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Author: Mattygrl
Title: Sing and Be Glad, All Ye Children of the West
Rating: G
Theme: Songs and Poetry
Elements: Sing and Be Glad, All Ye Children of the West
Author's Notes: This was beta-ed by the lovely and talented Ladyhawke Legend. This story is not slash, but I think it could be interpreted by some as such...The song found in my story is actually a poem called "Invictus" written by William Ernest Henley. So, it belongs to him and not me. :)
Summary: Aragorn and Legolas realize that Frodo has been struggling with the situation at hand and decide to do their part to remedy the situation...I think it might be angtsy Hobbit fluff. :)
Word Count: 1,619



The day had practically dragged by. The water had been slow moving; the shores foreboding. Pippin had been more restless than usual. Legolas’ eyes kept darting to the shore and back. Gimli kept grumbling under his breath. Boromir was sullen, his hand never straying far from the hilt of his sword. Merry was sitting closer than usual to Pippin, his arm wrapped protectively around his jittery cousin. Sam, likewise, was staying close to his Master. Aragorn paddled quickly, his calm façade betraying a whirlwind of emotions just beneath the surface.

Now that Gandalf was gone, the whole responsibility of leading the Fellowship on the last and harrowing leg of their journey fell solely to him. It was a heavy burden, and yet, he had experience in such matters. Leading men, fighting, and travelling silently with little food and little sleep. Aragorn mentally reprimanded himself. He might be in a difficult position, but there were those who were in an even worse situation than he: Frodo.

He looked to the front of the boat where Sam sat close as possible to his Master. Frodo’s posture was rigid, his muscles visibly tensed. The few times Frodo had turned from the bow to answer Sam had given Aragorn a decent opportunity to see the Ringbearer’s face. It was pale and drawn, with dark blue-grey circles under his eyes, marring his otherwise pale face. He was clearly not sleeping well, if at all, and was eating very little. At breakfast that morning (if you could call that breakfast, Aragorn thought ruefully), Frodo haven’t even asked for seconds. On his feet, he was unsteady. The Ringbearer was deteriorating.

The calm of Lorien had been good for them all. It gave each member of the Fellowship time to at least come to terms with Gandalf’s death. Even Frodo had seemed more relaxed. His sleep came easily, though Aragorn could tell that beyond the untroubled there was something vexing the Hobbit.

Aragorn sighed and brought himself back to the present. Clearly, something was upsetting the Hobbit, more than just the foreboding atmosphere of the area. Aragorn knew that something must be done to resolve the situation. The whole of Middle Earth resided on that small being’s shoulders and if he was so upset that he made himself sick, then all would be lost. More than that, Frodo was one of Aragorn’s dearest friends; and Aragorn had pledged to keep Frodo safe, which meant protecting him from enemies…and from his own stubbornness. That stubbornness and sheer spirit of will would make the difference in this battle. Aragorn knew that beyond a shadow of a doubt; but at times like these Aragorn wondered why the Hobbit couldn’t see sense and speak about what was on his mind. Aragorn’s mind was made up; they would stop early that night. True, they would get further if they continued on, but if Frodo had worried himself sick by the time they got to their next stopping point, it would all be for naught.

Aragorn gestured silently to the other two boats, and Legolas and Boromir, seeing his signal, followed him to the shore. The boats sailed smoothly onto the shore and Pippin, antsy from sitting so long, hopped out onto the shore immediately. Once the boats were safely ashore and set for the night, Legolas made his way over to Aragorn while the rest of the Fellowship began setting up camp

“We have stopped early Aragorn. Why?”

By way of answer, Aragorn pointed a dirty finger over at Frodo who was feebly helping to collect wood. His movements were slow, and those he did make were uncoordinated. Sam was standing next to him, mumbling something that Aragorn could not hear. The pair saw Sam extract the firewood from Frodo and push him gently over towards their small fire. Legolas’ keen ears picked up a kind, “Go on, Mr. Frodo. You just have a bit of a sit. And then you let your Sam make you something to eat.”

Legolas nodded. They needed to resolve this situation. “I’m not hungry, Sam,” came Frodo’s reply.

“But sir!” Sam exclaimed. “You ‘ardly ate anythin’ this mornin’. You got ta keep up your strength.”

Frodo sighed, but acquiesced. His posture was still rigid; his features set. Gimli too had noticed a change in the Ringbearer and had sidled over to the pair.

“Aragorn,” he said quietly, “there’s something eatin’ at the laddie.”

“I see that Gimli,” Aragorn responded quietly. “Perhaps you could take Boromir and the other Hobbits with you to find something suitable to accompany our lembas bread for dinner, while Legolas and I take care of the problem.”

The stout Dwarf nodded, beard braids jiggling, and stomped off to collect the others. In a few moments, the others had left in search of “something strengthening” as Pippin had called it, and Aragorn, Legolas, and Frodo were alone in the clearing. Frodo didn’t even seem to have noticed that the others were gone. His face was pensive, his gaze turned inward.

As Aragorn and Legolas approached, Legolas stayed behind Aragorn. The Elf knew from experience that when the Hobbit had some kind of a problem, he was mostly likely to open up to Sam. After that, it was Aragorn who had the clearest shot to the heart of the problem. Frodo trusted him, and Aragorn always seemed to know just what to say and do.

The Ranger lowered himself to the ground next to Frodo and said nothing. Rather he waited. There was no sign of acknowledgement from Frodo. Finally Aragorn began, “You didn’t eat much at breakfast this morning.”

“I wasn’t hungry,” came the expected monotonous reply.

“Regardless,” said Aragorn, “you must keep up your strength.”

“Why is everyone so concerned with what I eat and when I eat?” Frodo burst out angrily. “Is it not simply enough that I am here, carrying this vile thing?”

Taken aback though they were by the outburst, both Legolas and Aragorn were smart enough to realize that Frodo’s talking at all was getting them somewhere.

“We keep track of these things because we care for you,” Aragorn said with such conviction that Frodo looked away from the fire.

“You are our friend,” said Legolas, peering kindly over at the distressed Hobbit. “As such, we care for your well-being.”

Frodo’s eyes held Legolas’ for but a moment before he buried his face in his hands and sat shaking before the fire. Aragorn scooted closer to Frodo and put an arm around the shaking Hobbit. “Frodo,” he said, rubbing the small back in methodic circles, feeling firsthand the tenseness built up in the small frame, “you are wound up tighter than a spool of string.”
The Hobbit said nothing, but leaned in to Aragorn’s firm but gentle touch, groaning when the Man’s large fingers reached a knot in his shoulder. “Tell us,” said Aragorn, keeping his voice friendly and non-threatening, “what has you so upset?”

Frodo’s voice was quiet, but both Elf and Man still heard the Hobbit say timidly, “I don’t think I can do it. I am not strong enough. What can someone as small as I do?”

Aragorn opened his mouth to answer, but was instead interrupted by Legolas. The Elf, who had settled himself upon the ground across from Frodo and Aragorn, began to sing quietly. His voice rose and fell, the melody soft and easy. Under Aragorn’s careful ministrations and the Elf’s singing, Frodo began to relax, losing himself in Legolas’ song.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning or chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Apparently, the song had done its job, for by the time Legolas had finished singing, Frodo had relaxed and was now sitting, a drowsy lump of Hobbit, next to Aragorn.

“You need not do this by yourself, Frodo,” Aragorn said, nodding approvingly to the Elf, who smiled. “We are here for you. And together we will accomplish our task. You resisted the poison of the Morgul blade for nigh on two weeks. There is some strength to you. I think you got more than your share of Baggins’ stubbornness.”

Their efforts were rewarded by Frodo looking up and smiling at both of them. His face was tear-streaked and tired, but the eyes once again held that mischievous sparkle. As if on cue, Sam came trotting back down to their camp, proudly holding a brace of coneys, followed by Pippin, Merry, Gimli, and Boromir.

A curt nod was exchanged between Gimli and Aragorn, and the Dwarf knew that his young friend would be fine. “Mr. Frodo,” Sam said looking worried, plopping down next to his Master, “you’ve been cryin’. What’s the trouble? You know you can tell your Sam.”

“Nothing, Sam,” Frodo said kindly, open affection on his face as he smiled at his dearest friend. “I do believe I’m a bit hungry now though.”

Sam leapt to his feet looking joyful at the prospect of his master’s hunger and trotted off to make dinner.

That night, the camp was quiet. Aragorn sat on watch, keeping an eye on both the river and the forest. The moonlight illuminated Frodo’s sleeping face - for the first time since Gandalf had died, he was smiling.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
dreamflower02
Nov. 18th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
I really like the way Aragorn and Legolas comfort Frodo. The poem you chose fits very well as a song here!
mattygrl
Nov. 24th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Dreamflower! I'm very glad that you liked it!
lindahoyland
Nov. 18th, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC)
I was a bit wary of reading this due to your comments, but I liked it very much and found nothing to interpret in a slashy fashion. I love the concern the Fellowship have for each other.
mattygrl
Nov. 24th, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
Well...I didn't think it was slashy, but I was like, "Erm, this could be interpreted as some by slashy...and I don't want to get flames by not putting something in..." But so far, everyone has said basically what you said, that this is NOT slash. Yes, the Fellowship is a wonderfully supportive group of people aren't they?
nancylea57
Nov. 18th, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC)
yes even the smallest and youngest of us needs to be the captain on our own hearts and destinies. beautifully written.
mattygrl
Nov. 24th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you Nancy, glad you liked it. Being a rather short person myself, I agree that even the smallest of us needs to take charge. :)
surgicalsteel
Nov. 18th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
That was a perfect poem to comfort Frodo!
mattygrl
Nov. 24th, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you SurgicalSteel, as soon as I was thinking about my story, I knew that this was the poem that I needed to use!
blslarner
Nov. 19th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
Got cut off AGAIN! I hate the ISP cutting me off sometimes!

Again, love seeing Frodo responding so to Aragorn's ministrations and Legolas's song. His anxieties at this point must have been overwhelming!

Beautiful use of that particular poem here. Loved it!
mattygrl
Nov. 24th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm a huge fan of Frodo/Aragorn friendship and angst. Actually, I'm just a sucker for anything involving Frodo angst and his great big Robin's egg blues! ;)
claudia603
Nov. 19th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
There is nothing I adore more than Aragorn and Frodo friendship on quest! Thank you! This was really comforting and delightful!
mattygrl
Nov. 24th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading Claudia! I love Aragorn and Frodo, they are SUCH close friends! Glad you enjoyed it.
shirebound
Nov. 19th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
This is a wonderful moment between the Fellowship members, full of bonding and respect and gentle friendship. What a perfect song to give Frodo strength and inspiration for the trials that lay ahead.
mattygrl
Nov. 24th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading Shire, what an honor! I did think that the song was perfect for the situation. Thanks for the comment!
labourslamp
Nov. 19th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
This was quite nice: Frodo was realistically irritable, stressed, and tense. I was a bit wary of such an obviously, defiantly humanist poem getting worked into a Tolkienian fic, but it fit well here.
mattygrl
Nov. 24th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
I am glad that you found Frodo to be realistic. As you mentioned, it's actually quite understandable that Frodo would be so. I thought that the poem fit very well. Phrases like "black as the Pit", all I could think of was Mordor, full of dark and craggy pits. And "under the bludgeonings of chance", it's debatable, was it just all a coincidence that Frodo got the Ring (chance) or was all the plan from the very beginning? Either way, it seemed to me to be symbolic on more than one level.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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