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While Frodo Lay Dreaming, Part Two - by Ladykmr and Jonnoj

"Gandalf," both Elf and Dwarf sputtered at the same time.  They were startled to see the wizard come hobbling into the clearing.  This looked bad. The two warriors began to feel ashamed for what they had almost done. What would they tell Gandalf?
"Would you mind telling me what was about to transpire here?" Gandalf did not like the way the Fellowship had gotten off on a rocky start.  If this is any indication of what is to come to pass, the Fellowship would most likely be a failure. Gimli and Legolas did not quite know what to say.  They were both very ashamed of their actions, but at the same time, neither wanted to admit it in front of the other.  About them fell an awkward silence that drifted on for an eternity, or so it seemed.
Legolas finally broke the silence with a lie.
"We were just about to polish up our combat skills.  If we are to go to Mordor, we must be ready for anything," Legolas said with a half chuckle. He did not want to lie, but he was too ashamed to tell the truth of the matter.
"Do you take me for a fool!?  I will not allow falsehoods to be spoken amongst the Fellowship.  Now tell me plainly why you were about to kill each other?" Gandalf was beginning to grow irritated.
"Well, see, the truth of the matter is that Gloin disgraced my father's good name and..." Legolas was interrupted by Gimli.
"Legolas threatened my father's life and I came to defend him."
The Dwarf and Elf began to bicker and fight again and in less than a blink of an eye they had their weapons ready for each other.
Gandalf knew he had to do something to put a stop to this useless hostility. He thought to himself while Legolas and Gimli argued. He would have to hurry; things looked as though they might soon come to blows. Suddenly, the old wizard snapped his head up. He had it! With a twinkle in his eyes Gandalf motioned with his staff and muttered a few words. A flash of green light illuminated the clearing, followed by a flash of blue light. Gimli gasped in surprise as a wind tore at his face. Legolas shouted and lept toward Gandalf before stopping in mid stride.
"Gandalf! I DEMAND to know what in the name of Aule is going on here!" This Dwarfish statement, amazingly enough, was heard to come from the Elf's body.
"I agree, although--- what?! Who in Middle-Earth is THAT???" The Dwarf gripped his axe, but was suddenly awkward with it. "That's me!!!" the axe dropped to the ground and 'Gimli' stared at it in shock. He glanced up and the wizard, who was roaring with laughter.
"OH-hah-oh-heh-oh my goodness! Oh! Hem-well, only for a day, my good Elf...or should I say Dwarf? Yes, Gimli, I switched your bodies. I assure you, it's only temporary. Men have a very wise saying: To truly understand another, walk a mile in his shoes. I have decided that you two could benefit greatly from this. So get going." With that, Gandalf disappeared into the trees.
"Oh, this is just lovely!  What a fine mess Gandalf has left us in!"  Legolas in Gimli's body muttered with extreme annoyance.  He tried to run, but Gimli's short and stocky body soon left him exhausted and out of breath. Gimli in Legolas's body, however, was having quite the time.  He had never been able to run fast or do any physical exercise without becoming fatigued, but in Legolas's body he could run all day and never get tired!  'This is great,' Gimli thought to himself.
"I would consider going on a diet Gimli, because you are very unfit!" Legolas picked up Gimli's axe and swatted at the air, but he found that he was not very proficient in those types of weapons.
"Put my axe down and leave it alone," shouted Gimli in Legolas's body.  He then picked up Legolas's bow and tried to knock an arrow and shoot it, but it didn't work too well, so Gimli gave up.
"I don't see how you Elves can stand to use these complicated contraptions!"
"Stop! Please don't try to use my bow, you will break it!  Just hand it over to me, please."   Legolas remembered how he painstakingly made that bow and he did not want it to break at the hands of a Dwarf.....er sort of.
As they were walking home in the night breeze of twilight, they heard a very startling sound coming from the woods just a few meters south of them.  As they turned to look at what had made that sound, out leaped a monster cloaked in shadows that was twice as tall as them...
"Oh my goodness. Iluvatar protect us, it's a Balrog...in Rivendell? How the blazes did a Balrog get into Rivendell?" Legolas (in Gimli's body) was about to say more, but the Balrog's whip snapped in his direction. He lept back on his stubby Dwarf legs and began to run in the direction of the river. He knew better than to lead the moster toward the Last Homely House. Gimli, in a healthy Elven body, streaked by and picked him up.
"Put me down! Put me down you stupid Dwarf! I can take care of myself!"
"Oh shut up and think! What are we going to do? We can't possibly fight that thing on our own! Balrogs are way way way too powerful!" The Dwarf (Elf?) replied.
"We'll have to trick it. It got here without traveling...it can probably go back the same way. And this one's incredibly small, anyway. In fact, it's not even very powerful...look!" Legolas pointed a short arm back at the "Balrog" behind them. It was panting. Panting!
"Balrogs do NOT pant! If this was really a Balrog, it would have killed us by now!" Legolas struggled until he fell off his own shoulders, where he had been sitting. He stood up and turned to face the monster.
When the Balrog reached him, it stopped. Standing up to it's full height, which wasn't much more than ten feet, it opened it's mouth to growl at them. But there was no fire inside!
"See, look! This is not a regular Balrog.  It doesn't blow fire or even have wings! Everybody knows Balrogs have wings, and this one does not!  This must be a different type of monster."  Legolas in Gimli's body was puzzled as to what this monster could be.
"I don't care if it is a Balrog or not, I don't like the looks of it and I am getting out of here!" Gimli was about to run away, but the 'balrog' made another terrible screeching sound and Gimli fell flat on his face.
"Legolas, hurry! Make haste!  We must flee and get help..." Before Gimli could say any more, Legolas was petting, yes, actually petting the 'Balrog'.
"This is definitely not a Balrog.  See how gentle it is?" Legolas was touching the monster and it was just sitting there gazing on Legolas as if it almost liked to be touched.   Before long, the monster was lying down and was making a soft sound of contentment.  Legolas started to sing an Elvish ballad, but it was not harmonious at all because he was singing through Gimli's Dwarfish throat.  In a matter of minutes, the 'balrog' was fast asleep.
"Now we can go back to Rivendell without a hideous beast chasing us and we can report this to Elrond.  All one has to do is use one's head." Legolas in Gimli's body was quite pleased with himself, while Gimli stood flabbergasted. They walked back to Rivendell, Gimli mumbling and grumbling the whole while about being so "unnaturally tall". Legolas thought he should be the one grumbling- he was panting trying to keep up with himself!- but he was a well-bred Elf and he kept his mouth shut.
When they reached Elrond's house, they found it in the midst of a celebration. Gimli asked an Elf they met what was going on and learned that the Hobbit Frodo had woken up- a council would be held the next day to decide what to do with the unnamed problem he had brought with him. Legolas and Gimli looked at each other.
"At least we'll be back in our own bodies by then," said Gimli, "that is, if that blasted wizard wasn't lying."
"Speak no ill of Gandalf, Dwarf! He has powers beyond your imagining!" The Elf in Dwarfs clothings retorted.
With that they set off the find Elrond to warn him of the false Balrog.  Since they had left at sundown the night before to duel, it was now morning at the Homely House and the Dwarf and Elf were quite exhausted.
"As soon as we report the fake Balrog I am going to go to sleep," Gimli said with Dwarfish determination.
Legolas and Gimli walked all the way down to the end of the Grand Hall before they spotted Elrond.
"My Lord Elrond, my companion and I have a bit of news concerning a monster we ran into on the southern border of Rivendell."
Elrond sat on his chair, puzzled as to what this monster could be.
"How queer.  Tell me, what kind of monster was it?"
"It was a Balrog, but it wasn't a Balrog."
"Oh, stop confusing him you stupid Dwarf!  Let me talk to him!" Legolas was getting impatient.
"You see, my lord, we ran into a monster that looked like a Balrog except it didn't have wings and did not breathe fire, and was very small and got quite exhausted after running.  It was not a Balrog, sir."
"This is very strange.  I shall send 3 of my finest sentries to spy on it and report back to me."
Gandalf, standing behind the door and listening in, almost collapsed and fell to the ground with laughter , for he knew what the 'monster' was and from whence it came. But he wasn't about to tell anyone. It was going to be too enjoyable when they all realized how dumb they were! So he kept his mouth shut, and went back to watching the antics of Gimli and Legolas, who were still trapped in each other's bodies.
Legolas (the dwarf) was busy trying to explain about the body switch to Elrond, who was looking bewildered. Then Gimli the Elf spoke up.
"Leave it to an Elf to fudge up a simple explanation!" This angry statment was extremely amusing since it came from the Elf's own body. "It's as simple as this, Elrond sir: Legolas and I were walking through the forest, minding our own business, when Gandalf popped out of the trees, said 'Alacazam' and poof! I was in Legolas’s body, and he was in mine."
"GANDALF!!!!" Elrond's face was red with fury as he yelled out the wizard's name. Gimli was taken aback. He had never seen and Elf, let alone Elrond himself, show any negative outward emotion. And all the while Legolas (In his body) was smiling like nothing strange at all was going on.
Gandalf hobbled into the hall, amused beyond the dwarf's comprehension.
"Yes, Elrond?"  Gandalf was not quite afraid of Elrond's wrath, and still thought it quite amusing about the fake Balrog.
"I want you to return these two poor people back into their rightful bodies, immediately!"  Elrond thundered.
"I shall do so at once, Elrond." And with that said,  Gandalf picked up his staff and muttered, 'osro...fithi...SATOP!!!' and there was a blinding yellow light that filled the room.  Elrond turned his head so that the light would not hurt his eyes.
Legolas felt a bit nauseated.  He also had a splitting headache.  Gimli felt a loud ringing noise in his ears.  Finally, there were back in their true bodies and glad to be back.
"Now, Gandalf, would you mind telling me why you did this?" Elrond was relieved somewhat to see the two people back in their own bodies.
"You see, Elrond, they were fighting and I wanted them to walk a mile in each other's shoes.  I wanted them to have empathy for themselves and thereby stop the fighting.  I intended no harm to come to their heads."
"I see. Now tell me what this fake Balrog is all about, because something tells me you had a part in it's creation." Elrond crossed his arms across his chest and tapped his fingertips. Gimli put his hands on his hips and gripped his axe. Legolas merely raised one eyebrow. He felt he already knew what the Balrog was...but like Gandalf earlier, he wasn't going to say anything. He was embarrassed he hadn't figured it out sooner.
"My dear Elrond. The 'monster' you three are so worried about is a creation of mine, designed to test the worth of this good Dwarf and Elf. I wanted to see if they would lead it back to Rivendell or not, and if they would turn and face it, and what other foolish things they might attempt. They behaved most satisfactorily! They knew they couldn't face down a real Balrog, so they wisely ran away, leading it carefully away from Rivendell. And once they were running, they considered the creature, and, being knowledgeble in such things," here Gandalf nodded to Legolas," they realized this creation could be no true Balrog. So they stopped and met it. And promptly came back to warn you, sir. So you see, they behaved exactly as they should have, and I have decided they are worthy."
Elrond nodded. Gimli looked taken aback. Legolas was not surprised, so he spoke up.
"If you will forgive my asking, Mithrandir, worthy of what?"
"Why, that's for me to know and you to find out at the Council later on! I guarantee you will not be disappointed!" With a twinkle in his eyes, Gandalf turned and left the hall.
   Elrond rolled his eyes. Gimli thought he heard him mutter something about wizards and their "stupid tests".
    "Well, my good dwarf and my good elf, since you have passed Gandalf's test, I shall honor you at the feast tonight. There is to be a secret Council (which everyone seems to know about) tomorrow morning. Someone will fetch each of you when it is time. However, I have many pressing duties to attend to at the moment, so if you will excuse me.." Elrond rose and left the hall.
    Gimli and Legolas were left in that gigantic hall, alone together. There was an uncomfortable silence. Gimli cleared his throat and said jovially, "So, master Elf! Are you really as good a shot as they say you are?"
    Legolas recognized a dwarfish attempt at an apology. He decided to do the noble thing and accept it. A sly smile lit his fair face. In one swift and easy motion, he notched an arrow to his bow and took aim. Gimli watched in awe as the arrow pierced the exact center of a wooden shield hanging at the far <and I do mean far> end of the hall. Legolas calmly put his archery things away.
    "So, master dwarf! Are you really as good with that axe as they say you are?" Gimli grinned.
    "Allow me to give you a demonstration, my good Elf." Bowing, Gimli escorted Legolas out the hall towards the training grounds.
    Several Elves, men and Dwarves saw them striding through the hallways and marked the oddity of a dwarf and an elf walking together so companionably. Gandalf also took notice. He smiled to himself.
    "Yessir, I think they will do."

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