Hey peeps! I know it's been a while... but here it is!
Hope you enjoy it!
Robin tugged her hair up into a ponytail, tying it with a slim piece of leather. She huffed as she swatted away a few grey strands that had fallen away from the bulk. As she stared in the mirror hanging on the wall of her bedroom, her reflection disheartened her. She didn't even make since. Old and young at the same time. A hobbit with straight hair. Her eyes shut tightly, trying to get her image out of her head.
"Nice hair, Robin." Ella Rosewood taunted her as she shoved young Robin into the deep mud puddle. The other little girls laughed loudly as they all circled around her.
"I thought robins were supposed to be brown!"
"Grey hair! Grey hair!"
All of the girls chanted as Robin sobbed from her spot in the grime and muck. Her silvery hair ended in a brown mess on the ground. Her newly made patchwork dress completely ruined. Ella and her little gang picked up dirt clods and hurled them at the little hobbitess.
"Robin!" A loud voice pulled her into the present. The voice was followed by a frantic knock on the window of her room. Frodo's face appeared in from the other side of the glass, grinning from ear to ear. "Gandalf! He's here!"
The pace of Robin's heart quickened with excitement, a toothy smile worked its way across her fair face. She jumped immediately from her seated position, rushing out of her bedroom and toward the round door of her hobbit-hole, where Frodo met her, leaning against the fence of the front gate. His face tilted in a deep smirk.
"What kept you?"
Evening gently settled upon Hobbiton as Robin made her way to Bag End with Frodo. The beauty of the orange-red sky played against the soft hills and wheat fields that were scattered around the small town. Her shadow raced beside her as Robin ran at full speed to the hobbit-hole. Frodo's pleas for her to slow down went unanswered as her heart pounded in her ears. She could hear deep laughter as she neared Bag End, only encouraging her to run faster. As soon as she rounded the fence in front of the home, she could see Gandalf and Bilbo seated on a bench outside the front door, smoking long pipes. Gandalf's eyebrows lifted in surprise to see the small, out of breath hobbitess grinning at him from behind the gate, then fell and furrowed in a frown, looking toward Bilbo.
"Bilbo Baggins, do you pride yourself on keeping such peculiar company?"
Bilbo winked at Robin before turning to the old wizard seated next to him.
"Pride myself?" The older hobbit replied, pipe still between his teeth, "I've had a sign made and posted on the front gate."
The two laughed as Robin swung open the gateway and jumped toward Gandalf, embracing him tightly.
"I cannot believe you are here, Gandalf!" The hobbitess's excitement bubbled over as she released the wizard. Gandalf reached over to her, his hand resting upon her head.
"And I cannot believe how you've grown. Your hair is just as grey as mine now." Leaning closer to her, his voice dropping to a whisper, a knowing smile grew on his face. "Old and young at the same time, a rare and beautiful sight."
Frodo struggled up to the gate, panting and one hand resting on his knee. Bilbo's laughter rang out as he gazed at his huffing nephew.
"Lost again, I see." His eyes shifted toward the grey haired lass standing near him, "You're too fast for him."
"The fastest one in the Shire." Frodo corrected, slumping up the path to stand next to Robin. Silence settled in the group as they looked upon the large assembly of hobbits working in the valley below, hurrying to set up for the celebration that was to take place.
"Master Frodo! Robin!" A shout drifted through the air, assaulting the silence of the group. The younger hobbits jumped, surprised by the noise. Samwise stood by a rose bush, waving like a madman. Robin smiled and waved back, then turned to the wizard and elder hobbit.
"I suppose I should go to Rosie's and get prepared for the party." She turned to her partner and kissed his cheek, earning a slight blush from him, before returning her attention to the pair sitting on the small wooden bench. "I'll see you tonight. I'm so happy you're here, Gandalf."
With that, the silver-haired hobbittess treaded down the dirt path to the gate. She reached for the top of the small door to pull it open, but suddenly stopped, feeling a cold wind slowly crawl up her spine. With ever millisecond that passed, the tiny claws of the unknown force pricked at her spinal cord, threatening to make its way into her brain and spread its dark chill through her blood stream. Her breath quickened along with her heart beat. The powerful force called to her from behind, clouding her hearing and triggering her eyes to roll back into her skull.
She could barely hear her name being called, quietly at first, then louder. Frodo stood behind her, anxiety building in him. He could see her knuckles whiten, her hold on the poor wooden frame strengthened, as he neared her, calling her name again. He clapped his hand on her shoulder, causing her body to jolt. She snapped her head around to look at him, her breathing labored.
Frodo's face was fraught with worry, "Are you alright?"
Robin looked from him, back to Bilbo and Gandalf, who had leaned forward in his seat looking almost as if he was ready to stand at a moment's notice, then looked back to Frodo. Catching her breath, she smiled and tried to shake the blackness that tried to creep into her being. "Of course."
She shook off Frodo's hand and slid out of the gate. Walking down the path, she tentatively glanced back. Gandalf's eyes were fixed on her. Their eyes locked together for a second, his stare seemingly piercing her thoughts. She saw him nod to her before she looked ahead on the path to Rosie's hobbit-hole. Her body shook automatically, trying rid itself of the residual feeling. The power scared her, yet something burned within her, yearning for the same black emotion. The dark thoughts rocked her soul. Suddenly she was afraid to be alone with herself. Picking up the skirt of her dress, she ran down the path rapidly, arriving at the Cotton's door in only a few minutes. Rosie opened the door, greeting her friend with a bright smile that faded as she observed her friend.
"Is there something wrong, Robin?"
Robin pushed passed her friend into the home without a word, only a smile and a pat on the arm. That seemed to shut Rosie up. It was nothing she wanted to discuss with anyone, especially a traditional hobbittess like Rosie. She decided to kick it to the back of her mind, not wanting to spoil the night for herself or anyone else. Rosie hugged her from behind as she grinned at them in the mirror.
"Let's do something with this hair."
Bilbo's party was one of the biggest parties that Robin had ever witnessed. Rosie had dressed her in a light green dress with a bodice that secured in the back. She tied her hair with silky green ribbons, allowing some of the wavy strands to fall around her bare shoulders. People laughed and drank and ate all around her. Music echoed out into the night air. The volume of it seemed so high that, she imagined, people in Budgeford could make out every note. Her eyes couldn't resist taking in all of the celebration around her. Finally her gaze landed on Frodo. He sat at one of the long wooden tables, drinking deeply from a half-pint of ale. His head turned, watching the people around him and stopping when he caught sight of her. His eyes slightly widened as he lowered his mug. He plopped his mug down on the table, spilling some of the contents, and scrambled out of his seat. He steadily made his way over to her, but was cut off by his cousin, Pippin.
"Would you care to dance, Miss Hollowroot?" Pippin's devious smile leaked onto his face as he winked at her. Robin let out a small laugh before putting on an innocent façade.
"Why, yes, Pippin. I would love to."
As the band slow notes spread over the dance floor, Pippin and Robin held each other close. Others around them sighed happily at the lovely scene they thought was playing out in front of them, but secretly, while Pippin squeezed her hand that lay in his, he was holding in bellowing laughter. When it became too much, he would bury his face in Robin's hair to hide the wide grin that busted out of the cage he tried to lock it in. All the while he did this, Robin hid her face in the crook of his neck drying the tears of laughter that fell from her eyes.
"Look at him." Pippin chuckled out as he spun her around to look at Frodo. Robin lifted her eyes to meet Frodo's angry face. He didn't even try to hide his disappointment as he sulked at her and Pippin's closeness. Robin let out a loud laugh before concealing her bubbling joy at his discomfort. As the song ended, the couples around them watched Robin and Pippin depart. Instead of a loving farewell, the couple doubled over in loud laughter. The tweenager grabbed Robin's hand and led her over to the disgruntled hobbit sulking over his ale. Taking either side of him, Pippin and Robin's laughter lightened.
"Don't worry, darling," Pippin kissed Frodo's cheek only to be pushed away forcefully by the older hobbit, "No one will ever come between us."
Pippin jumped up and fled before Frodo could inflict any damage. Robin folded her hand over the one he had on the table, calling his attention to her.
"I wanted to be the first person to dance with you." Frodo sulked, earning a small smile from Robin. She brought his warm hand up to her lips and gave it a quick peck.
"How about, then," her whispering voice caused Frodo to strain to catch the honey-sweet tone, "Being the last person to dance with me."
Frodo's signature smile peaked across his face. All at once, he swept her up in his arms and rushed her to the dance floor. Bilbo sat back, taking a small break from his family and friends' well-wishes and stories about how the crop filled in this year, or how Afteryule was especially cold this year. He couldn't hide the smile that flooded his entire being as he watched his nephew swing Robin around the dance floor, but the feeling of sorrow immediately began to takes its place. He loved Frodo like his own child and the thought of leaving him, no matter how capable the hands he was leaving him in were, made tears prick at the corners of his eyes. His hand found its place in his pocket; his fingers massaging the gold ring he had found so long ago. Instantly his anxiety fell away and the dark cloud floated away from his mind. Tonight was the night, he decided. It had to happen.
Robin walked past the tent where Gandalf sat keeping watch over the laboring Meriadoc and Peregrin sulked. She dipped her hand into the bucket of soapy water Merry was using to scrub soiled dishes with and popped some of the murky water up at his face.
"Robin!" The tweenager sputtered, "You don't goad an angry Brandybuck."
Robin let out a loud laugh at her friend, "Merry, you don't anger a powerful wizard." Merry scrunched his face before flicking suds at her. Pippin sauntered over to the pair, a large stack of bowls and cups in hand, and plopped them into the deep bucket, causing a huge wave of grey water to splash out, cover both Robin and Merry's feet. Merry jumped back, an annoyed scowl on his face.
"You idiot!" His voice rose while Robin held her dress up, away from the fresh puddle. Gandalf stood from the table he sat smoking at. By the time he reached the duo, they were on the ground, wrestling and swearing.
The tweenagers almost instantaneously parted and scrambled to their feet.
"The pair of you have decided to set off one of my most dangerous fireworks and waste my time babysitting you while I could be dancing with Miss Hollowroot here, but you will not kill each other on my watch." Gandalf towered over them, his hands planted on his hips firmly. Robin wagged her finger at the younger Hobbits.
"Naughty, naughty, boys." Ignoring the sour glares and rude, discrete gestures that were being thrown her way, Robin took the opportunity to sneak back to the party.
Frodo sat, leaning with his back against the table and one ankle crossed on his opposite knee. His cheeks were double their normal rosy hue, a tell-tale sign that the warm ale he had been downing all night was taking its effect on him. Robin slid next to him, fitting her shoulder in the crook his arm and shoulder. She was greeted by his arm pulling her closer to him, as he kissed her on the temple. A pity-filled chuckle broke from her while her hand patted his exposed ankle. She knew he was drunk, because he would have never done anything like that in public if he was not properly intoxicated first.
"You are brave, Mister Baggins."
Frodo grinned smugly at his friend. "I think Bilbo is about to give a speech."
"Never could resist the full attention of a crowd, that Bilbo." Robin wrapped her fingers around the mug Frodo had clung to the entire night and brought it to her lips, sampling the warm, light brown liquid. Her eyes followed Bilbo as he made his way to the platform sat up in front of the party. A strange sorrowful expression hung on his cherub face.
In the crowd, a cry of, "Speech!" rang out. Frodo raised his mug, resounding the call and egging on Bilbo to deliver. The proud old hobbit stood on the platform smiling and waving to his friends and family.
"My dear Baggins and Boffins," a loud cheer sounded from every member of both families, "Tooks and Brandybucks, Grubbs, Chubbs, Hornblowers, Bolgers, Bracegirdles, and Proudfoots!" As if it was some sort of roll call, the different families cheered as their names were called.
"Proudfeet!" Mungas Proudfoot grunted out, earning a laugh from everyone and a wave of dismissal from Bilbo.
"Today is my hundredy eleventh birthday!" Bilbo continued, "Alas, eleventy-one years is too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits." Robin shouted with approval while raising Frodo's mug.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well than you deserve." Silence fell upon the party. Hobbits looked at each other, trying to figure out if they had just been insulted or not. "I, uh, have things that I have to do." Bilbo pulled the ring he had hidden in his waistcoat's pocket and fidgeted with it behind his back. "I've put this off for far too long." Narrowing her eyes, Robin tried to penetrate Bilbo's being. He seemed to be talking to himself, trying to muster up courage to do something. There was unrest in the crowd as Bilbo shifted nervously on his feet.
"I regret to announce that this is the end. I am going now. I bid you all a very fond farewell." Bilbo's eyes stared straight at Robin and Frodo. Suddenly Robin felt the same strange restrictive feeling as she did standing at Bilbo's gate before the party. She gripped Frodo's hand as her chest tightened, threatening to cut off her air supply. Sound muffled in her ears until the only thing she could hear was Bilbo's gurgled, "Goodbye," before he disappeared. Frodo shot up from his seat as Robin fell on the ground to her knees. Uproar broke out as the startled hobbits grew more and more frantic as they searched for Bilbo. Frodo knelt down, wrapping his arm around Robin's waist and picking her up.
"We have to find Bilbo." He called to her over the roar of the crowd. Nodding almost robotically, Robin let Frodo guide her to the edge of the bustling mob, and as quickly as the fit had arrived, it vanished. Her grip on Frodo loosened as she gained control of herself once more. Frodo clasped his hand to her forearm and pulled her toward Bag End.
The front door of the hobbit hole was open when Robin and Frodo arrived. Frodo ran through the doorway first with a large smile plastered on his face while Robin trailed behind, less enthusiastic about what they would find. She wondered how badly it was going to hurt Frodo to see that he was gone. 'Damn.' She thought, 'why did it have to be so soon?'
"Bilbo!" Frodo called out as he trotted into the foyer. Robin saw his smile fade as he looked over to see a familiar tall grey wizard stooped by the fireplace. As she neared, she heard Gandalf whispering something.
"Gandalf?" At the sound of Frodo's voice, the old wizard was called back to reality. Turning around, Gandalf smiled. "Where is Bilbo?"
"He left, Frodo." Gandalf put his hand on Frodo's shoulder, "And he left you Bag End, along with this." Robin peaked over Frodo's shoulder from a distance at Gandalf's cupped hand. A small ring in the center of his palm caught the light from the fire they stood beside and winked seductively at her. Her breath caught in her throat at the sight of the bit of jewelry. She quickly shut her eyes. The power radiating from the ring made her take a step backward. Frodo crossed the room, retrieving an envelope before Gandalf dropped the little ring into it and closed it with a wax seal.
"Something wrong, Miss Hollowroot?"
Robin opened her eyes to see the two males peering at her. Running her fingers through the bottom of her silver hair she shook her head 'no' and smiled.
"Wonderful!" Gandalf exclaimed as he dipped his head, saving himself from knocking his head on the ceiling while entering the foyer and walking to the door. "Now, I must be going. I have important business to attend to." The pair watched him dip his head again to get through the front door. While he stooped, he momentarily turned his head back to look at them. "Take care of each other." But, before either one of them could reply, he was gone, on the path that led out of the Shire into the world unknown to the two hobbits.
Slipping her hand into Frodo's callused one, Robin leaned her head onto his shoulder and closed her eyes contently. She heard a quiet sigh come from her counterpart then the door click shut, cutting off the cool night air that infiltrated the home. Opening her eyes, she saw Frodo standing with his back to her, his shoulders slumped forward.
"What are we to do now?" He asked without turning to face her. A sympathetic smile broke out across her face as she wrapped her arms around him from behind. She felt him instantly relax in her arms as she rested her head on his back.
"I am sure we will figure out something."
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