7. Night Musings and Itchy Beards
Disclaimer: The fat hideous fish is growing still, despite my best efforts, the ranger is out for a bit of mischief this time and gets dragged into a private conversation with Aragorn. As always JRR owns all the good stuff.
A/N : 'this is thought'
To my lovely reviewers: I give you the choice of a dozen cookies or an elf for the weekend. Thank you for the support and encouragement. It means a lot to me!! J
It had been a three day journey to the foot of Caradhras the Cruel. The way was long and tedious, adding to the sad thoughts of the climb to come. Gandalf led the company throughout the night to try and fool the watchful minions of the Dark Lord. So far, they had succeeded, but tempers were becoming frayed. After a particular fit of temper from not only the elf and Dwarf, but Gandalf himself, Fire decided to retaliate in a most unusual fashion. Instead of arguing, the ranger ignored the three combatants all day. If Gandalf had not been so distracted, he would have been worried about her behavior and been on his guard.
Night Musings and Itchy Beards
All was quiet on her watch. Fire observed the Fellowship as they drifted off to sleep, awaiting just the right time. A smile of such mischief lurked on her fair features, turning her whole being into a much younger looking elf. With the stealth of her kind, Fire crept over to the unsuspecting Dwarf. Sprinkling a small amount of powder into his beard, she moved on to her next victim, Gandalf. After her mission was complete, she moved over to the elf's bedroll. The ranger whispered to him so lightly that it sounded like the wind and put him deeper into reverie. Chuckling to herself the elleth, loosened the ties to his tunic just enough to drop some of the powder close to his skin. Refastening his tunic, she sat for a moment, just staring.
The time for next watch came. Gently shaking his shoulders, the ranger woke Aragorn. "All is well. I neither have seen nor felt any enemies nearby and the creatures of the land go about their business unafraid." Yawning then stretching, Aragorn rose to take Fire's place on duty. "I am glad to hear these tidings, for they bode well for tomorrow's journey. If you are not too tired, I wish to speak with you a few moments. Come we will sit over on that rock there, so as not to disturb the others.", he said quietly before heading to the rock.
Fire followed the other ranger and flopped on the appointed rock. She leaned back waiting for him to speak. Finally after a few minutes of frowning, Aragorn began to talk. "Fire these are dangerous times and we need to pull together as a group if we are to see this quest done. I know not why you were chosen by Gandalf and Lord Elrond, but it must mean you will contribute much to the survival of Middle Earth. Since the discovery of your true identity, you have become more amiable towards most of our group, but I find it disconcerting that you would find, within yourself, such animosity towards one of your own kind. Legolas can shed no light on this matter and any small gesture of friendship seems to be nigh on impossible where the two of you are concerned. It is my hope you will trust me, even but a little, so we may rectify this situation. What is the problem between you two?"
Glaring off to the horizon, Fire thought over the ranger's words and tried to find an answer for his question. Heaving a large sigh, Fire squared her shoulders and turned to the ranger. "I have come to respect you over these many days of travel. Even after the revelation of who I am, you have treated me fair and for that reason alone I will try to explain to some degree. I only have a request that this goes no farther then the two of us and you will give your word of honor NOT to tell the elf anything I say. Do you agree to this?" Aragorn bowed his head slightly, "My lady I give you my word of honor none shall hear naught from my lips, especially the elf." He said with a tiny grin.
Nodding the ranger looked at the ground before speaking. "Truthfully, I am not sure just why it is that Legolas annoys me so. All I know is sometimes I wish to end his existence slowly and painfully, for his condescending remarks and insufferable actions. Just because I am female does not make me less of a warrior. I am just as capable as he, yet his actions show he thinks me either uncivilized or stupid. I had trained with your brothers for four long and hard years before taking my path to become a ranger. Sadly at one point, I thought the elf and I actually might tolerate each other, but alas the elf opened his mouth and ruined the peace with his unforgivable words." Aragorn watched the ranger as he digested this information.
Looking at her, he had to ask something that had been on his mind since they had hidden in the rocks near Hollin. "I wish to ask you something of a more personal nature if I may be so bold. At the rocks when the crebain flew over, both of you hid under the same rock. After it was safe, you both seemed a little uneasy with each other, more so then before. Even over the last three days, I have watched how you both avoid looking at each other unless there is no choice. Yet when you think yourself unnoticed by all, I have taken note of the glances you throw to the elf. Is there something between you of a more personal nature we need be aware of that is causing this unease?" Fire looked at Aragorn in shock, first turning pale then bright red as his meaning became clear.
Sputtering indignantly, the ranger tried to form a complete sentence to rid the other of the absurd notion that she might LIKE the elf in THAT way. "Have you LOST your mind? Why in the world would I have any personal feelings towards that half – witted, egocentric, pushy, obnoxious, prissy elf. He is about as attractive as an orc and not half as courteous. His manners are atrocious and he thinks I should tromp to Mordor in a dress batting my eyelashes like a good little helpless elleth! If he was the last elf in Middle Earth, I would not have him given to me wrapped in PINK RIBBONS!!! So before you make me lose my dinner at the thought, listen and listen well! I have NO PERSONAL FEELINGS for that insufferable elf! Please refrain from voicing such idiotic thoughts again, it does not show you in an intelligent light. Now if you excuse me I am heading to bed. Goodnight." Spinning on her heels, Fire stalked to her bedroll and ungracefully threw herself on it.
Aragorn watched the fuming she elf go back to camp with a delighted smile on his face. He thought it high time his best friend found himself a mate and if his actions the last three days were any indication, he found the ranger attractive and frustrating. Now Aragorn had an idea the ranger was either attracted against her wishes OR she really did not have a clue about what she felt for the elf. It would be highly amusing to see where this led. He just hoped his best friend acquired some sense where the elleth was concerned or it would be a long, long trip. Mayhap he should have a word with Gandalf to see if he might have an idea how to keep the two of them from doing bodily harm to each other. Laughing softly to himself, Aragorn settled in for his watch.
The sun receded into the west drawing the stars from their slumber. Fire was rudely awakened by the furious sound of scratching. Turning in the direction of the offending sound, she spied Gimli's face. He was in agony and it showed in the tight lips, irritated eyes, that threw daggers at the ground, and the muttered curses he began to sputter, all the while he scratched at his beard. Trying for an expression of concern, she asked what was the problem. Gimli turned to the ranger and shook his head. "Nothing to worry about, just a slight itch is all. Good evening to you lassie. I hope you slept well." With a small smile, Fire wished the Dwarf a good evening and said she had indeed had a good sleep. As the conversed about the trip to come and what the watch had been like, the others began to wake.
Fire watched as she ate the meal Sam had prepared. To give the little guy his due, Sam was a great cook and Fire was so glad not to be eating her own cooking. The antics of the wizard and Dwarf, as they tried to pretend all was well, while they scratched as discreetly as possible was hilarious. The ranger guessed that they had come to the conclusion that it must be bug bites or something of that nature, as the others were not suffering and it was only the beards that itched. She knew she should have stopped at these two, but the impulse to dump some of the itching powder down the elf's shirt was much too tempting to pass up. Fire knew that it would take longer to begin itching the elf. The powder in the beard mixed with the sweat of their skin was causing the itch. The elf would need much physical exertion, before the sweat and powder mixed creating an unabaiting, irritating itch. The prank did not bother her in the least. She was an accomplice to many of the twisted twin sons of Elrond's evil plots on the household of their father and the Imlandris inhabitants.
Her actions with the elf bothered her to no end, and after the talk with Aragorn it had made her even more angry at herself. She still could not understand what in Arda made her stare at the elf. As she helped ready the camp for departure, she silently berated herself. 'Ok TY, what is the problem with you? Just because he is handsome and built so nicely does NOT mean you have to stare for heavens sake. He is an elf, they are all gorgeous and well made; not an ugly one in the bunch. BUT NO, you have to notice he has a great chest. Geez you are pathetic! Briar would laugh her behind off, if she could have heard what I was thinking last night. HA!, Maybe I need my head examined. First I am staring at his eyes, then his chest what next his butt? Eru I sound like Briar. That one does nothing but stare, drool and make a complete fool of herself, I refuse to become a mindless female like that! OH BROTHER!! I had to go and look at his butt, but damn it is a nice one. A very, very nice one! … Get a hold of yourself woman! This is all Aragorn's fault with that crazy talk we had last night. I was NOT thinking like this about that elf until HE put the thought in my head. All I saw was an annoying elf, but no, he had to ask if I liked the elf in a more personal way. NO,No,a thousand times NO, I do not like the elf at all. He is conceited, obnoxious … wow it really is a great butt .. urgh I have had enough!, concentrated on the job you idiot ranger and leave female thoughts to Briar.' With a huff and a frown, Fire dragged her mind back to the job at hand and followed behind the others as they started up the side of the cruel, dangerous mountain.
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