They don’t see what I see. That’s what hurts the most now…not the emptiness in my mind from where the ring was; not the weakness of my body…no, what hurts is how even Gandalf doesn’t seem to see you. My Samwise.
All the songs, all the feasts, a hundred times my name is praised…and in the great books of Minas Tirith it will say “…Frodo Baggins, who went to Mordor with his servant…” His servant. Even now, weeks after we awoke in Ithilien, my heart burns at the memory. I choked when I heard the words…surely; it was a mistake…but no. No name for the hobbit that stood by my side throughout the quest. Who saved my life over and over. Who starved and bled and fought against unimaginable odds to save me…to save Middle Earth.
I look at my cousins, sitting in the gardens of Minas Tirith; they exchange stories with Legolas and Gimli while the others listen. I have promised them the tale tonight. The full tale of our journey to the black lands; but I am afraid. I saw the shadow that passed over your eyes when I spoke to you this morning over breakfast. You don’t want to tell. That hurts, too. You don’t even want the glory, the prestige that such a tale might bring. Merry and Pip brag over their knighthoods, Legolas and Gimli have their games… why can’t you take credit, Sam? You carried me.
Footsteps, but not the ones I listen for. Aragorn, Gandalf, and Faramir have come. Greetings and laughter are exchanged as the two groups become one. Slowly, they quiet and eyes turn to me expectantly. But I can only look helplessly to my side at the empty grass. You knew about this. You knew you couldn’t refuse me if I asked for the tale…so you did not come.
“We must wait for Sam, “I say, “I cannot tell the whole story.”
It hits me then, and I hold back sudden burst of stark laughter. I cannot tell the whole story because it is not my story. After all, I was unconscious for the exciting parts. From the moment you charged into the water after me, this has been your story, Sam. Without you my bones would be drying in the foul ashes of Mordor, or worse…being gnawed upon by Gollum.
There is puzzlement at my statement. I can read it effortlessly as the confusion changes to understanding–flawed understanding. They believe I only choose to wait on you. I close my eyes as Pippin, ever the impatient, speaks:
“Well, where is he?”
Anger blossoms in my chest. I look at Merry; the same question is in his eyes. They don’t understand. Gandalf, perhaps, is closest to the truth. He said he read some of our thoughts while we slept. But still, he was not with us. None of them have looked up the ash-choked slopes of Mount Doom. They did not feel arms, still strong even after days of barely enough to eat or drink, raise them and place them upon a broad back. They didn’t feel the tremors in your muscles as you carried me for hours or hear the harsh whistling note as you gasped for breath. They have not lain naked and brutalized in an orc tower and hoped for death…only to hear your voice. They did not see the Phial blaze with light in your hand…your simple gardener’s hand. A hand that held mine at the end.
I open my eyes and they are all looking, waiting for me to answer Pippin’s question, I suppose. I am reminded of the Council of Elrond and suddenly I do laugh. I remember Boromir’s dream. The dream was not about me. It was about you, Sam. You stood up to your upbringing, all your inner fears, even me. The ring did not awake at the Council. It was only much later that it awoke and then I could hardly stand; much less do anything else.
“Isildur’s Bane shall waken, and the Halfling forth shall stand.” I say it aloud. Their faces are somewhat alarmed. Maybe they think I have gone mad. It is hardly a sane answer to Pippin’s question, anyway.
“My dream. Why do you speak of it now?” That was Faramir.
“Because I just realized it was not about me.” I laugh again; still afraid for you, but I cannot help it. Aragorn frowns, but before he can speak, I hear what I have been listening for ever since you disappeared this morning.
“Mr. Frodo?” Not Frodo, that wouldn’t be proper. Curse the Gaffer and every hard word he pounded into your brain about your place in life.
I look up at my friend, my brother, my Sam. In Gondor they will remember only Frodo Baggins, and to a lesser degree, Pippin. In Rohan, Merry will have the honors as well. My cousins have earned their fame. But so have you. My book will not be about me. It will be about you, Sam. You are my heir, my hero, and my best of friends. I will not let you stay behind, Sam. I will make them see you as I see you. My light when all other lights go out.

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