Her laughter, pure and clear as silver yuletide bells, rang from the hills of Edoras. Her golden hair floated behind her as she ran, like the banner of a high elven lord. While Hama covered his eyes and called out a slow count to twenty, the children living in and around the great hall Meduseld scattered to find a hiding place.

Grima, son of Galmod, struggled to keep Eowyn in his sight as she raced downhill. Though his father was of Rohan, his mother had been from Dunland, giving him the slight build and dark hair of the wildmen of the hills. Slower and weaker than the other boys, he could just stay close enough to see where Eowyn hid, in the brush-covered washes behind the hill.

He had been trying to speak to her for days, but he could never catch her alone. Whenever he had worked up the courage to face her, he would find one of her girl friends close by, or worse, one of the tall golden-haired Rohan boys.

Eowyn held out an arm and tried to block him as he slid in behind the bush next to her. "Ai! Find your own place."

"This place is big enough for two."

"You'll get me caught."

"Not if you're quiet."

"I don't want you here."

"I've been wanting to tell you a secret."

Curiosity stalled the growing stormfront of her anger. "What secret?"

Grima tried to take her hand, but Eowyn snatched it away. This wasn't working out the way he had planned.

He had spent many long nights dreaming of the moment when he could confess his love for her. He had long imagined her surprised gasp at his confession, followed by the sudden realization that she loved him as well. But as he looked into her hard eyes and the cute freckled nose wrinkled in disgust, he felt his resolve weaken.

"For a long time now... I've been wanting to tell you... I like you!" He lunged forward, lips puckered, aiming for her mouth.

"Ew!" Eowyn recoiled.

"Do you think you could like me too?"

With a shocked expression, she reared back and gasped. Eowyn opened those perfect red lips...

...and laughed.

Her laughter was the sharp trill of ringing bells. "Like you, Grima? Like Grima the gross? Greasy Grima? Grima with the rat-like hair?"

Grima shrank back into the shadows beneath the bush.

"You stay here." Eowyn rose, still laughing. "I'll find somewhere else to hide." She disappeared in a rustle of leaves.

Grima hugged himself, feeling suddenly cold. He was too stunned to cry, but his heart stung as if he'd been slapped in the chest.

Hama called out in the distance. "I see you! I caught you, Eowyn!"

Hama never found him. Grima thought he'd probably never looked.