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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 hurried back from his work; he had been dying to talk to Legolas all day. What had he meant by telling him that they were fictional characters? What did that mean? He was tired and hot; the heat that day had been relentless, muggy and still with a blazing sun. He trudged down the streets wishing for the comfort of moss and leaves, trees bending above him and a singing stream. The air here stank and all around him loud and disharmonious noises rose up and competed with one another. The press of people was strong, humans mingling with each other in an attempt to never know the passing stranger, everyone set with his mind in his own world, while the real world fell past unseen.

'Legolas!' he called, hurrying into the apartment.

The hobbits and Gimli looked up.

'Where's Legolas?' he asked.

'In his room, dying of embarrassment,' said Merry.

'Why? What happened?' He didn't wait for an answer, but knocked on the door. 'Legolas, may I come in?'

There was a groan, a pause, and then the door opened. Legolas looked at him, his eyes were distant and his hair, which he had let loose, was a mess. He had taken off his disguise and was now dressed in a simple brown wrinkled tunic.

'Aragorn, we need to talk,' he stated.

'I know,' Aragorn said and paused. He had many questions that he wanted answers to, and he did not know where to start. He decided on what seemed the most important one. 'What did you mean by telling me that we are fictional characters?'

'In this world, we are. We are characters invented by an author called Tolkien,' said Legolas with a shrug.

'But…' Aragorn began.

'Don't get too mad, he's supposed to be a genius.'

Aragorn raised his eyebrows.

'Mmm-hmm. And we come from his masterpiece The Lord of the Rings, which is the story of our quest to destroy the ring. Shall I continue?' There was a sharp edge to the elf's voice and his eyes were challenging. He had his arms folded and was leaning casually against the wall.

'Go on.'

The elf tossed his head. 'I did some more research, turns out that this same Tolkien also wrote a book chronicling the adventures of our dear Bilbo popularly known as The Hobbit and wrote a book called The Silmarillion which, if you believe, contains the history of Elves. Valinor, Valar, Feanor, Thingol, Luthien, Beren, Finrod, and all such importants and prominents complete.' He unfolded his arms and kicked himself into a stand. 'What say you to that?'

Aragorn studied him, 'Legolas, are you mad at me?' he asked, wondering why Legolas seemed so upset.

He raised his eyebrows. 'Why would I be?'

Aragorn shrugged. 'Do you know anything else about this Tolkien?'

'A few things about his life, his children; he's dead now.'

Aragorn nodded thoughtfully. 'Then I was right to use an alias, I suppose.' He frowned. 'How widely known is this book? It isn't famous or anything, is it?'

'Oh-no, it's just one of the most loved books of all time, considered a masterpiece of modern literature, has a devoted following, who just might die for it, and was made into a hugely popular movie trilogy.'

'What's a movie?'

'I'll explain later. The point is, we can't use our names or let anyone on to who we are.'

'Why not?'

'Because then they'd know that Frodo has the ring.'

'Right.'

The elf sat down on their bed and dropped his irritated attitude, burying his face in his hands he whispered. 'And to make matters worse, our neighbor now thinks that I'm the hobbits' mother.'

'What?'

'I met her in disguise, it was the only thing I could think of,' Legolas groaned looking up at the ceiling.

'I'm sorry,' Aragorn said lamely.

'And then she thought that Gimli was their father,' Legolas added, 'but I corrected her on that matter.'

'I see.'

'Ai, Aragorn, it's so confusing. Where are we?' He looked at Aragorn hopefully for an answer.

Aragorn looked out the window. 'I cannot say.' He sighed. 'Don't worry, we'll think of something.'

'What are we going to do about the neighbor?' Legolas cast a disdainful glance at the white wall.

'I'm not sure.' Aragorn frowned. 'Where did you get the crazy idea to dress up as a woman anyway?'

'It didn't sound so bad when I first thought it up!' the elf glared at him, but fell silent.

'I'm sorry,' said Aragorn gently.

'I wish Mithrandir were here,' Legolas groaned.

'So do I.'

And why wasn't Mithrandir there? He should, by all accounts, be; after all, he had been right by their side when the gates of Moria swung open and enveloped them in utter darkness. He had passed out at the moment, but Gandalf had been just ahead of them, he had seen him trying to fight off whatever it was that hit him. Maybe he had, maybe Gandalf had kept it off him and that was why he wasn't there. Maybe he was still by Moria searching for them.

'Do you think he's all right?' Legolas asked worriedly.

'Gandalf can take care of himself,' answered Aragorn with more certainty than he felt; he placed a hand on Legolas's shoulder. What had come out of Moria? And who had sent it? Sauron? Saruman? Good or evil?

Legolas smiled. 'I suppose he can.' He placed his slim hand over Aragorn's.

'Where did you get your dress up clothes anyway?' asked Aragorn. 'I did not know that you had anything like that.'

Legolas shrugged. 'I didn't. I picked them up at a thrift shop on my way to find you. Everyone was staring at me so hard that I thought it would be better. I suppose I wasn't thinking clearly, but it made sense then.'

'It was a fine idea,' said Aragorn. 'Given the circumstances.'

Legolas smiled up at him.

There came a knock on the door. 'Strider, I need to talk to you,' Frodo called.

Aragorn gave the elf's shoulder a final squeeze and walked out and to see Frodo. Frodo was standing there with a thoughtful expression, his eyes lowered and a frown on his face. He looked as if he were trying to explain something that he himself did not understand.

'What about?' asked Aragorn, trying to sound reassuring.

'We need to talk. Alone.'

Frodo brought him to the bathroom, and sat down on the edge of the tub. Aragorn sat on the floor opposite him and waited for him to speak. Frodo did not say anything for a long time. He sat on the cold edge of the white tub and looked down sadly at the white floor tiles.

Aragorn coughed, but Frodo did not stir. Aragorn sighed and sat back against the smooth white counter and looked up at the low white ceiling. He sighed again and drummed his fingers impatiently on his black pant leg. 'What is it Frodo?' he asked again.

'It's about the ring,' said Frodo in a small voice.

Aragorn studied him. 'What about it?' he asked softly.

Frodo looked down at his hands; they were so small, Aragorn noted, taking one into his grasp. It was warm and soft and quivered a little in the ranger's strong hold. Aragorn rubbed it gently.

'Well, I was thinking.' Frodo stopped and frowned then looked up and smiled a sad smile. 'It's safer here isn't it? Out of reach of Sauron and Saruman, it's almost as if it has been lost forever. Perhaps…our coming here…perhaps it was not such a bad thing.' He looked at Aragorn troubled.

Aragorn could see that he was trying not to cry.

'Maybe, we should forget about going back, or maybe I should. Maybe it's all better this way. Do you think?'

The question in his sad brown eyes stabbed Aragorn to the heart, and he couldn't resist leaning over and pulling him into a hug. Where did this hobbit learn to be so brave? He marveled. Frodo pulled away from him, but when Aragorn did not let go, he wrapped his arms tightly around him and started to cry.

'I miss the Shire,' he sobbed.

'Of course you do,' said Aragorn, but the question of whether things were better this way had indeed already troubled him, and now it came back stronger. What if Gandalf had sent them there? What if this was the only way? What if this world were to be their new home? He knew of no way to back, none of them did. And if they were to go back it would be to face danger and evil, perhaps the ruin of their world. Here, the ring was safe. To go back, even if they could, would be selfish and unwise. Yes, that seemed right. Hard but true. He knew it in his heart, and had known for a while, but now, Frodo made him admit it to himself—Middle-earth was lost to them.

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