Series Title: Sand-Pictures Vignette Title: Summer

Author: Frodo Baggins of Bag End (FrodoAtBagEnd)

E-mail: febobe at yahoo dot com

Characters: Frodo, Rose, Sam

Rating: PG-13

Summary: A series of vignettes following the War of the Ring and the Ringbearer's return to the Shire: Sam, Rose, and Frodo settle into life together, sharing a loving home overshadowed by Frodo's failing health.

Feedback: Welcomed. Constructive only, please. . .no flaming.

Story Notes: Inspired by "Pretty Good Year" - just a series of vignettes based thereupon, with a debt to Mary Borsellino as the creator of the PGY fanfiction set. Pure angst-filled fluff written for its own sake. It's not intended to have a grand plot; it's not intended to be impressive, serious fanfic. Just a little set inspired by PGY and written episodically for the fun of it and nothing more. Lots of Frodo h/c in these, though, so if you like that, you'll enjoy this. If you don't. . .my apologies; to each her (or his) own taste. :)

DISCLAIMER: The characters, places, and story of The Lord of the Rings are the property of J.R.R. Tolkien and consequently of the Tolkien Estate, with select rights by Tolkien Enterprises. This piece appears purely as fanfiction and is not intended to claim ownership of Tolkien's work in any way. Please e-mail me if you have concerns. Furthermore, please do NOT consider any treatments or remedies within this story safe or effective for use: these are included as fictitious hobbit care, not real human medical practice, and while some can indeed be traced to actual therapeutic practices, could be dangerous. Please consult your health care professional before treating yourself or others for any condition or symptom.

Sand-Pictures: Summer

From the door-frame, though, she could see him clearly: raised just a little bit on pillows, his head raised only enough to ease drinking and breathing. They couldn't keep him propped up too much; his heart was tired, she'd learned from Queen Arwen and Lady Eowyn. Even though her duties had been to the Queen, wherever they were, they'd found a fair bit of time to teach her things, just as Fo had taught her in preparation for her year with them. Slowly she ventured closer.

He was breathing such short little breaths. . .not so many of them, just. . .short little difficult breaths, the way he sometimes did when he wasn't well. He looked even whiter than usual, all pale and damp and feverish, like he might faint if you even tried to move him just a quarter of an inch. The room smelled heavily of the familiar athelas (galenas, kingsfoil, "that funny leaf" - as the younger ones called it), hot and steamy with extra wood on the fire and steam-kettles and basins everywhere. Fo was tucked in beneath the fluffy counterpane and a whole pile of patchwork quilts, but still he shivered, trembling as if he were buried in snow instead.

Strider.

She now understood the meaning of the strange name he sometimes called out, the name besides her father's, the one she'd heard only in stories. Oh, she'd thought she understood it. . .but now she found she hadn't at all, and she swallowed tensely, remembering the place they'd visited while staying at Evendim, near where Queen Arwen's brothers still lived.

Slowly she put out one hand, wringing out a fresh cloth from the stack on the bedside table, bringing her other hand to help as she shook off the drips and laid it over his forehead. His face felt burning hot to her hands. . .except the left side, which was cold as ice. The compress was nice and warm, at least.

"Elly-elle. . .there you are. . . ."

His eyes slowly opening, blue as ever, Fo looked up at her, his voice worn and tired as cracked leather. She smiled, taking another cloth and kissing his thin cheek before stroking his neck lightly with the other compress, and he fairly beamed, the corners of his pallid lips turning up in that little bow they became when he smiled.

"I'm sorry. . .I should. . . ."

"Sssshhh. . .it's all right, Fo."

Tears sparkled in his eyes, blue as the Sea. "I. . .wanted to. . .to come and. . .meet. . .you properly. . . . A few. . .more. . .days. . .and I. . .would have. . .been. . .able. . . ."

"A few more days would have been too long for me to wait. Winter's cold, and it's time for Summer to come melt away all the snow."

Reaching to her left wrist, she pulled loose the bow of a single purple ribbon tied about another, one bound to her wrist in decorative fashion. Slowly she lifted the covers, trying not to jostle the frozen left arm., so chilled in contrast to the fever that burned away at the rest of him, even though he shivered. . .he was always so cold. . . .

With careful touch, she tied the purple ribbon gently about his wrist, her voice a whisper.

"Summer's come home, Uncle Fo. Summer always comes back."