The Adventure of the Cat's Eye

Part 6

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)
9/26/01

Frodo Baggins blinked and looked around as his vision returned. A slight frown settled over his features. The last thing he remembered was departing the Elven ship at Eressea along with Bilbo, Gandalf and the others. So why was he standing in the woods of the Shire? He knew he had gone and stayed at least a little while, or else his left arm would now feel cold, and the shadow he had had over his heart since he had possessed the Ring would still be there. Reflexively he rubbed the third finger of his right hand, and looked down in surprise. It was there, the same as it had been, before.
Shaking his head, he started out in the direction of Hobbiton and Bag End in particular. Then he checked himself, stopping in midstride. He had no way of telling how much time had passed since he last was here, and there could be a big scene. So, he took to wandering about the woods, hiding from the inhabitants of the Shire. Everyday he argued with himself about whether or not he should leave and find some other land, or if he should just go on into the town.
For two weeks he did this. After that he finally decided that whether a week or a century had passed, his sudden appearance would cause a scene. And, anyway, that's what the two mad Bagginses were famous for, wasn't it? Showing up after being thought dead? As for the idea of leaving the Shire behind, he rejected completely. There was some reason he was here, or he wouldn't be.
His decision made, he again began walking towards Hobbiton. Presently he came before the door that led into Bag End. He was glad that it was dark out, as he made his way to the window that looked into the study. Frodo smiled at the sight of the familiar figure seated in a chair beside a cheerful fire, and he tapped on the window. The hobbit inside jumped and looked over at the window. The expression on his face was so comical when he recognized who had tapped, that Frodo had to laugh.
"Mr. Frodo!" Sam exclaimed as he opened the window, "But what are you doing here? Never mind that, you come on in and warm yourself by the fire. It's still a bit chilly this early in the spring, if I do say so myself."
Frodo came in and sat in the chair opposite Sam by the fire. He was struck by a sudden similarity though he wasn't sure what it was. Presently, Sam had begged the whole story of his return from him, and when he had finished his friend stated, "But Mr. Frodo, surely you know you're welcome here. It is your home, after all."
"No, it is your home, my dear Sam," Frodo answered. "I willed it to you. What?" he asked upon seeing the look on Sam's face.
"Well, you see, I sorta lost that will, Mr. Frodo. Now don't be angry with me; I know you gave it all to me and my family, but it didn't seem right somehow. And I knew you'd be coming back."
Rather than argue with his former servant, which he could see would be pointless, Frodo chose to change the subject. "Exactly how long has it been since I left?"
"Why, almost a year," Sam answered, "And a long year it's been, too."
Frodo stared at him and sighed, then rubbed his face with his hands. Less than a year? Then why did he feel as though he had gained several lifetimes of knowledge? He jumped at Sam's startled exclaimation. "Your finger! It's grown back! It really did do you some good going over there!"
Frodo smiled wanly. "You should be careful, Sam, you don't want to wake your family."
Sam waved that away. "Oh, well, if my Rosie was here, she'd be happy to see you too; no doubt she'd have cooked a grand meal in your honor, and it being so late and all. But she's at Brandy Hall, and she took little Elanor with her."
Frodo frowned. "What's she doing at Brandy Hall?"
"Well, funny you should mention that, Mr. Frodo. You said it were two weeks ago that you first arrived? Well, Mr. Merry and Mr. Pippin found this girl unconscious in the Old Forest at about that time. Rosie has been going there to check up on her. Poor thing can't speak a word. Writes real good, though. She wrote a letter to Rosie asking if we might like to join her on a picnic this week. I couldn't go, 'cause I felt something was going to happen. And I was right, wasn't I?"
Frodo laughed. "Yes, you were right. And now I suppose we should get over to Brandy Hall. Pippin's there, too, isn't he?"
"He is. I think he's kinda sweet on the girl if you ask me, but she don't pay him no mind, according to Rosie. We're leaving now, then?"
Frodo nodded and said, "Yes, I think that it will be easier to travel in the dark, and I want this to be a good surprise for Merry and Pippin. We will take ponies, of course."
A few minutes later, they both were riding on their way to Buckbury and Brandybuck Hall.

On to Part 7!
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