M.E.II Chapter 9: Gnome Candy.

I blinked dumbly at Stacey for a moment before I—along with the others around me—burst out laughing. Stacey looked indignant as we tried to regain our wits.

"I can’t believe you actually—" I finally spoke in between gasps for air which had become significantly scarce in the last couple of minutes, but I was unable to finish my thought as I cracked up again at the very idea.

"But…You… I…" Katy tried vainly to make coherent thought as well, her laughter only redoubling at the attempt.

Stacey rolled her eyes, "It’s not like I did it on purpose!" She exclaimed, "Besides, how was I supposed to know that would happen?"

"What did you expect?" I gasped, "Gnomes to pop out of the woodwork and hand you candy?" This comment did little to help our current plight as we lost control once more to our mirth.

"No! I don’t know!" Stacey exclaimed, bemused at how to calm our eccentric spirits, "Oh, come on, it isn’t that funny!"

I began to respond but stopped short when the door at the far end of the room opened and in walked the remaining four members of the Fellowship.

"What’s so funny?" Gimli asked as they sat down next to us after retrieving some trays of food.

"Yes, we could use some amusement about now." Aragorn added, looking at us—now only barely in control of our laughter—expectantly.

"Oh, um…" I started, trying to decide if an elf, a wizard and the adopted grandson of the ruler of the Golden Wood would find the incident as funny as we had. Deciding they probably wouldn’t, I chose the safer route, "Oh, nothing."

Legolas raised an eyebrow, "I hardly think ‘nothing’ would send you laughing like a pack of hyenas."

"Really, it was nothing." I insisted, "It hardly even seems funny at all anymore." I finished, trying to make this seem as believable as possible while even the thought of it made me want to burst out laughing.

"So… How’s Theoden?" Katy asked, abruptly changing the subject.

Gimli smiled, "Much improved," He stated, "Gandalf was able to heal him of Saruman’s hold on him. We ride to war immediately."

"After a little snack." I corrected.

"And you will remain in Edoras," Aragorn stated, eyeing Katy and I pointedly.

My eyes widened at the thought of riding to Helm’s Deep with the King’s company, "Trust me, Aragorn, if there is one place I do not want to be tonight it is with you at Helm’s Deep." I ensured him.

Katy nodded in agreement, slightly amazed that I was letting this opportunity go, but grateful nonetheless, "I wouldn’t be caught dead facing off against Saruman’s army."

"I would rather not be caught dead anywhere." I told Katy, a smirk playing on my face.

Katy rolled her eyes, "You know what I mean."

I shrugged, turning back to Aragorn, "See? That is why you will have to brave this part of your journey without our help." I told him sagely.

Aragorn, barely concealing his amusement answered: "I hope we shall be able to manage without you."

They were silent for the rest of their brief meal, only talking occasionally and in hushed voices to each other. They once again took their leave less than ten minutes later, leaving the four of us alone again.

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