Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Letters: J(oyce), F(rodo), p(ainting), e(dible). 700 words
Timeline: post season two, pre-movies.
She'd been wandering this forest for two days now. She was hungry, tired, cold, wet, and seriously pissed off. Angry was always better than terrified, though neither emotion led to particularly rational decisions. Just look at what she had done last month: basically kicked her daughter, her only child, out of the house.
Ultimatums were no-ones friends, and when dealing with a teenager... Joyce sighed and slumped to the ground, leaning against the gargantuan root of an enormous tree. She didn't know where she was, exactly. Definitely no-where near Sunnydale, that was for sure. The weather was cool and damp, nothing like the hot California summer she'd been enjoying just a few days ago. She pressed her fingers to her temples, rubbing at the growing pain that was radiating from those points to encompass her entire skull.
No food, no water, nothing even remotely edible -- so far as she could tell, at any rate. Just one more thing in a long list of events leading her from bad to worse these past few weeks. It seemed that as soon as her daughter had opened her eyes she'd begun to see the more supernatural side of Sunnydale everywhere.
The cashier with the odd purple eyes, something Joyce would have once written off as contacts, but when combined with the similarly pigmented tongue... there must be something not-quite-human there, right? Then there were the cemeteries, the churches, the death rates
-- no wonder the price of real estate was so low! And don't forget the vampires... Try though she might, she couldn't come up with a reasonable explanation for people exploding into dust right before her eyes. Last, but not least, was the cause of her current condition:
She'd been going through the newest inventory -- an extensive collection of watercolors, beautifully detailed and vivid -- when one piece in particular caught her eye. A large painting, six feet across and eight feet tall, depicting a dark wood. It was gorgeous, so detailed that the leaves on the trees looked almost as if they were about to pop out of the canvas, blown by some otherworldly breeze. She had stood it against one wall and spent the better part of a day staring at it, lost in its depths.
Unfortunately her usual assistant had been out for a few days -- she was starting to get worried -- and the clutter had been greater than usual. Joyce had tripped while locking up and, to her everlasting shock, stumbled against and then through
the picture. She wasn't sure which forest the painting had been meant to represent. Judging by the climate, somewhere in the pacific northwest -- possibly the redwood forests in Oregon? Obviously it must be some great national park.
Her head jerked up abruptly as she heard something; she stood slowly, brushing her hands across her clothing to rid herself of as much mulch and dirt as possible. Two days in the same outfit had left her with a rather distinct odor, nothing devastating but definitely distasteful to her sensitive nostrils. Joyce shoved her hair behind her ears and called out a tentative hello.
Rustling answered her and then a small head popped out of the undergrowth about twenty feet away.
"Hello?" she called again, "I'm lost and -- oh!" The figure had moved forward, out of the cover and she could see now that he was no more than a child... or possibly a midget. Certainly he was very small, less than four feet tall, but proportioned like an adult. He had longish brown hair that curled around the collar of his blue shirt and the largest, most soulful looking eyes she had ever seen.
He inspected her solemnly for a moment before nodding -- seemingly to himself -- "Hello, lost is it? No surprise, we don't tend to get many visits 'round the Shire this time of year. Where were you headed?" He frowned at her, inspecting her attire, "You're not a ranger."The Shire?
"No," Joyce said shakily, recalling a book she'd once loved about elves, warriors and a ring: starting to think that maybe being outside America was the least of her worries. "Not a ranger..."A/N2: whoa, I think I'm the first to do a Joyce-centric LotR crossover. Trippy.