A/N: This is just a really really random story that hopped into my head. Hope you enjoy it. Please review nicely (if at all) as I'm forsaking much needed revision to write this and I need to know that it was worth while (yes, I know, I'm a fool).
A Hobbit's Place is in the Kitchen
"You really shouldn't be doing this for me Pippin, you should be sitting down and relaxing, all of you should." Said Beregond who was sitting, quite bewildered, as the hobbits bustled around their kitchen cooking a meal for him. They shouldn't be doing this for him; they were still recovering while he was completely fine.
"We are relaxing! Nothing much more relaxing than cooking a fine meal, except perhaps eating it afterwards of course," said Pippin as he walked by carrying a dish of potatoes.
"We've celebrated the Gondorian way, now we have to celebrate the Shire way!" declared Merry, handing the peeler to Sam so he could peel the carrots. "And this will be quite the celebration, you have some of the best cooks in the shire here and that's saying something as Gandalf will tell you." Beregond open his mouth to protest but closed it again. It was four against one, he couldn't persuade them any other way. But to have a meal cooked for him by the four perian? More to the point, the two ringbearers, it just didn't seem right. It seemed that he was the only one with any objections to this arrangement though.
"Pippin's told us what you did for him, thank you for showing him around and giving him some company. He'd go mad if he didn't have anyone to talk to." said Frodo, smiling affectionately at Pippin's back.
"Wasn't a problem, He's good company himself, just what any Guard of the Citadel needs, a perian to take their minds off things."
"Only if the Guards of the Citadel like to have their ears talked off every hour of the day!" Merry was rewarded with a sharp jab to the ribs from Pippin, "Only because you know it's true," he continued to Pippin, who didn't have any reply because it probably was true.
Beregond settled to watching the hobbits work. They looked like a well- oiled machine, one of them taking up where another could not carry on. Merry and Pippin managed to keep Frodo and Sam away from the oven, lest the heat bring back memories and either Sam and Frodo didn't notice or they didn't mind. Pippin would take anything heavy from Merry when his arm appeared to be struggling with the weight and no one let Pippin walk too far as he was still limping, even though it was very slight and near unnoticeable.
Pippin removed the potatoes from where they were roasting nicely in the oven.
"Anyone care to pour the fat over the potatoes? This is a two-hobbit job I fear," it certainly looked it, as Pippin was completely occupied just holding the dish. Frodo was directed to a spoon and was soon spooning the fat over the yellowing vegetables. Once finished, Pippin returned the potatoes to the oven.
"That smells delicious," said Beregond without being able to stop himself. All four hobbits replied with a 'thank you' and a smile.
"The carrots are ready." stated Sam, Merry nodded and took them from him. "So, Beregond, I hear you have a son, you should've brought him along."
"No, his mother wanted some time alone with him so they could do something together. Most likely she's smothering and spoiling him like any mother separated from her son for too long."
"Yes," said Sam with a knowing smile, "I'm sure Mr. Merry and Mr. Pippin have a homecoming of that kind to welcome them. Imagine, months of not knowing where your sons are and then they suddenly turn up again! I'm glad I'm not either of your mothers, they must have been fretting since the day Fatty was chased from Crickhollow by Black Riders." he shuddered, "No, right glad I am, I'm not in their position and hope I never will be!" finished Sam. Both Merry and Pippin had troubled looks on their faces.
"O dear!" said Pippin after a moment's thought, "It shan't be only my mother but my sisters as well. I shall be beset by frantic females on all sides! It will be a wonder if they don't suffocate me." the other hobbits chuckled, this scenario was, quite plainly, not too far from the truth.
Beregond began worrying about the hobbits again, he was watching Frodo cut the broccoli with the hand that now had one less finger. The four of them may have been at home in the kitchen before their journey but Beregond couldn't help worrying that they'd changed and lost some of the skills needed in the kitchen. But this was where Beregond's knowledge of hobbits failed him. He may have fought alongside them and watched them recovering from the aftermath, but he'd never experienced their cooking in a proper kitchen. So his lack of faith could probably be forgiven.
Still, he let them get on with their work with few interruptions. One thing he did notice was that they took great care in what they were doing and, he mused as he watched them, they fitted so much better in a kitchen than they did on a battlefield. A hobbit on a battlefield stands out, he is far smaller and has less strength behind his sword, no matter how much emotion is behind it, it cannot be denied that they are just not as strong as men. But in a kitchen it is different, even though the room and utensils may be that little bit bigger than they should be in comparison to the hobbits, the hobbits fit there as though this is where they were made to go. Beregond was suddenly jolted out of his thoughts by Sam.
"Beregond?" It seemed that all the food was in the oven and now they only needed to wait for it to cook. "There's something in our bathroom that I need you to identify," Beregond raised his eyebrow, "Wait a moment and I'll go get it." and Sam nipped out of the room and returned shortly holding something yellow in his hands, he presented it to Beregond. Beregond laughed.
"You do not have these in the Shire?"
"No, what is it for?" said Sam, looking at the thing in his hands, quite perplexed.
"You wash yourself with it!"
"What's the matter with a flannel? Or a brush? What is this?" Sam asked again.
"It's a sponge." He received blank looks from all the hobbits. "A sea creature, or plant, which, when dried, has useful properties of soaking up water. There is nothing wrong with a flannel or a brush, we just use these too." Sam looked at Beregond in barely masked astonishment.
"From the sea?" Beregond nodded, slightly confused by Sam's look. Seeing his friend's confusion, Pippin moved in to explain.
"We hobbits rarely, if ever, have anything to do with the sea. It's most likely hundreds of years since a hobbit even set eyes on it. Sam recovered himself and returned the sponge to the bathroom.
Frodo glanced at the clock.
"I think the food should be done by now." Already? Perhaps Beregond had been thinking to himself for longer than he'd thought. Pippin steered him into the dining room where a table was set out. All the furniture was somewhere inbetween the right height for a man and the right height for a hobbit so neither race found it too uncomfortable to sit.
Beregond watched each hobbit bring in dishes and plates of – he had to admit – very tasty-looking (and smelling!) food. It seemed to Beregond, taken by a sudden understanding of the hobbits' love for food, that it was too long before Merry brought in the last dish and finally seated himself. With nothing left stopping anyone from eating, they all dug in.
It was most certainly the best meal he had tasted in years, if not ever and he immediately repented ever doubting the hobbits and their culinary skills. No wonder they were so cheerful when they had meals like this to return home to. Hobbits definitely worked best in the kitchen.