Setting: At minas Tirith after the crowning of the King. Friendship and Healing. Forgive me if people and timings are out of place, it is only for my story.

Disclaimer: I humbly borrow these dear characters from Master Tolkien and promise to give them back unharmed

Chapter 1

Sam paced the paths of the garden trying to work out exactly what was bothering him so much.  Ever since the court had moved back to Minas Tirith for the crowning of King a growing sense of unease had troubled his normally placid countenance.

Merry and Pippin were on familiar territory having spent time within the walls of the city prior to the last battle. Pippin was taking his duties as seriously as his rapidly healing injuries would allow.  He tried to maintain a modicum of dignity while on duty but his sense of fun and joy for life sparkled and lit up whichever room he was in, his energy and enthusiasm a tonic to everyone coming within his presence.  Merry spent his free time among the troops of Rohan and Gondor, chatting to the soldiers, swapping stories and telling tales of recent adventures. In true Hobbit form he managed to move from group to group always in time to catch a meal or a snack on his travels.

Frodo and Sam didn't venture far from their quarters or the gardens of the House of Healing. They had many visitors; all eager to meet the Halflings and hear of their travails but Frodo seemed reluctant to discuss the events of the last few weeks.  He was frequently quiet, happy to share the companionship of his friends old and new but only becoming animated when the subject turned to tales of the Shire or of Elves or of the histories of the lands of men.  He particularly sought the company of Faramir finding comfort in his quiet dignity and compassion. They spent time together in the extensive archives of Gondor both happy to lose themselves among the dusty parchments, words not necessary to acknowledge their grief.

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Sam came to a decision and set off determinedly to find Gandalf.  He tapped lightly on the door of his chamber and slipped inside. He stopped in confusion at the sight of Gandalf and the King in deep conversation.

'Hello Sam is everything alright'

Sam nodded, now feeling tongue-tied and out of place.

Aragorn beckoned him over to the table 'come on Sam, out with it, you're among friends here. How can we help you.'

'I don't mean to intrude Sire but beggin' your pardon, its…it's just that I don't know what to do Sir'.

Aragorn and Gandalf exchanged puzzled glances at Sam's obvious distress.  Gandalf pulled out a chair and beckoned Sam to join them.  He poured him a goblet of Ale and waited for him to say what was on his mind. He laid a hand on the Hobbits shoulder.  'Come on Sam what's troubling you'. 

'Its…its just, well will he ever get better Sir' the words now gushing out  'I mean, I know its early days yet but everyone else is getting back to normal and even his wounds are healing but Frodo just seems to be falling further and further away, its like he's giving up Sir, if you understand me' Sam stammered.  There was a moment's silence as the King and the Wizard observed the serious, worried face of their friend.

'Sam' said Aragorn quietly, 'you know Frodo better than anyone. You shared his trials and his pain.  You were the one that supported him from beginning to end. Only you truly know what it cost him.  On top of all his pain, his fear and his deprivations he had to deal with the evil of the Ring' The King paused looking for the right way to continue. 'He had come to accept that there would be no way back, and if I am not mistaken he is finding it difficult to cope with the fact that, beyond all hope, the Quest succeeded and that the evil shadow is gone'.  He squeezed the hobbits' shoulder reassuringly and continued 'Try not to fret too much. What Frodo needs more than anything is the love and support of his friends. He is healing well from his physical hurts and when his appetite improves he will soon regain his strength. It may take a little longer for his Hobbit resilience to return, but I doubt that it is buried too deep.  It takes a lot to keep a good Hobbit down and Frodo is a truly exceptional Hobbit'

Sam nodded, brushing a weary hand across his face.

Gandalf pulled Sam to his feet and embraced him. Putting both hands on his shoulder he turned the Hobbit to face him, looking him straight in the eye. 'Sam, Frodo is not the only exceptional hobbit of our acquaintance.  Never underestimate what you have accomplished. 'Samwise the Brave' doesn't begin to do justice to you deeds!'. Sam blushed to the tips of his ears. 'Oh, and one more thing my dear Sam, there are many people here who would fight for the honour of serving the ring bearer and his companion, you deserve that honour- do not deny them their chance to serve you'. He continued 'rest and enjoy the sights and people of the City Sam, there is much to learn here, new gardens and plants to discover –and don't worry we will all look out for Frodo'

'Thank you Sire, Gandalf'. Sam turned to leave looking no less uncomfortable than when he had arrived.

'Sam, Thank you. Thank you for everything!'

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TBC

Please review. This is my first attempt at writing fiction in 25 years. Please be gentle!