Author: Frodo Baggins of Bag End (FBoBE/"Febobe")
Title: Joy From Ashes
Challenge: Crack Me Up
Rating: PG-13 (see Warnings).
Pairing/Characters: Frodo, Gandalf, Sam; brief appearances by Pippin, Merry, Legolas, Gimli; brief reference to Aragorn, surprise special character appearance in final chapter. Various OCs. Primarily a Frodo and Gandalf fic.
Warnings: Graphic medical detail. No sex, no slash, no profanity (unless you count one incidence of "bloody"). Movieverse. Also, I think this goes without saying for the Crack Me Up challenge, but - WAY AU. I mean WAY.
Summary: Following the Quest, a gravely injured Frodo is taken by Gandalf into the 21st century, where Frodo finds life-saving aid. . .and small pleasures unlooked-for.
Author's Notes: This fic is dedicated to SurgicalSteel and Riddlemaster, without whom this story would not have come together. An extra-special thank-you goes to both lovely ladies for their openness to questions, tireless answers, and general good-natured encouragement of the author. In addition, a gold star goes to SurgicalSteel for her medical beta and snarky medical dialogue work, without which this fic would not be what it is. If you like those bits, hug her. (If you like the medicine, hug both these ladies. I don't know what I'd do without them.)

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

"Easy now, Mr. Frodo. Mr. Gandalf's got you."

Frodo allowed Gandalf to gather him easily into strong arms, sighing with relief as he was lifted from the seat of the strange moving vehicle that had carried them to the great house which lay before his eyes. The ride had made him feel sick and dizzy, and he was grateful for the motion to stop - and for Aragorn's promise that there was ginger ale inside, in something called a "refrigerator." ("It keeps food and drink cold," Aragorn had explained, and the prospect sounded interesting, but not interesting enough for Frodo to ask questions during the ride home.) Several steps, and they were at the door, which was promptly opened by Legolas.

"Welcome home, Frodo. Your bed awaits you."

"Thank you." Burying his face against Gandalf's beard for comfort, Frodo let himself be carried to a spacious but not oversized room just off the hallway, where a beautiful little bed stood ready to receive him, covers folded back and pillows propped comfortably. To his delight, the window beside it was round, and looked out upon a garden in springtime bloom. Beside the bed stood a night-table with a pitcher of water and a cup, a box full of "tissues," and a small bell, the perfect size for a hobbit's hand, as well as controls for the boxes across from his bed - a TV and, as Pippin had eagerly explained to him on the way home, a DVD player which would show the "movies" of which Gandalf had spoken.

"If you have need of anything when you are unattended, you have only to ring the bell," Gandalf reassured him, easing him into bed. "Day or night, at least one of us will answer you."

"Thank you." Frodo pinked slightly at the attention, though he felt grateful for it.

"And we have another surprise for you, if you think you can bear it."

"I think so. What is it?" Frodo allowed Gandalf to finish removing his clothing and slip him into soft, strange, but comfortable nightclothes - pajamas, the wizard had called them.

"You shall see." Finishing the last buttons on Frodo's pajama top, Gandalf rose and went to the door. "Come in, my friend."

Frodo gaped.

Boromir walked slowly but steadily into the room, pausing some distance from Frodo's bed, apology in his gaze. "We meet again, Frodo."

"And so we do." Frodo hesitated. Memories flooded his mind. . .of Boromir's large hands on him as the man tried to wrest the Ring away. . .but others as well: Boromir calling him "little one," Boromir carrying him from Moria as he cried out and wept for Gandalf, Boromir in Lothlorien coaxing his burdened spirit to peace. . . .

At once he opened his arms.

Shyly Boromir stooped to embrace him, but Frodo could hear him weeping.

"I have wronged you," he whispered. "I have wronged you, and it cannot be undone. If only I had not stood in your way - "

"It is no matter, Boromir. It had to be thus." Calmly Frodo embraced him as best he could, given the man's size. "All is forgiven. And now you are here, and whole, and that is what matters. But we thought you were dead! I am glad to see that we were wrong!"

"Almost you struck in the gold, little one." Boromir smiled. "But Gandalf rescued me, and brought me to the same place where you were taken. They saved my life. I was after brought here to help prepare a place. . .in case you should need to come here. . .afterwards."

"I am so glad." Frodo smiled. "You must teach me all about this new world. I still have no idea how to operate anything more than the TV!"

"You will learn. There is time yet for you to heal, and to learn, and to enjoy it all." Boromir beamed. "I have even learned how to drive one of those "vehicles," so I promise you a treat when you are feeling well enough."

"I should love that."

"Rest now." Gandalf smiled kindly. "I'll bring you some ginger ale to sip. We must keep you in liquids, or you will have to go back to the hospital."

"I'll take the liquids," Frodo replied quickly, wide-eyed.

Gandalf laughed. "I thought you might! Rest while I bring it, and after you drink, you can sleep for a while. At least until your next meal."

Frodo watched them go, then turned back to the garden, listening to the hustle and bustle of the house - Legolas and Gimli talking in the kitchen, Boromir and Aragorn in the hall, Gandalf's voice joining theirs. . . . Suddenly there came a sharp cry from Sam.

"PEREGRIN TOOK! You'll be the death of us all if someone doesn't straighten you up! That's tater peeling duty for you, you and Master Merry both, and I oughtn't hear one complaint out of either of you after that!"

Frodo laughed.

Everything was going to be fine.

In fact, it just might be wonderful.

-the end-