King Comes Home, The
6. The Shire
As Aragorn and his retinue neared the borders of
the Shire he saw three small figures on ponyback
coming to meet them, one in the black and silver of a
knight of Gondor; one in the colors of Rohan; and one
in ordinary Hobbit clothes. Smiling he raised his hand
for a halt, then rode forward alone to greet his
"My word, Strider," Pippin called as they came into
earshot, "it looks like you've brought half of Minas
Tirith with you!"
The King laughed. "This is only a tithe my company,
but I sent the others on ahead to Annuminas by the Sea
"Thank goodness for small favors." Pippin
answered." These are more than enough to go on with!"
"Indeed, I have my doubts about taking even this
many Men through the heart of the Shire." Aragorn
admitted as the Hobbits reined in before him.
"My dear Aragorn, our folk have got dinners and
pageants planned for you and yours from Greenholm to
Frogmorton." Merry told him. "Disappoint us and we'll
revolt or something!"
"I wouldn't care to risk that." the King conceeded
with a smile. "It's good to see you again my friends."
leaned down to grip first Pippin's hand, then Merry's,
and finally -
The remaining Ringbearer looked up at him with
tears in his eyes. "He's gone, Strider, he's left us."
"I know. I'm sorry, Sam, I did my best but -"
"What are you talking about?" the Hobbit interupted
indignantly. "Why if it weren't for you he might never
have woken up at all!"
"And if it weren't for you he would have died in
Mordor." Aragorn pointed out gently. "We are but
mortals, Sam. It's not our fault Frodo needed more
than it was in our power to give."
Sam sighed. "When you put it like that...but I miss
"And old Gandalf too." said Pippin as sadly. "He
didn't visit all that often, but there was always the
chance of him dropping by for a day or two - and now
"Gandalf had finished the work he'd been sent to
do." Aragorn said quietly. "Naturally he wanted to go
"Just like we wanted to come back to the Shire
after we'd done what we set out to do." Sam nodded.
"Who knows," said Merry, "maybe he's got a Mrs.
Gandalf and a whole tribe of little wizardlings
waiting for him over sea!"
Aragorn and Sam laughed. Pippin frowned. "That
couldn't be - could it?"
"Not children I think." the King answered, "But a
wife or sweetheart is not impossible."
"Speaking of sweethearts, did you know Sam here is
married?" Merry wanted to know.
"No I had not heard. Congratulations, Sam. I look
forward to meeting the Ringbearer's lady."
"He's been sweet on Rosie Cotton ever since they
were both in their tweens." Merry explained.
"And strangely enough she was sweet on him too."
put in Pippin.
"Unfortunately for her, Sam here never could scrape
up the nerve to actually pop the question." Merry went
"Until the night we all went down to the old Green
Dragon." Pippin continued. "All of a sudden, in front
of everybody, our Sam gets up goes over to Rosie at
the bar, gives her a kiss and walks out the door with
her on his arm!"
Merry grinned. "Forget Cirith Ungol, forget Mount
Doom, *that* was the bravest thing our Sam ever did."
"Which is just what Mr. Frodo said." Sam admitted,
red about the ears but grinning too. "Along with 'It's
about time!' and 'What took you so long?'"
"Hmmmm." said the King eyeing Merry and Pippin
thoughtfully. "We'll see how forward you two are when
you fall in love. You may get your own back yet, Sam."
The dignitaries of Greenholm, a village in the far
downs on the very edge of the Shire, stood on a wooden
platform decorated with flowers and ribbons. Three
portly, middle-aged Gentlehobbits with a pretty little
Hobbit girl clutching an immense bouquet beside them.
All four looked scared to death.
The Little Folk lining the sides of the road were
equally intimidated, staring round eyed at the
silvered armor and jewels of the Big Folk on their big
horses and quite forgetting to wave their flags or
This wouldn't do at all. Aragorn signalled for his
escort to hold back, reached over to take Arwen's hand
and they rode side by side up to the dignitaries on
"Wu-welcome to the Shire, King Elessar." the oldest
and fattest of them stammered. "And Queen
"Thank you," Aragorn answered in his broadest
country accent. "my wife and I are very happy to be
The Hobbit blinked, startled at hearing such homely
language from the regal figure in front of him. "As
happy as we are to have you I hope." he answered in a
sudden rush of fluency and confidence. "This is the
finest thing to happen to the Shire in my time. We're
right glad to have a King again. It'll be good to
finally get some law and peace here in the North."
"I will do my best to give satisfaction." Aragorn
replied with a bow. "Mr. -?"
"Oh, sorry sir. My name's Bolger, Fastolph Bolger
of Greenholm.(2) And this is Mr. Harald Hornblower,
and Mr. Rollo Faraway, all at your service, sir."
"At yours and your families." Aragorn replied
returning their bows. "And who is this young lady?"
"This is our little Violet," said Mr. Hornblower.
"Give the lady the flowers, sweetheart."
The little girl came to the edge of the platform
and held her armload out to Arwen, losing several in
"For me? Thank you, Violet, but I don't think I can
hold so many. Why don't you take this one back, and
this one and this one too." the Queen smiled, doing
her best to imitate her husband's accent, as she
quickly detached several flowers and returned the
little posy to the child.
Violet's eyes lost their glassiness and she beamed
happily, showing the gap of a missing front tooth.
The watching Hobbits, recognizing their cue,
cheered and waved their flags with a will.
Aragorn, glancing covertly around, was pleased to
see the Little Folk now gazing at the Big with
curiousity and delight in the unfamiliar trappings,
their initial nervous awe quite gone. His Gondorim
were smiling too, clearly charmed by the Hobbits, and
as a consequence looking much less intimidating.
It was eleven leagues from Greenholm to Michel
Delving, with crowds of Hobbits at every crossroad,
hamlet and wayside inn. The town itself was literally
bursting at the seams with what looked to be at least
half the population of the West Farthing come to see
the new King and his Queen.
A much larger delegation of dignitaries awaited
them outside the Town Hole headed by the Mayor of the
Shire, an immensely fat Hobbit named Will Whitfoot.
Beside him was a dignified figure in a suit of
miniature Numenorean armor ensigned with the Seven and
One stars of the North Kingdom, with a sword at his
side and a thin gold circlet on his head, who looked
uncannily like an older and heavier Pippin. (3)
"Welcome to the Shire, Dunadan." he said with a
Aragorn smiled. "Thank you, Perehir. It's good to
see you again." (4)
Pippin looked in astonishment from his father to
the King. "You two know each other?"
"I've ridden with the Rangers in my time," Paladin
answered, "like all the Thains and their heirs before
"I didn't know that!" his son sputtered. "Nobody
"You weren't old enough yet to be told - or so I
thought." to Aragorn. "I hope Peregrine gave
The King smiled. "He did indeed."
Pippin could only goggle at them both but Merry's
eyes narrowed. "I thought Uncle Paladin understood a
little more than he should, and my father too!" Looked
up at the King. "I suppose you know him as well?"
"We have met." Aragorn conceeded.
"You might have said so!" Merry glared up at his
friend and King, who smiled.
"Would you have believed me? You didn't believe I
was Gandalf's friend after all."
"Well yes but still..." Merry grumbled.
"As I told you at the time, I wasn't about to risk
telling you all about myself until we knew each other
better." Aragorn reminded him. "And by that time we
had more urgent things to talk about than my
acquaintance with your families."
"He's right you know." said Pippin. "I mean you
can't really expect poor Strider to start going on
about our fathers while we're dodging Crebain,
freezing in the snow or running from Orcs now can
"I suppose not." Merry conceeded, but grudgingly.
1. A road joining the three port cities of Dunhirion,
Mithlond and Tarcillion on the Lune.
2. Grandfather of Elanor Gamgee's future husband.
Grandson and namesake of the Fastolph Bolger who
married Pansy Baggins, Bilbo's great aunt, Frodo's
3. This is the formal regalia of the Thain, having
been given to Marcho by Argeleb II when he was granted
the lands of the Shire in return for his oath of
allegiance. This is the first time it's been worn, or
even seen outside of the Tooks' hoard, since the dark
days of the Fell Winter when Isengrim, eldest son of
The Old Took, donned armor and sword to lead the
Shire-muster against the invading White Wolves. Old
Gerontius himself wore the circlet at the subsequent
4. Perehir: 'Halfling Lord'. The name, or rather
title, by which the Thains are known to the Dunedain.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.