Broken souls.

 T: Welcome to part two of broken souls.  Warnings of ANGST, SLASH and my particular favourite SUICIDAL THEMES! Its Tolkien's not mine (mores the pity), spoilers for Fellowship and ROTK and book cannon so some things may seem a little off to those who have only seen the movies!                                                      *  Empty.              Yes, I'm always empty now, even within my dreams. That emptiness has become me, tainted me enough so that I'm not myself anymore…

                                                I'm not anyone.

I'm haunted always by memories of the light…

                                                Of you.

I pushed you away. That much is clear to me now.

 I pushed you away by trying to keep you close.

You tempted me master…called to me…

                                                              How could I fight the temptation?

            I tried though, sir.

                           Tried for so long to deny myself, but always I'd return like a starved thing. Searching out your light, your warmth.

            Even then I knew, sir, that I wouldn't be much without you.

There is a darkness to my soul you see sir, a part of me that enjoyed hurting others, enjoyed taking away life. A part of me that I've never been able to control once it's free.

         It's that darkness that I fear the most now, sir. I feel it growing more each day, waiting until something snaps again.

The first time it swamped me, sir, was back before we met, when I was nothin' more than a slip of a lad.  It was my first time tendin' a garden, if I recall rightly and I'd just gotten the violets sewn in when one of me brothers trampled through them, accidentally of course.

I got so angry, sir, bloodied his nose I did before me mum came and stopped me. I learned to control it after that, learned to slowly push the anger away…

                                    Then we met, sir.

You were always so beautiful, not like a hobbit at all, but more as an elf. I hardly believed me Gaffer when he told me that you'd be mind to look after one day…mine to tend as I did those violets years before.

 And that's how my anger overtook me again. It began with me verbally fighting any who'd insult you, but it didn't take long for me to start resortin' to me fists.

             You'd hear every now and again how there'd been a ruckus, but you never learned that I'd been involved.

                                           I made sure of that.

Then the quest came and protecting you, keeping you safe, suddenly became more important to me than life itself…

                 I never told you, sir, what the lady Galadriel really offered me while we were in Lorien. I lied you see when I said that she'd offered me a garden…she offered me you sir, offered me a freedom from the darker half of myself.

I turned her away though sir, ` I want nothin' that he doesn't offer freely. ` Is what I told her, she smiled then though none but myself saw it. I wondered later if she had known, even then, that you would leave, for there was a sadness to that smile.

I still remember the day Gollum brought us into Shelob's layer as if it were yesterday…I still remember the satisfying sound Sting made as it pierced through her skin and the rush that flowed through me at that sound.

         I remember the despair that took me afterwards when I believed you dead. I remember how a sense of duty washed away that despair, duty to you and to Middle Earth itself.

How quickly that sense faded into need when I learned the truth, a need to touch you, sir, to assure myself that you were not dead.

                   And once I had touched you…I became addicted, lost to the very feel of your living skin.

            It was that addiction that I hoped to break after the Ring was destroyed, though I only ended out making things worse for myself.

For it was for fear of myself that I hesitated when you asked me to stay at Bag End, fear for what I would say if left alone with you again. I could not let you know about my addiction though, sir and so I told you that it was because of Rose.

I loved Rose, sir and it was for that love that I stayed when you left for Valinor, even though I knew it would be all that was left of myself once you were gone.

                                    And before I knew it Rose was dead.

I became lost after that…

                                           Lost within depression and darkness.

                                    Yet I still was not empty.

Not yet.

That came a little after, when the darkness was so thick inside of me that I could feel it crushing…

                            Suffocating all that was left of the light inside of me.

I was lost, sir…

       Lost enough so that I saw only one chance of escape.

There was no pain.

      I remember that even now. 

                                                       No pain.

                                                    No darkness.

                                        But even death was refused me.

                       Master Pippin meant no harm by saving me, that I know clear enough…

                                              Yet harm has indeed come of my salvation.

For my near death has drained away everything that had remained locked deep within me.

                                    Drained it away with my blood.

And in this emptiness, darkness waits, watching me patiently for a chance to take me again.

But it will not have that chance.

            I am crossing over, sir, at last, crossing so that I may touch you again.

It is news that must be spread and to that end I've agreed to Mr. Merry coming and seeing me today.

Indeed, that'll be his voice in the hallway. Yet Eleanor enters on her own and bending down to reach my ears she explains in a whisper that Merry has brought a guest with him, a relative not long in Buckland apparently. She tells me his name and I recognise it quickly as that of the poet she loves so much. The sadness in her voice is expected, therefore, as she tells me that this guest is allergic to the light and so as such had to remain hooded even while indoors.

I catch her hand then, comforting away her hurt as best as I can now. And the simple action looses me in memories for a long while, my eyes perceiving the worry in my daughter's before I am lost completely to the recollections.

"Show them in." I reply eventually and releasing my hand she returns to the hallway.

A moment later and Mr. Merry enters, his cloaked companion hard on his heals. I am aware of the stranger's eyes on me for a moment before the sensation passes.

""Welcome to ye Mr. Merry and indeed to your relative. Mr Isengar wasn't it sir?" I enquire, standing to offer the stranger my hand.

"Yes indeed, Mr. Gardener, it is a pleasure to meet you." He replies, his voice so very familiar to me for a moment. Your voice, sir, your sweet voice and for a brief second hope catches me, but the darkness in my heart swamps it quickly and there are no stars within Bag End to claim it back again.

"I have heard your name spoken often by my Elie, she regards your work highly, though I regret I have yet to see anything for myself." I tell him as I catch his hand in my own. Merry's voice breaks me away from the stranger a moment later with an enquiry of,

""Aren't you going to ask us to sit down Sam?" And I blush then and quickly offer both guests a seat. Merry takes his gratefully, pulling it closer to the fire despite the warmth of the day, His companion hesitates though and I find myself preying silently that he would stay, though as to why I am ignorant.

Then my son offers up his chair, stating simply that he has a garden to tend to.

             He is a good lad, that one, sir. When I look at him hard I sometimes fancy that I can see you in his face, though more often as not I see myself as I was at that age. 

I named him Frodo, sir, just as you knew that I would, though for so long I couldn't bring myself to utter that name with such familiarity.

                       I've learned though, sir.

And I know that when I see you again I shall speak your name without the `Mr.` that I have grown so used to. I shall speak it in such a way that you will be left in no doubt as to my feelings for you. 

Before that time though I have a duty to perform and as I tell Merry of my plans, the desire to be gone already hits me strong in the heart. But then Merry is talking of remaining, for but a little while longer and my mind comes back suddenly to my family and I enquire,

"Do you think it would truly 'elp me family if I were to leave afterwards Mr Merry? For it would ease my heart greatly to know that they were not torn as I was."

"True fully, I do not think it shall ease all of their pain, Sam, but it will defiantly help things." Merry replies and I know then that I have lost and I tell him,

Then let us have a party Mr Merry. With fireworks, music, laughing, drinking and dancing…of course I shan't want as big a party of Mr. Bilbo's, perhaps if we just invited the Hobbiton hobbits and of course me friends from Buckland and Tuckborough?"

And that is how I have come to be here, in the party field, watching fireworks leaping over my head.

It takes me back to Bilbo's party, sir, although I watched the Fireworks from the row back then, nothin' more than a gardener. It's odd how things have ended out, sir, considerin' how they began…

               Your Sam hasn't touched soil for so long now.

           For how can I give the plants the love they crave Sir?

                                 I am still empty after all.

Perhaps once I am across the sea with you, I'll turn my hands to it again, though I think I shall be to busy tendin' to you to have time for flowers.

Another firework lights overhead and the cheer of the gathered crowd warms my heart for a moment. Then I can hear Pippin's voice, raised in a greeting of,

"Ho Samwise." And then the Took himself is beside me, his green eyes fair glowing in the light of the fireworks.

"Ho Master Took and what can I do for ye?" I enquire.

"Faramir-lad has been asking for a tale from the red book Sam and we were wondering…"

"We were wondering, Mr. Gardener if you would be so kind as to give them one?" Diamond enquired, her voice quickly taking up her husband's sentence. I considered the request silently, my eyes moving from Pippin to Diamond, her sweat green eyes pleading with me silently.

I gave in after that, though it pains me now to tell of the journey we took together. Your journey, sir. But it is their questions bit harder, each one an innocent torment that merely helps feed the darkness within me.

One question in particular still stays with me, a simple question from Mr. Pippin's son when he was younger,

"Why did you promise not to lose Mr. Frodo?" He had enquired, "When it was evidently not your place to keep him to begin with?"  Mr. Pippin had silenced him quickly after that, but I knew even then that he was right. You weren't ever meant for me and yet…

                               I can't let you go, sir.

                           For you are my other half.

I know that it seems an odd notion, sir. That once such as myself could be attached so completely to one such as yourself so as to share a soul. But it seems right, sir, so very right.

 Even more so now, for when we see once another again I'll finally understand everything you went through during the quest, because I to have now felt what it is to lose something you have given your whole self to. I can understand the emptiness you felt after the Ring was destroyed.

But I shouldn't allow my mind to wonder, not while there're ten pairs of eyes on me, each waiting for a conclusion to the tale I've spun,

"And I opened the door half expecting to find Mr. Frodo still sick in his bed, but instead he was awake and well, his hands warm after so many days of being cold." And the children sigh, content with the ending but still craving more. My heart will not stand another tale though and standing again I make towards my old seat, which sits a little way from the gathering crowd. As I push my way through my ears catch two of my guests discussing the  `mystery guest` whom was supposed to be gracing the party, I am about to enquire as to where they have heard such nonsense when a hand catches my arm and I am turned towards Mr. Merry, the sparkle in his eyes informing me quickly who the instigator of the rumour was.

"Hullo Sam, do you a fancy a drink or two with me before you isolate yourself again?" He enquires. I nod in reply and remind myself to ask him about the `mystery guest` when we are both a little deeper into our cups.

Though I am cautious always not to drink in excess, sometimes the temptation to do as such takes me. Ale, after all, has the ability to dwarf sorrow until it no longer exists. However I knew that if I walked down that path I would be lost forever to the darkness in my soul and so I chose the other root of escapism…

                                              Of freedom.

"Dark thoughts Samwise?" Merry enquires, his voice breaking through my reverie.

"Always, sir." I reply in jest, though I am aware that to an extent I am serious.

"Seeing Frodo shall cheer you again shall it not Sam?"

"Aye it will, sir."

"Then though I shall be grieved to see you leave, I wish you well on your journey." He said, raising his ale into the air, in an impromptu toast. Recalling that I wished to ask him of the `mystery guest` I am about to start gleaning the answer from him when my Frodo-lad appears at the entrance to the beer tent.

"There you are! The guests are asking that you get the speech over and done with so that they may return to their ales uninterrupted."

"Then I shall go and give them a speech." I state as I shakily find my feet again.

I was never one for speeches, sir, for I could never find the words I was after and so as I gathered the crowd's attention to me I rattle off the first thing that swims into my intoxicated mind.

"I thank ye all for coming to my 60th birthday party and I suggest we raise a glass to unforeseen futures." And as they raise their glasses I feel a true smile grace my lips for the first time since Rose left. For in that moment I can almost see you as you are now in Valinor, healed in mind and spirit, waiting patiently for my arrival upon that shore so that we may be together again at last.

As I find my chair again my mind begins to wonder as to who this tardy `mystery guest` could be. `It must be one of the fellowship ` I reason, `for why else would that gleam of smug satisfaction be present within Mr. Merry's eyes? But then who could it be? Mr. Strider, Aragorn now rather, is kept from Hobbiton by his won proclamation and the bind of ruling a kingdom. Of Master Gimli and Legolas we have had no news since our parting and I can only assume that they are now within the confines of Fangorn forest, making a fresh acquaintance of the Ents.  Mr. Gandalf is, of course, across the sea with Mr. Frodo and the ninth of our fellowship is long dead now. ` Unsatisfied with the conclusion I had come to I grudgingly found my feet again and returned to the bear tent. Hopeful that this time I might gain an answer or two from Mr. Merry.

As I enter the tent I catch the tale end of an argument between Mr. Merry and Frodo-lad, clearing my throat to draw their attention to me I draw myself up as much as possible and place my hands to my hips before saying,

"If one of ye doesn't tell me what mischief you have planned, I'll knock your heads together so hard that ye'll forget your own names."

"It's not mischief we're plannin' dad honest. Merry and I have a big surprise set for ye, is all."

"Would this surprise be having anythin' to do with the mysterious guest that supposed to be gracing us with his presence?" I enquire, wishing the truth out in the air.

"It may do at that dad. Please just wait and see, it'll be no fun now if you make me give it away." Frodo lad pleads and one look at him tells me I've lost then and dropping my hand I say,

"Confound you Frodo Gardener, ye always have a way with makin' me agree with ye even when I know nothin' good is going to come from doing as such."  Before exiting the tent and again finding my chair.

Frodo-lad appears out of the tent a moment later and gathers the crowd's attention to him by standing onto a chair and clearing his throat.

"I'm sure by now that you'll have heard that Mr. Merry has a surprise guest for this party?" He enquires and the crowd reply to the positive.

 "That guest is now on his way, but before he arrives I think you should know a little about him." He pauses for a moment, waiting just long enough to gain the crows attention completely before he continues,

"His name is known to all present here today, though only some shall be able to claim that they know him personally. Others of you here today will know him through another name and he has asked me to apologise to you for pretending to be one he was not, but he has been re-adjusting to his life here within the Shire.

"For he has been away for some time now, healing himself from wounds bestowed upon him by things we can only dream of. Some of you here will perceive a change in him for the good and others of you here will perceive no change at all, for you never saw him when he was at his worst." And pausing again his eyes cross to a figure at the edge of the crowd and with a smile on his lips he says,

"Ladies and gentle hobbits, Frodo Baggins." And for a moment my world spins. Springing to my feet I push my way through the crowd, hope finding my heart again. The I see you, your morning glory blue eyes turned away from me for a moment so that I might stare at you unabashed.

You are as I remember you and as I drink my fill of you I feel the light within me blossoming again, drowning the darkness at last. Then I know that I have to hold you, else I will surely faint and as I bring you into my arms I feel as if I am coming home at last. I'm crying, but you wipe the tears away with your hands, your dear hands, which I quickly take into my own. I can feel your fingers trailing up my hand and I realise then that you know; yet there is no disgust in your face when you find the scars, only grief and guilt.

"I am so sorry." You tell me as you pull me close to you again. Yet there is a sadness in your sweat voice that I can't bare to hear and I catch at your face so that I might you look into your eyes I tell you,

" Don't never be sorry, Sir, you left to be healed. You couldn't know that Rose would leave me…you couldn't know how much your leavin' would hurt me."  A frown creases your forehead then and pulling me as close as you can you whisper,

"But I did know Sam, deep in my heart. And I am sorry for leaving you alone for as long as I did…I am sorry for not telling you I was here earlier. And I am very sorry indeed for allowing you to hurt enough that you felt it necessary to end your existence.  But I promise now, just as you once did, that I shall never leave you again, that I shall never allow you to hurt like that again. I love you, as well and truly as I can Sam and I hope that is enough to bring you back from wherever you have gone to." The words and the soft heat of your breath against my ear stirring my heart beat into something faster.

"More than enough, more than I ever believed I could have, yet everything I have ever desired. I love you to Frodo, as much as I always have and perhaps a little more so because I've suffered to have you here again." I reply then, speaking your name without the honorific for the first time in my life. And pulling away again I kiss your forehead lightly, then all I am aware of is the heat in your eyes and the feel of your lips upon my own, their presence filling me so completely that I know I shall never be empty again.

                                                     *

T: Few! Gods that last little bit was soooo sugary that even I found it a little sucrosey. Anyway, yet another plug for Talisha's fic. Dream with hope which is so very good that my attempt at a `what if Frodo returned from Valinor` fic pails in comparison. Those who have read my fic Drowning may recognise the random gapy structure of the first few bits of this fic and that is because for some odd reason angsty Sam thoughts won't construct themselves into sensible paragraphs for me…I suspect this to be some elaborate conspiracy. Umm…Yeh… R+R and a huge thank you to Gelise who has put me on her favourite author list…god bless you!