After the Infinite Improbability Drive malfunctions, Arthur finds himself in Middle Earth. Crossover with the Lord of the Rings
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters.
Legolas glanced up, startled, as a bright light flashed in the distance some miles away. He blinked, clearing his eyes of the ghostly afterimages. The trees whispered to themselves of rumors of a man-like figure momentarily wreathed in light. Had the Powers returned to rescue benighted Mirkwood from the the poisonous machinations of the Necromancer? Or was it some new evil out of Sauron's fortress on Dol Guldur? His heart in his throat, Legolas headed northward.
"Bugger!" yelled Arthur as he crashed into a thorn bush. Bloody Infinite Improbability Drive had fucked up again, he thought, as he tried to free his dressing gown from the bush's prickly embrace. He tugged hard and finally pulled it free, although not without some damage to the fabric. Arthur shrugged it on nevertheless and tucked his towel inside, next to his skin.
Where the hell was he? And where was Ford anyway? In order to gain some knowledge of his present location, he attempted to peer through the thick gloom. Then he gave up and peered at the gloom instead, since it seemed just as effective. All he managed to deduce was the he seemed to be in some kind of forest, the kind that was often home to blood-sucking ghouls or mad axe murderers. But at least the atmosphere on this planet was breathable. He sucked in a lungful of the cool night air and shivered. Disconsolately, he sat on the ground, tucked his gown about him and felt sorry for himself.
Twenty minutes later found Arthur desperately rubbing together a couple of gnarled sticks in a feeble attempt to get a fire going. He whimpered. He couldn't decide if he was happy or sad that Ford wasn't around to mock him for it. If he had looked up, he might have seen the two gleaming eyes peering at him through the dark, a hungry light lurking in their malevolent depths.
Legolas approached the small clearing in puzzlement. Neither god nor demon, but just a confused-looking man in strange attire sat there, trying to get a fire started in the same manner as unexperienced elflings at their play. He certainly didn't look dangerous. Unless one happened to be a hapless stick, thought Legolas amusedly as the strange man broke one and threw it down into the dirt in frustration. It had taken him two tries to snap the stick completely in two. Legolas watched the man picked up the other stick, presumably in order to give it the same treatment. He was just about to put his bow away and step forward when he discerned the glowing eyes in the dark across from the man. Suddenly, a wolf, lean, dark, and ravenous burst from the shelter of the trees toward its prey, but Legolas was ready. Before the man had time to even finish an indignified screech of terror, Legolas had let fly an arrow into the wolf's belly. It hit the ground with a yelp and lay still.
"Eeegjmgrggh!" screeched Arthur as the dark shadow leapt toward him. He threw his stick and shut his eyes in anticipation of the creature's savage bite, but it didn't come. A twang sounded and the beast yelped. Arthur opened his eyes to see the beast's body hitting the ground. For one insane nanosecond, he thought that somehow his throw had saved him. Then he realized that the stick was sitting uselessly by his left foot.
"Are you all right?" asked a concerned voice. Arthur jumped and whirled to the right, where a man was coming out of the trees. He was pale, almost lumenescent, and was very beautiful. Not that Arthur usually noticed such things in other men, no matter what they said about him back in sixth form.
"Er, yes, thank you," replied Arthur in a shaky voice.
The man reached into his leather knapsack and withdrew a blanket, which he handed to Arthur. Gratefully, Arthur took it and wrapped it about himself.
"Who are you?" they both asked. The pale man smiled and made a short bow.
"My name is Legolas, an elf of Mirkwood. Who are you and how did you come to be here?" his voice full of polite bewilderment.
Elf, eh? thought Arthur. Not a man then, but close enough. No visible tentacles anyway, he observed in relief.
"I'm Arthur Dent. And I really don't know how I got here," stammered Arthur. He had no idea how to explain about the Infinite Improbability Drive and it's not like this elf would understand. Not that he understood it himself.
"I think it was some sort of magic," he said instead.
The elf nodded, as if this made sense. "Come, this area is dangerous. I will lead you to my father's halls where you will be safe. And can get a proper meal," he added as Arthur's stomach growled. Relieved, Arthur shuffled off after him.
Apparently this Legolas fellow was a prince of the realm. Arthur had never met royalty before. Ford claimed to have been proclaimed Emperor of Space Rome during a wild orgy, shortly before that civilization's collapse, and had demanded that Arthur kiss his hand whenever he entered a room. It only stopped when Arthur spilled a cup of Advanced Tea Substitute on him. He didn't know what to say to the Prince. There was really only one thing on his mind.
"Excuse me, your Highness?" began Arthur hesitantly.
"Please, call me Legolas," said Legolas with another reassuring smile.
"Legolas. Do you know of a beverage called 'tea'?" asked Arthur. He held his breath in anticipation. It was almost too much to hope for.
"Tea, tea. The name is familiar yet I do not know it," mused Legolas. Arthur let out his breath in familiar disappointment.
"Wait, I have it! We do not drink tea in Mirkwood, but I have heard it mentioned in passing by the wizard Mithrandir. It seems that in a quiet land far west of here, beyond the Misty Mountains, there lives a short, cheerful people that are very fond of that particular beverage," said Legolas triumphantly.
"Do you have any at your home, by any chance?" asked Arthur, trying to keep the emotion out of his voice.
"I'm afraid not," answered Legolas regretfully. Seeing Arthur's face fall, he added, "Yet Mithrandir has said that he will return to our realm later this season. He is fond of the beverage as well, and often brings some with him from the Land of the Halflings."
Arthur's face lit up at the thought of future tea-induced bliss. He could only hope that he stayed here long enough for this wizard Mithrandir to arrive.
"Might I ask why it is so important to you?" the elf asked in a quiet tone.
Arthur hesitated. "Well, I've been lost and away from home for a long time and it has sort of become a symbol of everything about it that I miss," he answered, his head down. Legolas nodded and patted him reassuringly on the shoulder.
They continued walking, Arthur stumbling over roots and getting caught in overhanging branchers, while Legolas glided through the trees, the very embodiment of elegance. Finally, they came to a clearing, where Legolas announced they were stopping for the night.
Quickly, Legolas set up a camping site and lit a fire, for the benefit of the weary, ragged man at his side. Arthur knew better than to try and help him. He thought he caught one amused glance his way as the elf held the flint to the tinder. He blushed, remembering his earlier effort with the sticks.
Legolas had given him some bread to eat while they were walking. Now he passed out more, plus some dried fruit and nuts. Together they ate, enjoying the warmth from the fire. Soon Arthur was fast asleep, wrapped in his borrowed blankets.
The next day, they reached the halls of Thranduil, the Elvenking. Arthur was allowed to have a bath, a change of clothes, and a hot meal before being presented to Legolas' father.
He gulped as the richly-carved doors to the throne room parted. The walk across the room to where the Elvenking sat on his throne seemed even longer and more arduous than the walk through the woods last night. He bowed shakily to the king, who sat with an expression of polite disbelief on his face.
"Greetings, your Highness," said Arthur and bowed. His gaze darted to where Legolas stood beside his father. Legolas gave him an encouraging smile.
"Greetings, Arthur Dent. As my son has informed me, you have arrived in my realm in unusual circumstances," said the Elvenking, his face and voice impassive.
"I think it was magic, your Majesty," said Arthur, repeating his explanation of the day before.
"Hmm, yes, a very strange sort of magic," the king cocked an eyebrow skeptically.
"Very strange," agreed Arthur.
The interrogation continued for at least fifteen more nervous minutes, in which Arthur told his story about his home being destroyed, his people killed, and being mysteriously transported from place to place. It was all true, as far as it went. Finally the king agreed that he was too incompetent to possibly be a threat and gave him leave to stay in the palace, until Mithrandir arrived to shed more light on this mystery.
A week or so passed before the wizard's arrival. Arthur mostly stayed in his room, which was small yet comfortable. Legolas came by to visit him for a couple hours each today. They had developed a kind of quiet friendship. Sometimes they went out for walks around the halls, enjoying the cool, crisp air and the trees in autumn. Mostly they talked about the weather, a topic that Arthur, being English, was all too happy to embrace.
Legolas was kind, tactful, and a good listener. He didn't ignore Arthur when he spoke or treat him like a novelty talking monkey or give him weird things to eat that weren't compatible with the human digestive system. In short, he was about as similar to Ford as Vogon poetry was to a Shakespearean soliloquy. In fact the only thing they had in common was that they had both saved his life, realized Arthur with a pang.
One morning, there was an old man with a long white beard and impressively bushy eyebrows sitting at the breakfast table. He cast a keen glance at Arthur as he sat down.
"You must be Arthur Dent. I am called Mithrandir," said Mithrandir. "I heard you were looking for this." He gestured with a grin as an elf maiden brought out two steaming cups on a tray. The familiar scent wafted straight to the most primitive areas of Arthur's brain.
"Tea!" Arthur was almost in tears. He took the cup in shaky hands, careful not to spill a single precious drop, and took the first sip. He savoured the taste before swallowing even though it scalded his tongue worse than the Rixxiiian Brandy Ford had made him try. Ford had laughed as Arthur stumbled around with his new ability to see in four dimensions, but he at least had the courtesy to hold Arthur's towel as he vomited onto the Doweger Queen of Tweenis 12.
The wizard watched in silence as Arthur finished the cup reverently.
"Thank you, sir. I've wanted that for some time," said Arthur almost in a whisper.
"I'm happy to have been able to help you with so small a gesture, young man. Alas, if only all my efforts to provide aid to the benighted peoples of Middle-Earth could be so simple. I'm also fortunate to have arrived when I did, since I forsee that you will not be with us much long- oh." He stopped talking abruptly as Arthur vanished.
Arthur opened his eyes as he landed with a clang onto the metal floor of the Heart of Gold. A second later, Ford materialized into the space above him, knocking the air out of Arthur's lungs with one efficient elbow.
"Sorry there, Arthur," said Ford cheerfully, dragging up a wheezing Arthur and throwing his arm around him. Ford waited politely for the gasping to die down before he spoke.
"So, where did you end up?" asked Ford.
"Mirkwood. It's an Elven realm. Nice place except for the evil creatures that try to eat you," said Arthur after he got his breath back. "You?"
"Somewhere called Lothlorien. It was full of elves too, some of whom I grew to know quite closely. Ever hear of the Lady Galadriel?" asked Ford, grinning suggestively. "The Triple-Breasted Whore of Eroticon 6 can't hold a primitive light source made of animal by-products to her. So, did you miss me?"
Typical Ford, thought Arthur, smiling fondly. He cocked his head sideways and gave Ford a calculating stare. Ford's perplexed look quickly shifted to one of horror as Arthur suddenly threw both arms around him and hugged him tight.
"What was that for?" Ford demanded as Arthur released him. Arthur only laughed at the look on his face and walked away.