Young Frodo

by Overlithe

Chapter 33

Frodo Sat in the back of the pony cart oblivious to the bumpy ride he was gazing thoughtfully back up the road.  It was a strange day his first out of Buckland since the loss of his parents.  He was happy to have a diversion the thought of sitting in Brandyhall this day was unbearable.  Instead they were on their way to Hobbiton for tomorrow was Bilbo's birthday.  Never mind that it was his own birthday, he did not care.  To remember his birthday would be too much now.  Perhaps later he could think about it when there would be things to do and see that would dampen the memories.

For now he was thinking.  Thinking about the dream he had not so long ago.  Since that time he had felt the sadness lifted from him.  It had been a strange dream and as with most of his dreams he remembered it well.  Some things he wished he did not remember; the vision of his parents' death was now a part of his memory as if he had seen it happen.  But the comforting voices and warmth he had felt after remained.  He still felt despair at times yet the times of love and laughter were far more frequent.  The voice of his dream resounded, "You are not alone".  He was an orphan it was true but he was cared for and loved.  He was thrilled to be going to Bag End with Esme and Saradoc he couldn't wait to see Bilbo.

The cart hit a large hole jolting the riders.  Frodo chuckled as he watched Esme try to keep her balance while giving Saradoc a sideward glance.  He loved them he always had the three adults in his life now had always been with him.  He would never forget how they tended to him when he was in need.  He lay back into the soft blankets that sat upon and closed his eyes breathing in the fresh late summer smells. 

Frodo was awakened as the cart came to a halt.  He sat up and looked around realizing he had slept the remainder of the trip and that indeed they had arrived in Hobbiton.  Saradoc had stopped to pick up a few things both for himself and for Bilbo and the party.  Frodo stood and stretched.

 "Esme can I go on alone? I know the way," he asked.

She looked thoughtfully for a moment then smiled, "Go on then", she beamed at him.

Frodo jumped from the cart landing solidly.  She watched with joy as he raced off toward the hill.

He ran until he was breathless then slowed to a walk as he came to the hill.  He walked past bag shot row waving at the families looking at him curiously.  It had been a long while since he had visited with his parents.  He did not know the names of any of the families nearby so he just politely nodded as he walked.  He paused a moment as he got to number 3 bag shot row for in the street before him was a small child.  Frodo halted before the child who was toddling toward him smiling.  He guessed he must be 8 months old or so as he was not very steady on his feet.

"Hullo there lad, what are you doin out in the road all alone"?  Frodo asked.

The child just stared and grinned.  His hands were covered with soil, as was his smiling mouth.  Frodo couldn't help but laugh at him his curls were a dirty blond he was a stout little thing.  Frodo knelt down to eye level and the child stopped and wrinkled his nose up at him.  He took two more steps then sat down hard looking stunned.

Frodo turned when he heard Mr. Gamgee calling.  He was looking around and calling…
"Samwise! Now where has that ninny hammer gotten to this time?"

Frodo looked at the grinning mess before him.  "You'd be Samwise then I'd guess.  Hiding from your Da are you?"  Frodo stood before the lad and picked him up and carried him on his back.  "Come on then lets save your gaffer a few steps."

He approached slowly Sam was heavier than he appeared and the toddler was now hanging down Frodo's back arms locked tightly about his neck.

"Samwise Gamgee? What in the Shire are you doing to that lad"? Frodo tried to answer but Sam stuck his dirty hands over his mouth. His call turned into a muffled "MMMffFFFp".

"Young Master Baggins! Is that you lad?  Well if you haven't grown then I'm no older…and lad, I am definitely older."

Frodo tried again to answer he was smiling beneath the grimy hands.  He was laughing in fact and the amusement he felt was shining in his eyes clearly.  He simply nodded at The Gaffer.  He never knew what to call his Uncle's gardener Frodo saw him at least once every time he visited Bag End.  He was constantly at work on improving the gardens, strange though Frodo thought he had never met any of his children.  He supposed that this rouge hanging about his neck was indeed his son.

Hamfast Gamgee was a strict parent and as he approached Frodo speaking he tried not to laugh.  His son had to learn his place and learn it early, one day he would be the caretaker of Bag End after all it wouldn't do to have him strangling Mr. Bilbo's cousins.   He removed Samwise from Frodo's weary neck and suppressed his grin.  "Well young master Baggins, you're here for the birthday I take it.  Master Bilbo has been talking about nothing else for days.  You'd best get on up the hill lad, Pardon me but you'll be needing a bath after meetin my Sam."

Frodo looked at his hands and imagined his face had just as much grime on it.  But he smiled, "That Ok Mr.? Ah I mean…"

"Just call me Gaffer lad everyone does".

"Gaffer, I needed a bath anyways.  Are you and Samwise coming to Our birthday?"

"That's right it's yours birthday too isn't it, I think I knew that.  But no, it wouldn't be proper.  I'll be seeing you around though.  Now you go on and see Mr. Bilbo he'll be awaitin."

Frodo turned to go, ran a few steps then stopped.  "Mr. Gam…I mean Gaffer why isn't it 'proper'?"

Hamfast crossed his arms and shooed Frodo away, "Go on git, you need to ask your elders about it."

Frodo blushed and ran off up the hill.  His question soon forgotten as his excitement began to take over his mind.  Bilbo was waiting for him and he was going to learn to read.  He burst through the great green door and stopped on the threshold as he called, "Bilbo…Bilbo!"  

Chapter 34

Bilbo was straightening "Frodo's room".  The room would be his one-day and it was the one that he would now use when he came to visit.  He had been fussing with the special things that Frodo had sent home with him weeks ago.  He moved them arranged them he couldn't leave them be.  All he wanted was for Frodo to feel welcome and at home when he visited Bag End.  It was Bilbo's deepest hope that as Frodo grew into his tweens that he would want to live with him permanently.  He wanted Frodo as his own someday he only regretted it could not be sooner.  But he consoled himself that his home would be an escape for the Lad.

He had picked up a favorite book from the box.  The binding was worn, it was a book well used and loved.  He placed it gently in the middle of the bed.  The niggling of fear and doubt crept into his mind. Always it was there just below the surface.  Why would such a bright and splendid lad wish to live with an old boring bachelor?  He would never consent to live as his heir.  Bilbo shook his head to banish the negative thoughts and smiled as he looked around him.  The room was large and in addition to Frodo's things Bilbo had added some others that he hoped Frodo would like. A fishing pole hung near the hearth and a pack for hiking near it. He had placed some special books on the mantle that he intended to use to teach Frodo his letters and eventually to read and write Elvish as well as the common speech.  He could hardly wait to begin.

The feelings he had for Frodo were like no other he had ever experienced.  Surely there were hobbits of which he was fond.  Drogo and Primula had fit that bill…He was VERY fond of them, the same went for Saradoc and Esmeralda they were very special to him.  Many others also the Gamgee family was lovely and he was "fond of them".  The feelings he had for Frodo transcended everything there was no other like him.  Bilbo sensed that he was not the only one who felt this way for the Lad.  He was like that somehow he was a light even in his darkest hour. 

Bilbo absently walked down the long hall to the study.  He looked around him at all the wondrous things he had collected in his travels and knew that one day it must all go to Frodo.  There was no point in keeping these things if he did not share them and he could think of no better heir.  He jumped startled y a loud thump against his great green door. Then he heard it the tell tale squeaking of the great hinges.  And a sweet high voice calling his name,  "Bilbo, Bilbo", he called excitedly. 

He heard Frodo's excitement and was thrilled that the lad was so happy to have arrived.  Bilbo stuck his head out of the study.  "Frodo my Lad! Come in, come in I am so glad…" Bilbo stopped mid sentence and began laughing.  It was a deep resonate laugh full of amusement and joy and Frodo could do naught but to smile, then grin and return the favor with a laugh of his own.  He had no idea what Bilbo found so amusing but the joy was contagious.  It was several moments before Bilbo could collect himself.

"I believe you have met little Samwise", he said simply. And he chuckled again.

Frodo looked down at his white shirt and shrugged it was covered with tiny Black Hand prints.  He knew his face looked the same he could still feel the grit in his mouth from the toddlers grimy fingers.  In fact Frodo's whole face was a smear of grime it only added to the brightness of his eyes.  Bilbo was struck at how the blue shown like a summer sky.  The contrast was oddly striking and Bilbo held his arms open to Frodo and invited him into a messy hug.

Frodo wasted no time and ran into Bilbo's arms and hugged him tightly.  "Oh Bilbo I am so glad to see you" he cried.  Tears cleared streaks down his dirty cheeks and Bilbo wiped them away with his thumbs.  "Now Frodo lad, don't cry, though it has helped clean you up a bit". He chuckled.  Frodo smiled through the tears and stepped back.

"I'm just happy Bilbo"

"As am I Lad now where are your…Bilbo stopped realizing he was about to say parents, Um I mean Esme and Saradoc", he finished.

The slip was not lost on Frodo his eyes dimmed for a moment at the reminder of his too recent a loss.  But he put it aside and responded.  " I ran ahead, that's how I got so dirty", he said proudly.  "Can have a bath Bilbo? Before…they get here…I don't want Esme to think I was into mischief."

"Mischief?  Why Frodo Baggins it sounds as if you have been up to something over there in Buckland."  Bilbo laughed, as Frodo blushed crimson.  Of course the lad was up to something all lads were he just hoped it was nothing dangerous. 

"Come along now I have fresh cloths for you if you like and the bath is ready and waiting I thought you might be needing one.  I know you a bit to well Frodo."

Frodo stopped by the door of the room as Bilbo entered it.  He looked in wonder at the things there and then realized they were his things.  He stood paralyzed gaping in wonder it was perfect. 


Bilbo turned at the tone in "his child's" voice.  Concern etched into his face.

 "What is it Frodo? Don't you like it?"

Frodo was unable to say what he thought, he felt like he was home. Better than home for this place held only happy memories.  Tears streamed down his face unchecked again. 

"All this is for me?" he stammered

"Yes Frodo this is your room I promised you here at Bag End.  It will always be yours as long as you like."  Bilbo smiled trying to gage Frodo's reaction.

Frodo walked quietly around the room touching things he remembered and noting new things that he wished to touch.  He was overcome by Bilbo's efforts and he did not know how to say what he thought so he just said, "It's perfect." He whispered under his breath, "I love you Bilbo."

Bilbo heard him and though he knew he was not meant to he responded.  " I love you too Lad." He beamed with joy as he realized this was the feeling he had been trying to name at the thought of Frodo.  It truly was love, he loved him he had always loved him and he always would.  He knelt before him and pulled Frodo into an embrace crushing him to his chest.  The dirt and tears mingled but it mattered little to Bilbo at that moment for he knew Frodo would always have his heart and a place in his home.