Author's Note: Hey, readers, this is chapter one of a possible story. I have not yet made the decision whether to continue this story, for I have a massive case of writer's block, but chapter one starts when Fatty is watching Sam, Frodo, Merry, and Pippin leave for their year-long adventure. Poor Fatty is often overlooked, so I have decided to cover what happened to him over the course of the year, adding details to the canon Tolkien had laid down. Please assess this story, and tell me of its strengths and of its shortcomings.

Disclaimer: Anyone who appears in the works of the great Tolkien belongs to the god of literature, and not this sixteen-year-old who fancies herself a writer.

Fredegar Bolger, a hefty hobbit generally acknowledged by the joking nickname of Fatty by his friends, felt as if someone had force-fed him massive quantities of icy water. He was yawning from sluggishness, for Merry Brandybuck had roused him about a quarter to five, saying that he, Frodo Baggins, Pippin Took, and Sam Gamgee had to depart from the Shire by means of the Old Forest. Fatty had felt apprehensive ever since Frodo had made the determined decision to pass through the eerie woodland.

"You are all sure of this decision?" Fatty asked imploringly for what seemed to be the umpteenth time. If one were to list all of the misgivings scurrying about the stocky hobbit's mind, they would be recording for an eternity. The sheer mien of the forest was malevolent, and Fatty had heard rumors of it being virtually impassable. Whispers of queer inhabitants had often passed through the Shire when there was little else to discuss over the pipe weed and wine, from walking trees to malicious creatures. When Fatty had protested, though admitting that his vote hardly counted due to the fact that he wouldn't be making the journey of peril, Merry had emphasized that the forest was the only way to commence their quest without their trail being picked up instantaneously.

"There is no other choice," Frodo said, a note of grim finality in his tone. Fatty's brown eyes gazed intently at his older friend. Frodo was awfully plucky; he was facing this ghastly trial with an air of a stolid resignation. Fatty was extremely fond of his comrade, who harbored no inhibitions about picking those many years his junior for close friends, yet not to the extent where he actually desired to depart from the Shire and to see what was outside it. Of the close knit group of six, Folco Boffin and himself were definitely the least audacious, though they greatly revered stories Frodo and Bilbo had to tell. Fatty was so timorous that he could not even boast that he had crossed the Brandywine Bridge during the thirty-eight years that had elapsed during his life. The extent of his valor would be dealing with intrusive folk and feigning that Frodo was living at Crickhollow for as long as possible, sometimes to the extent of actually impersonating his friend.

At six, the five hobbits crept noiselessly out of their house, so painstakingly that they did not do so much as snap a twig. Merry took the head of the troop, leading a burden-laden pony by the reins, heading for a shed to assess the possibilities of bringing other ponies. In the small shack, they chose sturdy ponies that were slow but durable, and rode off into the mist. The group spoke little, for they were filled with apprehension concerning this endeavor. Fatty knew he had the least dangerous role, but he was worried for the sake of his close buddies.

Upon reaching the edge of the Old Forest, Fredegar inhaled with a sharp hiss of fear. In front of his eyes, the Forest loomed massive and threatening, the very spectacle a menace. The trees creaked as if angered or in pain, and the hobbit gave an involuntary shudder. It looked as if there were no visible passage.

"How are you all going to get through this?" Fatty gulped, his wide brown eyes still fixated on the sinister woods. He just hoped that the hobbits wouldn't need rescuing, for they would be helpless. There would be no way to alerting the Shire of their trouble, and Fatty was obliged to keep the plight to himself. If they turned up missing, the thickset Halfling would be compelled to tell a falsehood through affirming that the four friends had just snuck off in the dead of night into the Blue, leaving no message behind them.

"Follow me," Merry said imperiously, "and you shall see very soon." Turning to the left, the bushy-eyebrowed hobbit led his friends along the Hedge to a point where it turned inward, running along to a cutting. They passed through this cutting, and arrived in a hollow at the other side.

Fatty halted, knowing that he was to go no further inside the Forest. As it was, this was the closest in proximity he had come to these premises, and he had no intention to come here ever again if he could help it. "Good- bye, Frodo," Fatty bade, feeling pained to utter these words, "I wish you were not going into the Forest." At any other time, one of the companions would have made a wisecrack, but this situation was too dire. Frodo's lips were pressed together with a painstaking resolution. Pippin looked a little pale in the face, and Merry's eyebrows were knitted in a frown. Sam's face appeared impassive, but he was visibly shaking from the doubt and uncertainty. "I only hope you shan't need rescuing before today is old. But, good luck to you, all of you to day and everyday!"

"If nothing worse is ahead than the Old Forest, I shall be lucky," Frodo answered. If he had foreseen what lay ahead of him, from Weathertop to Shelob's Lair to the horrific trial on Mount Doom itself that nigh on ended peace in Middle-earth perpetually, he might have quailed on the very spot. Yet Frodo knew not what lay ahead. There was a flicker of doubt in those expressive blue eyes, but he was yet resolved. "Tell Gandalf to hurry to and along the East Road, for we shall soon be hurrying along it. Farewell, and good luck."

"The same to you!" Fredegar replied. At this, his friends turned around and rode into the heart of the forest. Fatty did not actually depart from the forest back through the tunnel for a few minutes, but remained still as a statue, watching the ponies and the backs of his close friends grow smaller and smaller until they had wholly disappeared from sight through another tunnel. Then he turned his pony around and set back off for Crickhollow at a canter, his small pack of snacks for the trek back bouncing on his shoulders with each step.

Author's note: Here you have come to the end of the first chapter of "What about Fatty?" I am open to flames, constructive criticism, suggestions, and plain old reviews. L you have to do is select "submit review" on the drop- down menu, and fill in the box that pops up (which isn't a popup ad). Thank you for reading this tale.