Arwen Strikes Again
by SkyFire

Disclaimer: Not mine. Wish they were. Plotbunnies are mine, all mine! Mwahahahaha! *g*

This is a sequel to "At the Council" an my story arc beginning with "What Happened to Glorfindel."
You should read those first or you'll be totally lost. Trust me. *g*

Please review!

*****
Arwen Strikes Again
by SkyFire

It was maybe a week after the Council before the Fellowship left Rivendell on the beginning of
their Quest.

Once they were gone, Elrond was free to fully focus on finding his wayward daughter. Even with
every single Elf in his household searching for her, however, it still took nearly three full
days before she was found and brought before Elrond by her brothers Elladan and Elrohir.

Elrond watched passively as Arwen was led into his recieving chamber. As she was brought near,
he noticed with some alarm her expression. Where it should have been worried or even rebellious,
it was only calm and... smug. As if no matter what punishments were heaped upon her, she was
satisfied that she would come out ahead.

He knew it would have taken more than the single hurled stone to bring that expression to her
face. But if that was not the cause, then what...?

"What have you done?" he demanded.

She turned upon him a studied gaze of wide-eyed innocence. "Done?" she asked.

"What have you done to Aragorn's companions?" he clarified.

She smirked. "They are three days gone. I suppose they're far enough away by now that it would
take even an elf-horse some time to reach them. Any warning you would seek to send to the
kidnappers of my beloved Dunadan will doubtless arrive too late."

"What," Elrond asked yet again, teeth clenched in anger, "did you do?"

"I have protected my beloved," she said with a gentle smile. "For the Man, Boromir, I have-"



"What foolishness is this?" came Boromir's irritated voice.

The nine walkers had camped near the bank of a small stream. One by one, they slipped away from
the camp to take advantage of the water's proximity to bathe. Boromir had gone first.

"Boromir?" Aragorn called out upon hearing the other's irritation. "Is there a problem?"

"No, there is no problem," Boromir said as he returned, freshly scrubbed, hair still damp. His
cloak was wrapped tightly about him. He tossed his pack ungently to the ground. "Nothing other
than the fact that your Elf-wench wasn't satisfied with bashing me over the head with a rock.
Now she seeks to kill me."

"Arwen?" Aragorn asked, startled. "How could she do that? She is not here."

Boromir released his cloak's throat-catch, let it fall to the ground.

The eight choked on laughter as they saw what had been done to his spare clothing, burst out
laughing when he turned his back to show the rest of it.

On his overshirt, Arwen had put her artistic skills to use with bright red paint. A small target
was drawn over his heart in front. A pair of arrows was drawn, one pointing up at his throat,
the other down at his groin. Beside each arrow was the notation 'cut here' written in the
letters of Gondor. His back was centered by yet another target, this one much larger, and
another notated arrow pointing to his neck.



"Arwen!" Elrond exclaimed.

"He is trying to steal away *my* beloved!" came the predictable answer.

"And the others?"

"For the Elf, Legolas, I have-"



Still chuckling quietly to himself at Boromir's plight, Legolas then grabbed up his pack and made
his way to the stream. Remembering then how the stone at the Council had also struck *him* down,
he quickly checked his clothes, sighing in relief to find them unmarked. They bore a faint but
not unpleasant herbal smell, which he assumed had been herbs that they had been stored with in
Rivendell.

He quickly washed, cleaning away three days' worth of sweat and dirt, dressed, then returned to
the camp, skin tingling from the cold water. Once back in camp, he pulled out his hairbrush and
began brushing out his hair. Strangely, he noticed that the pleasant tingling of his skin wasn't
fading away. Rather, now it had spread to his scalp. Indeed, now it was not quite so pleasant.
In fact, it was getting rather irritating. And warm. Quite warm. Hot, in fact. Burning.

"Ai!" he shouted in distress before jumping to his feet, dropping his brush. As the others
watched in shock and bemusement, he tore at his clothes, stripping quickly, baring skin that was
barely a step away from cherry red. Then, naked, he tore through the wood to the stream and
threw himself in.

The eight in camp blinked at each other, no one knowing quite what to say to the Elf's sudden and
unexpected actions.

"Guess he really wanted another bath," Merry said with a shrug at last before turning back to the
cooking food, joined quickly by the other hobbits. They had priorities, after all.

"Elves," Gimli muttered, as if to him that single word explained everything.

"Arwen," Boromir corrected, correctly guessing that the stone at the Council hadn't been meant
for him alone.

Aragorn looked up at Boromir's word, then went over to the Elf's discarded clothing, picked it up
and sniffed it lightly. His eyes closed in sympathy as he smalled the herbal scent, recognized
it. Nettles.

"I am going to find herbs to soothe Legolas' skin," he told the others. He went and collected
the plants, made up a green goop for the Elf to rub into his sore skin. Then he headed to the
stream to see Legolas, who was shivering almost convulsively, immersed to the neck, sluicing
water over his head. His skin was very red and would be supersensitive for *days*. Which only
made it worse, for it was also very itchy.



"Arwen!" Elrond exclaimed again.

"He won't be enjoying Aragorn's caresses with his skin *that* sensitive," she said, smiling.
"Nor in the mood to give any. The hobbits, meanwhile, were mostly only interested in the Ring,
not Aragorn, and so I-"



By now, the others were almost afraid to go bathe, as they knew *something* that they would need
afterward would do something unpleasant to them.

At last, the hobbits went to bathe, all together as they weren't fighters and didn't feel safe
alone. They washed, then dressed and went back to camp. Everyone waited and watched to see what
would happen to the four. Nothing.

They waited some more. Still nothing.

With sighs of relief, they borrowed Legolas' brush, since apparently they'd all forgotten their
own in Rivendell, and brushed their damp hair.

It was Pippin who started scratching first. "Just *looking* at Legolas is making my head itch!"
he said.

"Mine, too," Merry said, closely echoes by Frodo and Sam.

The four looked to each other, then to the hairbrush. Realization set in. "Arwen!"



"You stole their hair brushes?" Elrond asked, incredulous. "Why?"

"So that they would use Legolas'. I only had enough itching powder for the one." She shrugged,
unconcerned.

"What about Gandalf?"

Arwen smiled. "Well, I-"



Gandalf, washed, dried and clothed with no ill effects, settled in against an old tree and pulled
out his pipe. As he filled the pipe's bowl with pipeweed from his pouch, he watched the others
in the party. Legolas, miserable, was dressed in some of Aragorn's spare clothing, looking lost
in all the extra fabric, but his skin was too sensitive for close-fitting clothes. Boromir the
Many-Targeted sat glumly by the fire, eating. Aragorn was quietly mixing up cures for the
itching powder that irritated the heads of Elf and hobbit. The hobbits themselves sat beside
Strider, anxiously and impatiently awaiting the cure, scratching their heads vigorously. Gimli
had left for the stream.

He brought the burning coal to the weed in his pipe, lit it.

Nearly instantly, the whole campsite was flooded with the smell of... not pipe-weed. Not at all.
Cooking spices.

"Arwen!" growled Gandalf, choking on a lungful of spice-smoke.



"You replaced Gandalf's pipe-weed with cooking spices?" Elrond asked in disbelief. "Do you
realize what he will do to you once he catches you? He is a powerful wizard!"

Arwen shrugged. "My beloved is worth it," she answered.

Elrond passed a hand over his face, glared. "And the dwarf?"

Arwen's smile was downright vicious. "I-"



"MY BEARD!" came the agonized, infuriated bellow. "My hair! My arms and my... ME!"

The others jumped at the bellow, then sighed and exchanged resigned glances. Arwen had struck
again.

After a long while, during which blistering dwarven curses echoes throughout the forest, Gimli
returned. He was cloaked and hooded even more tightly than Boromir had been, without even an
inch of skin showing.

"Gimli?" Aragorn asked, approaching. He was met by an unfriendly growl, which he ignored.
"Gimli, what did she do? Perhaps I can help."

The hooded head peered up at the other, though the face itself carefully remained hidden in
shadow. Then, the dwarf sighed in defeat. "Couldn't have kept it hidden for long, anyway," he
muttered. As had Boromir, he released the throat-catch of his cloak, let it fall.

The hobbits were startled into laughter, even the Men had trouble holding it back. The Elf
smirked; at least *someone* would be suffering for longer than *he* would. That it would be the
dwarf was an unexpected bonus.

"G-Gimli," Merry choked out, "you're... b-blue!"

And so he was. Thanks to the judicious amount of dye Arwen had added to the dwarf's soap, he was
now dyed a deep, vibrant blue from head to toe.

Aragorn leaned in to see the skin. "I can do nothing," he said, "I'm afraid it is not a paint,
but dye. It will have to wear off on its own."

Gimli glowered. Being dyed had *not* improved his temperament. "So I shall be blue for...?"

"At least a few weeks, I'm afraid."

"Weeks!"



Elrond heard something that sounded suspiciously like a snicker come from one of his sons, though
by the time he looked, both wore identical expressions of disapproval as they watched their
sister.

Arwen herself looked well-pleased with her actions.

He sighed, wondered exactly what he was going to do to punish her. "Elladan, Elrohir," he said
at last. "Escort Arwen to her room and see to it that she does not leave. I shall send guards
to take over shortly. Then you are to take the bundles I shall have a servant make up and ride
out to bring them to the Fellowship. You shall explain what it is that Arwen has done, then
return here."

"Yes, Father," they said, then led Arwen out.

Elrond sat down on his carved wooden chair, one finger absently traced the carving on its arm.
He sighed again.

He could handle having Sauron's One Ring resurface once more.

He could handle orc hordes rampaging the countryside.

He could handle the possibility of total world domination by a force of ultimate evil.

But he was really getting too old to deal with Arwen's obsessions on a regular basis.


END


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