Disclaimer: I came, I saw, I completely failed in my attempt to own Lord of the Rings.
A/N: I don't know precisely where this came from, other than it was a lovely distraction from a horribly difficult essay. Anyone happen to know anything about love of the abstract good by any chance? No? Hmmm…neither do I. Oh well, enjoy!
Summary: It is Aragorn's turn to cook for the fellowship, much to a certain elf's dismay.
Into the Frying Pan
"It is too hot."
Aragorn glanced up from where he was crouched before a happily dancing campfire, watching a small metal pan as it heated steadily over the flames, and saw the prince of Mirkwood eying him sceptically.
"What was that?"
"The pan. It is too hot."
A flicker of annoyance crossed the ranger's face as he turned to look fully at the elven prince, who was reclining against a tree, arms crossed. "Remind me, at what point in your life did you become skilled at cooking?" he asked roughly.
Legolas shrugged, using one leg to push himself off of the smooth bark at his back, then moved the few steps forward until he stood directly opposite the man on the other side of the fire. "There is no need to be angry, Estel. I am just saying that you are going to burn the bacon."
Aragorn snorted derisively. "I have not spent the majority of my life in the wilderness without learning how to fend for myself," he retorted. "Indeed, I believe that I would be far more suited to the job than a certain elven prince who has spent the majority of his many centuries pampered in a palace."
Legolas raised his eyebrows. "I do not debate that you can catch the food, Aragorn, I simply have doubts about your being able to cook it."
Choosing to ignore his friend's words, the man reached behind him where a roughly wrapped package sat on the ground. Earlier that day, Gandalf had finally relented and allowed Aragorn and Boromir, being the least conspicuous members of the fellowship, to travel the few miles to the small village near which the company was passing, and purchase a few supplies. At the firm request of the hobbits, the two men had bought some bacon for that night's supper and, once they had returned to the campsite, Aragorn had volunteered to cook it, a decision which he was now beginning to regret.
Stoically ignoring the dubious looks his elven friend was casting him, Aragorn drew out several thick slices of bacon and laid them into the smoking pan. The edges immediately began to turn a crispy black.
"I told you so."
"I like my bacon well done," Aragorn growled.
"There is a difference between well done and charcoal, mellon nin," Legolas replied lightly.
"If you make one more comment about my cooking, there will be one elf in this fellowship who will go hungry tonight."
"Considering the state of the food that is being offered, that elf may be the lucky one." With that, Legolas walked off and swiftly scaled a nearby tree.
Grumbling to himself, Aragorn decided that the bacon was toasted to perfection in little under a minute, despite the pointed choking coughs which floated down to him out of the sky, and proceeded to call the rest of the company over. The hobbits arrived first, plates in hand, having been hovering about in the general vicinity of the Man since he and Boromir had returned from the village with food. Gimli, Boromir and Gandalf gathered behind the hobbits, none of them willing to get in between a halfling and his supper.
Minutes later, after darkness had fallen completely and the rest of the fellowship had settled down in a rough circle around the fire with their plates in their laps, Legolas sauntered up out of the night and folded himself neatly to the ground.
"How is your supper?" he enquired conversationally, pulling an apple out of seemingly nowhere and taking a large bite.
"It is fine, thank you," Aragorn retorted, and proceeded to take a defiant bite of the blackened mess lying on his plate. He chewed only a couple of times before swallowing and decided that whilst it was not the most delicious meal he had ever had, nor was it the worst. Not quite.
A small smile settled on the elf's lips before he took another bite of his extraordinarily red apple, which Boromir was eying avidly.
Gimli glanced towards the son of Thranduil and his piece of fruit, before snorting into his beard and leaning over to the four hobbits who were gathered together on one side of the flickering flames. "Elves can't handle their meat, you see, lads," he declared brusquely. "Too delicate. We dwarves, on the other hand, can't get enough of it." He exhaled gruffly. "What I wouldn't give for a good side of pork, or a pair of nicely roasted pheasants. Still, can't have everything, eh?" The dwarf took an enormous bite of his bacon, yet, as he chewed, a strange look came over his face. He swallowed almost painfully, eyes watering, then blindly reached out a hand for his water skin and drank almost half of it before putting it down and wiping an arm across his mouth. "Nothing like a good piece of meat," he managed roughly, before determinedly shovelling in another large mouthful and disintegrating into raucous coughs.
"How is yours, Boromir?" The merry voice of the elf broke the quiet which had descended after Gloin's son had finally managed to silence himself, and interrupted Boromir where he sat poking dubiously with his fork at the blackened mess sprawled over his plate.
"Pardon?" the man questioned, glancing up towards the ethereally pale face which seemed to almost hold a light of its own in the darkness.
"You have not touched your supper yet." Legolas ignored the abrupt cough which sounded from the direction of Aragorn, and continued his questioning of the Gondorian. "Is it to your liking?"
Boromir glanced uneasily at the ranger, who cast him a dirty, not to mention threatening, look. "It is fine," he began hurriedly. "I am simply not very hungry tonight." Noticing the hobbits eying his plate greedily, he passed it over to them and sat back, trying to ignore the frequent pangs of hunger coming from his stomach.
The son of the Steward barely glanced up in time to catch a second apple which the prince of Mirkwood had thrown at him.
Legolas smiled. "Perhaps you will find this more appetising."
Boromir cast the elf a grateful look before taking a huge bite. Within seconds the entire fruit was gone and the man sat back with a slightly more satisfied look on his face, pretending that he did not see the angry glares the heir of Gondor was directing towards him, and towards a certain elf.
A few feet over, Pippin leant in close to Merry. "What's going on?' he whispered to the other hobbit through a mouthful of bacon, hoping that the other members of the fellowship would not hear him. "Why are Strider and Legolas looking at each other like that?"
Merry shrugged, dark eyebrows disappearing for a moment into his curly russet hair. "I'm not sure, Pip," he replied in a low voice. He quieted for a second as the sharp eyes of Aragorn darted towards him suspiciously, and only continued when they had returned to their previous position, staring darkly at the elf prince. "I don't think that Boromir likes bacon very much. Good of him to give it to us though."
Pippin nodded silently and took another large bite.
The sounds of Merry and Pippin cheerfully cleaning the fellowship's plates at the nearby stream with Gimli standing guard echoed softly through the thickly wooded forest as Aragorn settled down on the ground for the night, laying his head on his pillowed coat. He glanced up as soundless footsteps padded lightly on the earth near his head, creating almost indistinguishable tremors, to see the prince of Mirkwood passing by silently.
"The hobbits liked it." The words were out before he could stop them.
Legolas paused and glanced down at the ranger. "The hobbits like everything as long as it is edible, and occasionally when it is not," he replied airily. "It is no great triumph, my friend."
Stifling a snort so as not to wake the sleeping Frodo, Aragorn scowled at the elf. "Where did you get them, anyway?"
"I found them," Legolas replied nonchalantly.
"And where precisely was that?" persisted the ranger. "We have not passed a single apple tree in days."
"They were in your pack."
Aragorn stilled for an instant, then sat up and pulled his pack towards him, hurriedly digging down to the bottom of it where two or three pieces of his favourite fruit usually were stowed. Sure enough, they were gone.
"You stole them," he accused.
"It was your turn to provide dinner tonight for the entire fellowship, mellon nin," replied the elf. A few graceful strides took him over to a nearby tree and he climbed swiftly into its branches. His disembodied voice trailed down to the disgruntled ranger. "I simply made sure that you fulfilled your duty."
Ever so calmly, Aragorn set down his pack and reached out a searching hand to the slightly damp ground on his left, until his fingers clamped around a cold, hard object. With one sudden movement he hurled the small rock he had found into the branches of the tree in which the elf was sitting, and waited for impact. However, the only sound which came was that of a small stone flying through empty air, perhaps brushing a few leaves on its way past.
Aragorn growled to himself. A hand went out, a second stone was located, larger this time, and he threw once more. The satisfying sound of a soft thud, followed immediately by a sharp elvish exclamation, rang into the darkness of the shadowy night. The ranger smirked softly before settling down for a second time. "That one didn't," he muttered contentedly, then he closed his eyes and dropped into a peaceful, yet ever watchful, sleep.
Hope you enjoyed peoples! Thanks for reading, and I would absolutely love to hear what you thought of my little story! I probably should get back to writing a certain incredibly evil essay now, so until next time!