And the disclaimer you will only ever see once in my fics... I don't own anything anyone else does, ja?

A/N - This might seem something like a parody, but it isn't really... Leastwise, not too much. I'm not even poking fun! Even a little bit! ... Yet. See, I'm a twisted person. I have very twisted ideas and tastes. All my stories seem to revolve around taking a common idea or plot, and... altering it.

For Verteri Lunum, whose cookies have fueled this story from when it was first hatched in the evil workshop known as my mind...

That was a hint, Ver.

--Chapter 1: In which the scene is set, bad words are said, and Pippin discovers the value of expediency---

The elven boats cut effortlessly through the waters, leaving Aragorn free to watch the shadowed trees along the banks. No sign of orcs, but an unwary ranger was soon a dead ranger.

He dipped the paddle, steering the craft back to the center of the river. Looking again to the trees, he spotted something odd ahead, in the shallows.

"Legolas," he called softly, "What doyour elven eyes make of that?" He nodded towards the shape.

Legolas stood, peering intently ahead. "A body of some sort. Alive or not, I cannot tell."

Aragorn angled his craft toward the shallows, and the body. A moment later, the current brought him abreast of it. Stilling the boat with an oar, Aragorn leaned over to examine the body. "Still breathing," he commented, taking in the short, very bright red hair, and loose-fitting canvas leggings. The unfortunate person was lying on his stomach, half out of the water, like he had dragged himself partway out and collapsed.

Aragorn leaned closer, trying to identify the strange clothing. Short boots, of a style he'd never seen, with thick, lumpy soles. Excellent for traction, he noted. The pants wre of a heavy canvas, dark grey with numerous pockets of varing shapes and sizes, and cinched around the waist with a grommeted cloth belt. The shirt was similar to a sleeveless tunic, tucked into the... He started, noting the bulge at the chest. His eyes traced upwards to the line of the jaw.

"A woman," he mused aloud. Behind him, Sam gasped in startlement.

Boromir and Legolas had landed their boats, and now Boromir knelt next to the woman. "From where, and how, I have to wonder." He carefully turned her on her back. "She doesn't seem injured, except for bruises," he called to Aragorn, "But I've never seen hair, or clothing, like this before."

"A Lady of a far-off, exotic land, maybe!" exclaimed Pippin.

"Hardly," snorted Boromir, "She's too muscular to be a lady, and I warrant the darkness of her skin is of the sun, not her land."

"And niether weathered enough, nor strong enough to be a farmer or such hearabouts." Aragorn said as he pulled his craft onto the bank.

"What is she, than?" asked Merry.

"A merchant's daughter, perhaps. Merchant families sometimes travel far." Boromir grinned at Aragron. "Sometimes even farther than rangers, aye?"

"We will discover little more until she awakes," said Aragorn, ignoring Boromir, "It nears sundown now, and this place is as good a camp as any."

-!-

Twilight fell before their newly-aquired quest awoke. Legolas knelt next to her as she blinked awake, wrapped in Boromir's cloak.

"Are you feeling..." He was cut off by her scrambling back, yelling.

"Get the hell away from me, bastered!" She fought with the cloak before kicking loose and scrambling to her feet. "You lay one finger on me, pervert, and I'll kill you!"

"Ye gods, she's crazy!"

"Nay." Aragorn raised his hands, trying to calm her. "She's merely confused." He stepped towards her speaking quietly, like one would to a spooked horse. "You're safe here, we have no wish to harm you..."

"Bullshit!" She shrieked, and pulled something from a pocket, roughly a handsbreath long, and brandished it like a weapon. "Don't come closer, or I'll gut you!" A snickt, and the little object had a blade comming out of one end.

"Easy, you've taken a hit to the head and are just a bit confused. Just sit down and eat something, and we'll see no harm comes to you."

"Eat something?! Is that it? You're going to try to drug me, asshole! You want me, come and get me," she snarled, waving her knife.

Boromir came to his feet. "Easy, girl," he said as she whirled to face him, "Sit down before you hurt yourself."

"Jackass!" she shrieked as Boromir ducked an inexpert slash at his face.

Aragorn stepped forward, meaning to grab the knife, but she jumped out of the way.

"Don't want to hurt me, huh?! You son-of-a..." She stopped and slumped to the ground without any futher obscenities.

Everyone turned to stare at the source of the hobbit-thrown rock.

"What?" asked Pippin.

---------------------------

A/N- Theresies. I hate scene setting for this kind of fic, but unfortunatly, it's kinda required. I'd lose everyone, elsewise. Set in the middle of the trip down that one river that I'm to lazy to look up, before Frodo runs off, obviously. I claim innocent on all spelling errors... I have no spellchecker on my computer, and I'm to damn lazy to screw with the internet ones... most of them suck, anyway. More entertaining stuff later, a plot begins to develop(!), and less obscene language.