Rivendell International Airport

by Primula

4.

"We still have to get through security," Aragorn worried. He looked back at Sam who was still leading Bill the Pony loaded down with all of their bags.  "And what about the luggage?  I don't think they'll let on that many carry-ons."

The group slowed and formed a loose circle around Bill, who blinked at them sedately and swished his tail.

"Aragorn is right," Boromir said. "They only allow what you can carry, and even all of us together couldn't heft that pony through the door."

"What'll we do, then?" Sam asked anxiously, pulling Bill's furry cheek close to his own.  Bill nickered and tried to nose Sam's patting hand for treats.

"We'll check him," Gandalf decided.

"What?"

"That way our luggage stays all together and Bill will still be able to come too."

"I agree," Aragorn said, nodding. "He has been a useful companion."

"Sounds feasible to me," Boromir agreed.

"All of you stay here, I'll take him.  Sam, come with me," Gandalf said, reaching for Bill's halter.  The pony turned and followed him, only hesitating a moment until Sam's hand joined the wizard's at his head.

"Poor Sam," said Frodo. "They better not accidently reroute that pony to another flight or he'll be beside himself with worry.'

"Bill learned much while he was in Rivendell," Legolas soothed. "I think if he is lost, he'll find his way back."

Gandalf and Sam, avoiding the line at the ticket counter, instead approached a tall Elven skycap who stood near one of the conveyor belts that were whisking luggage away to the planes.

Gandalf smiled his most friendly and beguiling smile. "Fine day, isn't it?"

"Well enough," the skycap said with a slight nod.  "May I be of service to you?"

"We need to check some luggage," Gandalf said, still smiling.

"You've come to the right place," he lifted a small pad with pencil poised. "How many pieces?"

"Only one."

The skycap considered Bill the Pony and his assorted burdens.  "Which one?"

"This one," Gandalf said with a sweeping gesture that took in Bill and all of his bags.

"All of that?"

"It's only one piece.  Mark it for Gondor."

"But…"

"Is there anything that says a piece of baggage must be a geometric shape?"

"Well, no…"

"Is there anything that says my luggage can't have more than one compartment in it?"

"No, no… but…"

"Does it specifically say a pony cannot be luggage?"

"Uh, no…but…"

"Then go ahead and list him as one piece of luggage." Gandalf slipped something gold that clinked into the skycap's hand.   There was a slight pause.

"Yessir!"  The skycap said and cheerfully wrote out two tags, handing one to Sam and tying the other around Bill's neck.

"Now," Gandalf said, "Over here, Bill."  The pony followed his lead and stepped up onto the conveyor belt.  "Sit!  Stay! Good boy!"

Bill obediently settled himself on the belt and was whisked away through the flapping doorway, his forelock waving in the wind.  He looked as if he were enjoying it.

"Goodbye, Bill!" Sam cried after him. "Be a good pony…"