Title: In the Shire Reckoning: Interlude
Author: Thuri Brandybuck
Summary: Estella wonders
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I didn't come up with them. Don't sue me, I have no money.
Authors Note: For ringasm chakra challenge. Picture of my Diamond here, and my Estella here if you're interested.
"So what was it?" she asks.
Estella pauses for a moment, then continues unlacing her bodice. "What was what?"
"The thing that made you fall?"
Estella stops and considers.
It might have been her neck. It was white and graceful. (Not swanlike. Estella had always thought a swan's neck was a stupid thing to compare to a person's. There had been a time as a child when she'd thought every elf maiden must be terribly ugly, since all of their necks were very long, thin and curved funny at the ends. Freddy had laughed at her when she'd told him so.) Not that Estella had really noticed her neck before that time when she'd come upon her in the dairy, churning the fresh cream to butter. Her hair had been pulled up on top her head, and the nape of her neck exposed. Estella had watched as a single bead of sweat among the many had gathered, and slid down the flushed expanse of skin, skimming along the curve of her throat, pausing briefly in the hollow, and then continuing downward, finally disappearing into the cleft between her breasts. It had taken a measure of control Estella hadn't known she had to think of changing nappies, fertilizing a garden, and anything else unappealing to avoid thoughts of tracing the trail that single drop had taken with her tongue.
Then again, it might have been her eyes. Blue they were, yes. But not the brilliant Baggins blue, so bright and clear as to be unreal. Nor yet the deeper Brandybuck blue, most often mixed with grey or silver, and always muted. No, her eyes were a decidedly Tookish blue. As if the sky and the grass had blended and been told to change constantly from one to the other. Light as cornflowers in laughter, greener than leaves in tears. Never the same colour twice, but always drawing her in, making her tongue too large and her words clumsy. She'd been fixed by them, then, in the dairy as she'd watched the sweat, watched the movement of plump arms pushing the churn up and down, up and down. Fixed by a swirling blue-green she hadn't a name for and not able to look away.
Her hair? Thick and rich it was, streaked light by the sun. Her lips? Full and kissable, bottom one often caught between charmingly uneven teeth. Or even her freckles? Sprinkled across her nose and cheeks, they made even the most serious expression seem playful.
It could have been any of them. But all these were things any could observe, and many would be affected by. No cold and untouchable elf maiden was she, but earthy, real and as hobbity as one could wish. But it was more than what was obvious to any who cared to look. It was more than her beauty.
Her kindness, then? That she was warm and caring, and truly listened? Her ready laugh, full and easy and sweet? Her empathy? The way she simply seemed to know what Estella was feeling, and offer comfort or solitude as needed? Her generosity?
These things, too, were possible. They were more likely than just her looks. But Estella had observed them in others, and not been affected this way. Never in the same combination, nor coupled with the same keen glances, but still. It was more than these, as well.
So what was it? It was important Estella figured it out, though she knew not why. Except that she had asked her. Asked, when was it you knew for sure? And why? What was it that made you fall in love with me?
It took long moments to realize what should have been obvious. What it had been that turned the mild knee wobbling crush into something deeper. And, as Estella had heard it so often was, the reason was neither terribly romantic nor passionate. It even seemed a bit silly.
It was the way she turned the boring household tasks of every hobbit lass into something else. Estella could spin, weave and sew. Of course she could, every hobbit lass could. Even the lads were often taught to knit, if they had shepherding duties. Simply a productive way to pass the time. But she'd never enjoyed it. Give her a room full of herbs, or a book of farm accounts, and she would be happily occupied for hours. Hand her a fleece and a spinning wheel and Estella would pout and wish it away. But not her. She loved spinning, weaving, knitting. Turning wool and flax to cloth and linen. And Estella knew that, yes, it had been in those long evenings, listening to the gentle hum of the wheel, or the click of the needles that she'd fallen in love. When words had passed between them effortlessly, their dreams and fears spoken and shared. Watching cloth and garments appear that should have been simple, utilitarian, and were instead works of art and love.
So she tells Diamond this, stroking her unbound hair in the dark, pressing kisses against her full lips, her eyelids, and her throat. Speaks of it as she follows the path sweat had once taken with her tongue, leaving the path only for full breasts and firm nipples. Whispers of it as she travels lower, pressing kisses against her stomach, and into her navel. And finally, simply thinks it as her mouth becomes much too busy for speech, and Diamond too distracted to listen.
And after, she holds her close again. "Dia, dear heart, how could I not love you?"
And almost, she could thank the rules and regulations that had extended her stay in Long Cleeve far past intent. If she'd been allowed to move about the Shire as she wished, she would have gone home. Gone back to her grieving mother. Back to a house empty of her brother, and her father. Instead, she'd stayed and fallen in love. And the joy of that went far in healing the hurts of the rest.