Agent Pip-- I am going as fast as I can writing these new chapters...

Budgielover--Earthquake? I'm sure I could find somewhere to fit that in :) Here is my resolution to Chap 9's cliffhanger.

Elwen--more Frodo Angst coming.

Breon Briarwood--I do hope your h/a has subsided and you are ready to continue reading.

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They belong to J.R.R. Tolkien. I just like to write about them.

All Creatures Great and Small Chapter 10

Slowly backing away from the being holding the sword, Gimli tripped over one of the many bodies that littered the floor. Being loaded down with his armor, he was unable to get up quickly, the only move he could make was to place his battle ax in front of him to hopefully block a deadly strike.

"Gimli!" Pippin exclaimed, jumping over a body to get to his fallen companion, drawing his sword to protect his friend with his own life if necessary. "Get back, you. Do not come any closer!" he cautioned, but the being made no attempt to approach the Hobbit nor the Dwarf.

"Stop, Pippin. He does not mean to harm us," Merry concluded placing his hand upon Pippin's blade.

"But, Merry, he...Just look around you!" Pippin reasoned, his watery eyes taking in the sight of his massacred friends.

"I am, but...this just does not feel right. Frodo sacrificed his safety to free him. Besides, he has made no attempt to harm you or Gimli. He is just standing there. Waiting," Merry said the last word to himself, crouching down next to one of the bodies. He cautiously placed a finger in the blood that was seeping from the head wound, bringing the now red colored digit to his nose, sniffing it. Then he brought the finger to his lips, tasting the red substance. "Ughhh," Merry spit onto the floor.

"What is it?" Pippin asked as he observed his cousin make a sourface.

"It tastes like sour cherries. What is going on?" Merry yelled out loud, drawing his weapon, inching towards Pippin and Sam who had just helped Gimli up off the floor. The four of them had their weapons drawn, the Hobbits assuming positions as if back on Weathertop.

Carefully, they backed out the way they had come in, being mindful to step over the bodies. The being never followed them. Sam was stepping over Aragorn's body, in between his legs when his foot got caught on the Ranger's sheath, landing on his fallen comrade.

"Oh," cough,"Elbereth," cough, cough.

Sam could not get up quick enough when he heard the voice, scared out of his wits when one of the hands grabbed his arm. Swords and ax aimed at the moving body. "You're...You're...dead!"

"It's all right, Samwise," Gandalf spoke softly, coming from the room Frodo had occupied earlier,hoping his presence would calm the pale faced Hobbit. "Peregrin and Meriadoc, put your swords down," the Grey Pilgrim commanded as he approached the stunned group, crossing over towards the being taking Boromir's sword from his grasp. "Gimli, please, put your ax away, you are going to scare Tobias."

Gandalf the Grey took his staff,and whispered into it as he walked the length of the common room. Bluish tinted smoke rose from the center, creating a fog. When Gandalf returned to the point where he had began, the fog lifted, and the townspeople stirred, slowly coming back to life.

Aragorn slowly sat up with the help of Legolas who somehow had been unaffected by Gandalf's spell.

Soon Boromir was up, shaking his head. "Mithrandir, I had forgotten how that drained ones energy. It was easier when I was younger trying to scare my brother."

"Will you tell us what is going on! Who is Tobias? We thought you all were dead. We saw the Orcs, did not give us a signal..." Pippin rattled on, not breathing in between sentences looking into the faces of the Fellowship who remained on the ground.

"Calm...down," Aragorn breathed in between spasms of pain,"we will...explain," he finished his sentence taking Pippin by the hand and bringing him down to sit with them. Merry and Gimli followed suit. Sam had not made a move since he had fallen upon the Ranger, still stunned how they could all be alive,except he was not sitting on Strider anymore.

"We are sorry we had to scare you. Someone spotted the Orcs before we could put our plan in motion, so," Aragorn explained casting his eyes up at the Wizard, "Gandalf made it look like we had all been slaughtered Tobias." The Hobbits looked up to Gandalf then to the silver being.

"Well, the Orcs were not the only ones fooled. You should have been on this side looking in. We heard screams, your scream Strider," Sam calm enough, finally able to speak.

"There was no time to warn you. No time to give a signal. We are sorry you had to go through that," Strider apologized. "Obviously, the plan worked. I remember nothing."

"Bartholomew went along with the plan, to let Tobias go, as long as we were able to scare off the Orcs. I made it look like Tobias was an uncontrollable killer. Having killed the townspeople, the Orcs would have no reason to come back and raid their food stores," Gandalf explained. "Be'than, would you please bring some water to clean up our friend here?" he asked, then turned his attention back to the shortest members of the Fellowship who had not been introduced to their new guest.

"This is Tobias," Gandalf introduced walking to Tobias and standing beside him.

"Hello," Pippin said first,climbing to his feet approaching Tobias. When Tobias did not return his greeting, Pippin turned around and stared at Merry who just shrugged his shoulders.

"He is mute, Pippin," Legolas offered squeezing Pippin's shoulders offering assurance. "He understands us, but does not speak."

"You said he would know where Frodo was. Will he be able to take us to him?" Sam asked finally getting up off the floor making his way towards Gandalf.

"Soon enough, Sam. He will take us to him. Tobias assures me that Frodo is being looked after."

"How do you know? You just said he was a mute," Sam asked impatiently. He wanted to go to Frodo now. He would not feel any better until he sees his master for himself.

"Patience, Samwise. I can communicate with him by feeling."


"Do not touch me!" Frodo wailed as he struggled weakley against his bonds as he felt a hand trying to unbutton his sweat soaked shirt. Beads of perspiration dripped off the halfling's brow as his fever began to rise. The voice was able to stave the Ringbearer off for a while, but as his temperature climbed, so did his stubborness and delirium. In his thrashing about, his injured leg had become huge, the stence of infection hanging in the air.

"Just lie back and let me help you, Frodo. I promise I will not harm you," the voice said again.

"Why...Why should I you? You have bound me! I cannot," he sputtered out, quirking his eyebrows together, in between bouts of throbbing pain. His leg had become so heavy with fluid that he could not even kick anymore.

"You were hurting yourself. I hated to do it, but I had no choice." The voice tried another tactic,"Will you at least take some water? You must be thirsty, as hot as you are? Hmm?" the voice coaxed, bringing the ceramic mug to his lips, holding the fevered Hobbit as he drank.

Frodo welcomed the crisp wet drink, moistening his cotton mouth, emptying its contents. His arms still bound to his sides, he allowed the faceless voice to settle him back down onto the padded surface. "Please, where are my friends? Why am I here? What do you want with me?" he begged, his eyelids half closing from exhaustion. Always, the thought of the Ring was never far from his mind, the only reason he was ever being hunted. Again he felt the hand tug at his buttons, and once more he struggled against his bonds, the rope digging into his wrists. He had no strength left. They were going to take it from him. He could not prevent it from happening. "I failed," he whispered to himself, tears mixing in with his sweating face. "Gandalf! Help!" his cry echoing, panting heavily.

"Frodo, listen, your friends will be here, believe me," the voice said, trying to calm the squirming Hobbit before he injured himself any further.

"That is right, we will be here. Now, kindly step away from him," Aragorn voiced through the darkness.

"I mean him no harm, heir of Gondor," the dark cloaked figure stated as he turned to face the Fellowship.

Aragorn immediately recognized the face that belonged to the cloaked figure,"YOU!?"

Hawthorne faced Aragorn's sword as well as Legolas' arrow. Sam, on the other hand, broke off from the group, running towards the pedastal Frodo was tied to.

"Samwise!" Gandalf yelled, failing to grab the blur as the gardener ran by.

"Mr. Frodo! Mr. Frodo!" Sam screamed out, his nimble fingers fumbling trying to untie Frodo's wrists.

"S...Sam, help me," Frodo moaned as he tried to concentrate on the voice that was calling to him. Sam climbed up onto the padded rock formation, massaging his master's wrists, that were once bound. Frodo, with half lidded eyes, slightly smiled at his friend before he closed them all the way letting darkness take him.

Aragorn sheathed his sword, questioning Hawthorne's intentions, "Why had you brought him here? How do you know..."

"It does not matter how I know. Just know this, my intentions are only to help him because he helped a kindred spirit," Hawthorne revealed as Aragorn made his way to the pedastal Frodo was on, using it as a bed. Looking into the Ring-bearers slackened pale face, he knew they were losing him.

"Tobias called to me for help. He told me a kind hearted spirit saved him from terrible harm, but resulted in getting injured himself. When your traveling companions came into camp yesterday with your injured friend, I knew then of whom had helped Tobias. I stole him away because I knew the Orcs would be coming, and they would have killed your friend for what it is that he carries," Hawthorne reasoned, standing beside Tobias who had made his way up to the table where his savior laid, dying.

"How long has he had the fever?" Aragorn asked, wiping Frodo's brow with the cool cloth that was handed to him by Sam. It was at that moment that he realized all of the Fellowship had gathered around their companion, with Merry and Pippin being held by Boromir and Gandalf, each with reddened eyes.

"Strider. Cannot you do anything for him? Like at Weathertop?" Pippin asked, wiping his tear streaked face on his sleeve. Pippin already knew the answer, but he wanted to hear it out loud. Taking a deep breath, he felt a hand lay his head down on the Gondorian's shoulder, patting it like a toddler being comforted. Merry looked on from Gandalf's arms with the same conclusion written on his face.

Knowing it was too late,Aragorn assessed the angry red marks streaking up Frodo's swollen leg, the damage already done. He then ripped the legs of the Hobbit's breeches to reveal the trail going all the way up the thigh. The infection alone told him what the outcome was going to be. If he had only found the herbs, if he could have stopped the bleeding, if Frodo had not been taken! 'If, If, If...' Schooling his anger well, he glanced at Gandalf as he tried to figure out how he was going to tell the Ring-bearer's cousins that he did not have long to live. That the kindest thing they could to do to make it an easy and painless death, would be to smother him.

As if Hawthorne knew what was going through his head, he interrupted Aragorn's thoughts,"Before you decide the best course of action to take, let Tobias have a few moments with him. It was, after all, because of him that Frodo placed his life in jeopardy, unselfishly," he asked, somehow making Frodo's death actually mean something.

Aragorn looked to Gandalf then to the rest of the Fellowship for their vote. With all heads nodding, they backed away from the table, except for Sam, who had to be dragged away by Legolas.

"No! I will not leave him. He needs me!" he yelled out to anyone who would listen, as the distance between him and his master lengthened.

Aragorn could not take the emotion Sam was feeling, because he himself wanted to scream out just as loud. He took Sam from Legolas' arms, but Sam wiggled away from him, closing the gap quickly before Aragorn found him back at Frodo's side squeezing tightly one of his master's hands hanging limply over the edge of the pedastal. Aragorn knelt down on one knee and for the first time during their travels together, embraced Samwise Gamgee the Gardener, Samwise the Brave, Samwise the best friend anyone could ever have. Sam let go of all the tears he had pent up, hugging Strider back, still holding onto Frodo's hand.

Tobias moved to the farthest side of the table to let the two friends be. He did not need to see the emotion, he already felt it in the air. He needed to concentrate. Tobias placed a hand upon Frodo's brow and one on his chest. Closing his eyes, he communicated with the Ring-bearer. How sorry he was for what had happened and to thank him for rescuing him, but Frodo was not angry. He was just a little sad for leaving his friends so early in life. Sorry for letting Gandalf down, sorry that his beloved Shire would be no more.

After a few moments, a small glow imminated from beneathe Tobias' hands. He mentally moved the bright white light down to Frodo's injured leg, healing the tissues from the inside out, the entrance and exit wound non-existant. The bright red streaks slowly disappearing all together. His body temperature coming back to normal. Tobias then moved to Frodo's left hand, healing that wound as well. As he was about to break the bond, Tobias felt something strange as he sensed another injury upon the Hobbit. An injury of great evil had resided further up the arm, a nameless face. It was hiding out, lying dormant. He tried reaching it with his mind when he heard an evil voice. 'Do not come between a Nazgul and its prey'. Then it broke all physical and mental contact between Tobias and Frodo, its energy throwing the empath to the ground.

"Strider...squeezing...hard," Sam mumbled into the Ranger's shoulder.

"What?" he asked.

"My hand..." Sam said lifting his head off Aragorn's shoulder, trying to break the embrace.

"Oh, sorry. I not know my own srength..." he was cut-off by a frantic Sam.

"No. Frodo. He's squeezing my hand. Hard. E-OWW!" Sam yelled out, prying his hand from Frodo's grip.

Turning his head to the side and finally understanding what Sam had meant, the Ranger quickly stood up to peer over the ailing Hobbit, only to find Frodo's cornflower blue orbs staring back up at him.

Sam had climbed back onto the top of the pedastal and cried out not believing his eyes, smothering his friend with hugs, "Oh, Frodo! You're all right! Your fever's gone. Your leg...its...its healed! Strider, look!"

"Hello, Sam," his strong voice rang out as he hugged his friend back suddenly remembering Tobias. "Where's Tob...Tobias?" he asked worriedly.

"Do not worry, Frodo, he is all right. Just take it easy for a moment," Hawthorne said, finally appearing in Frodo's line of vision escorting Tobias away from the emotional reunion.

Hearing Sam's voice ring out in the cavern, Merry and Pippin broke away from strong arms, running towards Frodo, ready for the worst. The big folk followed preparing themselves for what they were about to find. A distraught Sam crying over his master.

Everyone stopped in their tracks, not believing their eyes. It was not a distraught Sam, but a happy, excited, Sam. Aragorn was bending over Frodo, helping him to sit up. It was a good thing he was still supporting the Ring-bearer, because the force Merry and Pippin built up as they hugged their cousin fiercely, would have knocked him right off the pedastal. Tears of joy flowed from all within the Fellowship as they were reunited.

Then the inevitable was finally asked. "What's to eat!" Pippin asked, pinching his cousin's stomach. "Frodo has not eaten for...", he had to think, then,"two days!"

"Sam, you go start something, I would like a word with Hawthorne, then fully examine Frodo," Aragorn said. Frodo simply stared into the Ranger's face, not believing what he had just heard.

"Now, Aragorn. I am fine. The last time you examined me, you hurt...I do not want to think about it," he stated flatly.

"I just want to see you walk," Aragorn said, picking Frodo up and gently placing him on the ground, letting him get his bearings. "Ok?" Aragorn asked.

Frodo held onto either one of Aragorn's arms, and nodded. He placed his right foot forward, then raised his left foot, bending it at the knee. He took a step, placing all weight upon it. He let go of Aragorn's arms and started to walk, slowly at first, then maintained a steady pace. Pleased with his progress, he turned around and faced his friend. "Well? Did I pass?"

"Yes, just take it easy," Strider said, satisfied with the fully recovered Hobbit.


After Sam had made dinner, everyone sat around the fire to enjoy another hot meal. Hawthorne had brought in a fully rested Tobias.

All eyes were upon the two, wondering how Tobias had healed Frodo. Nothing less than a miracle.

"I feel there is an explanation to be said here," Hawthorne interrupted the silence as utensils were heard clanking into dishes, everyone all ears.

"Tobias is a unique individual. He is an empath. He is mute, but can communicate in ways beyond our understanding. I encountered what you would call his maternal grandmother some years ago. She had wondered through a portal that had been left open accidently. I learned much from her, training my mind to be opened to new ideas," he explained, seeing opened mouths, blank expressions.

"I had already explained to you how I knew about Frodo. Tobias had learned from his grandmother that there was someone here, in this realm that would heed his calls. He also had happened upon that same portal his gamma came through years ago. I recognized the familiar emotion, long before Bartholomew told me what happened. I am sorry Lord Aragorn, for deceiving you, but secrecy had to be maintained. I was just in as much danger from the Orcs as Tobias was if they ever found out I could communicate with him. I was the one who rendered your guard unconcious as well as Sam. I did it for Frodo's sake as well as Middle-Earth," he finished.

When everyone nodded, and Aragorn accepted the apology, Hawthorne spoke up once more, "And now, I must be leaving. I am taking Tobias back home. His session with Frodo has drained him somewhat. He can not communicate with me what exactly took place."

"But you are staying there as well?" Gandalf spoke up, inclining his head.

"Yes. I feel I could learn more from them. Hone up on my healing skills," he said getting up with Tobias getting to his feet.

Frodo got to his feet as well and slowly walked to Tobias. Tobias bent down on one knee to Frodo's eye level. Frodo looked into the deep soul, smiled, then gave him a hug. When he released Tobias, he spoke,"Thank you for everything."

Tobias nodded, rose to his full height and followed Hawthorne out of the cave. All waved goodbye until they could no longer see the silver reflected from the moonlight.


Sometime later, after everyone was asleep, Aragorn got up and walked over to where Gandalf was taking watch.

"You are bothered?"

"Yes," he answered looking at the four Hobbits huddled together underneathe a mound of blankets.

"Frodo's recovery?"

"Did he heal everything?"

"No. That wound will never fully heal. He will have it the rest of his life."

the end.