Finally, she was able to open her eyes. She saw before her a high wooden ceiling. For a moment she thought this odd, remembering no such ceiling in her bedroom. Suddenly, she jerked awake.
She found herself sitting on what was indeed a bed, but in a very strange room. It was all very earthy, everything wood and dirt and stone. She looked out a round window onto a vast, green field. Small animals flitted across it, birds sung happy songs in the trees, children were walking with their parents. She screamed.
The same small boy from what she thought was her dream ran into the room. He looked at her and a wide grin spread across his face. He darted out of the room, yelling, “Oi! Mum! She’s awake!” Acacia just stared at the empty doorway in shock.
Moments later, a woman ran into the room. She looked about the same age as her own mom, only much more...the only word Acacia could think of to describe her was ‘motherly.’ The woman bustled across the room to her bed, smiling.
“Lie still, child,” the woman said, “before you faint again.” She could see the distress on the young girl’s face. She raised the pillows up some and gently pushed Acacia back so she was leaning against them. “There’s no need for fear. You are quite safe.”
Somehow Acacia believed her. She took a deep breath and calmed herself enough to ask a question: “Where am I?”
The woman smiled again. “You are in Brandy Hall, home of the Brandybucks, and of my husband, the Master of Buckland.”
That was a little more than Acacia was expecting, yet still not quite answering her question. “Where is that?” she asked.
The woman looked surprised. “Why, it’s in the East Farthing.” She saw no recognition on Acacia’s face. “In the Shire?” she added hesitantly. When this got no response, her face grew very grave. “Where are you from, dear?”
“Waterston, New Hampshire,” Acacia replied, growing worried by the woman’s look.
“I know of no such place,” said the woman, “but my knowledge of the lands beyond our borders is admittedly quite limited. How did you get here?”
“I don’t know,” Acacia told her. “I just went to sleep one night, then woke up here.”
The woman looked very puzzled by this. She thought about it for a minute, then smiled. “Well, however you got here, you’re most welcome. We’ll do what we can to help you find your way home, but until then, you shall stay here with us.”
Acacia smiled for the first time that day. She had a feeling they’d never find her home, but that didn’t bother her at all. ‘Looks like Santa knows his stuff,’ she thought absently.
“So, then, what is your name, lass?” the woman asked.
“Acacia,” she replied.
“That’s a strange name,” the woman said, “What does it mean?”
“It’s a type of tree, I think,” said Acacia.
The woman smiled. “Well, then, it’s a right fine name for a hobbit lass.”
Acacia frowned. “What’s a hobbit?” she asked.
The woman looked as if she’d just asked “what’s a bird?” “You are, dear,” she said slowly, now worried that there was something wrong with the girl, “and I am, and we all are. It’s our race.”
Acacia’s eyes looked like dinner plates. “I’m an American,” she said, obviously confused as to what the word ‘race’ meant.
“Well, you certainly look like a hobbit,” said the woman. “But perhaps you call yourselves something different where you come from.” She suddenly grew excited. “Maybe American’s are another branch of hobbit that somehow got separated from the others long ago. Perhaps we have kin far beyond the Shire. Tell me, what do you know of your people’s past?”
Acacia lowered her eyes. She’d never been very good at history. “Not much. I’m sorry.”
“That’s all right, dear,” the woman told her gently, “But you can at least tell me your family’s name.”
The thought of her parents let a touch of anger seep into her voice, but the woman seemed not to notice. “Elfman.”
The woman once again appeared amazed. “That is a most unusual name for a hobbit,” she said, “Or for anyone, I would think. Imagine, naming oneself after two alien races. Elf-man.” She tried out the name on her tongue, apparently deciding it didn’t fit. “Most unusual. But perhaps it means that your people live alongside Elves and Men. Now that is a most fascinating possibility. I would dearly wish to learn more about your people, anything that you do know.”
Acacia nodded, now thoroughly confused. Right then she decided to just go with it. She accepted that she must be in some new world (since that is what she wished for, after all), and that in the process she’d been transformed into whatever these people were. She was just glad it wasn’t anything too unusual. Big, hairy feet and pointy ears she could deal with (she didn’t know about the shortness), but she was happy she didn’t have a tail or fins or something. She was sure she couldn’t tell these people too much about her world, not that she wanted to. She thought that she would probably like it here with...what was her name, anyway?
“Excuse me, ma’am,” she said, trying to remember her manners if she was going to be with these people for a while, “but what is your name?”
The woman put her hand to her mouth. “Oh! How rude of me! In all this I haven’t even given you my name. Well, you may have it now, then. My name is Esmerelda.”
Acacia smiled at her. “That’s a pretty name.”
“Why, thank you. What was your mother’s name?” Esmerelda asked.
Acacia looked away. “It’s...it was Kathryn. But she died when I was a baby,” she lied. She thought that if she was going to be spending the rest of her life here, she didn’t want any mention of her bad parents hanging over her head, or for her new family to waste any time looking for them. “She and my dad died in an accident. I don’t have any other family. I’ve been on my own since.”
Esmerelda was dumbstruck. “That’s terrible! I am so sorry, lass. Well, that settles it. You are now part of our family. From now on, I want you to call me Mum.”
Acacia couldn’t contain her smile. She threw her arms around her new ‘mum’ before the woman knew what hit her. Esmerelda returned the hug, stroking the girl’s back gently. “It’s all right, Acacia,” she told her, “You’re not alone any more.”
Just then the strange boy burst into the room. “Mum! Mum! Hurry! The party’s starting!”
Esmerelda shushed her son. “Meriadoc, this is Acacia, your new sister.”
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.