BagEnd
Fic: Sometimes You Remind Me - for the 'My Birthday Suit needs Pressing' Challenge - Hobbit Smut Fan Fiction Challenge Community
Phurveyors of Phreferred Pheriannath Phorn
ladysunrope
hobbit_smut
ladysunrope
Fic: Sometimes You Remind Me - for the 'My Birthday Suit needs Pressing' Challenge
Name: LadySunrope

Title: Sometimes You Remind Me

Challenge: My Birthday Suit Needs Pressing

Word Count: 10,869

Rating: ADULT

Pairing: Frodo/Merry

Warning: Hobbit AU not canon/not filmverse

Summary: Merry's ideas are not always successful but this time they lead to something quite unexpected.

Notes: Thanks to ismenin for beta. Apologies for to the community for lateness of this fic.

ONE: FRODO

It appears it’s going to be a better evening than usual…
for once I am not the topic of conversation in the Green Dragon. When I arrive with Sam, I know something is different for no one looks at me with pity, no one lowers their voice, or laughs a little too loudly so I won't know they are talking about me and mine. We take hold of our pints and settle into one of the corner tables but soon realize voices are lowered, opinions are being expressed and eyes are wet at the heart rending tale being told to anyone who will listen.

Bilbo’s disappearance didn't have the necessary ingredients to move it from scandal to a tugging of the heartstrings. This story, though, had affected everyone and I am glad of it which sounds so cold but I am truly bored of providing entertainment for the patrons of this place…


“I don’t understand why after such a successful day at Hobbiton market, Bindbole would even take the road by Rushey Bog...it’s barely a track in daylight. What hobbit takes his good wife along such a place at twilight?”

“Ah, now there’s the rub – I've always said the road to Needlehole was confusing. You can easily take the wrong turning and end up in Little Delving or even worse for a Bindbole, in Nobottle itself.”

“ Mebbe he thought he and the wife could walk that track faster than the dying of the light. You have coin in your pocket and a spring in your step and there’s no tellin’ what you think you can do. I've come close meself to makin’ a few bad choices down the years…”

and the story of the Bindboles takes second place for a moment to recollections that grow wilder in the telling or so it seems to me. I drink deeply from my tankard and meet Sam’s eyes across the rim. He knows what I am thinking and smiles his agreement. There is a great deal of comment behind us over this particular tale and then a sour voice cuts across the hubbub…Ted Sandyman with his *valued* opinion…

“I'd have thought his wife would have told him what for. Bindbole was always one to be ruled by the women in his house, and she was no fragile flower…”

“Aye, but she was all taken with those ribbons he bought her when he sold all his crop. I saw them behaving like some young ‘uns, twirling her round and even kissing her, right in front of everyone…seems her sharp tongue could be tamed easily enough.”

Oh Otho, let out for the evening from the sharp tongue at your own hearth, if only you could pay your way to peace with bright ribbons - wouldn’t life be much more pleasant for us all? I can’t help the smile and Sam can’t help the choking sound he makes and we both look away from each other for we are thinking the exact same thought and it wouldn’t do to betray it to all and sundry.

Then the voices are lowered and my smile is gone. For here comes the wicked thoughts that sadly some in the Shire feel no conversation is complete without. I think of what they said about Bilbo and what they've said about my parents – oh yes, I’ve heard it often enough over the years and if I let it, it still cuts deep. Yet I can’t stop listening.


“They do say…” Do they, Ted? They?

“They do say that the pair of them were drunk as lords, missed their footing altogether and there was nothing left but those foolish ribbons wrapped round a tussock of marsh grass. Them that has little sense married to them with no sense and look what happens…”

“Is there no goodness in that hobbit, at all?”

I startle at the familiar voice. Merry wasn’t expected till late next morning –the fact that he’s here now means something is amiss at the Hall. His face is flushed with haste and his eyes are bright as he slides onto the bench next to Sam. He holds his hands up in surrender as I enquire why he’s here.

“I know, dear Frodo, I’m presuming on your hospitality but I was hoping you wouldn’t turn me away and there would be some room, a spare corner for me to hide away.”

“In other words, Mr Frodo, there’s been a bit of a snit down at Brandy Hall”

Sam hits the nail on the head as usual and for a moment, Merry looks discomforted at the way he is so easily read. Nothing ever seems to hold him back though and soon he is chattering away about this and that and I let the words wash over me. Instead, I watch the two of them ~ Merry all animated and lively, supremely confidant that we’ll listen to all he has to say and dear Sam who is quietly astonished that he sits at the same table as the heir to Brandy Hall but is not afraid to question what he thinks is wrong. I am blessed by such companions and already feel my spirits lift.

I’m suddenly aware of Merry’s words…


“The public subscription hasn’t raised enough money and Old Mother Bindbole has five young hobbits now in her care. They aren’t well thought of in so many places and neighbours have done what they can, and the public donations have not been as generous as everyone had hoped. The Bindboles have offended so many over the years. Mother Bindbole sent a message to my father that as she has a link to the Brandybucks, generations ago, she intends to make her charges wards of the Shire with my family as guardians. It means they’d come to live at the Hall –so I spoke up against it. My father has very strong views about family obligation and I have very strong views about the Bindboles. I’m throwing myself on your mercy for a little while, Frodo, until he’s cooled down. He didn’t take kindly to being called old fashioned and short sighted in his outlook. I think I might have been a smidgeon too forceful in my opinions.”

Merry looks so rueful, I offer him a room for as long as he wants and the smile I get in return is thanks enough. I’m curious, though. Five young hobbits tumbling around the Hall will make precious little difference so why would Merry feel so strongly about their presence? He’s usually as welcoming as the next hobbit. When I ask, he reacts strangely. He shuffles on the bench, looking every which way and his voice becomes brittle with denial that there’s anything else to add which I don’t believe for an instant. His glance flicks to Sam and then eventually he finally looks at me.

“It’s nothing, nothing important.”

Nothing so important but it troubles you, my dear Merry and it’s something you don’t feel able to speak of in company.

“I think its about time I saw to the Gaffer – he’s a right one for putting the world to rights when he’s had a few –wouldn’t surprise me if he out and out offers to marry Old Mother Bindbole in a few pints time.”

Even Merry can’t help laughing at that idea and as Sam squeezes past, he whispers a grateful ‘thanks’ that Sam pretends he hasn’t heard. Yes, friendship is indeed a blessing that it needs no words. I reach over the table and touch Merry’s arm gently.

“Tell me.”

He rubs at the grain of the table almost absentmindedly and it is as if he is lost somewhere else. This is not the Merry I know, the dear cousin I care about. He begins, hesitantly…

“They came, the whole tribe of them, to make their ancestral claim some years ago. The grandmother did little but eat, drink and belch. The mother and father were hopeless at looking after their young ones. There were only three then but they were everywhere they shouldn’t be, into everything that was none of their business and those parents did nothing but smile and throw up their hands. I noticed my mother and father beginning to lock doors that were never locked before and I heard tales that there were things missing…”

That shocked me. There are those hobbits who will try anything to get the best bargain, maybe use their wiles and wits to obtain the best advantage but to claim hospitality and then abuse it…it must have caused such a stir at Merry’s home.

“Then my mother’s locket disappeared and I decided that the eldest Bindbole, Murcho, was the most likely suspect. He was younger and smaller than me but there was a feral look in his eye –most were wary of him. I found him in a field, the locket hanging from his pocket, trying to kill a rabbit with a rock.”

His voice trembled. What on earth could have happened?

“My father taught me how to hunt. It’s expected of me but I try to be merciful. This was like no killing I have seen. He’d smashed the limbs first, and the creature was in such pain –he must have done this before because he’d been skillful enough not to kill it outright and now he was tormenting it. I was so angry, I knocked him down and finished off the poor animal. I remember he cut his head in the fall for he sat there for a moment, dazed and bleeding. Then he exploded and came at me, screaming in rage. I was taken unawares and before I knew it, I was flat on my back and he was straddling me…and a rock was in his hand. Not the one he’d used on the rabbit but a far larger one. One that could kill a hobbit.”

“Merry, he was smaller and younger than you and as I recall you can wrestle with the best of them. You can be a fighter when you want to be.”

“I know and that was the strangest part. One look at his face and I knew he meant to kill me. I was so surprised and then fearful. He was taking pleasure in it and all my wits seemed to leave me. All I could see were his fingers curling round the rock and think that at any minute he could let it fall. I’m not proud of myself…I was a coward.”

“Merry! That’s absurd. How were you supposed to know this youngling could behave like this? You are here now, so you must have rescued yourself…”

“There was a shout across the field. Old Mother Bindbole was looking for her favourite grandson. She hauled him off me and I yelled at her about the locket. She said she’d found it and Murcho was merely taking it to my mother. I..I lost my temper and called her a liar. By now we were near the smial and it was witnessed. I was called before my father…and…I was ordered to apologise.”

He rubs his hands through his hair and shrugs. I know what he’s going to say before he says it.

“You didn’t apologise.”

“No, I refused. Repeatedly, after four days confinement and precious little food. Then I was brought to my father’s study and thrashed in front of the Bindboles because I’d forgotten my duty as a Brandybuck, insulted a guest and attacked a youngling. Somehow the tale had grown in the telling. Murcho smiled all the way through. I never hated anyone as much but when they left he managed to pass by and whisper that one day he’d finish it. I’m not afraid, Frodo, not for myself because now I could easily deal with him but the family had a strange effect on my home. We became suspicious, untrusting – all whispers and shifting looks. They had the ability to cause trouble then step away and it’s not something I’d like to see again. Now there are five of them and unless enough money can be collected to provide for their futures, they will all be living in my home.”

“Then we have to do something.”

Maybe it was my determination or perhaps the way I banged my hand on the table but it was enough to make Merry laugh and break the spell his tale had cast over him. I liked to hear him laugh. It made me feel the strength of our friendship. But what to do? I couldn’t think –something that would make hobbits want to hand over hard earned coin. By the time Sam returned, I was deep in thought and hardly paying attention to what was said between him and Merry.

“As far as me Gaffer’s heard, they’ll be leaving their home by the end of next week so it can be auctioned. There’ll be many a buyer I reckon, prime bit of land, they say.”

“An auction always gets the money in, Sam.”

An auction always gets the money in…that was it. An auction but not for a piece of property…

“That’s it! I’ve got it! I knew I’d think of something. We have an auction, selling services off to the highest bidder. We persuade all those hobbits who have skills and talents to offer them in return for a suitable donation to the fund. It would be entertaining as well as profitable! What do you think?”

They stare at me as if I’m addled. It seems a reasonable idea to me. There’s a guffaw from behind me and I groan as I realize that half the inn has heard me. I listen to their low muttering and know they are talking about the Bagginses, touched in the head and not quite right.

“I tell you what, Mr Frodo Baggins here, has quite an idea. I’m taken with it, that I am. Why if Sam puts his mind to it he could have a selection of nice tubs of fine quality plants ready for a bid. I’d help out by offering to tidy up the outside of any home in the Shire and believe me, there’s some that needs it. We’ve enough stout hearted hobbits in the Farthings of the Shire. I’m sure we’ll manage to raise the right amount for this tragic family, see if we don’t. I’ll drink to your health, Mr Baggins if I may…”

There’s a murmur of agreement as the Gaffer raises his tankard to his lips, drinks deeply and sighs.

“All I need is the affections of a good woman…I’ve heard Mother Bindbole is a rare cook”

“Come on now, Da, think that’s enough for now…”

Sam says goodnight and escorts his father home. Merry and I make our way back to Bag End, stumbling a little in the dark. Before I retire for the night, he hugs me close in thanks, laughing at the thought of Murcho being thwarted once and for all. . I wonder when it was he became so strong. It does my heart good to see him in such high spirits. When I lie on my bed, I can still hear him singing…


TWO: MERRY

When Frodo gets an idea in his head, he pursues it like a hobbit possessed. Within no time at all it seemed , he’d spoken to the guardian of the Mathom House and asked if we could use the gardens at the back. I’d never been before but I followed Frodo and Sam as they made plans for a wooden platform and curtaining. I wondered why all the fuss - to me, a group on the party field with a barrel of ale and maybe a fiddle or two and there you’d have an auction to remember. I suggested it but the looks I got from a horrified Mr Baggins and the slightly shocked Mr Gamgee informed me that maybe my idea of a good time didn’t match theirs.

“Meriadoc! We are having a respectable auction with fine upstanding hobbitfolk with consciences that can be pricked…”

“…and large pockets to dip into, don’t forget that, Mr Frodo.”

“Exactly, Sam. We need to make this as dignified as possible. If hobbitfolk think they are doing their civic duty, they usually give something. If they have to do that duty in a crowd then I’ve noticed they try to outdo each other and that’s what I’m hoping for. The more the competition, the more the money in the fund grows. Look at the list of gentlehobbits I’ve invited.”

I’d perused the list and noticed the names of the great and the good of Shire society. Perfectly formed ticks made next to the names showed me that all were intending to come. Dignified was one word for it. Utterly boring might be two others. Still, it was for a good cause ~no Bindboles within miles of Brandy Hall. A cause worth being bored for, I would say.

“So, what are we auctioning, Frodo? Are you going to pen some Elvish verse for a fair hobbitmaid to place on her wall to sigh over?”

“Auction? Oh…I’d not…I’d thought…goodness, Sam we need to get going on this!”

As I said, like a hobbit possessed. Frodo tended to get distracted at the best of times, more so since Bilbo left. I don’t see him smile as much as I used to, no matter how hard I try. He used to have so few cares and we would spend happy days in each others company. Now, he seems more serious. Master of Bag End and I’m not sure he likes it.
As soon as he realised that the small matter of having something to auction had to be attended to, he and Sam had scoured the Farthings in search of the very best to offer. I couldn’t go with them on every trip –there was the small matter of making up with my father to occupy my time. The occasions I accompanied them I noticed how easily Frodo obtained offers and promises from the females of our kind. They fairly fell over him in an effort to raise a smile or an acknowledgement.
Take Flora Bracegirdle’s pies for instance…


“I was wondering, Miss Bracegirdle…”

“Oh, Mr Baggins, call me Flora, please…”

“Oh, right…Flora, would you be able to make an offer for this auction I’ve no doubt you’ve heard about…”

I liked Frodo’s touch with words, suggesting she was in touch with everything that was going on. From the way Flora preened, she appreciated the compliment.

“Why, Mr Baggins, Frodo if I may, I certainly like to keep my finger on the pulse of polite society and I’d be happy to. What had you in mind?”

Sam and I had hung back, watching all this with great glee. Flora kept advancing across her bakery floor and Frodo kept retreating. Sam gave me one of his ‘should we intervene’ looks but I shook my head. Frodo was oblivious to all her wiles, it seemed.

“An offer of free pies for a month. I’m sure any discerning hobbit would bid for that…your pies have a reputation…”

“Oh indeed, my dear Frodo…they are hot…and melt at the touch of your mouth and once experienced, you’ll never consider anything else again…”

At this point, I had to leave because my hand over my mouth didn’t quite stifle the snort of laughter at her lack of pretence about her desires. Meanwhile, I’m afraid poor Frodo was pinned against a wall with nowhere to go and the ever insistent Miss Flora determined he would stay for ‘some refreshment’ and Sam could wait outside. The two of us waited outside the bakery, trying hard not to imagine what was happening inside but it seemed we were mistaken. After a few minutes, out had come Frodo, unruffled and calm. Miss Flora was pink and so accommodating, Sam and I passed puzzled glances. As we journeyed on, I’d asked Frodo how he’d managed to escape her clutches…

“We talked of this and that. She’s a fine person, if a little forceful and we got along. We understand each other.”

“Yes...but how…I mean she was all over you…”

He’d stopped in the road then and turned to regard me with such intensity that I stepped back. I wasn’t sure for a moment if I’d offended somehow.

“Sometimes, Merry, I forget how young you are and then you say something to remind me.”

It had been a rebuke with no more said and I hung back behind them, trying to work out why it hurt so much to have Frodo think I didn’t understand. I noticed Frodo looking back a few times but carrying on all the same. I refused to run to catch them up and picked over my hurt over again. It wasn’t until I bumped into them that I realised they’d stopped altogether and were waiting for me.

“Merry, stop sulking.”

“I’m not.”

“Really? Then I must be needing spectacles for I could have sworn you were. You were disrespectful and I didn’t like the thought that my dear cousin could have that failing. Perhaps I was rather abrupt…”

“No, you were right. I was looking for something to raise a smile…I didn’t think...but I still don’t understand how you escaped…”

“We talked and an understanding reached. Isn’t that enough?”

“An understanding reached? About what? Frodo, what could you possibly have talked about?”

He had stared at me for so long that Sam touched his arm, asking if he was all right. I thought Frodo was going to say something, thought he was going to explain but all he did was shake his head as if to clear it, mutter something and then walk on. I asked Sam what Frodo had muttered.

“Loneliness, Master Meriadoc, he said the word ‘loneliness’. That’s all he said.”

I had no idea why I kept on at him. Not at first. Now, after thinking on it I do. It was the thought of him reaching an understanding with her. I hated that thought. I hated the thought of Frodo being lonely. I wanted him to talk to me but he never seemed to see me in that light. I was someone to cheer him up not someone to confide in…
The auction is tomorrow. Everything is ready. Frodo is anxious that all goes well and Sam is determined all will.
I’m looking at the list of guests and everything they are bidding for. Clothing of the highest quality. Foodstuffs for a discerning palate. Ale and wine from the cellars of those who claim a reputation for such things. Services rendered in gardens, orchards and kitchens. I’m sure everything will work out splendidly.

I’m not sure it will raise a large amount of money. The auction ends with Flora Bracegirdle’s pies. It isn’t exactly an inspiring finish. I need this auction to do so well not just for me but for Frodo too. It has him interested and has stopped him thinking about Bilbo too much but it needs to be a success.

I have an idea. The entries are now closed but I’m sure I can speak to the Master of Ceremonies, Proudfoot. He’d not deny a Brandybuck. All those hobbitladies on the guestlist…I’m sure they’d like to bid for a fine young hobbit capable of waiting on at table for an evening.
A fine young hobbit, heir to lands and fortune, theirs to flirt with as he pours wine into their glasses or tea into their china cups.
Meriadoc Brandybuck, your servant for the evening. I think it will raise a fine amount of money.
I can’t wait to see their faces as I step onto the stage…




THREE: FRODO

“An occasion to be proud of, Mr Baggins!”

“A good turnout, and no mistake. Excellent idea, Baggins!”

I’m not one to look for compliments but this is music to my ears. The gardens are full of eager hobbits; each one had come ready to dip their hands into their pockets. They arrived in their best clothes and with their best attitudes. Even those not invited came, climbing onto the Mathom House walls so all the bidding has had an audience, cheering on each amount and passing good natured comment on the merits of each donation. At times like these I love the Shire. We can work together and make a difference to this tragic family. Although, I have to admit I didn’t expect the family to be brought as guests for the occasion. Ted Sandyman decided it would be a good idea and as he is offering free flour for three months I didn’t have the heart to deny him.

Old Mother Bindbole settled herself on the front row of chairs, winked at the Gaffer then belched. Poor Sam nearly had heart failure at the sight but I did point out that The Gaffer was much more concerned with the flowers and plants he’d brought along as examples of his skill. Not that he needed to but others had done the same. People gathered round tasting and touching before the start, passing compliments and judgements. It has been a day of good spirits and generous hearts in spite of the Bindbole younglings.

I never disbelieved Merry but thought perhaps he’d exaggerated. Now, I think I owe him an apology. Sam decided from the moment he saw the second youngest Bindbole put his hand into the back pocket of Proudfoot, the auctioneer, that this family needed a guardian and he was it. They’ve run my dear Sam ragged and yet not once has he lost his temper. Slowly they’ve come to his way of thinking and now before the final few lots there’s four of them sitting at Old Mother Bindboles feet. The eldest one is missing and perhaps I’m doing the family an injustice but I’m very pleased the Mathom House is locked. Sam looks as if he needs a weeks rest but he’s determined to track Murcho down.

One disappointment and it hurts me greatly. Merry sent a message to say he could not attend. No reason given and that lack of courtesy is disappointing. Each time I think he is old enough to talk to he shows me he is still a child. I enjoy his company so much but there is a barrier between us. Perhaps I envy his easy way with life. I don’t envy the responsibility he must face one day but the way he deals with the present without a thought or care in the world, now that I envy. Sam says I think too much and I suppose he’s right. I won’t let Merry’s absence cloud this day.


“Mr Frodo, you going to make a bid for Miss Flora’s pies?”

“Oh...why of course Sam…there…it’s worth the money to see the look on her face. Even Ted is bidding and Lobelia too.”

“Aye, but Lobelia will make sure she’s not the last. She’s not coughed up much in the way of money this afternoon. And, beggin your pardon, Mr Frodo, but you’ve been more than generous.”

“Can’t help it, Sam. I’m enjoying this. Even with Otho, Lobelia and their awful son whining in the background –oh yes, I’ve heard them and ignored them – I’m enjoying myself.”

The auction for Miss Flora’s pies ends with a round of applause and Miss Flora looks as happy as I’ve seen her. All over now and time for the announcement of the reckoning of all bids and the presentation to the Bindboles.

“Most worthy gentles, may I announce the highlight of our auction. I ask you to consider the unique nature of this offer. The one and only time this offer will take place is here and now. I ask you to consider what you will bid and bid well. This offer may well be of more attraction to the gentle hobbitladies in our audience but if you want to impress the female of your acquaintance, then my dear gentlehobbits dig deep into your pockets and make a bid for the final auction of the day!”

“GET ON WITH IT!”

“Never mind the heckling from the walls, you too will be amazed at the offer about to be made. If you make the winning bid you will this evening experience a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

There is a groan from the audience although there are smiles as well. Once Proudfoot becomes enthusiastic there’s no stopping him. Yet I can’t work out what he’s talking about and I turn to Sam but he’s seen Murcho Bindbole hanging round the back of the stage.

“That little bugger, beggin pardon, is making off with something. See? He’s got an armful…bet he’s got into the Mathom House. I’ll sort him Mr Frodo...”

“Wait, Sam…what’s going on? The auction should be over!”

“Don’t know that either...but mebbe young Murcho knows something. I’ll be back with some answers, never fear!”

Off he goes like a dog after a rabbit. Poor Murcho. He doesn’t know it yet, but an outraged Sam is more than a match for all his wily ways. I’ll say this, Proudfoot has certainly set the crowd buzzing with anticipation. What he has in mind, I cannot tell.

“I am honoured to present this donation from the most worthy family Brandybuck. For one night, this very night, the highest bidder will enjoy being waited on hand and foot…served at table and any duties pertaining to the role by the scion of the house himself…Meriadoc!”

There are cheers and gasps and I can’t believe what I’ve just heard. He’s taken it upon himself to do this and never told me? Why would he not tell me? Am I so far from his thoughts? Looking around I can see hobbitfolk moving from the back to take seats, showing they are eager to bid. Many hobbitladies, all aflutter and why wouldn’t they be? Merry is strong and could charm birds from trees. His body is everything a hobbit should be…strong, muscled , full of energy. I can see it in their faces. All civility will be forgotten in their eagerness to claim him.

“I have a question! Waited on hand and foot, serving at table…*any* duties pertaining to the role –are those duties written down or is it up to the bidder?”

Lotho Sackville-Baggins and his mother and father hovering for the answer. My throat is dry. Something is up, something is being plotted here…and I see Murcho Bindbole slip quietly to sit by his grandmother. As he passes Lotho, he winks and grins.

“Oh yes, any duties would of course be decided upon by the bidder for after all the donating party is considered a servant for the evening…”

Oh, Proudfoot have you not considered what you’ve just said. Look at their faces. Look at the knowing glances passing between them. What will you bid, Lotho to get your hands on Merry? To humiliate him?

“In that case, Proudfoot, us Sackville-Baggins’ are VERY interested in this bid.”

They sit behind the Bindboles and the feeling I have inside won’t go away. Suddenly this warm and happy day has turned into something else…

“Mr Frodo…you have to stop this…you really have to…”

“Sam? What’s the matter? Calm down, out with it…”

“It’s Mr Meriadoc, he’s the next donation...if you get my drift…”

“I’ve worked that out, Sam as well as who will be bidding for him. What on earth was Merry thinking?”

“It’s not just that, believe me. He’s not exactly dressed for the occasion.”

I don’t understand, not dressed for the occasion? Then Proudfoot announces ‘MR MERIADOC BRANDYBUCK!’ and everyone cheers as if this was some performance and the Bindboles are whistling and stamping their feet.

The curtain draws back, slowly, too slowly and there’s Merry’s head poking out from behind it. Something’s wrong, very wrong. I can tell from the expression on his face.


“I don’t think I can look Mr Frodo. I can only hope the thing holds fastened.”

“Sam, do you know something about all this?”

“No and erm...yes…it was all I could think of, given the time and all.”

The audience have grown quiet and still. All attention is on Merry. Then he steps forward and the place erupts into laughter, whistling and catcalls. He comes out onto the stage wearing a set of curtains. The heir to the Brandybuck lands, the Brandybuck name is standing auctioning himself for a charitable purpose wearing a set of curtains –one tied round his waist –the other like a cloak.

He’s grinning sheepishly.

I don’t know whether to disown him as any relative of mine or kill him. In fact, I might do both.


“Yougoing to make a bid for him, Baggins?”

I ignore the shout from Ted Sandyman. I stare at Merry, at the ridiculous sight of him wrapped in crimson and fold my arms.
No matter what happens I’m not going to say a word. No bids, nothing. Merry has got himself into this mess. Merry has deliberately ruined the occasion.
So let him take the consequences.



FOUR: MERRY

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Proudfoot was more than keen to take part in my little deception and I was set up to be the final donation. I’d found a suitably modest costume- a sober jerkin and shirt, a set of not too shabby trousers –none of them too bright.

I’d even written a note to apologise for my absence to Frodo and I felt bad about that for I knew he’d be disappointed. I wanted to explain but I knew he’d say it was madness and not right for a Brandybuck. Once he would have laughed and plotted with me but now...now the Master of Bag End has no time for laughter. I miss my dear Frodo and at times I hate Bilbo for leaving as he did. All I want to do is take Frodo by the hand and walk by the Brandywine, skimming stones and lying in the sun, talking and laughing, wrestling on the grass. I remember the climbing of haystacks and the way the straw stuck in Frodo’s curls. How he’d never be still long enough for me to pluck them out but would dare me to catch him and I always did, chasing him till he slowed with laughter and we ended up in a tangle on the grass. How we swore we’d be friends forever and never keep secrets and now...each day he grows more distant and there am I writing a note to deceive him.

Oh, I was pleased at the way the auction was going. From my hiding place in the Mathom House I could hear the cheers and enthusiasm. I was getting changed ready to put on my servants clothes and I wondered what Frodo was thinking about all this. I needed to find out.... so standing on a chair I managed to gaze through a window and I could see the pleasure in Frodo’s face. I could have stayed watching that sight for the rest of the day but a noise disturbed me. I whirled round so fast I almost fell off and there was Murcho Bindbole.


“Well, well lookee here, Master Meriadoc Brandybum in all his nakedness...now ain’t that a fine sight...”

The way he said it made me feel unclean. I wasn’t afraid though. He was still the wiry, weasel faced tyke he always was but I knew I could face him and take him if it was down to a fight. I stepped off the chair.

“Come on then, Murcho, show me you’re not all mouth. Show me there’s more than the coward’s heart in you...”

He laughed and that surprised me. He never did react as people expected and maybe that was where the danger lay. A danger I’d forgotten. Quick as a flash he picked up a jar from one of the shelves and threw it...I wasn’t quick enough. It hit me on the shoulder hard and before I knew it I was being pelted with a hail of objects. All I could do was curl up to protect myself and bear the sharp stings of broken pottery and the thuds of heavy objects.

It stopped and I heard a cry of ‘Oi, you!” Sam’s voice and believe me, I was never so glad to hear it. I staggered into the curtained section of the platform and heard the announcements of my name. I was naked, I had to dress quickly. I searched high and low but there was no trace of clothing anywhere. Nothing. I sat on a stool and groaned. It was all going so badly wrong.


“You’re the next on the bidding platform?”

“Yes, Sam...I thought it was a good idea.”

“Not like that I hope. Them’s your clothes I saw Murcho Bindbole with. Two lots by the looks of it.”

“Yes, my own clothes and the ones I was going to wear for the event. Sam, will you help me? Can I borrow yours?”

“Mine? Not on your life. Mr Frodo would skin me alive if he thought I had anything to do with this. He’ll be right hurt you’ve done this, see if he isn’t. You go out there and you stop it. Say it was all a mistake.”

It would be the right thing to do seeing as I’m naked as the day I was born. So I nod and ask for help in making me decent. Sam has quite the skill for finding solutions to problems if he’s a mind to. In no time at all I am wearing a very fetching piece of curtain in a crimson shiny fabric tied round my hips.

“Why thank you, Sam, this will do nicely...”

“NO! You are only half decent. All those gentle hobbitladies gawping at your chest? You need this.”

He wrapped me up in the remaining curtain and I knew I looked ridiculous. Little Red Hobbit on her way to Grandma’s house except the wolf would run at the very sight of her and it would be a very short tale.

“I can’t go out there looking like this. Sam!!! Where are you going? You can’t leave me!”

“I’m off to warn the one person you should have thought about. He’s going to be so upset with you. You go out there and call the whole tomfoolery off, right this minute!”

Sam’s always bossy when Frodo’s not around. He thinks I’m more of a youngling than Frodo does. Well, I’ll show them both. The Brandybuck name means more than two stupid lengths of curtain. I’m going out there and I’m going to make such an impact. I hope...

They’re laughing at me. All of them laughing at me. There’s the Bindboles, sat there as if there’s going to be a performance. I’ve got to make a brave face of it. Show them all this does not matter one jot. A smile, that works well in this sort of situation. That’s foolish –how would I know what works well? I wish I could stop blushing. Any more and I’ll be as red as these curtains.

Lotho Sackville-Baggins is sneering, clutching a large moneypurse in his hand, waving it to and fro.
Murcho Bindbole looking at him and grinning, licking his lips in anticipation. The Bindboles and the Sackville-Bagginses together.


“Let me have your first bid, all you gentle hobbits!”

There’s a roar of approval and the shouting of numbers but Lotho doesn’t move. He stares at me and mouths ‘I’ll have you’ and Murcho laughs, laughs like the madhobbit he surely is and I look for Frodo, Frodo must know what they intend, must realize what they want. He’s there with his arms folded, looking at the floor and no matter how much I plead in my heart for him to look up, look up, he will not budge. I frantically look for Sam but he shakes his head, shrugging as if he cannot change a thing.

Oh Frodo, dear Frodo, make a bid for me. I wish it with all my heart and strength but he is silent.
I’m on my own.
I can’t walk away. I’m a Brandybuck. How bad can it be? Serving at the Sackville –Baggins’ table?
A meal to be endured and then good night, I’m off.
I can do this with my head held high.
I don’t need Frodo, I’m a Brandybuck.



FIVE: FRODO

“Come on, Brandybuck! Show us some skin!”

There’s laughter, and pointed comments about the hecklers on the wall. They’re only saying what the more wealthy hobbits present are thinking. I won’t look at him. I won’t. I’m not taking any part in this.

“How can we bid when we can’t see what’s on offer!”

“Hear! Hear! Can’t see the merchandise!”

I can hear the giggles from Flora and her crowd. The admiring comments and intakes of breath at some of the cruder ideas. Does he hear any of this? Does he not know how he’s now looked at as a piece of merchandise? That no one cares how he feels, what he thinks? How could he get himself into such a position.. well, its his own business. Let him deal with it. It’s nothing to do with me.

“Please, Mr Proudfoot, I’m asking on behalf of the hobbits of the gentler persuasion, if Mr Meriadoc could possibly...hm...lower...the cloak from his no doubt excellent form, we could perhaps see what to expect?”

“Why not, Miss Bracegirdle? Would that be all right, sir? To lower the curtain, er...cloak...?”

“For Miss Flora, and for all the pleasures her pies bring, most certainly...”

Oh Merry. The gasps and twitterings and the faint applause tell me he is now half clothed. The hearts of all female hobbits are now fluttering ten to the dozen and small pathetic bids of ‘three shillings, four shillings’ are heard across the gardens. I glance at Lotho. He’s sitting back letting those foolish hens cluck over the chick they imagine they’ll be allowed to take home. He’s waiting for the right moment...Oh Merry how could you be so blind? What possessed you?

“Ten shillings” Flora...so eager...so determined.

“I’ve a question!” Old Mother Bindbole? What can she want?

“Why, madam, as this is for your benefit, I see no reason to refuse you. How may I be of assistance?”

“Be quiet, Proudfoot, you old fart! I’m talking to young Brandybuck here. You, Meriadoc, if I bid highly enough, will you wear what you have on now? I’ve always been partial to a good view! And that is a definite improvement on my dear departed ...”

Her cackling drowns out Proudfoot’s comments and he hums and haws, waving his arms like some stranded insect. For the first time I allow myself to glance at Merry. He seems so calm, waiting there with that crimson swathe hanging from his hips to the floor. He’s broadened out, his skin healthy and glowing. He’s enjoying this, he is...isn’t that a faint smile? As if Mother Bindbole admiring one’s physique is any great compliment!

“Madam, if the highest bidder has a preference for any suit of clothing then I will gladly serve them in that suit. A Brandybuck’s word is his bond, Madam...and thank you for the compliment.”

Merry sweeps her a bow and everyone applauds. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps this will end well and Merry will save the day. If anyone can, he will with that silver tongue of his. Meanwhile, I think a comment on procedure is in order. After all, Mother Bindbole can’t possibly be allowed to bid...

“Mr Proudfoot, may I remind you, the proceeds of this day are to be held in trust for the Bindbole family and regretfully, no matter how much she admires the sight of our reckless cousin, she actually has no money with which to bid.”

“You’re quite right there, Mr Baggins, quite right. You may pass comment, Madam but no bids please.”

Merry passes me a grateful look but I choose to ignore it. I was only commenting on the procedures of this matter. I’m not taking any other part. Sam is smirking. I elbow him in the ribs.

“Mr Frodo! That is unfair of you!”

Yes, I know but it feels good. I want this to end. It’s like a tooth waiting to fall out. I know whats going to happen and I want it over with. Home to Bag End and shut my door on auctions, half naked hobbits and thoughts of Merry. No, not thoughts of him...of his actions. Yes, actions...

“Me an’ my partner here would like to bid ...”

“Mr Sandyman! By all means, let me see...last bid was ten shillings...do I have eleven?”

“No, you have five.”

“Oh my dear sir, you misunderstand, it has to be greater than ten, sir. Five is not greater than ten..”

“Five guineas”

Five guineas? Ted Sandyman and who? I hear Sam whisper to look at who he has his arm round and there Ted is, holding onto the shoulders of Murcho Bindbole. Old Mother Bindbole is grinning fit to burst and Merry’s smile is fading as he realizes who could be his master – or his masters - for the night. Serves him right. It’s about time he thought ahead. Actions have consequences; he needs to realise that fact.

“Seven guineas”

Lotho stands and hefts his moneybag. Ted snarls something under his breath. All eyes are on them. No one else here has the money to compete on this scale. No one else who is willing to take part in this nonsense. Let them fight it out amongst themselves. Merry looks confused now. Yes, see what your meddling has done? Enough talk in the Green Dragon for the next twenty years...

“Nine guineas and I insist I see what we’re getting!”

Murcho darts to the front and before anyone can stop him he’s pulled away the remaining curtain. Merry yelps and goes to cover himself while Murcho crows with triumph...”See the bollocknaked Brandybuck!” I open my mouth to protest and there are others on their feet but Merry stills us all.

“I did agree that whoever was the highest bidder could see me in any suit of clothes. I suppose Ted Sandyman’s choice is my birthday suit! I never knew you cared this much for a sight of my skin. All you had to do was come down to the Brandywine on a fine day...”

“If I’d have known, I’d have bin there meself. That’s the finest package I’ve seen in all my years. You don’t get many of those to a pound!”

Merry blows Old Mother Bindbole a kiss and she blushes, actually blushes and covers her face with her apron, squealing in delight. There is applause and good natured ribbing of Merry and a few barbed comments aimed at Ted and I see Merry’s face glow with the satisfaction of a job well done as coins rain down on the stage. Ted scowls and throws his small pouch down in front of Proudfoot and elbows his way out. He never could take the turn of opinion if it went against himself. He takes young Murcho with him, dragging him by one ear much to Murcho’s dismay. His howling makes no impression on his grandmother and I breathe a sigh of relief. It’s over and no harm done. I signal Merry to cover himself and he does. Sam is as relieved as I am.

“Not exactly a boring day, Mr Frodo.”

“Indeed not, Sam. But I’ll like it a lot better when I’m having my supper in front of the fire at Bag End! Time to count all the coins and make the final announcement...”

“TEN GUINEAS!”

No one moves. I can feel the shock running through the crowd. What else can happen? Lotho...in the haste to finish this we’d all forgotten Lotho. He’s not best pleased and worms his way onto the stage holding up his bag of coins for all to see.

“Ten guineas for a Brandybuck hireling to do whatever I ask, to be a servant to me, his Master and by all the Shire he’ll answer to me if he doesn’t!”

“Steady on, Mr Lotho, I have to remind you that this was an offer in good faith and its serving at table and then off home.”

I bless the name of Proudfoot. Surely he will see this right but no, Lotho isn’t having any of it.

“I’m only quoting your words, Proudfoot. ‘Any duties would of course be decided upon by the bidder for after all the donating party is considered a servant for the evening.’ Well I have no need for a servant but I do have need for a beast of burden…”

There are shouts of outrage. Lotho has gone too far. Lobelia and Otho are arguing with any who will listen. Proudfoot bangs the gavel down hard and all is silent. Ten guineas is a great deal of money but Lotho’s eyes are blazing with triumph. He knows he has the right of it. Proudfoot laid out the terms for all to hear. Merry looks dazed and …my heart aches for him. He meant well but now is the time to say ‘no’ to all this foolishness. Nobody would blame him. The heir of the Brandybucks cannot be degraded in such a way. Merry will have to step down and accept the scandal which seems to be our families lot in life.

“I…I didn’t lay those terms down when I asked Mr Proudfoot to include me but I’ll not go against his words.” Merry, Merry, step down, it’s over.

“I’ll fulfil my promise and keep my word…” I knew it, oh my Merry, what are you trying to prove? That you are a hobbit of your word? That you can face the worst things in life? Lotho can’t be trusted, he could do anything…back down, Merry…

“I’ll do whatever is asked of me…to the highest bidder and only the highest bidder.”

He’s looking at me. His eyes are pleading, his whole body straining.

“Ten guineas I’m bid! Going once!”

Bid for him? Have him serve me at table? So close that I can …I can…no, no. I’m the Master of Bag End, I have responsibilities, Bilbo left me to deal with them, I cannot fail him. No more scandal

“Going twice!”

“Mr Frodo, shouldn’t you be doing something? I don’t like the thought of that Lotho one bit…”

Sam you have no idea, no idea…Lotho is smiling, counting out the coin already. He leaves the five guineas spare on the chair. They glint in the sun. Hope is fading in Merry’s eyes, his shoulders slumping in defeat. He counted on me but I’m not his keeper, I’m nothing to him as he is to me…I’m …I’m….oh Merry.

“Going three….”

“TWENTY GUINEAS!”

My voice is strained and cracked but it’s finished and all bedlam breaks out. Shouting, arguing, hobbit against hobbit. The Bindboles have enough for a secure future and Merry is safe. Lotho is strangely quiet, counting the coins back into the pouch with a smile.
As Sam goes to cover Merry’s shoulders and make him more respectable Lotho saunters over. I lower my voice. I’m not going to start something here.


“What do you want?”

“ Congratulations from you I should think for this successful afternoon. Brandybuck here looked a fool and you ended up a lot poorer for it. Think I wanted him? He’s not even of age with a wit to match. I got what I wanted. I made you pay a small fortune and I made you look even more of a disgrace to the Baggins name than you already are. No wonder Bilbo left, I’m surprised he could bear to be in the same room.”

I know that if I let go of my anger I will cause more than a scandal. Sam’s hovering nearby, worried but I will not give Lotho what he wants. With as much control as I can muster, I tell Proudfoot I’ll have the money with him by the morrow. I thank him for his good offices and leave as quickly as I can. I no longer care how much the Bindboles have. All I want is the shelter of my home. Sam keeps up easily but not so Merry. He’s stumbling, trying to keep hold of those curtains.

“Get a move on, Brandybuck!”

“Frodo, I’m managing as best as I can…but these things keep trying to defeat me…slow down…”

I don’t know what the matter is but there’s pain behind my eyes. He’s irritating me beyond endurance. Twenty guineas for his foolishness. For those eyes locked on mine begging for help. For his defiance and his bravado and his way with words. For the fact that I could no more see Lotho or anyone else touch him than…

“You’re a servant now, remember that. Till tomorrow you do as you are told and remember your place.”

I’ve never spoken to anyone like that before in my whole life. Sam is speechless and Merry… Merry is white faced. His voice is low and pleading.

“Frodo? I’m sorry...I am…please…”

“Don’t want or need your apologies. You are a servant and I’m your master. That’s all it is.”

I’m glad he can’t see my face. I’m glad he doesn’t know what I would have paid to keep him safe. I walk as fast as I can to Bag End and pray the night will soon be over.


SIX: MERRY

I need to talk to him, straighten all this out but he won’t let me even come close. In Bag End I’m told to bathe and dress appropriately. Sam keeps shaking his head and keeps murmuring ‘you’ve done it now.’ I want to tell them both what to do with their po faces. I made a mistake and I paid for it. They’ll be talking about that auction for months to come and no doubt I’ll have to explain matters to my father. Disappointing my parents once again with the lack of dignity I bring to the Brandybuck name. I’ll be cleaning out stables for the rest of my life.

“There you are, some decent clothes. Now get dressed quick before Mr Frodo gets hungry. I’ve set the table…all you have to do is serve it when its ready. I explained what to do while you were in the bath. I hope you listened well. I’m off now. Going down to the Green Dragon and see what the gossip is. Oh dear, think I know what the gossip might be!”

Sam is still vexed at me, I know. Putting Frodo to all that trouble. Twenty guineas, a small fortune and I don’t even have that put by to repay him. I could ask my father but I’d be forbidden from ever leaving his side again. One day, somehow I’ll repay Frodo’s kindness...
I look down at myself. These are Sam’s clothes and they are too short and fit in all the wrong places. I don’t want to feel any worse than I do already. I want to get through this meal without dropping anything, or breaking a family heirloom. Why shouldn’t I wear what I was wearing when he bid for me? There are scissors here and I could cut a length more snugly fitting and maybe it will amuse him to see me serving his meal in a curtain.

The bell in the kitchen rings as I finish tying the length of material round me. It lies snug on my hips and when I walk it feels strange but not unpleasant. Surely he will smile when he sees me – I saw his face when they took away my cloak and I stood tall and proud. I think there was pride there even if he was shocked at what I’d done. It matters what he thinks of me as he matters to me. Not that I could tell him so. Not this night.

When I enter the dining room, the fire is lit and candles are burning on the table. The china and cutlery are gleaming and the glassware sparkles. Bilbo had always liked the best although Frodo doesn’t have the same sense of ostentation. I’d hoped that it would be laid out in a more intimate fashion so I could begin to let him know how I felt but this formality lends itself to distance and I know that tonight is going to be difficult.

He is sitting at the head of the table, already holding a glass of something in his hand, wearing a robe of some kind and reading a book. He doesn’t even look up at me until I cough.


“I’m ready to serve dinner if you are ready to eat, sir.”

“Come here…what in the name of the Shire are you wearing? Are you incapable of following any instructions?”

“I..I..the clothes did not fit…I...thought...this might be preferable to no clothes at all…”

A mistake to jest perhaps but what did I know about this Frodo before me? He is a stranger with hooded eyes and as cold a voice as I’d ever heard. With a wave of a hand, he motions for me to get on with my duties. Never knew indifference could hurt as much as this.

I serve each course –soup, fish and soft potato cakes followed by damson crumble and thick yellow custard. Each course is barely tasted and then motioned away. I serve and stand back by the warmth of the fire, surely the only warmth I am going to get and wait for his signal. A hand gesture, nothing more, no words, no look of kindness. This is not a Frodo I’ve ever seen before. I’ve never felt as lonely as I do now in his presence. I feel I don’t exist. I don’t know if I can keep this up without throwing myself at his feet and begging him to even notice me. Did I hurt him so much not telling him? Does the loss of so much money taint our friendship?


“Frodo…please…”

His hand gestures for silence and he holds the glass out for a refill. The decanter is heavy and as I pull out the stopper I can smell the port. For as long as I can remember Frodo has never touched the stuff preferring ale to all the other concoctions Bilbo kept as a sign of a well provisioned household. I pause before I pour. The book in front of him has never been touched. The design I’d noticed from the first is still there. He was not reading…this is pretence.

“Why are you doing this, Frodo? I am ready to say I’m sorry whenever you are ready to listen. I am sorry, I truly am. I deceived you and I caused you great anxiety. ..the auction was a mistake…

His hand is trembling and I have to hold the glass and ease it from his fingers. His voice is hoarse at first.

“You think this is about the auction? Have you no sense? I only have to ask Meriadoc Brandybuck to fetch me something from the kitchen, and because he’s my friend and dearest cousin, he will do it with a smile...so why, why would I ask him to serve me to fulfil a piece of foolishness?”

“I don’t understand…then you must be this way because of the money I’ve cost you. I’ll find a way to repay you, see if I don’t. It may not be yet as I don’t think my father will look too kindly on me for such a debt, but one day, you’ll see…”

He laughs then, a strange laugh and pushes away from the table. He stands in front of the fire, staring into the flames.

“You think this is about the money? Twenty guineas? Don’t you know? Have you not realised? There is no amount I would have not have paid to keep you safe from harm. Lotho knew that, he was counting on that…your secret was not one to him. Proudfoot had told him what you planned, you could tell from his face and the way he set those extra words to the task, words you did not give him. Lotho’s target was not you, it was me. I paid because I would not have had his hands on you.”

My legs will not hold me. The world is whirling about my head and changing into something else entirely. I kneel at his side and go over his words. I can’t be hearing right.

“If Lotho had asked for the key to Bag End itself, I would have given it to him…”

“No! You are mocking me! Is this part of my punishment? Do you have to do this to me?”

It hurts to think he wants to mock me and I look away because if that’s what this is, my heart will break and I don’t want him to know…but then he is kneeling in front of me and smiling at me, drawing me back.

“You are beautiful to me, my Merry. You make me happy in your company and you are dear to my heart. I asked you to serve me to prove to myself I did not feel these things but I lied. I do feel them…each time you moved, each time I saw the flames playing on your skin I wanted to tell you what effect it had on me but it isn’t right. I am of age and you are not. Now I have told you and things can never be the same.”

There’s sadness in his eyes even though he’s smiling and it occurs to me that he is going to ask me to leave. I can’t leave…how can I leave? Everything I’ve ever wanted to hear from him has been said. I will not let him push me away. I lean forward and push the robe from his shoulders, sit back on my heels and slowly unravel the drapery from my body. His whispered warning…Merry…has no effect…I will touch him and kiss him...I will hold him and pleasure him ...for if I don’t, if I get up and leave this room it will be the biggest lie of all between us.

Within moments we are naked and suddenly there is shyness, and I have to reach and touch his face to reassure myself he isn’t going to disappear. When I tell him that, he laughs, clear, bright tones, no strangeness, just the Frodo I know and want so much. Then my mouth is on his and for a while all is confusion. Our hands explore each others skin as our mouths join and moan softly together without wanting to stop. The need for breath breaks us apart and the laughter is there, bubbling at our over eagerness. I’ve bedded hobbits before and I know he has too in the past but this is new. I want to please him before myself and never has this been part of my thinking.

He lets me touch him, amused, I think, at the reverence in my fingers.


“I’m not made of glass, Merry.”

“I never thought you were. I…don’t want this to end…”

“I think it must…because if it doesn’t soon then I will disgrace myself.”

It delights me that he is hard and ready for me and I take him in my mouth, moving along his shaft, feeling the heaviness in my throat, the pressure that fills me. He groans and arches back, his fingers in my hair, pushing into me. The smell of him makes my senses swim and I touch myself with eager fingers, in a rhythm that matches the movement of his body. When he spurts into my throat I accept it with gladness. When my own release comes, I lose the sense of where I am until the world returns with his arms about me.

I want to talk to him about what this means, but my body betrays me and I’m happy to stretch in front of the fire in sleepy contentment. He watches me, fingers playing along my thighs.


“You mustn’t regret this, Frodo, because I don’t, not for one minute.”

“Are you sure?”

“Sure as I am of anything in the Shire except perhaps one thing.”

“Oh? Only one? “

“I wouldn’t have let you give Lotho the key to Bag End…not for me.”

He hugs me then with a strength I didn’t know he possessed and he whispers fiercely,

“Sometimes, Merry, I forget how old you can be and then you say something to remind me.”
12 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
trianne From: trianne Date: October 2nd, 2005 11:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, perfect last line, absolutely perfect :) Loved this!
ladysunrope From: ladysunrope Date: October 4th, 2005 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
thank you so much *gazes at your icon for a very long time :) *
From: ex_lunarisi Date: October 3rd, 2005 01:50 am (UTC) (Link)
This was terrific. It's hard for me to read outside my OTP of F/S, but with the LSR name in the author line, well, I knew it would be worth it. And it surpassed all my expectations. Frodo is exquisitely mature and Merry is so - just wonderful. And even dear Sam has a purpose and not just background filler.

The ending was truly lovely. *happy sigh* I still want to know what the understanding was between Frodo and Flora though...
ladysunrope From: ladysunrope Date: October 4th, 2005 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
*blush* thanks so much for this. You never know, there may be additions to this universe so Frodo/Flora might get a look in.
elanorgardner From: elanorgardner Date: October 4th, 2005 12:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Very interesting shift of POV back and forth. And Frodo's real feelings are very well concealed even from the reader behind all the proper hobbity behavior, even at an auction! And Merry with all his bumbling efforts to impress Frodo and his bravado and style when dressed only in his birthday suit (which I am sure does not need pressing).

For the fact that I could no more see Lotho or anyone else touch him than… heh - Than who Frodo?

Now I have told you and things can never be the same. So few stories acknowledge that, bravo!

Welcome!

And thanks for participating in the challenge!
(And for writing Frodo/Merry, if only to keep my co-mod happy! *snorts*)

EG


abby_normal From: abby_normal Date: October 4th, 2005 11:12 am (UTC) (Link)
(And for writing Frodo/Merry, if only to keep my co-mod happy! *snorts*)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to keep a co-mod happy. Just sayin'.
ladysunrope From: ladysunrope Date: October 4th, 2005 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
thank you for the feedback and I'll happily contribute to Frodo/Merry goodness whenever I can ( a happy co-mod is just one benefit of this )

Seriously, want to thank you for the invitation -this has really brought back my hobbit original love and I'm so pleased about that.
abby_normal From: abby_normal Date: October 4th, 2005 11:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay! Frodo/Merry! Wow! When you plot, you really PLOT, don't you? A very involving read. I found Frodo's denials - both to himeself and in his outward behavior - of his feeling toward Merry and his wish that things take a new direction to be very believable. I can definitely see how Frodo's reactions would perplex Merry and how Merry's would frustrate Frodo. And yet they're both trying so hard to look out for the other. Really lovely.

It's so good to see you here, LSR. Thank you for playing and I hope this is the first of many.
ladysunrope From: ladysunrope Date: October 4th, 2005 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Yes, I love to weave stories. The real challenge will be to write shorter ones with other challenges. It will be good discipline for me as a writer I think.

As for Frodo/Merry -you will be getting more, that's a promise.
aussiepeach From: aussiepeach Date: October 5th, 2005 12:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wrote an auction scene once with Frodo but never posted it anywhere, just couldn't finish it properly. Well done you for yours - I do like the image of brave Merry up there very much. :)
mariole From: mariole Date: January 24th, 2006 05:56 am (UTC) (Link)
What a wonderful setup! I loved the detail and the time period you chose. Coming of age and coming of understanding all in one. Lovely.
rainbowcobweb From: rainbowcobweb Date: April 17th, 2006 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, the last line is just love, what a killer!

Hee, Sam's characterisation made me giggle, and I nabbed a few parts of the story for my quotes book, hope you don't mind!

:)
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