Young Frodo

by Overlithe

Chapter 37

~*~*~*~*Frodo~*~*~*~1382 A long Awaited Friend

It was just after his 14th Birthday when Frodo noted the change.  Things were not quite the same at Brandy hall.  Saradoc and Esme had become quite secretive and Frodo had wondered for weeks what it was that had changed his guardians so. 

The secret did not keep for long however; and Frodo was thrilled.  They had kept it a secret from him as long as possible knowing he would have difficulty waiting for the appointed time to come.

Esmeralda was unable to hide her condition any longer; it was obvious that she was with child. The first indication that things would soon change was the refurbishing of the guest room.  Suddenly it was transformed to a nursery fit for the future "Masters" child.  And Frodo realized he would have a new cousin. Finally there would be someone to pass the time with; someone to make mischief with and someone to teach all of his tricks to. 

The day they finally told Him he could not at first believe it.  He had always known they would have children of their own yet…He was happy for them but he felt a twinge of fear.  Would there still be room in their home and hearts for him?

Frodo was a bright lad and the thought merely crossed his mind in a fleeting way.  Esme and Saradoc had been part of his life since he could remember.  He did not think that one small babe would change all that. Frodo smiled to himself thinking how it would be with a baby in the hall.

Frodo also struggled with a memory.  It was a distant recollection of a dream he had when he was younger, before his parents had passed.  It was there, just out of his reach, something about a "merry lad".  He shrugged and went outside for a walk. 

It was a crisp early October morning and Frodo did not care to be indoors. Soon enough the weather would turn cold and miserable.  The forced confinement of winter lasted horribly long.  It was almost more than he could bear at times.  He walked along the trail toward the ferry and the river past the garden.  He whistled a happy tune as he walked along.  The news of his new cousin had brightened his day. The babe was to come in only 6 weeks or so… Perhaps this winter would not be so terrible after all. 

Frodo would count the days until the arrival…

Chapter 38

Time passed and Frodo watched with great interest as Esmeralda grew.  He was a bit frightened and wondered how "big" she would get.  He kept his worries to himself; he had many questions about the whole thing.  He somehow never got around to asking any of them.

The familiarity that he had always enjoyed with "his" Esme was suddenly different.  He loved her as he had since he was very small, yet he sensed it a change.  She was kind still as always but preoccupied.  Frodo knew things wouldn't be the same after the baby came.  How could it be?  He just hoped his little cousin would be a lad.

The time had come; the changes in the sounds of "home" alerted him.  Frodo sat in his bed knees pulled to his chest; he shivered against the early dawn cold. Esme was crying, he could hear her in the next room.  He wondered if it would take long to have a baby.  He was afraid to leave his room.  So he sat and thought of all he could teach his new little cousin and the fun they would have.

Journeys and adventures…  Frodo was thrust suddenly into a waking dream.  He saw him and knew him, his cousin Merry.  He had seen him once before and known he would be his cousin and dear friend.  The vision danced before his eyes revealing years and years of fun and mischief, trust and friendship, love and loyalty.  His heart was full of Merry already, even on this the day of his birth.

The squalls of the newborn brought him back to himself. And with a sudden jolt he was back in his room aware of the cries and the laughter.  He heard the door to his room moments later. It would be Saradoc to tell him the news.  He smiled and looked to the door.

"Frodo"!  Saradoc was bursting as he went to tell Frodo the news.  Frodo grinned eagerly waiting to hear the news he already knew.  "It's a lad, Frodo…Come and see your new little cousin."  He stopped and looked at Frodo for a moment and smiled at him.  You have to see him, come. 

Saradoc went on ahead leaving Frodo at the door alone.  He peeked shyly into the room.  Esmeralda sat up in her bed with a wrapped bundle in her arms.  Frodo caught her eye and stopped; She was never prettier, he thought.

Her face was flushed and she smiled softly as she looked on her newborn babe.  He would be the next Master of Buckland, an heir.  Frodo suddenly felt in awe of his little cousin; so much would be expected of him.  He was glad he was of no significance.  He was neither an heir or of any importance.  True he was part of the two largest families in the Shire but he was a Baggins not a Brandybuck and not a Took.  His life would be simple and uncomplicated.  He smiled as he walked forward for a look at him.

"It's a lad as you hoped Frodo." Esme said.  "He is lovely look."  Frodo tilted his head and reached to touch the little bundle.  His fingers brushed gently against the infant's cheek.  Frodo grinned as he turned his head opening his mouth.  " Hey, he bites"! Frodo said surprised.

"Not until he grows a tooth he doesn't Frodo," Saradoc laughed.  Frodo joined in the laughter as he watched the babe frown at the noise.  " He is funny, Esme."  Frodo continued looking at him and he opened his eyes.  Their eyes met and Frodo knew with out a doubt it was he.  This was his friend the one he had seen and dreamed of.  Their eyes locked for a moment and Frodo knew he would love him; would do anything for him.

"What's his name Esme?"  Frodo asked still staring at the bundle.

"Meriadoc", she replied quietly, in almost a whisper.

"Ah"… Frodo sighed,  "Hullo Merry".