Title: The Pub Series ~ Politics
Author: Rachel Stonebreaker
Email: redirect@beckyswebdesign.com
Rating: G
Characters: Frodo, Pippin, Sam, Fatty, Lotho, and Merry.
Date: 6 August, 2002
Summary: The Pub Series is a group of stories set in a pub. This one is about Frodo taking the task in hand to start the younger cousins on the way to being more involved in Shire politics by getting them to work together on a proposal for flood control. Whoa! THAT sounds boring. It is. The "Plan" is not the focus of this story. The character development and Pippin being far too cute for words ::: are::: the focus.
Disclaimer: see previous chapters, just don't sue me.
Authors Notes:Do you want me to read and review your story or one you like? I prefer to read recommended stories.
Story Notes: The end.
Review notes: Shirebound did you ever doubt that Sam was more mature than everyone else. He's such a provider, the sweetling. Agar, if you liked Bring us More Beer then you'd REALLY like Happy Jack's Undrinkable Ale (one mightly sup puts the wind in your sails).

Like to read? Go check out the following stories:
Ariel the Angst Maven's story at http://209.197.224.70/forums/showthread.php?s=
Baylor's "Handkerchief's and Mushrooms" (fanfic story 824225);
Elke Tanzer's "Wraitcall" at http://www.nindaiwe.com/cgi-bin/stories/display.cgi?id=23
Mainframe's "Brandywine" (fanfic story 735685 up to 15 chapters now!);
MelodySongSinger's "Only The Best" (fanfic story 711742);
Tulip Proudfoot's "Homecoming" (fanfic story 801943 Iris is a great OC); and
Willow Wode's "October Reckoning" at http://www.nindaiwe.com/cgi-bin/stories/display.cgi?id=223&sort=author&cat=8

Chapter 14 ~ Frodo

Frodo knew this proposal would benefit every single hobbit in the Shire and if they experienced another spring like the last, then implementing the measure would save lives. Perhaps even the life of one of these dear hobbits sitting with him.

He studied his friends. Sam was covertly eyeing the Cotton's youngest daughter Rosie, who was sitting with her brothers, Sam's good friends from his childhood. The look on Sam's face was priceless; something of a cross between sheer wanton desire and utter terror. Good old Sam! Frodo thought he'd have to do something to get those two together. "Sam, why don't you go over and chat with the Cotton lads now? It's been ages since you've spent time with them and I don't think we'll be talking about anything deterministic for a bit."

"Don't see where it would do any harm and I just might get some information that may be useful, too" Sam agreed; for once not countering automatically.

Ah, young love, it was so sweet to watch. Frodo turned back to the others as Sam hefted himself to his feet and meandered on over to Rosie and her brothers.

Fatty and Merry were deep in discussion about the newest strain of pipe-weed seed rumored growing somewhere out near the southern wilds.

"If it's as good as that seed Old Sedgewood perfected five years back, it might be a rival to Longbottom. Though when rolled and cut it's not nearly as stout. And there's the problem of broomrape. Those tiny white and purple flowers may look pretty but they really attack the plant and suck out all it's vitality. Not many other strains seem nearly as effected as Sedgewood's Gold. I wonder where this new seed came from?"

Merry should become a gentlehobbit farmer, he was getting as good at plant identification as Sam, Frodo mused. His herb lore was expanding to the point where Frodo had heard Merry talking about writing it down someday. Frodo would have to encourage this. There really weren't any decent books out there on Shire herbs. It would be a great asset to later generations. And quite possibly something an elf or two might like to see.

"It came from out there in the West Farthing. Heard it was a collaboration between the Brownwinks and the Sikeses. Seems it only grows well out there, though everyone in the South is looking into it" Fatty was saying in answer to Merry's question.

"Go on."

Normally Merry could care less with the West Farthing as it was the furthest from his homeland and the Brandybucks tended to worry only about their (agreeably VERY extended) family. But tonight he was on a roll. Flushed with the victory of convincing his father and his father's friends to agree to a point normally not even considered by Brandbucks, plus with his adrenaline still cranked up, Merry was keyed tight. He was tapping the table top lightly with two fingers. He could get wrapped around the cart's axle like a dropped rein when it came to challenges and that is why Frodo had handled the Buckland side of things differently than he'd worked the Tooks, Bracegirdles, Boffins, Proudfoots, and other large family holdings. He'd let Merry have full lead. Just turned him loose with an idea and a deadline.

Merry had done quite a bit of the foot work laying out the foundations for the upcoming vote. He was coming into his own in the politics of the Shire, something his father, no doubt, was overjoyed to see. Merry enjoyed a challenge and Frodo had learned early in their youth at Brandyhall that to get Merry to act, one need only offer a challenge. In fact, there was a time, just before Merry came of age where Frodo had worked exceedingly hard to keep challenges AWAY from Merry. Too much of a temper and very little self control. That incident with Paddy Bracegirdle!*

Fatty delved into a long dissertation about how the locals in the West Farthing were constantly expanding their knowledge and expertise on leaf. Fatty knew everyone's name, everyone's favorite varietal, every single snippet of information about anyone dealing with pipeweed. He wasn't a gossip but he surely knew everything about everybody. So many people liked affable, loveable Fatty. He was good and solid and kind and always willing to help. Especially if the reward was an invitation to a meal! Frodo dearly loved his cousin Freddy who had been instrumental in getting this proposal rolling.

And then there was sweet Pippin. Frodo closed his eyes and ever so slightly shook his head in disbelief at the youngest Took sleeping soundly wedged up in the corner of the bench and the walls. Curls in his face, shirt still dishelved from his encounter with Aubrieta and cheek starting to color from his go around with the table. Innocent smile on his face. Nothing ever seemed to rile Pip. He was one of the reasons Frodo enjoyed his life at quite, slow, Bag End after having moved there from the boisterous and overwhelming Brandyhall . Frodo had been assigned, unknowingly to Frodo at first (but he figured it out after it had been accepted by everyone else as de facto) to watch over the Thain's son. It was quite underhanded, his uncle Bilbo would have said, when one considered the difficulty of making sure the young impractical Took stayed out of trouble whenever Pippin left Tookborough and headed out into the world. Which, as Pip got older turned into quite a job! Looking after Pippin, some folks, especially his sisters, considered an arduous chore. But when Pip entered a room, the lights shone brighter and the mood danced a bit higher. He was undeniably the gentlest hobbit ever in creation. And he adored his cousin Frodo. He would do anything to garner Frodo's approval. He never lied to Frodo, never intentionally skipped a meeting date, and certainly never sassed him with rudeness in mind. Of course, he'd rib Frodo any chance he got, but that was because he knew he was Frodo's favorite youngster and he used that fact to his advantage.

Indeed, tonight was sweet. "I am blessed", Frodo mused. "The kindest of friends, the easiest of times, what more could a hobbit ask for?" It was a privilege to be in his position and he appreciated it. This is what he enjoyed doing the most and he hoped he'd never find himself doing something he really didn't want to do.

~ End Story 1 ~ Politics


*See "Killer Instinct" at http://www.fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=716283&chapter=1 to read about Merry's incident with Paddy Bracegirdle.