Disclaimer: I don't own anyone. This was a commission/challenge so to speak. My favorite undercover archangel gave me the idea! So this is dedicated to him. Enjoy!
One Fine Winter's Day
Frodo, Samwise, Pippin, and Merry were gathered like tiny little snow-covered rabbits, shivering in the dead of winter. Frodo, the smallest of the four, was in the middle and right beside Pippin, who had been squirming around the whole time. "Will ya quit that, Pip?" Merry snapped frigidly.
"I wanna go home," Pippin whined pitifully, "but Ma sent me out cause you at all 'er cheese n' drank all 'er milk n'—"
"Quiet now, all of you." Young Samwise commanded. "If we're out 'ere freezin' our rears off cause o' you two louts, lest ya kin do is deal with it like a grown-up."
"That's easy for you to say!" Merry shot back. "You've got insulation!"
"Shut-it." Samwise ordered, then his voice grew soft. "Somethin' wrong, Mister Frodo?"
Frodo turned to Sam with a tiny, blue smile and then looked back over the ice-covered pond with sparkling eyes. "Right as rain, Sam."
A few silent minutes passed as thick clouds of steam rose from their chilled little noses and mouths, evaporating into the frozen air. "So…c-c-cold…" Merry shivered.
Pippin fidgeted again. "S-s-so…b-b-b-bored…"
"Awe damn, Pip!" Merry growled. "I was jus' getting' warm when ya moved yer rump!"
"I'm telling!" Pippin cried. "You cursed at me!"
"Oh shut-up!" Merry punched Pippin, who instantly took on a look of dread and horror, then scrunched up his nose and burst into tears. "My arm! You broke my arm!"
"Quiet everybody." Frodo said in his tiny, soft voice. "I think I know a way we can all warm up."
"Aye?" Pippin scoffed between sniffles, the tears on his face crusted into ice. "what's that?"
"Well," Frodo began, "Bilbo always says that when you're cold, move around—"
"But I've been movin' around!" Pippin shouted in distress.
Merry interjected. "And it ain't done nothin' but make me wanna punch him again!"
"Pipe down and let 'im finish."
"Don't tell my cousin to shut-up."
"I'll tell him ta shut-up if I want."
"Let's play a game." And with that Frodo stood, going toward the frozen lake.
All the little hobbits panicked seeing Frodo slowly maneuver his way out onto the ice of the pond. Each of them held his breath watching Frodo reach the middle with ease and then he turned back to the others. "See? The ice is thick the whole way through." Frodo beamed with pride. "Bilbo said that when the ice comes over water and is thick, you can glide across it and do tricks—it's fun!"
Frodo twirled himself around and nearly slipped, but caught himself. "Careful Mister Frodo—"
Merry and Pippin jumped at the new opportunity, racing to be the first to enjoy it.
"Looks like fun!"
"I'm goin' to try it first!"
Merry easily shoved Pippin on the ground and ran ahead as Sam came last, his steps slow, steady, and full of worry. Pippin wiped the snow from his thick wool coat and waddled toward the ice. Merry was already skimming across the top of the ice like a professional as Frodo gracefully slid toward Sam to help. "It's not so bad, Sam."
"I know, Mister Frodo," Sam replied sheepishly, "but if it don't hold me?"
"It holds all of us." Frodo comforted. "It will hold you, too. Come on, Same, I will stay beside you the whole time—I promise."
With that Samwise gently stepped onto the ice, waiting for any false move in the ice, and then continued with building confidence. "Soon you'll be better than me!" Frodo laughed.
"I already am!" Merry came sailing past, one foot on the ice and the other in the air behind while his arms were stretched out like the wings of a bird. "Look at me!"
Pippin was trying to catch up, but he was going nowhere as he ran on the ice and suddenly, his feet flipped up behind him and he slammed into the ice face-first. The three suddenly gasped, frozen in terror awaiting Pippin's wails to emit, but the little hobbit only stood with laughter and slide toward his cousin. Sam, Merry, and Frodo released their breaths.
After a few more minutes of practice the four hobbits were getting used to the ice. "Let's play a game." Merry shouted. "A game on the ice!"
"Yes!" Pippin cried. "What sort of game do you play on the ice, Frodo?"
Frodo paused, furrowing his tiny little brow in thought as his eyes searched the pond. Then he spotted a thicket not far away, where a tree had fallen and broken apart. Skating over to the brush, Frodo found four rightly-sized sticks and then began digging in the snow by the bank.
"What's he doin'?"
"Gone right mad."
Frodo brought back the sticks and a large, but rounded rock. Placing the rock on the ice in the middle of the pond, Frodo gave each of the hobbits a stick of his own. "Sam and I are on one team and you, Merry and Pippin, are on the other."
Merry and Pippin clasped their arms over each other's shoulders. "We're going to win!"
"You don't even know the game yet!"
"Quiet, now, listen." Frodo commanded. "The rock is to be slid on the ice by the sticks, and the rock cannot be touched, unless by someone blocking their side of the pond. You see that thicket? If the rock goes past the thicket, you two get a point, but if the rock goes past that drift of snow, Sam and I get a point."
"All right." Merry said, leaning forward with a stick. "But we're gonna win!"
Sam glared at the smaller hobbit. "Oh no ya ain't!"
Pippin dashed forward, smacking the rock hard and sending it past the thicket. "First point!"
Merry and Pippin danced as Sam and Frodo sighed, going to get the rock. The second time was a bit of a challenge, but Merry got the puck and scored another goal. Frodo got the rock the third and was gliding over the ice, when Pippin slammed into him. "That was unfair!" Sam skated up to Pippin and knocked him down.
"You big oaf!" Merry whacked Sam with his stick.
The four of them took to brawling on the ice and finally, Frodo had to stop the game. "All right, all right, we need rules for this game. First of all, no pushing."
"Yeah!" Merry rubbed his eye. "And no punchin'!"
Sam glared at him. "And no raisin' sticks above yer waist!"
"Wait a minute," Pippin interrupted them, "what are we gonna call this game?"
"How about ice and rock?"
"No," Frodo sighed, "that doesn't sound right, Sam."
"Hmmm…" Merry scratched his chin, "hit the rock with the stickie thingie…I've got it!"
"How about 'hock'?" Merry insisted. "Hit the rock!"
"That's good Merry!" Pippin cried. "You're a genius!"
Sam shook his head. "Nah, needs somethin' more…"
Frodo agreed with a nod so Merry tried again. "All right then, hock-ee."
"I dunno," Merry shrugged, "but it's better isn't it?"
Pippin's head bobbed. "It is, Merry."
"Hock-ee it is, then."
"And that's how it happened, Bilbo!" Frodo exclaimed. "We called it hock-ee!"
"That's an odd name." Bilbo chuckled, setting hot tea in front of the young lad and patting his head. "But you had fun, didn't you? And that is all that counts."
Frodo smiled. "Yes, Bilbo, it is."