Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings, all characters, all places, and any other ideas pertaining to Lord of the Rings, are completely and 100 percent Tolkien's. Randall, Monsters Incorporated, and any ideas pertaining to the movie Monsters Inc. belongs to Disney and Pixar and anyone else who came up with them. This was written solely for my own enjoyment and peace of mind. No money was made off of this story.
Rating: K+. Rated K+ for mild action and injury. Nothing is very graphic.
Summary: (LotR/Monsters Inc. crossover) Pray tell what would happen if doors at Monsters Inc. could connect to closets in Middle Earth? And what if, one night, one of the Scarers crept through a closet and into Estel's bedroom? This is that tale...
Time Frame: Estel (Aragorn) is 2 years old, and has been living in Rivendell for less than a year.
A/N: First off, I would just like to point out that this IS a crossover of Lord of the Rings and Monsters Inc. Yes, I do know that this story and crossover is probably rather...odd (to say the least) on many levels, but I thought it was rather amusing and kinda sweet. And it worked out, soooo...
To anyone who, on the EXTREME off chance, follows my Sanctuary and Stargate writings, yes, I am working on Trial of Flames and Of Jackals and Shadows. I've been having some difficulties getting the next chapters written, although I promise you, I AM working on it. I hope to have the next chapters of both up by New Years.
Harrumph! I can't believe I forgot to mention this, but a huge thanks goes off to Elven heart993 who is the most amazing beta ever! You stuck with me through this entire, ridiculous and rather insane story. So thank you :D You deserve a cookie.
*Ahem* I also forgot to mention that, in my mind, Gilraen died with Arathorn, and it was Elrohir and Elladan that found Aragorn in the camp, and brought him to Rivendell and Elrond.
Lastly, this is my first Lord of the Rings fic that I'm actually publishing. Therefore, I would absolutely adore you if you would post a review, telling me what you think of my writing style, my characterization, and any inconsistencies that you find (*nudge*). I'm so glad you're reading, I really, really hope you review, but most importantly...enjoy. :)
~Monsters in the Dark~
(Otherwise known as)
-Why the Lizard Failed-
The moon had not yet risen, leaving the world in a time of shadow when the stars, once again, were the only heavenly bodies that shone down on Arda. The Last Homely House was alight with laughter and firelight, the elves' voices raised in song and merriment.
Estel yawned widely, his silvery blue eyes blinking sleepily. He was sitting on the floor by the fireplace in Elrond's study, his favorite stuffed animal toy horse clutched in his hands. It was held tightly against his chest, his gaze riveted on the flickering flames in the grate.
Elrond looked up from the papers that were scattered on his desk, a droplet of ink dripping off of the end of his quill pen as it hovered over a piece of parchment. He noticed the sleepy droop to his youngest son's shoulders and, almost as soon as he rose gracefully to his feet to go to him, the elf heard a noisy yawn. Smiling, he skirted his desk and crossed the floor to kneel beside the human.
"Come, tithen pen. It is time for bed, I think," Elrond told Estel quietly. More out of habit than because he truly did not want to go to bed, Estel shook his head stubbornly, his chin jutting forward slightly as he clutched his horse tighter to his chest. Elrond smiled and reached for the two-year-old, gently picking him up. It was merely evidence to how tired the child really was when he didn't actually protest as he was lifted into his Ada's strong arms. He wrapped his own arms around Elrond's neck, his stuffed toy dangling down the elf's back. Almost instantaneously, his head lolled against Elrond's shoulder, his breathing evening out as he fell asleep.
Elrond carried Estel out of his office and down the hallway, walking as gently as he could so as not to disturb the sleeping child in his arms. After ascending the stairs to the next level, Elrond paused at the junction of two hallways and the stairwell. After he carefully shifted his slumbering son to rest completely on his left side, Elrond picked up the candle that was resting on the table beneath a window. The flame flickered wildly when he raised it, then steadied out slightly.
Footsteps preceded their owners up the stairway, and Elrond turned just in time to see his other two sons, Elladan and Elrohir, emerge from the stairwell. They were talking quietly, most likely debating some finer point in some inconsequential matter or other, but ceased as soon as they caught a glimpse of the face of their sleeping brother peeking out over their father's shoulder. As one they smiled, warmth and tender love lighting up their eyes.
"We were just on our way to find him to take him to bed," Elladan murmured to Elrond as the twins came abreast of their father. "We can take him the rest of the way, if you'd like," he continued, feeling slightly guilty that, due to their neglect of their own brotherly responsibilities, their father had been dragged away from his duties.
"It's quite alright," Elrond assured his older sons, smiling at them and correctly interpreting their uneasy shifting. "I needed a short break as it was," he said by way of reassuring them that he was not in the least perturbed by his interruption.
The twins accompanied their father and little brother down the hallway to Estel's room. When they drew even with the door, Elrohir stepped forward and lifted the latch, pushing it open. Elrond stepped through the opening and crossed to the bed, carefully placing the candle on the bedside table.
Using his now free hand, Elrond pulled back the covers on Estel's bed. He sat down on the edge of the mattress and laid the boy down on top of the sheets. He leaned down and kissed Estel's forehead, murmuring, "Kaima eithel, ion-nin." (Sleep well, my son.) He tucked the covers around the boy and stood.
Estel turned over onto his side, his eyes cracking open to gaze up adoringly at his Ada. "Quel dome, Ada," he murmured sleepily before wrapping both arms snugly around his stuffed horse and promptly falling to sleep again. (Good night, Daddy.)
Elrond smiled and turned to leave the room, stopping to grab the candle on his way out. As he closed the door, Elladan and Elrohir fell into step beside him.
"We really should have come to get him earlier," Elladan began.
"We lost track of time," Elrohir finished for his brother, grinning sheepishly.
Elrond laughed softly, chuckling at the twins' remorse.
"Once again, I'll tell you that it was no problem. I don't get enough time with him," he continued, a little wistfully. "I was happy to put him to bed." He smiled then, a smile full of the joy and peace that being a father can only bring.
Elrohir glanced over at Elladan behind their father's back and winked. Elladan shrugged. Elrohir had been right; their father had been in much need of time with Estel. He was then only too glad that he had allowed Elrohir to talk him into waiting at the foot of the stairs for a few extra minutes.
The three made their way down to Elrond's study, and the twins stepped in briefly to grab a book. As they said farewell to their father and exited the study, Elladan glanced back. A soft smile was hovering around Elrond's lips as he sat down in his chair, a light dancing in his eyes. It looked almost as if a great weight had been lifted off of the elf lord's shoulders, and that a great many years had been peeled off of his age. Elrohir, noticing his brother's distraction, turned back as well, and caught a glimpse of Elrond's smile. A grin of his own flashed across his features.
Perhaps Elrohir was even more insightful than either of us realized, Elladan mused. It is good to see him smile again; both of them he amended, glancing at his brother. A smile of his own crept across Elladan's face
A slight creaking sound shattered the peaceful tranquility that had descended over the moonlit room. Slowly, carefully, the wardrobe door was eased open, the intricately carved wooden door swinging open with only the most minimal protestations.
Randall slithered out of the closet, keeping close to the ground and automatically shifting his skin color to match that of the cream-colored floor. In spite of himself and his generally cold and disinterested personality, he couldn't help but marvel at the beauty and elegance of the room. A large, four poster bed stood against one wall, a simple white wood table fashioned into a swan standing beside it. Shelves adorned the walls, vines and flowers intricately carved through the woodwork, books and scrolls filling them neatly and orderly. A chest sat at the foot of the child's bed, standing out oddly from the rest of the room in that it seemed to be much more sturdily built, and much more practical.
Randall glowered at his own lapse of attention. It just wouldn't do for him to mess this up. He was getting so very close to beating Sulley in 'Scarer of the Month'. He couldn't afford to mess this mission up, or he'd be out of the running for the sixty-eighth time in a row.
His belly slithered along the carpet, sending small shivers through his body. How he hated carpet. It made him itch and, while it smothered his footfalls, it gave very poor traction. As Randall neared the bed, he heard the child stir, and then cry out softly.
Randall curled his body around the bedpost as he squirmed up to be on level with the mattress. The little boy, who could be barely more than two, rolled over so that his face was almost directly in front of Randall's, his eyelids flickering in agitation.
"Is the nasty little baby having a nightmare?" Randall hissed, just barely audible. He hadn't expected the child to awaken, or even hear him.
Thus, it was a great surprise when the boy's eyes snapped open their blue depths gleaming silver in the moonlight. His eyes went wide when he saw the lizard wrapped snugly around his bedpost.
Randall quickly recovered his wits and leered at the boy, although he knew that the child wouldn't be able to see him.
"What's the icky nasty little baby dreaming about, hmmm?" Randall asked venomously as he leapt to the top of the headboard, leaning his head down so he could whisper in the kid's ear. Just as quickly as he had jumped to the headboard, he dropped to the mattress and slithered to the bottom of the bed. "Dreaming about something scary? Something like ME?" he yelled, materializing instantaneously and leaping for the boy in one movement.
A child's terrified scream, closely followed by a crash, pierced the nighttime calm of the Last Homely House. Elrond's head snapped up, his eyes fixing on the door that stood slightly ajar. A second scream echoed through the house, one filled with fear and, this time, pain.
Elrond's hand closed around the small knife sitting on the corner of his desk. It didn't matter that its only purpose was to open letters or sharpen quills. Elrond surged to his feet, racing for the hallway. He turned the corner so quickly that, had any mortal attempted it, they would have slid into the wall. Within seconds, he was leaping up the stairs to the next level, his heart thudding painfully.
To Elrond, it felt like it took an eternity to reach Estel's room, the hallway stretching endlessly onward. He was quivering with adrenaline, fear coursing through his body. As he drew nearer, his sharp elven hearing caught a faint whimper and sob; it was obvious it had come from a child – one child in particular.
If anything had hurt his son…well, they would pay for it.
Elrond came to an abrupt halt at the door to Estel's room, vainly trying the latch. It was, for some inexplicable reason, locked.
One sharp kick broke the lock, and Elrond stepped into his son's room, the small dagger held in the ready by his side. What he saw in the room made his blood run cold. White hot fury spiraled through him, and for a second, he saw crimson.
Tears coursed down his cheeks, dripping off of his chin and splashing onto the mud beneath him. He crawled forward on hands and knees, not caring when he cut his palms open on sharp rocks or half hidden blades, his only thought to reach the limp, gray bundles lying a few feet away.
"Mommy, Daddy?" he sobbed, crouching beside the sodden forms of his parents. He grabbed fistfuls of his father's cloak, gently shaking him, trying to wake him up. "Daddy, wake up. Please," the child begged. His father didn't listen; he couldn't hear him. "Mommy?" This time his voice broke as sobs began to wrack the little boy's body. He swiped at the tears, leaving bloody streaks along his cheeks and chin. This only caused him to cry all the harder.
A strange noise sliced through the noise of the rain pinging against metal and plopping amidst mud. He turned, his eyes going wide and his tears instantaneously drying when he saw the figure rise up out of the mist. His body was numb and frozen with fear, his gaze riveted on the snarling face of the gray-green skinned monster. The beast leered at the little child, raising his sword.
Estel cried out and sat up, his own yell mingling with another voice. For a second, all fell deathly silent as the boy beheld the creature leaping at him, its face contorted into a malicious sneer. And then, Estel screamed.
He was frozen, still caught halfway between sleeping and waking, the remnants of his nightmare still clinging to his sleep fogged brain. Only, he had not awoken to the comforting safety of his room, where his Ada or one of his brothers would quickly come to comfort him. No, instead, he had awoken to another nightmare.
The leer was what sent him over the edge. It was similar…so very similar to the one he had seen the orcs wear as they slaughtered his mommy and daddy.
His fingers fumbled for something – anything. His fingers latched around the statue of the tree that stood on his bedside. He threw it as hard as he could, scarcely faltering as he realized he might hurt the thing on his bed.
The figurine shattered against the lizard's forehead. Shards of glass cascaded across the bed, gashing the creature as it fell, stunned, to the floor, landing with a thud on the carpeted floor. Estel scrambled out of bed and made a dash for the door, his fear overcoming his anger and once again taking control of his actions.
Randall's own instincts took control of his body as he fell to the ground, stunned. Not only was his body knocked into temporary stillness, his mind too was reeling with shock. The child that had awoken, so frightened and his screams ready to be harvested, had suddenly recovered himself, and had attacked him. The little twerp had attacked him!
Randall lashed out with his tail, snapping the tip into the toddler's chest. The kid fell sideways, staggering from the blow, and his forehead slammed into the nightstand as he toppled to the ground. He laid there, the break knocked out of him, for a second.
Darkness flickered around Estel's vision, his body going numb for a second. As soon as it had descended upon him, the absence of feeling lifted, and pain lanced through his forehead, the feeling of warmth trickling down around his eye. And then, for the second time that night, Estel screamed.
Realizing what he had done – he had touched a human child – Randall cowered on the floor, waiting for the searing agony that was sure to follow such contact. He held his breath, waiting with tremulous fear for the spear of pain, or the numbing darkness that would attach itself to him.
Nothing happened. He didn't die. In fact, he felt perfectly…normal.
He looked up from his position on the floor where he had curled into a compact ball, waiting for the end. The kid was curled on the floor as well, his hands pressed to his forehead, red liquid trickling out from between his fingers. He was crying, tears pooling on his lashes and dripping down his cheeks.
Randall looked back to the closet where the door was waiting for him. He could disappear through it to never be seen again, and he could leave this strange room and even stranger child behind. And yet, even as Randall slithered to his feet, he paused for a second.
He had a chance here; a chance to prove that touching children didn't bring death. If this were the case then…well then the options open to him and the others at Monsters Inc. would be limitless. There would be so many new opportunities that had previously been closed to them. And when he had touched the kid before, he wasn't hurt. And hadn't all of the books and warnings told that, unless you immediately received attention, you would die within moments? That window of time had already come and gone, and he was most certainly not dead.
Randall made up his mind. He would discover, once and for all, if touching children harmed him. With a bound and a flick of his tail, he clicked the lock on the door into place, ensuring that no parent would be able to come barging in.
He approached the sobbing child, a vicious gleam in his eyes. With one swift movement, he wrapped his tail around the kid's throat, tightening the appendage as soon as it had completely encircled his neck. It wouldn't do for him to scream again and bring the kid's parents running to the room, frantic enough to break in the door.
The kid tried to yelp as the tail cut of his air supply, but it only came out as a strangled, garbled moan. Randall smiled, and began to count silently to himself.
He had just reached thirty when the world exploded. Or, at least, that's what it seemed like.
Pain seared across his tail as light flooded through the room. Instinctively, Randall loosened his lethal grip on the kid, yanking his tail away from the stinging bite of very cold, very sharp metal. He was knocked to the ground by a well-placed kick, the breath whooshing from his lungs. He slid across the floor, fetching up against the chest at the foot of the bed, his head cracking against the solid wood.
He staggered upright, his gaze latching onto the blazing figure of a man, his long, dark hair hanging around his face in artful braids. His face was masked with cold fury, his flaming gaze so powerful that, for a second, Randall was certain he would catch afire. A strange light seemed to emanate from the man, illuminating the room even more than the firelight that flickered in from the hallway. Only, Randall realized with a lurch in his stomach, the man standing in front of him, the dagger in his hand dripping with dark green blood – his blood, he realized distractedly – was not a man. His ears came to a delicate point, his face impossibly beautiful, even in its rage.
"How dare you harm my son," he asked, his voice low and menacing. Randall backed up, cowering close to the floor, fear assaulting him. For the first time in his life, Randall was truly afraid.
Randall shook his head, unable to speak. He glanced behind him, frantically searching for the closet. He found it and made a quick dash for the wobbly door. A whistling sound was his only warning before he was being thrown to one side, his shoulder a swirling mass of agony. Randall turned his head sideways, and found himself looking at a hilt protruding from his shoulder, his blood beginning to sheet down his arm and drip onto the floor.
He looked over his shoulder and saw the elf stalking forward, his anger no less abated. Randall glanced between the closet and the oncoming creature, and he knew that he would never make it through the door and back to Monsters Inc. before the elf reached him. Despite the fact that the elf was no longer armed with anything sharp and pointy, Randall had no doubt that he would find himself in no good way if he was attacked again.
Throwing all caution and logic to the wind, Randall turned abruptly, and launched himself toward the elf. Not expecting such a turnabout, Elrond faltered, hesitating for a split second. Because of this, he was slightly off balance as the lizard slammed into him, the creature's tail coming up to smash into his temple.
Randall fell awkwardly to the floor, landing on his side and jarring his wound, even as he heard the telltale smack of another body slamming into the wall. The monster looked to see where the elf was and, to his immense satisfaction and relief, found him sprawled by the wall. He lay there, unmoving, knocked unconscious by the heavy weight of Randall's tail bashing him over the head and, Randall noted with one last glance, smashing headfirst into a wall.
Randall breathed a sigh of relief, even as his entire body throbbed and burned. He yanked the knife out of his shoulder, letting it drop to the carpet with a thud. He turned to hobble his way to the closet, his only goal now to reach it before something else untoward happened.
Something soft and squishy hit him in the back. Even though he knew it would be better to continue on his way and ignore whatever had just happened, Randall turned, a snarl fixed on his pained face. The kid was standing by his bed, his face a picture of perfect childlike fury.
"What did you do that for?" the kid cried out indignantly. "You evil…MONSTER!" he screamed, anger and raw fury pummeling Randall. Wanting to shut the brat up once and for all, he started toward the kid menacingly, bending down to grab the fallen dagger.
"Do not touch him," a new voice commanded from the doorway. Randall looked up with slightly numb shock, seeing two new figures standing in the doorway. They looked almost frighteningly similar to the one he had knocked out just the moment before. Both were holding long and wickedly sharp blades that glittered menacingly in the torchlight.
Common sense finally winning, Randall dropped the dagger and began to inch back toward the closet. This mission was most definitely not going as planned.
Elladan and Elrohir entered the room, anger seeping off of them. Estel ran toward the Elrohir, who was the nearer of the two of the two, and wrapped his small arms around his leg, holding on tight and burying his face in the cloth of the elf's pants. Elrohir stopped walking and leaned down to stroke his little brother's hair. Elladan continued his slow, purposeful tread toward the monster that was slowly backing away from him.
Elladan didn't see Elrond until he had passed the bed. When he saw the unconscious form of his father lying against the wall, something inside of him snapped. Fury washed over him, somehow rising to a level that surpassed even that of seeing his little brother frightened and threatened. To see his father injured and unconscious, sent that way by the monstrosity slinking away, snapped some final barrier of restraint.
Sensing that his time was up, Randall turned and fled, wrenching the door to the closet open and disappearing inside. As Elladan pulled up sharply from his headfirst dive at the swinging door, he yelled after the lizard, "May you never find peace or rest for what you've done. May you fail at everything in life, and die in a forsaken land!"
As Randall practically flew out of the door and back into Monsters Inc., he felt a darkness fall over him, an unshakeable shadow lodging in his very soul.
And from that moment onward, Randall, Scarer for Monsters Incorporated, was cursed.
Elrond awoke abruptly, his eyes flying open. Immediately, he regretted his rashness, as his head sent him a rather loud and obnoxious complaint. He shut his eyes again, blocking out the light of the fire that had been lit in the hearth since he had last been conscious.
Once again, his eyes flew open, and he pushed himself upright. Estel. He grabbed onto the wall for support as the world spun sickeningly around him. Closing his eyes yet again and taking deep, even breaths, Elrond steadied his stomach and ordered the world to stop spinning. It had been a long time since he had suffered from a concussion, he mused wryly.
"Adar, how are you feeling?" Elrond cracked open his eyes to see Elladan kneeling by his side, his eyes wide with worry.
"I'm fine," Elrond said automatically, only realizing after the words had left his mouth just how similar he sounded to his sons when one of them was grievously injured. Elladan seemed to be thinking along the same lines as his father, for he gave him a skeptical look. "I seem to have a minor concussion," Elrond amended, although his mind was already travelling onto other issues. "Where is Estel?" he asked almost as soon as his previous words died on his tongue. He knew that he didn't do as well at keeping his worry from his voice as he would have liked.
Elladan smiled slightly, steadying Elrond as he attempted to gain his feet. "He's with Elrohir and Glorfindel," Elladan assured his father. "He's fine, if a little scared." Upon straightening, Elrond nearly fell sideways, and would have fallen to the ground had Elladan not caught him.
Valar, minor concussion? I suppose I know now where Elrohir and I get our stubbornness when it comes to being injured, Elladan thought sardonically as he half carried, half dragged his father toward Estel's bed.
Elrond sank onto the mattress gratefully, the world once again running rampant around him. He carefully rubbed his throbbing temple trying to reorder his thoughts – they simply did not want to reorder themselves.
A small sound at the doorway brought both Elrond's and Elladan's attention that direction. Estel was standing in the doorway, one hand wrapped firmly in Elrohir's, a very serious and worried expression on his face. A white bandage was fixed firmly to the jagged, yet blessedly shallow gash on his forehead, the blood carefully cleaned off of his forehead, and he was wearing a new pair of pajamas.
"He wouldn't settle down until he saw you were okay," Elrohir explained, nudging the suddenly nervous little boy into the room.
Estel looked at Elrond with huge, worry filled eyes. The little boy couldn't help but remember the fear that had filled him as he had seen his Ada thrown across the room and falling, motionless, to the ground. The image of his Mommy and Daddy lying in the mud and rain, covered in blood, had once again flashed into his mind, and he couldn't seem to force the memories out of his mind. What if the same thing had happened to Elrond? What if he would go to his Ada and find that he wasn't really sitting there and smiling at him, that he was really lying there still and motionless?
"Come here, tithen pen," Elrond murmured, opening his arms. Estel let go of Elrohir's hand and ran forward, throwing himself into Elrond's lap and wrapping his arms around his chest tightly. The tears of fear and worry suddenly broke through their dams, and he began to cry, burying his face into Elrond's shirt.
Elrond gently stroked Estel's hair, soothing him as he wept. He rocked him back and forth slightly, although not so much so as to send himself toppling over the edge of the bed.
"Hush, my son. All is well. You are safe," he murmured, hugging the child close to his heart.
Wrapped tightly in his Ada's arms, Estel knew everything was well. The nightmares had been dispersed, flung out of him by the love that he felt surrounding him from both his brothers and his father. Slowly, he sobs subsided, and before he knew it, he had fallen asleep, his head cradled in Elrond's arms.