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The Honorary Hobbit  by lovethosehobbits

The Honorary Hobbit

Cast of Characters: Aragorn, Frodo, Merry, Pippin, Sam and appearances from the rest of the Fellowship.

These characters and Middle Earth are the sole property of the Tolkien Estate. I have no rights, no money—nada, zip… yada, yada, yada….

This story is obviously AU.

Chapter 3 A Team Effort

He breathed in slowly through his mouth trying to quell the nausea and dizziness. He blinked. All around him lay broken branches and golden hued leaves. Water ran down his face in rivulets and rain pounded the ground around him. He could hear voices raised in fear and panic but couldn’t lift his head to see who was speaking. His head thrummed to the beat of his heart and icy stabs of pain shot up his leg. Through the fog he felt small hands, wiping his face and speaking in low reassurances. A clap of thunder, a stab of light and he smelled the acrid after odor of lightening.

“We must get away…shelter,” he mumbled.

“Shh…you are badly injured, Aragorn, and we will not leave you, no matter the danger,” a soft voice said.

Frodo awoke some fifteen feet away from the oak tree. He was sore, scraped and bruised. He was thankful that he had landed face down so that the others could not see how much pain he was in. His shoulder wound felt freshly made and he half expected to see the Pale King hovering over him, blade in hand.  He tried to mask his distress, but his face was pale and he trembled wildly as they helped him to his feet.

“Master, are you injured?” Sam asked, fear in his eyes.

“No Sam, I just got the wind knocked out of me is all,” he replied softly, trying and failing, to sound convincing.

Sam watched him, never letting loose of Frodo’s right arm. He could feel Frodo trembling and knew that his Master was anything but alright. His face was ashen, his lips blue as he gave Sam a tremulous smile.

“Mr. Frodo, why don’t you sit down oer…”

“Where’s Aragorn?” Frodo said cutting the gardener off.

Sam’s eyes flicked towards the oak tree. Frodo could see only branches- the branch that had been falling towards him when something had thrown him clear. Merry and Pippin were sitting on either side of it, worried looks on their faces. Frodo walked hurriedly towards his cousins no longer aware of his own injuries. His eyes flew open and he gasped when he saw an unconscious Aragorn pinned by the limb.

“Oh no,” he groaned and knelt beside Aragorn. The Ranger’s face was very pale, his body quaked with cold and pain. Panic gripped Frodo to see someone he could never imagine sick or in need, so strong, so sure of himself, suddenly so helpless. Aragorn was the healer, the protector, the hunter, and the stalwart one who always knew what to do in any situation and now that their roles were reversed by a mere twist of fate, Frodo was terrified that he would not be up to the task. He squared his shoulders and set his jaw in a determined line, he would do whatever was necessary to help his friend.

“Sam, Merry, Pip we need to get this branch off of him,” he said suddenly. The branch was huge, by hobbit standards, and Frodo wondered if the four of them would even be able to move it. He studied the limb lying across the Ranger and had an idea.

“I’m sorry, Aragorn, but Anduril is needed,” he whispered to the Ranger. He reached under the brittle limbs of the deadwood until his hand fastened on the hilt of the sword and gave it a tug. Nothing; the sword was too heavy for him to draw from its sheath.

“Help me clear these branches so we can get at Aragorn’s sword,” he urged. The other hobbits looked confused as to why Frodo needed Anduril, but began breaking away the limbs nonetheless.

Pip scurried to pick up the twigs, noticing that they were dry and thinking that they would come in handy when they decided to build a fire. He placed them in his pack deep within his extra clothing. Finally, they could see the sword lying against Aragorn’s left side and Frodo and Merry began tugging it from its sheath. Frodo was breathing hard, struggling to free the sword with all his might, but his left arm was useless and he had not the strength to help Merry.

“Beggin’ your pardon, Mr. Frodo, but since I work with me hands all day, perhaps I could help Mr. Merry,” Sam said tentatively. Frodo thought he could hide how much his shoulder pained him but all of them could tell by the way he trembled and favored the arm that he was in agony. Sam knew there was no stopping Frodo from ignoring the pain and working to free Aragorn, so he had said nothing in order for Frodo to save face. There would be time later to tend to his Master.

Frodo looked across Aragorn’s body to Sam and gave him a small smile, “Excellent idea, Sam. Never let a bookworm do what a gardener could do ten times over.” Sam blushed as he replaced Frodo’s hands with his own on the hilt of the sword. He and Merry pulled it cleanly from the scabbard.

“How do they lift these things, let alone fight with them?” Merry gasped.

“Alright, we are going to wedge Anduril under the branch and over Aragorn’s body and roll the log off of him,” Frodo said.

“A lever, that’s a fine idea, Mr. Frodo,” Sam exclaimed. He and Merry dragged the sword around Aragorn to Frodo. Frodo lay across Aragorn as the other three hobbits maneuvered the blade under the branch, over Aragorn’s hips and into the ground opposite.

“All right, it’s clear of his body,” Frodo said. They all stood, Pippin had taken one of the blankets and wrapped the sword hoping it would keep them from being cut. They lined up along the blade, grasping as far down the blade as they could reach.  “On three, One…Two…Three!” Frodo said, and they began lifting the sword with all their strength. Aragorn cried out in pain as the branch shifted and the sword pressed down on his hipbone which acted as a fulcrum, then they were all getting under the sword and the branch was rolling off of the Ranger with a crash. Anduril fell to the side as they converged at Aragorn’s side.

Frodo drew in a ragged breath when he saw what had been hidden beneath the dead branch. Aragorn’s right leg was badly broken below the knee, a jagged bone protruded through the Ranger’s leggings and a large circle of blood had pooled beneath the leg. Frodo locked frightened eyes with the other three hobbits who looked equally frightened.

“Oh Aragorn,” Frodo said quietly. He looked at the others. “Scout around and see if any of you can find any flat pieces of wood. Sam, you brought your hatchet, I hope?” Sam nodded slowly, his face blanched as he looked down at the broken leg.

“Aye, Mr. Frodo,” he whispered.

“Go with Merry and Pip and see if you can split some wood to make it flat enough to use as a splint.” The three younger hobbits ran off into the trees looking for downed branches and deadwood. Frodo tugged on Aragorn’s slicker until he was able to pull it free, he left it as he ran to the packs and untied the bedrolls then ran back to Aragorn’s side and tucked the blankets around the shivering Ranger. Through it all he murmured reassurances and promises of rescue and help to his friend. After all of the blankets were tucked in around Aragorn, he covered him with the slicker. Frodo’s eyes darted around the luncheon site searching for Aragorn’s healer’s satchel. For once he was happy that the bag was so much larger than previously. Spying it against the tree where Aragorn had left it, Frodo grabbed the bag, opened it and began to survey its contents. Frodo was impressed by how much was in the bag, enough to deal with almost any contingency. “Let’s hope there is something I can use for a man instead of a hobbit,” Frodo said as he looked at all of the cordials and miniature splints.

He pulled out containers labeled in Elvish and began searching his memory for fragments of overheard conversations by Elrond and his healers while they were caring for him. He mentally thanked Bilbo for teaching him Elvish, knowing that Aragorn’s treatment now lay completely on his shoulders and his ability to decipher the contents of the medical bag. Frodo hoped his knowledge of the language was adequate and that he didn’t accidently poison his patient. Taking Aragorn’s knife, he carefully cut away the tattered legging then, grabbing his water skin he flooded the wound with water. Aragorn cried out and tried to move away. Frodo whispered apologies to the Ranger but continued to pour all of the water onto the wound until the pouch was empty and the break was visibly clean.

His attention returned to the various containers, bags of powders, herbs and teas, feeling overwhelmed and frightened. He feared to give Aragorn anything, worrying that in his attempt to help his friend that he would inadvertently harm him.  He wet a cloth and slowly washed Aragorn’s face, “But I have to do *something*,” he whispered to his friend. His eyes filled with tears as he folded the cloth and lay it on Aragorn’s forehead and again began to study the small pouches. Some had labels with names he knew and were things even used in the Shire, he decided he would try one of those first.

He opened one pouch and a flowery scent wafted up into his face. On the side, in Elvish, was written ARNICA and he knew this to be an antibiotic. He sprinkled the white powder generously over the broken bone. He was tying the thread around the bag when Merry, Pippin and Sam ran up to him. They were covered in mud and completely soaked like he was, and they had a number of pieces of wood that might be useful as splints.

Frodo smiled tremulously as he took one of the long sticks from Sam. “This might work. Thank you all so much.” Frodo looked at Aragorn’s pinched face and whispered “This is going to be the worst part I fear.” He pulled a linen shirt out of his bag and handed it to Pippin. “Pip, could you tear this into strips please?”

Pippin nodded and began tearing the shirt apart. “Mr. Frodo, that’s your best shirt,” Sam exclaimed.

Frodo smiled, “I know Sam, but I also know you have another of my shirts in your pack.”

Sam blushed “’Jes bein’ prepared, is all,” he murmured.

“And I am very grateful that you are, dear Sam,” Frodo said warmly looking up at his friend.

Pippin finished, piling the strips of linen on top of Aragorn’s chest. Frodo turned to Merry, “Merry do you remember when Pip fell out of that tree and broke his arm while we were camping near Pintuck?”

“Oi! I was trying to reach those apples. How was I to know that some bird’s nest was on the same branch?” Pippin exclaimed.

“We told you Pip, that’s how, and you went after those apples anyway. That Mother bird could have pecked your eyes out,” Merry said with a smirk.

Pip took a breath to say something back and Frodo held up his hand stopping him. “Merry, remember how we had to set Pip’s arm so we could get him back to Brandyhall?”

Merry blanched and looked down at Aragorn’s leg, “Oh Frodo,” was all he said.

“I know,” Frodo said gazing down at the break. “I hate to cause him more pain but we have to set the leg as best we can. I’m going to sit at Aragorn’s head and try to soothe him while you and Sam set the leg. Pip, when Merry and Sam get the bones lined up, we’ll need you to tie those strips across the break and around the splints to keep his leg straight.”

“Yes, Frodo,” Pip squeaked. Frodo smiled at him and gave his arm a pat.

“Mr. Frodo, I’ve never done somethin’ like this…” Sam said, fidgeting.

Frodo took a deep breath and did something he had never done, something he did not want to do, but for Aragorn’s sake he knew he had to. “Sam, my arm is injured and I need you to help Merry since I don’t have the strength to help pull the bones back into place,” he said softly.

Sam’s mouth dropped open as did Merry and Pippin’s. “Frodo, you always deny it whenever you’re in pain. I don’t think I’ve ever heard you actually *admit* you were less than healthy,” Merry said, incredulous.

Frodo sighed, “I apologize about being difficult at times, Merry, but I do so hate it when people make a fuss.” He looked at Aragorn’s face and gently moved a strand of hair out of the Ranger’s eyes, “Now is not the time to be stoic. We need to help Aragorn. He has always been there for us, now it is our turn to care for him.” All four hobbits nodded and girded themselves for what was to come. Frodo picked up the flat pieces of wood the trio had brought back and examined them finally choosing the two longest. He delved into his pack pulling out his extra cloak.

“No Frodo, you’ve already donated a shirt. I have an extra cloak we can use instead,” Merry said softly. Frodo smiled and nodded. Merry ran to his pack and returned with the cloak, handing it to Frodo.

“Could you tear it in half for me, Mer’?” Frodo asked softly.

Merry looked at Frodo who held his left arm in his lap awkwardly. “Of course, cousin.” He slashed at the edge of the garment with his knife then ripped it in half. He handed half to Frodo and took the other half for himself. They wrapped the splints, covering the rough wood and trying to pad the boards as much as possible.

“Alright,” Frodo said blowing out a breath. “Let’s get this over with.”

 “Right then,” Sam said as he straddled Aragorn facing Merry over the broken leg. Merry placed his legs on either side of the injured limb and grasped the foot.

“Sam you will pull from your end as much as you can while I pull from my end, until the bones come together and go back the way they should be,” Merry said, taking Aragorn’s foot in his lap and placing one hand under the heel. Sam nodded. Frodo positioned himself at Aragorn’s head and began whispering reassurances to the unconscious man as he gently stroked the Ranger’s face. Pip gulped and turned frightened eyes on Merry. “Ready Pippin?” Merry asked softly. Pip nodded nervously.

Merry looked up at Sam who set his jaw and nodded. He began to slowly pull the leg towards him keeping the toe up, Aragorn screamed and arched his back. Pip lay across the Ranger’s chest while Frodo put his head down placing all of his weight onto Aragorn’s shoulders, still the man lifted him up as he struggled. Aragorn suddenly went perfectly still and Frodo’s head shot up. He placed a trembling hand on the Ranger’s neck and sighed in relief when he felt the beat under his fingers.

“Pippin!” Merry shouted, and Pip moved to the leg and began tying the linen strips snugly around the leg. Frodo slipped his little finger under the strips to make sure they weren’t too tight or cutting off the circulation. Merry wrapped the leg in gauze while Sam and Frodo held it up. Finally, the padded boards were placed to immobilize the leg.

Frodo slumped down in exhaustion and was soon joined by Sam and Pippin. They leaned heavily against each other while Merry tucked the blankets and slicker securely around Aragorn. Pippin was quietly crying, tears running down his face as he leaned his head back against Frodo whose eyes were closed.

“All right, Pip?” Frodo asked quietly, pulling the tweenager to him.

“Is he going to be alright, Frodo?” Pip whispered.

“I hope so, Pippin.”

“I just hate seeing him so hurt, Frodo,” Pippin swiped at his nose with his arm.

“I know lad, but we had to do it or his leg would have got infected.” Pippin nodded against his chest. “We have one more duty to Aragorn,” Frodo said tiredly. They all looked at him. “We have to get him out of this rain and someplace warm and dry,” Frodo said. The thunder and lightning had long since moved on, but the rain had not lessoned in its intensity.

“How are we to do that? He is a BIG man, Frodo, we can’t carry him or even drag him. Do you have any ideas?” Merry asked as he stared down at Aragorn’s tall body.

Frodo sighed, “I think we should try to fashion a travois and make for the caves. They all stared at him blankly then one by one, looked up at the rim rock. Merry rose and began looking for long sticks he could use as a support frame.

“I brought rope, Mr. Frodo,” Sam said with a smile.

“Good Sam, we can lash the sides together and tie Aragorn to the litter,” Frodo smiled back at the gardener. Frodo began to paw through Aragorn’s things until he came upon a well-worn oiled leather cloak stuffed deep within the man’s bag. He lay out the cloak and stared at it as Sam watched him and wondered what his Master was thinking. “Aragorn is going to be very upset with me, Sam,” Frodo murmured. Using Merry’s knife he began cutting thick strips off of the edge of the cloak, leaving the large center piece to use for the cradle portion of the travois.  After he had cut fifteen or twenty strips he laid the knife down and shook out his right hand which was cramping.

Merry returned from his search for materials and sat down by Frodo. “You alright, Cousin?” he asked. Sam and Pip looked up, waiting for Frodo’s reaction.

“I am fine, Merry, just a little tired is all. Hand me those sticks and I’ll lash them to the side pieces,” he said softly.

“I don’t think so, Frodo.” Frodo looked at him, incredulous. “I’m sorry cousin, but they need to be tied very tight to the frame and with your left arm frozen and hurting you, you just don’t have the strength to pull the lashings tight,” Merry said quietly, pity in his eyes.

Frodo flushed and looked down. “There will be time to tend to my wound later. Aragorn must come first,” he murmured.

“We knew you would say that and that is why no one has stopped you yet,” Merry said pulling a lashing tight around one of the poles. “Aragorn is trembling terribly. It’s probably shock, but he’s probably also cold. Why don’t you go and curl up next to him and keep him warm?” Merry said as his deft fingers wound the leather around another juncture of the litter.

“Come on, Mr. Frodo, I’ll cover you both up,” Sam said, helping his Master to his feet.

Frodo looked at each of their faces. “Did I ever fool *any* of you?”

Pippin laughed, “Of course not, you silly Baggins. We knew you were hurt probably before you did. We know you and how you would do anything for any one of us anytime regardless of what it does to yourself.”

Frodo blushed again, “I really *am* much better,” he tried. They all rolled their eyes at once. “Come get me then when you’re done with the travois,” he murmured, smiling.

“Rest well, cousin, it will be some time before we get everything done,” Merry said with a smile.

Sam raised the corner of the blankets and Frodo settled over Aragorn’s chest, tucking his head under the man’s chin and legs on either side of the man’s torso.  “Night sir,” Sam said. He lowered the blankets over Frodo’s head then covered them both with the slicker, tenting it to allow air in. It was surprisingly warm and soon Aragorn’s shaking all but stopped and Frodo slipped into slumber.



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