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The Michel Delving Mathom House  by Periantari

Summary: The first time Merry meets Pippin. :) Merry is 8 years old and Pippin is a newborn. :)
A/N - Written for Pipwise for her birthday in October '05. =)
Thank you to Slightlytookish for the beta and Shirebound for her suggestion for the title! =)

A Natural Bond

At first, he did not know what would it mean to have a younger cousin--though the fact of it being a lad did make a slight difference...

Merry looked upon the newborn baby with scrutiny. He was too small. He seemed like a brat being cuddled and cooed to all the time. Being enveloped by baby blue blankets, he was positively tiny amidst the coverings and the arms of his mother. It was gurgling incomprehensible baby sounds and was kicking his little feet all around in the crib.

Quite lively young chap, thought Merry. A baby boy cousin, a difference that would make, but he is so small -- when would he ever grow to do any fun stuff with me?

Merry touched his small tender cheek, and the baby--they had named it Peregrin-- looked up and smiled at Merry.

"Oh how adorable he is, Auntie," said Merry, quite happy to see the baby smile at him.

"I think he likes you... he doesn't smile at people while he is changing. Would you like to hold him after I’m done? But promise, you have to be gentle and careful... Our first son, my, how happy all of us are a son, finally!" Eglantine was cuddling baby Peregrin again, to his delight.

Wow, what a smiley baby... and i thought all babies were stinky and loud and annoying, thought Merry. Merry grinned back. It indeed would be a nice change from having to play with Pearl, Pimpernel, and Pervinca, all the time. How long he could stand dolls and just staying indoors, he could not imagine anymore.

Eglantine gently transferred the baby to Merry's arms. The baby named Peregrin was so light, yet Merry was afraid to drop him. He was so small and seemingly fragile that Merry was afraid to shift around for fear of dropping him.

"Here, sit down upon the chair...I know it is awkward for you, since you probably haven't been around babies very much, gathering that you're an only child and all.”

"Oh there are babies in Brandy Hall, but i've never really held one. They all cry when I hold them, " Merry replied, looking at the baby’s tiny fingers. Merry breathed in the fresh scent of soap and milk. And I thought that all babies smelled bad, he thought.

Pippin's bright green eyes stared up at his older cousin with blondish brown curls, curiosity abounding upon who this stranger was. But he did not utter anything and lay in Merry’s arms quite relaxed.

"Say my name...you little baby... MERRY... M-E-R-R-Y," Merry said to his little cousin.

"He's only a newborn, Merry! Pippin doesn't even know how to say 'ma', how could he say YOUR name," Eglantine laughed. “Before you know it though, he'll be tramping through the woods with you ... but now, as a babe, just need to feed him, burp him, and let him sleep good long naps."

"Pippin is his nickname? How funny it would be to always have to call him 'Peregrin'." Merry giggled at the thought. "I think he’s getting sleepier... aw, no fun..I wanted to see his cute eyes open again," Merry said as the little eyelids of baby Pippin were slowly closing.

"Awww, he's so cute-- cute baby... I don't know, but girl babies aren't as cute and they don't like me as much," Merry said as Eglantine gently took back her sleeping newborn.

"I think you have a natural bond with Pippin, for he doesn't smile or let anyone hold him as long as you did," replied Eglantine. "Come often Merry.. come help me take care of this young'un," Eglantine smiled at Merry and then at the little newborn son, who was as precious to her as her own life itself. His cherubic face with full cheeks and brown curls looked almost angelic but there was a spark in his eyes that made young Merry think that this Took was somehow special in some way.

“Peregrin– what does that mean?” asked Merry, still attentive and wondering about the baby.

“Peregrine with an ‘e’ is a type of bird... a wandering bird, I believe,” replied Eglantine. “I haven’t seen any for quite some time though... many say they have flown away to the West.”

“Well, I hope Pippin doesn’t fly away— that will be no fun. I think I should train him to be a real hobbit lad,” Merry grinned mischievously.

“What are you thinking, dear one... what are you going to do with my dear son,” Eglantine smiled and glanced at her eight-year old nephew with fondness. Merry was her favorite nephew and he was always cheerful and a good lad. She knew that he would act like an older brother to Pippin. Her girls and Paladin all liked Merry’s company whenever he visited Tookland.

“Nothing... I’m just kidding, Auntie. Don’t always take me seriously,” replied Merry still glancing over the crib over the sleeping newborn. “Will he grow quickly? It’s no fun to watch him sleep all day...”

“All in good time, Merry, all in good time. For now I just feel incredibly blessed to have him and for you to be here.” Eglantine put her arm around Merry while gently tucking in the blanket snugly across the sleeping baby’s chest. Eglantine then turned away and went to the other room, leaving Merry with Pippin.

Whispering to Pippin while gently stroking his pudgy cheeks, Merry whispered, “I’m going to look after you and train you to be my best playmate I could ever have... so glad you’re a lad, Pip... so glad.”

Summary: What did Rosie think when Sam approached him at the Green Dragon? Movie-verse
A/N- Written for gamgeefest's birthday in August '05.

The Fuel for the Fire

His eyes had met mine the instant that he came into the lively and crowded main room of the Green Dragon. His gentle hazel eyes peered at me shyly yet illuminated what I had so longed for this past year; tender love sparkled in his eyes, and his look of determination was evident as it gradually changed into a smile. His eyes never left mine even as he toasted Frodo, Merry and Pippin on their first time back to the Green Dragon after their great adventure.

After he had taken a long sip of ale, he placed his mug gently down, his eyes looking directly at me now and he made a beeline to the entrance to the bar stand where I was standing. He gently placed his strong arms around my waist and looking directly into my eyes, I could do nothing but meet his glance and smile longingly back at him.

And all the long waiting, anticipation and missing feelings that had pervaded my mind this past year dissolved into this moment and made me feel like it was all worth it to wait for him, as his lips touched my ears, whispering shyly into my ears,

“Do you want to marry me, dear Rosie Cotton?”

And at that moment, it didn’t matter how many hobbits were watching us at the Green Dragon. Without thinking I hugged Sam back tightly and just let my lips gingerly meet his and made sure that my kiss would answer the question for him.

Summary: Boromir and Pippin have a conversation during the Quest.
A/N-Written for slightlytookish for Yule '05.

More than Meets the Eye

“You hobbits do give us many surprises,” Boromir said to Pippin one night before he relieved Pippin of the night shift watch. “First one volunteers to do the most impossible task, to your insisting upon sword training, to random hobbity tales that make the Company smile, to now hidden mithril coats from Frodo! What else do hobbits have in store for us, Pippin?” chuckled Boromir, glancing at Pippin with a new level of fondness and amusement.

“It’s nothing really, Boromir. I suppose you just don’t know much about hobbits before the Fellowship but indeed there’s more to us than food and pipeweed—though those are very much daily necessities,” Pippin’s green eyes sparkled as he grinned.

“It is quite amazing to me for Frodo to be able to withstand the power of the Ring…” Boromir’s voice drifted as he shifted a bit in his sitting position.

“Well it is evil, and yes, I worry for Frodo… just wish that I will be there for him at all times. Merry and Sam and I decided to follow him back in the Shire. We were so afraid that he’ll not allow us to be part of the Fellowship in Rivendell. I’m glad that Gandalf was on our side back then. We need to be with Frodo though, Boromir,” said Pippin in all seriousness. “Frodo is like a brother to us, so very dear to us, and we would never want him to go into danger by himself. I just hope that we can be helpful enough for he doesn’t talk much or wants us to worry about him,” Pippin said, trying to stifle a yawn but continued. “Hobbits aren’t the only ones impressive though, Boromir. We all find Gondorian men like yourself to be so very powerful and wise and strong...We frequently wonder how many wars you’ve seen, how much you know about the Enemy, what roads you’ve traveled, what legends and lore you know…”

Boromir gave a laugh and joked, “Is it only you doing the wondering, Pippin? You seem to be the most inquisitive one in the group, but I see that you also know how to praise as well I see! But I think you better sleep before we venture out again, Pippin. You look quite tired.”

Pippin blinked and yawned again. “Well, yes, hobbits do like sleep too and I do not think that’s a surprise, right Boromir? Funny that men ask so many questions as well though—I thought it was only the hobbits’ job!” said Pippin as he laid down upon his blankets and pillow.

“No, indeed not. Hobbits used to be just fairy tales to us, but they are now more than just tales from the past. A lot more now,” said Boromir.

“We are no fairy-tales—we’re short and we hide in holes underground but we do have wonderful ale and pipeweed and fun and good tilled earth…And besides, Bilbo, my elder cousin once dealt with Smaug, the dragon of the Lonely Mountain and did much to gain respect from elves and dwaves and men alike in his adventures--- we’re not that unknown, Boromir.”

Boromir smiled at the most loquacious hobbit, “Indeed not, Pippin—I’m sure that you would even become a great hobbit warrior after everything is done as well. Sleep well, Pippin,” Boromir said as he tucked Pippin into the soft blankets.

“Hobbit warrior? Sleep warrior more like it…”Pippin’s voice drifted. “Good night, Boromir.”

Boromir watched Pippin’s eyes quickly flutter close; a smile formed in Pippin’s face as he seemed like he was already on a cusp of a good dream.

“I’m sure you and your kinsmen will indeed do more great tasks to surprise us ere the end is upon us…” Boromir said softly to himself, glancing at the four hobbits in a row, the white light of the moon illuminating their innocent faces, seemingly to reflect that there is more to a hobbit than meets the eye.

Summary: Wee!Pippin experiences his first snow with 12-year old Merry. Eglantine makes an appearance as well.
A/N- Written for dreaminoflorien for Yule '05. Thanks to Slightlytookish for the beta!

First Snow

“Pippin?” Eglantine was surprised to see her four-year-old son at the front door, snow-soaked and shivering. Merry was besides Pippin with a smug smile on his face.

“Mummy—I’m so glad to be inside again,” Pippin said as he rushed inside to the warm smial. “The snow was fun, but it was sooooo cold!” Pippin shuddered against the warm body of his mother, and Eglantine quickly and gently removed Pippin’s snow-soaked cloaks and wrapped him with towels that had just been warmed by the fire. Somehow she had an instinctive feeling that the lads would get wet in the snow. She picked Pippin up and sat him near the fire which Paladin had prepared for the family when it had started snowing early that December morning.

“Now, there, there Pippin…you’ll warm up soon. You just rest by the fire. Now, Merry, why did you play so hard in the snow with Pippin?”

Merry grinned mischievously at Eglantine and replied, “I wanted to show Pippin how his first snow would be like… in more ways than one. I built him a snowman, though, so I wasn’t all bad,” Merry brushed off the remaining snow from his cloak and put out his cold hands to warm them by the fire.

“Merry!”

“No, it was fun… I like snow and it was fun, Mum, but I fell in it and it was very cold…Merry threw snow at me, but now I’m better,” Pippin snuggled into the warm towels around him while Eglantine put her arm around her son, rubbing Pippin’s cold hands between her own. “Don’t worry, momma—it wasn’t Merry’s fault that I was a bit clumsy in the snow… but I must say it wasn’t nice for him to throw snow at me…” Pippin glanced at Merry with a threatening glare upon his face. “Snow is cold, momma but it doesn’t taste like anything—just cold… very cold,” Pippin snuggled closer to his mother for warmth.

”I wished I could’ve been there to dunk you in the snow,” replied Eglantine scowling playfully at Merry who was trying hard to make amends by preparing warm drinks for all of them. “I wished I had come out to play and keep an eye on you both, but the Yule feast is tonight and I have so much to prepare.”

“Ah—a bit of snow never hurt anyone and Pip, I’ll be nicer next time in the snow, all right?” Merry handed a small cup of steamed milk to Pippin and gave a mug of tea to Eglantine.

Pippin received the cup graciously from Merry. “S’ok, Merry… you promise though… no more being a mean hobbit. We play next time only if you're not mean.” The lukewarm milk with honey was delicious and made him feel better and the bitter cold he had felt before was gradually fading as the heat of the fire warmed his toes and his mother’s arms cuddled him comfortably. With all the excitement from seeing and playing in his first snow, he was now warm and exhausted enough to doze off and take a little nap…

“I meant no harm, Aunt Eglantine. I just wanted Pippin to be happy in his first snow— it seems like he wants to nap now, the little sleepy-head,” Merry said as he fondly observed his young cousin’s drooping eyelids. “I’ll go bring him a blanket.”

“Thanks dear,” Eglantine wrapped her arms around the drowsy hobbit-lad in her lap.

Merry returned quickly and placed the blanket around Pippin’s body and whispered to Eglantine, “Pippin is fun to play with—we should play more often.”

“Of course, Merry—just so long as you don’t dunk poor Pippin in the snow that much,” Eglantine softly replied, as she grinned back to Merry, shaking her head in mild admonishment. Holding Pippin in her arms, she smiled down at her precious slumbering son, kissing him gently on the forehead and feeling ever so lucky to have a son in her arms.


Summary: Bilbo lets young Frodo know that he is glad to have adapted him.
A/N: Written for Shirebound
Thank you to slightlytookish and frodobaggins_88 for beta-ing.

Just Be Happy

“Frodo-lad, I have to tell you something,” Bilbo motioned Frodo to come close to him as Bilbo put his arm on Frodo’s shoulder. They were walking around Bag End and had come to the magnificent Party Tree. The weather was calm and the autumn air was still crisp and not so cold, which made walking a quite enjoyable activity. They settled down beside the tree to watch the beautiful sunset that illuminated the sky with pink and orange colors.

“What is it, Uncle? What is on your mind?” Frodo replied, concerned that it was something of great importance.

“I just want to tell you that I’m glad that you decided to stay at Bag End with me. I know it was hard to leave your Brandybuck relatives but an old bachelor like me needs company. I feel very lucky to have you by my side, so happy and glad when you agreed to live with me. You have made my life more special in more ways than one, I hope you understand,” said Bilbo with an expression full of sincerity and love looking into Frodo’s blue eyes,

“And living with you has been fun too, Uncle Bilbo,” replied Frodo with a smile. “I truly feel like I have all of your attention at all times and I like feeling that way.”

“You’ve always been one of my relatives that I felt had the spark which sets you apart, making you more special that the rest, the one that I could trust and believe in. I want to let you know that Bag End is yours if I ever decide to leave the Shire… I want to tell you that you’re the one Baggins that has the most spirit, a bright light in my life which makes me ever so lucky to have you,” said Bilbo.

“I’m lucky and glad to have you too, Bilbo; you’re one of the nicest relatives I’ve ever known and met.” “You’ve been so nice and generous to me ever since I’ve moved here. But, but--you’re not ever going to leave Bag End and me, are you?” asked Frodo his eyes wide with worry.

“No not now, of course not… but I just want to ensure you know that this is your home, Frodo. We can now share birthdays together with ease and I can tell you all the stories about my adventure to find Smaug and---“

“And can you tell Gandalf to come and make fireworks?” asked Frodo excitedly.

“Perhaps,” Bilbo replied with a grin. “I can also teach you some Elvish and the geography of the places I’ve been to.”

“That would be very interesting! I cannot wait,” replied Frodo with a big hug for Bilbo.

“I’m just glad to have you, dear Frodo. Know that and remember that you are so cherished,” replied Bilbo with a light kiss upon the dark curls of Frodo’s head.

“And I’m glad to have you as my guardian as well, dear Bilbo. Thank you for being here for me,” said Frodo, feeling deeply touched at Bilbo’s words. “Hobbiton is quite a nice place so far thanks to your kind welcome. But can we go see Merry and Uncle Saradoc and Aunt Esmie once in a while? I miss them too at times and it’ll be an adventure to go off and see them!”

“Of course, dear lad—we can do many things together including traveling, camping, and going to see the Elves,” Bilbo replied with a smile. “You have gone through so much already in life and I just want you to be happy…. Just be happy,” Bilbo said to Frodo’s ears as Frodo snuggled closer to Bilbo and closed his eyes, quite content to be in the arms of the uncle he loved.

Summary-Faramir and Pippin share a moment together before the Battle of the Black Gate.
A/N - Written for pipwise. Thanks to slightlytookish for beta-ing!

Hopes and Reassurances

“How is your cousin Meriadoc faring?” Faramir asked Pippin during one of his daily visits to his room in the Houses of Healing. Faramir was still resting, trying to recover his wounds and the news of his father’s madness and demise. Pippin had been there to give him some details and had been supportive of his recovery. He felt he owed Pippin some of his concern and that he ought to share his worry for his kin.

“He is doing better, my lord,” Pippin replied as he settled down next to Faramir with a tray of bread, cheese and tea. “Merry is taking a nap at the moment, and I’m sparing some time from my duties to see you this afternoon. I hope that you are feeling better as well?” Pippin glanced at Faramir and saw that there still remained undeniable sorrow and guilt in his grey eyes.

“The grief for my father still weighs heavily upon me but… I find it necessary to be strong in this precarious situation we are all in,” replied Faramir slowly. “I do not feel as physically weak as I did before though. The dark nightmares from the Black Breath come and go but have not been as awful as they once were. Thank you, Peregrin Took, for showing me kindness and consideration in telling me the truth of my father’s passing the last time you visited, for you and Mithrandir are not to blame for what has come to pass with him,” Faramir paused as tears gathered in his eyes. “And I am thankful for your rescue of me…” Faramir’s voice trailed off.

“There is no need to be thankful, Lord Faramir. I was only doing my duty as a friend. Besides, Beregond also would not see you die prematurely. Again, I am truly sorry about Lord Denethor,” Pippin looked down as he recalled the horrible scene in which the madness of Denethor was displayed so fully in the pyre. “I do wish Gandalf and I could’ve done more—“

“What happened to my father is not your fault or anyone else’s. I try to remind myself of that despite frequent thoughts that do place the blame upon myself,” said Faramir with a look of anguish in his eyes. “However, it does no good to dwell on things that we cannot change.”

“It is true that blame does not do anyone good,” Pippin replied. “Merry has often blamed himself whenever something bad happens to me. I can see it in his eyes that he blames himself for what has happened to me during the Quest, especially probably when the orcs that captured us and dragged us through the plains of Rohan. I think he even blamed himself for the palantir incident.” Pippin shuddered involuntarily at those memories. “This is why I am hesitant to tell him that I have decided to go to battle at the Black Gate with Aragorn and Gandalf. I do not know how he would take this news other than to be reluctant at my going and not understanding why I must do it…” Pippin’s voice trailed off, and the look of resoluteness on his face marked his grim determination.

“Why must you do it?” inquired Faramir.

Pippin thought for a moment before answering. “I need to be there as a Knight of Gondor and I feel that it is my duty. Also, the Shire needs to be represented,” he replied, looking up to meet Faramir’s surprised eyes. “I … still have much to give back to you and Gondor for I am still very much indebted to Boromir saving us.”

“You have already done much for Gondor and me already, my friend, but I will not hinder you if your decision is made,” Faramir said quietly. “But be sure not to go because you still feel that you and Merry are indebted to my brother. It was his duty to protect you both and he would want to see you safe until the end or his efforts will be for naught.”

“I have grown and have seen much more than I had expected since I set out from the Shire intending to just follow Frodo until the end. Oddly enough, I’m not fearful of riding out…I just feel that I must. I cannot explain it. However, Lord Faramir, I just have one favor to ask of you, if I may,” Pippin said hesitantly.

“Go ahead, Pippin… I am already quite impressed by your choice to go into battle, so whatever you dear heart wants, I will see to it if I can.”

“Just… please, if you can, look after Merry?” Pippin’s eyes were clouded with worry and concern for his cousin. “I’m afraid that he’ll feel as if all his friends have left him behind again and I truly do not wish him to feel that way. I would stay, yet I would feel cowardly if I did.”

“I would be glad to do that, Pippin. It is not an impossible task at all given that we are both forced to remain here in the Houses of Healing,” Faramir said with a smile.

“Thank you,” Pippin said. “I’m glad that you support my decision to fight. I haven’t yet told Aragorn or Gandalf, not to mention Merry, of my decision,” Pippin said. “So I must go and inform them… I am glad to have talked with you first, Faramir. You have put my heart at ease for I know someone will be there for Merry.”

“The pleasure is all mine,” replied Faramir. “I’ve heard that he is the one who helped Lady Eowyn of Rohan in slaying the Witch-King and I shall be glad to keep an eye on another impressive hobbit. I’m glad for your visits and I am happy that you trust me enough to confide in me.”

“I hope I haven’t spoken too much,” Pippin said with a smile. “I never mean to chatter, especially so much as to bother you…”

“Be assured that you did not,” Faramir replied with a grin. “But there is no need to worry. I have thought that hobbits are very special ever since I met Frodo and Sam.”

“I remember you telling us about meeting them that day in the Citadel… my heart gave a great leap and I felt hopeful once more… I wonder about them a lot…” Pippin’s voice dropped as his thoughts turned to Frodo and Sam and the feeling that he couldn’t do anything to protect and help them at the moment.

Silence pervaded for a while as neither man nor hobbit spoke.

Finally Faramir spoke. “There is one thing I’ve learned about hobbits is that they are unpredictable. We called you folks “Halflings” but we did not know better. I’ve heard Mithrandir talk about small creatures from the North but did not expect them to come out and join forces with the good to fight against Sauron. Your friends are special. Frodo had an Elvish air about him and knew how to speak about the Quest before a group of strangers without divulging information about the Enemy’s Ring, while his servant, Samwise, showed personality and loyalty to his master that is unmatched; now I find your determination to do what’s right quite amazing for a hobbit that has not yet come of age. So, take heart, Pippin—perhaps it is not quite a fool’s hope to learn that the One Ring is going where the enemy least expects it to. Perhaps there will be more surprises happening before the end.”

“You are wise, Faramir and I am heartened by your optimism amidst so much sorrow. . For this confidence in us, I thank you,” said Pippin, bowing in appreciation of the Steward’s words.

“Do what you feel is right in your heart, Pippin… May Eru bless you and your task at hand,” replied Faramir placing his hand on Pippin’s shoulder and gave a reassuring squeeze.

“Thank you, Faramir… I will do what I can,” replied Pippin with a determined nod.

With this thought, both of their eyes turned to the window and looked out to the East and an increasingly darkening sky, ominous that the last battles had yet to be fought and that fortitude and strength of mind would be necessary before the very end.

Summary: There are some things that you feel in the heart that is right to do.
A/N- Written for frodobaggins_88

Harthad Uluithiad

“I don’t know how long we shall take to – to finish. … But Samwise Gamgee, my dear friend—indeed, Sam my dearest hobbit, friend of friends—I do not think we need give thought to what comes later that. To do the job as you put it—what hope is there that we ever shall? And if we do, who knows what will come of that?” ~Frodo, The Passage of the Marshes, TTT

Though the tears had already involuntarily streamed from my eyes to my master’s hand, I could do no more than to hold on steadfastly onto his hand and ponder at those words that Frodo had just said.

To not have a ‘there and back” journey had always been on my mind; but did I really go forth to the path of certain death? There was still a slight chance to go back to my Gaffer and to Rosie and her family, wasn’t there? I had clung onto that one thought, slim though it may be that I could see them again against all odds. Poor Rosie—I had thought that we could have something special together---perhaps a future together. But there I was, torn between the master I loved and the hobbit lass that held my heart.

“Sam?”

I looked up to see that Frodo was scrutinizing my downcast face critically and he knew that I was upset.

“Dear Sam,” he said as he laid his hand upon my shoulder tenderly. His blue eyes spelled out deep misgivings and regret. “I did not expect you to come with me… but because you had insisted the day the Fellowship had broken, I was too touched and foolish to tell you to do otherwise,” Frodo’s voice drifted and guilt tinted his last words.

“No, master, it ain’t that. I—“

“Say no more, dear Sam… I’ve brought you into quite a pickle and I regret to bring you along,” said Frodo with a grim face. “I would have you follow Merry and Pippin back to the Shire at Rivendell if I had it my way but … you had since the beginning insisted that you come with me so I shan’t had said otherwise, could I?” Frodo put his arm around my shoulder trying to reassure me though I could see that his blue eyes were shadowed looking quite distressed.

“Of course not, master; I would stay with you till the end. I just wish… wish…” I gulped down my tears in order to say my next words, “I dearly wish I had said goodbye to my Gaffer and Rosie and her family—a proper good-bye. But still, sir, we’re still far from the end, and who knows what will come out in the end of our adventure? Who knows that there will not be a ‘there and back journey’ as Bilbo had spoken about in his stories?”

Frodo hesitated before speaking, “Sam—there is only the slightest chance that we would be able to succeed and your thinking of finding a way back to the Shire after going into the Black Land of Mordor just …doesn’t seem likely…” Frodo’s voice drifted, not sure of how to proceed as he looked away. “I’m afraid, Sam, afraid for you and me but can do nothing else but to let you follow me to whatever end. I wish you had told Gaffer and Rosie—but I’m sure they will not let you come with me to certain death if they had known…” Frodo’s voice became softer as if he already felt the added burden of bringing me on his most helpless Quest to a fate that was most uncertain.

“It’s all right Mr. Frodo—it was my decision. It had been my decision to follow you since I had seen the elves back in the Shire; my decision to help you bear this burden in Rivendell. I had already known your decision before you had even told the Fellowship your decision to go into Mordor. But Mr. Frodo--- I…. still… want to… to believe that… it …will be all right at the end…” Tears had threatened to spill from my eyes again, but I knew already that it was too late to turn back. In too deep, for whatever misgivings I had, whatever feelings of regret of leaving my family and Rosie that I had already had become secondary to Mr. Frodo.

“Sam, dear Sam… bless you dearest Sam—let’s rest a bit and continue on our way then, shall we?” Frodo gave me a fierce hug but even without his words and actions, I knew deep down where my duty lay—to stay with my master till the bitter end, at whatever cost.

There were some things that could not be explained-- this was one of them which I had to see it through that the Enemy’s Ring be destroyed no matter what the costs may be. I must see it through no matter how hard the road would continue to be.

Rosie would just have to wait… wait till I come back. And I was sure I would and see that Mr. Frodo come back safely to the Shire too.

It was my duty born out of love.

~fin~

Summary- Pippin comforts Merry after Merry's encounter with the Black Breath in Bree.
Written for slightlytookish for her birthday.

Never Fear for I am Here

“Where is that silly fellow, Merry? It would be the last straw, if we had to go out in the dark to look for him.” ~Pippin, FotR

“Merry? You’re still awake?” Pippin turned to his left side in bed to see Merry with a pensive and somewhat disturbed look upon his face.

“Yes, Pip…” Merry whispered back, quiet to not wake the other hobbits. “I can’t sleep… ever since…” Merry shuddered in memory, not knowing how to proceed. He snuggled into his covers, trying to rid himself of the sudden coldness that pervaded the air.

“Oh Merry! Do you want to talk about it… outside of here?” Pippin motioned to the ever alert and still awake Strider. Pippin had already read his cousin’s mind before Merry had been explicit about what was bothering him.

“I guess... it’s not a big deal though.” Merry turned to his back, looking up to the ceiling, not facing Pippin. He did not want Pippin to worry and perhaps it would’ve been better not to talk about the night’s occurrence. Even though the Black Riders had frightened him a lot, no one should worry for him for it was not anyone else’s burden to bear.

“No Merry, it’ll be better for you and for me since you know I did worry a lot when you were out for so long,” Pippin whispered back. “Though you told us what happened, I’m sure you still have more to say… for isn’t that the reason that you’re still not asleep?”

“Incredibly thoughtful Took… all right Pippin. You win… but let’s not talk here…” Merry replied, motioning to where Strider was sitting, smoking his pipe and looking out the window.

“All right, we’ll go out of this room for a stroll.”

The hobbits left the bed quietly, careful not to disturb Frodo and Sam. Strider took notice of them but they just answered his inquiry saying that they needed to go to the privy.

After the door of the inner chamber was closed behind them, Pippin grasped at Merry’s cold hands and asked, “Now tell me all the details about what happened. I was dreadfully worried when you didn’t come back for quite a while. Even when you did explain everything, I was wondering about how you ever managed to stay so calm. Merry! Black Riders! From Mordor! I’m frightfully glad that you’re all right.” Pippin looked into his cousin’s blue eyes and held on ever tighter onto Merry’s hands to ensure himself that his cousin was there, in front of him and safe from harm.

“Yes, Pip—it was rather… odd… as I told everyone, I felt like I was falling to pieces and didn’t remember much other than the fact that it was cold and I felt like coming back into consciousness was like gasping for water. I felt like I had fallen into deep water…I couldn’t’ remember much…. Just a dreadful chill…and… and I couldn’t breathe…” Merry stopped. Thinking about the horrifying occurrence made him feel sick; he didn’t want to think about it more than he had the past half hour. Involuntarily, he began to shiver again at the memory or lack of memory of what happened at that dark street of Bree.

“Oh Merry!” Pippin wrapped his cousin in a big embrace. “I wished you had stayed in with us… as I had said, it would’ve been safer had none of us ventured out. To think that the Black Riders are so close to where we are….” Pippin’s voice drifted as he was overcome with fear as well.

Merry felt comforted by Pippin’s embrace, momentarily feeling safe to be in the protection of the cousin he loved, so he continued on, “I was just so afraid I would’ve said something, said something to …to reveal where Frodo was… It’s kind of like falling unconscious like when we were in the Barrow but these dreams I had were darker, more frightening. I… was so scared for Frodo, for all of us that I ran right back when Nob woke me. I’m glad that Frodo is still safe though.”

“And I’m glad you’re safe too, dear Merry. It’s all right, you’re here, safe. I will not let any Black Rider near you again, and the dreams, even without description sound horrible. Here, Merry… have some water.” Pippin held out a water skin he had been holding. “Just think good thoughts… think about how Frodo used to tell us ghost stories but then none of them were really real and you weren’t scared, only Sam and I were! And remember that time when I thought that Bag End was haunted because of all the rumors that had gone forth from Bag End, but really there wasn’t any truth in that at all! This is different… but you’re inside and safe for the moment, Merry. Never fear for I am here with you.”

Merry smiled in recollection of these thoughts. “I remember, Pip… those were brighter times. I just can’t help but be worried for all of us, especially you, Pip… I guess that is why I went out in the first place. I had to explore, make sure that Bree is a safe place for us to spend the night… meeting up with the Black Riders…” Merry closed his eyes in recollection. “No, I truly do not want to meet them again.”

“Merry—you’re not ‘in charge’ of us and especially can’t control what happens for nothing is solely one person’s fault. There are too many unforeseen adventures and even if danger further increases, remember that you’re not at fault for not being there at that specific time,” finished Pippin. Pippin glanced at Merry’s face, which was starting to relax more and held an amused grin while staring at Pippin. “What are you grinning about?”

“Now when did you become so wise, Master Peregrin Took? I took you on this adventure because you wouldn’t leave me alone and now you’re dispensing advice?” Merry gave Pippin a playful nudge.

“What can I do? I cannot have a worried and frightened Merry already so early in the adventure. You’re no fun when you’re tossing and turning in bed, you know? I need to sleep too,” Pippin feigned a pout and continued, “Especially if you go outside and come back after your curfew, then this Took is not happy,” Pippin said as he folded his arms together.

“Silly Took! Now when did I have a curfew?” Merry was laughing now, the tension had decreased and he felt more relaxed.

“I told you not to go out so late, but no, you did not listen. Naughty Brandybuck!” Pippin frowned and then burst out laughing too. “Just don’t go out in the dark by yourself anymore, all right?” Pippin face softened to a serious expression.

“Yes, Daddy Pippin,” Merry mocked back. “No, you’re right, I’ll go everywhere with you now, all right?”

“Well, not everywhere,” Pippin laughed at the notion. “I’m a grown hobbit almost of age anyways, willing to share my wisdom to you whenever you take me seriously.”

“Yes, oh wise, Peregrin Took, please enlighten me with all that you know. Your company is ever so appreciated,” Merry stepped back and pretended to bow to Pippin. “But seriously though, thank you, Pip. Thanks so much for talking. I don’t know what I’ll do without you on this little adventure,” Merry stepped closer to Pippin and gathered him in his arms, hugging him tightly, taking in the familiar scent of his beloved cousin

“Me neither, Merry, me neither.”

~fin~

Summary: 11-year old Elanor decides to write to Uncle Frodo...
Written for Iorhael's letter writing challenge in September '05 for Frodo and Bilbo's birthday on September 22nd.

September 22, 1432

Dear Uncle Frodo,
Da tells me that every September 22nd of the year is a special day. Though i do not remember you, i often hear about your great deeds during the War of the Ring which happened right before I was born. We toasted for you all these years, Da, Ma, little Frodo, Rose, Merry, Pippin, and Goldilocks, for Da says it is important to do this and remember you.

He tells me that Uncle Bilbo is with you going to the Undying Lands. That might be really interesting to not die. Though i wish i could've known you. Da tells me that you've held me when i was a babe and also told me stories and sang songs to me. The only memory i have of you is of what you gave me --a parchment of a verse in Quenya which told the grace of the Valar to shine upon me given to me right before you left us. Thank you very much for this. The Tengwar, I’m not so sure about yet, but Da did surprise me by at least translating that which you wrote to me.

Do you think Da will try to find you again? Does he have the blessing, also as a Ring-bearer to depart from the Shire? I really hope not because I am still small and need my Da. My Da loves you like a brother, though; he mentions you so much. For that I love you too, but wish I had known you like my Da did. I don't know why i'm writing this letter but i like to write so am writing this for i'm wondering about you...

I wish the best for you and Mr. Bilbo that you are having a lovely first birthday over there in Valinor. Please tell the elves I say a very fond hello to them. I hope to see Elves around the Shire or elsewhere but Da said that they’re leaving Middle-Earth never to come back which is quite sad for me to know.

I wish i had known you and wish you well.

Yours sincerely,
~Elanor Gamgee

A/N-Reposted because this ficlet belongs in here for it is short. =)

Summary: Merry and Pippin share a moment to reflect upon their time with the orcs.

Written because I was so very inspired by slightlytookish's "In the Grey Twilight" which can also be found under her name at SoA. Thank you to ST for beta-ing!

Interlude

“As they walked they compared notes, talking lightly in hobbit-fashion of the things that had happened since their capture.” The Uruk-hai, The Two Towers

“You’ve had a cruel time,” said Pippin as he helped Merry wash away the dried blood from his wrists and ankles at the stream they had found. He looked into Merry’s weary blue eyes and could see his gratitude for his cousin’s help.

“What an adventure we’re landed ourselves, eh Pip? You’ve proven your worth as a Took indeed, dear cousin. Your quick thinking and wit throughout our days as the orcs’ baggage will indeed warrant a page or two in Bilbo’s book, wouldn’t you say?” said Merry with a wan smile.

“I would expect a chapter, Mer,” replied Pippin with a sly grin as he placed Merry’s ankle back on the grassy bank of the stream. “Though you knew it was my job to keep you out of trouble,” Pippin added with a wink. But then his face became serious again and he said, “I was really worried for you most of the time though …especially during the time before you woke with that nasty gash on your forehead and when they treated you so cruelly while giving you that horrid orcish medicine. I was more than glad when you woke up…finally… “Pippin’s voice drifted as he looked away in memory.

“I was very worried about you too, Pip,” Merry said, placing his hand on Pippin’s shoulder. “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to plan our escape from the orcs. Those days were all so dark and …and it seemed I couldn’t do anything to help. I’m sorry, Pippin,” Merry looked down, and his blue eyes seemed drowned in shame.

“Oh Merry,” said Pippin, giving his cousin a hug. “Neither of us could do much, so to speak. I’m just glad that we got out of that little mess. Whoever did what or when or how does not matter now.” He smiled. “Are you all right now to move on, and explore this forest?”

“Yes, I think I’m all right now. I feel better than I have in a while,” Merry stood and helped Pippin up in the process. “How are you feeling, Pip, and what other impressive things did you manage to do?”

“Well, I do not think that it was ‘impressive’ or even worth anything in the long run, but I did manage to escape the orcs for a bit and let my Elven brooch fall to the ground in hopes that Aragorn would find us… if he even did decide to follow us,” said Pippin grimly. “It was not fun at all to run down that bank with barely a hope of escaping or even thinking that it was worth anything to even let that precious gift fall way.”

“Perhaps Strider and the others will come, if they have not decided to follow Frodo instead. But whatever the chances, I’m frightfully glad that you did that, for if they did follow us, now they will have a hint of what path to take,” said Merry thoughtfully. “I don’t suspect that we will meet anyone for a long while though. Especially in these woods,” Merry motioned towards the densely packed forest of trees that were so different from any in the Shire.

“You lead on, cousin… I think my chapter has just about ended and it’s now time for you to show what you are able to accomplish without me,” said Pippin with a smile.

“Of course I would have much to do in order to surpass your deeds with the orcs,” replied Merry with a grin. “But, Pippin, I’m mighty glad about what you’ve done for us, your ability to free your bonds and free me and have lembas for both of us were acts vital to our survival. I’m proud of you, my dear Took. And I’m glad that we’re in this together,” said Merry as he put his arms around Pippin’s shoulders as they continued on their way deeper into Fangorn Forest.

~fin~



A/N--Written for ethereal_hobbit upon the one year anniversary of her untimely death in 2005.

Memories

Salty-smelling breezes blew upon the hair of the hobbits’ faces. They were looking out into the distance of the sea towards the east. The air before dawn was light and it seemed that the spark of light which foreshadowed the rising of the Sun was near.

“I do wonder how they all are over there,” said Frodo as he motioned east towards the cerulean blue sea which stretched out beyond …beyond where the hobbit eyes could see.

“I hope they are well, doing the things that they love to do, finding love in the company that they are with; I’m sure that they are better each day just like you are …To know in their hearts that you’ve found peace, my dear lad is the one thing that all wish for you,” replied Bilbo putting his arm on Frodo’s shoulder.

Frodo sighed. “I do feel better each day here in Valinor, stronger, able to not think about what happened in the past… but it’s still hard to not think of Sam, Merry, Pippin, and everyone else …” Frodo’s voice drifted as tears gathered. “I do miss them a lot.”

“To have you find peace within yourself is everyone’s wish. Memories are what we hold on to each and everyday. I had always held onto memories of the Shire whenever I was in Rivendell, spending my time writing my book. Memories keep you going and what we do each day warrants a page in each other’s stories,” Bilbo said.

“I’ve learned, Bilbo, there is not ever such thing as “letting go”. The good memories are always retained. Valinor has helped me forget how the Ring had tormented me, but remember the good that came out of having dear friends that are willing to go to the ends of the world with you. To know and have friends and cousins who cared and would let you go and find peace is comforting indeed. But I do wish they were here with me in this wonderful paradise.”

“They are Frodo, always with and within you. And perhaps, Sam will join you one day as well. For all Ring-bearers will be together eventually,” said Bilbo.

“Dear Sam,” Frodo smiled as he thought about what his dearest friend might be doing. “I hope that he has already become the Shire’s best Mayor and has had his ‘Frodo’ ‘Merry’ and ‘Pippin’ and all the children that he wanted. He always loved to have a big family, I remember. And I hope he’s not ‘torn in two’ anymore…”

“Sam is a brave and resilient hobbit… I’m sure he’s done much for the Shire in this year,” replied Bilbo reassuringly. “Rosie is a fine lass to be taking care of your Sam. Smart gal, she was, for waiting for him,” Bilbo chuckled in memory.

“And dear Merry and Pippin—the best cousins and friends one could ever have. Future Master of Buckland and Thain. I do hope they’re well, being there for their families, being their cheerful selves… I do miss them so much….wish I could still be there for them. They’ll always be my little cousins, Bilbo. The ones that need taking care of, the ones that I need to get out of trouble.”

“The wisdom they had gathered from the Quest, the things they’ve learned—they’ve become smarter hobbits. They’re not like us Bagginses, but they’ll be doing very well, those who had learned from the cousin who is the wisest and best hobbit of the Shire always does well,” said Bilbo with a wink. “Besides, ‘little cousins’ do grow up too, Frodo…” Bilbo said, looking at Frodo with a wry smile.

Frodo laughed at the thought. “I’m not the ‘best’ hobbit of the Shire and Merry and Pippin sure have done deeds that have even surpassed what I’ve done. But, you’re right Bilbo. I know they are all right… all of them. I miss them so very much, but in my heart, it’s reassuring to hear that you think so too, Bilbo,” Frodo’s blue eyes were filled with tears as he felt touched yet at peace. Peaceful for finding tranquility in a beautiful land full of song that eased and comforted the soul and companionship in one of the hobbits that he loved most and clean air and an environment full of sweet music, food and relaxation without stain of anything evil

Frodo retained better memories in Valinor, dreams woven with childhood images of his parents, images of enjoyable times with Sam, Merry and Pippin, Fatty and Folco before the Quest—these are the memories he remembered to cherish and hold close to his heart, allowing for healing, healing of his heart and spirit.

Frodo put his arm around Bilbo’s shoulders. The trees rustled but started to look golden as the rays of the sun crept up from the horizon. Wordlessly, they watched the sun rise from the east, from where Middle-Earth lie. And if it had heard their inner thoughts about those they had left behind, the sun looked brighter this day as if it had known that it was the hobbits’ birthday today and it seemed that a message had come to tell them all whom they love from the Shire would be all right indeed.

~fin~


A Special Birthday

“Where are you leading me to, Mr. Frodo?”

Sam’s eyes were blindfolded as Frodo led him out of the their sleeping quarters shortly after they have had their breakfast. “Just keep your eyes closed until I tell you when to open them."

“I can’t see anything anyway, Mr. Frodo, with this blindfold upon me. What is this business about anyway?” asked Sam, as he felt himself being led towards the doors which led outside.

“You will see in time,” replied Frodo mysteriously.

Frodo carefully led him down steps and several turnings, through several doors, until Sam could feel soft grass beneath his toes.

“Now, you can take off the blindfold.”

Surrounding Sam was a garden filled with different flowers and herbs: brightly colored lilies, roses, marigolds, tulips, carnations, and various other herbs which Sam wasn’t familiar with. It just seemed like a beautiful paradise. The flowery scent reminded him of the Shire—and his own garden that he so carefully tended. Tears filled his eyes at this sight that was so reminiscent of home.

Sitting and standing upon the grass was Merry and Pippin holding a brightly colored, multi-layered cake with rich cream upon it with words written out the words “Many happy returns, dear Samwise the Stouthearted”. Gandalf was smiling, standing besides Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli as they all shouted out,

“Happy birthday Sam!”

“Yes, we did not forget that it was your birthday while you still slept on April 6th,” said Aragorn. “Frodo reminded again once more that we should especially celebrate and we decided to do this belated celebration for you because you deserve it.”

“Of course we needed to plan a special celebration for an incredibly important hero of Middle-Earth. Because… Frodo would not have gone far without Sam,” said Frodo as he put his arm on Sam’s shoulder.

“Well, I’ll be blessed,” and without any further words, Sam blushed and burst into tears of joy.

~fin~

With Me..Till the End

They’re all back here with me—Merry, Pippin, Sam. We did go there and back again…but it doesn’t mean that we escape unchanged, unaffected. The gratitude I felt in Crickhollow had been mixed with fear and reluctance to have them come along… but we’re all back now though, with innocence lost, we will never be the same again. I remain a shadow of my old self because of It… But I can’t help but feel enormously thankful for my friend and cousins for going to the ends of the world with me…. And to think of what they’ve all had to endure!

Will his right hand ever be all right? I see Merry rub his arm gingerly and unconsciously on occasion and see how he seems to shudder in the cold a bit more than before… My dear Merry has done more than I had ever expected him too and his growth, not only in height, ascertains that he has changed and had gone through things that he probably will not discuss so readily with everyone. And the worries reflected in his blue eyes tell me that he still has fears and concerns for Pip… and me.

He’s still Merry though. I look at his blue eyes and see how I’ve come to love and be grateful for his cheery spirit, his practical ways of handling different situations. From the well thought of Conspiracy to the Battle of Bywater, these are all his plans and his keen and flexible mind saw to everything becoming accomplished. How he has always adamantly stayed by my side until that fateful day at Parth Galen, how cared for those he loved, sitting at the vigil at Cormallen, how he selflessly defended the hobbits at Bywater,--- these actions show how a future Master of Buckland would act.

Pippin—dear Pip, whose unquenchable spirit and dogged determination has certainly earned him respect and honor as Ernil I Pheriannath in Gondor. He, like Merry, did not have to come on this dangerous journey with me yet he did, and now, he has survived and come back, innocence dashed and seriousness is revealed underneath those cheerful green eyes, foreshadowing the future rise of an influential Thain. I am grateful for his ability to smile in the worst situations, to have kept his spirit up when all seemed bleak, for his curiosity and humor-- for making everyone in the Fellowship smile amidst the bleakness and suppression of Moria, the frigid coldness of Caradhras, the monotony of traveling down the Great River--- My little Pip has grown up over the course of less than a year. I just hope that he will remain his cheerful self amidst the dangers and awful experiences he had had to endure even before his tweenage years are over.

My dear Sam—how could I start to express my gratitude for my best friend, brother at heart? When I had wanted to part from the Fellowship, it was dear Sam who guessed my mind at what I had decided to do. It would have been the death of me for him to come along, but as I realized, without Sam, the Quest could not have been completed and would have terminated long ago in my helplessness that entrapped me in the Tower of Cirith Ungol. His voice, his touch, his strength of mind were what kept me going when all I wanted to do was fall down with the weight of the world, the weight of the Ring so firmly pressing down my soul, my thoughts, my feeling. At the end of all things, I was just glad that he was there with me, as I thought that we were quickly drawing to both our ends.

His brown eyes continue to express concern and worry for me whenever I don’t eat, whenever I’m more reticent than is normal… But he has other things to think about, another life to live, and other things to look forward to in the Shire… How grateful I am of him exceeds all words of appreciation I may utter, all actions that I could do for him… I’m just afraid that I’ll never be able to make it up to him. He remains steadfast by my side though and I’m grateful beyond words, grateful for his unwavering support, loyalty, kindness, generosity and self-sacrifice, hope and persistent determination to see it through to the end and succeed when my resolve had been long gone. He saw that his master went there and back again…and he did his duty to perfection.

Tears start to gather as I look at each of their faces as we toast to each other, wordlessly, at the Green Dragon. How thankful I am to still have them besides me after our long arduous journey! Since the day I woke up in Cormallen seeing Sam sleeping peacefully at my side, seeing Merry and Pippin appear in their great Rohirrim and Gondorian uniforms, till the last battle that happened in our own Shire soil, I have been deeply relieved beyond words to know that we have all made it. I know, deep in my heart, that that we will always be connected through this Quest….in brotherly love, comradeship, a special bond that will last to the end of our days.

~fin~
---

Written for Nivster.

“Swimming? I don’t want to go swimming, Uncle Bilbo… I cannot…I’m scared,” Frodo’s blue eyes looked at his uncle with fear and apprehension when he was led to the lake during one of their journeys into the Woody End.

“My dear Frodo-lad, you must not be afraid of water. I understand that it is still hard for you to be near water but you must trust me that to defeat what scares you most would be like conquering the victim that… that overpowered your parents,” said Bilbo quietly.

Frodo’s eyes filled with tears but then unexpectedly a new-found courage stirred in his heart. “Really? Would it be like defeating a monster then if I knew how to swim?”

“Really, dear lad—and I will teach you and the water will not take you. I swear by it.”

Frodo’s toes went into the water and he felt anger flare up yet the determination to indeed muster up the courage to not be afraid, not let the water haunt him all his life. Bilbo was already in the water and reached gently up to Frodo’s hand, gently pulling him down into the warm water of that clear, hot summer day.

“Now this isn’t so bad, is it, Frodo?” asked Bilbo as he gently held onto Frodo’s outstretched hands, while gliding his body through the water, holding his belly up to have him float, encouraging Frodo to kick his legs.

“No, this is quite nice actually,” Frodo replied, yet he was still shaking and held onto Bilbo’s hands tightly.

“Relax Frodo, I will not let you go. Now try to kick a bit… yes, now there you are.”

For a good forty minutes, Bilbo taught Frodo how to kick, breathe on the side, and to float on the belly. Frodo wouldn’t let go for fear but he did loosen a bit upon Bilbo’s hands when he was finally allowed to stand on the shallow end which only came up to his waist.

“Now, how was that? It was not too bad was it, dear Frodo-lad?” Bilbo asked him once they went out of the lake for a rest and some water. Bilbo wrapped Frodo in a comfortably soft, freshly scented towel as Frodo breathed into it, relishing the warmth that it brought him.

“It… wasn’t too bad…” Frodo still glanced at the water as if it was going to form a wave and encompass him even though he did feel like it was fun.

“You’re a fast learner, Frodo—I look forward to helping you even more with swimming better—and then you’ll truly defeat this fear all for the better.”

“Thank you, dear Bilbo—I appreciate it.” Frodo stared intently upon the water. “But still, I don’t like the water … it will never be my friend.”

Bilbo sat down with Frodo after he had dried off himself as well and replied, “yes, but you can learn that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I’m sure that your parents will be proud that you learn to swim, to prevent any mishap that may happen in the water, to maybe even save others who do not know how to swim. Not many Hobbiton folk like to go into the water but it’s a good skill to have--- swimming. Perhaps you can even outswim your Brandybuck cousin too,” said Bilbo with a twinkle in his eye.

“Oh yes, I could be faster than Merry, shan’t i?” Frodo smiled back, more at ease than he had ever been ever since he had stepped into the lake.

“You can do whatever you set your mind to, dear Frodo. Don’t let a fear for something prevent you from being great.”

Frodo felt very encouraged and without words, gave Bilbo a hug and just said, “Thanks Bilbo… for being here for me.”

~fin~

A/N-Courtesy of Grey_wonderer's plot bunny fro me in June 2007

Dark shadows loomed over him. Consumed by a black, empty vastness conveying no light and hope, seductive whispers told him to give up the Ring to the Dark Lord thus be rewarded for his obedience. Tempting promises of a cessation of suffering echoed in his tired, befuddled mind.

But he would not yield. He did not want to submit to the darkness, seeking to take over his soul and mind. Instead he forced himself to think about the Shire, about his dear friends… but even those happy memories were tainted with shadows, seemingly less clear than before....

Frodo woke with in a cold sweat, but waking only brought upon more pain upon his shoulder and impenetrable cold. The nightmare lingered in his mind about salvation, the promise of respite from misery and torment if he put on the Ring. Shivering, he clutched the horrible object with hatred, and his will stirred. He had been foolish once in Weathertop, and was resolute not to yield again. Determined to make it to Rivendell, no matter how difficult it would be, he knew that giving up was not a choice. He would rather endure than submit to the evil desires of the wretched Ring-wraiths.

But even with those thoughts of determination, they could not combat the sense of irrepressible cold and intense pain that seemed to have redoubled with the passage of time. Frodo had lost track of the amount of time that had passed since Weathertop, and even less conscious upon how many more days till they would reach Rivendell… If he could even make it at all.

Their discovery of the trolls and finding out about one of Bilbo’s stories come true was comforting for Frodo. Along with Sam’s song about the trolls and Aragorn, Merry and Pippin’s constant care for him, Frodo was indeed heartened by their unceasing help to him through this difficult time.

Glorfindel’s arrival gave him one last measure of hope that he would make it to Rivendell yet. His voice was like a song out of legends that were only thought to be stories from Bilbo. Yet his presence did make a slight difference to retain hope.

But physically, Glorfindel nor anyone could help with the increasing difficulty of seeing clearly. Things had started fading into a ghostly grey during the daylight hours. He was becoming increasingly desperate and fearful, and he truly wondered at his capacity to endure any longer. Weariness seemed to envelope him, though cold pain radiated constantly from the wound making sleep difficult. Riding upon Asfaloth, he again entered the world of dark nightmares, requiring the need of the sub-conscious to fight off those intangible shadows which sought to further decrease his energy level.

Yet it did not combat his will, his determination to make it, no matter how hard it would be.

~fin~

A/N-For Iorhael in June 2007

Title: Reaffirmations
A scene with Sam and Rosie post-Quest


“Did you know I was going to come back?”

Rosie looked up startled at the random question after a calm night in which Sam had been uncharacteristically quiet. They were walking under the stars in the peaceful, chilly Blotmath night of the Shire, hand in hand, content and comfortable with each other’s company.

Rosie stopped walking and held onto both Sam’s hands and stared into his hazel eyes, leaning closer to Sam, breathing in the familiar scents, cherishing every second she had back again since she thought that Sam had gone on his journey indefinitely.

“I knew in my heart that you would not leave me…forever. Even if I did not know what you were up against, I always knew that you would pull through in the end and that I could overcome the Troubles of the past year. I’ve never stopped thinking about you and maybe if more years had come and you still had not come back, I would still continue to think about you Sam. And…I was too stubborn to think otherwise…to think that… you won’t return…” Rosie trailed off not sure of how to finish.

Sam felt overwhelmed by the response and hugged Rosie tighter. Whispering to her ear, he said, “I never stopped hoping either and even when it was my darkest hour, and I almost ain’t got more hope left of reaching the mountain, of ever returning, I still thought that… that… I could return to you…somehow. Thinking of you made me see the light amidst the dark, and I thank you, dearest Rosie.”

Kissing Sam tenderly and gently stroking the full head of dirty blond curls, Rosie replied, “I’m just glad you’re back in one piece, that you got rid of those ruffians, that you’re not hurt. Many times, I did lose hope but now that you’re in my arms, I don’t know that I ever would be this happy again… to have you again. I’ve missed you so, so, much--- did you know that?”

“I did too, Rosie my dear, so much,” Sam replied as he smiled back at Rosie and returned a kiss upon Rosie’s full lips, tasting the sweetness within. He held onto Rosie’s waist, outlining the shapes and curves of his sweetheart’s body. It had been so long, he had waited so incredibly long…

But duty came first as he had told Rosie vaguely on the day that he departed. He wasn’t upfront to how long he would be gone, tending to Mr. Frodo in Crickhollow, but Rosie questioned him until he could say no more.

---
“Why are you avoiding my eyes, Samwise Gamgee? What are you trying to hide?” Rosie had asked him as he inched farther away from her after telling her that he’ll be gone for a couple months with Mr. Frodo.

“Just didn’t want to get you that upset, is all… but yes’m, I will be with Mr. Frodo for a while up at Crickhollow---“

“Well that’s fine, Sam—I can visit you there and you can come back here when you’re off and with nothing to do, can’t you? The ride is not too far,” replied Rosie puzzled.

“Maybe…just…” But Sam couldn’t say anymore for fear of tears coming down his cheeks, of having his soft heart betray him and his feelings and how he wished that he didn’t have to tell the truth of why he was going away from Hobbiton. You’ll be a fool either way and make it harder to leave.

He didn’t want to keep Rosie’s hopes for him of ever returning yet he didn’t want to be selfish and plead that Rosie should wait for him. He just didn’t know what to say.

“What’s wrong Sam? Please tell me… I worry for you… you’ve been quiet these days and I worry a lot. What’s been really going on?”

“No, dear Rosie, nothin’ to worry about, really. I …I need to go now, I’ll write and…”

And before Rosie could say anymore, Sam left Rosie’s home not looking back, for he didn’t want Rosie to see his eyes full of tears. Puzzled and worried, Rosie stared after him in dismay as Sam went steadily and quickly in the direction of Bag End to further ready himself to leave Hobbiton with Frodo and Pippin as planned.
---

“Were you ever angry at me…for…leavin’ without a proper explanation?” Sam was gently fingering the lovely honey curls of Rosie’s full head while using his other arm to hold onto Rosie’s waist close to him.

“How could I be? Was more upset and worried, to tell you the truth—especially with Freddy coming back to report that you were off to the Old Forest! I just knew that you were with Mr. Frodo and that seemed good enough for me since he’s always been a good master and all. But the Old Forest has a lot of tales of hobbits never coming back and I wanted to cry when you did such a thing… but… but…”Rosie stopped to sigh, draping her arms around Sam’s neck. “I remained strong for the Gaffer and Marigold and my family, and told them you could not be dead and was coming back. They doubted me but my instinct told me to keep the hope and wait…” Rosie leaned into the nape of Sam’s neck and breathed in the warmth, comfort and security that he brought to her and didn’t want to think anymore of the past. There was a future to think about now, and she was excited about the prospects.

Whispering to him, “I’m just mighty glad that you’re back and …and… yes, it’s been tough but having you again can erase all that has ever happened this past year…and…and we can think about the future.”

“I know… I’m so glad to be with you too…thank you for waiting, Rosie, my dearest.”

“I always knew, Sam… I couldn’t have done otherwise. Your eyes told me more than words could say that day…” Rosie clutched tighter to Sam, not wanting the night to end so that she had to go home. “The night’s not cold one bit when you’re around, Sam…”

“I’m not cold one bit either…with you in my arms…” Sam nuzzled against Rosie, feeling the warmth emanate from her as he kissed tenderly upon her forehead and feeling her arms tight against his shoulder.

Gradually, rather unconsciously, their lips touched as it naturally melted into a lingering kiss. They kissed, for a while, reaffirming that nothing had ever changed; their relationship had endured even though they had been apart. Love had evidently sustained and there was no doubt that they were meant to be. And under the full moon under many stars, the two hobbits walked hand-in-hand back home.

~fin~

A/N--Thanks to julchen11 and frodobaggins_88 fro initial thoughts. :)

“What’s he doing?”

“He’s leaving.”

The firm shake of your head and your expressive, determined blue eyes tell me more than words can say. Telling me that you had to go…there was no other choice.

No, Frodo, my inner thoughts cried but I kept my composure and my inner desire to myself. Frodo had his reasons and did not intend to have any of us follows him into Mordor. Leaving behind even Pippin and me? But that was hard. We had always intended to follow wherever Frodo was going—we could not possibly be separated.

Swallowing the bitterness of being left behind, I had no more time to think about the situation as an oncoming mass of orcs were running quickly towards us.

“Go on Frodo!” My last glance motioned to him to run, to get out of sight now.

His reluctant eyes spelled out regret and sorrow at leaving us at such a horrible situation but there was no other choice. He gave a last longing, worried glance at us and ran the other way.

Frodo could not be captured at any cost. Never. Pippin now understood what was at stake and ran with me, diverting the orcs away from Frodo— We had to protect our cousin …that was our most important responsibility.

“Hey you! Over here!” I motioned to the orcs to follow Pippin and me. The orcs immediately began trudging towards us with swords and scimitars in their hands.

“It’s working!”

“I know it’s working, now run!”

But there were too many.

Black orcs with swords and armor were swarming all over the place all over us. Fear constricted my throat but at that moment, but suddenly Boromir appeared out of no where and protected us, and a new sense of determination swept over Pippin and me as we continued to fight the orcs and used what wits and courage we had to stall the onslaught of orcs.

“Merry! Pippin! Behind me, quick! No time for fighting! Go on! ” Boromir shepherded the hobbits in front of him as he continued to slay the enemies who were no match against his skill in battle.

Dark orc blood gushed everywhere and many were slain but the orcs kept on coming, flooding through the forests as if an army had been summoned.

Suddenly, an arrow was shot, aimed precisely to Boromir’s chest. Blood gushed out from the wound and horrible pain burst forth. He faltered for a bit, but as if recovering from a huge gust of wind, he continued to pierce all the orcs that were attacking him. He continued to fight and that encouraged me to do so as well.

We cannot hold them, I thought grimly and my heart sank. There are far too many… I slashed at two more hands that were reaching for me and Pippin, keeping myself in front of Pippin. “Keep behind me, Pip… c’mon!” I had to protect Pippin at all costs.

We attacked an orc together and stabbed at it. Collecting rocks, we threw some at the orcs that were coming at us.

Two more arrows pierced Boromir, cunningly aimed at his side and back. Boromir cried in pain, knelt down in his knees in submission seeming as if he was on the brink of death.

I froze, seeming to feel the end of our attempt in thwarting the advances of the orcs. Tears flooded into my eyes but anger coursed in my veins as well.

“Boromir!” cried Pippin anguished. Tears pierced his eyes, and before he could recover from shock of his fallen comrade and continue to fight, strong arms grasped him by the neck and feet and he could do nothing against the strength of the orcs.

“Pippin! No!” I cried. Before I could do anything to help Pippin, I felt a sharp object strike at my head and I fell to the ground, feeling sharp nails grasp onto me.

Trying hard to retain consciousness, I still tried to fight as hard as I could, kicking the nasty orc against its stomach with my free foot, but the orc armor was too hard, and blacking out, I knew no more.

“It will not be long now,” thought Bilbo, “before the goblins win the Gate, and we are all slaughtered or driven down and captured. Really it is enough to make one weep, after all one has gone through.” –The Clouds Burst

He had failed.

For all the best considerations Bilbo had had to give himself a chance of reprieve from the stifling mountain with the token that could've aided Lake-town and the elves in negotiating against the hard headed Thorin, the plan had backfired causing dire circumstances. War was at hand and there was no way against it.

He thought that he could prevent battle and conflict, but it had come nevertheless. He had offended Thorin and would never have his friendship ever again.

How could he have ever thought that his offer of the Arkenstone could make things better?

It had only made him a detestable opponent of Thorin and Company.

The scores of wargs, orcs and goblins had gathered, quickly accelerating the attack upon the Mountain, while dwarves, elves and men were quickly leaning in to defend and fight. Bilbo was scared. This was the end.

It’s going to be a bloodbath. Bilbo could only think of what a mess this has turned out to be. He stumbled as he tried to find a good place to hide. He had already put on his Ring, but it didn’t shield him against the awful sites of combat.

The goblins were charging on and sweeping through the elven flanks, while the dwarves were busy knocking down the beastly wargs. Even Gandalf was busy defending the Elven-King while they were battling three orcs at the same time. Bard stood along the dwarves defending the Mountain.

Can this turn out to be a happy ending? Will I be able to make it to tell this tale of woe? Why did I ever come on this adventure?
 He wasn't a Took; he was a Baggins, and Bagginses didn't go on any silly adventures.

But the sky was getting lighter as if hope was near.


“The clouds were torn by the wind and a red sunset slashed the West. Seeing the sudden gleam in the gloom Bilbo looked round. He gave a great cry: he had seen a sight that made his heart leap, dark shapes small yet majestic against the distant glow.
“The Eagles! The Eagles are coming!”
 –The Clouds Burst


***Word count does NOT include the book quotes that bookend the ficlet.

He was leaving. He had talked of it for a while now, but she had never thought that he was serious. When Ma had died, her father would do nothing but sit alone and stare out the window, starring out into the distance, seemingly to try to remember only of the times that had passed. Elanor had also felt the pain of losing her dear mother, but her support came from her husband, Fastred, not to mention all her siblings and her dear children.

Everyone tried to tell Da to get out into the outdoors as he had done before and to do things that Ma would encourage him to do "Linger in the memories you had with her, so that you can derive the strength to live on," Elanor would say constantly to her father. Elanor would try to spend as much time possible with Da, comforting in the ways that she could... but to no avail.

When Da quietly announced to his children his fate that he was leaving Middle-earth forever, Elanor could not believe it though she knew that it was his fate. Da told her, right before she married Fastred, about the fact that he too was once a Ring-bearer, so therefore also had the choice of passage into the West if he did not wish to remain in Middle-Earth any longer. Before he left that sorrowful day on the twenty-second day Halimath in 1482, Da had given her the Red Book for safe-keeping before he left, to keep it so that future generations could remember the times of danger and uncertainty, of the times that he himself had been part of the danger in which he had strove to save from evil.

Elanor remembered that time when she was seven years old, where Da had told her about those times during the War of the Ring. How she remembered the wistfulness that his eyes spelled out when Mr. Frodo was mentioned. Yet she did not know at that time, what the significance of Da being a Ring-bearer could mean. Did all Ring-bearers have to part from Middle-earth? Could it be that it was because one had possessed the Ring of Power for a time that they had to pass into the West no matter what?

She was full of questions of why. Elanor had wondered why and how this could be. Her father's circumstances were different than Mr. Frodo Baggins though. He had thirteen children to still spend time with, not to mention future grandchildren that would surely adore his company. His legacy of being Mayor and his respectable reputation should not have caused him to want to depart from Middle-earth. He should have continued to enjoy the beautiful, serene Shire, that he, himself had been so much a part of. She still did not fully comprehend why Da would part from all that was familiar, all that was home for all his life.

Elanor remembered the last sight of her father riding out west towards the Grey Havens. Da had held her tightly, told her to continue to be the sweet daughter he knew, to take care, and that he loved her dearly. With a heavy heart and eyes full of tears, she had felt despair and nostalgia ever since that tearful parting. Da’s words still replayed over and over in her head, 

“Do not think this to be grievous parting, my dear Elanorelle. Think and be happy for me that I will see Mr. Frodo again. Long have I dreamed and thought about this road, this fate, the fact I will be seeing my dear Master again. Do not begrudge me of the gift that I still have to use. Please understand that I too, was a Ring-bearer, dear Elanorelle. I will dearly, truly miss you with all my heart, but you have Fastred and the children and all your siblings that you must continue to care for, for me. “

And at that moment, she saw that her Da’s eyes had filled with tears, very much only like the third time in his life that he had seen such tears falling from his hazel eyes—“I will miss you, dear Elanorelle, truly I will. I love you.

Elanor could do nothing but hold onto her Da even tighter yet she knew she could not hinder upon a decision that had been made so long ago.

“I love you too, Da—so so much,” Elanor snuggled closer to her Da, taking in his scent of pipeweed, enjoying his warmth, remembering the green jacket, navy breeches, trying to take in the last sight of her father as best as she could the last moments before he rode out.

“Like Mr. Frodo had told me in the past, your part in the tale will go on and it is you, I give the Red Book which Frodo had given to me before he left. Please let future generations remember the War of the Ring, what Frodo, Merry, and Pippin did for the Shire and for all of Middle-earth. Remember, and then you will remember me.”

And at that, Da left her the Red Book in her hands, gently released her and rode out from the Tower Hills, never to be seen by Elanor or anyone from Middle-earth again. Elanor thought of following by him, seeing him off in the Grey Havnes but was so stricken by grief that she had no energy to ride after her father.

She had never imagined that she would share the same fate as Queen Arwen had with the parting she had with her own father. Ma's death had caused her enough grief, but now Da had left Middle-Earth. Though saddened to lose both parents the same year, Elanor knew she could not be selfish and allow her father to go the path that he had been fated to go. 

She felt very alone that night outside looking out at the stars. She remembered all the lessons that her father had taught her, all the stories he told of the foreign lands beyond the Shire. King Elessar and Queen Arwen of Gondor held her in great honor, writing to her often, for she was a maid of Queen Arwen’s court and reported to them quite seldom the doings of the Shire. The land in which she lived was a gift from King Elessar to Samwise during the time more than forty years ago. She felt great pride and was very appreciative that she was daughter of Samwise Gamgee, renowned hobbit of the greater world beyond the Shire.

But still... this did not alleviate her sorrow at the departure of the two people that meant so much in her life. 

At that particular time, when she thought that she was all alone outside, a gentle hand was placed on her shoulder and she was held close. Fastred did not say anything at once, but he knew what was bothering his wife ever since her father had left her with the Red Book.

Slowly and after much thought, he said, "I remember you telling me once that Sam had a bond with his master like no other two people can have that can compare on how special it was... would you have him to always feel torn in two if he remained here in Middle-Earth? Your Da told me to take special care of you, your brothers and sisters and of course the young ones that we have. Do not despair, dearest Elanor... I'll look after you... just like how Sam is going to go and look over Frodo until the end of his days..."

Elanor did nothing but place her head at Fastred’s shoulder, tears glistening upon her cheek and replied, “Da’s amazing—I hope everyone in the Shire and beyond knows that. He deserves all the happiness of the world that the Shire couldn’t give him anymore, but still, I miss him so very much.”

“Of course. We all miss him. He has left a legacy and all with Gamgee blood will follow in suit and continue to be influential and renowned, dearest,” Fastred replied softly, placing a gentle kiss upon Elanor’s golden hair.

“I hope they’re having a wonderful reunion, Da and Mr. Frodo—isn’t Mr. Frodo lucky to be reunited with his dearest friend? Though I want Da to be by my side too, I would understand how dear Mr. Frodo is to him and that their reunion in Valinor would mean so much. I’m just selfish… I thought that I could have both Da and Ma forever but that is just not meant to be.”

“And you’re much needed here, too, Elanor. Bella and Tom—still young, innocent, and full of spirit, clamoring for their Ma’s attention.”

Elanor smiled at the mention of their two young children who, indeed, demanded a lot of attention and care. She loved them very dearly and had to admit that Tom had acquired some of his grandfather’s looks, making him think of Da a lot but in a glad sort of way. “I love our children so dearly. But not to mention, you in demanding my attention! What would I do without you, dear?”

“I wouldn’t want to imagine that, dearest Elanor. For indeed, I acquired the fairest hobbit in the Shire and wouldn’t want it any way else,” Fastred held his lovely wife close. Even at fifty-nine, Elanor did not age as much as other lady hobbits did and looked very elegant and fair in her white summer dress. Her golden curls were laid upon her shoulder and her eyes were bright with tears. 

“You’re too sweet with words, sometimes, I just do not know how to reply,” smiled Elanor back while she gazed deeply and lovingly into Fastred’s hazel eyes.

“Sam will be healed in Valinor and if it is his fate to part from Middle-earth even from the beginning, then we must not hinder fate and not linger long in sadness. For Da went to where he could achieve happiness again and would not want us to continually grieve, now would he?”

“I suppose not, but I wish to know that he is well and… and… I just feel Mr. Frodo to be lucky to have his dearest companion meet him in the Blessed Lands again while I had to deal with two losses in the same year. It’s hard, Fastred…”

“I know, dear. But I will be there for you, always and forever, Elanor. He left content knowing you are taken care of and wise and strong enough to deal with all the happenings of the Shire and beyond. While Da goes to heal, you will too, with the knowledge that he is where his heart is happiest.” 

With that thought, together, Fastred and Elanor, holding hands, turned towards the West and while the Sun quickly descended, going into the West and bringing about the coming of the night, many stars sparkled, seemingly to indicate with agreement, that it was hopeful that all would heal from their losses eventually. 

~fin~

Frodo seemed like he had awaken from a dream. He had remembered nothing that had happened.  He was in strange surroundings,  a floral scent flooded his senses as well as bright sunlight.   He looked up to a tan tent.  Suddenly, he realized his missing finger and the entire Quest and the remnants of memory flooded back to him.

Someone touched his hand gently and he turned to his right side.

“Gandalf?”

“Yes I am here, and I’m glad that you are here as well.”

“Gandalf! But I thought you are dead. Does that mean I am dead as well and that we’re in heaven?” exclaimed Frodo.

“No, you are well and healed and soon we will have a feast for you, the king and the rest of the hobbits.”

“But how?” Frodo tried to sit up but he felt too comfortable lying down. “How, when? How did Sam I escape? Where is Sam?”

“Right beside you,” Gandalf gestured to the sleeping Sam in the next cot.  Sam had a bandage on his forehead but he seemed to be breathing evenly and in peaceful slumber. “Your success with the Quest was right in the nick of time for we could not last the onslaught of Mordor’s forces at the Black Gate. I rescued you with the great Lord of the Eagles and brought you safely from Mount Doom. You are in Ithilien now and our King has healed you. He has been here for long time and has tried hard to bring you back from the brink of death.  I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you during the most crucial time.”

“But you fell, Gandalf; I saw… it with my… own eyes,” Frodo stuttered, tears coming to his eyes.

“Yes, I did, but I am here now for you,” Gandalf held onto Frodo’s hand tightly. “You’ve gone through quite a lot, my dear Hobbit. I am proud of you for what you have done and for making it back.  All of Middle-earth will know about the resilience and bravery of hobbits.”

“I’m glad too, but I could not have done anything without Sam by my side.  But more importantly, are the others all right? Sam? Merry? Pippin? Strider? Legolas? Gimli?”

“Yes, they are fine, Frodo and they’ll be very glad you’re awake. Merry has been here earlier and now has gone for a rest; he has hardly left your side.”

“Now rest up again, and we have to make sure you’re up for the feast honoring you tonight.” Gandalf gave a glass of water to the hobbit who gladly accepted. Frodo felt the cool freshness of the water and reminded how much he missed these simple comforts.

The excitement of seeing Gandalf again and knowing that he was alive and well left Frodo overwhelmed enough to feel slumber once again.  For so long in Mordor, he had prepared to die but now, all that was sad was coming untrue.  Frodo let his eyes droop and soon he was dreaming peacefully.

~fin~

“You must show Beregond mercy, Strider,” Pippin addressed Strider who was tending to him in Cormallen.

“Dear hobbit, I’m surprised that you are still thinking back to the dark time at the Pyre,” Aragorn was brewing another tea for Pippin’s hurts.  “Tell me, what’s on your mind about that,” Aragorn placed the tea aside as it cooled.

“Well, first of all, he acted out of love for Faramir and you must admit that it takes bravery to do what he did.  Secondly, I do not think Denethor was in his right mind at all. Beregond had to leave his post to do all he could to save Faramir.  Also, he slayed the other guard because of fear.  It is easy to be fearful of that time.  I would not give him too harsh of a penalty if I was King, but of course I am not, so it is for you to say.”

“I will not be too hasty in my decision but murder and striking against your own is a serious penalty and needs to be addressed, Pippin.  I know now that he acted out of love for his Captain, Faramir. I will also speak to him more about this when I return to Minas Tirith.”

“Just remember, Strider, Beregond only acted to save Faramir. We need Faramir in these times, don’t we?”

“Yes, partnering up with Faramir would be most wise in order to rebuild Gondor.  We will seek his advice on what must be done for Beregond.  There is much to decide.  As for you, I will keep your words in mind too, Knight of Gondor.”

“I prefer, ‘Prince ’, frankly, Strider,” said Pippin with a grin.

“Now have your tea and you will get better to serve us again!” said Aragorn, handing the mug to Pippin.

It is a long way, is it not, from Bree, where you did not like the look of me? A long way for us all, but yours has been the darkest road." ~Aragorn, The Field of Cormallen

“You’ve had a rough time, too didn’t you?” Frodo studied Merry’s face thoughtfully during their recovery at Cormallen. Middle-earth did not suffer the fate that all thought would’ve happened had the Ring not been destroyed. They were together at the fragrant fields of Cormallen, and finally Frodo had a moment with Merry just the two of them.

Merry’s face was flushed with shock, “Of course not, Frodo! I didn’t have it anywhere as tough as you and Sam.”

“You need not deceive me; oftentimes it is those that stand by those that are in need that need the most comforting. And your poor arm! You did not tell me how you feel!”

“Well, you know what they say, all heroes do live ‘happily ever after’ somehow,” Merry chuckled nervously. “How do you feel? Are you all right?” Merry evasively dodged the question about his arm. Merry studied his elder cousin’s features and demeanor. Frodo eyes were clear but they were more careworn than before. His finger was bandaged, his face thinner than before. Merry worried about Frodo’s recovery but Aragorn had insisted that Frodo would physically be all right.

“I am fine, my dear Merry. I want to hear about you. You need not worry about me- I know the last two weeks have been hard for you especially since Pippin, Sam and I were… out of sorts.” Frodo’s voice trailed. “I am sorry you had to go through this…” Frodo put his arm on Merry’s shoulder even though Merry was a few inches taller than him now.

Merry seemed more tired and Frodo could discern that Merry had been by their bedsides ceaselessly. Merry still had a sling on his right arm and he clearly favored his left still. He was always beside Pippin when he did not have duty to pass errands for the Rohirrim.

“Don’t you worry about me! It’s my job to be there for you! You and Sam have had the hardest road,” Merry’s eyes teared up.


Frodo embraced Merry, “You were the bravest to be there for all of us during this time of recovery! You need to take care of yourself, silly Merry. You need not worry anymore for we’re all together and we have all managed together.”

“Thanks Frodo. The greatest joy is to see you one and whole and to see you back from the Dark Land yonder; it’s really more than any hobbit could dream of. Imagine the stories we will tell our kinsman when we return to the Shire?” Merry smiled at the thought. “They would never believe us!”

“Yes, I look forward to the Shire again. Perhaps that is when I will forget the dark memories…” Frodo looked down at his hand with the missing finger. Would he ever really heal? He tried to push that thought away and think of the present.


“We will all have to learn to forget the bad and remember the good that we have experienced! Imagine telling my parents about Gondor and the Ents, Rivendell and elves! They would never believe me!”

Frodo smiled. “This was your idea to travel so long and far with me and Sam. And don’t forget, you are a hero for helping slay the Witch-king! You’re a hero in the greater Middle-earth, my dear Brandybuck! And to think I would have been content if you stayed in Rivendell!”

“And I would not sleep a day or have been at peace with myself if that were the case. I am not a writer like Bilbo so I would not like to hear the elves sing the whole day! And yes, I did make a difference in this Quest, not just some orc’s luggage!” Merry replied with a chuckle.

“Speaking about Bilbo, I would like to go to Rivendell before the Shire on our way home. No one has said if he will come for Aragorn’s coronation but I’m guessing the roads are still dangerous and it’s too long for him to travel so far.”


“It would be nice if he traveled to this part of Middle-earth, but yes, we would go with you to Rivendell first if that is your wish.”

Frodo nodded, “We need to see how he is and hopefully he’ll put into writing about our adventures. These would be great for his book.”

“It’ll be better if you wrote all the stores, Frodo. You can start recording all our adventures. Aragorn has a great one as well as he came up through the South in order to get to Minas Tirith on time, I’ve heard.”

“Yes, there is a lot to write about, but for now, I hope that you will take care of yourself too, Merry. Do not fool me that you’ve not been worried and now, you don’t need to worry about me anymore. Take care of your own health.”


Merry moved close to Frodo and sat beside him, putting his arm on Frodo’s shoulder. “I am just glad you’re here alive besides me. Thank you Frodo for being so brave.”

Frodo was touched; he hadn’t known in those dark days in Mordor what exactly would a happy ending entail but this moment with his beloved cousin felt sweeter than he had imagined.





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