Title: Rivendell 4/?
Warnings: Fusion (of sorts), Tolkien LOTR Characters, violence
Archives: GWA (if you want my fic, you can have it, just tell me where your site is)
Disclaimers: ALL characters belong to either Sunrise, or Tolkien (or in a way, Peter Jackson :)
Notes: Thanks go to Lady Shinimegami for a few of her crazy suggestions, some of which actually were crazy enough to be added to my tale.
"I am the Ranger Heero, and my 'Elf-friend' is Duo, the Heir of Voronwë."
The young Elf's eyes lit up in at the mention of Duo's name. He looked impressed. "The Heir of Voronwë has come to Mirkwood, that is indeed an honor. I must welcome both you, Ranger, and the Heir of Voronwë to the Home of King Thranduil."
"And who, may I ask, are you?"
"I am the King's son, Legolas."
Chapter 4: The Great Hall
"Council is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and
all courses may run ill."
-Gilder -Lord of the Rings-Fellowship of the Ring
Lying in a bed almost too comfortable to be believed, Duo slowly awoke from his deep slumber only to find himself in a well-lit room made of well-carved wood. The sun streamed in from the outside world and seemed to dance with joy as the wind blew the branches near the window.
For the life of him, Duo couldn't remember where he was, or more importantly, how he got there. He vaguely remembered speaking with a Man completely covered in brown, or was it a Wizard he spoke to? Either way that didn't explain how he came to be wherever he was.
Looking around the room, Duo soon realized that the craftsmanship of the wood could only have been worked on by Elves.
Had they really managed to reach Mirkwood?
After weeks and weeks of travelling in both warm and cold weather, after losing their horses and most of their equipment, even after being injured by that water creature, it just seemed too surreal to have finally reached their destination.
Testing out his limbs, Duo was happy to see that he'd made a full recovery thanks to the Elven medicine he'd received, not even a scar could be seen along his leg. Duo slowly sat up in his warm bed, and swung his legs over the side. Standing up he noticed that the Elves had changed his clothes for him while he had slept, he now wore a long Elven Sleeping-Robe of a light blue colour. His hair fell down along his back completely unbound.
Duo was pleased to be wearing something made of Elven silk again. It felt soothing against his skin, a welcome change from his wandering gear.
Walking towards his room door in bare feet, Duo opened it to discover a long corridor that wrapped around a Hall as if it were an indoor balcony, allowing you to see what was going on down below. More than a bit curious, Duo walked up to the edge of the balcony, surprised to find Heero standing in the middle of the Hall surrounded by a great number of Elven Maidens.
At least seven of them crowded around the Ranger, eager to hear any story he could spare them, or just gaze adoringly at his face. One in particular, a young Elf Maiden by the name of Calencoire, actually clung onto the Ranger's arm. The whole scene left Duo very confused.
Why would they want to gaze upon the Ranger, or even spend more time with him then necessary? Weren't the Wood Elves supposed to be a closed off people, unwelcoming to any visitors? Besides, Heero was not even that good looking for as far as Humans went, his hair was always unwashed, his face covered in dirt, and his clothes never clean.
But looking down at the Ranger now, Duo knew it was no longer true. Heero had clearly washed since their coming to Mirkwood, and had changed into some new clothes the Wood Elves must have given him for the duration of his stay. His hair still wasn't combed or brushed back, but it was clean, and looked like it would be quite soft to the touch.
Despite all the attention Heero was now getting, he seemed very unhappy. Duo couldn't hear exactly what Heero was saying to the group of Elves, but whatever it was, there would always be a loud round of objections from the Elves after he said it.
Distracted with the need to talk some sense into every single Elf below, Duo didn't even notice when someone suddenly came up beside him. Turning around, he could see it was a young male Elf with long golden blond hair and very fair features. The newcomer smiled at Duo with a small look of awe in his eyes.
"Dûrelen Voronwë, it is an honour to have you stay at my home in Mirkwood. I am Legolas, son of the King Thranduile, and I am very happy to see that you have recovered quickly."
Felling more than a little embarrassed, Duo accepted Legolas' warm welcome.
"Thank you Legolas, but please, don't call me by that name anymore, I'd much rather go by Duo."
Legolas nodded in understanding. "Yes, when your Ranger friend arrived . . . "
"He is not my friend."
Legolas, slightly shocked by the outburst, hid it well and continued on in a calm manner.
"My apologies. When you're travelling companion arrived, he referred to you as Duo, I admit I was a bit confused by the new name, but knew it was you nonetheless. There is after all, only one Heir of Voronwë."
Duo's eyes lost a bit more of their luster at the mention of that, and agreed only too sadly. "Yes, there is only one."
"My father will by happy to finally have council with you and the Ranger. He is very eager to learn why you have to come to our lands."
"You mean Heero has not already told you?"
"He's told me a little, but had wanted to wait until you were recovered before he had an audience with my father." Looking down at the swooning Elves below, Legolas allowed for a smile smirk to grace his features. "That and he's been too preoccupied with defending himself against my people for the last few days. The Maidens of the Wood Elves are quite fond of Rangers, eager to hear any story they are willing to share, and greatly attracted by the feel of danger that surrounds them."
Looking directly at Heero's unhappy face, Duo scowled. "I don't see what's so attractive by the danger that surrounds him. The only danger I ever found from him, or any other Human, was a danger to myself. And Heero is too solemn or moody to ever be a great Teller of Tales. The Maidens of the Wood Elves would do themselves a favour if they stayed away from him."
Knowing this was an argument he could not win, Legolas took smiled at Duo and decided to take his leave. "I must go see my father now. I will see you after lunch in the Great Hall. Please rest until that time. Again, I am happy to see you have recovered most of your strength."
Duo bowed his head curtly and politely as the Prince of Mirkwood left to speak with his father. He then turned his attention once again to the crowd below, only to be met with the startling intense eyes of the Ranger looking straight back up at him. Immediately Heero excused himself from the entourage of Elves and made his way up the elaborately designed staircase that led to the second floor.
Duo tried to stand tall and proud, not wanting to let the Ranger think him still weak from the injuries. Heero, for his part, tried to hide the concern that laced through him on seeing Duo out of bed.
"I did not mean to distract you from your attentive audience below. I was just have a conversation with the Prince Legolas."
"I'm not fond of being the centre of attention. I welcomed the chance to get away. I didn't know you were already out of bed, shouldn't you be resting?"
Annoyed that Heero might be thinking he was weak, Duo lifted his chin up in defiance. "I'll leave my bed whenever I feel like it. Besides, I can recover quickly from small wounds."
"That was no small wound."
Suddenly feeling cornered and uncertain what to say, Duo quickly backed away into his room. "It's no concern of yours how big my wound was. I've recovered now, and in a few short hours I'll be given an audience with the king. So if you'll just go back to you're adoring followers, I can get myself ready." He slammed the door, much harder then necessary, leaving Heero to wonder what he'd done this time.
He'd saved that Elf's life more than once now and in return all he got was more hatred. It was as if he could do nothing right. Nothing would please Duo.
He had to wonder why he even bothered.
Oh, he knew why. It was because Duo had looked absolutely stunning standing up on the balcony with his long hair falling softly around him, and his cheeks once again full of the colour it'd be drained of for the past few days. Even his delicate nightgown shimmering in the morning light had added to the effect.
He really couldn't hide it anymore, he wanted to make Duo forget to hate him, he wanted to see at least one smile from the Elf directed at him before they parted.
Realising where his line of thinking was once again taking him, Heero quickly assured himself that friendship was all he wanted from the Elf. Anything more would be out of the question. Anything more would also be impossible. Duo could barely stand him as it was, there was no chance of even thinking of anything else.
Giving himself a frustrated growl, Heero turned around and walked off to his own room, hoping to avoid the maidens below at all cost.
As promised, King Thranduile saw both Heero and Duo by Midday, after they'd all had a chance to have some lunch.
They stood in a Great Hall with pillars carved out of the very stone from the ground. The Elven King himself sat upon his elaborate thrown of carved wood. He wore a crown of woodland flowers upon his brow, a beautiful Oak staff held in one hand, and a large glass of wine in the other.
Legolas stood proudly at his father's side, dressed in attire fit for a king. He acted as mediator for the council, and both Heero and Duo soon learned why.
The whole effect would have looked very impressive if it hadn't been for one thing, during his lunch, the King had tasted a bit too much of his favourite thing in the world, some good wine.
He wasn't too drunk not to have an audience with his guests, but he was drunk enough not to be entirely in command of his senses. Legolas quickly took over to speak for his father.
"My father takes this moment to welcome you both to Mirkwood, although you've already been with us for several days now."
Both guests tried their best to politely look only at the King while Legolas spoke, but it was hard when the King would suddenly start murmuring some drinking song or another.
Legolas kept a straight face at all times, clearly used to this happening on quite a few occasions.
"He would now wish to hear from both the Ranger Heero, son of the Ranger Herumor, and from the Gondolindrim Elf Duo, son and the Heir of Voronwë."
King Thranduile interrupted the formal introduction by calling out loudly to his butler.
"GALION! GALION! Bring me some more wine! And bring some for our guests. And if they will not have it, I'll drink theirs too!" Then turning his attention back to his son, he gave him a scrutinizing, if not very hazy, look. " Who is Duo? He's not the Heir of Voronwë! You told me Dûrelen was here. Get rid of this imposter and bring me the Heir! I knew his father. I could tell him stories of Voronwë over some wine."
Heero gave Duo a puzzled look while Duo turned away from him and tried not to feel embarrassed.
"Father, Duo is Dûrelen, he goes by a different name now."
"WHAT!" King Thranduile looked furious. "How dare you change your name! You have no right. I won't allow it. Your father named you Dûrelen for a reason. You were to be the `Dark Star' alongside your brother Aglarêl, the `Bright Star'."
Legolas could see that Duo was very near losing his temper in front of the king, and quickly tried to intercede. "Father, you know that Aglarêl died many years ago. Duo has the right to change the name given to him by his father."
Seeming to lose interest in the whole conversation, King Thranduile brushed his son off and took another swig of wine.
"Very good, very good. So Ranger, tell us why you've come here."
Bowing low to the King, Heero told them what he'd seen in the South-West, and why he was looking for Aragorn to seek out his council.
The King seemed slightly amused by all this. "And here I thought you'd come to stick us with another Gollum. An awful creature he was, spent all day complaining about some foolish ring. No matter, you're too late, on both accounts. Aragorn has already left, long ago in fact. And he already knew about the Evil rising from the South. I suggest you stop worrying about all of this and stay the week to get your bearings. I shall hold a Royal Ball in both your honours for all the trouble this trip has caused you."
Legolas didn't like the idea of a dance quite so soon after the attack, and tried to reason with his father.
"Father, we are still just recovering from the attack by the Orcs, I don't think now is the right time for . . . "
"Legolas be still! You are not King yet, and I know how to run my land well enough. Our people have had a bad scare, and need the chance to relax. There will be Royal Ball tonight, in my Great Hall nonetheless, and it will take their minds off of all the unpleasantness."
King Thranduile then dismissed them both, and told Legolas to make the proper arrangements as soon as possible. Legolas then led them out of the Great Hall.
Once they had returned to the Main Hall with the indoor balcony, Legolas turned to apologize to both their guests.
"I am very sorry you both had to witness that. My father is a great leader, but he sometimes gets carried away with his passion for wine. And he is right. A Ball tonight would ease the mind of our people. We would be very happy if you would both attend."
Heero agreed immediately out of courtesy to his hosts, but Duo remained silent long afterwards, his mind off in some distant land, thinking about things that were best forgotten. When he realized that he was being starred at by both Legolas and Heero, he stiffened noticeably and addressed the invitation.
"I think I won't be well enough to attend. I feel tired after the day's events and think I need more rest."
Legolas realized immediately why Duo wasn't agreeing to come, and tried to change the young Elf's mind. "My father did not mean to insult you. He knew both your father and your brother well. He grieves over their loss in his own way."
Nodding, his understanding, Duo accepted the apology reluctantly. "I will see how I feel tonight. I will come, but only for a short while."
Legolas thanked him and then quickly returned to his task of preparing for the dance. There was much to do in a very short amount of time.
News spread like wildfire throughout the realm of the Wood Elves. By the time Duo and Heero had returned to their rooms, there were already outfits layed out for the Ball that evening.
Both Man and Elf left it until the very last minute to prepare themselves, and even then, they did it without much enthusiasm. Neither wanting the company of a great many people.
While getting ready, Duo pulled the hair at the sides of his face out the way, and tied it back with a small braid that fell along the back of his loose hair. He then pulled on the Elven Robe, which was a colour that seemed to change in the light from a rich grey to a deep blue as he walked through the room. Lastly he exited his room only to find Heero waiting outside patiently at the stop of the stairs, wearing an even nicer outfit than he had on before. He still wore pants, which was expected of a Human. But the fabric was clearly Elven, and made to accentuate the finer details of the Human body. Something Duo didn't especially like since he thought there were no finer details on the Human Body and would rather not be forced to look at them all night.
He cursed inwardly, wondering why the Wood Elves had put their rooms so close together. Hadn't he spent enough time with that Human as it was without having to see him wherever he exited his own room?!
Heero walked over to where Duo stood scowling, and quickly explained his presence before the Elf could suspect anything.
"The Maidens kept trying to escort me to the Ball, and since I was less then eager to go, I told them I was waiting until you were ready to leave."
Duo accepted his excuse without a word and led the way downstairs, oblivious to the approving look he was receiving from Heero behind him.
Heero hadn't lied at all, he had been stalling to leave, and Duo had been a perfect excuse not to leave with those curious Elven Maidens, especially the most persistent of them all, Calencoire. Who had insisted on waiting on him until he had offered her a dance that evening, but only if she went on in before him.
In the end the truth still was he was curious to what Duo would look like wearing an Elven Robe again. He could still remember how stunning he had looked back at Lord Elrond's banquet. Putting all the grace of Elves to shame with the simplest of walks.
Whatever spell that Duo now held over the Ranger was quickly broken as they neared the entrance to the Great Hall. Duo turned to face Heero and made it clear what he thought about attending the affaire in Heero's presence.
"You can spend all the time you want making light conversation with my people. But I wish only to be left alone to my thoughts. So please don't humour me into thinking you actually value my company, when we both know that you are sick of it after these past long weeks."
He then turned from Heero and strode into the Great Hall with more grace then ever, impressing even the Elves who'd met him before. Whispers of, "The Heir of Voronwë is here!", could be heard flittering about the room in awe.
Heero was inwardly upset by Duo's words, but pleased at the same time that Duo had taken away some of the attention off of himself as he entered the room. Although it wasn't long before it was discovered he too had arrived, and many Elves, of both sexes, came to ask him questions, and beg Tales from his lips.
Elves were always fond of songs, and dances, and they were especially fond of stories and poems, which might explain their obsession with Rangers. But they could not have been stuck with a worse storyteller, for Heero hated large crowds, and spent most of the evening just trying to politely exit group after group that managed to surrounded him.
Since King Thranduile wasn't the only one fond of wine in Mirkwood, there was an abundance of every kind to be found, and soon after the wine was drunk, the dancing started. Many of the Elves ran to be the first to ask Heero for a dance, and to Heero's great surprise, a few of the Elves were male. This managed to disturb him a bit, but he politely declined their offers.
He accepted a dance with the Maiden he promised, and so as to not seem as if he favoured only her, he danced with a few other Maidens who were only too glad for the opportunity.
Before he knew it, almost three hours had passed by, and Heero realized with a start that Duo had already left the party long ago. In fact, he couldn't even remember seeing the Elf since when they'd first arrived. Upset by the turn of events, and maybe saddened still by Duo's earlier words, Heero once again politely excused himself from another group of Elves. He soon made his way outdoors for a bit of fresh air, and a chance to see the beautiful Mirkwood at night.
He walked leisurely around the main household, taking in the feeling it gave off when only lit by the bright moon above. He was soon on the other side of the House, and could no longer see the lights or hear the loud music from the Great Hall. This calmed him greatly, as did the serenity that the forest garden gave off. It felt comforting, and seemed to refreshen his soul.
Without even being aware of it, he had found the spot where Duo had run off to. Heero immediately recognized the figure of Duo sitting beneath a particularly large Oak by a small trickling stream. He silently walked up beside the large tree, but not before admiring Duo from afar. Enjoying how the moon played off of his lovely face, and changed the colour of his Robe to a Midnight Blue.
Surprising the young Elf, Heero spoke in a soft deep voice. "I know you wished to be alone, but no one should be alone on such beautiful night."
Duo's sad eyes looked up Heero in defeat, he'd obviously been thinking about something that was painful to him, and was in no mood to argue with Heero.
"I'm never alone Ranger, not when I'm always surrounded by my past."
Heero took the invitation that was not offered, and sat down to next to Duo, keeping a safe distance between them. He hesitated before speaking, knowing that in the past he'd always managed to mess up every time he'd tried just to make simple conversation with the Elf.
"You never told me your name was Dûrelen."
"Would it have mattered?"
"No, but I still would have liked to know."
"Fine! If you must know everything about me, which you do not! When I was first brought to Rivendell I wouldn't speak with anyone. I remained in my bedroom for weeks, refusing to open up for any reason. Because of this, the Elves in Rivendell slowly got into the habit of calling me Dúos, which means Dark Fortress in our language. When I finally did open up, it seemed cruel to continue to call me Dùos, but by that time they'd already grown so accostomed to calling me it that they turned to calling me Duo for short. Are you satisfied now? Have I appeased your Human curiosity enough for you to leave me alone? Besides, you're the last person who should be concerned about my secrecy. I know almost nothing about you."
"I would tell you if you asked it of me."
"Well I'm not asking. I don't care about your past, or you!"
Heero thought hard about what Duo was saying. There was more being said now then what was at face value, but he couldn't see what. So Heero returned to the topic of Duo's past.
"Maybe you wouldn't always be surrounded by your past if you learned to let it go a little." Heero finally said, holding his breath as he waited to hear what Duo's reply would be.
"Don't you think I've tried? But every time I close my eyes I experience the past all over again. And every time I open them, I just see you."
"Do I remind you that much of your past?" Heero asked, already aware of the answer.
"Yes! And more so than any other Human I've ever known since that time in my life."
"Because . . . " Duo was now becoming frustrated, but more with himself then at Heero. " Because I'm tempted to forgive you! I'm tempted to think of you as someone with compassion. I'm even tempted to think of you as a friend. But I can't! I just can't let that happen. I've made that mistake before in my life, and I know what's come of it. If I seem cruel and unfair to you, it's only because that's what history has taught me. I will not change, no matter how understanding you try to be."
Heero looked long at the helplessness in Duo's expression, and even began to stare deep into his pain filled eyes. Despite what was being said, it warmed him greatly to think that Duo had actually considered befriending him. That some small part of him might actually be getting through to Duo.
"I'm going to ask Legolas to take you back to Rivendell. He and his father have both said you are no longer needed to seek out Aragorn since the danger is already known to him. Legolas needs to go out to Rivendell anyway to explain what happened with Gollum, and from there you can go back to your own land. I don't think it would be wise for me to be around you anymore."
Now it was Heero's turn to feel helpless and frustrated.
"You're going to give up on me so easily. If you do now, you'll never be able to see any good in Humankind."
"There is no good in Humankind." Duo shot back.
"Yes, there is! If I have not proven that to you by now, I don't think there is anything I can do to prove otherwise. I have risked my life countless times for you, I have not once harmed you while you've slept in my care. And I have never betrayed you since the morning we left Rivendell. Is that not enough for you to trust me?"
Duo stood up in anger, clearly unhappy with the way the conversation was turning out.
"Don't you understand anything I've said to you at all Heero?" Duo was now yelling, not even noticing that he'd called the Ranger by his name for the first time. "I already DO trust you! That's the problem! I've trusted you since that time you chose to pull me out of a sure death in water filled with my own blood. And I really don't want to be around to find out if I've just made another big mistake."
Duo actually tried to then walk off, but Heero quickly stood up and grabbed him by his arm, pulling Duo back to where he stood. He accentuated every word he said so that Duo would be sure to not misunderstand him.
"You're not the only person who has troubles putting their trust in others. And for reasons I can only guess at, I've put mine in you. No matter who you ask, I'm not going back to Rivendell, I'm going further South to see what I can learn of this Evil rising. What lies there is completely unfamiliar to me, so I need a guide, and I don't want Legolas, I want you!" Heero yelled out the last three words, furious that Duo was even thinking of just leaving him like this.
He surprised Duo, and even himself, in the ferocity in which he said these words, and quickly realized that he had been holding onto Duo's arm too tightly. But if Duo was in any pain, he showed no sign of it.
Instead he just stood there, eyes wide and mouth partially opened as if he were going to say something but had forgotten what it was he had wanted to say.
Heero let him ago, ashamed for having grabbed Duo in that way, and watched as the Elf took a few fumbling steps backwards. He didn't look scared, but he did look stunned. Duo continued to stare at Heero for a few more seconds before he finally managed to think of something to say. He replied in a calm voice that one might use when answering whether or not to wear blue or green that day.
"All right then . . . If you want, we'll go south . . . We can leave tomorrow. " Then at a loss for words again, he turned to leave. "Good Night to you Heero."
He calmly walked back towards the Main Hall without once looking back, he would mostly likely head straight for bed.
Heero was left standing by the large Oak in wonderment. What had just happened? Had Duo really just agreed out of his own free will to accompany him south as a guide? Heero hadn't even known he had planned to go south until the moment he'd told Duo. But yes, that was exactly what he now wanted to do.
He would go south, see what else he could learn, and hopefully help out in some way of his own. And Duo would take him there.
Duo had said as much, despite his confusion towards Heero, despite his lingering hatred for Heero, despite all that, Duo would take him there.
TBC . . .
King Thranduile: Yes, he loved the wine. In the book "The Hobbit" that was how Bilbo escaped him, using barrels of empty wine to hide the Dwarves from the Wood Elves while Thranduile held himself ANOTHER party. (As we all know, Elves do not like Dwarves, eg Legolas' initial hatred of Gimli the Dwarf)
Galion the Butler: Was in The Hobbit as well. He passed out from extra strong wine he snuck away from the King.
Calencoire: Hee hee, ok, this was my little joke. There is a WONDERFUL site called The Barrow- Downs, where you can type your name and it'll give you your Elven name. I typed in RELENA and it came up with this :)
The Barrow-Downs: http://www.barrowdowns.com/Welcome.asp
Again I humbly beg for comments and reviews. I'm really enjoying some of the insightful things you guys are commenting on.