3. Breakfast and Lies
They had a wonderful breakfast with the family. Frodo was opening up a little more to these people, or at least that's what they thought. At Huck's encouragement he'd tried to work on his lying skills.
"So, do you boys have any other siblings?" one of the older women asked as she handed Frodo a bowl of some kind of gravy.
Huck looked at Frodo as if to say, 'give it a try.'
Frodo passed on the gravy and paused before answering. Everyone looked at him expectantly. "Well," he said, "I suppose there's...Sam. He...likes to garden."
"Is he older, then?" asked a woman.
"No, he's younger," said Frodo, without really thinking.
This got a laugh from most of the table. "A little boy who gardens," said one of the younger women, "How adorable."
Frodo couldn't quite come up with a response for this, realizing his mistake, so Huck took over. "Yep, that's Sam," he said, "Cute little Sammy. He sure did love his plants. He had this one daisy that he kept in a pot for almost the whole season." Huck sighed dramatically and lowered his eyes. "It's so sad."
"What, dear?" asked a very kindly-looking woman.
Huck looked at her with the saddest face he could muster, which really wasn't much. "He died." Everyone gasped. "Yep, chased after us one day as we went down the river. Reckon he thought he'd be missin' somethin'. He always was followin' us around. Well, Sam ran right into the river, the poor little fool, not rememberin' he couldn't swim. We tried to save him, but..." he almost worked up a tear, "but we were too late."
As the rest of the table tried to console him with food and hugs, a shiver went down Frodo's back, thinking how close that had come to being the truth. He wanted desperately to move away from that subject however he could.
"Well, it was several years ago," he said, trying to calm everyone down, "and at least we still have our cousins." This got their attention, which he suddenly realized might not have been a good thing.
"Well, tell us about them, then," said the older woman, thinking she was helping by getting their mind off their poor, dead brother.
"Yes," Frodo started, thinking quickly, "that would be...Merry and Pippin"
One of the younger girls cried out in glee, "Oh! Pippin. What a darling name. I think I like it very much. What's he like?" She leaned forward like a child at story time.
Frodo smirked. "Very mischievous. Always getting himself into things without thinking."
"He must get into trouble a lot," said the girl, who for some reason was very interested.
"Yes, that he does," answered Frodo, "but not much more so than the rest of us."
"Tell us about Mary," said one of the older women, "She must be a lovely little girl."
Frodo almost burst out laughing. He found it very amusing that these people automatically assumed Merry to be a girl's name. And a common one from the ease with which the assumption was made. He'd have to tell him when he returned.
"Oh, that she is," he said through clenched teeth, trying not to smile, "Very lovely. People are always saying how pretty and feminine our cousin Merry is."
Huck shot him a look, apparently annoyed to be left out of whatever joke Frodo was enjoying. He decided to regain control of the situation. "Fred, why don't we go back to the river and see if any of our stuff washed up."
The older woman smiled. "That's splendid idea. Billy can take you. I'm sure he knows the best way."
Huck grinned. "Right-o, ma'am. Thank you for the wonderful breakfast. We'd better be going now. You know how boys our age are."
"Probably going to look for some mischief, are you?" asked one of the young women.
"Yup," Huck said, then jumped up from the table and grabbed Frodo on his way out. "Thank you. Bye."
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.