(Finally! LotR!!! Oh, and, their winter holiday is called Yule, not Christmas, so don’t be thrown off. PS, no slash. Unfortunately, I always feel like I have to put that notice in… groan.)
On the ninth day of fanfic my H.G. gave to me… nine guys a-walking!
Boromir woke up and looked about him as Aragorn nudged him awake for watch. “It’s snowing,” he said, sitting up and rubbing his head.
“Of course,” said Aragorn. “We are on the foot of Caradhras. It’s always cold here.” He lay down. “Now take your watch with Gimli.”
Boromir looked over at the dwarf, who had snowflakes in his beard and an awed looked on his face.
“I take it you have never seen snow before,” said Boromir with a smile.
“Nay!” Gimli looked around. “I have, but never this much… and not in many a long year.”
They settled down to keep watch till the morning.
Legolas woke up as he heard the watchers talking “It’s snowing,” he muttered drowsily, and then he crashed back down onto his pillow and fell asleep again.
Gandalf lay awake, watching the snowflakes drift down to settle in his bushy hair, beard and eyebrows. He smiled a little, knowing the hobbits would be delighted. Then he frowned as he thought of how hard the journey would grow. Before he could reflect much on that however, he fell asleep again.
Merry opened his eyes to see a million snowflakes drifting to the ground. He gave a little gasp. “So much snow…” he murmured. He looked all about to see that he and the other hobbits had become buried in a nest of fluffy white.
“Pip, wake up!” said Merry, shaking his shoulder. Pippin gave a little yawn and turned over.
“I’m tired, Mer-Mer…” he groaned.
Merry half-lifted him. “Wake up, Pip!”
Pippin slumped into sleep again, his head dropped down, settling against Merry’s stomach. Merry pushed him off. “Please?”
“Why?” Pippin asked, yawning sweetly.
“Because there’s snow.”
The lad opened one sleepy eye. “I don’t -” He paused. “There’s… snow?!”
“It’s snowing,” Merry said. He flung his arms through the clouds of white. “It’s SNOWING!”
“Can you keep it down?” asked Sam drowsily from his place beside his master. “You’ll wake Frodo up.”
“But it’s snow, Sam!” Pippin gathered a handful, walked to the gardener, and sprinkled it into his red-gold curls. “It’s snow! I didn’t know there was this much snow in the entire world! Yaaaaaaaaay!” He flung a handful high into the air. “Wake Frodo up! He has to play with me!”
Frodo lay drowning in troubled dreams. Amidst the darkness of nightmares, he felt a loving voice gently coaxing him out. “Fro-do,” the voice sing-songed. He felt a soft kiss on his forehead and opened his eyes. Sam smiled at him and smoothed his hair. “Hello.”
“Hello… is that snow?!” Frodo sat bolt upright only to receive a snowball in the face.
“Gotcha!” shouted Pippin. Sam laughed. Frodo shot him an angry glare through a face full of snow, which only made Sam laugh harder.
“Is there any purpose in this watch?” called Boromir with a groan.
“Well, the sun is up, so no,” said Pippin, pelting him with a snowball, too. “And guess what today is?”
“What?” Frodo complained, wiping his eyes on his cloak.
“First Yule! Which means we get a feast!” Pippin danced happily about the camp, smacking everyone with snowballs. “A feast! And festivity! So we get to have fun all day! And eat snacks and have snowball fights and just be HAPPY!” He smacked Gandalf with three snowballs and then ran to hide behind Merry.
Frodo groaned and flopped down into Sam’s lap. “I’m going to be dead by the end of tomorrow.”
“Why?” Sam asked.
“Pippin will exhaust me until I drop down dead.”
Sam laughed again.
“We do not get a feast,” said Aragorn, standing up and buckling on his sword. “We have enough rations to get us to Mordor.”
“But we can go hunting, right?” said Pippin. “To get food for our feast?”
“Yes,” said Legolas quickly, before Pippin could get too upset.
“No,” said Aragorn. “There is no food to be found atop this mountain.”
“But when we arrive at a settlement, surely we can get more food to make up for the rations we eat today,” Legolas said, because Pippin was sitting down looking heartbroken.
“Perhaps,” said Aragorn. “But if we do not arrive at a settlement?”
“Can I have a word with you?” Legolas asked, dragging Aragorn behind a tree.
“Today is Yule,” said Pippin. “It’s special. We don’t even have to have second Yule. Can’t we just have this one?”
“My dear young Took,” said Gandalf, shaking his head. “Of our nine members, four are hobbits. Hobbits alone celebrate Yule.”
Pippin’s face fell. Gandalf came over and ruffled his hair. “I see you are disappointed, but we simply cannot delay.”
“Can’t we have Yule while we walk, then?” asked Pippin sadly.
Gandalf smiled. “We shall see.” He headed off to pack up the camp.
Pippin sighed and snuggled up against Merry’s shoulder. “I really hope we can have Yule, Mer-Mer.”
“I hope so too, Pip.” Merry ruffled the lad’s hair.
Meanwhile, Legolas was glaring at Aragorn. “That boy is far to young to be on this quest in the first place. Shouldn’t we at least let him have fun this once?”
“Fun? A quest is not fun, Legolas. A quest is dangerous. We have to worry about our lives more than our entertainment.”
“But Pippin shouldn’t have to,” Legolas pressed.
“Then Pippin shouldn’t be here!” Aragorn said, swiping a hand through the air angrily. “And neither should Merry. Even Sam would be better off elsewhere. They are too young. This is not safe for them.”
“But they want to stay with Frodo,” said Legolas. “They love him.” He laid a hang on his friend’s shoulder. “I know you do, too.”
“We all love Frodo,” Aragorn said. He turned around. “And that is why we must protect him. Wasting our rations and delaying the journey could be harmful.”
“But think of how happy it would make him, to see Pippin and Merry just being the young children they are, rather than the war heroes everyone is expecting them to be.”
Aragorn thought. “You’re right,” he admitted finally. “I’m being overbearing. I -”
Legolas held up a hand to stop him. “Just go tell them.”
Frodo looked up from the drawings he was making in the snow. “Strider?” he said as Aragorn knelt beside them.
“Can we have Yule?” asked Pippin, clasping his hands and crossing his fingers.
“Well.” Strider ran a hand through his hair. “Yes, but – ”
“Oh thank you, Strider!” Pippin hopped up and hugged him around the neck. “Thank you thank you thank you!”
Aragorn hesitated before hugging him back.
“But only if you agree that we can still walk.”
“Oh, of course!” chirped Merry. “But, can we have a feast?”
“Yes, but a small feast.”
“Yaaaaaaaay!” Pippin and Merry danced around the camp while Pippin chattered excitedly. “This will be the best Yule ever! Gimli, guess what? We get to have Yule and a snowball fight while we walk.”
“I thought that there was a snowball fight this morning, lad,” said Gimli, arching an eyebrow.
“Oh, no. That was just me hitting you. This time you fight back.” Pippin giggled. They both dashed over to Boromir. “Boromir! Boromir!” Pippin said.
“Yes, little one?” asked Boromir, ruffling the boy’s hair.
“We get to have Yule!” said Merry happily.
“Great!” Boromir smiled. “Um, what’s Yule?”
Frodo groaned. “Boromir, please don’t ask them that…”
So, the Fellowship headed out. Pippin and Merry wove in and out of the crowd throwing snowballs. Boromir grabbed a handful of snow and threw it back at them. “Retaliation!”
“Nooo!” said Pippin. “Gandalf! I’m going to get you!”
“Oh are you, my lad?” Gandalf waved his staff. “Ninim! Revio!”
“Eeek!” Pippin squealed as enormous snowballs began to form themselves and fly at him. “Take cover!” He ran and hid under Frodo’s cloak. Frodo wrapped an arm around him.
“Ha! I am safe here!” Pippin cheered. “Boromir, vanquish the snowballs!”
Boromir took out his sword and cut the snowballs into pieces as they flew past.
Frodo let Pippin out from his cloak. “All safe,” he said.
And then a snowball hit him on the back of the head.
Frodo whirled around. “Sam! Traitor, how could you?!”
Sam grinned, shaping another snowball. “Sorry.”
“You’d better be sorry!” Frodo flew at Sam and tackled him to the ground, pinning him down. “I should bury you in all this snow for that!”
“For hitting you with a snowball?”
“Yes!” Frodo said indignantly. “I thought I could trust you! I thought you would protect me from all evils! And now you’re attacking me.” He pouted.
“Oh, come on,” Sam said. “That is so fake.”
Frodo smacked him.
“I am going to get you for this, Samwise Gamgee.”
“Yes. I have you pinned,” Frodo said, grabbing Sam by the arms. In an instant, Sam had a grip on Frodo’s wrists, and he rolled him over.
“Who’s got who pinned now?” he teased, brushing a quick kiss on the top of Frodo’s head. Frodo giggled. “Looks like I’ve… got… you…”
“Stop! I have to extract my revenge… Sam, stop it! Let me go!” He broke off, laughing too hard, as Sam stubbornly gripped his wrists tighter.
“Incoming!” shouted Merry, throwing himself onto Sam and Frodo. Pippin joined the pile. “Death by hugs!” he said, wrapping his arms tightly around his cousin.
“Should we be trying to stop that?” asked Boromir, nudging his head at the hobbits, who were now trying to knock each other off the pile with snowballs and flailing arms.
“Oh, let them have their fun,” said Legolas, who was walking on top of the snow. “It’s Yule, after all.”
“I still don’t understand what Yule is,” Boromir huffed.
“Really? I rather like it,” said Gimli. He threw a snowball at Legolas and then dashed ahead while the elf screamed, raking wet crystals from his hair.
That night, they ate a double portion of rations, the four hobbits all leaning on each other, as they munched their food and told stories of Yule, winters, feasts, and snow fights. Aragorn even pitched in with a story of Lord Elrond tripping in a snowdrift and landing face down, legs sticking out of the drift and kicking until his was rescued. This made Pippin laugh so hard that he spit the soup Sam had cooked all over Gandalf’s face. Rather than being angry, the wizard used a spell to clean himself, and then another to levitate a snowing cloud above the tween’s head.
Finally they all went to bed, the four hobbit nestling together under all four of their blankets, Gandalf staying up to watch with a lit pipe, and the others flopping about on the ground.
“I’ll still get my revenge,” Frodo whispered to Sam across Merry’s head.
Sam smiled. “I should really never hit you with snowballs, eh? Be keeping that in mind.”
Frodo smiled back. Sam ran a hand down his cheek. “So, did you have fun?”
“Good.” Sam leaned over Merry’s sleeping form to kiss Frodo on the brow. “Sleep well.”
They reached their hands over the other two lad’s sleeping forms, and their fingers met and clasped. It had been a wonderful Yule.