Notes: I wrote about hobbits, if only because I am much more comfortable with them than I am with Aragorn and Arwen. Set March of 1421, Shire Reckoning. Not using hobbit-month names, if only because I am stubborn like that. Oh, and beta thanks to lindelea1 - who was brilliant as she ever is.
There is an emptiness that comes in the time between the rising and the setting of the sun, a sky that seems to cling to winter though it is now upon the threshold of spring, where bitter grey cloud-cover often stretches for as far as a hobbit's eyes can see. Sam knows that they, at least two out of their three (and soon to be four), have hearts all hoping on turning this place from smial into home, and there had been work throughout the turning of the years, when the days were shorter, darker, and cold. There is still work to be done, though, there always seems like there is work to be done: airing out rooms that had been left closed only to gather dust through the long winter, and letting in clean air.
Some days seem bleak. But at least they have come.
Frodo keeps mostly to himself, with his writing and his thinking and going out on long walks as if in need of remembering the long lay of the land. He had gone too far beyond any hope of ever coming back, Sam knows – and it seems, almost, now that he has come full circle through darkness back to light, he is uncertain of what he needs to do. And it is a need, Sam knows, as clear as Rosie's want of putting light and laughter back into Bag End's long halls, with thrown open windows and letting in cool fading air. He supposes it might be more, more than just that, as there is life growing in her, and Sam knows what luck he has been given, in this seeming-new world. It won't be long, now, and he'll know for certain if his little one is to be his little lad, or his little lass.
And the days are turning – shaking off the cold of winter, and March has come, with its shadows and its hauntings, as well – Frodo, ever busy with his writing, and his remembering, and bouts of a lingering illness that cling even as spring has begun to blossom full about them. It does not seem to matter that the days are brighter now, as colour twists itself through shadow, giving hue back to green gone lifeless, cold and grey. Flowers bloom, and Sam is busy often, as busy as Frodo, tending to the gardens – theirs, rhododendron in shades of pale blue and rosy pink, day lilies opening their petals to the sky, with the irises and daffodils giving off such light as they blossom, and with scents so pale and sweet and varied, like candies, or fruits, or fine perfumes. The flowers are all strong, and their roots go deep. They will live, and they will flourish, and they will grow stronger.
Hobbits are those like flowers, Sam knows. They have that same strength.
The planting is half-through, and there will be a great spring festival down in Hobbiton, to celebrate new life and coming out from the darkness of the year just past, it and all of its troubles. Sam has seen the merry-making himself, and how the hobbits there prepare for the festivities – garlands of bright flowers and ribbons, too, white and gold and green, all twisted together.
It is a small enough welcome to the season: thanks given for the planting, hope of a grand harvest, and blessings on all the growing things that will come to them in the year yet to come. Rose is coming to the end of her term, though she is still in fine spirits, and Sam knows she would be going, and would have danced, if she would be able. But in her state, it is not possible, though his Rose is not at all weak, not in Sam's estimation.
They will have company, and celebration of their own – Frodo's cousins will come for a visit, and they'll bring with them talk of things abroad, through the breadth of the Shire and land beyond even those borders, though they will bring talk of the Bucklanders, too. It won't be long, and they'll come as they often do, ever charming as has become their wont. Well, he supposes, there will be some dancing, at least, for their own spring celebration, and for Rose's amusement, though it will hardly be anything so grand as what they'll be missing down in town. And Rose, Sam knows, won't be the only one who won't be dancing – well, Sam himself won't be so lucky, but Mister Frodo, he knows, won't be so easily lured. Oh, and Sam does worry –
Well. There will be song to fill the smial, at least, as Pippin has as clear a voice now as Sam has ever remembered, and there will be festive cheer a-plenty, perhaps more than what would be missed. It will be all that his Rose will be wanting, and hopefully, even more.
Sam is now out sitting in the garden, tending to the growing things, pulling carefully at choking weeds, and thinking perhaps too much. It is while he is sitting there, though, hunched down in rich dark earth, amidst the colours of spring, that he hears something coming from deep in Bag End, out through the windows and even the wide-opened door.
Something that sets his heart to soaring – song.
His hands are dirty and thin sweat is on his brow, though he wipes at it, likely leaving a dark smudge across his brow. But he rises, and walks on into the smial, listening to the sound of luring song, sweet as laughter, though the words are not all clear. It is in the parlour that he finds his Rose, and his master, Rose sitting in Frodo's own comfortable chair, bundled against the chill in the air, and Frodo sitting in a thinner seat, dressed richly as is his wont: a fine dark suit with bright copper buttons that lend colour to his cheeks.
And they sing, a merry song, Rose and her smile and a sweet, clear voice, like bells ringing out of memory, and Frodo's tones, softer, like something made of time. What a welcoming for spring, Sam thinks, and for all new life.
– and isn't that all that is wanted? New life, and hope beyond all else that has been given. In two days, the 19th will have come, and they welcome spring with wide-opened arms – a year past, and he and his master had managed to free themselves from the march of the Orcs, and had put themselves right on the road that would take them to Barad-dur. And had it only been four days, when it had felt a life, between then and when they had come to the Mountain of Fire, when he had almost lost his Frodo, and Frodo had lost himself? He remembers it too clearly, and that thought puts such an aching in his chest, and such tears in his eyes.
In two days, yes, spring will have been welcomed. And four days beyond that, and it will have been a full year since It had been lost, and all had come close to its end. Sam knows too well the importance of anniversaries, and the coming of certain dates – he worries of all that is possible, of all that might still haunt Frodo, when the year turns itself around: that Frodo will never fully heal, and all that has been fought for will have been for naught.
He must have made some sound, as Rose looks to him, then, and her smile and her laugh is more than enough to bring him out from such thoughts, back to a room where warm sunlight pools at his feet, and the smell of new spring is hanging in the air. She is radiant, eyes bright, which only adds to the warmth of her smile, and the swell of her belly, ribbons between her hands.
Rose says, "Mister Frodo thought that Bag End was in need of some cheer."
He sees that they have been busy, the both of them, twisting ribbons in long braids, like those that he had seen down in Hobbiton, like those that Frodo would remember, from time before. All bright and fair, they are, but there are darker ones, too, blue and red and brown, and a long bit of purple so dark that it almost seems to be black. The chirping of birdsong leaks in from the outdoors through the opened windows, a snatching of sweet tune, and Frodo's hands, long and pale, work as quickly as Rose's seem to, smaller than Frodo's, and tanned.
"Well, Mister Frodo is in the right of it," Sam says, back, and smiles. He nods his head, and Frodo rather absently bobs his head in return, though he then grins, and chuckles.
"I suppose it must be good seeing I still have sense in my head."
Sam smiles, and Frodo is smiling back at him, a smile that Sam is certain he remembers from before: before Frodo had seemed so intent on saying his goodbyes and had gone away, before there had been pain and darkness, Fire and ash, before Frodo had been less than fully whole. All Sam has wanted, and almost all he wants still, is to give him back his home. "Well, sir, you're far more sensible than those cousins of yours, so that must count for something."
Frodo chuckles, and turns to the ribbons his hands are still working at, as though his attention had been misplaced. He doubles back, loosening a knot, then reworking it until it is flowing smooth. Something to be kept, Sam thinks. That's what he wants to give. Something that Frodo won't be willing to leave behind, if he ever were to think of leaving.
And Sam oughtn't worry, he knows, but he does – day by day, as time goes on, there ever is that fear that Frodo will leave them – that Frodo will leave him – never to return.
"Come sit with us, Sam," Frodo says then, looking from bright ribbon to pale hands. Sam feels like a lack wit, standing there with nothing to say, naught but a foolish smile upon his lips, and then he nods, as Frodo continues, busy braiding the purple-black ribbon into a flowing knot of blue and yellow and white and green.
"Spring has been waiting," Frodo says.
"That she has been," Rose says, and Sam feels that she glows.
"Well," Sam then says, "let's not keep her waiting any longer than we have."