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.
The day before they were to depart for Brandy Hall, the tailor and the seamstress each delivered their final orders. For Bilbo, it was a new suit of traveling clothes, complete with a hooded cloak and a fine hat for calmer weather. He’d insisted on the greenish-brown most used by hunters and other woods folk, for, he said, “You never know when you’re going to have to hide from Trolls or spiders.” Then he added, darkly, and with an ominous tone, “Or Elves
Buttercup received clothes in the same hue. Hers, however, went directly into a pack, and the seamstress’s face, as she handed the package to Buttercup, was extremely censorious.
“Indecent, I tell you,” muttered the seamstress. “Completely improper. I ought to speak to your foster parents.”
But both Bilbo and Buttercup knew she wouldn’t, for she’d accepted an absolutely scandalous commission for the making of those clothes, and she was not about to jeopardize what Bilbo had referred to as her “quiet fee.”
That evening, while they were seeing to the very last of their packing and preparing for bed, for they had a very early morning the next day, at about six of the clock, there was a knock on their door.
“Bother,” said Bilbo. “If it’s Lobelia again, I swear I shan’t even leave her the spoons…”
He left the room to get the door, leaving Buttercup to finish writing her letter. She’d been working on it for weeks already, trying to turn a nice enough phrase that it wouldn’t feel such a sting for Gimli to receive his ring back. Unfortunately, all that seemed to come out was, “I am too young, you are too hairy, and I don’t ever want to get married. To anyone.”
She was nibbling the tip of her quill when Bilbo came back, a peculiar expression on his face.
“I believe the door is for you,” he said, with a suspiciously straight face. Buttercup opened her mouth to ask him to go and tell them she was already asleep, but he’d already walked into the kitchen.
Frowning, Buttercup got up, leaving her letter on the desk, and went to the door.
She didn’t recognize the hobbit standing there. Well, maybe she did—wasn’t he a Boffin, by the name of Falco or Folco, or something? She seemed to remember being told something about him having been at the top of his class at the school down the hill.
He was perhaps five or so years older than her, tall for a boy his age, and fairly good-looking. Sam’s sister Daisy had been sighing over him for months.
“Er, hello,” he said, on seeing her. “I’m sorry for coming by so late.”
Buttercup waited for him to go on, but he only stood there, red-faced, staring at his toes. The night was a warm one, and Buttercup felt the breeze in her face, her hair, lifting strands of it. She was sweaty from having been moving things in the storage room all day, and was probably a mess. A bath was the first thing at the front of her mind.
“I understand you’re leaving tomorrow,” he blurted suddenly. “To go to Brandy Hall, and then farther away? I just…I just wanted to say good-bye.”
That was actually quite nice. Now she felt guilty for not knowing his name. “That’s very nice of you,” she said, meaning it.
His face grew even redder. What was wrong with him?
“I was w-wondering,” he stammered, “if, well, if you’d…if you’d mind telling me whether…well, I mean, ah…when you should come back, I mean, if you’d think about…if you’d consider, maybe…if you wouldn’t mind, perhaps, if I were to—to speak to Mr. Baggins…”
Buttercup stared at him. What in the Shire did he need permission to talk to her uncle for? “Well, I suppose that’s up to you,” she said uncertainly. “Did you need to talk to him? He was just here.”
Now his mouth was hanging open. “Oh, well…I…er…”
Abruptly, he went pale, shut his eyes very tightly, thrust out a fist, and gasped, “I’ll wait for you!”
There was something hanging from his fist. Buttercup was so thrown that she just stood there, looking at it.
He was trembling. Finally, when Buttercup did not move for nearly a whole minute, he opened the fist, dropped the thing in it into the grass beside the door, turned, and took off running down the path, downhill toward Hobbiton proper. At the bend in the road, he stopped, turned back, called, “I’ll wait!” and then hurried on.
Buttercup looked after him, dumbstruck, for another few minutes, and then it occurred to her to look for the thing he had dropped. It was not hard to find, for the grass beside the front door was very short, and when she picked it up, she realized it was a necklace.
It was carved of wood, she saw, with small, painstakingly cut rings, and the pendant was in the shape of a buttercup. There was a bit of silver set in the middle, nothing too extraordinary but very pretty to look at it, and it was light in her hand, the wood smooth and sweet-smelling.
Feeling a bit dazed, Buttercup went back inside and quietly closed the door.
“Went well?” asked Bilbo casually from where he leaned out of the drawing room.
Buttercup looked at him. “Uh,” she said, and showed him the necklace.
He pressed his mouth closed, as if quelling a smile. “Oh. Well. Isn’t that pretty.”
She was about to open her mouth and ask him what it was really supposed to mean when there was another, somehow diffident knock on the door.
Buttercup was still with dread. Giving her a look that seemed to say It’s all your own fault, you know
, Bilbo went to the door, opened it a sliver, and peered out.
“Er,” said Fredegar Bolger’s voice, “good evening, Mr. Baggins. If—if it isn’t too much trouble, is Buttercup here?”