Author's Note: Hey guys! Time for another chapter, the story is winding to a climax! A battle scene in two chapter's time! Please leave a review, reasoning down the bottom:-)
Disclaimer: Don't own recognizable characters. Do own Lefellon and Angrod. (Not so proud of owning those, either!)
When Thranduil and Elrond entered the room, Legolas was lying on his side, two blankets partly covering him. His pale green nightshirt was slightly twisted, exposing the right side of his ribcage. Thranduil stood over his son, examining the prince's terrible state.
The ribs beneath a thin layer of transparent skin were like ridges in a plain…ordinarily a contradicting statement, but so applicable in this case that Thranduil took a step back as the young elf rolled over and opened his eyes, roused to half-awareness by an unusual presence in the room.
The King was ready with glass of water poured from the pitcher by the bed, and soothing words to calm his agitated son.
"Ada?" The voice was unbearably soft and weak, and it pulled at Thranduil's every heartstring. He sat on the bed and cradled Legolas's fair head in his own lap, smoothing the thin hair covering the scalp.
Throughout this, Elrond had been standing near the doorway, watching the brief exchange between his friend and his current patient. He came forward now, soft skin boots making no sound on the wooden and rugged floors. He smiled at Legolas, and sat on the bed, beginning to lightly rub the prince's hand.
"How do you feel, Legolas?" Elrond queried.
"Tired," was the exhausted whisper, "like I do not have the strength to continue this."
Legolas had long ago abandoned all attempts at pretence and cover up…it was useless, and he knew that this was one battle that he could not win. It was written in his eyes. Hope still flickered there, but it was dim, and failing quickly. Elrond gripped Legolas's hand tightly, trying to lend some strength as Thranduil stroked his son's hair. Legolas had almost drifted off again when Elrond quietly whispered,
"Do not sleep just yet, dear Legolas. We have come to bring renewed hope in the face of war." The prince again opened his eyes and tried to sit up. Thranduil quickly rearranged some pillows on the headboard and leaned Legolas on them. The said elf rubbed his eyes to rid himself of the lasting effects of sleep, as Elrond began to talk.O.O
The High Pass was experiencing some doubtful weather. The skies over it were gray, cloudy, and fog covered the Alps surrounding it, rendering visibility as extremely poor. The sun had only just risen, but Angrod and his army were struggling to continue their ascent to the peak. At long last, Lefellon approached his commander to tell him the obvious.
"My lord, we cannot continue like this."
Angrod turned to look at his commander in chief, fiery eyes blazing.
"We must, Lefellon. Do not presume to speak above your rank." Lefellon, used to the harsh words from his liege, was not daunted.
"Our men are tired, and the other creatures are beginning to get rowdy. We shall have half an army at this rate, my lord."
"The longer we linger, the more time Mirkwood will have to gather forces to aid Imladris. Do not forget that the wood elves are trusting, but not stupid. No doubt the guards have discovered our camps. We do not have the time to linger."
"We killed the bearer of a missive to Thranduil informing him of all that has taken place. We were not able to find the missive's scribe, as it was unsigned. But in any case, the army needs rest, especially the men, so we can be fresh to attack in a week."
Angrod nodded, seeing his commander's reasoning. "Send word back to all troupe's leaders. They are to take rest as well as they can for the next day and night. Tomorrow morning, we will move on, with only brief rests until both kingdoms are exterminated; Imladris and Mirkwood will fall, along with all royalty belonging to both houses."
"What say you, Legolas? We give you a choice, and the choice is entirely yours to take."
By the end of the deciding conversation, the Mirkwood prince's room was decidedly crowded. Legolas was propped up on pillows on his bed, looking extremely tired. However, his eyes held a small glint not to be missed for what it was – hope.
Elrond was perched catlike with his legs folded under him, sitting on top of the red bedspread. Thranduil was sitting next to Elrond, close to Legolas, his head resting on his own knee. The remaining occupants were uninvited, but insisted that they should bear witness to it too. The twin sons of Elrond, as well as the adoptive teenager were sprawled in various positions on the floor, close enough to the bed so as to closely observe Legolas' features, but far enough so as to give the said prince some room.
"This is not a choice you give me, for I see no option but one." Legolas began to speak, smiling wanly. "It is better to die knowing that you did all possible to halt your own death, than to lie here dying knowing that there could have been a totally different outcome." He paused once more, making eye contact with everyone in the room. "I will take the tonic, Lord Elrond, and I will take it with no regrets no matter the outcome. I want to fight with you to the end."
There was stillness in the room after Legolas had finished his short speech. For perhaps a minute, no one spoke, and then Thranduil reached forward to envelop his son in his embrace.
"Then let us not delay!" Elladan cried. "Let us give Legolas this potion, as he wishes, and then we will wait and give comfort no matter what."
"He cannot drink it." Elrohir said quietly, bringing the obvious to everyone's attention.
"He does not have to, it can be absorbed through the bloodstream," said Elrond, giving the room a small smile. "If the poison itself was in the form of a dart, then we will do the same with the antidote."
"You want to stab Legolas?" A small voice came from the corner of the room, from Estel. The boy had been silent up to this point, but now he spoke.
Legolas smiled tenderly and reached out to the human. Estel scrambled up onto his bed and let himself be pulled down and cradled against his best friend's chest. Legolas stroked the boy's hair with a trembling hand and spoke gently into his ear.
"No one is going to stab me, Estel. They won't do it violently; they will just make a little hole so that the antidote can run into my veins. There'll be a bit of blood because they have to cut the vein in my arm, but it won't hurt me."
"I'll be there, Legolas," the human then whispered, sitting up and leaning Legolas against him. "I'll be here always."
"I will too." This statement came from everyone in the room, one by one. It was as if they were all pledging their vows.
"Goodness, what commitment!" Joked the prince, laughing. "No one has to marry me!"
Real laughter then permeated the room, a joyous sound that filled every corner, every nook and crevice. Elladan and Elrohir, of one mind as always, leaped onto the bed, puckering their lips and leaning into their friend as if for a kiss. Estel laughed and started humming the traditional wedding tune, complete with percussion against the bedside table.
Thranduil and Elrond left quietly, barely missing a certain elven prince attempt to throw a pillow. The light cushion made it to halfway across the bed, not flying high enough to reach Elrohir's face, the intended target. Legolas looked down at his hands, flexing the finger weakly. How would he be able to wield his bow in the upcoming battle if he could not now throw a pillow with accuracy?
A/N: There you have it folks! Long by my standards, too! Please leave a review, my muse, mailbox and mother all appreciate it! (My mother because I am strangely docile after someone leaves a review. She can get me to hang up the washing and everything!) Take care, everyone!