King asked. "There is something that you are not telling me, Legolas, I am no fool."

Aragorn gave his friend a wry look.

Legolas returned it, as they reached the door.

When the healers saw their King, Prince, and his friend enter; they immediately surrounded Legolas, to Aragorn's amusement and Legolas' embarrassment. After being told by Thranduil to check Legolas' ribs, they herded him to a bed and sat him down, starting to remove his tunic.

"Stop!" Legolas exclaimed, having been fed up with these healers for millennia. "I can do it myself!"

The healers obeyed their prince, who started undoing the clasps.

Aragorn chuckled as he and Thranduil walked to the bed.

"Do not laugh," Aragorn suddenly heard. "You are next."

Aragorn's smile instantly vanished, and he turned to find Elrond standing behind him. "Ada!" he exclaimed, shocked, wondering when the Lord of Rivendell had obviously traveled to Mirkwood.

Legolas was likewise surprised at the unexpected sight.

Thranduil stepped forward and helped his son remove his tunic and shirt, who didn't dare protest. "You can go," he told the two healers. "Elrond can take care of my son."

The healers hesitated slightly, concerned for the Prince that they'd healed so many times through the millennia, but nodded, seeing that he seemed to be all right.

When the bandage around Legolas' midsection was uncovered, Elrond stepped forward and began to remove it.

Aragorn looked at Legolas and the elf met his gaze as they tried to figure out what exactly to tell the King.

Thranduil saw the silent exchange and it made him nervous—he was almost afraid to see what lay under the bandage.

Elrond finished unwrapping it, to find a smaller one underneath. Discolored skin could be seen sticking out above it, and Thranduil himself reached over to remove it. What he saw when it was unwrapped made his eyes widen; there was a long, stitched gash that was surrounded by fading bruises. At first, Thranduil thought it meant that Aragorn had needed to cut his son to pull a rib out of his lung, but the gash was uneven and crooked. "What caused this!" he exclaimed. "The truth!"

Legolas sighed, raggedly. "Forgive me, ada. I did not wish you to know."

"Obviously!" the King exclaimed.

"A…piece of wood from the boat did it," Legolas told him.

Thranduil stared at the wound, horrified, as he realized what his son was telling him.

"It did not puncture his lung," said Aragorn, trying to lessen the impact on Thranduil's nerves.

Elrond reached forward and started to gently press on Legolas' ribs.

"How bad?" Thranduil asked him, almost unable to talk around the catch in his throat.

Legolas made a soft pained sound, flinching at the touch.

"One is worse than the other," Elrond answered. "It is not very stable."

Thranduil looked at Aragorn, knowing that the young healer had cared for his son's injury.

"It did not merely break where the wood struck it," the human explained. "It also broke where it attaches to his ribcage."

Elrond looked at him, shocked. "And yet, it still remains within him?"

Aragorn nodded. "It did not fully detach."

Elrond sighed with relief. "You are incredibly fortunate, penneth."

Legolas nodded, knowing how true his words were.

After studying the wound more closely and pronouncing him on the mend, Elrond gently wrapped a clean bandage around Legolas' ribs again and gave him some painkilling herbs, telling him to lie down.

Legolas made to stand instead, but at a look from his father, he obeyed.

Elrond checked Aragorn's ribs next, relieved to find no horrible wound like Legolas'. He made the human lie down also, and the two fathers stared down at their children.

"I know that the storm cannot have been anticipated," said Thranduil. "But whatever shall we do with you two?"

Legolas and Aragorn looked at each other, grinning. "Share your wine?" they said.

THE END

LOL! I had no idea that the story would end that way until I got there:)

And now, a preview for my next story!

A painful jerk suddenly woke Legolas, who gave a gasp and opened his eyes. He felt extremely groggy, and it took a minute or two for him to realize that he was cramped in a very small area, and that he was somehow in motion.

Alarm filled him and he tried to move, before realizing that it was completely impossible. Fear from the disorienting situation increased his heartbeat, and he looked around frantically, trying to make sense of it. "Aragorn!" he yelled. He got no answer, and tried to shift his body again, now becoming aware of the painful headache that gripped his skull. He groaned, halting his movements and closing his eyes. Taking a deep breath, he tried to calm himself before reopening his eyes and studying his surroundings again. His mind was completely unable to comprehend what he saw...

A short preview, I know, but I couldn't put any more without giving the situation away, lol! I don't have a title for that one yet, but it will be posted after my next snippet! Thanks for reading, and don't forget to tell me what you thought of 'Eye of the Storm's' ending, lol :)