Title: Primum Non Nocere

Author: Frodo Baggins of Bag End (FBoBE/"Febobe")

Rating: PG (only for hurt/comfort and angst)

Warnings: Angst.

Summary: Sam and Frodo meet Eowyn for the first time, and each reacts to her in his own way.

Author's Note: I adopted a Shirebunny! I did it! (Sam and Frodo are presented to Eowyn for the first time. What are their reactions to the first woman they've met of the race of Men?) Thanks for the lovely bunny, Shirebound. . .I so needed it. It should be no surprise to those who know me well that this kind of went FrodoHealers-bunny on me. Couldn't help it. :} The bunny just hopped over into that hutch and wiggled its lil' nose and wouldn't leave! Hope you enjoy it nonetheless. ;) A special thanks to NixNivis for confirming the Latin on the title! -Febobe

Primum Non Nocere (First, Do No Harm)

Part the Second: Frodo

Hurt.

Everything hurts.

My shoulder throbs; my neck aches; my back and side feel as if I've been beaten with whips afresh while I've slept. And my hand. . .where my finger once was prickles and tingles, the ache beneath it that of a broken bone. But there is nothing for it: these injuries are healed, or so it looks on the surface, and so I see no value in asking for someone from the Houses to come. I have had more than enough of being gaped at in recent days, and it would no doubt be only more of the same.

But. . .suddenly there is a lady.

A lady, not an elven-maid, but one of Faramir's kind. . .and yet not, for she looks not like him, not of the Numenorean lines from whence those folk come.

The Rohirrim?

Sam said. . .

She bends over me, stroking my hair back, her hands smelling of the outdoors, of grass growing back where barren ground once was, of clover and apples, the fragrance warming and so unlike the cold iciness chilling my bones that I can hardly help snuggling against her touch, wishing she would not take her hands away.

And she does not.

"Frodo. . .Faramir wished to introduce us properly, but he had word of an envoy going to join the King, and wanted most of all to get a message to him concerning your health. . .and to see that I came in the meantime, given that I am not one to stand on ceremony." She smiles - a pretty smile, with even white teeth. "I have long wished to meet you, ever since your cousin told me about you. . .even your days as a mushroom-thief. My name is Eowyn."

It was her. Somehow I knew. Had known. If her name, however, seems no surprise, her actions are: I hear her asking Sam for quilts, and an instant later find myself being gathered up in them, the lady slipping her left arm carefully beneath me, allowing it to support me while her right wraps the covers and cradles me.

Her right.

Shivering, I nestle closer, wanting only to cling to her.

He is gone.

Gone.

She made him go away.

Killed him.

"Sshhhhh." Her voice is a whisper close to my ear, tender, and so soft that I doubt even Sam can hear it. "It is all right. You are safe now. Nothing will happen to you again. I shall not allow it."

I manage only a nod, swallowing against a lump in my throat.

"Will you take a little something warm for me? I have brought some treats for you. . .Sam is arranging them now."

Hesitating, I offer no answer yet, uncertain.

"Ginger tea with honey. . .some mulled wine. . .hot beef-broth and a cream-cracker."

Anything taken held in her arms sounds appealing. I nod a little. "Maybe. . . ."

"Good." Her voice is low, so soothing. . .and I snuggle against her, finding her the perfect pillow despite her slender, well-trained frame. "Merry said that you liked those, but I did not know whether you would like them today or not. It can be very different when one feels ill."

I nod, still clinging to her, at once embarrassed by this and yet unwilling to give it up. It feels safe, and for the first time in a very long time I feel comfortable, in less pain. She is no elven-maid like Lady Arwen, and yet I find myself more at peace. . .more at home in some ways. . .with her, as if some kindred part of each recognised the other.

"Faramir tells me that you are in a great deal of pain, and that you have nightmares. . .and that you feel chilled."

Stiffening, I nod.

"Would you let me help?"

"No medicine. Those medicines are always dreadful. . .they taste foul, and they make me feel sick. The one they gave me for my hand made me feel as if I were floating, and I threw up for hours. It was terrible."

"Of course." She pulls me a little closer, as if to reassure me, much to my gratitude. "No. . .none of that. What I have in mind is something very, very simple, if you are willing."

"Perhaps. . . ." Listening curiously, I look up at her as best I can, getting rather tangled in her hair in the process. "What do you mean?"

...

"Frodo. . ."

"Mmm?"

"Frodo, it's time for your supper, sweetheart. Try a little for me - just a few mouthfuls? There's a lovely bit of white cake, and some blueberries - and some chicken with mushrooms and broth; doesn't that sound nice? Sam's brought you some milk to try and drink down. . .it will be good for you. . . ."

Yawning, I uncurl enough to let her bring a spoon to my lips, tasting slowly.

Some things *are* very, very simple. . .like Eowyn's principle: she has already been skilled in nursing for some years, it seems, and the evidence proves her speech true. Her approach I find practical, for she has done nothing more than to hold me in warm quilts, rocking me at night to help me sleep without nightmares, and to feed me herself, whispering to me of night after night when she wept into her pillow, despairing and not wanting to eat, for it would only keep her alive longer, prolonging her torment. . .though now she is glad she lives, and urges me gently to try what Sam brings for me. So I do, and though still I cannot say that I am better, I feel better for this "treatment."

I only wonder whether all Big Folk females are as wise as Eowyn.

Somehow I doubt it.

She speaks sometimes of. . .of him, in the dark hours of night, when Sam has been sent to bed and she alone sits with me.

She speaks of him, and so do I.

And in the shadows from the hearth, we talk of a thousand dark things that the people who watch along the stairs never want to hear: the way it felt when blade struck bone. . .the charnel-house odour of his dead black robes. . .the icy cold trickle of fear rushing down your spine when he turned your way, the panic. . .the knowing that you were dead, or soon would be, and having no energy left to care, hoping only that you might then feel warm again. Warm and whole and loved.

Words I could never say even to Sam.

Words she says she could never say even to Eomer or to Faramir.

In the shadows we talk together, just the two of us, and no nightmares come once dreams finally take us.

They are too frightened of her, of the Shieldmaiden.

She says that they are too frightened of the brave Ringbearer.

I only know that they do not come, and all is at peace.

-finis-