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While perusing a few fics searching for something else, I came across this one, written for B2MeM 2013 and somehow never posted here.
B2MeM Challenge: March 16
Frodo stood behind Merry and Pippin, his eyes dancing merrily as he watched their reactions. For once Merry's astonishment was just as great as that of Pippin's: both grey eyes and green were round as saucers. Merry was biting his lower lip and Pippin's mouth hung open.
"It's real," whispered Merry.
Pippin reached curious fingers towards the object of their scrutiny, stopping short of touching it. Merry clutched his shoulder. "No, Pip!"
Frodo chuckled. "You can't hurt it. It won't tarnish."
Both lads took this as their cue to handle the fine mail that hung sparkling in the dusty light.
"It's so cool and light!" little Pippin exclaimed.
"I've never seen silver like this," added Merry.
"It's truesilver, that the Elves call mithril. It's very strong and never tarnishes."
"Why is it here?" Merry asked. "Doesn't Cousin Bilbo like it?"
Frodo shook his head. "He likes it, Merry. But at Bag End it would be hidden away in a chest somewhere. Here everyone can enjoy seeing it." And, Frodo thought to himself, certain people like the Sackville-Bagginses will know that it's a bit of wealth they will never get their hands on. But he did not say it aloud. "Well, I think you've seen everything here. Uncle Bilbo said he'd be through with his business at noon, so let's go meet him and have some lunch." He scooped Pippin up and put him atop his shoulders, while Merry trotted close to his side. He was very pleased at their reactions to their first visit to the Mathom House.
Frodo had been silent as his cousins and Sam helped him back to the Cotton's house. He was weary and sore: Saruman had struck hard, not so hard as the cave troll's spear, but with enough anger and force that he was sure to be bruised.
Sam went to see about drawing him a bath, while Merry and Pippin saw to helping Frodo out of his mailshirt.
"Bend over," said Pippin, "it will slide off more easily that way." He spoke from experience.
Merry drew in a whistling breath as he saw the deep purple bruise already forming on Frodo's upper back, and Pippin, having pulled off the mithril shirt stood up to look. His eyes filled with tears that he blinked away as he met the grim and sorrowful look on Merry's face: there was other evidence there of this past year, written on their cousin's flesh. Whip-marks, the scar of Shelob's venomous bite, the welted scar the chain had left on the back of his neck. Both of them drew deep breaths and schooled their expressions.
"How bad is it?" asked Frodo.
"Bad enough," said Merry. "But it would have been much worse without old Bilbo's gift, bless his heart."
Sam poked his head in the door. "Your bath is ready, Mr. Frodo."
Frodo followed Sam out, looking tired and dejected. Their homecoming had not at all been what they expected.
Merry turned to see Pippin holding the mithril shirt close, caressing it. "It is still cool and light," he murmured. "Do you remember when we saw it for the first time, at the Mathom House in Michel Delving?"
Merry nodded. "I don't think Gandalf was talking about wealth," he said, as he too reverently touched the fine mesh of the links. "Remember, he said 'its worth was greater than the value of the whole Shire and everything in it.' I think of how many times this bit of treasure saved Frodo's life--it was worth the price of the Shire, of all of the free world."
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