8. Nothing to Worry About
“Whether it’s worse to lose the Ring, lose my finger, or lose my mind.”
Merry rolled over in the grass and observed Frodo with a sigh. “And what have you decided?”
“Still thinking about it.”
Frodo sighed in contentment as the warm breeze ruffled his hair. Away from the City, under these trees, it was so nice. So nice and quiet.
“Let’s see,” Frodo mused. “Losing the Ring was awful. Losing a finger was pretty awful too. But losing my mind……… well, maybe that won’t be so bad. I mean, I probably won’t be aware of it much, don’t you think?”
“Why don’t you just *tell* Pip to leave you alone?”
“I did, Mer. I said, ‘Pip, you’re driving me crazy. Please go away and leave me alone.’ Honest, I really did.”
Frodo lay back in the soft grass. “You know, I’ve lived in the Shire for 50 years, and I never knew that there were so many different languages there. Apparently, when someone from Hobbiton says ‘Go away and leave me alone,’ someone from Tuckburrow interprets that as a need to get you a sandwich and sit with you while you eat it.” He waved a foot lazily in the air. “Truly amazing. Bilbo never taught me anything about that.”
Merry stood up and stretched. “It’s time I had a word with him. Don’t worry, Frodo, he won’t bother you anymore.”
Frodo closed his eyes and yawned, half asleep. “We’ll be traveling home for months,” he murmured. “I’ll have killed Pippin by the time we get halfway to Rivendell, I suppose, or maybe I’ll ask Sam to do it, but the Thain doesn’t *have* to be a male, does it? Can’t one of Pippin’s sisters run things rather well when Uncle Paladin isn’t around to do it?”
“Or you can be Thain, maybe. Why can’t the Master of Buckland just……… run everything………” Frodo drifted into sleep.
Merry shook his head and walked over to Sam, who was sitting under a tree a few feet away.
“Samwise Gamgee, if Pippin so much as pops his head outside that Gate, run him through.”
“I’m not armed, Mr. Merry.”
“Then call out the Guards. He’s not to get anywhere near Frodo.”
“He won’t.” Sam was having a hard time not laughing, even though this was his poor master they were talking about.
“It’s not funny, Sam.”
“It’s *kind* of funny, Mr. Merry. I mean, Mr. Frodo thought everything was finished hunting him. And now he’s being stalked by his own tweenaged cousin, and defending himself against sandwiches and all sorts of evil things.”
“Yes, but it’s not………” Merry suddenly snorted and turned away, starting to grin. It *was* kind of funny, at that.
“And not just sandwiches,” Sam continued. “Just yesterday it was a whole tray of fresh fruit. It’s a good thing we got so much practice fighting off wraiths and spiders and such, I say.”
Merry abruptly fell to his knees and buried his head in Sam’s blanket, trying frantically to stifle hysterical laughter. He finally staggered to his feet and made a run for it before Frodo heard him.
Sam chuckled quietly to himself. “Don’t you worry, Mr. Frodo,” he said to his sleeping friend. “We’ll protect you. None ‘o those cakes or sweet breads will get you, not while Samwise Gamgee is at your side.”
“Does this whole thing make any sense to either of you?”
“There’s nothing complicated about it at all, Faramir. Not if you’ve traveled as far with hobbits as we have. Isn’t that right, Legolas?”
“It is a *bit* complicated, Gimli.”
“Nonsense.” Gimli took a long drink of ale and set down the mug, looking pleased with himself. “You and I both saw Master Baggins expire just outside the Gate, and Meriadoc said something about Faramir forgetting to pine away for a few minutes. Then Samwise mentioned that they needed to think of something really distracting.”
From across the table, Faramir stared at the Dwarf in utter disbelief.
“So you see,” finished Gimli with a flourish, “Master Baggins was never actually nervous around Peregrin, and Peregrin is not actually stalking Master Baggins. The whole thing is a ruse to keep you distracted, Faramir!”
“Gimli,” said Legolas slowly. “Frodo is hardly one to participate in such an activity.”
“And besides,” said Faramir, regaining the power of speech, “Frodo has not been well. He *has* been very nervous and tired, quite pale and………”
“Hah!” Gimli picked up a leg of mutton and waved it about. “That is the palest hobbit who ever lived, Faramir. When you’ve seen as many as we have---”
“Son of Gloín, we have met precisely five hobbits,” said Legolas in exasperation. “That is not exactly---”
Faramir stood up. “I will have to think about all this,” he said. “However……” He started to chuckle. “I certainly *have* been distracted, worrying about our comrades and how to help them with their little family dispute.” He shook his head. “Very clever. And the sign of true friends, indeed.”
Legolas looked unhappy. “I am still not certain about all of this.”
“I am,” said Gimli. “And when has a Dwarf ever been wrong about anything?”
Faramir leaped to Legolas’s side as the Elf started to choke on his ale.
“Breathe, Legolas. Deep breaths. Gimli, get over here and help him!”
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.