Young Frodo

by Overlithe

Chapter 17
~*~Frodo~*~1374 Midyears~*

Frodo crouched behind the large willow tree. It was a favorite hiding spot for spying out the ferry.  Today was a particularly nice day for spying, looking eating or resting. In fact it was a perfect midsummer day in the Shire.  It was indeed Midsummer's Day and later there would be a picnic and eating and dancing.

Frodo peaked around the wide trunk of the ancient tree watching the ferry as it approached.  He was aloud no closer to the water than this very tree a fact he was painfully aware of. Although he loved to sit and watch the swirling depths he was not "big enough" to do so alone.  He had gone closer once by himself and it was one of the few times he had been harshly disciplined.  He had been found out and his Da had taken a switch to his bottom to make him remember his mistake.  And he did remember, he still was not sure why his parents did not want him near the river.  To him it was a beautiful mystery; the sight and the sounds of the water drew him.  He was intent that as soon as he was aloud he would take the ferry alone.

At the moment though his thoughts were elsewhere and he strained to see if his cousin Reginard would be on board or if he would have to wait.  Reg was a Took cousin and one of the very few hobbits of his age.  He had met him just last month at Reginard's 5th birthday.  He was born the June after Frodo and He wondered why he had never before met this "cousin."  He had enjoyed the birthday so well that his Mum had been telling him since that Reg and his family would be in Buckland again 'soon'.  Frodo wondered exactly what soon meant to grown ups and knew that it surely was not the same as what he thought soon was.  To him soon was after teatime or after a long nap not months or weeks.  He had tortured his Mum with questions upon questions until finally she scolded him and told him to hush and go play.

Frodo frowned at the memory; he disliked being scolded especially by his Mum.  It happened rarely and when it did he knew he had pushed to far.  Reginard had been so funny he couldn't wait to see him again.  To laugh and run and be able to keep up with a playmate was a rarity for Frodo he couldn't wait to do it again.  The ferry was docking and he could not see him he was not on board this trip.  Frodo turned and wandered aimlessly it would be another hour until the ferry returned again.  He found himself traveling up a small hill on a well-traveled path.

It was a path he knew all too well.  It was the way to the burial place.  The garden with the white stones was an early memory of his.  He still was not quite sure but he was beginning to understand.  Last winter a well loved elderly gentle hobbit had gone to sleep and never awakened and after much crying and a long speech he was brought to the garden and put in a hole in the ground.  A new white stone with the gentle hobbits name had appeared later.  It was his first real memory of the thing called death and it made him curious.  The stone that his family visited was his very own sister's; he had never known her though he knew all about her. Primrose who looked just like him but with yellow curls.  He stopped a moment at her stone as he always did if he came this way.  He stopped in the middle of the garden and looked around at the rows of markers brows furrowed in concentration.  Knowing somehow that this "garden" was not the end.  He continued on back to Brandyhall walked in and sat down to wait for "soon" to come so that Reginard would be there and he could have some fun.

After a few moments of sulking he looked over to see his cousin Saradoc.  Saradoc looked worried and Frodo decided to pass the time and spy on him.  Saradoc was always interesting and since his coming of age last year he had been easy to spy on.  And little Frodo did spy, every chance he got.  Saradoc was very preoccupied with his attentions to his new lass.  Frodo wasn't sure what it was all about but Saradoc was funny to watch and he always knew if Esme was expected in Buckland.  He grinned at the memory of her she was so sweet and kind and next to his Mum she was his favorite lass.  

When Saradoc left the hall Frodo followed knowing that Esme must be coming on the next ferry and hoped that Reg would be also.  Perhaps Saradoc would take him closer to the water and he could look into the rippling water as they waited.  He had to run to keep up though as Saradoc seemed more than unusually excited to meet his lass this day.
He caught up to him by the hill.  "Saradoc can I come with you?"  It was a question he need not ask as he was already "with" him.  

"Frodo Baggins! You little sneak are you following me again?" Saradoc stopped and turned to address his young cousin.  "And if I do take you with me will you steal my love away from me with those big blue eyes of yours?"  Frodo thought for a moment then blinked, "Uhhh, No Saradoc I promise I won't steal Esme", He smiled. Knowing he had won and would be allowed to stay.  "Oh its hopeless", Saradoc said. "One look at you and she'll not even see me."  Frodo frowned and shook his head.  Grown hobbits were so peculiar.  He took Saradoc's hand and walked with him to meet the ferry.  "I am waiting for cousin Reginard," he said. "So I will not be in your way long", he looked at his cousin through his lashes smiling.  "But when are your going to marry her and be done with it." Saradoc stopped and looked down at his little cousin and shook his head. Frodo could be so precocious.  "Who told you we were to marry?"  Frodo just smiled lips sealed and kept walking. "No one", he giggled and took a few more steps.  "But with all the kissing you do it can't be long can it?" Frodo ran for he knew Saradoc would try to grab him.  It took four strides for the older hobbit to catch him.  Frodo braced himself but was surprised Saradoc was not angry in fact he was grinning.  "I should have known you would see it Frodo. Can you keep a secret?"  Frodo nodded, He loved secrets.  Saradoc bent close to his ear and said. "Today I shall ask her.  But mind you it is a secret don't go spoiling it."  Frodo placed a hand over his mouth and shook his head.  They turned and went to greet the Ferry.

Chapter 18
 Frodo 1374

Frodo was flushed and his breaths came in short little gasps and he found it difficult to stand still.  His mum had brought him up short as he ran through the crowds at the midyears celebration.  "Frodo, Luv are you alright?" she asked concerned. As she spoke he looked over his shoulder finding it hard to concentrate on what she was saying.  He knew he was not far behind they were almost evenly matched and he had managed to out run Reginard for quite awhile.

Frodo saw him too late as he ran towards him and slapped him forcefully across his back.  The air rushed from his lungs in a sudden burst as his cousin yelled, "tag your it!"  He looked up at his Mum mournfully with one eyebrow lifted in a comical display of displeasure.  Primula couldn't help but laugh as she smiled at him with a shrug as if to say why didn't you say so…Instead she said,  "Well, your it."  "Thanks", was all he managed as he took off in pursuit of his new friend.

Frodo caught up with Reginard as he rounded the buffet table.  Reginard had decided that perhaps a snack was in order.  Oddly Frodo agreed he could not remember ever feeling so hungry.  He smiled at his cousin as the eyed the food table ravenously.  The two retired to a small table set off for the children and made short work of the plates they had piled high with all manner of delights.  

Frodo sat contentedly for the moment and began thinking.  Thinking really was what he did best.  He knew this to be true of himself, sometimes he lacked the vocabulary to say what he thought but in his mind he clearly saw and felt things far beyond his years.  Right now he was thinking of Saradoc and his lass Esmeralda.  He wondered if he had asked her yet.  He knew they would marry they were perfect together and though he loved Esme himself there was naught to be done for it.  She would be an old hobbit by the time he was of age.  So if someone must marry her beside himself then it may as well be a cousin whom he liked. And he liked Saradoc very much nearly as much as old Bilbo.  But Bilbo was one of a kind and his face was one of the earliest memories he had.  When his Da and Mum were sad it was always Bilbo who came to keep things 'normal'.  And he told such wonderful tales, tales of travel and elves and dwarves and wizards and treasure.  Bilbo was not here this day there would be no tales or adventures so he would have to invent some of his own.

He hoped up and began looking about for something to do. Reginard had fallen asleep after their little snack.  Frodo however was not sleepy and was feeling a bit mischievous.  He spied Esmeralda Took across the room he had not seen her since earlier when she had arrived.  Saradoc of course was with her and still looked quite anxious,  "Perfect", Frodo thought. "A nervous adult could be great fun."  He grinned slyly and made his way casually to the couple.  As he approached he put on a very somber expression, pouting as best he could he tried desperately not to smile.  Esme was so pretty he wondered what Saradoc was waiting for he should just ask her.  Then he knew what he would do, had his cousin looked into his eyes then he would have known Frodo was up to something for there was a glint in them that screamed trouble.

Little Frodo Baggins walked over to Ms. Esmeralda Took and climbed up into her lap.  He leaned his head gently on her shoulder and said nothing but sat quietly.  She took him to her without question for Frodo had always been her favorite young cousin.  He was so sweet and innocent and she remembered him as a tiny babe when she cared for him for his Mum.  He looked up at her through his dark lashes and blinked and sighed contentedly.  He turned his eyes to Saradoc who stood near and let a hint of the mischief enter into them.  And Saradoc knew there was going to be trouble, It seemed Frodo's Tookish half had taken over and Frodo knew way too much.  He braced himself and stared back at his young cousin.


"Hmm, what is it Frodo luv?"

"Will you wait for me to marry you?"  He said with out hesitating.

Esmeralda smiled lovingly at him and gave him a squeeze.  "Oh Frodo, It's so kind of you to ask.  But I am afraid I will be a bit old by then love."

Frodo nodded and glanced again at Saradoc.  "I just thought you might be tired of waiting for Saradoc to ask." He said simply and half smiled at his cousin who had gone first pale then bright red.  He almost laughed.  "Are you going to marry Saradoc, Esme?"

She was speechless and flushed.  Everyone knew that was what she wished more than anything she had been interested in Saradoc for as long as Frodo had been alive.  "I will, she said allowing her gaze to drift up to Saradoc's face, if he ever asks me."

Frodo hoped down and ran off giggling.  It was so easy why were grown-ups so odd. He stopped and turned to watch the results.  Saradoc would have no choice now …He strained to listen.

"Well Esmeralda Took," he said as he knelt before her.  "It just so happens that I was about to do just that, as our little imp over there well knows for I told him so this morning.  Esme would you do me the honor of being my wife?"  He looked up at her smiling over the humor of the moment and the sincerity and the beauty.  She looked back in love and said simply, "yes".

Saradoc didn't know whether to ring Frodo's little neck or kiss him.  He had stood there on the brink for nearly an hour thinking of just the right way to ask.  And in moments Frodo had mortified him and solved the problem.  He shook his head to all but him what had transpired was pure and innocent.  But he looked at Frodo and knew that the youngster had contrived it just so.  He would need to keep an eye on the lad.  It seemed nothing was ever quite as it seemed with Frodo Baggins.