Young Frodo

by Overlithe

Chapter 27

~*~1380 One Summer Evening~*~

Frodo stood once again in the garden near the small path in Buckland.  It was the summer of his twelfth year.  The place should not be so familiar to one so young and yet it seemed the quiet beauty and the rows of white markers had always been part of his life. Indeed he had been coming here since he could remember. Even before he knew what death was before he knew what or who a sister was.  She laid here in the garden his "twin" whom he had never met except in his dreams.  He wished that she were alive he always did but never more than today.  Today he was truly alone he fell to his knees as the magnitude of the past few days events finally sank into his heart.  He felt for his parents for he now knew the depth of the anguish they had born over the loss of his sibling. He knew because he felt it a gnawing disbelief and denial tainted with the frankness of reality.  He was alone…His life would never be the same.

It was a fair July morning and Primula and Drogo Baggins had left early for an outing.  Frodo they had left in the care of Esmeralda this was to be a day to themselves.  They crossed the river near the ferry using a small boat the kind used by all the Brandybucks and though Drogo was not as adept he had grown accustomed to the craft.  Primula had always enjoyed a short trip up the river and it had taken her years to get Drogo to even try.  Now it was one of their favorite things to do together.  The trip up stream was pleasant and the stand of trees and privacy were well worth the struggle against the current.

They had pulled the boat ashore and picnicked in their favorite spot.  The tree under which they sat was the very tree where Drogo had asked for her hand and high on the trunk their initials could be seen carved into the bark of the tree.  It was a permanent testament to their love for each other.  They always looked at the tree lovingly when they came here it was an unspoken joy they shared.  The sun was warm and the food was plentiful and as they finished the meal and drank a bottle of Old winyard together they laughed and smiled and sat closely together.

"One day we shall have to bring our dear Frodo with us" said Drogo unexpectedly.  This trip had always just been their special getaway it had never occurred to Primula to bring Frodo along.  They took him everywhere else with them indeed he rarely left them.  Only this trip and this little secret they withheld from their beloved son.  Primula looked at him in question why had he thought of this now she wondered to herself. She took a deep breath and knew Frodo would love it here, as did the two of them.  He was like neither of his parents but was an interesting combination of both.  Drogo had commented many times on how fortunate they were to have a child that had the best qualities of both parents.  She smiled at the thought of him she always did her son was the smartest, most handsome, sweetest most considerate hobbit she knew.  And then she laughed in spite of herself, and thought; "a completely unbiased opinion", and she giggled again.

"Yes", she said aloud, "I think he is old enough to appreciate it here".  It seemed to her his childhood was fleeting.  Frodo always seemed much older and more independent than she remembered being at his age.  He was still only twelve and yet it may be time she thought again.  A sudden regret hit her that and she wished he was with them today, that today should have been the day that young Frodo had seen the place his parents had promised their love forever.  So much of his life had been of sharing the grief and remembering his sister she wondered at herself that she had not thought to share this subtle joy with the lad.  He was so serious and somber at times he needed to know that along with the great sorrows there was also great joy.  Primula shook the regret away of course he knew that all ready she smiled.  Everyday with Frodo was a great joy and she was in no hurry to see her only son grow into a tween. 

Frodo awoke suddenly from a sleep he had not intended.  He looked around desperately trying to remember where he was and why.  His eyes fell upon the grave of his sister and the memories flooded back.  The grief that stuck him was overwhelming and he bowed his head to the ground his body wracked with great sobs.  He was alone…

Chapter 28

The afternoon had passed quickly and Drogo and Primula Baggins had wandered far through the wooded area just north of Farmer Maggots property.  They were late, very late and they walked quickly trying to get to the river before nightfall.  "Drogo love lets leave the boat and take the ferry back across the river."  As comfortable as she was in boats the river was swift and could be dangerous in the dark.  Drogo did not wish to travel so far out of the way and so they were in a race against the sun.  It was nearly 8 in the evening and the sun was riding low on the horizon when they pushed forth from the bank.  Primula was laughing at Drogo who was quite winded after their dash to the river the mood was light it had been a lovely day. 

There was not a breath of wind all was calm and the sound of summer insects was music in their ears. Drogo gently steered the craft with the oars there was no need to row the current did all the work.  Dusk had fallen and fireflies lit the banks the lights were coming on in the distant homes of Buckland and sounds of soft laughter floated out to them.

Perhaps the calm of the night or their relaxed state had caused it. There was no indication of a problem nor should there have been it was a trip they had made hundreds of times.  The oar slipped from Drogo's hand and he reached to grab it. Primula saw it fall and gently leaned to retrieve it.  And then they were gone; into the waters in the center of the river they fell.  A small exclamation of surprise and a soft splash were they only sounds as the couple went under.  Neither could swim of course most Hobbits could not, even the few who could would have been no match for the swift undercurrents of the river.  The boat floated on half filled with water and came to rest just short of the landing.  No one had seen a thing.

Primula knew as she went under that she would never see him again she struggled to reach the boat but it was far from her reach and there was Drogo she could see him dimly just with in reach.  She grasped his struggling hands with her own and they passed out of this world together.  Their last thoughts were of their son, their beloved, special son.  It would be a sorrow to him they knew and then they were gone.

He sat staring straight ahead he could not look to his right.  The markers were there but his parents were not.  They were missing not dead it could not be. Yet Bilbo had come and told him it was so.  Esme and Saradoc had been there also they had all been crying.  He held to Esme but he had refused to believe; it could not be…if it was he was alone. Why? He cried aloud why them, why me?  He whispered to the air they were so good and kind why? Why? He broke down into sobs yet again.

A soft voice spoke behind him.  He had known that eventually Bilbo would come to find him.  He knew it would be Bilbo not Esme or Saradoc.  For though he loved them they did not understand him not the way old Bilbo did.  Bilbo spoke again softly soothingly, wisely.  "There is no reason son", the voice said.  Frodo did not respond or lift his head.  Things happen and there is no one to blame and nothing to fix, nothing to do but to go on.

The small bitter voice that responded was not the voice of a twelve-year-old child.  "I should have died with them," he said.  Bilbo reeled at the thought could he live in a world with out Frodo in it.  As heartbroken as he was over the death of his cousin Drogo and his lovely wife it was nothing compared to the pain that had shot through him at the thought of losing Frodo.  "No Lad, no", and Bilbo wept.

Bilbo could think of nothing to say.  He could find no words he had been staying with him since he had broken the news to him and never had he seen Frodo in such a state.  He wondered when the last time he had eaten or bathed had been.  No one had the heart to be firm with him and he had refused the gentle advances of Esmeralda.  The day the news was broken to him he had retreated to his room and had remained there.  No one had any idea that Frodo was so strong-minded.  Bilbo was sure to make food available and he was a fine cook he made all of Frodo's favorite dishes but he only picked when he even came to the table.

Now this, for the last two days he had found him at the grave of his sister little Primrose.  The markers for his parents stood there also but they were not there.  They were lost and chances were they would never be found.  It made the reality more difficult for Frodo.  Just the night before Frodo had told him they would be back but the tears that poured from his face gave away his uncertainties.  "But Bilbo they said you were dead and you came back". Bilbo didn't quite know how to answer. It was after all, all too true all of Hobbiton had thought him dead they were auctioning off his things when he returned for heavens sake.  How to explain? He shook his head. It was rare that Bilbo was a t a loss for words.

He walked over to Frodo who remained crumpled in a heap and picked him up.  He did not respond he just lay in his arms neither resisting nor submitting.  His eyes had begun to take on afar off glaze and Bilbo was worried.  Just when he thought Frodo was improving he slid down another slope into a deeper despair.  It was so unnatural to see him like this and Bilbo wept as he carried him down the hill and back to Brandyhall.