A/N: I happened to stumble across this while digging around in my files. It was cute, but needed a bit of work, so I hope this is better suited for reading. Now that I've found it again, I remember the reason I originally decided to write this: on the way to the Havens at the end of the Return of the King, Frodo gives a very touching shpeal to Sam about how he has "so much to do, and to be" etc. etc. etc., and names a few of the children that he'll have. I wondered how he could specifically know about the existence of these children… that is, I suppose Sam could have expressed wishes about them, but this way is more fun. And it's not entirely out of place in Frodo's repertoire...
Disclaimer: All to Tolkien, admitted humbly and readily.
Frodo sat quietly in his study, thinking. He'd been doing so more and more often during the past week (though it had never been strange for him to spend over twenty-four hours locked inside, persistently writing in a red leather book and only eating when convinced to do so by Rose or Sam). He ran his fingers over the smooth cover now. So strange to be finished with it...
He'd been working on the book for a very long time. Longer than the amount of time he'd spent actually doing most of the things described within its pages. Despite this, he was only slightly wistful about being done with it. It put a sort of closure, an ending to the tale. His own tale, at least. He smiled—the entire story had no true ending.
He glanced outside the small round window. It was a bright day, but chilly in spite of the sun. From his view point it seemed that the whole world was changing from green to red and gold; that everywhere it was snowing leaves that drifted lazily in a soft breeze. For the majority of his life the Shire had been the entire world. Now Frodo knew that there were some places that had no green to begin with and any of the rare breezes smelt of dust and death.
It was dreamlike to be thinking about it now, what with the glorious Shire autumn close enough to touch. He smiled as he saw Rosie walk into view. In her arms she held a bundle of thick, warm blankets, but Frodo knew that little Elanor was somewhere inside. The mother closed her eyes peacefully as the chilly air blew her curls off her face and ruffled her dress. She held her child towards the sky and spun around a few times. Frodo leant his chin on a hand and watched the blissful scene contently. Were those two not the very essence of life in the Shire? Of why it had been so dreadfully important to keep everything the same?
With this observation a thought settled in quietly; a thought that had been passing idly through his mind like the leaves in the autumn wind. The Shire hadn't changed.
He nearly laughed out loud and this sudden, gentle revelation. Of course some things were different (New Row was a perfect example of this) and it could never be completely restored to its original state. But for the most part things were back to normal, weren't they? Life went on; the mannerisms and customs of the hobbits that were so dear to him endured. Even after all that had happened, the Shire remained.
A feeling had been stirring inside of him for quite some time. It was restless, and could not be soothed by any kind words on Sam or his cousins' parts, nor anyone else's. Not even his own inner chidings. It was a feeling of sudden estrangement from his home, of not belonging. The entire time he had been convincing himself that the war had irreversibly changed the Shire for the worst.
But no, it hadn't. Rosie and Elanor and, yes, Sam were proof of that. It was him who had changed after all.
It's finished… he thought idly, eyes returning to the book.
And maybe it was. It had been finished at least three years ago. Only one thing had been truly holding him back. One thing held him captive in a place he could not so easily refer to as home anymore. But that was no longer something he needed to be concerned about.
For Frodo had dreamt. He had seen his dear Sam, whom he was so afraid to leave, and he was older and dressed fairly and a very respectable hobbit indeed. And he was surrounded by his many children, young and old, and he called each by name and looked so very, very happy. It happened only in a moment, a few seconds as Frodo rested his eyes by the fire one night. But that was all it took for everything to become clear.
He doesn't need me anymore.
From that point on, all that had kept him steady was his book. Now it was finished.
Frodo glanced out the window once more. Rosie and Elanor were out of sight. Perhaps they had come inside: it was rather chilly, after all. All that was left to be seen was this tiny portion of a huge world as its greens turned gradually to browns and leapt into the wind.
Frodo called Sam into his study. It was time to let go.
"It will be Bilbo's birthday on Thursday, Sam," he said.
It must often be so, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.