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Boundaries Redefined – Chapter III
“Why can’t Merry spank me?” Pippin wailed after Aragorn made his announcement regarding the spanking assignments.
“Because Merry was in the mud with you, little one,” Aragorn informed him. He stood, stepped around to where Frodo sat cuddled on Boromir’s lap and held out a hand to the Ringbearer. “And it is why I shall be spanking Frodo instead of passing the duty to Sam.”
“But, but, but, WHY?” Pippin pushed back against Merry as I stood. “That doesn’t make sense!”
Aragorn flashed Pippin a look of patient annoyance. He took Frodo’s hand and the hobbit rose from his warm seat with a reluctant, but brave, expression.
“Merry and Sam would try to discipline you as you deserved, but it would be unfair to ask them to do so,” Aragorn explained. “Their own feelings of guilt, though unwarranted, would surely get in their way. You are due a sincere spanking, Pippin, so that you feel fully disciplined for your teasing, which started all this, and I trust Legolas will see to your needs.”
“My needs?” Pippin now squashed himself even further into his poor cousin, his eyes wide, watching me advance towards him around my little brother. “My needs include never being spanked by an elf!”
Everyone chuckled softly. Aragorn and Frodo moved further from the glow of the firelight, heading off to find a more private place, Frodo glancing back at his cousins. I stopped beside the two hobbits and smiled down at Pippin, giving him a moment to accept the inevitable. Merry kissed his cheek, then said, “Go on, Pip. It’s just Legolas. Look at him. How can you be frightened of someone who looks like that?”
“Oh, for goodness sake, Merry! I’m not frightened of Legolas!” Pippin shot back. “I . . . I just . . . I just don’t want to be spanked!” Again, Merry offered encouragement:
“There, there. I know. But I’m afraid you haven’t a choice, so best get on with it. I know you know how strong elves are, but I also know you know that Legolas would never hurt you.”
“But, he’s going to--”
“Yes, he’s going to spank you, and yes, it’ll . . . well, it’ll hurt, but he won’t hurt you, my love, and you know the difference between one and the other. Just close your eyes and get it over with, and then you’ll be back here in my arms.”
Pippin blinked, then he frowned and twisted to face his cousin, saying, “You know, Merry, you’re always full of good advice, but, meanwhile I’m the one over Boromir’s knee, and Aragorn’s knee, and I’m the one about to go over the elf’s knee! So forgive me if I canna quite embrace your sunny attitude.”
Again everyone chuckled.
“For someone who dreads comeuppance as much as you do, young Took,” Gimli said, “you have an uncanny gift for entreating it.”
“What was that?” Aragorn called back.
“An observation,” the dwarf replied. “And true enough, so I’ll not beg pardon for it.”
I scowled at him nonetheless, which Gimli clearly enjoyed, then I dropped my gaze back down to my nervous charge. I held out my hand to him as Aragorn had done with Frodo. But Pip just sat there, staring at it, and seemingly unable to hear Merry, who was now promising plenty of salve and comfort upon our return. A slight whisper caught my ear, someone saying my name. I glanced off and saw Frodo, turned, his hand still in Aragorn’s who was waiting now, and watching.
“Legolas,” Frodo said, barely whispering, “help him. He cannot move on his own, but he won’t fight you. Pippin needs you to be strong, so take him in hand, for my cousin almost always needs help in accepting a spanking.”
I cast a slight smile at Pippin’s wise cousin, then I turned quickly, reached down and snatched Pippin up, settling him on my hip before he could even blink in surprise. Immediately, I turned and began striding off, ignoring my passenger’s gasp and his squeaked, “Merry?”
“I’ll be waiting right here, Pip, and I’ll have the salve ready!” Merry called.
We entered the woods. Pippin wrapped his arms around my neck and rode quietly, if rigidly, giving me no sass and no resistance, as Frodo had predicted. Surprising, given his degree of agitation moments earlier. I moved through the shadowy forest, wanting to go a fair distance from the direction in which Aragorn had taken Frodo. Pippin was going to be loud, and Frodo would likely be upset enough without also hearing his cousin’s wails.
Another memory of Gwin flashed in my mind, thoughts of the night that we had both been disciplined for trying to steal that cursed wine from those cursed dwarves. Perhaps talking of him earlier had brought Gwin to mind, or perhaps it was because the situation was similar – after a meeting of the company, whereupon the fate of two guilty parties was determined, they were taken off into the night by two who were intending to spank them. But for whatever reason, I found myself recalling how awful I had felt that night outside the Ranger camp when I had heard Gwin’s frantic cries. And now, moving through the quiet forest, thoughts of Gwin returned.
“Legolas, how do you bear it?” he had asked me late the next day as we grimaced in our saddles. Our spankings had been just the night before, two of them for me, actually, so sitting a horse proved memorable. In answer to my questioning glance, Gwin continued: “Clearly you have endured this act before, this . . . this being spanked. Have you not?”
“Well, how can you suffer it? The humiliation and the pain?”
“I do not know how to answer you, Gwin,” I had said, becoming annoyed. My bottom was throbbing and my temper short and I really did not care to discuss such a personal matter at the moment. “But I am startled to discover that you have never been spanked before. Never. Not even by your tutors.”
“Come now, you know my parents. They would never allow such a thing,” he had muttered. “No one would dare. And they themselves would certainly never bother . . . .”
He had gone quiet for a while, and I did not press him for more. Gwin’s parents were not a subject I cared to discuss or think about. Refined, remote, distant and beautiful, they had bestowed upon their only elfling their material wealth and their exquisite looks, then apparently, felt that they had done enough. Gwin was little more than an accessory in their lives, and he was accorded about as much importance.
But Gwin was, nonetheless, irrepressible. It was one reason why I had taken to him so. His spirit had survived the daunting chill of his home life, and, as maddening as he could often be, I could not help loving him for his determination to remain the ebullient being that he was.
Riding next to him that day, I had felt him watching Halbarad’s back. Aragorn and his Lieutenant rode in front of the Company, and Gwin and I, being somewhat in disgrace, had fallen behind them a ways, apart from any others, so Gwin had been able to ask his questions safe from curious ears. It was unlike Gwinthorian to be so silent and reflective, though, even after mentioning his parents, and it soon became unnerving.
“Gwin,” I finally said, “I am sorry I snapped. Come, you can talk to me about it. Tell me why you are brooding, my brother.”
Gwinthorian’s youthful features were deceptive. He looked hundreds of years younger than he was, and there were times when he seemed like a green elfling, as indeed he did now. He looked at me, his enormous blue eyes reflecting his bewilderment.
“What that man did to me last night,” he began, then he paused, clearly searching for a way to express what he could not understand. “Halbarad . . . he took down my leggings, and he held me over his lap, and . . . and--”
“But, Legolas, I could have freed myself at any time. What he did hurt! I did not like it. I begged him to stop. I knew that I did not have to tolerate it, and if Aragorn turned me out for refusing to submit to such treatment, well, so be it! I could have stopped Halbarad. But . . . but . . . .”
“You could not bring yourself to do so.”
“No.” Gwin sounded as shocked as I knew he was. “He is only a human. I could have broken free and thrown him across the clearing! I could have knocked him unconscious with one blow!”
“Aye, you could have. But you could not have, either.”
“No. I lay there, and I felt I could not move, and he kept spanking and spanking, and he felt . . . he felt huge and powerful, stronger than me and . . . well, bigger than me. Well, he is bigger than me, but he is not stronger than I am, although it felt as though he was, as though I dared not challenge him, for he would surely win. Does that make sense?”
“It is like that for you? Every time Aragorn does this to you?”
“Aye. Every time.”
“And you . . . you accept it.”
“I do. Well . . . .” I thought about the night before, the battle I had given Aragorn and what I would, subsequently, be facing every other night for the rest of the week for punching him and running away. But I felt it too complicated a matter to get into at the moment. Gwin needed basic answers right now, not complicated particulars. “Aye. I do accept it.”
Gwin was quiet for a moment, then said, “Last night, when I asked you if you intended to suffer such treatment, you said --”
“I welcome it.”
I glanced at him, watching him think things over. So much to consider. Gwin was just beginning to touch on something so astonishing he could not quite grasp it all. But I knew him. He would work on it within, over and over, until he began to understand it.
He dropped back to think alone, and hours passed before he again sought me out. Aragorn and Halbarad were conferring with Garrick and Thayer and several of the elders, and I had climbed a large oak nearby, close enough that Aragorn could turn and see me if he chose to, as indeed he had, during his council. Gwin came to the bottom of my tree and looked up. I signaled him to join me.
“You did not welcome the pain,” he said, settling with a wince at my side.
I smiled at his bluntness. “No. Of course not. I never do.”
“You welcomed . . . you welcomed Aragorn’s care.”
“It is . . . nice, this care.”
I heard the hesitant softness of his voice and saw the raw longing in his eyes. So unlike Gwinthorian, this fragile bewilderment. My eyes stung with tears at the sight of him.
I dropped my gaze and murmured, “It is more than nice.”
“Please, tell me about that - about the ‘more.’” I glanced at him again, blinking at the urgency in his voice. “Please, would you . . . would you share all you can, what it is like, this special thing between you and Aragorn? I do not wish to pry into a private matter, but . . . but, please, if you feel you can share anything about . . . I long to hear anything you wouldst tell me. I-I trust you know what I am asking.”
I did. And I took a moment to turn my head and dash the tears from my eyes. I had the urge to take him in my arms and quiet his apprehension, tell him it was natural to feel what he was feeling, and that there was naught to fear, nor to feel anxious about.
My sad little friend was standing alone on the outside, looking through a window into a place he had never known existed. He could scarcely bear to look at all, yet Gwin yearned to enter, and he was asking me to help him find the way in.
I bid him come closer so that I could gather him in the crook of my arm while I talked. We spent a good deal of time in the shelter of that great oak. I quietly told my friend all I could, all I felt comfortable telling him, and when I had finished, I let him ask questions, of which he had many, and I answered them to the best of my ability.
Finally, Gwin was silent, his eyes glazed with tears. Before long, the tears spilled. I held him silently.
Finally, he murmured, “I feel . . . such a longing, such a big, hurtful longing inside. What is happening to me?”
I thought for a moment, then said, “I think you are awakening to something new, perhaps something that both intrigues you and frightens you a little.” He raised his head and looked at me, and I smiled and wiped the tears from his cheeks.
“Aye, my Prince,” he said.
“‘My Prince?’” I grinned. “Why, Gwinthorian, you never call me that.”
He smiled shyly. “Suddenly you seem so much wiser than me, and so much older.”
“Well, I am,” I teased. “But you never recognized my superior age and wisdom before.”
“Perhaps I should not have done so now, either.” We chuckled, relaxing into our old selves again, then Gwin said, “I am almost afraid to ask this, perhaps afraid to hope --”
I sobered again, startled to hear the word ‘afraid’ come from Gwin.
“Legolas, I wonder if Aragorn . . . do you think that, if you spoke to him . . . do you think he might allow me to, well, to stay with the Grey Company a little while longer?”
I smiled at him, and said, “Aye, sweetling.”
Gwin blinked in surprise. “You think so? You do? He might permit it? He really might?”
“I think he would send messengers to Mirkwood immediately, informing Ada that our plans have changed, and that we shall not be going there.” Gwin looked stunned. “Shall I tell you how I know this?” I asked, and at his mesmerized nod, I said, “Aragorn shall be pleased to allow you to stay because of his love for Halbarad, and because of what he and I saw last night.”
“What?” he breathed. “What did you see?”
“When we returned to the camp, Halbarad had moved the two of you from the central fire, where I had seen you earlier, to a smaller blaze where Garrick and Devon were, and where Aragorn had placed our belongings. Devon was asleep, pressed up next to Garrick, and the big warrior and Halbarad were smoking and talking. You were also sleeping, your arms wrapped around Halbarad and your face buried against his chest, so you do not recall . . . but perhaps you might not have noticed anyway. You do not yet know Halbarad as we do.”
“I might not have noticed what?”
I smiled quietly and looked at Gwin. “Halbarad’s expression, the contentment on his face, the shine in his eyes. He had you gathered close, one arm curled around you, and his free hand, when not fiddling with his pipe, was slowly smoothing your hair.” Seeing it again, I smiled – Halbarad with that look of serenity on his face, and Aragorn with his utter pleasure at the scene. “It was delightful seeing how at ease Halbarad looked, how comfortable, how . . . how happy.”
Gwin’s eyes had grown huge. I held on to him to keep him from reeling off the branch. “Legolas, do you think . . . could he . . . do you think Halbarad could . . . could he perhaps care for me someday as Aragorn cares for you?”
“Someday?” I cast him a soft smile. “I think --”
“Because, oh, if only he could! I-I – Legolas, I felt so at peace, wrapped in his powerful arms and held against his big body. I felt so at peace that I slept! My backside throbbed from what he had done to me, and yet I slept in his arms, feeling . . . feeling safe!”
I grinned and nodded and let him burble. Gwin, when terribly excited, needed to expend that energy. He could not pace and bounce about when in a tree, but he could burble, and he did, his eyes wide and glistening.
“I-I never wanted that feeling to stop. I could not feel it enough! I fought sleep. I wanted to stay awake and not miss any of that feeling. And, and, and . . . when he held me over his lap, oh Legolas! It was as you said just now, I felt . . . helpless, and yet, so secure. He was spanking me, and he was telling me things, like how . . . .” Gwin paused to wince. “. . . how ‘naughty’ I had been, speaking to me as though I was an elfling, and yet, it was just as you said! I felt that warmth inside me, as though the heat he was spanking into me was spreading throughout me, and I thought myself half-mad when he finally stopped spanking because, because even though I was very glad he had stopped, a part of me--”
He dropped his gaze and shook his head, his shimmering tresses catching the moonlight, and when he spoke again, his tone was hushed and a little broken. I waited.
“Part of me wanted to stay there. He spoke to me so softly, touched me so gently, and then he picked me up and held me, and ai! Legolas! I never, ever wanted it to stop.”
“Of course you did not,” I said. “And I feel certain that Halbarad was loath to stop as well.”
He glanced up at me quickly, then he paused and thought, then said, “Not because he enjoyed causing me pain, but . . . but because he liked giving me his care? He liked giving it as much as I loved receiving it?”
I grinned and gave him a quick hug. “Of course. He held you closely all evening and throughout the entire night. Therein lays the answer to your question. Could Halbarad care for you as Aragorn cares for me? My guess, little one, is that he already does. I saw the look on his face last night, as did Aragorn, and I think he would do anything possible to see that look on Halbarad’s face more often, even if it meant keeping your troublesome self here amongst his precious Rangers. And so, I think our Captain shall send forth messengers at daybreak, if you are certain this is what you desire, Gwin.”
“If I am CERTAIN?!”
“What goes on up there?”
Gwin and I glanced down at the gruff question voiced from below, and there we saw Aragorn and Halbarad standing on the ground, fists on hips, frowning up at us. Gwin giggled softly next to me. I grinned at him and winked, then looked back down and called, “We are having a fine conversation.”
“I should say so,” Aragorn remarked. “Are you aware that you have been perched up there for several hours now?”
“A fine, long conversation.”
Gwin and I were grinning now and swinging our legs. “Was there something you needed?” I asked.
“Aye,” Aragorn said. “I need the two of you to come down.”
I glanced again at Gwin, murmuring, “Shall we have a little fun with them, my brother?” He was giggling too much to do anything but nod. “Come. Play along.”
“Legolas!” Aragorn demanded.
“I am here.”
“Aye, and therein lies my problem. I want you down here.” Aragorn pointed to the ground before him.
“But we are not finished talking yet.”
“Aye, you are. Come, the hour grows late.”
“If you are tired, my lord, I invite you to find your bedroll, but my kinsman and I do not require as much tedious sleep as you mortals.”
Aragorn and Halbarad exchanged slow looks, then they turned rather odious grins up at us. Halbarad now spoke. “Gwinthorian.”
I cringed and bit my bottom lip. Below, Aragorn darted a quick look to Halbarad.
“Do you recall what I told you last night about my name, little one?”
“Oh.” Gwin winked at me, grinning like mad, and I began to entertain sincere doubts as to the wisdom of ever encouraging cheekiness in Gwinthorian. “Forgive me, Hal,” he went on, the model of sweet innocence. “I forgot.”
I fought to keep from groaning aloud. Gwin needed no tutoring in bedevilment. He had a gift for it. Discretion, however, was not his strong suit. Alas, he would needs find his way with Halbarad in such matters without my assistance. He was now on his own.
Halbarad cleared his throat and said, “It is time you came down.”
“A question first, sir?” Gwin asked. He really was better at this than I was. I prepared myself to be entertained.
“What is it?”
“Aragorn said that he wanted us to come down because the hour grows late. Is that right?”
“Meaning, I assume, that you would like to get some rest.”
“That is two questions.”
“That was not a question.”
Halbarad made a small growling sound in his throat. “You and your kinsman shall come down from there now, Gwinthorian.”
“Because Aragorn ordered you to.”
“No, he did not,” I said. “I asked if he needed something, and he said he needed us to come down. He did not, however, order it.”
“I order you to come down,” Aragorn commanded.
“Why?” Gwin asked again, more emphatically.
“Because if you do not,” Halbarad said with disturbing calm, “I shall fetch Garrick, and we shall climb up and haul you both down from your perch.”
“How high are you willing to climb, sir?” Gwin asked.
“Pray do not trouble Garrick, Halbarad,” I interjected, sensing that this could get out of hand quickly with Gwin at the helm. Both warriors were now standing with their arms crossed over their chests, and such a stance was not promising. “Aragorn has ordered that we come down, and we shall do so,” I replied. “Presently.”
“I order you to come down forthwith.”
“No one has answered my question!” Gwin said with mock indignation. “Why have you ordered us to come down?”
“The order is sufficient, Gwinthorian,” Aragorn said. “I should think that last night’s lesson would have taught you something about obedience to orders.” He turned to Halbarad and said, “Obviously you did not give this little one enough instruction, Lieutenant.”
“I should say he did!” Gwin cried.
“Hmm.” Halbarad nodded grimly. “Aye, my lord, I fear you are right.”
“Perhaps you would like to hear of a certain plan I have mapped out for every other night this week,” Aragorn went on. “A plan I learned of long ago from a wise teacher.”
Halbarad gave him a lazy, wicked smile. “Indeed I would.”
A shot of alarm coursed through me. “Aragorn! No!” I cried. “We are coming down!”
Gwin flashed a startled look at me. “What?”
“Come.” I stood up on the limb. “Play time is over.”
But Gwin rarely knew when to stop. “I just want to know why we must --”
“Because Halbarad and I shall sleep better knowing where the two of you are,” Aragorn shot back with obvious impatience. “You may not need sleep, but resting quietly will harm neither of you, and given your recent behavior, Halbarad and I shall only be able to relax fully with an armful of elf.”
Gwin blinked and said, “Oh. I see.” He smiled sweetly, clearly quite content with that thought. “Very well then. Why did you not simply say so? When you put it that way --”
I flinched, then looked at the hobbit whose curious little face was but inches from mine. “Aye?”
“Are we going back to Rivendell?”
I halted and took my bearings, then I gave him an indulgent frown. I had not come far. My memories had only taken a few minutes. Pippin was merely getting impatient.
“No, Peregrin. Can I assume by your question that you are eager to go over my knee?”
“Ohhhhh, no,” he said with a casual shrug. “I’m in no hurry. Walk as far as you like. It’s a lovely night for a stroll.”
“It is indeed,” I replied. I stood still and clasped my hands together beneath his bottom and looked up at the stars. “Lovely night for so many things.”
He fell silent. I watched him from the corner of my eye. He studied me, then he looked up, following my gaze, then he glanced down at me again, then he fidgeted, then coughed, then cleared his throat, then said, “Legolas?”
“I think I’m being quite brave about this.”
I chuckled softly and turned to kiss his forehead, “I should say you are.”
“And civilized. I think I’m being very adult and brave and civilized about this.”
“You are most impressive. And I should not make you wait any longer.” I strolled on, glancing around for a likely place to sit and turn him over my knee. Ever accommodating, nature provided a fallen log just ahead. “I am sure you would like to get this over with.”
“Truly, sir, I’m in no hurry,” he said, squirming when he saw where I was heading. “Perhaps we could have a chat first.”
“Peregrin,” I said.
“We don’t chat enough, Legolas.”
I sighed and sat on the log, settling him on my lap – right side up. He squeaked, then gave me a glance of mild surprise. “Ah,” he said with a nervous smile. “A chat then?”
I tried to subdue my grin, but he looked too Pippinish for me to stop myself. “A short one,” I said. “Tell me why you are so nervous."
“Nervous?” His eyes widened. “Why am I nervous? I’m about to be spanked, and you’re asking me why I am nervous?” Pippin snorted. “Actually, I’m not ‘nervous’ at all. I’m flat-out, weak-knee scared!”
“But, you have been spanked before --”
“Aye, and often! Right?” he interrupted. “But I’ve not fashioned a liking to it, and I can tell you that no matter how many times it happens, or how frequently, a body simply doesn’t build up a tolerance for it!”
“I should hope not, lest it cease to serve its useful purpose,” I replied.
“I . . . I just . . . I’ve never been spanked by an elf before.”
I studied him, sensing more. “Do you fear that I shall be particularly rough with you, little one?”
He gasped. “No! No, I don’t think that.”
“Frodo survived my frightening elvish prowess.”
“Aye. Of course he did.” Pippin murmured, gazing off with a puzzled frown.
I smoothed a few dangling locks from his forehead and played with them a little, letting the strands curl around my fingers, smiling at the softness of them. I found everything about these little ones endearing. Pippin turned to me again, his expression winsome and bewildered, and I suddenly recalled something Merry had once told me about him:
“It’s best you not try to understand what my cousin is about, Legolas,” he advised me, when I had been puzzling over some odd comment Pippin had made. “I know him better than he knows himself, and even I can’t fathom what’s going on with him sometimes. If you ask him to explain himself, he most likely won’t be able to. But, I try not to worry about it. Pip is just Pip. Part of why I love him so is that sweet peculiarity that is just Pippin.”
I smiled gently and kissed Pippin’s knit brow again, then said, “Perhaps you are ‘flat-out, weak-knee scared’ because you are fearing the unknown. So let us get past this mystery and on with what needs doing.”
Before he could draw breath to lodge a protest, I picked him up and turned him over my lap, bottom up this time. All he had time to do was squeak and gasp. I undid his braces and pulled down his britches with such speed that he squealed and reached back to cover his charming little bottom with his hands. It was so clearly a spontaneous reaction that I had to grin.
“This will not do.”
It seemed he could think of no response, but neither did he remove his palms. They stayed cupped over his rounded bottom. I fought back a chuckle at the endearing sight, then I grasped both of his wrists and moved them up to hold at the small of his back.
“Now,” I said, patting his soft, sweetly rounded little cheeks, “I have brought you far from where Aragorn took Frodo, so you can bellow your lungs out.”
“I had planned to do that no matter where you took me!” Pippin gasped, wiggling uselessly.
“Aye,” I said, lifting my hand. “So I thought.”
Having often been a recipient of that first shocking spank myself, I feel for the trembling soul who lies over my knee, receiving his. It is always alarming, and the sound of it is awful. I challenge the mightiest warrior to keep from flinching when that first swat arrives. A hobbit can do no less than jump. I began spanking Pippin with nice even blows, hobbit-spanks, less force than I used with Aragorn, and less than what I would be using with Boromir when the time came – and that would be soon.
They break down so quickly, these little ones. I was more accustomed to Aragorn’s stubbornness. I had spanked a hobbit only once, and this experience was going to be far different from when I had spanked Frodo. After only a few swats Pippin was already proving more active than his cousin had been.
But Frodo had been so humiliated that he had started weeping before I struck my first blow. Then Frodo cried. He kicked. Eventually, he sobbed. But he did not wrench about as his younger cousin was doing now. I actually had to increase my hold on Pippin, pinning him more firmly to my lap. And still he wriggled and bucked, straining any part of himself that was not fastened down. Within minutes he had kicked his britches completely off, just as Aragorn had warned me he might do.
“If he is drowsy when you bring him back, do not forget his britches lying on the ground,” Aragorn had murmured with a small grin. “When last I spanked him I walked a good distance away before realizing that I was carrying a bare-bottomed hobbit.”
Picturing that, I had chuckled, but I made note of it lest I did indeed forget to retrieve his britches and had to return for them. For now, however, he was indeed a lapful of active hobbit, much more frenetic than Frodo. And more vocal. But loud was Pippin’s genius.
He had bellowed when Boromir spanked him, and when Aragorn spanked him, and every time Merry had taken him in hand, Pip bellowed for Merry. So, of course, he would now bellow for me. I was glad that I had taken him a fair distance away from the others. Only the trees heard him, bouncing Pippin’s wails off their trunks and sending them up into the vastness of the night sky. And Pippin provided plenty of wailing to bounce.
But, suddenly, his tone became somewhat alarming. When my brother warriors had spanked Pippin, he had been crying and upset before his actual spanking had begun. I had listened but a little before withdrawing my attention and leaving the scene. He had been loud from the start, aye, but not like this, not this distraught, this instantly.
“Lego-Legol-las! St-Stop!” he cried. “Pleeeease! P-Please no-no m-more!”
I did stop, just to see what would happen. He hiccupped in surprise, quieting instantly and confirming my suspicions. This was not real distress. It was temperament. Had he been in real trouble I would have known it the moment I had stopped. His frenzy would have continued. So this was something else entirely. I doubted Pippin meant to do what he was doing, but it could not continue.
“Pippin,” I said in a calm tone, “I have been at this for less than five minutes.”
He sniffed, then whimpered, “Less than five minutes?”
“That canna be right.”
I pressed my mouth into a firm line and scooped him up, flipping him around and sitting his warming behind back on my lap with one swift move. He stared at me in mute shock, his cheeks damp with shed tears, his mouth open, eyes huge and glassy.
“Wha – what are y’doing?”
“What are you doing?”
Pippin gaped at me, a few tears spilling from his lower lashes. Wiping his eyes with the heels of his hands, he simply sat there, staring at me, clearly thunderstruck. I waited. Finally he stammered, “I-I’m doing what I always do when someone’s sp-spanking me.”
“No, Peregrin. You are not.”
“You are fussing much more than you did with both Aragorn and Boromir.”
“Aye, little one. And at this rate, you will make yourself sick ‘ere I finish with you. I cannot have that.”
He watched me, breathing harder now. “B-But, wh-what d’you mean, ‘you canna have it?’” he asked, his voice trembling and his accent thickening with his rising distress. “Legolas? Are-Are y’mad at m-me?”
I smoothed back the curls sticking to his damp cheeks. “No, sweet, I am not angry. I am concerned.”
“But-But I always --”
“No. Not like that.”
“But I-I DO! JUST like that!” Pippin exclaimed, looking suddenly panic-stricken and twisting his fingers together. “I-I cry a l-lot and I beg for it to stop, and-and I yell loud and long and I kick and I wail JUST like that! I really, really DO!”
“Shhhhhh, sweetling, listen to me --”
“I’m SOR-ryyy! P-Please! I-I-I’m sorry!” He started crying anew, hitching, small sobs. “I’m so s-sorry! Please, please forgive m-me! Please! Don’t stop! D-Don’t stop!”
Astonished by his urgent alarm, I gathered him close, folding his shaking body to me, kissing his curls and whispering against his ear, “Shhhhhh, hush now, hush. I am not angry, little one. Quiet down. Listen to me.”
He buried his head against my neck, his arms grasping my shoulders. “I’ll be-be good! I will! I’ll be good! Just don’t stop! Don’t! P-Please d-don’t! I-I’ll behave! Please, Legol-las! Don’t ta-take me b-back!”
Ah! Of course! Pippin would indeed panic if he thought I was about to abandon him! It had happened to him before, and although the scar had healed, the threat of such a thing, even in his own mind, would slam into this little one with shattering force.
“Pippin, enough!” I said more firmly. “I do not intend to take you back. Listen to me. I plan to finish this spanking in a moment, so take a breath and settle down that I might talk to you. Fear not. Your spanking will go on. ‘Ere I return you to your waiting cousin, your bottom will be throbbing with an elf’s discipline.”
Only then did he quiet, and with a suddenness that again stunned me. He sucked a sharp breath, drew back and gazed at me, his brow knit and his eyelids pink, as was the tip of his small nose. Dear little Took. Like fair Frodo, he was a mess when crying.
I smoothed my palm over his curls, and kissed his brow, saying, “Aye. An elf’s discipline. You have not escaped your trip over my knee. But, before I go on, you and I need to settle a certain matter, for I shall not risk your well-being by allowing you to become ill with upset.”
Pippin sniffled and wiped his sleeve along his face, still gazing at me with confused fascination. “Y-You’re n-not mad at m-me?”
“Certainly not, little one.” I gave him a soft, comforting smile. “I know that you must be loud. I shall give you every reason to be. But I expect you to be upset about what is happening to your poor bottom, not screaming in fear over some false terror that might be filling your head.”
He sucked a broken breath and let it out slowly. “Oh, my. I see,” he said in a hushed tone. “Now I understand. I was doing that, wasn’t I?”
I smiled gently again and nodded once. “Aye.”
“And that’s why you stopped. Because . . . because you were afraid? For me?”
“Aye. That is the only reason I stopped,” I said, brushing the backs of my fingers over his dewy cheek. “I expect you to become upset. In fact, I mean to make certain you become so, and I shall only end your lesson and release you when you are squirming and wailing and kicking and thoroughly spanked.”
He blinked and flinched and looked properly startled, but a flicker of relief also entered Pippin’s gaze, and he even crooked up the corner of his sweet mouth in a tiny grin, despite my dreadful words. “Oh,” he whispered.
I crooked a small grin back, then sobered and said, “But you were becoming too frantic too soon, sweetling. Had I let you go on as you were, I fear you would have become overwrought and exhausted in no time. That is what I could not allow, and that is why I stopped, to talk this over with you, and to give you a moment to collect yourself before I continued. And I shall indeed be continuing, Peregrin. I am not near finished with you yet.”
“Ohhh!” Pippin’s face tightened again and he threw himself at me, hugging me fiercely around the neck. “Oh, Legolas, I’m sorry! I dinna mean it! I understand now. And I’m so sorry.”
“Shhhhh, I know,” I said wrapping my arms around his quivering body. “I know you did not realize what you were doing, but I must be ever mindful of your safety. I stopped only to work this out, and work it out we shall. And then, little one, rest assured, you shall receive a tanning you shall never forget.”
He clung to me tighter and a small whimpered, “oh!” escaped his throat. Then: “Oh, dear. Well, I-I guess that’s a good thing. I-I mean, no, it’s not a good thing . . . but, well, it is.”
I smiled and gave him a moment to let that feeling of safety soak in, and suddenly Gwin flashed into my mind once more, his soft voice echoing in my memory:
“I made a great commotion, I know,” Gwin had said later that night. We lay facing each other across a small space, our two Rangers spooned up behind us, sleeping peacefully, their arms wrapped around our waists, keeping us fastened securely against them.
After finally coming down from our tree and receiving a few stinging swats each for our sass, Gwin and I had been escorted to where Aragorn and Halbarad’s bedrolls lay spread and waiting. Devon and Garrick were already sleeping, Devon enclosed within Garrick’s embrace, and within moments Gwin and I were also gathered into the position in which we still lay quietly, our Rangers soon falling asleep, leaving Gwin and me to murmur into the night.
“I could hear how loudly I was howling,” Gwin continued. “But I could not stop. It never occurred to me that you might hear my cries. I am sorry.”
“Nay, I am sorry,” I had told him. “I am so sorry, Gwin.”
He had looked instantly bewildered. “Whatever for?”
“I . . . I should have stopped you, and instead I let myself be provoked into going along with your silly plan. I did not like what you said, about me becoming less elvish. I let my ruffled pride overrule my good judgement.”
“Surely you do not blame yourself for what happened!”
“I knew with a fair certainty what would befall us were we caught. I knew! And I should have been responsible enough to --”
“Ah, Legolas, you great Princely fool!” He chuckled softly. “I withdraw what I said about your wisdom.”
I stared at him, bristling. “You plague of a bratling elf.”
He chuckled more. “Oh, I am sorry, but, ai! Legolas, how can you apologize to me after all we have spoken of this night? Think on what we have said. Look at where I am, and consider my humor. You know me better than anyone. Ask yourself if you have ever seen me thus; then ask yourself if it is blame you deserve, my sweet brother, or credit.”
I fought a grin. Gwinthorian could move marble statues with the combined force of his exquisite beauty and his unfailing charm, and I felt a tingle of joy at his words, yet I thought again on the night before, and I found myself saying, “But, I heard you! I heard your screams, and it was awful! My heart broke for you! I am accustomed to this, but you sounded as though you were being slain. Aragorn spoke truly to get my attention, saying you most likely had never been spanked before--”
“And he was right. Pardon my zeal, but that was my first time over a knee.”
“Aye, but all the more reason for me to regret what befell you! Because I was not strong enough to stand up and tell you ‘no,’ you suffered terribly.”
Gwin sighed and looked indulgently annoyed, then said, “I screamed from shock, and from the dread of what might yet come. I sobbed at my helplessness, a helplessness that did not seem right, or even real, as I told you earlier. I had no idea how long he would spank me, or if his swats would get stronger – no notion of what to expect next. I was at his mercy.”
He paused and smiled sadly, then said, “But, ah, my poor, dearest Legolas, hearing me bellow, fearing for me and feeling guilty for having caused my suffering! I shall tell you this, despite all my screams, I sensed that I was safe. I knew it, deep inside me. And yet, it felt good to yell and sob and kick and writhe around on his lap. It helped me somehow. I needed to do it, to satisfy an urge within.
“Aye, there was indeed pain and a certain fear, but there was also an inner knowing that all was well, an inner sense of safety. You likely feel this, too, when you are facing a particularly serious spanking, when your nervousness and uncertainty are greater than usual. You know Aragorn, and you know you can trust him to take care of you, but still, there is that little element of the unknown that makes your apprehension worse, and perhaps makes you bellow louder.”
I nodded, mesmerized by Gwin’s sudden depth of insight, urging him with my silence to go on.
“And so I bellowed,” Gwin said with a shy grin and a shrug. “Whether or not it befit what he was doing to me mattered not. I had to bellow.”
I sniffed a small laugh. “Oh, I am certain your bellowing was merited by what Hal was giving you.”
“Halbarad!” he quickly said, and we grinned again, then he paused and watched me for a long moment with a soft, wry smile. “I am sorry I upset you with my screams, my cherished Legolas, but this beloved man was not ‘harming’ me. He was spanking me, caring for me as no other ever had, and it melted some part within my soul that had been ever frozen, never thawed. So, dearest Legolas, pray take credit for your part in that rather than considering blame. Blame has no place here.”
Shivers had rippled through me at his words, my eyes glazing over with unshed tears. Behind me, I had felt a kiss touch me through my hair where Aragorn’s warm breath had been steadily moving, and his solid body pressed closer to mine, snuggling into every space and crevice from my neck to my knees.
The small bundle in my arms now shifted, Pippin apparently restless after only a few minutes of quiet. I loosened my grip enough for him to lift his head and turn his wide green-eyed gaze up at me. “I’ll try, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to calm down and behave.”
“Oh, I feel quite certain you will not.”
“But, then, what can I--”
“You must feel free to yell and cry all you like. I wouldst never deny that to you. As I said, I will, in fact, require it. But now I would know why being over my knee in particular creates such fear within you. My bid to simply ignore it and begin has failed, and I apologize for that, little one, but we shall try to reason it through first, then see how you fare.”
I had not forgotten Merry’s words to me about Pippin being unable to explain himself, but I felt an attempt should be made nevertheless, even if it uncovered but a small part of his mysterious fear.
“But, I don’t know why.”
“I think you do.”
He gazed off, narrowing his eyes. “I think . . . well, elves are very strong. They don’t look particularly strong, but Frodo told us how powerful your kind really are, and I think my imagination began to spin out of control, wondering just what a spanking from such a being would feel like . . . but, you’re right, Frodo survived being over your knee, and he also took a spanking from Boromir on top of yours. So, yes, that must be it. You’re right – I just didn’t know what to expect.”
I watched him. He darted a shy glance my way several times. “Aye, fear of the unknown is indeed part of it,” I said. “But there is more, is there not?”
Biting his bottom lip, he dropped his gaze to his lap, then he gasped and yanked the edges of his billowy shirt down close to his knees, even though he had already been decently covered.
“By the Old Took! I-I’m sitting here without my britches!”
It was impossible to keep a straight face. “Aye, sweetling,” I chuckled. “You kicked them off some time ago.”
He went a pretty rosy shade and huffed, blurting, “Well! Well, excuse me, but I find that just a wee bit embarrassing! And that’s just it, isn’t it? I’m not being spanked by Aragorn, or Boromir, or my cousins, or even Gandalf! I’m about to be spanked by an elf! And a royal elf! A Prince! And, and, and forgive me, yer Highness, but you add that up, and for some odd reason it comes out to be more humiliating than being taken over all those other laps! And don’t go asking me why that is, because I don’t know why!”
So. There it was. Pippin blinked, realizing what he had just said. He groaned and lowered his head and covered his face with his hands, but I pulled him into my embrace again and simply held him, letting him hold on to me while embarrassment coursed through him.
I more than understood. When I was younger, my father had disciplined me. Elrond had even disciplined me. But there came a time when Glorfindel had just cause to discipline me, and I suffered from such dread at the thought of going over the knee of that particular Elf-lord that, just before I was to meet Glorfindel in his chambers at Rivendell, I fled Elrond’s realm in a panic. I decided to return to my father’s kingdom alone, throw myself on the mercy of my ada and let fate take its course from there.
Of course, I was quickly dragged back to Rivendell in disgrace, facing far worse than if I had simply accepted that one spanking from Glorfindel. But for some reason, going over the knee of this beautiful elf whom I had watched and admired and respected was simply too much to bear. The humiliation felt more intense than it did with others, and there was no explaining it. I was not harboring a secret passion for Glorfindel . . . well, not a serious one at any rate, yet I simply cringed at the thought of shattering in front of him, of losing my dignity, such as it was, in front of this particular, astounding elf.
I held Pippin now and realized that, within his most private heart, he, too, had such feelings, and he could understand them no better than I had been able to understand mine a thousand years ago. It made more sense now that he would dread this, though. Elvish strength alone had seemed a thin excuse. He knew he was safe with me. That special hot coil of embarrassment was a far better explanation.
It could not, however, take precedent over what needed doing. I was likely going to have Pippin over my knee more often than just this first time, so this needed addressing now. Even if he continued to hold a special dread for a spanking from ‘the elf,’ he would, at least, have the small comfort of the same foolishly simple understanding Glorfindel had helped me see so long ago.
I pulled Pippin away from me gently and kissed his brow again, saying, “No need to say anything further, little one. I do understand.”
He raised a bashful glance my way. “You do? You understand?”
“More than you can know. And it is all right. It is simply harder to be spanked by some than by others, is it not?” He nodded. I smiled and smoothed his curls again, adding, “Not all things have to make sense. Some things just are. Most likely you shall always dread a spanking from me, and it shall doubtless come up again.” His cheeks grew pinker and his winsome smile returned. “But perhaps now it shall be a little easier to face.”
Pippin looked skeptical. “I dunno know about that, but I do feel a bit better. And I apologize for yelling at you. I guess . . . I guess there were some things that needed saying though, weren’t there?”
“Aye. You are still dreading this, though.”
“Of course! But, somehow, that fear of the unknown has eased.” He turned a contemplative look up at me. “It wasn’t the fact that you were an elf that unnerved me, Legolas. It was the fact that you’re you. Does that make sense?”
“A great deal of sense.”
“Well!” he snickered. “Imagine that.”
“And now, we have a task to complete.”
Pippin sobered, and I promptly seized him and deposited him once more over my lap, bottom side up, sweeping his shirt off his backside, which was not even decently pink anymore. He squealed, but I had already resumed spanking his round little cheeks, making up for lost time by setting a good brisk pace.
In true Peregrin style, he reacted immediately and with gusto, his first lusty howl arriving after my first half-dozen spanks. But these were the cries I had heard when Pippin was over Boromir’s knee, and over Aragorn’s knee and every time Merry took Pippin off privately and spanked him for acting like, as Merry put it, a ‘vexing hobbit-brat.’
These were Pippin’s normal, ear-piercing squalls, and though ever regretful of causing my charge pain, I nevertheless welcomed the sound of those cries, as well as his jerking kicks and his flailing attempts to cover his sweet little bare bottom with his hands, little good it did him
“He will make quite a ruckus, as you know,” Aragorn had also told me. “Pippin is a master of beseeching. He will plead for forbearance, but he does so because he knows he will not get it. It simply soothes him to fuss, long and loudly.” Aragorn had paused, then smiled sheepishly at me. “Forgive me, beloved. You need no instruction.”
“But I do,” I had insisted. “I have little experience spanking hobbits. I am grateful for any advice you can offer me.”
Aragorn had looked thoughtful, then he said, “Be prepared for the unusual, for these little ones are full of surprises and unexpected behaviors. Yet I trust you shall handle whatever Master Took may throw at you, elfling mine.”
I smiled, recalling Aragorn’s words. Pippin and I had indeed worked out this little problem, and now he could wail his apologies and his promises to behave, and he could entreat me to stop all he liked, safe in the knowledge that I would pay no attention. I would end this only when I was ready. What Gwin had said was true, and I knew from my own experience, that it did help to sob and kick and make a fuss. It helped release something explosive inside. And some, like Pippin and Gwin, were simply louder at it than others.
I released his hands now, ready to grasp them again if need be, but Pippin simply moved them to either side of his head where he took hold of my leggings, twisting the cloth in his fists. He had an amazing amount of energy. He had marched with the Fellowship all day, rolled repeatedly down a hill with child-like abandon, thrashed about in a mud hole, bathed in frigid waters, and he was now kicking and bucking and sobbing over my lap. I could not help admiring his stamina. As in all things, Peregrin Took threw himself into the situation with enthusiasm, and I, in return, determined to give this precious little soul all that he deserved.
I was proud of myself. Legolas laid down a good half-dozen swats before I let fly my first bellow. It may have been a personal record for me. But, in all honesty, it took me a minute to catch my breath after he’d swooshed me up and plunked me face down over his knees again. Six swats later, I had enough air to howl.
He was methodical, this one, and, it may have been my imagination, but I could have sworn that Legolas spanked with a certain, well, gracefulness. Graceful or no, however, the elf had a wicked swing and the same frightening accuracy when aiming his hand at a backside as he had when aiming his arrow at a target. And I was not imagining it – his spanks had a different feel to them. They somehow smarted more, something about the way his fingers licked across my bottom, quick and snappish, and with a brisk bite. The feel of it made me want to squirm out of my skin. And he’d just gotten started!
When it’s all over I often feel a wee bit absurd for losing control so quickly. I last longer with Merry. With the big folk, though, my control seems to instantly pick up and vacate the premises. Gandalf’s spanking at Bilbo’s party had been astonishing, but I think it was the shock of it being my first trip over such a big lap that made me break down quickly, because, in comparison with what was soon to follow from other big folk, Gandalf had been fairly mild.
Aragorn, now, oh dear! That first spanking at The Prancing Pony was fairly horrible, and every spanking the Ranger has given me since, the number of which I’ve lost count, has been the same. Except the last one, the sword-flinging one.
That spanking was the hands-down worst hiding I’d ever had in my entire life. I’d never felt anything like it, and I hope I never do again. And yet, I knew there was no escaping that. It had to be that way, and I’d welcomed it, invited it, even . . . not that Aragorn was waiting for an invitation. Oh, he’d had something to work out inside his head, and we all felt for him, but once he came back ‘round to himself, our Ranger came back with a vengeance and a woeful determination to set things right between himself and me. And I’d felt it for days afterwards, salve notwithstanding. Aragorn was far too practiced at walloping to suit my tastes. But then, so was Boromir.
I’d already started crying before he even had my britches down, the hurt of seeing Aragorn turn his back and walk away smacking into me right viciously before Boromir’s big hand did, so it was hard to say just how quickly I’d have broken down otherwise. But his manner was just as direct and confident as Aragorn’s. Clearly he’d had practice on someone’s unfortunate behind, and I couldn’t help thinking of this younger brother Boromir had mentioned. Poor lad. Boromir was not likely to stand idly by and allow a young brother of his to behave badly. If ever I met this little brother, I intended to find out if I was right. Tactfully, of course.
And now, the elf. And Legolas was doing a right respectable job; and it suddenly seemed odd to be lying here, taking even these few seconds to contemplate the spankings I’d received while my poor bottom was igniting yet again under yet another big person’s hand. An elf’s hand, highly skilled. This had to be an elvish thing. I knew I was right to dread it! I couldn’t wait to ask Frodo about this.
Legolas was right, though – Frodo had survived a double spanking from both him and Boromir. And Legolas was also right – I was afraid because I didn’t know what to expect. But, he was also right – it was more than that.
Spanked by Legolas. Ohhhhh, somehow the humiliation of that just churned inside me. And I could think of no reason why it would. Legolas was very pretty, but I didn’t have a wee crush on him like Frodo did. Besides, it didn’t stand to reason that something like fondness would cause such embarrassment. If it did, I’d be constantly embarrassed by Merry’s spankings.
But, bless him, Legolas helped, and he did it by saying the one thing I could agree with straightaway – that some things just didn’t make sense, and that it was alright that they didn’t. I couldn’t argue with such potty reasoning.
Right now, though, I’d reached that place wherein I could think of nothing else but my scorched backside. I’d long since stopped begging. My eyes stung from crying; my face was wet with tears; my fists were sore from squeezing elvish leggings; my legs ached so that I couldn’t kick anymore, and all I could do was sob . . . just sob.
I thought: *please, Legolas . . . please know that I can take no more . . . please know the way the others always seemed to know!*
Somehow, whoever was spanking me always knew when I’d reached my limit. I don’t know how they knew, having never been on the giving end of this. They certainly couldn’t go by my screams, and by the time I’d come to the end of my endurance, I usually had no screaming left in me anyway. But they always did know, and now, as if he’d heard my silent plea, Legolas slowed, and his spanks lightened to mere pats, and then . . . even that stopped, and he ran his fingers over my throbbing bottom. It felt like a sweet breeze, cooling a ferocious blaze.
“Shhhh, there, there now, Pippin,” he said in that hushed voice . . . that ‘Legolas’ voice, something between a whisper and a light hum, delicate as a lullaby. “Hush now, little one. No more. All over now. Shhhh. Just lie quiet, sweetling . . . . ”
I felt myself shudder, hiccup and release my small leftover sobs. Legolas murmured on, his words a calming litany, swirling around me, his hands now soothing, magically soft, one resting feather-like on my bottom, and one rubbing my back, underneath my shirt. I kept my swollen eyes closed, tears still leaking out slowly, further saturating the leggings beneath my face . . . and here came that familiar drowsiness.
“Of course you become sleepy after I spank you,” Merry had once told me. “You should see yourself over my knee, Pip. You’re like this small, wild thing, thrashing about and squalling, and when all that’s over, you’ve exhausted yourself. Oh, you’re awake enough, if you need to be, if I expect you to talk, but you’re as limp as an over-boiled cabbage leaf, my love.”
I had thanked him for the likening. Merry was right, though, as usual. My every strained muscle collapsed after a spanking. So now, when Legolas gathered me up and pulled me to him, his warm arms enclosing around me, it was all I could do to spread my legs and wrap them around his waist – always a move that challenges the question of modesty, but frankly, when in this state, modesty is the least of my concerns. My arms went ‘round his neck and my fingers tangled in his silky locks and I rested there against him, weak and drained and lost to anything outside the feel of Legolas.
Of course, with my loving Merry, I had no modesty to begin with, and certainly not after he had warmed my backside. A spanking from my Merry was a serious, but also a somehow more intimate act, and it often went on to further intimacy with us. The combination of a spanking and Merry’s singular talent in making me feel good afterwards would leave me screaming into Merry’s hand with more helpless fervor than I’d just displayed while screaming from his discipline.
With others, though, this was purely comfort, and even though my poor bottom burned, ahhhhhh . . . was there ever a sweeter pain? I drifted, light-headed, in the elf’s tender embrace, surrounded by the scent of him, almost too delicious to bear, like the honeyed grasses of spring after their first cutting, so luscious and rich a body could almost taste them on the tongue. I rubbed my face into his soft hair, feeling its brightness seep into me. And he rocked me. Of course, Legolas would. I love it when they rock me.
“I know you have made your amends to Frodo, little one,” he now murmured against my ear. “Nevertheless, you needed to be disciplined for your thoughtless words, even though I feel you did not mean to cause as much trouble as you did.”
I sniffed and said, “Well, I wanted to tease him a bit, and I know I probably shouldn’t do that, but sometimes . . . sometimes --”
“You cannot help yourself?”
I sighed. “Aye. But, I didn’t think what I said was that horrible. And . . . and before . . . my teasing Frodo like that, it wouldn’t have affected him like that before . . . before . . . .”
“Before the Ring?”
I nodded. “He . . . that wasn’t my Frodo, Legolas, not our Frodo, not my sweet cousin.”
“I know. And it frightened you.”
I nodded again, fresh tears springing forth, and I rubbed my face against his shoulder closing his hair in my fists over and over. “It did. It frightened me to see him like that, to know that he wasn’t himself. So scary . . . my poor Frodo!”
“Aye,” Legolas whispered. He leaned down and kissed my cheek. “He is still your Frodo, sweetling. But he is also the Ringbearer now, and you can help him by being more careful with your words. I do not mean that you should become overly solicitous, for he would know it, and that, too, would upset him. But you can pause and think before you give in to your urge to say something that might affect him. Do you understand, Peregrin?”
“In fact, such restraint would be a good idea overall,” he added, a slight hint of humor in his tone.
“Aye, my Prince.”
I heard him smile. “Why, Peregrin Took. Whatever made you call me that?”
I drew back to look at him. Legolas was mesmerizing. In the dark, his eyes were a deep, midnight blue, lit with some bright inner glow. “I don’t know,” I said, feeling a blush creep into my face. “It seemed . . . right, I guess.”
I couldn’t help myself. I reached up and touched his smooth, perfect face, cupping his cheek with my palm, and then moving down to rub my finger over his full bottom lip. He smiled suddenly and licked at my fingertip, jarring me into a grin.
“I would enjoy nestling with you out here longer,” he said. “However, I know of a certain young hobbit, salve in hand, who is anxiously awaiting your return.” My smile deepened, and so did my blush. “I think I should return you forthwith, lest I find myself on the receiving end of a Brandybuck frown.”
I laughed and said, “Pray, sir, do not risk that!”
“Nay, I have had enough hobbit passion for one day, thank you,” he said. “Would you like to walk back? Or may I offer you a ride?”
I caught the playful glint in his eyes and returned it, saying, “You know, before joining up with all you big folk, we hobbits had no trouble getting around on our own.”
“Ah,” he said, looking slightly disappointed. “Walk then?”
“Certainly not!” I exclaimed, then I laughed again at his surprise. “After getting around on my own all day, for many days, I relish being carted about by an elf.”
Legolas blessed me with his gentle grin, then he said, “Ah! I nearly forgot.” And he bent over, making me squeal and grasp tighter onto his neck. One arm wrapped firmly around my back while he searched the ground with the other, and then he sat up, my britches in his hand.
“You may need these.”
A fresh blush singed my cheeks. I shook my head and sighed. “I sometimes wonder if I’ll have any dignity left by the end of this Quest.”
“Ah, well.” Legolas stood, kissed my brow, and said with a tender grin, “Dignity, my sweet Pippin, does not suit you.”
To be continued --