Archery Contest by Tol Morwen

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Story notes: Aragorn (Estel) is immortal in this fic!
It was a cold night in the forest as the fellowship stood close by the fire. The company was close to Rivendell after participating in their hunting trip. Everyone but Aragorn and Legolas were huddled together to get warm but it wasn't working. Gandalf as usual was smoking pipe-weed. The wizard's eyes suddenly turned to the Elf's bow and arrows and then to the two sleeping members close together a few yards away from him. Without warning, he chuckled.

"What's so funny Gandalf?" Merry asked curiously.

"Just remembering a time when Legolas were so horrible in archery it hurt," he chuckled out.

"A story," Pippin said enthusiastically, "Would you tell us, please? It might warm our bones a little."

"Yeah tell us. It'll be fun to make fun of the Elf in the morning," Gimli said.

"All right, since you all are eager to know," Gandalf said while rubbing both his hands together. "This took place many years ago when the ranger was still a child and had not been the best of friends with the young prince of Mirkwood."

"Estel, now do not, I repeat DO NOT put poison ivy on Legolas' bed again," started the angry Elrond. "It was very embarrassing to have a guest of mine itching because of you. Also do not push him in the lake or." But Estel wasn't listening. He heard this speech many times when he found the prince coming to stay. Oh how he hated him, the arrogant fool, always belittling him because of his human self.

"Estel are you listening to me!"

That broke Estel out of his daydream of roasting Legolas on the fires of Mordor. "Uh yeah," he asked in a daze. The lord of Rivendell sighed. He knew how much his foster son hated the visitor but he couldn't do anything about it. His friend, King Thranduil, would be insulted if he did not invite his son to stay.

Sensing his foster father's dilemma he yelled out, "I'm going to go greet Legolas with Elladan and Elrohir!"

Before the Lord could object, Estel ran out. 'Maybe this visit will be in the Valar's favor.' He then heard the crashing of dishes in the kitchen along with the threats of killing his twin sons by the chef. 'Or maybe not.'

It was warm outside with the sun shining gloriously. Estel was out in the stables petting a white horse with icy blue eyes. This was his birthday present from the kingdom of Mirkwood brought by the idiot, or the uh Legolas. For some odd reason or another, the horse reminded him of the arrogant Elf. But that was not why Estel loved him so much. He was loyal, kind, and trustworthy. He was one of Estel's true friends. In fact, Legolas was acting like a friend when he delivered it. They had formed a temporary truce since their fathers threatened to kill them if they didn't. Both actually became friends. That was until, the prince left for Mirkwood and came back again after a few years. Legolas became the bastard Estel knew and hated. The sounds of trumpets came into the air and he began to grind his teeth together. 'I have to greet him now. Great!'

He gave the horse one last pat on the head and walked out. He immediately saw the group of soldiers, King Thranduil, and Legolas. He had not changed much from his last visit the two hundred years before. He was handsome, Estel could give him that, but too proud of his own good. He saw the Elf give him a look and then broke out into a smile. Out of courtesy he smiled too, a fake smile mind you. 'Probably wants too make fun of me again, the immortal bastard,' he murmured. Legolas gracefully jumped down from his horse and gave him to one of the stablemen. He then proceeded to walk over to his "friend".

"Hello Estel," Legolas said while bowing. 'It is nice to see you again,' he slipped into Elfish. Maybe he'll be nice, the half Elf thought with a smile. 'Of course it has been a long time since I've ever seen a hybrid.' Maybe not.

"Well I would rather be a hybrid than be an arrogant, arrogant Elf girl!!" Estel yelled out. He heard several gasps and instantly regretted what he did when he felt a hand on his ear pulling him towards his home. He looked up to see his foster father breathing very loudly, obviously trying to keep his anger in control.

"Son," he whispered hoarsely, "Come with me." Estel's eyes grew ten times their normal size afraid of what punishment might be bestowed on him. He felt himself being dragged away and closed his eyes, afraid that if he opened them he'll see a Balrog about to consume his very being. He gulped and opened them half-way then fully. He saw King Thranduil giving him a sympathetic look like he knew of Lord Elrond's wrath, a few of the Elves snickering, but most of all Legolas' malicious smirk.

'I won,' Legolas' mouth moved knowing fully well he did.

A few hours later, Estel was contemplating on what to do with the bastard. He was determined to get back at him for what he did. Making sure no one could see him he pulled out a book or journal you could say. This was filled with a century's worth of pranks he did on the Elf. The first prank he did on him was when he filled the shampoo bottle with berry juice leaving him with pink hair for a month.

A few centuries ago

'Estel this is Legolas, son of Thranduil and prince to Mirkwood. I hope you'll be kind to him," Elrond said. Everyone was in a clearing in the woods greeting the guests. Estel nodded hoping to make a new friend.

"Hi Legolas, my name's Estel. I hope your stay here will be fine."

'So you're the human half-breed I hear so much about. It's nice to meet you," Legolas said coldly. With that Estel face went red with anger. Their first impression was not good. Later that night Estel put something in the prince's shampoo as payback. He was caught by Legolas the day after he used it leaving him with an unnatural hair color.

"Beware of me. My anger will not be appeased for a long time. Be wary," Legolas said with a small smile. A week later Estel was seen walking down the hall in a dress. "Leave me alone!" was the answer when everyone asked what had happened.

He didn't plan on doing it when he first met him. He was trying to be nice to him but Legolas kept making wise-cracks at him and his heritage; he just had to do something. When that prank happened, a prank war ensued. This time he would have the last laugh, not Legolas.

At dinner everything was normal. The food was fantastic, laughter was spreading across the great hall, and Estel and Legolas were fighting about fighting techniques. "I tell you a sword is better than the bow and arrow. You show more bravery in it instead of hiding off somewhere shooting a person on the back," Estel replied.

Legolas countered with, "But a bow and arrow show skill. You must have good sight and skill with this type of weaponry. All you do with a sword is swing it around hoping to kill someone."

Hoping to destroy the conversation before things turned ugly, Thranduil suggested the two go to the gardens. "I'm sure they are lovely at night. Right, my friend?" He was rewarded with a nod from Elrond. Sighing in defeat, Estel gestured his guest out. When the two were out of the room, conversations began.

"You must try to get Legolas an archery tutor, my friend. I mean no insult but he is, bad, to say in kind words with archery."

"I know. But I do not want to belittle him with his lack of skill and somehow insult him," Thranduil began. "He loves the feeling of power that comes with it. When something happens to change my mind I will get someone to teach him. Until then my son must be left alone." Unbeknownst to the two, their loved ones were speaking of the exact same thing.

The gardens were indeed lovely at night. Flowers sparkled in the pale moonlight and seemed to glow. "You should try to get someone to teach you archery," Estel said hoping that that wouldn't insult the quiet companion he had. He was only answered with a grunt and then silence.

A few minutes later Legolas spoke. "I wish I could be good with a bow and arrow but I need help." It was times like these that made the two seem like friends.

"I could help you if you need it," Estel offered. He was met with the same malicious smirk he had just seen before.

"Why? So a hybrid can have me in their debt. No thank you." Estel sighed in anger. He was often met with Legolas's icy mask whenever he tried to make friends with him and make a permanent truce. Oh well. It's fun with pranks.

Estel leaned against a tree and gestured Legolas toward him. He planned on using a rhyme the twins taught him when he was younger and was tricked by them. "Look up," he began while the Elf followed his command looking bored. "Look down. Look at my thumb. Gee you're dumb." Estel proceeded on pulling a rope that spilled a gallon of berry juice on Legolas. To say the blonde was furious was like saying Orcs are evil or drowning is not fun.

"Uhhh. I'll get you later!" Legolas said while running towards his room to go clean up. Estel was on the ground rolling around in fits of laughter. That was how he was found an hour later by Elladan and Elrohir who were taking a walk and thought they heard an Orc dieing.

The next week was uneventful. Estel had been wary, taking to heart the words of revenge spoken by the beautiful Elf. If Legolas promised something, he would always deliver. That was something he learned the hard way. But after a few days of no surprises he became less jumpy. Today was the meeting of where the Elf lords would come and meet to discuss the feast being held the day after tomorrow.

When he woke up however all of his clothes were gone. All that was left was a dull colored pair of leggings and a see through tunic. Needless to say, Estel panicked. He panicked like never before. 'Shit. Shit. Shit,' he cursed in Elfish. 'What am I going to do? I have to be out there soon!' After weighing out his options he decided to go out. The bad things that could happen were that he'd embarrassed everyone, including himself, be killed by Elrond, be the laughingstock of everyone, lose respect and dignity, and be a total and utter fool. There were no good things. He put on the offending clothes and set out. When Elladon and Elrohir saw him they were shocked. Elladan spit out his berry juice while his brother stared at Estel like he grew an extra head. Many of the Elves snickered and some had the nerve to even giggle. Elrond however didn't snicker or giggle. In fact he grew even angrier when Estel tried to defend himself saying all his clothes were missing. He once again dragged Estel to his room and found everything in place. Elrond gave him two hours worth of lectures. One hour for his clothing and the other for lying.

"I truly enjoyed the show my friend," came the haughty voice of Legolas from the front door to his room. Being an Elf, Estel didn't hear him enter. "I didn't think a hybrid could show such courage like that," he said, leaning against the frame of the door. Estel turned red with anger and embarrassment. How dare this bastard come here to make a fool of me in my own home! His mind screamed.

"That is it. Let's have a contest my dear friend," Estel said emphasizing the word friend. "Whoever wins will have bragging rights forever and will be proclaimed the best out of us. And the loser is well, the loser. Right Legolas?"

Legolas' face took on shock and surprise before turning into a face full of pride and confidence. "What kind of contest?"

"An archery one," Estel answered knowing he wouldn't back down from his challenge. Some of the confidence from Legolas' face disappeared but pride remained. A simple nod was the acceptance. "Good. The contest will take place the day of the feast."

Two days quickly passed and both were outside. The targets were quickly set up and they were both alone. Everyone were away eating and having a merry time so no one bothered to look for the two. Even Gandalf, who came for the celebration, didn't look for them and he was good friends with Estel. "We'll shoot two arrows each. Whoever has the highest score wins. Simple. Right?" Estel said fairly confident he would win.

"Ok. Who goes first?" Legolas asked with a hint of nervousness in his eyes.

"I will." Estel notched up an arrow and let it fly. It hit around the middle but not a bulls eye (AN- Not good in archery so I don't know what I'm talking about. Please bear with me.) He notched the second arrow and it hit in the outer rim. "Pretty good huh? You do know you need a bulls-eye to win?"

"Yes and I'll win. You can be sure of that," was the answer that came. Estel just snorted. Legolas took an arrow and notched it the way he always saw his father and the guards did. He released. The arrow was close but never made it on the target. Estel chuckled. Legolas growled out, "It's not over yet!" He notched the second arrow, closed his eyes and released. He opened his eyes to see the arrow flying over the target and going inside the window leading into the main hall. Estel had his mouth open and close like a fish on land. Both were praying a miracle would happen and save them both. When nothing came, both sighed with relief.

"SWEET MOTHER!!!!" Thranduil yelled out. When Estel and Legolas heard that they both paled considerably.


Once again they paled considerably. Estel turned to Legolas with frightened eyes. "Sooo. You want to become hobbits?" he asked.

"Don't you mean hermits?" Legolas corrected. When the two of them turned their heads they saw their fathers coming out holding two paddles dangerously in the air. What surprised them was the arrow sticking out of King Thranduil's butt. Apparently he was bowing when the arrow hit its "target".

"Who the heck cares? Run like the wind!" Estel screamed running away from the irate fathers while grabbing Legolas.

"Legolas! I'll make sure you won't be able to sit down for a week!!" Thranduil screamed while running towards his son and Estel.

"It was true. Legolas couldn't sit down for a week," Gandalf said. Everyone had dazed looks on their faces. None of them could believe that this could happen.

"What happened afterwards?" asked Gimli.

"Well that little incident finally convinced Thranduil to hire a tutor for Legolas. Now do you see why it hurt so much when Legolas were not so great in archery? Of course only the best for him! That's why he's so good now!"

One by one everyone surrendered to laughing. Merry and Pippin began rolling around the ground while even Gimli was laughing out loud. It was strange though that even with the loud sounds, Aragorn and Legolas were still asleep cuddling towards each other for warmth. Maybe that was what prompted Frodo to look towards them. He saw Aragorn lightly petting Legolas' hand.

"That was how they became friends?" Sam asked with wonder. Gandalf nodded while attempting to hide his chuckles and smile beneath his hand.

"Maybe more," whispered Frodo with a smile, "Maybe more."

Another hour had passed before the company began drifting off to sleep. Gimli had taken watch far away from the slumbering members of the group. No one suspected that Legolas and Aragorn might have been feigning sleep and were listening into the conversation.

"I think Frodo suspects something, my love," Legolas whispered to let the tired company sleep. "Did you see the way he looked at us?"

"Yes. I think anyone would if they looked hard enough," Aragorn said. "It was very funny when you shot that arrow into your father's butt though."

"Shut up. I truly do not want to remember that little incident," the Elf replied. "I was insulted and humiliated."

"What. And I wasn't?" Aragorn murmured. A minute later, "I love you."

"I love you too," was the answer from the half-asleep beauty. When he heard chuckling he was curiously about what was so funny. "What?"

"Nothing. Just can't believe this all started with an archery contest."

The End
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