.

.

.

The overbearing, sticky humidness which clung in long, draping waves of heat only vaguely annoyed Sakura, well in comparison to the dwarf beside her, who gripped his axe as if it could possibly do any damage among the most enormous trees she'd ever seen. And that was saying something, because she had seen a hell of a lot of trees.

It's winter. Sakura thought, annoyed. Why the hell is it so hot?

Her narrowed green eyes roamed the still forest warily, as her companions trekked along in front of her. Well, Aragorn did anyway, with a stubborn gait and finesse that rivaled many a hero in her day, as Gimli plundered along beside him, axe half-raised in his hands. Legolas had stayed closer to her, seeming to understand her paranoia, as he too studied the trees closely.

It's almost like…

She thought of moments in snow country when the bitter wind struck like silent blows to the bone, when she and her teammates gathered in Yamato's frighteningly small wooden hut, their breath creating a hot, wet bubble around them. But that was absurd. It wasn't like trees could breathe, after all.

As if sensing her thoughts, Gimli spoke aloud. "The air is so close in here." He noted quietly, his voice both ringing and dulled by the thick canopy of trees.

"The forest is old." Legolas replied evenly, stepping under a low, swooping vine. "Very old. Full of memory… and anger."

Sakura snorted. "You're talking like the trees are… sentient or something."

The elf looked back at her, confused. After a moment wherein clearly the realization dawned on him once more that she wasn't from anywhere around here, he spoke again. "There was a time when trees roamed the Earth as we do now. Ents, they were called, and they were great and rapt with wisdom."

Sakura gave him a withering look. "That's… a little creepy."

She imagined her beloved trees besieging Konoha on their long winding trunks, and shivered.

Legolas looked back at her, a wry smile to his lips. "And I could say the same for many of the creatures we have seen with you."

"Large frogs." Aragorn agreed.

"Talking cats." Gimli quipped.

Legolas raised a brow. "Intelligent birds."

"The birds aren't mine, and most animals that I know can talk, so it really isn't all that big of a deal. And it's a toad, mind you, not a frog. Don't let Naruto catch you saying that or there very well may be hell on earth."

"Hell on earth? Whatever do you mean?" Legolas blinked at her, clearly not understanding the phrase.

"Oh, nevermind." Sakura waved him off.

"And who's 'Naruto'?" Aragorn retorted.

For a moment, Sakura balked, for she had never encountered anything, big or small, talking animal or no, that didn't know at least in a vague sense who Naruto was. If they didn't know the boy personally—and many did, for he had a unusually loud voice and amiable, if not slightly exasperating temperament—and not of his legacy as the Fourth Hokage's child, or even just his legacy in general, then they at least had some inkling of him as a Jinchuuriki.

And to think, these people didn't know Naruto.

At all.

But how to explain him? Pondered Sakura thoughtfully, unsure how to even breach the surface of what was a very vast, very deep subject.

"Well… he's a close friend of mine." She decided upon, after many moments of deliberation as they treaded through the dense forest. "A teammate, actually, back when I still had a team. And he's very… eccentric. He's coming, you see, and I really hope he doesn't offend anyone. Really he's such a sweet guy, but he comes off a little blunt sometimes. He summons toads, just like I summon cats."

Legolas turned to her thoughtfully. "And all ninja can summon talking animals?"

"Not all." Sakura amended. "But many. My Sensei, one of them, anyway, can summon talking dogs. And my… well, my teammate, Sasuke, can summon Snakes." At the thought of Sasuke, a strange lump formed at the bottom of her stomach. And no, not the one that was already there, taking up most of the room. To think that he was back in Konoha, it almost worried her. She'd spent so much time thinking on how to kill him, after thinking on how much she wanted to marry him, that she no longer knew how to think of him at all. Half of her wanted to give him a big hug, and the majority wanted a good, clean, left hook to the face.

Troublesome. She thought, for once having a distinct empathy for Shikamaru.

"Snakes," Legolas said aloud, ominously. "Such foreboding creatures."

"Yeah, Sasuke was kinda evil." Sakura agreed, airily. And then, as she thought of her tenebrous, brooding, once ex and now reinstated teammate, "Still is, I'm sure."

Aragorn blinked back at her, halting his quest for a moment. "Some day," He said finally, in a great daze, "You will have to tell us all about this world of yours."

By 'some day', she would probably be whisked back happily to Konoha, far, far away from Legolas, Middle Earth, and 'some day'. Yet she nodded anyway. "Yes, perhaps when all of this is over."

Her nostalgic thoughts on former teammates was interrupted, as the trees shook with a slight fervor, and groans reverberated through the once deathly quiet forest.

Gimli leapt at the sound, raisins his axe impossibly higher.

Legolas looked up, a crease to his brows. He looked down to Aragorn, hurriedly. "The trees are speaking to each other."

Aragorn nudged the dwarf at his side. "Gimli!"

"Huh?" The dwarf whirled around.

"Lower your axe." The ranger gestured with his hand.

The dwarf, as if it caused him great trouble, began to slowly lower his axe. Sakura supposed that, had she been his size, and never had such a fondness for trees, she'd probably have the same apprehension. But if there was one thing she knew quite a bit about, besides the art of killing and medical texts, it was trees, certainly. So, quietly as Legolas spoke to Aragorn in rapid elvish, she crouched slowly into the shadows, bent her legs, and with a shot of chakra to the legs bounded up into the high boughs of one of the trees.

So caught up in the moment, none of the three realized their only female companion missing.

"The white wizard approaches." Legolas said, with much fear.

"Do not let him speak." Aragorn commanded lowly, but sternly. "He will put a spell on us."

The wiry muscles of his elven friend tensed at the revelation that Saruman, the white wizard, was indeed in the forest with them. Slowly he drew his bow, as the ranger gripped the hilt of his sword and Gimli tightened his hold on his axe.

The two, ranger and elf, locked eyes, seeming to convey a message without words, before Aragorn addressed his two companions. "We must be quick."

With a yell, the three swung around to attack. Gimli's axe, Legola's bow, and Aragorns sword are all deflected. The Ranger dropped his sword, as it became red hot in his grasp. He had not time to pick it up, as he shielded his eyes from a powerful bright light emanating from the shadowy figure of the white wizard.

"You are tracking the footsteps of two young hobbits." Intoned the great wizard.

"Where are they?" Aragorn retorted, angrily.

"They passed this way the day before yesterday." Answered the White Wizard, calmly. "They met someone they did not expect. Does that comfort you?"

"Who are you?-!" Aragorn stood then, squinting into the white light, sword in hand. "Show yourself!"

To his amazement, the bright light dims, only to reveal a familiar form that he had thought was lost to the world. Gandalf was dressed entirely in white, looking quite alive and healthy, much to the astonishment of the three travelers. Quickly they bowed at his presence.

"It cannot be." Whispered the crowned king. "You fell."

Gandalf gave him a tired smile. "Through fire an water, from the lowest dungeon to the highest peak, I fought with the Balrog of Morgoth. Until at last, I threw down my enemy and smote his ruin upon the mountainside. Darkness took me, and I strayed out of thought and time. Stars wheeled overhead and everyday was as long as a life-ago of the earth. But it was not the end. I felt life in me again. I've been sent back until my task is done."

Awed at his tale, the three could do nothing but stare wordlessly at their fallen friend.

"Gandalf…" Aragon said at last, with great reverence.

"Gandalf?" Repeated the wizard, ponderously,. "Yes, that's what they used to call me. Gandalf the Grey. That was my name." And, with a strange smile, "I am Gandalf the White, now. And I come back to you now at the turn of the tide."

"A turn of the tide indeed." Snorted Aragorn, but his sarcastic bravado was lost in the forlorn look to his eyes. "We have lost Sam and Frodo to a more sinister path—nearly the same fate beheld Merry and Pippin, of which we still haven't found. And Middle Earth descends further into the shadow as time progresses."

"Sam and Frodo are not lost, and neither is the quest to destroy the ring." Intoned Gandalf, tranquilly. "You cannot expect from anything but a hobbit, for they are tricky creatures with much courage, and I have the utmost faith in Frodo and Sam, as I do in you, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, and as I do in all of the fellowship."

His face turned grave, as he looked at the three weary faces. "And what has happened to our dear Sakura? And Boromir? Have they fallen as well?"

At the mention of Sakura, the three companions whirled around, only to find their female companion quite, undoubtedly missing.

"Neither!" Cried Gimli. "Boromir was saved by Sakura's healing hands, and Sakura herself… why, she was just here!"

"And still am!"

Called a distinct, light voice, muted with distance.

"Sakura?" Legolas called loudly. "To where have you disappeared to?"

"I haven't disappeared." She refuted, childishly, dropping from her perch among the wreathed boughs with a graceful, balletic countenance. She stalked over to them, airily. "I was simply having a conversation with the trees."

"A conversation with the trees?" Aragorn repeated.

"Yes. They've informed me quite a bit about the happenings in Fangorn. Merry and Pippin were found by the ent, Treebeard, and are currently in his care. And also, they spoke of a charitable wizard dressed in white, called…"

She turned to the charitable wizard dressed in white, a relieved, beatific smile to her face. "Gandalf."

"Indeed it is I." Agreed Gandalf, mirth in his eyes. "And it seems the trees have kept you well informed."

"Yes!" Sakura answered brightly, giddy after her very first conversation with trees. Oh, how she would relate this tale over and over again back in Konoha, if only to see the delight and surprise in her friend's faces. "Finglas was a very kind and informative tree, though he seemed a bit more interested in the weather than he was with the happenings of his own forest…"

Gandalf smiled. "As trees are very prone to do…"

"But why now, Gandalf?" Sakura asked. "Not that I'm not happy to see you, but what you said to me before… did you know that you would return?"

"I had a feeling I would not be given rest until my duty to the people of Middle Earth was fulfilled." Gandalf nodded. "And frankly, I am glad for the experience. And I'm very thankful for you, Sakura, for doing what I asked. There are very few people in this world who can truly do what is asked for them, especially in a moment of great duress."

"Well thank you for saying so, Gandalf." Answered Sakura, humbly. Though I didn't do very much, she added silently.

"But now is not the time for the pleasantries of catching up." Said Gandalf, changing the subject abruptly onto more ominous, pressing matters. "One stage or your journey is over, another begins. War has come to Rohan. We must ride to Edoras with all speed."

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.

.

Edoras was a quaint town on top of a hill, surrounded by many lines of wood, fenced around the winding edges of the city. She'd never seen such a city unguarded, much accustomed to the hidden villages, which, as their name implied, were quite hidden in their respective elements. Konoha in the dense canopy of the forests of Hi no Kuni, Kirigakure in the mists, Suna in the desert, Iwa in the rocky mountains… never in her life had she seen a city so blatantly there.

Though really, what else could they do? She asked to herself, as their horses neared the looming city. Rohan is just a giant plain.

Which was quite true. Had she the sight of the elves, or maybe just the Hyuuga's, she could probably see all the way to the borders of Lothlorein, the land was so flat. Flat, rocky… and empty.

No cover. She nodded to herself. Ninja would hate it here.

She knew for sure that she did.

"You do not look at ease." Legolas noted.

Sakura blanched. She'd been hoping that they'd ride in relative silence, as they had when journeying to the orc corpses. But then, Legolas had been worried for the Hobbits, and his mind had been less on Sakura and more on the matters at hand. Now, though…

"I'm not fond of the open space." She explained. "It's too… well, open."

Legolas quirked a brow. "There are no plains in your realm?"

"I'm sure there are." Sakura disagreed. "But ninja certainly have never travelled through them." Without a good Genjutsu, at least.

"Tell me more of it," He demanded, yet somehow making it sound politely curious all the same. "This world of yours."

"What is there to know?" She hedged, hesitantly.

"You tell me." He answered, vaguely.

Sakura racked her brain for anything that could be considered useless information. But she couldn't remember the last time she'd come across anything in her job that could invariably be filed under the header of, 'useless'. The term was used few and far between in the black-ops.

"How about of your home?" He began anew. "In the trees?"

"Konoha, you mean?"

"Yes."

"Hmm," Sakura thought aloud, unconsciously wrapping her arms tighter around Legolas. (While riding horses was certainly more awkward, it definitely was a lot easier.) "Well, it isn't actually in the trees, not like Lorein anyway, but it is hidden in a giant forest—a forest much bigger than Fangorn, though it doesn't have any talking trees. Its… well it's a lot different than here. The buildings are much bigger, there are many more people—it's almost too different to properly describe." She ended lamely, unsure of how else to end it.

The complexities of her own world, the political strife, economic flopping, trading, taxes, stock, that moron called the Daimyo, there was almost too much that separated the isolated, pocketed communities of Middle Earth. The elves stayed with the elves, the men with the men, and the dwarves in their mountains. And the hobbits, well, the hobbits were generally just unaware of everything. There certainly wasn't the bickering going on at the Kage Summit, all the scheming and alliances and petitions and laws… though Sakura wasn't entirely sure that was a good thing. Hell, she was pretty sure there wasn't even a universal form of currency, if there was any form of currency at all!

But at least here they don't have to worry about paying healthcare. She thought, a little morbidly. If only because they don't have any.

"Can our worlds really be all that different?" The elf turned to face her a little more fully, and Sakura could catch the light of disappointment in the startling shade of blue in his eyes.

A little bewildered by it, she floundered for an answer. "Err—…." Yes! But something compelled her not to say it. "It's hard to say." She evaded. "I'm not the best… person to explain."

No, she had always been the bookworm, the one to learn everything. Definitely not the one to teach it.

She almost felt a little guilty, looking into his crestfallen face—and unfortunately, Legolas had quite a handsome one—a brief flicker of foreboding in her stomach as she recalled Aragorn's portending from before. About elves, and eternity…

"Well," She sighed, conceding, "I suppose that, if I could learn Middle Earth, it couldn't be much harder to learn about the Hidden Nations."

"I look forward to the lesson." The elf promised, the frank sincerity of his words hidden by the quirky smile he graced her with. How unfavorable for her that Legolas could be such a perfect creature; it was very hard to deny him of anything. Or, perhaps not so unfortunate. After all, she could only imagine how cute their child could be with Legolas' supreme looks. And the dimples! Sakura crowed, inwardly. What a lucky child this would be, with an elven, flawless face.

Though thinking of their future child was a most ominous topic, as that lead her to the more dreadful thought of having to tell the father… who happened to, once more, have an intimate father/baby moment of which both were unaware. Snuggled up this close to him, the slight bump that was easily covered by her clothing was pressed fully into him, which, thankfully, he wasn't aware of.

But she had already steeled herself for the conversation.

Sort of, anyway.

Considering her great ability for procrastination, inevitably Legolas would not be told at the next rest stop they happened across—which seemed to be Edoras, at this point—in fact, she was beginning to wonder if she could possibly get away with not telling anyone at all, which had been her original plan. Well, she supposed, it all depended on how quickly Frodo managed to make his way to Mount Doom. Considering that it was Frodo, the chances were slim indeed.

Though Sakura couldn't ponder on the dreaded subject any further, as Legolas jolted in front of her, his horse spooked greatly. Beside them, Aragorn and Gandalf—on his magnificent steed, who, for all his magnificence, was scared as well—both slowed also.

Sakura attempted to peer over Legolas' shoulder, where the jagged edge of Edoras peaked out slightly, but couldn't see anything from the view. She was about to move farther, when Gimli shouted,

"What in the Valar is that?-!"

At this, she really did have to see.

And there, in the skies above Edoras, was the Rasengan.

.

.

.

"And you thought that was a good idea?-!" Sakura shouted, flabbergasted.

They were finally—finally seated at an actual table, eating actual food, without anything at present to stop them from an enjoyable meal. King Theoden, who had been psychotically controlled from afar by Saruman—and Sakura could privately admit that that was pretty fucking cool, and could only think of the possibilities she could achieve if she had the same ability—was restored to his former self, and Grima, the hideous looking creature who's generally appearance resembled an albino, malformed orc, had been banished quickly from Rohan. Which left the Fellowship, plus Naruto, who apparently had been in Rohan for a few days now, to enjoy what was quickly becoming the best meal of her life.

Well, it wasn't completely uninterrupted.

Sakura could almost feel the metaphoric holes the Fellowship was burning at her back, most likely more than a little curious at her sunny, blonde-haired, blue-eyed companion.

Not that Sakura could really blame them. She'd been so caught up in the joy of just seeing Naruto that she had almost completely forgotten to explain who he was. No, the first thing she did, after stopping at the gates to Edoras, was tackle him into the biggest hug she had ever given anyone, swinging around in jovial laughter.

"Well… I didn't know what else to do!" Naruto protested. As usual, big explosions first, logical thinking later.

"Blasting a hole with the Rasengan wasn't going to solve mind control, baka." She pointed out, fondly annoyed. Illogical to most it may be, but to Naruto, that was the general way to solve his problems. However, that wasn't going to fix the giant hole in the king's throne room.

"I tried!" He glowered, before giving a bewildered, grossed look to the food at his plate. It was a typical Middle Earth meal, very hardy in starch and meats, and Naruto, who shared her delicate oriental tongue, seemed more than repulsed by it. "Where's the ramen in this place?"

Sakura wanted to slap her head into the table.

"Naruto," She implored. "Whatever you do, please don't insult anyone. I know it's kind of in your nature—

"Hey!"

"—To come off a little headstrong, and rude, I guess, but for once in your life just think before you say something, okay?" Though to that end, generally when Naruto didn't think and said something, he ended up inspiring a lot of people. Though at this point, they really weren't around to inspire anyone. "But this is a diplomatic mission, not a, save the world mission."

"But isn't that the whole point of the journey?" Naruto asked, confused. "To, you know, save the world?"

"Yes," Sakura agreed. "But not us. We're just supposed to… help out with that. This is a Middle Earth fight which needs to be won by the people of Middle Earth. We can't just get in the way of that."

Naruto hummed thoughtfully, leaning back on his bench. "Hmm… I guess that's true. If Konoha was in trouble, I guess I'd get pretty mad if some other country stepped in to save it."

"Exactly." Sakura nodded, pleased he was getting it.

"… And there's no ramen here, at all?" Naruto whispered.

"None."

He made a thoughtful face, staring ponderously into the steam wafting from his food. Why the hell he wasn't pleased with a hot meal was beyond her—anything was better than Lembas bread, and, for that matter, Soldier pills and protein bars. She herself had delved right into the food, probably eating at least enough for four, which was good, considering lately she had barely been eating enough for herself.

"Well you don't have to look too upset about it."

"It's not that." Naruto waved her off, looking lost. "It's just… I don't know if I brought enough instant ramen!"

This time, Sakura really did palm her face.

Of course he'd have a whole stash of them sealed up somewhere.

"Naruto… you're a moron."

While the two ninja were busily catching up, the Fellowship was also enjoying what was quickly becoming the second best pitstop they'd had on their quest. Perhaps even the first, depending on how much one liked elves. Legolas, honestly, was simply waiting for it all to end. And this time, hopefully Sakura wouldn't run off in the dead of night before they had a chance to speak. There was simply so much he wanted to speak to her about, and most of it he still didn't know how to put into words. The very idea of her once more in his life had still yet to sink in; the novelty was yet to wear off. It seemed only yesterday the shock slid down his back as he walked onto the veranda the Council was being held, seeing her in the warm, retrograde light between the leaves.

And now, after musing on her for almost an entire year the subject of his most lucid dreams was but a few feet away from him, but may as well be thousands of miles away. He'd never seen her so content-so at home-than she was animatedly chatting with her fellow shinobi. This Naruto character seemed decent enough, if a bit dim, and could only aid the Fellowship in their time of need. He was strong, surely. The very idea of blasting a hole clean through the ceiling with no weapons but the power in his arm was preposterous.

And yet apparently could be done.

The blonde had been introduced, of course, the moment they had arrived. After a grand leap into his arms Sakura had trotted over, blonde ninja in tow, to grin winsomely at the Fellowship and introduce her best friend and fellow shinobi. The elf would be lying if he didn't privately admit he was a tad jealous. Not at the blonde, no, it was clear the relationship between them was strictly platonic, but of her ease and candidness around the other blonde that she had never shown with him. She was much more comfortable with Naruto, that was certain.

And why would she not? The two have known each other for years. Which, invariably, was much more than the scant few months the two of them had known each other.

"We'll have to catch up more." Sakura was saying, smiling charmingly at her blonde companion.

"What's there to catch up on?" Naruto retorted, puzzled. "It's you who should be filling me in, Sakura-chan! This place is too crazy man, I can't believe half the stuff I've seen so far! Have you seen those animals down by the gates? I swear there's gotta be a million of them around here but not a single one back home!"

"Horses, Naruto." Sakura huffed patiently, if not affectionately. "And yes I've seen them... it's incredibly difficult not to. But we'll get to that. I want to hear about back home! How is everyone? Ino, Hinata-chan, TenTen... hell, I'd even hear about Lee if you have anything to say about him." And, with a sigh, "I miss home. Everything seems so far away here."

The blonde delved head first into matters concerning people Legolas knew nothing of, and the elf quickly lost interest in the other blonde's constant chattering after that. I miss home. Of course she'd miss home, he thought with a stab. He'd miss home too if he was that far away, and for that long. The very idea of her home still piqued his curiosity-another matter he'd yet to divulge her of. She seemed to have a hard time speaking of it with him, and yet was quite content to discuss it with her blonde friend.

The elf stabbed his food with more force than necessary.

It was becoming clear that there was more than just a giant ocean separating the two of them.

Of course, the elf didn't know that there was something more important than distance keeping them together, too.

"-And anyway, so the moral of the story is that you don't trust Kiba with anything, because most likely by the end of the week the whole place will smell like dog shit." Naruto summed up his recourse of the week prior, in which he had entrusted their favorite canine lover to house-sit his apartment. In the end, he was left with the rank smell of dog turds, and enough hair coating the furniture to give him an allergic reaction.

Sakura seemed mildly sympathetic. "I could have told you that." She harrumphed, literally inhaling her second helping of food. Her second generous helping of food.

Naruto blinked forlornly at her friend. "Maybe you should slow down with that food before you end up with a stomach ulcer..."

"Trust me," She said around a mouthful of potatoes. "I need it."

And Naruto didn't even know the half of it. Not only was she completely neglecting everything her body needed aside from protein bars and the occasional lembas bread, the only nutrients her baby was getting was from the prenatal vitamins. Thank god she had remembered to pack them. This was the first time since Lothlorein that she had the opportunity to gorge herself and feast-and by hell she was going to do it.

Ugh.

Speaking of baby...

She surreptitiously eyed baby-daddy sitting not too far away. Aragorn and Gimli were chatting amiably with Gandalf, who seemed engaged in some long winded, merry anecdote. Legolas, however, seemed to be the morose center of their globular little galactic cluster, looking like he was spending more time mangling his food than eating it. Sakura passingly wondered what was wrong with him, before reminding herself that her efforts were better directed towards herself.

And her wavering bravado.

I promised myself I'd tell him the next chance I got. She prompted herself, stuffing more food and chewing viciously. And this is this next chance.

Naruto yawned loudly. "Well, I'm turning in. This jet-lag really sucks. I can't believe its barely evening here, and yet in Konoha the sun would already be rising! I don't understand how it doesn't bother you..."

"I've been here longer." Sakura admonished lightly. "And anyway, it was a gradual change."

"I guess that's true." The blonde stood, cracking his neck. "You wanna come back with me? I have some stuff for you from Konoha."

Sakura was half-pressed to take his offer and make up some shitty excuse to postpone her inevitable meeting with Legolas, but decided better for it with a quick look in the blonde elf's direction. "I can't." She declined. "I'll get it from you tomorrow morning. It isn't much, is it?" She asked, dubiously.

Naruto grinned. "Well..."

The kunoichi shook her head. Great. He'd probably also slough off the rest of the mission reports on her, too. Lord knew they'd have to write at least a hundred pages for this one...

"Tomorrow it is then." The blonde exited with a casual wave, leaving Sakura to her fate.

Here goes nothing. Sakura swallowed.

"Hey." She approached their table, smiling somewhat painfully at the four of them.

"Sakura." Aragorn greeted. "We were just discussing our next course of action. Tomorrow it would be best if we were to explain to Theoden the importance of moving his people to safer ground."

The ninja blinked. "Uhm... yeah, of course."

"What's the lackey up to?" Gimli asked around his pie. Sakura almost smiled at the many bits caught in his tangled beard. "Bit of a wiry one, that lad."

"He's tired." She explained. "It's a long trip from here to Konoha... and the times are different. Back home its about to be sunrise, but here, the sun has barely set."

"How did he manage to get a hole all the way up there?" The dwarf pointed to the remnants of the roof above Theoden's throne, where the stars twinkled distantly.

Sakura sighed. "It's a bit of a long story..." One that she wasn't keen on divulging at the moment. Then again, nothing with Naruto was ever simple. She turned towards Legolas before she could get even more sidetracked, steeling herself for the inevitable. "Legolas, would you mind meeting me after dinner?"

And then, to the surprised and intrigued expressions of the rest of the Fellowship. "I, uh, was wondering if you could teach me how to use the sword your father gave me... it's a bit different than the ones back home."

Well, not that different, but there was no other legitimate sounding lie she could come up with that would logically allow the two of them to meet in private. Aside from discussing their future plans for the baby he didn't know about, of course.

"Certainly." He agreed, sounding surprised herself.

And with that, she had most certainly sealed her procrastinating fate.