The Taming of a Dark Overlord - Chapter XX
Ilmariel was lying on the couch, staring up at the ceiling. She was bored. And that was not really a good thing. Before she died, she had made it a habit of hers that, upon getting bored, she would end up getting into some sort of mischief in order to amuse herself.
Considering this for a moment, she figured that it had probably been a large part of the reason behind her aunt and uncle sending her off to learn to fight upon the marches. There were no marches in Valinor, however.
Well... there probably were, Ilmariel decided ...but it was not as if they actually needed guarding. After all, there was nothing bad here. Except for Sauron, of course; but he did not really count.
Sighing, she rolled off the couch and onto her feet, twirling the comb, which she still held, and then flicking it into a container that looked like it would work nicely as a garbage can. It really was too bad about the comb; but, after having something like a third of its teeth broken off, it wasn't worth much.
Sauron had been grumbling about the whole thing for the rest of that afternoon, and probably still was, although he was actually taking it better than Ilmariel had expected. For a while, he had groused in his room, and then he had groused in the study. After that, he had gone off somewhere else (where, Ilmariel figured, he had probably groused).
Now, as Ilmariel stood in the doorway to the kitchen, she found Sauron there, leaning against the counter. Most of the drawers were open, and all of the cupboards, and he was looking up at the different things they contained while spinning some of his hair in his hand in a thoughtful manner. This Ilmariel found rather humorous; yet, she decided that she had probably degraded Sauron enough for the day, and, in view of this, would not point out that he was playing with his hair. Should she happen to catch him doing it again, however, she would more than likely rub it in a bit.
Coming into the room, Ilmariel leaned against the counter, not far from Sauron. "What are you looking at?" she asked after a moment, during which he had failed to acknowledge her presence.
Sauron cast her a disinterested glance, and did not answer. He also promptly dropped his hand from his head.
"Well?" Ilmariel persisted.
"I am not looking at something, I'm looking for something," Sauron said finally.
"What are you looking for, then?"
"Does it really matter?"
"Not particularly." Ilmariel shrugged. "I just thought that, perhaps, I could help you find it."
Sauron sighed. "I'm looking for something to eat, if you're so keen to know."
"Oh, finally hungry?" the Elf asked with a smile.
"No, I'm just bored; it'd be something to do."
Ilmariel found this rather peculiar, and therefore interesting. Sauron was turning out to be even stranger than she had thought he would have been. Never before had the thought of using food to fill time occurred to her. "You know... if you just eat whenever you are bored, you'll get fat," she remarked.
Turning to her, Sauron gave Ilmariel one of those 'honestly' looks that she was beginning to think he could be famous for. "Do I really look like I'm in danger of that happening any time in the near future?" he asked.
Ilmariel pursed her lips, shaking her head. "Not really," she said. "So, are you sure that you are wanting to eat simply because you are bored, and not because you are hungry?"
"Yes," Sauron answered quickly. The very next moment, however, his stomach growled so loudly that Ilmariel was certain the people in the house next to them had been able to hear.
There was a long pause, during which Ilmariel began to think that she must have been doing something terrible to her abdominal muscles in trying not to laugh.
Sauron bit his lip for a moment, and then smiled cheerlessly. "Okay, I'm hungry. There is nothing I can do about it, try as I might."
To this, Ilmariel gave a mildly amused huff. "I know," she said. "It isn't as if I do not get hungry myself." She looked up at the cupboards now, too. "So, what did you have in mind?"
"Something edible, preferably."
"No, really..." Ilmariel muttered.
"What do you normally eat?"
The Elf sighed and rolled her eyes, deciding that the whole thing was ridiculous. She stepped forward and began to rummage around to see what sort of things could be eaten without any preparation. Surprisingly, not much turned out. While it had seemed that there was an abundance of food that morning, there was not now anything that could be eaten as it was.
"Well, that is just... disappointing," she said finally, shutting the last cupboard.
"There's nothing?" Sauron queried.
Ilmariel held up something that resembled a fruit, and then tossed it to Sauron. "That would be the extent of what I found."
Catching it, Sauron looked at it with slight interest. The interest did not seem to go quite far enough to reach the point of actually eating it. "That's lovely," he said, setting it down on the counter. "Well?"
Ilmariel arched a brow at him. "'Well' what?"
"What are you going to do?"
"What am I going to do?" she echoed with a laugh. "Nothing. Why should I?"
Ilmariel leaned back against the counter. "Care to elaborate?"
"Well, 'because' is not really going to cut it."
"Come now," said Sauron, "you can figure it out. What are you going to make?"
Again, Ilmariel laughed, this time even harder than the last. "You expect me to make something?"
Sauron nodded. "In more words or less."
"I thought you said that you wanted something edible."
Sauron squinted at her. "I do. I do not want to be leaning over a bucket for the rest of the night regurgitating my first meal."
"That's disgusting," Ilmariel remarked flatly. "I don't need to hear things like that, especially when you are expecting me to make something to eat."
"Well, excuse me!" said Sauron. "Do you realize how long it's been since I had to watch what I said to prevent people from becoming nauseated?"
"A long time, I bet."
"Yes, like..." he shifted his gaze, obviously doing some mental calculations in an effort to determine the number of years it had been.
Ilmariel decided that this would take longer than she wanted to spend dealing with the problem at hand, and elbowed Sauron in the arm to interrupt his thoughts. "Well, if you are expecting me to make something, then you have to help," she said. "I've never cooked."
Sauron cocked an eyebrow. At Ilmariel's last statement, he seemed to be somewhat taken-aback. "You've never cooked?"
"No. Have you?"
"...No." This response was preceded by a brief hesitation, which had been just long enough to make the answer questionable.
"Are you sure?" Ilmariel asked.
"Are you still sure?"
"Yes!" Sauron exclaimed. "Enough! I haven't cooked!"
"I think you have," Ilmariel stated, a faint smirk beginning to twist at her lips.
The Maia uttered a sound of frustration. "I don't cook! I lived in a tower in the middle of a volcanic ash field. When do you think I would have cooked? And, besides that--- and the additional fact that I was always plotting destruction ---dark lords don't cook!"
Ilmariel was unconvinced. "What about before you were a dark lord, then?"
Again, there was a question-arousing pause. "A bit, maybe."
Then, Ilmariel laughed outright. She set her head on her arms over the counter, and just laughed and laughed. She even snorted once or twice. By the time she got it out of her system, she had to wipe her eyes. If only everyone knew that Sauron, who had always seemed to be so scary, had actually cooked!
Sauron just watched her haughtily through the whole thing. "It was only once or twice when they needed help during festivals," he said, after the Elf had calmed down. "And it wasn't anything much, so don't think that I was over filling pastries, or breaking parsley to garnish things."
This suggestion made Ilmariel laugh again. "Garnish! You even know what garnish is!"
Sauron rolled his eyes. "Will you stop it?" he said. "I do not see what is so funny. At least I know how, to some extent; you'd just starve to death."
"I've never starved," Ilmariel replied.
"Well then, if you don't make your food, where'd you get it?"
"I got rations; everything was already made by the time I got it."
"See, at least I can take care of myself," said Sauron.
"Oh, yes, falling off boats and letting yourself go for days without eating because you did not bother to remember what it feels like to be hungry really counts as taking care of yourself," Ilmariel retorted.
"Anyway, back to the food," Sauron said, changing the subject while looking down at his stomach, which had complained again. "I need something."
"You should have eaten while we were out, when I got something."
"But I wasn't hungry then!" the Maia argued.
"I told you that you would be," Ilmariel stated simply, in reply.
"I didn't know!" Sauron said, pounding his fist down on the counter.
"Okay, fine!" the Elf exclaimed. "We'll figure it out! Keep your tunic on. Gracious..." She began prodding through the cupboards again... but then thought better of it. "What do you know how to make?"
"Eh..." Sauron began, frowning. "I can't remember. It was really simple, though."
"Well, if I toss something out here, will you be able to make something?"
"Maybe. Not likely. And anything I could do probably wouldn't be pretty."
"Well," said Ilmariel, "why don't we see what we can do, then?"
...As was foreseen, it was not pretty--- not the least bit. In fact, it was downright ugly. While the hearth probably could have taken normal cooking, this really could not count as 'normal cooking'. It had looked fairly decent to begin with, close enough to what would have been bread; however, something had gone horribly wrong in the hearth.
They were sitting at the table, where Ilmariel had been trying to convince Sauron to play Rocks, Parchment, Swords, which had actually been more entertaining (for Ilmariel, at least) than the game itself would likely have been.
Then, they had both noticed a peculiar and rather unpleasant smell. After looking at each other with confused expressions, they had figured it out. Both had immediately rushed over to the hearth, only to find that nearly the whole inside had caught fire.
And so, there they were. They'd managed to extinguish the flames, and were now fanning the smoke around in an effort to get it to disperse.
Ilmariel coughed. "Whose idea was this, again?"
"Well," Sauron replied, "I was hungry; but you are the one who said that I could make it," Sauron replied.
"Remind me never to let you do so again."
"Don't worry about it; I don't plan on doing so again. It's too servile."
"You were making it for yourself, though," Ilmariel pointed out.
"Well... it was still servile. I should have other people come and make it for me."
Ilmariel simply passed over this last statement. "I think we learned a good lesson: never cook," she said, after sneezing again.
They continued on for a few minutes more, even when Cirnil came down and looked at them with shock while they were jumping all about the kitchen, flapping towels around madly. He stared at them for a moment, and then just turned and went back upstairs, shaking his head.
Finally, most of the smoke cleared, and they sat down again in silence. Yet, silence seemed to be a rare commodity in that house.
"I'm still hungry," said Sauron.
While she did sigh and shake her head, Ilmariel could not help but laugh.