With One Voice

King Comes Home, The

7. Tuckborough and Hobbiton


As the King continued his progress across the Shire
he left the East Road at Waymeet to visit Tuckborough
and the Great Smials of the Tooks.

Pippin was hurrying down a twisty back passage of
the Smial, on his way to the Great Door, when he
almost ran down a cluster of visiting cousins. He
recognized young Bandobard and Hildibard of the North
Cleeve Tooks right off, but it took him a moment or
two to place the fair haired girl in the gold
'broidered bodice and full blue silk skirts.

"Diamond?" he gasped. "When did you get so pretty?"

She tossed her head but he could see she was
pleased. "I don't look any different then I ever did,
Peregrine Took."

"Oh yes you do." he said with conviction. "Either
that or I've been stone blind all my life!"

"You've just never seen her in skirts and with a
clean face before." Hildy assured him.

Diamond stuck her tongue out at her brother, then
turned back to Pippin. "You look pretty too - handsome
I mean," she said a little shyly. "just like one of
the King's knights."

"I am a King's knight."

Bandy and Hildy snorted their disbelief but Diamond
looked at him uncertainly with big, cornflower blue
eyes. Surely he couldn't have failed to notice those
eyes?

"Really, truly? You're not just funning me are you
Pip?"

"Really, truly. You can ask the King."

And she did too, stepped right up next to her
father, Bandomere Took, when he was presented gave old
Strider one of her straight looks and said; "Pippin
told me he's one of your knights, sir, is that true?"

"Absolutely true." he answered promptly. "Knighted
by my own hand on the field of battle for his
bravery."

"What's this?" Paladin gave his son a sharp glance.
"I don't remember you mentioning that, my boy."

Aragorn looked at him too, eyes twinkling. "Really,
Sir Peregrine, modesty becomes a knight but there are
limits."

"Well...er...there was such a lot to tell, I guess
I kind of forgot a few details." Pippin stammered.

"Saving your King's life is a detail?" Strider
asked, eyebrows rising.

"Er...um..."

"You must tell us all about it, sir." Paladin said
firmly. "But not standing out here at the door."
***

The great door and the ceiling of the passage
behind it was high enough for even the King and his
tall knights to walk upright. It led straight into the
hill to the Thain's Hall, a vast chamber with vaulted
ceiling upheld by eight stout pillars carved like tree
boles, lit by late afternoon sunlight coming in small
round windows high above and augmented by many lamps.
The walls were panelled with polished oak cut from
their own forest and the long tables spread with white
linen cloths and set with with the best gold edged
china and all the silver plate.

As a boy Pippin had thought the hall the biggest
and grandest room in Middle Earth. And he was still
proud of it even after seeing the splendid halls of
Minas Tirith, Edoras, and Rivendell. It was as fair as
any of them - in its own way - and it was theirs.

They had had special chairs made for the King and
Queen. His had a eagle carved on the back and hers a
swan. The other Men and Women had to make do with
benches a bit too low for their long legs, but didn't
seem to mind.

Aragorn and Lady Arwen sat in the middle of the
upper table with Eglantine, Lady Took, on the King's
right and the Thain on the Queen's left. Pippin
himself was sitting next to his mother and, thanks to
the convoluted rules of Hobbit etiquette, had Diamond
almost exactly opposite him.

"Now then," said Paladin, after everybody was
seated and the first course served, "what's this about
my son saving your life, Dunadan?"

"It was in the final battle before the Black
Gates." Strider began. "And for Pippin to have chosen
to march with us was in itself an act of great courage
for he was risking far worse than clean death in
battle. The Enemy knew his Ring was in the hands of a
Hobbit and by misfortune had caught a glimpse of your
son in a magic crystal and taken him for the
Ringbearer. His creatures were under orders to bring
Pippin to him alive."

Every Hobbit at the table shivered at the thought,
including Pippin himself. "I was terrified." he said
quietly. "But I wasn't risking anything you weren't
too, Aragorn, and old Gandalf as well."

"We were vastly outnumbered and soon all but
overwhelmed." the King continued. "I was attacked by a
Stone Troll and worsted. It had me pinned to the
ground, its foot on my chest, when suddenly it toppled
over dead and I saw Pippin on its back pulling his
sword from its neck."

"I remembered how Legolas killed the cave troll in
Moria." Pippin explained. "It was all bent over you,
Strider, I just ran up its back and stabbed my sword
into the gap between its helmet and its armor and down
it went. I was very surprised." at himself, but mostly
at the Troll for dying so easily.

"I owe your son my life." Aragorn told his father
seriously. "And will not forget that debt - ever."
Then glanced at Pippin with a glint in his eye. "Not
that I wasn't pretty surprised myself."

Pippin grinned back, mostly at the memory of the
two of them goggling at each other over the Troll's
body, then snuck a look across the table at Diamond.

She was staring at him, those big blue eyes
shining. His father was looking at him too through
tears of pride. Pippin's own eyes went hastily to his
plate. His face was burning but he'd never felt
happier in his life.
***

Mrs. Rose Gamgee of Bag End was an important lady
in Hobbiton, mistress of the Hall and wife to the
biggest land owner around. But even after nearly a
year of it, she wasn't quite comfortable with her new
status and at this moment especially found herself
desperately wishing she were still no more than Farmer
Cotton's girl.

"Don't look so worried sweetheart," Sam murmured
out of the corner of his mouth. "you'll like old
Strider."

"The King you mean." she answered a little edgily.

"He is the King." Sam agreed, looked at her
seriously with those steady hazel eyes. "But he's also
my friend."

She tried to smile. "Then I'm sure to like him."

He returned her smile and went back to watching the
Bywater road.

They were standing in the market square in front of
the Green Dragon with her parents and Sam's old Gaffer
behind them and the rest of Hobbiton and folk from the
surrounding countryside crowded round the edges of the
square or up on the turf roofs of the inn and shops,
all eyes eagerly fixed on the road.

There was a murmur of awe and excitement as they
finally caught sight of the King's company riding
towards them. Rosie's throat closed. Big Folk on even
bigger horses and all glittering with armor, jewels
and whatnot - oh dear!

They reined in at the edge of the square and a very
tall Man in a great white cloak with a jewel
glittering like a star upon his brow dismounted and
came towards them on foot, followed by a very
beautiful lady all in pale green like springtime.

"So this is Hobbiton." the King said, smiling down
at Sam. It must be a remarkable place to have produced
three such heroes."

"Two heroes anyway," Sam corrected, "and a whole
lot of ordinary folk too."

She looked at him in astonishment. There he stood,
her shy, diffident Samwise, smiling easily up at this
great Man like he were no more than her brother Tom or
his cousin Hal - just another friend. Then Sam turned
to her. "This is my Rosie."

And the King knelt down in front of her and took
her by the hand. "I'm very glad to meet you, Mrs.
Gamgee."

She looked into a pair of wide grey-blue eyes that
reminded her suddenly and sharply of Mr. Frodo's. Sad
eyes that had seen far to much of things nobody should
have to look at, wise eyes, and very kind. Her fear
vanished, she could no more be afraid of this Man than
she had been of Mr. Frodo, for all his strangness.
"I'm very glad to meet you too, sir. Sam's told me so
much about you."

The King smiled at her and stood to take the lady
in green by the hand. "And this is my wife, Arwen."

Rose curtsied. "How do you do, ma'am?"

"Very well thank you, Mrs. Gamgee." the Queen
answered in a lovely, gentle voice. Smiled radiantly
down on her. "I am enjoying our visit so much. The
Shire is a truly beautiful country."

Rosie beamed in return. "You must see our garden,
we have the finest in all the Shire, me being married
to the best gardener there is and all."

"Rosie!" Sam nudged her, embarrassed, then looked
back up at the King. "This is Mr. and Mrs. Cotton,
Rosie's parents. They bowed, tonge-tied, and the King
and Queen bowed back - imagine that!

"And this is my old Gaffer - that is my father, Mr.
Hamfast Gamgee."

The King went down on his knee again, this time in
front of the Gaffer. "I am honored to meet the father
of so brave a hobbit."

Sam's Dad's mouth worked a bit before he could make
words come out. "Er..thank you kindly, sir. I..I can't
say I understand exactly what my Sam's done, but Mr.
Frodo did say he'd been a great help to him in his
troubles and that's good enough for me."
***

The King's attendants set up a big tent with a
black and silver banner flying over it for him, and a
number of smaller ones for themselves in the Party
field.

"I'd put you and m'lady up in the best bedroom but
you'd have a terrible time with the doorways and
whatnot. Old Gandalf always did and you're both taller
than he was - is I mean." Sam told the King as they
sat on the green bank above the field with Merry and
Pippin, smoking their pipes.

"We've both slept much rougher than this in our
time, Sam Gamgee." Aragorn answered. Smiled down at
him. "But I insist on a tankard of Green Dragon beer.
After all I've heard from these two," a nod towards
the two young Hobbits, "I must try it for myself."

"Whatever you say, Strider." Sam looked up at the
sleander, blossom laden branches shading them. "The
Lady's tree is doing well isn't it?"

"Very well indeed." the King looked at it
thoughtfully. "You must be a great gardener indeed
Samwise Gamgee, Gil-Galad himself couldn't make
Mallorn grow this far north."

"It was the soil the Lady gave me along with the
seed, I think." Sam said, embarrassed at the
compliment.

"Folk come from miles around just to admire it."
Merry told the King. "Pippin and I like to come and
look at it too. It reminds us of old times."

"The last good time." Pippin agreed softly. "Before
- everything."

"Before we lost Boromir." said Merry, and blinked
back tears. "It's funny, we didn't know him for very
long - just a few months - but I still miss him. A lot
more than I miss some I've known longer truth be
told."

"You went through much together," Aragorn told him
gently. "and he taught you much." a gentle smile.
"He'd be very proud of how well you learned those
lessons."

"I hope so." Merry said quietly. Beside him Pippin
sniffled.

There was a little silence. Then Sam, conscious of
his duty as host, said with slightly forced
cheerfulness: "What about Gimli and Legolas, have you
any news of them, Strider?"

"I've seen a great deal of both as it happens." the
King replied. "Legolas has brought a great host of
Elves down from Greenwood the Great to settle in
Ithilien and help Faramir and his Rangers clear it of
the Orcs and other evil things that survived Sauron's
fall. And Gimli brought a company of Dwarf craftsmen
to repair the city walls and forge for us new gates of
mithril and steel." Aragorn glanced sidelong at his
small friends. "And I've heard he's begun keeping
company with a lady."

All three Hobbits gaped. "A lady dwarf?" Merry
asked after he got his voice back.

"Of course. He has been talking with King Eomer
about establishing a Dwarf settlement in the
Glittering Caves. It seems the lady is also interested
in the project. Whether she is interested in Gimli as
well I am not yet sure."

"My goodness." Merry shook his head. "You and Sam
seem to have started a trend, Strider. Who will be
next I wonder?" Fortunately nobody was looking at
Pippin, and so didn't see him blush.
***

Meanwhile, on the other side of the hedge, Rose
Gamgee sat on a little patch of lawn surrounded by
flower beds, watching baby Elanor pull daisies apart
and having a nice gossip with the Queen of the West.

"Are you coming to Annuminas with Sam, Rosie?"
Arwen asked.

"Well, I'd like too but I don't want to leave our
Ellie for so long."

"Bring her along." the Queen suggested. "It'll be
an easy journey, and she'd be company for my Aredhel."

"Oh," Rosie looked at her in surprise. "you have a
little girl too?"

Arwen nodded, "Almost exactly the same age as your
Little Flower. We brought her north with us but I
thought the crowds and excitement would be to much for
her and so sent her on to Annuminas with the rest of
our people."

Rosie nodded her understanding. "Well I won't say
I"m not tempted, ma'am. Truth to tell I'm a little
nervous about letting Sam out of my sight, afraid
he'll go off on some other mad adventure if I'm not
there to remind him of his responsibilities."

The Queen smiled. "I don't think that's likely,
Rosie."

"Well no, not really but I do worry about Sam
sometimes."

Arwen stopped looking at the baby and turned those
deep blue eyes on the mother with such a concerned
look on her face that Rosie was encouraged to
continue.

"The Gaffer may not know what Sam did, but I do.
Sam told me some of it, and Mr. Frodo a lot more. He -
he was afraid Sam might have the same trouble he did
someday. He said if I was ever worried I should go to
you and the King, you'd be able to help."

"Sam seemed quite himself to me," the Queen said
with a little frown. "Has he been troubled or
depressed lately?"

"Oh no, nothing like that." Rosie assured her
hastily. "He has nightmares from time to time but I'd
call that natural enough considering what he's seen."
Arwen nodded agreement. "If anything's worrying him
it's me. He sees me watching him, and of course he
doesn't like it, but I can't seem to help myself." bit
her lip. "I don't want him to have to sail away like
poor Mr. Frodo."

"I don't think that's at all likely, Rosie, not as
long as he has you and this Little Flower here." the
Queen said firmly. Hesitated, then went on. "I'm sure
Frodo didn't mean to worry you, but Sam was a
Ringbearer too - though only for a short time. And
though he didn't take the harm Frodo and Bilbo did, he
did not escape unscathed."

"But what does that mean?" Rosie demanded, suddenly
on the verge of tears. "How is he hurt?"

"In the spirit." Arwen answered gently. "Not so
gravely that he cannot love and be happy here in
Middle Earth, he scarcely feels it now. But when he is
old, if he should be left alone.." she hesitated
looking for words.

"You mean if he should outlive me." Rosie said
matter-of-factly.

The Queen smiled, a little ruefully, at the
Hobbit's bluntness. "Yes. Then he might begin to feel
the hurt and need help. And he will have it, I promise
you, even to sailing into the West as Frodo and Bilbo
did."

Rosie thought about that, nodded. "Good enough. All
right, I'll try not to worry any more. Thank you,
ma'am."

"You are very welcome, Rosie."

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: Morwen Tindomerel

Status: Beta

Completion: Work in Progress

Rating: General

Last Updated: 08/07/04

Original Post: 11/25/03

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