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Mellon by Antane

Author: Antane
Title: Mellon
Rating: G
Elements: Shirebound wanted a AU story about an orphaned Frodo working for the Gamgees. I hope you enjoy!
Word Count: 2,643

Bilbo looked at his young nephew in the small bedroom at Brandy Hall that Frodo was given after his parents drowned so tragically. Sitting on the shelf were several books that Bilbo had given as birthday gifts, as well as a journal and a few writing sticks. On the floor there was a trunk for the lad’s clothes. A stuffed bear named Beorn sat on the bed. A few other memories from home were scattered about, but the elders Baggins knew that room was not home to Frodo, who looked lost and bereft and trying so hard to keep back tears. Bilbo came and wrapped his beloved in his arms and stroked soft curls while murmuring comforts. Frodo held on as if his life depended on it and wept his heart out.

Bilbo’s heart broke. It was turning out to be a harsh winter and too cold to play outside, even if the lad had had the heart to do so. The old hobbit remembered other joyous times Frodo had spent making snow hobbits, having snowball fights and catching flakes on his tongue. He remembered the forts built that Frodo had told his father were actually strongholds from the Elvish stories Bilbo told him about. Drogo always smiled and played along though the stories meant little to him. Bilbo wondered if Frodo would do anything of that sort again. He had visited as often as he could and made sure he was there at Yule, which was cheerless for the lad, despite the crackling of the Yule log and plenty of nog to go around that had been always Frodo’s favorite part of the season. Something had to be done. The boy was too idle being cooped up inside. He needed something to distract himself from the burden of his grief and away from the bustle of the Hall that swirled around him. Saradoc and Esme had done much to make Frodo feel at home, but the lad was still painfully aware of how unique he was in being an orphan and the whispers that always silenced soon but not soon enough when he was near.

“What would you say, my lad, if you came to stay with me for a little while?” the old hobbit asked when the sobs subsided. His boy - funny, how he had always thought of Frodo as his, almost the son he never had - needed to be surrounded by something other than sorrowful glances all the time and murmurs of how terrible it was that his parents had died.

Frodo looked up with a mixture of hope and longing. “Could I, Uncle?”

Bilbo wiped the last of the tears away and smiled. “It could be arranged. My neighbors, the Gamgees, had a new lad born just this last spring and I think maybe they could use another hand around the house. Do you think you would like that? They haven’t asked me, but I could persuade them to take you.”

“What would I do there? Would I stay with you or them?”

Bilbo smiled. “You could stay with me. As to what to do, I’m sure Bell, that is Mrs. Gamgee, would have plenty to keep you accompanied.”

“I like babies,” Frodo said. “Do you think she would let me take care of him? What’s his name?”

“Samwise.”

“When could we go, Uncle?”

Bilbo smiled again. His lad was showing the most spirit he had since the terrible loss. “I’ll talk to Saradoc and Esme and propose my plan. I don’t think they would mind if I took you for a little bit.”

Frodo’s lips quirked. It was not quite a smile, but for a moment the pain seemed a shade less and that was all Bilbo needed to see.

Two weeks later in a lightly falling snow, the twelve-year lad looked from the cart at his new home. In his arms, he held Beorn and slung over his shoulder was his pack of books and clothes. Nearly all he owns in the world, Bilbo thought sadly as he alighted from the cart and held out his hand for Frodo to do so.

“Let’s get something for elevenses, my lad, then I can show you around. After lunch, we can go over to Number Three. As I expected, an extra hand will be welcome there.”

Frodo ate slowly, but showed a little more appetite than he had since his parents died. He then walked quietly around the smial, as though seeing it for the first time. He had stayed before on short visits with da and mum, and once overnight on his own, but this was different. Bilbo let him take his time. The lad stopped at the threshold of the room he had slept in previously and looked up at his uncle.

“Do you like it, my lad? If not, you can use of the other rooms. I want you to feel at home here.”

Frodo stepped in cautiously. “It’s lovely, Uncle. Thank you.”

He put his books on the table and fingered the desk he had sat at before where Bilbo had taught him his first words in Sindarin and he had proudly showed his parents his name written in that language. Drogo and Primula had smiled and hugged and told him how beautiful it was. Frodo sat down on the bed. He still looked rather lost, but perhaps a little less than he had in Brandy Hall.

“Would you like to take a little nap before lunch?” Bilbo asked.

“Yes, Uncle, if that would be all right.”

Bilbo smiled. “I’ll call you when I’ve got it all ready. I’ll prepare you an extra serving of mushrooms.”

“Thank you, Uncle,” the lad said, then he laid down and with Beorn firmly in his arms, he fell asleep.

After lunch, they came to the Gamgee’s and Bell answered the door. “Bell, I have the distinct pleasure of presenting to you this most special lad, Frodo Baggins.”

Frodo bowed. “It is very nice to meet you, Mrs. Gamgee.”

Bell smiled even as she ached for the hollowness in the lad’s voice and eyes. “It is very nice to meet you as well, Master Frodo. Bilbo has told me much about you. Would you please come in?”

Frodo looked a moment at Bilbo who smiled encouragingly, then the lad stepped over the threshold and into a new life.

There were many things to do and much of it, Frodo volunteered to do after he had gotten more comfortable with the family. He helped with the shoveling, washed dishes, and folded laundry. He swept floors and helped at times with the making of meals. Bell praised him and received the reward of a few watery smiles that gave the promise one day of reaching his eyes. Bell knew she could never replace the mum the lad had lost, but was glad to be some sort of mother to him.

Frodo’s favorite thing to do was taking care of the baby, which he had started doing on his own from the first day after hearing him crying. There was no one in the room at the moment and Frodo came to stand by the babe’s cradle. He tried rocking but that didn’t calm the little lad. Then he did what he had seen mums at Brandy Hall do. He picked the babe up, held him, stroked his back and murmured what he could remember hearing in the Hall. The babe calmed somewhat after that but not completely. Inspiration hit Frodo then and he began to sign softly an Elvish lullaby that his mother used to sing to him that Bilbo had taught her. Though Primula had not understood the words, she knew how much her son loved Elves. The little lad stopped his crying and settled back sleep against Frodo’s shoulder. At that moment, Frodo looked up and saw Bell standing at the door.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Gamgee, but he sounded like he needed someone to hold him.”

Bell smiled. “He did indeed. Thank you, Master Frodo. Did anyone ever tell you what a beautiful voice you have?”

The lad blushed. “My mum used to sing that to me. I thought I would try it and see if Samwise liked it as much as I did.”

From then on, Frodo was the one that Sam’s sisters would go to when they could not calm their little brother. They didn’t understand a word he sang, but they could not deny the pacifying effect it had on the babe when nothing else would work. The bond between the two elicited the first true smiles from Frodo that anyone had seen since the death of his parents. Bilbo and Bell were both heartened to see those and the Gamgee lasses giggled. They were already quite taken with the lad and both Bilbo and Bell secretly wondered if sometimes they tormented their brother just to get him to cry so they could Frodo sing.

The short visit Bilbo had originally proposed to Esme and Saradoc grew to months. Bilbo wrote often of how Frodo thrived in the new environment and with the blessing of his Brandybuck relations, it was made permanent. Grief slowly lost its hold on the young Baggins while he threw himself into helping the Gaffer tend to Bag End’s garden and keeping watch over young Sam.

Most nights Frodo went back home to Bag End, but some evenings Bell found him asleep in the rocking chair that was in the nursery with Sam sleeping against his chest. She did not have the heart to move either of them. It was these times especially that she was struck by a curious sight in which there seemed to be a soft glow around the two, as if of moonlight, but there was no window for it to shine through.

Working in the garden was Frodo’s second favorite thing. It was hard work but the lad liked it and being outside in the air was good for him. As new life sprouted out of the garden, it also began to return to the lad. The first time Bell heard him laugh she rejoiced jsut as much as she would have if he were her own son. Bilbo celebrated such a marvelous achievement with much the same feeling.

Time passed and the laughs grew more frequent. If Frodo was not in the garden or doing other chores inside, he was in the nursery, from which the most laughs came.

When Frodo was fourteen, he knelt down beside Bilbo and outstretched his arms to the fauntling toddling toward him on unsteady legs. “Come on, my Sam,” the lad encouraged with a wide smile. “You can do it. I know you can.”

The small child, barely more than two and just learning to master the art of walking on his own, looked up at his friend with a bright smile. He crossed the space between his mother’s arms and Frodo’s in a half-walk, half-stumble and ended with falling into his friend’s arms.

Frodo gathered him up with a laugh that sounded like sunshine and gave him a quick kiss to the head. “See, my Sam, I knew you could it!” he enthused. “I’m so proud of you!”

The child beamed up at him and giggled. Frodo stood, took Sam’s hand in his and the two walked away together, staring adoringly into each other’s eyes.

Bilbo chuckled. “It’s so good, Bell, to see Frodo smiling again, even laughing,” he remarked as they watched them leave and start a circuit around Bag End’s garden. “It was so hard to see him suffer after his parents died, but Samwise always gets him to smile. I am glad you were able to give him a place in your home for him to learn to do that again.”

Bell smiled. “I'm that glad as well, Mr. Bilbo. I daresay the lads have found life-long friends in each other.”

“I hope so, Bell, I truly do. Frodo needs someone like that in his life, some anchor, someone who will never abandon him.”

“Well, Samwise adores him and no mistake.”

“And Frodo returns it full fold, that much is obvious.” Bilbo sighed happily. “I’m glad, Bell, very glad. He was so lonely at the Hall. He needs someone to lavish all his love on and he has so much to give, so very much.”

“He loves you, too, Mr. Bilbo,” Bell said. “I can see it in the way his eyes shine when he’s looking at you.”

The old hobbit smiled. “And I love him most, Bell, out of all my myriad relations. I thought from the beginning that he needs some time away from the pitying looks and murmurs that came after such a tragic loss. With that warren so bustling, I think Frodo was almost getting lost there, but he also stood out too much, as someone everyone felt sorry for but didn’t quite know how to help. You and Hamfast have helped him tremendously to live again.”

“And I know Samwise benefits from the time Frodo spends here too,” Bell said. “Would you believe the child’s first word was Mr. Frodo’s name?”

Bilbo laughed. “Was it indeed? Well, well.”

They watched as the two returned from their walk. The fauntling was being carried on his beloved friend’s shoulders. He giggled as he covered Frodo’s eyes as they stopped in front of Bilbo and Bell, their faces shining.

“Well, my boy, did you have a good walk?” Bilbo asked.

“Yes, Uncle, we did. Didn’t we, my Sam?” he asked his friend as he reached up and gently put him down on the ground. Sam enthusiastically nodded.

“I was just told Samwise’s first word was your name,” Bilbo informed his nephew with a smile.

Frodo looked astonished, then he laughed and looked down at his friend who beamed up at him, loving the sound of that laugh. “Truly, Sam?”

The child nodded even more vigorously.

“I’m very honored. Can you say it again?”

“Fro-o,” Sam said proudly, then he added, “Mellon.”

“That’s very good, Sam!” Frodo praised with a wide smile and the child’s face lit up as bright as the sun.

“I think you’ve found the brother you’ve always wanted, my boy,” Bilbo said with a smile.

Frodo beamed. “Yes, Uncle, I have. Would you like to be my gawdor, Sam? That means brother.”

This drew the biggest nod from Sam and a tight grasp of Frodo’s hand.

So it was. The two remained inseparable and it seemed increasingly to Bell and Bilbo that Sam took care of Frodo just as much as Frodo took care of Sam. The elder lad took his heart’s brother out in the warm summer nights and pointed out the stars and told stories about how they had come into being and all manner of stories about Elves. Sometimes he sang under the stars and as he matured in beauty, the windows of Number Three would be wide open for the Gamgee lasses to listen and sigh and dream.

When Sam got old enough to help a little in the garden himself, Frodo was at his side, explaining the name of each flower and plant and how best to take care of each one. He pointed out which were weeds and how to remove those. Sam listened very carefully and followed each thing Frodo said until the lad, as the young age of ten, was well on his way to becoming a gardener himself.

"This is just what Frodo needed," Bilbo said with a large smile as he and Bell watched the two busy in the garden one day. "I'm so glad that you and Hamfast were able to take him in."

"I'm that happy as well, Mr. Bilbo. He and Sam are a perfect match."

"That they are, Bell, that they are, now and for always."

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
dreamflower02
May. 16th, 2012 06:12 pm (UTC)
This is very sweet!
antane
May. 18th, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you, my dear! I have an art to send you for the May challenge that I got from that friend I told you about a few months ago. She's not on LJ so I asked her to send it to me and I'm going to see about posting it myself (crediting her). Haven't done this before so we'll see what happens!

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
engarian
May. 16th, 2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
How delightful to see the early relationship between these two lifelong friends.

- Erulisse (one L)
antane
May. 18th, 2012 06:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed!

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
blslarner
May. 16th, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
The idea that these were brothers of the heart from so early an age is delightful!
antane
May. 18th, 2012 06:18 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it, my dear Larner!

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
shirebound
May. 17th, 2012 12:02 am (UTC)
What an awesome use of the bunny! I just love this. I had some ideas for this bunny, but yours is better than anything I came up with.
antane
May. 18th, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, my dear! I wondered if you had wanted more washing and cleaning and that sort. As the muse wasn't too cooperative there, I was hoping you would not be disappointed there but I knew you would love the other stuff. :) So glad you approve! *hugs*

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
mrowe
May. 18th, 2012 12:05 pm (UTC)
A very sweet little tale:-)
antane
May. 18th, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
livejournal
May. 18th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
Volume 93/Issue 8
User caras_galadhon referenced to your post from Volume 93/Issue 8 saying: [...] - Elfhelm takes a message to Gondor. Mellon by Antane [...]
alfirineth
May. 19th, 2012 05:09 am (UTC)
What a delightful AU story. I really liked your take on service helping someone through a difficult time. It really is so true to life. :)
antane
May. 19th, 2012 08:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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