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Cross the Wish by WhiteGloves


CrossroadsAuthor’s Notes: I had this story envisioned before me for months and was glad it was finished. Nothing more to say except please enjoy and sorry for the mistakes!

Summary: A wizard meddles with a human and an elf and sent them off somewhere they’ve never been to with a ‘curse’ that would teach them a little lesson or two.

Rating: K+

Genre: Adventure





CROSS THE WISH

"It is not the words of my enemies that hurt me most, but the silence of my friends."

-Martin Luther

Gandalf, a tall and grey bearded wizard, with an identical grey cloak and pointed hat, entered the gates of Imladris casually in the middle of day break as though he had just wandered in there from somewhere not far, when in fact he had come from the farthest Kingdom one could ever imagine. That was the thing about wizards, they come and go as they please, and appearing when they are least expected, likewise to Gandalf the Grey, whose presence was not anticipated by the Elves of Imladris- also known as Rivendell.

The old but mighty wizard, who was known for his quick temper but friendly manner, strutted across the garden without the least bit of worry of being seen. That was the thing about wizards as well, they can be seen when they want to be seen and disappear completely when they want their presence to be unnoticed. However, as what has been told, the grey wizard stuttered casually and not entirely quiet with his steps as he crossed the garden, clearly testing the skills of Elves residing the realm.

It was like a noisy mouse entering the terrain of a lion.

To the wizards wonder and little disappointment, no elves with their arrows ready came about to meet him but cold silence. This worried the Istari a little, as he stopped to observe the empty area, for Imladris was a peaceful realm, it was unlikely something could have happened. Then the wizard’s already creased thick eyebrows raised before him in understanding, his mouth parted as though he had just remembered something, and his eyes wondered up the Household automatically to the balcony where the curtains were pulled close.

He was wrong about the ‘peaceful’ word –yet again for he was always wrong when it comes to that dunadan. Amused as he was, he shook his head and decided that it has to do something with him, whom he had been good friends with for years. He continued on his way and disregarded the feeling of uneasiness as he set foot inside the marble floors of the Household.

 In a blink of an eye, the Istari was at the bottom of the stairway, another blink and he was at the top stairs…with one more blink the Istari was no where to be seen.

------ 

He had glided inside the study room of the Elf Lord of Rivendell, daring not a single step to be heard as he was sure the room was not empty. ‘Power attracts power’ as the Istari had once quoted, and the pull so strong at the very end of his finger tips was an attestation.

“It has been too long, Gandalf.”

The low but firm voice of the Elf Lord brought a small smile at the wizard’s lips and he let himself be seen.

“Indeed, but not long enough to miss a feast.” he answered in his strong voice, walking unhurriedly toward his long time friend. As he came nearer, Gandalf noticed how careworn the Elf Lord was and how old he seemed to look like with his tired eyes looking at the wizard from between the study table.

 “Nothing good has happened, that is what I see in your eyes.” Gandalf commented airily as he sat at the chair facing the Lord.

“Gandalf, if I could take an early journey to the Undying Lands, I would have, had I known I will be more than tired to deal with Estel’s mishaps.” said Elrond, for the first time a color rising on his pale face, “I swear he is killing me every time he returns from a journey.”

Gandalf stared fixedly at the Elf Lord and so quietly that Elrond had to look away.

“You did not mean that, Elrond of Imladris.” he seriously but lightly said in his most friendly tone. Elrond raised a hand on his head and pressing his temples, he drew out a sigh.

“Of course I did not.” he admitted, “A gift and a curse… I will take my sons whatever they brought me and you know it.”

Gandalf inclined his head down a little and wondered silently what had happened again to Estel, or more so called Aragorn son of Arathorn, the living heir to the Kings of Men, who was believed to be long gone. As a boy, he was taken in by Lord Elrond and took him as his own son, giving him another name to hide his true identity to the living minions of the Dark Lord. Estel, that was his elven name; a name that means Hope in the common tongue and Gandalf knew this name means exactly what it means, for Aragorn, as they believe in the near future, will be the only Hope of Men.

But his journey is yet to be told and for now Gandalf worries more for this ‘mishap’ his elven friend has mentioned.

“What is it that I missed?” he asked with sudden twinkle on his eyes.

Elrond shook his head which still lies on his hand.

“He got himself nearly killed by Yrchs.”

“Ah.”  That does not sound bad, the Istari added silently.

“With the Elf Prince of Mirkwood.”

“That does sound bad, indeed.” Gandalf agreed with raised eyebrow.

“They took on a band of Orcs they had been hunting for days and they got themselves captured and tortured! Now as Legolas tells me of the tale, it seemed that Aragorn decided to emphasize the ‘beauty’ of these foul creatures when they started torturing Thranduil’s son!”

“Oh my, is he not the hero?” asked Gandalf with an innocent blink of his eyes and for that he received a sharp glance in return.

“Aragorn remains to be a human and thus his body needs extra care, Gandalf! I cannot let him jump to every dire situations whenever he wants!” Elrond’s voice shook and the Istari was silenced for a while, but the next when he spoke, it was with great consternation.

“We cannot rule anyone’s actions; I would have thought you know that, Elrond Peredhil. You did not take him to keep him out of his own decisions, did you not? You took him out of love and you will not hold him from this life measures that would help him when he face his future!”

The sudden out burst of his voice surprised even the Istari and he immediately backed down.

“Forgive me, my Lord.” he bowed slowly but Elrond waved away his apology.

“Nay, Gandalf… But do leave me in peace…”

Gandalf watched as Elrond pressed his temples once again and he left with not much hesitation. When he closed the door, the Istari shook his head.

What love can do to the Wise, he thought.

------------------------

He entered the Healing Ward as quietly as he had come inside the Elf Lord’s study room. No one was there except the two occupied beds beside each other, whose patients now lay asleep. Gandalf glided toward them and watched the two sleeping young ones before him.

One was the clear opposite of the other, that was what Gandalf had first noticed as he stared at them; the other was fairly featured with golden hair, looked neat and refreshing while the other, though handsome to some respect, had a very messy locks of curls that looked somewhat dirty. The bandages that did not escape the Istari’s eyes made him wonder of Elrond’s words.

Gandalf closed his eyes and there was something odd about the way he looked. When he opened his eyes, the room was dark and the Elf Prince from the bed was stirring from where he lay. For a moment, the dizziness seemed to overwhelm Legolas but after sometime he was able to focus on his surroundings and he did not miss the presence of someone familiar around.

“Legolas Thrandulion, welcome back to the present.”

“Gandalf?” whispered the Prince as he struggled to move some of his limbs but was unsuccessful.

“It is I.” nodded the Istari who now took a seat at the near end of the bed. “I have heard of your little mishap with the dunadan.”

Legolas’ eyes flicked in recognition at the mention of ‘dunadan’ and he shot the bed beside his own a look. He saw the bundle of black on the bed and the familiar features of Aragorn, lying asleep soundly.

“He is in good condition; there is no need to worry.” offered Gandalf and Legolas nodded in relief. The Istari raised his eyebrows once again and shot Aragorn’s direction a look of wonder- not for the first time- of whatever magic trick this dunadan had cast among all the Elves to be concerned for him. The answer was not new to the Istari for he himself had felt the unexplainable rarity of the human and so Gandalf sighed.

Something must be done.

“Legolas,”

“Yes, Gandalf?”

“What… what may you ask for this little bundle of a man there beside you?”

There was a pause in which Legolas shot Gandalf a look full in the face; before he turned his head on Aragorn’s sleeping form.

“This one here is a great man Gandalf… He had vowed his life to protect those he loved and took on his shoulders the heavy responsibility to All Men… He has saved nothing for himself. I wished to protect him Gandalf, but he does not allow me to do it… I wish there was someway…”

Gandalf nodded his head and closed his eyes… Time frame did not matter for Gandalf the Grey’s mind has surpassed all limits. When he opened his eyes all was dark. The Elf Prince he was talking to was fast asleep before him and now it was Aragorn who was stirring from his bed.

“The Dunadan starts to wake.”

Aragorn’s eyes flew upward and met the eyes of the Istari.

“You are here?”

“You wish to send me away?” asked Gandalf, pretentious was his voice as it vibrated sadness.

Aragorn knew Gandalf enough to believe him. The man rolled his eyes and caught the glimpse of the Elf Prince beside his own bed as he struggled to sit up.

“Legolas!” he called, his heart skipping a beat as he remembered their past misfortunes.

“He is resting, worry not,” assured the wizard as he remained seated on the same spot. Aragorn surveyed him and then the room, before heaving a deep sigh, followed by a sharp intake that somewhat suggested pain.

“I have heard of your ‘little mishap’ with the Elf Prince.” started Gandalf nonchalantly, “Mind to share?”

Aragorn heaved a sigh and brushed his hands up his black locks, avoiding the pain that was sent by his sudden gesture.

“It is always like this, Gandalf,” said Aragorn after awhile, “I protect him and he protects me… In the end, both of us are deeply wounded… I do not know… I do not wish to see him wounded anymore but I know he wouldn’t allow me to suffer either. It is a bad habbit Gandalf… I wish there was away where this stubborn elf here would care to look after himself first…”

Gandalf nodded slowly as he absorbed the man’s confession. Was there anyway that he could help them?

What both want is to have the other care for themselves before the other, but that sounds highly impossible for their friendship was love for the other.

As time passed by again in his minds eyes, Gandalf saw Aragorn back at sleep on his bed.

The door opened and the Istari was pulled out from his deep thoughts and he disappeared before the Elven Keeper had a chance to have a glimpse of his shadow.

------ A month later ------

“I cannot believe you will leave as soon as it is.” grumbled Aragorn as he and Legolas rode side by side on their horses toward the familiar forest that surrounds Rivendell, in full health and ministrations of Lord Elrond, and now taking their time of tranquility. “You know three months is not enough for the both of us to enjoy.”

“I would love to stay Estel, but adar does not think it wise for me to be away from our Kingdom for long…” answered Legolas in his quiet voice.

“He misses you, that’s his point.” said Aragorn with a knowing look on his silver eyes and Legolas chuckled softly at the remark. Aragorn grinned too and soon both were in deep conversation about their plans while the other is away.

Aragorn plans to return to the Rangers camp and do his task as the chieftain, while Legolas, to resume his duty as the Prince and the first in line warrior of their Kingdom.

At one point, Legolas had turned serious as he reminded his friend,

“I wish you would look after yourself, Estel. One may not know what would happen next and knowing you… an arrow would be protruding from somewhere in your body if a fight broke out.”

Aragorn chortled at this and shot his elven companion a look of delight,

“I do not fight to have myself killed Master Elf! I fight to live!”

“And still you fail to take care of yourself.” observed Legolas and Aragorn arched one of his eyebrows as he surveyed the elf.

“And you?” he prompted after awhile, “You do not always come out of battle unscathed, you better look after yourself as well.”

Legolas pulled his horse to a stop, his good natured look wearing a frown, “I cannot believe you just said that to me…”

The man laughed loudly while the elf shook his head in resignation.

They have not travelled far when an occurrence happened before them. Both had stopped their horses on their tracks and both stared gaping at the unfamiliar and strange surroundings that appeared like it sprouted from no where. The road was divided into two; an intersection of two ways leading to the left and to the right, with the end not seen. It was very strange for both cannot remember the road to be there.

Legolas found his voice first, and looking back to ensure that they were still in Rivendell, he asked the question that was harboring on the man’s mind.

“What is this?”

Aragorn’s eyes narrowed as he licked his dry lip to make out an explanation for this peculiar event when a booming voice from the side of the road surprised them both.

“It is the road to new things.”

“Gandalf?” Legolas blurted out in his most dignified manner as he and Aragorn stared at the Istari who was smiling from ear to ear, it was almost suspicious.

“Gandalf, what is the meaning of this?” Aragorn’s voice caught the attention of the Istari, who, after a second, was standing in front of them; the man was accustomed at having the Istari appear wherever and whenever he wanted. “What is this?”

“Tis’ a road I made and build.” said the old Wizard proudly, pointing his long hands at the road,

“We know it’s a road but what is this doing here?” asked the man again, “You cannot build anything- just like that- you just cannot make things different in a swish of your staff-!”

“Can’t I?” asked the wizard himself, blinking up at the man who closed his mouth pointedly. “Ah…” he suddenly nodded and he moved around the two beings, stopping behind them and both raising his hands, with one holding his staff.

“This is for a trial, both of you must cross my road.” he announced with his voice ringing.

Aragorn and Legolas whipped around to face him in disbelief. Gandalf rolled his eyes and waved them away, with an impatient frown,

“Just take a road and be off with it, you two! And you must not take the same road else I’ll curse you.”

Both friends stared at the Istari and then at one another. It was clear that they do not have an inkling as to what the Istari was planning to do but both knew they must abide it nonetheless, or be curse for real.

“Well?” asked Aragorn and Legolas shrugged his shoulders. They led their horses at the mouth of each road and halted to look at one another again.

‘This may take us long.” Aragorn assessed, staring ahead the right road which he has chosen.

“I agree.”  Legolas nodded as he stared at his own road, and then he looked back to Aragorn and said, “Be careful on your way.”

The man nodded with a smile on his face.

“I do not think Wargs could fit in this road, it’s so thin.”

“Aragorn.”

Aragorn lifted his head up as he recognized the serious tone of his friend and stared at the blue eyes that were ever on his watch.

“Of course,” the man answered, “You as well.”

Legolas smiled at this and they both looked once again at the roads they chose, for no purpose but to give the Istari a favor.

Gandalf cleared his throat and shook his raised arms as it started to get numb and sore.

“As I was saying, this maybe called a trial for my newly build road…ah… yes not only to that, it serves a purpose for you both young ones. Now let me recite my…ah yes that…”

Aragorn arched an eyebrow once again as he exchange looks with Legolas, who was smiling quietly at Gandalf’s delightful ways. But the next, when the Istari spoke, it was as though he was casting them a spell:

Meander into this realm Where Two body shall make One

Where the Fall of the other shall be The Fall of another

Ignorance is the Curse, Let it take thee naught for Worse

For this IS a game, Where Two is the Same.”

“He is cursing us,” muttered Aragorn from the corner of his mouth and Legolas suppressed a giggle.

“Hush… he might hear you. Remember what he did to your leggings when you accidentally set his beard on fire?”

 “That was not an accident!”

“Go!” the Istari boomed aloud from behind, “You will meet at the end of the road! Certainly!”

“Now that sounded like a challenge!” grinned Aragorn as he pulled the rein of his horse and flashing a grin to Legolas, he added, “Meet you at the end! Let’s see whose steed runs like the wind!”

“Aragorn-” started Legolas in disagreement but Aragorn did not wait for an answer and there went his horse, gone in a flash, leaving the Elf to dust. Legols shook his head and muttered something under his breath as he whispered next to his horse some elvish words and after a second he was gone as well.

Gandalf watched the two disappear from his sight and draw out a sigh.

“Young ones.”  he noted, taking one swing of his staff and the intersection was gone. With another swing and the Istari was gone as well.

--------- 

Aragorn felt the blades of the wind hitting his face and it excited him further. He lowered his body to let his horse gain more speed and it did. He was not much aware of where he was but that the fact he was racing with Legolas somewhere on the other side of the trees. Winning meant little thing for him for he was more concerned of the joy the race brings. At one point, he thought he would never see the end of the long road but moving further he saw an end he could not distinguish. Encouraging his horse to run faster, and trying as hard as he could to make out what it was in front of him, Aragorn failed to notice the branch of a tree that was almost in front of him.

Legolas allowed his horse to run with all speed, his ears picking only little sounds around because of the fast wind that distracts his ears. He was suspicious of Gandalf’s behavior, but not suspicious enough to not trust him. He knew the Istari had some sort of agenda, but surely it wouldn’t be something harmful? He barely remembered their conversation when Gandalf had visited them on the Healing Ward of Imladris a month ago. Would it have anything to do with this?

Suddenly everything went out of focus. Pain and shock overwhelmed the Elf and everything happened in an instant. He could not understand. He was gone.

**********

“Legolas? Legolas?!”

Legolas moaned in pain and Aragorn frantically reached out to his friend, whom he found unconscious on the ground. He nestled him to his lap, and tried to clean the big gash of wound on the Elf’s forehead which was the source of all the blood on the ground.

“Legolas, how do you fair, mellon nin?”

“Estel…” the Elf mumbled, feeling the intoxicating pain on his forehead. “What… what is wrong with me?”

“You are bleeding.” the man informed him stiffly, but the concern in his voice, though unheard, was vibrating loudly nonetheless. “I was the first to arrive at the end of these roads and I waited for you! But you did not come- your horse came galloping out- with no rider! So I seek you out and found you on the ground… What happened?”

“I do not know…” answered Legolas softly as he tried to reach the heavy wound on his head but Aragorn’s hand stopped him instantly, “I think I hit something… a branch or some sort…”

Aragorn placed his friend’s hand gently back on his side with a frown forming on his face.

“That is an odd statement. There is nothing here but clear road, Legolas, and even if it wasn’t- I know you would not miss anything on the way at the very least.”

“Yes,” agreed Legolas, half amused, as he blinked several times to focus his eyes, “I did not sense anything…but I am sure I hit something.”

Aragorn watched his friend with utmost concern before looking up at the road which was now empty. His horse had run away after Legolas’, when its Master abandoned him to search for the Elf, and now, only the two beings are on the side of the empty road, injured and uncertain.

“Where are we?” asked Legolas, taking in slow breaths to calm his still racing heart.

“I do not know… Not a place I have been to, I assume.” answered Aragorn, the crease on his eyebrows not fading. “Elbereth, Gandalf! Where did you bring us to?”

“Aragorn…are you all right?”

“Worry not for me, Legolas,” the man turned down on his friend with consternation in his voice, “Nothing happened to me- at least- aside from the branch I hit from an old tree- but nothing worse, I did not even feel anything after that, not a single blood-” the man stopped talking.

Legolas had caught on the man’s words but he did not grasp the idea for surely something so ridiculous was not bound to happen!

With force, Legolas tried to sit up. Aragorn attempted to stop him but he merely shook his head.

“You are not thinking of this, Aragorn, it is impossible.”

“Why not?” the man asked testily, “This is almost the Istari’s place… A place full of enchantment, I say…”

When Legolas continued to shake his head, Aragorn took something from his boots, revealing a sharp dagger he always kept in there. He raised the dagger to his thumb and made a small cut-

“What are you doin-?” Legolas started but abruptly stopped when he felt a searing pain to his own thumb. He looked at his own hand and saw that his thumb was bleeding, unlike to Aragorn’s which did not even get a scrape.

“He did curse us.” managed Aragorn after awhile, producing a small piece of cloth from his tunic and wrapping it on Legolas’ thumb, “You realize what he did?”

Legolas was still staring at his thumb when he answered,

“It seemed like… he made us a connection… your pain is mine to take…”

“And yours is mine,” agreed Aragorn, grabbing a handful of Legolas’ palm and raising his dagger to it-

“Do not do that, I already see the point!” exclaimed Legolas, pulling his hand back roughly as though it was a precious thing, “You seriously plan to cut yourself to prove that my pain is yours?”

Aragorn did not answer but stared unblinkingly at the gash of red on the Elf’s forehead.

“I do not know why Gandalf made us like this, but I cannot help to think that it was my fault you are wounded.”

Legolas sighed and reached for his friend’s shoulder.

“It is your fault indeed, and one way to stop it is stop hurting yourself. I think I am beginning to see why Gandalf did this…It is in order to protect ourselves as like we protect each other.”

Aragorn did not answer but he nodded all the same.

“Estel…it also meant that our life depends on the other…remember the words he recited before he prompted us to go? I did not take it seriously but now it is making sense…”

“And I thought he was cursing us when in fact he is.” said the man coldly.

“I am sure this is not meant to harm us, Estel… do not jump to conclusions without seeing the end of things.”

“I wish to speak to him about this at once.” his voice was so commanding and urgent that Legolas was startled.

“How?” the elf asked, “We barely know where we are.”

Aragorn shot his head at the direction where Legolas had come from and made a mental note to strangle the Istari if he managed to find him.

“We go back to where we started,” Aragorn declared with an air of firmness. Legolas chuckled softly and felt his forehead sting. Aragorn saw his pained expression and grit his teeth.

“I will look around for some athelas, if there is any, and try to come back as soon as I can.”

“My life depends on you.” Legolas noted with sarcasm, “If you die, I die.”

“Cut it out, Legolas,” snapped the man, squaring his shoulders as he stood up, “I do not wish to hurt you more and I am hesitant to go… But I must. We need to tend to your wounds…although I am wondering why am I not feeling the same when you are…”

“Must be the Istari’s trick… you cannot have what belongs to you…”

Aragorn snorted and looked around the place.

“I will be extra careful.” he told Legolas as he set off. Legolas chuckled again and wondered what measures his friend would take in order to protect himself.

Silence filled Legolas, but not entirely, for his ears were following the movements of Aragorn from a distant. He could hear him make his way through some wild grass and can picture him looking around. His thoughts then swayed to Gandalf and this unexpected event that the Istari had set for them.

----------------------

Whistling was his favorite past time and this was what Gandalf the Grey was doing when Elrond caught a sight of him inside his Household, specifically at the bench outside the garden. Raising an eyebrow he turned to him and called out,

“Gandalf, you are here? I have not been informed.”

“Forgive my lack of respect, Lord Elrond,” Gandalf quickly said as he turned to face the Elf Lord, “Your place just holds magnificent beauty that one may forget his purpose if he wanders unwarned.”

Elrond smiled at the comment and looked about the garden.

“It should be that way, Gandalf…”

Gandalf nodded and inclined his head to a small bow before resuming his whistles. Lord Elrond felt the satisfaction enveloping the Istari and this made him ask in interest.

“What makes you so light hearted today, old friend?”

Gandalf chortled at the Elf and said rather wistfully, “I had a plan on mind that is taking place right at this moment.”

Elrond shot him a quizzical look and Gandalf beamed more. He continued to whistle easily, as though provoking the Elf Lord to ask him his matters himself and he was successful for after a moment Lord Elrond asked, “And may I know what this plan is that is transpiring right now?”

“Oh you know…this and that…” chortled the Istari once again.

Elrond’s patience was tested immediately as he crossed his arms and stared with raised eyebrows at the old wizard and asked rather sternly,

“Does this have anything to do with Estel and Legolas?”

So quick, thought Gandalf staring innocently at the Lord of Rivendell.

“Gandalf the Grey I am asking you a question.”

So quick and demanding, elves are, the Istari thought smugly as he nodded in defeat.

“Do not worry, Elrond, it is a lesson for them to take!” he defended at once even before Elrond could speak, “This way they will learn to look after their bodies carefully.”

“What did you have them do, I am most curious,” Elrond cut in with a frown, and troubled, he silently added.

“I sent them somewhere not far… they will be back if they manage to learn their lesson by heart.”

“And if they not?”

Gandalf stared at Elrond with parted lips.

“Well?” the Elf Lord pressed on.

The Istari sat up straight, with a look of wonder on his eyes.

“Indeed, what if they not…” he asked himself and Elrond was sorely tempted not to bash the Old Wizard he was long friends with.

------------  

Aragorn was running, running as fast as he could, like always when something dangerous was in pursuit. He had been wrong. He did not want to strangle Gandalf, he wanted to burn him alive for this newly found trouble he had set for them.

Nay, of all creatures…these horrible funguses…

He dashed back to where he remembered Legolas would be and was glad the Prince was there, already in sitting position when he arrived.

“Yrchs!” the Elf Prince shouted as he struggled to sit up. Aragorn nodded and helped his friend to straighten up, putting a supporting hand around his waist.

“You sure attract them a lot!” Legolas commented as they hurried away from the impending heavy footsteps of the creatures.

“Stop the snide comments, we are in danger here!” Aragorn reminded his friend, dashing as fast as their feet would bring them.

They went straight for the road and helped each other go, aware of the Yrchs behind them. They could hear them snarl and shout at each other and this did not encourage the two friends.

“They are gaining at us fast,” Aragorn said seriously, “This is bad… I swear I will not allow them to harm me!”

Legolas shot Aragorn a surprise look then beamed at him.

“I never thought I’d ever hear that from you!”

“Now you did, now you hide!” Aragorn made a sudden turn that surprised Legolas and the man settled him down a big oak tree trunk where a huge whole was dug.

“Stay here.”

“Aragorn-!”

“I will not fight them, do not worry, I cannot risk you getting hurt anymore!”

“I will not fight them as well for fear that I may hurt you too!” Legolas exclaimed, looking stricken, “But we cannot hide for long… Sooner or later they will find us and we will have to fight! Estel, in all fights you know we must sacrifice some injuries… Avoiding them would give us naught.”

Aragorn shook his head but Legolas grabbed his arm firmly and they locked gaze seriously.

“I will fight, and so will you, with the fact that we both carry each others life, it should make us stronger, we are not cowards Aragorn, son Arathorn, we fight for the lives of people, and mostly for ourselves, it is clear- it should be to us warriors- that in all wars we too must strive to live. I thought you have told me that.”

Aragorn stared at Legolas and was distracted by the running footsteps of the enemy.

“All right…” he murmured quietly, “All right, we will fight…”

Legolas nodded and had to keep to himself his own doubt. Basing the number of the stampede, they were about to face a band of Yrchs. A bad timing for his injury. Most likely he will be on the lower hand and if he did not manage to defend himself properly, Aragorn will be hurt. Such pressure was on his heart that it vexed him.

“Here they come.” Aragorn informed him and Legolas heaved a deep sigh.

May the Valar be with them

------------ 

“Quick with your steps, Gandalf! I cannot believe you have sent them to the Lonely Mountains! Hurry! Hurry!”

“I am right behind you, Elrond,” called the Istari, who wished he could just vanish away from the Elf Lord when he is in this mood but knew better what was good for his health. They strode down the plane to where the Istari had set his little enchantment.

“What may possibly happen to them there?” Gandalf called aloud to the Elf Lord who was yards away from him.

“Do not test your own intellect, you know well what dwells in that place!” called the irate Elrond, “And they have just recovered from recent injuries!”

Gandalf did not say more of the subject for another thing was on his mind.

“Elrond? Why did we not consider riding the steeds?”

Lord Elrond did not bother to answer but he halted nonetheless for in front of him, two horses were strolling side by side with their riders gone. Gandalf also saw the horses and knew to whom they belonged and all he managed to say was a long, “Ah…”

And Elrond heaved a deep in take of air.

----------------- 

“Away!” Aragorn shouted as he veered off at the two Orcs attacking him and slitting their necks with his sword. He had previously received a blow on the side and saw Legolas took the blow much to his dismay. He did not care much for the injuries that were suddenly appearing in every side of his body but he was trying to be more careful not to get any more injuries for Legolas’ sake. He got upbeat as the battle with at least a dozen Yrchs continued and he had killed many in a flash, like a wild animal cornered, he was desperate for an escape. He kicked and elbowed and slammed his fist on their faces and was glad to see some of them avoiding him; this turned into dismay as he realized where these foul creatures were heading instead.

“Legolas!” he shouted but was knocked down the ground from behind. He did not feel anything as he crashed on the ground but it made him angrier for it meant that Legolas had received another heavy blow because of him. He immediately stood up and killed the Orc who was upon him and continued to slay many when he heard Legolas’ choked voice.

“NO!”

Aragorn whipped around in time to see a blade dug itself on his friend’s shoulder. Excruciating pain filled Aragorn and his vision blurred for a moment but he did not let go of his sword. He could feel the pain in his shoulder but he went on to fight. Legolas was calling him but he was busy fending off his enemies.

He was remorseful, yet stricken.

Glad was he that his friend was unharmed, but he did not like any blade crossing his friend’s body, even if he was the one to feel it. It was just strange, to see your friend be hurt like that…

If he was feeling miserable then what of Legolas? His friend would weep for him that is for sure. Legolas would feel like he was stabbed all the same… so what was the point of protecting them if they still feel hurt if you fail to protect yourself? It was satirical.

Legolas ran toward Aragorn and had fended off as much Yrchs as he could with his twin blades which was ever present on his back. He did not feel any pain nor did he have any injury from the present attack but it was horrifying. To know that your friend was the one who got hurt and not you… It was painful…

“Aragorn! Aragorn-” he called him, jumping near his form and swaying his sword at once of the Orcs.

“I am fine,” Aragorn informed him with a grim smile.

“Forgive me-” Legolas started but Aragorn shook his head and said, “You did all you can but sometimes we must sacrifice injuries, you told me that.”

Legolas blinked then smiled, feeling suddenly relieved.

The Fall of the other shall be The Fall of another’ that is what the Istari have said and he is right.” Aragorn added in exhaustion, as he grab Legolas and they run towards the trees, leaving the few Yrchs that were left live, “I understand something, must be the gratitude is for him… I protect myself and I protect you, equally they are important for if one got lost the other shall be too…”

Legolas nodded after him and muttered, “Indeed.”

They ran for their very lives but as they ran straight they vanish from thin air.

-------------- 

With a thud, the two friends materialized from nowhere and had appeared at the very feet of Lord Elrond who stared unblinkingly at the two figures on the ground.

“Here they are!” boomed Gandalf merrily as he bent down like Elrond to verify that it was Legolas and Aragorn. “Ah… still alive!”

“Don’t start, Gandalf, they are wounded.” Elrond cut in unhappily as he checked his son and the Prince.

Aragorn recognize the scent of his father and was glad they seemed to have gone back from where they have started. When he heard Gandalf’s voice, he automatically opened his eyes and shot him a look. Legolas, too, heard the Istari and was up like Aragorn was.

“Estel, you are bleeding,” Lord Elrond said stiffly as he grabbed Aragorn’s unwounded shoulder, “We must tend to it properly.”

“Gandalf,” started Aragorn, giving his father a small nod and turning to the Istari, “What happened…It was…you cursed us- but we thank you… I still appreciate what you wanted us to realize even if it was… highly eventful…”

Legolas inclined his head to a bow and Elrond saw the fresh red gash on his forehead, it made him frown.

“Gandalf, what did you have this young ones do?”

Gandalf chuckled behind him and said with a wink and twinkle on his eyes,

“I told you they will learn their lesson, did I not?”

Lord Elrond shot him a look before calling the horses they had met earlier to carry all of them back at the Household. Meanwhile, Aragorn and Legolas had turned to one another.

“Is the curse gone?” asked Legolas,

“Want me to check?” asked Aragorn, raising his bloody sword that made an impression to his father.

“No,” Legolas shook his head, “Why did you have to be so brute? A pinch will do.”

And he pinched Aragorn’s arm.

“I felt that.” said the man, rubbing his arm, “I guess it was gone.”

“Gone.” noted Lord Elrond as he stared around, Legolas and Aragorn looked around as well. They were on their own, the three of them for the Istari was gone, quiet as he had come and quiet as he went.

~END~

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