As springs first rush of glory settled into the slow rhythm of early summer, Frodo became gradually stronger. He could swallow liquids and some solid foods, if they were made soft and much to everyone’s relief….he was beginning to speak. He continued to speak only cryptically, short phrases to respond to easy questions or to make his needs known. Much to the wonder of all, he continued to speak only in elvish, attempts to persuade him to use the common tongue were met with vacant stares and confused expressions.
Sam found talking with Frodo frustrating as he did not understand Elvish very well and spoke even less of it. He sighed as he was about to enter his friend’s room, readying himself for more difficult communications when he paused to hear the voices within. A musical sounding voice, lyrical and gently melodic met his ears “Sut na lle sina re Mr. Frodo?” (How are you today Mr. Frodo) said Chry’s voice. ‘Well I’ll be’ thought Sam ‘She speaks the language of the fair folk as easy as he!’ He found himself wondering how she’d learned so fast when his own skills were so slow….but had no time to finish his thoughts as he entered the room.
“Amin fauka” ( I am thirsty ) Frodo whispered struggling to open his eyes, to leave his dream world once again to be with the comfort that the warm eyed Chyrs offered. Chrys pulled him carefully to a seated position and gently brought a glass of water to his lips. Sam watched with mixed feelings….he was so very happy to see his Mr. Frodo on the mend, but he felt a twinge of some other feeling nagging at him…it felt unfair in a way that after all they’d been through that he was unable to offer more help. He pushed the jealous feeling aside ‘my time ta help will be ‘ere soon enough’ he thought stoutly ‘ now it’s Miss Chrys that may be needing me ta help with ‘im .’
Frodo looked up to see the sandy haired, stocky hobbit known as Sam enter the room. His memories of people seemed to be returning in tiny fragments and he was genuinely happy to see someone he knew vaguely as a friend “Creoso, mellon amin’ he said softly with a weak smile as he reached up to take the hand Sam offered to him. Sam looked to Chrys for a translation “welcome my friend” she whispered and winked. Sam nodded and he added haltingly “Lle maa quel Mr. Frodo” ( you look well ) then paused before continuing awkwardly “Lle tyva quel?” ( do you feel well?). Frodo’s eyes looked brighter and his color was beginning to return, he nodded and smiled in response to Sam’s question, speaking still drained him.
Chrys turned to Sam “Today we take off the final bandage from about his head…time I had me a look at what is going on in there.” she said with a smile. She pointed to a pile of clothes on the chest “then I’d like ye ta help get him dressed” she paused when he didn’t answer ” unless ye’d like me ta be doing that?” she asked with a saucy toss of her curls. Sam squeaked “Now Miss Chrys….that twouldn’t be proper, don’t yer even go saying such things….folks is already having an unkind thing or two ta say about the goings on here at Bag End.” “Let em talk” she said defiently as she prepped her supplies to remove the bandages ” or better yet, let em come up here and see our own miracle elf/hobbit getting stronger every day, that’d really give em something ta talk of” she said hotly. Frodo looked from Sam to Chrys…he could tell they were passing words back and forth that were upsetting, he frowned. Chrys turned in time to see the concern on his face “uuma dela Mr. Frodo” (don’t worry) she said gently as she smiled warmly at him.
Chrys turned to Sam ” So will ye help?” she asked him. “Now Miss Chrys, ye know I will” he said with resignation. Sam sat and steadied Frodo’s head as Chrys cut away the last of the bandages. She got a cloth and gently began to wash the area of Frodo’s hair that had been shaved and stitched. Frodo started “Aiya! tanya awra” ( oh, that hurt ) he said. “Amin hiraetha” ( I’m sorry) she said gently, but she did not stop until she was done. “I’m going ta go get him some oatmeal Sam, I’ve laid out his clothes. Can ye do this alone or shall I be fetching Mr. Bilbo?” she asked.
“I’d be happiest with another set ‘o hands” Sam replied. “Very well” she said and with a flash of her skirts was gone. Sam looked to the pile of clothes she’d laid out, summerweight breeches, light colored shirt, tan weskit and his undergarment. Sam was mortified by the thought that a hobbit lass had handled Mr. Frodo’s undergarments. “This is what I mean by not proper” he mumbled aloud to himself.
“Still worrying about propriety eh Samwise?” Bilbo laughed as he entered the room. “Well sir, it’s not seemly like ta have a lass so close in quarters with two gentlehobbits such as yerselves.”
Bilbo helped Sam pull off Frodo’s nightshirt and while Sam supported his friend, Bilbo began to carefully adjust and fasten his clothing. “Now Sam, we’ve had Mari or Daisy spending the nights here as well. I’ve never had so much female companionship, why it’s enough to make an old hobbit bachelor squirm.” Bilbo said with a laugh, then looked to his nephew. Frodo was smiling, Bilbo was certain that Frodo really hadn’t understood what had been said, but he was glad to see the boy smile no matter what the cause. He patted his nephew gently on the head “Nae saian luume’ Frodo” (it has been too long) he said wistfully.
Sam put the finishing touches on Frodo’s clothes and stood back to admire his work ” well Mr. Bilbo, his clothes are more’n a little baggy, his hair….where he ‘as some is sticking out every which way, he’s pale as a cloud and probably weighs as much…but” he paused to wipe a bit of water from his eye ” ‘e looks perfect ta me.” Together they picked up the somewhat sleepy hobbit and placed him gently in the armchair by his hearth. “Diole lle Samwise mellon amin” ( thank you Samwise my friend) Frodo said with a tired smile.
“Why the day outta bed?” Sam asked curiously “is Chrys gonna start ’em with some walking lessons today?” Bilbo smiled sadly, “no I am afraid he is still too weak for that….but today we shall have some visitors…our humble hobbit hole is to be graced by none other that the Master of Buckland and the Thain.” Bilbo said as he tried in vain to brush his nephews hair into some semblance of order.
Sam got an uneasy feeling in his stomach, looking at Frodo, his sleepy and often confused demeanor….”Mr. Bilbo, don’t ya think, I mean…you know in his current state and all …well that Masters Merry and Pippen might not be a little put off by Frodo…maybe even scared of’em?” He asked shyly. “Yes Samwise, I did think of that as well.” Bilbo was suddenly saddened by the vision of the last time Frodo’d seen his younger cousins….squeals of laughter, games of tag and endless stories and tales he’s shared with them. He shook his head, Frodo was adored by his cousins, to have them see what had become of him would have been hard for all involved. He sighed loudly “No Sam, I explained to Paladin and Saradoc that the energy of the younger boys would tax Frodo’s strength too much right now.” Sam nodded glumly.
Just then Chrys came back with a small bowl of oatmeal and a cup of tea. She tried to feed Frodo every two or three hours because he’d lost so much weight and eating was still so hard for him. She could only try small amounts each time for he tired quickly of her pestering and had little, if any interest in food.
Frodo viewed the goings on around him, he felt so detached from it all. He spent much of his time sleeping, for the world of his dreams brought him peace and comfort. The waking world was filled with demands; people poking at him, forcing him to eat, causing him discomfort and expecting him to understand their words. He much preferred the heavy lethargy of his dreams, but as he looked from one face to another, today he had the sense that this would not be a day where he would be allowed to sleep. He looked at the hobbits gathered about him, he felt he should know these faces, he was so close to knowing them. His memories where just out of reach of his thoughts, he felt he was drawing closer to his memories but still they eluded him. He could use their names because he’d been taught them, but he used them from habit, not from any true knowledge. His mind seemed a vast grey wasteland where he could wander each day, searching, always searching, but never fully finding the place that brought him the the comfort of his sleep. He closed his eyes to drift once more to his place of comfort…
“No ye don’t Mr. Frodo” Chrys said as she brought a spoonful of oatmeal to his lips. “There’s a good lad, just a few quick swallows.” Frodo looked up and saw the detemined set of her pursed lips and hardened gaze. He sighed, he knew there’d be no peace until he did as she wanted, he obediently opened his mouth. Sam watched for a moment, happy to see his friend trying to eat and heal himself, but saddened by the image of the thin and sickly hobbit before him.
“Well Mr. Bilbo, Miss Chrys, if yer not needing me now I’ve got some gardening ta be done.” Sam said ” Yes, yes Sam…be off with you lad….thank you for your help and if you think of it my boy stop on back for second breakfast if you’ve a mind to.” Bilbo replied. Sam, with a curt nod of his head was down the hallway to the garden….his roses needed tending.