This is the sequel to another story of mine, "What Could Possibly Happen?" and is currently in-progress. Please review and let me know what you think! :)
1. A Trip to Buckland
A cock crowed. The sun rose ever so slowly, its warm light melting away the night mists and bathing the rolling green hills of the Shire in a beautiful golden glow. Birds began to sing, announcing the arrival of Spring.
Inside Bag End, Frodo Baggins groaned and buried his face under his pillow, trying to block out the bright sunlight filtering through his window-curtains. Like most hobbits, Frodo did not especially enjoy getting up early in the morning, although he almost always woke up by seven-thirty – which was rather early by hobbit standards. Normally, he greeted the sun cheerfully, ready to begin the day, but recently, he'd been less inclined than usual to open his eyes.
It was only a little over one season since Bilbo had left, and although Frodo tried his best to hide it, his closest friends knew that he was still deeply saddened by the old hobbit's sudden disappearance. He was not bitter about it, perhaps understanding, a little, that his dear Uncle needed to go; and he tried to carry on as best he could, as Bilbo would have wanted, although he still had days when he felt especially depressed.
Today was one of those days.
Outside, the cheerful voice of Sam Gamgee could be heard approaching, singing one of Bilbo's favorite walking songs. This only made Frodo more agitated, and he burrowed deeper under the thick coverlet. He could hear the sound of the back door being opened (he always kept this door unlocked for Sam), and Sam coming up the hall, singing no longer, but still humming quietly to himself.
Sam Gamgee knew his master better than anyone -- save Merry Brandybuck, perhaps -- and ever since Bilbo had left, he'd developed the habit of pulling back the curtains of Bag End every morning, making breakfast, and seeing to it that Frodo's spirits were kept up. He knew that Frodo appreciated his presence very much and needed someone to talk to (although he seldom shared his thoughts, even to faithful Sam), and Sam was more than happy to help in any way possible.
He headed down the hall, his humming fading into silence as he stopped at the closed door of Frodo's room and listened. There was no sound, and Sam surmised that Frodo must still be asleep. He gave a soft sigh, and then putting on the most cheerful face he could muster, he opened the door and stepped inside.
All that Sam could see of his master was one slender, pale hand lying beside the pillow, but all the rest of him was buried under the blankets. He could see the coverlet rising and falling slightly with Frodo's even breathing, but that was the only sign that his master was even alive under there.
"Rise and shine, Mr. Frodo!" said Sam brightly. "I'm about t' begin breakfast: scrambled eggs, sausages and hotcakes! You don't want to miss that."
The lump of blankets shifted and Sam heard a muffled groan. Frodo stuck his head out just enough so that Sam could clearly hear him. "Twenty more minutes, Sam?" he asked sleepily, hoping against hope that Sam would just let him sleep today.
Sam chuckled. "Sorry, Mr. Frodo," he said. "But I'm here later 'an usual as 'tis. Up you get!"
"Ten more minutes?" Frodo tried again.
Sam laughed again. "All right, Mr. Frodo, you've given me no choice." He walked over to the window and threw back the curtains, letting in the bright sunshine. Then, he walked over to the bed and plucked the pillow off Frodo's head. "I'm goin' ta go start breakfast," he said cheerily. "You'll want to be down by the time I've finished, or I'll leave the food out to get cold."
Frodo sighed, slowly opened his eyes, and rolled over onto his back, resigning himself to the fact that he'd get no more sleep. Sam, satisfied that his job was done, left the room and headed down the hall to go start breakfast.
"Perhaps when I finish breakfast, Sam will leave me alone for a while, and I can go back to sleep," Frodo mused aloud to the ceiling.
As though he had heard Frodo's hopeful wondering, Sam's voice came ringing up the hall. "An' don't you even think about goin' back to bed after breakfast, Mr. Frodo. 'Tis about time your sheets an' coverlets was washed!"
Half-heartedly grumbling to himself, Frodo slowly got out of bed and washed his face. Then, after he'd dressed in his favorite white shirt, maroon-brown weskit and trousers of the same color, ran a comb through his unruly dark curls, and made his bed, he headed down the hall into the kitchen.
Sam turned, seeing him enter. "Good mornin', Mr. Frodo," he said cheerfully. "I'm just about finished with these here hotcakes, an' the sausages an' eggs should be done in just a minute."
"Thank you, Sam," Frodo mumbled around a yawn, sitting down at the table. He didn't know why he felt so dreadful today; perhaps he was getting ill? He reached up and put a hand to his aching head, closing his eyes.
Coming over with a plate full of fresh sausages, scrambled eggs and hotcakes a few moments later, Sam saw that his master looked as though he was not feeling well. "Mr. Frodo?" he asked, setting the plate down on the table. "Are you feelin' all right?"
Frodo opened his eyes and raised his head, giving Sam a weak smile. "I'm fine, Sam, thank you," he said. "Breakfast looks delicious. Aren't you going to have some?"
Sam shook his head. "No, thank'ee, Mr. Frodo. I've got some plantin' to do today, an' I wanted to get an early start."
"Well, then at least make a bit of toast for yourself, or something," Frodo insisted.
Sam sighed resignedly. "Very well, Mr. Frodo," he said. "If you want me to, I'll take a slice o' toast with me."
After making his toast, Sam went outside to begin his gardening, leaving Frodo alone to finish breakfast. 'One of these days, I'll get up early and make Sam breakfast,' Frodo thought as he took a bite of his hotcake. 'He deserves it.'
Once he had finished breakfast and washed the dishes (which was a chore that Sam usually insisted on doing), Frodo felt much better. His headache was gone, and he had no inclination to go back to bed. Instead, he decided to go outside and see how Sam was doing with the gardening.
Frodo found Sam busily at work, planting some seeds – sunflower, by the looks of them – and whistling a cheery tune. He was so engrossed in his work that he didn't notice Frodo approaching until his master had sat down beside him and touched his shoulder.
"Busy already, are you Sam?" asked Frodo brightly, grinning as Sam jumped in surprise.
"Oh, Mr. Frodo," Sam gasped. "You gave me a fright. Finished breakfast?"
"Yes, it was delicious, as always. Thank you, Sam."
"My pleasure, sir."
Sam began to go back to his planting, until he noticed that Frodo was still watching him. He looked up. "Is there somethin' I can do for ya, sir?"
Frodo shook his head. "No, Sam. I was just wondering what I should do today. I don't recall if I had any plans. Do you have any ideas?"
"Well, sir, you could go down to the post office and see if you have any letters."
Frodo smiled and stood up, dusting the dirt off his breeches. "Ah, excellent. Thank you, Sam!"
Sam smiled affectionately as he watched Frodo head down the Hill. Every day, he was reminded of how blessed he truly was to have such a kind master; and every day, he tried his best to repay Mr. Frodo for his kindness. Mr. Frodo deserved it.
Frodo strolled leisurely down the Hill, trying to keep his mind off melancholy thoughts by noticing every new flower, bird's nest and rabbit hole along the road. Up ahead, he spotted the Gaffer coming towards him in a small old wagon, with his oldest son, Hamson, sitting next to him.
"Good day to ye, Mr. Frodo," the Gaffer called as he neared, tipping his hat. Beside him, Hamson waved and called a greeting as well.
"And a good day to you both," Frodo returned. "Up and about early, I see?"
"Always work ta be done," the Gaffer replied with a fond grin at his young master. "It's the early bird as catches the worm, they say."
"I'll remember that," Frodo called with a laugh as the wagon passed. The Gaffer waved, and Frodo continued on to the post office.
It was well over a half-hour before Frodo returned, carrying just one letter in his hand. Sam had begun weeding one of the front flowerbeds, and Frodo sat down beside him. "Still hard at work, eh, Sam?" he asked with a smile.
"Got to get this weedin' done, at least, afore I take a break," Sam replied, focusing his attention on his work. "Who's your letter from, if you don't mind me askin'?"
"Of course I don't mind. It's from Buckland. Merry is inviting me on a camping trip he's taking with a few of our cousins outside of Brandy Hall."
Sam looked up from his work with a smile. "Are you goin' to go, Mr. Frodo?" He hoped his master would, for as much as he would miss him, it would be good to know that he was having fun and forgetting his melancholy for a while.
Frodo had the same thoughts. "I think I will. Perhaps it'll do me some good to go have fun with Merry again. I haven't seen him in months."
The next morning, Frodo left for Buckland after Second Breakfast, giving Sam the key to the house. "I wish you could come, Sam," he said apologetically, standing at the garden gate, pack hoisted onto his shoulders. "But I know that you don't enjoy water, and I'll have to cross the Brandywine, you know." He gave a small, involuntary shudder at the thought of the river that had claimed both his parents' lives. But he covered it with a smile and pat of Sam's shoulder. "Besides, I'll need someone to look after Bag End for me."
On the first afternoon, Frodo made good time, and by that evening, he'd passed the Three Farthing Stone. He enjoyed walking alone, and he felt the stress and tension that had been building up for weeks begin to melt away as fast as the miles.
That night, he camped on the outskirts of the Woody End. After eating dinner, he lay down on his sleeping roll, hands clasped behind his head, and watched the stars. He wondered where Bilbo was, and if he was all right. He did not know that far away in Rivendell, Bilbo was watching the same stars, and thinking about the beloved nephew he'd left behind.
Frodo shivered. The cold of winter had not released its icy grip on the Shire, and he pulled his cloak closer around him. A chill wind blew softly, and suddenly it occurred to him how very lonely it was to travel alone. To keep from giving into depressing thoughts, he softly began to sing the poem that Sam had made up, years before. The Elves of Rivendell had put it to music, and it had become a favorite of theirs, as well as Bilbo and Frodo's.
"The stars of Varda shine up high,
Like silver rain drops in the sky.
The Queen of Stars, she put them there
Like jewels to glimmer upon her hair.
Ëarendil sails through the night,
The silmaril shimmering white.
The stars around him brightly glow
To give hope to earth below."
He stopped as he heard several new voices suddenly join in.
"The light of the stars glimmers bright,
To give a wandering traveler light.
In the velvety black of night they lie,
Like silver rain drops in the sky."
Frodo sat up quickly and looked around just in time to catch a glimpse of three tall, glowing figures disappear into the trees. "Nai eleni siluvar antalyannar!" he called in the High Elf tongue, having no doubt of who he'd seen. He was answered by soft laughter, fading slowly away into the whisper of the wind.
Frodo smiled, making a mental note to tell Sam that he'd heard his song sung by an Elf; the gardener would be ecsatic. He laid down again, feeling peaceful and contented. Before sleep took him, he heard a soft voice closeby.
"Nai aistalë Eldaron hilya le, Elf-friend."
Then, his eyes closed, and sleep overtook him.
"May the stars shine upon your faces!" - Quenya
"May the blessing of the Elves go with you." - Quenya
(Translations found at www. Elvish . org/ gwaith)