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

Title: The Hard Things About Waiting
Theme: Waiting
Genre (s): General
Pairing (s): N/A
Rating: G
Notes: Author's Note: This is set across the growing up years of our lads…
Summary: Four drabbles

THE HARD THING ABOUT WAITING

I.

Frodo often thought waiting for spring to arrive was hard. When he had been a bit younger, waiting for spring meant waiting for Bilbo to come. His cousin would arrive in Buckland with the first of the really pretty weather, sometimes alone, sometimes with old Aunt Dora, and spend a few days before whisking him back to Bag End, to spend two or three glorious months reveling in privacy. But now he lived at Bag End, and spring meant waiting anxiously for the sound of Uncle Saradoc's cart, bringing his Merry here to visit, and lift his heart from loneliness.

II.

The hard part of Yule, thought Merry, was waiting. Weeks spent finding the right gifts, smelling the wonderful scents coming from the kitchens: the cinnamon and ginger smells of cakes, the fruity smells of pies, the yeasty smells of bread, and the savory smells of meats. Of course there were the heady smells of the cut evergreens that were brought to fill Brandy Hall with a bit of winter cheerfulness. But none of that was as important as the news that Frodo had arrived from Bag End. Or that Pippin and his family were finally over the River from Whitwell.

III.

The waiting's hard, thought Sam, every autumn. First there was The Birthday, when Mr. Bilbo and Mr. Frodo would throw a lovely party. There was always food and drink and lots of gifts and sometimes even, if Mr. Gandalf was there, there would be fireworks, and there was music and dancing as well. And Mr. Bilbo always invited both the high folk and the low. But the next day, Mr. Frodo would pack up his traveling case and ride back to Buckland to stay with his kin. And every year, Sam waited, nearly breathless with the fear he'd not return.

IV.

Waiting's no fun at all, thought Pippin every summer as his family would pack up and head to the Great Smials for the Lithedays. They would arrive before most anyone else did. Pippin would find himself poking about aimlessly through stuffy corridors, and trying to avoid the servants that seemed to be everywhere, and trying to stay out of mischief by himself. It was no good having that kind of fun without Merry. He would mope about and sigh, and tease his sisters, until they too, were anxious for Merry to come, and Frodo, and take him out from underfoot.