A very late birthday gift for Jay of Lasgalen, who wished to see Elladan and Elrohir separated for a time. Beta'd by RiverOtter, and with thanks to Fiondil as well, though he's not read it as yet; and thanks also to the folk at LOTR Community for their suggestions. Dreamflower and Elanor, hope you like the changes.
When Sam abruptly sat bolt upright in their bed, Rosie woke immediately. “What is it?” she asked, reaching out to touch his arm. “Another bad dream?”
“It’s Mr. Frodo,” he whispered, as much to himself, she realized, as to her. “It’s Mr. Frodo--he needs me!”
“But, Sam, he’s not here. He’s way off, there in the King’s city.”
“I know. But, Rosie my lass, I must go to him.” He turned to look at her, and she could see the clear knowing in his eyes. “I’m sorry, lovey, but he needs me. I can feel it! They’re comin’--comin’ to fetch me to him. I must get ready.”
She looked out the window--it was still at least an hour before dawn. Had it been anyone but her Sam she’d have thought him merely touched by a particularly vivid dream. But Sam--well, Sam knew things, and especially things about his Master. And he’d been looking constantly east and south for a few days now.
He’d already risen and was belting his dressing gown about him. She folded back the blanket and rose, too. He was lighting a lamp, and then was going to his dresser, opening drawers and pulling out carefully folded items and laying them on the bed. He looked at her. “Rosie, can you go to the kitchen and fill a small hamper for me--a couple loaves of bread, some cured meats and sausages, maybe some hard cheese as don’t need to be kept cool so much? And a good deal o’ the stuff as I take with me when I’m out and about the Shire, checkin’ the gardens and trees and all? There’s a dear one.”
“Yes, sweetling,” she murmured, and turned to give him a peck of a kiss as she pulled her own dressing gown about herself before hurrying off the kitchen of Number Three.
She had the hamper almost filled when he came into the kitchen and crossed to the storeroom to fetch his pack and some water bottles. In moments he had filled the bottles and hung them over the back of one of the chairs at the table, then disappeared back toward the bedroom with the pack. Once she was satisfied with what she’d gathered into the hamper she went to check on little Elanor.
Master Frodo had named her--he’d sent a letter from the King’s city that had arrived the day of her birth, and in it he’d congratulated them on the birth of their Elanor, and it has been such a perfect name for her they’d not considered any other. Her hair was such an unusual color--a light auburn, somewhat lighter than that of Mr. Pippin, really. A number of children had been born with such hair since the three Travelers had returned, in fact--far more than had been seen in the Shire ever. There’d even been some that had been born with blond hair, more than one usually saw, at least. Rosie wished that Master Frodo had been able to see her--she was certain that he would have doted on the child. She found herself looking up at the ceiling of Elanor’s nursery as if she could see through it into the great, empty smial of Bag End overhead, and somehow from there to where it was Master Frodo was, down in the King’s City, there with the King himself. Would Sam actually go there again? Was someone indeed coming to fetch him?
Sam was dressed and ready, his Elven cloak over the back of a chair, when the Gaffer rose and made his creaking way into the kitchen. He examined his son with concern. “Why an’t ye out in the garden, or up the Hill?” he asked.
“It’s all done, Dad,” Sam said, shaking his head, “or at least most of it is. I’ve just spoke with the Twofoots, and they’ll send their youngest up to see to the final prunin’ and settlin’ of the roses for me. But I’m goin’ to have to be off for a time, apparently.”
“Where to? Not goin’ t’ be climbin’ mountains and chasin’ black folks agin, are ye?”
“No--need to get to the King’s city as quick as quick. They’re sendin’ someone for me--ought to arrive sometime today, I’m thinkin’. My Master--he needs me.”
The Gaffer’s hearing was impaired, but he seldom seemed to miss what either Sam or Rosie said. “Did a letter come from south-aways?”
“No,” Sam replied, “no letter. Just the knowing.”
“You gonna wear that fancy stuff as the King give you afore? That metal weskit?”
Sam smiled for the first time. “I don’t know as I’ll need to, but I have it ready for if’n they say as I should. Last time--well, last time we needed it, what with all the footpads and orcs and all. Still are some ruffians about, outside the Shire, after all. If the one as comes for me says I need it, I’ll wear it. Otherwise--well, otherwise, I won’t.”
The old Hobbit gave a loud sigh. “All right, that’s fair ’nough, I suppose. But you watch yerself, lad. Rosie ’n’ Ellie ’n’ me--we want yer back, safe’n’whole, you hear?”
“I promise, Gaffer,” Sam smiled. “I promise.”
The clop of galloping hooves were heard not long after noon, and Sam was throwing his Elven cloak about his shoulders and catching up his pack immediately, and heading for the door. Rosie caught up the hamper, while the Gaffer rose from his seat by the fire where he’d been holding Elanor to follow after his son and his wife. A golden form shone from atop a white horse.
“My Lord Samwise? You are ready?”
“Lord Glorfindel? They sent you for me? Yes--I am--been ready since just this side of sun-up, I’d say.”
“Does he need that fancy metal weskit?” the Gaffer asked as Rosie pulled Sam to her for a final, surprisingly passionate kiss.
The Elf smiled as he swung down. “Nay, not this ride--although you do well to be concerned. Nay, but himself and what little he’s prepared ought to be enough,” he added, looking at pack and hamper.
“I don’t want to go, sweetling,” Sam murmured. “I don’t want to leave you and our Ellie.”
“I know, dearling,” she assured him, “but if’n Master Frodo does need you, he needs you. You know as the Gaffer’n’ Daddy Twofoot and my brothers’ll see to us.”
“I know,” he said softly as he kissed her again.
“Go on, then,” she murmured.
Sam broke away from his wife’s embrace reluctantly, then turned and climbed carefully atop the woodpile, and with the aid of the Elf clambered onto Asfaloth’s back. The great horse wore a minimal saddle, to which the pack was soon fastened so that Sam could sit before the Elf. The Elf took Elanor briefly to hold, smiling over her. “It seems long and long, even for me, since I held so lovely a child,” he murmured. He held her up so Sam could take her one last time to kiss her.
“You take care, my little Ellie,” the Hobbit sighed into her hair. “You take care, and don’t you go forgettin’ your Sam-Dad, you hear?” He kissed her one more time before returning her to Glorfindel, who exchanged her for the hamper of food.
Sam looked down one last time at his wife as the Elf mounted. “You take care, dearling,” he admonished. “I’ll be back as soon as may be--shouldn’t be too terrible long, I’m thinkin’. Maybe just long enough for----” He swallowed, unable to finish. He looked back over his shoulder at the Elf. “Is he in a bad way?”
“From what we’ve learned from Undómiel, he’s apparently had a major seizure of his heart. He recovers some, but will likely not recover completely, unless....” He didn’t finish, and Sam nodded.
“Take care, and keep warm,” Rosie called after them as the Elf turned his horse.
“I will--will return as soon as I can,” Sam called back, leaning to look as well as he might about the Elf as they reached the end of the lane and Glorfindel turned toward the Road. Then they were gone.