Patient, The: 7. Chapter Six: Cosmic Turntables

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7. Chapter Six: Cosmic Turntables

Sandra Collins stepped into Eve’s home a short time after the policewoman’s
hasty departure with her companions with a tightening knot of tension in her
stomach. She could tell just by the silence after her people kicked in the door
that they were too late. Eve McCaughley was no fool. She would have guessed the
forces rallied against her and ensured that when Malcolm Industries resumed
their hunt for her and Doctor Stone, this was most likely the place they would
begin. As Sandra left the foyer and followed the small annex emptying into the
living room, she could tell by the disarray that they had not been gone very
long. Unfortunately, where the woman might have fled was another thing entirely.

It appeared that Eve McCaughley and Aaron Stone had one thing in common; neither
had any family to speak of and thus no leads to where they might seek sanctuary
if they were driven from their homes. Sandra had not paid enough attention to
McCaughely to know where the woman might go after leaving here and someone was
already watching Stone’s apartment. Sandra did not think the doctor was foolish
enough to back there anyway. The situation was getting worse by the minute and
she did not relish the notion of returning to Malcolm and informing him that
they had lost both parties.

Sandra moved through the house, studying the memorabilia from a lifetime beyond
that of Officer McCaughley. Sandra had recalled reading the file on the woman
revealing her family’s close association with the police force. Eve’s father and
brother had been police officers; one had died in the line of duty and the other
with grief. Her mother had passed away of cancer or something of the like when
McCaughley was ten and so the young woman was raised with a predominantly
masculine upbringing.

It was obviously a close family, Sandra determined by the apparent warmth in the
photographs on the mantle piece. The house was very much a relic of Eve
McCaughley’s connection to her past. Very little about it had changed according
to the photographs and Sandra had the impression while little parts of it had
been decorated to suit its present owner, McCaughley had left it untouched as a
homage to the family that was now buried in the ground.

“Anything?” Sandra asked as she was approached by one of Malcolm Industries
‘security’ consultants, a bear of man named Barry who wore a dark suit and
looked like a secret service agent instead of the hired goon that he was.

“No,” Barry shook his cropped blond head. “If they were here, they left in a
hurry. They cleared out the kitchen, took supplies with them and left.”

“Supplies?” Sandra gave him a look. “What sort of supplies?”

“Well the kitchen’s empty,” Barry answered, remembering what the other members
of his team had reported during their search of the house, “looks like they took
food with them. Upstairs closet in the hallway looks like someone went through
it. I think they took blankets and pillows with them.”

“How interesting,” Sandra said contemplatively. “It appears they have gone to
ground.”

“What are your instructions?” Barry inquired since it looked as if they would
find nothing here.

“I want to go back to Stone’s apartment,” Sandra answered as she paused in front
of the mantle piece and examined a framed picture of McCaughley and her brother
Darien. She stared at the picture for a long while before replacing it on the
mantle piece.

“Yes ma’am,” Barry nodded. “I’ll get the others moving.”

“Not yet,” Sandra stopped him before he moved past her. “I’ll go to Stone’s
apartment. I want you to meet me there after you finish up here.”

“Finish up?” Barry looked at her with puzzlement. “There’s nothing to find here.
I don’t think McCaughley will be back.”

“I don’t either,” Sandra said icily, “but if she does, I want her homecoming to
be memorable. So burn it down, Barry, burn it all down.”

************



Eve could not remember the last time she had been any place as pretty as this.

Being an officer of the NYPD, it was easy to forget that there was a world
beyond homicides and vice, where there were no ghetto wars, no drive by
shootings or liquor store robberies. Beyond the walls of the concrete jungle,
there was a simpler world and half the time it was a pretty nice place to be.
There was a time before she had followed the family profession when Eve
considered escaping the boundaries of that world to see what lay beyond it. She
had wanted to travel and experience a little of life’s beauty before she became
bound to see its ugliness from the other side of the badge. However, it did not
come to pass and Eve found herself enrolled at the Police Academy far sooner
than she would have desired.

She regretted none the choices she had made. Yet as she stood on the porch of
Aaron’s cabin, staring out into the hills where Bear Mountain held court over
the landscape, Eve wondered if she had missed out by never taking that road to
self-discovery. For so long, her life had been the job and it had become worse
since her father had passed away. Until now, she had not considered how lonely
her life was especially since she was all that was left of the family she knew
as a child.

After Darien and her father had died within a year of each other, Eve knew that
she had become a little insular. She devoted herself to the job because
emotionally, it was less taxing than caring for people who would only leave you
in the due course of time. Living this way served her well even if it was a
subconscious desire and not any real effort to keep people at a distance.

Unfortunately, it appeared fate had other plans for her since her life in a
space of 48 hours had suddenly become inundated with new faces. How she had
come to risk everything, her life and her career on a trio of elves, an insane
old man with the propensity to destroy hotel rooms and a psychiatrist who was
apparently had more names than the artist formerly known as (insert named here).


Not that he was not intriguing in his own way, Eve mused as she stood on the
porch, wrapped in the old flannel robe she did not have the heart to give to
goodwill when her brother died, staring out in the resplendent beauty of Bear
Mountain at dawn, nursing a steaming coffee.

There was something about Aaron that was familiar in a way that made her feel
warm and predisposed towards him, though she would need to be at gunpoint before
she admitted that to anyone, least of all him. Eve’s relationships in the past
told her that it was difficult for most men to accept her lifestyle even though
the idea of the uniform and handcuffs was often a point of titillation.
However, for most part Eve found that it was easier to date men in the force
because they were the ones who were more accepting of her manner.

Aaron was not what she expected of a psychiatrist. Her perception probably had
to do with the elitist superiority they tended to project to those who were not
of the profession. Of course, she was probably a little biased by the fact that
they always seemed to be facilitating the criminal elements justification of
horrific crimes by supporting their pleas of insanity. Still, she was impressed
by how much Aaron had been willing to suffer for the sake of his patient, the
strange old man called Moses or Gandalf as they know believed.

“Good morning,” she heard him step out onto the porch with her.

“Morning,” she glanced over her shoulder briefly before she returned her gaze to
the rustic scenery before her.

“How did you sleep?” Aaron asked casually as he joined her.

“After the day we had?” She crooked a brow at him, “like a log.”

“Me too,” he confessed, following her gaze to the scenery before them.

They had arrived at the cabin in the small hours of the night. After buying
supplies that they had not be able to scavenge from her house, they had sat on
the highway all the way out of town, painfully aware that they could be
followed. Fortunately, it appeared as if they had made good their escape though
neither Eve nor Aaron believed for a moment that they were safe. With the
resources at Malcolm’s disposal, it was possible that he could still find them,
even here. Although there was nothing on paper anyway that indicated Aaron
Stone frequented this lodge house at the foot of Bear Mountain, there was no
reason to assume that they could remain hidden indefinitely.

“How long have you been coming here?” She asked, flicking a strand of dark hair
from her face as she regarded him.

“A couple of years,” Aaron replied, trying not to look directly at her because
now that things were not so chaotic, he was noticing her far more than he had
before. He supposed, it might have something to do with the fact that even
though she was clad in the most unflattering flannelette robe he had ever seen,
she still managed to make it look good.

“It’s a great place,” she nodded with a little smile. “My grandparents used to
have something like this when I was little. Its nice to have somewhere you can
just leave the city behind you.”

“Yeah,” Aaron agreed, “Stuart were I going to….”

Aaron paused a moment when he realised that he and Stuart were never going to do
anything again. It was only a few weeks ago that they talked about another trip
out here. A surge of grief for his old friend lost came upon him so suddenly
that Aaron was scarcely able to breathe. For a moment, just a brief instant of
time, Aaron had forgotten that Stuart was dead. Remembering the truth hurt and
it showed on Aaron’s face.

“Hey,” Eve said reaching for his hand and held it in hers for a moment. Eve knew
what it was like to lose a loved one and while she could empathize with his
pain, she was not about to let him face it alone, especially when she had every
suspicion that he believed what happened to Stuart was his fault.

“Its okay to hurt Aaron,” she gave him a look of sympathy.

“I know,” he swallowed thickly, trying to restrain the grief he felt over the
loss of his best friend. “I really miss him. He’s always been there and I
haven’t got used to the idea that he’s gone.”

“It takes awhile,” she offered compassionately. “Losing him the way you did
doesn’t make it any easier either.”

“No it doesn’t” Aaron had to concede and lifted his gaze to meet hers. Once
again, the depths of her eyes momentarily soothed thoughts of Stuart and Aaron
found that being with her made him feel a little better, “I thought I was
supposed to be the shrink?”

“You are,” she looked at him with the same growing affection, “but we cops know
more about dealing with people dying than you do during sessions. We live with
the possibility every day because it could happen to us or to someone we know.
The best way to deal with it is to just feel the pain and then move on. We can’t
afford to let it eat us up inside. We let the grief get out of hand and it will
reflect how we do the job.”

“You lose many people in your life?” Aaron asked quietly, sensing that she spoke
from experience.

“My mother when I was little and after my brother was killed in the line of
duty, my father just slipped away,” Eve replied with more feeling than she
intended.

Aaron sensed that as bravely as she spoke, she was still suffering the lingering
effects of such a devastating loss. “I’m sorry,” he offered.

“They’ve been gone awhile,” she shrugged. “I miss them but I’m over it.”

Aaron did not believe it but he was not about to be to contradict her.

“So how long do we stay here?” He asked, deciding that it was prudent to change
the subject and he did not wish to dwell too much on his pain over Stuart’s
death. He may be a psychiatrist but he was not ready to discuss the full extent
of his grief in detail to anyone, not even to Eve despite how attractive she
was. It was still too fresh. Perhaps when this was over, he would be ready to
talk about it and if Eve was still in his life, he hoped he could talk to her.
For the moment however, he just wanted to forget.

“I don’t know,” she said honestly. “Malcolm’s a powerful man, it won’t take long
to track us down. We can’t hide forever. The man has resources we don’t.”

“I’m sorry I got you into this,” Aaron apologised.

“I think I was on my way there anyway,” Eve declared. “Running into you just
kicked things in to overdrive. Besides, it’s for the better. You and I both have
different pieces of the same jigsaw.”

“Speaking of your pieces, where are the other two?” He asked referring to
Elladan and Elrohir who were not in the lodge when he awoke. Legolas had taken
the duty of keeping a vigil on Moses while Aaron caught up on his sleep.

“Communing with nature I think,” Eve retorted. “They were just itching to go out
into the woods, I think they’ve had enough of the city.”

“You notice they don’t sleep,” Aaron remarked.

“Tell me about it,” Eve rolled her eyes remembering how she had found all three
fixated on the television set the first night they had enjoyed her hospitality.
“I don’t think they sleep the way that we do.”

“How do you know?” He looked at her.

”Just a feeling,” Eve sighed, not wishing to reveal to him that it was something
she sensed more than anything she could explain.

”I can’t get much out of Legolas,” Aaron retorted, “but he kept watch on Moses
all night so I could get some sleep. He doesn’t even look sleepy.”

“He looks very attached to you,” Eve pointed out.

“Yeah I noticed that,” Aaron nodded, recalling Legolas’ initial reaction to him.
“I think Legolas and Strider were very close.”

It was not an idle supposition. Whoever he was to Legolas in the past, it was
clear the elf cared deeply for him. In another life, Aaron suspected they might
have been friends the way he and Stuart had been. Another disturbing aspect,
which Aaron did not reveal to Eve, was his ability to guess what the elf was
thinking even without words. Aaron would have put it down to his psychiatric
training but the truth was, he just knew how Legolas was going to react about
certain things. Legolas seemed to have the same insight into his personality.
Once again, the whole notion of reincarnation left Aaron very off balance.

“When I was in high school,” Eve replied, “I had a philosophy class where the
teacher claimed that reincarnation was not just coming back with the same soul
but also to the same people. Your soul finds the people it knew in the past,
maybe that’s why this is happening. Maybe this is some cosmic turntable and
we’re just playing the same record with a different tune.”

Aaron looked at her before declaring with a smile, “you have too many thoughts.”

Eve laughed, “maybe but I’ve also decided that if we’re going to play highlights
from the fugitive, then I’m going to have to teach you some new skills.”

Aaron did not like the sound of this, “new skills?”

Eve smiled at him, “trust me.”

*************

Legolas Greenleaf sat in the chair watching Mithrandir, unable to imagine that
the most powerful Istar he knew and the Maia servant of Manwe was presently
asleep in his bed, resembling little more than a frail and helpless old man. It
was difficult for Legolas to accustom to himself with what he was seeing now
when he remembered the feats the wizard had accomplished in his long life.
Legolas remembered how Mithrandir had stood against the Balrog in the mines of
Moria, how he had rallied the armies of light in the dark days during the War of
the Ring and carried out countless other deeds of heroism that could not all be
named.

That he was here before Legolas, helpless and forgotten after four centuries
with his mind in tatters was such an affront to the elf that Legolas could
barely restrain his outrage.

Vengeance was not an emotion elves preferred to harbour. However, seeing the
once great wizard in such terrible condition, a wizard who had not only done a
great service to the peoples of Middle earth and who was also his friend,
compelled Legolas rethink the whole notion of retribution. He wondered if Aaron
understood that any ailment with the power to undo the mind of an istar was most
likely incapable of being cured by human hands. However, it was in Aaron’s
nature to try in much the same way it had been Aragorn’s.

For so long Legolas had feared he was the last of the Fellowship. He had mired
himself in grief at the loss of the mortal companions who meant so much to him,
not just Melia. Of all those who had passed into the next life, it was Aragorn
that Legolas missed the most, perhaps even more than Gimli who had been his
constant companion until the dwarf’s passing. Valinor ensured a mortal’s life
was long and without disease, it did not prolong it. When Mithrandir had been
lost four centuries ago, Legolas had refused to believe that he could be dead.
He did not want to be the last of the nine walkers.

The tragedy of being immortal was the continuous death of loved ones.

His fear of this had driven him to embark upon this quest although not in a
million years did he conceive that he would find what he had. Not only was
Mithrandir alive but so was Aragorn and Arwen. True, the duo had little memory
of the people they had been but Legolas recognised them as surely as he had
recognised Ariel wearing Melia’s soul the firs time had laid eyes upon the elf
maid. Everything about Aaron was Aragorn. The way he looked, the stubborn
desire to help no matter what the consequences to himself and even the same
self-depreciating manner. Even though the inability to converse could not convey
what danger they were faced with, Legolas could tell that it had everything to
do with Mithrandir and Aaron was determined to protect him.

This was the Aragorn that Legolas knew and as if the last one hundred thousand
years had simply melted away, Legolas was committed to stand by his side while
he did just that.

The elf’s ruminations were interrupted when he heard a slight moan and looked up
to see Mithrandir stirring in his bed. Legolas remained in his chair, sitting
quietly as the old man came out of his slumber. He remembered what effect
saying his name had upon Mithrandir and resolved himself not to speak the
Istar’s name. Legolas had seen first hand what the wizard was capable of when
his control of his powers were unleashed.

“Good morning old friend,” Legolas spoke in elvish, recalling Mithrandir had
understood him when they last spoke.

“You are still here,” Moses muttered as he looked at Legolas through heavy
eyelids. “I thought I had dreamed you.”

“I am here,” Legolas replied. “I have come a long way to find you.”

“From where?” Moses asked with a little more animation in his speech.

“It is not important that you know,” Legolas declared, deciding that he should
not confront Mithrandir with too many facts about his past. In his fragile state
of mind, the consequences could be another dangerous outburst of power. “Only
that I have come to take you home.”

Moses sat up in his bed, “I have been lost for a very long time haven’t I?”

“Yes,” Legolas nodded sombrely. “We feared you were dead. I would not believe it
until I saw your body for myself.”

“How is that I can understand you?” Moses retorted, his heavy grey bows raising
slightly as he waited for an answer.

Legolas smiled faintly, “you know a number of languages. Elvish is but one the
many tongues you speak.”

“Oh,” Moses looked confused because he remembered none of it. “I find it
disconcerting that there is nothing about you that strikes me as odd even though
you are as you say, elvish.”

“You are accustomed to being around many races,” Legolas offered helpfully.
“There was a time when that was all you did, travelling around meeting new
people.”

“Wonderful,” Moses rumbled. “I was always a vagrant.”

“Not quite,” Legolas laughed and paused when he heard footsteps approaching the
room and knew that it was Aaron and Eve. Unfortunately, Aaron did not possess
the stealth or the ability that Aragorn possessed to go about unnoticed. A
moment later, the door swung open and Aaron stepped through the doorway first,
his eyes fixed upon Mithrandir before resting on Legolas.

“You’re awake Moses,” Aaron declared with genuine relief. “How are you feeling?”

“A good deal better though I have an elf in my room and I am able to speak his
language,” Moses replied.

“So you can understand him?” Eve asked, gazing at Legolas.

“Apparently so,” Moses shrugged, too weary to question why.

“Ask him why Aaron has so many names,” she quipped and secured a look from Aaron
in quick succession.

“Moses, can you ask him who he thinks I am?” Aaron asked, turning back to
Legolas.

“I can,” Moses nodded and turn to Legolas, relating the question and in turn
receiving an answer. The old man rose both brows as the elf gave him a response
for Aaron and his reaction made Aragorn nervous.

“He says,” Moses replied after a pause, “that you were once Aragorn Elessar,
King of Gondor, ruler of House Telecontari, formerly a Ranger named Strider,
also the Dunedain and for a time known in Rohan as Thorongil – the Eagle of the
Star.”

“Jesus,” Eve looked at Aaron in astonishment.

“And you were his wife,” Moses concluded with a little smile.

“What?” Eve exclaimed and stared at Aaron whose initial shock was now giving way
to a wide smirk across his face.

“You were Queen Arwen Evenstar or as it was pronounced in elvish, Undomiel,”
Moses replied.

“Did you say wife?” Eve stammered, feeling a hot flush of embarrassment racing
to her cheeks.

“He said wife,” Aaron replied with grin.

“Get that smile off your face,” Eve snapped, disliking the notion that cosmic
turntable meant that she was karmically predisposed to falling for this man.

“Its fate,” he continued to smile, his hand lowering onto her shoulder and
succeeded in getting himself elbowed in the stomach.

Legolas seemed to chuckle and spoke to Moses further.

“He says that you have not changed much Aaron,” Moses remarked with a little
smile.

At that remark, Aaron regarded the elf and spoke to Moses, “how do we know each
other?”

Moses relayed the question and was afforded an answer in good time. Legolas
seemed to stare at Aaron and awaited his reaction as Moses responded.

“He says that he knew you for most of your life, that you were friends through
many great adventures. You have saved his life many times and he has saved
yours. When the elves were leaving this world, you were the reason he remained
behind for as long as he did. When you passed into death, he could no longer
bear to watch any more friends die, that is when he left. You were closer than
brothers and more than friends.”

Aaron could feel it as the elf stared at him. He could feel the kinship that
Legolas felt for him and wished he could remember something of the friendship
the elf placed so much value upon. However, it did not matter if the memory did
not remain, the emotions this elf engendered in him were not unlike the feelings
he had for Stuart.

“Why did he come here?” Aaron asked after a moment, breaking away from Legolas’
gaze.

“I believe he came looking for me,” Moses replied, seeing no need to ask Legolas
that question when he already knew the answer. “I appear to have been lost for
quite some time.”

“Ask him if he knows why you came here,” Aaron inquired further, not wishing to
tax Moses too much by making him act as translator. However, there were certain
things that they needed to know and Moses was possibly the only person alive who
could understand what Legolas was saying.

Moses turned towards Legolas and related the question. The elf met Aaron’s eyes
and showed his trepidation at answering the question but Aaron nodded at him to
continue because they needed to know something about what happened to Moses.
Unfortunately, they needed to tread cautiously as well because Moses’ mind was
still in a fragile state. Aaron did not wish to spark another violent episode
by inadvertently causing man to delve too deeply into his identity. Legolas
spoke shortly and Aaron saw Moses reacting slightly but not enough to cause him
concern.

“I was sent to find the cause of the darkness,” Moses replied, staring
uncertainly at Legolas as he translated the words. “They felt it from across the
world, it penetrated the realms that separate the realm of elves.”

“And this evil is somehow John Malcolm?” Eve looked at Aaron sceptically. She
could believe that the man had too much power but she had been a cop too long to
accept that there could be evil in the world. Eve saw evil as a state of mind,
not as a living, breathing entity. To think that real evil could exist, the
kind so prolifically detailed in many religious texts made Eve’s skin crawl.

“Yes,” Moses nodded without even having to translate that question for Legolas.
“It is Malcolm.”

Legolas reacted to Malcolm’s name and began speaking quickly as if he had an
opinion in the matter. Moses absorbed what he said with growing apprehension
and Aaron was about to put a stop to it when the old man began speaking again.

“He wants to know if we are speaking of a creature called Melkor?”

“Malcolm?” Aaron guessed, understanding why Legolas had brought it up earlier.
Malcolm and Melkor, there were similarities in the sound of the name. Was it
because they were one and the same? “It’s possible. Who is Melkor?”

“He was called the Dark Enemy,” Moses started speaking and Aaron had the feeling
that his words were not from Legolas’ translation. “In his time, he laid waste
to much of the world, long before all this was even conceived in the minds of
men. The powers that sent me here banished him to the void and there he was
thought to have been, until now.” Moses concluded raising his eyes to meet
Aaron’s. “He is Malcolm,” Moses said softly. “I know it.”

“And now he wants to kill you because you know his secret,” Aaron surmised.

“No Aaron,” Eve said gravely, “he wants to kill all of us because now we know.”

Aaron met her gaze and remembered the chase that had led to them being here,
“you’re right.”

“I think that its time you learn those new skills I was talking about,” she
replied staring at Aaron and then at Legolas as well. “The both of you.”

************


Aaron looked dubiously at the gun in his hand and decided that nothing in his
world had gone as completely mad as his agreeing to pick up the weapon.
Unfortunately, despite his natural dislike for handling guns of any kind, he had
begrudgingly admit that he could not rely on Eve to protect him as she had done
when she saved his life in the parking lot of the Malcolm Building. As she
pointed out and rather determinedly, there were dangerous people after them and
he needed to be able to protect himself in her absence. While Aaron did not like
the notion of anything happening to Eve, he had to admit that the possibility
existed that harm might befall her in the course of this situation they found
themselves in.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” Aaron replied as he looked at the gun she
was showing him how to load.

“Don’t be such a baby,” Eve retorted as she slid the magazine into place. “Now
this is a 9 millimetre Barretta, the sidearm of choice for most police officers
and military personnel. It has 22 rounds and is what you call a double action
semi-automatic weapon.”

“As in twenty two bullets?” He looked at her.

“You have a lodge in the woods and you don’t know how to use a gun?” She stared
at him. “Didn’t you even go hunting?”

“I don’t like guns,” he repeated himself. “If I want meat, that’s what the
supermarket is for.”

“Look,” she sucked in a deep breath, indicating that she was starting to get
annoyed. “I don’t much like the idea of giving civilians guns either.
Personally, the deconstruction of society is the readiness to solve our problems
with one of these but the men who are after us, don’t have that moral objection
and will shoot us or worse if you do not know how to protect yourself.”

“Alright,” Aaron frowned and saw a similar look of displeasure on the faces of
Legolas, Elladan and Elrohir, who had returned from their explorations to be
drafted into this unpleasant exercise. “What do I have to do?”

“Now this thing is loaded,” she replied, carefully the weapon to him, butt
first. “Keep your finger off the trigger unless you’re ready to fire. You’ve
seen how I took the safety off. When you don’t plan on using it, make sure the
safety is on all the time.”

Aaron took the weapon in his hand, disliking the feel of the cold steel against
his skin. He had been in the emergency room enough times to know just how much
damage these weapons could inflict upon a person. He had never desired to use
one himself but Eve was correct, he had to learn.

”Do I just point and shoot?” He looked at her.

“Something like that,” Eve shook her head, realising she had an uphill battle.

Aaron swallowed and stared at the target in front of him that was in actuality a
number of bottles spaced out across a wooden face. The elves were staring at
him in sympathy for it appeared they had no wish to use the weapon themselves.
Of course, Aaron kept silent the fact that they were in no position to take the
moral high ground because their arsenal included archery weapons and swords that
was almost as deadly as a gun, if not more.

“Just line up the target with the sight,” Eve instructed, having given him
preliminaries before they reached this point.

Aaron held the weapon the way Eve had told him and took aim. He thought briefly
that the Pepsi Cola bottle had done nothing to deserve a bullet and told himself
he was starting to sound like Hawkeye Pierce from MASH. Taking a deep breath, he
squeezed the trigger gently, bracing himself for the noise that would followed.

To the elves, the shot fired was like hearing the sudden crack of thunder.
Legolas, Elladan and Elrohir reacted at once as the noise tore through their
ears. All three jumped up startled by the thunderous explosion of sound and
reached instinctively for their ears. However, the shock of the weapon’s loud
bang was nothing in comparison to the effect the projectile ejected from the
barrel, had upon the target. The plastic bottle flew through the air, spinning
like a wheel before it landed on the ground smoking, its body split open.

“Elbereth!” Elladan exclaimed in astonishment as they saw for the first time,
what those weapons were capable of. “I am glad we were not on the receiving end
of that.”

“We almost were,” Elrohir reminded, recalling how they had engaged the two
thieves that had accosted the shop where they had bought a meal during their
first night in this strange land.

“Its range is considerable,” Legolas commented, paying attention the technical
aspects of it rather than the weapon’s awesome abilities. “It travels almost as
far as an arrow.”

“With greater speed,” Elrohir reminded. “You cannot chart its progress with the
naked eye.”

“I suppose,” Legolas shrugged, unwilling to admit his bow was a less superior
weapon. “I wonder what that small projectile would do once inside the body.”

“Judging by Aaron’s reluctance to use it, I would say the damage would be
considerable,” Elladan pointed out.

***********

“Hey I got it!” Aaron said with more enthusiasm than he thought possible. He was
certain that his novice handling of the gun would prevent him from getting a
bullet even close to the target; however, his effort was far from disappointing.

“Yeah,” Eve stared at him a moment, rather surprised that he made the shot so
well. Must be beginner’s luck, she thought silently. “Try another one,” she
prompted.

“Okay,” Aaron cocked the weapon again, this time greatly encouraged by his
success. “Here’s goes.”

The weapon fired again and this time with a less dramatic reaction from the
elves although they still held their ears in reaction to the loud bang that
followed the pulling of the trigger. The second target this time, was a can of
Doctor Pepper and bounced off the fence swiftly and landed in the grass nearby.


“Again,” Eve ordered, just to see if the doctor could maintain his aim now that
he had some momentum.

Aaron readjusted his aim and fired, following her prompt before each pull of the
trigger. The air was alive with the sound of gunfire. Wildlife residing in
trees close by took flight, their beating wings a distant sound as they soared
across the sky away from the commotion. After a time, Aaron was not even
pausing to taking aim. It was frightening how easy it was for him to be
accustomed to handling the gun. Aaron did not know how many rounds he had
squeezed off before there were no more targets to shoot but the weapon no longer
felt so alien to him any more.

Aaron was undecided if this was a good thing or not.

“You can have it back now,” Aaron replied returning the Barretta to her.

Eve saw the uneven trail of bottles lying across the ground, ruined completely
by the marksmanship of the doctor and wondered if he was hustling her. She
supposed it could be beginner’s luck but more accurately, he had a good eye for
targeting. It was probably a skill his educated background had never exploited
before now and it was clear that he was just as surprised by how well he did, as
she was.
“You sure you haven’t fired a gun before?” Eve asked as Aaron sat down next to
Legolas.

“No,” he shrugged uncomfortably. “I don’t like guns. I’m a doctor; I’ve seen
first hand what they can do but I did do okay?”

“Yeah you weren’t bad,” Eve retorted, preparing to stack some old bottles she
had found on the fence to resume their target practice.

“For a beginner,” she added.

“A beginner?” Aaron exclaimed rather offended by her assessment of his skill. “I
shot every one of those things. Those cans and bottles will never threaten
anyone again.”

“True,” she looked over her shoulder with a smirk. “If we’re at a seven eleven,
we’ll be completely protected.”

“Very funny,” he retorted, unaware that three sets of eyes were watching them
closely with rising amusement.

***********

“Reincarnated or not, they are still the same,” Elladan remarked with a smile as
he watched the playful banter between Eve and Aaron. While they understood
nothing that was being said, the body language between the two was clear enough
for even a blind man to interpret.

“They are destined for each other,” Elrohir agreed, remembering how it had been
in the early days of Aragorn and Arwen’s great love for each other. It had
amused the brothers to no end to watch their youthful friend yearn for their
seemingly unattainable sister.

For an elf, Arwen had taken long time to choose someone worthy of her
affections. Elves usually married in the first century of their lives, those
who remained unmarried for so long, usually did not do so at all. Since the
Eldar found the concept of arranged marriages offensive, the twins as well as
their father, assumed that Arwen would find love in her own good time. There
were occasions when they thought that it might be Legolas who would win the
Evenstar’s hand. After all, she had remained at Lothlorien long enough to
sometimes cross paths with the Prince of Mirkwood during visits between Celeborn
and Thranduil’s kingdom. However, their relationship had never progressed
beyond its platonic boundaries and was more akin to sibling affection than
romantic love.

When she did chose, it was beyond anyone’s comprehension that she would pick a
human. Aragorn had come to mean a great deal to House of Elrond, not simply
because he was the son of Arathorn, but also because he was raised by the Lord
of Imlardis in the years after his father’s death. There were many that
compared the love of Arwen and Aragorn to that of Beren and Luthien. It was
meant to be magnificent and beautiful; an expression of love that would
ultimately culminate in tragedy but not even her family suspected that Arwen was
willing to die a mortal death for Isildur’s heir.

It broke their hearts to know that she would not sail across the sea to Valinor
but her love for her king was blinding and had a tendency to inspire even the
most jaded soul to feel something of it. In the end they understood her choice
but Elrond never recovered losing his precious daughter. Even in the years
following their departure from Middle earth, Elrond and Celebrian mourned their
missing child. More than anything Elrohir wished their father could be here now
because knowing that the Evenstar was reborn, even if it was in human flesh
would have been a source of great joy.

“It will be difficult for me to leave,” Legolas suddenly stated.

Elladan turned to him sharply, “you cannot stay here Legolas.”

Legolas did not answer and that made Elladan even more nervous. Elladan knew
how deep Legolas’ friendship with Aragorn had been. He was the last elf to
leave Middle earth because of this friendship and his loyalty to the king of
Gondor.

“Legolas, this is an entirely different world than the one we left,” Elladan
stared at the elf, perfectly aware how determined Legolas could be when the mood
took him, “you cannot remain.”

“I know,” Legolas agreed begrudgingly. “It is just that I have always found it
difficult to say goodbye to him.”

“He is not the Aragorn you knew Legolas,” Elrohir said gently, “he is a hundred
thousand years away from the Elfstone.”

“Yes,” Legolas replied, “but it is still good to see him.”

“I cannot disagree with you there,” Elladan confessed as he stared at the woman
who was once his sister and the man who was once his friend, “I will miss them
when it is time to leave.”

************


Eve managed to convince the elves to try their hand at shooting the Barretta but
soon came to the conclusion that while Legolas showed some ability, none of them
were at all comfortable with firing a gun. In away she understood the reasoning
since it was rather profane trying to imagine an elf carrying a 9 millimetre
handgun. Instead, Elladan seemed determined that Aaron should learn how to use
a sword, as he was supposedly very good at it once. Unfortunately, he did not
pick up swordsmanship as quickly as he was able to shoot and Eve was very amused
by Aaron’s attempts to play Errol Flynn. It was strange how fast the bond
between the four men had developed, even though they could barely form the words
to express themselves to each other.

Instead of progressing with another hypnosis session now that they were in more
remote surroundings, Aaron had decided to allow Moses the opportunity to recover
from his previous session and the violent episode the day after. Although Moses
seemed less uncomfortable around the elves, the doctor still worried for the
patient’s well being, particularly in light of what they were discovering about
himself and about John Malcolm. Eve could not blame Aaron wanting to allow Moses
a little recovery time. After seeing what he was capable of, she was not overly
anxious to see the psychiatrist delving into the old man’s mind again when it
was capable of manifesting itself in a physical attack.

Eve sat on the porch steps staring at the moon in the sky above the mountain.
The quiet was allowing her to shift through her own thoughts regarding this
situation, particularly the feelings she had around Aaron. A part of her was
fighting her attraction to him and as much as she disliked it, she could not
deny that she was attracted to him. Eve liked to think that she was in control
of her own destiny that her life unfolded, as she willed not according to the
whims of fate. The old man said that they were husband and wife in that distant
life and Eve remembered her vision and how it had felt that one vital element
was missing when she had been bombarded by those strange images.

She heard the creak of the door and knew instinctively that it would be Aaron
behind her. While she fought the growing feelings for him, Eve’s own intuition
was capable of telling her that Aaron cared for her almost as deeply. However,
he did not seem to have any trouble with the notion that they were destined for
each other. It was strange how men could sometimes be more romantic than women
about such things.

“If you rather be alone, I’ll leave,” Aaron offered when Eve looked over her
shoulder to see him emerging from the lodge with two mugs of steaming hot
chocolate.

“Some psychiatrist,” Eve snorted, “don’t you know you’re not suppose to approach
a woman with chocolate unless you mean to give to her?”

Aaron chuckled, “sorry I slept that day in class,” he replied handing the mug.

“You put marshmallow in it,” she noted with a raised brow.

“Well I didn’t say I was completely ignorant,” he grinned sitting down next to
her on the step.

“Thanks,” she smiled at him as she nursed the warm cup in her hands.

“What are you doing out here?” Aaron asked, although he could venture a guess.
She was a strong woman accustomed to being in control of her situation, however
the events of late were enough to shake the foundations of even the most centred
person and he could see that she was struggling to cope with everything that
they had recently learnt about the world and each other.

“Just taking a breather,” she replied, “its not every day I teach a bunch of
elves and a psychiatrist to shoot a gun.”

Aaron could sense it was more than that. He was certain her need for adjustment
had to do more with learning that in their previous lives, they were husband and
wife. As much amusement Aaron had drawn out of the revelation at the time, he
was just as overwhelmed as she was about the whole notion. It was telling that
neither of them had asked Moses or Legolas to relate the details of that past
relationship. Aaron knew he was attracted to Eve but he did not know that he
could love her. This news of their love in the past made it difficult to admit
any feelings for each other in the present. If something was to happen between
them, Aaron wished it to occur naturally, not because either of them believed it
was some preordained destiny that they were meant to be.

“Want to talk about it?” He asked with genuine concern.

“Is that a professional inquiry?” Eve met his gaze with a hint of sarcasm in her
voice.

“Well I can go find a couch if you like but I was just asking as a friend,”
Aaron retorted.

“Okay,” Eve replied a little admonished by her acerbic behaviour, “I’ll withdraw
to the 39th parallel. I’m sorry, I am just a feeling a little displaced at the
moment.”

“I understand,” Aaron said in turn, making the statement as more than just a
psychiatrist but as someone who was just as overwhelmed as she by all the things
that had happened to them in the last two days. “I learn to shoot a gun today.
Do you know how far away that is from what I am?”

“You learnt quickly,” she replied encouragingly, aware of how difficult it was
for him to set aside his natural aversion to using weapons of any kind. “And
you don’t have to use it just because you know how.”

It was one of the qualities about Aaron that Eve liked, the fact that he did not
wish to hurt anyone really. In the police force, it was ultimate blunt force
that got things done, even more than talking and Eve wished it were different.
Since the destruction of the World Trade Centre, the notion of talking first and
acting later had been forgotten in the post traumatic grief shared by the police
and other law enforcement agencies. There was this underlying belief among all
of them that they had failed the community when they were unable to prevent the
tragedy.

“I know,” he said confidently, “just like I know we’ll get through this. You
know why?”

“Why?” She asked smiling, encouraged by his confidence.

“Because I’m a brilliant psychiatrist and you got more guns in the trunk of
yours than the men of Desert Storm,” he grinned.

Eve laughed and did not resist when she felt his arm drape over her shoulder in
gesture of affection. It was meant to be purely innocent but the touch of him
was electric and suddenly Eve found herself thinking how nice it was to feel him
so close to her. She felt the shudder ripple slightly through him as if he had
felt it just as potently as her. Eve raised her eyes to Aaron’s and saw the
cocky expression on his face had given away to a more intense emotion.

She did not pull away when he lowered his lips to her, did not resist as he
kissed her tentatively at first. Eve closed her eyes and felt her mouth opening
beneath his, entering the strange limbo that existed between men and women when
that first intimate hurdle had been breached. The pause when either were
undecided upon whether or not this was where they wanted the relationship to go
or was it possible to pull back and salvage what was by sacrificing what might
be.

All that was washed away when Aaron reacted to the consent given by her parting
lips by kissing her more intently. She tasted far sweeter than anything ever
had in his life and he wanted to savour every bit of her. His kiss was
exploratory for he was so lost in the scent and taste of her that he wanted to
relish every moment of the experience. Anything more passionate could come
later when they were both ready for it and the psychiatrist in the back of his
mind, seemed to believe they were not. Instead, Aaron basked in the texture of
her lips, the soft sigh in the back of her throat as she surrendered a little of
herself to him and the slight hint of perfume that would brand itself into his
mind as her scent.

She tasted like marshmallows, he thought absurdly.

Eve was afraid of becoming a slave to fate but it was hard to think when the
touch of him was so dizzying. She was not the kind of female that fell easily
under the spell of a man. In fact, the last six months of dates had been wholly
unimpressive and even then, the intimacy had been more than this simple kiss.
However, as she felt his lips tasting her as if she were something wonderful,
Eve could not help but delight in how he was making her feel. Her pulse was
quickening as she allowed him to explore her mouth, taking in everything that he
was in a single breath of air.

When they pulled away from each other, there was no embarrassment or regret,
just the warmth of knowing that they could feel deeply for each other and a
willingness to let those emotions take them where it may, without the notions of
destiny or any past connection. Eve rested her head against his shoulder while
they took in the beauty of the night, neither said little and were perfectly
contented with their unspoken understanding with Aaron deciding that cosmic
turntables were not such bad things after all.

*************


It was a hope borne out of desperation that forced Sandra Collins to return to
Aaron Stone’s apartment again.

They had left McCaughley’s house a flaming pyre of ash when they were finished
with it and Sandra was feeling just enough vitriol to issue the same order for
the doctor’s abode. So far, there had been no indication where the duo would
have escaped to with the patient. Mr Malcolm was becoming more irate at the
growing escalation of the problem. Sandra had no desire to face his wrath if
his desire for a speedy resolution to this situation was not met soon.
Unfortunately, Sandra was limited by how much interest she was able to show in
the doctor’s disappearance. As it was, uncomfortable questions were being raised
about why the respected head of psychiatric at major city hospital had stolen a
patient and fled his home.

She came to his apartment, hoping to find something and found it almost as
useful as McCaughley’s late home. Barry and his men were ransacking the place,
trying to find some clue as to where the doctor might have gone and Sandra was
starting to consider that there might be nothing here to find. As she walked
through the doctor’s study while the rest of the apartment was alive with the
sound of drawers and cupboards doors being pulled open, Sandra scanned the room
for anything useful. She had almost given up when something caught her eye at
the corner of the desk.

“Barry!” She called out sharply.

Within seconds, the tall man was at her side, puzzlement on his face. “Yes
ma’am?”

Sandra did not answer immediately. Her gaze was too affixed upon a framed
picture of Aaron Stone and the late Stuart Farmer standing in what appeared to
be the country, proudly displaying their fishing rods, with the outline of a
mountain in the backdrop.

She looked at him after a moment and ordered, “find out where this is.”





This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Scribe

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: Other

Genre: Action

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/07/03

Original Post: 04/03/03

Go to Patient, The overview

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