Rating: PG -> PG-13
Warnings: [violence] [language] [het] [shounen-ai]
Pairings: Takeru/Ken & Ruki/Legolas
Notes: The chapters are kind of jumping time right now; each one takes place a while after the last. Normally, only a few days but the last one made a pretty big jump. Three weeks... :p Gomen, but before that all it was was walking. Boring, ne?
Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon or Lord Of The Rings. If I did, I'd be rich. But I don't so even if you sued me you'd only get about ten bucks. Shimatta, if only I'd thought of them first. What? Lord Of The Rings was written a decade before I was born? I was just learning my ABC's when Digimon came out? So? What's your point..? ^_^;;
Chapter Eight: Caradhras
He really wished he'd kept his shorter hair. He really, really wished it. Really.
Turning away from the wind for a second, Takeru spit out the ends of his now-chin-length hair with a grimace. It was pointless, really; the moment he turned back it was right back in his mouth. But he had to try. He was unbelievably tired of having strands of hair caught halfway down his throat.
He raised his arm in an attempt to block the wind that was roaring all around them, and looked up past the others, wondering how Ruki and Legolas were doing in their scouting. <At last Ken and I are back here-> he assured himself; <I feel bad for Ruki and Legolas... well... maybe just for Legolas. I'd feel bad for ANYONE who had to spend all the time with HER...>
Needless to say, his impression of the girl had not improved over weeks of traveling with her. She was rude, inconsiderate, selfish and a royal pain in the ass. Oh, and her digimon was just as bad; standoffish and with a superiority complex a mile wide.
<Not to mention her tendency to appear out of nowhere and scare the CRAP out of me.>
They had been traversing the mountain for several days now -- at first the walking had been relatively easy. Now, as they reached the summit, the wind had whipped into a frenzy, making traveling nearly impossible.
Gandalf continued to lead the way, breaking through the waist-high snowdrifts with his staff. The Hobbits, being shorter and slighter than the others, were having a hard time getting through the snow. Gimli was managing, as he was stronger than the Hobbits, and Aragorn and Boromir were making their way with relative ease compared to the others. The ponies were being lead through the drifts behind most of the company, so their path was already broken for them. Wormmon and Patamon were following in Bill and Ben's wake, their tails curled under them and constantly shivering from the cold, but neither of the former-digimon complained, even once. Renamon was nowhere to be seen, though she was no doubt close by.
Takeru, Ken, Ruki and Legolas, being Elves, were having an easier time of it. The Elven magic made them lighter than the others in the Fellowship, and they were able to walk on top of the snowdrifts, instead of through them. Thus, the four of them were assigned as scouts and lookouts -- Ruki and Legolas scouted the path ahead, while Takeru and Ken kept watch behind.
Not that walking on top of the snow made the biting wind any more bearable, but...
Takeru coughed, trying to ease the ache his lungs were feeling from the freezing air of the mountaintop, and sprinted a few feet forward, catching up with Ken; the bluenette had somehow gotten farther ahead than him.
"Hey-!" Grasping Ken's arm, he tugged, trying to her his friend's attention; "Ken-!"
"Ah-" Ken turned toward him, squinting against the flying snow and winds; "what is it-?"
"Are you doing alright-?" Takeru had to shout to be heard.
"I'm... pretty cold..." The blue-haired boy responded. "Did Gandalf happen to mention how long this would take-?"
"Not that I know of-!" Takeru shook his head, sending snow flying from his hair, "but we can't take forever, right-?"
"Yeah-" Ken smiled, then shut his eyes for a second. "I was thinking-"
"What else is new-?"
The bluenette chuckled weakly; "we should switch places with Ruki and Legolas -- it's not fair that they have to go and take the brunt of the wind like this. You and I should give them a chance to have a break from it-"
Takeru, despite the fact that he really didn't want to go up to the front, had to admit that Ken was right. Whether or not he liked it, he couldn't leave Ruki and Legolas to get frostbite -- or whatever Elves got from the cold -- while they were protected from the worst of the storm by the rest of the Fellowship.
"Alright, let's go-!"
Ken nodded, blocking the wind with a hand, and turned back to head forward again. Running lightly over the snow, he started for the front of the line. Takeru followed behind, keeping pace with his friend (and new-love-interest) and trying to keep within a foot or so of the other boy. If Ken got too far away from him, he wouldn't be able to see the bluenette, and he wanted to at least keep him in sight at all times. Especially on the treacherous mountaintop...
"Where are THEY going-?"
Takeru would have laughed at the tone in Pippin's voice -- if his face didn't feel like it was going to turn into a hunk of ice and fall off. He turned his head again to get his eyes out of the wind, and his gaze landed on Boromir; the man was pushing his way through the snow, with Merry and Pippin following in his wake.
The blonde frowned. There was still something about Boromir that rubbed him the wrong way... and he thought it had something to do with the way the man stared at the One Ring during the occasions (which were few-and-far between) when it was out of Frodo's shirt and visible.
For example, only a few days before, during the first stretch of their snow-bound journey through the mountains; they had been climbing a particularly steep section of hill, and Frodo had fallen behind most of the Fellowship. Not that it was surprising, the Hobbits were smaller and therefore had some trouble keeping up with the rest of them.
Thankfully, Aragorn continued to routinely make sure they slowed down to let the littler members of the Fellowship catch up. This included Gimli, though the Dwarf was much too prideful to admit when he was having trouble.
That day, as Frodo lagged behind, Takeru noted with a frown that Boromir's eyes seemed to be more focused on the Hobbit than usual. And when Frodo slipped and fell, tumbling through the snow and down the slope until running into Aragorn, who stopped his fall, Takeru's gaze continued to remain on Boromir, even as the others watched Frodo climb to his feet.
The Hobbit immediately checked his neck to the Ring... only to discover that it had fallen off during the tumble.
It was Boromir who found the Ring in the snow, and it was Boromir who picked it up.
Takeru's stomach had clenched, and his hand went, unconsciously, to his shoulder where his bow was strapped.
"Boromir," Aragorn had said, "give the Ring back to Frodo."
But the other man had simply stared at the Ring, his eyes glassy; "it's strange," he whispered, as if to himself, "that all this fear should spring from such a tiny thing." The Ring dangled from it's chain, and the chain was clutched in his hand. "Such a little thing..." he repeated, softer, as his free hand began to reach up. "Just a little thing..."
Takeru gripped his bow.
But just as Boromir's finger's brushed the Ring, Aragorn spoke again. "Boromir!"
"Huh?" Boromir blinked and looked up, the glassy look in his eyes gone.
"Give the Ring back to Frodo." The Ranger ordered, more forcefully. His own hand was at the hilt of his sword, though he had maneuvered it there subtly. Takeru doubted that anyone else had even noticed...
"Hm," Boromir laughed once, and strode down to hold the ring out to Frodo, who snatched it back from him. "Take it." He said with another short laugh, "I care not." Then turned around, repeating; "I care not."
Takeru's grip on his bow had loosened, and only then had he allowed his hand to return to his side. He breathed deeply; the effect the One Ring had on him had not weakened during the trek, and his heart was pounding hard. But it wasn't just from the close call with Boromir; much as the man disturbed him in his fascination with the Ring, there was something else which bothered him even more-
-when the Ring was out and visible, Ken's eyes took on the exactly same glassy glaze...
Now, Takeru turned his head back, facing forward and tearing his eyes away from Boromir, who seemed not to have noticed him staring. <The fact that Ken has that reaction to the Ring scares me. Shit, when he goes like that I don't know WHAT he's thinking....or if he's even thinking at all...>
And he cared about the bluenette, damn it. Maybe more than he should, given their current circumstances...
"Ruki-! Legolas-!" Ken called forward, his breath freezing on the wind; "we're going to take point for a while. You guys can go back and take up the tail end!"
The orange-haired girl and the blonde Elf paused and turned back.
"Hn." Ruki snorted, "we're fine-!"
"Oh, come off it, Ruki-!" Takeru snapped, squinting, "we're just giving you a break-!"
"Ruki-!" Legolas's hand came down on her shoulder; "let's go-!"
The girl eyed Legolas for a second, and then nodded curtly. "Fine!" Spinning around, she stalked back to the end of the company. Legolas hesitated for only a moment before he followed, leaving Takeru and Ken gaping at their receding backs.
"What was that-?!"
"How come she'll listen to him, but-"
"-not to us-?"
Takeru blinked, "I have no idea!"
Ken shook his head, clearing his eyes of snow, and turned into the wind once again. "Let's go check out up ahead!"
The blonde nodded, not bothering to try and be heard over the roar of the wind; Ken started forward, and Takeru followed quickly after him. Together, they made their way forward. Standing at the edge of the trail, near a turn in the path, they paused.
<Is the wind getting STRONGER..?>
A roar signified a response from the elements, and the wind- which until then had been roaring at them- came forward again, even stronger. Snow blew in from all directions, blinding them, and the air grew colder, freezing in their lungs.
Takeru spun around, dragging Ken around with him so that their backs were to the wind.
It pushed them forward over the snowdrifts and making them stumble...
"It's-" Gandalf shouted, "-Saruman-!!"
Takeru's head jerked upward at Ken's cry, but the bluenette's warning came too late as a drift of snow fell upon them and the rest of the Fellowship in a sudden avalanche. Struggling against the snow, Takeru pushed his way up from underneath three feet of frozen water and gasped for air when he reached the surface. Beside him, Ken's head exploded from beneath the snow.
"Ken!" Takeru shoved through the drift toward the other boy; "are you alright-?!"
Climbing to the top of the snowdrift, Takeru pulled Ken up with him.
"What about the others-?"
Around them, the others were managing to drag themselves out of the snow as well; Ruki and Legolas were already free, as they were, and had started helping the Hobbits get out of the snow trap. Aragorn and Boromir had managed to dig themselves out; Aragorn was going about digging out the ponies, and Boromir was getting Gimli to his feet again. Gandalf had dug himself out already as well.
"Where are Wormmon and Patamon-?!"
Takeru shook his head, "I don't know! They were right around here-"
"Shit!" The blonde jumped, but managed to keep his heart beating, when Renamon's voice sounded close to his left ear. <Maybe I'm managing to get used to her after all...> he squinted at her through the gale; "where?"
Renamon gestured forward and then vanished, only to reappear a few yards away. "Here," she told them; "this is where your partners are."
Ken sprinted after her with Takeru on his heels. Dropping down, they began to dig with their hands and soon they had managed to uncover Wormmon and Patamon. Both former-digimon blinked at them slowly, shivering.
:That...: Patamon began.
And Wormmon finished for him; :...was NOT fun...:
Takeru would have chuckled, but there were more serious matters to attend to. Hauling Patamon out of the snowdrift (while Ken did the same with Wormmon), he ruffled the wolf's fur and then turned around to look at the others.
"What do we do now-?" Sam asked.
"We can't keep going in this-!" Boromir stated.
"I told you!" Gimli shouted, "why take this route, when we can go through the Mines of Moria? Let us go through the Mines!"
Gandalf shook his head, "I will not-"
"We can't stay here!" Legolas reminded the magician, "we have to get off of the mountain!"
"..." Gandalf looked at Frodo, "then," he said, "we shall let the Ring-Bearer decide!"
"Well, Frodo?" Aragorn asked, squeezing the Hobbit's shoulder.
Frodo shivered violently in his cape as he considered and everyone else waited. Takeru couldn't help but feel a sense of foreboding- either way, he felt in his heart, things were going to be hard. Something was going to go wrong, no matter what was decided...
<But we have to get out of this snow!>
Beside him, Ken shook from cold and Takeru (without really thinking about what he was doing) pulled the other boy closer to himself. The action was as much to warm himself as Ken, but somehow the gesture had a deeper meaning than that.
They clung together, shivering, and waited.
Finally, Frodo spoke, softly.
"We shall go through the mines."
Gandalf closed his eyes. "So be it."
Their route was decided.
Me: I'm always saying the chapters are short, but this time I seriously think it's short. Or, shorter than the other chapters, at least.
Ruki: Get on with it.
Me: *raises an eyebrow* I see I got your attitude right....
Takeru: Why'd you write her in, anyway?
Me: *shocked* I like Ruki!
Takeru: What? Why?!
Me: *ignores him* In any case, chapter nine should be out soon...
Wormmon: Will we be out of the snow?
Me: Yup. No more snow.
Me: Doesn't mean you'll be somewhere better... *waves off everyone's suspicious looks* Trust me, guys! I know what I'm doing! Oh, did you see Ruki listen to Legolas on the first try? I'm impressed with the adorable Elf! Aren't you?