Chapter 1 - The Shire

A/N: There are two characters in my story that aren't in the books: Alexandria "Lexi" of Long Cleeve and Meridol Bolger. These two are taking the places of Diamond and Estella, but will also be going with the other four Hobbits. So, if AU means Alternate Universe, that's what this is. Also, I will be staying more with the movie than with the book, so do not criticize me on that basis. If there was a LotR section under Movies, this would go there, but there isn't, so. . .yeah. . .please enjoy!

Warnings: AU (someone tell me what it means if I have it wrong)

Disclaimer: I do not own LotR, book or movie. The snippets of movie stuff in here belongs to New Line and Peter Jackson. Please don't sue me. You won't get much.

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Hobbits are truly amazing creatures. They live a quaint, peaceful life in a country known as the Shire, in a place called Middle Earth. Though the outside world was frightening and dangerous, the Shire was cozy and Hobbits were quite content to stay there and be ignored by every other race.

There are many families of Hobbits living in the many farthings of the Shire. Among them, the Tooks of the Great Smials, the Brandybucks of Buckland and the Bagginses, the most famous of which lived in a large Hobbit Hole called Bag End with his nephew. But that is not where our story begins. It begins in the Great Smials, with a young Hobbit by the name of Peregrin Took, known as Pippin to anyone and everyone.

* * *

Pippin yawned, trudging down the stairs from the upper level of the Great Smials and down the hallway to the Baths. Still being half-asleep, he groped around for a towel, and after finding one, stood for about ten minutes, weary eyes focused on the different stalls. His mind had to wake up a bit before he could find an empty one. But he was soon wallowing in a warm tub of suds and water, quickly drifting back to sleep.

A shout rang out through the hallway. "Pippin!!" His eyes shot open, groaning as he realized who it was. A Hobbit lass, a few years younger than he, with dirty blonde curls that were tied back, but still flopping into her face, ran into the Baths, searching for him. Her name was Alexandria, or Lexi, and she lived a few miles down the road from the Great Smials. Spotting him, she ran over. He instantly jumped up, grabbing his towel hastily and covering himself. She smirked.

"There you are. Well, hurry up and get dressed, then."

"Why?" Pippin asked, crawling out of the tub and fumbling about for his trousers.

"I was just talking with Meridol outside. Gandalf's here!"

Pippin raised an eyebrow. "What do you suppose that old wizard's doing around these parts? He hasn't been here for awhile. . .not since Bilbo's adventures, I fancy. And that's before you and I were born."

Lexi rolled her eyes. "Well, he's here now. So, come on, I want to get a look at him!"

Pippin grinned. "You just want to go hang around Bag End in case Frodo comes along."

"Oh, be quiet!" Lexi snapped, blushing. She picked up his shirt and threw it at him. "I'll be waiting outside. Hurry up!"

* * *

In a few hours time, the two were strolling through the marketplace in Hobbiton, on their way to Bag End. It was always busy during the day, and at night everyone usually gathered in the Green Dragon, a popular meeting place in Hobbiton. Elder Hobbits also liked to gather in the marketplace to chat with their friends or take a look at a new pig or pony of someone's.

Pippin suddenly nudged Lexi. "Look, it's your boyfriend." A few feet away, Frodo Baggins could be seen jumping down from a cart packed with fireworks and other such things. Lexi blushed furiously again, ducking behind Pippin as Frodo walked towards them. He waved to Pippin, then walked on past, a book in his hands.

"Hey, Frodo!" Pippin called suddenly. Frodo turned. "This is Lexi! She's from Long Cleeve!" He moved out of the way to reveal Lexi standing there, red as a rose. Frodo smiled, waving and giving a slight bow. She barely waved back, trying not to grin. Pippin was stifling a loud guffaw. As Frodo walked away, Lexi turned on him angrily, but with a large grin on her face.

"Pippin, you are the cruelest Hobbit in the Shire!" she cried, punching his arm.

He pretended to look hurt. "Aw, Lexi, that's not very nice."

She sighed. "Come on, let's go find Meridol and Merry."

* * *

Meriadoc Brandybuck lay under a tree, his eyes closed, his arms folded beneath his head. He enjoyed days like these, where he could just lay by himself for awhile, with his thoughts. He and Pippin were usually off with Meridol and Lexi, causing all sorts of mischief and having many small adventures, but it was nice to get away from it all for awhile. Of course, it never lasted for long.

"Hullo, Merry," a voice said. A shadow passed over his face. He opened one eye to find himself staring into the emerald green eyes of Meridol Bolger, her auburn bangs hanging down. He smiled slightly.

"Morning, Meridol," he returned, sitting up. "I was just thinking to myself: hmm, I wonder when Meridol Bolger is going to come along and wake me up?"

"Oh, I'm sorry, were you sleeping?" Meridol asked, her smile fading in concern.

He laughed. "No, no. Just joking. Don't take life so seriously, Meridol. It'll all be over quicker than you think. So, where are our partners in crime, hm?"

"I think Lexi went to go find Pippin," Meridol replied. "I told her Gandalf has come for Bilbo's birthday. Naturally, she rushed off before I could tell her that was why he was here, but it is." She sighed. "I can't believe that Bilbo Baggins is one hundred and eleven. It's truly amazing."

Merry nodded, leaning back on his forearms. "The party this evening should be quite interesting. I haven't seen cousin Frodo in awhile. . .and maybe we can get our hands on some of Gandalf's fireworks." He grinned mischievously.

Meridol laughed. "That could get us into a lot of trouble, Meriadoc Brandybuck."

"Since when has that stopped us before?" He grinned wider. Meridol lay down, glancing over at him. She smiled, then sighed and closed her eyes.

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A/N: Not a very exciting start, but not many of mine are. . .so. . .go review! lol