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He’s become stronger during our voyage, my lad has. But his eyes—they’ve kept that patient pain I’ve seen in him only one other time, back when he was twenty-one and had despaired of ever being allowed to truly live, considering Menegilda’s treatment of him.
Only when the silver rain-curtain rolls back to reveal those glorious white shores do I begin to see life there in those beloved eyes. Only then do I see wonder—and hope—return to my Frodo.
I think he will stay with us now and accept healing at last, my dear, dear boy.
For Nancylea and Nimue for their birthdays.
“Do you know what I miss right now, Bilbo?”
Bilbo looked up from his letter to look across at his beloved Frodo, standing before the window, looking out at the gardens by which the house in which they dwelt had been built. It was the first time since they sailed west that Frodo had spoken of missing anything in Middle Earth.
“Snow and ice. Winter just doesn’t feel right as winter, you must realize, without the first snowball of the season.”
Then Livwen was there at the door, bearing a white kitten to keep them company. Frodo smiled. “My Snowball!”
Frodo was staring at the puddles left by the recent rain. Bilbo could see the half smile upon his beloved kinsman’s face. He’d often seen that half smile when Frodo was younger, but had seen nothing of it when he’d returned to Rivendell from Gondor or during the ride from the Shire to Mithlond.
Suddenly a small flock of birds alit around the nearest puddle, chirping and crowding together, dipping their beaks to drink, and bathing in it.
Frodo laughed merrily for the first time since they’d sailed West, and Bilbo smiled. His own dear lad was healing at last!
For Ansostuff for her birthday.
Who Wishes for Fountains?
Bilbo watched with satisfaction as Frodo danced in a circle, taking in the setting for the home in which Elrond and his beloved wife would dwell. A semicircle of cliff surrounded pool and meadow, with the house at the top of a hill looking across at the array of cataracts that poured down from the heights into the pool. A small river wound by its foot eastward toward the Sundering Sea.
“Who wishes for fountains,” Frodo demanded in joy, “when one has these to glory in, crafted by Aulë and Ulmo themselves, and decorated by the hand of Lady Yavanna?”
Speaking of Death Omens
“They say that crossing rivers is symbolic of dying,” Frodo said quietly, looking at the waterway that ran from the vale in which Elrond and his beloved Celebrían now made their home.
Bilbo snorted. “And we Hobbits of the Shire have always looked on the Sea as the same. Doesn’t make it so.”
Frodo was searching his older cousin’s eyes earnestly. “But I do feel as if indeed I died when I crossed the Anduin. And it took crossing the Sea to bring me back to life once more.”
And at that he smiled, that brilliant smile Bilbo so prized.
For Ansostuff for her birthday.
Bilbo and Frodo lazed beneath the trees that grew out over the lake before them. “A beautiful spot!” Bilbo declared.
Frodo smiled. “I think the most beautiful lake I’ve seen was the one lying between the Argonath and Tol Brandir, although I admit I was far too distracted to fully appreciate it then.”
“Did you swim in it?”
Laughing, Frodo answered, “Swim in it? No! But dear Sam almost drowned himself in it, trying to catch up when I started across it in one of the boats from Lórien! I never expected to have to save him as I did!”
Tears of Healing
Frodo’s expression was distant as he described his sojourn in the Fanes on the west side of the island. “Estë brought me back into my body, and Vána danced for me. Aulë gave me this--” indicating the mithril circlet he’d worn. “Yavanna fed me. The breath of Lord Manwë warmed me. Námo comforted me, and Vairë clothed me in these garments. And Lady Nienna….” He swallowed, began again. “She wept, cleansing me. I could properly weep again, and I wept with her, and I was cleansed inside and out. It was good to weep out all of the griefs….”
For the birthdays of TwentiethCenturyVole, Poppymuddyfoot, and Cookiefleck.
Promise to the Departing
Frodo sat by Bilbo’s bed, holding his hand. “I’ve found the Sea comforting. It bore me here to my healing, and has washed away my fears. Its rhythms sing peace to my spirit. Its colors delight me, and its bounty feeds me. I rejoice when it’s calm, and dance when it’s stirred by storms.
“One day I pray it will bear Sam here so I won’t continue the only mortal living within Valinor. Eru willing, I’ll tarry until he chooses whether or not to come. Then we will rejoin you.”
“Good!” breathed the old Hobbit, and smiling, released his spirit.
For Antane and I o r h a e l for their birthdays.
My Cup Runneth Over
Frodo stood over the place where Bilbo’s body had been laid to rest.
Oh, Bilbo—Sam has come at last! We must remain for a time that his healing may be complete, and I would show him some of the beauties of the island. But we will come to you—soon!
My heart is finally healed in full, and I swear that the cup of my joy is now filled to the rim! Yea, my cup is full, and when we are reunited with you then it will be running over!
And his fëa shone with his delight!
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