West of the Moon

A Tolkien Fanfiction Archive



Two Ships
Frodo tries to find a way to fill the emptiness inside of him.
Author: Mallorn Gamgee
Rating: PG-13


Sam Gamgee usually slept like a stone, blissfully unaware of his surroundings. Only one thing could ever disturb him from his deep, peaceful slumbers.

"It's gone, it's gone and I am bereft..." Frodo muttered under his breath, as he tossed and turned in the bed next to Sam. His maimed hand crept up to take hold of the gem that Arwen had given to him. As his fingers touched it, his eyes flew open and he sat up, breathing heavily.

Sweat beaded on his forehead, and the room felt oppressively hot to him despite the chill of the autumn breezes that gently fluttered the curtains. Frodo closed his eyes. The Cracks of Doom danced behind his eyelids, and in his mind he heard the Ring speaking to him, demanding that he claim It for his own. He shook his head, trying to rid himself of the memories, but they only came on stronger, along with the terrible desire for It. He longed for It, and the gem in his grip was a poor substitute. Nothing could replace what had been torn from him, no one could ease his pain or give him comfort. Only It could give him what he needed, and It was destroyed. Damp curls clung to his face as he held the jewel, biting his lip to keep from crying out for fear of waking Sam.

It was too late, as Sam's lids were already half open and he was gazing worriedly at his master. Slowly and carefully Sam rose up and wrapped his arms around Frodo's shivering form.

"More nightmares, love?" he asked softly, while cupping a hand around Frodo's face.

Frodo nodded, sitting stiffly upright as he allowed Sam to embrace him. He never removed his clutching hands from the gemstone, and his knuckles turned white as his hold tightened.

"Sam, I'm afraid I lost more than a finger that day. Will I ever feel whole and well again?"

He turned his eyes towards Sam's, and Sam could not see anything behind them but a hollow emptiness. Sam shuddered for a moment as he stared into their depths, but after Sam blinked Frodo was smiling weakly.

"Your Sam will make it right, me dear. Didn't I promise I'd take care of you, and look after you, and never let you out of my sight? Now, you lie back down beside me, and I'll hold you close and keep the nightmares away."

Frodo stared anxiously at the ceiling as Sam dreamed happily next to him, one arm thrown possessively over Frodo's chest.

* * * * *

Sam whistled as he busied himself in the kitchen, baking cakes for Frodo's upcoming birthday party.

"Now, don't go baking too much, Sam, dear. It will just be a few friends and relatives this year," Frodo reminded him with a smile.

Sam laughed, "Aye, love, I remember. Only thirty or forty close and personal friends and relations."

"I must find some mathoms. I've been so busy with other matters, I've neglected to gather them up. If you need me, Sam, I'll be in Bilbo's storeroom. I'm sure he kept some things I could give out."

Frodo wound his way through the smial to the familiar room, which was piled high with things that no one could quite bear to throw away, but weren't exactly useful either. He smiled wistfully as he breathed in the dusty scent of the room, recalling many hours he had spent here with his uncle looking for "hidden treasures" and listening to old tales.

"Let's see...a broken umbrella...oh dear, that will never do. These tea towels would work if I can get the stains out."

Frodo gasped in delight as he ran across a once forgotten childhood favorite. He picked it up carefully, staring raptly while he recalled creating it with his uncle. He held it up to watch the rays of the Sun play off the glass as the light streamed in from the tiny round window.

"My ship in a bottle," he whispered. "Bilbo told me when I was sad I could sail the ship somewhere far away and I'd find peace."

A tear fell down his cheek as Frodo recalled the unhappy times many years ago when he had imagined sailing a ship to foreign lands. Now he envisioned a place with tranquil waters, and virginal white shores, where he could wander for hours alone and rid himself of the memories that disturbed him so. He gazed at the little boat inside the bottle, and found he could feel the spray of the ocean on his face as it splashed across the bow, and hear the gulls calling as they glided overhead. The brisk salt water revived him, giving him strength, as he sailed farther and farther from Mordor.

He realized that he was again holding the jewel that Arwen had given him, and he stood up straighter as his jaw set in determination.

Sam peeked his head around the doorway.

"Are you faring all right, me dear? You've been so quiet." Sam's words caught in his throat as he saw what Frodo was doing. He quickly strode to Frodo, blocking the light and jolting him from his daydream.

"What are ye thinking of?" Sam asked angrily. He gripped Frodo's hand, yanking it away from the gem around his throat.

Frodo jumped, startled by Sam's show of temper. He dropped the bottle and it shattered at their feet. Frodo cried out in dismay and dropped to his knees, heedless of the shards of glass as he frantically gathered up the broken sails and sticks of wood that were lying in pieces on the floor.

"Sir. I'm so sorry. Begging your pardon, I lost myself. I...I...don't move, you'll hurt yourself. I'll clean that up right quick," Sam called behind him as he fled from the room.

Frodo made plans for his future as he watched Sam sweep up his childhood memories.

* * * * *

"A toast to our most delightful host!" Merry shouted, as he lifted his ale in tribute to Frodo.

"I'll drink to that," Pippin drunkenly declared as he raised his tankard in chorus with the other partygoers.

Cries of "Speech! Speech!" rippled through the crowd as Frodo finally stood up, blushing and waving his arms in protest.

Sam elbowed Frodo. "Go on then, sir. They're all so soused they won't remember what you said nohow."

Frodo looked down at Sam and grinned wickedly. "You're right, Sam. It might be fun at that."

Frodo stood on the dais beneath the mallorn tree and took a deep breath as he placed his hands behind his back. He didn't have any tricks up his sleeve like his old uncle did so long ago, but he'd try to think of something memorable to say.

"Most esteemed hobbits, friends, relations. What can I say about you that hasn't been said already, and twice as wittily, behind the hayloft? It seems only yesterday that I was a bairn learning my letters here from my uncle Bilbo..." At the mention of this name a hush ran through the crowd. "...and now I'm a fair old wanderer myself and you all call ME Mad Baggins."Uncomfortable laughter could be heard among some attendees. "I suppose what I'm trying to say is, Hobbiton was around long before I arrived, and it will be here long after I'm gone. I'm sure you'll all get by without me just fine."

Frodo heard a muffled cry and saw Sam turn pale, spill his drink on the table, and run off in the direction of Bag End.

Merry and Pippin looked at Sam then back at Frodo, as if unsure of what to do next.

Frodo gathered his wits and continued nervously. "In the meantime, enjoy the party, everyone." He jumped off the dais and hurried after Sam.

He found Sam amongst the roses that bloomed beneath their bedroom windowsill. In the moonlight, the red blossoms seemed almost black. Sam was rolled up into a ball as he wept bitter tears that splashed into the soil he loved so well.

Frodo knelt beside him, and placed his hand over a wet cheek. "Sam...Sam..."

Sam lifted his head and his eyes flashed with anger, then softened to grief. "Why? Why ain't I enough for you?"

Frodo cringed at the words, not knowing what to say. Instead he brought Sam into his arms, stroking his back to soothe him as Sam cried on his shoulder. He kissed Sam's brow, murmuring, "I am yours always, my dear Sam."

Sam sobbed, taking Frodo's hand and pressing his lips to it. Sam put his hand behind Frodo's neck, pulling him forward until their mouths met. Frodo tenderly kissed Sam with feathery soft touches from his lips and gently sweeping caresses of his tongue along Sam's trembling mouth. Sam's kiss tasted of salt and Frodo was glad of it, if he could kiss Sam's tears away. Sam's touch, normally so warm, was cool as he tentatively moved his fingers through Frodo's dark curls, then along the noble curve of his cheek, as if he were made of spun sugar and might melt. Finally, Sam dropped his arms to Frodo's waist. His large hands almost ran the span of Frodo's thin frame, ravaged as it was by pain and guilt. Frodo opened his eyes, staring up into Sam's face with an expression of devotion and undying love.

Sam gripped Frodo so tightly, it was as if he never wanted to let Frodo go. He would like to stay with Sam forever, but he could not find comfort in Sam's embrace, no matter how much he silently pleaded with Eru for it.

* * * * *

Frodo stood on white shores, and looked out upon the endless blue sea. His face was a blank mask, as if carved from marble or granite. It had shown no emotion ever since he had embarked on this journey. He had no choice but to shut off that part of him, because otherwise he would not have had the strength to do what he needed to do.

Now, it was done. He was here at Tol Eressea where they had told him he would at last find ease and be healed of his wounds. He would walk upon the untouched shoreline as he had done in his dreams, and cast his nightmares out over the sea where they would be washed away forever.

Frodo glanced back at the ship which had brought him passage to the Undying Lands, and wondered why he did not yet feel the peace he had longed for. He still felt as if a bit of him were missing, and as he stared at the boat he somehow blamed it for his lack of relief. The sails snapped in the breeze, and the bow sparkled brightly, almost as if it were made of glass. Frodo remembered his old treasure, and how it would shimmer in the light of the Sun. Perhaps he and Bilbo would build another ship in a bottle and he could send it out on a journey through the ocean waters where it might be found one day by another...

Frodo continued gazing out towards his home. He could not see the Shire. He could not see one speck of land, not one thing that reminded him of the place he had left behind, the memories, the friends...the love.

Frodo's chin began to quiver at the thought of Sam. The facade was beginning to crumble as he recalled their goodbye kiss. Perhaps it would be his last kiss.

The waves crashed rhythmically on the sand. Instead of the ticking of a clock Frodo would have the waves on the shore to keep time for him. Would time flow by slowly or quickly here? Only the tide knew.

Frodo grimaced, and fell to his knees, weeping. He held a handful of sand and let it sift through his fingers as he bowed his head. Sobs tore from his throat as he searched for the one keepsake he had permitted himself to bring.

He pulled the lock of Sam's hair from his vest pocket and pressed it to his lips as tears streamed down his face. He could still detect the scent of Bag End, and Sam's familiar earthy smell on the golden curl, but it was growing fainter. Soon he would have to rely on his memory alone.

Frodo hoarsely cried, "What have I done?"


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