By Amanda Pizzolatto
Word Count: 2752
Summary: Having accompanied Frodo and Sam to Mount Doom, Pearl Took gives her version of the end of the tale.
Chapter 4: Ever After
“Pearl, you shouldn’t be cleaning up my house all by yourself,” he muttered as I tucked him in. “And you shouldn’t have to take care of invalids all your life.”
I burst out laughing. “Frodo, Frodo, Frodo, you are so much easier to handle than Grandma Lalia, trust me. Now, lie down and get some rest; I can handle some dust.”
“So, you won’t be killing me any time soon?”
What? Frodo Baggins, what utter nonsense! I didn’t kill old Lalia, and I certainly won’t kill you! I’d do anything for you!”
“Even cleaning my house?”
“And doing my laundry?”
“And becoming my wife?”
I glanced at him in surprise, “Wh-what?”
“Oh come now, Pearl, it’s a simple yes or no question; will you marry me?”
My mouth opened and closed; I knew what my answer would be, and it would be the same answer I had held in reserve for him and him only. But I had begun to despair that he would never ask, and now here he was, asking me the one question I had long desired to hear from his mouth. Of course, I could only sit and stare at him like a stupid idiot.
“Well? Don’t leave me in suspense!”
“Suspense! You try waiting seventeen years to marry the one you love, and then we can talk about suspense!”
Frodo sighed. “I’m sorry, you’re right, I should have asked you then, and now I’m worse off than I ever was. I’ll never be whole again. I’m sorry.”
“I know that; with everything you’ve been through, how could you come home unchanged?” I kissed the four-fingered hand. “But even so, I still love you, Frodo Baggins. And my answer is yes, I will marry you.”
Frodo smiled. “Good, thank you.”
With a heart full of joy, I returned his smile and kissed him gently before rising to finish tackling the dusty house. But he didn’t let go of my hand.
“Please stay,” he urged. “Your presence comforts me.”
I knelt by his bed and watched the worry and fear fall from his face as he succumbed to sleep. I waited a few minutes before returning to my work, and then checked on him periodically. Eventually, my thoughts turned to his statement about me taking care of invalids. Was it really what I wanted? I looked in on him again and thought of everything we had been through in the past thirteen months. Yes, I wanted this, I wanted him, and I’d do it all again, just for him.
I gave him a quick kiss on the forehead before heading back to work, humming along as I went through each task. This was the beginning of a wonderful, new life; we had certainly earned it, and I would gladly take on both the good and the bad.