Written for Mews for her birthday.

DISCLAIMER: The Professor's wonderful characters don't belong to me; I just get to think about them day and night
All song lyrics are from The Fellowship of the Ring.


A Blessed Journey

Merry stood quietly in the doorway of Frodo's bedroom, thinking back to when his cousin had nearly died – or was the word faded? He still shuddered in horror at what might have been. Even Gandalf had said there had been very little hope that Frodo could survive the Witch King's cursed blade. They had all been so exhausted, and the Council held so quickly, it was days before he and Pippin had gathered all the facts and understood what had happened... and what had been decided without them. He would have given anything to stand by Frodo's side during that long Council, after which his cousin had appeared drained and exhausted... but resolute.

He walked past the bed where Frodo lay, and stepped out onto the balcony where they had stood for so many nights, gazing up at the stars and talking of small, homelike things. As he was pulling his cloak about him against the chill air, a familiar arm draped about his shoulders.

"You should be resting," came Frodo's soft voice. "We leave at sundown."

"I didn't mean to wake you," Merry said with regret, but Frodo shook his head.

"I wasn't asleep. Merry... there's still time to for you and Pip to return to the Shire."

"Frodo," Merry said with a firm voice and steady gaze, "if Mordor were as far as the Moon, and just as unlikely to reach and return in one piece, we would still come with you."

"I know," Frodo said, then he smiled. "The round Moon rolled behind the hill as the Sun raised up her head," he sang softly.

"She hardly believed her fiery eyes; for though it was day, to her surprise they all went back to bed!" Merry sang with him, and both of them began to laugh as if they didn't have a care in the world.

Sam, watching from the doorway, looked up as Strider came to join him. As they listened, the Ranger's gentle hand came to rest reassuringly on Sam's shoulder.

"What's going on?" Pippin whispered. His sharp ears had caught the sound of singing where he lay in his room, also awake, and had sought out the source. Sam put a finger to his lips, and the three of them listened as Frodo and Merry began another song, equally as absurd and well-loved by hobbits as The Man in the Moon. After awhile, Strider guided Sam and Pippin away, down the corridor.

"If I hear that song about the Moon one more time, I will no doubt be singing it myself as we journey," he said lightly. "Do you think we would be able to persuade Gimli and the rest to join in?"

The thought of the dour, wary Dwarf singing a nonsensical Shire song made Pippin stifle a giggle, and Sam began to grin, his eyes alit with mirth. Suddenly they were both laughing, and Strider found his heart growing lighter than it had been in weeks. The Elves had taught him that any perilous undertaking, especially one as seemingly hopeless as this, was considered blessed if the Great Music of Ëa was humbly invoked in a song to the Sun or stars. Why not the Moon? And what could be more humble, or worthy of blessing, than an endeavor undertaken by a small folk who had left their homeland behind, to give perhaps their very lives to ensure its safety?

As Sam and Pippin returned to their rooms to finish packing, Strider paused once more to listen.

Sing hey! for the bath at close of day
that washes the weary mud away!
A loon is he that will not sing:
O! Water Hot is a noble thing!

Humming to himself, he smiled. Perhaps this journey would indeed be blessed, and hope unlooked-for make itself known... in the small, yet treasured, moments – and people – they would meet upon the long road ahead.

** END **