Sam x Rosie
Ahh, home. Let me come home
Home is wherever I'm with you
- Edward Sharpe
The Shire was different to how he'd left it, and he wasn't surprised by how little trust the hobbits had in them at first. He did not blame them- after the misery and damage that the attempted industrialisation of the Shire caused on the people, he knew that they would have a hard time accepting anyone into their lands ever again.
But in the Battle of Bywater, the four hobbits regained their trust from the others. They helped corner the ruffians, Merry and Pippin leading the fight, but Samwise and Frodo playing their part, and the next day they'd marched through to Hobbiton. The hobbits had felt, for the first time in a long while, like they could lift their heads high with pride again. When Frodo finally banished Saruman, their faith was fully restored. When the wizard was killed, and the henchman that killed him shot dead by Samwise, Merry and Pippin, the hobbits finally felt free again.
After everything that had happened, a lot of people thought he would be a different Sam to the one who had left them before all the trouble had started.
They expected him to come back full of riches and boasts and splendid stories, and not have any time for the ruins he'd once called home. They thought he wouldn't stay with the people he had once called his family, his friends. They thought he would go away again and build a new hole, somewhere where the trees were still plentiful and he could hear elf-song. They thought that even if he were to stay, he would be a difficult one, like old Bilbo, full of strange ways and strange habits.
But no, he surprised them all.
Oh, he came back with riches all right- gold and silver and jewels, wrought by elves and man and dwarf alike, carried in bags and trunks on their ponies. He came back with a sword at his side and beautiful clothing. He came back with splendid stories of the foes he had fought, the friends he had met, the wondrous and horrifying places he had seen alike. He came back with the scars to prove it, too, signs of battles and terrible events.
But he did not come back with boasts. He remained resolute to his belief that it was Frodo who was the hero, Frodo who deserved the praise. He accepted none of it, and just smiled at the other, subdued hobbit with awe that none could fully understand, a bond that none could match.
Neither did he move away from the desolation of his old home. He did not go closer to lands of fairer flora and sweeter voices, and he did not leave his people who had been already hurt so much by fire and enemies.
Instead, he rebuilt the lands.
He did what no one had thought he would do. He did what he had always done the best.
He travelled the whole Shire re-planting each and every tree that had been cut down by Saruman. He pushed each seed back into watered soil with care and affection, making sure each had light and water and a scattering of soil from a small box he carried with him. In the box, he told the questioning hobbits, was soil from a distant wood of unimaginable beauty, and the magic in it would re-build the Shire.
He was right.
Soon, the trees were growing at an unfeasible rate, their branches spreading a leafy green shade over the thick grass that was also coming back, because as every gardener will tell you, it is very hard to kill off grass. The trees were as beautiful as they had ever been, and if their leaves shone more brightly than they had before, well, no one questioned it.
When he'd done, he took the last of the soil up to the Three-Farthing Stone and released it to the wind. Only a handful were witness to it, but everyone knew that it was happening, and when the allotted time came, most put down their tools, took a break in their task of re-form, and breathed the air for a moment, as if somehow they could spread the magic just a little further.
In the Party field a miracle began to grow. A huge tree, with silver bark and upswept boughs and nuts with silver shale. Its leaves were pale green on top, and silver underneath, and they did not fall with those of other trees in autumn, simply turned a pale gold. In spring golden blossom clustered and continued into summer, but as soon as the flowers opened the leaves fell, so through spring and summer the tree was carpeted and roofed with gold, with walls of silver. It was truly the most wondrous thing the Shire had seen. Samwise told them its name was a mallorn tree, but that held little meaning save the beauty in the name.
Had they been surprised by Sam's help and normality, they were more so when one day the ever-shy hobbit walked up to Rosie Cotton and asked to step out with him. They were more surprised by the blush of delight on her cheeks as she accepted, but in time it simply became another part of the story of Samwise Gamgee, and soon no one even double glanced at the sight of them together, and together they were a lot, unless it was out of surprise than anyone could ever look that happy.
They kissed softly, and laughed often, and there were parts of him she couldn't understand, but she knew why, and she tried not to mind too much. And she also knew that as much as he spoke of far off places with longing, he wouldn't be going back, and that made it all better.
He'd asked her to marry him in the shade of one of his own re-planted trees, and she'd thrown her arms around him in response. They'd married at the little place the Gaffer had married his wife, because it was Gamgee tradition, and they held the party at Bag-End, because that was where they would be living afterwards.
And soon, everything became just as it always had been in Hobbiton. They became ordinary again, and though their exploits were told as stories, there was no connection to the reality of the adventure, but Sam didn't mind that so much.
When they sat under the tree in the Party field she held his hand, and he stroked her cheek, and thought that although a lot had to be said for adventure and magic and beauty, familiarity had its own charms. After all, they had their own adventures to live out, the bulge in her stomach showed that, and magic was where you found it, and regardless of elves and wizards and cursed rings, the most he'd ever found was in her eyes. As for beauty? Sitting under a tree of silver with Rosie Cotton, he knew he had quite enough.
Yes, Sam knew that coming home meant the end of the quest, and he was relieved, because after the fire and gold, after the blood and the dark, normality was nice, and he'd never wanted more than that.