These three teensy ficlets have been posted separately on my LiveJournal, but I thought I'd put them together in one place. They are book-verse, and star Frodo, Gandalf, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, and Éomer. I hope you enjoy them!

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


Frodo watched Bilbo tell his story, every word familiar. Bilbo's gestures, facial expressions, everything about him was animated. The old hobbit never tired of telling the tale, and the tiny faces gazed up at him raptly, hanging on his every word. Even Pippin, recently declaring himself "too old now" for listening to "silly stories," had been loitering nearby, listening intently until Merry dragged him away on some errand.

"What are you thinking about, dear boy?" Gandalf asked.

Frodo looked up at the wizard. "Will I ever have a story to tell?" he asked wistfully.

"Such tales come at a cost," Gandalf said quietly, "and one that most hobbits would not be willing to pay."

"I'm a Baggins," Frodo said with a grin. "We're full of surprises."

"Indeed you are," the wizard murmured. Bilbo means to leave, but his ring must not leave with him. If it is indeed the One Ring, as I fear, the Enemy might be seeking it, even now. I must have more information. I dare not take it. Is this boy strong enough? Can he keep it hidden, and unused? Can he...

"What are you thinking about?" Frodo laughed. "You're a thousand miles away."

"We'll talk later," Gandalf said. "For now, I have a bit of fireworks to arrange."

"How wonderful!" Frodo said happily. "I'm so glad you're here, Gandalf."

The wizard gazed down at Bilbo's heir. So young. But I will help him as best I may. He smiled gently.

"So am I, dear boy. So am I."



"It is good to see you again, Boromir," Gandalf acknowledged the Steward's son.

"So they call you Gandalf, here," Boromir said. "And I see the same adoration for you in the halflings' eyes as in Faramir's, when he sees you."

Gandalf smiled. "The Council was interesting, was it not? Do you feel that your journey was worth taking, and your dream well answered?

"Dreams have many answers," Boromir replied. "The dream of the halfling, Frodo, for example: he saw a man pacing upon a tower, with the moonlight in his hair. He believed it to be you."

"Do you believe otherwise?"

"It could only have been my father," Boromir said firmly. "Many a night we have seen lights from the topmost tower of the Citadel, as he wrestled with weighty decisions. I doubt it not that it is he who paces, waiting and wondering... wondering where I am, and what aid I will bring. I have been away too long, Mithrandir, and am eager to return home." His eyes grew distant. "I have seen both Elendil's sword and the Enemy's Ring... revealed to me, in our most desperate hour. Victory for the West... dare I to hope?"

Gandalf looked at the Man thoughtfully. Another interpretation to Frodo's dream had not occurred to him -- but the thoughts of Denethor's oldest son led in one direction only -- to Gondor... to hope for his people... to the Ring.

He would bear watching.



Now that the Ringbearers had awakened from their long, healing sleep, someone would be close at hand, day or night, should they need anything -- food, drink, errands run -- anything at all. Competition was fierce among the soldiers at Ithilien as to who would claim the honor of standing watch, this first night, outside the Ringbearers' pavilion. After heated debate, at last it was agreed that one person's arguments and stubborn insistence were the most compelling.

In the dark hour just after midnight, Aragorn and Éomer walked through the quiet camp, finally making their way to the beech grove.

"Nothing is amiss?" Éomer asked quietly.

"All is well," Merry replied. He peeked into the tent for a moment, feasting his eyes on the two hobbits who lay within, sleeping peacefully.

"Excellent," Aragorn smiled. "We will also stop by Peregrin's tent. I hope he is asleep; he needs to be resting."

"I am resting," came a cheerful voice. A small figure, nearly invisible in the darkness, sat beneath a nearby tree. Aragorn sighed.

Éomer chuckled quietly. "Shall we leave the sentries to their duty, my lord king? The Ringbearers are in good hands."

Aragorn smiled. "None better. Good night, my friends."

Merry looked up at the Men, eyes shining with joy. "Good night, my lords."