The Ring That Binds

Authors Note: This is my Lord of the Rings fanfic, and I did the best I could to create this sequel. It wasn't easy though, Tolkien finished the story so well that it was almost impossible to do a sequel that still had Frodo in it. As a warning though, this story does have some spoilers to the book. In this story, I have created a character called Mindy Brandybuck. She is the main character since this chapter is completely written in her point of view. I created her to look like Frodo, in a way, and she is rebellious in the same way that Eowyn is in the book. This is a love story, since I really strongly feel that Frodo deserves to have a girl, more than Sam at least. I hope that you guys will like my character, since I tried to put a lot feeling into her words, and write in the same style as the famous book. Also, in this story I sort of mixed some things from the movie into it. Things like how the characters look, and how Frodo seems to be the same age as Sam, Merry and Pippin. Well enjoy, and feel free to ask me any questions about my story. I'll try and answer them for you. I do not own Lord of the Rings, so don't even bother asking. Plus there are several parts in this story that is from the book. I've changed it slightly, but they are not mine, so don't even think about giving me credit for it, I needed to put them in so that it will be more believable that Mindy actually did exist in the story, but was just over looked. I'm not trying to steal the quotes from The Lord of the Rings, so if it is something that you recognized, then it is not mine. The only thing I'm going to take credit for is my character Mindy, and a few more other things that are to come in later chapters. Thank you, and please review, this is my first story, and I need to know what you guys think.

Part One: Remember the Time Before

I am a Hobbit girl who is unlike her people. I strive for adventure and danger, and care very little about what others might think of me. I'm happy as I sit here next to the only thing I have ever cared about. I sit and watch as his chest rises slowly, and remember how we used to be. The way we used to be before the ring almost took him away from me for good.

As children, Frodo and I were the best of friends. We would spend hours pretending that we were fighting dragons, and saving the Shire from Goblin armies. We wanted to have an adventure together so bad, that it almost seemed like our games were a part of life. This made it so Frodo and I couldn't really befriend any other Hobbit children, except for Frodo's two cousins Merry and Pippin. But most of the time, Merry would be with Pippin, or Pippin would be with Diamond of Long Cleeve. It was our happier days. It was the time of innocence, when we, like most Hobbits, had no idea of what real pain or suffering was. It was before any of us even heard of the ring. We were happy, all of us, but like all good things, it eventually ends.

Frodo was still very young, when he witnessed the death of his parents. The shock was intense, and even in the few days that Frodo remained in Buckland , living with Old Master Gorbadoc in Brandy Hall, Frodo refused to talk about it. It hurt seeing his sad blue eyes look at me with a question I could not answer. "Why?" he would be heard asking sometimes when he thought that no one was near. He was orphaned in a second, and as his parents drowned in the Brandywine River, so did his childhood. I watched as my childhood friend slipped away from me. Hopeless, and unable to soften the pain he was suffering, I stood back, allowing the adults to handle the situation. It wasn't long before Frodo's strange Uncle, Bilbo, adopted him, and Frodo moved to Bag End with him. After that, Frodo became a stranger to me.

Years passed, and I too grew up. We had reached the age that was considered adult hood, and again our lives would be changed. It was in September that I got the invitation to Bilbo's 111 birthday. My excitement was beyond words with the thought of seeing Frodo again. But when I did see him again, my happiness turned to confusion. He was still the same Hobbit that I remembered, but there was something different. His blue eyes still had the same sadness that I remembered him having, but yet at the same time he looked happy. He was older, stronger, and neater. His dark brown curly hair was clean and didn't have leaves and twigs sticking out of them. His clothes were richly designed with the finest materials that the Shire had to offer, but it wasn't his new look that seemed different. It was something bigger. "Hey Mindy!" Frodo said joyfully as he greeted me. "Master Baggins…" I started to say when Frodo pulled me into a hug. "Don't start with that grown up stuff, it makes me feel so old. You can still call me Frodo you know," Frodo said rubbing my back comfortingly. I sighed deeply in pleasure before Frodo pulled away to great some more of his guests. I watched as he politely talked to the older Hobbits with a dazed look on my face. It was when Frodo looked my way and gave me a small smile, that I realized that I was blushing. I knew then what was different. It wasn't him, it was me. We had grown up, and our small childhood friendship was no longer enough for me. I wanted more. I was attracted to him in a new way, and it scared me.

Throughout the party, I watched Frodo longingly from a safe distance. I saw him playfully dancing with the other Hobbits, as he laughed in pure joy. It wasn't fair, I couldn't be more than just a friend. He was now a higher class then me, and far better educated, and yet I still had this feeling. Disgusted with myself, I moved away from the party, where I sat near the dinning room window deep in thought. I listened as the party continued in the back yard, and then all of a sudden cries of horror filled the night sky. Seconds later I heard footsteps on the garden path. The door to Bag End opened, and then closed by itself. Too scared to move, I stayed under the window listening as the old wizard Gandalf, and Bilbo began to speak. I had calmed down a little when I heard Gandalf say "I am glad to find you visible." Curious with what the wizard meant, I leaned closer to the window tying to hear what was going on. "You have wisely kept that ring secret all there years, and it seemed necessary to give your guests something else that would seem to explain you sudden vanishment," Gandalf said not really explaining much except that a ring had something to do with whatever got the party guests upset. I was listening to the conversation with great interest by now, and I soon learned a little more then was good for me. I heard as Bilbo explained how he felt drained in an unnatural way, and I heard about a book that Bilbo was writing. A book that explained his first disappearance years ago. As I listened to Bilbo talk about his love for adventure, I once again felt my childish need to be a hero. I wanted to join Bilbo on one of his holidays, but then I heard that Bilbo was leaving Frodo here. An adventure without Frodo didn't seem right, so I stayed there listening to the strange conversation, or more like fight, that was going on inside. "I had to badger you. I wanted the truth. It was important. Magic rings are-well, magical; and they are rare and curious…" Gandalf said almost in a fearful way, but that fear was mainly covered in concern and authority. The fight went on like a normal little battle, but then Bilbo began to act weird. "It is mine, I tell you. My own. My precious. Yes, my precious" Bilbo said in a voice that seemed more like a gurgling sound in his throat. My shock was turned to fear. Never had a Hobbit spoken like that before. "It will be my turn to get angry soon. If you say that again, I shall. Then you will see Gandalf the Grey uncloaked" Gandalf said as I took in a deep gulp of air, and coward to the ground. This fear was new to me. I was a normal Hobbit girl, and this sort of outside stuff was well, new and horrifying. "Give it to Frodo, and I will look after him," Gandalf said more calmly and quietly then before. "Give it to Frodo? No don't give it to him. Please don't!" I begged silently as the room inside remained silent. "All right. I will," Bilbo said with and effort. I clutched the ground horrified. It was bad enough that such a thing even existed, but to have it here, and to give it to a young Hobbit who had already suffered so much. Damn them! I don't want Frodo to suffer from such a horrid thing. Even though Gandalf said that he would protect him, it wasn't enough. I knew deep down that Frodo would suffer because of this thing, and I wanted with all my heart to save him from this awful fate.

When Bilbo left, it took all the control I had to prevent myself from leaping at him. Instead I stayed behind the rose bush, thinking about what I had heard. I was close to falling asleep when I heard someone approaching the house. I peered through the bush, catching the anxious young face of Frodo, as he carelessly entered his home. "Has he gone?" Frodo asked. "Yes, he has gone at last," Gandalf said quite calmly. "I wish-I mean, I hoped until this evening that it was only a joke. But I knew in my heart that he really meant to go. He always used to joke about serious things. I wish I had come back sooner, just to see him off," Frodo said full of regret. "You are the master of Bag End now. And also, I fancy, you'll find a golden ring," Gandalf said. I sat up alert listening hard to what Frodo's reaction would be. "The ring! Has he left me that? I wonder why. Still, it may be useful," Frodo said much to my horror. He knew about the ring? But he didn't seem afraid of it at all. "I should not make use of it, if I were you. But keep it secret, and keep it safe," Gandalf said wisely. It was with the last words that Gandalf said, that I too decided to keep the ring a secret. If Frodo wasn't afraid of it, I figured that the thing wasn't as bad as the old wizard hinted, but still, I had an uneasy feeling. A feeling that would haunt me for a few more years.

For the next few years, life in the Shire passed by peacefully. Frodo had settled down happily in Bag End, and the ring remained a secret. Yet, like before new news was brought to the Shire, and Frodo's life changed again. Frodo was planning on moving back to Buckland, back to where he was born. It would have been a dream come true, except it wasn't. It was only a plan that he and Gandalf had come up with, to make it easier for Frodo to slip out of the Shire unnoticed, but the plan failed. The moment Frodo left Bag End, danger was upon him like hungry blood hounds. Not wasting any time, Frodo fled the Shire with his two cousins and servant, Sam, before I knew what was going on. He was gone. Gone on an adventure of his own, without me.

Discourage, angry, and forgotten, I hiked deeply into the forests, hoping that maybe somehow I would still be of use. It was while I stared at the deep darkness of the Brandywine River that I saw my pudgy reflection. Attractive in Hobbit standards, worthless in everything else. I had to change. I knew it, deep down I knew that I had to become stronger. Taking a deep breath, I began to strip off the heavy material that I was wearing, until all I stood in was my tight underclothes. "I will become stronger for you Frodo, or die trying!" I yelled before I leaped into the raging powerful river. The same river that took Frodo's parents away from him.

The coldness was like a thousand knives slashing against my flesh. The realization of what I had done tour at the inner parts of my gut. Air rushed out of me as quickly as my courage, as I fought against the tide. Desperately I clawed my way upwards as though I were trying to push a wild animal off of me. My head felt like it was ready to explode from the lack of oxygen. I began to gulp at the water around me, desperate for the sweet taste of air in my lungs. But the darkness swirled around, refusing to let me escape my hateful grave. "I failed," I realized as the darkness took over me.

I woke to the flickering of a brilliant fire. My head cleared as I took in long gasps of air. "You're awake," a fair voice said as an Elf came into view. "What…What happened?" I asked as I tried to remember how I got out of the river. "You're lucky I was on my way to the Havens, otherwise you surely would have drowned," the Elf said looking at me strangely. "Thanks," I said weakly, turning to look into the flames of the fire embarrassed. "What is a Hobbit girl doing in the water? I thought Hobbits feared rivers," the Elf asked looking at me still in that strange way. "We do hate water, but I had to do it. I have to become stronger," I said feeling the tears roll down my face. "I see, and dying will help you become stronger because?" the Elf asked smiling at me amused. "If I can't learn to over come my fears, I will never be fit to help Frodo," I said blurting out what I felt. The Elf looked at me knowingly for a second before he spoke, "You wish to help the ring bearer. I understand that, but you are doing it in the wrong way. If you like, I will help you," the Elf said holding out his hand. "I'll do it" I said shaking his hand hopefully, ignoring the fact that the Elf knew about the ring.

For fourteen months I trained with the Elf. Learning how to fight and survive in the wilderness. It was the beginning of November when the Elf told me that he was going to leave. That night we sat next to the fire talking about our months together. "Why do you work so hard to help this Hobbit? What is he to you?" the Elf asked looking at me. I moved uncomfortable, as I looked into the fire. "I don't know. I guess it's friendship, but at the same time it seems like it is more," I said stumbling on my words. "Do you love the bearer of the ring?" the Elf asked looking at me knowingly. "Yes, I think that is what it is," I mumbled. "It is all right Mindy. Love is a complicated thing. Don't push your feelings aside. Someday it may save you, or him," the Elf said smiling at me. "Will I ever see you again?" I asked looking at him sadly. "You might. But chances are you wont. I am going to the Havens, and only Elves, or wizards go there, but still a mere mortal may do something powerful enough that they too can make the journey across the sea," the Elf said looking at me with a sadness that I had never seen before. "To go across the sea, is to be forgotten. I wish though, for you to remember me," the Elf said handing me his Elvish dagger. "May this help you in you journey" the Elf said before he left me sitting near the burning fire that made my tears glow red.

Elves are amazing creatures, they know so much that it is almost impossible to feel smart around them. Beautiful in nature, Elves have the amazing ability to touch the heart and soul of all living things. They, though, aren't very often seen, and they very rarely give advise. Eldar was different though, he was a great friend. In the months that I trained with him, he never grew impatient with me. He would offer all sorts of advise, and comforting words. I felt bad though, since Eldar wasn't his real name, it was the name of the West-elves, his people. He told me his name once, but I couldn't say it, that was when he told me to call him Eldar. I remember him now, as I look down at the Elvish dagger. "Thank you so much!" I yell after him, but if he heard me, I do not know.

The next day, I was busy working on making some arrows, a useful skill that Eldar had taught me my first week of training, when I heard a horn in the distance. I paused, putting down my sticks and the Elvish dagger, as I strained to hear more. The horn blowing wasn't uncommon, I had heard them often before. But it just wasn't something that Hobbits did. I had gotten back to my work when another horn-call was heard. This one though, was more powerful and clear. Its sound filled the air, making me stop what I was doing completely. I was deeply moved by the sound, and had the urge to dash towards it, when the sound of the horn changed to a more familiar sound, it was the Horn-cry of Buckland. Instantly I grabbed my weapons, and took off toward the sound. The Horn-cry of Buckland could only mean one thing, there was something wrong.

When I got to Hobbiton, I felt the death and destruction everywhere, as though I was once again surrounded by the darkened water of the Brandywine River. The trees were cut down, and the Hobbit holes were dug up, and replaced by ugly bare buildings. The change was painful to look at, and for the moment, all I could do was stare at my beloved land. "I should have been here to stop this," I thought feeling guilty. "I will fix this, I promise I will get back at the people who destroyed this innocent land," I vowed as my hands curled into a tight fist.

"Common, Merry needs some more Hobbits at the bank," a voice said from behind me, as a hand touched my shoulder. I turned around, on my guard, glaring at the unfamiliar Hobbit that now stood nervously in front of me. "Mindy?" the Hobbit asked looking at me strangely. I let out a startled gasp as I realized who the Hobbit was. "Pippin?" I said with a look of complete shock on my face. Pippin looked at me with certainty in his face, as he laughed amused. "I'm sorry Mindy, I thought you were a guy, but you can't really blame me," Pippin said pointing at the boyish clothing I was wearing. I blushed slightly as I fiddled uneasily with my shirt. Eldar had warned me that there would be a great change in Frodo and his companions, but I wasn't expecting to see this big of a change. Pippin had grown to be the tallest Hobbit I have ever seen, and as I stared at him, I suddenly felt small and insignificant. "Pippin, I… what happened… you look so different," I stammered. Pippin smiled at me as he took my hand. "If I told you, you wouldn't believe me," Pippin said as he started to lead me to Farmer Cotton's home.

"Pippin, why are we going away from the battle?" I asked suddenly feeling insulted. "I'm only trying to bring you to a safe place," Pippin said not understanding my anger. "Thanks for the concern, but I don't need it. If there is to be a battle, then I'm not going to run from it," I said breaking out of Pippin's grip. Pippin looked at me hurt, as I glared at him. I felt bad for being so mean, I knew Pippin was only doing this because he cares, but he was robbing me of my chance to prove to myself that I too was worthy of helping the ring bearer. "Don't be stupid Mindy," Pippin said grabbing my hand firmly, "You can't help. You'll only get hurt," he said full of certainty. I looked at him with a pained expression on my face as he roughly began to drag me toward the farm house. "No Pippin! I want to help!" I screamed fighting against his grip desperately. Pippin stopped suddenly as I drew my Elvish blade. He looked at me suddenly full of understanding, as he loosened his grip. Not hesitating, I pulled my hand away, and took off down the road.

I had no idea what had caused Pippin to let me go, all I could do was guess. Maybe he felt that I too was different, or maybe the Elvish blade showed that I was serious about the battle, but whatever the reason, I was glad that I was being allowed to join the battle.

I stood near the top of the bank, watching as the ruffians walked in between the hedges. A few Hobbits pushed some wagons into the path behind, blocking all means of escape. "Well you have walked into a trap," I heard Merry say. I turned to look toward him, only to feel the same amazement I had felt when I saw Pippin. Merry too had changed, he too was taller, and stronger, but mostly, Merry seemed to have become a great leader. "Your fellows from Hobbiton did the same, and one is dead and the rest are prisoners. Lay down your weapons! Then go back twenty paces and sit down. Any who try to break out will be shot" Merry said, as I pulled out my bow and arrows. I watched as a few of them started to obey Merry, but they were set on by their fellows. I made a note to try not to kill those people if I can. In a second, some of the ruffians charged at the wagons. Six of them were shot, but the rest of them broke their way past the wagons, killing two Hobbits in the process. I watched the brutality of the battle, unsure of why I could not shoot at the escaping ruffians. I knew I could have easily killed them, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. My arms lowered as I watched as one of the ruffians slowly died. His eyes starring lifelessly up at the sky.

"Mindy look out!" I heard a voice yell out to me. I pulled my eyes away from the dead man, only to see that the remaining ruffians were charging up the bank, in a desperate attempt to break away. And towering towards me was a ruffian with murder in his eyes. I watched terrified as the ruffian raised his sword. I saw Pippin in the distance shoot an arrow at the man. The man stumbled, but continued to charge at me with a look of pure revenge. He didn't care that he had an arrow sticking out of his chest, or that he was soaking in blood, all he cared about was killing me. "Mindy!" Pippin yelled racing toward me, but I knew he wouldn't be able to reach me in time. I dropped my bow and reached for my Elvish dagger. "God help me," I whispered as I held the dagger in my trembling hand. "Fight Mindy! Fight!" I heard a voice yell at me. A voice that sounded so soft and kind, and so out of place in a battle. It was the voice I had been longing to hear for fourteen months, and in my uncertainty of killing, it was the only thing that could prepare me for what I was going to do.

My hand steadied, and my eyes stared forward at the man who was hovering above me. Not thinking about what to do next, I allowed my instinct to take over. Moving in the graceful and almost dance like movement of the Elves, I found myself equal to my opponent. I fought the man until to my relief, Merry took over the fight.

I collapsed onto my knees as I let the dagger fall to the ground. Frodo and Pippin came toward me with worried expressions on their faces, as I felt Pippin pull me toward him. "It's over, your safe." Pippin said softly into my ear, as Frodo looked deeply into my eyes. "You fight like an Elf," Frodo said smiling. "I know," I said smiling back at him as I slowly got to my feet. Looking over Pippin's shoulder, I watched as the ruffian fell to the ground. "Is he dead?" I asked looking down at the man I had just fought. "Yes," Pippin said still a little worried. "It is a shame that he had to die. They all are just like us, really. They just chose a different way of life," I said picking up my dagger and putting it away. "Pippin, common it's not over yet!" Merry demanded, nodding a short greeting my way. "But…" Pippin said looking at me still full of concern. "Go!" I said looking at him hard, "They need your help." Pippin looked at the battle with a torn expression on his face. "Pippin!" Merry said more desperately as more Hobbit cries of pain filled the air. "Listen Pippin, I did what I needed to do, the rest of the battle, I'll leave to the rest of you," I said calmly, giving Pippin a reassuring smile. Pippin looked at the battle again before sighing in defeat, without another word, Merry and Pippin headed toward the places that needed them the most.

I smiled as I watched Pippin go, "He really has grown up, that most have been some battle you guys fought in," I said turning to Frodo. "Any battle can make a person change, for better or for worse," Frodo said covering his right hand with his left, but not before I saw the damaged hand. "Frodo…no! Your…your hand," I gasped looking at the place where his ring finger should have been. Frodo lowered his face to the ground, losing the sense of authority he had when around the other Hobbits. "How'd it happen?" I asked coming close to him, and taking his right hand into my own. Frodo looked at me full of regret as I felt some of my tears splash onto our hands. "Was it…was it because of the…the ring?" I asked unable to hold back the hatred and sadness I was feeling any longer. "So you know about the ring," Frodo said in a shaky voice, "I was hoping that you would never have to know about such an evil thing," Frodo said lightly touching my check with his uninjured hand. "Yes I know about the ring, I wanted to help you destroy it, but you left before I could…" I tried to explain when I felt Frodo move uncomfortable. "I know we always promised to share an adventure together, but it was before I knew what a real adventure was like. Mindy, you…" Frodo started, but I already knew what he was going to say. Not letting him finish, I threw my arms around his neck. "I only wanted to help," I said before I took off toward the forest, not looking back to see what Frodo's reaction would be.

I watched as the battle ended from a branch in a tree near by, but my thoughts were not on the battle, but on Frodo and the ring. What had happened, all of the others that went with him, had returned looking stronger and happy, but Frodo seemed weaker and sadder then I have ever seen before. "Damn you Gandalf and Bilbo for doing this to him. Frodo deserves to be happy, but how can he now?" I asked silently with my head bowed. "Oh Frodo, I would have protected you with my life. I would have done anything to keep you safe," I said slowly climbing out of the tree, and following the band of Hobbits that were making their way to Bag End.

By the time we got to Bag End, the full blow of what the ruffians had done hit us hard. I heard as Sam cursed silently under his breath, while Frodo wore a look of sadness and regret. I stood out with the other Hobbit's as Frodo and his companion's entered Bag End. "Where is that miserable Lotho hiding?" I heard Merry say from the inside. "This is worse than Mordor. Much worse in a way. It comes home to you, as they say; because it is home, and you remember it before it was all ruined," Sam said in an angrier voice then earlier. "Yes this is Mordor, just one of its works. Saruman was doing its work all the time, even when he thought he was working for himself. And the same with those that Saruman tricked, like Lotho," Frodo said sadly, but I knew that their was a hidden meaning in his words, that the other Hobbits could not understand. Frodo knew what was going on, and even though I did not know who Saruman was, I knew by Frodo's words that Saruman had something to do with the destruction. "Let's get out! If I had known all the mischief he had caused, I should have stuffed my pouch down Saruman's throat," Merry said harshly as a new voice was heard. "No doubt, no doubt! But you did not, and so I am able to welcome you home," the voice said as an old man appeared at the door looking like Gandalf's evil twin.

Saruman was harsh and cruel in his words, but not once did Frodo flinch from the harshness of the ex-wizard. The Hobbits nearby fingered their weapons, waiting for Frodo to give the okay. "He deserves a painful death," a Hobbit nearby me said as Saruman expressed his pleasure toward the destruction he had caused. "Well, if that is what you find pleasure in, I pity you. It will be a pleasure of memory only, I fear. Go at once and never return!" Frodo said looking at Saruman with an unreadable expression on his face. "Don't let him go! Kill him! He's a villain and a murderer. Kill him!" a Hobbit near by yelled. Saruman laughed harshly as he looked at the Hobbit that had cried out. "Kill him, if you think there are enough of you, my brave Hobbits! But do not think that when I lost all my goods I lost all my power! Whoever strikes me shall be accursed. And if my blood stains the Shire, it shall wither and never again be healed" Saruman said looking at us with a dark look of madness. I watched as the Hobbits moved away from Saruman, losing all the bravery they had minutes before. But Frodo stood his ground, looking at Saruman fearlessly. "Do not believe him! He has lost all power, save his voice that can still daunt you and deceive you, if you let it. But I will not have him slain. It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing. Go Saruman, by the speediest way!" Frodo ordered. Saruman stood, calling his servant to him. I watched as Saruman slowly began to walk away. I couldn't help but feel that Saruman was giving up too easily, and as I watched Saruman pass close to Frodo, I glimpsed a knife in his hand. Before I could do anything, Saruman stabbed swiftly. I closed my eyes, expecting to hear a cry of pain. What I heard was metal hitting metal. I opened my eyes, and saw a broken knife.

Sam leaped forward crying out angrily as he flung the tall man to the ground. "No Sam!" Frodo said getting to his feet, and looking at Sam with a stern expression on his face. "Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me. And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it," I heard Frodo say. I looked at him, as though he were a complete stranger. He sounded so grown up, and wise. Frodo sounded more like an Elf then a Hobbit, and though it may seem like a great accomplishment, I wasn't quit so sure.

Saruman got to his feet, looking at Frodo with hate and respect. "You have grown, Halfling. Yes, you have grown very much. You are wise, and cruel. You have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness, in debt to your mercy. I hate it and you! Well, I go and I will trouble you no more. But do not expect me to wish you health and long life. You will have neither. But that is not my doing. I merely foretell," Saruman said as he turned away from Frodo. Frodo stared at Saruman with blank expression on his face. It was almost as though Saruman's words meant nothing, or Frodo already knew. Again I turned away from the scene with a hurt look, "What happened in your journey? Why do you still suffer?" I wondered as Saruman was killed by his own servant.

The cleaning of the Shire took place immediately. The very next day, Frodo went and freed all the people who had been taken prisoner by Saruman. And then the restoring of the Shire's beauty began. Sam was the head of this, and would journey all over the Shire to accomplish this. It was because of this, that Sam was not around when Frodo fell ill. It was early on the morning of March 15th, that Farmer Cotton came to me. He told me that Frodo was laying in bed clutching a white gem, and that he kept on mumbling about something.

I was at Frodo's side in an instant. "Frodo it's me, Mindy," I said coming over to his bedside. I looked at his pale sickly face as he turned toward me. "It is gone for ever, and now all is dark and empty," Frodo said looking at me fearfully. "It is gone for ever..." he said again clutching the white ring around his neck desperately. "Frodo, it is all right. Nothing can hurt you anymore," I said putting my hand on his face. "All is dark and empty," Frodo continued as though he hadn't heard a word I had said. I looked at him deep in thought before I decided what to do. It had to be something to do with the ring, which would mean that a Hobbit couldn't really help him. "Frodo, Mornie alantie," I said sighing in relief when I saw the understanding look on his face. "Darkness has fallen," Frodo said understanding my words completely. I smiled at him as he laid down calmly, and fell asleep.

By the time Sam had returned, Frodo had recovered completely, and didn't speak of his illness. Feeling that my job was done, I returned to Buckland, were I tried to settle down. Frodo was home, he was safe, but I couldn't help but worry about him constantly. At least when I was in Buckland, it was easy to get information out of Merry and Pippin about their adventure. I learned a lot about them, but even though I knew about the ring, Merry and Pippin chose to avoid that topic. I found it was hard to get any information about Frodo's part of the journey. All that Merry and Pippin would mention was Frodo had saved the whole world. The full detail about Frodo's journey remained a mystery. Merry and Pippin's journey though, was told as a favorite bedtime story. Their part in the war was so well known, that I got to the point that I could make an accurate timeline of their doings.

Spring came, and Sam and Rose Cotton were planning on getting married. Pippin showed up at my door all excited about the news, and asked me if I would like to tag along with him and Merry. I smiled at him amused as I realized that I would be able to talk to Frodo again.

Sam's wedding was without a doubt the most beautiful wedding that has ever taken place in the Shire. Frodo had spent days planning the wedding, and had created it to be more Elvish then anything. Every guest showed up with a look of wonder on their faces as they looked at the richly decorated garden. "Man Frodo, you over did yourself this time," Pippin said as he ran to give Frodo a friendly hug. "Thanks," Frodo said as he turned to look over my way. "I'm glad you came Mindy, I wanted to talk to you," Frodo said looking at me seriously. "All right," I said not sure if I was worried or happy. I gave Pippin a sheepish smile as I followed Frodo into Bag End.

Frodo led me silently to the study, were he sat, gesturing for me to do the same. I sat down nervously, looking out toward the garden, were the voices of excited guests could be heard. "Mindy," Frodo said as I turned to look at him. "I understand that you took care of me when I had fallen ill at Farmer Cotton's home," Frodo said looking at me carefully. I looked at him unsure of what the whole thing was about, but I tried to hide it. "I admit that I have very little memory of that day, but I do remember one thing. Mindy, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?" Frodo asked speaking more softly then before. "What is it?" I asked fiddling with my dress nervously. Frodo looked at me hard for a second before he got off the chair, and kneeled down in front of me. "Mindy, Manan elye etavanne, Norie i melanelye?" Frodo asked as I stared at him shocked. "I...I never left the Shire," I stammered getting a confused look from Frodo. "If you never left, how did you learn the way of the Elves?" Frodo asked starring at me in wonder. "Well, an Elf named Eldar trained me in the forest of the Shire, but we never left the Shire," I said seeing an understanding look on Frodo's face. "Eldar, the lone Elf. Yes, I remember him. I used to hike into the forests of the Shire to see him when I needed advise. He was, for awhile, a parent figure for me. How's he doing?" Frodo asked standing up and stretching. "He left for the Grey Havens shortly before you returned," I said watching as Frodo's face fell. "The Grey Havens..." Frodo said falling into a trance. "Frodo are you all right?" I asked concerned as he looked outside with a distant look on his face. "Yes, I'm all right. Let us go now, the wedding is about to begin," Frodo said turning back toward me, and smiling reassuringly.

During the wedding ceremony, I found myself dancing with Pippin. The other girls around me gave me envious looks. Ever since Merry and Pippin had returned, they had become very popular, while Frodo and Sam normally tried to stay off to the side. It felt weird being with Pippin instead of Frodo. It had always seemed so natural when I was with Frodo, that I found myself looking for him. Finally during one of the slow songs, Frodo came toward Pippin and whispered something to him. Pippin nodded as he shoved Frodo toward me. I bowed as he held out his hand. Trying not to flinch, I grabbed a hold of his injured hand, and we began to move gracefully across the dance floor. "Mindy," Frodo said softly in my ear. "Hmm?" I said closing my eyes comfortingly. "I want you to know that I would never do anything to hurt you, you're a great friend. The greatest, but I'm afraid that that is all you can ever be," Frodo said as I opened my eyes and stared at him in shock. "What do you mean?" I asked fighting the sick feeling in my gut. Frodo looked at me with a hurt feeling on his face as we stopped moving completely. "I know how you feel, but it will only hurt you more if I didn't stop this now. Time is short, and for reasons that I cannot explain, I'm afraid that it would be too hard for us to part when the time comes," Frodo said starring at me with a look of emptiness. "Time may be short, but I would rather spend a short time of pure happiness, then to never feel it," I said as the Hobbits around us stopped their merrymaking to watch us. "You will feel the happiness you so desire, but it wont be with me," Frodo said looking at the other Hobbits nervously. "I'm only happy when I'm with you. Frodo open your eyes! I know the purity and greatness of your heart. Don't push me away!" I said unable to hold back my tears any longer. "Mindy, look at me. I'm injured beyond any hope of recovery. I can't continue living as though I am unchanged. I can never go back to the Hobbit that you fell in love with. I have been hurt more deeply then the wound you can see on my hand. It will haunt me forever, and not even you can ease this pain. Time is shorter then you think. It is what happens when one chooses the task of..." Frodo said as Sam and Merry approached him, stopping him before he could say any more. Pippin came toward me wearing a look of discomfort as the Hobbits around us began mumbling under their breaths. Frodo looked at me with a torn expression on his face. Finally he took my hand into his, and kissed it tenderly. "May the light of Earendil always shine upon you, fair maiden of the Shire," Frodo said grabbing a hold of my hand with his other. He squeezed my hand softly as I clutched his. Then smiling sadly he pulled away, and headed toward his home. I felt Pippin grab a hold of my shoulder as I turned my hand around, wondering what it was that Frodo had slipped into it. I heard Pippin give a small gasp as he saw the brooch of an Elven-cloak in my hand.

The months passed, and for the most part, I have seen very little of Frodo. Most of the time I stayed with Merry and Pippin, but Merry seemed a little uncomfortable. They both seemed confused with Frodo's behavior at the wedding. They both found it amazing that Frodo could give up his Elvish-brooch, a treasured gift among the other Hobbit's that had accompanied him. "I could never part with anything that the Lady had given us," Merry said looking at Pippin in wonder. "I did. Remember, I left it behind when we were captives," Pippin said defensively. "Yeah, but you got it back," Merry pointed out, "If you want my opinion, our dear cousin Frodo has finally lost it. He hasn't done something that stupid since the time at the Prancing Pony." Pippin gave a worried glance my way as I shifted uneasily. "Since when has it been stupid to give something to someone?" Pippin asked. "I wasn't talking about that Pippin! I was talking about how Frodo almost mentioned the Ring!" Merry said as Pippin gave me a worried look. Merry sat down startled as he realized what he had just said. Both starred at me unable to say anything as they waited for my response. I sighed as I stood up. "Honestly. I told you, I already know about the ring. You don't have to hide it from me. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get to Hobbiton tonight. Rosie should be having the baby soon, and I need to help with the delivery. I doubt very much that Sam will be able to handle it on his own. Just do me a favor you two, stop fighting. It's just not right." I said as I left the two of them to finish their little disagreement.

Sam greeted me, looking much like a wreck. "Don't worry Sam, you'll be a dad soon," I said as I entered Bag End. For the most part, the birth went rather well. "It's a girl," I said holding up the beautiful Hobbit child. Sam nearly burst into tears as he saw his daughter. Rose did very little but smile happily as I placed the child into her arms. I watched the warm scene in front of me with a sad smile on my face. In the corner of my eye, I saw as Frodo watched Sam and Rose embrace. But before I could say anything, he had headed back to the study. As I started to clean up, Sam headed happily toward the study. "Well, Mr. Frodo, I'm in a bit of a fix. Rose and me had settled to call him Frodo, with your leave; but it's not him, it's a her. Though as pretty a maidchild as any one could hope for, taking after Rose more than me, luckily. So we don't know what to do," I heard Sam say as I strained to hear Frodo's response. "Well, Sam, what's wrong with the old custom's? Choose a flower name like Rose. Half the maidchildren in the Shire are called by such names, and what could be better?" Frodo asked. "I suppose you're right, Mr. Frodo. I've heard some beautiful names on my travels, but I suppose they're a bit too grand for daily wear and tear, as you might say. The Gaffer, he says: 'Make it short, and then you won't have to cut it short before you can use it.' But if it's to be a flower-name, then I don't trouble about the length: it must be a beautiful flower, because, you see, I think she is very beautiful, and is going to be beautifuller still," Sam said proudly. "Well, Sam, what about elanor, the sun-star, you remember the little golden flower in the grass of Lothlorien?" Frodo said. "You're right again, Mr. Frodo! That's what I wanted," Sam said happily as he left the study to tell his wife.

Later that night I entered Frodo's room to check on him. He was hot and sweaty as he tossed and turned. He was fingering the white ring again, but seemed to be struggling hard not to show his pain. "You need me Frodo," I whispered as I wiped his forehead. I stayed at his bedside, as I listened to him mumble words about his adventure. As I stretched, I realized that he had a book laying next to him. I picked it up, and started to read it. It didn't take me long to realize I was reading about Bilbo's adventure years ago, and then Bilbo's hand writing ended, and Frodo's firm flowing script took over. For the rest of the night, I read the red book, forcing myself to memorize every word. As the soft orange morning light began to creep into the world, I finally understood. As I stared at Frodo, his voice seemed to enter my head. "Time is short...I'm injured beyond any hope of recovery...Time is shorter than you think..." I heard his words in my head as though for the first time. "You're leaving us, you're leaving me," I whispered as my tears rolled down my face. "Why?" I asked his sleeping face as I sank to the floor.

I returned to Crickhollow before Frodo woke, and there I spent my time alone. Pippin frequently came over, trying desperately to find out what was wrong, but I couldn't talk to him. It wasn't until Gandalf told him and Merry that Frodo was going to pass across the Sea, that he knew what was wrong. He came to me tearfully as he told me the news. "Mindy, you have to stop him! You're the only one who can," he said looking at me hopefully. "I can't Pippin. I can't save him. God I wish I could, but I can't. No matter how much I love him, it wont be able to heal him. The ring has taken its revenge. Frodo will never be free from it, and neither will I," I said lowering my head. "But he's leaving!" Pippin said wiping his eyes. "I know, but if I go, it will only be harder on him," I said watching as Merry rode toward Pippin with the same look of grief on his face. "We'll miss him, if we don't go now," Merry said as he pulled two ponies behind him. "Common Mindy! Lets go!" Pippin said mounting his pony. I stayed there staring at the ground. "Mindy?" Merry asked looking at me with concern. "I cannot go. Please understand. If I go, it will only make things worse. He'll understand. Now go you two!" I commanded. The two of them looked at me hesitantly before they took off. I waited until they were out of sight before I mounted my pony, and began to follow.

By the time I got there, Frodo was boarding the ship. I had the urge to go after him, to shout at him to stop, but I knew it was greedy of me, so I stayed hidden from view as the ship started to sail away. For awhile Sam, Merry and Pippin stared at the sea silently as the ship disappeared in the distance, then they turned and slowly began to head home. When they too disappeared in the distance, I headed toward the sea. The waves touched my feet, as I stared forward with an empty feeling inside of me. Before I knew what I was doing, I had started running into the salty water. My heart was screaming "Follow him!", but my head was telling me that it was too late. Waist deep in the freezing water, I stopped, and allowed the waves to sway me back and forth. Finally as the world became dark, and stars began to speckle the sky, I looked up toward the Elvish star, Earendil. Its light seemed brighter than usual as I stared at it, "May the light of Earendil always shine upon you, fair maiden of the Shire," I heard Frodo's voice say as though he were crying out to me from across the sea. My arms lowered to my side as I felt my tears warm my cheeks. "I love you bearer of the Ring, and I always will!" I screamed as I turned to leave.

TBC

Ending note: Like I said above, this is not the end of the story yet, and the next part should be out soon, if I get enough positive reviews. The next part is about seven years after The Lord of the Rings book ends, and it is really were the story begins. This chapter was really just an introduction to my character Mindy. Now, if you have anything to say about the story, please hit the review button, I really don't care what you say, just as long as you have a good reason for saying it. That means that I'll even accept flames. And thanks again for reading my story.