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Timeline: 2960 TA

Summary: After apparently taking a wrong turn in a mysterious forest, something happens to Legolas. Aragorn doesn't know what's wrong or what to do, so he takes the elf to his father in Rivendell, however Elrond has no answers either.

Disclaimer: Alas, I don't own anything J.R.R. Tolkien created. I couldn't compete with him even if I was silly enough to try. All I can do is borrow some of his creations and write my own pale imitations. I'm certainly not making any money from this offering. It's just entertainment (hopefully).

Author’s Note: I swore I’d never say “It’s my first LOTR story”, but it looks like I just did. I hope I can compare even halfway with so many of the wonderful LOTR writers whose stories I’ve been reading. I’m an experienced writer, so I’ll give it my best shot.

Also: I don’t write slash, so this is strictly a story of the love and devotion that springs from a deep friendship. I hope that whoever is brave enough to read this enjoys what I’ve managed to come up with. One last thing: no beta. Errors are mine.

Chapter One

Elrohir, youngest elven son of Elrond, the Lord of Imladris, stood at the window of one of the libraries in his family’s home. From this window, the elf could see the courtyard. His mind was on nothing in particular, when he saw two horses on the far horizon. He squinted, trying to make out who might be approaching Rivendell. When the horses got a bit closer, his elven eyes made out the fact that one horse was dark and the other was gray.

The elf smiled. Estel and Legolas were finally returning and only four days late. That had to be some kind of record. He continued to smile and watch as the horses got closer still, moving at a fairly quick pace. He then noticed something that wiped the smile from his face. It was replaced with a frown of concern. There was only one rider. There was no one sitting on the horse that followed. Elrohir was just about to turn away, when he realized that the gray horse carried two riders, not one. He stood and stared a moment longer to confirm that fact.

Elrohir quickly crossed the carpeted library and ran out into the hall, yelling for his father. His heart was racing. Had he stopped to look, he would have seen his hands shaking. His long black hair flew out behind him as he raced down the corridor.

Elrond and his eldest son, Elladan, were in the elf Lord’s private study, going over a new book of healing that Elrond had just acquired from the Lady Galadriel of Lothlorien. They were deep in research and discussion, when they heard the shouting. They both looked at the door simultaneously and then at each other. A look of foreboding passed between father and son. Elrohir’s shouts were bordering on panic.

Elrohir was running past the study door, still yelling, when Elrond and Elladan hurried out into the corridor. “Elrohir,” Elrond called out in a stern tone. “What is all the shouting about?” Were they under attack?

“Ada, Elladan, they are back, but...” his previously excited voice trailed off into silence. The look in his eyes made his father and twin brother cringe. It was not the first time they had seen that look. They knew what it meant; something was terribly wrong with either Estel or Legolas.

Elrond knew he didn’t want to hear what his son might say, but, he had to hear it, so the elven Lord squared his shoulders and asked, “Which one?” He knew Elrohir understood perfectly well his meaning.

Sadness had overtaken panic for the moment, and Elrohir’s breathing was a bit rapid. It was then that he did notice his shaking hands. He put them down and pressed his palms tightly against his thighs, but it didn’t help much.

“They are both on Legolas's horse,” Elrohir said at last. It’s all he could manage to say.

“Then, it is Estel,” Elrond breathed. “Come. We must hurry. He will likely need immediate attention.” He started off down the hall toward the courtyard, his blue silk robes swishing, and his twin sons in his wake.

All three elves were standing at the foot of the steps that led from the courtyard into The Last Homely House. All three were staring toward the open gate and the small section of road leading to it that was visible from where they stood.

Elven eyes went wide in surprise, as the first horse came in to view. It was Legolas sitting in front, not Estel. The human had his left arm securely around the elf, whose head was hanging forward and swaying slightly with the motion of the horse.

Elrond let out a sigh of relief that his foster son was apparently not injured or ill. However, his heart clenched to know that Legolas was clearly in dire need of attention. *Just once, why could they not both return whole and healthy?* he thought.

After Aragorn pulled his horse to a stop, Elrond stepped forward. He shuddered to see the limp body of the elf and the haggard look on his son‘s face. Aragorn looked exhausted. “Let Elladan take Legolas,” Elrond instructed gently.

Aragorn shook his head. He slid from the saddle and pulled Legolas down into his arms and began to carry him up the steps. He said not a word nor was he in the kind of rush that usually accompanied the two friends’ return from one of their adventures. This fact alone did not bode well.

The three elves left behind all looked at each other. “Estel?” Elrohir called after his foster brother. Then, he looked at his father, “What has happened?” he asked, though he knew Elrond didn’t know any more than he did. With a look of horror, Elrohir suddenly started shaking his head rapidly. “No. No. Tell me Legolas is not dead.” There was a stricken look on the younger twin’s face.

“I do not think so. Estel looked grim but not grief-stricken,” Elladan said, trying to convince himself as much as his brother. There had been no sign of tears. Elladan only hoped he had analyzed the situation correctly. He spun on his heel and began to run after his human brother.

When Aragorn turned down the corridor to the left, Elladan, who had just caught up, asked him, “Why are you going this way? The House of Healing is that way.” He was pointing to the right.

With a flat voice, Aragorn said, “He isn’t wounded.”

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