A Middle Earth Reunion - Chapter Thirteen; Of Shore, Samwise, and a Question

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve

Recap: Okay, I was bad again. I haven't posted in ages and ages, and if you're anything like me, you've all forgotten what happened in Chapter Twelve. So, the fabled Recap: The company of men, along with King Elessar, has departed from Gondor to the wide and supposedly endless sea with hopes of finding the lost mountain of Meneltarma, the last gateway between the mortal world and the Blessed Realm. Elanor has accompanied the men, disguised as a young Gondorian showing his loyalty to the king, with hopes to protect her love from any dangers he might face. Unfortunately, several young boys who feel threatened her presence take it upon themselves to show Elanor her rightful place by attempting to beat her. After Faramir takes interest in the fight and comes to her aid, Elanor is knocked unconscious and taken to the healer, where it is discovered by the apprentice that she is both female and a hobbit. The king expresses sorrow that Elanor's crime warrants execution, but can only pardon her if she displays acts of valor in combat, ensuring Elanor's place in the coming battle. Soon after, the mountain of Meneltarma comes into view and is passed, revealing Valinor in its ethereal glory. We come back to the story the day after the first sight of it...


The five days ere the ships reached the Blessed Realm were the longest days of Elanor's life. Time, it seemed, had a tendency to be vindictive, and had slowed its pace to barely more than a slow crawl. Perhaps it was the effect of crossing the border of time and legend, but each hour was as long as a life-age of the earth. The men grew restless, squabbling over who had the good fortune to go above deck, whose shield a man was sitting on, whose nose was more well formed, any and every thing that has ever been argued over in the history of the earth.
The hobbits spent much of their time discussing and practicing the sword, Elanor teaching Faramir its ways and techniques, speaking only with her Gondorian accent, which he found almost unendingly amusing. He only desisted of teasing her relentlessly when she knocked him to the floor with the flat of her blade, and held its point not more than a quarter of an inch away from his throat.
"Are yeh done now?" she asked. He nodded furiously, leaning away from the sharp and merciless steel. Faramir learned quickly, though he did not have the natural aptitude that Elanor possessed, and by the afternoon of the fifth day could block nearly anything she threw at him. He once managed to force down her weapon, and, holding his sword lightly to her tunic, accidentally pressed on her bruised rib, making her fall to her knees and bite her lip so hard that it bled.
"Oh, El- er, Leofa, I'm so sorry, I forgot!" he cried. "Is there anything I can do?"
"No trouble," she gasped, clenching her fists so that her knuckles turned white while she waited for the pain to subside. "I'll live... I think."
"Attention, men!" Boromir called as he reached the bottom of the ladder. "We shall be reaching land around sunset; that is two hours from now. Gather your things together; we shall make camp on the shore." He walked towards Faramir and Elanor, who had risen painfully to her feet. "All right, there, Leofa?" he asked quietly.
"Aye, milord."
"Good," he said, boxing her genially in the stomach. Tears jumped to Elanor's eyes as she fought not to cry out. "We shan't be cooped up on this ship for much longer." He walked away, and Elanor again knelt on the floor, panting shallowly.
"Why do I keep getting hit there?" she choked, as Faramir put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Not my back, or my arm, of course, always right on the rib."
After the pain faded, Elanor and Faramir joined the activity of gathering their belongings. There were many disputes among the greater population over which tunic belonged to whom, who had stolen whose shield, among many other tedious things, so the complete crew was not assembled on the deck for nearly a whole and three fourths of an hour.
The Blessed Realm, so distant five days ago, was now a mammoth black silhouette against the flaming embers of the sun, the city of Valinor to their north, the mountains of Pelori and the enchanted isles straight ahead, and the forests of Oromë beyond.
"Come ashore just south of the isles," the king cried, the crashing of the waves already plain to be heard. "It is said that the sea remains quite deep to only twenty feet from the shore there, and I do not wish for us to run aground."
"Aye, milord. Let's 'ope yer right! Cut the sails!" the captain bellowed. "The tide'll carry us in, now!"
The men too tall, and too awed to take notice, Elanor again took Faramir's hand in hers, receiving courage from his familiar presence beside her. As the ship neared the shore, the captain turned the great wheel, so that when the mighty anchor finally slowed the ship to a halt, it was abreast to the land, allowing all the gangplanks to be lowered down to the shallow water, not more than a foot deep nearest to the shore.
With surprising control and order, every last being confined on the ship for the past months made their way down the long walkway, finally wading ashore to join the other ships' crews, only to fall to their knees, not yet used to walking on dry land. Though Elanor did feel a dizzying sensation of overbalancing for a time, she happily adapted back to the steady shore. Faramir was ecstatic. He knelt on the smooth white sand, gathered some in his hands, and as it ran between his fingers, lifted his eyes to the heavens and whispered, "Thank you."
He looked joyfully at Elanor. "I never knew how much I appreciated dirt, 'til now. Good, sound soil, it's better than an ale and a pipe at the Green Dragon." Elanor laughed.
After a time, the king's men began setting up small tents, two soldiers to each, in neat, symmetrical rows stretching out from a clearing where they would make their fire. An officer was walking amongst the men, assigning then to their shared lodging.
"Yeh two," he said, pointing at Elanor and Faramir. "Third tent, fifth row."
"Er; wouldn't it be better if Leofa was with someone his age?" Faramir asked, shifting in an uncomfortable manner. "I mean..."
The officer raised an eyebrow. "Did yeh not 'ear me? Third tent, fifth row. 'At's an order." He moved on.
"What was that about?" Elanor asked, as they walked towards the assigned tent. "I'd have thought you be happy sharing a tent with me instead of some strange man you've never met."
"I am," Faramir said quickly. "It's just that, I don't feel quite right sharing a lodging with you until we're-" his voice cut off.
"Until we're what?"
The hobbit's face appeared strangely crimson in the fading light. "Oh, nothing... Look, there's our tent!" he said, walking swiftly towards it and giving Elanor the distinct impression that he was attempting to divert her attention.
After dropping their things in the appropriate tent, the two went towards the center of the ring of lodgings, where some men had already started a large bonfire with wood from a nearby stand of trees. After an hour or so, a hunting party that had been sent out when the ship had first landed returned with a pair of wild boars, (caught sleeping in their den,) four turkeys, a goose, and six rabbits. The land was so fertile, the hunters exclaimed, that one could not walk for so much as an ell before one came across some wild game. They had also gathered many strange fruits, some round and vivid orange, like a setting sun, sweet on the tongue, while some were long and yellow, with a thick peel that was bitter to the taste, and also some that were larger than the others, and covered with sharp brown spines, which, when cut away, revealed very sweet yellow innards, which burned the mouth if one ate too many. To the thin and hungry men, this was a paradise beyond reckoning. Elanor commented softly to Faramir that it more than bested any meal she had eaten at the Green, and the other hobbit heartily agreed.
Some time later, Boromir said loudly that more firewood was needed.
"We'll go, milord," Faramir said. "Me and Leofa."
Elanor followed Faramir to the stand of trees, and into a small clearing in the center. She began looking around for fallen wood when Faramir took her arm.
"Elanor, I didn't bring you here to gather firewood. I wanted to talk to you, before it's too late. I don't know when we are going to battle, but, if anything was to happen, there are some things I could not bear not having said." He took her hand, and knelt down in the darkness, as Elanor sat beside him, curious at his change in mood. "First, I want you to know that I have always loved you, and I always will. You are my hope, my heart, my life. My star, when all other lights go out. So, Elanor, I wanted to ask you something. If we survive this, if we make it home-" He paused, and turned his head, as Elanor's heart thudded in her chest, not daring to believe what her heart told her that Faramir was asking. Suddenly, she heard what had interupted Faramir's thought; a song, sung in elvish, wafting through the trees, but not from the direction of camp. It came from the forest, and the valley beyond, but what this foretold the hobbits could not guess.
"Come, Elanor. We must tell the king! There will be time enough for talk later."
Rushing back to the camp, the hobbits found Aragorn some way away from the fireside, studying a map of the Undying Lands.
"Milord," Elanor began, not bothering to disguise her voice.
"We were in the trees-" Faramir said quickly.
"-and we heard elves, singing in the forest-" Elanor continued.
"-from the valley-" he added.
"-and, we don't know what it means, but-"
"-we think they're coming this way," Faramir finished. The king sprang to his feet.
"It is good that you came to me," he said quietly. "Those less wise would have stayed to draw the sword, and perhaps decided their own doom. It may be that the enemy has come to us, but I do not think this is so. A war party would not be so sure as to sing while they came. I shall alert the camp, but we must keep them calm, or they may strike ere they recognize friend from foe." He walked to the fireside, shot his inattentive captain a disapproving glance, and spoke to the men gathered there.
"There is a host approaching, but friend or foe, we do not know. Do not strike ere I give the command, or it shall be your life that is forfeit. We shall wait for them, and not be come upon unawares. Assemble your weapons, but do not draw them. Now! We do not have much time." The men scattered to the numerous lodgings, a wild chatter springing up among them. Dashing to their tent and back to fetch their discarded blades, they were once again surprised by the discipline of the soldiers, for by the time they had returned, most of the men had already gathered.
The king led the warriors about halfway between camp and the forest, flanked by two pages bearing torches. There was a cry from the captain, at which every man jostled about for a moment, and the two hobbits found themselves in the front line of an ordered group of men, just to the left behind the king. They waited.
After a moment of listening, the hobbit ears caught faint snatches of a stirring elven lay, fading over the distance. It was not long before even the most deafened old warrior could hear the haunting melody, and suddenly, like the moon appearing from behind a cloud, so the host of elves came from the darkened wood. They lined up before the king, and the singing stopped. There was a long moment of silence, and a lone figure stepped forth.
"Some mortal years ago, across the great sea, we formed an alliance. We fought by you; our kin died by your own. We have come to honor that bond." To the surprise of nearly all those gathered there, the Lord Aragorn stepped forward, and kneeled, placing his blade upon the sand.
"My lord Elrond, we would be blessed indeed to have your aid. It has been many long years, but the alliance still holds true. We welcome you as friends." Three thousand men released the hilts of their swords in unison. The king went forward, and began to greet the mighty elf lords and ladies, a hundred others whom had been lost to him since the ending of the third age. Many of the elves from the Hither Lands also went forth, and embraced their kin who had left for the Blessed Realm so long ago.
Elanor gazed, heart racing, at the many faces in the merry crowd. Finally, after what seemed as years of searching, her eyes found what they sought, and her breath stopped. There, almost directly across from her in the great company of elves, was her father, though he was much changed from when they had last met. His hair was like that of his youth, as was his face, and Elanor could see no sign of the carved walking stick he had borne in his later years. He, too, was scanning the crowd opposite of him, and in time, his roving sight came to rest on Elanor. His eyes widened in surprise, followed swiftly by joy. Elanor, unable to bear it any longer, broke from the line and ran to her father, once more finding herself in his arms after so many years.
Joyous tears rained from both their eyes as they stepped back to look at one another.
"You look so different!" Elanor cried, laughing as she wept.
"I could say the same for you," Samwise replied, looking her up and down. "So that's how you did it. I swear, where you get your smarts I'll never know, but it must be from your mother's side." A voice from behind him chuckled appreciatively. "Oh, Elly," her father cried. "I've waited so long to do this, and I near forgot! Elly, this is mister Frodo. Frodo; this is my little girl."
"It is a pleasure to meet you at last, Elanor," Frodo replied, stepped towards her and taking her hands. "You were so young when I left, just a babe in your mother's arms. You have grown beautiful indeed, just as Sam said you would."
Elanor found herself strangely drawn to the older hobbit's eyes, deep wells of wisdom, and memory, and a pain that never fully healed. Shaking herself, she replied, "It is a pleasure to meet you as well, Mister Baggins. I don't think a day went by when I was young that my father did not mention your name." She felt a hand on her shoulder, and without turning, knew that it was Faramir. "There is someone I wish for you to meet as well. This is Faramir Took, my friend through all the years you and my father were gone, though I only truly knew him this past seven months. Faramir, this is Frodo Baggins, and my father, whom you've met."
"I know," he replied, with a small smile as Elanor took his hand.
"Nice to see you again, my boy."
"This is Pippin's son?" Frodo asked, incredulous. "I didn't know that Pip had it in him! Well, I certainly hope you've caused sufficient mayhem throughout the Shire, lived up to your father's name."
Faramir laughed. "I can only say I've done my best. It's hard to live up to a legend!"
"This is all lovely, but I'm afraid the introductions aren't over, Elly-lass," Sam said, beaming. "I've still got to show you to Gandalf, and Lady Galadriel, and Lord Elrond..." His voice faded as he dragged Elanor through the huge crowd, leaving Frodo and Faramir behind.
"You've looked after her, then?" Frodo asked, quietly.
"When she's not too busy looking after me. She means the world to me, and I'll not see her hurt or-" he stopped suddenly, and stammered. "I-I don't know why I'm blathering on so, don't see why I should bore you..."
The perceptive hobbit laid a soothing hand on Faramir's shoulder. "It's all right, lad. Just tell me this; do you love her?"
"More than anything," he replied, slightly taken aback at the abrupt posing of this personal question.
"Then that's all I needed to know. Come on. This noise is getting into my head, let's get away from all this. I know a wonderful little stream not far from here with the clearest water I've ever seen, or we could find something to eat..."
Faramir smiled, already strangely comfortable around this wise, older hobbit. He laughed. "I'd enjoy that, but, I'm very tired. I've a bit of a fear of water, you see, so being on ship for three months hasn't been too restful. If you wouldn't mind, I think I'll just go on to my tent. If you see Elanor, tell her not to wake me; I'm exhausted. If you would, good night."
"Good night, lad," Frodo called as he walked away, and smiled quietly to himself. "You're just what Sam needs to stop worrying about her all the time," he said, though no one heard.

* * *

"Please, Sam-dad, no more people!" Elanor said wearily as she and her father drew near to the cooling ashes of bonfire, deserted but for Frodo, smoking at its side. "I've lost track of everyone's names, and I don't need any more to get confused with tonight. There will be plenty of time tomorrow. Now, I would reckon my tent-mate is already sound asleep, and I think I shall go join him. It's wonderful to see you again, but good night!" She stumbled blearily back to her lodging, and disappeared behind its flap.
"Who's she sharing her tent with, I wonder?" Samwise asked Frodo as he settled himself by the coals. "I hope it's someone I can trust."
"It's Faramir," Frodo responded from a dream-like state, pipe in hand, as he gazed, unseeing into the embers.
Sam coughed. "Faramir? That's hardly appropriate! I should--"
"Sam, stop. Don't you see?"
"See what?" Sam replied, consternation graven into his features.
Frodo sighed. "They're in love. As deeply as you and Rosie, when we first came back from the Journey."
Sam gaped for a moment. "What? You don't even know them yet, Frodo, how could you--? Never-- My little girl--"
"Your little girl is grown up, Sam. You've worried about her every day all these years; you don't need to worry about her anymore."
"I'll believe it when I see it, Frodo. She'll always be my little girl."
"Good night, Sam."

* * *

The King spoke to the company around the cold ashes the following morning. They would begin their march on the next morning after, through the valley in the mountains, and come around midday to the pastures of Yavanna after crossing her orchards. If what he had seen in the Palantir of the Tower was true, then the Valar would know of their coming, and would be waiting for them.
The joy of the past evening was subdued, replaced by the pervasive and dull fear that comes from a foretelling of early death. The Blessed Realm had lost all wonder for the men, seeming only to smell of rot and decay, and all the fruits had lost their once-vivid flavor. Elanor saw Gwynna at one point, staff in hand, walking among the men, spreading visions of light, and hope, and courage. There was also a small figure that stood at the edge of camp and gazed forlornly at Elanor, auburn hair tossed in the breeze, but the girl never approached, and Elanor did not call her back when she turned away.
The four hobbits spent most of the day removed from the rest of the host, talking and relaxing among the swaying trees. Elanor removed her boots, and flung them halfway to the water, tucked her hair behind her pointed ears, and even excused herself for a time, removing her breast band and folding it neatly by her side, relishing each deep breath she took. She would not spend her last day of comfort pretending to be something she was not.
"There," she said, walking back to her companions. "I'll be a boy of Gondor no longer. At least, not for today."
"You almost look a right and proper hobbit again, Elly-lass," Sam replied good humoredly, shooting an amused glance at her slender, fur-less feet. She sat down, and wiggled them into the sand up to the ankles.
"It's growing back," she replied, shrugging.
That evening, sitting by their own fireside, still far removed from the greater company, Elanor and Frodo were engaged in some animated discussion concerning the ancient Silmarils.
"But how could jewels hold light?" Elanor asked, quite enthralled.
Frodo smiled knowingly. "Ah, see now, today's gems can't, they're just glorified rocks, but Feanor was skilled in all the ancient crafts, jewel-smithing not the least, and-"
Faramir leaned towards Samwise and spoke softly, so as not to let the other two hear. "Er; Mister Gamgee, sir-"
"It's just 'Sam,' lad. Never more than 'Sam.'"
The younger hobbit smiled apologetically. "Yes, well, er, Sam, could I talk to you a moment? Away from..." he nodded his head meaningfully at Elanor.
Sam tilted his head curiously. "Of course, my boy." Not bothering to disrupt the other two by excusing themselves, the pair rose and walked into the twilit forest, stopping after a short walk in an open glade. "What is it, lad?"
"It..." Faramir started, swallowing audibly. "It's about Elanor. There's something I've got to ask you, but I'm not sure how to..." His voice faded away as he fidgeted nervously. Sam waited patiently, leaning against a tree with the light of the starry sky filtering down through its leaves.
Faramir took a deep breath. "If Elanor and I survive, if we ever make it home-- With your blessing, sir, I'd like to take her hand... as my wife."
Sam did not move, or give any sign that he had heard Faramir at all but to close his eyes. The younger hobbit bit his lip, an unpleasant fluttering in his stomach as he waited for an answer. Sam slowly sank to the ground and rubbed his eyes, sighing as he did.
"Do you love her?" he murmured, keeping his hands over his face.
"Yes."
"And she you?"
"So I like to think."
"You'll take care of her, and treat her well?"
"Even after all breath has left my body."
Sam contemplated the young hobbit seriously, remembering him from Faramir's boyhood, when he and Elanor had terrorized the country-side almost incessantly. It was only right that such friends would finally grow up, and fall in love. He drew a deep breath, and whispered the most difficult thing he had ever uttered, though it was not for the first time that he spoke such words to the youthful hobbit.
"You have my blessing."
Faramir went to the old hobbit, and clasped his hand firmly. "Thank you, Sam. You, and she, will not regret this. I'll make her happy, even if it's all I ever do."
"When are you going to ask her?"
"Tonight, if I can find the courage. I don't want her to go to battle beside me without her knowing."
Sam smiled weakly. "Then we'd best go back, lad; I reckon it'll be getting late soon."

* * *

"That's amazing," Elanor said, looking Frodo in the eye, slightly awed. "What a shame that such gifts were lost-- wait, where are they going?" she asked, spotting Faramir and her father walking into the trees.
"Let them go," Frodo said wisely. "There must be something they don't want us to know about. Will you take a walk with me, while we wait for them to come back?" Elanor nodded genially, and rose with him, walking along the starlit beach away from camp. They walked in silence for a moment, then Frodo spoke.
"Your father and I care for you very much, Elanor. You can never know how much."
"Why do you care?" Elanor asked, curious. "You left when I was only six months old. You never even knew me."
"And you don't know how much that pained me. While I did know you, you were like my own child. My little flower. You were the one that kept me strong when my hope faded, when all else but the fire and the pain was gone."
"But how?"
Frodo patted her shoulder, smiling sadly. "You were so pure, so free from the tortures that I endured, the darkness could not cling to me when I held you in my arms. And I'd done it all for you in the first place; you, the hope of a new and better world, freed from the darkness of a cruel and bitter evil. I wanted you to know that if you are hurt, perhaps even killed tomorrow, it would not only be yourself who would be lost. Your father, myself, and, if I might be so bold, Faramir." He stopped abruptly, and faced her, taking her hands in his. "Elanor, you do not belong in this war. I beg of you, do not fight for a cause that is not your own!"
Coming on her sharp as cold steel, agony hit her, and she fell to her knees. Then they came; the visions, horrible images from some unknown future. Loved ones, her father, brothers, sisters, Anna, Éowyn, all those she had ever known, she saw them dead, strewn across a battlefield or caught at home in their beds, none escaping the unseen harbinger of doom. Picture after picture flashed unmercifully into her mind, dwelling finally on an image of Faramir, lying under an ancient tree, his unseeing eyes staring vacantly up into the dark blue sky as his blood seeped slowly into the ground. Once more, she heard the echoing voice inside her head; So it shall be if you do not fight. Would you doom those you love to death...?
Elanor came back to herself at last, sobbing into Frodo's shoulder as he held her in the darkness. She drew away, and hung her head in her hands.
"You can See, can't you?" he asked quietly, awe barely disguised in his voice.
She nodded, weeping into her hands. "They come from the Lady Varda," she choked at last, gasping for breath. "But they've never been like this! This was horrible; they were all dead, all of them; it's what will happen if I do not fight!" Her sobs redoubled, and Frodo held her again, murmuring soothingly.
"Hush, child, it is well. Hush..." He began to sing softly, calming her.

"May it be an evening star
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh, how far you are from home

Mornië utúlië
Believe and you will find your way
Mornië alantië
A promise lives within you now

May it be the shadows call
Will fly away
May it be your journey on
To light the day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun

Mornië utúlië
Believe and you will find your way
Mornië alantië
A promise lives within you now

A promise lives within you now."*

Elanor dried her eyes and rose to her feet, looking out to the sea.
"Thank you," she whispered softly, as Frodo embraced her.
"Sweet child, I have only ever wanted to help you, keep you safe, dry your tears. You gave me that, and that is reason for my thanks. Come, let us now return to the fire; it is cold, and I am not young as I once was!"
Waiting by the fireside, Frodo told Elanor of his youth in the Shire, and stories of her father, but she was barely listening. When Faramir finally came into view from the forest, she ran to him, and threw her arms around him. Sam walked on as though he had not seen.
"Help me, Faramir, I need to know you're real, that nothing's happened to you," she whispered softly.
"Does this tell you?" he asked, kissing her hand. "Or this?" He kissed her neck. "Or this?" He kissed her gently on her lips. As he drew away, she pulled him back, savoring his touch. After a time, he led her away into the forest, his fingers laced with hers.

* * *

"I wonder where they're going," Frodo said, stoking the fire.
"He's going to ask her to marry him," Sam sighed, staring into the heart of the burning coals.
"Is he, now? Well, there's no hobbit better suited for her. I wish nothing but the best for them."
Sam glared at him. "Easy for you to say. He wants to marry my little girl. Not so little anymore."
Frodo glanced at him, and saw him quickly wipe away a tear from his eye. "It's all right, Sam. They'll take care of each other, and you'll find no two happier hobbits in all of the Shire."
"I hope you're right, Frodo. I hope you're right."

* * *

"You will?" Faramir gasped, taking Elanor's hand.
"Yes, yes, yes," she said joyously, tears springing to her eyes. He picked her up and spun her around, and then held her close as they both tumbled to the ground. Pulling her lips away from his for a moment, Elanor asked, "Do you love me?"
"More than anything on this earth. Do you love me?"
"Greater than life itself."
"All right then," he said, smiling, and drew her back to him.
Some time later, Elanor pulled away once more to gaze, enraptured, into Faramir's face. Frowning slightly, she brushed a lock of hair from his eye and touched the lid gently.
"Faramir," she asked, "did you know that your eye is healed?"
"Can't be," he said, feeling it himself. "It doesn't hurt, but it's only been a few days!"
Intrigued, Elanor gingerly pressed the once-tender spot on her side and gasped.
"My rib!" she cried. "It's good as new! What is this, that we've healed so quickly?"
Faramir's face fell, and he turned away to look upward towards the heavens. He spoke, a bitter sadness in his voice. "It's the power of the Valar, against which we have no hope."
Troubled by the return of her love's despair, and remembering some of her own, Elanor ran her fingers through his hair, making him smile.
"Faramir, do you not see? It doesn't matter if we go to our deaths. No one knows what happens to mortal souls once they take their leave to the realm beyond the stars, but of this I am sure; it cannot be that our hearts, and our love, are confined to this one short life. We shall meet again. Trust in this, if you can trust in nothing else."
Faramir smiled once more, shaking his head with a glimmer of his old fire back in his eyes. "How is it," he asked, "that you can always plant such hope in my heart? Never lose your hope, Elanor, for then I shall know that the world has been cast into shadow. Come; we should go back. They'll be getting worried about us."

* * *

"Do you think he's asked her yet?" Frodo asked, lighting his slender wooden pipe.
"Sure of it," Sam replied gloomily, resting his chin on his fists.
"Do you think she said yes?"
Sam sighed. "One of them would have come back by now if she hadn't. Do'you know, Pip and me talked about arranging a marriage for them? We'd figured it'd never play out, but--"
Frodo looked suddenly over his friend's shoulder. "Speak of the sun and you see her rays. Here they come. Look at them, Sam! Have you ever seen two so happy?" Sam mumbled incoherently for a moment, then stood to greet his eldest daughter, assuming a splendid mockery of genial approval.
"Did you go through with it, lad?" he asked conspiratorially. Faramir nodded, squeezing Elanor's hand as she giggled slightly. "And..." his voice trailed off, as though he could not bear to realize his question by asking it fully. The two glanced at each other, and nodded in unison. "Welcome to the Gamgee family, my boy," Sam said, embracing the young hobbit. "Your strength is our strength, your weakness, our weakness, and all that befalls you befalls us as well. Proud to have such an admirable hobbit for my li-- my Elanor."

Notes:

* Lyrics to "May it Be," shamelessly stolen from whoever it is that actually owns them. Apologies, but they fit rather well.

Also, I wrote a story concerning Frodo's feeling for Elanor entitled, "My Little Flower." If you'd like to read it, you can find it here.

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