Five Senses

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Ideas

Misunderstandings

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Walls

Originals and Copies

Resolutions

Doors

Sacrifice

Sky

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Brothers

Pain

Anonymity

Waiting

Life and Death

First

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Raiment

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Alphabet Story

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No Time

Yes, I do

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Mmmmmmmm...

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Weapons

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Smells

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History Repeating Itself

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Seed

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Moments of Transition

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In the Name of Love

Animals of Middle-earth

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One Voice

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Devil's Advocate

Falls

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Five Ingredients - Your Recipe

The Student Surpasses the Teacher

Mothers

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Return of the Light

Trading Places

The Price of Freedom

Giving Gifts, Receiving Gifts

Bad Habits

Weird Tales

Crossroads

Elven Realms

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Strange Encounter

Crime and Punishment

"When I Was Your Age...!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

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Once Upon A Time

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Me, Myself and I

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On Location

Home is Where the Heart is

A Glimpse of the Future

That's a First

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If I could turn back Time

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Boo!

Happiness/Unhappiness

Family

Drabbles

What If ...?

One Title: Your Story

A Fairy Tale, Middle-Earth style

Games People Play

Friends in Small Places

Hero Worship


Heart Break

A/N: They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But what if the fanfics had it all wrong?

Disclaimer: Nothing of Tolkien’s make is mine. I play around with these folks from time to time, but in the I always try to put them back neatly on the shelf when I’m done tooling around with them. I bow to J.R.R.’s greatness and his superior vision.





Lelana pushed the peas once more with the back of her spoon, imagining the green orbs to be engaged in a silent race of wills, contesting to see who could cross the moat of gravy quickest. Pea Three, the one with the slight dent in the side, was by far the slowest, while pea Four, the one that was a shade lighter than his companions, was clearly spry and winning the majority of his races. She nodded to her plate, as if it had a say in the outcome, and lined her peas up along the rim of the dish so as to contest them again.


“Would you just eat them already?” the exasperated voice of her friend, Nira, said from the opposite side of the table.


Lelana glanced up then, not looking at her friend but darting her eyes again to the table across the room and to the figure of her would-be lover. He still had his back to her and had yet to notice her presence in the room. “I’m not hungry,” she sighed as she looked back down to her plate, frowning. She flicked her spoon then and the peas were set off in another race. Pea Two won this time. Too bad, Four, she thought though she didn’t really mean it; she had been rooting for Three.


“Then clear your dish, take that scowl off your face, and act as a lady in a room surrounded by suitors. No man is going to notice you if you act like a peeved child,” Nira admonished and Lelana blinked.


“How do you know that--?” she began.


“—That you pine for a moment’s attention of him, our returned warrior, sitting on the other end of the hall? Perhaps it’s because you’ve done naught but stare holes into his back since you sat down. Or that you’ve bored me for days now with a running stream of what-ifs, all pertaining to his returned infatuation of you. Or mayhap it’s that you keep writing his name in your creamed potatoes. It has not been hard to discern,” Nira scowled, but there was a sparkle of amusement in her eyes and Lelana knew the words weren’t meant to be harsh.


The corners of Lelana’s mouth lifted as she countered, saying, “Remind me again why I deem you a friend?”


Nira stood and leaned across the table, planting a chaste kiss upon her brow saying, “I am your friend because I am honest with you. He loves another. You know this.”


“I know this,” Lelana repeated. But then she shook her head in denial, sending her bountiful hair tossing to either side of her before landing in a gentle cascade across her shoulder. “I know this but I won’t accept it. He liked me once.”


Liked being the operative word here,” Nira countered, her own dark hair shading her face as she looked down on her. She came around the table then, sitting on the bench next to her friend. “Liked and loved can be distant cousins when it comes to the wants of the heart. I would venture that when it comes to ‘like,’ nothing has changed for him. However, ‘love’… You cannot force him to love you.”


“I could!” Lelana turned and clasped her friend’s hands in her own, leaning forward so to share her thoughts. “If only I could get him alone I am certain I could make him forget all about her. Yet he is always in the companionship of that other one.” Her lips curled in disdain as her eyes locked on the odd character who sat opposite her love. “I suspect it is he who keeps us apart, whispering reminders to him of the supposed love he left behind. His very presence surely reminds him of her. I hear they were fellow travelers when they met her. Had they not been he would have remained here with me. I wish he had never agreed to set off on that silly Quest!”


“You do not believe that and you well know it, Lelana!” Nira scolded, nostrils flaring, and this time there was no humor in her eyes or her voice. “This war would have been nigh impossible to win had he not gone off on the Quest as he did. You’ve heard the tales! You know the role he played in saving this kingdom and many others beside! I shudder to think where we would be now if he had done otherwise, and the price of your heartbreak over a small infatuation – one you had no inkling of knowing or owning up to before he left us – is well worth it. Let him have his love, far away though she be. There are still menfolk enough to give you choice. Set your pretty sights elsewhere! His heart is not yours to claim.”


Lelana dipped her head, suddenly regretful of her words and wishing none of her friend’s scorn. She felt a tear drop from her eye. She nodded as she conceded the truth, but she couldn’t help herself from stealing one more furtive glance across the hall. There he sat, his figure, even from the back, the perfect tale of masculine physical grace. Strong, broad shoulders. Lean tapering waist. She imagined running her fingers over his hard, muscular frame. Wanting. And she sighed.


She saw then that his companion noticed her and she crinkled her nose in distaste. He was unattractive to her in every way, for his stature, his coloring, the very smell of his hair and clothes were repugnant to her. Yet she knew she should not cast him away for he was close to her heart’s desire. Still she was certain he had seen her look of repulsion and more so she was certain she had just sealed her own fate.


The repugnant companion leaned over the table to whisper to her love, and he, her hero, sat a little taller then and glanced over his shoulder. Despite her admission that he was not hers, she couldn’t help but gasp as he looked her way. His eyes, his smile, his beautiful profile as his head came around… oh, but she could imagine lavishing kisses upon his lips, devouring the very scent of him as she laced her fingers in his long, flowing hair. Kissing, plying, teasing. If only…


But then he turned away, making comment once more to his friend, and she could only to stare at his back, his face not coming around again, not noticing her, not wanting as she wanted. And there she was left, saddened and broken, having only the hollow knowledge that he could never love her. She wiped a tear away.


“She is looking at you again.”


“I know.”


“No, do not glance her way! It will only encourage her and she will never stop mooning for you.”


“Sorry! So sorry! What do I do now?”


“Well, ceasing to look her way would be a good thing to start!”


At the table on the far end of the hall sat the two friends, elf and dwarf, an odd pair indeed. One was tall and lean, with a flowing mane of golden hair, braided in warrior fashion, a face that was bare of beard, and a smile that was wide and bright. His green eyes sparkled as if he held a secret behind them, but when one looked deeply there, his age became known and his outward appearance of youth fell away. The other, much younger by many a year, was broad and strong, no shorter or taller than any other of dwarf kind, but decidedly of miniature stature when compared to his elven companion. His rust-colored hair was thick and richly fashioned into a rope that cascaded down his back, and where his companion was free of facial hair, he made up the difference with his bounty of beard and moustache. These were perfectly coifed, manicured and smoothed into braids so his hearty grin and dark eyes could be seen.


Tall and short. Light and dark. Lean and broad. An odd pair indeed, made all the odder by the unusual way they went about their friendship, bickering and teasing. Yet they were close companions, sharers of travel and adventure, to which they had tales that they would share over a pint with any who would sit near them. Neither would gainsay the other in truth, and neither would let the other down in time of need. And though this present moment was not one of need per se, that did not negate one’s offer of advice to the other.


“I feel bad for her.”


“You should. She is a pretty thing. No doubt she feels slighted by your dismissal. I think she even cries.”


A wince of regret came with a quick sip of the ale. “I would only break her heart. Besides, hers is but an infatuation. Hero worship.”


“Think much of yourself, do you?”


“Tsk. I knew her as a child and I will never imagine her as more than that.”


“She has blossomed into more than that by my sights.”


“A child, I say.”


The two took a swig from their cups, then leaned in closer, hugging their mugs to their chests. The elf’s eyes took on a solemn cast as he gazed around the room, careful to keep from alighting on the maiden again. He could not help but see her out of the corner of his eye though as she rose from the table. She was escorted by her friend, who hugged her near, patting her back in consoling fashion. Like one would sooth a child, he thought. The dwarf noticed his gaze and darted a quick glance as well, though both were furtive in this and so were not noticed.


“Is it so bad to be yearned for?”


“You have no idea how blessed you are, my friend.”


“How so?”


You are not perpetually pursued by the female half.”


“Hero worship, as you say. That is all. You are not so dazzling as that!”


“You mock me. You know you are jealous of the attention I draw.”


“Were you lamenting your situation, or bragging of it?”


“The female half of all species, mind you, not just my own kind. It is a curse, I tell you.”


“Bragging then. But I would take a bit of that curse off your hands if you want to toss some of it my way. You know that is why I keep company with you, don’t you?”


“For the castoffs? You are shameless!”


“I am lonely. And I am not so valiant as you to deny a pretty female like that one a little time in a back hallway.”


“I do not think she would be satisfied with a mere peck on the cheek.”


“I was not thinking of mere pecks on the cheek.”


“The beauty of my lady is enough to keep me true.”


“Posh! Your lady is a married woman!”


“And that is the reason I show valor and restraint.”


“So you can brag of all your many untested admirers?”


“No. To prove the greatness of my love.”


They both leaned back then, smirking at one another, brows lifted in bantering challenge. This is what they liked best about their friendship, the open contesting of words and deeds.


“It is a chaste love you share and I think you a fool. Had I your gift, I would bed every female that batted an eye my way.”


“There we go! The truth at last.”


“Is that so wrong? You say you are cursed, but I tell you it is no blessing to be seen as merely ordinary, especially when compared to you.”


“Surely to your own kind…”


“Nae, even to them I am bland. Your beauty is blinding.”


“Nonsense, you are … not so bad … to look at.”


“See! Even you cannot say it without stumbling into a lie.”


“What do I know? I’m a male. I do not spend my time measuring up others of my sex.”


“Yet there are others of your sex that measure you up.”


“You are not saying --!” Shocked and dismayed, the thought of a male-male dalliance was appalling.


“I’ve seen it. Especially in Rohan. Those men of the Riddermark could not take their eyes off of you! There were a few in the ale houses of Minas Tirith as well.”


“Doubly cursed am I!”


“And perhaps I am blessed. For I have no worries of pursuits of that kind.”


“Aulë be praised.”


Valar be praised, you mean,” the elf said, leaning in to correct the dwarf’s mistake.


“Aulë is the god I pray to and I’ll thank you to keep the other gods out of it.”


“He is but one of the Valar, Dwarf. How many times must we argue this fact? You may as well thank your left thumb for the work done by the whole of your hand, so similar is the analogy.”


“Leave it to an elf to bless all of the world for the gifts granted him by one most near him. Aulë was my Maker; I need not devote my prayers to those other gods who had not His foresight and wisdom.”


The elf rolled his eyes, seeming to decide it was pointless to debate religion. Besides, it was taking them off the subject at hand.


“In any case, Gimli, women swoon for you while you leave a trail of broken hearts in your wake. That poor dwarf maiden –“


“—Lelana.”


“—is just one of many who will be crying herself to sleep. I doubt Galadriel meant for you to be so true in your devotion that you would not seek out a mate.”


“No woman could ever match my lady’s charms. I am better left a bachelor pining for her love,” the dwarf concluded, glancing down into his cup.


“And I fear I will forever be a bachelor as well, though it will not be for lack of want,” the elf conceded, seeing his mug needed filling as well.


“Ai, Legolas, have no worries,” Gimli consoled, reaching out to pat his friend’s hand. “I am certain somewhere in this great universe there is a woman or two who might indeed find you fair.”


The elf pushed his mug forward as if to suggest he might do with another. “May it be so,” he sighed.


Frowning at the sudden maudlin turn, Gimli nodded to the elf’s mug. “I’m cutting you off. It is clear you are in your cups.” He looked up to the ceiling as if an answer to his woes might be found there. “Elves simply cannot hold their liquor. Now you will get all sappy and sing songs of love and undying longing.”


“Let us change that. A contest then!”


“Have you learned nothing? Did I not put you under the table in Meduseld?” the dwarf said as he rose from his bench, reaching out a steadying hand to his friend.


“Only because the ale was foreign to me,” the elf protested, gathering his legs up beneath him.


“Nay, it is those long legs of yours. Like splinters. You have no meat on your bones to fortify you. You are all gangly, with that narrow waist and those flat hips,” Gimli said, nodding to the offending extremities.


“I thought you were going to say it is because I have no beard to show my masculine strength,” Legolas said, rubbing his chin with the back of the hand as he wobbled a bit on his legs.


“I venture you would be more appealing to the ladies had you one.”


“I have tried. No fuzz will sprout my cheeks.”


“Perhaps dimming your gaze a bit then. I think women find those green eyes a bit daunting. The color is so unusual.”


“You should tell me to bathe in earth as you do for all the good it will do me.”


“A little dirt behind the ears hurt no one,” the dwarf retorted smugly.


The elf shrugged, thinking it useless to try. The scent of Spring air and beech forest would be forever with him. And his eyes would always be merry and green no matter how he tried to mask them. His build perhaps he could work on. Less time on the archery course and more time in the larders he supposed would plump him up. But then he arched a brow as he studied his friend’s face, tilting his head. “Yet for now… You know, you are a rather handsome male, Gimli. Perhaps we could… you know…? Dark halls ahead, you see… a peck on the cheek… mayhap more…?”


“Don’t make me slash you, Elf!” the dwarf growled, pulling his hand away and placing it on the haft of his axe.


“Just a thought,” the elf quipped with a light laugh. “It would be a tale to tell.”


“A tale none would want to know of, I’m sure,” the dwarf returned as they left the great hall, unaware of all the eyes that followed them, imagining lusts unbecoming.


There were even a few who fancied themselves in the arms of the elf, unattractive though he was.



The End.

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