9. Tom Bombadil
"Is that first or second breakfast?"
"First and only." Merry replied, "So we're making it an extra large one."
Boromir laughed. The Hobbitish custom of seven meals a day had caused a certain amount of conflict with the rest of the Fellowship. Eventually they had compromised on four; Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Tea and supper.
"There were no bodies." Pippin told him.
"I can't say I'm surprised." Boromir looked around. "Where is Aragorn?"
"Having a scout. Sam's with him." Merry made a face. "We keep forgeting he's King now and should be protected."
"So does he." Boromir sat up, wincing a little as his injured arm shifted.
"How are you?" worriedly from Pippin.
"I've been better." a wry smile. "I'll have to leave the defense of our liege lord to you two for the time being."
"Strider can take care of himself." said Pippin.
"The point is he shouldn't have to." Merry countered. "Exactly." Boromir paused, than said quietly. "That is why I must fight this werewolf."
Merry's eyes widened in sudden understanding. "Because if you don't, Strider will."
The Man nodded. "And the West must not lose her King, not so soon after finding him."
"So those are our choices," Pippin said bitterly. "Lose him or lose you."
"Pippin -" Boromir heard the edge of desperation in his voice and moderated his tone. "Little Friend, I am already lost." ****
His exertions the night before had reopened some of the gashes inflicted by the wolf wraiths as well as putting damaging strain on his broken arm. Boromir was getting worried, Dunedain heal quickly but perhaps not quickly enough. He doubted Aragorn would let him fight the werewolf so handicapped - and was even more doubtful he could win.
Merry and Pippin were subdued and silent. Very unusual behavior for Hobbits, those two especially. Boromir's heart ached for them but perhaps it meant they were begining to accept what must be. He hoped so, it had been a mistake to tell them.
The companions had turned off the Road some hours ago and were now trudging down a strip of rolling grassland with the eaves of the Old Forest on one side and the high downs on the other. No one had spoken for some time, each busy with his own thoughts.
Boromir had had enough of his. "Who is this Tom Bombadil?"
"He is!" all three Hobbits replied in near perfect unison.
"Sorry, but that's the only answer he ever gives." Merry explained, grinning a little at the Man's evident bewilderment.
"Our Loremasters believe he is of the Maiar," Aragorn said quietly, "one of the folk of Yavanna who did not abandon Middle Earth for Aman after the fall to the two Lamps. He concerns himself only with the creations of Yavanna, plants and animals, and takes no part in the struggles of Elves and Men."
"He helped us." Sam objected.
"Oh indeed, he will aid any who get into trouble in his land." Aragorn agreed. "He has helped the Rangers from time to time, but though free from the Shadow he has no power against it. If some servant of Sauron has taken shelter in the Old Forest he will know of it but could do nothing to prevent it. Nor would it occur to him to try."
"Or to send a word of warning?" Boromir asked.
"Nor that either." Aragorn smiled wryly. "You will understand when you meet him."
"You know old Tom?" Pippin looked curiously up at his friend.
Aragorn nodded. "We have met. My people have had dealings with him for centuries." he looked around. "His house should be just over that next rise."
A few moments later they heard a sound of cheerful whistling that turned into a voice happily singing nonsense: "Hey dol! Merry dol! ring a dong dillo! Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow! Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!" and a stout, blue clad figure, too tall for a Hobbit but rather short for a Man, bounded over the hill.
"Tom!" the Hobbits rushed delightedly to meet him.
Boromir looked incredulously at Aragorn, who nodded smiling slightly.
The Maia, or whatever he was, caught Sam and Pippin and Merry by the hands and danced them round in circles as they breathlessly interupted each other trying to explain why they had come.
"And here's old Strider now." Merry panted as the two Men came up.
Tom let go of the Hobbit's hands and turned to Aragorn who bowed his head slightly, a King greeting an equal.
Bombadil, to Boromir's relief, showed no inclination to dance Aragorn about but returned the bow almost respectfully. "Strider is it? Dunadan you called yourself long ago when first we met."
"I have almost as many names as you, Eldest." the King replied. "Dunadan is one and Strider another." turned. "This is one of my kindred, Boromir son of Denethor."
The wrinkled, apple red face turned towards the Man and the laughter went out of it like a snuffed candle. For a moment bright blue eyes held his and Boromir was shaken by the depths of sorrow in them. Then Tom turned abruptly away catching Sam and Pippin by the hand and cheerfully inviting them all to '"Come along home with me."
Boromir followed slowly. He'd seen such a look once before, on Mithrandir's face when he'd first awoken in Avallone. He had understood it then - the Wizard knew who he was and what he had done - but how could this creature know too?
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.