Disclaimer: None of these characters or situations belongs to me. The Vanwacoi incident and the imprisonment mentioned below belong to the Fanfiction authors, Deana and Freddie23. A special thank you to them for allowing me to mention their work in my own fic.
Legolas strode through the trees, breathing in the scent of the forest. He had always felt so at home amongst the woods. A bubbling brook flowed nearby. If he listened, it was almost as if the water were singing joyfully. The sun that had been shining over Lothlorien was slowly sinking down towards the trees, bathing the sky in gold. Legolas sighed contentedly.
It was as if the whole world was at peace. As if the world was oblivious to the treacherous Ring that hung around a hobbit's neck, just a short distance from here. He shook the feeling off. It would not do to let such dark thoughts disturb this glorious evening.
Legolas sat by the brook and kicked his soft boots off, lowering his aching feet into the coolness of the water.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Aragorn jumped down from his perch in the trees and strode to meet his friend.
Legolas glanced up and smiled at the man. "Why are you out here all alone, mellon nin?" Aragorn asked, sliding his feet out of his boots.
"I've just been thinking," Legolas said, trailing his hand through the water.
Aragorn did not press the elf. He had known Legolas long enough to know better. Experience told him that it would be best to simply wait. Aragorn pulled his pipe out of his breast pocket and lit it.
Legolas watched the smoke rings travel gently across the air. "What would my father say if he saw us now?" The elf looked pointedly at the bloodied bandage around the human's upper arm, a mischievous look in his dark eyes. He grinned as Aragorn looked slightly annoyed at the glance.
Aragorn shook his head at his friend, a smile slowly spreading across his face. "I should think that Thranduil would be used to our exploits by now." His hand traveled involuntarily to his injury and the smile became a tight grimace.
Legolas offered his uninjured arm a friendly squeeze, smiling at the thought of his father's reaction to their current quest.
"Besides," Aragorn puffed thoughtfully at his pipe. "Compared to our usual adventures, this could actually be considered tame."
Legolas laughed, and the sound mingled pleasantly with the trickling water.
"Do you recall the incident with the vanwacoi?" Aragorn asked, a gentle smile on his weathered features. The incident in question had involved a dangerous herb that was capable of turning the immune system of an elf into that of a human. Legolas had suffered everything from the common cold to a particularly nasty case of pneumonia.
"It wasn't something that I would forget in a hurry," answered Legolas, a note of amusement in his voice, though he made a displeased face at the memory. "Ada was at his wits end with me."
"Just when they thought that we couldn't come up with any new mischief," Aragorn agreed.
"Mischief," Legolas echoed. "If one could label our feats as such." The friends began to laugh again. "Do you recall the time we were imprisoned by Kallon?"
"The slimy, no good, double-crossing orc?" Aragorn asked, with a scowl on his face. The months of slavery that the two friends had endured were something that the Ranger would have rather forgotten entirely.
"Yes, that would be the one." Legolas smiled, though he shook his head at the thought.
The two fell silent for a while, watching smoke rings on the breeze. The warm air blew their hair softly and kissed their faces. It was a moment of silence that was cherished by the Ranger and the Elf.
"The hobbits have been asking questions about us." Aragorn said finally. "They have asked for stories about our past."
"What makes them think we have a past?" mused Legolas. He looked curiously at his human friend, puzzled. "Why would they think such a thing?"
"They are not blind, Legolas." Aragorn said softly. "They know more than we think. I believe that they could alter the course of history."
Legolas sat back, considering the words. "Well, mellon nin," he said, shaking his head. "I suppose that I shall have to resign myself to the fact that I will never understand the way of Hobbits. They are too complicated for the likes of a Mirkwood elf!"
Mellon nin: My friend