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Sharing Sam  by Celeritas

“He will have nightmares,” said Mr. Frodo.  After he had fully recovered from his spell he had taken to having an extended tea with the rest of the family and sitting with Rosie near the hearth when everyone else had finished.  And they talked, quietly, mostly about Sam, and Rosie knew that he was purposely trying to befriend her.  Normally she would have bristled at this, but he was so earnest and she knew he was doing this for Sam’s sake as much as his own so she tried her best not to mind.

It got easier over time.

In truth she was most grateful that he confirmed what she had already guessed the minute she saw Sam again last November: that, yes, his time Outside changed him, but it only served to make him more Sam than before.  Not that Mr. Frodo put it that way, but the sentiment was there all the same.

This was the first time he had spoken of any other changes.

“Well,” she said after a while, “I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised by that.  I took a few frights myself after some of the things you told me.”

He opened his mouth for the requisite apology, but she had gotten comfortable enough around him to silence him with her hand.  “Not that I’m complaining, of course.  I need to know these things and I’m very glad you told me.”

“Thank you,” he said quietly.  “In truth it’s not much to worry about—he gets them least out of all of us, and even then they’re not that bad.  I am able to deal with them easily enough, and usually he just needs the assurance that I am alive and well.”

“His dreams are of that?  No spiders, no foul beasts from the Wild World; just you getting hurt?”

“And himself unable to stop it,” said Frodo.

“That’s very like him,” said Rosie.

“It is.”

“Well, then, that’s not too hard to deal with, is it?  As long as you’re there to prove the dream is false, we shan’t have to worry.”

“And if I’m not?”

Rosie’s countenance fell; this possibility had not entered her mind.

“Surely you’re not going to want me around the first nights of your marriage?  And even after that, why, you’ll be the first to know about any dreams that he has, not I.  You should be prepared, Rose.”

“All right,” she said, slowly, “though you oughtn’t talk as if we’re already wed and moved into your home.  He still hasn’t said anything, you know.”

“He has been gone all month, Rosie.  Do you want him to ask by letter?”

She sighed.  “No, but I miss him something fierce, and all your plans aside you still don’t know the future.  I’ve been waiting on him for so long, it don’t feel right for you to act like you know it’s going to happen.”

“I am sorry, Rose.  I did not mean to unnerve you with my talk, but I do not know when we’ll get another chance to speak about this.  But I do know he will marry you, because I know Sam, and I know… things.  Just trust me on this.”

“All right,” said Rosie, though she did not thoroughly trust him, much less understand how he knew as much as he claimed.  “What should I do?”

“Nothing,” said Mr. Frodo.  “Just be aware that they will happen, and then comfort him when they do.”

“He hasn’t had any dreams while he was here, has he?  Or back home, with his Gaffer?  Or even while he’s been off planting trees, all alone in a strange place with no one to help him?”

Frodo smiled.  “I am sure he is too busy to think on what happened to him beyond the Bounds, even in dreams.  And he is not alone in his travels; you know that.”

“Yes, but it’s no one that knows him, or knows him well enough to help.”

“Ah.  Still, I do not think Sam has had any nightmares, abroad or at his home.”

Rosie looked up at this; she had the suspicion that he was leaving something out.  “And when he was staying here?”

Frodo swallowed.  “He had one.  It was minor, and since my room was next to his I was able to help.”

“Well, it’s very good that you have rooms next to each other, though I’d feel better if you had chose the ones near—”  She broke off, suddenly realizing exactly why Mr. Frodo was sleeping so far away from the family.  “And what of your own dreams, sir?”

A guarded look came into his eye.  “What of them?”

“If everything happens as you see it I’ll be sharing a home with you, too, not just Sam.  You know if you try and get away with sleeping out of earshot Sam’ll have your head just as much as I will.  So, as you say, you may as well tell me about them now while we have the chance.”

“You needn’t trouble yourself with such things, Rose.”

“Needn’t I?  What if Sam’s gone on another one of his forestry trips?”

“I meant to spare you the difficulty of—”

“Of what?  Of worrying about what you’re suffering from your Adventures, but never knowing for certain because you’re too stubborn to tell?  Or did you think I’d be thick enough as to think you’d have gone through all you did and still sleep easy every night?”  She stopped, breathing heavily, and the colour rose into her face as she only now remembered her station.  But the mulish look did not leave her eye.

From the next room Mrs. Cotton poked her head in, having heard the raised voices.  Frodo lifted his hand.  “All is well,” he said.  Turning to Rosie, he smiled and said, “I’m beginning to see why Sam picked you.  You’re as incorrigible as he is.”

“So will you tell me?”

“It’s only fair.”  He sighed.  “What do you want to know?”

“Did you pick your room so you wouldn’t worry us with your dreams?”

“Well, Sam did most of the talking to your father, but yes.”

“So he went along with it, too?”

“This was before New Row, my dear.  It made sense at the time, since we both knew what the other had been through, and there’s little that’s more stifling than waking up to a whole brood of hobbits trying to make you feel better without understanding how.”

“But you’ve had dreams when Sam is gone, and no one to help?”

“Yes.  And I’d rather keep it that way.”

“Well, you aren’t.  Too many is better than none at all.  I’ll talk to Mum and Dad and we’ll move you somewhere closer.”  She rose from her chair.

“Rosie, no!”  He stayed her, placing his hand on her arm.


“Don’t you dare subject me to that!  They don’t understand at all; you hardly understand—”

“Then how am I supposed to manage with Sam?”

Mr. Frodo buried his head in his hands, though it didn’t work quite as well as it ought for she could see one of his eyes peeping out from where his third finger was supposed to be.  For a few moments he looked heartbreakingly weak.  “I told you, he’s had the easiest time of it.  And you two are so very much in love that I’m sure your mere touch will soothe him.  But I?  There’s nothing you can do for me, Rose, as much as I appreciate the thought.  It’s best just to leave things as they are.”

Rosie sighed and sat back down heavily.  “I can’t not try, Mr. Frodo.  You’ve had such a trying time it’d move a stone to pity, and besides all that you’re very dear to Sam and I owe it to him to see that you’re well.  Stay in your room, but let me sit with you at night.  At any rate it’ll give me an idea of what Sam’s will be like.”

A smile twitched at the corners of his lips.  “That’s not very proper, Rosie.”

“You said you don’t hold much with propriety, Mr. Frodo.”

“When my own reputation is at stake, perhaps not.  But when a young lady’s is, one should err on the side of caution.”

“It’s not erring when someone’s hurting,” Rosie persisted.

“It would be nice if things worked that way, wouldn’t it?  But I am afraid they don’t.  Best not to worry about it—Sam will be back soon anyhow, and Bag End is almost restored to its former glory.  I shall be out of your care very soon.”

“Very well,” said Rosie, but she only said it to keep him quiet.  That night after all were abed she slipped from her own room to the one Sam used when he stayed, and slept there.  And if she wondered why she was being so kind to the fellow who had taken Sam from her for over a year she put such thoughts out of her mind and reminded herself of how much Sam loved him.


*  *  *

Five nights later she was almost beginning to wonder if Mr. Frodo had exaggerated the dreams when she was awakened by a soft cry from next door.  Swiftly she pulled her skirt and bodice on over her nightshift (after reflection she did agree with Mr. Frodo about propriety), and hurried into his room.

The moon’s light fell through the window to his bed, and her breath hitched at the sight of what she saw.  He had half kicked off his blankets, which were now twisted round his feet, and his knees were hugged up against his chest.  He was scrabbling at something under his nightshirt, but she could see something glisten on his cheek and all the while he was frantically murmuring, “Please, don’t let me take it, Sam, please, help me, I can’t stop it, don’t let me, Sam…”

For a moment she stood there watching him, unsure of what to do, but since standing there and doing nothing was impossible she rushed in and knelt next to him on the bed.  Laying her hand on his shoulder, she said, “It’s all right, Mr. Frodo,” but he did not wake.  He found her hand and clutched at it, saying, “Hold my hand, Sam,” but his other arm was still questing for what she realised was that horrid Ring.  With her other arm Rosie lifted him up and held him to her, as a mother would a child, and placed his free hand atop the other.

His breathing slowed as she stroked his hair, assuring him that it was only a dream and everything was quite all right now, until at last his grip on her hand loosened and he woke.  Slowly he turned to face her, haggard and tearstained, and when he realised who she was he wilted.

Before he could turn away, though, she caught him up in her arms again and held him tightly.  “I said I couldn’t not try, Mr. Frodo,” she said.  “I may not be your Sam but I can do what he would for while he’s gone.”

And it took him a little while, but eventually he wept into her shoulder, so bitterly that tears welled up in her own eyes even as she held him.

When he was done she let go of him, and he sat apart from her and drew from his neck a chain, on which was a white jewel of surpassing beauty.  He placed his hand on it, almost unthinking, and dried his eyes.

“Thank you, Rose,” he said after a while.  “Don’t worry about Sam’s nightmares.  You’ll do just fine.”


*  *  *

They spoke nothing of the incident the next day, except when Frodo apologised, briefly, for losing his composure and having had her see him like that.  Rosie would have none of it, as he had expected, but it still needed to be said.

In truth he was not as troubled by the fact that she had seen him in his weakness as he had expected.  After all, she did have the right of it—if she was going to move into Bag End as he had planned, she was going to have to deal with the scars of his wounds.  He hoped that everything would get easier after the twenty-fifth.

No, that was not what troubled him.  What troubled him was what he saw just afterwards, as he touched the Lady’s gift and saw Rosie, tears in her eyes and an almost apologetic smile on her face.

It was just a brief vision, so frustratingly short and vague that he did not know whether to call this new change that was wreaking itself on him a blessing or a curse.  She was holding Sam, much as she had held him, but tears were streaming down her face and Sam was sobbing so piteously that Frodo could not remember a time when he had been this grieved—not even when his own mother had died.

And he knew, somewhere, he knew the reason for all of this, but it was so obvious he could not see it, as if there were a forgotten veil over his eyes, clouding his vision and hiding him off from the rest of the world.  The more he sought it, the more it eluded him, until he finally put the matter from his mind lest it drag him into melancholy.  After all, Sam would be back soon, and his cousins would be here to take him fishing, and though he thought that Sam’s bride was beginning to understand him there was still so much she needed to know.

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