1. Somewhat grim to look upon
Somewhat Grim to Look Upon – Linda Hoyland
"His ways were hard and long, and he became somewhat grim to look upon, unless he chanced to smile." – Tolkien
Disclaimer: The characters of "Lord of the Rings" were created by J.R.R. Tolkien, not by me, and I am not pretending otherwise. This story was written for love, not for money; no infringement of copyright is intended.
Summary: Pippin wonders why Aragorn doesn't smile more often.
Word Count: 1236
A/n. Some lines are taken from Tolkien's LOTR.
With thanks to Shirebound for the plot idea and Deandra for editing.
Dedicated to Shirebound.
Written for the Teitho "Smile" challenge where it was unplaced.
"Strider still looks almost as grim as when we first met him," said Pippin thoughtfully. He selected a cake from the plate of dainties in front of him then handed it to Faramir, who was visiting the Hobbits in the house provided for them in Minas Tirith.
"No thank you, I cannot eat any more," said Faramir.
"But you've only had three," Pippin protested. "You are much bigger than I am and I've eaten six already."
Faramir smiled ruefully. "I think Hobbits must have larger appetites than Men. The cakes are delicious, but I fear I am too full to eat another, much as I would like to."
"All the more for us then," said Pippin. He finished the cake he was eating and took another.
"Leave some for us, Pip," Merry admonished him. "I've only had four so far and so has Sam."
"I'm a growing tween and need my food. Now, as I was saying," replied Pippin with dignity, "you'd think Strider would stop looking so grim and smile sometimes now that he's King and everything."
"The King has many cares," said Faramir. "Lord Elessar works from dawn till dusk planning how we might best rebuild after the war, how to help the widows and orphans and deciding how best to treat all those who fought against us. There is little cause for mirth."
"He doesn't even smile much when he comes to visit us," said Merry.
"Not even if we offer him the best food and pipeweed," Pippin added. "Anyone would think he did not know how to smile and be merry."
"The Lord King has a wonderful smile," said Faramir. "Never will I forget how he smiled at me when I opened my eyes and first beheld him when he brought me forth from the Dark Vale. Later I learned that he had not slept properly in days and had just lost his dear friend and kinsman on the battlefield. Yet, he smiled at me with such love and warmth in his eyes. It was like the glimpse of a bright star on a dark night."
"He does have a radiant smile on the rare occasions that we see it," said Merry. "It lights up his whole face. Remember that smile he gave us, Pip, when we were reunited at Isengard?"
"I just wish old Strider would smile a bit more often now," said Pippin, "the war's over and he can live in comfort and have as much as he likes to eat."
"Warriors such as Lord Elessar see such dark things that it can take them a long time to smile again," said Faramir.
"Like poor Mister Frodo," said Sam. "I should like to see him smile more often too."
"He too has seen horrors beyond the imagination of most," said Faramir, "as too have we, my friends."
"We Hobbits soon recover," said Merry. "We prefer to think of the happy things in life, like good food and the company of friends."
"How is Master Frodo?" asked Faramir. "I had hoped to see him this afternoon."
"His poor hand is paining him and he is resting," said Sam. "If you'll excuse me, Captain Faramir, I'll take him up some tea and cake."
"I will take my leave," said Faramir. "I promised the King that I would discuss a treaty with him this evening."
"Tell Strider we said he needs to smile more," said Pippin.
Faramir looked shocked.
"Pip!" Merry chided.
"Well tell Strider we all send him our love then," said Pippin.
"I will tell him you send your greetings, my friends," said Faramir.
"Our love," Pippin said firmly.
Faramir nodded, then smiled at them as he went out of the door.
A few weeks later
"I wonder why Strider was so determined that we come to the City Gates with him?" said Pippin. "It will be nice to see Master Elrond again, but surely tomorrow would do? I was planning to sample the ale at a nice little tavern in the third circle."
"Strider looks mighty excited and worried at the same time," said Sam. He glanced across to where the King stood together with Gandalf and Faramir. Aragorn had dismounted from Roheryn and was pacing before the gates liked a caged beast.
"I expect he is eager to see his foster father," said Frodo. "Master Elrond will be really pleased that Aragorn is King now, like his forefather, Master Elrond's brother. I've been reading all the old tales here in library about the Kings of old. It would not surprise me if he didn't bring some of the Elves from his household with him. "
"What a fine sight that will be!" said Sam. "I'd love to see the Elves again."
"I wonder why Strider is so dressed up?" said Merry. "He looks even smarter than the day of his coronation!"
The four Hobbits studied the former Ranger who was wearing a tunic and breeches of black velvet. The tunic was decorated with an image of the White Tree, embroidered in mithril and diamonds. A white mantel was around his shoulders fastened with the Elessar brooch and upon his brow was the Star of Elendil.
"He looks very different now to when we met him in the Prancing Pony," said Pippin.
Suddenly the sound of silver trumpets rang out and a procession could be seen heading towards the City.
Aragorn remounted Roheryn, while Gandalf came to stand beside the Hobbits.
Elrohir and Elladan carried a banner of silver and headed the procession, and then came Glorfindel, Erestor, and all of Master Elrond's household, and after them came the Lady Galadriel and Celeborn, her spouse, riding upon white steeds, and with them many other Elves. Behind them rode Master Elrond, bearing the sceptre of Annúminas , and beside him, upon a grey palfrey rode Arwen.
Aragorn greeted his guests as one by one they assembled outside the City Walls.
Frodo turned to Gandalf and said, "At last I understand why we have waited! This is the ending. Now not day only shall be beloved, but night too shall be beautiful and blessed and all its fear pass away!"
"I still don't understand," Pippin complained. Like the others, he could not tear his gaze away from the vision of loveliness before him. Arwen wore a gown of deep blue, the colour of the night sky, embroidered with tiny gems that glittered like stars in the evening sunlight. Glittering gems adorned her hair, but these adornments paled by comparison to her beauty.
"You shall see, Pip," said Frodo.
Everyone dismounted. Master Elrond and Arwen approached Aragorn.
"What's Master Elrond holding?" asked Pippin.
"It is the symbol of kingship in the Northern Lands that Aragorn now rules," said Gandalf. "Have you learned nothing, Peregrin Took?"
Elrond then placed the hand of his daughter into Aragorn's.
"They are going to be wed!" exclaimed Pippin.
Aragorn hesitated but for an instant then kissed his bride to be. She eagerly returned his kiss.
The King then turned to face the assembled company. "Friends," he said. "You are all invited to witness my wedding in the Court of the Fountain tomorrow." He beamed at his bride and his whole face was lit up by his twinkling eyes. It was like the sun appearing from behind a cloud and brightening everything around it.
"He is smiling now," said Pippin. "I think it is the happiest smile I've ever seen!"