In Dreams

The air was so fresh, just as fresh as it had been the last time he was here. It was all the things it had been: warm, beautiful… But now it had another element, a certain sadness about it. He remembered its golden colors - now it seemed gray and colorless.

He was alone, carrying a light pack on his back. But he really wasn't alone; he was surrounded by memories of lives past. Elves. Years ago he would have done anything to see them… But that was a long time ago, back when Frodo - dear Mr. Frodo - was here. Just thinking about Frodo drove him nearly to tears.

He sat down heavily on a smooth stone bench and opened his pack. There was an envelope inside, with a letter enclosed. "Dear Sam," he read aloud, "Elanor and I are missing you at this very moment. I know you need this time to yourself, but I can't help wishing you were here. As you know, I'm not much for words. Come home soon. With love, Elanor and Rosie."

Sam bit his lip, trying to hold back the tears, but as usual, he was unsuccessful. The salty tears poured freely down his cheeks, dripping onto his hands as he folded up the letter.

"Oh, stop it, Sam," came an all too familiar voice. "What have you to cry about anyway?"

Sam blinked and rubbed his eyes free of tears. "Mr. Frodo?"

Frodo nodded, smiling that wonderful smile. "So, how are you, Sam? And how is Elanor? I'd love to see her again."

Sam, who had stood up, fell back onto the bench in surprise. "Elanor's fine. Uh, Frodo, if you'll pardon my asking, how did you get here? You said yourself no one comes back from Valinor."

Frodo stood up and began pacing in front of Sam. There was a spring in his step that Sam hadn't seen for many years. He looked younger, fuller, and the color in his face had returned. "I haven't left, Samwise the Brave." He chuckled. "I'm merely a spirit - a shadow of the Frodo you know. He misses you, Sam, and almost wishes he hadn't left Middle-earth in the first place. That's not to say he isn't in happy company, he is."

"I miss him too…and I do wish he'd never gone away, but that's awfully selfish of me, isn't it? Besides, someone's got to keep old Mr. Bilbo company," Sam added.

Frodo's face darkened. "That's another reason I've come. Bilbo passed on…very peacefully in the night."

Sam looked down sadly. "That's a shame, a great shame. I always loved listening to his stories…poor Mr. Frodo, he must be feeling down. I wish I could go to him."

He looked up. Frodo was gone. Had it all been a dream?

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