Although I said there might be another chapter to this story if I was ever inspired to bring Sam to Tol Eressëa, I was still surprised when the muse struck again. Since ROTK (the movie) said that Frodo and Bilbo were boarding "the last ship", which implies that Sam will never go to the Havens, I just had to write something about the reunion of Frodo and Sam in the West. I apologize that this is so short, but I hope you all enjoy it.
For all of the incredibly kind readers who wanted this story to continue, thank you.
DISCLAIMER: Of course. The characters don't belong to me, I just get to think about them day and night.
"Above all shadows rides the Sun and Stars for ever dwell; I will not say the Day is done, nor bid the Stars farewell." Samwise Gamgee, The Return of the King
SING ME HOME
Chapter 7 -- Reunion
Frodo gazed into the palantír and tried to understand what he was seeing. He had never been denied any request to use the masterstone in the Tower of Avallónë, and in his first years on Tol Eressëa he had appreciated the glimpses of his homeland and friends -- but it hadn't taken long for his need to look upon Middle-earth to lessen, then cease altogether. The Shire thrived, and those he loved were content -- that was all that mattered.
Shaking his head, he stepped down from the pedestal and faced the wizard. "How much time has passed, Gandalf?" he asked, puzzled.
"You have been here nearly 60 years," the wizard replied. He looked out through one of the many bejeweled windows. From here, gazing east, the vast expanse of the Sea was dazzling, and seemed to go on forever.
"Sixty years?" Frodo gasped. "I knew that several years had passed, but--"
"It is as Galadriel told you and Bilbo, that day aboard ship," Gandalf said gently. He helped Frodo up to the ledge beneath the window so they could both gaze out at the glittering Sea from the high tower. "Here in the West, time indeed passes -- but gently, and largely unnoticed." He smiled at his friend. "You are aging slowly, and dear Bilbo is still with us."
"It is because Bilbo is still with us that I assumed that little time had passed," Frodo mused. "Amazing, Gandalf -- but now I understand what the stone showed me."
"Sam," Gandalf said gently.
"Yes." Frodo grinned. "He looks as I remember the Gaffer to look -- elderly, but hale and energetic… and surrounded by children and grandchildren beyond count!"
"He is coming," Gandalf said quietly. "All that he has put his hands to has blossomed, and the Shire is whole. His dear wife has passed, and only one thing remains for him to do, now."
"When?" Frodo whispered. "Oh, when?"
"Soon," the wizard replied. "For him, the voyage will seem long; but for you… it will seem but a few days until he is here." He smiled down at the hobbit. "You had best brush up on the Common Tongue, Frodo Baggins -- Samwise will not understand your speech."
Frodo nodded. 'You and Bilbo had better start speaking to me in Westron again, Gandalf! It has been a long time." He frowned suddenly. "How old am I?"
"I believe you have just passed your 114th birthday, dear boy."
"Dear boy?" Frodo laughed. "You are a marvel, Gandalf."
"So are you, my lad," the wizard said fondly.
"We should have celebrated my eleventy-first birthday with fireworks," Frodo said as they began the long descent of the winding stairway. "Have the Elves here ever seen them?"
"Now that you mention it," Gandalf said thoughtfully, "I don't believe they have."
Seated on the smooth, rock-hewn ledge that bordered one of the fountains, Frodo watched, along with the crowd, as the ship entered the harbor. It was not as breathtakingly beautiful as Gwaihir, perhaps, but each ship Círdan crafted had a grace and majesty of its own. The arrival of a ship from Middle-earth was a rare event -- this was only the first since he himself had arrived, and Frodo found himself wondering how many more years, or centuries, it would be until the last ship sailed. As had been true when Gwaihir docked, the pathways and surrounding lawns were filled with people waiting to greet long-sundered kinsmen.
A steady stream of Elves, both dark-haired and golden, streamed off the ship, greeted with cries of joy and songs of welcome. Frodo's heart swelled as he at last spotted Sam, who had been led to the top of the ramp by a smiling Elf he recognized as Erestor from the House of Elrond.
From his vantage point, Sam anxiously scanned the crowd of Elves waiting onshore in this place more beautiful than any he had ever seen or imagined in waking life. The scene felt familiar to him, though… somehow. In recent years he had begun to dream of white shores and star-lit fountains, and a sweet, caressing song that had slowly become as welcoming to him as the birdsong and gentle breezes of the Shire.
There were so many Elves, either laughing, singing, or talking excitedly with newly-arrived kin, that Sam wondered how he would ever find Mr. Frodo (if he yet lived), or anyone who remembered him.
"Samwise," Erestor said softly, pointing. Sam watched as the smiling crowd parted and someone stepped forward.
"Mr. Frodo!" Sam cried joyously. He broke free of Erestor's hand and started to run. As he reached the bottom of the ramp, Frodo was in his arms, laughing and crying and murmuring his name over and over. Those nearby watched the reunion with smiling faces.
"Oh," Sam gasped at last, wiping his wet face. "Why, you look just fine, sir! This place agrees with you, and no mistake."
"It certainly does," Frodo laughed, "and it will agree with you, as well, Sam. My dear Sam."
With Frodo's strong arms still around him, Sam looked around and noticed that the Elves were surrounding them,
"What're they all doing, Mr. Frodo?" Sam asked puzzled.
"They wish to welcome you." So saying, Frodo stepped back, leaving Sam standing alone. As one, the multitude of Elves bowed deeply to the friend of their beloved Frodo, of whom they had heard so much, paying due honor to the last of the Ringbearers.
"Great glory and splendor," Sam murmured, blushing.
"Great glory indeed," Frodo agreed, rejoining his friend. "But now, Samwise Gamgee," he said with a smile, "I'll bet you're hungry." He led Sam to where a smiling Elf lady stood nearby, next to a grey horse. "Let me show you our home, and we can have a good, long talk. And Bilbo very much wants to see you again."
"Mr. Bilbo is here?" Sam asked in amazement. "I never dreamed he still would be, sir."
"He is here," Frodo said softly, "although perhaps not for much longer." The Elf lifted Frodo, then Sam, onto the horse's back, then mounted behind them.
As they rode, Sam gazed with pleasure at the green, gentle land, and the way the air itself seemed to sparkle before his dazzled eyes. He half wondered (and would, for some time to come) if he was inside another dream and would soon wake.
Some days later, as evening darkened and the stars glittered overhead, Gandalf made his preparations for a display of fireworks that would dazzle and amaze.
Elves who dwelt near the simple hobbit hole in which Frodo and Bilbo (and now Sam) lived in peace and contentment, gathered on the nearby hills and lawns. Others across the island, alerted to what was to come, found a place to wait and watch.
"May we join you, my friends?"
"Of course!" Frodo and Sam made room for Lord Elrond and Lady Celebrían on the large blanket they shared. Sam gazed with pleasure at the tiny infant in the Lady's arms.
"Can you guess her name, Samwise?" Celebrían asked, her voice musical and sweet to the hobbit's ears.
"My Lady, I hardly know what name could grace such a gorgeous lass," Sam said, gently touching the infant's silky-soft face.
"Sam," Frodo said, "this is Elanor."
"Truly?" Sam beamed with joy. "I do love that name, Mr. Frodo."
"I know!" Frodo laughed. He saw Gandalf nod to him, and he reached over to gently touch Bilbo's shoulder. The ancient hobbit, sitting propped up against Gildor, opened his eyes and smiled at Frodo.
"Gandalf is ready, Bilbo dear."
And so the magnificent display began, in splendor and enchantment. For the Elves, Gandalf rekindled the Two Trees; for a moment only, they bloomed once more, giving forth a pure, radiant Light that set all who saw them to weeping. For Frodo and Sam, the wizard's art unfolded their beloved Shire, a land once again whole and beautiful. And for Bilbo, whom only Gandalf knew would not see another birthday, there were mountains -- the mountains of Middle-earth which the old hobbit had loved so dearly, and the mountains of Aman, which no hobbit would ever see -- each range and peak more spectacular than the last.
As the fireworks exploded over the heads of the inhabitants of the Lonely Isle, Sam lay back and sighed with contentment. Try as he might, he could not summon up any feelings of doubt or uncertainty, or any wistful longing for the life he had left behind. He had been called, and had come, but he had not expected the lands to the West to so quickly feel like home.
But they did.
** END **