Nothing beta’d. Enjoy?
. Strider (The Lord of the Rings) - this story is before the fellowship, but after the hobbit. it explains how Aragorn arrived with the rangers and returned to middle earth
The little Hobbit boy was watching the road where it disappeared around his neighbor’s hill, as he had done for the past three days. Today, however, he finally saw the person he had been waiting for coming marching around the corner. A grin lit up his face, and he bounded over the low picket fence and ran up the path.
“Uncle Bilbo! Uncle Bilbo! You’re back home!” he cried.
Bilbo gave a grin to match his nephew’s. “Frodo, my boy! It’s grand to see you again! How have you been?”
“I’m fine. How are you? Did you see the elves? Do you have any stories to tell?”
Bilbo laughed and swept the tiny Frodo up into a hug. “Yes, certainly, my boy! But may we not go inside first? Walking all the way from Rivendell can make a Hobbit feel quite famished!”
Once seated inside, Bilbo said, “The elves have told me a most unusual tale from far in the east, young Frodo.”
“How far, uncle?”
“All the way from Mordor! . . . You wouldn’t know it, my boy. It is a dark place, where terrible things happened in years past. But the elves say that one of the men we call Rangers traveled there not long ago.”
Frodo furrowed his brow. “Why would he want to go to such a place?”
“Well, the Rangers are brave folk, as you know, lad.” Bilbo smiled and ruffled Frodo’s hair. “But this man, this “Strider,” had help with him, it seems.”
“A whole army of Rangers?”
Bilbo scratched his chin thoughtfully. “Perhaps they were Rangers. Rangers of some other land, far beyond the sea, of a kind we’ve never heard of before. There were five, the Elves say, all dressed in clothing of a strange, smooth cloth, and each in a different color. One red, and one blue, and one black, one yellow, one pink. And their whole heads were covered in helmets with a great black window on the front.”
Frodo wrinkled his forehead once more. “I thought Rangers were trackers. Those don’t seem like the right colors to wear to blend in in a forest! And how could they see through a black window?”
Bilbo chuckled. “Right you are my boy, but all I know is what the Elves told me. And the Elves say these five marched to the black gate of Mordor together with Strider.”
“A gate? Who lives inside the gates at Mordor, Uncle Bilbo?”
“Orcs, Frodo. Many, many hundreds of orcs—perhaps even thousands! And perhaps other terrible creatures besides. Perhaps dragons,” he said a bit more quietly, “if any dragons are still left in these lands.”
“And what did Strider and the colorful Rangers do when they got there?”
“That is the strangest part of the story of all, my boy! It is said that these strange new friends of Strider somehow called down great metal steeds from the sky, shaped like strange beasts unknown to anyone in Middle-earth! Though one was a great bird, like the Eagles, and one was said to be an oliphaunt.”
Frodo’s eyes widened. “An oliphaunt,” he breathed quietly. “They are real . . .”
And these great beasts crashed against the black gates and knocked them down! And then they ran inside and . . . well, we aren’t really sure what happened inside. We must wait for more news, I think.”
“Wow,” said Frodo. His eyes focused intently on Bilbo’s. “That sounds . . . that sounds like a made-up story, uncle. I’m sorry! But it just can’t be real, can it? It doesn’t sound real . . .”
Bilbo gave a small smile. “My boy, there is much about the world that we don’t know. I never knew trolls and wizards were real until I went on my adventure with Thorin! But I saw them, plain as I see you now. So who are we to say there are no great beasts of metal somewhere in Middle-earth?”
Frodo thought for a minute. “I guess . . .”
“And one part of the story is certainly true.”
Frodo perked back up. “What’s that, uncle?”
“When the Elves first heard the story, they sent a scout to the edge of Mordor to learn more. She returned to Rivendell while I was visiting, and I had the luck to speak with her directly.” Bilbo leaned in closer to Frodo before whispering excitedly, “The black gates have been destroyed by something. Something big and powerful!”
The little Hobbit opened his mouth wide with excitement. Jumping up and down, he yelled, “What else have you heard about from the Elves?”
Bilbo smiled and started to tell his nephew the next story. He really did feel quite good, despite the long walk. It seemed as though some burden had been lifted from him that he hadn’t even realized he was carrying. As though some dark voice that had been whispering into his ear for so long he couldn’t remember when it had started, had been suddenly silenced. It felt as though there were peaceful times to be had now, though he couldn’t imagine why that shouldn’t have been the case all along.
. Creative Excuses (Star Wars) - Summary: Kylo sees the light...It's concentrated on his face, in particular his mouth.
The light was blinding.
Kylo Ren struggled not to squirm beneath the intense beam. He hated this feeling. Of being trapped, of having normally hidden parts of himself illuminated for others to see. But after a particularly drawn out moment of pain, Kylo couldn’t handle the strain any more. He instinctively lifted his hand and prepared to use the Force and push away his aggressor—
—and immediately felt the power dwindle away, overpowered and tamped down by the more powerful Force user in the room.
Kylo! The disapproving voice of Supreme Leader Snoke echoed through Kylo’s mind. Control yourself, child!
I cannot take the pain, master, Kylo returned weakly, knowing that Snoke was in his mind and would hear. Why can’t I use anesthesia for this?
For a mere cavity drilling? Snoke’s mental voice crackled with disdain. Do you realize the pain I constantly experience in this withered body? If I can live like this, every hour of every day and night, surely the grandson of Darth Vader can make it through one simple dental operation, without attempting to attack the dental droid?
I do not doubt your fortitude, master, but this pain is beyond my ability to endure. Surely just a small amount of anesthesia, to locally numb the area—
Kylo heard Snoke’s wasted fist crash weakly against the arm rest of the chair he sat in. Silence, child! There is no anesthesia! It hasn’t been invented yet.
I only—Wait. What? Kylo was momentarily distracted from the ministrations of the droid that floated over his face. What do you mean, it hasn’t been invented yet? There’s literally a self-aware artificial intelligence with no obvious means of propulsion hovering over my head performing complex medical work. We got here in a spaceship. You and I both have swords made of lasers that mysteriously stop after an arbitrary amount of distance traveled. But you’re saying no one in this galaxy has invented anesthesia yet?
It’s “a long time ago,” Kylo, Snoke intoned. Our technology is unavoidably limited by the time period we live in.
I’ll admit, I keep forgetting the “long time ago” part, Kylo complained. It’s a little easy to do so, what with all the aforementioned lasers and spaceships.
Stop whining. An element of Snoke’s gravelly growl began to enter his mental voice, a clear warning. You wouldn’t be in this position if you weren’t so liberal with the cookies.
Kylo couldn’t help himself; he shifted his eyes towards his master, anger clear on his face. You promised cookies. “Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.” Does that sound familiar, master?
A cold fury filled Kylo’s mind, and he knew he had gone too far when Snoke warned, In moderation, my apprentice. A true practitioner of the Dark Side has cookies in moderation. Cookies, Kylo, are a sometimes food.
. The days we fell in love (The Avengers) - Romanogers AU. Natasha meets Steve in a bowling alley where she works. From the moment he saw her, Steve was completely haunted by the woman. (Full summary inside)
Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. Also, I blatantly misread a pronoun in the summary (“where she works” as “where he works”), but I want to run with this idea anyway.
Steve Rogers bent to pick up a fallen cup next to a ball return. He started to head to the equipment closet to get a mop for the spill when he heard a woman’s voice behind him say, “Steve.”
He was already turning around out of reflex when he started to recognize that the voice had had a strange cadence to it; it was echoing, ethereal, like it was being muffled in some way. He still wasn’t expecting quite what he found waiting behind him, though.
“It is you!” said the woman. She was floating in midair, her entire body covered in an amber-colored glow. Her clothing was strange, almost like an aviator’s jumpsuit, to say nothing of how tight-fitting they were, though Steve was a bit too shocked by everything else to feel scandalized at the moment. The woman continued, “Did it work?”
Steve looked around the room to see the other after-hours bowling alley employees. They were all staring the specter of the woman, as well, so at least Steve could be sure he wasn’t hallucinating. He blinked “I would say something worked, though I’m not sure what it could have been, ma’am.”
The floating woman actually looked hurt, and despite the strange circumstances, Steve couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt over making her feel that way.
She continued, “Steve, it’s me! Natasha? The Soul Stone must transport souls rather than just taking them. Did Clint get the Stone back safely? Is everyone . . . back yet?” She trailed off as she continued to see nothing but confusion in Steve Rogers’s face.
“I’m afraid I don’t know any Natashas or Clints, or . . . or Soul Stones. I am sorry, but I think you have the wrong man. But I promise, we’ll contact the authorities and try to help you in any way we can . . .”
As Steve talked, Natasha finally became aware of the clothes he was wearing. And the music that was playing. And the recruitment and war bonds posters adorning the walls. “Steve,” she interrupted. “What year is this?”
A small, patronizing smile shifted Steve’s lips. “It’s 1944, Natasha.”
Natasha’s mind kicked into overdrive. She may have been ripped from her body by a magical space artifact, and transported not only to the wrong time, but to another world where Steve Rogers wasn’t where he should be—or who he should be, looking at his tiny physique—but Natasha was still an Avenger.
She was still the Black Widow.
And while some things were clearly going to go differently on this Earth compared to the one she had known, surely her foreknowledge of history would prove valuable.
Surely She could save lives. And maybe even prevent Thanos from happening. If things were going well back where she had left her friends, Natasha could potentially prevent the effects of two different Decimations on two different Earths.
“Sorry for all this disturbance, Steve, but I am going to need some help. I need to get into contact with a woman named Peggy Carter . . .”
—doctorlit needed three wikis open for this: Tolkien Gateway, Wookieepedia, and the Professional Bowler’s Association lingo page