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Requiem for a memory - Chapter 3

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Jun. 15th, 2007 | 07:22 pm
posted by: smaugs_mommy in frolijah_angst

Rating: PG to PG13

Disclaimer: Nothing is, or has ever been mine. And the professor is probably rolling in his grave.

Genre: H/c but please forget about the c for the time being. We are not there yet. Might as well call it Angst

Summary: Angst has no plot. Angst needs no plot.

“I will give you a travelling name now. When you go, go as Mr Underhill,” said Gandalf – and caused Frodo to recall events he would rather have forgotten.

Beta-ed by Easterlily.

Chapter 3 can be found at ffnet or soa or right here:

Past and present

There was the scent of flowers, late summer flowers and they made Frodo remember nights when the darkness would take a long time to come, and how he had hoped for the air to cool down with the approaching night. He remembered standing at an open window and how a sudden breeze would carry along the sound of music coming from the garden, where Bilbo stood watering his roses – a task the Gaffer gladly would have taken charge of. As Bilbo went through all the elvish ballads he had ever learned or made up, Frodo waited in silence, enchanted, for the breeze to fill with the scent of humid moss, warm grass and all the other smells announcing a thunderstorm. There was a hush then, wonderful in its transience, and then the rain came, falling in heavy drops against the roof and the round windows of Bag End. Frodo would rush out, dressed in his long cotton night gown, into the garden, while the sky opened with lightening and the thunder clapped. Breezes and rain came from all sides, sweeping his nightgown against him, warm, wonderful, breathing goose bumps on his skin. Bilbo ushered him in again through the open door, messing up Frodo’s already sleep-tangled hair, and together they would watch the rain, the fog that followed and the green frogs on their way to the nearest pond.

Now he waited again, for rain and relief, but neither came. With an effort he opened his eyes, to find he was in a room that was familiar and yet was not. An old man sat at his side, eyes dark as coals, sparks gleaming deep inside.

“Forgive me, dear friend,” said the old man, and covered Frodo’s eyes with one of his large hands “I did not know.”

And the hobbit drifted off again, his feverish mind reeling, fleeing, until it sank down, tired, in a courtyard surrounded by trees and flowers, which were fragile and translucent, and seemed to sing as the wind swept through them. The sky was grey, and so was the floor. Yet when Frodo took a closer look, he saw lines there, thin as hairline cracks on old china, and realised they were forming pictures: A boy and a girl, walking hand in hand down a lane, dewdrops on cobwebs, ripples on a calm lake’s surface, his friends, his parents, a white horse, birds in cages. More often than anything else: birds in cages. Some were no bigger than a bumble-bee, others had wings bigger than himself, some were dead, others lifting scaly legs, hiding blood stained beaks in stony down, or looking at him with an expression reminding him of the petulant fairies that had populated one of his mother’s nightgowns. The courtyard itself was like a cage too; locked away from reality with its high walls covered with fading pictures of dancing creatures whose faces were peeling away, who were half animal and half human, torn by age. He felt horror, and still, in this strange place, amidst the glassy trees and flowers and wounded paintings, he curled up on the lined floor, and fell asleep in the unnatural silence.


The old year had withered away, and the days had passed slowly, like rain-drops on window panes, slithering down. Frodo had begun to recover from his fall and from the night in the snow, but he had grown silent.

Dandelia mended his clothes, chopped potatoes into thin slices for casseroles and prepared nut cakes and apple crumbles. She held Frodo’s hand when Hobson pulled his threads and before he went to sleep she brought him hot milk in a teacup covered with hairline cracks.
The cup had been her favourite cup when she had been a child, she told Frodo, because her very talented father had made it himself, using a special blue colour to draw the outlines of two hobbit children – herself and her younger brother - onto the cup’s outer walls. On the cup, he had even given them the puppy they always had pestered their mother about, but which they never got. Sometimes Dandelia had envied her blue sister for the puppy. On the other hand she was glad not to be the girl on the cup, as her father had pictured her in the dress which he liked best on her, but which she hated. Now her poor blue sister had to carry the abhorrent dress with its embroideries and ribbons through the ages. Also, she was perpetually forced to watch out for her little brother.

She was trying to be kind and make him laugh and help him heal, and Frodo knew it, still he could not talk to her or let himself be comforted. She did not seem to mind and kept smiling. Under her smile, he could detect how worried she was, but he was still a child, and did not follow the thought.
Frodo spent the bigger part of the days in the kitchen now, helping Hobson to shut off the windows against the cold, eating whatever Dandelia prepared because he knew this at least was something he could do to ease her worries. At nights he still sang or sat at the girl’s bedside in silence. She never changed. Her skin remained white, her eyes closed, the veins at her temples blue and prominent. She reminded him of his young cousin Merry. As a newborn, he too had had veins shining through the skin on his skull, like rivers on a map. It had made Frodo wonder how skin could be so thin, so soft, and for a while he had been terribly afraid Merry might drop and break. He had stopped breathing when he had entered Merry’s room, so the child would not.


Afteryule changed to Solmath, but the snow remained. On a stormy day, Frodo came down into the kitchen, balancing Dandelia’s cup on his right hand and the orange cat on his left shoulder, to find Hobson bent over a letter that had been brought in the early morning. Hobson smiled and told him he was going home, that a Saradroc Brandybuck had sent a letter, and was waiting for Frodo to return to Brandy Hall.
“If he has not arrived by the end of Solmath, he wants you to come home alone” Hobson said and it was obvious from his expression that he did not like the thought of Frodo walking through the snowy land all alone.
“He says you are responsible enough to be trusted with travelling on your own. Oh, and little Merry has been asking for you.”

Frodo gasped, the cup slid through his hand and fell onto the floor, where it shattered. The cat hissed and jumped from his shoulder, hurrying away, but Frodo barely paid attention. He stood as if rooted to the spot, shaking, staring down at the broken fragments. Dandelia, having rushed into the kitchen at the sound of braking china, did not smile this time, but run her hands through his hair and drew him into a short embrace. Gently, she told him she could fix it, while his tears dropped onto the girl that was now forever alone, with no puppy or little brother to keep her company.


Saradoc never came, and Frodo could not blame him. He left the healers’ smial early one day, wrapped into several layers of warm albeit too wide clothing. Dandelia brought him to the door, brow furrowing at the grey clouds, and bade him farewell.
He walked on straight for a minute, then turned around and waved, and as he went on, both Dandelia and the round windows soon vanished behind a group of black, leafless trees, and he was alone, a tall dark-haired lad with a cracked teacup for a heart.


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