Young Frodo

by Overlithe

Chapter 23

They had disappeared into the night like a fog as the sun warms the earth.  Frodo looked for them and they were gone.  Off together and things would never be the same again.  He wasn't sure if it was a good thing or not but he was a bit concerned.  He loved both of them but would they have time for him now? 

He sulked around Brandyhall for an entire week before his mum chose to speak with him.  He was lonely and worried and he missed his two favorite "targets".

 As much as Frodo loved them they were great fun to pester and joke with.  Esme never quite understood how much of the things that happened around Saradoc and herself were contrived by Frodo.  To her he was a sweet precocious child not capable of planning and initiating these plans.  But Saradoc suspected and Frodo knew it. It was a game they played, Frodo acted innocent and Saradoc feigned ignorance and turned his head whenever Frodo was involved in the mischief around the hall.  Many times some of the older lads took the blame for some little thing Frodo had managed to pull off.

It was the 12th day since the wedding and Primula woke Frodo early.  He rubbed his normally bright eyes now dim with sleepiness.  He looked at his Mum and wondered what could be wrong.  She whispered to him and he smiled, his toothless grin lighting the room as bright as daylight.  He rushed to dress in the clothing his Mum had laid out for him fumbling with the buttons on his breeches and the bracers already connected.  Frodo rushed to the kitchen and sat in his spot.  "When are we going Mum?" He asked excitedly.  Primula smiled at her son he was himself again, he had been down since the wedding and she knew he missed Saradoc and Esmeralda.  "We will go as soon as we finish here luv." She answered him.  "What are we going to do there?"  This was her Frodo the inquisitive lad she loved her heart warmed at the sound of his cheerful voice.
"We are going to help get Saradoc's new rooms ready." She answered simply.  "They will be home in a few days."  Frodo's face was glowing, "they are coming back!"  I thought they moved away forever."  The hope was apparent and Primula's heart almost broke realizing what had been bothering her son.  It was more than just missing them he thought they had left him.

"Oh Frodo lad of course they are coming back this is Saradoc's home.  He will be the master of Buckland someday soon he has to live here."   "Ohhhhh", the understanding was slow to come but when Frodo finally understood he could no longer sit still.
"Come lad lets us finish our chores and we will go."

They arrived at the series of rooms in Brandyhall that were to be Saradoc's and his brides.  All ready their things had been moved in but nothing was unpacked.  The couple had stopped here long enough only to drop off a few things and then had headed for the little house in crickhollow.  Only Primula and a few others knew where the couple was spending their first weeks of life together.  They thought it best that Frodo not know, as he would be sure to try to visit them.  He was too young to completely understand and be expected to stay away.  Shire tradition held that the new couples spend at least 2 weeks alone.  It was a wise tradition one that no one objected to.

Primula had done her best to explain Saradoc and Esme's absence but she found it difficult to explain.  So she had said little not realizing that little Frodo had thought he had lost his best friends. 

"Now Frodo we are going to put some things away so that when Esme comes here she will feel like she is home."  Frodo nodded enthusiastically he would do most anything for Esme.  They began by arranging the furniture similar to Esme's home in Tuck borough.  They then began placing things about in a pleasant hobbitty way. When the two were done the hole looked lived in and comfortable.  Primula then took Frodo with her to the market and selected some groceries for the new couple. Most meals in Brandy hall were in the common dining area but most everyone had a few meals in their own rooms. 

It was late afternoon by the time everything was put in its place.  "There you go Frodo luv, it is all ready for them to come home."  They will be back in a day or two and then you may visit.  Frodo fairly bounced with joy at the thought.  He had never been separated from Saradoc for so long and he could hardly wait to see them both. 

"Mum, What does married mean?" Primula and Drogo were caught off guard again.  So frequently Frodo surprised them with his precocious ways that they forgot he was so young.  "Well luv it means they are to be together now forever, like us." Drogo commented.  "All the time, even at night?" 
"Yes Frodo even at night time too."  Frodo smiled, he thought it sounded nice to have someone to be with all the time and never be lonely or frightened at night again. 
"Will they have babies?" Primula looked at Drogo who shrugged so she sighed and looked at her son.  "Perhaps someday Frodo most married folks have little ones eventually."  "Good I want a merry lad to play with some day."  Some day…. Little Frodo closed his eyes he could almost see him.  A happy little lad with dark golden curls and a happy face they would play together someday.  He opened his eyes his Mum was staring at him concerned calling to him.  "Frodo, wake up lad, eat your supper."  He smiled like a ray of sunshine and finished his meal.  All the while thinking a merry lad, merry lad, Merry.  He knew someday he would know him his cousin would be called Merry and he would give him the name.


The next days passed slowly for Primula and most definitely for Frodo.  Her son was driving her to distraction. Frodo was normally a child that occupied himself and rarely needed to be redirected. Since learning that Saradoc and Esme would soon be home the child was a bundle of energy.  He could not sit still or concentrate as she usually did when problems arose with Frodo she found herself thinking of Uncle Bilbo.  Bilbo had a way with the boy there was something between them that neither she nor Drogo had with him.  They would watch him for hours with Bilbo he was a different hobbit with him. He glowed whenever Bilbo spoke of traveling and of elves and distant lands. Sometimes he would get a dazed distant look in his eyes and Primula feared that Frodo would one day take after her ancestors and travel.  She had called on Bilbo before and she had done it again he was sure to arrive soon.  Bilbo would keep Frodo occupied for the next 24 hours until the newlyweds got back.

The knock at the door startled her for a moment as she had become lost in thought.  "Frodo, get the door luv".   Frodo jumped up and ran for the door and opened it.  "Bilbo"!!! He leapt in his arms giving him a warm hug and hanging on.  "Mum its Bilbo!"

Chapter 24

Bilbo did his job; it was one of his favorite things to do.  Primula always apologized for bothering him and of course to keep up his image as the grumpy bachelor he grumbled over it.  But Bilbo could not think of another Hobbit child or adult that he would rather spend time with then Frodo Baggins.  He often pondered his wisdom at declaring bachelorhood so young. He had never any desire to be bound in marriage. He was bound to his life of travels and excitement there was no room for settling down.

Yet Frodo made him question his decision. Every time he was with the lad he wished he had a son like Frodo. It was as it had been at his birth, it always would be He and the lad had connected.  Frodo had always been his child deep in his heart it was so no matter who his genetic parents were.  Frodo was his kindred spirit and they would always be somehow connected.  Still Bilbo yearned for the lads' presence he was incomplete with out him.  He visited Buckland more now than he had his entire life and when Primula asked for help he always came.

He and Frodo had spent the morning walking near the river.  Frodo loved the river, Bilbo still found this odd in a Baggins yet he is a Brandybuck also he reminded himself.  Skipping rocks was of great interest and Frodo spent time doing just that. It was a mindless activity and it was somehow relaxing.  Bilbo told him his tales as he wandered in search of the perfect smooth rock to bounce.
Bilbo had just recounted a tale from his travels.  The elves of Rivendel are a wondrous folk he had said.  Suddenly Frodo sat down and began to stare and listen intently.  Bilbo smiled at him the lad surely loved the elves.  "Rivendell is the most perfect place in the whole of Middle Earth, Frodo.  His voice took on a chanting quality with a soothing tone.  Perfect whether you like eating or sleeping or singing or just sitting and thinking or a little of all of these. Time has no meaning there and you could spend a lifetime learning the ways of the elves and still know no more than a fraction there is to know."  He looked at Frodo his eyes gleamed with tears in them and he stared off.  Bilbo looked closer and the lad was barely breathing just light gasps escaped him as he stared past him looking at nothing.

"Frodo are you all right?" He called to his young nephew, "Frodo!"

"What" he shook his head and focused on Bilbo.

"Are you alright lad?"

"Yes, yes I'm fine my shoulder pains me just a bit, really Bilbo now what was it you were saying?"

Bilbo stared mouth agape wondering what he had just witnessed.  It was Frodo who had spoken but his voice had not been that of a child. It had been the voice of an adult hobbit and it spoke of command and of worries and of fear.  And pain?   He looked into Frodo's eyes again and the moment had passed he was again a carefree lad in the Shire.

  "Tell me more about the elves Bilbo!"

And so he did.

The unease that Bilbo felt did not fade it nagged at him and bothered him though he could not imagine what he had seen or why it was distressing. Clearly Frodo had no recollection at least he did not mention it.  Bilbo hid the anxiety and filed away the information for future use.  And as typical of Hobbits eventually forgot about it.

He and Frodo whiled away the day and finally it was time for bath and bed.  Bilbo sat in the great hall by the fire reading and relaxing and waiting. Frodo had promised to come to him to say goodnight after his bath.  And it was for this that Bilbo waited.

He heard him before he saw him singing of key and bounding into the room. His skin flushed from the hot water and the scrubbing.  Clad in a night shirt wet dark hair clinging to his skin he came running to Bilbo and jumped into his lap shivering, "Its cold out here" He said.  Bilbo rubbed his arms up and down now lad not by the fire it isn't.  Bilbo pulled the throw off the chair and wrapped the lad in it and sat him on his lap.  "One more story Bilbo please."  He looked up at his Uncle with pleading blue eyes and laughed he knew he would have his tale and anything else he asked for.  Bilbo was far too easy a target.  Frodo never asked too much though he knew somehow that Bilbo loved him much as his Da did.  And as much fun as it was he did not wish to take from Bilbo he only wanted to give.  So in payment for the tale he snuggled under Bilbo's chin in the crook of his arm and told him.  "I love you Bilbo". And the story began.