1. Love Me Now, Forever
But then I stopped. I froze in my attempt to quench my longing for you. Almost shamefully.
For I caught in your eyes - your eyes, the luminous, blue scales - a marred soul, abysmal sorrow that went so deep that no one could reach it and heal it or take it away from you.
I retreated. Recoiled - and backed away. It was not that I did not want to know about it and try to heal you. It was more the feeling of knowing my own place, that I could never do anything to cure you, to make you return to how you used to be. I knew I would not be able to help. So I just stood here and was silent.
Then I watched you - merely watched you - touch the gate that had been redone and polished. That was right. It had been restored to look how it used to look. I had been restored and I almost cried in elation. The rooms, the round doors, the windows, everything had been repaired, after they all had gone through difficult times. What would you expect with the Sackville-Bagginses, and later on an old mad man named Sharkey, occupying me?
Yes, I had finally been able to smile again, take in the fresh smell of new, dried paint, glance around at neatly arranged tables, chairs, and books, each in their place. Later on, I would feel the warmth of freshly baked cookies and bread that my beloved owner had just finished cooking.
My beloved owner. It sounded so fine in my ears.
My young owner. I respected the older one but I had to admit that I truly loved my younger master.
The one who was now standing in front of me, grasping tightly at the gate. Tightly? And why did I get the impression that he would have surely crumpled down had he not held it so firmly?
“I can’t believe it.”
I heard him murmur. Why, neither could I! I almost chuckled. It felt like years since I last saw you. Where had you been?
“I came back. I have returned.”
He was still talking with his low voice. Then with hesitant steps Frodo moved toward me.
“Bag End. Here I am again, at the end of everything.”
He reached out to my round door handle, turned it slowly, and with a click, it opened.
Frodo did not go in. Instead he stood there by my door looking even more nervous. Then he pushed the door slowly with the back of his hand.
I could not guess what he expected to see but I believed he was surprised to find what welcomed him. Everything, every one of us was welcoming him warmly. Ah, I could see now. Of course he thought he would see an empty, hollow hobbithole. He himself had decided to take some of the furniture to the house he had bought in Crickhollow. But the Hobbiton people were not foolish. They knew exactly how to welcome their hero. They took everything back from Crickhollow, and as I said earlier, had done everything they could to take me back to my old face.
And to bring a smile back to his face and to make his laughter fill the air.
And finally Frodo decided to step inside.
He unclasped his robe slowly while glancing around the front hall. And when he was unconsciously going to hang it up, he abruptly pulled it back, staring wide-eyed at the stand, hardly believing that it was there.
Frodo clamped his hand over his mouth. Then slowly he reached for the stand, trailing over its metal bar, while his other hand stopped in mid-air, still clutching the robe. I did not understand this. Why was he doing this? What madness had taken him?
But if it was really madness, then I should be afraid as it now grew manifold. Frodo moved to other things, his left hand still grasping the robe, starting to trace them all--the furniture, the books, plates, glasses, the mirror and pictures on the walls, bricks of the cold hearth, all the while muttering endlessly to himself things I could not catch at first.
He said it over and over - and I heard it at last with joy.
And when finally he got to his room, Frodo could not hold back any longer. He dropped his robe, which sank helplessly to the ground, and dove onto the clean, white sheets of the bed. His bed. At last. He smoothed the slippery surface of the cotton fabric, feeling its sleekness on his cheek. And slowly the fabric turned damp. Frodo closed his eyes but that could not stop his tears from seeping through.
My beloved young master.
I kept thinking of the days when he was away, when I could not stop weeping over the gradually cracking paint, the molding wooden floor, and the garden turned barren and dry.
But I had not despaired. I knew somehow he would return - to make the flowers bloom and the windows open up to greet the morning sun again.
And now I was cheered up and my spirit had filled me all over again. Yet still I could not close my eyes and pretend that everything was all right. True, Frodo had so far succeeded in hiding his suffering. He had acted carefree throughout the day, fooling his friends and relatives. But he could not deceive me.
He was sick. I could see that better than anyone.
As time went on, I worried more. There were days when he would stay in bed, pondering on something he no longer had or some events, old events, that had happened in a distant land. I could not tell what it was, what had happened, or where it had happened, for Frodo would not tell me. I knew he wrote about it in a big book in his study but he would not let me see it.
That made me afraid. Frodo scared me deep into my skin. I was frightened that some day he would go away, leaving me alone again. Then I heard voices talking about a cure for Frodo’s wounds but that meant he would have to leave me, to go to some place called The Undying Lands.
No! I suffered in uncertainty. Who would walk the garden again? Engage in deep conversation till late at night with Sam? Tease the lovely Rose Cotton about her plump buns?
Or simply sit down at his desk writing whatever he wanted to write? Oh, I promise I will not peep! Just as long as you do not go.
But again, who was I to tell you what to do or not do? I was only a plain and open dwelling place. I could not do anything but witness all the nightmares my young master had had, all those terrible nights. I could just sit by and see him jerk awake from his troubled sleep, face drenched with sweat and curls tightly clinging to his forehead. Although Frodo would awake and see where he was, and I felt the relief in his shining, teary eyes, it still broke me to see that happen, over and over and over.
“I’m really home, am I not?”
His quivering voice would always follow. Oh, how I wanted to hug him and tell him, yes, yes, you are really home!
But I could not. And what saddened me most was the fact that I was not enough for him. It did not suffice for Frodo to just stay home with me. I could not send away his sorrow or heal his tormented body and soul. He really had to go.
Today is September 22. My sweet master’s birthday - a supposedly merry day. But I feel none of it, the merriment, that is, for I know he will leave tomorrow. Everything is set. Clothes are packed. Food prepared. And what is left is Frodo himself, sitting silently at the edge of his bed, casting his eyes around the room, trying to memorize everything he had there, everything he loved. My heart is torn apart.
“Please don’t forget me.” I hear him whisper. “But please forgive me. It’s not my wish to go. I’m forced to do this. My condition…”
He stands up and goes to his desk, a place where he spent most of his time. Frodo slowly seats himself into the cushioned chair, and reaches out for his quill and a piece of paper. He starts to scribble something.
I had my best days here at Bag End, thanks to Bilbo who brought me to this lovely place. I would never trade my happiness here for anything in this whole world. But I must let it go and leave it all behind. I don’t deserve to say I love you for I’m abandoning you! But I’m begging you not to forget me. Love me now, forever, and I’ll remember you as long as I live. FB
I know when the sun comes up tomorrow, my mornings will never be the same. Some things might but they are not mine.
Inspired deeply by Sarah Brightman’s The Last Words You Said.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.