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
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
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 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
"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 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.