Title: Lavender's Blue
Author: Frodo Baggins of Bag End (FBoBE/"Febobe")
Rating: T for thematic darkness, graphic medical detail, and major canon character death. WARNING: Not for sensitive readers, those opposed to major canon character death, and/or those who cannot bear deviation from canon. Very, very AU. Read at your own risk. This does not have a happily-ever-after ending, folks; I'm warning you now. No profanity, no sexuality, no slash included, intended or implied.
Summary: After the war, plague strikes Minas Tirith. . .including one of its smallest and most honoured inhabitants, and there is nothing Elrond can do to save him. . . .
Author Notes: See Rating for warnings. Please don't flame me for canon character death or AUness; I do realise this is pure deviation from Tolkien, and I make no claim that it even attempts to follow the spirit of the tale as he wrote it. This story may not be the cheeriest I've ever written, but it demanded to be told, and told honestly and openly, so here it is. I can only hope that I've managed to do it some justice. To me it has a deep and sorrowful beauty all its own. I do hope some of you have read this far and will read and find value, if tears, in it along with me. Thank you.

DISCLAIMER: The characters, places, and story of The Lord of the Rings are the property of J.R.R. Tolkien and consequently of the Tolkien Estate, with select rights by Tolkien Enterprises. This piece appears purely as fanfiction and is not intended to claim ownership of Tolkien's work in any way. Please e-mail me if you have concerns. Original characters are my own work; please do not use my creations in your work. Please respect my original contributions. Furthermore, please do NOT consider any treatments or remedies within this story safe or effective for use: these are included as fictitious hobbit care, not real human medical practice, and while some can indeed be traced to actual therapeutic practices, could be dangerous. Please consult your health care professional before treating yourself or others for any condition or symptom.


Lavender's blue, dilly dilly,
Rosemary's green,
When I am king
You shall be queen.

-Traditional Nursery Rhyme

CHAPTER ONE: Dark Tidings

"You wished to see me, Frodo?"

Anxiously Elrond bent over the bed, sliding his arms around the tiny hobbit to gather him up as Frodo nodded weakly, his fair features at once pale and flushed.

"Mmm-hmm. . .thank you. So cold. . . ."

Indeed: the little one shivered violently, as if with chill, yet the heat rising from his body was unmistakable. Settling onto the bed with his small charge, Elrond cradled him close, listening acutely to the sound of difficult breathing. "How are you feeling otherwise?"

"Chest hurts. . .and my head aches. And I feel sick. . . ." Frodo began to cough, pressing a hand to his mouth in an effort to cover it politely. . .but when his hand came away, it was sticky with bright red blood.

Elrond suddenly felt sick himself.

It all made a horrible sort of sense. . .first the war, in which Frodo had, in his own fashion, been involved. . .and now symptoms such as these. . . .


But he could not ignore the truth, and reluctantly he eased Frodo onto his bed, settling a clean basin close beside his pillow as he tucked him in warmly.

"Be at peace, Frodo. I will help you. I need only a few minutes to write a note to ask Captain Faramir and Queen Arwen to have some things sent up for your comfort."

Making his way to the small writing-desk, he settled himself and began to write. Nine bars of rosemary soap for the other hobbits and the immediate members of the Fellowship and royal house, to ward off the sickness. . .two bars of lavender mint soap for Frodo, who had been fond of it in Imladris. . .candles.

"Frodo, Bilbo once mentioned that you are very fond of apples, and their smell, as well as of lavender and mint. Was he correct?"

Frodo perked up. "Oh, yes. I love apples."

Candles: lavender, mint, and apple, enough for at least three days, in case it went - well, not so badly as he feared. Shrubs: blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, and/or elderberry, as many bottles as you can safely pack.

To Arwen he began to write the request for quarantine. . .and for ginger tea, peppermint tea, lemon barley-water, blueberry lemonade, strawberry lemonade, peppermint iced tea, and Frodo's beloved sparkling strawberry tea. The little one would need fluids. . .and soon, though it would be challenge enough to get them to go down and stay down.

Elrond sighed as he rose and handed the sealed notes out to the guard, keeping the door shut all but the slightest crack.

The plague. Here. Now. In Minas Tirith.

-to be continued-