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


"Twick or tweat!"

Aragorn stared down with delight at the tiny hobbit lad who ran out of Bag End's open door and skidded to a stop at his feet.

"Now, who might this be?" Aragorn said gravely, putting down his pack and crouching to inspect the excited youngster. Pippin wore a white hood on which had been sewn floppy black ears. A tunic, made from what appeared to be a pillowcase and on which large black spots had been painted, covered the boy's shoulders and torso. "A wild pony, loose from the herd?"

"I'm a cow!" Pippin crowed with glee. He turned around in a circle so Aragorn could admire his tail, then jumped into the Ranger's arms. "Mooo!"

"My goodness, what a wonderful cow, indeed!" Aragorn said, standing up with the excited youngster in his arms. He smiled, grateful that he had thought to purchase sweets in Bywater before coming to visit. Of all races, only the Shirefolk had thought to turn All Hallow's Eve – usually a solemn and rather melancholy occasion -- into a joyous celebration for the children.

"Will you join us, Estel?" Frodo asked with a smile as he came to the door to investigate the commotion. He looked the Ranger up and down. "I'm sure we can dress you up as something... perhaps an evil dragon?"

"A dwagon?" Pippin asked, wide eyed. "They eat people!"

"Not this one," Frodo assured the boy. "Estel would be a good dragon, wouldn't you?"

"Indeed I would, if I was going with you," Aragorn grinned, setting Pippin back on the ground. "However, I plan to spend a quiet evening with Bilbo while you two turn Hobbiton upside down in your quest for..." He winked at Frodo. "Why, I just happen to have brought a few sweets with me. But I suppose cows eat only grass. What a pity."

"I'm not a real cow," Pippin told him quickly, eyeing the bulging pack.

"Well then, perhaps you might enjoy what I've brought, after all." Aragorn laughed out loud as Pippin instantly dragged his pack up to to the door, into Bag End, and disappeared with it into the parlor.

"And he hasn't had any sweets yet," Frodo sighed. "Can you imagine what he'll be like tomorrow?"

"That is an alarming thought," Aragorn agreed. "Perhaps I arrived at a rather dangerous time. I can always come back in a few days, when---"

"No you don't," Frodo interrupted. "I need you." He grabbed Aragorn's hand and led him up to the door. "There's still time before supper, and we haven't figured out how to get Scamp's wizard hat to stay on her head. And then there's the beard, which she keeps trying to eat, and..."

"And you?" Aragorn asked. "Who will accompany this mighty wizard and irrepressible cow through the wilds of Hobbiton?"

"I'm dressing as a Ranger, of course!" Frodo laughed. "One of those scruffy, scurrilous, mysterious Men who prowl about in the shadows, always up to no good."

"Ah yes," Aragorn grinned. "One of them."

"Did you really bring sweets?" Frodo asked hopefully. "Maybe Rangers aren't quite as bad as I thought."

"I did," Aragorn assured him, bending low to hug his young friend. "Let us go see if there are any left, now that a certain cow has been grazing in the vicinity."

"Moooo!" came a voice and a giggle from somewhere inside Bag End.

It was going to be a most wonderful evening.