It didn’t take Aragorn long to track down my sword. It was hidden in the hallow of a tree. I grasped it protectively and Katy rolled her eyes.
"What now?" Katy asked looking up at Aragorn.
"Now I have to find someone to take one of you for the day." Aragorn said.
"What? NO!!!" Katy and I exclaimed.
Aragorn rolled his eyes, "I have to treat you the same as everyone else." He said, "Merry would never forgive me if I didn’t."
"He doesn’t need to know!" I exclaimed, "We won’t tell him! You can watch both of us!"
"I will find Haldir. One of you can stay with him." Aragorn insisted.
Strider practically had to drag us after him. Finally he found Haldir near the Southern Gate on his way out.
"Haldir! Just the elf I was looking for!" Strider exclaimed.
"What do you need now, Aragorn?" Haldir asked. Eyeing us strangely as Strider had both of us by the wrist.
Strider sighed, "Are you going out on watch?" He asked.
Haldir nodded, "That is correct, why?"
"I was going to ask you to keep an eye on one of these two…" Strider said.
"Oh? What did they do?" He asked, familiar with Strider’s style of discipline having seen him use it on a small group of elflings many years before.
"That is not important. Do you think you could spare an eye?" Strider asked.
"Okay, Aragorn. Which one do you want me to take?" He asked.
"Oh, oh! Take me!" I suggested, knowing now Strider wasn’t going to let us stay together.
"How about you take Lady Rachel?" Strider suggested.
Haldir smiled, "Sounds good to me." He agreed.
Katy and I exchanged forlorn glances as I walked out the gate with Haldir and she and Strider turned to go.
"Where are we going?" I asked Haldir before long.
"Remember that tree we were sitting in when we found you?" He asked. I nodded and my eyes widened, I had just volunteered to go all the way back there?! "We are not going there." He finished, smirking at the discomfort he had given me. "We are going to a much nearer watch talon this time, but we still have quite a trek before us." He told me.
"Have you not had enough to eat yet, little one?" Boromir asked arching an eye at Pippin.
"Just a little bit more, really Boromir! Say, have you tried that green stuff? It is good!" Pippin replied stuffing his face all the while.
"I do not know how you stay so small, you eat more than I ever did." Boromir laughed, "However I must insist we leave shortly, watching you eat so much is going to make me sick."
"Strider sure can be mean sometimes, can’t he?" Stacey asked.
"You have no idea." Sam muttered.
"It was funny though, seeing Rachel and Katy hug Gimli." Stacey reminisced, "And then him being all full of himself and his ‘manliness!’" She remembered laughing.
"Oh yes, funny." Frodo said not really listening.
"Frodo, you’re so great!" Stacey exclaimed and hugged the little hobbit.
Sam’s eyes widened to a greater size than the two plates he had been eating from earlier, "Hey now! Let go of Mr. Frodo!" He exclaimed.
"You are certain they only hugged me over a dare?" Gimli was asking Merry.
Merry sighed, "For the hundredth time, yes." He replied, "They only hugged you because Lady Stacey dared them to hug a member of the Fellowship."
"Ah, but they chose me over the others!" Gimli laughed.
"You were the first one they saw." Merry muttered, but Gimli was no longer listening to him.
"Ha! I’ll bet it really burns the elf that they chose me over him!" Gimli exclaimed.
As Gimli was telling Merry how great he was Merry slowed his pace until the dwarf was far ahead of him and slowly began veering off in another direction.
"It is not like I did anything wrong." Legolas mumbled to himself, "It was not even my idea! I did not even get to dare anyone… And I would never stoop low enough to dare one to hug a dwarf!"
"Vedui’ mellon." A passing elf greeted him.
"Yeah, yeah, vedui’." Legolas said uninterestedly, "And besides with the difference in our life spans I’m barely older than Merry relatively. Certainly Aragorn does not expect me to be that mature all the time."
The elf gave him a strange look as he continued to muse as if he were the only elf in the world.
"Can we go see Rachel?" Katy asked.
"Lady Rachel will be gone all night with Haldir." Aragorn patiently reminded the maiden.
"Oh. Can we go see Stacey?" Katy asked.
"I am sure Lady Stacey is having a fine time with Frodo." Aragorn told her.
"You’re right. She’s probably reveling in the bliss of having a poor unarmed hobbit all to herself…" Katy said.
"Perhaps we should go and check on Frodo though…" Aragorn suggested and without another word grabbed Katy and hastily went in search of the hobbit he’d promised to protect.
We arrived at the watch talon about a half an hour to an hour later.
"So what now?" I asked Haldir.
"Now we go up the tree. My brothers are waiting for me." Haldir told me and sent an odd call up the tree. A moment later a rope ladder was dropped down.
Haldir climbed with me right behind him. When we came to the talon I saw two other elves already there.
"This is…" Haldir began to introduce his brothers to me.
"Let me guess, Rumil and Orophin?" I asked.
"Yes, have you heard of them?" Haldir asked me.
I smiled, "Yes, I guess you could say I have."
One of the two spoke in elvish and Haldir responded in the same language. "What did he say?" I asked.
"He only asked what you were doing here." Haldir told me.
"Oh." For a while I sat silently listening to them quietly chat amongst themselves in elvish.
Boromir had finally drug Pippin (most literally) out of the dining hall. "How about I give you another lesson with your dagger?" He asked Pippin.
Pippin brightened somewhat, "Can we get Merry and you can teach him too?" He asked.
"I am afraid Aragorn might not approve if I took you and Merry somewhere, but perhaps if he and Gimli were to join us… We shall see, little one." Boromir replied and they headed down to the ground to practice with their swords.
Gimli turned around upon realizing Merry had been uncharacteristically quiet for some time. He was surprised to see Merry no longer following him, "Merry? Where are you?" He called. Failing to see any hobbit head poke out of a nearby bush or from behind a tree, Gimli shrugged it off and continued on the way he had been going, "Hobbits." he said shaking his head as he left.
Merry was now confident he had lost Gimli when he felt a strong hand on his shoulder, "Meriadoc Brandybuck. Fancy seeing you out here without your escort." The voice said with a hint of laughter.
Merry turned around and grinned when he saw Boromir clasping his shoulder and Pippin standing beside him.
"Pippin!" "Merry!" The hobbits cried and embraced as if they had not seen each other for years.
"Hey now, what are you two up to?" Merry asked.
"Boromir was going to give me a lesson with my sword!" Pippin exclaimed.
"Yes and we were looking for you and your companion to see if you two would like to join us." Boromir added.
"Well on my part the answer is yes." Merry said, "As for Gimli, ask him yourself." Merry gestured beside him.
Boromir and Pippin blinked seeing nothing but air beside Merry. "Uh, Merry, no one is there." Pippin said with a hint of worry in his voice.
Merry laughed, "I know that! Did you really think I was seeing things?" He asked, "You should have seen your faces! Like I had gone crazy or something!"
Pippin laughed as well, glad his friend wasn’t crazy and Boromir joined in chuckling a bit himself.
Stacey was laughing over a story she was telling Frodo. Sam walked close behind, sulking and glaring daggers at the maiden.
As it was the duo came upon them completely unprepared. Aragorn quickly sprang to Frodo’s aid, "Lady Stacey, get off of him!" He ordered loudly.
Stacey was so surprised she jumped nearly two meters away from Frodo and his shoulder which she had been leaning casually on.
The two hobbits also turned around, both surprised they had been caught unaware. "Aragorn!" Stacey complained, "You ruined my story! Now I’ll have to start all over again."
"Strider, thank goodness you’re here!" Sam exclaimed, "This maiden’s been nothing but trouble for me an’ Frodo." He warned.
"Peace, friend." Aragorn said, trying to calm the anxious halfling down. "We just thought we would check up on you three and make sure everything was in order." He ended the sentence by glaring towards Stacey.
"What? Everything’s fine here! Don’t look at me!" Stacey exclaimed.
Aragorn looked towards Frodo for confirmation, "Actually, I wouldn’t mind a rest from her." He admitted.
"Frodo! I thought we were friends." Stacey pouted.
Frodo smiled shyly, "Don’t get upset, I am just a little tired, that is all."
"Oh non-discriminative-statement." Katy shook her head in annoyance.
The others (save Stacey) gave her strange looks, "What?" She asked.
They immediately looked away, "I suppose we could find someone else to keep an eye on her…" Aragorn said slowly.
"How about us, Aragorn!" Katy suggested.
"Yeah! We’d be no problem at all." Stacey agreed.
Aragorn looked at the girls doubtfully then to the hobbits, each with pleading faces, "Fine. But if this does not work I will have to separate you two again." He finally subsided.
"YAY!" Stacey and Katy both celebrated at once.
"Haldir, will you teach me some elvish?" I finally asked, tired of listening to the three brothers chatting amongst themselves when I couldn’t even eavesdrop.
He turned to me and looked into my eyes (a disconcerting act, I must add), "Okay," He said slowly, "I will. But you must promise to pay attention, it is a very difficult language to learn." He warned me.
I nodded, "I will." I told him. Haldir briefly relayed to his brothers what he was going to do and they each nodded, offering what I can only assume were words of encouragement to him.
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