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Subject: Ripples

Aragorn and Legolas
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Date Posted: 19:00:22 08/21/02 Wed

Aragorn closed the door and slumped onto the bed. Motioning that Legolas should sit in one of the nearby chairs gazed at his friend intently. "So, what is the latest disaster. It's got a lot of competition so make it good."
Wearily, he ran a hand through his long blonde hair and sat down, staring unhappily at the floor. "I think the she-elf is in the pay of the dark lord" he managed finally.

Aragorn looked at Legolas with what would've been disbelief that morning but was now simply desperation. "And why," he asked, his voice tired, "do you suspect that. More importantly what effect will this have on our mobilisation?"
"I don't know what she might do- I didn't get the impression she would do anything at all, if she could help it. And as for why I suspect her..." As briefly as possible, he explained what had happened when he'd followed her out of the throne room, skirting round the truth of his feelings for her wherever possible.

"I'm sorry, Aragorn." he said finally, looking up. "I didn't expect anything like this. If I'd known what she'd done..."
"Don't be sorry," the king muttered. "How could you have known." He shook his head to clear it again. "What difference would it have made if you had guessed sooner? We now know that Sauron is preparing for war. In that respect at least she has aided us. Do not blame yourself for something you had no control over."
"But I can't help thinking- what if he wanted us to know? What if he wants us pinned down here, so we can't come to the defence of anywhere else? What if it's a trap?"
"If it is a trap the he has achieved his purpose. I cannot afford to believe it is only a trap," Aragorn told his despairing friend wearily. "My people depend on my decisions, so I have made this decision for them. We will prepare for war, whether it is right thing to do as far as the war is concerned matters not; It is the right thing to do."

Legolas smiled weakly. "Nothing ever shakes your resolve, does it? No matter what, you'll be here waiting for them." He looked down. "I wish I had your courage."
"I don't know what you're talking about Legolas. Was it another elf who journeyed across middle earth with me in an attempt to defeat Sauron? I know few people braver than you. Besides," he brushed the sleep, that threatened to take hold of him, away from his eyes "I am taking these actions because I am a coward. The return of the Dark Lord has scared me more than you can possibly imagine. Indeed I believe it is only this confounded weariness that keeps me from fleeing in terror. It was so much easier when I was one alone, Strider the ranger. I had people under my command but they could take care of themselves. Now suddenly I have grown up and there are thousands who may live or die because of my choices today. You can only really imagine true fear when the lives of others depend
onyou." He lapsed into silence before voicing what he feared most of all: "What if I make the wrong choice. How many will die for my mistakes?"
"There are no right and wrong choices Aragorn, I thought you had learnt that by now. They are merely different. Every pebble sends ripples flowing out in all directions. A large stone may cause big ripples, a smaller stone very few. Perhaps one will be large enough to overturn the leaf, but can you control it? Try as you might, you can never stop the ripples."

His voice trailed off into memories of an elven song he had loved as a child. Softly, he hummed a few bars, resisting the temptation to sing them out loud. Now was not the time for songs. Turning to look at Aragorn, he realised that the King appeared to have drifted off into his own world as well. "Aragorn? You seem a little...distracted."
Aragorn looked up. From a reality where he reigned in peace with Arwen by his side rapidly disintegrated into the cold cruel one that was reality. "I suppose I am. It has been a long day and not particularly cheerful in any respect." He managed to pull away from the fantasy and focus back on the elf. "Speaking of distracted you seem to be over occupied yourself. There is something you haven't told me...something more personal...something to with the she elf." He saw Legolas re-act almost imperceptibly and knew that he had guessed correctly. "If you want to keep your own council I will not press you."

The elf buried his beautiful face in his hands as if he could not bear to face his friend. "She offered to take me with her...she said she could protect me from him," he whispered.
"To be honest you should've taken her up on that offer. But" he said locking his gaze with that of his friend, "I am glad you decided to stay."
"How could I leave all the people I care about behind? But the point is, for a moment, I considered it. I'm not staying here because of bravery, my friend. I'm staying here because I'm scared of losing all of you. I'm no more than a coward."
"It's almost like listening to myself," Aragorn commented with a forced grin. "This must be why we have been friends for so long; for all our differences we are so alike." He looked down at his hands, which were still shaking from his encounter with the palantir. "But," he observed, "unless I am much mistaken not everyone you care about resides in this palace. At least she doesn't any more."

He looked up quickly; his head moving so fast the golden hair whipped round over his face before settling back on his shoulders. His lips framed a question he couldn't quite voice. "You...?"
"…know? Of course. My dear Legolas I have known you for eight years. I would be an incredibly poor friend if I had not noticed the change in you."
"And a change not for the better." he added grimly. "I was stupid to allow myself to get so caught up in her I didn't pay attention to what was going on around me. Maybe if I had been more perceptive, we would not find ourselves in this mess now."
The king almost laughed at the expression his friend wore. "You cannot be so arrogant that you assume that by merely your watching the situation you could have averted this disaster?" He stifled another giggle that threatened to escape, knowing he was merely becoming hysterical as an escape from the situation at hand. Sobering up fast he said solemnly, "Legolas, you cannot stop love. You cannot control it." He smiled the first smile of the day that had not been panic-driven or completely false and said simply: "If you could it wouldn't be love."

"I will stop love. I refuse to become a mere puppet to be played with as if I were no more than a toy." Knowing it to be untrue, he added bitterly "She's probably been laughing at me since we first met. That's all I am- a distraction. Something to keep her occupied while she plotted our deaths. Don't tell me I'm arrogant by believing I could have stopped this. It is what we do, is it not?
At every disaster we will search for blame. 'If only I had...', 'Maybe I could...', It is in our natures.”
“Then change. If you do not wish to be but a puppet break the habit. Rather hold yourself lucky for you have experienced something that few of your kind will ever enjoy:
Love is worth it.” More to himself than the lost soul across from him he repeated softly, “Love is always worth it.”

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