DISCLAIMER: Of course. The characters don't belong to me, I just get to think about them day and night.

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BELTS OF SILVER, LEAVES OF GOLD

Chapter 7 - Epilogue

S.R. 1463, Mid-year's Day (twilight)



Faramir Took had not thought anyone could be this nervous and live to tell about it. He stood beneath the giant mallorn in Hobbiton looking up the hill, for the fifth time, to see if Goldie was coming down yet from Bag End.

Mayor Gamgee, whom he had always called "Uncle Sam", stood waiting to perform the ceremony, and fully half the Shire (by his reckoning) were in attendance to see the son of Thain Peregrin marry the daughter of Mayor Gamgee. He was about to look again when Uncle Merry grabbed his shoulders and shook him.

"Faramir, you must try to relax. I promise you she has not run off!" He smiled at the young hobbit and turned to Faramir's father. "Pippin, are you sure Faramir is your son? He's too good-looking to have taken after your side of the family."

"You're right, Merry," said Pippin with a grin. "He favors Diamond, to be sure. He and Goldie will certainly have stunning children."

Now groaning with nerves *and* embarrassment, Faramir wished fervently that the giant tree would kindly swallow him up. Didn't trees do that anymore? And where were all those enormous eagles that snatched up hobbits in need and carried them off? And rings that made you invisible?

"Here she is," said Sam softly, looking past Faramir with an awe-struck look.

Faramir turned and stared, struck anew at the beauty of the girl who had agreed to marry him. Goldilocks Gamgee joined him under the tree with a radiant smile. Faramir didn't know what was more dazzling, that smile or the gems glittering and sparkling in her hair. They seemed to glow softly with their own light. Contrary to her name, Goldie's hair had darkened as she grew older, and the Elvish gems set in the net of delicate silver strands made a more striking sight in her hair by the glow of the candles and torches than it had on Elanor's golden hair years ago on her wedding day to Fastred. Faramir had seen it then, but had hardly noticed. At age 21 he had only eyes for her sister, whom he noticed that day as if for the first time.

Goldie reached out and lightly touched the clasp at Faramir's throat. "How beautiful," she breathed.

"A wedding gift from dad," said Faramir. "It has quite a story behind it."

"As does this," said Goldilocks, brushing her hand reverently over the gems in her hair. "At least we'll have something to talk about tonight, my love."

"My love," whispered Faramir, kissing her hand, "I may not *talk* to you at all tonight."

Goldie smiled and blushed as they turned to face her father. "Tomorrow then," she said lightly, teasingly. "It belonged to the Queen, you know," she whispered.

"You are my queen," murmured Faramir.

** END **