ext_28878: (viggoelijah)
[identity profile] claudia603.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] lories_friends
ANNNNND, here is my other fic, which I wanted to write in Lorie's excellent Beyond universe...(see notes below)

Title: Tending
Author name: Claudia
Fandom: LOTR
Pairing: Frodo/Aragorn
Rating: PG
Summary: This takes place in Lorie’s “Beyond” universe, which is an AU universe in which a young Frodo lives in Bree under the employment of Doc, the local healer, and he loves Estel the Ranger, who comes to visit often. In this story, Frodo finds an injured Ranger in the woods.

For Lorie: I love you, lady. Thank you so much for creating this universe, which is one of my most beloved fan fictions, and for just being your wonderful self. You’ve touched so many hearts, mine not the least.
A/N: Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] sophinisba, for the great beta!

There it was again, that moaning. Frodo stood absolutely still, breath held, resting one of his hands on the rough bark of a sycamore tree. The woods had been quiet and peaceful, and the only sounds so far had been the chirping and scolding of birds and the background drone of cicadas. The moaning started again. Frodo was certain now that it was a person and not an animal, and that the person was likely injured or ill. He felt isolated. He had meandered through the woods for nearly half an hour, using a well-loved dirt trail that was soft on his feet, before he had first heard the moaning.

Frodo had left Doc’s house for a walk in the woods after both Doc and Estel (who was visiting for several days, much to Frodo’s delight) had fallen asleep for a long afternoon nap. Doc and Estel had suffered through a long, sleepless night because the whole Rushlight family had come down with a wretched cough and fever. Before Frodo left Doc’s house, he had made sure that a pitcher of cold water and glass was available for both men once they awoke. He had also left a fresh seedcake on the kitchen counter. He was proud that it was only a little burned at the top this time.

Frodo now crept toward the moaning as silently as a hobbit could. He stepped off the path and toward a grassy clearing. As he drew closer, he caught sight of a tall man sprawled in the grass -- and a lot of blood. Frodo’s heart quickened in horror. Had a wild animal attacked the man? Some of the Bree hobbits had told Frodo that wild boars and even bears lived in these woods, but Doc had always insisted that they were rare and more afraid of people than the other way around. Or perhaps the man had been attacked by rogues in the woods. That seemed more likely, and Frodo’s shoulders tensed. He had never been afraid during his walks before, but now it seemed too quiet, too remote.

“Sir!” He called out, swallowing in fear. He did not know if this man was a good man or a rogue, but the latter was more likely if he was lurking about in the woods. But even if he was a rogue, he would not have enough strength to be dangerous after losing as much blood as Frodo saw reddening the grass, so Frodo continued to approach him. “Sir, do you need help?”

The man startled to see him. He had a handsome face, dark hair and keen, alert eyes. Something in his demeanor reminded Frodo of Estel. Like Estel, he dressed in a leather tunic, forest-green cloak, and muddy boots, and his belt held a variety of weapons. He must be a Ranger then, just like Estel and Halbarad.

The man looked around, wary. “I’ve been shot in my leg,” he said, and Frodo saw the arrow deeply imbedded in his thigh, surrounded by soaking blood. “There’s mischief and danger afoot. Clear out of here, hobbit, before you get hurt.”

“I cannot leave you here hurt, in the woods.” Frodo took off his cloak and knelt beside him.

“You are kind.” The Ranger’s face softened. “But I fear for your safety. Those men are still about. Bill Ferny and Harry Goatleaf, Bree’s finest.” That last was said in disdain.

“Oh, them,” Frodo said, flushing with rage. “They’re nothing but trouble.” Burned in his memory was the day that a drunk Bill Ferny had bullied him when he had gone to give medicine to the surly man’s poor, ailing mother. He carefully wrapped his cloak around the arrow, securing it in place. “This will soak up the blood and keep the arrow from doing further danger while I go fetch help.”

It was one of those rare moments when he regretted being a hobbit. He could not sling the man over his shoulder and take him to the sanctuary of Doc’s house.

“Go from here!” the Ranger demanded.

Frodo nodded. He climbed to his feet and trotted back to the path, but as he did so, a flurry of arrows whizzed around him. Most plummeted to the leaf-strewn dirt or lodged into trees.

Something sharp bit into his arm, and he heard the gentle thud of an arrow hitting the ground beside his feet, but he sprinted on, not wanting to stop, lest he become a target for an arrow that might meet its mark. He ran as fast as he could, on one hand regretting that he had walked so far from Doc’s house and on the other hand glad that he had, or he would not have found the injured Ranger.

Sweat poured down his back, and his linen shirt clung to his skin. He hoped that the Ranger had not been shot again. Drat Bill Ferny and Harry Goatleaf, full of their no-good mischief all the time! The idea of them shooting at the innocent, wounded Ranger urged him to run faster.

At last he burst into Doc’s house, wild-eyed and breathing too hard to speak, his curls glued to his clammy brow. Doc and Estel were now both awake, smoking pipes in the sitting room.

“Frodo!” Doc dropped his pipe, and Estel sprang to his feet.

“What happened?” he demanded. “How did you injure yourself?”

Frodo looked in the direction of Estel’s horrified gaze and saw that the upper portion of his left sleeve was soaked with blood.

“I’m all right. It’s just a nick. But there’s a Ranger in the woods, and he’s badly hurt and--”

“Is it Halbarad?” Estel asked in a sharp voice.

“No,” Frodo still struggled to catch his breath, and he wiped his sweaty brow with his uninjured arm. “I do not know his name. Bill Ferny and Harry Goatleaf are up to evil. They were shooting arrows and now this Ranger’s hurt. I fear they’ll do more harm if we don’t go back now.”

Doc already had rustled together bandages and ointments.

Estel nodded grimly. “I’m going to need you to show me where this Ranger is. Can you do that?”

“We must see to his injury first,” Doc said.

Frodo shook his head. “No, Doc. I’m all right. No delays. My arm will not fall off before we return.”

Estel pulled Frodo’s sleeve over just enough to see the wound. “The bleeding has stopped. Do you feel well enough to take me back? If not, I would have you tell me where you found him, and Doc can tend to you here.”

Frodo looked up into the adored face of his Estel. Sometimes his heart simply ached with love for him, and this was one of those times. “I am not in pain and I want to take you back there. The clearing is difficult to describe. We should hurry.”

Estel nodded. “Let’s go then.”

Frodo’s race to get to Doc’s as fast as possible had exhausted him, and now he had to trot to catch up with Estel’s long strides. He wheezed for breath, clutching at his cramping side. It seemed to take a long time to reach the same area. At last, they reached the sycamore tree, where Frodo had heard the groaning.

Frodo led Estel off the path to the clearing. Arrows littered the ground, and Estel kicked one in disgust.

Frodo grabbed Estel’s hand. “Hush, they might still be close.”

“Unlikely,” Estel said. “They’ve done their mischief. They’re too cowardly to return.”

Estel and Frodo found the white-faced Ranger still lying on the bloody grass, trembling. His eyes widened with relief and surprise when he saw Estel. “Estel!” he cried, lifting his hand in greeting. Estel grasped it with both of his.

“Vik,” he said. “I was not aware you were in Breeland. What happened?”

Vik closed his eyes, breathing in obvious pain. “I was set upon. They were inexperienced archers and thus many arrows missed their mark, but this one pierced my thigh and it’s deeply embedded. As you can see, I’ve lost a great deal of blood.”

Estel gingerly removed Frodo’s cloak, now soaked with blood, from where it was wrapped around the arrow. “Did you do this?” Estel asked Frodo. Frodo’s heart sank, and he feared that he had done harm.

“I did,” Frodo said, swallowing. “I thought that was the right thing to do, but I’m sorry if—“

Estel clapped Frodo on the shoulder. “Very good thinking,” he said, and Frodo flushed happily. “Now hold the arrow steady in your hands.”

“But my hands are not clean,” Frodo said.

“We will not worry about that yet. We’ll clean his wounds at Doc’s house.”

“Thank you,” Vik whispered to Frodo, grasping his hand. “…Saved my life.” He looked at Frodo’s blood-soaked sleeve in concern. “You’re hurt, too. I am sorry.”

“It’s only a scratch,” Frodo said, smiling, and he removed his hand from Vik’s so that he could hold the arrow steady for Estel.

Frodo’s hands warmed from Vik’s blood, for blood had pooled around the arrow, and he tried to hide his wince of revulsion, but he continued to hold the arrow. Estel twisted and turned it, and sweat beaded on his brow as he concentrated on getting it just right. Vik writhed in agony.

“Steady, now,” Frodo said. He straddled Vik’s leg and sat on the uninjured bottom part to keep him from kicking while Estel tugged at the arrow.

Finally the arrow slid out and Vik cried out . Blood bubbled from his wound.

“Give me a bandage,” Frodo demanded. Vik’s blood spilled over his hands.

Estel pushed Frodo’s hands out of the way and pressed a folded bandage over the wound. “Hold it steady,” he said to Frodo. Frodo pressed down on the bandage which had already turned bright red, and Estel placed more bandages over it before securing them in place.

“I’m going to carry him back to Doc. We’ll clean the wound there.”

Frodo wiped his bloody hands on his already filthy shirt. His own wound had begun to sting and throb, so he could only imagine how much pain Vik must be facing. Frodo watched Estel hoist Vik over his shoulder. That he could carry such a large man for a fairly long distance was astonishing to Frodo. He marveled at Estel’s strength.

By the time they reached Doc’s house, Doc had a bed ready for Vik. Frodo washed his filthy hands in case the men should need his assistance.

“The wound needs to be cleaned and bandaged again,” Estel explained to Doc. “I will tend to Frodo’s wound.”

Frodo’s heart leapt with surprise. He had assumed that Estel would tend to his friend and that Frodo would clean his own wound or that Doc would.

“Take off your shirt.”

Frodo obeyed, glad to rid himself of the blood-soaked shirt.

Estel cringed when he saw the wound. He cleaned it first, dabbing at it gently with a cloth saturated with cold, fragranced water. It stung terribly, but Frodo bit his lip, determined to be brave.

“See?” Frodo said, laughing in embarrassment. “It was really nothing.”

Estel smiled at Frodo, and nothing else seemed to matter. Frodo saw the goodness of his heart in his eyes, and oh how Frodo longed to have that heart for his own.

But it can never be…

“Sometimes nothing can fester into something far worse if left untended,” Estel said, smiling as if he read Frodo’s thoughts. “There.” He secured the bandage around Frodo’s arm.

Later that evening, Frodo curled in a chair in the front room in front of the fireplace. Estel, after having looked after Vik for a time, sat in a nearby chair.

“You were brave, dear Frodo,” Estel said. “You saved my friend’s life.”

“Anyone would have done the same. How is he?”

“He is sleeping peacefully. There is no infection.”

“I’m glad.”

Estel was quiet for several moments before he spoke again. “I did not say so at the time, but it chilled my heart when you came home covered in blood.”

Frodo’s heart quickened. “Really?” Estel had seemed rather…business-like. It was foolish, perhaps, but it warmed him all over to think that Estel had been frightened for him.

“I was. You are very dear to me.”

Frodo slipped off his chair and settled on the arm of Estel’s chair. Feeling brave and heady, he put his arm around Estel’s shoulder, leaning into him. “I’m only glad you were here.”

Estel turned to him, and they looked at each other, breathless, lost in time. The ticking of the clock faded as Frodo’s heart thudded in his ears.

“My brave hobbit,” Estel whispered in a hoarse voice and kissed Frodo gently on the mouth. His mouth smelled of pipeweed and his strong arm had wrapped around Frodo’s waist, anchoring him. Nothing else mattered in the world. He had his Estel.

He did not mind that his heart had festered when it could be tended to with such care.

Date: 2008-02-02 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mews1945.livejournal.com
Such a great story. It has everything, danger and excitement, romance.

Date: 2008-02-02 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] baranduin.livejournal.com
The book would have been incomplete without something written in this universe.

It's perfect. And I really love the last line.

Date: 2008-02-02 08:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elanorgardner.livejournal.com
Great stuff from Lorie's verse. I love Estel/Aragorn in healing mode. Thanks for this Claudia!

Date: 2008-02-03 11:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] addie71.livejournal.com
Caring and brave hobbit; strong, handsom Ranger; sweet kisses at the end. What more could anyone want?

Date: 2008-02-04 02:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lireeli.livejournal.com
Oh so so damn sweet!! Want more! Can you do that? ;)
*hugs *

Date: 2008-02-06 01:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shirebound.livejournal.com
This is such lovely h/c. :)

Date: 2008-02-07 03:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilybaggins.livejournal.com
Ooo, this is such a wonderful little universe Lorie created--I wish people would write in it more often. Just play around on her playground all day. :)

Frodo is his usual darling self here---and Estel is almost worthy of him. ;D And Vik! Lovely to see Vik again---I must say I've really enjoyed this one!!!

Date: 2008-02-24 02:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovethosehobbit.livejournal.com
*gahhhh* slumps, faints

Date: 2008-02-25 04:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovethosehobbit.livejournal.com
Yes, unfortunately. I am keeping my mindset and doing what I want to do for a change. Namely catching up on LJ and writing. Belize was beyond words and I hope it's influence will stick with me for a very long time.

Date: 2008-09-04 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bonnysprite.livejournal.com
Ohhhhhh ... I'm smitten!

Must go find every single Frodo/Aragorn fic now!

Shame on you for getting me hooked! *G*

My brave hobbit,” Estel whispered in a hoarse voice and kissed Frodo gently on the mouth.

I'm a puddle of Frodo love now. Sigh.

Hope you have lots more of this duo for me to indulge in.

Thank you for sharing,

Date: 2008-10-21 12:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bonnysprite.livejournal.com
Oh my gosh, I can't believe I've missed this! I'm off to read, I do so love this pairing and wished there was more of them about.

Random query, I'm new to the fandom and pairing, well not exactly new anymore, I've been reading since August now, and I was wondering if there's a webpage or community just for Frodo/Aragorn fic? I really would like to read everything that's out there and maybe, if I feel brave enough, even contribute one of these days. I usually only write when I get frustrated from running out of fics to read, so I should be fine for awhile yet, especially if you've got a treasure trove hidden away. :) But I do hope for more and I do hope you haven't stopped writing them either.

Off to read then ... see you on the other side. :)
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