A/N: Well here it is, the last chapter. Think of it as a birthday treat. This would be, I believe, my first multi-chaptered story that I've finished but before we get there I have something else to say.
Hope, thank you for reviewing and I'm glad that you're enjoying the story. I realise that the hobbits in the movie and book were trying to help people, but the hobbits in the movie and book weren't vampires. I've always thought of vampires as cold-blooded killers, no matter what they were like in life so I won't change that aspect of the story but I appreciate your thoughts.
To all other reviewers, thank you for your support, this was probably the fic I had most trouble with posting-wise (not everyone likes vampires you know). You also have my apologies for blatant favourism.
Ooh, and just before I leave you, I should probably warn of character death(s). I wasn't going to come all this way and then not kill anyone.
Dealing in Death
The men returned quickly to the road, their eyes often fixed upwards so as to spot any hobbits that intended on dropping out of the branches above their heads. They made it safely to the road but were even more uneasy than when they left it. Now all four of them knew what Aragorn had suspected; these four vampires were not the norm.
Every rustle of the leaves made the usually sturdy men jump and stare fearfully in the direction of the noise. It often proved to be just the breeze or a bird. But sometimes they saw the glint of moonlight reflecting from something, an eye or tooth. The men could not shake the feeling that tonight, they were the prey.
Aragorn swept the area with his eyes once more. The light of the torch he carried was now all but useless; the moon was strong enough to flood the warm glow with its own silvery light. He glanced up to the moon, though usually thankful for its light, tonight he wished for it to be black because then at least neither group would be able to see the other.
"Hello again." stated a voice from down in front of him. He jumped and looked down to find Frodo standing there with a deceptively friendly smile on his face. Aragorn glanced over his shoulder to make sure his men were ready for whatever the vampires had in store. They were not. They were lying on the floor fast asleep. Aragorn looked back to Frodo, whose smile had grown slightly cold.
"How did you..." Aragorn's question slowly ground to a halt.
"We're just very, very lucky." Three more figures slid out from the darkness and stood before Aragorn unwavering and unblinking.
"Would you care to put that torch out, it's still hurting my eyes." Aragorn's gaze moved to Pippin but he did nothing, "Ah well, it was worth a try." Pippin then shifted slightly and glanced behind him at Merry, who was grinning enough to show his teeth in all their sharpened glory. "Merry, I swear if you put your hand there again I'll bite it off." Merry raised both his hands into view and Pippin nodded.
"You're new aren't you?" said Aragorn. Pippin looked back at Aragorn and smiled.
"Peregrin Took is my name," he bowed, "I have spent the shortest time alive and the shortest time dead." Frodo looked to Pippin with his eyebrows raised.
"Why, so you have! Perhaps we should have left you to mature longer," Frodo held his hand out to Pippin and Pippin took it. Frodo pulled him in close, "Would you have preferred that?"
"What? And spend even longer shut up in the Smials with my constantly grieving family? No thank you!" Aragorn moved his hand nearer the hilt of his sword, Merry and Sam stepped forward and growled. Frodo looked up at Aragorn again over Pippin's shoulder.
"My good man, why do you have to be so hostile?" he flashed his teeth, "Can we not just talk?" Aragorn looked at Frodo, if he could talk for long enough, the others may wake up and he would not be so greatly outnumbered. He knew that if he failed now, it would mean death for all four of them.
"What do you wish to talk about?" Frodo smiled and Pippin turned around once more, but didn't let go of Frodo's hand.
"Your name is Aragorn, yes?" Aragorn nodded, "Would you happen to know anything of Gandalf the Grey?" Aragorn frowned.
"Why would I know anything of Gandalf the Grey?" Frodo laughed and stepped closer to the man.
"Just as I am no longer a hobbit, I am no longer completely naïve of the outside world. Dwarves can be quite talkative with the right persuasion." that would explain why Aragorn saw so few dwarves any more.
"You've had dwarves? What are they like?" butted in Pippin.
"You wouldn't like them Pip, they're very salty, especially when they've been travelling, not to mention bland after all they've been eating is cram. Terrible stuff that." said Merry.
"Their armour almost doesn't make it worth the effort," added Sam, "You can't reach their necks so you have to-"
"Sam! I don't think our friend here wants to know all the details of catching and killing a dwarf." Aragorn only just managed to stop himself from thanking Frodo, he didn't think it quite right that he should. "So, you know of Gandalf the Grey?"
"I know of him, yes." Frodo rolled his eyes and sighed loudly.
"Look, my patience has grown a lot shorter since my untimely death and it is wise not to provoke me. Have you spoken with him or not?" Aragorn glanced over his shoulder, the others were still fast asleep. He looked back at the now red-eyed Frodo.
"Yes," he admitted, "Yes, I have spoken with him." It seemed to Aragorn that there were two other breaths, besides his own, that were released when Frodo's eyes returned to their true colour. He surmised that it was Merry and Sam, as Pippin was standing behind Frodo and could not see his face.
"Has he said anything about me?" Frodo's eyes narrowed.
"He has mentioned you, more than once," Frodo raised his eyebrows, indicating for Aragorn to elaborate, "He has said that you... carry something, of great importance." Frodo smirked and all eyes were immediately on him. He put his hand into his breast pocket and pulled out a ring, a gold ring. Perfectly shaped, it seemed to shine with its own light.
"I do." said Frodo simply.
Pippin came forward and stared at the ring over Frodo's shoulder. His arm, almost of its own will, reached towards it. Quicker than the eye could follow, Frodo grabbed Pippin's arm and dug his fingernails in. Pippin yelped as the nails dug into his flesh and drew blood. "That would be a very foolish thing to do, my Pippin," said Frodo as he released Pippin's arm.
"You could've just said it, no need to go ripping my arm off," grumbled Pippin as he tried to lick his arm clean. Frodo laughed as he languidly licked the blood from each of his fingers. He gazed at the ring for a long moment before he hid it away back in his pocket.
"Well, Aragorn, does that answer any of Gandalf's riddles?" Aragorn was thinking on that very same subject.
"That is Bilbo's ring? The one he found in Gollum's cave?" Frodo smiled an almost genuine smile.
"You know your Baggins family history! Well, that is a surprise!"
"I know a Baggins." Frodo let a little chuckle loose.
"I don't suppose you could avoid knowing Baggins history if you know a Baggins. Bilbo?" Aragorn nodded. "How is he?"
"Distraught would be the best word." said Aragorn grimly.
"Too bad," Pippin, finding a slight gap in the conversation, came forward once again.
"If that's Bilbo's magic ring, why don't you use it?" he asked.
"Because Gandalf said it would be best if I didn't and even if he would kill us on sight nowadays, there's no doubting his wisdom." Pippin opened his mouth to express something along the lines of 'but surely if we're enemies of Gandalf then other enemies of Gandalf would be on our side'. "Don't get me wrong," continued Frodo before Pippin could get anywhere with his thought, "I love death and destruction just as much as the next vampire but I also quite enjoy the Shire as it is. There's no need to go changing it," the small smile faded from Frodo's face.
"Yes Merry dear?"
"I'm bored." Merry was looking at Aragorn in a most unnerving way and Aragorn realised that he wouldn't be able to hold off the inevitable any longer.
"Anborn! Everyone! Wake up!" Aragorn yelled, drawing his sword. The he made a mistake, he looked over his shoulder to see if his companions had awoken. That they were only just rousing would not save him. Even though his eyes were off them for only a second, the hobbits took their chance.
They leapt upon him. He saw only their red eyes glaring out at him before he squeezed his own eyes shut in pain. As much as Aragorn twisted turned, there were always at least three bodies on him. If he ever managed to throw one off, it would return it just as quickly. His fate was sealed when he failed to keep his balance, once he was on the ground the hobbits were able to pin him down and do whatever they would.
As Aragorn faded, a new sound of weapons being drawn drew the hobbits from him and they found themselves face to face with three very angry men.
The fight that ensued was short but very bloody. The noise could be heard all the way back in Brandy Hall. The silence when it finished did not comfort the hobbits whom had been awakened and were now shivering with fright in their beds. Who had been fighting? And perhaps more importantly: who had won?
Closer to the scene, had anyone dared go there, they would have heard a faint sucking sound and then a satisfied sigh,
"Come here Pip and try this one!"
"Oh no, I couldn't possibly eat another bite. Where's Merry?"
"With Sam where?"
"Oh they're about, though I doubt they're more than dust floating on the breeze."
"You mean they were killed?"
"Oh yes, this chap here got Merry and someone over there cut Sam's head off."
There was a short lull in the conversation.
"Do you want to go see the bloodstains at Bag End?"
"Well come along then, and wipe your face you silly Took."