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A/N: This was for the LOTR GenFic Community November 2012 Challenge, "A River Runs Through It." It takes place between the time Frodo is adopted and his coming of age. It was inspired by reading that he had dreamed of the Sea since childhood and also by the lovely map of Middle-earth that is on my bedroom wall that I face while I write. Walking along with Frodo in this little tale gave me the same wanderlust. Oh, to be that free as he longed to be!
Frodo traced his finger along the line of the Mitheithel river on Bilbo’s old map that he had brought back from his travels. In one direction, it joined the Bruinen and beyond that was Rivendell. One day Frodo wanted to go there and meet the Elves that Bilbo did. It sounded like a splendid place. But today, his heart was more restless to go the opposite direction. His finger passed Swanfleet and Tharbad and traveled along the Greyflood until it emptied into the Sea. This is where Frodo wanted to go one day. It would make a lovely adventure and he determined that he would ask Bilbo if they could go together. He traced another route along the Brandywine that he had already walk part way many times. That too led to the Sea. Perhaps one day he would not turn around as he always did but keep on walking and see the great water himself.
Frodo reluctantly turned his finger back up the way he came. This time he stopped briefly at Rivendell and remembered Bilbo’s high praise of it. Yes, he certainly would have to go there one day. He continued on but skirted around Mirkwood, for he did not want to go where there were any spiders. He came then to the Lonely Mountain and paused at Long Lake. He followed the River Running for some distance before turning around again and this time followed the Great River Anduin. The Misty Mountains were on his right. Would Bilbo ever want to retrace the steps of his great adventure and this time take Frodo with him?
Frodo’s finger continued to travel. He paused at Lorien and thought that would be a nice place to travel to as well from what Bilbo had told him of what he had heard about it in Rivendell. He wondered about the land of Rohan and what it was like. Gondor he knew was where the king had once been. He stopped in Ithilien and looked over at Mordor, where instinctively he feared to go. No, that was one place on the whole map he did not want to travel to even in his imagination.
He continued until he reached the Bay of Belfalas and followed the shore of the Great Sea until he reached the Brandywine. Yes, he would definitely take such a route one day if it ever came to be. In fact, he longed to do this more than any other path for it kept him right along the Sea for leagues upon leagues. His finger stopped at last at Hobbiton and home. It had gone far and his heart had traveled with it. One day he told himself his body would actually step out and do the same.
That night Frodo dreamt of the Sea. It was vivid enough for him to feel the lap of the foam against his feet and the wind dance through his curls. He heard the wailing of the gulls and breathed deep the scent of the water. Were the gulls calling him to enter? His heart filled with longing tinged with fear and grief, but he did not understand why. He stared long at the great expanse of the water. Why did it beckon him so? What was on the other side? Was there anything or did it just go on and on? Bilbo’s map was silent on that.
Just as Frodo started to walk deeper into the water, he woke.
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