Sam looked up, and gasped. On this fair Ithilien evening, it was as if the stars had come down to dance in the woods; he blinked in amazement, but the glowing insects still floated before him. Beside him, Frodo stepped forward, reaching out, and motes of light danced in the hollow of his hands, lending an unearthly glow to a face already achingly fair.
"Fireflies!" Sam breathed as they bobbed and danced about him and Mr. Frodo. "Fireflies, at this time of year!"
"Starbugs," Frodo echoed, voice hushed, watching the bits of light in the twilight. "Sir?" Sam asked, a touch confused, and Frodo gave a little laugh. "Never mind me, Sam; I was just trying to list the words I know for fireflies. I can't believe they're here, either, so late in the year. They remind me..." Frodo trailed off, watching the dancing lights.
Fireflies, so many of them, as one hardly saw even of a July evening. Sam thought of such evenings in the Shire, and took a step closer to Frodo. "They do remind a body of home," he said softly, and Frodo nodded, his smile flickering in the moving light. "They do, Sam. They remind me of home, and evenings spent catching fireflies with Pippin and Merry, till Pippin was tired and could be put to bed and Merry and I could sit together in your beautiful garden. Once, Merry lifted a large firefly on his finger, and it lit his face so that he looked like a magical creature, not a hobbit at all. It made me catch my breath."
Just as you look now
, Sam thought, but did not say; Frodo caught Sam's gaze before he could turn it back to the fireflies, and saw the thought in his eyes, and smiled even more brightly. "And then there was the time," Frodo went on, tilting his hand as starbugs walked on his fingers, "when a certain gardener lad was standing on one foot in the nighttime garden, so many fireflies in his fair hair that he looked like he wore sunshine on his head, reciting a poem and keeping his balance."
Sam blushed at the memory, and returned Frodo's smile. "'Twas just a fancy; they were so bright, they deserved a song. Besides, next moment, two wicked gentlehobbits popped up to startle poor Sam, and he fell right over into the hedge."
Frodo laughed, remembering with Sam: the swirl of escaping fireflies above their heads, Merry's laughter at Sam's fluster, Frodo pulling Sam upright and claiming a kiss and Merry's pleased look. The fireflies round them now landed on them, glittering on the Lorien-brooches like living jewels, lighting Frodo's hair like the stars above lit the night sky. "You look almost crowned with sunshine, again, Sam," Frodo said softly, and Sam thought his master might kiss him, but Frodo's eyes were unfocusing as other thoughts weighted his smile off his face. "Merry, and Pippin. I wonder how they fare. I wonder if they worry for us. I don't suppose any news of us could have reached them, not even a rumor."
Sam looked down for a moment, unable to say anything cheering, and that was when Frodo did lean in to kiss him, a warm press of lips beside his mouth. "I'm sure Strider is looking after them," Frodo said, eyes shining, and Sam found a smile for his master that he could soon manage to mean. "Certainly, sir," he agreed, and Frodo smiled in return and turned back for another moment of watching the beautiful, unseasonable fireflies, another moment of storing up their light against the oncoming darkness.
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.