Not my fault. Blame Troll Princess and her Names From a Hat Pairing Challenge. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Bill belongs to J. K. Rowling; Middle Earth and its inhabitants belong to J. R. R. Tolkien. I lay no claim to either. That spinning sound coming from Tolkien's grave is another matter entirely.

A Marvelous Adventure
by Maya Tawi


It took the Order a concentrated effort of magic to get him there, but Bill finally made it through the portal, just in time to get pelted with an overripe tomato. Being a sensible lad, despite what his mother might think at times, he did the only sensible thing and hit the ground in self-defense. He heard a yelp of alarm as he dove, and concurred wholeheartedly with the sentiment.

A few moments passed, silent except for the rustling of leaves. When no more rogue produce came flying through the air, Bill took a chance and raised his head, and found himself face-to-toes with a pair of large, hairy feet.

"Hullo," he said, looking up.

The owner of the feet was an exceedingly short lad with longish tangled curls and an adorably confused expression on his face. In a thick Scottish accent, he said, "Are you hurt? It was Merry's fault, I swear to it. Where did you come from? Did you see which way the tomato went?"

"A fine tale," another voice broke in, sounding curiously Mancunian. A second small man strode out of the bushes. "Come now, Pip, who've you injured this time? You're a menace, you are."

The first one, Pip, squawked indignantly, and Bill sat up and said, "I'm not injured. Stained, maybe." He hadn't expected them to speak English, and had armed himself with the requisite spells; it was a pleasant surprise not to need them.

The second small man gave him an appraising look, and Pip, his momentary outrage forgotten, exclaimed, "Merry, this man fell out of the sky! Straight into your tomato!"

Bill grinned.

"He has good timing, then," Merry said, "and good taste. I fear that's the end of your fruit, however."

Bill's grin widened, and Pip said loftily, "Your fruit is a lost cause, and that's the truth of it. Good day, stranger--" this last to Bill-- "I am Peregrin Took, though you may call me Pippin."

"He may indeed," Merry said. "Or 'nuisance', or 'pest'--"

Pip-- Pippin-- smacked him, and Bill said, "Bill Weasley." He held out his hand, making no move to rise; seated, he was almost of a height with the two men. Pippin eyed his hand curiously, and after a moment Bill lowered it.

"Where did you come from?" Pippin asked again. He frowned. "And why is your hair that color?" Merry poked him, and Pippin batted his hand away.

Bill ran a hand over his long ponytail. "That's Mum and Dad's fault, I'm afraid. Listen, I'm looking for a fellow named Gandalf-- you two wouldn't happen to know where to find him, would you?"

"Gandalf!" Pippin exclaimed. "Is he coming here, then?"

Bill opened his mouth to respond, but Merry beat him to it. "You don't listen, Pip-- we're to take him to Gandalf."

Pippin threw up his hands in dismay. "But he could be anywhere!"

"Well," Bill said, "I've got time." That was the beauty of time travel, he reflected; once he found this Gandalf, he could return to the very moment he had left, regardless of the time that passed in-between.

"'Tis a shame Bilbo has gone," Merry said, "or he would certainly know. We could ask Frodo; he might be able to help."

Pippin brightened. "You're always thinking, Merry!"

"And you never are," Merry said, but it was an affectionate jibe. Bill let them grab his hands and pull him to his feet. Once upright, he towered over them like a giant. So this was how it felt to be Hagrid.

As they started walking, Bill said, "You're Hobbits, right?" The alternative was that they were very mature-looking children, which he fervently hoped was not the case, not the least because of the way he kept catching himself staring at Pippin's bum.

"Hobbits indeed," Merry said proudly, saving Bill the effort of a good brain-scouring. "Halflings, Shire-folk-- peaceable people, us."

"Mischievous people," Pippin said, and waggled his eyebrows.

"High-spirited," Merry corrected.

Bill felt warm, and it wasn't entirely due to the bright sun that hung high in the cloudless sky.

Frodo, it turned out, was a fellow Hobbit, slighter and younger-looking than the others, though at the same time with a bearing that suggested he was much older. From what Bill had gleaned from Merry and Pippin, he was some sort of upper-class type who didn't have to trouble himself with work; still, he wasn't a bad sort for all that. He told them that Gandalf might be in Gondor, a proclamation that was met by Merry and Pippin's twin looks of dismay.

Bill said, "This Gondor's a long way away, I take it?"

He was going to suggest that if they had detailed enough maps for him to study, he could probably manage to Apparate there without splinching himself. He was going to suggest this right up until Pippin turned great big shining eyes on him and asked, "If you're going to Gondor, could Merry and I come along?"

"Pippin!" Merry sounded scandalized. "You've never even left the Shire!"

"But I'd like to," Pippin said. "I want to go with Bill, Merry! Wouldn't it be a marvelous adventure?"

"You don't even know if Bill wants you to go with him!"

"Fine with me," Bill said, making a split-second decision. After all, he had time, didn't he? And Pippin really did have an adorable smile.

Frodo was giving him a hard stare. "I would advise against it, Pippin. It's a mistake, getting mixed up in the affairs of Big Folk."

"Oh, that's fine, Frodo. I don't plan to have any affairs," Pippin said merrily.

I do, Bill thought.

Merry humphed, and Pippin turned to him with a pleading look. "You will come, won't you, Merry? I shan't go without you!"

"You're a devil, Pip," Merry said severely. "Always dragging me into trouble with you!"

"Oh, I knew it!" And Pippin threw his arms around his fellow Hobbit.

Bill was still wondering how Merry's response constituted agreement when Pippin started tugging at his arm, a sudden bundle of excited energy. "Let's hurry back to Tuckborough, then, and pack! We can't go on an adventure without proper supplies!"

"You're in for it now," Merry said. "Pip'll try to bring the entire kitchen with him."

"Um," Bill said, rather flummoxed. The only thing he could think of, as Pippin towed him out of Frodo's Hobbit-hole, was that if the journey to Gondor was as long as they'd implied, Pippin had better be willing to put out.


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