~ Sightseeing in Middle-Earth ~

~ Disclaimer: ~

I don't own any of it. Never have, never will.

~ Chapter I~

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when I woke up that morning and found myself in Middle-Earth. After all, hadn't I wished on a falling star before going to sleep - and at every other chance I got to make a wish - to go to Middle-Earth? But really, who expects idle wishes to come true? We all hope they will, of course, but when was the last time you heard of a wish coming true without a lot of effort on the wishers part to see that wish achieved? Never?

My point exactly.

So I was rather surprised when I woke up to discover that, though I'd fallen asleep in my bed in the middle of Toronto in the 21st century, I'd woken up on the edge of a cliff in the middle of nowhere with no civilization in sight. And then the water went by.

Nothing will freak you out more then hundreds of tons of water rushing by just a few feet away from you. Except perhaps hundreds of tons of water in the shape of HORSES rushing by just a few feet away from you. I'm pretty sure I screamed as the water went by. Once I'd gotten over that shock, I started to really think about what was happening.

"I'm dreaming." I said out loud to myself. "That's it, Erin, no more eating Pot of Gold chocolates and watching the Lord of the Rings before bed." Then I pinched myself. It hurt. "Hey, you're not supposed to hurt." I said to the offending pinched spot on my arm. I looked around again, then kicked a tree that was nearby.

"Ow!" I exclaimed, grabbing my foot and hopping around. After the pain had subsided to a dull throbbing, I sat down under the afore-kicked tree to think over the situation. I was in the middle of the wilderness, no civilization in sight. A whole crapload of water had just gone by in the shape of horses.

I felt my eyes widen in shock as my sleepy brain finally connected those pieces of information with the movie I had watched just before going to bed. Once more, I thought about denying that this was real, but the throbbing pain in my foot reminded me that this was very real. So...judging from that water, I was in Middle-Earth, close to Rivendell, at the time Frodo arrived. And I was in my pajamas.

"Well, this should be interesting." I said dryly to the world at large, then got up and dusted myself off. "Off to Rivendell, then." Since that water just came by and I didn't see anything black tumbling around in it, I guessed the path into Rivendell would be downstream, and so I set off determinedly. Quite soon, I was picking my way carefully along the ground, watching out for sharp rocks and sticks, and leaving a small trail of little blood spots from a cut in the bottom of my foot.

"Stupid forest. Stupid sticks. Stupid rocks. Stupid ground. Stupid nature." I mumbled, glaring back the way I'd come once I reached a rather obvious path. There was the river not too far away, and I could just see someone on a white horse disappearing quickly along the path on the other side. So I set off after the horse.

"Stupid river." I said, yanking my foot out of the cold water almost before the temperature registered. I eyed the river. It was a very long way to the other side, and the water was freezing cold.

"Lovely. By the time I get to Rivendell, I'll be in worse shape then Frodo." I said sarcastically, experimentally dipping my toes into the water to see if it had changed temperature in the past 30 seconds. It hadn't.

"Fine then, off to hypothermia land we go." I said with mock cheerfulness, and set off carefully across the river. The rocks were slippery, the water was cold, and before I was halfway across, my feet were numb and I was completely soaked. I did manage to get across without seriously injuring myself, though. Once on the other shore, I sat down for awhile, curled up, and tried to bring feeling back into my feet. They weren't turning any unnatural colours, so that was good, but they felt like ice even to my already cold hands. After a short bit, I figured I'd better get up and get moving, otherwise I never would, and wouldn't that be a lovely sight for Aragorn and the other three hobbits when they came across the river? A frozen 16 year old girl.

So, with a sigh, I dragged myself to my feet and set to trudging down the path, away from the river. Following it, it wasn't long until I saw Rivendell proper, and I stopped in admiration - and slightly in shock. I don't think I'd really believed, until I found myself staring down into Rivendell, that I was in Middle-Earth.

The Elvish city was beautiful - it had sounded great in the book, had looked even more wonderful in the movie, but nothing compared to the real Rivendell. As I watched, I saw Elves scurrying about, and a big bustle being made in a courtyard in the middle of Rivendell, where the white horse that I'd seen crossing the river stood. It's riders were nowhere in sight, and even as I watched, the crowd in the courtyard dispersed, and the horse was led off. Rivendell returned to quiet, with few signs that the One Ring had just arrived in it.

"Well, let's go, shall we?" I muttered to myself, and continued down the path into Rivendell. As I walked, I saw very few Elves, and those that did, to my surprise, seemed to not notice me. This seriously worried me, as I didn't want to spend my entire time in Middle-Earth talking to myself. So, experimentally, I stepped in front of a male Elf that was walking by.

"S'cuz me, I was wondering if you could help me." I said to the Elf. The Elf looked at me in surprise. "You see, I kind of just arrived here, and fell in the river getting here in the first place, and I'd really like to know if there's someplace I can go to get warmed up and possibly find a change of clothes."

"You'd best ask Lord Elrond that. He sees to all non-Elves who come to Rivendell." the Elf said warily.

"Well, can you point me towards his house, then?" I asked, though I was pretty sure which one it was, anyways.

"It's right over there." the Elf said, pointing to the house in the middle of Rivendell where I'd seen the commotion earlier. Exactly the house I'd thought it would be.

"Thanks!" I said, then waved and headed off for the house. The Elf simply shrugged and continued on his way. Once I reached the house, I wandered into the courtyard and looked around. It was dead quiet. And deserted. No one was in sight. Cautiously, I headed towards the doors.

"Hello?" I asked the empty hallway. No response. I shrugged and went in, then contemplated which way to go. There was a hallway to my left and right, and both curved out of sight after only a short while.

"Maybe I'd be better sitting on the steps until the other hobbits and Aragorn show up." I mumbled. But I really was very cold, and wet, and starting to get hungry. So I turned to the right and set off down the hall. It wove around and went all over the place, and I'm sure I went through several intersections twice, but not once did I see a single Elf. Eventually, I gave up and turned off onto the first other hallway I saw. It led to some stairs, and as I went up, I looked around and saw a little old man sitting on a bench scribbling something in a book.

'Gee, wonder who that is?' I thought sarcastically. Since Elves were immortal and didn't go grey, let alone white, and this person was incredibly short, even for an old man, it could only be Bilbo Baggins.

"Hello." I said, and Bilbo looked up at me in surprise.

"Oh, hallo. I'm sorry, I didn't hear you come up." he said politely.

"I'm just glad to see somebody else in this huge place." I said. "I've been wandering around for a good while now trying to find someone."

"Someone in particular, or someone in general?" Bilbo asked, hopping off his bench.

"Someone in general." I said.

"Well, you've found me. Bilbo Baggins, at your service." The hobbit said, smiling up at me.

"Erin." I replied, returning Bilbo's smile.

"Say, you're all damp." Bilbo remarked.

"Yeah, fell in the river." I said. My pajamas had dried somewhat, but they were still damp, as Bilbo had noticed.

"That river's rather cold." Bilbo remarked.

"Tell me about it. You wouldn't happen to have a blanket around?" I asked hopefully. At this, Bilbo looked startled, and took a side-step so he could see the side of my head.

"Say, you're human." he remarked.

"Yep." I said. "A cold one, at that." I added.

"Well, let's get you something warm then. Follow me." Bilbo said, motioning for me to follow him, then he set off at a good pace, and I followed. We came to what he informed me were his rooms, and he looked around for a moment before opening a hobbit-sized chest at the base of his bed and pulling out a large blanket.

"This is the largest blanket I have." Bilbo said apologectically, handing me the blanket, and I immediately wrapped it around me. It touched the floor - barely - while wrapped around my shoulders, and seemed to glow with warmth.

"It's wonderful." I said, smiling happily as I snuggled into the blanket.

"Good." Bilbo said with a smile. "I'm afraid I don't have a change of clothes that would fit you, but I'm sure Elrond will be able to find some. He's busy right now, though, so I'll just nip down to the kitchen to get you some tea in the meantime." With that, Bilbo set off, leaving me to add some more wood to his dieing fire. There were two stools nearby, and I pulled one close to the fire to wait. The fire was going quite nicely, and I was actually starting to warm up, when Bilbo came back carrying a tray with the things for tea on it, followed by a female Elf.

"Hi!" I said to the Elf.

"This is Merenmir, Erin. She insisted on coming with me for some reason." Bilbo said cheerily, then set down the tray on the other stool.

"Lovely fire you have going." Bilbo commented.

"Yes, I'm actually starting to warm up." I replied.

"Who are you?" Merenmir asked me, suddenly standing next to me, eyeing me.

"Now now, Merenmir, I told you, she's a human named Erin and she fell in the river." Bilbo said matter-of-factly as he set about pouring some tea.

"What he said." I said, nodding in Bilbo's direction, since the elf seemed to be waiting for an answer from me.

"We are not expecting any humans in Rivendell for several days." Merenmir said flatly.

"I don't think I'm expected in general." I said I said dryly.

"Sugar or cream?" Bilbo asked me, seemingly completely oblivious to Merenmir's and my conversation. I paused to think about that. I normally didn't drink tea, but the few times I had I had decided that it wasn't too bad if you heaped sugar into it.

"Lots of sugar, please, no cream." I replied.

"If you are not expected, why then have you come?" Merenmir asked, eyeing me once more as Bilbo handed me my cup of tea.

"Does one need a reason to come see Rivendell?" I asked, arching an eyebrow.

"In these dark times, all need reasons to be where ever they are, lest they be considered a spy for the dark lord." Merenmir said darkly as I sipped my tea.

"I suppose wanting to get warm doesn't count as a reason." I said with a sigh.

"Sounds like reason enough to go anywhere to me." Bilbo commented, sipping his own tea, now.

"It is not reason enough for me." Merenmir countered.

"Well, I can't really give you any reason other then that. I was cold, I was wet, and Rivendell was the closest - and probably safest - place to get warm and dry." I said with a shrug. Merenmir watched me for a moment as I drank my tea, staring back at her, and then she turned and left.

"I say, she was acting oddly." Bilbo remarked.

"I don't think she trusts me." I said with a half smile.

"There's no reason for her not to." Bilbo said matter-of-factly.

"In your eyes, maybe. But the eyes of an elf are very different from those of a hobbit." I said simply. 'Oh god, did I just say that?' I thought as soon as I'd finished speaking. 'I'm sounding like Gandalf or Galadriel...that can't be good..'. my thoughts were interrupted by Bilbo's happy exclamation.

"Oh, someone who's heard of hobbits! I say, that is rare these days. I find myself having to explain to everyone, even elves, what a hobbit is, and in the end I usually have to tell them I'm a halfling and leave it at that." Bilbo said. I smiled.

"Well that makes sense, considering how much you hobbits keep to yourself." I said, and Bilbo nodded.

"For which Gandalf seems very grateful." Bilbo commented. "I say, you do know who Gandalf is, right?"

"Gandalf the Grey? Of course." I said with a smile.

"Oh, so you've met him!" Bilbo said.

"No, I've heard of him. Never actually met him, though I have no doubt I will soon." I said.

"Well of course. I'll have to introduce you when he gets here. He's supposed to be coming with my nephew, you know." Bilbo said.

"Actually, he'll be coming by himself." I said. "Your nephew's already here."

"Frodo's already here? And Elrond didn't come get me?" Bilbo said, stopping.

"I think he's a little busy healing Frodo." I said, suddenly wondering if telling Bilbo this was a good idea.

"Healing Frodo? Whatever is wrong with the boy?" Bilbo asked curiously.

"His journey here wasn't exactly the smoothest." I replied cautiously.

"Oh dear. I should go see him." Bilbo said worriedly.

"He'll be fine, Bilbo." I said reassuringly, finishing my tea.

"Oh good." Bilbo said with a sigh of relief, then looked worried again. "But why didn't Gandalf come with him?"

"I wouldn't know." I lied.

"Oh dear, that is most distressing. I do hope Gandalf is alright." Bilbo said, worried once more.

"I think he can take care of himself." I said with a reassuring smile. The conversation quickly turned to other things, and Bilbo soon set to rambling on about his book and his journeys and the shire. It was actually all quite interesting, and I was sorry when Merenmir appeared again.

"Lord Elrond wants to see the Lady Erin." Merenmir said flatly, and I got up from the chair. I was nice and warm now, and took off the blanket and folded it up carefully before heading out after Ielenia. After a few turns, it suddenly occurred to me that I was still in my pajamas, and I tugged on Merenmir's sleeve. She stopped and looked back at me, not looking pleased.

"I don't suppose I could get a change of clothes?" I asked, and then motioned to my pajamas. "I'd prefer not to meet the lord of Rivendell in these." Merenmir eyed me.

"They look good enough to me." she said, and turned and headed off again. I shrugged. 'Oh well.' I thought as I followed Merenmir. 'Let's go see the lord of Rivendell in our pajamas then...'