Written for the B2MEM "Entering Spring" prompt. For Lavender Took and Curious Wombat for their inspiration and encouragement.
Gandalf sat within the enclosure that had been erected for the healing Ringbearers, watching the two Hobbits sleep once more after a half day of wakefulness. A full year it was now since the Wizard had visited Frodo Baggins in Bag End and proved just what ring it was that the Hobbit had possessed since Bilbo had left It behind in the Shire after the Party. It had been gentle early autumn when four Hobbits left the shelter of the Crickhollow house and the Shire accompanied by five ponies, the leaves beginning to turn colors and to loose their holds from the branches they’d graced through the warmth of summer.
It had been full winter when the Fellowship left the comfort and safety of Elrond’s vale to begin the long journey south and east toward Mordor. The turning of the year had occurred while they were on the road, far from home, family, and friends, the midwinter feast far from the bursting banquets they could have known had they stayed in their own lands. There had been no squealing children running about their feet, no imperious older kinsmen sending them on errands they ought to have pursued themselves. They’d had no flowing bowls of punch or mulled wine, and there had been no sprigs of mistletoe under which to kiss a pretty sweetheart. Not that there was any chance of meeting any of womankind, not in the wild lands lying at the feet of the Misty Mountains. They’d spent the winter traveling through bleak wilderness in the foothills of the range, until they came to the season’s cold heart in the pass of Caradhras. Ah, but what a near disaster that choice had proved! How close they’d come to knowing the deaths of all the Fellowship, even its stalwart pony!
Spring had finally come, and with it the destruction of the Black Tower and its dread Master, and due primarily to these two, these two who had almost been lost so many times along the way! How much they owed to the two of them, Frodo and Sam, and to Sméagol, who had been lost, but to the destruction of the Ring Itself.
“How do I feel?” he cried. “Well, I don’t know how to say it. I feel, I feel” – he waved his arms in the air – “I feel like spring after winter, and sun on the leaves, and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!”
That was what Sam had said when he first awoke earlier today and leapt from his bed. Ah, how typical of the gardener, to realize his life reflected the turning of the season so well! And, like the plants he so loved, he would indeed sprout out and blossom, and soon! His was a hardy root, Gandalf decided, one that had managed to weather the frost that had sought to destroy him and who would rejoice ever in the springtime as he took his desired bride and seeded the Shire with his delightful and equally hardy progeny. Bless them all! the Wizard thought.
And Frodo has survived as well, he thought, turning his attention to the Hobbit lying in the other bed. But if Frodo had survived the frost, still he would bloom but once. No, there would be no joining with another, no bridal bed of any sort, no children to carry on his line. If there was to ever be his equal it must be done as it had been to produce him – a careful blending of the best of the Stoor, Harfoot, and Fallohide lines until at last the perfect specimen resulted. A glass filled with clear light for eyes to see that can – that was how he’d seen Frodo back in October, in Elrond’s house when the Hobbit had awakened after the removal of the Morgul shard. A blossom of Light he’d be, and the only Hobbits to fully appreciate the beauty of that blooming would be those closest to him, and even they would not see its full glory, or so Gandalf judged. For he suspected that when Frodo’s blooming was at its greatest he would not be there in the Shire for his own kind to look upon with amazement or awe. Few of his own kind will ever appreciate just what a wonder he has proved. And I suspect that it will be quite some time, if ever, before Frodo himself will appreciate that fact.
He took out his pipe and turned it between his hands. Gerontius had given him his first pipe and presented him with his first pouch of leaf with which to fill it. Now he looked down upon his old friend’s great grandson. He would have treasured you, Frodo Baggins, just as he treasured Bilbo. Just as I do.
The Wizard smiled sadly, and stroked the sleeping Baggins’s forehead. “Sleep on, dearest Frodo. You endured beyond Hope, and have earned your rest. I only pray that at least a few of the denizens of the Shire appreciate just what a wonder you are, before you leave them.”
Hope Unquenchable, and Endurance beyond Hope. Two great blooms from a small land. But they were enough, along with that other one, the one who was born this side of the Misty Mountains. They were enough, enough to usher in a spring many had feared would never come.