A Wolf's Cry 12 of ?

Disclaimer: I do not own one thing that pertains to Lord of the Rings. That privilege lies with the wonderful J. R. R. Tolkien.

Summary: Following Aragorn's fall from the cliff at the Gap of Rohan as they journey to Helm's Deep, Legolas struggles to come to terms with the apparent death of his friend and how it affects himself and all those round him.

Category: Angst (Hurt/comfort)

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Author's note: Set before A Gull's Cry.

Thank you to my wonderful Beta Barbara. Also huge thanks to Katy, Terri, Mysty and Deana for their love and encouragement.

Beta's notes: Some dialog was taken from the movie.

The names Estel/Aragorn and Gandalf/Mithrandir are used pretty much interchangeably.

Some referenced incidents are from our story The Twisted Web of Fate.

Tissue alert: You might want one.

Sindarin vocabulary

Ada, Adar … Dad, Father

Anor … the sun

Aulë … the Vala concerned with the substance of Arda; rock and metal. Aulë created a race of his own, the Dwarves.

Baw … don't, stop, no

Daro ….. Stop, halt

Gwador … brother

Hennad … thanks

Hír, Hír-nin … Lord, my Lord

Ion-nin … my son

Mae govannen … well met (greeting)

Mellon-nin, mellyn-nin … my friend, my friends

Mín … us, our

Mintel … (my creation) A very rare elven medicinal tonic/cordial with stimulating properties. It is a sweet and potent compound of many herbs and a touch of elven magic. Two drops every four hours is the usual dosage, can be doubled at great need. Have dire side effects if over-used. Kept secret.

Navaer … goodbye, farewell

Pellin … fading

Penneth, pennyth … Young one, young ones

Saes … please

Sîdh … peace

Thalion, thelyn … hero or dauntless man, heroes

Westron … Common language, the language of men.

Chapter Twelve

"I should kill you where you stand!" Legolas all but growled.

"Elrohir!" Both Estel and Elladan were trying to prise the Prince's hands from Elrohir's throat.

"Legolas, it is Elrohir. Let go!" The grip he had on Elrohir's throat was so hard it was like having a vice around it.

"You think you can get away with what your foul kind has done to my people?" Legolas squeezed even tighter.

Elrohir's face was turning blue as he struggled in that grip.

Finally, though Estel and Elladan managed to get their fingers underneath Legolas' and managed to prise it off.

Elrohir slumped to the ground gasping for breath, pulling in the much needed oxygen. Mithrandir hurried to his side and helped him to stand and walk very shakily to the chair he had been using.

"See to Legolas I will tend to Elrohir!" He ordered them. He glanced over his shoulder to see Legolas struggling in their arms. He was fighting like a she cat protecting her kittens.

Finally though he ran out of strength and slumped boneless into their arms. He was gasping for breath as well.

"How is Elrohir?" Elladan was checking Legolas' pulse worried as to his exact condition.

"I will be fine." Elrohir answered, his voice croaky from being squeezed.

"That is Legolas' saying!" Elladan glowered at his brother.

"Is it exclusive to him?" There was a hint of teasing in the still breathless voice.

"No, I do not suppose it is." The teasing showed Elladan that his brother really was as well as he said he was.

"Good. How is he?" Elrohir looked as if he was going to rise.

"Stay seated I need to look at your throat." Talleth told him as he reached him. He knew that Legolas was in good hands and wanted to make sure that Elrohir's throat had not been damaged.

"I am fine." Elrohir protested batting his hands out of the way.

"I will be the judge of that and I want to examine your throat. You are not the healer here!" Talleth told him sternly.

"Legolas is exhausted and is sleeping." Elladan told his twin. "It looks as if the sleeping potion has finally worked."

"That is good." Elrohir was relieved. "Let us hope that it is a deep, healing sleep."

"Stop talking!" Talleth told him. "Your voice is getting strained."

"I do not need that!" Elrohir tried to protest once more.

As it had done the last time he had tried it got him no where.

"Yes, you do. I know that your throat is sore. I can hear it." Talleth would not be budged on this. He got a scowl in reply.

"Perhaps you should put some arnica and witch hazel onto it. It will get rid of some of that bruising." Elladan called over.

"That is a good idea." Talleth had been thinking along those lines anyway.

"Stay there!" He wagged a finger at the young Elf before him.

"Yes, Naneth!" Elrohir was not amused at all.

"Good because if you move one inch from that chair I will have you in that bed and asleep before you can even blink!" There was a warning edge to his voice.

Elladan laughed at that as did Estel.

"I though it was only Adar who threatened to do that to us." He laughed once more at his brother's look.

"Someone needs to get some sense into those thick skulls." Talleth was not in the mood for this right now.

"How is Legolas?" Haldir felt better now that his own tea was working. He could actually join in the conversation properly.

He had been amazed that someone that looked so weak could have such a commanding grip.

"Sleeping I think." Elladan told them.

"Good. What are we going to do about this feeling that Legolas has reported?" He knew they had been speaking about it, but he could not recall the conversation properly.

"We will wait and watch. If there is something there they will not stay hidden." Elladan was frowning just at the thought of it. If only they knew what had been sent. He was sure that they had been sent.

"True, that means we will have to make certain that we are ready to fight. Just in case." Estel admitted.

"You were planning on leaving him?" Elladan was surprised at hearing that.

"No, I would stay with him as I have vowed. How could I leave Legolas like this?" Estel shook his head.

"That was why I was so surprised when you mentioned fighting. I do not think they would get into the chamber." Elladan told him.

"What makes you say that?" Haldir was still resting back against his pillows watching all that was going on around him. He was just so comfortable now, as long as he did not move at all.

"We are here." Elladan looked at him as if he had grown a second or third head. "And we are all armed. Well, almost all of us. I do not think that either you or Legolas are capable of lifting either knife or sword and fighting."

"True, but what makes you think that what ever this is will try and attack us?" Haldir pressed on, wanting to know what was worrying his friend and he could see that something really was worrying him.

"I do not really know, I just feel… uneasy I guess. I cannot put my finger on what the problem is, I just know that something is waiting, but waiting for what? I really could not say." Elladan seemed a little embarrassed about this.

"Elladan whenever you or Elrohir get feelings like this, we always listen. That is because you are normally always right." Estel tried to reassure his older brother. While the twins had not shown true ability to see the future they did have these 'feelings' with the family history of these things it was not surprising. Not surprising at all to him. Yes, from what he could gather and had seen once, Elrohir could sometimes 'see', but that was in times of great need and only then.

"Hennad, Estel. I just wish I could pin this down, could see what it was that I was missing and I think something is missing." Elladan was still trying to pin this feeling down.

"It will come when you require it, Elladan." Mithrandir had spoken up from where he and Theoden had been speaking. "Pushing to find the answer now is not sensible and you will only cause your head to ache."

"I know you are right, Mithrandir but I have a feeling that we really need to know this and now." How could he put into words that he felt this, that Legolas was the target?

"The more you try the worse it will be, Ada always tells us that, Dan." Elrohir croaked out his advice before Talleth glared at him, a glare worthy of his father or Gailarphen. He stopped speaking.

"I know, Ro if only it were that simple." He smiled at his brother catching the look that the healer had thrown at Elrohir. It seemed that all healers were the same. That they did not like having their advice contradicted.

"I think ya are a little tired, Laddie." Gimli had not moved from where he sat by the Prince's side. He had been so shocked when Legolas had to all intents and purposes attacked Elrohir. He was just glad that the others had been able to help.

"It has been a long trip." A long and fraught trip. One that neither of them wished to make again. Knowing that your friend may be dead when you reached your destination, praying that he would not be… No that was not something that he would wish on anybody.

"I would say it was more than a little tiring, Laddie. Did you even stop along the way?" Gimli was watching him with what looked like knowing eyes.

"Yes we did stop." He raised an eyebrow at the Dwarf. Almost begging him to carry on.

"When?" Gimli was watching him with amusement now. "When yon brother fell from his horse?"

Elladan actually blushed at that. "Well yes, but it was still a break." It was, too. They had stopped for a good thirty minutes until he had been completely happy that his brother had not been seriously injured. But it was still a break.

"Oh? So while you were sat worrying about how badly injured yon brother was ye thought tha' was a rest?" Gimli asked him with a hint of amusement in his voice.

"Yes! No! I ahhhhhhhhhhh!" Elladan threw his hands up in exasperation.

"Ye will nae win, Laddie." There was utter amusement in Gimli's voice. How he loved getting the better of the Elves he knew!

"Legolas does." Estel told the Dwarf.

"Only because he carries on the argument long after any sane being would have given up the fight!" Gimli grumbled.

"Could it also be the case that he is right as well?" Aragorn could believe that the Elf and Dwarf could fight like children, but the minute the other was in danger all that was forgotten and they were there supporting each other as only true friends could.

Gimli just scowled at him before turning back to Elladan. "That is the problem with you pointy ears, you do not know when it is time to rest, eat or be sensible!"

"And you do?" Aragorn was finding this just a little too funny.

"Yes, I do." Gimli replied archly.

"I do not believe you. I heard you. A Dwarf is good for running short distances." Aragorn quoted.

"We are!" Gimli was really scowling now.

"How short a distance? To the chamber door?" Aragorn asked.

Mithrandir turned his laugh into a deep cough. How he wished that he had seen that!

"I can run longer than that!" Gimli was a little affronted.

"Without falling? I meant that to happen?" Oh yes for Aragorn this was almost as much fun as teasing Legolas.

"I am a Dwarf we have a low centre of gravity. And the rock got in the way!" Gimli defended himself.

Aragorn could not help it he laughed aloud. "The rock got in the way?!"

"Aye the rock got in the way." Gimli was happy at that explanation.

Elladan turned to Elrohir and his eyebrows had almost disappeared into his hair line. "The rock got in the way?"

"Gimli fell." Aragorn informed them.

"I did not fall I was tripped." Gimli told him.

"Let me get this right, Gimli first the rock got in the way and then it tripped you?" Elladan was laughing openly.

"It is not funny!"

"Oh but it is, very funny." Aragorn had to agree with his brothers. " Very funny."

"I did not laugh at you when the Hobbits hid your sword." Gimli glowered at him.

"Neither did I, that could have cost us our lives. We got very lucky that there were no Orcs about at that point." He had been furious with the giggling hobbits. They had soon learnt their lessons and learnt them well.

"Aye I know. Silly little things. You are sure that they are safe?" Gimli was terrified for Pippin and Merry, they were so small.

"My friends are taking care of them. I trust him." Mithrandir told him.

"Good. You just cannot trust trees!" Gimli shot a look at Legolas hoping above hope that they would get some response from the Prince. He was left disappointed.

"These are not ordinary trees." Mithrandir informed him once more.

"I know but they are still brown and have roots!" Gimli would never trust trees, no matter what Legolas said. Now give him a nice rock hewn building and he was happy.

"All plants have roots." Eomer pointed out.

"Don't ya start!" Gimli glowered at him.

They all laughed once again.

"What is this? Get at Gimli day?" He harrumphed.

"No but perhaps we should make it so." Aragorn agreed.

"Try it and ye'll feel ma axe!" Gimli told him in no uncertain terms.

It made them all laugh once again. There was just one thing missing Aragorn decided and it was one very big thing. Legolas.

He turned back to his friend. Legolas had not moved, not one single inch. He reached out to touch the pale forehead wincing once more as he felt the heat rising from his friend.

"I wish you would waken, Mellon-nin I would like to know that you are still with us." he whispered. "Although I know you will be in great pain."

"He will waken, you see." Elrohir tried to reassure him, even though he was not that sure himself.

"That is all I want." Estel admitted and he looked up. "Silly really." There were tears in his eyes.

"No completely understandable. I know how you feel. I want to see his eyes open, their blue sparkling with mischief. To hear his laughter or singing." He shook his head sadly.

"What a pair. I was expecting to see him saddened when I arrived, but what I found…" Aragorn could not put it into words.

"It shocked and surprised you." It was not a question from Elrohir.

"Very much so. It has also given me something else to ponder." He tiredly brushed at his face.

"What is that Gwador nin?" Elrohir's voice was soft.

"What will happen to Legolas and all of you when I do pass from this life?" Aragorn's voice was just as soft.

"We will be there to help him. I promise you that he will not be left alone to cope with this." It was a vow.

"Hennad. Because if this is how bad he had gotten once, it will happen again. I am terrified for him." It was a reluctant admission.

"I know and as I.." He stopped as a groan came from beneath them. "Legolas?"

He was sure that he had heard him. He was positive that Legolas had groaned.


He looked up to check Estel. "I heard it as well."

"Legolas, Mellon-nin if you can hear me, follow my voice and come back to us. You are still needed so very much here." Elrohir spoke into the delicate pointed ear.

Then waited once more with baited breath. And when the long seconds grew to encompass minutes they both sighed with disappointment.

Only for their heads to lift suddenly as the groan sounded again.

"Legolas?" Aragorn asked, not wanting to raise his hopes.

The groan sounded again and the others who could rose and hurried to his bed side.

"Is he wakening?" Eomer suddenly sounded hopeful.

"It would appear so." Aragorn admitted although he would not believe until the blue eyes were open fully and Legolas was sitting up and joking with Gimli. "Legolas? Mellon-nin?"

They all watched as he reached forward to gently brush the limp, lifeless hair from the pale forehead. He had never before thought of Legolas' hair as limp or lifeless. It was normally bright and full of life, as was its owner.

Another low groan had Aragorn smiling slightly. Maybe Legolas was waking up.

"That is it, you lazy Elfling Prince. Wake up for us! Ya've been asleep too long now!" Gimli was trying to help in his own inimitable way.

Aragorn had to smile at that. "You heard Gimli, Mellon-nin it is time to face the world."

"Aye, I need to have a little word with you too, Mellon-nin." Elladan agreed.

"And I have a message from DaerNana for you." Elrohir piped up.

"Elrohir we are trying to encourage him to wake up not to scare him into staying asleep." Elladan glared at his brother.

Haldir had to choke back the laughter, the pair of them would never change.

"Ada?" The voice was barely there and Aragorn had to listen hard at what the Elf was saying.

Aragorn's heart dropped at that. Legolas still had no idea where he was or who he was with.

"It is me, Legolas Aragorn." There was pure sadness in his voice.

"I want my Ada." The voice sounded so young and uncertain.

"He will come when he can, I am certain of that, Mellon-nin. Can you open your eyes for me?" Oh, how he wanted those eyes to open.

"Scared." There actually was a quaver in his voice.

"I know, but we are all friends here with you, Legolas." Elladan tried to help.

"We need to see that you are alright, Legolas." Mithrandir sounded so gentle it was almost heart breaking. "No one here will hurt you. We are only here to help you."

"'Randir?" There was a hint of hope as well as fear in Legolas' voice.

"Yes, Legolas it is I." Mithrandir did not bat an eye lid at the name Legolas had called when he was younger, even though it had been many years since he had heard it spoken. "Will you open your eyes for me, Little One?"

"There are no monsters?" The hesitancy startled them all.

"There are no monsters here, Legolas only friends. Friend's who are worried for you and love you." Mithrandir tried to smile, even though his heart was breaking.

"Really?" The blue eye showed just a little.

"Really." There was firmness in Mithrandir's voice.

It seemed to work as Legolas relaxed and then opened his eyes fully.

"'Randir!" There was joy this time as the fear vanished as fast as it had appeared.

"Indeed, Penneth how do you feel?" There was relief in Mithrandir's voice as he realised that Legolas did indeed seem to recognise him.

Legolas looked at him for a moment and then seemed to think on that. "I am alright."

Gandalf actually closed his eyes and groaned at that, missing the smile that crossed the pale, thin face.

"The truth might be a good idea, Mellon-nin." Elladan could not keep the amusement from his as well.

"I am tired and sore." Legolas peeked at him shyly and then his smile widened. "Elladan?!"

"Yes, Penneth we are all here." Elladan felt elation fill him as he realised that Legolas still knew him.

"Hir Elrond and Hir Glorfindel?" Legolas was looking around eyes wide.

"They could not be here. They have sent Elrohir and me to help you. Are you thirsty?" it was time for him to have some more of the medicine.

"I am thirsty." Legolas admitted then he noticed Haldir. "Haldir!"

"Mae govannen, Legolas it is good to see you awake once more." Haldir wished he could go to Legolas' side.

"You are hurt?" Legolas frowned when he realised his normally agile friend had not moved.

"I was injured in battle but I am recovering." He told Legolas gravely.

"Battle? There was a battle? How were you hurt?" Legolas' eyes were even wider if that was at all possible.

"Yes, there was a battle, but we will speak of that later he needs to continue to rest." Elladan told him gently.

"Oh, alright. Were there spiders?" He seemed to shiver.

"No, there were no spiders, Mellon-nin." Estel could no longer stay silent. Legolas had only spoken to the Maia and Elves and no one else. Not even Gimli and as for himself!

"Do I know you?" Innocent blue eyes turned to him. "But you are human!"

"Of course I am human! You know that!" Estel could only stare at his friend.

"I have never met you before." Legolas told him seriously.

"Lego…" Aragorn began and then stopped. "You do not recall meeting me." It was not a question.

"I have never met you." There was certainty in Legolas' voice.

Estel had to close his eyes and turn away it hurt that much to hear Legolas say those words.

"You do not recall meeting Estel yet, but trust me, Mellon-nin you will." Elrohir hated to see the hurt that Legolas was inadvertently causing.

"Estel? Hope?" There was a spark of interest in Legolas' blue eyes.

"Yes, that is right, Estel is hope. That is what Ada named him. Do you remember?" There was hope in Elladan's voice.

"Ada? Ada never named him. I do not have a brother." Legolas was getting more and more confused.

"Our Ada, Legolas not yours." There was a hint of disappointment in Elrohir's voice as he had hoped for one minute. He gently hugged Estel to him one armed.

"Oh. Is he here? It has been so long since I have seen him. Can I have a drink?" Legolas was suddenly very tired.

Estel suddenly had an idea. "Ada is not here, Legolas he sent Elladan and Elrohir to help you. I have been with you since you were injured."

"You are my friend?" There was sudden interest in Legolas' voice.

"Yes I am and I would never let anything harm you if I can help it." Estel told him seriously. "You wanted a drink? Some water?"

"That would be very nice. How long have we known each other?" For some reason he felt really comfortable with the man before him. Almost as if he had known him for years.

"Since I was a babe." Estel was just incredibly pleased that Legolas was talking to him and seemed to accept that they were good friends. Even if that really was an understatement.

"How long?" Legolas had no idea how old the man in front of him was.

"About eighty six years." Estel was not sure how he would take that news.

"Yet you look as if you are no older than twenty five. How can this be?" There was awe in his voice.

"I am a Dunedain." He simply told the truth.

"A ranger? I have heard of those." Legolas winced as his wounds let him know he was injured.

"Aye, there are but few of us left know. I will get you some tea for the pain. Stay still." Estel could see the strain about his eyes.

"There is something here." Legolas sounded puzzled.

"What do you mean, Mellon-nin?" Elladan asked, maybe now they could get some answers.

"I can sense it in the walls. There is darkness here. I do not like it." Legolas was frowning.

"Can you tell us where it is, Legolas?" Mithrandir was watching him closely.

"It is near so very near. It has an ally within these walls. Mithrandir I do not like this." There was a hint of panic in his voice now.

"All is well, Legolas. Sidh, all is well." Mithrandir tried to soothe him.

"How can it be? How can all be well?" Legolas asked sharply.

"We will not let anything harm you." Elrohir told him gently.

"I care not for myself. I care for my people and my family and friends." Legolas was affronted by that.

"I know and that is why we will all be safe." Elladan elaborated.

"I will not let anyone in through yon door, Laddie at least not one who could cause harm to any of us." Gimli could stay silent no longer.

"Legolas, this is Gimli he has been fighting by your side for a few months now. He is a staunch ally for you." Mithrandir hurriedly introduced him. He was not sure that Legolas would recall him from before. If he could not recall one he called his brother…

"I know." There was wonder in Legolas' voice as he looked at the dwarf before him.

"You know?" Mithrandir's eyebrows had shot up into his hair line. What ever he had been expecting Legolas to say it had not been that!

"I do not know how I know I just… know." Legolas shrugged a little helplessly. "Just as I know that I like Estel."

Ester all but beamed at that. His friend might not recall who he was but he still liked him!

"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Gimli." Legolas told him all seriously.

"Ah, Laddie it is a pleasure for me as well. I've been so worried about ye." Gimli's voice sounded rough with emotion.

"I am sorry if I have worried you all. Where are we?" He was aware suddenly that he had no idea where he was at all.

"You are at the keep in Helms Deep." Theoden was the one who answered.

"Oh." Just the one word, but it told them all that he was as confused about where he was as they were with what was happening to him.

"You are at the Deep, Legolas this is Theoden King, of that Realm." Mithrandir did not want to confuse the poor Elf more.

"Theoden King?" Now there was confusion even more apparent in his voice. "I know that name from somewhere."

"You have been his guest."

"An honoured guest at that." Theoden himself added.

"At Helms Deep for the last few days. Do you recall anything at all?" Gandalf asked the poor Elf before him.

"Rohan? King of Rohan?" It was a tentative question; almost as if he was not sure what he was saying was correct.

"Aye that is right." There was a proud smile on Gandalf's face. Legolas might not recall everything but he was still the same bright Elf he had always been.

"Why am I here though?" Then he spotted the bruising on Elrohir's neck. "Who did that to you?" There was a hint of anger in his voice as well.

"This was a misunderstanding and will clear up in no time and with no harm done." Elrohir was not going to tell him that he himself had caused the bruising that would be too unfair. Legolas had not known what he was doing.

"You are sure? You should not be bruised." Legolas would not let it go.

"I am sure." Elrohir did not blame his friend one bit for what had happened. It could not be helped; Legolas had been unaware of what was going on.

"I do not like to see you hurt." There was sadness in Legolas' voice.

"I am not hurt; this has been treated and will be gone by the time morning comes." Elrohir smiled at his gentle friend. This was Legolas, always thinking of others before himself.

"Good. We can go riding?" There was a hint of hope in the blue eyes.

"Maybe when you are feeling better we could do so." Elrohir could only smile wider. Legolas always loved riding had done from the minute he had seen the magnificent animals and ridden with his Father. Somehow he did not think that would ever change.

"I am feeling better!" Legolas tried to make his voice sounded stronger than it really was.

"I think I should be the judge of that. I am after all the Master Healer!" Talleth teased them all.

Legolas turned to him with a frown. "I know you."

Aragorn found his heart was beginning to beat faster than ever. Could Legolas be regaining his memories? Could it happen that quickly?

"Aye, Legolas you do know me. I have been looking after you since you were injured." Talleth told him gently. Not wanting to scare the Prince any more than he must be already.

"I thank you deeply." Legolas bowed his head formally, the sight of it bringing lumps into the throats and tears to their eyes. This was so the Prince of Mirkwood, so much a part of Legolas and who he was that to see him utilise it was both saddening and yet heartening to.

It also proved to Aragorn one very important thing. His friend was still here. He might be buried and out of reach for the present time, but Legolas was still there. He just needed help and time to find himself.

"You are more than welcome. In fact it has been my pleasure, my deepest pleasure to aid such a fine, brave Elf such as your self." Talleth was still impressed with all he had seen in the heat of battle and he was not sure that it would ever go away. It certainly was a story to tell to the Grandchildren as his Ma would say.

"Brave? I am not brave." Legolas was puzzled as to why the healer would think that.

"The way you fought Legolas… trust me that was very brave." Talleth stopped when he saw the others frowning at him. Perhaps he should not have mentioned that.

"I fought?" Rather than horror there was keen interest in Legolas' voice. It took them all by surprise. "Who did we fight, Ro?"

"Those that were trying to harm your friend's, Legolas." It was sad to see Legolas like this, very sad.

"Did we win?" There was concern in Legolas' voice and a worried frown crossed the pale face.

"Yes we did win, Mellon-nin thanks to you." Aragorn could stay quiet no longer.

"Mellon-nin? You call me Mellon-nin?" There was now a pleased wonder in the wide blue eyes.

"Yes, I call you Mellon-nin because that is what you are to me, Legolas and no matter what that is what you will always remain." They had been through too much together for it to be any other way.

"May I call you Mellon-nin?" The voice was soft and hesitant as he reached out to him with a shaking hand. The whole chamber seemed to still and was watching this play out.

Aragorn reached out to take him in a gentle hug; one of the most gentle he had given but Legolas was too frail to try anything else. "It would be an honour to have you call me, Mellon-nin. Hennad, Mellon-nin." There were tears in his eyes.

"Hennad too, Mellon-nin." It was barley above a whisper.

"Let us get you settled you must be in a lot of pain." The frail body he was holding was shaking. He would have teasingly said like a leaf at any other time, but not now and not in this situation.

"A little." Was the reluctant admission.

"I will make you something for that, if that is alright?" Elladan had been watching him carefully and had since the pain that had briefly crossed his friend's pale face.

"Hennad, Elladan that will help." Legolas told him softly.

"Good, I also have another tea for you that Ada sent that will help you re-gain your strength. Estel can give you that while I make your pain tea." Elladan told him gently and passed the goblet he had already poured to his foster brother before moving away to the herb table.

He could only rejoice that Legolas was awake and talking. Yes, he may not remember them all, but the fact that he was conscious boded well for the future. Normally if the patient woke they survived the Mintel's ravages on their body. Normally. It did not always follow true, there had been a couple of cases where the patient had woken and yet still succumbed. He could only pray that Legolas was one of the former and not the latter.

"That is awful!" Legolas' complaint from behind him made him smile.

"Yes, but you know what Ada says Legolas." Elrohir had mirth in his voice.

"The best medicines are the ones that taste the worst." They both spoke together.

"It is true as well." Elladan affirmed as he rejoined them with Legolas pain tea. "Here this will help."

"Hennad, Dan I cannot thank you enough." Legolas told him and then gave a wide yawn.

"You are welcome and then I think that you need to get some rest." Elladan was amused.

"Must I?" Legolas asked.

"Yes, you must you need to sleep to help you heal." Elladan made his tone stern.

And then regretted it when there was a flash of fear on Legolas' face.

"Legolas?" He asked.

"Will you stay with me?" There was total fear in Legolas' voice and eyes.

"Legolas, we are not leaving you at all. One of us will be with you at all times." Estel promised him.

"I'll be at ye side at all times, Laddie nae ye fear that." Gimli told him gently.

"Thank you, Gimli I appreciate that." Legolas finished the tea.

"We should get you comfortable. You too Haldir I think a good rest will help you as well." Elladan told the Galadhrim.

"That sounds a lovely idea. I will admit that although it is wonderful to see Legolas. I am sore and feeling it now."" Haldir admitted.

Eomer stood and so did Gandalf who joined them at the bed.

"We will help you to get comfortable." Gandalf told him.

"He needs some pain tea first." Elladan called over.

"I will take it to him." Talleth wanted to help. He took the goblet he was handed and hurried over to them. "Here you are, my friend."

"Thank you." Haldir took the goblet but found that his hands were shaking badly. Eomer helped to support the goblet. It earned him a grateful smile.

Once he had finished he turned to the Crown Prince. "Thank you I most appreciate it." He told him.

"You are welcome, my friend, I know that you would do the same for me should our positions be reversed." Eomer told him.

"I know you would and I know that I would without having to give it a thought. I can never thank you enough though and you may find that you soon get some visitors to say their thanks in person." Haldir told him with a smile.

"Visitors? Who would they be?" He gently helped him to lay back.

"Not any one important. Just my two brothers' and our parents." Haldir told him his tone dripping innocence.

"That is not too bad." Eomer relaxed back. How bad could that be?

"What Haldir had kindly neglected to add is that his parents are our…" Elrohir gestured between Elladan and himself. "Grandparents."

"Should I be worried about that?" Eomer was puzzled at the thought and the connection.

"Stop playing with him, Elrohir." Estel had to laugh from where he was beside Legolas; it was always fun to see his brothers teasing others like this. Fun when it was not him.

"You are no fun, Estel." Elrohir grinned at him, even with the situation as serious as it was he could still smile.

"I know and as you know I would normally be helping you, but not this time." His returning grin was quick before he turned back to Eomer. "Our Grandparents are the Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn of Lothlorien."

"They…. They are?" Eomer's eyes were wide. He had heard so much about the Witch of the Woods. They all had it was said that she could enslave one in a single glance. She was said to be the most powerful Elf in Middle-earth!

"Indeed they are." Estel was amused he could see the way his mind was working; it was easy to see having dealt with Talleth's delusions of what he had been told whilst growing up. "But the tales you have heard are wrong."

"Truly?" There was doubt in the Warrior Prince's voice and bearing.

"Truly, Laddie." It was Gimli that spoke to Eomer's surprise. "She's tha most beautiful lassie one could ever wish to see!"

"I have heard that." It seemed that he would not be convinced.

"The most beautiful and caring. The most intelligent. We're told tha' the Elves are evil critters that care for naught but themselves. It is said that they eat our babes. It is said that she is only beautiful because she drinks the blood of innocents. But it is wrong. All of it." Gimli told him his voice gruff.

"That is what we are taught, but you say it is not so? How?" Eomer was eager to know. The three elves in front of him and those that had fought for them were nothing like that, perhaps it was wrong?

"She is as lovely as a new day, as innocent as a dove and yet with a steal layer that is hidden beneath that beauty. I have never met any like her. Never." There was awe in Gimli's voice as he recalled her beauty and kindness.

"I think our friend here is smitten with our DaerNana." There was teasing in Elladan's voice. "How many times did you say that DaerNana was beautiful?"

"Och, Laddie I will say it as often as I want until the last breath leaves this body!" Gimli was serious as well.

"Then you are my friend for eternity for what you say is very true." Elladan was beaming at him happily.

"I am honoured." Gimli told him with a short bow.

"Gimli, it seems that despite everything you are becoming friends with every Elf that you meet." Estel was smiling as well.

"What do you mean, Estel?" Elladan looked puzzled.

"Of course you are not aware. Legolas has named Gimli as Elvellon." He told them amused to see that Gimli blushed; it clashed horribly with his beard.

"He has? Then you are very honoured, Gimli for Elves in Mirkwood have had bad experiences with Dwarves as you are aware." They all knew who Gimli's father was and what that would mean to Thranduil.

"Aye I know. You saw when we first met, we hated each other. I came to protect the others from 'the evil Elf'. All I know is that the one who is not evil and has not an evil bone in his body is Legolas." There was sincerity in his voice.

"We saw and Ada had a feeling that there was something more going on." Elladan told him, knowing it was more than that, his Ada had seen the friendship that would develop between the two of them.

"It was not until after Moria and…." He glance at Gandalf, so pleased that he was here with them and not dead as they had all thought. "As we left I was crying. We all were crying by Aulë. But Legolas took the time to comfort me. To offer me the first words of kindness when I had said some pretty awful things to him."

"If I recall, Gimli Legolas said some nasty things to you." Gandalf told him gently. It hurt knowing that his 'death' had caused such pain to others that he loved. Even if his death had been the Valar's wishes.

"Aye but from that minute he changed towards me. He was friendlier, more considerate and when Boromir fell…" Gimli stopped he knew that this all had helped Legolas get to the position he was in now.

"He was there for us both. I saw the way he fought at Amon Hen when he reached me. He was as impressive as normal." Aragorn admitted. He loved to see his friend fight, he was so graceful in battle, and it was more like a dance than a fight.

"He was so graceful that it is incredible to see." Gimli admited and then he turned to Aragorn his face stern. "If ya ever tell him I said that ye'll regret it for the rest of ya life. I will make sure 'o that!"

"That is no problem, Gimli I will never say that to him." Aragorn assured him. "Because I think that we all agree with you, every one of us." He looked around at the rather eclectic group that Legolas had managed to once more gather about him.

He could only shake his head, this always happened. Legolas never seemed to realise what was happening. That made it all the more special for Aragorn. Legolas only reacted to each person so normally and without any pretensions what so ever and it was partly that which Aragorn loved about his friend.

He could on meeting Theoden for the first time, Legolas could have demanded all the courtesy that was expected of Royal blood. Legolas could have demanded that protocols be set in place.

But that was what Legolas had not and would not do, no matter what the situation. The best example that he could give was on meeting Eomer. Legolas had asked that if they came across others he wanted to be known only as Legolas of the Woodland Realm. Not at all like a Crown Prince of said Woodland Realm. Thranduil had understood this for sometime, as did all of the people that Legolas was close to.

He and his brothers along with his father and a few close friends were allowed to know the reasoning behind why Legolas did this. It was sad but it was also the right thing to do. Ever since then, ever since that awful time that he really wished that he could forget.

Totally forget, but he could not. The memory was burned into his very soul.

"Aragorn? Laddie are ye ill as well?" There was worry in the deep gruff voice.

Aragorn blinked amd then opened his eyes. Gimli was looking him in the eye. Worry seemed to pour from him.

"I am alright, Gimli I am sorry I was thinking. You are right though, we will not say a word to Legolas about the fact that you are worried for him. Will we Dan, Ro?" There was a glint of mischief in his tone as he looked over at his brothers.

Elladan noticed the glint straight away, noticed it and understood it. Elladan nudged Elrohir gently and then nodded towards the Dwarf. Unnoticed by what was going on behind him, Gimli was happily chatting away to Aragorn as the Twins behind him were already plotting some of their jokes. Gentle jokes, nothing more until Legolas was well enough to join in. They would not do it without Legolas neither would they do any thing that would lengthen his recovery. But that did not mean they could do little things to Gimli.

Gandalf watched this with a twinkle in his eye. Things were gradually returning to normal with the family before them. Gradually but there were a few things that were missing. Legolas being the chief amongst them.

Everything looked so different when there was a blue eyed laughing Elfling about. He knew that the Warrior Prince that Legolas had become would hate to know that in the privacy of his own mind, Legolas would forever be that little Elfling that he had always loved so much.

Gandalf was sure that all of the 'Elder' Elves would agree with him on that. Legolas was such a joyful Elfling that he had ever met. And he had grown into an exceptional Ellon as well. Minerella would have been so proud of him had she been given the chance to see him grow to be the Crown Prince that he had become.

But what was it that the two twin hellions were planning now? He knew it was something small. They would not plan anything huge until Legolas was back and plotting with them. No he would wait and see. Patience he had lots of.

"What do you think they are up to?" Theoden sounded amused.

"How did you know?" Gandalf sounded as amused as amused as the King did.

"I have brought up three children. I know what to look for when they are or were planning." Theoden could only smile at the memory. Then it vanished. "How quickly things can change."

"I know, Old Friend I know. But you still have Eomer and Eowyn to think of." He had to make him see that not all was lost to Theoden.

"Do I?" Haunted blue eyes turned towards him. "I know I am blessed with Eomer, he has taken on the mantle of Crown Prince just as I would have wished him to. But Eowyn? My Niece I am not so sure of." Theoden could only shake his head.

"We will know if Eowyn has turned later when we get news on her activities." Gandalf told him gently. "I am sure all is not as bad as it appears to be."

"I pray all the time that she is the same sweet Eowyn that I have always known." There were tears in Theoden's eyes.

"I know this is hard, but you have to have strength. Your people need you too. Yes, we have come through the fight, but it was not with out casualties, you need to be strong for them as well." Gandalf hated to have to remind him. But it was also necessary.

"I know. I know I need to gather my strength for them. But what is the next move? What do we do from here? I have no idea." Theoden was so tired. First there was the inner battle that he had waged with Saruman, who had turned him into nothing more than a pawn doing what he who should have been true and pure wanted him to do.

It was thanks to Gandalf and his friends that he was no longer in that position. That he was free to do what he wanted to do. Even though it had led to a great pain and hurt than he would have thought possible. He had woken to find that his son was dead, killed ostensibly by his own father.

But what did they all do now?

"Now, Old Friend we gather and aid our wounded. We grieve for those that we have lost and we pick up the threads of our lives as they would wish us to, for now that are all that needs doing. And then we take each day as they come." Gandalf looked sadly at his friend.

"That may be easier to say than it is to do. It is hard when you have a huge great hole where your son is missing." Theoden's voice was gruff and Estel was sure that if he were to look up from where he was once more wiping Legolas' hot face he would see tears in the old King's face.

"I know I can only imagine the depth of your grief. I have never had a child; I feel that you are my Children. I know how I feel when I loose one of you. Theodred would not want you to waste his life by grieving and forgetting to live. That would mean his sacrifice was worth nothing." Gandalf told him gently, trying to make him see that he was right in the way he was thinking. Theodred would hate this.

"I know you are right. I know that Theodred would hate this, but it hurts so much." Theoden sighed sadly and then turned away. "I can only try and as you say I will take one day as it comes. There is nothing more that I can do. Other than finding out what has happened to my Niece. "

"We are with you in doing that. We need to make sure that she cannot get to Legolas, she seems to want information on him." Gandalf told all of them gravely.

"You think that she wishes him harm?" Elrohir asked.

"I am not totally sure, but I also do not want to find out when it is too late to do something," Gandalf admitted.

"What should we do?" Elladan asked.

"For now, we act as if nothing has happened to alert us to the fact that she is acting so strangely. Theoden do you think that your warriors and guards could keep an eye out for Eowyn and what she is doing for us?" Gandalf asked.

"Eomer, I know that this is hard on you, this is your sister after all." Theoden had a sad look on his worn, tired face.

"It is for that fact that we need to find out what is going on. I need to know what is happening with Eowyn and give her help should she need it. Uncle, you know that this is not Eowyn. She would not do this unless…" Eomer stopped.

"Unless there is outside influence that is causing this change in her." Gandalf finished the sentence.

"Yes, and if that is so she will need your help, Gandalf." Eomer turned to him. "To do that you will need my men. I will speak with them and have them watch her discreetly. If that will help?"

"Thank you, it is most appreciated." Gandalf told him seriously.

"It is such a small thing after the help you have given to us. If not for you we would not even be having this conversation! I do not think the Orcs would have let us live." Theoden admitted.

"We could not have let you face the hoards alone." Aragorn told him.

"But what made you come to our halls?" Thranduil was more than a little puzzled about that.

"There is only one person who can answer that question. Gandalf?" Aragorn turned to the Maia.

"It was as I was waiting to be returned to Middle-earth, I knew that there was a problem at your halls, Theoden. I could almost taste the fact that something old and even tasted a little like that of Sauron. I decided it might be a good idea to come here and with Pippin and Merry safe and with an old friend, now seemed to me to be the right time of doing so, and so here we are." Gandalf seemed to be very proud of him self.

"I am grateful for that need to come to us. Without you I would have still been under their enchantment. I would still have been blind to all that was going on about me and I would not have known of my own Son's death. Although it does hurt I am grateful to you for waking me up once more." Theoden looked at each of those who had taken part in the battle and realised with shock that it had been all of them apart from the twin Elves from Imladris.

Then his gaze rested on the young Crown Prince of Mirkwood and sadness flooded him. It was so sad that he had been so badly injured. But they had to be positive and help him over this.

"He is doing well, Theoden King." Elrohir's voice was soft.

"Is he? Truly?" Theoden asked quietly. "Because to my eyes it looks as if he is getting worse and not better."

"He will do. Before he begins to get better he will look far worse." Elladan spoke just as softly and yet he was heard by all those awake.

"That does not reassure me at all." Aragorn spoke from Legolas' side.

"We knew that. We agree with you that it is not reassuring but there was little else we could do than what we are already doing." Elrohir told them.

Aragorn blinked at him. "I think I understood that. Did anybody else understand that?" He looked around the chamber at the others.

"No." They all spoke as one and then turned to the twin brothers.

Elladan had to smother a laugh at any other time they would have laughed outright at the fact that they had caused both Estel and Mithrandir to be confused at the same time. But now? Now was not that time. Not with Legolas as ill as he was.

Elrohir could not look at his brother, if he looked at his twin he would not be able to explain to them at all. "Simply it means we are doing all that we can."

"Then why did you not just say that?!" Aragorn was frustrated at them.

"We did. It is not our fault that you could not understand." Elladan answered that question.

"I was and did. It is not our fault that you are dim between the ears." Elrohir was trying not to grin and keep himself from bursting into giggles.

"I am not dim between the ears I will have you know!" Aragorn was glowering at his two brothers.

"That is not what Adar says." Elladan was enjoying this, it was rare now to be able to do this, but they did so like joking with Aragorn and Legolas like this. Legolas. Suddenly the mirth that had been growing vanished into the light.

"Elladan?" Aragorn had seen the sudden change in his eldest brother and he was worried. "Have you hidden an injury?"

The answer was a dark look. "That is both you and Legolas that do things like that!"

"We were hearing a story about that." Gimli told him with a grin.

"You have not?!" There was amazement as well as mirth at the statement.

"I can tell you that he has, Penneth." Gandalf was smiling back as well.

"I have got to hear this!" It was said with the two of them saying it at the same time.

The noise brought forth a groan from the bed.

"Legolas? Mellon-nin?" There was a hope in his voice as Elladan moved to the opposite side of the bed, the best place to examine the Prince.

Legolas' eyes were still closed, but he moaned again.

"Legolas, please waken." There was pleading in Aragorn's voice. Something that was rare to hear.

Nothing sounded in the chamber.


There was another groan.

"Legolas, I know it hurts, please open your eyes?" Aragorn looked up at the others. All of them had hope in their eyes. "Elladan? How is he?"

"Come back, Laddie I need to see you loose an argument!" Gimli urged him on.

Silence met his pleas for Legolas to waken. He sighed and looked up his brown eyes full of worry.

"I was hopin' tha he would be wakin'. I really thought tha he would."

"He will when he is ready." Aragorn told him gently.

"I agree with Aragorn on this." Gandalf's voice had made them all jump, he had been sitting watching them and hardly saying anything.

Another groan and human and Dwarf hurried to turn back to Legolas.

"Mellon-nin, open those blue eyes for us." Aragorn pressed the Prince.

It garnered another pained groan.

"You can do it, Gwador-nin or Adar will want to know why." Elladan was serious as well. He knew he would have to report to his father what had happened to his foster son. They all had known Legolas for so long that was exactly what Legolas had become. A foster son and brother.

The groan sounded angrier if that was possible.

"Legolas, if you do not wake soon, you are going to miss me making the smoke animals that you like." Although Legolas hated the smell of Gandalf's pipe as it was smoked, he loved to watch the animals that Gandalf would blow for the little Elflings and for one "larger" Elfling who would not admit that it was the reason he happened to still be in the vicinity.

"S….saes." The voice was very weak and quavered almost with exhaustion.

"Legolas?" There was a flash of relief around the chamber.

"S… stop." There was a pained furrow between his eyebrows.

"Stop what, Legolas?" Elladan shared worried looks with his twin.

"H… hurts." They could all hear the distress in that one word.

"Where does it hurt, Las?" Elrohir took Elladan's place as his elder brother hurried to the herb table, if Legolas told them he hurt, he hurt with a vengeance.

"E'thing." The voice sounded slightly weaker.

"I am sorry, what was that?" Elrohir looked to the others who just shrugged.


"The Laddie said that everything hurts." Gimli was the only one who seemingly could understand elven shorthand as well.

He did not see the worried looks that the others shared over his head. Legolas was after all the only one they knew who would never admit that he was injured let alone hurting.

Although the tale that Aragorn had been telling them had been something that was not a joke.

"Legolas, Mellon-nin where does it not hurt?" Aragorn bent close so that he did not shout. The whisper seemed to pain him as well.

"N'wre." Legolas could not the words out in the right order, but for once he was not caring about that.

"I will make you something, Legolas. I promise it will help." Elladan was already working through his mind what he could give Legolas. He did not dare give him the Poppy tea that he really wanted to give him, but he dare not give Legolas the herb, not at this stage. Yes, Legolas only had a few hours to go before they could relax and breathe a sigh of relief, but until then they still had to be careful with what they gave him.

"H'nd." There was slur in Legolas' voice that they had never heard before and none of them, not even Gimli had a clue what he had tried to say.

"Legolas?" Aragorn tried to prompt him, noting that Legolas had neither moved nor opened his eyes since they had realised that he was awake. "We did not understand that, Mellon-nin."

They could all see the frown that appeared on the forehead that was usually so smooth. But they waited patiently, it was clear that Legolas was struggling with this.

"He'ad." Legolas pulled the word from in the depths of his very being; it was that hard at present to do anything.

"You are more than welcome." Elladan told him gently. It had taken Legolas all that time to get his words out that the tea was ready for him.

"Your tea is ready Legolas. Elrohir and I will lift you as gently as we can so that you can drink the tea, Gwador-nin. I will not ask if you are ready." Aragorn smiled gently down at his friend although it was an extremely sad smile.

They all knew that this would hurt Legolas and hurt him a lot. If Aragorn had some of the potion in front of him at this minute he would have been satisfied to hear it smash against the chamber wall and run down the stone, he hated Mintel that much.

He had already made up his mind that he was going to see that every last store of the drugs would be destroyed. If it took him until the end of his days on this earth he would make sure that it was done. He would not let another elf suffer like this. It was a promise he made to the Valar and Legolas. If he lived through the coming battles, and he knew there was battles coming ahead, then he would see the end of the potion.

"Legolas we are almost ready to lift you. Elrohir is just getting into place." Aragorn watched as his brother silently moved into place. Each of them shared worried smiles.

"I will count to three, Legolas. Please try not to stiffen that will only make the pain worse." Elladan tried to prepare his friend as much as possible.

"T…try." Legolas was shaking from the pain now.

At a nod to the others, Elladan held his breath as they lifted the Prince as gently but as swiftly as they could.

Even so Legolas could not stop the cry of pain that left his lips and then he clamped down hard on his lower lip.

Gimli winced as the blood ran down the smooth chin. Without waiting and with no one telling him he picked up a clean piece of cloth and wetted it before slipping in to wipe the chin clean.

The touch of wet and cold on his lips finally made Legolas open his eyes to look blearily about him.

"Gi'li" Again the slur was there in his voice.

"Aye, Laddie it is me." Gimli's voice was gruff and his eyes misty as he realised that Legolas had recognised him.

"S..ore." Legolas winced, his eyes inadvertently closing.

"I know, Laddie. Take ma hand and squeeze it, ye will nae hurt me." Gimli gently lifted the hand and held onto it.

The blue eyes opened once more and the pain mingled with gratitude would have melted an Orcs heart.

"Ah now, Laddie open your mouth and take the tea, it'll help. I promise." Gimli tried to coaxe him.

To all of their relief he did just that and Elladan could hold the goblet up to the bitten lip. They would have to look after that once he had taken the tea.

"Well done, Mellon-nin you are doing very well." Elladan praised him aware of just how badly Legolas was shaking. "There is just a little more to take."

Legolas was taking small sips. His mouth so dry, that even the bitter tea was welcome. Finally and to his regret the goblet was empty and Elladan pulled the goblet away.

Before the others could begin to lower him he spoke again.

"Wa'er?" Again the slur was present and he had trouble even getting those syllables out.

"You would like some water, Las?" Elladan did not even realise that he had reverted to using the name that they had always used when he was an Elfling.

"S's." Gratitude shone once more in the glazed blue eyes.

Elladan did not need that explaining to him.

"You are more than welcome, Legolas I just want you to be comfortable." He gently ruffled the dishevelled hair, something he would not normally even contemplating doing.

"We should get Legolas comfortable on his pillows." Estel could feel the shakes that had continued to grow in Legolas as they held him.

"Yes, we should." Elladan agreed with his brother.

"Wait let me change the cover on his pillows, all the rest have been changed but not those." Tarias already had the fresh covers in his hands.

"Very well, can you be quick?" He asked the fellow healer.

"He will and it will work faster if he had help." Gandalf had appeared at Talleth's side and taken one of the covers before anyone could say anything.

"Thank you, Gandalf." There was real gratitude in Estel's voice.

"No need, Dear Boy, no need." As Gandalf was speaking they were gently lowering Legolas back against the fresh cloths that covered his pillows.

Not one of them could miss the sigh of relief that Legolas gave as he was once again laying back.

"Is that good, Mellon-nin?" Estel could not help but smile, the sigh had an almost contented quality to it.

"Y.. yes.." Legolas blinked wearily at them. "S…'ank u." The lisp seemed to be getting worse as Legolas tired.

"You are welcome you know that." Elladan was brushed creases out of the covers that were not even there. "Perhaps when you waken you could try some porridge?"

They all looked hopeful at that until they noticed that Legolas had gone a very pretty shade of green at the mere mention of food.

"Perhaps later then, there is no hurry." Elladan hated telling that white lie but he needed Legolas calm and not panicked or feeling nauseous.

Legolas nodded weakly and wearily to his friend.

"Try and sleep, next time you waken you will be feeling better." I hope so at least Elladan told him. "Then we can talk. Rest, Legolas."

Legolas was already lying with eyes closed and they all watched as his ragged breathing evened out as he fled to the world of dreams.

Elladan watched him with anguish on his face and then he turned and walked away from the others, his shoulders slumped.

Aragorn shared worried looks with the others and then with a silent hand to stay the others he followed his elder brother to the other side of the chamber and out of a set of doors he had never seen before. They were the same as the windows, with handles set into the sides so that they were not noticeable at all.

He closed the doors silently behind him.

"I just need some time alone, Estel." Elladan had not even turned to face him and Estel could hear the tears in his voice.

"I do not think that is a good idea, Gwador-nin. You need to talk about what you are feeling and also what you fear." Aragorn told him as he came to stand behind him.

Elladan reached up to where his foster brother had placed his hand in support on his shoulder.

"When did you grow up to be so wise?" Aragorn could hear the small smile in that soft voice. "Or how?"

"A while ago, you just never noticed." Aragorn gently teased him. "And I had some help getting to be wise."

"How would that be?" Elladan had to ask.

"I had three of the best Brother's to help me get this way." There was pride clear in his voice.

"Three? When did we get a third Brother?" Elladan could not help but tease.

"Somewhere when I was about two and I was carried back to Imladris by him. When I was taught to shoot an arrow by him…" Aragorn gently teased him back.

"That is not fair! We also taught you to shoot arrows!" Elladan shot back.

"You did? Oh yes, for how long? Ten minutes?" Aragorn was smiling widely for the first time since coming out of the chamber.

"If I recall it was much longer than that…" He looked over his shoulder at his brother.

"Yes, Five seconds longer when you had me target Elrohir's backside and fire that arrow." Aragorn shot back arrow fast.

"I did not…" At Aragorn's laugh he laughed as well. "I did, it was funny."

"Ada did not think so. How long were you made to clean the healing wing and the stables out?" Estel teased him all the more. Their Ada had been out and out furious at his Eldest Son's antics with him.

"Three months if I recall correctly." Elladan grimaced.

"You do recall correctly!" Estel could not help but continue to tease his brother.

"Very funny." Elladan pulled his nose at his brother, it had been three long months he would admit that.

"What is troubling you, Elladan?" Estel had changed tacts almost so suddenly that Elladan blinked at his younger brother.

"Why so serious?" He asked.

"Do not try and fool me, El I know you too well to be fooled." Estel told him still seriously.

"I am terrified that this is the one time that Legolas' infamous luck runs out. What if this is the time that we loose him? I am not sure that I could cope with that, to get here too late after all the rush of getting here." Elladan's eyes were bright with unshed tears and his voice was gruff.

"You spent the whole journey here not expecting him to be alive when you got here." It was not a guess on Aragorn's part, he could see the lingering fear in Elladan's eyes.

"Yes. I will admit that when Ada told us that Legolas had been taking Mintel, my blood ran cold. Utterly cold." Elladan could not stop the shiver that shook him.

"Why?" Aragorn had led the way out to the balustrade to take in the work that was going on around them. The hard work that was being spent on the people to get the citadel ready to live in once more.

"I remember when DaerNana took a sudden frenzy and removed it without seemingly explaining to anyone why. And then Ada started working on the Mintel, for years he worked and suddenly he slowed down. When nothing seemed to come from what ever had alarmed DaerNana. Then he started back working again with the same frantic frenzy, only this increased rather than decreased." Elladan told his brother shakily.

"When he used to vanish for hours on end." Aragorn guessed.

"Yes, and then when he told us the story fully the other week I realised that this was deadly serious and that is centred around Legolas. And that with Legolas was you. It was when you had grown and reached teenage years that Ada had started work on the Mintel again as if…" Elladan stopped unsure as to whether or not to go on.

"As if he recognised me suddenly." Aragorn realised what his brother did not want to say.

"Indeed." Elladan sighed.

"He saw me in the visions that he had of Legolas." It had to be, To Aragorn that was the only thing it could have been.

"He has never said, Estel but I think so as well." Elladan conceded.

"It is the only thing it can be." Elrohir told them with certainty. He knew what it was like to suddenly see something in front of you that reminded you of a vision or seeming half hazy dream. It made your heart thump and your mouth dry.

"That was why he was so obsessed." Estel could remember the nights, the long sleepless nights that his Ada had spent in his lab working on something that he would not talk about. Or rode with Estel or the twins to one of the places that he knew he could get just the right herb that he required.

"He worked himself hard over the last few years, but not as much as he has done this last month. I think Ada knew that we needed the cure sooner rather than later." Elrohir had sat with his father late into the night making sure that he ate and drank and got snatched moments of sleep. He could only marvel at his beloved Adar, yes they were Elves and needed very little sleep but even they needed a certain amount.

They had been aware of Erestor and Glorfindel taking over more and more of his work without either of them giving their usual moans and jokes. They just agreed and got on with it.

"Nana was getting worried I know that." Haldir's sleepy voice made them jump.

"She was?" Aragorn turned noticing as he did that the others were doing the same.

"Yes, she made me and my Gwador's ride with a company to Imladris to see how she was. That is how we came to be there when the call came that you needed aid here." Haldir winced as he pushed himself up. Talleth rushed to help him. "I am well, I already heal."

It was true as well, he could feel his strength returning. Could feel the weakness fleeing to leave a diminished amount of strength behind. But better none the less.

"I wish we healed as fast as you do." His voice was wistful as he spoke. He knew that a lot of the men who had been injured would be months in recovering from the wounds dealt by the Orcs.

"But they and Rohan will recover." Theoden was firm on that and Eomer agreed whole heartedly. "We just need the time to do so."

A time they might not have, not if the Elves had not arrived when they did, if the three friends that they had tried to keep away from them had not been determined to help.

Too determined in the case of Legolas. Far to determined.

"What do you plan to do?" Estel asked quietly.

Soon as they waited for Legolas to waken they talked about the plans that the King and his Crown Prince had for the rebuilding of Helms Deep...


Eowyn was becoming more and more frustrated. No matter how much she tried she could not through the guards and into her Uncle's rooms. She could not even get near to the upstart Prince's drinks.

There was no way that they could know about her, she had been too careful. Even when the smelly Dwarf had deliberately tripped her in front of everyone spilling the porridge she had stayed sweet and smiled.

But with then large amounts of guards around and the fact that they seemed to be everywhere she went. She was becoming a little suspicious of what they did know.

She would need to be more careful and perhaps she was going about this the wrong way. Perhaps she should not be trying to get into the Prince herself. Perhaps she should concentrate on staying out of the room.

Eowyn stood and watched from a hiding place that she had used since a child to watch the comings and goings.

But it was always the same Wench who came with the food and drinks. A plan slowly began to form. She couldn't, didn't dare to go in but that did not mean that the Mintel had to stay outside too.

On the next visit she stepped out. "Salina, how are you?"

"Lady Eowyn." She bobbed a courtesy at her.

"I hope your family all survived the dread siege?" She made her voice sad and low.

"Aye, My Lady." She was surprised, since the siege the talk had been of how the Lady had changed in manner but here she was acting as if nothing had happened at all.

"Good. I do not like to go in and disturb them with Prince Legolas being so ill, can you tell me how he is?" Eowyn wrung her hands as if worried.

"Very poorly, My Lady but the Ranger said he had woken for a short time. I am taking them food and drinks withy water for the Prince." Dalina liked a good gossip and the strangers around her were perfect for that.

"I am pleased that he is doing so well. They expect him to recover?" She took the stone from her pocket and without attracting attention through it out into the corridor. Dalina turned startled and worried at the sudden noise.

"What is that?" Dalina asked, there had been all types of rumors about Orc's still being in the City.

"I don't know. Perhaps you should alert the guards? I will stay and keep them from getting at the Prince." Eowyn could not believe how well this was working.

"I will do that." She hurried off the minute that she had vanished around the corner, Eowyn grinned. Without pausing she pulled the bottle from her pocket and opened it. Half should do. Half would finish the abomination off.

It was safely in her pocket by the time Dalina got back with two guards.

"There was someone they ran off down that way." She pointed to a way that led to the back of the caverns.

The guards nodded and hurried off. "Perhaps you should take the food to Theoden King?" She prompted the maid.

"Oh! Of course!" Dalina picked up her tray and hurried into the corridor once more. "Excuse me, My Lady."

Eowyn blinked it had worked. Her trick had worked. Now she had to wait, wait for the sounds that would come when the Prince died. There was enough Mintel in their to kill all of the elves in the room if it was needed, but they would not be drinking plain water, alas. But she was not there for them. She was there to kill the light, kill the one person who had evaded her Master this time it would work she was certain of that.

This time her Master would be pleased with her and not angry as he was the last time. This time she would not be found lacking in any way...

She vanished into the darkness to wait the inevitable out...

To be continued