He was standing outside the parlour window. He hadn't meant
to listen. But it just sort of...happened. He had been walking by, strolling along and in no hurry. It was a beautiful day,
autumn and yet still early enough to shadow the hint of summer. He had stopped to pick up part of a flower bouquet he had
dropped, one of his favorites, a sprig of lavendar. His eyes, blue and sparkling in the sunlight, had somewhat brightened
in color in the last few minutes when he had started heading towards home. It was such a beautiful place, and he loved not
only the place but the people. He heard voices, and stopped despite himself. He smiled at hearing the voices, two of his favorite
people, and he knew who was in the room. Gandalf was on one of his rare visits, and he was of course talking to Bilbo in the
kitchen. They were having tea. At first the voices were soft, but stepping closer to the window Frodo began to hear much clearer
than he had before.
"...Yes Gandalf. It won't be long I don't think. The book is
coming along quite nicely, and I think that I will be able to leave sooner than I thought. I can hardly wait to get out of
the Shire, to finish it and be able to go along on adventures again. I'm just about quite ready to leave." "What about Frodo?
Will he be going with you?" "Frodo? Oh we'll see. If he's ready, then he might want to come along. But somehow, I don't think
he will be quite ready yet. No not yet. He still has so much to do here after all. I think he'll be just fine on his own.
He has so many friends here he may yet want to see, and I don't think that I would ever be coming back here."
Listening at the window, Frodo suddenly turned very pale. He
had to lean below the sill to keep himself upright. Was he hearing things? Bilbo leaving the Shire, and not bringing him along
too? He hadn't been with Bilbo for very long, only a few months in fact, but Frodo had felt very close to him since that time.
He had been there for everything, to share things and feelings that they both felt. His parents loss had been hard on them
both, and especially on Frodo. But Bilbo had been there with him through it all. He understood everything. Everything and
anything without having to try and pry it out of him. Frodo was always able to talk to Bilbo about things, even when he had
been little. His sparkling eyes and his carefree smile, always made it seem...easier somehow. So it had been quite natural
for Frodo to turn to Bilbo when his parents had died. He didn't ask Frodo to explain things, but waited for Frodo to always
speak first. And he made light of things exactly when Frodo needed him to.
So hearing this, was a shock. Perhaps Bilbo wasn't happy with
things. With him. Maybe he was too much of a burden to Bilbo he thought silently to himself. But before he could bring himself
to move, to get away, to run away, he felt a wave of nausea come over him. He felt dizzy, and the world started spinning faster
than it should have...
"What was that?" "What was what?" "A noise...I thought I heard
a noise. It came from outside." Gandalf looked quite confused, but he followed Bilbo when he got up from where he had been
sitting. They went outside, and Bilbo walked outside, looking. His eyes grew wide suddenly, and he rushed over to where Frodo
had been. The bouquet of flowers were scattered on the ground, and he was lying on the ground. His eyes were closed.
"Frodo?? Frodo can you hear me??" But there was no movement,
no recognition. Gandalf looked at Frodo quickly, and then said to Bilbo, "We'd best get him inside..." "Yes...right...of course...,"
said Bilbo distractedly. He wasn't really aware of much...of anything else aside from Frodo. He looked far too pale, and Bilbo
was especially worried..especially since he showed no signs of waking. Gandalf picked up Frodo gently, and brought him inside.
"Here...lay him here...," Bilbo said indicating the couch. So Gandalf layed Frodo on the couch, and bent down to look him
over. "Smelling salts Bilbo...quickly now..." "Yes...," said Bilbo quietly, looking at Frodo again before Gandalf had to touch
his arm to get him to go. Bilbo went and came back in an instant, but for him it was far too long. He brought back a cloth
he had dipped in water, thinking it might help also.
Gandalf opened the little bottle, and held it under Frodo's
nose. And at first there was no response at all. Gandalf's bushy brows furrowed a little, and he brought the bottle closer.
Another few moments, and finally Frodo took in a deep shuddering breath. And then his eyes fluttered open, but it took another
second or two for him to focus on what he saw. "Gandalf...?" "Yes Frodo...you gave us quite the fright you know...," said
Gandalf lightly. But Frodo felt the world spin again, and his eyes closed suddenly. "Frodo!," Bilbo shouted. Gandalf frowned,
and then brought the bottle back. But it took even longer for them to rouse him this time, when he fianlly coughed a little
and opened his eyes slowly. "What happened...?," came his voice weakly. "You fainted we think...twice! Are you allright?"
"I...I think so...just a little dizzy...and tired..." Gandalf smiled, much in relief, and touched his forehead. "A trifle
warm I think...perhaps that's it. I think it would be good for you to go to bed Frodo..." "Perhaps you're right Gandalf. But
don't worry...I'll bring you some tea right away Frodo..."
Gandalf picked up Frodo again, and brought him to his room.
Then he layed him down and gently put the covers over him. And Frodo felt warm and comforted...even as Gadalf patted his hand
and was about to leave. "Gandalf??," Frodo asked...thinking about the conversation he remembered. "Yes Frodo..?" But for some
reason he changed his mind about asking him then. He smiled and said, "I'm glad you're here...it's so wonderful to see you..."
Gandalf smiled and his dark eyes twinkled even without the sunlight on them. "I'm glad too Frodo. It's good to see you. Now
get some sleep if you can." "Do you have to go today Gandalf?," Frodo asked. "Yes, I have a quick errand to run. It can't
be helped unfortunately." "But...you'll come back won't you Gandalf??? Tomorrow????" "Yes Frodo, I promise I'll be back. Even
if only to check up on you to see how you are feeling. Now try and get some sleep won't you?" Frodo sighs in relief, wondering
if possible he could work up the courage to ask him if he could perhaps travel with him, since it's clear that Bilbo means
to abandon him. "Oh no...not yet...he needs some tea first...that'll help...," said Bilbo coming in with a tray with some
tea and a little food. Frodo feels betrayed and hurt, but doesn't know what he could do. He watches as Gandalf smiles and
leaves the room after saying goodbye to Bilbo. When Gandalf leaves, Bilbo turns to Frodo and smiles a little. "I guess perhaps
you've caught my flu after all...,hmmm?" he says quietly.
Frodo closes his eyes wearily, saying nothing, and thinking
how horrible it will be from now til the time came for Bilbo to go. He wished he hadn't overheard, because then he would have
enjoyed the time they had left. He opens his eyes again when Bilbo comes and sits on the bed next to him. He held the cup
for him, and Frodo did drink a little, but when Bilbo tried the food, Frodo grew quite upset over the whole thought of their
time left together. He thought it would be bitter, and he felt hurt and unloved. He refused to eat at all, pushing it away,
and saying resolutely, "I don't want anything....," Bilbo was concerned of course, and tried again, "Come on now Frodo, please
try some of this. You need your strength..." But Frodo was admant, turning over and saying just loud enough so that Bilbo
heard very clearly, "I don't want anything. Just go away. You don't care about me....I shouldn't have come here...," Bilbo
of course was quite shocked now, and if Frodo would have seen his face, he would have known it. But of course he didn't. "Now...Frodo...where
did this come from? I do care about you...you know that....," "No you don't! You're not my parents....you don't have to care
at all...," Frodo said quietly, still turned around with his eyes shut. Bilbo didn't know what to do. He had thought Frodo
was happy with him. He tried everything he could to make him believe that Bag End was where he belonged. That they both needed
each other. But this came out of nowhere. He was in shock, and hurt. Perhaps Frodo didn't care after all. He waited another
moment before he was able to speak, and then it was haltingly and almost silent. "No...I'm not...your parents. But...I do
care...so very much....Frodo...I thought...I thought you knew that...Frodo? I'll just....I'll just leave this....tea here
for you shall I?....I'll say goodnight then...Frodo...," he says, but there is only silence as Frodo has his eyes shut tightly,
trying to not believe and not to care.
He stays another moment, before turning around to walk out
of the room. He wants to get away, to try and figure out what to do, and what would be the best for Frodo. But he makes it
to the door before Frodo throws off the covers and jumps out of bed after him. He throws his arms around the older hobbit
and tears fall down his cheeks as he says, "No...don't go! Bilbo...I'm sorry...I'm sorry...I didn't mean it...I didn't mean
it! Please forgive me...," Bilbo sighs in relief, and tears fall down his cheeks silently. So he did care after all. "No...Frodo
it's all right...I know you didn't mean it...I know." But he grows very alarmed when he looks down and sees how very pale
Frodo has gotten. "Oh...Frodo...," he says, but when he does, Frodo's eyes fall shut and he falls into Bilbo's arms. But Bilbo
catches him, aware now that he finds it a little too easy to lift him and carry him back to the bed. He should have seen that
he hadn't been eating well. He should have known. His mother would have known long before of course. And Drogo as well! He
would have been able to tell right away! But Frodo always told Bilbo he was perfectly fine, and left the house to explore
the world outside. Mostly it was with Merry and Pippin and Fatty, who came often to show Frodo that he wasn't alone, but when
he was done with work he had to do, it was Sam also. Sam was able to tell at once what to say and what not to say...which
was not always true with the others.
Bilbo puts the covers back over Frodo, and tries to wake him
gently. He isn't aware of the passage of time. But at last Frodo's eyes flutter open, and in seeing Bilbo, he says with a
slight gasp, "I didn't mean it...I'm sorry...I'm sorry!" Bilbo smiles and takes his hand. "I know you didn't Frodo...it's
all right...I know...and I do love you Frodo...and I do care," Bilbo says with feeling. "You...you do? You mean...you do like
me?" Frodo asks quietly. "Of course I do Frodo! Why would you think I didn't like you? I love you Frodo. Why else do you think
I brought you here?" "And...you don't think I'm a...burden to you?," Frodo asks with a slight shiver, as his voice drops to
a whisper. Bilbo hugs him close, and almost swears that his fever rises. "Of course not...of course not and don't let anyone
tell you that. You are more dear to me than anyone else Frodo. You are like my very own...my dear boy...and perhaps if you
are feeling a bit better in a day or two, we can go and have a picnic somewhere..." "Really? Can Sam come too? He would love
the adventure of going I'm certain," Bilbo laughs slightly, and hugs Frodo a little tighter. "Of course, and his whole family
can come if they want to as well. We'll make a day of it if you like."
Bilbo smiled at him, thinking how very worried he had been
just a few moments ago when Frodo had lain in his faint. He realized just then how much Frodo had really meant to him. He
brought him joy, and youth and love, which was something he had not been able to get from anyone else in the Shire. But Frodo
knew always how to make him feel wonderful. He loved him, and that was all. But it felt like it was much more than that.
Bilbo bent over and kissed Frodo's cheek gently. He smiled
and drew back to make sure he was still doing okay. He was still too pale, but Bilbo thought it was because he was tired and
worn out. He looked at Frodo lovingly, and brushed his hand across his face. He was about to leave the room finally to let
Frodo have some sleep, but Frodo grabbed hold of his hand as he started to walk away. "Bilbo???" Bilbo smiles, and sits back
down next to Frodo. "Yes?" "Would you...would you...stay with me a while? Until I fall asleep?" "Of course Frodo," says Bilbo
with slight suprise. He knows its very rare for Frodo to want such a thing. And he knows that he only requested it of his
parents once in a great while and no one else. He leans back against the headboard, and Frodo puts his head on Bilbo's shoulder
and puts his arms around him. Bilbo holds Frodo close, glad that they could have this moment together. He believes all hurt
is past, and everything is fine again between them. And for the moment, Frodo has forgotten about the conversation, and focuses
only on Bilbo being there with him now. "Will you sing something for me Bilbo?" Biblo smiles again, not believing how lucky
he is. "Of course Frodo...what shall I sing?" "Anything...," Frodo says with a contented sigh. "All right then. Let's see...,"
He thinks for a moment, and then a smile comes to his face. "This song was one of your mother's favorites, and my own...,though
we never did know why. Perhaps it was the tune itself...though I can bet she sang it a bit better than I of course..."
It's a soft song, sung in Elvish. Its a haunting melody somehow,
about the calling of the Sea, heard only by a young hobbit who had gotten lost somehow, and thought that his parents were
dead and he was alone. The very sad hobbit follows the call, feeling that he has no one else to turn to, and hoping in his
heart that the call is actually that of his parents. And he loves the Sea for all of its moods and sounds, and wants to be
close to it just in case. But when he reaches the Sea, the Sea becomes angry when the boy doesn't want to come in to play
because it is too cold and rainy out, and pulls him in. But the Sea feels love for the boy, who has nothing but love in his
heart. The boy tells the Sea how wonderful it is despite everything, and the Sea feels great remorse and places him gently
on the beach. And at once, the boy falls into a deep sleep, near drowned, thinking that he can be at peace at last. But when
he hears a soft singing, he wakes, and finds himself surrounded by his lost family. And it turned out that he wasn't lost
at all, but very ill, and it was the singing of his family that made him well again. He isn't alone, and he is very well loved.
He takes his family to the Sea, and the Sea is happy, because even though it was a dream, the Sea knows all dreams anyway,
and loves the fact that the boy is there to see it and still loves it. The family gives their thanks to the Sea for showing
their boy the way home, and they are suddenly swept up on a giant wave of happiness, and they ride the wave until they reach
a distant land, greener than anything, and filled with flowers and Elves. And there the family lives, surrounded by love,
and greeting everyone the Sea brings to them.
The song ends softly, and Bilbo at last looks down to see that
Frodo has fallen asleep. He calls his name softly to make certain, but Frodo doesn't stir. Very gently, Bilbo unwraps himself
from Frodo's grip. And it is only then that Frodo stirs slightly, until Bilbo stays for a while longer and soothes him until
he sighs and falls into deeper sleep. His face is cool, and his cheeks have color in them again. Bilbo sighs in relief. He
waits a bit longer before he gets up and leaves the room, but not before looking back once to make certain that Frodo still
Darkness falls in the Shire, and all of Hobbiton is quiet except
a few nightingales singing and several crickets trying to compete with them. But all is not well in the Baggins household.
A young hobbit tosses with dreams that have become terrible nightmares. He can't wake up. He sees things in his dream that
he has never seen before, terrifying things that make him feel very alone. Sweat is dripping from his body, the covers are
thrown and tossed, making him feel like he is trapped. He sees a darkened landscape in his dream. And no one is with him.
He hears the voice of someone he recognizes, Bilbo. But despite his desperate attempt, he can't move, he can't find his way.
He starts screaming...the only way he think he might be heard. The only way he won't be alone.
The door to his room opens and light comes through. Bilbo had
been deep in sleep when he heard the screaming. But it was an instant before he was able to light the lamp and head down the
hallway. He in an instant was at Frodo's bedside, placing the lamp on the dresser first, and then hurrying to his side. But
Frodo still can't wake, and he thinks that those dark creatures are trying to get him.
"No!!! NO!!! PLEASE LET ME GO!!! NO...BILBO WAIT!!! PLEASE
COME BACK!!" Bilbo holds on to him for dear life, refusing to let go, to let him think he is alone. "Frodo...Frodo please...it's
Bilbo...come on now...," Bilbo says soothingly. Suddenly Frodo gasps in fear and his eyes snap open. "No Frodo...it's all
right...it's all right...," says Bilbo in comfort when he sees Frodo's eyes dart wildly around the room. It's almost as though
he hadn't remembered being there, in a safe place, surrounded by love. Bilbo takes a deep breath and holds Frodo close to
his heart. He goes to soothe the fear away, and wipe the sweat from his brow, but he goes very pale indeed. For it is then
that he learns that Frodo has a very high fever, and that he still is not aware that he is safe, that he is home. He grips
Bilbo's shirt with hard intensity, and looks into his eyes with a distant look, like he is not really looking at Bilbo in
front of him, but from one far away. He is in a panic, and is breathing in ragged gasps.
me....please don't...leave me!" Bilbo looks confused, and holds Frodo a little closer to him. "I'm not leaving you Frodo...I'm
right here. It was a nightmare...because of your fever....I'm not leaving you...," and he moves a little to try and see Frodo's
face to assure him of the truth. But Frodo thinks he is trying to go, to get away from him, and pleads in a tiny voice, "No...please
don't...I heard you....I heard you...you're leaving me...," and tears fall from his eyes in fear of being alone and abandonned
by the one reletive he loves most in the world. "That's not true...Frodo how could you think that?" "That's not true...,"
comes the whisper of fear. "I heard you talking to Gandalf. I'll be better Bilbo...I promise I will...don't leave me...please..."
Bilbo realizes suddenly what has gone wrong. In the space of an instant, he knows that Frodo feels like it is now that he
is leaving. "Oh Frodo...my dear boy...I'm not leaving you now...no not now! I am waiting until you are much older...until
you are ready to be on your own. Not now Frodo...not when you still need me."
Frodo gives a slight sigh of relief, and he starts to feel very cold
and tired. But Bilbo, being older and wiser, notices the change, and tries to move again to go and get some water from the
kitchen. But Frodo won't allow it, for though he is tired and ill, he is not without doubt. "No...please....," he pleads as
he suddenly grows very pale. "I'm not leaving Frodo I promise. But you need this fever down if you are to get well. There's
a special tea that I can make, the recipe given to me by Lord Elrond himself. It's supposed to help..." Bilbo says gently
as he soothes Frodo's hair from his eyes. "Lord Elrond....from Rivendell?" asks Frodo with interest and the color comes back
into his cheeks a little. "Yes, the very one...now I'll be back sooner than you can say Smeagol..." But Frodo has become slightly
delirious now and he starts shaking with a silent fear. "No!!...take me with you...don't leave me alone...they'll come back...,"
he says with another shiver. "They? They who?" "I can't say..they'll hear me...please take me with you...!" "All right Frodo...all
right." Bilbo is worried that Frodo will become more delirious if he leaves him there, so he picks him up gently and moves
him to the couch in the parlour. "Ill put you here for a moment, and you can see me from where you are, all right?" Frodo
nods his head wearily, and he watches as Bilbo moves around the room and goes to the kitchen to make the tea. He hears like
in a distance, the echo of Bilbo talking quietly to himself as he prepares the special tea mixture as quickly as he can read
and find the ingredients.
But the distance becomes further away for Frodo, and his vision
blurs so that he can't see Bilbo at all, but just shadows and outlines of things close to him. He shivers, and then he hears
Bilbo call to him, "Everything all right Frodo?? It wont be more than a minute longer..." Frodo shivers and speaks so quietly
that Bilbo almost doesn't hear him. "I'm cold....so cold...," and he shivers even harder. But Bilbo has been watching him
of course, and grabs the tea cup as quick as he can. He pours the liquid which is a light blue in color, and makes the cup
almost glow with an unnatural light, and brings it to Frodo. But Frodo's eyes are closed, and his breathing has gotten so
light that Bilbo worries even greater. He lifts Frodo's head gently, and brings the tea cup to his lips. But there is no response,
and Frodo suddenly seems to lose all power within him. There is a strong wind that blows the windows open all of a sudden,
and Bilbo looks outside and then back to Frodo. And Bilbo seems aggitated for a reason he cannot tell. Perhaps its only some
silly superstitions had make him think that he and Frodo are not the only ones in the room. He feels a cold wind directly
behind him, and does not turn around. Instead he looks intensly at Frodo. "Frodo...Frodo please, drink this...," Bilbo implores.
But at no response at all from Frodo himself, Bilbo lifts the cup and gently pours some of the liquid into Frodo's mouth.
There is no sound in the room, for the wind has stopped as soon as it had begun, and there is a tense few moments where Bilbo
watches Frodo's face for any movement.
And then clear blue eyes flicker open, and Frodo smiles.
"Bilbo? It's okay...I'm all right now....but...was that tea blue??" Bilbo laughs suddenly, and dropping the cup onto the floor,
he hugs Frodo close to him. "Oh Frodo! My dear boy...thank goodness...I thought...," and words fail him and he cannot bring
himself to continue. But Frodo knows what Bilbo was thinking. He holds onto him tightly and doesn't want to let go. But neither
does Bilbo, who has realized that Frodo is much stronger than he thought, and knows that he loves him more than anything else.
And Frodo realizes how much he loves Bilbo as well. He knows that he would do anything for him, and be happy as long as he
was there to take care of Bilbo like he had done for him. Love spans all boundries, and Frodo knows that his love for Bilbo
is a very rare and special thing. Bilbo hadn't really replaced his parents, but he was there just the same as they would have
been. And Frodo feels like he is very lucky indeed. And with a only a slight pang of regret for his friends and loved ones
in the Shire, he thinks to himself that eventually when Bilbo does leave, he might perhaps go with him as well.