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frolijah_angst

Rosemary and Thyme

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Jan. 28th, 2007 | 05:59 pm
posted by: smaugs_mommy in frolijah_angst

AN/Summary: In this short sequel to "Dreams, sweet and bitter" Frodo experiences both comfort and sorrow as his journey to the undying lands continues.
Disclaimer: The last paragraph is more or less a direct quote from The Return of the King, The Grey Havens. Because nobody could find better words than the professor did.

Thank you, dear mews1945 for beta-ing.

And seeing it is Niphrandl's (and Elijah's *gg*) birthday today - Happy Birthday to you :D.

To read, take a look behind the cut or go to Stories of Arda (click) or FFnet (click).




Frodo dreamed he was in a garden, kneeling amidst herbs that he knew had been brought to the Shire all the way from Ithilien; fragrant rosemary and silvery, pilous sage, thyme and camomile spreading out into the misting rain like a tumbling, living carpet. He was gathering flowers that bit at his hands with venomous mouths. He dreamed he was running from creatures which bared teeth sharp as needles and bore rings of flame so bright it blinded him. Bereft of his sight, Frodo was falling, falling down a long spiral staircase into despair and darkness, where the creatures found him and pierced his neck. His eyesight returned as he was laid into a coffin, in a bright hall built of white stone, suffocating under pellets of roses.
A woman, stern eyes the colour of rain, came and knelt beside him to hold his hand. She bore a circlet of silver in her sable hair and she smiled when she bent to kiss his brow.

Frodo dreamed of fire, deadly as a dragon's breath, of singeing flames consuming the Shire, even as he hurried to extinguish the fire, water running trough his hands. His feet bled fiercely as he ran across the slope. He dreamed of screams and a flood carrying away trees and leaves and children, but woke to silence, merciful darkness, and the salty fragrance of spray.

Disorientated, he turned his head.
The air was cold on his tear-stained cheeks and it seemed to be flooded with the echo of his nightmares. Candles had been lit, but they guttered in the draught that came in through the open scuttle.
"Bilbo?" he asked, and felt a hand touch his face, cold and light as snow.
"He is asleep, Frodo, let him rest."

The hobbit craned his neck, and looked up. His gaze was met by a pair of grey, immortal eyes, lit, as it seemed, with the light of candles and sunsets.
Galadriel smiled at him. "You have been sleeping with your eyes wide open," she said, "and there was such sadness in your eyes, such fear. I am glad you woke."

She looked tired and pale, and Frodo thought he could see faint shadows under her eyes, almost invisible in the unsteady light cast by the candles. For a moment, she looked almost human. Still shaky from his dream and from the night spent in the misty rain, Frodo sat up.
"And I am glad you came to sit with me," he said. And then, after a silent moment of thoroughly studying her face, he asked, "Are you feeling better, my lady? You still look very pale and in need of a good meal."

The elven-maid, who had been so rebellious in her youth and now seemed defeated by the same element that would have had yearning for eternities, lifted an eyebrow

"I do not think, a meal would be of much help," she said, lips curling into tired smile.

Part of Frodo could not think of anything that could not be cured by a decent supper, but the bigger part of him, the part that had seen terrors beyond description, just reached for her hand and pressed it.

"How about you?" asked Galadriel, "are you hungry?"

Frodo shook his head, and the elf understood without a word.
"I know your grief," she said. "Elrond told me. Partings are painful, bitter even, both for those who are left behind and those who move on."

Frodo stared at her, despair wringing words from him that he regretted as soon as they were spoken.
"Do elves grieve, my lady?" he asked
"We die from it," she answered, "and you know this, Frodo."
He looked at her, very solemnly, and nodded.
"I do," he said, "and I am sorry. I should not have said this."

"Indeed," she answered, but her eyes and voice were gentle. "Sleep is what you should do, Frodo. Sleep and forget, and talk about what burdens you in the morning, if you wish."

The hobbit hesitated; sinking back into his pillows felt too similar to sinking back into the shrieking madness of his dreams. Galadriel only looked at him, and he understood, that she knew his sorrow, his anger.

"You have elvish eyes, you had them all the time," she said, running a hand through his hair.

Elvish eyes.
He closed his heavy lids over them, wanting to sleep. Hands framed his face, and the blanket was drawn up to his chin. Frodo fell asleep as he felt her breathe into his body something long lost and almost forgotten.
And he smiled, for as a child he had thought the brow was the only place where elves ever kissed.

ooooo


When he woke, Galadriel was still at his side, and the scuttle still open. It was raining again, but the air had changed, it was warm and soft now, fragrant as a summer's evening in the Shire.

"Try to eat something now, Frodo," she said, pushing to him a tray with dark bread, juice of a fruit called orange, honey, nuts, and cheese.

He ate, and when Bilbo came to join him, glad to see his cousin awake and smiling, Galadriel left them silently.

Later, as he walked up and down the rain-slicked forward deck, huddled into a grey elven cloak, he met Elrond. The elf looked better now, as he stood in the mild rain, but it was obvious that he was grieving too. His eyes lingered on Frodo's chest for a moment, as if gazing through the fabric of cloak, vest and shirt, as if seeing the pendant his daughter had given to the halfling who now sailed west in her place. Yet there was no reproach in the elf's lined face, only a sadness that cut deeply into Frodo's heart. Much did he want to say something that would bring comfort and peace to Lord Elrond, but he knew this was not the time for words, not the time to mention Arwen Undomiel, the youngest and last child of the Eldar.

In silence they stood at the rail, connected by the love to those they had left in Middle Earth.

"They were at peace," Frodo finally said, knowing he had to start "and old and they were not alone."
"But that does not ease your pain," the elf's voice was as soft as the rain, which now fell like a silvery curtain.
"It does," said Frodo, and looked up, rain dripping from his lashes and into his eyes. He blinked. "It does, but I wish I could have been there with them, watched over them…"

"But you were there, Frodo - or will be – as you watched," said Elrond, kneeling down and letting his strong, ageless hands rest on Frodo's shoulders. "And I am sure they will know it."

The hobbit heaved a sigh, of relief, of loss. "I wonder," he began, and the rain ran down his face like tears as he looked up again "I wonder why I could not see Sam."

Elrond must have heard the flutter of hope in his voice, for he gave him a compassionate glance.
"Take a look, young friend," he said, "with your gifted eyes. You will need no telescope to see now that we have left Middle Earth behind".

ooooo


Samwise worked with efficiency, surrounded by herbs and flowers, enjoying the work he was doing. His hands were old, and yet had lost none of their strength. His heart, too, had aged, but was still filled with the same love for everything green and alive that had shone brightly in his hazel eyes when Frodo had first met him. It was in the hours just after the rain, and the earth was dark from it. Sam was surrounded by scents of sage, thyme, and his hands brushed lovingly through the wet green. He filled a basket with delicate spears of lavender, then left the herbs and turned his attention to the wild roses. He chose a white one, and unearthed it carefully, so as not to harm it.
Lavender for Elanor, roses for his Rosie.
The old hobbit strode down the slopes of the hill, to a small graveyard dreaming in the silence that had come with the rain. He kissed the rose before planting it.

ooooo


On the ship, the evening darkened and Frodo stood with his eyes still closed. Sam would come, and even though Frodo knew neither of them might be granted more than a glimpse of Tol Eressea before having to die, there was comfort in that thought.

A sweet fragrance of distant gardens came over the endless waters, as if part of his vision had melted into reality.
Frodo opened his eyes, and as he did, the grey rain curtain turned to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a green country under a swift sunrise.


THE END

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