West of the Moon
A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive
The Brown Book (or What Not to Write)
Being a Treatise on Phrases that one should, perhaps, never write.
Author: Blackbird Song
Author's note: Written in response to lines that Aratlithiel said she'd never write, to wit:
1) "Why, yes," Frodo said, "I am a virgin. Please be gentle."
2) Frodo directed a wide, innocent blue gaze at the tall elf and batted his long, silky lashes.
3) "Oh, Sam."
4) "Here, you just sit down here on this pile of rocks and wait for me, Mr. Frodo," Sam said as he patted Frodo's head, "I'll take that nasty old Ring and toss it into the fire for you because we both know I should have been the Ring-bearer anyway. And fix your skirt - your petticoats are showing."
5) Frodo swooned prettily into the muscular arms of ________, secretly glad to be lifted off his feet and carried in the strong embrace.
"Now, Mr. Frodo, just hold still! 'Twon't be much longer." Frodo clenched his teeth and willed himself to hold still, despite his red-faced embarrassment at having agreed to such a predicament. After all, he was interested in helping with the preparations for Marigold's birthday, but he had rather hoped that he might be enlisted to help with finishing the work on the Gamgees' new smial, or making the party field ready, rather than being used as a dressmaker's dummy. From his vantage-point on the stool, Frodo was able to see the brown book on the top of the wardrobe. He was curious. He was quite sure that he hadn't placed it there.
"Now just fix your skirt, Mr. Frodo - your petticoats are showing."
"Oh, Sam, couldn't you have used Rosie for this?"
"Well, Mr. Frodo, Rosie ain't the right size no more, and there ain't no-one else as'll do. But there, that's all finished now. Just be glad it weren't Daisy as was dong the hemming! She'd 'a stuck you right proper with your fidgeting!"
At that moment, there was a peremptory knock at the door, immediately followed by a bellowed, "Hallo, Frodo! Where've you gotten to, then?"
In a blaze of haste and a confusion of cloth and arms, Frodo and Sam tangled with each other to remove Marigold's party dress from Frodo's body.
"Oh, Sam! That's my eye!"
"Sorry, Mr. Frodo."
Frodo hastily tugged on his own shirt and had managed to button it most of the way before Merry came loping into the room on his newly-elongated legs. Sam retreated swiftly under Merry's curious gaze. Before he could say anything, Frodo directed a wide, innocent blue gaze at the tall hobbit and batted his long, silky lashes.
"Merry, old fellow, would you just fetch that brown book down from the top of the wardrobe, please?"
Merry followed Frodo's pointing finger to spy the corner of the book in question, just peeking out over the wardrobe door. Smiling in recognition of his new stature, he strode elegantly to the wardrobe and stretched his arm languidly until he realised that a bit more effort was required to reach the book. Standing on tiptoe, he just managed to touch the book with his forefinger. In a less-than-deft move, he flipped the book off the wardrobe, failing to catch it before it landed on the floor. He and Frodo reached it together, and looked curiously where it had fallen open.
"This looks like Sam's hand," said Frodo, "though it seems to have changed some. It seems to be an account of our journey. I didn't know he was writing anything like this."
"Maybe he'll be able to help you with some of the details you're having trouble remembering, Frodo."
"Yes, indeed! This could be very helpful. Let's just see..." Frodo leafed through the book until he came to the journey through Mordor. "Ah, yes, here we are! Now, what does he say?" Frodo's mouth shut.
"What is it, cousin? Difficult memories?" asked Merry, sympathetically.
Frodo's face turned white. Merry looked at the page where Frodo's hand was trembling. In the almost familiar but strangely florid hand, he could decipher, "Here, you just sit down here on this pile of rocks and wait for me, Mr. Frodo," Sam said as he patted Frodo's head, "I'll take that nasty old Ring and toss it into the fire for you because we both know I should have been the Ring-bearer anyway."
Merry decided against speaking when Frodo shook menacingly. Frodo turned a thick handful of pages and looked where his eyes landed.
Sam took Frodo's hand gently in his own. He looked into his luminous blue eyes, vast as all the sky above them and innocent as a day-old fawn. "Forgive me, Mr. Frodo, but have you ever...? Are you a...?"
"Why, yes," Frodo said, "I am a virgin. Please be gentle."
Sam took Frodo in his arms and kissed him masterfully. "Don't worry your pretty head, me dear; I'll take care of you," he growled.
"Oh, Sam!" said Frodo, and he swooned prettily into the muscular arms of Sam, secretly glad to be lifted off his feet and carried in the strong embrace to the big, luxurious feather bed.
Frodo felt Merry trembling next to him. He looked up at him to find Merry covering his mouth, red-faced, tears in his eyes and shaking uncontrollably. As Frodo put his hand on Merry's arm in deep concern, Merry began to whimper piteously in an eerie, high-pitched voice.
"Merry?" said Frodo, his fear for his cousin's health growing rapidly.
Merry's whimper grew until it burst forth and he could no longer contain himself. He screamed in guffaws of hysterical laughter, tears gushing from his eyes and pouring down his cheeks. Frodo, reeling from the contents of the book and Merry's unbridled mirth at his unfortunate predicament, sat back on the floor, stunned.
"What," said Frodo with icy calm, "do you find so amusing?"
It took Merry many moments to calm himself enough to gasp, semi-coherently, "'Swooned prettily'... And Sam... And the dress!" And he was once again doubled over in helpless convulsions of laughter. "Ow, ow, ow! Oh, Sam!"
Scowling at Merry, Frodo picked up the book, wishing it were Sting.
"Where are you going, Frodo?"
Frodo paused at the door, gathering his control. He turned slowly to Merry, and forced a semblance of a gracious smile onto his face.
"Merry, dear, you are welcome to stay for supper, if you wish, once you have overcome your most unfortunate case of the giggles. In the meantime, I must go plant a gardener. Oh, Saaaam!"
"Mr. Frodo, have you seen - Oh there's my book!" Rosie looked gratefully up at Frodo as she matter-of-factly took the book out of Frodo's clenched hand.
"Your book?" he asked, faintly.
"Yes, Mr. Frodo. Sam's taught me my letters, and I've just been writing down me thoughts and fancies. Passes the time when I'm feeling poorly." She rubbed her very rounded belly, gently, casting it a fond glance. "Nought of interest to none but me."
Smiling at Frodo, Rosie went on her way to her room.
"Did I hear you calling me, Mr. Frodo?" asked Sam. "You look a mite odd, sir. Are you all right?"
"Oh, Sam..." said Frodo queasily, and slumped noisily against the door before Sam could catch him. Behind Frodo, Merry howled with laughter.
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