Summary: It never rains but it pours in Bree. Post-Strider.
Characters/Pairing: Butterbur, OCs
Book/Source: LOTR, UT
Disclaimer: I'm neither JRRT nor making money off this.
Against the Shadow in the East
Mr. Butterbur sighed contentedly, surveying his domain: a parlour filled with wagging tongues. Clouds rain silver, said Bree wisdom: crime and recent strange happenings made The Pony Bree-land’s hub.
But Storms breed storms, too: the door banged open, admitting farmers carrying a wounded, delirious Ranger.
“Stabbed,” Havo, the pony-leech, pronounced. “Badly, too.”
“By whom?” Butterbur demanded.
Havo shrugged. “Don’t know – he ain’t babbling Westron.”
Mordor, whispered Strider. Fear threaded memory, drawing along Mr. Underhill – Baggins, from Gandalf’s letter… Gandalf, whose business was strangers… Aha!
“I’ve my letters,” he said. “I’ll write it all down, for if Mr. Gandalf comes through…”
“’It’s addressed plain enough,’ said Mr. Butterbur, producing a letter from his pocket, and reading out the address slowly and proudly (he valued his reputation as a lettered man):
“Mr. FRODO BAGGINS, BAG END, HOBBITON in the SHIRE.
“’A letter for me from Gandalf!’ cried Frodo.” – “Strider,” FotR.
“[The Ringwraiths] found [the borders of the Shire] guarded, for the Rangers barred their way. But this was a task beyond the power of the Dúnedain; and maybe it would still have proved so even if their captain, Aragorn, had been with them. […] Some fled northward, hoping to bear news to Aragorn, but they were pursued and slain or driven away into the wild. Some still dared to bar the ford, and held it while the day lasted, but at night the Lord of Morgul swept them away, and the Black Riders passed into the Shire […]” - Unfinished Tales.
So hey, why not a Ranger stumbling into Bree-land late after the attack on the Fords?