(Written in 2005 for the 20_rings community on LiveJournal)

Title: First Lessons
Theme: Set #1, Theme # 8 "Beginnings"
Genre (s): General
Pairing (s): N/A
Rating: G
Notes: In the first one, Frodo is 19, Merry 6 (12 ½ and 4 in Man years); in the second one, Frodo is 21, Sam 9 (13 ½ and 6 in Man years) and in the last one, Frodo is 26 and Pippin is 4 (15 and not quite 3 in Man years)
Summary: Three drabbles about learning and teaching.

FIRST LESSONS

I.

The cove was still, shallow and sun-warmed, with a soft, sandy bottom. Frodo shed his clothes, and waded a few feet. Kneeling, he held out both hands. "Come on, sprout," he said with an encouraging smile.

Merry looked at him, grey eyes wide, but trusting. "Is it cold?"

"Not so very, dear."

The little one stepped into the water, his mouth making an "o" of surprise. "It feels nice!"

Slowly, he waded towards his cousin's outstretched hands, reaching out to grasp his own, as the water reached his chest.

"Kick, Merry!"

Laughing the six-year-old grinned and sputtered. "I'm swimming, Frodo!"

II.

Frodo glanced up from his book, amused. Sam was staring again. "Come over here, Sam, I'll read to you."

Sam flushed. "I don't think my dad'd like that."

"If I tell him it's my idea, he won't mind."

Sam nodded, relieved. He plopped on the ground, brown eyes bright with anticipation.

Frodo read. When he finished, he glanced at Sam's shining face.

"Mr. Frodo, how do you know what it means?"

Frodo smiled. He'd been waiting for this question. "Each mark is a sound." He used his forefinger in the dirt: "Sss-aahh-mmm."

"Sss-aahh-mmm, Ss-Sam!"

The gardener's lad laughed for joy.

III.

Frodo leaned back on the tree-trunk drawing his legs up on the branch. It was harder finding some peace and quiet at the Great Smials than at Brandy Hall. There were just as many relations living there, and twice as many servants , not counting company.

"Frodo!"

He looked down at the mop of chestnut curls and pointed face. "Pip?"

"Want up!"

"Up here?"

"Yes!"

He grinned. "All right. See that little branch? Grab hold and pull. Again. Now the next one." He reached out, and soon had a lapful of green-eyed Took.

"I did it!"

"So you did, dearest!"