Young Frodo

by Overlithe

Chapter 41

He slept the rest of the trip to Hobbiton.  The Gaffer pondered as the miles wore on.  He glanced now and again at the young hobbit next to him.  He shook his head in wonder.  A nice enough lad he thought to himself, though a bit strange.  He was a dreamer, he recognized it; he had been around long enough to know one when he saw one.
Mr. Bilbo Baggins was the same though of course he did not know him as a lad.  It was that bothersome Took and Brandybuck blood, he thought to himself, which caused all the problems.  The blood just wouldn't let them settle into the quiet life expected of a gentlehobbit.  True enough, many Tooks and Brandybucks had settled down, sure enough.  But if one took a fit it was usually attributed to "their Blood".

He sighed thinking fondly of all his children. Growing like weeds they were; especially his Sam.  He was the apple of his eye, only a sprout as it was, but promising to be as stubborn as his old gaffer.  He smiled, as he thought of him grown and strong, taking over his role as the gardener of Bag End.  Servant to…He paused and looked again at the thin slip of a hobbit next to him; perhaps, he thought. He rolled the title around his mind, Frodo Baggins "Master of Bag End".  It fit somehow though he did not resemble master of anything.  No, he thought, that was not true; the lad had a way about him, no way around it.  He did not put himself forward, he was just there, no proof was required; he was a hobbit of exceptional quality.

When Bilbo confided in him he was uncomfortable.  Then Master Bilbo always treated him as such, asking his opinion and advice.  Still he was surprised when he told him that he was going to adopt an heir.  He was even more surprised when he learned who that was to be.  Even the lad did not know the truth.  He would never betray the trust that Mr. Bilbo bestowed upon him.  But truth be known or not the small unassuming lad beside him would one day be his, and most likely his Sam's Master.

"Now don't go mixen with the doins of your betters".  How many times a day did he say that?  How many times a day did he need to remind himself of his own station.  It was not his place to judge Mr. Bilbo's decision, or to judge the little mite beside him.  His hand he found was absently rubbing the lads shoulder.  He was fond of him to be sure, ever since the day he saw him with his Samwise, he had been covered with muddy handprints.  It was a fact; the Gaffer demanded he and his family pay strict attention to their "place".  Yet he found that those who ignored their place and respected him; he respected all the more.  It was an odd double standard and it had begun to blur his views. 

Frodo stirred on the seat next to him.  He moved to sit up and the Gaffer released his hold on his shoulder.  He lingered a moment and then ruffled the lads hair, making the unruly mess more tangled.  Frodo looked up at him with eyes still blurred from sleep and smiled softly.  It was close to Suppertime and Frodo looked ahead and saw that they were nearing "The Hill".  The Gaffer saw his recognition and smiled back, "I was just getting set to wake you young master; we are home."  The Gaffer blushed slightly at his familiarity and realized he had just slipped a bit.  The lad was not home, not yet anyways.  Someday however it would be true and Frodo Baggins would be home here in Hobbiton, on the Hill …The Master of Bag End.

Chapter 42

Bilbo heard the racket outside and knew.  Frodo always created quite a stir when he arrived.  He heard the slam of the gate, and the high clear voice of his beloved nephew.

"Bilbo, Bilbo!"  The creak of the door and his name called again.  "Bilbo, I'm here!"  The excitement was plain to hear in his dear voice.  It had been months since Frodo had visited Bag End and Bilbo had missed him terribly.  He had seen him for a short time when little Meriadoc had been born.

 Since that time he had not heard from him.  He had first felt saddened and hesitated to write to the lad.  But eventually his need to see him had won out; it was not what he had expected.

 Frodo had missed him, he was just being a lad and being busy with his new cousin, time had just sped past him.  Bilbo had entertained strange thoughts for a bit, he feared the loss of Frodo's love and attention.  When he saw him he knew he had been a fool.

Frodo had more than enough room in his heart for everyone he loved.  He knew it was true, wondered why he had ever doubted it.

"Frodo, my lad!"  Bilbo returned the tight embrace he found himself captured in. "I've missed you my boy"!  Tears threatened and Bilbo composed himself, he coughed and diverted Frodo's attention.  "So tell me of your new cousin! How is he, and how are the proud parents?"

Frodo beamed, Merry was still his favorite subject.  "He is so big already Bilbo, I didn't know babies grew so fast."  He likes me; I play with him and keep him quiet.  I sing to him sometimes, he likes that.  He is a funny lad, my Merry."

"That's wonderful Frodo, I am sure he loves you very much."  Frodo blushed at Bilbo's comment, "I guess so."

"Bilbo? What are we going to do this visit?  Merry is fun but I want to learn some more things. I want to learn as much as I can, so I can teach Merry later." And, Little Samwise Gamgee, do you think the gaffer would let me teach him his letters?"

Bilbo was grinning, Frodo was all energy and ready and willing to learn. He was now the most apt of pupils; he had a reason to learn a goal to reach.  His nephew would indeed one day be a formidable Hobbit and a perfect heir. He knew he was lucky to have chosen such a one; to even know Frodo was a treat. 

The years were passing too slowly for Bilbo; he waited for the day when Frodo would be home at Bag End. Yet he waited, one day it would be, he would know when the time was right.