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A Friendship Broken

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Title: A Friendship Broken

 

Author:  washow

 

Rating:  G

 

Summary:  After a terrible accident Aragorn wants nothing to do with a loyal friend.  Can his family help him see the error of his ways before it is too late?

 

Disclaimer:  I’m making no money from this what so ever, darn.  Any similarities to other fan fiction works is purely coincidental.

 

A/N:  Here is my latest work and my last for quite awhile.  Yes, Nautika, I am going to post the story we have talked about but right now I think that will be in December.  There is another story already written but it probably won’t be posted until next spring so enjoy this while you can.  I just want to let everyone know that yes this story starts out like Ro’s story and she and I have discussed the situation and agreed that great minds just happen to think alike.  Please see the important A/N at the end of the story.

 

                                    A Friendship Broken

 

Aragorn leaned his head back and laughed a deep hearty laugh - he was having a splendid time.  He had returned to his childhood home of Imladris a fortnight ago, after having wondered the lands of Rohan and Gondor for several years, and was happy to be back amongst those he loved best.  When he left Rohan Thengel had gifted him with the pick of the herd, which Aragorn had named Nauranna in the gray tongue, a beautiful black horse, which had intrigued the twin sons of Elrond ever since they saw him.  The horse was shorter and heavier than a typical elven horse and they were sure he would be quickly out distanced by elven horses, which were as light and surefooted as their handlers.  So on this fine morning man and elves decided to finally answer the question once and for all by having a race on the open plain in the east side of the valley.  Aragorn laughed as he recalled the look on the twins’ faces when he had charged ahead of them. Fire storm this horse was called in the common tongue and he ran like his name, hot and fast but enduring for long periods of time, burning on when others fizzled out.  The elves had underestimated this fine horse, a misconception the man happily let them keep.  Aragorn quickly looked over his shoulder and saw that although he had an early lead the twins were catching up.  Looking forward again he saw the designated finish line just a short distance ahead and decided to put in one last hard push promising himself that the horse could have an extended rest by the river after the race.  Aragorn stood up in the stirrups and leaned forward over the horse’s neck urging the horse to run faster than he had before. Nauranna did not fail his master and put his heart into the run, out distancing the others by a large margin. 

 

As soon as he crossed the finish line Aragorn gently patted the horse on the neck and sat back in the saddle.  As soon as his rear hit the saddle Nauranna gave a shriek of pain and bolted toward the river.  At first Aragorn was too stunned to do anything, in all the years they had been together the horse had never acted like this, but he quickly recovered himself and again stood up, leaned forward and tried to sooth the frighten animal.  However, despite all his best efforts it was to no avail as the animal continued to run as fast as his legs would carry him.  Certain that he could do nothing more to settle his friend the human again sat back in the saddle content to ride him out.  However, as soon as he sat on the horse’s back it again gave a great shriek and then gave a great and powerful buck.  The man was unprepared for such an action and was easily unseated flying high over the powerful horse’s neck.  As he flew through the air the man was able to see they were on the banks of the Bruinen and he noted there were large boulders along this entire bank.  He was not even given a minute to contemplate the consequences of this event before he painfully connected with the rocks and knew no more.

 

            Aragorn first became aware of pain and a lot of it then as consciousness began to return in earnest he felt a hand resting gently on his head, “Come, wake up my son.”  A voice called, “We are waiting for you, open your eyes.”  The human groaned, why did it have to be his father waiting for him – he had never been able to deny his father anything.  Slowly he fought his way to wakefulness, feeling the world come crashing down on him with every advance he made.  He groaned – his shoulder hurt something terrible!  “Aragorn, I know it hurts but I need you to wake so I can help you.”  The man sighed but obediently came the rest of the way to consciousness and finally managed to pull his eyes open.  The first thing he saw when he awoke was the very welcome face of his father.

 

            “Ada,” the ranger breathed.

 

            Elrond sat on the edge of the bed and gently ran his hand through the man’s hair, “Yes, my son it is I.  You gave your brothers quite the scare with your tumbling performance.”  The elf once again brushed his hand across the man’s face this time gently touching a bump on his head.  “Does this hurt?”

 

            The man grimaced when the gentle hand pressed the spot, “Only when you touch it.”

 

            The elf smiled gently and gazed deeply into the man’s eyes, “Is your vision blurred?  Halos around objects?  Nausea?”  With a negative headshake to each question Elrond sat back with a satisfied sigh, “No head injury then, thank the Valar, where do you feel pain?”

 

            Aragorn stopped for a moment to consider the question before quickly holding his breath in a feeble attempt to waylay the pain, which was making itself known.  He gritted his teeth and ground out, “Shoulder hurts.”

 

            Elrond immediately stood and began preparing a tea to reduce the pain, speaking softly to his son the whole time he worked, “That does not surprise me, you have broken your right collar bone.  I have set the bone but you are going to have to be careful, any movement on your right side will cause you agony.  I am afraid you will have to remain in bed for at least a week and I do mean a week Aragorn, no trying to get out of bed early you will just cause yourself more pain.”  Elrond then turned with a cup in his hand and made his way to his human son all the while searching for some sign that the man understood.  Aragorn gave his father a weak nod and the ancient elf sat on the edge of the bed and gave his child a satisfied smile before turning to another matter, “Your brothers have gone searching for Nauranna.  They are confident they will find him before the end of the day.”

 

            Aragorn looked away, “I do not care if they do find him, it is no matter to me – he is no longer my horse.”

 

            Elrond gently put the cup to the man’s lips and urged him to drink, “That is what you think now, you will change your mind on the morrow when you are not in so much pain.”  Those were the last words the man heard before he drifted off to blissful oblivion.

 

            The week of Aragorn’s bed rest progressed in unusual peace, the man never once tried to escape his bed and dutifully drank his tea while the house itself was silent due to the fact that the twins were still trying to locate their brother’s horse.  One afternoon Elrond went wondering in the gardens, with his youngest son out cold and the twins searching for the horse he had nothing to do but worry so he decided to worry in the fresh air.  As he was meandering about he happened upon an equally distraught Glorfindel.  Sensing another presence Glorfindel lifted his head and looked at the haggard form of his lord and friend, “Good afternoon mellon nín.” He called as cheerfully as possible.

 

            Elrond stopped in his tracks, he was surprised at having encountered another on what he thought was a deserted path, “Glorfindel, mellon nín how are you this fine day.”  He asked in forced cheerfulness.

 

            The blond elf snorted, he was far too old to be playing these games, “I am worried about the young one as are you so let us stop dancing around the subject.  Aragorn is sullen and withdrawn since his accident and we are both worried for his welfare.”

 

            Elrond smiled at the blunt wisdom of his friend, “You are right, of course mellon nín, do you also happened to know how to set this to rights again?  I mean with your infinite wisdom surely you can come up with some way to help my son.”

 

            Glorfindel smiled softly at his friend, “I have seen something similar to this before, I believe the key is in finding that horse.”

 

            Elrond turned to gaze back at the house, “Aragorn does not want the horse.”

 

            Glorfindel stood behind him and followed his gaze to the young one’s room, “Give him time, perhaps he will yet change his mind.”

 

            Two days had passed since the conversation between Glorfindel and Elrond and yet nothing had changed, the man was still sullen and the horse was still missing.  However, things were about to change as this was the day Elrond promised Aragorn he could get out of bed and the twins of Elrond had just walked through the gate with an injured Nauranna trailing behind.  The courtyard was a buss of excitement as elves ran hither and there attempting to help the exhausted twins and the injured horse.  When things finally settled down the two elf lords made their way to the human’s room, determined to help him get past these feelings he was having toward himself and that horse.

 

            Elrond lowered himself to the bed and looked lovingly at the still face of his youngest, gently ever so gently the elf lord reached out and stroked the man’s cheek all the while calling for him to awake.  Finally after long moments of calling the silver eyes of the human fluttered open and another moment later focused questioningly on the elf, “Ada, what is it?”

 

            Elrond smiled softly at his son, “I am sorry to wake you ion nin but the twins have brought Nauranna home and I thought you would like to go and see him.  I am here to officially release you from your bed rest.”

 

            Whatever response Elrond was hoping to get he was certainly surprised when the man rolled over and buried his head below the pillows.  When the man remained still and silent Elrond exchanged a quick glance with Glorfindel then gently shook his foster son’s good shoulder until he got a response from beneath the pillows, “Do not want the horse, you can have him.  Change his name, dye him a new color, anything you want-  he is all yours.”

 

            The two elf lords exchanged another concerned look before Glorfindel signaled Elrond to move aside letting the golden haired elf take his friend’s place.  Through all his long years of life, both of them actually, Glorfindel had been many things but he was not a quitter and he refused to let those around him be quitters, he would not let the man give up this easily.  With as much care as a father with a newborn child Glorfindel rolled the man over and helped him to his feet.  Aragorn stumbled in his weakened state, hardly having been out of bed in a week, and was immediately stabilized by the ancient elf who held him firm until the man became aware of his surroundings.  The golden warrior paused for a moment and looked in Aragorn’s eyes where he saw traces of pain as well as fear and defeat, “Come with me young one.”  The man looked at the warrior in question so Glorfindel continued, “Come to the stable to see your horse one last time.   If after you have seen him and have heard what your brothers and I have to say and still do not want him, so be it but until that time keep an open mind.”

 

The man nodded slowly, he trusted this elf and if he felt it was important for the man to go to the stable then go to the stable he would.  Besides if his father was willing to let him out of bed this was not an opportunity he wanted to turn down.  Aragorn was well enough to walk on his own but he was still weak from the imposed bed rest so the pace to the stable was slow but steady.  When they finally reached their destination Aragorn was startled to see his brother’s swabbing Nauranna’s bloody back with some tincture.  The man pushed away from his companion and made his way toward the trio, never once taking his eyes from the odd sight before him.  Finally having reached the stall door Aragorn looked from the bloody mess of his horse to one brother back to the mess and then to his other brother, “What happened?”

 

For a moment the twins looked into one another’s eyes as if debating who should go first, finally Elladan began their tale, “We found him by the east waterfall this morning.  We searched that part of the valley earlier this week, I am not sure why we did not find him then but when we came across him this morning he looked like this.”

 

Elrohir dutifully took up his part of the tale, “We think we know why he threw you.”  Aragorn looked at his brother with confused eyes so the elf motioned him over to where the tack was lying, “If you look right here I believe you will find the culprit.”

 

The man was more confused now than ever but dutifully ran his fingers through the thick fibers of the blanket, which normally lay beneath his saddle.  Eventually he came up with a small insect body, he looked at it then looked at his brothers, “A horsefly?”

 

Glorfindel came up behind the brothers and clapped the man on his good shoulder, “Aye, according to your brothers you had stood up in the saddle before the horse ever behaved badly, it has been my experience that these vile insects are most attracted to horse flesh when it is sweaty.  While you were standing up the fly probably got under the saddle and when you sat back down the fly bit.”

 

Elrohir again looked at his brother, “Then when you stood up again the pressure was off the insect and he stopped biting but when you sat back down it bit in exactly the same spot as before, which was just too much pain for your horse to bear so he threw you.”

 

Elladan looked up from where he was still cleaning the horse’s back, “From that point all we can do is guess for there is no proof of exactly what took place.  We think that as he ran through the woods his blood attracted other blood loving vermin who began to feast on his back, add that to the chaffing of a saddle which apparently was a little loose and you get the sight before you.”

 

Aragorn’s eyes became saddened as he approached the horse, “Will he be all right?” he inquired as he gently rubbed the nose.

 

Elrohir resumed his position beside his twin and was about to take up his healing utensils when he halted his motion to meet his brother’s eyes, “He will be if you still want him.”  Aragorn narrowed his eyes at the elf so Elrohir continued, “He misses you Estel, he feels he has failed you and it is affecting his ability to deal with the blood loss.”

 

Elrond had been quiet but now he joined his son at the stall door, “You are both suffering my son.  It was an accident – a stumble in a moment in time- it could end there or it could follow you the rest of your life, the choice is yours”

 

Aragorn crossed his arms and rested them on the stall door while he studied Nauranna’s eyes.  Finally after long moments of silence the man looked up, “Well if I ever am to be king I need to be able make just decisions and be willing to overrule my previous decision if I get new information which proves it was unjust.  I think this would be the perfect time to change my mind.  I will take him back if he is willing.”  Glorfindel put a piece of apple in the man’s hand, which he immediately offered to the beautiful animal.  Nauranna took the apple immediately snorting in Aragorn’s face as he ate it.

 

The man took the bottom of his tunic and attempted to clean the horse snot off his face while the surrounding elves howled with laughter.  “Well”, the man admitted between chuckles, “I guess that means we are back on good terms.”

 

 

 

                                                The End

 

A/N:  If you couldn’t tell this was for the Collar bone challenge, I didn’t want to tell you at the top because it would have given it away and what fun is that.  This story is dedicated to my horse, sweet girl that she is, and is loosely based on the many adventures we have had together.