Young Frodo

by Overlithe

Chapter 31

The Days turned into weeks. Bilbo had gone back to Bag End and returned several times still not willing or able to separate himself completely.  The time was fast approaching however that He dreaded. As painful as it was life had to go on and Bilbo had been neglecting matters at Bag End.  Esme and Saradoc knew that the time was coming soon Frodo would be their soul responsibility.

Frodo had adjusted reasonably well to Bilbo's short returns to Hobbiton.  He wept and fretted the first time but when Bilbo came back he seemed to relax. They supposed it was normal for him to react so.  They had already told him he was staying on in Buckland but he asked no questions he just nodded and accepted the news.

The most difficult decision had been whether to move Frodo into Their rooms or for them to move into the Baggins rooms.  Finally it was decided that Frodo would move to Saradoc and Esme's rooms but that Frodo's room and his Home would remain untouched.  Today would be the day that the three would tell him and help him moving his things.

It was a lovely Early September day and Drogo and Primula had been gone almost two months.  Frodo was recovering his episodes of sleeplessness and sadness was less and he was actually seen laughing at one of Bilbo's old travel stories.  The first time Esmeralda saw the lad smile, a real smile she had to turn away and cry.  Perhaps he would be all right she had doubts early on.  Everyday now though she saw him return to himself.  The pain was still there yet it did not overwhelm him as oft.

So it was on a beautiful day they sat down with Frodo for a serious talk.  "Frodo my lad," Bilbo began.  "This is an important day.  You know of course by now for we have told you; you will be staying here with Esme and Saradoc."

"Yes, Bilbo I know", he smiled and looked to Saradoc.  He really did love them, all of them.  He was so glad they had made this choice for him he didn't know how to choose between them. 

"Right Lad, but today we will help you move your remaining things to your room with Saradoc and Esme."

Bilbo watched the lad pale before him.  "Frodo my boy it's all right, No one is going to move anything you don't wish us to.  Your home will always be there as long as you need it to be.  But Lad you need to know your new home as well.  No more sleeping cold and alone in an empty place thinking and pining about what ifs and Why me."

Tears formed in his eyes but he nodded and smiled through them.  "And, Bilbo added, I need you to pick out some things to send to Bag End for your room there. I would hope you would visit me from time to time."  At this news Frodo beamed, as Bilbo knew he would.  "And your first visit will be for our Birthday in a few weeks."

"Our Birthday" he whispered and looked up at Bilbo.  Will you teach me to read for my birthday Bilbo?"

Bilbo looked stunned but quite happy, "Of course Lad we can start your lessons I am sure you will be a marvel." He grinned and tousled Frodo's hair.  "Right so lets get going then.  I've a box to put things in to send with me the rest we will sort and move or store it."

They set to the job at first all of them but Esme and Saradoc went to make more space in Frodo's new room leaving the two Bagginses alone. 

Frodo slowly went through all his things clothing was easy it all went to his new room except for a few extras he put in the box for Bilbo.  His playthings were more difficult he pined and remembered playing with them with his Mum and Da. Some of the more special things he put in the box to be with him when he visited.  But it was the little things that caused him great distress.  A cloak his Mum had made for him now too small for him yet he was unwilling to part with it.  Finally Bilbo went and found another box for such items one day perhaps he could bear it but for now it was too much for a 12 year old. 

Finally the room was bare of all significant items.  Frodo looked around at the room that had been his own for all 11 of his years he turned and walked out carrying a box turning only once for a look back.  The rest of the place looked as it always did it was even dusted but as the weeks had passed he depended on it less and less it was not home with out them there with him but it was a comfort to know it was still there.

"We're done Esme!" Frodo bounced into his new room and climbed on the bed with the box. He looked around and wondering just where to place everything.  The special box Bilbo had closed and he carried to a closet and placed where Frodo could reach it.  He knew it would be important for him to have it with in his own reach.

The unpacking went quickly and Frodo seemed little effected by the change. Perhaps they had made the right choice after all.  Saradoc called to them when supper in the main hall was announced for they would join the throng this night. Bilbo was leaving in the morning, Frodo sat closely by his side through the meal quiet and subdued.  Yet he ate and he ate well an unusual occurrence of late.
He slept fitfully Bilbo sat by his bed most of the night. Wondering whom the separation would be harder on.  He loved Frodo dearly as his own in fact. He truly wished things were different just now and that he might take him with him to live.  When he woke in the morning Frodo was draped across his lap in the chair. 

"Bilbo, he said as he woke, it will be all right, really I will come and visit I promise, don't be sad."

"My dear boy", Bilbo pulled him close and kissed his forehead.  'Here I am worried about you and it is you who comforts me.  You are an amazing lad Frodo.  You will visit me and I you.  There is much more left to our story this is certainly only the beginning…"

He placed him on the floor and rose to pack and ready himself for the journey. Frodo watched a thrill creeping through him; was it true was it only the beginning.  Bilbo's word would stay with him forever… "There is much more left to our story Frodo…much more."


Chapter 32

Frodo knew he was dreaming.  Somewhere in his mind he knew what he saw was a combination of things that had passed and things he did not yet know or understand.
The images flashed by him as he slept fitfully.  He saw Bilbo and a long road, mountains and strange beings.  He saw Smaug and the lonely mountain the dwarves and elves and he saw Bilbo trapped in a dark cave.  He shuddered in his sleep; he had heard all of these tales since he was old enough to ask Bilbo for a story.  It made sense to him that he should dream about Bilbo and his beloved tales. It did not seem strange to him at the moment that he could see things clearly that he could not possible know. 

It had always been like this when he dreamed as long as he could remember his dreams had been vivid.  He could always recall them though he rarely spoke to anyone about them except his Mum.

At the thought of her his dream changed suddenly and took a new path. A path that Frodo did not wish to go down and yet he had little choice.  He whimpered in his sleep as he saw his parents on the river in the little boat.  He witnessed it all as if he were standing there on the bank.  The lost ore, the sudden shift in weight and the soft splash and soundlessness of their passing.  Oddly it seemed very peaceful and Frodo stared at the dark water.  The river had always fascinated him and though it had claimed his parents its dark cold swirling waters still called to him.

Fear threatened to take him and his grief called to his heart, "you are alone". The cold of the water seemed to surround him and he struggled in his sleep.  If any had been near his room they would have heard his whimpering and known he dreamed.  His breath came in gasps his hair plastered with sweat to his brow and his limbs tangled tightly in his coverlets restraining him.  He cried in his dream and now also in the real world but no one heard him.

Soft warmth suddenly came over him and a familiar comforting smell assailed his senses.  The sensations spoke to him of peace and safety and calm.  It was his Mum he could not see her but he felt her and he called out to her in the dream. 

"Help me Mum"

"We will Frodo"

"We?"

  The dream continued as he began to calm and listen and look.  It seemed he looked over a great distance through a soft haze.  It was a place he was not permitted to see clearly.  Only one other time had this happened to him as he dreamed about his sister as he lay beside her resting place.

Dimly he could see three figures together and a voice in his mind.

"You are never alone Frodo, remember…remember…" The vision faded and he cried out loudly in his sleep.  "NO!" he screamed he tried to follow but he was held back by tightly gripping hands.  "Let me go! Let me go with my Mum" he cried out.

Esmeralda had been awakened by a whisper, a thought with in herself.  A worry had been placed in her mind.  "Frodo, check on Frodo".  The niggling had awakened her from a sound, peaceful sleep.  She lay still listening for any sounds that may indicate a problem all was silent.  She closed her eyes but the worry would not pass the more she ignored it the more pressing the need became.  Finally she rose and as if led she went to Frodo's door.  She heard his unsettled sleep yet this was no cause for the unease she felt.  She entered the room feeling a bit silly for the fear she felt.

Esmeralda was already at his bedside when he screamed, "NO and let me go".  By the light of the small lamp she carried she could see him hopelessly tangled and struggling.
The more he fought the tighter his covers and bedclothes wrapped about him.  His voice sounded distant and strangled she would never had heard it from her room down the hall.
She gasped as she realized the reason for the odd sounds.  She grasped Frodo by the shoulders to still his struggles and called his name.

His eyes were open yet a far away look had replaced the light that normally shown there.
"SARADOC"! She screamed for her husband.  She could not get the sheet from around his neck and Frodo had gone suddenly limp.  Saradoc Brandybuck had never heard such a cry from his calm assured wife and he flew from the bed and was at her side assessing the situation in seconds.  A hobbit of action he tore the sheet and loosened its grip and finally pulled it from Frodo's neck.  He placed his head on his chest and heard his heart beating rapidly but strongly in his chest.

They heard the sudden and sharp intake of air into his lungs and they sighed in relief.  "Frodo blinked and Esmeralda leaned over him crying and held him closely she rocked and comforted him and herself.  Whispering his name over and over speaking things in his ear she had never said aloud.

"Frodo, oh Frodo love, please don't leave me she whispered. I love you; you can't leave us here without you.  I need you; we all need you.  Saradoc fell back sitting on the floor heart pounding.  Now that he had time to think the gravity of what had nearly happened struck him.  The responsibility they had taken on the worry and the overwhelming love they committed to was overwhelming.  How had Esme known, what could have happened if she hadn't realized.  He shuddered with the memory of Frodo lying limply strangled in his own bed.  Tears came and he sat quietly and wept.

Frodo returned from the haze confused.  The arms that held him no longer pulled to keep him away from his Mum but held him in love and caring.  He sighed and snuggled into the embrace.  He heard his name and knew it was Esme that held him and that she loved him as her own, she had said so.  He struggled to open his eyes a smile was forming on his soft full lips.

She held him cradled, his head in the crook of her arm looking down at his face. She saw the soft fluttering of his dark lashes against his cheeks.  He sighed and snuggled closer to her and his lips formed a soft content smile.  She wondered if it could be that he would have no recollection of what happened.  Then his eyes opened to meet hers and she knew he was going to be all right.  The light that was Frodo was back shining through.  His eyes held a glimmer of amusement at finding himself cradled like an infant.

"Hullo Esme," he sat up and rubbed his neck.  "Did I have a bad dream?"

She smiled back at him.  She loved him he was like that somehow and her fears disappeared.  "Yes Frodo it was a dream, but its over now".

Frodo looked at Saradoc who still sat with the torn sheet in his hands and wondered what had really happened. Perhaps one day he would ask them but for now Esme was right, it was over.

Saradoc sat dazed still looking beyond Frodo to the window where the first light of dawn could just be seen.  He was relieved but his fear remained though it was remote.  Somewhere deep inside he feared that the dangers were far from over for Frodo.  He pushed the thoughts and the fears aside and rose and reached out for Esme come lets have some tea. 

The three walked out to the kitchen together…