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Friday, December 10th, 2010 05:14 am
 A/N: This challenge looked lonely, so I thought it could use a friend.  Oneshot.

Rating: G

What is he going on about? she thought, muttering imprecations as she stumbled up yet another hill.  The sun was past her peak, and she'd been going on this wild goose chase since she'd woken up at nine in the morning and found a flower and note resting in her shutters.  And of course, since both had come without any prior warning, she hadn't thought to pack any food before heading out to the dead tree half-way to the Post per the note's instructions.

She'd expected to find him there, dash it all, not a pretty little ribbon, and certainly not another note directing her even further afield!

It'd been that way each time, after at least fifteen minutes' walking--a little gift for her, and a note.  But she knew he couldn't have started any earlier than when the moon came out, and he had to plant all of these here, and she would catch him, eventually!

He was doing a splendid job irritating her in the process, though.

She let her feet carry her down the hill to the stream where the last note had directed her.  There, on a large, flat rock (also noted)--lay a note weighted down by a bracelet.  Were it not for her mood, she would have noticed--and commented on--the exquisite craftsmanship, the way it had all of her favourite colours--but she could only think of the note underneath.  She snatched it up, deposited the bracelet in her pocket, and read it:

This one's a riddle!  If north is south, and up is down, where would you go if I told you to go on?

"Ugh!" she cried.  "I am tired of your games!"  And sitting down on the rock, despite the fact that he was probably gaining on her as she rested, she dipped her feet down into the stream and thought.

She had asked for it, really.  He was exceedingly kind to her, after all, and he'd told her he was fond of her, and he'd be an idiot not to know that she loved him--but he had never done anything about it, and, true to form, she up and asked him if he was going to court her now or wait till they were both old and grey.

He hadn't been expecting that in the least, and they'd had a frightful row, and sometime in the night he must have come up with this madcap plan--more Took than Brandybuck by half!--and started to plant these little clues.

"Well, you've gotten what you asked for, haven't you?"  This was the way lads courted, after all, and they couldn't give you anything in person until they proposed.  She pulled each of the gifts out from her skirt pockets.  Why--she knew she had seen that miniature at the Free Fair, and had commented on it, and he'd been standing right next to her!
What in the Shire was going on?

She sighed.  She wasn't going to find any answers here, that was for certain.  She may as well just go back home and wait...

Go back home...

"Of all the---!"  In a flounce of skirts, she got up and stalked angrily back up the hill.  "Stupid riddle," she muttered.  If she hadn't been so curious she could have just stayed home and waited for him to come back after setting all his little snares.  But of course she wouldn't have done that, and he'd counted on it, too, the sly fellow!

"At least," she remarked, "he'll probably be there, instead of leaving me another one of these blasted gifts!"

And he was.  There, right outside her window, he was, with a blanket spread on the ground and a picnic basket overflowing with food next to him.  She could have kissed him right then and there, but she was still supposed to be angry with him.  "You!" she cried.

"I?"

"What was the meaning of all this?"

He turned bright red and looked down at his feet.  "I'm sorry, Mira, I really am, it's just--well, I've been meaning to court you for some time, and I wanted to have everything planned out perfectly so I bought up all the gifts, over the years.  I just wanted it to be so perfect, and I was so caught up in it... I must have forgotten I hadn't actually started yet.  Now, of course, I see I should have started years ago, so I thought I ought to make up for lost time.  I couldn't exactly ask you, though, not without courting you first--hence the gifts and the notes."

"Oh."

"You did get all of them, didn't you?"

"I think so."

"Good.  Then," and here he swallowed quite visibly, "I can confess to you how dearly I love you, Mirabella Took, and how badly I want to take you back to Buckland to be my wife."  He walked over to her and handed her a necklace--a beautiful, delicate little thing, hung with gems and tiny bells.  "Mira, will you marry me?"

"You're asking me now?"  And despite herself, a laugh escaped her.

"It's what you wanted, isn't it?"

"I know, but--all of this!  It's so sudden!  Isn't it terribly... Tookish of you?"

He shrugged.  "I think you made it more than clear last night that I was being a little too Brandybuck.  Besides, that's part of why I love you.  Why not take a page from your book, as it were?"

"Well," she said, looking right into his eyes, "the answer is 'yes,' Gorbadoc.  But I'm afraid I don't have a gift for you to make that formal."

"I don't mind."

"Yes, but after all that planning..."

He laughed.

"I'll find you a mathom as soon as we go inside.  But right now, I'm famished!"

Gorbadoc smiled at that, smoothed out a place for her to sit, and opened the hamper.  "Yes, I confess I hadn't thought about food at all when I set out before dawn."

"You?"

He handed her a loaf of fresh bread.  "I only planned this at the last minute!  You can't expect me to get every detail right!"

"Yes, I can, and I shall," said Mira, laughing.

He clutched at his heart.  "You wound me," he said.  "And here I was, thinking that my plans had gone swimmingly well!"

"Wait till I've got my gift for you," said Mira, "and then we'll see.  Oh!  And you've spoken to my father, haven't you?"

Gorbadoc's face fell, and Mira tried her best not to giggle.  Brandybucks really did plan best when they planned ahead, didn't they?
Friday, December 10th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
So! cute! I loved the riddle. This is a neat look at a couple we rarely see in this fandom. Thanks for sharing this adorable story with us.
Monday, December 13th, 2010 03:51 pm (UTC)
Oh my! How wonderful to see something here! I was beginning to think nobody cared!

And Gorbadoc/Mirabella! That's so delightful! Tooks and Brandybucks go so well together don't they? I love seeing this (and I confess, right up to "She had asked for it", I thought it was Merry/Estella. Then I found myself a little puzzled).

And I love the trail of gifts-- very hobbity and fun! (((hugs))) Thank you for posting this!
Saturday, January 15th, 2011 05:08 am (UTC)
Aww, that was too sweet. A very charming concept! And I'm very intrigued by the idea that couples can't give each other gifts until they're formally engaged. Where did you come up with that?
Saturday, January 15th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
Ah, the Kiraverse. How's that coming along, by the way? Next chapter coming any time soon? ;)
Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 04:42 am (UTC)
I await your updates with baited breath!