Rating: G (K)
Warnings: please take everything lightly; this is partly humor
Genres: adventure, mystery, supernatural
It was eerie. It was damp. It was dark. It was silent; too silent, perhaps.
Aragorn looked around him – left, ahead, right, behind – and even chanced a glance above and below, but what he got was only darkness; distorted darkness. He was walking down a path – more a lane, actually – which he had no recollection of entering in the first place, and that unnerved him.
And, when Aragorn was unnerved, he was skittish, irritated, and irritating.
"Of all the misfortunes today… Can't I sleep in peace? It's so dreary here," he groused in a mutter, his pace quickening and his neck prickling. But was it a dream? His booted feet fell solidly onto the dank earth with each a heavy, muffled thump while he half-jogged. The moist air clung to the skin on his face, neck, and forearms and elicited an uncomfortable feeling. The situation was scarily similar to his latest escapade with Legolas, except that they had never found themselves in a lane during it, and there had been—
Yes, the heavy breathing, small growls, and padding feet were certainly the signs Aragorn had unfortunately been accustomed to.
Wargs' hunting, and they were near.
A long howl.
Answered, by many, excitedly.
Blood-thirsty growls… Snapping jaws…
Aragorn flew, almost literally, padding the heavy air as if swimming through a body of water, matching the frantic swinging of his legs. If he could spare a breath to scream, he would. The wargs were rapidly gaining ground behind him, and they were barking in obvious glee. He did not need Gandalf's expertice in wargs' language (and every language in Middle-Earth, it seemed) to interpret what they said one to another. He knew it by himself: Dinner is at hand – Catch it!
Where was Legolas? He could not face those hungry beasts alone! Thankfully he still had his pack, daggers and sword… Hmm. But was this just a dream? He could do just well even without all those weapons, probably?
He did not want to test if this was a mere dream by allowing any of the wargs to bite him, though. Pinching himself seemed much more appealing and… civilised.
Legolas – Legolas – Legolas – Legolas – Legolas… Where was that dratted Elf when he needed him?
Ah, there he was, the silvery-golden-haired Elven-prince, standing on the mouth of a branching path from another lane, looking just as confused as Aragorn.
"Legolas! Run, my friend! Wargs!" the future King of Men panted.
Panted? How could he lose his breath in a dream?
Legolas did not question his warning, thankfully. Well, years of companionship in dangerous quests, usually ending with mishaps, had taught them against it, anyway. He let Aragorn pass, drew his bow and some arrows, and fired at the beasts chasing his human friend. Then he, too, ran. He repeated the action several times until all the wargs were dead (Thank Eru, there were only ten in that hungry pack.), before running at full speed to catch up with Aragorn.
The screaming Aragorn.
"What is wrong, my friend?" the Elven-prince asked, baffled. He only knew now that the Man could shriek like an elleth like that.
"Wha—" His question died before it could emerge fully. Up ahead a vampire was gliding towards them, her long fangs bloody.
No, it could not be Arwen. Arwen was safe, tucked in the hidden valley of Imladris.
But there was no beauty comparable to hers, and that unique blend of dark grey and blue in her eyes… He could not set aside Aragorn's judgement of the menacing figure coming towards them too, since that Man was her lover. So…
"This is just a dream, my friend. This is just a dream," he whispered frantically to the ear of the histeric Aragorn. Despite his own words, though, he was slowly sliding his knives from their sheaths at his sides and preparing for a melee. To Utumno with the gender of the vampire; vampire was vampire, a blood-thirsty – literally – creature.
Aragorn snorted and shook his head, but he spent no time denying when Legolas signaled him to flee. The Elf himself was distracting the vampiress at the moment. No killing her, no killing her, just incapasitate, just that, just—
"Ow!" he yelped. His reserve had earned him a fang lodged in his left hand. "Bloody vampire!" He retracted his bleeding appendage and, furious with the vampiress and his own judgement, deflected the creature's handblow with his left-hand knife as he stabbed it on its chest with the other.
Oh no! Arwen!
No! It was not Arwen – No way!
Trying to stem his bleeding and meanwhile chase away the horrifying idea that he had murdered Aragorn's beloved, he ran after his friend, leaving the corpse behind on the middle of the dreary lane. Never think of it. Never think of it. Never think of it…
"How was it?" Aragorn asked when they halted for a respite. Instead of drab walls, now two dirt cliffs rose to either side of the lane, topped by what looked like trees. Eerie glowing worms littered the cliffs among the short grass, and the two friends chose to stay far away from them, meaning they were now standing on the middle of the never-ending path.
"You do not want to know," Legolas replied curtly. He was still busy taming the blood flowing out from the round woon near his wrist, so he missed the hurt and betrayed look Aragorn sent his way. Well, his eyes missed it, but his intuition did not.
"We are in some sort of nightmare, Estel, although I have no idea how my hand can be this painful if we are indeed in a dream. Besides, that creature is not Arwen, I am sure. You would be the first to know if she were a vampire," he said shortly when Aragorn's glare intensified. "No idea of how to heal my wound, by the way? Before I drop dead…"
"Never say it," Aragorn snapped. Legolas looked up and raised an eyebrow. "I am perfectly honest with you, Estel." Well, except for the statement about Arwen.
"And you are so nonchalant about it. So?" Aragorn growled. Legolas gaped, but then chuckled in understanding. He shook his head but did not elaborate. He stopped laughing, however, when he noticed that Aragorn's face was pale, even paler than his own because of the blood loss. He put his good arm around his friends' shoulders and hugged the latter close.
"Is it your greatest fear, Estel, that Arwen would turn on you?" he whispered gently. Aragorn nodded mutely, shivering. Legolas sighed. "Well, now we know that it is only a test…" He flicked a glance at the way they had taken, did a double take… and screeched, just as loudly and girlishly as Aragorn had. His friend had no time to ask for the source of his hysteria, because the Elf then tugged at his arm, nearly toppling him in the process, and they ran away hand in hand.
Behind them, a giant spider was waltzing on its eight legs.
Legolas never disclosed to Aragorn – or anyone, for that matter – what he had seen, but he did confess to his brother-in-arms that his greatest fear was if he should someday become crazy from all the problems he was having in Middle-Earth. They woke up, in a way, when they unwittingly plunged into a deep pond of freezing water, and there they both yelped like trodden puppies.
In a woolen tent they shared, an Elf and a Man sat up simultaneously, shivering and drenched from head to toes. They looked around, then at each other, and resolved not to tell one another of what they had experienced or why they were wet and cold.
After all, none of them was willing to be teased as a mad-Man (or mad-Elf).