Disclaimer: the characters belong to J.R.R Tolkien

Aragorn waited nervously as his guests started to arrive for high tea. Earlier he went down to the kitchens to check on the progress. He had expected the cook to know something of what was served at a tea, which he did, but had to make recipes from memory since his parchments had burned up when they were attacked. When the bakery items were presented for the King's approval, he did not know what to make of the delicacies. The sandwiches looked fine but the breads and scones that were to be served were lumpy, not really eye appealing, and one had a crust so hard that it could be used as a weapon if thrown by Legolas. Then he smelled something very appealing to his nose that he could not place.

"What is that smell?" he asked distainly looking at the breads presented to him.

"Oh...well...um, one of the ambassadors sent an unusual looking...thing. He called it a fruit and usually cooked over open flame in his part of the country. He sent so much, they were starting to rot. I came up with a recipe to use them," the cook explained.

"Well, send it down instead of these," Aragorn commanded as he held the hard crust thing and threw it. He was right. It was a weapon. The bread penetrated the wooden pantry door, causing the cook to just stare at the emerging attendant ducking just in time before being hit.

"But, my Lord, it is still being tested. The other breads did not come out quite right. That one was the least hardest of them all," he protested insinuating the one King Aragorn had just thrown.

"Well, it smells wonderful, and I will be looking forward to seeing it displayed when the tea has been brought up. Good day," Aragorn stated and left the hot kitchen.

"Yes, my Lord," the cook muttered bowing as Aragorn walked away.

Now the hour had come and his guests arrived, dressed casually, like his invitation had said. Nothing formal, just to be themselves. Gandalf, of course, was dressed as always in his White Robe accessorized with his staff in his left hand. Followed by Sam and Frodo who were dressed in fine linen shirts and breeches. Frodo's was wearing brown and Sam wore a linen, gray. Almost a replica of their clothes before they were ruined on the quest. The outfits had both been made before Frodo and Sam woke from their long healing sleep. They also wore the cloaks given to them by the Lothlorien Wood Elves.

Merry and Pippin came dressed in their shire wardrobe, which surprised the King to no end, because he had always seen them in their dress uniforms.

Legolas had on a Silver dress tunic embossed with gold filigree throughout. His quiver of arrows still on his back with bow in hand. Gimli, however, always thought his dwarf mail and tunic was good enough for anyone. Besides who was he going to impress? The Lady Galadriel will always have his heart.

Aragorn stood and greeted each member of the Fellowship as they arrived. "Please, come in and sit down," the King said, smiling, as he opened his arms wide.

There they were, all seated around the living quarters. All except one. The one that would take his place arrived first and Aragorn had sent him off to the balcony until he could properly introduce him. Strider smiled and entered the living space welcoming his guests,"Well, we are all gathered here today since our quest was ended. All except one."

"Aye," Gimli voiced and everyone else followed in their voices to the absent of one of their own.

"Well, I think that it is time that we meet our other guest. Faramir? Please come and join us," Aragorn called out with heads turning towards the balcony area as Faramir entered the living quarters.

"My friends, please welcome Boromir's brother, Faramir, in our fallen comrades stead," the King introduced.

Of course, they all new Faramir. There was no hesitation on Merry or Pippin's part to welcome him into their Fellowship and into the their embrace. Legolas and Gimli both gave their appreciation as Gimli gave him a wooly bear of a hug while Legolas clasped his shoulder. As Faramir closed in towards the divan, Gandalf encirlced him into his robes like a father. Nodding his appreciation, Faramir then found himself standing next to Frodo and Sam.

This was one of the reasons Aragorn wanted to bring the Fellowship together. To break the the tension between the Ringbearers and Faramir. There was much that went on Ithilien that Aragorn did not hear, but could tell from Frodo's prior encounter's with the Captain of Gondor that there was some ill history. He wanted to correct that.

Sam placed his hand on Frodo's shoulder offering his strength. Sam had made his peace with Faramir earlier on. He was not one to hold a grudge and he knew his master was not either, but there needed to be closure about what Boromir had tried to do.

With a deep sigh, Frodo looked up, his bright blue eyes dancing as he took hold of Faramir's hand, pulling him down to his level. "Welcome, Faramir," he spoke quietly as his short arms clasped the Captain around his neck withdrawing after a moment, planting a kiss on his forehead.

Faramir released his breath he was not aware he had been holding returning the embrace. "Thank you, Frodo," he said then stood continuing speaking to everyone else, "Thank you for letting me be a part of your Company."

"Boromir would not have had it any other way," Gandalf replied sitting back down.

Everyone else followed suit, and after a few moments of silence Pippin came to the point of this gathering,"So, King Aragorn, where's the food?"

"Pippin!" Merry scolded with a chorus from Frodo.

"Well, he said Tea, and with Tea you expect food. I'm starvin," he said and everyone else laughed.

"Hobbits," Gandalf muttered through his pipe stem, shaking his head.

At that moment, there was a knock on the door and a servant opened it up to reveal the cook and his enterage of assistants bringing in trays laden with ham and cucumber sandwiches, scones filled with cream and jam, tea cakes with jam, and an assortment of breads including muffins with icing and an oblong cut bread that Aragorn had recognized as the one the cook was working on. Followed by those four assistants came four more carrying tea pots, setting them all on a buffet situated along the wall.

"Well, shall we have tea?" Aragorn asked. Nods all around. "Gentleman, if you would be so kind to prepare the tea," he asked his staff and they in turn started to mingle among the guests serving tea, then offering the delicacies.

After a few minutes, everyone had a cupful of hot brewed tea and had helped themselves to a platefull of the different foods offered.

It seemed that everyone was enjoying themselves, all talking at once. The conversations staying towards what and how their counterparts were doing with their time as they stayed in the city. Merry and Pippin seemed to be arguing whose uniforms were more colorful, and who looked better in them. Sam had spoken of losing his real "Elvish" rope in the swamp to Gimli as the big hearted dwarf's thoughts wandered to the lovely Galadriel. Gandalf had avoided all questions regarding where he had "gone" after he had fought the Belrog. Even Faramir and Frodo were having an engaging conversation.

His Queen was right about having this high tea. He so wanted to please the hobbits, making them feel as if they had some sort of normalcy in their lives as they stayed in Minas Tirith. The only thing Aragorn was focusing on was that noone was trying the new bread. He had hoped the cook had figured out the recipe.

At that moment, he glanced over to Pippin and Merry as they signaled their cousin over to where they were sitting. Frodo excused himself from Faramir and approached his cousins.

"What is it that you two need. An impartial judge to your uniform delimma?" he asked with a smile crossing his face. He felt good. Better than he had felt in months and did not mind jesting with his cousins.

"No," Pippin whispered as he pulled his cousin's cloak making him bend over in the process. "It is just this bread. I...I just wanted to know if you had tried it yet?"

Frodo looked at the piece Pippin was pointing to and looking at his plate, had left the same piece for later. Actually, he did not intend to taste it at all. It had an odd smell to it. Something he had never smelled before. It was not that he did not want to taste it, it was just that he was feeling so good, he did not want anything to set him back. The "foreign" food that Sam referred to while staying in Minas Tirith sometimes did not agree with him. This was one of them "foreign" foods he hoped he could get by without trying nor upsetting his host.

"No. I had not. Why? What is the problem?" he pushed the question back on his cousin to see what he would say.

"Well, it is just that. King Aragorn..." he stopped as a shadow appeared over him.

"Is everything all right? I hope everything that has been served is satisfactory?" Aragorn asked as he knew something was up whenever the hobbits huddled.

"Well," Merry interjected,"we were just wondering what this unusual bread is? We have never smelled anything like this before. What do you call it?"

Well, that just stumped the King. He had no idea either as to what it was called. He never thought to ask. "Um..." he said as he wagged his finger in the air towards the cook to get his attention, waving him over to join the group that seemed to be growing around him. Aragorn had noticed that those who picked the bread had left it on their plates untouched.

"Yes, My Lord," the cook asked as he approached the guests whom had all quieted as they all wanted to know the answer to Merry's question.

"This new bread, what do you call it?" the King asked inquisitively.

The cook was appalled. In all the time he had tried to come up with a recipe for the bread, he never thought of the name. He just put it together with flour mixture, some sugar, eggs and the rotting fruit. It would not do to call it "rotting fruit bread". That would turn even his stomach. Quickly thinking, he remembered that the Ambassador said the fruit was a ba na na, as he heard in his head each syllable pronounced as the Ambassador had an odd accent.

"Banana Bread," he spurted out, but sounded confident as to not scare the guests into not trying the delicacy. "Yes, one of the King's Ambassador's brought them as a gift from their homeland and suggested a few ways to serve it.

Aragorn loved his cook. He worked well under pressure. "Thank you. I will have to give the Ambassador my thanks regarding such a nice gift," he said as he let the Cook go back to his duties.

"Does that answer your question, Merry?" Aragorn asked.

Shaking his head,"No. Do not get me wrong, it smells okay, but, um...have you tried it?"

he asked the King.

Taken a back Aragorn feighned hurt and said, "Merry, you hurt my feelings. I was sure, since you and your cousin are a member of the guard of the houses of Rohan and Gondor, that I would have Pippin, whom I might remind swore an oath to me, taste it for us."

Frodo smiled at this. He remembered all the times that he had to take all the medicines that Aragorn concocted during their travels together and more recently as he recovered after waking up in Ithilien. He did not like them one bit, and now his cousin would have to taste it for his King. Yes, turnabout was fair play.

With mouth agape, Pippin looked at the smirk on his cousin's face, "What are you smiling at, Frodo? Remember, you are the elder cousin and you get to go first! So, go ahead. Taste it," Pippin said reversing his roles quite quickly pushing Frodo's plate up to his mouth.

"Mr. Frodo dant have to taste that ifn he dant want ta," Sam stated protectively of his master.

"Thank you, Sam," Frodo said, greatful to his friend.

"That's right, you're his gardner, you taste it!" Merry exclaimed.

"Merry! I would not have him taste it, even if it were the last morsel next to Lembas bread!" Frodo said as he knew himself and Sam had had enough of the Lembas bread to last them a lifetime.

"Oh, Elbereth," Gimli spoke up. "I will taste it. It is a wonder that we had even survived the quest with all we had was dried meat, leaves from the earth, and bugs to munch on, and we had not died yet. Now, you are going to let a little thing like this foreign bread stop us?" he said taking the bread up to his nose smelling it. After a little hesitation, looking at gaping mouths he replied, "I hated those bugs and leaves. Legolas, you try it!"

The Fellowship looked at Gimli in awe and laughed. Frodo took this opportunity to break off a piece of his bread and popped it into Aragorn's opened mouth.

"Frodo? How could you?" Gandalf asked as he saw King Aragorn's look of surprise on his face as he had been tricked into trying his own bread.

"It was time for payback. I hope it does not taste half as bad as his medicines he has given me in the past," Frodo said as he had seen Aragorn's mouth working the piece around as he held his hand over the King's mouth adding, "And do not try to spat it out!"

After a few moments, as he got over the initial shock, Aragorn was able to actually taste the bread. It had a rather sweet taste, flavorful, and very tender. It just melted in his mouth. He peeled the hobbit's hand from his mouth, his jaw set, not giving a clue that he liked it he said,"It is quite good. Very tasty. You must have some, Frodo," he grinned as it was his turn to feed it to the Ringbearer.

Seeing the King would probably not forgive him for plunging the bread into his mouth, Frodo closed his eyes and took his medicine. He felt a piece of the bread land on his tongue and the explosion of flavor was unlike he had ever tasted. Chewing slowly to make sure the taste lingered, he opened his eyes,looking straight at Aragorn and smiled, "Thank you for such a lovely surprise. It is very, very good, My Lord. Not like the usual concoctions I had received from personally."

Everyone laughed, then each tried their own pieces, knowing now that it was safe as they witnessed the two most stubborn members of their Fellowship had finally agreed on one thing. The banana bread was edible.

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"How did it go, my love?" Queen Arwen asked as her husband had finally come to bed.

"Well, at first I did not think the new bread would be a hit," he said remembering when he had first encountered it,thinking it could be a weapon,"but our Ringbearer actually enjoyed something I made him eat, without forcing it down him," he smiled, snuggling closer to his wife, falling asleep immediately.

The End

with help from tiggibarfield.

thanks to all who took time out to read this--Leia Wood, Breon Briarwood, Onetreehill, lindahoyland and somebody.