Format: Short story
Characters: Frodo, Aragorn
Creator’s Notes (optional): With grateful thanks to hhimring for the plot idea.
Summary: Frodo is ill at ease at the coronation.
“So I stand still in front of the crowd,” Frodo muttered to himself. He would rather that he were anywhere but here being stared at by what seemed like the entire population of Minas Tirith. Of course, he wanted to see Strider crowned, but why couldn't he have watched from some quiet corner? He had argued with Aragorn about being given a prominent place in the coronation procession, but the King was adamant that the Hobbits were to be seen and honoured by all.
The walk to the barrier had seemed endless and Frodo was certain that people were staring at him and trying to see his missing finger. He kept his hands clasped in front of him to try to conceal it, but he felt acutely self conscious. He mentally chided himself. He was not the only one to have been injured. What about Pippin, and Lord Faramir and Lady Éowyn, to name but a few ? Their wounds were healing or had healed, though. His injury was permanent, forever reminding him of his weakness in claiming the Ring for himself. How could he ever overcome his failure? Had it not been for Gollum, Sauron would now reign supreme and have crushed everything good and beautiful in Middle-earth.
Frodo forced himself back to the present. Faramir was giving a speech which seemed endless. Did he really have to list all of Strider's many names?
At last the speech was over and Faramir held up the Silver Crown which he had heard so much about. Frodo gazed at it in awe. It was a truly beautiful object, worthy of the man destined to wear it. He had asked Faramir about the lore surrounding a coronation and the Steward had told him that Kings were originally crowned with a war helmet but Atanatar II , who had reigned about two thousand years ago, had loved luxury and insisted on having a beautiful jewelled crown made.
Aragorn took the crown and spoke words Frodo had read were used by Elendil himself when he first came to Middle-earth. The Hobbit gave a sign of relief. It would soon be over now. Aragorn would put the crown on his head and they could all withdraw to somewhere more private.
Aragorn, though, spoke again, “‘By the labour and valour of many I have come into my inheritance. In token of this I would have the Ring-bearer bring the crown to me, and let Mithrandir set it upon my head, if he will; for he has been the mover of all that has been accomplished, and this is his victory.”
Frodo froze in horror. Whatever was Aragorn thinking of? If anyone deserved to carry the crown it was Sam. Or what of one of the noble Knights here, Faramir or Prince Imrahil or or one of Aragorn's Northern kinsmen? Being honoured at Cormallen was bad enough but this was far worse!
Faramir held out the crown towards him and gave him an encouraging smile. Slowly, Frodo walked towards him and took the crown. His maimed hand felt clumsy and awkward. The crown was heavy and he was afraid he would drop the precious heirloom. He clutched on to it as if his life depended on it and turned towards Gandalf. The Wizard looked into his eyes and somehow his gaze gave Frodo strength to carry the crown without stumbling or it wobbling in his hands.
Frodo thankfully stood to the side once Gandalf took the Winged Crown from him and he watched as Aragorn knelt and the Wizard placed it on his head.
When Aragorn arose, it seemed to Frodo that he was somewhat changed ; a light shone around him and he seemed filled with glory and majesty. This might still be Strider, but he was no ordinary man.
The procession through the City was less of an ordeal for Frodo as all eyes were fixed on the new King. He stuck close beside the other Hobbits. Sam was wide eyed with the wonder of it all while Merry and Pippin concentrated on marching proudly as Knights of Rohan and Gondor.
Later that day during the festivities, Frodo found a quiet corner where he could sit unobserved. He became aware of someone nearby. He shuddered, suddenly feeling freezing cold as memories washed over him. He looked up to see Aragorn.
“I see the Ranger can still sneak up unobserved on his prey,” said Frodo.
“I did not mean to startle you,” said Aragorn. “You look frozen. Let me fetch you a cloak.”
“I am well enough,” said Frodo. “It is simply every time someone creeps up on me, I fear danger after months of trying evade Sauron's minions.”
“ I have come to apologise to you,” said Aragorn, kneeling before the hobbit so that they were at eye level with each other. “My impulsive action may have caused you distress. I simply wanted to honour you in front of all.”
“I hold no grudge,” said Frodo. “I deserve no honour though. I failed miserably.”
“You were far stronger than Isildur, “ said Aragorn. “You carried the cursed ring for many months before it overcame you. We are both changed ,you and I and we both have to overcome the past. I must learn to be a King and you must learn to live with being hailed a hero, whether you will it or not. In time, the memories of your ordeal should fail.”
“You wanted to be King though.”
“It is what I was born to be. It does not mean it will always be easy, though. My past was filled with action and travels. Now I must sit on a throne and make decrees. Maybe you were born to be a hero? We cannot comprehend the ways of the One. We can only fulfil the tasks appointed to us as best we can.”
Frodo laughed. “Now you sound like Gandalf!”
“I am trying to be wise now I am a king.” Aragorn laughed too. “Now if you are not too weary come and join the knights and ladies. Today is like a scene out of the tales of old you have always loved.” He held out his hand. Frodo took it and let Aragorn lead him back to the feast.