Merry awoke to Estella screaming. He raced to her room. Estella was sitting up in bed, tears running down her face.
“Shhhh, it’s all right.” He took her in his arms. She sobbed into his nightshirt.
“Don’t let him get me, Merry please. Don’t let him hurt me.” Estella held him tightly.
“Who, Estella? Who would hurt you?”
“The ruffian.” Merry realized she was still half asleep. He kissed her curls and started to lay her down in the bed.
“MERRY! Merry, don’t leave me alone!”
“I won’t leave you. No one is going to hurt you. I’m here,” he soothed. Estella’s eyes closed and her breathing eased. Merry held her hands.
“What did they do to you?” he whispered.
There was a knock on the door. “Estella, go hide. I’ll see what they want,” said Fatty. Estella went to hide behind the sofa. Fatty opened the door. Two ruffians and a sherrif stood there.
“You be Fredegar Bolger?” the sherrif asked
“I am.” The ruffians responded by grabbing him.
“Fredegar Bolger, you are under arrest.”
“For what?” Fatty demanded as he stuggled.
“For plotting against the Chief.”
“I don’t what you’re talking about except maybe you’re accusing me of speaking my mind. There’s never been a law against that. That’s all Sharkey’s doing.”
The sherrif smiled. “You have just proven yourself guilty. Take him to the Lockholes.”
“No leave him alone!” Estella ran out from her hiding place and began beating one of the ruffians. He looked down at her.
“Well look at you, girlie.” Estella ran to her room and locked the door. She hid behind her bed as the ruffian pounded on her door. This wasn’t right. None of this was right. What had happened to her home? She cried as the ruffian pounded harder. Finally he broke in.
“Where are you girlie? I’m going to find you.” He leaned over and grabbed her tiny wrists. She stuggled till they were raw.
“This ratland produces fine girlies don’t you agree?” She responded by kicking him in the shin. He struck her hard with the back of his hand. “None of that now.” He picked her up and threw her down on the floor. Her lip was bleeding. The ruffian was smiling. His teeth were yellow and rotting.
“Now to deal with you,” he said.
“Aye! None of that now!” the sherrif said. “We got the Bolger. Leave the lass alone, before I tell Sharkey.”
“Aye sir,” the ruffian begrudingly stood up. He grabbed Estella’s sleeve and pulled her close to his face. His breath was hot on her skin.
“I’ll come back, and when I do, girlie you’ll regret the day you were born. And no one will stop me from getting you.” He pushed her back on the floor.
His eyes caught sight of her white stone. He picked it up and turned it over in his hands.
“This is precious to you, isn’t it? Estella sniffed. “Probably given to you by that brother of yours.” She made no reply. “Well girlie, chances are you’ll never see him again.” He dropped the stone on the floor. Before she could reach for it, he ground it to a powder. “He’ll starve in the Lockholes!” And he left.
Estella ran away to her cousin’s after that. She stayed there until after the Battle of Bywater. She took care of Fatty, getting him back to a healthy weight for a hobbit. But her dreams had been plagued with images of the ruffian ever since. She knew he was dead, but he still haunted her memory.
Merry softly kissed the sleeping Estella’s lips. “No one is going to hurt you. I’ll make sure of that.” He brushed a few curls of her face. “I love you,” he whispered. Merry watched her sleep until he went to sleep too.
Aragorn had been watching Merry care for the frightened Estella. He quietly spread a blanket over Merry’s sleeping form. Aragorn kissed the two hobbits foreheads and said and elvish blessing for their dreams before softly shutting the door.
*Disclaimer* Not mine. Don’t want any money or things like that. Just your respones.