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44
Of Coins and Kittens

Thanks to RiverOtter for the Beta

Of Coins and Kittens


“Well, if you really must know, I simply have need of a coin. And no, Sam, it doesn’t need to be any particular denomination--a brass farthing would do perfectly.”

Sam wasn’t completely certain what this was about, but his beloved friend and Master had been growing increasingly secretive recently. He reached into his pocket to bring out the small purse in which he kept his handy coin, and opened it. There were several brasses and three coppers, and a few silvers. He looked at Frodo from under his brows, reached for a brass, then changed his mind. Instead he pulled out a silver and held it out. “Here then, Mr. Frodo,” he said.

“Oh, that’s far too much, Samwise Gamgee,” Frodo said, looking almost alarmed.

“Well, I thought as if’n you was thinkin’ o’ goin’ down to the Green Dragon with Mr. Folco when he comes as this would at least get each of you a couple halfs.”

He watched Frodo’s eyes carefully. Frodo reached reluctantly for the coin and took it, holding it tentatively in his hand, looking at it for a moment before closing his fist about it. “Thank you, Sam,” he said. “Oh, and I found this and wanted to give it to you.”

This was a small model of a Shire house, complete with chimney pot, that had stood on Frodo’s mantelpiece for the last few years. Found it? How can one find something that was sitting out on the mantelpiece? “How’d it get lost?” he ventured.

“Oh--I must have knocked it down a few days ago--found it fetched up under one of the wing chairs in front of the fireplace in my room. It’s--it’s just that I want you to have it--it’s been reminding me of you every time I look at it lately. I mean, Sam, that this just wouldn’t be the home it is if it weren’t for you and Rosie and little Elanor here.”

Sam accepted it, still uncertainly. That crease between Frodo’s brows relaxed at least a bit as the older Hobbit released a breath he’d apparently been holding. He gave a slight nod as if mentally ticking off one more chore completed. As Frodo started to turn away Sam stayed him with, “But I thought as you’d told me a younger cousin of yours carved that for you.”

Frodo searched his eyes with that look he’d had recently, much the same look he’d given things in the Shire a few years earlier when he’d been planning to go off alone into the wild to rid himself of a treasure that had proved to be a curse instead. “Yes, one of my younger cousins did carve it for me--but I find lately I’ve been keeping far too much that ought to go to others, Sam. I know you’ve always admired it, for you’ve always had a love of woodcarvings. And I know that this one of my cousins wouldn’t begrudge me seeing it into your hands.”

The earnestness of that pronouncement touched Sam’s heart somehow. “If’n you’re certain, sweet Master,” he said softly, and saw that beautiful smile he’d come to love so show itself briefly.

“I’m certain,” Frodo said, equally softly, “Oh, I’m very certain.”

Sam knew he’d somehow managed to seal a bargain he didn’t quite understand between the two of them, one he knew he’d understand only when the time for it was right. He was that much more certain, however, that Frodo was planning on leaving the Shire again, and probably soon. And this time, Sam knew, he wouldn’t be coming back. No, he’d go off to be by old Mr. Bilbo for whatever time as there was left for them to be together, and then he’d stay on in Rivendell, most likely. He had the idea that somehow the coin and the little Hobbit house were significant to that, although he didn’t know exactly how.

Frodo gave a slight shiver. Sam was immediately alert. “You cold then, Frodo?” he asked.

His friend nodded. “Yes, I am again. I think I’ll go lie down for a bit until Folco arrives--get under a blanket for a time. Ever since I had that nasty cold last autumn I seem to take a chill far too easily.” He rubbed slightly at his shoulder. “I’ll just go see to it--that I put the coin where I need it.” He gave another gentle smile and turned down the passageway toward the study and went in.

*******


Frodo looked at his chair and smiled. Rosie’s kitten was couched there, its paws carefully tucked under its body. Well, he didn’t really need to disturb it to see to what needed doing. He had the envelopes he needed ready on the desktop, after all. He reached out for the smaller one and slipped the silver coin into it, making certain it ended up inside the folded paper that was already there. There was a candle burning on the mantel he’d left there before he’d gone in search of Sam; he picked it up and spilled some of the fragrant wax over the flap, then pressed his stickpin into it. Once the wax had firmed up, he slipped it into the larger envelope of grey silk in which he’d been keeping the title and deed to Bag End, along with the papers transferring those to Sam and Rosie as of the Birthday. He’d have them gone over by his personal lawyer and then try to make it to Michel Delving to Will Whitfoot’s office to see them registered. Sam didn’t realize it as yet, but with that silver coin he’d just purchased Bag End. Brendi already had his will and several other documents he was reviewing; this was one of the last pieces of business he needed to see to before he left the Shire for good.

Once he’d locked the silken envelope into the drawer of his desk he went over to the sofa and arranged the pillows there, and then laid himself down on it, pulling the blanket folded over its back over him. He was grateful for its warmth and softness.

He heard a very soft thump, then felt the sofa give slightly as Nasturtium joined him on it, walking along its arm to get over his left shoulder, then stepping down to curl itself against the place where Frodo had been wounded almost three years earlier. Once settled, the kitten reached over to nuzzle at his ear, giving it a sandpapery lick before tucking its head close under Frodo’s curls, purring. Its gentle comforting weight helped ease the chill pain that was gathered about the wound, and Frodo found himself relaxing the more due to it. He felt the warmth of its breath against his neck, and a faint tickling as it stirred the hairs there. He reached up to stroke its flank, and Nasturtium responded by snagging a claw into his cuff, catching his fingers against it. As Frodo relaxed the more, he smiled faintly.

And so it was Sam found the two of them, a few moments later, both sleeping remarkably comfortably.

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