Ranger Noodles by Lbilover

Written for the 2012 B2MeM Bingo prompt 'Food Bingo: Pasta'. Yes, this is wildly improbable and undeniably silly, but how else does one put pasta in Middle-earth???

It was impossible to maintain the gravity a Ranger, especially the Chieftain of the Dúnedain, ought, but Aragorn tried.

He managed well enough at first, though the bemused expressions on the faces of the four hobbits as they confronted the bowls in front of them amused him greatly.

'What do you call these?' Sam asked dubiously.

'Ranger noodles.'

'Noodles should be flat, like ribbons,' said the Gaffer's son. 'These look like...'

'Worms!' Pippin exclaimed, with a note of horror in his voice, 'They look like worms!' At that, Aragorn had to hide a smile behind his hand.

Sam's indignant response, 'Now Mr. Pippin, don't go a-putting me in mind of those slimy creatures,' had him disguising a laugh as a cough.

'Ranger noodles are inexpensive, keep well, and are easy to stow,' said Aragorn, struggling to keep a straight face. 'Give them a try. Maybe you'll like them.'

Then the hobbits picked up their forks and actually tried to eat the noodles, and he abandoned all pretense of control.

'How are we supposed to discover if we like them if they won't stay put?' complained Frodo, chasing a slippery strand around and trying to pin it with a tine.

Merry lifted a forkful toward his mouth, only to watch the noodles slither free and fall back into the bowl before they reached his chin. 'Worms? They're more like snakes, Pip!'

'I ain't a-going to be able to eat these here 'Ranger noodles', as Strider calls 'em, at all if you lot don't stop it,' Sam complained. 'First worms, now snakes. What's next?'

'Eels?' offered Pippin.

Sam glowered, and stabbed fruitlessly at a strand. Dropping his fork, he picked up one end in his fingers, set it to his lips and sucked it in, turning beetroot red at the resultant noise. 'Well, that won't work,' he mumbled in embarrassment, after spitting it out.

'Aragorn,' Frodo said severely, eyeing the Ranger, who was now whooping with laughter, 'it's not nice to laugh.'

'We have our ways of getting revenge, you know,' added Pippin.

'In fact, a helpful Ranger would show us how to eat this stuff,' Merry said.

'Very well,' Aragorn replied, drying the tears of mirth in his eyes. He picked up fork and spoon, and demonstrated how to wind the noodles around the fork using the spoon to keep them from straying. 'There,' he said, holding up the fork, now tightly wound around with noodles. 'That is how you eat Ranger noodles.'

'I reckoned there must be a trick to it,' said Sam with satisfaction, and took up his spoon.

Silence fell as the hobbits concentrated on twirling their noodles, but from the darkling looks Pippin kept shooting him when he thought he wasn't watching, Aragorn had a sneaking suspicion that he hadn't had the last laugh.

Of course, the snake he found in his bedroll next morning might have been a coincidence...