The Undying Lands - (chapter 69)
When Ariengil went to sleep that night, she was still fuming. She slept on a flet, high up in the trees; for fear that Tarma was actually nearby. Ever time a twig cracked on the ground below, Ariengil jumped or woke; when she heard an owl hoot, she was sure it was a signal from an enemy to another; and when she was woken in the morning by Elladan, she screamed and grabbed her dagger.
`Leave me alone,' she cried after replacing the blade. Elladan tried to object, but Ariengil climbed down to the floor and ran off as quickly as possible. Elladan followed the distraught maiden to the dining hall, where some people were eating. He watched sadly as she chose a full table and sat at it. Because of this, Elladan sat facing Ariengil and made sure that he watched her throughout the meal.
When Ariengil stood to go, Elladan stood too, but to his dismay, she sat straight back down again. Luckily another elf left her table, so Elladan quickly sat down. He was now opposite Ariengil, though they would not meet one another's eyes. Ariengil sighed loudly and drew in a deep breath.
`Ariengil, I didn't mean to,' began Elladan in a whisper. Ariengil coughed loudly and turned to the people beside her, listening intently to their conversation. Elladan shook his head sadly. `I didn't realise, Ariengil. Please listen to me. All I want to do is be your friend.' Ariengil yawned visibly, and scrunched up her eyes as she did so, then she immediately returned to the conversation.
Elladan slammed his hands down on the table and stood up quickly. His chair fell backwards with a clatter. `Ariengil, I didn't mean to upset you. Please listen to me and forgive me, I beg you.' Everyone had stopped eating and was watching the commotion. Their eyes slowly moved from Elladan to Ariengil, who was blushing red and looking at the table. She said nothing.
`What else can I do?' asked Elladan. `I have asked for your forgiveness. If you will not accept it, then you obviously don't want any friends.' He turned to go, kicking the chair as he passed it, and he strode to the door.
`Of course I want friends,' shouted Ariengil. She stood too, and pushed her chair backwards. `After all I've been through, what else could I possibly want?' she cried. `I have seen so many of my friends die, and now you say I don't want any. How could you think that?'
`Then why will you not accept my apology?' queried Elladan, though not quietly.
`What apology? When have you said the word "sorry"? You haven't. So don't ask for my forgiveness unless you really mean it.'
`Well I did mean it, but maybe I don't anymore. There is no point trying to be your friend if you are such an orc about it,' snarled Elladan.
Ariengil walked towards Elladan and he backed away slightly in shock. She looked livid and seemed, as though she would resort to violence soon. `What would you know about orcs? You've probably never seen one or killed one. You are too childish.'
`I have seen an orc,' retaliated Elladan.
`And I guess you stayed and fought? No, you probably ran,' shouted Ariengil.
`I... er... well yes I did, but there is no shame in that.'
`No shame? I've killed hundreds of orcs, and all you do is run,' spat the maiden.
`I was ten,' cried Elladan. A few people giggled at this, but Ariengil looked past Elladan at them and they fell silent again. She crossed her arms impatiently and raised her eyebrows at Elladan. `What?' he asked quietly.
`I'm waiting,' she replied.
`A proper apology,' she exclaimed.
`Fine. I'm sorry that I scared you, and I'm sorry that I called you an orc, and I'm sorry that I said you didn't want friends, and I'm sorry that I didn't say sorry before, and I'm sorry that-'
`Alright, alright,' cried Ariengil. `And I'm sorry that I said that you were childish. Friends?' she asked. Elladan nodded and took her hand in his. `What are you doing?' she asked in surprise, then grabbed Elladan in a hug. At first he was shocked, but then he smiled and hugged her too.
Someone clapped, and another person joined in. Soon everyone was clapping, to the pair's embarrassment. Then someone that Ariengil had never met before came and gave them both a hug. Someone else approached too, and soon everyone was coming to give them a hug each. Ariengil looked at Elladan in a sideways glance, and caught his eye. They both looked the other way again with smirks on their faces, and then they burst into giggles.
`Quick,' cried Ariengil. She grabbed Elladan's hand and they ducked and swerved through the crowd of people. Someone tried to hug them, but missed and they both ran, in hysterics, away from the hall. When they were far enough away, they both collapsed to the floor and laughed and laughed.
Ariengil realised that she had not had so much fun since Harma died. In fact, she had never had so much fun with a male friend- Elladan was correct, they should be friends as they matched so well. Ariengil's laughter died down, but she caught Elladan's eye again and they burst into a new fit of giggles.