by Overlithe

Someday, the other side of the sea...

It had taken longer than he expected and yet he was surprised that he had ever gotten over it at all.

Surely his Rosie and his ever-growing family kept him well loved and distracted. He couldn’t lie he’d been happy most of the time and yet there was always something missing.

He understood his going, though he wasn’t sure that Frodo could have known that his simple gardener and friend knew, and trusted in his choice.
He could still call up the emotions from that day. He no longer thought of it as the "dreaded" day as he long had; but the feelings were safely tucked away with the other thousands of memories of his master and friend.

His fondest wish, aside from one day following Frodo, would have been for Frodo to see all his children and especially Frodo lad.

What had it been that day, the day Frodo left him, and the day he went where he could not follow? He recalled the wretchedness of his heart at the realization of his plan, he wept freely as had Merry and Pippin. He clutched at him madly in those final moments unwilling to admit he would really go. As he had turned and walked away silently the reality set in and his heart had nearly stopped, the agony of those moments were as vivid to him today as they always had been.

He knew his job well, he wore many hats all these years and much he did in memory of his dearest friend, the quiet unsung hero of his heart. Not one single day went by that he did not think of him, not a single blessed day would he allow to pass with out doing or saying something that brought honor to the name of the Ring-bearer. With all else he did, Gardener, Mayor, Father, and Husband Sam found that his chief occupation still involved the care of Mister Frodo Baggins.

It was that look, that completely blessed, peaceful look; that very last glimpse of a Frodo that was so far removed from that time; it boggled the mind. Sam had felt the wonder creep into his heart and mind and his very soul. A revelation it was and a truth that was so beautiful that it hurt the mortal eye.

Sam’s memory searched back as it had so very many times; he sorted through his store of memories of Frodo. He had known him long, since his childhood in fact but he’d only truly known him since right before he had inherited the ring. It was in those distant places of his mind that he found the face for which he looked. It was the face of a truly untroubled Frodo, which he sought, one that had no darkness, and no sadness or defeat and failure nor any hurts. Surely he had moments of great joy after he carried the burden, before the darkness grew and evil infiltrated every part of their lives; but he never was quite the same after the thing came to him.

It was easy to see now, knowing the danger and knowing what it could have done was frightening. That pain was always with him, all the time he spent with he and Rosie after, Frodo was a mere shadow, not really of any substance, he floated in and out of their daily lives unable to call himself out to participate in the Shire he had saved.

Truth be told, he’d known all along that he’d go. But denial is a wonderful thing and he used it to his full advantage. He convinced himself that he did not see Frodo fading before his very eyes, that the suffering was no worse and that with enough care and love he would get better and live a long life with he and Rosie.

It had been a lovely place he’d created, when the reality battered against it and it’s fragile walls caved in; the harshness of what he had denied hit him square in the gut. How had he allowed it? Frodo must have been hiding it as well, the suffering he trudged through day by day, the legacy of the ring clinging to him like thick mud, dragging and pulling him ever deeper into despair and illness. His only light must have seemed that of the elves and escape and his closest friends.

He could only guess what his friend had suffered for he spared him all the details, what Sam knew of was enough to wrack his soul. The anniversary illnesses were the worst of days and seemed to sap the life from him. But everyday Frodo diminished, he could see it now, though he’d tried not to before.

Yes, his decision was right. It was the conclusion he came to each and every time. That his Master had been given this choice was a thrilling miracle. He knew why Frodo had left them, and in part it was for his own healing. Over the years he had known him, Sam understood and knew that Frodo had left to spare them. It would have been a completely Frodo-ish thing to do, as Pippin put it one evening in the green Dragon as three friends sat discussing this very thing. They were thankful each time to the Lady Arwen for her gift to him. As always Sam’s mind wandered to the other option for Frodo, a steady decline into dotage and insanity was not something that he’d wish to have seen, nor could he have borne it. “Thank you Frodo”, he whispered under his breath. Thus he did each time his mind strayed to this emotional trap.

Even as he stood looking into those deep blue eyes as he was told he was going he couldn’t grasp it. Didn’t see it…the paleness of his skin and the not quite well undertone that seeped to the surface. The dark smudges beneath his eyes, the aching stiffness of joints that had aged all at once, seemingly.

Not until the last did he see. Not until it was too late to tell him he understood. He turned back to them, and blessed glory all his wishes had come true. The face from his memory was staring back at him and he saw suddenly and frighteningly how very far Frodo had wandered from his self. It was then he knew, he understood why and how it was that Frodo needed to go. He knew, Frodo would heal and someday he would see him again, on the other side of the sea. And that time was growing closer everyday...