A Guiding Hand
By Rose G

Disclaimer - All these characters belong to Tolkien, as does Moria. I haven't made any money out of it, and if I had done do you really think I'd still be living in freezing cold Cornwall? Not likely.

A/N - This is not slash, although some people might choose to read it as such. Any flames will just make me think you're related to a certain Balrog.

Legolas planted his feet firmly on the rocky, uneven ground and looked accusingly at Aragorn and Gandalf, who was holding his staff to the Moria doors in a rather threatening manner. 'No way, Aragon. I am not going through Moria, ever.'

The Ranger rolled his eyes and glanced at Gimli, who was pacing in his excitement to enter the mines. 'Legolas, I have already been through Moria once and it terrifies me, yet I am prepared to follow Gandalf wherever he may lead us. He is the leader of this company and Frodo is the Ring Bearer, so you should follow them without question. If you are truly afraid of Moria, all of us would excuse you, for fear is something that we have all known. But your fear must not stand in way of the quest. And anyway, Gandalf may yet be unable to open the Doors of Durin, and then you would have worried for no reason.'

Gandalf paused from his examination of the Door and glared at Aragorn. 'Silence yourself, Ranger. I have just worked out how to open these Doors. Now turn Bill lose, and get that Elf up here.'

The fellowship watched silently as the great Doors swung open, except for Gimli, who moved to the front of the group anxious to see the halls of his forefathers. Boromir, with a strange smile on his face, turned to Aragorn as the Hobbits and Gandalf stepped into the mines.

'Aragorn, we could always leave Legolas here if he does not wish to go through Moria. He could take that pony of Sam's back to Rivendell with him. If he is afraid, it is not for us to lead him through Moria to his almost certain death, and indeed I would go with him if he wishes to turn back.' He then lept forward into Moria as Aragorn stepped towards him, not looking particularly kindly.

Legolas shifted his weight restlessly, gathering his courage and almost glad of Boromir's scornful words because they strengthen his quaking heart. Dark mines were no places for Elves who were used to wandering under starry skies beneath forests of golden leaves and longed for the salt tang of the sea crashing onto silver shores, yet he knew that he had to pass through this shadowy underworld to whatever end it came. He had no choice.

'Come, Legolas. I also do not wish to go through Moria, but since we must, let us go together. The others are waiting.' Aragorn spoke gently, gesturing to where Boromir could be seen rounding the bend in the passage at a run, bringing up the rear of the group.

'All right, but let it be known that only evil can come from our choice of route, and I am afraid - desperately afraid of Moria.' Legolas sounded more troubled than Aragorn had ever heard him in the score or more of years that had known each other closely.

Aragorn despite his fear, smiled at the Elf, pleased because they were alone together, however briefly. It was hard for him to keep up a pretence of bravery in a group like the fellowship, but Legolas understood his weakness and did not judge him. 'Come on, Legolas. Elven Prince and Elendil's heir or not, Gandalf will have us carrying his packs for the rest of the quest and take our pipe weed into the bargain if we delay much longer.' He unsheathed Anduril, and reached out a hand to the Elf, who was still backing away from the Doors, glancing over to where Bill was trotting sure footed towards Rivendell and freedom.

Legolas sighed heavily, and stepped forward reluctantly, trusting in his friend. They walked slowly up to the Doors, both very glad of the other's presence.

'Gandalf will wait for us, Legolas, so we need not hurry unduly. Enough for him that we consent to go this way.' Aragorn ducked his head slightly to enter the Doors, with Legolas huddling close to him, afraid of the pitch darkness that seemed to have no end and the narrow walls that seemed to close in on him.

'I hate this place, Strider.' Legolas used Aragorn's nickname in an attempt at a jest, which was somewhat spoiled by his curses as he straightened up and met the stone roof with his head.

Aragorn did not laugh; he was too busy trying to work out exactly where Gandalf and the others were. His eyes had adapted quickly to the dark and now he could see the darkness held fewer terrors than his imaginings, and he was also comforted because Legolas, closer than many friends to him, was there.

It seemed an eternity to Legolas, although in reality it was only a few minutes before they met the others, and he was aware that if it wasn't for Aragorn he would never have got through there. The Ranger stepped silently along the path, Anduril held somewhat awkwardly in his left hand as he walked and his right hand just brushing against Legolas', guiding the Elf through the darkness.

When the path darkened even more, as the thin gleam of light from the Doors ceased, Legolas felt his sweat turn chill on his skin. Aragorn rested his arm around Legolas' shoulders, holding the lithe body of the Elf close against his, wanting nothing save the touch of another body to drive away the darkness that touched him as well as the panicking Elf. Never had he seen Legolas so uneasy.

But when they caught up with the others and Gandalf called them, they moved suddenly apart, aware that none of them would have understood their almost animal like for contact in the dark. And Aragorn brought up the rear of the group with Legolas walking blindly by his side, and they snatched a glance in the darkness, a promise that they would always be together, no matter what paths they should tread.

Please review this, I don't think it's my best, but I was in a hurry. I'll edit this soon, so check back in a few days. I'm not sure that this all fits in with the book, but I've lost my copy and couldn't check up on it. About Middle Earth Quotes, FF Net reckoned it was a list and it disappeared to regions unknown. I'll have it back soon, in a non-list format.