Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.
Summary: After the Eagles had brought back the Ring-bearers, the first thing the Fellowship looked for was the telltale signs of torture, not wanting to believe Sauron's Mouth of what they had claimed to have done to Frodo.
The Eagles flew swiftly, precious cargo nestled safely withing their talons, tucked tightly against feathers keeping the hobbits warm as they flew through cold winds.
Gandalf sat atop of Gwahir, peering behind him frequently watching for any sudden movements from the hobbits. Witnessing none, he focused his attention passed the wind flattened feathers of the Eagle's head as they approached their destination.
The battlefield was dotted with lifeless bodies enfolded over one another of Orcs, Trolls, and Men. Oliphants still moving, but sidelying in pain after waves of attacks on their thick legs left them immobile, crashing down from where they had once stood. The injured had been moved from unstable ground to white healing tents as canyons formed after the enormous explosion cracked the once sturdy packed earth.
The King's form became recognizable among the many small forms as the majestic birds made their descent. "The Eagles are coming!" Pippin yelled out, pointing his finger above Aragorn's head. The King turned around just in time to reach out and catch one of the soot covered halfling's into his waiting arms. Legolas mirrored Aragorn's actions, kneeling upon stable ground.
"Is he...?" Pippin asked worriedly, recalling the terrible words of hurt that came from the Mouth of Sauron.
Unsure which of the hobbit's he had, Aragorn carefully uncoiled his burden from his chest, sighing as he immediately recognized Frodo. Opened cuts and burns marred the face and neck as if something had rubbed constantly against the once delicate features. Taking his fingers, he spit upon them, wiping at the stubborn soot from the nostrils and lips. Then he placed his whole palm over the mouth and nose. Warm breath detected he looked up at Frodo's anxious cousin, "He lives," he said as tears misted steele grey eyes.
"Sam as well," Legolas echoed, lifting the still form, walking toward the healing tents.
"My tent, Legolas," Aragorn ordered, stopping the Elf Prince in mid stride. He cradled Frodo in his arms, the light wind blowing dirt crusted curls away from pale lidded eyes, barely a breath taken in only noticeable by the rise and fall of the little one's chest. "I want them no more than mere feet away from me as they recover. I owe them that much," he whispered.
Many helping hands came through the King's tent that evening bringing kettles of warmed water, light broth, and miruvor. But most of all the Fellowship brought their love for their friends.
Gandalf came in after Sam and Frodo had been washed of the many miles of dirt and grime they had accumulated over every inch of skin they possessed. Frodo had been bathed meticulously, looking for any telltale signs of physical abuse, as promised by Sauron's servant. Of course, since the halfling was not dead, there was true relief when all his body did reveal was a couple of welts across his flank and back.
"How are they?" the White Wizard asked of his friends, moreso of Frodo. It was he that encouraged Bilbo's nephew to save the Shire, but he did not mean for him to foresake his life in doing so.
Frodo was in the King's lap as Aragorn had finished manipulating the broth down the little one's throat, only managing to get a couple of teaspoonfuls in. The emaciated form sat motionless, the only outward sign that he was actually living was the fevered color brought to his cheeks. "Let me see to him, Aragorn. You need your rest. You have been with them all day," Gandalf said reaching down to accept the swaddled hobbit into his arms.
"Be careful of his hand. I found that his finger was missing and I had to stitch the ends together," he warned as he transferred the lightweight bundle from his lap to capable hands. "Sauron's minions did not do it. It looks as if it had been bitten off," the King added as he saw the quizzical look appear as bushy eyebrows furrowed into one.
Nodding, Gandalf sat in the chair, Frodo's head in the crook of his large arms, securely held with the one large hand. He had known the Baggins lad since he was just a babe, and to hold him like this brought back memories of how carefree Frodo's life had been before the Ring. Remembering the night all too well when Bilbo told of how his nephew still loved the Shire, the woods, the lake, the green grass beneathe his feet. "Oh, my poor boy, I am so sorry to have sent you, but you did it. You saved the Shire, the whole of Middle-Earth. Please come back to us. We are all waiting."