Those Who Do Not Learn
Disclaimer: I do not own anything to do with Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. If I did, I would have a MUCH nice car.
The announcement was made early the next morning. The time had come for the elves to return the Middle Earth. Work began immediately. Weapon smiths resumed their art, the outlines of ships began to appear on the shoreline and gossip concerning the current state of Middle Earth became even more rampant. Elrohir and Ireth, as the last ones to have seen the land became the center of attention. A position they scorned. They became more and more withdrawn. Most days not even Elladan could find his twin.
Hermione stalked the stacks of the library. A small part of her mind entertained a bit of déjà vu of her student days at Hogwarts that the larger part quickly dismissed. She spent hours each day pouring over records and accounts of the last war. It was the last real record they had of Sauron. As far as anyone knew he was tied to the ring. And from the records, as well as her interviews with the Frodo and Sam, the ring was destroyed. There was no good explanation for anything that had happened.
She had said as much to Gandalf when he came across her one day.
"There rarely is a good explanation for evil in the world." He had told her. "And it often proves harder than we hope to defeat."
"Then why fight?" she asked.
"Because there is hope." He answered with a benevolent smile. He left again the next day.
Harry began to spend day after day sparring with who ever was available. Legolas, Elladan, Haldir anyone willing to pick up a sword soon found themselves being asked to duel. And he improved everyday. Hermione however found herself without Elrohir and Ireth, in the uncomfortable position of the only person able to aid him in wizard dueling. Elvish magic it seemed acted more on a grand scale rather than the small pointed hexes Harry was accustomed to hurling.
"You know, I really wonder how useful this is going to be once we get back." She said as she sat on the floor waiting for him to undo the binding curse he had sent at her legs.
"Never know. It's handy during a sword duel though. Wandless I mean."
"That's unethical, Harry."
"I know, Hermione. However, I doubt many of the people we're going to be fighting really care about ethics."
"This is true." She admitted." I just wish you wouldn't."
"I know." He unjinxed her legs and helped her to her feet. "Your research isn't going well, is it?"
"It would be going much better if those two would come out of hiding."
"There the only ones who might even have an inkling of what could be going on over there. Well, them and Gandalf. But I doubt anyone will approach him."
"I know I have no idea what they're thinking but…"
"I know. It'll all work out. It always does. One way or another."
Ireth knew about hiding in the forest. She had done it for centuries after their initial arrival. Especially now, with everyone preoccupied with preparations no one would look for them here.
She and Elrohir sat in the clearing, book and papers strewn about. They knew they had to be missing the one vital link that had turned Tom Riddle to the monster he had become. And they were determined to find it.
"I wonder how much trouble Dumbledore was in when Voldemort discover all these things had been stolen from the school." He put the book he was reading aside and looked to Ireth.
"Who know? He was probably in deep enough for not detecting the two elves on his staff." She looked up. "Or maybe we were wrong and all of this is completely useless." Ireth sighed. "I wish Harry hadn't destroyed that diary."
"I doubt that would have done any good. I have a feeling the change in him was so gradual not even he noticed it until it was too late. And even if it wasn't… I mean would he actually put that in his diary. Seriously, 'Dear, Diary, met an ancient, deposed evil overlord who promised me unimaginable power today. Also asked Minnie to the Yule ball hope she says yes.'"
She laughed at his impersonation. "I know it sounds absurd but something hopped to that boy. I know it."
"I don't think we'll ever know, Ireth." He paused. "Maybe it's time to throw in the towel?"
"Maybe. Maybe not. I'm not sure anymore."
"I think it is. We've hidden long enough. The fervor will have died down by now."
"No, it won't. It won't die down until we're all back in middle earth."
"I'm tired of hiding, Ireth. We've don it for too long."
"I know. You're right. Help me gather these things and we'll go."
Few noticed as the pair slipped back into the city. Ireth quickly found Hermione in the corner of the library she had commandeered.
"You never quit, do you?" Ireth dropped the bag of books she was carrying on the floor behind Hermione's chair.
She jumped and spun. "You're back."
"Obviously." She picked the book out of Hermione's hands. "This one is useless." She tossed it down on the table. "Actually all of them are. You can't research him, Hermione. No one can. Focus on now and stop trying to plan for something none of us can know."
"I can't. I have to try this. This is what I'm good at."
"I remember you being good at many things." she sighed. "But if you must… These will help, at least a bit. Maybe you can see something we couldn't." she indicated the bag on the floor. "We stole them from Hogwarts before we left."
"That must have been popular."
"We hid our tracks well. By the time they even noticed the books were gone, so were we."
Hermione nodded and studied the cluttered table before her. "You really think this is useless?"
"Yes. But if it makes you feel better that's what matters."
"Thank you. Where's Elrohir?"
"At least he'll have someone else to duel with now."
"That's what worries me. Harry won't beat him."
She bristled. "What do you mean? He's gotten even better since you two took to disappearing."
"Ro knows too much. About his life. Things to set him off. Harry will learn a lot dueling him but he won't win. Not for awhile anyway."
"Are you going to watch?"
"I'll come with you."
Hermione and Ireth weren't the only ones who chose to observe the forthcoming wizard duel. Elladan sat off to one corner with his mother and father, Legolas and the dwarf hung back near the trees that ringed the open space, even Gandalf paced the edges of the arena. Harry and Elrohir seemed oblivious to the spectators as the talked near the center. Elrohir gave and exasperated gesture and stalked toward Ireth and Hermione.
"What's wrong?" Ireth spread her dress around her as she sat in the grass.
"He won't do it. He says he can't duel me."
"He can't muster the will to attack me."
"But he can attack me?" Hermione plopped on the ground casting a slightly annoyed glare in the direction of her boyfriend who had moved to speak with Elrond.
Ireth thought for a moment. "Then you need to give him a form he can easily muster the will to attack."
A silent exchange passed between the pair and lights seemed to suddenly ignite with in Elrohir. "Ahhh. Yes, that might do it." He turned.
"Ro," she continued when he turned, "don't go easy on him. You have ammunition. Especially like that. He needs to be challenged. Lord knows He won't spare him."
Elrohir nodded and turned again away. He seemed to still completely for a moment before his form was engulfed in light. It peeled back revealing his transformed self.
Hermione gasped and unconsciously moved back.
"Now you see what I mean?" Ireth looked over at her.
Hermione was about to respond but the long unheard voice broke out across the arena.
"Stop stalling, Potter."
Harry spun at the call of his name and for the first time in almost 500 years came face to face with Severus Snape.
Comments, Criticisms, etc?
Yes, it has been a year since I last posted. It's been a not always so positive year. I've had two computers crash, a car totaled, lost a job, got a new job, restarted school after a semester off, changed schools and yeah… But here it is anyway. I have an outline of the rest of the story in my head and as soon as I get these ridiculous Doctor Who song fics out of my brain I'll write it. I'm not gonna promise a time but there will be more frequent updates now that I have a computer of my own working again.