1. Chapter 1
The sun was high enough to wink at the daisies and dance on the ripples of the river. Smeagol awoke, walked into the kitchen, cracked the eggs he'd stolen from a robin's nest the day before, and began to fry them on the stove. Today, he was ten.
He always made two portions, one for himself and one for his grandmother. And washed the dishes and swept the floor afterwards, just as his grandmother liked it. And made the beds, both his and his grandmother's. And helped tend the garden, or fish in the river.
Grandma awoke when the eggs were almost done and the table set, tablecloth and all, just as she liked it.
"Good morning! So how does it feel to be ten, my little dear?"
"Different. I'm big and dangerous now!" Smeagol leaped into the air, pretending to throttle someone with his bare hands until Grandma said, "Sit. Sit down."
Grandma began to inspect the table-one spanking for every utensil out of place, or the tablecloth missing. She was from the old school, and said that work built character. It wasn't so bad, actually, once Smeagol knew the rules and knew what his grandmother would overlook. By now Smeagol was rarely spanked, but still felt intruded upon when his grandmother watched him. "Nice Grandma. Kind Grandma. Sweetest Grandma."
It had been three years since Smeagol's parents, traveling to the nearest town to sell the gold jewelry they smithed, had drowned. His grandmother loved and cared about him, but the two gaping holes in his life still haunted him many nights. Sometimes, to try and patch them, he visited his aunt Gerta, his uncle Bob, and his cousin Deagol in their one-room house. They were poorer, but whenever Smeagol saw Deagol being snuggled by his parents he wished he could take Deagol's place. He sometimes imagined that living in a big smial with better toys more than made up for it, but knew he was only deluding himself.
"I bought you a birthday present," said Grandma. It was a set of steel fishhooks, made by the best smith in town.
Wouldn't Deagol be jealous the next time they went fishing together.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.