The child came on a misty, grey morning near the road to Bag End. Beneath the tree along the road to the grand hobbit hole, he lay with hair like midnight strewn messily about his face. The child's skin marred with more than just dirt. His clothes reminded Samwise Gamgee, the gardener of Bag End, of old, peeling bark.
"Tis not right, Mr. Frodo, for a child to look like this." He muttered as he hefted the child into the hobbit hole with the help of his friend and employer Frodo Baggins. "He is a big folk's child, a young one too."
Flashing blue eyes, lips curled into a frown with a slight nod in agreement, Samwise's employer could only wonder quizzically. Without too many words the pair took an hour to clean and dress the still unconscious child before putting him to bed in one of Frodo's guest rooms. It was a miracle he hadn't woken up.
"What is he doing in the Shire of all places?" Frodo mused as they closed the door to the room and went to the kitchen to wash up and have elevensies. "If he's from Bree, it takes days to make that journey! Any hobbit worth his salt would have found him before he reached us here. They'd turn him away - child or not."
"I do not like the look of this Mr. Frodo if you ask me," Samwise said quietly. The kind hearted hobbit never could stand for any injustice of any sort. He was quite jittery around the big folk but when it came to children, he couldn't stand it when they got hurt. "It's not every day you get strangers in these parts apart from Gandalf. Even he is a wizard and he's the queerest person we all know by far."
Without further conversation, the pair worked together to put tea, crumpets, a swath of bacon, butter, some apples and pears from the orchard on to the table. By the time they finally sat down, they both paused mid reach towards their meal (crumpet for Sam and bacon for Frodo) when they heard a door creak.
Their guest had awoken.
Verdant eyes scrutinized the two hobbits in front of them. There was confusion in his gaze as if piecing together a great mystery. Looking at the child now, Frodo could see how different even for a human their guest was. There was a slight glow that centered on the child that seemed to hum now that he watched the man child more closely.
"Hello boy," He finally greeted. "Did you sleep well?"
The child took a step back as if startled by the words. Panic flashed through the child's expressive face of his as he blinked owlishly at the pair of them.
Frodo exchanged a glance with Sam. The latter looked confused and shrugged as if to say the child was now his employer's problem. Sighing, the former stood up from his place from the table and went to the rather tense human child.
"Hello boy," Frodo said with a small smile to welcome him, showing him that he wasn't going to harm him. "I'm Master Frodo Baggins of Bag End, you are in my home. Please do sit down with us for a meal."
He watched as the boy's eyes told the tale of his thoughts. A great deal of uncertainty was in his gaze but a sudden wary confidence took place. Looking around him, the human child took a tentative step towards Frodo.
"That's it, come along." He greeted the human warmly. With each step that brought the boy closer to him, the hobbits watched as he slowly revealed an uncertain trust about them. Seconds had passed by the time he reached the older hobbit of the pair who gently but hurriedly urged him towards a seat on the table.
"Please, help yourself." Frodo stated as he sat the human child down. The two hobbits soon began to take crumpets, bacon and all the other goods that they had put on the table. Sam quickly put a plate in front of the child and the trio sat in silence chomping on their meal.
The boy didn't speak much and had slowly taken a crumpet to the plate. The two hobbits looked at each other at the meagre portion. The gardener hobbit took the role of piling food on the boy's plate and pouring him a cup of tea before continuing on his meal. The boy looked at the hobbit and gave a curious yet almost grateful glance as he chewed thoughtfully on the food in front of him.
"He's awfully quiet," Sam observed as he stuffed a crumpet slathered with honey into his mouth before downing some tea son after it.
"Aye, that he is," Frodo nodded as he chewed on a piece of bacon.
"Looking at him, he doesn't have the look of Bree." Sam mused as he lathered buckle berry jam on to another crumpet this time.
"And you would know this how?" Frodo asked his friend.
"Gaffer says that Bree folk are hard worked folks with browned skins because their work takes them outside much of the time. This child although he's got roughed up hands and feet, the rest of him is far too pale." Sam replied.
Frodo frowned and took note of Sam's words. He looked over the child's hands which were far too calloused certainly for one too young. The boy seemed to retreat inwardly a little when he noticed the hobbits look his way.
"No one is going to hurt you boy," Frodo said finally with a small, welcoming smile and a nod to the other hobbit. "This here hobbit is my friend and gardener, Samwise Gamgee – you can call him Sam for short."
The boy looked to the gardener who gave a grunt of acknowledgement to his gaze. Neither hobbit missed the amusement in the human child's eyes. The unspoken question for the boy's name lingered in the air soon after.
As if sensing what they may ask next, the boy looked at the pair and quietly cleared his throat. "Frodo," gesturing to the hobbit then, "Sam," here he nodded to the gardener and then in an unmistakable motion, the child placed a weak hand to his chest and said; "Harry. Harry Potter."
The two hobbits looked at one another then the child. Dumfounded, struck and confused. It soon became clear to everyone at the table the reason for the child's confusion initially when Frodo had spoken to the child.
"By the tone of his – he speaks none of our talk and I bet on Gaffer's old crops that he doesn't speak like the big folk either!" Sam gasped, now that it was his turn to blink owlishly at the child.
The exclamation made the boy – Harry, Frodo amended mentally – jump.
"Sam, you've frightened him a bit. Harry, welcome to the Shire." The dark haired hobbit smiled instead in order to calm the child who was scrutinizing the gardener with his cautious gaze.
The child nodded with his first, bright smile. "Hallo."
Days flew by then weeks then months and before anyone in the hole of Bag End knew it; three seasons had passed.
Much to the disapproval of the rest of the Shire folk – young Harry Potter stayed.
The whisperers and gossips of the town deemed Frodo Baggins as odd as his uncle. No good hobbit would take in a strange human child under their wings – even one as useful and smart as young Harry.
It didn't take long for anyone around them to realize that no one was going to come claim the child nor did he belong to the town folk of Bree.
Hobbits not trusting of the big folk took the child as part of their own.
A few days after his arrival, Sam along with Frodo, Frodo's cousin Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry) and the tween Peregrin Took (Pippin) who was Merry's good friend got together to build a large extension close enough to the hobbit hole, orchards and gardens for a bedroom Harry could call his own. They knew that men were much larger than hobbits and not knowing how tall the child would or could be – Sam thought it prudent to be prepared.
Harry quickly learned the Shire's ways and despite the coaxing of Merry or Pippin or oftentimes both to do some sort of mischief – the child stayed close to Frodo and Sam. It was a strange mystery but soon commonplace for all the hobbits in the Shire to know that Master Frodo Baggins – much like his cousin before him – had adopted a charge. Irregular since the child was that of the Big Folks.
"Those Baggins'," other hobbits said said. "The only good ones are the Sackvilles and even then – that's not saying much about them."
It didn't bother anyone who knew the goings on of Bag End though.
In fact things went on as much as it did back in the day of the Hole's old master Bilbo Baggins. There was gardening to do, learning to be had (for Harry at least who soaked it up to learn the Common Tongue quite quickly to the benefit of all) and a good life to lead.
Things changed on the 8th day of Wedmath (July 31) when Harry turned eleven years old in the year 3011.