Title: A Love Letter
Rating: G (mostly fluff, some angst)
Summary: This is set within my “Last Wish” AU in which Frodo descends into a gentle madness after an October 6th illness and reverts to a innocent, joyful child-like state. He retains all his memories from the Quest, but does not know they truly belong to him. If you would like to read more of these stories, go here, here and here. This is, as are all my stories, slash-free.
Word Count: 2384
There were many changes to Frodo and Sam’s life after the illness that had claimed the elder Ring-bearer’s sanity, but there was one thing that had not. Frodo still loved to read, either sitting alone in the study for hours, pouring over Bilbo’s old books, or reading out loud to Sam while his guardian worked in the garden, or being read to by Sam before sleep. So the gardener was not surprised to see his beloved master-brother-child curled up with another tome one grey morning. Each time he checked on him, Frodo was so engrossed in the tale, he didn’t even seem to notice his Sam looking in on him. Only reluctantly did he come away for lunch, and rushed back afterward with a quick hug and thanks to his guardian for the meal, telling him he had found “a splendid tale” and wanted to keep reading. Sam kissed his head and smiled and let his treasure disappear again for several more hours, as he wondered which tale had been found.
When near to dinner, he checked again, he found his answer.
“Oh, Sam! See what I’ve found?” Frodo said happily, holding up the volume that had him so in thrall. “I haven’t read this one before and it has all our names in it, isn’t that curious? I wonder who wrote it? It’s full of all sorts of dangers, but wonderful things too, like Elves!”
Sam was surprised to what it was. He had put aside the book that his master had been writing of their adventure on a higher shelf than he thought the elder hobbit could reach. It had not been finished by the time of Frodo’s last illness and Sam had thought perhap reading from it would upset the child the elder Ring-bearer now was.
The gardener smiled down at his beloved’s beaming face. “Well, that’s one of the best parts, isn’t it, dear?”
“Yes, but my favorite parts are the ones that have your name in them.”
“And I like the parts that have your name in them,” Sam said. “Those are my favorite parts. And Rosie too.”
“Rosie’s in this, too? I haven’t got that far. Do you mean you’ve read this already? I’m glad it’s only a tale because it would be rather frightful to have actually happened. I wonder if Bilbo wrote it after we were so wanting to have an adventure of our own and he made this up for us. I don’t remember reading it before, but maybe I just don’t remember for it has a lot of things that I have dreamed about like the pale king and that ring that was so pretty, and walking and talking trees. That’s what really made me think it was just a tale because who ever heard of such an odd thing as that and it’s just like something Bilbo would have made up. He must have read it to us a long time ago because how else could I have dreamed of so much of it?”
“The world is full of odd and marvelous and terrible things, me dear,” Sam said, not quite sure what else to say.
Frodo’s face brightened even more. “Oh, Sam, do you think we can go and see some of them, one day? At least the marvelous things. I wouldn’t want to see that spider I just read about. But it’s still one of my favorite parts because of how brave you were, my Sam, attacking that huge thing all by yourself. I was so proud of you! I’m rather disappointed a bit in what Bilbo made me to be. All I did was hold out a light to it. You were much braver.”
“Have you read it all up to that point?” Sam wondered. “Then you’ll know how brave you were already, dearest, the most famousest of all hobbits.”
Frodo considered that for a moment. “You are still much better, though I did like that part at the river when I told those terrible Riders to go back to Mordor. At least Bilbo wrote some nice scenes for me, but the ones with you are better. I love those! I can’t wait to read more.”
Sam smiled and kissed his treasure’s head. “You can read more tomorrow if you’d like, dear. Dinner’s almost ready.”
Frodo looked up at his beloved guardian. “Do I have to wait until tomorrow, Sam? It’s so exciting right now. I don’t think I could sleep without knowing what is going to happen. It’s almost as good as the tale of Beren One-hand.”
“And you’ll remember how that gave you bad dreams.”
“Yes, it was terribly scary and sad, but then you came and read to me how it ended and then I was able to sleep again. I don’t think this tale could get worse after that horrible spider. Please, Sam?”
Sam looked at his child’s earnest eyes and never had he been able to resist them, and after all, Frodo was right. If any nightmares were to come, they would come from Shelob as they had already in times past, when the elder Ring-bearer had still been himself. The young hobbit knew also that Frodo was right on another count, for Sam would come to hold him if necessary.
“All right, dear, but no more than a few more pages.”
Frodo cheered and hugged his guardian. “Oh, thank you, Sam!”
He ate dinner so quickly that night both Sam and Rose wondered if he had tasted any of it. He wiped his mouth free of the ring of milk around it, thanked and hugged Rose for the meal, and then rushed back to the study. Sam shook his head as he hoped that what Frodo was about to read was not too frightening or sad for him.
A couple hours later, Sam went to the study to get his beloved ready for bed. Frodo’s tear-streaked face greeted him and he hugged him tight. “Oh, Sam, you thought I had died and you were so sad. I wonder why Bilbo wrote such a thing. I felt so bad for you. But then it got a little better and a little scarier because you found out I was alive but taken by those horrid orcs and you had to rescue me. My brave Sam!”
“And now are you ready for bed, my brave Frodo?”
Frodo closed the book and slid off the chair. “Yes, Sam, but I have to read more tomorrow and find out how we’re going to get out of that Tower!”
The child washed his face, got into his nightshirt and crawled into bed. Before he got under the blankets, he hugged his Sam goodnight and Sam kissed him on the brow as he always did.
“I love you, me dear,” he said.
“I love you, too, my Sam, my wonderful Sam. You are the bestest hobbit ever!”
“As you are, wonderful Frodo mine.”
Frodo giggled. “We can’t both be the bestest, silly! And Bilbo has clearly written that you are.”
Sam smiled. “That don’t change the truth that you are, love.”
“Well, I know you are, and anyone who reads that tale, will know you are too.”
Frodo laid down on his bed and was soon asleep. Sam watched that beloved, softly glowing figure for a while, then retired to his and Rosie’s bed. As he half-expected, a cry roused him in the middle night, and he came to his master’s room. Frodo’s frightened face greeted him, tears glinting in the moonlight. He was clutching the side of his neck.
“Oh, Sam, I’m so sorry, but I was dreaming about that dreadful spider...”
Sam embraced him, kissed where the spider had bit, then wiped at his tears and stroked his curls. “It’s all right now, dear. She can’t hurt you nor me any more.”
“I know,” came Frodo’s muffled reply. “Because you fought her, my brave Sam.”
Sam kissed his treasure’s head. Frodo stopped trembling and settled more peacefully into his guardian’s arms, holding onto him tight. “I loved the part when you came in the Tower and held me and kissed me just like now. My brave, brave Sam.”
Frodo fell back asleep in those beloved arms, just as he had in the Tower and just as happily, Sam held him, glad he could much longer than before, resting in the peaceful Shire night.
Over the next several days, Frodo read the tale. “It doesn’t seem quite finished. I wonder why Bilbo left it that way.”
“Good tales never end, me dear,” Sam said.
“I’m going to read it again just so I can read all the parts about you, my Sam. Those are my favorites and I’m not going to be scared anymore because I know what’s going to happen this time.”
Sam smiled at that bright face, loving it as always and the shining spirit behind it. He mourned a bit as he most times did also that his master had been so tormented by what he now thought was just a tale that he had gone away into a world that could not hurt him as the one he had lived in did. But he could never mourn long. The Frodo who had been broken had been replaced by a child no less dear and Sam could not grieve for that.
As that child turned the book over to start again, a single loose sheet fell loose. He picked it up and read it, then handed it to Sam.
“This is for you, Sam. Whoever wrote it was very sad. I wonder who it was?”
Sam opened the note curiously and began to read.
My dearest Sam, I wanted to finish this before I shatter altogether, but it’s hard, so hard, to stop that and I fear I will be too late. Bilbo wanted me to write this tale for him, but I wanted it as a long letter for the whole Shire and anyone else who would heed it, so they would know how much I love you all. My life has been made so full because of the joy you have all given me. In my darkest nights, I hold onto that and it is a light to me when all others go out, far more than the Lady’s glass was, and you, my Sam, burn the brightest.
I know you wonder why I stay up late so many nights when you come to coax me to bed, and even though I am exhausted, I say I just want to write a little more, just a little more. You look at me and I can see in your heart you want to insist I come away, but you don’t say anything. Sometimes you just kiss my head and leave, but most times you stay and hold me or stand at the threshold and won’t leave until I do.
Do you know why you don’t say anything, why you don’t take the quill out of my head and tell me that I don’t have to do it all in one night, that there will be plenty of time to finish it? I wonder if you do. I cannot bear to tell you, but sometimes I think you know or fear you do, in the way you look at me, so sad, so loving. I fear all you see is my torment, and that is another pain I wish I need not cause you, but I hope you see love also. I know too many times we both see tears that neither of us shed. Those are the nights you hold me and I hold you and we use our arms to speak the words our lips do not. At times, at last, we do weep, yet still do not speak, just hold each other tighter, realizing the futility of words when our arms and hearts can say so much more than our lips ever could. You ground me to this world that I am leaving bit by bit, whether I will to or not, and that is why at times I will stop writing, just so you can hold me here and I can gain strength to hold on a little longer. It’s getting harder and harder to do that, yet you keep trying and so I do also.
I love you, my Sam, I love you so much that even if I would spend the rest of my life showing you, I never could even begin, and now there is so little time left, so little. I also know the spoken word cannot tell the depth of that love or of the pain that consumes me. It cannot last as long as the written word so I devote all my waning strength to celebrating my love for all of you this way, which will last long after we are all gone. Perhaps I could last longer if I slept as long as you would like me to, if I didn’t stay up long past the middle night, but I must keep going for the days are growing so short. There is a force stronger than your love that is drawing me away and more and more my dreams have filled with that pain and the emptiness that is devouring me. Nothing we endured on our quest has frightened me more than that. So I write of my love for you while I still can here and in the greater letter as long as I am given to do so.
Sam looked at the child who was earnestly looking at him. “Do you know who wrote it, Sam?”
Tears were bright in the gardener’s eyes as he gathered his beloved into his arms. “Yes, it was written by someone I love that much.”
Frodo hugged him back and looked up at his Sam. “As much as you love me and Rosie?”
Sam smiled through his tears, as sadly and tenderly as he ever did. “Yes, just as much.”
Frodo’s eyes widened. “That’s a lot!” He was silent for a moment as he thought about that. “I wondered what happened to him and who he was. He sounded very afraid he was going to die.”
“No,” Sam said softly as he kissed his treasure’s head, “he lives.”