Aragorn watched as his foster-daughter fell asleep. The elven prince sat down next to him with a smile on his face.
“Hello, Aragorn,” Legolas said in a tone that suggested the two friends hadn’t seen each-other in months.
“Legolas, thank you for taking care of Kaari,” Aragorn said.
“No thanks required. She’s sweet, I enjoy taking care of her.”
When Legolas said this, Aragorn gave him a sideways look.
“Not like that,” Legolas quickly defended, holding his hands up. “She’s just a little girl.”
Aragorn knew that Legolas was lying through his teeth, but appreciated the fact that he wasn’t willing to admit how he felt. That meant that it wasn’t so serious that Legolas thought Aragorn should know.
“Aragorn, Kaari asked me for a favor, but I told her that I would have to ask your permission,” Legolas said, bringing his friend out of his trance.
“She want’s me to teach her to fight. With long-knives to be specific.”
Aragorn thought for a moment.
“When her leg heals, of course?”
“Yes. I think it would be helpful, so you and I wouldn’t have to worry so much about defending her,” Legolas explained.
“Alright. You can teach her,” Aragorn said with a sigh.
If he wasn’t careful, Legolas would push Aragorn out of the picture.
In the middle of the night, Kaari was awoken by the sound of footsteps. She was lying on her stomach and facing away from the rest of the group. So she pushed herself up a bit with her arms and turned to face the rest. Legolas was laying on his pallet, his arms folded across his chest, and his eyes open. But Kaari recognized the glazed look on them and knew that he was `asleep’ in the Elvish since.
She continued looking around and saw that Frodo wasn’t in his bed. She looked around, but couldn’t see the hobbit anywhere.
`Why does MY leg have to be broken?’, she thought. `I could find him.’ She contemplated waking Legolas up, but thought it better if she waited awhile first. Kaari laid in bed for awhile, watching for the hobbit. After about an hour, Frodo came back to bed and Kaari fell back asleep
“Should we wake her up?” Merry asked Pippin, seeing Kaari still asleep.
It was time for breakfast, and Boromir, Gimli, Sam, Frodo and Aragorn had already left. Legolas was cleaning his long-knives, for he hadn’t had a chance to do that yet.
“I doubt she’ll want to miss breakfast,” Pippin answered.
The two hobbits walked over to the sleeping girl, and shook her shoulder. Legolas watched out of the corner of his eye as he watched them try to wake her.
“Kaari. Kaari, wake up,” Pippin said in her ear.
“Hmm? I’m up, I’m up,” Kaari groaned, waking up.
“It’s time for breakfast, Kaari,” Merry told her.
“Thank you,” was Kaari’s reply. There was another folded dress at the foot of her blanket.
“Lady Galadriel sent that for you,” Legolas said as she picked it up.
Kaari looked around for Aragorn, but couldn’t find him.
“Legolas, could you turn around?” Kaari asked.
Legolas nodded, walked a few steps away and sat down with his back to her. He continued cleaning the blades. It took Kaari longer then it should have, but it was hard for her to get undressed and dressed with a injured leg. It was halfway healed, and it still hurt. As soon as she was dressed, she called Legolas over to her.
“Yes, Kaari,” he said as he knelt beside her.
“Could you do me two more favors?” She asked, as pleading smile on her face,
Legolas laughed and nodded.
“Could you please braid my hair, and then, possibly, carry me to the dining hall?”
“Of course,” he answered.
Kaari turned around and Legolas undid the almost undone braid. He then re-braided her hair for her. When he was done, he picked her up, and carried her to where the others sat, eating.
“I see you two decided to finally join us,” Boromir said, as the two entered.
“How’s the leg, miss?” Sam asked.
Legolas sat Kaari down in the chair next to the hobbit.
“It’s feeling better, but I think it will take a little while longer for it to heal,” she answered.
“That’s good,” Merry and Pippin added.
“Good morning, Kaari,” Aragorn said.
“Good morning Aragorn.”
“Did you sleep well?” He asked.
“Yes, thank you. Though, something woke up me up in the middle of the night,” Kaari said, looking at Frodo. He looked down at his plate.
“What was it?” Sam asked.
“I truly don’t know,” was the girls reply.
“Good morning, my guests,” Lady Galadriel said as she entered.
Everyone stood up and bowed as the Lady of Light sat down. Actually not everyone, Kaari just bowed her head. Everyone ate their breakfast and chatted about things, trying to forget the evil that was growing outside the borders of this land. After their meal, Kaari managed to limp to the library, with help from Legolas.
“Oh, my,” Kaari gasped as they entered the room. “I have never seen so many books.”
“The Rivendell library is just as large as this,” Legolas said, looking down at the amazed human.
“No, it is not. Not to oppose what you say, but I know the Rivendell library well. And it is not this large.”
Kaari quickly jumped, limped and staggered over to the shelves and pulled out one of the books.
“You enjoy reading?” Legolas asked after Kaari sat down on a small chair.
“Very, very much,” Kaari answered, not looking up as she opened the cover of the book.
“Shall I leave you here then?”
“Alright,” Kaari said, becoming enraptured in the pages.
At the end of the day Legolas went back in the library to see if Kaari was still in there. He hadn’t seen her at dinner and was hoping that something wasn’t wrong. He opened the door and saw Kaari curled up like a cat in a chair. Her brow was furrowed, and she was gripping the book tightly.
“Kaari,” Legolas said softly, to get the humans attention.
Kaari jumped and looked up, dropping the book. She sighed when she saw Legolas.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. So, you DO realize that you missed dinner?” He asked as he walked over to her.
“Did I?” Kaari asked as she looked out the window. The sun was setting and that meant that Aragorn would be expecting her to be within his sight.
“Yes. But if you want some food, I’m sure we could find you some.”
“No, no. That’s alright. I’m not really hungry,” Kaari answered, closing the book.
“Alright then. May I escort you back to your room?”
Legolas extending one arm. Kaari laughed and put the book down on the table beside her. Legolas helped her up, and then, holding her sides, led her to where the rest of the fellowship was talking. The whole time that they walked, Kaari felt as though butterflies were inside her. She didn’t know why she felt this way, and where his hands were, she felt her skin tingling. It was an odd sensation to say the least, but she liked it.
As the two entered the clearing, Merry noticed the smiles and their faces. He leaned over to Pippin and poked him with his elbow.
“Someone’s in love,” he whispered in a sing-song voice.
Pippin laughed and nodded.
“We don’t want to say that too loudly, though, or Legolas will hear,” he added.
“What will I hear?” The prince asked, looking at the two hobbits.
Legolas and Kaari laughed. Pippin and Merry were guilty. Of what, they didn’t know yet. But they were guilty.
“Legolas, could I talk to you for a minute?” Aragorn said as the elf was about to sit. Legolas gave Kaari a smile before walking over to his friend.
“Yes, Aragorn?” He asked, sitting down.
“Let’s go for a walk.”
Legolas rolled his eyes and stood up again. They walked quite a distance away from the fellowship before Aragorn even said anything. He took a deep breath before he opened his mouth.
“Legolas, do you remember how old Kaari is?”
Legolas stopped walking for a moment and stared at Aragorn. What kind of a question was that?
“Yes,” he answered slowly. “She’s fifteen, almost sixteen.”
Aragorn nodded and continued walking.
“That’s right. And may I remind you that you are almost 3,000 years old?”
Legolas turned to his friend.
“I assume you’re trying to make a point here, I just can’t figure it out,” the elf said meekly.
“The point I am trying to make is that she is a whole lot younger than you.”
“Ah-h-h,” Legolas said nodding. He looked down at the ground and smiled. “And may I remind you of the age difference between you and the Eavenstar?”
Legolas instantly realized that he had struck a nerve. Aragorn’s nostrils flared and his eyes widened.
“You dare compare Lady Arwen’s and my love to your’s and Kaari’s? I wouldn’t even call what you’re doing LOVE. Perhaps attraction, though, if that is what it is, I will be forced to kill you,” Aragorn said, a mock smile on his face.
Legolas stared at his friend in disbelief. Aragorn was THAT protective of Kaari? And anyway, Legolas saw nothing wrong with what he was doing. He hadn’t disrespected her in any way, and she had shown no signs of not enjoying his way of treating her. But Aragorn being so annoyed at the fact that Legolas suggested that he loved Kaari was shocking. Legolas hadn’t even thought that he `loved’ her until Aragorn had said something.
“Look. I enjoy Kaari’s company, she enjoys mine. The end. That’s all,” Legolas assured the angry Ranger. Now, the prince wasn’t so sure that was all, but anyway…
“I’m not sure `that’s all’. I have seen how you look at my foster daughter, and it…”
“Wait, before you even start there. It isn’t as though she’s completely ignoring me!”
“Yes, but she’s a young girl, and you’re… different and… dangerous. Of course she finds you attractive. But as a grown man…elf, you should know better,” Aragorn concluded. Why had the Eavenstar insisted that Kaari come with them?
“Aragorn, let me ask YOU something. Do YOU know how old Kaari is?”
“Do you know how old she is?”
Aragorn looked at his friend for a moment before answering.
“She’s fifteen, almost sixteen.”
“Exactly. And in the human world, what does sixteen mean to a young girl?”
Aragorn thought for awhile, then glared at his friend. Aragorn knew what it meant.
“That she is old enough to be courted,” he answered through clenched teeth. “But she isn’t sixteen yet.”
“Oh, a whole month! That is so far from here!”
Aragorn didn’t appreciate sarcasm.
“Just do me a favor, and stay away from her until she turns sixteen.”
Legolas nodded and headed back to the…`camp’. He walked slowly at first, to see if Aragorn had anything else to say, but the human king did not object to his leaving. When Legolas reached his little `area’ that he had set up for himself, he gave Kaari a polite smile and moved his stuff to the opposite side of the clearing without saying a word. He knew that being rude to her wasn’t right, but he didn’t appreciate the way that Aragorn was treating him. And, unfortunately, it was easier to be rude to everyone else than it was to be rude to Aragorn.
Kaari sat on her blanket, a confused look on her face. What had Aragorn said to Legolas? When Aragorn entered the clearing, he had a disturbed look on his face. He nodded to Legoals when he saw that the elf had moved his bed next to his. Legolas just glared back. Aragorn looked up and saw Kaari watching them. He started walking toward her, and Legolas turned to see where his friend was going. As Kaari caught his eye, he looked away.
“Hello, Kaari,” Aragorn said, sitting beside her.
“Aragorn, is Legolas mad at me?” She asked, her voice changing into a childish whine.
“No, no he isn’t. Why would you think that?”
“What did you say to him?” She demanded suddenly. She realized, Aragorn and Legolas `talked’ then
Legolas came back angry. Aragorn must’ve said something.
“Nothing, Kaari. We just talked-.”
“About you. And him,” Aragorn said, dropping his voice to a whisper.
“Well, I don’t know what you said, but now he’s angry at me! Tell me what you said,” Kaari demanded.
The whole fellowship was aware of Kaari’s and Aragorn’s conversation by now, though no-one (except Legolas) could hear what they were saying.
“We just talked about the fact that your… relationship isn’t entirely proper-,” Aragorn started.
“Our `relationship’?! What relationship is that, pray tell?”
“Kaari you know what I’m talking about. Now I will tell you the same thing I told him. You are not yet sixteen therefore you are not old enough to be courted,” Aragorn ordered. He then stood up and left the clearing.
Kaari looked around to see that all eyes were one her. When she looked at Legolas’s face, she saw a glint in his eye that suggested amusement. She stood up and left the clearing in the opposite direction as Aragorn.