Another group of four teensy ficlets posted separately on my LiveJournal, now together in one place. They are, for the most part, book-verse -- and feature Sam, Aragorn, Faramir, and Arwen (among others).

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

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CLOTHES MAKE THE HOBBIT (written for Keye's birthday)

"Meanin' no disrespect, Strider," Sam said carefully, "but you're not makin' any sense. Sir."

Aragorn sighed and sat on the bed next to Sam. The hobbit eyed him warily and shoved the garments even further behind him.

"History becomes legend, Sam," Aragorn explained, "unless there is visible proof that something occurred as the tales relate."

"A bunch of itchy, filthy Orc rags won't prove what Mr. Frodo did," Sam insisted.

"Not by themselves, no they won't," Aragorn agreed. "But in years to come, people will want to see such things for themselves. Even 'filthy rags' will remind them of the Darkness that once was, and the courage and endurance it took to bring peace. I wish to have these displayed in Minas Tirith for all to see."

"But..." Sam shook his head in bewilderment. "Aren't you even goin' to wash 'em?" Just once?"

"No. I ask you to trust me, Sam. Believe me, I want to see Frodo honored as much as you."

"Well..." Sam bit his lip and reluctantly moved aside, allowing Aragorn to reach the jerkin, cloaks, hairy breeches, and belt.

"Strider..."

"What is it?" Aragorn asked gently.

"I just don't want anyone thinkin' that Mr. Frodo wasn't a gentlehobbit, sir," Sam burst out. "I don't want folks just rememberin' him in rags, without any sense of---"

"Fear not," Aragorn smiled. "There will be so many statues, portraits, and carvings depicting Frodo (and you, he thought to himself), I promise that he will be remembered as you wish."

"All right, then," Sam sighed with relief. "So you'll be displayin' your Ranger clothes with honor, too?"

"I can't say I was planning to---"

"But you have to, Strider," Sam said vehemently. "History becomes legend, that's what you said, and folks will forget that their king spent his whole life protectin' weaker folks."

"But I really don't think---"

"So you can see how important it is," Sam concluded. "Besides, Mr. Frodo would want you to."

Aragorn sighed, wondering if Frodo really did have an appointment somewhere in camp, or if he had left Sam to negotiate for him.

"Agreed," Aragorn said, shaking the hobbit's hand.

Sam grinned. "I don't suppose Gandalf's old clothes are anywhere about?" he asked hopefully. "Maybe his hat?"

"It would take a braver person than me to ask him!" Aragorn laughed. "Hopefully, we can make a suitable display without them." He gathered up the garments and stood up.

"Don't worry, Strider," Sam said reassuringly. "I'm sure there'll be some statues and all of you, too."

"Thank you, Sam," Aragorn smiled fondly at the hobbit. "That's nice to know."

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A SHARED LONGING

In the memory of even the oldest living resident of the city, nothing could compare to the wedding of their long-awaited sovereign, Elessar Telcontar, healer and High King, to his beautiful queen, Arwen Undómiel, about whom a gentle radiance seemed to emanate. And never had there been such a gathering of races, representing a kingdom reunited in peace. At the King's right hand stood the halfling, Frodo, to whom all owed their lives; at the Queen's side stood Gimli, son of Gloín, his place next to her a symbol of unity between their long-sundered peoples. Each of the four wore their finest, the Ring-bearer arrayed in silks and velvets newly-bestowed.

And as the city feasted and sang, and dazzling fireworks exploded above, none ever guessed, gazing at these four, that the same thought was in each mind, the same wish in each heart -- Dwarf, Elf, Man, and Hobbit.

Mother... if only you could have been here to see this.

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PRINCE OF ITHILIEN

"The blood of Westernesse runs nearly true in you, Faramir," Mithrandir had told me in farewell, before riding north with the Elves and the hobbits. "I tell you now that, as with Aragorn, you are permitted a rare decision -- that of choosing the time when you will at last depart from Middle-earth. But that day is far off. Your life will be long and full, Prince of Ithilien. May it be blessed."

To choose the time of one's death? A strange gift indeed. The blood of Westernesse… Much was implied in the words of Mithrandir -- that I may outlive she whom I love; that I may live to see generations yet unborn, and the restoration of lands ruined by war; that someday, I and my King may be the only Men left alive who remember what was, and what might have been.

But what use are such grim thoughts on this joyous day? Our first child will soon arrive, to be raised in a world at peace -- a thing unknown in many lifetimes of Men. All children will be taught to appreciate what they have, and to honor those who sacrificed so that they might have it.

New life, and a new Age. They will indeed be blessed.

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AS THE STARS LOOKED DOWN

"They have sailed," Arwen murmured. "I can feel it. Frodo... my father..."

Aragorn gazed out across the expanse of glittering, starlit-water, and his arm tightened unconsciously about his wife.

"What is it?" Arwen whispered.

"You have given up so much." Aragorn turned to face her. "Does the Sea ever call your name? Does your heart long to---"

"Since the day we met," Arwen said softly, "my heart has longed only for you. Each time I hear you call my name, I am content."

"Arwen," Aragorn whispered. He took her into his arms, his last fear dissolving in the radiance of the smile on his beloved's face.

"Estel," Arwen murmured. "My love."

As their lips met, a lone mariner far overhead listened as the Music deepened and swelled. And he bowed his head in awe -- the gem on his brow blazing -- as he sensed a new Song... and a new Age... begin.