8. The Mallorn in the Moonlight
Suddenly something rapped against the window, and she startled. There was someone out there, a dark shape in the moonlight. Niphredil took Sting from a hook on the wall and drew it. She was almost surprised it did not glow a warning light. Then she laughed at her own stupidity. She opened the window.
‘Would you like to come for a walk?’ The voice was that of Frodo Gardner.
‘All right, but why didn’t you use the door like decent people?’
‘Because my dad would say it ain’t decent to go for a walk in the middle of the night! Can you climb out trough the window?’
‘It’s that late already? Maybe I shouldn’t come...’
But the look on his face was so disappointed Niphredil immediately took her cloak and climbed on the table and out the window.
‘Don’t worry, I just want you to see something. The moon is almost full.’
They walked up the hill to the Party Field, and there Niphredil saw a marvellous sight.
The Mallorn was tall and thick-limbed, and its silver bark shone in the moonlight, and the dew on the leaves was like pearls.
‘Oh! It is lovely!’
‘Let’s go closer.’ Frodo took her hand.
Soon they stood under the tree. The moonlight shone trough the leaves, making a green shade below the branches. There Frodo spread his cloak and they sat down.
‘I often come here at night. This is the first time I’m not alone.’
‘My father is like that, too.’
‘Really? I’ve never thought I’m anything like him.’
‘You don’t look like him, but looks aren’t everything.’
‘Call me Niphredil.’
‘Niphredil. How long do you plan to stay here?’
‘Where? Under this tree, at Bag End, or the Shire in general?’
‘I was thinking, at Bag End.’
‘Hmm. Until Marron Brandybuck’s thirtieth birthday, at least.’
‘Are you invited to a party?’
‘I hope to be invited to his wedding. But I don’t know the day yet.’
‘I don’t even know the name of his bride.’
‘You will learn in good time.’
‘Er - it’s not yourself, surely?’
‘No!’ Niphredil laughed.
‘Good. I mean, er, nothing. Sorry.’
Niphredil suddenly realised she was feeling as if she were drunk, but she hadn’t touched the wine at the supper table.
‘Aren’t you cold without your cloak?’ she asked Frodo.
‘Maybe a bit.’
She wrapped her own cloak around them both and her hand around his shoulders.
‘Your hair smells good.’ Frodo whispered.
‘You mean it’s in your face? Sorry!’ Niphredil giggled.
She could feel his breath getting heavier. Suddenly he embraced her and pulled her to sit in his lap.
‘You are the most beautiful maiden I ever saw. You are more beautiful than Queen Arwen.’
Niphredil kissed him, first on his cheek, then on the mouth. She turned her body to embrace him.
‘I feel strange.’ Frodo said.
‘You have never made love?’
‘We should not...’
‘I know you want to.’
‘I love you’, Frodo admitted, ‘and I want to marry you. Will you marry me, Niphredil Baggins?’
‘Oh! I... I don’t know.’
‘I thought so. You will leave me.’v ‘I’m not ready yet to marry anyone.’
‘Then you shouldn’t be ready for that other thing, either. What if you get pregnant?’
‘It’s my problem. I haven’t, so far.’
‘Y-yes.’ Suddenly Niphredil was sobbing. Frodo patted her back, gently.
‘There, there. You don’t have to tell me who it was. I love you, you know.’
‘Y-you are s-so nice.’
They walked back into the garden. Niphredil’s window was still open. Before she climbed in, she kissed Frodo good night. Frodo helped her step on the windowsill.
When she descended from the table, a lantern was uncovered in the room.
‘I came to see you are not reading your eyes out, and what do I find? An empty room, an untouched bed, and a window open. And the same thing in my son’s room. What have you two been up to?’
Frodo stood up; he had been hiding below the level of the window.
‘Nothing, Mom! I took her to see the Mallorn in the moonlight.
‘Indeed? There are leaves in your hair, and your cloak is inside out.’
‘Mrs Gardner, you have my word of honour he behaved perfectly decent.’
Niphredil suddenly stood straight, and there was a new tone of authority in her voice.
Rosie thought she saw Master Baggins, long ago in the Cotton home, answering to Gaffer Gamgee’s question whether ‘Sam has behaved hisself’. For the first time she noticed how much the girl resembled her father.
Rosie could only say:
‘Well, at least he has done all he can to make things look strange. A mother is worried, you know?’
‘I understand. But I don’t think you will ever have to worry about Frodo. He is one of the most sensible people I’ve ever known.’
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.