Title: The Time Had Come…
Author: Sivan Shemesh
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Tolkien, I just playing around with my bunnies.
Rate: PG or K+
Warning: Character death… angst, a bit of AU.
Summary: The suffering was far too much to endure, the knowledge that death would strike at him any time soon without him being able to do anything to stop it...
A/N: Written for EAC contest: Life, and MCI October contest: Late
King Elessar lay on his bed, letting his mind drifting away... remembering the good and bad times that had entered his life, and the fierce loyalty of those friends who accompanied him from his childhood till this very end.
He was glad that Legolas was there for him when he was first got hurt, and whenever he could join on a hunting trip.
The king could not be happier when Legolas rejected the call of the sea for him – though Aragorn knew how tormenting it was when nature kept calling for the elf. Aragorn was proud of him.
But sadly, Aragorn had felt he was running out of time. His end was not far off and he had to bid his final farewells, telling Legolas and his beloved family how much he has always loved them, how he has always been proud of them, and how he was never happier than when with them, accompanying them, following their every step.
Aragorn sensed a movement, and, though his sight had virtually left him, his tracking skills were still honed even to this day. There had been a soft shuffle. "Who is it?" He asked.
Arwen came beside him, running her hands down her husband's face. The tears were slipping down from her dark sea-shade eyes, flowing, like a river growing into the sea, the tears falling onto her husband's pale, worn features.
"Aragorn... my beloved..." she cried, her hands caressing his face.
Eldarion, standing in the doorway with his Uncle Legolas, wished so much to run toward his adar and naneth, but Legolas held him gently, kneeling beside the boy, and whispering, "Now is not this time, son, give them a moment..."
"I cannot..." the boy cried, and tore away from Legolas, running toward his father who lay in the bed, the tears gushing uncontrollably from his eyes.
Through his blurred vision, Elessar reached out a hand toward the crying image of his son, wanting to comfort him, or at least ease his pain, but no words would leave his mouth. The suffering was far too much to endure, the knowledge that death would strike at him any time soon without him being able to do anything to stop it... He knew that he needed more time with his family, time was never enough.
This was his last task. He could feel how the life in him was flowing away. He raised his hand, beckoning Legolas to come.
The elf, stared at his friend, noticing how the full sparkle of life was leaving from those beautiful grey eyes the way his beloved stallion had left him. But then, his father was there, with him to comfort him. And now, all he could see was the emptiness in his best friend. How he wished he could exchange his life for Aragorn's!
"..." The king began, but only a hot breath left his dry mouth.
Arwen came from the bedside, walking past Legolas and settling into a nearby chair, still weeping. Much as Legolas wished to comfort her, he knew this might be the last time his best friend could speak with him.
The elf sat at the side of the bed. Looking at the man he knew since he was a boy, this man who had grown so much and done so much, he could not stop the tears that flew from his eyes. Brushing it quickly away, Legolas saw a glass of water, and fetched it, helping Aragorn to sip from it, his eyes always on the man, watching him with a certain fear.
Elessar moved his hand up, touching the face of the one who gave him the water, and when he ascertained who it was, he teased the elf weakly.
"I... thought... that elves... do not... cry..." the king coughed, trying to smile.
"I believed that too... but everything changed when I meet you..." Legolas retorted, gently clasping Aragorn's hands together.
"How... there were... changes...?"
"Well... do you want the long version or the short version?" Legolas asked, trying to smile through the tears.
"What is better for you..." Aragorn said it at once, and then he coughed again.
"So... it all started when I went to Rivendell, and met you for the first time..." Legolas started, but stopped as he noticed how Aragorn's breathing changed.
He started to feel tense but did not wish to fail in the last talk he has with him. He quickly continued, "Initially, I did not know how to treat you, as the twins had said you were a hopelessly naughty boy, but my friend, you were different from everything that the twins told me, and I truly enjoyed every adventure we shared," Legolas sighed heavily, letting his mind fly back to the past, and then he added, "I am honored to go with you on the Quest of the Ring, to watch your back in our every fight. If I were not there, the dwarf would have failed miserably in that." Legolas tried to lighten the mood, but tensed involuntarily as he thought his friend's chest did not rise.
Not so soon, he prayed, they had not finished yet.
"A... Aragorn...?" he asked, fearing if he had left the living.
"Adar?" a soft voice came from beside Legolas, who was anxiously staring at his friend.
"Aragorn... my brother..." Legolas whispered, moving closer to Aragorn's face, fearing the time had come for them to part forever. He leaned his ear toward Aragorn's lips, trying to hear his last words.
"Hannon-le..." the king gasped out to the elf, then he closed his eyes in surrender and let death claim his soul.
The time had come.
Then everything was over.
The room was silent. Legolas sighed heavily, silently leaving Aragorn's side and walked out of the room.
Arwen came toward her husband's unmoving form, then gathered her child in her arms, letting him cry for his father.
"Oh... Aragorn... My beloved..." Arwen let the tears fall from her eyes, and then she ran her finger down those beautiful grey eyes she would never see again.
Then she carried Eldarion out of the room. "Come Eldarion... you need to rest..." Arwen held him, whispering what comfort she could offer till the boy cried his soul out and found sleep in his mother's arms.
On the balcony overlooking the gardens,Legolas drew comfort from the cold breeze that embraced him.
He could not believe that his friend was gone – just like that. He had died and Legolas could do nothing but watch him like this. Aragorn deserved better; the man deserved to live forever.
The Mirkwood prince, felt as though his heart had broken. He had never known such great pain; never again would he see his friend laugh, never again to see him injured and talk his way out of the healer's room, never again to fight side to side with him... Never again to have a friend.
And know, there was only one alternative: to accept the call of the sea, as there was no way he could live on any more. The time had come. He had lost his friend. Forever.