What They Took With Them, by Lbilover

Written for the request: Frodo/Sam in Cormallen. A few years ago I wrote a story called Fourteen Days. It's a favorite of mine, and I consider this a sort of prequel to that story.


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'I'm not going to cry. I'm a knight of Gondor. I'm not going to cry,' Pippin whispered, even as tears streamed down his cheeks. Beside him Merry didn't try to stop the tears, but wept openly. Gimli looked as if his tender heart had been rent in two, and Legolas stared down disbelievingly at the two still forms lying on the bed as if finding it incomprehensible that they could possibly be his friends.


Sunken of cheek and eye, so thin and worn that their bruised skin appeared almost translucent, with hair, brows and lashes singed almost entirely away, Frodo and Sam bore small resemblance to the halflings he had last seen on the banks of the Anduin the day of their Fellowship was broken.


'Poor wee hobbits,' breathed Gimli.


Aragorn, who was stooping over Sam with his palm laid against the hobbit's forehead, now straightened, but slowly, as if weary beyond mortal measure. His face was grey with exhaustion and he swayed, but Legolas quickly stepped to his side and supported him with a hand at his elbow. Gandalf, standing on Aragorn's other side, let out a long slow exhale, like a runner catching his breath after a race.


'Well?' Gimli asked anxiously. Pippin and Merry clasped hands and stared at Aragorn with identical wide-eyed, fearful expressions.


With an effort Aragorn spoke, his voice hoarse. 'With Gandalf's help I have sent Frodo and Sam to a place where their spirits as well as their bodies can be healed. How long it will take for them to grow strong enough to be called back, I do not know, but many days, I suspect. However,' he continued, a smile lightening his haggard countenance, 'I think you need no longer fear the worst. I believe that all will be well with them now.'


Merry and Pippin hugged each other in tearful relief and Gimli capered in his strange Dwarf-fashion. Legolas watched his friend's capering with fond amusement but also a certain wryness as if he were tempted to abandon his Elvish dignity and join in.


'And that being the case,' Gandalf said, smiling, too, 'you can go to your supper. Aragorn and I will stay with Frodo and Sam.'


Merry and Pippin didn't argue, discovering themselves ravenously hungry now that their fear for Frodo and Sam was allayed. But 'we'll bring you back a feast,' they promised, before dragging Gimli and Legolas away with them.


After their departure, the wizard and the king remained standing silently by the bed, watching the deeply sleeping hobbits.


'I told the others no longer to fear the worst,' Aragorn eventually said. 'But Gandalf, was I right to make such a promise? They are so very frail.'


'You forget from whence I came to Middle-earth. Trust me, Aragorn, in that land they will find the help they need. You forget, too, that they have taken with them a healing power more potent than any even Aman can provide.'


'And what is that, my friend?' Aragorn asked curiously, but before Gandalf could answer, a sudden, arresting change came over Frodo and Sam.


Ever since the hobbits had been carried from Mount Doom by the Eagles, they had remained still and unconscious. But now Frodo's left hand and Sam's right were moving, groping across the white coverlet as if in search of something - or someone. As Gandalf and Aragorn watched, their thin scarred fingers met and intertwined, and at the touch, a faint flush of colour relieved the livid hue of their faces. The hobbits' hands clasped tightly and an expression of ineffable peace settled over them.


Gandalf laughed softly and joyfully at the sight. 'Love, Aragorn. You forget that they have taken love with them.'


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