Missed Part One? Read it here.
This was first posted on Silk Screen Views.
PART TWO – PERRY
Tamsyn woke to the sound of a voice, muttering at the edge of her hearing. She ignored it for the moment, keeping her eyes closed and letting her other senses take stock. She was lying down and the ground felt curiously soft; far too soft for the plastic flooring of a portacabin.
The air around her smelled… autumnal. That wasn’t unexpected, since it was September, but the smell was also distinctly outdoorsy. Even outside the portacabin the air had had a hint of city to it, with the site not far from Bristol, but the air here smelled as if no exhaust fumes had ever been within a hundred miles of it.
She opened her eyes, but her vision was blurred. She tried to sit up, and a spate of dizziness made her abandon that effort. Instead she now concentrated on that muttering voice, and as her vision slowly started to clear, the face of someone bent over her came into focus.
It belonged to a young, exceptionally handsome man. His hair was as black as Tamsyn’s own, tousled in messy curls as it framed his face and brushed his collar. His jaw was strong and square, his nose bold but without dominating his face. His mouth had full, luscious lips, currently moving in a litany which he had kept up all throughout the minute or so it had taken her to come to. She tried to focus on it, but although her ears registered the words, her mind refused to process the information, since he was staring intently into her eyes.
“My name is Peregrin Took, seventeenth of that name,” he muttered again, as if it were a mantra to restore normality. “My father is Thain Faramir Took, twelfth of that name. His father was Thain Adalgrim Took, fourth of that name.” Then he seemed to notice the awareness in Tamsyn’s eyes and smiled. “Treebeard’s roots, but you are beautiful,” he murmured, brushing his fingers over her cheek.
Tamsyn was unable to look away. His eyes were dark green, like smoky emeralds, framed by lashes so long, thick and black that they could have come straight out of a mascara advert. She sat up, her dizzy spate finally ebbing, and he drew away a little.
“You truly are the most astonishingly beautiful hobbit I’ve ever seen,” he said, and Tamsyn froze.
“Um, yes?” he said, and Tamsyn looked down at herself in panic. Her suit had disappeared and been replaced by a straight dress in a rustic homespun fabric of a drab, brownish grey. Her hair still looked the same, she established when she grabbed a handful and held it up in front of her face, but when she scrabbled up and caught a glimpse of her feet, her legs immediately lost their strength again. She thudded back down hard and grabbed her left leg, yanking her foot up to her eyes.
It was bare, large and very, very hairy.
She checked her other foot as well, hoping against all laws of probability that it would be different, and groaned in consternation when it looked the same as the left one.
“This can’t be true!” she wailed, scrambling to get up again. “I’m a hobbit!”
“Yes, and a very beautiful one,” the man said, gallantly helping her to stand.
“But I’m a hobbit! I can’t possibly be a hobbit!”
“Well, by the evidence of my eyes you are, and a beautiful one at that,” he said with a grin.
Tamsyn was still frantically checking her body. Apart from the feet and the clothes there didn’t seem to be much difference, but she patted herself nonetheless, lifting her breasts to check their size, then trying to look over her shoulder to see whether her bum was any bigger at all. It wasn’t; she still had the same slender, curvaceous figure and the same lustrous hair. Then she thought of something, checked her ears and groaned when she discovered that they tapered slightly into a distinct point.
The feet, however, were the worst. They sat at the end of her legs like great hairy piglets, and she whimpered when she looked at them again. “I’m a hob–” she began, raising her head, and stopped when she met the man’s amused eyes.
She let her breath out in a great huff and pointed at him. “If I say ‘I’m a hobbit’, are you going to say I’m beautiful again?”
“I’ll say it as many times as is necessary for you to acknowledge the compliment,” he smirked. “You should be flattered, I’ve not called that many girls beautiful before.”
“Yes, but I’m a hobbit!” Tamsyn groaned, clutching at her hair. Then she raised a warning finger. “Don’t say it!”
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. It was time to make use of all those calming techniques her yoga teacher had taught her. She stretched her arms over her head, reaching up and standing on tiptoes – hairy hobbit tiptoes, her mind supplied, but she pushed the thought away – then slowly lowered them again, concentrating on relaxing all muscle groups as she did so, starting with her head and working her way down to her fee… calves. Yes, stop at the calves for now.
When she finished and opened her eyes she felt much calmer, until she met the amused eyes of her rescuer again. “Your bosom does amazing things when you take deep breaths like that,” he commented.
“Can you please get past this fixation on what I look like?” Tamsyn bristled, and his smile turned slightly mocking.
“I’d love to, but it’s all I have to go on,” he said with more than a hint of sarcasm. “I know neither your name nor how you managed to just drop from the sky like that, and your conversation so far has been limited to the fact that you seem surprised at being a hobbit.”
“My… my name is Tamsyn Moriarty,” Tamsyn stammered, taken aback. “The last thing I know is that I was in Somerset on the building site… Where am I, and who are you?”
He drew himself up proudly. “Peregrin Took the Seventeenth, at your service. Son of Thain Faramir the Twelfth, son of Thain Adalgrim the Fourth, son of–”
“Seventeenth?” Tamsyn interrupted him, her eyes wide. “You are Peregrin the Seventeenth?” He nodded, and she stared at him in astonishment. “Was the first Peregrin the one who went with F…Frodo Baggins to destroy the… the One Ring?” He nodded once more and she raised a hand to her mouth. “Oh Jesus,” she swore, then dropped her hand again. “So what do I call you, Pippin?”
He shook his head emphatically. “No one has been called Pippin since Thain Pippin the Great. My mother calls me Peregrin,” he said, rolling his eyes, “but most of my friends call me Perry.” He grinned and Tamsyn gave him a watery smile back and held out her hand.
“Tamsyn, or just Tam,” she said, “pleased to meet you.” He copied her gesture uncertainly, and she grabbed his hand and shook it.
“What did you say your last name was?” he enquired, bemusedly gazing at their hands as Tamsyn pumped them up and down.
“That’s not a hobbit name I’ve ever heard before.”
“No, somehow I’m not surprised,” she muttered. “Something very, very strange is going on here. Where am I, and how did I get here?”
“As I said, you dropped from the sky. Nearly hit me too. And technically you’re in my back garden. Well, my father’s back garden,” he amended.
Tamsyn looked around at the dense vegetation, noting the distinct lack of flowerbeds and buildings, and raised an eyebrow. Perry grinned at her sceptical expression, gave a mocking little bow and said, “I am the son of the Thain. Our garden is very, very big.”
Hundreds of questions rose in Tamsyn’s mind, which was still reeling from the fact that what she had thought was a book, a work of fiction, had turned out to be an account of the truth. It appeared Radagast wasn’t a madman after all.
As if her thoughts had summoned him, there came a crashing noise from the bushes next to them and Radagast stumbled into the clearing. “Mithrandir’s beard, I thought I’d lost you,” he panted. “I’ve never used this spell before, I thought it would keep us together.”
“You!” Tamsyn shouted when she spotted him. “You did this!” She raised her foot and pointed at it accusingly. “See this? I’m a hobbit!” Beside her, Perry facepalmed himself.
“Yes, my dear girl, very well observed,” Radagast said, sagging against a tree. “It was the only way to make you see, to make you believe.”
“Well, I’ve seen it, I believe it,” she snapped. “Now turn me back, take me back to Somerset.”
Radagast shook his head. “I can’t.” Tamsyn froze, but he waved a reassuring hand at her, though the effort seemed to exhaust him further. “Not yet, at least. I have not attempted a spell of this magnitude in centuries, it has taken all my strength. I will need to recuperate first.”
With that he slowly toppled over, crashing headfirst into the dead leaves.
Continue to part three.