This vignette is part of an AU universe that until recently only existed in my own frazzled brain. ,_~ I wanted to explore the thoughts of “what if” as to Frodo not leaving for the Gray Havens, and what would be the most likely reason for him to remain in Middle Earth. From that, came this story. That, and Tolkien gave them all the beautiful melancholy ending…and I just really wanted to explore a “happy”, or perhaps more of a “pretty happy, and life was good, and things still went wrong but the good outweighs the bad” ending. ,_~ So, here it is.
I do not own Middle Earth, nor any of the characters or places mentioned in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien in his incredible stories. I am not making any money off of these stories, they are written purely for pleasure, and the intellectual idea of alternate endings. ,_, I promise to bring the “boys” home in time for supper, none the worse for wear after our little adventures. ,_,
Luminous blue eyes shone in the moonlight that streamed from a nearby window, a thin and hauntingly elegant gentlehobbit lay sprawled on a chair below the window. He was alone, alone at Bag End, just as he had been after Bilbo left, just as he was before the Quest. But now, now so much was different, so much had changed. Almost without conscious thought, he glanced down at his four-fingered hand, grimacing slightly at the rudely ended stump there where his forefinger used to be. Gone now, gone like so much else he once held dear.
Lost…lost forever and always…
Before he could stop himself, he sunk back into the dream that was not a dream, the nightmare that was truly not a fantasy but a memory. A memory of a dark time, a desperate time. Hot, burning, fiery, and so much pain…so easy just to let go, to release his grip…he never expected to return anyway, why should he even bother to listen to…Sam…Sam is calling, Sam is pleading, no, not pleading…Demanding. Sam is demanding that he lift up his arm and live. No matter the cost, Sam is determined to save his master one final time.
And without thinking, he feels his aching, wrenching body slowly pulling itself upward…then being half-pushed, half carried out into the slightly cooler air outside the Mountain of Doom.
The gentlehobbit truly awoke this time with a start, breathing labored and clutching a small, white jewel around his neck. The Evenstar’s pendant. Even now, when the pain and longing are little more than an aching memory, he wears the star, as a memory, an heirloom of a terrible journey…but one that somehow came right in the end. A reminder that there are happy endings, and that some choices, though difficult, are worth the cost of making. Looking about him, he is at home, home in his study at Bag End, and around him he can see the familiar sights of all he holds dear in that Middle-earth. On the mantle is a diminutive earthenware jar, made by two small, perfect hands, a child’s gift to him for Yule. To keep his quill nibs in.
On the windowsill, a small blue water jug, filled with recently gathered wildflowers the first of the new spring season. He recalls the giggles and secrets shared between two young lasses as those flowers were gathered on an afternoon not long ago.
A discarded hair ribbon lies to one side of the blotter, left there the day before in the hurry to wash up for supper.
And on the desk before him, the shaky but determined copying of the alphabet, a few small words neatly lined up along the bottom of the page.
Prim Dilly Da Mum
Not lost. Not forever and always.
He has so much now…so many things he had never thought possible…his sweet lasses, more than he had ever hoped for, even before the Quest took so much from him.
His sweet little Primula, Prim to all who know her well. Porcelain fair skin and black-brown curls, huge morning-glory blue eyes, always shining, always laughing…her eyes are that of his mother’s, her namesake… Her manner so bright and bubbling; like a brook in spring.
Daffodil, or Dilly, still so young and tiny, only just beginning to grasp and hold onto the things around her, smiling every now and again that soft baby smile. Her eyes dark chocolate brown like her mother, her baby fine curls chestnut in color, still wispy and ethereal in a light halo around her head.
And finally, the tiny oil portrait of Melilot…
Just before the Quest she had been so young, hardly more than a lass, but so sweet, so quiet and shy. It had often seemed that she had been the only lass in the Shire who didn’t treat him as either the “Next Mad Baggins” or as an eligible bachelor gentlehobbit. The change had been refreshing in its way…but then the Ring had come to him, and all that the Quest had taken and scarred and left him broken with…and he had no thoughts of anything but dark times, the feeling of the shadows always just waiting to swallow him into their deep and stinking abyss…But into that dark sweet Melilot had come, a childhood friend of Rosie Cotton’s, the dear Mistress Rose, Sam’s Rosie.
Rosie had brought Meli with her to visit one afternoon and a year later the unlikely pair of Baggins and Brandybuck were wed. Mad Baggins of the Nine Fingers had taken a bride, and a lovely lass she was too, even if she was a bit too quiet and bookish for most Hobbit standards. Melilot had dark auburn hair, a most unusual color in the shire, with a peaches and cream complexion to offset her chocolate brown eyes.
She had grown up since he had been gone, more certain of herself, but still with that child-like wonder and innocence that was so a part of her personality. Where before she had been shy to the point of it being painful to watch her interact with other hobbits, she seemed to have finally grown out of her timidity, though she was still quiet, and preferred her family’s company to that of parties or pubs. All of which made the pair more suited to each other, for above all else, Melilot instilled a protective feeling in Frodo. For the first time in his life, he was the one doing the protecting, and the change was a welcome one. A gentle lass, sweet, quiet and shy, and although it might turn a more sensible hobbit’s attentions away from her, Frodo found joy and comfort in her silly word games, stories, and intense interest in books.
“Yes, but it was her laughter that caught me…even so many years ago…It just took so long to realize…quick and bubbling, infectious…lending an innocence to her, like a trusting child…such a complete opposite to the horrors I had seen and felt and known” Frodo murmured half aloud. To the Ringbearer, Melilot and the children they would have together become a living embodiment of all he had given so much to save. Much in the same way Rosie had been for dear Sam. It often struck Frodo as surprising that the same beautiful hobbit lass who had saved Sam, had indirectly also saved himself through the casual introduction of shy Melilot Brandybuck.
Looking around his darkened study, the candle that had once lightened the darkness having finally guttered sometime before; Frodo was struck again at what he had found after the darkness. Through all the pain, the sickness, the interminable days and the torturous nights…he had never expected to sit in beautiful Bag End, finally alive with the sounds of the children it had waited so long to house once more. It was nothing short of a gift from the Valar, and Frodo was wise enough to value his good fortune.
Getting up from his chair, well aware that even silly Meli would scold him in the morning for falling asleep at his books once again; he halted briefly before the half opened door, the room next to the one he and Meli shared. Inside, two small children slept, Prim’s dark curls a halo around her angelic sleeping face, a smile of pleasant dreams gracing her delicate features. And still tiny Dilly, asleep in her crib along the wall, thumb in her mouth, sucking contentedly as she dreamed. Reaching out with his maimed right hand, Frodo gently smoothed back the curls from the sleeping infant’s forehead, his touch as gentle as a summer breeze, feeling the beautifully alive warmth of the child. Smiling to himself, a true smile, one that reached all the way to his eyes and seemed to shine out from his very soul; pulled at his features as he watched his two precious daughters sleep, safe in a world without darkness. Without fear. And without an evil so powerful as to obliterate all that was once good and whole and pure.
A time when his daughters might know a world of light and laughter, of love and peace and joy. They would never have to know of what he and the others in the Fellowship had seen. They would have the life that should have been for Pippin, Merry, Sam…even himself.
Frodo would be forever grateful to the three sleeping lasses he held so dear to his heart. They had pulled him from the brink of giving in to the darkness that seemed so deep, so strong and tight. They had given him the desire that even strong but gentle Sam had been unable to accomplish. He had protected their future, and they had provided him with a reason to see that future first hand.
From so much darkness…so much light had been given.