Pippin was coughing a deep, wet cough that did not seem it could come from such a small hobbit. I found him struggling to sit up in bed, his body so wracked by the coughs that he could scarcely move. His face was bright red and his nightshirt was soaked with sweat.
"Pippin!" I cried in fear, and then realized that I most likely was just upsetting the lad even more. I took a deep breath, and from somewhere I summoned up the voice of Bilbo, adopting the tone and mannerism he would use when I was ill as a tween-ager.
"Here, here, Pippin," I said, placing the candle on the chest of drawers and sitting on the edge of the bed to help him sit upright. "Just try to take deep breaths and relax. It will stop."
He nodded shakily at me, the coughing not subsiding. I rubbed his back in soothing circles as we waited the fit out. It slowed to ragged pairs of coughs to individual hacks and then finally stopped. I looked at the chest of drawers and discovered that Sam had filled the bedside pitcher with fresh water when he had made the room ready, and I filled the cup for Pippin.
"Just little sips," I cautioned as I steadied his trembling hands. He carefully drank until he had emptied the mug, but shook his head no when I asked, "More?"
I set the mug aside and put the back of my hand on Pippin's forehead. He was hot and sweaty with fever, his cheeks and ears red with heat. He looked miserably at me.
"Frodo, I don't feel well," he said pathetically.
"I can see that," I said in a voice I hoped was matter-of-fact and calming. In truth, I was near panic. I had never cared for anyone who was ill before on my own, I realized. Bilbo had been uncommonly healthy, and when I lived at the Hall, there were nurses and a healer and dozens of motherly types to take care of anyone who wasn't feeling well. On top of that, Pippin had been taken severely ill with the Winter Sickness a number of times as a child, and had very nearly died of it when he was 14. His health had improved greatly since then, but what would be a minor cold for another child was cause for alarm with this one.
I took a deep breath and gave myself a firm mental upbraiding. 'Don't be daft,' I told myself. 'You were sick yourself with enough colds and coughs as a lad. You most certainly know what to do if you think about it. What did others do for you when you woke coughing and feverish in the night?'
Well, to begin with, they did not leave me in my sweat-soaked nightshirt and sheets. And they washed my face and chest with cool cloths and then laid one on my forehead, but made sure my body got covered with warm, dry blankets. And they propped me up with pillows to make it easier to breathe and to discourage further coughing fits. And they gave me plenty of water, juice and lemony teas to drink.
So I stripped Pippin of his nightshirt and washed him down with cool water, then got him in a new nightshirt, bundled him in blankets and sent him to the easy chair while I put fresh, dry sheets on the bed. Then I tucked him back in and put a cool, wet cloth on his still-feverish brow and positioned him in a semi-reclining position with several pillows behind him.
All of this activity was making Pippin drowsy again, but I managed to get him to drink another mug of water. He shook his head at my offer of juice or tea, though, and soon was back to sleep, snoring softly through his congested nose.
I knew I would not be back to sleep that night, so I went back to my room and got dressed and then pulled several blankets off the bed. I went back to Pippin's room and dragged the easy chair beside him and tucked myself into it to wait out the night.
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.