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ArWen the Eternally Surprised
Author: Ria Time: 2007/11/22
Arwen encounters a strange monk and gains a little extra time.
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Of Skyescrapers and Subways
Submitter: Date: 2011/7/11 Views: 1931 Rate: 8.75/8

Aragorn lifted the box up off the ground; it was, as was to be expected, heavy. He struggled with it before finally placing it on the back of the cargo truck.

'A neat bit of work, eh, Hawthorne?' asked the man working beside him. He was a tall, broad chap with red hands and blue eyes.

Aragorn nodded his agreement. Boromir was a lucky fellow to land a job as a bartender, he would have been glad of such a change. He rubbed his lower back before turning back to his work.

'The sun will be hot today,' said the other, casting a quick glance at the sky.

Aragorn could already feel the air and the heat closing in around them. It had been December in Middle-earth, but here, it was the middle of June.

'Do you think, Taylor, that today will be better or worse than yesterday?' Aragorn asked after a moment.

Taylor shook his head. 'There's no way to tell,' he answered.

Aragorn nodded. Yesterday it had been raining, and the humidity still hung heavy in the air.

'I suppose,' continued Taylor, 'that it all depends on whether you prefer to drown, or to fry.'

Aragorn smiled wryly.

'What do you think, would you like a nice freak snow storm to come flying in and scare the living daylights out of any and all?' asked Taylor, good-humouredly.

'Will you stop chatting?' asked another man, shoving a crate up in anger. 'I'm trying to work here.'

'Sorry,' said Aragorn with a frown.

The other man returned it and turned back to his labor.

'What's gotten into you today, Clark?' asked Taylor.

'Nothing has, it's just that there are some people around here who want to get their work done in silence without a bunch of jabbering to give them a headache.' He turned his reddened, sweating face away and read the label on one of the boxes.

Aragorn fell into silence, the swift, harmonious rhythm of his work soon taking over him. It was hard, but he was strong, and had no need to complain. Taylor, he could tell, missed talking, but he could get by without it, he was used to being his own company.

'Dunadan!' Legolas's clear voice broke the silence.

He looked up to see the elf hurrying towards him, his face awash with concern and fear. His heart stopped.

'Legolas!' He put his box down and hurried to the elf. 'What is the matter? Is Frodo all right? What about the…'

Legolas pressed his hand over his mouth. 'Shh,' he said. 'They're all fine, but I must speak to you about something.'

'Is it important?'

'Yes, very, but it is hard to explain.'

'Legolas, can it wait? I have a job to do.'

'Yes, I suppose so, but, Aragorn, it is distressing.'

'Legolas, please call me Hawthorne here, I'm using it as an alias. And, I wish I could listen, but if I stop to talk, I might get fired.'

Legolas frowned, but nodded. 'I'll wait for your lunch break.' He sat down on a boulder and hugged his knees.

It was then that Aragorn noticed his disguise. The elf had dressed himself as a woman. It was actually a very good disguise; no one would be able to tell differently. But elves were good with disguises, as he well knew. Legolas looked up and smiled at him, but he could see the worry in his hazel eyes.

'I'll see you soon,' he said and returned to his work. But, there was a problem. He just couldn't leave the Legolas out there in the open in a port city; they were near the sea. Anything, a change in wind, a sea gull, a passing fish truck, might set the elf off into a sudden burst of sea madness. He looked back over at Legolas; he was still sitting still, watching everything about him with great interest.

'Is that your girlfriend?' asked Taylor, nodding at the elf.

'Pardon me?' said Aragorn, snapping back from his worries.

'Your girlfriend?'

'I…' My girlfriend? Oh, dear. But what else is he to think? I wonder where Legolas got the brilliant idea to play dress up. 'Well, she's actually…'

'Must you talk?' interrupted Clark. 'You're giving me another headache.'

They fell back into silence, and the next half hour slipped quickly away.

'Lunch break!' called the supervisor. 'I expect you all back to your work at 1:30.'

Aragorn walked over to Legolas, who smiled worriedly at him. Aragorn sat down and placed a hand on his shoulder. 'What's troubling you?'

'The computer.'

Aragorn sighed. It was incredible how quickly the elf had taken to the 'computer'. He knew that if it was a 'computer' problem, then there was really nothing he could do about it.

'I looked up Gandalf,' said Legolas quietly. 'And myself.' He lapsed into silence. 'We, all of us, we, well…we don't exist here.'

'Well of course we don't. We aren't from here.'

'No, Dunadan,' the elf inched a bit closer. 'It's different than that. We don't exist, and yet we are.'

'We are? What are we?' Aragorn put an arm around him. Something was definitely very wrong.

'We are a work of fiction.'

'Come again?'

'We are a story, or rather, we are in a story. At any rate, we are, all of us, fictional characters.' He dropped his head and studied his hands.

'Fictional characters?'

'Yes, we come from a book called The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is a story about the ring about our quest about…' he trailed off and stared in confusion at the blue sky above.

Aragorn looked up too, and that is when he saw it.

A solitary seagull hung suspended in the air above them; slowly it wheeled round and opened its beak to cry. The elf watched it, transfixed, his eyes following it through flight.

'Aragorn,' began the elf, but was cut off.

Aragorn grabbed Legolas tight and flung him to the ground, covering his ears with his hands. 'It's nothing!' he cried as the bird let out a wail.

'Aragorn!' exclaimed Legolas in surprise, trying to twist away.

'No! Don't say anything!' He scanned the sky, the gull was nowhere in sight.

'What is going on?' Taylor stood above them, arms folded.

Blast! thought Aragorn, I have to think of something.

'Don't speak,' he said again, 'don't say another word, I love you and that is all that matters.' He pulled the elf up from the ground and held him tight.

Legolas looked at him confused. 'I love you too, Dunadan, but what does…' he broke off upon seeing Taylor standing watching them and put his arms around Aragorn's neck and fell silent.

Aragorn looked up at the sky, the gull was definitely gone. He ran his hand over Legolas's hair and kissed him on the temple. 'It's all right, I understand.'

They got up slowly and faced Taylor.

'Sorry for the scene,' said Aragorn, offering him an embarrassed smile.

Taylor nodded, also embarrassed. 'Sorry,' he said and walked away.

Aragorn turned to Legolas, despite his curiosity, he knew that he had to send him home. It was too dangerous to keep him out. 'We'll talk about this later. Right now, you have to get back home. And I want you to stay there. Do you understand?'

'Why, Aragorn? And what was that about? What was that bird?'

Aragorn pressed two fingers over his lips. 'Shhh. We'll talk about it later.' He touched his cheek lightly. 'It was just one of the reasons that I don't want you out here.'

Legolas looked at him, terribly confused. 'Why?'

Aragorn shook his head. 'I cannot explain it here. You'll just have to trust me. Now, go home. Go straight home, and don't make any stops along the way and don't take another route and don't look up.'

'Why not?'

'Because that could prove very dangerous, now, please, listen to me.'

Legolas studied his face and then nodded. 'Yes, Dunadan.' He turned and walked away swiftly, his blue skirt flapping in the breeze until he disappeared into the crowd. Aragorn sat back down and picked up his lunch. That was close.

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