Title: Orange Smiles
Author: Frodo Baggins of Bag End (FrodoAtBagEnd)
E-mail: febobe at yahoo dot com
Characters: Frodo, Eowyn, Merry.
Rating: G.
Summary: In Minas Tirith after the Quest, Frodo comes down with a cold. . .but Eowyn has just the remedy! Pure fluff.

Feedback: Welcomed. Constructive only, please. . .no flaming.
Story Notes: This ficlet was inspired in part by conversation/bunny talk with Shirebound (thankiewaves!), with a thankienod to SurgicalSteel for additional confirmation of medical feasibility of the baseline plot point. :) Warning: pure fluff.

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.

ORANGE SMILES

"Ah-ah-ah-CHOO!"

"Into bed with you now. We can't have this getting any worse."

Blushing, Frodo attempted to glare up at the Lady Eowyn, failing miserably. Instead, he sniffled, accepting the handkerchief she offered. "Id's odly a code id the dose. I'll be better by bornig."

"It is not uncommon for many serious fevers to start out like colds. And if it is only a cold - which it most likely is - then you shall feel the better for being in bed and letting us look after you." She smiled gently, folding back the covers. "Climb in, now. It's all nice and toasty warm."

Frodo had to admit that the prospect of a warm bed did sound pleasant. His head ached - how it ached! - and he seemed to be going through pocket-handkerchiefs as quickly as his companions could replenish them.

"Now for your second breakfast. I shan't see you deprived. . .even if you do feel warm to the touch," Eowyn added teasingly, laying a gentle hand against his aching brow. "Here in Gondor they do not say 'Feed a cold, starve a fever,' as they do elsewhere; I am told that there is more sense than that. Certainly we have more sense in Rohan."

"I'b dot very huggry - " But Frodo stopped mid-protest as Merry proudly carried in a silver tray which Eowyn took and set upon his bed.

"Sam's in the kitchens," he explained with a smile, "and has been working specially with Faramir ever since Aragorn and Lady Eowyn had the thought of sending you up to bed this morning. Some of it you'll recognise; some you may not. But I think you will like it all. It's good; Pippin and I were the tasters."

"Thed id's a wodder there's ady left!" Frodo laughed merrily, though the effort made him cough, and he allowed Eowyn to position pillows behind his back. Curiously he watched as she uncovered the tray. And such a tray! There was hot buttered toast with the crusts cut away, with a jewel-coloured array of jams and marmalades for spreading atop it. . .smoothly made porridge, thinned with milk to slip easily down an aching throat. . .fresh strawberries, sliced into a little crystal dish. . .strange, small balls of beautiful pale and bright colours that Frodo had been told at feasts were melon. . .a mushroom omelette, mouth-wateringly plump and fluffy. . .ginger tea. . .and some strange additions: a dome of fruit sitting to reveal its flat side, which had pale segments of juicy-looking flesh, and a tall glassful of chilled orange-coloured liquid. Merry smiled proudly.

"That - " He pointed to the dome. " - is called a grape-fruit. One of us may have to help you eat it; it is easy to squirt yourself in the eye, and the liquid stings! But it is tasty with sugar sprinkled over the top, and we have prepared it thus. This - " He pointed to the glass. " - is orange-juice. It comes from a strange fruit called - well, oranges! They are orange in colour, of course, and are rather like small grape-fruits; usually you do not eat them with a spoon, though, but peel them and eat the segments of flesh left after the orange and white skin is pulled away." He nodded knowingly. "The healers say that orange-juice is the very best thing for a cold."

"The best way to eat them is with the oranges cut into little segments," explained Eowyn, smiling. "You slice a circle of the fruit off - it is round - and then cut it in half to make what are called 'orange smiles.' When you like, I shall make you some."

"We thought too much at once might be hard on your throat," continued Merry gently. "So we saved those for elevenses or when you like."

"Thak you." Frodo beamed, taking the glass carefully in his hands. Taking in a small sip, he was delighted to find that the taste cut through even his stuffy nose - deliciously piquant, sharp and sweet all at once. Eagerly he tried another sip, then set the glass down before beginning to cut a bite of mushroom omelette.

"Id's wodderful, Mer. Thak you all."

-the end - or is it?-