A/N: Well, I'm finally getting the chance to update this fic. I apologize endlessly for the ridiculous delay.
I've updated my website to include a revised version of "And In The Darkness Bind Him". I corrected mainly things that were pointed out by reviewers, OOC moments, and grammatical errors, to the best of my ability. I plan to revise and repost all of my fics there.
I thank all of you for the wonderful reviews! :) You're all very kind, and I appreciate your taking time to review my fic. I wish I could comment on all of them! It's been so long since I've updated this (*hides face in shame*) that I doubt anyone who reviewed remembers reviewing, so I don't see a point in replying to the reviews, as most of them were left back in October.
UbiquitousPitt, thank you for your review! I'm glad that you have enjoyed the story. I'm impressed that someone who isn't a fan of healing fics was interested in reading "September". I almost feel like it was more angsty and h/c oriented than any of my other fics thus far. I also thank you for your comments on "Describing A Memory"; I tried to be as descriptive as possible when writing it. Though I suppose the title suggests as much. :)
A big thank you as well to my beta reader for correcting my mistakes in this chapter! :)
There will be an epilogue to this fic (thank you Shirebound for that wonderful idea!). The epilogue will be one chapter, but divided into two parts. It will take place over two different time periods, one not so far in the future (I plan to bring back something from an earlier chapter), and one some years later.
Bilbo sat attentively at Frodo's bedside, watching the morning sunlight flicker off of the sleeping tween's face. The lad seemed at peace, his expression relaxed and his breathing even. Though, Bilbo couldn't help but notice that the child was still deathly pale.
"No matter," Bilbo thought aloud, "time mends all things, and this shall be no exception." He smiled to himself, so proud of his dear lad's bravery and strength. The elderly hobbit reached a hand down and gently felt Frodo's cheek with the back of it, relieved to see that Frodo felt cooler than he had earlier that morning.
Frodo's eyes fluttered open slowly and the faintest of smiles graced his features. "Good morning, Bilbo." He whispered.
The elderly hobbit felt his heart swell with joy at those words, "How do you feel, Frodo-lad? Is there anything I can get for you? A piece of buttered toast or some soup perhaps?"
Frodo almost chuckled at his uncle's enthusiasm. He shook his head; the thought of anything remotely savory or solid still made his stomach churn, "No thank you, Bilbo." He replied, watching Bilbo's face fall as soon as the words were spoken. Frodo cocked his head to the side, "But some tea would be nice, if it's not too much trouble." The lad added, not wanting to disappoint his uncle too greatly.
Bilbo leapt to his feet in eagerness, "'Tis no problem at all Frodo-lad!" he called, already halfway to the kitchen.
Before the old hobbit went to set water on to boil, he went to the front door to retrieve Dimhirion. The elf had stepped outside to take in some fresh air. He didn't quite feel himself when he wasn't outside with nature, among the world he had come to love so dearly throughout the course of his long life.
"Dimhirion!" Bilbo called in his excitement.
"Here!" the elf replied gently, a smile lighting his fair features, "I trust the young Baggins has woken?"
"Yes, indeed he has. And he's asked that I make him some tea." Bilbo rambled in his excited state, "Though," the old hobbit continued, "I would appreciate it if you would, perhaps, sit with him while I'm in the kitchen?"
Dimhirion nodded in agreement, "Yes, we ought not leave him alone so soon."
Bilbo gave his thanks before heading to the kitchen to boil enough water for several varieties of tea for the lad.
Dimhirion knocked quietly at Frodo's door before entering.
"Come in," came a small voice from within.
The elf smiled, happier than ever to hear the small hobbit's pleasant voice, for once unhindered by fear and pain. "Good morning, Frodo." He greeted the tween.
Frodo nodded, sighing as the Elf took a seat on the floor next to his bed.
"Are you well this morning?" Dimhirion asked at length.
Frodo thought for a moment, the pain from his surgery hadn't really let up in the least. "Well, my stomach is still rather sore." He confessed, "From where… where the stitches are." he ended, the thought of talking about knives or needles made his stomach throb.
"Yes, little one." The Elf nodded sadly, "That is to be expected. But it will, no doubt, be gone by next week. Already I can tell that you are a fast healer." He smiled.
Frodo chuckled then, "Yes, thanks to a learned healer!" His tiny features had already begun regaining the healthy glow of life.
The Elf smiled again. Dimhirion reached up and touched Frodo's forehead, his expression sobering, "Do you remember anything from last night?" the Elf asked.
Frodo shook his head slowly, "Nothing, really. I just remember that my head hurt terribly, and it was so cold…" he trailed off, shifting tentatively beneath the blankets, wincing as his stomach protested.
Dimhirion noticed Frodo's discomfort. He meant to check the lad's incisions once more before he left for the Havens. The elf gently lifted Frodo's bed covers, and pulled up his nightshift just enough to see the two cuts, and check that the drains that had been set in place were unclogged.
Frodo's eyes grew teary as he felt the elf's gentle hands probing carefully around his wounds.
Dimhirion worked as quickly and gently as possible to ensure that the hobbit-lad felt the least pain possible. "I am sorry Frodo, but this must be done. You are not yet completely out of danger."
The hobbit-lad nodded, swallowing hard and closing his eyes; he allowed his head to fall back to the headboard of his bead.
Soon Dimhirion finished his examination, and replaced Frodo's covers. Bilbo returned to Frodo's room then carrying a tray filled with several cups of steaming teas: ginger, mint, and dandelion.
Frodo's eyes grew wide, "You don't want me to drink all of those, do you Bilbo?"
Bilbo grinned, setting the tray down carefully on Frodo's nightstand, "You must at least drink the dandelion, Frodo, and half of the mint as well." Bilbo instructed.
Frodo groaned in disgust, "But dandelion's my least favorite!" he cried.
"I know, lad, but it's necessary. The healer says you need to clean your system, and dandelion is the best cure we've got for that." He finished, lifting the steaming cup of dandelion tea from its place on the tray. "Don't worry, it's been sweetened."
Dimhirion used this opportunity to announce that he had to leave. After examining Frodo's incisions, and witnessing the fight the lad had put up over the dandelion tea, he felt sure that Frodo would recover in good time; and he had confidence in Fosco and Bilbo's ability to care for the lad. He had spoken with Fosco earlier on how to care for Frodo, and what to do should something go wrong.
"Master Baggins," the Elf interrupted the exchange between Bilbo and his cousin, "Frodo," he paused, waiting for their attention. Once he had it, he continued, "It has been my pleasure to be here helping you. I only wish our meeting could have been under happier circumstances, little one." He sighed regretfully, cupping Frodo's small face in one hand.
The elf would have added that perhaps they would meet again and under much happier circumstances. But he knew it could not be so, for this hobbit-child was mortal. His life span would be ended even before a sapling in the forest could grow to peek out from the canopy above and gaze upon the blue sky in all its glory. It saddened him to know this, yet it must be so for mortal lives. Beautiful things, they could be. Like a spring flower, and equally as delicate. And like the beauty of a flower, the beauty of a mortal life was but a fleeting thing in the story of the world, yet not unimportant. Dimhirion somehow felt better to have extended the spring of this new flower's life, to have saved him from an early frost, so that he may perhaps go on to bring others joy and hope.
"I am honored to have been able to assist the two of you." Dimhirion bowed before the two hobbits, both of whom managed to blush furiously. "Ah look, I believe your color is indeed beginning to return, Frodo." The Elf teased gently, his light laughter filled the smial with the sound of sunlight.
Then Dimhirion turned to Fosco, who had been sitting quietly in a corner of Frodo's room. "You, Fosco, are a master healer among your people." The elf smiled kindly, "Never have I seen one so skilled in the field, outside of my own race." And he bowed low to the bewildered hobbit. Fosco nearly fell out of his chair in his eagerness to return the gesture.
"I trust Fosco's judgment," the elf continued, "I entrust Frodo to his care. Unfortunately I myself must depart as soon as possible." He sighed regretfully, "My people await the ship, at the Havens. I have already dwelt here too long."
The three hobbits' gazes fell upon Dimhirion at hearing those words. This was hardly a time to mourn, because thankfully Frodo had been saved. Though all three wished the elf could stay, if for only a little while.
"Very well," said Bilbo, "It grieves me to see you leave, and for what you have done I cannot begin to thank you, or reward you—"
"Do not worry," the elf interrupted, "I require no payment for my services. Material payments, such as money, will be of little use to me beyond mortal lands." Dimhirion smiled.
"Is there nothing then that I can do to repay you?" Bilbo asked anxiously, his eyes searching the elf's face.
"There is one thing," said Dimhirion, "You can promise me something. Promise me that you will always care for Frodo. It shouldn't be difficult, I've rarely seen a stronger bond between two mortals."
Bilbo smiled, blushing, "Of course. I would not have it any other way!"
"I know, Master Baggins." He replied.
Bilbo rose from his place by Frodo's bed, "Shall we escort you back to the main road?" he asked the elf.
"No, you need not worry about that. I know the way to the Sea." Dimhirion said, "And I believe it's best you both stay here with Frodo, he has but begun his road to recovery."
"Then I will at least see you to the door," Bilbo piped up.
"Frodo," the elf turned then to the pale hobbit-lad resting on the bead, "You take plenty of rest, get well. You will be fine in good time." He smiled.
"Thank you, Dimhirion." Frodo answered, "Thank you for coming to help me," the little hobbit whispered, "I'll never forget you, nor your kindness."
"Nor will I forget you, Frodo." Dimhirion smiled, giving the small hobbit's hand a light squeeze.
The elf then rose from his seat in Frodo's room and made his way to Bag End's main exit with Bilbo in tow.