1. Full Circle
The first time Sam spoke to Frodo after Frodo left for Valinor was on the pebbly shore of the long grey firth of Lune. The harvest moon rose high over the seaside hills, its circle reflecting upon the water where long hours ago the glimmer of the Lady's light had thrown a golden trace, leading into the West.
»Why did you go where I cannot follow?« Sam whispered into the dark water.
Straight as an arrow, Frodo's answer came back to him, carried by the murmur of the waves. »Your path is a different one. Turn away from the sea.«
Each moment of those long months Sam was listening for Frodo's steps, for his quiet voice drifting from the study. Frodo's shadow was in the shapes that the clouds painted on Bag End's walls; at night, Frodo's breath was on the pillow where the Winterfilth moon cast its white and wintry light. Sam felt a restlessness grow in him, like it was spring already, and he needed to take the road to look after the trees.
A year to the day after Sam had come back from the Havens, a pain, sharp as a knife, sliced through the flesh above his heart. Gasping, he opened his cloak, the one the Lady had given them, and there – the ridges of a small scar Sam could not see but feel. He knew this wounded skin so well; its shape and cold so strange to him and yet so achingly familiar.
»Is this what you've left me with, Master?« Sam asked, and it was the second time he spoke to Frodo after Frodo left for Valinor.
The answer came with salty drops of rain that the wind blew inward from the sea. »This was yours from the beginning. We've always shared this pain.«
Sam held the boy and at once knew it had been a mistake, no matter Frodo had foreseen it. The child had the Gaffer's mouth and nose, and nothing of his namesake. Sam could look forever at his son and never find Frodo.
»This was never my true name.« A whisper in the haystacks on the summer field.
For the third time after Frodo left for Valinor, Sam spoke to him. »But you'll always be Frodo to me.« My dear.
Later, Shire folk, in their wondrously knowing ways, started calling Sam's eldest son Hamfast rather than by his given name.
It was said that Samwise Gamgee was buried in the meadow at the Water, where all of Hobbiton's dead went since olden times. Only Elanor saw him walk off into the rising sun, after he'd left her the Book and bid his farewell.
Sam walked far beyond the Eastern lands, into unheard-of adventures with red-scaled dragons of fire and steel. At road's end, he found himself under an alien sky of billowing smoke; in a world where time ran faster than a storm and moon and stars were darkened by an ever-present pale yellow light.
»I've lost you,« he whispered, the fourth time he spoke to Frodo after Frodo left for Valinor.
Gentle like dew on the saffron-coloured nose-twists flowering before Bag End's door, Frodo's voice came to him. »I'm always with you. Follow your heart.«
Sam's heart went to the trees, which were small and crippled in this metal world. Still they guarded the secret gate. Stepping between the crooked columns of bark and sap, walking on a carpet of leaves, Sam saw the same stars as in the Shire blinking through their branches. Like glittering dust they shone on the lane of dreams, leading Sam back to Frodo.
Was it morning or dusk? The gold-green light streaming through the hedges is too bright and too muted to tell.
Frodo looks both young and old, waiting for Sam at the end of the path. When he grasps Sam's hands, it's like he's always touched him, and touches him for the first time.
»Well,« Sam said, as his sight changed and his blood, the grass underneath his feet, »I'm home.«
And this was the fifth time he spoke to Frodo after Frodo left for Valinor. Here, where each word is a spell, Sam has not stopped speaking to Frodo since.
. . .
Author's Notes: The lane of dreams, or Olórë Mallë, appears in Tolkien's earlier writings as another way from the "homes of Men" to Valinor (HOME, "The Book of Lost Tales", vol. I). This ficlet is written on the premise that Sam took this path to come to Tol Eressëa. My gratitude goes to Cara Loup who first pointed this possibility out to me.
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.