Chapter 1

Young Marina Brandybuck rushed through her house, a handful of ribbons in one hand and her new apron in the other. She ran through the round front door right into the back of her mother's knees.

"Mary, there you are! It's time to leave, aren't you ready?" the woman said, looking down at her daughter. Marina raised her upset eyes to her mother's and held up her handful of ribbons. A few ribbons were already tied in sloppy bows in her curls.

"They won't go right!" she wined, and her mother laughed. Marina's father was already in the cart, and he turned to see the commotion.

"Poppy, we'll be late if we don't leave soon." He told his wife, although his eyes were twinkling.

"Don't worry Rickford; we'll simply do this in the cart on the way." Poppy laughed, and lifted Marina into the cart. As promised, she tied the girl's ribbons into her hair and helped her tie her new apron over her dress. By the time they got to Farmer Granger's apple orchard, Marina felt like she would be the prettiest girl there. She hopped out of the cart and looked around happily.

Today was one of the best days of the year, when all the families from nearby came to Farmer Granger's orchard to help with the apple harvest. While the men climbed ladders to pick apples, the tweens would climb to the higher branches that the ladders couldn't reach. Meanwhile, the younger children would run back and forth, bringing the full baskets of apples to the women who worked on making cider and tons of apple pies, also stringing apple rings to dry in the autumn air. By the end of the day, everyone was sticky and the mostly empty apple trees all sported the strung apples like party streamers. It was a day everyone looked forward to, as it was always a lot of fun.

While those who were already there waited for the rest to arrive, Marina wandered around. She stopped under a tree and looked up to see the perfect apple, hanging just out of reach. She jumped and hopped, trying in vain to reach it when suddenly someone grabbed her around the knees and raised her up. She grabbed the apple, but had a hard time pulling it off the branch. She gave a great yank and it came loose, making her and whoever had helped her tumble to the ground in a pile. By the time the two had gotten themselves untangled, they were already friends. Finally they stood and faced each other. Marina grinned at the boy in front of her who was wearing a coat which was too large for him, and already had grass stains on the elbows. He stuck out his hand.

"I'm Peregrine Took, Pippin for short." He said and smiled.

"I'm Marina Brandybuck, Mary for short." She answered, and they shook hands as if they were grownups, which made them both start laughing again.

"So why did you want that one apple so bad?" he asked her as they started walking. "There were others that you could have gotten by yourself."



"Yes, but this one was perfect!" she held it up and the bright red apple seemed to glow in her eyes. "Every year I make sure that the first apple I pick is absolutely perfect, it's a rule. Do you want to share it with me?" she asked a bit shyly. Pippin grinned at her happily, and they raced back to their parents to have them cut the perfect apple in half so they could share it. As they each munched on their share, they both knew that they'd found a friend for life.

--

"I can't do it!" Marina complained and only just refrained from tossing her flute into the woods beyond the fence of her family's yard. Her father pulled his own flute from his lips and sighed heavily. He had been trying for weeks to teach his daughter how to play the flute, but even he was loosing patience. When it came to any instrument, Marina seemed to be hopeless. She could sing like an angel, but for some reason, the music couldn't flow through her fingers at all. It was disappointing, as almost everyone in their family had been gifted with the flute, and could play most instruments with relative ease. It seemed that the talent was skipping a generation with his daughter however. But he hid his frustration, knowing that Marina hated how much she was disappointing him.

While Richford was thinking his unhappy thoughts, Marina stood and went to the fence, looking out over the small pond on the other side. She heard a friendly shout from down the road, and she looked to see Pippin and his mother coming for a visit. Marina smiled and waved, glad for the distraction. She ran inside and got a fresh loaf of cranberry orange bread and a pat of butter and brought them out to the front garden. By the time she reemerged, her best friend and his mother had been led to seats by her father. She set the bread on a small table and sat as well. Once they'd exchanged pleasantries, Marina and Pippin each grabbed a slice of the bread and walked back to the fence where they could talk in peace.

"Finally!" Pippin said gratefully once they were out of earshot. "I am about to go insane with Mother's nagging!"

"What did you do this time?" Marina half joked. Pippin had a knack for encouraging his mother's nagging.

"It's more like what I didn't do. She's been trying to teach me the 'family secret', and I'm hopeless. Apparently, we can talk to animals, which is news to me. I've never understood anything any animal has ever said to me. Sounds like a bunch of noise." Marina looked up in surprise.

"You mean there are other people who understand animals sometimes?" she asked and Pippin eyed her.

"Have you ever heard them?" he asked, and she nodded, blushing.

"Birds mostly, but sometimes I hear other animals too. I always thought it was my imagination."

"Huh, maybe you should learn my family secret instead of me." Marina snorted.



"And you can learn mine; you've always been good with a flute. I on the other hand could not play a tune if my life depended on it." She smacked him lightly on the shoulder with the flute she still held. He took it and started playing. The tune was beautiful, if simple, and Marina hummed along wishing she could play half so well. A small robin landed on the fence, and said something about Pippin having natural talent and that he must be part bird. Marina giggled.

"But he can't sing at all, and isn't that what birds are really good at?" she asked the robin, who nodded in consent and hopped obligingly onto her finger. Marina started dancing, keeping it slow and smooth so she wouldn't dislodge her passenger. As the song Pippin was playing turned into a folk song they both knew, Marina started softly singing the words along with him.

Meanwhile, Richford and Letty, Pippin's mother, were each talking about their own child's hopelessness. They looked over to see Pippin playing Marina's flute and Marina chatting with a robin who sat on her finger. They looked at each other and both chuckled. It looked like they would be switching students after this afternoon.

--

"It's not going to work." Marina said pointedly, but Pippin ignored her. Somehow he had gotten the idea into his head that he wanted to build a raft. So now, they were down at a nearby pond. Marina sat on a tree stump watching, and laughing occasionally. Pippin was knee deep in the water, his trousers rolled up but still getting damp from his splashing. He was tying large branches together with twine that he'd snuck from his house. At least, that's what he was trying to do. But his branches kept floating away as they came loose from his sloppy rope work, and he was having a hard time accomplishing his goal. Finally, after a few minutes of struggle, he stood straight to admire his handiwork. Marina could tell it would fall apart the moment Pippin tried to use it to float anything.

"Finished." The hobbit said happily, and Marina rolled her eyes.

"I told you, it's not going to work. The moment you try to actually use it it'll fall apart." She laughed. Pippin glared at her and climbed out of the water. He stood on another sump nearby and her eyes widened. He was going to test it himself! At that moment he jumped and landed square in the middle of his raft.

Marina stood as well in surprise as she was splashed with the cool water. She opened her eyes to see Pippin sitting in the water. It came up to his chin, and logs, sticks and twine were floating away. She took one look at her sopping friend and burst out laughing. He glared at her again. She tried to smother her giggle as she went forward. She held out her hand to help him up as a peace offering and he took it. Unfortunately, instead of allowing her to help him up, he yanked her arm and pulled her down into the water as well. She gasped for air as she shook her curls, wiping water from her face.

"You littleā€¦brat!" she exclaimed, too shocked to come up with a better insult. Now Pippin laughed heartily, and Marina couldn't stop her own laughter as well. She stood carefully, allowing Pippin to pull her up. "Now then, Pip, I suggest that if you want to play around on a raft so bad, that we head 

over to Buckleberry Ferry. It was built by those who actually know what they're doing, and as such won't fall apart." He glared at her, and she simply smiled. Finally he laughed and agreed, leading the way, dripping through the forest in the direction of the Buckleberry Pier.

--

Well here you are, the new beginning to my story XD Please tell me what you think! And I know it's short, but I lost the notebook with all of these original senarios in it and I can't for the life of me find it again! So I am rewriting all of these from memory which is proving more difficult in some ways, but in others is very gratifying. Since my writing had greatly improved since I wrote them originally, I can only hope that the rewrites are much easier on the brain

Please review, tell me if you like or dislike the story thus far. And if you have any ideas for Marina and Pippin pre-movie stories, i'll definatly take them into consideration for the coming chapters!

Your Humble Authoress,

Whisperwings