Letter Five---Frodo

This chapter dedicated to my Frodo, Gaya, who I love, whether or no.

Frodo smiled. He sat on a white beach, staring out to the sea, and he was at peace. The wind ruffled his dark hair and a salty breeze tickled his delicate nose. He sighed happily and lay back down, but suddenly the happy feeling vanished, and his whole body felt heavy, as if filled with rocks. The beautiful scene around him began to fade into darkness, and Frodo thought he could hear the strains of a soft voice whispering to him before it was completely gone.

Frodo opened his eyes with a start, and let out a groan. His body felt sore and achy all over, and he was chilled to the bone, but drenched in sweat. He noticed Sam standing over him and managed to croak out a hullo.

"Mr. Frodo, thank goodness you're awake," Sam said, looking relieved. "Do you remember last night at all?" Frodo looked around him and noticed he was lying not in his own bed, but in the spare bedroom of Number Three Bagshot Row. Frodo shook his head in confusion.

"No...I don't recall anything from last night, Sam," Frodo said slowly, "All I do know is that I feel *awful*." He coughed wetly and sunk further into his pillows. Sam brought a cool cloth to his forehead and gently wiped it down. Frodo sighed.

"I was hopin' you'd be feeling better this morning, but I suppose you're not," Sam frowned. "I came to Bag End last evening to borrow some flour for May, she was bakin' a cake, and I found you passed out and feverish in the kitchen. I took you here, beggin' your pardon, because I thought you'd be more comfortable. Bag End is so drafty, and I didn't want you to catch another chill on top of it all. I'm thinking you've come down with somethin' bad...but I couldn't really be sure. The Gaffer went to fetch the healer; he and I are the only ones home, so for now you just rest, sir." Frodo sighed, and coughed again, his thin body shaking. Sam brought a cup to his lips, and he took a grateful sip.

"It's elderflower and slippery elm for you cough," he explained. Frodo finished with it and put down the mug weakly, with a slight clatter.

"Thank you, Sam..." he murmured. "I remember a little bit, now...I felt ill, and went to kitchen to make a pot of tea, but then I felt dizzy. The next thing I remember I was here," Frodo finished. "Although I suppose that doesn't help much." He closed his eyes and took a long breath, but Sam could hear his deep congestion. At that moment the Gaffer entered the room, with the Healer Juniper Boffin. She was a plump, graying hobbit maid with a friendly face, and smiled at Frodo warmly.

"Hamfast tells me you're feeling poorly, Mr. Frodo," she said conversationally, as Frodo nodded and she began her examination. She carefully felt Frodo's forehead, checked his mouth, nose, and ears, and did a variety of other pokes and prods to the tired, ill hobbit.

"Could you cough for me, lad?" She asked. Frodo coughed loudly and wetly, and the healer frowned.

"Do you feel hot, Frodo?" She asked. Frodo shook his head.

"No...I'm quite cold," he murmured, wrapping the blankets tightly around himself.

"It's just as I thought," murmured Juniper with a sigh. "It's indeed the Harvest Ague...the cough and the fever prove it." She looked at Frodo and the concerned Gamgees in turn.

"It's quite dangerous, especially for someone with your constitution, Frodo. I know you were ill around this time last year with the Ague, as well, so I suppose you know the gist of it...Be sure to get lots of rest, and don't do anything strenuous for a while...Drink lots of the teas I'll give you, and try to eat foods that won't be hard on your stomach. Keep warm or cool, as you need it...lavender in your baths will help your cough and clear out the congestion..."

"How long is a while?" Frodo interrupted his tone suddenly angry. "A week, a month, a year? How long will I be in bed...weeks on end, like last time? I have a life, Healer Boffin...and it seems bed is where I'm spending most of it. I'm tired of it...I'm just so tired." Sam bit his lip and the Gaffer shook his head. The healer woman sighed.

"Frodo..." she began again, but he continued, pushing himself up with all of his strength, his voice hoarse and harsh.

"Do you know," he began, "That autumn is the only time of year I'm truly free? The only time of year I'm not sniffling or sneezing or stuck in bed with some cough of flu? And now you're telling me I'll have to stay indoors for who knows how long, and miss everything, once more. You would think I'd be used to it, wouldn't you? You think I'm just another one of your sickly patients who will suffer bravely and become some sort of pitied martyr. But I'm not, Healer Boffin. I'm sorry."

Frodo got up and with the last of his strength, walked out, blanket clutched around his slight frame, and exited the smial, closing the round yellow door behind him, leaving three stunned hobbits blinking and soon in a frenzy.
"Samwise!" The Gaffer cried. "Go get him, lad! Hurry!"

"He can't get very far," Juniper muttered. "But we'd all best go after him." She got up, but Sam shook his head.

"I know what to do, don't worry. When Mr. Frodo gets in his moods like this, the only one he'll talk to...is me. I've got to, and alone, beggin your pardon. I'll bring him back as quick as I can, I promise."

"Well, then," the Gaffer said, "Hurry, Sam-lad, hurry!" Sam wasted no time, pulling on his cloak and running out the door as fast as his short legs could carry him into the cold morning.


Sam knew instinctively where his friend would be, as soon as he went outside. Soon he reached the Party Field he found his suspicions were right. Frodo had managed to get that far, much to Sam's amazement, and was collapsed under the Party Tree. It had begun to rain, small, warm droplets, and Frodo was still clad only in his nightshirt and blanket. Sam hurried to his side, and to his surprise, Frodo looked up at him blearily.

"Hullo, Sam," he murmured, as his friend sat him up gently, so he leaned comfortably against Sam's shoulder. The younger lad wrapped his thick, warm cloak around Frodo, who burrowed into it.

"Mr. Frodo, what in the Shire were you thinking???" He exclaimed. The rain dripped steadily in the background, making a pitter-pattering sound and drenching the two hobbits. Frodo sneezed and Sam noticed his eyes and nose were red and running.

"Bless you, sir," he said politely. "But we've got to go back. You'll catch cold out here, if you haven't already. And you don't want to be even more ill..." Frodo interrupted, suddenly filled with the same fury he had shown the healer.

"Of course I don't want to be ill, Sam! All I've ever wanted my whole life was to be healthy and *normal* just like everyone else! Don't you see? No, of course you don't. You wouldn't understand. The whole year for me is filled with illness...it was so much easier when Bilbo was here. But it's not, easy anymore, Sam, no matter how many teas and herbs and steams and handkerchiefs you can give me. It's not being ill once or twice, Sam. It's *always* being ill. It shapes my whole life...and sometimes I think it's the only thing I'm good at. In the winter I can't spend all day in the snow like you can, in the spring I can't go out and garden with you without sneezing my nose off...simple flowers, Sam. I'm denied even that. Even that." Sam was in tears now too, and he rubbed Frodo's back soothingly, seeing his master was clearly tired out after sharing so much with him. He decided to say something, although he didn't know what just yet.

"Mr. Frodo...why didn't you tell me you felt like this? If it's...was it what Lobelia said a little while ago, about you being...delicate? Don't let what she says get to you, sir. And, you're good at so many things, Mr. Frodo...You taught me all about the elves, and how to cook the perfect mushroom omelet...what the names of all the stars are. You're my best friend, Mr. Frodo," he finished quietly. "I don't care a mite if you're sick or well. It's just the way things are. But I'll try harder to help you. Maybe this year we can plant some flowers that don't aggravate your sneezin'...and I'll try to spend some more time indoors, with you, so you're not lonely. How does that sound?" Frodo sighed as Sam hugged him to his chest as if Frodo was a little lad, and smiled a bit.

"Sam...thank you. For everything. Oh, Sam..." he sobbed. "I don't deserve you as a friend, I truly don't. You shouldn't have to do those things...you should be playing and planting and enjoying yourself, not spending all your time with a useless old sick hobbit..." Sam shushed him, and smiled.

"Mr. Frodo, I'd rather spend time with you than anyone else, you know that. Now rest, and your Sam will help you. Let's go back to Bagshot Row, and you can get some sleep and a nice hot bath. I'm sure you'll feel better when you wake up. All right?" Frodo nodded.

"All right," he said. "Or I suppose I'll catch my death out here, is that what you're thinking, Sam?" Sam blushed, and mumbled something about the rain, putting his arm around Frodo as the two began their walk home.


The rest of the day went quickly for everyone involved. Sam brought the sleeping Frodo in silently, and the whole room seemed to be filled with relief. Healer Boffin stayed to help out, as did the girls and Hal when they returned. After a hot, gentle bath and a change of linens, Frodo lay down for a well-deserved sleep. Sam told everyone what Frodo had said, and a collective guilt seemed to settle on the Gamgees, who were now sitting together in the kitchen while the healer worked alone. Hal spoke up first.

"I suppose it's partially my fault he feels that way...I'm always telling him he can't keep up with me...Ham was too, before he left for Uncle Andy's. It must have made him feel bad. I didn't know he was so upset."

"Aye," the Gaffer said quietly. "I wasn't too easy on the lad sometimes, either. He might have heard Daddy Twofoot call him a little changeling when we were talking the other day..." Goldie gasped and banged her fist on the table.

"Daddy Twofoot is a fat old hog!" She exclaimed. "I'm going to give him an earful when I next see 'im..." Sam couldn't help laughing a little, as he tried to calm Goldie down.

"Goldie-love, I think perhaps you should let Daddy Twofoot be. He's only a stupid old ninnyhammer, anyhow." Goldie frowned, sinking into her chair.

"The point is, I guess," Daisy said softly, "It's all out faults. We knew Mr. Frodo was different...we just have to stop treating him like he is. It sounds like that's all he wants, really." The Gaffer smiled.

"Those are wise words, lass, and I think we'd all be smart to follow them." There were murmurs of agreement all around the table, followed by a silence, until May spoke up.

"I got the post earlier, from Bag End. There's a letter from Mr. Bilbo, I think. It's all silvery like his always are, anyway. Maybe it'll cheer Mr. Frodo up," she smiled. Sam took it from her and scanned the writing.

"It is from Mr. Bilbo! I'll bring it to him now...and tell you if he's doing better. I don't think the healer will want us all in at once." The Gaffer nodded.
"Go on, Sam-lad," he said gently.


As Sam entered the spare room he was overcome with the scent of a strong herbal steam. Frodo was leaning over it, seemingly coughing his lungs out, as Juniper told him to breathe in and out. Sam almost wanted to tell her to stop, but she knew this would help Frodo get better.

"How is he doing?" Sam mouthed. The healer woman shook her curly head, as she lay Frodo back down and put the steam aside.

"I don't know," she said. "I'm going to be honest. He is very, very sick. Going out in the rain like that wasn't wise at all, Mr. Frodo," she smiled at him. Clearly he had heard it before.

"'m sorry," he croaked. The older hobbit woman just pushed damp curls off his forehead and wiped his face down with a cool cloth.

"Well now, what have you got there?" She said changing the subject. Frodo glanced up at Sam and smiled at the familiar envelope.

"Oh, Sam. Is it from Bilbo?" Sam nodded, as he handed it to his friend, smiling. Frodo ripped it open straightaway and began to read.

My Dearest Boy,

I hope this letter finds you well. Have you been taking care of yourself? Sometimes I feel as if I know you're not, and it worries me. I hope you will be all right, my lad, but I have more important things to tell you, now. A part of my life I've kept from you, and you deserve to know about it straightaway and from the beginning...about Dodi.

Dodinas Brandybuck would have been your mother's older sister, and your aunt, if she were alive today. She was my cousin, and I loved her, Frodo. I loved her from the first moment I laid eyes of her. We were love struck teens...we didn't realize how quickly everything would disappear. How quickly she would leave us.

Dodi was like you, Frodo. So much like you. She had your eyes, you face, your laugh. She used to sing, and it was more beautiful than the music of the elves. Her voice was so strong, but her body was so weak. She would fall ill so often, and didn't have many friends at the Hall as a result, but I would visit her as often as I could. She was bright, beautiful, and brilliant. I've never loved anyone as much as her, until you were born, my lad. She was strong like you, even if she was so frail. You have gone through so much...illness, pain, and hardship...I didn't adopt you out of charity, Frodo. I adopted you because you have spirit. Your body is weak but your spirit *soars*. Don't forget that, ever. I feel somehow you need to hear it, right now.

As for the letters...It seems silly, but I still write to her, every year. Just a simple list of happenings throughout the year, things that would have made her smile. I like to think somewhere she's still looking down on both of us, perhaps with you dear mother right beside her, and smiling at what a wonderful lad you've become. I know she is, somehow. I never told you about her, I suppose, for the same reason I should have. You are so much like her, there are so many times I almost lost you...I didn't want to think you'd end up like her. I didn't want you to be afraid. But, I know better, now. You're stronger than that, my lad. So much stronger than I ever thought.

I will be sure to ask the Lady Arwen about your dream, as soon as she returns. It's quite a fascinating problem, but I hope the dreams aren't causing you too much trouble. If it is her, I'm sure that she will bring you peace and friendship, and nothing else. I do love that elf lass dearly, and I have much to tell her when she returns.

I hope you have wonderful time at the harvest festival, and that your pumpkin takes first place! Remember I am very proud of you, my dear boy.

All My Love,

Your Own Uncle Bilbo

Frodo put down the letter and blinked back tears. He shook his head, and ignored the concerned stares of the two other hobbits in the room as he began to cough, shaking and crying at the same time. Sam came over and patted his back gently until he stopped. Frodo looked up and sighed sadly, but his face broke into a small smirk.

"Well, Sam, I was just thinking...I don't suppose I'll make the harvest festival this year, will I?" Sam couldn't help but smile a little.

"No, sir, I don't suppose you will."

That night, Frodo dreamed of Arwen, standing on the same peaceful shores he had seen before. With her was a tweenaged hobbit lass who had his blue eyes and fair features, holding the elf maid's hand. They seemed to beckon to him, and he felt happy; finally free of pain for a fleeting night. In his sleep Frodo smiled.