Gift of the Valar - Chapter 14:Transitions
Sam nodded "For certain sir I'd be most glad to help ya...if ye'd just wait a bit I'd have these here sheets changed and we could place Mr. Frodo back snug in his bed." "Sam, as much as I do appreciate your desire to make all neat and ready for Frodo....I do need to move...this position is becoming quite uncomfortable....here..." Gandalf groaned with fatigue and stiffness "you set here with Frodo and I'll make up the bed."
Sam watched as the wizard tried to move from the chair without jostling the ailing hobbit in his arms..."but sir, 'twouldn't be proper to have you making a bed" Sam was aghast at the thought of the great wizard doing one of his chores. "Samwise Gamgee, proper or not...it will be done...now sit" the wizard said gruffly.
A moment later Sam found himself seated in the armchair as the wizard stretched and began to take up the bed making where Sam had left off. Sam looked at the sleeping hobbit in his lap. He shifted a little to get more comfortable and found himself thinking....'poor Mr. Frodo, why he barely weighs anything'. Frodo was now so thin he felt as if he'd break in Sam's arms, his skin was pale and stretched taut over his sunken cheeks. His face, what Sam could see amid the wrappings on his head, held a sickly cast which emphasised the darkened circles beneath his eyes. Sam felt a shiver run down his spine as he was filled with a sudden image of another time and place where he would hold his Mr. Frodo and wonder if the fragile thread that bound him to this world would hold. Then, as suddenly as that image found him...it left and he was once again looking at the here and now of his friend.
His friend was looking back at him. Sam started in surprise and as he did his motions caused a look of pain to cross the face below him. "Mr. Frodo....you're awakening...oh sir it's me...your Sam" he whispered as he noted the look of confusion upon Frodo's face.
Frodo closed his eyes again as Gandalf made his way over from across the room. "He is awakening Samwise....he will seem confused and dazed for a little while yet....but do not worry my friend" the wizard said as he clasped his knarled old hand upon the young hobbits' shoulder " he will return to us". Sam sighed heavily " I jest want him back ta what he was..."
Gandalf looked sadly upon the face of the sleeping hobbit...."I'm not sure that he will ever again be what he was Samwise.....he is forever changed by his experiences...as we all are" He took Frodo from Sam's arms and placed him in the freshly made bed. "You remain here Sam, I'll go and find Bilbo....he'll want to know that his favorite nephew is wandering back to us again", and with that the wizard swept out of the room.
Bilbo was found in the kitchen, where he was receiving a few last words of wisdom from Prody. Gandalf stood quietly in the doorway and observed the two old friends sitting at the table by the hearth. He noticed an air of fatigue and a pallor upon the old healer that had not been there a few days before...and he had a sense that the essence of the gentle hobbit before him was slowly fading. He shook his head to rid himself of his forboding and entered the room.
"Now Bilbo, my old friend, my Chrysanthemum is a hard worker and as bright as they come...but she's still a mite saddened by the loss o'her folks. I worry about her, much the way you do for young Frodo. I'd look kindly upon you seeing that she's not alone with her troubles too much." The old healer sighed and puffed on his pipe "I'm thinking that being here will take her mind off 'o her troubles...but ye may want ta see to it that she spends some time with the Gaffer's girl Marigold....they've struck up quite a friendship ye know."
"I will certainly do all I can to make her feel at home my friend, Bag End may be filled with bachelors....but we do know how to make one feel welcome." Bilbo said with a weary smile. "That you do my old friend" interrupted the wizard.
Bilbo looked up in surprise..."why Gandalf...I thought you were still sleeping with Frodo". Gandalf smiled "No longer Bilbo...I am done with sleeping for the time being and I think you will find that Frodo shall soon be done as well."
Prody stood up slowly "Well, I'd best go have one more look at my patient before I pass off his care to my Chrysanthamum."
Upon examination, Prody decided that it was time was for Frodo's tube to be removed. He adminstered a strong sleeping draught and with Sam and Gandalf holding his patient down...he proceeded to stitch closed the opening. The procedure went well and Frodo did not awaken, much to everyone's relief. Sam was worried however, "What if he don't re-learn how ta swallow? I'm no healer...but I can't set by and see Mr. Frodo starve nor choke as we force him ta eat." "Now Sam, I'm sure that old Prody has thought this out..." Bilbo said..."you do have a plan for this don't you my friend?"
"Yes...yes, don't be ridiculous...of course I wouldn't allow harm ta come ta one 'o my patients " Prody said rather testily "I've left Miss Chystantamum with some special salves and directions on how ta massage young Frodo's throat to make his swallowing go easier."
The three hobbits and the wizard stood looking down at the quietly, and calmly sleeping patient before them....and Sam finally voiced what they all were thinking "Do ya suppose he'll be the same...I mean " he added hastily "do ya think he'll be able ta talk and tell his tales...sing his songs again?".
"There's no telling fer sure Master Samwise" the healer said quietly " there's bound ta be some changes...but knowing this here young hobbit...with the right care and time...well he might just be better than he 'twas before".
Bilbo smiled down at his nephew as he softly ran his hand accross Frodo's face "I would like very much to see what in the name of Arda could make this hobbit better...I think he's a miracle just the way is..."
Frodo shifted slightly and sighed as he dimly felt the hand of his Uncle upon his cheek...he felt himself lost between two worlds...the comfort of his dreams and the warmth of those gathered about his bed. He struggled in his mind to choose a direction in which to travel....but try as he might to come towards the warmth....he felt himself gently directed to the comfort of his dreams..."not yet little one" his guide said as Gandalf stared into his soul.