Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me and neither does the poem – if they did do you really think I'd be writing slash on the Internet and not making any money out of it?

…honestly I wish I were dead

She wept as she was leaving me.

Shedding many tears she said to me:

"Oh, what a terrible unhappiness is ours!

Sappho, I swear I'm leaving you against my will."

And to her I made this answer:

"Go, and fare well, and remember me."

Sappho, Fr. 94

I'm not going to cry. I've seen worse than a wedding in my life, and although I cried then, I shouldn't cry now. It's my best friend's wedding, I'm not supposed to cry; I'm supposed to drink more ale than is good for me and try to kiss the bridesmaids, but not cry. But I can't not.

I saw the tears in his eyes when he turned to me to take the ring to give to his new wife and I tried to smile at him, to be happy for him, but I can't be happy for him when he isn't. Everyone thought that it was so touching that the great adventurer wasn't ashamed to show emotion at his wedding, but it would sicken them if they knew the real emotions behind his tears. They would to throw us out of the Shire if they knew what we had done last night.

I just wanted to take him into my arms again and tell him everything would be all right, but I couldn't with the whole Shire watching us – it's not every day that the Thain's only son gets married and even if they aren't all there in person, they'll hear about it from someone, or someone who knows someone, in the next few days. Perhaps it's a shame we didn't give them something more interesting to discuss than Diamond's dress.

Sam was there of course, with Rose who is pregnant again – their fourth. Backslapping and suggestive raising of eyebrows all round. It's amazing the way Sam has settled into society since inheriting Bag End, as if he also inherited the confidence fitting for the master of such a grand hole, or maybe it was just so like old times. Except that it wasn't like old times, not without Frodo. Sam seems to have forgotten him, settling into marriage, fatherhood and proper hobbit sense as comfortably as his old travelling cloak. It'll be Pippin next, he swears he won't, but in a few months I'll be all but forgotten too.

Last night he said that it wouldn't have to mean that we couldn't see each other any more, and that we wouldn't have to stop being lovers either, but it's difficult to take someone seriously when you can hardly make out their words because they've got their face pressed into the side of your neck and they're crying so hard that you can feel the tears soaking into you. Last night I didn't cry, I didn't even want to because I knew that he needed to do this. I wanted to be the grown up, the way I have all these years, hoping that if I could let him go without making a fuss it would make it easier for him. So I let him go to a woman who loves him less than I do and who he doesn't love in return, or at least he doesn't now and I hope he won't. I want him to be happy – I want both of them to be happy – but I don't want him to love her more than me.

When he told me what his father was making him do I even thought about finding her and killing her, but it wouldn't have solved anything. They would only have found another girl and I would have been locked away and never allowed to so much as talk to him again. Perhaps if I never saw him again it would be easier. No, it wouldn't, because even if he isn't there I will continue to see him inside of my mind. I will remember him the last time we were together and how he cried; I wish it could be a better memory, but that will be the one that remains.

I just want to protect him from this, to wish it away and make him forget as I always have. Life has never been fair to him, he had to grow up too fast and see too much even for someone much older, and I thought that now fate might give him a chance, but yet again a ring has to spoil all our plans.

So I congratulate the happy couple, drink to their health and long life and watch them take their first dance together as husband and wife without any bitterness. The bitterness will come later when I'm old and have someone else's grandchildren on my knee. The tears will come later too, tonight when I'm alone and will allow them to, but not now, this is their day and I won't spoil it for them by crying – I'll leave that to Pippin.