Epilogue

"Sam!" came Rosie's voice from the kitchen. "Aren't you ready to go yet? Merry's party is day after tomorrow and we'll never get there in time if you keep dawdling."

"Almost," he called back. He opened the wardrobe for the third time that morning and looked at its contents with dissatisfaction. His shirts all hung in a neat row, if a bit mashed to the side by Rosie's blouses and petticoats. Below them a stack of clean breeches in various colours lay, all of them appearing far too mundane to his critical eye.

He considered the outfit that Rosie had laid out across the bed, ready to pack. His newest breeches, a clean shirt and the cheery blue-and-peach suspenders that his sister had made for him. It was nice, but wanted for something. Something more like a birthday party ought to have. He folded them and pushed them into his satchel.

"Sam, the cart's ready! Are you coming?" He heard the rustle of Rosie moving her blankets and baskets from the kitchen to the entryway.

"Just a moment," Sam called over his shoulder. "I just remembered something."

Turning away from the wardrobe, he went instead to a small chest that was almost hidden in the corner of the room, half-buried under an extra winter blanket, folded away in the warmer days. Kneeling, he lifted the blanket aside and gently lifted the lid.

A closely woven cloak, neither green nor grey met his eyes. He stroked it with his hand in apology for disturbing its sleep and lifted it up. A rustling of tissue sounded beneath it. He lifted out the tissue-wrapped package and opened it. The sliver of morning sun that shone in the window slipped across the fabric, shining up at him in burgundy, green, and blue. He gazed at it for a long moment, then unfolded it, to check the fit.

A bit of paper fell from the folds and slipped neatly under the trunk. With a gasp, he dropped the brocade waistcoat back into its wrappings and scrambled after it, feeling along the edge until his fingers could just pull it out.

He unfolded it, the sight of his Master's handwriting bringing tears unbidden to his eyes. He squinted and blinked rapidly to clear them, then read:

My dear Sam,

I know that this may not quite fit you, dearest Sam, but as it is such a fine cloth it seems just as new as the day Bilbo gave it to me, when I first came to live at Bag End. I would be blessed to think that one day you may wear it, or you may give it to one of your sons. May it see many a merry day here on the Hill yet to come.

It has ever seemed to me that you were so much part of Bag End, the Hill would not be complete without you. I hope you may find some joy in this small token's use. I am simply giving you what is already yours, entrusting it into your safekeeping even as I have so often entrusted myself.

Yours, always. - Frodo

He didn't know how long he had knelt there on the floor until Rosie entered the room a bit impatiently. "Sam, whatever are you doing in here that's taking so long? We need to leave."

He cleared his throat and wiped his eyes. "Sorry," he said, "I had to find my weskit."