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“Swimming? I don’t want to go swimming, Uncle Bilbo… I cannot…I’m scared,” Frodo’s blue eyes looked at his uncle with fear and apprehension when he was led to the lake during one of their journeys into the Woody End.
“My dear Frodo-lad, you must not be afraid of water. I understand that it is still hard for you to be near water but you must trust me that to defeat what scares you most would be like conquering the victim that… that overpowered your parents,” said Bilbo quietly.
Frodo’s eyes filled with tears but then unexpectedly a new-found courage stirred in his heart. “Really? Would it be like defeating a monster then if I knew how to swim?”
“Really, dear lad—and I will teach you and the water will not take you. I swear by it.”
Frodo’s toes went into the water and he felt anger flare up yet the determination to indeed muster up the courage to not be afraid, not let the water haunt him all his life. Bilbo was already in the water and reached gently up to Frodo’s hand, gently pulling him down into the warm water of that clear, hot summer day.
“Now this isn’t so bad, is it, Frodo?” asked Bilbo as he gently held onto Frodo’s outstretched hands, while gliding his body through the water, holding his belly up to have him float, encouraging Frodo to kick his legs.
“No, this is quite nice actually,” Frodo replied, yet he was still shaking and held onto Bilbo’s hands tightly.
“Relax Frodo, I will not let you go. Now try to kick a bit… yes, now there you are.”
For a good forty minutes, Bilbo taught Frodo how to kick, breathe on the side, and to float on the belly. Frodo wouldn’t let go for fear but he did loosen a bit upon Bilbo’s hands when he was finally allowed to stand on the shallow end which only came up to his waist.
“Now, how was that? It was not too bad was it, dear Frodo-lad?” Bilbo asked him once they went out of the lake for a rest and some water. Bilbo wrapped Frodo in a comfortably soft, freshly scented towel as Frodo breathed into it, relishing the warmth that it brought him.
“It… wasn’t too bad…” Frodo still glanced at the water as if it was going to form a wave and encompass him even though he did feel like it was fun.
“You’re a fast learner, Frodo—I look forward to helping you even more with swimming better—and then you’ll truly defeat this fear all for the better.”
“Thank you, dear Bilbo—I appreciate it.” Frodo stared intently upon the water. “But still, I don’t like the water … it will never be my friend.”
Bilbo sat down with Frodo after he had dried off himself as well and replied, “yes, but you can learn that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I’m sure that your parents will be proud that you learn to swim, to prevent any mishap that may happen in the water, to maybe even save others who do not know how to swim. Not many Hobbiton folk like to go into the water but it’s a good skill to have--- swimming. Perhaps you can even outswim your Brandybuck cousin too,” said Bilbo with a twinkle in his eye.
“Oh yes, I could be faster than Merry, shan’t i?” Frodo smiled back, more at ease than he had ever been ever since he had stepped into the lake.
“You can do whatever you set your mind to, dear Frodo. Don’t let a fear for something prevent you from being great.”
Frodo felt very encouraged and without words, gave Bilbo a hug and just said, “Thanks Bilbo… for being here for me.”
A/N-Courtesy of Grey_wonderer's plot bunny fro me in June 2007
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