These four teensy ficlets have been posted separately on my LiveJournal, but I thought I'd put them together in one place.  They range from Quest to post-Quest, are a blend of book and movie, and are all Frodo-centric.  This is a companion piece to "Let Them Wait".

DISCLAIMER:  Of course.  The characters don't belong to me, I just get to think about them day and night.

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* The Game is Afoot * (A bit of fluffy nonsense, written to prove to ClaudiaofBree that shirebound can write about nasty ruffians if she puts her mind to it)

"…Tomorrow you will have to escape, if you can. Strider can take you by paths that are seldom trodden. Will you have him?"

"Are you a ruffian?" Frodo asked suddenly.

"Of course n---"

"Sam!" Frodo cried excitedly. "A ruffian!"

"Is he really, Mr. Frodo?" Sam joined his master and looked the big Man up and down. "If that don't beat all."

"Master Baggins, you don't under---"

"We used to play 'rascals and ruffians' every summer in the Shire," Frodo explained patiently. "We know all about how scary and gruff you're supposed to be. Oh!" he cried suddenly. "Tie me up!"

"Tie us all up," Merry pleaded. "Imagine, a real ruffian!"

"I am Aragorn, son of---"

"That's fine," Pippin said, not really listening. "Sam, do you have any rope?"

"I always have rope, Mr. Pippin," Sam said huffily. "You never know when---"

A knock at the door interrupted him, and Frodo opened it to reveal Mr. Butterbur in the corridor, looking contrite.

"Mr. Baggins, er, Underhill," the innkeeper stammered, "you must forgive me. I have a letter for you here, from Gandalf, and---"

"Right then," Frodo said absently, "could you bring it by later? There's a good fellow." He closed the door and locked it, turning back to Strider with his eyes shining. "I want to go first."

"You always go first," Pippin fumed. "Not all ruffians will be taken in by those blue eyes, you know."

"You're so young, Pip," Merry sighed.

Frodo sidled over to Strider, who was eyeing all four hobbits with alarm. "Don't you want to tie me up first, Mr. Ruffian?" the hobbit murmured, looking up at the Man through his lashes.

"Master Baggins, the Black Riders are---"

"...not here," Merry finished impatiently. "And who needs them, anyway? Can't you subdue four little hobbits all by yourself?" He folded his arms in front of him and looked at the Man critically.

"I suppose we could be the ruffians," Sam said doubtfully. "Would that make you feel better, Strider?"

"Sam, that's brilliant!" Frodo drew his sword and waved it at Strider, who had begun backing away. "Don't move, stranger, or I'll hurt you."

"Frodo," Pippin said, "I know you've practiced and practiced, but you just never sound that scary. What you need to say is---" He looked up in alarm. "Where'd he go?"

All four hobbits looked around the now-empty room, dismayed, then heard a faint 'thud' from the street below. They raced to the window in time to see Strider, who had apparently tried to climb down the trellis, lying in the street, clutching his ankle and groaning.

"The ruffian has hurt himself trying to escape!" Merry cried. "We must recapture him!"

"He's hobbling away!" Pippin cried.

"He wants us to chase him!" declared Merry, unlocking the door. "We'll find him and take him captive, then bind his wounds, shall we?"

"So that's his game, is it?" Frodo grinned happily. "I always did prefer 'hurt and comfort' to 'rascals and ruffians', anyway."

"You would, sir," Sam sighed.

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* He's Gotten to the Good Part *

"Frodo?" Pippin asked carefully.

"Yes?"

"When I said that you would have to be locked up in a tower in Minas Tirith and write everything down before you forgot half of what happened, I didn't mean it literally, you know."

Frodo put down the quill and gazed at his cousin. "Pip, you really don't want me to stop just now."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm writing about you."

"Are you?" Delighted, Pippin pulled a stool over next to Frodo's desk and beamed at him. "What part?"

"About how clever you were with Grishnakh, and getting Merry free and all."

Pippin picked up the quill and pushed it back into Frodo's hand. "And don't forget about how I---"

"Frodo?" They were interrupted by Merry entering the room, a cloak in one hand and a determined look on his face. "Frodo Baggins, it's a beautiful day, and you've been up here too long. How about a walk?"

"Merry!" Pippin hopped off the stool and pushed his cousin back towards the door. "You really don't want to be interrupting him just now.

"Why?"

"Because he's writing about... er, about you!"

"Is he?" Delighted, Merry allowed himself to be escorted out. "What part?"

.

* The Song * (written as a birthday mathom, March 2004)

S.R. 1419, April 8

The night air in Ithilien was cool and fragrant, and Frodo lay back onto the soft grass, listening with half an ear to Merry trying to explain about the Ents to Sam, Gandalf adding a few facts here and there, and Gimli and Pippin chuckling together about something. It was so wonderful to hear laughter again, nearly as wonderful as…

"Are you tired, Frodo?" Legolas asked quietly from where he sat at Frodo's side. "You have only awakened this day for the first time."

"A little bit," Frodo replied. He smiled up at the Elf. "Legolas, do you know what I missed almost more than food or drink?"

"Tell me."

"Music. It has been so long since I've heard any music, or singing. Not since Lórien. Except… I heard Sam singing to me once, when I was in a dark, cold place…" Frodo sighed deeply. "There were times, towards… the end… when I could scarcely remember what music sounded like."

"Close your eyes," Legolas said softly. Frodo did so, and felt the Elf's hand rest gently on his head.

Legolas tilted his head back and gazed into the starry skies. He began a soft song in praise of Elbereth, and the others stopped talking to listen. The song wove together starlight and sweet flowers, deep forests and calm, clear waters. Tears of joy began to slide down Frodo's face from his still-closed eyes as the delicate melody wove around him, after awhile becoming two melodies, three… it seemed that an entire chorus had surrounded him in light and sweet harmonies…

…and finally stopped. Whether a minute or an hour had passed, Frodo knew not. He opened his eyes and sat up, a deep peace in his heart. His friends sat nearby, as enchanted as he.

"Legolas, that was---" Frodo suddenly realized that the Fellowship was no longer alone under the whispering trees, and that the chorus had been real. They been joined by Lord Elrond and his sons, many Elves of their household, and even the Prince Imrahil, all of whom now sat amongst them on the grass, smiling at him.

"That was wonderful," Frodo said gratefully. "Would you sing a bit more?"

Gandalf shook his head. "The hour is late, Frodo, and though you and Sam have slept long and blessedly, still it is now time to sleep again."

Frodo sighed and got to his feet, bowing to the assembled Elves. "Thank you," he murmured.

"Frodo," Elrond smiled at him, "it is because of you and Samwise that the Song can still be heard, and the stars shine unveiled."

"Come," Gandalf said, and led Frodo and Sam to their beds.

Sometime later, with his limbs heavy and sleep pulling him into its embrace, Frodo thought he heard the same faint, blended chorus. The voices remained soft, yet grew closer, until the pavilion echoed with sweet music. Before he could open his eyes to look around, Frodo had fallen into peaceful slumber and gentle dreams, never knowing if the Elves had returned to sing for them, or if he had perhaps heard, for a moment, a Song that he had helped set forever free.

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* Sam's Cloak *  (a 200-word "double drabble", written in response to all the folks -- including me -- who think they heard Frodo whisper "I love you" as he and Sam embraced in the movie at the Grey Havens.  Did he whisper anything?  Perhaps he did, but perhaps it wasn't "I love you"… and perhaps it wasn't to Sam.  Not exactly.)

He buried his face in Sam's cloak as they embraced for the last time, engraving in his memory the texture and smell of it -- as if he'd ever forget. This cloak... Sam had tried to hide it, but I had never seen him so excited. Mr. Frodo, this was made by Elves, sir! Me, Sam Gamgee, wearing something woven by the Lady herself! Can you believe it, sir? This cloak... shivering in Mordor, on the hard, cold ground, without the strength to even move, and Sam covering us both with the only thing he had to give. This cloak... awakening in the darkness to find it softly folded under my head, while Sam lay nearby with no comfort. This cloak... like Sam, it was comfort and warmth, protection and strength; a steady, certain thing that never failed, never faltered, even at the end of all things. For all of your days, dear Sam, this will remind you of your beloved Elves. And when you join us in the West...

He buried his face in Sam's cloak as they embraced for the last time. "Thank you," he whispered. Thank you. Keep him safe and warm until I see you both again.