Disclaimer: I am not J.R.R. Tolkien, so I do not own any un-original character in this story. So, please don't sue.

Author's Note: As you probably gathered from the summary, Gavin Fairbairn is a character I created. I made her as less MarySue as I could. And this is a love story set in a point of time where it may not have been able to happen, but what else was I going to do? So bear with me if I have any inaccuracies, but I do encourage you to correct me when/if you feel it neccessary. Also, reviews (of any kind) make me a happy kid. Thanks.

Gavin Fairbairn was never a really unpredictable Hobbit, nor was she straight and narrow. She listened to the Great Stories as avidly as any other Hobbit-child, but she never ventured to create her own. Gavin did what she was told, but only when she felt it was right to do so. Mostly she felt unnoticed, and sometimes unappreciated, but folks knew there was something about her. Something...ungainly, but undoubtedly great.

The Scouring of The Shire, however quick and victorious, it left a stain on The Shire's presence. The one place that was full of peace, happiness and life, was now tainted. But eventually (and soonish, too) normal life resumed, and people started to forget what it was like to have the world touch their homes.

Frodo never really found his old life. Not in the Green Dragon with his dearest friends, or in the halls of Bag End. It always felt like he was on the outside looking in, missing the simple adventure of a birthday party, and the mild danger of drinking too much ale. He'd been too many places, seen too many things. But there was something he hadn't seen yet.

While walking in the woods as he often did when he was younger, he couldn't help but notice something following him. Occasionally he would stop to see if it would approach, but it didn't. Then finally, Frodo turned to see what it was. A girl. With ringlets of mousy brown hair, pulled back, fair skin and big brown eyes. Upon a second look, he noticed that she didn't look like the rest of the Hobbit-girls. She wasn't stout or womanly, more thin and petite. If it was for her ears and feet, Frodo would've mistaken her for a Human child.

"Good morning," Frodo said, turning his pony round. The girl smiled a bit, and even curtsied before replying, "Good morning, sir."

Unsure of what normal conversation for this kind of situation was supposed to be, he took a shot in the dark. "Lovely day for a walk, isn't it?"

"Yes," she replied. Frodo was highly taken aback by the circumstance by which he was now immersed in. Where had this girl come from? And what did she want? Knowing that rudeness was a sin in a Hobbit's etiqutte, he bit his tongue.

By some stroke of luck, the strange girl made her intention known, "It is a very beautiful pony you have. I was just admiring it."

He did nothing but blink for a moment. The girl's shy and innocent quality had now thoroughly thrown him for a loop. She followed him because of his pony? Remembering himself, he offered for her to come and give Nib a stroke. She approached cautiously at first, and while she came closer, Frodo noticed something else. He was a good head's length taller than she, and that she was a great deal more prettier up close.

She reached and petted Nib on the soft, fuzzy pad of his nose. Her smile went from ear to ear while her hand was sniffed and snorted on. Frodo found a smile too, her delight contagious. Curious, he said, "My name's Frodo Baggins, who might you be?"

"I'm Gavin Fairbairn. It's very nice to meet you Mr. Baggins, and your wonderful pony."

Frodo couldn't say what attracted him to the girl. Whether it be her infectious laugh, her caring nature, or the fact that she looked at him differently the rest of The Shire. When he told her the story of the War of The Ring, she didn't turn a cold shoulder and run. She listened, and that was enough. She was a joy to be near, and every day she made his life a little bit easier.

No one else knew the depths of their companionship. Pippin, Merry, and even Sam were just glad that he had someone to talk to, but they never guessed that they were lovers. In the early morning, or late in the evening, they would spend their time walking or sitting and talking. Frodo would hold her hand and kiss her forehead, while they shared stories and rhymes. And Gavin was never dismayed by Frodo's little imperfections, such as the absence of a forefinger on his left hand. It didn't change his wisdom or manner, nor the way she felt about him.

One evening, they were sitting underneath an Oak while Frodo told the story of Tom Bombadil and how he saved Merry and Pippin from the Old Man Willow. Near to the end, Gavin scooted closer and laid her head on Frodo's shoulder, wrapping both of her arms around his. Frodo traced the outline of her strangely oval face, and tilted her face toward him.

"You look tired, Frodo," Gavin said, pouting slightly. "I'm so sorry that you're so tired."

"Don't fret," he answered, toying with her stray hairs. "It's just been a long day."

There was a twinkle in her eyes that made Frodo realize that she knew he was lying. The weariness that Frodo covered up so well, reflected to him on her face. And it was not from the day, it was from the life. Everything that had happened couldn't just go away forever. He stroked her cheek and she smiled again when he kissed her nose. But sometimes, just being with Gavin made the bad things go away for a while.

"Hmm," Frodo made a small, contented sound in his throat. She mimicked the sound, accompanied by a sigh. Then, without really comprehending what he was doing, Frodo brought his lips to hers. A chaste kiss at first, while Gavin got over the intial shock and began to lean into his touch. Her eyes shut when he deepened the kiss, cradling her head in his good hand. And she gripped his jacket, enjoying the new sensation of kissing.

While Frodo and Gavin continued to become closer, more folks were inclined to distance themselves from her. Not that she'd done anything wrong by falling in love, but just the fact that she was an odd girl who'd fallen for an even odder fellow. Fate would have it that they would never marry, or be intimate. But their certain kind of intimacy was stronger than they knew.

On the anniversary of Weathertop, as it always happened, Frodo fell ill. The sharpness of the stinging and burning was as if the blade was still piercing his flesh. He didn't leave his Hobbit-hole at all on these days, nor did he do much inside. The pain always brought terrible memories, and for the vivid nightmares, he could not find sleep either.

Gavin rung his bell late in the evening, possibly later than she should've been out. But she worried for poor Frodo, who she'd not seen or heard of all day long. He stumbled to the door, and pulled it open. When her eyes laid on him, she couldn't stifle a gasp.

"Dear Frodo!" she said, reaching for him as if he were to fall. "Are - are you all right?"

"No," Frodo gestured for her to come inside and he shut the door behind her. "No, I'm afraid I'm not."

Gavin followed him into the sitting room and he collapsed into a chair, gripping the spot where the pain emanated from. She noticed the beads of sweat on his brow, and the blanchness of his face. His breathing was uneven and gasp-like. She placed the back of her hand against his face, partly as a comfort gesture and partly to feel his temperature, which was very hot. "Is there anything I can do?"

Frodo reached up and took her hand down, but still held on. She kneeled down next to his chair, down at him with wide, worried eyes. "I do not think so. But maybe you could stay for a little while?"

Gavin smiled, "Of course." She bent down and planted a kiss to his temple. Then she ran her fingers through his hair. She then decided that he needed to be warmer, and have something in his stomach. Despite Frodo's weak claim that he would be fine, she started a fire in the grate and helped him move to a chair closer to the heat.

Gavin excused herself into the kitchen to make him something to eat. In the state that Frodo was in now, she was sure he wouldn't eat a large amount of things. So, she made him a bowl of soup (making sure it was mostly broth and not too hot). She brought it into the sitting room on a platter with a bit of bread.

"You shouldn't have," Frodo protested as Gavin set the platter near them.

"Hush," she retorted, sitting down on a settee with the bowl and spoon. "It's no trouble. But it will be if you do not eat."

With a look of retreat, he took a spoonful of soup while Gavin held the bowl for him. It was quite good, and he had to admit, the warmth in his belly made the pain lessen a little. When he'd finished, Gavin still sat there, talking to him and keeping his attention away from the wound. Frodo smiled down at her, caressing her hair.

"What is it?" Gavin asked, puzzled by his mute smile. She leaned into his palm and rested her hand on his knee.

"Nothing, it's just..." Frodo trailed off for a moment. "You would've made a good wife."

Gavin knew that Frodo would never marry her, and she didn't question it. It had to be some unbelievable, mystical reason why he wouldn't ask for her hand. Though at times, she wished he would. She sighed and laid her head onto his lap.

"I'm sorry," Frodo said, cursing himself. "I didn't mean to --"

"No," Gavin squeezed his knee. "It's alright. It is very nice of you to think of me that way."

"Gavin," Frodo lifted her head so he could look into her eyes. "I will always think of you that way."

She smiled and he swore he could see tears in her eyes, sparkling in the light of the fire. He bent down, forgetting the pain of the wound and held her. He whispered into her ear then, "I love you."

"I love you," Gavin whispered back and the sound seemed so lovely to him that he could not help himself. He pulled back slightly and brought her mouth to his. She moaned softly against his lips, wrapping her arms about his neck. His own hands left her head to trail downward. Past her shoulders, they slid down her sides to her narrow waist, where he lifted her closer.

During the course of talking, kissing and laughing, Frodo and Gavin fell asleep on the rug in front of the fire. And when he awoke, he found the fire dying and the sun not yet on the horizon. Careful to be quiet, he went to the guest room to fetch a quilt and a pillow.

Gently he lifted Gavin's head and slid the pillow beneath it, and then covered them both with the quilt. She stirred only enough to pull his arm around her as he fit himself to her body and cuddled her close. He kissed her cheek and said softly, "Know that you're the one my heart belongs to, wife or no."

A long length of time had passed. The world of Men had renewed into fine kingdoms again, and the Elves were few and far between. The Shire had now forgotten the horror of the War, save for a few. Frodo still had dreams of the Ring, and of death and decay. For him, nothing could be the same again. He feared losing his mind to the past and so there was a hard decision to make.

Frodo had sent for Gavin early in the morning. She came happily and they spent time having a second breakfast and tea. Frodo told her of Bilbo's leaving the Shire and his place on a ship to Valinor. And he told her about the Elves who had been leaving Middle-Earth frequently after the War. She listened, but a sense of dread started to creep up in the back of her mind.

"There is something else to this," Gavin set down her tea. "Isn't there?"

"You're right," Frodo was slightly amazed by her sudden intuition. He reached for her hand, and was surprised when she didn't recoil. How could he tell her? He thought as he stroked her fingers.

"I'm leaving Bag End to Sam, along with all of my possessions. Except for Nib. I had hoped you would take him; he enjoys you so."

"Frodo? What - what are you saying?" Gavin really had no need to ask. In her heart, she already knew. The warmth was leaving her body, but Frodo held her hand tighter.

"I'm leaving, with Bilbo," he answered, meeting her eyes. "I have a place, too, on the ship. I must go, Gavin."

She felt a burning in the back of her throat and she dropped her eyes. She fled from the kitchen, desperately trying to convince herself that it wasn't true. Frodo called her and against her will, she stopped. It couldn't be true. He hurried to her.

"Please," Frodo spoke to her back, for she wouldn't face him. "Don't be angry with me. I've tried. Honestly, I have."

Slowly, Gavin turned around. She knew that Frodo had just been getting worse and worse. It was something that she couldn't fix, which hurt deeply. She had tried too, and together they made it seem a little easier. Now she was unsure of what to do, if there was anything she could do.

"I'm not angry," she said in a hushed tone. "It's just so - so sudden."

Frodo's heart sank when he saw the sorrow in her eye. He cursed himself for not being what she needed. And for not being strong enough to find out. "I wish there was another way," he said. She nodded and breathed out. She started for the door, but her legs felt like lead, heavy and stiff. Nearly to the hall, a thought crossed her mind. She looked over her shoulder at him.

"Were you going to say goodbye?" Her voice began to break and Frodo watched as she wilted. He had never before seen her cry, let alone her heart break. Unable to let her just fall apart before him, he ran to her. He caught her as her knees gave out and her body shook with sobs.

Frodo sank to the floor with Gavin, letting his own emotions go. He pressed his face against her shoulders and held her tightly. He shut his eyes and breathed her in, feeling the way she clutched at him as if they could be any closer. For a moment, he nearly forsake his plan to just be able to hold her like this for the rest of his life. He would give anything to hear her laugh again. When she settled, they parted so that Frodo could kiss the drops of tears on her cheeks while she smoothed back his hair.

"What will I do without you?" He said, barely above a whisper.

"You'll be fine," Gavin answered, shaking her head. "I'm sure of it."

"I had hoped to be fine here," Frodo added. Gavin touched their foreheads together and held one of his hands in both of hers.

"You know that it's just not meant to be. And you have a chance at a new life, Frodo, don't think about it twice."

"And you?"

With a small sigh, Gavin pulled away and met Frodo's eyes. She swallowed her sadness and pain, and found a small but meaningful smile. Then said, "Don't you worry about me, Frodo Baggins. It's a new world here, I'll find my place. And you know," she caressed his hand. "I'll keep a small part of you with me always."

At her smile, the heavy air of his departure lifted some. Frodo helped Gavin to her feet, and walked her to the door. He opened it and the vision of a beautiful, bright morning laid upon the doorstep. It made parting somewhat easier.

"Gavin," He saw more sparkling of her eyes, and prayed that it was not sorrow creeping up again. He could hardly bear to leave her as it was. But then she smiled up at him, a promise of good days and nights past. "Aa' menealle nauva calen ar' malta," he said, which summed up his thoughts of her.

"What does it mean?" Gavin asked. She laughed as she usually did on the rare occasion that she heard him speak Elvish. The laugh spread across her and she brightened.

"May your ways be green and golden," he answered, smiling in return. Gavin thought on it for a moment and then nodded. Frodo said no more, but opened his arms to her. She went into his arms and when they closed around her, she kissed him. She was sure to make the embrace a joyful one and when they pulled away, she saw the smile reach his eyes.

"Goodbye," she said, stepping back into the light. Frodo remained in the doorway and waved as she went. She turned back only when she was down the hill, and saw him shut the door. "I love you, Frodo Baggins," Gavin whispered to his heart. With that, she left for good.

Frodo never wrote about Gavin, in the Red Book of Westmarch nor in any other writings. He kept the memory of her to himself and very close. Even as the days passed since their parting, he remembered vividly every detail. And in the night, should he be alone, he would merely remember how the night used to move when he was beside her. Sweet and true, caring and gentle. She was, in truth, a light in his very dark world. He imagined that one day they would meet, and life would be with her again and forevermore.

The day was slow and gentle. The grass was never softer under his walking feet, or the sun more bright in the bluest of skies. The trees whistled with the breeze a tune of rememberance and hope. There was a scent of freshness and of sweet flowers on the air, and he breathed it in deeply. Pausing, he saw someone.

She came from behind a tree. Her presence felt like Summer, a long time of laughter and song. He came closer, curious. She looked at him, her face reflected sunlight filtered through the leaves. "Good morning," he said, and his voice to her was wonderous.

"Good morning, sir," she replied, bowing to him. When she lifted her head, it came to him. An old memory of cherished gazes and sweet voices. He stepped closer, finding her beauty amazing.

"Is it green and golden?" He asked without knowing what it meant.

But she did, it was in her heart, somewhere. So she answered slowly, "Yes...forever."

As soon as he saw her smile, he knew it was. He took pleasure in her delight and their laughter rang like bells in the woods. The memory came back in the joy of the day, and in the beat of their hearts. And the love returned as they joined hands and walked together.