19. Really? Philosophy This Late at Night?
I'm not sure how long I was asleep after my clandestine middle-of-the-night encounter before I awoke again. Thankfully, this time I was still alone in my room, but a strange and persistent noise outside would not allow me to fall back to sleep. I pulled the blankets over my head and tried to ignore it, but it was no use. Groaning loudly for nobody's benefit but my own I threw the covers towards the foot of the bed and stomped over to the door. I slipped my shoes on and threw open the door, glaring into the passageway.
I saw nobody there.
I stood and listened to see if I could determine from which direction the noise came. I crept down the hall towards where I thought the sound originated. My wandering took me outside into the gardens, where I saw someone standing a few yards away, hunched over what appeared to be a small bush. Despite all my better instincts telling me to go back to bed, I edged forward towards the cloaked figure.
As I approached he stood and I recognized the pointed hat and long beard, even silhouetted in the moonlight. Gandalf, my mind thought in what almost sounded like a sigh of relief.
"What are you doing?" I asked when I reached him, stifling a yawn.
"What are you doing?" he replied, raising a bushy eyebrow.
Fair question, I thought, although the obvious answer would have been 'foolishly wandering around in the middle of the night.' I kind of had the feeling he meant on a grander scale even if I only wanted to know what he was doing out here at this hour, making weird noises at the shrubbery.
"I don't know," I answered truthfully. "I came here to find out about that noise."
Gandalf's gaze pierced me. "And what did you find?"
I frowned. He stood right in front of me; how would he not know what I found? "It looks like you were singing to a bush."
Gandalf nodded several times and then quirked his head. "Don't tell me what it looks like; tell me what it is."
"Ok, it is you singing to a bush," I said, in no mood to argue semantics. "I guess I'm just wondering why."
"You should know," Gandalf said, "because you are the author."
If I'd been drinking it would have spewed out of my mouth. I knew I was staring but I honestly couldn't figure out if he actually said what I thought I had heard. "I am the what?" I finally managed to say. He stood there smiling placidly at me and all that went through my mind was I thought Radagast was the one on drugs…
"I'm…" I started, but couldn't get any further, instead gaping at him dumbly with my mouth hanging open.
"…the author," Gandalf supplied with a nod and a gentle smile.
"Oh!" Finally, I got it. "You mean I'm in charge of my own destiny. I write my own story. Nobody else controls me." I felt so proud of myself, but it didn't last.
"No," he said. "I mean literally; you are the author."
"Okaaaay…" I drawled, trying to allow my brain a chance to catch up, or perhaps giving it a quick break so as to prevent its inevitable explosion. "So… if I'm 'the author,' why don't I just write myself a way to get home? Why don't I just click my heels together three times and land back in my house?"
He shrugged. "Perhaps if you were in possession of ruby slippers."
"How the hell do you know about the ruby slippers?" I didn't really mean to shout at him. Thankfully Gandalf was patience exemplified.
"Because you do. And I am merely one of your characters."
"I'm fairly certain that's some sort of copyright infringement right there…" I muttered and he smiled again, obviously having heard me, and exhaled in a chuckle. I considered what he said.
"So… I can say anything and it will happen. You will do it."
Gandalf made a noise that sounded like humph. "That's not how it works; you know that. You can't force your characters to do anything. But you control the underlying threads of reality."
I thought back to what had happened so far. "So you're telling me I wanted Elladan to get poisoned?"
"You wanted a forgivable excuse to spend the night alone with him."
I felt a little judged by the wizard and raised my voice accordingly. "And I wanted to get kidnapped so I could spend the night with Fëanor?"
Gandalf patted my arm. "It is more complex than that. Sleep on it and perhaps the dawn will bring greater understanding."
I stepped back, away from him, away from the barely veiled accusations lacing his words. "How is it more complex? It's actually pretty straightforward. You're saying my husband is here; I can't just go off cavorting with elves, so I made it that I had no choice. I didn't choose to spend the night with Fëanor or Elladan, so I'm innocent of any wrongdoing, but I got to do it anyway. Although, I would have thought I'd have a night with Legolas…"
Gandalf glowered at me. Being the author, I chose to ignore it in light of my new grand plan. I rubbed my palms together in anticipation, only half serious since this was the most ridiculous thing since, well, I guess since I landed in Middle Earth with my husband. Whether or not I wanted to prove Gandalf wrong I'm still not sure.
"So… if I'm the all-powerful author, I'm going to start making some demands here." Gandalf's glare intensified. "You're about to say, 'that's not how it works.'" I did my best Gandalf impression and then continued. "See, I know that because I'm the author."
"That isn't how it works," Gandalf said dully.
"Whatever," I held my palm up towards him. "I'm coming up with my demands." I ran through scenarios in my head. What was the least likely thing to ever happen? I smiled broadly as a particularly absurd idea hit me.
"Tomorrow I will rip Elladan's clothes off… No! no!" I waved away that idea as another one came to me. "Better yet, tomorrow I will rip Elrohir's clothes off, but in a moment of desperate need I will press my mouth against Elladan's… Right in front of his father… And as his brother watches…"
I giggled realizing the absurdity of not only what I had just said, but of the whole situation. Gandalf took a step closer to me.
"You need more rest. You are obviously tired."
He snapped his fingers in front of my face and I became disoriented and fell to the ground. I blinked a few times, trying to clear my head and realized I was no longer in the gardens but back in my bed, the covers still haphazardly strewn at my feet where I threw them in my haste to go investigate a strange noise.
"Whoa," I breathed. "Bizarre…"
I sat up and reached down to pull the covers back over myself. Once they were arranged to my satisfaction, I rolled over and closed my eyes, willing myself back to sleep and hoping I wouldn't be plagued by any more strange dreams.
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.