Disclaimer: All characters and events contained herein are the property of J.R.R. Tolkien, or based upon the writings of the same. Some passages of the following story are direct or edited quotes from said writings. I just like to play, with no profit or assumption of ownership.

Perfect Match

"It's perfect, Sam."

"Do you really think so, Mr. Frodo?"

"Of course I do. Wherever did you get it?"

Frodo gazed at the pendant that Sam held up to the window-light. Tiny yet breathtakingly beautiful, it contained a single glittering opal set in delicate ripples of silver. The chain upon which it hung was equally beautiful, an intricate plait of silver. It had been recently polished and reflected the afternoon light brightly, gleaming where it lay in Sam's palm.

"It actually came from Mr. Bilbo, sir. He gave it to my Mam on his eleventy- first birthday. She wore it once or twice, and when we came back my Gaffer saw fit to pass it on to me, if you follow me, sir."

Frodo grinned. Ham Gamgee knew what he was about well enough, and it seemed that he was not above dropping rather broad hints to his son. And high time too, for if anyone deserved to be happy, in Frodo's opinion Sam was he. He gave his friend a hard look.

"So why are you in here showing it to me, and not out in the garden showing it to Rose?"

Sam blushed. "Well, sir... that is, I wasn't sure... I mean, seeing as how you're staying here, with the Cottons I mean, I thought I'd check that you thought it a good token... that is..."

Frodo clapped a hand over Sam's mouth to quiet him, while trying to restrain his own amusement.

"Sam, Rose is out in the garden. I believe she's enjoying the beautiful afternoon sun." With that, Frodo stepped away from Sam and looked pointedly towards the door. Sam opened his mouth and closed it again once or twice, after the manner of a fish out of water. Then, with a suddenness that seemed to surprise him more than Frodo, he turned and walked out of the door, heading for the garden.

Frodo settled back at his desk, taking up his pen to continue working. But this soon proved impossible, for his desk was by the window, and he soon realised that he could see where Rose sat. Unwilling to intrude but unable to look away, he continually glanced up at her from the page he was attempting to read over. For a few minutes it seemed that Sam was not going to appear, and Frodo was on the point of rising to look for him when the young gardener appeared. Although Frodo could not see his face, he knew his friend's body language, and nervousness was written all over his movements.

Rose's face broke into a smile as she saw Sam approaching, and they spoke for a moment, she sitting on the stone bench under a tree laden with apple blossom, he standing beside her. After a minute or so of talking, something almost imperceptible shifted in Sam's posture, and Frodo knew this was the moment. Rose seemed to know too, for anticipation was written all over her face.

Frodo turned abruptly from the window, no longer willing to intrude on the scene. This moment belonged to Sam and Rose alone, and though doubtless he would hear about it later, no outside eyes should see it. Instead, he bustled about the room with the pretence of sorting papers. He managed to maintain the pretence for at least three minutes before his curiosity got the better of him, and he glanced out of the window.

The image that he saw would remain with him the rest of his life. Rose still sat on the stone bench, but Sam was behind her, fastening the silver pendant about her slender neck. White blossom was drifting down about them, and catching in her hair. The late afternoon set a glow about the whole garden, but it was not enough to hide the glow of radiant joy emanating from both Sam and Rose as he joined her on the bench, gently reaching for her hand.

"He's finally asked her, then?"

Frodo jumped at the voice, and turned to see both Farmer Cotton and the visiting Gaffer Gamgee standing behind him. The scene before their eyes transfixed both men. The Gaffer was grinning broadly.

"And about time, too! He's been nursing that pendant of his mother's for days. Don't ask me why, none of his brothers were that nervous about speaking to their lady."

Farmer Cotton raised an eyebrow. "Perhaps he's nervous about asking permission of her Pa, eh?"

"Now, Farmer Cotton," Frodo said in consternation, observing the glint in his eye, "you won't be making things hard for Sam when he speaks to you, will you?"

The old hobbit scratched his chin thoughtfully. "Well now, I'm not sure," he said. "I could, but I just don't think I can pretend not to approve. Eh, Gaffer?"

"Nor I," agreed Gaffer Gamgee. "They make each other happy enough. What do you say, Master Frodo?"

Frodo returned his gaze to where Sam and Rose sat, holding hands and gazing into each other's eyes, enveloped in their own radiance, under the gently falling apple blossom. It seemed to him that out of all the beauties he had seen, in Rivendell, in the Mirrormere, in Lothlórien and in Gondor, none had been so very beautiful as the sight that now met his eyes.

"I should say they were made for each other," he said.

fin