West of the Moon
A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive
After the Book
A reunion in the undying lands; alternating Frodo and Sam POV in eight drabbles.
The air sings here in the slow velvet evenings and the sea laps at the white shore like a memory.
I trim the lamp by the door and look towards the dock where the grey ships rock and their sails are furled tight and the stars glitter in the water like Durin's crown so long ago.
Bilbo is humming a small song of his own making, homely against the rising harmonies of the lonely isle, and I can smell the fresh-turned earth of an almost forgotten garden in the Shire after a spring rain.
The light will guide you home.
* * *
I dreamed again last night, curled into the threadbare comfort of your favourite armchair because I can't rest in that lonely bed. There's a blanket tucked around me and I know that my Elanor-lass is busy round the smial and hushing the bairns and setting about the new day with her golden hair, fading now, tucked under a bright scarf.
The long years are heavy and knotted in my hands and I think I can hear you laughing just around the corner of my mind.
All that you might have had in this life, me dear, you gave to me.
* * *
Time lingers here; spins a web of forgetting across each eternal moment; drops like slow honey down the years of waiting. And a red rose blooms and fades and blooms again and the dew gathers like tears on each velvet petal and I hold those tears to my lips and all the years fall away in the memory of you.
I'm waiting; waiting still and watching the ships and gathering my memories about me until I'm warm again. And when you're done, Sam, you'll close the book and say goodbye and look towards the grey horizon and think of me.
* * *
There's no looking back. I know that you're standing, wondering, behind me with the book held close, just there where the sheep track runs away from the green hill and the evening's gathering around you.
But there's no going back. I see the towers rising in the distance and the sun's last kiss lies gentle on their smooth, strange solitude and the birds are fluttering to their rest; and the west is spread before me; and the long road beckons and I think I hear old Mister Bilbo's voice, singing "on and on . . . down from the door where it began . . ."
* * *
Bilbo is smoking his pipe, blowing shadowy rings against the glowing sunset - the air is heavy with music. And I'm restless because the wind has changed across the water.
I think you've closed the book of your life, Sam; I think the sea is bringing you home but I don't know what that might mean for us here. Perhaps there was no choice for you in the end, just as there was no choice for me when the Ring had taken all that I was and left me empty.
Full, white sails gleam and the sun falls behind the hill.
* * *
They hardly speak to me. The ship's timbers are groaning under me and I'm trying not to think about the dark green depths.
I feel small now, I feel as though Elanor is still standing, watching me set my feet on the road to the west. And then I hear a song swelling in the air and I dare to look towards the long stretch of a dim headland, dark against the low sun's spilling light.
They seemed to be expecting me there at the Havens and I wondered how they knew but it's no matter - for you're waiting somewhere.
* * *
You look the same, Sam; your long years are sketched like a faint signature around you but you smile and duck your head in that old, shy way as if you feel unsure of your welcome.
You touch my hand and then my face and you say my name.
You say my name like a blessing, like an end and a beginning. There's a gladness in you and I want everything, Sam.
I lean into your touch, feel your warmth on my skin; I close my eyes and let you hold me and I feel whole for the first time.
* * *
All that you might have had you gave to me. I hope I've never let you down, Mister Frodo.
And the taste of your lips on mine is sweeter than honeysuckle sipped on a summer evening when the world was young; and all my buried hopes are new again, me dear; and you fold against my body as though you belong here - nowhere else but here in my arms.
And these odd, bright stars are shining for us and the need is running in us like the Great River.
And you say my name and I know myself at last.
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