Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Interlude in Buckland by Dreamflower

Author: Dreamflower
Title: Interlude in Buckland
Theme: “Fix the Movies”
Elements: A flower-- Dragon’s teeth
Rating: G
Author's Notes: As this is my first movie-verse story, I am going to make a few assumptions. First of all, I am assuming that it has been at least one year since the Party-- enough time for Gandalf to go off and find out what he needed to find out, and enough time for Frodo to have more or less settled in at Bag End. This would make Frodo 34 in movie-verse, and I am going to make Sam and Merry one year younger, so they are just now of age, while Pippin in this version is about 31--still not of age, but closer to being of age than he was in the books. However, I am still assuming that Frodo lived at Brandy Hall for a few years before Bilbo adopted him. Also, I am using the movie-verse convention that Bree is somewhat closer to the Shire than it was in the books. Some of the dialogue is taken from FotR, Chapter V, "A Conspiracy Unmasked".
Summary: What happened after the four hobbits got the ferry across the Brandywine, before they headed to Bree?
Word Count: 1,911

Interlude in Buckland

The ferry bumped against the landing and Merry jumped out quickly to make it fast. His hands were trembling as he tried to tie the rope, and his heart was pounding. He could hear it thudding like the gallop of that horrible black horse.

Pippin was helping Sam clamber awkwardly off the ferry. Sam stood on the dock, bent over, hands on his knees, breathing hard. Then Frodo stepped up, and he walked a few steps further along the deck. Merry could see his face, blue in the moonlight, his eyes shadowed, and he followed Frodo’s gaze across the Brandywine…

And wished he had not, for the whoever- or whatever-it-was that had been pursuing them was still there, and after an instant it was joined by two more. All three figures stayed there for an instant, and then there was one of those terrible screeches, and the three turned and rode off.

Pippin walked over and put a hand on Frodo’s shoulder. “Frodo, what are they?”

Frodo shook his head. “Not here, not now! We have to keep moving.”

Merry glanced over the distance behind them to Brandy Hall. Many of the windows were still alight.

Frodo had seen his look. “No, I don’t want to have to explain anything to your parents. Uncle Saradoc and Aunt Esmeralda would ask too many questions.”

“Crickhollow,” said Merry. “We have some time. It will take those creatures hours to get across the River, and then come back this way. Even on horses, they shouldn't be able to get here before morning.”

“That’s perfect,” Pippin added. “We can get a breather there. And I think it’s time for Cousin Frodo to come clean.”

Frodo shot a shrewd glance at Pippin and bit his lip, but he nodded, and the four of them headed off into the darkness.

Merry led the way to the almost hidden lane that led to the little cottage called Crickhollow. It was built just north of the grounds of Brandy Hall, and was used by the Brandybucks as a guest cottage when they had visitors who wished a little more privacy than Brandy Hall, with its dozens of inhabitants, could provide. It was a low house, built of whitewashed stone, with a thatched roof, and a round blue door, and many round windows. All of the windows were dark as they approached. He took out a key and opened the door, and then turned to light the lantern that was on the hook next to the door.

Sam was behind him, gazing about curiously. Pippin tugged at Sam’s sleeve. “Sam, Aunt Esme makes sure the place is kept clean and ready for company. I’m sure there is food in the kitchen.” Sam followed Pippin into the kitchen, while Merry led Frodo into the small adjoining parlour.

Frodo walked over to the window, as Merry laid a fire in the hearth. He rubbed his arms, and then made sure the shutters were closed.

“Frodo? What--”

“Not yet, Merry. Wait until we are all together.” Frodo sat down in one of the armchairs by the hearth, but Merry noticed how he sat on the edge of the chair, leaning forward, as though he were going to leap up and run at the least provocation. The kindling caught, and once the fire was burning, Merry moved to sit quietly in the other armchair.

A few minutes later, Pippin and Sam came in. Sam had the tea-tray and Pippin had a plate of bread and cheese and pickles. “You were right, Merry. Your mum had filled the larder not long ago. No meat though.”

Merry nodded. “I think the Bolgers are expected for a visit at the end of the week.”

“Too bad,” said Pippin, “that we won’t be here. I would have liked to have seen good old Fatty.”

Frodo shifted uneasily. “What do you mean?”

Merry shook his head. “Frodo, you can’t think Pip and I will allow you to go off to Bree without us, do you?”

“You don’t understand, Merry--” Frodo began.

“Oh, yes we do.” said Pippin. “You don’t think Sam was the only one eavesdropping on you and Gandalf do you?”

Frodo’s eyes shifted to Sam, who managed a weak smile and said “I was just the only one as was caught, Mr. Frodo…”

Frodo set his teacup down with a thump. His eyes glittered angrily. Uh-oh,thought Merry, we’re in for it now.

“Why were you all spying on me?” Frodo said tightly. “I thought you were my friends! I suppose that I can’t trust anybody.”

“We were ‘spying’, as you put it, because Pippin went out of the Green Dragon, and spotted Gandalf heading up to Bag End. No one’s seen him in the year since Bilbo left. We were curious, so after you and Sam separated, we collared Sam and went up to find out what was going on. A good thing we did! We stayed around long enough to hear where you two were going, and then did our best to keep just ahead of you both. As for trust, Frodo, you can trust us to keep any secret of yours-- closer than you keep it yourself. And you can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin to the bitter end. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.”

“Anyway,” added Pippin, “we heard what Gandalf said. We saw those Black Riders. We know what we are up against. And we’re coming too--or following you like hounds if we have to.”

Frodo gaped at them, and then chuckled, and then laughed. “That explains it!” he exclaimed. “I could not understand what the two of you were doing in Farmer Maggot’s fields, or why you acted so strangely when you saw me! The two of you deceitful scoundrels were lying in wait for me, weren’t you?”

Merry rolled his eyes, and glanced at Pippin. “ ‘It’s Frodo Baggins!’" he mocked. "You sounded completely daft, Pippin!”

Pippin sighed. “I know. I was trying to act surprised! And Merry, you know, Farmer Maggot was a surprise! We should never have tried to grab those vegetables!”

Merry shrugged. “I just wanted an explanation for why we were there. Since it was Frodo who took us raiding there in the first place a few years back, it seemed logical…”

Now all four of them laughed, but then Frodo sobered quickly. “We can’t stay here long. We must get to Bree without being caught by those Black Riders.”

None of the others said anything to this, and Frodo added, "I think we should take a shortcut through the Old Forest."

Merry shook his head emphatically. "No. It's too dangerous. It's been too many years since you lived in Buckland, Frodo. The Old Forest is worse than it used to be, and it was quite bad enough back then."

Pippin and Sam were silent. Neither of them knew much about the Old Forest which bordered Buckland on the East.

"But Merry, what can we do? We cannot outdistance those horses even with a head start."

Merry's heart sank. Frodo was right--and yet-- he felt the glimmering of a notion. Even if they did not go into the Old Forest, perhaps they could still use it. "What if--" he stopped, to think again.

Frodo leaned forward. "You have an idea?"

"What if we lay a false trail? Make them think we went into the Old Forest? I have a key to the gate in the hedge. We could leave some signs, and then the four of us could go just inside the High Hay, but not into the wood beyond. We could follow the hedge north, all the way up to the Road, cross it, and then…"

Frodo smiled. "…and then travel just out of sight, with the Road on our right! And if we walk steadily, we should reach Bree by nightfall! Brilliant, Merry!"

Merry leaned back, feeling satisfied. "With any luck, the trees will delay those Black Riders long enough for us to reach Bree."

"I like it," said Pippin. "Perhaps the trees won't let them out at all. I've heard stories that those trees eat people!"

Frodo shook his head. "I don't think it will be that easy. Those-- things-- seem dangerous enough to deal with the trees. But Merry's right-- the way the paths in there shift about should at least delay them by a day or more. I think it seems the best plan at the moment."

"Well," said Sam, "We can pack up some of that food, if you don't think your mum would object overmuch, Mr. Merry."

"She may object, but she will never know how it went missing, Sam. And if she knew that it would help us, she wouldn't object at all. While you and Pippin pack up that food, Frodo and I will take a lantern and see to laying that false trail. Then we can come back here and perhaps get one or two hours of sleep before we leave."

"Yes, but not more than that," said Pippin. "We'll have to do as they did in the Dwarves' song: 'We must away ere break of day.' "

"Quite right," said Frodo. "But I must confess, I am a good deal easier in my mind to know that I shall have the company of you two deceitful scoundrels."

Merry found a couple of dark lanterns, and he and Frodo went outside, to see what signs they could leave. Merry had brought Frodo's pack with him, and he dragged it on the ground behind him, as they stomped across the back garden. Frodo pulled the back gate askew, and then unraveled a few threads from his cloak to catch them on the edge of the gate. There was a stand of wild flowers just outside, some dragon's teeth, their yellow petals furled in the night. Merry regretfully stomped on a few of them. They made their way the short distance to the Gate, and Merry opened it with his key. Its rusty squeak was alarmingly loud in the quiet of the night. The two of them went inside for a couple of furlongs, being careful to avoid actually going beneath any of the trees. When they had gone as far as they dared, they turned back, and carefully and lightly retraced their steps, being sure to avoid the "trail" they had made.

"We'll all stomp a bit more when we leave, but we shall have to be careful when we turn aside," said Frodo.

Merry nodded. They returned to Crickhollow, where Sam and Pippin had seen to the packing. "A shame we don't have a pony," said Sam.

"Well, we'll carry as much as we must on our backs," answered Pippin. "But right now, I think we need to rest."

They decided not to go to bed, but Frodo and Sam sat in the armchairs, and Pippin reclined on the settee. Soon the three were sleeping-- Sam and Pippin soundly, Frodo restlessly.

But Merry did not try to sleep. He went out upon the doorstep for a sniff of air and a pipe, and watched the stars. How long would it be until he saw Buckland again? he wondered. When the Moon had set, he turned and went to wake the others. Dawn would find them well on their way.


More Author's Notes: There were several things I wanted to address in this story. I tried to explain why Merry and Pippin behaved as they did when they were caught in Farmer Maggot's field, I managed to get in a little bit of a conspiracy between Merry, Pippin and Sam, if not THE Conspiracy, and I tried to also address Merry's and Frodo's blood relationship. I also wanted to explain how come the Black Riders did not catch up with them before they got to Bree, and to get Crickhollow into the story. I could not figure out how to get in mushrooms or a bath song, though.


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 18th, 2009 11:26 pm (UTC)
yes, you didn't get mushrooms and soap worked in but you did cover a lot of problems from that section of the epic. good job.

""Merry rolled his eyes, and glanced at Pippin. “ ‘It’s Frodo Baggins!’" he mocked. "You sounded completely daft, Pippin!”"" thank you for this one line in particular.
May. 19th, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
I was sure that Pippin knew just how daft it sounded as soon as it left his lips, but in my scenario it was just the first thing that popped into his head to act surprised!
May. 18th, 2009 11:43 pm (UTC)
“I could not understand what the two of you were doing in Farmer Maggot’s fields, or why you acted so strangely when you saw me!"

Great explanation!
May. 19th, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
I was sure that under normal circumstances, Frodo would have questioned their presence there, especially if they had just been in Hobbiton at the Green Dragon the same night he and Sam were! But he was a bit rattled by the whole Ring business (and in the movie, he didn't have nearly six months to think that over). I'm sure the first time he got a few quiet moments, he would have would have figured it out...
May. 18th, 2009 11:51 pm (UTC)
Love the explanation for "It's Frodo Baggins!" Perfect!

I liked this alot!
May. 19th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks! This gap was the thing that bugged me most in movie-FOTR. There are a few others, but the gutting of Merry's and Pippin's backstory rankled more than any other change in the first movie.
May. 19th, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
I will echo Frodo and say, 'Brilliant, Dreamflower!' :) It's hard to credit that Merry and Pippin would just up and leave at the drop of a hat, and your explanation dovetails so wonderfully with the movie plot!
May. 19th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
Well, it makes more sense than PJs complete *lack* of explanation, at any rate! I'm glad you liked it!
May. 19th, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)
Awesome gap-filler movie-verse fic! I think you accomplished your goals pretty well in this fic-- i especially enjoyed the connection you made with Merry and Pippin being in the fields and "acting surprised" at seeing Frodo and Sam. Also liked how you put in the false trail detail as well. :)
May. 19th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I just could not imagine that those two were just there by coincidence!

I kept wondering how they got to Bree ahead of the Black Riders, and had to come up with *something*. I was stuck at that part for several days before I thought of the falst trail!
May. 19th, 2009 02:55 am (UTC)
Great job tying things back into the book. It was totally strange in the movie to suddenly have Pippin and Merry just show up and decide to join Frodo and Sam just a way to get away from Maggot. You explained so much it so well
May. 19th, 2009 03:32 pm (UTC)
I agree that it was strange. I really felt there needed to be more explanation! I'm glad you felt mine made sense!
May. 19th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
And I must agree with the rest! The mocking of Pippin's "It's Frodo Baggins!" is indeed perfect! And it does dovetail well between boo- and movie-verse! Thanks!
May. 19th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks! That one line bugged me from the first time I saw FOTR-- it just seemed very, well, strange...

Glad you like my explanation!
May. 19th, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC)
Brilliant Dreamflower. I think that the Farmer maggot's field scene was the point when my father decided that he wasn't going to like the films. However, he did come and see all three with me. Well redeemed. And I love the false trail idea and how they got to Bree unfollowed.
May. 19th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
That scene really made me do a double-take. Up until that point, I had been pretty satisfied with the movie, and though I was wondering how they would get Merry and Pippin in, that it would happen with so little explanation and in such a haphazard and sloppy manner really put me off.

I was a bit stuck for an idea as to how they got to Bree without the Black Riders finding them--it took me a few days to come up with that false trail idea!
May. 19th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
Hooray, Barbara. You have fixed my biggest problem in the entire film trilogy.

In film FOTR, Merry and Pippin's disruption of Frodo and Sam's journey set up Frodo's cousins as two silly, clueless youngsters. In your story, you point out that Merry and especially Pippin's dialog in this scene sounded contrived because they were in on the conspiracy and didn't want to give their purpose away. I totally buy that.

Your story also gives a plausible explanation for why it took the Nazgul so long to get to Bree after losing the hobbits at the shores of the Brandywine. I had never given much thought to this, so you definitely shed new light on the films for me.

Great gap filling! I'll never see the film Farmer Maggot's field encounter in the same light.

- Steff

May. 19th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
I hope that's the effect it has on people! LOL!

It took a bit of doing; but I just had to find a way to explain the inconsistencies!
May. 19th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)

As soon as I saw your list of complaints at what was done to Merry and Pippin in Fellowship I had to wonder if you were going to take it on yourself to fix them--and you did in a marvelous fashion. Normally I would raise my eyebrows and say in a droll little voice "That's terribly convenient!" at M&P also eavesdropping, but all you're doing is following precedent that PJ set up! (And really, a lot in the movies is terribly convenient!)

And yes, Pippin sounded COMPLETELY daft! At least now we know he wasn't thinking daft. *thwaps movie!Pippin lightly on the head*

And I loved the oblique reference to raiding in Buckland.

May. 19th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
Well, you know, it was awfully odd that *Sam* was eavesdropping, when last we saw him heading home after they left the Green Dragon! How the heck did he come to suddenly be outside Frodo's window? And it occurred to me that someone must have tipped him off that Gandalf had returned. Who else but Merry and Pippin?

I figure he probably had planned to say something else when cousin Frodo barrelled into him and knocked it right out of his mind, so he just came up with that on the spur of the moment, LOL!

I tried to get as many book references in as I could get away with, *grin*!

May. 19th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
it was awfully odd that *Sam* was eavesdropping, when last we saw him heading home after they left the Green Dragon!

Shh... it's a movie; it's pretty; you're not supposed to think! See? Look at the pretty hobbits...

(Speaking of, I was rather more pleased than I'd hoped to let the pretty movie hobbits back into my head when reading all these fixits!)
Feb. 25th, 2015 03:38 pm (UTC)
LOL! Actually, it was Merry and Pippin who barrelled into Frodo and Sam--don't ask me why! =)

And you did a great job with the book references!

Edited at 2015-02-25 03:39 pm (UTC)
May. 19th, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
Very nice; I enjoyed this little interlude. It was a very good explanation for what may have happened.
May. 20th, 2009 12:59 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it! I really wanted to give Merry & Pip more backstory than PJ allowed them.
May. 19th, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
This is excellent - some satisfying explanations and a good story all in one. :)) Well done!
May. 20th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! *grin*
Dec. 12th, 2013 01:33 am (UTC)
I can't really think of anything that the others haven't already said, except great job!
Dec. 12th, 2013 02:51 am (UTC)
Why thank you! It's nice to get a new comment on this story. I had a lot of fun writing it and imagining how I could work book-verse into the movie-verse.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )


Eagles by judy
LOTR Community Challenge Stories

Latest Month

October 2018


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by chasethestars