In answer to Lily's Valentines Day Challenge.

TITLE: Precious Moments
AUTHOR : Rufferto
SUMMARY: Frodo stops to see Aragorn just before leaving Minas Tirith.
RATING: PG-13
PAIRING: Frodo/Aragorn.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Not Canon. This fic plays fast and loose with dates. Deal with it.J
ARCHIVE: Sure.
DISCLAIMER : I sure as heck wish I owned them, but I don't. And I don't make money either from writing about them. Damn. Tolkien has all the credit.
FEEDBACK: Have Fun.

"Precious Moments."
1/1

I was a trifle out of sorts, I'll admit it. Minas Tirith felt like a cage closing in.. It was a little disconcerting, the way Arwen would look at me from across the room with her chin lifted. She knew what I was thinking, she always knew. Much had passed between us that was still unspoken. I would have liked to keep only her in my vision but there was one that held my heart tightly bound within his small hands, though he did not know it. I fell in love with him when I first saw him, I think, there had never been such a burning desire within me to protect him.

I paced back and forth on the balcony, troubled at what to do…what to say. All was over and done now, and yet nothing really was over. He walked the halls with a haunted look that he would hide from us. I did not know how to approach him when he came back from Mount Doom. I did nothing…I let others care for him and stayed away as my duties were elsewhere.

Arwen had chided me for it once or twice and I'll warrant she was right to. I should have gone to him right away. I should have been the first at his bedside. But I had been too afraid. I was afraid that he would be too changed…too…distant. I was afraid I would not be able to handle it. At the party he almost completely ignored me and now they would be leaving soon and I had not yet had any moments alone with him. I had not tried.

I wanted to cling to the past, the way he looked at me before with his beautiful blue eyes, gazing up at me as though I had all the answers. Now the look that scares me the most is that he smiles yet he does not smile. The light is gone, and I fear to know the reason why.

"Aragorn." a small voice came to me from the doorway to my chamber. Frodo stood there, he was dressed in his traveling cloak, and doing his best to look anywhere but at me. Did he remember those nights we shared in Lorien? Did he remember….

"Frodo." I nodded softly, not daring to get any closer to him. My body tensed and my mind whirled. He looked better than he had in a while, what day was it after all? The second month of the year…Arwen mentioned something about the end of the first fortnight. A light blush stained Frodo's cheeks when I spoke his name. "You are leaving?" I tried to hide the quiver in my voice.

"Merry and Pippin want to get back to the Shire, to make sure everything is okay, and Arwen says I'm fit enough to travel. I…didn't see you at breakfast this morning." he did not yet venture into my chambers, keeping his gaze firmly fixed on a very interesting statue. He kept his hand within his pocket, the one that had been damaged.

I cleared my throat, not meeting his gaze. "I will make sure you have an escort home, Frodo." my voice felt wooden and my eyes itched. He was changed, but not nearly so much as I. I was a King now, not the ranger he knew. I had my duty to Gondor….and he was going home. Back where he belonged, to safety…to the love of his own kind. I would probably never see him again.

Then he looked at me and I was caught. I had never been able to turn away from his eyes…not when they held me. "Do you know what day it is, Strider?" he asked softly, using the name he first called me by…the name he used when we were loving each other.

"Of course, Frodo. The 14th of February, I think." I wished there was no distance between us, no quest to create a gaping chasm in our lives. He would not let my eyes go. His were deep pools as they always were, pools of hidden emotions and secret turmoil filled with despair and also hope. I spread my hands. "Why?" wondering what on earth would make Frodo bring up the date.

"Strider." Frodo sighed and walked forward, he held something in his good hand. His movements were steady, yet I could tell he probably wasn't really ready to be walking around yet. He closed the door behind him making me wonder what he was about to say that no one else should hear. He held out his hand and within it was a tiny box, gently wrapped in red paper. The blush that had tinted Frodo's cheeks was growing, all the way up to his ears. I could not help noticing just how beautiful he was when he blushed like that. "This is for you." He took several deep breaths and I could tell he was nervous.

I reached over and took the package, our fingers brushed momentarily and a near electric shock jolted through me. I missed his touch…his smell…everything. I would miss him terribly when he was gone. I gingerly turned the package over in my hands and unwrapped it gently, my breath catching in my throat.

It was beautiful, a small heart shaped locket. I opened it, and tears came to my eyes. It was a picture of him. A small miniature. I clasped it to my heart and went down on one knee, holding out my arms. He eagerly fell into them, resting his head against my chest and clinging to me. "Strider." he whispered softly, "Will you be my Valentine?"

"Your what?" I managed to gasp as I held him, stroking his curls gently and drawing him into my lap. I was not ready yet to kiss him, the emotion was all-consuming and all I wanted to do right now was hold him in my arms.

"My Valentine." Frodo giggled softly, my heart leapt, I had never thought to hear his laughter again. "it's a Shire tradition…every fourteenth of February you are supposed to tell the one that…the one that you love that you love them. And you say it by asking them to be your valentine." He murmured the explanation into my chest and I shivered.

"Oh Frodo…" I looked down at him and raised his chin so that I could gaze into his eyes. "I've been such a fool."

"Will you?" He tugged playfully on my hair, ticking my chin with his soft fingers, half smiling as he looked up at me.

"I will be anything you want me to be, Frodo Baggins." I answered truthfully, leaning down and capturing his lips with my own.

"I love you Strider." he whispered softly.

"I love you too, Frodo." I nudged his nose with mine and lifted him up, carrying him over to the bed.

And so we shared another moment together . One of many that I will never regret. I do not think that there was ever a person that was more deserving of love and happiness that Frodo. Whenever he needed it, and whenever he wanted it….I would always be there to give it to him. I should have realized it sooner, but at least now we have the memories of happier times to mingle and ease the dark ones.

The End

**BY RUFFERTO**