Legolas Greenleaf, Agent of MESS, in

The Span of Solace

:::::::::::::::::::

Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction, therefore it never actually happened. Legolas and associated characters were created by JRR Tolkien. James Bond was created by Ian Fleming. Legolas' appearance belongs to Orlando Bloom in a wig.

Author's Notes: Well, here we go. Another story in the set. I have decided that I can now call it a series and make it sound all important. The 'Agent of MESS' series includes: 'Ringfinger', 'Kill Me Tomorrow', and 'You Only Live Forever'. If anyone wondered where the "weak nerves will be shredded by it" in the trailer came from, it's on the back of one of my copies of 'From Russia With Love'. I just couldn't resist.

To any new readers: MESS stands for the Middle Earth Secret Service. Legolas Greenleaf is a James Bond style secret agent, still set in the well- known world of Middle-earth. Reviews are always appreciated; the mind needs sustenance as much as the body. As in the Fleming novels, the hero is known by his last name (in this case Greenleaf).

Review replies for the last chapter of 'You Only Live Forever' are at the bottom.

:::::::::::::::::::

Chapter 1. The Last Homely House

It was mid-afternoon when Legolas Greenleaf and his friend Gimli the Dwarf arrived in Rivendell, the last Homely House. It was a place renowned for its hospitality to all the races of Middle-earth, no matter who they were (as long as they wiped their feet, of course). Its foods were well spoken of, its wines even more so, and its gambling halls frequented by many. The last time Greenleaf had visited Rivendell he had been following the wizard Saruman, who had been in pursuit of a ring in the possession of a hobbit. The ring had been part of the crime boss Sauron's plans, which had been, naturally, to take over Middle-earth. But Sauron was now dead –Greenleaf had seen to that- and the whole business was behind them now.

Since destroying Sauron and his regime –not to mention his volcano stronghold- Greenleaf and Gimli had made their way back from Mordor, taking their time and visiting several places along the way. They were both on Shadowfax's back as they rode into the courtyard. The time they had spent travelling had done wonders for making Gimli easier on the horse.

"Well, Gimli," said Greenleaf cheerfully, "what do you think of the place they call the second-most beautiful Elf home in Middle-earth?"

"It's all right," replied Gimli, feigning indifference, "got some nice stonework. If this is the second-most beautiful, where's the first?"

"Lothlórien, of course," answered Greenleaf, "but I didn't say that this is the second-most beautiful, only that they call it that."

"That could be a dangerous opinion while you are here," said Gimli. "So where, in your opinion, is the second-most beautiful Elf home in Middle- earth?"

Greenleaf grinned as he dismounted. "Mirkwood, of course." He gave Gimli a hand in getting down. "Though, obviously, I'm biased."

"You Wood-elves and your dratted trees," muttered Gimli, but he was prevented from continuing further in that vein by the arrival of two others into the courtyard where they stood.

"Legolas Greenleaf, is that you?" one of them asked, hands on his hips.

"You old reprobate," the other added, looking delighted all the same.

Greenleaf turned around, a broad smile on his face and his arms outstretched. "Elladan? Elrohir? You horrible pair, I didn't know you'd be here. I wouldn't have come if I'd known!"

"We do live here, you know," said one of the identical dark-haired Elves pointedly, "and you haven't been in touch recently, have you?"

"Since you blew up Orodruin, I believe," the other put in, "if U's rather vociferous complaints are accurate. Though I have to say, they usually are. Even the more alarming ones."

Elladan and Elrohir, the twin sons of Lord Elrond, came forward and greeted Greenleaf in the customary Elvish fashion, gripping his shoulders firmly. They were old friends, and their trust in each other was implicit.

"I haven't seen you two for rather a long time either," said Greenleaf, returning the gesture in kind.

"About eighty years, I think," commented Elrohir, "since that business with all those Dwarves and that hobbit. Oh, is this your Dwarf friend?" He smiled brightly at Gimli. "Very pleased to meet you."

"Did you two enjoy your –oh, how did G put it?" Elladan paused for a moment. "Oh yes, 'passionate leave'?"

"Compassionate leave, Elladan," his brother corrected him.

"That's what I meant." An odd look passed between the twins, one that Greenleaf couldn't, to his annoyance, read. Both were smirking slightly.

"Aragorn's around somewhere," said Elrohir, changing the subject, "I expect you'll be glad to know that he's much better."

"That's good." The last time Greenleaf had seen the man, Aragorn had been unconscious, held together with bandages. It lifted the worry from the Elf –though he realised with sudden guilt that Aragorn hadn't particularly been on his mind lately- to know that he was all right and obviously well enough to travel.

"Though if you want to see him," added Elladan, "you'll have to pry him away from our dear sister. He and Arwen have been quite inseparable since they arrived here, and no doubt before that. Rather surprising, really."

"Oh, not really," said Greenleaf, smiling smugly. "Is he around here anywhere?"

"Probably in the garden," answered Elrohir, "though you'll have to make some noise as you go, unless you wish to see a truly sickening sight."

"Arwen insists that Aragorn gets a walk on the garden everyday," said Elladan, "it's 'for his health'." He minced around mockingly, adopting a high-pitched voice. "He can't get ill again!"

"Why, Elladan," said Greenleaf, "you make such a charming lady. Do you not agree, Gimli?"

Gimli didn't say anything, though he chuckled a little.

"I'm sure you would be just as convincing," retorted Elladan, pouting a little.

"Probably depends on who's there to see," commented Elrohir, grinning.

Greenleaf frowned, eyeing them both. "What do you..." he began.

"Anyway," interrupted Elrohir, "you should go and find Aragorn. He'll be glad to see you."

"And father simply demanded that he gets to check you over the instant you arrive," said Elladan, "the comment he used was that he 'knows what you're like'. Can't think what he means."

"No idea," said Greenleaf, while knowing exactly the reason. "Come on, Gimli, let's find Aragorn. We'll see you two later, I suppose. It's probably quite hard to avoid round here."

"Still the comedian then," said Elrohir.

"Without the appreciative audience," added Elladan, "though you will keep trying.

Greenleaf gave them both a mock slap round the head. "And you two are ever my critics," he said. "Now go and find someone else to annoy."

"Well, if that's the way you feel," said Elladan, sticking his nose in the air, "then we'll take our sparkling conversation elsewhere. Let's go, Elrohir."

He took his brother's arm and they stalked off, pretending to be completely disgusted. Greenleaf watched them go with a grin then began to walk towards the gardens.

"What an interesting pair," said Gimli, walking beside him.

"That's a good word for them," said Greenleaf, "but don't be fooled. They're deadly when needed."

"Are they part of this," Gimli looked around furtively, "Service?"

"Yes," replied Greenleaf, "and damn good at it too. They're part of the Rivendell branch, headed by Lord Elrond, who's also their father."

"Quite the family affair," commented Gimli.

"Well," said Greenleaf with a grin, "Lord Elrond is actually G's son-in- law, and Arwen is, as you may have guessed, his daughter. Even Aragorn is distantly related."

"And he and Arwen are..."

"Very distantly related," emphasised Greenleaf, "very. Hardly related at all. Not to mention the age difference."

"The age difference?" asked Gimli.

"I told you not to mention that," said Greenleaf, "but as you have, I'll just say that it's pretty huge."

Gimli laughed, and then looked thoughtful. "If it's such a family business, how come you're involved?" he asked. "I mean, you're not from either of these places."

"I enjoy it," replied Greenleaf, a little evasively, "and partly, I have to admit, because my father hates me doing it."

"I'd have thought he'd be proud."

"Not that he tells me. I don't think he approves of my mixing with all these Noldor, let alone not staying in Mirkwood and being the dutiful son. But it doesn't matter."

"Really?" asked Gimli.

"Yes, really," snapped Greenleaf. There was a brief silence. "Honestly," he continued, "it doesn't matter. But here, we've reached the gardens."

"And that looks like a familiar pair over there," said Gimli, pointing ahead.

"Indeed it is," said Greenleaf, and a smile spread over his face. "We'll have to follow Elrohir's advice, I think."

"The advice about making some noise?" asked Gimli.

"That's the one. Know any good songs?" Greenleaf pulled a face. "Preferably not one about gold."

"Hmm." Gimli paused, then smiled. "Heigh ho, heigh ho," he began, "it's on our way we go..."

"With forty whacks from a big sharp axe," Greenleaf joined in, having heard the song many times by now, "heigh ho, heigh ho..."

Their singing had the desired effect. Aragorn and Arwen sprang apart, surprised by their unexpected visitors.

"Legolas!" exclaimed Aragorn. "I'm so glad to see you!" He threw his arms around the Elf.

Greenleaf was surprised, but hugged him back anyway. "I'm glad to see you back on your feet," he said.

"We were so worried about you," said Arwen, after Aragorn had let Greenleaf go. "We knew you were alive, but you didn't get in touch." Her tone carried a faint rebuke.

Greenleaf laughed. "We were having too much fun," he said.

Arwen raised an eyebrow. "So we heard."

"Now, dear," Aragorn shushed her. "Congratulations on defeating Sauron, both of you."

Greenleaf looked at Gimli, and they both grinned.

"It was nothing," said Greenleaf.

"Well, almost nothing," said Gimli, "obviously, we could do it all again easily."

"Oh, obviously," said Aragorn, smiling, "I wouldn't dream of suggesting otherwise."

"I hate to break up the reunion," said Arwen, "but father insisted that you be sent to see him the moment you arrive."

"Yes, your brothers already said."

"Then why," asked Arwen, "are you still here?"

Greenleaf took her hand. "I had to see you first, 'Star, of course," he said, kissing it gallantly.

"Flatterer," she muttered, though she seemed pleased. "But off you go."

"We'll go with Gimli and find you some rooms," said Aragorn. "Lord Elrond's in his study."

"I have to go alone?" asked Greenleaf, eyes widening comically.

"He specified you," replied Aragorn. He patted Greenleaf's shoulder. "It was nice knowing you."

"Thanks for the support," said Greenleaf dryly. "I'll see you later."

"If you survive," said Aragorn, grinning all over his face.

Greenleaf pulled a face at him and went off to find Lord Elrond. He had known that this would have to happen, of course. It was part of being in the Service; you were meant to be answerable at all times. And he knew that there would have to be some reprisal, being as he had been out of contact for two months. But, damn it, he'd been in the Service long enough to deserve some leave. It wasn't as if he had just taken off when they needed him. He had just, along with Gimli, defeated Sauron for crying out loud! If there was anytime that he deserved leave then it was after a job like that. What was the worst they could do anyway? Fire him? They wouldn't dare.

The door of Lord Elrond's study was closed. Greenleaf studied the wood for a moment, took a few deep breaths then raised his hand and knocked on it.

"Enter," came the voice from within.

Greenleaf pushed the door open and stepped inside, shutting it behind him. Elrond was sitting behind his desk, a pen in his hand.

"Legolas Greenleaf," he said slowly, "what a pleasant surprise. We were all wondering when you'd turn up."

Greenleaf smiled but said nothing. He felt more than a little nervous.

Elrond put down his pen. "Well, you succeeded in your mission, so I believe some congratulations are in order."

"It was Gimli as well," said Greenleaf, grateful for the topic.

"Of course," said Elrond, "though we were concerned for you when you didn't get in touch."

Oh, here we go, Greenleaf thought. His hands, held behind his back, clenched involuntarily.

"You could at least have got the palantír out once," Elrond continued, his tone a little lecturing, "U tried to get in touch, but the stone was still in the bag."

"Didn't think of it," muttered Greenleaf, trying to be vaguely apologetic.

"I'm sure," said Elrond. "I hope you're aware that we could have wasted time and effort searching for you."

"But you didn't," Greenleaf pointed out, perfectly politely.

"No, but we easily could have done." Elrond's expression was severe, mouth tight and eyebrows drawn downwards.

"You know you don't need to."

"Hmm." Milk would have soured fast enough to break the sound barrier under the Elf Lord's gaze. "Luckily for you, her Ladyship has decided to be more lenient than I would be. She received the plans that you sent and has decided the time you have taken off as leave."

Inwardly, Greenleaf sighed in relief. Outwardly, he was calm. Thank goodness for G, he thought. Though he was sure there would be some form of tongue-wagging when he returned to Lothlórien as well.

"Still," Elrond went on, "I'm sure you sustained some form of injury. You usually do. I can see the one on your cheek from here."

"Yes," admitted Greenleaf, "but they're mostly all healed now."

"Let me see them," ordered Elrond, standing from his chair.

Grumbling, Greenleaf obliged, removing his tunic. He stood, bare-chested, as Elrond walked around him in examination. Pale, still healing cuts marked the Elf's upper body and arms, along with other scars. Dark, shiny patches indicated burns. One peculiarly shaped cut caught Elrond's attention and he ran a finger along it. Greenleaf tensed.

"A curious scar," commented Elrond, "shaped like a hand. How did you come by it?"

"Saruman," replied Greenleaf. "That wizard has an odd sense of humour."

"Saruman? But I though he was..."

"Dead," Greenleaf finished. "Yes, I was sure he was too, but he wasn't. Should be by now though."

"When were you planning to tell me?" asked Elrond.

"It's all in the report I've written," said Greenleaf, "which I will, of course, allow you to read before taking it on to Lórien. Basically, Saruman escaped Isengard and turned up in Mordor."

"Oh dear," said Elrond, "as long as he's dead now, I suppose." He went to sit behind his desk again. "Do get dressed. Now, there is another matter."

"There is?" asked Greenleaf, surprised.

"Yes," answered Elrond slowly, steepling his hands before him. He seemed fairly embarrassed. "Well, the thing is, there's the matter of..." His voice died away.

"Of what?" asked Greenleaf, watching Elrond curiously.

The Elf Lord took a deep breath and said what he had to in one quick burst. "It's the matter of the Dwarf."

"Gimli?" He's a very good friend." Greenleaf wondered what Elrond wanted. Surely it couldn't be that Elrond was, for want of a better word, Dwarfist. "What of him?"

"How are you, uh, getting on with him?" There was no denying it, Elrond was nervous of asking the question.

"Fine," answered Greenleaf, "he's quite charming for a Dwarf really."

"Charming? Oh good, good." Elrond gave a little cough.

"Why do you ask?" questioned Greenleaf, now very interested to know what Elrond was so embarrassed about. He was also amused by the idea of making the Elf Lord squirm.

"Nothing, nothing," said Elrond, "just, um, making sure." He picked up his pen and fiddled with it. "Anyway, I'll see you at dinner, yes?" It was a clear dismissal.

"Of course," said Greenleaf, opening the door. He shut it again behind him and walked up the corridor. That had gone rather better than he had feared. Not much more than a slap on the wrist really. But there was also the question of what Elrond had wanted to say at the end. The Elf Lord had seemed apprehensive of the subject. He couldn't just have been worried about Greenleaf's friendship with Gimli, could he? After all, even Greenleaf had got over Gimli's Dwarvishness eventually. And as far as he knew, Elrond quite liked Dwarves.

Aragorn came down the corridor from the other direction. When he saw Greenleaf, he flung out his arms and put on an expression of mock surprise.

"You're alive!" he exclaimed overdramatically.

"By the skin of my teeth," said Greenleaf, playing along, "he nearly had me but I just managed to wriggle out in time. Couldn't have been done by a lesser being, I assure you."

They both looked at each other for a moment, and then laughed.

"Seriously though," said Aragorn eventually. "How did it go?"

Greenleaf shrugged. "Not too bad. I think I have G to thank for still being alive. And Lord Elrond was being most," he paused, "odd at the end."

"Odd?" questioned Aragorn.

"Yes," replied Greenleaf, "asking about Gimli and then, I think, not quite asking what he really wanted to." He sighed. "I mean, I thought he quite liked Dwarves, or at least doesn't mind them."

"He likes them," said Aragorn, looking away, "but he wouldn't go to bed with one."

"Nor would I," declared Greenleaf.

The man said nothing, fidgeting with his fingers.

"Aragorn?" Greenleaf stared at him, eyes narrowed. "Aragorn, what is on your mind?"

"Nothing, nothing," said Aragorn, "nothing at all, I promise you."

Greenleaf took a quick look around. The corridor was empty. With speed he grabbed Aragorn's shoulders and pinned him against the wall. He pushed his face right up against the man's.

"What is it?" he asked. When there was no response, he continued. "Do you want to know what I will do to you if you don't tell me?"

Still nothing. Greenleaf cast around for a suitable threat.

"I'll get Elladan and Elrohir to help me," he promised. It seemed a horrific enough idea. Aragorn's horrified face proved that it was.

"Well, it's about you," said Aragorn reluctantly, "and the Dw- Gimli."

"Go on," said Greenleaf, raising and eyebrow, "I had deduced that much."

"And I thou- that is to say, we thought that you two were, well, you know..."

"What?" prompted Greenleaf.

"Well, lovers," said Aragorn in a whisper, embarrassed to say it.

Greenleaf stared at him incredulously, unsure whether to be furious or laugh. "How so?" he asked disbelieving.

"Well, you know," began Aragorn.

"No, I don't," Greenleaf cut him off, "tell me."

"When U tried to contact you after Orodruin went up," explained Aragorn nervously, "you'd left the palantír in the bag, but we could hear, um, sounds."

"What sounds?" asked Greenleaf, still gripping the man's shoulders.

"Uh, screams and moans generally." Aragorn tried to look away from the Elf's face but at that distance it was impossible. "And the occasional cry of 'oh, Gimli!'"

Greenleaf stared at him, thinking furiously. When the answer finally came to him, he released Aragorn in order to laugh.

"Oh, Valar," he gasped, almost bent double.

"It wasn't that funny!" said Aragorn. "I didn't know where to look! And I had to explain it to Arwen afterwards."

"Explain what? Oh Aragorn, you are a priceless fool, you all are! Gimli was putting my shoulder back in its socket after it was dislocated. We weren't –oh, as if I would! The mere thought of it!"

"So you're not...?" Aragorn leaned against the wall. "Oh dear."

Greenleaf stopped laughing as something suddenly occurred to him. "That's what the twins were on about earlier. Aragorn...?

Aragorn saw the question coming. "You know how word gets around," he said carefully.

"Splendid. So now half of Rivendell thinks I'm carrying on with a Dwarf."

"Half's such a relative term." Aragorn saw Greenleaf's face darken and decided to change the subject a little. "No wonder Gimli was confused when the twins offered you two a double room."

"They did what?"

"It's all right," Aragorn placated him, "in the end they settled on adjoining rooms with a door between them." He smiled brightly.

"Aragorn," said Greenleaf, putting his arm around the man's shoulders in a gesture that was a bit less than friendly, "you are going to explain, clearly and precisely, to those two exactly how they are wrong."

Aragorn found it safest to agree.

"And there will be nothing, I repeat, nothing that they can misconstrue. Do you get me?"

"Clear as anything," said Aragorn, praying to the Valar for strength.

"And then," continued Greenleaf, smiling unkindly, "you will make sure that everyone else in Rivendell understands. Understood?"

"Absolutely." Aragorn nodded, while his heart sank.

"And," Greenleaf went on, "you can get on the palantír to U and explain it to him, right?"

"As rain," agreed Aragorn, whose heart now felt as if it was in his boots.

"And finally," concluded Greenleaf (while Aragorn's heart went through the floor), "you can find me some wine. I'm dying for a drink."

:::::::::::::::::::

Dinner was an interesting affair. The twins had been informed of the mistake, but that didn't stop them giving Greenleaf and Gimli suggestive looks. Lord Elrond seemed intensely relieved and was being particularly courteous to Gimli. Greenleaf had explained everything to the Dwarf, and once he had got over the shock they had laughed themselves stupid. Greenleaf was quite glad of Gimli's sense of humour, which eased the situation somewhat. They sat side by side now at the table.

Aragorn sat on the other side of the Elf, still rather nervous. Many of the occupants of Rivendell still believed Greenleaf and Gimli to be more than friends, and there were rather a few heads turning and whispers going on. Even some of the guests seemed to have heard the rumour, to Greenleaf's chagrin.

"That's a nice scar you've got on your cheek, Legolas," said Elrohir, distracting Greenleaf from the mutters. "New, isn't it?"

"It's fading," said Greenleaf, more to reassure himself. He knew it would be there for a long time. "But you're right. Saruman decided on some cosmetic improvement." He tossed his head mockingly. "He must have been jealous."

Normally such a comment about his looks would have earned Greenleaf scathing comments, but this time it didn't. Elladan, Elrohir and Aragorn were all staring at him open-mouthed.

"Saruman?" Elladan managed to ask eventually.

"But we left him under the water in Isengard," protested Aragorn, "you said you'd cut his throat."

"I did," said Greenleaf, a little defensively, "but he survived. It did wonders for making him angry though, as I found out so charmingly in Mordor."

"Well, I hope he's dead now," commented Elladan, once he'd got over the surprise.

"I can't see how he would have survived," said Gimli gruffly, "should have been blown to smithereens."

"Or smothered in boiling lava," said Greenleaf, smiling.

"You seem remarkably pleased about that," said Elrohir.

"Almost sadistically so," added Elladan.

"I have reason to be," said Greenleaf. "Anyway," he continued, changing the subject and looking down the table, "do we have any interesting guests?"

"Not really," answered Elrohir, "just the usual gamblers mostly."

"That's something that puzzles me," said Gimli. He was growing more comfortable with the presence of so many Elves.

"What's that?" asked Elrohir.

"Well, the gambling halls," said Gimli, "it's just not quite in the image of Elven halls. Sounds a bit seedy for them."

"Seedy?" asked Elladan in mock indignation.

"I know what you mean," put in Greenleaf, cuffing Elladan playfully on the head, "they sound as if they'd be out of place."

Aragorn took it upon himself to explain. Greenleaf was too busy ducking a retaliatory blow from Elladan, and Elrohir was too busy laughing at them.

"Lord Elrond keeps a close eye on the gambling," said Aragorn, "rather helped by having second sight, I think. But it's all kept regulated. It's the idea that if you ban it then it'll only go underground. It's better if it's in sight. Besides, you can find out a lot from the gamblers."

"I caught the trail of Saruman and the ring here," said Greenleaf.

"Legolas, please," interrupted Elrond from the head of the table, "don't talk business at the dinner table. And certainly not with your mouth full."

Greenleaf put on a chastened expression while the twins and Aragorn laughed.

Gimli grinned. "Real family atmosphere in this line of work," he commented.

Greenleaf smirked. It was good to be back among friends and he was determined to enjoy it as long as possible. Eventually he would have to go back to Lothlórien and get back to work, but he figured on at least two more weeks of holiday before that.

As it was, he had two days of quiet before things started to happen.

:::::::::::::::::::

Review replies: theinklesspen: well, I didn't do many hints for the Nazgûl. They are rather fun though. Hope you enjoyed this chapter!

immortalwizardpirateelf-fan: wow, a new reader! Yay! Glad you've enjoyed them. Your name is very interesting, by the way. Unsurprisingly, my spell check hates it. Gah, computers, eh?

Nemo Returning: what makes you think Saruman's coming back. He was about to be blown to bits, wasn't he?

Idlewild: yeah, I can't stand the other Bond stuff. Raymond Benson's not bad, but whatsisface, the one who wrote Goldeneye was rubbish. I'm glad I got the action to work, I've never been too sure on that.