Disclaimers: All canon material from The Lord of the Rings trilogy belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien, New Line Cinema, Warner Brothers and Turbine. All canon material from "Star Wars" belongs to George Lucas and Disney. All other canon material belongs to their respected owners. I only own the plot, original characters, etc.
This one-shot came about from the 100 drabble challenge, but it is a stand-alone work.
Frodo played his hand well. From the dimly lit room, in a corner of the pub, the gentle-hobbit managed a clean sweep of cards that won him the game. The reward was given to him fast: 10,000 gold coins and a free trip to the planet Gondor. He wasted no time, thanking his opponent with a firm handshake.
"Well done," Frodo said.
"Hm. You just watch yourself," the hobbit across from him spoke, disgruntled.
"It was a good game nonetheless," he said.
"Whatever. Enjoy your winnings," the hobbit said, standing up and heading towards the door.
Frodo could admit he played well. Leaving his opponent alone, he approached the counter, hoping to get his earnings and, perhaps, catch the eye of a certain female presence? He was a scoundrel after all. What was the worst that could happen? And yet, his gaze was met by a golden haired hobbitess. Must have been a Took. Oh, here she was, advancing towards him.
"Congratulations on your winnings," the Took hobbitess said. She whispered in his ear, "You know who I am, don't you? I know you, Frodo Baggins."
"Shush!" Frodo lowered his voice. "If everyone knew who I was, then what I'm doing wouldn't be kept quiet."
"Your winnings, sir," the hobbit teller said, passing to him a large case, filled with his winnings.
"Is money that important to you?" the hobbit Took mistress said.
"Yes – no. I mean… hmm…" Frodo thought for another second. "I've got to go."
"They'll find you, you know." The hobbitess continued. "The men you're trying so hard to avoid. Let me help you."
"Pearl, I don't need your help," Frodo said, stopping himself from saying anything further. Of course he knew who she was. But he didn't have time for this. "I've got to go."
Pearl rushed up to him. "I'm coming with you."
"That would not be wise. You'll slow me down," he said.
"I'm coming along. I need to be with you when you go to the planet Gondor," Pearl said, accompanying him.
"Pearl, this is important. You'll get in the way. I'll have to protect you," he said.
"I'm great with the cannons. You need me, Frodo," she addressed him.
"No, I don't," Frodo said.
"Yes you do," Pearl said. "Why is this so difficult for you to understand? Would you like to keep your winnings or not? I can offer you more if we travel together. Promise."
"Uhh…" Frodo was confused. What should he do? However, his gaze diverted to a few orcs, scouting the area. There wasn't much room for choice, was there? "All right. Come on, Pearl."
"Come on!" Frodo said, taking off with his prize gold coins. He looked back once he reached the docking bay. Just as he turned around, there was Pearl entering the bay, right into his ship, which was a circular disc with two extended arms. Seeing no other options, he darted for his ship. He was lucky no one was following him or his freighter. He arrived up the exit ramp in time for Pearl to close the door after him. "Thanks."
"You need a co-pilot?" Pearl asked. "I'm a good gunner and…"
"Oh, I've already got a co-pilot," Frodo said, entering the holodeck. He showed Pearl his invited co-pilots: Samwise Gamgee, Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took, who was stunned to see his elder sister.
"Pearl, what are you doing here?" Pippin asked. Frodo raised an eyebrow, as his younger cousin asked, "Frodo, what did you bring her along?"
"I happen to be the best cannon fire mistress there ever was," Pearl said.
"Well, we do need a second gunner," Merry admitted.
"All right, she can stay," Frodo said, jumping to conclusions, "but only if she earns her way, on our trip to Gondor."
"Why do we need to go there -" Sam was shushed by the others. "In that case, she can join us."
"So, when are you going to show me around?" Pearl asked, excited.
"Pippin, you've done guard duty before. Guard her from anything that isn't in the cargo hold," Frodo said. He didn't want his prized gizka – squat little reptilian creatures with big eyes – running afoot aboard his ship again. He charged into the cockpit, ready to take flight. At that, Sam joined him. "Are you ready for this venture, Sam?"
"As ready as I'll ever be," Sam said.
"Then start the engines," Frodo said, pressing one button after another. Just like that, the engines started just fine. Oh, how he loved his new freighter. "And we're off." He said, as the ship took flight into space. Good, he was off that desert planet. Now, onto a much greener planet.
Frodo switched the ship into automatic. They were in hyperspace, but nowhere yet near their destination. Reaching Gondor would take some time to reach, but for now he could check out his loot. Finding his way into the holodeck, he set the case on the table. He opened it in time for his friends and Pearl to crowd around him. He moved the lid up, revealing stack loads of gold coins.
Ten thousand gold coins to be exact.
"I've never seen so much coins," Sam admitted.
"It is a wonder to behold." Frodo had to admit, "I won them while playing a card game. And now, I can bring them to Aragorn."
"What would a newbie king want with so much coins?" Pearl asked, confused.
"He's not a newbie." Frodo heaved a sigh. How was he to explain this? "He's been king of the planet Gondor for a year."
"So he's a newbie," Pearl said.
"How can I explain this to you better: what are you doing here? I thought Pippin told you we own the ship – or rather I own this vessel. Ha ha!" Frodo said, casually.
"You know we're on the same ship, right?" Sam said.
"Technically. But I own this vessel." He breathed in deeply. "Isn't she just right for a hobbit like me?"
"I thought this ship was Merry's," Pippin said, confused.
"It is, but I'm lending it to Frodo," Merry said. "Besides, he'll soon get another ship and we'll be much better off."
"Mr. Frodo, think about what you're saying," Sam said.
"So wait. So this isn't my ship." Frodo said, saddened by this news. "Well, I did hope for a well needed ship of my own."
"So, whose keep track of our arrival," Pippin asked, confused.
"I've got the controls. We're almost to Gondor anyway," Merry said, rushing towards the cockpit.
"Your ship?" Pearl asked, crossing her arms. Frodo knew she was speaking to him.
"I may have over exaggerated on the details," Frodo said, grinning sheepishly.
"Yes, but at least we didn't over exaggerate on our relationship," she added.
"No, we didn't," he said, calmly. "But we knew what would happen."
"We weren't meant for each other, like we used to," she said. She wiped a tear from her eyelid, admitting, "Well, at least we know who are now."
"Yeah. Right," Frodo said. For a moment, he thought he felt something, but it was small and faint. He admired Pearl, still cared about her, but felt like she was a sister to him. What they had as relatives was enough, and yet… oh, he couldn't dwell on these thoughts. He made his decision… and yet he still wondered what would have happened if he and Pearl… no. His actions were correct. What they had together, he and Pearl, was in the past. Now, they could focus on the future as friends.
"We're here," Merry shouted from the cockpit. Frodo arrived in the control room right on time. Merry didn't look back at him, but said, "Gondor, the white city world. Where literally, it's filled with marble and grassy plains."
"When we land, I need to speak with Aragorn about our winnings," Frodo said.
"What gave you the nerve to gamble, cousin?" Pippin asked.
Frodo smiled. "In time, you'll see what the smuggler's ways do to you."
"I'd rather be a cannon pilot," he said. "That way, I can blast enemy ships out of the way."
"Moving on," Merry said, as he docked the freighter. "We've landed." Finishing shutting down the ship's controls, he asked his cousin, "Frodo, do you know where Aragorn is?"
"By now, he's in the citadel," Frodo said. He brushed past Pearl, telling her as civilized as possible, "Excuse me there, miss."
"You're welcome," Pearl said. Frodo stopped. What an awkward thing to say? He thought. He didn't announce this to her, but when he hoisted the case off the table, latched shut, he hadn't expected her to follow him. "Where are you headed?"
"To a citadel." Frodo stopped before the entrance/exit ramp. "Look, just keep an eye on Pippin."
"I'm coming." Pearl was astonished. "You're not abandoning me this time."
"Of course not. Only if you don't want to come. It'll be a boring, endless transition with many plot holes to uncover," he said.
"So I'm coming?" She asked, confused.
"Of course you are. Being the gentle-hobbit that I am," he opened the door, gesturing forward, "ladies first."
"Good to know there are a few scoundrels with manners," Pearl said, heading outside.
Only when Frodo left the ramp, he was greeted by Gimli, who took the silver metallic case from him. Frodo was shocked, but the moment passed when Aragorn arrived on the scene, wearing royal robes. The gentle-hobbit bowed before the king, but not without making a request.
"A partial amount of that treasure is mine. Right?" Frodo asked.
"Yes, you receive one percent of the savings," Gimli said.
"One percent?" he grunted. "That's not the amount we agreed on."
"You see how he is?" Pearl shook her head. "Greed will be your downfall, cousin."
"Excited to see me now?" Frodo added, raising his eyebrows in faint surprise. He recovered, asking Gimli, "All right. Two percent. That's my final offer."
"Deal," said Aragorn and Gimli.
"And you can use my ship, unless you're fine with your cousins," Aragorn suggested.
"I'll stay with Merry and Pippin," Pearl announced. "Someone's got to keep an eye on them."
"Did someone mention me?" Sam asked, rushing onto the scene.
"You can co-pilot Aragorn's ship. I'm leaving. Farewell boys!" Pearl said, diving up the ramp and back onto the freighter. Frodo stepped back with Sam as the ship moved away.
"Wonder if they'll bring my stuff back," Sam asked, right as suitcases of Frodo and his stuff crash landing onto the platform. Sam grumbled, "Thank you, Merry and Pippin."
"We'll take your ship," Frodo said to Aragorn, calm and cool.
"Maybe we won't have another encounter with your cousins, Mr. Frodo. They are rowdy," Sam admitted.
"Well, when I do have a ship, I'll be pleased to see how it flies," Frodo said, smiling.
His wish was answered with Aragorn's flagship: a freighter with blue and white décor. He was stunned by the elegance, the pristine engines and no carbon-scoring… yet. Frodo couldn't help running up and down in ship's interior, checking out everything and how it worked. As for his and Sam's luggage, it was set in the cargo hold and accommodating rooms.
"Thank you, Aragorn," Frodo said. "I'll return with a few shipments and your thanks."
"Just don't damage it, my friend. You never know what lies ahead," Aragorn said.
"Well, I know where I'm heading: back to the Shire to restock," Frodo said.
"I wish you well, Frodo," the king said, shaking his hand.
"And to you." Frodo zipped off into the ship. "Let's go, Sam. Get those engines prepping."
"They're already prepped," Sam said.
"Then we're off."
The second they left the planet Gondor, they received a call for another shipment, heading to Bree. Frodo didn't mind. He had another ship and a good friend. What more could he ask for? Well, in any case, he was a very happy hobbit.
As for Merry, Pippin and Pearl, they enjoyed a little joyride through space. While it was fun, at the end of the day, Merry and Pippin returned to the planet Shire and dropped Pearl off. It was good to see her, but it was even better when they were reunited with Frodo and Sam.
Between the four hobbits, it was just another day in the life of a smuggler.
Thanks for reading. :)