5. Perhaps We Could Stay A *Bit* Longer
“Aragorn, when Sam and I were rescued were we……… were we dead?” Frodo felt Aragorn’s hands tighten on his shoulders.
“No, Frodo,” said Aragorn quietly. “But very nearly so. It took everything I had in me to call you back.”
“How did you do it?”
“It is like using my skills as a Ranger. To enter an unknown place, to follow a trail and find a trace of something……. or someone……. Then to remind them of where they need to be, how much is waiting for them if they return……… to guide them back to those who love them…….” He sighed. “It is difficult to explain.”
Frodo leaned back and rested against Aragorn’s chest. “Thank you,” he whispered. He looked up. “Pippin too?”
“No. He was badly injured, but not yet close to death.” Aragorn chuckled. “There’s no getting rid of that one, is there?”
Frodo smiled. “You don’t fool me, Aragorn, I know you’re fond of Pippin. You must visit the Shire when he becomes Thain.”
“Can’t I just send a gift?”
Frodo gave him a playful shove and went back into the cave. They sat at one of the tables and talked quietly, waiting for the others to wake.
“I wonder if Gimli and Legolas are combing the hills for us?”
“They will today, if we don’t start back soon. I left word that we might be out overnight. There’s no telling what can happen when you take an innocent walk with four hobbits. Especially *these* four hobbits.”
“It’s not as if we go looking for----”
They were interrupted by a moan from one of the beds. Frodo went quickly to Pippin’s bed and sat down next to his cousin. “Pip?”
“Oh Frodo,” Pippin gasped, keeping his eyes shut tight. “I think I’m dying. T..Tell Gandalf I’m sorry I said I didn’t like his new staff. It’s just fine, honest.”
“And, and tell him I didn’t mean to joke about the Balrog eating his hat. And tell Merry---”
“Pip!” Frodo said urgently. ‘You’ve had a hangover before, you know you’re not dying!”
“Hey, tell Merry what?”
“Quiet, Mer.” Frodo turned to Aragorn, looking worried. “Just how much of that wine did he have last night?”
Aragorn sighed. “More than I thought, apparently.” He looked up. “How are you two doing?”
Merry and Sam were sitting up. “All right. A little dizzy,” said Merry. Sam nodded in agreement, then regretted it. He decided sitting perfectly still would be the best thing to do for awhile.
Pippin had burrowed back under the furs, away from the light and all the noise. Frodo shook his head. “I don’t think we’re going to be leaving just now, Aragorn. Maybe you should go back and let everyone know we’re all right.”
“Maybe I should.” Aragorn stood up and looked around. “You certainly couldn’t be in a safer place, and there’s plenty of water and some food left.” Another faint moan could be heard. “Not that anyone but you will be hungry for awhile.” He motioned to the fur-covered lump. “Cold compresses might help, but sleep is probably the best thing for him. No more wine. And keep these dizzy hobbits away from the entrance, Frodo. It’s a long way down.”
“Don’t worry,” Frodo smiled. “We’ve faced worse perils than this.”
“I know.” Aragorn picked up his pack and started laughing quietly. “It’s been almost a week without any excitement, I should have known it couldn’t last!” He brought Frodo over to the entrance of the cave and discreetly handed him the knife he kept in his boot. Frodo nodded, and Aragorn left them alone.
“Frodo?” Frodo came back to Pippin’s bed, hiding the knife underneath it. He saw Sam and Merry watching him, but they said nothing. “Did Strider leave?”
“Yes.” Frodo rubbed Pippin’s back gently. “He went to get a mallet to put you out of your misery, silly hobbit.”
“That’s good,” groaned Pippin. A hand reached out of the mound of furs. Frodo took it and lay down, wrapping his arms around his cousin. “Try to go back to sleep, Pip. Don’t think about anything.”
There was silence for a few minutes. Then a muffled, sleepy voice, “I think he made it up.”
“Who made what up?”
“Thorongil. No one is named that. I think he made it up.”
“Pip, are you delirious? What are you talking about?” Frodo sat up, alarmed. He suddenly realized that Merry and Sam were trying hard not to laugh. “Did I miss something?”
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.