A/N: This is merely a commonly used plot bunny that involves certain persons exchanging minds with other persons. Therefore, we will not claim that this story "has it all," so to speak, because it certainly hasn't. In other words, it is a bit of insanity that some may find amusing, others not so much. Read at your own risk! (Moreover, please don't complain to us if you don't like it. We warned you!) Thank-you for reading. Oh, and in order to avoid confusion in the case of a person who has changed with someone else, he will be referred to as such: for example, when we say "Legolas/Gimli," we mean that it is Legolas in Gimli's body. It's still exceedingly confusing. Thank-you for bearing with us (We hope).
Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Exchanged Minds
Aranel & Encaitarë; 2006-2010
Setting: Lothlórien, during the Quest to destroy the Ring, meaning NO Gandalf
Background: After the Fellowship's first meeting with Galadriel. They had been arguing vehemently about trivial matters, and the Lady was not impressed.
In the early hours of the morning, Legolas roused with a start. Glancing around uneasily without sitting up, he noted that the rest of the Fellowship still appeared to be resting peacefully, nestled amongst large piles of delicately woven blankets and soft pillows, in their designated sleeping area of the forest city of Lothlórien. Gimli seemed to have ceased his perpetual, loud, obnoxious snoring, something that, in other circumstances, would have been a cause for concern, but the elf found himself strangely groggy and decided to overlook Gimli's idiosyncrasy. Legolas tried settling, attempting to relax again, but something troubled him still. At a fearful instinct, he quickly raised his hand to feel his face and nearly cried out in alarm. He realized, to his horror, that he had a thick, braided beard trailing down his chest! Looking down, his terror intensified as he saw a stocky, short, dwarfish body dressed in Gimli's familiar armor.
"Noooo!" the former elf cried, rousing most everyone from their repose. Looking around frantically, his gaze fell on a resting figure he took to be himself, still sleeping where he had reclined the night before. He hastily leapt up and stumbled uncharacteristically clumsily over to the sleeping elf, demanding, "Give me back my body!"
Gimli opened his eyes and noted with extreme displeasure that he was being attacked by himself. He commenced yelling in distress. He grew even more concerned when he raised his hands to defend himself and discovered how dainty they were, and afterward, that he seemed to have grown several feet in height and lost a good deal of weight.
Struck with horror, everyone began shouting at once. It appeared that Gimli was attacking Legolas, but every time the dwarf spoke, it was Legolas' voice.
"Desist, you two!" cried Aragorn, only it wasn't coming from the ranger's direction. The voice had come from Pippin! Everyone froze in horror, and looking around anxiously, each saw that something was terribly wrong. Aragorn, peering across the glade, saw himself sitting there looking back at him with about equal or perhaps more surprise. Then, he looked down and noted with astonishment that he was about two-and-a-half feet shorter and wearing Pippin's distinctive scarf. It immediately became apparent that Merry had traded bodies with Sam, Boromir with Frodo, Legolas with Gimli, and Aragorn with Pippin. At this realization, they tried not to panic, and were successful at first. Soon, however, the thought of all the difficulties this little "error" would entail impelled them to discuss in a rather boisterous manner what was to be done. The Fellowship's fight escalated, rapidly resembling a cacophony of angry shouts and wails of protest. When the dispute finally came to blows, everyone brawling like the crazed denizens of Tortuga from "Pirates of the Caribbean," Galadriel conveniently arrived.
"Ah, I see that my design has succeeded just as I planned," she said smugly, not bothering to disguise her pleasure at seeing the generally oh-so-serious Fellowship in such a manner. "I have done this for two reasons. One, because it will teach you to work together, and two, because I needed guinea pigs and you suckers were the first to come along. If the so-called 'Fellowship of the Ring' can ever learn to behave like a fellowship, I will be glad to restore you to your proper selves. However, to place the fate of Middle-earth in your pathetic hands is one of Elrond's worst mistakes, and he knows it. Prove me wrong or plan to retire in Lothlórien in your current states. Oh, and don't bother crying to Elrond – he and I are on the same wavelength. Have fun, kids. Play nice." She glided back towards her majestically elevated, glowing mallorn palace, looking quite self-satisfied.
"Fantastic," said everyone miserably. Those that didn't say this out loud and in unison, as the preceding sentence suggests, doubtless agreed.
Pippin felt sorry for himself until he realized the advantages being Aragorn entailed. He could run faster and jump higher, he was taller and stronger, and most importantly, he could flee faster from the inevitable danger that was sure to follow him because he was still Pippin at heart. Aragorn, on the other hand, was brooding. He wanted nothing more than to have the change reversed. How was he to marry Arwen if he was stuck in Pippin's body? She wouldn't believe him if he told her what had happened, and besides, if he did marry her, he thought that she would probably beat him up a lot because she was stronger. He ran his fingers through his unruly curls of brown hair regretfully, staring at the overabundance of hair adorning his disproportionately large feet.
Meanwhile, Boromir/Frodo had been gleefully fingering the Ring of Power, which dangled from his neck. He chuckled to himself evilly, calculating his next move. He assumed that, what with the Fellowship's current preoccupation with their plight, no one would be concerned about the relatively trivial fate of a small piece of jewelry. The only difficulty would be smuggling it to Gondor – and explaining to Lord Denethor that his much-adored eldest son was now a hobbit.
In the intervening time, Legolas had been shouting furiously at Gimli. The topic: what the dwarf could and could not do now that he was in the elf's body. "You may not knock back any potent beverages of the usual, foul sorts that Dwarves are prone to drink, except dorwinion. You may not smoke, eat so much you make me even the slightest bit overweight, or cut my hair. No exceptions. You must brush my teeth thrice a day, as well as my hair. Perform aerobic and strength exercises for an hour, morning and night, straighten my hair…uh, on second thought, I will do that. I don't trust you. You might fry it. I will style it, as well. Most importantly – I use no hairspray except Aqua Net. The consequences if you use any other hairspray will be dire. In addition, I refuse to allow you to wear any clothing that has not been pre-approved by me, and it must be absolutely spotless. Also, you will not be permitted to sing or speak in public, lest it seem to the Lothlórien Elves that Legolas has lost his singing talents and soft, soothing vocal qualities. To continue, you may not…"
(Several hours later)
"…and finally, you may not appear in public unless you are in PERFECT condition. No exceptions." Legolas stared at the slumped form of the dwarven elf expectantly.
Gimli snorted awake. "Huh? Oh, oh, yes. If I must. Whatever you say." He promptly nodded off again. Apparently, Legolas droning on and on in his ear had an energy draining effect.
"Very well," said Legolas/Gimli, unconvinced that the inobservant former dwarf had committed all his stipulations to heart, but fairly unconcerned that the groggy Gimli could wreak much havoc on his body in the short interval during which he was not supervised. "I go down to the river now to bathe. Good day!"
After several more minutes of loafing, the tired dwarven elf had a fearful thought. "What if that blasted pretty-boy shaves my beard? AHHHH! I must stop him!" He raced down to the river exceptionally quickly for someone who had once been a dwarf. When he arrived, he realized that his suspicion had been well founded. Legolas had shaved off his entire beard, except for a small goatee, which the elven dwarf had felt best optimized Gimli's facial features.
"Noooooo!" growled Gimli wrathfully, tackling his former self. Though, of course, the fact that Gimli was in Legolas' body gave him an advantage, Legolas/Gimli retaliated ardently. They tussled and tumbled in the river for several intense minutes, splashing like clashing killer whales. The only result of their fight seemed to be that, at length, they were both completely soaked and exhausted.
In the interim, Sam and Merry were occupied with insulting each other for no apparent reason, except that perhaps it seemed the most entertaining thing with which to occupy their time, while Frodo/Boromir attempted to mollify their tempers by pointing out all of the positive things about the change. "Merry, even though you're slightly overweight now, at least you traded that peculiar looking nose of yours for a more sensible one. And Sam, even though you have a cherry nose now, at least you're not as fat as you were before." This didn't seem to resolve anything, though it allowed Merry and Sam to direct their frustration at Frodo/Boromir, in addition to each other. The two livid Hobbits simultaneously attacked Frodo, but he easily pinned both of them down, having an enormous height and strength advantage. (Clearly, Sam would have never assaulted his beloved Mr. Frodo, but since his former master currently seemed to be Boromir, and Sam was known to be somewhat irrational when angered, he had forgotten about the switch.) However, Merry and Sam managed to slip out of "Boromir's" grip, because the hobbitish Gondorian's gloves made it rather difficult to clasp things effectively. Sam/Merry pulled out his frying pan and decisively clanged Merry over the head with it. Merry, looking like a very dazed Sam, slumped to the ground and started snoring peacefully. Before Sam/Merry could do the same to Frodo/Boromir (assuming Sam could have even reached Frodo/Boromir's head), the man who was once a hobbit pulled out the Horn of Gondor and delivered an echoing, resounding blast in the enraged hobbit's face, rendering him unconscious for the next few hours.
Aragorn was busy composing a letter to Arwen explaining what had happened and imploring her to talk her dad into talking Galadriel into switching them back. He pictured Arwen reading it in her room, laughing uncontrollably, reporting to Elrond amidst endless throes of giggles that her fiancé had gone insane, and then deciding to cancel their engagement. He carefully crumpled up the paper and ate it because, being a hobbit, he was hungry.
Frodo/Boromir put Merry and Sam back to bed, surrounded by all the Fellowship's pillows and blankets. He felt guilty about having further incited their wrath, and therefore, took it upon himself to care for them until they awoke and he could guide them into a more peaceable solution to their differences. Though in comatose states, they smiled happily, leading Frodo to deduce that they were enjoying pleasant dreams about mushrooming at Farmer Maggot's, cooking "tater" stew, or other food-related topics.
Meanwhile, Pippin/Aragorn, being of a slightly more happy-go-lucky nature, was having fun obliterating flowers and other hapless Lothlórien plants with Aragorn's sword as he skipped through the thick groves of trees. He laughed blithely, running, jumping, hopping, and generally enjoying his added height. Not being well adjusted to Aragorn's body at first, he had tripped several times and done embarrassing face plants (fortunately, no one was around to see them, and it's ambiguous whether Pippin would have even cared if anyone did), but he was now growing more accustomed – except that, being Pippin, he was unable to overcome his mischievous, clumsy qualities, things for which no amount of height advantage could compensate…
Boromir the hobbit, being of a scheming, devious persuasion, was endeavoring to obtain a horse so he could take the Ring to Gondor. So far, he had miserably failed. He couldn't even bribe anyone to sell him one! "You, sir!" he called, as Celeborn passed, on one of his afternoon strolls. "Have you a spare horse?"
"Why, dear Frodo Baggins!" greeted Celeborn, who was really not as dense as he looked. Visitors to Lothlórien always thought he was slow-minded, since the rapidity of his speech delivery rivaled that of Treebeard. However, the natives of the forest kingdom knew that his slowness of verbal communication was due to the fact that, unlike most people, he actually preferred to think about what he was saying before he said it. "Or should I say 'Boromir'?" Celeborn continued. "It is easy to see through your façade, to your conniving, poorly disguised intentions. The day you return the 'trinket' you are concealing to the genuine Frodo is the day I will provide you with a horse." The elf lord elegantly sauntered away, toward the verdant, vast, and arboreal royal gardens, with their cast iron gates, composed of charmingly curvilinear tendrils, array of gracefully posed statues, and serenely trickling fountains. Boromir/Frodo watched him go with what would have appeared to uninformed passerby as the ugliest look that could have possibly camped itself on Frodo's face.
Legolas and Gimli had finally worn themselves out and were standing in the river, facing each other, panting.
"I am… tired," sighed Legolas/Gimli, who had a terrific black eye, a tooth missing, and blood and mud all over his face. He had been striving fiercely not to injure Gimli/Legolas, as he didn't want to harm himself. Therefore, the only thing amiss with Gimli/Legolas was a dirty face, the sight of which Legolas could scarcely bear. "I would never allow myself to get that dirty in any other circumstance!" the elven dwarf thought aloud.
"THAT is it!" roared Gimli, fed up with Legolas' fixation on his personal appearance. "I am going to shave you bald, draw a swirly mustache on your face, and strip down to your underpants, after which I will dash through Lothlórien, allowing every elf who doesn't know it's not really you a distressing sight."
Absolute horror pervaded Legolas/Gimli's features. "Ach! No!" he cried, his mouth gone dry. "You…you wouldn't…you can't…you…you…won't!"
"Would, can, and will," said Gimli resolutely. "You just TRY to stop me." Gimli/Legolas took off sprinting, Legolas/Gimli in hot pursuit. Normally, Gimli wouldn't have had a chance of catching Legolas at a dead run, but the situation was so dire, Legolas thought, that he pushed himself mercilessly until he caught himself, tripping Gimli/Legolas from behind.
"Got you!" shrieked Legolas, hyperventilating. "You're so dead, you revolting, dwarven jerk!" He figured (resignedly) that he would have to knock himself out in order to prevent Gimli from doing anything worse to his body. Before the elven dwarf could pound the dwarven elf, he was pounced on by Aragorn/Pippin. "Desist!" the brawny-ranger-turned-pipsqueak ordered. "Both of you! You know we will never change back if we cannot work together."
"Seems like you always show up just in time to ruin my plans," said Legolas, disgustedly clambering off his pinned self. "Very well. I will not fight with myself. But don't expect me to just stand by as he shaves my head, draws a mustache on my face, and then goes running around Lothlórien shrieking like a maniac—in my underpants!"
Aragorn/Pippin raised an eyebrow questioningly and studied the former dwarf's face. "You were planning to do what?"
"Oh, forget it," Gimli/Legolas muttered, defeated. "I won't do it. Even though I should. Look what he did to my beard! And he expects me not to care."
"I'm sorry, Lego—Gimli," Aragorn stuttered, still getting confused by the switch. "I'm sure that Legolas will restrain himself from doing anything of the sort again. Right, Legolas?"
Legolas crossed his (uh, Gimli's) arms and frowned. "Fine. I'll do my best. But I reserve the right to keep him under constant supervision, in case he tries anything funny."
"Fine!" Gimli/Legolas grunted grumpily, storming off, back towards the Fellowship's designated camp.
"Uh," Legolas/Gimli said hurriedly, starting to follow the departing elf. "Can you get off my back now, Pip—um…Aragorn?"
Pippin/Aragorn hurtled toward the Fellowship in a somewhat peculiar state. It appeared that he had a sticky, dripping beehive stuck on his head. AND a horde of infuriated bees swarming after him. "I don't think I like being tall anymore!" the Pippin-minded ranger complained, voice muffled inside the beehive. "Ow! Ow! YOW!" Everyone dove for cover and watched as Frodo/Boromir attempted to resolve the "sticky" situation.
Frodo skillfully skewered the hive on Boromir's sword as Pippin/Aragorn raced past. The hobbitish Gondorian flung the hive off back into the woods and the majority of the unfortunate bees quickly headed off to inspect their ruined home.
Relieved, Pippin shook the few remaining bees off and cannonballed into an immense, nearby fountain.
"What happened?" questioned Merry/Sam, finally daring to emerge from his hiding place, under a pile of blankets. The answer was obvious enough, but Merry usually took it upon himself to scold his best friend about his dim-witted behavior.
Clambering out of the fountain, Pippin smiled sheepishly, displaying an expression that looked rather comical on Aragorn's face. "I climbed a tree to try to get some honey from a beehive, but it fell on my head when I poked it with my sword."
"Well," said Merry/Sam, "we can certainly tell the difference between you and Aragorn. The REAL Aragorn would never do anything so stupid!"
Soon, Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn/Pippin returned to the others and sat down. Legolas and Gimli absolutely refused to look at each other, sulking.
"So, what are we going to do now?" asked Aragorn/Pippin cheerfully, ever one to voice what everyone else was thinking but reluctant to ask. Things were not looking good for the Fellowship of the Ring, and one thing was for certain: as it stood, altering Galadriel's opinion on their incompatibility long enough to convince her to change them back was a near impossibility.