20. Freedom at Last
A soft giggle floated on the air from behind the Fellowship. Standing there, with a thoroughly delighted smile was Galadriel, revered Lady of the Golden Woods. The company acknowledged her with a group of quickly bowed heads and soft, "My Lady." All that is, except Fire and Legolas, who were locked in a hilarious battle of wills. Fire lay on her bed, wrists bound and now gagged. A few minutes earlier, the ranger had sunk her sharp teeth into the elf's extremely sensitive ear, very nearly making him pass out with the excruciating pain. He had retaliated at once, by gagging her so she could neither bite him again nor continue the very unladylike, incredibly suggestive, and descriptive string of Elvish, Dwarvish, and Human curses she spewed at the elf like an erupting volcano. Legolas was in a high temper and was in the process of snarling orders to the mad, furiously struggling ranger, like a general dressing down his troops after a unauthorized mission gone wrong.
"Of all the idiotic things to do! You should not be out of that bed for at least two days. You were unconscious for four days Fire! I leave your side for but a few moments, and you act like a petulant child by disobeying my orders! I find you walking around, and standing in drafty windows when I TOLD you to REST! Now by the Valar, you WILL REST!!", Legolas yelled at the ranger who still wore a stubborn mule look on her flushed face.
Fire shot angry green flames, at the snarling elf, through eyes so narrowed they were almost completely closed. She twisted and turned trying to loosen the strips of cloth binding her wrists and spit out the disgusting rag that was wrapped around her head and between her teeth. Her one desire at that moment, was to pull the elf's liver out through his nose. Trying to kick him where it would hurt the most, Fire hissed and mumbled threats the elf could not make out with the gag in place. Her mind was a whirlwind of chaos.
Threats to do bodily harm to the damn elf were barreling through her thoughts, at the same time thoughts of a stranger kind rode along for the ride. 'I am going to skin his insufferable carcass and leave it for the carrion eaters! No, I am going to boil him in oil! Damn his eyes are really dark blue. They are usually like a summer sky, but now they are .. urrgghh! Concentrate TY, and not on his eyes! He should be flogged or something just as nasty. Hehe I have never seen him so flustered and undone before. Damn but he is gorgeous when he is pissed off. Wait a minute! Stop that train of thought right now, you idiotic ranger! Hey he called me that and I am Not. He better run when I get these ropes off. I - I must get these ropes off before .. before.. I – I can not get loose! I need to get loose now! They will be back! Have to find Briar! Can not get loose. Oh please, please, please I have to get loose before they come back. They have Briar!!'
Panic rammed into the ranger's gut. Fear screamed in her veins like howling wargs. She was tugging frantically at her bonds in a desperate bid for freedom. Darkness closed around her, blocking the elf from her sight. Images long buried came into thought with startling clarity. A cabin. The smell of musty wood and soot. A terrible chill and the sound of rain pounding on the wooden roof. Laughter. Terrible, horrible laughter. A scream! They had come! She could not get free. A crash of glass. Voices raised. "You want her? Come get her, bitch! At least what will be left of her! We will be back! Count on it!!" More laughter. Another scream. "No! Not her! NEVER HER! Must get loose! Need to get loose! Please, please, please!!" My scream. Not Briar's scream. "They will be back!"
Beyond the indignation and anger of being bound and gagged, Fire was desperately trying to fight off a wave of irrational fear, that came rushing out of nowhere. Nearly completely panicked, Fire began mumbling incoherently and a single tear slid down her cheek; unnoticed by everyone but the suddenly guilt ridden elf.
Legolas saw the change that came over the ranger's face. No longer just extremely angry, but fearful and desperate as well. He regretted his rash actions and guilt swept through him forcefully. He had only meant to keep her safe in the bed to rest from her ordeal and the ranger's stubbornness had made his temper flare, which in turn made him demanding and insensitive. That he had been reduced to an overbearing tyrant, with so little provocation, worried the Prince of Mirkwood greatly. 'I should have behaved better, then this! I should have asked her, with courtesy, to return to her bed, but instead I ended up yelling, binding, and gagging her, and she just woke up from four days of being unconscious. What kind of monster does that make me? Sweet ERU! I have made her cry!!'
The sight of the lone tear, nearly undid the already guilty elf. Grabbing his dagger off his belt, he cut the strips binding her wrists, and pulled the gag free. Dropping the dagger heedlessly to the floor with a loud clatter, Legolas pulled the now hysterical ranger into his arms. Murmuring soothingly in Elvish, the elf tried to calm Fire's fear.
The moment he gathered her into his embrace, a flood gate opened and she cried brokenly. Her hands tangled into Legolas' tunic, as the ranger buried her face in his chest. She held onto him, like a lifeline in dangerous water, and the elf clutched her to him even tighter. Silently, the other members of the Fellowship made their way into the living area of the talan to give the ranger and elf some privacy, yet be close enough if needed. Only Aragorn and Galadriel remained behind. They lingered there just enough to see the glow, that emanated from the two beings on the bed, turn light purple.
Hour thirteen approached, and the really annoyed, bedraggled March warden was very, very desperate. He had to relieve himself, badly! With a resigned sigh, he gave up thoughts of surviving the coming battle. He would either die a horrible death ripped apart like a rabbit, OR he would get the offending beast off him, go relieve himself and then cook the damn rabbit necklace he had been wearing for hours. "I shall give you one warning, fell beast of Morgorth, to remove your offensive self from my personage or I will be forced to use desperate and decidedly vile methods to see you sent to the torture pits of Modor! Now please GET OFF!!"
To Haldir's great surprise, the large, black ball of fur that lay over him did as he asked. It stood, stretched, yawned and then grabbed the rabbit off the March warden. Haldir lay for a few moments completely stunned. It had moved! A big smile made its way across his face. "Thank the Valar!! I am free at last!" A disgusting swipe of rough tongue, across his face, brought him back to reality. The big, black kitty cat was still here. "Just perfect," he muttered derisively.
Standing, he walked outside and proceeded to relieve himself. Finished, he marched back into the dark, dry cave with determination and purpose. Putting out his hand, to the cat seated by the fire ring. "Hand over the rabbit, cursed fiend of Mordor! I am hungry and I have earned that much from being your bed for countless hours untold. IF you will behave yourself beast, I might be inclined to share." To his amazement, the black feline turned blazing silver eyes to the rabbit, to Haldir, and back to the rabbit, as if contemplating the thought that cooked rabbit would taste better then raw and the truth that he might share. Coming to a decision, the great black cat picked up the rabbit from between its large paws and dropped it in Haldir's out stretched hand.
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.