Strangers From a Distant Land

Fellowship Bonding Time

(Sarah POV)

The elves were singing in the trees above them. Legolas stood listening to them, grief clear on his face. At the questioning glances of those in the Fellowship who did not speak Sindarin, he said what it was they were singing.

"A lament for Gandalf."

Merry glanced up. "What do they say about him?" he asked.

Legolas looked down at him. "I have not the heart to tell you," he said. "For me the grief is still too near."

Sarah stole a peek at Christopher. He gave a slight shake of his head. No translations were coming from that corner. She looked at him again. He had gotten so big! How does a seven-year-old become taller than you in several months? She jerked her head to rid herself of the thought.

Sam paused in his unfolding of bedrolls. "I bet they don't mention his fireworks," he commented. "There should be a verse about them." He began to sing:

"The finest rockets ever seen
They burst in stars of blue and green
Or after thunder, silver showers…
…Came falling like…" he hesitated, "a rain of flowers.

"Oh that doesn't do them justice by a long note," he grumbled at the end. "You should have seen them, Sarah, Maggie. They were beautiful, if you take my meaning."

Maggie and Sarah shared a glance. Maggie nodded.

"What about this?" Sarah suggested, and then began to sing the Lament for Gandalf from the book, as it was written in the book. It had been one of her favorites, along with the Lay of Nimrodel, and one of the first that she had memorized.

"When evening in the Shire was grey
his footsteps on the Hill were heard;
before the dawn he went away
on journey long without a word.

"From Wilderland to Western shore,
from northern waste to southern hill,
through dragon-lair and hidden door,
and darkling woods he walked at will.

"With Dwarf and Hobbit, Elves, and Men,
with mortal and immortal folk,
with bird on bough and beast in den,
in their own secret tongues he spoke.

"A deadly sword, a healing hand,
a back that bent beneath its load;
a trumpet-voice, a burning brand,
a weary pilgrim on the road.

"A lord of wisdom throned he sat,
swift in anger, quick to laugh;
an old man in a battered hat
who leaned upon a thorny staff.

"He stood upon the bridge alone
and Fire and Shadow both defied;
his staff was broken on the stone,
in Khazad-Dum his wisdom died."

When she had finished, she lay looking at the stars, listening to the conversation going just on a little ways away, by a large rock.

Aragorn had gotten up from sharpening Anduril and walked over to Boromir, who sat with his back to a boulder, staring into the distance.

"Take some rest," Aragorn advised him. "These borders are well-protected."

"I will find no rest here," Boromir replied. It must be Sarah's imagination that detected the small quiver in his tone. She closed her eyes, but could not help hearing the rest. "I heard her voice inside my head. She spoke of my father and the fall of Gondor. She said to me 'Even now there is hope left.' But I cannot see it. It is long since we had any hope."

There was a long pause.

"My father is a noble man, but his rule is failing. And now our, our people lose faith. He looks to me to make things right and I would do it. I would see the glory of Gondor restored. Have you ever seen it Aragorn? The White tower of Ecthelion, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver, its banners caught high in the morning breeze. Have you ever been called home by the clear ringing of silver trumpets?"

Boromir spoke so passionately that in her mind's eye Sarah could clearly see the white walls of Minas Tirith, though it had been quite a bit since she had last seen the Return of the King.

Aragorn's reply was so low she could barely hear it. "I have seen the White City, long ago."

"One day, our paths will lead us there. And the tower guards shall take up the call: 'The Lords of Gondor have returned!" There was something in Boromir's voice that Sarah could not pinpoint. It was utter conviction, but something else as well. She fell asleep while trying to puzzle it out.

(Maggie POV)

Maggie blinked. Wasn't it dark just a second ago? The last thing she remembered was Sarah singing… Oh, she had probably fallen asleep. She gingerly raised herself up on her elbows, winching from the pain in her ribs. That was the last time she stood up to a troll. She was not Ronald Weasley, thank you very much.

She looked around. The other four hobbits were sitting a ways off on the grass, their backs to a tree, eating what looked like fruit. Legolas's bow and Gimli's axe were propped up in the same corner of the tent, though their owners where nowhere to be scene. Aragorn also was absent. Boromir was in the same place as last night, looking lake he hadn't slept a wink. Sarah was-

"You're awake! Thank goodness! I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to fend the Hobbits off of your food for much longer. Do you want to come eat?"

-standing right beside her.

Maggie ignored her question, asking one of her own. "Where is Christopher?"

"I'm not sure. His, err, ada, err, adar, oh, whatever he calls him came by early this morning to bring him to Lord Celeborn, and he hasn't come back yet. I repeat my earlier question. Do you want something to eat?"

Maggie considered it a moment, and then realized that she was actually very hungry. "Yes please!"

Sarah helped her to her feet, being very careful of the rib, or ribs, whichever it was. "Aragorn has gone in search of a Healer to have a look at you. You really need to stop throwing yourself in front of weapons, especially when they're not meant for you. First the Morgul-knife, now this. Nobody died in the original version; I'd prefer it if nobody died in whatever weird AU we're in."

While Sarah had been lecturing angered had been slowly building up inside of Maggie; a hot, unreasonable anger. Now it burst out, venting itself on her friend, though in a whisper.

"Somebody did too die, Sarah Hodgson, or do you not remember Amon Hen? I had absolutely no intention of getting pounded by a troll, or do you think that I'm actually enjoying this? If you do, you're crazier than I thought. At least I stood and fought, I didn't hide in a corner while others risked their lives!"

Sarah jerked as if stung. Maggie pulled out of her arms and sat down by the other hobbits. The three younger ones welcomed her gladly, but Frodo gave her a shrewd look as he handed her a piece of bread. Maggie ignored the look and accepted the bread. She sat nibbling on it and taking in the sights and sounds of Lorien.

(Sarah POV)

Sarah leaned against the rock next to Boromir. He glanced at her.

"Are you alright?" He asked.

Sarah shook her head slowly. "I don't know," she replied. "She's never yelled at me before and…" Sarah trailed off.

Boromir put a hand on her shoulder.

"I heard what passed between you. I do not pretend to understand all of it, nor do I know what the Hill of the Eye on the borders of Gondor has to do with someone dying, but you are right, and she is wrong. You did the right thing in Moria. If you had tried to fight, you would have been a hindrance, not a help. Do not blame yourself for Maggie's wound."

"Thank you," Sarah whispered, and then, taking even herself in surprise, she laid her head on Boromir's shoulder. Boromir blinked, uncertain, and then he awkwardly wrapped an arm around her. He cast his mind back to the last time he had comforted a child. He had been fourteen, he recalled, comforting his ten year old brother after their father had belittled him. It had been a long while ago.

After a moment Sarah lifted her head. "Thank you," she said again, avoiding Boromir's eyes. She was sure her cheeks were a slight pink. Boromir smiled at her, and then looked around.

"I –" he began, but was interrupted by the appearance of Aragorn, closely followed by a silver-haired elf-woman.

The two conversed for a moment in Sindarin, and then the elf went over to where Maggie was sitting. She felt her over, and then nodded, speaking quickly in the elven language. Aragorn said something quietly to Maggie, and then picked her up gently and walked away, followed by the stranger. Boromir watched them go with a strange gleam in his eye.

Sarah glanced at him questionably. He shook his head. "I still do not feel entirely comfortable with the elves," he told her. "When we were younger, our nursemaid told my brother and I stories about the Golden Wood, and the Sorceress that lived there."

"What is he like? Your brother?"

"Faramir? He is noble, loyal, quiet and bookish, but strong, stronger than men think, I deem. I wish it were not so, for our father, Lord Denethor, believes him to be less than I, though that is not so. Indeed, I believe him the stronger, for his strength is not all on the battle field, as is mine, but in the quiet matters. When the Enemy took the east bank of Osgiliath he was with me as we held the bridge against them, to allow the last of our men to escape. We swam the Anduin, but I would have perished that night if not for him, he kept me afloat and encouraged me when I thought all hope lost. I miss him dearly." Boromir fell silent.

Sarah smiled sadly. "I miss my sister, too, and my Mom, and my Dad."

Boromir looked blank.

"My mother and father."

"Ah." Now he nodded. "What are they like?"

"It's hard to describe them. Mom's really graceful, almost like an elf, come to think of it. She works really hard for us, though we don't often appreciate it. Dad's, well, a bit like Aragorn to be honest, only not so, well, ancient, if you know what I mean."

"I do. My brother is a bit like that as well."

"I miss them. I wonder if I'll ever see them again." Sarah sighed, and leaned her head against Boromir's shoulder again.

After a while the hobbits started some game, seeming to involve a lot of leaping about that somehow looked dignified, or as dignified as prancing hobbits can look. It was into the midst of the game that Christopher came back to the clearing. He had a small elfling perched on his shoulders, singing some merry tune. He glanced about for Maggie, spotted Sarah, and came over to her.

"Mae govannen Sarah," he greeted. "Is Maggie still sleeping?"

"No," she replied, "Aragorn came with another elf and went somewhere with her."

Christopher narrowed his eyes at her. "Is everything alright?"

"Yeah, peachy."

Christopher nodded, but looked unconvinced. "What did he or she look like?" he asked.

"It was a she," Sarah told him. "I couldn't see very well from here, but she had silver hair. Frodo would probably know where she is, he speaks a bit of elvish."

"Sindarin," Christopher corrected absently. "Which one is he?"

"The dark- haired hobbit. Slightly more mature than the others. A stout little fellow with red cheeks."

"That seems to go for most Halflings, care to be more specific?"

"Well," Sarah continued with a grin, still quoting, "He's taller than some and fairer than most. He has a cleft in his chin, if that helps any."

"It does, thank you." Christopher bowed gracefully and started towards cavorting hobbits, and then halted and turned back. "Do you mind watching Megildur for me? Nana handed him off, and I'd like to find my sister."

When Sarah nodded her ascent, Christopher swung the still-singing elfling off of his shoulders and spoke to him in Sindarin. The little elf nodded, and then planted himself in Boromir's lap. Boromir blinked and stared down at him. Christopher laughed.

"Ci hannon," he said, and then continued on his quest for the location of Maggie.

Sarah and Boromir exchanged a look, and then Boromir asked the question that they were both wondering the answer to.

"What are we to do with a child who only speaks Sindarin, and in a dialect that I do not know?"

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