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Fate and the High King's Falcon  by Baylor

Merry was busy with Éomer, and Gimli was assisting Aragorn with various tasks, so Legolas was left with the task of getting Pippin off to sleep on what looked to be his last night as a patient, provided Aragorn gave him permission to leave his bed in the morning. Supper consumed, medicines taken, pillows fluffed and blankets tucked, Pippin snuggled down into the bed and looked expectantly at Legolas. The elf raised an eyebrow at him.

"Don't I get a story or a song or anything?" Pippin complained.

"I think you're getting quite spoiled, you know," Legolas answered, but he sat down willingly enough upon the edge of the bed.

"I know," Pippin said affably, "but I figure this isn't going to last much longer, so I'd best make the most of it."

Legolas laughed, making Pippin beam with delight. "Actually," now the elf sobered, "I have a gift of a sort for you, but I fear you will find it rather sad."

"A sad gift?" Pippin asked in surprise.

Legolas was searching through his garments as he spoke. "I meant to give it to you long ago, but there were always more pressing matters. And then once I recalled it, I wanted to find a chain for it so you could keep it safe. I have waited too long, but here it is, nonetheless."

He drew a slender silver chain out. Dangling from the end of it was a small silver ring set with a tiny pearl. Pippin's face was solemn as he reached for it.

"Oh," he said in a tiny voice as Legolas folded it into his hand.

"It was a liberty, I know, but I took it when we prepared his last honors. I hoped to give it to his brother, but the circumstances seemed poor for such a moment. Besides, I thought it more appropriate if you be the one to return it to his family, and that perhaps you would like to keep it safe until then."

Watching the hobbit study the ring, Legolas saw a new kind of wise melancholy appear on Pippin's face. The ring had belonged to Boromir's mother when she was a girl, and Boromir had carried it with him in her memory. It had slipped out of his clothing one day after a precipitous decent down a slope, and tumbled into a crevice, out of reach. Pippin had been gloriously boastful (and quite dirty) after he had retrieved the ring for his friend by demanding the great man dangle him by his ankles over the high ledge. Merry had been proud, Frodo had been askance, Legolas had been amused, but Boromir had been sincerely grateful. The other members of the Fellowship had noticed a marked change in the man's sentiments toward the hobbits after that, and toward Pippin in particular.

"Thank you, Legolas," Pippin said now, and slipped the chain around his neck. "I will keep it safe, and I would very much like to give it to Faramir."

Legolas reached out to smooth a twist in the chain, and then rested the palm of his hand on Pippin's collarbone, over the ring. "I miss him, too," he said simply, and Pippin nodded before reaching for his friend.

He was a little damp and sniffly when they pulled apart, so Legolas fetched a handkerchief before Pippin could decide to use the sheets to wipe his nose. Once he was cleaned up and resettled in bed, Legolas resumed his perch at the edge of the mattress and took Pippin's broken hand gently in his own. The hobbit's good hand was carefully fingering the ring.

"A story? Or a song?" Legolas asked, but Pippin shook his head.

"Neither, thank you. But will you sit for a bit?" he answered.

"Of course, dear heart," Legolas said tenderly. He was quiet and watchful as Pippin lay wrapped in memories that soon lulled him to sleep. Once he was confident that the hobbit was asleep for the night, Legolas slipped outside the tent, mindful to stay within earshot. He watched the stars kindle and the moon wax, humming softly. An occasional lyric, half-formed, wove its way from his throat. He remained oblivious to the looks of awe and delight he garnered from passersby.

By the time the moon was waning, the elf looked quite pleased with himself. He returned to the tent to check on his charge, and found the hobbit's face peaceful in sleep, his hand loosely clasping the ring at his neck.

(Note: The tale of Pippin retrieving the ring for Boromir originally appeared in the chapter "Making Good Use of Your Hobbit" in my story "The Care and Feeding of Hobbits.")

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