The Darkened Heart
She was no longer precious to me…
I guess my hate grew much stronger
Than my love for her ever did
So tired of chasing that person
Who made me feel loved
And as we were embracing
I cut and spilt the dearest blood
No more beating as one~Sentenced

The elven camp lay in the darkness of night, only moon and fire giving light. But not enough light. For the fair elves standing, sitting and laying below the guarding trees of Mirkwood did not rest. Not even in the safe realm of their own forest.

The sort of darkness that flowed the earth as the sun shied away from the sky was not what was heavy on their minds. They knew they were standing on the brink of something more. Something darker than they could allow themselves to imagine. A darkness sent from the depths of Mordor to taint their peaceful lives.

But darker than anything else was the creature that sat by their fire, huddled up by the warmth. His eyes were shaded from the painful light as he mumbled something to himself. In his hand lay something, or so he seemed to think for he stroked this imaginary thing lovingly.

"We don't think they likes us very much-sss, do we, my precious-sss?" he hissed.

Though his words were not meant for the elves they still reached their pointed ears. They watched the creature, no more than to make sure he did not escape, for they did not wish to rest their eyes on something so ugly and dark for too long.

"But we like them less, precious-sss. For they think they can keep us in chains. Yes-sss, they think they can make Sméagol and precious pris-sss-oners-sss." The creatures voice dropped, it was no more than a sigh being carried off by the wind. "They thinks-sss wrong, very wrong."

One of the elves poked a stick into the fire, making it blaze up with fury once again. "Silence, creature," he said.

"Gollum, gollum," Sméagol swallowed and hid whatever it was he thought he held in his hand from the elf.

"Foul creature," the elf muttered, "you should not be allowed to enter our sacred woods, I cannot understand why Gandalf thought…"

"You dare to question the schemes of an Istari, Aiola?" Another elf entered the camp.

"I simply wish to know what kind of tryst we have agreed to part-take in, Legolas. Why we are guarding such an ugly creature as this Gollum?" the elf called Aiola said, although Gollum's busy mind had not registered that was his name.

He watched them all with watchful eyes, clutching his hands to his chest to keep his precious safe.

The new elf strode over to him, and he nearly fell backwards as he tried to draw himself away from the tall and slender man.

"Has he eaten?" the elf asked.

"I have no doubt in my heart that he would not hesitate any longer than a flame stays still in the howling wind to take a bite of any of us while we sleep," the elf named Aiola snorted.

Gollum winced as the elf by his side sighed.

"If you let me starve for days I would not hesitate to take a bite from you when you sleep, Aiola" he said. "Give me some meat to feed him with. And some water to swallow the salty taste of it down with."

Food? The elves spoke of food? For him? Gollum had been so busy keeping precious safe that he had not noticed how hungry he was.

"Starving we was-sss, precious," he whispered as the elf walked over to the other side of the fire to gather food and water. "Starving we are. Starving no more, the elf gives us-sss meat."

For some reason Gollum forced his sensitive eyes to look through the fire and rest on the elf who was going to bring him food. He looked like light. A star glimmering in the midnight sky. If Gollum ever had read a piece of poetry in all of his long miserable life, now was the time that he would have cursed that piece. But he had never read anything at all, so he dismissed the thought as a verse from a song since long forgotten.

"Elf brings-sss us meat," he said to himself as he watched Legolas. "Nice elf, not mean. We likes-sss nice elf." And suddenly he remembered something. "Mean elf said nice elf is Legolas. Yes-sss, Legolas he is-sss. We likes-sss Legolas-sss, yes, we do my precious."

Legolas was on his way back to him, or them, and crouched down by Gollum's side. He said nothing at first, just held out the meat. Gollum snatched it from his hand, moving a step further away before starting to eat. He pulled his legs up again, resting his chin on his knees while chewing the meat.

When he was finished he looked at Legolas with wide eyes and the elf held out another piece of meat to him. He moved closer and snatched it from his hand once again, but this time he did not move away but stayed by the elf's side instead.

"Water?" Legolas asked but got no reply. "Would you like some water to drink, Sméagol?" he tried again.

Gollum looked up at him, his eyes unnaturally wide and he nodded. Legolas helped him drink from a leather pouch filled with water. When he was finished Gollum wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He stared at Legolas for a moment longer, then he curled up again and started talking softly to himself.

"We not hungry anymore, are we precious? No, Legolas gave us-sss meat. Legoals ni-sss-ce," he stroked the thing in his hand, keeping one eye on it and the other on the elf.

Gollum shrieked and threw himself sideways and something landed between him and the elf. A snake, his mind screamed to him, before he realized it was just a rope.

Legoals was up on his feet, arguing with the elf that Gollum thought of as the mean elf.

"I say we tie him up for the night," Aiola said. "There's no knowing what he will do once we are asleep. It's bad enough that he gets to wander around freely in the daytime."

"We will set out a guard. He will not do anything, he will stay here."

"Fine, Legolas, you guard him then, the rest of us would not like to waste our precious," he did an imitation of Gollum's voice as he said the word precious, "hours of sleep on him."

"Yes," Legolas said, "I will guard him. And what a fool my otherwise wise father was for sending you on this mission Gandalf trusted us with."

With a snort Aiola turned on his heel and headed over to the other elves who was getting ready to go to sleep.

Legolas sighed and sat down again, noticing for the first time that Gollum was curled up on the ground, mumbling frantically to himself.

"It's alright, Sméagol," he said. "I won't tie you up. But you must promise me not to go anywhere."

Gollum crawled up beside him and sat down again on his old place. He drew his knees up under his chin and continued his mumbling.

"Smégol promises-sss Legolas-sss. We stay, we not leave, we not run away. Precious and Sméagol stays-sss with Legolas," he said while his bony fingers fumbled with something.

*****

The moon had fallen from it's zenith long ago, but Legolas stayed as alert as ever. He was silently singing to himself an old song in the elven tongue. Even though Gollum seemed to be busy with his precious he still listened to the soft words the elf sang.

Slowly he hummed with him. Although the sound he made was no more pleasant than a knife cutting through your body Legolas still found the moment touching somehow. The deformed Gollum sitting huddled on the ground, stroking his precious that wasn't there, humming to the tune of an ancient elvish love song.

"You like that song, Sméagol?" Legolas asked.

Gollum didn't look up at him, but replied nonetheless. "It's-sss pretty," he said in his hissing voice. "Pretty is as pretty does. Legolas-sss is pretty." He crawled back up beside Legolas again. His neck seemed to almost grow longer as he moved his face close to Legolas's. Then his eyes widened again, as they always did when he found something worthy of his notice. He reached out his hand to touch the elf's blond hair.

Legolas forced himself to sit still, although wondering what Gollum was up to. He didn't think he was up to any evil mischief and therefore he did not have the heart to push him away. Even though the dark creature's breath on the skin of his neck sent shivers down his spine.

"Oh," Gollum said, almost lovingly, Legolas imagined, "so-ooo pretty, yes-sss, pretty. Soft," he sighed and twinned strands of blond hair around his finger. "So soft," he sighed again, "and so pretty. Yes-sss, we think-sss it is."

Legolas laughed nervously. Gollum had almost crawled up on his lap now and the elf finally moved slightly in the other direction.

Gollum let go of the golden strands, watching them fall back over the elf's shoulder, reaching out almost as if to touch it once more, before pulling his hand back again. He threw his arms around his knees and sat silent like that for a moment before speaking again.

"Gollum knows-sss precious-sss is gone. Yes, Gollum knows-sss." Then he was silent again.

"I'm sorry," Legolas finally spoke. "Why don't you tell me about your precious, maybe I can help you figure out where it is," he offered.

"Gollum knows where precious-sss is-sss," Gollum said, fiddling with a straw of grass as he spoke. "It's in his pocket. Yes-sss in his pocket precious is-sss."

"Whose pocket?" Legolas queried.

"The thief's-sss," Gollum's eyes suddenly seemed to gleam with fury. "The thief took precious away from me. He took my birthday present, he did, my precious-sss."

"I'm sorry to hear it," Legolas looked at Gollum and did honestly feel sorry for the creature.

All of a sudden Gollum was up on his feet and sprung over to the elf. Legolas shuddered as he placed his cold hand on his arm. His other hand stroked the elf's hair once more.

"It's alright," Gollum said, as if he was comforting Legolas. "Precious will come back to Gollum." Then something seemed to hit him and his face almost lit up with joy. "Gollum will let you see precious then. You can sss-see precious. Legolas nice, Legolas pretty. Legolas don't call Gollum Gollum. Legolas call Gollum Sméagol. He can sss-see my pretty precious."

"Well, thank you." Legolas said and Gollum smiled, his fangs gleaming in the moonlight.

Gollum then took Legolas's arm and put it around his own scrawny shoulders, leaned his head against the elf and closed his burning eyes.

"Gollum sleep now," he said. "Legolas protect Gollum so Gollum can sleep. Dream of precious-sss." Legolas wasn't sure if the last part was Gollum's usual hissing voice or if it was caught in a snore, for so fast asleep Gollum was.

Legolas slid down from the log and Gollum's small body followed, cradled beneath his arm. He leaned against the log, and for a long time he sat like that, listening to Gollum's peaceful breath.

*****

"Se ye orcor sinome.*"

Legolas woke up, he didn't know when he had fallen asleep or for how long he had slept, but the whispers of the other elves woke him up when it was still dark.

Gollum woke up as well as he stirred and he clung onto the elf's arm with a violent force. "Orcs," he hissed. "Oh, what are we to do, my precious-sss." He was no more fond of orcs than the next man and all he could see before him was a band of orcs gnawing on his cooked bones. "No," he cried. "Gollum small, Gollum not make good food. Too small to feed even one orc."

Legolas got himself loose from Gollum's tight grip on his arm and stood up. "Don't worry," he said, "I won't let them eat you."

"Legolas!" Aiola shouted and fired off an arrow into the woods which was followed by a horrible shriek as one of the orcs were hit.

"Ne túla,*" Legolas shouted back and pulled an arrow out of his quiver as he ran over to the others.

The elves managed to fight the orcs off, slaying most of them but a few number of them escaped. Three elves followed them, and the others returned to the camp.

But the camp lay empty.

"Sméagol," Legolas cried out, but Gollum was nowhere to be found.

"He escaped," one of the elves said.

"Or the orcs captured him," Legolas said quietly.

"He took the first chance he got to run off," the same elf said again. "What would the orcs want with him? He's too small to feast on, that's for sure."

The other elves laughed at this, but not Legolas. But he did not say anything either to contradict their believes. He himself did not think that Sméagol would have run away from him like that. And it hurt him to think that he might have after all done just that. He didn't really know why he cared much either way what had happened to him.

The thought that he'd failed the mission given to him by Gandalf did not even occur to him until much later.

The elves that had followed the orcs returned, and Aiola was amongst them.

"So the vile creature escaped after all," he said, "but he ran straight into the clutches of the orcs."

"You saw him?" Legoals asked.

"Oh yes, he was running off on his own two bony legs. Quite fast too. To get away from both us and the orcs I suppose, for they were after him the last I saw."

"Why didn't you go after him?" Legolas questioned, near fury because they had let him get away.

"They were at the end of my sharp elven eyes, I suppose I do not need to tell you how far away that was, Legolas," Aiola snorted.

Legolas sighed. "I suppose you are right. Let us return to my father and give him these grave news of our failed mission. Hopefully there will still be time to correct our mistakes."

They started packing up the camp and getting ready to return to Thranduil's elven city high up among the trees deeper within the Mirkwood forest.

"I for one," Aiola said, "am glad to be away from that hideous, slimy creature."

Legolas nodded, as if he agreed. But many months later he would be shedding tears as Sméagol and his precious forever were lost in Orodruin.

The End

Disclaimer: As always, Lord Of the Rings belongs to mr Tolkien. This story belongs to me, although it is based upon his creation. Aiola is mine, though.

Word List
Se ye orcor sinome = there are orcs here
Ne túla = I'm coming

I used quenya in this story, as in all of my other LotR fanfiction, even though it was the language of the high elves and mostly just used on ceremonies. Reason for this is that it is easier to find sources for quenya than Sindarin. Although none of them was actually spoken by the elves of Mirkwood but I do believe (if I am not mistaking) that their language never appears in the book. So anyways, as I said, I use quenya for them, using LotR and the Silmarillion as well as several websites for live-roleplay as sources for this.

The Floating City