Title: New Delights
Author: Frodo Baggins of Bag End (FrodoAtBagEnd)
E-mail: febobe at yahoo dot com
Characters: Frodo, Aragorn, Faramir.
Rating: G.
Summary: During Frodo's convalescence in Minas Tirith, Aragorn and Faramir present him with some wonderful surprises. . . . Based on the following request originally made by Mews1945: I'd love a little snippet about Aragorn taking Frodo outside to sit in his courtyard, maybe with Faramir along, because Frodo's recovered enough to need sunshine and fresh air, and I'd like them to introduce him to something delicious he's never tasted before.

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 of my classic Frodo foodiness 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 worried about whether I'm creating 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.

NEW DELIGHTS

"Here we go, then."

Frodo blinked against sunlight as Aragorn set him down carefully in the courtyard, the midday air fresh and crisp in his chest, the tang of salty sea in the wind. "It's so bright."

"That is because you have been so long in the darkness, and then so long inside. What you need now is sunshine and fresh air, both of which we can supply in abundance."

Smiling, Frodo looked up to meet his gaze. "I - I never thought to have either again."

"Evil is undone, Frodo, and much that we thought never to be now is," soothed the King, taking a seat on the bench beside him, adjusting some of the cushions and pillows he had placed for the Ringbearer's comfort. "Be at peace, and know that you will not again have to do without them."

"Or without a good meal."

"Faramir!" With a joyous cry, Frodo looked up, happy to find the Steward making his way across the courtyard to join them. But he carried something - a tray in his hands - which he set on a small table before Frodo with a flourish. Frodo blushed. "Faramir, it is not right that you should serve me."

"How is it not right, may I ask? Say rather that it is not right that I did not serve you better when first we met. I trust you will forgive the suspicions of a man long at war." Faramir smiled warmly, and Frodo felt himself turn a shade pinker as the Steward whisked the lid from the tray.

What greeted him was a strange sight indeed.

A crystal dish of berries prepared with the strange lemon-juice and sugar - now, that was not such an odd sight. Aragorn had been feeding him that for days in hopes of aiding his healing; the juice and fruit, he said, held medicinal properties that would nourish a weakened body and help strengthen it against illness. But the pears. . .they were drizzled with some sort of fragrant dark brown sauce. Oddest of all, though, was the main course: it looked like little - creatures? - for they had what appeared to be tails, though they were battered and apparently fried, much as Sam fried fish. . . .

But it smelled so good. . . .

"What is it?"

Faramir smiled, beginning to explain as Aragorn looked on with a knowing grin. "These are called shrimp. They are little sea-creatures that are good for eating when prepared thus. A favourite method of cooking them is batter-dipping and frying, but we were not certain until now that your stomach could manage fried foods. The King believes that you are now, however, quite ready to take what you wish to eat and drink."

"How does one eat them?"

"By biting in at the full end - " Faramir indicated the location. " - and eating one's way back until one reaches the tail, which one should not attempt to eat."

"Oh." Frodo eyed the shrimp curiously, but his glance strayed to the pears. "And what is the sauce?"

"It is called chocolate. It is just sweet enough, I think you will find, to be delicious. It goes very well with fruits of all kinds." Faramir gestured kindly. "Start by trying the shrimp, then cleanse your palate with the berries after you have finished, before trying the pears and chocolate. 'Twill make for a better blend of tastes."

Dubiously Frodo picked up a shrimp and ventured a tentative bite.

Delicious.

The batter was light and crispy and oh-so-tasty; the shrimp. . .well, it didn't taste at all fishy, as he had feared. He had not wanted to mention it to Faramir or Aragorn, but fish turned his stomach since the entire matter of Gollum. But this tasted - not like fish, only something plain and simple, a clean taste beneath the deliciously tasty fried batter.

He finished off the shrimp.

And tried another.

Faramir smiled and gestured to a small accompanying dish of strange red sauce. "There is a sauce many people like to dip their shrimp in, for taste," he explained mildly. "Feel free to do so if you wish."

Frodo tried that and found that he liked it even better than the plain shrimp.

Less than fifteen minutes later, the plate of shrimp was empty and Frodo was beginning to work his way through the berries with lemon and sugar, slowing to a more leisurely pace now that his hunger was assuaged.

"Would you like to have that again some time, Frodo?" Aragorn asked gently.

The Ringbearer nodded eagerly. "Yes, please."

"Then it shall be so." Aragorn gave a nod to their companion. "Let us ensure that this becomes a repeat dish for our friend."

"Of course, my lord."

By the time Frodo had moved on from the berries to the pears with chocolate sauce, he hesitated, almost reluctant to disturb the beauty of the finely arranged dish.

Almost.

Taking a spoon to the contents, he gathered up a bit of pear and some of the sauce, tasting bravely.

MERCIFUL HEAVENS.

A moment later found him slowly but surely working to steadily clean the dish of every dollop of chocolate sauce and every tidbit of pear, evoking a delighed laugh from both King and Steward.

"May I take it, then, that you like the dessert?" Faramir asked.

Looking up, Frodo grinned.

"Only as much as a hobbit loves mushrooms."

-the end?-