Cold Comfort by ElenaRoan|
Story Name: Cold Comfort
Disclaimer: Don’t own any of them, written purely for enjoyment.
Summary: A trip doesn’t go as planned
It seemed like a good idea at the time. But the elf was questioning that wisdom, or lack thereof, now.
A deep wracking cough brought Legolas back to the form curled up near the fire. He gently rubbed the man’s back until the coughs died down, murmuring soothingly in Sindarin words that he would not be able to recall if lives depended on it.
Glazed grey eyes blinked up at him once the coughing had subsided and the blond elf tried to smile reassuringly. Truth was, he was nearer to panicking; he had no skills in healing and they were trapped in this cave until the downpour outside let up, not to mention they were going nowhere until the man was strong enough to endure the ride.
“How do you feel, gwador nín (my [sworn] brother)?”
“Sore,” Aragorn answered hoarsely.
With only a few weeks to go until he was due back in Mirkwood the two friends had decided to go on a short trip; not a Dùnedain mission nor a hunt for anything, just a trip. Things had gone well until the ranger had fallen ill. Blessed with the stronger immune system of the Dùnedain and bolstered by the traces of Elven blood in his veins; when he did get sick it was no little thing. To compound the problem they had had to ride nearly half an hour in the downpour to reach the somewhat dubious shelter of the cave. The result was the feverish and ill ranger now shivering on the bedroll near the fire.
Legolas’ first instinct had been to cover Aragorn further when he began shivering and it was only Aragorn’s hoarse instructions that stopped him. It was now hours after the first indications of fever and it was worse than ever and showed no signs of breaking. Legolas, alternating during the long hours since they arrived; between keeping watch and wiping his friend down with a cool cloth.
“How long?” The man’s voice was nearly painful to hear and the elf retrieved a small cup of water. Carefully Legolas helped Aragorn to sip the cool water.
“A couple of hours,” Legolas answered softly once he was done with the water.
“Goheno nin (forgive me).”
“For what?” Legolas asked, surprised and wondering whether he was delirious even though he appeared to be conscious.
“For making you go through this.”
“That is beyond your control,” The blond elf answered, shaking his head in mild amusement.
Aragorn smiled faintly in reply before suddenly closing his eyes and swallowing hard.
“Estel?” Worry laced Legolas’ voice.
“Help...me to the...entrance.”
“The entrance?” Confusion joined the worry.
“I...am going...to be...ill...” His gasps were becoming more pronounced and his struggle was obvious.
If his eyes had been open he would have seen naked fear race across Legolas’ face. The elf was out of his element; even having journeyed with him for six years before he went to Rohan he had never had to deal with Aragorn being sick on his own and this visit was the first time he had even seen the ranger since his return from Gondor. They had had to content themselves with letters during his time in Rohan and Gondor.
As gently as he could, the elf gathered the man into his arms and carried him to the cave entrance. It took all of Aragorn’s control to keep his stomach contents inside until Legolas lowered him to his knees and supported him from behind. Once he was done the blond gently carried him back to the bedroll and wiped his face with the cool cloth.
“Hannon le (thank you).”
“It was no trouble,” Legolas answered softly, not meeting his eyes. He knew that, ill though he was, the ranger would be able to see in an instant the fear he felt.
The ranger didn’t even need to see his eyes and reached out to weakly squeeze the elf’s arm.
“I will be well, I am in no danger.”
Legolas managed a shaky smile as he wet the cloth again.
Aragorn smiled in a way he hoped was reassuring before his eyes dipped closed again and he fell back into his fitful sleep. Legolas continued to wipe his friend down while keeping his senses alert for possible trouble in the darkness beyond the cave mouth. Slowly the night turned into day and slowly the man was proven correct.