Title: Haunted

Rating: K+

Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. I make no money with this story.

Summary: The battle of the Hornburg had a lasting affect on those who survived. A little snippet of what could have happened after the battle.

A/N: Written for the Prompt # 36 "Rest" on AragornAngst.

Night had settled over the stone ruins of Helm's Deep, and still the wails of the women could be heard, as well as the crying of the children. Torches had been lit inside of the Hornburg and in the caverns behind it, but few lit the grounds outside. No one who had fought in the battle needed the light to see the corpses and slaughtered bodies. These pictures would be burned into every man's memory for the rest of his life.

Until deep into the night Aragorn and the other defenders who were not seriously injured had tried to recover their dead comrades from the orcs and Uruk-hai, but around midnight the men had been too exhausted to go on. Many had gone to the Horburg to eat a bite, sleep and forget.

Now, only a few short hours from dawn, Helm's Deep was eerily silent. No a sound was heard, despite the fact that hundreds of humans resided behind the thick walls. A cool breath of wind sneaked around the rubble of destroyed walls and buildings, stirring the clothing and hair of the dead.

'As silent as in a grave. And that it is.' Aragorn thought, as he fought his way through the corpses. In the dark of the night it was unavoidable for him to now and then step on a hand or even a face, but every time he did he shuddered involuntarily and closed his eyes. n his long years Aragorn had fought many battles and seen death, but what had happened here was even new to him.

Cringing when he stepped on another dead body, Aragorn slowly made his way towards the outer wall of the fortifications. There, he stopped in his tracks and let his eyes roam over the plains. Dead orcs covered the ground, but their shapes were nearly invisible in the darkness, and had he not know that they were corpses, Aragorn could have mistaken the shapes for boulders.

He stood there for many minutes, gazing out at the land, and slowly the tension in his shoulders eased a little, and he felt the weight of the battle sink into his limbs. Tiredness stole over him, like a huge wave that broke against a cliff. Aragorn felt his legs give out beneath him, and with a groan he sank to the ground.

Wearily leaning against a part of the wall that had not been destroyed, Aragorn closed his eyes, although he knew that he would relive the battle as soon as he did. And surely, immediately he saw flashes of battle scenes, heard the screams of the dying and dead and felt the sting of his own wounds intensify.

Aragorn swallowed thickly and pressed the palms of his hands against his eyes, as if that would make the images vanish. They did not vanish, of course, but grew clearer and stronger the more Aragorn fought against them, and after several attempts to overpower them, Aragorn gave up. He opened his mind and heart for the rush of emotions, pictures and smells.

They came, and they stayed, and they made him wish he could sleep like the elves, always able to control his dreams. And when dawn broke and sunlight peeked over the horizon, Aragorn got to his feet slowly and headed back inside. There was work to be done.

He had not slept that night, and he new that it would take a long, long time until he would be able to sleep without seeing those images. Maybe when Sauron was overpowered and freedom had returned to these lands, he would be able to truly find for a while.

The End.

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