mithen: (Misty Mountain Cold)
mithen ([personal profile] mithen) wrote2016-06-04 01:34 pm

Clarity of Vision side story: New Friends

New Friends (1100 words)
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Hobbit (Jackson Movies)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Bilbo Baggins/Thorin Oakenshield
Characters: Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield, Frodo Baggins, Boromir (Son of Denethor II), Faramir (Son of Denethor II), Denethor II
Additional Tags: Fluff, Friendship, First Meetings, Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence
Series: Part 5 of Clarity of Vision
Summary: On one of his annual trips north to Annuminas with Bilbo and Thorin, Frodo encounters a couple of boys in some peril and helps out.
Note:  Happy birthday to
[personal profile] starsandsea!  This is our ninth birthday shared in fandom, and every one has been precious to me.

“We will understand if you don’t wish to come with us this year, dear boy,” said Bilbo to his cousin as he threw open the shutters, letting the sunshine and lilac-scented spring air into Bag End. “I’m sure you grow tired of sitting around a bunch of old fogeys, listening to us all talk about the old days.”

“Now, now,” said Thorin reprovingly as he folded a sheet fresh from the line, “we don’t always talk about the old days. Sometimes we discuss terribly modern topics like taxes, or roads, or treaties.”

Bilbo laughed. “Such riveting conversation! Truly, how could Frodo bear to miss a moment of it?” He sobered, still smiling at Frodo. “But at twenty you are old enough to stay here alone for a few days, I’m certain.”

“I’m happy to travel with you,” said Frodo, though secretly he was horrified at the idea of being left behind. Thorin and Bilbo’s yearly trips north to the old capital of Annuminas were the highlight of Frodo’s year. Why, just last year he had gotten to meet Glorfindel and hear tales from lost Gondolin, and Theoden had taught him how to shoot an arrow (to Bilbo’s horror). And--Frodo still blushed to remember it--Arwen had danced a pavane with him, her hand soft in his. No, he would not miss it for the world. “I enjoy your company, cousins.”

“Oh, very well,” said Bilbo, throwing up his hands, though he looked happy enough. “But we must remember to pack even more biscuits this time, as Gimli and Legolas ate them all last year.”

Every year what had once been a little camp at the crossroads of the ruins of Annuminas grew bigger and bigger; by now it was nearly a thriving settlement. Thorin and Bilbo were negotiating the price of the trip with the caravan leader, and Frodo was carrying their bags toward the newly-built Halls of Rest when he heard the sound of a child crying.

Without thinking, he dropped his bags and sprinted toward it.

He rounded the corner to see what appeared to be three young and dirty men in ragged clothes--one nursing a bloody nose, the other two with their fists clenched--facing down two children. The smaller child, a fair-haired boy in dark blue velvet who looked to be barely old enough to walk, was lying on the ground, sobbing. Standing between him and the three toughs was a dark-haired boy--Frodo wasn’t a good judge of the ages of men, but he probably had seen little more than a decade of life. The older boy had his arms outstretched as if to protect the younger, and there was a fierce anger in his eyes.

“Don’t you dare touch my brother again or I’ll do more than bloody your nose!” he cried. “Go on, get out of here!”

His assailants looked like they were weighing their chances; Frodo saw their eyes take in the silver buttons and golden thread on the boys’ clothing. They were about to surge forward when Frodo stepped up to stand next to the boys. “I think you should be moving along,” he said quietly.

The leader of the bullies narrowed his eyes, re-assessing their chances. Frodo wasn’t big or overly threatening, but his presence seemed to tip the balance, for he spat in the dust of the street and gestured at his flunkies to join him in swaggering off.

Frodo helped the younger boy to his feet, helping to brush the dust off his velvet breeches. “You should have told them who you were,” he said to the older boy. “They would have thought twice about bothering you then.”

“What do you mean?” said the older boy at the same time his brother lisped, “How do you know who we are?”

Frodo smiled at the two of them. “You have your father’s nose and fierce eyes, Boromir of Pelargir,” he said.

Boromir started, then laughed ruefully. “And my father’s temper, my mother says. They shoved my little brother in the dust for play, and I nearly bit off more than I could chew, did I not? And after I promised I would behave myself if Father finally took us along on his spring journey.” He ruffled his brother’s hair affectionately. “Faramir, say thank you to--are you Bilbo?” he said, curious. “My father speaks often of a halfling named Bilbo, and I would guess you are a halfling, but I thought he would be older.”

“I am his cousin, Frodo Baggins, at your service,” said Frodo with a quick bow.

“No, indeed, we are at yours!” cried Boromir. “We shall help you carry your bags, and while we are here together, we will be your faithful servants.”

Frodo laughed, for he had doubts that one such as Boromir would be able to play the role of a servant for long. And indeed, the two brothers proved poor servants, but they became fast friends of Frodo’s, especially once Faramir discovered the marmalade biscuits in Bilbo’s bag and ate four in quick succession, proclaiming them the most magnificent food he had ever eaten.

“I see you have already met,” Bilbo said later when he came to their rooms and found Boromir and Frodo arguing about whether willow sticks or hazel sticks were better for roasting marshmallows, while a sticky-faced Faramir slept curled up on top of Bilbo’s luggage.

“My apologies, Frodo,” said Denethor behind him. “I did not mean to press you into being a babysitter for my sons!” At the sound of his father’s voice, Faramir sat up and rubbed his eyes, raising his arms to be picked up. “I hope they were no bother.”

“Not at all,” said Frodo as Boromir cast him an imploring look. “We’ve had quite a quiet afternoon.”

“Frodo guessed who we were right away, Father!” said Faramir, throwing his arms around his father’s neck. “After he saved us, he said so.”

“Saved you?” said Denethor, raising an eyebrow at his older son. Boromir smiled uneasily at him.

“Well,” said Bilbo, deflecting the topic, to Boromir’s relief, “I’m pleased to see that my cousin, at least, recognizes royalty when he sees it!”

Frodo couldn’t help but laugh. “Bilbo, I knew Thorin all my life and never guessed he was a king!”

“Retired,” Bilbo said cheerfully. “It doesn’t count. Now,” he said, clapping his hands together and eyeing the young folk, “first to the banquet table gets an extra marmalade biscuit!”

Boromir and Faramir immediately tore off, shrieking with delight and slipping on the marble floors.

But--for Bilbo’s marmalade biscuits were treasure worth striving for indeed--Frodo still beat them there.