Dwarves and Elves
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Dare, The: 1. Chapter 1
Legolas sighed. He was sitting at the highest peak of Minas Tirith. Up here he could see for miles. Some things he didn't want to see. The Sea for one. Though he couldn't really see the sea. He could see the faint sparkle in the distance that told him that the sea was still there. He felt his heart leap. He closed his eyes remembering.
The Sea! The vastness. The beauty. The blueness. The crashing of the waves on the beach. The cries of the gulls. Calling to him.
They beckoned. They called. They begged for the prince to join them by the sea. The Sea! He could hear it. He could feel it. He could see it, in his minds eye. Always there. Beckoning him. Calling him. Begging. Pleading for the Prince to go to the sea. To the Valinor.
Legolas felt tears prickling under his eyelids. His mother was over there. Soon his entire family would be over there. They all begged for him to go. Go to the sea. Leave his friends. Leave Aragorn; no it was King Elessar now. His mind gently corrected him. To leave his friends. How could he leave them? How could he leave Gimli, Eomer, Faramir, Ewoyn, Arwen, Pippin, Merry, Elladan, and Elrohir.. How could he leave them?
Gimli made as much noise as he could making sure that he did not startle his friend who was gazing far off into the distance.
"Come down lad." His gruff voice was surprisingly gentle, but it brought no response. He had often found the elf sitting, gazing off into the distance. Very few times he was able to get the elf from the trancelike state alone.
Still no response. Gimli waited for several minutes, repeating the elf's name several times. Each time brought no response. He glanced at the sun; the elf had been up here since the sun had shown its face. Gimli knew that for a fact. He had done this same procedure each hour of the day, each time checking the position on the sun. And now the sun was almost halfway gone. He sighed. It was a torment to watch his dearest friend in such silent agony.
He called the elf's name once more, then turned and walked down the stairs.
Everyone was gathering in Minas Tirith for Aragorn's wedding. It was a much- anticipated event.
But not all hearts were happy.
Gimli walked into Aragorn's study. Elladan and Elrohir were with him. They were bent over, studying a map of some sort; they looked up at the stout figure curious as to where his usual companion was.
Seeing the silent question in their eyes, and already planning to ask for help, the dwarf told them.
"He is on the very top of Minas Tirith. He has not moved an inch since this morning."
There was an infinite sadness in Aragorn's eyes. As was pain. Pain for a friend who he could not help. There was understanding and pain as well in the twin's eyes. They knew what their friend suffered, for they suffered the same thing, but not as much as the prince.
Together they walked up the long flight of stairs to the very top of Minas Tirith to get their friend and companion.
He was sitting on the very edge of the battlement. Staring in the distance.
Aragorn gently shook Legolas' shoulder. "Legolas." He called gently. "Legolas? Can you hear me?"
There was no response. Not even a blink. The twins moved behind the prince, and then suddenly, without warning Aragorn yanked the prince backwards into their waiting arms. It worked.
"What?" There was confusion and a slight panic in the voice of the fallen elf. He visibly tried to pull his emotions, thoughts, and slight panic under control.
There were few times that anyone could see Legolas so vulnerable, it pained everyone up on the roof to see him in such a state.
"You were taken by the sea longing again, lad." The dwarf's rough voice was gentle as he studied his friend. He had never had a friend as he did in the elf. He nearly laughed aloud. His best friend was his race's worst enemy. What would his father think? That Gimli befriended an elf whose father had imprisoned him. The thoughts escaped him as Legolas suddenly spoke; his voice was barely above a whisper.
"It torments me, to no end." The obvious pain, anguish, and torment showed on the fair face. "It beckons me, it wants me to come." A single tear made it's way slowly down his porcelain cheek.
And suddenly Aragorn was reminded of Frodo, when after Gandalf had fallen and they had come from the mouth of Moria and onto the rocky bed. Frodo's face had also been fixed in a silent agony, his eyes told of his inner turmoil as a single tear made it's way down the dirtied cheek.
He gathered the elf in his arms as his friend cried.
Completely exhausted, Legolas had fallen asleep in Aragorn's arms. Aragorn made sure his friend was sound asleep, then with some help brought him downstairs and onto his bed.
They had gathered outside his door, each trying to figure out how to help their friend.
"The lad just needs to lighten up and get away from the sea." Gimli spoke.
Elladan shook his head, "He will never recover from this. He can't just go back to Mirkwood and everything will be fine." He sighed. "The Sea Longing is our sickness, and our curse. He will only be healed when he travels over the sea."
Both Gimli and Aragorn blanched. The very thought of Legolas leaving was unbearable. Unthinkable. How would they live without their friend? Their companion?
When Legolas woke up, he felt weak. Something that only came after he had been in what Gimli called "the trance" like state when the sea longing came upon him. He sighed as he rubbed a fist over his eyes. There was a knock on the door.
It was Gimli.
"Come lad, we are going to visit Minas Tirith."
Legolas frowned. He did not feel like walking for hours in the already bright sun. Before he could open his mouth Gimli spoke again.
"Unless you're too weak."
That did it. And Gimli knew that it would. Immediately Legolas shoved the covers off his legs and stood up.
"I will be ready in a few minutes."
Gimli smirked and walked to the doorway and waited on a nearby bench for the elf to show up.
He did. With his hair and clothing pristinely clean, they set out. Gimli was suddenly reminded of a time when Aragorn had told him, that of all the elves that he had known, Legolas was the most clean conscientious of them all. His room in Mirkwood, Aragorn had gleefully told the dwarf, was always clean, his clothes always neatly put away, as was everything in his room. His weapons never ever were not cleaned after a battle, his knives cleaned, his bow waxed, his arrows counted, and repaired if necessary or remade.
He smiled suddenly, making the elf turn to him, an eyebrow raised and a question on his face. Gimli shook his head.
"How would you like a drink lad?"
"A drink?" Legolas repeated incredulously.
Gimli laughed "Aye lad, a drink. There's nothing like a refreshing brew on a hot day." He cast a glare at the sun directly above them.
Legolas scowled. He didn't usually drink, and Gimli knew that. So why was he trying to get him to?
Gimli turned a pleading gaze to his friend, "I am parched. And this, this sun, is trying to kill me with its heat."
Legolas raised an eyebrow delicately. "Perhaps it is because you are wearing all of your amour."
Gimli snorted. "Watch it lad, this axe has yet to taste elven blood."
"Ha! You move to slow. I am surprised your axe could taste anything but air."
Enraged Gimli turned toward the laughing elf. Who immediately backed off, his hands in a pleading gesture.
"Come now, Gimli, son of Gloin. We shall have your drink and then be on our way." Legolas pacified.
Gimli nodded and muttered under his breath. "Just one? Ha!"
Preoccupied, Legolas did not hear.
Several drinks later, Gimli wondered if his idea had been a good one. He had drunk many drinks more than he had planned on. And Legolas. Gimli shook his head. Glass after glass after glass of the frothy brew had passed Legolas' lips. He had drunk at least twice the amount that Gimli had.
Anything that the dwarf said was met with a sally of laughter.
"We should go, elf."
Legolas laughed and laughed and laughed until tears ran down his cheeks.
"Sho, sho funny." He gasped. "Have, have 'nother drink." He passed the dwarf another frothy brew. And scowled when Gimli didn't drink. "Drink." He demanded.
And so Gimli drank.
Several more drinks later he pulled up his sleeve.
"Thish, ish shomshing, shat my father, my father wanted me to have." Gimli slurred. On his arm was a tattoo. It was of dwarven design and wound itself around Gimli's arm.
Legolas gazed at it. "Ish a brand?" He asked.
Gimli laughed "No my friend, itsh a tattoo." He brightened suddenly as a thought came to him. "You could get one!"
Legolas laughed "I don't want a, a, a, brand on me." He declared, blinking several times to clear his eyes, which had suddenly blurred.
"Oh come on!"
"No." Legolas flatly refused.
"I dare you."
Aragorn was worried. He had seen Legolas and Gimli go out into Minas Tirith. That in itself was trouble. But what was more troubling was that Legolas had just suffered from the sea longing and was in a very vulnerable state of mind.
A sudden sound of drunken laughter roused him from his thoughts. He knew that laughter well. He hurried to the gate and was met with a shocking site.
Legolas had taken off his tunic and shirt and only wore his quiver that was strapped around his bare chest. He was leaning, very heavily on the drunken dwarf who was starting to wobble. But what was even more shocking was there was a tattoo on both of Legolas' arms. The one arm was a dwarven design and the on the other arm was a leaf.
Looking at Aragorn's horror stricken gaze, Legolas could only laugh.
"Gim, Gimli dared me." He laughed, he was aware of his knees buckling and then everything went black.
He woke up to the sound of muted voices. He could only make out bits and pieces of the conversastion.
He scowled. And looking down at his body froze. His arms were heavily wrapped. Legolas racked his brain for any reason why. Then it hit him. The tattoos. Wincing he raised himself up and carefully began to unwrap the bandages. Once the bandages were off he stared in shock at his arms.
They were swollen to nearly twice there seize. They were completely red were the tattoos were.
"You can't cut off his arms!"
"He would rather die!"
"He will die if I don't!"
"He'll die if you do!"
Legolas pulled in a shaky breath. They couldn't be talking about him. They couldn't be. Not him. They couldn't be.
He closed his eyes. He swallowed. The reaction set in and he began to shake. Lost in his thoughts he didn't hear the door open.
Aragorn stared in pity at the shaking elf. All of this pain for a simple dare.
He sat down in a near by chair.
The elf jumped. He turned horrorstricken eyes upon the ranger.
"You can't cut my arms off."
Aragorn sighed. "I'm not planning to. Right now they are only infected. There is no sign of blood poisoning, and right now we are trying to figure why you're elven healing abilities are not working." He glanced at the doorway. "Elladan wants to try something, but."
Legolas frowned, "But what?"
"It is something that my ada taught me. It is an ancient way of healing." Elladan spoke from the doorway. "I would like to try it."
"What is it?"
"You open your mind to me and I channel in my healing abilities to strengthen yours. The only thing is, if I loose to much strength." He let the rest unfinished, letting those around him finish the sentence in their minds.
"That is the worst. But Elrohir is here and can also help. The worst it could be here, is that I'd be exhausted for a couple of days."
Legolas turned to Aragorn. "Why don't you approve?"
"I saw someone die because the connection didn't completely cut, two nearly died."
"That was a long time ago, Estel. Elrohir and I have perfected it. Don't worry, we know how to do this."
Aragorn, seeing he was outnumbered and not able to face the fact of losing his friend, agreed.
Elladan took Aragorn's seat and gripped Legolas' hand. Elrohir stood by ready for anything.
Elladan took several deep breaths, he instructed Legolas to close his eyes and open his mind, and then he began to concentrate.
Aragorn watched in trepidation.
Elladan could feel the weakness in Legolas, the silent fear of losing his arms and the constant struggle of the sea longing. He slowly began to send some of his strength and his healing power into the prince.
They stayed in the deep almost trance like state for several minutes, then Elladan slowly withdrew his mind and blinked several times as he came back into awareness. His brother who expected the weakness immediately supported him. Elladan looked at the prince, who was in a deep slumber. A faint smile on the fair face. Aragorn immediately checked on Legolas' arms. The swelling had gone down and the red was replaced with the normal fair tanned skin. He sighed in relief and gently rewrapped the wounds.
He turned to Elladan who had been helped up by Elrohir. He nodded to Aragorn. "I will sleep." He said a faint smile on his face.
For the first time in many hours Aragorn let a smile on his face, "good." He replied teasingly, "If not I will drug you."
When Legolas woke up again, it was dark. His room was lit only by a candle, beside his bed, sleeping in a chair sat the future, Legolas smiled, a very near future king. Though in all of the many of years Legolas had known him. He had always been a king. Not just a ranger. As his father said, to prove oneself they first must take small tasks then work their way up. He smiled gently at his friend, not wanting to wake him, decided to try and get up and get some water for himself. He quietly sat up. He grinned, how many times in the past had he been in bed with Aragorn beside him or with him beside Aragorn. The times were to many to count. He quietly stood up; he still only wore his leggings and socks. He quietly stole over to the washstand and poured a glass of water.
The sound of water woke Aragorn up with a start. He glanced at the bed, only to find the prince gone. He whirled around and glared at Legolas. "You shouldn't be up." He accused.
Legolas laughed, "I would think I would be the judge of that, Nin Mellon."
Rolling his eyes Legolas walked back to the bed and sat down. "I am fine, Nin Mellon."
Aragorn sat back in the chair and studied his friend.
"Are you really?"
There was more in the question than just Aragorn asking about his arms.
Legolas lowered his eyes. He pondered the question. Then lifted his tormented eyes to his friends. He touched his chest.
"It hurts inside, Estel, I.I." He licked his lips as he tried to explain. "I feel like someone has taken a side of my heart and is pulling. I want to stay with you in Middle Earth and with all my friends, yet my heart yearns for the Valinor." He finished softly.
Aragorn stood up and placed a hand on the prince's shoulder. "I had hoped you would stay for several more years.." His voice broke off. "But I only ask you to stay until I am wedded. And then you can follow your heart." His voice broke off once more and this time he quickly left the room. Leaving an even more confused and torn prince.
Gimli frowned at his friend. The elf hadn't spoken a word in several minutes. Was the sea longing upon him again?
Just as he was about to speak again, Legolas turned toward him. "I am thirsty for something more than water." And with that rose to his feet, donned a tunic and walked out the door leaving a stunned and shocked dwarf in his wake. After a few minutes of being completely alone, still staring in shock at the door, Legolas looked in, an eyebrow raised.
Gimli was not a fool. Something was bothering Legolas. It didn't take a genius to figure that out after watching the elf down ten straight glasses of the hardest beer there was. He had decided not to drink anything, knowing that the elf would need help in getting home. His attention suddenly turned toward the doorway where 4 newcomers stood scanning the room. It was Aragorn, Faramir, Elladan and Elrohir. Gimli waved them over, as Legolas finished drinking his fourteenth beer.
He grinned a bit too happily at his friends. "Have a sheet." He slurred.
Gimli swallowed, suddenly uncomfortable at the stares of his friends. "I had no part in this, I only came here to make sure he gets home safely." He said quickly.
Aragorn rolled his eyes and shook his head. He should not have left him alone. He knew that Legolas was bound to do something stupid. He glared at Gimli, as he hauled the elf to his feet.
"Come Legolas, you are drunk, your tattoos probably haven't finished healing and you should be in bed."
"Don't, don't wanna go bed." Legolas slurred, sounding like a petulant child.
Elladan snorted. "Like you have a choice in the matter, Legolas."
Eomer, who had come for the wedding, which was to take place in a matter of days, met them at the gates.
He raised an incredulous brow. "What's going on?" He questioned staring at the obviously inebriated elf.
Legolas grinned happily at him, then bent over and violently threw up.
The others around him were careful not to get splattered.
"Once you are sober, Legolas, you can show Eomer your arms." Aragorn said dryly shooting an amused glance at the dwarf. "Legolas?"
"He passed out." Elladan replied, holding up the fair elf easily.
Eomer shook his head. "I don't think I want to ask." He said dryly.
Gimli snorted. "Stupid elf can't hold beer like a dwarf can." He boasted despite that fact that his friend was slumped unconscious over another elf.
Aragorn raised an eyebrow. "He had fourteen full pints of beer." He explained to Eomer.
Eomer stepped back startled. "I thought that elves didn't like beer, or rather Legolas didn't like beer when he was in Edoras."
Aragorn shook his head. "It is the sea-longing, it is infecting his mind." He gestured for them to keep walking. "Lady Galadriel foresaw this happening, or rather told Legolas to beware of the sea."
Gimli nodded solemnly remembering back to that day.
"Would you have her tell you of your death?" Legolas' bitter words echoed in his memory.
"What is it exactly?" Eomer asked curiously. "What is this sea-longing and why does it not affect anyone else but elves?"
Elrohir laughed lightly. "There a place over the sea is called the Valinor, it is reserved for elves who have grown weary of Middle Earth or for elves like Legolas have been called. We Noldor have the call within us since the day we were born, but for the Sindar or Silvan whose hearts dwell in the forests, it is a very painful thing. I have heard tales of Sindar and Silvan elves alike who died when they first heard the call of the sea so powerful it is for them."
"Isn't Legolas both Sindar and Silvan?" Gimli asked gruffly.
Elladan nodded. "Yes, he is both which makes it even harder for him."
Eomer shook his head. "How ironic that such a little thing can be so powerful." He mused.
Faramir chuckled suddenly, drawing all eyes to him.
Aragorn narrowed his eyes. "What?"
"It seems so far away to remember about Sauron's ring." Faramir said quietly, his hand reaching up unconsciously to rub the long healed wound.
The group sobered at the mention. Everyone had lost someone in the last battle. A friend, a family member.
Their thoughts were pulled back as Legolas groaned. "Why is the ground moving?" He moaned.
The twins exchanged amused glances, while the rest of the group laughed. Gimli, Faramir and Eomer had never seen the elf in such a state. It had been many, many, many years since the last time Legolas had drunk so much, and that had been on a dare. The strongest wines from Rivendell, Mirkwood and Lothlorien had all been assembled at Rivendell for a council. Elladan and Elrohir had dared Legolas to steal three of the strongest wines and drink each one.
Legolas had accepted the dare and not only did he drink all three but a fourth as well. He had been sick to his stomach for two days and after that had received such a blistering lecture from his ada that he had sworn off all strong brews for a hundred years.
"You've had a little bit to drink lad." Gimli gently patted the elf's arm, but stopped when Legolas hissed in pain.
"That hurt." He pouted.
Faramir laughed outright. To hear an elf pout!
"Why don't you show Eomer and Faramir your arms?" Aragorn asked dryly.
Instantly Legolas' face lit up, he pulled his arms away from Elladan's protective embrace and clumsily began to undo his tunic and shirt. He cursed several times in different languages making Eomer and Gimli stare in surprise at the seemingly innocent prince.
Legolas paid no heed and finally got his tunic and shirt off and proudly displayed his arms. "Gimli said that those designs were of his own making." He pointed to his left arm showing them the design that was something between a rohirric and a dwarvish design wrapping around his slender arm. "And that." He pointed to his right arm, which was wrapped with green leaves around his arm. "Was my design." He stated proudly
He giggled suddenly. "Cause I'm Legolas!" He continued to giggle and leaned helplessly against Aragorn whose lips twitched suspiciously. Elladan and Elrohir just glanced at each other, rolling their eyes.
Faramir and Eomer glanced at each other, knowing they were missing something.
"Legolas mean green-leaf in elvish." Aragorn informed them putting his arm around the still laughing prince.
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