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A Fairy Tale, Middle-Earth style

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Friends in Small Places

A Headache by SmilingDragonGirl


Summary: Legolas has a headache, and things get a lot worse before they get betterÖ (evil grin)
Disclaimer: The characters and places in this story belong to the one and only J.R.R. Tolkien. I do not own any of themÖ (sniff)
Rating: K+
Dedication: For Terri! This fic would not have been written without her.

It hurt.

Legolas resisted the temptation to bury his aching head in his hands. His headache was getting worse. It felt as if someone was trapped inside of his head, and trying to crack his skull open to get out. A very determined, obstinate someone. A dwarf with an axe, perhaps.

Legolas needed all his strength and concentration to keep his face straight and calm. He would neither wince nor groan nor show any other sign of weakness while he was in one of his fatherís council meetings. He tried to concentrate on the words of the delegate who was currently speaking, but the throbbing in his head distracted him so much that most of the words went unheard.

He decided that the being in his head had to be a dwarf with a *blunt* axe and a lot of enthusiasm. It did not help at all that attending a council meeting would be enough to give him a headache on a normal day. To enter said meeting and already *have* a headache had been a very bad idea.

Again he tried to concentrate on the words and realized that his father was speaking this time. He gave a soft sigh of relief when he heard Thranduil close the meeting for the day. He rose gingerly and somehow managed not to sway or close his eyes in spite of the very unpleasant way his head reacted to his movement. He felt his fatherís gaze on him, but he refused to turn or look at him. Thranduil had enough to do now, talking to the delegates and see that this dayís decisions were put into action. Legolas would not allow him to worry about a simple headache.

He left the meeting room slowly and tried to ignore the way his head pounded with each step he took. This headache probably had something to do with the orc that had smashed him into a tree some twelve hours ago, he mused. His head had taken most of the impact then, both from the tree and from the blunt side of the orcís scimitar. The wound had been tended to, but only because Aragorn had threatened to knock him out again and sit on him until the healer had finished his work. Legolas had refused to rest afterwards. After all, there had been an orc attack and a council meeting to be taken care of.

Legolas came to a dead stop when a sudden thought broke through the layers of pain and fatigue that had wrapped themselves around his mind. Aragorn! Knowing exactly how bored his friend would be after one of those dreaded council meetings, Aragorn would usually await him afterwards and try to cheer him up again. The elf turned around, suppressing a wince when a sudden stab of pain went through his head and the corridor seemed to tilt.

Sure enough, after his vision had cleared he caught sight of a confused-looking Aragorn, who stood in front of the open door of the council chamber, his gaze fixed on his friend. Legolas realized that he must have passed the human by without even noticing his presence. He managed a sheepish smile, but the grey eyes of the ranger had already narrowed and seemed to bore into him.

Legolas sighed. His headache seemed to increase, as if the intensity of the rangerís gaze somehow added to the pain. A moment later Aragorn stood in front of him, his eyes never leaving the elfís face.

"What is wrong?" the man asked, concern and firm determination evident in his voice.

"Nothing," Legolas answered quickly. "I am fine." The only thing he needed right now was to get away from prying eyes and catch up on some much-needed rest. There was no need to worry Aragorn, his father, or anyone else because of such a little thing as a headache. Even if it felt like his head was going to explode any moment now - or be split open by the blunt axe of this insistent dwarf. At that particular moment Legolas felt a strong dislike towards the whole race of the dwarves. He wanted to close his eyes. Why did the light have to be so bright?

"I do not believe you," Aragorn stated quietly. There was gentle concern in his eyes, and he watched his friend closely. He knew he could not push or force Legolas when the elf decided to be stubborn. He could only be honest.

"I do not like to see you like this. Please, wonít you tell me what troubles you, mellon-nÓn?" he asked softly. ((my friend))

Legolas felt caught in the rangerís gaze. He could not hide, and he could not escape the worry he saw in those familiar eyes. He could not bear to worry his friend needlessly.

"It is nothing to worry about," he conceded. "Just a headache."

Aragorn tilted his head slightly and eyed him doubtfully. Before he could say anything however, a third voice interrupted their conversation. It made Legolas wince slightly.

"You were in pain and did not tell me, ion-nÓn?" ((my son))

This time Legolas closed his eyes. First Aragorn, now his father. Did he have to have bad luck on top of this headache?

"Adar, it was only a headache," he protested weakly. ((father))

Thranduil put his hands on his sonís shoulders and turned him around. He did not like the pain he saw in those usually bright blue eyes. He sighed and shook his head. "You do not have to attend a council meeting when you do not feel well, my son," he scolded gently.

Legolas stayed quiet. They would have believed nothing he could have said anyway, and the dull throbbing in his head seemed to intensify.

"Itís the head wound, isnít it?" asked Aragorn and touched the light bandage around the elfís head gently. Legolas flinched at the light touch and could not entirely stifle a gasp.

The human and the elf king exchanged a look of shared concern and silent understanding.

"I need to look at this, Legolas," Aragorn stated firmly.

"I want you to go with him," Thranduil added in a calm, authoritative voice before Legolas could protest any further. "I could order you as your king." He raised an eyebrow and looked at his son as if daring him to resist.

Legolas snapped his mouth shut and glared at both of them. "This is not necessary," he said reluctantly.

"Of course not!" Aragorn agreed with a triumphant smile.

Legolas started to shake his head, but thought better of it and allowed his persistent friend to take his arm and drag him away. He felt his fatherís watchful eyes on his back. He had taken no more than one or two steps when the ground under his feet started tilting again.

The pain inside his head multiplied, and he concluded dazedly that the dwarf had finally found a way to break through. He felt himself falling, but the impact never came. There were hands that caught him, and voices calling him. The voices sounded familiar, and the alarm in them made him struggle against the pain and the darkness for a moment before he finally gave in. He fell into a bottomless black abyss, and this time there were no hands to catch him.

~ ~ ~

There were far away voices somewhere in the blackness. He could not understand what they were saying, but now and then he caught a single word or two. "LegolasÖ" Someone seemed to be calling, or asking, and he wished that this "Legolas" would just answer so he could find peace again. "ÖpoisonÖ" This word sparked his interest for a fleeting moment. Had someone been poisoned? He wondered if it could be him, but as he remembered neither who he was, nor what had happened to him, he wasnít really interested in knowing more about it.

Apart from the voices, there was only pain, rising and ebbing and pulsing through him in a steady rhythm. Someone groaned. The voices were quieter now, comforting, soothing and strangely familiar. He calmed and slowly drifted away into the darkness once more.

~ ~ ~

When he awoke the next time, his head was clear and the pain all but gone. He blinked and looked at the rays of early sunlight falling into his room and onto his face. The warmth felt good, and he greeted the new day with a smile. The birds sang and the trees of the forest whispered to him.

His memories were a bit hazy, and for some reason he was surprised to feel so well. He remembered something about a dwarf, Aragorn and Thranduil. He frowned. It made no sense, his father would never allow a dwarf to be in the palace. There was definitely something else he should remember. He was still trying to sort through his muddled memories when a movement to his side caught his attention. He turned his head and looked directly into Aragornís face.

He smiled again. The human sat slumped over in a chair, in a position that seemed highly uncomfortable to the elfís eyes. Aragornís face seemed pale and drawn, and it was obvious that he hadnít gotten much sleep. At this moment Legolas knew that he must have been injured, and suddenly he remembered the headache, the council session, his conversation with AragornÖ and then, nothing. He must have passed out. How could he have passed out because of a simple headache?

The humanís eyelids fluttered, as if he felt the gaze of the elf, and then his eyes opened and locked onto Legolasí. For a moment, both of them froze, one curious, the other shocked.

Then Aragornís eyes lit up with joy and he jumped up so quickly that his cramped muscles loudly protested against the rough treatment. He ignored them and sat down on the edge of Legolasí bed.

"You are awake," he said with a smile.

Legolas tried to raise himself into a sitting position, but Aragorn caught his shoulders and held him down.

"You will stay exactly where you are now until I say otherwise!" he said in a stern voice, but there was still relief in his eyes.

He sounded so much like Lord Elrond that Legolas obeyed instinctively.

"It was only a headache, Aragorn!" he protested, still a bit embarrassed that he had passed out like this.

Aragorn shook his head slowly, and his face paled a bit as he remembered the moment when Legolas had collapsed into his arms, and the long night that had followed.

"It was no simple headache, mellon-nÓn," he answered quietly. "You were poisoned."

"Poisoned?" Legolas eyes widened in disbelief. "How could I have been poisoned?"

"The orcís scimitar," Aragorn explained. "The small scratch on your forehead was enough. The poison must have been on the blade. A slow working, rare kind of poison. We could have lost you this night, Legolas."

It was the first time that Aragorn was actually grateful that Elrond had made him learn the remedies to all kinds of orc poisons after another near-fatal incident involving orcs, himself and the twins. He made a mental note to thank Elrond for his insistence when he returned. After all, this knowledge had saved Legolasí life.

The elf stared back at him, stunned. Suddenly everything made sense. He closed his eyes for a moment and opened them again as he felt Aragorn lean over him.

The ranger cupped the elfís face in his hands and held his gaze. "If you ever feel anything like this again, anything out of the ordinary, tell me," he pleaded softly. "Never scare me like this again."

Legolasí eyes softened and he nodded. "I did not know," he said, a silent apology in his eyes.

Aragorn smiled, but the elf could still see the traces of fear in his face. The ranger released him and straightened up again.

"Where is adar?" Legolas asked some minutes later. It wasnít like Thranduil to leave his son when his condition was this grave.

Instead of an answer Aragorn simply tilted his head. Legolas followed the direction of the small movement and found Thranduil in a chair on the other side of the bed, sagged against the wall in a very unkingly manner and looking even more uncomfortable than Aragorn had. Legolas chuckled softly and looked fondly at his father. The king had been overworked and tired before, but this night must have completely exhausted him.

The elf looked back at his friend and saw the amused sparkle in Aragornís eyes.

"He really seems to need this sleep," the ranger remarked. "Just like his son. You never know when to take care of yourselves."

Legolas couldnít deny the truth in Aragornís words, but he glared at his friend nonetheless. Aragorn grinned back.

"Iím so glad that you are back to your usual annoying self," the ranger commented, still grinning at the elf.

Something flashed in Legolasí eyes, and his smile became wicked. One hand grabbed his pillowÖ

"Not in this palace, you wonít!" commanded a voice from the other side of his bed.

The hand dropped the pillow, and Legolas turned towards the voice. The next moment he found himself enfolded in a tight embrace.


Thranduil didnít say anything. He knew his son too well to hope that this would never happen again. His son was too much like himself. So he was content to let his body speak without words. Finally, when he had held his son long enough to be sure that he was still breathing, regaining his strength and very, very much alive, he whispered: "I wish you had told me!"

Legolas hugged him tighter for a moment without saying anything. Then they both let go.

Thranduil lay a hand lightly on his sonís head and smiled. "I will have to take care of a few things now," he said. "I want you to stay in bed and do exactly what Estel tells you to do!"

Legolas nodded obediently. "Yes, adar." ((father))

Thranduil turned around to leave, but halted in front of the door and hesitated for a moment.

"I think if the prince of Mirkwood would still like to throw pillows in his own room, no one would have the right or wish to stop him." With these words, he left.

He heard a muffled sound, a choked half-hearted protest and the light sound of elven laughter, before he finally closed the door with a contented smile. He leaned against the cool wood for a long moment. He was light-headed with relief, and yet his heart was still aching.

"Valar, protect them," he prayed silently. He knew, if Legolas had died, his heart would have died with him. Estel had saved them both tonight.


- The End -

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