Not sure what it is, mate, but for some reason stocking the pantry with good things – food, drink, herbs and spices, doesn’t matter what – feels so fucking good, like bringing in the harvest. Bloody hell, will I be pleased to get rid of some of this shite – tinned pole beans; what the fuck do I look like, a goat? Into the bin with you, you manky garbage. My sainted aunt, that those girls could eat THAT fucking keech!
Nearly bust my saddlebags, trying to get all this bloody food in. But we’re set up now, mate – fresh fruits and vegetables, good chops, live herbs, flour and sugar and yeast and just about every fucking staple I could think of – and to top it off, Pinot Grigio and Chianti, depending on whether we want red or white tonight. Got some nice veal, fuck yeah, gonna make some fresh cannelloni stuffed with ricotta and spinach and smother it all with a tomato-cream sauce. Roast some garlic, bake some bread . . .
Oh, and salad. No fucking good without some bloody roughage. Crisp cold greens with onion sliced on the mandolin so it's nice and thin, plump briny olives, roasted red bell peppers, drizzled with oil and vinegar . . .
Fuck, I'm hungry already.
Cleaning out this icebox is a bit of a bleeding challenge. Fucking A, how old IS this shite in the plastic container? Green and fuzzy – bet it wasn’t like that when whoever the fuck put it away saw it last.
Bung it, bung it, bung it in the bin. Frodo laughed at me once, said I was the only member of the Chosen who cared as much about food as he. What’s this, macaroni cheese? Looks like the boxed variety – fucking hell, that’s nasty; when the fuck are carrots supposed to BEND? And those poor green onions, play Taps for them.
But the icebox looks better when I’m through with it. I stand back, admire my handiwork. Oh fuck yeah, a well-stocked icebox just gives me that little fucking warm fuzzy feeling, like all's well with the universe. Know it's not, but it's a nice little illusion, anyway.
Now to check the answer phone.
The light’s flashing about ten damn times; who the fuck called while I was out? Wasn’t gone that fucking long, mate, just ran down to the damn market is all.
*beeeeep* “Hey, uh, Éowyn, this is, um, Pippin. Oh, and hey, Legs. Uh, Merry and me and the girls are at the airport, we’re gonna hire an estate car. I think, um, Frodo and Sam and Rosie are still in the air, they’re coming from Greenland, so we’ll, like, go to the hotel and um, wait for them there, okay? Um, cheers.”
Just as eloquent as ever, the former fucking Thain of the Shire. Be good to see the little tosser again, always made me laugh.
*beeeeep* “Hi, Éowyn! Hi, Legolas! This is Lottie! Oh my god it’s so good to BE here and on the ground, oh my god it was like such a LONG flight! And we’re not even THERE yet! Our flight got like delayed so we have to stay here like another couple hours! I just thought you ought to you know, like, know! We’ll like call you later! Bye!”
I ought to say, “ding!” every time she uses the word “like” inappropriately.
No – no, I shouldn’t. She’ll just “ding” me every time I swear. Little cow. The thing I always loved about Lothíriel, not a fucking thing could intimidate her.
*beeeeep* “Hey, guys, it’s Longshanks. Whitey and I are just at Hesperia on Fifteen coming through the San Bernardino Forest. We ought to be at your house by suppertime. Grim’s gone on ahead and Arwen’s with Lottie and Éomer. Call our cells if you need to change any plans.”
At last, a normal fucking answer phone message! Nothing rattles Longshank’s composure. Bloody hell, what a brilliant king he made. Fucking fabulous.
So they all converge at tea.
Bloody marvelous. Better get more chops.
And wine. Need the wine, oh fuck yeah, will I fucking need fucking wine fucking tonight.
Ding, ding, ding!
I do rather swear quite a bit, don’t I?
I did notice, Greenleaf.
Sorry, my Lord.
It matters very little to me. This brittle outer shell of yours is but the casement surrounding your soul, and trust me, my Greenleaf, I am more than pleased with the state of it.
A compliment! Fucking A, I may faint.
The Naugrim approaches. He is displeased with you. He does not understand the compulsion laid upon you.
Like he ever did, damn him, the money-grubbing, hole-digging, sharp-eyed fecker.
Watch it, Elda!
Oh! I beg your pardon, Aulë. No offense meant.
One more message.
*beeeeep* “Hi, Win—I mean, Éowyn? This is Dorcas? Um, I just wanted to know? Your friends are all coming over tonight, right? Well, I’m going to stay out of your way, okay? I know you guys have lots to talk about so I’ll stay at Cyndi’s, okay? Um, bye.”
There you go, Ducky; you’re a nice little kife. Wish you wouldn’t fucking stare at my ronson all the time, though.
So Grim’s brassed. No fucking surprise there, mate. I dig some Liffey water out of the ice box and pour it oh so bloody slowly into a pilsner glass. Ply him with alcohol, works every fucking time. Always shows up stroppy, the gypo.
On second thought, better pour myself one too, mate. Doesn’t like to drink alone, my Grim. Rather have a glass of Chianti, really, but Grim’s so fucking MANLY he wants me to drink a fucking MANLY drink. Wine is not nearly MANLY enough for Grim, oh my sainted aunt no; you need to be MANLY and drink a MANLY drink.
Fuck off, Grim. Not like I’m drinking bleeding Mai Tais or anything like that.
Personally, I think it’s backlash from his height. Never got over that, not even after Aulë stretched him up to five five. You’ve got to be fucking MANLY and have a MANLY beard and ride a MANLY machine and do MANLY things.
Bugger that. I’ll do whatever the fuck I feel like doing.
Until Manwë steps in, of course.
Fuck. What next? Another obstacle, he said. Another FUCKING obstacle.
I take my two beers to the front step to wait. There’s a bench by the Bradford pear; I can comfort it as I wait for Grim. I plunk my ronson down, ignore the squiffy old lady staring her bloody beady eyes at me, hates me she does and don’t I know it. The tree seems to sigh and I put my hand on its trunk.
Grow, grow, dig deep, drink deep. Water is there, and the food you crave. Reach, reach, spread your leaves to the sun, let her warm you, let her feed you. Breathe my breath but spurn the smoke; be clean, be strong, be well.
It hears me, it answers, yes, yes, it loves me. They all fucking love me, plants do; odd thing really now I think of it. I mean, I know myself, I know this fucking wanker pretty bloody well; not the most lovable creature in Arda. But they all love me, the trees and shrubs and grass and flowers; I’m the fucking Plant God and they flourish and thrive just to fucking please me.
I hear him before I see him. Yeah, still riding that Softail.
He comes in slowly, I can see him looking back and forth at the house numbers; oh fuck yeah, Mrs. Old-And-Shirty is glaring at him too; welcome to the fucking club, Grim. His chrome flashes in the sun and the turquoise paint glints. Beautiful Springer, that. Oo-er, Vance & Hines pipes! Those are new! You flash harry, you.
I rise; he sees me and pulls in. I pick up the two Guinnesses and walk over to him as he throws the kickstand and dismounts, removing his gloves. He’s scowling; when has he ever looked at me with approval on his face? Not since I defended St. Thomas Aquinas, I think. When the fuck was that, 1321? Can’t remember . . . all those bloody years, they blend together after a while.
Really, he looks the same to me, in spite of the extra height. Big bushy red beard, snappy black eyes, wild hair. The pikey look suits him.
“I’m going to kill you,” he growls as he stumps up to me.
“Cheers, Grim,” I say, and hand him a glass.
His scowl deepens. “How’d you know I was coming?” he asks suspiciously.
I tap my forehead. “Hear voices, don’t I?” He grunts and takes a deep drink, leaving foam on his mustache. “Good to see you too, mate,” I say, and give him my don’t-you-love-me? grin.
“Yeah, yeah,” he mutters, looks around. Funny expression on his face all of a sudden, like he can’t believe he’s actually fucking HERE in this bloody foofy neighborhood. Fucking A, Grim, neither can I.
“Pretty fuckin' awful, innit?” I ask. I take a sip of Guinness. Not bad. Not Chianti, but not fucking bad. Like the bitter aftertaste, I do. And like the adverts say, It’s Good For You.
“Not what I expected, no,” he admits. He glances over at Mrs. Old-And-Shirty, leans in to me. “What’s with the old lady?” he whispers.
“Doesn’t like our type, mate,” I say.
“Ah!” His eyes twinkle, he lifts his glass and drains it in one long draught, dribbling foam and brown liquid down his beard. Fucking A, Grim, you’re revolting. Love the look on Mrs. Old-And-Shirty’s face, though. She turns and hobbles back up her garden path; I can just hear what she’s saying – “In our neighborhood, too! I'm definitely going to bring this up at the next Homeowners' Association meeting. What IS this world coming to! Disgraceful!” Ah, that’s not the half of it, you old hag. Grim hands me the glass and lets out a big fucking belch, blowing beer-breath all over my face.
“Thanks, mate,” I say, making a face at him. He’s grinning now. Was I fucking right or what? Give him a beer and he can take any fucking thing I throw at him. “More where that came from.”
“Good. Been a long ride and I’m dry.”
I lead him inside. “Where’d you come from, then?”
“Albuquerque,” he says. “Went there after the ANPAC Jubilee in Phoenix.”
I laugh. “What the fuck’s in Albuquerque’s got you so gobsmacked?” He gives me a look, furtive and embarrassed, but I can suss him out. Ah, fuck. “Naw, mate, honestly. You fuckin’ in love again?” I shut the door behind us, but not before I hear Éowyn’s next door neighbor say indignantly from behind the fence, “Did you HEAR his language!”
Ding! Maybe I’d better do something about that. Then again, if you don’t want to hear me swear, stop eavesdropping on me, you bally git.
Grim looks embarrassed. Poor sod, never gets an even break. Why the fuck doesn’t Aulë talk to HIM? He could use it, the soppy prat.
We speak only to those who listen.
Oh, fucking marvelous. So it’s my fault.
You are a superb listener, Greenleaf.
Thanks. I think.
“Didn’t work out,” he mumbles into his beard. Fuck, now I feel sorry for him. Poor Grim – here I am, Éowyn working my plonker so hard she's going to fucking rip it off, and this poor cock-up can’t even hang onto a kerb crawler.
“I’m sorry to hear that, mate,” I say carefully. He knows how I feel about him going on the pull all the time – he’s stuck his cavalier just about every fucking place he can, this one. Can’t do that myself – not in my nature. Eldar, you know, mate. Can’t leave a lover in life, only in death. Written into us, like carved into stone. Makes me pretty fucking careful who I knob, can tell you that – won’t get the leg over just anyone, ‘cause I’ll have to stick by her side ‘til she gets old and dies on me.
But not this time – hah! I’ve got a fucking Shieldmaiden, mate; not going to lose this one, never never never.
Whoops. Shouldn’t have thought that, mate. These fucking leather trousers’ll be the bloody death of me.
Fuck, fuck, fuck!
Ding, ding, ding!
Do I “ding” damns?
I lead him into the kitchen, open the icebox and get out another Guinness. I pour it as he watches, wants to make sure I leave him enough head.
Oooh, fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck, there’s that word again. Now I’m looking down at the crown of my acushla’s head, short golden curls shaking back and forth with her rhythm over my cock, that hot wet talented mouth doing the most fucking amazing things – tongue lips teeth and breath, oh my sainted aunt, best head I’ve ever fucking had.
Ding, ding, ding . . . ah, forget it. Éowyn didn’t mind. Not even when I gripped her hair so tight in my fists and yelled, “Oh, fuck, Éowyn!” when I came. Made her laugh, I did. Can still see her, spunk dribbling down the corner of her mouth, grinning up at me from where she knelt on the floor.
“What?” I nearly spill the beer, he startles me so much. “What the fuck, Grim? What’d you shout at me for?”
He’s looking at me strangely. “I called you three damn times,” he growls. “You’ve got your head in the clouds, haven’t you? What the hell are you thinking about?”
I grin. Getting a little distracted, am I? Ah, Grim, if you knew what she was like between the sheets you'd be fucking gobsmacked too. “Her,” I say, just to see him roll his eyes. He rolls his eyes. Attaboy, Legs. “Sorry, Grim,” I say, and for some reason I really mean it. “Got ‘er hands round me knacks. Can hardly think of anything else.”
He mutters something that sounds suspiciously like, “Must be nice.” Not a whole hell of a lot I can say to that, so I don’t say anything. I give him his beer and we go out onto the back slab to sit by the garden. Managed to do a little in that bloody mess, anyhow; at least it’s green, and the verge is trimmed.
He just sits and drinks his Guinness, and I just sit and drink my own. After this many fucking years we don’t need much, Grim and me; just to be around him is enough. The sun is climbing; soon it’ll be hot, and the birds will be enjoying the birdbath I unearthed in the garage and set in the centre of the garden, filled it with water and told the ivy to grow up its base. Listened to me too; can see the little curly tendrils happily hugging the cracks and crags in the concrete.
Grim finishes his beer and sets the glass down. This is it, mate; now we fucking get down to business. Sure enough he fixes me with that bloody basilisk glare and sets his boots flat on the slab.
“So,” he says, putting his hands on his knees and glaring at me.
Love cheesing him off; it’s so easy. So I oh so casually cross one leg and drape my free arm over the back of the chair. “So, what?”
He grits his teeth. Never likes to show me how much I fucking annoy him. “So, now what?”
I’m ready for that one, mate. “So, we have dinner, we call on the Valar for direction, we do what they say we need to do to fucking Fairy-Meer, I pack up me acushla and bugger off.” He looks at me funny-like again; I hate that. “What?” I ask. Hard not to be offended; does he think I haven’t sussed this out? “What’s wrong with that? Not runnin’ this on me own, mate; got fuckin’ Manwë up here givin’ me marchin’ orders.”
“You sure?” asks Grim carefully.
Ah, so that’s it. He knows I’ve never disobeyed, knows I’ve never even so much as fucking balked when Manwë tells me what to do. He has, the Hobbits have; hell, even Whitey has. But I never have. What my Lord tells me to do, I bloody well do. Can’t blame me, can you? Have YOU ever had a fucking Vala slag you off? Have you? Can’t shut them up once they start the argy-bargy.
But that’s not what’s bothering him. I’ve never married, never had the need. Always known my partners would die eventually. Lumme, gives you a free hand, it does; do your duty while they live, and do what you like after they die. Never liked it, but never bottled out; get browned off now and then but that’s the way it goes with mortals.
This is fucking Éowyn, one of the bloody Chosen. I sleep with her and it’s bye-bye bachelor. Even if she goes back to fucking Fairy-Meer I’m absofuckinglutely fucked. And there’s no chance of her dying either – I’d just have to live on and on and on, watching my acushla get it on with someone else. Year after year, century after century, age after age . . . the eternal cuckold. The doom of the Eldar is perpetual integrity, dammit.
So I rather see where Grim’s coming from. Not a nice bloody prospect, oh no indeed.
He’s watching me, can read my face. Always could, the clot. He clears his throat and says, “Now, don’t be offended, Legs, but I don’t want you to get hurt, and eternity’s a long time.”
That’s pretty fucking rich coming from you. I think it, but I don’t say it. It would hurt him too much.
“Leave it out, Grim,” I say. Honestly, does he really think the Valar don’t know what they’re doing by now? “You think Éowyn’s like that? Give over – you ought to know her better’n that.” Of course, I know what you’re thinking, mate; she’s a woman, and all women leave YOU; naturally you think Éowyn will leave me, too.
“Well – “ Grim looks uncomfortable. “That’s, erm, been my experience, you know.”
“I know,” I say softly. It must’ve been bloody hard for him to admit that. “But this isn’t yer run-of-the-mill affair, Grim me dear. Think about it, mate, this is Éowyn here. Manwë himself told me she was me reward, a reward for me obedience. He keeps telling me, ‘The remuneration of obedience is the fulfillment of the senses.’ And I’ve fucking got that in spades right now, Grim.”
“Have you?” He sounds wisful, poor little fuck, his lower lip sticking out from his beard. “Legs – are you absolutely positive this is what the Valar want you to do?”
“Yes,” I say, making my voice firm and don’t-fuck-with-me. “Manwë’s told me. On several occasions. I know, Grim – “ I put my hand on his arm “ – this is hard for you, mate. Always been us two, barring the little mingers you always seem to hook up with.” He looks both offended and a little shamefaced at that. Well, you do, you know. And they are. Fucking scrubbers, the lot of them. “But me riding days aren’t over, just suspended a bit. Lookit Longshanks, now. Been riding with us a while, hasn’t he, the little nit?”
Grim grins at that. “Well, now, I guess he has at that,” he concedes. He looks over hopefully. “And after you two get tired of running a horse farm, we can always go sailing again, can’t we? Get a few of the others around, head back down to the Maldives – “
“Or the BVI, or the South Pacific – “
“Remember when we took that little skiff into the Torres del Paine? The Seno del Ultima Esperanza – “
Oh, do I fucking remember that! “And remember the sail from Darwin to Cooktown, and getting beached on the Great Barrier Reef – “
He gives a big haw-haw laugh at that, slapping his thigh with his hand. “Gawd! Thought I was shark-bait for sure that time.” He grins at me. “So, do we still sail?”
“Fuck yeah,” I say, and we clasp hands – not a handshake, not really; when we agree to do these things we don’t fucking need to shake hands on it. “Éowyn still wants to, mate. We were talkin’ yesterday – the sail ‘round Crete, when you sicked up all over Arwen’s frock.”
He laughs again. “Ah, that was the life,” he sighs, and letting go my hand leans back. We sit in silence, just enjoying each other’s company, like we’ve done for all these millennia.
After a moment I hear the little tinkly stupid clock inside chime the hour, stupid fucking pink-and-gilt thing it is, and I stand up. “Got to get to the Norton Si, mate,” I say. “If I get out of the fucking place in time going to have dinner with Éowyn. Join us, won’t you? She’ll be happy to see you, I know she will.”
He looks cautious again. Now you know how I’ve felt all these years, mate, playing gooseberry to your little rendezvous. “Won’t be in the way?” he asks hopefully. Just wants a little persuading, the git.
“Naw, mate, she needs this,” I say. I grin. “’Sides, she’s been shopping, she has – breaking in me new Visa. Told ‘er to put on the dog, buy all she wants.” He still looks diffident, so I say, “Oi! And see here, mate, help me pick ‘er out a new car – her old one’s at the garridge.”
“Sure thing,” he says, and stands up too. “But you’re buying a farm, right? She’ll need a sport utility vehicle.” His eyes brighten. “You know, Subaru’s put out a new one this year – all-wheel drive of course, has a stronger body structure, new suspension tuning, larger front brake rotors and standard 16-inch wheels across the board – “
“Subaru?” I shake my head. “Not nearly enough knacks, mate. Was thinkin’ of the Dodge Durango. Has a 335 horse, 370 pound, 5.7-liter Hemi engine, torque is biased 48 percent front, 52 percent rear, has fully boxed steel frame, its own front torsion bar and rear coil-spring suspension, four-wheel disc brakes – “
Grim scoffs. “Hell! The Jeep Cherokee’s got a Hemi engine too -- 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, 325 horses, with ninety percent of peak torque available from 2400 to 5100 – “
Hooked him, reeled him in. He’s still bollocking me about the Ford Expedition’s hydroformed frame rails when we mount up. I don’t care – I’m even fucking grinning. Best way to soothe the trammeled heart of an engineer is to talk shop, and at this rate he’ll pick out Éowyn’s new wheels for her and proudly congratulate himself on providing her with her first wedding present.
‘Course, I’m paying for it. Trust a Dwarf to fix that up.
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.