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Mommy, do you like Elanor more than me?"
"No dear, why do you say that?"
"you spend more time with her than me."
Maybe so, but Elanor is not a little girl like you. She is a young lady."
The child, just barely, kept herself from snorting out loud.Queen Arwen was combing the hair of her second daughter Valariel, nicknamed Valarie. At the age of 8, she was a skinny tomboy, who did not always get on with her mother.
her hair like her own, was black and thick, The Queen thought wistfully of the fine, blonde hair of her chief handmaiden and closest female friend, Elanor the fair.
She was 22 years old at that time; by hobbit standards that would be around 17 or 18. While her features were maturing, she could almost pass for a 5 year old child. Exept for her tiny breasts- and her large pale blue eyes, which were piercing and intellegent. They quite unnerved people, as they did not go with her age (or height.)
Every afternoon, the queen would take Elanor onto her lap. They talked long together, for although she shared everything with her husband Aragorn- happy as they were- sometimes there was nothing like another female.
The Queen confided to her once, "I sometimes dream about Valinor. That's why I named my second daughter after her, Valariel. You know, sometimes I wake up weeping, and my husband comforts me. He's always said that he wishes he were born an elf, so that we could rule a thougsand years and then set sail- am I boring you?
"not at all."
Another woman whose lap she sat on was the Lady Eowyn, who came to visit with her husband Faramir. "My father told me so much about you", Elanor said.
"Did you know I was in love with King Aragorn, don't you?
Were it not for Arwen, he wouldn't have had a chance."
"is that so?"
"Something about that queen makes me nervious. Isn't it supposed to be true she gave up her immortality for him? She looks no older than age 20!"
"I think that just means she is going to die when he does."
"oh, some people have all the luck."
Day followed day. While she had had never been happier, she felt a strange sense of forboding. Her father had told her there is no such thing. And that sometime before she died, she would suffer some heartache. Just a feeling I have, El," she said. "You'd better be careful."
She was thinking this as she walked with her father down a row of food stall, in the bottommost tier of Minas Tirith. Holding on loosely to her father's hand- very loosely- she couldn't help wishing it was a lad instead, one which she was in love with. She wanted amour, and how was that possible here? No hobbits lived in Gondor besides them.
She thought of Frodo, who her father had told her everything about. He'd told her that Frodo had wanted to acompany Bilbo to Rivendell when he left. But she wondered if the dearth of hobbit girls there wouldn't have worn on him after a time. He was a man after all. (Yeah, I've wondered too. The Author.)
Thinking this, she unconcously let go of his hand. When she looked up again, he was out of her sight.
She murmured the hobbit equivelent o
f "Oh, shit!" She broke into a run in Sam's direction, not looking where she was going. She collided with a tunic and a pair of legs.
"Staeady on, little girl! thier owner said. He pulled her to her feet. She peeped behind him; still no sign of her father.
"Are you lost?" he said.
She looked up at him; a tall fine-featured man with pale skin and and shoulder length light blond hair. She thought he could be an elf; till she saw that his ears were round under his hair and also noticed faint lines.
"Child, he said crouching down, "Is something wrong?"
"I'm no child," she said. "I'm a hobbit, in the court of King Elessar. My name is Elanor."
"Oh, so that's who you are! I've heard so much about you. The Queen's little pet. I'll get you home, but frist I must take you to my house where you will wait for me. My carriage is being repaired."
He took her hand and led her in the opposite direction. To cover up her nervousness, she asked him, "I notice a limp. Were you in the War of the rin
"in my late teens, yes. They recruited everyone over 15, you know. Now I have to look after my brother- he was wounded on his head and is not quite right. He's been known throw fits, and cannot work; Because of him, I have never married. What woman would take that on? It's a shame though, that a las as prety as you isn't bigger." He squeezed her hand.
She smiled She could fall in love with a man like this. If only he were a hobbit.
They arrived at his house a half hour later. He showed her in, then gestured to a figure sitting by the fire. "That's my brother." He turned around; she noticed there was not much of a resemblance. He was heavier, had curly hair and a beard.
"This is....a little girl who became lost." the blond man said.
She told me where her parents live, so I'll be getting the carriage to drive her home. Keep her companay, all right? And give her some wine, too. I will be back in about a half hour." with that he left.
Elanor went and sat down across from the man. He poured her a glass of wine.
Peering at her, he said, "Didn't he say you were a little girl?" "No, I'm not. "I'm a hobbit."
"A what? Are you accusing my brother of lying?" "Not exactly." she said. But look here." She showed him her foot, covered with soft golden curls. Underneath them her toes were painted shocking pink. Just 'cos.
"Well, let's have a closer look at you." To her shock and horror he took her by the shoulders and scooped her up, as though he were a rag doll. Without thinking she jabbed at his eyes with her tiny sharp fingernails into his eyes, almost puncturing them. He cried out in pain- and flung her away from him. Her head struck the hard stone floor.
Minutes later, his brother came in thrugh the door. He stared at Elanor in horror. His brother had fled, feeling repentant and heartsick. He was never to be seen in Minas Tirith.
"Sam, why did you not keep closer watch on your daughter?" So said the King as he held the hobbit girl in his arms, rocking her slightly. The Queen stood close by, patting her and murmuring Elvish endearments.
"How can I? All I did was let go her hand. Even when she was an infant, she belonged only to herself."
"I know. she's a spirited girl."
"She sure is. By the way, shouldn't I be the one holding her?"
"I'd give her to you, but I feared you had not the strength." He stepped forward.
Sam waved his hand." Never mi
nd. You are probably right. You know- if she does not
recover, I'm sailing to Valinor. She is the one thing that kept me here."
"Not me, is it?" said Rose at his side. She was horrified, though Sam only halfway meant it. "If you leave me with our children withug taking us with you, "I'll stab myself."
"Hobbits, that's enough!" Aragorn cried. "Your'e overwraught. She will be under the care of the court doctor, and shall I say, myself. There is nothing to worry
Frodo lay in the middle of a grassy field that seemed to stretch out in all directons. It was dotted with trees which were perfedtly still, not moving in the breeze at all. It was as though time did not exist here.
He'd found himself here after that terrible night after Bilbo died. He'd been going through his things- in preparation for moving- when he'd cought his reflection in his knife Sting. Saw how old he looked. He started running the blade a long his wrist...that was all he remembered.
Here he saw that his hand was one of one very much younger. He had all 10 fingers too. Well even when he was still alive, he could still feel the one which had been bitten off. Somtimes with the stupid Ring.
He was alone. He was the only one here.
He prayed to Eru to send him someone. Not Sam- he knew he was busy in his own life. He wanted someone of the opposite sex. Though he didn't know how it would be possible.
He looked back now- on his encounters with girls.
His first girlfriend had been named Sapphire Bolger. Taffy was her nickname, partly due to her habit of having candy in her mouth all the time. Thier relationship was more friendly thatn rom antic- in '02 they would have been called "friends with privilages." Still, when she came to visit him at Bag end- For Bilbo's 90th birthday- he took her out to the field and shared a jug of wine with her on the blanket after dark. As they made out, having finished half the wine, the Gaffer walked by them with contempt on his face. Tiny Sam, on his shoulders, stared in bewilderment. When he finally came in at 12 midnight, Bilbo had words with him.
You were making a spectacle of yourselves, you know that?
"We won't do it again. But she doesn't even live here."
"Your'e not thinking of marriage, I take it?
"No, of course not."
"I don't like to hear that. I was hoping you'd take it more seriously."
"I only loved one girl, that's why. Her father did approve, and my hert was broken."
He removed his glasses and polished thme with a cloth. He looked old and tired. "Give me your word you won't marry anywone, unless you are willing to lay down your life for her."
"I promise. Poor Bilbo."
Things were over over with Taffy after that.
His next encounter was with Daffodil Chubb. Daffie was her nickname. She was also nicknamed "The Eagle" because of her piercing dark eyes, set wide apart. He met her at a party, and asked her to come to see him so he could read to her (the hobbit equevielnt of "come up and wee my etchings." He did indeed just read to her the first few evenings. He found her conversation more intellegent than Taffy's. But still, he kissed her after she put her hand over the pages and said, "shouldn't we be doing something else?"
He kissed her then, not out of any strong desire, but simply because she was his friend, she liked her, and she was a pretty girl. But when they pulled apart, she said: "I shall inform my freinds of the coming wedding.""Wedding?" he said bewildered.
"Of course. Aren't you in love with me?
"Of course not. You're not in love with me, are you?"
By way of answer, she hurled her wine glass at the fireplace, where it burst into flames.
"I should have known. You have it too easy, Fro. Someday, your luck's going to run out."
With that, she threw on her cloak and stomped out. They never spoke again. Now, years later, her words still rung in his head.
Someday your luck will run out.
With a start, he opened his eyes. It was a girl, the fairest he'd seen, with pale strawberry-blonde hair. She was thin, almost bony; but after Taffy he liked them that way.
Her unsettling eyes searched his face. "Could you tell me where I am?
"I don't properly know whaere we are. But come, sit beside me." Rlanor plopped down.
Frodo felt oddly shy. He felt like giving her a kiss; but he figured they'd better get aquainted. Not to scare her off.
He wet his lips and took her hand. "Could you tell me your name? You're the prettiest lass I've ever seen."
Elanor said stiffly, "I'm sorry, but I'm in no mood for amour. Maybe some other time. Why not tell me your name irst?
"Oh, my name." Frodo laughed. "I'm called the best hobbit in the shire. According to Sam the mayor, that is. Though you might not know-
"O Eru help help me!" she squealed. She flung herself away from him and buried her head in the grass.
"Oh, don't do that!" he cried. "you're making me upset."
Her voice muffled, she said: "Why is it you're so young? What did they do to you over there?"
"I'm young because I'm dead dear," he said quiety. "So are you, I imagine. Come, sit up. Let me put my arms around you."
Slowly she pulled herself up, and hugged her knees tightly. "I'm sorry I carried on like that. But my lord- I am not worthy to be in your presence."
"Don't call me that!" he said angrily. "I'm as ordinary as you, and a failure. I don't understand what came over you. We've never met before!"
"Oh, we havn't?" she muttered. But tell how you lost your life. My father will be heartbroken."
Bilbo was my uncle- Maybe he was before your time? But he sailed over with me, and died 22 years later. That was just a day or two ago. I used my knife- cut my wrists with it. I couldn't go on living anymore. I can't talk more of that, it's upsetting. Now you."
"First let me tell you who I am. I'm Elanor. Yes, that Elanor."
"Oh, no," he whispered horrified.
"Not you. How did it happen?"
"I was in Gondor, part of the Queen's entourage. I became separated from my father. A kind man took me to his home, and left me with his brother for a moment. I told him I was a hobbit, and he picked me up none too gently-I feared he would take my maidenhead, I guess. I poked him in the eyes, and he dropped me. That's all I rember."
"Oh, that's terrible!" he cried. "Those big people! But Uncle Frodo is with you now, that should cheer you up, I'm sorry tht I...never mind. That's not important."
"Oh, it's not?" She gave him a long look, and shuddered.
"I'd rather I was not here." She withdrew her hand and turned her back.
"What is the matter with you?"
"I'll tell you what's wrong with me." her voice was quiet and cold. "I feel for you what Eowyn felt for Aragorn. He turned her down, as I'm sure you will do to me! And I cannot bear it. She threw back her head and wailed: "I want to go hoooooome!"
Frodo stared at her appalled, his mouth open. Then slowly, he started to smile. It was a sad smile.
He put his hand on her shoulder. "Turn around girl. Look at me."
She did so, dread in her eyes.
"I'll not reject you. In the outside world I would perhaps- but who I am, or you are, does not matter here."
She stared. "you're joking." By way of answer, he leaned forward; she leaned in also. Thier noses bumped, then they kissed. very quickly, and clumsily.
"Glad we got that over with," Frodo muttered.
"What do we do now?" asked she.
At the moment, a full-on "make out" session (as we would call it) would be too much for her. Same with him.
"we should be getting to know each other, I guess."
"I know," she said nerviously, "but I don't know where to begin."
"I believe I know a way. Words are not needed here. We simply can hold hands, laying on our backs, and share our memories."
"Sounds good to me."
Yjeu did just that. After some hours of this- in which the sun would have set had there been a sun- Elanor sat up in alarm.
"I'm fading," she said. for a second I was someplace else."
"How can that be?" he cried. "I can see through your arm. Don't leave me here!"
They shared a long kiss, finally.
"It's stopped! she said happily.
They kissed again.
"I wonder how long this will last," said he. "Perhaps since you are not a suicide, Eru has another fate in store for you. You could leave any minute!"
"If that is so, there is one thing I would like to ask of her."
"What more could you possible ask?
"I- I would like us to go furthur." She dropped her eyelashes.
"Oh no. You can't possibly mean that."
"I do," she said quietly. "Because of what we just did with our minds, we know so many things about each other. And marriage is impossible here. I want you to be the first one to whom I give tath gift."
She looked him in the eyes; he could not resist her gaze.
"Very well, he said defeated, "All right. I never have before, you know. I'm too much of a gentleman."
"Neither have I."
"I know that, he said with a sad smile. "Well, let's get this thing over with."
(I respectfully draw the curtain here (^-^) )
Back in Gondor, Sam stood looking down at his daughter. He had heard her faintly say something, but then she had sunk back into that deathlike sleep. (She was in what the elves would call a "coma.")
"I don't understand." he said to the King's doctor, who had been bathig her forhead with athelas. "Why can't we bring her out of this? Will she ever wake up?
Elanor had woken from a long dreamless sleep. She looked up at the sky, which would have been like perfect if the clouds only moved. She was thinking about what had happened before.
She had found it surprisingly enjoyable. Her mother had told her that it would hurt the first time. But in this world, pain did not exist. Frodo had shown her this by hitting her lightly on the arm.
She sat up and wrapped her arms around her knees, watching him sleep. She felt no fear.
Upon his awaking, they took a long quiet walk together; then sat down and in each others arms spoke of many things, verbally and otherwise.
"Elanor. Didn't you tell me that you were close to the Lady Arwen? The same thing happened between me and Galadriel. She held me on her lap, even. I think she was lonely for a friend"
She laughed. "I'm surprised she did not become more thatn that."
"If I was 6 feet tall, who knows. though I believe she had her eye on Gimli. But anyway she showed me some more scenes in her Mirror. Of the future, I think."
"What did she show you?"
"Hard to discribe. There was one scene where there were two great towers and something came out of the sky and crashed into one of them- I hope the people got out in time."
"Sounds like Sauron may return."
"I imagine so. and there was this other scene, set in a study, of this elderly man with short hair and a pipe in his mouth. He was ruffling through some papers and muttering. I could swear I heard my name."
"Wow. Wonder what that means."
"And there was- oh, you're getting transparent!"
"I don't want to go and leave you here, alone till the end of time."
"I don't believe so. I think this is the land between life and death. The elves must be tending my body. I shall return and wait for your father. I will be content, thoguh I'll miss you. I have enjoyed something I thought I'd never have. I only fear what this will do to your future marriage."
"What marriage? After this, no. I shall become a bachelor lady like Daffie Chubb."
"O no, don't do this to me!" He gripped her arm hard.
"Why is that any of your concern?"
Because of the children you're going to have. I don't want them to be unborn! THey will be very important to the welfare of Middle Earth. You'll meet someone very much like me someday."
"There's no one out there like you," she said quietly. "Exept for the blond man I told you about. But he was too big."
"there are plenty out there like me. And if you do not swear on your life that you'll marry, I shall erase from your mind all memory of our time together."
She didn't know it was an empty threat.
"Very well, she sighed, "I promise."
He smiled at her almost paternally. "Give me a kiss then. I guess this is goodbye."
She gave him a light kiss, and took both his hands. "Goodbye, my love."
She fell back into her body with a jolt. Someone was shaking her shoulder, and being none too gentle about it. She looked up; it was her father.
"hello," she said weakly.
"Back so soon," he said.
"Are you angry with me?"
"Of course not. but I over heard you say "Goodbye my love." Who were you talking too?"
She decided to lie; she had no choice.
"It was a lad back home. I was in love with him, but he was promised to another. I don't know why I dreamed of him.'
"He rejected you? someone so unworthy is not worth dreaming about."
"I know. But I dreamt I gave my maidenhead to him."
Appalled, Sam slapped his daughter on the arm. It was the one and only time he'd struck her. This time, it did hurt.
She stared him in the eyes. "don't you ever do that again."
"I know....but for you to have thoughts like that..."
I'm becoming a woman, father."
"That is true. But I see you have been much disturbed by this dream. Why not talk to Queen Arwen, maybe she could help you."
Two days later, she clambered onto the Queen's lap. She poured everything out, leaving out no details, even the love-making. Afterward she wept.
The Queen held her and stroked her hair. But afterward she said: "You were only having a dream, child. I know you have a crush on Frodo, and rightfully so. You two are so much alike. If you had been born earlier, he'd have married you I'm sure, and would not have undertaken the Quest. It would have fallen to Bilbo, and that would have been a disaster. But no- my husband would have taken it, and would have sailed to Valinor, with me. Maybe that would have been better for us. I'll say no more of it."
"But I don'thave a crush on Frodo. Not untill now, anyway. I did around age 15, which would be 10 by your reconing. My father would read out of his diary to myself and my sisters, and we'd sigh. Childish, really. I havn't thought of him in years. And what of the attempted suicide?"
"I wonder about that. I fear that after Bilbo's death he would indeed become lonely over there." (So have I. Auth.) "He would be the only mortal thing, plus he's so tiny...but that is none of your concern. If I were you, I would just put it behind you. You won't tell you father of this?"
"I think you don't really grow up untill you sometimes keep things from your father. I kept something from mine. I loved someone before Aragorn."
"Is that so?
"Yes. I was over a thousand when I meant him after all.Come here." She started to whisper into Elanor's ear. despite herself, the hobbit-maid started to giggle.
After a week, the King and Queen summoned the little family to thier private chamber. The Queen had put her hair in rags that night, out of sympathy to Ellie. It looked uncongruous but no one said so. (No one save Valarie, who'd stuck out her tongue whan her mother wasn't looking.)
Aragorn said, "After some deliberation, I've decided to send you three back to the Shire. I don't believe, after what happened, that Gondor is good for your daughter."
Sam bowed deeply. "I was about to ask your leave anyway. I apologize for saying this to my betters, but....I feared you and the Queen were taking over as Ellie's parents. But at the stage she's at she doesn't need parenting anymore. Right, El?"
"Right", she said coolly.
After the long, weary trek back to the Shire, things did not go well between Elanor and her siblings, with whom she had previously been close. They were angry with her anyway, since she had gone to Gondor and they had not. And now she was behaving like a depressed teen, mooning around, hardly eating, spending long hours in her room.
Sam was starting to worry about his daughter. She was getting even thinner than usual and taking to wearing dark clothing. Her bright hair was washed less often, and ofter covered by a cloak or scarf. Even her eyes, her best feature, had lost thier spark. The King's doctor had delicately told Sam her maidenhood was intact; but he wondered if he had been mistaken after all.
This went on for 7 more years.
Then came the day of her 30th birhthday. Feeling depressed and angry (mostly with herself) she snatchec a coin from the family kitty, a bowl of coins on the kitchen table. She hoped her father would understand. Then she trudged down to the local inn, to buy herself a drink.
She sat herself at the table and waited for the barmaid. A voice above her said: "I will buy this for the lady."
She looked up at a tall lad with glasses. "Thank, you, sit down," she said.
"I am new here. I have heard so much about your beauty."
"I would rather not be loved for that," she said cooly. "Beauty fades."
"Is that so? You look very unhappy. I have heard the rumor that a lad jilted you and even- he leaned forward- got you with child. Your father had the pregnancy ended. Is that so?
Could you show me your hair?"
She shrugged and undid the scarf. He beheld her hair; pale, stringy, with almost all the curl gone. "I think you look beautifull," he said. As for me, my eyes are my best feature." He removed his glasses
She looked into his eyes in shock. They were very much like Frodo's. Someday, you'll meet someone like me. "I take them off before kissing." he confided. "Perhaps you'll see me often that way."
Normally she would have slapped him for his impert
ence. But not now. "What is your name?"
Her jaw dropped. Her heart was beating like a strobe light; Fastred! Frodo! Fastred! Frodo!
By the end of the evening she was in love. They courted for a year, then married and moved to the far downs, by the Sea.
Ten years later, they had a little outing to the seaside, taking thier children Elfstan, (nicknamed Elf) and Firiel (nicknamed Firi.) The children were building a small castle with the stones on the shore while thier mother looked out to sea quietly. Suddenly she started to weep.
"What is the matter?" Fastred said, hurrying to her side. "I need to tell you something," she said. "Let's get out of earshot."
Elf viewed the scene with interest. "Before she met Daddy, mommy had a boyfriend. That's what she's crying about!" Firi stuck out her tongue at him.
So now you know the whole story," Elanor said.
"I don't know what to think of it. I think the Queen was right in that it was only a dream. But if not- I am unhappy that I came to you as the second."
"Oh, don't be so jealous. I love you more than I loved him. What passed between us was so....unreal, really."
"I forgive you, he sighed. I have no choice."
Late that night, they lay sleepily in bed together, Elanor's scented candle having burnt itself out. They'd just created thier third child.
Fastred turned to her. "I need to ask you something."
"What is it?"
"That thing we just did....was it better with him?"
She realized she had to lie.
"It was not. It was only different."
"I'm so relieved to hear that."
But I must tell you something. No matter how much I love you, there will always be a place in my heart for Frodo."
"I guess I must accept that. You know, I thought I'd loved some girls before I met you."
Good night, Fastred. I'm glad you understand."
"Good night, Elanor," Fastred said gently as always. "Pleasant dreams."
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