Author's Note: This story can be seen as some kind of sequel to "Leave-taking" (posted as chapter 20). Funny enough, "A Perfect World" was not planned to be a sequel – only after I had written the story I noticed that it actually was one. ;-)
Happy Birthday, Jedi Sapphire! I hope your day will be just as perfect as Aragorn's was in this story, mellon-nin! (huggles)
Title: A Perfect World
Author: Silivren Tinu
Beta: the wonderful Imbecamiel (((hugs)))
Summary: Aragorn muses what a perfect world would be like. Characters: Aragorn, Legolas. Written for Prompt #132 "Perfect" in the Aragorn Angst yahoo group.
Disclaimer: I don't own any elves, rangers, or oak trees. (sigh)
- A Perfect World -
Aragorn leaned back comfortably against the boulder behind him, watching the dancing flames of the campfire in front of him. The air was cool, but the fire held both the cold and the darkness at bay and the crackling of the flames was the only sound that could be heard. The ranger's senses had been honed to constant vigilance over the years, but now he found himself slowly relaxing, his instincts giving in to the peaceful atmosphere around him.
When he looked away from the fire, he could see the reddish afterglow of a glorious sunset over the western horizon and the first bright stars twinkling in the darkening sky above. The enticing smell of roasted venison still lingered in the air, mixing with the typical autumnal smells of mushrooms and wet, rotting leaves coming from the forest. Aragorn could not remember the last time he had felt so contented, or had had so many good reasons for feeling that way.
He had been treated to a magnificent golden-red sunset after having already been surrounded by the fiery colours of the forest all day, the hunt had been successful and he had eaten well and a little bit too much, he was sitting by a warm campfire, he had made sure that there was no danger lurking anywhere in the vicinity, he had a trusted companion with him… and said trusted companion, who also happened to be his so-called best friend, had finally tired of throwing acorns at him.
Aragorn looked up at the elf, who was perched on a low-hanging branch of an oak tree, the acorns of which still littered the ground all around the ranger. As annoying as it tended to be, the elf's playfulness had reminded the man of happy days long since gone by, when a young human boy had been taught by his much older elven friend how to hit moving targets while sitting high up on the branches of a tree. Needless to say, the inhabitants of Imladris had not been pleased. In hindsight, the ranger found he could understand why.
During the last years, Aragorn had been forced to spend so much time alone that he knew he would never take the presence of a friend for granted again, especially the presence of this particular friend. Legolas not only knew him better than anyone else, he also reminded him of everything that had been good and precious about his past, before he had ever learned about his true heritage. What was more, Aragorn knew that his heritage had never made any difference to the elf. Legolas had chosen to befriend a dreamy, thoughtful human child, who had needed a friend at that time, and not the heir of Isildur.
Besides, having an elf as company again just felt comfortingly familiar. Legolas' eyes glittered in the firelight like the eyes of a cat, and he seemed just as relaxed and lazy as a cat on the mantelpiece. He was not looking at Aragorn or the fire, and his posture seemed to indicate that he was listening to some distant sound only his elven ears could detect – perhaps a deer moving through the forest, the faint whisperings of the trees, or the song of the stars.
Aragorn found himself relaxing even further, soaking up the warmth of both the fire and dear memories, and wishing this moment could last for a long time. This is perfect, he thought, only realizing that he had spoken the words aloud when Legolas turned his head to look at him.
"I take it you have not eaten well for a long time if you call this meal 'perfect'," the elf teased.
Knowing that his friend understood very well what he had meant, the ranger did not bother replying anything to that. Wrapping his coat tighter around himself and stretching his feet towards the fire, the man asked on a sudden whim, "What do you think the world would be like if the Dark Lord did not exist?"
Noticing Legolas' raised eyebrow, Aragorn quickly added, "Just imagine if Isildur had not kept the Ring. I wonder what we would be doing right now in such a world."
"That is easy," the elf claimed, "at least where I am concerned. I would be sitting right here at a campfire, answering the strange questions of my human companion, whom I would have known for almost his entire life. I would probably carry fewer weapons, though… and my companion would have a lot less names, would not be a ranger, would likely be more well-kept and less dirty, and would not feel the need to be armed to his teeth on a simple hunting trip."
Aragorn glared at his friend half-heartedly, not sure whether to be annoyed or amused. "I like that thought," he finally admitted.
"You should," the elf informed him. "Even if we were living in a world without darkness, it would make no sense to change something that is already perfect."
The ranger smiled. "I would probably change the oak tree," he said thoughtfully. "A beech would be much nicer."
Legolas frowned. "What is wrong with this oak tree?" he wanted to know. "It is magnificent!"
"Oh, I like the tree," Aragorn replied. "I just wish it didn't have any acorns."
– The End –
I'd love to hear how you liked this story! :)