These five teensy ficlets have been posted separately on LiveJournal, but I thought I'd put them together in one place.  They range from pre-Quest to post-Quest, and are all Frodo- or Sam-centric.

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


Ready (a 100-word drabble written for ClaudiaofBree)

Frodo sat cross-legged on the bed, trembling with excitement.  He took one last look around the small room, memories assailing him, good and bad.  He looked down at his hands, and gently rolled the smooth, perfectly round river stone between his palms.  This stone, shot through with opalescent sparks and brilliant colors that sparkled in the sun, was Merry's favorite, thrust into his hands by the sobbing lad before his mother hauled him away.

"Ready, Frodo lad?" came a voice from the doorway.

Frodo looked up with a joyous smile that, in recent years, few had seen.

"I'm ready, Bilbo."


Love and Comfort (written for a FrodoHealers challenge: "Frodo is ill on his birthday")

"There there, my boy.  Everything will be all right."  Bilbo held tightly to the weeping boy.  "Why carry on, so?"

"Oh Bilbo," Frodo sobbed, "I'm so sorry.  I didn't mean to get sick and ruin our first birthday together."

"Of course you didn't," Bilbo soothed.  He lay on Frodo's bed, the blanket-wrapped lad resting weakly against his chest.  He could feel heat from the boy's fever radiating from the tweenager.  "Now you must stop this crying, or your throat will hurt even worse."

Frodo nodded, but the tears continued to flow.  He had been so excited, for weeks, about this birthday.  Bilbo had said they could have an adventure together, just the two of them, and they would do whatever Frodo wanted.

"We should be far away by now," Frodo sniffled, "camping out and singing and telling stories, and watching the stars... and now you're cooped up here, having to look after me."

"Frodo lad," Bilbo smiled, "if I hadn't wanted someone to 'look after,' after all these years alone, I wouldn't have adopted you.  We'll look after each other, now."  He looked into the boy's wet eyes.  "I'm very happy you're here, Frodo, sick or well."

"Me too," the boy whispered.  "So happy, Bilbo."  He snuggled tighter into the old hobbit's arms, feeling achy and hot and drowsy.  "I'll try to get better fast... I promise..."

"All you need to promise is to sleep as much as you can, and take the medicines the healer brought, and not worry about a thing," Bilbo said.  He felt the boy relax as the mildly sedating, fever-reducing tea began to take effect.  "Close your eyes now, and I'll be here when you wake up."

Frodo murmured something else, then went limp in Bilbo's arms as he sank into a deep sleep.

"I love you too, dear boy," Bilbo whispered.


The Ten Walkers (written for Gayalondiel's birthday)

"Does Bill belong to you, Sam?" Legolas asked curiously.

"No," Sam smiled, continuing to brush Bill's burr-laden coat.  "Why, if anything, he belongs to Mr. Merry.  The innkeeper in Bree paid for him, but it was to help replace Mr. Merry's ponies that were driven off by the Black Riders."

"And yet, you speak of him as 'my Bill'," Legolas persisted.

"That's just my way," Sam explained.  "Everyone likes to hear that someone's lookin' out specially for them, and that they have friends.  Bill needs to feel safe with us; he doesn't have anyone else but us, now."

"I see," the Elf smiled.

"You can do it, too," Sam added shyly.

"Do what?"

"Let Bill know that he's bein' looked after, and that you're his friend," Sam explained.  "Sometimes folks need to hear it -- you know, out loud.  Ponies, too."

"Ah," Legolas nodded.  He stepped close to the animal's head and stroked the pony between the eyes, and behind the ears.  "Bill," he said quietly, "we are most pleased that you are with us.  In all ways that we may keep you safe and well, we will do so."  Bill, who had been restless as his sharp ears picked up the distant howling of wolves, grew calm, and he gently nosed the Elf's hair.  Legolas remained for some minutes, speaking softly in his own language, while Bill seemed to listen attentively.

Sam had mentioned to Frodo, in Rivendell, that if Bill had stayed there much longer he would have learned to talk -- but to Sam, the pony was speaking plain as day: one more member of his new family cared about him, and had offered their friendship.

"We have first watch, Sam," said Aragorn, coming to join them.

"I'm done here," Sam said, putting away the brush.  "Good night, Bill."

"You have not bid good night to our loyal steed," Legolas said to Aragorn with a smile.

"You are correct," Aragorn agreed gravely.  With Sam watching happily, the ranger patted the pony gently.  "Be at ease, my friend," he said softly.  "Whatever may come this night, you are not alone."

The memory of freezing blizzard and the sounds of approaching danger were not forgotten -- but for Bill, they were for the moment less fearsome.  He was not alone.  And as the skies darkened and stars blazed forth, the tenth member of the Fellowship of the Ring was content.


Humble Hobbits (written for Oselle)

Aragorn knelt to place the circlets upon the heads of the Ringbearers, and everyone, from Gandalf and Eomer to the most humble foot soldier, instantly knelt as well.  He saw Frodo's enormous blue eyes grow wide, and Sam gasped audibly.  Even Pippin and Merry, as yet unnoticed by Frodo and Sam, knelt and bowed their heads, Pippin still recovering and obviously in some pain.  They would greet their cousin and Sam later, but for now, they were as awestruck as the rest at what these two had accomplished.

Aragorn took his time arranging the thin, glittering circlets -- painstakingly crafted by Gimli in an amazingly short time -- prolonging the moment as long as possible. 

"Please get up," Frodo whispered pleadingly.  "Aragorn…"

Aragorn grinned at the hobbit and slowly rose, guiding the Ringbearers to the makeshift throne.  Eomer and Gandalf had not risen, therefore no one else dared move.  He gazed at Frodo for a long moment, a bit awed himself by the light shining from this small being.  Gandalf had told him that Sam had learned to see a light in Frodo, hidden to all else -- but it was hidden no longer.  Frodo's beauty, both of face and spirit, now smote the heart of all who looked upon him. 

Aragorn turned to the waiting crowd and spread his arms wide.

"Praise them with great praise!"


Sam Proposes (a 100-word drabble written for Rabidsamfan's birthday)

"What do you see when you look at me?" Frodo asked softly.

Sam shyly took his hand.  "I see the most beautiful hobbit who ever lived.  I love everything about you -- your eyes, your smile, your loving heart -- every day I love you more."

"What are you saying, Sam?"

"That I want to marry you.  Will you have me?  Will you say yes?"

Frodo grinned.  "That's absolutely perfect."  He pushed his friend in the direction of the Cotton farmhouse.  "Now go say those same words to Rosie."

Sam hesitated.  "Can't we practice one more time, Mr. Frodo?"