A/N: Still really sick… can't sleep… thought I might post for something to do.

Thank you so much for all the lovely reviews. Also, it was pointed out, and I completely agree, that I'm not very good at writing settings and stuff, so if you see a bit that could be improved, that's what I'm working on with my writing right now, so please tell me!

X X X X

"Report?" Thranduil muttered, sifting through a pile of papers. He looked exhausted.

"We ambushed a large party of orcs who had set up camp," Legolas muttered just as quietly as his father had spoken. "We killed most of them, but a few fled into the forest, back towards Dol Guldur."

"Did you pursue them?" Thranduil asked, not looking up.

It was at moments like these that Legolas hated the fact that his father was king. All of the other soldiers would probably be in their homes right now, being served up warm meals and receiving hugs from family members. Legolas never got that until after the report, Thranduil's paperwork, a possible council meeting and various other duties.

He didn't want to tell his father that he did not know what had become of the orcs who had run away. That was an unacceptable mistake on his part. He had been so swept up in Arandorion's death and trying to comfort Aragorn that he had not bothered to ask.

"Legolas?"

"I-" Legolas swallowed. "I don't know."

"Oh," was all Thranduil said. He blinked a couple of times. "Any casualties?"

Legolas opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. He looked at the ground.

"Legolas?" Thranduil asked again.

"Four dead, two wounded." He had not looked up throughout that sentence. He was now working very hard to keep his emotions in check.

"Ion-nin?" The king now sounded concerned. It was common knowledge that his son tried to hide injuries. "You aren't hurt, are you?"

Legolas shook his head. He did not trust himself to speak anymore.

Thranduil raised a sceptical eyebrow.

"Not me," Legolas said with difficulty. "Arandorion."

Thranduil's face immediately softened. He stood up and walked around his desk to hug his son.

"How bad is he?" he asked as Legolas buried his face into his father's shoulders.

"Dead," Legolas mumbled before letting go of all emotion and sobbing.

Thranduil did not say anything more; he just held his son until the sobs subsided.

X X X X

The funeral had been short, but was still immeasurably painful. It was a funeral not just for Arandorion, but for all the elves who had died protecting the woodland realm that week. It was devastating that enough elves died to make weekly mass funerals necessary.

Aragorn and Legolas sat on a bench in the courtyard, not saying a word. The sky above them was a testament to their emotions: it was tumultuous and grey.

"I've realized something, Legolas," Aragorn said slowly. "No matter how painful it is, death is a part of growing up. I've matured; I see it in myself, when I'm alone in the dead of night... Everyone has challenges they must face, this is mine, and yours, too."

Legolas stared at the ground, though his next words betrayed the anger he felt. "You are mortal. Death is a part of your life. But it's not a part of mine! Arandorion was an elf, he wasn't supposed to die, and I wasn't supposed to watch him die! Do you have any idea what that feels like?" He glared suddenly up at his human friend. "To have to sit there and watch while all your friends, everything you hold dear, your home, is slaughtered before you? Estel, I –" He stopped suddenly.

"What is it?" Aragorn asked, not the least put off by Legolas's outburst. He needed to have an outlet for his emotions.

Legolas looked back down at the ground. He looked somehow... defeated. The sight broke Aragorn's heart.

"Estel, I think I am fading."

Aragorn's head snapped up. "No, you are not fading! You promised to stay with me!"

Legolas looked up again, a humourless laugh in his eyes. "And you promised me you would fulfil your destiny. But it a blade pierces your heart, do you have a choice in the matter? No. You would die as surely as I am dying."

"LEGOLAS!" Aragorn cried. "You are NOT dying! If you are, you still have the choice to save yourself!"

"Why?" Legolas asked, that same humourless laugh still evident in his eyes. "What have I got to live for? See more friends die? See my home slowly destroyed? You will die, Estel. Not for many years, but you will die eventually. And what will be left on Arda for me?"

"You're a prince!" Aragorn said desperately. "You have to ascend the throne just like I have to! What will your people do if Thranduil sails and they don't have an heir?"

"I would not want to remain in a world where I have no family left. I don't want my father to sail before me. I won't ascend the throne. Besides, if things keep going the way they have been with the fight against the Shadow, there won't be a throne to ascend. Respect my wishes, Estel. Let me die."

With that, Legolas got up and walked away.

X X X X

Aragorn spent the remainder of the day following his elven friend from a distance. Legolas spent the day attending mostly to matters of state: paperwork, council meetings (through which Aragorn hid just outside the chamber, waiting for him to come back out), and planning for future patrols. When all this was done, he went to his room and shut the door.

Aragorn finally decided it was time, once again, to confront the woodland prince. He raised a determined hand and knocked hard on Legolas's door.

To his great surprise, it was answered almost immediately. Legolas was looking at the ground, but that did not disguise the fact that he had been crying. He stepped aside and gestured for the ranger to enter.

Aragorn did so. He sat down on the bed, waiting for the elf to join him.

"We need to talk, Legolas," said Aragorn seriously.

Legolas, still standing at the door, nodded and sat down on the bed next to the man.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I've been thinking, and I've decided that, even though we elves don't die, and we shouldn't have to suffer the death of a friend, we do mature. We grow too. Many of my friends have died, but I was not as close to any of them as I was to Arandorion. And I will have to watch you die, Estel. I don't want to, but I will have to, and I'm going to. I'll be there for you. I promise I won't die."

Aragorn hadn't noticed the tears upon his cheeks as the elf spoke, but he noticed them now. Legolas would be there for him as Aragorn had always known he would be.

"Thank you, mellon nin," Aragorn said in a very quiet voice. He reached forward and hugged his best friend, knowing that each would never let the other go.

X X X X

A/N: That was sweet. Lol!

Thank you, once again, for all the reviews, and for any I'll get for this chapter. They mean a lot. Lurkers, thanks too, and I woud really like to see what you think.