Title: Fight to Live

Author: Sivan Shemesh

Beta: Aranel

Disclaimer: Not mine but Tolkien's; he is the true creator of them.

Rate: PG-13

Warning: Angst, violence, mild humor, friendship, AU.

Summary: Aragorn has a secret and Legolas is the one paying the price for it.

A/N: Was first written for Teitho "Healing", but I lost the battle with time.

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1.

The view of the sunset inspired the elf to whistle softly in the silence that surrounded him.

The ray of light joining the sky to the sea, as the last sparkle of deep orange touched the waters, made the elf believe that he was seeing a miracle before him, as though nature was speaking to him through visions of beauty instead of plain speech. In times like this, Legolas felt blessed beyond all measure and wished that everything would be going as smoothly so as not to interrupt that sensation.

But his hopes were dashed as the elf recognized the scream that came from somewhere near the horses. He could hear the growl of the horses as they called for him, especially since his horse was there too. The elf was tempted to strangle the instigator for it. Whenever he drifted away in blissful thought, something just had to cut him off from it.

Still, he could smell the smoke and as he turned, the flames were rising high. All that and the growls of the horses made him run all the way from the lake toward the stables as he hurried to free the horses before the flames engulfed them.

"You promised me that you will stop doing it!" Legolas stood, faced Aragorn accusingly.

"But I didn't do anything…" Aragorn tried to excuse himself.

"Luckily for you, we are not in Imladris, because if we are, Lord Elrond would have questioned you about it and I wouldn't be there to help you, mellon-nin. You are the most stubborn man that I've ever met," Legolas growled at him, though his gaze was not unfriendly.

Aragorn only grinned and added, "I am the only man that you've ever met."

Legolas snorted and turned around. What else could he do, to take care of his friend's bad habit, but to give up on him? The elf knew he was in trouble and yet there was nothing else he could do but be there for his friend and save him from himself and the flames.

"Come, mellon, we need to reach home, or Lord Elrond will send messengers to find us again," Aragorn said pointedly at his friend.

"Lord Elrond would rather see us uninjured than wounded - you know that, Aragorn. And that's why I think you need to keep a low profile with that bad habit of yours."

"And that is why you will keep the secret from him, and from my brothers as well. Basically, I don't want you to tell anyone," Aragorn changed his tone as he spoke to the elf.

"Do not worry, my friend. No one will know, but all I am asking is that…" Legolas promised to him, but was interrupted by Aragorn.

"I know, I know… I should stop the fire bug."

~-~-~

On the way to Imladris

"You were lucky then," Legolas thought aloud while he focused his eyes on the path before them.

"Lucky when exactly?" Aragorn teased him.

"Every time you cause a fire you somehow become a hero in saving someone, just like horses, which are great companions," Legolas replied, hiding a grin.

It seemed to take several minutes for the ranger to understand what the elf told him, and he looked towards him, his mouth open as he tried to frame the right words.

"You'd better close that mouth of yours before some insect gets in of it," Legolas teased, a large smile upon his features.

"Are… Are you comparing me to a horse?" Aragorn finally asked as he stared at his friend.

"Who? Me?" Legolas taunted the ranger, then spurred his horse faster, knowing that the ranger would soon follow him.

"You will pay for it my friend. You're asking for it, and neither of the twins will save you this time," Aragorn shouted as he raced against his friend.

Soon, the borders of Rivendell could be seen in the horizon, and before long, they spotted Lord Glorfindel standing there with Lord Erestor.

"Are they waiting for us?" Aragorn questioned the elf.

"I hope that something bad has not happened. I do not love the way Glorfindel and Erestor are waiting," Legolas replied, his eyes still locked upon the two elves.

Finally, they stopped as they approached the elf-lords.

"Look, Erestor, see who's decided to come back," Glorfindel raised his eyebrow, turning to the advisor before he continued, "Can you look at that? They are not even hurt… Oh, wait… Legolas, how did your clothes get stained with the dust and ashes?"

Legolas looked at his clothes for the first time, and mentally blamed himself for not having noticed. Then he turned to Glorfindel as he replied, "It seems that I failed to notice that fact. Now if you will excuse me, I need to refresh up."

At that, Legolas turned his horse toward the path that led to the lake, let his horse rest, and stepped into the water to clean off the dirt.

Erestor then turned toward Aragorn in the hope that he would share what happened. When the ranger said nothing, he asked, "Could you tell us what had happened to Legolas?" Erestor looked at him, waiting for his reaction.

"Why should I know? I am not his keeper," Aragorn replied innocently

"Perhaps so, but you are his friend." Erestor said to him.

"I was elsewhere, and did not notice that his clothes were dirty," Aragorn lied, trying to look as calm as he could.

"Well then, you'd better hurry to the house. Your adar is waiting for you to return, and he will be happy to see you unhurt," Erestor suggested.

"That is why both of you are at the border? To check if either of us are hurt?" Aragorn questioned them.

"Perhaps, so you should thank us. If you had come back hurt and did not know of Elrond's temper, well, I would not wish to be in your place. You should know how angry and yet calm he can get if something had happened to you."

"And why is that? I am only a human."

"Exactly why. Humans can die from so much more, Estel. You are not like us; we are immortal, we have life and more beyond this life, as you would put it," Glorfindel said.

"I see. Thank you, then," Aragorn said and then he asked, "Is Lord Elrond always like this? Worrying about me?"

"Aragorn," Erestor was the one to answer, "Lord Elrond cares a lot about you, even if you are human. You are just like a child to him, and as much like his own son as the twins are."

"Thank you, Erestor. I honestly do not know what I would do without you and Lord Glorfindel," Aragorn thanked them both, while his heart sang for joy at having escaped questioning as he left.

Seeing the man walk off, the elves shared a chuckle. "Crash and burn," Erestor whispered to Glorfindel.

End of Chapter 1.