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Dreamflower's Mathoms I  by Dreamflower

 SUMMARY: In which Boromir finds himself in a predicament, and Pippin proves his usefulness…

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The title came from Marigold. ( This was written for Marigold's Challenge #15. )

DISCLAIMER: Middle-earth and all its peoples belong to the Tolkien Estate. I own none of them. Some of them, however, seem to own me.


The Company was making its silent way through the chill air, walking along a pitched ridge, through the shadows and purple-grey darkness just before dawn. They would walk for perhaps another half an hour or so, before Gandalf would give the signal to halt, and they could begin their rest for the day.

Legolas was out of sight, gone ahead to scout a possible campsite for the day; Gandalf and Aragorn walked abreast at the lead. The four hobbits trudged silently side by side, quiet and exhausted. The earlier part of each night’s travel was usually filled with their quiet but persistent chatter, but as they neared the end of the evening’s march, they would begin to fall silent, saving their breath for the effort of putting one foot in front of the other. Gimli was leading Bill, and Boromir was bringing up the rear.

Suddenly, there was a thud, an “oof!” and the sounds of stones skittering and sliding. This was followed by another thud, and the sound of muttered imprecations. Everyone halted, and Aragorn walked back down the slope to the rear.

“Boromir?” he called softly. “Are you all right?”

The mutter stopped for a moment, and then the Gondorian called back just as softly. “I am, for the most part, unhurt. But I am also entangled in a bramble bush.” There was a brief silence, and then the oaths began again. They were remarkably inventive.

The hobbits and Gandalf had turned to listen.

“Boromir,” said Frodo primly, “do, please, watch your language.” Sam was blushing furiously, and Pippin was taking careful note.

Merry rolled his eyes. “Don’t be such a Baggins, Frodo!”

Pippin sniggered.

Frodo turned to make a retort, but it was cut short by Aragorn, calling out again.

“I shall come and cut you free!” Aragorn drew out one of his knives and started to head down the ridge.

But Pippin was already moving down towards the trapped Boromir. “That’s not necessary, Strider. I’ll get him out.”

“Pippin!” Aragorn hissed, and started to go after the young hobbit, but Frodo stayed him with an outstretched hand.

“It is quite all right, Aragorn.”

“Pip knows what he’s doing,” added Merry.

“I hope so,” said Sam skeptically. He was not so familiar with Pippin’s abilities as were his cousins.

Aragorn looked at Gandalf, who nodded. “Let the lad have a chance. Go and intercept Legolas. He should be on his way back to us. We might as well stop here for the day as anywhere else.

Boromir gaped in surprise at the appearance of the small Took.

“Hullo, Boromir. This one’s pretty prickly, isn’t it?” Pippin lay down on his back and gingerly scooted beneath the bush, carefully avoiding any entanglement of his own. “You will need to stay very still, so as to not get scratched up.” He reached nimble fingers up, and gingerly began to remove the thorny vines from Boromir’s arms. “We’ll get them off your arms and out of your hair first. Lucky you don’t have any on your face. It wouldn’t do to get your eyes scratched, would it? That could be really nasty, it could--” The whole time he spoke, clever fingers were gradually moving the brambles away.

“How’s it going?” This came from Merry, who now was squatting down next to the bush and watching his younger cousin work.

“It’s going to take a while, Merry. There’s a lot more of him than there is of us, if you know what I mean.”

“Pretty good, Mr. Pippin, if I might say so--” said Sam, adding his own observation. “That bush is pretty overgrown.”

“Is everything well with you, Boromir?” asked Frodo.

Boromir, who had been watching his small rescuer with astonishment, said “Yes, I am not hurt at all, just caught. I do apologize, Frodo, for my outburst of language. I forget that I am not with soldiers.”

Frodo blushed. “No, I am sorry for saying anything, Boromir. I tend to forget that I am not in the Shire, and that some young people are not so young as they were.”

“Thank you for that observation, Frodo,” said Pippin, moving away a long section of vine. “I do think you could remember that more often. Merry, would you mind holding this bit out of the way? I am afraid that it will whip back if I let go. Mind the thorns.”

Boromir suddenly realized that his arms were free, and started to move them, but Pippin said curtly “Be still!” He had begun the more delicate and slightly painful work of removing the brambles from the trapped soldier’s hair.

Boromir subsided, and to distract himself, asked “Pippin, how did you acquire this skill of--of--” he stopped not certain exactly what to call it.

Pippin was concentrating on a particularly tricky bit near Boromir’s left ear, tongue between his teeth, and could not answer, so Merry said “Well, he’s had to get us untangled from briar patches often enough.”

“How many times would that be, Mr. Merry?” asked Sam curiously.

Frodo chuckled. “Too numerous to count, I would imagine, Sam.”

Merry laughed. “Now Frodo, don’t be that way. Let’s see, there was the time we were running from the Boffin lads, after we had caught them napping under a tree and painted their faces--”

“And--” added Pippin “there were two times when we were trying to avoid Farmer Maggots’ dogs--”

“Only twice?” asked Frodo. “I’m sure you raided the Maggot farm more than twice! Even I did better than that!”

“No,” said Merry, “only twice that we had to use a bramble bush to get away from the dogs.”

“Well,” said Pippin, “--here, Sam, can you hold this bit? The worst time was not our fault at all, was it Merry?”

“No, indeed it wasn’t!” He looked at Frodo. “I think you can guess whose fault it was. We were trying to avoid--”

“Let me guess--Lobelia or Lotho?”

Merry gave a shudder. “Both of them!”

“Bless me, Mr. Merry! I think I’d’ve dove into a briar patch, too, to avoid them two! No offense, Mr. Frodo.”

Frodo chuckled. “None taken, Sam. You know what I think of that branch of the family.”

“And who--” asked Boromir, flinching a bit, as Pippin tried to disentangle a bit of the vine caught in the hair at the back of his head “--are Lobelia and Lotho?”

“Lobelia Sackville-Baggins and her deplorable son, Lotho,” said Merry. “Poor Bilbo and Frodo have been afflicted with them as relations. I am sure they have never done anything so ill as to have deserved Sackville-Bagginses in the family, but there you are. No accounting for blood.”

“Lobelia and her husband Otho” explained Frodo, “thought they would be Bilbo’s heirs; they tried to get Bag End when he had gone to deal with the dragon and the Dwarves, but he returned and foiled their plans. And they never forgave Bilbo for adopting me, or me for being his heir.”

“Lobelia has a voice that would peel paint,” said Merry.

“And--” said Pippin, as he managed to get the last of the briars from Boromir’s hair, and began to unwrap his torso, “Lobelia is fond of using her umbrella to thump young hobbits she thinks are being cheeky. She always thought Merry and I were being cheeky, even if we never opened our mouths.”

“And Lotho is a bully and a lout,” added Merry. “Frodo was even obliged to bloody his nose for him once!”

“Don’t remind me!” said Frodo.

“I don’t know why not,” said Merry cheerfully. “It was one of my more delightful childhood memories. He looked so astonished. You really did a splendid job on him, and he quite deserved it.”

Boromir chuckled, fascinated with the conversation. “I can see why young hobbits might find a bramble bush more congenial company!”

“Absolutely right,” said Pippin. He pulled a particularly long bit of thorny branch away from Boromir’s chest, and handed it to Merry to hold back out of the way. “If you move slowly, Boromir, I should think you could sit up about now. I will try to begin on your legs and feet next.”

Boromir sat up rather carefully, and realized that the rest of the Fellowship had decided to also watch Pippin at work. His face flamed; this was really embarrassing. He glanced once more at the hobbits. They, at least, did not seem to feel this was altogether undignified.

Pippin scooted his way downwards, and started on the parts of the bush entangled around Boromir’s legs. There were only a couple of tricky parts.

“Your boots are hard and slick; the brambles have not stuck to them. I will hold these branches back, and I think that you could stand up now if you move slowly. Please try not to tread on me.”

The Man carefully followed Pippin’s directions, still torn between embarrassment and amusement. He stepped away from the bush, and gave it a rather baleful glare. Pippin slowly slid himself away from the brambles, and Frodo extended a hand to help him up. Then Merry and Sam let go of the branches they had been holding, which whipped right back into place. Boromir winced at the thought of how that would have felt, if he had yet been entangled there. He began to dust himself off, as Merry and Frodo extended that service to Pippin, swatting at the back of his jacket, and picking through his chestnut curls.

“Oi! Leave off! I can do it myself!” But they ignored him until they were satisfied with his appearance.

Boromir bent down to look Pippin in the face. “I thank you for getting me out of there, and with no more scratches than those I got getting in.”

“Oh, well,” said the tweenager lightly, “it’s about time I did something useful on this trip.” But his green eyes shone with pride at the praise.

“That was a very instructive bit of work, Pippin,” said Legolas.

“I know I was impressed,” added Gimli.

Aragorn was shaking his head in amusement, as the beaming Took went to help with setting up camp for the day.

“Did you hear that Merry? Gimli was impressed!”

Gandalf gave a soft chuckle, his eyes twinkling. “As I have said before, hobbits are amazing creatures. And there is seemingly no end to their talents--especially if they are Tooks!”


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