My mother was coming the last week of March, to stay till the baby came. She’d been midwifeing Hobbiton babies for five or six years, ever since Granny Goodbody passed on. But she didn't come quite soon enough, as it turned out.
There’d been no more disturbances at night. The sweet herbs steaming on the fire sent me off to sleep like a charm; I don’t know if they did that well for Mr. Frodo, but at any rate he wasn’t crying out in his sleep. He was still pale and very quiet, and he took to riding out on his pony soon after breakfast each morning and not coming home till nearly teatime.
Sam worried that he was missing meals, but when he spoke to him about it, Mr. Frodo was right sharp with him – which wasn’t like him, not at all.
“Sam, will you go fuss over your wife and leave me be? I’m neither a child nor an invalid, and I know enough to eat when I’m hungry!”
Sam apologized, but he made sure to tuck some apples and biscuits into the pony’s saddle bag every morning after that.
“And I reckon that’s all I can do, Rosie. It’s true what he says, he’s not a child – it’d be easier taking care of him if he was!”
On the twenty-third I woke up with a backache, and nothing I could do seemed to ease it. I paced up and down the passages, restless as a cat, and Sam hovered over me till I felt some sympathy for Mr. Frodo’s sharpness to him. I bit my tongue and reminded myself how sweet he was to be so concerned for me.
By suppertime the pain had started to come and go, and I was too tired to walk around any more. Mr. Frodo was back by then, and we sat down to eat, but halfway through the meal a pain hit that doubled me over.
“Rosie! Lass, what’s the matter?” Sam was at my side, and I leaned on him till I could speak.
“It’s all right, Sam.” I tried to smile. “It’s all right, it’s just the baby coming a little early. Better send for my Mum, love.”
Frodo jumped up from the table. “I’ll go, Sam. You put Rosie to bed, get her some tea or something. I’ll get Mistress Cotton.”
He rushed out, and a few minutes later I heard his pony galloping by on the road. Sam helped me into the bedroom and stayed with me, stroking my forehead through the pains and calling me his sweetheart, his dove, his darling lassie, till I thought having a baby might not be so bad after all. Then my mother came and chased him out.
It was a long labor, even for a first baby. Sometime the second night, Sam pushed his way into the room, never mind what Mum had to say about it.
“She’s my wife, she is, and I’m going to see her!”
He looked half wild, his hair standing up like he’d been running his fingers through it, and he went down on his knees by the bed and tried to gather me in his arms. I looked over his shoulder and Mr. Frodo was standing in the doorway. He met my eyes, then he came into the room, setting my mother to one side with gentle firmness, and bent over Sam.
“Come along, Sam lad, Rosie’s busy right now. The ladies will get on better without us in the way.”
He helped Sam to his feet and led him away, an arm around his shoulder, steering him out the door. Sam told me later that Frodo stayed with him the whole time, brewing endless pots of tea and making him eat a little, talking sometimes or just sitting with him, but never leaving him alone.
Finally the second morning came, and so did the baby. The sky outside the window turned pink, and the baby cried, and my mother said, “It’s a beautiful little girl.”
And I cried.
I loved her, oh I loved her, and she was beautiful. I put her to my breast, and she knew just what to do, little as she was, and I nursed her to sleep. And all the time I cried, without a sound, the tears running down my face like rain.
“You’re wore out, and no wonder. Go to sleep now, Rosie lass; you’ve earned it. Come on, I’ll take the baby out for Sam to see, and you sleep, dearie.” She smoothed my hair back and wiped at my wet face, and she gathered the baby into a nest of soft blankets and carried her away.
The door closed behind her, and I buried my face in the pillow and wailed. Oh baby, sweet baby, why did you come out of turn? You should have let Frodo-lad come first, and you could be his little sister. The first was supposed to be Frodo-lad.
I slept, finally. When I woke up, Sam was sitting by my bed in the big rocking chair, the baby in his arms. He didn’t see I was awake, he was so took up with the baby, and the look on his face turned my heart to mush. No fear that Sam was disappointed with his little girl – Sam had fallen in love. And watching him, I fell in love with him all over again.
I reached out my hand to him, and he looked up.
“I don’t guess we can name her for Mr. Frodo,” I said.
He grinned and bent down to kiss me. “Not very well, lass. Not unless we want her to get an awful lot of teasing.”
“I’m sorry, Sam.”
He sat down next to me on the bed, tucking the baby in my arms and putting his own arms around us both. “No, now, Rosie, don’t be sorry. There’s some reason, likely, why things happen the way they do. But I've been thinking – we can’t call her Frodo-lad, but if you're willing, we can let him have the naming of her.”
He looked down at our baby daughter and stroked the curve of her cheek. Her little mouth moved in her sleep, a tiny rosebud puckering up. “Guess he won’t never have the chance to name one of his own,” he said softly.
So Mr. Frodo had the naming of the baby. Elanor, he called her, after a golden flower in the Elven country. And whether it was the name, or a whiff of Lothlorien they brought back with them from their travels, her hair came in as soft and golden as sunshine, and she got more beautiful every day.
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.