Two hobbits walking through the grasses at twilight was a strange sight, Donago supposed. But as he looked down at the small quiet hooded maiden beside him he grew uneasy. He glanced behind and saw the distant twinkling lights of Little Delving, and it appeared safe and at ease. He frowned, thinking of rumors he’d heard at the Inn just a few nights ago. It was said that there was danger lurking in the streets of their village, and that the outside world had finally found its way in to trouble the Shire. To some in town, they felt like they were no longer safe inside their own holes.
He wondered what if it was true. Those new hobbits had come to town and tried to cut down his tree, after all. Change comes to everyone, even here, he thought. All of a sudden he stopped walking. Forsythia Burrowbottom stopped too.
“What is it?” she asked. “Are you ready to return home?”
“Shh. Did you hear that?”
But the answer came crashing near to them. The grasses, which were so tall they were almost over Forsythia’s head, waved in distress while big boots flattened them. Whoever it was had almost reached them.
“Down!” Donago hissed, tucking her into his chest and then dropping with her. They lay still, and the grasses swayed back into place over them; concealing them. Here the stalks were stiff and soft mixed, only slightly damp from twilight’s dew. He could feel her heart beat against his arm. The big boots went on crashing, but seeing no sign of any hobbits, they didn’t pause as they passed. Soon the sound had passed along with them. The intruders were gone.
Forsythia put her head down, and sighed. She wanted to burrow deeper into the grass and hide, or perhaps she was too comfortable here with him.
“Those weren’t hobbits,” she murmured.
“Elves then? They pass near here sometimes, on their way to the Grey Havens.”
“It was never two elves that made so much noise as that. They’re quieter than hobbits, when they want to be. It’s said they can walk on top of the grass without bending the blades.”
“Then men, perhaps? Why not stop and meet them?”
Donago leaned over to look into her face.
“Miss Burrowbottom, haven’t you heard the rumors around town? That there are strangers coming, trying to change things, and some say bringing danger?”
She smiled to see his face above hers, but shook her head.
“I’ve never been much of one for gossip.”
At last he forgot the intruders and focused on what was happening here in this spot instead. His eyebrows flickered and then he smiled.
“Forgive me, for throwing you down like this,” he said, but the humor that had been missing from his nature for the past few minutes returned. She saw his face light with it, taking over until his crooked smile beamed at her. She chuckled.
“I understand why you did it, Mr. Greenhaven. But perhaps we could get up now?”
In answer he rose, getting his big hairy feet under him. Then he leaned down and helped her up. Looking around, the grasses swished in peaceful waves again. The scents of the herb-tossed breeze touched their noses, and the soft lights still twinkled behind them, calling them home. They both turned towards Little Delving, being quiet now, so quiet she doubted even an elf could hear them. Perhaps danger had passed close by to them, she thought. But home was still there, as strong as ever and waiting to receive them. Nothing really had changed.