Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lord of the Rings belong to their respective creators, Joss Whedon and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Author's Warning: major AU. Absolutely non-canon. Seriously, I am not kidding.
Bilbo and Buttercup tried to keep it quiet, at first. When they put in a request at the Hobbiton Post Office to redirect their mail to Brandybuck Hall from the first of the next month on, they also asked them if they might do it without such a fuss, in the interests of not raising a hullabaloo while they put their business in order.
The Officer of the Post very helpfully agreed, pledging to let not a word pass his lips on the matter until at least the twenty-fifth.
By the very next morning, the whole of the Shire knew that Mad Baggins was taking his poor, young, orphaned foster niece on an adventure.
The news of the impending journey of Mr. Baggins and Miss Brandybuck-Baggins was the topic of the month. Relatives and neighbors alike came by at a nearly constant rate, nosing about for either a chance to impart their two pennies’ worth or to at least come away with a bit of gossip. Bilbo was obliged to serve tea practically from first breakfast to last supper, just to accommodate all the people who kept finding excuses to come and talk his ear off, and that left Buttercup to manage all the necessary errands.
Not that Buttercup herself had an easy time of it.
Merry showed up on their doorstep not an hour after first breakfast. “You can’t
Buttercup sighed, not looking up from the list of supplies she had been instructed to give to the Gaffer for him to purchase on Bilbo’s account. At the bottom of it, she added Soap, 4
. “I’m almost certain I can.”
“No,” said Merry doggedly, “no, you can’t! You say
you’re only going on a visit to some of Mr. Baggins’s friends, but then you’ll get there and you’ll think the Shire very boring and you won’t want to come back and then you’ll marry an—an—Elf
, or a Dwarf, or something else stupid, and then you’ll never come back home again because you’ll be too busy making Dwarf—Elf—Dwelf
Buttercup caught herself staring at Merry, who was red-faced and looking very indignant.
“Merry,” said Buttercup slowly, “I promise that, no matter what happens, I…won’t make any Dwelf babies.”
“That’s not the point!” cried Merry, but that was when Esmerelda came through the door in a half-exasperated huff, seizing Merry by the ear and scolding him roundly for escaping his tutor. Buttercup, who had been learning tactics by watching Rangers, beat a strategic retreat before an overwhelmingly superior force.
The same day, later on, Samwise found her in the garden, fletching her last batch of arrows.
He stood there, fidgeting, looking at the ground, until she finally broke and asked, “What is it, Sam?”
He bit his lip. “Well, er…it’s only that…um…”
Sam’s face was reddening. Buttercup stared. “Sam?”
“Nothin’,” he muttered, and rushed away, leaving Buttercup to look after him.
Mommy and Daddy tried to come up with excuses to keep her at home. They were all very weak, in Buttercup’s point of view, and half-hearted to boot, but they kept trying anyway until Merimac put a stop to it.
“She’ll go whatever you say,” he told them bluntly one night at supper. “No use thinking otherwise, or worrying. Give her a bit of pocket money, kiss her good-bye, and she’ll be back underfoot before you know it.”
Merimac was no great talker, but when he did talk it was usually to say something worth listening to. Daddy shrugged, Mommy wiped her eyes, they slipped a bit of money into her pocket when Aunt Amaranth wasn’t looking, and kissed her good-bye. Saradoc did the same later that evening, as did Merimac, who also gave her a sharp little flensing knife. Aunt Asphodel, looking shifty, managed to palm a few pennies into her hand when Aunt Amaranth had her back turned, and both Saradas and Dinodas gave her small presents, a small leather pouch and a clever wooden whistle, as well as a few pennies on the side. And at the very last moment, just as she was leaving, Aunt Amaranth, while shouting at the others that she knew very well and good that they were spoiling Buttercup rotten and hobbit lasses had no business going on adventures anyway and they should all be thrashed for egging her on, slipped a small silver coin into Buttercup’s pocket and then, while everyone else was groaning and covering their ears, whispered to her, “Keep that in your boot and don’t tell anyone about it, child. A woman ought to have a bit of coin at hand, and no one needs to know about it but you.”
When Buttercup arrived home and showed Bilbo her spoils—all but the silver coin—he said that she had made out like a right burglar, which only went to show that she was indeed his family.
“I ought to tell people I’m going away more often,” he grumbled. “If my cousins were to shower me
with coins in that manner, I’d do nothing but come and go.”