Disclaimer---yep, it's mine, all mine, MINE, MINE, MINE!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! And if you believe that, I've got a nice bridge to sell you, really cheap. Honest.

A/N---first I sell my soul to the Legomance (work in progress "For the Love of the Lady"), now I've sold it to the sick-Frodo story. By the time the plot bunnies get done with me, I won't have any left to sell to Old Scratch, which will simply ruin my plans for Evil World Domination. So, does anybody have some good plot-bunny repellant?

**Peppermint Tea**

Primula was a butterfly, dancing in the air with others of her kind. She flitted from flower to flower, now climbing, now dipping, now twisting and twirling with the wind. She savored the freedom of flight, the wind under her wings, the scent of the meadow, the attention of the males who chased her but could not keep up. She flew higher and higher, farther up than any butterfly had ever been, straight up to caress the sun with her wings....

"Momma?" a tiny voice jolted her out of her dreams. She came instantly awake, though the transition from butterfly to hobbit matron was a harsh one. That did not matter; her child needed her. She pried open her eyes, leaned up on one elbow and regarded her small son.

"Yes, Frodo?" she said, sleep making her voice husky.

"I don't feel too good," the little boy whined.

"Quietly, Frodo," Primula scolded softly, gesturing to her husband, snoring away on the other side of the bed. "You don't want to wake your father."

"No, Momma," the boy agreed, obediently lowering his voice. He knew full well how grumpy his father got when prematurely wakened. "But I really don't feel too good," he insisted, holding his tummy for emphasis.

Primula sighed. It was the middle of the night, and she really did not want to leave her warm bed. Still, if the baby was sick, then bed would have to wait. Reluctantly, she rose, picked up Frodo and carried him to kitchen of their apartment in Brandy Hall. She made her way over to the fireplace, shifting the boy onto her hip so she could hold him with one arm. With the other, she picked up the poker and prodded the banked embers to life. Then she added a few small pieces of wood until she had enough light to see by and sat down at the kitchen table with Frodo on her lap.

"Let's have a look at you, sweetie," she said, suppressing a yawn. "What hurts?'

"My tummy," Frodo replied, the whine creeping back into his voice. "And my head."

"Anything else?"

"My throat, too."

"Hmm," Primula muttered. She carefully looked over her boy. He was flushed, his curls damp with sweat. His cheeks were puffy. He flinched when she put her hands on them, feeling the swollen glands. "Does that hurt?"

"Yes, Momma."

"Hmm," she muttered again. She suspected fever, and sure enough, he was warm to the touch. "How are your ears?"

Frodo tilted his head, thinking. "They hurt, too," he replied.

"Open your mouth, love," she instructed. Frodo tried, but he couldn't open very far. Just as Primula expected. "You have the mumps, my son."

"M.mumps?" Frodo whimpered, paling. His cousin Reginard had had the mumps, and he'd been absolutely miserable. His face had swelled up, so had his privates, and he couldn't eat anything. Frodo didn't want to go through that! The child began to cry.

Primula gathered her boy into her arms, stroking his hair to comfort him. "Sshhh, little bee. Everyone gets mumps sooner or later. I had it when I was your age. So did Poppy, though it's a bit more uncomfortable for you lads than us ladies. But I'll take good care of you, my dear boy, and you'll be just fine in a few days."

"Poppy had mumps?" Frodo sniffled.

"He did indeed. When he wakes up, he can tell you all about it," Primula confirmed.

That cheered Frodo up immensely. He idolized his Poppy, and wanted to be like him in all ways. If his big, brave, strong father could survive the mumps, then so could he. The little boy stopped his crying and put on a brave face for Momma. She smiled.

"That's my boy. I'll put the kettle on, make some peppermint tea to soothe your throat and settle your tummy. Would you like that?" Primula asked. Frodo nodded eagerly. "And while the water's heating, I'll get some cool, wet cloths. That'll ease the swelling in your face and privates," she continued as she set about preparing the tea.

"Momma!" Frodo was scandalized his mother would mention his privates like that. Nevermind that she had changed his diapers when he was a baby. He wasn't a baby now, and mommas weren't supposed to talk like that.

Primula laughed. "It's nothing I haven't seen before, my son, so don't you fret. You'll be very uncomfortable when they swell, and they will, if they haven't all ready, so let me help you. I promise I will preserve your modesty, and not tell anyone."

Frodo thought about that for a moment. Already, he was feeling uncomfortable, and the idea of some cool cloths was appealing. Finally, reluctantly, the child nodded. "But I want Poppy to do it after this!" he insisted.

Primula nodded gravely. "Your father will help as he can, but he has work to do, you know." Frodo pouted. She kissed his forehead. "Don't worry, baby. You'll live through this, both the illness and the embarrassment. I promise."

Frodo leaned into his mother's kiss, and wrapped his arms around her waist. He loved to cuddle his mother, but he had to make the token protest anyway. "I'm not a baby!"

"You'll always be my baby," Primula informed him, hugging him and stroking his hair. "Now, let me get those compresses, and the tea, and get you settled back into bed."

She was as good as her word. In no time at all, Frodo was tucked into his bed, cool cloths on his cheeks and crotch, his favorite blanket clutched in one hand, and a mug of peppermint tea, sweet with honey, in the other.

"Stay with me, Momma? Please?" Frodo asked plaintively as his mother turned to go back to bed.

"Frodo, my love, I will always stay with you," Primula replied. She settled onto her son's bed, holding him close while he sipped his tea. "Finish that up, and I will tell you the story of your Uncle Bilbo, the Thirteen Dwarves and the Dragon Smaug."

Frodo nodded eagerly, and obeyed. This story was his very first favorite ever, and Momma told it better than anybody. Better, even, than Uncle Bilbo himself. The boy finished his tea. Primula took the mug and set it on the bedside table, then snuggled her baby close to tell the story. He got her nightgown wet with his compress, but she didn't mind. Frodo sucked his thumb as he drowsed, listening to his mother's soothing voice. He fell asleep, safe in her embrace, still tasting the peppermint tea.