AZ / Telcontar (tel) wrote in elfmoot2007,
AZ / Telcontar

ELFmoot 2007 Word Challenge Fic

PAIRING: Frodo/Sam
Writing Challenge words: difficult, frail, dull

[with reference to 'The Sea Bell {Frodo's Dreme}' by JRR Tolkien]


Minas Tirith sat on the field of Pellanor like a victorious soldier, battered and bloodied and yet still standing, banners alive and dancing in the dawn of a bright spring day, the promise of light and warmth blushing over the now-quiet mountains in the distance.

The streets were hushed and quiet, the calm peace that comes after great suffering, the joyous flush of victory celebrated lingering in the air like gentle music and lovers sighs. Now would come the time of memorial and renewal. In that dim light of new day's break the call of the morning bells rang out, the memorial peal to remind those remaining that they must rebuild that which had been so painfully defended and won.

In the Halls of Healing Frodo and Sam lay side by side on the bed, engulfed in soft drifts of snowy white linens. Both had been lost in well-deserved rest, still needing the deep embrace of healing slumber. For all their heroic celebrity they still carried the marks of their difficult journey through the desolation of Mordor and the reek of Mount Doom, and while they too had enjoyed the un-contained triumph at the downfall of Sauron, Lord of the Rings, what the two Hobbits needed more than ever were quiet simplicity and a complete natural recovery.

Frodo stirred in his sleep, muttering in a dream. Sam woke to Frodo's disquiet, watchful. It was not the first time Frodo's rest had been disturbed. The bells called out again, steady and solemn in their tone, and Frodo tossed and turned, the blankets wrapping around him. He shivered next to Sam. "...Away...away...!" he seemed to murmur, his voice no louder than a sea's sigh. Even as Sam's arm reached out to embrace him, Frodo awoke with a cry, eyes wide and frightened.

"A dream," Sam said reassuringly. "It was just a dream, Frodo. All's well. The bells are calling in the morning, that's all."

"It was a dream," Frodo answered. He shivered again, although the room wasn't cold. "Everything seems to be a dream again, Sam." He shrank into Sam's arms, like a child wanting comfort. "This was different, this time. Not like the others, not about things that had happened. This was more...haunting."

The bells fell silent, the last peal echoing over the white stones. Sam said nothing. Frodo didn't always elaborate on his dreams. Sometimes he fell back asleep, sometimes he rose and drifted to the small desk set up for him and took up a quill, frantically scratching out some bit of memory he felt compelled to record. Other times he would recite the jumbled images to Sam, as if to make sense of them.

"I heard bells," Frodo said. "Not bells, a bell...There was a boat, on the water, at night, and I was late. I hurried aboard, and I asked it to bear me away, away over the gray water..." Frodo lapsed into silence, recalling the visions. "There was a beautiful place, Sam, all green and bright and glittering, but there was a cold wind, and it was empty. I was alone. I could hear voices, but there was no one there.

"I walked on and on, and I came to a dark forest, with trees like stone pillars. There were leaves rattling along the roots of them, all the branches were bare, bare to the darkened sky like bones, and a mist...there was a mist, and I sank down in it, sitting, waiting...somehow I knew I had to wait there, as if I was sleeping for a hundred years just waiting..." His voice trailed off once more. "When I came around, I knew I had to go back, back to that gray boat, and sail back, but it was winter when I returned. There was snow, and it was so cold. Everything was frozen and shut up, even the shutters on the houses, all the doors locked and barred...I sat in a doorway. I was holding a shell, a sea shell--the one called the sea bell, the one that twists around in a spiral--you've seen them--it fell out of my hand. There were men there, but I couldn't hear them, I could only hear my own voice. I was...I was..." Frodo stammered, "It was like I had become a ghost, a shadow..."

Sam pulled Frodo close in a fierce hug. "You're not a ghost, Frodo, you're as real and solid as these stone walls and that rising sun." He lay Frodo back in the bed. Frodo's body still looked so frail there, stretched and starved and broken from his burden. The dull ache in his heart at the sight pounded against Sam's chest.

Frodo reached up to touch Sam's face, his fingers like soft feathers. "It was just a dream, Sam, don't look so worried," he said with a soft smile. "We've been through worse, haven't we? And we're on the mend." He patted the space next to him, urging Sam to lie back down. It was Frodo who now embraced Sam as they pressed together and looked at each other in the dim sunlight. "All that time, crawling across that dismal desert of Mordor, I wondered at how you did it, Sam. How you kept your hope up. I lost mine somewhere out there, no water, no sun, no rest at all...but you, Sam; I don't remember you ever despairing that we'd make it through." Frodo grew drowsy, relaxed, but there was a catch in his voice, the shadow of tears in his eyes. "How did you do it, Sam? What did you have to hold on to in all that misery?"

Sam looked at Frodo. Wordlessly he moved over and took Frodo's face in his hands. He kissed Frodo's eyes, tasted the salt there, bitter like the sea, and he drank it away. He pulled back, seeking his eyes, his clear blue eyes, and couldn't tell him, couldn't voice what to him was so obvious. Frodo was what he held on to all that time. In all the dusty, dry burning of Mordor, it had been the water-blue of Frodo's eyes that had sustained him, the soil-rich color of his hair and the faith that there would be life again, real and whole and growing. Hope was love, and love was hope, and he couldn't help but follow him through the journey. But there, in a soft bed and quiet dawn, words failed Samwise Gamgee, for there weren't enough words in the world to express it. Instead Sam drew Frodo close once more, and showed him what he held onto, and would for as long as he was able.
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