2006 Birthday Drabbles
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Linaewen's 2006 Birthday Presents: 3. Travelling Accommodations - by Gwynnyd
If the sun ever shone again, the world would be dazzling in its coating of ice. While the rain drizzled down from the dreary skies and froze onto every surface, the Fellowship huddled under scraps of canvas and waited for the storm to pass. This early in their trip supplies were plentiful, but Aragorn and Legolas were off foraging, for even with a pony they could not carry enough food for nine people on the forty day trek through Eriador. Sam and Gimli nursed their poor excuse for a fire, made with wet wood and smoking fitfully. Gandalf and Frodo slept. Boromir, knees raised and clutched under his fur-lined cloak, watched tolerantly as Merry and Pippin tossed suggestions back and forth on what they missed most.
"A hot bath," Pippin declared.
"That's the third time you've said that," Merry said, his voice rather muffled by the folds of cloth over his face.
"You declared food off limits last round, or I would have said spice cake with hot custard sauce." Pippin sent an unrepentant grin in Merry's direction.
"Pippin," Merry groaned, poking his head out of the cloth cocoon.
Boromir could not help smiling. He and Faramir had played the same sorts of games during tedious trips when they were children. The young Hobbits were proving to be much less difficult companions than Boromir had feared. While they did a great deal of cheerful complaining, not even Pippin had whined about the trip's hardships, and they pitched in with regular chores as their strength allowed and without needing to be reminded.
A gust of wind lifted the canvas and sent a cascade of icy water off the edge and down Merry's neck. Merry muttered an oath, hunched forward to avoid the flow and drew up his cloak again.
Pippin eyed Boromir's feet taking up the space in front of Merry. "Perhaps if Boromir twisted his toes to the side, you could inch forward a bit, Merry."
They were brave travellers. Boromir opened his cloak. "Come sit on my lap, both of you boys. I'll keep us all wrapped up and toasty warm."
Pippin started to scramble to his knees, but Merry's head reared up and Boromir saw his eyes were hard and angry. Deliberately, Merry stood up, head nearly touching the canvas roof of their shelter, and stared at Boromir down the length of his nose.
"I am no more a boy than you are." He stood, hands fisted and shaking with more than cold under the open front of his cloak.
"He did n…." Pippin began.
"Be quiet, Pippin. Buckland may not be as important as Gondor, but I am as much my father's heir…"
"Of course you are," Pippin interrupted. He shot a quick, warning look at Boromir. "Always stomping through the fields and giving advice."
Gimli and Sam turned, surprised at Merry's angry tone, but Gandalf and Frodo did not stir. Boromir's vision of the Hobbits tilted and realigned as he saw past their size to the firmness and maturity on Merry's face. He held up a placating hand.
"I am sorry, Meriadoc. I should have known better, for I was taller than most as a child and often wished I was expected to act my age and not my size." He offered Merry what he felt was a rather feeble smile.
Merry nodded a curt acknowledgement and sat down again, wrapping his woolen cloak tightly around his shoulders.
Pippin gave an exasperated sigh. "Now you've done it, Merry. There he sits, a veritable furnace, ready and willing to share that great furry cloak of his, and you've made it impossible for us to do anything more than sit here and shiver."
"We'll have some tea in a bit, Mr. Pippin," Sam said from his place at the fire.
Boromir looked from Pippin to Merry as the wind blew a scattering of half-frozen drops into the shelter. "I am always happy to share my cloak with friends."
"Good enough for me." Pippin snugged himself up against Boromir's side. "Come on, Merry, at least sit closer."
Merry slid over with cautious dignity.
"A hot bath?" Boromir said, joining in the game. "And warmed towels. Your turn."
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