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Chapter 9. Cutting It Close
The next day, Pippin knocked and entered at the study door when he heard his cousin's abstracted, "Come!"
Frodo sat at the desk, head bent forward, carefully adding a line to a map with his gloved hand.
Pippin waited until the line had been drawn, then stepped up to the desk, eyes sparkling with mischief. 'Cousin! I just had the most marvelous idea!'
Frodo turned. Pippin was not disconcerted, for Frodo had remembered the bandages this day and his pipe did not hang in midair as it had the last time Pippin had visited.
'What is it?' Frodo asked indulgently. His writing had been going well and he was in an expansive mood.
'The mushrooms at Maggot's are perfect right now! If you'd just give me a little help...' he was interrupted by Frodo's chuckle.
'You seem to have forgotten his dogs,' Frodo said.
'But if they can't see you...'
Frodo placed a big-brotherly hand on Pippin's shoulder. 'Dogs have a sense of smell, you know,' he reminded Pippin. He clapped Pippin on the shoulder and added kindly, 'You just keep thinking, Pip. You can use the practice.'
Later in the day, Merry was lounging on a comfortable chair in the study, feet up on the desk, paring his nails with his knife.
Frodo leaned back in his own chair and said contemplatively, 'You know, I never thought nail-biting would come in handy, but now that I have no way to see the nails to clip them...'
'I can see your point,' Merry nodded, sipping at his own ale. 'But what are you going to do about haircuts?'
Rose, entering with a tea tray, said, 'Were you needing a haircut, Mr Frodo? I could help you out there, I do Sam's hair and he's never complained.'
Frodo answered, 'I think I'll take you up on that, Rose, and thanks. My hair's been getting in my eyes lately.'
'How could you tell?' Merry asked, and they laughed.
'Come on in the kitchen when you're ready,' Rose said, and went back to her tasks.
Samwise came in later, to find Rose waving scissors and comb in the air about a headless Frodo. Her eyes were squeezed tightly shut, but she was laughing and talking animatedly. Pippin was gazing in fascination at the curls and wisps of hair that appeared midair, to float gently to the floor.
'There, finished, and a fair job, I'd say,' Rose pronounced, opening her eyes.
'How does it do that?' Pippin asked.
'Do what?' Frodo answered him with a question of his own.
'Your hair... as long as it's attached to your body, you can't see it, but the minute it's cut loose, it appears.'
'You're right,' Frodo said slowly. 'I'd never thought of that. It was the same way when I cut myself: the blood appeared when it was no longer part of me.'
Pippin nodded, unusually solemn. 'I've been thinking about it. It's like there's some kind of... invisible cream rubbed over your skin. I half expected to see food and drink go in; as a matter of fact I was looking forward to watching you digest a meal...' he didn't seem offended at the others' surprised laughter. '...but the food just disappears once it's in your mouth. Unless you chew with your mouth open, that is.'
'Pippin,' Merry said, annoyance plain in his tone.
Unquenched, Pippin jumped to his feet, rubbing his hands together. 'Well,' he said, 'Can't sit around here all day. I'm going for a ride, anyone want to join me?'
'No, you go ahead,' Merry answered.
'Supper's in an hour, remember!' Rose warned.
'Right! I'll be here with bells on!'
'That wouldn't surprise me,' Rose rejoined.
Pippin laughed and left the kitchen with a cheery wave. After he'd left, Merry shook his head. 'He never ceases to amaze me. I'd never even thought about the fact that you're invisible, but you're not transparent.'
'What difference does it make?' Frodo asked wearily. 'It's all the same in the end.' Merry had no answer.
That evening when Merry came into the study, he stopped in amazement to see a glass of ale tilt itself and some of the contents disappear.
"Frodo!" he said sharply. "I wish you wouldn't DO that!"
A low chuckle answered him. 'It fascinates even me, sometimes,' Frodo admitted. 'If I ever come to the end of my money, I can always hire myself out to do parlour tricks. Watch this!'
He picked up several items from the desk; from Merry's viewpoint the items began to float in the air, then were tossed up one by one... only to fall to the floor.
'Oops,' came Frodo's voice. 'I forgot, in order to juggle, I need to be able to see my hands, at least to get started!'
'You'd best put your gloves on, then,' Merry suggested. 'It'll still look like a neat trick, if you keep your shirt off.'
'Well, it's nice to know I've got prospects for the future,' Frodo said.
Notes to original reviewers:
OjosVerdes: Pranks. Hmmmm. Pranks. Wonder if Pippin has something up his sleeve? Cannot remember, it's been so long since I wrote this...
katakanadian: Good to hear from you! I always try to stay true to character, just love Tolkien's characters. Then once I have fleshed out a minor character, I try to stay true to my own characterization as well. Sometimes I manage, sometimes... they change. (Dynamic. Good word.)
endymion: Well, the invisibility might *not* be caused by the Morgul blade, it might stem from Frodo putting the Ring on his finger at Mt Doom and claiming it. (was that the right hand?) OTOH, it might stem from the fact that I'm somewhat dyslexic and cannot tell my right from my left without intense concentration.
Xena: If Tom could see Frodo wearing the Ring, why not have him able to see Frodo in his faded condition?
Dana: I love it when you giggle like a loon.
shirebound: Thanks for the review! Was glad to share Merry's memory of Old Man Willow with you. Gives me rather a pain in the middle, too, to think of him.
TxQueen: Yes, this pony is definitely on a different path. The story would have ended already if Tom and Goldberry had a solution for Frodo, now, wouldn't it? As it is you get 12 chapters! I hope that is good news.
katakanadian: You noticed the movie canon. I will occasionally throw something like that in, only if it does not contradict the books... (books first, movie second, me last--especially my inadvertent mistakes. Still cannot believe I made Estella 10 years too young)
Did I miss anybody? Sorry. Review again, will try to catch you next time. *grin* Love the reviews.
Several people commented on... Celeborn's letter... well, let's not give away any spoilers here. Tom and Goldberry's portrayal... thanks. It was the hardest thing I've ever written, next to elves. and dwarves.
Thanks for the kind words about my putting words in Tom Bombadil's mouth. Whew, it was a tough bit of work and Prof. Tolkien deserves most of the credit since it was his poetry I was cribbing.
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