Friends are Forever by Carhuine Malthenel

Aragorn sat at a table with Arwen, Elladan, and Elrohir. He had been in Rivendell for six hours. Long enough to take a bath, change clothes, and eat dinner. Well he was trying to eat they all were. The table was loaded with every food imaginable yet no one was hungry. Aragorn looked up when he heard the light barley discernable footsteps. Elvish footsteps. Elrond entered the room silently gazing at all of them.

He smiled a bit "He should recover given enough time. He is strong."

Aragorn smiled with relief as he felt Arwen squeeze his hand.

"He is stubborn like his father...." Elrond said wearily.

"You know him?" Aragorn asked taken aback.

"Yes. About 20 years ago I traveled to Mirkwood to try to heal the breach between us. I met him there." Elrond stood. "It grows late you need to rest Aragorn. Your usual room has been prepared. Good night" Elrond said as he left.

Aragorn turned to Arwen. "Good night......milady," he whispered. Arwen smiled, "Good night Aragorn son of Arathorn."

Aragorn left and went to his chambers to sleep.

Elrond walked slowly to his room his thoughts tormented him. His mind wandered back to the day he met Legolas.

20 years earlier in Mirkwood..........

Elrond rode silently through the great forest of Mirkwood alone. He had brought no guards as a sign of peace. Suddenly his keen ears picked up the sound of hoofbeats. They were distant but coming closer. A white horse came into view with a young elf atop it. The rider stopped the horse anger seeping from every pore. "Who are you? Why do you trespass upon our territory?"

"I am Elrond lord of Rivendell. I come to request council with Thranduil King of Mirkwood."

The young elf glared openly at him trying to find some deception. Finding none he said "Fine. Come follow me I will lead you to him."

The young elf turned and started back the way he had come. Elrond followed and wondered why the elf was so hostile.

"Do you have a name?" Elrond heard himself say.

The elf stiffened and replied "Yes. I am Legolas."

Elrond wondered why the name sounded so familiar. The elf Legolas stopped in front of a huge clearing where they dismounted. There was a banquet or party of some kind going on. Hundreds, maybe thousands of elves sat talking and laughing Legolas led him to the first table where a regal elf sat. He wore a mithril crown and richly appointed robes. Legolas bowed to him saying "Milord a visitor from Imlardis comes seeking your council."

Thranduil looked at Elrond then back to Legolas. "And you brought him here???" his hand lashed out striking Legolas on the cheek. Legolas fell to the ground a bruise already darkening on his cheek. "Take him to the palace. I will be there shortly." Thranduil turned away. Evidently they were dismissed. Legolas got to his feet and bowed. Turning on his heel he stalked toward the horses. He waited until Elrond caught up with him. "I will show you the way.."

"Legolas wait let me look at that." Elrond said stopping in front of the younger elf. Legolas said nothing as Elrond inspected his cheek. There was a small but deep scratch where one of the king's rings had hit him. Elrond went to his horse and rummaged through his pack. He found a small jar of salve. He spread a little bit across Legolas' cheek and handed him the jar. "It will keep it from festering and there will be no scar. Keep this salve and use it when ever necessary."

Elrond looked deep into Legolas' eyes and saw gratitude and something else. It looked like desire he wondered what Legolas saw in his eyes. Elrond turned and mounted his horse. Legolas did the same and led Elrond to Mirkwood's palace.

Elrond silently got ready for bed sighing. Even then he had wanted him, desired him. Every time he thought of how Thranduil had struck him he grew angry. He loved Legolas and he knew he must never speak of it.

Elsewhere in Rivendell

Aragorn could not sleep. Thoughts of Legolas plagued him, tormented him. Memories of all the times they shared ran through his mind. He did not know what he would do if he lost him. Aragorn wandered through Rivendell's corridors his mind racing. It was his fault that Legolas almost died. He should have protected him better. How could he let him down like that?

Three days earlier

Aragorn and Legolas rode in silence each one afraid of what the other might say. Aragorn wished that Thranduil had not asked him to accompany Legolas to Rivendell. Being so close to him was torture. He wanted to stop his horse and hold him, touch him. He wanted to tell Legolas of his feelings but he did not for fear of rejection. Legolas looked at Aragorn wondering what was wrong with him. He seemed distracted and aloof. Legolas had swore to himself long ago never to reveal his true feelings for him. Men were not as open minded about such things. Surely Aragorn would be disgusted and never forgive him.


Aragorn's voice jarred him out of his thoughts. "Yes Aragorn?" Legolas replied

"I wish to tell you something.....I........" Aragorn's voice broke "I love you." he finished.

Legolas stared at him in shock. Had he heard correctly?

Aragorn took his silence as rejection. Stupid idiot! Look what you have done! You have driven away your only friend!

Suddenly Legolas stopped and dismounted he looked at Aragorn. Aragorn slid to the ground in front of him. Legolas could control himself no longer. His hands framed Aragorn's face as he kissed him. Aragorn returned the kiss hungry for more. Suddenly an arrow hit Legolas' horse. Orcs swarmed around them intent on killing them. The fight lasted for hours as more and more orcs appeared. Aragorn had been separated from his friend and he fought to get to him. He saw several arrows pierce Legolas.

Fighting like a man possessed Aragorn quickly dispatched the remaining orcs. He knelt next to Legolas.

"Legolas....hang on." he whispered desperately as he put Legolas on his horse. Aragorn mounted behind him and kicked the horse into a run. Hoping he would reach Rivendell in time.

Aragorn laid his head in his arms and cried. He had failed him. How would Legolas ever forgive him?
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