Things Floating About

by Ladyhawk

We have heaps of it,’ he said; ‘and you can all pack as much as you wish, when we go. We did some salvage-work this morning, Pippin and I. There are lots of things floating about...’ from TTT Flotsam and Jetsam

Merry laughed. ‘We have heaps of it,’ he said; ‘and you can all pack as much as you wish, when we go. We did some salvage-work this morning, Pippin and I. There are lots of things floating about...’ Then memories flooded in. Was it only six months ago? No, not even six, just barely more than five.

Again, he heard his older cousin calling from the cellar:

“Is everything packed from the main rooms, Merry?”

“Yes, Frodo! Everything’s packed and ready, from all the rooms!”

Frodo stepped through the cellar door into the main hall of Bag End, and dusted his hands. “I don’t want to leave anything behind that I don’t mind Lobelia going through.”

Merry rolled his eyes, “Then you best figure out a way to pack up Bag End and heap it onto that waggon as well.”

Frodo sighed. “Is Pippin going with you?”

“No,” Merry spoke carefully, struggling not to snap. He’d lost count of the number of times this question had been asked. And he could not tell his cousin the true reason for Pippin travelling with him. Sam hadn’t been particularly forthcoming of late, and they couldn’t risk Frodo slipping away.

Instead, Merry chose a different approach. “He’s travelling with you. He’s in the mood for a bit of a walk, at least that’s what he’s saying. I’d bet a bottle of the Old Winyards if there were any left that he’s simply trying to avoid having to help unload the waggon in Crickhollow!”

It warmed Merry’s heart to hear his cousin laugh.

“You must admit, Merry, Pippin is a clever lad, all in all.”

“To smart for his britches, says I,” grumbled Merry, then smiled. “You, know, dear cousin, this reminds me a little of another move, long ago.”

Frodo drew his brows together. “What move are you talking about?”

“When you moved to Bag End, of course.”

Merry smiled broadly at his cousin’s wide-eyed stare.

“Merry, are you daft. How is this anything like my move from Buckland to Bag End?”

“Don’t you remember, dear cousin?” Merry took on a hurt expression.

“Meriadoc Brandybuck, keep that offended air to yourself. There is something niggling in your ear and you are itching to share it, so out with it.” The twitch of Frodo’s lip belied his stern lecture.

“You’ve forgotten.” Merry gave his cousin a crestfallen look.

“Merry,” Frodo’s voice warned.

“Don’t you remember, Frodo?” Merry earnestly searched his cousin’s eyes.

Frodo drew his brows together. “Merry, I’d be far more concerned if there weren’t that twinkle in your eye, but have your fun. Remember what?”

Merry heaved a heavy sigh. “How quickly our elders forget the tender heart of a child.”

Frodo dropped the forbidding air and smiled. “What have I forgotten, dear Meriadoc?”

Merry brightened. “When you were packing to come to Bag End... don’t you remember?”

“My dear Merry, I didn’t have that much to pack. What is there to remember?”

Merry’s face fell, and his shoulders slumped. “You didn’t keep them did you?”

“What, Merry?”

“I helped you pack! Don’t you remember?! Dear Frodo, your age truly is showing, if not in your looks then your memory for it is slipping severely.”

Suddenly Frodo began to laugh. He walked out to the cart, with Merry following behind him, and from the top pulled a wooden box. He sat on the bottom step and patted the space beside him.

Merry sat and leaned in for a closer look at the box. “What’s in that Frodo?”

“A bit of this and that,” Frodo smiled. He carefully opened the intricately carved lid.

Gingerly he lifted out a shell and placed it on the step between himself and his cousin. Then he removed a small stone, and placed it there as well. The next item was a silver feather, then a red leaf, followed by a piece of pottery, a piece of string, catkin bereft of their branch, and finally a drawing with illegible writing scrawled across the bottom.

Merry stared. “You kept it. You kept it all.”

Frodo smiled. “I remember you said ‘We have heaps of it, and you can pack as much as you wish. There are lots of things floating about...’ You were afraid I might forget you. But you see, I’ve not forgotten.”