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My Birthday Gift Drabbles

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Beautiful music reached the hobbits' ears. Frodo sat up in the crotch of a tree, his book forgotten; Sam looked up from the simple supper he cooked for them both.

The words of the song were in Quenya.

"Sam!" Frodo whispered, his face alight. "Wood-Elves!"

They ran to the crest of the small woody hill and watched the procession from behind a hillock. The Elves bore lanterns and sang of Elbereth.

Sam sniffed. "Makes me happy, watching them."

"Why shouldn't it, Sam?" Frodo pulled his friend close and nuzzled the white hair at Sam's temple. "They've come home at last."

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Miruvor, a welcome draught after their day's work in Glorfindel's orchard (Frodo still had apple twigs in his hair). Sam took the glass from Legolas and toasted their guests.

"Ah!" Gimli smacked his lips. "Better than beer! Best thing I've ever drunk!"

Sam contemplated the Elven water's crystal beauty. He met Frodo's eyes. "There's but one thing I've drunk in my life was better than this," he said.

"Mine, too," Frodo replied.

Legolas cocked an eyebrow.

"Better than --!" Gimli's snowy beard bristled. "Ridiculous!"

The two old hobbits smiled at each other, remembering that bitter, oily stream in Mordor.

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The heavy cool weight gripped him, pulled at him. Fear rose in his throat, his heart pounded fit to burst –

But Frodo awaited him, hands out. He wouldn't let anything happen to him.

He pushed off, and did not touch bottom.

Like a pony, like a pony –

He kicked with his legs, thrashed with cupped fingers, coughed, spluttered, breathed – and gripped the hands. Four fingers and five pulled him to stand in the shallows, fiercely hugged him.

"I swam," Sam whispered, shaking. "Oh me dear, I swam."

"Never too old to learn something new!" Bilbo called from the shore, laughing.

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"Honey. I slept with Elijah."

The blow such news should have been wasn't there. Only the relief of finally airing something untalked-about.

"When did it happen?" Talking this way wasn't hard at all, this unburdening while looking at the dishes instead of each other, and handing them off with the unspoken ease of practice. There was a great deal to be said for domesticity.

"During that last shoot in New Zealand. He was a big comfort. I missed you."

Silence, save for the clinking of the silverware.

"Are you angry?"

"That's the odd thing. I'm not. Really. He's family. The kids adore him. I love him too."

Snort. "It's impossible not to love him. God knows I tried."

"He is irresistible, isn't he?"

And he could have been any beloved family member they laughed over, and not what outsiders or scandal ghouls would see as a destructive blow against their marriage.

"Do you think it'll happen again?"

"I honestly don't know. We didn't promise never to do it again."

"Well, let me know next time." Sly grin. "I might want to watch."

Both roared. People thought they were so boring!

"It's a deal." Christine kissed Sean's cheek. "Thank you, honey."

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When Dean has a bad day, Jensen has a bad week. He's all nerves off-camera, smokes too much, snaps during makeup touch-ups. Even Jared stays away.

That they share living space would make things even more difficult, except that it doesn't. Because Jared can't help Jensen, but he's got what does.

When Jensen retreats into his room at day's end, he isn't alone for long. With a whine, Harley noses his way in, tail thumping the door.

An hour later, Jared goes in to see if he's hungry and smiles to see both asleep, Jensen's head pillowed on Harley's belly.

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The whippet jumped up, barking, and playfully snapped its teeth. The white stag nimbly leapt aside, antlers flashing, and tore through the grass in a wide circle, clearly leading the little dog in a game of tag. Both vanished into the trees beside the freeway.

Elijah blinked. “Did you see that?”

“Thought I’d keep my eyes on the road instead, Lij,” Sean said, flashing a bad look at the garbage truck rumbling past on their right. “Little fast there, pal.”

“Never mind.” They drove past a group of runners, probably in training for the upcoming marathon. “Must be seeing things.”

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It was a conspiracy of Caseys.

Case the tabby followed Casey all the time now. He stayed in the same room with Casey, and still fled if anyone came too close (his half-tail and scars gave very good reasons for his caution).

Casey jumped if Zeke coughed, and Zeke laughed – “It’s not funny, fucker!” Casey would snap. But the appendix surgery had only been in time. When Casey jumped, Case bumped his head on his leg and purred.

With his back to Zeke.

“I’m sorry, Casey. Okay?” Zeke said in exasperation.

And got a leg-butt of his own, at last.

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It was just another celebration, another feast with music. But some wild joy washed over Frodo, and he leapt to his feet, whirling through the taller dancers. The Elves laughed to see him caper, and he laughed too.

Gandalf refilled his winecup as a gasping, sweating Frodo staggered back. "My dear Hobbit, I have not seen you dance in an Age!" Bilbo laughed, nodding.

At that same moment in Hobbiton, Mayor Gardner bowed to his eldest and led her back to the bridal table. "What did you whisper just now, Elanorelle?"

Elanor beamed. "I said 'Dance with us, Uncle Frodo. Dance!'"

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Sam has known heat before.

Haying weather, the Sun a brand on his back. The fever he caught at 20, tossing and moaning in a furnace while his dead mother beckoned beyond the anxious face of the Master and his wizard-herbs that made her fade. The Mountain that tried to swallow them both --

Cold splashes his face, tingling with salt. With a yelp Sam sits up in the warm sand, shaking his head.

A laughing, unrepentant Frodo scampers down the shore.

"Baggins!" Sam roars, and tears after him. He has another fire raging inside him, one only Frodo will quench.

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Louis swears it's called 'le vice americaine' which is a hoot considering what Frenchies think is normal in bed. I didn't give a damn what he called it as long as he didn't stop his share of it.

All I wanted was to take her out of my head - her perfume, voice, face - and pretend I still didn't give a damn about anything or anybody but Rick.

Easier to do when you're blowing a guy - and a guy as sneaky and downright ornery as yourself.

We can go into the troublemaking business together, I figure. Second best thing to true love.

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Illya Kuriyakin did not maintain a cold facade; it was his nature, borne from Kiev onward. Enforced partnership would not melt that ice wall, especially not partnership with the most conceited and self-regarding of UNCLE's operatives. Fortunately 11 felt the same way - strictly business between them.

Their first mission displayed how very well they worked together. By mission five Kuriyakin anticipated their shared respect and gallows humor.

On the 20th mission Illya disobeyed orders to rescue Napoleon; both men joked away Solo's torture injuries in the wake of their foe's destruction.

Ah. This is how the Iron Curtain falls.

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"Dean," John snapped, "if you don't stop pacing I'll knock you down."

That didn't work on a 16-year-old. "Goddammit, Dad, that's a peryton Sammy's fighting! Those fuckers eat werewolves for breakfast, and you sent a kid by himself--"

"Not a kid any more, jerk!" yelped a familiar voice.

And Sammy limped out of the thicket. He was filthy and one jeans leg was torn and bloody, but he dragged something hairy and ugly by a long ratlike tail and he grinned from ear to ear.

So did John.

Pride swelled inside Dean at his little brother's first solo kill.

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"Dean, we should get a rattlesnake."

Dean doesn't spit-take - certainly not when food is involved - but he freezes on the mouthful he's working on for a beat or two before resuming chewing. "And why is that?" he asks after swallowing.

Sam ticks reasons off on those ridiculously long fingers. "A bribe for dealing with snake-handlers. The venom and blood are good for counteracting some spells. We should get a pet."

Slowly, Dean grins. "And if we're caught mid-blowjob, we explain about the snakebite the blowee got while taking a leak and we're saving his life."

"Bingo."

Dean unzips. "Ow. Snakebite."

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We saved the world. Now what else can we do?
Reporters yawn, go find the next big thing.
Go back to classes short a face or two,
And prep more skat against the alien's king
(And pray to God he never shows). New tack,
We shed our roles to follow our true bliss:
The Hero, Nice Girl, Football Quarterback -
Who'd think the campus outcasts came to this?
I say we keep rebellion going here,
Like Minutemen against the British force -
What's worse than gridiron jockeys who are queer,
Or gay world-savers? You and me, of course.
Let's shock the sheep, I don't give a rat's ass.
What say we kiss each other - right in class?

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A nerdy kid who saved everybody from giant bugs gets lots of offers from the Truth-is-Out-There people. UFO conventions, SITU symposia, the Royal Entomological Society, the Scientologists – all of them wanted Casey to talk at their events.

“How do I know which to pick?” Casey flung a distressed hand out at three equally-lucrative letters on the carpet in front of him. “They’re all the same fucking weekend!”

Zeke grinned. “Easy-peasy, marido. Ask your Doppler.”

Case prowled around the letters sniffing them, his tailless butt in Casey’s face. Then the tabby plopped down on the left one.

“We have a winner!”

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When eagles consummate their mating flight, they lock talons mid-air and tumble as they fall.

A distant cry of pain; translated, “It hurts, but I’m okay with it.” Probably Castiel gripping Dean’s shoulders right over his blistered handprints, just a little too tightly.

They break apart dangerously close to the ground. They are so enthralled to their mating frenzy that some eagles have fallen to their deaths, still grappled together.

A Doppler effect of them getting louder and nearer. A boom, like mighty wings popping open at the last minute. A sound like eagles screaming.

Sam closed the science webpage.

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The scar was cool under Sam’s lips. Frodo tried to smile and failed.

“It’s all right, me dearest,” Sam murmured. “Tis only the wicked thing having its yearly way with you.”

“I know.” Frodo looked at the Sea as they walked, clutching the Queen’s crystal. His voice was bleak. “And I know I’ll be better tomorrow, but I can’t feel it now. It is gone, and all is dark.”

Sam broke away and ran down the shore, shouting, “Run with me!” Frodo followed apace, panting.

Running helped. It got Frodo tired enough to sleep most of the deadly day away.

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Casey ejected the disc. “Poor Frodo.”

Zeke nodded. “Saved the whole fuckin’ world and what did that get him?”

Casey smiled a little. “He got Sam.”

Zeke made a rude noise. “The Sam who married that farm chick and had a billion kids?”

Casey guffawed. “You are a Tolkien geek! That’s the book, not the movie!”

“Shut up,” Zeke muttered to the popcorn bowl.

Casey ruffled Zeke’s hair. “Read the Appendixes, nerd-boy. Sam takes an Elf ship 60 years later, after his wife dies.”

“No shit?” Zeke looked up at his lover. “Yeah, that makes sense. I’d wait for you.”

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Elijah closed the door. “Well?”

Sean shook his head as he hung up his coat. “Phil’s a good guy. And he’s nutso in love with Christine. I recognize the symptoms.”

Elijah mock-pouted. “Oh. You mean you both didn’t get all angry and yelly?”

“This is real life, babe, not a soap opera. Grownups operate in the reality-based world.” Sean’s eyes crinkled. “You should have seen him with the girls. They’re in good hands there too.” His face fell. “But Ally’s still mad at you for splitting up her parents.”

“Let her be angry. Give her time.” Elijah kissed his lover.

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Though their deeds (and union) was the stuff of legend for both their worlds and for Starfleet – the world they shared as their true home – they were now treated with indulgence rather than attention and deference as Fleet veterans.

Jim glowered at the fresh-faced officers conferring with each other at the far end of the conference table. Awfully good of you two to save the galaxy, now if you’ll excuse us.

Spock squeezed his hand. Did you behave any differently at that age?

Jim pointedly looked everywhere except in the direction of his amused husband. That’s no excuse.

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March is the cruelest month in Bag End.

While all Middle-Earth from Westmarch to Minas Tirith, Hobbit and Dwarf and Man alike, observes Ringday with a month of celebration and feasting, the two Fellowship members most responsible for the merriment take turns buried in sorrow and heartache.

Sam moans and weeps on March 13, reliving the dual torment of Frodo’s death and the burden of the Ring. And on the very day of joy for all the rest of the world, March 25, both Sam and Frodo mourn the loss of that hated and loved burden.

They celebrate in April.

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Zeke was awakened by a furry paw in his mouth. “Blphg!” He spat out a few hairs and glared at the looming face two inches from his eyes. “Dammit, Case, don’t do that – I know where your feet have been.”

No response from the tailless tabby. But a very tiny cry of distress from the box under the heatlamp on the dresser – too faint to get Zeke’s attention.

Zeke grinned. “Wrong parent, Case.” He thumped the sleeping lump beside him.

The lump convulsed upright. “Fuck!” A rumpled head emerged.

Zeke ruffled Casey’s hair. “Your turn to feed the baby, hon.”

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The Year of Weddings, the Good Year, Year of Fat Babies, Year of The Tree, Year of Third Breakfasts, Fourteen-Twenty – that time has a hundred names, not like Before. (Before, we don’t talk about - only that Before is why we always start the Ringday feast with a lump of stale bread.)

Mayor was a good sort, sensible hobbit who spread the best table and made the shortest speeches. Never brought up that nasty Outside business that took him away, Before.

But Outside turned him topsy-turvy. Why else would the Mayor call that golden, glorious time the Year of Broken Hearts?

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“Not in the kitchen,” Dean said firmly.

“But why?”

Blue Steel. Damn, not even the Puppy Eyes would budge him.

“Dean, it’s not as if we haven’t fucked in a room full of knives and fire before.” Sam ticked off everything, prominently displaying his long strong flexible fingers to the older man (dirty pool, Sammy). “The library. The dungeon. The dining room table. Your bedroom. My bedroom. The garage. In that Playboy Mansion shower. We’ve christened every room in this place.”

“Not. The. Kitchen.” Dean put his hands on his hips. “I’ll never be able to cook a kielbasa again.”

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He had been the embodiment of his people’s greeting; he had indeed lived a long life, and had done well in all his chosen fields. These days he marked time at the Science Academy; here, unlike the chilly starship, the temperature was always right. Jim had groused at first, but his husband eventually learned to appreciate the heat. Nearly a century, now, Jim had been dead – revered as a long-gone elder statesman by his fellow mayfly Humans…

The healer’s level voice brought him back. “It is inoperable. A year, at most.”

Spock barely kept himself from kissing the woman’s hand.

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Frodo grinned to see his cousins leading a group of children in a fierce game of touch-me-touch-you near the mallorn. “Pippin! Pip!” he called, his voice carrying down and across the field, wanting the Thain’s heir to come up and be the first to sample the barrel of ale Sam had just broached. “Come here!”

Well, imagine Frodo’s dropped jaw when a tiny brown spot dashed across the grass and up the hill, to reveal itself as a small pup-dog, tongue out and panting happily as it faced Frodo, his mistress panting behind.

Frodo grinned at the pup. “Hello, Pip.”

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As a Hobbit charged with the tending of the magnificent gardens at Bag End, Samwise Gamgee can point to a thousand little indications that winter is over and spring is coming. The crocuses, bravely poking through the snow; the twitter of a robin; the blossoms on the naked plum-branch; the lightening evening sky when work is done. All have their cherished place in his heart.

But none is as joyfully welcomed as the Elven air warbled in the Bag End kitchen – sung only at this particular time – as Mr. Frodo makes soup with the first fresh greens of the season.

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He turns in his seat and sees the empty chair at the science station.

He runs to the reactor room, but it is as if someone has boosted the gravity to 6 times Earth’s; he will not arrive in time and he knows it. Already he sees the tall proud body crumple like a detonated building, radiation burning out those perceptive brown eyes, poisoning every cell, unable even to touch one last time –

Strong hands pull him close to a warm healthy body; thin lips kiss away his tears. Paired fingers brush his own, sweep away the nightmare.

Sweet dreams.

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I’d hear them bicker at a crime scene; just a flatmate squabble, thought I. I saw the doctor’s touch at Mr. Holmes’ elbow when some local official sneered at his methods and he’d hidden his hurt from everyone else; a friend’s support.

Then I saw them kiss in an alley after a wild fight with the local toughs.

My governor’s cracking down on pansies since that Wilde business. I know my duty.

But I can’t arrest without proof. And since everyone knows that poor Inspector Lestrade can’t see proof when it’s right before his nose, there’s nothing I can do.

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The wedding barbecue was a blast. One of Huggy’s grandkids DJed; carne asada and pork ribs flowed like the Dos Equis and bottled Cokes; people shouted and laughed and toasted the couple in at least three languages.

“Not a lot of cops here.” Calvin Dobey looked around; he was one of the few exceptions.

“We’re on the Police Brutality Commission, Captain.” Hutch smiled a little. He was hurt but unsurprised. “Traitors.”

“Babe, we were on cop shit-lists even when we worked for Dobey Senior.” Starsky swiped a gooey rib off Cal’s plate. “Just means more food for our real friends.”

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“Thank God that’s over with,” Casey groaned, flopping onto the bed. “I’m fucking wiped. I hate flying.”

Zeke stood in the doorway, still holding his boyfriend’s luggage. He smiled. “So when’s the next gig?”

Casey groaned. “Three weeks.”

Zeke set down the bags and went to the bed. “You gotta admit, babe.” He lay beside Casey, holding him. “Hitting the lecture circuit talking about how you saved the world beats getting a real job.”

The body he held shook with laughter.

Zeke kissed him. “And we’ve got three whole weeks together. What do you want to do first?”

A snore.

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It began with a scrawny black cat that mewed at their kitchen door. Then a one-earred, three-legged tom. Then a gaunt grey she-cat holding a kitten in her mouth…

“Sam,” Frodo said amusedly over the mews, whilst Elanor and Bilbo (the no-longer-scrawny black cat and the eldest of the no-longer-gaunt greymalkin’s kittens) nestled on his chair and Frodo (the mutilated tom) sprawled on his lap as a book-rest. “If you’d wanted children you could have said something.”

“They was maltreated same as the Shire,” Sam replied from the kitchen, where Pippin (the marmalade) stropped his shins. “Growing them back too.”

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Wealth unimaginable if we succeeded. But…

“Hong, how the rutting hell do we hold the Tams?”

“My dear Reiverslayer, that comes later.” My partner flipped some switches on the Baker’s console and smirked at me. “First, we catch them.” She reached one arm to push the big red button, briefly showing the long scar from her attack by Reivers (I kilt a full dozen of those gorram monsters to pull Shiny Hong outta there in one piece; I’m Jackson but she’s called me “Reiver Jackson” or “Reiverslayer” since.)

Out came the Tracking Oscillation Biometrics Yardarm. What it can’t find nothing can.

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Sherlock Holmes had never looked more gangly or confused in his life, I would wager; I found it endearing.

“Are you both quite sure?”

I felt my wife chuckle silently in my arms where she was ensconced, as naked and spread as was I. “I’ve been thinking of those lovely fingers for quite some time, Sherlock.”

“You watched very carefully whilst I demonstrated, Holmes.” I grinned. “Now show Mary what you have learned.”

And our friend – our lover – lowered his head toward our wife’s mons, where he was crouched between our legs.

She convulsed in my arms. An apt pupil.

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The young politician’s unctuous voice spoke of the “partisan Commission” betraying police and impeding law and order.

Whatever else Congressman Lehman was about to say got cut off when Hutch hit the remote’s power button.

“These guys,” Starsky fumed. “So Lehman wants us fucking fired, because a Commission investigating police brutality might put a crimp in his prison-building buddies’ profits if they can’t arrest a pile of poor black people for no good reason.”

Hutch gripped his husband’s shoulder. “You don’t need another heart attack, Starsk. Remember, Calvin’s got our back.”

Painful laugh. “Babe. Remember when Gunther was the worst?”

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We take turns battling nightmares. I don’t know if it’s a function of the bond, or plain coincidence, or just my fool luck as Bones would put it, but it’s there and it’s real.

If I relive the agony shooting through me to Garth’s “Queen to Queen’s Level Three, Captain,” Spock is there to pull me from the chair and brush the pain away with two fingers to my temple. If Spock whimpers and weeps for a mother’s crushed children I stroke his hair and whisper that he has saved her babies.

Even in sleep, we have each other’s backs.

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Life in Gondor as a guest of the King had its drawbacks. Everything was big, and everything was grand. It could be very overwhelming for a plain Hobbit, even one who had been Mayor a good many years. He enjoyed the chance to explore the city with Rosie and Elanor, but even leisure time began to pall and rest heavily on the shoulders of someone brought up to work hard all day.

So when Sam looked out the window one morning and saw labourers repairing a garden wall in the palace, he all but ran out the door to see if they needed a fellow who knew a thing or two about stone-placement. The artisans were noble in their own way; rather than deride one they saw thirsting for employment, the foreman Elgerieth apprenticed the Ringbearer then and there to the mortar-mixers.

Samwise spent one of his most enjoyable days in Minas Tirith stirring sand and stone-dust and water together as if he were a faunt making mud-pasties by the creek. The Men and the Hobbit taught each other their work-songs, spoke sadly of friends lost in the year of battle (“He couldn’t get no better,” Sam said, tears rolling down; the Men wept with him), spoke proudly of their families.

Some Gondorian nobles were scandalised to see their important visitor sweating in his shirt-sleeves among the workers; but Rose and Elanor laughed, understanding. The King laughed, too, and brought out a draught of wine himself for everyone’s midday meal.

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You Don’t. Anger. Conjure-women. The Winchesters knew that, dammit. You especially don’t make fun of her beat-up old car – Dean, at least, should have known that one.

Some root-workers have a knack for practical jokes. This wasn’t itching powder in the underwear or superglue on the beer bottle. Nope, it was homemade fudge. (Oh, and you Don’t. Ever. Eat. ANYTHING offered you by a magic-user! It was a hat-trick of stupidity.)

So now I gotta figure out how to change Dean back from an admittedly handsome orange tabby cat, while Sam the Golden Retriever slobbers all over my couch.

Idjits!

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Sherlock Holmes maintained the same wariness he’d employed in fleeing Moriarty to begin his spywork in the States. It wound up saving his life.

Even though this was not included in his instructions, he followed his own instincts: When I go to America, do not take the first ship going there, nor the second, but the third.

The second available transport made him snort. “Ridiculous! The idea is not to call attention to myself!”

And the middle-aged man passed the White Star Line’s crowning achievement, cheering crowds wishing her a bon voyage, to book passage on a small cargo steamship.

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“What the hell were you thinking, you loco sumbitch?”

I grinned at the sheriff, fear still shooting through me like opium.

Lock’s voice was scary-quiet with anger. “Yes. Grim said he’d kill me when I told him about his snake. But you grabbed that sidewinder with your bare hand and threw it at him! Doc, you coulda been killed!”

“You don’t carry a gun, Sheriff. Everybody knows it.” I held up the long headless body of the rattler. “Well, everybody knows about this too by now. And none of these bastards will even give you a bad look ever again.”

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Sam’s feet bear witness to their ordeal.

The thick brown hair that once covered him ankle to toe is now a patchwork of tufts amid shiny red skin where Doom’s fire burnt it away forever. The undersides look worse, seamed with scars from walking over volcanic stone like glass blades under the weight of two Hobbits.

So it’s not surprising that the Mayor hobbles a bit, leaning on his walking stick.

And it bothers Sam Gardner not a whit. For at day’s-end he returns to Bag End, where Frodo bathes those damaged feet before kneading the aches out of them.

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They’d been retired from the force for decades. Their closest friends – Theodore Huggins Brown (he was only “Huggy Bear” to his grandchildren now) and his family, Edith and Cal Dobey – had cheered the loudest in the Bay City Hall rotunda when they’d finally made their partnership legal.

But their city needed them again – this time to watch over the watchmen.

“Spike Lee is right, babe,” Dave told his husband, and grinned. “Care to join me in throwing your badge in the Pacific again?”

Which is why Dave and Kenneth Starsky-Hutchinson volunteered for the commission to investigate police corruption and brutality.

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High-pitched barking made Sam and Frodo look up from the bean plants they'd been tying. A little brown pup dashed up to them.

"Pip-dog!" Frodo extended a hand, smiling. "Where's your mistress today?"

Instead of awaiting a petting, Pip dashed away and back toward the Party Field. She paused and barked again.

"Something's amiss, Frodo," Sam pulled off his gloves.

"You're right." Frodo followed suit.

Pip led them to Gammer Bumble lying behind her cottage with a twisted ankle, out of earshot of the road.

Both the convalescing hobbit and her rescuer happily shared the roast chicken Sam brought them.