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84
Worthwhile

For Rabidsamfan for her birthday. Beta by RiverOtter.


~~~

Worthwhile


The wail of an infant’s cry cut through the stillness of the smial, and automatically Frodo Baggins sat up, as he’d done for some years as a lad. Still half asleep he rose rather unsteadily to his feet and reached for his dressing gown. “I’m coming, Merry,” he murmured. “Don’t waken your mum and dad.”

The bed, however, didn’t lie quite properly in relation to the door, although he seemed to know the way well enough, he realized. Once he was in the hallway, however, things seemed completely turned about, and he stood blinking rather stupidly until he realized he was not in Brandy Hall but in Bag End. The child wasn’t his small cousin Merry--no, it was--it had to be Elanor. Oh, yes, Elanor! Sam and Rosie’s daughter, who’d been born the day before.

He turned toward the door to the nursery and peered in. No, she would be lying in the cradle Sam had been given by his own father, there in the master bedroom, at least for now. And certainly the crying had stopped for the moment. He turned toward that door that now protected the brother of his heart and his wife and new child, feeling envy.

“At least, though,” he whispered after a moment, his face softening, “one of us is able to know this--love, marriage, being a father. Certainly you deserve this happiness, Sam.”

Then the door opened and Sam came out carrying the covered crock they’d been advised to keep for dirty nappies. Sam appeared tired, but content nevertheless. He was surprised to see Frodo in the hallway. “Mr. Frodo, sir? And what are you doing up this time of the night?”

“I was going to rock the baby so it didn’t keep you up all night.”

“You’d do that--for us? For Rosie and me, I mean?”

“Certainly, Sam. I did it often enough when I was there in Brandy Hall, taking care of Berilac or Merry so their parents could get some rest. Having to work through the day and then caring for a sometimes fussy infant through the night can become tiresome. Hearing her cry--that’s what I thought of--of Merry crying in the night and me going to hold him.”

“Well, what she’s doin’ now--that neither me nor you could do for her.” Sam’s smile was infectious. “That you need to be a mother t’do, if you understand me, Master.”

Frodo found himself smiling also, and the two of them were quickly chuckling together. “Let me get this out of here,” Sam said as he sidled past Frodo. When he returned with the cleaned crock, having rinsed the nappy and set it to await laundering, he invited Frodo into the bedroom with him.

Soon enough Frodo found himself, wrapped in a warm blanket, sitting in the rocking chair in the corner of the room, Elanor, clean and fed, nestled in his arms. “Oh, sweetest one,” he breathed as he nuzzled the down of her golden hair, “sweetest one! How we have all awaited your coming forth.” And he began singing to her softly one of the nursery songs his own mother had sung to him.

*


Rosie watched Frodo Baggins with some awe as he cradled her daughter in his arms. “He’s so gentle with her,” she murmured to Sam.

Sam was nodding solemnly. “That he is,” he whispered back, settling in the bed beside her and taking her in his arms. “That he is. But, then, I suspect that for him she’s the sign he did it all proper, and that for tonight, at least, he’s glad he did what he did. Makes it all worthwhile for him.”

She nodded against his chest, listening as Frodo sang sweetly to the tiny child he held.



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