1. A Garden For My Love
Only the older folk seemed to appreciate the planting Da (and Frodo himself as soon as he was old enough) had done, from the boundary walls to the dancing square: beds and borders and walks; and seats, plenty of seats to sit and enjoy the colours and scents. Da had insisted on the seats. "Many's the time we could have done with more to sit on than hard rock or wet sedge tussocks, " he'd said, "and maybe remembering comes easier when you're sitting down, 'specially if you're getting on a bit."
Frodo doubted that many of those who came and sat, did much remembering now. It must be all of twenty years since the mallorn seed was planted - no, Elanor was 22 now, so the mallorn must have passed its 23rd year. Perhaps Da was right, and the folk who came really did think back to the reason the field had been transformed.Maybe they really did remember the moving speech their Mayor had made at the Dedication Ceremony. Frodo had been only six, but he remembered. He remembered the crack in his Da's voice when he'd reminded everyone present (and everyone from miles around had been present, though Frodo suspected that the Dedication Feast had had a lot to do with their coming) - when he'd reminded them all of what the Shire had suffered, and how the Darkness had been prevented from covering everything.
Most people had taken it that he meant the Rousing of the Shire, and had raised a cheer for Da and the Thain, and The Master of Buckland, both present in their war gear. But they and Da had quieted the cheering, and Da had spoken a few choked words about the Ringbearer and his quest. Frodo may only have been six, but he knew even then how his Da looked when he was holding back tears. Others might not have noticed, but Frodo knew. Just as he knew how his Da sounded when he cried. You didn't forget something like that. It was frightening for a child, and Frodo still hated the feeling it gave him, even now he was entering his tweens. Hearing your Da cry took the ground out from under your feet, the safety out of your world.
Frodo didn't think that anyone else knew that sound, especially not Mam.They might know when Da was choked up for happiness, like when their Tom had been born that spring - Frodo could never think of a scrap like that as Tolman, but he'd grow into it. But the tears Da shed in this garden were bitter; bitter and sharp as the place he went to shed them.
Even before the soil had been turned for the planting of trees and shrubs and perennials, that part of the garden had been made. No-one had really understood why Samwise Gamgee, who had always made the most beautiful gardens in the Shire, had suddenly taken leave of his senses and started planting stones and gravel. Up there in the driest part of the garden, where even the weeds had struggled to grow, and the rock under the earth broke through the soil, Sam had added more rocks and stones and a vicious covering of the sharpest shale to be found. No wonder that no-one else ever went up there, not even to follow Sam's expressed wish, that they should look upon what might have been, the better to love the beauty of the rest of the garden, of the whole of Middle Earth.
That was where Sam went to shed those bitter tears. Frodo had known that his Da sometimes disapeared from home in the gathering dusk, and as soon as he was big enough to get up to and through his bedroom window, he'd followed. A long way in the dark it had been for little legs, and when he'd caught up, and heard that terrible sound, Frodo had burst into tears himself. And Da had found him, and hugged him, and tucked him back into his bed, and the world had righted itself for him.
He'd never told anyone and he never would. He didn't know why it was easier for Da to do his remembering up there on the corner made barren waste; why he should want to go there to grieve for the Ringbearer.
He knew why there was always a pot of forget me nots there, though.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.