Paiirng: Lois/Legolas, Chloe/Lex, some Lois/Eomer, Clark/Eowyn, and Aragorn/Arwen
Disclaimer: I do not own.
Chloe wouldn’t eat.
The blonde sat in front of the television set, watching as her cousin and her new friends talked at the campsite. Unknowing to Lois, Chloe had sat down using the television Lex had used to keep track of everything they’d done so far—and she’d heard her cousin’s teary confession, and it ate at her conscience.
Thus, she couldn’t eat.
Unlike Lana, who’d hurried to Jason, oh so glad to be back to Smallville and her privileged life here, Chloe was despondent. She missed her cousin, she missed Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and the others, and in a horribly silly way, she missed Middle Earth.
Pausing the movie on Lois’ face as she spoke to Gimli, Chloe looked up pale-faced, and gave a cry when she saw the brunette standing in the doorway, looking at her with such a look of despair yet happiness that she couldn’t keep the tears at bay.
“Clark!” Getting up, she ran to him and flung herself in his arm, burying her face in his chest, sobbing uncontrollably. “I left her! I left her Clark! What kind of cousin does that make me?”
“Shhh, Chloe.” Clark sighed, rubbing her back comfortingly while turning to look at Lex, who was watching them silently. While the other man and he hadn’t been on talking terms before ‘the disappearance’, they’d worked together and it was thanks to their work—with help from Oliver—that both Lana and Chloe had been able to come back.
And Clark knew that Lex loved Chloe, so he realized that he was just going to have to be careful around Lex and accept their relationship. The brunette was still quite angry with himself that since the experiment had to do with Green K he hadn’t been able to get even relatively close to it, much less be the one to go through the tare to get the girls back.
“We’re going to find a way to get Lois back.” Clark promised her.
“But she’s right.” Chloe sniffled, pulling away from him and wiping at her tears. “Gandalf told her something about her being there for a reason, and so did Galadriel. Lois won’t be able to leave Middle Earth.”
“Until whatever reason she’s there is completed.” Lex spoke for the first time as he came up behind Chloe and placed a hand on her shoulder.
She looked up at him, both pleased that he was there and confused with what he was saying. “What do you mean, Lex?”’
He gave her a smile, still unable to believe that he had her back with him. “What I’m saying is that Lois may be right. Maybe, when she’s done whatever it is she’s supposed to do—she’ll return here.”
“But what if she’s killed before that happens?” Chloe cried.
“We won’t let her.” Lex’s voice was confident.
The blonde blinked and looked up at her boyfriend. “What--how?”
“That’s what I went to do the moment we came back and realized what Lois had done for you.” Lex announced, wincing as he remembered Chloe rewinding the DVD time after time to hear Lois’ confession, each time it made her cry more and more. “And I also went to get the next DVD to the series, so we’d be able to track her.”
Chloe frowned. Not liking to be left out in the dark. “How are we going to be able to keep Lois safe?”
Lex ignored Clark easily. “We’re going to go back. Or at least I am.”
Clark scowled. “What are you saying Lex?”
“My scientists found a way to continue creating tares so I can travel to wherever Lois is and back. But I need someone watching us constantly to know when to create a tare to bring us back.” The bald billionaire looked up at his former best friend. “I’m a master swordsman, they can use my help and I’ll keep an eye on Lois. Chloe, you and Clark will stay here and--.”
“No.” Chloe shook her head vehemently. “I will not stay here and watch you when I can help. I too am a swordsman—woman—and unlike you I have already fought Orcs.” She told him with slightly superiority. “Clark can stay and--.”
“Wait.” Clark broke into their soon-to-be argument. “You two expect me to stay? Lois could be in real danger!”
Chloe turned to look at her friend in worry before turning to Lex. “Does this way to create tares have anything to do with coming into contact with green meteors?”
“Distilled.” Lex nodded. “A small explosion like the one that started all this.” He frowned. “Why?”
“Well,” Chloe cleared her throat nervously. “Clark is, uh, allergic to the meteors.”
“Then he stays.” If Lex found Clark’s ‘allergy’ suspicious he didn’t let it show.
“I am not staying.” Clark growled dangerously.
“No Clark, Chloe. I’m going.” Clark told her with resolve. “Lois may be a pain in the butt, but she’s my friend too and I’m not going to let anything happen to her when I could help.”
Chloe bit her bottom lip in worry. “But Clark…” She paused when she saw his expression. “You could get hurt.”
“It’s Lois that I’m worried about.” Clark told her. “I watched the battle, Chloe. We all did.”
The man who would be Superman told her, face made up in displeasure as he ran fingers through his hair in frustration. “Oliver, Jason, Lex and I have been watching what you two have gone through. When Lois somehow appeared to Lex and gave him an idea of what to do, he told us of his discovery, and we watched the whole DVD—up to where you guys were. We saw Lois nearly die, we saw those Orcs, and we saw the battles.”
Looking away from her, there was anguish in Clark’s eyes as he continued. “We know more than you can think about what’s going on. We knew about Saruman but weren’t able to tell you—to warn you about those monsters he’d created.”
“The Uruk-hai.” Lex supplied, jaw tense at the memory.
“Is that what those things were?” Chloe asked, shivering.
“Yeah.” Clark nodded. “They were once Elves, but were tortured and mutilated until they became that.”
Chloe paled. “Dear God.”
Clark nodded once again. “Chloe—Boromir nearly killed Lois and all I could do was watch. And then Boromir was killed before her very eyes. If Gimli hadn’t hidden Lana she would have been killed as well.”
Lex growled. “Speaking of which, we’re going to have to talk seriously about your death wish.” He told her, eyes narrowed. “You should have stayed hidden with Lana—you would have been safe! You shouldn’t have rushed out and tried to play hero. You could have been killed!”
“Gimli was surrounded, he needed my help!” Chloe fought back.
“You wouldn’t have had to if we’d been there to protect you.” Clark cut in once again. “That’s why—a-allergy or not—I’m coming too.”
Lex agreed with Clark for once. “Jason and Lana can be the Watchers.”
Chloe frowned. Why didn’t that make her feel relieved?
Waking up with a scream, sweat drenched her body as Lois took in a gulp of air. The Morningstar burned against her skin, yet not painfully so.
“Miss Lois?” Aragorn asked, looking up from the dying embers. The dawn crept along the sky, its fingers drawing cobwebs of colors in the clouds. “Are you alright?”
“Was it an Uruk-hai?” Gimli wanted to know, grabbing his axe, looking around them expectantly as if expecting to be surrounded by the bloodthirsty creatures.
“She’s been having nightmares.” Legolas’ voice came from the shadows.
Lois turned to look at him where he leaned against a tree, arms folded over his chest, watching her intently. “How did you know?”
“You cry in your sleep.”
Blushing in shame at her weakness, Lois looked away, unable to meet his strong, penetrating gaze. “I dreamt about Frodo and Sam.” She whispered. “They were lost until this really ugly thing attacked them while they slept. It wanted the Ring.” Her voice choked. “They captured it and it is going to lead them to the Black Gate—but I don’t trust it.” She snorted, trying to get her wits together again. “What kind of name is Gollum anyhow?”
Until then, Aragorn and Gimli had only been listening in half-interest, yet when the name of the creature was spoke, their heads jerked up and they shared an uneasy glance.
“It’s the Morningstar.” Legolas gaze never left Lois’ face as she pushed herself to her feet, shaking her head as if trying to remove the dream. “Along with her Elvish blood. It’s given her the gift of Sight.”
Lois frowned. “I’ve always been able to see very good, thank you very much buster.”
One side of his mouth curled in a smile. “It means you’re able to see things others can’t.”
Her frown darkened. “Like a psychic?”
It was Legolas’ time to seem confused.
“You know,” Lois moved her hands in the air. “Able to see the future.”
At this he smiled. “Something of the sort.”
“Great. Just great.” Lois muttered under her breath as she headed to the river to take a bath. “I’m a regular Miss Cleo now.”
The three men exchanged curious glances behind her back.
They’d traveled all morning and well into the day. Lois’ legs were killing her yet she didn’t voice her complaints. She didn’t want them slowing down on her account, because if anything happened to either Merry or Pippin because she strained a muscle, she’d never forgive herself.
Even though she was still trying to convince herself that these people really weren’t real, she’d grown fond of them, and she would be damned if she let something happen to them because she was weak.
Noticing Aragorn and Legolas stop running, she and Gimli stopped, and both bent over panting. They weren’t as agile as the Elf and the Ranger, not that either would ever admit to this.
When Lois caught her breath, she noticed that Aragorn was lying down on the rocks before her, eyes closed as if sleeping peacefully.
Turning to Gimli, she made a face and leaned over to whisper: “Did he just fall asleep?”
Gimli gave her a toothy grin.
“Their pace is quicker.” Aragorn whispered, opening his eyes as he hurried to his feet, looking ahead of them.
Lois’ mouth opened slightly as she realized what Aragorn had been doing, and felt quite foolish to know that she was the only one who hadn’t known from the beginning. “They must have caught our scent.” He pushed away and began running ahead of them. “Hurry!”
“What is he on? Steroids or something?” She complained as she forced herself to begin running once more. The only reason she wasn’t completely humiliated by the fact that she felt out of shape compared to Legolas and Aragorn was that Gimli was running behind her, huffing and puffing and muttering words in Dwarf that didn’t sound friendly.
“Come on Gimli!” Legolas called back without even looking.
Lois smirked. He knew that she wasn’t in the back of the pack.
“Three days and nights pursuit.” Gimli grumbled behind her. “No food, little if no rest. No sign of our quarry, but what bare rock can tell.” His voice was strained.
Muttering her agreement to all of Gimli’s complaints, Lois and looked back and winked at him. She’d never spent much time with him before, Chloe was always closer to him and Gandalf, but now that it was just the four of them, she’d grown to like Gimli immensely. “Come on handsome. Let’s show those two skinny things what we’re made of.”
He laughed, apparently gaining more strength, and ran by her side.
They ran in silence after that, trying to keep up with the Uruk-hai.
It was only when they reached the main lands a little below, that Aragorn spotted something in the mud and stopped, Legolas quickly falling suit. Lois skidded to a halt, giving a little squeal as the mud was slippery, yet Legolas quickly grabbed hold of her, and pulled her to him, steadying her and keeping her from falling.
Poor Gimli, on the other hand, didn’t have anyone’s attention, and fell face down in the mud.
Lois didn’t notice it though, nor did she notice what Aragorn was doing. She gulped as she looked into intense blue eyes. Her heart raced faster and her blood surfaced to her face, causing her to blush.
“Not idly do the leave of Lórien fall.”
It was the odd sound in Aragorn’s voice that caused Lois to finally tear her eyes away from Legolas and look at the Ranger, and she blinked in surprise to see his eyes on her and the Elf, his expression dark.
“They may yet be alive.” Legolas announced, seeming oblivious to the Ranger’s change in mood. “Less than a day ahead of us.”
Aragorn nodded. “Come.”
Legolas let go of her only to grab her hand and squeeze it. “We may save them after all.”
She smiled back and they continued on their hurried journey, neither of the three ahead realizing that Gimli was covered in mud, and quite disgruntled.
Climbing above some rocks, Legolas helped pull Lois and then froze, looking at the vast, rocky plains beneath them. “Rohan.”
She frowned, looking from one man to the other. “I don’t see him.”
“No, fair Lois.” Aragorn smiled at her. “This is the land of Rohan.”
“In the sense that a man named Rohan owns it or that this place is called Rohan? Like Mirkwood or Rivendell?”
“It would be the latter.” Legolas seemed amused by her antics. “This is the home of the Horse-Lords.”
Her frown deepened, wondering if horses owned the place, or if they were actually centaurs, or if it was just people who liked horses. In Middle Earth you could never be certain.
She didn’t know whether to frown at their amused expressions or to just ignore them.
All amusement left Aragorn’s eyes as he frowned and looked to the distance. “There’s something strange at work here. Some evil gives speed to these creatures.”
Lois wondered if he meant the Horse-Lords or the Uruks.
“Legolas?” Aragorn called. “What do your Elf-eyes see?”
Wondering why the Ranger was shouting when Legolas was right next to them, Lois’ eyes widened when she realized that the Elf was gone. Looking ahead of them, she noticed him a little below, staring off into the distance, squinting.
“The Uruks turn northest.” Legolas shouted back after a moment’s silence. “They are taking the hobbits to Isengard.”
“They’re still alive.” Gimli announced with pleasure.
Aragorn’s expression darkened. “Saruman.”
Lois frowned. Was Saruman the Eye or the Wizard dude? She could never quite remember. Their names sounded too much alike.
She didn’t voice her concerns though. A blush tinted her cheeks as Aragorn’s big hand engulfed hers and he gave her a handsome smile before leading their way down the rocky hills.
“Are you sure about this Clark?” Chloe asked as they readied themselves. She’d changed into a comfortable set of baggy pants, sneakers, a tank top with a sweater over it for the cool of the night, and she’d pulled her hair back in a tight pony tail. Her sword hung on her narrow hips by her belt. This was much better than fighting in the dresses they’d had to wear before.
Lex was dressed similarly to his girlfriend, also with a sword hanging on his hips. He looked different than his usual Armani self, and Chloe couldn’t help but giggle in womanly delight every time she saw him.
Clark looked weird out of flannel. He had on similar clothes, leant to him by Lex. He seemed uncomfortable in them, yet not as uncomfortable as he did with the sword he now sported. Lex had given him a basic training, yet he was a little lacking in that department.
The brunette turned to his best friend. “Yes. I’m sure.”
Lex nodded gravely. “Let’s do this.”
“Keep breathing.” Gimli reminded himself behind them, quite out of breath. “That’s the key.” He sounded as if he were fighting for each breath. “Breathe.”
Lois couldn’t help but laugh. She was once again only kept from being humiliated by running in the back of the pack by Gimli, who had to suffer such humiliation.
Aragorn looked at her and smiled.
Legolas frowned, eyes on the herd of Uruks that they could see in the distance ahead of them. “They run as if the very whips of their masters were behind them.”
While Lois wanted to get her friends back, she wasn’t exactly anxious for another battle with the Uruk-hai. Boromir’s death played itself over and over in her dreams each night, and sometimes, it would vary and he would look into her eyes and blame her for not being able to find the Uruk archer sooner.
Closing her eyes tightly she opened them and quickly brushed away a sheen of tears as they continued to run, yet suddenly there was a flash of green in front of her and then she ran into something solid.
Giving a scream, Lois and the male that suddenly appeared in front of her tumbled to the ground and down the hill. She could hear her friends calling her name yet she didn’t pay any mind to the voices as she tumbled down with this hard body.
Landing below, body trapped under the steely male above her, she squirmed and was about to knee him between his legs when she recognized his groan.
“Smallville?” She whispered, pulling her own hair out of her face and then doing the same with his.
She didn’t hear her friends hurrying down after her.
“Hey Lois.” He moaned in pain, trying to give her a smile yet it seemed to be more like a wince. “Why am I not surprised that you’re the one that barreled into me?”
“Smallville!” Wrapping her arms around him in sheer joy, Lois acted on impulse and stopped hugging him only to bring her hands to the back of his head and pull it down so that their lips met in a kiss.
Aragorn and Legolas skidded to a halt.
Gimli noted their dark gazes, along with Chloe and her fiancé’s surprised expressions, before deciding to step in. Such public display of intimate affection was not encouraged in Middle Earth, especially if the couple were not engaged or married.
The dwarf stopped on his way to pull them apart. Was Miss Lois engaged to this man? Or worse—was she married?
Legolas and Aragorn seemed to be wondering the same, for their expressions darkened considerably. Their jaws grew tense and the grip on their weapons tightened.
Gimli, realizing that Miss Lois’ fiancé (or husband) could be in mortal danger if they continued such display in front of the Ranger and Elf, grabbed him by his clothes and yanked him back up and out of such an intimate position on the ground with Miss Lois—whom he liked and respected considerably.
Lois looked up at Gimli, a smile on her face when he offered her his hand and helped her to her feet much gentler than he had with Clark.
“Thank you Gim.” She winked at him, before turning to a wide-eyed, blushing Clark. “Smallville, I—I’m so glad to see you. I can’t believe you’re here.”
“ There’s a lot of things we can’t believe.”
Hearing that voice, Lois turned and gave a cry of happiness when she saw Chloe. “Chlo!” Rushing towards her cousin she engulfed the smaller woman in a tight hug, before doing so with a surprised Lex. “What are you guys doing here?” She asked finally, looking at them.
Clark cleared his throat nervously, smiling sheepishly at Lois as he scratched the back of his head. “We came for you, Lois.” He didn’t notice the dark gazes on him, or the scowls sent in his direction. “We’re here to protect you.”
Gimli, noticing what Clark didn’t, shifted uncomfortably. “You didn’t mention to us that you were spoken for, Miss Lois.”
“Spoken for?” She asked.
“Engaged. With this lad.”
Lois’ eyes widened and she looked at him before bursting into incredulous laughter. “Engaged? To Smallville?” She and Clark shared amused and horrified looks at just the thought. “Are you insane, Gimli? Smallville and I hardly keep from killing each other as acquaintances, much less married! We’d be dead in a week!”
Clark smiled, having gotten over the kiss quickly. He knew Lois well, knew she was spontaneous and that she meant nothing by it. “Yeah, Lois and I getting together would be just as likely as her working for the Daily Planet and winning a Pulitzer.”
She made a face at him and slugged his shoulder. “I’ll have you know that I have a lot of potential to win a Pulitzer.” She told him haughtily, yet with humor in her voice. “I’d write an article on How The World Doesn’t Need Flannel.”
He blushed. “You’re never going to let me live that down, are you?”
“Na.” She joked good-naturedly, surprised to realize just how much she’d missed their bantering.
Aragorn finally spoke, his voice terse. “It is night, we’ll camp for a couple of hours and then head out.”
The couple of hours they sat by the campfire was spent in snoring on Gimli’s part. He really wanted to get some idea as to who this Smallville guy was, because he’d grown to care for Lois as a daughter and didn’t like the thought of some man, especially not her fiancé, lying on top of her intimately, nor sharing a kiss.
Her honor could be tattered with such behavior.
Yet try as much as he could, the dwarf couldn’t stay awake and fell asleep rapidly.
Legolas and Aragorn took turns taking guard, to make sure that no Orcs of Uruks attacked them unawares. While one of them was out on his shift, the other sat a little apart from Lois and her friends, listening silently to them as they spoke.
Neither Ranger nor Elf slept that night, nor did they join the conversation unless if it were to give a brief answer to a question directed towards them. Mostly they just sat in silence, brooding, eyeing the handsome dark-haired stranger with curious dislike.
“Do you remember when Clark and you were under the effects of that witch’s lipstick thingy?” Chloe asked, remembering the episode well.
Lois had bought a lipstick from a magic store just to prove Chloe wrong about magic existing, yet when she’d put on the lipstick she’d seen Clark and had fallen desperately in love with him. The poor guy had had to run away from her the whole day…that is, until she finally caught Clark and kissed him, and he’d been affected by the love/lust-magic as well.
Lex snorted as he remembered that. The men he’d always had trailing Chloe to make sure she was safe had told him of the episode, and he couldn’t help but make a face at the thought of Clark and Lois making out.
Lois threw her head back and laughed. That hadn’t been one of her finer moments but it’d been comical to think of later.
Clark blushed crimson. “Did you have to bring that up, Chlo?”
“Well, it’s just that the kiss you two just had today reminded me of when you were under the effects of the lipstick.” Chloe chuckled. “You couldn’t keep your mouths away from each other.”
Legolas’ features hardened as he looked at the twig in his hands, the twig which he kept breaking into little itty bitty pieces.
“It’s a good thing I went back and found that antidote, or otherwise you and Clark would have ended up in bed. Oops. Right. You did end up in bed!” Chloe, quite oblivious to the darkening tension radiating from the Elf, continued on. “I remember that we caught you two on Martha’s bed. You were already under Clark, both half naked and--.”
“ It’s time to go.” Legolas stood swiftly. “Dawn approaches and we are gaining on the Uruks.”
Lois frowned when she noticed the expression on Legolas’ face, yet she attributed it to lack of sleep. “Sure thing Mirkwood. Let’s go guys.”
Getting up, she brushed off her dress and went to him, looking at him in worry. “Are you okay, Mirkwood?” She asked. “You seem tense.”
He didn’t answer at first, he didn’t even look at her. “I’m fine Miss Lois, nothing a good battle won’t cure me of.”
She snickered. “Bloodthirsty Elf.”
He looked up at her finally, with a small smile.
“Lois?” Clark called. “Where did you say you use the bathroom here again?”
“We ‘go’ a little ways from the camp so we don’t have to eat and sleep with the smell all around us. But you’ll get lost if I just tell you. Honestly Smallville, you have the worst sense of direction I’ve ever seen. You need your own GPS system embedded in the palm of your hand.” Lois snarked, turning away from Legolas. “I’ll take you so you can go water the plants.”
Legolas’ features darkened as she walked away from him and grabbed Clark by his sleeve, towing him behind her as they left camp.
“We should be going.” Aragorn said from behind the Elf.
The blonde man nodded. “Miss Lois is taking the new one to where we’ve designated as the outhouse.”
Stryder frowned. “But that’s a bit distant from the camp. And she shouldn’t be there with him by herself. Surely where Lady Lois comes from it is unheard of for such familiarity between the sexes.”
“I think they are more liberal in this Smallville of U.S. of A.” Legolas’ face lightened when Lex said he needed to go as well, and headed after them. He knew that with the other man’s presence nothing would happen.
Aragorn’s jaw tensed. Not liking that answer. “I’ll wake Gimli.” With that he stalked towards the snoring Dwarf.
As usual, it was Lois who noticed when Legolas stopped running and looked up at the sky. They’d been running for an hour or so, and thanks to the little rest they’d had, Lois felt strong enough to get through the day.
“A red sun rises.” Legolas told her, not surprised that she was the only one to stop by his side and wait for him. “Blood had been spilled this night.”
Her heart skipped a beat. “Merry and Pippin…?”
“Hopefully not.” But he wouldn’t meet her eyes as they hurried after the others, now at the back of the group.
Aragorn stopped and placed his hand to the ground.
Lex frowned. “What’s he doing?”
Chloe motioned with her hand for him to be quiet.
Her boyfriend frowned darker at that but did as told.
Aragorn looked up as he rose to his feet, motioning for them to hurry. He reached a large boulder and hid in its shade, pressing his back against the rock.
The others felt the ground beginning to tremble as they hurried to hide with him.
Aragorn reached out for Lois’ hand and pulled her in rapidly behind him, protecting her with his body.
The moment they were all hidden, riders on horseback, carrying swords and shields rode pass them.
Aragorn and Legolas shared a look before the Ranger hurried out from their hiding place. “Riders of Rohan.” He cried out in a loud voice to catch their attention. “What news from the Mark?”
Lois smiled. So they were people who liked horses, and not half-horse beasts.
The riders turned when they heard his voice, and began galloping in the herds towards them.Lois’ smile disappeared as she realized that the riders didn’t seem friendly. For once she didn’t complain about men and their protective issues when Legolas and Aragorn placed her behind them.
The riders surrounded them, their spears drawn around the small group of people huddled in a circle.
Clark narrowed his eyes at them, yet nothing happened. He frowned, trying to use his heat vision again yet it wouldn’t work. He gasped silently. Going through the Green K tear must have temporarily stripped him of his powers!
Aragorn held his hands up, yet his eyes were narrowed as he searched the riders, looking for their leader.
Legolas made sure that Gimli was looking out for Lois’ back, his own eyes trying to search for a weakness in the group of riders, and wondering if they’d gotten caught by followers of Sauron.
Lex placed Chloe closer to Lois and further away from the men sneering at them, his own hands up yet ready to draw his sword if someone tried to touch his girlfriend.
A blonde rider with a ridiculous helmet rode to the front. “What business does an Elf, five Men, and a Dawrf have in the Riddermark?” He noted their hesitation. “Speak quickly.”
“Five Men?” Lois exclaimed, angered. “Do I look like a man to you mister funny hat?”
Legolas growled. Now was not the time to draw attention to the fact that there were two beautiful women amongst them.
The leader looked at Chloe with a frown, noting her short hair and pants, obviously deeming her a femininely pretty boy, before his eyes fell on Lois and they softened. “How could one mistake you for a man, fair one?”
Lois smiled smugly at him, chin raised a notch, obviously pleased with the answer.
Chloe rolled her eyes.
Legolas growled darker, not liking how this was going.
Gimli, ever fatherly protective of Lois, frowned at the leader of the riders. “Give me your name, horse-master. And I shall give you mine.”
The leader, obviously infuriated by that answer, tore his gaze from Lois and narrowed it at the Dwarf, dismounting. He walked menacingly towards Gimli. “I would cut off your head Dwarf, if it stood but a little higher from the ground.”
“Oh no you don’t buster.” Lois growled, stepping away from the protection Legolas and Aragorn’s bodies offered and in front of Gimli. “First you threaten us with your spears, then you call my cousin and I men, and then you want to chop off Gimli’s head? Let me go off on a limb and guess that Rohan isn’t exactly a tourist attraction—is it?” Being a tall woman she met the horse-master eye to eye, and narrowed hers.
“Are you willing to risk your life for a Dwarf, fair one?” He asked, pulling out his sword in a menacing yet contemplative way. “I could easily hurt you with one blow of this sword.”
Legolas’ eyes narrowed as he quickly pulled an arrow out of its quiver and position it on his bow, pointing it towards the leader, not caring that the spears were pressing in on him. “You would die before your stroke fell.”
The leader looked from Lois to Legolas, eyebrow raised.
Aragorn pushed down Legolas’ hand, silently telling him to put his weapon away. He turned to the leader of the group. “I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn.” He’d diplomatically saved the day and went to stand in front of Lois.
She frowned. What was it and these men thinking that they needed to protect her? All she needed to do was lift the helmet, shoot out her fist and she would have broken the bastard’s nose, easily. She seethed inside at how barbarically medieval Aragorn and Legolas were at times.
“This is Gimli, son of Glóin, and Legolas of the Woodland Realm.” Aragorn continued with the introduction.
Chloe stepped forwards, seeing the look Aragorn sent Lex. “I am Chloe, daughter of Sullivan.” She announced, remembering how people in Middle Earth called each other. “This Clark son of Kent, and Lex, son of Luthor--.”
“Her husband.” Lex said in a near snarl, realizing the leers were growing as the men realized that Chloe was indeed a woman, and not just a really pretty boy.
Chloe blushed, looking up at him.
“Newly weds.” The leader mistook her blush, before looking past Aragorn’s shoulder at a still seething Lois. “And you, fair one?”
“Lois, daughter of Lane.” She told him in a haughty, unforgiving voice. “My father is the general of an army tons bigger than the little book club you have here, so believe me, you don’t scare me one bit.”
Gimli, Aragorn and Legolas were all surprised at this new information.
The leader didn’t seem insulted by her arrogant tone, he actually smirked at her.
Aragorn returned to business. “We are friends of Rohan and of Théoden, your king.”
At the mention of their king, the leader of the riders became serious, and a pained expression crossed his eyes. “Théoden no longer recognizes friend from foe.” He pulled off his helmet, proving that behind the dorky thing was a handsome man. “Not even his own kin. I am Eómer, nephew of Théoden.”
Lois gasped as she admired his face. “Oh my.” And she had wanted to break his nose? What was wrong with her?
Chloe made a face. “What is it with you and blondes?”
Legolas raised an eyebrow at that one yet kept his gaze of the leader of the riders.
The riders pulled away their spears as their leader continued.
“Saruman has poisoned the mind of the king and claimed lordship over these lands.”
“Which is Saruman again?” Chloe whispered to Lois.
“I can never remember.” She whispered back, eyes on the leader.
“My company are those loyal to Rohan.” Eómer continued once more. “And for that, we are banished.” His eyes narrowed with hate. “The White Wizard is cunning.” His gaze slid from Aragorn to Legolas. “He walks here and there, they say, as an old man hooded and cloaked. And everywhere, his spies slip past our nets.”
“We are no spies.” Aragorn said, reclaiming the leader’s attention.
“Damn straight we aren’t.” Lois agreed. “We’d be amazingly stupid and horrible at our job to try to get your attention if we were.”
Aragorn tried to keep a straight face, yet his lips curled suspiciously in a smile. Then, remembering why there were there, he frowned. “We track a party of Uruk-hai westward across the plain.” He paused. “They have taken two of our friends captive.”
Chloe whimpered at the memory of Pippin and Merry.
There was a moment’s silence. “The Uruks are destroyed. We slaughtered them during the night.”
“But there were two hobbits.” Gimli urged, voice pained, eyes suspiciously shiny. “Did you see two hobbits with them?”
“They’re really small.” Clark put in, speaking for the first time since they’d been surrounded and he’d realized that he’d lost his super powers. “They look like children.”
Once again Eómer was silent before answering. “We left none alive.” He turned and motioned towards the direction from whence they’d come. “We piled the carcasses and burned them.”
“Dead?” Gimli whispered.
“No.” Chloe whimpered and threw herself at Lex, burying her face in his chest. “They can’t be dead!”
“You murderers!” Lois shrieked, and if Clark hadn’t grabbed hold of her she would have pushed Aragorn aside and thrown herself at Eómer. “They were defenseless! You—you…”
He looked pained as he watched her. “I am sorry.”
Legolas looked down at the ground, his whole body radiating pain and sadness.
Eómer looked away from Lois, obviously pained. He whistled. “Hasufel! Arod! Ninat! Doilim!” Four majestic, rider-less horses were brought to him. “May these horses bear you to better fortune than their former masters.”
“How dare you?” Lois hissed, voice choked with emotion. “How dare you try to bribe our emotions with gifts? You murdered our friends!”
“I am sorry, fair one.” He told her, before turning giving everyone a look. “Farewell.” He mounted his horse. “Look for your friends.” He paused. “But do not trust to hope.” Under his breath he added. “It has forsaken these lands.” To his men he said: “We ride north!” And with that they rode away, leaving the small group of mourners.
Chloe cried against Lex’s chest as he whispered comforting words to her. “They might still be alive, Chloe.” He whispered over and over into her ear. “Remember, this is a movie. Anything can happen.”
She looked up at him with puffy, red eyes. “Do you really think they might still be alive?”
His smile was tender and loving. “Yes Chlo. I really do.”
Lois watched as Chloe kissed Lex, and she looked away, shrugging out of Clark’s hold. She was strong. She didn’t need a man to comfort her. I don’t need a man. Don’t need a man. Don’t need anyone. The golden blonde ran her hand under her eyes and looked at the horses in disgust. “I’m not riding them.”
Aragorn sighed. “Merry and Pippin may still be alive, and if they are, they will be hurt and will need us to get to them as soon as possible.”
She winced, hating to admit that he was right. “But I don’t know how to ride.”
Legolas opened his mouth to speak.
Clark cut him to it. “That’s okay Lo, you can ride with me.”
She chuckled darkly. “I forgot you were my farmboy.” She sighed, looking up at the magnificent black steed Eómer had referred to as Ninat. “I don’t have a good track record with animals.”
Clark chuckled. “Don’t worry. Just hold onto me tightly and you won’t fall off.”
Legolas narrowed his eyes before turning to Gimli. “I guess we ride together then.”
Gimli looked about to protest, but when he noticed Clark jump up onto the horse and help Lois up behind him, he frowned. “I guess so, Elf.”
He was going to have to keep a good eye on this young man, and if he did anything to compromise Lois’s virtue or reputation, well, as the adoptive father he self proclaimed himself to be, Gimli would force the lad to marry her.
Chloe, like Lois, hadn’t any experience with horses, but luckily Lex was a born equestrian. He pulled her up in front of him in a more intimate position than Lois and Clark.
Aragorn leapt onto Hassufel. “Let us be off!”
Clark pulled on the reins as they reached the pile of burnt bodies. Smoke was still visible rising from them. The men got off their horses, helped the women off, and then turned to the pile of bodies before using their weapons to push them apart, trying to determine weather Merry and Pippin were amongst the dead.
Gimli paused in his search, and pulled out Pippin’s belt. It was now burnt crisp. “It’s one of their wee belts.”
Lois closed her eyes when she saw that and willed herself not to cry. She was strong. She was strong. She was the daughter of Sam Lane. General Sam Lane. She was strong!
Hearing words being whispered, she opened her eyes and wiped at a stubborn tear when she noticed Legolas standing over the bodies, eyes closed, head bent, praying. She didn’t know what deity the elves of Mirkwood Forest worshiped, but for once her incredulity didn’t make her sneer at someone for their beliefs.
Instead, she suddenly saw Legolas clearer than she had before. And before she knew what she was doing, she left Clark and Aragorn and stood next to Legolas, despite the horrible smell of burnt flesh. She hesitated for a moment before reaching for his hand, the first time she’d ever instigated their handholding, and squeezed it reassuringly when he looked up at her in surprise.
A sad smile appeared briefly on Legolas’ face as he squeezed back, and then lowered his head and closed his eyes, beginning to say the words once more.
Despite the fact that she had no idea what he was saying due to the fact that he said it in the Elvish Tongue, Lois felt peace descending on her and she too lowered her head and closed her eyes, praying to God for the first time in a long time. She prayed for Merry, Pippin and Gandalf, praying that they’d made it to Middle Earth’s version of heaven.
She vaguely heard Aragorn’s cry of impotence and the sound of him kicking something. Yet Legolas’ thumb rubbed the inside of her palm reassuringly, calming her once more.
Legolas finished his prayer and squeezed her hand once more. She opened her eyes and looked up at him, and only when he tenderly reached over with his free hand to wipe at the tears falling down her cheeks did she realize that she’d been crying.
“A hobbit lay here.”
Hearing Aragorn’s words, both Legolas and Lois jerked to look at him.
“And the other.” He was crouched over the ground, reading the markings as a true ranger. “They crawled.” His voice grew in excitement as he began to trace their movements. “Their hands were bound.” Getting up, he began walking, eyes on the ground. Once again he stooped and picked up a piece of rope half hidden in the dry grass. “Their bounds were cut.”
Getting up once more, he hurriedly followed their trail. “They ran over here.”
Legolas, hand still holding Lois’ tightly, followed Aragorn’s every move.
Aragorn cursed under his breath. “They were followed.” His movements were quick and jerky. “Tracks lead away from the battle…” He paused, looking up at the large and dark forest before them, “into Fangorn Forest.”
The others stood behind him, breathless with expectancy.
“Fangorn?” Gimli whispered from directly behind Aragorn. “What madness drove them in there?”
Chloe gulped. That didn’t sound too good.
“Orc blood.” Gimli spat out the substance he’d found on a plant and had tasted.
“One word for you Gimli.” Chloe announced with a scrunched up nose. “Eeewww.”
He smirked over at her.
Lois was about to say something sarcastic when she fell to her knees as the pain she’d grown to hate so much throbbed her brain. Her tortured scream echoed throughout the forest, scaring away birds and little creatures.
“Lois!” Chloe cried out, knowing that scream.
Legolas was there in a moment, kneeling besides Lois, pulling her against his chest as she screamed and the Morningstar glowed against her breasts. The Elf closed his eyes and began to whisper words in Elvin. The words, along with the steady beating of his chest, began to ease the pain as nothing else ever had, and Lois clutched at the front of his shirt as the images flashed before her eyes.
Whimpering, because although the pain was lessened it was still intense, she watched as the creature Gollum led Sam and Frodo, she felt the mutual dislike and distrust between Sam and the creature—a certain jealousy. She witnessed Frodo’s near death, and rescue by Gollum, and then, the creature told them to hurry, that it would take them to the Black Gates.
Easing out of her pain and visions, Lois soaked in the calming mixture of Legolas’ words and his heart against her ear, and for a moment she must have fainted, because the next thing she knew he was standing and she curled in his arms.
The Morningstar glowed brightly, cool and beautiful to both sight and touch.
Lois opened her eyes and looked up into Legolas’ deep blue depths. “Hey.” Her throat raspy and painful from her scream, her voice choked.
“What did you see, little one?” His voice so tender, his expression so concerned, Lois couldn’t find a barb to ease away from the intimacy as she usually would.
And frighteningly enough, she didn’t want to. “I saw Frodo and Sam again.” She whispered, still caught up in his beautiful eyes. “They’re with the creature that calls himself both Smeagol and Gollum.” She frowned. “Frodo nearly drowned in this horrible swamp looking place filled with dead bodies. If it hadn’t been for that creature he would have died.”
Aragorn watched Legolas and Lois. He realized what neither had about their feelings for each other and sighed in resignation, looking away. “It is good to know that they live.”
Lois closed her eyes and leaned her head against Legolas’ chest without even realizing that she did so.
She never saw Legolas’ pleased smile at this gesture.
“Are you still feeling weak, Lo?” Clark asked, breaking the spell. “Because I can carry you. It’s not like it’d be the first time I did so.”
Suddenly remembering where they were, Lois jerked in Legolas’ arms. “No! I’m fine! I can walk!”
Legolas sent a scowl in Clark’s oblivious direction before putting Lois back down.
She jumped away from the Elf once on her feet once more, blushing like hell and determined not to look in his direction.
Lex and Chloe noticed this though, and smiled knowingly at each other.
Gimli noticed it too. He raised an eyebrow. His nearly adoptive daughter and an Elf?
“These are strange tracks.” Aragorn said, drawing everyone’s attention to him as he knelt on the ground, looking at said tracks worriedly.
“Why is it so hard to breathe in here?” Lex wanted to know.
“This forest is old.” Legolas told him, looking up at the trees. “Very old.”
Lex looked at Chloe as if asking her if that made any sense as an answer to his question.
“Full of memory.” Legolas continued. As a woodland Elf he was one with the woods, and was surprised at what he felt emanating from this forest. “And anger.” Sensing that they were not alone, he looked up as a sound pierced the air.
Gimli cried out and pulled his battle ax with him, ready for whatever should appear.
“The trees are speaking to each other.” Legolas told them, turning around, looking up at each tree as if trying to understand what they were saying.
“Well, if I were a tree I’d be angry at the dwarf for coming into my forest with an ax.” Lex drawled lazily.
Everyone turned to look at Gimli, who was holding his axe high and looking at the trees as if frightened that they’d all decide to fall on him.
“Gimli!” Aragorn hissed. “Lower your ax!”
The dwarf, looking like the kid caught with his hands in the cookie jar, slowly lowered his ax.
Lois shook her head and chuckled at her favorite dwarf.
Legolas said Aragorn’s name and then something in Elvin before hurrying away from Lois towards the front.
Aragorn looked concerned and followed suit. They separated themselves from the group and began to speak in low whispers.
“Am I the only one who hates it when they do that?” Lois asked.
“The White Wizard Approaches.”
She jerked her head up when she understood Legolas’ last whisper. “Dear God.”
“Which one is that?” Clark wanted to know. “Sauron or Saruman?”
“Don’t ask.” Chloe and Lois both answered while drawing their weapons.
Clark and Lex pulled out their swords, although Clark was quite less sure of himself than the bald billionaire.
Gimli waited with his ax.
“Do not let him speak.” Aragorn whispered to them. “He will put a spell on us.” He reached for his sword and pulled it out as he spoke.
Great. Like Lois needed more weird things happening to her.
“We must be quick.” Aragorn told them.
Lois’ grip on her bow and arrow tightened as the Morningstar continued to glow, yet it glowed an angry red instead of the soft moonbeamish color it had moments before in Legolas’ arms.
Suddenly a blinding light appeared to their right.
Lois dropped her bow and arrow as her mind went completely blank. She vaguely heard the sound of her friends crying out as their attacks failed, yet she didn’t pay much mind. She heard a voice in her head, a familiar voice, and she walked into the light.
“Lois!” Legolas called her back.
The light was blinding, yet she closed her eyes and enjoyed its light, hearing a familiar chuckle reverberating around her.
“You are tracking the footsteps of two young hobbits.” A deep voice told them.
She opened her eyes, and the light wasn’t blinding anymore, at least to her. And the Morningstar was once more cool and inanimate against her chest, glow gone. She smiled tremulously, not daring to believe that it was he who stood before her.
“Where are they?” Aragorn’s voice could be heard asking. “And release Lady Lois!”
She turned to look at them as they tried to shield themselves from the light. She frowned. Didn’t they know who it was that spoke to them?
He chuckled, as if reading her thoughts and finding them quite amusing. His hand rested on her shoulder. “Your friends the hobbits passed this way the day before yesterday.” He paused, mirth in his voice. “They met someone they did not expect.”
“Neither did we.” She hugged him for the first time since they’d met, allowing tears of happiness to wet the front of his robe, and her voice was thick with her happiness.
He chuckled once more. “Does that comfort you?” He looked down at the Morningstar and then back up at her eyes.
“Who are you?” Aragorn asked, obviously believing that the question had been directed to him. “And release Lady Lois from your spell instantly!”
Lois frowned. Honestly. Couldn’t they tell with whom they spoke?
“Show yourself!” Aragorn ordered.
Her frown deepened. Obviously they couldn’t.
The light faded, and Lois appeared with one whom they had believed never to see again.
Aragorn looked at him in wonder, and pain, in hopefulness. “It cannot be.” He whispered, coming towards them.
Lois stepped away to let them have their moment.
Legolas fell to his knees, as did Gimli.
Chloe just restrained herself from throwing herself at him in tears. “Gandalf.”
Clark’s eyes widened. He hadn’t seen that coming.
Lex raised an eyebrow, not so surprised. This was a movie after all. Everyone just kept forgetting that.
After the reunion with Gandalf the White, Lois and he walked a little ahead of the group. Gandalf had spoken to the group of his battle with the Balrog and how he’d died and had been sent back because it was not yet his time. He explained how war had come to Rohan, and that they had to ride to Edoras at once.
Lois had to reluctantly admit that it was a good thing that Eomer had given them horses. She couldn’t stay mad at the Rider of Rohan because he hadn’t killed her two friends, who were safe, although Gandalf wouldn’t tell them more than that.
Once they cleared the Fangorn Forest, they came upon a meadow, and Gandalf, whose hand hadn’t left Lois’ shoulder, whistled an eerily enchanting sound, which was responded by the neighing of a horse.
Everyone turned and watched as a pure white horse appeared, galloping towards them.
“ That is one of the Mearas.” Legolas whispered in awe, at Lois’ side. “Unless my eyes are cheated by some spell.”
The horse came to a stop before them.
“Shadowfax.” Gandalf smiled tenderly, rubbing the horse’s nose lovingly. “He is the Lord of all horses, and has been my friend through many dangers.”
“Nice…horsey…” Lois said nervously and took a step back when the horse turned to her and advanced. “Gandalf?” She whimpered as Shadowfaxx continued walking towards her and she walked backwards.
The White Wizard smiled amusedly at them. “He doesn’t want to hurt you, Lois, just is curious of the new guardian of the Morningstar. He will do you no harm.”
Mumbling something under her breath about a law suit if the horse did otherwise, Lois stopped backing up and held her breath as Lord of all Horses stopped in front of her, craning his neck forwards to sniff at her chest, where the Morningstar glowed slightly, as if in recognition.
Neighing happily, the horse shook his head and then nudged Lois back towards Gandalf, who was openly smirking at her stiff fear.
“I believe Shadowfax wants you to join me riding him to Edoras.” The White Wizard explained.
Lois was about to decline the offer to the horse as suavely as possible, but when Shadowfax gave her another nudge on her back she sighed, realizing that donkeys might not only be the stubborn ones of the family.
So they rode towards Edoras, not sure what they would come upon when they arrived. It was only thanks to Gandalf that when the next headache hit, Lois didn’t fall from the racing horse.
Although, Shadowfax seemed to sense the Morningstar’s reactions and stopped immediately before Gandalf could even pull on the reigns. The wizard though, helped Lois off of the horse and onto the ground as she screamed, her head splitting as she was once more thrown into vision, seeing Frodo, Sam and Smeagol at the Black Gate, which was closed, and heavily guarded.
She watched as Sam almost got them caught by the human army working for Sauron, and how Frodo’s quick thinking was the only thing that saved them. Lois cried out for them, tried to scream that they couldn’t get passed the Black Gates, that it was impossible. Neither hobbits nor the creature Gollum heard her. But Gollum/Smeagol kept Sam and Frodo from committing suicide by going through the gates, promising that he knew a secret way into Mordor.
“Frodo!” Lois screamed, terrified at the realization that Frodo and Sam were going to be alone in such a horrible a dangerous place.
For a moment the hobbit turned and looked right at her. His blue eyes widened. “Lois?”
Suddenly the image disappeared, as did the pain, and Lois looked up into Gandalf’s worried blue eyes. “Come, my child.” He whispered, helping her up and placing her on Shadowfax’s back once more, ignoring her worried friends. “We must get to Edoras quicker than I had imagined.”