Hi! Just wanted to say, this is a redo of my first story, so if you were reading the first Open Book, read this one too! Reviews, reviews, reviews!!

Summary:

Lara isn't your basic Hobbit girl. She loves action, and causing mischief, and she has four male best friends. Who are they? Yep, you guessed it. Frodo, Merry, Pippin, and Sam. But the War of the One Ring is coming, and she can't do anything to stop it.

Chapter 1: Beginnings

"Come on, Lara."

"No way!"

"It won't hurt. All we will do is grab a couple of carrots and-"

"No! I absolutely will NOT rob Farmer Maggot today."

Merry and Pippin looked hurt. "But you always help us."

She grinned. "That was until he heard us in the crops last week and set his dogs on us. Remember?"

They looked at each other. How could they not? They had been grabbing their share of Farmer Maggot's lettuce, when they had heard loud barking and rustling not far off. They ran for their lives, as fast as their short little legs could carry them.

Lara, Merry, and Pippin were standing in the field behind Lara's house, trying to decide what to do. Lara had lived in the Shire her whole life, and Merry and Pippin were her best friends. She was also pretty well acquainted with Samwise Gamgee, or Sam, as they called him, because she saw him all the time when she was over at Mr. Bilbo's house. They were young hobbits still, almost twelve years old, and their favorite thing to do was cause mischief, or listen to Bilbo's stories.

When you got to know her, Lara was adventurous and headstrong, and she didn't want to listen to anybody but herself. Around elder hobbits, however, she seemed terrified out of her wits. She just froze up and couldn't talk to them, with the one exception: Bilbo Baggins. She didn't like being a girl either. She liked to run, jump, climb, and fish with Merry and Pippin. Her mother wasn't all too pleased, but she figured Lara would grow out of it.

Lara was very small, even for a hobbit, and very thin, with dark brown hair that was a mass of curls, which she usually put up in a sloppy ponytail to be out of her way. She had a thin face, and a light accumulation of freckles splattered across her nose that just seemed to fit. She had small white teeth, with a few gaps, as she was still young, and grey eyes. Although she was small and scrawny, there were advantages to it, one of those being that she was very fast; even Merry and Pippin couldn't catch her.

Merry and Pippin continued to beg. "Lara...come on. Let's go. It's boring here."

Lara looked around. "Maybe we could go to our hideout," she suggested.

"We've already been there today!" Pippin complained.

"Let's go fishing."

"I don't feel like it," Merry whined.

"Well, fine!" Lara shrieked. "Why don't I just go home?"

"Why can't we just go to Farmer Maggots?"

Lara really couldn't believe these two. They just couldn't drop it. "Because," she said slowly, "he has big dogs that want to KILL us," she said, enunciating every word as if they couldn't understand her. "Look...let's just wait a week or so, and then he won't be expecting us. Okay?"

Merry and Pippin glanced at each other. They slowly started to back away, then turned and took off in the direction of Farmer Maggot's field.

"Fine! You guys just go by yourself! I don't care! You can just get killed! I'll just stay here and...oh, brother!" Lara said, and took off after them. She caught up with them easily and grabbed their shirts before they could go anywhere else.

"Let-go!" Pippin said in between gasping for breath, as he desperately tried to struggle away.

"Oh, be quiet. I'm coming with you," she said.

"Oh, good." Merry said. "The more the merrier."

She sighed. "Let's just go and get this over with."

The three friends turned and started to run again, only stopping every once in a while to catch their breath.

"You know," Lara said when they were almost there, "my parents are going to kill you if I get hurt."

Merry grinned. "You know they won't. They're going to kill YOU for coming with us. Anyways, do I sense fear?"

"Scared, ha! I laugh in the face of danger!"

Pippin looked sideways at her. "That's not what it sounded like earlier when you didn't want to come."

Lara pushed him and opened her mouth to reply, but Merry said in a hushed tone, "Shh! We're getting close."

They crept to the edge of the Farmer's field and knelt at the edge of the plants so they couldn't be seen. They sat there panting and breathing in the warm, summer air. They were all so flushed, they looked like the tomatoes they were about to rob.

They huddled up and argued in whispers about what to do. "Look," Lara said, "if we just stick together-"

"But we'll be louder that way!" Merry said.

"Yeah!" Pippin chided. "Let's just split up. And then we can get the food faster too."

Lara was getting frustrated. "But-"

"See you," they both said, grinning devilishly, and took off in the same direction, left, towards the tomatoes and lettuce.

"Oh...those two!" Lara to herself, unable to chase them for fear of making to much noise. "Always teaming up on me. Then they leave me to get the corn and strawberries, the most dangerous things to get. I REALLY can't belive them."

Nevertheless, she was used to it, so instead of going to the left or right, she went straight forward into the field of the corn stalks that were so much taller than her. They had to hurry. Still peeved at Merry and Pippin, she quietly began to pick corn and put it in the brown sack she carried on her back. After getting a sufficient amount that would even keep Pippin happy, she moved to the strawberries. These were slightly closer to the house, so she really had to watch her footing and make sure she didn't make a sound.

She heard rustling from a while away and froze. She heard no sounds of barking. Merry or Pippin, she thought. Those idiots, they're being too loud. She continued grabbing strawberries and putting them in her sack, and eating some along the way. After getting enough, she turned and went to dash back to the edge of the field.

Merry and Pippin, meanwhile, were not going to the tomatoes and lettuce, as Lara had thought, but were going towards the most prized thing in Maggots' field: the mushrooms. No matter how young they were, all hobbits had a passion for mushrooms. They were currenly laying on the ground, waiting for the right moment to make their move.

"Be quiet!"

"I am!"

"I thought I heard something."

"That was my stomach."

They waited, straining their eyes for any possible movement, but they heard none. "Ready?" Merry asked.

"Ready."

Merry reached out to seperate the branches of the bush they were hidden in. He cautiously looked to the left and right, where there was a long, dirt trail that they couldn't see the end of. Directly ahead is the precious mushrooms, protected by a fence. Beside him, Pippin's stomach grumbles again, loudly enough to make Merry jump.

"Pippin!"

"I can't help it."

They inch forward and check the path one more time. Merry gave a low whistle, then waited, tense. When no dogs came, he nodded to Pippin. "Get the bag ready," he whispered.

Together, the two crawled out of their hiding place, and, staying low to the ground, darted across the trail, opened the gate of the fence, and slipped inside. Their feet sunk into the soft dirt below them, and the sweet aroma of mushrooms filled their nostrils. They set to work immediately, getting down on their hands and knees and freeing some of the fattest mushrooms they have ever seen and dumping them in the bag. The raid took less than thirty seconds, and without furthur ado they stuffed a couple mushrooms in their mouths and sneaked back into their bush.

They silently congratulated each other on their accomplishment, then headed back to where Lara was. After going a few rows, Pippin ran into her. Literally.

"Pippin!" she hissed. "Was that you making all that noise? We're supposed to be quiet!"

"It wasn't me, I promise! We were quiet as mice. All of us always are!"

They heard the rustling again, and Lara gasped. Pippin's arm shot out and his hand covered her mouth. Merry was peering through the plants, eyes narrowed. All three ducked down into a plant.

"Oh, great. What did I tell you guys? Farmer Maggot's here," Lara hissed, like an angry cat.

"Quiet! We need a plan!"

"What do you mean a plan? We'll just have to run, won't we?"

"Lara, you always just think of running. But we aren't as fast as you."

Merry spoke up. "Guys! We'll just have to carefully and quietly make our way back to where we were, and hope we don't run into the dogs. We just won't go to the direction of any rustling."

"Yeah," Lara said, "and then, if we see the dogs, we'll just have to run."

"Ok."

"Ok."

"Alright. Let's go."

Pale-faced, the three once again quietly crept through the field, looking up and down each row before stepping into it. They were about seven rows from edge, when they heard the rustling from behind them again. Pippin peeked behind him and saw two dogs about three rows back, looking right at them.

"Uh, guys," he said.

"Not now, Pippin," Lara whispered.

"Guys!"

"What?"

"I think we have to run now."

They all turned and looked right as the dogs started to bound forward. Unfortunately, Lara screamed, which Farmer Maggot apparently heard, and they heard more rustling coming from their right. Without thinking, the three took off to their left as fast as they could, corn leaves hitting them in the face as they went.

"Turn right! Right!" Merry yelled, and they all turned and dashed toward the end of the field of corn, the dogs a few paces behind them. They heard the rustling of Farmer Maggot coming out too. He saw them. "Oi!! What are you doing in my field? That's my food you've got! Come back here, you rascals!"

But they didn't stop, of course. Merry reached the fence first and jumped it easily, being the tallest of them. Pippin came next, and hopped it clumsily, but still made it. Poor Lara was not tall at all, and had short legs, so she had to climb over the fence. The dogs were gaining on her.

"Lara! Hurry up!"

She gave up and dove under the fence, and luckily her sack stayed on her back. The three hobbits sprinted off back to the direction of home. They didn't stop until they reached a tree about a quarter of a mile away. All three were covered in dirt, leaves, twigs, and pieces of corn.

Breathing hard and leaning on the tree, Pippin said "I-guess the--dogs have to stop-at the fence."

"I-told-you guys. I-told you," Lara gasped.

"Well, we got our food right?" Merry said, trying to look on the bright side. At that, they all started laughing really hard and couldn't stop.

"Yeah, Pippin especially would die just to steal some food," Lara said.

"Hey!" Pippin said. "You don't know what we have, do you, or you would be politer to me!"

"What?"

Pippin just triumphantly opened the bag of mushrooms and held it up to Lara's nose. "Mushrooms! Wow! I'm actually impressed!" she exclaimed.

Merry and Pippin said nothing, but looked smug. When Lara started to run again, they followed, and after a time they reached a dark, secluded area right behind her house.

"I've got to get home," Lara said. "My mom's going to be wondering where I am."

"You can't tell her, of course," Merry said.

"No. She might get it out of me anyways, though."

"Just clean the corn out of your hair, then tell her you fell into some dirt when we were chasing each other or something," Merry said.

She reached up and started to pick corn out of her long hair. "Will do. Meet me here after lunch. And don't you dare eat all those mushrooms."

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Frodo was reading at his tree the day of Bilbo's big party, when he heard the sound of a cart approaching, and someone singing in a low, deep voice. Closing his book quickly, he stood up and grinned. Gandalf, he thought. He started to dash through the forest, and continued until he was running down a grassy knoll. He hurriedly stopped before he went over the edge of a short cliff, to see a cart in the road with an old man it it, with a long grey beard and pointed hat. Frodo folded his arms at him. "You're late," he said.

The man slowly turned to look at him, stopping the cart. "A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to."

They stared at each other for a few seconds seriously, then couldn't take it anymore and both burst out laughing. Frodo leaped into the cart. "It's wonderful to see you Gandalf!" he said, hugging him.

"You didn't think I'd miss your Uncle Bilbo's birthday?" Gandalf said, eyes twinkling. He continued to drive the cart down the road towards Bag End. "So how is the old rascal? I hear it's going to be a party of special magnificence."

"You know Bilbo. He's got the whole place in an uproar," Frodo said, sounding amused.

Gandalf chuckled a little, still puffing on his pipe. "Well, that should please him."

"Half the Shire's been invited. And the rest of them are turning up anyway," Frodo said, making Gandalf laugh, as they passed a field of yellow flowers with women out tending them. They got to a bridge that started to enter the town part of Hobbiton, then through a neighborhood of houses.

"To tell you the truth," Frodo said, "Bilbo's acting a bit odd lately. I mean, more than usual," he said, looking up at Gandalf. "He's taken to locking himself in his study. He spends hours pouring over old maps when he thinks I'm not looking. He's up to something," he finished, lost in thought about his Uncle. Frodo looked up to see Gandalf peeking at him, then quickly looking away. "All right, then," Frodo said grinning. "Keep your secrets."

"What?"

"But I know you have something to do with it."

"Good gracious me," Gandalf said, feigning that he was offended.

Frodo nodded and continued, still smiling. "Before you came along, we Bagginses were very well thought of.

"Indeed," Gandalf said, nodding.

Never had any adventures or did anything unexpected."

"If you're referring to the incident with the dragon, I was barely involved. All I did was...give your Uncle a little nudge out of the door."

"Well, whatever you did, you've been officially labeled a disturber of the peace."

"Oh, really?" Gandalf said as if he could hardly believe it, looking around to see children, girls and boys, come dashing from every house and field, yelling "Gandalf! Gandalf!"

They stopped in a group behind his cart, looking disbelieving. "Fireworks Gandalf!"

Frodo looked up at Gandalf, half grinning, knowing he wouldn't disappoint the kids. Just as they were starting to get down, Gandalf let off some fireworks. The children started cheering and Frodo smiled up at Gandalf, who was laughing.

Just then, Lara came out of the field on Frodo's side of the cart, and seeing the cart, she grinned, and started jogging alongside to keep up. "Gandalf! You're here!"

Gandalf looked down and didn't seem at all surprised to see her there. "Lara, how wonderful to see you, lass."

Still running, Lara said, "So, you're here for Bilbo's big day?" She grinned up at Frodo.

"Wouldn't miss it," Gandalf said.

"Frodo, will you come help me find Merry and Pippin?"

Frodo looked at Gandalf, who nodded knowingly. Frodo stood up and said, "Gandalf. I'm glad you're back," and he swung off the cart to join Lara on the ground.

"So am I dear boy!" Gandalf said. Lara and Frodo turned and headed in the direction of the shade of the trees, then looked back and waved. Smiling, Gandalf watched them go. "So am I," he muttered to himself.

"Why do you need my help to find Merry and Pippin?" Frodo asked, as he and Lara were walking along in the shaded forest, looking for them.

"Because they will listen to you when you tell them to stop."

"They listen to you more than me! And stop what?"

Lara laughed. "I have a feeling they are getting into trouble."

Frodo looked sideways at her. "You're going to the party right?"

Lara looked at him as if she had never seen him before. "How many times have you asked me that? Of course I'm coming, I wouldn't miss it for the world!"

"Sorry, I was just making sure."

She shook her head, smiling. "Why?"

"Well...," but he was interrupted by an apple hitting his head. "Ouch! What the...?" Frodo said, rubbing the back of his head and picking up the offending apple off the ground. Lara and Frodo looked up to see Merry and Pippin lounging on the tree branches above them.

"What are you two doing up there?" Lara said, until she saw two pipes in their mouths. "Oh, never mind. I can see you're busy with your pipes."

"Not at all," Pippin said. "We were just wondering if we should come find you."

They climbed down the tree, Merry landing next to Frodo, Pippin on top. "Ouch! Pippin!" Frodo said, pushing him off. Lara hurried over and helped him up.

"Pippin, grow up."

Pippin pretended to look hurt. "I am a grown man. I am smoking a pipe, here. You can't do that, now can you? You're not of age."

Lara sneered at him. "I wouldn't want to anyways. That's disgusting."

Pippin just shook his head and puffed in her face. "Pippin, quit," Frodo said.

"Well, now that I know that you two aren't stealing something-or-or-setting something on fire or causing some kind of meyhem, then I'm going to go get ready."

"Ready for what?" Merry asked.

"The party," Lara stated, rolling her eyes as if it were obvious.

"The party isn't until tonight," Pippin said.

"Your point?" she said, as she started to back away.

"She has to look nice," Merry said, looking at her. "Right?"

Lara looked confused. "Uh..sure, Merry. Well...bye guys," she said, and left in the direction of the town.

Merry watched her go. "What is it with her? I was going to ask her to go to the party with me..."

"What?" Frodo said, caught completely off guard, as he too was still watching her leave. "You were?"

"Oh, come on Frodo. That's old news. Everyone knows that," Pippin said, grinning.

"As friends," Merry quickly added.

Frodo had nothing to say, but was feeling slightly annoyed for some reason. "Look, I have to go help with the party. See you guys there."

And he turned and left before they could say anything more.

a/n-Italics are flashbacks, just to let u kno. oh, and umm...review! lol!