Troublesome Help by Nightshadow|
Summary: After Elrohir pulls a prank on Elladan there's nothing but silence and heated glares between them. Legolas and Aragorn have a few ideas to make amends. Will they be able to help or will they only make matters worse?
"It seemed like a good idea at the time," Aragorn said in exasperation, watching Elladan and Elrohir, irritation radiating off of him.
Legolas turned his gaze away from the human and towards the twins.
Elladan and Elrohir sat away from each other, not a single word being exchanged, nor had there been for the past four days, except what was necessary. Legolas and Aragorn had brought the two out into the forest for a hunting trip to try and break up the tension between them. This was the second day and nothing had changed as of yet and it didn’t seem very likely that it would.
Looking back at Aragorn, he said with determination, "I know; we shall just have to try harder."
What they were going to do… That was a different matter.
Aragorn sighed heavily, leaning forward with an elbow on one knee, head resting on the hand. After a moment’s thought, he asked, "What can we do?"
Legolas leaned back, staring at the canopy of leaves above them. With a mischievous glint in his blue eyes, he glanced at Aragorn. "I have an idea…"
The dark-haired man listened intently, a smile growing with each word. "…Do you think it will work?" he queried, voice tinged with doubt.
The blonde elf thought for a minute. "If we plant some ‘evidence’."
Aragorn nodded. Both hoped the plan would work; they hated seeing the twins act like this towards each other, especially since the cause hadn’t been that big of a deal… to them. Maybe to Elladan…
Elladan and Elrohir had decided to go for a swim in a nearby river, the water was deep and the day was bright and hot. It was the perfect time for a swim and they had quickly gone, without knowing what it would lead to.
Aragorn and Legolas had been forced to stay behind and help Elrond for an earlier "mistake" they had made that week. The elf-lord had been none too pleased and had forced them into chores. The twins had rubbed in the fact that they were going to the river and that they had to work.
Elladan and Elrohir had spent nearly the whole day there. The younger twin was the first to get out and had done so without Elladan seeing him.
Then he quickly left for their home, they weren’t far at all so the chances of them running into trouble were practically nonexistent, as if that made a difference for any of them but, for what it was worth, neither had come back wounded… physically in any case.
Elladan had looked for his twin, wondering where he had gone and if something had happened to him.
When he had gone back to put his clothes on he growled deep in his throat, cursing Elrohir. The oldest trick in the book, except this time there was clothes, accompanied by a note.
He seethed silently when he picked the clothes up; they were a maiden’s, a light blue and pink dress. Who knew where Elrohir had got it from—not that he really cared at the moment as he stood there naked, vowing to hurt his twin.
He picked up the note and read it, cursing violently in every language he knew. The note read, "If you pretty yourself up enough no one will notice." It was signed by none other than Elrohir, of course.
He crinkled up the paper and ripped it, drowning in the anger he felt towards his twin.
Eventually, having no other idea and no other option, Elladan had decided—very reluctantly—that he had to wear the maiden’s clothes, lest he wanted to march into his home wearing nothing at all. He just hoped no one would recognize him. If someone did… He didn’t even want to think about it.
Of course, since he had such great luck, some had noticed him and gaped; then started laughing hysterically. After the first one, everyone knew who the "new maiden" who had come to Imladris was.
Without so much as a glance, he had passed Elrohir, who was laughing just as hard, hands clutching at his sides, tears rolling down his face.
Elladan had gone to his chambers, slammed the door, thrown off the wretched clothes and wore a simple light blue tunic with grey leggings.
He didn’t leave his chambers the entire night or the following day until the afternoon meal, which Elrond had convinced him to go to.
Since then he hadn’t exchanged a single word or glance—unless it was a glare—towards Elrohir.
Still, they couldn’t let this go on forever, which was where Legolas and Aragorn came in, of course.
"When should we do it?" Aragorn questioned, looking over at the still-silent twins.
"Later tonight… or in the morning. Nay, night would be best."
The sun’s rays still wept through the leaves, sending streaks and odd shapes splashing onto the ground.
Glancing over at Elladan and Elrohir again, the two friends sighed. This would be a long wait.
Indeed it was… for everyone. Neither Elladan nor Elrohir wished to be around each other, but had been tricked into this predicament. Legolas and Aragorn had told Elrohir that Elladan wasn’t going with (he had a chore to do… or something along those lines) and vice versa. Obviously, when they had seen each other, they hadn’t appreciated the "mix up" as Aragorn had so lightly put it when he had received twin glares.
They had been forced along with the other because they were already out in the forest—Aragorn and Legolas leading each separately; then meeting up later that day.
Even sitting there felt like days. The trip was supposed to be going at a leisurely pace and it was also time for them to eat so they stayed there for a while.
"Let us go," Aragorn suggested once they were all done eating and had picked everything up, leaving no traces behind. Everyone was grateful to be moving again.
Finally, night fell and they set up camp. It was time for dinner as well, which Aragorn and Legolas were very thankful for, for reasons of their own.
The two friends exchanged a nervous glance; then nodded, resolved.
"I shall go hunt," Legolas told Elladan and Elrohir while Aragorn told them he’d get the firewood.
The friends headed off in the same direction.
"Why have they not returned?" Elladan was the first to break the relentless silence, worry for Aragorn and Legolas forcing him to voice the question.
The two had been gone much longer than was necessary and the twins were wondering if they should go after them.
Elrohir merely shook his head, his eyes trained on the spot they had disappeared like they were suddenly going to return, laughing and jesting.
After a few more minutes, neither could handle it anymore and abruptly stood up. Walking next to each other, it was an unspoken truce for as long as it took to make sure the two were safe.
About ten minutes later, they came across a sight that stopped them dead in their tracks. It was obvious there had been a struggle. They didn’t know if Aragorn or Legolas had been involved in it, however. Neither of them wished to take the risk; if it was indeed from their brother and best friend, then they desperately needed help by the looks of it. If it wasn’t them then someone still needed the help. It looked as though it had been a recent battle, for the tracks would have been covered already if it wasn’t with all the creatures that passed.
Elladan and Elrohir looked at each other and nodded, the decision made.
After half an hour they started to feel a darker presence, a presence that sent chills down their spines; caused their hands to go to the hilt of their swords, ready to unsheathe them.
Fear rose within them when they thought of the missing Legolas and Aragorn while feeling this unsettling presence. What if they had been caught in it? What if they were in danger?
They quickened their pace, despite the warnings. Soon they found out what the presence was exactly: orcs.
Still no signs of the two. What had happened to them? Where were they? They thought they should have run into them by now. Had they been too late?
The twins quickly moved to the side; into the bushes, trying to escape the orcs’ path while still trying to find the prince and human.
Without warning, an orc jumped Elladan, knocking him to the ground heavily.
It seemed they hadn’t been fast enough after all.
The elder twin drew his sword and killed the orc with one swift stroke.
The first of many to die.
The fell creatures seemed to be endless, Elladan and Elrohir were having a hard time keeping up now, gasping for breath, shoulders hunched as if standing was a heavy burden.
However, they continued to fight.
Then, Elladan screamed.
Elrohir instantly twirled around to see what had happened, his own fight lost as he drowned in the sound of the pain-filled scream. He would not allow his twin to die. Seeing why Elladan had let loose such a sound did nothing to reassure him. Orcs had him pinned down, an arm pulled behind his back while the other was crushed under the heavy weight of an orc. One had thrust its blade into Elladan’s thigh and another threatened to finish the kill with a malicious grin.
Elrohir—terrified by the possible outcome—forced himself to move as more orcs surrounded him. He’d do anything to get to his brother, anything to save him.
Legolas and Aragorn grinned at each other, trying to hold back their laughter as they sat high above the forest’s floor looking down. Their trail was convincing; they had made it look like there had been a scuffle, some type of fight. They were in trouble and needed help… or so their tracks told.
The friends figured this was the only way that Elladan and Elrohir could come together and forget their foolishness. They always played pranks on each other, why should this one have been any different? Well, there was actually good reason for that, but it had been bound to happen to one of them eventually; they should have seen it coming, for it had been so simple.
It didn’t matter now, though since they had figured out a fool-proof plan to get them speaking and working with one another again.
However, something had gone wrong. They hadn’t heard anything from Elladan or Elrohir, but they should have... something to show that they were absorbed in finding them.
Not one crunch of a leaf; not one crack of a snapped branch.
Then, Legolas felt it and stiffened, mirth completely hidden beneath a look of fear.
The song of metal against metal.
Legolas immediately climbed down the tree, his grace faltering slightly as the implications weighed down his body and mind.
Aragorn turned his eyes to his best friend, the silver depths still shining with laughter—before he saw the petrified expression.
He choked on any response when the blonde elf suddenly descended; even more shocked when he nearly missed a branch.
The human followed, almost falling in his haste. He stood next to his friend as he strained to hear whatever had alarmed him.
"What is it?" he finally asked, unable to hear anything.
"There’s a presence that should not be," Legolas said contemplatively, quietly, after a minute had passed.
Aragorn watched his friend nervously. He didn’t hear anything and couldn’t help but wonder what was going on, wishing for an elaboration.
Suddenly, Legolas took off back to where they had come from.
"Legolas!" he sputtered as he sprinted to catch up with the elf.
"Orcs!" the prince shouted back, fear breaking through the usual melodious sound.
The ranger nearly stopped in his tracks at the mentioning of the fell creatures. However, he soon realized Legolas’ fear and met it head-on: Elladan and Elrohir. He could now hear the sound of clashing metal and it frightened him to know that it would be his fault if one of them were hurt.
The fear pumped through his legs, pushing him forward with speed he didn’t know existed within himself.
When they were finally able to see the source of the sounds, their hearts skipped a beat. They panicked.
Elladan wasn’t moving as he lay on the ground, his face turned away from them, orcs all over him. Legolas could see blood coating his clothing.
Elrohir was still engaged in the battle. Rage seemed to flow through him as he hacked them down, rooting their fears even deeper.
Legolas drew his bow and nocked an arrow; letting them loose one after another, he killed the orcs surrounding Elladan first. While he did this, Aragorn charged in to help his brother fight off the remaining orcs.
Legolas soon followed, his twin knives replacing his bow’s place.
Elrohir inwardly sighed in relief when he saw his brother, Legolas close behind.
He nodded to them, showing his appreciation.
Turning back he went to his twin and collapsed next to him.
Legolas’ arrows had killed the orcs in time, but he was still frightened of the blood loss.
He carefully placed his hand on Elladan’s shoulder, softly saying his name in question.
His only response was a small whimper. The sound broke Elrohir’s heart, wishing there had been something that he could have done to prevent his twin’s pain, something to take it all away.
"Forgive me," he whispered brokenly. However, he couldn’t afford to wallow in self-blame, not with Elladan in such bad condition.
Panic momentarily seized him when he went to untie the pouch of herbs from his belt… it wasn’t there.
He swore under his breath. He couldn’t waste time like this; there was no time to look. One of the orcs must have cut it off during the battle; whether it was on purpose or not, he didn’t know and, honestly, he didn’t care.
Elrohir snapped his head up, a solution having hit him. "Estel!" he shouted to get his brother’s attention. Not really the smartest thing to do while he fought off two orcs but Elladan was running out of time and he had no other choice.
The younger twin watched as the human thrust his sword into an orc’s stomach; then as he whipped around to kill the other, resisting the urge to call out again, knowing he had heard the shout.
Sure enough, when the second one fell, Aragorn turned his attention to Elrohir, chest heaving from the exertion, fear evident in the wide eyes, the call only increasing it. It was obvious he expected the worse.
"Throw me your herbs!" Elrohir yelled again, hoping that they, too, had not been lost.
Aragorn looked confused but did as he was told, running towards his brothers first so the herbs would make it to Elrohir without a doubt.
The younger twin was grateful that the human hadn’t been hurt or distracted when he had so thoughtlessly called for him. However, he couldn’t bear the thought of Elladan dying, especially since they had been fighting and not speaking to each other. What if Elladan never forgave him? What if he never got the chance to tell him he was sorry? Just the thought alone caused tears to well-up and slip down his dirt-smeared face.
Elrohir’s dread only grew when he found his twin’s eyes closed in unconsciousness upon turning back to him. Checking his pulse, he found it quick and erratic as his heart struggled to circulate blood throughout his ailing body.
The younger twin’s hands shook as he inspected Elladan’s body, looking for broken bones, sprains, injuries—anything that was threatening to his health.
He found himself desperately wishing that he could take everything back, every hurtful word, every careless, thoughtless action—anything and everything that could undo all the damage he had wrought.
"Forgive me," he said again, choking on a sob; Elladan’s form still as lifeless as before.
Aragorn dropped down next to him some time later after the last orc had fallen. Fortunately, there hadn’t been that many left.
While Elrohir had been alive a lot longer than Aragorn, the human had picked up Elrond’s healing habits quicker than he ever could have so he was grateful for his brother’s help.
Legolas was scouting up ahead, on the lookout for more orcs, on high alert for any sounds or movements.
When Elrohir and Aragorn were finished they were dismayed to find that Elladan had a deep gash on his thigh, a dislocated shoulder, a broken wrist (both of which they were glad he was unconscious for), a cracked rib and other cuts and bruises that would make waking up a very painful experience.
Elrohir needed to apologize to him, more than anything.
Legolas suddenly came running back, soundless and graceful as usual, but still blatantly panicked.
Aragorn stood up, meeting their friend.
"More orcs are headed this way. We must flee," the golden-haired prince quickly said, breathing heavily, mostly because of his anxiousness and fear for Elladan’s life.
Aragorn and Elrohir’s eyes went wide, their gazes flicking from Legolas down to the unconscious form of their brother.
Both wracked their brain for a way to get Elladan out of there without causing more harm.
Seeing their hesitance, Legolas urged them to hurry, for the fell creatures were fast-approaching. He understood why they wished to be cautious and think things through, he wanted to as well, but they had no time, unfortunately. Elladan would not survive another fight, no matter how desperate their attempts at protecting him might become.
Therefore, they made sure that Elladan wasn’t close to consciousness; then fled, being careful of the injured elf now in Elrohir’s arms.
Legolas trailed behind them, bow in hand, prepared just in case they were not going fast enough, which was very possible. Aragorn was in front of his brother, making sure the path was clear as he frantically sought out a place for them to escape the orcs. Their choices were slim at best. For once they could not rely on the trees, for they wouldn’t be able to get Elladan up high enough without making matters worse.
Legolas was grateful for one thing at least: he hadn’t been spotted and he was sure that neither had his friends so they had a little bit of leniency there, though not much.
Aragorn led them in, what he hoped, was a direction the orcs weren’t going to take.
However, he abruptly stopped, gasping for breath, sweat dripping from his brow as he stared ahead with wide eyes. He had led them to a lake that extended as far as they could see.
He swallowed back the lump in his throat, silently reprimanding himself. There was nowhere to go and they couldn’t afford to turn around—couldn’t risk it. Was there even really a choice…?
So what could they do?
"Estel…" Elrohir trailed off, voice bordering down-right terrified.
The human tried to ignore the tone as he scanned the area, praying for something that could cover their presence. Never before had he felt so scared.
Elrohir and Legolas could tell that the young man was deep in thought so said nothing more as they worriedly waited. The archer fingering his bow as he keenly watched the direction in which they had come from, watching for the foul creatures, not knowing if they were still coming their way.
Then he heard Aragorn take a hesitant step forward, placing one foot in front of the other as if he didn’t know what he was doing.
However, Legolas—and Elrohir—inwardly sighed with relief. They needed to move, it didn’t necessarily matter where; they just needed to go forward.
The two quickly walked behind Aragorn, giving silent encouragement by blindly following the human.
Aragorn nearly wept with relief when he found a deep groove in the ground hidden on the side of a high hill; if he hadn’t stumbled in his haste, he never would have seen it. Looking around, he didn’t see an area that an orc would even consider going to. It looked like the best possible spot they were going to be able to find in such sort amount of time and at the clearing that Aragorn had unknowingly brought them to.
"Be careful," the ranger cautioned Elrohir, beckoning them. He had gestured for them to stay where they were moments ago since it had seemed dangerous, in case the younger twin were to slip, losing his hold on Elladan. Now that it could prove to be their only salvation from the orcs, he urged them forward.
Legolas still stayed behind Elrohir, prepared to catch him should he stumble.
Fortunately, nothing happened and, once there, the younger twin gently laid Elladan down farther back so he would be hidden if the orcs found them.
The three anxiously waited, each having their weapons drawn as they pressed against the ground, staying out of sight.
Their hearts sped up when they heard the orcs’ heavy footsteps come their way.
Holding their breath, they listened, not daring to move.
They could hear the crude language that was like a curse to their ears.
Elrohir, closest to Elladan, clenched his eyes shut, grip tightening on his sword as he prayed to the Valar that they would pass by and not detect them.
The elves were the first to relax, letting out a deep breath of utmost relief as it washed through them, making their limbs go limp. Aragorn glanced at the two and could immediately tell what that meant, having seen that expression on many occasions.
Thank the Valar, they all thought; eyes closed as they caught their breath, letting it sink in.
There was still one major problem, however: they needed to get Elladan back to their father quickly. They couldn’t leave yet, though, for the orcs were too close. If they were to catch their scent or hear them then it would be over for the four.
They didn’t dare speak above a whisper and only moved to check on Elladan. They found that his condition hadn’t worsened but neither had it improved, which was both bad and good. There was nothing they could do at the moment, not until they got far enough away from the orcs or to Elrond. They each had injuries of their own, but with Elladan in his current condition none of them even acknowledged it.
A couple hours later Legolas decided they needed to check things out. He left to see if he could spot any orcs, see if the path was clear. He had convinced the other two of letting him go, saying that they were needed for Elladan, Aragorn because he was the best healer out of them all and then Elrohir because he was Elladan’s other half, his support; he knew him the best.
Of course, the brothers were deeply concerned and nervous even with the passing of barely ten minutes, for the possibility of losing their friend by orcs was all too real.
The Prince of Mirkwood soon returned with good news; he actually thought it safe enough to leave.
After nearly forty minutes, they all thought it a good idea to try and make their way home, wishing that they had brought their horses. They were a good two-day’s walk from their home and their father.
The walk had been long and exhausting, they were all near-collapse. Elladan slipped in and out of consciousness; thankfully they had been able to give him better treatment when they had gotten further away from the orcs, once sure that they were safe. At least something had gone right for once. They had passed the injured elf from arm to arm to arm, each one taking turns when the other became too weary, their arms too heavy.
They only stopped when necessary, for none wished to delay Elladan’s chance of recovery, of receiving the best care.
By the time they crossed the bridge to their home, their feet dragged across the ground, leaving prints that should not be there, especially for the elves, their usual grace lost under their exhaustion.
The guards were the first to find them, the higher ranked ones giving orders to fetch the Lord of Imladris, Elrond.
With the lack of food and rest, Aragorn’s knees buckled beneath him at the sight of their father, his relief too overwhelming.
A guard reached out and caught him, Elrohir’s reactions too slow and Legolas was now holding Elladan, who was, again, unconscious.
Wearily, the two standing elves followed after Elrond, who had fearfully scanned them from head to foot, shocked at their disheveled appearances and the collapse of his youngest. He uttered few words, not sure if they were even alert enough to respond. He did, however, take Elladan from Legolas as he easily relinquished his hold, knowing they were safe, knowing Elladan was safe.
Despite needing to see if the elder twin would be well, the two were forced into beds in the healing wing, their bodies winning over their hearts.
He slowly awoke, his mind groggy as it forced its way past sleep. He lay there for a moment, trying to gather his thoughts; piece together what had happened.
Then, the memories rushed at him, hitting him with such force that it caused a gasp to escape. Stormy eyes opened wide as he shot up, frantically looking around the chambers, seeing where he was and where the others were.
"Peace, Estel, all is well," a soothing voice said from his left.
His gaze instantly fell on Elrond, feeling slightly more at ease, before looking around once more, this time slower. He found Legolas in the bed next to him, Elladan on his other side, where Elrond was; and then Elrohir next to him. Everyone else was deep asleep, but some color had returned to Elladan’s face and they all seemed to be content, getting the rest they desperately needed.
Aragorn let himself flop back onto the bed, closing his eyes in relief.
"They are well?" he asked quietly, for assurance.
"Aye; they merely rest," the healer said just as softly, a sign that they were indeed asleep and not unconscious. "Legolas told me what happened."
Good. He had awoken.
The human opened his eyes and looked at his father, not knowing what to say.
"Can you not avoid trouble for once?" Elrond asked rhetorically, sadness seen in his eyes.
"Forgive me," the young man replied, lowering his gaze. It was then that he realized how parched his throat was, but he said nothing, feeling guilty for what had happened. It was his fault after all; if he had never suggested deceiving the twins…
Elrond suddenly lifted him up, putting a cup of water in front of him. Aragorn blinked at it as if he didn’t know what he was supposed to do.
"Drink," the elder elf offered, "and do not say such apologies to me. Tell them to the ones who need to hear them."
The ranger nodded and drank, inwardly sighing in bliss as the cool liquid refreshed his throat.
He wondered how long he had slept, if Elladan had woken up; how he was doing, however, he could not keep his eyes open. He still needed lots of rest, his exhaustion having been mentally as well as physically rooted.
He quickly fell asleep, Elrond watching over them all sadly.
When he next awoke, it was to quiet voices as they penetrated the silence despite their best efforts.
Aragorn opened his eyes to find Elrond talking with the twins and Legolas.
Then, he fully woke up with the realization that Elladan was awake and aware.
Sitting up, he threw off the covers, overjoyed at the sight and then he quickly went next to Elladan. He looked him over, seeing how he really was; he was still a little pale and his injuries were still obvious, but he didn’t seem to be in any pain, which made him wonder when Elrond had last given him pain-reducing herbs.
The others were silent while Aragorn gauged the elder twin’s health.
The human suddenly lowered his eyes, the guilt clearly seen before doing so.
"Forgive me," he asked of the twins, eyes rising to meet theirs.
He was surprised when they shook their heads and he feared they had gone too far this time.
"Legolas told us already. Worry not," Elrohir was quick to elaborate, seeing his brother’s crestfallen mood. "While we do not exactly… approve, we are grateful that it did work and we are together again." The first thing Elrohir had done when he saw that his twin was awake was apologize profusely to him. He had been extremely relieved when Elladan had accepted and even had one of his own. Both had to admit that they had been behaving foolishly.
They all just prayed nothing of the sort would ever happen again… and that Aragorn and Legolas wouldn’t have anymore bright ideas.