Characters: Frodo, Aragorn
Status: Complete because that's all there is
Summary: Aragorn joins a wakeful Frodo as a rainstorm approaches late one night in Minas Tirith
Disclaimer: Middle-earth and its denizens belong to the Tolkien Estate.
A/N: I posted this on my livejournal long ago.
"It's going to rain."
The quiet joy in that soft voice stopped Aragorn in his tracks. He'd just approached the open door to the halfling's quarters, when the words reached him. It was late; Frodo should be asleep. He laid one hand on the doorjamb and eased closer.
"Do you remember the last time we saw rain, Sam?"
Frodo was seated in the doorway to the outside courtyard, his knees drawn to his chest, arms encircling them. His head was tilted back against the ancient stone, one small pointed ear visible in the unruly dark locks singed short by the heat of a distant volcano.
"It's been a very long time."
A small gust of wind, wet and warmed as if by summer's hand and herald to the coming storm, touched Aragorn's face. It stirred Frodo's clothes and hair, and he turned his face into it, dark lashes lying gently on a cheek pale against the night.
Aragorn couldn't see Sam from his vantage point by the door, but he heard a rustle, then a sleepy murmur from the direction of the sleeping area, also hidden from view. Frodo shifted to look over his shoulder into the other room, shadows drifting across his face.
"No, Sam. Everything's just fine. Go back to sleep."
Aragorn could hear the fond smile in his answer before he settled back into the doorway. Aragorn hesitated, then, soft and silent as spring he crossed the room and knelt before the small figure. Frodo opened eyes that brimmed with tears.
"Frodo." Aragorn touched his cheek, where the track of one small tear now glimmered in the faint light from a single window lit high above in the courtyard wall. "It's late. Are you well?" He lifted Frodo's right hand and felt for the life-pulse in the small wrist, still frail from the months of toil and deprivation.
Frodo smiled, and the soft happiness of that smile warmed the ranger's heart. "Very well, my lord. I only await the rain."
Aragorn searched his face. There was no trace tonight of the darkness which he had thought he'd seen lurking behind those brilliant eyes amidst the joy and celebrations in the day. He released Frodo's wrist and frowned at him. "You are not to call me that."
Turning his face into the wind, Frodo reached out into the night to catch the first few drops of the rising storm. Aragorn leaned back against the doorjamb opposite him, and followed his gaze. The courtyard was sheltered on three sides by the walls and windows of neighboring houses. The last side was a wall over which climbing rose vines twined, black against the bone-white of the stone. Aragorn knew the path past the door in that wall led through private ways to the Houses of Healing. For several nights now, it had felt the hurried tread of a healer summoned in the late watches. He hoped it would not be needed this night.
Fat droplets were spattering them both. Aragorn started to speak, to advise Frodo to retreat from the threatened drenching, but before he could, the Ringbearer was out in the center of the yard, arms slack at his side, rain pelting his upturned face.
"Frodo!" Aragorn snatched a cloak from the pegs by the door and dashed out to wrap the hobbit in its folds. Frodo let him, though already they were both soaked. He resisted when Aragorn tried to urge him back inside.
"I remember now," he whispered. Aragorn pulled the hood over the hobbit's dark curls, but not before noticing that the water on his face was not all from the rain.