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The Honorary Hobbit  by lovethosehobbits

The characters in this story are not mine, I receive no renumeration only the happiness of revisiting Tolkien's universe

“Is it alright to come in?” Merry asked, poking his head around the door. Strider turned to look at the two, Pippin having pushed his head in below Merry’s. Pippin stared over at Frodo and saw that his cousin was asleep, a furrow between his eyes. ‘Another bad dream,’ he thought with a sigh.

“Come in you two,” Aragorn said, eyeing them both warily. They were followed by a seemingly endless line of elves carrying steaming buckets of water. They filled the large copper tub then exited. Another elf carried two buckets of cold water which he poured into the tub slowly; testing the temperature to be sure it was still hot enough. Merry produced a flask of lavender oil and poured a generous amount into the tub.

“Time for a wash, Strider,” he said with a smile.

Aragorn flushed a bright red, “I am sure I can manage on my own, Merry.”

Merry raised an eyebrow, “Now that would be foolhardy since you haven’t been up for weeks except for that brief excursion on your crutches. You’d fall flat on your face, you’re so weak.”

Aragorn flushed but this time, not from embarrassment, “I am not weak!” he fairly shouted.

Pippin jumped, giving Merry a sidelong glance, “Well, you did struggle doing our exercises so you can see why we’re confused,” he chirped.

“I…I wasn’t warmed up when you came in, Pippin,” the ranger stammered, looking away.

“It’s alright, Strider, we know you’re not really weak, just still recovering. Anyway, Lord Elrond would skin us alive if we let you try to get up, so we brought help. Two additional elves entered the room and unceremoniously pulled back the blankets as Merry and Pip crawled up onto the bed.

“I do not need help undressing, gentlemen. Please, at the very least, allow me to do that,” Aragorn said with a tight smile.

“Very well, Strider,” Merry said with a grin. “Go ahead, let’s see you remove your nightshirt,” he said with a wink to Pippin. Strider pulled the right sleeve to remove his arm, but the arm felt like lead and resisted. He grunted, breathing hard, but finally the arm fell back to the bed.

“This is ridiculous,” Aragorn heard from the doorway. He glanced around seeing Sam standing there watching the battle, arms crossed across his chest. He marched to the bed, grasped the left sleeve while Merry grabbed the hem and pulled the nightshirt one movement over Strider’s head. Two surprised eyes looked at them. “The water’ll be cold afore you even get in if we dillly dally anymore,” Sam nodded to the elves and the surprised ranger was quickly lifted, one holding the broken leg while the other carried the ranger, to the awaiting tub.
With a blush, Strider grabbed at a towel on the bed to cover himself but not before he saw Pippin’s eyes fly open wide. He rolled his eyes, knowing what would come next from the curious hobbit. He was lowered slowly into the tub and, for a long moment, forgot his embarrassment. The water surrounded him like a lover’s embrace and he sighed noisily.

Merry smiled, “There is nothing like a hot bath after a little exercise, is there Strider?”

Aragorn smiled widely, “It does feel wonderful, I have to admit.” The hobbit’s grinned as they gathered flannels and began to lather chatting back and forth about which ‘parts’ each would be scrubbing. Aragorn thought he might hyperventilate as they bent to their tasks.

 “Gentlemen please, I can wash myself,” he objected with a sputter.

“Here now, are we really going to argue about all the details, Mr. Strider? You’re bein’ a mite silly, if you don’t mind me sayin’ Sir. After all, we’re all males here, nothin’ we ain’t seen before, I’ll warrant,” he growled as he began lathering the ranger’s hair.

“That’s right, Sam, just not so large,” Pippin said, diligently scrubbing the exposed part of Strider’s injured leg and foot. Aragorn didn’t think he could blush any darker but as Sam washed his hair he began to relax as the subdued voices of his friends reassured him and described their actions while they worked. Merry washed his torso and as he got lower towards Aragorn’s nether regions, began to tell a story about how Pip had once got stuck in one of Bilbo’s round windows by the door.

“Now, I only got stuck because you had left the key inside,” Pippin chortled.

Sam giggled, “All I remember is that my Da’s goat Maybell chose just that moment to wander over and start nibblin’ at yer toes, Mr. Pippin.”

Pippin smiled, “It really tickled,” he giggled. Aragorn smiled widely picturing Pippin’s hind end hanging out of the window as the curious goat investigated. “Well, it wouldn’t have been so bad but Frodo had to start popping stones at my arse. But oh, did Bilbo get mad…made him miss out on the party at the Green Dragon. They all grinned and glanced over at their cousin who lay watching them dreamily, a smile on his lips. “Oi, Frodo, you’re awake!” exclaimed Pip.

“How’s an old hobbit to sleep with all the noise you’re making?” he mumbled sleepily.

“Oh, Mr. Frodo, we’re sorry we woke ya, Sir. ‘Guess we forgot you were there what with you bein’ so quiet and all,” Sam said apologetically.

“Nonsense, all I do is sleep, it seems. I enjoy that story about Pip; always makes me smile,” he said with a wistful grin.

“It is good that you have such friends and kin to make your heart light,” Aragorn said pointedly.

Merry smiled, “Yes, well, there are more stories than we have time concerning our Pip,” Merry murmured, studying Strider’s suddenly serious countenance.

“I can’t help it. Sometimes ideas just come to me and before I know it, I’m acting on them. It always seems like a good idea at the time,” Pip whined.

Frodo’s smile had fled and he was staring at the back of the ranger’s head, “yes,” he said slowly, “That is why we should preserve and protect that innocence. It would be a horrible thing to lose such a carefree outlook on life, wouldn’t it?” Frodo said slowly.

Sam frowned at his Master in confusion then glanced over at Merry who looked at Sam in puzzlement then simply shrugged his shoulders. Pip was the only one who seemed oblivious to the change in the room.

“All finished, Strider, let me just get some towels on the bed so we can get you dried and back in a clean nightshirt,” Sam murmured slowly, his thoughts obviously elsewhere.

Merry left the room to bring in the two elves to carry Strider back to his bed. The bed had been freshly made with the boards getting new padding and wrappings as well. They easily lifted the Ranger placing him on the boards such that the bedsores weren’t touching the bed. Sam studied them, “Why, they’re almost completely healed. Hold off on the nightshirt a minute sirs, we got somethin’ else we gotta do first,” Sam said. The elves nodded and bowed before they left the room. Aragorn folded his hands carefully over his groin until Sam brought him a dry towel with a shake of his head. “I never figured you as the shy type, Mr. Strider,” he said quietly.

“Only when I am around three or four curious hobbits, Samwise”, he murmured. Sam grinned as he looked over at Pippin who’s  mouth was hanging open. Sam threw a towel at the tweenager bringing him out of his shock. Pip gave them all a guilty blush and began drying Striders legs and feet briskly.

“Look at this!” He suddenly exclaimed. Sam and Merry leaned over Strider’s legs and gawked.

“Never seen the like,” Sam said in hushed fascination. “They look kind of pale and delicate, don’t they?” Two nods answered.

“What?” Aragorn burst out nervously. “What are you three staring at?” He tried to sit up but couldn’t get his arms under him, to see what was so fascinating about his very naked body.

Pippin reached out and poked at the lily white foot.“The skin is so soft; like a maids”, he exclaimed. Sam and Merry both poked at Aragorn’s foot to see for themselves.

A bark of laughter made everyone’s heads turn and look at Frodo who was holding his stomach as he laughed, occasionally wiping his eyes. “Oh Aragorn,” he gasped, “the look on your face…”he giggled. Aragorn smiled. It had been so long since he had seen Frodo’s eyes dance in glee, he had forgotten how much he had missed the hobbit's usual lightheartedness.

“But there’s not a lick ‘o hair on them, Mr. Frodo”, Sam said in a hushed voice, looking at Frodo as if this was the most scandalous thing he had ever seen.

“No, here’s some,” Merry said, pulling on a few hairs on the large toe.

“Ouch! Gentlemen please give me a towel and stop poking at my decidedly MANLY feet,” Aragorn fairly shouted.

“Oh, sorry Mr. Strider,” Sam said as he placed a towel over Aragorn’s groin. “We’re just not used to seeing a man’s foot up close is all,” he said it with a smile.

“HOW do you walk on them? They look so frail”, Pippin asked, eyes full of green eyed innocence.

“They are not frail and I walk on them just like you walk on your oversized hairy feet,” Aragorn answered with a wink. Merry grinned as he toweled Strider’s torso down then vigorously dried the man’s hair. When he pulled the towel away, the man’s hair stuck up all over and Frodo burst into new gales of laughter at the sight.

“What?” Aragorn asked him pointedly.

Frodo just pointed at him and giggled until at last, he was spent and fell back onto the pillows with a huge sigh. “Ah, that felt good,” he whispered.

Grinning, Sam took a brush and began to comb out the man’s hair. “It’s mighty long, sir, we could give it a cut if…”

NO,” Aragorn exclaimed. “Sam, with my people longer hair is a sign of strength,” he said softly.

“But not on the feet, it seems,” Pippin quipped, which set Frodo into another bout of belly laughs and everyone else chuckling.

Aragorn smiled, “No Pippin, only on the head and face,” he said quietly.

“Frodo, we were going to start with your exercises if you aren’t too exhausted from laughing,” Merry said with a grin.

Frodo smiled, “No, I have the energy to do some stretches if you and Pip will help me,” he grinned.

“Once we get Strider settled we’ll do that,” Pippin said happily.

“Alright Strider, we’ve only got one thing left to do,” Sam said. Aragorn looked up at the three hobbits sleepily. The bath had done wonders for his sore muscles and he was ready for a nap.

“What would that be, Sam?”

“We’ve got some oil and we’re ta give you a massage. Your skin’s right dry from layin’ about and it should feel awful good.”

Aragorn blushed, “It’s really not necessary, Sam…” he started.

“Yes it is,” Sam said dismissing any argument out of hand. “You jes’ lie there and we’ll do the rest.” Sam poured oil over the man’s torso and then handed the jar to Merry who took the left leg before handing it to Pip who took the injured right leg. Sam’s strong hands kneaded the oil into Aragorn’s shoulders and chest causing the ranger to groan as he closed his eyes in bliss. Small hands carefully massaged his long leg muscles as the three accompanied their ministrations with the ever present soft chatter typical of hobbits. He had almost fallen asleep when he felt Sam pulling a clean nightshirt over his head, settling it around his hips before covering the man in a comforter.

“I wish to thank all of you,” Aragorn whispered. “You have been diligent in your care of me and the bath and massage were wonderful,” he smiled sleepily.

They all blushed, “Weren’t nothin’, Mr. Strider,” Sam said. “You woulda done the same for us, after all. You’re one of us, you know, and we all need to watch out for one another.” Aragorn’s eyes darted over to Frodo, who sobered and blushed before looking away.

“I agree wholeheartedly, Sam,” Aragorn murmured.

Pippin and Merry placed a few pillows behind Strider’s head then climbed down from the massive bed and went to Frodo’s bedside.
Sam wiped his hands with a towel and looked at Frodo, “I think I’ll go to the kitchens and help the cooks fix up yer next meal, if that’s all right Mr. Frodo,” he said.

Frodo gulped but forced a smile, “wonderful Sam, I can’t wait to see what you come up with,” he lied. Sam beamed and ran out of the room.

“You ready cousin?” Pippin asked with a decidedly devious glint in his eye.

Frodo swallowed hard, ‘What have I got myself into?’ he thought uneasily.

“Don’t worry, Fro’, we’ll be gentle,” Merry said with a grin. They uncovered his legs and a shiver passed through him.

Pippin glanced worriedly over at Merry, “Once we get your blood pumping, you’ll warm up in a thrice, cousin,” Pippin whispered.

Frodo gave him a small smile. “Alright Frodo, first let’s raise you up a bit on your pillows,” Merry murmured. He slowly helped his cousin lean forward and placed two plump pillows behind his back. He didn’t see how pale the hobbit had become or that Frodo had closed his eyes and clenched his jaw, but Pippin did.

“Frodo, we can come back later if you’d rather,” Pippin said softly. “Merry, maybe we’re rushing things and he’s not healed enough to do this,” he continued a bit frantically.

Frodo slowly opened his eyes and looked at his little cousin. “No, I want to do this. I want to get stronger so I can get out of this bed, Pip. I am so very tired of being weak and sickly,” he said almost to himself.  He darted a glance towards Aragorn and saw that the ranger was studying him closely. “Let’s start, shall we?” Frodo said, looking back at Merry and trying to force his voice to be strong and cheerful but failing.

Merry gave him a nod, “All right Frodo, I’m going to push your leg towards your chest and you try to stop me by pushing back towards me.” He began to push, bending the knee and moving it towards Frodo’s chest. He didn’t use his full strength as with Aragorn, knowing it was unlikely Frodo would be able to match his effort. Frodo struggled to push back at Merry but his leg shook with the effort. Perspiration bloomed on his forehead and he groaned, throwing his head back, before the leg collapsed. He blew out a breath.

“Again,” Frodo said tersely, determined to best Merry if it took all of his energy to do so.

“Easy there, Frodo, don’t expect to be like you were before being hurt…sick,” Merry said. “All right, ready?” Frodo nodded, wiping his forehead. Merry leaned forward and Frodo pushed back towards him with everything he had, but the leg faltered causing Merry to fall forward. “That’s all right, cousin, it’s only natural that you’d be weakened by your illness. It just takes a little time to get the muscles working again,” Merry said trying to reassure his cousin.

“I know, Merry, it’s just…” Frodo panted harshly, “it’s just I feel so useless. I hate this room. I hate this bed. I want to hike around Rivendell and see some of its beauty before I have to continue on,” Frodo said, his eyes becoming distant and damp with tears.

“Let’s try the other leg Fro’. I’m sure each day we do this you’ll grow stronger and stronger until you push both of us right off the bed,” Pippin beamed. Frodo smiled at his little cousin and began again with much the same results. By the time they finished Frodo’s nightshirt was stuck to his skin with perspiration and his face was flushed. His muscles trembled in exhaustion.

“Do you think Lord Elrond would let me have a bath, Mer’? A real bath?” Frodo asked hopefully.

Merry shot a look towards Aragorn who looked skeptically back at him. “I could always give you a sponge bath, Frodo,” he whispered.

Frodo sighed, “No thank you, Mer’, they always leave me feeling sticky and still dirty.” He looked up at Merry hopefully, “Could you ask Lord Elrond for me?”

“And what exactly would you ask of me, Master Brandybuck?” Elrond said quietly as he entered the room. Frodo blushed.

“Oh, well, Frodo wants to take a bath, would that be all right, my Lord?”

Elrond studied Frodo and frowned, “Why is your color so high?” he asked crossing quickly to Frodo’s bedside. “You’re perspiring,” he added, as he placed his hand on Frodo’s forehead.

Frodo smiled, “Merry and Pip have been helping me with some exercises,” he explained.

“Masters Took and Brandybuck, please consult me in the future before proceeding with an exercise regimen for the Ringbearer,” he said quietly.

“I am sorry, my Lord, I thought it would be all right,” Merry stammered.

“I am not angry with you, Master Brandybuck, after all I did mention earlier it would be good to start some light exercise therapy for Master Baggins. It is my fault completely. The Ringbearer is still running a low grade fever and needs his energy to regain his strength so I would have cautioned you to wait another few days before commencing with this activity. How did he do?”

“Excellent! He’s still weak but he is very stubborn so he gave it his best effort. Frodo’s got a long line of stubborn in him,” Pippin said as if not everyone already knew this fact.

“Do not talk about me as if I am not here, please,” Frodo said testily.

“My apologies Ringbearer…”

“And please stop calling me Ringbearer, my name is Frodo!” the hobbit fairly spat.

“Again, my apologies, Frodo,” Elrond said courteously but Frodo saw a twinkle in his eye. No doubt the elf Lord found the whole conversation quite amusing, Frodo thought.

“About the bath?” Frodo continued trying to direct the conversation back to his original inquiry.

“Allow me to examine the wound first, then I will decide,” Elrond said simply.

Frodo stiffened, but allowed himself to be straightened on his pillows. The elf Lord turned to see if there were a tray nearby and, as if by magic, Balorian entered with what was needed.

“How does he do that?” Pippin whispered to Merry.

“How does he do what, Master Took?” Elrond asked smiling at the youngest hobbit.

Pippin blushed but continued, “He always seems to know when you need something and appears. Can he read minds?”

“Ah well, Master Balorian has been around me for many hundreds of years and has become attuned to my needs, Master Took.” Pippin didn’t look convinced. “Also elves are able to speak mind to mind and even though I didn’t ask for a tray he may have “heard” me thinking to myself that I needed one,” Elrond finished with a smirk directed towards Balorian. Pippin stared at Balorian for a long time, thinking for the hundredth time that the elf really didn’t look much like the other elves. Elrond inclined his head towards Balorian, “Thank you, Balorian,” he said softly. Balorian merely grinned at Pippin, giving the elf Lord a small nod.

Elrond selected a pair of scissors from the tray. While he had been talking he had released the knot in the sling and removed it. Frodo had remained utterly silent, concentrating on controlling his breathing. He was determined not to show how much the wound still pained him. Aragorn was sitting up against his pillows watching as Elrond carefully began to cut away the bandages. Frodo flinched as the gauze was pulled away from the wound.“I apologize, Frodo,” the Elf lord murmured.

“I am fine,” Frodo whispered, although he had lost all of the color in his face. He kept his head turned away and his jaw clinched so tightly that Elrond saw the muscles jump.

“He is determined to show no weakness,” the Elf lord thought with admiration.Elrond bent low over the wound and studied the still livid mark. When he frowned, Aragorn sat up straighter.

“What is it, Ada?”

“This wound is the most unusual I have ever treated. It seems to resist all attempts to knit properly. Aragorn leaned out over the edge of his bed, placing one hand on the side table to get a closer look.

“It appears as if you just placed the stitches; the wound still looks fresh,” in whispered in wonder, reaching out to palpate the area around the puncture. Frodo hissed with a jerk, then quickly bit down on his lip. He began to tremble violently.

“I am sorry, Frodo,” Aragorn whispered.

“It is nothing,” Frodo said flatly, but Aragorn saw a single tear run down his right cheek before Frodo hurriedly turned his face away.

“The stitches are holding,” Elrond said after studying the wound. “You may have your bath, Master Baggins, as long as you do not get the wound wet. Keep the arm as it is, in a sling with the water no higher than the elbow. I may have to do some additional work to reinforce the stitches later, Frodo,” he added softly.

Frodo gulped, his face going even whiter, then gave Elrond a short nod. Then, realizing what he had said, his face brightened and he grinned, “Really? A real bath? Oh thank you, my Lord, I promise I will be very careful,” Frodo gushed, his blue eyes shining in anticipation.
“You will be carried, of course, and I think the other hobbits should attend you as they did my son,” Elrond said as he rose.

“I hardly think that is necessary, Lord Elrond, after all I did walk just a few days ago,” Frodo argued. He regretted the words even as they left his mouth. Everyone in the room stilled. Frodo slowly looked up as Elrond turned slowly back to him. He glared down at Frodo and the hobbit felt a shiver go down his spine.

“I have not forgotten your “walk”, Master Baggins. I contend had you had more restraint you would have quite possibly been out of your sick bed and able to see all of the wonders of Imladris many days ago and taken as many hot baths as you had desired,” he said, his quiet voice cut the quiet like a steel blade. “Perhaps, if you can follow my instructions without further debate, you may yet achieve that goal.” He turned and walked from the room without waiting for Frodo’s reply.

Frodo exhaled a huge breath. Merry’s and Pippin’s eyes were perfectly round, their mouths hanging open, “Are you daft?” Merry exploded.

“I cannot believe I said that,” Frodo whispered blushing. Then he remembered the proffered bath and grinned widely.

He looked over at Aragorn who was chuckling, “I almost thought he would rescind the bath, luckily Elrond is not prone to holding grudges.

Frodo smiled at Aragorn, “I am very lucky to have such gracious hosts,” he said, looking slightly guilty. Balorian returned a few minutes later along with a contingency of elves. Some carried coppers that were empty while others held steaming vessels. They watched as the dirty water was bailed out of the open doorway and then replaced with hot and mixed with cold water until the temperature was deemed perfect. Frodo’s eyes shown in anticipation of one of his favorite pass times. A bottle emerged from Balorian’s pocket and the elf emptied it into the steaming water. The rich fragrance of eucalyptus and bergamot filled the air, causing all to close their eyes and inhale deeply. Aragorn was fully awake now, watching intently as an elf approached the bed, removed the covers and smiled down at the Ringbearer.

“May I assist you, Ringbearer?” he asked softly. Frodo looked confused but nodded anyway. The elf took the hem of Frodo’s nightshirt and began to pull it upward to remove it. Frodo yelped, comprehension dawning at last. “Did I cause you pain, Ringbearer?” the elf asked in concern.

Frodo blushed, “No…no er, perhaps my cousins should assist me, if that is all right?” he whispered.

 The elf smiled widely, “Of course, I understand,” he said with a small bow and motioning to Pip and Merry.

“Frodo, I’ve seen you lots of times, you’re not normally so shy,” Pippin giggled.

“Shut up, Pip,” Frodo growled. The smiling cousins began to maneuver the shirt up to Frodo’s chest but jostled the injured arm causing him to cry out. Pip and Merry froze and Aragorn jolted forward.

“I am sorry Frodo, I must have moved too fast or jerked or...” Pip babbled, tears in his eyes.

Frodo placed his good hand on the back of Pippin’s head and touched his forehead to Pip’s. “I am all right Pip, you didn’t hurt me,” he crooned. Frodo’s face was very pale and tears stood in his eyes.

“But you cried out!” Pippin insisted. “Why am I always doing everything wrong,” he cried.

Frodo smiled, “Because you are young and…Pip, if you didn’t do the things you do you wouldn’t be my Pip. You’d be boring like Merry,” Frodo said with a forced smile.

“Oi!” Merry exclaimed with a grin.

Pippin grinned up at Frodo, “Thank you cousin,” he said quietly.

Balorian bustled over, pulled the nightshirt back and examined the wound. “No harm done, little Master’s,” he said with a smile, “but perhaps I should assist the Ringbearer.”

Merry and Pip stepped back and watched as Balorian first extracted the right arm then slowly slipped the shirt over Frodo’s head and down the left arm. Frodo’s jaw was tightly clinched and one could see he was in great pain, despite Balorian’s careful movements. The offending shirt removed, the first elf stepped forward and holding Frodo’s uninjured side to his chest, he slowly rose and carried Frodo to the bath.
The room swam and Frodo forced himself to breathe deeply so as not to vomit, but once he was lowered slowly into the bath all of his hurts seemed to dissolve as his muscles relaxed, leaving him in total bliss. Balorian placed a towel over the wounded shoulder and for a second, Frodo felt faint. Merry lightly touched his cheek and he became more focused, giving his cousin a weak smile.
“Alright there, Frodo?” Merry whispered, his eyes filled with fear.

“Yes, thank you, Mer’,” Frodo managed to murmur.

The water came up to Frodo’s waist and his arm rested on a thick towel fashioned into a bolster. While most of the arm was submerged, the shoulder was well above the water line. Frodo closed his eyes and laid his head back on the edge of the tub, relaxing to the sound of his cousins’ chatter and tender ablutions. All too soon they were rinsing his hair and body with hot water that made him shiver in delight.
“Frodo, are you ready to get out or would you like me to add a little more hot water so you can relax a bit?” Pippin asked.

Frodo’s eyes remained closed as he smiled, “Oh yes, Pip, that sounds lovely,” he mumbled sleepily. Pip grinned and jumped up, fetching a kettle by the fire and pouring the contents carefully as he mixed the hot with the tepid water. Frodo groaned in pleasure causing Aragorn to chuckle.

After a few moments Balorian re-entered the room and ran his hand through the cooling water. A team of elves had followed him in and they stripped Frodo’s bed, remaking it in clean linens, comforters and pillows. Balorian nodded to them as they bowed and departed. “Master Baggins, it is time to return you to your bed so you may rest.”

Frodo groaned loudly, this time in displeasure, “Must I? So soon?”

The elf grinned, “You have been in the bath for over an hour. You will have other opportunities to bath whenever you wish, should you follow Lord Elrond’s instructions and continue to recover,” he said carefully.

The same elf who had borne him before materialized and carefully lifted Frodo from his bath. His hair and body were briskly dried and Frodo was surprised to realize that he hadn’t felt the stabbing pain in his shoulder as much when they had moved him, he was so relaxed.
Balorian came to the bedside holding a curious garment. Frodo studied it in confusion, “Who has mangled that nightshirt?” he asked Balorian with a smile.

Balorian grinned, “One of my assistants came up with a brilliant idea of how to re-dress you without causing your arm so much pain. Let me demonstrate.”

Merry and Pip moved closer, curious. The elf pulled the night shirt over Frodo’s head, pulling the right arm through the sleeve as normal. The left shoulder and sleeve had been cut down the middle and ties now dangled from the edges. Balorian tied the garment on up the arm and shoulder then stepped back. Frodo beamed at Balorian, “Why, that didn’t hurt at all. What a wonderful idea, you must thank your assistant for me please, Balorian,” Frodo said gratefully. “Perhaps I won’t dread the daily nightshirt changes so much now. So very clever, thank you,” he said again.Balorian smiled, bowed and left the room.

“That really his ingenious,” Merry said touching one of the ties. “Why, even one of us could get you dressed now,” he grinned. Frodo looked at his cousins in trepidation.

“And why would you want to do that Merry?”

“Because my aged, wise cousin, we weren’t finished with you when Balorian came in to show you his new invention,” he said pulling the ties loose on the arm of the left sleeve.

“It’s something you’ll really like Fro’, don’t worry,” Pippin said sweetly. Frodo smiled in confusion.

“I suppose I am not really in a position to resist, am I Pip?”

The garment folded over to the right side, Merry and Pip poured lavender oil into their palms and began to massage it into their cousin’s dry skin and muscles. Frodo groaned in ecstasy. “I shall never doubt you again,” he mumbled.

Merry, Pip and Aragorn laughed, “Now why do I think otherwise, I wonder?” Aragorn snorted.

Frodo laughed, “True. What was I thinking?”

“We aren’t that bad. What have we done lately? I believe we get blamed for things that we never had anything to do with, don’t you Pip?”

Pip was snickering, “Oh, oh yes Merry, just misunderstandings.”

“I’m sure,” Frodo mumbled sleepily. Merry pulled the shirt over to the left and tied it back up. He smiled as he covered his cousin in a fluffy comforter and was turning to leave when he heard the sound of hobbit feet running down the corridor towards them.The door slammed open, hitting the wall and Frodo jumped straight up from the bed, gasping in pain as he wrenched his arm;in front of him stood Samwise Gamgee, his face livid. Frodo drew back in shock. He had never seen Sam angry with HIM (although he was certain it happened often), but THIS Samwise Gamgee seemed to be so upset that all issues of class and ranking had fallen to the wayside and for the first time, Frodo was happy to have Sam as a friend and not an enemy.

“And just when were you going to tell us your plans, Frodo,” he nearly shouted at his Master.


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