A Kiss in Sweet Shire

With dawn only a few hours behind, the sun sat comfortably in a pale blue sky; its light shining down and illuminating even the far stretches of the Shire. Much to Farmer Maggot's dismay (although, currently, he did not know) a few young hobbits played in his fields, having strayed far in search of mushrooms and adventure from Hobbiton.

After running about for a while and expelling most of their energy, the five hobbit youngsters encountered each other in a clearing of the field. Without much protest, they decided among themselves to play a favorite game and also what might serve as practice: Run from Farmer Maggie. Frodo Baggins, a young hobbit at the time and one of the five, stood in line of the uneven circle.

His skin was still fair as ever, and the bangs of his brown hair hung a bit in his eyes. After a quick poll, the youngsters decided Mayline Puddifoot would be Farmer Maggie. Frodo noted her frown (she was nearly always Farmer Maggie) but before he knew it, the other three hobbits bolted back into the field.

Mayline, given no time to protest, turned to him. Frodo's eyes widened. She was one of a small number of hobbits who possessed honey colored hair, and although some strands were wild about her face, the majority was braided back. Her cheeks and forehead were as dirty as his and with a determined expression, she looked at him.

Not sparing another moment, Frodo turned and tore through the field. As the last to bolt, his trail was easiest to follow. However he swerved all over—hoping to cause some kind of confusion as to his whereabouts, and didn't stop until he came to one end of the field. There he lowered and sat down on the edge of a small drop off. A small brook flowed almost ten feet beneath his feet, and Frodo watched it as he worked to catch his breath.

As often as Mayline was chosen to become Farmer Maggie, you could imagine she had become quite good at it; Frodo knew he'd be fleeing again soon. But for the moment, and hearing no sounds of pursuit, he took the chance to appreciate which would ultimately become his true love—the Shire. But being the young hobbit he was, soon enough Frodo started to grow restless, and his stomach ached for mushrooms.

He rose and walked the edge of the drop off further down. At the end, he knew he'd come upon a corner of the field where wild mushrooms grew, although it was fairly close to the real Farmer Maggot's dwelling. Keeping both his eyes and ears keen, Frodo lowered to his hands and knees and creeped along the edge of the wheat field. His watch was for either Mayline or some other type of trouble, but his nose could already smell the potent mushrooms he desired.

Frodo came upon them growing at the outskirts of the field and quickly pulled some from the ground. Without brushing away much dirt or grass he shoveled several into his mouth, sitting pleasantly and unknowing that all the while, Mayline watched him.

She had spotted him as he first sat down and let his feet dangle from the drop off; when he had rose in search of mushrooms, she crept along with him, more silent she liked to think than an Elf. For a minute or so Mayline observed him, a small smile growing on her mouth as she slowly began to crouch—preparing to burst out of the wheat like a leopard onto a gazelle.

Of all the youngsters, Frodo always seemed the easiest prey. Imagining she actually was some sort of leopard or giant creature often described in the stories for youngsters at Hobbiton, Mayline growled. It was pitiful, to say the least, but the sudden stiffness of Frodo and the perk of his head let it be known her warning had been heard.

In a terrific leap Mayline burst from the edge of the field, knocking into Frodo with enough force that sent the two of them rolling. Frodo rose in an instant and as Mayline bounded for him again, he sacrificed the mushrooms he'd stuffed in his pockets by throwing them at her. Mayline halted and laughed. She turned her face to avoid the mushrooms and eventually dove to pick them up from about her feet to throw them back, along with the occasional dirt-wad or clump of grass.

Frodo grinned as items soared back and forth through the air. His heart was beating considerably and the adrenaline rush had been enough to last him a lifetime, it seemed. For a while the young hobbits simply threw things at each other, smiling and giggling until their activities all at once came to an end, and they stared.

The first to look way, Mayline sat down in the dirt, her cheeks slightly flushed. While she drew a picture in the sand, Frodo approached curiously and plopped down beside her, his gaze scanning her art in the dirt. At first she had drawn what resembled a flower. When she erased it, a slight frown touched Frodo's mouth and he furrowed his eyebrows. He'd liked the drawing.

Mayline's hand quickly returned to the ground however. When she withdrew it, Frodo saw she had drawn an F. He peered at her and smiled a little as he erased two lines of the F and instead, made it an M. Mayline, suddenly flushing again, followed her impulse and leaned—but more fell into—Frodo. Their lips touched and although Mayline's eyes were squeezed shut, Frodo's could not have been wider.

He crawled backward out of the kiss and blinked a few times, his mind in a whirl and unsure what to make of it. The young girl hobbit blinked as well and stared at him, her cheeks growing ever more heated until her eyes, too, widened, and a small shriek of fear left her. She stood and without wasting another second, ran into the field.

Frodo, without given more than a few seconds to figure out what he had done, was suddenly lurched from the ground by the back of his shirt. He too let out a shriek when he saw he had been stealthy captured by the real Farmer Maggot, and from the looks of it, the morning had not dawned on his more merciful days.

"Young rascals in my field, eating my mushrooms!" he sputtered, shaking Frodo and his scythe. "Not to mention kissin' too! You wait until I tell Bilbo, you young kissin' Baggins!"