A/N: bows head in shame We are very sorry about this biiiiiiiig delay but, as ever, RL got in the way. I can't believe how fast my first year at uni has gone, I've been busy, and been finding it hard to find a chance to ring my brother and do some writing. That, combined with my brother's computer not having an internet connection for a long time (months), meant that things have been moving slowly. Hopefully it'll pick up soon.
Disclaimer: I do not own Legolas' rights, but his body is mine.
Chapter 13: Aragorn, Legolas and the Other One
The Fellowship handed their horses over to the live-stock maintenance personnel (stable boys) and Legolas lead them directly to his father's throne room. Outside the doors to the great throne room, two guards sat playing cards.
"Ha! I win. I have the Blue Eyes White Dragon; nothing can beat that!"
"Think again," said the other guard, slamming another card down. "I have… THE ACE OF SPADES!! THE ACE OF SPADES!!!" The guards watching took a gasp of breath.
Legolas cleared his throat and the doors opened. He leaned over to Gimli, "Sometimes you have to let these hardwoods know who's boss."
They marched in with Legolas at their head. "It is I; Prince Legolas of Mirkwood."
King Thranduil rushed forward to embrace his son. "How was Lord Elrond's Party, my son?"
"Oh the usual; food, wine, dancing, poisoning, music."
"That Elrond, he really knows how to make a celebration memorable. Word has reached me that you are on quest. How's that going?"
"Better then usual," put in Aragorn.
"I died three times. The last was the best: I don't think I've ever died in such an interesting way."
Thranduil gave a short bark of laughter. "That's my boy, always getting into trouble. Speaking of which, I think we should all move three paces to the left." As they did this, a chandelier came crashing down.
"Come say hello to your mother, she missed you."
They walked over to the throne, beside which a beautiful elf maiden was sewing.
"Hello mother," said Legolas.
"Ah, there you are; hold this please." She handed Legolas the end of the thread. "I didn't see you at breakfast this morning. Haven't I told you that it's not right for a young elf like yourself to lie in all morning?" She took the thread back.
"Nana, I've been on a quest with my friends. I've been away for a month."
His mother looked up in surprise. "You have?" His mother then looked thoughtful, "Now that I think about it, there has been a lack of fan-girls around here recently."
"Nana, why do you have to embarrass me in front of my mellon?"
"Don't answer back, and why do you put in random words in Elvish like that? Why don't you use one language or the other? Honestly, you sound like an anime theme song." She paused, rearranging the folds of the balrog plushie she was sowing. "I don't suppose you got permission from your father to go gallivanting off like that."
Thranduil stepped in. "Actually, I was the one who sent him to Imladris as my envoy."
She looked at them both, scowling. "And why exactly was I not consulted about this? You two are as bad as each other."
Gandalf strolled into the largest of the guest rooms in the palace of the Woodland King and placed his saddle on a coffee table of solid crystal with craved gold legs. Sighing, he poured himself a gin and tonic from the extensive mini-bar and sat down on the enormous king-size bed.
At that moment, Frodo came out of the enormous walk-in wardrobe. "Oi! What are you doing here? This is my room."
"Not any more. I'm commandeering this room as the most senior member of the Fellowship."
"I called bagsy on this room; it's the biggest one."
"And therefore should belong to me."
"You don't outrank me. I'm at least as heroic as you."
"Ok, how many balrogs have you single-handedly defeated?"
Grumbling, Frodo retrieved his possessions and wandered out.
In the corridor he paused, and then walked into the next biggest room.
"Get out Pip, this is my room. I'm the highest ranking of the hobbits."
"Says who?" retorted Pippin.
Frodo took on a smug expression. "How many Rings of Power have you destroyed?"
Pippin thought for quite a long time. "There was that … no, that was a horse shoe, wasn't it?"
Frodo interrupted, "Let me help you out; the answer is none. Now get out."
Pippin sighed and took his bags out into the corridor. He thought about finding a vacant room, but there was a door right next to his so he walked in there instead. Inside, he found Aragorn striding back and forth. No one strides like Strider.
"I hate to interrupt your striding, but I want this room."
Aragorn looked puzzled. "Why can't I have this room?"
"How many Witch Kings have you killed?"
"I beheaded the Mouth of Sauron."
"Was he a Witch King?"
"No," Aragorn hung his head in shame.
"Well, there you go."
"What I am supposed to do now?"
"Go throw someone else out of their room."
Strider strode purposefully out of his room, down the corridor and into the next room.
"Lord Kanolhachkirraukoturgilarsergedhelthalion, I demand that you vacate this room for me."
Lord Kanolhachkirraukoturgilarsergedhelthalion looked up for his glass of red wine and raised a graceful eyebrow. "How so? My achievements rank above yours."
"Ok, how many armies of Sauron have you defeated at the gates of Mordor?"
"Three," answered Lord Kanolhachkirraukoturgilarsergedhelthalion in a heartbeat.
Aragorn's face fell. "Really?"
Aragorn looked sceptical. "Whole armies?"
"At the gates of Mordor?"
"Oh, ok then." Aragorn slunk out of the room.
Lord Kanolhachkirraukoturgilarsergedhelthalion returned to his wine. "Idiot."
Merry and Pippin wandered into the library.
"Remind me again, Pip: Why exactly are we here?"
"Oh, there are many theories about that." Pippin plucked a book from the shelves. "Some philosophers believe that the existence of life is blind cosmic chance, a random association of chemicals. Others state that there is some higher purpose, possibly dictated by one deity or another."
Merry watched him. "Remind me again, Pip: why are we exactly here?"
"I like books."
"No Pippin, you like food."
"Food, books. They're both the same. You can eat them both, except you can't eat books. Well, apart from that you can eat them both."
"Look cousin, you clearly have no interest or understanding of books."
"I do so."
"So why are you illustrating philosophical points with a cook book?"
Pippin looked smug. "Because life is like a box of chocolates."
A roar of rage was heard behind them and Pippin turned to see the point of a wizard's staff striking his forehead.
"Fool of a Took," he said, as usual. "King Thranduil has been known to torture men for lesser crimes against humour than that."
"How long have you been watching us?" asked Pippin, rubbing his forehead.
"I have been watching you since you first entered the library." Nobody Ganders like Gandalf.
Meanwhile on the other side of the library, Aragorn and Legolas were searching for a book on their journey ahead.
"You must know this library very well, Legolas," Aragorn said.
"Well actually, no," Legolas replied. "I was too busy assembling plastic bricks into vast complexes of buildings and shapes." No one does Lego like Legolas.
"That would explain why we're looking for detailed maps in the pop-up book section."
"Now hold on," Legolas said defensively, "Some of these books are very informative. Take this one, for instance. Observe: monkey comes out, monkey goes in. Monkey comes out, monkey goes in."
Gimli waddled down the aisle, a rolled-up scroll in hand. "I've found what were looking for," he announced, unrolling the map to show them.
"You're absolutely right," Aragorn exclaimed, "This is remarkable! Monkey comes out, monkey goes in."
"Aragorn! Legolas! I've found the scroll!"
"Let's see what's on the next page," Aragorn said excitedly. "Oh wow, a TIGER, pouncing on a rabbit!"
Gimli toddled over to Boromir. "Why won't my friends' listen to me?" he complained.
From along the row, they heard Legolas say, "It is good to have a companion with whom I can share these interests."
Aragorn laid a hand on Legolas' shoulder. "Indeed, my mellon. Now, let us see what is on the next page."
Boromir turned to look at Gimli. "If you're not using that map, do you mind if I look at it?"
Gimli handed the map over. After all, no one borrows like Boromir."
A large crowd of elflings were gathered in a woodland clearing, listening to Samwise Gamgee describing his inspirational life tale. Each one drew something from the story to use in their own life and went away the better for it. No one's wise like Samwise.
As the elflings were getting up to leave, Frodo came over to Sam. "I'm inspired, Sam. You really have a lot of insight. There is more depth to you than one might think."
Sam smiled with quiet pride. "You know, Master Frodo, some say that I'm the main character of the trilogy."
Frodo laughed gaily (no, not that gaily!). "Oh yes Sam, but we both know that those people are idiots."
Sam's smile became strained and he cast about for something to hide his dismay. "Look, one of those little elflings left his generic mystical object (G.M.O.) behind."
Frodo dashed forward, "Hey kid! Catch!" The G.M.O. soared through the air, arching gracefully into the hands of the young elf. A blast of applause rang out afterwards; no one throws like Frodo.
Having forgotten whatever it was that they were doing earlier, Marry and Pippin had returned to their natural habitat; the kitchen. Pippin was eating a bunch of grapes, while Merry was drinking grapes of the fermented variety.
"How are your fermented grapes, Merry?"
"Wonderful, hic, they taste surprisingly like wine. Do you know what else is wonderful?" He made a sweeping gesture that almost knocked a cook into a pot of stew he was stirring/ "EVERYTHIG!!" he cried, grinning foolishly. No one gets Merry like Merry.
The cook turned around. "What the Fstar are you still doing in my kitchen? I told you to make yourself b star star star star star useful, or get the F star star star out of my kitchen. I'm a famous chief and I'm far too F-many-stars busy to deal with this c star star star."
For a moment Merry looked totally confused, but his expression soon cleared. On an impulse he reached out and grabbed the chef's nose. "You have a squashy face," he said delightedly.
The chef roughly pushed him away, shook his head and went off to bully his subordinates.
Merry's ever-mobile face registered dismay, and tears welled up in his big hobbit eyes. Pippin leaned over to console him. "Don't worry Merry; I'll get back at him." Pippin sized up the layout of the room in a couple glances, then three grape seeds shot out of his mouth in quick succession, ricocheting off pans, ladles and forks. They struck the arrogant bastard in the back of the neck. No one spits pips like Pippin. The two friends grinned at each other and made good their escape, arms laden with food and drink.
At the end of the day, the Fellowship came to the great hall to meet with the wisest men in the Woodland Kingdom. Merry and Pippin tried to get the meeting off to a positive start by saying how wonderful it was to have a meeting on the swaying deck of a boat, and indeed how wonderful everything was. Merry added that it was nice that so many Boromirs could make it and would anyone like some fermented grape juice. They were then dismissed to a corner to giggle in private.
"I have been informed that today some of you searched our library for useful information," said King Thranduil. "Did you find anything?"
"Indeed," began Legolas, "We found this tome containing the secret of eternal happiness. Observe: monkey comes out, monkey goes in, monkey comes out, monkey goes in."
Thranduil nodded uncertainly, "Riiiiight. Anything else?"
"There is this map," offered Boromir.
"Most excellent, Boromir," said Frodo. "Well done."
"It was me…" Gimli piped up.
An elf interrupted. "Indeed, this Boromir is skilled at searching our libraries."
Thranduil nodded. "Yes this will be prefect for your quest." Thranduil turned to his son. "Indeed you have good human friends."
"But none better then my muindor nin, Aragorn son of Arathorn," Legolas stood up to address the entire hall. "Today in a game of basketball, the two of us stood and defeated a team of Mirkwood's finest warriors. The score was 22-70."
"You mean the three of us," suggested Gimli.
"You were there?" Aragorn looked blank.
"Yes, I scored 50 points. Without me, you wouldn't have won! None of the elves could stoop low enough to get the ball from me."
Aragorn shrugged, "Whatever." Then Aragorn turned back to Thranduil. "We finished the day by fashioning a barge, from the finest timber that the Woodland Kingdom has to offer. When we leave here four nights hence, it will carry us down the river in safety and comfort. The design and engineering were the handy work of a fine Silvan elf ship master."
"That was me," cried Gimli.
Legolas looked unsure, "Was it? It was? Are you sure?"
"Doesn't sound right," Aragorn said to Gandalf.
"Yes look; this is my handwriting," he said unfurling detailed schematics and accompanying notes. "I even added step-by-step instructions, so they couldn't get it wrong. See here; 'Insert Tab A into Slot B.'"
Merry patted him on the head. "Yes Gimli, it's a very nice drawing. It looks just like the barge that Aragorn and Legolas made all by themselves."
Gimli glared at Merry. "Get back to your corner!"
Thranduil stood and addressed the gathering. "With co-operation like this, I have no doubt that the adventures of Aragorn and Legolas will continue for many a year."
"What about me?" Gimli asked plaintively.
"Well, Aragorn, Legolas and erm…." he waved a regal hand in the air, searching for the right word, "the other one?"
End of chapter 13.