Bend In the Road, A: 6. Heartache

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6. Heartache

After that day, I could no longer deny my feelings, but I didn't have to. I helped Frodo with his book whenever I could, and we spent a great deal of time together that spring and summer. By some unspoken agreement, we carried on just as if Frodo was going to remain in the Shire, and I made an effort not to refer to the journey he must soon take. That summer was without a doubt the happiest of my life. I could have written another whole book filled with all my sweet memories of that season. I had a bustling practice, a good harvest, friends around me, and someone who loved me just as I loved him. Somehow, though, I couldn't shake the sadness that crept into my thoughts whenever I thought about Frodo's departure.

Soon, it was September once more, and I smiled sadly to myself as I turned the page of my little daybook. Although summer's sunshine and heat still lingered, fall was here, and somehow I knew it was nearly time for Frodo to go to the Grey Havens. What a child I had been all the summer, thinking I could stop Frodo from leaving just by not talking about it! As I made notes in my herbal, a tear spilled from my eye and blotted the ink. I wiped my eyes furiously, but the tears would not cease. I gave up on the herbal, leaned back in my chair, and gave myself over to the wave of grief rushing over me.

Oh, it wasn't fair! I had finally found someone whom I could share my life with, someone like me, someone to love. And instead of enjoying a lifetime of happiness with him, I had to remain behind while he journeyed to some unimaginably far shore. I could feel Fate's cold, inorexable hands closing around my throat, and I felt that it was strangling me to death. By the time Frodo arrived at my house for tea, I had soaked three dishtowels with my uncontrollable weeping.

"Lily, what's the matter?" His gentle voice, so full of concern and fear, made the tears fall faster. He should have scolded me for crying over nothing, but his only thought was of what was troubling me.

"Oh, nothing, nothing," I muttered, trying to brush him away. "I'm just being a goose over nothing. Let me get your tea." I stood up to go to the kitchen, but Frodo grabbed my hand.

"Lily, I know you far too well to believe that you would cry your lovely eyes red over nothing." A sad smile crossed the lips I had kissed so many times that summer. "I bet I can guess what's bothering you. It is the first day of September and fall is coming. You know I must leave you soon…"

I nodded, choking back a cry. "I'm sorry, I thought I could be brave…but it just came down on me like a boulder today."

He gathered me into his arms then, and I buried my head against his shoulder. My heart ached to think that soon, I would never know this comfort again. "My beautiful Lily, you are brave indeed, but even the bravest of souls must cry at times." He looked into my eyes, winding a lock of my hair in his fingers. "I feel both glad and grieved at finding you like this. Glad at knowing that you care for me so much…grieved that I have caused you so much pain."

I kissed his cheek impulsively. "Frodo, I do understand, and this isn't your fault. I know it couldn’t be any other way…but oh, how I wish I could go with you!"

Frodo smiled. "Lily, the Shire is your home. I know you, and you wouldn't be happy anywhere else, even with me."

"Anywhere you are is my home!" I cried out in anguish. "I love you so much…"

He stroked my head gently, and the touch of his slender fingers in my hair was indescribably soothing. "I love you, Lily…but the Shire is no longer my home. My restless heart can find no rest here, not even in you. Not after what I've been through." I felt him shudder at the memory and pressed closer to him. "You've been a good helper. My book's nearly finished."

Even through the haze of my grief, I felt a surge of pride when Frodo spoke of the book. "Only the last few chapters are incomplete." I looked shyly up at him. "You have only to write 'And they lived happily ever after'."

"Perhaps I will leave the book where it is. I've a feeling that I should let Sam and you write the last few pages, dear heart. I wonder if it will become a great tale in after years?"

I smiled in spite of myself. "And how could it not be? Hobbit children will clamor to hear the tale of the brave Frodo and trusty Samwise and the dread Ring. 'Tis fearsome in parts, true, but it has a good ending, and the best hero I've ever known." I ruffled his curls affectionately at that.

He looked down at me with tenderness in his eyes. "Do you suppose the girl hobbits will say, 'But didn't he have a lady-love? Someone to come home to? Doesn't seem the tale is quite finished without a lady for Master Frodo.'"

I grinned. "The boys will say, 'Who wants that love rubbish anyway? Not we!'"

Frodo kissed my forehead. "I have an idea for that. A bit of a postscript, if you will. Oh, Lily, I do love you!" Basking in the glow of his love, I could almost forget my pain.

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.

Story Information

Author: Tindomiel

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Post-Ring War

Genre: Romance

Rating: General

Last Updated: 01/10/03

Original Post: 12/07/02

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