[identity profile] mews1945.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] halloween_moot
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Rating: G for nothing but fluff.
Characters: Frodo, Pippin, Merry, Sam
Summary: On All-hallows, the hobbits celebrate, but Bilbo's tales prove a bit powerful for the younger ones.
AN: Frodo is 29, Merry is 22, Sam is 26 and Pippin is 8

THE SCARY PARTS

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Painting by [livejournal.com profile] mucun

The party field was quiet now, and the bonfire had nearly died down, as the last of the guests left, making their way to homes and inn to sleep long and deep after the excitement of the annual All-hallows celebration. Sam and a few other lads were gathering up the final dishes from the long tables and carrying them to the cook tent, where the maids who had been hired for the occasion were washing and drying them. The clean plates and cutlery would be stored away in Bilbo’s store room to await the next party, but for the night they could remain safely stacked on the tables inside the tent.

Earlier in the evening, Bilbo had regaled the young hobbits with tales of his Adventure, and even Frodo had shivered at his descriptions of trolls, and the wargs and orcs who had attacked the dwarves and Bilbo on their quest. Later, there had been songs and games and dancing for everyone, and food and drink enough to satisfy even the most prodigious appetites. Only when most of the guests had already departed had Bilbo gone home, along with Saradoc and Esmeralda, who were visiting from Buckland.

Frodo, with eight year old Pippin riding on his shoulders and Merry at his side, was waiting for Sam, so that the four of them could walk the road toward Bag End together. The lanterns hanging from the tree were burning low, ready to gutter out soon, and the flickering firelight made shadows dance over the grass as the wind tickled the flames. The sky was black, the moon a silver disk, peeking from among the scudding clouds, limning them with pale light.

“Let’s go home, Frodo!” Pippin tugged at Frodo’s hair. “‘s cold!”

“Soon,” Frodo promised. He took one of the peppermint flavored barley-sugar candies from the little paper sack he held and gave it to his cousin. “There. That will make you warmer.”

“Thanks, Frodo!” Pippin popped the candy into his mouth and sucked happily at it, but he was shivering, and Frodo reached up to pat his knee.

Merry accepted one of the candies too, and crunched it between his teeth. Merry’s clothes were dirty and so was his face, but he looked blissfully happy. The party had been great fun for all the young hobbits, and Merry had worn himself out running and playing with the other lads. Pippin had done his best to keep up with his older cousin, but had spent most of his time chasing Merry from place to place and never quite catching him, until he’d exhausted himself and come to find Frodo. Frodo had willingly accommodated him by cuddling him on his lap for the last hour of the party.

Sam finally carried the last of the dishes to the cook tent and came to join Frodo and his cousins. He was disheveled, but not nearly as dirty as Merry and Pippin, and he accepted one of the candies from Frodo with a shy smile of thanks.

“We’d better get home, Sam. Pippin’s freezing. I’m sure everything is done that can be done before morning.”

“Aye,” Sam agreed, looking round at the clean tables. The other boys had already started off, waving and calling good night as they went.

The road wound uphill from the field, and past the Row, where all the holes were closed up tight and windows were shuttered. They walked slowly in the dark, with only the faint moonlight to show the way. The wind whipped the grasses, and the clouds tumbled before it, forming strange, shifting shapes as it harried them across the sky. It made low, whistling sounds amidst the tree branches, almost like the moaning of strange voices. Merry and Sam both moved in closer to Frodo, and Merry reached out and gripped Frodo’s jacket, clutching the pocket.

They had just come to Sam’s gate when they heard a queer, shrill cry that seemed to float down from the sky itself, quavering in the air, and Merry jumped and pressed closer to Frodo.

Frodo could feel the hair on his arms trying to stand up, chills chasing along his spine, and felt Pippin’s hands clench tighter in his curls, making him wince. He felt a momentary tremor of fear travel through him, and he reached up to lift Pippin from his shoulders and settled him on his hip. Pippin clung to him, trembling.

“‘tis but a barn owl,” Sam said. “They nest in the barns and sheds hereabouts. I’ve seen them. Small, they are. They’ll do us no harm, Master Pippin.”

“Of course not,” Merry agreed stoutly, and released his grip on Frodo’s jacket.

“Good night, Sam,” Frodo said. “Thank you for all your help.”

“Good night, Mister Frodo.” Sam went into number three, closing the door behind him. Once assured that he was safely in, Frodo went on toward Bag end, Pippin holding tight to his neck, head resting on his shoulder, Merry hurrying along at his side. But, as they rounded the curve and came within sight of Bag End’s front gate, something flew at them, pale and flapping in the dim light, and Merry gasped and clutched at Frodo again with all his might, whilst Pippin shrieked aloud.

Frodo was nearly as frightened as the younger ones, but he stood firm, knowing he must protect them from any threat, and he raised his arm to fend off the attack. He flinched when the fluttering thing wrapped itself about his hand, then, as it started to slip away, he realized it was only a scrap of cloth. He caught it before it could escape him, clutched it tightly in his fingers, and brought it closer to his face so he could look at it. Then he chuckled.

“It’s only one of Bilbo’s handkerchiefs,” he said, and reached down to hug Merry close, while he showed the little thing to Pippin. “He must have dropped it somehow, and the wind picked it up just as we came round the bend, and flung it at us.”

The relief was enough to set them all laughing at themselves, and they were still laughing when they entered the smial, where a small lamp had been left burning in the wall sconce, to light their way. The adults must all have gone to bed, Frodo thought, but Esme came out of the parlor just then, dressed in her night robe, a ruffled sleep cap on her head. She surveyed her son and Pippin, and shook her head, smiling ruefully.

“It’s too late for a bath, but these two need a thorough washing up,” she said. “Come, Merry, let’s get you and Pippin ready for bed.”

Frodo carried Pippin and followed her to the chamber the two youngsters were sharing. Merry reluctantly washed up at his mother’s urging, and Frodo helped him into a nightshirt whilst Esmeralda washed Pippin’s face and hands. His cousins were both too sleepy to do more than mutter goodnight after they’d been tucked into bed.

After telling Esme good night, Frodo went to his own room, where he made do with a quick wash of face and hands, put on his nightshirt, and got into bed, huddling under the thick quilt and fresh white sheets. He left the lamp on his mantel burning, with the wick turned as low as possible. Somehow, he couldn’t bring himself to extinguish all the light in the room. He lay listening to the wind that was still prowling through the night, tossing leaves about and rattling the windows. He heard the owl cry out again, twice.

Very soon after that, Pippin opened Frodo’s door and asked to sleep with him, complaining that he was cold and Merry had stolen all the covers. Frodo moved over to make room for him, and Pippin burrowed under his arm and snuggled against his side. Moments later, Merry came to his door, looking smaller than usual in his nightshirt, and Frodo, smiling, held the covers up and said, “Come on, Merry. I think we’re all a bit nervous after Bilbo’s tales and that bit of a scare we got walking home.”

Merry needed no second invitation and was soon cuddled in next to Pippin, who said sleepily, “Hullo, Merry, I heard the owl again, did you?”

“I did. It’s a lonesome sounding bird, isn’t it?” Merry answered.

“It sounds like this . . .” And Pippin attempted to imitate the owl’s eerie cry.

“That’s very good, Pippin," Frodo said, hugging him. "But I think now we’d better go to sleep. Morning will be here before we know it.”

“I hope so.” Pippin’s voice sounded wistful. “It’s so very dark outside.”

Frodo rumpled his little cousin’s curls. “We’ve got the lamp in here, though, and we’re safe in Bag End. I’m here, and I won’t ever let anything happen to you. I promise.”

“That’s good, Frodo.” Pippin curled himself up tighter and in only a moment, he was asleep. Merry soon fell asleep too, but Frodo lay awake for a while, listening to the wind, and he thought he’d ask Bilbo from now on to save the scary parts of his tale for telling in the light of day.

The

(no subject)

Date: 2011-10-31 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] addie71.livejournal.com
What a scary and sweet little tale. Of course the cousins had to pile into Frodo's bed after a night like that!

This made me smile. Real big.

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