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That One Time I Met a Hobbit

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The council was being held outside, under one of the largest trees in Rivendell. As anywhere else in Rivendell the view around them was breathtaking, but everyone’s attention was on the council. They were sat in a half-circle facing Lord Elrond and another elf in grey robes. There were eight elves, including Elrond and the unnamed elf next to him, four dwarfs, seven men, a hobbit, a wizard and a witch. Since she wasn’t officially invited by the Lord of Rivendell she didn’t get a fancy looking chair to sit on. Instead she stood behind Aragorn. She was aware of the two curious hobbits hiding behind two pillars and had thrown a weak Notice-Me-Not charm their way. It wasn’t her problem the elves couldn’t stop two hobbits from sneaking into a secret council meeting.

“Strangers from distant lands, friends of old…” Elrond begun the meeting and everyone’s attention was directed at him “…you’ve been summoned here to answer the threat of Mordor.” he had an authority to him, in both voice and stance, that commanded your respect and undiluted attention. “Middle-Earth stands on brink of destruction. None can escape it. You will unite or you will fall.” as far as opening lines went, she had to admit, he knew exactly how to get the sense of urgency and seriousness across. “Each race is bound to this faith, to this one doom.”

“You always have a choice, for you are my master.” she remembered those words, the way they were said in an almost whisper. Now it seemed like they were said such a long time ago. And yet she still wasn’t sure on their meaning.

“Bring forth the Ring, Frodo.” it was said in a soft tone, but it was none the less a command, a command that was not to be disobeyed. Elrond gestured to the pedestal in front of them all and the hobbit stood up slowly and walked on shaky legs to it. He slowly set the Ring down. There were gasps and murmurs as Frodo removed his hand and the Ring glinted ominously in the sun. Everyone continued to whisper as Frodo sat back down. The hobbit slacked in his chair and sighed as if a great burden just left him.

She was sure the Ring was already sinking its influence into everyone. Not enough to do anything, not enough for them to notice, but little by little, it would have complete control over them. She heard someone inhale sharply. The stranger from last night, who she learned was named Boromir, stood up.

“In a dream,” he began slowly as everyone’s attention turned from the Ring “I saw the eastern sky grow dark.” he swallowed. “But, in the west a pale light lingered.” it sounded like a prophetic dream, and she hated those. Bad experience. “A voice was crying: ‘The doom is near at hand. Isildur’s bane is found.’” they watched him slowly walk closer and closer to the Ring. She noticed Elrond and Gandalf exchange a glance as he got within arm’s reach of the Ring. “Isildur’s bane.” she heard him whisper as he reached for the Ring. The Ring worked faster then she anticipated. Her fingers twitched, ready to throw a spell his way.

It happened quickly. Elrond stood up and tried to yell out something, but the words were lost as Gandalf started chanting. It was a booming language, one that went straight into your bones and sent a cold touch down your spine. As the old wizard slowly stood up the skies grew dark. It felt as if the shadows themselves were whispering things at them in a language no one could understand. Everyone was looking around in panic and fear. Boromir walked backwards, fear and confusion clear on his face, as the chanting grew louder. She saw elves close their eyes to ground themselves and calm. Her heart was beating fast and she felt Aragorn tense next to her.

 “One ring to rule them all…

…One ring to find them…

…One ring to bring them all…

…and in the darkness bind them.”

A bodiless voice whispered in her ear. It was a voice she knew very well. Immediately a sense of calm overcame her. “It is called the Black speech, master.” the voice continued. “It is the language of Mordor, a language that the shadows themselves give power.” it finished in something akin to a purr and Harley gave a small, barely noticeable nod in thanks. It seemed that just speaking the language gained Dean’s attention. How curious.

As soon as Gandalf finished the sky lightened and everyone took a deep breath. It had felt as if your lungs were being squeezed slowly. People started panting as Gandalf quieted down. Elrond looked angry, as angry as an elf would let themselves be. “Never before has any voice uttered the words of that tongue here in Imladris.” he said harshly, before slowly sitting back down.

“I do not ask your pardon Master Elrond,” Gandalf huffed out. He looked physically exhausted just from speaking a few words. “for the Black speech of Mordor may yet be heard in every corner of the west.” he said. “The Ring is altogether evil.” he told them sharply before slowly walking back to his chair, but before he made it Boromir spoke again.

“Nay, it is a gift.” the man hissed out, but everyone heard him clearly. Gandalf turned back around to look at the man in disbelief. “A gift to the foes of Mordor.” he took a deep breath as if he needed to prepare himself for his next sentence. Green eyes narrowed as they watched him walk. “Why not use this ring?” he asked. A few human lords seemed to watch in curiosity, their heads tilted ever so slightly. They were wondering the same thing. “Long has my father, the steward of Gondor, kept the forces of Mordor at bay.” she saw passion build in his eyes. “By the blood of our people are your lands kept safe.” a small crack appeared in his voice. It was one she recognized well, one of emotion. This wasn’t some random lord that sat in his big chair all day and ordered people around. No, this was a man who experienced firsthand the horrors of war. This was a man who had blood on his hands. Blood of his enemies, who he slayed. Blood of friends, who he failed to save. She noticed Aragorn shift in his chair.

“Give Gondor the weapon of the enemy. Let us use it against him.” he said. A few human lords seemed to nod in agreement at the words. Agreeing on using the Ring, but not giving it to Gondor. She saw Aragorn move as if to speak, but there was something she had to say.

“I’m afraid that is not possible.” her soft voice cut through the air, everyone stopped. She saw Boromir’s back stiffen. “It is a noble cause, but unfortunately and impossible one.” Boromir slowly turned to her, blue eyes flashing in anger before they connected to her own. “The Ring will give you hope. It will whisper such sweet promises to you, to everyone around you. But in the end, it will betray you, because it is a piece of Sauron and is loyal only to him.” she finished. Everyone was staring at her, but she looked only at Boromir. A sneer was already on his face.

“And how would you know such a thing?” he spat the words out.

A sharp retort was already on her lips when Aragorn stepped in. “Padfoot is right, the Ring answers only to Sauron. It knows no other master.” already she could see the difference, his words carried more weight than hers, at least with the elves.

Stormy blue eyes switched to Aragorn. “And what would a ranger know of this matter?” he growled out, mad that not one but two people were so openly against his idea. One of the elves behind Boromir jumped to his feet.

“This is no mere ranger, he is Aragorn son of Arathorn.” both she and Aragorn stiffened. She from surprise, but Aragorn from fear, the same fear from last night. She saw many members of the council exchange surprised looks. “You owe him your allegiance.” the elf finished. Aragorn’s Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed. Boromir’s head slowly turned to him. The surprise and disbelief were clear in his expression. Aragorn seemed to tense even more. Boromir opened his mouth but the words escaped him.

“Aragorn.” he whispered finally. She stepped forward her hand brushing against Aragorn ever so slightly in silent support. He spared her only a glance before tension left him and he drew himself up. She recognized it for what it was. He would face whatever came head-on, he was done with running. “This…is Isildur’s heir.” the tone was mocking but Aragorn didn’t back down.

“An heir to the throne of Gondor.” the elf continued, not realizing he was making the matter worse.

“Hamu- dad, Legolas. (Sit down, Legolas.)” the tone was a lot more pleading than it should have been, considering the setting.

Boromir turned back to Legolas and she got a clear look at the tense muscles in his jaw. “Gondor has no king.” he growled out at the elf. Then he turned back to Aragorn, resentment flashing in blue, “Gondor, needs no king.” he squeezed the words from between his teeth before sitting back down. He slacked down in his chair before throwing one final glare Aragorn’s way. Aragorn looked down avoiding it, so Boromir decided to forward it to her. Stormy blue met toxic green and the man stiffened in his chair. Her eyes narrowed at him, there was only a flash of discomfort before it was pushed down and the man glared right back.

“Aragorn and Padfoot are right, we cannot use it.” said Gandalf gaining everyone’s attention. But the stare down between her and Boromir continued.

“You have only one choice…” she heard Elrond say “…the Ring must be destroyed.” he said making both of them look away from each other and to the elven lord. Both she and Boromir let out a sigh, but for completely different reasons.

“Then what are we waiting for?” one of the dwarfs grumbled out as he stared at the glittering golden trinket. Within seconds he was on his feet, a heavy axe in his hand. He swung it forward with both hands putting his full strength behind the swing. She tensed in preparation. There was only one way this was going to end. As soon as the axe hit the Ring it shattered into smithereens. Everyone jumped up. The dwarf was blown back by the force and was now on his back. She saw Frodo flinch and clutch at his head. It seemed to her as if the Ring itself was whispering words in that dark tongue, but it looked like she was the only one who noticed.

“The Ring cannot be destroyed, Gimli son of Glóin, by any craft that we here possess.” the elven lord spared them all a glance as he talked. “The Ring was made in the fires of Mount Doom. Only there can it be unmade.” there were whispers coming from the Ring as Elrond talked. She couldn’t hear anything concrete, just a bunch of different voices jumbled together mixing with Elrond’s words. “It must be taken deep into Mordor and cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.” the elf continued. She could hear no more whispers, but she saw Frodo flinch and stare at the Ring in fear. Could he also be hearing them? The whispers? “One of you must do this.” the elf finished.

It was almost comical how quiet the whole council got after those words. She saw a few shift uneasily in their chairs. “One does not simply walk into Mordor.” Boromir said and he held everyone’s attention once again. “Its black gates are guarded by more than just orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep. The great eye is ever watchful.” she heard Frodo gasp at his words. “It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume.” she noticed Frodo getting tenser and tenser as he continued. “Not with ten thousand men could you do this, it is folly.” he finished. She could practically see memories flash before his eyes as he talked.

Legolas sprang back up. “Have you heard nothing Lord Elrond has said?” the tone was accusatory. He seemed like a young elf, one ready to prove himself. “The Ring must be destroyed.” he shouted at them as if it would change the situation.

“And I suppose you think you are the one to do it!” Gimli’s voice boomed.

Now Boromir was back on his feet. “And what if we fail what then?! What happens when Sauron takes back what is his?!” he demanded of the council.

Gimli jumped back to his feet and Aragorn shifted uneasily in his seat. “I will be dead before I see the Ring in the hands of an elf!” his gravelly voice boomed. It was as if a dam was broken. Everyone jumped to their feet and started shouting things. No one, listened, but everyone demanded, accused and insulted. Old wounds were reopened. Even Gandalf stood up and started shouting things trying to get his point across. And all the while, among the chaos, the Ring gleamed almost gleefully.

She felt pure hatred burn in her stomach for the Ring, for what it was and for what it represented. Her hand gripped a golden hilt and she felt magic surge forward. The sword’s magic seemed excited as she took the first step towards the Ring. “Padfoot.” she heard Aragorn whisper in alarm and question as she got closer to the pedestal, but she paid him no mind. Frodo’s crystal blue eyes snapped to her, but she ignored him as well. Her eyes were stuck on the single piece of gold in front of her. She ignored the fighting and the shouting around her as she drew her sword. The only sound she could hear was that of the blade running against the scabbard and the whispers that grew louder the closer she got.

She was right next to the pedestal when Elrond noticed her and jumped to his feet. She felt Aragorn pull at her clothes, but they were both too late. She swung her sword down, the hilt vibrated in excitement…and it cut, deep. She watched the silver blade cut halfway into the golden band before stopping, it was then deflected back up. Everything changed in an instant. The sky grew dark again, the shadows whispered and hissed at her again, they seemed to dance around her feet. And the Ring, the Ring screeched at her in that dark tongue of its maker. “Death comes.” she hissed back at it in Parseltongue. She watched in fascination as the cut healed itself back together leaving behind only as small line. It was barely noticeable, just a slight discoloration on the surface, you would miss it if you didn’t know it was there.

As soon as the cut healed fully the darkness left, the whispers stopped and all was quiet. You would’ve heard a pin drop and it would have sound like cannon fire. Slowly she sheathed her sword and looked up at the council her eyes piercing. Many shifted uneasily under her gaze. “If you are quite done acting like children, may we continue with the council.” it wasn’t a question, her tone was too sharp for it. “Or would you rather stay under the Ring’s influence?” many startled at that.

Boromir swallowed his unease. “How…” he chocked out the word, but couldn’t finish the sentence. Her eyes turned to him.

“How did I cut it?” she finished for him, he just nodded. “Basilisk venom.” was the simple answer. “But as you can see, it wasn’t enough to fully destroy it.” she added with a glance to the Ring. She suspected there was another protection spell on it, something no one else did before. With how hard it was to destroy a regular horcrux no one even thought to put more protections on one. Sauron was one paranoid bastard, reluctantly she had to admit to herself she was impressed. “Now, there is a very important matter that needs resolving.” she turned back to the council meeting their suspicious stares. “Who is taking the Ring to Mordor?”

“I’ll do it.” a small voice made itself known, grief overtook Gandalf’s face. They all slowly turned to the small hobbit. “I will take the Ring to Mordor.” he said firmly while looking at all of them. There was clear resolve in his stance. Then he seemed to falter. “Though, I do not know the way.” his voice quieted down to almost a whisper, but all heard him clearly.

It was Gandalf who spoke first. “I will help you bear this burden Frodo Baggins. So long as it is yours to bear.” he said. He squeezed Frodo’s shoulder in support, before standing behind the hobbit. It was a silent challenge to those who might oppose.

“If by my life or death I can protect you, I will.” Aragorn said from beside her before covering the distance between them in two long strides. He knelt down in front of Frodo and held his hand. “You have my sword.” she caught the wink Gandalf threw Elrond before she stepped next to Aragorn.

“Someone has to make sure it is by life, not death.” she teased the dark-haired man before turning to Frodo. “You have my sword as well.” he smiled at her words.

“And you have my bow.” added Legolas.

Not to be out done by an elf Gimli raised his axe, his now broken axe. “And my axe.” he said before joining the rest of them next to Frodo. Green eyes turned to Boromir as the man slowly walked towards them.

“You carry the faith of us all, little one.” he said in a surprisingly soft voice. “If this is indeed the will of the council then Gondor will see it done.” he nodded down at Frodo, who gave a small nod in return.

A loud yell came from behind them, startling them all. A hobbit pushed his way between her and Aragorn to stand next to Frodo. “Mister Frodo isn’t going anywhere without me.” Sam said in a firm tone while crossing his arms and giving them all a defiant look.

“No, indeed, it is hardly possible to separate you when he is summoned to a secret council and you are not.” despite his words Elrond looked highly amused by the little hobbit.

“Oi! We are coming too!” a shout came from behind Elrond and his head snapped towards the two running hobbits. She felt the charm melt away as the two hobbits made themselves known. A chuckle she couldn’t stop left her. She had to cover her laughter with a cough when she caught sight of Elrond’s face. Merry said something to Frodo she couldn’t quite catch, while Pippin started talking to Elrond. “Anyway, you need people of intelligence on this sort of mission…quest…” the hobbit stumbled over his words “…thing.” he added finally.

“Well that rules you out then, Pip.” Merry snapped at the other hobbit. A large grin overtook her face when she saw Aragorn holding back laughter.

Lord Elrond looked at them all, stood side by side. “Ten companions.” he said to himself, he looked deep in thought. “So be it. You shall be the Fellowship of the Ring.”

“Great. Where are we going?” asked Pippin getting disbelieving looks from everyone. With a chuckle, she nudged the hobbit.

“Come on, we should go and pack.” Pippin looked up at her before nodding. Very quickly the council dispersed. The fellowship went to pack what little they had. She overheard Elrond mumble something about provisions and a pony. Dissatisfaction was clear on quite a few faces. Boromir hid it well, but many of the other human lords chose to show it clearly. She was walking on a thin curved path between tall trees when she heard it.

“Padfoot.” it was a soft female voice, so quiet she barely caught it. She stopped and caught sight of inky hair and sparkling blue eyes. Arwen stood tall, her back straight, but there was a sadness to her face and Harley wondered if the elf already heard about what happened at the council. She opened her mouth to say something but quickly swallowed it back down. Shifting from one foot to the other ever so slightly to gather strength she finally spoke. “May we speak, Padfoot? That is if you have time.”

Just by looking at the elf she knew it wasn’t going to be a pleasant conversation for either of them. She glanced around them at all the elves wondering around, even the odd human and dwarf. “Not here, somewhere a bit more private.” she must have noticed the glances.

“Lead the way.” she stated simply. With a nod, Arwen turned around and started walking without looking to see if she followed. She stopped in a gazebo like structure. It was made more of some type of ivy than wood. It was an interesting structure that, while mostly made of plants, still fit in well with the rest of Rivendell. Arwen turned to her, her plumb lower lip between pearly teeth.

She quickly mumbled a “Muffliato.” to make sure no one would listen in. Blue eyes caught hers, a silent question. “No one will be able to listen in on our conversation.” she explained and got a small nod in return.

Harley waited patiently for the elf to gather her strength and start this conversation. “I…” she tried but blue met green and she looked quickly away. “I have been thinking, about what you said.” Harley tilted her head at that. She need to say it out loud. “About, about me wishing to leave Rivendell. About me dislikeing all this peace.” her voice got steadier as she talked. “I have been thinking the whole night.” now that she was looking for it she noticed how disheveled the elf looked. Strands of hair were out of place, there was a slight darkening under her eyes and a few strings were hanging from her sleeves because she had pulled at them. “It should have meant nothing, just words from some man, I should have been able to let them go, but…” her voice wobbled slightly at the end.

“But?” she prompted. Blue eyes snapped to hers and this time Arwen held her gaze.

“But I couldn’t.” she stated firmly. “Then I had to ask myself why. Why can’t I let your words go? Why are they affecting me so much? Why?” she noticed tears gathering at the edges of her eyes.

“And? What is the answer?” she asked calmly, softly.

“Because they are true.” she hickuped the answer, not quite crying but close.

“So then why do you stay? There is a whole world out there, a whole world to explore. And yet you chose to stay here, in Rivendell, and play a pretty little figurine.” there was anger in her voice, not at Arwen herself, but at the possibility of what she herself could have become. If she hadn’t left.

A sad chuckle left her, startling them both. There was a lot of hate there, for herself. “I asked myself that same question last night. Why do I stay? Why do I pretend to be something I am not?” she took a deep breath to center herself, her gaze on the ground between them. “Because of my father.” the words were whispered, so quiet a breeze would have blown them away.

“Why would you-“ she was cut off.

“Because he needs me. Because of what happened to my mother. And also, because I am afraid.” a few tears escaped her and fell down marble cheeks. “Afraid of the world outside, of what could happen if I left.”

“There is a story there, isn’t there.”

“There is.” she agreed softly.

Harley shifted from one foot to the other. Overly emotional situations had never been her strong suit. Give her a nesting mother dragon over a crying woman any day. “It might make it easier for you if you talked to someone.” she said. This was in no way an encouragement to share this knowledge with her, Merlin forbid. Arwen gave her a searching look. She crossed her arms in front of her self, and gripped her upper arms.

“My mother was on her way to Lothlórien, to visit my grandparents, when orcs attacked her and her guards. I don’t know much on what happened, my brothers do not like talking about it and my father even less so. Her guards were killed on the spot and she was tortured and poisoned before my brothers and father saved her.” she was shivering slightly now, her fingers gripping so hard she was sure the fabric under them would rip. But the elf continued on with a firm voice. “My father was able to heal her wounds, but he wasn’t able to take away her memories. Her mind and spirit were hurt beyond what any of us could heal. She refused to talk to any of us about what happened.” she pulled at her lip again before continuing.

“Both me and my brothers knew she wasn’t alright. We knew she cried when she thought none of us would noticed. I remember her flinching every time I touched her, or someone made a sudden move, or there was a loud noise. And then one day she-“ a sob broke her sentence. “One day she just left. She left Middle-Earth. She left Rivendell. She left her family. She left her husband. She left her sons.” anger overtook her voice now. Angry tears were flowing down pale cheeks, off her chin and onto her light dress. A loud sob tore from her throat. “And she left me.” it was said in such a quiet, broken, tone that Harley’s heart broke a little. Yet another part of her boiled in anger, in pure hatred of a woman she would never meet. Once upon a time she had been a mother, a mother to five wonderful little imps. Even now she couldn’t even begin to consider leaving her children, now when her feelings were muted, now when her attachment was diluted down, now when she couldn’t even remember their faces and names.

Before she even realized what she had done she had Arwen in her arms. The elf seemed shocked for just a second before breaking down and sobbing in her shoulder. Slender fingers gripped dark fabric in a death grip. Harley felt her hate grow, her magic burned and twisted under her skin in response. She forced it down and took a deep breath to calm herself. One of her hands made soft circles on Arwen’s back, while the other found itself buried in inky hair. She caught herself humming a tune from long ago. “I know father was hurt by her, more than the rest of us, even if he refuses to talk about it.” was sobbed into her shoulder.

“I couldn’t do that to him. I couldn’t leave him too. So, I stayed. I stayed and danced, and sang and drank tea from sunrise to sunset and smiled all the while.” her words were thrown back at her and she had to suppress a flinch. They had been intended to hurt, to dig deep, but apparently, they dug further and hurt more than she anticipated. “I pretended like I enjoyed it, like I was happy. But I wanted to go out and see the world outside. I wanted to learn how to wield a sword, how to shoot a bow, but I wasn’t allowed.” firm hands pushed at her shoulders and red eyes looked at her. “Do you see now why I can’t just leave?” she asked.

“Arwen.” she said her name firmly to get the elf’s full attention. “How long do you think you can do this?” she asked softly. “You can’t waste your life away being some pretty little ornament, something to just be looked at.” she said firmly, her eyes searching. “You have been doing this, just simply existing for someone else, for how long? Hundreds of years.”

“Thousands.” Arwen whispered brokenly.

“Merlin’s balls.” she cursed before she could stop herself. “For thousands of years you’ve been merely existing. For thousands of years you’ve been something you are not just because your father couldn’t deal with his wife leaving him. When does it end Arwen? Your father is an adult and if he hasn’t been able to come to terms with what happened by now he never will. When will be the time for you to be selfish? For you to go outside and see the world?” she asked. There was anger in her voice now, because there was something so very familiar in Arwen. Something that a little girl inside her recognized and sympathized with. Except Arwen was pretending just for her father, she had been pretending for the whole wizarding world for so long. If it hadn’t been for her friends and family she would have simply wasted away.

Arwen was in tears again. “You don’t understand!” she shouted back. “I am not like you! I am not a man! Women can’t simply go out and do what they wish! We cannot fight! We should stay at home and just twiddle our thumbs in worry!” and there lay the true problem.

“Morgana’s dirty knickers.” she murmured to herself. She wanted to help her because she knew what it was like. But she saw only one way to do so and she wasn’t sure if she was ready to do that, to reveal herself like that. This could come right back aroun and bite her in the ass. A small ward to discourage anyone from coming near the gazebo was set up, something that told them they had somewhere else to be. “Arwen.” she got her attention again. “There is something I have to show you, but you have to swear to me you will tell this to no one. Swear it.” her eyes were searching her bloodshot ones.

A small chuckle left her. “I do believe we are beyond that point, but yes I do swear not to reveal your secret to anyone.” as soon as she finished her sentence Harley’s magic jumped to comply. A thin golden band warped itself around her wrist. It was made up of many small thinner lines that swirled and curled around each other. Arwen stared at her wrist in surprise, a pale finger ran over golden lines.

“Do not worry, it will just stop you from revealing my secret on accident.” she explained quickly, her nervousness leaking into her voice. She slowly reached for her hood, her hand shaking. She took a deep breath to steady herself before pulling it down. Red hair spilled over her shoulders like liquid fire. She caught Arwen’s eyes as she reached for the cloth covering her lower face. Blue eyes followed her hand as she gripped the thin fabric. There was a gasp as she pulled it down. She cleared her throat before speaking.

“I suppose I should introduce myself now.” she gave a soft smile. Her voice was so much softer and higher now that the enchantment she put on the facemask was no longer changing it. “My full name is Harley Peverell.” she extended her hand to the still shocked elf and waited.

.

Arwen couldn’t help but stare. The first time they had met, in the woods at sword point, Padfoot had seemed so dangerous. The next time they saw each other he came off as cold and distant. Someone who didn’t care about those around him. Someone who kept everything close to their chest. And yet he had read her so easily. Saw right through her within seconds. Made her realize things about herself she denied for so long. He didn’t care about her feelings and told her how things stood to her face. She had felt anger in the pit of her stomach for the man. For the man that saw everything and laid it at her feet. For the man that came and shattered her world, her mask, in just a few words.

‘I am trying to say that somewhere, deep down you also dislike this, just like me.’ she had replayed that one sentence in her head so many times last night. It kept haunting her. Before she even realized it, morning came and she hadn’t slept a wink.

She wasn’t sure what she had hoped to achieve by seeking the man out once more. Perhaps one last attempt at rebuilding her mask. Perhaps to yell at him. Perhaps to convince them both he was wrong. But then she wasn’t sure how to start and when those disturbing, enchanting eyes connected to hers everything just came pouring out. And then he was there, hugging her, calming her, humming an unfamiliar tune to her. It had just made her cry more.

She wasn’t sure what she felt for the man. There was still anger and hate brewing deep down, because he came and complicated things. There was fear, for what he could do with the information she had so freely given. There was also gratitude, because he had made her see. There was also bitterness, because there was no way for her to change things. And then there was no man.

Instead there stood a woman in his place. A small slip of a woman instead of the scary man. A woman with pale skin, fiery hair and the most captivating and disturbing set of eyes she ever saw. Her hair fell over her shoulders in a mess, yet because of the unique color it tricked the eye into thinking it was seeing flames. It looked beautiful even if it was clearly unkempt. Her features were a lot more delicate then Arwen expected. A slim nose with a slight upturn to it at the end. Bowlike light pink lips that looked a bit dry and chewed up as if she pulled at them often. Her cheeks were slightly sunken in, possibly form all the years she spent in the wild taking care of herself. And there was a thin scar, barley even a silver line. It went from her hair line to her brow in a broken line before splitting into many directions. Her whole eyelid was covered in an intricate lacework of scar lines. It was such an expressive and open face she found herself speechless. Her smile, even as soft as it was, lighted up her whole face.

She grabbed the offered hand. “Arwen daughter of Elrond.” she mumbled, still shocked. There was a flash of white teeth as her smile grew. “You are a woman.” the words were out before she could stop them. Harley’s cheeks heated up slightly and she shifted in embarrassment.

“Uhm, yeah.” she shifted again her hand scratching at the back of her head. “But this is why I wanted to show you. Being a woman shouldn’t stop you from doing things you wish.” she explained in a soft tone. And yes, Arwen understood her reasoning. Here was a woman that went out into the world and did what she wished. But, just because she succeeded it didn’t mean Arwen herself would. She knew she wasn’t strong enough to just leave. While her father played the biggest part in her stay, her own fears played a part too. She remembered what happened to her mother when she left and she knew there was a possibility that the same thing would happen to her.

“I can see your point, but I am afraid I am not like yourself Harley. I am not strong enough to just leave Rivendell.” she explained to the woman.

“I understand. The world can be a scary place and there is no guarantee you will be safe, especially on your own. Look I can’t promise you that you will be safe, that nothing bad will happen, but I can promise you that it is all worth it. So, can you at least promise me you will think about it?” she looked at the redhead. Worry was clear in each line of her face, there was also something else there, something Arwen couldn’t put her finger on.

She thought about the request. She doubted she would be able to go back to how things were, not fully at least. But she was sure she didn’t want for things to continue as they had for so long. But was she ready for something completely different? Was she ready to simply leave Rivendell, leave her home, leave the safety, for something uncertain and dangerous, something risky. No, she wasn’t, truth be told, but perhaps someday she will be. So she smiled and nodded. “I can promise that much.” Her smile was returned.

“I have to go pack now. Have a good day, Arwen.” with that the hood and mask were back up and the man was back. “But remember, there is a lot more to life than simply existing.” her voice back to that calm tenor. It was a very convincing mask. And so, Arwen watched Padfoot leave for his room. Many thoughts swirled around in her head, there was a lot she had to decide on.