This story is NOT part of any series. It is a stand alone fic and unrelated to any other work.

Rating: PG-13

Warning: some references to sexual acts between married persons, but nothing graphic

Summary: Upon arriving in Emyn Arnen, Legolas and Aragorn find reason for suspicion, but upon investigation, will Legolas have found more than he can handle? Written for the Tolkien Tango Prompt #39: Disorder


Odd Circumstances

By Nieriel Raina

Legolas drew his mount to a halt beside Aragorn's horse, looked around the deserted stable yard, then glanced at his friend. A frown creased Aragorn's brow as he dismounted.

"It's quiet," Legolas murmured. Too quiet, he thought, as he joined his friend on the ground. His eyes searched for any sign of life near the keep. All remained still, a stark contrast to the active town at the base of the hill, where people worked, laughed and young children played along the paths.

"Indeed." Aragorn started toward the stable, concern clear in his grey eyes. "Let us stable the horses and then find out just why Faramir's keep is too peaceful."

Legolas nodded, but then noticed a short man, his head covered in a large, floppy hat, hurrying to them from the small house just beyond the stable. "Aragorn," he said, pointing to the harried looking man, whose arms waved at them to stop. "Is that not Perthon, the stable master?"

"It is." Aragorn waited for the man to approach. Legolas tensed, and sent his senses outward, searching for the source of the trouble. Something was wrong here, and yet, he sensed no danger or turmoil. In fact, he could feel high spirits emanating from the stable master's home. So why did Perthon look so distraught?

"Me lords!" Perthon called as he approached. He stopped before them, swept off his hat and bowed low, then stood there breathing heavily from his exertions. The top of his balding head came to just above Aragorn's middle, and despite his unease, Legolas smiled. Perthon might be small of stature, but the man had a big heart.

"What has happened?" Aragorn asked. His hand, Legolas noted, rested on Anduril's hilt.

"Nothing, me lords!" the man gasped out, looking even further alarmed. "At least," he cleared his throat and looked at the ground nervously before glancing up. "Can I help ye, me lords?" He smiled as if nothing were out of the ordinary.

Legolas and Aragorn shared a glance, then Aragorn spoke. "We have come to meet with your lord and have urgent business with him. If you could call a boy to stable our horses…"

"Oh no, that won't do at all, me lord!" The man looked horrified. At Aragorn's questioning look, Perthon stumbled over excuses. "Er…all the boys, ye see, are busy running errands and fetching this or that and cleaning tack and such." Aragorn gave the man a look of disbelief, but Perthon continued. "And the grooms, well, they all be in their cups and not fit at the moment for handling horses. We weren't expecting no one else this eve, ye see."

"I don't see anything," Legolas commented, narrowing his eyes at the man. Everything about this situation seemed wrong, though Perthon was a good man, loyal to Faramir. And yet, he hid something.

Perthon's face turned a deep shade of red. He crushed his hat in his hands and shuffled his feet. Legolas took note Perthon did not meet either of their gazes as he spoke. "The stable is, er, occupied at the moment, me lords. But we could tie them out here for just a wee bit. I'll see they get lots of fresh water and hay." He smiled. "There's buckets and hay behind the stable. No need to go inside for those."

Legolas frowned. Why was the man avoiding going inside the stable? The man was the stable master! Just what went on within to cause such strange behavior?

Aragorn's stance widened. He dropped his horse's reins and folded his arms across his chest. "Perhaps you can be so good as to explain what occupies the stable and causes you to turn so red in the face?" His voice was soft, yet compelling - a king's voice expecting answers. "A couple of youngsters having a roll in the hay perhaps?"

Perthon's face went white. "Oh, naught of concern, me lord! No cause to worry. If ye just head on up to the master's hall, I'm sure Mithwen will see ye have refreshments. I'll take the horses, me lords."

Legolas stepped even with Aragorn, catching Perthon's eye. "The lord and lady are there?"

"Th-the lord and hi-his lady… Er, that is, they are, um, oc-occupied at the moment. But go on up, and Mithwen will look after ye. See?" He pointed up towards the keep where an older woman with graying hair stood with a smile, waving them up. "She'll see ye settled and my lord and lady will be with ye…as soon as they can, me lords."

There was no way Aragorn would accept that answer, Legolas knew. "Legolas?"

But he was already moving. "I'm going." Legolas strode to the stable.

Perthon, on his heels, plead for him to stop. "Oh, please, me lord! No, don't ye be going in there!" Legolas shook off the man's hand as Perthon dared to reach for Legolas's sleeve. "Please, me lord king, I beg you! Please stop him! You don't understand…."

Nothing short of Faramir appearing and ordering Legolas from entering the stable would stop him from investigating the odd circumstances. He opened the door, entered and closed it behind him, shutting the stable master out. He reached a hand to his knife hilt at his belt and left it there as he began a search of the building.

Strange noises came from further within the stable, and Legolas walked in that direction. Moans? Was someone injured? He crept closer, intent on finding the source of the disturbance.

-o-

As soon as Legolas entered the stable, Aragorn grabbed Perthon with one hand, dragging him back and demanding answers, but Perthon was overwrought and just babbled inane nonsense. Every sign pointed to something being terribly wrong here. And yet, he had no sense of evil or evil intent.

Then a roar sounded from within the stable. The door slammed open, bouncing off the side of the building. Legolas darted out, his face white, his expression horrified.

The elf stopped in his tracks as Perthon shouted at him. "Ye see now? I told ye! I told ye not to go barging in there!" Perthon made a hasty escape towards his house, muttering as he went. "Not be on me head. I told them, I did! Not me fault."

A moment later Faramir appeared in the doorway, his shirt hanging open. His fingers were busy fastening his breeches. Straw stuck out of his hair at odd angles, and his face was contorted in rage.

"AND STAY OUT!" Faramir bellowed, as he exited the stable, his eyes flashing in fury unlike Aragorn had ever seen on the man. Legolas just stood there, his back to Faramir and the stable. Color bloomed on the elf's cheeks; he lowered his head until his hair covered his face.

Faramir's angry eyes landed on Aragorn and his shouting ceased as his mouth dropped open. "My lord king?" He blinked, then glanced at the elf as if only just realizing who he had thrown out of the stable.

Behind Faramir, another form exited. Eowyn stood there, her clothes rumpled and looking as if they had been donned in haste. Her hair hung in wild disarray, loose around her shoulders. Bits of straw fell from the golden strands as she stepped to her husband's side and laid a hand on Faramir's arm. Amusement shone from her eyes and her lips twitched as if she tried not to laugh.

Aragorn stood speechless, his eyes frozen on the sight of what could only be his Steward and the White Lady of Ithilien having been interrupted…

Aragorn clamped his lips together tightly to stop from laughing, but he couldn't stop the half snort that escaped.

Legolas spun around, his eyes to the ground. "Forgive me, Faramir. I didn't…ahem, I didn't see a thing." Then he hurried to his horse's far side and buried his face in the grey mane. From where Aragorn stood, he thought he heard something about "bizarre habits of mortals" and "copulating in outlandish places".

Eowyn's hand covered her mouth as her shoulders began to shake. She didn't look the least chagrined or embarrassed. Aragorn grinned at Faramir, then wrapped his arms around his middle as the laughter overtook him.

Faramir glared at them all. "It's not funny," he declared, the red of his face not dissipating. Knowing his steward as he did, Aragorn suspected the man's anger had turned to embarrassment.

"Oh don't mind them, my love," Eowyn soothed, rubbing her husband's arm, though her mirth still shone in her eyes. "I know for a fact the king has been caught with his queen in a similar situation before. He understands your discomfiture!" She winked at him, and Aragorn felt his cheeks heat.

"That wasn't my fault either," Legolas mumbled from behind his horse, followed by something that sounded remotely like "never getting married" and "makes people act most bizarre".

Faramir's lips began to twitch. "Well, I suppose if the king can get caught rolling in the hay…"

"I'll just put the horses in the stable," Legolas declared, keeping himself between the beasts and his face out of sight as he led their mounts inside.

As soon as the elf disappeared, Aragorn shook his head, smiling. "I believe this is the third time he's stumbled across such a scene."

"Third?" Eowyn asked with a laugh. "And who was the other?"

Aragorn grinned at her. "I believe Eomer and Lothiriel were the first."

Her laugh echoed in the yard. "Poor Legolas." She shook her head. "He really needs a wife," she said, looking after the elf with a bemused smile.

Aragorn snorted. "But do you think if he should wed, he'll allow himself to participate in such activities in a barn?"

Eowyn lifted a mischievous brow. "Well, I would hope if he did," she grinned at them, "that he gets caught in the act!"

"Serve him right," came Faramir's half amused reply.

-o-

Gimli mumbled to himself, chaffing his gloved hands against his arms as he stomped his way to the stable. An early winter had settled heavy on the lands of Gondor, covering everything in a blanket of pure white snow. He'd definitely be wintering in Ithilien as he had no intention of attempting the trip back to Aglarond in such weather.

Upon reaching the structure, he grasped the door and pulled. It opened on silent hinges, thanks to the care he'd given to oiling the things the day before. Why Legolas had allowed the metal to make such a sound… He shook his head and entered the warmth, shutting the door noiselessly behind him. Patting his pocket, he found the carrots he'd brought for his pony.

He was fishing them out when he heard odd noises coming from the back of the barn. He froze, listening. There! A slight groaning sound! His feet making little sound in the thick sandy loam of the stable aisle, he hurried to the back stall, thinking one of the horses might be in distress.

Throwing open the stall door, which he noted absently squeaked as badly as the stable door had before he oiled it, he entered, his feet stumbling to a halt, his eyes nearly popping from his head.

-o-

Legolas slowly lifted his head at the creak and gasp. This was simply NOT happening! He had made sure he'd have warning, but there had been no sound from the squeaky hinges of the stable door! He turned his head, his horrified gaze meeting Gimli's shocked eyes. Oh, of all people to have caught him in such a thing! "Just turn around and walk away, Gimli," he said hoarsely. "You didn't see a thing."

Gimli dropped his eyes, backing out of the stall, his face nearly as red as his beard. "Not a thing," he muttered, spinning on his heel and stomping down the stable aisle. Legolas thought he heard the dwarf say something about "strange elves" and "belong behind locked doors".

Beneath him, his wife snickered, her fingers trailing down his bare back. "Oh, the look on his face!" she gasped.

He groaned, dropping his head to her shoulder. "I'll never live this down…"

"Probably not," she agreed, her fingers dipping lower.

Grinning against her bare shoulder, Legolas couldn't stop the laughter. "Poor Gimli! He needs a wife!" Then he gasped as her leg wrapped around him, reminding him of just why he was sprawled over her in the hay.

End


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