Title: Bring Him Home
Author: Calenlass Greenleaf
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. If I did, LotR would be very different indeed.
Spoilers: None. This is pre-LOTR.
Rating: PG-13. See Genre
Timeframe: Aragorn is in his twenties, or a time before he goes a-wandering with Gandalf, serving Thengel and Ecthelion and running to the East and the South.
Genre: Angst/Family/Hurt/Comfort. No character death in this story.
Pairings: None. Slash-free. Rating is for angst.
Beta: Roses of Sharon
Summary: An injured Aragorn tries to make it home in heavy rainfall. Will be only two chapters long. Written for the EAC challenge "Forces of Nature."
A/N: Written for the EAC challenge "Forces of Nature" given by the wonderful Starlight9. Title and inspiration were taken from a song in Les Misérables (musical), and the story If I Live Till Sundown by Henry Woodfin Grady (not a fanfic), found in my old ninth grade literature book. The story itself is a beautiful one, and if I ever get the time, I plan to type/record it for easy access.
A/N #2: :-:-:-: signifies a scene change. //--// signifies a flashback. Elvish translations provided at the end.
Bring Him Home
He is young
Let him rest…
Bring him home…
Bring him peace,
Bring him joy.
He is young,
He is only a boy.
You can take, You can give.
Let him be, let him live…
Bring him home…
—Jean Valjean, "Bring Him Home" from Les Misérables
The rain fell heavily in torrents from the sky, splattering on the ground and the buildings of Rivendell. Thunder rumbled ominously and lightning split the air, turning the sky a deep purple at times. The Bruinen roared, but the valley remained safe, protected by her master. Elrond stood near a window, eyes holding a distant look in them. He did not move when he heard some one come up behind him. "Yes?"
"It is getting late," an elf replied, "My lord, are you sure you wish to up all night?" He moved about the room, relighting the candles.
"Perhaps." The Lord of the Imladris turned his head. Shadows from the fire and candles danced across his face in odd patterns. "Estel has not yet come back."
"It I know the boy, he probably will not return until after this storm has lessened." Celboril straightened up from tending the fire to face the peredhel.
"It only started raining two days ago. The Dúnedain settlement to which he went to is a full five days' travel from Imladris." Elrond turned back to watch the rain fall. "He would have already left."
Celboril did not answer at first. "Do you want me to send out someone to look for him?"
"Not yet." Elrond moved away from the window toward a chair near the fire. "But if he is not yet back by tomorrow morning," he paused. "Elladan and Elrohir will go out to find him."
"As you wish." The servant moved to leave.
"Aye, my lord?"
"Have sentries posted around the valley. Tell them to send word should they see anyone on the road."
The elf nodded and left. Elrond leaned back in the chair, sighing as he cupped his hands around the cup Celboril had set for him on a nearby table. "Oh Estel, return home quickly. You certainly do know how to worry a father's heart." He softly said. "I pray that no ill has befallen you." He bowed his head.
"Bring him home…"
Aragorn tightly clutched his sopping cloak around his frame, teeth chattering from the cold. Rain was nice, but only if you were not in it and injured, he thought as he pushed strands of hair away from his face with numb fingers.
His bad luck had begun when he had only traveled for two days stumbled into a group of orcs. He had tried to evade them, but had not been successful in the attempt. For four days, he had lived a nightmare. The man shakily drew his breath in at the memory. He had finally sneaked out, barely escaping notice. Glazed, bloodshot eyes searched the immediate area. The autumn, once rich and vibrant with color, was now devoid of any cheer. The rain had washed away the leaves clinging to the branches; they now covered the ground, hiding form his view any hindrances on the road.
Things had not gone well with him during his captivity, short as it was. He had lost his pack and other provisions, leaving him with only his sword and his cloak that hid the ugly lacerations and marks that marred his upper body and arms. The only marks that were visible stood out starkly on his pale face. He lowered his head, trying to keep the rain out from his eyes. A crack of thunder made him clench his jaw in pain.
If only the weather had not changed for the worse; perhaps he would already be back home. But he had no control over the forces of nature at all. What bothered him the most was the cold. The dampness that clung to his entire body, the moisture trickling down his face and neck—it seemed that he was slowly freezing to death. His fingers and toes were stiff, making his movements clumsy. More than ten times had he already fallen and picked himself up.
Aragorn paused to rest, resting his forehead against the trunk of a tree and closing his eyes. He raised a hand to his mouth, trying to suppress the coughs that now wracked him. He winced, drawing in his breath slowly as his head throbbed in time with the rain pattering against his ears. The noise was grating on his nerves. He dropped to his knees, pressing the palms of his hand to his head. By the Valar, he would give anything for this rain and its rhythmic pounding to cease!
The Dúnadan let out a sigh. His strength was failing him; his legs refused to let him stand. He turned around and let his head fall back against the trunk, closing his eyes and pulling his cloak as tightly as his wounds would allow him. He was sure he had fractured at least one rib and one of the bones in his right arm. There was naught he could do, though.
Troubling thoughts teased his tired mind. Would he even make it through the night? Was there a chance that he could live to see the dawn? He swallowed hard, trying to push the niggling fears away. He did not want to die this way, or at such a young age. And to leave without saying good-bye—that was the worst part.
His mind turned toward Rivendell, toward home. Thoughts of the warmth of the Last Homely House, its cheerfulness and tranquility brought a half-smile to his face. Shutting his eyelids and breath slowly, he forced himself to think about his family.
Elrond. Dear Adar, with his seemingly inexhaustible supply of wisdom and patience. Aragorn rubbed his broken arm gently. The half-elf would have many things to say about his current predicament, he knew. Ada would scold, all the while making known his anxiety to his adopted. He always had a way of making Aragorn feel like a child again whenever he chided him in a certain tone of voice. The man smiled wistfully. He would willingly endure one of his father's lectures if it meant shelter, care, and love—that certainly was preferable to all this depressing rain.
Ada would not be the only to lecture him. His brothers would also give them a piece of their minds—that is, after making he was all right. A soft chuckle escaped him. Elladan would fuss over him like Ada did, refusing to let him out of bed, and forcing terrible concoctions down his throat, all the while saying it was for his own good. Elrohir, however, would most likely be the one to keep him company during his recovery, and even perhaps help him escape outside.
And…he thought about his mother, with her gentle smile and eyes that looked at him with a mixture of pride and love. A lump formed in his throat, and he was force to brush away the tears that stung his eyes…
Aragorn blinked, jerking out of his reverie when a hug raindrop splattered onto his nose. The memories soon faded, leaving him with his current situation. Passing his hand over his face he supported himself against the tree, slowly regaining his footing.
He had come so far already; Rivendell was only a few hours away. Could he give up now? Pushing himself away from the tree, he once again began his arduous trek back home.
'If I return, I will once again be able to feel my father's embrace, rest against him in peace, and hear him speak my name with such love that only a father can have.' He gritted his teeth when he stumbled, falling to his hands and knees. One hand came up to wrap around his ribs as he stood again.
'If I return, I will once again hear the laughter of my brothers, let them lighten my heart, and have them soothe my fears.' Grey eyes, bright from both fever and determination, seemed to look through the semi-darkness of the forest with a new light.
'If I return, I will once again see the face of the one who has seen me through countless trails, and comforted me with her words and touch.' His fingers reach out to grab a low-hanging branched as he slip. Pain flickered across his face, but he was still upright.
He would not fail them now.
Peredhel – half-elf
Adar – Father
A/N: Link to "Estel Angst Central," aka EAC, can be found on my profile. I've finally figured out how to put in hyperlinks on FF-Net. :)
A/N #2: Many thanks to Cassia for letting me borrow her and Sio's OC Celboril.