The Travelers


by Gillian

December 1426 S.R

Fael tugged at Frodo's knee and began to climb him like a tree. The hobbit helped, lifting the sturdy little child onto his lap and hugging him close. Fael snuggled his curls under his father's chin and yawned, long lashes fluttering over wide blue eyes.

"Tell me a story, daddy?"

Frodo smiled and kissed the golden curly crown. "What story would you like, my sunshine? A dragon tale? Or one from your Great Uncle Bilbo's book?"

"Tell me the story of how I was borned," Fael decided.

Frodo shot Sam a smile and the other hobbit winked back at him through a cloud of smoke. "That's one of my favourites," Sam said, tugging his pipe from between his teeth. "Go on, Frodo."

"Well let's see."

Fael leaned back with a happy sigh, settling under his father's arm.

"Once upon a time your old dad was poorly. Poorly as can be."

"Because you were a hero and saved the world, right, daddy?"

"Who's telling this story?" Frodo demanded, eyes twinkling. Fael huffed a sigh and settled back again.

"There were lots of heroes, Fael," Frodo continued. "Your da and I played a small part it's true. And I was made ill because of it."

Fael's little face was serious and Frodo couldn't resist kissing a perfect little nose. It wrinkled and the small hobbit smiled, showing off his even white teeth.

"Anyway, I was feeling so poorly that the elves even invited me to sail away with them to their far off land, where I wouldn't be sick any more."

Sturdy little arms wrapped around his neck and Fael's big blue eyes looked into his somberly. "You'd have been ever so lonely without us, wouldn't you daddy?"

Frodo nodded solemnly. "Ever so lonely," he agreed. He exchanged another look with Sam and smiled softly again at the steady look of love that was always there. "But your da wasn't having any of that, my lad. No sir!"

"He took you to the elves, didn't he daddy!" Fael exclaimed, glad to get past the saddest bit of the story.

"He did that," Frodo agreed. "And who should be there but an elf who thought he knew just the right way to heal me. It was like a tale in a storybook."

"But it was true," Fael said in satisfied tones. "Uncle Nestad."

"That's right. Your dear Uncle Nestadren cast a magical spell on me."

"Moon magic," Fael whispered thrillingly, eyes wide.

Frodo nodded solemnly. "That's right," he whispered back. "The magic of the new moon. And after he cast his fine spell, why your da and me made you together. Just like that!"

"But how?" Fael said as he always did at this part of the story. "How did you and da make me?"

"With love, my lad," Frodo answered as he always did. And when Fael opened his mouth to ask another question Frodo closed it with a smacking kiss. "And that's all young hobbitlings need know about that."

"For now," Sam murmured through his wreath of pipe smoke and Frodo grinned.

"Am I still telling this story?" he demanded and Fael and Sam both nodded. "Good. Where was I?"

"I'm in your tummy," Fael prompted. He squirmed around and patted Frodo's flat belly. "Did I really grow in there?" he asked curiously.

"That you did." Frodo's answer was fervent. "You grew and grew and kicked and kicked. And you must have been ever so hungry because I ate and ate and ate!"

"And ate!" Sam added emphatically and Frodo raised a brow.

"Er hem," he cleared his throat. "Anyway, there I was getting bigger and bigger and who should come to visit?"

"Uncle Leg'las and Uncle Gimli!" Fael shouted.

"Exactly. And your Uncle Legolas, wise elf that he is looked at me and knew right away."

"This is my favourite part," Fael confided.

"But your Uncle Gimli... Well, your da should tell this part. It's his favourite too."

Fael gazed at his da. "Go on, da. Tell the bit about Uncle Gimli's pipe!"

"Ah, his favourite pipe," Sam said as if just remembering. "Well, if I remember right old Legolas was already figuring out why Frodo was looking so plump and well. But Gimli, he thought it was all a joke, didn't he? So quick as you please your dad there unbuttons his shirt and shows off his tummy all round and full."

"Full with me," Fael boasted.

"And kickin' and squirmin' you were that day," Sam confirmed. "And your Uncle Gimli takes one look and says... There's a baby in that hobbit!"

Fael collapsed back against his dad's shoulder giggling madly.

"And then I said..."

"I know, I put it there," they all chorused together, and Fael laughed even harder.

"Then he bit his pipe, didn't he, da?" the hobbitling managed and Sam nodded.

"Crunch," he said. "Just like that."

"And that's when I got my name," Fael said, sighing happily. "My elf name."

"That's right." Frodo gathered him close again and laid another kiss on a curly crown. "Your Uncle Legolas closed his elf eyes and saw you all warm and safe curled up inside me. Shining like the sun you were."

"And still are," Sam said, nodding wisely.

"And then I was borned in a far away elf home," Fael said, leaning back against his father and suppressing another yawn. "I dream about it sometimes. Will I ever see it?"

"Some day, my lad," Frodo promised. "Your da and I will take you to see it."

Blue eyes were half closed and dreaming. "I can't wait," he yawned again.

Frodo squeezed him gently, his eyes soft. "Tired, Fael?"

"Uh uh," Fael denied, trying to open his blue eyes wider.

"I know what will wake you up," Sam said, standing up and stretching. "Hot crumpets."

Predictably Fael popped upright with an eager smile. "With lots of butter," he said, licking his lips.

"And hot cocoa," Frodo decided, standing up with his son still in his arms. "Who's up for that?"

"Me!" Sam and Fael chorused together.

And the little family headed to the warm cosy kitchen for their treat.

The End.