It wasn’t until several days later that things started to get really interesting. They were sitting in the Green Dragon, singing and dancing, just like old times, except for Frodo, who had lately begun to shun such revelry, conspicuously staying on the outskirts of fun. He may not have come at all, had the others not so convinced and threatened him.
Merry and Pippin were just finishing up the third retelling of their adventures with Treebeard (they’d had to start over several times as the other hobbits were always getting caught up in the description of the Ent-draught), when an old fellow known as Briggy Longbottom staggered in and ordered an ale. He went largely unnoticed for some time, until the hobbit beside him slipped in a pool of blood that was found to be coming from Briggy’s pant leg. The hair of his left foot was already matted with the stuff as it dripped over his toes to the wooden floor. As soon as the others realized these facts, all conversation immediately ceased. All eyes turned to him, not sure whether to be concerned, as he didn’t seem to be. It wasn’t until he finished his ale and fell off his stool that anyone moved to help him.
“Get him on the table!” Frodo shouted.
Several hobbits cleared the nearest table while others lifted Briggy onto it.
“Lift his head,” one hobbit yelled.
“No, raise his leg,” said another.
“He needs a drink,” offered a third.
“Quite, all of you! Let’s see him,” Frodo and his companions pushed through the crowd around the table until they had a front-row view.
Briggy was out cold. His body lay slack on the table, looking somewhere between dead and drunk (which was probably true). Gently, Merry pushed the left pant leg up to the knee, until the source of so much blood was revealed. Merry’s eyes dilated in disgust and, despite himself, he looked away. But the next moment he’d composed himself and revealed the wound to the others. It looked as if some animal had tried to dig Briggy’s kneecap out and very nearly succeeded. Frodo lurched forward, throwing his hands out before him, bracing himself on the table to keep from falling.
“Frodo!” Sam said, suddenly worried, “Are you ill?”
“No, Sam,” Frodo said as he straightened, recovering from the sudden faint, “Just a bit of dizziness. See, it’s already passed.” He turned his attention back to the patient. “Put something under his head. Try to wake him.”
They were somewhat successful in doing so and Pippin began to bind Briggy’s leg with some clean cloth while Frodo tried to get the story of such a wound.
“Briggy. Briggy, look here,” Frodo coaxed.
The hobbit groaned and bobbed his head around, trying to open his eyes.
“Briggy, how did this happen?”
“Uhhh...” he still sounded drunk, “Raccoon, I think.”
“You fought a raccoon?” Pippin asked.
“Just jumped out at me. In the field.”
“But we don’t get raccoons in the Shire,” Sam said.
“No, there are some,” Merry said, “We saw one on our way over.”
“That’s right,” Pippin added, “Just outside Hobbiton.”
Frodo called two hobbits to him. “Take him home. Get him cleaned up. Then call Daisy Proudfoot and see what she can do for him.”
When they’d taken Briggy away and the crowd somewhat dispersed, Sam went to stand next to Frodo, asking, “Why would a raccoon do something like that?”
Frodo’s eyes stared forward, watching the waitress clean the blood off the table. “I don’t know, Sam. I don’t know.”
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.