Author: Nivina
Rating: PG

This ficlet was inspired by one of shirebound's plot bunnies:
"After Frodo awakens in Rivendell, he's shown on a balcony buttoning his shirt. Does his arm still pain him? Are his fingers as nimble as they were before his wounding? Does he truly believe that he's reached Rivendell safely, or does he fear it's all a dream?"

Disclaimer: The characters and settings belong to Professor Tolkien. I've just borrowed them... :)

Birdsong

October 26th, 3018

Rivendell... Frodo already had spent quite a few days in this peaceful haven, but this was only the second day since he had woken from his injuries and his sickness. He still felt numb and tired, but now, here in the sunshine, looking out upon the Elven realm, he found himself smiling. Frodo could see the river far beneath him, but the dreadful things that had happened there not too long ago all seemed like a bad dream. The autumn sun sent her warm light through the valleys and gorges, and revealed an unreal and dreamy sight to his eyes. Far away, he heard birdsong -- birdsong to which he had awoken earlier. Birdsong had followed him into his sinister dreams somehow and soothed him, just as much as the medicines, the constantly renewed bandages, and the feeling of never being alone.

Frodo sighed; he didn't want to think about the horrors and fears his friends must have gone through while he had been on the edge of death. Poor Sam had dark shadows beneath his eyes, and had refused to rest even now that Frodo was on the mend. Elrond and Gandalf told him how they had to force dear Sam to go to his room and get some well-deserved sleep. Frodo frowned, unconsciously, worried about his friends in return. A dull pain in his body made him shiver; and his left side began to feel cold again. Paradoxically the cold was the most intense under the bandages.

Frodo found himself more in a world of dreams lately than in real life, he feared, but this had been no dream. He could have died. This was not a simple injury, and he had to be patient. His left arm pained him still, and he tried to avoid using his left hand as often as possible. Elrond of Rivendell was a skilled healer, and a person Frodo truly trusted even though he hardly knew the elf. The wisdom and care that emanated from his ancient and wise eyes had reassured Frodo when he had spoken with the elf yesterday, alone.

-----

"This wound might never really heal, Frodo," Elrond had said to him. "I do not know how far this injury has taken hold of your soul."

Frodo frowned. "What do you mean? Aragorn spoke about changes that were both mental and physical, yet I'm not sure I understood everything the way I should have."

"You still were in this world, at the side of your companions, and yet you were not, Frodo. A Morgul blade can cause death... or worse."

Elrond, who saw how the hobbit fought to maintain a calm composure, took Frodo's hand and stroked it lightly. "Don't fear, Frodo. You've proved the strength that is lingering in you. Were you not strong in mind and body, you would now not be here. You would have faded like a leaf in autumn. I admit that I was amazed to hear how many days you were injured that badly and still alive. Do you know that this is something very uncommon? I have no intention to scare you, Frodo Baggins. But it is a fact that I never have heard of a being who survived such. And old and experienced I may be, but about the consequences this will have for you I am not sure."

"What do you think will happen with me? Will I regain my strength and be healed?"

"The wound will heal; only a little scar will remain. I surely hope that will be the only sign that will remember you of the injury and the pain in the future."

"I hope so, too," Frodo breathed. He looked down. "'Morgul' means 'magic' in the common tongue, doesn't it?"

"Indeed, that is what it means. We are talking about a dark and sinister magic here; a magic I have not discovered in its full existence. The tricks of the enemies are many and subtle. You are the first mortal to have survived an injury of such an impact. That means there is a lot of hope that you will recover wholly."

Frodo smiled weakly. "I never had hoped for that when we were out in the wild. I felt myself gliding into a dark and evil world of shadows more and more with every passing hour. I even welcomed the pain, for it told me that I was still alive... still able to feel. But then, a certain numbness came over me, and I did not really care anymore for what was going on around me."

Then, Frodo's voice turned to a cracked whisper, and his next words were nearly inaudible: "I only remember clearly that I screamed in the dark when stings of pain rushed through me. But I don't remember if it was really night, or just the darkness surrounding me... the darkness inside of me..."

"What do you feel now, Frodo?" Elrond looked down at the hobbit, his wise eyes full of concern.

Frodo closed his eyes. "I can't deny the mist that has sickened my soul and blurred my sight has not wholly faded yet, and I fear it will return, together with the certain cold in my left shoulder. But then, I'm still wounded. And you said such wounds take their time to heal, Lord Elrond."

"Time will tell, Frodo. You must be patient; I will do all I can to put you at ease and take care of your wounds. Don't be afraid; the pain will remain in the following days, though it should cease as time goes on. You've had a splinter of that evil blade in your body, worming its way to your heart. I cannot say for sure that I have managed to erase all of the scars this process might have left. I'm experienced, yes... but I'm not infallible."

Frodo had begun to shiver again, weakness and terror overwhelming him once more, as his memories crushed him. Elrond took both of his hands, and Frodo pressed them as if he could erase his pain this way. The elf shifted slightly, so he could take Frodo into his arms, while he softly sang an ancient song that soothed Frodo slowly. When Frodo's shivers had ceased, Elrond carefully wrapped the blankets around the weary hobbit.

"Don't fear any longer, Frodo. Sleep, and find healing in dreams. No harm can be done to you, you are safe and sheltered."

Frodo smiled up at Elrond. "Thank you. For everything. You have given me new hope."

-----

Frodo had felt peaceful at last. The evil had been so close, so consuming... but he had resisted it, for a long time.

"Rest now, Frodo Baggins..."

When he had closed his eyes wearily, he had heard Elrond's voice once more, singing him into a deep sleep... and further, ever further, until Frodo had dreamed of home, warmth, and light.

-----

Light... it now surrounded Frodo like a warm blanket. He took a deep breath while he gazed upon Rivendell, the valley and the mountains, and some elves who were but little moving shadows, far away. Frodo listened to the birdsong, and while he listened, he heard other voices raised in song. It was so subtle it was nearly inaudible, but somehow Frodo felt himself responding, though voiceless. Could everyone hear it? Sam, Merry, Pippin? Aragorn? They surely must hear it, too? At least they must feel the peace and freedom that came forth of it. Here they were safe from all evil.

Frodo thought of the Ring, and realised he had not thought about it for a long while. The chain was still (or again?) around his neck, warmed by his body. Frodo looked at it and wondered if the power of the Ring was completely taken away in this magical realm, and if It would be safe here, with the Elves. The Ring was definitely quiet. Frodo felt no need to touch it, nor to slip it onto his finger. No faint voices inside his head tried to seduce him. He took a deep breath and shook off the memory of that subtle, but ever present seduction of the golden jewel.

Yes, the Ring might be safe here, and he, Frodo, would take Merry, Pippin, and Sam home safely after he had recovered and regained his strength. Deep in his mind Frodo sensed that it might not be that simple, but he did not want to ruin this wonderful morning with uncomfortable thoughts that also could wait. He was sure that Elrond could give him a proper answer to his question. It was a fact that Frodo felt happy and safe now. No, he had not entirely recovered yet; he was still fighting against the dull ache in his left shoulder. But the pain was bearable now -- it was only physical and did not burn his mind. Absently he touched his left shoulder, a gesture of protection, an unconscious attempt to stop the cold from seeping further and freezing his soul. For now, it helped. There was nothing but that light, then a gentle breeze that stroked his dark curls, and finally peace around him. He would spend some time with Bilbo; this was something he had yearned for since his old cousin had left the Shire seventeen years before. They would have plenty of time together before it was time to leave again, and return to the Shire...

Frodo turned with a smile, and went to meet his friends for breakfast.

The End