Written for the LOTR Community "Time in a Bottle" fixed-length ficlet challenge: 313 words. For Rhapsody for her birthday.
Each time he enters this room, he remembers those times he did so before, when Frodo Baggins dwelt in it. He remembers helping Mr. Bilbo settle the table there, and his mother hanging yellow muslin curtains in the window. He remembers sitting by the bed, coaxing Frodo, ill with lung fever, to swallow the thin gruel, calves-foot jelly, and broth intended to strengthen him to health again. He remembers being sent in by Bilbo to rouse Frodo to come to first breakfast. He remembers seeing bright eyes emerging from images of dragons and great heroes of long ago, said images engendered by books, refocusing on the present as they recognize a beloved young friend come to call him to real life within the Shire. He remembers drawing open the curtains to let the reflected light of sunrise into the room of one who’d spent the previous evening reading until the wee hours, wakening him to the dawning of a new day that must needs be explored for the delights to be found within its grasp.
He remembers responding to muffled gasps of past terrors that for the moment seem more real than the safety and comfort now known. He remembers wiping tears of loss when Frodo ought to have been rejoicing at the promise of life embodied in their Elanor.
The quest gave Sam the full life he’d always hoped for and that Frodo had ever promised should be his. But it robbed Frodo of his joy, of his innocence, of his ability to hope. Oh, he’d endured—that Frodo had done. But what does that endurance signify when the one who endures cannot again find hope for himself?
But now it is time to put those memories aside, for a different Frodo shall sleep in this room from this day, and he shall know hope because of all that his name-father endured.