No Place Like Home

Disclaimer - I don't own anything that you don't recognize ;)

A/N - This story is a sequel to Home Sweet Home. I wouldn't think you need to read that to understand this, but it might make things easier ;)

Murphy's Law: If you realize that there are three possible ways in which something can go wrong, and cover them all, then a fourth, unprepared for way, will miraculously appear out of thin air.

Part One

The two of them rode in stony silence.

They were not fortunate enough to have complete quiet, which would add tension and suspense to the situation, but they did the best they could. Despite the sounds of Esgaroth waking up behind them, nature awakening around them and their own horse cheerfully trotting below them, neither of them so much as breathed loudly.

The Elf and Dwarf sat together on Arod, but each was loathe to do so. The Dwarf, who was behind his companion, busied himself with glaring at the Elf's back, only grudgingly holding onto him to keep from falling off. Again. Certainly, the Elf was not trying to keep the journey very smooth or comfortable. It would seen he was trying to do quite the opposite.

The Elf distracted himself from the unwelcome feel of the Dwarf behind him by replaying the scene that had transpired not half hour ago in his head. It was highly amusing, and caused him to burst out in random, brief laughter that annoyed his fellow traveler no end.

This was how they continued for some time. They broke for lunch. The Elf wordlessly and gracefully dismounted, and left the Dwarf to messily stumble to the ground. They ate their provisions in silence, and as far away from each other as they could politely go. The Elf climbed up a tree while the less agile one chose a spot by the river, maybe twenty feet away. They returned to their horse by unspoken agreement and continued on their way until, midway through the afternoon, they reached foot of the mountain, where they were met with a pair of brown haired Dwarves.

"Halt!" One of them cried. "Who are you, and what are you doing in our lands?"

Legolas looked down at them, unsure of what to say - he was saved, however, by an excited voice from behind.

"Azaghâl! Tharkûl!" These two words appeared to be the names of the sentries. A string of words also followed Gimli's exclamation, but Legolas truly couldn't understand a word of it - it was spoken in Dwarvish. Legolas suspected that this was being done on purpose, just to annoy him.

Gimli almost threw himself from Arod, before hurrying over to where his stunned friends were. They proceeded to hold a long, slow conversation - completely ignoring the Elf and horse nearby - which made Legolas silently thank the Valar that at least he had not made friends with an Ent.

It was a while before the Dwarves bothered to acknowledge him. Returning to Westron, the one Legolas thought was Azaghâl stepped forward.

"You," He snarled. "Must be the Elf. Legolas."

Legolas nodded, plastering a smile on his face and trying to look friendly. "I am, Master Dwarf. You would be...?"

"You need not concern yourself with that." The other Dwarf snapped. "Off your horse. Now."

Legolas looked questioningly at Gimli as he obediently slid off his horse.

"It can't come any further." The first Dwarf told him. "Get rid of it."

Legolas gaped at him, and turned to stare at Gimli.

"Master Dwarf," Legolas said finally, having received no response from his friend. "My horse will do no harm. I do not see why-"

"Get rid of it." The Dwarf repeated dangerously, warningly raising the pointed stick he held.

Legolas, seeing no way out of it without offending his soon-to-be hosts before even walking through their front door, whispered a few words in the horses ear, then watched as he trotted casually away. Legolas found himself sadly wishing that he, too, could turn away like that. Now that he had arrived at Erebor, he found that the last thing he wanted to do was stay. The promise he had made to his friend, though, made him tear his gaze away from his departing companion and look back down at the Dwarves who stood glaring at him.

"Come with us," The second sentry instructed, and without further ado, turned sharply and began walking up the incline that led to the door. Legolas walked next to them, but he might as well have been ten feet behind, for all the inclusion he got. He walked next to Gimli, who spend the entire walk cheerfully conversing with his friends - in Dwarvish.

Legolas decided he was fully prepared to put aside the disagreement between himself and Gimli, because to be alone and friendless in the Dwarven mountain was not a position he wanted to find himself in.

It had been eleven days since Maegóre had visited the mountain. Of that visit, his brother hadn't said much - but he had told Legolas that the architecture and designs of the inside was surprisingly good.

Good, Legolas found, did not even come close.

The walls had been carved to depict scenes from history - Dwarven history, of course. Legolas recognized none of them, except a larger picture of the Dwarves defeating Smaug the Dragon. Yet, Legolas still found the scenes interesting to look at. The scenes were far from dull; in fact, they were brightened by gems encrusted into particular places. There was just although to look proper, and no more than was needed. Legolas was sincerely impressed. Each carving had clearly been made with extreme love and care, smoothly, carefully, and not a single glitch in sight. There were similar things on his own walls at home, but none like this. They simply did not compare. Greenwood's patterns were of nature and Elven history too, but although carefully done, the Elves that had worked on those were simply no match for the natural skill of the Dwarves. Here,each wall was carefully illuminated so that the scenes were shown in just the right way, and the room was well-lit, not darkish as Legolas had half expected. The chamber was breathtaking.

"Good, isn't it." Gimli stated proudly. It was time Gimli had acknowledged the Elf in hours and Legolas would have been lying if he were to say that he was not relieved. The look on Gimli's face told Legolas that they were not on entirely friendly terms yet, though.

"It is beautiful," Legolas said truthfully.

Gimli nodded, rolling his eyes, and turning back to speak to some of the Dwarves who had approached him at their entry to the mountain.

Legolas took the opportunity to study the walls once more. Valar, he had never known Dwarves to be like this!

It was only a few minutes before Gimli returned, and when he did, he seemed quite friendly towards Legolas. He seemed to have forgiven the Elf, at any rate, and if Gimli could do that then Legolas was certainly willing to forgive least until their visit to the mountain ended and they were on their own once more.

"My family does not know I am here yet," Gimli told him. "I have asked it to be so. I am going to see them now, and have enlisted the help of my friends, Azaghâl - who you have already met - and Zaharûn, to show you to the room you will be staying in. You should have no problem getting along with them," Gimli assured him.

Legolas was not convinced. Zaharûn looked friendly enough, but Azaghâl still looked like he would be quite happy to murder him and his horse.

"I'm sure we will get along just fine," Legolas lied.

"Yes, and I will come and get you when it it time for dinner, in a few hours or so. I believe some of my cousins are visiting from the Glittering Caves right now and they are in the rooms right next to yours. They'll be happy to help you if you need anything."

"That's nice to know." Legolas replied. He wondered if there was a window in his room. If there wasn't, there was every chance he would suffocate from being locked in a mountain with no notable escape and no knowledge of his way around.

No sooner had Gimli left to find his family then Legolas turned around to find Zaharûn standing waiting for him, Azaghâl having already gone on ahead. Legolas rolled his eyes, and walked with Zaharûn, who was as polite as could be expected, pleasantly asking Legolas about himself and his home.

Legolas learned just how large a place Erebor was on his way to his room. The trip took about fifteen minutes, Legolas was certain. Still, it was not entirely unpleasant. On the way, he was treated to even more of the Dwarves fine carvings, and after a few minutes Zaharûn, sensing that his guest would rather inspect the walls then engage in conversation, fell silent, leaving Legolas to his thoughts.

Legolas did not even notice how far down they seemed to be going - unusually so. Or how dark it was getting, as the number of wall-mounted candles fell with every turn and new corridor.

Eventually Azaghâl, who the other two had caught up with, stopped suddenly. They had reached the end of their corridor, and were met with one long passageway. The two corridors were running so that they met in a T-shape.

"Your room is down here," Azaghâl announced, nodding down the right half of the new passage.

The corridor was barely lit at all, and the few dimly lit candelabras upon the wall seemed to have been put there as an afterthought. There were no corridors leading off it except the one they had come from, although doors frequently appeared on the walls - which, to Legolas's dismay, were not even decorated. Looking back, though, the walls had seemed to be getting less detailed as the small group went on their way.

"Oh," Legolas said. "Well. It looks very...homely."

"Indeed, that is good," Azaghâl agreed. "I expect you will be spending the majority of your visit here."

Not if I can help it, Legolas thought to himself.

He followed the two Dwarves quite a way down the passageway until, quite suddenly, they stopped outside one very inconspicuous door.

"Here we are," Azaghâl said grandly, pulling a bronze key from his pocket and unlocking the door. The two Dwarves then stepped aside for Legolas to walk through, which he did with clear anticipation.

He was not too impressed with what he found.

The words sparsely furnished were an understatement here. Bare stone floor, bare stone walls. One bed, made of rock and of the most basic of designs, had been shoved into a corner, with three itchy-looking blankets laid upon it. No pillow. On the wall, one pathetic candle flickered.

And that was the extent of it all. Not even a bedside table. Not even an en suite bathroom.

Legolas struggled to say something nice about the room, and turned around to do so. He was quite surprised to find himself alone in the room, with the door shut as well.

Surely they are not so rude to have left me here already, Legolas thought to himself. As he reached out to pull open the door, however, he heard it. The soft - yet unmistakable - sound of a key being turned in the lock.

It took a few moments for the realization to hit him. In those moments, he reached out, tried to turn the handle of the door, tried but to no avail, before sliding down to the floor.

He had just been locked in this room.

This room, which actually resembled more of a dungeon, when he gave it further thought.

Only prisoners belonged in dungeons.

Which could only mean that he had been taken prisoner by Dwarves.

Legolas allowed a low groan to escape him.

His mood was only made worse with the realization that the room didn't even have a window.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it. Feedback is cherished, and if you want to give me any concrit, that would be great because I'd really like to improve my writing. I'd love to know what you thought was good, and what wasn't :D Have a great day/night!