A piercing scream woke Aragorn, his body reacting quickly to a friend in need only to find that he did not have the strength to sit up. "Frodo?" he cried out weakly around a thick tongue.
"He will be fine, my son, as you will be," a familiar voice spoke.
"He's hurt. Let me go to him," Aragorn said opening his eyes to see Lord Elrond, his foster father, bending over him. "Where?" he asked confused.
"You and Frodo were rescued this afternoon and are now recuperating in your living quarters," Lord Elrond said, his hand resting on the King's forehead, then on the pulse point at the neck.
"I am fine, father," Aragorn murmured finding it a little humorous that he knew now how Frodo must have felt when subjected to Lord Elrond's examination.
"I will be the judge of that," Elrond said taking a cup to his son's lips for him to drink.
Aragorn complied, nodding his head in thanks. As the King tried to change position, he winced in pain. "My leg is hurting," he said looking at his father for an explanation.
"I stitched your leg wound to stop the bleeding. You will be sore and swollen for the next couple of days and wise to stay off of it. Lucky that you had bound it, or you would have bled to death," Elrond explained.
"I didn't do it," the King stated.
"What?" Elrond asked.
"Frodo bound my leg. Again, I owe him my life," the King replied, settling back into his comfortable bed.
The half-elven Lord pushed himself up off the mattress, completely satisfied with his assessment. "Rest, my son. You will have time to repay him later," he added as his long fingers closed the fluttering eyelids, muttering under his breath to place his foster son in a light induced sleep.
"That's it, Mr. Frodo. Just relax. It is all over now," Samwise said trying to comfort his master, laying him gently onto the overstuffed, overly large feather pillows.
The healer had just finished manipulating the hobbit's shoulder back into place, his cry echoing throughout the living quarters. Sam had been with Gandalf earlier that day after leaving Frodo in Aragorn's care. When he returned, he knew something had happened when most of the King's men were gathered at the lower levels. He did not even make it out of the hobbit's quarters when Lord Elrond had returned with Aragorn and Frodo.
"How are you doing, Master Baggins?" Lord Elrond said as he entered from behind the partition that separated the King's quarters from Frodo's.
"I was just about ready to give him something for the pain, my Lord," the healer said.
"I will make sure he receives it. Go and be with your family," Elrond said, relieving the healer of his services.
"Thank you, my lord. I will be back in the morning if you should need me," he said and departed from the room.
Lord Elrond bowed and turned to address the Ring-bearer. He noticed immediately that Frodo's face was contorted, staring blankly at nothing in particular. "Master Baggins, do not hold your breath," he said sitting next to the hobbit. He then placed his hand beneath the woven cloth that was holding the injured arm in place. Frodo shuddered at the touch, trying to take a few breaths like he was asked. After a few moments, warmth tingled from those long fingers transferring healing energy to the injured shoulder and Frodo began to relax.
In the meantime, Sam had placed himself on the other side of his master, holding Frodo's good hand within his own. "Mr. Frodo?" he queried.
"Is that better, Frodo?" the half elf lord asked again, peering into dull blue eyes.
Frodo nodded tiredly. "Thank you," he whispered.
"You need your rest, and this," Lord Elrond said as he held up the earthenware bottle, popping the cork. He then came upon Frodo and with one swift move of his hands had opened the Hobbit's mouth, emptying the bottle's content.
Frodo's lip turned up, his eyes tightly closed as the concoction settled on his tongue leaving a bitter taste. Sam thrust a cup of water into Frodo's hand which he accepted gratefully, emptying the contents. The medication had its desired affect and the hobbit found that he was very lightheaded.
Lord Elrond purposely stayed at Frodo's side, peering into unfocused blue eyes. "Now, just lay back and rest, my young friend," he softly spoke, gently pushing the hobbit's shoulders back down onto the bed.
"Sir, did you mean to give him something so powerful," Sam asked as he too noted the effects of the medicine working quickly.
"Yes. He needs his rest and I know how he fights sleep. Do not worry, Samwise. He will wake without any undesirable side effects," the half elf stated as he checked the sleeping hobbit's pulse. Satisfied, he rose off the mattress to his full height. "I shall return to check upon both Aragorn and Frodo. He is sleeping deeply and I expect he will not wake until morning. I shall have the kitchens prepare a tray for you."
"Thank you, sir," Sam said and watched the Elf Lord turn and leave the room.
Thump, drag. Thump, drag. Thump, drag.
Frodo's drug induced sleep had been disturbed, though he could manage to bring himself out of it when he wanted. He figured it was the residual of the Ring. The foul thing would never let him sleep for long, thinking if the hobbit was deprived, It was that much closer to possessing Its bearer.
Thump, drag. Thump, drag. The noise had stopped, and right by Frodo's bed. Frodo's eyes flew open to find none other than a bedraggled King leaning on a chair staring down at him. The hobbit finally released the breath he had been holding.
"May I sit? My leg seems to be a little heavy tonight," Aragorn said wryly as he sat in the chair he had dragged with him across the floor, then propped his bandaged leg upon the hobbit's bed.
"Does it hurt much?" Frodo asked as he propped himself up on his pillows being careful of his shoulder. It was definitely better, but still a little tender.
"I should be asking you the same thing, Frodo. I thought I had manipulated your arm back in place. You should have told me that it wasn't. The longer it was out of socket, the more your muscles stretched. It will much easier for you to dislocate that shoulder again until your muscles contract to normal size," Aragorn said sympathetically.
"I heard Lord Elrond say that you are not supposed to be on that leg, but here you are. I guess we are both too stubborn for our own good," Frodo said, a smile playing at the corners of his lips.
"I am here to redeem myself. I promised you some ale, and you will have some," the King said and clapped his hands. At the sound, a servant had come in bearing a tray. Once he had sat it down between the King and the Ringbearer, he left as quickly and quietly as he had come. "Frodo Baggins," Aragorn said handing the smaller mug to the hobbit, then retrieved the other one for himself, "To whom I owe my life to once again," he toasted before tipping his tankard.
Frodo followed suit because it was the gentle hobbit thing to do. A moment passed before Frodo broke the silence. "What is to happen to Jared? Pippin tells me he finally had courage to tell what he had done."
"Prince Faramir is acting in my stead with my approval of course, and has made him a Paige in my court. His caregiver, however, I was not as forgiving as he has been sentenced to work in the laundry room for taking advantage of Minas Tirith's gracious funding for the orphaned children. He will learn that criminal actions for deception will be dealt with accordingly. Since his incarceration, Prince Faramir has come up with a task force to benefit the orphaned children," Aragorn said proudly, setting his empty mug upon the tray. He noticed Frodo still held his. "Is the ale not to your liking?"
Frodo was nursing his mug, because he had wanted it to last. He did not want to offend the King by asking for more when the servant had only brought in the two. "It is just fine, my lord liege, but if my mind is not failing me as surely my body seems to be, did we not agree that you owed me two drinks?" the hobbit teased.
" I do think you are right my friend, and I do apologize. Here, let me set things right," Aragorn replied and again he clapped his hands, but the door did not open by the servant, instead Gimli led the way bearing a small barrell containing Dwarf ale followed by the rest of the remaining Fellowship.
"Now, we can't be letting you drink all the ale without testing it out for ourselves, cousin," Pippin exclaimed as he parked himself on one side of Frodo's bed. Merry sat in a chair that Sam usually occupied, so as not to jostle Aragorn's leg.
"Is that better, Frodo?" the King asked as he handed Frodo a fresh mug of ale.
"Yes," he whispered. "Being among friends seems to help heal all wounds."