Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Keep Him Secret, Keep Him Safe

Author: shirebound
Nominator: Darkover
2011 Award Category: Post-Ring War and Beyond: General - First Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Medium Length
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Aragorn falls ill at Cormallen, which Éomer feels must be kept a secret. But there is more to this illness than meets the eye, as Frodo discovers. My usual h/cccc, very hobbity, mostly book verse. Characters include Elladan and Elrohir.


Reviewed by: Darkover -- Score: 7

This is a brilliant story, told by a fine author. The story is packed with excellent dialogue and character development, and it is faithful to Tolkien's bookverse. All the surviving members of the Fellowship, as well as the King of Rohan and twin sons of Elrond, are utilized in this story. There is a lot of well-written friendship and hurt/comfort, especially of the hobbits toward Aragorn and each other. The title derives from Eomer's apprehension when Aragorn falls ill; remembering the final days of the reign of Theoden, Eomer fears that the Men of Gondor will not have sufficient confidence and respect in and for the future King if they see him ill and vulnerable. So, he and Aragorn's other friends and family take steps to comfort and protect him until the new King can resume that role himself. In so doing, they show great devotion to each other, and Gimli invents bunk beds! This story is very well written and was a pleasure to read.

-- Thank you so much! I'm pleased you enjoyed the story, and greatly appreciate your kind words. Janet ("Shirebound")

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 6

I love this story by Shirebound, one of her self-proclaimed h/ccc stories, filled with warmth and love and hobbitiness, and best of all, Frodo gets to take care of one of the Big Folk: namely Aragorn. He's not the only one, as a debilitated Strider hides out to recuperate among the hobbits at Cormallen, hidden from the prying eyes and possible gossip of the soldiers. Sam, Merry and Pippin also do their share of helping the King recover, and so do the remaining members of the Fellowship and Eomer, Elladan and Elrohir! There is humor, warmth, love and the wee-est touch of angst, all adding up to a story that makes me sigh with happiness at the end. All of Shirebound's stories make me give a little sigh of contentment when I finish reading them, and this one is no exception.

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale -- Score: 6

This is an author-designated "h/ccc" in which Aragorn falls ill, and the remaining members of the Fellowship tend upon him in secret. Also attendant are Elladan and Elrohir, who quickly divine the underlying causes of their foster-brother's malady: he has not had a proper rest since the stay in Lothlorien, and he is badly depleted from healing both Frodo and Sam. The story focuses on Aragorn and Frodo as they deal with Aragorn's illness in different ways: Aragorn must relearn how to accept the help of friends after his stint in Lone Ranger mode, while Frodo, blaming himself for Aragorn's condition, must learn a similar lesson in accepting the sacrifice that his friend made on his behalf. Entertaining details like the hobbits' introduction to lemons (to which Frodo takes an immediate disliking) make this a pleasant, engaging read.

-- Thank you so much. I'm pleased you enjoyed the story, and greatly appreciate your kind words. Janet ("Shirebound")

Reviewed by: Inzilbeth -- Score: 6

Anyone who has ever read any of Shirebound's stories will already know that she is the supreme mistress of the hurt comfort tale and this one set on the field of Cormellan at the end of the War of the Ring is no exception. It is slightly AU but not in a way that challenges belief for those, like me, who prefer canon. Aragorn did, after all, have to put forth all his strength to save Frodo and Sam when they were rescued from Mount Doom so it is perhaps not stretching things too far that he fell ill afterwards. As always in Shirebound's stories the hurt comfort is gentle and there's plenty of humour to balance it out. It's always good to see Elladan and Elrohir portrayed well and Eomir is particularly impressive in this tale. One feature that stuck in my mind was that Gimli invented bunk beds, not something I was aware of previously! This story, like all of Shirebound's, is a delight to read.

Reviewed by: Fiondil -- Score: 5

During the days when the Army of the West is camped in the Fields of Cormallen, Aragorn falls gravely ill and it’s up to the Hobbits and their friends to see to it that the rest of the camp is unaware of the king’s illness. Thus follows a lovely, and gently written (as only Shirebound can do) tale of love and the caring of friends. I loved that Elladan and Elrohir figure prominently in this story. They don’t get enough coverage, IMO. And Eomer shines in this, as does Gimli. For those who can’t get enough of hobbity hurt/comfort stories with a dash of Ranger thrown in for good measure, this is an excellent tale in which to indulge oneself.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor -- Score: 5

As any reader of shirebound's stories will tell you, these tales are good! This one deals with the immediate aftermath of the Battle of the Black Gate. We have elves and men and hobbits and dwarves. All well written with familiar and true charachter voices and expected.behaviors. But all is not as it seems and each one of those drawn into this tale learns something of himself. Great humor, great suspense, a tear or two along the eay and a satisfying ending. Bring a towel, though. The Hobbits bathe rather messily. Hoorsy again for such tales from shirebound.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 5

I've always wondered just how could anyone endure all that Aragorn does without eventually collapsing from exhaustion and indeed, my very first story set in Tolkien's universe explored this idea. This heart-warming and delightful story explores what happens when Aragorn collapses caring for the Hobbits which gives his friends a chance to care for him. I especially enjoyed the amount of love and care Eomer, amongst others are able to show to Aragorn and the scene when the Ranger and then the Hobbits get a much longed for bath is lovely. A most enjoyable story.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 4

This is a lovely story, full of warmth and friendship. The characters come to life. The hobbits are just the way I imagined them. They each have their own unique voice. I love Gimli's industriousness. The stacked beds are a great idea, although he forgot about the hobbit's unease of heights. But it is the thought that counts. The friends of the fellowship pull through together when Aragorn falls ill, and he has to learn to accept the help of his friends. I love the final talk Aragorn and Frodo have together.

-- Thank you so much. I truly enjoyed writing this story, and am so glad you enjoyed it. Janet ("Shirebound")

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel -- Score: 4

Shirebound is probably the mistress of the extremely gentle hurt/comfort (with heavy emphasis on the comfort) fic, and this story is no exception. What makes this one a little different than many of her tales is that the main focus of the comfort is Aragorn rather than one of the hobbits which she so dearly loves. Filled with comfort and gentle humor, and a really pleasant read.

Reviewed by: cairistiona -- Score: 4

This is one of my "bookmark to read again and again" stories. Shirebound is the queen of gentle hurt-comfort and this one is fabulous in that regard, plus it's firmly rooted in canon, as even her AU stories tend to be, and the characterizations are spot on. It's such terrific fun to see everyone from Pippin, Merry and Sam to Gimli and even Eomer working so hard to keep everyone from knowing that the soon-to-be King has fallen ill and exhausted! Definitely a must-read for Aragorn h/c fans!

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 3

In Keep Him Secret, Keep Him Safe, shirebound effectively reveals to the reader a brief, gapfilling interlude that fits seamlessly into Tolkien’s pre-existing chronology. Using appropriate mood shifts and humor, the author has created a fun, light-hearted tale, complete with suitable epigraphs.