Ah, Sunday morning. Pete had developed a tentative fondness for actually relaxing, at least for the early hours of that day of the week. He’d discovered the joys of three cups of coffee savored over the Sunday paper, while still wrapped in a bathrobe. Ryssa had been subtly teaching Pete the art of relaxing and take a break from working now and then. As Pete fetched his Sunday paper from the lawn, the last thing he expected to see was Dave pulling into his drive.
“Dave? Dave Wooham? Whurhem? Gee, it’s been so long between visits, I can’t quite remember your name.” Pete dropped the sarcasm and rolled into a beleagured-momma voice, “You never call, you never write, I make a nice soup and you’re late for dinner…”
Dave looked sheepish. “Yeah, yeah, I’m sorry about that, Pete – here you are, right in town and I barely ever talk to you. I can’t remember the last time I called ---“
“Oh, I can. A couple of years ago. When Hugo went missing
. You showed up babbling incoherent crypticness till I nearly called the authorities.” Pete sighed and headed for the door, waving a hand back over his shoulder for Dave to follow him in.
Two cups of coffee were poured. As Pete handed one over to Dave, he gave him a pointed look. “I trust you’re making more sense these days, and delivering happier news to your neglected friends?”
Dave sipped his coffee, a miserable expression on his face. “Um.” Where to start? Oh, hell, just start with it all. “We have a ring wraith shift in Wellie, he’s really dangerous and it’s Jed’s shift but Galadriel helped us figure out that a good strong cup of athelas herb tea keeps the bugger subdued for a while. You work a lot with Jed so you need to know so you can take precautions and keep lots of tea brewed and make sure you keep him under sharp watch.” Dave sucked in a deep breath since he hadn’t bothered to pause during that entire confession.
“Well. Bugger. It’s nice to know there’s certain things in life I can count on. Sunday morning comics, and Dave ranting like a lunatic.” Pete’s tone wasn’t matching his words, though, his voice had taken on a bit of tremble. He’d been worried about Jed for months now. He remembered how cold Jed always seemed to be, and the special padded clothing he’d had made so the guy could keep working. But now that he thought about it, Jed hadn’t bitched about the cold in recent days.
“Tea? Really, Dave, you’re serious there? Tea?” He shook his head, remembering how many cups of coffee he’d poured down his friend trying to help him shake the chills.
“Yeah, tea, mate. Special tea. We’re growing athelas over here these days, and it’s doing the trick. But I’m worried about how long that’ll hold up. What if Jed develops a reaction to so much athelas in his system, or the wraith builds up an immunity… I just don’t know where it’s all going. I think we should all be aware of his, well, delicate condition. Could you get the word around? You’ve got better industry ties than all of us, I’ve lost track of Hugo, Orli, Viggo, Marton, Mir… and then there’s all those extras and stunties, that worked on the project, too. Hundreds of them were involved in Rings. It’s got to be you looking out for everyone, mate!”
It was going to be a while before Pete could face another Sunday morning without cringing. "Right, right." Pete rubbed the bridge of his nose, nodding miserably. "Guess I'll be making some calls, then."