Project ELF

Note: All characters belong to the Tolkien Estate

On the whole, Legolas had preferred the days when halflings were still legendary beings that few amongst his brethren believed still existed. Then came Bilbo, tramping in on those big, hairy feet of his, destroying the tranquillity of Mirkwood... well, what tranquillity there was between the Necromancer and the giant flesh-eating spiders... and bringing a pack of dwarves with him to boot. And now Legolas, fairest scion of Thranduil's energetic loins, was stuck in the middle of the wilderness with four of the Valar bedamned things - though it certainly felt like far, far more than four at times.

Actually, most of the time, if he was honest.

Which he was, mostly.

Volunteering to join the Fellowship had seemed like a good idea to Legolas. It wasn't like he had anything urgent to do after all, and he quite liked the idea of a leisurely country walk, a quick peek at Minas Tirith and the chance to get his name in the ballads. However, now that he thought about it there were Iplenty/I of things which he could have been getting on with back home, like poking his eyes out with sharp sticks - anything that didn't involve hobbits and their habits.

It hadn't been so bad at first. Yes the incessant eating had been a trifle irritating, not to mention the smallest one asking, "are we there yet" every fifteen seconds or so, but now it seemed nigh on unbearable. Everything they did drove him up the wall, or would have done had there been any walls around, which would have been nice because then he could have hidden behind one or maybe torn it down and used the material to brick the hobbits up somewhere. But it seemed that there was to be no such easy escape from this torment.

It was almost as if they were doing it deliberately...


"Right," said Merry, "I'd like to call to order today's meeting of the management committee of Project Exploit Legolas's Phobias, set up in response to a certain member of this Fellowship's general disdain for and underestimation of hobbitkind. My thanks to Pippin for coming up with the name."

"Thank you, Chairman Merry," said Pippin. "I thought it was appropriate, given that he's an Elf and all."

Frodo looked puzzled. "What has that got to do with anything?" he asked.

Pippin rolled his eyes. "You know - Project ELF."

"Project ELP," corrected Frodo.

"What?" said Pippin.

"Project ELP. Phobias is spelled with a Ph, not an F," said Frodo.

"Pedant," said Pippin.

"Or maybe should that be Fedant," commented Sam sotto voce.

"Order in the ranks," said Merry. "Secretary Peregrine, if you'd like to give an update on progress since last week's meeting?"

"Thank you Mr Chairman," said Pippin, with a glare at Frodo. "We've successfully increased the nuisance factor of our eating habits by inventing an extra three meals that we have to stop for every day. I'd also like to suggest a particular commendation for myself after I managed to drop most of last night's stew into my foot-hair and still eat it."

"Duly noted," said Merry.

"Sam's discovery of some poison primrose has borne fruit, so to speak," continued Pippin. "Our honourable Chairhobbit rubbed it on the seams of the Elf's spare breeches while he was out hunting with Strider last evening and he's been looking decidedly uncomfortable all today. I suggest that we wait a few days and then escalate the operation to the underwear collection."

"Looks like I'd better find a bigger supply," said Sam.

"Anything else?" asked Merry.

"Sam and I have been moaning and groaning and generally making it look like we're having sex every time it's Legolas' turn to take watch," reported Frodo.

"It probably looked like you were having sex because you were having sex," observed Pippin.

"We were merely doing our part to ensure the completion of the master plan," said Frodo.

"The Master doing his best to ensure the completion of Sam's part, more like it," replied Pippin.

"Whatever they were doing, I commend them for their stamina and dedication to the cause," said Merry, "especially given that Legolas somehow managed to draw watch three times last night thanks to the fact that I volunteered to help Strider by setting up the rota. Legolas is likely to be fairly tired by tonight, so I suggest you add a bit of thrashing around to the repertoire just to make a change."

"No problem," said Sam, with a grin in Frodo's direction, "in fact, it'll be a pleasure."

"For you two maybe," said Merry, "but not for the Elf."

"Oh, Sam!" cried Frodo, with a melodramatic air.

"Oh, Mr Frodo!" said Sam, with a distinctly lecherous one.

"I'm afraid the spiders I put into his bed roll didn't work at all, he seems to have bonded with them," said Pippin, cutting hastily across the increasingly heated glances - he didn't want to have to wait for Frodo and Sam to finish whatever they were trying to start before they could close this meeting.

"Ah well, that's Mirkwood elves for you. Any suggestions for new activities?" asked Merry.

Frodo raised the hand that Sam wasn't covering with heated kisses. "Given as how Legolas seems so embarrassed by physical intimacy, I though that we might try to make him believe that one of the other members of the Fellowship has designs upon his person."

"Any thoughts as to whom?" asked Merry.

"Gimli would appear to be the obvious candidate, his adoration carefully hidden behind a veil of animosity and chain mail."

"Excellent," said Merry, "get right on it. A few comments dropped when you appear to think that Legolas isn't around will be a good start. Also tell Gimli that he has no chance with an elf - that should get his dander up nicely. Anyone else?"

"I thought we might try to persuade him that Bill can talk," said Sam. "We could all pretend to have proper conversations with him when Legolas is around."

"Are we quite sure that Silvan elves can't talk to animals?" said Merry.

"Other than spiders?" asked Pippin. "No idea."

"Spiders aren't animals, Pippin," pointed out Frodo. "But anyway, the men of Laketown aside, there's increasingly little evidence of inter-species communication since the First Age..."

"... and since Legolas barely seems to be able to bring himself to talk to us, I think we're on fairly safe ground when it comes to Bill," continued Sam.

"Well," said Merry, "that seems to be enough to be going on with for the time being. With any luck, between the hobbit sex, amorous dwarves, itchy clothes and chatty ponies we'll have him starting to question his sanity in no time."

"Poor Legolas and his declining mental elf," said Pippin, shaking his head sadly.

"Elph," murmured Sam.