Bagenders – Farewell to Sanity

Season 2, Episode 5

By Lady Alyssa and Random Dent
Disclaimer: JRR Tolkien owns all the characters, apart from the ones we made up.
Rating: R-ish (lembas; strife; very bad language)
Feedback: yes please, please or else it means we have to work.
Story notes: The authors do not in any way condone lembas abuse.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Legolas had his arms folded. This was an internationally recognised sign of extreme danger. He was staring at Aragorn, who was shuffling uncomfortably.

“I had a phone call today.”

Aragorn was bright enough to stay quiet.

“Saying that you, after attending only one counselling session, have decided to attend no more. Pray tell me why this is so?”

Aragorn winced. First folded arms, now eighteenth century speech patterns. He was in really, really deep trouble. “Well, I told her my life story, and by the time I got to the bit where mum died she was crying. And then her secretary came in, and she told the secretary and she started crying. I can’t deal with crying women. I don’t know what to do. Arwen never cried, she just shouted.”

“Aha.”

“Umm, and, and it wasn’t really helping.”

“Mnhm.”

“I mean, she can’t help me get my Ranger skills back, can she?”

“This is what you believe your problem to be.”

“Yes.”

“And not, for example, why you lost your Ranger skills in the first place? Or, for example, your increasingly erratic behaviour, the paranoia, the shortness of temper?”

“Um, no, I just want my Ranger Skills back. I’m sure everything will just sort itself out once they’re back.”

“But what’s the point of having Ranger skills in an urban environment in the-” there was a pause as Legolas did the mathematics, “twenty-first century anyway? You don’t need to catch your own food, or avoid orcs.”

“Do you know the statistics on road deaths?”

“Why?”

“I need my Ranger Skills to avoid becoming one of those statistics.”

“No, you need the highway code to avoid becoming one of those statistics. Not driving as fast as you do would help as well.”

“But I can drive that fast, I have Ranger Reflexes.”

“You also have knackered brakes. Probably because you drive that fast and slam them on at the last minute.”

“I need my Ranger Skills for, for, um other things. In case I’m attacked. Young men are most likely to be attacked.”

“You’re not young and the only time you go out after dark is to the 24 hour supermarket. And you drive there.”

“… vicious hordes of shelf stackers?”

Legolas just looked at him.

“Sorry.”

“We need to do something about you. There isn’t an OU course in Ranger skills.”

The sarcasm bypassed Aragorn. “I wonder why not. It would be really useful.”

Legolas gave him a withering look. “Why don’t you suggest it as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award?”

“That’s a good idea. Where does the Duke of Edinburgh live?”

“Where do you think he lives?”

“Edinburgh?”

Legolas decided that he couldn’t deal with any more of this. He really needed some camomile tea. Now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A few days later there was a knock on the door. Frodo answered it, and was immediately swept up into a group hug.

“DUDE! FRODO! DUDE!”

Frodo was finally released from the hug, enough to breathe and recognise who was hugging him. “Elladan? Elrohir? What are you doing here?”

“Dude, that rhymed.”

The rest of the Fellowship appeared, mainly to find out who was making the suspect noises. They were all dragged into the group hug as well.

“Little Dudes! Mirkwood dude! Hairy Dude! Where’s medium dude?”

“Medium Dude?”

“Dwarf dude.”

“On nightshift.”

“Oh. Dude.”

“Aren’t you going to ask about Gandalf?”

“Dude, that’s how we knew it was your house, could smell him half way up the street.”

They all disentangled themselves from the group hug, and the brothers came inside. They started pointing at things of interest in the hallway, and going ‘Dude!’.

“Stop it.”

“Stop what dude?”

“The ‘dude’. I know it’s an affectation. Stop it now.”

Elladan and Elrohir looked at each other. They may have been a few thousand years older than Legolas, but he’d always been the more sensible one. Not that that was difficult. Aragorn was more sensible than Elladan and Elrohir.

“Like, sorry.”

“And no ‘like’, or ‘y’know’, or ‘totally’. It’s irritating. You were brought up to have better diction than that.”

“VerysorryLegolas.”

Legolas had long ago worked out that the best way of dealing with The Twins was to pretend to be Elrond, an impression that also worked very well on Aragorn.

“Legolas, this is such a great surprise!”

“Yes, it is, isn’t it.”

Aragorn looked confused at Legolas’ tone of voice. “You didn’t invite them? For me to learn back my Ranger Skills?”

“One, ‘learn back’ is not correct usage, and two, no I did not invite them.”

“No, he didn’t invite us. We just turned up. No-one invites us anywhere. Dad didn’t even invite us to his last party.”

“Why have you turned up?”

“Well, we were renting the house in Cornwall out to some people, while we moved into the garden in the camper van-”

“And he left the handbrake off and it rolled off the cliff-”

“It made a really cool noise-”

“But it was horrible! We’ve had that van since 1967! It had memories in it man!”

“It had most of our special lembas in it-”

“And Jimi Hendrix pissed on the back left hand tyre! Jim Morrison threw up on one of the back seats!”

“It might just have been a guy who looked like Jim Morrison. We’d had a lot of special lembas, and he’d gone when we next woke up.”

Merry and Pippin were looking distinctly interested. “Special lembas? You still make that?”

“Dude, of course we still make it!”

“Ahem.”

“Sorry.”

“So, anyway, with the van gone, we had to stay somewhere-”

“So we got on a train. But after we’d been on the train for about two days they threw us off. So we got the bus to dad’s house-”

“Yeah, and he’s got these really unfriendly big dogs-”

“Big hairy dogs-”

Legolas knew about Elrond’s pets. “Aren’t they, um, lions?”

“Didn’t see them at the party.”

“Elrond’s under the naive impression that lions and drunk people don’t mix.”

“But, but anyway, these hairy things came after us. Really fast they are too.”

“What about that elvish ability to tame beasts?”

“Yeah, um, dad used that to train them to attack us.”

“So then we went to grandma’s-”

“She let us stay the night-’

“Then chucked us out in the morning and told us to bugger off-”

“Then we tried to find out where grandad was, but he’s in prison-”

“The people at Amnesty International were really nice to us, said that the letter writing campaign’s going really well.”

“Celeborn’s a prisoner of conscience?”

“Sort of. He’s not got a conscience, but they’ve got no real reason for imprisoning him-”

“We wrote to our other grandparents, but they didn’t write back. And we couldn’t go stay with Arwen and mum-”

“Cos, like, they’re Arwen and mum-”

“The Bitch Queens of Angmar-”

“So we came here. What’s for dinner?”

“It’s nice to know our friendship is so valued.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After dinner Legolas attempted to make polite conversation. “So… how’s Cornwall?”

“It was still there when we left.”

“I’ll rephrase that. How is life in Cornwall? For the two of you.”

“Oh, um, pretty good.”

“Except for when the surf shop flooded.”

“Yeah, that kind of sucked.”

“It’s why we had to rent the house out.”

“There’s, like this stuff, called insurance or something-”

“We were supposed to have some.”

“That’s a shame. I didn’t know there were problems with flooding in Cornwall.”

“There aren’t in the rest of Cornwall, just in our shop-”

“Mostly in the bathroom.”

“Our mate Dave saw this policeman-”

“I think he might have been watching ‘The Bill’ again-”

“And he gets a bit paranoid-”

“So he flushed his stash.”

“And Dave’s got a really big stash.”

“Why was Dave in your shop at night anyway?”

“Well, we could either get a burglar alarm or let Dave live there.”

“And Dave’s cheaper.”

“Anyway, he tried to flush the stash, but it wouldn’t go.”

“But he could still see the policemen on the telly so he kept trying to flush it until the handle got stuck-”

“And then he gave up and went to bed-”

“And then the shop filled up with water.”

“Oh. Is Dave alright?”

“Yeah, he always sleeps on his board-”

“And the board floats.”

“I see.”

Suddenly, two pairs of Elvish ears began to twitch. Elladan and Elrohir exchanged meaningful looks.

Legolas blinked.

When he opened his eyes again, The Twins were holding Merry and Pippin upside down by the ankles.

“What were you doing in our rucksacks?”

“Nothing.”

“You were looking for the special lembas, weren’t you?”

This time, Merry and Pippin exchanged looks. “Um, yes. Sorry.”

“Little dudes! You only had to ask.”

Elrohir picked up his rucksack and emptied the contents on to the living room floor. Two t-shirts, three pairs of underpants, a lone sock and a suspiciously large quantity of lembas fell out.

“That’s all the clean clothing and underwear you brought with you? Two t-shirts?”

“No, one t-shirt. One of them’s Elladan’s. His rucksack’s just got lembas in it.”

“And we lost most of our stuff when the van fell off the cliff.”

“I thought you said you lost most of your lembas too? How much of it did you have?”

“Lots.”

“Yeah, lots.”

“Where did you sleep?”

“Outside.”

“Which was really handy when it rolled off the cliff.”

“Yeah, we’d have been screwed if it was raining that night-”

“Cos when it rains we sleep in the front seats.”

While this bizarre and rambling conversation had been going on, the Hobbits – Frodo and Sam having appeared at the sound of large quantities being emptied onto the floor – had disappeared into the garden with a generous amount of it.

“Oh well, at least it’ll keep them fairly quiet for the rest of the evening.” sighed Legolas

“So what’s wrong with Aragorn?”

“Yeah, he looks sort of…”

“Depressed.”

“Yeah.”

Legolas was momentarily shocked by this display of perceptiveness from The Twins.

“He thinks he’s losing his Ranger skills.”

“Oh.”

“That’s pretty bad.”

“But you can help him find them again, can’t you?”

“I’m not sure if we can.”

“Yeah, um, when a Dunadan loses his Ranger Skills-”

“It’s the beginning of the end.”

There was a solemn pause. “Oh. There’s really nothing we can do?”

“Nah, we’re kidding.”

“Had you going, didn’t we?”

“Ranger Skills are dead easy-”

“Part of their innate Dunadan-ness.”

“He just needs someone to remind him.”

“How do we do that?”

“Well, we need to start at the very beginning.”

“It’s a very good place to start.”

“You don’t have to sing do you?”

“Sing? No.”

“What we have to do is give him some special lembas.”

“Is that really necessary?”

“Not really.”

“We’ve just had a difficult week.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A career in twenty-four hour retail services was not exactly all that Graeme had thought it would be. Well, actually that was a lie. He got reasonably well paid to spend most of his time reading ‘The National Enquirer’ and other quality publications which the garage sold without paying for any of them. It was a pity that all the ‘top shelf’ magazines came in plastic wrappers, but you couldn’t have everything. And, of course, there was the entertainment to be had from the average three am clientele.

Tonight’s had been particularly good.

First, there was ‘Mini Night Of The Living Dead’. Four very short rotund men had come in, with blank, dazed expressions, muttering ‘muuussssshhroooms, muuuuuussshhrooms’. This did cause Graeme some mild confusion, since that wasn’t what normally what happened with mushrooms. However, this was explained by being what the short men wanted. He’d managed to fob them off with some chicken and mushroom Pot Noodle, along with about thirty pounds worth of associated snack foods.

About three quarters of an hour later four tall blokes came in. Or rather a four headed eight-armed cuddle monster came in, declaring that they loved each other, they’d missed each other, that this was like old times and that they had to do it more often. The monster split into its component parts when inside the shop. The blond effeminate one appeared to have an entire pizza stuck to the front of his shirt (Graeme had spent about five minutes of scrutinising before deciding that, in all probability, it was a he, not a she), and became entirely fascinated by the way the broken fridge light pulsated.

“Hehehehehe! Dude! Look at that!”

“Dude! You said dude!”

“Oh, dude, did I?”

“Dude, you said it again.”

“Dude, I so did not. Dude.” He collapsed on the floor in hysterics.

Graeme warned them that if the blond one was going to be sick they had to take him outside, but they reassured him that he’d been sick already and there wasn’t any left. The hairy man explained this while attempting to hug Graeme through the glass while the two men he took to be identical twins were ruthlessly tickling the blond man.

Then they bought up every prawn flavoured item in the shop and a packet of orange tic-tacs and left.

Graeme decided that he wanted a copy of tonight’s security tapes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Later that night there was a debate going on down the local police station.

“What the hell are we going to charge them with?”

“They’ve got to be on something.”

“Course they’re on something. Just nothing that turns up on a urine test.”

“Some new stuff?”

“If it’s that new, it’s not illegal and we can’t do them for it.”

“Drunk and Disorderly?”

“Not a trace of alcohol in their systems.”

“Affray?”

“Not unless you count lying on the pavement looking at the stars, pointing and giggling as affray, no.”

“Disturbance of the peace?”

“They weren’t even giggling that loudly.”

“Why were they arrested in the first place?”

“Cos the guys who found them thought they were a danger to themselves.”

“I’ll say they were. I think they’ve told just about every bloke in the station that they love them, and that’s just asking for a kick in the teeth round here.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The hobbits woke up in a pile under the kitchen table, and all wished they hadn’t. It was odd how they’d all managed to recall the fun aspects of special lembas, but not the killer hangover that went with it. It was no wonder they’d spent several months in Rivendell, it had taken Frodo that long to get over the amount of special lembas that the Twins had fed to him to celebrate his recovery from the stab wound. The twins had been quite apologetic – they hadn’t realised that it was only elves who were immune to the hangover.

The hobbits crawled out from under the table. Coffee was out of the question, far too strong. Perhaps some weak herbal tea.

Then they caught the smell from the sitting room. Gandalf, proving again that he cannot be killed by normal weapons, was eating toasted special lembas covered with nutella. As one they made a dash to the bathroom to be violently sick.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aragorn woke up. He had a mild headache, a dry mouth, and a sense of confusion. Whose ear was that? He sat up, and realised that he was in the middle of a tangled heap of sleeping elves. Then he realised he was in a prison cell.

Legolas woke up. He hadn’t chewed on his braids in his sleep since he was about forty-three. He peeled open his eyes and took the braid out of his mouth. A black braid. Had the Twins persuaded him into dyeing his hair black? No, no, it was someone else’s braid.

What the hell was he doing chewing on someone else’s braid? And what the hell was he doing in a prison cell?

Elladan and Elrohir woke up. They were in a police cell. A new police cell. Well, this was a novel experience.

Legolas and Aragorn had caught up with the situation.

“Why are we in custody?”

“What were we doing?”

“No idea-”

“Last I remember-”

“You were singing-”

“A rude song in Sindarin-”

“The one about the elf-maid and Narsil and-”

“Yes, yes, we all know the song.” Legolas looked at Aragorn. “Makes a change from ‘I will survive’ at least.”

The cell door was opened. “Morning lovebirds. We haven’t found anything in your urine tests, apart from you having bloody weird urine, so we’re letting you go. With a caution.”

They were led through to collect their belongings.

“Two plastic bags, full of prawn flavoured snack foods.”

“When did we get those?”

“One handbag-”

“Hey, that’s an ethnic shoulder bag. Made by Tibetan refugees.”

“One handbag, contents: one wallet containing eight pence, three pfennigs and a marble, one twenty-four pack of condoms-”

Aragorn and Legolas looked at the Twins.

“You never know when you might get lucky.”

“Expiry date on condoms, September 2000.”

“Obviously not very often then.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next day, after the hobbits had recovered enough from the lembas hangover to spectate, Elladan and Elrohir began their Rangering 101 course.

“First – be at one with your surroundings.”

Elladan put on Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ symphony, and the Twins began to prance round the garden.

“Feel the earth! The air! The life!”

“If you think that I’m doing that in front of witnesses, then you’ve got another thing coming.”

“It didn’t bother you before.” said Elrohir mid-prance.

“There weren’t any witnesses before.”

“That’s what you think.” said Legolas from the back door.

“That’s not fair! Why did you never tell me?”

“Because observing twenty Mirkwood elves sat up in trees sniggering and placing bets on how long it will take you to fall over is lesson two of Rangering.”

“Ah, but that’s easy now, the Mirkwood elf is – oh.”

Legolas was no longer standing in the doorway. Elladan and Elrohir exchanged looks. “We know where he is. Want to get on to lesson two before he gives you a wedgie?”

The twins were now shirtless, and less prancing as showing off several thousand years of working out. As per usual, an audience was gathering.

“Look, Legolas’ stalkers in the house over there are even looking at me now, can we get this over with?”

The twins turned in the direction of his gesture and caught sight of the girls at the window. They waved, and began flexing interesting muscles, to appreciative ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’.

“Take your shirt off. You’re not going to become at one with nature under that amount of cotton.”

Aragorn grudgingly peeled off his shirt, revealing scars, muscles and-

“You’ve got a beer gut.”

“Have not.”

“Have too.”

“It’s – it’s muscle.”

“Looks more like you’re pregnant.”

“It’s all Frodo’s fault.”

“I knew he was a hobbit of many talents, but I didn’t know he could do that.”

“I meant the beer gut.”

“So you admit you have a beer gut?”

“Damndamndamn. No.”

“Well, we’ll get round to that in lesson 27: Keeping a Rangerly Physique.”

“Now, come on, follow us.”

Aragorn found himself following the twins round the garden. At first he was most unwilling, but as time went on he found he was actually enjoying himself. He was becoming at one with nature. And Legolas was sitting giggling in the second tree from the left, three branches down. He gave the tree a swift kick as he went past and was rewarded with the ‘thunk’ and ‘bugger!’ of a falling elf.

Through the week the lessons continued. The twins insisted on being taken to work with Aragorn, to monitor his progress and give lessons in the forest as being more conducive to overall Ranger-ness. When questioned as to why they were there they told everyone it was ‘take your daughter to work week’ and ran away while they were still confused.

Much to Legolas’ surprise this did actually seem to be having a positive effect on Aragorn. He was less grumpy, less depressed and less paranoid. Unfortunately he was also less washed. But, the only person who noticed this was Legolas since the Twins spent a lot of their time round people who lived in camper vans with no shower facilities.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday night came around. Aragorn, pleased with his re-found skills, was Lurking in the back garden. He’d tried some Shadowing and some Sneaking, but had gone back to good old fashioned Lurking.

Unfortunately, he’d chosen the same place to do his Lurking as Sam had chosen to do his after-dinner Gardening. Sam was in a happy mood, humming under his breath, and turning the soil over with his favourite pitchfork. Said pitchfork was over two thousand years old, with a few blade and handle replacements along the way. Aragorn was meditating on things past.

There was a horrible wet ‘schlup-crk’ noise.

“Sam?”

“Oh, I didn’t see you there, Aragorn.”

“Yes, that would be why you just stuck your pitchfork through my foot.”

“Oh. Oh, sorry, sorry. All the way through?”

“Yes.” There was the sound of Aragorn swallowing hard and taking deep, calming breaths. “Could you please get Legolas? Swiftly?”

Sam ran into the house, and came back with Legolas and the Twins.

“Are you alright?”

“Apart from the pitchfork, never better.”

Legolas knelt down to examine fork and foot.

“We’ll get something from the house for you to bite down on, and we’ll have that out in a jiffy. If it stings a bit you can take an aspirin.”

“I think he needs to go to hospital.” said Legolas.

“Yes, yes, I agree. I’d like to go to the hospital, they know me.”

“Wuss. I’ve had worse.”

Legolas looked at him. “No you haven’t.”

“I’ve been wounded.”

“You’ve been grazed and that’s about it.”

“Um, could we debate this another time?”

“Ah, yes, can you two drive?”

The Twins nodded enthusiastically.

“Let me rephrase that. Do you two have a driving licence?”

“What for?”

“Ah. Sam, could you phone a taxi and tell them that it’s urgent, please?”

The taxi duly arrived. The three elves and Aragorn piled into the back.

“Casualty please.”

“What’s he been doing?”

“Gardening accident.”

“Are you sure he doesn’t need an ambulance?”

“Nah, they take ages on a Friday night and we’ve given him some aspirin.”

“Legolas?”

“Yes?”

“Are we out of earshot of home?”

“I think so.”

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowooooooooooooooooooooooooo dear god it HURTS!”

“Stop being such a baby.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Twins carried Aragorn from the taxi into Casualty held above their heads like some bizarre pagan offering. They managed to put his injured foot, complete with pitchfork onto the reception desk and pointed. The receptionist stared in horror.

Legolas, arriving a few seconds behind them coughed politely. “Um, I’m afraid my friend has a pitchfork stuck in his foot.”

The receptionist blinked. “Um…er…okay. Just hold on a minute and I’ll get a triage nurse. And a trolley.”

The casualty department was already starting to fill up with the usual weekend crowd of drunks, lonely hypochondriacs and small children who’d tried to copy things they’d seen on tv, such as using red felt tip pens to fake a meningitis rash in an effort to stay up late.

Legolas surveyed the scene in despair. It looked like it was going to be a long night.

Eventually Aragorn was dropped unceremoniously on to a trolley which was pushed into a corridor and told that a doctor would be with him as soon as possible.

Time passed. Then more time passed. ‘As soon as possible’ is a very relative concept on a Friday night in Casualty. The Twins became bored, even though most passing nurses attempted sexual harassment on the run. Seeing someone simultaneously chatting someone up whilst performing effective CPR is really quite impressive.

“Bored-”

“Bored-”

“Let’s just yank the thing out and go home.”

“No! I like being able to walk.”

“Let’s saw the handle off then. Make you more comfortable.”

“Won’t sawing the handle off be uncomfortable? And anyway, you don’t have a saw.”

“Yes, we do.” An amputation saw was produced with a flourish. Aragorn attempted to edge the trolley behind Legolas.

“Where did you get that from?”

“We found it. When you thought we’d gone to the bathroom we went exploring.”

“No. You are not waving sharp objects round him.”

“Spoilsport.”

There was a pause. Then Elladan seemed to have an idea. “Elrohir? Could you stand over by that wall?” He gestured to the other end of the corridor.

Elrohir did as he was told.

“Now, go into the starfish position, arms and legs out – you could hold onto the signs if you want. Good. Now stand very, very still.”

Elrohir grinned. “Shall I do the speech?”

“Yeah, go on.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, we present the Amazing Elfling Knife Throwing Twins.”

There was a round of applause from the other patients on trolleys.

“We ask you not to move from where you are, lest you are grievously injured. See the sharpness of the knives!”

Elladan produced about ten scalpels and demonstrated their pointiness. Then he took a surgical mask and tied it over his eyes.

“Please don’t do this.” Legolas despaired once more. “I’m going to have to come back to this Casualty department, you know.”

“If we could have silence please, so his concentration is not broken.”

Elladan got into position. The first knife hit between Elrohir’s legs. The second hit beside his left ear. The third wedged itself into the drip stand of a patient being wheeled past on a trolley at that point. The crowd made appreciative noises. The other scalpels managed to do Elrohir no harm, and he left the wall looking like it had been attacked by a group of surgical Red Indians.

“And for my next trick I’ll be swallowing this entire tray of medical instr-”

“No, for you’re next trick you’ll be sitting down quietly until Aragorn gets seen by the doctor.”

Elladan and Elrohir went into conference. The Casualty department had possibilities, and Legolas hadn’t said anything about what they could do after he’d been seen by the doctor.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aragorn pulled on Legolas’ sleeve. “Um, Legolas, I, um, need to use the toilet.”

“We’ll get you a bedpan-”

“No, not out here in the corridor.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time you’d relieved yourself in a corridor.”

“Yes, but not sober. And not with people watching.”

“Not with people watching? Come off it, Aragorn, I remember you, you’re positively exhibitionist-”

“That was a long time ago. Please?” There was a note of desperation.

The Twins looked at each other and hoisted Aragorn onto their shoulders again.

Legolas looked at them. “How are you going to manage once you get to the Gents?”

“We’ll think of something.”

“Yeah, we’ll duck.”

“What?” But Aragorn’s objection was silenced by his being carried off.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some time later, after Aragorn’s eventful trip to the bathroom, a doctor finally arrived. Well, it had to be a doctor, he had the name badge and they don’t give white coats to many twelve year olds.

“What seems to be the prob- oh. I see. A pitchfork.”

“Yes.”

“Um.” The very obviously junior doctor looked at it worriedly. “Ah. Have you had any painkillers?”

“Um, two aspirin a while ago…”

“Oh, um, I’ll get a nurse to give you some more, and we’ll send you up to X-ray. Any other symptoms, apart from the pitchfork?”

“No.”

“Good, good. Um, I think the Counsultant’d better have a look at that.” With that, he left.

As he left he was passed by a man carrying lots of bags, from which enticing smells came.

“Got an order here for corridor three, trolley with man with pitchfork in foot… oh, there you are. You know, I thought they were taking the piss. Order for Pere- Pereded-”

“Peredhel, yep, that’s us.”

“That’ll be £87.90.”

The Twins duly produced a large amount of money, and handed it over. The delivery man left.

“How much food did you buy?”

“He needs to keep his strength up after an injury like that.”

“I don’t think he should be eating…”

“Since when were you a doctor?”

“Actually, I have two PhDs.”

“But not medical. So we can feed him. And us. And some of this is for two of the doctors, heard us on the phone and asked if we could get some stuff in for them. I’ll just find them.” Elrohir set off on his mission of mercy.

Legolas looked at Elladan suspiciously. “Where exactly did you get that money from? You’re broke.”

“Borrowed it.”

“Who from?”

“Aragorn.”

“No you did not.”

“Well, not as such, but you do have a very easy pin number. We’ll pay you back. Promise.”

Legolas and Aragorn shared a resigned look as Elladan started investigating the contents of the containers. Aragorn made a grab for a set of chopsticks, but was batted away. “You’re ill. You can’t be trusted to feed yourself.”

“I have a pitchfork in my foot, everything else is fine. Really. And the pain’s dulled enough now that I’m actually quite hungry.”

Legolas, having admitted defeat, had found himself some fried rice. He took an experimental mouthful, then very delicately spat it out again. “Where exactly did you order this from?”

“Um, I know they’re a bit disreputable, but nowhere else would deliver to a man on a trolley in a Casualty department.”

“I see.”

Elrohir arrived back as Elladan got up onto the trolley and began feeding Aragorn Chinese takeaway. Legolas had collapsed into a chair with an expression of despondency, and Elrohir, seeing nowhere else to sit down, sat on top of him. Legolas couldn’t be bothered to object.

“Take a look at the FUCKING POOFS.”

The group of exceedingly drunk men were slightly off-put by the complete lack of reaction from the elves and pitchfork-enhanced Dunedan. So they tried again.

“Can’t keep yer fucking hands off each other even in fucking casualty!”

There was a pause. Elladan stopped feeding Aragorn. “Are you talking to me?”

“Yeah! Poof!”

Elladan got off the trolley and stood up. All the way up. The drunk men suddenly felt on the small side, but still had enough alcohol in their bloodstream to be in fighting mood.

“Don’t think you can fucking scare us! Come on, y’bastard!”

Elrohir stood up. “I don’t think I like my brother being called a bastard.” The Twins subtly changed stance from ‘bored’ to ‘fighting’.

There was an increasing lack of confidence among the drunk men. “Jus’… jus’ cos there’s two of you, dun’t mean you can scare us!” This was said while shuffling backwards.

Legolas was fed up of this. “Oh, just bugger off.”

There was a level of drunk calculation. Six small pissed people versus three big, sober people with an indefinable air of danger about them. And then they caught sight of the scalpels embedded in the hospital wall. Retreat seemed the best option.

Elrohir looked slightly crestfallen. “I thought that was going to be more interesting. Men have got so wussy recently.” He sat on the end of the trolley resignedly. “Aragorn, open wide.” He did as he was told, and Elrohir started to flick morsels of Chinese food into his mouth.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aragorn had been to X-ray, and now the Consultant had arrived.

“Who played silly buggers with the X-rays?”

The entire corridor turned as one to look at the Twins.

“Why does everyone always assume it’s us?”

“Because when it’s not Merry and Pippin it is.”

“Using an X-ray machine as the equivalent of an instant photo booth is both dangerous and a waste of NHS resources. Even though the one with the obscene gestures is quite amusing.”

“But what about my foot?”

“Surgical case. You managed not to break any of the bones too badly. They’re broken, but you’ve managed avoid shattering any, or horribly displacing them, so theyprobably won’t have to amputate and you should be out in a few days, of course, that is if you avoid complications like gangrene and septicaemia!”

The entire corridor cowered, and Aragorn was reduced to making incoherent squeaking noises.

“We’ll send you up now.”

Aragorn grabbed on to Legolas and the wall with a vice like grip. “Not going.”

“Aragorn, be sensible about this, you need that taken out of your leg…”

Legolas’ persuasion was interrupted by the Twins settling the matter by wrestling Aragorn into restraints. Aragorn struggled and swore, but was held fast.

“You’ll be fine, it’ll all be over in a few hours.”

“Yeah, and we’ll bring everyone to visit.”

“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next day Aragorn was on the ward with his foot bound up in plaster when a deputation arrived at the ward.

“I’m sorry, you can’t all see him, there’s too many of you.”

“But we’re the only family he has left since the accident.”

“But I thought he came in with a pitchfork in his foot…”

“Oh, um, the um, other accident. Yes. A few years ago.”

“He has got quite a large number of relatives left then.”

Frodo did some quick thinking. He grabbed Pippin’s hand and then tugged on Legolas’ sleeve, looking up with an angelic expression. “When is daddy coming home?” He and Pippin, who’d cottoned on to this, then looked at the nurse with the same expression. “Why can’t we see daddy?”

Pippin followed this up with, “Is he going to die?”

No human could withstand such an assault of calculated cuteness. She not only let them in, but gave Frodo and Pippin lollipops. The hobbits perched on the end of the bed and began writing obscenities, bad jokes and elven healing mantras on Aragorn’s cast.

Gimli seemed genuinely pleased to see that Aragorn was not dead. “How are you?”

“I’m bored, in pain, and haven’t had any sleep.”

“Och, sorry. We brought grapes.”

It was obvious that the hobbits had been in charge of shopping as several pounds of grapes were dumped onto the bed, along with copies of ‘Forestry Monthly”, “You and Your Landrover” and “Dr. Who Magazine” and large amounts of chocolate and lucozade.

“Um, thanks, but they did say I’d only be in for a couple of days.”

The hobbits took this as a signal to attempt to eat all of Aragorn’s food.

“What were you saying to the nurse?”

There were attempts not to meet Aragorn’s eye. “Um, they, um, said that we couldn’t all come in. So, um, Frodo and Pippin said they were your children.”

Aragorn looked at Pippin, who was attempting to simultaneously eat half a bunch of grapes and a handful of Milk Tray. “You said Pippin was my son. So the whole ward thinks I… spawned that?”

Pippin, hearing his name, looked up and gave a chocolate-grape grin.

“There is a passing resemblance.”

“Take that back. Now.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next day interest in Aragorn had diminished, so only the Twins came to visit.

“I want to leave. I can’t stand being here any longer. They want me to stay for another two days!”

The Twins exchanged looks. “Don’t worry. We’ll get you out of here. Be ready at seven.”

Seven came around. Aragorn had subtly packed all his things and sat on them so the nurses wouldn’t notice. Elladan appeared, disguised, in a wheelchair and pushing another.

“Get in and follow me.”

They tried to quietly leave the ward. “Is that your wheel squeaking?”

“I don’t know. But aren’t they going to notice me leaving?”

“Just you wait one moment.”

The tannoy sprang into life, and a familiar voice began reading out notices. “Dr. Williams to Cardiology, Nurse Anderson to Geriatrics, Crash Team to Ward Four…” the list went on for quite some time.

“We’ve rigged it so the whole place will be jammed up apart from one route. Like the ‘Italian Job’.”

“We’re not going down the sewers are we?”

“Don’t be daft. You can’t get a wheelchair down the sewers.”

The two of them snaked round the hospital, following a bizarre route, including through the Maternity ward, where they met Elrohir. The three of them made it out through a delivery entrance into the hospital car park, where Aragorn’s landrover was circling slowly.

“Who’s driving?”

“Merry and Pippin. Look, the ramp’s down, just line up your wheels and roll yourself in.”

“Are you insane?”

“It worked in the film, just go for it. Unless you want to go back in there?”

Aragorn wheeled himself into position. The Twins gave him a helpful kick and he rolled up and into the back of the landrover. Elladan lined himself up.

A head appeared from the driver’s window. “You can bloody well walk, I can see some angry people coming, just get in.”

The Twins grumbled, but abandoned their wheelchairs and leapt in. Merry and Pippin put pedal to metal and the landrover roared off.

The nurse who had been running after them stopped. “I only wanted to tell him he’d left his pain medication behind.”