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This was first posted on Silk Screen Views.
PART TWENTY-SIX – NOW WHAT?
With the hurdle of the endangered species out of the way they returned to London and waited for Radagast to recover once more. It took four days this time, and Tamsyn spent most of that time with her lawyers, since Jim McMurphy had made good on his threat and had taken her to the employment tribunal for unfair dismissal. The lawyers warned Tamsyn that her outlook was bleak, but she refused to give the case her full attention until the Somerset site was protected.
When Radagast awoke on the fourth day, Tamsyn went to speak with him with a heavy heart, knowing what he was going to say. Sure enough, as soon as she had made herself comfortable he said, “I believe I have done everything you required me to do in order to aid your plans, and I would like to return to Middle-Earth. This world wearies me, and it pains me to see what your race is doing to it.”
Tamsyn nodded without rancour. “I understand. We’ll take you back today, if you want.”
“Please. I should like that very much.”
Tamsyn nodded again, then picked at a loose toenail before asking, “Radagast, would you do something for me when you get back to the Shire?”
“I can pass on a message to Peregrin, certainly,” he replied.
“Not just to Perry,” Tamsyn said, shaking her head. “I’m not even sure I can give you a message for him. There are too many things I would want to say to him.” She took a shuddering breath, fighting to keep back her tears, and instead concentrated on what she had planned to say. “I would like you to speak to the Thain. To Faramir. Please… please explain to him who I am, what I am, and why I had to leave. Please explain to him that I love Perry more than life itself, but that I had to leave him in order to save him. I do not want him to think that I simply abandoned his son. I should like him to think well of me.”
Radagast gave a single nod. “That I will be glad to do. I will explain to the Thain what you have done for this world, and that if it weren’t for you he might not be alive anymore.”
“That’s all I can ask of you.” She was quiet for a second, then said, “You do know that we’re not done yet, right? You know that this could still all go tits-up?”
He barked out a short laugh. “You have such a way with words, Tamsyn. Yes, I do realise that.”
“Can we contact you in any way while you’re in Middle-Earth, if we need you? I would like to let you know when everything is settled, so you needn’t worry anymore.”
“No, I’m afraid you cannot. But I will come back on a specific date, if you wish, then you can speak to me and update me. What date is it today?”
“It’s the seventh of December.”
“Ah,” Radagast said after a moment’s silence. “This could prove problematic.”
“Wait, I think I have a solution,” Tamsyn said, dashing away to fetch a laptop. “I’m sure there’s a Wikipedia entry for the Shire calendar,” she said when she returned, bringing up the page. She moved over to beside Radagast, then began to work it out.
“Here, Foreyule starts on the twenty-first of November, so that makes today the seventeenth of Foreyule.” She paused for a moment, her finger hovering over the previous month, Blotmath. “Perry said his birthday was in Blotmath. I missed it; he never told me the exact date.”
She blinked away tears, but Radagast quietly said, “I believe it is the fourteenth of Blotmath.”
Tamsyn counted. “So the fourth of November. Thank you, I will remember that. Now, it was the twentieth of September when you took me away, so that was in Halimath. We returned on the twenty-sixth, on the fifth of Winterfilth, so you’ve been here about two-and-a-half months, in all.”
“That long?” He sighed and rested his head back against the pillows. “I’ve never been away this long. I feel tired beyond anything I’ve ever felt before, and I am homesick. I want to be back in Rhosgobel.”
“We’ll leave as soon as Andy is back,” Tamsyn promised.
“And when do you wish me to return?”
Tamsyn thought for a moment. “I think six months should be sufficient for everything to be sorted. If it isn’t at that point, we can always arrange a new date. How about the first of Forelithe? That’s the twenty-second of May for me. I’ll make sure we’ll be at the portal that day to wait for you.”
“Very well, I shall be there.”
When Andy returned from his errands he found Radagast waiting in his old, brown robes, and Tamsyn grabbed her coat and scarf, though she still refused to wear shoes. “It’s time for Radagast to go home,” she said, and Andy nodded.
The trip to Somerset was uneventful. Tamsyn listened with half an ear to Andy’s incessant questions about Middle-Earth and the Shire, and Radagast’s speculation about why his world had remained virtually the same in two thousand years. It was something to do with magical races not craving innovation, which meant that even the humans in Middle-Earth – who still had some magic in them – were mostly content with the way things were.
When the discussion segued into semantics she switched off and thought of Perry. She had hoped that the days without him would become easier, but even after more than two months she still missed him as much as on the day she had said goodbye to him. She closed her eyes and tried to remember his face and his laugh, but her memories were elusive, and she couldn’t – not completely. Deep in her heart she feared that in two years time she wouldn’t be able to picture him anymore at all, yet would still miss him as much as she did now.
She startled when Andy shook her arm. “Tam! That’s the third time I’ve called you, you were miles away! Do you want something to eat? There’s a services coming up.”
She shook her head. “No, I’m not hungry,” she said, and returned to staring out the window, not noticing the worried look Andy gave her.
The site was still deserted and the fence still locked, though the local authorities now also had access to investigate the endangered species claim. They entered and set out towards the portal, Radagast with a spring in his step at the prospect of going home.
“Thank you for your dedicated care of me,” he said when they reached the two boulders flanking the portal. “I was lucky the day you found me, Tamsyn Moriarty, and I apologise sincerely for the effect my actions have had on your life.”
“It’s okay, Radagast,” Tamsyn said with a sad smile. “Much as I miss him, I will never regret having met Perry.”
“And do you have a message for him?”
“Tell him…” She swallowed hard. “Tell him I love him more than life itself, and that I miss him more than I can possibly express in words.” Her voice broke halfway through the statement, and Andy wrapped his arms around her in an effort to comfort her.
“You’d better go,” he said quietly to the wizard, who nodded and started to turn. Tamsyn, however, grabbed his sleeve.
“Remember my message to Faramir! Tell him I’m sorry.”
“I will. I will explain to him in full, I promise. Goodbye Andy, goodbye Tamsyn, until we meet again. I will be here, the first of Forelithe.”
With that he turned and walked away, and between the two boulders he vanished from sight.
* * * * *
Following Radagast’s departure, Tamsyn was left with a profound sense of emptiness. The two main things in her life were her court case against Jim McMurphy and the ongoing negotiations regarding the Somerset site, but the former was going badly due to Tamsyn’s total lack of motivation to fight that battle properly, and the latter required little personal involvement. She had no ongoing projects at work, and spent most of her time at home, staring out of the window of her living room. Andy tried to snap her out of it, but often she barely even noticed his presence.
Christmas and New Year had passed before she realised she could not continue like that. She had to do something; decide what to do about her future.
Yet no amount of thinking brought a solution. She considered hobbies, but discarded them again almost immediately, for they all somehow made her think of Perry. She thought about starting a new project at work, but the very idea made her want to crawl into bed and hide under the blanket.
She continued thinking until deep into the night, staring into the darkness, looking at her life from all angles, and finally reached the only logical conclusion that presented itself to her. It was that which finally allowed her to fall asleep, and when she woke the next morning she felt more rested than she had done at any point since returning from the Shire.
With a new sense of determination she began to make a list of things to do, lingering over breakfast to ensure it was as complete as possible. She was surprised to find that she had finished her porridge while doing so, which was also more than she had managed since her return.
She was just pulling on her coat as Andy came in, using his spare key. “Ah, you’re ready to go to court then?” he asked.
“Court?” Tamsyn asked, giving him a baffled stare.
“Yes, court. You’re due there at ten, remember? I’m here to pick you up.”
“Fuck. Do I have to go? I had other plans for today.”
“Well…” Andy hesitated for a moment, then said, “You’ve already missed an awful lot of hearings, Tam. Your lawyers do their best, but they cannot fight your case on their own. I would strongly advise against missing today’s hearing.”
Tamsyn sighed. “But I couldn’t give a damn, Andy. I never stood a chance anyway. It doesn’t matter, the court case is irrelevant.”
“Still, you should go,” Andy insisted. She saw him studying her with a frown on his face, and wondered if he noticed her new preoccupation, even if she did not want to enlighten him yet.
“Fine, take me to court then,” she said, throwing up her hands. “But I need to go to the library afterwards.”
“The library?” Andy repeated, gaping at her.
“Yes, the library. You know, big building, lots of books?”
He shook his head. “But I’ve never known you to go there. Do you even have a library card?”
“I can get one, can’t I? This too is irrelevant! Come on, let’s get this bloody court session over with.” She strode out the door, leaving Andy trailing in her wake.
What is Tamsyn planning? Find out in part twenty-seven!