- by Merripestin

The first time he said, "I love you, Frodo," with my mouth, it stopped being true.

We live just little lives here at Bag End, Mr. Drogo and Miss Primula and Mr. Bilbo and myself, lives as tiny as the writing on Mr. Frodo's ring. Miss Primula sings when she sweeps the parlor, and Mr. Drogo cooks from dawn to dusk, and Mr. Bilbo writes his poems, too mithered to know as he's writing just the same ones as he did yesterday, thinking they're new. And I garden, for that's what he likes to see.

He came to me today and we walked hand in hand down toward Bywater. The Shire's grown beautiful as any elf-country now, more beautiful than ever I remember. It's September again, and all them bright golden oak leaves rustle under our feet. "What a wonderful birthday we shall have this year," he says, "I have the most wonderful present for you, my Sam."

If I could wish for aught, t'would be that I'd never woken up from that last sleep, back on Gorgoroth. After he'd done it all, crumpled down the black tower like it was paper, and made the ground bleed fire like he'd stuck a sword in it, he turned to me, and he wiped my tears with the gentlest hand you ever felt, and he kissed me, real tender-like, and he smiled. If I live forever, and I expect that's how he'll have it, I couldn't never see nothing half so terrible as that smile was, for he looked just like himself; he looked like my poor Frodo, a-smiling at me and all filled up with sweetness. "Why, my dear Sam, this is no time for tears. It's all over. The long danger has passed. I've defeated him. Don't you see?"

When he kissed me again it weren't a bit tender, and he took my voice like he'd eaten it right out of my mouth, and he touched me and took my body away too. After that, there were two Samwise Gamgees, the outside one who sounded like me, and looked like me, and did whatever his master told him, and then there was the inside one who couldn't breathe for screaming, wanting to warn them, all those folk I loved, as they welcomed us and started up to celebrating. It still makes him laugh, that story we told them all.

It pleased him for me to marry Rosie; he thought that were right funny as well. It didn't trouble him none to have her about; whenever he liked he'd just put her to sleep -- standing up, sometimes -- and she couldn't speak aught of what strange things she saw, no more than I could. I made a child in her, because it pleased him; he'd always wanted to see me as a father (lass and babe together gone now, and not a word spoken of them). Some nights he sent me to Rosie, and some nights he called me to himself. If only I hadn't've had to see that dear face all the while, I could've borne it.

He was still weak then, from his battle with the dark lord -- the old dark lord, you'd have to say, I guess. That's why he went on that white ship. I still wonder if that ship came to ground at last, empty, in the blessed realm, or if it sank, and all those folk I used to think were too high to touch are lying under the water. I wept between Merry and Pippin as it sailed away, and I guess they thought they knew why.

He brought Bilbo with him, when he came back, and he brought those other three rings, and they made him strong again. He went on one of his visits to Buckland and came back with Miss Primula and Mr. Drogo, both of them living, all smiles and stark mad in their eyes. And since then everything's been just as I guess he'd always wished for.

On some nights, not too often, he gathers us all round him, and he makes us tell him, over and over again, as he's not no orphan, and Bilbo won't never go off and abandon him, and I love him more than I love anybody else. We promise, with that voice he's put in our mouths, that he won't never, never be alone no more.

He's been to that somewhere else again, that new somewhere that puts the smell of smoke in his hair. I wonder if he hasn't made his own fiery mountain somewhere, where the white city was, maybe, or filled all the valley where Elrond used to live with that earth-blood that burns everything it touches.

He's promised me a gift, but it won't be no surprise. Each of the others wears one of them Elf rings he brought back. He gives us everything, for we're what he loves best. When Frodo finishes with making this new one for himself, this better, finer, more beautiful Ring, he means to slip this one with its firey letters onto my finger. He knows I won't do him no harm by it. He'll say, "Thank you, Frodo," with my mouth.

We stand under those old, old stars the Elves loved, when there were Elves. And now all those stars do is make a crown of white jewels for a mallorn that blooms all the year round. Frodo's face is right near mine, and there's so much promise in his eyes, so much joy, so much love.

"I love you so, Frodo," my mouth says, and it's him making me say it, not me, not me at all.

"Engastrimyth" text copyright 2002.

All characters are the property of the Tolkien Estate.

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