Title: Wisdom in Foolishness
Author: Frodo Baggins of Bag End (FrodoAtBagEnd)
E-mail: febobe at yahoo dot com
Characters: Frodo, Aragorn, Arwen, Sam, Galadriel, unnamed serving-lad.
Rating: G.
Summary: Of all the rewards Aragorn and Arwen would offer, Frodo will accept only one, but an unusual one at that. Pure fluff.

Feedback: Welcomed. Constructive only, please. . .no flaming.
Story Notes: Warning: pure fluff written for its own sake. It's not intended to have a grand plot. Some Frodo h/c in this, though, so if you like that, you'll enjoy this. If you don't. . .my apologies; to each her (or his) own taste. :) This time I'm not even attempting to create a canonically purist story. This is purely for pleasure.

For permission to reproduce any part of this fanfic, please e-mail your request to febobe at yahoo dot com.

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, such as Mornaduial and Narien, 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.

WISDOM IN FOOLISHNESS

"Have you considered my question further, Frodo?"

Blinking sleepily, Frodo looked up from his nest of covers, smiling as Aragorn and Arwen settled beside his bed, Aragorn laying a large hand upon his brow. Faintly he nodded. "Yes."

"And?" Continuing, Aragorn smiled, though gravity underlay the expression. Frodo was glad when Arwen stroked his hair, bending to kiss his forehead - her own way of testing his fever, and one he found he did not mind at all. It gave him the opportunity to nestle against her soft touch, to be gathered to her even as Aragorn checked still-healing wounds: his missing finger, Shelob's sting, the myriad of whip-weals and bruises and cuts. . . .

"I have told you before, Aragorn. I would take neither jewels nor coin from Minas Tirith. There is none I would have."

"And yet you deserve far richer reward than I can offer." Aragorn wrung out a cloth in fresh athelas water and bathed the small face. "Is there nothing in all my realm that you would ask of Arwen and myself? No comforts or niceties, if you will not claim the reward which you are owed?"

"You owe me nothing, my king." Yet the little hobbit looked up at Arwen shyly. . .and from Arwen to Aragorn. "But. . .there is something, in truth. . .something which I would love more than anything. . .although it is much to ask, I fear. . . ."

"Tithen min. . ." Arwen cradled him close. "Do not assume. Ask us and see. We would grant you reward worthy of the greatest kings; unless you intend to abscond with Anduril itself, I doubt you will meet with argument - and even then you might well receive the gift you desire."

"Well. . ." Frodo looked from one to the other, hesitating shyly. "My throat hurts terribly; I. . .I'm so thirsty, but. . .everything hurts going down. . . ."

His two caregivers nodded sympathetically, and Arwen stroked his curls back from his face. "If we could ease it, tithen min. . ."

Frodo nodded. "Well. . .what I would like more than anything else in the world. . .in all of Minas Tirith. . . ." He found his voice suddenly faltering at the idea of even vocalising such a foolish thought, but Aragorn caught both his hands in one large one.

"Speak, Frodo, and it shall be granted you. I owe you my kingdom, my people's lives, and - " he looked to Arwen meaningfully, "my bride."

"Aragorn - "

"Please." The once-Ranger's hand squeezed his gently.

"I. . ." Frodo looked up at them, gaze going from one to the other. "Please, I. . .what I would like more than anything else in the world is. . .ice-cream."

The king and queen looked at one another.

Abruptly Aragorn began to laugh. . .but his expression, as his laughter faded, was as warm and gentle as Arwen's, and Frodo relaxed a little. "What is so terrible in that?"

"I. . .I mean, I would prefer that over. . .other things. It's so hard to swallow. But. . .I think I could get that down. . . ."

The king chuckled, shaking his head. "I shall never understand hobbits! Frodo, you might claim a ransom worthy of many princes. Of course you shall have ice-cream for meals instead if you prefer. . .so long as you like, and as much as you wish." He touched Arwen's arm gently. "My wife shall see to it that you have the kinds you like. Are we then agreed?"

No light could match Frodo's face in that moment. "Agreed. This reward I will accept from the King for my. . .services, in humblest appreciation and most veraciously humilitudinous gratitude. . . ."

The three of them collapsed in fits of laughter - Arwen giggling, Frodo half-coughing, and Aragorn's chuckles giving way to full loud laughter even as he reached to support the Ringbearer, rubbing the small back: Frodo's imitation of court address had been simply too much for even the King and Queen.

iAnd so,/i Arwen thought hopefully as she watched them, iperhaps this is how it will begin. May it be so!/i

"Now see here! Where d'you think you're going with that?"

The serving-lad pulled himself up to his full height, but fear showed through his eyes: an added few inches proved of little aid in dealing with this most fearsome of adversaries. He had previously faced Samwise the Strong, and was not at all pleased at coming under inspection once more, particularly given his precious burden.

"My lord, I beg of you - it is only the Ringbearer's second breakfast."

"Second breakfast, my foothair! That's no proper second breakfast, not by a long ways. . .nor was the first one proper, neither. I saw it. What do you think you're about? Answer for yourself, lad! Do you find it funny?"

"Sam."

"Lady!" His voice dropping to a near-whisper in awe, Sam turned, bowing at the sight of the Lady Galadriel.

"Will you allow the tray to be given to your master, Sam, while I explain? His breakfast will melt while we speak, and when I came from his room, he was most eager for it."

There passed a tense moment while Samwise hesitated. . .but at last he sighed, nodding. "As you say, Lady."

"Thank you, Sam." A graceful nod to the serving-lad. "You may take the Ringbearer's meal up now. The Queen awaits you in his chambers." Waiting until he passed out of sight, she turned back to the small gardener, her features quiet, yet filled with concern.

"I know that it must seem strange to you. Perhaps no one has explained."

Sam shook his head, looking at his feet. "No. . .no, begging your pardon, but they haven't. . .and I'm wondering how he's to manage on that. Bunch of fluff, it looks like to me. He needs some good eggs and porridge and toast in him, with a bit of sausage or bacon if he'd eat that."

Galadriel nodded gently. "And there, Samwise, you strike at the heart of the matter. iIf he would eat it/i you say. But he would not; he will eat nothing to speak of. . .save this, and he will eat this. Is it not better for him to take something? And as for it being fluff, consider: how is it made? Have you seen?"

Sam sucked his teeth for a moment, pondering. "Wull, I can't rightly say as I have. Mr. Bilbo had it for us special once, but it were a surprise, so Mr. Frodo and his cousins made it."

The Lady smiled kindly. "I thought so. Perhaps if you saw, you might feel better about it, for it contains milk. . .cream. . .sometimes fruit. . . ."

Sam's eyebrows arched. "Well, now, I won't say as that's not right and proper food to fill a hobbit back out. . . ."

"Precisely." The Lady smiled kindly down at him. "Now will you allow your master's meals to go up without further ado?"

"O'course, milady." And at once a blushing Sam bowed politely.

Galadriel smiled. iAnd that is just how it should be, is it not? That he takes up his master's part?/i

"Your concern is appreciated, Samwise. Go up to him now, and do not be ashamed for having taken such interest in his care."

Another shy bow, and the little gardener hurried away.

Galadriel watched him go, and in the sunlight she laughed, and the sound was like music to all who heard it.

-the end-