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Tales of Life  by Aelaer

This one stumped me for a while. I was originally going to do something on his first trip in Moria, but then I realized I really had no ideas for that. So, in the end, I decided to use a relatively clichÚ plot and make it my own. And I could not help but making it humorous. Because of the two protagonist's ages, the whole situation, and just the slight hilarity in it, they both act in a way that one doesn't see too often. But, in the end, I think it fit well. Hopefully.

Prompt 24: Dark
Fic: Cave-in
Rating: G
2951 TA, On the foothills of the Misty Mountains

As the dust finally settled and the last stones stopped rolling, there was a brief stillness in the utter darkness of the cave. After a short moment, there was a cough, and a short groan.

"Aragorn? Is that you?"

"Yes. Who else would it be?" A sarcastic bite could be heard in the young man's voice.

The other decided to treat that question as a rhetorical one, and ignored it. "Are you well?"

"A few bruises, but naught else. And you?"

"As well as can be expected. I do believe there is some dust in my eyes, though." He blinked, and went to rub them, but realized his hands were covered in dirt. Sighing, he crawled his way over to where he heard Aragorn's voice come from.

He soon found a leg, and when he tapped at it, Aragorn said, "Yes, Halbarad, that is me."

"Oh, sorry!" Halbarad gave a rueful grin and sat back. When Aragorn said naught in response, Halbarad spoke again. "I cannot believe you got us stuck in here."

"Are you saying that this is my fault?"

"You were the one that wanted to get closer to the cave, despite my foreboding!" Halbarad exclaimed.

"I did not know that it would cave in!" If Halbarad could see anything, he would be pretty sure that his kinsman would be throwing his arms up in the air in exasperation.

Halbarad groaned; he absolutely could not believe his luck right now.

Aragorn seemed to echo his thoughts. "I cannot believe we managed to get ourselves stuck in a cave on our first patrol."

Halbarad nodded glumly, forgetting that Aragorn could not see him. "This is probably the worst luck anyone has ever had on their first patrol, and that includes the time Maendir accidentally wounded himself with his own sword."

"You jest!"

"I do not. Father was part of that patrol, and saw the whole thing. On Maendir's first time out, he was sparring with Handil, and somehow managed to give himself a nasty leg wound. No one, including him, is still quite sure how it happened."

"I would have never thought a man such as he would make a mistake like that."

"He wasn't very good with a sword thirty years ago," Halbarad said with a chuckle. Aragorn chuckled as well, but soon the two fell into silence.

"When do you think they'll find us?" Halbarad finally asked.

"I imagine they're looking now. We weren't that far from camp, and they probably heard the rocks falling." Aragorn sighed. "They will not let me live this down."

"Probably not."

"Your father won't be too pleased with you, either."

There was a short pause as Halbarad considered that fact. "I hope they take their time finding us," he finally said.

"Me too," his cousin quickly replied.

The two young D˙nedain chuckled in the dark at the whole strange hilarity of their situation. And while they were in not the best of circumstances, they did manage to keep their spirits up in the darkness until their patrol found them, alive and well.

Iácompletely blame my Halbarad's personality onáMeckinock. He's such a crack up in her fics (and if you haven't read her fics, you really need to now). But yea, I do think that quite a bit of what I see Halbarad as was inspired by her.

And, while Halbarad is only mentioned as a "kinsman", like some other authors I believe he was Aragorn's cousin. Hope no one minds.

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