|Author: Athea (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fandom: Lord of the Rings
Title: New Beginnings, part nine
Summary: A trap is laid.
Date: 27 April 2002
Legolas struggled with nightmares all night while I held him and tried not to give in to the berserker rage that boiled within me. Rheanas had prepared a sedative that my love refused to take. The only concession to his shock was a cup of chamomile tea made from an unopened jar from Rivendell. Rheanas checked it first and I drank a cup before I'd allow my pale lover to have some.
Elrohir's words kept running through my mind. The ghost had known something was wrong and he was doing his best to keep Legolas safe. He was doing a better job than I was and that hurt. What good was I as protector if I couldn't even keep my love from harm? I still had no clue who it could be that was so intent on killing me and getting rid of the babies that my lover nurtured within him.
"Gimli," Legolas murmured my name and I hushed him, thinking him still asleep. But those big blue eyes opened wide and trapped mine with his luminous gaze. "It was not your fault. You are doing the best that you can in your investigation. I think it's time that you enlist the twins in your search for this evil person."
I gulped and tried to think of something to say. His chuckle was tired but still music to my ears. "Dearest Gimli, I finally put it all together yesterday when I realized that the Hobbits were acting as bodyguards for you and me. Someone has targeted you and now it seems that our children are also in the way. I think my ... admirer needs to be found before he succeeds in destroying us."
I finally found my voice. "If I'd thought for one moment that you were in danger, I would have sent you back to Rivendell. I thought I was the only one he hated."
Legolas' frown was severe. "That is unacceptable, Gimli. We are partners in life and love and my place is by your side."
I kissed the frown away gently. "I know that's where I want you to be but we have the babies to think of, too. You're the important one now, you're the one who holds our future within your body."
"Yes, I do but without you, I would only be half-a-soul." His hand stroked my face. "You are as necessary to me as breathing, beloved."
I closed my eyes over the tears and breathed him in. "I know, Legolas, I know. We'll take care of this together. I promise."
"And we'll talk to the twins tomorrow. They are the best hunters that I know and they would never hurt me or you." He said sternly.
"And Elladan doesn't resent you bonding with me?" I was hesitant to bring it up and the look of shock on his face made me feel terrible.
"Great Havens, no!" Then to my surprise, he chuckled. "El' and I have been flirting for over a century, ever since I discovered that the twins loved each other. They call me their shield and I've gladly been that for them. Now, it's even more important since I've chosen their path in loving someone that neither of our societies says I should."
"I'm grateful that you do," I kissed his lips and tasted his tiredness. "Very well, I shall bow to your superior knowledge of them. I'll take any help that I can get. Sleep now and awake refreshed."
"Heed your own words, love." He scowled at me with a pout that brought a chortle to my lips. He finally smiled, satisfied that he'd gotten through this thick skull of mine.
Within a heartbeat, I think we both fell asleep.
Breakfast was subdued even though Frodo and Sam came to eat with us. Sam had baked fresh bread for us in his own kitchen with ingredients that we knew hadn't been tampered with. It felt like we were under siege and in one sense we were. The twins came to visit on the heels of our breakfast and they accepted a cup of tea.
Elrohir's gray eyes moved between us. "We know what happened in the cave-in, Gimli. Several of the Men have experience with the blasting powder that you think blew out the tunnel." Legolas' exclamation told me that we'd be having words once we were private. "Herb knowledge is a little more dearly held but Harriman, the gardener and Cincall, the builder both come from small villages. There the use of herbs instead of a healer would be commonplace."
"I spoke with Cincall several times while we explored the empty houses." Elladan volunteered. "He was curious about Elves and what we did for building. Nothing like a mania ever once surfaced that I could see."
"Anything ever said about unnatural alliances? Or Dwarves?" I asked hesitantly while Legolas clasped my hand and raised it to his lips.
"Not that I ever heard." Elladan shrugged gracefully and shook his head. "I overheard a couple of the Men asking why an Elf and Dwarf are the leaders of the community. Jallico set them straight and told a few tales of the Fellowship. Since then, I've not heard anything negative or even questioning."
"Harriman is good with the shovel and the hoe." Sam ventured. "He's a good gardener and I have to say that he knows his herbs real well. But someone could have asked him a question about them and he's real polite so he would have answered them."
"If we ask him, we risk showing our hand." I said grimly and stroked my thumb over my lover's hand. "I can't help thinking that if our ghost would just come forth, he could answer this question. He's obviously protective of Legolas, even his rescue of me was to spare him pain."
"He has my undying gratitude for that, beloved." He leaned in and kissed my lips gently. As always, that made my heart beat a little quicker. But all too soon he pulled away. "You and I will speak later. For now, I think Elrohir has something to add to our discussion."
"The ghost is using the trees and attic crawl spaces to listen in. Last night, I heard a very slight thump overhead." Elrohir nodded. "I think he made that noise on purpose. He's almost ready to show himself but something is holding him back. It's probably been years, maybe even centuries, since he last encountered any of the Peoples."
"Millennia," the whisper came from over our heads.
Sam and Frodo started then held hands. Legolas cocked his head and a look of wonder crossed his face.
"Will you not show yourself now?" My Elf coaxed the elder who hid in the shadows. "If you've been listening then you know that we are friends. You have my eternal gratitude for saving my heart and our future."
A dry chuckle echoed eerily then with an almost silent creak, a section of the paneled ceiling slid to one side and a long, lean body clad in mottled green and brown appeared. Dropping lightly, he stood before us with a bow to Legolas. He was a dark Elf like Elrond but his features were knife sharp and his eyes glowed with an almost purple color.
We all rose and bowed back. My love held out a hand and gestured to an empty chair. "Be welcome to our home, Elder. May we know your name?"
"Lorrin, my Prince. I thank you for your welcome." He sat lightly, almost perching on the edge of the tapestry chair and looking a bit as if he didn't know what to do with his hands. "It is not my way to interfere but there is much danger here for you."
"We know." I said tersely and watched his eyebrow quirk up the way that Legolas' did sometimes. "Thank you for my rescue in the mountain."
"Your Prince would miss you, Gimli." His smile was slight but it was there and I took hope from it. "I look forward to finding the how and why of your bonding. But for now I must tell you of our assassin. He seems to be a Man of two minds. I have watched him work and interact with others. But when he is alone or after he's seen Prince Legolas, it's as if a beast appears from out of nowhere."
"Who?" I gritted out.
"He is called Harriman." That eerie gaze moved among us. "In my day, we called such souls the wolf in the lamb. The waking part of his mind may not know what his sleeping side has planned."
"He knows." Elrohir said flatly. "Last night I watched anger cross his face then disappear under concern."
"Ah," Lorrin nodded, "then the wolf is taking over. He must be taken and restrained before he harms someone."
"Restrained but not killed?" I felt my fingers twitch for my ax.
"It is a disease of the mind that is rarely cured but I would be willing to try if that is my Prince's wishes." Lorrin turned his gaze to my bonded.
Legolas bit his lip and reached for my hand. "I wish him dead for trying to kill Gimli and my children. But what of the lamb inside of him who doesn't know what is being done in his name? In killing the wolf, we also kill that innocent."
I saw Frodo nod and Sam frown. I understood what he was saying but I wished all threat to my family finished and over with. Elrohir was on my side but Elladan looked sympathetically at Legolas.
"There is another factor." Lorrin said quietly. "You believe me because it makes sense but except for my witnessing certain events and Elrohir seeing another, the others will look askance at our locking up a Man who appears normal in every aspect. We are Elves and therefore might be prejudiced. I am an unknown entity entirely."
"Yes, you're right." Legolas nodded and squeezed my hand. "It means that we have to have witnesses to an attack when his alter-self comes out."
"No!" I stood and grasped his shoulders. "You will not be bait in the trap for a madman."
"Nor Frodo either." Sam had his arm tight around Frodo and looked almost belligerent for such a normally gentle Hobbit.
"We don't really have a choice, beloved." Legolas cupped his hands around my face and held on. "I don't want to live our lives under siege, the way we are now. I want this menace finished so our little ones can grow in peace."
"Then I will be the bait," I put up walls around my heart so his soft look wouldn't dissuade me. "He's tried once already, if I taunt him and we are seemingly alone, he might try again. I'm smaller than he and without my ax I will be more tempting a target."
"Beloved," he blinked back tears and I gathered him close. "I don't want you hurt."
"I know, my love, I know." I rocked him and felt the little flutter that meant our son was awake. "Feel that, Legolas? Our son is voting for his father to protect you both."
Lorrin's voice came from over my shoulder. "It might work, especially if the Prince is there also. The temptation to save him from the evil Dwarf might just be enough to let the wolf out."
Legolas shivered and I held him tighter, saying fiercely. "Only if he is protected."
"That goes without saying." Elrohir said firmly. "We must plan it carefully. How will we get him in position?"
"I can help there." Sam said quietly. "He's worked with me in the garden and if I asked him for some help, I think he would come."
"No, Sam." Frodo said with a catch in his voice. "If he's crazy then he might think that you're evil, too. After all, you got me pregnant."
"I'll be fine. If you'll loan me your mithril coat, I'll be safe as I can be, love." The gardener halfling smiled slightly and hugged his bonded. "Besides, I'm little and I'll just drop down out of harms way."
Our council lasted over an hour and I made sure that Legolas was dressed appropriately before we left our home. Merry and Pip arrived just as we were getting ready to go and refused to stay behind. In fact, Pip had the idea of harvesting some of the last potatoes for a special dish that Jallico wanted to make. Legolas instantly developed a mock craving for it and we had our hook for the murderous gardener.
I left my ax at home but we were all unobtrusively armed with enough weapons to bring down five Men. Elrohir and Elladan left first to get into position. Lorrin disappeared into the attic and out of the house. Sam pleaded, practically on his knees, with Frodo to stay safely with Jallico but the Ringbearer was adamant and Merry promised to make sure that he was safe.
The Hobbits left to get Sam clad in the mithril shirt and I hugged Legolas to me for a moment. He soothed me with soft words and those strong hands that pulled a bow so easily. "It will be all right, beloved. Sometimes I think we were born under a lucky star. We met, survived a war, fell in love and created new life. I am the most blessed Elf in Middle-earth that you cherish me so. Together we will come through this adversity and Lorrin will help us bear healthy children."
I'd forgotten about that, I realized with a start. "He did sound like a healer didn't he?"
Legolas smoothed back a lock of my hair that had escaped its braid. "I think it is so. He sounded quite professional in his diagnosis of my admirer. Hopefully, he knows how it is done and will lend us his expertise."
"Yes, he will." I vowed with fervor and listened to his laughter with relief. "Very well, beloved. I am ready to finish this episode so we can get back to our lives."
"We will be fine, Gimli. But promise me that you will take no chances with your life. I have no wish to ever lose you." He kissed me gently and looked deep into my eyes.
"I promise, my love but you must promise the same." I said firmly and watched him nod.
Together we left our home, hand in hand and headed for our confrontation with the would-be murderer. I fingered the knife tucked into my broad black belt and vowed silently that Harriman, innocent side notwithstanding, would not survive to ever hurt anyone again.