Sam Gamgee stood on the bow of the Grey Ship. He subconsciously caressed the Lothlorien Elven Cloak in his hands while staring into the mist. A slight breeze tousled Sam’s dark blonde curly hair, revealing the wisps of grey hair underneath. His dark eyes were weary with a spark of anticipation in their depths.
He blinked and turned around. The mists had still not parted to show him Valinor. To show him Frodo. Sam rubbed his tired eyes and went to the lower level of the ship. His brow furrowed in disappointment about not being surrounded by his plants. He sat on the edge of his bed and thought back to when he set off from the Shire with Frodo to destroy the Ring. Sam smiled and said softly to himself, “I haven’t been dropping any eaves, Gandalf.” And with that, he lay down and slept.

~*~*~*~

The cry of a bird woke Sam from his deep slumber. Throwing on his cloak, Sam quickly ran up to the deck. A startling sunlight bathed his face. He went to the stern of the boat and peered. There was a sheet of grey mist above the water far behind him. Sam smiled and looked up. White gulls were now right above his head. He suddenly realized that he must be near to shore. Running back across the boat he stood at the bow and looked out across the water. The shore was closer than he thought it would be. The cool water of the sea lapped up onto the white sands. Sam stared in awe at all the green vegetation by the beach.
“Now there’s an eye opener and no mistake.”
The ship reached the harbor and Sam stepped off. He glanced around, still at a loss for words at the beauty of Valinor. He walked along the dock until he stopped a few feet away from a large rock. Sitting against the rock was a small figure, with brown curly hair, smoking a pipe and reading. The person looked up and stared at Sam with laughing bright blue eyes. It was Frodo. Sam hesitated for a moment, tears of joy running down his cheeks. Frodo placed his pipe and book on the sand and stood up.
“My dear, dear Samwise.” He said, his eyes dancing.
Sam cried out to Frodo in joy and ran into his arms. They embraced for a long while, the sound of the ocean at their backs. Frodo held Sam at arms’ length and looked at him, wiping the tears from his cheeks.
“It is so good to see you Sam. I have been somewhat lonely without you here. Even with Gandalf and Bilbo around. Valinor is so beautiful! The trees never fade in autumn and the birds are always singing. And the Elves… oh the Elves Sam! There are so many of them walking around in the woods!” He leaned over to pick up his book and pipe. Sam was still speechless but managed to talk after this long while.
“Elves, Mr. Frodo? Lots of them? I don’t suppose they’d need a gardener now would they?” Sam said curiously, looking at all the bushes.
Frodo laughed and put his arm around Sam’s shoulder. “Lots of Elves, Sam. Not hiding away like they did in the olden days. No, these Elves dance and sing freely! Dear old Bilbo is always giving me excuses to run off with them, and I don’t blame him.” A glossy look came over Frodo’s eyes. “They dance along the stream banks, tossing small lily flowers into the water. Their clothes seem to fly like the wings of Eagles in the wind. They sing and sing, unafraid of anything. Not the slow, sad songs of when they were leaving Middle-Earth. Happy songs, joyful and loud.” He smiled and looked at Sam lovingly. “Enough of the Elves for now. You will see many soon enough. Tell me about yourself. How is Elanor? And Frodo?”
Sam blushed and looked at the ground. “And Rose, Pippin, Merry, Goldilocks, Hamfast, Daisy, Primrose, Bilbo, Ruby, Robin, and Tolman too I suppose?”
Frodo stepped away from Sam and stared at him with much surprise. “Thirteen children, my dear Samwise!” Then he smiled and took Sam’s hand. “May your household never end, my dear friend. Come, let us take a walk. Perhaps we shall run into Bilbo trying to catch up with the Elves.”
So Frodo and Sam walked, hand in hand, into the trees of Valinor. And Sam lost all thought of the death of Mistress Rosie and the pain of seeing Meriadoc and Peregrin his last. He laughed and spoke with Frodo and was happy to be with his Master again. Then Frodo suddenly stopped and looked at Sam, a shadow over his face.
“Tomorrow is the sixth of October, Sam. Though I am now in the Undying lands, I will never be rid of the wound that the Nazgul gave me.” The trees seemed to shake in anger at the mention of the Black Riders. Paying no heed, Frodo continued. “Do you remember that day, Sam? Upon Weathertop?”
Sam embraced Frodo once again and cried out. “Do not make me remember that horrid day, Mr. Frodo. If ever I were to revenge anyone it would have been those riders for what they did to you. Or that stinking creature Gollum at Mount Doom. But they are both well and gone now. I am afraid that even though you had me with you, Mr. Frodo, I could not have saved you from what both of them did to you.” And he took Frodo’s left hand and held its four fingers tight in his hand. “Let us not remember those days, Master. Please speak again of the elves. I would very much like to hear some of Mr. Bilbo’s old stories again.” Sam said as he caressed Frodo’s hand.
The shadow passed over Frodo’s face and his eyes sparkled again. He placed his hands on Sam’s head and kissed his soft curls.
“My dear Samwise, if you wanted to hear one of Bilbo’s stories you should have asked him yourself!” And he turned Sam around to face old Bilbo Baggins, sitting on a rock. Sam was so happy that he immediately sat on the ground and asked Bilbo to tell him many tales. Frodo sat by Sam and listened also. For he never tired of his uncle’s stories. The trees leaned over them and the birds listened as twilight crept over the woods.

~*~*~*~

“Sam. Sam, wake up.”
Frodo’s voice slowly broke through Sam’s dreams.
“Sam, come on. Wake up!”
And so Sam rubbed his eyes and sat up. He looked around and tried to gather his bearings.
“Why, Mr. Frodo! This looks just like your room back at Bag-End! Did we sail back to the Shire during the night or is this some sort of elvish spell?”
Frodo laughed and sat on the edge of the bed. “Neither, Sam! The Elves accorded us a special honor and have built Bilbo and me a hole just like Bag-End. You slept in my room and I shared a room with Bilbo.”
“Oh, Master, you shouldn’t have! You should have stayed in your own bed and I would have slept at your feet, no mistake.”
Frodo smiled, but his shoulder started burning painfully, and he stood up quickly.
“Dress hastily Sam or you will surely miss breakfast. And second breakfast, I dare say!”

~*~*~*~

It was soon after elevensies that Frodo was looking quite pale and went away to rest. So Sam took Bilbo by the arm and they walked in the garden, talking.
“I don’t suppose you know where Frodo misplaced that old Ring of mine, do you?”
Sam laughed softly, “He’s lost it, just like he said, dear Bilbo. Probably dropped it somewhere after we left from Rivendell so long ago.” Sam’s eyes darkened, for what he said was not all a lie. And he muttered quietly, “Or tried to drop it, but couldn’t.”
Bilbo did not hear this and they continued to walk silently. But Bilbo was old, and tired easily, and he soon sat against a mallorn tree to doze. Sam walked around the garden some more until he stopped at some bushes under the windowsill.
“Now my old Gaffer would have a thing or two to say about this. Trimmed it all wrong, they have. If I were ever to say something discourteous about the elves it would be that they can’t trim bushes by the windows.”
So Sam looked around and found a set of hedge clippers and began to tidy up Frodo’s garden like he used to.
“You confound me, Samwise Gamgee. Still snooping around Frodo’s garden? And under the windowsill no doubt! You haven’t been eavesdropping again, have you?” Gandalf the White said, placing his hand on Sam’s shoulder.
“Mr. Gandalf sir! Well, no, of course I haven’t been eavesdropping! Frodo is rather indisposed, it being… well you already know. And Mr. Bilbo is over there napping. Who else is there to eavesdrop on? If I were to eavesdrop which you know I wouldn’t. But if I were it would only be matters of Frodo, of course. Unless…” Sam’s sentence was cut short.
“Good gracious Sam I know what you mean! There’s no need to be stuttering all the time!” He paused and stared down at the Hobbit before bending to one knee. “Come now and give me a hug.”
Sam embraced the wizard. Even though Gandalf was on one knee, the Hobbit still came up only to his chest. Then Gandalf stood up and took Sam’s hand, leading him out of the garden like a child.
“Have you seen any elves yet?”
“No, I’m afraid that Frodo and I were talking with Bilbo so late into the night that we did not have the time to see the elves. Come to think of it, I don’t remember coming back here at all.”
“Silly Hobbit. You were carried home by the elves and didn’t know it!”
“Was I really? Carried by elves, eh?”
“Yes, I was there helping Bilbo along. Frodo insisted that he be the one supporting your head. The whole time back he kept singing Elvish to you.”
“Oh, I do wish he would sing it for me again now that I am awake.”
“Well perhaps you can ask him tomorrow when he is well again.”
“Perhaps. I should probably go and check on him now, begging your pardon.”
“Of course, Sam. I will stop by tomorrow. Lord Elrond and Lady Galadriel should be accompanying me. And maybe a few others.”
“Lady Galadriel! Oh I’m afraid I shall be awfully nervous around her. Lord Elrond I can get used to but Galadriel watches me more than my liking.”
Sam and Gandalf reached the door and Sam turned around to hug the wizard one more time.
“Until tomorrow, Gandalf.”
“Namarie, Samwise Gamgee.”
Sam went inside the Hobbit hole and headed straight for Frodo’s room. He was still resting peacefully, which Sam was content about. So Sam pulled up a chair next to the bed and ran his fingers through Frodo’s hair gently, as if trying to keep Frodo’s dreams out of harm’s way. Soon Sam drifted off into sleep.

~*~*~*~

Sam woke up later to find Frodo out of bed and dressed already.
“Frodo! Bless us, you’re awake!”
Frodo laughed. “Yes Sam I’ve been up for about ten minutes now. It’s nearly supper time.”
“Oh my you do look dreadfully pale. Had nothing to eat for luncheon and afternoon tea? Well of course not, you’ve been in here sleeping. I best go and make you something to eat.”
Sam led Frodo into the kitchen and quickly made him something warm to eat. And Frodo ate silently while Sam stared out the window, gazing into the trees.
“Do you ever miss the Shire, Mr. Frodo?”
Frodo looked up. “What are you talking about?”
“Do you ever miss the party tree, surrounded by rolling hills? Do you ever find yourself wanting to go back to the lakes and little rivers? And the Hobbit holes with little children running atop their roofs? The peaceful nights along the stream banks calling you home…” Sam stared deeply into the horizon as the sun set serenely into the west.
Frodo was very quiet this whole time, staring down at the table in consideration. “I’ve never thought about that before, Sam. I guess at the back of my mind I have missed the Shire greatly. But Valinor is so much like it.” He smiled. “Well… without as many Hobbits of course.”
Sam smiled and turned around to face Frodo.
“I’m glad to be with you, Mr. Frodo. Now, begging your pardon, I must be getting Bilbo back inside before it gets too late. I’m afraid he slept under the mallorn tree this afternoon and hasn’t awakened since.”
And Frodo gestured Sam off and sat at the table quietly, looking at his tea. He shook his head to get himself out of the daze and left the kitchen, blowing out the lights as he went.

The End of chapter One

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